This is where I think out loud.

Saturday Jun 6, 2020 00:00 am

Trying to Recharge

I grew up brown, living in the south. I've been called every iteration of the N-word that comes to mind. I want to be out protesting with the black lives matter movement.

I have a problem, though, with being on the at-risk list for Covid-19. I still don't feel comfortable going to the store, much less being around a crowd of protestors. I'm proud to say that each of my three kids is out there each day. They are representing our family while I stay out of trouble.

#blacklivematter

My big contribution was helping my daughters make some signs for when they go. I wish I could do more.

Thank you, kids, for doing what I cannot!

I have been getting back into drawing cars again. This time I am working on a Porshe. I will be posting it soon, so be on the lookout.

Monday May 18, 2020 00:00 am

Getting Windows Back

This weekend I casually updated Ruby on Rails on my MS Surface pro. I then tried to run Jekyll so I could update all the things I STILL want to work on here, and it blew up in my face with all kinds of GEM errors.

It wanted me to run a specific version of WDM just for windows, and when I put that line into my local GemFile, it blew up again. Call me flummoxed at that point. I clapped the laptop closed and went about relaxing for a bit.

That is when I started thinking about how long I've had this laptop. It's been at least three years. I have read online that many people have issues with Gem versions being out of sync, so I went back to that infernal machine and checked my Ruby Version. On Windows Ruby gets installed right at the root of C: drive, so it quickly became apparent that I have six different updated versions on my drive. All installed in the same directory. All were trying to use or install a different version of the MSDEV environment.

My computer was running slowly anyway. So I did what any self-respecting former IT folk would do, and I wiped the machine. Little did I know that the MS Surface didn't like being wiped. The MS Surface prefers that you use the Windows Reset utility in settings. In my mind, that is not a real wipe. I want HD formatting and partitioning—zeros writing over data. I want an actual wipe, not just an OS swap.

As it turns out, it wasn't that hard of a task. Microsoft has a resource that you can download right from the surface product page. It is a utility that will make a bootable USB stick with a little program that wipes the drive for you. Boom, download, install, reboot, wipe, record scratch!

That little utility left my drive with one partition on it that the Windows install disk would not recognize as a boot disk. So when I booted from the Windows 10 install USB, then tried to partition the drive, it spewed disk errors. When I dropped to the CLI, good old Diskpart showed me one big MBR partition. One clean command later, I had deleted that partition and left just a clean formatted disk. Doing that allowed the Windows disk to take over that task, and partition the disk however it wanted. That worked, and so did the clean install of Ruby.

My Jekyll install works again, and I can post articles from my surface once again. You are looking at the result. Now I can concentrate on cleaning up all this code and getting to work on Protozoa again. I have so many ideas. :-)

Tuesday May 12, 2020 00:00 am

An Unexpected Delivery for my Birthday.

Full Disclosure. Ever since I was a little boy, I have enjoyed building lego. I wanted to experience that feeling again as a present to myself for my 50th birthday.

I have had my eye on a couple of kits for many years. I know what you are thinking. He must want a Star Wars kit. Who doesn't want an Imperial Star Destroyer or the Millenium Falcon? I do, and maybe someday I will get those, but US $700 no. I have always had my eye on the James Bond DB5 and the Birds kit. I was surprised to find that they are on the endagered kit list.

I went straight to Lego to get the James Bond DB5 Kit. I wish you luck trying to find one now, but I got one and could not wait to start it, so I did. Welcome to the pandemic.

The Bird Kit was another story.

Lego retired the Birds kit. That made it extremely hard to find. It is one thing when they are just out of stock, they always come back, but once a kit is retired, that's it. They become hard to find, or worse, extremely expensive. I finally found it on an online toy store for the original price, but even that became a rollercoaster of emotion. The website showed three available. I went all the way through the process of purchasing it, and then I noticed they took my money out of my account. That is always a good sign. It usually means the shipping notice is soon to follow.

That is not what happened. What happened was five days later, I see the money refunded into my account. No update email; they just gave me my money back. Sucks, but I waited patiently for the update email telling me I had lost the item. It was two days after the refund that the company once again took out the money from my account. Then a shipping email came. After two more weird shipping delays, I was having doubts about whether I would ever get the damn thing.

Yesterday, as I was finishing up the James Bond DB5 kit, I heard the ring at the front door. It was the birds kit. A little worse for wear on the outside, but still intact with lego stickers holding everything tightly closed. I am a little melancholy that this delivery will be the last of my pandemic 50th birthday presents. Now all I have left to do is have a party. jk! :-)

Monday May 11, 2020 10:40 am

That Feeling You Get While Waiting for a New Lego Set to Show Up.

I am on the finishing stages of the James Bond DB5 kit which is one of two I ordered for my birthday.

The other has taken a really long time to find, then get to my house. I know it's kind of hokey, but I ordered the set of three birds kit, and am really excited that I actually found one online. It being a discontinued kit, I was surprised I finally found it, and got to order it. So many times it would find a listing only to find the product sold out. Patience worked though, and I am hoping to recieve it today.

Thursday May 7, 2020 23:40 pm

Well—I WAS going to use Wordpress

In the interest of keeping up to date, I was going to use Wordpress for the vanhoof.us website. Then I installed it. It has been a couple of years since I played around with it. I was surprised at how much has changed. The new page builder is fresh, but not my style. I tend to write things very fast using HTML. I get enough of those click tunnels at work that I don't need them in my personal life too.

That aside, I figured I could just set up the website once, and forget it. It is somewhat of a placeholder anyway, right. Boy, was I wrong.

The upkeep is insane. Each day I got another notice to update a plug-in or theme. I was building the site, and the updates just kept on coming. This was supposed to be an easy thing to maintain, but I guess THAT is what changed to most about Wordpress. It used to be that. Just something you could throw up on a server to keep your content up to date. To play around and learn PHP, to mess around with CSS. Now that it's grown so popular, I feel it has warped away from that. This is now more of a small business tool. This must be maintained for security purposes. Wordpress is now an unwieldy beast! Maybe I'll change it to a Jekyll site like this one. Perhaps I will find another static site generator to play around with. Only time will tell. :-)

Sunday Apr 26, 2020 12:40 pm

Getting Over Those Doldrums

I am an introvert and have found that my current job works well with that. That does not mean that this pandemic and the resultant social distancing that came with it hasn't affected me. I loved going places with my family on the weekend. During the weekdays, we used to go out to dinner at least one night. Now that's gone, and I am starting to feel a weird pressure. That call to create something that each creative starts to feel. Being still and not spawning something form nothing starts to grow this uneasy feeling inside of me. Like I am doing something wrong. Like I am skipping life, or not growing as a person.

The motivation helped bring this blog back like a phoenix from the fire, and will hopefully get me started drawing again. I have been working so much lately. My life has not slowed down at all. If anything, it's gotten faster. More complicated. We are all together in a small space dealing with each other's feelings. It's tough.

I am currently spending my time getting over the technical humps of moving this blog off of github.io. Hosting with Github is not a bad experience. It is a layer I do not need. I have had a hosting account for as long as I have been a father. Why do I even need GitHub in the picture? So time to simplify.

I am still using git, just locally on my code. I am also moving everything off of ianvanhoof.com and thinking wider. I purchased vanhoof.us, and plan to host ian.vanhoof.us as a subdomain. Time to get the graphics moved, and then tweak the codebase, so the fonts don't break anymore.