Last Goodbye

When I was 12, I went to Swanleigh. Mum and Dad and the other boys were in Laverton for the first half of the year, Monkey Mia for the second (Dad had long service leave).

Once the excitement of a new environment wore off (didn’t take long), to say that I didn’t handle the separation from my family very well would be an understatement. I wasn’t quite so bad mid-term, but whenever I had to leave, or get left behind, the blubbing really started.

One time really stands out. Dad had come down to Perth with a school camp. He came and took me out of school in the morning for some reason (might have been for a dentist appointment, I had plenty of those around that time). I don’t remember much about the morning, but we probably had morning tea somewhere. There was probably a present for me in there too (there usually was).

I do remember what happened when we got back. I remember standing in the car park. Dad was supposed to go and meet up with his school group and go off to the movies. I wanted to go with him. I’m sure the movie probably appealed to be, but I just wanted to stay with my Dad.

So I did what I often did at times like that: I cried. Not loud, screaming, gimme-what-I-want type crying. Quiet, sniffly crying; what Dad used to call “sooking”.

He tried to reason with me, which didn’t help much. I wasn’t in much of a mood for reason. I just didn’t want Dad to have to leave.

That is just how I feel now.

Some years later, Dad told me how bad that day had made him feel. How he had eventually just had to drive off, leaving me sooking to myself. By then, I understood. I understood what he had done. I understood that sometimes you do just have to do things you don’t want to. That even when it hurts or makes you feel bad, some things are just for the best.

And that Dad is sometimes the best person to decide when that is.

Funnily enough, by the time year 9 came around, I didn’t have the same problem. I mean, I still looked forward to coming home and didn’t look forward to going back all that much. But from that point on, there were no more tears when I had to leave Mum and Dad and my brothers.

That day was important in the process of me learning to stand on my own two feet. I’m an independent man now, with a wife and children of my own. And my Dad helped me to get there.

But right now, that doesn’t matter. I just don’t care about that. I just want to stamp my feet, scream, jump up and down and sook my little heart out. Because right now, I’m that 12 year old boy who doesn’t want his Dad to go.

Bye Dad, I love you. It doesn’t feel like it now, but you’ve done your job right. I’m going to be able to stand on my own two feet. I just don’t want to.

j j j

…insert title here…

I’m not sure what to write here. In fact I’m not even sure I want to be writing anything.

My Dad died on Sunday. He had turned 60 earlier in the year. He was semi-retired and had so much more planned for the rest of his life. Besides me, he left behind my mum and two brothers, 13 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson.

None of us can believe it. I don’t know what to think.

j j j

The Cosmos Rocks [review]

I bought the new Queen album the other day and as promised, here are my thoughts on it.
Like I mentioned the other day, the reviews were mixed. To be honest, they are mostly bad. But as a die hard fan, I was always going to buy it, so I didn’t worry too much about that. Mind you, today’s review by Iain Shedden in the Weekend Oz was (to put it mildly) scathing.
The album is, simply put, unispired. Not bad, just not much of anything. I’ve only had a few listen throughs, but nothing really strikes me as special. I’ve bought every Queen album as it was released since “The Miracle” and while some have taken longer to grow on me than others, they have usually at least sounded more impressive right from the start.
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way. First is the complaint that this “just isn’t Queen”. Come on, that is a no brainer. Check out the credits: “Queen & Paul Rogers”. No one has said that Paul Rogers is replacing Freddie. No one could and they are not pretending that he has. You can feel the absence of Freddie in this work, but I thought that about “Made In Heaven” too. Both albums sounded more like a Brian May solo album.
Now that isn’t a bad thing. I really liked “Back to the Light” (even though it wasn’t Queen). And you can really hear Roger Taylor’s influence on this album as well as Brian’s. I think that is important. Queen would not have been the same without the distinct musical influence those two put in (“’39” and “I’m In Love With My Car” are two of my favourite tracks).
So to credit the album to “Queen & Paul Rogers” is fair. It is not Queen, it is not Free, but a reasonable mix of some of the elements of both.
But back to what I think… I love Brian’s guitar work (especially in “Call Me”), I love Paul’s voice and they work really well together. But the songs are just background noise. I haven’t concentrated on the lyrics too much, but there really doesn’t seem to be anything special there.
One exception to the rule is “Say It’s Not True”. I bought this as a single previously (though I missed getting it for free off their web site when it was available) and it has already grown on me. I love the mixture of vocals in this and it was a really good start to their new collaboration. I just wish they could have followed it up with more of the same.
The iTunes bonus track “Runaway” is another great rendition (a cover of the Del Shannon song), but I don’t think it counts (firstly for not being part of the released album and secondly for being a cover). This will get high rotation in my playlists.
I’m going to like this album. I will listen to it a lot, and the songs will get stuck in my head and become part of the whole Queen experience for me. But not the best part. I give it 3 stars, but only for nostalgia’s sake. Any other band would have got 2 (but if I’d read the reviews I wouldn’t have even bought it in the first place).

j j j

New netgear print server, easier said than done

After the failure of a JetDirect server on one of our workgroup printers, I purchased a NetGear PS101 mini print server to replace it. We have had joy with a similar D-link machine on another printer, so I was confident this would work.

It did work, but not without some fiddling around.

To start with, the server management software would not install on our Windows 2003 domain server. I didn’t chase down why because I didn’t want to have to use it anyway. It had something to do with the 16-bit subsystem. But it was a bad start.

Thanks to this thread on the netgear forums I was able to get things working to my satisfaction, and without having to use the print server software. Here’s the summary.

  1. Discover the IP address the DHCP server had allocated to the print server, log into the web interface and then set a permanent IP address.
  2. Go to Printers and Faxes and “add a new printer”. When asked for a port, create a new one.
  3. Choose “standard tcp/ip port”
  4. Set the IP address to the one you fixed.
  5. Do not try to select a particular print server or network card, just use the “choose generic network card” option.
  6. Finish creating the printer as normal.
  7. Go to the properties of that printer, go to the Port tab and then select “port properties” of the port you created.
  8. Set the protocol to LPR, make the queue name “L1” and enable “LPR byte counting”.
  9. It took me a while to realise this, but I needed to reset the printer before continuing. Check the status page of the online management and if you see “offline” or something similar then a reset will probably solve that problem.

This took far too long to sort out today. When I installed the D-link earlier this year it only took minutes. But it is working now and is likely to stay that way. Good.

j j j