Medieval Visitation

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/08/medieval-visitation/

<dman> Man.
<dman> I had a passing desire just now to be in FRANCE.
<lotus> hopefully it was for the ass
<lotus> that’s a good reason to go
<lotus> they have good ass there
<dman> No. I wanted to wander down the hill from Vieux Lyon and lose myself in the twisty ancient streets.
<dman> Maybe buy some chocolate.
<dman> Eat a baguette and drink a few bottles of wine, and curl up in a gutter, blanketed by warm rain and horse piss.
<dman> Must be the pining of some medieval ancestor of prior life in me.
<dman> Ah, sweet melancholy.

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still plenty of work to do …

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/16/still-plenty-of-work-to-do/

It has been a busy busy week at work. And just now at noon on Friday it has started to calm down a bit. I figure I can spend some slack time. It is not just that I feel tired, but I do this clever thing of keeping a log of all the stuff I do at work. Based on the size of this week’s log, I have evidence that this has been the busiest week I’ve had at work so far.

Especially because the sun has come out the past few days, warming Chicago up to a pleasing 70 degrees, I start to lament the virtuality of my existance. During the Winter or during the Summer, it is not so bad to be cooped up in a climate-controlled environment, taking it easy, whiling the season away. But you know, doing computers eight hours a day, five days a week … there’s less interest in the virtual work hobby after hours. And especially when the sun comes out … it is just time to take a nice long walk and smell the grass.

Things have been moving around at work, and things will be moving around more. I’m stepping more into the role of “manager” and one of the things I’ve had very little time to work on is a job req for some introductory-level first-tier support representatives. There is a lot of work to be done. It is actually somewhat intimidating, but then that is good because it is nice to have a challenge. Anyway, can’t talk much about that.

Yayoi’s Mom is coming in from Japan for a week, starting Wednesday. I’ll be surrendering my bedroom to our honored guest. Yayoi seems a little cheerier lately. I think she feels more secure in her relationship with me, and the weather it is not winter any more … there’s that feeling of liberation when you can just step on out of your house without wrapping yourself in layers and layers of stuff.

And it is nice when your Mom can appear in the flesh from 10,000 miles away. It is tough to be a stranger in a strange land where none of the words are pronounced as they are spelled.

Though, she does like Chicago. We went out last night with a whole bunch of strangers that she knows through an association with a cooking club she joined online. She likes that we can go out to a fancy sushi restaurant and rap with a gaggle of intelligent young professionals. We shared our table last night with a loud-mouthed young doctor lady, and a quiet British-Canadian from Toronto who is working for a video game company, thanks in no small part to NAFTA. Champaign-Urbana is not the same.

One thing I’ve done lately is move back to FreeBSD. Windows is nice when you don’t feel much urgency about getting work done. But if I want sheer productivity, it is hard to beat a crisp, clean fvwm2 desktop. Where Windows lends me alt+tab, and tends to run out of memory and sit around swapping, fvwm2 with a 3×3 grid of nine virtual desktops lets me jump around from screen to screen. It is actually more visual than windows … it lets me spread out, but the real estate is in part a cerebral one. The rest of the guys at work have twin flat-screen monitors. I’ve appropriated a single, large 20″ CRT … I have nine very large work screens that I can swap through, and my workstation can keep up. I’m such a freak.

Still, it is a bit painful in that it is not easy to work with Word documents, and I have to figure out how to configure Java to work in the web browser, and Flash, as well as the little bits of glue that would let me click on something in the e-mail client, and have it open in the web browser. And then there’s the web sites — and we have a lot of “control panel” stuff at work — that only work in Internet Explorer, so I have to turn and talk to the old laptop waiting at my side.

Well, there’s still plenty of work to do …


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Bang Bang, Accursed Gangs!

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/19/bang-bang-accursed-gangs/

Meanwhile, just down the block …


… aint exactly Mister Roger’s neighborhood.


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Keeping Busy

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/23/keeping-busy/

Busy week at work. More stress than I think I like but then maybe it is just enough stress that after work I feel pretty good about work. The nice touch is that it is tech support. Helping folks makes me feel good, though the truth is the few nuts in the bunch who demand too much attention … well they’re easy to forget about after work.

I’m not paid as much as I have been. And I feel that a bit more because I’m going from zero to outfitting a pretty nice apartment and Yayoi too. But then she enhances quality of life, while also taking up my time.

Truth is between work and homelife I have very little idleness. But its all pretty much quality time. Work could be better, yeah, but then if it were less of a chaotic small company then it would suck in other ways. I think the suck factor in a small company is actually easier for a human to deal with because it better approximates the same sort of troubles you encounter in a family or a clan. We are more adapted, each of us, to this level of suck, than to the suck of a larger institution.

So maybe I’m not paid as well as I’d be elsewhere and yeah I am pretty busy these past couple of weeks and it aint soon to let up, but all in all I’m pretty happy. And while the company itself may be less stable than a larger company, I feel personally a bit more stable because of the greater relative magnitude of my personal contribution.

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Here I Come …

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/27/here-i-come/

That’s right, dannyman will soon visit the San Francisco Bay Area for a three-day weekend!

Plane arrives Thursday, May 13, at 10:30pm. I’ll have Friday and Saturday and the first half of Sunday to while away, before departure Sunday, May 16, at 6:00pm.

And I won’t be alone! My girlfriend, who speaks fluent Japanese, will actually be in the area for two weeks, one on either side of my visit!

So far, I’ve only really planned to visit Tellme on Friday and get a lunch gang going with my IT people and whatever other interested folks want to eat some food, and then rolling along with whatever party plans people have. It sounds like the girlfriend has a place to stay. I may rent a cheapo car.

But, uhmmm, suggestions or invitations are entirely welcome! Let me know what’s up that weekend, drop me a line, give me a call!

E-mail dannyman@toldme.com to get the 312 cell phone!


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Buncha Random Stuff

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/28/buncha-random-stuff/

I’m on my third day of my new work shift of 7am-3pm. It is a little rough getting out of bed, sure, but I get the office to myself for two hours, I get lunch early, and at 3pm I have time to enjoy some sunshine and maybe the paper and a magazine or two, down the block at the local coffee shop. Then it is five or six and I still have time to engage in domestic or creative activities. So, today, I have some time to type stuff here. A random smattering of links and observations and whatver.

In cleaning out the mailbox, I have to give props to Matt Johnson for what he titles “YA Mirror” … the contents? A copy of “Curt Tucker is a Liar” for posterity. Google is doing its job just right, at the moment. I’m such a mean, defamatory person, huh?

Yayoi’s Mom visited last week, alla way from Japan’s third-largest city, right between the big big Tokyo in the East, and the nearly as big Osaka in the West. Well, you see the parallel as apparently we’ll have to visit Nagoya next year for their own World’s Fair. Anyway, the whole visitation worked really nicely. The ol’ lady has an awful fondness for food and drink, but today I’ve noted that my belly has shrunk considerably from the massive swelling it exhibited Monday. I also have new pants and a belt and you know what, a little N Scale steam engine for my future model railroad. Japanese-style! Yum!

It was sad for the both of them ladies to part with each other Monday morning. So, when dropping off at the airport I did the smoothest thing I could to park in the far lot and ride the people mover in to give them ample time for goodbyes. Among my newfound afternoon activities I ought to write that lady a thank-you note.

On Saturday I drove us all down to visit Champaign. Weird weird story is that as soon as I arrived at the Illini Union, I received an e-mail from a stranger on my hiptop with the title “Curt Tucker is Still a Liar” purportedly from a current employee who closed with the words “wish I’d seen this web page before I started work there.” I’m no Ralph Nader, but we can all do our small, incendiary part to get the word out when a public entity gets us a notably good or bad experience.

Ah, by the way, I’ve got a GMail account. More out of curiosity than anything. I’m not checking it so often at this time: dannyman@gmail.com. The interface is kind of slick. It groups messages in to “conversation” threads, which is something that Microsoft notably sucks at. It is also good at folding quoted blobs of text out of the way. I’d be impressed if some of their storage came from some algorithm that cleverly identified quoted text and simply cross-referenced the blob appropriately. But then, text isn’t so expensive, right? The big savings would come from being clever with binary attachments. Calm down, Danny!

I’m also on orkut in case you have decided to join that hip wave of friendster technology.

Oh, you need cheap ink for your bubblejet? I’ve done well with 1800ink.com. They sent a little business card with my order, which I taped to the printer for the next time I run out. Stuff came fast, and I paid like $3 for perfectly good cartridges that retail for like $20.

Eh, fuggit. I’m caught up on e-mail to early April now. Progress progress.


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Letters to The Man

Write What You Know

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/30/write-what-you-know/


Isn’t there anything in your current life that makes you nuts? Like, the other day I got some coffee grounds. I have a twelve-cup coffee pot, but the instructions for the coffee grounds are for ounces or milliliters of desired coffee. How many ounces in a cup? Well, I looked in my fridge and was able to convert a cup on the milk serving size to ml, which I then correlated with a 6oz serving size on the orange juice, to arrive at 1 cup = 8 oz. And it’s like 2 tablespoons per cup or so, which is just insane.

I went back to my normal method of just dumping grounds into the filter ’til I figured thats just enough. Yayoi called the Starbucks consumer hotline, and a guy with an Indian accent had no idea what she was talking about. He probably drinks tea, but apparently his best advice was “I’d use more coffee.” After all, he is taking that call on Starbucks’ behalf.

It is not fair that a person who has not had their coffee should have to perform so much math in the morning.


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“That’s usually not one expect”

Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2004/04/30/thats-usually-not-one-expect/

I figured out how to get the damned Comodo Certificate that somebody else installed into the damn Plesk server to work. Among my obstacles were unhelpful technical support from Comodo, and bizarre rambling posts in the Plesk message board, and at long last, completely inscrutable documentation from Apache:

Because although placing a CA certificate of the server certificate chain into SSLCACertificatePath has the same effect for the certificate chain construction, it has the side-effect that client certificates issued by this same CA certificate are also accepted on client authentication. That’s usually not one expect.

Basically, the trick is that Plesk puts a rootchain.pem in the /usr/local/psa/admin/conf, so what one must do, is try not to read the Apache documentation too much, and add the following line to the /usr/local/psa/admin/conf/httpsd.conf:

SSLCertificateChainFile /usr/local/psa/admin/conf/rootchain.pem

It’s only taken a few weeks of casual research to figure this out.


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Arrr! . . . Avast!
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