20 Jul 2002 mattr   » (Journeyer)

An entry three consecutive days?!

Ever since the day that staff at the 9to5 were trained on using the new 'weekly activity report' (aka WAR, of all things, which is funny, all things considered*), Fridays have had me kinda nervous. The system works fine all week, but Friday means I have to hold my breath and cross my fingers. I have a sandbox I test in first, but I still have to hold my breath when changes 'go live.' Whipped up a bash script this morning to diff the live and sandbox code, which gave me a little more confidence that I'd covered all of my bases.

Heh, last week, I neglected to change a cron job to affect the live WAR. A minor thing, really, but a little detail that got lost. I was glad I was holding my breath with crossed fingers nearby, as it was no problem to uncross and breathe long enough to run the script manually; but more significantly, I did have to be nearby, watching and waiting for the details that turn into bugs.

This week, however, my parents have come up to visit. I needed (really needed) to leave work early to clean up the house a bit. This is their first time up since I've lived here, and it's been in typical disarray. Really, I just had to pick up all of the Coke cans sitting everywhere and hide them in the recycling bag so they wouldn't get overly concerned about the amount of Coke I drink. ;) Whatever the reason, it meant I couldn't babysit the WAR this afternoon. As I said the script to diff everything helped, but currently lacking a way into the machine from home, I was still a bit nervous. I set up a couple of cron jobs to email me at home after certain things had happened, crossed my fingers, held my breath, and went home.

I have extraordinary lung capacity.

I was already online when I got home, thanks to a cron job on that machine that brings up ppp0, usually just to check in with me. And before long, the first email had arrived... a scheduled action (the one I goofed up last week) had occurred on schedule. But the next email would be 1.75 hours away... So I cleaned up the house.

Finally, the second email arrived and I could breathe with uncrossed fingers in a clean(er) house... From what I can tell based on those two emails, things went well this afternoon. Any number of things could have fouled things up and prevented the second message from being sent, but apparently they didn't.

I took a nap and went to meet my parents at their hotel later, got some dinner, hung out with them, did some open source advocacy :), highlighted SchoolForge and the absurdity of wasting ludicrous amounts of money on software licensing in our schools when open source software, the dialogs it can inspire, and the creativity it can channel is an education unto itself. It draws together what education should involve:

  • logic, in the form of code or simply 'grokking' how a computer works and can be used
  • history, particularly as it applies to our concepts of free and freedom
  • community, including interaction, involvement, investment, and responsibility
  • creativity, whether it be with The GIMP, Audacity, or in a vim buffer
  • economics, as they observe a new global economy struggling to understand itself
  • other things, which I can't think of at 3am after a night with only two hours of sleep and a 45-minute afternoon nap
I didn't have a list for my parents, just rambled a bit. After I told them the good news about the WAR standing on its own two feet (so to speak, and only somewhat (it would fall down on Monday if I didn't come in to catch it)), they asked a question I hadn't even considered. "Have you ever had any training in this?" A simple question, but it made me think. It's a symptom of a mindset, one I've observed in others also, a line of thinking that dictates courses of study, some sort of more or less meaningless certification... But I don't think we're meant so much to be trained (beyond a certain point perhaps...) as we are meant to guided in discovering and exploring what makes us tick.

When we begin to stumble upon that treasure trove, passion takes over and we develop a hunger for that growth and development of who we are, a hunger that naturally extends into our surroundings and makes us want to help out, do some good.

I was eating dinner at the table with people from the music industry.
They asked me if I liked it in "The City." I said I liked it better in the country.
The label representative asked me what about it most appealed to me.
"I love to listen to the yellowhammer singing 'a little bit of bread and no cheese'."

Then I commenced to do a tap dance on eggplant Parmesan before their eyes.
Guided by voices, whole bag of tricks. Raised by Druids and Horses.

(Then I told them):

"Never underestimate the power of Love. You dig my new horseshoes?
Never underestimate the power of Love."

"Come here quickly he's lost his mind!"

"Frightened? Well I'm not surprised, you've never seen the likes of me.
Check it, I want a big fat advance and my alfalfa free!"

"Come here quickly he's lost his mind!"

The manager removed me from the restaurant. A crowd got to gathering around.
I said, "You can throw a man out on his ear, but you can't keep a good horse down!"
Mounted police sprung to action. Never cut me any bit of slack.
But I wasn't going anywhere 'til they got off my brother's back.
Clutch, Raised by Horses

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