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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jun 14 2016
You know that problem child molar I just had worked on for the nth time? The one that required heroic measures and possibly divine intervention a couple of weeks ago? I went in yesterday to get the permanent crown installed.
It seemed like a pretty standard routine: Sit down, get the topical gel, and then out came the local anesthetic. My dentist went in for the first jab.
And hit the nerve.
Jun 02 2016
Last Thursday morning I went in to have a certain problematic molar taken care of at the dentist's office before it got much worse. To recap briefly, there is a particular molar on the bottom-left side of my mouth that has been through hell: It's broken several times (once particularly memorable time while eating a German soft pretzel, of all things), it's been filled several times, and I've honestly lost track of the number of root canals performed done on it (somewhere between three and six in the last fifteen years). While getting the abscessed #19 tooth taken care of, it was observed that it was looking a little dodgy. To be somewhat more specific, the crown on it was loose and wiggling, and I started to notice a black line on the gum just below it.
The rest is going under a cut because I'd like to save people who don't specifically want the down-low the writeup. For those of you with relatively delicate constitutions suffice it to say that I hope I never experience that again in my life.
May 26 2016
I'd beg the forgiveness of my readers for not posting since early this month, but chances are you've been just as busy as I've been in the past few weeks. Life, work, et cetera, cetera. So, let's get to it.
As I've mentioned once or twice I've been slowly getting an abscessed molar cleaned out and repaired for the past couple of months. It's been slow going, in part because infections require time for the body to fight them off (assisted by antibiotics or not) and, depending on how deep the infection runs it can take a while. Now I can concentrate on getting the molar in front of it, which has long been a thorn in my side, er mouth, worked on. Between being in close proximity to a rather nasty infection and the general stresses applied to molars during everyday life the seal on the crown broke at some point, leaving it somewhat loose and making squishing sounds when I chew. I don't know the extent of the involvement, but from coming home from work wiped out just about every night I'm starting to suspect that something nasty is going on in there also; it's a pattern that I've come to recognize over the years as suggestive of an immune response. There's a good chance that this particular pain-in-the-ass is going to need major repairs and, given how little of the original tooth is left (I lost count of the number of surgeries and root canals performed on it a couple of years ago) I'm pretty much resigned to losing the tooth entirely. I'll probably wind up getting an implant in its place if it does get pulled for the sole reason that it'l prevent the rest of the teeth in my mandible from slowly drifting to the fill in the space. Of course, if I do get an implant I'll try to stick a magnet to it and if it works I'll post the pictures.
May 04 2016
Hacking code and writing policy. I'll be able to come up for air soon.
Also, del.icio.us claims that they're migrating to their old URL and that everything is fine. Only everything's not fine, nobody's links load, their blog is now gone, and they're not responding to anybody trying to get in touch with them. I'm glad I was able to download my data (including all the stuff I want to write about when I get a chance) before their site started acting screwy again. I guess I'm going to need to set up my own online link manager...