Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Parsing Life

Posted by Trixter on January 8, 2009


Not a lot of information from me lately, mainly because I’m working on The Next Big Thing (formal announcement in a few weeks, although if you’re familiar with some of my more public past work, you already know what it is) which is taking up all my hobby time, and also because I’m having a difficult time dealing with life at the moment.  Life itself is doing quite well — it’s me who is having trouble parsing the input properly.

I don’t have it in me this time to pick a single topic and expand on it, so here are loosely random thoughts and observations.  They’re personal, so at least I can say this is a true “log” entry.  Those with better things to do, leave now.

Block Party 2009 is all systems go, and I have tentatively scheduled a road trip with two ‘scene acquaintances.  If it works out, I will essentially be in a state of shock and awe the entire trip, as I idolize these guys.  Because of The Next Big Thing taking up my time, I was illogically concerned that there would be pressure on me to deliver something at the next Party even though I would have no time to prepare for it.  I have been reassured by various people that, yes, it really is okay to just sit back and enjoy the party.  I haven’t done that at any demoparty — every party I’ve been to, I’ve either given a talk, entered a compo, or helped run the thing (in one party’s case, done all three).

I may still set up a machine and start coding, but this time it will be to relax.  I suppose it is a sign of our times that true relaxation can be obtained creating technology, as opposed to merely interacting with it.

(topic change!)

I joined Weight Watchers December 1st 2008, and in the 5+ weeks that have gone by I’ve lost around eight pounds so far.  I am trying to lose 10% of my starting weight by the time Block Party rolls around, and another 10% by the time my 20th-year high school reunion rolls around.  I don’t know which god I pissed off to gain this double chin, but I hope to appease him/her/they/it before I have to venture out in public.

(topic change!)

My parents are currently on a trip to Egypt, their first time, and they have visited the pyramids, the Sphynx, and rode
camels.  This is a lifelong dream vacation destination for them, and while I have rolled my eyes at previous destinations (for example, middle-eastern destinations in the middle of, how should I put this, *uncertain political climate*), I have to say I’m really happy for them this time.  They’ve gone to more conventional places too (UK, Germany, France, Belgium, etc.) but this trip is the quintessential “I’ve always wanted to do that” vacation.

(topic change!)

I am, amongst other professions, a Solaris administrator.  Not to break my arm patting myself on the back, but I’m a pretty damn good one; I may not be ready for Sun’s kernel group, but I understand the big picture (of all *nixes, not just Solaris) and can pick stuff up pretty easily.  Not to break the other arm, but I am also a fairly nice guy who likes to help and teach people.  Most of the time this results in a clean conscience and no worry lines on my face.  Unfortunately, it also means I leave myself open to being the departmental crutch.

Case in point:  Yesterday a fellow Solaris administrator came up to me, handed me a CD with Solaris bits on it, and asked me to mount it somewhere so he could read it.  I stared for a few seconds and just blinked, suppresing the rising urge to say something caustic.  Let’s review:  He is a Solaris admin.  He administers Solaris servers.  Every Solaris server comes with a CD/DVD drive.  And yet he just barged into my area, and told me to mount a CD somewhere so that he could read it.  When I regained the ability to speak politely, I asked him why on earth he was coming to me with this request.  He replied, looking somewhat irritated, that he doesn’t have a sun workstation under his desk to read the CD with.  Ignoring the fact that I don’t either, let’s continue:

“You’re a Solaris admin.” I replied.  He stared blankly.

“You administer Solaris machines for a living.”  More blank stares.

“Walk to any of the nearly one hundred machines you administer and put the CD in.  Better yet, put it into the exact server that needs the data!”

This is one of the more egregious examples of simply not thinking.  Others (from multiple people, not just this admin)
include:

  • Asking me what the syntax for a unix command is (online documentation has been standard on every unix system for decades)
  • Asking me about basic networking (ie. netmasks) or security (ie. ssh) concepts that should have been a requirement for them to obtain their job in the first place
  • Requesting older/unsupported versions of drivers/patches/utilities when updated/supported versions are freely available

I don’t understand this phenominon, if it is one.  I can’t believe it’s just laziness because, in most instances, taking five
seconds to use your brain and do things properly takes the least amount of time!

(topic change!)

My wonderful wife Melissa just started her last semester in the radiography tech program she is in, and by mid-year, she will hopefully have her first job as an x-ray technician.  While she started down this path because we badly needed the money, she has found unexpected benefits in rejoining the workforce.  She has made new lifelong friends, gained
self-confidence, and generally reaffirmed her appreciation for life.  The last nine years of my career haven’t been that
rewarding in a while.  I’m envious, but very happy for her.

And hey, the extra money can’t hurt :-)  By this time next year, I hope to be going to demoparties under my own power for a change.

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7 Responses to “Parsing Life”

  1. Not to nitpick, but Israel is a perfectly safe (yes, even nowadays) place to visit. If they ever feel like coming here, drop me a line and I’ll help any way I can. Same goes for you, for that matter :-)

    • Trixter said

      They’ve been to Israel four or five times already. :-) I was thinking of the times they wanted to go closer to Gaza, or when they visited Turkey, etc.

  2. Turkey actually is quite safe, certainly more so for Americans. I’ve been there twice, once for a week of hiking, rafting etc. and once for a driving course (which was damned cool, I’ll tell you that.) I’d actually recommend it, certainly once things here settled down a little bit.

  3. Melissa Leonard said

    Wife as spellchecker: suppressing (not suppresing) and phenomenon (not phenominon) – argh!! :-)

  4. Melissa Leonard said

    You know, I was just browsing through your blog and read this one all the way through – I have some bones to pick! First of all, I am becoming a radiographer OR a radiologic technologist OR an x-ray technologist – note how I said TECHNOLOGIST, not TECHNICIAN!!!!! Might not seem like a big deal, but it is to us! Also, I didn’t go back to school primarily because we needed the money but because the kids were getting older and I needed something in my life that I felt I was actually somewhat decent at, having discovered the homemaking, while rewarding, definitely isn’t it! Not that the money won’t be appreciated! ;-)

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