[conspire] Flyer for newcomers

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Mar 20 15:50:42 PDT 2008

I'll have this printed out somewhere, during meetings.

                     Tips for CABAL Newcomers

Welcome.  Here are things you will want to know.  Most important:  This
is a private residence, so we need to remain on good behavior.  Our
hosts (1105 Altschul Avenue's residents) are named Rick, Deirdre, and

Hours:  CABAL's meetings run 4 pm to midnight.  LEAVE _BY_ MIDNIGHT, so
residents can sleep.  

Getting Help:  CABAL regulars are glad to answer Linux or BSD
distro-choice / application / configuration / administration questions
and otherwise help newcomers.  However, Rick is subject to frequent
interruption for host duties, so Ross, Ed, Daniel, Bruce, etc. are often
better picks.

Public Transit / Cars:  Rick (650-283-7902 cell.) is willing to pick up
/ deliver folks to/from CalTrain or bus stops / depots in Menlo Park or
Palo Alto.  Our slightly rustic neighbourhood has unrestricted on-street
parking.  Don't block or use driveways.  You can often arrange lifts to
CalTrain, BART, or San Francisco from other attendees or Rick (and thus
not have to worry about last-train departure times).  

Building access:  Although you may certainly use the front door, IT'S
especially if carrying gear.  Front door has better lighting but more
stairs and obstacles. 

Bathroom:  End of the corridor.  The door locks.  If in urgent need,
request access to the 2nd bathroom, off the master bedroom.

Before You Leave:  Test-eject your machines' CD/DVD drives, to make sure
you remove any (e.g., borrowed) media.  Did you remember your coat or
sweater?  Your food containers?  Did you return any borrowed tools,
network cards, CDs/DVDs, cables, mice, keyboards?

"What Can I Bring?":  Bless you for asking.  In general, we're set, and
the hosts make these events possible because they enjoy them and your
company.  However, if you wish, you can certainly bring a dish of your
choosing to share.  CABAL often lacks soft drinks because the residents'
taste in general differs from that of most attendees, who buy their own
(see below).  A side-dish or salad / fruit dish often helps: Rick and
some other regulars keep us well- if not over-supplied with main meat
dishes and garlic bread.  Blank CDR/DVD-R media and citronella candles
are always welcome, as they do tend to get used up.  Once in a long
while, a bag of charcoal would help out, too.

Tables Usage:  There will be several tables to work on.  NEVER PUT
COMPUTER SYSTEM UNITS ON TABLES.  Always put them underneath. Monitors,
keyboards, mice, and laptops go on the tables.  NEVER LEAVE YOUR BAGS OF
GEAR ON THE TABLES:  There will be a designated area for parking your
gear in the backyard, or on the covered back porch in bad weather.
Since table-space is at a premium, we must insist that all
non-essentials go elsewhere.

AC feeds must be branched from as close to the heavy main 50' extension
cables as possible: We do not permit 3-level-deep ganging of light power
strips, as at some installfests.  Any cable runs in the open must be
covered by carpets, to prevent tripping hazards.  AC must use grounded
outlets only (e.g., never the 2-prong socket on the porch).

Weather:  In good weather, we meet on the backyard porch, and Rick
usually runs his barbecue.  (There's an outdoor wood-burning heater.)
The four (typical) rainy months of November to February, and as weather
indicates, we move indoors to Rick and Deirdre's spacious garage and
dining room / living room.  We _heat_ the garage when we're in there, so
KEEP THE OUTSIDE GARAGE DOOR CLOSED, when we use the garage. (Door latch
is tricky.)

Provided Computing Facilities / Gear:  Hosts provide AC power, wireless /
wired Internet access, hubs/switches, ethernet cables, power strips,
several tables and chairs, lamps, and an extensive collection of current
Linux and BSD CD/DVDs you can use (or duplicate) but not take.  There is
DHCP service; ask if you need / want a static IP.

Equipment (Rick's) that might be borrowed include: two monitors, various
keyboards, mice, cables, PCMCIA and PCI ethernet cards, external modems,
most of which are in garage cabinets.  CABAL is not a computer repair
effort, but you can sometimes borrow tools or flashlights if you're nice
and Rick trusts you.  You can buy blank CDRs ($1) and blank DVD-R media
($2) from Rick: deliberately unreasonable prices (waived if Rick's
feeling generous).  (See next item.)

Computing Stores:  Fry's Electronics is five miles away, 360 Portage
Ave. near the corner of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road / Oregon
Expressway.  (Directions on request.)

Server Farm:  The area in the garage to the right of the laundry area,
is the residents' dedicated server farm:  DO NOT TOUCH ANY EQUIPMENT OR 
CABLING IN THE SERVER FARM, and do not tap the area's AC electrical
circuits. If you need to borrow the server's monitor, ask Rick to get it
for you.

Smoking:  Outside.  Use the metal coffee can marked "outside ashtray"
outside the kitchen, to the left.  IF YOU USE THE ASHTRAY, MAKE SURE IT
GETS EMPTIED at the end of the evening, and put back to its regular

Food:  CABAL is not a restaurant, but many attendees participate in an
ISN'T.  (Ask.)   Serving area is near the stove.  (It's safe to assume
food found there is to share.)  Food prep. area is near the sink.  Our
hosts provide: stove, oven, cookware, barbecue w/charcoal, serving
dishes, knives, cooking utensils, condiments, cooking oil, butter,
homemade jam and lemonade, plates, glasses, utensils, etc.  NO
ATTENDEE'S OBLIGED TO BRING FOOD (but you may be hungry, given the
hour).  Grocery stores nearby include Safeway, Country Corner, and
Trader Joe's.  (Directions on request.)  NO ATTENDEE'S OBLIGED TO SHARE

In general, food items in the refrigerator / freezer and cabinets are
the residents' property, and not to share (except when it's your food,
and you put it there).

One of Rick's kitchen knives (his 8" Sabatier) is carbon steel, which
rusts if left damp and thus must be dried immediately if used.  It's

RECYCLE BINS are behind garage:  Please don't put bottles, cans, etc. in
garbage.  COMPOST BIN (vegetable matter only) is the pail outside the
kitchen door, to the right.

Vegetarians / vegans are welcome, but, as with ensuring kosher or halal
standards, you're on your own.  (Residents can help keep your cooking
surfaces meat-free, though.)  If you can't stand the smell of cooking
meat, sorry, but that's part of our events. 

Drinkables:  If you want soda pop, you'll probably need to bring your
own (and take any extras away when you leave): The residents regretfully
will decline your gift of soda, unless it's Jarritos or non-diet Pepsi.

Rick often opens a bottle of wine to share with guests.  Don't uncork
bottles without permission.

Wine or beer left behind is cheerfully received, but Rick's the only
beer-drinking resident, and admits to being a snob:  He prefers darker
beers (ales and porters, rather than lagers / pilsners).  The house's
two wine-drinkers prefer more-complex/heavier reds, and find merlots and
most whites boring (reislings and gewurtztraminers excepted).

Eating, Drinking, and Cleanup:  WHEN INDOORS, EAT ONLY OVER PLATES, AND
YES, THAT DOES INCLUDE PIZZA.  Don't leave plates / glasses on the
FLATWARE immediately after you finish eating, so others can use them.
Please be careful to not allow flatware, etc., to fall into the in-sink
garbage grinder. 

DO NOT OVERFILL DRYING RACK.   The linen towel is for drying dishes /
cookware / glasses / utensils only.  The kitchen's terrycloth towel is
for hands only.  Ask if it's unclear where dried items go.  We do not
use the dishwashing machine.

Private rooms:  The back of the house is purely residential space
(except the bathroom). Enter those rooms only if invited.

ACROSS OTHERS.  Especially after 10 pm, people including some residents
may be trying to sleep, so keep it down.

Mosquitos:  During summer, they arrive around dusk.  We burn citronella
candles, to keep them away.  CLOSE ALL OUTSIDE DOORS AFTER YOURSELF, or
you'll be very unpopular.

Lost and Found:  Jackets, computing gear, CD/DVDs, etc. found from prior
CABAL gatherings will be left grouped in one pile for a reasonable
number of weeks.   After that, who knows?

In General:  We can't possibly cover everything, but in general act like
you're a guest in a nice private home where you'd like to be welcome
again.  Don't gouge the furniture or floors, track mud around, spill
food, sit at residents' personal desks, move residents' things around
and throw away their crucial papers, break the bowls, bang up the
flatware, uncork and drink the expensive private wine supplies, walk off
with expensive CDs/DVDs, leave the bathroom with no toilet paper roll,
etc.  (Yes, people have done all of these things.)

Pick up after yourself.  Don't be a slob.  Wipe your shoes on the
doormats.  Wash your hands before touching food.  Behave like a
civilized human being.   If you see other people screwing up, DO REMIND
THEM OF THE HOUSE RULES.  (We call that "leadership".)  If you're
present for closing hour, you could even help Rick put everything away.

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