Skip to content

Category: London

All these things and a Dog named Robert

Backyard Mornings

Living in London has been rewarding for me; especially having my own house with my own yard and trees.  While I’m not outdoors-oriented in any way, I do enjoy my yard.  I enjoy it in the way a gentleman does, someone else picks up the poo, my mailbox is monitored by my household staff and my guard dog “Bob” keeps out the racoons.

At least I would if I had grounds, staff or a dog named bob.

Instead I get to sit in my house or yard; watch the bluejays and the cardinals in spring, fireflies in summer and chickadees in winter.

It’s not a bad life; to have a nice house in London.

Cha cha changes….

Okay a month or so on; I’m still coming to grips with things.

I’ve got a long drive to work now, like REALLY long.  Some days I drift down curved roads with tree-lined ditches and mosquito clouded villages to pass through.  Other days I take the established roads, they take about the same amount of time and have their own pitfalls and problems.  From end to end it’s about 96 kilometers and starts and finishes on a high-speed highway.

I’m officially doing the same thing I’ve always done, but unofficially I’m not as busy as I was, which is a blessing and curse, did you know that when you are really busy all the time it’s hard to stop being busy?  I had no idea.

Also stress, stress is an odd beast.  I’m still coming to grips with it, but at least I’m sleeping, right?


On Being Busy

It’s been too long; I’ve been so busy.  I guess I’ll recap what I’ve done in these two years plus.


  1. Fixed over 100 incorrectly configured linux boxes so that they would actually send their admin the output of the logwatch command.
  2. Reconfigured the same to use ClamAV correctly and with consistent settings instead of the hodge-podge that they were.
  3. Built a custom monitor for a series of servers that allowed non-techs to determine if the servers in question were up or down.  I’d come back to this
  4. Built a scripted installer for a 21 server farm, taking a 10-20 minute process down to a single command line. I’d come back to this too.
  5. Fixed the log backup system that had been in place for months.  It’s still there now, but it needs to change.
  6. Got really into replacing complex manual functions with Bash scripts.
  7. Built the data import system for a whole client.  SUPER complex and modular, didn’t use most of the code anywhere else save for the functions method.
  8. Got to know cron really well.
  9. Got to know ssh -t “command” really well
  10. Got lost in the weeds of random apps for random functions, the environment was becoming to large and entrenched to be managed remotely via a central console.
  11. Built an extensible console for managing the environment in part.
  12. Build Cache flushing tools
  13. Learned how to compile bash apps at the command line using shc
  14. This gave birth to a number of cool tools, remote fail-over tools that interacted with Cisco devices for example.
  15. The Web Console built earlier evolved and got better and better.
  16. Built automated localized monitors that could restart hung applications before remote monitors could catch the outage.
  17. Built automated localized monitors that could restart hung applications and NOT cause two systems to restart simultaneously.
  18. Installed DD-WRT a few times, lots of fun.
  19. Gave up some weekends
  20. Gave up some sleep
  21. Gave up Family Time
  22. Gave up Long Weekends
  23. Built a custom log handler for Apache logs, produced delightful daily csv from an environment, imported this into MySQL and created views to deal with that.
  24. Tried to hit the gym
  25. Got too busy for the gym.
  26. Trained up a replacement.
  27. Left things running okay.


Bash Script to read in a big text file and do something with it

At the office I often end up producing little scripts to do this and that and today I had to deal with a large file that was causing a custom app to bork. In short it needed to be read to the app in chunks; usually I have to do more prosaic stuff, but this is a neat little foundational app to get things done.

I needed this today to solve a very basic problem, maybe you can use it too


declare -i RESET=0
declare -i TOTAL=0
declare -i LINES=$(cat $1 | wc -l)
echo -n > somefile

while read LINE ; do

	if [ $RESET -lt 1000 ]; then
		echo $LINE >> somefile
	   somecommand -file somefile  | mail -s "Output from somecommand" 2someguy@somewhere.koo
	   echo -n > somefile

	if [ $REMAINS -lt 0 ]; then
	   tail -$REMAINS $1 > somefile
	   somecommand -file somefile  | mail -s "Final Run of somecomand" someguy@somewhere.kooo

done < $1

Housecleaning and Housecleaning and housecleaning

Ah bloggy;  it’s been a dog’s age.

When I’m doing nothing at home I think I’m wasting my time; and when I think I have spare time I waste it on podcasts and video games.  I’ve passed up inspiration a couple of times recently simply because I didn’t feel like committing more time to putting pen to pad (as it were).

Yesterday I moved my photography work off of and over to hosted on my rack here in London; rather than leaving it in Virginia.  That way my images stay on my hard drives; I should be doing a daily mirror of my site over to here too … hmm.  Maybe I’ll set that up today.

As for housekeeping on the for reals; I still have to move a proper doorknob onto the Spawn’s door (she has one but it doesn’t close correctly and I have a “spare” knob in the basement that locks like a bathroom door which should give her the privacy a teenager deserves (when she IS a teen in a few months) and the ability to keep the dog out of her room which she needs.

Our plants are really out of control too.  I cut a bunch of them back but I think I’ll spend some of the coming weekend just cutting more and more of them back as they are blocking the AC and so on.  This will be unpopular; c’est la vie.  I had to cut down a bunch of roses this Saturday to make our front porch habitable; so I don’t see any problem with just cutting back some greenery; it’s not like there will be a shortage.  I’ll size it up this Saturday morning and get it done before noon I guess.  Hmm, I need a better sprinkler too; I had better keep that in mind this week.

I think, save for a couple of patches where drainage is an issue; I have the back yard taking shape.  There is grass on about 98% of it now; as opposed to about 95% at the beginning of the year when we had a massive bald mud patch under the big tree (where the squirrel house used to be, but no longer is).  It took two runs with seed and coverings to get the grass to really take in the patch; especially with how shady it is.  The front lawn however is dying, for lack of watering and just from being weak.  I think I’ll need to put way more into it in the spring.  I’ll seed it and cover it with straw before the first frost this fall and maybe I’ll get lucky in the spring.

Who knows; maybe I’ll finally get my hands on a ladder and get my damn eaves trough cleaned out before august?

Taking Care of the house

It was a good weekend to get out and see London and the surroundings, which is why I spent the weekend poking around the house and looking where I could fix things and so on.

I didn’t really get much done, what with spending Friday and Saturday fretting over a customer and the Sunday wondering if my basement was filling with gas after I *finally* managed to find the controls for the gas fireplace.  I get light-headed with worry when I think about it; gas flooding my basement and killing us all.  That thing is a hazard I just want rid of.  I’ll keep the one in the living room upstairs; but the basement one has to go.

Hung a few photos, realized that I have to dig out more of them to hang.

Our Yellow Roses have come and are going, fuchsia ones are growing along the path and Champagne and White are on the way.

On the other hand; it was a nice weekend for the sun.  I had to pass on a lawn mower, 75 bucks for a toro is fine, but I couldn’t swing it.  Maybe some other time.

When the mercury was hitting 80 I was in the yard

Spent a good deal of this weekend enjoying having a yard.

Watered and patched the front lawn a bit on Saturday; put down a ton of “shady blend” grass seed and covered it up with soil in hope that in about 2 weeks those bald patches will be covered in soft grass.  Watered it all down and enjoyed the cool spray; it was already 75 in the shade by 10 AM Saturday and Sunday!

The back yard took a bit more, as the gardener (Jen) wouldn’t leave her basement lair in the morning, so she ended up toiling in her dirt corner in the hot sun.  I spent some of this time tearing down the squirrel house from the big tree out back.  I’ve been spoiling to take it down since the day I noticed the squirrels in it; they alternated between it and our roof all winter and I’m tired of the the pitter patter of little feet, truth be told.  So I pulled it down and found it full of three things; dirt, fur and BEES.  GOD-DAMNED BEES!!! A whole colony of BEES!!!  RUN AUGH!  AHHH! BUZZZZ.

Yeah, I found a bee’s nest in the thing as I tore it down and spent about 30 minutes trying to coax them into abandoning the furry confines they had built into.  After poking and hoping failed, water and drowning appears to have won out.  As they (thumb sized, no joke) bumble bees left the pile of fur and dirt for me to spread them over my new grass seeds on the south (shady) side of the yard.

Every time I go back there I see more crap that needs to be taken out of the yard and I get depressed at the sheer volume of stuff that needs to leave; the former owners left us with a literal ton of garbage and random bullcrap to clean up, not to mention a couple hundred dollars worth of basic repairs and painting to take on when we moved in.

Look; I love that when I wake up and look out my window I’m looking at my yard; but all the repairs (we still don’t have a stove due to the broken glass there)  and the garbage cut the sweetness pretty hard.

Yellow roses and fresh cherries aside.

Sunday was nice, more watering more relishing the spray.  More beers in the heat of the evening.  Pad Thai for supper.