In 2002, I spent five days in Jordan between Europe and Thailand. I was there during Ramadan, which made the experience more alien. I had spent two months in Europe but this was the first time I could not read the alphabet.
Amman is a city built on several hills. A lot of the housing is small, concrete, and beige. This is the sort of drawing I’d make as a kid, and here you see small buildings climbing up the hills, traffic, bazaars, and shops.
It is fun to see how people change over time, and how they stay the same. A decade ago I wrote a “Computer Literacy Narrative” for an English class:
The Internet continues to play a very big part in my life. My web site grows slowly every week. I keep my diary on-line for others to read. I write CGI applications. Iâ€™m a hard-core Unix geek, administering two of my own systems, writing my HTML and perl scripts in vi, wowwing friends with afterstep. I work for the networking group at NCSA, for the CSIL as a labsitter, and worked last summer at an ISP in Chicago called EnterAct, where I may very well return this summer.
I now use only Unix, and my old Amiga systems from time to time out of nostalgia and respect for history. I own two Unix boxen, four Amiga systems, and the old Commodore 64. While most of these are antiques, I still lend some systems out to others from time to time to facilitate their computing needs.
My fanatical Unix snobbery does mean that I know very little about Windows 95 or Mac. Because I have good computer karma, I still tend to negotiate such systems better than the average Joe, but Iâ€™m by no means a wiz. Instead I enjoy spending my time tinkering with completely open systems like FreeBSD. I am proud and inspired by the idea that there are now several very competent Operating Systems available even for normal users that are built and maintained entirely by volunteer effort. It is my goal to continue to learn and ultimately contribute to this effort as I can.
The other day I was filling out a form that required my phone number. I thought for a moment and provided a phone number. Unfortunately, not everyone is in on the joke, as I just received this inquiry via e-mail:
“I called xxx.867.5309 and received a voicemail system for Kevin. If there was a transposition in numbers, please let me know, and I’ll give you a call on the correct contact number. I look forward to hearing from you!”
I’m sorry, Kevin. Though I can only imagine that Kevin knows what he is doing.
I had a rough go of it until I found BlackNight’s post, and now my Canon i250 printer works with Ubuntu like a charm. I thought I would recap here for those who, like me, at first Googled in vain. If you paste these command into Ubuntu 7.10 (Feisty) things ought to work:
First, enter your sudo password:
Now, this paste just might set up everything you need:
sudo apt-get install libpng3 libtiff4 cupsys alien
sudo alien --scripts bjfilteri250-2.3-0.i386.rpm
sudo alien --scripts bjfiltercups-2.3-0.i386.rpm
sudo dpkg -i bjfiltercups_2.3-1_i386.deb bjfilteri250_2.3-1_i386.deb
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libtiff.so.4 /usr/lib/libtiff.so.3
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libpng.so.3 /usr/lib/libpng.so.2
sudo /etc/init.d/cupsys restart
Then, go set up your printer in the GUI, and specify this PPD file:
(Or, in retrospect, since it has a GNU license on it, you could just download the PPD directly off my web site.)
If things turn out less-than-straightforward, definitely review BlackNight’s page for details, and if this does work out for you drop him a thank you note in the comments!
I spent Christmas, 2002 in Hat Yai, Thailand. Most nights I was at The Post, where a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band jammed. This sketch reminds me of those days.
Overheard on Taraval, in front of the Safeway at 17th Ave:
“I’m literally serious: I coughed up my lungs.”
Tuesday morning Barack Obama delivered a powerful speech in Philadelphia about the need to talk openly and honestly about America’s racial troubles, and the need of all Americans to unite and focus on real issues and not get caught up in the usual crud of divisive politics.
The gist of it is that America started with a serious problem: slavery, and America has been moving away from that problem for a long time, but problems of racism and the legacies of inequality have left scars that one can still feel today. Sometimes black folk express anger and frustration at injustices and the slow pace of progress, and sometimes white people express frustration and offense at the idea that they should have to work to repair the damage wrought by generations past, when they have plenty of their own difficulties to focus on.
And all too often, politicians exploit these frustrations to set Americans against each other and distract them from working together on the real challenges that we collectively face. If we want change, we can not pretend that these divisions do not exist: we must acknowledge them, openly and honestly. We must remember that they can be a distraction from important work. We must reach out to one another and work together on the more important common concerns that unite us: education, health, defense, climate instability.
Here’s a link to a high-quality video from the campaign without the CNN ticker:
Budget 40 minutes. Or you can read the text.
America is fortunate this year: in Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain we have a diversity of candidates whom we actually admire. I’m supporting Barack Obama.
Arms outstretched, birds in a sky. This is a crude sketch, but I enjoy the care-free emotion it conveys.
I was in a Danish cafe in Kata, Thailand. Good coffee and pastries: what more could I ask? So, I started doodling, or sketching . . . or, here, shading.
While women are the more frequent victims of domestic violence, men can be victims too. Whatever your gender, it is good to keep an eye on things. If you are dating someone and your partner seems a bit psycho, you may be entering a situation of “dating violence”. Wikipedia has a good starting point, with a list (adapted from ACADV) of early warning signs of dating violence:
- Extreme jealousy
- Controlling behavior
- Quick involvement
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Alcohol and drug use
- Explosive anger
- Isolates you from friends and family
- Uses force during an argument
- Shows emotional hypersensitivity
- Believes in rigid sex roles
- Blames others for his/her problems or feelings
- Cruel to animals or children
- Verbally abusive
- Abused former partners
- Threatens violence
There’s plenty of material online, and the CDC has a teen-oriented web-site called ChooseRespect.org.
An abusive relationship can creep up you. Victims tend to accept abusive relationships out of a combination of low self-esteem and a degree of ignorance about the dynamics of abuse. The Getting Past Your Past blog has a great article explaining “The Abusive and Semi-Abusive Relationship” . . . she twice features this warning in bold type:
The most lethal time for an abused person is when they are trying to leave the abuser. Have a plan and get back up! The news is full of (seemingly) nice people whose partner was trying to leave and ended up dead. When in a domestically abusive situation, use universal precautions and assume anyone has the propensity for violence.
As far as I can find anywhere, the best and seemingly sole advice regarding how to handle domestic violence is to leave. To this end, there is a National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
If you are preparing to resolve an abusive situation, the American Bar Association offers a Domestic Violence Safety Plan. It is a bit scary to read, but better to consider such things before you actually live them!
“So you don’t approve of getting even — of taking revenge for something that was done to you?”
“Revenge does not alter what was done to you. Neither does forgiveness. Revenge and forgiveness are irrelevant.”
“What can you do?”
“Forget,” said Borges. “That is all you can do. When something bad is done to me, I pretend that it happened a long time ago, to someone else.”
“Does that work?”
“More or less.” He showed his yellow teeth. “Less rather than more.”
Talking about the futility of revenge, he reached and his hands trembled with a new subject, but a related one, the Second World War.
“When I was in Germany just after the war,” he said, “I never heard a word spoken against Hitler. In Berlin, the Germans said to me” — now he spoke in German — “‘Well, what do you think of our ruins?’ The Germans like to be pitied — isn’t that horrible? They showed me their ruins. They wanted me to pity them. But why should I indulge them? I said” — he uttered the sentence in German — “‘I have seen London.'”
Jorge Luis Borges speaking with Paul Theroux
_The Old Patagonian Express_
Revenge has its appeal, but I don’t think it helps. We use the expression “forgive and forget” but the concern is that certain things should not be forgotten. I figure it is better to forget than to have difficulty stuck in your heart. I think I’d say “forgive, if you can, draw a lesson from the memory, and then move on.”
Try to remember the circumstances and what happened, and that you felt a certain pain and whatnot, perhaps with great intensity. The pain itself, the “pain memory” I would leave behind, if you can. We are fools to forget, but we are foolish too to react in the present to pain from the past.
. . .