Just googling myself at 2:36am on a Wednesday night and I came across this little beauty!
From now on I shall be known throughout the realm as:
Scott Sevener, Crab Expert
Long before Facebook and Twitter, building my own websites, and even a graphical interface to the Internet in general … there was a Host: prompt.
This is what we saw when we “got online” … at least after fighting for dial-up access lines at the local library that would get snapped up like hotcakes the moment kids started getting out of school. Of course, it probably didn’t help that you had kids like me who would literally connect for hours and hours at a time, whether I was chatting with strangers from around the state or exploring whatever random bits of information gopher found for me or even hacking and slashing my way through MUDs before World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs ever became a thing!
One of the very first sites that I ever came across while surfing this strange, new text-based world was a BBS-like community online called Grex. Living in the middle of nowhere, we didn’t really have much for BBSes because everything would’ve been long-distance, so aside from a single friend’s BBS that his parents let him run out of their lake house when they weren’t there to need the line, Grex was really the first multi-user community I found where multiple users could actually be online at the same time!
In addition to just random chat rooms that would fill with other high school and college kids, as well as the local computer club enthusiasts that ran the place, I eventually also got involved with their forums (which they called conferences). I settled upon a group that talked about pretty much everything that a 14 year-old me was interested in … video games, RPGs, and a little Magic: The Gathering, and that’s where I would do my socializing after school while other kids were out doing whatever normal kids did back in 1994…
It kind of impresses me that some 23 years later, Grex is actually still out there, though from reading through the conferences it’s a shell of its former self and likely only hasn’t been shuttered simply because it would be too much effort. But you can actually still see all of my old posts either by browsing the links below or even better by searching for one of my usernames.
- The Old RPG Conference
- Conference Search (best results seem to be entering oldrpg or rpg2 into the conference field and then match against Author’s Login Name)
From what I can tell, I had three different ones during my time there:
- seveners – my first and most unoriginal username
- setzer – the suave gambler from Final Fantasy 3 (VI)
- gandalf – we all know who he is…
Stumbling back across this stuff is enough to make me wonder if it’s worth trying to archive this stuff for posterity somehow, though it’s kind of like a half-step ahead from reading private emails … I guess the idea of it all is really more nostalgic than the actual content!
Still, I could run a quick script against it and stuff them in an archive somewhere to find again in another 20 years and that might be neat, even if only to see if I can still remember what Final Fantasy and Magic and Game Genie codes ever were in the first place. 😉
Right now I’m in the process of pruning and reorganizing my various sites a bit – mostly finishing what I started back at the end of the year, but also in consolidating a few other sites into my WordPress multisite install to make everything easier to manage.
I was just looking over plugins in preparation of bringing comedic-genius.com into the mix and I got to wondering how many of them are even still active. My multisite network as a whole currently has over 50 plugins installed, yet I’ve got to imagine that there are probably a good handful that are really only being used for one specific site…
…if they even still work at all! 😛
So I found this cool plugin – WDS Active Plugin Data – and it creates this really simple visual showing every plugin currently in the network, where it’s active, and even differentiates between single-site and network-wide activations!
Now it should just be a matter of deleting the ones not in use altogether as well as reviewing the single-site ones to see if there’s anything that can also be removed or at least consolidated with other more featured plugins.
Good stuff! 😀
I was on a flight that was getting ready to takeoff, trying to assure my Mom over the phone that everything would be fine despite a crash that had happened recently with the same airline. The plane was actually transparent so we could see the sky as we began to takeoff, and then just as I reassured her that everything was fine and went to say my goodbyes before I lost my cell signal, it happened.
The crash was quick, and surprisingly without injury.
One minute we were looking up at the blue sky and the next we were back on the ground, a group of maybe twenty passengers trying to shuffle our way away from the wreckage – which was still falling from the sky – as quickly as possible.
I had been flying with the twins, so somebody soon called me over to a stroller that they had been pushing and showed me that the babies had survived ok, and told me to call right away to let everyone know that we were ok…
When my Mom answered the phone the second time, I could hear the news playing in the background and she was mostly in shock. I simply told her, “Yes, we were on the plane that just crashed. The babies are ok. I’m with a group of survivors and we’re trying to find shelter.”
I don’t think I heard a single word from the other end of the phone before I had to hang-up so that we could keep moving.
The accident had happened over downtown, so there was lots of debris and it was vital that we find someplace safe, however the more time that passed and the darker the sky got, I think we all started to get the feeling that something else was wrong here.
Pausing to sit and rest on a few park benches, we all talked about what had happened and that’s when a few people commented that they’d seen something flying towards the plane moments before we crashed. Considering the idea that whatever happened had somehow been deliberate, we pressed on and talked about heading to my apartment on the other side of town to take cover, though we never actually made it that far.
Disappearing into a tunnel that ran through one of the tall buildings, we began coming across other people that were also running. One man was very cautious and immediately pulled his gun on us, though his itchy trigger finger soon confirmed that it was actually empty and we were safe as we left him behind and ran in the opposite direction.
Inside an abandoned shopping mall, we came upon a stage that was setup for a rock band – instruments and all – so very much at random, one of the guys in our party jumped on stage and started belting out some old tune. Several of us soon joined in at a brief attempt to blow off some steam, with myself grabbing a guitar from an Elvis dummy that had been on the stage, and we played and made all sorts of noise until one of them finally appeared…
It took on a recognizable shape – one of a giant Bill Cosby, but made out of Legos – and its strength was quickly confirmed as it threw members of the audience around like nothing until I approached it … guitar still in hand … and saw it cringe as it heard the music that we were playing.
It reached out to grab the guitar from me, but then my other bandmates appeared over my shoulder and our collective music knocked it back. Then taking the offensive, we all swarmed it until it was nothing more than a pile of red and orange bricks.
Realizing that we might’ve stumbled onto a key to fight whatever these invaders were, we turned and headed back towards the city, walking carefully along the edge of the chaos until we came across sort of a makeshift hospital up in one of the tall towers. Thinking it would be safer for the babies, we went inside and found a small medical crew treating some people who had been injured, and left the twins in a soft-looking room away from all of the chaos.
This was also our first chance to catch up on what the rest of the world was seeing, and we watched as the news described the attack that was currently underway. Strange, blob-like creatures – in all colors and sizes, that could take the shape of just about anything – were falling from the sky.
A dozen of them had taken out a passenger jet trying to takeoff…
So far, resistance had been futile and the military was organizing their own attacks, but nothing had been successful … except for the strange reaction that we had just seen in the mall.
As we attempted to communicate this finding with anyone of authority, somehow the aliens knew and began to swarm the building we were in – entering through ducts and vents, and some even transferring themselves through the walls.
We fought back as many as we could before deciding that it was time to leave for higher ground, however as we ran down the corridor in retreat, I noticed that one of the babies had somehow been infected by one of the green blobs.
He otherwise seemed ok, so we just kept going.
Back outside again, we were destined to come up with a solution to defeat these invaders because the military’s attempts seemed ineffective at best, and through brainstorming several of us finally determined that it wasn’t the music, per se, that had quelled the beast, but our enthusiasm for the music that had disrupted its destruction, which is why we came to the conclusion that being in Florida, our best bet was to mobilize Disney’s cast members to put on their biggest smiles and win our alien invaders over with impeccable kindness in order to stand a chance at defeating these monsters.
The dream faded with a phone call to Disney devising a plan to have their cast members deliver pies to the enemy…
No More Leaky AC!!!
I seriously can’t even tell you how big of an accomplishment this is because it’s been plaguing me for like two months now … at least! Basically, the drain pipe for our AC somehow got plugged and as a result has been backed up and was dumping water all over the floor in the garage. Numerous attempts were made to unclog it with the wet-dry vac like I’ve done in the past, but to no avail. Ultimately I found a new suggestion of blowing out the pipe with a garden hose that would be capable of providing a bit more force than the wet-dry vac could do, though that presented a new challenge because it was so backed up that running the hose just pushed water back into the AC unit until I finally decided that the right approach was to just rebuild a chunk of the pipes between the drain and the AC unit itself!
So a lot of PVC cutting and pipe sealant junk later, last night I tore out the leaky section and rebuilt it with a neat-o valve that could be closed when I need to flush the drain pipe out in the future so that my hose water only flows outward instead of even having the opportunity to go back into the AC unit. As for the drain pipe itself, the full pressure of the hose finally seemed to do the trick and within only a few minutes I started to see flakes of algae and eventually a few bigger chunks coming out until it was flowing like normal again.
But the biggest victory dance came when I got up this morning and found that the puddles of water in my garage were subsiding because water was finally draining outside of the house again like it was supposed to!!!
Long story, I know, but like I said, this victory was a long time coming! 😀
READING – I’M DOING IT!
This one is much simpler, and even seems a bit silly to say, but I took some time to actually read a book this morning, and it was kind of nice, and as such I think it’s something that I want to try to do more often.
I’ve written many times before that I always feel weird knowing that I’m a writer who doesn’t read very much … at least not when it comes to proper books vs articles, etc…, so today started out kind of lazy and I didn’t really feel like getting out of bed, and instead I reached for my Kindle (which miraculously had a charge!) and got started on a book that my therapist had recommended to me a long time ago about productivity and making the best use of the time that we have…
Granted, it’s not the easiest read so I only took in about the first chapter and I want to give myself a few days to absorb it before going back for more, but I really hope this might be the start of slowly finding time for the lost art of reading in my life because there are so many things from other authors out there that I’d like to read and if possible, I wouldn’t mind not feeling like a gigantic hypocrite writing all of these words and then never reading anybody else’s, too! 😉
Special Writing Project Progress…
So the new project that I first mentioned last week – I’m not quite there yet, but I’m really happy with the progress and am looking forward to properly launching it very soon! To date I’ve written three of the five initial essays that I want to lead with, so just a little more to go and maybe some polishing and it should be ready for primetime.
In a way, parts of it make me a little nervous because these stories by nature tend to be more personal than the other stuff that I blog and write fart jokes about, but somehow that’s also what makes it kind of exciting and freeing, too, because it’s a new opportunity to share a side of me that I haven’t really written about in the past!
Anyways, more to come very, very soon.
I only stumbled across the cult classic They Live a few years ago, but for some reason I just instantly fell in love with its quirky/creepy take on an alien invasion slowly overtaking mankind.
That said, I almost feel kind of stupid in hindsight because I never really made the connection between alien invasion and class warfare, but after watching this short video featuring interviews with John Carpenter and some of the other folks involved … it’s like seeing for the first time!
Just sleep. Obey. Make America Great Again.
Hits a little too close for home, but it just goes to show you how film can both carry entertainment value and include some pretty deep social commentary at the same time. Almost makes me want to sit down and watch it again just to see how many more GOP warning signs were baked into this movie from 30 years ago… 😉
It’s been a while since I’ve written a post like this, so between reading back through this random post about backups from three years ago that I stumbled across tonight as well as trying to blog more myself, here we are! 😉
My Primary Computer
Speaking of 2014, I’m still using the MacBook Air that I got for Christmas that year and I still absolutely love it. You couldn’t pay me enough money to switch back to Windows because I still have a laptop with Windows 7 on my desk for work and I hate it with a passion. I can’t tell you how many stupid errors and nonsensical slowdowns that I get with Windows that I just never see with my Mac.
Every once in a blue moon, I will occasionally see my MacBook crash hard, but it’s nothing compared to Windows!
Anyways, I still run Microsoft Office for Word and Excel because I’m just too used to them and I don’t care for the Google or Mac alternatives. Also, I’m a big fan of OneDrive that comes with my Office 365 subscription because it serves so many functions for really no extra cost:
- Backing up a copy of all of my documents and photos to the cloud.
- Transferring photos from my iPhone, my wife’s iPhone, and also her iPad to one location for backups via the iOS app.
- Allowing me to access random files from my desktop via my iPhone.
The subscription I use is something like $69/year via Amazon and gives me 5 licenses, meaning I’ve got plenty for expansion to throw a copy on the wife’s iPad or on a computer of her own if/when we get her one. Add in the 1 TB of OneDrive storage and that’s one less feature I have to pay for elsewhere.
That said, for actual backups I’m also using CrashPlan which is $14/month and is cool because it facilitates backups to the cloud and to other locations; plus they’re one of the only ones I found that have a Linux app, so I’ve got desktop backups both going to CrashPlan as well as to a drive on my home server, and critical files (Plex library data, mostly) from the server goes up to CrashPlan as well.
Lastly, I continue to pay for a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud … mostly for access to Photoshop, which is overkill because I only use it for resizing photos and contrast adjustments, but I figure I owe them for all of the years that I used a pirated copy anyways! Actually, I also use the old Macromedia Fireworks through Creative Cloud, which is technically defunct but still there, as well as Acrobat Pro just because why not – I’m paying for it anyways…
Oh yes, and I just recently in the last week started using LastPass for password management and I feel really stupid for going so long without trying it because it seems to work really well. 😛
Real quick – iPhone 6 … notable apps are OneDrive and the WordPress app, which I use more than anything else for working with my sites these days.
I pay Apple the $0.99/month for 50 GB of cloud storage just so that there’s enough room to backup my phone in full because I’ve had to restore a couple of times and iCloud makes the process pretty painless.
My Home Server
This was setup sometime in spring of 2015 on the old hardware I was using for my Windows desktop … a quad-core something or other that still works for streaming Plex around the house as intended, though transcoding can sometimes be an issue. Its only functions are file server and media server, so the box itself was long-since relocated to a closet because hard drives are noisy.
I think there’s something like 28 TB of disk space currently – almost entirely TV and movies – and realistically it’s about ready for another disk, but I’m not sure if the power supply can handle one more!
Eventually I want to replace this with a rack-mount server and separate NAS, but the hardware I’ve picked out is really expensive… 🙁
Operating system is CentOS because it’s what my web host runs and I’m most familiar with it. Internet connection is a 150 Mbps FiOS line from Frontier (was Verizon) that is about the max of what the server hardware can make use of anyways … kinda hoping that by the time I can afford to switch to a rack, their 300 Mbps package will have dropped in price a bit!
My Web Server(s)
I’ve hosted with InterServer up in New Jersey now for something like 15 years … 2002-ish, maybe? … and they’ve been nothing but great to me the entire ride. Right now I technically have two VPSes with them because I’m migrating to a newer OS, but everything is basically CentOS + PHP 7 + MySQL + WordPress and it works just fine for me.
The web stuff almost warrants its own post beyond that, but I’ve been in the process of consolidating my various sites down into a couple of WordPress multisite installations because I’ve found that they’re way easier to manage. The biggest install is the one where this blog and its subdomains (Thing-a-Day, Thoughts) currently live, and so I’m experimenting with ways to speed everything up using Varnish, caching options, etc… before migrating the rest.
I’m also using the Akismet and VaultPress options through WordPress Jetpack for spam filtering, WordPress backups, and malware monitoring on top of the server instance backups that InterServer also does for me.
My domains are all registered through Google Domains because, well, fuck GoDaddy and their convoluted pricing games.
Did I miss anything?! I hope not because I’m honestly really happy with my current setup – it’s fun, but in no way overbearing to maintain and more importantly, it just works so I can spend less time writing and doing what I need to do and less time fighting stupid Windows errors that are only solved by a mysterious reboot and a pair of crossed fingers!
This game was probably one of my favorite space shooters growing up.
I believe I was introduced to it by my cousin Jamie who’s 10 years older than me, so it was a bit of a turn from the Super Mario Bros and Legend of Zelda that I cut my teeth on back in 1988 when Nintendo first became a fixture in my young, eight year-old heart! But I loved all of the different power-ups and the Konami code made it a little easier to stumble through a good portion of the game even when you were just starting to learn the controls…
Some thirty years later, it’s still definitely a challenge … or maybe my reflexes just aren’t what they used to be … as I picked up the controller today at random and only got as far as level 3, which I always hated because the fire blasts were next to impossible to avoid! It was also hard for me to really enjoy the power-ups because it felt like I was constantly losing them 15 seconds after I’d gotten them to the point where eventually I just spent them all on speed boosters instead of even trying for the lasers and options like I normally would.
But I do kind of like how, similar to Contra, Konami alternated the perspective between horizontal and vertical scrolling and it adds a fun bit of variety to the game despite only having six levels total. Frankly, it’s quick gameplay is another bonus because today when I sat down to play, I really only had about 10 minutes while I was waiting for something else, so I was able to get in a quick game of Life Force … and make it to level 3 before dying … in a nice, short amount of time!
Playing this game makes me want to hunt down the other games in the Gradius series because I honestly never played any of them except for this one growing up, even though I did gawk at the screenshots of Gradius III in Nintendo Power. If all of the games followed the same basic structure as Life Force did, they should be a lot of fun. 🙂
Last week I wrote a fairly extensive editorial on my thoughts about United dragging Dr. David Dao off one of their flights from a human rights & basic dignity standpoint, however after reading some comments on Facebook today, I’d like to touch on what I’m going to call the customer service side of this whole mess.
The comments in question were a post by Mike Rowe – a guy whose thoughts I enjoy reading, though I happen to agree with part of what he said this time. The gist of it being concern that in the fourth or fifth apology from United CEO Oscar Munoz, they’ve essentially made it ok for customers to ignore when the crew of an airplane tells them to do something…
“But in the process of finding him blameless, he suggested that millions of passengers are under no obligation to follow a direct command from United employees. And that’s a hell of a lot more disturbing than a beat-down in the main cabin.”
Mike goes on to say that we don’t have a right to fly because we can always be removed for being beligerant or too big to fit in one seat or whatever reason the airline decides to use … and for most of those scenarios I would agree. If you’re drunk or disruptive, then sure – off you go. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll even land the plane before kicking you out the door, but it’s that any reason deemed necessary where I take some exception because remember here that in this particular case, Dr. Dao was assaulted because United needed his seat to fly their own employees to another airport for work the next day.
And I don’t think that’s right.
Yes, I get that airlines run on thin margins, and that they overbook because there’s an average number of people who don’t show up for their flights as scheduled and the airline doesn’t make any money if those seats otherwise fly empty, but just like those United employees had someplace to be, so did their customer … their paying customer, and in accordance with taking his money in exchange for a plane ticket, it’s the airline’s responsibility to transport him to his destination as agreed.
And sure, it’s true that in its 47-page Contract of Carriage, United reserves its right to deny boarding to any customer it wants if nobody else volunteers when they end up on the inconvenient side of this overbooking teeter totter that they play … but does that make it right???
Those four employees had to get to work the next day to ensure that United’s planes were able to fly on schedule.
But so did the doctor who had patients to see the next day.
Just as overbooking is a relatively common thing in the airline industry, so is employees transferring from one airport to another – the idea that they don’t have a better handle on this issue and that it results in kicking paying customers off of their flights is the real travesty here!
So to Mike’s comment citing that we need order on our airplanes because they’re not democracies, they’re a place to follow orders, I would challenge that it’s the airlines who should lead this responsibility by providing stellar customer service, not the passengers who need to suck it up and accept whatever treatment they’re given because everyone has places to go and flight attendants have a thankless job.
In any other industry, if a business took a customer’s money and then refused to give them the service that they’d purchased, they’d face a day in court because that’s the entire reason said relationship exists between business and consumer … but because of the perceived safety concern, air travel has become an industry where consumers are left little to no actual protections after the airlines and the TSA have taken their own liberties from passengers just trying to travel in their own country and pay good money for the trip.
Last week we watched a guy get beaten because he didn’t want to leave the plane that he was scheduled to fly.
If I sell milk for a living and I sell you a gallon of milk, I can’t just show up at your house later on that evening and demand the gallon back because one of my truck drivers is thirsty and needs a drink so that he can complete his route healthy and refreshed tonight.
That’s my problem for not having enough milk in the first place, and to think that my customers should have to compromise for my own shortsightedness when they’re probably thirsty and want some milk to go with their cookies, too, is bad business.
And that’s why we have consumer protections in place to ensure that customers actually get the goods and services that they pay for.
Americans shouldn’t need a lawyer to review the 47-page contract that comes with their plane ticket in order to make sure that they’ll actually get from A to B like they’re expecting.
Matthew Has Returned Home!
Thankfully our littlest one’s unfortunate run-in with anesthesia came to a close this afternoon as Matthew’s doctor at the hospital signed off on him coming home, and already he’s looking so much better than he did yesterday when he had leads stuck all over his body. Granted, his dick looks kind of gruesome because he got a circumcision while he was there and there’s just no pretty way to slice it … pun intended … but so far he seems to be recovering like a champ and tolerating his brother’s presence and everything… 😛
Admittedly I’ve been pretty terrible about drinking soda again over the last six months when many a year ago I had managed to give it up entirely. Weight loss right now is a much bigger challenge that I’m not really ready to get my arms around … no pun intended … so trying to get back on track with not drinking hundreds of calories of sugar water each day seemed like a more reasonable goal to work towards! And aside from getting a free soda with my lunch the other day – which I only drank about half of before going back to water – so far, so good…
New Writing Project is Go!
And though I’m not quite ready to announce it yet, but I’ve written a couple of pieces for the new project that I’ve been kicking about for weeks/years and frankly, I’m pretty excited about it. The concept is somewhat of a new direction from the types of things that I normally write and includes opportunities to tell a bunch of personal stories, so much in the same way that I’m very pleased with how the editorials that I write for Scott’s Thoughts have come together over the last year and a half, I’m really hoping that these articles will be as rewarding to publish on multiple levels as well. 😀