Saturday, August 21, 2010
This weekend is Donna's Birthday. Tomorrow, August 22nd, she will turn 37 years old. Donna is never one to let a birthday go by uncelebrated, particularly her own birthday. To Donna, her birthday is an occasion that should be celebrated with drinks, dinners out and, most of all, presents. Things like being in debt are not a deterring factor to spending yet more money to celebrate something that, in the end, is just another fucking day on the goddamned calendar. Each year's birthday is an exercise in validating her self-worth, it seems. Presents, dining out and hitting the bars is the objective yardstick by which she measures that self-worth.
Whatever. I get it: I married someone who's a little fucked in the head. I married someone for whom worth is determined by external factors rather than an internalized feeling of innate self-worth. Donna is so very "western" (or maybe just "American") in this regard.
Most years, Donna's birthday dinner is usually something that just she and I do. However, for whatever reason, she felt compelled to involve others. Whatever. If it makes her happy, fine. If it means that, rather than eating some place interesting, we eat at someplace that's more "accessible" to all involved, so be it. Besides, "accessible" places are frequently less expensive than the more "interesting" places are.
As per usual, she also wants to spend the later parts of the evening out at the clubs, drinking it up, and being paid attention to by her friends. Again, "whatever, I'm used to that." This year, however, after I spend a non-exclusive dinner at a hum drum eating establishment, she wishes to spend the remainder of the evening as a "girls night out."
Ok, a little selfish, but, again, "whatever". At least I don't have to spend an evening at a club I don't like. At worst, I'll have to put up with her drunken bullshit when she gets home: the incessant, inane chatteriness and/or vomiting from the alcohol (followed the next day by the inevitable hangover and general worthlessness). Still in the realm of "whatever". Not because it isn't extremely annoying but because it just follows to the expected pattern.
No, the coup de grace on this is the request that - in addition to paying for a hum drum dinner, putting up with the effects of her drunkenness, not spending the birthday celebrations with her - she wants me to play chauffer (at least for the ride home). She and her partner in drinking crime want to go out, but, obviously, if both are drinking, neither can drive. While it's possible that her friend's husband might be cajoled into driving them - even just as dropoff/pickup - that's not good enough for Donna. See, her friend's husband isn't the smoothest of drivers. He believes in binary drive. His is a textbook example of "herky-jerky" driving. Such driving often doesn't mesh well with someone who's been drinking too much. So, naturally, she has requested that I pick her up from the club when she's ready to go home. Thus, if I should agree to this, I will get to listen to her babble the whole way home. I will get to be driven to the point of wanting to either throttle her or to want to drive us into a bridge abutment. And, I get to sit around, waiting for her fucking call, all the while getting more spun-up at the dread of the forthcoming ride home.
Happy fucking birthday you self-centered harpy.
I use StumbleUpon, quite frequently, to help stave off boredom. Many other stumblers will suggest stand-alone images that they found within the larger context of a full web page. As such, they will create a direct-link to the image rather than the containing page.
More than a few sites put "hotlink protection" in place to prevent other people embedding the images hosted on their sites from being embedded in other sites. Most cite "bandwidth protection". Now, I'm not going to bother with pointing out that the whole point of the world wide web was to help conserve disk space (etc.) by making it so that any given object only live in one cardinal location and be referenced elsewhere. I'm not even going to bother pointing out that, if you've a copyright to a given piece of work, it's a lot easier to track its usage if you host the work rather than necessitating that people download it and then host their own copy of it.
At any rate, I was Stumbling, once again, today. I hit the Stumble button and was taken to the following page:
Now, the link seems to indicate that the intended image was a 1600x1220px JPEG. Depending on the image in question, that could be a fairly decent chunk of bandwidth or it could be only a few 10s of kilobytes. Yet, the "blocked" page kicks back a few kilobytes worth of data, as well. So, it begs the question: if your goal is bandwidth protection, why not set your hotlink protection to something that chews up FAR less bandwidth. I mean, as it stands, these guys just come across as utter tools. They might want to reconsider their protection scheme. I mean, every URL that StumbleUpon sends to my browser comes with a StumbleUpon referer. The site owners could put an exception in place for StumbleUpon referers that either displayed the picture or just redirected them to their home page. I mean, at least that way, they can take the free publicity as a means of getting site traffic.
Whatever. I mean, if you're so hard up for bandwidth that a popular 1600x1220 JPEG's going to put you over the top, maybe you should send back something a bit more terse and bandwidth efficient.
Any more, I so dread going to the movies. I never know, "Is it going to be worth spending the $25 it costs for my wife and I to just get seats". I think, with the pricing of movies, the only ones that will ever, consistently, be worth pricing are visual spectacles - movies that don't translate well to the small screen. The rest... Well, they better have a damned good story to be worth it. Unfortunately, so few movies are well-written, any more. So few movies are worth it. I just gotta think that movie theatres are doomed if they can't get the pricing under control. They just are so rarely worth the price or the hassle.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Alive and kicking
Just out of the pot
First one's shell
First one's meat
Two lobsters' worth of shells and meat
The finished product
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Though, it's one of those lower-order worries. I mean, the overall expense of this trip is piling up:
- Our cruise leaves out of San Juan, PR. So, had to fly down. Originally, was going to fly down the Saturday immediately prior the cruise-departure day and fly back the Sunday following the cruise's return to port. However, the airfare would have been over $1000. $666 is a comparative bargain
- The cruise itself is over $2500 for the cabin
- Gonna have to take cabs between home and DCA (local airport)
- Gonna have to take cabs between SJU, our hotel in San Juan and the port facilities. Not horrible, but, it adds up
- Have to board the dogs ...and that's usually better than $60/day.
- Don't yet know how much baggage fees are going to be
- Hotel would have been nearly $200/night, but I still had hotel points left from when I traveled for a living. So, at least that's $600 I'm not spending.
I mean, just the travel-components are going to be nearly $5K for this trip. And, I know Donna's gonna want to go site-seeing (i.e., "shopping") at the various ports of call. Then there's however much alcohol and the other activities cost.
Yeah: there's a reason I don't take vacations all that often.
For instance, with UNIX systems, they generally come with tools to help you diagnose network problems. In Linux's case, this is tcpdump. Unfortunately, our security people say, "you can't install tcpdump on systems on our networks". I mean, yeah, tcpdump is a packet-sniffer. But, in a fully-switched network, it's really not the potential avenue for abuse that it was on non-switched networks (so, this is a security requirement that's nearly two decades out of date). What makes it really silly is, Linux comes with a software firewall. In fact, our security geniuses require its use. However, I can configure that firewall software to grab and log all network traffic that comes across the system's network connection. In other words, I can still get all of the tcpdump-type info, I just have to enable logging. The data's a bit less well organized, but I still have the data. So, is there REALLY any security advantage in denying me a good tool like tcpdump? All it does is make my life as a system's administrator harder and have does nothing to create the type of data-protection that the policy probably intends to do.
But, most security people don't really understand the systems they're "securing", so... There you have it.
Still: bite me.
Ok, so, I wanted to transfer an installation package from my system at work to my system at home, but didn't want to ass around with setting up trusted SSH keys. So, what do I do? I try to email the file.
Now, mind you, this was s 36MB MSI file. I knew that GMail had less restrictions on file sizes, so, I figured, "mail it to myself". Gmail apparently sets a 25MB filesize limit. "Hmm... What to do," says I.
AH! I've got Cygwin installed both on the system the MSI's sitting on and my laptop. I'll just split the file up into manageable chunks and email myself the chunks:
- Take an md5sum of the source MSI
- do a quick `split -d -b 12582912 MgtUI.msi MgtUI-chunk`
- Email myself the md5 and the first chunk in one email, then the other two chunks as separate emails
- Flip back to my laptop and fire up gmail
- Download the sent files
- Discover that Windows has saved the files with a permissions mask that Cygwin interprets as 0000.
- Use the security editor to set the file permissions on each file, individually to something that Cygwin will accept
- `cat` the chunks together
- Run an md5sum on the reconstituted MSI and verify it all came through ok
- Run the installer
I'm thinking I could probably have gen'ed a DSA-2048 key and set it up as an authorized key, SCPed the file across and installed it in well less than the time it took to do the prior ten steps. Oh well... There's about a bajillion ways to skin a cat. My UNIX-tard brain made me do it one of the more painful ways.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
So, I'm looking at the picture with this article. I get that Tshirts and jeans are comfortable - I wear them a lot, too. But, I can't help but suspect that it's as much affectation as it is a matter of "comfort". There's little about Zuck that strikes me as "genuine". Maybe I've bought too much into the FB-backlash press ...Still, theres something about the guy that just strikes me as choke-worthy
- reinstall all my extensions
- reconfigure those extensions to what they were.
- reload all my calendars
- restore my address books
- rebuild my virtual identity mappings
Were it not for an online "life", I'd have no life at all!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
When one says "80s music", does the term typically evoke disco or does it evoke "new wave"? In much the same way, when one says "90s music" it evokes "(mainstream) alternative", not simply everything to get on the airwaves between 1990 and 1999.
When I was going to college, squirrels were an ever present danger(?) at Penn State's University Park campus. They were everywhere. They were fat. And they were in no way afraid of humans. God help you if you had squirrel-snacks on your person and weren't terribly aware of your surroundings and the swarms of beady eyes tracking you as you transited the quads.
Any way, during this period of time of posting on Usenet, I found the lovely gem of a newsgroup, alt.suicide.holiday. At the time, it was more an avenue for dark humor than the group of insufferable twats that it became. I've always been a fan of dark humor and it was a perfect outlet for my "creative urges". So, I'm kind of happy that the below survived in the Internet's memory...
Path: gmdzi!unido!mcsun!uunet!wuarchive!psuvax1!psuvm!thj100 From: THJ100@psuvm.psu.edu (Thomas H Jones II) Newsgroups: alt.suicide.holiday,alt.tasteless,talk.bizarre,alt.horror Subject: damn tree rats! Message-ID: <90102.012900THJ100@psuvm.psu.edu> Date: 12 Apr 90 05:29:00 GMT Organization: Penn State University Lines: 54 Posted: Thu Apr 12 06:29:00 1990 was kinda funny (well, only if youre a sadistic bastard like myself), but recently a friend of mine was out feeding the local "tame" squirrels which infest our campus. those little suckers gotta be about the fattest squirrels youll ever see. theyre kinda cool, though, cuz you can just get some nuts and such, bend down, make a ticking noise and theyll come running to you (after playing their stupid "im a timid little creature of the forest *blink, blink* game) and you can hand-feed them. any way, he did this and things went ok for a little while till the little f*cker decided that he wanted to see if the protein you get from flesh (in this case: human) is any better than the pro- tein found in the acorns and peanuts. he bit down and held tight. supposedly, it didnt even come off when my friend started to shake his hand around. any way, it got me to remembering other things ive seen these squirrels do. ive seen them jump other people who were feeding them. ive seen them hop up on fence posts to beg for food. and ive seen them JUMP on people who have nuts in their backpacks and try to get at the nuts (you should see the way people spaz when *that* happens.) you ever see those nature films that show sharks in feeding frenzies? well, if you go to the student union building and get a bag of nuts from one of the machines on the ground floor, you can get the squirrels to do the same thing just by placing the open bag in an open space and calling the squirrels over. just amazing to watch sometimes. (another fun thing to do while theyre all frenzied is to run screaming into the middle of the group and tree them. they sit there chattering at you until you go away and let them down.) any way, on to the suicide part (and, yes, it involves the killer squirrels from hell, as they are locally known.) here's my plan: go to a local grocery store and buy a coupla bottles of peanut oil (peanut butter will sufice, but its messy.) now, if its a sunny day, you can make the whole suicide look like some kind of terrible accident and all the little tree rats will be exterminate after your death. ok, back to the sunny day: take the peanut oil and thouroughly coat yourself in it (actually, if you have a bathtub available, it would be good to take a nice long bath in it so that it can be soaked into your skin.) once nicely coated in the oil (people will just think its suntan oil, hence the desire to do it on a sunny day) go outside to someplace you know that squirrels hang out (which around here is EVERYWHERE you go. *argh*) just lie down and wait. if you arent feeling particularly pa- tient, use the squirrel attracting sounds. assuming that all goes well, a swarm of ravenous squirrels will gather around you and go nuts (pardon the pun) and gnaw off all the nutty tasting skin. it will probably hurt like all hell, but if they remove a significant portion of your skin, you will die of blood loss, shock or, if you get "rescued", infection. maybe even leave a note saying you kept having visions of the planters peanut man and that he told you that peanut oil made a great tanning lotion? eeuu... grisly. makes my stomach turn just thinking about it. wonder if theyd use it as a base for a movie like the birds, only about the arborial vermin which infest our campuses: _Death_From_Above:__A_Story_of_ Mutant_Squirrels_
Ok, it's really great, and all, that you "support" the use of both SMI-S and SNMP for pulling SAN data from Cisco SAN switches. However, when use of one provides fairly minimal data (SMI-S) and use of the other provides fairly rich data (SNMP), you might want to put in your documents, in BIG BOLD LETTERS, "we recommend the use of SNMP wherever enterprise rules and policies permit". Then again, if you made shit easy, I'd have less job security ...So, I should probably be thankful, eh?
Monday, August 16, 2010
- made me psychotic
- weight loss
- didn't work
- severe emotional suppression
- long-term liver damage
- weight gain
- worked well
- caused severe anxiety problems
- pancreatic damage
- severe weight loss
- no seizures while on it
- slight weight gain
- couldn't achieve theraputic dosage
- didn't work
- extreme irritability
- extreme depression
- weight gain
- currently seizure-free
My father and I shared many mental characteristics in common. Dunno how much was nature and how much was nurture.Given my own predispositions, I wonder what level of conscious decision-making went into his (early by the standards of both sides of my family) death. I mean, part of what keeps me going is the obligations I've assumed. I made a promise, several years ago, to see after Donna to the best of my ability. The most objective measure of that is "financially". I know that, probably far too frequently, I'm not the best "person". So, I can't really rely on my mere presence or company to be a good yardstick by which I am best "meeting obligations". Many times, I feel my own presence to be of greater detriment than gain - only slightly offset by what my current earning-capacity makes available. From a pure longevity standpoint, it might be a good thing that I haven't cobbled together enough in the way of assets, savings or insurance to reasonably suppose that whatever "estate" I'd leave behind would be sufficient to realistically carry Donna through to her natural end. It makes me wonder whether my father entertained similar thoughts? He, essentially, left himself die at age 62. Yes, he was sick. Yes, his heart was, obviously, not in the best of shape. But, given overall awareness of family coronary history, being medically trained to recognize the signs of heart attack, etc.. The fact that he died, on his couch, of a very obviously long-in-onset heart attack removes any real doubt that there wasn't an element of "intent" to his exit. I can only imagine that, as he got sicker, he'd run the calculations over, more than a few times. I imagine that he looked at the balances in his savings, my mom's savings, his insurance policies, the cost of living where they did and the likely longevity of my mother (possibly even factoring in my likely willingness to "help out" as needed). I imagine that, at some point, the balance sheet said, "at this point, if you go, things have a reasonable likelihood of working out". And, then, when the time came, with that knowledge in the back of his head, he just "let go." It's not the passing of the years that I mind. Dates are just numbers. Birthdays are just another date, in the grand scheme of things. That said, I don't want to become old, sick or infirm. I just want to exit relatively gracefully. I want to be in full control of my faculties and my physicality. The daily pains are already here, but they're manageable. They're more of a level of "noted, now carry on". However, at this point in the actuarial probabilities spectrum, I don't really have enough in assets, savings and insurance to have reasonable assurance that Donna won't, eventually, be left in a state of need. If and when the that threshold is crossed, then I'll have to re-evaluated my priorities and my timelines.
I like StumbleUpon, a lot. It's the perfect tool for those who are easily bored, short of attention-span or constantly novelty seeking. I use it on a daily basis. One (of the many) interests I have checked-off in my StumbleUpon profile is "psychology". It was my major in college, so I guess I should be interested.
Today, it sent me a link on "metabolic syndrome". Now, I'm not a doctor. So, I'm not claiming I suffer this (if, in fact, this is even something one can suffer). I don't consider myself to be a hypochondriac. Though, who knows: by classic definitions, I may be. But, since I'm not in the habit of diagnosing myself, I can't say for sure. All I do know is that I seem to have a number of the markers. But, really, that's besides the point.
In reading the article, there was the line:
Those with metabolic syndrome are not only more likely to suffer heart attacks and other severe complications, but often lose many years of life.
I dunno: maybe it's less that the syndrome actively kills you as much as, it leaves you in a mental state where you're just "ready to go" a lot sooner than others might be. I look at my dad's easily-preventable death by heart attack at age 62 and the mental and physical manifestations I saw in him before then, and I can't help but think that the "ready to go" was part of it. I know that, were it not for my obligations, I'd probably just start walking until I either found something or I dropped in my tracks. I frequently think that many of the obligations I've set myself have been a weak attempt at succumbing to the "ready to go" feeling that is always with me.
290cal / 20oz =14.5 cal/ozYet, their info panel says that a serving size is 8oz and said serving size contains 110cal (or, 13.75 cal/oz.). It's a tiny thing. It might even be a genuine error. But I loathe unexplained inconsistencies.
230cal / 16oz = 14.375 cal/oz.
Probably just some marketer's backhanded way to get people to call in (or the labeling department's way of seeing if anyone actually reads the labels). ARGH!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
However, when I look through pictures from even just a few years ago, and it's not nearly so much the disaster it used to be.
Still... It's far more dusty, cluttered and chaotic than I'd have it were it just me occupying this space.
Why the hell do they always look so evil in photos? They're awesome cats. And, they're far more friendly and social (with people) than any cats I've ever met. Yet, every time I take a photo of them, they either look smug or straight-up evil:
Then again, judging by last night's cat-fight, they are evil. This photo was taken just before Bella (on the left) thought it was a good idea to pick another fight with her brother, Grumbles (on the right). Bella weighs 10lbs and Grumbles weighs 15lbs. Neither is anything near approaching "fat". I think they keep in shape by fighting for exercise.
At any rate, about five minutes after this photo was taken, Bella decided, "it's exercise time," or something. By fight's end, Grumbles had Bella suspended by her neck from the edge of the chair. He had her neck in his mouth and glared down at her like, "I could hold you here, like this, all day." So, he was holding another, struggling animal that was 2/3s his weight, by it's neck, in the air. Grumbles is a strong cat.