I’ve been evaluating some of the material objects I have recently along with how and how much I use them, and one of the things I’d like to use more is my BB gun. Gifted to me for Christmas 2008 and barely used since, I’ve been thinking I could ‘recycle’ some of the soda cans that will ultimately be recycled anyway and create a small target range against one of the brick walls of the house or another similar location whereby I can safely pull the trigger without bodily nor property harm, and also get some more regular use out of it.

Other targets I have in mind right now are more personal-goal oriented. I need to find a job or some source of reliable income, and I also have a couple of website ideas to document and build. If anyone in the area has Flash experience and has a serious interest in collaborating on a fun project then hit me up.

It Has Been a While!

Wow, I keep realizing how long it has been since I wrote an entry here. Most things remain the same. I still don’t have a full time job, although I interviewed with a county school system earlier this week and also applied to a year-round resort, both IT positions. I also have another 3 jobs to apply for this afternoon (hopefully) that are also IT and not terribly far away.

I’ve done some work on my monitoring systems for my servers. Over the last few months I’ve developed several methods for providing close to real-time outage-notifications and misc. monitoring for the three servers I administrate. The system I currently have primarily does two things: Service unavailable notifications via Twitter, Email and Txt message (via email), and corresponding “It’s available again” messages, and system monitoring using an Eggdrop IRC bot for each server with basic commands.

I’d like to expand this system at some point in the future, by migrating the system monitoring system from Eggdrop to a Perl bot. This would allow it to be more portable, and hopefully have a smaller footprint on the server it runs on. It would be nice to have IRC-based announcements for server-up/server-down as well as more minor alerts, like high CPU usage, high RAM usage, high hard disk partition usage, etc. We’ll see how that goes at some point in the future.

In more interesting news, I believe we have pretty much finished our Christmas shopping. All of our box to New Zealand items have been bought, and we are waiting for 3 of them to ship or arrive by mail. All but one (I believe) of the remaining items have been wrapped, and they’re all sitting in a corner of our room waiting for everything else to be ready to go. We’re just waiting for 2 items to arrive (apparently they were mailed recently), and another to be mailed. I checked yesterday and it was still pending.

I recently provided a redesign for a fan-site, I’ll try and post screenshots later. I’m also working on upgrading/updating the Infinitley-aLive website, and moving away from WordPress. I’m undecided yet as to whether I’ll use SilverStripe (as on or if I’ll build my own fully customized CMS for it. Having been looking at CodeIgniter, it may be a fun first-project for a CodeIgniter site.

Lastly, if you find yourself in need of some web-design or web-programming, or a shell account for almost anything, or just basic webhosting, leave me a comment or something. I am happy to work with your budget so long as it fits mine, I’m happy to work for the testimonial and for a reference for my resume if I feel a need to use it, and you’re happy to provide the details I need. I accept paypal, and cash or check if you wish to meet locally. Also, if I can’t do something I’ll let you know quickly, and if I can I’ll point in the direction of people who are able to fulfill your requirements.

Would Someone Hire Me Already?

I’m really not liking living here. It sounds wrong, it mostly is, I love this area and the people that I’m close to, but I hate a series of specific circumstances. I can’t seem to get a job I want to (or can) have long term. Harrisonburg is fairly void of IT opportunities. That is, all the IT jobs are taken, and there didn’t seem to be all that many to begin with. No-one is expanding, so the chances of any opening any time soon are fairly flat. In DC there are hundreds of openings, but of the 10% that I might be qualified for, almost all of them require either a security clearance, a US Citizenship, or both. I have neither.

I’m keeping an open mind about it, so far I’m finding on average 1 job a day to apply for somewhere, and while I’m yet to be contacted by any possible employers, I’m continuing to look – mostly because I can’t stay working part time forever.

I have a small list of places I regularly check (usually every day, or every other day), starting locally and working my way out.

  • Eastern Mennonite Univerity
  • James Madison University
  • Rockingham Memorial Hospital
  • Rockingham County Public Schools
  • Harrisonburg City Schools
  • Rackspace (Locations in Blacksburg and in NoVa)
  • Craigslist (Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Winchester, DC, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg)
  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Tech

I also check several school districts around the area every week or so, checking county and city school systems around as far as Charlottesville, Roanoke, Winchester/DC, etc, and I just added Carillion, the hospital in Roanoke to my list of places to regularly check (thanks Lauren).

If you’re a hiring manager, I can send a resume as required, but I have two years professional IT experience between basic and advanced experience working with PC’s, Servers, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Windows Server 2000 and 2003, Linux as a desktop and server, web technologies and networking, computer hardware, Active Directory, Novell Netware, have worked on a service desk, and can usually learn things quickly. I also have around 10 years experience in a non-professional environment just playing with stuff and learning things at home or while working on friends/family computers. I’d like to study, but I need to get my family to a point where we are self-sufficient with enough spare cash-flow to fund such an educational venture.

A Matter of Trust

I woke up this morning, discovered I don’t like Fruit Loops, and set to work on my new website project (for which I am yet to purchase a domain, so I’m not talking about it at all!). I didn’t get very far, though I decided it is probably going to need to be a custom CMS rather than using something existing. I have a basic layout ready, I do need to work on it’s compatibility with Internet Explorer as it doesn’t show very well.

But that’s not what this posting is about. This posting is about my awesome puppy (who I need to take new photos of, probably tomorrow) who has proven over the last few days how much he can be trusted without a tether. On Monday I grilled my lunch and had him hanging out outside with me without a leash or tether, and he behaved well. The last few nights I’ve put his leash in my pocket and just untethered him to bring him indoors for the evening, and tonight he won the game (gah, I just lost The Game) by proving he can go outside, pee, and come back in without a chaperon. Of course, for the next few weeks I’ll have his leash in my pocket and be standing outside ready to run if I need to, but he has shown he can behave with less strict supervision. I’m looking forward to letting him roam free in a house at night when we finally move out!

Today is Boring.

Really. It is. You probably don’t even want to read this, because it is only going to be boring.

I received an email from my potential employer pretty much saying I have a job. I am going in on Wednesday to do paperwork and generally hang out. I *do* need to get documentation from my former “employers” regarding number of hours working with children. If I can’t prove 1000 hours then I’ll be an aide rather than a leader, and the pay rate drops accordingly. But hey, a job is a job.

I also have 2 Saturdays coming up working high and low ropes at Camp Horizons for two larger groups. That’s an extra $70/day too.

The only other “excitement” today involved getting lunch at Subway. I won a free 21oz. FUZE Tea, and a scrabble letter. Other than that I’ve been sitting here watching nothing happen on TV and watching facebook. I guess I could do some programming stuff, there is an outstanding bug in my ticketing system that is to be fixed, and I have an idea for fixing my service detection system reading false positives. I should also work on expanding the system and stuff. Maybe a website? Could be a good moneymaker. Who knows.

See? Boring. If you made it this far, congratulations. Have a nice day.


This is partly to test WordPress’s new Blog-by-email. We’ll see how it works.

Yesterday I received a phone call from Rackspace, with a variation of that dreaded message. “We’ve decided to move forward with other candidates.”

I felt kinda like some of the people on Millionaire must feel when they’ve been going for the million dollars, and got the answer wrong and going home with $25,000.

Let me explain. What I had were two options, I could work at Rackspace for ~$45k/yr doing something I would really enjoy or I could work at a camp doing something I would also enjoy for the summer making ~$150/wk. I had 2 really great interviews at Rackspace, even they said the second one went really well, but apparently not good enough.

I’m trying to keep positive, I’m still applying for 2-3 jobs including one at JMU, and working at camp will still pay all our bills (and let us catch up on the ones we’re having to skip this month) along with Kelly’s summer job. I’ll just have to start applying again as summer comes to a close.

I’m particularly looking for IT work within VA, and I don’t mind commuting up to 2 hours each way in order to take a job worth anywhere from $30k up (So from the DC Metro area down to Blacksburgish, and out to Richmond. I’m in the Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area right now). I intend to relocate if the job is at the outer reaches of that range along with my wife and puppy. I have reliable transport, and while I have no formal computing qualifications I have professional and personal experience with PHP/MySQL, computer hardware testing, computer software installation and general computer troubleshooting and problem solving. I’ve worked on a service desk (Level 1 and 2) for a 5000 user organization supporting Novell Netware and Active Directory (on the same network) as well as Alcatel based PBX systems. I’ve also been administrating Linux servers for several years. I’m happy to take an entry-level position (Helpdesk, Desktop support, etc), though I’d like a company with good promotion paths that will allow me to progress beyond, as I’d like to move into server administration, and possibly network administration also.

So while I continue to look for work, if you or someone/an organization you know is looking for an IT worker, let me know about them, or let them know about me!


Yesterday I made a personal site using SilverStripe, and it was my first experience with the CMS that worked. I think last time I didn’t follow the instructions or something and problems arose multiple times.

This time however, worked a treat. It’s not your average CMS, where absolutely everything is configured via a web panel and then stored in SQL. SilverStripe has the basics in SQL (Pages) and the rest is left up to the developer. Once again, a piece of software where its greatest asset is its greatest downfall, and proves, once again, that perfect all-around software does not exist. Either it’s simple for the newbies who want a good looking website, or it’s technical for developers and geeks who want a website that will do anything they ask it to with minimal fuss in breaking their entire index.php-based site with a parse error.

SilverStripe doesn’t have dynamic site names/descriptions like WordPress does. I had to go and edit that in the theme itself. Not a problem, I just need to remember to change it if I change themes.

As far as which is ‘better’, I no longer have a preference. They both do an awesome job at what they do, and I may at some point transfer the UCCN Support site to SilverStripe from WordPress. I’ll still keep the LifeCity site running WP, and probably the I-aL site running it too. WordPress is easy to install and configure, SilverStripe will probably prove easier to develop for.

Don’t take my word for it, test them and decide for yourself!

In other news, we took crash to the vet for his first-week checkup, and he’s doing really well. He weighed in at 28.2lb, and no sign (at this stage) of entropion, thus everything is probably good on that front! Going back in a couple of weeks for his shots, that won’t be such a good time for him 😉

Quiet Day

We’re kinda hanging in the family room, Crash, Kelly and I. We’re watching Family Feud on TV, the Porter family are playing the final game. Oop, they just lost, getting 159 points (needed 200 to get $20,000).

I’m also talking to a friend who has a DVD of photos of his son, from newborn through the first year that he is trying to recover. It isn’t going well.

Kelly just moved to the other chair beside Crash, and he started trying to chew the blanket she’s wearing to keep warm. She’s not doing too well, has a sore throat. She really enjoys the look on his face when she pats him on the nose with a rope toy and hums a tune. We’re working especially to train him out of mouthing/biting people, and we’ll also be working in the next few days training him to not jump up on people when he’s excited (or at all, really).

Just took him out to ‘potty’ and he peed, but hasn’t pooped for a while. Now he’s kinda ignoring lunch in favour of laying beside the chair and licking himself. So far he has acquired at least 6 names or variations on names, all of them in the first 3 days. Crash, Chase, Crush, Crash Taylor, Chuck, Trash.. as well as the obvious ones like Pup and Puppy.

I’ve given myself a coding project for the afternoon, after I retrieve the power pack for the macbook. It’ll be a whois and status facility for UCCN, which will begin our web-integration with IRC. The first will be a web form that queries whether a nickname is online, and if so returns normal public information about them (their hidden host name, public channels, etc). The second will be a status image that returns ‘online’ or ‘offline’ depending on whether the user is online or not (duh..). Both will be dependent on the SQL database from Denora, and will probably also utilize the SQL database from Anope for Nickserv aliases/groups. It will detect if someone is online but not using their primary nickname.

I also need to work on the web interface for Supportive, and will be developing an improved version of the java.php @, both in look and in function.

So, I shall stop blogging nothingness and go get my power pack!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dear WordPress,

There were another 7 or 8 paragraphs to this post which disappeared. I’ll fix it later. I’m not happy.



Dear Diary,

I didn’t really do a whole lot today, but this has become the norm over the last few months. Last night I set my alarm for 9:30am, and snoozed it twice, awakening at around 9:45ish to turn it off through it’s second 9-minute round.


Let’s try this again..


Dear Diary,

I didn’t really do a whole lot today, but this has become the norm over recent months. Last night I set my alarm for 9:30am and snoozed it twice, waking at around 9:45am to turn if off half way through its 9-minute round.

Upon awakening, I was able to log in and check my emails, and began the conversion from DV tape to PC the footage from last nights Battle of the Bands concert, where my brother-in-law did play.

I apologize, dear Diary, as the internet connection is particularly slow, owing to the upload of aforementioned video footage to YouTube. I’m sure it will be available for viewing shortly. I must say, my dearest Diary, that I was not pleased when two of the band members berated me at midnight (with a headache, no less!) with regards to my recording of their performance and its availability for their viewing! I was very pleased when my brother-in-law ushered them out of my room and out of the house shortly afterward!

I was also able to accomplish some small programming work today, and Diary, you’ll be glad to know, it was entirely successful. Primarily bug fixes on my Support Ticket system, I also fixed the remote panel for UCCN’s dynamic remote include (which wasn’t giving link blocks to the client servers!).

I found great amusement, my dear Diary, from sitting in the IRC channel for Data center and server-host Sharktech. It seems they failed to adequately configure or test their new routing equipment before placing it in a live environment, much to the dismay of their clients and customers! Many a complaint has been laid as their customers servers have consistently dropped over the last 18 hours (and counting).

I am certain that you, dearest Diary, will also be as disgusted as I when you learn that at least two data centers were raided by the FBI with no warning, little evidence and less investigation. The tale of those are here and here. While I agree that raids should be conducted in conjunction with an investigation, my dear Diary, I must believe that investigations should have valid and usable evidence and be run by people with knowledge and qualification with regard to what they are investigating!

After lunch (a Strawberry and Banana flavored Low-fat yoghurt), I went with my wife and her brother and mother to the Salvation Army store, where we looked at clothes and such, as well as to a local hardware store to collect an additional two strawberry plants for their garden. I also learned that my sister-in-law is likely getting a beagle to live with them also, and it shall certainly be an interesting time at their house. I understand I shall be able to meet the puppy tomorrow when the family gathers for a cookout. I’m uncertain of the cause or occasion, although I will also be losing the majority of my hair also. I hear my wife has several ideas for photographs to be taken of my hair as it is removed, and I shall ensure they are available for you to view at a later date, my dear Diary.

I just remembered, I applied for another Information Technology job today, a local university is looking for a User Support Specialist, for which I placed a formal application upon returning from the stores. My father-in-law found it in the newspaper while we were venturing, and presented it upon our arrival home. I also await a return phone contact from the camp to which I applied to be a counselor during the summer. Another possibility to consider later in the year, is one Ethan suggested on Thursday evening, whereby he helps another camp by providing high-ropes assistance, and asked if I would be interested in joining him in the Fall. It is certainly an adventure I would enjoy, I shall have to reconsider it closer to the time with regards to my schedule.

I believe that is all, dearest Diary, although I have probably forgotten something during the second-round posting of this entry, the first forever lost in the emptiness that is the Internet. So my dear Diary, I shall close a second time today, and leave you to your quiet mulling of my pointless words. Until I write again, be safe, my dear Diary, and await my return with further uselessness.




Today was the go-live for the new and sites. Everything seemed to go fine, and the old UCCN site was re-themed as a support site. In the next few weeks I’ll be writing a bunch of new stuff in PHP/JavaScript to help out with webmasters and such.

I also did a bunch of .htaccess redirect rules, and I was able to delete a bunch of direcories and clean up the public_html folders too!

So, check out the new sites:

And now ends my shameless plugging 😉