Older blog entries for dancer (starting at number 78)

Staying in San Mateo

Many squirrels out-and-about today. Delightful to watch. Also an owl decided to perch outside the window of my hotel suite, and hoot a bit this morning. I've never seen or heard one before. A very pleasant sound.

Feeling adventurous, I left my hotel room on saturday night for two reasons. One, I was tired of flopping in my room watching cable, and decided to go for drinks at a bar in the shopping center on the other side of the I-92. More on that in a moment. Second, there's been a skunk rooting around at one corner of the hotel compound (the corner nearest me), and I wanted to get a better look at it. Armed with a piece of bread, and a careful eye for warning signals, I got close to it, and fed it a bit of bread. Unexpected things: I didn't expect them to be cat-soft, nor to be cat-affectionate either. Friendly little thing. Spent about five minutes talking to it and stroking it, and feeding it the rest of the bread.

Went to the bar. It's some kind of sports bar. There are video screens everywhere, showing assorted sporting things, many tables for food, and a long bar. Not feeling hungry, I just settled for the bar. The barman had a generous pouring arm, the more so because I think he was surprised that anyone ever drank apple schnapps straight. It was a very nice brand. He may have poured rather over-generously, because by the time I finished the bottle, I hadn't spent enough to have bought one off the shelf, I am sure ($15USD).

Normally, I don't drink alone, but the bar staff provided good enough company, and they were showing my favourite sport: People having a good time. I people-watched and chatted, then wandered back to my room. Slept and then watched cable the whole day sunday.

Monday, now, and I'm counting the days to being back home...but I'm feeling a sharper dread of the actual journey. I like being in planes, and airports are interesting and entertaining places....but not when you're stuck in them for 24+ hours.

Staying in San Mateo

Still haven't seen any stars here, although the moon last night was nice...but also odd. I spent a while looking at it, while I walked back to the hotel wondering what it was that was wrong with it, with (for some reason, the old Jetson's titles and theme running in the cinema of my head). Then I realised. It's upside-down, from what I'm used to. For the first time, the patterning actually matches the television of my youth.

Two squirrels were occupied outside my room this-morning, and deigned to acknowledge my existance. Unusual, but attractive little creatures. The other day (at a distance of about 50 yards) I saw something longer (perhaps a ferret) poinging around a grassy area on the other side of Fashion Island blvd. I watched it for a while. Poinging is the only word to describe it.

It's friday today, and my week's supplies have diminished. I'm probably going to head out a little earlier and pick some stuff up for the weekend and the week to follow. The Residence Inn is nice. The suite is large enough for a bunch of people, with a fully equipped kitchen. Pricey, but the company is paying for it.

I wonder about maybe meeting some SF-area geeks, but I'm in a Strange Land(tm), and not unlikely to go much further than I can on foot (about 10 miles seems to be about my general roaming distance). A week from tomorrow, I'll be on my way home again. I'm not looking forward to the journey, but I am looking forward to being home again.

Last night was one of those nights....I got back to my suite from the office and settled down in front of the television, and soaked some cable (no...I don't have a laptop). Within an hour I was more than three-quarters asleep. I came to my senses again and watched a little more, over a glass of port, then took myself to bed. Sleep was elusive. It continued to elude me for hours. Instead, I got action replays of all the bits of my life so far that I didn't like, or otherwise regret. When the alarm hit, it played spanish radio at me for about an hour and three quarters before I could finally motivate myself to move. So...not feeling so pumped today.

For want of anything better, I'll soak a lot more cable over the weekend, and get some emails read and written before the end of the day, since I'll have no access over the weekend. On the whole, I'm enjoying myself, but I'm not the out-and-about type, I'm far from home, and there's not really anyone to visit me. This is not to say that I'm not enjoying myself...I'm just not doing it in a particularly active way.

Flying...

A few delays getting off the ground in Melbourne. Flight and cabin crews were conspicuous by their absence until a scant 30 minutes before scheduled take-off. Not a crowded flight this time. I had three seats I could lay down on (curled up, of course). Consequently the trip was somewhat better than last time.

My connecting flight got cancelled, again. Between two very nice ladies (one at LAX and the other at Oakland), I wound up being diverted to Oakland, and in possession of an open cab voucher that got me delivered to the office in San Mateo. Crossed the Bay for the first time (that wasn't in an aircraft, I mean) and was impressed by the bridges.

Hotelling...

The Residence Inn, San Mateo. Nice. Fireplace, full kitchen, good selection of cable-channels, soft bed. Spacious. A scant five minute stroll to the office, and about ten minutes to Safeway. Was approached politely by ladies in the Safeway three times in order to reach high-shelves for them, or products otherwise placed well above their reach. Grabbed some stuff to last me the weekend.

Eating...

What's the travelling geek feeding on? Stouffe's Meatloaf In Gravy, eggs (where do eggs with shells this white, and the bright yellow yolks come from? I've never seen eggs like these before), low-fat turkey-bacon (yum!), Nescafe french vanilla (instant), a box of Girl Scout Peanut Butter Cremes [sic] (Highly recommended btw) and a bottle of Dow's Fine Ruby Port (which makes a decent nightcap for helping to adjust timezones). Add a loaf of bread, a couple litres of coke, a couple litres of milk (or whatever measurment it comes in) and a big bag of Ruffles to round out breakfast and evening snacks through the week to come.

Television and American Society

Once again, I am pleased with the polite and civilised behaviour of the people in San Mateo. I've encountered many smiling people, and chatted with them briefly. An enjoyable experience. Courteous drivers, also. I thought there was rather a worldwide shortage of those...or perhaps I am just encountering them at their best.

Cartoon Network is ever so much cooler here than back home. Much more variety, and runs the full 24 hours rather than the measly 12 back home. Caught some new episodes of some things, including things I didn't know existed (eg: Tenchi Universe), and some things I didn't think had happened (eg: Sailor Moon...there are many more episodes than I thought had been translated by DIC).

BTW, is it just my ear? Everytime I hear an american say craft (or Kraft), it sounds to me like 'Crap'. This causes some sporadic moments of humour and occasional cognitive dissonance.

Cable television kept me amused through the weekend, despite the poorly spelled closed captioning....Unless there's some weird data-glitch that causes extra letters to get jammed into words, or syllables to be lettered back-asswards. Also, I got bombarded by AOL 6.0 advertising. Hmm. There's something funny, there...Funny strange, not funny ha-ha. The AOL ads leave me...well... frightened, actually, and a touch queasy in the stomach. I have no idea why this might be. Start of my busy two-week stint here, now. Must get on...

Yawn...

Operating on four hours sleep and coffee. Teleconference this-morning. I've still got 2.5 hours before it starts, but I need to soak more caffiene before it happens. Neanderthal grunting on the speakerphone is never good.

Whirlwind of preparations this week. I'm off to San Mateo, California again in three days, for another two weeks. I like being there, but the actual travelling part sucks.

Cosmo - How dare this person take advantage of my weakness?

Nation - I don't think he intends to go that far...

I've been under a rock for a little while. Little things have been cropping up and getting dealt with. All is more or less well, though I've hardly been out of the house for quite some time. Maybe I can make a trip into the CBD for no other reason than getting out and about, and spending a little cash.

Not a terrible lot else to say at the moment. Consider this an ICMP echo-response. Lots of time coding. Mmmm. Code. The Tasty Treat For Today!

New Year's Eve

Closure. Specifically, with my ex-fiancee (now married to one of my best friends...I'm now married to his ex-fiancee...this all happened about ten years ago). She dumped me...or, more correctly, she dumped the person I was...and rightly so, too. I cannot (and at the time, could not then) fault her choice.

A few unmemorable sentences were exchanged new-year's-eve, and love is there once more. It never left, of course...but it had become overlaid with awkwardness. In that moment, we set the awkwardness aside, and all is well again. We love each-other, and are happy at the way things worked out...both for ourselves and each-other. Uplifting.

In other news: The pool was green when we got there. Hours of effort were required to bring it up to swimability. It was _still_ green, when we did, but it was a much paler colour and all the tests showed good. Much time mixing and pouring chemicals and stirring with a pole.

Was handcuffed to (variously) a leggy czech girl, her husband and Tesric.It complicated the evening, but the complications were amusing.

Water balloons.

Got a cute little bleeder on my forehead. Got grazed by the seam of a volleyball while stretching out to snag a frisbee out of the air (I caught it).

Mother came down with a hospital-strength flu. Much of that visiting was at a respectable distance. She presented the sort of dichotomy that I've come to expect, viz: (a) She could find nothing aesthetically wrong with my hair and had to agree that it looked nice....However, (b) she knows in her bones that people with hair that is long (or too short) are Not To Be Trusted. Same goes for beards. Same goes for people not in suits. *sigh*

All in all, however, New Year's Eve was a huge success.

The turn of the century

It is not only the beginning of the 21st century, but the 100th anniversary of Australian federation. What the media circus ultimately did with it is this: a) Focused on the whole federation thing, mostly ignoring the new century. b) Breathlessly announced the start of the new Millenium (shamelessly ignoring that they did all that last year), and c) Showed all the same documentaries over again...While I was in Brisbane I was more-or-less treated to the same programming in the same timeslots as last year, except for the centenary thing.

As far as the centenary thing went, I'd like to give you some highlights. Problem is, there don't seem to be any. The events themselves seemed poorly concieved, and any merit they might have had was reduced to thin drivel by the media circus. Charles Dickens couldn't have written a story about it. Notwithstanding that, the media gets to run with this one until July. Federation wasn't instantaneous here. I can see myself shaking my head sadly in front of the television for the next several months.

apgarcia: The Epimenides paradox.

Four weeks since my last entry. Where have I been? What have I been doing?

Under some kind of rock, apparently. But a nice kind of rock. I've had visitors, whom I have entertained naked. In fact, it's far easier to entertain people if you have no clothes on. Leastways, someone is going to get a laugh, right? It's that time of year. I rarely wear anything over summer. Although I almost walked out to the mailbox without dressing. Bad Dancer!

I've left the house only twice this week, for brief periods. The third will be to head to the airport in a few hours. Every year we all try to get back for our scheduled New Year's Eve party in Brisbane. We've been having the same party in the same place since about 1985. Why stop now? We get to start before noon on the 31st, hit the pool, and generally grind our brains and livers into silly-putty by 4am, the following morning. By 8am, we're quiet, but cheerful and back in the pool before a late breakfast.

We have all manner of delightful little traditions, but I'm not going to talk about them now. I've got to get a few short hours sleep before my flight.

See you in the 21st century.

Dancer interviews himself

Question: Hasn't it been a while since your last entry?

Answer: Yes, it's been a while. No, I haven't forgotten you.

Question: Just how hard can it be to lay hands on two 8-port 100Mbps full-duplex switches, 25 metres of UTP, and a half-dozen patch-leads? I mean, not difficult kit, right? How long could it take to grab these items?

Answer: 8 days, so far. 11, if everything goes right from here.

Question: Aren't you apalled by this?

Damn straight.

Question: How long does it take three servers to be delivered?

Answer: 5 weeks to fill out the consignment note, about a minute to get the shipment completely confused with another one, perhaps another few seconds to omit the network hardware (see the previous question), and about 48 hours for them to get here. (A touch bent in transit. Some reassembly required)

Question: What have you been doing with yourself?

Answer: Depends on who you talk to. Working, resting, that sort of thing. Nothing much to speak of.

Question: How's that Exult whatsit going?

Answer: Very well. We released our first alpha (most projects would call it a beta - probably a third or fourth beta). We're on track for a second alpha in a week or so. Our popularity soars, and the team could probably win a US presidential election, if we could afford a few lawyers.

Question: Wasn't that a cheap shot?

Answer: Well, I'd hope so, but possibly it wasn't.

Question: Any other plans in the forseeable future?

Answer: Well, it's been suggested that I go to a linux event with Telsa. Some people think I could pass for Alan, in such company. I dunno, though. I'd have to cover the grey in my hair...but if anyone saw me awake before 9am, they'd know I wasn't the genuine article. Although the Scooby Doo DVD would probably throw people off the scent for a while.

Question: Why do you ask yourself such odd questions?

Answer: Well, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition.

Thank you, and good-afternoon.

Been a while since I posted an entry here. Been occupied with things. All of which are now much more organised since I got myself a PDA (a blue Handspring Visor deluxe. Tasty). I owed myself a birthday present, in any case.

Work

Issues with transshipping of hardware. Been working on whatever I have to hand...which turns out to be a 486SX/25 pizza-box that runs at a glorious 12 bogomips. It makes working somewhat of a pain. Thankfully, it's only temporary, if all goes well the transshipment should be here any day...but I have some doubts about that. Information to hand would suggest that perhaps the servers have not left the building, and have simply moved to some other location in the building. We shall see.

Installed Redhat 6.2 for this. Redhat installs like a dream, I found...This is the first time I've used it. Unfortunately, after that point, it starts to get a bit nightmarish for updates and installs of packages. I've gotten too used to debian's no-brain apt-get and dependency resolution. Redhat is Very Scary in this area.

Exult

Netdancer has joined the project to do documentation for us. Now we are 8. We now have debian packages and the framework for RPMs (though not any built RPM packages yet, I think).

We've finally got a game we can play, and we're playing it. Amazingly, we're really enjoying it. Familiarity does not in this case breed contempt. The game rocks. Yes, we're finding bugs and issues that need to be sorted, and occasionally introducing bugs with our fixes, but we're proceeding steadily towards 1.00. Muchly proud of all the people who are pouring effort into it. Kudos particularly to the people out there who are spending long hours playing, testing, and enjoying the game...their feedback and reports are vital.

Gnome

Submitted a bug report to bugs.gnome.org. I found the cause of a whole slew of issues with esound, and reported it. Hopefully that will fix a number of people's problems.

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