Getting Back on the Wagon

Wow, it’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything here. I try to keep a good, steady stream of posts going, but over the last month or two I’ve completely fallen off the wagon. Time to start getting back into the swing of regular blogging.

I do have some valid excuses though.

First and foremost, I am the coordinator of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program at St. Veronica Catholic Church, which is the process by which adults come into full communion with the Catholic Church and/or receive any missing Sacraments. This is the same process I went through back in 2009. This year, we had six un-Baptized persons, four Baptized non-Catholics, and three Baptized Catholics who completed the process and received the Sacraments at the Easter Vigil Mass last Saturday evening. The six un-Baptized received their Baptisms, the four non-Catholics were welcomed into full communion with the Church, and then all thirteen together received their Confirmations and First Holy Eucharist.

This has been the biggest draw on my attention for some time now—getting all the last-minute record-keeping and other concerns addressed in time for the Vigil Mass and making sure everything came together well (with lots of much-appreciated help from our Priests, parish office staff, Melissa, and other volunteers). This was my first year coordinating the program, so I’ve been making more than my fair share of mistakes and errors, which means I’ve have had a pretty high level of stress going on—especially the last couple of weeks before the vigil. After all, I was responsible for shepherding thirteen people through some of the most important spiritual moments in their lives! Don’t want to mess that up, for sure!

It has been a profound honor to be a part of all thirteen new [or returned] Catholics’ faith journeys at St. Veronica Parish, and a true joy to see them experience the same beauty and mystery of the Sacraments that I first experienced three years ago. Everything went fairly smoothly, and I think it’s safe to call the whole thing a success. We have four follow-up classes (the ‘Mystagogia’ phase), then a summer break, and then the cycle begins again (with new students) in the fall.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep me tied up and away from the Off on a Tangent ‘Add New Post’ screen, I’ve had a small comedy of problems to deal with.

First, our home server started acting really flaky a little while back. It would run happily for 10 or 15 minutes, and then freeze up. After a lot of diagnostic work and forum searching, it started to become evident that it was suffering from a hard drive problem (with the OEM Seagate 1tb disk it had shipped with). So I bought a replacement Western Digital 1tb disk and started a block-by-block mirror from the old one to the new, which (over a USB connection) took the better part of four days.

That seemed to resolve the problem, with some fairly minor corruption to a few files that were recoverable from mirrors and backups. There’s a reason I’m paranoid about duplicating my important data. There’s also a reason that I don’t usually trust Seagate disks—so far, nearly every hard drive failure I’ve ever had has been on a Seagate, while I have yet to have a single failure on a Western Digital. Maybe it’s luck, or confirmation bias, but I remain a Western Digital loyalist for my spinning disks.

Although it turns out that the Seagate might not be failing as badly as I had feared. After all my data was safely recovered, I zeroed out the drive, ran thorough checks, and it looks like it might have been a one-time fault. The SMART on-drive diagnostics report a bunch of remapped sectors, apparently associated with the failure, but the number hasn’t been increasing despite repeated zeroing and sector scans. Things seem to have stabilized. I have (very cautiously) returned the drive to non-critical service to see how it fares, but it might still be safe to use. No trouble yet, but we’ll see.

And because one unexpected computer problem isn’t enough, the power supply unit (PSU) on my ‘flagship’ desktop PC started making a really awful noise. I traced it to the PSU fan motor. Although everything still seems to be working okay, it was another hassle I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with. So I started going through the RMA process, only to have the issue suddenly resolve itself. . . . Of course I’m glad the PSU is working happily and quietly again, but what if it starts doing it again? I’m still emailing back and forth with the manufacturer (Corsair) to see if they want me to send it in anyway, or if I should just sit tight and initiate the process all over again if it starts doing it again.

Meanwhile, Melissa got rear-ended in the Civic last week. It was a minor accident, nobody was hurt, and the extent of the damage seems to be limited to the rear-bumper bodywork. But it’s just another thing to deal with! We are in the early planning stages of replacing the Civic anyway, so in addition to visiting the body shop we’ve also started visiting dealers to test-drive some potential replacements. So far we’ve tried the Honda CR-V, but we still have (at least) the Nissan Rogue, Mini Countryman, and Subaru Impreza ahead of us.

Oh, and I’m still planning on buying a motorcycle sometime soon-ish. But that’s a separate thing, funded in a separate way. Money from my occasional freelance work is going into a motorcycle fund. Income to the fund is sporadic, at best, so I have no firm ETA on the bike.

But in-between all of that, and everything else, I’ll try to write a post for the site now and then ;-).

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.