Home again, Home again

I’m a little grumbly here, because I was almost done writing this posting when Firefox crashed. Bah.

Anyways, as I was saying …

I am pleased to announce, after extensive testing, the results of my survey. Nobody in the world makes coffee as good as I can make it right here at home. Except, just maybe, my dad. I’m not sure what’s so hard about grinding up a few beans and pouring water over them, but every time I travel, I’m better off just foregoing the coffee, since everything I get served is swill fit only for watering the daisys. Poor daisys.

It is really good to be home.

I still enjoy travelling. (Ok, I have come to hate the actual travelling part. Thanks, TSA.) I like being other places and seeing new things. But, increasingly, I just want to get back home, after a few days away. I suppose I’m just getting old and settled, and, I think, that’s probably OK with me. (Inner voice: OLD MAN! OLD MAN!)

So, it was a week of Apache training. I learned quite a few things, and have a lot of changes that I need to make to my class notes and to my book. I wonder if I will be able to keep up the drive to do so this time. Generally, the urge dies out after a few days. I’ll try harder.

The network at the training site was somewhat restrictive, so I was off IRC for almost the whole week. On Friday, Eddie reminded me how to tunnel IRC (or anything, I suppose) over an ssh connection to anywhere. You open an ssh connection to wherever you can ssh to, and then you can tunnel any other protocol over the top of that, so that you can use your preferred IRC client (xchat, or whatever) to connect over that tunnel to anywhere else. I suppose it’s just as well that I didn’t remember earlier in the week.

ssh -C rbowen@wooga.frumble.com -L 8081:irc.freenode.org:6667

Then point your IRC client at localhost, port 8081.

Most evenings while on my trip, I went out somewhere, saw a thing or two, but was back in my room by 7 or 8. I read a lot of stuff during those 2 or 3 hours before going to bed. Here’s some of it.

In the Presence of Fear by Wendell Berry. Avoid this book if you are content to be fat, happy, and complacent in your current view of your consumer life. This is a collection of essays about how the world has changed in the last several presidential administrations, and, particularly, how it has changed since the incident in 2001 when we realized that we didn’t live in an isolated bubble. Very good stuff. Whatever your political leanings tend to be, Berry gives a lot of plain common sense to some issues that we tend to over-politicize.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. A murder mystery of sorts. Written from the perspective of a young autistic man who finds a dead dog in his neighbor’s (I suppose I should say neighbour’s. He’s british.) yard, and who sets out to find out how it died. Funny, sad, and eye-opening. Highly recommended. It was recommended to me by someone in blog-space. I don’t rember who. Get this book.

The Gift Moves by Steve Lyon. Steve is the organist/pianist at my church. He’s also the husband of the well-known children’s author George Ella Lyon. The book was shelved (mistakenly, I think) in the children’s section of the book store. Yes, it’s a book about some kids. Sort of. It’s also a book about a culture (seems post-apocalyptic, but hard to say) where the economy is based on gifts, rather than on money or barter. It’s about how we relate to one another. Or, I suppose, you could read it as a shiny happy kid’s story. Presumably that’s where the store thought it would sell better. After all, who wants to think? Recommended. Frankly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it, largely because of where it was shelved. But I like to read books by people I know, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. I keep thinking that the Discworld books will get tired and boring. And perhaps that’s happening just a little bit. But this book was funny I suppose it gets a “2” on the measure on the “laughed out loud in public” scale. The story was good, the characters were interesting, and the conclusion was unexpected. I recommend this if you’ve read any of the other Discworld books. If you haven’t, I recommend that you read The Colour of Magic first. Try to get a British edition of you can find it. Apparently they tried to Americanize it for the US printing, whatever that means. Silly publishers. And if you’re in this area, I’m sure that Ken would be willing to loan you a copy. I don’t seem to have a copy any more.

And I suppose I should mention that I picked up a new printing of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. This is a Barnes&Noble printing. A little pocket-sized edition of ACC as well as The Chimes and Cricket on the Hearth. Nice binding and size, so I could hardly pass it up, now, could I?

Oh, and one more thing. While in Palm Beach I ate at a place called City Cellar. Twice, in fact. I had two of the best meals I’ve had so far this year. The first night, I had crab-encrusted chilean sea bass. It was positively heavenly. The next night I had mahi in a tamarind sauce, which was almost as good. It was … *ahem* … somewhat pricey. The bass, at least, was worth every penny. The mahi was more expensive and less wonderful, but only marginally so.

Ok, there. Finished with no crashes, and crammed more topics into a single post than is my usual habit. Deal with it. I write for me and not for you anyway. 🙂