I am lost in a maze of twisty narratives, all different.

Jun 02 2018

It's been an interesting couple of weeks, to be sure.  While lots of different things have been going on lately, none of them are related in any particularly clear or straightforward fashion, so fitting all of this stuff together is going to be a bit of a struggle.  You may as well kick back with the beverage of your choice in a responsible fashion while I spin this yarn.

I suppose it all started with wardriving in northern Virginia many years ago.  In a nutshell, I had loaded Windbringer up with a rather small for the time USB GPS unit, installed Kismet, put the wifi NIC into monitor mode so it would pick up frames from every access point within range, and went driving around for a couple of hours.  The idea is that the software records the datestamp and GPS coordinates at which you picked up the strongest signal from a wireless access point.  Rinse, repeat for as long as your power cells hold out, or as long as you care to drive, bike, walk, ski, or employ any other means of personal transportation to move around.  At the time I was uploading my results to wigle.net to contribute to their crowdsourced global map of wireless coverage.  Then I moved, and I seem to have accidentally tripped Wigle's bot detector (probably because I was going out for many hours at a time to cover very large areas).  End result, I didn't go wardriving for a very long time.

A couple of months back I decided that I needed to get more exercise than I could get at home (which I'll probably ramble about in a later post) so I joined the local gym.  Doing so gave me access to a much more broad selection of equipment to work with, and a lot more space than my office at home.  There isn't much to say on that particular point other than it's been a great investment, and I spent a nontrivial amount of downtime there working out.  While I haven't lost weight per se, I do seem to be trading some amount of body fat for muscle mass.  I don't know how much adipose tissue I've actually lost but my clothes are getting tight against my body in different ways than before.  I guess that's something.

On the toxicity of USian gun culture.

Feb 25 2018

I've been keeping quiet about the mass school shooting in Florida some weeks ago because it's such a hot-button topic, and many people speaking out are catching harrassment and death threats - even the students who survived the massacre.  Of course, the National Rifle Association went on the record as saying, quote, "The NRA doesn't back any ban."  Meaning, of course, they'll do their damndest to hamstring any new legislation that has to do with guns.  It's also worth noting that there were multiple law enforcement officers - trained and armed - at the school, and they did nothing.  Which isn't surprising to me; if they're anything like the police in the school I went to, they went out of their way to not do their jobs (the students selling both drugs and guns I graduated with did so with relative impunity).  Oh, and let's not forget what can happen if you play the part of the hero and disarm the shooter - the cops think the hero's the shooter, and open fire.  No good deed goes unpunished.

But that's not what I want to talk about.  What I want to talk about is gun culture, as someone who's part of it, but who stays as far away from it as possible.

I guess this is a milestone, isn't it?

Feb 09 2018

As I write this, it's roughly a week before my 40th birthday.  I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room tapping away on Windbringer while Lyssa undergoes surgery to remove a cataract from her left (and only working) eye.*  When this post goes live on the day of my actual 40th birthday, more things will undoubtedly have happened.  I don't know how much time I'm going to have in the next few days, so I guess I'd best take advantage of the spare time I have due to how busy I've been lately.

A lot's happened in this past year that I'm still trying to wrap my head around.  My grandfather diedSomebody I knew but wasn't terribly close to committed suicide.  I've been in the hospital and laid up at home a couple of times with strict "Sit on your ass and read comic books while you heal" orders (which, as you've probably already guessed, got boring pretty fast).  Our landlord has begun the process of selling the house we're presently renting, which has introduced no small amount of uncertainty into the short-term future.

It's 2018.

Jan 02 2018

It's now 2018.  Don't ask me how we made it, but we did.

Regular readers have probably been wondering what's been going on that I haven't posted much.  The short form, and the honest answer, is that I haven't had it in me to really post, aside from some stuff that I copy-and-pasted out of my notes, polished up a bit, and saved.  The holiday season is always a busy time, and my life is no different from anyone else's in that regard.

Lyssa and I flew back to Pennsylvania at more or less the last minute about halfway through the month to celebrate an early Yule with our respective parents.  Some last minute jiggery-pokery landed us a pair of get-seats-at-the-gate redeye flights to and from the other coast, which resulted in the peculiar combination of jet lag and sleep deprivation.  This resulted in my getting sick again not long after arrival.  I was in a fair amount of pain for several weeks due to this particular illness.  Frequent readers are somewhat aquainted with my dental history, which reads like a classic farce as written by Hunter S. Thompson.  Suffice it to say that I was living in a haze of pain that took most of the wind out of my sails without actually being overtly incapacitating.  At least Lyssa and I spent some quality time with our nieces and nephews, and everyone seemed to enjoy their gifts.

Back online in time for the holiday season, I guess.

Nov 19 2017

I guess I should wish everybody out there a happy Thanksgiving that celebrates it.

I haven't been around much lately, certainly not as much as I would like to be.  Things have been difficult lately, to say the least.

Around this time of year things go completely berserk at my dayjob.  For a while I was pulling 14 hour days, capped off with feverishly working three days straight on one of the biggest projects of my career, which not only wound up going off without more than the expected number of hitches but has garnered quite a few kudos from the community.  I'm rather proud of how it turned out.  Unfortunately, it also took its toll, namely, on my health.  During the final leg of the project I noticed that I was starting to get sick, and by that Tuesday my cow-orkers were telling me to go home and sleep because I looked like death warmed over.  Unsurprisingly, I've been battling a nasty cold that's kicked the legs out from under me.  I still haven't kicked out of big-project mode yet, because the last few times I've started to feel better I've run myself aground again without realizing I was doing so.  This is not good.  It also seems that I brought this particular nasty home, and now my family is in various stages of fighting it off.

One again operating at diminished capacity.

Aug 07 2017

This week, it was my turn to suffer a somewhat debilitaring kitchen accident.

Last week, Lyssa nearly took the tip of her thumb off with a chef's knife while helping to make pizza for dinner, an accident which resulted in several stitches to reattach the flap of skin that ordinarily formed the end of her left thumb.

Last night, while helping to make dinner I accidentally grabbed the handle of a skillet that had spent the previous half-hour in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven.  With my entire hand.  There are (still closed) blisters on four of the five digits on that hand (the irregular whitish oval patches), the web of the thumb (not shown), and parts of the palm (barely visible in that image) (my hand's wet-looking appearance was due to soaking my hand in ice water for about half an hour to stop it cooking).  Dinner was spent with my hand submerged in ice water, but the rest of last night was spent in the emergency room when the blistering became readily apparent.

Diagnosis: Second degree burns on... let's say 45% of my hand, lacking a scientifc metric.  The pain was somewhere around a 6 on the numeric scale; I'd carefully say that it was as uncomfortable as having one or two broken ribs due to how difficult the gnawing pain made to concentrate.

I've got a pile of prescriptions that I need to get filled today, and I most certainly should probably not be typing right now because it'll aggravate the discomfort (though it'll probably keep the damaged skin from shrinking and seizing up).  All I can really do is manage pain and prevent infection until the skin regenerates.

Looks like I'm on the shelf for the next couple of days.