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Start with just six words

January 13th, 2012

Homework: write opening and first scenes, try to introduce aspects of the characters without explicitly referencing them.

Jeff leaned over the guard rails of the bed. His eyes were bloodshot and his cheeks were wet with tears. The little girl looked jaundice, her skin was getting more yellow. The only colour Jeff could see was the blood stained bandages wrapping her arms and legs. Her body was like a rag doll that the dog had been throwing about.
Dr. Barrett placed his hand on Jeff’s shoulder and in a deep comforting voice said,
“Come on Jeff, there’s not much you can do here. Come into my office and you can go through some of the details of what happened to Emily".
Dr. Barrett helped Jeff to his feet and put his black arm around Jeff’s waist. They walked slowly towards the door. Jeff’s breathing quickened each time he placed his right foot down: Dr. Barrett’s arm muscle flexed as they moved in time.
It was only a small hospital on the edge of the reserve which worried Jeff. Emily seemed too weak to be moved and he wasn’t sure if the facilities here would be enough.

Comments

  1. The rag doll reference is a nice simile.
  2. Reader is thrown in a the deep end, harsh on the reader.
  3. Good opening line.
  4. There’s a good example of “Showing” which is describing the picture instead of “Telling” which is explaining what the picture is. Jeff was injured too.

To cut a long story short

This week’s lesson was about condensing a story into the fewest words possible but still include a beginning, middle and an end. Ernest Hemingway said that the best story he ever wrote was:

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

It’s a synopsis of a story.

My effort:

“Excessive drinking with a mystery woman, son”

Homework for next time:
Start with a 6 word story.
Break it up into a beginning of 75 words and middle of 75 words and an end of 50 words.
Split the beginning up into a beginning, middle and end. Include 3 crisis points in the beginning, 6 crisis points in the middle and 2 in the end.
6 word story should be 6 words.
First story draft should be 300 words.
Final story should be 3000 words.

Science Fiction

January 9th, 2012

There are many people who turn their noses up at Science Fiction films and yet the majority of people do like them, it’s just they re-classify them in their mind. I over heard a conversation in the pub on Friday.

John: Don’t like SciFi.
Al: What about Terminator 2?
John: That’s not SciFi, that’s an action film.
Al: Robots coming from the future to change history, how much more SciFi can you get??

rpmdb: unable to join the environment

January 6th, 2012

How time flies? It only seemed like yesterday that I installed CentOS 5.4 at a customer site. This week I needed to update rsync from 2.6.8 to what ever the latest version is. So I typed:

yum update rsync

and got the following message.

Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
rpmdb: unable to join the environment
error: db4 error(11) from dbenv->open: Resource temporarily unavailable
error: cannot open Packages index using db3 - Resource temporarily unavailable (11)
error: cannot open Packages database in /var/lib/rpm
Traceback (most recent call last):
File “/usr/bin/yum", line 29, in ?
yummain.user_main(sys.argv[1:], exit_code=True)
File “/usr/share/yum-cli/yummain.py", line 309, in user_main
errcode = main(args)
File “/usr/share/yum-cli/yummain.py", line 157, in main
base.getOptionsConfig(args)
File “/usr/share/yum-cli/cli.py", line 187, in getOptionsConfig
self.conf
File “/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/yum/__init__.py", line 664, in <lambda>
conf = property(fget=lambda self: self._getConfig(),
File “/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/yum/__init__.py", line 239, in _getConfig
self._conf = config.readMainConfig(startupconf)
File “/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/yum/config.py", line 804, in readMainConfig
yumvars[’releasever’] = _getsysver(startupconf.installroot, startupconf.distroverpkg)
File “/usr/lib/python2.4/site-packages/yum/config.py", line 877, in _getsysver
idx = ts.dbMatch(’provides’, distroverpkg)
TypeError: rpmdb open failed

I also tried:

rpm -qa

which resulted in:

rpmdb: unable to join the environment
error: db4 error(11) from dbenv->open: Resource temporarily unavailable
error: cannot open Packages index using db3 - Resource temporarily unavailable (11)
error: cannot open Packages database in /var/lib/rpm

Even though the message says Resource temporarily unavailable, it was in fact always unavailable!
Hunted around and found this article which helped a lot.

The problem is caused by an empty database index file in the RPM repository, probably caused by corruption. In my case it was because most of the index files were missing.

[root@host tmp]# ls -l /var/lib/rpm
total 39656
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5107712 Nov 11 11:58 Basenames
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 12288 Oct 5 2010 Conflictname
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 0 Dec 12 11:42 __db.001
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1036288 Nov 11 11:58 Dirnames
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5259264 Nov 11 11:58 Filemd5s
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 24576 Nov 11 11:58 Group
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 16384 Nov 11 11:58 Installtid
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 40960 Nov 11 11:58 Name
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 30818304 Nov 11 11:58 Packages
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 331776 Nov 11 11:58 Providename
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 102400 Nov 11 11:58 Provideversion
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 12288 Oct 5 2010 Pubkeys
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 413696 Nov 11 11:58 Requirename
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 208896 Nov 11 11:58 Requireversion
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 81920 Nov 11 11:58 Sha1header
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 45056 Nov 11 11:58 Sigmd5
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 12288 Feb 16 2010 Triggername

So all I needed to do was remove all the index files and rebuild them.

rm -rf /var/lib/rpm/__db*
rpm -rebuilddb

The RPM repository now looks like:

-rw-r–r– 1 root root 2768896 Jan 6 09:49 Basenames
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 12288 Oct 5 2010 Conflictname
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 0 Jan 6 09:49 __db.000
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 24576 Jan 6 09:49 __db.001
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 1318912 Jan 6 09:49 __db.002
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 450560 Jan 6 09:49 __db.003

-rw-r–r– 1 root root 978944 Jan 6 09:49 Dirnames
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5267456 Jan 6 09:49 Filemd5s
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 24576 Jan 6 09:49 Group
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 16384 Jan 6 09:49 Installtid
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 45056 Jan 6 09:49 Name
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 25427968 Jan 6 09:49 Packages
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 335872 Jan 6 09:49 Providename
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 98304 Jan 6 09:49 Provideversion
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 12288 Oct 5 2010 Pubkeys
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 409600 Jan 6 09:49 Requirename
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 196608 Jan 6 09:49 Requireversion
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 81920 Jan 6 09:49 Sha1header
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 45056 Jan 6 09:49 Sigmd5
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 12288 Feb 16 2010 Triggername

I re-issued the update command:

yum update rsync

and it successfully installed rsync 3.0.6-4.el5_7.1.

Interestingly, CentOS 5.4 has been deprecated and so this version of rsync was for CentOS 5.7, but it didn’t need to install any dependencies.