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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in connatic's LiveJournal:

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    Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
    9:08 am
    Day three of YAPC
    Day three of YAPC, and I'm attending Ingy's talk on YAML. The hecklers in the crowd just received one of the two microphones - they've received official status.

    The evening of day two was fun, except for the minor issue of my room key not working. The professional and friendly staff at CMU sorted that out quickly. The conference dinner was at the Heinz field, with the usual TPF auction. The privilege of taking Larry Wall out for lunch was auctioned off for a thousand dollars, very impressive.

    Today's sessions end at three, and then it's back to NYC. It'll be hard to go back to work on mostly closed-source stuff - YAPC is always motivating, and I always want to get more involved in the Open Source community when I return; but little tends to come of it.

    Current Mood: amused
    Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
    2:15 pm
    git
    I am attending Jesse Vincent's talk on SD, a distributed bug tracker. In his talk, he just made a joke about git's manual pages.

    This conference shows that git has totally won the distributed revision control war. But everybody complains that it is hard to learn and understand, and everybody who knows it claims to have a love/hate relationship with it.

    I am in the middle of switching to git for some work projects, and so far I am liking it but agree it's hard to learn well enough to get started. I guess the hate part will come later, with experience.

    Current Mood: entertained
    8:25 am
    YAPC::NA, day two
    Day two of YAPC is starting. I'm currently enjoying Matt Trout talking about DBIx::Class, and today looks like a full schedule of interesting talks.

    Yesterday's eye opener was David Fetter's talk on recursive SQL - solving the Traveling Salesman Problem and doing a Mandelbrot set in ISO standard SQL. But the best part is talking to all the many perl experts here.

    Current Mood: awake
    Monday, June 22nd, 2009
    10:26 am
    YAPC::NA 10
    I'm in Pittsburgh today and through Wednesday, for the YAPC::NA 10 (the NA Perl conference). Larry Wall is about to start his keynote.

    I arrived yesterday after an uneventful flight (those are the best ones). The bus from Pittsburgh airport to CMU worked well - better than the Newark to NYC bus. I had dinner with Chip Salzenberg (fun and educational).

    The conference is just getting started - it'll be fun.

    Current Mood: energetic
    Sunday, June 21st, 2009
    11:48 am
    Ozric
    I saw the Ozric Tentacles play at yesterday - nicely timed for the summer solstice. The show was excellent - the band was in good form, played old ands new songs, and appeared to have as good a time as the audience. I have listened to their albums and live recordings for years, but now have a new appreciation for how the band works - it's good to see them using many synthesizers and effect machines rather than just a single Macbook, and it was very interesting to see division of labor across two people working the synthesizers and guitar/base at the same time.

    The Ozrics are rather better known in the UK than they are over here. It was perhaps telling that the marquee at BB King's had their name spelled wrong.



    I had a good time and hope to see them again.

    Current Mood: happy
    Saturday, June 20th, 2009
    8:45 am
    Breakfast with the dinosaurs
    Yesterday morning, the museum of Natural History had a member's breakfast in the museum. The tables with coffee, muffins and bagels were set up in the hall of Saurischian dinosaurs. That was unexpectedly good fun. There were no tours (that's generally an evening thing), but I did get to see the Extreme Mammals exhibit.

    The AMNH is one of my favorite museums and things like this make me happy to be a New Yorker.
    Thursday, June 4th, 2009
    3:12 pm
    San Francisco
    Heidi and I are in San Francisco for four days to attend a friend's wedding. Our schedule is quite full, but I have two mornings free.

    Today, I went book shopping and was impressed by Borderlands Books, a small store specializing in SF, fantasy and horror. I picked up some NESFA press books and some new releases. I was especially happy to find Jo Walton's "Lifelode", as I didn't even know it was out yet.

    Following that, I spent some time in SFMOMA and I hope to visit the Ancient Art galleries in the Fine Arts Museum (the Legion of Honor). Besides that, all we're planning to do is spending time with friends: drinks, dinners and of course the wedding itself. Not the best way to see a city, but that's the way it is.

    Current Mood: relaxed
    Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
    11:55 am
    Off to Norway
    Heidi and I are off on a two-week trip to Norway. One of her CSI friends, a Norwegian detective, is getting married.

    We're flying into Oslo, spend three days there, then take the "Norway in a Nutshell" train across the country to Bergen. We'll have a few days there, including the wedding. After that, back to Oslo and New York.

    Our last trip was in August. Given both our job stresses, it's about time we took a break from the city. And what better than to visit friends and a beautiful country?

    The weird thing is, all of our trip this year will be weddings. Norway, San Francisco, DC, and Taiwan. We're in our late thirties - wedding trips are supposed to be over by now :-)

    Current Mood: happy
    Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
    8:39 am
    Dreaming of the lost Iain Banks novel
    I had a really weird dream last night. I was convinced there was an Iain Banks novel that I used to own, but that gotten lost when I moved from Europe to the US ten years ago. Not just that, but it was a great novel and I really felt an urgent need to re-read it. (It is far from clear to me why I hadn't missed it in the last ten years, but that's dreams for you.)

    I even came up with he title, background and portions of the plot. The "lost" Iain Banks novel is called tthe Orraries of Skye (typo on purpose). The hero, in his late twenties, is returning to his home island after ten years and rediscovers the weird sect his family belongs to. His uncle is the non-speaking guardian of an unspecified object and all religious discussions have to be silent (again, don't ask). Then the uncle gets murdered and (worse) his books are thrown outside of his house for our hero to recover and puzzle through.

    Nothing else comes up, which is why I had to re-read the book. In my dream, I spent a good amount of time trying to find the book online, but apparently the author or publisher had withdrawn it (again, don't ask) so it could no longer be found.

    Clearly I'm obsessed with books, and equally clearly I really liked both Whit and Crow Road. I'm not sure how all that translates to a vivid dream of actually holding the book, and my dreamed panic of not being able to find it. But I can hardly wait for somebody to actually write it :-)

    Current Mood: weird
    Sunday, December 28th, 2008
    3:04 pm
    Biking in late December
    We have not been out biking for about two months, as it was just too cold. Well, today wasn't - last week we had snow, we're expected to have snow on Wednesday, but today it was in the mid-60s. This is about 25 degrees above average - good there's no such thing as global warming, eh?

    In any case, we want out biking to Central Park in our bike shorts and a tees, and did a nice 6-mile loop. Given I hadn't expected to take out my bike until early spring, this was a nice surprise and a pleasant end of a long weekend. I expect that the next few months will only see me biking inside at the gym.

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Sunday, November 9th, 2008
    3:33 pm
    Anathem
    Just finished Anathem. In my opinion, this is far from Neal Stephenson's best work - there's about 500 pages of story and 400 extraneous pages of talking. It could have done with some forceful editing.

    Current Mood: disappointed
    11:18 am
    AT&T incompetence
    Heidi and I have iPhones, which in the US means we have AT&T as a wireless provider. We signed up for automatic payment on the second month and it's been working pretty smoothly.

    Except last month. AT&T was three days late taking the money out of my account (which had a healthy balance - they delay must have bene on their end) and now they sent me a bill that specifies that I am (1) overdue on last month's payment and MUST pay this right away and (2) I should not pay anything because they will take the money out of my account automatically.

    Whatever geniuses designed their billing system and form letter generation system need to have their heads examined. It'd be amusing if it weren't such a sad display of incompetence.
    10:46 am
    Fun research question
    Heidi and I were out walking yesterday when we saw a cement truck. I said that I'd always been fascinated by cement trucks as a kid, to which she replied that an obsession with trucks and heavy machinery must be coded on the Y chromosome :-)

    This leads to an interesting question, though: in a world before museums with dinosaurs, before trucks, locomotives, airplanes other big machines - what were boys obsessed with? Heidi thinks they were probably too busy working to have time for that, but I am not sure - before the Industrial Revolution (and especially before the Reformation) the pace of life was not so crazy that kids didn't have time to play or days off.

    I am afraid there will be very few sources that describe kids' fascinations in the Middle Ages and before (there's little enough on toys and play), but it's an interesting question.
    Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
    9:17 am
    Reading
    I am still reading CJ Cherryh - mostly on the train and in the gym, as the paperbacks are an easy size. I've gone through the Chanur series, the Foreigner series, the Faded Sun trilogy, and and now in the middle of the Morgain trilogy. Good stuff. I gave up on Downbelow station, as it just didn't grip me - I may give that another try after Cyteen.

    I'm still following Jo Walton's advice on tor.com; last weekend, I re-read the first two Walter Jon Williams books, Ambassador of Progress and Knight Moves. He's long been a favorite writer of mine (especially Aristoi and Metropolitan, and his latest Implied Spaces was pure genius.) I will probably re-read all his other works once I'm done with Cherryh.

    At home, I'm mostly reading hardcovers. I enjoyed Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains and especially Ken MacLeod's The Night Sessions - I cannot wait for the Second Enlightenment to happen in our world. I'm in the middle of the new Neal Stephenson, Anathem. It's good, but a little slow - he spends a lot of time building the society, but I'm probably missing a lot of good stuff that will only become apparent later. I really like the voice of the main character - somehow, it reminds me of the better Ian M Banks books. I'm pretty sure I will enjoy the book even more on a second read in a year or so.
    Monday, November 3rd, 2008
    10:41 am
    Subway crowding
    As I was trying to enter a crowded subway car this morning, two women close to the entrance tried to push me out of the car using their shopping bags. I pushed my way in anyway, and they acted most insulted. The car was crowded, but not as badly as on many other days; in fact, our section could probably hold 3 or 4 more people and still not be as busy as the next section one set of doors down. One of women made a point of slamming me with her bag as she left the train at the next station.

    I am sure my behavior was quite impolite; but I am also wondering what led them to expect they had the right to an uncrowded subway car during rush hour.
    Friday, October 31st, 2008
    12:58 pm
    [You may -- or may not -- want to] Copy this sentence into your livejournal if you're in a non-same-sex marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by those who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow.
    Sunday, October 5th, 2008
    9:22 pm
    Food snobbery
    I'm a little annoyed with myself because I just caught myself being a food snob.

    This evening, Heidi and I went to this fancy restaurant on the Upper East Side. They're so fancy and hip that they have a prestigious interior design firm re-do the place every three months. The menu looked really good, though, and thy had good reviews, so we went there as our once-a-week dining outing.

    So what went wrong? First they couldn't find the wine we ordered, so we had to eat our appetizers without wine - and then they asked us to select a different wine. Wine service was slow - our glasses didn't get refilled in time (the bottle was not on or near our table, so we could not refill our own glasses). I ordered the special, only to be told later it wasn't available, and again had to select a fall-back. Then Heidi found a piece of plastic in her dessert. Finally, the bill showed the expensive wine that we didn't get and we had to send the check back to be corrected (it was a $40 difference).

    Having said all that, the food was excellent (ignoring the plastic) and the service couldn't have been nicer. So when I caught myself saying "we'll never come back here" I ended up angry with myself. I'm still thinking about that - have I really become that spoiled, or was this justifiable anger at a bad experience?
    Monday, September 15th, 2008
    7:07 am
    Wall Street
    I work for a major Wall Street investment bank. No, not Bear Stearns, Lehman, or Merrill Lynch. And sadly, not for the one that's so far been immune to all the trouble.

    This week is going to be a very nervous one at work. The whole situation has a feel to it like the last days of Pompeii...

    Current Mood: anxious
    Sunday, September 7th, 2008
    6:11 pm
    Re-reading old favorites
    Jo Walton has been writing a series of posts on tor.com about books she's enjoyed and read repeatedly. I'm really enjoying these posts and they've set me on the path to re-reading old favorites again.

    Take CJ Cherryh - I've generally enjoyed reading her books, frequently greatly enjoyed reading them; but in the Big Move of 2000 (two international moves in six months) I got rid of her books. But after reading Jo Walton's post on the Atevi books I picked up a bunch of Chanur and Cyteen paperback at the library bookstore and, of course, greatly enjoyed them.

    I'm re-reading my Steven Brust (Taltos) and Eric Frank Russell books. They are treasures and deserve better than just sitting on my bookshelves.

    I've also picked up a bunch of her recommended books and am slowly working through them. Her taste in books is pretty good, though her recommendations are not 100% hits for me. The amount of analysis she does is amazing to me - she picks up a lot about the books that I, just reading for entertainment, never would.

    Anyway - thanks Jo! Please keep posting to tor (and I hope they pay you well - you certainly deserve it). Just don't neglect your LJ blog...

    Current Mood: mellow
    2:51 pm
    75 Mile Redux
    To no one's surprise, cycling 75 miles was a little ambitious. I was getting quite tired by the third rest stop (50M) and was really hurting by the fourth rest stop (70M).

    My friend Scott, a hardcore biker who doesn't start hurting until mile 125 (and who had already done 200 miles this week) was kind enough to slow down and stick with me - so I made it to the finish in about 5 hours 10 minutes, including time spent at rest stops.

    I expect to do better (as in less pain) next year, since I didn't know I was going to do the NYC tour until a week ago and obviously didn't train for distance. It was great fun, though - I'm glad I did the ride and very happy to have supportive friends.

    The rest of my day will probably (well, hopefully) be spent resting, reading and watching some TV.

    Current Mood: accomplished
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