The Dysmey Blog
The personal weblog of Andy West.

July 2009
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Mid-July 2009 Miscellany
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 9:35 pm

flealess and furious

When Thyme’s flea medicine came in the mail, I decided to put it on her and get it over with. It was quite a chase around the house with a tube of medicine on one hand. But I managed to corner her under a typing table in my bedroom and apply the medicine to the back of her neck.

Unfortunately, when Thyme feels the fear, she loses control of her basic bodily functions. I should have remembered that: Back in 2002 I had to feed Thyme antibiotic to cure her of a fever; and every time I did she would whizz. It was a good thing I put her on a countertop to do that; the countertop is easy to clean. This time Thyme did more than whizz, and I had to clean up the mess and scrub the carpet around the deposition point.

Thyme avoided me for the next day or so before she returned to normal. It helped that I washed her favorite pillow and put it on her favorite chair. She is quite comfortable now.

In the meantime I will use the bathroom as the place to medicate her — and to put her in the carrier for her planned trip to the vet next month.

I wanted to move my old domain name,, from Network Solutions to Hostway to simplify administration. The problem is that, despite several attempts every couple of months, I keep failing. This time I even called Network Solutions for help in getting the domain transfered. But I still can’t get it transferred. In the end I have simply given up.

I have no use for on Network Solutions. I cannot even redirect it to my current Web site; Network Solutions allows only redirections within it. So it just hangs there. I may have to abandon the domain name when it expires next year.

summer tasks are nearly done

I have gotten the MacBooks reimaged. I have replaced all the print job release stations. I have replace the print driver for the public printer in the Architecture Library. The new wireless laptop printing service is up and running. I have even upgraded the CardCat feature on the University Libraries Toolbar, and the toolbar itself to run on Firefox 3.5, and even wrote an article for it in the library newsletter.

My next big task for the fall is to study for, and the test for, the Apple Certified Support Professional 10.5 before the next version of Mac OS X comes out.

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Post-Vacation Work
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 10:03 pm

My new cat Thyme is adapting very well to her new home.  She has made herself very comfortable inside her new hiding places (behind couch, under bed and under stairs).  She will be even more comfortable (but not as happy) once I get some flea medicine on her.

I am adapting somewhat better to my new car, esp. now that I learned how to work the paddle gear-shifting and buttons on the radio.  I never owned a car with power steering/windows/everything else before, and it is rather an adjustment.  I tried my iPod Shuffle on the USB and auxillary ports, but the car audio circuitry does not recognize the Shuffle.

I am within one more step to getting the new wireless laptop printing system so that users can log on to it securely.  Once that is finished, the system will be ready for campus use.  I also have the MacBooks to reimage, and the one remaining print job release station to replace — which I cannot until I get the new wireless printing system ready.

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Early Summer Vacation 2009, Part III
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 3:35 pm

new cat

On Thursday afternoon my sister the teacher reported that she had finally captured Thyme in the cat carrier. I drove over, picked up Thyme, and drove her to her new home. Evidently my sister was a little rough with Thyme, who has hyperactive tendencies to begin with. The moment I opened the carrier, she ran into hiding, first behind the bathroom door, then underneath a small cabinet in the bathroom.

There Thyme hid until the next day, when I had to gently push her out of the bathroom so that I could take a shower. Whereupon Thyme found the one hiding place that Isis could never have fitted in: The space behind the furnace. There she laid all day, soon making me wonder whether she would sit there all day without eating, drinking or going to the box. Admittedly I was starting to worry.

Then, as I laid in bed after an exhausting day of yard work, a little gray head peered into the room, followed by a sleek gray/pink body. Thyme had decided to come out and explore the house. I lost an hour of sleep keeping Thyme entertained, but I was heartened to know that she had decided to give her new home a chance. She still hides out behind the furnace during the day, but at least she is eating and, um, uneating.

new car

I had to do some cleanup with the new car. I took the title for the Aspire down to the car dealer and sign it over to them. I can expect the dealer to send over the title information for the new car (not the title itself, which the bank holds until I pay off the loan), so that I can get my new car registered with the State. I am told that I will be good with my current license plate for up to three weeks. Meanwhile I have visited the Ball State Parking Services to get a temporary sticker for my car, so that I can park in the staff areas.

the war against plantain

I have been fighting a battle with the plantain that grow uncontrollably throughout my yard. Over the course of a day and a half I have pulled up two yard bags full of the weeds. In my side driveway I have poured salt on the plantain to destroy them, and I plan to dig up the plantain that line the side of the driveway. I want this crap destroyed because their thick, broad leaves kill the grass underneath them. I know I cannot get them all, but I can get enough of them to reduce their numbers enough for the next weed-and-feed application to nail the rest.


Until today it had not rained all week, and my yard was starting to look dry. In fact the only green was the plantain. The rain may seem a rotten end to a vacation, but the yard could certainly use the rain it got.

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Early Summer Vacation 2009, Part II
Filed under: General, Politics
Posted by: Andy @ 9:51 pm

On Tuesday I drove to Muncie to get some blood work done for my physician … so that I can eat something after more than half a day of fasting. I got a call from my physician’s office the next day, reporting that my lipid panel (measures of blood fat) are better than the last test.

Then I got a haircut at the campus barber shop in the Student Center. I found that the Tally eatery is now visible (though still under construction) and looks impressive. But the Student Center itself is not finished, and won’t be until next year.

Then I visited the Science Library in the lower level of the Cooper Science building to use its workstation and printer. I printed out the work I have done so far on the Janovac section of my Web site. I also printed details on the Honda Fit, which I wanted as a replacement for my Ford Aspire.

The details on the Fit I wanted because my last task for the day was to visit the main office of my bank to discuss what a car loan would be like if I decided to buy a Fit. It is a valid to visit the bank’s main office, which otherwise I almost never do. It is nice to see that after more than five years some of the staff still recognize me, even if I no longer remember some of their names.

It was the bank president himself that let the chief consumer loan officer know I wanted to see him. The president is a good fellow, and one of the few executives who is knowledgeable about computers. The loan office himself gave me details on a possible loan, with which I made the decision to go ahead with the purchase.

After getting pre-approval, I drove to Victory Honda on the northwest side of Muncie, test-drove a Fit, and went through the process of trading in my Aspire for a 2009 Fit Sport. Then I went back to the bank to get the loan check. Then I delivered the check, signed a lot of papers, and got the keys to the Fit.

Actually it took longer than I thought it would. It was not because of the process itself: I knew what I wanted, and I knew who I wanted to finance the loan; these cut the time the process took. It took longer overall because of a couple of problems beyond anyone’s control: A bad check-writing program at the bank, and a new mechanic at the dealer who parked the prepped Fit and told nobody where it was.

As for the Aspire, well, it was officially written that the odometer did not reflect the actual mileage — which is true because the odometer was part of a replacement instrument panel. In fact, the Aspire had 200,000 miles on it; and apart from the failed transmission earlier this year, it served me very well. I did not really want to part with the Aspire; and I would still keep it if parts were still readily available for it. But parts for the Aspire stopped being made years ago; and any parts now come from cannibalized Aspires in junk yards. It was time for me and the Aspire to part ways. The current worth was such that I could only get $200 for a trade-in.

I showed off the car to the folks (driving Madre around in it), my sister the editor (letting her drive around in it), and my sister the teacher (who merely looked it over).

Tuesday night was an uneventful Friends of the Library meeting. Wednesday night was the library board meeting, which was more interesting because it starts the process of formulating a budget for next year. Basically, we come up with a budget, publish it in the local papers a couple of times, submit it to the State agency for local-government finance and to various local councils. If it survives these, the budget is approved. Despite this, our money troubles are never over, because the money comes in fits and starts, depending on when (and it’s a shifting ‘when’) tax monies are allotted.

And it will not get any better, because any attempt at ‘reform’ by the governor and his shills (MySmartGov? C’mon!) will be resisted even by his own party, which probably does not believe in that book of fairy tales written by Randall Shepard, Joe Kernan and Andrew Lang, the latter being brought back from the dead to help write it.

I have largely given up on getting Thyme to my house against her will. I have a lot of things to do this week, including a visit to Purdue, that trying to corral the cat is interfering with. I will let my sister the teacher work on that.

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Early Summer Vacation 2009, Part I
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 10:01 pm


The Fourth of July has come and gone.

Here it had been raining off and on all day, with the rain sometimes getting heavy. People were celebrating the Fourth indoors or under canopies. It is good that my town did its fireworks on the day before, when it was not raining.

The fireworks were done at the town park. This is a vast area, roughly a quarter of a square mile, because it was once the site of the county fairgrounds. The park proper takes up a slice of the north; the local elementary school is crammed along the west end; and the rest is largely baseball diamonds and a hugh grass field. It was in that field that Madre parked the van in the late afternoon in order to avoid the hassle of trying to find a place to park later. She needn’t have bothered this year: As late as eight o’clock there was still plenty of space, and in the end there were not as many people there as there were in the past.

The fireworks themselves were fun to watch, and even had a couple of new ‘jelly-roll’ spiral bursts among them. But in all they were short and intense this year. Evidently the fire department did not collect much money for them.

The damp holiday did not stop my neighbors across Buckeye Street from celebrating on Fourth of July evening. They had practically every relative over because one of their relatives was off to a new job in Arkansas. They were shooting their own fireworks that evening. The ones next were also celebrating the night before, because I had to clean up the cans that got tossed over the fence.


I drove Madre back home after she parked the van; then walked through the park to the van later. I rarely go to the park nowadays. The changes it has gone through were slow at first, then picked up the pace in past couple of years.

When I was a teen, the park had your standard-issue set of swings, roundabout, and see-saw; a shelterhouse where groups could meet, next to the only baseball diamond; a ‘Scout hut’ building for Scout meetings, next to some tennis courts; and even a place for horseshoe tosses.

Today only the shelterhouse and baseball diamond remain. The Scout hut was long torn down. The tennis courts were converted into a skateboard park; but vandalism and growing lack of interest forced the town to tear that down; and on the site of both hut and courts a giant pavilion was built. There are smaller pavilions next to the new playground, which even has a handicapped swing. One of the pavilions was named after a late editor of the local paper. And on the horseshoe toss area is now a maintenance shed/public restrooms.


Sports really has become the focus of the town, as there is little else to do here. Summer becomes really lively with all four baseball courts (the original and the three in the vast field on the south end) in use during the summer, and the baseball courts of the old high school gymnasium during the winter.

This focus on sports is the reason why there was so much acrimony last year, when a children’s sports league was forced to dissolve when the town refused to renew its contract over spending irregularities, then sold its equipment to pay off its vending machine account. The townsfolk believed (wrongly) that the equipment belonged to the town; the town said otherwise, and wanted the equipment out in any case so that the new league could start fresh; but many refused to believe that, and acrimony remained through last summer.

my cat?

I had hoped to bring to my house Isis’ sister Thyme, and had even brought the carrier to the house of my sister the teacher to pick the cat up. The problem is that Thyme tends to hide in out-of-the-way corners of the house. Of the five cats in the house, Thyme is at the bottom end of the status ladder, pushed around by the other cats, and seeks to hide from them as much as possible. I may assume that, if I manage to get her here, Thyme will come to like a house all to herself.

People keep telling me, to the point of irritation, that Thyme is an old cat. I am aware of that. She is Isis’ sister, after all. People also do not seem to realize that Isis passed away from disease, not old age. Thyme is not a sick kitty, although I will not know this for sure until she visits the vet sometime soon.

wiring project

After a closer look at the house and a visit Monday to both Fry’s and Menard’s in Fishers, I am being to realize just how big this task of running sheathing and wires will be, and that it will take awhile to get it done. At least I am assured that fitting ends to TV cables is not as hard as fitting ends to thinnet coax cables. There is no soldering involved. I have found nowhere that sells Winegard SS-2000’s or combined phone/net/coax outlets, and it looks like I will have to order them offline.

my home box

At least the trip to Fry’s Monday yielded other goodies. I found replacement memory modules for my main box, Madoka. I had one two-gig DDR2 module; I now have four one-gig DDR2 modules for a total of four gigabytes of memory. I tried out Bioshock after the new memory was installed. It works even better.

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