Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Friday, June 14th, 2019

The girl started tallying the footsteps on the stairs. They were too careful, she thought, as if the signal she desperately wanted to take them for was being denied her in the very course of the trodding. But then she realized she'd lost count. To something vague, she added one foot on the landing's small carpet, paying special attention then to the scratchy shuffle of bare feet on cold, clean tile. The soft swish of feet approached like proffered tissues from a box. She wanted to take them all, as she sat crumpled behind the door of the little room, straightening her back and looking pitifully at the handle. She wanted them almost as much as she wanted the sound of the door being flung open, and the sight of different feet, feet that never softly shuffled, and were almost never bare, on the tiles in front of her.

But the sound passed her by to set up some grand festival in the kitchen next door. It was afternoon. How late, she couldn't tell; she'd lost her sense of how the sun's shade told the time. The connection kept changing, and she wouldn't trust what wouldn't stay put once in a while. Not even herself. It was a later hour than when she'd been sent to sit there, in the little room, at least. Enough time had passed for the urge to pee to become unpleasant, and the stale air laying unpersuaded in the close corners and around the tiny window stifled her mouth and nose with the temptation of opening the door.

She heard five eggs crack and longed for something to do with her hands and eyes. She remembered bitterly the times she'd complained of separating white from yolk. If only she could do it now, and slowly, and well, a hundred eggs to be responsible for, organizing yesterday's difficulties one by one. Then the smell of lemons stabbed its way into the door's bottom gap, and the girl felt a pang of hunger. Whether she really was hungry or already missed the dinner she knew she wouldn't have, she didn't know. She heard a cabinet open followed by the tell-tale rustling of the bag of coffee beans. Whole ages of uncounted time before she'd told herself she would, she took the luxury of shifting her weight onto her other buttock, relishing the sudden relief and the pins that instantly sprang to life in her legs. Her body sighed against itself, despite itself. Surely, if there was to be coffee in the kitchen soon, surely she would be remembered....

* * *

Each descent of the stairs, she knew, would make the girl in the little room jolt with fresh anticipation, hanging on her steps all the way down, positioning herself just right for the hoped-for opening of the door. It felt cruel going down; almost as cruel as going back up, but there was no helping it. Each time she laughed somewhere in the house she wondered if she thereby sent daggers. Whenever silence fell long enough to remind her she was relaxed, she felt an urge to remind the floor below that it was not alone, even if it was sequestered. The girl stepped lightly on the boards where she knew they'd creak a little, but the least, and picked her way into the kitchen to start a cake.

She weighed out everything meticulously, keeping notes in case this one turned out right. Three hundred twenty five grams of eggs, she wrote down. She separated them, lingering a moment to fish out a tiny splinter of shell that'd fallen in the whites. Her spoon joined the growing pile of dirty dishes. A long time now, since she'd been responsible for dirty work, but she felt a strange thrill in the return of the monotony. She wondered if the girl envied her the washing of these dishes. She let the water --serene against the kitchen's heat-- lap over her palms, feeling deeply indulgent even as she regretted the noise it made. Certainly, by now, the girl would need to pee badly.

With one sixty six gram egg left on the scale, the girl made herself find how many grams off this one was from the average. For a split-second she shrugged off the task, but the silent, invisible presence of the girl's contrition next door instantly called her back. One; good. She zested a lemon and brought the grater and fruit closer to the door, knowing the lazy hot day in the little room would cool and contract with a whiff of citrus. She looked at the door and the door did not look back.

She put the coffee to simmer and wished that she could set a bigger table, but she knew it'd be a while yet before the girl's liberation.

A Thermo-Rental Odyssey

Saturday, June 8th, 2019

When I first lived in Romania I called the kitchen-cum-living-room I spent most of my time in "The Orange Spaceship" on account of the shocking citrus blinds that coated the room in rod-n-cone obliteration by day. At night the berth was a somewhat more serious sodium carmine affair. The walls were bright yellow, the couch was bright red, and I found an excellent pair of sunglasses that year, incidentally.

Imagine my chagrin, then, on introduction to Chez Vozvrashchenie; yellow walls, admittedly a little more lemon cream than 'lectric skullfucker, and orange-as-she-comes drapes, filtering the light into the kind of shade you hear before you see. The door, inset with dithered plexiglass1, cast neon orange shapes on the opposite wall outside, a warning, perhaps, to ungoggled adventurers.

I replaced the drapes with thick black floor-length brocade, grounding the Spaceship 2.0 in one fell swoop, but I'm still at a loss as to how to approach the remnants of that alien civilization, consisting primarily of three...things some Brigaweird General thought fit to hang on the walls. Send help!

Exhibit A:


A charming snapshot of Sol wringing the last tears out of the terran landscape, the thirsty death to come foreshadowed by rib-like ripples in the foreground's dunes. The sky's intense blues suggest cool water never again to be savored --at least, not in this room.

Exhibit B:


Nuclear apocalypse in fiery zenith! Behold the orange intensity dividing shrubbery from topsoil; the righteous from the evil-doers; the obedient from the dissenters? Also, I suspect (when squinting, anyway) the center semi-circle may originally have been an attempt at a chaos star. Who wouldn't want to fall asleep and wake up to such a pastoral portent?

Exhibit C:


Nefertiti looks on, decapitated and utterly unimpressed, as the procession of the KKK Dromedary Corps traverses Giza. That is, Giza Island, where the Corps presumably battles against the predominant brownness of the environment and the disappearing surface area, requiring a constant smooshing together of the perilously close pyramids.

Would you believe me if I said that furthermore, the sheets that came with the place depict black silhouettes of snowmen, reindeer, and gift-wrapped boxes on a white foreground festooned with "holyshitisthataSPIDER!!1" black stars, too?

  1. Ever notice how things officially described as "Design Elements" are necessarily devoid of elementary design? []


Tuesday, May 14th, 2019


There he was, plucking himself through the overgrown grass and dandelion tuffets crowning the fortress like the fuzz on an old man's head. "He looks like a duck!" I hear now, gathered around the display, something I thought myself behind the lens. He eventually caught something in the haze, strange gait apparently paying off.

What can be said about his home? It's the same place, nominally anyway, I first saw twelve years ago, towering over the confluence of the Sava and Danube, a brick boot towering over a soft and cowering pair of worms. The chestnut trees and mulberries still make the place feel like any other municipal park in this part of the world (though they're maybe a mote too neat and perfect, if one takes the time). The same sodium lamps, illuminating for all below what, up top, becomes a piercing orange eyesore still shine on at night. Memorable warning signs ("bricks fall from this vault!", etc) retain all their officious unheedability.


And the town wrapped around it, the town that owes everything to it, as many yet do, still knows the art of overcast better than any other place I've seen. Belgrade is gray, and knows no other color until it's been put to the question a little. The same frivolous beauty and monumental brutalism comingle. The old broad streets are just as inviting for a walk against the wind. The nato-bombed building not far from downtown still looms, torn and sooty, over its resident block.


I used to hop the train to Belgrade a few times a year by special order, often alone. I typically felt lost, amidst the language and the cold, desaturated landscape. It was a place that venerated things and ideas I didn't know, or didn't know much about, and frankly I wasn't all that interested, being overwhelmed by local points of interest back "home" to the east.


The line, tempting, offers itself: nothing external really changes, only you do. But like all trite and obvious prosaicisms it's a half-truth, or possibly more like a quarter-truth. Yes, the passage of time has allowed me to spend more interest, to recognize more signs amidst the static. I feel less lonely in Belgrade, because I'm more lonely the rest of the time, because I'm more accutely aware of how alone I actually am.

But in the city itself there are real differences; the war machines were not laid out on the inner fortress lawns so long ago --were they stored, like decorations for a combative christmas tree, in some old cobwebbed basement? Neither was the "dinosaur park" in place back then; not that it's anything but out of place now, what's changed is it's there, a platoon of fiberglass models to some scale varying inside the modeler's head. The tyrannosaurus roars unconvincingly every fifteen seconds through a tuna can speaker hidden somewhere in the wood chips.


Somehow the recipe for bread has been forgotten meanwhile. That happy memory of waking up in Belgrade to brave the chill for kefir and croissants will stay a memory, now; every пекара is a Fornetti front, a case full of margarine-laminant and naught else. The postered kiosks call out dates for bands I wouldn't see, much less lament having missed1.


My time in Belgrade still seems, this tenth or eleventh instance, a trip through numerous hallways. Some lined in the old brass handrails and ancient smoke of hotels, some with the tall facades of department-stores-cum-science-academies, others with impermeable walls of people, not hostile but not friendly either, the occasional immigrant breaking through. All the city is a series of hallways leading to the kalemegdan, where the windows are thrown open and one can finally see, but only the kind of seeing achieved from a distant throne: vast summaries of life, detached and impersonal.

  1. Sometime in 2012 or thereabouts I spent a sad, eventless Friday night in Belgrade by myself, only to find a VNV Nation flyer posted in town the next morning, for the night previous. I just stood there for about fifteen minutes looking at it. Yes, it was gray. []

Pica pica

Friday, May 10th, 2019

The magpie sat on the corrugated concrete wall, observing nothing, as magpies never do. A cat moved backwards through the field adjacent, whisking its twitchers and sensing the sky for rain. Spanned pinwheels everywhere; festooned in all the trees and stuck like spinning crucifixes in the damp soil, strung up along fences and floating freely through the air. All different colors and sizes but all of exactly the same cruft, cheap doppelgängers whistling out the same trite designs. A storm was gathering, fluffing up the trees and forcing flowers from the fingernail beds of all in town. They ate, frustratedly, in the building pressure of the afternoon, passing small sets of scissors round the tables so as all could trim their phalange'd tulips and rhododendrons.

The magpie amused itself by hopping from plane to plane on the makeshift rampart, back and forth, over and over again. It had no thirst for variation, as magpies always do. In the stillness following the storm freshly-ruined loads of laundry wept noncommittally on backyard racks, the technicolor plastic hangers staining shirts and stockings and stick-me-ups forever. Snails spelled out cyrillics on the bricks downtown. Later, garbage men would come to cross out their graffiti with slashed-through boxes.

The magpie could still read them, as magpies cannot do. The cobblestones remained spongy for days, claiming single shoes through stick or sludging from all trudgers-through. The streets laughed at midnight and shook the shoes down its gutter-clutches and towards its horrid, gaping mouth, lurking someplace no-one knew. No maps could ever be produced; the streetlines crossed themselves before the next could be drawn out. Still, some parties worked long nights on legends that corresponded with nothing.

The magpie stood on one foot, considering the other, which magpies ought to do. Fresh pies of pumice and pity put out on rotting windowsills to heat up in the cold air. Small birds sang from their centers as the temperatures misunderstood each other and began to brawl, heavily armed. A scarf on the rack forgot where it lived and cried quietly to itself while oblivious waiters passed. A little girl beneath it pulled her curls from out of her pocket and paid the bill.

The magpie fell over stone dead, as magpies must do. Antithesis howled furiously in the immediate foreground, batting its wooly wings. The lights went out as the night came on, fatigued, and losing all interest in illumination, extinguished. There was nothing interesting, after all, outside one bird living, uncaring, on a corrugated wall.

And the pinwheels rusted and grew holes in their sails.
And the snails crushed themselves under the weight of their sadness.
The scarf sighed a last effort towards hope and was smothered out.
The magpie....

Blistering Choice

Friday, May 10th, 2019

The very thought of the development of the specific psychopathies over time is enough to make me sick. Imagine the movement through a lifetime of a worm, acquiring in slow succession now antennae, now carbuncles, now splotches and hairs, complicated feet and feet for the feet themselves, ever multiplying in sickening mathematical complexity until there's nothing in particular that can be focused upon. All you can do as an observer is zoom in or zoom out, and every movement is edged in razors.

At first it was a sweet dream. There was something so simple, so round, about the correctness of things, about the possibility even of correctness. Only being able to imagine that there was some difference between paths, that there was meaning in action just as there was meaning in inaction, was revolutionary. It was the answer to all problems, and the light in all tunnels.

But there is no choice as to scope or context. For loving what is right you are not able to prefer it sometimes, or in some places. There is only where it leads you, of its own accord, by some laws you'll never know, by some laws that cannot be known. There is no guarantee that the entirety of life will be spent any other way than being compelled to love the correctness of the clutching of a sponge. And in truth, why should it really be any different? Whether something is large or small, simple or complex, whether it takes a great deal to comprehend or even see it or it appears as though a speck, a blip on the map of an existence, what does it matter to someone devoted to the thing itself?

And yet it can. And yet it can, terribly. It can matter to the extent that nothing else does, and the correct sponge holding becomes as a hateful fact, a thing utterly loathed and dreadful to think about, idol and paragon of everything wrong and unhappy. The silence and space around small things is too much to stomach, too much to mouth, even. It encroaches and grows and mocks, leaving the observer stultified and saddened, without material for anything at all. With no material, themselves, in or out. A shell, if you could call it that, for there's not all that much defining the borders after a while. Just a sort of gas that moves around, maybe, for unclear reasons, and to unclear ends.

You do not get to choose. The shape of what a dream looks like is a trap inasmuch as it contains any detail. The slightest detail at all is a lie, is a shackle waiting to ensnare the dreamer somewhere along the way, killing both their movement through the dream and their ability to wake up. Why should precision be quite so deadly? Supposedly specificity is a great boon, is a prime tool towards the development or manifestation of anything, anything at all. And yet, what can really be manifested in the presence of specificity? Only the hollow, aching death of the thing that was actually planned for.

Not knowing isn't better. Not caring is the only thing. But why would one dream if one didn't care? What's to dream about if you care about nothing? To dream of nothing itself, maybe, like a monk. Like a monk who sits, a dipole in the atmosphere, producing nothing.

It is in the network of rot of all of this that the insects appear, all fat, horribly articulated bellies and iridescent wings. What better place for such creatures to infest than a tangled nest of grief and contradiction. What experience, exactly, is one supposed to have from within an itching mess that can't be seen out of? The experience of prurience with blindness, the constant removal of one's own skin, the constant irritation to grow more calluses where the old ones were painfully scratched away.

MP-WP Patch for Enabling HTML Comments

Monday, March 25th, 2019

...among other innocuous tags like bold, blockquote, and so forth.

This patch implements Daniel P. Barron's simple fix. Also included is a revision of the trilema-specific database interaction in wp-comments-post.php to the default wp_comments table as pointed out by diana_coman.

*Edit March 26th 2019: My first regrind was still fucked up, as Daniel P. Barron graciously pointed out yet again. I've reground again using correct syntax. So then:

The secondly-reground patch:

The corresponding sig:

---fuxed files, for posterior---

*Edit March 25th 2019: I've reground this patch based on Daniel P. Barron's catch of my incorrect use of a default rather than a variable table name. The reground versions are:

Reground patch:

Reground sig:

The old patch:

My old sig:

Grab my pubkey, if needed, on the about page, or send !!key hanbot to deedbot on Freenode IRC, while ye may.

hanbot's Cuntoo Bake Test Notes - Part IV

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

On the tail end of part III we were awaitin' the bootstrapper to finish its long and arduous whizzing.

I woke to find that a lot of kernel configuration awaited me as the result of "professional" negligence somewhere deep upstream. asciilifeform kindly provided a standard configuration to work against, so I set myself to y-in', n-in, and occasionally m-in'.

During which my hand-eye coordination got a little wobbly, and I killed the entire run with an unhappy hit of ctrl + c on the wrong keyboard. Because totally, this failure mode was thought about at some point, and it was decided in a stroke of genius that this innocuous operation oughta be capable of murdering arbitrary layers of a process.

Anyway, I proved to myself the value of the script produced in part III, as I had to run it yet again. I can't describe the second kernel configuration walkthrough as anything but pedantic white-knuckling. I kept a list of what trinque's kernel asked for that asciilifeform's configuration file didn't know about; interested parties can grab it here.

Sadly enough, I find that at the end of the config q&a, and hence the end of the bootstrapper script, I'm still left without a genesis with which to compare trinque's signature. Given which vdiff for instance shows vdiff in my path, I'm at a loss as to why no patch was produced. I also note that I lack even a cuntoo/portage directory.

The next steps being review of the script's record during the run, and deferment to the wisdom of the forum, I ask you: wtf?

hanbot's Cuntoo Bake Test Notes - Part III, with Prep Script

Friday, March 8th, 2019

Following Part II, I had my machine rebooted and re-attempted preparation for Cuntoo from scratch. I managed to wrap my head around the admittedly simple path problem previously encountered, and ran trinque's As reported in #trilema, the process fell over on looking for the expected kernel configuration file. I'd used the default config/4.9.94-apu2 parameter. Apparently there's more to this than "preferring" your own. Whoops.

I went through both lobbes' and mod6's recent cuntoo adventure reports to look for clues on kernel configuration, and found I could replicate mod6's process of copying the .config file in /usr/src/linux into the cuntoo/config directory.

The bootstrapper's running now; I'm looking forward to seeing what it has to say in the morning.

Meanwhile, the multiple reboots throughout the process thus far meant I had to prepare my machine for the bootstrapper multiple times, which process naturally became easier but still took up a lot of time copypasting and filling in holes in my notes.

I threw the steps into a script,, with signature. Installation of gnat, V, vtools, and associated pressing and setup is included, along with signature and sha512sum checking where relevant. Depending on your setup, you may need to edit your /etc/hosts file to include the various domains involved before running the script1 :

Go with defaults during the gnat installation lest you end up tangled in directory confusion.

You'll have to manipulate your path a couple of times once the script's finished:

PATH="/usr/gnat/bin:$PATH"; export PATH
export PATH="/usr/gnat/vtoolsp1/vtools:$PATH"

Then do any futzing required for your kernel config, cd to your cuntoo directory, and hit it.

  1. Obviously if you need to enter just to get the prep script, you'll need alla these too. []

hanbot's Cuntoo Bake Test Notes - Part II

Sunday, February 24th, 2019

See here for Part I of this adventure.

Part II could otherwise be dubbed "let me tell you how computers pissed me the fuck off today", and finds me back at square one with a LiveUSB in virginal state, utterly uncontaminated by the hours1 of time poured into it since last I ranted.

Given as I abandoned dicking about with heathen gentoo until such time as a Republican freeze is clearly available, my goal was simplified into bridging Pizarro's provided Gentoo USB with trinque's cuntoo.

Part I noted my sad fate of having to update /etc/hosts for every goddamned domain involved in grabbing working parts; by the end of the installment herein covered, I had to add:

As trinque pointed out, I'd require a working vtools. When I went to handle installation thereof, I found myself bootstrap-propelled to the center of the earth, at least theoretically. Having had a version of V on my local machines since asciilifeform's original release, I'd been enjoying a silent luxury in terms of adding on each block required to press a useful patch as they were available. Untangling the mess of what requires whichelse and in what order isn't especially helped by the fact that keccak-flavored vtools as discussed in the logs, my own site, etc, lived at this url, yet the post at that url is titled differently, namely as "vtools complete keccak prerelease". I also remembered having used gnat's gprbuild to get keccak vtools going, yet instructions for same appear in yet a different post.

Not having touched any of this in several months is, I'm sure, part of the problem I had, but let it be stated that getting a currently-useful vtools going without its precursors on board is currently more spaghetti than sandwich.

Anyway, as my working notes say, chill out, grab gnat, then all patches in the keccak-regrind or prerelease post depending on what we're calling it, press to the keccak head with an old V.

Though ave1's gnat is the current cannonical version, I decided to try diana_coman's adacore gnat alone to see if it'd work. This much was as straightforward as I remember, having needed it for phf's keccak vtools during the MP-WP regrind.

curl -v > adacore-gnat.tar.gz
sha512sum adacore-gnat.tar.gz
cat sha512sum-gnat.txt
tar -xvf adacore-gnat.tar.gz
cd gnat-gpl-2016-x86_64-linux-bin
cd /usr/gnat
PATH="/usr/gnat/bin:$PATH"; export PATH which point gnatmake -v returns

GNATMAKE GPL 2016 (20160515-49)
herp derp FSF posturing

Then I was ready for V; I'm partial to mod6's ol', principally because of his excellent documentation thereof.

curl -v > V-20180222.tar.gz
curl -v > V-20180222.tar.gz.mod6.sig
gpg --verify V-20180222.tar.gz.mod6.sig V-20180222.tar.gz
tar -xvf V-20180222.tar.gz
mkdir .seals
mkdir .wot
mkdir patches

Now for vtools:

cd patches
curl -v > vdiff_fixes_newline_gcc.vpatch
curl -v > keccak.vpatch
curl -v > vdiff_keccak.vpatch
curl -v > vtools_fixes_bitrate_char_array.vpatch
curl -v > vtools_vpatch.vpatch
curl -v > vtools_fixes_static_tohex.vpatch
curl -v > vtools_vpatch_newline.vpatch

cd ..
cd .seals
curl -v > vtools_vpatch_newline.vpatch.phf.sig
curl -v > vtools_fixes_static_tohex.vpatch.phf.sig
curl -v > vtools_vpatch.vpatch.phf.sig
curl -v > vtools_fixes_bitrate_char_array.vpatch.phf.sig
curl -v > vdiff_keccak.vpatch.phf.sig
curl -v > keccak.vpatch.phf.sig
curl -v > vdiff_fixes

Itams got!

./ p vtoolsp1 vtools_vpatch_newline.vpatch
cd vtoolsp1/vtools
gprbuild vpatch.gpr
gprbuild vdiff.gpr

I'd thought I would hereafter need phf's updated, but on reflection it wasn't clear if or why this was actually needed. Moreover, trying emerge python-gnupg as specified by said update suggested this'd be fairly gnarly to install, so I decided to skip it for now.2

At this point all looked ripe for grabbing the actual cuntoo tarball & sig at long last.

curl -v > cuntoo.tar
curl -v > cuntoo.tar.sig
gpg --verify cuntoo.tar.sig cuntoo.tar
tar -xvf cuntoo.tar

Which produced a and friends exactly as promised. We read, from the source, "make sure that you have a vdiff in your $PATH".

With the exception of the exportation in the gnat installation above, I have never run into $PATH operations without ending up in some sort of shitsoup. I would dearly love to comprehend what the fuck $PATH is for; what a path variable actually is; why some instructions specify a certain path variable and others not; how a path variable name is agreed upon; what exact file must be edited in order to add a directory to one's path; and so forth. I suppose it must be intuitive to others, because every attempt at explanation I've come across seems rooted in priors I simply don't have.

I edited ~/.profile to include export PATH=$PATH:/usr/gnat/bin/vtoolsp1/vtools3. After which which vtools reported t'wasn't none, and moreover said directory wasn't listed in my path. I tried editing ~/.bash_rc, no dice. I tried eliding the export part. Nada. I went over to Eulorum to review my notes on exporting path for a Eulora install, but was at a loss for what to replace the "CRYSTAL" and "LD_LIBRARY_PATH" items with. In multiple instances of bitching and moaning about paths I drudged up online, anonymous squawkers suggested the bash session had to be restarted in order for a path exportation and/or addition of a directory to the path to take effect.

To be honest, I had a feeling that killing my terminal and reconnecting wasn't a splendid idea, but I couldn't have told you why beyond a vague sense of "what if this fucks shit up". Well, I killed it. And reconnected. And found the LiveUSB fresh as a daisy, devoid of gnat, devoid of vtools, sans keys, pretty much ignorant of me.

For reasons I utterly fail to comprehend, there *does* remain a typescript log4 I'd started on day one or two of the whole shebang. That's it.

Yes, I'd had the same session going since I originally logged in around the 8th of this month. No, I hadn't been running it in a screen session. Yes, I'm going to start over, and in screen.

But we're going to need more vodka.

* * *

  1. Somewhere in the neighborhood of ten, about eighty percent of which I'd chalk up to mental wrestling with my own noobishness. []
  2. Specifically,
    Calculating dependencies... done!
    [ebuild N ~] dev-python/python-gnupg-0.4.3 PYTHON_TARGETS="python2_7 python3_6 -pypy -pypy3 -python3_4 -python3_5 -python3_7"

    The following keyword changes are necessary to proceed:
    (see "package.accept_keywords" in the portage(5) man page for more details)
    # required by python-gnupg (argument)
    =dev-python/python-gnupg-0.4.3 ~amd64

    Use --autounmask-write to write changes to config files (honoring
    CONFIG_PROTECT). Carefully examine the list of proposed changes,
    paying special attention to mask or keyword changes that may expose
    experimental or unstable packages.
    . []

  3. Yes, that's actually where I installed it, lazy as it may've been. []
  4. 2.7MB; I'll post this if anyone actually wants to go spelunking, please write in if so. []

hanbot's Cuntoo Bake Test Notes - Part I

Saturday, February 9th, 2019

This is the first of what promises to be multiple posts on my progress against MP's gentoo to cuntoo bridge testing task.

First order of business: install heathen gentoo. BingoBoingo and asciilifeform of Pizarro swiftly and graciously set me up with an appropriate box once it was discovered this experiment wouldn't work on any of the 32-bit laptops laying around these parts.

I've been working with mod6's gentoo installation guide.

As Pizarro included a Gentoo LiveUSB for me, I skipped past 0x01, "Create LiveCD", to 0x02, "Setup Disk Partition Table". This section mentions a "Part B" with partition creation instructions that is not actually included, so I referred to the Handbook's guide. Here's how my partition table ended up before saving:

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 2048 6143 2048 83 Linux
/dev/sdb2 * 6144 268287 131072 83 Linux
/dev/sdb3 268288 1316863 524288 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sdb4 1316864 312477695 155580416 83 Linux

I formatted the above partitions with filesystems as per mod6's guide, and then I followed the mounting steps remaining.

Downloading the Stage3 failed unexpectedly (a pattern that repeated itself with an exasperating insistence worthy of greater glories than a goddamned OS install).

Upon painstaking examination it came to the fore that the domain failed to resolve. I tried IP addressing directly via curl but of course the gentoo mirror's too clever for anything like that. In the end I was reduced to populating my hosts file with their intricate pattern of name allotments. Adding in all other various patches I ended up forced to put on it, my hosts file now reads:

During the tarball extraction stage in 0x03 I had to change the tar command's options as our source's current tarball is in .xz rather than .bz2 format; this means using tar xJpf rather than xjpf1 .

Moving on to 0x04, I entered the chroot as instructed. Then, on first running emerge-webrsync, I got a friendly eggog:

!!! Section 'gentoo' in repos.conf has location attribute set to nonexistent directory: '/usr/portage'
!!! Invalid Repository Location (not a dir): '/usr/portage'

Which did not reappear on running said command the necessary second time once was added to my hostfile. Why domain resolution should affect directory problems is beyond me. At any rate, the second run of emerge-webrsync reportedly completed successfully.

I entered the mysterious mkdir -p /etc/ command to avoid the "problems" promised without it2 , at which point I went to cat /etc/fstab and discovered it's a 0-length file, completely empty. How this is possible I've no idea given the partition setup described above. I've elected to close this three-hour session of disappointment on the heels of searching for others' rants about empty fstab files, hoping for any notion of how this could be, and watching my browser grey over and crash.


  1. As tar ran this it spit out "tar:Xattr support requested, but not available", which makes me suspect this set of options may not, in fact, have done all that was intended. []
  2. I can't help but think that in this case my confidence in the Republic, which allows me to "just do it" like this comes at a possibly too-high cost of having not the first clue what this step was about. If this wasn't in-WoT I'd abandon the guide right there, you know? []