"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
July 2, 2005

I've been reading Cryptonomicon for the third (or fourth?) time, as it's something I'm guaranteed to enjoy. I just got past the bit where Detachment 2702 is in Italy sowing misinformation.

Bobby Shaftoe and Enoch Root are at the observation point above the bay talking about their previous mission, which involved dumping a guy mocked up as a German, with papers written in German, out of a plane into Axis-controlled territory.

"Fortunately," Root continues, "I am somewhat familiar with the language."
"Oh, yeah -- your mom was a Kraut, right?"
"Yes, a medical missionary," Root says, "in case that helps dispel any of your preconceptions about Germans."
"And your dad was Dutch."
"That is correct."
"And they both ended up on Gaudalcanal why?"
"To help those who were in need."
"Oh, yeah."
"I also learned some Italian along the way. There's a lot of it going around in the Church."
"Fuck me," Shaftoe exclaims.
"But my Italian is heavily informed by the Latin that my father insisted that I learn. So I would probably sound rather old-fashioned to the locals. In fact, I would probably sound like a seventeenth-century alchemist or something."
"Could you sound like a priest? They'd eat that up."
"If worse comes to worst," Root allows, "I will try hitting them with some God talk and we'll see what happens."

Now, I hadn't caught the "seventeenth-century alchemist" comment the first few times I'd read the book. Considering that I'd started The Baroque Cycle sometime before going back and reading Crypto again, that's pretty silly of me.

See, the thing is, Enoch Root is a seventeenth-century alchemist, in The Baroque Cycle.

Freakin' Stephenson!

I love this book.

1:31 PM | Books
July 5, 2005

Every time I read Stephenson books, I am reminded of how much I fucking love them. Having only read The Baroque Cycle the once, with many months between each of the books, I am somewhat excited to see if they hold up as well as Cryptonomicon in terms of sheer re-readability. I am almost certain that they do.

Spoilers follow.

4:20 AM | Books
July 6, 2005

I always feel like some sort of adulterer when there's a bum other than the usual one outside my Wawa, and I give him my change.

I assume this is blow-back from being raised in California.

2:39 AM | Life

Furries descend on Philadelphia, populace curses when it is learned that they could have ordered a locust swarm instead.

Really disturbing article if you know nothing about furries, or fringe communities in general.

I won't be going outside unarmed... as draven points out, I can probably get away with claiming it was a hunting accident.

(Of course, the furry CSI ep -- one of the few I've managed to sit through -- was pretty close to that. But.)

[linkwhored by solios, javaman]

3:32 PM | Linkwhore

I love when I realize I've done something so stupid I can't help but say it out loud, not necessarily to out of disbelief, as Hollywood suggests people do when shot (e.g., "Fuck me", "Shit on me", "Fucking shit fuck shit", and other scatological references involving grinding), but that in some way by saying it -- by actually generating the sounds, extruding them into the aether, and then having them enter my ears, parsed and processed by my brain -- I will fully comprehend just how fucking stupid I've been.

For instance: Sitting in bed, cross-legged, laptop in front of me, hacking on Cognition's templates, I pause, look up at the blank wall in front of me and say, aloud, to the empty apartment (no one to hear but Smack the stuffed monkey):

"I left the salsa in the fucking freezer last night, didn't I."

<@sri> http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/07/06/228251 # :/
< chr2s> sri: cat needs some killer apps.
* bda is totally working on one! :P
< bda> "killer" in the sense of "OMG KILL IT WITH FIRE", anyway.
< chr2s> hahaha

July 7, 2005

I finally got around to installing Saft, a Safari plug-in which, among other things, allows you to drag tabs between windows and reorder them. It also saves tabs at quit.

During the install, it closes Safari without asking, killing about two dozen open tabs.


10:24 PM | Software
July 8, 2005

< fitzzz> get yourself a copy of Cryptonomicon bda
< fitzzz> 7$ on amazon
< bda> fitzzz: I just finished re-reading Crypto for the fourth or fifth time. :)
< bda> Stephenson++
-!- da5id [~da5id@port145.ds1-op.adsl.cybercity.dk] has joined #catalyst


July 9, 2005

Yesterday was somewhat productive. Got to work, and messed with Cognition reporting: Now all reports and templates are stored in the database, completely user-customizable. If no template has been specified, it just uses a generic one.

A simple example of that code. It works pretty well, though I think it's rather ugly. I have to use DBI instead of CDBI as I'm allowing the user to run completely arbitrary SQL. Gratz to jester for the sth_to_objects hint, and to mst for confirming that while it's gross, it's a decent solution. Yay #catalyst. :)

Once I have the tiered ownership checking in place, some users will be able to add group or global reports as well. Which is roughly how the rest of the app works anyway. Overall I was pretty happy with it.

I got home, read for a bit, then took a three hour nap. When I got up, out of pure boredom I "reorganized" the living room. The catalyst for this was actually the fact that I had four boxes of books from Amazon waiting on my desk yesterday morning, and we'd run out space on our bookshelves. So, me being me, I took that as a sign to move the couch to the other side of the living room, sweep and ghetto-mop the floor, and generally fuck with the layout of the room.

Not very happy with it, but it should be better once the entertainment center I ordered comes in. Need to get some longer coax for the satellite TV box, which is more or less where it was -- now on the wrong side of the room. Makes channel surfing a bit annoying.

I did free up four shelves for books, and once the center is in, that should free up another four (as I can move Pete's DVDs to that, and off the bookshelf).

I wasn't very sure how Pete would react to my moving shit around, but in typical Pete fashion, he was completely apathetic. He came home pretty wasted in the middle of me making a mess, and could barely get in as there was shit in front of the door. He almost knocked the TV over. :)

12:20 PM | Life

One of the boxes from Amazon I picked up from work yesterday contained Batman: Year: One, Hellboy: Seed of Destruction and The Crow. I wasn't very happy with any of them. I was expecting much more from both Year One and Hellboy. They weren't bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think they were somewhat mediocre. What the hell was with Gordon being some sort of elite special op before becoming a cop? Batman Begins, to me, seemed to get the concept across better, though focusing more on Gordon would have been nice.

My primary complaint with The Crow was the art style, which managed to get on my nerves almost immediately. The less complaint is that it was too fucking goth -- which is patently ridiculous of me, considering the subject material. When he started cutting his arms up, I just sighed. The fruity dancing around and posing in between bouts of shooting bad guys was somewhat confusing, but I'm not willing to invest in enough black eyeliner to gain an understanding. The Robert Smith hair also kicked my anger monkey square in the testicles. Admittedly it's a goth book representing goth aesthetics, which is fine -- but to me something like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac managed to make the goth look not look, well, astoundingly silly. Again, I think the movie did a much better job in getting the story across.

(Yes, I too am entertained by the irony of complaining about art style for something like The Crow, but, eh. Fuck ye.)

All this has made me want to go back and re-read Transmetropolitan or finally pick up the Astro City books, because both of those series are exceptionally well-done.

12:26 PM | Comics | Comments (1)

<@bda> iTMS doesn't have shit for Bach.
<@bda> ah!
<@bda> Search for composer and not artist.
<@rjbs> yes. bach as artist would be amazing.
<@bda> And highly unlikely!
< mdxi> they could dig him up, put him in a bag, and throw it at an organ keyboard

10:43 PM | irk
July 13, 2005

I'd like to propose another Law & Order spin-off: L&0: WTF.

Wimminz Task Force.

It'll be the Girls Gone Wild of L&O.

Dick Wolf: You got my digits. Gimme a ring-a-ding-ding, yo.

2:10 AM | Television

I'm about halfway through Charles Stross' Iron Sunrise, the sequel to Singularity Sky (which I enjoyed a great deal -- a good fun scifi romp). I've been noticing some oddities in his prose and terminology however:

  • The term "warblogger" is used instead of "war correspondent".
  • The London Times is referred to as "the blog.
  • Chapter 17 is titled Set Us Up the Bomb: An All Your Base reference for those of you who have somehow managed to forget the last four or five years.
  • One of the characters actually says they've been "grepping the newsfeeds". grep is a UNIX tool used for searching text files.

Stross' books alternate between hard scifi and silly fun, so I'm not at all surprised at the above, I guess. It's just sort of... jarring.

7:42 PM | Books
July 14, 2005

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I'm wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright

And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

The Lovin' Spoonful

2:24 AM | Lyric Spam
July 15, 2005

< bda> Not being able to edit comments in trac is kinda driving me nuts.
< omega> lol
< omega> make a new one p
< omega> :p
< bda> It's just a formatting error.
< bda> I need to just start using preview. ;-)
< bda> Instead of licking sqlite.
< wdh> it being friday doesn't help
< wdh> nothing goes right on fridays
< bda> Days don't mean much to me anymore.
< bda> I just sit around my apartment writing Perl, venturing out only to
purchase little frenchbread pizza things at the Wawa down the
< bda> I shoot off updates and questions to my manager, who ignores them,
and I grow fat and covered in Cheetos dust.
* bda is turning into the thing he hates!
< wdh> it could be worse
< bda> It could be dust from those green Doritos?
< wdh> exactly :)

The guy who does the voice of Zim was in an episode of Kim Possible, playing a villain named "Avarius", whose gimmick was birds, giant birds, or mechanical exploding birds.

He unleashed, check it, a Flamingo of DOOM.


(Yes, I am a nerd.)

6:54 AM | Television
July 16, 2005

Someone emailed in response to this misc@openbsd post asking for pointers on getting AV and spam filtering running on OpenBSD. I've gone ahead and cleaned my notes up slightly and dumped them in my scripts dir...

Here are my amavis install on OpenBSD notes.

As I've said before, I've used the Fairly Secure Anti-Spam Wiki as a basis.

Like I told Charles... YMMV. :-)

12:17 AM | Systems Administration | Comments (2)

I've become a big proponent of TRAC in the last month or so. It's a very simple, very efficient project management system and svn client. It's good stuff. Many projects (including Catalyst) have adopted it.

I got bored this morning and decided to install a personal copy on mnet, which required installing mod_python and setting up a bunch of other junk for it.

So here are some more "Installing stuff on OpenBSD" docs:

Installing mod_python on OpenBSD
Installing TRAC on OpenBSD

If you find any issues with them, drop me a line.

9:00 AM | Systems Administration | Comments (4)
July 18, 2005


I sure do love summer. 90F. 90% humidity. No wind.

Fall please.

July 19, 2005

dmesg getting filled with SCSI media error garbage and screwing with line output can cause pretty funny things:

SCOpenBSD 3.6-stable (GENERIC) #1: Thu Jan 13 07:57:07 EST 2005

11:23 AM | Systems Administration
July 20, 2005

< eniac> sup
< bda> Breaking in the new chair with my ass.
< eniac> nice
< bda> It could be better. It could be giving me a rimjob and rubbing my back. But then I'd have just bought Harry's chair model.
< bda> :D
< eniac> hrm
< eniac> if it could cook dinner after all that...
< bda> I'd have to marry it? :P

8:52 AM | irk

<Danelope> "But because Washington is one of 17 states that does not outlaw bestiality, having sex with a horse is not a crime and his death will not be investigated."
<bda> He had ANAL SEX with a HORSE?!
<bda> The world is broken. Reboot it please.
<Danelope> No, Bryan, he didn't "have anal sex with a horse".
<Danelope> He was fucked to death in the ass by a horse.
<Danelope> Not only was he gay, but he was gay...FOR HORSES.
<Danelope> It's important to have perspective when these sorts of things happen.
<bda> Requiring perspective on people getting fucked by horses on purpose is about the last thing I thought I would need when I left the house this morning.

10:14 AM | irk

I just had mod_bonjour cause httpd to crash. This is after using it all day... I wonder if someone is spamming bad bonjour/rendevous packets. iChat doesn't seem affected, but, eh.

Commenting out the module fixed it. Here's the trace.

Killing my connection and trying to start Apache didn't help any. mod_bonjour doesn't appear to have been corrupted (md5 same as on my home machine).

That sucked.

5:11 PM | Systems Administration | Comments (3)
July 21, 2005

Sen H. Clinton: "We need to treat violent video games the same way we treat tobacco and alcohol."
Lewis Black: "Namely as valued contributors to our re-election funds."

1:39 AM | Life

< bda> 0230. Perfect time to make decisions you will probably regret when the sun comes up.
* bda goes to shave his head.

Pictures included.

Here's some totally unexpected weirdness:

From: Michail Vicente
Date: July 21, 2005 9:00:26 AM EDT
To: misc@openbsd.org

OpenBSD developer survey.

Sorry for using this mailing list but we are a team of researchers from the ENST (the engineering school of telecommunication of Paris), and we are doing a sociological survey on OpenBSD in order to better understand the community.
After a qualitative study and several interviews with French developers, we want to extend this study to the whole community by sending a questionnaire.
Answering to the following questionnaire will take about 15 minutes and will be very helpful to us.

Results of this survey will be treated on a statistical basis, so they will remain anonymous. They will be published on a free accessible website as soon as they are ready.

[lots of questions.]

And as always Riku was there with the commentary:

<@rjbs> From hacker-inquiries@ot3.scientology.org
<@rjbs> [ ] Compile support for religious technology?

Boy, I can't wait for some of the replies. ;-)

9:44 AM | irk
July 22, 2005

Even days: Up at 0600. Code until 1800 or so. Read. Asleep by 2200.
Odd days: Up at 0230. Code until 1700. Sleep. Up at 2200. Watch TV or read for a varying number of hours. Sleep more. Up at 0230. Watch more TV, code more.

These are not hard rules. For instance, I'm up at 0130 instead of in an hour. Perhaps in some alternate plane I'm still asleep.

Perhaps in some alternate plane I actually sleep normal hours, exercise, eat healthy, and have stable relationships with people I am emotionally bound to.

I bet I don't have fucked up dreams in this magical other place, too.

Also, I haven't eaten since yesterday sometime. And there's an earwig the size of a golf club in the bathroom.

At least I can do something about that.

(This is not to imply that I'm going to eat the earwig. Rather, I'm going to collect Pete's Bug Killing Shoe and act like the man of the house. Or something.)

1:40 AM | Life
July 23, 2005

Spent most of yesterday evening at pobox poking at boxes with Rik and some of co-workers (who were all very nice!). It was all relatively easy stuff, but I hadn't done any actual Linux administration in so long it took me a bit to ramp back up. I especially hadn't ever touched lvm on Linux (vg*), so that took a little while to figure out.

The evening just reinforced my reasoning for switching from reiserfs to ext3 several years ago when I had a similar problem with reiser eating itself and causing me all sorts of trouble. It also reinforced my decision to move from Linux to OpenBSD two years ago. It's just... so much nicer to deal with. So much more straight-forward (thought just about all the things that were driving me nuts last night were definitely not Debian Standard by any stretch of the imagination).

I did find out that you can dump usernames with silly characters like "@" in them (such as user@domain.com) into passwd and it will actually work. Adding 25,000 users via useradd is not the fastest thing ever. ;-)

(Some usernames were really not valid, and it seemed easier to just let useradd deal with it.)

On top of doing other contract sysadmin work earlier in the week, it definitely makes me miss being a systems admin. This programming stuff is for the birds.

We had some tasty (and free!) Chinese food (sizzling beef with black sauce remains super awesome) for dinner and since it was around midnight, Rik crashed on my couch for the night.

I just stumbled downstairs to see if he was up and maybe wanted food, but Pete (who is up and having to go into work today) had already let him out to catch a bus back to Bethlehem. Ah well.

Michelle is having "I'm moving to Boston to go to the Smart Kid's School and leave you mediocre fucks behind not that any of you can blame me" party up at her parents, uh, in Allentown. So I guess I'll just see her next week to say bye. ;P

My damn entertainment system/console thing didn't get delivered yesterday, either. I'm pretty pissed. It's been sitting somewhere in the area since 0300 Thursday and was supposed to have been delivered yesterday.


Now I guess I will make some breakfast and possibly watch Constantine.


7:55 AM | Life
July 25, 2005

Went to Pietro's with some friendly humans last night, at the 18th & Walnut location. Hadn't been there before, but the pizza was at tasty so I was okay with it. Sophy and I wandered over to Barnes after and I picked up some more books.

The books Neal Stephenson and J. Frederick George co-authored under the pen-name "Stephen Bury" have been re-released. So I picked up The Cobweb (I already own Interface); it's actually sort of frustrating in the same way that Interface was. You can see all the Stephenson-isms just under the surface of "Make This More Accessable", and as I love how Stephenson writes, it is, as I said, frustrating.

The Cobweb takes place in Iowa, some wrestling-centric town, some guy who is running for sheriff, his wife, and some Weird Government Stuff I haven't got into yet. I know nothing about the book except Stephenson seemed proud of it when asked at his book signing a while back.

I also picked up his early novel Zodiac, which I haven't read in years, and the new Harry Potter.

The queue portion of my bookshelf is now two rows instead of the one I've managed to keep it at for several years.


Too much time spent coding, not enough reading.

We then headed back to Adam and Sophy's place and hung out with Liz for a while. Liz and I walked back to my place so she could retrieve some books of hers I've had for way to long (and only one of which I read; I suck). Since it was raining around 0200 when she left, I hopped a cab with her and stopped by Wawa to get more soda and food for today.

Liz and Matt are moving to Portland next month so Liz can go to a high-falutin' art school. I was all excited to introduce ejp them, since Liz is totally one of my favorite people (who I never get to see) and for some reason I was convinced Eric lived in Portland, and uh, not Bumfuck, WA. Whups.

Adam and Sophy are (likely) moving to San Francisco in October. Michelle is moving to Boston to go to MIT.


And I'm sitting here still waiting for that goddamn furniture to be delivered.

July 27, 2005
July 28, 2005

On Alien Vs. Predator.

< solios> the spikey blonde chick looks too much like my friend Mike.
<@bda> ...
<@ejp> ...
< solios> similar face.
< solios> mike's built like mister burns.
<@bda> Like listening to you bitch about movies we've all seen and already bitched about isn't bad enough, Dan.
<@ejp> you gotta go say fucked up shit like that.
< solios> <3

My favorite part is still the facehugger bullet time.

1:41 AM | irk


<@bda> He's a good actor.
<@bda> I just dunno he's Johnny Cash.
< solios> only man that can do Cash is dead.
<@bda> Yes.
<@bda> Well.
<@bda> :\
<@ejp> o_O
<@ejp> your people's...fanatic devotion to Cash is disturbing
<@bda> ejp: Cash is Good.
< solios> ejp: he's an Icon.
< solios> like Thompson.
< solios> (also dead)
< solios> :|
<@ejp> who?
<@bda> Hunter S.
<@ejp> oh
* solios sighs.
* ejp shrugs
<@bda> One day when you grow up, after your voice changes and hair starts growing in odd places, you will start to understand.
<@bda> ;-)
< solios> <3
<@ejp> you're just *askin* for a wangslap
< solios> bda: the boy clearly needs to get laid.
<@bda> At least there won't be no hair in it.
< solios> pwn.

But according to imdb, Phoenix learned to play guitar from scratch for the film, and did all the songs himself (no dubbing). From the trailer, it sounds like he hit it dead on... and that sort of dedication to acting puts him up there with bad-ass actors like Christian Bale (The Machinist) willing to go to lengths for a part.

Of course, Bale may just be fucking nuts.

July 29, 2005
  • Refactor Gnosis's RBAC doe as a Catalyst plugin.
  • Install svk on gordon, test with RBAC code.
  • Finish Invitare (pumpcon invite system).
  • Set up multi-project trac install on crowley for consulting clients.
  • Assemble newly delivered entertainment system which is currently in pieces, making the living room smell like cheap wood.
  • Trace copper at Factory, for the eventual installation of a fat DSL pipe.


4:39 PM | Life

<@ejp> drunken programming never turns out well.
< esch> heh.
<@bda> Lies. I code much more gooder sloshed.
<@ejp> it's been pretty well proven
<@ejp> I've seen your code bryan.
<@bda> Not recent code.
<@ejp> bda: yeah I have, I hacked your gibson.
<@bda> ejp:
<@bda> [root@gibson]:[~]# w
<@bda> 8:30PM up 3 days, 12:32, 1 user, load averages: 0.08, 0.09, 0.08
<@bda> root p0 hyperion 8:30PM 0 w
<@bda> Hmm...
<@ejp> bda: I'm THAT 31337!
<@bda> OH NOEZ
<@bda> cookie
<@bda> cookie
<@bda> cookie
<@bda> cookie

8:35 PM | irk
July 30, 2005

So my uncle died last year. He was drunk and riding his motorcycle, and took a corner too fast. After passing a fire engine on its way to a fire, he greased himself over a few dozen feet of asphalt and dirt.

He left behind a crackwhore girlfriend, her fourteen year old daughter, Allison, by another man, and their seven year old son, Zach.