May 26, 2002

Finally beat "Time Crisis II" on one quarter. (And there was much rejoicing.) I'd gotten up to "wild dog" before, but kept getting killed. (I could beat it on TWO quarters pretty consistently, but I kept losing a life or two early on at really stupid places. This time, I made it past the train with three lives and suspected it would be pretty clear sailing from then on.)

I'm currently sitting down at UT, with my laptop and a chai. I biked here, partly because I'd been thinking about it anyway (for the exercise), and partly because there's a spider in my car.

Now I realise I'm a full grown adult male humanoid that outmasses your average spider by a factor of rather a lot, but I'd like to point out that this is a really BIG, black spider, which I noticed crawling back and forth across the windshield right after dinner at Souper Salad. I was in the middle of traffic at the time, and happy to let the spider continue to occupy the windshield more or less indefinitely, but this guy was determined to TRAVEL. Back and forth. It seemed to dislike walking across the ceiling fabric, or the plastic on the other three edges of the windshield, so it kept circumnavigating the windshield.

Every time he went directly over me I kept going "please don't fall down on me, I really wouldn't appreciate it", and yes this was starting to affect my driving (well it's hard to focus on a spider three inches from your forehead AND the road).

Now there are only really a couple different types of spiders you have to worry about. There's your black widow, and your brown recluse, and most of the rest are somewhere between a bee and a mosquito in terms of bite/sting potential. (Yes, I saw spider-man, and yes he has my dating skills. This spider, however, was entirely the wrong color. Just thought I'd mention it.) I really couldn't tell what kind of spider this was, except that it was A) big, B) very dark, C) had a very large and pointy abdomen that might possibly have indicated it was pregnant.

After turning the corner onto Jollyville, I felt something brush past my leg (I'm wearing shorts here: remember, I'm pondering going out biking for some exercise since the sun's gone down and the temperature's dropped a bit). I look up, and can no longer see the spider anywhere, although on a couple of occasion's it's tried to hide in the edge of the windshield.

So here I am going "Spider, if that's you, do you think you could find a nice corner to hide in until I get home? How about on the passenger side of the car?" Yes, by this point I'm saying this sort of thing out loud, but it doesn't listen. Ten seconds later, I feel the something crawl off the seat and up my leg, look down, and there it is scampering across my thigh.

At this point, I'd like to point out that it IS possible to simultaneously do a full body squirm, swat a spider randomly off of your leg (off towards the right somewhere), and get both feet under you so that you're actually standing (severely crouched) on the seat with the minimum amount of flesh in contact with, well, anything else in the car. The seat belt does make this a bit of a problem, and doing so without losing control of your car and crashing into something is a bit of a trick, but apparently I made the saving throw on this point.

Now here I am thinking "okay, it's probably mad enough to bite me now". At the next red light I had to stick a foot out to touch the brake, but managed to do so without coming into contact with the floor or seat. Luckily, this was the last light before home. I found a parking spot, got the heck out of the car, rolled the window down a bit to give the spider the opportunity to go away overnight, and went inside and took a shower.

Before the spider, I wasn't sure whether or not to bike down to UT, since it meant I couldn't go to mensa games night, and I couldn't make the last midnight screening of UHF at the Alamo Dratfhouse. (I saw it on thursday, so it wasn't quite a requirement.)

Afterwards, not being in my car just now seemed a lot more attractive, option-wise. (I did have a bit of trouble finding my laptop, which resulted in a couple more presumptive conversations with the spider (basically asking it if it had seem my laptop), but it turned out to be inside on my bed (under the blanket).

April 13, 2002

My laptop regenerated today. It used to be a Dell Inspiron 3500, now its' brain (the hard drive) has been transplated into a Toshiba Tecra 8000. It didn't quite have the Dr. Who special effects (stunningly expensive as those were), this was more like "My laptop isn't powering up this morning. Funny, it powered up last night..." Followed by about an hour of alternating various things with pushing the power button, calling in other people to, let's face it, push the power button for me...

I eventually took the thing apart into such a detailed pile of components that my boss at WebOffice took pity on me and gave me the toshiba. It's got a processor 100 mhz faster, the same old hard drive (20 gig IBM travelstar), 256 megs of ram, and just as big a display. And noticeably less cat hair in it. It doesn't have a CD or floppy (although there's apparently one lying around work somewhere), instead it has an extra battery in the expansion port thing. It's been charging for about five hours now, and still hasn't finished. At 30% charged, APM announced I had around four hours of battery life left. This could be intersting. :)

The keyboard is definitely going to take some getting used to, though...

Update: finished charging.

[landley@localhost landley]$ apm
AC on-line, battery status high: 100% (10:04)
10 hours of battery life. I'm all for it. :)

April 12, 2002

Ooh, long time no update.

Lemme see... I visited a convention in NJ where I bugged Terry Pratchett, and it looks like he's coming to Penguicon. The date has been set (may 2-4, 2003) and Tracy and I are starting to put things together finally. Once we have the guest list more or less locked down, we can start an advertising drive to get preregistrations. Preregistrations are important. I should write up why...

I met a very nice girl there named valkyrie, but lost her email address. (I also lost my plane ticket, but that was just a question of paying the airline enough money they felt like firing up the printer again. No wonder they're hurting financially, they hate their customers and it shows...)

Still in my new apartment. Still no furniture that isn't a repurposed stack of boxes. I need to get DSL, but fear it would mean I'd never leave my apartment.

Other stuff, I'll start writing again (for once my work schedule calms down a bit. We haven't shipped yet, but we're really close. Lots of hours at work...

March 21, 2002

I just aliased the loopback interface to allow a machine with only one ethernet card to participate in a virtual private network's address range.

I need to get out more.

March 2, 2002

(Yeah this entry has the same date as yesterday's, but I've slept in between. So it's a new day to me.)

I am currently working on a Python CGI that outputs HTML with five (Count 'em: Five!) nested tables (for display purposes). And a cascading style sheet.

And you wonder why I'm still single?

On the bright side, I love the concept of the laptop. I'm typing this in a Souper Salad in the Arboretum in lovely uptown Austin, Texas. Today is the day the Great Harvest Bread Company has Pumpkin, which is worth driving a long way for (and right down the street from my new apartment).

On the down side, Frank Sinatra just came on the in-restaurant ambient noise. Sigh. The man is dead, you'd think there'd be some kind of statue of limitations. Or maybe the Geneva Convention would cover this? Oh well...

In any case, I've decided to walk to work today. (For the exercise, and because it's NICE out.) It's 3:23 and I've made it just over halfway there. The Dell Inspiron 3500 has many downsides, but battery life is not one of them. :)

March 20, 2002

It's 3 am and I'm at home, awake, thumping on my laptop and trying to figure out if it's possible to assign a MAC address to the loopback interface for testing purposes.

I felt the need to write this down so I could stare at it a bit and go "huh". There are certain activities that would require about thirty minutes of background material just to let a normal person know WHAT you're trying to do, let alone why.

Today, I discovered (via a slashdot interview) that Wil Wheaton is, in point of fact, a full-blown geek. Hand-coded website, regular slashdot reader, wrestled with the Linux desktop problem, regularly quotes hitchhiker's guide and monty python geek. I'm impressed. I think he should be invited to Penguicon. :)

Also, dep over at wants me to write up some columns for him. I could use an outlet, with The Fool having stopped being fun over a year ago now. (And having laid off half its staff a month after I left, just in case I thought about changing my mind, which I hadn't...)

I need to buy tickets for Jersey Devil (convention in NJ). Terry Pratchett will be there and we need to inflict the Discworld Tarot draft on him. Good a time as any. I get to see Eric and Cathy again, and of course my herd of northeast relatives...

I need to get a new website. Right...