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That Guy!

17th March, 2007. 1:57 am. ...a young man's heart lightly turns to thoughts of...

...dual-headed laptops. Also, routers. And network naming schemes.

I've been given the use of a new computer by my employers. I'm very pleased with it, and plan to make it do the Right Thing with the flash monitor I have. By the way folks, that sucker has been rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise. That means I have 20" of vertical whitespace for coding, and I very rarely have to scroll web pages down. Glory.

Anyway, I took this lovely computer, whom I have named Sisyphus, home, and immediately manage to fubar my router. I think I will go drop some money on a hard drive and a wireless networking card that can be used as an access point, and build me a router. I am tired of having to trust the networking capabilities of plug'n'pray routers to serve me. Anyway, I think it is time I learned enough about routing to set up a real home network, as I find myself with 2 laptops, and imagine others coming to visit. I have heard good things about BSD, so I will use it. Baracus is just sitting downstairs anyway.

Speaking of Baracus, I believe that this transition to router form will mark a name change for the computer who pities fools. I have an idea for a new name scheme for my network, and I believe Baracus will become Minos. Faceman I'm not sure about, but I'm thinking he'll become Bellerophon. Murdock, my server computer at work, will have to retain his name, because he has a static IP I don't want to bother the SAs.

Current mood: tired.

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9th March, 2007. 10:32 pm. When Lasagna triumphs, everyone wins

Today my lady friend and I were domestic. She came into town at around noon and, after consultation with the internet and the author on the necessary ingredients and implements, we set out to Wal-mart to prepare to create Showalter Lasagna.

This was where I learned something not wholly surprising about my companion. She LOVES to shop. She was absolutely thrilled to be on a largish shopping expedition, particularly since I despise shopping and don't know anything about what a well-prepped kitchen is, and so followed her lead. "This looks like a nice pot." CHING. "We'll be needing plates and stuff, here's a set." CHING. This girl is girly in all the right places, and managed to make a VERY EXTENDED trip to Wal-Mart enjoyable.

We came back and relaxed by eating Ben and Jerry's and watching an episode of Supernatural, then set to work. It took a long time, because we had to wash all the stuff before we used it, and since we hadn't properly organized what we were going to do in our heads, there was a lot of waiting. However, we enjoyed talking at the same time, and overall, I found it to be a very rewarding experience. Particularly when we got to the eating part. It were tasty. It did defeat us, and I plan to be eating lasagna for about the next week.

While I had an excellent time, I find myself with a bit of a headache which, even as I write this, is subsiding. Probably just a day packed full of energetic back and forth has left me a little drained. I'll probably hit the hay once I know she's made it back to her home.

Current mood: drained.

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6th March, 2007. 9:08 pm. Matthew 25:40

I met God today. She was down on her luck and I drove her around town, bought her some supper, and got her a room. I think she needs medical attention, because she kept repeating herself and mentioned that she has diabetes several times. Life has not been kind to her, I think. She said she worked in the kitchen at Quantico, and I hope she really does.

I'm happy that I was able to help her, but I'm deeply troubled that the world is this way.

Current mood: good.

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26th February, 2007. 1:30 am. Snow, D&D minis, and Time Zones

I got up today anticipating a fun-filled sojourn into Oerth, only to read that my Sunday Greyhawk game had been called due to snow. There was about 4 inches of the disgusting wet stuff on my steps, which I evicted with my size 14 (the left one, to be precise).

The kiddies will probably miss school, because Virginia DoT is criminally lax. Actually, I suspect that is why the South REALLY lost the war. They've no grasp of logistics. Both mail and roads are abysmal here, and businesses all close no later than midnight. This includes McDonald's.

Instead, I went to the local Games Pit, and played a sealed unsanctioned tourney of D&D Minis with the resident Weird Pete (actually a very nice woman named Cathy), and some other folks in the store. It was OK. I made it a point to ditch my minis afterward for whatever I could get in WoW cards, because I don't want to be tricked into buying more of them.

I have taken my first foray into the modern world of digital music, and purchased two albums from iTunes. They are All Hopped Up and The Eye of God, both by Dominic Gaudious, who plays acoustic and electric/synth stuff, with multiple overlaid tracks that merge to create a very pleasing instrumental sound. I got them for 10$ a piece, which means I got 24 songs that blend very well together and don't demand my attention for 20$. I am best pleased by this.

In an update to my last post, my coworker solved his problem with Sessions. It was caused by Sessions expiring in an alotted time, and the computers in question having poorly configured time zones that that made them always expired. I wish to take this opportunity to re-express my opinion on timezones. TIMEZONES CONSIDERED HARMFUL!

Current mood: chipper.

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24th February, 2007. 12:42 am. Job happiness

My supervisor is at a conference until middle next week, which leaves me me with some modicum of power and, Spiderman-like, with a modicum of responsibility. I'm watching the issue collector, where the customers make requests for new features and tweaks of existing ones, and following up on their requests. I do this anyway, but without my supervisor there to pass bucks to, I'm doing more thinking on my own.

Actually, I've noticed this tendency in myself a lot. If I've got someone knowledgeable around, I often ask before thinking. I don't know if its a sign of youthful impatience, or what, but I'm trying to curb it when I notice it, it makes me feel incompetent.

Anyway, I'm having to think more, and do stuff on my own, which is good. I'm also trying to make my own project to scratch an itch I have, but which will hopefully eventually be added to the project.

Today I helped a fellow engineer debug on his code. It's a nasty intermittent bug having to do with Sessions and we didn't figure it out, but I kept him from painting the ceiling, and I'm pretty on top of stuff. I think tomorrow look at the customer issues again, and poke the old ones that I could solve in a halfway fashion now, or in a good way with more data. I'd like to be able to present my boss with a nice triage of issues when he gets back letting him know where his input is important, and why.

I don't know who coined the phrase, "Work is good for the soul," but he was right. I feel very much useful and at peace.

Current mood: optimistic.

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21st February, 2007. 12:47 am. Nic Cage was on fire

I thought that would be the best endorsement that Ghost Rider would deserve, but it turned out quite enjoyable. They had him engage in really excellent feats of badassery, such as lassoing a helicopter, hauling it in, and causing the pilot to leak waste fluid.

This was after an enjoyable meal at Chords in the company of a lovely Southern Belle who, I found out, knows how to play piano, likes jumping, and is just as taken with Rawhide (my couch) as I am. She is now driving back to her home, near the Capital of the Commonwealth.

I'm happy.

Current mood: happy.

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14th February, 2007. 11:55 pm. Date + Ice = Nap

So, I was going to go on a date with the prettiest girl in town. It was going to include a movie and dinner at a nice restaurant. Then there was ice. Lots of ice. And nervousness. So instead, I took a nap on my new couch. I'm not sure whether to call the night a triumph or a disaster.

Also, we quickly approach zero hour at work. You know that your projects coming to it's finale when the biggest bug you can find to squash is to make sure that the 404 pages are pretty.

Current mood: quixotic.

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13th February, 2007. 10:13 pm. I spy with my little eye something that begins with a 'C'

"Is it a chair?" you ask. "Is it a couch? Is it a lamp?" Well, that last doesn't begin with a 'C,' but that's the only reason it couldn't be the answer, because I have all of those things. Also dining and sofa tables. Coffee table will join his friends and the furniture-buying orgy will be nearly complete at the beginning of March.

Another thing that I spy is the definitive end to lameness. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and I have a date on it. It is not, to my knowledge, a Valentine's Day date, but rather a "she's off work on Thursdays" date, but the fact remains that I do not have to wear black and pretend to be emo (and since no one really IS emo, that's not wrong) tomorrow. I didn't put the date together until I was going to the mall to get a hair cut and saw a LOT of guys buying perfume. "Why would any man buy perfume, let alone so many," I wondered. Then, from the depths of my brain where I store stupid trivia like my address came the answer, "Tomorrow is Valentine's Day."

Thus ends this post, as I must work.

Current mood: jubilant.

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30th January, 2007. 4:08 am. Furniture and Time Zones. Also Gaming

The march toward a fully-furnished apartment continues. I have placed orders for kitchen and living room furniture.

The kitchen table is oval, circular with the leaves out, and made of golden oak. It has matching chairs. It is slightly too large for my current space, but after I take out the leaves in the table, it should fit alright. As a bonus, when my manly long pants increase, and I have to find a house to move a bride into, I'll have a table suitable for family meals.

The living room stuff is as follows: large sectional couch with ches on one end and recliner on the other, wedge-shaped coffee table with lift top (I'm a particular fan of this feature, I think it will be great for gaming), a chair to sit opposite the couch, and two sofa tables to put behind my sofa, for lamps and possibly some books. The couch is burgundy red leather, the chair a navy blue fabric, the coffee table golden oak, and the sofa tables wood painted black. I'm not perfectly happy with the sofa tables, because they are a compromise between form and price. However, they won't be placed in such a way the people will be looking at them. They're there to hold stuff. I hope to get some curtains or drapes (what is the difference?) made to match the chair, and replace the ugly blinds that I've got now.

Once that stuff is completed, I will only have one room in the main house that will still need furniture, the secondary bedroom. I'm thinking of getting a futon or foldout couch and putting it in there, along with the nightstand I've got coming from Powell's. Then I can purchase a suitable television to put on the nightstand, and a dvd player and video game system to go with the television, and have a handy little tv room/guest room. I don't know yet what I will do with the basement. I'm considering taking up miniatures painting or some other messy hobby :-)

On the professional side, I have, I believe, finally triumphed over timezones.

As an open request to the free world, STOP! Stop storing times as local time. Even on your home computer, which never connects to the internet. STOP. If you insist on the sun being approximately overhead at noon, then time is not a scalar, but a vector quantity. That means it is comprised of not one, but two pieces of information: Time independent of your longitude, and the offset you place on time to make the sun be overhead at noon. When your computers ask you, "Should I store the time as UTC internally," your appropriate answer is, "YES!" This will force you to provide the time zone information, but it will make it possible for folks like me to not care about where the sun is when we write our programs. This means we write less code with fewer bugs for less money. We also have less hate, and the revolution is forestalled.

A while back I blogged about being a real boy and having a desk. The fates decided to punish my hubris, because I was immediately told to give up my desk so the intern could keep it. However, as of yesterday, I have a new desk, and the only things that had to move were some laptops and cat-5 cabling. I'm reasonably confidant they are just as happy in the closet as they were on the desk, which is more than I'd have been able to say for Joseph, the intern.

On the social front, I am my usual lovable self, and the march toward getting a running crew continues smoothly. I've been enjoying my Monday night Earthdawn game (the one Dad didn't think I should go to because it was at the home of a stranger), and I'm in a couple of weekend games at the local gaming store. I'm also wanting to run an internet game of Rippers. It has the usual role playing aspects of talking and killing, but also has a strategic aspect where your Lodge makes moves and counter-moves against the forces of darkness. I feel the second aspect would make a good PBEM, and the former, a good IRC-based game. Anyone who is interested, feel free to contact me. Disclaimer: those who are part of a certain society of secrets may not be able to play, because it does allude to a certain society of secrets.

Current mood: calm.

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21st January, 2007. 11:30 pm. First REAL Snow

2 inches. Maybe.

Because of this, people are depleting Wal-mart of it's precious toilet paper supplies. It never occurs to people that if they are capable of driving through the rapidly melting sublimated di hydrogen monoxide to get the precious white gold, they probably won't be trapped for long enough to need a stockpile.

Stupid.

Current mood: superior.

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