Tomasino's Gopher Hole Bun Day gopher://gopher.black/1/phlog/20210213-bun-day/
Sat, 13 Feb 2021 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
February 13th, 2021
Monday is Bun Day here in Iceland. Bollur, the buns of the day,
are sort of like cream puffs. Folks get jams and whipped cream and
mix them together and stuff the buns to overflowing, then smother
them in chocolate sauce. It's a healthy time!
There's also a super-duper Icelandic tradition with bun day that
many parents choose to not teach their kids. Early on Monday
morning children in the know will wake up early, sneak into their
parents' bedroom and WHACK WHACK WHACK them in their bed with
sticks! However many whacks they get in before the parents get up
is how many buns they get. Lovely!
Following Bun Day is a sort of Fat Tuesday-like holiday that
involves gorging yourself on all sorts of special foods that are
terrible for you. I forget the name of that one, but it's nice
Finally we get to Ash Wednesday. Here in Iceland Ash Wednesday is
the costume & candy holiday. Halloween is a relatively recent
phenomenon here and not very popular mostly because they already
have most of those traditions at the start of lent. Kids dress up
in all sorts of costumes, go to school that way, and then later go
around begging for candy. But here they don't go to individual
homes and say "trick or treat". Instead they go to businesses and
sing songs for their treats! If you head downtown to Reykjavik on
Wednesday you'll see this in full swing. It's really cute and so
strange to see bank-branded popcorn bags and the like.
Needless to say the next 3 days are pretty much party-time for the
kids. No school work will get done and that's a joy in itself.
Everyone is going to be on a crazy sugar rush. Good for them. :)
Wed, 20 Jan 2021 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
January 20th, 2021
A tangible weight has been lifted from my chest.
Thu, 31 Dec 2020 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
December 31st, 2020
Be it resolved:
This year I shall have a statue built in my honor AND torn down
Oh, and regarding that resolution from 2020...
Taylor Swift (featuring tomasino) - TomasWillow
Seeing Colors gopher://gopher.black/1/phlog/20201129-seeing-colors/
Sun, 29 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
November 29th, 2020
I don't know what possessed me to try, but I've been sitting here
for the last five minutes trying not to see color. I stared at my
Goodreads page (that's what was up at the time) and managed to get
the color to fade away in parts at a time but no luck on the full
color spectrum yet. The reds & greens were doable together, but
the blue is harder. If I focus on just not seeing blue then the
red pops back in.
Please don't ask me to explain what I'm even doing to try this.
The best way I can explain would be to say it's like blurring your
eyes, but they stay focused. Not helpful, right? It's also much
easier to do in the periphery than directly in the center of
vision. I understand we have more cones in the center of vision
than rods, so that's probably why. If I'm doing something to be
selective about that in good ol' brain meats, that would make
Have you ever tried this? Any luck?
Star Trek Discovery gopher://gopher.black/1/phlog/20201126-star-trek-discovery/
Thu, 26 Nov 2020 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
Star Trek Discovery
November 26th, 2020
Holy shit, this show is the worst. It's physically painful for me.
I was thinking about doing a systematic take-down laying out all
the failings in a logical way and truly sticking it to the
writers, but who has the energy for all that. Instead, here's
a rambling whine of why I think this is officially the worst trek
that has ever been.
First and foremost, Star Trek has always been an ensemble story*.
Discovery is a major departure for that and tries to lie to itself
that it's not. But James, what about the shaved-head pilot girl,
and the red-head, and the squid-faced guy, and the mushroom drive
guy and his husband the doctor? Fine. Name them. Seriously. What
is anyone's name on this damn show? Don't know, don't care. Nobody
gets more than half an episode of back-story except our darling.
Michael Burnham is the main character. She is, quite frankly,
a Mary Sue of the worst variety. Not only is every problem faced
by the universe something that she needs to fix personally, but
she will mutiny and disobey direct orders to do so only to be
forgiven time and time again because "she had no choice."
Bullshit. Utter crap. This character is relentlessly self-absorbed
and pig-headed. She acts recklessly and has gotten her own best
friend and captain killed in the process but learned nothing from
it. The worst of it is that she as this false modesty. "We'll do
it as a team," she says to the crew of nameless people after she
just went off solo and spoke for the whole federation without
consulting anyone on shit.
And what is with that? Everything Discovery does is saving the
entire universe or starting or ending galactic wars, the end of
all life, or some massive thing like that. The show starts out
with the Klingon wars which they either started or ended or both,
I can't keep it straight. Next up they're destroying empires in
the mirror universe and then I guess they ran out of history to
mess with so they've jumped forward in time so the Federation is
failing again so they can save it anew. This is a bad fanfiction
where everything needs to be the 100% most dramatic bullshit at
any moment. Why is one ship that nobody has ever heard of or
mentioned at all at the heart of every fucking event in history?
Why even mention the ship, how about we just mention Michael
Burnham, who has saved everything countless times and deserves
a whole planet to be carved into a statue of her. Except she is
also so meaningless that nobody ever mentioned that Spock had
a sister and she was human and did all this stuff. Yeah. that's
right. Spock's sister. Cause fanfic.
Okay, okay, so the plots are dumb and the characters illogical,
non-trek in style, and flat. But at least it's well constructed,
right? Well... sorta, except how the big bad Klingon lady in the
first season had such a shitty mask on she couldn't speak clearly
through it and everything came out muffled. Or there's the lens
flares on everything as if JJ Abrams didn't get his ass chewed out
over that a decade ago. Or silly things like having the saucer
section spin. Why does it do that? What purpose does that possibly
serve? And why does the ship flip upside down when it travels on
the mushroom super-highway.
Riiiiight, did I not mention the mushroom super-highway before?
That's the show's mcguffin right there. It can go anywhere
instantly. Nice, right? Except maybe that was a little too
powerful so we'll spend the next 3 seasons hamstringing it and
trying to backpedal.
There's just so much stupid shit I can keep going forever. In
tonight's episode, for instance, the captain decided that after
Michael Burnham's 53rd disobeying of orders he should probably not
make her his first officer anymore. So who should replace her? Oh,
what about the plucky comic relief ensign? She's literally the
lowest ranked person on the entire fucking ship. Let's make her #2
in charge, mmmkay? But she's obviously not cut out for it and is
gonna sweat over the decision. I know, we'll have everyone chime
in and tell her to say yes to the dress and it'll be this epic
moment of solidarity. *VOMIT*
And that brings me to my last point. Last not because it's the
last thing wrong with the show but because I'm too bored of
talking about this waste of time to continue. "The Epic Moment"
That's what this show tries to be. The Epic Moment, again and
again and again. Why? Cause that's what fanfic does. Jump from
amazing thing to amazing thing, let your Mary Sue save the day and
have Epic Moments. Monologue, YES. Threaten and then do some
badass fighty shit and win. Don't worry that your ship is
literally 1000 years old and a little kid's toy bike could take
out your star ship now, you've got moxie. And the Epic Moments
won't just be action and adventure, but heartfelt too. How do we
know? Well, everyone will whisper and tear up! Yes, even the
Mirror Universe queen of evil shit will have a soft spot for
Michael Burnham's ass because Mary Sue!
In all of this, in every single moment, nothing is earned. Michael
will get 1 episode to journey into the future and adventure
wondering where the Discovery is. The very start of episode 2 she
finds the ship and has a tearful reunion about how she's been
searching for them for a whole year. You can tell cause her hair
got longer. We saw none of it, felt none of it, and so the payoff
is flat. It's the same when we say a tearful goodbye to bridge
crew member #7 who I never learned the name of, but had a funny
mouth guard. It's all meaningless drivel without actual emotional
depth because they never invested in anyone or anything. We were
too busy jumping through mushrooms to the next moment of awesome.
Nate Cull on Mastodon had this to add:
I really feel that kids today (by which I mean most movie and TV
sci-fi writers) just have zero experience of working in
a competent functioning team and so they can't write stories in
a setting that requires there be a competent functioning team.
It's all gotta be "BUT MY PROBLEMS COME FIRST" and having loud
temper tantrums while trying to, eg, run an actual ship which
will explode if anyone pushes the wrong button at any moment on
I wonder if this is partly because having a career in movies or
TV writing is something that only spoiled rich kids can afford
to do nowadays, and so they literally can't comprehend what it's
like to not always be the most important person in the room. Or
is it just a deliberate dumbing down of writing to try to
capture a young mass audience who have mostly never experienced
working in even, say, a factory, let alone a military?
But I mean if you even ran a McDonalds like the Federation runs
the Starship Discovery, yikes.
I couldn't agree more.
This show is just terrible writing. It's an embarrassment to the
Star Trek franchise. It undermines what it stands for and weakens
canon with nonsense. The best I can hope for is that the last act
of the dying crew will be to erase themselves from history so we
can all ignore this shit and get back to our lives.
* I acknowledge that Picard is not an ensemble story, but it is
not pretending to be one. It's literally named for the one guy.
I am okay with this. They could have made the entire show about
him growing grapes on his vineyard and I'd have sat through it to
see Patrick Stewart act.
Talkd Fixes In Ubuntu 20 04 gopher://gopher.black/1/phlog/20201011-talkd-fixes-in-ubuntu-20-04/
Sun, 11 Oct 2020 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
talkd fixes in ubuntu 20.04
October 11th, 2020
When cosmic voyage updated to ubuntu 20.04 subtle things broke
that I didn't notice right away. One of these was talk(1). We were
using ytalk(1) as the program of choice back in 18.10, but that
seems to no longer be in apt. I reinstalled it from source and was
hopeful that it would do the trick. Not so much.
I fought this for an hour tonight with a very patient voyager
helping me out. I tried closing out of mosh and tmux to narrow
down the issue. Eventually I got a clue from the error message in
I had a lot of these messages and they eventually got me to
a redhat bug report that suggested removing the inetd entry for
talkd would fix it. I commented that out and left the ntalkd line
I also fixed a thing that bugged me from back in the day. The
nobody user had been configured to be a part of the tty group and
I was using it in that inetd line. That felt dirty since nobody
shouldn't have access to anything.
So I added a 'talk' user, gave it the proper access, and swapped
inetd to use that instead. Then I gave it a kick (restart the
process) and things are working again. Whew!
Reading The Roophlochs gopher://gopher.black/1/phlog/20200928-reading-the-roophlochs/
Mon, 28 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
reading the roophlochs
September 28th, 2020
You are all so amazing. I just read logout, katolaz, and jynx's
roophloch posts and they're so inspiring. I don't have anything
exceptional planned to join you this year but that stuff is really
motivating me to do more. I've been quiet lately and I'm not sure
that's healthy for me. Gopher is a really special place and
I should keep sharing.
More to come from me on that front. Until then, well done!
Yesterday I upgraded gopher.black. Technically I did quite a bit
more than that, but that's probably the most relevant bits for you
gopherites. I have a personal Vultr VPS that hosts this gopher
hole as well as most of my personal websites, my weechat IRC
client, an SMS-to-email relay for my old US-based phone number
that's now a SIP line, my Calibre library, and a whole bunch of
other nonsense that nobody cares about but me. That was all
running on a 25GB instance and doing alright, but free space was
getting a little tight.
The upgrade was set in motion by my desire to start a new
TildeRadio show. It's called Sci-Fi Radio and will be airing on
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 22:00 UTC. It's a 30-minute program that
plays vintage science fiction radio dramas. Specifically the show
will start by re-airing all 125 episodes of X Minus One, and NBC
program from the 1950s. At the conclusion of those episodes we'll
follow up with Dimension X, and then some other programs. I do
hope you'll tune in!
Anyway, in order to set up this stream I wanted to queue up all
the content and then automate the playback via a cron job on my
VPS. That necessitated installing liquidsoap and having enough
space for all the files. Liquidsoap is a bit of a pain in the ass
to get installed properly on Ubuntu. It fails to install the
needed libraries or puts them in the wrong place. I figured out
a solve for it on my home machine running Ubuntu 20.04, but my VPS
was still having issues since it was on 18.04. Also, the mp3s for
the show exceeded my remaining disk space.
So, I decided to upgrade my VPS to a bigger plan! The next problem
was that I didn't have enough remaining disk space to auto-expand
the volume with a plan increase. Instead I needed to snapshot the
instance and spin up a brand new server on a new plan. Fine fine
fine... So I did that, but my static IP pointing to the old server
wouldn't release to let me point it at the new one. This may be
because I chose to put the new server in Amsterdam instead of
London (I still don't trust Brexit). Or maybe it's a Vultr thing
I couldn't figure out. I have no clue.
So here I am, restoring this new box with a new IP which means now
I need to update all my DNS records for the bajillions of domains
that point here. I logged into NameSilo, which is my preferred
registrar, and I started the process. I really don't like dealing
with DNS inside NameSilo, though. For work I typically just point
the DNS to DigitalOcean for droplets I make there. Why not do the
same thing for Vultr? So I did that! I updated the nameservers for
all those domains and painstakingly set up the DNS on Vultr
About this time the box came back up and I just had to wait on DNS
propagation. As that finished I was up to my next step, the
upgrade to 20.04. This VPS was my 5th such upgrade and it went
very smooth. I had to manually restart one service and then I was
just fighting a few odds and ends. The "python" binary was still
pointing to python2 which was breaking some things. I blew that
away and also removed python2 completely from the system because,
"screw that jazz". I manually relinked python to python3 and it
Just Works™. UFW didn't like the upgrade and reset all my firewall
rules, so I did a little netstat check and enabled the necessary
bits there. And then the last bit of work was going through my
nginx config and patching the few services that weren't showing
up, like Calibre-web and my URL shortner service at ino.is. While
I was tinkering I enabled IPv6 for https://tomasino.org because
I noticed it was missing. I should do the same for my other sites,
but I haven't bothered.
At this point the only things that aren't up and running are:
- The web interface to my syncthing server on the VPS. Syncthing
itself is running fine and the data is transmitting fine. I can
ssh-tunnel into the VPS and see the web interface, but my nginx
reverse proxy won't work. Blerg.
- My minimal gemini server that was running on tomasino.org. That
uses ncat, part of the nmap project. When I tried installing
that on Ubuntu 20.04 it failed. Maybe I'll set up a proper
gemini server instead, or maybe not. I haven't decided.
Oh, and once everything was updated I was able to install
liquidsoap and test out my stream for Sci-Fi Radio. It's
good-to-go for the stream on Tuesday! Woo!
Net News Updates gopher://gopher.black/1/phlog/20200917-net-news-updates/
Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0000 ----------------------------------------
net news updates
September 17th, 2020
Last year I wrote a guide on how I set up net news (USENET) on
Cosmic Voyage . It's designed not to peer with the big USENET,
but rather with other tilde servers to make a micro net news
network just for us. That post is still valid and if you run
a tilde or pubnix and want to peer with cosmic, reach out and let
 net news on cosmic voyage
Since Tilde Club rejoined the fold and has become an active member
of the tildeverse, deepend has been good enough to set up a net
news node there as well. We ran into some challenges with the
peering setup early on due to IPV6, but that's been solved. Now
we're growing together and learning new tricks.
Tilde Club opened up its access for using net news remotely, not
just from the local system . If you want to jump into the
conversation now and aren't on Cosmic or Club, you can follow the
instructions there to do so.
 usenet news via tilde.club
User xwindows was chatting with me today about a mission to fix
the few problems we have remaining on the network. Perhaps the
most important is the expiration of old messages. As of this phlog
Club is set to expire net news messages after only 15 days.
Hopefully that will be rectified in the next few days, but also
we're working on a way to suck in all the old posts off cosmic to
refill the system. Cosmic's posts are set to expire after 1 year,
so it has much more post data to share with the rest of the
network. Today's immediate challenge was that cosmic didn't have
a method to view that data from outside cosmic itself. Unlike Club
I hadn't set up external access.
With a bit of investigation and some trial & error that has been
fixed. If you connect to cosmic.voyage from an external net news
client you can get a read-only view of everything on the system.
The only change required to make this happen was in
# auth blocks match whichever group succeeds LAST
# so having the local group below the wildcard
# is important
The first two blocks handle local access which is basically saying
if you're on cosmic you're good to go. Post away. Otherwise read.
The three blocks following set up a two-case scenario for everyone
else. If you connect and successfully auth your user will be set
to whatever your username is. If not, you get the default name
"anonymous". Then I have a blanket rule for everyone to be able to
read everything, and finally a special rule for everyone not named
anonymous allowing posting.
So far testing seems to be working alright!
Oh, and one last thing... If you want to make sure your expiration
settings are nice and long (say... several years) then you only
need to change a few config lines: