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+ paul e. [LJ]
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My other sites:
- Silicon Valley Scale Modelers
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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

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

Holy Cow, I Can Cook! 2005.01.25.07:18

For those that don't know, I decided back in December to give vegetarianism a fair try. This meant, among other things, that I would have to start cooking at home more. For one thing, there are limited vegetarian options. For another, I just needed to be eating out less in general, both for healthier eating and for the sake of saving money. The catch is, I haven't done any real cooking since I lived in Denver. Pasta, microwavable stuff. The occassional pre-prepared meal from Safeway that I could bake. That wouldn't do for this new diet, though.

So far, I've been subsisting on mac & cheese, pasta, and eating out. I've also been building up my kitchen for "real" cooking, with spices and various staples (lentils, flours, etc.). Well, today it was time to finally suck it up and see.

Wow, I can fuckin' cook.

Tonight's dinner consisted of Eggplant and Labna (yoghurt sauce), followed by a dish from one of my cookbooks called, "Spicy Lentils with Spinach". And it was good. I can't reprint that recipe for copyright reasons, but basically it consisted of green lentils simmered with onion, spices (ginger, cumin, garlic), fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint) and baby spinach leaves. I was sure it would taste like ass when I took the first bite, but on the contrary. It was very tasty.

Now, neither dish came out perfect. The eggplant was overcooked and mushy, mainly because my understanding of "cook until golden brown" was probably a darker shade of brown than was intended. The labna was great, but I poured too much of it over the eggplant. The lentil dish cooked well, the lentils just the right level of tender. But I didn't cut up the onion as finely as it should be (not to mention, I cut a finger while chopping it), I used a little too much lemon juice, and I scalded the onions before adding the other ingredients.

But ya know what? It still rocked. And I have leftovers.

# [/food]

It's Mourning in America 2005.01.21.03:25

Today, George W. Bush was inaugurated for his second term in office. I know he admired Ronald Reagan a great deal, so perhaps he can appreciate the pun I chose for this entry's title. I am in mourning for the imperfect system we had, that at least attempted to be a reasonable representative democracy.

Along the inaugural parade route, protesters were hassled, forced to disperse or even escorted away by police. But I'm assured, by people who vote Republican, that our country is doing fine. They point out that people who disagree aren't being rounded up or anything. But over 1800 were arrested in NYC during the Repub's convention. Almost all of them were held for 60+ hours without access to lawyers or anything similar. It took a court order for the NYPD to start releasing people. 60 hours– that's two and a half days, in an over-crowded holding facility. 1800 people. My high school didn't have that many students (in all 4 year-levels) attending at a given time. Luckily, it seems that today's efforts were mostly in dispersal. Hard to tell, since so few news outlets mention it. The story at CNN doesn't mention the police actions until about the half-way point.

People who protest are getting arrested. People in the CIA who had the gall to stand by the facts of their analysis results rather than re-jig them to support a pro-war policy have been purged (oops, I mean, "have chosen to retire early from a career in public service"). No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq after all, so now everyone is insisting that the rational wasn't WMDs, it was the need to bring Democracy in (they've already stopped trying to tie Hussein to Al Qaeda). And we've done a bang-up job, there. Conditions in Baghdad are just wonderful. Condi Rice and Alberto Gonzales are both sailing along, despite being confronted with their own words. And the Democrats like Boxer who dare remind Rice of the things she specifically said, they're attacked and insulted for their impertinance.

So forgive me if I don't see any reason to celebrate today. It's pretty clear (to me, at least, and an ever-growing number of others) that we had no real reason other than oil for invading Iraq. 1300+ U.S. dead, and no count of the number of Iraqi civilians dead. But hey, there's a good chance Bush can stack a more pro-life court over the next 4 years, so everyone wins, right?

Behold the unborn fetus and
   Weep salt tears crocodilian;
All life is sacred (save, of course,
   An enemy civilian).
– Ogden Nash

# [/politics]

Five By Five in 2005 2005.01.04.02:48

I did this once before, way back when. But the meme is making the LiveJournal rounds again, so why not?

Five Things 2004 Taught Me
  1. A spiralling national budget deficit, blatant deception about going into war, and evidence of gross human rights violations won't keep you from getting re-elected, as long as you can scare people with the thought of two dudes kissing.
  2. Deciding to pay attention to, and start to really care about, the political process can be very taxing, emotionally. Whether or not your side wins.
  3. Choosing to be happy and accepting of the live I have takes significantly less effort and energy than being depressed all the time. It's a shame it took me until December of 2004 to figure this one out.
  4. Choosing to become a vegetarian is a lot harder than it seems at first glance. The hardest part is giving up most of the restaurants you love to eat at, simply because they don't have any real vegetarian offerings. Conversely, asking at restaurants can lead to discovering veggie dishes that just aren't on the menu.
  5. I truly have three places I consider home, which makes it difficult whenever I have to leave one of the other two to return to California. After all the years in Oklahoma, I just can't break those ties, even with all my complaining about the place. In the case of Colorado, I was there just long enough to put down some roots, and I still miss it something fierce, especially when I see or talk to friends who still live there.
Five Personally Significant Events of 2004
  1. In February, I found myself the only member of the executive board of AMPS, a modeling society I value a great deal. Tempted as I was to join my friends who had resigned because of sniping and in-fighting, I chose to stick with it through the convention the following April. I found that truly enjoyed interacting with everyone to a greater degree than I normally did as a 2nd VP. Had my work schedule allowed, I would have run to retain the office of president. But my schedule did not allow, and I was not going to take an office that I couldn't handle the responsibilities of. Still, I learned I could do more than I would give myself credit for, if I were willing to try.
  2. Asking out, and going out briefly, with three different people. After I'd made myself into a veritable shut-in through 2003 and most of the first half of 2004, it was very reassuring to find that I could still interact with people on that level, even if the chemistry wasn't there to lead to longer relationships.
  3. Visiting my Mom in Arizona. It was the first time I'd been in AZ since the death of a relative several years earlier, and the first time I actually spent any real time there since 1984. I was amazed at how quickly I re-acclimated to the heat, even though I hate high temperatures. (Fortunately, I didn't feel the same pull I feel for Oklahoma and Colorado.)
  4. In December, I took a course from the Art of Living Foundation, that has had a big role in changing the way I think about and look at many aspects of my life. Deciding to go was tough, as it felt to me much like other guru-oriented cults that I have heard about all my life. But I decided to take a chance, and was relieved to see nothing at all that triggered either my cult or agnosticism alerts. And it was a valuable experience.
  5. I really have to include the elections on Nov. 2. This was the first year that I didn't just vote, but actually paid attention through most of the campaign, read in-depth about many of the issues, and essentially built up an emotional investment in the results. And I was gravely disappointed in the end. I find it hard, still, to take an attitude of "keep up the good fight." Part of me really does just want to go live somewhere else until 2008.
Five Things I Want to Do in 2005
  1. Continue my choice of vegetarianism (with the occassional exception made for dining out with non-veg friends). This will entail learning to cook more veggie dishes, and getting into the habit of cooking and eating at home much more than I currently do.
  2. Continue losing weight (25 pounds lost in 2004!), mostly by re-starting my exercise regimen. Meeting the above goal will help, as well.
  3. Write another book. I've said this before, and not done it yet. But to be frank (and risking sounding like a cliché), I'm quite different now.
  4. Complete more modeling projects.
  5. Finish the monumental task of giving my apartment a face-lift in the sense of interior decoration and layout. This means getting rid of a lot of junk I'm reluctant to part with, moving the contents of whole rooms around, and re-doing a lot of the kitchen.
Five Things I Don't Want to Do in 2005
  1. Regain any of the weight I've lost.
  2. Engage in any counter-productive relationships, merely out of a fear of being alone or a sense of desperation.
  3. Let myself run out of any of my medications (again).
  4. Go any deeper into debt.
  5. I don't want to spend as much of my waking time at my job.
Five People I Want to Learn More About in 2005
  1. Me, actually.
  2. Unlike the LJ version of this meme, there isn't an easy way to indicate the remaining four, without revealing full names absent their consent.
  3. So, I guess I have to wimp out on this one.
  4. Sorry.
  5. ...
# [/thoughts]

Kick Out the Vote 2005.01.04.01:48

I haven't written on the subject of the elections. I am very disappointed, though I do believe that a large degree of fraud was enacted. Whether anything ever comes of it remains to be seen. My feelings on the election itself, though, are for another time.

For now, I wish to draw people's attention to the following nifty list:

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

# [/politics]

For Some Values of 'Revolutionary' 2005.01.03.06:03

Time Magazine has named President Bush their 2004 Person of the Year. On the magazine cover itself, it refers to him as "American Revolutionary". This just offends me to no end, in some ways moreso than the elections themselves.

We've just spent a year putting up with the dirtiest, most negative presidential campaign in modern memory. People played up the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" <cough> ad campaigns as though they were truth from above, despite the fact that no one in the ads served with Kerry. Then they turned around and hung Dan Rather out to dry over some memos whose origins couldn't be proven 100%, ignoring the many other stories about his lack of attendance at his ANG posting. Our standing with the rest of the world has fallen to all-time lows, as has the standing of our currency on world markets. At our current rate, we'll be neither the world's leading economy nor the world's leader in tech innovation within 5-10 years. Money is being taken away from AIDS and family planning, while being given to groups like the Rev. Moon's Unification Church or groups/people closely associated.

Revolutionary, indeed. The line between church and state is more blurred than it has been in probably 50 years or more. And there are clearly people out there who want that line gone. People who voted for Bush strictly on the grounds of his (loudly and frequently) proclaimed faith. People who would support the Alabama congressman who called for all books depicting or promoting anything to do with homosexuality taken from public libraries and destroyed. He got a private meeting with Time's PotY. Several, in fact.

People in general, and Time in particular, seem to have forgotten that this country wasn't founded by people like George W. Bush, Pat Roberston, Jerry Falwell or John Ashcroft. It was founded by people who left England to get away from people like George W. Bush, Pat Roberston, Jerry Falwell and John Ashcroft. Going backwards to that isn't revolutionary, it's de-evolutionary.

# [/politics]

'No Comment' May Itself be a Comment 2005.01.02.06:05

I've been doing some clean-up on this journal, and one of the things I've done recently is remove the comments from stories. This isn't about hiding myself from the opinions of others, but rather about comment-spam.

The comment system I used is fairly robust, and could prevent some types of comment-spam (comments that are either outright commercial messages, or worse, those that contain malicious JavaScript code). But not all of it, and while I had some useful cron scripts catching most of the rest, it just got to be too much of a hassle.

So, from now on if you want to disagree with me, you'll have to actually e-mail me to do so...

# [/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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