Now that I've managed to free up some time, why have things been so quiet lately?
That's actually a pretty easy question to answer. First off, my job's kept me very busy the past couple of weeks - I've been spending between two and three weeks on the road for a while now, and when I'm not flying hither and yon work at the office has kept me running hard to stay in place. All things being equal, I've been more concerned with work and getting ready for the Yule holiday than I have about reading the newsfeeds and posting. That's not to say that I haven't been having wacky adventure, those seem to find me without much difficulty. From going to dinner with Pace Reagan-Smith and her family in Austin, Texas to the hills surrounding San Francisco, California, to a late-night dinner with Bladeless Axe Without A Handle in Palo Alto, California, life's been pretty busy. Also, life has been extremely exhausting lately. After flying back in from Austin I slept for most of the next day; after flying back in from Palo Alto I got up early to clean the apartment with Lyssa, construct a new firewall, and then get dressed up to go to a Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day party at Scraun and Fishy's place.
I suppose that I should write a short summary of the high points:
A couple of weeks ago while on assignment in St. Louis (where I met some nifty people who went to school with Hasufin, I hasten to add) Windbringer and I ran into serious difficulties, namely, he kept overheating and crashing hard. When you're in the middle of writing code while a couple of high-priority jobs are running in the background (jobs which were never designed to checkpoint their state periodically) this is a serious problem. While on the road lately I've noticed that he's been getting worse: He doesn't always power down cleanly, there are great difficulties connecting to wireless or wired networks, and most important of all USB support is unreliable in the extreme. In short, these are the same symptoms that Kabuki evidenced years ago when she first began to fail.
Not good. A few days ago after extensive research I placed an emergency order from Dell for a custom-built Inspiron 1520, on the premise that if I need to get a replacement laptop, I may as well upgrade what I'm at it. I could certainly purchase a replacement mainboard on the open market if I chose, but installing it would be a major chore. Much more so, in fact, than working on a server or desktop computer. Also, I would still be limited to the same memory capacity and processing power as before, and as previously stated, why not upgrade while I'm going to the trouble?
At some point in the future I will probably buy a new mainboard anyway and relegate Windbringer's old chassis to use as a server in the lab (possibly as a VMware server) - after all, he was autographed by William Gibson.
Okay. Enough geek-boning over that. Estimated time to arrival of new laptop: 1 January 2008. A ways off, but also fitting.
Flying back in after the trip to Palo Alto left me utterly worn out and in dire need of sleep. As I get older, I find that I'm less capable of dealing with jet lag, and spent the next couple of days going to bed around 0300 EST5EDT because I simply couldn't fall asleep any sooner than that. When I did sleep it was only for a couple of hours, and often cut short. By the time Monday rolled around I was running on empty and barely able to stay awake. On the off chance that I was coming down with something I left work early and slept for the next six hours or so, catching up on some direly needed rest. I think things are pretty well evened out though I have been getting more run down than usual lately. Have to take better care of myself when I'm on the road, something along the lines of "To hell with your deadline, I'm going to hit the gym for an hour."
As I've mentioned from time to time recently, 8 December 2007 was Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day around the Net, in which people were requested to dress in the fashion of time travelers from different eras in history and wander around in character, the whole time never mentioning that they were supposed to be from a different time. I spent much of the day holed up at home building a new firewall and debugging OpenBSD packet filter rules and cleaning, and on top of that the DC area was recovering from three inches of snow, so the prospect of taking the Metro downtown to go sightseeing didn't much appeal to any of us. What we did wind up doing, however, was going to the house of Scraun and Fishy, who were throwing a party that night. Hasufin, Lyssa, and I decided to make an evening of it, and so dressed up in our finest clothes to make a proper entrance. Hausfin dressed up as a time-traveling archeologist from the fifty-first century; Lyssa went as one of the more lightly traumatized members of the Torchwood organization (I'm quite proud of the ID badge I'd hacked together for her); I went as my jaunty time vortex-sailing self, and the three of us piled into the car to find their digs.
Eventually. As is wont to happen when I drive, we arrived 'fashionably late'.
And were greeted by many people that we didn't know in costume: A fish with fur and legs, a pulp adventuress, a Man In Black from the current era, a Discordian timeripper, a couple of post-cyberpunk gang members, a hungover party-goer from the next morning... everyone went all-out with their gear at this party. Rialian was there, and was kind enough to brew us up a special pot of coffee in his vacuum coffee pot, Hasufin and I chatted about a certain traveler who still owns me for a tank of gas, the best places to cache a couple of bottles of brandy for a few thousand years, and the potential difficulties of finding crash space when one has journeyed across half the galaxy and a few thousand wallclock years. Much to our surprise, Jade from the New York contingent had taken the train into DC for the party, and we wound up standing outside talking a couple of times when the mass of people playing Pants Pants Revolution warmed the interior of the house up beyond comfortable levels (even for someone such as myself).
I left the party that evening with a set of Jade's Oxelot dreadfalls, which I'll have to take some photographs of to add to her gallery.
In a couple of hours' time I'll be heading northward once again with Lyssa and Laurelinde, this time to participate in the wedding of Alexius Pendragon on Saturday afternoon. Frankly, I have no idea of what's going to happen there, but I feel fairly safe in stating that it'll be something both strange and wonderful.