I am getting really tired of winter.
by Hunter S. Thompson (1955).
Security ... what does this word mean in relation to life as we know it today? For the most part, it means safety and freedom from worry. It is said to be the end that all men strive for; but is security a utopian goal or is it another word for rut?
Let us visualize the secure man; and by this term, I mean a man who has settled for financial arid personal security for his goal in life. In general, he is a man who has pushed ambition and initiative aside and settled down, so to speak, in a boring, but safe and comfortable rut for the rest of his life. His future is but an extension of his present, and he accepts it as such with a complacent shrug of his shoulders. His ideas and ideals are those of society in general and he is accepted as a respectable, but average and prosaic man. But is he a man? has he any self-respect or pride in himself? How could he, when he has risked nothing and gained nothing? What does he think when he sees his youthful dreams of adventure, accomplishment, travel and romance buried under the cloak of conformity? How does he feel when he realizes that be has barely tasted the meal of life; when he sees the prison he has made for himself in pursuit of the almighty dollar? If he thinks this is all well and good, fine, but think of the tragedy of a man who has sacrificed his freedom on the altar of security, and wishes he could turn back the hands of time. A man is to be pitied who lacked the courage to accept the challenge of freedom and depart from the cushion of security and see life as it is instead of living it second-hand. Life his by-passed this man and he has watched from a secure place, afraid to seek anything better. What has he done except to sit and wait for the tomorrow which never comes?
Turn back the pages of history and see the men who have shaped the destiny of the world. Security was never theirs, but they lived rather than existed. Where would the world be if all men had sought security and not taken risks or gambled with their lives on the chance that, if they won, life would be different and richer? It is from the bystanders (who are in the vast majority) that we receive the propaganda that life is not worth living, that life is drudgery, that the ambitions of youth must he laid aside for a life which is but a painful wait for death. These are the ones who squeeze what excitement they can from life out of the imaginations and experiences of others through books and movies. These are the insignificant and forgotten men who preach conformity because it is all they know. These are the men who dream at night of what could have been, but who wake at dawn to take their places at the now familiar rut and to merely exist through another day. For them, the romance of life is long dead and they are forced to go through the years on a treadmill, cursing their existence, yet afraid to die because of the unknown which faces them after death. They lacked the only true courage: the kind which enables men to face the unknown regardless of the consequences.
As an afterthought, it seems hardly proper to write of life without once mentioning happiness; so we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
My only wish at this point is that some sense can be made of his death. But in a strange way, maybe it's better that no sense be made of it. After all, Hunter lived by his own rules, something that I admire and respect about him, and perhaps it's fitting that he died by his own rules as well, critics be damned. All the same, I would feel better knowing there was more to his decision than just a desire to check out early.
Still, thank you Hunter. For all that you gave us. We are a poorer world with out the likes of you. You are missed.
A friend of mine just IM'd me to ask about why I consider HST a hero. Here's what I wrote:
HST lived life in a huge way, and he put into words things
that many others tried but never managed to get across.
There is a chapter in 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' that
sums up the death of the Free Speech and Peace movements in a way that
no one else could have.
He got away with living in a way that most people can only
dream of, and I don't meen spending all day wacked out of your skull.
He lived as a free man in a way that isn't possible any more.
And he was one of the greatest American authors, ever.
From February 15th, 2005:
| You scored as Fighter. The questing knight, the conquering warlord, the king's champion, the elite foot soldier, the hardened mercenary, and the bandit king-are all fighters.|
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Mat called me at 1:00AM last night. I didn't pick it up. Then at 1:44AM I got a text message from Freddie. I looked at it and was shocked.
My Hero was dead.
But the worst shock of all was this morning when I listened to the voicemail Mat left: Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide. Suicide? Hunter committed suicide?
I can't help but wonder what could have driven him to it. His death wasn't that surprising, after all at 67 he had lived a pretty crazy life. If he'd wrapped his car around a tree after a late night, high speed drive, glass of whiskey in hand, I'd have understood. That would have made sense.
But a gun shot to the head?
When Hemingway killed himself he used a Remington shotgun. Always heavy on metaphor, he choose that weapon because his typewriter was also a Remington. Was there some message Hunter was trying to leave? Was there some last commentary he was trying to convey?
I guess the hardest part for me is the thought that his death may have had no meaning. His life meant so much to so many. Could the Good Doctor have just checked out with out any good reason at all?
It's been 5 years since I seriously used FreeBSD. Last time I was working for a web hosting company (AKA: Worst Company EVER™) and we used it for all our servers. It was nice, especially the ports tree, but there were parts I didn't like, though looking back I can't really recall what they were.
For the last few days I have been playing with the latest FreeBSD at work. We loaded 5.3 onto a development server and I have been playing sysadmin for it, since our real sysadmin has been busy with normal work, and this is a testing set up to see if it's even something we want to pursue. I have to say, I'm really impressed. The ports tree and package system is fantastic. Building the kernel for SMP support was dead easy. Every single package we need (and then some) are in the ports tree and are up to date. Keeping this machine running the latest software is dead simple. It's fast.
What's not to like?
The only resistance at work have been that it's not linux, and that it's different. Granted, you don't admin it the same way, but that's a good thing. Properly set up, there will be less maintenance. And with none of the problems we've had with keeping packages up to date (I'm talking about you, Debian...), so it looks like this might work out well for us. Time will tell, I guess.
It works well, however, getting things set up were tricky, so I am writing this down for posterity.
First off, if you are trying to set up replication between remote machines, be sure you do not use localhost or 127.0.0.1 as the address for the instance running locally (master of slave). I don't know why, but this screws the whole thing up. For instance, you should define the environment variables for the connections between the master and slave like so:
export PGDATA=/usr/local/pgsql/data export CLUSTERNAME=slony_example export MASTERDBNAME=pgbench export SLAVEDBNAME=pgbench export MASTERHOST=192.168.1.2 export SLAVEHOST=192.168.1.3 export REPLICATIONUSER=pgsql export PGBENCHUSER=pgbench
It doesn't matter if these variables are defined on the master or slave, they will work since the addresses are the proper network addresses of the machines in question. Once I did this the examples in the readme files went smoothly.
Also, be sure the permissions in your pg_hba.conf are set up correctly, or, obviously, nothing will work.
or is today just taking an inordinately long time to go by...?