Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Untitled (because I couldn't think of one)

[This started out as a reply to a comment in one of my earlier posts but got so big I decided to put it here]

I'd kill for a telecommuting job. I could work all kinds of stuff but no one in the area want to do it. They all want bodies in the seats. Thus, I have an interview tomorrow with the manager of the video rental place I mentioned before.

Heh, I understand the concept of OO. It's the implementation that trips me up. I guess my mind only works procedurally. No, that's not really true. What little I've played with Eiffel has been a treat. I don't like programming languages that need crap like header files. Libraries and copybooks (it's a COBOL term) make sense. But defining important things in a way that they are unseen and must be memorized is crazy. Java would be great if it weren't for the runtime implementation. Do yo know how many JRE's are installed on my system. Each just to run the desired app? Stupid is to lenient a word, IMNSHO

There are some very fun languages floating around these days. To many to keep track of. I ran into a language that looked really sweat. It's implementation was with both an interpreter and a compiler. You could design and develop as fast as you can with shell or perl or ruby (another very nice language, I might add) but once done you compile it into an executable and off it goes. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it. I know it starts with the letter "L". There's another called Qu which could turn out to be something quite soon.

There's just to much... stuff! And not enough time to learn...

Erik, I do know what the problem is. I've just been avoiding thinking about it for over a year. There's to much going on that I have no control over. The constant pain has worn me down like a boulder on my shoulders. I have never been good with self-discipline and have almost no motivation. I'm not what the HR people term a "self-starter". Even after all these years with Linux there's still that little voice telling me that I am not good enough to accomplish anything. In the last 25 or so years the voice has gotten quieter; it was barely a whisper up until, oh, about the beginning of 2004. Since then I've been in a tailspin. If I don't get a job soon I could lose physical custody of Joseph. The amount of stress I've been causing my mother and the rest of the family only adds to the weight. My automatic response to this kind of situation is to shutdown and go into hermit mode. It's a real accomplishment just to get showered and dressed. And forget about going outside. But I need to find a way out of this maze my mind, and life, have put me in.

I still love coding. Even now, it makes me feel exhilaration when I hack. My problem is that I don't know what to hack on. I'm not good at coming up with ideas, just good at implementing them. A while ago I came up with a plan, and even started on it. But it seems like there's something always getting in the way. Focus is my real Achilles heel. I get side tracked by the slightest new app or tool or language or whatever is on freshmeat today. I need to find some way to focus and get things starting. Once I get going I'm fine but I think first gear is broken. First thing is to get back up to having an income that can cover the necessities. If I can get rent, food, utilities, medical, etc. taken care of I'll be in a much better position to try and jump on the "real" programmers wagon.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention the language Eleven. This was a gross mistake on my part. Both Qu and Eleven are very much worth looking at, IMNSHO.

IT industry veteran

"There isn't anything that Linux can't do, not because it's inherently better but due to the openness factor," said IT industry veteran Joe Klemmer. "It wasn't so long ago that people said Linux was never going to be a database platform. Hell, before that there were people saying it would never be a firewall or file server. As it is today, Linux can be a fine platform for ERP. It might not be the perfect one but that is just a matter of time."
Quote taken from an article in SearchEnterpriseLinux.com today. And I still don't know what the frell ERP really is.

Monday, June 27, 2005

More on the US Grand Prix fiasco

Max Mosley, President of Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, is interviewed about the events of last weekend’s United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Formual1.com has an interview with Max Mosley about the fiasco that was the US Grand Prix race. It's good reading and very informative.

My opinion is only strengthened by this. Michelin screwed the pooch. They didn't bring the right tires and got burned by it. The FIA was not responsible for what happened just as the Indianapolis Speedway was not to blame. I can partially forgive the teams in that they didn't want to put their drivers in a potentially deadly situation. I hope that this incident gets put behind and that we will see a good race in France next weekend.

As a side note there's two things I'd like to see happen for the rest of the season. First, that there be a real race for the championship (ideally between Fernando, Kimi & Michael). Second, that American Scott Speed get a ride for one race.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

My nerdbooks.com

This is a "wish list" of books I would like. Someday, if I ever find income, I will try and knock it down a bit. But if anyone is thinking about it, my birthday is Nov 12th. :-)

My nerdbooks.com :

Title : Efficient Memory Programming
Author : by Loshin, David
Publisher : McGraw-Hill
ISBN : 0070388687
Your Price : $15.00
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0070388687

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Title : Network Security Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
Author : by Lockhart, Andrew
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
ISBN : 0596006438
Your Price : $14.97
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0596006438

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Title : Unix Shell Programming, 3rd Edition
Author : by Kochan, Stephen G. / Wood, Patrick
Publisher : Sams
ISBN : 0672324903
Your Price : $16.19
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0672324903

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Title : Advanced Unix Programming, 2nd Edition
Author : by Rochkind, Marc J.
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
ISBN : 0131411543
Your Price : $34.19
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0131411543

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Title : Linux Shell Scripting with Bash
Author : by Burtch, Ken O.
Publisher : Sams
ISBN : 0672326426
Your Price : $18.89
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0672326426

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Title : SpamAssassin
Author : by Schwartz, Alan
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
ISBN : 0596007078
Your Price : $14.72
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Title : Visual QuickPro Guide: PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Web Sites
Author : by Ullman, Larry
Publisher : Peachpit Press
ISBN : 0321186486
Your Price : $13.74
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Title : AppleScript for Dummies, 2nd Edition
Author : by Trinko, Tom
Publisher : John Wiley
ISBN : 0764574949
Your Price : $14.49
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Title : Programming in C, 3rd Edition
Author : by Kochan, Stephen G.
Publisher : Sams
ISBN : 0672326663
Your Price : $21.59
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Title : Advanced C Programming by Example
Author : by Perry, John W.
Publisher : PWS Publishing
ISBN : 0534951406
Your Price : $42.70
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Title : Your Wish is My Command: Programming by Example
Author : by Lieberman, Henry
Publisher : Morgan Kaufmann
ISBN : 1558606882
Your Price : $39.96
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=1558606882

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Title : SELINUX: NSA's Open Source Security Enhanced Linux
Author : by McCarty, Bill
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
ISBN : 0596007167
Your Price : $30.36
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0596007167

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Title : Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide, 2nd Edition
Author : by Thomas, Dave / Fowler, Chad / Hunt, Andy
Publisher : The Pragmatic Programmers
ISBN : 0974514055
Your Price : $27.87
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0974514055

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Title : Find the Bug: A Book of Incorrect Programs
Author : by Barr, Adam
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
ISBN : 0321223918
Your Price : $27.29
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0321223918

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Title : Write Great Code: Understanding the Machine, Volume 1
Author : by Hyde, Randall
Publisher : No Starch Press
ISBN : 1593270038
Your Price : $26.37
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=1593270038

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Title : Introduction to Computer Security
Author : by Bishop, Matt
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
ISBN : 0321247442
Your Price : $46.19
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0321247442

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Title : AppleScript: The Missing Manual
Author : by Goldstein, Adam
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
ISBN : 0596008503
Your Price : $14.47
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0596008503

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Title : Small C++ How to Program, with CDROM
Author : by Deitel, Harvey M. / Deitel, Paul J.
Publisher : Prentice-Hall
ISBN : 0131857584
Your Price : $59.94
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Title : The Complete Reference: Solaris 10
Author : by Watters, Dr. Paul A.
Publisher : Osborne
ISBN : 0072229985
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Title : COBOL for the 21st Century, with CDROM, 10th Edition
Author : by Stern, Nancy / Stern, Robert A. / Ley, James P.
Publisher : John Wiley
ISBN : 0471073210
Your Price : $78.32
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Title : Advanced Cobol: For Structured and Object-Oriented Programming, 3rd Edition
Author : by Brown, Gary DeWard
Publisher : John Wiley
ISBN : 0471314811
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Title : Linux Network Administrator's Guide, 3rd Edition
Author : by Kirch, Olaf / Dawson, Terry / Purdy, Gregor N.
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
ISBN : 0596005482
Your Price : $20.27
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0596005482

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Title : MySQL: Building User Interfaces
Author : by Stucky, Matthew
Publisher : New Riders Press
ISBN : 073571049X
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Title : Concepts of Programming Languages, 7th Edition
Author : by Sebesta, Robert W.
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
ISBN : 0321330250
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Title : HTML: Your Visual Blueprint for Designing Web Pages with HTML, CSS, and XHTML
Author : by Whitehead, Paul / Russell, James H.
Publisher : John Wiley
ISBN : 076458331X
Your Price : $14.74
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=076458331X

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Title : Spring Into PHP 5
Author : by Holzner, Steven
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
ISBN : 0131498622
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Title : Spring Into HTML and CSS
Author : by Holzschlag, Molly E.
Publisher : Addison-Wesley
ISBN : 0131855867
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Title : Stylin' with CSS: A Designer's Guide
Author : by Wyke-Smith, Charles
Publisher : New Riders Press
ISBN : 0321305256
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Title : Make Big Profits on eBay: Start Your Own Million $ Business
Author : by Lynn, Jacquelyn / Davis, Charlene
Publisher : Entrepreneur Press
ISBN : 1932531270
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Title : Subversion Version Control: Using the Subversion Control System in Development Projects
Author : by Nagel, William
Publisher : Prentice-Hall
ISBN : 0131855182
Your Price : $23.19
Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0131855182

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Title : Classic Shell Scripting
Author : by Robbins, Arnold / Beebe, Nelson H. F.
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
ISBN : 0596005954
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Book Details : http://www.nerdbooks.com/item.php?id=0596005954

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Check out nerdbooks.com for all these items today!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Acid trip

I need to get a new picture up on here. Where the hell is my camera? If I find it I'll work on getting something a bit less insane looking.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Some people can be kind hearted

If you've read this blog for a little while you'll know that I am a disabled, unemployed high end techie. What this means is that I have the skills, knowledge and abilities to work with Enterprise level systems. The problem is that, being disabled, I cannot work full-time. There are no part-time positions in the IT/IS world. The disability also makes working at any old job like Burger King or in a mail room impossible. Finally there's the "Revenge of Bill Gates" curse on me. I have been using, working with and evangelizing Linux and Open Source for well over a decade. Thus I have little or no experience with MS Office. I could be an office assistant or even a receptionist but for that lack in my knowledge. Finally, my lack of any kind of degree from any accredited school and I'm just SOL. So other than a brief consulting stint in January I have been paycheck-less for 7 months. My disability annuity is enough to pay the rent but that's about it. Enter the kindness of others.

There are a few communities I have been on for a long time through the form of mailing lists. My level of participation has varied from time to time but I always try and keep a hand in what's going on. With the situation as it's been lately I have been forced to discontinue participation. Well, some of the people on a few of the lists have been trying to do whatever they can to help me. A few sent me (unsolicited, as it make me feel uneasy) checks for a little here and there. Others have lent a ear and have been willing to listen and talk with me. And if any of them read this I do promise to become more communicative "real soon now." I never expected this kind of generosity but it has been a wonderfully huge help. One check went directly to buy food for my son (and me) to live on for three weeks. I still feel a little ashamed when I think about things; I never wanted to become a charity case. But as many have reminded me the support is also for my son. And for him I'll do anything I possibly can. Even accept charity.

But the bottom line of this post is to say that I feel there are a lot of good, kind people out there. I can only hope to aspire to their level.

fsck the human race

Why has common sense become a liability? When did common sense become so lost that a big tall bald guy with a serious drawl becomes a celebrity for having as much common sense as a 10 year old? That's not a knock against Dr. Phil. He's a pretty ok guy, I think. But the things he's talking about and working with people on are, for the most part, simple little common sense things that we all should have learned by the 4th grade.

I bring this up because it's getting harder and harder for me to stomach the culture and especially the political process that has pervasively insinuated itself within the USA. There used to be a time when I thought that the current political parties were remotely concerned with the welfare of this country. They had some disagreements about how things should be done but that is a good thing. Competition and all that. But now it's obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together that neither party has any concern or even interest in the welfare of "the people." Growing up in Europe I learned about and experienced many things that the vast majority of people in the US haven't begun to imagine. So, because of this, I generally leaned right (as in Republican). The fact is that no one but a fool would be a Democrat. But now the Republicans have become just as bad, and in many ways worse. It's starting to scare me a little. Not for me but for my son. I don't want to leave him to this world of idiots and fools and just plain stupid people. That old saying, "the inmates are running the asylum" is quite fitting these days. The last presidential election I voted for the Democratic ticket for the first time, well, ever. Not because I thought that Kerry /Edwards would or even could win but because I couldn't in good conscious vote for Bush/Cheney. Big business, big government, big military... These aren't the answers to todays problems. And as bad as it is with the GOP "in power" it would be twice as bad with the Dems in office. But I don't accept that these are our only choices. [At this point I can hear some out there saying, "What about the Green Party? What About the Libertarians? What about _______?" When it comes down to it there are only two political parties in this country. Anyone who thinks different is just deluding themselves.]

So what am I ranting about? I don't know. I was watching the movie 1776 a while back and it got me thinking about how our country got started and the men who did all the work putting together the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and I realize that they would be ashamed at how things ended up today. Those men did something that had never been done in recorded history. Never, in the entire existence of the human race, had a colony broken from it's mother country and became a new country itself. Think about that for a minute. Independence was not, and had never been something that happened. Ever. The men who worked so hard to make this country, while not being perfect (with the possible exception of Ben Franklin), were head and shoulders above the current political specimen as to be demigods. And I include the states governments as well as the national. This is part of the problem in that no one with half a brain would ever go into politics. Politicians are all liars, cheats and thieves. Would you want to go into a profession where you had to not only associate with liars, cheats and thieves but had to become one yourself in order to just remain afloat? I didn't think so.

But therein lies another facet of the problem. The general public is composed of 99% morons. Yes, 9 out of 10 of you reading this are drooling idiots. (Unless one of you is a particular guy out in Utah; you're not a drooling idiot) Why do I say this? Just look around. O.J. and Robert Blake and now Michael Jackson have shown us that you CAN get away with murder if you're rich. Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have shown us that you can be a lying, cheating, selfish, power mad ass who is only concerned with how much they can grab and how to stomp on people to get their self-proclaimed rewards. There's been a perversion of the way things are done in this world and the US is helping to lead the way. How? Two thing come to mind. First, the idea that the world owes one everything. I'm tired of hearing some whining pathetic useless lump of flesh go on about how they deserve respect. Respect is earned, not demanded. And the constant yelling about how this or that offends us, and anything that offends us should be destroyed. Most people offend me and there are days when I wish I could destroy them. But I digress. The second is the simple lack of common sense and courteousness. It used to be that if you saw someone in trouble you would stop to help. Now we just step over them and keep right on going. This is partly due to the selfishness and self-centered attitudes that have become the norm these days. It's also due to that fact that if you do stop to help you've got a non-trivial chance of being mugged, beaten or killed. And this I lay on societies feet, too. We do a lot to help raise our children as criminals. Me first! You OWE me everything! If I cheat, lie and steal then I'll get far and become an important person. Just like Michael Jackson, O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Marion Berry, and a plethora of others who can be found at anytime, day or night, on our wonderful TV screens.

And remember, I am always right!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Comments on the US GP

I'm speechless. It was almost like watching a train wreck. Seven of the ten teams drove into the pits after the formation lap and essentially boycotted the race. Seems that there were problems with the Michelin tires this weekend. Ralf Schumacher lost his left rear and plowed into the wall at turn 13, a scene very reminiscent of what happened in the 2004 race that put him out for 12 races with a broken back. This time it wasn't at all bad. The track had installed the special safety wall so when his left rear lost it in the practice session he wasn't injured. He was, however, not cleared by the F1 doctors for this race. The issue would be moot because all of the Michelin teams pulled out of the race. This left Ferrari, Jordan-Toyota and Minardi-Cosworth left to race. If you could call it a race. Obviously there were three classes of cars on the track and not surprisingly they finished in order; Ferrari, Jordan, Minardi. This did give Tiago Monteiro his first podium, was the first podium by a Portuguese and was Jordan's first in may years.

The guys on Speed Channel were all aghast. In fact that would be an understatement. Terms like "sad" and "farcical" were heard numerous times. I don't blame them. This race was a sham. It seems that what happened was Michelin decided early race morning that their tires were not safe to drive on. The sweeping banked turn, what would be turn one for the Indy 500, was to much for the tires. They recommended that the Michelin shod teams not race on these tires without something done to reduce speed on that corner. They asked for a chicane to be put in. The Indy raceway said they would accommodate this but the FIA, the F1 governing body, said no. Thus the teems decision to not run.

I have to say that my feeling on this is simple... The FIA, Michelin and the 7 teams that pulled out were all very stupid. Less so for the teams as it would be ridiculous for them to purposely put their drivers in danger. But the fact that some kind of compromise couldn't be reached is absurd. And the ones who got the biggest end of the stick were the fans followed closely by the Speedway organizers. It was a disgrace to F1.

Oh, the finishing order was Michael, Rubens, Monteiro, Narain Karthikeyan, Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher. No points were awarded to 7th and 8th. Not that anyone really cares right now.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Down comes the night

Well, Joseph is officially not living with me now. For the next few months he'll be living with his mother and her girlfriend. It wasn't so bad before, when she still lived nearby. But now it's going to be almost impossible. I have no idea how this will be able to work. All I know is that anyone reading this blog needs to brace themselves for two and a half months of insane behavior. At least I have the F1 US Grand Prix to watch and comment on (I recorded it from last night).

I see only dark clouds on the horizon.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Tying up loose ends

Right now I want to update the situation WRT the ladies. The Together Dating just didn't pan out. I got so behind in January that I couldn't catch up. And if you don't send back the evaluation report from the date they take you off the active list. OC they have no problem continuing to bill me. The fine print is for me to continue to pay something like $68/mo for two or three years, regardless of whether I'm active or not. It all reminds me of the rant Leo Getz did about doctors in Lethal Weapon 3.

That leaves the situation with my Chinese lady friend. She wanted to try a more romantic relationship but it just didn't work out. I kept failing tests that I had no idea I was taking. I'm told that this is a very common experience for men. Example; she had a problem with her toilet. It would flush on it's own every so often. She called to ask what she should do. Well, I went through this with one of the bathrooms in the house we owned before the divorce. The solution was to have the inner guts replaced. See, I wasn't a handyman even before my hands stopped working right. If something breaks I call someone who is a professional at fixing said problem and all is well. I relayed this to her but she didn't want to call a plumber. Ok, fine. The next day I found out that this was a test. I was supposed to come over and help her when she called. How am I supposed to do that? I have a young boy in bed and I have to much pain to move in the first place. There was nothing I could have done in going over there but doing so would be a tremendous cost in energy and pain. This is why I didn't even offer. BZZZZZZZT, that was the wrong answer for this test. There were one or two more of these kind of tests that I also failed. So she decided that with all the things going on in her life with work and her daughter it wasn't a good time to get involved. And, due to my poor showing in the tests, she didn't feel that I was the right man for her. At first I wasn't all to happy about this, feeling that the fairness of the tests was a tad lacking. But after thinking about it some I came to realize that it wasn't going to work anyway. There were signs... The biggest one was that she would often call or email asking for advice on something that's happening in her life. I would give her some advice and try to point out as many different ways to go as I could. She would then just do whatever it was she had wanted to do even before she'd asked me. But the more fundamental problem was that she didn't understand the kind of pain I am in every moment of every day. Even if I thought of going over to look at her plumbing (no pun intended) the cost in pain and energy couldn't be overcome for that situation. Ergo, no go. We still keep contact and hopefully we can still get together on occasion as I do enjoy her company and her daughter is really cool. But we'll just have to see what comes of it.

And that's pretty much it. There's really no other options for me to pursue WRT women. There's always the chance of lightning striking but the odds against that are, as Spock might say, astronomical.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Monopoly != me

Last night I was playing Monopoly with my son. We had a really fun time of it. He completely kicked my @$$. I mean I got SPANKED! The funny thing is that a few roles of the dice before he dominated me he was ready to give up the game. See, I had far more property than he did, including three with hotels on them. He only had one with a hotel and one with two houses but he did have three railroads. Now, if you've played Monopoly much you know that when you have a lot of property and hotels you don't have much liquid assets (i.e. cash). I was in just this situation. Well, you can guess what happened... I landed on his hotel. In order to pay the rent I had to sell all of my hotels and mortgage 75% of my property. The next roll had me land on another one of his properties with buildings. I was done for. Even mortgaging the res of my property didn't give me enough to pay. I was blown out of the water (wait; that's Battleship... Different game). Needless to say he was very happy. I reminded him that he was just about to give up and quit. Had he done so, he'd never have stomped me.

This is a pattern I've seen with him since forever (or 8 years, whichever is closest). He will try something, complain it's to hard and try to quit. He's done this with most of the PS2 games he plays. Of course, once he plays them for a little bit he becomes damn near invincible. My hope is that I can get him to always look at life in this way. If something seems to be unbeatable just keep hammering away at it. You'll eventually overcome any obstacles. It would be a little easier, though, if he didn't see his dad chewed up and spit out by the world.

I've been doing all I can to shield him from the fact that we are just about homeless with no light on the horizon. Now, I'm going to keep plugging away the best I can. But I see that the best I have isn't good enough. Just a little break, that's all I'd need to bounce back. A job; a mate; decent assistance laws or even most of my health back. Any one of these would be enough. They just look as attainable as the moon right now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who's who and who cares

In regard to my earlier post, I am going to expound on the world of Open Source. Specifically some of the so-called luminaries in that world. Let's take a look at four of the big names; Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, and Eric Raymond (to be known as Linus, RMS, Perens & ESR respectively). We'll start in the middle.

RMS: What can be said about him that hasn't already been said? Here's my opinion on him. He's an extremist fruitcake who is a vital part of the whole software industry. He's so far out on his end of the spectrum that he balances things out. While he can be exasperating at times, he is probably the most important person in the Open Source world. Score: B-

Perens: Bruce is very good at starting projects. Often the projects he starts are good ones that could be very beneficial to the world at large. However, I have not seen him actually complete anything. That's not to say he has never completed something, just that I've not seen it. He does have some very good ideas and has been good for the Open Source world on whole, though. Score: C-

ERS: $DEITY don't get me started. Well, I already got myself started so here goes. ESR is very smart (as are all of the people on this rant) and has had some good ideas (The Cathedral and the Bazaar, for one) but he's done almost as much to hurt Open Source as to help it. He doesn't know where to draw the line between an IT/IS professional and a flaming zealot. Honestly, I know a number of people who would be much better "spokesman" that he is. Score: D

Linus: Now we come to the only one of these guys that I have actually met. It was just a short face-to-face after one of the sessions of USENIX back in the mid-90's. Linus is one of the most mellow people I know in this industry. It seems that part of being an uber-techie is having an explosive personality. This doesn't mean Linus has never flamed away. If you look through some of the lists he's on you can find some very chestnut warming posts. But he doesn't let his non-techie life get to mixed up with his techie life. Plus, there are many people who look at him in an almost godlike way. Most people finding themselves in this kind of power situation would be prone to believing the press and assuming godlike attitudes. Linus has been able to keep a level head amongst the adulation for over a decade now. This is an admirable quality. Score: A+

Well, there' my first OPA post. And remember, I am always right!

Deserter Charles Jenkins Visits U.S.

Deserter Charles Jenkins Visits U.S.
Associated Press
June 13, 2005

"TOKYO - Charles Jenkins, a U.S. soldier who deserted his Army unit 40 years ago and fled to North Korea, and his Japanese wife left their home in northern Japan on Monday for his first visit to the United States since he turned himself in late last year.

Jenkins was scheduled to fly to Washington D.C. on Tuesday after spending a night in Tokyo. He has said he has no plans to move to the United States, but has repeatedly said he wants to see his 91-year-old mother, who lives in a nursing home in Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

He was expected to stay in the United States for about a week."

A Snake of June

I won't call this a review but more like impressions of the Japanese film whose English title is A Snake of June.

I bunch of months ago, when I was still using Blockbusters movie-by-mail service, I rented it. I thought by the description that it was kind of an erotic thriller but it was actually closer to soft-core porn. However, the really noticeable thing was that the movie didn't make any sense. At least it didn't to me. Now I'm not one to claim that I can understand everything I come across but I usually find something that I can make sense of in just about any movie I've seen. This was an exception. It probably made more sense to Japanese speaking audiences but I'd find it difficult to believe that anyone could completely grok this movie. Now, that's not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. There are plenty of good, enjoyable movies where you can't make head-nor-tail of the plot. The theatrical version of The Big Sleep being the one that comes to mind at the moment. The acting in Snake was probably quite good. I couldn't really tell because I was to busy trying to figure out what the hell just happened to spend time noticing that. And maybe it would have been easier if I didn't have to read subtitles as well. But I've watched a good number of movies in non-English languages having to read subtitles and been able to follow the plot and enjoy the acting and directing and such. Crouching Tiger is a good example. The plot is not very straight forward but it was a real joy to watch this movie. The original French version of La Femme Nikita is another. Both of these are complex movies that move as a good clip, especially Nikita, but I was able to stay with them and also notice the acting and directing as well as many of the other non-spotlight awards given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Anyway, this is just something that's been nagging at me for months. Again, this isn't a review, just my impressions.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Comments on the Canadian GP

This was a very enjoyable and unpredictable race. Right from the beginning you could tell something was up. After the disastrous turn last race coming off the two race suspension, Jenson Button put his BAR-Honda on the poll. We also got to see something new for this season, Red at the top of the grid as Michael qualified his Ferrari second. Behind them were the two Renault, Fernando Alonso in third position and Giancarlo Fisichella right next to him. Juan Pablo Montoya out qualified his McLaren-Mercedes teammate Kimi Räikkönen to start fifth to Kimi's seventh. Takuma Sato slid the other BAR in between them. Starting from pit lane would be Rubens Barrichello in the other Ferrari due to his not even being able to run in qualifying. So, the stage is set for the start.

And what a start it was. As we've been seeing over the last two years, the Renault's blasted out of the gate with Giancarlo edging out Fernando to take the lead. Michael had a horrible start falling quickly back to sixth. The race went on for the first third of the race when all the fun started. First Narain Karthikeyan (the first F1 driver from India) had a suspension failure, caused by bouncing off of Champions Wall, quickly followed by Taku. But the next few laps saw race leaders fall bricks. Giancarlo loses Hydraulics handing P1 to Fernando. Six laps later it's Fernando's turn as he kisses the wall and cracks his rear suspension. Sometime around this point Taku rejoins the race some 15 or so laps down. The speculation was that he was just taking it as a test run. However, his race would end permanently on lap 40 when his brakes locked. Three laps later the Williams-BMW driven by Nick Heidfeld saw it's engine let go. There's been some real bad blood this season between Williams and BMW with each blaming the other for the poor performances this season. But back to the race. Just another three laps go by when Jenson meets Champions Wall himself. Was it just a mistake in his driving or did he have some help from the oil that was left from Nick's mishap? Who can say. All that mattered is that there was a new driver in P1. But JP didn't have a long stint either. He was Black Flagged on lap 52 for running a red light in the pit while the safety car was on the track. This propelled Kimi into the lead. So the progression went something like this:

Giancarlo -> Fernando -> Jenson -> JP -> Kimi

The interesting thing is that with all these lost leaders, Michael was able to take P2. Not to be outdone by his teammate, Rubens went all the way from dead last into P3. The Ferrari's were both on the podium for the first time this season.

With the Renault's taking no points this puts the championship races in a much more competitive situation. The drivers points look like this:
Pos   Driver             Nationality  Team            Points

1 Fernando Alonso Spanish Renault 59
2 Kimi Räikkönen Finnish McLaren-Mercedes 37
3 Jarno Trulli Italian Toyota 27
4 Nick Heidfeld German Williams-BMW 25
5 Michael Schumacher German Ferrari 24
6 Mark Webber Australian Williams-BMW 22
7 Rubens Barrichello Brazilian Ferrari 21
8 Ralf Schumacher German Toyota 20
9 Giancarlo Fisichella Italian Renault 17
9= David Coulthard British Red Bull Racing 17
11 Juan Pablo Montoya Colombian McLaren-Mercedes 16
12 Felipe Massa Brazilian Sauber-Petronas 7
13 Alexander Wurz Austrian McLaren-Mercedes 6
14 Jacques Villeneuve Canadian Sauber-Petronas 5
15 Pedro de la Rosa Spanish McLaren-Mercedes 4
15= Christian Klien Austrian Red Bull Racing 4
17 Vitantonio Liuzzi Italian Red Bull Racing 1
And the Constructor's points are:
Pos Constructor      Points

1 Renault 76
2 McLaren-Mercedes 63
3 Williams-BMW 47
3= Toyota 47
5 Ferrari 45
6 Red Bull Racing 22
7 Sauber-Petronas 12
Now it's off to Indianapolis for the US GP next Sunday.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Opinionated pompous ass

Last night I was thinking. I had some time to think as I was up till 3am with "the trots." (I know; TMI) Anyway, I'm thinking about this blog and the open source world and life and all that. It also came to mind my 23 years of working in the IM/IS/IT/whatever industry. I've had time to reflect on my experience in this industry lately because I'm bring my resume out to everywhere I can in order to find some income. Looking at my resume you will see that I've had experience in a fairly good array of fields in the industry. I'm not the greatest or most or best anything but I do have experience in a good range of things, quite a bit that is not reflected in my resume. "School of Life" sorta stuff. Going over all of this I got to thinking about the opinions and insights and commentary I might have on not only the industry but life and cultures and all kinds of things. After all, I have been across the Atlantic ocean some 13 or 15 times (I can't remember which but I know it's an odd number), so I have some experience that many others don't. I've also been around for a decent amount of time, being 42 years of age at the time of this writing. So what does all of this babbling mean? It means I can express myself, here in this venue, all the ideas and opinions and observations I might want to express. So in the coming weeks/months/years I think I'll just let loss and see what happens. But don't worry, I'll still post my comments on the Formula 1 races. Just remember one thing...
I am always right!

Trends in Open Source project development

I'm a freshmeat whore. I will look through the listed project updates three or four times a day looking to the way it's supposed to work. Yes, but I mean that you can tell what is the top of the list for open source projects by looking at what is being released on freshmeat at any given time. Right now the "app de jour" is Content Management System (CMS) apps. Not long ago it was blog tools (though these are still popular). I think that this is being driven more by business needs than simply hackers scratching the proverbial itch. This can also bee seen by the slow but steady rise of ERP apps. Now, I have little use for these kinds of things (I tend to look for little things that strike my fancy yet often have little usefulness for me) but it's not hard to see that someone does.

There my be many debates on the benefits and peril's of open source but there's one thing that has been already realized; open source is here to stay and is likely to become the dominant licensing and development model for future software projects. More and more businesses are finding that
the combination of security, flexibility and price can't be beaten by any proprietary, buggy and dangerous offering by companies run by demigods. I am not singling out any one [Microsoft] company that [Microsoft] is guilty [Microsoft] of doing this [Microsoft] but you can [Microsoft] probably come up with[Microsoft] one or two [Microsoft] of your own.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Feelings. Nothing more than...

Feeling not so good. This isn't FM related (at least it doesn't feel like it). I'm totally wiped but can't get to sleep. I'm feeling nauseous and my intestines are rather unhappy. I hope I'll be ok as we got some important things to do on Friday.

I gotta go lie down. Now.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Neat. I ran across this little app called drivel that is a GNOME based blog tool. This is the first entry using it. While I like the web interface to Blogger this looks like it could be more practical and quicker to use. Especially the spell checking (since everyone who knows me in the offline world knows that I can't spell any English words with more than two letters; you can't imagine what it was like before spell checking).

[Update] Damn! The thing doesn't post a subject. Time to write the authors and see if there's anything that can be done.

I really hate computers

The frelling server is hung again. There's something wrong with either the drive or the controller. The root filesystem on /dev/hda1 just will not come back up after an ungraceful shutdown. And now that the warmer weather is coming we'll be getting thunder storms in the afternoons quite often. It wouldn't be that much of a pain if it weren't for the distance to the CoLo site. And even THAT wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the traffic in this region. So my primary email, and the email for my family, is down again. I have a new box that's 85% ready to replace the old one and I was hoping to have a little more time to get it ready but now it will just have to go into service ASAP. With some luck, and some help, I hope to get it in place this weekend. However...

This proposed server swap has been "in the works" for, oh, I guess 4 years now. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'll never get it done. I hope to prove them wrong this weekend but even I know that the odds are against me. Let's see... I'll give 3-1, no, 5-1 that I don't make it up this weekend. Any takers?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Sanity is relative

It seems that my mother thinks I'm strange.

This isn't a news flash, everyone knows I'm strange. But she read this blog and it has added a new nuance to the mix. That's ok. With everything that's going on lately it's a miracle I'm still able to function.

The other day I was flipping through the Comcast got help us! On Demand stuff and went into the free movie selection. Free is good so I thought I'd see what they had. Lo' and behold! They had 1776. If you haven't seen this movie you should run out right now and get it, rent it, steal it (ok, don't steal it), borrow it... Just see the movie. Anyway, there's a line in it that has always amused me.
"Good God, consider yourselves fortunate that you have John Adams to abuse, for no sane man would tolerate it!"
I find this amusing because it states quite clearly my position on how I relate to the universe. It's a good thing that I am around because "no sane man would tolerate it!"

But sanity is relative, as I said. What is sane to one person could likely be insane to another. Circumstances and culture and a ton of other things make up how we define what is sane and insane. In many ways I am not quite sane, but so is everyone else who takes breath on this planet. The trick is to realize your insanity and adjust yourself so that you can function in the real world. Of course no one has actually defined what the term "real world" means, but that's for another time.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Friday, June 03, 2005

For what purpose is this blog?

It seems that all I do here is whine and bitch and moan about my troubles. Well, ok, I do post my "comments" on the F1 races. But that's it. You'd think that I'd have something meaningful to say but it seems that I don't. Or maybe I haven't given it a try. I know there are people who have recognized blogs (on the local, regional, national and global level) who know and understand half of what I do. That's strong words which only say I can rant and comment on many things better than some others who do. Sour grapes? Maybe. I've been in some communities longer and been more involved than some who come in later and get recognition. But honestly, that's just the way life works. Life. That's also an interesting topic.

At this time in my life I have lived in many worlds. I see my life as having certain cohesive parts. Like eras but on a much smaller scale. There is the beginning. The years from birth to high school. A lot happened to me and the family during these years but I have very little memory of it. I'm told by my mother that this was partially due to being abused by a teacher in early grade school. I do have some tattered memories and emotional impressions of this time but they are very small and disjointed.

Then come the high school years. I remember most of this time and, for the most part, they were happier times. We'd just moved to Germany for the last time the beginning of my freshman year. Prior to this time I hadn't been much for organized sports. I played Little League once and we won the championship in '71. I still have the trophy somewhere. But now I was entering into high school football. Not only that, my father was going to be the head coach. That first year I was umpyumpth string no-real-position on a JV squad of 88 kids. My father had a rule that if a kid wanted to play they were not cut from JV. I saw very little game time that first season in '76. My sophomore year I was second string defensive end. I got to play on occasion but mostly did defensive team in practice for the starting offense. The summer before my junior year my dad and I decided to see if I could play center. I learned how to snap the ball and block. When the season started I made second string Varsity as center. There were guys who were first string JV the previous year who were still on JV. This caused some "you only got on varsity because of your dad" things but they didn't go vary far because I wasn't starting. My senior year was incredible. That year I made first string center. During camp, when it started to look like I was going to be first string, I got into an "altercation" with the meanest, baddest, kick-ass killer on the team. Mark Rife. That was the beginning of my ascension from dork to semi-cool. The first three games of the season we won but the offense didn't look good at all. The defense was the best ever so they kept us from losing. After the third game my dad, uhm, I mean "the coach" completely re-did the offensive line. There was a wholesale change of every position by center. There was a little grumbling about me staying only because of the blood-ties. But during the week leading up to the next game something happened in practice that made all the grumbling and speculation about my fitness for the position go away for good. The noseguard on our team was a guy known as Big George. He had the most deadly forearm in the league. He'd knocked other players out cold with it. Up to now I had been doing everything I could to avoid it. But that day, for some reason, I decided to stand up to the monster forearm and see if I could take it. Well, Big George lay back and threw a really good one at me. After it hit we both were standing there looking at each other with expressions of disbelief. He reared back and threw another one. The results were the same. I remember a huge grin busting out on my face. That's because I came to the realization that I was going to have it easy for the rest of the season. Not in practice but in the games. I would never run into anyone better and more powerful than Big George in a game. This was the completion of my ascension from dork to semi-cool. The rest of the season we beat the crap out of everyone and went to the championship game. We proceeded to beat the crap out of Heidelberg and won the title. Man, it was absolutely wonderful. It also marked the beginning of the end of this era in my life. I graduated on June 8th, 1980 and thus moved on to a new time.

This era was the "sowing my oats" time. I spent a couple of semesters dabbling at the university thing but dropped out for good in '82 Now, I was never a really wild one but I did venture into parts of the world that were very fun but also potentially dangerous. This time ran from when I turned 18 until we moved to the States in '88 then was 25 years old. During this period I was working and living the Heavy Metal life. I worked mostly evenings and nights so I didn't get to see my family much but we kids, my two brothers and my sister (all younger than me) would go out on weekends. I would often go out after working the second shift. It was ideal. I'd get to the bar or club between 11pm and midnight. The only people left out at this time were the hard-core headbangers. I'd stay out 'till closing, drag my ass in around 5am, sleep till around 2pm, then I'd get up and do it all over again. I met a lot of very fun and interesting people over this journey from boy to man. We lived in a number of different places in this era. From '80 to '82 in K-Town, then from '82 to '87 in Neu Ulm, from '87 to '88 in Frankfurt. Also during this time my siblings and I were a rock/metal band that played some of the clubs and bars. We even went into a studio and cut a demo of 10 tracks which were all original songs written by us. The master tapes are somewhere in a box in my brother's house. This time in my life was very volatile but always moving and usually happy. Even when things were bad it was still good. This is the part of my list that I'd pick for the old, "if you could live your life over again..." thing.

Now we come to the longest period in my life. From '88 into 2000. Things started out with my transition from headbanger to a "responsible adult," whatever that is. There was the move from having a "job" to a "career." In '90 I got married. In 94' we bought a house. In '96 we had our son. I was living my life in the place I was born to be. I had a challenging job, interesting friends, a cool hobby (if anyone remembers the time when BBS's ruled the world), a home and a family. Unfortunately the foundation of this world was not solid. In fact it wasn't really there at all. It seems funny, locking back, that the longest era in my life had the least amount of joy (but it did have a LOT of Joy). Don't get me wrong, I was unbelievably happy when I got married and there is no way to describe the happiness of having our son. But all in all, it just seems to lay there on the track of history.

So, come to the present. It started off with "The Year From Hell." The systematic crumbling of my entire life and my whole world happened over this one year. Since then it's just been a slow decent into the abyss.

So let's see what a timeline would look line.
1962 - 1976 = 13 years (being born in November makes the numbers one off)
1976 - 1980 = 4 years
1980 - 1982 = 2 years
1982 - 1988 = 6 years
1988 - 2000 = 12 years
2000 - Now = 5 years
That's about right, give or take. I might adjust some era's by a year or so if I were to talk to my family but this is close enough.

Well, that was a lot of writing. Took me three days to get it done. And what does this all say? Does it answer the title question? I don't know. Maybe if I put more time and effort into something that would be of interest to more than just myself. But I can't think of anything off-hand. I don't have the energy to follow the Linux community anymore, though I do wish I could. Maybe do something about or on Fibromyalgia? I don't know what more I could contribute to what is already out there. What else do I know? Sports. I know something about football and track as I did spend time coaching with my dad. But sports isn't about sports any more. It's about money and contracts and endorsements.

I don't know. Maybe there isn't anything useful I can contribute to the world anymore.

"Regards to Captain Dunsel"

New picture

I put a more recent picture of me in the profile. Hide the women and children.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Slight misunderstandings

Last night I had made up my mind that I am going to retire from the IT profession. I wanted to let the people who knew me on the few lists I was still subscribed to know that i was signing off. So I wrote an email and sent it out. The subject was "I must say goodbye" and in it I talked about how my health situation was getting worst and I wouldn't have time to do anything anyway.

You see where this is going?

Wait for it...


About an hour or so after I sent this email someone rings the doorbell. It was two members of the local county police. They had gotten a call from someone in Canada and were checking to see if I was pondering, or actually in the act of suicide. After assuring them that I was not going to harm myself or anyone else they went back to their beat. I went back and took a look at the email I sent and 'lo and behold the message did look quite like a suicidal person had sent it. I fired off another email to the same places to clarify my position.

It was kind of nice that someone actually cared enough to do something. I remember on /. a few years ago the story of a kid killing himself while on an chat room and webcam while people in the chat urged him on and did nothing to try and stop him.