Weekend of Power

How was your weekend?  Mine was fantastic.

Friday Jeremy and I jammed for a little bit, until he blew out the speaker in his makeshift guitar cabinet.  Still, it was fun especially since I hadn’t played the drums in about 6 months (because Jeremy was holding my set hostage).  Then I helped him record a few songs at his apartment, and that was super.  He’s such a good musician.  One of the songs was "Seasons Change" which is just pure beauty.  I remember 3 years ago when I first heard him play it and begged him to hurry up and get it recorded because I wanted to be able to listen to it again.  There’s been one "finished" recording of it already, on the first Owned and Operated EP, but I think he wants to get just a pure acoustic-and-vocals take recorded.

Anyway, recording is fun because you record one instrument at a time, so we did the guitars and then the vocals.  Of course the vocalist needs to wear headphones and listen to the guitar track as he sings, but since I was just manning the computer, I didn’t actually need to listen to the geet.  And it was really cool to just listen to him sing a capella.  But it was also hard to just sit there and not sing along to these songs that I love.  At one point, while I was humming at what I thought was an inaudible level, Jeremy stops and goes "Are you humming?!?"  Heh.  Sorry.

THEN, when we finished recording, and I got home around 3:30, I finished up a few things on my computer, and was going to get to bed.  But since I had to get up fairly early and drive home in the morning, I decided that I probably wouldn’t feel like showering and shaving in the morning, so I did it before bed.  Well when that was all done, at 5:45am, I heard a cat meowing on my back porch!  I opened the door, and the cat tried to charge right in, but I held it back so I could get a look at it.  At first I thought it was the same black cat that I saw walking around on Wednesday, but then I noticed that he had a slit in his left ear!  He also had a tiny patch of white on his neck/chest.  His meow was really different, but that could be explained by having been in really cold weather and from having been crying loudly a lot; his coat looked different (smoother and tighter to his body), but that could also be explained by having been in the cold; his face was thinner but that could be explained by not having eaten enough lately; his eyes were different (gigantic and too glassy) but that could be explained by having been in the dark and the cold.  The thing that convinced me completely was that although he was really friendly, rubbing up against you like there’s no tomorrow, he wouldn’t do it to my nose/face.  Every other cat we’ve ever had (and probably that I’ve ever seen) would do that, but CJ will not rub noses with you.  He’ll rub his nose on your arm, leg, foot, hand, or doorways, boxes, pretty much anything except your face.  That I’ve never seen in another cat, and combined with the slit left ear and tiny patch of white (many black cats have a white patch on their chests, but CJ’s is tiny -- literally about 15 hairs -- and he has no other white on him), I know it’s him.

So I gave him some fresh food and water, but he wouldn’t touch it.  So I broke out a can of wet cat food, and he tore it up.  He ate it so fast there were pieces of it flying around.  I don’t know how, but there was a big mess of it on the floor when he was done, splattered all around the plate.  After he was done, then he was willing to eat the normal dry cat food, and drink water.

He’s now safe and sound, happy as a clam, sitting in my lap as I type this.  He won’t tell me where he was for those 10 days either.  I asked him, but he’s being all shady about it.  You know how cats are.  I didn’t have time to post about it until now because my weekend was pretty packed (it was 6am when he came home and I hadn’t even gone to bed yet), and my mom beat me to it.

After sleeping for a few hours Saturday morning, I went home to attend my brother Rolly’s wedding reception.  It was at the Collegeville Inn and was quite fancy.  Margie’s dress was beautifully minimalist (not that there’s anything wrong with big fancy dresses, but this one was really nice), and she wore a thin white veil-type thing over her shoulders from the front, and those things combined with the way her hair was done made her seriously look like an angel.  Rolly’s suit was white (or an off-white/tannish color) and he was definitely looking Rico Suave; I think either I haven’t liked white suits other times I’ve seen them, or I just expect them to look silly and not-serious for some reason, but on Rolly it was perfect.  Tasha took photos and said she’d send them to me so I can post them, so I’ll do that.  I didn’t take my camera; I’ve never taken photos at a social event like this because I think I’d feel strange about it.  At a wedding it seems OK because there’s a pro photographer there, and everyone is taking photos, but at something less formal and more social I’d think it’d be weird walking around taking photos.  But since lots of other people did, and since there were disposable cameras provided at each table, it’s probably pretty kosher.  Maybe it’s also the fact that my camera is a mammoth compared to all these new tiny things that are out now, and a camera around your neck is a lot more obtrusive than a tiny little thing around your wrist.

Anyway... there was a live band, which was nice.  And the food was good too, it was a buffet, and who doesn’t love a buffet?  Mmm roast beef, and shrimp, and scallops, and pasta... On the funny tip, my Aunt Karen was at our table, and she tried to tell me that roast beef is the same thing as prime rib.  Therefore I don’t think she’s ever actually had prime rib.  She is also one of those people who, when you say that you don’t like fish, she responds with "but try the salmon, you’ll love it!!!"  Um, no, I don’t like fish.  "But you’re eating shrimp and scallops!!"  Yes... those aren’t fish.  That conversation cracks me up every time it happens, which is actually pretty often, which is troubling.

I rounded out my weekend with a double-dose of computer fixing.  My mom’s computer died 2 weeks ago (the power supply failed, and decided to fry the hard drive on its way down), so I had to install Windows and a few essential programs and restore her data from her external backup hard drive.  I had just installed this backup drive about 3 months ago, and good thing too, otherwise she would have lost all her digital photos and financial stuff and all her other data.  Tasha decided she should probably keep an active backup too, especially since she uses her computer for her business and needs to keep the files for 7 years.  So we headed down to Best Buy, picked up a firewire drive just like my mom’s, and set that up today.  I also installed Mozilla on her computers; score +2 for the freed-from-the-bonds-of-IE camp.


For those interested in backing up their data on Windows (see here for how to do it on Linux), here’s what I do.  Install a second hard drive that’s at least as big as your main hard drive.  This can be an internal or external drive; external is preferable because then you can turn it off when you’re not backing up, and because that helps to guard your data in the event of a virus.  Once you’ve got this second drive set up, as F: for example, then install xxcopy and run this command:

xxcopy c:\ f:\backup\c_drive /CLONE /Q1 /FF /PB /NX0 /YY /oNc:\xxcopy.log

This will copy your entire c: drive into the folder f:\backup\c_drive\ and it will log any errors to the file c:\xxcopy.log.  (For example, some files, like Windows registry files, refuse to be copied, so those will show up in the log.)  And the next time you run that command, it will only copy those files that have changed since the last time you ran it, so if you run it once a week, then it’s pretty quick.

For various reasons, including the fact that some critical files won’t allow you to copy them, you cannot simply take this backup drive and boot it and have it work just like the original drive did.  (Contrasted with Linux which naturally allows this by design.)  So if your main hard drive fails (as my mom’s just did), you’ll have to reinstall Windows and all your programs on a new hard drive.  But the point of the backup is to backup your data files, not your program files.  Programs can be reinstalled; digital photos, tax files, email, etc., cannot be; they are lost forever if you don’t have them backed up.  Also, it might then seem like a waste to backup the entire drive; why not just back up the data?  Two reasons: first, the size of the OS and program files is generally only a gig or two, so when backing up a 20 or 40 or 80 gig drive, that’s negligible.  Second, most people have files that they consider "data" in various places (browser bookmarks/favorites, files on the desktop, saved email, in addition to any files that the user manually saves from within an application, plus some programs save their data into their own program folder), so you’d have to run xxcopy a handful of times for a handful of folders if you wanted to try and exclude program files and OS files.  You’d be doing a lot more work for very little benefit (the small amount of space you’d save), or no benefit (because you probably shouldn’t be using that space on your backup drive for anything else).

Finally, use "Scheduled Tasks" in the Control Panel to set xxcopy to run once a week (in the middle of the night one day, for example).

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies


01. Nov 17, 2003 at 12:35pm by Rolly:

Thanks for the compliment A, but my suit was actually gray.  A very light gray.  I’m not sure if I have enough Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs attitude to wear a pure white suit:)

02. Nov 17, 2003 at 03:36pm by Anthony:

Heh... Miami Vice represent...

But nah, you misunderstood me.  When I said "white," by that I meant "a very light gray."  You know how it is trying to communicate over this newfangled intarnet thing...

03. Nov 20, 2003 at 08:57am by Margie:

Yeah, "newfangled intarnet thing" is right! I tried to post a comment on this piece three days ago and couldn’t figure out how to send the thing. Of course I know now, but,duh! I think I was on the last minute of my 15 minute break and trying to hurry. Anyway, I want to say I’m glad your cat come home. Also, thank you for the beautiful words about Rolly and me. You are such a good brother and brother-in-law. Kind, honest, witty, and cool:)

04. Nov 20, 2003 at 03:54pm by Anthony:

Well... shucks  : )

Brother-in-law... that’s right!  You’re now (well, as of 2 months ago, but it seems official now since there was a big fancy event) officially part of the crew!  Welcome to our family.

Well if I had to guess, I’d say it was probably the spelling-errors page that threw you off when trying to post before?  It’s probably not the most natural/intuitive setup, since you need to go back in order to re-post.  I just revised the wording on the spelling-errors page to make it more clear that the message didn’t actually get posted yet, and added a little 1-2-3 on what do to.

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