November 2005 Archives

no more windows at work!

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...and i'm happy about it?

well you see, while the subject could refer to the fact that i have to sit in a cubicle (bleh) and thus have no door or windows, the actual intent is to announce that as of today i've finally managed to make my workspace "microsoft windows"-free. the only thing keeping me on a windows box was outlook (group calendars, official centralization toward exchange, etc), but a couple of weeks ago i set up a red hat fedora core 4 box and installed the linux citrix client and have been using it to run outlook through citrix. with the final big need for the windows os on my desktop(s) gone, today i wiped my windows xp desktop and installed novell suse linux on it. so my cubicle can now be officially certified windows-free.

this puts the following systems in my cubicle: novell suse 10 (linux), red hat fedora core 4 (linux), solaris 8 (will upgrade one of these days), and mac os x (10.4 - tiger).

edukate me

a few nights ago i rented and watched the edukators. it's a german film about three youth who are disenfranchised with those in power and want to help bring about some change. they do this by breaking into the houses of rich people while they're on vacation and moving their furniture around and leaving a note like "your days of plenty are numbered", but stealing nothing. they end up being seen and confronted by one guy and they choose to kidnap him. they go hide in the mountains and have to deal with all of the various moral issues involved. that's intentionally a bit vague, but it was a well-told story.

in other goings on, i still need to go through all of the stuff tamara left behind in the house. it's difficult as hell. it's like going through all the stuff of someone you loved that died -- presents i bought her, letters i wrote her, books she loved, all kinds of sentimental crap that pierces my heart. not to mention all the stuff that was never mine or ours but only hers, including stuff from before i even knew her. sometimes i feel like just boxing it all up and dropping it off on alistair's dad's front porch. wouldn't he be curious to learn what all that was about then? sometimes i wish i had the heart to do that sort of thing. but i don't, even though it would be a completely justified response to the way she has treated me.

i continue to be astounded that the person i knew -- the person who had all of these wonderful traits and views, who cared so much about truth and compassion and vows and honesty -- actually not only made the mistake of committing adultery (which as much as i loathe, can see how it's possible), but then in the end chose to use the legal system to take advantage of me financially, and lied to me and our friends about her intentions right to the very end. and as far as i know continues to perpetuate lies by hiding the truth.

i sometimes feel like her life with me, what she showed me, had to be a lie as well -- that she wasn't this cool christian girl at all. but that doesn't make sense. i guess there were plenty of signs that if she ever cracked she'd crack hard and her method of dealing with it would be to assume a new identity and try to hide her past. or that such choices and possibilities were inside of her, that they were very real paths that could be taken under the right circumstances. it just sucks that her choices had to derail my life as well. but that's how marriage is supposed to work, i guess. that was the risk i took when i chose to tie my life to hers. i really thought i was making a good choice.

i walked the line, and more

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thanks to raj and kiera (raj...did i spell that right? gah.), i had the opportunity to see a free early screening (thursday night) of the new movie walk the line about johnny cash. being a big cash fan, i was worried it was going to be very disappointing. fortunately, it wasn't. however, i was never able to get to the point where joaquin phoenix turned into johnny cash or reese witherspoon turned into june carter cash. they did a really good job with the singing and got the mannerisms and facial expressions and such down really well, but it never was enough to get me past the fact it was them. the filming style and narrative were pretty straightforward, but that's okay for the story being told so i thought it did a good job and was worth seeing. if you aren't a big fan of cash, you'd probably not be as distracted by joaquin.

a few days before i saw walk the line i rented primer, which is a character-driven sci-fi story about time travel and how that capability affects people. it was done for something like $7000 by a guy (shane carruth) from dallas/fort worth. he wrote it, directed it, did sound, did all the music for it (except one song...done by his brother), edited it, etc. it was his first film. even without knowing all that when i watched it, i was pretty impressed. adding all that on, i was really impressed. the engineering/technical background and characters were handled well, the filming style was cool, the plot and dialogue were well done. the complexity of the overlapping timelines and multiple copies of characters makes the last 20 minutes or so bend your brain, but it's still an impressive film and worth multiple viewings. i guess that's why it beat out garden state at sundance.

speaking of garden state, i just happened to rent it at the same time. i watched it and...i thought it was okay. a couple of days later i watched the extras, and i found myself liking the deleted scenes and extended scenes more than i'd expected. i'm not sure if it's one of those movies where it's not as good or equal to the sum of its parts, or if it would seem better if i watched it one or two more times.

the last few months i've sort of flitted with interest in 8-bit, lo-fi, experimental electronic, etc. music. so i decided this evening after work i'd head to the one place in houston i could think of that might actually have stuff in-store from this very small scene: soundwaves. i searched around but didn't find anything. i finally gave up and went to the counter to ask about it. the guy wasn't really familiar with the genre term or some of the band names (other than bit shifter), but when i was describing it he seemed interested. we talked about electronic music for awhile and where to find stuff and he said he'd been friends with someone who was a unix engineer that was into that kind of stuff. which was cool, so i said that's what i was too. some more chatting, off into discussion of analog synth music and moogs and such. every now and then local bands were mentioned, then he said "there's a band called the entertainment system" and i said "yeah, i'm familiar with them" and he responded "i was in the entertainment system for a couple of years."

*sigh* i refrained from saying "oh yeah, my wife tamara tabo and i knew alistair isaac. well, she knew him better than i did. i mean, they fscked each other and had an affair behind my and everyone else's backs and now they're supposedly both living in california or something." instead, i just said i enjoyed chatting with him and walked out so he could take care of the next customer.

funny how an enjoyable search for 8-bit music ends on a sour note about 2-bit people.

road trip: day six overview

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got up and smoked a cinnamon swisher that i'd bought last night. we checked out of the hotel and took off. us84 to natchitoches, then highway 6 to many. at many we traded bikes for the first time. we crossed that long bridge over the toledo bend reservoir into Texas. stopped for pics, of course, and traded bikes.

21 to 103 to lufkin. at lukfin we ate at bryan's bbq, which is the first place we ate at when we got back into Texas on our road trip last summer. it was very good again, like last time. although this time they were playing top-40 country radio instead of good old country stuff. 94 to 19 to huntsville, where i ended up putting us going down i-45 instead of on 30. but it gave linc a chance to see the huge sam houston statue on i-45 (photo op). we then got back up to 30. at fm1791 we parted ways, he headed on 30 toward austin and me going down to houston.

i took fm1791 to fm149, both enjoyable roads. i hit 249 which i took into beltway 8, then i took 8 around to my house. i got home around 6pm. 17978 on the odometer, so the trip was around 1700 miles or so. and thus ends the road trip.

i was at home about an hour and a half, then i headed downtown to kaveh kane's for the monthly geek gathering. in my car.

road trip: day five overview

we managed to keep from staying at the nasty hotel in meridian. we stayed at a place across the street from it instead. we got up and took awhile to find jimmie rodger's grave. then we hit the road. we took us80 from meridian to brandon. at brandon we stopped and ate a place called annie d's. (a cop at the gas station recommended it.) it was good - home-style cooking. we jumped on i-20 then headed south on the natchez trace parkway. that's a very nice road - scenic, little traffic, etc. the only problem was a 50mph speed limit...but i guess maybe that explains the minimal number of vehicles on it. at natchez we took 84 into louisiana. (nowhere to stop for a state sign pic...grr.) we decided to try to make it to natchitoches (pronounced "knack-uh-tosh" evidently), but it got dark and chilly pretty fast so we stopped in winnfield. we put in right at 300 miles. instead of eating supper, we just went to a convenience store and bought some junk food. i got some bbq corn nuts, a chocolate moon pie, a chocolate yoo-hoo, and a starbucks mocha drink.

road trip: day four overview

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i had the breakfast at the hotel this morning. i had an interesting conversation with an old gentleman. i went back to the room to pack and leave, but work had called and left a message and i had to do benefits enrollment before i could leave. which was a pain to get done. so we lost about one to one and a half hours for that.

but then we took off and went to the hank williams museum. it was pretty cool. we dropped by the monument and took a few pics, then we went by the cemetary where hank is buried. we then went and ate at noble's, which is where the elite (pronounced "e"-light...*shrug*) used to be and was the last place hank played before he died. montgomery seemed like a pretty cool town, but we didn't spend too much time there.

we then took off on us80 back to meridian. unfortunately, the temperature dropped fast so we decided we would stay in meridian. i think the news said it's supposed to get into the 30's tonight. we were going to go eat, but then i started feeling sick. i think it was something i ate. and right when i was finally feeling almost completely over my cold/sinus problems. (hopefully a night of sleep will get it over with.) we're planning on getting some good miles in tomorrow.

road trip: day three overview

day three started off nice. the lady at the front desk of the nasty hotel gave us the name of a local meridian place to eat, so we headed to downtown meridian and ate at jean's. meridian seems like a cool town.

after the marathon night drive, we only needed about 140 miles to get to montgomery, so once we'd finished eating we headed out on us80. we crossed into alabama during the day, which was the first state line we crossed on this trip during daylight hours, so it's the first one we stopped to get pics of. right after entering alabama, my brother almost hit another bird...this time, a buzzard. i kept laughing thinking about that getting stuck in his handlebars and splattering. evidently a cold front or something rolled through the night before, because it was overcast and chilly. once we got past selma, the clouds took over and it got very misty/foggy. about 30 miles out of montgomery it got dark and started a light rain. we got into montgomery around 5:30pm, cold and wet, so we didn't hunt for a place to stay - we just went to the first thing we saw. (which fortunately has free wireless internet access.)

after taking some time to change out of wet clothes and warm up, we went back out to find a place to eat. no local places were to be found open after 9pm (at least where we drove), so we ended up eating at a waffle house. it's odd how almost no one seems to know where good local places to eat are. you ask people and they invariably tell you about a chili's or outback steak house or something.

we had originally thought we'd get to montgomery and check in to a hotel and have a couple of hours to do stuff, but no such luck. so everything will have to happen tomorrow.

road trip: day two overview

day two started decent enough: really good breakfast, nice conversation, and getting on the road. seeing as it was halloween, i put on my halloween outfit. we took i-10 to 383n to us190 to baton rouge, where we met a friend of linc's (my brother) for a late lunch/early supper. we ate at the chimes, right by lsu. (i always forget how many attractive young ladies there are around college campuses.) the food and conversation were both enjoyable. we left right around 5pm, but it got dark pretty fast. we originally didn't want to do much night riding since we wanted to see the countryside, but we needed to get more distance. (that's foreshadowing.)

we took highland road out to 42, which then detoured to places unknown for awhile, then 42 to 22 to covington, where we looked for a place to stay. no luck. (at some point here my brother hit a bird that splattered guts onto his jacket, and we ran into a talkative fellow who claimed to be from austin and was doing roofing.) so we headed up 21 to bogalusa, which in addition to being a scary, smelly town (at least the parts we saw), had no vacancies. so we took 21, which turns into 35 at the mississippi state line, to columbia. which had no vacancies. so we took us98 to i-59 (at hattiesburg...which we had already been told had no vacancies). we stopped in laurel...no vacancies. (see a pattern?)

it was now after 11pm, and it was cold. we were stopped for a break at a convenience store lamenting our bad luck, so it of course immediately started to rain...a little, harder, harder, pour. so we moved under the roof over the pumps and put on our rain gear. then it stopped raining. but the ground was wet and since it might rain more we kept the gear on. we took off and drove all the way to meridian. somewhere around 1am i started losing it. it's scary to be falling asleep on a motorcycle, but we needed a place to stay. we rolled into meridian around 2am and found a place with vacancies. it was a nasty excuse for a hotel: a cockroach greeted us, and there was some kind of fleck of raw meat or something on the wall. but i didn't care at this point. i hit the bed and fell immediately to sleep.

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