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June 29, 2004

Apartment Hunt, Part 1

Yesterday, Alex, Nathan and I went up to Española to hunt for an apartment. The results were pretty bad; we saw two houses and one apartment complex. The first house was an utter dump: uneven non-level floors, ratty furniture, and overall bad repair. The second one was much nicer, a small 2-bedroom with little strange heating and no A/C. I liked the landlady at the second one, a kind blind old woman who was very honest with us about things. She did manage to say that it was a nice neighborhood even though her shovels and rakes disappear, which made Alex nervous. It wasn't the property she wanted, though I think I could have lived there.

The apartment we saw was a gorgeous, modern place only 3 years old. It had three bedroom palaces with tons of space and a floorplan that made it feel like a house on the inside. It also only accepts section 8 housing, meaning we make too much money to live there. Ironic, that the only place in Española that both Alex and I wanted to live in, we couldn't because it is reserved for lower-income families. This must be what turns people Republican.

We stopped by Michael's office and showed him the code. He was surprised by the presence of 2 classes, apparently most of their code is not particulary object-y. I get the feeling they have a limited grasp of OO design, which is kind of my specialty. Michael immediately found an off-by-one error in my code such that when you open a story, you get the one after the one you click on. Apparently I got my array numbering mixed up. I'm not sure if it was because I am used to BASICs where arrays start at 1, or if it was because I am used to C-like languages where arrays start at 0; I'll track that down a little later on.

All of this Mac action has re-sparked my interest in developing Cocoa applications. I spent a few hours last night reading documentation online to see what it's going to take to make a proper Slashdot viewer app in Cocoa. The Cocoa framework is heavily dependent on delegation, I guess, as an alternative to inheritance. Where in Python we would do something like inherit from ContentHandler and hand that to the parser, in Cocoa, we instead make a class that implements some of the methods in the so-called “informal interface” for delegates of the NSXMLParser, then we instantiate one and stick it in the NSXMLParser's delegate attribute. Or, to make a nice dock menu for your program, you make a class that implements “applicationDockMenu” and set that to be your delegate.

This design seems to minimize the amount of inheritance going on, which is something you want to do in a single-inheritance language like Objective-C. It will also imply the creation of a plethora of little classes with names like “myApplicationDelegate” which is where all the customization would take place, unless there is a way to stack delegates, which would be cool and seems like the kind of thing they would make (applying the “composite” or “chain of responsibility” patterns).

The framework really is beautiful, and designed for maximum reusability and minimum of changing your code to get at improvements. The cost seems to be in terms of complexity: getting a URL in REALbasic is simply creating a new HTTPServer and calling Get() with the URL as a parameter. In Cocoa, we have NSURL, NSURLHandle, NSURLConnection, NSURLDownload, NSURLCache, NSURLRequest, NSURLResponse, and NSCachedURLResponse. To fetch something and have it cached as I intend to will involve probably only about five lines of code when all is said and done, but you see the complexity here can be described as fairly vast.

By the way, if anyone wants a cookie, they could read URL Loading System Overview and see if it makes sense to them.

So, that's about all for today. Tonight we're eating with Hillary and then going and saying goodbye to Salem and picking the remainder of Alex's stuff and my MD player. Tomorrow we're heading back up to Espanola to find somewhere to live, which hopefully will bear fruit unlike Monday.

Posted by FusionGyro at 10:27 AM

June 28, 2004

Anxiety Sets in Now

Tomorrow, Alex, my brother and I are all heading up to Española to confirm the job and try to find a place for Alex and me to live.

I am anxious and I guess I'm not sure why. Partly I suppose it is because I liked being off. I also found it really frightening not knowing if I would ever make money again, if I would ever find gainful employment in my field. Partly it is because I am worried about making ends meet. I think I will be able to but now I see why this is something everyone worries about. I'm also anxious about the move itself. This apartment is a good apartment, Alex and I felt safe here behind the gate and up two flights of stairs. We might be able to rent a house for the kind of money we're paying here though, and that would probably be better, healthier, though I am not sure I would feel as safe.

What can I say, I am a prick about some things; I don't want to help Uncle Sam kill anybody. I am still an anarchist, I just can't think of anything to do to help the political situation we're in. Violent action clearly isn't the answer, yet peaceful methods seem ineffective as well. Revolution would be great, but not unless regular people were coming to me and telling me it is a good idea rather than the other way around. I wouldn't say it weighs heavy on my mind, but I talk to people about it and it bothers me somewhat.

My mind is transfixed on Española. I haven't been able to do anything without thinking about the job and how much I'd like to have it. Dad said during dinner that you should always go for a job you enjoy; it wasn't long into his job with the school system that he wanted out, and he's happier now that he's working at Adelante. I don't think it will be a hardship to live on the money I will be paid, but I don't know. I guess I got scared by the numbers. I have never looked at my bank account and thought, “That pays for my food, my internet, my car, and my hobbies.” I have never thought, “if I don't put money in there, I won't eat.” I guess it is a reality check. If I could go back and undo some of the spending I've done, I would be doing really well right now. But I can't, so I am borrowing money from my brother, and I never thought I would say that.

So I guess life is a mixed bag. Everything is going well, so the money will be tight. Life has treated me well. I have no reason to complain, my parents are swimming in debt and they have done so much to help me get started without it. I feel I owe everyone so much, I don't want to take any more. Ah well… I have to be up in 5 hours, so I had best get some sleep.

Posted by FusionGyro at 07:46 AM

Slashdot Viewer for Mac OS

To learn REALbasic, the software used at MatterForm where I hopefully will be working, I downloaded the demo version and implemented the famous Slashdot Story viewer. The result is available here though you will need REALbasic to use it, which means you either need a Mac or Windows copy of the compiler. I may compile it and distribute a nicer version of it later on as I'm getting to know REALbasic, we shall see.

Linguistically, there isn't much special about REALbasic. It's a strongly-typed, single-inheritance OO language. It has both builtin types and objects. The builtin types are Integer, String, Float, Object, and Color, but I might be leaving out a few numeric types. I think having color as a builtin is interesting, but only something a GUI-oriented language would do. I find it strange to have to declare all my variables in BASIC, too. Apart from that, the API seems well-designed though I wish documentation came in a better format than some kind of huge PDF. HTML would be nice. I have been spoiled by Python's nice documentation, particularly the Library Reference. The compiler apparently targets Windows, Mac OS 9/X and Linux though there is no version of the software for Linux (leading me to believe it isn't self-hosting ;). Oh, and it has the g-d-forsaken “New” operator.

I had intended to also write this program in Apple's XCode IDE in Objective-C, a sensible if disgusting language which should be preferred over C++ by all right-thinking people. Unfortunately, I simply didn't have enough time this weekend to do them both; rest assured it is also on the platter. So enjoy this version if you can, I may provide a binary if I get to install REALbasic on my laptop because of my job, we shall see.

Posted by FusionGyro at 07:29 AM

June 26, 2004

Interview Success

Today I had my interview with Matterform Media. It went really well! The day was fraught with good omens: Michael uses the same keyboard setup I do, with the Kinesis Contoured keyboard and the Dvorak layout. They are really happy with me and seem to really want me to work for them. We spent three hours chatting about various things, it was about the most laid back interview I have ever experienced.

There are many reasons why I really like this job. It is using a pretty good language, REALbasic, a BASIC derivative with objects. The similarity to VB seems to be somewhat limited but I'm looking forward to getting a chance to play with it at greater length. I also like the small town, small business, laid-back setting. I even think I like the locale because it is very green. :) The pay could be higher, but I understand it's an introductory rate with a raise after 6 months, and I know Alex and I could make ends meet on the wages.

I can't remember ever salivating over a job quite like this before. I wish I could have taken home some code or something to refactor right now, or be writing some PHP for them as we speak. I have never been so ready to code in my life. It feels like this week was a refresher with all the code I've released. I can't stop giggling about how much I want this job, I've been a real pest to Alex all night.

Still, I told the folks I was going to hold off until Tuesday when I talk to the people in Socorro. I am decidedly less interested in this job now than a few weeks ago. Everything else just seems right at MatterForm, I don't see how I could settle for anything else.

While I was interviewing, they asked me why someone so overqualified as myself was interested in the job. I explained that all my friends were busy getting security clearances to work at labs and it just didn't appeal to me. “I don't really want to create—” Michael interjected “Weapons of mass destruction!” I said “Exactly!” and we were both laughing about it. Then he showed me the software they've got in the works and I'm just rock hard over it. This is a company making some truly innovative software for tying the Mac together. I really want to participate in this company! I have an urge to call them tomorrow and tell them my heart is set on them, but it probably still isn't a good idea. We shall see.

Eric is stopping by for a brief chat on his way home, so I need to go and sit next to the phone. More on this, perhaps, later. :)

Posted by FusionGyro at 05:35 AM

June 25, 2004

Interview Tomorrow

When I woke up this morning, there were a couple nice email in my Inbox. One was from Webcreators (whose website is particularly bad), saying:

We received your resume (among around 100 others) in response to the advertised Developer position, and yours is in the final group of applicants that we are interested in.

It looked like a form letter, so I replied and filled in the blanks. We'll see what happens, it could be quite a good job.

I had another email from Matter Form which sounded much more promising. One reply and now I have an interview with them tomorrow! It sounds like a really cool company.

I had a short talk with Navdeep Bains, the lead developer at Matter Form. He sounds like a great guy, I hope I stay in touch with him. They're located in Española, but on the website they put Santa Fe, which I find curious. Anyway, Navdeep is very talented as you can see by the link.

We did laundry today. At some point during the process, a kid came up and tried to elbow in the door, which we had just watched the maintenance guys fix, so I let him in. He said “Nice shirt. Will you give it to me?” I said thanks but no. Alex suggested I say yes, take my shirt off, rub it on his face, whip him with it and say “Of course not!” but I did not relent. :)

I created an account for the Random 5 bot, so that I could host the band list and have a stable account for email to be coming from. I wrote the mod_ruby, but I haven't had time to deal with the cron job for the email yet though. That's a tomorrow kind of task.

Well, I have to get some rest before my interview tomorrow, so I'm signing off.

Posted by FusionGyro at 09:09 AM

June 23, 2004

Three More Recipes

I've added three more recipes and reworked the recipe index. I added a recipe for Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo which I quite like, and also two of my Mom's recipes: Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup and Roast Duck with Orange Molasses Sauce which we are all quite fond of.

I've been having such a good time doing this I think I may add some kind of search functionality to the index page. We'll see. :)

Posted by FusionGyro at 11:33 AM

Mary Reilly

I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who likes horror or love stories. It is about the only movie I can think of that manages to meld the two themes successfully, or to have even tried.

The movie is the story of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, from the perspective of the doctor's house servants; particularly Mary. Mary and Jeckyl's strained proto-romance is a welcome new perspective on the story. The gore and special effects were also quite nice. Definitely worth $4.

Posted by FusionGyro at 11:17 AM

June 22, 2004

Job Interview Action

Today I heard back from the folks at the lab in Socorro. They want me to come down next Tuesday to see what it's like to work at the lab. I smell a job interview and I think if they want to talk to me my chances must not be too bad.

Last night Nathan and Faust came over. We watched an episode of Coupling (“The Giggle Loop”) and then tried to watch The Dunwich Horror but for the second time I fell asleep near the ending. Something about this movie is just too boring, or maybe it was because I just was too tired both times. I have no idea.

We made ice cream for the first time last night. I applied the “Cinnamon Black Walnut” recipe from the owner's manual. It isn't much to my liking, I think because of all the powder of walnut. I had purchased the black walnuts pre-chopped from Wal-mart because I can't afford to shop anywhere else right now, and I think they were low quality and perhaps pre-chopped creates powder that shouldn't be present. Maybe next time I should wash them or something.

I'm really psyched about this interview. On Monday I had applied to the City of Albuquerque and I might hear back from them next week too. We shall see. :)

Posted by FusionGyro at 10:44 PM

June 21, 2004

Sikth: The Trees are Dead and Dried Up; Wait for Something Wild

Sikth are one of the most interesting new metal groups around. A British band, they have almost no presence in America. I am very lucky to have discovered them, mostly by accident, on Amazon.com. They have a pretty nice website too.

Sikth’s style is best approximated as progressive hardcore, but to give them any label is to deny their impressive versatility. They have two vocalists, and alternate between clean singing and a sort of raspy yet theatrical wail, though often both vocalists participate in the latter style. The guitar work is technical and flashy, blending a high degree of melody with something few technical bands grasp: groove. Yes, Sikth make you want to shake your ass, and that’s a compliment few bands this talented really can do. Two guitarists ensure that you never want for either more rhthym or more soloing, both of which are abundant.

The opening track, “Scent of the Obscene”, begins with a bit of atmospherics a-la Mekong Delta’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” but these become a memory quickly with the introduction of a slap bass line and some reasonably advanced drumming, followed by a guitar slide. Then, the groove has you, and you immediately notice the technicality of the guitar work: high-speed notes are being played in between the riffs. I can’t emphasize enough that the speed here is quite impressive, not because it is really all that fast (though it is) but rather because everything is being played perfectly. Every note is crystal clear. It sounds crisp—a stark contrast to most hardcore, which is usually quite messy. The first vocals you hear are the raspy ones described above, but they lead into the chorus with a combination of clean and raspy vocals. About halfway through the song, the mood changes completely and we find ourselves in a mellow, bass-heavy section with ethereal guitar work while the clean vocalist croons. The intensity grows until we find ourselves back in the chorus, followed by a return to the frenetic mood of the post-introduction. Vocal interplay layered on top of the guitar work is the order of the day.

The second song opens with the higher of the raspy voices screaming “Pussyfooooooooooot!”, the name of the song, leading into grindy guitar work. The speed and intensity are a step up from the previous song. The nearest reference point for some of the vocals here seems to be System of a Down, but the comparison is a reach. Technical guitar work married with technical singing. Then a segue into a groove-enhanced section occurs with a very memorable back-and-forth “OOOGH” “AAAGH” shouting match left and right shouting match over the thumping of the guitar and bass. This is a rhythm-driven song, but the rhythm is very complex.

“Hold my Finger” opens with some guitar flourishes in the background, quickly returning to the groove-driven riffing with a brief step-up. This song has several playful rhythms and alternates between them frequently while alternating between vocal styles. It would be annoying if a lesser band had attempted a song of this complexity level, but Sikth manage to tie any amount of complexity together in a rhthymically and melodically pleasing fashion.

It is impossible to overemphasize the clarity of the elements of Sikth’s music, or in the case of the vocals, the uniqueness. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a singer quite like the singers in Sikth, with rapid-delivery, strange outbursts, theatrical pitch and silliness. I can only hope that it becomes more common in the years to come.

The fourth song is my pick of the litter: “Skies of Millenium Night.” This song stands out from the rest not for technical reasons (though the blood-curdling screams are probably the best here), but rather because more than the other songs it seems to transmit a passionate concern. Sikth can write wonderfully complex and beautiful songs with little underlying meaning, such as “Hold my Finger” which is ostensibly about the intimacy of holding someone’s finger, but in this song they manage to capture an incredible panorama of emotions. The song communicates the frustration of having so much technology and yet not managing to feed the world or reach the stars. Punctuated by screams of “Look at the sky!” it evokes the feelings of hope, frustration, fear, and dissatisfaction, while emphasizing hope. The groove is very much on, and the technicality is present in spades. A beautiful song that simply must be heard.

“Emerson Pt. 1” is a piano solo. These guys are incredibly diverse. :) It’s also short, sort of a well-placed breather between the frenetic first four songs and the other half of the album, which is more mixed.

The next track, “Peep show,” opens with mid-tempo thrash work. It quickly moves into a clean vocal croon over mellow guitar. This transitions into the guitar-heavy chorus with more crooning and wailing voices. It is probably the saddest song on the album and the least unique, but it fits in with the mixture quite well. The vocals become more desparate and scream-y as the song goes on, reaching a fever pitch near the middle just before a mellow inner section.

“Wait for Something Wild” is a mid-tempo grinder with lots of screaming and lots of showing off on the guitar. Abruptly, the mood shifts to a soft, gentle one, and just as abruptly changes to a slower pace, atmospheric guitar. The vocals shift to slower spoken word with clean vocals with intermittent bass and guitar flourishes before another shift back to the introductory theme. The song spends a good 30 seconds on miscellaneous screaming as the exit (sounds like at least 3 voices screaming randomly), which was a new one for me.

“Tupelo” is a Nick Cave cover. The band manages to do a very subtle job without imitating NC. There are plenty of guitar flourishes but the implementation is flawless.

“Can’t We All Dream?” begins with some relatively creepy organ work and a man shouting in the distance, punctuated by bass thumps. A few minutes in, some light atmospheric wailing and singing is added along with some non-standard drumming. A very mellow song with no sudden technical insanity. Some violin comes in as the distant man comes closer, singing gently with apparently female vocals in the background softly filling in. As the song comes to a close, the man in the background is now close, screaming “Can’t We All Dream?!” over and over as the guitar, drums and violin fade out. A theatrical, soft, song with a characteristically weird ending that leaves you tingling.

“Emerson Pt. 2” is another soft piano solo, this time with the sound of kids playing in the background overlayed on it very lightly. Every time I play this song I wonder if I am hearing kids outside. Ends with some beepy crap designed to confuse.

“How May I Help You?” opens frenetic, reminiscent of “Pussyfoot” though groovy as hell. Strange scales are playing in the background throughout, reminiscent of Mekong Delta’s “Music of Erich Zann” album and “Memories of Tomorrow” in particular. The groove changes repeatedly in this short piece but never manages to settle on a particular rhythm or melody. The song closes with theatrical voices interacting, a low and heavy voice and a high voice leading into more rhythm/melody randomness. This is all very pleasing to the ear, it should be emphasized.

The next piece, “(If You Weren’t So) Perfect” starts with old-school thrash transitioning to melody-play. Out of nowhere a hard groove emerges and dominates the rhythm, demanding at least an obligatory ass-shake, then departs for more melody-play, and this pattern repeats itself.

“Such the Fool” is about as close as they come to an amelodic technical hardcore song, though the melody is still present—just foreign sounding. Transitions are faster and more random in this song, with another clean vocal melodic chorus leading into a mellow section, which returns to the insanity after a moderate length of time. This is probably the most technical song on the album, showing that even after the insanity of the first half of the album, Sikth can turn it up a notch.

The final track, “When Will the Forest Speak?” is a spoken word piece with no instruments other than some slight vocal modification. You have to hear it to believe it.

Sikth are incredibly talented. I hope that someone here decides to purchase this album or come over to my place to hear it or something, based on this review. The complexity would be really daunting if melody and groove weren’t their other mottos. I love the vocalizations and the complexity there, a contrast to most other technical outfits that limit themselves to death or hardcore shouts, or even traditional singing. The complexity of their vocals are enough to merit them a place in the annals of metal history, but they are also bearers of two masters of guitar. The rhythm section ensures that just about every song on the album is danceable, or as close to it as we can come in the metal genre. Truly I can think of no other band in 2003 or 2004 who has done as much to propel us into the future.

Posted by FusionGyro at 05:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Father's Day Summary

Today was really a splendid day. Alex and I, after unsuccessfully calling Clark's Pet Emporium to see about pond-scrubbing fish, took what we had and went to my folk's house.

I gave Dad a nice Leatherman C2 for Father's day, and Alex and I had made the aforementioned Frog Egg Salad. Alex and Hillary had made a really boss turtle-looking cake, images forthcoming. Dad seemed to like the knife, which I was a bit surprised by, because he has these strict requirements for a knife:

  1. It must be a Swiss Army-style pocket knife, and
  2. It must have a Phillips-head screwdriver in the side.

People who have owned Swiss Army knives know that the company is fond of putting three things in the back of a knife where they do not fully deploy: awls, corkscrews, and Phillips-head screwdrivers. This pisses Dad off because most of the time when you need the Phillips action, you need something the length of a small screwdriver at least, rather than this half-assed middle of stick bullshit.

Apparently, Victorinox rarely has models available with the screwdriver in the right place, and the places I went informed me that Victorinox doesn't make a model with a screwdriver there at this time. Well, apparently they are full of shit but we'll see if he likes this Leatherman. It's a nice tool, about the size of a pocket knife, but sturdier because, well, it's a Leatherman. Some people swear by Swiss Army though.

The cake and the salad were a big hit. Nathan gave me a pocket knife. He seems to be worried about my safety, which is understandable because I told him a story about Alex's old apartment complex that made him fear for my safety.

One night as Faust, Alex and I were sitting down to watch a movie, we heard screaming outside. We opened the balcony door and heard a woman crying out “Get away from me! Don't come near me!” and saw her running around the parking lot with a guy one foot behind her. I went outside onto the balcony and saw them go under the staircase. I had everyone else get back and came back in, shut the door and closed the blinds. Then we heard three gunshots, and we all turned pale. I told Faust to call the cops, which he did, though they never showed up. A little while later we heard the sound of heavy things being thrown into the dumpster.

Alex's old place was a dump, a real shithole. I have this idea to start some kind of apartment listing page with commenting, some sort of apartment bitch/praise zone on the net so people know what they're getting into, because we should be able to avoid this kind of fucked up shit. The place we're at now is a total contrast to her old place, and that makes me glad. We're on the third floor and behind a doubly deadbolted door. I haven't heard shit outside apart from loud music next to and below us. It is a peaceful place.

Tomorrow I'm going to post some more of my archived code. I hope to hear back from some potential employers, too.

Posted by FusionGyro at 08:10 AM

PUtils: Image Management Software

It's a well-known fact that I have an impressive porn archive on my computer. People often ask me, “Hey Dan! You have an impressive porn archive on your computer! How do you keep it so well-organized?”

The answer, my friends, (and I'm sure you can see this coming) is software! And lots of it! Well, the most recently written batch I created for the sole purpose of keeping my directories in order and my file names consistent. That software, the P-Utils is finally rated safe for public consumption. Let me know if you use it or find it useful. If you have any questions about the finer points of porn management, I would be more than happy to lend my expertise in the matter, whether you have traditional home porn management problems, or enterprise-class IBM e-Server-level porn issues. I am sure I can help. :)

Posted by FusionGyro at 04:55 AM

Recipe for Orange Julius

I had so much fun playing with Shipman's recipe stuff that I went and found the other recipe that Alex had and digitized it, also. So here it is, the recipe for an Orange Julius.

To celebrate, I went ahead and made a little script for handling my recipes. All it does is part out the <title> from the XML and use that for the title of the recipe; maybe later I'll introduce some kind of sorting but right not it's not all that important.

I enjoy working with the recipe code even though (as you can see) I'm not using it for works of art like John is. Maybe I should write an app and put Shippy out of business. ;)

Posted by FusionGyro at 04:05 AM

June 20, 2004

B3M: Background Menu Generator for Blackbox

B3M is basically done pending bug removal (if anyone finds any). Feel free to download it and let me know if you like it or use it.

All it does is parse an image directory and its subdirectories and produce a menu which mirrors the structure (and does a small amount of name beautification).

Here is a sample run of it on my box, by executing b3m.py ~/wallpaper.

[submenu] (Wallpaper)
  [exec] (Agni1600) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/agni1600.jpg'}
  [exec] (Alpine1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/alpine1280.jpg'}
  [exec] (Arctica1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/arctica1280.jpg'}
  [exec] (Binary1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/binary1280.jpg'}
  [exec] (Core1600) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/core1600.jpg'}
  [exec] (Default) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/default.jpg'}
  [exec] (Eventide1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/eventide1280.jpg'}
  [exec] (Grotto) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/grotto.jpg'}
  [exec] (Grotto1600) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/grotto1600.jpg'}
  [exec] (Locus1600) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/locus1600.jpg'}
  [exec] (Nuclear) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/nuclear.png'}
  [exec] (Satori1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/satori1280.jpg'}
  [exec] (Solus1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/solus1280.jpg'}
  [exec] (Source1280) {Esetroot -f '/home/fusion/wallpaper/source1280.jpg'}

Posted by FusionGyro at 06:39 PM

Cat Issues Mostly Resolved

Last night as Alex and I were going to bed, the cats were fighting. We got this nice door post toy which Ebony and Lllama have been fighting over until they hiss, then we take it down. Anyway, they were fighting pretty fiercely last night.

When we got up this morning, we searched everywhere around the apartment and couldn't find the cats. I noticed a bulge in the blanket by the bed and looked inside, finding Lllama laying on top of Ebony! They haven't been so friendly today but there's been much less hissing, and Ebony has tolerated the presence of Lllama, to the point of even laying on one side of me or Alex while Lllama is on the other.

Alex made frog egg salad last night, which is quite good. The recipe is here if you're interested (I got the software from John Shipman if you're interested; source is here.) It's tasty and horrible, and I love it. :)

Last night Eric came in and the four of us went to the Attic while he signed the last band for his event today. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it, but I am certain it went off without a hitch. He had booked several local bands: Red Earth, Against The Grain (ATG), The Mindy Set, and another called Tetelestica or something, who don't seem to have a website. Of course, Rob Lopez's current band The Scallywags were headlining and were contracted specifically to play The Star Spangled Banner. I wish I could have been there but unfortunately I am a slackass and tired from all the moving.

Well, tomorrow we move some nice chairs up here, so I need to hit the sack.

Posted by FusionGyro at 06:56 AM

June 18, 2004

Cat Issues

The damned cat, how cute she is! The night before last I got sleep in 3-4 hour chunks interrupted by Lllama's incredibly loud yelping. Last night she woke me up several times marching around on the bed. Vicky's husband wakes up at about 4:45 each morning and feeds the cats, which explains why at 5:30 AM Lllama screams her head off. I waited until about 9:30 to feed her the day before yesterday, but last night I was going to bed around 6 AM so I fed her then. Vicky says she will get used to our schedule eventually.

I went ahead and got the cheapest computer desk I could find—$37.99—along with a nice chair and now I have a computer desk. In fact, I'm posting from it, so we have Linux-action once again.

Alex's cat Ebony has been having some trouble getting used to Lllama. Last night, Alex noticed that her cat hasn't been eating, so we did a late run to Walmart to get catfood that he might eat and some catnip in the hopes that it would mellow him out to such a degree that he might make friends. He ate some food but still won't get within a couple feet of the kitten without hissing and running off.

Alex and Hillary are in the other room cooking up a surprise for Father's Day. I'll have more details on that later.

My cat kneads my hair in my sleep. My hair has been weirder looking than ever. She likes to sleep on my pillow when she's not attacking my feet. It's really sweet. :) Alex says that the cat is a Daniel finder; all she has to do is start meowing and I start yelling out “Lllama! Lllama!” so she'll find me and not be scared anymore.

Last night Faust came over and we hacked for a while; I wound up writing a nice little background menu generator for Blackbox, so I'll post that code in a little while.

That's all for now.

Posted by FusionGyro at 11:42 PM

June 17, 2004

Move In: Phase 2 - We Have Bed

Thanks to Alex's sister, we now have her Queen-size bed in here. The folks contributed four chairs and Nathan contributed a card table, so we have some basic furniture. I'm writing this on the bed from the bedroom using the power of the wireless DSL hub I got, so I may wind up lending the airport to Faust.

Relearning Dvorak isn't much fun but could be worse. I think I'm down to 50 or 60 WPM. The month of qwerty wasn't very good for my memory but fortunately I did very little in the way of coding. I'm delaying setting up my Linux box until I have a proper desk for it, because I'm sure I'll get absorbed in it and be a zombie for a few hours, and I'd rather not strain my neck, back and arms when that happens.

My cat, apparently, suffers from some kind of attachment disorder; she cries at the top of her lungs when she is alone. She hasn't been particularly affectionate (though she seems to like crawling on my shoulders), she has warmed up as time has gone on. I have to take her with me when I go to another room or she cries, but when I take her she ignores me and explores. Except for the bedroom, where she lays about on the bed.

I'm going to call it a night early I think.

Posted by FusionGyro at 04:50 AM

June 16, 2004

Move In: Phase 1 Complete

All of my shit is now located inside the apartment. We went and picked up my cat as well, so she's here bawling at nothing in particular while she gets used to the new place.

I have way too much shit still. Nice, how a three story apartment can help you remember these things. Nathan and Faust helped me move it all up, which I appreciated quite a bit after Nathan pointed out that I was about to have heatstroke this morning. I got everyone lunch at the Golden Bird (formerly Fu Hua's) but it was unsatisfactory so I'll probably wind up doing it again sometime.

DSL works, and I'm posting from the corner of the spare bedroom/office where my computing equipment is going to be. There isn't a scrap of furniture in here at all; we ate our late lunch on the kitchen floor. Hopefully we'll be acquiring some chairs and a card table from home before the night is out, and a shower curtain.

Tomorrow we'll try to make it to some garage sales and round out the furniture. This sitting on the floor crap is getting old really fast. I'm not sure what I'm doing by way of computer desk, but this is a problem I want to deal with as soon as possible.

Posted by FusionGyro at 11:43 PM

More Apartment X-Windows

We just got back from buying a lot of shit for the apartment. Alex is staying at her old apartment tonight so she can pack. I'm over at the folk's place tonight to finish (re)packing and whatnot.

Last night I finished the Alef-Bet For Adults book so now I can somewhat convert written Hebrew into the proper sounds. Of course, that depends on if I have been reading and understanding properly which it's possible I have not. I don't really have any Hebraic authorities around at the moment to correct me.

For those that don't know, I've decided that after 5 or so years of semi-serious Kabbalah study and interest, it's time to give up the pretending and get serious about conversion. Half of you have been calling me a Jew all these years anyway, though it wasn't (and isn't) correct. There aren't any conversion classes or Hebrew classes going on at the moment in Albuquerque as far as I can tell, so it will be a long while before the next development on this front.

A few weeks ago I finished the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I strongly recommend this book to everyone; it's short, easy to read, and has a great plot and message. Damn near anyone might like it.

Reading The Alchemist, one might notice references to something called “The Emerald Tablet of Hermes.” Looking around online, I was able to find a page with several translations of it. Apparently it did exist, and in so many different forms and translations that very little about it is clear.

One of the translations provided on that page is a so-called “Hypothetical Chinese Original” with a reference. This version is quite interesting because it mentions the Tao. If this version is the original version (or provably similar to it), then it would implicate China as the original source of alchemy—not just the chemistry, but also the equally fascinating philosophy of alchemy. A Taoist basis for alchemy would imply a Taoist basis for Rosicrucianism, and that is something quite remarkable and amusing to me, as someone who has studied both to some extent.

I intend to dig up this reference and see if they provide a hypothetical Chinese original or if they provide a translation of the hypothetical Chinese original. If it is the former, Jarrod has already agreed to translate it for me in the same fashion as he has translated some sections of the Tao Te Ching, which would be fabulous.

I hope you guys take a look at the translation, it's really quite fascinating. It seems to be the origin of the famous “as above; so below” aphorism.

Posted by FusionGyro at 03:52 AM

Move In

For some reason, whenever I move I just can't sleep the night before. My mind was running over everything over and over and I didn't fall asleep initially until 2 hours after I went to bed. Then it was just one hour of sleep before I woke up again, took another 20 minutes to fall back asleep, and slept until 6 when someone woke me up on accident.

I'm going to sleep quite well tonight I think. I'm tired already and I've got untold boxes to carry and load and whatnot. I should get to it. Hopefully I'll have a DSL modem waiting for me at the entrance when I get there. :) We'll see.

Posted by FusionGyro at 02:08 AM

June 15, 2004

New Apartment and Inaugural Post

Tomorrow I go to the bank to get a cashier's check to pay for my first month's rent. I'll be living with Alex at a nice place called “Comanche Wells.”

In case you haven't heard, Alex and my family all got together and purchased a pure-bred Maine Coon kitten for me. Maybe I'll have some pictures up for that on Thursday when I take her home. My father supplied the name: Lllama. Don't ask. :)

So this is about my third or fourth website, which goes to show you that I just can't settle on a single format or piece of software (including the one I wrote for myself, RantPage. Alex asked me if I intended to keep up with this website any better than the others. I can't really say “yes” to that, but we'll see what happens. I recall the last time I did a semi-good job of keeping a website updated was when I was in Alaska and apparently Jarrod is now also keeping a journal of his own for his Alaska stuff. Now that I'm not around in Socorro I expect I'll miss you guys, and that will hopefully lead to posting. We'll see.

After Wednesday, I plan on spending some time polishing my code and putting it up on the web under the GPL while I polish my résumé. At that point I'll probably scrap pyBlosxom and start writing the stuff that Manuel and Bill and I were talking about. We'll see when it happens I suppose.

End of first post. :)

Posted by FusionGyro at 09:26 PM