altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Once again I've taken too long a break from posting here. The winter has been made busy by several events, not the least of which is my planned retirement from full time library work. After June, I will be a greymuzzle pensioner, with more time for writing, music, gardening, and my pets. Of course that means helping to find and train my replacement. After twelve years in one job, there is a lot of stuff to organize and document and I've been kept very busy getting that done while keeping up with my regular responsibilities.

Meanwhile, my husband is getting near the end of his five year quest for the Ph.D. degree, which has also kept us pretty busy. Next week he will be presenting a paper at a conference, while I cover the animal care tasks he normally handles here at home.

Also some announcements on the writing front. First, I have two poems recently published. One gives a tortoise's view of history, and can be found at QuarterReads. The title is "Thoughts Chelonian." The second appears in a curated selection of furry poems at Adjective Species. The title is "Procyon Prowling" and the subject is a raccoon. I recommend the poems in that collection. They represent a wide variety of styles and formats, and an equally diverse viewpoints on furry subjects. Lunostophiles did a fine job of selecting them from the submitted works.

My story "Coyote's Voice" will appear in ROAR volume 6, to be released in July at Anthrocon if all goes according to plan. The publisher is Bad Dog Books, and the very competent editor for this issue is Mary E. Lowd, also known as Ryffnah.

I'm also currently engaged in writing the completing chapters of Oh, Ricky, the parody on Richard the Lion(heart) that some of you may remember from NanoWrimo 2011. I'm doing that in connection with this month's Camp NanoWrimo where I'm one of a dozen folks working together to prompt and encourage each other.

More as events develop. Thanks for reading.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Way too many things and stuff, actually. Both in terms of disruptive events and physical items to be sorted and, in at least some cases, eliminated. The house and garage are packed full, in part due to the passing of Gary's mom and sister-in-law at the end of last year. The calendar is full too, mostly with things I didn't choose to put there but alas, most of them require action on my part.

Long post under cut )

And that's where I've been. Still ticking, just way too busy.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Three years ago we presented Marni McGee's book Winston the Book Wolf with a fursuit appearance by Argos in the role of Winston. This evening we repeated that event, with a few enhancements.

Book Wolf 7
Here Argos greets a young fan after the story presentation.


Book Wolf 8
And he expresses dismay at the smaller children who were apparently afraid of him as he waits for them to make paper wolf puppets in the next room.


For a full sequence of 10 photos of the event, start here and proceed by using the "next" button at the top right corner of each photo.

Of course the weather has been pleasantly moderate all week until today, when the temperatures again climbed into the 90°F range. My fault I'm sure, for scheduling a fursuiting event.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Let's see. Our dog Red may have eaten a pair of socks again. He did this once before and eventually barfed them back up. I'm not sure whether he ate the socks or not, but Gary's convinced. What I do know is that I walked into the bedroom and caught the dog trying to eat Gary's underwear next (or first) which was in fact prevented. It's weird. He hasn't done anything like this in more than a year, and we have no idea what set it off today.

On the way to work I was delayed a few minutes by an eviction taking place on the street west of the library. Several cop cars, a lot of people standing around staring, and more furniture and clothing piled on the lawn than I would have thought could be fit into the house. Street was blocked for a while.

Then the blood drive. They use the library for their summer vampirism because the church buildings they use for the rest of the year are not air conditioned. That would be all right, except they take over the entire building, and are very noisy and obnoxious. They also make demands of us, rather imperiously. In particular, they are never happy with the temperature in the meeting room they use for drawing the blood. It's always too cold or too warm, and they will demand to have it changed four or five times in the six hours they are there. They were late clearing out, which displaced a board meeting and a book club meeting for which we had to find space.

Tomorrow I'll go in to work late at 4 pm because I've agreed to play Winston the Book Wolf again for a story hour presentation. As long as the weather doesn't get horribly hot, that should be easy fun. Pretend to eat a book, get chased by "mean" librarian (my boss gets to chase me with a broom.) Sneak back in and sit with the kids until the end of the story, when they get to have pictures taken with me if they like, and make a paper sack hand puppet of a wolf.

Monday bus

Jul. 2nd, 2012 09:42 pm
altivo: Horsie cupcakes (cupcake)
I hope someone got the license number of that bus that ran over me. Monday, you say it's called?

Seriously, I feel as if it's Friday after a full week.

Heat continues unabated. Guess the liberals running that particular plot device have pulled out all the stops. Hope they keep it under control until the election. Otherwise we may be all burned up and unable to vote at all.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
I only wish. And tomorrow is Wednesday, too. Weather not too horribly hot, yet, but still predicted to hit 100F by Thursday. And still no rain in sight. Everything is turning brown. The big trees are not showing signs of stress yet, but a lot of smaller stuff is.

Week old lamb has been tail banded and should be ready to rejoin the flock with mom tomorrow or the next day. She's growing fast and still curious and busy, which is a good thing.

Cataloged a substantial stack of books today, clearing my desk just in time for another shipment to land on it at 5 pm. Those get to wait until tomorrow.

Gary has a doctor's appointment in the morning, with blood to be drawn so no food for him after 9 tonight. He'll manage that but no coffee in the morning is going to be rough. Fortunately I go in late on Wednesday so I will cover animal chores in the AM.

And that's the news.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
It's Wednesday, and Midsummer's Eve, and (ugh) Summer Reading Club. Today's door count: 1420. Average for when it isn't Summer Reading? About 500. Screaming hyperactive kids, mothers shouting into their cell phones, compounded by hot, humid weather. Yay, lovely. Not.

Sonic screwdriver search ended early when I found a hand drink mixer/cappuccino frother on eBay for $5 and change, with free shipping. Runs on 2 AA batteries, looks to me very much like Tom Baker's version of the screwdriver. Comes with several different mixing attachments too. Hope it makes a suitable buzzing noise.

And that's the news for today. Oh, the new lamb appears to be doing well. I'll try to get some photos soon, perhaps tomorrow if the weather is decent so there's light.

Chaos

Jun. 11th, 2012 09:18 pm
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
And Summer Reading program begins. Quick, show me the way to the bomb shelter.

Fortunately, I have little direct contact with it, but it is the greatest energy and time burning project of the entire year. Frankly, I question whether it really achieves anything of value.

I did lend a large bread dough sized mixing bowl for use in a display. The theme this year is "Reading is so Delicious" so they are making food jokes and references all over the place. The mixing bowl is filled with kids' paperbacks and a large spoon is plunged into it.

TGIF

Jun. 1st, 2012 09:27 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
And then some. Not that this weekend will be any more relaxing, but still.

Printers are a pain in the a**. People who make a fuss about printers are even worse.

Yeah, a good chunk of my time today was wasted on printer bullshit. Not the fault of the print hardware, though. That functions as designed. It's the print queue management, and the lack of formatting capabilities in typical software, and worst of all the horrendous sloppy inefficiency of PDF files. It seems that library users invariably want to print huge Acrobat files that make print queues gag and stall or that overrun the available memory in the printers. Worse, after you make voodoo sacrifices and stand on your head while reciting spells in dead languages to force these awful documents onto paper, then they say "Oh, I only needed this page here. Do I really have to pay for the other sixty?"

Software vendors are no better. Exact same software installed on two machines with the same parameter definition files (copied, so identical) but on one machine the print jobs have a banner sheet while on the other they do not. I want the banner on both, can't make it come out on the second machine no matter what I try. Same printer, so it's not that. Same queue definitions, identical server software and hardware on both machines. Vendor has now been trying to resolve this for TWO days without success.

Ducks: three eggs a day looks like the new normal production rate.

Me: I think it's bed time.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Just too much going on at work and home, not enough rest, no time for blogging. This hasn't been so much of a problem in years.

Most of it isn't that interesting either. We finally got some real rain today, starting before sunrise, a steady drip all day. Over an inch that accumulated so gradually that it has gone mostly into the ground rather than puddling or running off, which is good. We've been under red flag warnings (fire hazard) several days in the last month and that's extremely unusual here.

All three ducks are starting to lay eggs on a daily basis. That's more eggs than we know how to use, so soon we'll be trying to give some away I expect.

In the war of the e-readers, the Kobo WiFi has now lapped the Literati, mostly because the Literati still hasn't made it out of the starting gates. Until I find a way to get it to accept the required firmware update, it's not very useful.

Second clustered workstation setup went out on the floor today, so there's only one left to go. Next week for that one, I hope.
altivo: (rocking horse)
And a long weekend, thank goodness.

Formal word today, no raises again. Soon they'll be asking us to pay them to work for the city. Unionized employees get raises. No union, no raise.

Tess is OK, thank goodness. I went out early, before breakfast, to let her out of her stall and put her in her pen. She was fine, and remains normal this afternoon. The grass in the pasture is dry from lack of rain and therefore slow growing and not so rich in carbs, I guess.

Gary survived his root canal too, and so far has some ache but no terrible consequences. Good thing, going into a three day weekend, though I think the only added resolution they have might be to extract the entire tooth. He's gone to a Toastmasters meeting (ewww, but he likes them) at the moment.

Gusty high winds and red flag warning are unusual for us, especially at this time of year. If the predicted thunderstorms materialize tonight and tomorrow, though, that will take care of the problem.

Replacement Literati e-reader has arrived and is working normally but I haven't connected it to wireless and allowed it to try to update its firmware either. Will do that at work tomorrow, where the speed and bandwidth is greater.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Much of the day spent setting up new equipment, which is now running overnight so it can download updates. Hopefully we'll be able to test a new authentication system tomorrow and then swap this for two machines that are to be replaced.

Our old cat Tikki is not doing well. She'll be 19 years old in another week, but only if she makes it that far. She has nearly quit eating now and seems almost catatonic at times (no pun intended.) We're sorry to see her go, but she's had a very long life for a cat and it's becoming clear that one way or another she's going to be leaving us soon.

Otherwise, we seem to be poised for a full jump into summer now. Yesterday's temperature made it to 90°F and today was clear and sunny again. I hope this isn't heading into a drought. There was some serious rain and hail in the area yesterday, but we only saw a brief shower here, perhaps an eighth of an inch accumulation.

And that's the news. more or less. I'm all grumpy about idiots spewing anti-gay hate in NC and moronic politicians here in Illinois claiming that this weekend's NATO Summit was some great feather in the cap of Chicago when in fact it looked like another case of the rich and powerful refusing to acknowledge the effects of their actions on the rest of the population. Guess I need to go to bed and sleep.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Good grief, I think the last time I missed posting for two solid days was probably several years ago. And the worst part of it is that there's nothing interesting to say about all that time, much beyond that it was too busy and the days were too short. Work stuff, failed geekery, shopping nonsense.

Hopefully the bump is past for now. Yesterday and today were beautiful days that made me want to go out in some park and hike in the woods. We have some nice places not far away where that would work. At least three of them, four in fact, are within less than 30 minutes' driving distance. And some really excellent ones, like Glacial Park, are under an hour. But managing to actually get away from work during daylight hours has been too difficult. I hope the weather holds through the weekend but that seems unlikely.

Indigo buntings, hummingbirds, and orioles are making frequent appearances near the house now. We've still seen only one grosbeak, which is disappointing, but all our usual species are accounted for. The red-headed woodpeckers haven't been spotted for a week, so I suspect they have moved on as usual. White-crowned sparrows, of which we saw many last May, have not been here this year. But I hadn't seen any of them in the previous ten years either, so that's not too surprising. Coworker reports seeing a pileated woodpecker in Marengo Ridge a week ago today, and I've wanted to get up there (literally ten minutes from home) to check it out myself but haven't yet managed. At least the odds are good that if it was there last week it still is around now.

Cat and dog are taking up the entire sofa next to me. The Literati ereader arrived on Tuesday, but committed suicide while trying to download its own update from the net. Not my doing, it automatically did that as soon as it connected to wi-fi. EBay seller supplied prepaid return label and says he'll send another one (which may do the same thing, I don't know, though colleague's Literati is working fine with the newest firmware, so I expect it's not inevitably fatal.)

I have successfully downloaded 65 ebooks that I had purchased for the eBookwise reader device over the past seven years. All of them were converted to epub format and await a new epub compatible reader so they can be transplanted. Adobe Digital Reader seems quite happy with them, so I'm confident that they will take root as soon as new soil is avalable.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Or so it seems. Just the usual work plus animal chores, but for some reason it took everything out of me.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
It's 9:30 pm, which means finally dark here. There has just been a lot of dog barking and distant shouts audible through the open window, and now a strong scent that is either a fox (nearby) or a skunk (at a distance.)

There may have been the sound of a fox earlier. No idea what's going on out there, really.

No one else in at work this morning, so I actually got some useful things done. Damaged printer replaced with a backup, which ought to be easy but since the backup is a different model it required reconfiguration on several workstations that use it. Pulled a spare old computer from storage and replaced the Linux installation on it with XP so I still have a backup PC that can be dropped in should something fail unexpectedly. This is a nuisance, but it saves substantial time and money in the end.

Beautiful weather today. Tess got to go out, which makes her happy. Grass is getting away from us and needs mowing all over. Blackberry blossoms are starting to open, and the catalpas and hickories are finally showing leaves. Hard to believe it's already mid-May.

So to bed, to see whether I can catch up on the sleep I lost last night. I have doubts.

Success!

Apr. 30th, 2012 08:18 pm
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
The new firewall performed so perfectly today that no one could tell I had swapped it in. That's ideal. One nice feature addition, though, is the fact that it has a web interface for monitoring and minor adjustments. Thus I can get at it without having to run cumbersome control software that only works on Windows.

And speaking of such cumbersome software, I did succeed in retrieving the installation file for the old version needed by firewall generation -2, which has now been decommissioned and removed from the server rack. Since it is no longer supported and considered "unsecure" it will now become a toy for me to experiment with, perhaps.

No red-headed woodpecker sightings today, alas. They may have moved on. No orioles yet either, which means those guys are late this year. I've heard at least one grosbeak, but we haven't seen one yet.

One of the new ducks delivered an egg this morning, along with the usual offering from the Campbell. The new egg is smaller, and has a blue shell. As soon as we have two or three of them, I'll get a photo of the contrast.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
Getting lax here. Or too busy.

Not that much happened yesterday other than the usual for a Saturday, shopping, animal care, laundry stuff.

This morning we went up to the library so I could activate and test the new firewall while no one was there to be interrupted, and Gary could use the wireless (which doesn't depend on this particular firewall) to work on his final project for the term. The firewall worked first time, though it still took about 90 minutes to test all the possible functionality that I could. My big concern was a point to point VPN tunnel required by our library software system, but that worked right off. I still had to try various subnets and parameters, but that seems to be done. Hooray. I just might be retired before this particular process needs to happen again. (I should be so lucky.)

Then we drove out to Richmond to pick up two ducks. Gary has become hooked on Freecycle and Craigslist, and yesterday he saw someone giving away ducks. Happily, they divided up what they had between several requesters, so we ended up with two females, perfect for our interest in eggs. The hens were reluctant to leave their home pen, but finally Gary crawled in there and caught them gently. They seem to have made themselves at home with our two established ducks within 30 minutes or so. These are "domestic mallards" according to the giver, and they apparently lay eggs with blue-green shells so it won't confuse our count for the Campbell hen. Now to see if she stops laying due to the disruption of her daily routine.

The red-headed woodpeckers are still hanging about, for the fourth day running.

Plans to grill something for dinner have probably been aborted by rain showers, but that's OK. We have plenty of stuff in the freezer to choose from.
altivo: (rocking horse)
Red-headed woodpeckers again, during breakfast this time. Almost certainly saw three different individual birds, two of them simultaneously. This is highly unusual. In a typical year we have perhaps two sightings of one bird and that's it.

Firewall box is racked and ready to drop in as a replacement for our current unit. Will have to go in on Sunday to test, though. Generation -1, a Firebox X Core, has been removed from the rack and repacked with its spare cables and paperwork. No longer supported and not usable at work, but still functional so I may take it home rather than recycle it. The problem is getting a copy of the appropriate configuration and monitoring software, Watchguard System Manager 8.3.x. I know the necessary file is on several retired backup tapes I still have, but so far I can't figure out how to recover files from a no longer cataloged backup. I really hate Symantec software, ya know? It makes things so unnecessarily difficult. If the replacement is successful, the current X750 Edge unit will remain in the rack as an emergency backup. This time I'll remember to archive the management tools to a CD instead of leaving them on a proprietary format tape.

Book arrived in the mail: Pegasus by Robin McKinley. I've already read it in ebook form, but liked it so much I decided to snatch a remaindered hardcover for future reuse. The book is remarkably well done, in my opinion (and I don't always care for McKinley.) The pegasi are particularly well thought out. Unfortunately it appears to be only volume 1 of a trilogy, the other two of which may not appear for a year or two. And it has a cliff-hanger ending. Grr.

Went after work to listen to Kishwaukee Ramblers playing at the Woodstock Mall, a converted building with really nice acoustics for a small group. They sounded particularly good. After that took Gary to dinner to celebrate payday plus income tax refund. Then we came home and watched Hop, a silly fluffy movie about E.B., a young bunny who is heir to the title of THE Easter bunny, but doesn't want to accept his destiny. Instead he wants to be a rock and roll drummer. It was silly fluff, but still fun and required no hard thinking. ;p
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Well, library books anyway. All day in-service training completed and went reasonably well.

Got home just in time to see a red-headed woodpecker in the back yard. Gary has already spotted it a couple of times earlier, and it came back yet once more before dark. These are very striking birds with areas of snowy white, solid black, and deep crimson. The edges between the colors are sharp and clear. When I was outside later I think I heard it as well, though it's not easy to distinguish from a bluejay and we have lots of those around.

Heard a great crested flycatcher in the woodlot behind the barns, and since the oak and hickory trees are only just starting to leaf out, I was able to spot it when it flew from one crown to another about 50 feet up.

On another birdish topic, our champion egg-laying duck laid egg number 199 today. One per day is her rule and she has only missed one day since she started laying last fall. Tomorrow will be number 200 and I have no reason to suspect she'll fail to deliver it.

Loooong

Apr. 25th, 2012 09:51 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Day relieved largely by a nice opportunity to recomment furry books from mainstream literature (rather than explicit furry small press titles) on Twitter.

Tomorrow will be long too, with an in service training seminar that I'm helping to give for new catalogers (and old) in our consortium.

Old guitar strings swapped onto my classical guitar still haven't settled very well. Every time I check they are flat again. Maybe this will continue until the newly ordered ones arrive, and I can start all over again.

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