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

Syndication feeds:
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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

Change on the Horizon 2006.12.26.06:54

With the new year, I am planning to move my "social" blogging to my LiveJournal account (rjray.livejournal.com). Thus far, I've just been using it to enable my LJ-using friends to include me in filters they create for privacy. But it has a lot of features, as any die-hard LJ user will attest, and it just makes more sense to use them than to keep trying to hack Blosxom to add the same basic functionality as already exists. Perhaps one day I'll get around to writing a nifty, pluggable, slick package of my own. But for now, LJ will fill the space just fine.

This site is not going away, though, just changing in its focus. I will be making this domain a portal for the varied blogs I keep (most of which update far too rarely, an issue I'll probably set as part of my New Year's resolutions). Specifically, I will be aggregating all of these many and varied sources into this blog. So if you prefer to read from here, not only will you not miss anything, you'll be getting more than before. Well, you may actually miss some things, because LJ will allow me to create filters for friends which will allow me to write about things that are more personal, things that I currently don't write about here because I have no control over the readership. (I could add more Blosxom plugins or write my own, but that goes back to the previous argument about using LJ instead of reinventing it.) So, you may still miss things, but you wouldn't have seen them anyway so does that really count as missing them?

At present, I plan to be collecting the following here:

The last item is a podcast that I started back in May, but which I've only managed two installments. That's also on the resolutions list.

Should I (foolishly) add any other journalling to my pantheon, those too should get reflected here. When I make the switch-over, odds are that the others will initially show up here as a flood. In the case of the LJ, Java and podcast streams that won't be too bad; the LJ account has fewer than 15 posts in it at present, and neither of the Java or podcast blogs has yet reached double-digits. The Perl blog, though, I've been using for quite some time. Whatever the limit of entries it returns in an RSS feed, expect them all to land at once. These things, they happen.

And speaking of RSS (and/or Atom) feeds, if you use them then the one from here will just be that much more useful, since it will encapsulate the whole mess. Currently, there's a syndication channel on LJ that reads the RSS feed for this site. I'm hoping to have the current one removed so that I can re-create it under my ownership (the existing one was created by a friend, but as such my ability to monitor/control it is essentially nil). I may even go so far as to customize a feed specifically for LJ-based syndication (for those of you who read this via that channel, and might be thus interested). Otherwise those who are LJ users already and have me listed as a friend will end up seeing my LJ posts twice, which is not a good way to keep people interested and reading.

# [/thoughts]

First Day on the New Job 2006.12.12.07:41

Went well, very well. I felt very welcomed by everyone here, the people I met last month at the interview and people that were new to me. Any worries I may have had about whether I made the right choice, these were laid to rest today. I'm home.

# [/thoughts]

I Hope I Know What I'm Doing This Time 2006.12.09.07:36

In about, oh, 12 hours or so, I'll be hitting the road to return to California. This isn't what I had planned for December, back in May when I left. But then, nothing has really gone as planned these last 7 months or so.

Yesterday, I had lunch with that pastor I mentioned earlier. I mentioned that I was worried that at some hidden emotional level, I'd really chosen the job in California strictly for the money. That's a dangerous reason to take a job, because you can find yourself without any foundation if the going gets at all tough. But he pointed out that I'd already talked a lot about the friends I have there in the bay area, and that it seemed to him that there was more to this choice than just the difference in salary.

Either way, I wish I'd had the foresight to stay in California. I mean, Colorado has been beautiful, my friend that I've been staying with has been super, and I've met some interesting new people. But moving a second time within the year, that's going to be the opposite of fun. Trying to pick and choose what I can fit in the Saturn and what has to be left behind... and this is just in reference to the materials I've been using on a day-to-day basis. I'm not even counting the stuff that was intended all along to stay in storage while I was in London. I've been most of the day packing, and trying to sort things into "stay" and "go" boxes. The car will be pretty full, much more so than in 1997 when I only carried a suitcase and 4 boxes of books. For one thing, I learned that I need more than that to get by on.

I just hope I know what I'm doing, taking this route. I feel good, very good about the job itself. But part of me still feels like I took the easy way out, picked the safe option rather than challenge myself. But the pastor-guy was right in that a lot of it came down to missing my friends, a lot. I would be a hell of a wreck right now, emotionally (well, moreso than I probably already am), but for the people that are waiting to greet me when I get there. My life's suck-meter is reading pretty low right now, so I am definitely stopping short of any actual complaint. But complaint and self-doubt are two different things, and I still have plenty of the latter to go around.

See you guys pretty soon, now...

# [/thoughts]

So, Why Did I Write in the First Place? 2006.11.07.03:08

So, yesterday I went to a church service for the first time in over 14 years. As I've written recently, I have a lot of crap rattling in my head. So I wrote to the pastor, seeing as I did in fact enjoy the service and the guy seems like a really genuine person, and, well, I found it really easy to be writing.

So now, I have a reply and I'm afraid to read it. After all, the guy might actually have something useful and/or helpful to say. Can't have that, now, can I?

# [/thoughts]

It Stops at My Skin 2006.11.04.09:06

I just got back (well, not just, as it's taken time for me to write and edit this) from seeing Shortbus, for the second time. I realized I hadn't reviewed it, and I will after I write this post. But for some reason, the movie leaves me highly emotional, so I want to get some thoughts written down before I dilute them with things like a movie review. They're diluted enough as it is, just from driving back home to the suburbs. Suburbs seem to have that sort of numbing effect on people, I've noticed.

I'll start off with a nice, bland disclaimer. Nothing in the whining-to-come should be interpreted as me feeling like I "identify" with some aspect of the movie. This is no tortured Emo kid's plea to be noticed and "understood". So if you think you'll find yourself smirking over any of this, you might want to just skip it. If you venture forth and end up smirking anyway, do me a favor and just move along. Don't send me e-mail tut-tuting my self-indulgent navel-gazing. Just don't.

I'll make it easier... I'll put in a cut-line to keep anyone from accidentally reading.


# [/thoughts]

Distress Starts Setting In 2006.10.25.07:39

It's starting to look less and less likely that I'll ever see London from the perspective of a resident. The job I was supposed to move there for, fell through some time ago. I've been looking for a new one by means of the recruiter who initially set me up, but it's been moving extremely slowly. At the same time, I've been looking back in the bay area, and that's moving much more quickly.

As far as conflicts go, I have no real room to be complaining. There are so many people out there with problems more serious and facing consequences more severe. "Oh no! I might have to live in California again!" Geez. Still, I'm laying awake at nights trying not to actually break into tears. I've wanted to spend time in Europe for ages, and I fell in love with London in 2000. I really thought I had shit together for this, but it's been one mis-step after another. Not all of them have been mine, but I can't blame them all on other people, either. The more I think about not living in London, the more depressed I become. It's affecting my ability to do the work I currently have, and I'm sure it affects my demeanor when I interview. I've been doing mostly OK in the interview department (I'll be in the bay area around the 8th of November to do a full-day interview with $EMERGING_INTERNET_STARTUP, to be named later when I can talk about them here), but there have been several that should have gone without a hitch but were instead train-wrecks.

To make matters worse, I feel bad about feeling bad about it. I have so many friends in the bay that I've missed terribly. When I came back to Denver, it was supposed to be for only a few weeks. Maybe a month. But I also saw myself as re-basing here, with the plan of coming back to here after finishing my great European Adventure. But instead, the time here has driven home how much I had finally put down roots in the bay, and begun to feel like I belonged. So it seems almost as though I should be elated at the prospect of moving back. And I am happy to know that if/when London does fall through, I can so easily go back to the bay and pick up where I left off. (Mostly, that is. I don't relish trying to find an apartment out there after giving up my way-below-market-rate digs in Campbell.)

Tons of people would kill if my problem was their worst dilemma. But I am still distraught over it, and don't know how this is going to eventually pan out. I prefer things to be more stable and predictable than this. I wanted to be in London, already.

# [/thoughts]

Foot Follies 2006.04.26.11:33

In a few hours, I report in for another surgery. One of the screws that was put into my foot is working its way out. It's caused some serious infection in the area around the wound from the first surgery.

What this means, among other things, is that my departure from California will be delayed by at least one more week. Right now, I'm looking at leaving on May 8th. I'm still waiting on my work permit from the UK before I can make my actual travel plans. This unexpected surgery will also probably slow me down on the packing, so the extra week will be handy to have.

Man, this bites.

# [/thoughts/health]

Wiki Birthdate Meme 2006.04.08.00:52

Plenty of other people are doing it, so I might as well...

On my birthday:

Three Events

  1. 1791 - The United States Mint is created by the U.S. Congress.
  2. 1873 - The U.S. Congress enacts the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" books through the mail.
  3. 1915 - NACA, the predecessor of NASA founded.

Three Births

  1. 1847 - Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish inventor (d. 1922)
  2. 1920 - James Doohan, Canadian-born actor (d. 2005)
  3. 1973 - Victoria Zdrok, Ukrainian model

Three Deaths

  1. 561 - Pope Pelagius I
  2. 1850 - Oliver Cowdery, American religious leader (b. 1806)
  3. 1995 - Howard W. Hunter, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (b. 1907)

So, the birth of NASA (as a young'un), a good day for (would-be) Scottish inventors and super-hot ultra-scary-smart porn models, and a bad day for religious figures. It's a good day, I think I'll keep it.

(Edit: The first few I saw did 3+3+3, it wasn't until I read further into my LJ friends list that I realized the meme was supposed to be 3+2+1. I don't want to impugn any of the ones I chose by dropping them in favor of others.)

# [/thoughts]

Should I Stay Or Should I Go: Looks Like Go 2006.03.01.04:06

I've written before about being restless out here. Some time back, I asked the question, "Should I stay or should I go?".

Looks like the answer is, "go".

Barring complications (like a rejection of my HSMP application), I will be taking a position with a company in London. Sometime in the next two months or so. I am contracted to a firm in NYC for the next 4 weeks or so, which is also about how long it will take the HSMP application to be processed (it used to take longer, but the recruiter in England says that it had been much faster lately). I also expect to take a week or so for each of Denver and Oklahoma City, before I leave.

This is more than a little bit scary, to me. It was hard-enough to move from Denver to San Jose. I've wanted to give England a go, but wanting it and facing the reality are two very different beasts. Still, I'm determined, and I'm not going to back out at the last minute.

There will no doubt be going-away-type festivities at some future point. More detail here as it develops.

# [/thoughts]

Break Update 3 2006.03.01.03:25

I've been busy (details in a separate post), so I haven't updated on the foot recently.

It didn't heal, and I had surgery this past Friday. Man, I thought it hurt when it was just broken. It's starting to level off, now, after a few days. But for the first couple of days, not even the Vicodin seemed to do much (though I would have hated to see what it felt like without the V). I'm back on the crutches, and will be for a while. I also have to wear a foot condom when I shower, at least for the next few days.

You really don't appreciate the little things in life, like the bones in your foot, until they quit playing nice. You don't think about simple pleasures like WALKING AROUND THE APARTMENT, until such pleasures are denied (or at the very least, cease being pleasant).

But anyway, I'm OK, and while the foot hurts I'm sure it will get better in time. I'm getting caught up on rest, while also doing some contracting (again, more in a separate post). So, no worries.

# [/thoughts/health]

Break Update (no. 2) 2006.01.24.04:51

Went for a follow-up last Wednesday. The break isn't healing like the doctor wants it to. There's a gap at one side of the break itself, which is keeping the little healing-cells from mending the two parts of bone back together. He gave me another 4 weeks of hobbling around in the Franken-foot before he looks at it again. If it isn't doing better, I get surgically screwed, I mean, I get a screw surgically implanted in the bone.

# [/thoughts/health]

Break Update 2006.01.08.11:16

I was able to get in to see a podiatrist Friday, no mean feat on such short notice. Turns out only one bone is broken, not two. He re-dressed the area and gave me an Aircast, which looks like it should be part of something bigger, like skiis, a snowboard, or a Frankenstinian monster. This will be 4-6 weeks to heal, depending on my body. I see the doctor again in a little less than two weeks.

I can walk, drive, dress myself, etc. But none of the above are especially easy for the time being.

# [/thoughts/health]

It Took Me 37 Years to Get My First Big Break 2006.01.06.11:05

I have broken two bones in my left foot. This is problematic for many reasons, not the least of which being that I live on the second floor and I drive a manual transmission.

The ER guys were very cool, we joked and chatted about things from the truly lame-ass way in which I broke it to the prospects of an upcoming Scary Movie 4 (yes, there is apparently going to be a fourth one). I have a "half-cast" right now, a high-tech bundling of carbon-fiber, wetted down with water and molding itself to my foot and heel. I have to do a lot tomorrow: I have to fill a prescription for painkillers (oh yes, I do), I have to contact a podiatrist to get the actual setting of bones and real cast taken care of, and I have to get some sweats to wear for the next 6 weeks, since I won't be cutting down any of my jeans to get them over the cast.

Oh yeah, and I have to go back and get my car. Yes, I drove myself to the ER with a broken foot working the clutch. I had to cab it home tonight, though, since they gave me some Vicodin for the pain. They said I wouldn't be able to drive my clutch with the half-cast. I think I can, but I had already taken the V's. Tomorrow, I'll get a friend (with an automatic) to drive me back, and if I can't work the clutch we can swap long-enough to get me home.

I really didn't need this.

# [/thoughts/health]

Post-Op Update 2005.09.12.00:18

For those who didn't know, I had some minor out-patient surgery this past Friday. As is my tendency, I naïvely thought I would be up and about like my usual self by the next day, if not that evening. Note that there was no arrogance in this, just a complete lack of understanding of what this was going to mean for my system. I am (today) starting to come out of the haze of the (heavy-duty prescription) painkillers, so it seemed like a quick update was in order.

The surgery was wonderfully uneventful. Everything seems to have gone as planned and on the time-table they expected. I was out of the center at the time they told my ride to be there. My friend stopped with me at Safeway to pick up the painkiller prescription (mmm... Darvocet) and a few things I would need for the recovery period. Speaking of which...

Without going into graphic detail, this work was related to my digestive tract. And because of that, I have to maintain high-fiber, high-other-things practices that promote fast and (relatively) smooth transition through the digestive system. In some cases, this is no big deal– high-fiber foods aren't awful, and Metamucil is tolerable. But this also includes drinking some amount of prune juice per day. And that shit is vile.

I've decided that the whole, "Prune juice is a warrior's drink" facet to the character of Lt. Worf was a massive practical-joke on Star Trek geeks. It was a ploy by the writers to see if they could get the same hopeless nerds who go to these conventions in full Klingon regalia to also choke down this vile-but-natural laxative. Personally, I'd love to see a con require that anyone who wants to walk around in Klingon Warrior garb drink a minimum of one "tankard" (or whatever sort of cup they're carrying with them) per day. I mean, if you want to play the part of a warrior, you gotta drink the part, too. And since there's no equivalent to "blood wine" handy... egads, what if the writers were implying that Klingon Blood Wine was similar to prune juice in taste? No wonder those guys were always quick to fight– had to get the fighting out of the way before your bowels exploded. If this is true, my regard for the Star Trek writers has at least doubled.

Anyway, I'm still taking pain meds at 4-5 hour intervals, but now I'm only taking one pill at a time, not two. Last night, I did a little coding while watching some of my TiVo backlog. My illusions of using the time off of work like a free vacation, though, are now being shone in a more realistic light. But I could be a hell of a lot worse off (indeed, there was a small chance that the doctor would have had to do additional work that could have lengthened my recovery time from 4 days to 7). I'm not driving around much, but I'm answering e-mail with reasonable reliability. In other words, I'm doin' OK.

# [/thoughts/health]

Recent Health Issues 2005.08.04.22:21

For those who know about the tests I've had recently, they all came back negative. Of course, that's a pyrric victory, since it opens the door to surgery in the near future. But at least there are no surprises...

# [/thoughts/health]

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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