log (2006/04/21 to 2006/04/27)

Well, pheh. I was going to probably (well, maybe) write various webloggish things here tonight, but now the iBook (the original one that we got so happily all those years ago) has developed an Invalid Key Length in its root filesystem, and files are randomly disappearing (mostly from the little daughter's directories because she's the heaviest user).

Apparently this problem has been there for some time, but equally apparently starting up, let alone merely logging onto, OS X doesn't do even the simplest sort of fsck, because the system hasn't issued any sort of error message or warning or anything to clue us in that we might want to back up everything before it's Too Late.

fsck in standalone mode said yipes there's an invalid key length error error error and refused to do anything. I found the install CD and booted from that and after a long wait ran the Disk Whatever Tool, and to all appearances it exec'd fsck which said yipes there's an invalid key length error error error, and the Disk Whatever Tool very helpfully said yipes there was an error yipes yipes yipes and refused to do anything.

Extremely helpful.

I'm somewhat less gruntled about the whole Apple User Experience thing than I once was.

Could be a bad spot on the hard drive. I'm very suspicious, though, that it's just that the drive filled up the other day (the little daughter and I really can't keep both of our music libraries on the same smallish drive anymore), and the filesystem maybe just isn't very good about filling up. Which would be annoying.

So anyway we've (carefully and gingerly and with fingers crossed) backed up the few non-music Important Files from the iBook that weren't already on the Web somewhere to a network share on the Windows machine in the playroom (the shame!), and the plan is that tomorrow or Saturday we'll see if we can get a copy of DiskWarrior, which is said to cost like a cee-note and I'm guessing from my web researches has about an even chance of being able to fix the problem. (I wonder if they'll let us return it if it can't?)

We've got probably two or three cee-notes' worth of iTunes purchased music that only exists in the corrupt filesystem, and I'm afraid to try to burn it to CD because that involves (I think) creating a gigundo cd-image file first, and that means allocating lots of space from the corrupt filesystem and therefore perhaps overlaying the very stuff I'm trying to save. So we're going to try DiskWarrior first (or at least that's the current plan), and if it fails we're going to cross our fingers really hard, try to burn all the unrecreatable music to data CDs, deauthorize, and then rebuild the filesystem from scratch (ick) and reinstall and reupgrade everything (ick).

And of course in the future we'll keep better backups.

Of course! *8)

I have an old copy of "Mystics and Zen Masters", Thomas Merton's collection of essays on Zen from the 60's. He sees Zen (and the world) through very Catholic filters, which makes it a sort of surreal read, but I'm fond of it.

I'm fond of this particular copy especially. It's a Noonday Press paperback, printed in like 1988. The cover is a semi-pastel abstract of rectilinear shapes surrounding the author and title. And on this particular copy the top inch or two of the cover, especially on the lefthand side, is pale and faded, probably from the sun.

Some days I think how nice it would be to be a copy of "Mystics and Zen Masters", sitting in a pile of books in a livingroom somewhere with just the top inch or two of my cover sticking out, and the sun pouring in through the windows for hours and hours, and days and days.

So let's see. I finished and wrote up The Historian (a literate vampire novel), and (speaking of Zen) Zen and the Beat Way (also from the 60's, but Watts rather than Merton). In Sims 2 news, the Raptor twins are teenagers now, and one of them was photographer at Eleanor and Kennedy's wedding.

I've also been playing FFX again, for no discernable reason. I beat it long ago, but the other night I felt like playing it again. It's kinda fun.

WTF: I've been trying not to take up log space with politics too much, but really. The public finds out about various blatantly illegal things that the government is doing, and the administration's only reaction is to toughen the laws against government whistleblowing, so that next time they decide to violate the law and/or the Constitution the people will be less likely to find out about it? My God.

Holy Inverse Function, Batman!! A virus for MATLAB!

Two recent noteworthy spam subject lines:

Subject: Glaze using "Rice Husk Ash"

Subject: dingy scholar

Dingy scholar is relatively ordinary, if sweet. But glaze using "Rice Husk Ash" is unusually complex and meaningful-looking. Is this the start of a whole new trend in spam subject line semantics? (I glanced at the content, and it had nothing to do with glaze or rice husk ash.)

Here's an interesting one: do fictional characters have the Buddha nature?

People in novels and stuff are always telling their children stories about how that building over there used to be a butcher's shop, and about the time that Cousin Rose lost her stuffed mouse and it turned out that some robin had carried it off and it turned up in a fallen bird's nest the next autumn, and about how at the grocery store that mommy and daddy used just after they were married all of the signs were misspelled, and things like that.

I don't seem to remember things like that, or at least not very much. The little boy came with me to the grocery today, and we saw a little girl pushing one of the little kids' carts that they have at the grocery, and both of us remembered that years ago he used to push one of those once in awhile, but he didn't know whether that was in this grocery store (which is pretty new, I think) or in some previous one, and neither did I. And really I don't think I could remember what grocery store we used to go to before they built this one; I could guess but I might well be wrong.

And when we dropped the little daughter off at the theater on the way to the grocery (for the 2pm show that she's in the orchestra of), he thought he remembered once going to something (like a party of something) at the gynmastics place next to the theater, and I thought I remembered that also, but I'm not sure if I did and I don't remember any details, and I also vaguely recall that years ago the little daughter's ballet school was in that same little commercial area, and/or maybe the place where she took gymnastics for a few years was there. Or something.

But (obviously) I'm not sure.

Maybe all those people who tell the kids detailed stories about years ago are just making stuff up. How would the kids know, after all?

Or maybe they have better memories than I do.

I do remember lots of things, the unseen little girl named Athena who kept saying "where daddy go?" in a nearby tent when M and I were on honeymoon, and lots of roses bought for a little ballerina, and lots of holding onto a little boy by his overall suspenders, and a bunch of dark wooden shelves on the wall by a table where us parents ate pizza and talked while the kids at the party (someone's birthday; don't know whose) did primitive gymnastics on the other side of the glass (somewhere; don't remember where).

But wouldn't it be nice if there were like video recordings one could refer back to? Just to sort of refresh the memories...