Out of Pocket

Lately I’ve been noticing that the kids nowadays have been saying “out of pocket” to mean someone’s doing something abruptly inappropriate or offensive.

And I’m here thinking, why is this usage so different from the idiom as I know it? I’m always on the side that any native English speaker is correct for idioms and slang. So I did a bit of research and it was a revelation.

Continue reading “Out of Pocket”

Just read books

Many years ago, there was something of a “moral panic” that kids were only reading Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine. You know what? Those are good, well written books and entertaining stories that got kids to read.

Kids ate them up, which is wonderful. Sure they’re easy and entertaining, but it just makes reading more facile in general.

Personally, I think Goosebumps books are great. Why should reading be hard or boring, read the fun stuff if you want.

When I was about 12 years old, some very sexy Harlequin romance novels circulated around my friend group. We would highlight the euphemisms for sex.

I once chatted with an adult literacy teacher, he’d give them porn books to read since the basic texts were so boring. Then they had practice with reading since it was interesting for them.

The goal with basic literacy isn’t about expecting most readers to interpret classic literature like an English Major. It’s about being able to read and understand forms and pamphlets to be a citizen. And hopefully read and understand news articles.

I earned an English degree in 1999. I read whatever the hell I want now and don’t have to write papers. I don’t fester with “serious literature” since I mostly find it boring and tiresome nowadays.

I read a lot of books. That’s still my passion since I was a little girl. And now I have the little weight of my University of Alabama English degree.

I love reading Steven King nowadays, he really is the best modern author.

Direct Admin Backup Exclusion

I store a bunch of Linux ISOs on my server to keep handy.

[root@miss ~]# du -sh /home/radioshack/domains/radioshack.tech/public_html/iso/
19G /home/radioshack/domains/radioshack.tech/public_html/iso/

But I don’t want all that included in the backup file. I added this and restarted directadmin:

[root@miss ~]# grep exclude /usr/local/directadmin/conf/directadmin.conf

Set up the backup exclude file:

[root@miss ~]# cat /home/radioshack/.backup_exclude_paths

And that worked to exclude all those ISOs from the backup file.

-rw-r----- 1 admin radioshack 179M Oct 2 13:02 user.admin.radioshack.tar.gz

I’ve researched and unfortunately there’s no global exclude file like in cPanel.

LuxCal Emoji Support

I’ve been playing with my new LuxCal calendar and tried to import an ics file that had emoji in it. Oops, the db is utf8, so I needed to convert it to utf8mb4 to support emoji.

I ran this in the SQL box in phpMyAdmin on the db:

SET collation_connection = 'utf8mb4_unicode_ci';
ALTER DATABASE radioshack_luxcal CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
ALTER TABLE mycal_categories CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
ALTER TABLE mycal_events CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
ALTER TABLE mycal_groups CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
ALTER TABLE mycal_settings CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
ALTER TABLE mycal_styles CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
ALTER TABLE mycal_users CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8mb4 COLLATE utf8mb4_unicode_ci;

And then added this to the [mysqld] section in /etc/my.cnf

collation-server = utf8mb4_unicode_ci
init-connect='SET NAMES utf8mb4'
character-set-server = utf8mb4

Restarted MySQL and the ics file imported with emojis! And now I can add emoji to calendar events, which is cute.

Wearing the exact same thing every day

Years ago, I was tired of the mental load of rifling through my closet and agonizing what to wear. Different clothes in different sizes and some stuff fit better than others as my weight fluctuates or what time of the month it is. I inevitably end up with “favorite” garments and thus don’t feel as good wearing the “less favorite.”

So what if I just bought multiple identical garments that fit well at all times and I’m always comfortable in. Stuff that’s easy to wash, dry, fold, and put up. When I get sweaty in the summer, just shuck everything and put on clean, dry ones and it’s the same outfit.

And then just buy everything in bulk from Amazon. Averaging it out, I’ve probably spent only about $50 on clothes and shoes per year for the past 5 years. Thus the cost to clothe myself in this fashion is rather negligible.

Back in the 80’s, I’m kinda embarrassed to say I wanted Guess, Esprit, all those name brands. And had a $50/month clothing budget for that, which was a lot back then. A pair of Guess jeans was about $80 and a denim jacket was $120. I found a lot of stuff at TJ Maxx for far less, but still.

And now I only spend about $50 per year on generic stuff from Amazon for all my clothes. I don’t want or need anything else.

The only analogous situations I can think of is wearing medical scrubs or the Steve Jobs style black turtleneck and jeans. Though that’s probably much more expensive than what I’ve bought.

I’ve been doing this “wardrobe hack” since before the pandemic and has been a comfort to me, knowing exactly what I’m going to wear every day, either workdays in the office or days off, without any decisions. When the stacks of little black clothes get low, then it’s time to do laundry. About every week or so.

Sometimes for special occasions I’ll pick out something quite different I find delightful at the time from my burdened closet, when it’s called for and I’m up for that thought process.

So, let me show you how I usually dress myself, if you’re interested.

Continue reading “Wearing the exact same thing every day”

Gaming Chair for the Smol Neckbeard

Started a fake blog about gaming chairs. Just kidding, I recently bought a new (very expensive) COMFY CHAIR.

So I finally decided to treat myself to a quality office chair. Being WFH, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, working 12 hour shifts “fixing servers” for a web hosting company. I’m not a gamer, but I like some of the gear, mechanical keyboards in particular.

Continue reading “Gaming Chair for the Smol Neckbeard”

Block outgoing email for a Direct Admin user

cPanel has a mechanism to completely suspend outgoing email for an account, which is useful when there’s a bunch of spamming going on. Particularly contact form spam when the admin of a site can’t or won’t disable or secure the form.

 root@host [~]# whmapi1 suspend_outgoing_email user=spamalot
   command: suspend_outgoing_email
   reason: OK
   result: 1
   version: 1

I have a stupid Joomla site that I keep around mostly to have a “stock” Joomla for comparison purposes. Everyone knows Joomla has a frequently abused contact form, so I don’t want this Direct Admin account to be able to send out email at all.

It’s possible to suspend outgoing email for an entire DA account. Log in as the admin user on the admin level, then go to

Dashboard -> Server Manager -> Adminstrator Settings -> Email Settings (tab)

You’ll see “ADD TO BLACKLIST” at the bottom. Click that, then enter in the DA username. Click “Add”

Save, then you’ll see the DA user has been blacklisted from sending email.

Try to send an email from the Joomla contact form and click the checkbox to send yourself a copy, this is what’ll be in the email log.

2021-02-27 18:19:55 1lG9oR-0003T6-My => blackhole (non-SMTP ACL discarded recipients): User account (crack) is not allowed to send emails.  Script delivery blocked via /etc/virtual/blacklist_usernames

And there’s the user in this blacklist:

[root@miss]# cat /etc/virtual/blacklist_usernames

That number string is just the UNIX timestamp.

Automatically share mps-youtube activity to a website

Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been using mpsyt as a command line player for music from YouTube. Revived a 2008 HP Mini netbook with Lubuntu as an auxiliary machine and needed something really light as far as resource usage. You can configure mpsyt for audio only and it’s vastly lighter than playing videos in a browser.

After a video finishes playing, it’s automatically logged here:

anna@anna-HP-Mini:~$ tail -2 .config/mps-youtube/play_history.m3u 
#EXTINF:2251,NEON CITY - A Synthwave Mix [Chillwave - Retrowave - Synthwave]

Wouldn’t it be fun to post that as an embedded YouTube video on a webpage so your fellow techs can see what you’re listening to during the shift!

I made a little script to generate the embed link and update that on my server.

anna@anna-HP-Mini:~$ cat scripts/embed.sh 

ID=`awk -F= 'END{print $2}' /home/anna/.config/mps-youtube/play_history.m3u`
YT=`echo 'src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/'`
CLOSE=`echo '"''>'`

ssh radioshack -T "sed -i '85s#.*#$LINK#' /home/radioshack/public_html/index.php"

Then set up incron to watch the log file, running the script when it’s modified.

anna@anna-HP-Mini:~$ incrontab -l
/home/anna/.config/mps-youtube/play_history.m3u IN_MODIFY bash /home/anna/scripts/embed.sh

The script updates line 85 of index.php up on my site, the src line here.

echo "server fixing music  ".date("F d Y H:i:s",
<center><iframe width="420" height="315"

And this is what it looks like on my website.

July reminds me why I fled Dallas

I don’t know if I could call myself a climate change refugee, but a big part of why I quit my job in Dallas to move back to Birmingham was the intolerably hot summers. I know Birmingham is the Deep South and it’s relatively hot in the summers here. July is typically the hottest month. But more often than not, an afternoon thunderstorm rolls through and cools things down. Birmingham is tolerably hot. Dallas isn’t fit for human habitation.

I took screenshots of the forecasts for the next week or so for comparison.

Birmingham is warm.  OK, hot.  But it’s survivable.  Maybe a bit sweaty.  You’ll live.  I’ve got a couple of window units, I’m all right.  And there are lots of big trees and greenery around here, it softens the atmosphere.

Note the temperature scale on this forecast,  the top is at 90.

Here’s Dallas. 

Goodness gracious, 109 for three days straight and triple digits from then on?  And no rain in the foreseeable future?

Again, note the temperature scale.  It’s at 110.

When I lived in Dallas, I remember looking at these summer forecasts with dread.  Triple digits and no rain.  It was miserably soul deadening.