One week off and my run just about killed me.

Well, at least I’m not getting much slower. I did have a younger, female (and probably attractive) woman blew by me going up the hill, but that’s going to happen. I say probably attractive because she got by me pretty quickly and I didn’t get a good look. Nice dogs, though, and they were both on leashes.

I only missed two runs and this one really tired me out. Megan’s probably right. I’m getting old.

So, too much turkey is what I’ve been diagnosed with.

Last night I had a dream about my ex-girlfriend. For some reason, she left me with her cell phone (an old Motorola flip-phone in the dream) and I had to look for her. I found the guy who she said was her new boyfriend in a parking lot. He was a tool, denying that she meant anything to him. I remember the parking lot clearly, it was a concrete parking garage, like the ones that are on the first floors of office buildings I’ve seen in California.

And the worst part of this? The only reason I woke up was because of a torrent of rain pouring on the roof above my head. There was so much running water that I had to get up out of bed and go to the bathroom. It usually rains often in Portland, but not so hard that it makes me have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

My father is now drinking all the juice out of the pickle jars and telling my mother that it evaporated. When we question that, he tells us the rest of the family is teaming up on him and he’s being persecuted.

Big loser weekend.

Friday night and I’m watching re-runs. They were being properly neurotic on Seinfeld. George wouldn’t kiss a beautiful woman because he wanted to meet her boyfriend first. It made me wonder if I would kiss a beautiful woman if I had another chance. On one hand, there are all the stories I remember as a kid of things never being as good as they seem; every cloud has its black lining. On the other hand, throwing caution to the wind is always good.

So, I think it depends on one thing: Blood Alcohol Content.

Hmmm. I wonder if “Monk” is on tonight.

What I have to be thankful for.

I was just thinking of what I have to be thankful for, and I really do have a lot. I mean, living in America we have it pretty good. Even with the people in charge trying to take it away from us, we still have it pretty good. I’m fairly healthy, I have a place to live, my parents are well, my sister seems happy living in Republican California (anything south of San Mateo in my estimation), and most of my friends are doing OK.

But at the same time, it really depends on what scale you measure things on. By American standards, I start describing my life and people start prefacing their comments with, “At least you’re not …”

There seem to be two scales. For example, I have a friend who has been working in jobs where he does no work and gets paid enough money. Well, say “enough” is about $15/hr and that works out to approximately $30,000/yr. My guess is that he gets paid more than twice “enough.” He has a house, two cats, often goes out drinking with women half his age, and complains he has no life. For a guy like him you start counting his blessings by listing what he has. In my life, people start counting my blessings by listing what I don’t have.

Not having any income and not having any savings aren’t uncommon, but most of the things I did shouldn’t have left me out in the cold for the last ten years. Getting a degree at MIT was enlightening as well as educational. But if I knew it would just leave me without a job, I think I would have gotten vocational training of some sort. I even tried to get into medical school to prove my worth. No one cares how smart I am; all that matters in America is how much money you have.

That’s one problem with a classless society, we all get judged on a different superficial criteria than birthright. And here, it seems like it’s material wealth. There’s no respect, no admiration, no appreciation unless you have or can get money. No power, no advantage, not even any attractiveness. So really, in any normal situation, it means until I get a job, I might as well be a hermit.

The bugs.

My friend Greg was asking about the darn bugs that are all over his house. He described them to me, and I think they’re Box Elder Bugs. It took a while, but I finally found Oregon State University’s bug page again.

Those darn Box Elder Bugs spring up without fail on certain blocks in my neighborhood. I can’t walk down the street without having a couple land on me. Very often, they’re doing the bug-reproduction-mambo while they’re crawling on my leg. Ugh.

Last night I knew something was up.

So I knew something was up when the inside of my head started to hurt. It was my neck and the back of my sinuses, and that sort of thing only happens when I get a cold. My stomach hurt a bit, just enough to give me nightmares all night. Some of them were interesting at the time, but I can’t remember them.

I confirmed my luck today by sleeping in and then having to take a 2 1/2 hour nap.

And more luck in the job hunt: a friend who thought he found a posting was told it was just a “place-holder” job description. And today I looked at a Deloitte and Touche web site and looked at the web sites of Oregon’s 29 top growing companies. Of those companies, only one had jobs I was slightly qualified for.

Well, so much for job kvetching. I think finishing a Master of Science degree made it clear to me that I am a screw-up and finding a job right now is even hard for the non-screw-ups. Time for another nap. I have to be in shape to watch all the football this weekend. If nothing else, having no girlfriend means not feeling guilty about sitting around watching sports.

I’m not a big fan of blogging software.

So, first it was Movable Type. I really had a hard time setting it up, and I’m no newcomer to compiling software on various unix systems. Refusing to run Linux means I get to try to compile things for Solaris, NetBSD, and MacOS X. Most of the time it isn’t so hard and installing Movable Type didn’t require any compilation. But it was a large two-week pain in the ass.

Since I’m no fan of having to pay for software, and since it was really just my sister’s ridiculous request, I tried to avoid it. Unfortunately, she was very insistent, and here it is: Super Eggplant.

So, really, this wasn’t all about Movable Type complaining. I also want to complain about the software I’m using for my blog: Blosxom. It’s all kind of hacked together, but FREE. There’s even a version in Python, but I’m not comfortable enough with the Python installation to use it. The original Perl version was hard enough to get going.

Anyway, one big problem with Blosxom is that it uses file creation dates to determine blog entry dates. There’s a way to use a plug-in to dynamically render different dates, but that doesn’t work with static pages. Basically, if you didn’t understand that, it means Blosxom is also a pain in the ass.

Anyway, there really isn’t anything else going on in my life, so there it is.

What to do for a hangover?

So, what do I usually do for a hangover? Go running! It’s been nice and wet and grey and cold, so I’m usually numb after the first few minutes. Why not add the added fun of having an upset stomach?

There were lots of dogs on Leif Erickson, but since it’s a wide, gravel fire lane, that isn’t a big problem. The trails like Wildwood are a big pain in the ass, since dogs are always off-leash and trying to bump you off into a ravine.

Anyway, none of my teams are winning this weekend, so it’s time for another nap!

The fake story is more fun.

I was out running some quick errands and as I walked down a dark street, I saw several Mormons in a circle by an idling mini-van. I heard some inaudible voices, but then a stern voice was clear.

“So how many kids do you you have?”

The reply was inaudible.

“And they’re all married?”
“And they’re all married?”

I thought it sounded a bit mysterious and even a little ominous, but it was just my friend Bill’s big brother, who has always had a stern sounding voice. And that’s why I knew they were Mormons.

Hmm. I just found out South Park was about a Mormon family moving into town. Oh, well. Synchronicity.

Sometimes, it’s better to live in my own fantasy world.

I finally got some work that pays $50/hr, but I’ve only done 1 1/2 hours in the past three months so that isn’t going to pay the bills. But work is work and I decided to blow it by celebrating. I called my friend Il, who has been locked up at home playing some on-line Star Wars game for at least a month, and he wanted to see the ladies at the local strip club. I’ve now realized that while it was interesting to see those particular dancers naked, I really didn’t need to see them naked for more than a couple of minutes, max. I’m back to being frightened by that place again.

Man, the cigarettes people smoke make a big difference. At My local McPub (McMenamin’s Tavern) one woman was smoking some cigarettes so foul that 15 feet away I was coughing. I thought it was the table behind me, but no one was smoking there. At least it kept me from drinking too much more of the little money I made today. I just have to remember to bill the guy.

Not joining clubs that would have me as a member or something.

I went to a ham radio club meeting tonight and it got me to think about club dynamics. Sometimes things go smoothly, but there’s often someone coming in and trying to change the power structure. They want more power, sometimes without knowing why they want it. I can describe a lot of things using the “club model,” including Open Source programming projects and politics.

I don’t know how this got me to think about this odd “Ivy League Plus” mailing list I bailed out of. They even have a disclaimer and refused to start the list until their lawyers looked over the disclaimer. I left after seeing too many people chastised for asking innocent questions. The final straw for me was when the list queen slapped some people down who wanted to meet to discuss politics. She demanded that the list not be used to make political statements, even when no one had made any statement other than what Chinese restaurant they were going to meet in. Come on. What a control freak.

Of course, when I left, I made a comment about how I, “enjoyed watching yuppies in their natural habitat, a list made by lawyers for lawyers,” and that really cheesed the yuppies off.

I didn’t think anything about the Ivy league freaks until I got an email from a guy who got kicked off the list. Someone asked for “Humane Rat Catchers” and he replied that rats usually got poison (describing the actions of Warfarin in less detail than my biochemistry teacher) and then described prairie dog hunting. Come on. Everyone west of the Mississippi knows about prairie dog hunting, don’t they? They kicked him off for being intolerant and disrespectful.

I’ve come to find that the guy who got kicked off the list is the President of a large, visible local company (and possibly a bit of a redneck). How can you live in Oregon without tolerating rednecks?

Geek post: AxKit is kicking my ass.

So I volunteered to try AxKit, and XML to web framework, for the Fink Project. I’ve now spent four weeks trying to get it to work. Here’s what I think I’ve figured out about installing AxKit:

On RH9 or Fedora:

  • Don’t use apache2. Use apache1. That means install from source, and install mod_perl first.
    1. extract the extract the “apache source”
    2. extract the mod_perl source
    3. configure mod_perl with: “perl Makefile.PL APACHE_SRC=../apache_1.3.29/src DO_HTTPD=1 USE_APACI=1 EVERYTHING=1”
    4. in mod_perl, do a “make && make test && make install”
    5. cd to ../apache_1.3.29 and do a “make install”
  • install Apache-Test by hand
  • install Apache-Request by hand
  • install the JavaScript binary
  • install Sablotron and Sablotron-devel binaries. This does not build well, from what I’ve found.
  • install XML-Sablotron from source.
  • install libghttp (and probably libghttp-devel) from your RH install media
  • start cpan (perl -MCPAN -e shell) and install:
  • Time::Piece
  • AxKit
  • AxKit::XSP::Util

On FreeBSD

AxKit can also be installed quite easily on FreeBSD 4.9 using the ports system IF YOU UPDATE FIRST However, it doesn’t seem to work well after it installs.

And that sums up a lot of what I’ve been doing for the past several weeks.

BTW, CPAN sucks, mainly because there’s a series of dependencies that can’t be resolved automatically when everyone is changing their packages all the time.

I’ve also found that the Compaq Presario 5360 is a horrible POS.

RedHat Fedora won’t install properly with CDs because of disk errors. I had to do a “linux net” boot from an http server using install floppies.

NetBSD and FreeBSD boot floppies don’t work, either. I had to move the hard drive to another computer to install FreeBSD.