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Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
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March 16, 2003

Rutting Behavior My schedule's been

Rutting Behavior

My schedule's been off all weekend. I must be getting old, as I found this frustrating. All I ask out of life is that I get to do about the same thing I do every day at about the same time each day, regardless of what is happening in the outside world. I realize this is normally the exception rather than the rule, but every now and then life allows me a day or three in a row where it doesn't bounce me out of my warm and snuggly rut, and I become complacent. Then the cart hits a a rock, and I bounce out, and grow increasingly petulant until I can scurry back in.

Spent all of Friday night at work applying server patches and wrestling with recalcitrant Apache builds.

The initial estimate for our maintenance downtime was an hour, as we had postponed some of the more unwieldy data backups to a later date. Four and a half hours after that, we were done, though not finished. I'll spend a good part of next week investigating why a particular vendor's Apache config script would compile and make without complaint, yet refuse to add any of the modules listed in the configuration script to the final binary.

Yes, I know that was so much gobbledegook. Here's a quick explication. A webserver is the computer that gives files to your browser when you surf the web. The program that starts and stops the web server is called a binary. You could also call it a program, or an executable, but that would be far too easily understood, and we geeks have to protect our job status somehow. The binary is built by something like a software assembly line, where you first define what it will look like (config script), build it (make) and put it where it needs to be to function (make install). Modules are additions to the basic webserver code that allow it to do extra things, like ask you for a password or understand requests for non-standard files. The various modules a person wants to add to a webserver are specified in the config script, and if process that builds the webserver binary doesn't understand what you want, or can't find something that it needs, it's supposed to break, ideally with a message that tells you exactly what the problem is. Bridging the gap between ideally and what actually happens is what a system administrator does.

Spent all of Saturday laboring under the lash of a pregnant woman with a newly awakened nesting instinct.

I can understand why a new baby might necessitate a rearrangement of the furniture in the new nursery (old guest bedroom) and new guest bedroom (old computer room/library), or why this would also call for a new coat of paint in the guest bedroom. Bookshelves and computers leave marks, after all. What I can't understand is why the baby felt it important that I also reseed and fertilize the lawn.

I also cooked dinner. Veal Saltimbocca, for those of you who will somehow miss the posts just below this one.

By the time all that was done it was late, and there were bedtime stories to read and Netflix DVDs to watch with the nester, who had the temerity to suggest what a long and tiring day it had been, what with watching Peter Pan and having to drive Ngnat to the playground.

I refrained from comment. I'm all about the superhuman restraint.

Spent this morning and early afternoon with the inlaws, who had came with new furniture for Ngnat, who is losing large chunks of her rooms to the new nursery. We installed the Sainted wife's childhood chest of drawers set by way of recompense, not that she seemed to mind much. She can climb up the changing table just as easily in the next room as in her own, after all.

You would think that the nesting would be done, at this point. You would be wrong. This weekend's activities were only preliminary to the actual nesting, merely creating the upstairs context for later nesting. Next weekend Aspiring Actress and the Menead cousins are coming to paint the entire downstairs, to set that context. Presumably then the actual nesting can start.

I live in fear that I'll be required to whiten the mortar lines in the foundation with toothpaste at that point. If so, I'm only doing the outside. The crawlspace can fend for itself.

Posted by Bigwig at March 16, 2003 04:02 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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