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+ raelity bytes
+ paul e. [LJ]
+ Rain Graves
+ gnat [use Perl;]

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My other sites:
- Silicon Valley Scale Modelers
- Book page for Programming Web Services With Perl

Other journals I read:
= DJ Adams
= rebecca blood
= Tim Bray
= Margaret Cho
= Warren Ellis
= Neil Gaiman
= Rafael Garcia-Suarez
= John Gorenfeld
= Lawrence Lessig
= Michael McCracken
= Jeff Vogel
= Norm Walsh
= Wil Wheaton

My journal at use.perl.org:
· Restless
· RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· Forgive Me, Bretheren Monks
· Extry Extry: Winer Leaves the RSS Advisory Board
· RPC::XML 0.54 Uploaded
· The Books of Perl
· Good Intentions Don't Equal Good Results
· Errata Tracking Page for PWSWP
· Image::Size 2.992 Uploaded
· Props to Portland PM
· Lightning Talks
· OSCON, Tuesday
· OSCON Plans Now Set

» Blogs that link here

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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

On Airports, Inefficiency and Obvious Questions 2002.12.30.03:47

My flight leaving Oklahoma was delayed for 2 1/2 hours because of a technical problem that had to be fixed. This meant missing my Dallas connection to San Francisco, so they arranged for me to take a later connecting flight. But they neglected to change the routing information on my bags, so those were not moved from the first flight to the (new) connecting flight in time. I now await the next flight in from DFW, to see if they made that flight. If not, I go home and let American Airlines bring them to my door when they finally arrive.

One thing that I thought I noticed, but really hadn't sunk in, was that the agents at baggage check-in no longer ask you the series of questions about whether your luggage had been out of your control, whether someone had asked you to transport something for them, etc. I remember prepping for the usual quick answers to these, but hadn't really noticed that I had not been asked either at OKC or when I left San Francisco last Sunday. What made me realize this was overhearing two people talking, one of whom was explaining to the other that this practice had been dropped when the new government agency had taken over airport security.

Apparently, it finally occurred to someone that no one was going to actually admit that they had left their baggage unattended, or that they were carrying any mysterious packages. Better than never realizing this, I guess...

# [/misc]

Note to Self #1 2002.12.29.17:51

Going through airport security in a highly conservative location like Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, while wearing a shirt that reads, "One by one the penguins steal my sanity", will get you noticed.

Bet on it.

# [/misc]

Welcome to the South. Here're Your Smokes. 2002.12.29.05:24

I've been almost exactly a week in Oklahoma, now. My annual trip back for the holidays, to visit family and friends. But it's a trip I look forward to less and less each year, because the longer I live in California the less tolerance I have for breathing smoke.

Say what you will about the pervasiveness of California's anti-smoking laws. But you easily forget the difference it makes until you're in a place where not only do restaurants have a smoking section, often it's larger than the non-smoking section. And if a restaurant has a smoking section, they don't really have a non-smoking section, after all.

I wonder how much of it is cultural, because the influence is everywhere. Oklahoma isn't really the deep south, but it's far enough. And smoking is pretty much everywhere– I've seen more occurances of the "I Smoke and I Vote" bumper-sticker in the last week than I've seen in the previous year. An effort to get legislation to bar smoking in restaurants was killed, so the health department mandated that restaurants either declare themselves as all-smoking, all-non-smoking, or build an enclosed smoking area with its own ventilation. The state courts struck that down, after restaurant owners protested. And they protested having to go completely smoke-free, saying that it would drive them out of business (but it hasn't in California).

In truth, I suppose the main reason I find this so much of a bother is that my own dad, in whose house I'm staying, is a three-pack-a-day man. The smell permeates all the clothing I brought with me, as well as my leather jacket and hat. I'll be coughing and wheezing for about two weeks after I get home tomorrow. I brush my teeth every chance I get, but there is a lingering ashen taste in my mouth that stems from just breathing around here (not to mention when I go out to eat with my dad). The house that I grew up in has a grey haze in all the rooms. It is important to note that it was my grandparents' house when I was raised here, and it was always impeccably clean then. Now, it's dingy and dusty with wallpaper peeling from the walls and dishes on the counter and in the sink that have sat literally for years. It's as thought the condition of the house is a purposeful metaphor for the way things have changed in general since my grandmother's passing left the house to my dad.

# [/thoughts]

Going Home Again 2002.12.28.00:58

I just spent several hours driving in and around Norman, Oklahoma. This is the town that houses the University of Oklahoma, the school I went to and graduated from (in 1990).

By the way, this is no maudlin "you can never really go home again" sort of reflection. While I'm not thrilled at some of the changes that have come to the old alma mater, this was more of a cruise through memory lane than a journey of self-immolation by means of painful recollections. College may not have been the most fun four years of my life, but the good overall outweighed the bad, and most of the places I drove past held good memories. Old apartments I lived in, the comic book store I used to buy my weekly "fix" from. The music center where the marching band formed up on game days, and the dorms I used to live in. Mind you, they're currently building an extension on to the football stadium that just makes me shake my head is resignation, but football has always reigned king here, so I shouldn't be surprised.

One thing I've had fun with is identifying businesses that have thrived and those that have died in the years since I left. A little pizza delivery chain called "Pizza Shuttle" is still in business, despite the proliferation of Dominoes. But the indie record store I used to buy from is gone. The comic store is still there, but under a new name and new management. But there are two new ones in town, as well, a pleasant surprise. And the cut-rate grocery I used to shop at is closed up, with "for lease" signs in the windows. Almost certainly a victim of a new Wal-Mart "Supercenter" store a half-mile north on the same street.

You can always go home. You just can't always expect it to look just like it did 13 years ago.

# [/thoughts]

Wholly Unsettling 2002.12.19.23:07

Mass arrests of Muslims in LA

On the one hand, these are people who have living in the U.S. more or less illegally. But they are also people who have been (presumably) law-abiding, money-earning and tax-paying members of society. The part that is the most disturbing is that all of the people are those who had chosen to willingly come forth and cooperate with the new INS components of the legislation passed in the wake of 9/11. If this is their reward to playing by the rules, what are the odds that the next time people are asked to "cooperate", that they'll have any motivation whatsoever to do so?

# [/politics]

A Two Towers Kind of Tired 2002.12.18.12:15

I just got back from a 12:01AM showing of The Two Towers. I can barely stay awake to write this, but what good is gloating unless done at the appropriate time?

A fuller review will follow. You don't really need me to tell you that it's worth seeing, do you?

# [/entertainment/movies]

Wind, Part 2 2002.12.17.01:32

Large-scale damage all over as I drove to work today. The power went out last night somewhere around 2:30 or so, based on the elapsed-time on the blinking clocks this morning. The outage must have been short, as none of the computers lost power (the UPS has about 20 minutes of juice, since there are two machines hooked up to it). Once in the office, though, it was clear that the damage wasn't just down in the south area. Numerous trees were partially or completely destroyed in and around the parking lot. The power had gone out here, as well, as all machines had re-booted themselves. File servers and such came back up in strange sequences, leaving some machines unable to connect to servers at their boot-time, since the servers in question were themselves still booting. We had problems with some production-level servers that had been jumbled by the power-cycle.

On the other hand, it puts the whole messy-apartment thing in perspective.

# [/misc]

And the Winds Come Sweeping Down 2002.12.16.08:06

As I type this, the wind here in Campbell is blowing strongly enough to rattle my patio doors, make the front door whine under the pressure, and scare the bejeesus out of my cats. I managed to be spared the power failures yesterday, but I'm really hoping to not have random debris delivered free-of-charge through any of my windows.

# [/misc]

Headlines #1 2002.12.14.01:32

Among the newsworthy things that got reported today:


# [/misc]

These Tricks Never Work 2002.12.12.09:41

But if you're so inclined to add your name to on-line petitions, I offer up this link to the Save Firefly petition. Fox TV is putting the show "on hiatus", due to low ratings. I myself would like to see the show given the chance to succeed that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" have had.

# [/entertainment/tv]

Crackle Pop 2002.12.12.08:51

That's the sound my monitor started to make just last night.

"Crackle-pop" is fine for a breakfast cereal, but it's a damned unhealthy sound for a video monitor to be making, particularly when I'm trying to focus on Christmas shopping for friends and family.

For now, I can function by running most of my applications on the laptop, either directly or by SSH. But it is yet another unplanned expense (along with the recent brake work and camera repair) to have to work around.

# [/tech]

I Feel So Old 2002.12.08.07:40

Not even midnight, on a Saturday night, and I'm already headed for bed. Man, this makes me feel old.

today was a fairly busy day. Spent most of it at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, looking at and photographing museum displays. And I've been working hard on cleaning up a lot of my clutter and freeing up some space in my apartment lately. 6 hours of the former and 3-4 hours of the latter, and I'm beat.

Man, I feel old.

# [/thoughts]

Static Clings to Me 2002.12.01.08:54

There was one thing about coming to Colorado that I forget to take into account: dryness of the air, and the static that results from it.

It seems like anytime I move more than a few feet at a time, I pick up a charge. Reach for a doorknob, ZAP. Reach for my cellphone or PDA, ZAP. I shudder to think what I might accidentally do to this laptop, if I were to forget to ground myself, first.

# [/misc]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

Category quick-links:


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Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep
Oct Nov Dec

Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

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