Real life seems like Shadowrun - so why can't I throw fragging fireballs?!

Nov 26 2016

From time to time I sit down with my gaming buddies, and we both lament and observe how well reading and playing cyberpunk games has prepared us for life in the twenty-first century. I don't think that many people expected real life to track quite so closely with many a cyberpunk world penned by the masters, from William Gibson to Neal Stephenson to Bruce Sterling. Strangely enough, many of the lifestyle strategies depicted in these stories have helped keep our own lives (and those of our families) stable and, for the most part nice to live as human history has gone nonlinear all around us. Sure, we're seeing early experimenting with direct neural interfaces in hospitals, AI research is changing the world around us faster than we can see (and some of it's even open source), grinders are starting to do some pretty weird stuff with their own bodies, and we have stupidly advanced technology available for next to nothing on the street, but let's dig a little deeper.

What's really fucking with me is how much real life is tracking some of the backstory of Shadowrun.

Still here. Just offline.

Oct 19 2016

I'm still here - haven't forgotten this blog. In the rush to get a bunch of stuff done at work with some alacrity, I seem to have run myself into the ground. More specifically, I seem to be an alpha tester for this year's version of the flu and I've spent the past couple of days sweating, throwing up, and sleeping. There was also a late-night trip to the ER somewhere in there. Oh, and let's not forget the lucid fever dreams - they're quite entertaining when you have control over them. Somewhere in the Dreaming I made the aquaintenance of a tribe of ants deep inside in the BART tunnel system and started cataloguing their graffiti while exploring the tunnel system. Once I'm back on my feet I'll queue up a few posts which are long overdue, and for that I apologize.

Back to bed for me.

Taking a break for a while.

Aug 16 2016

As the title implies, I think I need to take a break from blogging for a while. Just a week ago I had plans to write up my notes from DefCon and then go into all of the neat stuff that happened, like pulling a Charlie Brown at the locksport contest (okay, that wasn't so neat but at least I can laugh about it after the fact), the InSoc concert, and all of that happy stuff.

Unfortunately, I've just returned from the east coast. Mid-last week I got a phone call from my mother while walking to work and was told that Robert, a close relative who's been a strong influence in my life (though not necessarily a geographically close one) had gone in for neck surgery the previous Friday. By Sunday he had full-blown pneumonia; a day or two later he'd thrown a blood clot. Details get a little sketchy at this point: It could have been a pulmonary embolism or a heart attack or a stroke. Nobody's quite sure and I didn't spend any time digging for details. I was able to confirm that he'd coded twice and was in a coma.

Less than an hour later, my mother called me back. Bob was dead. She and my grandfather weren't able to travel to Georgia for the funeral so I went to represent our side of the family.

I wrapped up what I could at work and at home, threw a week's worth of clothes into a suitcase, and caught the first flight to Georgia, by way of Arizona and North Carolina. I'll spare you the details of an amazingly shitty cross-country flight which left my knees bruised and running on less than an hour of sleep out of 48, as well as a hotel from a chain that I don't think I'll ever stay in again if I can help it (La Quinta - 0/10, would not stay there again under pain of death).

Also, at one point during the weekend I went with a few of my cousins to see the Suicide Squad movie. Don't bother. All of the good stuff was in the trailers, and they cut most of that out of the final movie. Read the IMDB page and go on with your life.

The flight back was remarkably uneventful so I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that now I need to figure out how to get my head screwed on tightly enough to get back to work because, funerals and mourning and all that stuff aside, I still have a family to support and a job to do.

So, I'm going to be taking some time away from this blog. In part, I have a lot to catch up on. In part, I don't have it in me right now. I've been doing a lot of traveling so I'm stuck in a state of prolonged jetlag. And... in the last month I've attended two memorials, missed a third, and now I've gone to a funeral and I'm completely out of fucks to give.

Back from DefCon.

Aug 08 2016

Back from DefCon. Don't know how I'm still on my feet right now. Went to lots of talks, went wandering more than is usual for me at DefCon, attended some incredible shows. Still smarting from how much even a lousy meal costs in Las Vegas. Had an incredibly lousy pair of plane flights to and from Vegas.

And now, back to figuring out how to reacclimate with workaday life.

Running hard to stay in place.

Jul 16 2016

Still here. Still going. Getting ready for HOPE XI and trying to get everything buttoned up and bolted down at work before flying to the other coast for same. That all hell appears to still be breaking loose all over the world isn't helping matters any; I'm certainly not sleeping all that well, consequently.

Rehearsal of my talk for HOPE started today. I really suck right now and need to get this one banged out before I present. At least I've finally stopped writing and rewriting the slides and settled on the text.

This appears to be the week that Windbringer's internal power cell decided to only hold an hour of charge at a time. The good news is that I've got a replacement waiting in the wings to install. The bad news is that it's going to require a full teardown; Windbringer currently has a Macbook-like chassis, meaning lots of fiddly little nonstandard screws. Tomorrow afternoon's already been blocked off.

I'm going to take some downtime for myself to get my head screwed on straight; this also means that Windbringer's going to be backing up to external storage.

Be good to each other, everyone.

Still alive.

Jul 01 2016

Nope. No GLaDOS references today.

As you may or may not be aware, certain parts of the world have come under fire, literally. This has hit me very hard in some very tender places, and I'm not handling it well. Dealing with it has, to a large extent, required staying offline so I don't fry my forebrain.

Work's running me pretty hard, with multiple late-nighters strung end to end.

I'm working on my slides for HOPE in my spare time. I might even get to practice them soon. After that comes more proof-of-concept code that you (yes, you!) can try at home.

Windbringer's power cell is on its way out; I just ordered a replacement, which also means that he's due for more major surgery to install it (because the Dell XPS 15 is very Macbook-like in its hardware layout).

I keep falling asleep before 2100 hours local time.

Don't think I'm sick, don't think any of my dental work is going bad. Just running hard to stay in place at the day job.

When I've got it in me to write coherent blog posts, I will do so.

Be good to each other out there. The world needs it.