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Corrupt Life

Returned to Carnival, saw the inside of plenty of booths. This year was the most impressive yet - while a few groups fell relatively flat (KGB, for example), many of the booths were quite elaborate. I took numerous pictures, but right now I can't retrieve them from my camera due to kernel bugs. While debugging that (before submitting the bug), I found some interesting things:

  • Different kernels corrupt given files differently
  • vbindiff is one of the most wonderful tools in the world, reminding me of my DOS days. There's something nice about a lot of DOS Utilities - because they didn't even think that they might be running on a lousy terminal, they produced rather nice ANSI interfaces for everything. Curses programs on Unix tend to be much more minimal because they're aiming to support people with the most minimal terminals, meaning that DOS programs tended to have better interfaces when they did text-graphics.
  • Using vbindiff, I took two differently corrupted versions of a given file and examined them - both are mostly the same, but they regularly get out of sync in two stages:
    • They cross a significant value-boundary in their address, and have a period where they differ from each other
    • They cross another significant value-boundary in their address, and have a period where one of them is full of nulls (the other keeps having values)
    • After enough of that, they cross another significant value-boundary, and then they're the same again for quite a long time

There does not appear to be a pattern as to which one goes null. I am tempted to write some perl to see if I can reconstruct the proper image from the two broken ones, based on the rule:

  • When the files are the same, just write the result file
  • When divergence starts, save both streams in-memory until a strong of nulls starts on one of the streams, then write the values of the other stream until the streams converge again
The two corrupt streams are vaguely artsy and strange; the original image is of a strange mask in one of the booths.

I am slightly weirded out that twice in as many days I've spotted people wearing highly kinky tights near Kiva Han (or perhaps I am over-kink-impressioned by them? I dunno).

Been recently choking on the bitterness of solitude, particularly when I see all these happy couples around and hear about people having what sounds like awesome things in their lives. It's often an effort to remind myself that it is probably mostly me that's holding me back from that - low feelings of likability lead to behaviour that is unlikable. I often wish life had a rewind button, or that the erase button wern't so hard to use. I'm sure that things used to be at least a bit different. I wonder if I actually manage to move to some other place, away from all the people I wanted more from, will I have the ability to change myself or will these problems just take root in different soil? I still feel the ghosts of want from people from my PureSqHill, then KGB, then Zets times here, and maybe distancing myself from those particular frustrations would make a difference.

Carnival just exposes me to more people where I wanted something more, or alternatively to people who I've come to consider extremely painful for their snubs or overt hostility to me. But then, the two people who are the biggest "I-will-leave-the-room-and-need-to-be-alone-for-awhile" sources are still here.

It really shouldn't hurt so much when I see people around me hugging or people being affectionate - it looks so natural, but it feels almost as solid as a law of nature that those things are not for me, I am just supposed to see the happiness of others that I don't deserve. I'm not sure where these ideas come from, perhaps I've always had some tendency towards self-destructiveness. As always, I remind myself that getting away is something I've decided to try to do - if I make it, I'll see how it goes, and if not, at least I had this last glimmer of hope for awhile in what feels like a very dark and lonely life. I kinda freaked out a few days ago at a coffeeshop and had to make a rapid exit to avoid sobbing in public. I don't recall for sure if I started before I made it out or not. Embarassing.. It sure would be nice if this subjective experience turned out to be a speculative branch of the mind and I could just back out of it and avoid whatever mistake I was considering that led to this.

I apologise in advance if at some point I need to cut more ties with people because I can't bear to see your happiness anymore, or other storms in my head spill over my walls. I imagine if you ever managed to see past my walls into my head, you'll understand. Or perhaps you won't care. Or whatever. Funny how a small debt neglected can turn into a disaster.

It sure would be nice to be looking back and laughing about this some years in the future, not alone anymore. It's strange to need something so much when I can barely remember what it's like and any approach towards it would feel as wrong as anything I can imagine.

Cute that embrace, extend, extinguish can happen on Linux, in this case, the "yum" tool that layers on top of rpm (for Linux distros that use that flavour of package management) is now claiming to be the preferred API for packaging and is all-elbows with tools that use rpm (and rpmlib) directly. Brain-damage!

Every so often (probably like many geeks), I dream about what I'd like to see from a next-generation unix shell - I often wonder if we dream about the same things or not. I still occasionally learn new things that bash can do, but there are things that I've learned that bash cannot do that I think are worth doing, and doing it in a higher-level language (naturally, I'd use Perl, maybe Perl6 as my first Perl6 project and a good chance to learn the new language) would make it easier to do some of the things I like, I think.

  • Problem 1: Perl6 is one heck of a dependency. Perl itself is still one heck of a dependency for a shell.
  • Problem 2: POSIX compliance might not be easy. I haven't read the POSIX shell requirements for quite some time.
  • Problem 3: Some of my ideas, like having the shell itself take on all the functionality of the "screen" package (something that I really think should've been built into ttys as Unix came of age rather than as an added package), sound kind of difficult

Some time ago I stumbled across the conservative blog Stop the ACLU. They actually don't talk a lot about the ACLU and mostly use it to attack either liberalism or general American jurisprudence traditions. Despite their frequent strawman arguments and occasionally getting history moderately-to-very wrong, they're often interesting. I often am frustrated when conservatives think that liberals want to introduce Sharia law in the west and see themselves as defenders of western civilisation (and stop the ACLU has done this), but when I manage to figure out who they're talking about (that is, when it's not actually a strawman), it's inevitably someone in the the "deep multiculturalist" flavour of liberalism suggesting "yeah, we can let them have their own communities with their own arbitration-mechanism courts - we'd just be being a good host to allow that and it's a way to cleanse ourself of guilt over cultural imperialism". Readjusting our attitudes to correct the atrocities of the past is a worthwhile thing to do, but the right way to do that is to get rid of jingoism, things that smack of self-serving manifest destiny (in that they're designed to provide material advantage of one people over another), and to bring our behaviour back in line with the ideals and conscience we've been trying to grow. The deep multiculturalist would have us give up on our ideals, while the conservative would have us continue down exactly the same path we ever were on. Enlightenment liberalism (with or without the socialist yearning I believe in) should be proud of its ideals and be willing to fight for them when possible and productive, but those ideals are not those of wealth or privilege for one people, they are a concern for all humanity. They are the ideals the West has long told the world we stood for while underhandedly seeking privilege. Finding the right course correction is necessary. Having secular rule of law that has the right amount of cultural engagement is necessary. Rejecting the conservatives and the deep multiculturalists is necessary.

If I were the superstitious sort, I would be tempted to think that Lady Gaia is very angry at humanity about something (global warming deniers, perhaps?) - numerous recent earthquakes, multiple collapses of mines (the one in China was a better story, in fact), other disasters. I wonder if we actually have had an unsual number of these things, or if I'm just noticing the reporting of them more.

Anyhow, I guess I'll go wander around Carnival again for a bit, then likely get dinner and go home. Meh.


<< I wonder if I actually manage to move to some other place, away from all the people I wanted more from, will I have the ability to change myself or will these problems just take root in different soil? >>

They can take root again, but there's nothing wrong with moving again, many times over, until you've learned more from relationship and acquired more self-confidence. I recommend traveling, staying in youth hostels, attending cons, etc and holding on to the people who like you.
I think news media tend to report more on something that has been in the news recently.

As an example, shortly after the horrendous Concepción earthquake, CNN had a FRONT-PAGE story about a 4.4 earthquake in LA. Anyone who's lived in earthquake country will laugh out loud at that -- a 4.4 is barely over the threshold of what you feel, and certainly not enough to cause any damage or threaten lives. LA has earthquakes of that magnitude all the damn time. Yet, because of what had been happening with earthquakes in other countries, this made it onto CNN's front page! In contrast, I don't recall it making national news in 1992 when my hometown had 3 earthquakes of magnitudes 7.1, 6.6 and 6.7 within 24 hours. It wasn't "topical."