Tag Archives: general

One more for the road.

I just got done reading One More For The Road, by Ray Bradbury. I expect I’ve mentioned that Dandelion Wine is my favorite book, and that I read it almost every summer. “One More” is a brilliant companion to DW, although it’s a very different kind of book. DW is a collection of short stories, but is also a novel. They are all set in the same time and place and with the same characters. They tell the story of one boy’s summer. One More is a collection of unrelated stories, but they have a common theme running through them.

While DW is a story about being a kid, and discovering the world, and growing up, “One More” is largely about the other end of ones life. There’s an interesting afterword in which Bradbury discusses the unintentional metaphors in his writing. If that is to be taken at face value, it’s possible that no such theme was intended. But what I see is a book about looking back on a very full life, and wondering if it could have been better, could have been more significant, and whether he can persuade other folks to take advantage of the opportunities that come to them.

I expect I’ll be reading this one again, if perhaps not as often as DW.

After the first time through, I think that the best story is “the nineteenth” in which he encounters an old man picking up golf balls on a golf course. I think I mentioned this story in an earlier posting, but I’m not sure. Perhaps we just discussed it on IRC.

“First Day” is also a fantastic story, and makes me very glad for the friends I have, and very sad for folks that look back on a long life and have no friends that have been with them all that time. That must be very lonely.

So, if you have to pick between the two, pick Dandelion Wine. It’s much happier. “One More for The Road” made me rather sad a number of times. But it’s worth reading, particularly if you’re a Bradbury fan.

Oh, and “Beasts” … I have absolutely no idea what that story is about.

Going to Vegas

No complaints on the flight out here. I watched two John Wayne movies (“Blue Steel” and “Dawn Rider”), finished Ray Bradbury’s “One More For The Road”, and resumed reading “July’s People.”

I managed to not get much in the way of breakfast, and miss lunch, so by the time I got here, I was famished. And I didn’t have any real idea what time it was. So after I got my stuff stashed at the hotel, I went out looking for food.

Ok, a word about the hotel. That word would be “wow.” This hotel suite is bigger than my appartment. Downstairs, I’ve got a sitting room, toilet, kitchen table, and bar. Upstairs is the bedroom and full bathroom. And halfway up the stairs, there’s a hottub/whirlpool. It’s quite a bit bigger than the suite I had last year, and closer to the main hotel buildings. Very very nice. The only problem with it, so far, is that the internet connection in here doesn’t work. But, when they offered to move me to a room where it does work, I declined. I’ll have quite enough network at the conference, and I can wait half a day for that.

So, anyways … I went out to find some food. I found a Subway store which was also a convenience store and a pizza place, right across the road from the Hard Rock. And after being in there for just a few minutes, Mads Toftum came in to get some food. So we chatted a while and had lunch/dinner/something together.

Afterwards, I came back to the hotel with the intention of going out to do some geocaching. I ended up only doing one, and it was just a little lame.

In Kentucky, virtual caches don’t get approved unless you actually have to go there and do a little work to find the answers. Here, apparently, it’s a little easier. There’s a lot to see here, and evidently there’s a virtual cache associated with all of it. This was, quite literally, a “drive by” cache, which you could do without even getting out of the car, or, to be honest, slowing down. I expect that you could do it from the comfort of your home by looking up some stuff on the WWW. I won’t tell you which one it is, or we’ll have a bunch of people logging the cache who have never been here.

So, although it was pretty neat to see, I somehow don’t think it warranted an actual cache. I’m almost reluctant to even log it.

Drury inn, etc

I just discovered that my hotel room has free ethernet. Drury Inn rocks, and don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

So, after checking my email (just 627 messages waiting for me!) I’m now sitting at a lovely indian restaurant waiting for tandoori murg. Most of the people here are indian, which is always a good sign. And they brought me a basket of complementary popadum. What more can one want?

Ah, here comes my food …

Chicago, geocaching

I went geocaching this evening, but was utterly unsucessful.

Geocaching in Chigago without having a car is a bad idea. The caches are too far apart. Now, I suppose that’s probably the case in any city, but it made me think that it would be a good thing to identify the places where visitors might be staying in Lexington, and try to make it so that they can find one or two caches within a 1 mile walk.

I probably walked 3 miles, and it was pretty dark by the time I got to my first intended target. But the nature reserve was closed, and, besides, it was DARK. I chose to go towards the higher concentration of caches, rather than going to the cache that was closest. That was probably a bad choice. But it looks like I won’t actually find any caches while I’m here. And that’s very disappointing.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll go back out after dinner. I don’t know yet.

On the way back I found an Indian restaurant real close to here, and I’m going to go there after dinner.

I just got done writing up the TOC for a book proposal for a book that I’ll hopefully start writing next month. I’m pretty excited about it, which is really weird, coming off of working on Apache Cookbook for the last zillion months or so. But, strangely, I am. I won’t tell you what the book is called, right now, for a variety of reasons. But at the rate that I have sort of planned, it would be out sometime late spring 2004.

Training today was excellent. I have seldom attended training where I learned so much, where the content was presented so clearly, and where the instructor was so knowledgeable, and yet, at the same time, so willing to admit when he didn’t know the answer. Symantec earns my vote of confidence in their training.

And, despite the fact that I wasn’t officially registered for the class, I was able to sit in on it. And this actually worked out pretty well, as I shared a workstation with another student, and we were able to have some decent discussions of the product, as well as helping one another out with problems encountered.

OK, time to go get some Indian food.

Ghost Rider, finalé

I finally finished reading Ghost Rider, and wrote Neil Peart a short letter thanking him for the book. I don’t expect that he even reads his “fan mail” personally, but you never know.

I found the book to be very good. Lots of good insight, but no attempt to be preachy, or even to present itself as having any answers. There were answers, but only the ones that you already had inside you, and the ones that you are ready to arrive at on your own. I think.

I found the end to be rather rushed and unsatisfying, but, at the same time, it offered the hope that there might be some deus ex machina, even in Real Life. Maybe life doesn’t suck forever. Maybe I’m allowed to be happy again some day.

And so I wrote what is, I believe, only the second fan letter I’ve ever written.

The first one was to “When In Rome”, and they sent me a handwritten response. So you never know. And a letter from Neil Peart might actually be worth something some day. 😉

Anyways, thanks, Neil, for a thoughtful, helpful book. I hope that my healing road will be as successful as yours. If somewhat less expensive.

Is the flood of spam over?

As abruptly as it started, the flood of inbound spam seems to have stopped. The only thing that I actually did that might be related was to switch my secondary MX from sendmail to postfix and put some spam filtering stuff on there. Apparently a lot of the spam that I was getting was rejected by my primary, but accepted by my secondary and then forwarded back to the primary with the added credibility of coming from a trusted host. Or something like that.

Either that, or the sobig.f virus hit its timeout, and quit sending. Or perhaps mrtg broke and isn’t reporting stats right.


Just shows how much I’ve been paying attention.

I’ve been using CGI::Lite for a number of years. It does some of the things that CGI.pm does, but not everything. CGI.pm does *waaaay* more than I ever need. I just want some forms parsed, thanks very much, not a OO thingy to generate HTML. Anyways, I just discovered that CGI::Lite has been unmaintained for more than 3 years, with an “emergency” release in February of 2002 to fix a severe security bug.

So, perhaps I need to look for something else, since I really don’t want CGI.pm, unless there’s a lightweight subset that one can use.

Evidentally I have not done any CGI stuff in aeons, having been doing mostly mod_perl stuff. I consider this a *good* thing.

Congo: More surreal all the time

I mentioned earlier that the UN was discussing sending more troops to Bunia to help in the chaos there. This has been passed and 1000 more peacekeepers are being sent to … do nothing.

You see, “peacekeepers” don’t have a mandate to actually intervene. So 1000 more soldiers are going there to stand about with their baby-blue hats and white tanks and watch the continuing massacre.

Two other points of surrealism struck me too.

One of the major points of the resolution was to condemn the killings in the area. Not the killings of the 400 civillians. The killings of the UN personnel posted there to do nothing.

Secondly, the troops being sent will be from Nigeria, South Africa and Pakistan. That strikes me as a little silly. Of the three, South Africa is the only country that is not in its own political turmoil. And South Africa hardly has a long history of stability. But even more strange was that the UN asked Uganda and Rwanda to contribute troops! Hello? Anyone at home? For those not on the same page, both nations have been involved in the civil war, in a variety of roles, from mercenaries to invading troops, for several years. Rwanda has a history of the same sort of tribal massacres that are happening in Bunia. And Uganda … well, where to start. Anyways, Uganda has had troops fighting in Congo until fairly recently, contributing to the problem. How can the UN be so completely clueless?