etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
Did I loan anybody here my fedora? I can't find it anywhere.


Oct. 31st, 2012 02:40 pm
etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
I've identified a procedure at work that is repetitive enough that doing it manually is error-prone and is a prime candidate for scripting. I have no experience writing Unix (Ubuntu) scripts. Here are the technical details I need help with:

1. Files are being moved from Point A to Point B. I am informed when this process begins and would like to start the script to copy some of them to my local directory (Point C) ASAP (i.e. before they are done being copied to Point B).

2. I need to extract portions of sub-folder names so I can insert them into a series of commands. (I'm sure this is a job for grep. grep is black magic.)

3. I need to extract a portion of a text file and likewise insert it into a series of commands. (See note on Item 2.)

4. Script will take foo as an argument and likewise insert it into a series of commands.

5. I need an if statement checking whether foo is greater than a certain number, with an extra line if the statement is true.

6. I want to be alerted when the files are finished copying.
etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
I've been somewhat scatterbrained this week and missed out on a couple of important posts.

I recently got around to seeing Milk, the story of the life and death of America's first openly gay elected official. The word "openly" is important in that statement, because prior to Harvey Milk, life was too dangerous for one's sexuality to be publicly known. The genesis of his political career was the realization that the police would come into his neighborhood and murder gays for fun, and if hiding your sexual orientation didn't protect you, then maybe wearing it proudly would.

And he was right. We are your friends, your family, your neighbors, your coworkers. We are everyday Joes and wild eccentrics. When confronted, most people will face reality rather than turn harshly from it. At the end of the day, most people understand the simple truth of human sexuality: We do not love where we would choose, but must love where the lightning strikes.

My name is Greg, and I am bisexual. I love who I love.
etherial: Galliard Moon (galliard)
The dream begins in an office. It is rather like Nixon's Oval Office. In it are two men, their names beginning with the same letter and being of the same length, though I don't remember what they are. We shall call one "Washington", as his name has a similar mouthfeel to that of Washington. The other we shall call Waldorf, who is clearly the owner of this office.

The two men are talking, clearly friends. Waldorf is more generally famous, but the occasion where the two of them collaborated is a National Holiday known as "Washington's Day" and it seems everyone has forgotten that Waldorf was even involved. In conversation, Waldorf calls it "Washington-Waldorf Day", yielding the better part of the fame to Washington whilst trying to protect his own reputation. Washington, knowing that nobody else calls it that, corrects him. It is now ON.

What proceeds is a 70s Era Steve Martin Revenge Comedy where Waldorf follows Washington first to the Dentist's Office, and then to the DMV, where each man is attempting to renew Washington's Driver's License. Washington, older in years and possibly perturbed by this strange turn of events, and frightened of the possibility that Waldorf will be awarded Washington's new Driver's License, fails the vision exam, which is administered in a room full of other people taking the same eye exam off the same chart, of course. He is then escorted to another eye exam with a rebus that is, to the audience, clearly unintelligible.

Will Waldorf recover his bruised ego? Will the two friends reconcile? Will Washington ever be able to drive again?

Who knows?
etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
Last night, I dreamt that I couldn't pay the mortgage because I bought too many Action Cards. Methinks I play too much Dominion.

For the three of you who are reading this and are neither on Facebook nor Google+, we're having people over for gaming, grilling, and swimming tomorrow. Y'all come by.
etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (changeling)
In the interest in posting more, here's how last week went )

Plans for this week include:
  • more D&D
  • fingerloop braiding workshop
  • finding out if I'm in the play
  • catching up on sleep
  • Buttery birthday
  • going to see the penultimate showing of Rocky Horror in Harvard Square
  • etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    I have been hired on full-time at Beechwoods and have received a raise. The commute still sucks, but this job is awesome. We're actually still hiring, so if you want a job in the North End breaking DVRs all day, drop me your resume.

    Most of my time spent not at work is either playing Diablo III or trying desperately to resist the urge to BUY ALL THE THINGS. I've been in crisis mode for so long (and it's arguable that I still should be), it's hard to remember what to do with a bank account that has money in it. I'm thinking about paying my mortgage a week early because I can.
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
    I've been having connectivity problems while sleeping lately. This past night, while I would get to REM sleep and have my usual vivid dreams every time I feel asleep, I was never asleep for more than an hour. I would fall asleep, dream, and then consciousness would just TURN ON and I'd be AWAKE. The shortest sleep duration of the night was 15 minutes.
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    Somehow, my library books are always due on a Tuesday. This is awkward for me, since my wife goes to the town knitting circle on Wednesdays, half a block from the library. As a result, it is more economical of me to just pay the damned fine than to drive over to the library on its own trip (or even, one wonders, when running errands in Hudson). And yet, paying library fines are anathema to me. I am horrified by the idea of returning something so valuable as distilled knowledge even a day late. On the emotional spectrum, it falls somewhere on about the same level as kicking puppies and stealing candy from babies, though I have, on occasion, returned a library book late, whereas I have not done the other two. Movie and video game rentals, of course, are another beast entirely. I'm more thank ok to pay a higher non-negotiable rate to extend one of these by a day or so.

    And on the other other hand, if I want to ensure my children respect their local library, for both its mystical and ethical significance, I will need to ensure that I am willing to spend *my* money on gas just to help ensure they are able to earn the emotional reward of returning books on time, and avoid the emotional penalty of condemning another to darkness and ignorance.
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
    Could not stop reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I cried at the ending.
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
    Last night, I dreamt that I was hanging out with a bunch of friends in the Platonic Ideal Tech School. Then, a bunch of them wandered off to go have a birthday party and eat cake.

    When I was ten, there was a new kid in my class. We shared a bus stop, and I thought we were making pretty good friends. His birthday party was the talk of the school - everyone was looking forward to it, talking about it, planning for it. I didn't receive an invitation. It had been nearly two years since I had been invited to a birthday party for a classmate, and I was devastated.

    My mother called his parents, told me it was some kind of mistake, and I went over. I had a good time, and yet...I know it's possible I wasn't supposed to be invited. I know it's possible I wasn't invited and my mother made them invite me. And that bothered me. It still bothers me. To this day, I'd rather sit at home doing nothing than risk being somewhere I'm not wanted.

    I found out after-the-fact that a friend's wedding was "open invite". I missed out on a truly stupendous amount of prime rib. But "open invite" means different things to different people, and I'm not coming unless I'm sure you want me there. I don't need an engraved invitation, I just need to know that you know that I might be there.
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    I hope LJ has a marketing database element that keeps track of the fact that I switch to S2 every time I want to make a comment and then switch back to S1 to view my flist.
    etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
    So, Marketing.

    When you go on a job interview, it is (now?) customary to send a thank-you letter to the interviewer. Astute observers have pointed out that a job interview is not some act of benevolence to be grateful for so much as an opportunity for both parties to examine a potential business transaction in further depth.


    a) It's a buyer's market, so you have to do everything you can to ingratiate yourselves to potential employers ATM.


    b) It's good PR to send them the thank-you letter because it keeps *them* thinking about *you*, which increases the likelihood that you will receive the offer if it comes down to a toss-up.

    What do you put in your thank-you letters?
    etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
    Crankily, I've begun the process of updating my LJ style to S2 so I can still have comment titles. Advice on how to replicate specific features of S1 and/or artistic suggestions appreciated.
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    A friend recently asked for people to post recipes for delightfully fantastic recipes, and since I cooked my delightfully fantastic alfredo sauce tonight, here's the recipe:

    1 stick of butter
    1 cup of heavy cream
    1 fist-sized chunk of parmesan, grated
    as much garlic as you think you can stand, minced

    serves 2

    It's important that the parmesan be of high quality, which is why I recommend the parmesan be freshly grated rather than purchased in a canister.

    Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Add the garlic to give it a chance to impart its flavor. Add cream and let simmer until the butter and cream have mixed fully. Slowly add the parmesan, stirring constantly. If you start melting at the same time as you start the water boiling for pasta, the sauce and pasta should be done at about the same time.

    It's important that this never scald or boil over - it will develop undisolvable bits and rapidly turn into a lump of cheese in a milk bath.

    Your arteries will hate me for this.
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
    You were unabashedly yourself.
    etherial: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)
    I forgot how much I liked Sheep.
    etherial: a burning flag (politics)
    I don't think there's anything much for me to add to my post from two years ago. I'm still bisexual. I'm still one of them. It isn't just a phase.

    Ironically, it's only after the repeal of DADT has begun that I am able to get to the local National Guard Recruiting office and tell them "DADT? It's the only thing that kept me out of the military. Tell your superiors that for every homophobe that refuses to serve with a gay soldier, there's probably a gay patriot to fill their place."
    etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (autobot)
    Today (what's left of it) is Ada Lovelace Day, a day we remember the contributions of women to the sciences. I confess, I feel rather outclassed by this day. I'm not a scientist and I'm terrible at research, and I stumbled across my contribution completely by accident.

    Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was a Kenyan environmentalist and political activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, an organization that promotes sustainable agriculture in her native Kenya and throughout the world. In 2004, she became the first African woman, and the first environmentalist, to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    After studying in the US and Germany, she became the first Eastern African woman to receive a Ph.D. when she was granted a Doctorate of Anatomy from the University College of Nairobi in 1971. She lectured on veterinary anatomy, became director of the Kenyan Red Cross, and founded the Green Belt Movement on June 5, 1977, World Environment Day.

    In the 80s and 90s, she became involved in Kenyan Pro-Democracy efforts and fended off the police for 3 days while barricaded inside her house during a string of assassinations and mass arrests in 1992. She continued her efforts and was elected to Parliament in 2002.

    She repeatedly faced jail time trying to advance environmentalism and democracy in Kenya, advance her career, and defend herself in her 1979 divorce from her husband. She died on September 25, 2011.
    etherial: Galliard Moon (galliard)
    Last Night, I had a dream:

    I was in a prison. My bunkmate looked an awful lot like Peter Stormare. I say "bunkmate" because the prison was more like a shipyard - we were not necessarily allowed to sleep indoors, but there were wooden carts laden with stuff that we could slip our mattresses under when it snowed. Bunkie was showing me around, introducing me to the prison culture and power structure. At one point he showed me a mafia boss that was in the prison that was being "tortured" by the guards - it appeared as though they had shoved needles in his throat (not sure how this was supposed to make him talk), but Bunkie pointed out the length of the needles - they had not actually been inserted into his skin at all!

    I was a plant for the FBI, trying to figure out where the prison corruption lay so that we could root it out and start getting real information from the mafia boss. I had secreted some shivs around my bunk to help defend myself and was composing a secret message to tell my superiors what I had figured out when it started raining and I woke up.
    etherial: a burning flag (politics)
    I was linked today to an interesting article relating the unintended side effects of DOMA-esque laws, where court rulings have given 'man' and 'woman' sufficiently rigid definitions that seemingly opposite-sex marriages are forbidden and seemingly same-sex marriage are protected.

    I'm glad I live in Massachusetts. Things make more sense here.
    etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (autobot)
    Reasons to see Transformers 3 (in no particular order):
    1. Giant Robots
    2. Leonard Nimoy
    3. Alan Tudyk
    4. Sam was dumped by Mikaela (off-camera)
    5. All of the technical achievements of TF2 without the raunchiness

    Reasons not to see Transformers 3 (in no particular order):
    1. Very long (2:37)
    2. Fairly linear plot
    3. Racefail (old stereotypes out, new stereotypes in)
    4. Poor continuity
    5. Terrible, Terrible Physics (worse than the '85 cartoon)

    And if you do see it, don't bother with the 3D. That was a total waste of money.
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    One of my recruiters is looking for software engineers with experience working on embedded systems. Lemme know if you want more info.


    Mar. 21st, 2011 10:25 am
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    I wonder what it is about this post that has attracted so many SPAM posts that I have comments screened.


    Mar. 5th, 2011 03:13 am
    etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (camelot)
    My car wouldn't start, so I have to crash at my parents' tonight. I need a bin of costumery to travel from Camelot to Intercon by 9 AM tomorrow. Ideally, this will be in someone else's vehicle, but I can do it myself if I need to. 4 hours of sleep is enough, right?

    If you can pick it up, call me.
    etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (decepticon)
    Hey folks, got a new meme for you! It's real simple. It's about the relationship between numbers and your life. On day 1, you post about the number 1. On day 2, you post about the number 2. The best part is, the meme will never end! Your friends will be posting this meme for ever and ever.

    1: I created one meme. I'd like to create more in the future, but for now, just one. Being a mathematician, I wanted to help people convey just how important numbers are in their daily lives. Also, it will help make them feel important by giving them something to post about, even if their lives are completely banal and have nothing interesting going on, they can rest assured that my meme will give valuable insights to their friends and family. I feel very lucky to have created a meme that will provide people with lj content for eons to come.
    etherial: a burning flag (politics)
    National media "chooses" not to cover Veterans chaining themselves to the White House in a snowstorm in protest.

    Here's a personal accounting of the event.

    A quick Google search suggests that Fox, MSNBC, and CNN still haven't written a word about it.

    There's an old Soviet joke that the only difference between the American Media and the Russian one is that the Americans believed theirs.


    Dec. 18th, 2010 05:25 pm
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    We have, not one but two, purple* Christmas trees. )
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    If I were to write a simple no-frills program in some variety of C, what compilers are available to someone who wants to spend no money on one?
    etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
    Yesterday, I was told, I won at the internet. There's a guy over on the WW forums. He posted a link to this court case, where an Indiana man's personal religious conflicts were used as an excuse to reduce his custody of his children from 50% to alternate weekends. The url of the article he linked to belonged to a Men's Rights Organization with a violent phallic symbol for its name (he says he finds the group distasteful, but linked to their version of the article).

    Unfortunately, while trying to fix the problems society imposes on men, he tends to forget that society imposes problems on women. Downthread, he started going off the deep end. I called him on it:

    Quoth he: And this defines "patriarchy."

    Quoth I:
    That is, of course, not remotely what patriarchy is. Patriarchy is the set of societal attitudes and forces at work that have the primary effect of enforcing gender norms and the net effect of being a larger detriment to women than men.

    As a man, Patriarchy is my enemy. Patriarchy says I don't get to cry at movies unless they're about sports[1]. Patriarchy says that I must act like a predator to find a mate. Patriarchy says that I must be better than my spouse at just about everything, except cooking, cleaning, and raising the kids. Patriarchy says that children belong with their mother, even when the mother is an abusive psychopath. Patriarchy says that I am sick and wrong for even thinking about being my children's primary caregiver. Patriarchy says that I am sick and wrong for being bisexual. Patriarchy says the only emotions I get to feel are anger, pride, and shame. And Patriarchy insults my abilities by giving me an unfair advantage over women.

    Meanwhile, Patriarchy assaults my wife, my mother, and my sister every day. It is a constant looming threat to my children, and one I intend to fight.

    [1]It was later pointed out that men get to cry about war, too.
    etherial: The Independent Babylon 5 Station Logo (b5 shield)
    My main Secret Ninja Power is Weather Control, but the Christmas Music Overload Season reminded me that I have at least one other - the ability to indepently recall (and keep separate in my brain) Linus & Lucy and the Buckaroo Banzai End Theme.
    etherial: St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow (St. Basil's)
    [ profile] rosinavs and I are entering a two-phase stuff organization plan. The first phase consists of buying and building shelving units and putting all of our stuff into bins on these shelving units. Phase I is already underway.

    Phase II will be to label, organize, and arrange these bins in some sort of reasonable fashion. This begs the question: What sort of organizational scheme would be good for this? I'm envisioning something like the dewey decimal system where every bin gets a number: AB.CD where AB encodes the subject matter: fabric, yarn, crafting notions, camping gear, musical instruments, travel supplies, family mementos, spare bedding, etc. and CD is just a two digit bin number.

    Anybody have experience organizing an arbitrary number of bins of things?

    PS - Anybody in Mass have a geiger counter? We have recently been gifted some Steampunk jewelry and I want to know the radiation dosage.


    Nov. 18th, 2010 08:19 am
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    Today's LJ Writer's Block Question asks "If you were an underpaid authority figure, which child would you molest?":

    What's under Snape's cape?
    If you were the TSA at Hogwarts, which Harry Potter character would you pat down, and why?

    WTF, LJ?


    Nov. 4th, 2010 12:05 pm
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
    I had a dream about doing the laundry.
    etherial: a burning flag (politics)
    This was supposed to be a venemous post about how American Conservatives manipulate educational policy in ways that cause growing death spirals of teen pregnancy, premature birth, high school dropouts, and parents who are unfit to educate their children about anything. With bonus welfare payments spiraling out of control, to boot. But I don't think I have enough practice at satire to do it justice. Here's a link to more data supporting a plain and simple fact: An ignorant teenager is a dangerous and stupid teenager.
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)
    I'm bisexual. It's a somewhat loaded term, since "bisexual" implies there's only two ways to do this gender thing, and (in case you hadn't heard), it's more complicated than that. What matters is this: We all must love where the lightning strikes, and not where we would choose.

    Some years, it's a little unclear why I still do this. Every year, I post a reminder that I'm bisexual. Why bother? Everyone here knows it, yes? My flist has been pretty stable - I'm not sure anybody's added me in that year. My life has changed, though. I got married in May to a kind, caring, wonderful person who happens to be female. In some ways, it's more important than ever for me to participate, since it's now even easier for me to be read as straight.

    This year, though, it's painfully clear why I must still do this:

    RIP Asher Brown, age 13
    RIP Raymond Chase, age 19
    RIP Tyler Clementi, age 18
    RIP Billy Lucas, age 15
    RIP Seth Walsh age 13

    That's five suicides of teenaged boys, whose families support them, that made national news, in September. Think of how many parents you know that wouldn't support their gay son. Think of how many suicides don't make national news. Then at least double it for all the girls who are bullied. Think of all the bullying and all the deaths you haven't heard of.

    That's why I do this. Because the only difference between them and me is pure chance.
    etherial: a fermata with the words "Hold Me" (music)
    I confess, I've only purchased an album on the week it premiered once before - it was Audioslave's 2005 dud, Out of Exile. I'm wary of purchasing music I'm not already attached to. I had heard one song off of Linkin Park's new A Thousand Suns and it was neat, not an instant hit like New Divide, but rhythmically interesting, and besides, it's my birthday. A Thousand Suns is, in a nutshell, written specifically for [ profile] dirkcjelli, full of the horror of politics and war. It mixes quotes from Oppenheimer, Savio, and King for good effect. The album has a very different feel than LP's previous work. Earlier albums were more metal, more up-tempo, and more about frustration and self-loathing. A Thousand Suns is more industrial trance and continues to interweave tracks together and repeat themes and lines from earlier tracks. It also features more seamless interchanges between singing and rap, with a guest voice singing the opening lines of the album and Chester and Shinoda both singing the recapitulation in Catalyst:

    God save us, every one,
    Will we burn inside the fires of a thousand suns
    For the sins of our hand, the sins of our tongue,
    the sins of our father, the sins of our young?
    etherial: A representation of myself using South Park's art style (southpark)

    Just in case you haven't seen this one recently, sweet<3.


    Aug. 28th, 2010 10:21 am
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    I have joined the Droid brigade. My old phone was irrecoverable, as I feared. I have an old backup of my contacts list from December, but I know some people were already out of date - if you have a telephone number and want me to call you, email me or comment here (comments are screened).

    Things my old phone did that I haven't figured out how to do on the new phone yet:
    1. easily switch to/from silent mode turns out this one was obvious once I looked
    2. create memos/notes/to-do lists
    3. create custom ringtones
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    I was unclear in my previous post about websites. I'm not looking for a modern web 2.0 data scheme. I want a simple front page that says "Hi, we are legitimately offering you $5 for your short story and will actually pay you if we use it". What information can we provide, besides our writing guidelines, that will help assure you that your $5 short story is not going to be stolen by us?

    I am currently suffering from writer's block, not an overwhelming desire to curl up in a ball twitching because I can't get the @!#$ code to work.
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    I'm currently empondering how to design a cromulent website for my game company. [ profile] doc_smiley and I are at the point where we need to solicit fiction for our seekrit projekt, which requires a website to tell the people we're soliciting that we're not a joke (serious is something we're hoping to strive for next quarter).

    Any thoughts?
    etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (shield)
    On my way home from Pennsic. Drank too much booze last night and barfed up some bile this morning.

    Then I got food poisoning at dinner. 
    etherial: an idealized black vortex on a red field (camelot)
    I realized the other day that I have now lived in Camelot longer than any other place besides my parents' house. In most ways, it has felt like home from the get go. In other ways, habits long developed in the 24 years since I moved to Wellesley are still ingrained. Most times when I enter a home address into an entry field, I have to pause and reject Wellesley as being incorrect.

    The previous second place holder was the apartment on Wachusett Street, where I lived from late April 2001 (after a certain apartment caught fire) to June 2002, which was also the previous time I lived with Doc. It will take some time for me to have lived in Berlin longer than Worcester, and it's possible I may never beat the 20 years I spent living in my parents' house in Wellesley.

    This mostly serves as a reminder that, glorious and fun though it has been, I have spent a lot of the past year spinning my wheels in place and otherwise stuck in a holding pattern. I'm adrift in a sea of time, and though I have companions in my flotilla, it's frustrating.
    etherial: Firefly Season 2 Logo (hopeless causes)
    My DVD player is starting to skip like crazy. Anyone have recommendations on how to service it?
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    Livejournal is letting each paid user give away five free lemurs. Let me know if you want one.
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    Thoughts on buying a new computer. What I need:
    • a laptop model
    • a full adult-sized keyboard
    • a non-Vista operating system requiring one click or less to install
    • the ability to run multiple web browsers at once (as well as a game or two)
    • cheap (free) anti-virus protection
    • DVD drive

    I've only bought one computer before. That was easy: Go to, fill out the information for the educator's discount, buy a top-of-the-line model with all the upgrades. Unfortunately, I have not the budget for a top-of-the-line anything. So, any suggestions on sellers, manufacturers, and models?

    Edit: I really do mean non-Vista. XP is a version of Windows I'd be willing to use. 7 seems to have all the usability of XP with all the pretty of Vista, but that's just my first impression. *nix is fine, and the one click is just a metaphor, but I remember the days when it took months to *nix working properly on a PC, and I want a guarantee that it'll be fully functional in half an hour.
    etherial: A Dollar Sign composed of sperm ($perm)
    A company called last week looking to get someone to do some corporate helpdesk/support tutorial/videography for them and wanted to know which textbooks I had recorded video for. This is something of a complex question, since A) I was never directly told which books were which, B) they lacked front pages and copyright notices at the time I was working on them, C) I probably signed a NDA at some point, D) I forgot to keep copies of the work I did, and E) at least one agent was told by the end client to not even tell me who I was working for (an action I do understand since I do have access to all the answers for their final exams). I've been able to find several books I probably worked on and at least one I definitely worked on, so how do you, Oh LJ hive-mind, suggest I reference them in my resume?