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Wed, 05 Nov 2003

Something New

Well, Blog 8.0 beta (alpha actually) has been released.  I'll be putting it through some paces and doing something about the colors around here.  Also, if all goes well, I'll be adding a javascript menu for the GaBB users to help bring the their version of The Whinery in line with what everyone else sees here.

This entry authored by Tyran at 08:44

Thu, 06 Nov 2003

Sweet Bitterness

Ever wonder why IT people tend to be bitter, arrogant, people?  It is because we are, quite often, hidden away in the dark back rooms or basements of our places of employ.  Here we do our best to make sure our users have uninterrupted access to their data.  If we do our job well, you'll never see us in action and as such you may think we must be very expendable.  Yet if we weren't here, that patch we applied yesterday would be missing and so would all of your data because your network was eaten alive by a virus.  Of course, if the patch is applied then the virus is unable to function.  Living in darkness is good, it's easy on the eyes and means fewer headaches while we answer your insipid questions, the same ones you asked us yesterday but are either too lazy or too stupid to be able to remember the answers to them today.  Still we are happy because we while away our time surrounded by the things we love and the code we wrote, beside which we also have a couple of moral boosters planned throughout the year:  Pizza parties, shrimp shin-digs, festive holiday feasts.  Is it too much to ask to allow us these few frivolities to keep us happy and your data secure while you while away your time in the sunshine?  Sunshine, a thing which we rarely experience in our own work day.  Apparently it is too much to ask for the days of dungeon feasting are but dim memories, forlorn and forgotten.  Wait, was it this my Morlock eyes see?  The Eloi who rely on us to see that their data is perfect, the Eloi who complained so bitterly over our dungeon feasts that we abandoned the feasts are now feting themselves?  Not a word is said but from those who were once Morlocks themselves, You should have some of this, comes the quiet, almost whispered invitations, invitations uttered only after all the other Eloi have begun their feast.  No thanks, we would much rather eat our gruel in darkness than suffer the pity of those who so recently scorned us.

Do response times from your IT department seem slow?  Does your IT department seem just a bit reluctant to deal with your pictures of your grandkids, motorcycle, trains and whatever that thing might be?  Does it takes them weeks to burn your MP3s to CD for you?  Do they always seem so tied up in projects that they no longer have time to chit chat with you about banjos, stocks, your grandkids, motorcycle, trains and whatever that thing might be?  Just ask yourself when was the last time you actually showed any appreciation to your IT department or stop trying to take away the quirky little things they do.  It's those quirky little things that keep them happy.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:21

Wed, 12 Nov 2003

Darkness Approaches

Darkness approaches.
It
is coming.
It is here.

I was dreaming, I could feel it; yet I couldn't be dreaming for I was awake.  Silence bore down upon me and I slept not knowing whether or not I dreamt.

In the distance I hear it floating on the air.  In the twilight I feel it shriek, a fierce hunter seeking its prey.  I watch myself float over smoky waters and see, it wings its way toward me.  The sight of its fetid form sears my eyes as it washes over me.  I am consumed . . . .

I watch it settle upon my back; feel it seep into me, thick, foul and hot, seeping into every vein.  It is so cold, I am frozen, unable to even struggle.  It clutches my heart with burning talons, it presses the breath from my lungs.  I am undone, helpless, praying for destruction and reviled by my own mind.

There is a darkness within, I embrace it and name it friend.  Its heartless laughter echoes throughout and black flames lick in torment.  There is no turning, no hiding from this demon.  Despair is its name and Death its only succor.

This entry authored by Tyran at 16:57

Thu, 13 Nov 2003

The Breaking Dawn?

OMYesterday's entry was bleak, that is without question.  For those who know me, it probably wasn't that great a surprise to read; distressing, maybe, but not surprising.  It is, after all, the SAD time of year.  I live with mild depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Now, before anyone decides to help me by putting me on a suicide watch, I should point out two subtleties which likely elude everyone who didn't actually write yesterday's entry.

I am undone, helpless, praying for destruction and reviled by my own mind.

Note that this does not say praying for my destruction.

Despair is its name and Death its only succor.

Note the phrase its only succor is not the only answer.  I will leave it to you, dear reader, to further interpret the meaning and value of what I've written.

So, why the Om and what does any of that have to do with the title of this entry?  You'll need to jump to my Yoga blog to find out ;o-)  Just click the Om.

This entry authored by Tyran at 16:17

Fri, 14 Nov 2003

Wisdom of Ages?

I read an article this morning that really struck a cord with me.  Oddly enough, the article was about web-surfing Buddhist monks.  Now I'm not planning to become a Buddhist let alone a monk, but there is something very attractive about the attitude shown in the article.

Yet the monks find wisdom now and then in the most unexpected places. Ven. Hyunjin writes of the time when they hiked through the mountain in a downpour. As the waters swelled, they carefully crossed a stream, but one of the apprentice monks lost a rubber shoe in the torrent. At the next stream, he floated the other rubber shoe away too.

When I'd lost just one shoe, I was so worried. But now that I've gotten rid of both shoes, I feel so peaceful, he said, barefoot and happy.

When I read these two paragraphs, it was as if a shade was lifted and I could see the sun for the first time in my life.  If I had been the fellow who lost his shoe, I would have been beside myself with worry and done everything in my power to retrieve the missing shoe.  I would have been beside myself with fear, anger and embarrassment if I could not retrieve it.  Why?  The loss of the shoe would not have meant my death and yet I would have reacted as if it were a death sentence.  What would I do now, were I to lose a shoe like this?  I would likely react in the same fashion I would have before reading the article, but hopefully I would also be able to let go, whether I recovered the lost shoe or not, with much less anxiety.

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:09

Sun, 16 Nov 2003

I've got no strings to hold me down . . . .

I've been testing the new version of Blog.  Unfortunately, part of the conversion routine to upgrade to the new version partially corrupted my old data.  That's the risk one runs when testing beta software.  That is also part of the reason that I like to keep good backups.  With the backup I was able to create a custom import routine to deal with the unique nature of my entries and correct the corruption.

I've been wanting to write about installing a wireless network here at home.  It was extremely easy to setup until I installed the latest firmware update to the router.  After that I couldn't stay connected for more that three or four seconds.  Needless to say, I was quite angry.  I finally solved the problem by setting the beacon interval to 1 millisecond.  As to security, if you install a wireless network you need to make sure that you change the administrative password first.  After you have everything working, turn on WEP security.  After your WEP is working correctly, disable the SSID broadcast.  Turning off the broadcast prevents your network from telling everyone in the world that it exists.  If people aren't told you have a network, they won't be able to find it as easily.  Finally, enable the MAC filter.  The MAC filter matches the hardware address of your specific network card and won't allow traffic that originates from an unknown card onto your network.

I've heard from a lot of people that their routers don't have the range that they would like.  I've found that the 802.11g routers have good range (mine covers my entire lot and beyond) but placement makes a difference too.  Try to locate your unit as centrally as possible and try to avoid having any cement or brick walls between you and the router.

Well, these are my experiences.  Do you have wireless at home or work?  Willing to share your experiences?

This entry authored by Tyran at 11:26

Mon, 17 Nov 2003

Painful Loss

I forgot to set the alarm last night.  I was dreaming about launching rocket powered telephone booths (thanks Dr. Who), selling tables to my mother in a hospital room and waiting for her in an electric blue, gelatinous sea full of fantastic behemoths.  She came riding in on a singing giant squid with red pin stripes (on the squid).  Odd, I had asked for blue stripes...then I awoke.  I realized the alarm wasn't set, so I climbed out of bed to make sure I hadn't overslept.  It was 5:17 AM, so I overslept a little but not enough to be a problem.  I hauled myself upstairs and had a bowl of ceral for breakfast, then off to shave and shower.  Mid-lather, it hit, 5:17 AM.  365 days ago, Sunday, my phone rang at 5:18 AM.  Without answering, I knew it was my mother calling to say that my grandmother had passed away.

Saturday I made Grandma's chili

  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 24 oz Tomato sauce
  • 1 chili brick
  • 3 TBS chili powder depending
  • kidney beans (lots of)

I read the title of the recipe as I cooked, Grandma Fordham's Chili, and was taken back to the last time she cooked her chili.  It was April (if memory serves) and the anual Spring Cleanup was finished at Grandma's house.  She had cooked enough chili to feed the small army which descended upon her home twice yearly to clean her yard.  She and I sat by each other at the table.  She didn't think the chili was strong enough and had put a bottle of chili powder on the table.  She was right, it needed more chili powder.  When I looked in the cooker, I could see that the chili powder was mostly stuck to the sides.  We talked about it for a while and I asked her for the recipe.  I soon found that if I added the chili powder to the meat before adding the tomato sauce and kidney beans, the meat would bind the powder and increase the flavor dramatically...almost too spicy for the kids.

With that memory, I decided to read what I wrote here on the Whinery last year.  While the entries that week were well written, I quickly discovered that my loss is still to painful for me to revisit.  I can still hear her voice calling my name, feel the love in her strong yet frail hands as they gripped mine, still see her beautiful face and her loving smile.  She used to make date swirl and raisin filled cookies.  She would often send me home with a small bag filled with dried apricots, her favorite snack and mine.

This entry authored by Tyran at 06:39

Wed, 26 Nov 2003

iPod

Do you have an iPod?  http://ipodsdirtysecret.com/

This entry authored by Tyran at 12:03

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