Chatter #57: January 18, 2002

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM

One Computer Problem After Another!

I almost think that my computer is trying to get itself replaced! There have been a whole sequence of problems lately, and it has been quite a chore trying to keep up.

First, there was some sort of a weird crash. My D drive disappeared altogether, and that's the big new one; it has 90%+ of my work. I went into the BIOS and managed to get the drive back, but I must have screwed something up: every time that the system boots up I get an error message about an I/O conflict. Oddly enough, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I can press F1 to continue, and everything still seems to work fine. Perhaps the conflict is affecting something I never use any more, like the Zip drive.

The next thing wasn't really the computer's fault, exactly, but is still annoying: Sony has discontinued their line of blank 650mb CD-ROMs. They've replaced them with 700mb disks, but unfortunately my cranky old CD burner will only work with the 650s. And so far, it only works with Sony 650s. Once I've used up the ten or so disks I have left (which will go fast, since I have a lot of data to transfer to the new system), my ability to burn will be in serious jeopardy. I'll try some new brands, of course, but it will be a time-consuming and expensive process. I seem to recall that the burner used to work with Maxell disks with a 50% failure rate, so that will be the first new brand I try.

A few days ago the D drive disappeared again. It was just as scary as last time, but a trip to the BIOS fixed things up again.

The most recent problem is still ongoing, and is particularly annoying. As I've mentioned, Teri and I get broadband internet access through our cable company, Cox; they also provide our phone service.

I'm not sure exactly how this works, but although Cox supplied the cables and cable modem for our access, it was Excite@Home that was our "provider"; as I understand it, Excite@Home provided net dialtone to Cox's subscribers and in exchange received a payment directly from Cox..

But as you may have heard, Excite@Home recently went bankrupt. Cox announced that it would transition all users to its own high-speed digital net access, A few days ago a transition package came in the mail with a CD to move us from @Home to Cox. Teri was worried that we would lose access soon, so the night before last I made the transition.

Not that it was that easy, mind you. Before I could even PUT IN the CD, the instructions said to go to Cox's web site and get my username and password. Just one problem: internet access was suddenly down! And then up. But incredibly slow. And then down again. Down. Up. Down. Down. Down. Up-no, down. Down.

This went on for hours. I tried to call Cox's special helpful-friendly customer service number which had been set up for the transition, but go figure—it was constantly busy. That was annoying, and reminded me of my old ISP TIAC—which was a very bad thing.

Late that night I managed to get the ID and password, and started running the disk. It seemed to work, but the new software is definitely a drag on my system—suddenly there was a lot more that I couldn't run. Even more annoying was that all of my usual Internet Explorer settings had been replaced by Cox settings; homepage and link bar. My old stuff was still there, but push off the screen by the Cox crap.

I fixed that, but soon found two incredibly annoying new problems: the Cox net access was INCREDIBLY unreliable, and I couldn't run Diablo nor much else. I kept getting crashes and "fail2" errors. I've noticed that although there are hundreds of megabytes free on my various hard drives, some of that supposedly empty space acts very much as if it was full*.

I burned a lot of stuff of my hard drives and did a lot of deleting, and now Diablo runs at least sometimes. But for the last two days Cox has continued to be down more often than it's up, and their phone has either been busy or goes immediately to a canned "We cannot take your call now, try later" message. The one time I managed to get through, the phone rang for 53 minutes before it hung up on me!

* I should note that I do empty my Recycle Bin very frequently, so that wasn't the problem.

Arisia Promotion

The Arisia convention starts tonight. I'm looking forward (and am a little bit nervous, as always), but this time there will be a cloud over me; Teri and the baby are staying home this year. As a result I'm not bringing my formalwear—no point, since I won't be dancing—and am not sure what to expect. I'll miss them both so terribly! Sebastian gave me the most beautiful smiles this morning, and it broke my heart to think that I will not see him for two whole days. I know it's silly, but I can't help but feel he might have forgotten me by the time I get back!

Teri has been wonderful about the con; she'd even packed my bag for me when I got home last night. I know that it will be hard for her, but she has managed to not make me feel guilty for going. I don't know if I could have done the same for her if our positions were reversed. Plus she's dealing with the flu...fortunately my parents and her mother will be coming by over the weekend to help her out. I'll have my cell phone with me and will no doubt call frequently, but still I'll worry.

I'll be publicizing the site a bit at the con, of course, and along those lines did something that I'd wished I'd done last year: made up some Pete's RQ! business cards. It was kind of fun designing them, actually. I've attached the images below.

I'll see if I have time to work up a quick flyer, too, if I get the chance. Incidentally, I'm taking the digital camera with me to the con, so possibly I'll have a report with pictures!

Sebastian Update

I guess there's no point in going on and on about how cute he is—it's not anything that every other parent doesn't say, after all—but he's doing quite wonderfully. Mostly very sweet-tempered, with a huge assortment of smiles ranging from shy little ones to great big gurgling toothless baby grins. He's chuckling, even laughing now; that is, he does it for Teri and her mother, but not yet for me. Last night he was fascinated for ten minutes straight by his feet, twitching them, shaking them, and kicking them up in the air over and over. He was also mesmerized by his own reflection in a mirror, eyes and mouth all round with astonishment. As he stared at himself he sometimes suddenly shook his head, and as far as I can tell he was simply confirming that what he saw in the mirror was really himself.

Beyond that he's now eating baby food—peaches and pears—as well as oatmeal. This is months earlier than is normal. He's also sleeping pretty well through the night, although sometimes he does wake up and talk to himself.

I wish I could put up a picture...maybe it will be okay if I take a photo of him and use a graphics program to turn it into a sketch or oil painting simulation. We'll see.

HELP! I Mean, Help?

Sometime recently EffieRover's Top 50 site must have re-set vote counts. When I looked in a couple of days ago this site only had 12 votes, and had fallen to number FIFTY—just a fingernail away from being completely off the list! And I'm morally certain that some owners of other sites are deliberately voting AGAINST this site (and others) to push their own sites up in the rankings. I can't bring myself to vote against anyone else, but I'm not above saying that if anyone is up for voting for the site, please do. I probably should mention that any rating other than a "5" will probably drag down the overall rating, if I understand the system correctly.

See you after the con!

Previous Chatter

Chatter Index Next Chatter

Main Page

Roleplaying Adventures & HeroQuests

Generic & RQ Alternate & Add-On Rules
Alternate Rules

The Chaos Project: Magic Items, Found Items, & Chaos Features. Add yours!
Chaos Project

RQ3, RQ2, & CoC Character Sheets, a RQ Help Sheet, more
Character Sheets

NPC People, places, & Things
NPCs & More

Rune Art & the RQ Font

Random Thoughts From A Random Brain

Issues of my old zine, resurrected from paper
Rack & Rune

Battle Evil Online! Or get munched
Peasant's Progress

Game & Other Recommended Links

So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2002 by Peter Maranci. Revised: January 21, 2002. version 1.0