Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarsts, Cat’s Cradle, 2007-10-30

The absolute high-point of the show for me was the rendition of Blockhead, which, with 10 Crafties and Robert Fripp to boot, was quite powerful. The most beautiful was easily the piece done entirely acoustically as the final encore. The most whimsical was the theme from “Mission: Impossible”.

There were pieces, certainly, that didn’t move me. But at the same time, watching an ensemble like this perform holds its own energy–to watch a group of players working in such synchronicity is amazing.

I can certainly understand why people were unhappy about the IBM/Lenovo deal…

And yet, my experience in having my T43p serviced last week–the fan had started being noisy, sometimes obtrusively so, several months ago, but sounded like it was truly dying on Sunday morning–was virtually identical to having my T22 serviced three years ago:

  • I called, described the problem, they agreed there was a problem
  • They sent a box, which arrived the next day
  • I put the laptop and dropped off at a collection point
  • The laptop arrived at the repair center the next day
  • The laptop was repaired that same day
  • The laptop was shipped back to me that same day
  • The laptop arrived the next day, fixed

Well, OK, this time I called on Sunday, so the box didn’t get sent until Monday. And then I didn’t have a chance to actually get the laptop boxed up and sent until Thursday. And I didn’t hear the DHL guy ring the doorbell yesterday morning, so I ended up going to the DHL depot to pick it up.

But all of those differences were my responsibility. From where I sit, Lenovo handled this issue just as well as IBM did my last issue, and I once again have a laptop that is virtually silent.

So yeah, I’d buy another one.

The natural progression of kernel hacking

I don’t think this is the first time I’ve quoted Rusty Russell:

I think Willy did it because this is for printk. It makes more sense than
everyone opencoding an -ENOMEM handler, which will have to be replaced by
some mildly amusing string like “I want to printk but I have no memory!”.
Next thinksic you know 70% of the kernel will be bad limericks as everyone tries
to one-up each other.

And another thing about that Lovecraft movie…

Did I miss the 28th Amendment to the Constitution where anybody making a horror movie is obliged to quote the last two lines of Yeats’ The Second Coming(poem)? Because by the Father, the dead gay Son and the Holy Spigot, that is beginning to drive me around the fucking bend.

I suspect Stephen King started it (for the horror genre, I mean, the Wikipedia page makes it obvious that everyone in the universe with an ounce of eruditory pretention has quoted this poem at some point) with The Stand–but you’d think people would also have noticed that he also quoted Blue Oyster Cult and taken it somewhat less seriously.

In a way it’s appropriate…

Most of H.P. Lovecraft’s best works with something that is maybe a little odd, becomes decidedly strange, and then slowly descends into madness.

That pretty much described my reaction to seeing that 1) there was a film supposed to be released this year called Cthulu, based on Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” (though the screenwriter seems to be suggesting in this interview that gay people are more aware of the horrors of small-town life than us straights, which seems somewhat myopic), 2) it had Tori Spelling in it.

Happy Birthday To Me

I guess I didn’t do a last-year assessment last year. I was probably scared to.

I dunno, how do you assess, “Was this the best year ever?”

I mean some things are unambiguously good, like beginning to teach yoga: six months in an I’m still enjoying it, perhaps even becoming skillful at it. And the yoga kula continues to grow and become more cohesive, which is a great source of joy and support.

Other things are more ambiguous, like my Dad getting laid off, and the big AnteSpam upgrade six weeks ago: it’s good to have him working full-time on Ironic Design stuff, and it’s good to have the big transition done since we needed it to move forward, but damn, neither were smooth, graceful transitions at all.

And then there’s the stuff that is mostly just hard, and in the early stages so it’s hard to find the rewarding parts, like therapy to help me deal with 36 years of crap being swept under the rug.

That said, things seem brighter than they have in a while. I’m mostly happy, fairly together, healthy, loved and supported, and I feel like I can mostly sustain that.

Anyway, enough maudlin shit. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely head over to Chet’s place to see the picture of me in all my late-80’s hirsute glory.

The only comment I’ll make is that I’ve never styled my hair–it has always done whatever it was inclined to do–so this was only a choice insofar as doing nothing is a choice. Now I keep it short so that its choices are mightily constrained.

North Carolina really does feel like home

I honestly don’t know that there’s every been a time when I sat in a room with, at a guess, 80 people and knew most of them. Maybe 16 years ago when I was VP at Mallet, if absolutely everyone I knew came to a party I could have managed it. But only maybe.

I spent most of the weekend at a yoga workshop, with 80 or so people in the room, and you could count the number of people whose names I didn’t know without taking your shoes off. And I could rattle off the names of ten or twenty other people I know who are part of the kula but weren’t there.

And when we broke for lunch on Saturday, someone else in the kula was actually working at the place several of us ended up eating. And after the last session this morning, a group of us went for lunch and we actually ran into one of my students.

Maybe for some people, this sort of thing wouldn’t be cause for comment. For me, it’s kind of startling.

Growing up while my dad was in in the Air Force was a wonderful experience in so many way that I can’t list them all, but I fear it inculcated in me an expectation of transience–I got used to not having any roots, of not knowing a lot of people, of not being a member of a community. In some ways, it habituated me to not value and work at preserving and strengthening the connections I have to people–I think this is why I am rarely the person who initiates communications with old friends.

It’s almost certainly why I keep in closer communication with Chet than anyone else from the old days–it’s not just that he happens to be on IM all the time and so forth, it’s the fact that dammit, he calls even though I never do.

For which I am eternally grateful.

But I’ve come to be unhappy with this behavior of mine. It is unworthy of all the wonderful people I know. So I’ve decided to try and change. And hopefully this kula I have here at home, by demonstrating in a thousand different ways why these connections are important and worthwhile, will help me find the wherewithal to shake loose this unfortunate habit.

I note this just because Chet has had interchanges with him in the past…

Steve Gibson, of SpinRite fame has come up with sort of a super-simple variation on the little RSA keyfobs where you instead carry around a little business card that you can print up yourself that has a bunch of possible second-factor entries you can use for auth.

The part that makes me laugh a bit is that it is–as you might expect if you remember the ads for SpinRite back in the day–a Windows .DLL coded in assembly.

John Graham-Cumming has a C implementation of the scheme. He also has a three-letter domain name. Coincidence?

My amazing brother-in-law (and less fun things)…

In an attempt to break the rather somber mood surrounding the announcement than my paternal grandfather–suffering from last-stage Alzheimers–has just been put into hospice care, my brother-in-law revealed that in order to get into the Chukker to see Dick Dale before he was actually 21 he went dressed in drag…because apparently they didn’t card drag queens.

I have to admit that I have nothing to say to that, other than to note that the ceiling mural looks nothing like I remember. But I didn’t go to the Chukker that often because it was across town and, well, you know, drinking and driving is pretty dumb.

It’s hard to blog when you can’t type…

Which was my initial reaction to this video of a man making farting noises with his hands to perform along (horrifyingly accurately) Iron Maiden’s The Trooper.

You. Must. Love. The. Internet.

It includes the guitar solo. That happens at about 1:45 left. It is indescribable. And he’s just so into it.


Tai Chi

So a friend of mine and Anne’s wanted to take a Tai Chi class at Inside/Out (where I teach yoga on Thursdays). This being one of the couple that we invited along to swing dance classes earlier this year, they invited us along to Tai Chi classes.

It’s funny how much yoga stuff I have to not do to Tai Chi correctly–it’s a much more relaxed, softer practice than yoga. So in that sense, it has been valuable to highlight habits I’ve acquired and make me think about them once again.

That said…I’m not feeling it. If everyone else is inclined to keep going, I suspect I’ll do so–it’s an hour, it’s not without value, might as well–but I doubt I’ll be arguing for it.

But if you find yoga to be too much like work, you might check it out.

I never would have thought Damian Lews is was British, either.

I caught the first couple of episodes of “Life” and found it intriguing enough to drop a Season Pass in the TiVO.

Some things are a little overdone–they seem to believe that every episode requires a scene where Charlie is able to make a nigh-magical connection with someone they need to talk, presumably because of his time in prison–but hopefully the writers will see fit to abandon those more obvious tics.

Only time will tell if the writers have actually created depth in the character, or just the illusion of depth–at two episodes in, they’re still in the “hinting at bigger, deeper things” stage.

Anyway, I mostly gave it a chance since I liked Damian Lewis immensely in Band of Brothers. Imagine my surprise in going to IMDB and finding out that he’s both British and younger than I am.

Incidentally, I wrote my first ever bit of python code today…

Funny enough, it was a fix for a bug in the software (gnome-blog) I am using to write this post.

It was mostly a matter of figuring out what was failing–a GConf interface was failing when the app tried to store an integer–and then searching around Mark Pilgrim‘s excellent (and freely-available) Dive Into Python.

If I was really together, I’d post a patch, but I didn’t back up the original.

New blog software

Still Catalyst, but this time with a database back-end that also does asset (aka binary files) management.

For about 30 seconds during development the software actually had 100% test coverage.