"First and foremost, I have to give thanks to God, because He has spared me from any serious injury through my entire football career... knock on wood."
It's not an exact quote, but that's basically what he said - Thank God and knock on wood.
Well, I got my computer working after all. I did find a Knoppix disk in my closet, but it was an older version and it didn't support my video card, so it wasn't much help. However, I used another CD of utilities that I have to check the disk and I found that it had some corrupt data, but was not entirely dead.
I ended up having to switch a few things around inside the computer so I could run a disk repair program (which took about an hour to run), and that fixed the problem. Now it boots up as usual and I didn't lose anything but a couple hours of time.
I can practially hear the sigh of relief as you read this...
My desktop computer refuses to boot today. I suspect that a hard drive has failed, but I can't tell for sure until I get an alternate boot device. I don't feel like replacing the drive and re-installing an OS just to test it, so I'm going to use a copy of Knoppix to see if the drive is readable.
Knoppix, for those that don't know, is a version of Linux that runs right off a CD. There's no installation, and it doesn't make any changes to your computer - you just set your computer to boot to the CD ROM drive, put the disk in, and start it up. Then you can use the Linux operating system to do a number of things, including analyzing your hard drive to see if it's working properly or not.
The only problem is that I can't seem to find my copy of Knoppix, and I don't want to spend two hours downloading it (it's free, but it's large so it takes a while to download). I know I have an image of it on my desktop at work, so I'll probably just put this off until tomorrow evening and bring home a CD or DVD from there.
Obviously, I can still get on-line. I have several computers in the house, and most of my critical stuff is backed up on a server with redundant hard drives in it, but my desktop has all my necessary programs installed and configured just the way I like it. Hopefully, I won't have to re-build it and re-install everything (although I've thought of doing that anyway, just to clean it up a little).
Honestly, I'd love to switch to using Linux permanently, but there are still a few critical programs that I haven't found comparable replacements for outside the Windows world. Plus, I don't know if Mary would like using Linux, so I'd probably have to keep Windows on her machine anyway. I'm still more familiar and comfortable using Windows as a desktop platform, but I think that is mainly because I don't use Linux that way very much - most of my experience with Linux is using it as a server only. I'm pretty sure I would get comfortable with it after a while, though.
Hopefully, tomorrow evening, I'll get my computer running again.
Continuing with the birthday theme... Yesterday was Mary's birthday, and so I decided to take the day off and take the family on a day trip. We went up to Louisville, KY to check out the zoo there because we had seen a few of their exhibits highlighted on a show called "Ultimate Zoo", which used to run on Animal Planet.
We left as early as we could, considering we didn't know we would be able to go until that morning (Mary had another comittment that got canceled at the last minute). The drive was pretty nice and easy, although Owen didn't quite understand why it was taking us so long to drive to "a different zoo" as he kept calling it.
As members of the Nashville Zoo, we get free or discounted admission into other zoos that are part of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. In this case, it was free, so that was very nice and made it even more worth the drive up there.
It was a pretty nice zoo. They've got a lot of animals that we don't have in Nashville, like lions, giraffes (although we are getting those soon), polar bears, jaguars, and gorillas. The gorilla exhibit was one of the ones we had seen on "Ultimate Zoo", and it was pretty impressive. Unfortunately, due to the cool weather (mid-50's), there were several animals that were not in their exhibits, including the tigers and hippos.
They had an aviary with Lorikeets just like we have in Nashville, and I took Owen inside to see them. I actually got him to hold a bird on his arm for a while so I could get some pictures. He was a little nervous, but did pretty well with it and I think he enjoyed himself in there.
They also had a train that went all the way around the zoo, and Owen and I went for a ride on that. He sat very still and quiet for the entire ride, and I wasn't sure that he really liked it, but then I had to remind myself that he's just like me, and I tend to enjoy things quietly instead of getting visibly excited all the time. He did, in fact, enjoy it and he mentioned the train several times later in the day.
Believe it or not, there were more and larger hills than we have at our zoo, so we got our exercise. I had the camera, of course, and my new backpack proved to be a great improvement over the previous bag. I was glad I had gotten it. Now I need a bigger memory card, because I filled ours up pretty quickly.
Afterwards, we headed back towards home, and stopped for dinner at Red Lobster in Rivergate. Owen slept in the car pretty much all the way back to Nashville, so he was well rested and happy at the restaurant. We had a nice dinner and then came home to put the boys to bed and settle in for the night. It was a good day.
My birthday was a couple of months ago, but I just got one of my presents this weekend. My parents had given me a gift certificate, and I decided to use it to get the Canon 200EG Backpack for use with our new camera. Don't worry - I didn't pay the list price. It was on sale at Amazon.com, but it was backordered, so I had to wait over a month for it to arrive. It finally came on Friday, and I really like it so far.
I already had a regular Canon bag for the camera, but it wasn't really all that comfortable to carry around for very long. Since I like to take my camera to the zoo and parks and places where I do a lot of walking, I thought a good backpack would be nice. It's got a lot more room than I need right now, but I hope to get some additional lenses at some point. Plus, it's nice to have extra room for snacks and other stuff when we are out and about.
We did actually go to a birthday party yesterday - for Joey Boyd, the little boy that Mary used to babysit. He's a year old now, and we bought him what every one-year-old should have - a big tub of Legos! Owen had a blast at the party, and we had a lot of good food and a nice time just visiting. There were only a few kids there, so it was mostly the parents sitting around talking while the kids played endlessly with the balloons. Owen is still playing with a couple of the balloons this afternoon.
In other news, it looks like the acquisition of my company will finally close at the end of this month. There's still not much solid information about what that will mean for my job there long term, but I've been told that not much will change initially. I'll just be glad when the deal is finally done and we can get past all the uncertainty and waiting around.
There's not much else to say, but I thought I'd throw in a picture of Ivan, since I haven't posted any in a while. He's awful cute. He's become very expressive lately, and it's funny to take pictures of him because you can get photos that look happy, confused, angry, tired, and surprised all within a few seconds.
For the most part, Ivan is a very good kid, much like Owen was. He's a little more active, but still fairly content and happy most of the time. We've had even more people talk about how much he looks like me than we did with Owen. I guess that should be taken as a compliment, since they also tell us how cute he is!
I think we're going to go out for the afternoon and get a little exercise. The weather is still somewhat cool, but it won't be long before it will be biking weather again.
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