Trying to work this out…

My wireless at home is semi-secured with 128 bit WEP, although the SSID is broadcast. I’m not fooling myself that it’s foolproof, just that it’s good enough to make most people do down the road to find easier pickings at some open node named ‘Linksys’. But recently I’ve “relied on the kindness of strangers” using people’s nodes that they’ve either left open through stupidity (like my sister-in-law’s neighbours with the ‘Linksys’ ssid and the default login to the Linksys administration page) or open through an intent to share their resources (like Steven Cherry). So I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t be returning the karma and have an open node myself.

But I’m worried about the implications of that. The first worry is that somebody could use my node to send out spam. I have enough trouble with my mail server being blocked by various RBLs that I don’t want to get on any more – I recently had problems because I was sending a lot of mail out through a friend’s relay, and he got listed in an RBL that I use myself, which caused all sorts of problems. But in actual fact, that’s pretty unlikely unless it was one of my neighbours.

The second worry is that by having strangers on my internal network, they’d get access to things that I probably don’t want them to have access to, like the nfs export of my /mp3s directory. I don’t want the hassle of having to harden some of the services I’ve currently got open to the subnet. And the related worry that they could snoop things like imap or pop between graphic email clients and the mail server. Personally, I ssh into the server and use mutt, but Vicki sometimes uses and I think Laura uses almost exclusively. I don’t know if supports any sort of encrypted link, or if I could figure out how to support it on my Linux box. Not sure I’d want to.

So I’m wondering if what I need isn’t a configuration with two subnets, one open node for strangers to connect where they can reach the outside world but not my Linux box, and one secure node that once you’re in, you’ve got full access to the goodies? Maybe the open node should block outgoing connection to port 25 except for my ISP’s mail relay or something like that? The problem with that is that my current router/WAP isn’t capable enough to do that sort of filtering, and while I have a better router/WAP (a Linksys WRT54G) on order, I would prefer to use that for me, not for strangers.

Anybody have any suggestions?

Good news, bad news, “meh” news.

First things first: The house is beautiful on the outside, and from the inside the breakfast nook and glassed in porch are still everything I’ve ever wanted in a house. However, the inside reveals a tiny master bathroom, a tiny basement, a tiny garage, possibly bad plaster, and a bunch of things that make you think “I don’t want to spend a quarter of a million dollars on a fixer-upper.” So it looks like our conscience will be clear on passing this one up. Considering all the factors I mentioned yesterday, that’s probably a good thing.

Secondly: Today was my appointment with the rheumatologist, Dr. Tammi L. Shlotzhauer. She’s written a book on rheumatoid arthritis, but I was pretty sure I didn’t have that. Over 30 years of diagnosis attempts, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what I don’t have. Not so great a handle on what I do have, though.

Any way, she listened to my story (or an abbreviated version thereof) and poked and prodded. She said “well, we don’t really have a name for what you have, but ‘degenerative arthritis’ is about as close as we can come.” Basically, as I’ve always suspected, I just have a very strong susceptability to soft tissue injury. Anyway, she suggested that I try glucosamine and chondritin. I’ve tried them before – I gave them a month, based on what some orienteering friends told me – but she says to give it 3 months, and to use a much higher dosage, and to keep using ibuprophen as needed for pain and inflammation. She also told me to do some quad lifts, something I’ve done before, but maybe in conjunction with the glucosamine it will do something. She’s also going to give my doctor a list of long term anti-inflammatories to try if the glucosamine doesn’t work. Well, I wasn’t expecting miracles, and I didn’t get miracles, but I got as good as I could hope for.

Getting mentally prepared

Inigo Montoya: Who are you?
Wesley: No one of consequence.
Inigo Montoya: I must know.
Wesley: Get used to disappointment.
—The Princess Bride

Tomorrow I go to see a rheumatologist about my joint pain problems. In the 25+ years that I’ve been dealing with this pain, I’ve started dozens of different treatments, always with high hopes. I keep telling myself not to get my hopes up, but inevitably I do, and when the treatment fails to help, I go into long periods (sometimes months long) of depression.

I’ve been trying, really trying, not to get too excited about this appointment, but a few times I’ve caught myself thinking about what I’ll do when (not if, when) I can resume orienteering or cross country skiing or mountain biking. Damn my mind – why won’t it do what I tell it to do?

I know full well what will happen – they’ll either half listen to the litany of pain starting when I was 14 years old, slot it into one of their convenient categories and say “Oh, that’s just patella femoral syndrome/chondromalacia/compartment syndrome/rheumatoid arthritis/blah” and prescribe a treatment that I’ve tried three times already and which has made it worse every time, or they’ll get all enthusiastic about trying some new stuff, but after a few months of throwing everything at the book at it they’ll say “sorry, we’re stumped”. It’s happened at least a dozen times before, and it crushes me every time. It’s gotten to the point where it takes me months to work up the courage to even try a new doctor or a new treatment because I know how depressing it will be when it inevitably fails.

I’m sure Vicki will now post a comment saying that I’m not going to get anything out of the treatment if I go in with a negative attitude. But I’ve gone into treatment with a positive attitude, and it only makes it more painful when it does fail. And I’m desparately trying to quell the enthusiasm that seems to be welling up inside me in spite of myself.

It was a lot easier when I didn’t have a wife and children – I could tell myself “if it gets too bad, I’ll kill myself”. Well, that’s no longer an option. Even when it was an option, it always seemed that every level of pain was “I can stand this, but no worse” – and then it would get worse, and I’d say “well, I guess I can stand this, but no worse”. So I guess I can endure.

In other “get used to disappointment” news, Vicki and I had started looking at homes. The intention was just to get to know the neighbourhoods and price ranges and the like, so that after she gets her mother’s house sold and we get our house tidied up and maybe do some remedial work on it and it’s ready to sell, we will know where to look. But we made the mistake of looking at this house, and while we haven’t been inside yet, what we’ve seen from tromping around the grounds and peering in the windows, it looks perfect. It’s an old house, but it’s had a couple of additions, a breakfast nook and a glassed in patio, both looking out on a deep ravine, big mature trees, bird feeders and deer footprints. It’s also in what looks like a real neighbourhood – the kind where you know your neighbours and do stuff together.

The “get used to disappointment” part comes from the fact that although it’s been on the market for a year, they suddenly have two contingent offers on it. Trying to beat those two offers with a firm offer and arrange a down payment and mortgage and all that in this time frame, while Vicki’s still tidying up her mom’s estate and our house isn’t anywhere near ready to list and Laura’s heading off to college and Vicki has surgery scheduled in a few weeks and all that stuff – it just doesn’t look possible.

BFR time

43977/977_1Today I did my Biennial flight review. Our club actually requires a “club ride”, which is like a mini-BFR, every year, but every other year you have to do the full boat. Not much difference between the two, except the club doesn’t require any ground review for the “club ride”. I also needed to knock the rust off, since I hadn’t flown since December.

The club also requires that you do the club ride in the “highest level” aircraft that you’re intending to fly that year. So if, like me, you want to fly the club’s Lance, then you have to do the club ride in the Lance.
Continue reading “BFR time”