Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: August 2001

I don’t care, I wanna a picture of it!

Town Spurns ‘Mr. Potato Head’ Gift
August 20, 2001 8:51 am EST

LONDON (Reuters) – A giant “Mr. Potato Head” statue given by a U.S. town to
its twin town in central England had to be removed because local people said
they didn’t like it.

Pawtucket in Rhode Island, where the “Mr. Potato Head” character featured in
the “Toy Story” movies was invented, sent the seven-foot-tall plastic effigy
to the town of Belper where it was put up outside the local McDonald’s.

But townsfolk launched a campaign demanding that tourism officer Reg
Whitworth get rid of it.

“We started getting letters saying ‘Why has this horrible thing appeared
stuck in the middle of town? We don’t want it here’,” Wayne Bontoft of local
newspaper the Belper News told Reuters on Monday.

The $8,700 statue, based on the simple toy which involves sticking plastic
arms, feet and facial parts into a potato, has now been banished to a
children’s playground and will later be put in a nearby “Wild West” theme

Bob Billington, head of tourism in Pawtucket, which twinned with Belper in
1993, said the reaction had upset people in the New England town.

“Potato Heads here in Rhode Island attract quite a lot of positive
attention. We thought it was a nice gesture,” he told Britain’s Sun

Pirate Names.

I found this in laurel‘s journal.

Here’s what I got:

Your pirate name is:

Mad Tom Bonney

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate’s life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

How very true!

AD&D Silliness

Someone on the MUD I play posted this list of the 396 least useful spells for wizards.


1 Acid Trip
2 Affect Abnormal Fires
3 Affect Normal Foyers
4 Air Breathing (land-dwellers only)
5 Airshape (like Stoneshape, but with normal air)
6 Airy Air
7 Alamir’s Freeway Breakdown
8 Alamir’s Fundamental Theorem
9 Algorhythm I-III (sp?)
10 Anger God

Just another funny timewaster

My friend Kitanzi sent me this:


Getting my web site in order

As I’ve said before, I’m good at procrastinating. First of all, it seemed a bit silly to me that I, a person who’s been on the Internet since before there was a World Wide Web, should not have an actual homepage of my own. I kinda started to build one back in 1996, but I never got interested in it enough to finish it. But recently, I realized I had a bunch of pictures I could put up, and links to my writing and my songs and so forth, so I determined to get myself my very own domain and set up my very own ego tripping web page. Having determined this, I registered the domain “”, set up a temporary holding area, moved the photos that were on my personal page there, and… distracted and didn’t touch it again for weeks.

Getting all my songs into HTML format and actually up on the web kept looking like a daunting task. It was easy to say ‘”I’d do that today, but I really don’t have time.” and put it off. I knew it was the next big thing I wanted to do, so it was merely a matter of finding the motivation to do it.

Then, one of my songs got nominated for an Pegasus Award. Nominated for Best Song. (The Pegasus Awards are essentially the Grammy awards of the filk community — it’s a tremendous honor to be nominated for one). And I realized that while it had appeared in print in a couple of places, there was no where for someone who hadn’t seen it already to find out what I was about. So I thought “Well, I’ll put it up on the web. But if I’m going to do that, I should go ahead and get them all up.”

So they’re up now. There’s still a few floating around, and a couple that are frankly embarrassing and I don’t want to be seen in public . But for the most part, I’m done. If anyone’s interested you can find them at

People really need to get over themselves

Nothing amuses me more than people who get themselves worked into a tizzy over gay people. I’d probably find it less amusing if I were gay myself…

The Associated Press story

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reported on the story.

Good heavens! How terrible! The next thing you know those gay people might start demanding, I don’t know, to be treated like human beings and given the basic dignity and respect that should be afforded decent people! When WILL the madness end?

I despair to live in a world where an entire group of people can be hated and despised because of who they choose to love! Cause that’s really what’s going on here, isn’t it? “We don’t like the way THOSE people love one another. It isn’t right.” Yeah, hate is a much better way to deal with people.

The really sad thing is almost every one of the people complaining would probably identify themselves as a Christian, and could easily express to you their belief in a infinitely loving God and their belief that the same God thinks gay people are an abomination in a single breath.

*sigh* I weep for the world, and all the darkness we bring to obscure the light.

I work with idiots.

So, no shit, there I was, nuking e-mail accounts right and left, when….

It recently came to the attention of our DBA crew that there were accounts on our systems that were not properly reflected in the customer database — in essence, potential service users we weren’t billing. Last week, they asked me to give them a list of all the logins on all the customer servers so they could reconcile the two. This is, of course, a perfectly reasonable and sensible thing to want to do, and I approve of the notion wholeheartedly.

Today, I get a list from them of accounts to delete. Over 800 of them. “Are you sure all of these need to be deleted?” I ask cautiously. “Oh yes. We’ve checked them over.” “So everyone one of these is a customer login that isn’t in the database and can be discarded safely?” “Absolutely.”

No problem. Deleting things is fun.

So tonight, I’m merrily wiping out this deadwood, when I get an ICQ message from the support group. They say that for some reason, they suddenly can’t access the database with their command line tools. These tools are perl programs we’ve developed over the years that allow them to, for instance, dump all the db and account information on a customer quickly. I run one of these commands on myself, and get back an Oracle DBI error from Perl. That’s curious. It’s not a “Database is down” error. It’s a missing library error. What on earth could have happened to the…..

You didn’t. You stupid, brainless moron f***s couldn’t have possibly…..

I flip over to the list of accounts to delete. I grep it for a specific login. I know what I’m looking for.


They put the freaking ORACLE user on the “unnecessary” list. The user whose homedir contains all the libs necessary for all the provisioning scripts and support tools to work.

Oh, my head.

By now, I have the tech support supervisor on duty in one window and the backup admin in the other. It’s 1am. “We’re going to have to run a restore,” I say. “What’s the directory?” she asks. I tell her. She says what I already know: “Those tapes aren’t in the jukebox. I’ll have to drive in and change them.” It’s 1:15 am.

“Wait a minute!” I say. “I have an idea”

Remember last month when I was moving a bunch of files onto the hardware RAID device I had gotten them to buy because the software disk arrays were old and beginning to get cranky? I never actually deleted any of those files, I just unmounted them and left them sitting there. I quickly mount the old filesystems and check — sure enough, the files are all there. This is pretty static information, so I copy everything back over quickly to it’s original location. A quick test shows all the support programs now work perfectly again.

Backup Admin is now suitably gratified because I saved her a two-hour office visit at 1am on a Friday night. That’s lunch she owes me. Now, on Monday I get to raise holy hell to my boss about how they almost caused us an awful lot of work.

And you thought a sysadmin’s job was dull…..

Neil Gaiman interview

I could listen to Neil Gaiman read the telephone directory for an hour. Listening to him talk about writing and history is even better.

(BTW, if you haven’t yet read Gaiman’s new novel, American Gods, run, do not walk, to the nearest bookstore and get a copy. Probably the best new book I’ve read in a couple or three years.

Pay attention: There *are* still good, descent people in the world

The average person would have kept it. Or sold it.

But when Julie Geisler discovered that she had inherited an 80-year overdue book that belonged to the Boston Public Library, she returned it. The book, a first printing edition of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, was valued at between $15,000 and $75,000.

At a time when everyone seems to be out for themselves, it’s nice to see someone do the right thing for no reason other than because it’s the right thing to do. (In an interview on NPR, Geisler said the Boston Public Library agreed to waive the $1.50 maximum overdue fine for the book *grin*)

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