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Jan 30, 2020

Momentous Day
last update: 01/30 @ 20:31

Sarah got this great picture of Robert and his temporary learner’s permit!

Look out; he’s on the road, behind the wheel now.

And pretty excited about it.

We just have at least 45 hours of driving time with an adult and 9 months before he can be driving on his own (and we can stay home and worry about him).

It’s possible there may be a road trip coming up for spring break…

Jan 27, 2020

Life is Good
last update: 01/27 @ 21:39

At least it is right here, right now.

Mellow evening; full tummies, fire in the fireplace.

And some marshmallow roasting instruction going on.

Jan 25, 2020

English Class
last update: 01/25 @ 10:42

Robert’s group is doing a short scene from Othello in English class next week. He found (in our basement) a suitable sized box to turn into a wall for their set. And after the rain quit this morning, he was giving it a couple coats of gray. It get’s handed off later in day for Kenna to add some detailing to it.

I’m sorry we’ll miss the production.

It was great fun to see him on stage at the Folger as the Moon back in middle school.

Outside of he’s enjoying being an assistant stage manager for a local theater production of Frozen Jr. Another show we’ve enjoying seeing.

Jan 10, 2020

Flumoxed … Resolved
last update: 01/10 @ 20:42

Feel free to skip this, it’s going to be geeky…

I’ve been running Bind as a DNS server for years now; both for our internal network and as authoritative for this website. It’s been stable and working fine for many iterations of DSL and now cable ISP service. It’s possible, though I don’t honestly remember, that I was running (an older version of Bind) way back in the Ricochet wireless modem days.

And I’ve always been a control freak so I’ve had it configured as the resolver for our internal network. If the query is not for something on our network, it goes to the root servers and tracks down the correct IP address.

So I was flumoxed when my Comcast service was upgraded and suddenly my internal DNS servers could no longer get resolution for external systems. The upgrade was meant to be simple: new modem, faster service. “This year’s deal.” And it worked fine for everything except DNS resolution — which means it effectively worked fine for public access of this site, but was significantly broken for our use here going out to the Internet.

My flumoxation was of the compound variety: a simple upgrade, which clearly didn’t break connectivity, did break that one key function. And rather than querying our internal Bind servers, if we queried a public DNS server, it worked fine.

But, being a control freak, our internal network is a different domain from the public network (but registered and paid for). And that domain is not published. So relying on public DNS would leave us blind to our intranet.

I had iftop running and was tailing logs and doing tcpdumps for wireshark and nothing was standing out to me as the problem. I just got status: SERVFAIL for external addresses and everything internal was fine.

As I was scratching my head and looking for better Bind debug options, I ran across the documentation for forwarding. Since I could query external DNS on the command line fine, I thought it was worth a shot (though not my preferred option).

That worked. I’m sending more traffic to (and I’m more reliant on) Comcast and Google’s DNS servers. But it’s working.

I would welcome explanations or theories, but now I’m just going to bed. I expect it’s something in the format of an “internal” query from Bind (following the path from the root name servers to the authoritative name servers) versus just asking someone else to do that leg work.

But first a shout out to Bill at Comcast. He was not able to point me to a fix, but he tried very hard and was as helpful as he could be. (And I know my situation is not very common.)

Jan 04, 2020

I take umbrage
last update: 01/04 @ 16:36

Long enough ago that I almost forgot about it, I got Robert a Meggy Jr. We had time this afternoon to find the soldering iron and solder, and with the rain coming in the afternoon, it seemed perfect.

Imagine my chagrin, as Robert was using the soldering iron I think I got in high school, when I read in the directions as it discussed soldering irons, “Seriously. If you use one that is old and busted, or a $10 radio shack iron, or that thing from the dollar store, please expect to spend at least twice as long soldering.”

For the record, the 40 year old soldering iron Robert is using does not seem to be holding him back at all.

And he is not one of those who enjoys the smell of solder (and yes, it is lead free solder — even from back then).

Spooky Afternoon on the River
last update: 01/04 @ 16:24

With 60+ degree weather in January, it seemed like an excellent time to go to the river.

Robert and Sarah were less convinced.

With the cold water and warm air, it was spectacularly foggy.

On the way back to Angler’s Inn, it was helpful to know where the takeout was as it was quite socked in.

And I can attest to the water being cold.

After taking on some water in the waves and getting pretty wet, I developed literal cold feet and decided not to do much surfing.

The level was nice, the wave on the Virginia side and hydraulic on the Maryland side were both fine. But I really didn’t want to get that wet and I certainly didn’t want to take an accidental swim.

It was very cool to be out in the fog though.

And nice to get back into my boat (I missed December).

Jan 01, 2020

last update: 01/01 @ 23:30

We drove up to Baltimore to visit the National Aquarium to start off the new year right. And we happened to be there when a volunteer diver was giving a talk in the main tank about sharks.

They have many (well fed) sharks — four kinds in this tank — and a green sea turtle, Calypso, who seemed at least passingly interested in the talk.

Robert’s plan, after seeing volunteer Amy and several other divers working in the tank, is to see what it takes to be volunteer diver there.

New Year, New Decade
last update: 01/01 @ 23:10

We were invited to a New Year’s Eve party with one of Robert’s friends a block and a half away. Will has a younger sister, so the party was geared to her group and had a balloon drop at 9pm (New Year’s in Greenland).

That gave us time to come back and relax before meeting the boys to go up to the Masonic memorial.

New this year, fake foxes (you can see some in the background). A bit off-putting at first, until you see what they are. And they seemed to work as there was less evidence of geese on the path or lawn.

The location is great for us. With the recent move of the Old Dominion Yacht Club, the fireworks were right down King street.

Alexandria does a very nice fireworks show. And having a great view 2 blocks from home makes it even more special.

The year, the weather was cool but dry and no fog. The fog last year made it seem very eerie: just flashes of color in the fog.

This time, the view was spectacular! We could see “our” fireworks and several Maryland cities across the river.

After the show, we did the normal:

Ran around the house three times with (empty) luggage.

Swept our troubles off the front and back porches.

Ate twelve grapes under the table.

And toasted the New Year!

Here’s to a happy, healthy, safe year and decade to come.

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