Older blog entries for squiggy (starting at number 18)

13 Sep 2000 (updated 13 Sep 2000 at 22:16 UTC) »

Late afternoon update : I completely and utterly failed to ride my bike in to work today. And it was such a nice day. But Josh called 'bout lunch just as I was fixin' to launch, so I drove instead. *sigh* So I took a long lunch with jjw and jlf, got back a mere ten minutes late for my 2 oclock change management meeting, and spent the majority of the rest of the afternoon finding excuses to go outside. Had a nice chat with Alix about some crap. Had a nice chat with Josh about some stupid nameserver shti that some people wanna do, and how we're gonna tell them no.

But on the upside, I did come up with some interesting solutions for this mess, each of which completely removes responsibility from my group's shoulders. They wanna have a single hostname resolve to different addresses (on different campuses) depending on where the client machine is. In other words, hostname.domain.iu.edu resolves to hostname.domain.indiana.edu if you're in bloomington, and resolves to hostname.domain.iupui.edu if you're in Indianapolis.

So my brilliant solutions are as follows : 1) Don't do that... it's a dumb idea, just teach your users to use the right domain. We coddle the users too much anyway, and we're making them sickly and weak. 2) Build a seperate nameserver to host domain.iu.edu, make it the authoritative source for this domain, give it to 'em and let these guys do whatever they want to with it. 3) Train super intelligent space monkeys to be our new routers. 4) Do some fancy magic with HSRP, VLANs, a brace of High Availability machines with some built in cleverness, and a big prayer. *sigh* /UPDATE

RE: Search engines. Don't those guys _ever_ nuke dead links? I mean seriously... I just spent about half an hour looking for some info, and basically could NOT find a link that still worked. It took 15 - 20 tries refining my search before I finally started weeding it down to pages that said "This page has moved _here_", which still kind of sucks, but at least I could still find it. *sigh*

Whatever happened to sound web design principles?? *giggle*

I did a linux phone consult last night, helpin' my old buddy Otis do a RedHat 6.2 install (Mikey, if yer readin' this.... that's right, I said _Otis_). It went well enough I suppose... we didn't get him running, but we narrowed down the scope of his problems. For some reason, linux isn't recognizing all his memory. In addition, we've begun to suspect his install media is bad. *Sigh*

It's becoming important that I get out into the woods this weekend. I think Jen and Otis are gonna come to town for a bit of a visit as well. Perhaps Camping friday night, and then dinner with those guys maybe sunday afternoon? Eat drink and be merry, for monday I go back on call for a week.

Wow. I actually got to *gasp* write some perl today. It was nothing fancy, and the truth is, my co-worker Haiyen basically wrote the same thing (at my suggestion) the other day. But it seemed interesting, simple, and like I might manage to learn something useful doing it. So I did it. Just a simple script to parse the dhcpd.conf file, and query the nameserver to be sure that the two are more or less in agreement about what is and what isn't a dhcp lease.

Took this morning pretty easy. I decided to work from home for a while. Spent most of the morning reading logs & checking reg DBs for the security boys. *sigh* At some point, I need to give them some sort of graceful access to that data.... or just script the hell out of it.

Ok. I no longer seem to hate my job, my life, and everything surrounding them. All that stuff still sucks, but it's back to the "sucks but managable" level. There's certainly still a lot of work to be done on me, and who / what I am, in order to get me where I want me. I think some of that work is going to have to include some serious goof-off time. Some of that work should include unpacking the rest of my apartment. Need to keep workin' out.

I had a pretty good evening last night... watched the Jets / Pats game w/ jjw, which was nice, and I met my new downstairs neighbor, Brian, and had a beer w/ him. Turns out I might be able to get a good deal on some more camping gear through him. That's TWO good avenues for "friend of the shop" discounts on quality gear.

Now I just need to get my shit together and actually go use some of this stuff. Mayhaps the canoe / camping trip I've been threatening to do would be good for this weekend. I should check the weather.

Wow. How startling. I wrote my diary entry a few days ago, and didn't think much of it. I went back and read some other diaries a few hours later, and basically everyone's diary I read had something to say about what I'd said. Wow.

There's been a lot of supportive comments made in diaries, and a few have written me directly (Hey Joad, sorry I've not had the chance to write back yet. I intend to, but things have been... complicated). Ummmm, thanks. It seems like people aren't just sympathetic, but a lot of us are going through this stuff. If anyone wan't to chat about it more, drop me a line

What's interesting about the whole thing is, I wrote that because I was having a bad morning for other reasons. A personal problem I had seemed completely overwhelming, in a very emotional sort of way. And in order to continue to function as a person, I felt like I had to deal with some of the thoughts I had. But since I couldn't get my mind around problem number one, I instead sat it aside, and focused on problem number 2 or 3... and we got what y'all read.

On a lighter note... the good news is, an actual female seems to be expressing a more than friendly interest in me. The bad news is, she is my 14 year old, 8th grader, next door neighbor. *sigh* I just hope this doesn't end up with me walking in the front door to find her waiting in my living room with a gun. Joy.

Things at work have calmed down a bit. The beginning of semester rush has eased to a managable level. Now I just have to clean up all the little messes I either created or ignored while I was loking at the big problems.

Why is it that DHCP was written in such a way that it's only a traffic cop? All the server really does is stand in the middle of the street, pointing at a client, saying 'ok, you can have that IP'. All the Support Goons think I have some mystical power to revoke leases, and all sorts of other enforcement abilities. And I keep telling them that I'm, basically powerless to do anything about it if a client want's to misbehave.

I think the point may have _started_ to sink in a couple weeks ago, when a bad NIC took out about 2000 datajacks. But they still have pretty unrealistic ideas about how the whole thing "works".

5 Sep 2000 (updated 5 Sep 2000 at 19:40 UTC) »

Well, this is a wholly innappropriate place for me to post this, but I'm doing it anyway. Sorry if it bugs you. This isn't really about open source stuff, or about programming, or even really about computing, except in a tangential sort of way. It's about me, or maybe it's about people in general, but it's hard for me to tell, since my perspective is pretty limited. So we'll call it 'me'.

It's also long, rambling, and borderline incoherent....

I'm depressed. I worked hard to get where I am in my career. I put up with a lot of shit, and I sweat and bled, and sacrificed a lot (JuJitsu, music, most of a relationship, anything to do with my personal happiness, basically anything that wasn't 'pute stuff) to get here. Now I'm more or less here... the job I wanted. And all I can seem to do is look around myself and say "Man... that was dumb."

I raise my arms above my head and scream. I shake my tiny fist at god. I rage at the horrible injustice of working hard just to find out that all my goals really just kinda sucked. Like driving 18 hours straight through to go to the grand canyon, just to discover that it's only a big hole in the ground. *sigh*

I didn't realize that the point was to enjoy the trip out there, and to enjoy it for what it is in wide eyed innocence when you get there. And most of the things in my life have been like that. I do things so that I can say that I've done them. It's really high time I learned to actually enjoy doing things for the pleasure the act of doing them brings me I think.

So now I'm here, and I realize that what I wanted wasn't necessarily this job, but the knowledge that I could do it, and that it wasn't outside my grasp. And I wanted people to see me doing this big important job. And once I started to succeed a little bit at it, the job became less important and other things started to matter again. Being happy with myself, having strong friendships, having diverse interests. are all much bigger desires for me now.

But I ignored all that scenery along the way... all of those things that I did before are _gone_. My band all left town. All my JuJitsu partners are long gone. The relationship was a disaster anyway. I'm too fat to race bikes anymore. I'm completely out of shape. I've never been good at meeting people, and all my friends (old and new alike) either have left or are leaving. All the scenery is disapearing in the rear view mirror. *sigh* And here I sit, staring at a hot dusty hole in the rock, like a cynical old bastard.

I realize that two things that've kept me in my current job(s) for the last couple of years are : 1) a fierce love for and loyalty to some very special people that I've had the pleasure of working for / with, and 2) fear of making a big change... something anyone who knows me can tell you has been a big problem of mine for a long time.

Now most of those coworkers are gone or leaving as well, which leaves me wondering why the hell I'm still doing what I'm doing. And the answer is, fear and apathy; Fear of changing my life, and apathy towards actually doing anything to make myself happier.

So I've been thinking about this a bit, and I've come to some startling (to me) realizations about myself. For instance, I told Chris recently that I am deathly affraid of being alone. But it's not true... sorry Chris, I guess I lied. Or at least that's just an overly simple way of looking at it. I'm really more afraid of being left alone, and left behind to be forgotten. I used to joke about not wanting to be the last one left to turn out the lights when all my friends left for California, but I don't think I was joking. Now that I recognize this problem, I guess I need to figure out what how to address it.

I thought I'd moved to this apartment out in the sticks because I wanted to experiment with living way out by myself for a while. But I think it's more than that. I think I'm using it as a staging area, gathering myself together to make my big jump, wherever that may be to. I think I came out here to try to make some sense of things and to impose some order on my life (sort out the important crap from the not so important crap), before I do whatever it is that comes next.

That sounds pretty drastic I guess. I'm not talking about killing myself or giving away all my stuff and becoming a monk, or anything. At least... I don't think that's what I'm talking about. I think I'm talking about a change of venue, like moving to another state. Or maybe a new career, doing almost anything else... maybe opening a restaurant.... like a cafe in New Mexico, catering to UFO freaks or something. Hell, I may just buy a house in town, and tackle my current job with renewed vigor. I don't know. But I think I'm out here to find out.

I think the important thing is, I think I'm out here to remember to look out the window from time to time. And looking out the window right now, I see beautiful blue skies, and leaves on the trees just barely hinting at starting to turn. I see what looks remarkably like me taking the afternoon off.

I think that over the next few months, I'm going to take some time just for me. I want to travel, and see some things. It's just sort of snapping into focus now that I have some completely silly amount of time off coming to me, and despite all my desperate claims to the contrary, I'm not _really_ cash desperate.

I heard someone on the radio the other day talking about making a coast to coast motorcycle trip, and it sounded a little bit like heaven. I guess I'll have to figure out what the "me" equivilant will be, and do it.

Argh. What a lousy week. I put in an average of 12 or so hours a day at the office last week, and 6 more hours over the weekend. Yucky. And that didn't include moving. I was not a happy boy.

I suspect this week will be better... I'm already off to a better start, since I've only been paged once today.

DHCP was not intended to be used on the scale we're trying to achieve. It really starts to break down when you span across dozens of subnets. Some very painful debugging with some help from the router guys becomes a part of your daily life. Mystical things happen to packets between client and server. Sometimes whole subnets magically dissapear for a while. *sigh* I'm tired of being in the middle.

Undocumented compile options are the best compile options.

Same goes for library dependencies.

Came into my office this morning, actually saw my own corpse, and surveyed the results of last night's marathon compile fest.... 5 empty coke cans, 2 KitKat wrappers, and a big forehead print on my monitor. Oh yeah.... and nothing to show for it.

Afternoon Update : Sat back down in front of this project. Tried to think about what's wrong. Instead, I came up with a list of alternative careers :

  • Rodeo Clown
  • Serial killer
  • Smoke Jumper
  • Beer taster
  • sword swallower
  • lion tamer
  • crazed lunatic
  • bomb defuser
  • Hell's Angel
  • Cleaner (see 'the Professional')

    [Suggestions?]
  • Aieeeeeeeggghhhh!!!!! Yesterday sucked. Today has sucked. My traditional strategy of puttin off unpleasant and possibly stupid things until someone else decides that it wasn't a good idea in the first place has backfired. Spent some heavy time in CGI hell the last few days, including a marathon session until 2am this morning. AND I was at my desk by 8:20 this morning (a somewhat rare occurance).

    It's been a while since I hit the convienience store, grabbed a couple bottles of caffienated water, and just sat down and coded. Felt good. I even came up with some remarkably clever ways of grabbing bits of data.... Too bad I should have done that in July.

    Jeremy, I think I'm gonna take that DHCP stuff you gave me, and make an honest to God module out of it. Looks like it's gonna be powerful useful for me.

    Ok, I mentioned that I was sunburned. In truth, it's the worst sunburn I've had in a mighty long time. My chest and stomach are bright red, and quite painful to the touch. I'm dealing with 'extreme nipple sensitivity' because of it. It made this morning's shower experience an exciting one.

    I actually started work on my new personal programming project yesterday. Didn't get very far, 'cause I still don't have a phone line in the new place. It's a mass mail client, in the same vein as majordomo and listserv.

    I know, I know.... the world needs another one of those like it needs an entire army of Carrot Top. But that's ok. I want to do this. Having spent so much time, elbow deep in majordomo code, I've developed something of a bad attitude towards it. (had the chance to body slam both Brent Chapman and Tom Christiansen in one giant, off the top rope, blaze of glory at Usenix, and I didn't do it. I've been kicking myself ever since). Besides, none of those other things were written by me. I guess I'm not necessarily doing this so people will use it, I'm doing this because I think it'll be fun, and I'll use it.

    Anyway, I'm working on my own mass mailer now. It's going to be simple, elegant, and as lightweight as I can make it. The big problem with those others is, they try to do too much through a mail interface... it results in messages to the list not getting through sometime, and control messagings going to the list sometimes. And it just generally makes the code difficult to work with.

    I'd make a project page for it, but it doesn't have a name yet. I started out calling it 'X', but that's... you know... got problems with it. I'd be open to suggestions if you have any.

    Post Lunch Update
    Had a good lunch with Ed, Jeremy, and Josh. We saw the most beautiful hostess in the world. I'm in love. She was truly spectacular.

    Got a note from Adrian, regarding My earlier diary post. He suggested I take a look at 'mailman' before I make too many bold strides down the coding path. I'm lookin' at it now. We'll see....

    Yarg. Josh called me an hour or so ago. We were having trouble with DHCP in the residence halls. Not a big deal, really.... It was only really a problem because I didn't get paged by Operations. They say they tried, but the pager never uttered a peep. This is not good.

    I'm off to buy some stuff I need for the apt. now. You know, ice trays, trash bags, that sort of whatnot.

    Good weekend so far, except for getting called in to work. Got sunburned yesterday, reading on the porch. Watched some MST3K with Ed and my Bro friday night. Had some beers and dinner with some of the boys last night.

    One odd thing of note. I was pressed into service to run off some guy. He was hittin' on this girl I know in the bar where we were havin' a few. She walked past, saw me, and started talking to this dude about how she was gonna have me kick his ass. She had me stand up and walk over, just so she could show off how much bigger than him I am (about 8 inches taller, and a whole lot of pounds heavier). He promptly dissapeared, as did she about a minute later.

    It was kind of cool to be threatening again... I havn't really scared anybody in years. Might be time to get back into fighting trim again.

    Busted some serious code today on the Sasha project. And just like I figured, as soon as I actually worked on it, someone said "You shouldn't be doing this". *sigh* How typical. The good news is though, I've done as much to it as I can without talking to the people who asked me to do this, who aren't here today.

    Sent Ed a copy of my 'mail prettifier' code. He's the first non-me person to actually slap eyes on it. Havn't heard back from him yet.

    All it does is rip out extraneous headers and sigs, clean up quote characters, and fix line wrapping in long email threads. It ain't real pretty yet, and I expect I'm the only person in the world who's anal enough to want this (I get tired of seeing '> >>: > |>>' at the beginning of a line, and having the line wrap in the middle), but anyone that want's to see it is welcome to it. Just drop me a line.

    I had this going via procmail... any message that hit my inbox went through this filter first. But it became clear pretty quickly that this wasn't going to work (didn't deal with mime stuff very gracefully for example). So instead I wrote a little emacs macro which takes the contents of current buffer, pipes it through the perl script, and replaces it with the output from the script. I run it when I respond. Works pretty well, and allowed me to trim a lot of crap out of the code.

    I officially declared my news server problems 'Fixed' today. yea. I'm officially going to go home and have nightmares about DHCP tonight. Just got a call from Ed... looks like we're headed out for steak tonight. Better call the Bro...

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