Possibly switching distros

I’ve been a Kubuntu user for years now, prior to that, I used SUSE, played around with Fedora, and actually started my open source OS adventure on FreeBSD.

FreeBSD was pretty limiting by itself, there just wasn’t much out there for it. There were compatibility packages you could install that would allow you to run RPMs, but after a while I wondered why I was bothering, and switched over to actual Linux. I played with Arch and Fedora, and this was seventeen or eighteen years ago, which meant that installing Linux could be a trial. I found both of these to be ridiculously complicated. SUSE was fantastic in comparison. I want to say it was version 6.something-or-other. I can’t remember for sure.

I stuck with SUSE up to 9.something, not long after Novell bought them. I didn’t like where things were going then, but I had fallen in love with the Kde desktop. So instead of going with standard Ubuntu, which was defaulting to Gnome at the time, I dove into Kubuntu, and I’ve been using that ever since.

I’ve had no major complaints about Kubuntu. It’s been great. My whole family uses it and has had no issues, other than my youngest complaining about one or two Steam games that are not Linux compatible.

I won’t go into detail about why I’m wanting to move away from Ubuntu all together, because I could probably go on for pages on the subject. For the last few years, Canonical has been moving Ubuntu in some directions that I’m not so sure I agree with. I love the convenience that Ubuntu offers, but I’ve become so comfortable with Linux over the years that that convenience is more a matter of time saving than technical difficulty. Let’s just sum it up and say that my reasons are mostly philosophical.

I’ve been occasionally exploring other options for a little over a year. Gnewsense looked attractive until I ran the LiveCD. It’s years behind, even with the latest release. Also, it’s releases come agonizingly slow. So that was a turn off for me right away.

I’ve had dealings with CentOS at my previous job, and I’ll just say “hell no”.

I looked at Arch and one of it’s derivatives, Antergos, about six months ago, and the install was still overly complicated and I ran into problems getting either of them to install on four year old hardware. If the install is tough, I’m not even going to bother.

After a few IRC conversations, and reading over various forums, I’m going to give straight up Debian a shot. I’ve been running the LiveCD at work and it’s similar enough to Kubuntu that I want to check it out a little more in depth. So I’m currently backing up my laptop, and when that’s finished, I’ll install Debian and see what I think after a few weeks.

I realize that Debian’s packages are not as current as it’s Ubuntu relatives, but I’m not too worried about that. I’m not afraid of compiling things from source if I have to, but the little research I’ve done has turned up plenty of ways to get Debian reasonably up to date.

On a semi related note, I’ve been wanting to get Laure in front of the camera for a Linux wallpaper shoot, but as busy as things have been, that’s been backburnered with a whole bunch of other things I am putting off until I finish the teardrop. So no photo to accompany this post.

 

May is a busy month for us

I’ve been pretty preoccupied with politics lately. It’s taken over my twitter feed, and it’s made me more active on Facebook than I have been in a long time. I’ve been signing petitions like a mad man lately, and making phone calls, and emailing representatives. I’m trying to find a balance between staying informed and letting it keep me perpetually pissed off all day long

Still working on that one. It might be time to do a politics purge again.

On a related note, my game time has taken a serious hit. Between the politicsing and working on the teardrop, there hasn’t been much time for gaming. I fired up Steam and played a few hours of DOD last night. Still a really kick ass game. A few weeks ago, one of my RPG groups verified that Roll20.net finally has their A/V issues sorted out, so last night I reinstated my account and I’m hoping to start playing at least one game a week. I’d really like to run some one shot games, on various systems, but the time just isn’t there. That may be more of a winter activity. I do have three active games right now and I’m playing about every other weekend.

The teardrop is coming along. It is progressing much slower than I hoped but I’m making slow, steady progress, and I still expect to have it done in plenty of time to be able to camp it this summer. I’ll give a proper update on that this weekend.

Heather is moving back in with us. Her teaching job did not pan out like she’d hoped, and the experience has been… unpleasant for her. So she’s in the process of selling her house and will be moving back in with us, probably some time in June. This means I’ll be moving the nerd cave, again. Fortunately, not into the garage. We’re playing a game of musical bedrooms in the house right now. CJ moved out when he went off to college, so Evan moved into his room. Shortly after that, Heather moved away, so I moved my nerd cave out of the garage and into her old room, which was originally the nerd cave. So now, Heather will be moving back into that room, and I’ll be moving the nerd cave downstairs, into Evan’s old room.

Make sense?

Laure and I spent a Saturday afternoon taping up and priming the nerd-cave-to-be, then a few days later I got two of the walls painted. Sometime in the next week or two, I’ll finish painting down there, and then start relocating all of my crap.

Evan’s birthday is next week, but we’re celebrating it this weekend, since the following weekend is Memorial day weekend, which is always spent at a lake about an hour north of here, with lots of family, food, music, board games, and napping.

It’s a busy month for us in general, right now.

Laure, in one of the cabins where we stay every Memorial day weekend.

Busy-ness, and my dog.

The time has really flown by these last few weeks.

I’ve been busy working on the teardrop during the weekends, and two or three evenings a week. I’m trying to keep from doing it every night so that I don’t get burnt out on it. Getting the side walls up feels like it’s taking forever and is getting a bit tedious, but I expected that. I think I’m just about done with them, barring any more unforeseen issues.

Laure and I are already making camping plans for this summer, and we got out and worked in the yard a bit this last Sunday. There is always a lot of clean up to do in the spring. We have some flowers ready to plant and we need to get those in the ground soon. Also, our raspberry bush has already started budding, which is pretty cool.

Lots of political developments. We’re seeing just how ridiculous the GOP is willing to let things get, and there is no sign of the ridiculous train slowing down any time soon. Even the possibility of nukes flying through the air doesn’t seem to encourage anyone to maybe step in and start taking some action. Although it does appear that most of what we’ve been seeing the last few weeks is just a lot of dick waving.

Missoula is coming to life again, spring seems to be driving people out doors more, which is always nice to see. I’m still not convinced that we’ve seen the last freeze of the year though. I’m afraid to turn on the water to our yard just yet.

That’s all for today. I have three half typed blog posts, mostly about my own life observations, but I’m not sure if I’ll get around to finishing one of them or not. We’ll see.

In the meantime, here is my dog.

Trump’s attack on Syria was yet another smoke screen

So as it turns out, this Syria attack was pointless to everyone but Trump.

Trump did not consult congress before ordering the attack, because he knew they would tell him it was a waste of time and resources. He did consult Putin though. Putin then notified President Assad, who began moving aircraft and personnel away from that air base, which explains why only six people were killed in a barrage of fifty-eight tomahawk missiles.

There is also the fact that Russia’s air defenses in Syria didn’t fire a single shot, or make any other attempt to take down those tomahawk missiles.

The damage to Syria’s military capabilities by this attack are minimal. The threat to Russia’s national security, also minimal. So this is not the start of WW3. In fact this was a completely ineffectual and militarily pointless attack.

However, what is everyone talking about this morning? Syria.

What isn’t everyone talking about this morning? The Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

So guess what the real reason for this attack was.

Go ahead. Guess.

 

Working on the walls

Came down with a headache that lasted for two days. It was a real doozy, so other than picking up the plywood for the wall frames,  I didn’t get anymore work done on the trailer on Sunday. I was feeling much better today though.

After dinner, I went out to the garage and got the wall template cut out. I think it looks pretty good. I wanted to start on the first wall but I couldn’t find any straight plywood at Lowe’s. Everything there was warped. I picked out the best sheets that I could find, and had them do a few simple cuts for me on the machine in the store. It’s awfully handy because it makes an exact cut, and saves me just a little bit of time.

Tonight I took one of those sheets of plywood, applied a very light layer of water to the concave side with a sponge, flipped it over and left it to dry. It wasn’t much of a warp so it shouldn’t take much to straighten it out. I imagine in the time it’s taken me to clean up and type this out, it’s probably already looking much better.

So hopefully I’ll start cutting on that piece tomorrow evening. 🙂

Old writing

I started blogging in 2004, right after my first wife and I called it quits. I blogged all about my dating experiences, gaming, socializing, hating my job, and all of the stuff going through my head as I wallowed in loneliness and self pity, and worked through the various stages of divorce.

I saved it all for the longest time, in a database on my computer. About a year ago I moved that old blog, and a bunch of other old shit that I rarely look at, to a new file server, and somehow forgot to move the database itself. So all of those posts are lost.

I figured this out a few months ago and was really, really pissed at myself about it.

Just thought I’d share that.

The Step Dad

My kids are not technically my kids. They are Laure’s kids, from her previous marriage. When I entered their lives, they were three and seven years old. I’d like to say that we formed a really great bond, I tried to, but a step parent is almost always at a serious disadvantage in that regard.

I had several step dads growing up. I never had a bad relationship with them but never really had a father and son type relationship either. This is partly because growing up with a schizophrenic mother teaches you to stay on your toes, all the time, and to never trust anyone’s mood. This is something I still struggle with today. It also doesn’t help that I am a diagnosed schizoid, which is nothing like schizophrenia, just for the record. The first few paragraphs here sum it up quite nicely. In general, I have a difficult time forming emotional attachments, which explains a lot about me. I think it’s also contributed to my difficulty in bonding with the oldest.

But back to the boys.

The youngest and I are good, I think we have a great relationship. This is in part because he has no memory of his biological father, so I wasn’t forced to compete in that race. The oldest, on the other hand, that has been an uphill battle from day one, and it hasn’t gone well.

I won’t go into all the details, but Laure’s ex-husband was not a nice guy. He went away to prison for a particularly heinous, and violent crime. There were also physical and emotional abuses at home, toward Laure and the boys, as well as a complete disinterest, and outright neglect, toward the youngest boy. One would think that this would be enough to color the boys’ view of their father, but kids don’t really work that way. Memories are funny things, and more often than not, a child’s desire to remember their father in a particular way can over ride anything anyone tells them, and even their own memories.

The oldest has always had a very idealized and unrealistic view of his father. He blames the incident that ultimately sent his father to prison, on any number of other factors, and has always insisted that his dad is this great guy. This has been particularly difficult on Laure, who was forced to deal with the realities of an abusive husband, and a small town police department that all but ignored her pleas for help and sided with the father time and time again.

It was a nightmare for her. The oldest though, remembers things much, much differently.

The oldest has always seen his mother as the enemy, because that’s how his dad taught him to see her. He would make it into a game where it was he and the oldest on one team, and Laure and the youngest on the opposing team. That view has stuck with the oldest his entire life, and it has been the source of many problems at home.

There isn’t much you can do about that. I accepted pretty early on that I would never be able to live up to the standard that he saw in his dad, so I just tried to be a good dad to him and at least have a good relationship with him. Things seemed to go alright until we hit the teenage years, and then everything pretty well crumbled between me and the oldest.

I introduced them both to a lot of my hobbies, including pen and paper RPGs, which the youngest has really latched on to. Naturally I introduced them to all of my family traditions, and all the special places and things in my life. Most of the time, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing but in retrospect, I think all parents feel that way. For the youngest, many of the things that were special and important to me as a kid, are now important to him. We’ve bonded over a lot of the things that were and still are a big part of my life, and it makes me feel pretty great to have passed those things on to him.

He’s now in high school, and while we’ve hit all the usual teenage speed bumps, things are good. We have a pretty solid relationship. Sadly, things with the oldest have gone in an entirely different direction. He’s finishing up his first year of college, in a town several hours east of here. We don’t talk much, even when he comes home to visit, we tend to avoid each other in the name of maintaining familial harmony.

I take a little bit of comfort in that it isn’t just me. Laure has had a difficult time maintaining a relationship with him as well. She has a lot more patience than I do but I suppose being his mother makes all the difference in that regard. We both agree that he’s a troubled kid. He seems lost, like he’s struggling really hard to figure out his place in the world. He exhibits a lot of his father’s behaviors and views, which has solidified my belief that a child’s first few years are the most important. His father was paroled two years ago, and the oldest had never shown much interest in getting to know him. Laure even offered numerous times, against both our better judgement, to take him to visit his father in prison, but he never took her up on those offers.

We both suspect that he was worried that reality would not line up with his view of his dad, and he was afraid that meeting him would shatter that view. About a year ago, he did make contact with his dad, and has even been over to visit him a few times. Laure and I both agree that this has done even more damage to our relationship with him. Again, I won’t go into specifics, but his dad is very good at getting people to like him. He is very charismatic and knows how to manipulate people to get what he wants. The oldest is most definitely under that spell now.

We’ve been to family counseling, and no matter how bad things got financially, even during the out of work, foreclosure years, we always found ways to do things as a family. We always worked at that. While it did greatly reinforce the bond with the youngest, the oldest has always been a little bit on the outside of things, just on the edge of the circle. I think he always felt like getting close to me was a betrayal to his father. So the few times that he and I did start to get close, he always eventually made a U turn and I quickly became the enemy again. The same things went for his relationship with his mom.

He’s legally an adult now, out there trying to figure out the world with the rest of us. He’s not doing well at it, unfortunately. The only help that he’ll accept from me is in the form of money. Anything else, it seems, is strictly rejected and avoided simply because it came from me. There is nothing I can do about that. Laure insists that he’ll eventually come around, and learn to appreciate me when he’s older. I don’t know, I really doubt that.

Meanwhile, I’m glad that the youngest and I have a good relationship. He’s going through the usual, raging hormone, teenage shit that we all do, so things are up and down around the house but overall, we’re good. He plays RPGs with his friends at least once a week, usually more. He and I have a private Minecraft server that we spend a lot of time on together. We go to the comic book shop and out for lunch every Sunday, and we have a pretty good laugh together at least once a day. I think things are going to be fine between he and I.

Being the step dad is tough, for so many reasons. I like to think that I’ve met the challenge well, time will tell though I guess.

My birthday was last Thursday

I turned forty-one. It was a good birthday. We didn’t do much of anything celebratory that day, except both of us took the day off together. I really enjoyed that. We slept in, way in, went out to lunch, ran a few errands. I took a few photos of Laure, which reminded me of just how out of practice I am with my photography. We got a few good photos but I can see all kinds of mistakes I made. Still, it was great to spend the whole day alone with her.

Saturday afternoon we had an official birthday dinner with some friends, then came home and watched “Dr Strange” with Heather. It was a really good movie. I kind of lost interest in the whole Marvel thing the last few years but I really enjoyed this movie. Heather spent the night, we had a big breakfast Saturday morning and then she headed home.

For some reason I spent a whole lot of time during year forty, thinking about death. Not in the creepy, I-want-to-watch-everyone-die kinda way, but just a contemplative thing. I dropped christianity like a sack of rotten potatoes, damn near twenty years ago. I no longer believe in a god, or heaven, or hell. I also don’t believe that there is simply nothing after death. There are just too many things that science is barely tapping into, to suggest that this state of existence is all there is. I dunno, I’m sure I’ll find out though.

I think forty-one is going to be pretty good. I’ve been working out consistently, my motivation and interest in my bagillion hobbies has come back, things are good.

I’ve been spending less time focusing on politics but that has taken a bit of work to do. Shit is so completely fucked right now, but I’m trying to focus on the long term and hoping that this will end up being a positive thing.

Um… that’s all I’ve got right now. I’ve been awfully busy and neglecting my blog, so I wanted to get something up here.