2009 Oct 30 aya

Guy Blade Guy Blade---15:59:00

Proceed directly to Go.
I'm just about to leave my apartment. I'll be heading back to Indiana today for a very short visit. My father and his siblings are putting on a bit of an event for their mother (my grandmother). Basically, everyone who is alive on this half of my family tree will be back in one place for a few hours tomorrow. It is likely the last chance some of us will have to see my grandmother as she is becoming quite old. Since I doubt that this event will extend into the late evening, I may take this chance to make an appearance at the Theta Xi Halloween Party. We will see how things go.

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2009 Oct 29 elly-miang

Guy Blade Guy Blade---13:01:00

I would too.
If I were governator, I would do this too.

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---00:49:00

They stack.
Alarm clock failed to go off again today. Got another wake-up call from my boss's secretary. My car's battery was dead when I tried to start it to go to work. Replacement took 2 hours + $125. I didn't get in to work until 1pm. I'm getting tired of this week very quickly. Given the fact that I'm taking Friday off, there is basically no way for me to recover this week's lost time, so I'm going to have to burn more vacation to make up for it.

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2009 Oct 28 anthy

Guy Blade Guy Blade---03:53:00

I'd prefer rain to this.
So, I biked to work today. I do this rather often as it is my standard way of getting to work. On my way out to head back home, I noticed that it was very dark out given the time of day and that the winds were a bit strong. As I was biking, I quickly found that there were strong southernly winds blowing dust/loose dirt off of the mountains (remember that little Station Fire that burned down everything that keeps dirt in place?). I made it through the first eastern leg and through the southern leg, but when attempting to turn north again, found the high winds coupled with the continuous onslaught of dirt and dust too much to bear. I was unable to keep my eyes open for long enough to bike safely, so I began walking. About a minute after I began walking, a stranger (but another JPL employee named Curtis) stopped and offered to give me a ride. I was happy to accept his offer and he had a pickup truck into which my bike went nicely. I suspect (though he said nothing about it) that the only reason that he recognized me as a fellow employee was due to the labcoat. Once again, the labcoat proves its utility.

Upon arriving home and after thanking my benefactor appropriate, I went inside and looking at my labcoat, saw that it had shifted in color somewhat to the "brown" shade of the spectrum. I decided that this probably meant that all of my clothes are completely dirty and the brown color that my washcloth turned after cleaning my face leaned further credence to this theory.

I suppose I can at least say that I've been in a dust storm now. It is too bad that I was going to try to do laundry tonight. I do not think my clothing would remain clean if moving through conditions like this.

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2009 Oct 27 tifa

Guy Blade Guy Blade---14:09:00

Freedom Fighters
Earlier tonight, I finished up may playthrough of Red Faction: Guerrilla. I have to say that I mostly enjoyed the game. The basic premise here is that you are a miner who goes to Mars to make use of his demolitions expertise. The oppressive government kills your brother off about 10 minutes into the game, so you become a freedom fighter (read: terrorist) and procceed to harrass them until you've liberated the planet.

Seems like a pretty standard affair with that. The game itself is a third-person sandbox game with a physics engine finally put to realizing the promise of the first Red Faction game: destructable terrain. In RF:G, nearly everything can be destroyed spectacularly. Buildings, people, vehicles: all of these are vulnerable to your heavy explosives. About the only thing you can't destroy is the actual "earth". I suspect this is to prevent you from destroying a building by digging a hole under one side of it and letting it fall over.

To me, the main draw of the game was finding fun ways to destroy buildings. My personal favorite was blowing up one side of a large smokestack such that it fell onto a nearby guard shack, destroying that as well.

The game has shown up several times on GoGamer at various price points. I ended up getting it for about $32 (minus $25 from a BillMeLater statement credit) in the PC variety. I would recommend it at about the $25-30 range.

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2009 Oct 26 yuffie

Guy Blade Guy Blade---20:55:00

This isn't rain.
Apparently, my alarm clock failed to go off this morning. I was awoken by my project manager calling to ask if I was coming in today. My response was that it had been my intention to do so. Before actually reaching my office, I had already gotten another call asking about the "instrument issue" that was going on. I was even more confused because I would have thought that such a thing would have come up in my conversation with my PM. I suspect it was part or all of the reason he called me, as he had the secretary leave a note on my door instructing me to check my email.

I love it when the gauntlet starts within 20 minutes of me waking up.

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---04:45:00

No silly outfits
Apparently, Newt Gingrich is staging a "Twitter reinactment" of the Battle of Trenton. I don't really understand what this accomplishes (aside from promoting Gingrich's book) or even how it is carried out. I want to know who thought this was a good idea. They need to be fired.

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2009 Oct 23 harle

Guy Blade Guy Blade---05:42:00

Up and Down
For a very long time, my LJ's name has been "Up ------>". I can never remember that name when flipping through search results or the like, so I decided to change it. I was going to go with Androgynous Misogyny, but I don't really dislike women in particular (plus it was really hard to spell). I ended up with Androgynous Misanthropy as I felt it had a similar vibe. Interestingly, total google matches for both terms together were about 9.

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2009 Oct 21 aeris

Guy Blade Guy Blade---06:22:00

So, I watch C-SPAN. Right now, Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) is talking about global warming. He used an analogy to try to "discredit" the global warming movement. His analogy was thus: if you draw an 8 foot (diameter) circle on a wall which represented the total volume of the atmosphere, the amount of CO2 output during the entire history of the United States, drawn on the same scale, would have a diameter of slightly over half an inch.

While this anecdote is fun, it is completely worthless. Even if you don't accept carbodioxide's effect on global warming, it should be clear that mere relative volume has no meaning. For instance, the lethal dose of potassium cyanide is about 300mg. Given a density of 1.52g/cm3, that would amount to about 0.083% of an 8 oz glass of water. Given in the same scale (with the 8 oz glass being 8 feet in diameter), this would be 0.048 inches.

The question is never merely one of volume, but one of lethality. Of course, the lethality of cyanide is undeniable whereas the lethality of atmopheric carbondioxide is far less clear. Nevertheless, by Steve King's reasoning, no one should worry about drinking the water laced with cyanide. After all, it isn't even a tenth of an inch!

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---00:21:00

On the implementation of suitable behavior
If you want your spam bot to pass the Turing test, it should not describe itself as a "horny grl".

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2009 Oct 20 elly-miang

Guy Blade Guy Blade---00:35:00

Importance Announcement
Haruhi movie. That is all.

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2009 Oct 19 garnet

Guy Blade Guy Blade---22:25:00

Circular Reference
I was googling today about Ada's standard_ouput continuing my train of thought from Friday. Apparently, my lj post about it is now on the first page of results for "ada Standard_Output". I am beginning to wonder if anyone else on the planet has to use this language...

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---11:52:00

What's left of me
I just beat Kingdom Hearts 2 again. It was mostly as awesome as I remember, but it seemed distinctly easier this time around. I suspect this may be due to me knowing the "tricks" for the various bosses. I did go to the final boss at the first opportunity, however, which led to it being markedly more difficult than my original attempt since I was only about level 60 or so and didn't have the Ultima Weapon. I'll probably resume Blue Dragon now as my console game of current play since it was what I'd been playing before I was distracted by KH 2.

I still haven't finished 358/2 Days, but I'm making somewhat steady progress. It reminds me of Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core in that both area highly "mission-based" which allows me to play it in very small chunks at a time. Individual missions in 358/2 generally run in the 10-20 minute range with some outliers on either side. I think this strategy is highly preferable for a portable device. God of War: Chains of Olympus failed in this respect and that may be the reason that it has been unplayed in my PSP for months.

Of course, what I'd really like to see is a confirmation of a Kingdom Hearts 3 game. Although I have little doubt that they'll get around to making one, Haley Joel Osment isn't getting any younger and neither is Hayden Panettiere. I suspect that this will mean yet another significant age-up in order to make voices be reasonable, but that may be for the best. The last one wasn't bad at all, though hearing KH1 and KH2 Sora in short succession could be considered a case study in voice changes through puberty.

Tangentially related, I think I need to move up my plans for getting another PS2. My current one, starting Saturday, would only read my copy of KH2 while it was in the upright or vertical position. This is a known failure mode caused by failure in the focusing motors of the laser assembly. Although Sony refurbed the system once, I severely doubt that they'll do it again for free given that it was a system produced in the first year of the PS2's life span. A quick look around seems to show Gamestop as actually being one of the cheaper places to get a new PS2. At least, this is true if I want a silver one ($100 + tax, shipping). I can get a black one from Amazon for $100 (no tax) or a white one for $120 (with Singstar, apparently). So I may go that route given my hatred for Gamestop.

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2009 Oct 17 harle

Guy Blade Guy Blade---03:40:00

Limited means worthless
Ada's type system is such that some types are considered limited. In C++ context, these types would have a private operator= function or similar. The net result is that these types cannot be assigned. If you had a limited integer type, for instance, you couldn't say that i := 4. Such a statement would be a compile-time error. Of course, you wouldn't declare an integer a limited type; you would use it for complex object that have internal state information that you don't want being copied without some thought going on (though in C++, that thought should be expressed in the operator= function). This is all well and good, except that the File_Type type is defined as limited. The best analog that I can make to the File_Type is that it seems similar to the C stdio FILE* construct. It is set by using an open operation and is a required argument to all IO calls.

In the C context, something that you do commonly when you have variadic ways of doing IO is to pass around these FILE* constructs rather than passing file names. The reason for this is very straightforward: it gives you more options. For instance, suppose you have a program that can either take a file to act upon or it can read from standard input. The nominal way to do this in C is to check to see if there is a target file defined on the command line. If it is, you set your FILE* pointer to be the result of an fopen operation. If it isn't, you set your FILE* pointer to instead be the predefined variable stdin which corresponds to standard input. Everything is nicely abstracted away and you do your reading from whatever source is appropriate. This concept is great for flexibility and many other languages adopt it, though often in ways that allow you to not worry about the details of pointer mechanics or that apply whatever programming model they use (even Scheme uses a similar model calling the FILE* standin a "port").

Unforuntately, because the File_Type is defined as limited, it seems as though a variable of File_Type cannot be assigned to be Standard_Output. At least, I've been unable to determine how one might make such an assignment. The Ada spec for the various IO packages specify a function called Standard_Output that returns a File_Type which should correspond to the obvious, but since File_Type is limited it seems that the returned variable can't actually be assigned to a variable. I would guess that I could use the function call as an argument to another function directly, but that seems pointless since the default values of the various file io operations default to stdin/stdout as appropriate. Maybe I just haven't found the right incantation yet, but regardless, the fact that a magic incantation is required represents a serious design flaw.

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2009 Oct 16 yuffie

Guy Blade Guy Blade---20:49:00

Racine Carree
I've talked in the past about the problems that I have with the Ada programming language. I thought may days of fighting with it had come to an end as we'd found a work around that made it so that we didn't need to use the Ada code (written and commented in French) we'd been provided in order to do our processing. A week or so ago, I found out that getting the Ada code working was required for a validation task that is apparently my responsibility. As such, I'm fighting with Ada again. After running the code again for the first time in a year, it returned the familiar "ERREUR_CALCUL"--Calculation Error--a wonderfully vague thing. Digging around led me to find that Ada does have some ways to examine exceptions. Most notably, you can use Ada.Exceptions.Exception_Information to get a filename and line number where the original exception occured. This led me to the function RACINE_CARREE--a 139 line long function--where the original error was occuring. Scanning over the function gave me no help (even though it happened to have comments written in English), but Google Translate told me that racine carree means square root. My first reaction was "Why is the square root failing?" which I quickly saw was because it is apparently being passed a number less than zero. My second reaction was "It takes over 100 lines to implement a square root function?". Ada has a square root built into the language spec. Also, a Newton's method implementation should be like 10 lines even in the tarpit that is Ada.

Regardless, I now have to figure out what impolite function is calling the square root with negative numbers...

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---06:49:00

Is this yours?
I was flipping through my GameCube games today and it looks like I have two copies of Super Smash Bros. Melee. I presume that the second copy belongs to someone from 004. Anybody want to claim it?

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---00:45:00

Shows are Go
Over the past several weeks, I have been cropping, reencoding, and tagging the 73 recorded 004 Shows that were made. As of last night at about 5 am, I have completed this task. Currently, all 73 shows are available for direct download from the website. Unforunately, this presents something of a problem. Only counting the "final" versions of each show, the total filesize is about 6.7 GiB. Given my consumer grade internet, I realized that transfering such files to other people would be an incredibly time-comsuiming task.

This bandwidth issue led me to implement my webseeding client (I'll release the source to it somewhere eventually) and to create a set of torrent files for the show recordings. The main things of interest are:

Season 1-3 Batch Torrent - This is every show that was recorded while I was in college. Collectively, that is about 70 full or partial shows.

Homecoming 07 Torrent - The Homecoming 07 show.
Homecoming 08 Torrent - The Homecoming 08 show.
Homecoming 09 Torrent - The Homecoming 09 show.

So here's the deal: these files collectively represent a small proof of our existence at Rose and WMHD. For now, I'm seeding the torrents on both of my internet connections, but ensuring the surivival of the recordings is the responsibility of everyone who was a part of the show or who cared about it. As it stands, we're one wildfire or earthquake away from losing all of the recordings since they only exist on the machines of computers in my apartments. What I'd like is for everyone who was part of the show to at least grab a copy of the batch torrent. If you want to help seed, that would be nice as well.

In the future, I'd like to also make the files available for streaming by uploading them to whatever is the audio-only equivalent of youtube, but that is a large, long-term project with which I will probably require assistance.

So, there you have it: the 004 show finally available for all. It only took me two years to get around to making it available. I'd say that isn't too bad.

(P.S.: Cross-posted to the004show group so that it'll show up on the website).

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2009 Oct 14 celes

Guy Blade Guy Blade---21:22:00

Technology of the Young
Both of my parents text-message me. I have, in my life, sent perhaps two text-messages. Maybe this is due to them having smart phones, but I just don't get it.

Now, I do actually make use of text-messages in my daily work. I've configured one of our mission-critical systems at work to text-message me in case of problems (alarm limit violations, etc). I chose this path as I am significantly more likely to have my phone at any given time than to necessarily be checking my email. This also removes any need to create some sort of text-to-speech gateway with phone dialing capability to relay the same information or to rely on one of our human operators to spot the issue and call me.

Perhaps my opinion will change if I ever get a smartphone.

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2009 Oct 13 elly-miang

Guy Blade Guy Blade---13:47:00

Columbus Day
JPL doesn't get Columbus Day off, but I ended up not going into work today anyway. My sleep schedule has gotten so screwed up over the past few weeks that I am almost perfectly offset by 180 degrees. After going to bed last night at 3am and lying in bed until at least 5:30am, I finally managed to get to sleep. But the whole "getting up two hours later" thing didn't go so well, so I called in. I ended up sleeping until 4pm. It looks like I'm on track to get very little sleep again tonight, which will probably make tomorrow lots of fun since I have a non-skippable meeting tomorrow at 8am. Hopefully, I can at least make it through the day without falling asleep at my desk.


In other news, I've cleaned up shows through 0063 now. I'm currently using git to version control them because I don't want to do something stupid and wipe out a huge pile of work. Unfortunately, this is causing me to run into fun corner cases in the git implementation. Apparently, it doesn't like committing several gigabytes at once. I went back and cleaned up the metadata for everything that I'd done so far--putting in correct show data, making sure show titles were in quotes, fixing the genre tag--and then attempted to commit them all at once. This caused a malloc failure in git, but it apparently will take smaller chunks and allow me to commit them a bit at a time. It is also ridiculously slow during the pre-commit phase. I suspect both of these issues stem from it trying to create a giant diff for the files.


I mentioned earlier that I was playing through Kingdom Hearts 2 again. Earlier today, I got to the Lion King portion of the game. I saw Lion King several times as a kid, but only today did something finally make sense to me. Once Rafiki becomes aware of Simba's continued existence, he uses his fruit to draw an outline around the face of his Simba drawing on the wall. I had alway thought that he did this to sort-of "cancel out" his previous wiping off of it. This time, however, I finally realized that he was drawing the adult Simba's mane. This only took me 1.5 decades to realize. Wow.

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2009 Oct 11 elly

Guy Blade Guy Blade---15:42:00

Lets talk for a moment about bittorrent. It is a highly useful method of relaying data from a user with little bandwidth to a swarm of other users. Bittorrent has had a nifty little extension added a while back called "webseeding". This allowed you to, in addition to the standard bittorrent connections, have one or more "fallback" locations wherein users could pull via http. This is a great idea for people who want to set up a handful of legal torrent, but don't want to necessarily have to make sure that they continuously are running their bittorrent client.

I happen to be in this category of people. I looked around for a while to try to find a free, open source implementation of a webseeding client, but was unable to find one that wasn't deeply tied into another system (such as Drupal). Failing there, and being a programmer by education and trade, I decided to write my own. It turns out that both the specification (insomuch as there is one) for the .torrent file format and the specification for the webseeding extension are very simple. I coded up a very simple client over the course of the last few days and got it working successfully an hour or so ago.

During this, I found several incredibly annoying things. Firstly, it appears that ktorrent (my favorite bt client), despite listing webseeds as supported, doesn't support them correctly. They fail to load when embedded in the torrent itself, and when manually added, behave badly. By behave badly, I mean that they connect to the address and specify no arguemnts (like an info_hash or desired block number). Ktorrent then complains when it can't download any data a few times before giving up and accusing the server of being bad. I ended up doing my testing with bittornado, it helped me realize that I had misread the specification. I had thought that info_hashes were to be provided as 40-bit hex strings rather than as 20-bit raw strings. Once I realized what was going on, I wrote some wrapper code to do the 20 to 40 bit conversion (I didn't want to use the 20 bit version because of my caching scheme). This was about 8 lines of PHP code. I ran it again and it still seemed to be unable to locate the file. After adding some debug output, I found that the conversion was producing a string which, rather than being the conversion of the 20 bytes was the string '00' prepended to the first 19 bytes of the 20 byte version. This I found absolutely bizarre. Digging deeper, I discovered that PHP's unpack function is deeply broken. Rather than acting like perl's unpack and producing an array as its return value, it instead produces a hash (insofar as all PHP arrays are hashes). It does this by having you include with each specifier a slash and a name for the previous specifier. Here is where the trick comes: if, like me, you include no specifier, it places those elements into the returned array/hash with numeric keys incrementing for each unnamed specifier and starting at 1. Not zero. Arrays in PHP start at zero. Everywhere. Always. Unless, apparently, if you are using unpack.


(Also, apparently tumblr is down and that fact will cause xpost to crash when it attempts to authenticate a tumblr blog. I should fix this. Guy: remember to fix this)

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2009 Oct 10 emeralda

Guy Blade Guy Blade---12:25:00

I'm currently encoding the 004 show episode 0052 (House of Cards). While I was cutting it up, I began listening and ended up listening to about half an hour of the show. In the course of it, I listend to myself describe the process that I'm currently doing now--cutting up the shows for the website. At the time, I was doing this work on my laptop or my Windows desktop. At that time, I was so constrained on disk space that I could only be working on one show at a time. Also, the disks and/or CPUs were so slow that it took over an hour to load the files into Audacity for editing and then to export them again as oggs took an equivalent amount of time. Now, I can go much faster. I did a batch conversion of all the shows left to be upload about a week ago. To do ~30 shows took less than 1 nights sleep + 1 work day. Doing imports into Audacity now takes only about an a minutes. Doing the conversion now only takes about 15 minutes.

I had previously considered complaining about the task because Audacity is designed in such a way that I cannot do work on one clip while another is exporting and I cannot run two instances at one due to "possible stability issues". In comparison to the previous burden, though, it seems downright easy.

I suppose I can put the cause down to the ever improving state of comsumer CPUs and disks.

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2009 Oct 09 terra

Guy Blade Guy Blade---04:31:00

Down sites
Several of my domains,,, and (and associated), will be down for the next few hours. I purchased more RAM for it two days ago and took them down in order to install the memory. In the course of doing so, I powered it off before it finished doing its raid writeback leaving both dirty filesystems and dirty parity (I thought it had hung irrecoverably). This should take a little while to recover, at which point operations should resume normally.

Since I built Freasha in the summer after my freshman year of college, I have only made two upgrades counting this one. The first was upgrading the original 40GB disk to a pair of 200GB disks in raid 1. This upgrade increased the machine's memory from the previous 256 MB to 2 GB. The upgrade was prompted by malloc failures when attempting to use git to version some large (100-200 MB) files.

I have always been a bit suprised at how well the machine ran even under heavy load with so little memory. I supose that a large portion of the success is attributable to the fact that I always ran it without an X server and that it ran on NetBSD which is designed to run well in low memory situations.

Regardless, I may need to go through a proper upgrade at some point. Freasha is still running on NetBSD 2 (current version is 5). It is using an ancient 1400+ Athlon Thunderbird. The machine is currently maxed on memory with this upgrade (only two ram slots and I can't find DDR 1 memory in chips bigger than 1GB). Since the machine doesn't have SATA, it will be difficult to replace a drive should one fail. Also, it has two network cards, one of which is a 10-baseT card (complete with BNC connector) which makes moving files to it unpleasant especially since most of my other machines have gigabit connections.

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2009 Oct 08 emeralda

Guy Blade Guy Blade---11:46:00

I preordered the Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days sometime over the summer when there was an especially good deal from Amazon. It arrived last Friday, and I've been playing it off and on since then. Playing a new KH game made me nostalgic, so this evening I dug out Kingdom Hearts II and put it in the old PS2. It remains mostly as awesome as I remember it, but I have found a problem. It appears that my PS2 is beginning to show serious signs of age. The disc tray seems to struggle to eject and it took a couple of tries before it read the (not at all scratched) disc. Looking around, it seems like I can pick up a PS2 slim for about $100, so I may pick one up and put it in the closet for the time when my PS2 finally does give out.


In mostly unrelated news, I found that Tumblr changed their authentication API at some point. The interesting this about the previous authentication API was that it was added at my request a few years ago when I was originally building up XPost. Regardless, the updates have been made and commited for Tumblr.


I've been slowly working my way through the recorded 004 shows and cropping them appropriately. This has led to me finding songs that I hadn't heard in years that seriously need to be added to my regular playlists. Examples: Life is Like a Boat Take on Me. As always, all of the shows are available on the website. Interestingly enough, it seems as though the 004 show was promoted to the first hit on Google at some point. I am pleased by this.

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2009 Oct 06 rinoa

Guy Blade Guy Blade---19:36:00

On matters of Historic Significance
From the time when I began playing on the internet (say 5th grade) up until sometime in late high school, I occassionally created stuff and put it on the internet. At the time, there was no way that I would have been able to purchase or afford web hosting. As such, I made use of various free hosting services that were all the rage at the time. One of said systems was the behemoth known as Geocities. Over time, I accumulated multiple accounts there hosting various things, most of which I can no longer remember at this point.

Now, however, the end of Geocities is approximately 3 weeks away and I am beginning to attempt to pull down these ancient files of my youth before they are lost forever. Geocities has chosen to make this difficult, of course. Firstly, there is no way to batch download files. Instead, you must click each file individually and download it. This is incredibly tedious for even a small site like the ones that I have there. Secondly, the per-hour cap of 4.2 MB/account is still in effect. This means that I can only download about a third of what is on my site before having to wait for an hour before starting again.

Currently, I'm downloading from the oldest of my accounts (which incidentally is the only one whose account access information I can remember). I've rigged up a couple of processes of wget seperated by 65 minute long sleeps in the hopes of pulling everything down today while I'm at work. I can vaguely recall at least two other pages that I had there at times in the past, but have no idea either where they are or what user account information might be associated with them. My hope is to be able to remember such things before the 25 October deadline; though, I fear that it is unlikely at this point. Based solely on the file dates listed on the stuff in the one account I'm currently polling, I'm looking at files from circa 2001. Decade-old login information tends to not stick in my memory very well.

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2009 Oct 02 garnet

Guy Blade Guy Blade---04:44:00

So, today I got home from work and wanted to check my email. Unfortunately for me, the internet was out. This makes at least two weeks solid where the internet has been out for more than an hour per day. It seems to have started back around the time when we had the fires out here, but that may just be the first time that I can remember. Calling Charter was a huge waste of time. The person on the phone acknowledged that the signal to my house was crappy, but refused to send someone out unless I was here when they came. Since next week is an RDO week, I scheduled them for next Friday morning. Hopefully, that will finally resolve the issue.

In case you're wondering how I'm posting now, I have a backup internet connection. I don't have a quick way to switch over to it, but it does have machines running on it (like my webserver) which means I can use it for important things--like ranting about my internet connection being broken.

In short, Charter sucks.

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Guy Blade Guy Blade---02:08:00

My mother called me a few minutes ago. She is in Washington, DC for a coneference of some sort (she's been doing many such things now that my brother and I are both out of the house). She had just received a call from the nursing home where my grandmother is currently residing. My grandmother had gone off on a tirade demanding to know why she was being held at the facility and why she couldn't go home.

Of course, the fundamental problem is that her not knowing either of these things is why she is at the facility. Essentially, for the last several years, my grandmother has been slowly succumbing to dementia. This finally manifested a month or so ago when she had a dental appointment. Rather than going to the dentist, she ended up in a medical facilities building (the type with numerous doctor's offices, labs, etc.) at a hospital across town from the dentist. While there, she told people that she had an appointment with Dr. Beam. For those not aware, Dr. Beam was my (and my brother's) pediatrician when we were very young. He has never, to my knowledge, been in the dentistry business. She was thus admitted to the hospital where the professionals there quickly realized that she had serious memory issues. After a short stay at the hospital, she was moved to an adjoining nursing home where she was to undergo rehabilitation/therapy until she could be moved into assisted living.

Unfortunately, she has thus far caused several serious problems which have continuously complicated the matter. Firstly, there are her periodic tirades where she demands to know why she is at the facility or to know why she's never seen a doctor (hint: she has). Secondly, about a week ago, while angry with my mother (who my grandmother blames for the entire situation), my grandmother threatened to commit suicide in front of medical staff. This led to her being taken to a diagnostic psych ward for evaluation. All of this had led to increasing complications with actually getting her into assisted living. The former one led to her being rejected from one facility due to their inability to have monitored exists (there is serious fear that she would simply wander out of the facility if left unsupervised). The latter has increased the time that she will likely need to stay in the nursing home.

Now, to today, my grandmother had apparently be doing relatively well for the past several days since she has been on medication (both the anti-anxiety kind and the anti-dementia kind). However, her fit today has likely set back the chance of getting her into more appropriate conditions--where she might be able to start adapting to a better environment--by an unknown amount. In a sense, her fate is the kind I fear the most. She has a body which, for her age, is in remarkably good condition. Unfortunately, her mind is so far gone as to make extended conversation with her painful and I suspect things will only get worse from here.

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