Computer Blues

I love my computer, truly I do. It's almost a security blanket for me. It's the place where I go to relax and unwind. It's a comfort zone where I'm in control of everything. However, lately I haven't been in control at all. In fact, I'm finding it difficult to convince my computer to boot up consistently.

See, it all started when I finally did a massive upgrade of my system. I had been running an 800 MHz processor with 512M of RAM. I got a new motherboard, upgraded to 1Gig of DDR RAM, and got an AMD 3400 processor. I have kept my IDE data drive (which I use TweakUI to put most everything on), but I also got a new 80Gig SATA drive to use as my Windows/boot drive. This drive has been the bane of my existence recently.

You see, for some reason, my computer doesn't want to keep it's connection to the SATA drive. I've tried just about everything short of ditching the drive completely and getting an IDE drive. I've swapped ports on the motherboard, I've moved the drive from being Windows/boot to being just the Windows drive with a smaller (IDE) boot drive, blah. I just don't understand why my computer hates it's new drive so much!

I've checked the drive (using the manufacturer's tools) and it's physically okay, but the structure or index or some such got corrupt (I've been out of the loop as far as the technology/terminology is concerned for over five years now... an eternity in the computer world). It can't find "hal.dll" or something like that. I've reinstalled Windows XP (doing a complete scrub of the partition to ensure no lingering issues) three times so far. I've attempted to overinstall and to "repair" the Windows installation. In the end, the only way I get any function at all is to use the smaller "boot" drive (which I'd prefer not to have in the computer at all) as a "Windows/boot" drive... which means I won't have space to install all my programs/games... and my brand new SATA drive is a fairly expensive lump in the case doing absolutely nothing.

Anyone with any ideas that I haven't mentioned, feel free to comment... I may have tried things I've forgotten to post, but if so, I'll mention it in response to any suggestion comments I get. I just want my comfort zone to be all peaceful and functioning again.



I've been basically without internet connection since my last post. My main computer is dead (two reloads later, I'm definitely getting a bit frustrated) and we just finalized the move back to southern Virginia with my parents.

My parents are out in the country on 22 acres of land, a very nice spot, but dialup or satellite are the only options for internet. We tried satellite when they first got here, but discovered a "fair use policy" that we consider pretty ridiculous. It basically said that if we maintained an average connection speed of 14.4 over the course of several hours (or a higher speed over much less time) we'd get shut down until the time period (several hours) expired. With a family of four or more computer and internet users, that didn't cut it. So, we're back to dialup, which is hideously slow, but at least it's on more often than not. We're still trying to talk the cable company into running a line here or see if we can get ISDN, but for now, dialup is what we've got.

So, I've got my work computer finally up and connecting to the dialup. Maybe I can be a bit more regular about my blogging now.



I started out life raised in a Christian family. I became a Christian and didn't once question it until around age 18 when I had a long discussion with a friend of mine. That discussion led me to the "seeker" path I'm currently on.

I also was raised Republican. At some point after my questioning of Christianity started, I started questioning politics too. I found my way to Libertarian beliefs through the writings of Harry Browne. As I continued to explore my political beliefs, I have since pushed through to a position of being almost able to consider myself an Anarchist (though I have one or two issues with that position it does typify most of what I believe). I believe strongly in ZAP (zero aggression policy or non-initiation of violence). I also believe that the only crimes that should be prosecuted (and maybe not by the government even so) are crimes where there is a violation of another's rights.

From Libertarian/Anarchist beliefs, I have moved closer to Paganism, especially Wicca. They seem to fit together very comfortably with ZAP and the Wiccan rede being basically the same thing ("an it harms no one, do as you will"). Though I don't yet consider myself Wiccan or Pagan, I do feel a strong draw in that direction, and plan to form my religious rituals with those religions in mind.

Then most recently I added to the mix my concepts of parenting and schooling. I have always planned to homeschool. But I recently stumbled onto the concept of "unschooling". The best explanation of unschooling I've seen is from Wikipedia:

... individualized, child-led learning [which] is more efficient and respectful of a child's time, takes advantage of a child's interests, and allows learning and exploration in depth rather than shallow coverage of a broad range of subjects. It is not what subject matter the child learns that is important, but that the child learns how to learn and learn in depth. Given that, if later, as an adult, he finds there was some subject or nuance that he missed in his education, he will be able to acquire it on his own.

So, unschooling is facilitating the child's interest without trying to direct their path in any particular direction. This form of schooling tends to lead naturally into a form of parenting that is called alternately radical unschooling or attachment parenting. This parenting is based on respect for your children and trust that they are making the best decision they can with the information available to them, doing what they need to do. Practically it consists of doing your best not to say "no" to the child, but to (as needed) direct them to more appropriate avenues, locations, or times for their activities. It is treating the children, from birth, as full blooded people who deserve to make their own decisions about their lives. It is not neglectful parenting, as it requires a parent to be present and intimately involved in the child's life, but it can seem like it to less informed people who don't understand why you don't stop certain activities. I'm sure I'll come back to this topic later as I learn more, but it all makes sense to me.

Anyway, from religion to politics to school to parenting, I have found a path that merges and blends into one coherent world view. It is internally consistent and bears the common theme of respecting the rights of those around you and not trying to limit activities that don't violate those rights. It has taken me a long time to get to this spot, and I won't be surprised if I find more steps to the process in the future, but I wanted to share my exploration with everyone.

Another Christmas

My son, Tre, is 18 months old, and so although this was technically his second Christmas, it was the first that he was truly able to appreciate. It was an absolute joy watching him tear into packages (irregardless of who they belonged to, though we could distract him with one of his when he got the wrong ones). His joy in Christmas is something that I hope to never forget.

I'm trying to decide how we'll handle the issue of Santa next year, though. He was too young for it to be a real issue this year. I refuse to lie to him, so that's right out, but I see as options either being intentionally misleading while not lying (what I call "Aes Sedai truth"), being vague (not really answering questions or bringing up the topic), or being completely open and honest. I can see so many advantages and disadvantages to each that it's not an easy decision for me. I plan to discuss it with my husband and see what we can decide...

Just after Christmas, Tre realized that he could stick things down his shirt, and because it's snapped at the bottom, it functions as a pocket. Without any encouragement or complaint from his parents, he stuffed blocks, hot wheels sized trucks, and random other stuff down his shirt. Then he walked around patting his belly, listening to the items clunking against each other, and beaming from ear to ear.