I'm back from Utah. It was a good trip, but I didn't get to spend much time with Vicki, and we were always on other peoples schedules (which was to be expected, being a family trip).
One thing that I noticed: Traveling on small (30 passengers) turbo prop planes is not as exciting and romantic as it seems in movies. In fact, it's just LOUD. Really loud. Especially when you are sitting right next to the propeller, like I was on the way to Utah. So loud that it drowned out my iPod.
On the way back Vicki and I were in the back of the plane so things weren't so bad, but it was still loud enough that we couldn't hear my laptop (we were watching Episode II on DVD). I think I prefer jet engines, by far.
Macdonald's Filet of Fish sandwiches are just as nasty as I remembered from my childhood. Yuck.
I got to LAX 2 hours early, which is a good thing really, since it means traffic wasn't bad at all. And the fact that I can post this means that I'm hooked into LAX's wireless network, so I won't be bored. I didn't even have any trouble going through security.
The wireless network is interesting. I tried launching a browser and rather than my normal home page got a page for the company that runs the wireless service. I signed up for a small fee and *poof*, I'm online. Nifty.
Things are looking up...
It's too fucking early. I didn't want to get out of bed at all this morning.
After work I get to drive to LAX (during rush hour!) and fly to St. George, Utah. The only state in the union I have never wanted to see, and that's where I'm headed. The things we do for family, eh? Truth be told I'm only going because Vicki is going to be there, so at least I can spend some time with her.
I'm sure that I'll end up having all my stuff pawed at by security (I'm not pessimistic, I just plan for the worst and hope for the best, that way I'm only pleasantly surprised by things going right). And since I'll more than likely be sitting around, bored out of my mind, I brought a couple of DVDs to watch on my TiBook. If I'm lucky I'll find a 802.11 network at the airport and be able to do some surfing.
Damn this is going to be a long day...
Speaking of the worst company I'd ever worked for, I recently found a movie that documents the best bit of engineering I worked on while I was there. It certainly lasted longer than any of the other projects I was given.
The Network Up Time Monitor was also the most enjoyable project. It requred little maintenance, and had an simple, elegant interface. It's total cost was around $20.00 (not including developer time).
Alas, like many projects (and all the projects at that company) it never did get to a 2.0 version. That would have been really cool, but would also been more costly, as it involved much bigger fans and a hamster...
I wrote a CGI script that counts down to a given date once upon a time. I did this when I was leaving the worst company I'd ever worked for, and was happily watching the seconds until I was gone fly by.
Lately I've been using it to see just how many seconds I have to endure until I see Vicki again. Want to know how many that is? Check it out here.
Of course this can accept any old date. Just enter a time and/or date here:
Oh, the things I do when I'm bored...
I've been eating too much sushi. It's becoming my comfort food of choice lately. In the last three weeks I've eaten at the local sushi bar so much that they gave me my own pair of lacquered chopsticks to use when I go there. I guess it's better than drinking... But it's not as cheap.
I have been podering some things about my job and working in general so I thought I'd see what others thought with an informal poll. Think of this as a 'Monday Five'.
1) Are you happy in your choice of career?
2) Does your work give you any sense of accomplishment?
3) Do you feel you 'belong' in your current position/job?
4) Is your work meaningful to you?
5) What is it that keeps you going to work everyday?
1) I don't know anymore. I usually like what I do, but not lately. I think I'm burning out.
5) Bills and debts.
I consider this a bad sign...
A buch of friends and I went to see The Two Towers last night. We pre-ordered tickets online a few days back, but it seems like the movie theaters are picking up bad habits from the airline industry and are over booking. Of the 11 tickets I ordered for the 10:15PM showing only three were good. We ended up exchanging them for the 11:15PM showing. I didn't get to bed until around 3 or so in the morning. Needless to say I'm really tired this morning.
The movie was a bit disapointing. I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy probably once a year, so I notice when the movie strays from the book. The Fellowship of the Ring movie strayed, but it was always in a way that made sense for it to do so. I didn't think that when the The Two Towers strayed from the book that it was in a way that made much sense. I also think the Ents were not given a large enough role. And Faramir seemed to not be nearly as noble as in the book.
The one big, overriding success was Gollum. Wow. He was perfect. The character of Gollum is a difficult one; you should both loath and pity him. He's a source of some amusement and of dread. They captured that perfectly. George Lucas should take notes: that is how a digital character should be done. Gollum made Jar Jar Binks look even lamer than he already did. The voice actor Andy Serkis was amazing.
I think this is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. It's funny because it's just so true. There are too man Java 'programmers' who can't program worth a damn.
1. What holiday(s) do you celebrate this time of year?
X-Mas, and or Kropotkin day.
2. What was the best gift you have ever received?
That's a toughie. I'd have to say my first computer (thanks, mom!), since I now make a living by knowing things that most mere mortals would rather not be bothered with.
3. What was the worst gift you've ever received?
Socks. Everyone needs them (I suppose) but they aren't the best gifts...
4. Where will you be celebrating the holidays? Are you hosting or going away?
Going to my Mom's.
5. If you could spend the holidays with someone who isn't around, who would it be and why?
Vicki. Because that would be a really cool x-mas gift.
I found my phone. It fell off at the chinese place we ate at yesterday. Whew.
And for the record: I like Vicki more than my phone.
I came home from work yesterday to a blackout. This isn't the first time, either. I had to go buy a bunch of candles, and sat around reading by candle light. Then I thought, hey! I have a couple of batteries for my laptop... So I watched one of the documentary DVDs from the special edition LOTR. I must have been the only person in my building who was watching a DVD. It's funny, because Alex lives right across the street and was doing the same thing. Funny how geeks think the same, eh? We are going to Fry's after work to buy some uninterruptable power supplies. We are both distrustful of the power grid around here. He already had his PowerMac get fried during a brownout. That's the last thing I need right now...
I also lost my cell phone yesterday. I don't know where or when. Fuck. I liked that phone.
So, not wanting to have cat-5 wire strung all over my apartment I set up a wireless router for my DSL line. I now have my PowerMac and my TiBook happily eating bandwidth.
I am digging my TiBook. The only reason I'm not using it at work for work is that I do not want work data on my personal machine, and visa versa. It's very nice being able to turn to my TiBook when I get sick of the lame excuse for a windowing system that is XWindows.
Of course it's also pretty cool that Alex and Taric both have their TiBooks at work as well. Being able to create a wireless network and share files, not to mention set up a Quake server on the fly, is very handy.
1. What is your lineage? Where are your ancestors from?
American. Spain and a bunch of other places.
2. Of those countries, which would you most like to visit?
Spain, since I don't know what the other places are.
3. Which would you least like to visit? Why?
The other places that suck.
4. Do you do anything during the year to celebrate or recognize your heritage?
Eat spic food. My mom makes good spic food.
5. Who were the first ancestors to move to your present country (parents, grandparents, etc)?
To the main land? My parents. My grand parents came from Spain to Puerto Rico.
If any of this is incorrect I'm sure my sister will fill in the details.
If you haven't read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I highly recomend it.
One passage that stands out for me is this...
" To speak of certain government and establishment institutions as “the system” is to speak correctly, since these organizations are founded upon the same structural conceptual relationships as a motorcycle. They are sustained by structural relationships even when they have lost all other meaning and purpose. People arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from eight to five without question because the structure demands it to be that way. There’s no villain, no “mean guy” who wants them to live meaningless lives, it’s just that the structure, the system demands it and no one is willing to take on the formidable task of changing the structure just because it is meaningless.
But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding. "
Those two paragraphs explain why people who call themselves anarchists will never get anything done. They explain why all those who go out and protest things for the sake of protesting things are fools.
It's amazing how much better one can feel after one has eaten something. Yelling at me when I'm hungry makes me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. I don't like me when I'm angry.
On another note...
My Chiropractor says I need to drink a lot of water to help with a knot I have in my back. So I'm drinking a shitload of water. And I have to pee every 10 minutes. All I have to say is this had better work. Actually, it's a good think as it makes me stop typing and gives my hands a break.
You can all go back to what you were doing now.
It's amazing how one phone call can fuck up my whole day. I'm so irritated that I can't concentrate on work at all. Fuck!
Have you ever gotten stuck doing something for other people that you really would rather not be responsible for only to get chastised for not doing it a certain way? I mean, shit, if it was so fucking important you'ld think the person who obviously know everything about said thing would have stepped up to do it themselves. Instead, I get tapped for the job and get to get the blame for not doing it right. Well, guess what? I got it done, and that's all that I care about.
As if my job wasn't aggravating enough... Now I'm all pissed off...
At 1.5Mbps, to boot! The only difference in my network is that I have a wireless set up now, since the phone line that the DSL is connected to is in the bedroom and the computer is in the living room. I didn't like the thought of stringing Cat-5 wire all over the place, besides, my TiBook will be here any day now, and I want to be able to kick back and use it without dragging cables everywhere.
I have visions of sitting by my apartments pool surfing the net on my TiBook, but I doubt the signal will reach out that far. It'd be neat though.