Monday, December 10, 2012

I just called to wash my head at you

"I'm looking California, but feeling Minnesota . . . "
I WISH I was lookin' California. At least that would be going right.
I'm feeling Minnesota, looking Wisconsin.

All is well, though.
I'm the problem this time. Or, the book I'm reading. Book TEN of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series.
I have 400 pages left of the approximately 2000 page double-book finale.

These books have been hard. The saddest things I've ever read have been in these books. But it's also had some of the most heroic moments of human courage I've read. Often the two are coupled.

And where the series is headed.... I DON'T EVEN KNOW! It is about to end and I have no idea what THE FINAL BATTLE(!!) is going to be. I know the characters. I know what they know, and I have a fair sketch of what their plans are.
But my expectations have been defied repeatedly, and I've been delighted every time it's happened.

Today, I cried on the train while reading it. It's not the first time. That was during the Chain of Dogs.

It's not all sad; some of it's warm, some of it's funny*, some of it's beautiful. But sorrow is the coin of the realm.

But I think the price is worth it. I have 400 pages left to hope it doesn't end like a Tarantino flick.
To hope that this one, the good guys win.
And also to hope I figure out who the good guys are.
That one could take some discussion; most of the ones I was sure about are dead**.
Maybe the more appropriate question is who's the best of what's left?

I'm not sure.

* though I think the funniest scene in fantasy belongs to The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss
** though at this point in the series, even the dead are complicated

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am thankful for...

A beautiful wife and daughter. Without getting too sappy, their interplay makes me love both of them more.

I have a pretty great job. Nowadays I'm working on an in-house app responsible for regulatory compliance. Which is a mouthful of boring because I'm not here to talk about my job but this dumb anecdote.

I'm on a call discussing how we are reporting some information.
Me: "So if we have to change this value on our reports to a masking id, what should the id be?"
Requirements Lady: "Whatever you want, John."
Which caused me great joy.

Our codebase now has:
maskedId = 'hunter2'

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 22, 2012

the only line in the debate that made me fucking nuts

"we're four years closer to a nuclear Iran"
No shit sherlock. We're four years closer to a nuclear Haiti, too,  because it was four years ago. It's meaningless. It's virtually a tautology - "Iran is four years in the future from four years ago". Furthermore, we've been complaining about Iran's imminent nuclear threat for over 30 years.

Sabre rattling at its finest. This is really about making sure America's projecting gratuitous military force in the region that's sitting on most of the oil that's left.
That IS the key resource, and we're going to park every tank we own over there to make sure the last drops of oil go to fueling said tanks.

So we need plenty of excuses to be there. Even better if the excuses involve paving large parts of it, right Reagan fans?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

12 hours later, my phone works, I think

I love having to factory reset my phone.
And then, because carriers are terrible about keeping their phones updated (Exception: iPhone), I had to root and flash a new ROM.
The choices are pretty good these days, and I think I've got a much better setup than I did before I started fixing the damn thing.

Of course, I'm an idiot and forgot to officially detach my Bnet authenticator from the phone so it's only a matter of time before I can't play Diablo 3.
(that help ticket's been opened too and I don't blame Android)

Hopefully I've set this up appropriately and I won't have to handle another factory reset for a long time/ever.

You know what spurred all of this?

So most of last night was "why the fuck won't this album transfer?"
Followed by "fuck this shit, time to wipe the phone"
Followed by "How the fuck do I wipe my phone?"
Followed by "shit, I should have read ALL the instructions"
Followed by "How do I recover my bricked phone?"
Followed by "OK this time I'll use the AT&T upgrade tool"
Followed by "Now let's root it and install a new ROM"
Followed by a factory wipe, recovery and upgrade (again)
Followed by a slew of minor technical issues that all require flashing ROMs.

But I think it's stable.
Using it for the next few weeks will confirm or deny these reports.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Walled Garden or not, iPhone's better

In the heady days when I first got the android I was excited.


It's a piece of shit. The market's fragmented, and I don't want to spend the fucking time to deal with the day to day tasks of supporting a phone.

Because that's what this shitbox is - a support task.

I don't want a support task. I don't want to handle all this shit.
I don't want 4 different apps to determine how to do something.
I don't want 3 fucking versions of Google Music on my phone, where they only work some of the time.

Speaking of some of the time, my camera stopped saving pictures, though I have plenty of space. It's a permissions issue or something.
Another fucking support task.

Fuck Android phones.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Jim Morrison never had to worry about gum disease

So for a while there I thought I couldn't brush my teeth, because my front tooth's dead from an accident long ago. I didn't know it was dead, I thought I was terrible at brushing.

Imagine the weight lifted off my shoulders.

Multiple dentist visits later, and they tell me "you should buy a nice mechanical toothbrush" which is the gentlest way of saying "you suck at brushing your teeth, and you're an adult."
I bought one, and use it every day. It turns out I sucked brushing my teeth. I would finish in 15-20 seconds, long enough to fill my mouth a bit with foam and wash out the taste of the day's food and drink.

That's not actually brushing. The new one I have times me - every thirty seconds it emits a little pulse and I move on to another quadrant of my mouth.
It feels like I'm brushing forever. But the dentist said "this is the best your mouth's ever looked."

So it turns out machines do that better, too.
I don't know how to feel about the fact I have been brushing wrong for like, 20 years.
Foolish mostly.
Fearful of what else I'm failing miserably at, oblivious of my ineptitude.

I'm probably wiping wrong.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

can't sleep, pythons will eat me

Python's too much fun. I think about work when I'm not at work.
But I guess it's only fair since I think about Diablo 3 when I AM at work.
I'd complain that the forums are blocked but there's so much work at work there's not enough time to fuck around.

Monday, July 30, 2012

lego mecha? yes please

h/t Penny Arcade

Lego Mecha is a thing, it is real, and it apparently has rules so you can PLAY OTHER PEOPLE.
And since it's legos. . . I 'm just speculating here but. . . YOU CAN BLOW THEIR ARMS OFF

Some things have to be joyfully shouted.
Almost every one of the pieces they use are choking hazards, unfortunately, so I won't be participating. Sure, responsible adults could maintain a collection of these and have children, but I'm playing the odds.
This is how I am a responsible adult.

In other unrelated news but also about gaming - Ubisoft's Copy Protection Installs a Rootkit.
They're Assassin's Creed, Anno series, Splinter Cell, lots of other stuff. I haven't played any of their games in a long long time due to their draconian copy protection measures, this validates my stance.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Romney, have a heart

Romney's campaign is. . . . fun to watch. Sad to watch.
It's like he's intentionally roonin' it at this point - refusing to release tax returns and making a bigger deal out of it than if he had, running attack ads where he's spliced together Obama's words to make the same point Romney's making on the trail, going to the UK and making an absolute ass of himself. . . 
 Is there some sort of Brewster's Millions clause in the Constitution, where if you don't get any of the electoral college votes you shoot the moon and become President AND Congress AND the Court for life?

King Me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Nothing much

Diablo III is swallowing what time my 9 month old isn't.
Here mostly to say something about her.

The worst, and I mean WORST part of parenting so far is the idea that something so terribly precious could be gone at any time.
Rolling off the changing table
Slipping in the bathtub
Eating a couple of bucky balls
Some crazy ass genetic defect that manifests suddenly

Stupid day care providers
Stupid dads
Dumb fucking luck

It's endless, a perpetual assault on your sanity. And there's not a damn thing you can do about 95% of it. It's simply out of your hands.

She's OK, by the way. I'm not in some tragic spot.
The worst thing in our lives is the fact I didn't get to see her tonight because I worked late.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


There was great wailing and gnashing of teeth today from many who took the day off to play Diablo III. The servers have been up and down (mostly down) for the better part of the day.

As an adult who has lived through many Blizzard releases, I worked late and didn't even attempt to log in until prior to 11 PM.

And I still couldn't log in. But I'm not sweating it. The game will be there when I have some time off.
And people will give me free stuff.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nest, one month in

Thermostats are a huge pain in the ass. We had a Honeywell programmable doohickey, and it was terrible.
It was reasonable for what it did - it's not like it would refuse to heat/cool the house to a temperature that it was programmed to.
That part was fine.
The problem was programming the thing was like trying to make love to a goat; you just wrestle around with the thing for a while and finally give up and yell "I'm finished!"
I don't know HOW I managed to do it, but at one point this winter, Sunday nights around 10 PM the temperature would plummet to 65 degrees downstairs, which led to a temperature of around 63 degrees in the front bedroom where our child was cosleeping with Mommy.

I'll admit, that's user error.
The thing's hard to program.

Enter the Nest.
Here it is both asleep (from a distance) and awake.
It's unobtrusive and works just like an old fashioned thermostat: twist it in a direction to turn the temp up or down.
The first week you spend trying to establish its habits; turning it down when you leave and up when you return. Then it creates a schedule and sticks to it, (like you just programmed it) but makes a few adjustments.

But the info it displays is pretty cool - once it figures it out (it took around 2 weeks for ours I think) it'll tell you how long it will take for the temperature to go up.

It's color coded as well; red/orange for heating, blue for cooling.

If nobody's home, it goes on auto-away and the temp drops to your pre-defined floor (if heat) or turns the AC off entirely.

The best part is the thing's connected to your wireless router, so your phone is capable of controlling the thermostat.
I can control the temperature when I'm laying in bed. Living the dream!

 We've had it for a month now, and so far I like it a lot. The temperature seems more accurate than the Honeywell was. This isn't a very interesting month for it in terms of "is it saving me money?"since the temperature has been swingy and we've been heating but rarely needing it over the course of the night.

I love the web interface, and the analytics seem like they are going to be very interesting as time goes on. I'm interested in comparing the time ac/furnace runs and billing.

Also, it is really cool how it wakes up as you approach it. Feels high tech.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Thank You April Fools

Because Every Single Blog does an April Fool's joke (and the aggregators like /. are the worst offenders) my RSS feed gets reset right after April 1.
Today it was around 10:22 PM, when I gently segued from a completely real article to a slightly implausible but "hey science is great" into "Ashton Kutcher To Play Steve Jobs in Upcoming Film" so I knew I'd Gone Too Far.

Bam, hit "Mark All As Read".

And my RSS reader is reborn. But not void of sin, because it's the internet amirite?

Ok I'm tired and want to sleep. Sorry for the lame post.

Friday, March 30, 2012

friday phew

Go live.
It makes me want to write five sentences that have business jargon splattered all over it. I deleted one that used "stakeholder".
The only way it would have been an appropriate sentence was "I was the stakeholder so I had to kill the vampire."

And I've had to do no such thing lately.
So vampires have been big, witches were sort of a thing for a while, wizards are probably a fading thing these days unless Rowling pulls something out of the air, the Onion made a call but I'm not buying it any more than their article on the Abortionplex, even though it seems completely plausible.

And we can't forget zombies.

So what's next?
I hope it's Robotech during the Invid invasion. Cyclones!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

less talkie talkie more typey typey

Mad Men season opener was pretty good. Writing was sharp, Roger vs Lord Flouncey is great. Rooting for Roger even though he's doing jack compared to Lord Flouncey Primpalot.
Lord Flouncey annoys me, hence his name.

I think Camel (is that RJR Nabisco?) figured out a brilliant way to get a cig ad on TV. That's been disallowed since I was a kid, but they just brazenly did a product placement with a perfect shot at the Camel cigarette pack as one of the young guys in the office (I forget his name, he's the new guy) smoking and turning the pack in his hands. Young, healthy, laughing and smoking while putting the pack away.
Somebody in that marketing department deserves a raise.

Anyhow. Have work to do.
Don't see me complaining to the boss.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

couple of dumb random political observations

Pretty sick of a couple things politically.

I love that the same party that passed laws against Sharia Law in multiple states ALSO is waging the whole "freedom of religion" card in the health care battle.

And on the other side of the fence, the reasons I dislike Obama are the same reasons Rs should vote for him. Mega tough on defense and terrorism. Believer in extension of power of the Executive branch. He fucking assassinates US Citizens Like A Boss.
He's using a Secret Executive Interpretation of the law to act unilaterally in the name of defense.
All this sort of thing is perfectly OK for Republican Interests.

Hell, that's half the reason I bet the Rs didn't muster a credible candidate this election cycle - why would they need to? Despite all the rhetoric, Obama's a centrist implementing primarily Republican initiated plans.

Finally, Fuck the Referees in the MSU vs Louisville game.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

keeping the streak alive

it's either write a dumb post or play binding of isaac (BofI), and frankly that game is killing me.

First: It is a legend of zelda clone. This is HUGE to me. Zelda was the first video game I played that just blew my mind.
"Wait, it saves where I am and I continue playing LIKE IT IS D AND D?!"

Finding the white sword. . . finding the magic sword. . . beating Ganon. . . WHAT DO YOU MEAN SECOND QUEST?!

Just amazing memories.
And this is a clone, strumming the notes of nostalgia through a twisted, malformed instrument.

See, BofI takes the game play of Zelda and refracts it through a prism of dark Old Testament lore. It's about the story of Abraham and Isaac - God tells Abraham "kill your kid" and then right before Abraham does it, God jumps in, "What the hell are you doing? I was ONLY KIDDING! JESUS!"
That was paraphrased. To anyone religious who somehow tolerates my writing, I'm aware of the hilarious juxtaposition of Abe/Isaac and Jesus The Christ. (to anyone unaware, probably most of you - the Abe/Isaac story in Christianity is a symmetry to Christ. Abraham is asked to give up his only child, because God is going to do that in a couple of thousand years) The funniest part (to me) is that neither of the cases represent justice. A god demanding the sacrifice of a follower's child is no god to follow, ('Tis better to reign . . .) nor is the sacrifice of Jesus to atone for all of our sins any form of justice.

Sorry, I ranted. Binding of Isaac. It looks at that story in another manner; and it's terrible and perverse, and funny. But it is dark. Worse with a newborn. Even worse when the final ending is revealed, as it was to me in spoiler form.
It's so terrible I have trouble playing it because of the cut scenes.

But man is the game fun.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

spirited debate

I was at work, describing a syntax I remember reading about, but can't remember where.
"Isn't that how you do this in python?"
"No, but that's how you'd do it if it was math."

So I'm not sure. I was dumb and smart all at once. That probably just evaluates to dumb, but complicated.

This should possibly be in tech but I didn't want to describe the syntax so you're all stuck with it.

OK Fine I'll write one more thing.

So we ran out of time for being wishy-washy about parenting, and went for it last year.
For starters, Lottie is great. I characterized babies as "eating shitting machines" prior to having my own. That's a part of it, sure. But changing a kid's actually pretty fun - they do it so often they know what's coming up, and are enjoying the time with you. (With a boy this may be different; aiming the pecker is innate to our biology and hitting things with urine is a favorite pastime of almost a third of the male population, and I estimate conservatively)

But the pooping/shitting/sleeping becomes less and less who they are, and more time is them "booting up". It's like the linux boot sequence, listing everything in order.
Breathing, check
pooping/peeing, check (this sometimes comes ahead of breathing, as ours did)
Vision, check with problems - out to five feet, black and white only
Hunger - my stomach's the size of a pea. OF COURSE I'M HUNGRY!
And everything gets a little bit better, day after day. They figure out their hands (vaguely, still pull a "why are you hitting yourself?" a fair amount) and start seeing more, red and yellow coming next. To me this was rather annoying because of this tool lyric:
black and white are all I see
in my infancy
red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me
lets me see
There's all this debate about the lyric because the following lyrics are alchemical in nature, but I'm sorry, Maynard took a baby class and snowed all of us.

But back to babies, and not the no-clothes wearing emperors of profundity known as Tool.

The thing I started out saying is this: Lottie IS great. There's a lot of reward here already, and I am happy about my choice.
But it is a damn scary choice to make.
You can dabble in painting. "I think I want to paint!"
Nobody's going to make you do it for eighteen years.
And if you're bad at it for the first eight years and start not caring for your brushes, the state doesn't step in and take your paints away, and everyone looks at you as an asshole because your sable brushes were ratty as shit - no, nobody actually cares that much that you quit painting.

I sort of painted myself into a corner with that analogy, didn't I? I have to assume you inferred parenting is the counterpoint so I can't say that without sounding patronizing and/or condescending. Time to break the fourth wall I guess - oh look, I already did that when I changed voices. Fuck, that was condescending. I am sorry, Dear Reader. (I address you singularly, and thank you heartily for hanging in there. I promise you the payoff hasn't been thought out at all, much like the rest of this prose)

Parenting isn't something you get to dabble in. It's jumping in head first and praying it's deep enough to not break your heart.
It's just... scary.
I don't know how to articulate it. My neighbor across the alley is an old Irishman. I ran into him the other morning for the first time since Lottie was brought home. His well wishes were thus:
"Congratulations on your little one. So you know what that's all about now."
He smiled, and I knew what he meant.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm no anti-dentite

Dental appointment went OK. Flossing works for the most part. But when they tell you "floss every day" and you still floss every other day, to see if they'll notice, well. . . it's not their mouth. But they notice.
"Try to get up to every day," which doesn't seem like it should be herculean but fuck me.

And if you floss like TWICE A WEEK in your twenties you basically don't run into this problem.

What scares me is what's lurking for my forties. Not too far off.
My balls will probably drop to my knees because I've been jerking off wrong this whole time, and just never shared techniques with anyone to find out I wasn't doing it right.

I'm pretty sure that's not it, but it was an example that I hope happens to this guy I know.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I may have anxiety disorder

I have that, or hypochondria, or cancer, or a canker sore.
I'm going to the dentist tomorrow so it should be all straightened out.
Except for my teeth because that would cost thousands of dollars.

In my twenties I didn't pay my student loans or floss.
I was twenty-five before the student loan thing caught up to me, but I made it into my thirties with the flossing.
My recommendation to anyone who reads my blog: don't do this.
The main reason you shouldn't do this (other than all your teeth falling out of your head way early) is you have to go through this process where they scrape your gums down with this tartar spike.
It's so bad they numb your face up for it. Not pleasant.
So unpleasant, my reaction was, "Hey dentist how can I stop you from doing that to me?"
"Floss. And I might do it anyway."
Well shit.

So: Pay your student loans and floss till you bleed, or they'll pull your teeth out.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

type type type

I'm pregnant with a bunch of eggs that I want to call chickens.
We'll wait to see if they end up as chickens. They sure are pretty eggs.

Everyone I've met with kids older than 1, even, have said "if I knew then what I knew now" and boy, I wish they could impart that delta.

A headhunter ended up here the other day. Sent me a compliment on the "Charred Bridges" post.
My reaction to this is complicated, but the most selfish part of me thought "awesome, I hope she reads more of my blog!"
My wife's reaction was, "what if she reads more of your blog?!"

I retired my Yet Another Public Apology policy (of never deleting a blog post) with the Memory Hole that won't work so great because once it's out there it's sort of out there. So there's still room for the Yet Another Public Apology tag.
For better or worse.

But I'll delete/revert to draft like crazy now. I'm running for President, for Pete's Sake!

Hopefully life and video games won't get in the way too much of writing.


Oh, speaking of writing, The Golden Age trilogy was pretty good. As my friend Dave who recommended it said, "ambitious"

OK enough of this. Happy weekend.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

charred bridges

Sobriety and the cold logic of the morning hangover destroyed the previous post.

I should have better impulse control at 36 years of age.
Charlotte is making me insane. . . none of the rules matter anymore if she's the target.
But really, the rules matter so much more. Everyone else is still playing by them.
I hate parents who adopt that "me me me" attitude, I shouldn't be one of them.

I 100% understand it at a visceral level. But it's still wrong.

I need to adopt the posture of the reed, not the oak.

Aikido is the martial art to think of; the forces thrown against me shouldn't be met with force, but guidance.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

unforeseen consequences

The Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United was bad. Allowing infinite unlimited money into politics via the Super PAC was a terrible decision.

The Right, which tend to have a disproportionate representation with the wealthy and typically align along big business' interests (deregulation friendly) . Super PACs should be good for them. Indeed, there's great wailing and gnashing of teeth about the super PACs on political blogs like the Daily Kos.

So both Newt and Mitt bred these giant monster super PACs, and sent them at each other.
It's absolutely hilarious. Mitt's terrible handling of the tax return question and Newt's super PAC just pounding on Mitt's biggest weakness  - "He's one of elite richie riches" Mitt's lost 15 points in favorability in two weeks.

Everybody was so afraid that the massive corporate money would distort politics.
And they're right, it has. But I think the distortion of zero electable candidates vs Obama wasn't what they were looking for.

evil plans come to fruition
Or maybe it was! Here's a baby making a mastermind face.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I could make a living on this I bet

So there's a new study that indicates we're becoming symbiotic with our computer tools. One of the consequences is memory loss.
Yeah, derr. Sci fi readers have pondered on that since Devil On My Back.
It's a YA novel so I think I read it in 6th or 7th grade.

It's alluded to in the more adult and recent Golden Age as well.

Way to go, scientists.
What's next, building a House of Stairs?

Friday, January 13, 2012

fun PriceLine ripoff story (please RT)

My wife used to use Priceline for her convention visits, booking hotels via their bidding service.

You know the one, William Shatner's their PriceLine Negotiator!!

So 8 months out prior to the show, she bids on Priceline for a hotel. She gets it for a reasonable bid and moves on with her life.
Two weeks prior to the show, the hotel (Atlanta's W Midtown) contacts my wife and says "sorry, we sold your room."

Which apparently is Totally OK according to the contract you sign with Priceline.
Priceline then told them that another area completely unconnected via public transportation or shuttle was their alternative.

The twist is her friend reserved a room at the same rate for the same period (after my wife told her about it), and her reservation was honored. 

Priceline's told my wife to piss off, so she's ending business with the company. Since I have a blog, I figured I'd name and shame the hotel (Atlanta's W Midtown)

It's astounding that the core business principle of Priceline: "Bid on a hotel and receive it" is actually a falsehood.

Spread the word - your rate's not guaranteed. But you can bet your ass they'll come for your money if your stay's not guaranteed.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

will gplus respect a jump break?

let's find out if GPlus is smart enough to know what a jump break is.

simple test

testing blogger ingtegration with Google Plus, you can disregard since you do neither nor read my blog.

from cathedral to bazaar

I moved from the iPhone to Android. cross post from tech.