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.