June 5th, 2004

Semiformalishmaybe

Schmeck des Blume Alba

The enemy saw my troops withdrawing from every battle, suddenly choosingto surrender hard-won fields, offering merely token resistance, withdrawingback towards the capital. Things had changed, and they simply yielded thefields, returning to the cities. It is time to go, the wave has formed, andthe brief battles with the shark are now over. Time to go, time to go..The Origami's fold points are being used..

"The wind is old, and still at play, but I must hurry upon my way, for Iam running to paradise" -- William Yeats

Yes, I am running, and if you look closely, you can see that my footstepsare mere shadows of what they were, the face becomes the caricature as theessense dissolves.

I just finished talking with a friend whose life has gone a bit more wrong,from his perspective, than mine has by mine. It's strange how, when someonedevotes their life to getting a certain kind of job, and the door is closedforever on them, they can become like someone stuck on an ex-so, saying thatthey'll never know job happiness again, so they might as well just 'play thegame', stomp through the drudge, live life, and die. No -- in either case,life goes on, and things should get easier -- it's not easy, but people canfind a new dream, find a new career, a new meaning in their life. If thingsever get really bad, it's always possible, and generally desirable, to reachout, grab the dice, and roll again.

A few days ago, there was a beautiful rainbow as bright as I can remember.I think it was that way because it was one of those rare rainy days whereit was also really bright out. Everyone I knew was talking about it for therest of the day.. another moment of collective beauty that binds most of thepeople in the city together.

Sometimes when I'm in the car and am bored, I like to imagine music videosfor songs I listen to. I thought of one for "I think I'm a Wolf" .. onethought, or conversation, I've dreamt of, notes that amateur producers ofmusic videos are excessively literal with their following of the lyrics,but people are generally simple, so there's an art as to how divergent oneshould be. And then, na klar, there are the people who just smash thingsand stuff. Here's my shot... the music opens the song, and an orchestra ina dark room, all wearing dark vision goggles, with spotlights focusing onthem to reveal their presence.. they play the intro.. and then, where theconductor would normally be, the singer shows up in the middle with a brightwhite spotlight as it's time for him to sing. He's holding two pieces ofbroken mirror, clutching them hard, with light blood visible streaming from hishands. He sings the first part, and our perspective is of him looking at hisown face, with the mirror in each hand, as the words come out, and blood slowlystreams down one of the mirrors. The first musical interlude has him move oneof the pieces of mirror around as blood really starts to flow from that handand that hand/arm begins to get dark. He finally flings it to the ground whereit shatters, and that arm, bloody and hairy, is shaken as blood drips from it.He sings again, and we notice his eyes are beginning to get somewhat red andhe's sweaty. During the narrative part, it fades to his confusing memory ofthe night before, and as it ends, we fade back in, and see that he's no longerat the conductor's stand, instead he's over what looks to be the body of oneof the cellists, and there is blood on his mouth as if he's just taken afeast. As he notices we're watching, he nonchalantly wipes his mouth andsteps back up to the stand, leaving the body behind. He continues to sing,but as he notices his eyes continuing to get redder, he flings the secondmirror to the ground, and we see him directly in the spotlight, his skin nowdark, his eyes now red, and the orchestra in the background looking frightened.Lest you think I'm totally insane, the song is about a guy worrying that he'sbecome a werewolf.

I cooked that one up on the way back from IKEA -- while the highwaysthere were clear, they were closed the other way, so clever Pat, who proved tobe a bit less clever than he thought, took a route that proved to be verysuboptimal back, and explored strange, new areas of Pittsburgh and vicinity.I did, however, find an interesting cousin to the waterfront shopping area --I don't know it's name, but a branch of the local healthcare system, theUPMC, has a building called the UPMC Margaret there. Perhaps thewhole area is called Margaret. My route then took me downtown via a routenot too different than the street route back from Timbuktu, where I droveunder the Pittsburgh Convention Centre, and by what is now the most beautifulstretch of coast that I've seen in Pittsburgh. I understand that years ago,Pittsburgh was known as an ugly, steel city, but while I never have seenthat city, Pittsburgh today is nothing like that. The beauty of this cityis beyond any place I've lived, and compares favourably to what I've seenof Europe and the West Coast of the U.S. Anyhow, IKEA is having a sale, andI got a little bit of furniture.. again though, I neglected something I alwaystry to remember -- rearrange apartment first, THEN visit IKEA. When I don'trearrange first, I have no idea what areas of the apartment I'm trying to fillin, and I'm working with a lot less concrete imagination to decide what to get.I need to toss my mini-couch, I think -- Wally (now deceased), and then Beefaloand Tortfeasor (cats that Debb and I owned that went with Debb), slowlydestroyed it. I really don't know if I should replace it before I save and moveto a house -- while a couch might be nice, I don't mind sitting on the flooror the beanbag to read, and I don't watch enough TV to use it for that either.Maybe if I had guests more often.. Anyhow, I got another rack to organize myCDs, and a shelf/cabinet to hold/hide some of my TV-attached stuff.

Before that, I was at work today for a few hours, debugging an odd problem witha colleague we've seen with some of the NFS-homedirectory-setup systems we'vebeen installing recently. A few days ago, I concluded that it was related toNFS locking, and not to NIS (GNOME/KDE logins failed, but mwm and twm bothworked fine, and turning off NIS and still using NFS homedirs created identicalproblems). The setup is complicated -- we're getting to the NFS/NIS server overa VPN (using openvpn) connection, and weinitially worried that the client-side locking daemon wasn't running becausethe kernel-mode lockd process doesn't show up until a NFS mount begins. Severalkernel-compiles later, we found this out, switched back to the generic Fedorakernel, and my counterpart busted out the packet sniffers. It turns out thathe really had the VPN network locked down -- allowing all traffic over theVPN made everything good, and eventually we found that NFS locking uses adynamic port and a callback, which his default rules wern't sufficient topermit. He eventually found some sysctl stuff to force it to always use thesame port, and all became good. Let this serve as a warning to people whotry to be too restrictive with their firewall -- NFS locking, and NFS ingeneral, can be an unruly beast to provide for.

Yesterday evening, I saw Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall,Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, .. err.. too manyrepeats in there. In any case, SSFWS was an incredible movie. I'm not going tospoil it for you, but it should be known that it's an incredible experience.

Rumsfeld says its unclear who is winning the war on terror. My guess?Maybe Mongolia is winning! Sorry, couldn't resist a joke.. Some other loonyapparently was upset with zoning laws, so he armoured his bulldozer, anddrove around town attacking buildings he didn't like.

Thank you, John Kerry, for reminding me that you're only a better-than-BushJrstopgap, and not someone I actually like as a president. Censorship reallypisses me off. New weapons research promises a less-deadly way forthe police to get people to comply in difficult situations.. Hmm.

I notice that the russian version of Wikipedia has better picturesthan the english version of the same pages for russia-related topics.Imagine that! I am pleased to find that I can at least sound out things inRussian Cyrillic now, although since I dropped Russian, I won't be learningmuch more without a lot of effort. Maybe I'll take it again some later semesterwhen I have more emotional energy.

Here's a fun jab at the settler movement in Israel. w00t!

In a way, RedHat is back on PowerPC -- FedoraPPC is here. It'sby no means mature though -- they don't even have a bootable CD right now.I can't benefit from it now though -- I no longer have any hardware of thattype..