rjray.org  home · thoughts · travel  Powered by Blosxom

This work licensed under a Creative Commons License:

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

Syndication feeds:
# RSS 1.0 format
# Atom 0.3 format

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

Powered by Technorati

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

Here Safely in Mesa 2004.08.01.22:44

Made it to Phoenix just fine, and am now with my Mom and her husband at their house in Mesa. It's hot, but you all knew that. They have six, yes six Yorkshire Terriers, including two pups that are just over eight weeks old. Even though I'm not a dog-person, those puppies are pretty damn cute. And playful. Really playful and energetic.

# [/thoughts/travel]

On My Way to Phoenix 2004.07.31.18:50

God help me, but I'm headed to Phoenix at the height of Summer. I'm going mainly for the IPMS/USA 2004 National Convention, but since my mom lives in Mesa, I'm going out a few days early to visit her for a bit.

I really hate high temperatures. Dry heat, humid heat, I just don't care for it.

But I'm heading for Phoenix, the first week of August...

# [/thoughts/travel]

Back in Town Now 2003.12.30.07:04

Back and safe on the ground in the south bay. There are a few entries to follow this one, since I never found a Wi-Fi point in OKC to upload my earlier entries. I'll catch up on LJ sometime tomorrow...

# [/thoughts/travel]

And Eight Days Later... 2003.12.29.21:17

I'm sitting in the OKC airport, about half an hour before my flight starts to board. It's been a good week, with many friends visited and too much rich food eaten. But then, the holidays are never the time to be too diet-conscious.

In years past, I've groused about the smokiness of this place, both in terms of my dad's house and just going to restaurants in general. Living in California has spoiled me on this point. But rather than bore what readers I have with a re-hash of an ongoing gripe, I think I'll look more inward this time...


# [/thoughts/travel]

Layover in Las Vegas 2003.12.22.22:02

Sitting here, with about 30 minutes before I have to board. The flight out from San Francisco almost got badly screwed– there were two flights from SFO to Vegas, smartly placed at adjoining gates both of which were numbered 77, differing only in a letter suffix. And of course, I was at the wrong one. I found out in the nick of time, and was one of the last 2 or 3 to board. Luckily for me, the flight was running late, or I might have missed it completely, and if the other flight was as completely booked as mine was there would have been no way to get a connection here in time to catch my second leg to Denver.

But I did make it, and since the layover here in Vegas was supposed to be pretty long to begin with, the lateness of the SFO leg didn't hurt me. And lo and behold, there was a Quizno's near my arriving gate, just as I was hungry for lunch.

Of course, I'm in Vegas, and that means two words: slot machines. In fact, I had expected them to be just everywhere, but I hadn't seen a single one even as I finished eating my lunch. But that was quickly fixed, as I walked towards my connecting gate. Sure enough, there was a little island with what was probably 36 or so slots. I'm prone to addictive behavior; I've known this for a long, long time. I had my first taste of slots in 1998 when I was bringing the rest of my possessions to my new apartment in Campbell, from the storage facility in Denver. I stopped at a place on I-80 just before you get to the California border. I learned quickly how easy it is to get caught up and instinctively go back for more tokens/change when you run out.

So I just walked on past, tempted though I was. And wrote this instead of feeding my quarters into the gaping maw of the beast.

# [/thoughts/travel]

Ready to Head Off to Oklahoma 2003.12.22.18:26

I'm sitting in SFO, waiting for my flight to start boarding. In order to get an airfare I could manage, I have two stops on my way to OKC. I go from here to Vegas, then to Denver, and then on to OKC. It means spending a good nine hours or more either on a plane or in between planes. But it also means actually going, as opposed to spending the holiday alone with my cats.

When I got past security (and I don't even want to go into the whole tirade about our "upgrade" to Threat Level Orange yesterday, but suffice to say everyone here is feeling the effects), I say a little island area touting free wireless connectivity. In fact, when I got closer, I saw that they even had a dozen or so laptops at various stations, for people to use. So, I thought I'd be a good WiFi citizen and let those without their own gear use the loaners, and wandered off to a corner where I could get some current and a signal, without taking up space that others could be using.

Well, it turns out that the "free" part only applies if you are using their hardware and their MAC addresses. When I tried to connect anywhere, I got the T-Mobile service screen, and an offer of 24 hours for $9.99, or 60 minutes for the bargain price of $6.00. I think I'll pass.

It's a shame. For all the fees that SFO gets you with, and all the extra costs (overpriced food, souveniers, etc.) one would thing that providing cost-free WiFi would not be unreasonable. But I guess they'll never pass up the chance to make a few extra bucks.

So I sit here, near my gate, writing this with the intent to upload it, well, whenever. No rush. And on the plus side, I was here at just the right time to help two nice Korean men, who spoke no English, to make a phone call. Speaking from my experience in London, when the local numbers just don't have what your brain considers the "right" number of digits, it can get pretty damn confusing. Once I figured out what they needed, it was just a matter of making the right pseudo-sign-language, and they were set. My good deed for the day...

# [/thoughts/travel]

Home Again, Home Again... 2003.12.02.08:01

Oif, but this has been a long day. It started at 5:00AM MST, as I got up to head out to the airport to come home. When I laid down to sleep last night, I felt the onset of some flu symptoms– joint/muscle ache, chills, etc. I had a flu shot a few weeks ago, so this kind of surprised me. Luckily, it didn't really catch hold, and the fever broke overnight. By this morning, I didn't have any fever or other symptoms (except for headache and dehydration).

So anyway, off to Denver International Airport. Check-in was quick, but security was a drag since the "Concourse 'A' Trick"* no longer works– too many people seem to have caught on. On top of that, my belt buckle set off the metal detector, and that was an invitation to a full pat-down search. Both legs of the flight were packed, but uneventful. I slept what little I could on the planes, but not enough. It'll be an early evening (relatively speaking) tonight. Getting back to San Jose was nice, after a week at high altitude. Picked up the cats from the kennel, and they're both anxious for my attention.

I've caught up on most of my e-mail (I never ended up back online after Friday afternoon), and all of the LJ traffic I missed. Still more to catch up on in terms of news, software releases and such, but I've done enough for one day.

Oh, one other thing that just kills me: when I got all my stacked-up mail together and went through it, I had gotten four solicitations from Capital One to get their credit card. Four. Within one week. It is to weep.

* To understand the "Concourse 'A' Trick", it helps to know how DIA is laid out. The main terminal is essentially a square, and there are three concourses: A, B and C. The concourses are all parallel lines, essentially. A is closest to the main terminal, B is about twice the length of A or C, and is in the middle. Anyway, the important details are, that the security check in the main terminal is a wretched mess, and that you use an underground subway system to move from the main terminal to the concourses. As it happens, there is a sky-bridge from the main terminal to the A concourse. And up until recently, the security checkpoint was much less clogged and much quicker than the main terminal. So the trick was this: Go across the sky-bridge, go through security at Concourse A (in usually a quarter of the time it would take to go though security in the main terminal), then go down to the subway and take it to your concourse (unless your concourse is A). Usually saves you upwards of twenty minutes. But not anymore; today it was packed. I guess too many people have caught on.

# [/thoughts/travel]

My Denver Lament 2003.11.28.07:23

I really miss Colorado. I've felt this way each time that I've visited, but for some reason the feeling is a lot stronger this time. Maybe because I'm not as happy in my current job as I wish to be (and last year, I was only about 3-4 months in, too soon to make that sort of judgement), I'm more given to the feelings of longing.

What really triggered the feelings so strongly this time was a trip we made yesterday to the Denver Art Museum. (We were there for the current headlining exhibition, "El Greco to Picasso." An amazing display of works from the Duncan Phillips collection, which sounds so casual as I type it now, but of course I knew squat about it before yesterday.) As we drove down US 36 to I-70, and south into downtown Denver, I just felt like this was where I belonged. Seeing the skyline of downtown, and driving past the place I used to work, just brought it all back.

I wonder why I feel so strongly about this place. Fact is, I've now spent more time in California than I did in Colorado. As of the 15th of this month, I've lived in California for six years. I was only in Colorado for about five and a half years when I left. Maybe because this is the first place I lived once I made the move away from Oklahoma. I don't feel this strong a tie to Oklahoma, and I lived there for nearly 24 years. Something about this place, maybe something about the friends I had here. It's hard to tell.

Mind, this doesn't mean that I'm going to immediately start looking for a job out here, and move back at the earliest opportunity. I have a lot vested in the bay area, and I can't just pull up stakes and go. There are things I want to get done, and friends that I've made that I can't imagine leaving behind. But I feel very strongly that I'll end up back here, some day. It may be five years, it may be longer. Funny thing is, I'm frustrated by the dryness of the air here, and the static it creates. I'm more easily winded due to the altitude (though that would improve over time). But I just miss it here.

# [/thoughts/travel]

Here I Am in Snowy Denver 2003.11.24.07:52

(Actually, I'm in a little suburb called Superior, but there's no need to split hairs...)

The flights on Saturday were fine, though once we were on the ground at DIA we had to wait nearly 45 minutes for a gate to pull into. Weather that day had started out as mildly snowy and gotten progressively worse. When we were leaving LAX, the flight captain said that the weather report had visibility at DIA at about 2 miles. By the time we were over the Rockies and making our approach, it was down to half of a mile. Still enough to land safely. But it was holding up some departures, and of course that cascades downward.

Once here, things were fine. I was wiped out, since I'd only gotten two hours of sleep Friday night. After we ate, none of us was up for much more than some TV and then sleep. But my host managed enough energy for a spur-of-the-moment cake, which was heavenly. When I went to sleep, it took a bit to adjust to the different bed, but apparently not too much, as I'm told I was out within 20-30 minutes.

(Of course, how timely these journal entries appear all hinges upon whether and how often I find a source of wireless connectivity...)

# [/thoughts/travel]

Headed to Colorado 2003.11.19.03:45

With the holidays setting in, I'm gearing up for more travel. I'll be leaving for Denver this coming Saturday, and staying there through the 30th. I'll be basically lounging about most of the time, trying to actually rest while on vacation, for a change. I do hope to commence writing again, but the main focus will be visiting with friends and eating. Yes, eating. See, I'll be staying with my ex-SO, who remains one of the most amazing cooks I've ever known. And while we'll be eating out at favorite restaurants of mine a few times, she's already promised me some of my favorite dishes, as well as utterly fattening and sinful desserts. I won't be surprised if I get back and learn that I've gained five or more pounds. Crash-space and decadent food; can't beat that deal with a stick.

While I'm there, I will also of course be up for hanging out a litte bit here and there, should there be anyone reading this who's in the Denver area. Just drop me a line before Saturday (my internet connectivity will be spotty during that week– in fact, I'd love to know of any WiFi hot-spots or fairly cheap net cafés where I'd be able to check mail).

# [/thoughts/travel]

Good-bye, Portland 2003.07.13.01:18

About 20 minutes before my flight back to San Jose starts to board. Six days in Portland, and I pretty much enjoyed myself the whole time. People are generally nice here. There's no sales tax (but the locals pay for it in higher income and property taxes). On the down side, they don't have the same laws we have in California regarding smoking indoors, so many of the restaurants I went to were smoky. The club I went to on Tuesday was almost completely full of smoke (but the music was worth it). All in all, a nice place. A place I could live, if I were dead-set on leaving the bay area, and were not interested in returning to Denver for some reason. (For the record, I'm in no hurry to leave the bay area, and if I were to do so, I'd most likely return to Denver where I still have a handful of friends.)

I'm sure there was a lot more to the city than I saw in my limited exploration of downtown. Being near the river was good and bad– there was the occassional "river smell" that crept up to the hotel, like dead fish or something. I should have taken one of the boat-tours, but I was too busy with geeky stuff.

Today, I went along with gnat and his brood to the Portland Saturday Market, which is a kind of combo farmers' market/crafts fair sort of event, that runs each and every weekend. Lots of booths. Clothes, wood crafts, stone crafts, calligraphy, face-painting, etc. Naturally, tons of pro-pot stuff. You can always find tons of pro-pot T-shirts, rings, etc. at these things. Some booths even had pipes and bongs. I do wonder sometimes, what I missed by never trying pot. But I never wonder enough to actually care enough to take that first taste. I did get a couple of clearance-priced granite octagon-shaped coasters. They're the right width and thickness to use as bases for my figurines, and they were only about $5 each, what I usually pay for polished and stained wooden bases. After the market, rested a bit in the hotel lobby and now I'm here at the gate. Boarding should start within the next 10 minutes or so.

So, good-bye for now, Portland. I'm told that OSCON will be back there in 2004, so I'm sure I'll have at least as much fun (if not more) the second time around.

# [/thoughts/travel]

Portland, OR 2003.07.10.19:24

This is a pretty nifty little place, I must admit. The weather has been very kind to us so far this week. The hotel overlooks the Willamette River (pronounced wi-LAMB-it, according to locals), which makes for a nice view. I had a river-view from my room when I arrived, but I only had a regular-sized bed. Getting a king-size meant trading my view of the river for a view of the parking lot.

I haven't wandered nearly as much as I usually do, spending more time indoors in conversations with various personalities. Found a nice pub/restaurant last night, that had Guiness on draught. Night before that, I went to a local club called Ohm for some house and electronica. I was sent with a purpose: to hear a local live act called Dahlia. And a grand recommendation it was, too. They were amazing, and I hope to see them hit the bay area if/when they tour.

Not a lot to do today at the con, except for my talk this afternoon, of course. Tonight's plans have yet to be made.

# [/thoughts/travel]

Notes for Next OC Jaunt 2003.03.18.23:50

Mostly for my own edification, and so that I can find this info when I next make the drive:

Miles from I-5 and Chapman to apartment: 371

Driving time: 5 hours, 5 minutes (non-stop, one tank of gas)

# [/thoughts/travel]

Driving to Orange County Earlier Today 2003.03.15.09:07

Came down for the annual SCAHMS figurine and nodel show. It took longer to drive this time, because my departure from San Jose meant hitting LA at right about 6:00PM. And that meant experiencing the vast public parking lot normally known as Interstate 5. So, it took me nearly 8 hours, whereas the last time I came solo it took only 5 1/2.

But this time around, whether from a good tailwind or whatever, I made it all the way from my apartment in Campbell to Orange, where I'm staying, on one tank of gas. For all it's other faults and foibles, I do like my Saturn.

# [/thoughts/travel]

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:


24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

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

Powered by Blosxom [Valid RSS] Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS! creativecommons.org