Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Catch up is more than just a condiment

It's been really freaked here lately. Going on a month of unemployment, which means the bills haven't been paid in two months. I'm getting calls and email from everyone wanting money. I have no money and will not be getting more anytime soon. My disability annuity just covers the rent. Life sucks.

As for the job situation, I am getting a boat load of calls from recruiters. My skill set and expertise are quite good. However, they are only looking for full-time employees. As soon as I mention my part-time limitation they all say the same thing.
Paraphrase: "We have no part-time positions available but will keep you in mind if something comes open."
I'm sure they mean well. It's just that it's very hard to place me. There is one possibility that looks promising but I don't want to say anything as not to jinx it.

On the home front, my son is doing both exceptional and abysmal in school. Academically he's running 2 to 3 grades beyond his current one. Emotionally/interpersonally he's 2 to 3 grades below. He lacks discipline and the ability to self monitor his behavior. It's nothing extreme. He's just a bit talkative and, when he gets bored, he wants to occupy himself in loud and boisterous activities. Most of the time trying to get his classmates to join him. I know why he lacks the discipline and there's not much I can do to fix that (I am trying, though). But he is very capable of behaving in the right environment. He had almost no problems when he was in Tae Kwon Do and he's never been a problem when he visits his grandmother. He's generally good for me, too. I think that the school systems in this day and age aren't prepared to handle boys. Girls will, generally, behave fairly well. The boys are, well, why do you think that "boisterous" starts with a "boy" sound? We'll work it out somehow.

Health is, well, I have no idea. The last few weeks I've had a headache that won't go away and some body aches that are above and beyond the FM. Today I was up at 4am with chest pains. They seemed to come and go all day. My left arm was numb and weak. I mean much more so than normal. I almost called 911 on two occasions but didn't. Yes, I know... I'm being a pig-headed, stupid man who won't call the doctor when he's sick. I've done the chest pains/911/ambulance/hospital thing already and it's not something I want to do again. No, it doesn't make any sense. But if I'm still having them tomorrow I will call. That is if I am still alive in the morning. Waking up dead would be a real drag.

I haven't started my grand plan yet. I didn't think that it would be easy to. I'm infamous for wanting to do something but never getting around to actually doing it. There's always a distraction here or there. And I'm very easily distracted. Most of the time it's email or the web so I'm going to setup the other system with something (maybe SUSE or CentOS or most likely FC3) and keep the browser and email apps disabled. I can pop over to my main machine if I need something. I guess I'm just not very enthusiastic about doing C coding. But if I want to get back into it, and do any hacking on open source projects, I'm going to need it. A foundation in C isn't all that bad, really. I should probably move onto Java after that but I don't know if I'll ever get that ambitious. Hell, I have no ambition. That's half my problem.

Let's see, what else... Can't think of anything off-hand. I think if things all the time and say, "I should blog that" but it's been so hectic lately I just don't feel like getting on. I recorded the F1 year in review thing from the Speed Channel and, whenever I get 'round to watching it, I might post something about it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Despair, Inc. 2005 Calendars

The Despair, Inc. 2005 Calendars are in at ThinkGeek. If you haven't seen the calendars or posters before you're in for a treat. The reason they are so funny is because they are so true. One perfect example is -
Incompetence - When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, There's no end to what you can't do.
My mother gets very upset and angry when she encounters incompetence in this world. Unfortunately, this means she's upset or angered just about every day. I myself don't often get upset or angry when I encounter incompetence. Or idiocy. Or stupidity. Hell, I'm as mediocre and lazy and undependable as the next guy (well, if the next guy is dead). Getting bent by the actions of morons is a useless waste of energy. I don't have the spare energy to waste on these kinds of things. I probably should be more assertive and less accepting of this stuff since it always seems to bite me in the end. But that's just my nature. I am a Scorpio.

Friday, December 03, 2004

So very tired

I haven't done anything to warrant this but I'm about ready to fall out any second. Tomorrow I'll try and get some catch-up posts in. It's not like much has happened but much did happen. That's the weird part of it.

Going to bed now. Alone. Without anyone. $DEITY I need a woman!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I hate hardware

The frelling KVM stopped working. I don't know if it's just being stupid or if I did some kind of damage to it on my blackout day. I don't feel like crawling under the desk to muck with it. I was hoping to use this box for OS reviewing and such until I can do something about snowball.

Crap, I'm falling all over the keyboard again. I better get to bed so I can get up around 8am to get my son to school by 9am, I know, I have such a hard life. Anyone who wants to trade for this life just holler. I'd be more than happy for domronmr rldr to rfua wha Olm xivinv,.

Oop! Definitely time to get off. I canlt .........................

Monday, November 22, 2004

Catching up with things

And so another day begins.

First off, I found my iPod. It somehow found it's way between my night stand and some boxes. No clue how it got there.

I mentioned the other day I was trying to switch from Mozilla to Firefox. Well, I switched back. I think it would be easier to move to Firefox if I was starting from scratch. There's just a lot of tweaking I've done to Mozilla to make it run the way I want.

It's time to start looking for a new job. Or at least looking into what I need to do to look for a new job. One thing I know I've got to do is redo my resume. It's pretty caught up as far as working goes but I need to put it into a better format.

Gotta run over to my moms place to look at some paperwork that my ex-employer sent for me to sign. It's their severance package. Probably filled with lots of lawyer-speak.

I've registered the domain name YourLinuxGuru.com. Hopefully I can do something with it. It would be nice to get paid for my Linux expertise.

It's time to plan out my plan. I have to get organized and block off at least a hour a day for "class". I should also block off at least an hour for job hunting. And this week I'll need to block off as much time as I can to straighten up the house to get ready for this weekend.

I guess that's about it for now. Need to jump into the shower and get dressed. At least I did remember to do the laundry last night so I have clean underwear again.

I might be in trouble

I don't know what happened because I can't remember but I think I almost OD'd on sleeping pills Saturday night. All the pills are gone (and I remember having at least 15 left) and I have bruises on my body from falling down somewhere. My cell phone was burred under junk in my bedroom but the last time I had it was in the living room. My iPod is missing and I distinctly remember putting it in the dock to sync it up. Lastly my brother came over Sunday afternoon to check on me and found the front door unlocked and me passed out on my bed. I woke up Sunday at what I thought was 6am but it really was 6pm. And somewhere along the line I smoked a cigar, which I kinda remember. Almost.

The real puzzling thing for me is I don't remember. This worries me a bit. I'll have to try and figure out what might have happened soon because my son will be back with me after school Monday. Can't be going around OD'ing on stuff with him here.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

So far? Interesting.

It seems that being let go hasn't been all that much or a difficulty for me. Sure I'm still worried about the money situation and I'll still need to find a job but my psych is feeling pretty good. I guess I was even more unhappy in my old position than I thought. Maybe this is one of those good turning points in life. Maybe.

I'm trying to switch to firefox again. I've been using mozilla since forever and haven't been disappointed with it really. But the future of the mozilla based browser is firefox so I'd better get used to it. I've already found most of the extensions for it that I use and it looks like it picked up some of the ones installed for mozilla. The Gmail modifier seems to be twiddling it's thumbs and not logging in but that could be for many reasons. Ah, it finally worked. Of course it's not like I get any mail at my Gmail address(es). No one knows them 'cause I haven't passed that info out. If anyone cares the two that I want to keep are joe.klemmer@gmail.com and linux.guru@gmail.com. If anyone out there doesn't already have a Gmail account I got a boat-load of invites I can send out.

Got a call a little while ago from a woman. Remember the dating service I signed up with? She was the current referral. Just got her info today. Normally I've had to be the one to call but she took the initiative and called first. That's fine with me. I think we're going to try and get together tomorrow. Maybe.

Speaking of women, next weekend I'm supposed to cook dinner for my Chinese friend. She and her daughter are going to come over for dinner to my place. I like the idea, especially the cooking as I don't get enough opportunities to do it lately, is a good one except for one thing... This place is really trashed.

[Begin Rod Serling voiceover]
Imagine, if you will, a place where two men, one in his early 40's and one in 2nd grade, live alone in a house. The older man is disabled and the younger a bit spoiled. Think of the possibilities for mess and clutter to set in. No matter how hard you try to get out, the TrashedHouse Zone will pull you back in.
[End Rod Serling voiceover]

Yes, it is that messy, even a little dirty. But it's the clutter that makes the difference. Most of the furniture is burred under magazines and books and paper and games. Even clothes (clean, not dirty, I'm not that bad)! At least I have a week to clean up. And since I'll be home all day that "should" give me enough time to get the place in some semblance of decency. I say "should" because I am a prolific procrastinator. I can not get things done better than just about anyone. But if I don't we won't have any place to sit and eat so it looks like I'll have to clean up no matter what. Maybe.

But back to the whole job thing, I think I'm going to also look into those work from home shills^H^H^H^H^H^H adverts and see if any of them are worth the effort of trying. Can't hurt to look into it, huh? Well, maybe it can so I'd better be careful. I really would like to get back into programming, though. Starting next week I'm going to have to try and setup a schedule where I work on my plan. It's time I made an effort to put a little discipline in my life.



Or maybe Thud? Crash isn't right. Ker-plunk just doesn't do it either. I think that Thunk best describes my life. It's fallen out of control again and I've landed hard on reality.

You know, reality is really overrated. I've been on both sides of the line and while there's may good points about reality there's just as many good points about being stoned out of your mind on hash, for example. It's been a very long time since I had the pleasure of that reality. It's not a reality I'd want to experience these days, having a son and all. Aahh, but there are times when the carefree days of being young (say 19 to 25) are remembered fondly. At least those memories that are still accessible. Quite a bit of it is a blur, for obvious reasons. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back to that time. It had it's own set of daemons I had to wrestle with.

Whoever said the youth is the best time if life was definitely stoned. The hardest and most painful time in life is the teen years followed closely by the early to mid twenties. With all the ups and downs and out-of-control'ness that happened during that time of life it makes it really bad sometimes. Everyone in there 30's and 40's would likely agree that their teen years were hard but they'd love to live them over again. What they mean is they'd love to live them over again with the knowledge and wisdom they have now. Hell, if I could go back and be 13 but keep all the knowledge and experience I have now I'd fucking rule the world!

Anyway, gotta get some sleep. It's not like I've got much to do now but I still need to get someone off to school in the morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Well, it's finally happened

I've been terminated from the part-time job I had. It doesn't come as a complete surprise but it's still a bit of a blow. They let me go because of a lack of attendance. I wasn't making it into work because the FM has been quite bad lately. Maybe it's for the best. I've been steadily moving backwards in my technical skills and I guess a change would be a good thing. The problem will be trying to find a job I can do that will allow for telecommuting.

Crap, I need to get my son from school. Gotta jump in the shower.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Not again...

Damn! Fell asleep at the wheel again. I just woke up and I'm sitting in front of the computer. Again. This is like the third or forth (maybe fifth) time it's happened. I go to check email before hitting the bed and then wake up 5 hours later all hunched over the keyboard. My butt hurts and I can't focus my eyes. Between the two-and-a-half hours sleep I got last night and this I'll probably fall out all over the place today at work. Speaking of which...

Now I just remembered why I'm sitting here in the first place. I had another "episode" where I was awake but not. I fell into all the toys and junk and boxes in my bedroom. This time I pretty much woke up so my son didn't have to get up and look after me.

Crap! I did it again. Just blinked through nearly an hour while composing this. I need some frelling HELP!! God damn it there has to be SOMETHING that I can do to get back on track. I'm going to call the therapist in the morning and try to get her to see me again. Somehow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why? Simply, why?

There has to be a reason. Doesn't there? I mean, we're not talking about the immaculate reception. Why the pain? Why the debilitating, crushing, grinding pain? Why the weakness and numbness? Isn't the pain enough? Why do all the meds I take impair cognitive abilities? Why is it getting worse? Why can't I get some help? I know that I am my worst enemy in many ways (just ask my mother about my [not] getting a flu shot). I missed two appointments; one with the talker and one with the doctor. The former was really more important than the latter but I can't get a hold of the practitioner to try and reschedule. I think she's decided that I am not worth "treating" and am not in a great need of her services. If that's the case then she'll be in for a surprise when I end up in the emergency room with slits on my wrists.

Speaking of which, in a former post I had pondered about how I would do the deed. This weekend would be a good time for it. He'll be with his mother (at least he is supposed to be with her) so I could just hole up and bleed out. It's supposed to be fairly painless and you just pass out and die. Not an unpleasant thought, really. If the warm water would hold out the wrist slitting in the shower thing does seem the best way. But we're getting into the cold time of year here in the northern hemisphere so the hot water doesn't last that long. It would need to last until I lost consciousness. I really hate taking a cold shower.

I also hate getting into a cold pool. My son has no hesitations. He's a water baby and will not get out of the pool even when his lips and fingers are blue and he's chattering so hard he can hardly talk. He swims like a fish and fears nothing when it comes to water play. Luckily last summer Grandma was able to take the kids to the pool at the country club. The girls are good but he is great. His mother was a great swimmer and $DEITY knows he didn't get my physique, thankfully. He's going to be a great athletes in whatever sport he will play. I think it'll have running as a bases for it, though. Running is his #1 favorites thing to do. Well, that and watching cartoons. Kinda contradictory there, huh?

Hmm... This is an interesting post. I started out with the pain into suicide thing then moved over to my son. And damned if talking about him didn't completely distract me from the black thoughts. It is true. A truth so strong and fundamental as to be gospel... Without him I would have already committed suicide. Definitely. No question. No him? No reason for a me? Why? Because I have no other benefit I can give to society. I cost more than I produce so I run at a loss. No business can run at a loss and survive for long. And the reason for this is the pain and weakness and pain and numbness and pain I have from the FM.

So, we're full circle. Why? Why must I fight against so much pain? Why do I have such a wonderful boy? Why is the desire to end the pain using drastic measures becoming so strong? Why is it that my only hold on life is my son? Why isn't there SOMETHING out there that could help me?

To quote a great man, "This shit is really fucked, man."

Life is seriously unfair

I was home sick today (hopefully I'll still have a job on Tuesday, but that's another story) and got caught watching Maury. Lately it's all lie detector and paternity tests. This one was the latter.

They had three women on who had, all totaled up, tested 25 men for paternity of their children. One woman cheated on her man with 8 different guys so she wasn't sure at all who the father was.

Now, besides the commentary this might make on the moral fiber of our culture, this made me think of one thing... Where do I have to go to meet one of these women who are sleeping with 5, 6, 8 men in the span of a week? It seems that some women and men are getting far more than their share of sex in this world. I can't even buy it. Well, I probably could but it's to much work to do it here. In Germany, where prostitution was legal, I'd just go down to the red light district and get a blowjob or something. But here it's, as I said, to much work.

I hit puberty and from there get sex a couple of times a decade. Hell, I went the last 6 years of my marriage with no sex (except for the two days in February when I was damn near forced into it so that our son could be conceived). Anyone who doubts the female "biological clock" just doesn't know any women in their mid to late 30's who don't have any kids. I mean it even overpowered the sex drive of a lesbian, fer cryin' out loud!

To be perfectly honest, I'm not looking for a sex kitten. I doubt that I could do more than once every couple of weeks. What I am looking for is someone to be with. Heart, mind & soul. To take care of and to be taken care of. To hold and to be held by. To talk to and to listen to. I want someone to be with, and all that that implies. Young people today don't appreciate the value of the kiss. Just necking, that's what our parents called it. Making out.

You can be sure that I was completely felled when I heard that making out to the current crop of young people meant everything excluding vaginal intercourse. Everything up to, and including, oral sex isn't considered as sex. Kids go hangout with their friends, get some burgers, engage in some fellatio, see a movie and go home. Some might say that I am just jealous because this wasn't the way when I was young. Damn straight, bubba! But also I see it as one who just turned 42 and cares for a son who is soon to be 8. There are 8 year olds having sex these days. You think it's mostly in the urban areas but it's all over. I'd rather he not learn this lesson for about 8 to 10 more years.

Anyway, life is unfair. When I was 8 we weren't having sex (for the most part). When I was 18 I wasn't having much sex because I was a desperate and horny dork. Nothing like a dork who's desperately needing to get laid to make a girl turn away. When I got in my 20's I got more than I thought I did at the time. In my 30's I was married and maybe got sex, of any kind, about 8 or 10 times IN THE DECADE! I'm now in my 40's and a cripple. If I could perform a good bout of mish it'd be a miracle. That or I'd be dead right after. I don't know where this rekindling (of something that I'm not sure is there) with the very nice Chinese lady will go anywhere, but I hope that there's some happiness, for both of us, no matter where it takes us.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Damn! I missed the Kyushu cutoff

I've mentioned before that I partake in online Sumo games (kind of like Fantasy Football). I've been playing about a year but this is the first time I missed the deadline for the games. More specifically the one game I really prefer, Totoro's Sumo Hoshitori Game. Due to this I will end up falling in rank quite a bit. See, if you can't make a Basho you have to register yourself as kyujo, which the sumo glossary defines as -
kyujo, injury; injured rikishi forced either to skip a whole honbasho (zen-kyu) or retire from a honbasho due to an injury sustained during it (tochu-kyujo), see kosho seido, yasumi
Something I hadn't done. So now I'm looking at a free fall in the ranks. It's just as well, I guess. I've had less and less time to devote to things lately. I'm, like, 275 messages behind in the sumo list. And it's not what you'd call a high traffic list.

I'll just have to make a big run in 2005.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

You load 16 tons, whadaya get...

Another birthday gone by. I'm 42 years old, as of the 12th. It still amazes me that I am this old. When I was in my mid-20's I didn't think I'd make it much past 30. OC, with the physical condition I'm in it's not exactly like I'm living in the tall cotton. This thing manifested itself in my early to mid 30's so maybe I was kinda right after all. Still I don't feel middle aged. Not in my soul. I feel crushed by life and pain but not age. My father was like that about age. It didn't seem to make a difference to him what the calendar said. He was as sharp and fun and intelligent and funny as ever (until he got sick). Man I still miss him.

We spent a weekend over at my brothers house. Kind of a sleep over with Grandma, really. I slept in her bed while my son slept on the couch (it's a really good and comfortable couch) while she slept in the recliner chair (she likes sleeping there). I got to get a mattress like she has. It was the best sleep I've had in a long time.

I have to say something about my son. He's really a wonderful kid. A few nights ago I had a really bad time and was hallucinating. He came in and took care of me, made sure I didn't walk into to many things (I know I walked into a wall and maybe some other furniture) and helped me to the bathroom and back to bed. I was not responding right and he knew it so he called my mother and she and my brothers came and got us. I really don't remember much of anything from that night but do I know that my son is on the job so I don't have to worry about that. Wish I knew what the heck happened, though.

What else... There's a lot of crap going on but I can't think of anything specific off-hand. The Steelers won. That's good. Go Black 'n' Gold!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Strange sleeping habits

For the last 5 or 6 days I have been experiencing some very strange sleeping situations. I get my son to bed between 2130 and 2230, depending on how cooperative he is and how much pain I have. Once he's asleep I come into the computer room to catch up on mail and other stuff. The very next instant I'm waking up in front of the computer and it's 0330! It seems that I am passing out in the chair and sleeping for 4 or 5 hours. Last night I knocked my glasses off during this sleeping time and it took a while to find them, especially since I can't see at all without them. Oh, and the funniest thing about last night was that I had been in the middle of typing something and, when I fell out, I seem to have left my hand in such a position that I typed 5 pages of the letter "z". Now that's funny. I even snore when I'm online.

Speaking of vision problems, my son needs glasses. It has become very clear that he is near sighted. I'm way overdue for my eye exam checkup so I'm going to plan for us to go together and get new vision some day soon (where soon <= 12 months). This should help him in school, too.

Ok, I have a bunch of things to get done tomorrow (today) so I'm going to try and catch a few more z's but in my own bed this time. I'm starting to fade out here again already.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Feel... Like... $hit...

$DEITY I am way to old for this all night stuff. I just got up from a quick hour of napping. But the reason I got up is because the bank was calling me and wants me to pay the past due amount on my CC. I got like $100 in my checking account and need to pay over $600 to bring the CC to under it's limit. Between that and the bills I'm juggling it's gonna be a fun few weeks/months.

My ex is dropping my son off this evening. I'm happy for having more time with him but I wish she'd have worked out her schedule a bit better this weekend. I could use another many hours of sleep to try and get my body back in rhythm.

The rest of my family is going out to this local sports bar for the Pittsburgh Steelers game. I'd love to go but I need to get laundry done and dishes washed. I'm on my third load of the former and have been putting off the latter pretty well so far.

I'd better go take my meds now. I'm about an hour overdue. This whole pain thing is really getting old. And now, since I missed the first scheduled appointment of babble-help. Now I'll bet that the babble helper will think I'm just a fruit with no real problems. Wouldn't be surprised if that happened. No one ever takes the time to get past my shell. Granted I don't make it easy for anyone to, but still...

Sometimes it sucks to be me.

A night to remember

Well, not really. Especially since I have the memory of a gnat. But it was still a good night.

I had another date with my Chinese lady friend. We'd talked about going to this restaurant down by where I live. It's supposed to be very good. I was going to drive up and get her then drive back down. Once I got there her daughter wasn't home yet from the library. If you ask me that girl studies to much. But then again, this coming from a Collage drop-out. Anyway, we wait for her daughter who was supposed to be home in about an hour. That worked out 'cause my lady friend had been painting outside so this gave her some time to get ready. I just watched some Steven Seagal movie that was on TV. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory I believe it was. So she gets ready and we spend some time chatting waiting for her daughter. The girl finally comes in about a half-hour late. This isn't surprising nor is it worrisome. What else would you expect a 16 year old girl to do? Now, the daughter and I get along pretty well so we spent some time talking then all three of us were talking and before we knew it the time was 1900. So we started thinking about dinner. My lady friend said that it didn't make sense to drive all the way back down just to eat so we decided to go somewhere around there. I said that, if she wanted to come, her daughter was welcome to join us. At first the girl was all about "No, I need to study" but we convinced her to come along. We went to this Lebanese place and had some very good food. I ate to much, that's for sure. The daughter tried the non-alcoholic version of Becks beer and we all shared a giant piece of cheese cake. It was chocolate brownie cheese cake. Then we went back to her place and talked a bit before her daughter went to her room to study. While my lady friend graded some homework (she does some teaching) we put on a movie. I fell out sawing some serious logs for half the movie. Got to see the beginning and end. After I woke up we talked for a few more hours which I barely remember because I was 85% asleep. However I was able to get home ok. I left her place about 0130 but when I got home I couldn't sleep. I felt exhausted but just couldn't sleep. So I watched some movies and TV shows I "TiVo'ed" and then went about catching up on some email and junk. Which leaves me here. I hope I can at least take a nap a bit later today. Still, it was very nice and comfortable being with her and her daughter.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Programming Paradigms

Just ran across this today...
Using Design by Contract in C by Charlie Mills -- Design by Contract is a programming approach that formalizes the interface between callers and callees, leading to more robust and disciplined code. If your language lacks formal support for DBC, though, are you stuck? No--Charles Mills describes the design and implementation of Design by Contract for the C programming language.
Design by Contract is a really great way to develop applications. It was first put forward in 1988 with the book Object-Oriented Software Construction by Dr. Bertrand Meyer (2nd edition published in 1997). This book was the impetus for the development of one of the best OO languages that exists, Eiffel. What is interesting about the article by Mr. Miller is that not only has he described a way of developing C programs under the DBC methodology, it's also that C is capable of using this mythology without becoming so convoluted and complex that the code is unmanageable and unmaintainable. It won't be a elegant as an Eiffel program but it will be something you can easily include in your systems development or any large project.

Ok, call me a geek but I think this stuff is fascinating. I am wanting to get back into programming so learning C and also DBC will be a Very Good Thing™. In another life I was a professional programmer. Between 1989 and 1995 I was a mainframe COBOL programmer (developing under MVS, for those who might know these kinds of things). I'm not going to go into my "Why COBOL doesn't suck" rant right now but suffice to say that it was a good and fun time. Then I accidentally became a UNIX sysadmin and web developer overnight and haven't had the chance to do any major development since. Oh, I do get to hack stuff here and there, mostly using bash, perl and php. But it's not the same as developing something that can be more than just a minor little tool or one-off. So I have decided to try and get back into being a "real" programmer.

The plan is to teach myself using some of the better books and web resources. So far I have worked out a program like this -
  1. (Re)learn basic programming fundamentals using the book Programming From The Ground Up by Jonathan Bartlett
  2. (Re(re))learn C using the book C Programming for the Absolute Beginner by Michael Vine
  3. Build on that with more advanced C using Linux Programming by Example by Arnold Robbins
  4. Finally, GUI programming with GTK+ Programming in C by Syd Logan
I also have the books User Interface Design for Programmers by Joel Spolsky and C Nitty-Gritty by Klaus Schröder as well as K&R 2e and a plethora of other books to draw on for information and help as needed. The only difficulty I have is that it's hard to do anything with a 7yo around. If I can get 15 minutes without hearing "DAAAAAAAAAD! Come here!" it'd a miracle.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Geek voting

Geek voting
Geek voting,
originally uploaded by x-nc.
I was wearing my Red Hat Official Mirror t-shirt when I voted. No one knew what the heck it meant but I figured I'd show a little spirit for the community.

Image hosting compliments of flickr.com.

I Voted

That's what the sticker on my shirt says. And I honestly didn't know who I'd vote for until that last second before I pulled the lever. It doesn't really matter, though. This election is going to be far worse than 2000 with the litigation and accusations and recounts. It's possible that we will not know who won the election until after Inauguration Day. This whole system is breaking down. We need a new way to run this country. Unfortunately there's no way to fix it short of revolution. I definitely don't want that extreme of a "solution." We should get rid of the electoral Collage at least. It served it's purpose once but that was a long time ago. Also, it would be good to withhold results of all the states votes until after every state in the union has closed their polls. These two things would help make for a better election process and also would be more accurate WRT who wins and who loses. Oh well... It's not gonna happen. There's way to much money involved in the current governmental process. None of the elected members of our government would want things to change.

The rest of the day was a total bust. I couldn't make it into work so there's another day or doom on my chart. [Side comment: The only reason I was able to vote is because the school is right behind my house. I was able to drag myself there and back but that's about all I'm good for today.] My mail server went down this morning. It's funny how much we rely on email these days. I feel like there's a big hole in my day. The server is my own so I know what the likely causes are. The only problem is that it's co-located in another state. Not with one of those big name companies but with a friend of mine. He's got a little business and he's been letting me ride his pipe for free. I just need to make sure that my mirrors don't suck up all the bandwidth. Got to throttle ftp quite seriously. I've been trying to get a pipe to where I'm living for over two years now but I can't get a decent line that works. Verizon(sucks!) is the only game in town as they have not let any other provider, like Covad, put equipment in their CO. I tried a Verizon DSL link twice. The first time it never worked at all. The second time it worked for a couple of months then went whack-o again. I was paying ~$100/month for 1.5M/128K and it was broken. Speakeasy(yea!) has a line that's, and I'm not exaggerating, 6M/768K for $115/month. Speakeasy uses Covad. Therefore I'm s-k-rude. Verizon has just started rolling out fiber pipes to end users. They are claiming 6M/2M lines. That's ungodly big and would be wonderful to get but who knows when (or if) it will be available in my area. I think they've done a test run in TX and the word is that some of the cities up north of me have it available. We'll just have to wait and see.

I only thought of killing myself once today. Doing the car wreck thing, you know, but that's to unpredictable and really messy. I'd have to drive off a cliff or something for it to really be viable but there's no cliffs around here. I must say that the thoughts of suicide are getting fewer and smaller lately. Maybe because I'm deluding myself into thinking that the nice Chinese lady (have I mentioned her?) might actually be interested in pursuing a relationship. Maybe it's the Wellbutrin. Who knows? I don't.

I guess that's about it. My son is with my mom and my nieces today (no school due to elections) so I should take some time to rest before he comes back home. I should watch some of the TV shows I've recorded. The last new episode of Star Trek: Enterprise would work. I doubt I'd have enough time to watch the Farscape mini-mini-series. One hour vs four hours and all...

Sunday, October 31, 2004

October 31st


I'm feeling really bad so my brother brought my son over to trick-or-treat. We normally get together at their house with my sisters family and go through that neighborhood. I hope he has a good take this year. We usually do pretty good. If I wasn't so desperate with money I would have bought a costume for myself.

It's getting really difficult to try and do anything these days. I'm feeling crushed by the world. It's bearing down on me so hard I'm going to get crunched into pancake. Life and the FM and work and everything is becoming to heavy. I can't see a way out of this. I've said that before, haven't I? Well, it's the truth. I can't work but I can't not work. It's hopeless.

I had more thoughts of killing myself today. Just a fleeting passage of a flicker of a thought. But it was there, none the less. I kinda wonder how I'd do it, though. I don't have a gun so I can't shoot myself. Hanging or any kind of asphyxiation is out. My "death fear" is not breathing. No drowning or suffocating or some such. I can always slit my wrists or some other body part and bleed out. I'd have to do it on a weekend when my son is with his mother and I don't want that. I've got a boatload of meds I'm taking but I don't know if OD'ing on them would work. Guess I'm not really committed to offing myself. If I were I'd know how I'd do it. Still, it's a real worry that the thought even exists. But the thought exists because the pain has reached a very serious level. It even infects my dreams.

I'm to trashed to go into anything right now. I'm doing my "asleep at the wheel" impression.

Time for bed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

When does depression become despair?

Yesterday I couldn't make it to work. Another day of income lost. I couldn't walk until nearly 1400. How am I supposed to make enough money to support my son? But that wasn't even the real crisis. Something happened that is far worst than that.

I actually, for the very first time in my life, thought of suicide.

This scares me to high heaven, as they say. But the pain levels have been getting higher and higher so even with all the meds I'm taking I hurt so much that it encompasses my conscious thoughts. It's always been there, weighing like a boulder on my back. But it's normally just under the radar. Just under the conscious level. But now it's risen up to become the primary thought of every moment. I can't tune it out and get on with my life. It's blocking my cognitive efforts to do anything except think of the pain.

Now, I know that there are things much more painful than what I'm having. Hell, I had virile spinal meningitis two years ago. I now know what a scale of 10 is on the pain chart. But that was all temporary. All my other experiences with pain are temporary to one extent or another. It is my belief that the vast majority of people only ever experience temporary pain. The kind of pain I'm having is just like the afore mentioned boulder. It's a crushing pain that will not let up. Like being caught in the coils of an anaconda, every time I breath the coils get tighter and tighter. Soon I will not be able to do anything at all but fight the crushing pain. It is quickly becoming the only thought in my mind. It's all ready become the center point of my dreams. I used to have wild and fun and erotic dreams of all kinds. Now it's just pain. Me and pain in my dreams.

This is why the "S" word came into my head. I was finally able to take a shower at around 1500. I'm standing there with the water spraying on my head and face wishing the pain would go. Then, BANG! I think that I could slit my wrists (or some better place) and just bleed out in the shower. It wouldn't make a mess and I could just sit down and let the warm water spray on me as I slowly lose consciousness. Clean and fairly non-painful.

The real scary part of this, though, is that whenever these kind of thoughts would invade my subconscious I would just think of my son and I'd be able to push those thoughts back. This time when I thought of my son the pain was at such a level that I actually decided to let him live with my sister and her family when I'm gone. He'd have two parents who'd love him and two sisters to play with him. He'd be better off with them.

All of this thinking took about 5 minutes, I'd guess. I was finally able to push it back down out of conscious thought. But the fact that it did break through is beyond frightening to me. What if it comes back stronger next time? What if it comes back at all? What do I do? The pain isn't going away and I'm starting to see death as a viable way to deal with it. This is not something I can do. I need to be here for my son and also for the rest of my family. Killing yourself makes your problems go away but brings on more pain and anguish to those around you. I love my family and friends to much to cause them that kind of pain. But my pain doesn't give a rats ass what I want. If it keeps getting stronger, as it has been for over the past few months now, I don't know if I'll be able to keep these kind of thoughts out of my head.

I just don't know.

Brazilian GP incoherent babbling

Rubens was racing for his home town. He started from the poll and got out to an early lead. Michael had a crash in testing so he had to start 18th. Just as the race was getting ready to setup, there was a bit of a downpour so most of the cars started on wets. Only the Renault guys and one or two others started on slicks. The wets were good for the first 1/4 of the race but the track dried out and those who switched to slicks the soonest made strong advancements. Michael spun early and it dropped him back to nearly last. He ended up 7th, though to ad to his massive points total. Rubens was able to claw back in to third so that means there has been a Ferrari driver on every podium this year. Anyway, it was a fun race with JP and Kimi taking 1-2.

That's all for now. I can't see the keyboard anymore. I'm going to bed to dream of sex and giant boulders with snakes. Don't try to do this, though. It would not be bad to start out small, like with go-carts. It's dangerous but so is F1.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Good and bad all mixed up

Karma. The balancing of fate on a knifes edge. One little breeze and you're toast. That seems to be where I'm at right now. This weekend was both great and horrible at the same time. Often in the same moment. Right now I can't sleep. I woke up at 0200 Sunday morning and other than a few minutes dozing off on the couch I haven't gotten any sleep. Tomorrow is looking real bad but I have to figure out a way to get to work. But that's for later. Right now I have a small dilemma... I should be happy, or at least feeling a bit upbeat. But I'm sitting here feeling numb and lost. In two days I went on two dates. One a fresh, kinda-like blind date and the other with someone I knew last year who didn't seem to find me her type but who might have changed her mind. While I should be happy, I'm only scared. Not of the women (there's a psych book on that one), or the non-feelings inside of me but the feeling and, I'll go ahead and say it, strong desire to stop the pain and leave it to the gods or fate or Karma to sort it out when I'm gone. The glass is half empty and there really is no spoon.

I can't see straight and I keep node's off at the keyboard so I'm going to bed now. I'll try and get to the final GP race in Brazil. I also recorded the Farscape episod(s) today. Don't know when I get to watch either. 'Night.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Oh, by the way...

I haven't had a cigarette since October 7th. This time is feels pretty good. I hate to jinx it by posting here but I haven't even had the faintest of cravings so there's a good chance it'll take this time. Man, I hope so.

Japanese GP Comments

I'm so far behind on this it's almost not worth posting. If you want to get more specific info you should probably just go to the F1 site and dig through the older news updates.

FWIW, the race started with an all Schumacher front row. Michael was in P1 and Ralf in P2. Within the first 10 laps or so it was clear that nothing short of disaster would keep the brothers from finishing 1-2. Which, of course, they did. The real drama was whether Takuma Sato could get a podium finish in his home race. He made a great try of it but just couldn't get by Jenson Button. There were also some fun driving in the middle of the pack and at some point David Coulthard & Rubens Barrichello had a bumping duel that took them both out of the race. The world feed missed the actual scrape so I don't know what happened (I'll be wandering over to the F1 site after I watch the Brazilian race later today).

The only other thing of interest is the poor showing of Jacques Villeneuve. He was brought into Renault replacing Jarno Trulli with the expectation of getting them some points in their battle for second in the Constructors Championship with BAR-Honda. After this race BAR has put a little gap in their points, though the position (and all the money that goes along with it) is still up for grabs.

Well, that's it for now. I'll try and do a better job for Brazil.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I don't know where I'm goin'

But I sure know where I've been.
Hangin' on the promises of yesterday
But I've made up my mind
I ain't wastin' no more time
'cause here I go again
Here I go again

I haven't been posting for a while. I'm even late with my "Comments on the Japanese Grand Prix." Life hasn't been so good lately. Being a single parent is hard enough. Being a disabled single parent is bad. Being a disabled single parent on a fixed income where you're forced to work a part-time job in order to pay the rent and buy food sucks. Now, to top it all off, I might lose the part-time job. I've been so bad lately with the symptoms of the FM that I've missed a ton of work. I'm on a 30 day "probation" now. If I lose the part-time gig I can't live on the disability check at all. No house, and they take away my kid. His mom is "between dwellings" so that's a bit of a difficulty. It's not very sunny here these days.

Since you've been gone
Since you've been gone
I'm outta my head, can't take it
Could I be wrong
But since you've been gone
You cast a spell so break it

I ran across this site called imode the other day. It's really very lame and mostly seems to be used by AOL'ers, kids and IM'ers but I thought what the hell and signed up. It's free anyway. You can put up a smiley to show what your mood is. The cool thing is that it will use all the moods to make an aggregated mood for the Internet. Looks like this -

The Current mood of the Internet is The current mood of the Internet at www.imood.com.

At least it was when I typed this.

My moods have been rather dark so far. Wonder why...

Doctor doctor, please
Oh, the mess I'm in
Doctor doctor, please,
oh, the mess I'm in

Right at this exact moment iTunes is playing "2 Minutes to Midnight" by Iron Maiden. I'm really glad I got to live through the heyday of Heavy Metal. We were all living in Germany then so it wasn't like it was here with the hair and the glam and stuff. It was barebones, no-holds-barred, shred your face mayhem. $DEITY it was glorious. Heh, how Klingon of me to say that. But it was. I lived from about 17 to 25 in mind thrashing happiness. Hell, even when I was unhappy I was still happy. You know all those old guys who talk about the glory days? It's true. When you get to a certain time in life you realize what a great thing youth is. I'm going to try to do everything I can so that my son can have a life as wondrous and grand and humbling and driving as I did. 'Course a lot of that will depend on the coming US elections. Speaking of which...

If ever there was a time when "None of the above" should be on the ballot this is it. I know people out there who are very adamant about being either for one of the guys or against the same guy. I can't honestly, in good conscious, vote for either of them. But then I either have to not vote or vote for one of the fools running on various independent platforms. Either way it's a wasted vote. Sometimes it's not worth it but I will vote. I probably won't know who I'll vote for until I actually pull the leaver, but I'll vote. I mean, I am a USian after all.

The boys are back in town
The boys are back in town
The boys are back in town
The boys are back in town

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Hopelessness. Despair. Depression.

Things aren't going to well at the moment. I've missed 8 strait days of work and they are starting to get a little unhappy there. I've never been out for more than 3 days so this is something serious. It started out just a couple of bad days with the FM but grew into something worse. I'm still feeling the symptoms of the FM but there's something wrong on top of that. The problem is that I am in a hopeless situation and there's nothing I can do about it. Even if I were able to work the full hours I am supposed to that plus my disability check aren't enough to live on. At least not enough for me. I'm not terribly extravagant, though. I know I piss some money away on crap that we don't need. But it's not really that much; maybe averages out to $150/mo. That $150 could definitely be spent wiser but the debt I have wouldn't even be dented by it. The vast majority of the debt is from the death of WebTrek and the divorce. But it's more than money...

I haven't been up to playing with my son in a long time. He's getting stir crazy with nothing to do but play computer games and watch TV. Ok, yes, he could be reading. We're going to start doing that. But that's not going to help let loose the energy that a young boy has. He needs to run and jump and dive and roll. I took him to the local park after school today. We stayed for maybe 30 minutes then I needed to get home. It's hard on him because there's no one to play with. I can understand what he's feeling.

Gods I'm tired. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I honestly don't know what I'd do if my son wasn't here with me. He's the only thing that keeps me grounded. He keeps me from entertaining some very unhealthy thoughts. I made an appointment to see a shrink tomorrow. I don't believe that they will be able to help me but I need to try something. I mean, I should have been able to go back to work last Wednesday. There's something that is keeping me from doing anything other than lay on the couch and watch ST:DS9 and ST:TNG reruns and the occasional paternity test on the Maury Povich show. You know, I even thought of writing into his show to see if he could do an episode on us people who fall through the cracks. I am medically and physically unable to work yet my retirement is not enough to live on so I much work. And, OC, even if just my retirement is taken into account I make way to much money to qualify for any kind of assistance. To much for help yet not enough to live on. It's the same with Social Security. They say I am not disabled yet I can't quality for Long Term Care because because of my medical situation. It's stupid!

Meanwhile, I'm stuck here trying to keep everything from falling apart so that my son will be ok. I just don't have someone doing the same for me.

I gotta go to sleep. I can hardly keep my eyes open.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Can't quit smoking :-(

It seems that I am hooked on these Eclipse cigarettes. I have been unable to quit them though I've tried many times. This isn't an uncommon story for most smokers but I have, in the past, quite before. I smoked for 7 years then quite for 13. Started again for about 6 months then quite again for a year and a half. Then I ran into these Eclipses. See, they are smokeless cigarettes.

I've gone into them before in a previous blog (see homepage.mac.com/x_nc/iblog) but suffice to say they are extremely hard to quit. Mostly because you don't have the secondary annoyances like regular tobacco cigarettes. No stench in your clothes or home or car. No ashes making a mess. None of the bad, smellyness that usually comes with smoking. This convenient factor may seem small but you wouldn't believe how much it works towards keeping you smoking. I have decided that, for now, I will remain a smoker and not go through the anxiety of the back and forth. If I were ever to be financially stable I would return to taking Tae Kwon Do. That would possibly help me quit but even if it didn't I'd be counteracting the negativeness of the smoking.

In the last year I've gained about 12 pounds (just over 5.44kg [as determined by ConvertAll] for those on a sane measuring system). I am now 2 pounds under my all-time high weight and it looks like I'll top that soon. I'm not eating a lot and not that much junk food. But I'm finding that I'm eating later and later at night. Dinner at 2200 is not going to do much of anything except make you fatter. Heh, if I were healthy I could be a Sumo wrestler. Exercise in the morning, eat a big meal, sleep for a few hours, wake to eat again, then go out and have some beers and such. I got the eating and sleeping down just not the exercising. Oh well, I'm to old for Sumo anyway. But I am playing a number of the virtual Sumo games. Getting my @$$ kicked in them, too. It is fun, though.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Chinese GP Comments

The inaugural GP of China, held in Shanghai, was one for the books. The track itself was really cool. Lots of serious curves and elevation changes. Not a simple track but one that did afford room for passing. And there were over two hundred and fifty thousand people in attendance. Quite spectacular, really. On to the race...

Rubens Barrichello took his Ferrari to his second consecutive poll with Kimi Räikkönen putting McLaren-Mercedes in P2. Michael Schumacher spun his Ferrari out in qualifying and elected to start from pit lane. This was what you'd call foreshadowing. Anyway, for a time in the middle part of the race it looked like Jenson Button in his BAR-Honda could take his first win. BAR had him on a two stop strategy while almost everyone else was on three stops. But Rubens pulled the standard Ferrari tactic by whipping out blazingly fast laps just before going into his last stop. Putting over 25s between him and Jenson pretty much assured him of keeping the lead.

Michael, on the other had, all kinds of problems. He started out dead last out of the pit and kept losing 2s a lap to the leaders. When he finally was able to make a move he got all the way to 9th then just spun out all by himself. This dropped him back to 15th. Later, as he was starting to make a move again, his left rear tire blew. He hobbled into the pit to change it out but by then it was over. He ended up 12th running a lap down. This was the first race since 1999 that Michael finished a race running out of the points. He still finished ahead of the Minardi's, Jordan's and Olivier Panis in his Toyota. The Minardi's have not had a good season. They haven't finished on the lead lap all season (Zsolt Baumgartner ended up his usual +3 laps).

Some other highlights were when Gianmaria Bruni lost the left front wheel from his Minardi due to a mechanical problem. Nothing like seeing a lone wheel bouncing down the track. Ralf Schumacher started his first race since his bad accident at the US GP. He was in the mix up until he got a flat and, with a total mix up in the Williams-BMW pit, ended up out of the race. Ricardo Zonta was also driving quite well in his Toyota 'til he lost his transmission.

The biggest story off-track, though, was Ford's announcement that they were pulling out og F1 completely at the end of this season. This means that the Jordan team is essentially dead unless someone comes in and buys them. Ford is also selling off the Cosworth division which will put is big hurt on the Minardi and Jaguar teams. This move took the entire F1 world by surprise. Ford has been in F1 for over 40 years and, just until this year when Ferrari moved ahead of them, was the engine manufacturer with the most wins. The F1 team landscape will be quite different next season.

But, for today, Rubens and Ferrari were the crown of the very first Grand Prix of China.

On a side note, I wish I could have been there. Not just for the race. I have been trying to learn Mandarin and would have loved to see the largest city in China and meet some of the people there.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Italian GP Comments

I'm, like, way late in getting this up. I'll be lucky if I remember anything of the race now. But, here goes...


This had to be the most exciting race of the season. Rubens Barrichello had the poll in, what for him, is almost like a home race. While Rubens is Brazilian his parents are from Italy and he is extremely popular in that country. More so than his teammate, Michael Schumacher, who qualified 3rd. And this being Ferrari home track the race had a very electric feel to it.

It also had a very wet feel. For hours before the race there were torrential rains. The practice and qualifying were held in bright, warm, sunny weather. This put a lot of pressure on the teams; How much should they rig the cars for wet weather? Should they stick with the dry weather setup and hope the rain stops before the race? As it was Rubens went with a slightly wet setup and on the intermediate tires while most other drivers, including Michael, went with the dry setup.

At the start of the race the rain had ceased but there were still some wet spots on the track. Rubens shot out to a 15s lead in the first five laps but the track was drying out much to fast and within another 5 laps he was passed by Fernando Alonso in the Renault. Alonso had another one of the trademark Renault starts and bounded from 4th to 2nd at the start. But there was a lot of action on the first turn that would prove to be very crucial to the race.

On turn one there was a real spin fest as many drivers slid off the course on the wet tack. Olivier Panis was the big loser as he ended up crashing his Toyota into the back of Antonio Pizzonia's Williams-BMW, taking him out of the race. Pizzonia was able to stay in and finish the race in 7th. Another significant outcome of this melee had Michael spin his Ferrari of onto the grass. He was able to rejoin the race with little or no damage but way back in 15th place.

The next retirement was Kimi Räikkönen who blew the engine in his McLaren-Mercedes on lap 13. By this point Rubens had already pitted early to get new, dry tires and rejoined the race mid field. It looked like Ferrari was going to have their worst race on their home track. But there was still a lot of racing left.

One truly spectacular happening came on lap 29 when Gianmaria Bruni pitted his Minardi-Cosworth. Just as the crew were taking the fuel hose off the car some fuel splashed out, hit the rear exhaust and the whole car was encompassed in a huge fireball. It was only the very quick reactions from the pit crew and the crews next to them that got the fire out nearly right away. No one was hurt from the fire but that took the Italian out of the race.

By midpoint in the race Jenson Button was running his BAR-Honda in 1st and looking like he was on for his first win. Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya were eating into his lead, though. It looked like anyone's race. But this is Monza. There's no way you could keep the red cars out.

While all of the above was going on Michael was tearing out fast lap after fast lap and, when the first three pitted in laps 33 and 34, he found himself leading the race. An earlier 6.3s pit by Rubens brought him out in second and now all was right with the universe. Ferrari was 1-2 in the Italian Grand Prix! This lasted only a few laps when Michael came in for his second pit. This left Rubens with a 12s lead. He then proceeded to take a book from the Michael Schumacher racing manual and ripped out fast lap over and over again. He had to because his early pit to change tires had left him just a hair low on fuel. He'd have to make a third stop. But the Ferrari team has had experience changing the pit schedule mid-race before. Rubens came in for a "splash 'n' dash" with 11 laps to go and, due to his Schumacher-esque racing was able to keep first. Alonzo, who was running second spun out and landed in the gravel trap just one lap before which now had Ferrari 1-2 with Rubens and Michael running 10s ahead of third place.

And that's how it ended. There might have been a chance for Michael to push Rubens but there was no reason. With the drivers title clinched he let his teammate get his first win of the season and thus further cement his position of second in the drivers standings. Only Jenson has a mathematical chance to catch him. He'd have to win the last three races and hope that Rubens doesn't pick up more than 3 points in those same races. As Rubens in the only driver to finish every race this season and has scored points in all but one that's a very unlikely situation.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Falling behind

Man, I am so far behind on everything. I need to post my comments on the Italian Grand Prix from last Sunday ($DEITY what a great race). I need to finish an interview for LWN (it's only two months late). I need to get my taxes done (for 2003 no less!!!). I've got 4 day old email to reply to (I usually get freaked if I have email that's 8 hours old). Hell, I can't even remember what all I'm behind in. Since I've been able to sleep better I'm getting less done, especially posts to this blog. I'll try and catch up here in the next couple of days. Maybe.

So far the second week of 2nd grade is going fairly well. There's been some issues with a certain little boy not paying attention and talking to much but he does that all the time. After having his first summer off, as in staying at home and not going to camp or daycare, he's having a little bit of trouble reorienting himself back into the daily routine. I mentioned before that his teacher was hot but probably married. She is. Oh well.

Speaking of women, I have my second date through Together Dating. It's for this Saturday. Hopefully it'll go better than last time. Not that last time was bad. I'd just like to have some potential potential come of this. I'm probably hoping for to much, though.

Time to run. I got a wet little boy who just came out of the shower to dry off and get ready for bed. We're going to watch Hellboy first. It's definitely a cool movie.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Exhausted and full of nicotine

As usual I should be sleeping now. In fact I am, in fits. I find myself, sitting here on the computer, dosing off for a few seconds/minutes waking only to the sound of my keyboard clicking as my hands end up resting on it. Sleep would be highly desirable tonight. Oh well...

I ran across the Linux Distribution Chooser (again, I seem to find cool things like this them misplace the URL only to find it again. I checked the answers it gave out and, for the most part, they all performed quite well. It didn't match me to my Linux distro but I didn't expect it to. The ones they have are; Xandros, PCLinuxOS, Mandrake, MEPIS, Knoppix, Gentoo, Fedora, Suse, Debian, MEPIS, Slackware, Damn Small Linux (Yellow Dog Linux & Gentoo were also chosen for people with Mac hardware).

Speaking of the Mac, I am currently ripping(?) some of my albums... uh, I mean "CDs" so I can get them on my iPod. I've found a couple of them, maybe 50 or so, and have been putting them on a few at a time. Somewhere in a box in this house are more CDs. I'm going to try and fill up the 20 gig (well, more like 18.8 gig) that this iPod has in it.

Looks like I'll be staying up all night. I started writing this at around 0230 and it's now 0500. Just 3 more hours before I'm supposed to wake up. This morning should be a vigorous one... I left the headlights on in the car over night so the battery is dead. I'll have to walk my son the 4 blocks to the bus stop so he can catch it at 0845 or so and I'll end up working from home. Thankfully there's a lot of things I can do from here. Thank $DEITY for ssh.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Did you know today was Wednesday?

I didn't. It's probably because of the holiday on Monday and the resuming of the school year but I didn't realize that today was Wednesday until I was just getting ready to leave work. Wednesdays are my normal off-day. Oh well, I could use the extra hours.

My son said his second day of school was better than the first. Yesterday, it seems, was only a little bit awesome. Today was more awesome. Who knew that there were degrees of awesomeness? Probably every kid in the world.

Sometimes I can't remember what it was like being a kid. But then again I didn't have the greatest childhood. Oh, my home life was wonderful; loving parents and many siblings to play with. But I had a hard time in school. There are a few things that contributed to this, not the least of which was being mentally and emotionally abused by a teacher in one of my very early grades. It seems she liked to torture kids or something. Some of the kids who came out of it needed psychiatric care. My mom told me of this time. My parents didn't know till almost the end of the school year. This put me on a doomed scholastic path. I would withdraw from school and rarely do the required work. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) I was smart enough to be able to pull out C's with little or no effort. Heh, I was actually surprised when my sister told me a few years after we graduated high school that she was worried going into her freshman year. She was one year behind me. See, she had always been an A/B student while I was a C/D one. She was afraid that with both if us in school together I'd have a problem or be upset because she made better grades than me. I had never given it a thought. She always made better grades than I did so I didn't see why she wouldn't continue to. She also used to get frustrated with me. I'd sleep through class and not do my homework yet was able to pull out a C or D by the end of the quarter or semester with little or no effort yet she busted hump working hard doing homework and actually paying attention in class to get her A's and B's. Maybe if I wasn't so smart I'd have done better due to having to actually work at getting passing grades. Then again maybe I would have failed out before ever getting to high school. Who knows...

While on the subject of homework, my son has some reading and spelling to do this evening. The reading was fine but I was completely unable to help with the spelling work. See, I can't spell English worth a damn. If it weren't for spellcheckers I'd be unintelligible. I am fairly articulate, but words with more than two letters are always a challenge. I can spell phonetic-like languages like German and Italian but English is just to mixed up for me to get. Right now my son, who is just starting 2nd grade, spells better than I do.

That's about it I guess. I need to go get my son ready for bed. Plus I have some 40+ emails to catch up on. Half are probably spam but I'm still a few days behind. And I need to get another interview put together for LWN.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

One down a million to go

Well, the first day of 2nd grade is over. My son said he had an "awesome" time. I just barely made it in time to pick him up but did get there under the wire. I also got to meet his teacher. Man, she is a fox. OC, she's probably already married. All the women who work there at his school are either married to way to young.

Speaking of which... One of the new guys at work just got married over the weekend. Turns out he's 21. I have shirts years older than him. I let my son use them for PJ's. Thankfully three of the other new hires are all in their late 30's to mid 50's. We're just a bunch of old pharts.

I got my system up and running finally. I ended up having to do a reinstall. I just couldn't figure out how the migration from XFree to Xorg worked. This isn't so bad, really, as I had a 8 gig partition sitting on there doing nothing. Now I have more drive space for the box. All the better to add more crap I'll never actually use.

I was thinking about that the other day. What are the GUI programs and utilities that I actually use? I use xterm's like mad (generally have a minimum of 5 or 6 open). I use Mozilla for web, Evolution for email, OpenOffice, nedit, rdesktop (but only at work), gqview & danpei for image viewing, acrobat reader & ghostview for pdf & postscript files respectively, glables for making CD labels, jpilot, pan for news reading (on those rare occasions I have an urge for p0rn), xcalc... There's a few development tools, IDE's and the like, that I pop into once and a while. But I tend to do 95% of my coding with vi(m) on the command line in an xterm. Hmm, it seems that other than these I do most of my computing on the command line in an xterm. And of the GUI apps only Mozilla and Evolution are open almost all the time.

Guess I'm just a extra old phart.

P.S. I was thinking about putting links for all the above listed apps but that sounds like to much work and I'm ready for bed. Just google away.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Tomorrow is the big day

The first day of school. My son will be starting 2nd grade. I am so not ready for this. Not from any desire to seem him remain little, but because I haven't done anything to get ready for school. No new shoes, not new clothes, no school supplies... Hell, I don't even know who is teacher will be. This last one I'm blaming on the school as they said they were going to be sending out all the info for him to be ready before school started. I'll go in with him tomorrow to find out everything. They've changed the times for school this year so I'll need to get that info, too.

I am very happy that school is starting. This means that my son will be here every day during the week so things should hopefully settle down a bit. If I can find his Tae Kwon Do gear then we'll start going back. I'm also planning on have a more structured evening planned out. Specifically there will be a homework time. This will be so that he can do his homework and I can do mine. I'm going to get of my ass and work at (re)learning programming. I've got planed an assembler "class" and a C "class". Then for the second semester I'll take gtk+ and maybe ruby or relearn COBOL (First person to make a smartass remark is getting bitch-slapped). I should also do some direct php studying so I can get better at hacking it. The code I have now is really bad. It works, of course, but it really bites WRT usage, readability & security.

I got the laptop from work reinstalled. The CD drive on it is real flaky but I finally managed an FC2 install. It'll probably take me all day tomorrow to reconfigure it but that'll be fun.

I guess that's about it for now. It's an hour past our bedtime so I need to go force someone to go to bed.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Things goin' on

Another 4am update.

My son is having trouble sleeping. He's having nightmares and the crickets are to loud. I wish I could exterminate every cricket within hearing range. Normally I am very, "Don't kill it", with bugs and other living things. It's the almost Buddhist in me. But crickets are a different story. They should all die, no exceptions. Well, maybe Jiminy Cricket, but all the rest are flamebait. Anyway, he's not getting much sleep. I put on an album (CD for you under 30 crowd) to drown out the noise and help relax him. He likes it and it does seem to work.

But he's also having some nightmares from watching Terminator and T2. He'd already seen T3 but not the first two so this morning he watched a double feature over at Grandma's house. He'd spent the night there on a sleep-over and had a great time. But between the crickets and the bad dreams he's been waking up (2 times so far) and waking me up as well.

The first time he woke up I came into the computer room to see if there was anything in my iTunes library that we could listen to but he nix'ed everything. Then he saw the playlist that had only one 20 second song in it. It was my first experiment with GarageBand. I showed him what it was and we ended up making a 30 second piece that's really pretty good. He helped me select all the tracks and was the one who wanted three guitars in it. Maybe we can fill it in more over the weekend.

The second time he woke up I put on his album again and said I'd come lay down with him after I answered a little email. I can usually get away with this one as he falls asleep and I can just go straight to bed. I just stopped here for a quick sec... I shoulda known better.

There's more going on in life but my brain is fried right now. Most of it is the same $#it over and over. One thing I do have to do this weekend is fix the laptop from work. I totally hosed it on Thursday and spent Friday trying to recover it. I got almost everything working except X. The change from XFree to Xorg is a bit to tricky for me to do manually. I'll just blow everything off and reinstall from scratch. It's a Dell laptop <subliminal message>Dell Sucks!</subliminal message> but despite that fact it works fairly nicely.

$DEITY I'm tired! The sun is coming up. Man, I really wish I had a girlfriend or wife so much. I wouldn't be sitting here typing this bullshit if I did. I'd be in bed sleeping with her in my arms. It's the holding and hugging and kissing I miss the most.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wah wah wah, wah wah

Can't sleep again. Wish I had a buck for every time I posted that on here.

My son was supposed to spend the night with his mother but wouldn't, again. Her roommate had said she was spending the night somewhere else so my ex thought it would be a good time to try having him over but the roommate changed her mind. He just doesn't want to stay there with her around. Not that he's afraid of her (at least I don't think he is), just that with the tension of her being dumped by my ex yet them still living together is unsettling for him. Tomorrow would be the last regular day for her to have him as he starts school next Monday and will then be with me.

Speaking of school starting, I need to do all kinds of paperwork and stuff. Yes, I know... It's getting a bit late for that but I'll do it over the weekend. Probably. Maybe. I'm sure that there's got to be some registration stuff to be done. I need to get him enrolled in the after school care program. I also need to go buy his school supplies and some new clothes and shoes. Man, this whole reality thing is just not my bag.

Let's see, what else... Three more days till my fathers birthday. He would have been 73 this year. Oh, and I got the Peapod delivery rescheduled for tomorrow (well, today really). I need to try and remember to bring my Fedora Core 2 CD's to work. I want to upgrade my work laptop.

Uh oh. I think I heard my son tossing and turning. He might be waking up in a bit. He's been having restless nights as well, poor baby. So much for such a little boy to have to deal with. No, I'm not saying he's comparable to kids in other parts of the world, or even the US. He's got a great life. But that still doesn't mean he should have to deal with the things his life throws at him.

Men, odd or even?

I ran across this question in blog space and found it interesting. Here's my answer and some proof to back it up.

Men are 1's and women are 0's. That's as far as I can count. I guess that makes men odd and women even. This would probably fit in with the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" thing but I haven't read that book. For proof of the answer above I give you this -

$ cat whichone.awk
#! /bin/awk -f
{ if ($1 == "0") {
print "woman";
} else if ($1 == "1") {
print "man";
} else {
print "Boy George";

And here's a data file to use -

$ cat data.txt

You can't argue with the code.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Maids 1 Peapod 0

I botched the food delivery. I have Peapod deliver my groceries from Giant. This is a great service especially for people like me who have a difficult time just getting to the store let along shopping in it. You just order the stuff online, pick a delivery date and a truck comes with your stuff right to your door. The guy who delivers to me is great. He'll bring everything right into the kitchen for me. He's a hard worker and has a cool Scottish/Irish accent. The only problem today is that, while I thought I scheduled a delivery for this morning I actually scheduled for next Wednesday. After I post this I'm going to try and reschedule for tomorrow or Friday. It's good that my son will be spending the night with his mother tonight. I have food but no milk. He's a great milk drinker, like his Pap Pap.

Merry Maids did come, though. They come once a month to clean the house. I can keep it from becoming a total pigsty but without them I can't say for sure how long this place would be livable. OC, since it's just us two bachelors, we can live in less than spic-n-span conditions. But it's still nice to have the place cleaned up a bit, especially the bathrooms. I'm not good with "wet dirt". I can do the vacuuming and picking up and even dusting but cleaning with water in wet, dirty places (i.e. toilets) is just outside my reach. That's when I was physically able to do such things. I need to try and get a more stable income so I can start paying for the maids myself. Right now my mom pays them to clean her house and mine. Her place is over twice the size of mine so it's not an extremely large extra payment. Still, I've already taken so much of her money over the last four years.

Another whacked up night

I'm trying to get my son back into the rhythm of a school day so getting him to bed before 2330 (11:30 pm for the mortals out there) is the big chore. It's been slow going as he's learned that I'll fall asleep on the couch way before he does so then he sneaks off to my room to watch more cartoons. But if I lay down with him he falls right to sleep. Unfortunately so do I. I'll end up sawing away for a while then usually fall off the side of the bed. He's got a thousand stuffed animals on the floor next to the bed so it's a soft landing. The only thing is that it's normally 2 to 4 hours after we went to bed. Here I am now, just woken from "Z" manufacturing. It's 0219 (2:19 am) and I'm tired but can't sleep. So what do I do? Blog it, of course. As soon as I'm done here I'll be off to my own bed (where I can snore to my hearts content).

As a side note, I've been looking for a Linux blog reader. Found a few. Maybe I'll do a blog reader review for LWN one of these days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Concerning Love and Joy

One of the things I use this blog for is to blow off steam. Life can get a little annoying so we try to find ways of releasing the pent-up frustration. I, like many others, have taken to blogging for this. One of the consequences of posting these rants in a public forum is that others will potentially see them. This is both good and bad. We wouldn't be blogging if there was no possibility of anyone reading what we write. But the down side is that since everyone can read what we post, those whom we might be ranting about can read them, too. All this babbling comes down to the fact that, on occasion, I post things about my ex-wife in here. And she, also on occasion, reads them.

Thus I would like to make one thing crystal clear... My ex-wife and I are on very good terms and I feel that she is a great mother to our son. She loves him more than anything else in the world, as do I. No matter what happens we will always share this bond of loving our son. Anything I might say about her in here or in the real world is not an indication of, and should never be taken as, her love for our son. It's true that, again on occasion, I think she is insane. But then again I thought that way before we were ever married. I'm positive that she, (here it is again) on occasion, has thought the same of me.

So, bottom line: We both love and care for our son. This is without question and without reservation.

Belgian GP Comments

This race was far from "uneventful".

Spa lived up to it's reputation as a very tough track as neither Renault, BAR-Honda nor Williams-BMW were able to even finish the race. Jarno Trulli had his Renault on the poll but wasn't able to keep it in the race. Kimi Räikkönen started his McLaren-Mercedes in 10th but was able to power up into the lead and fend off Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari for his first win of the season. It was the first time this year that Michael didn't win a race he finished. But that didn't bother the German to much. With this 2nd place finish he clinched the drivers championship, the 7th of his career. This was also Ferrari's 700 GP race and it would have been Michael's 7 win at Spa, if he'd won.

The race had a number of really spectacular crashes starting with the first curve of the first lap. Throughout the race there were a number of crashes, bringing out the safety car 4 times. But every time it looked like Michael would have a shot at Kimi during the restart the Fin just blew him off the line and kept him in second place. This could have partially been helped by the fact that Kimi had his car set for a dry track and Michael's Ferrari was set a bit more for wet driving (the qualifying was held in a fairly big downpour).

One very bright bit of racing was turned in by Rubens Barrichello. He started 6th but was involved in the first turn melee and had to come into the pit to have his entire rear wing assembly replaced. This put him dead last far behind the next car. But with some skillful driving and good luck he worked his way up to 3rd and was able to capture his 11th podium of the season.

All in all it was an exciting race to watch. It was great to see McLaren looking very strong these last few races with their "new" MP4-19B. After the complete disaster that was the first half o f the season maybe they can make a good showing over the next four races. But even with the non-win at Spa, there's still no certainty that anyone has really climbed up to match Ferrari this year. These last four races should be quite enjoyable.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Lucas to make more Star Wars?

Star Wars creator George Lucas could be poised to make three sequels to the original space opera trilogy, according to insiders at Lucasfilm.
Maybe it's just me but I remember when The Empire Strikes Back was released that the deal was there would be three "clusters" of three movies. Episodes 4, 5 & 6 would, obviously, be first. Then would come the prequels (1, 2 & 3) followed by the sequels (7, 8 & 9). For some reason it seems that no one remembers this. It's now some kind of surprise that the last three will possibly be made.

Maybe I'm just getting old.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Good Fucking Morning!

It's been two nights in a row that I haven't been able to get to sleep till after 0500. Both times I'm up at 0930 for my son. It's hard enough to deal with the FM but no sleep is a killer. I smoked a whole pack of the Eclipse cigarettes from about midnight till I went to bed. Oh, and speaking of smoking...

The cost of cigarettes is more than doubling next week. The tax increase is going into effect then. I felt stupid paying $3.50 a pack for these things but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay over $8! When I quite for real the first time was when we came here to the States in '88. I went from paying $0.47 a pack to, at the time, $1.30. Hopefully Skoal won't go up in price like this. I still have those Commit lozenges to fall back on, though. They work fairly well.

With a little luck and lots of hard work I'll be able to go back to Tae Kwan Do again. Not smoking will be good for that. I'm kinda dreading the initial weeks of hell as my body tries to get back into shape. Just before I had to stop going I was able to put a standing side kick shoulder high. A cross-behind or skip sidekick I could get just above forehead level. Now I can hardly get it hip level.

Anyway, I need to get ready for work.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hey hey feelin' fine mamma,

Painted ladies and a bottle of wine mamma,
Ooo ooo feelin' good mamma,
They took my money like you knew they would mamma,

I wish I could remember the lyrics and artist of this song. I know I could Google for it but that would take away the fun.

The ambien is kicking in. I took a double dosage tonight. Probably not a wise (or smart) thing to do but, well, I haven't been stoned in forever. Not that I was a serious head or anything. The worst/best time was in the mid 80's. I'd get stoned but good with some friends. I'm talkin' "Help me find the fucking door!" stoned. It would be quite easy to find some weed, there's a few people I work(ed) with that would likely know of a source if they themselves weren't one. But I really haven't had an interest in getting wasted for many, many, many years. No desire plus having a kid equals no stoned. Represented mathematically as "!desire + kid = !stoned."

My son doesn't want to live with his mother right now. He's feeling the tension and animosity in the apartment and just doesn't want to be there. I understand this completely. My ex only has about a week and a half before physical custody shifts back to me when school starts. I honestly don't want to keep him from her but I think that it would be better for him if he stayed here while things are still going on over there. But that's her call. I've tried to see if I could get him to stay one night but he's dead set not to. And I'm not going to say no he can't stay here. Having him around is better for me than all the meds. Gives me that reason to get out of bed in the morning. I think that it would be better if he stayed here until she gets the situation resolved. There's only about a week and a half until he comes back to me for school. But I don't want him to not be with his mother. So far she has gotten into various kinds of predicament since she moved out in December 2000. All have been related to the current girlfriend she's with.

It seems she likes her women very butch. Not counting the half dozen (or more) one nighters, the ones she's been in some form of relationship with are definitely the "Manley" type. But I digress...

Anyway, my son can feel that there is something wrong and doesn't want to be around with it hanging over everything. He wants to stay here even though I don't have a gameboy or a playstation or his bike that she borrowed (that she still hasn't returned to me!!!) . We do have games and we rough house as best I can with my physical situation. We also watch a LOT of cartoons. Between the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon there's enough for him to watch all day and night if I let him. Today his Grandma took him and his two cousin's out for a little bit then they came here and we all watched T3 together. Well, mostly. There were scenes that had talking in them so my son and my youngest niece, who is only two months older than him, would get fidgety and play with some of the toys lying around. When it came to the actual action, though, that was a different story.

After the movie Grandma took the girls home and my ex came to get our son. He was already saying how he didn't want to go, that he wanted to stay here. My nieces heard this and that are kinda wondering about it. Very shortly after they left my ex came to get him. At first he wasn't really wanting to go until he remembered his gameboy. Then he was off and running. But...

But then at about 2047 (that's 8:47pm for you nonmilitary types) the phone rang and it was him calling me in tears wanting to come back here. I tried to see if he couldn't try and stay since this is mommys time for him and that he'd be with me again in about a week and a half but that didn't matter to him. So here he is again. Sleeping away in his bed (something I should be doing, too).

My hope is that this whole episode with his mother doesn't "damaged" him in some way. But no matter what happen in the future he has as father who loves him more than anything in the entire universe. Period.

This weekend is hers and she's planning a beach trip for the two of them with her new "friend". I think he'll do a little better if he's at the beach. This kid is a real water baby. He can swim for hours and never wants to get out. Even when it's so cold he can't talk 'cause he's shivering so much and his lips are blue.

I think I might get the frelling DSL line working this weekend. It's kind of up right now in that you can go to http://www.webtrek.org and get the page. Sometimes. The big problem is that neither ssh nor telnet seem to work. How cab you get anything done without ssh and even telnet. No one can log in and if you can' login you can't get anything done. Unless you're sitting at the console. For me I manage systems the same way with remote access tools. There's no reason one should change the way they do things just because you're sitting next to (practically on top on) the system. I want to manage it the way I do the remote boxes. It works, so why change? But it seems that for Verizon (THEY SUCK!) as long as you can ping in and out then it's not their problem. I'll get a bunch of sniff traces and packet dumps and show them. The aggravating thing is that it all work fine a few weeks before. I was moving most of the things that the CoLo server was doing down here to the new box on the DSL line. I got quite a bit moved but there's a lot more to do. They better fix it this time or I'm canceling the service. And they better not pull that bull about a cancellation fee.

Well, that's all for now. I can hardly see and my fingers are starting to type random keys when I type.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Night of the dead living

Another sleepless night. Sigh, this is getting ridiculous. What's it take go get some sleep?!? The Ambin isn't working, at least not good enough. I'm going to go back to bed in a bit but I figured if I can't sleep I should do something. It would have been better to try and get some real work done but instead I'm here. Oh well. If I had an ounce of discipline I swear I'd be king of the world now.

I want to get back into programming. I'm doing a little PHP for a small internal app at work but I'd like to do more. There's so many programming languages I'd love to try, too. Plus I've finally decided to try and get passable in C. My ideal would be to learn Assembler, C, Eiffel, PHP and Ruby. I can do small things in PHP now and I took a C class ages ago (plus working with so much open source) so I can write very trivial C programs. I've never done Assembler or Eiffel or Ruby enough to do more than "Hello World". I'd also like to get back my COBOL chops. I did 6 or 7 years of COBOL programming, mostly new apps as opposed to legacy maintenance. I did do my fare share of Y2K stuff, of course.

The problem is that my time management skills absolutely suck. Hard. One of the projects I was involved with a little while ago (until my health became such that I can't even read mailing lists anymore) was originally all done by one guy. He decided that for the next major release he'd open everything up to the world and let others be involved with development. One of the guys on this list was a young guy who'd never done C programming, let alone X Windows. He jumped right in and in a few months was one of the core developers. Much longer ago I had a friend who was a stage manager for theatrical productions at Disney World (or is it Land... The one in Florida). While his wife was pregnant, got a laptop and taught himself programming beginning with Assembler and moved onto serious, heavy duty stuff. The last time I talked to him he changed professions and was doing some high paying consulting and app customization work. The open source world is full of people who have families and jobs yet still have the discipline to set aside some time to hack. I spend way to much time laying in front og the TV watching crap I don't even want to watch or aimlessly wandering the web being distracted by any little useless bit of info I find. Even now I could be reading a chapter in one of the books I got specifically for (re)learning programming. Instead I'm here typing this.

Well, that was all very depressing. Maybe when school starts my son and I can do our homework together. That might help. This would all be so much easier for me if I was taking some kind of class or training. I do much better in those kind of situations than trying to do something myself. I need a plan. A guideline for what to do and when to do it. Maybe if I setup some kind of schedule or something... But then I'd need to get motivated for that, too. Catch-22!

Damn! There's only one more cigarette left. I really need to quit these frelling Eclipse cigarette's (again). I want to get back to Tae Kwon Do again with my son and this smoking isn't going to make it any easier to do. Plus quitting would save me approximately $90 a month. That's $1080 a year! That would sure be a big help with the debts and stuff.

Well, I better call it a night. It's 0155 and my son will be up in the morning dragging my ass out of bed so I'll need all the rest I can get.