mashoo
mashoo
2017-09-13->????-??-??

Wonderful autumn day

Just as I was beginning to enjoy having some colour in my cheeks after my latest iron infusion, over five days I seem to have bled it all away. I am ashen again. That is a shame; for some time, the tap inside me had seemed quite closed; and then the iron really seemed to be making a difference; some of my symptoms were lifting for the first time this year and I don’t remember the last time my face looked healthy.

However, today has been a splendid example of early autumn.

Not only has the sky been blue and the feeders covered in baby finches — mostly gold; a few green — but, when I have endeavoured to save the wildlife from the fire, some of it has been quite pretty. I have browsed ‘britishbugs.org.uk’ and I think one of them might have been ‘aradus depressus’, a common flatbug, known for living under bark.

Also, I have been enjoying vivid memories of sweet things from the past; I forget what now, but the sweetness was real.

My brain has been on good form in other ways too. I have been more focussed today than in the recent past; more organised and better at simple problem-solving, including at the piano.

And then, while tinkering with my blog software, I began to listen through my old radio recordings. That too took me back to happy times. I have been able to appreciate such reminiscences (somewhat) in recent years, but this time something inside me warmed to what I was hearing, in a way that made me think that I could once again live and love, the way I used to.

I browsed that old radio stuff using my blog’s new search feature. How conspicuous was the gap in audio recordings between 2011 and 2014! (And then another gap to 2017.)

I also searched for G3CAQ. It was good to see on a single page my radio recording and log alongside photographs from one of my meetings with Bill and that time I walked through Codsall during that mad New Year of walking everywhere.

This is also the time of year when — in healthier times — I would be called by the sea and therefore go to stay with Gran and Gramps. I do not feel quite so moved to see the sea now — the Gran and Gramps option is of course no longer available — but I do feel closer to it than I have in a while.

What a lucky boy I was.

0000aa60 | 2017-09-13T17:07:22Z | beauty, health anaemia, health crohn’s disease, people brenda, people trevor, radio, weather, wildlife

Longest stay at another place (with no radio!)

This morning, I dreamed of trying to get hold of Gramps on the telephone. From what I can tell, he was retired, widowed and newly-employed at a large shop.

The man who answered the phone was Indian (or something) and could hardly understand my English. Eventually he got the gist, but I suppose I did not manage to speak to Gramps, because I cannot remember doing so.

At another juncture, I visited his place of work: a large, low shop on a single, white floor. The location somehow felt like Cowbridge Road, though the high buildings and view up the street suggested a rather compact market town.

Inside the shop, I recall lounge suites and a partition wall about halfway back, with a few steps leading to a higher level. Perhaps Gramps would be way at the back of the place, beyond those steps, but again I failed to meet him.

As with previous dreams of Gran, though it was nice to have a lost loved one restored to the world, Gramps’ presence (or absence) was rather grey and lifeless.

When I rose this morning, the sun was on the ‘Gran’ figurine in the sitting room fireplace. I would like to have photographed it, as counterpart to the ‘Gramps’ picture, but I needed a piss and missed the opportunity.

One more dream moment, from one or two mornings before. I had been reading a letter or probably a card from Jessica. Near the end was a message in a square, which said something like, “I started to cry. I miss you.” The emotional words and patchwork layout are typical of Jessica, though the shape of that windowed message was rather ordinary for her. (Jessica and I have not exchanged letters in years.)

A week ago (Sunday), I accompanied Ma and Pa to another place for a few days of chores. I ended up staying until Saturday morning, when Ma and Pa had done their Clare Short and curry evening and we all returned to Wolverhampton.

Before setting out from here, I decided to leave my radio gear behind, since my insistence on blogging the radio highlights of each visit seemed to be hindering the progress of other things (as this is now!). On this occasion, instead I took Pa’s computer, intending to use it to enhance my blog software.

Despite having felt somewhat shaky when we arrived, I rose early on at least three occasions during our stay, and spent a few hours on the computer in the river room, with green tea and lemon and ginger infusions to keep me warm. (I could not remember being so motivated, let alone several times.) I revised my blog’s ignorant SQL, learning a few things about joins and subqueries along the way.

There is no wired internet connection at the other place, so all my computing was offline. The lack of internet probably helped to keep me undistracted, though I did play the occasional frame of snooker on foobillard, to give my brain a breather.

Another feature of our stay was red meat. I had declined it for years, for the sake of my gut, but, since starting medication this year, I have relaxed my old rules, in case doing so might boost my health. I am not happy about it, but this is the way it goes, when a chap has let himself become sick.

When we dined at home, it was pies and pasties from Beaman’s on the High Street. There was no red meat option at breakfast, so I just cooked poached eggs every morning, while Mum cooked tomatoes beforehand, for me to add to her plate and Pa’s before serving.

The tomatoes came from the plants Ma had had delivered earlier this year. Throughout the summer, they have come to dominate the view from the garden room and seem to have produced a bumper crop. The plum tree was less lucky this year, finally succumbing to the weight of its fruit and splitting.

Before our arrival at the other place, Pa had taken delivery of a new television and a Blu-ray player. We could not get a signal from the terrestrial aerial, so settled for Hitchcock films and whatever was hanging around on Pa’s computer.

Since I had fallen asleep in front of the telly on our first night, I expected that I would continue to do so, especially in view of my early starts. However, I would last quite well, until Thursday evening.

On Tuesday, Pa heard on the radio that the weather would be fine all day. Despite having planned to leave our visit to the Severn Valley Railway until later in the week, we decided to seize the day. We rode the length of the line, enjoying pints of beer along the way.

Wednesday brought our second Blue Ginger gourmet night of the week. Having tasted Mum’s Lamb Karahi on Sunday, I made that my choice and was not disappointed. Though it was not as spicy as my usual sort of thing, I can imagine choosing it again and again.

On Thursday, after completing a chore or two, we decided to take the Severn Valley Railway again. That was good, though already I seemed to be weakening. The pints of Erlestoke Manor were good though, as was the Hobsons Mild on the way back.

On Friday, I remained tired. The tiredness was joined by a somewhat-obstructed gut, which eventually confined me to bed and then kept me from having an appetite for dinner. I listened to a nearby pub singer for much of the evening, snoozing once or twice.

Then and throughout the night, steam engines could be heard, as the Severn Valley Railway ran its Autumn Steam Gala. That was great. It had been an option to ride a night train with Pa after his evening engagement, but I did not feel like even rising from my bed.

So what were my chores? I fitted a staple to the bathroom wall, so that a chain could be passed through the handles of a cabinet and secured with a padlock. Another drilling job was to fit a key-safe. Yet another got postponed, so instead I entered the cellar, to measure the run between satellite dish and garden room. Oh and I assembled another couple of barstools.

And so this was a very different stay to my first two. I was content to be without my radio gear, though I wish I had remembered my little bedside Roberts. Instead, I borrowed Ma’s old beside clock-radio, which I left tuned to a Spanish medium-wavelength that I had used to listen to some years ago in bed, when my anaemia had first begun to pinch.

I think it was on the Tuesday night that Messi kept scoring for Barcelona, resulting in frequent interruptions to the chat show. “Gooooooooolllllllllllllllllllll!!! Gol-gol-gol-gol-gol-gol!!! Messi, Messi, Messi! Argentina!”

As I said, I did not miss my radio gear, but on that Friday afternoon I did find myself staring at the empty fishing line. For the first time that week, it occurred to me that it might be quite nice to have a quick dabble on the air. Perhaps that was perfect timing: a little fancy, just before leaving, to bear in mind before my next visit.

0000aa61 | 2017-09-24T12:28:49Z | computer, dreams, health anaemia, health crohn’s disease, people brenda, people jean, people jessica, people paul, people trevor

Thomson dream | Rallying health | Diwali

I must go early to bed more often. The dreaming benefits can be significant. Last night, everyone went to bed around ten. This morning, I went for a piss and then dozed.

I dreamed of watching an Australian sports presenter on TV, who flobbed on the pitch while addressing the camera. I woke amused and went to tell Pa.

(But I was still asleep.)

The house was at once well-lit and deathly dark. Perhaps Ma was ironing in the hall.

In the study, Pa’s computer screen was set high on the south wall, approximately where the right edge of the doorframe is. The screen was full of windows appearing and disappearing, as if under the influence of a virus. The background was black; the foreground a light shade of purple. The windows seemed to be terminals; the desktop environment perhaps non-existent. I suppose I moved to fix the issue, but I don’t remember any more.

In my final dream, I was with Ma in a house on a hill, perhaps in Spain. The room was white, with a white corridor to the left of a window. The window overlooked a wide plain beyond some woodland and a road which passed the front of the property. The corridor led toward a driveway.

My memory of the event begins with a car (in the room) reversing into the wall, to the right of the window, and disappearing down the corridor. The hole left behind in the wall began to glow with the manifestation of a baby boy. The boy became increasingly more material and then began to grow. When I reached out to touch his hand, I was surprised. “I can feel you!” I exclaimed. I remember the sensation vividly.

Perhaps I lifted the boy out of the wall. Soon, he was standing in the middle of the floor, ageing all the time. I lowered myself to his level. Having noticed his Thomson t-shirt — the name over the logo on his chest — I said, “I see you’re Thomson. So where are you going to take me?”

“It doesn’t matter, because you’ll be dead in fifteen minutes.”

“I’d better wake up then, and say goodbye to people.”

As I broke out of the dream, a sly satisfaction had crept across the boy’s face.

I meant to ask Ma and Pa this morning whether Thomson Holidays had been in the news, but forgot before they went out to a lunchtime concert. Later, by the stove, Ma read to Pa out of the ‘i’ that Thomson was now Tui.

After some wobbly weeks, I have lately been feeling a little stronger. A few weeks ago, my weight would be 68 kilos one day and 67 the next. Over the last few days, it has been consistently 68; today, it was 69,5.

What changes to my diet might have occurred? My toast, which has for some time been delayed after breakfast, has recently been doubled, so that it has more of the bulk of a proper lunch; I expect the extra bulk keeps me from salty snacking in the afternoon. After years of a restricted rotation of evening meals, I have begun to eat whatever is going, even eating the odd pizza. After that, instead of just hydrating before bed, I have also been drinking peppermint & licorice infusions from Aldi and Clipper Organic tea (from bags).

I seem to have shaken off my cold, but my throat still wakes dry. Pa seems better too, but Ma’s symptoms keep flaring up.

The city rumbles with Diwali.

0000aa6d | 2017-10-19T13:41:59Z | computer, dreams, health anaemia, health crohn’s disease, people jean, people paul

Early audio tape makes sense | Girlie dream

‘Top of the Pops 1984’ on BBC Four has just reached the point where it is making sense of the odd snippets of pop music on one of my earliest home-recorded audio tapes. I have the impression that I was always ignorant of the music and the people who sang it, because so much of it seems strange in retrospect, but perhaps I have just forgotten the way I was.

I recently recognised Laura Branigan’s ‘Self Control’ from my tape; and now I know — that cool riff is from Nik Kershaw’s ‘Human Racing’.

I had ‘Human Racing’ in my head overnight. At one point, the ‘lointain’, ottava-sopra broken chords from ‘Oiseaux Tristes’ arrived and called quite neatly over the top of the song.

That was probably when I was awake for ages after taking a massive shit. I think Pa’s handling of last evening’s pastie might have been the cause: dumped on granite worktop after defrosting and then insufficiently heated in the oven. (It was tasty though.)

Also, during that time awake, I heard them across the road return home from Lanzarote, but in my stupour I could only think of burglars.

Later, I had a dream of which I can remember only one part: petting one of two girls — a short-haired blonde — in a woody indoor pool.

0000aa6f | 2017-10-21T11:02:11Z | beauty, dreams, food, music piano, music, people paul

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severn valley railway, between kidderminster and bridgnorth

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Approaching Bridgnorth on Severn Valley Railway

This soundtrack is mostly train noise: chuff, clickety-clack and whistle. The others had eaten their pasties and pie in the pub at Kidderminster station, so perhaps everyone had his beak in his beer at this point.

We had collected Huw from Kidderminster and were chuffing home, sitting in a compartment with plastic pints of real ale. Some of us were drinking Bathams. I had selected Hobson’s Mild, feeling still a little delicate after day one of Peter’s visit.

0000aa83.opus | 2017-11-11T15:05:53Z | railway | audio | alt

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severn valley railway, between kidderminster and bridgnorth

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7714 passes Bridgnorth platform 1

Huw makes his own movie. Pa points out that these pannier tanks used to haul Valleys trains. Peter’s coat and nose appear near the end.

0000aa85.webm | 2017-11-11T15:24:55Z | people huw, people paul, railway | video | alt

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Paul smelled Lynn Davies’ fart

At the White Lion, Bridgnorth, Pa tells us of a famous fart he once inhaled in his father’s Austin 8.

Having shared the table at the back of the bar with two local women, now we had it to ourselves. The atmosphere was rather close, but at least we were warm.

0000aa87.opus | 2017-11-11T16:18:27Z | people huw, people paul, people trevor | audio | alt

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Peter and Paul eat pasties and pies on the train

We were awaiting departure on the 02.35 from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. Peter and Pa’s table looked splendid with its food and beer. In the absence of my camera, I made a quick movie on the Q3, so that I could keep a still image of the scene. The table is rather over-exposed, but it is nice to have a picture of Peter. Pa looks like a greenfinch.

0000aa89.jpg | 2017-11-12T14:24:26Z | people paul, railway | photo

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Clear sky and trees on arrival at Hampton Loade

Somewhat leaning over the slumbering Peter, I captured this through the slit of the slightly-open window of our first-class compartment. Lamps are lit, as is the signal box.

0000aa8b.webm | 2017-11-12T17:06:57Z | railway | video | alt



Trying to record DMU audio at Hampton Loade

Pa had suggested that I attempt to record the sound of an old ‘farter’, but I ended up with just more chuffing.

(When deciding in Wolverhampton to bring the Q3, I did not think of the microphone windscreen.)

The whistle at the start seems to make me jump. It activated the Q3’s gain control too, which I have tried to counteract in producing this file.

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Weekend in Bridgnorth with Peter and Huw

In late September, Pa arranged a weekend in November with his old pal Peter, who had expressed an interest in seeing the new place. He then invited me to make it a double date with my old pal Huw. That weekend just passed.

The dates we chose meant that Ma and Pa still would not have attended the Great Western Beer Festival in Wolverhampton, which was scheduled at the same time. However, we did manage a brief visit to that pub before collecting Peter from the station. I had a black APA and a Kinver Black Ram.

Once we were in Bridgnorth and Ma had set out for Cardiff, Pa and I introduced Peter to The White Lion, where he settled on an old-fashioned beer called The Usual. Then we gave him a tour of some other pubs, without stopping; at The Kings Head, an employee greeted Pa: “Hello again.” Pa later revealed that he had not noticed this greeting, but that he understood its meaning. When Pa had arrived with Ma and John and Paul for a meal, their table was not ready. Pa extracted from this employee complimentary Camparis all round.

After a few at The Black Boy, we returned home for Ma’s spag bol and wine. I was a bit poorly overnight; the potential causes were numerous, but I think I should just blame myself.

The next morning, Pa dressed two plates with ham and tomato. I completed them with eggs and toast. And then we walked to the station to catch the 10.50 to meet Huw in Kidderminster.

On our way, Huw texted Pa to say that his train had broken down at Cardiff! However, his bad luck did not last and he arrived at The King & Castle just an hour late. That was fine, since he still had time for a pint or two before I bought pints in plastic to take on the train. He had been looking forward to Bathams and ended up having my whole pint after his, since I was feeling somewhat delicate after Peter’s first day in town.

Once we were back in Bridgnorth, I suppose it was The White Lion and The Black Boy again. In the course of our perambulations, Peter got some more wine in, prompted by Pa to buy a house wine from Tanners.

Before home and Pa’s venison bourguignon, we sampled The Black Horse, where the last five minutes of Wales’ latest defeat to Australia were being played out. We sat under the television at the back, where we made more noise than the rest of the pub put together, especially when Hallam Amos’ try was awarded.

The previous evening, Pa had prepared spuds and Peter sprouts. Now, back at home, I cooked them, while heating up the bourguignon.

The comedy high-point of the weekend was when Huw returned to the dining room from the toilet and adjusted the light-switches, as if he were at home. Incredulous, Pa made a fuss, which gave us a laugh. As the laughter died down, he had another go, suggesting that perhaps Huw would like to rearrange the furniture a bit; and so on. Huw could not believe he had been so absent-minded.

Later, when Huw was in the toilet again, Pa disclosed that he had not laughed like that since the time out the back of The Goose & Cuckoo in Llangadog, when he had been similarly inflamed by the price of a bowl of Paul’s chilli.

We could hear Huw still creasing up.

The next morning, Sunday, I prepared smoked mackerel and scrambled eggs, before we headed into town for some pre-travel pints. We caught the cliff railway just as it was opening. It was, to my knowledge, my first time, though Pa said that I might have ridden it as an infant. Then we drank paddles of third-pints at The White Lion, except for Peter, who was set on his ‘Usual’. It seemed to be the barmaid’s first day; perhaps all those fiddly glasses were quite an ordeal.

There was not enough time for a further visit to The Black Boy, so we headed for The Railwayman’s Arms, where I found a welcome change from beer: a fizzy draught fruit cider, which featured rhubarb. That refreshed me enough to return to beer, buying Otter Poppy for the train.

As Huw’s arrival at Kidderminster had been delayed by the network the day before, now he was in danger of missing his intended 15:57 due to a late-running Severn Valley train. However, he sprinted and caught it with just a minute to spare. We watched it disappear, before we too set off.

The three of us each slept at some point on the journey back to Bridgnorth. After Hampton Loade, Pa went into the corridor to lean out of a window for the big chuff home.

The two ‘Black’ pubs were our stops before our splendid meal at Blue Ginger, after which we retired to the dining room with Peter’s second bottle from the day before. Since noone was fiddling with light-switches today, Pa got stuck into folk music instead, just as Peter was introducing his first song, which prevented him from upholding his end of our musical tryst.

I think 13:15 was our intended departure time the next day, in order to return Peter to Wolverhampton railway station. Ma turned up early enough to meet the two boys at the antique centre; in the end, we did leave on time.

After cheery farewells with Peter in the station car park, Ma dragged us to the Great Western! I had two Black Rams and we sat next to a table of friends, one of whom was the chap who had invited us into his reserved area at the Hogshead a few years ago to watch the rugby. He was pleased to have been remembered.

In greeting Jane behind the bar, I had noted how ironic it was that we should be there at the beginning of their beer festival and the end, but not at the festival itself. Next year, perhaps, when the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War promises an even grander event.

0000aa8c | 2017-11-16T10:25:42Z | beer, food, fun, music, people huw, people paul, railway, rugby

The battery had been exhausted after long disuse. I reset the camera clock when it reached 12:07Z.

0000aa97 | ? 2017-12-11T12:07:00Z ? | photography g2_time_diff



Garden under six inches of snow

We in Britain’s midriff got the amber weather warning, while others got only yellow. Sennybridge got twice this snow.

It has been nice to have so much light reflected into the house by the snow. The north wing also has a strange atmosphere, the snow on its Velux windows stopping most of the light.

The house has been similarly well-lit at night, the snow and clouds conspiring to reflect the city’s orange street-lamps.

Toby inspired me to take this photograph when he sent a couple of pics of his temporary radio shack — a portable receiver on a beach-side balcony in Thailand.

0000aa96.jpg | 2017-12-11T12:11:22Z | weather | photo

Comfort movies

Two nights ago, with the place to myself, I watched ‘Total Recall’ — again! I love it. It is so psychotic and fun; and Rachel Ticotin is gorgeous.

I had a good laugh at a few of the angry moments: first, the blonde doctor slapping her assistant, after the botched implant at Recall; and then just about everything that involved the big boss or his henchman.

The music is great too, especially the action sequences, which are super-energetic like Stravinsky.

Rachel Ticotin led me to last night’s movie – ‘Falling Down’, which had been in the can unwatched for weeks.

Compared to previous viewings (a long time ago), the direction seemed distractingly slack; once I was used to it, I enjoyed the show.

It was my pleasure to watch these movies wrapped in a big duvet, having turned the heating down once the place was empty. Only under such conditions do I fill my duvet cover with a duvet; when the house is warmer, a blanket is quite adequate.

0000aa98 | 2017-12-14T10:58:32Z | beauty, film

Crisp and clear and church

Yesterday, the beautiful morning and my feeling not bad resulted in my following Ma to church for the first time in six months! She was quite surprised when I walked in and sat down next to her, in her usual place, near Jane and Jan.

It was a rare day of feeling a bit well. Having seen Jupiter at dawn, I later looked it up on Stellarium, where I noticed that, at the time, Mars had been right in front of it! Coool...

Before Christmas, I was fed up with the the consumption of red meat just to get some iron in me. The way I am, I will lose the iron one way or another. And so I began to indulge my old diet. I cooked a dhal and, since the days of Christmas turkey, have cooked another dhal.

I am also trying to do without bread, and instead have taken up porridge again. I have a notion that it might be less abrasive to my poor old gut than the wholemeal spelt.

Anyway, at church yesterday, I found myself staring at my fingertips and rubbing them together. They seemed to have healed somewhat, in spite of the winter air. Perhaps it is just that I have been going out less, or that I use the right hand more.

Now that I stare at my hands again, I notice that the right hand is more cracked than the left, despite both having been digging into ash this morning. Perhaps that is related to my previous observation that my left is redder (more blooded) than my right.

(By the way, the Sunday I have been calling ‘yesterday’ was not yesterday, but the day before. I seem to have lost all sense of my Monday.)

The night after church, I went late to bed and then, after a little sleep, was awake for hours.

How did this strong day come about? Was it the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter?

“Let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years,” as my old friend Haydn’s Creation would say.


0000aaa9 | 2018-01-09T08:36:17Z | astronomy, food, health anaemia, health crohn’s disease, people jean

Quest for skinny software leads to Lubuntu

Using Pa’s little netbook with the broken screen had lately become a bit of a drag. Sending a quick e-mail or googling something had become a frustrating wait for Thunderbird or Firefox to load. Heaven forbid I should use the two at the same time!

I suppose I had put up with this situation for too long, but these days I am very slow in getting around to fixing things.

Finally resolving to speed things up, inevitably I became involved in something very time-consuming. In trying Fedora 24’s collection of lightweight browsers, I discovered that it was no longer receiving software updates. Fedora 27 had no version for Pa’s i386, so, in an effort to keep our machines on the same operating system, I downloaded Debian Live.

Unlike the Fedora Lives I have been accustomed to, the Debian live environment had no way of installing to the computer; the installers that were available would not show up on my external monitor.

I searched a little more and found Lubuntu 17.10. I tried it and its live environment did have an installer — Ubiquity — and I went along with that, first on my machine and then on Pa’s.

Ubiquity did not seem to have found my encrypted LVM. Not believing that it could be so unsophisticated, I proved myself even more unsophisticated by selecting an option which, without confirmation prompt, rendered my LVM partition unusable. I recreated my LVM and the computer spent a night copying the lost files from Pa’s machine.

I did some online searching, which revealed that I should expose the LVM with cryptsetup and vgchange, before running Ubiquity; and then I should set up the new root partition with an ‘/etc/crypttab’, chroot into it and run ‘update-initramfs -u -k’. That enabled the system to boot properly.

As with Fedora upgrades I have known, there was a lot of learning to be done at various levels, such as enabling apache’s mod_rewrite with a command called ‘a2enmod’. The internet was a big help, of course.

Stellarium cannot be bothered with this little netbook anymore. Perhaps some alternative graphics drivers would do the trick, but for now I am content to be back with Fourmilab’s ‘Your Sky’ service, like in the good old days.

There is no FooBillard in Lubuntu but FooBillardPlus. Unlike Stellarium, it will let me play, but it is horribly slow. I wish an old FooBillard package were available, because its last source code release (in 2010) is a pig to build.

LibreOffice Writer crashes on Pa’s i386, but AbiWord should fill in. I have not tried LibreOffice on the netbook.

Hibernation on Pa’s i386 remains a problem. Whereas Fedora 24 could not resume, Lubuntu 17.10 crashes about 20 seconds after ‘systemctl hibernate’.

Overall, Lubuntu is apparently being quite good to us, but I might give Debian another crack, even if I have to download the non-Live installation CD — to see if it still offers an ‘expert install’ option – and then go through the process blind, using the i386 installation process as a guide.

As for skinny software, I am comfortable enough with Sylpheed, and Dillo is a treat for simple, non-javascript browsing.

For tougher browsing, I had been trying Luakit and Qutebrowser, but they seemed rather slow. Just now, I timed the loading of my localhost’s phpMyAdmin in Qutebrowser, Uzbl and Surf; Surf loaded in less than five seconds, with Uzbl around eleven and Qutebrowser quite slow.

0000aaaa | 2018-01-10T12:55:00Z | computer

Installed Debian on netbook with broken screen

Having been initially scared away from Debian by its installer’s lack of output to external monitor (and its Live CD’s lack of live installer), I achieved an installation using speech synthesis + expert mode. The installer I used was ‘debian-9.3.0-amd64-xfce-CD-1.iso’.

Before taking the plunge on the broken netbook, I tried it on Pa’s laptop. There were a few obstacles; for each one, I found a solution, then rebooted and found the shortest route to repeat the solution, before making a note of it for later.

When the main menu came up for the first time, I pressed enter to select a language, then enter again to select English, then ‘14’ for United Kindgom and ‘14’ for United Kindgom again; finally another enter for ‘nothing else’.

Back at the main menu, I selected ‘4’ for keyboard layout and pressed enter to select the default ‘British English’.

Back at the main menu, I pressed enter for the default ‘5’ — ‘detect CD-ROM’ — followed by a wait and another enter to acknowledge the ‘CD-ROM detected’ message.

Back at the main menu, I pressed enter for the default ‘6’ — ‘load components’ — then ‘10’ for ‘network-console’.

Back at the main menu, I pressed enter for the default ‘6’ — ‘load components’ — then ‘16’ for ‘rescue’.

Back at the main menu, I pressed enter for the default ‘7’ — ‘detect network’; I forget the settings for that.

Back at the main menu, I pressed enter for the default ‘8’ — ‘configure network’; I forget the settings for that too.

Back at the main menu, I selected ‘9’ for ‘continue installation via SSH’ (or whatever it’s called). That enabled me to SSH from the other machine and complete the installation from there, which meant that I no longer had to listen to the speech synthesis; being able to see the installation would prove even more valuable when I came to perform the installation on the netbook with the broken screen.

There is not much else to say about the rest of the installation, except for the tasks not performed by the installer itself.

Before the ‘detect disks’ stage, I had to open a shell, which I think was option 24. When I tried to enable the installer to see the logical volumes on my encrypted partition — executing ‘cryptsetup open --type=luks /dev/sda2 lvm’ — I encountered an error that ended with the words ‘check that kernel supports aes-xts-plain64 cipher’. This seemed a promising thing to search for online; my search led me to ‘https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=641264’, where I discovered a suggestion to execute ‘depmod -a’. My cryptsetup command then worked and I could exit the shell and resume the installation.

At the end of the installation process (before rebooting), I had to enable the newly-installed system to find the root logical volume on my encrypted partition. For this, I used the information at ‘http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?t=112314&start=15’, which involved doing the following to the newly-installed system: mount it; mount the new boot partition (and other mounts) in it; chroot into it; register the encrypted partition in its ‘/etc/crypttab’; and execute ‘update-initramfs’ with the given arguments.

And then I could reboot and use the newly-installed Debian.

0000aaab | 2018-01-12T12:01:30Z | computer
matthew munro, still photograph, movie clip, audio clip