Menu Update

In hand:
much cheeses
charcuterie including an experimental meat known as bresaola
wegetable cwuditay
tinned seafood if desired
large fruit salad

4.25lb boneless prime rib, fully cooked. Reheat shall be an experiment

(this is an improvement over the smallest turkeys I could find, 6-8lbs)

green bean casserole
mashed sweet potatoes
scalloped potatoes
some sort of stewed cinnamon apple thing

prior five dishes are all prepackaged from Safeway. The prime rib packaging instructions advise the home cook to “boil in bag”, eg, sous vide, which is tempting. I hate using plastic under heat though so experiment ho!

a homemade ratatouille that bears no resemblance to Rémi’s but dang it smells FANTASTIC

Knorr brownt gravy

1 (One) punkin pie
1 (One) half gallon Tillamook marionberry Icet Creme

oh and forgive me I overlooked

Caesar salad from a kit served in the olive wood bowl my father made for his parents
Cranberry sos, the good kind AND the bad kind
12 pak, well, 11 now, King’s Hawaiian (oh god I want to eat more, now)

Work plan

Leap from bed
preheat oven to 425
make garlic/olive oil/salt/black pepper crust for meat slab, slather
burn crust for like 10-15 mintues

redudece oven to like 210, put foil on meat slam

clean instant read meat thermometor

start slald ice bath soak, shave hard cheese if remembery

rense veg tray veggies, splay out, add dippery

likewise absurd dried meats and cheeses

cups. wine. liquor. ice.

Expected table participants: four
Expected media diet: streaming channel looped fireplace videos.

Maybe we’ll do a board game. I sort of expect we’ll just share how fucked up the last three years have been.

The Spider Fox

Somehow all the dogs got loose in the garage and then the door opened for a car and suddenly there were even more dogs, puppies, big dogs, the dogs I was originally trying to corral, and what at first I thought was the smallest puppy I had ever seen but eventually I saw was a teeny little fox kit, smaller than they really can be, the size of a mouse. I went for it to keep it out of the barking mayhem, people being upended and dogs joyfully bouncing off each other. It crawled hesitantly into my hand and cuddled up, softly yipping.

Confounded I tried to determine what to do and decided I should put it in a kennel and ask a vet. I started to head back into the house to do so but the kit didn’t want me to and started nipping my hand and wriggling. That was when I noticed that the kit had eight unusually heavy whiskers, four to each side of its’ nose, and that they appeared to be furred and articulated, pushing against my hand and moving independently.

As I processed this, realising that this was no fox kit, the animal exploded into a shower of hundreds of heavily furred stoplight red spiders, each about half a centimeter across. The baby spiders were extremely fast and spread out through the garage and over the cars and people and dogs and into the house provoking shouts and tarantellas of dismay.

I awakened myself frantically brushing them away.

(We watched an episode of GDT’s Cabinet of Curiosities last night and this is certainly about that.)

Whale hunting

A few weeks ago I noticed my aged cheesegrater Mac was experiencing issues at boot. It wasn’t urgent – I am not using it on a day to day basis but still would like it to remain operable.

This entry is a troubleshooting log to help me keep track of symptoms observed and solutions attempted.

HARDWARE SPEC: The Mac Pro is a 2009 4,1 flashed to a 5,1 and maxed out for hardware upgrades.

This is from a current System Report. The unit had been configured to boot at midnight and back up to an onboard HD so there is still bootable access to the system and files and I have booted to that volume in order to run various diagnostics on the boot-compromised SSD.

  •   Model Name: Mac Pro
  •   Model Identifier: MacPro5,1
  •   Processor Name: 6-Core Intel Xeon
  •   Processor Speed: 3.46 GHz
  •   Number of Processors: 2
  •   Total Number of Cores: 12
  •   L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
  •   L3 Cache (per Processor): 12 MB
  •   Hyper-Threading Technology: Enabled
  •   Memory: 32 GB
  •   Boot ROM Version:
  •   SMC Version (system): 1.39f5
  •   SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f5

The unit’s drive bays are full, it’s maxed out for RAM, and there is a multi-modal expansion card provisioning additional USB and I believe Lightning, and the video card is a Radeon RX 580 supporting three displays at the moment. One of the quirks of the 5,1 flash is instability in onboard wifi and sound so there may be upgrades to those as well, I do not recall offhand. The system is running on 10.16.x Mojave in order to retain access to a large suite of 32bit production tools on the unit.

Interestingly under ‘Storage’ an unexpected volume is reported which does not display in the finder when booted into the backup: GoogleSoftwareUpdate-, which I would guess may be a clue, if, for example, this was an automated update to Drive that was somehow interrupted.

SYMPTOMS: On boot, the initial grey screen and progress bar seems normal. The unit then flips over to display the desktop and the various startup processes instantiate. The top menu bar is displayed, various notification popups come show up upper right, and as the startup processes happen they show in the menubar. However when it is time for the desktop to populate with icons and for the Dock to instantiate, the finder appears to crash. During these crashes at first it is possible to access various functions via the Apple Menu, such as the System Report via About this Mac. However after an indeterminate number of crashes the menubar is no longer redrawn and these functions are inaccessible.

Accessing Force Quit during this accessible period is possible and appears to allow the user the opportunity to force quit the finder, however the restarting Finder replicates its’ uninterventioned behavior.

Holding the shift key down in this cycle has no effect.

Apple suggests restarting into safe mode by holding the space bar down from just after the starting chime until the startup screen is visible. For whatever reason, I have found this to be hit or miss. When it does successfully invoke safe mode, the startup progress bar takes much, much longer than usual – up to 30 minutes. Then, when the startup process shifts to drawing the desktop, rather than populating the screens with the desktop image, a white spinning windmill circle displays, the cursor is drawn in the upper left corner of the outboard display, and the process appears to crash, and then enters a loop that must be ended by force-shutdown.

Cursory web research has not located similar symptomologies. Startup issues and boot loops appear to generally take effect during the initial startup screen phase rather than at the desktop instantiation phase. One highly anecdotal report suggested that a change to the way that Google has implemented Drive meant that users who neglected to update an older version of Drive could experience a similar set of symptoms. I have yet to investigate that; however it seems unlikely to me as the cloned copy of the system boots fine.

Running Disk Repair on the affected volume neither resolves the issue nor reports any problems.

In short, my flashed cMP 5,1 under Mojave
a) won’t boot in safe mode
b) boots into what looks like a Finder crash loop on instantiating the desktop
c) has a CCC-maintained bootable backup that works fine
d) will boot into Recovery Mode and Disk Utility reports no underlaying HW issues with the boot volume ond no issues with the data structure on the disk.

I think it must be an issue with a Startup Item, but without Safe Mode, I can’t get there.

If I were solving this in a production environment I would just overwrite the boot drive with that CCC backup but I would like to know why this is happening so I will be spending an hour a day on it for a bit.

I have crossposted to MacRumors here:

The Garden of Strings

After awakening but before getting up this morning, I fell into two brief naps that immediately became dreaming REM sleep. In the first, I crossed some gravel parking lots toward the back porch of an unfamiliar rental house in Bloomington. As I did so, a 1960s pastel aquamarine flake stretch limo with both rumble seats and additional strap-in seats on the rear bumper pulled up, and my sister Suzy, dead since 1988, popped out, running into the house excitedly and shouting a hello, and responding to my what the hell is going on by gesturing at the limo and shouting “that’s my Lyft!”

As I approached the house I noticed all of my guitars, basses, banjos, violins, and mandolins were set up on stands in the yard. I grabbed my favorite florentine and started pickin’ as I walked up the steps to the porch. For some reason the pick I had to hand was a flexi old-style Fender resin tortie and it immediately overheated and raised a burr which kept catching and fucking up my sustains. I was sufficiently distracted by this that I walked into the house without looking around to see who was there.

John Terrill greeted me effusively, guiding me through a packed session including maybe fifteen players, basically none from a folk tradition but including Mark McWhirter, who was very happy to see me, and I think Jim Manion and other people I know or have known.

John told me he wanted me to play the saudade, which in this dream was a thumb piano, not a style of Portuguese song and poetry, and handed me a gourd with a rack of two ranks of three metal vibrating tone producers, plugged it into a damaged Silvertone amp, and told me I had to hit it just right, man, just right.

So I did, and it was great, and I woke up experiencing seizure-like spasms in my arms and legs and was extremely dizzy.

I got some water and went back to bed, amused. I nearly immediately fell asleep again, and was in the back of a large van jouncing over crappy roads as I at first repeatedly attempted to organize a stack of vintage flyers in chronological order and then to perform something similar with a stack of mixed-source trading cards, becoming grouchier and grouchier as the vehicle’s juddering repeatedly made my task impossible. I exited the van for lunch or something and ran into an old coworker whom I was happy to see but less happy to spend time with, said coworker having a difficult personality. I hugged him, said good bye, and awakened again to flailing limbs and dizziness.