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Not dead

Sep. 30th, 2010 | 06:47 am

Too lazy to write
Woken by morning rainstorm
Hello, livejournal!

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Dec. 18th, 2009 | 05:43 pm

Pocket sized magic.
No, I don't mean that, silly!
Not snake, but Apple.

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Why not

Aug. 31st, 2008 | 10:54 pm

It's labor day weekend. I might as well post something.

The windmill spins up
It's midnight, maybe after.
Damned insomnia.

4oz cups of beer
Mutual gaze: 5 seconds.
A taste. nothing more.

The locked boardroom doors
are your private gas chamber.
Indignant? Really.

Le matin attend
Je suis toujours en retard
Mais il attendra

Я забыл стихи.
Опять же, происходит!
Скажи мне, почему!

Waiting for laundry,
I scribble inane nothings.
Haiku is for chumps!

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Still alive

Apr. 30th, 2008 | 12:30 pm

I'm still alive. I think I'll post in haikus again. Why? Because.


Autumn chill in spring
Echoes of the autumn past
Right! Time to click POST.

A double dose of dandelion wine:

Sly like the monkey.
Fast like the mighty cheetah.
Yellow like the sun.

Lawn weed's daft ichor,
converted to sweet liquor,
Communion's nectar.

And some bonus rounds about various topics, because it's lunchtime and I'm bored.

The folded craft calls
Springtime birdsong in paper
Come to my party!

"His yoke is easy."
The spider quotes the Bible.
He needs volunteers.

Welcome, fresh sunlight!
It pulls my heart like taffy.
Saltwater indeed.

Two point five percent.
The little man gloats in black.
Pennies for my thoughts.

Winter tomatoes.
Plump and flush, put on display.
We know they're not real.

Stop-motion workday.
Windmill clock. Claymation head.
My sinuses lie.

Enough of that for now. After I got back from Quebec City last time, I started another blog, a more professional one, in order to not negatively affect my business by being myself. If I kept this up without starting the other, it would be like handing out business cards with nothing but your myspace page on it. It's a bit off-putting. But at the same time, I found that I still wanted to have a little fun. So, I'll still be keeping this blog going, but it won't be associated with my daily life at all. I won't use anyone's real names that I know. I won't link to it from any of my stuff. It'll be our little secret. Cool?

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Oct. 19th, 2007 | 10:12 pm

Well, I leave tomorrow to visit my brother Pete in Plattsburgh and then head up to Québec for a week of French school. Unfortunately, the sinus/stomach flu that's been going around seems to be knocking on my door. I'm thinking of it as God's typhoid shot for me, since the last time I felt like this was when I got my innoculations for Sénégal. I'm not too worried about it.

My mind has been somewhat transformed in the last few weeks as far as bad things go. A while back, I was told by a doctor that one of the conditions I was diagnosed with would be much more likely to get worse if I didn't adopt a positive outlook. How does your brain affect your body? That's nuts. Then, during preparations for the business I'm starting, I read a book which described medical and business studies and how negative people always ended up with failing health and failed to succeed in business. I can't explain it, except maybe something God wired into how the world works, like the whole sowing faith and reaping faith thing. A bad expectation yields a bad result which yields worse expectations which yields worse results. People would come up to me all of the time and tell me how incredibly negative my outlook was. I didn't believe them. I do now.

Anyway, in my religion, we have what's called a prophetic presbytery. It's a weird thing where a bunch of people who don't really know you will pray for a while and try to hear a message from God in their mind, which they then speak to you into a tape recorder. Oftentimes they're remarkably accurate. One of the things the last couple have said is that I am designed to get in adventures and that my life is going to be full of them. Looking back on it, I can totally see that. I think it is kind of like the Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times."

When people think about adventures, they think of fun exciting things, but other things are adventures too. What do you call it when a bunch of men with guns separate you and your friends from the people you were traveling with in the middle of the desert? What do you call it when your bags get lost in a foreign country? And when it happens again? What do you call it when you're supposed to travel to work in a foreign country and you don't sleep for thirty hours and can barely relate to simple tasks like buying groceries, let alone technical work? What is it when your travel plans you've arranged months in advance happen to fall less than a week after 9/11? What about when you show up in a dangerous country that sometimes guns down tourists, and the one person you've arranged to meet you never shows up? And it's 10pm and the airport is closing? And you don't speak the language? And you don't even know if the organization you've wired money to exists? Those are all adventures.

From not sleeping those 30+ hours while having to lead a team in a foreign country, for instance, I've learned my limits as far as sanity goes, and also that I can function acceptably even at the edge of my zone of consciousness. From the times I've lost my luggage, I've learned to pack an effective light carry-on. There are plenty of situations where I've expanded my envelope. So even if I was the sickest I've ever been, all that would mean is that I'd learn to take an enormous road trip while sick. Bring on the skillz! Meanwhile, lets hope I find some better adventures than that...

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ash-shorouk is almost ready

Oct. 17th, 2007 | 08:37 pm

Here it is, finally got a gig of memory put together for the new Netra I'm sending off to colo number two. The money shot:

        Probe Memory                                                            
                INFO: All the memory Group in 10 bit column mode                
                Group 0: 256MB     
                Group 1: 256MB                                                  
                Group 2: 256MB                                                  
                Group 3: 256MB

Stay tuned for more exciting news as I continue laying the ground work for my new business. So much work, so little time. Pay attention also for pictures from Québec City, if I get around to taking them next week. I'm going to learn some French!

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Oct. 5th, 2007 | 06:46 pm

I'm superstitious about my journal. I write in Moleskine lined notebooks for my journal, and when I reach the end of one, I often see it as a sign that I'm entering some kind of new phase of my life.

You can probably guess what I'm getting to. Yes, I reached the end of my previous journal a few nights ago. I've been too lazy to start another one, but here's some of the stuff that's happened:

  • I contacted a friend I have been avoiding contract work for, and he renewed the contract terms. It's been almost exactly a year since I last did work for him, despite agreeing to give him one hour a week. He's a more gracious fellow than I am. I'd say more, but I'm bound by an NDA.

  • I contacted my Arabic teacher who I was afraid to see since the beginning of the semester, because the department forced her to reneg on her promise to teach us Arabic despite the department's stubborn refusal to offer it. She and one of the other students were to contact me when they figured out what to do, but nobody every did. The good news is that she's willing to help me stay current with the language until this fall when hopefully she'll be teaching the class.

  • In trying to update to Ubuntu's latest beta, Gutsy Gibbon, my workstation at work refused to boot again. I don't know what it is with the Ubuntu team, but the last three upgrades I've done have resulted in my X11 freezing up (dapper), my system refusing to boot because they decided to make some stupid assumptions about my partitioning scheme and then to boot based on disk labels they didn't verify were actually there first (feisty), and then my second screen disappearing and the system refusing to boot after the first day's upgrades came in for the same reason as the last revision (gutsy). The same bug in Workrave is still there in Gutsy (counter refuses to update) and the same problem exists with the logout dialog (the shutdown button is placed in the lower right, where users who can't be bothered to read will automatically click, resulting in lab workstations constantly getting shut off by illiterate troglodytes).

So, today, in an act of penance for not wanting to wait another two weeks before trying the shiny new Linux, I had to reinstall my workstation at work. It took nearly the whole afternoon. The good news is that it allowed me to reassert the boundary between work and personal stuff. I had far too many personal files on my work system. If I want to start my own business, I need to be militant about not allowing any grey area between the two realms. If I accidentally start writing code on a work system, it could affect my ownership of the product, even if I do it during lunch or after hours.

I also am writing this as an act of penance for not updating my journal more regularly. In the future, you can expect to see a post a week or so, as I begin to implement the brilliant scheme of personal unit tests suggested by these brilliant folks. I have 26 such tests right now, of which I passed 11 yesterday. One of them is
Pass if and only if I have posted to one of my blogs some time in the last seven days.

Looks like I just scored a point!

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virus spam virus free

Jul. 30th, 2007 | 02:35 pm

Upon closer inspection, the virus spam was actually Chinese stock spam, not a virus. That's just as ridiculous, if not more so, because it now raises the question of an employee selling the addresses, rather than just the more likely possibility of gross IT incompetence leading to a break in and virus/trojan infection.

And I know that Borders is the only possible source of the address leak because the address was a throwaway address created by me on my own mailserver, which only I have access to. It has never been compromised. Ridiculous.

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Borders leaked my email address

Jul. 30th, 2007 | 02:28 pm

I got virus spam in my mailbox this morning to an email address which I have only ever configured to use with Borders online bookstore's online presence. How did that end up getting leaked? Needless to say, I'm disabling that email address and won't be doing online business with Borders again. I might not even use the local store. That is inexcusable. Literally, there is no way that address could have gotten into the virus vectors' hands except via the Borders corporation's incompetence. I just hope they never had my credit card details stored anywhere...

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Happy Hour

Jul. 28th, 2007 | 09:40 pm

I've been trying to get into the habit of doing Happy Hour once a week. A bunch of friends and I get together and go down to one of the local pubs and have some cheap pints. There are a lot of good microbreweries in Syracuse, and I'd be hard-pressed to find a better catalyst for wasting some time talking about whatever. Yesterday we had a cool mix: One guy from Toastmasters, some people from one of my contracting clients' office, and a lot of people from my cool church. I had the Lagunitas IPA, which I remembered from my trip to San Francisco last year. If only there was a place to get a good mexican burrito to go with it. :(

Today I sat home and nursed my sore throat. I planted a couple catnip plants, and made spaghetti sauce for the week. Alamatriciana is a sauce made from bacon, onions, white wine, and thyme. It's delicious, and probably really healthy, as long as you don't take the bacon fat too seriously. I've been eating smaller portions of things lately, partially because I am trying to lose some weight. I was close to 200lbs at the beginning of spring, and now I'm down to the low 180s. I usually feel best in the higher 170s, so I figure if I can get down below that, I might even feel better still.

The other reason I've been eating smaller portions is that I don't have the kind of money I used to ten years ago, and food has gotten really expensive. Four years ago, or so, I used to be able to buy anything I wanted to eat for about $30/wk. Now, to do the same thing would be almost $50/wk, which is more than I can afford. An indulgence, like a block of imported cheese, would have been $4 a few years ago. Now it's more like $8. A six pack of imported beer would have been about $7, but now it's more like $9. Gas wasn't an issue, because I could walk to work. Now it's $30 every two weeks.

For a while, my raises at work roughly tracked inflation, so I didn't notice prices going up very much, but in the last few years, the average raise has been 2.5%, while cost of living increases have been more like 4%. Meanwhile, I've been trying to travel more, and to take college classes, and to help friends of mind travel and do missionary work. And with prices going up, I've had to lend out more money. I have nearly $1000 loaned out to friends, as of this week. That's a lot of interest my money isn't getting.

Regardless, there's a long way to go between my inconvenience and the sort of poverty I've witnessed in the world. Even though there are some foods and many luxuries I cannot afford, I'm especially thankful that I can always afford food to eat, and that I can consistently spare money for small luxuries. I bought a small block of gorgonzola cheese for dessert this week and a tiny jar of pimenton (smoked paprika) for cooking. Thank God for the opulence I can continue to live in, despite the sorry state of the economy and the stinginess of my employer. Compared to what I've seen on the far end of most airline flights I've taken, my lifestyle gleams like a prince's, as far as the sort of amenities I'm accustomed to: Multiple computers, heating and air conditioning, reliable electricity, my own car, my own house (not shared with 12 family members and friends), a professional job with access to the internet, a college education, running water clean enough to drink without filtration, freedom to practice whatever religion I choose, a shelf full of books and access to libraries containing millions more, comprehensive health care, access to food and alcohol from all over the world, fiber optic internet to my home, freedom to travel wherever I choose and the means to do so, etc. I'm definitely blessed.

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