January Check-In

Normally, I only review my entire year to see how I did, but I thought I'd maybe check in at the end of each month. I may not do this again until the end of the year, but I had some time so let's take a look at how the year is going so far.

We've had a very, very mild winter this year (so far) and I think I've taken good advantage of it. This month, I've biked 139 miles which is a total that I'm pleased with. Sure there were a few days where I drove to work that I could have biked, but that's ok. Thanks to my smiley face calendar, I know that I've biked 19 days out of the month. I've driven my car on 14 days of the month. (Total mileage driven 34283-33788 = 495 miles.) On most days, I usually only use one or the other, but there were four days where I took out my bike and drove my car on the same day. Anyway, transportation-wise, I'm happy with how the month went.

I did finally get in to see a doctor about my knee and the good news is that she doesn't think I tore anything. She sent me to a physical therapist that I finally got to see last week. Her diagnosis is that my glutes are pretty weak. My friend Shadla now says that I have arse-thritis, which is pretty funny. Anyway, I have exercises to strengthen my glutes and to try to stretch my quads, which is something else she said I should do. I've only been doing them for a few days and haven't really noticed any difference, but I think it's far too early to make a judgement. Aside from the exercises, I'm avoiding squatting per my therapist and trying to take things easy on the knee.

My workouts have been pretty non-existent as all my focus is working on my knee. So that's one part of my month that hasn't gone as well as I'd have liked. Though I'm trying not to give myself too hard of a time about it. The other part of my month that I thought was going well was healthy eating. I really haven't eaten any candy until the birthday party yesterday when I had a handful of M&Ms. I had been pretty good about strictly eating three meals or if I did eat something between meals of skipping dinner. But since my weight has only gone down two pounds, it's not working as well as I had hoped. Since I'm not working out much, I need to be even more diligent about what I eat. I'll have to focus on that for February.

Those were the big things. For the rest of my resolutions, I think I'm doing fine. I didn't spend too much money on dumb things. Since gas is so cheap, I've spent less than $50 on the car this month. I did sign up for three bike rides (Tour de Troit, Tour de Lou and Bike The Drive), so entertainment was one of my bigger expenditures. I paid my property taxes, which is nice to get out of the way, as that's my largest bill around this time of year. I also decided to pay another extra $200 on my mortgage each month as a gift to my future self. If I keep on track, the place should be paid off in about five years. We'll see if I have the upstairs done by then. My guess is no, since I have yet to start on it. However, I did take a woodworking class yesterday which was pretty good. It was all about the different types of joints you can make. I think this will come in handy later.

Getting Started with Ubuntu

Just about all of the linux systems that I work on are a RedHat variant (Scientific Linux or Centos). But in the past few years, more people have been using Ubuntu, so I need to become familiar with it. And yesterday, I had to set up a system to help someone troubleshoot a board that we built. So here are some things about Ubuntu that I've learned recently. And just about all of this stuff is done using the command line because that's how I prefer to work.

Ubuntu doesn't let you su - to root. Instead it requires you to sudo before commands that you'd run as root. I personally find this annoying, but so be it.

To change the hostname, edit

To change a network interface to a static ip, edit:
If you want to change eth0 to be static, add a section like:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
dns-search example.com

Note that if you edit /etc/resolv.conf directly, it will get rewritten on reboot with the values here.

To install packages, use apt-get:
sudo apt-get install gnuplot

To update packages, use:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

To list packages installed, use:
dpkg -l (can use with grep to find particular packages)

To find a package (where you know the name):

[email protected]:~$ apt-cache search gawk
gawk - GNU awk, a pattern scanning and processing language
mawk - a pattern scanning and text processing language
dpkg-awk - Gawk script to parse /var/lib/dpkg/{status,available} and Packages
gawk-doc - Documentation for GNU awk
skktools - SKK dictionary maintenance tools

apt-cache search . --will list all packages

==Notes about getting the ubuntu client in our ldap domain

For NFS,
$ sudo apt-get install libnfs-dev nfs-common
(NFS mounts files as expected)

== The following stuff didn't work and I didn't have time to investigate further.

To try to join our ldap domain, try
$ sudo apt-get install ldap-utils libpam-ldap libnss-ldap nslcd
/etc/ldap$ sudo mkdir cacerts
$ sudo auth-client-config -t nss -p lac_ldap
$ sudo pam-auth-update

$ sudo pam-auth-update
$ sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart
* Restarting Name Service Cache Daemon nscd

So far, so good

We're three days into the new year and it's so far, so good. Tomorrow, I have to go back to work. I'm a little bummed that I can't wear sweatpants all day anymore, but that's ok. It'll be good to get back in the swing of things. I've taken short bike rides every day so far and am up to 11 miles. So only 2242 to go to hit my goal. 🙂 I've cooked some good meals (homemade pizza, eggs with pepper, onion and avocado) and some ok ones (roasted vegetables with noodles). I've also used up my blackened bananas by making banana muffins, which turned out pretty good. I went with Paul today to his bar and helped him clean up some wood. So while I didn't technically do a workout, I worked there for a couple of hours and got my heart rate up. My car has only been out of the garage one day. And since the weather looks pretty good, I'm hoping that the bike will get me to work for most of this week.

I've also been good about not doing anything for work this weekend. Quite frankly, I haven't done much of anything except watch The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the Bikes vs Cars movie that I bought. I read a little of the book that I bought myself before the holiday. Basically, I just tried to relax. Not my strong suit, but I do feel pretty rested. This is good because this week will be a little busy. For the past couple of years, I've taken every Friday off in January. I'm still debating whether or not to do that. Maybe I'll do it in February. Usually I'm taking some days off because I'm close to the maximum accrual. This year, I'm not at the max, but I'll get there by April if I don't take any days. Think I'll decide later this week.

I also took some time to look for more bike rides to do this year. Found two that I didn't know about. The Tour du Port (not sure why it's called this) is in Baltimore in September. I don't think the roads are totally closed, but the ride looks neat. There are different lengths of ride, but the one that looks the most interesting to me is the shortest one. "A family friendly 14 miles around Baltimore's Inner Harbor that includes designated bicycle lanes through historic neighborhoods and the famous National Aquarium rest stop." Riding through historic neighborhoods will pretty much get me every time. The second one, also in September (sigh), is NEOCycle. This is billed as "The Midwest's biggest urban cycling festival taking place September 11-13 on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.". The part that interests me is the Fundo ride. (Guess it's a play on Gran Fondo rides, but this one is apparently FUN since it's not timed. But since most people don't know what Gran Fondos are, I'm thinking this name might not make sense.) Anyway, they also have a short family (10 mile) ride that looks to go through downtown Cleveland. Could be interesting, but I'm thinking this is on the same day as both Detroit and Minneapolis and I think I'd rather go to one of those. But we'll see.

To 2016

Happy New Year!

As I've been thinking about what I want to do in 2016, a number of ideas have crossed my mind. Some are things that I've put on my list every year since I've started doing this and others are new. But, for me personally, it helps to write these things down to try to hold myself accountable. There's a very good chance that I won't accomplish everything that I want to do. And I'm ok with that. If there is something that I really want to accomplish, then I have learned that I need to check it daily. Last year, using my calendar to mark every day whether I used my car or not was incredibly helpful. Every single time that I was going to take out the car, I'd remember that I wouldn't get a smiley face for the day. And I have to say, I liked seeing a string of smiley faces. So, for the most important things that I want to do this year, I'm using the calendar. Everything else will just be a see how it goes kind of year. Or maybe I'll try to check in monthly on those. I'll see how it goes.

For some reason, I was trying to come up with a theme for the year. Why? I have no idea. I'm not really a theme person. Anyway, at first it was failure. Just let myself try lots of things and be ok with failure. That wasn't bad, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that uncomfortable might be better. I want to spend the year making myself uncomfortable. Life is pretty easy these days and I've been getting quite lazy. It's time for me to get uncomfortable and start working again.

Here we go. The big stuff that goes on the calendar. I bought a big new calendar and four colored markers to use.

  • Bike - If I make a point to ride my bike every single day, I'll definitely consider using it for more errands and things that I might use the car for. So I'm putting a blue smiley face (I'd draw a bike if I could) on my calendar on days when I rode my bike. Distance and time do not matter. A ride around the block will do.
  • Working Out - Last year, I combined my commute with working out. I pushed myself to ride as fast as I could and got a pretty good workout in. Toward the end of the year, I just started biking in slower and enjoying the ride more. That's fine, but then I definitely need to do something else as a workout. It could be lifting weights, going for a walk or even just stretching. I'll know when I'm biking if I'm pushing myself hard enough to count it as a workout. And if I'm not, I'll try to do something else. The workout will use the red marker.
  • Eating Healthy - This is without question my worst habit. My kitchen is done, so there is no excuse for me not to make decent meals and quit eating junk food. Junk food is definitely going to be my most-difficult habit to break. I have a feeling that I'm going to have to go cold-turkey (moderation isn't going to work), much like I did with pop last year. Smiley face in green marker for when I eat fruit or veggies with each meal.
  • Car - I want to continue my habit of not driving my car. So black on the calendar when I do take the car out. (Car stays in garage, no black on the calendar.) Like last year, I'll give myself a black smiley face if I drove to do something with friends or to help someone out. And a black frown for when I was wasteful, like just driving myself to work and back. And to track exactly how much I've driven, I'm noting that I have 33,788 miles on my car.

Those are the big things. Here are my other goals.

  • Knee - Something is definitely wrong with my right knee and it's starting to affect what I do. There were a few times last year when I wanted to do something, but passed because it required a lot of walking which would aggravate my knee even more. And I'm clearly favoring it because other parts of my leg and back are starting to hurt. I'm going to the doctor to have it checked out, but I have to do whatever is required to get this back to normal.
  • House - I spent a lot on the house last year, but didn't really do any work myself. It's time for me to get back into action. I want to finish all the little stuff in the kitchen and start gutting the upstairs. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I'll have one of the bedrooms done.
  • Welding - This has become the Sir Galaxy of my resolutions. (My brother Paul put Sir Galaxy on this Xmas list every year when he was a kid. Never got one though.)
  • Map Game - I've had this idea for a big map game floating around in my head for years. It would require me to learn a bit about electronics and perhaps get a circuit board made. I think it would be fun to build, but will definitely take time. I'd like to try to make a little progress on it this year.
  • Book - I've had an idea to write a book for how to set up openldap and samba as a windows primary domain controller. This is a pretty specific thing to do, so I wouldn't be a big money-maker. But I think it would be fun to write a book and then work out how to sell it online.
  • Celebrate Winter - I read this book Frostbike last year and loved it. One of the things they guy talked about is how winter is now thought of as bad. In the past, people just dealt with winter and lived as usual. But now, all people do is complain about it and it even shows up in movies as the bad guy. (Apparently winter is the bad guy in "Frozen". Didn't see it so I don't know for sure.) Anyway, he thought we should celebrate winter. Since I'm someone who does tend to hibernate in winter, I thought this was a good idea. So I'm going to try to get out more (that'll be uncomfortable) and celebrate winter.
  • Volunteer - Last year was a failure, but that's because I think I picked the wrong place. I'm not really a book person. I am a bike person, so I'll look into volunteering at someplace like Working Bikes.
  • Explore by bike - For the most part, I already do this, but I want to do it more. I want to bike around neighborhoods that I don't know, drive to different cities and explore. This year, I'm going to Montréal to the Tour de l'ÃŽle de Montréal. No excuses. I wanted to go last year, but didn't. I'm definitely in this year. I also have been looking up other rides around the country. I think there are quite a few. I'm going to schedule as many as I can. I'm hoping that this will be the bulk of the driving that I do over the year.
  • Travel - My family are big travelers. Me, not so much. But I understand that travel takes you out of your comfort zone and that would be good to do.
  • Get Out of the House More - I would not be exaggerating at all to say I'm a bit of a hermit. I like my house, where it's quiet and I can do whatever I want. However, to get uncomfortable, I need to get out and talk to people and do more things. I thought about trying to go out every single day for a month, but I can guarantee I'd fail at that. I can say that I'm fine with going out by myself, but I just don't do it a lot.
  • Build Up Savings - The roof took all of my savings last year. It's finally paid off, which is good. But I need to build up some savings again, in case of any other catastrophes happen.

I think that's pretty good. I've started off by riding to the lake today. It was cold and uncomfortable, but I'm getting a smiley face for that. My niece also called and asked me to pick up her and her friend from the el station and I did. So I'm getting a black mark today, but that's ok. I think it's a good start to 2016 so far.