December 31, 2008

Tech Support!

Like many modestly tech-savvy people, visiting the family is a time to address various technological problems.  My mother recently got a new notebook computer, so there really haven’t been any problems.  That’s always nice.

Unfortunately, MackenzieMom got a Dell Mini 9 netbook computer for Christmas.  This doesn’t sound too bad, but it runs on Ubuntu linux, with which my mother is wholly unfamiliar.  Plus, though I’ve used linux on my main machine from time to time over the years, it is a fast-moving area.  So when the speaker sound stopped working after some initial updates (but headphone sound was fine), the solution was not immediately apparent to me.

First, I tried searching for sound problems in Ubuntu, and more specifically the Dell Mini.  There were a lot of problems discussed on the ‘Nets, but none seemed precisely right.  Plus none of the solutions worked.  Eventually, I decided to just wipe the OS and install the newest “retail” version of Ubuntu.

The problem started when I was unable to figure out how to get the Ubuntu installation to run from a thumbdrive.  It was a required step because the Mini has no CD drive, and we don’t have an external one.  While I eventually found a simple way to do it (to which the cognoscenti will probably say, “duh”), the process took a very long time.  Part of the problem was that I was trying to use a 16GB drive, which made it hard to format into FAT-16, which was apparently required under several guides that I found, etc., etc.

Anyway, eventually I got it working.  The new netbook is now running Ubuntu 8.10, and it appears to be stable and happy.  For those interested, I highly recommend  It has all kinds of information on running Ubuntu on a Mini, naturally.  And its instructions are all completely clear with excellent photographs when appropriate.

One of the greatest moments occurred when I saw step 4 of installation.  It is entitled, “Get sound working.”  I’m not sure if this would have fixed the original problem, but it would have been worth trying.  Either way, Step 4, which was a very simple step, worked like a charm.

All together, I think I spent around ten hours on getting everything to work perfectly.  I’m preparing for more tech service calls as MackenzieMom runs into linux problems.  We’ll see.  The point is, it’s set for now.

Tonight: New Year in the quarter, with free music and fireworks.  Then Friday, back to Wyoming.

Posted by Macknzie at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 29, 2008

Vacation—Week 2

Yep, I’m still on vacation, and it’s still awesome.  As usual, seafood has been the order of the day, which I’m very enthusiastic about.  Also, J’s birthday was last week, so I baked a cake.  I had a piece for breakfast.  I’m definitely going to have to go on a food plan once I return, but I don’t mind.  If I get to splurge once per year (and I do), it’s worth it.

In other news, my home cats appear to be doing well:



In other news, I’m disappointed over the legal wrangling behind the Watchmen film.  I think there’s little chance that the release will be delayed—WB just has too much invested to allow that much loss.  I feel certain that the result will be a settlement payment to Fox.  Still, it’s extremely irritating.

Posted by Macknzie at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2008

Friday Catblogging!

Because I am away from home, I get all sorts of exposure to foreign cats.  Without further ado, here’s Jackson.


Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 8:38 AM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2008

Merry Birthday!

It’s Christmas in New Orleans, and man is it hot here.  That wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s also muggy.  Everyone around the house is quite lethargic, and a couple of us have had a nap already.

In addition to Christmas, it is also my friend J’s birthday.  I made a cake this morning, and in we’ll get to it later, after dinner.  Of course, dinner may be leftovers from last night’s Christmas dinner.  We’ll see.

Speaking of Christmas dinner, it was overall pretty awesome.  We had a bunch of guests.  We had planned on dinner being later than usual because J didn’t get off work until around 6, but it really ended up being served around 10.  I’m not sure anyone really noticed—the conversation was quite spirited.

We did notice that the food was excellent, however.  I think that was one of the best holiday dinners in my memory.  Really great.

Anyway, it’s on to enjoying the rest of my little vacation.  That, of course, means food.  We’re going to Commander’s Palace tomorrow for lunch, and to Mittendorf’s (thin-fried catfish) at some point this weekend.  It’ll be great.

Posted by Macknzie at 4:46 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2008

Leonard Cohen Speaking

We went out last night—it’s the thing to do when in New Orleans.  Pretty good music, but loud, and we were also talking pretty much the whole time.  It was loud, and we had to yell.  As a result, my throat is pretty trashed this morning.  But on the plus side, I can now belt out The Future with near-perfect mimicry.

Also last night, my friend J. took me and my mother to a Thai restaurant.  It was really good.  And either my tolerance for spiciness has gone up, or they’ve scaled down the heat a bit.  I had “hot,” which was one down from the maximum, “Thai-hot.”  I would call “hot” more of a medium.  Next time, I’m going for “Thai-hot.”  Still, it was great, I had a calamari stir-fry, and it was perfectly prepared.  I guess I’m continuing my tradition of nomming down the seafood when I visit the coast.

Posted by Macknzie at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)

December 19, 2008

Friday Catblogging!

I’m definitely ahead of the game this week when it comes to posting, mainly because I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Rather than be awake in bed, I figured I’d make myself useful and get some things done.  Hence the post.

This bout of insomnia is particularly unfortunate considering tomorrow (today) will probably be a crazy day at work.  I’m taking a couple weeks off, so I’m trying to get as much done as possible, which means a packed day tomorrow.  Great time to be tired as hell.

As sweet as Jupiter is, he is by far not the most fastidious cat out there.  And in other news, I hate clumping litter that gets everywhere (though I just switched brands and that seems to help).


Now I need to finish my tea (decaf) and it’s back to bed.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 3:07 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2008

Party Time

Two Christmas parties today.  Will the madness never end?!

Posted by Macknzie at 7:03 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2008

Stayin’ Alive

Yep, I’m still around.  I’ve been a little busy getting ready for my annual trip to New Orleans, though.  There’s lots of squaring away the pet-sitter, stocking up on supplies, etc. that has to be done.  Plus I’ve been trying to get as much done at work as possible before I take off for two weeks.  It’s mostly taken care of, though—just a few things left.

What I really want to write about today is Arrested Development. For those unfamiliar, it’s a fantastic comedy TV show.  It only reached three seasons because the ratings weren’t all that great, but everybody who has seen it ranks it very, very high.  Yesterday it was the deal of the day—all three seasons for less than $30.  It just figures that it sold out by the time I got home from work.

Not cool.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2008

Sad Tummy

This was the last week of the CSA.  No more farm-fresh goodies.  This makes me sad.

On the up side, the last take was really pretty good.  There was a ton of winter squash, so I’ll be set for quite a long time.  Also, I got my meat order of five chickens and 20 pounds of chicken necks.  I have stock simmering on the stove as we speak.  Tonight I’ll strain the useless bits from the rich, delicious essence of chicken.  I actually have enough to make another batch right away, but I think I’ll wait until I use more of this one first.

Maybe next time I’ll be able to get some feet, too.  They make the best stock because of their high level of connective tissue.

Posted by Macknzie at 6:43 AM | Comments (0)

December 5, 2008

Friday Catblogging!

Here they are:


And in other news, here are some shots of the recent Thanksgiving spread:



Note the bare-breasted turkey.  The skin is the first thing to go.

Yep, it was pretty awesome.  The soup tureen is filled with gravy.  It lasted quite a while.

Have a great weekend!

Posted by Macknzie at 6:42 AM | Comments (0)

December 4, 2008

Heating Up, But Not Outside

We were hit with a big batch of snow yesterday.  Ordinarily, I like that, but I had to drive yesterday to go get vegetables from the CSA.  But still, I’m only driving once a week or so, so I can’t really complain.

Today the biggest thing was the cold.  It was very cold.

In other news, I watched the most recent episode of Dexter last night, and it’s fantastic.  Only two episodes to go in the season (which is sad), and it’s pretty clear that we’ve hit the climax.  I won’t spoil it for anyone, but there’s a definite feeling of, “how will he get himself out of this one?”  Of course, the question has to be “how” rather than “whether” because the show has already been renewed for two more seasons.  This pleases me.

Posted by Macknzie at 8:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 2, 2008

No More Leftovers

I made turkey soup last night, and I’m happy to say that my leftovers are now concluded.  Of course, most of the soup went in the freezer, along with two cups or so of cranberry sauce and lots of pumpkin soup I made with the leftover pumpkin.  It will provide some much-needed nourishment during the months when the CSA is no longer running so I’m not getting farm-fresh food.

Overall, things worked out rather well.  I tried new recipes, all of which turned out delicious (though not necessarily pretty).  Nothing was wasted, and I have an empty refrigerator ready to receive my veggies tomorrow.  It’s all going according to plan.

Posted by Macknzie at 7:00 AM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2008

Back to the Grind

With the holiday over, it’s time to get back to work.  For me, the next three weeks are going to be intensely busy.  I’ll be trying to get as much work done at the office as possible before I go to New Orleans.  We’ll see how the blogging goes—I suspect it will suffer somewhat.

In any case, I’m really looking forward to Friday.  A friend of a friend is having a Christmas party.  She’s Greek, so apparently all the food and everything is, too.  Sounds delicious.

Posted by Macknzie at 7:00 AM | Comments (0)