Tap, tap, tap… is this thing on?

Have you ever noticed how the really good sound engineers only ever need to say “One, two, one, check check” to get a good mic check? They never count to three. At least not the good ones.

Anyway, I finally had the mental energy to do the bash WordPress into upgrading tonight, since the self-upgrade never works on my webhost. Sadly, routine system maintenance is one of those things that I have a high procrastination skill in, thus since the admin system was broken, I haven’t been blogging. Twitter is too fast for me – I need to focus on home (i.e. being at home) and work things, which quite frankly aren’t Twitter material. And Facebook is amusing for the witty repartee; at least I enjoy it.

But I need to start blogging again, either here or at CommunityOverCode.com, since I’ll be speaking at ApacheCon NA in Portland this coming February 2013! Really looking forward to attending an ApacheCon as just a speaker, and not an organizer. I’m hoping it will be more relaxing. Then again, I haven’t written all the slides for my talk yet, so…

There will be other extended family news coming out soon. Hope all the locals are being treated well by winter, and hope all my down under friends are enjoying the beaches!

Disaster week is OVER!

This is offered – not as an excuse, but as an explanation – of why I’ve been so quiet lately. Some friends and perhaps fellow members have wondered why I haven’t spoken up or made known some positions recently.

In the past week or so, I’ve been dealing with a number of stressful situations including:

  • Extended family member in rehab recovering from a heart attack
  • Close family member with arm and wrist injuries
  • Various minor but urgent miscellaneous legal issues
  • Various questions from our home renovation contractor
  • A cat at the emergency vet at 2AM
  • Leaks in the roof
  • No attic or basement (due to shuffling boxes for contractor)
  • Flaky electricity in half our outlets
  • No home internet for a while
  • Reorg at work
  • Cats making a mess and being upset at the rest of the stress in life

I do recognize that I’m incredibly lucky even give the aforementioned disaster a day of the past two weeks. I live in a country with free speech, and free and fair elections. I have a great job, own (some of) my own home, and have a wife and daughter more wonderful than I ever imagined. I don’t have any serious illnesses, and all of our cats are now in at least stable condition.

But the human condition is a relative one: one person’s exciting challenge is another person’s incipient ulcer. And we’re used to a certain pace or style of life – while I can handle most disasters as well as anyone, too many at once just doesn’t feel fair. Hence, a number of things I’ve wanted to do have been postponed for a while lately.

So I declare it the end of disaster week, and look forward to a disaster-free and very fun weekend with some family coming to visit. I just hope we have enough floor space left from all our storage reshuffling to find the spare bed!

PorchBlogging

Yes, it’s almost that time of year, so I’m sitting on the porch blogging away. Looking forward to doing more of it soon now that it’s spring, and the sun is up so long.

I saw an old friend this morning after my morning cappuccino and coding at my favorite coffee shop, Peet’s in Lexington. It was one of those odd moments of complete and happy surprise, since while we email regularly, I really didn’t expect to see him in downtown Lexington, just sitting on a park bench. In any case, he reminded me that I should blog more, and not just about that Apache stuff. So here you go. I will say I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends in the next two weekends, since I think some plans will be coming together nicely.

Hey! If anyone has good links for Patriot’s Day events this year, email them or post them here. I really want to get a good calendar of what’s happening when, since it’s one of my favorite holidays of the year. I’ll drop one excellent link here – if you want to know what actually happened back then, read Boston 1775, a blog by J.L. Bell, who has great commentary as well as links to original source material from the time of the revolution.

In other news, I’m ashamed to say I’m drinking instant coffee with my stroopkoeken. It’s one of those guilty pleasures – I love the Idee Kaffee instant coffee packets that I brought home from Amsterdam last month. Please don’t tell Janice or the staff at Peet’s I’m drinking anything but their bar drinks or my whole bean Maj. Dickason’s I get each week.

Night is dark

Really dark. You just can’t believe how vastly deeply inkly dark it is. I mean you may think it’s awfully dark in your basement when you turn out the lights and put blankets over the window, but that’s just twinkles compared to how dark it is when the power goes out. For your whole neighborhood.

It was a very eerie feeling – I mean, I was already tired from staying up to late finishing a half-dozen things from the day. But suddenly there’s this clunking sound, and something’s not right, and then silence. There was that half-second where my brain was telling me everything’s fine – I mean, I’m sitting here reading a webpage, and I can still read it on my laptop. And the light going out was probably cause it’s on a timer…

Oh, wait, the fishtank is off too, and it’s suddenly reeeealy dark. Look out the window – yup, everyone on my street, and the next street over, in both directions – no lights. Then I had to stumble around to find my cell phone to call the power company. (Yes, I am one of those people who calls in the power outages.) Luckily, I really like flashlights, so once I turned a couple on, it was kinda fun.

Of course, it’s not really that dark outside. Anyone who lives even vaguely close to the metro area in a developed country knows you can never find actual blackness outdoors anymore. The glow from Boston was still plenty to see my way around outside. I wonder: how much more light pollution do we have today versus 20 or 30 years ago? Besides just population density, are we overall doing better or worse at excess lights in the sky these days? I can’t tell if the fondness of seeing the stars long ago is just happy memories from childhood, or if there’s a real difference in how many are visible in the night sky now.

Murphy came through, as he often does; the power turned on just as I was completing the automated “report your location out” call. Sigh. I didn’t even get the good doobie feeling for getting to report it.