April 2005 Archives

Nerve has an interesting article this morning about some gay Christian leathermen in Los Angeles:

This is Skip Chasey’s leather playroom. More yoga studio than dungeon, it perfectly encapsulates his multilayered identity as an openly gay Christian leatherman. The contents of the room signify no mere hobby: there is a St. Andrew’s cross with leather straps, and a “puppy” cage, big enough to contain a few crouching people. An infrared camera - not used very much, Chasey notes - is poised in the corner near the ceiling. Butt plugs and cock rings are discreetly tucked away in cabinets. For Chasey and Tim Hamilton - “Master Skip” and “Pup Tim” to each other and the leather community - the room is “sacred space.”

A pretty good read, and if nothing else, it’ll take you one step closer to having seen everything.

Overall, a not-completely-unproductive sort of day. Meeting in the morning, but managed to get some things done in the afternoon (via the expedient of closing my door and ignoring all email). Now, the fall-out from that is that I’m going to spend most of the day Friday catching up on email, but them is the breaks, I guess.

Sure, a 2.5 hour meeting isn’t the traditional way to celebrate 420, but the resulting stupefaction and glazed expression is pretty similar…

Andrew Cowie, over on the ORA LAMP site, picks up the Extreme Sysadminery meme that I caught back in June. One of these days, I am going to do something with that wiki I set up (currently overrun with Asian language spam…)

Emacs joins the tagging craze. Worth looking at for the excellent graphic alone…

Played hooky from work today (that was the reason for the Sunday work-fest). TheChild had an evaluation in the morning for the speech services that she’s been getting (she’s doing fine), and I needed to pick her up from day-care in the evening on account of TheWife having a late afternoon business meeting. Had a pretty productive afternoon catching up on mail and this and that and various other weekly review-like activities.

Interestingly, despite being at work all of yesterday, today still felt like Monday. Conclusion: the “Monday state” requires there to be other people in the office. Or something. Managed to get a thing or two done, despite the unexpected Monday-ness.

Working Sunday — into the office around 10am, and not out until after 9pm. Did take a break in there to visit a used book sale and grab some dinner with TheWife and TheChild, but aside from that, it was work work work. Now a very dull boy.

Running around in the morning, getting things together for the book group meeting in the afternoon. Book group meeting ran into the evening, so overall not a terribly productive day.

So, yesterday was Poop For Peace Day. Since Everybody Poops is currently TheChild’s favorite book, I wish we’d known about the holiday a bit more in advance. Ah well, there’s always next year…

Haha — Protest Signs of the Religious Right. I think the “censorship makes libraries a less baffling ordeal” one is my favorite.

The other day, Dan pointed to mapper.acme.com, which seems to have more extensive imagery than maps.google.com — at least for the stuff that I care about. Here’s my childhood home in Kansas and our current neighborhood. One of these days I’ll pull those images into Flickr and mark them up for the Memorymaps pool

More meetings — this time, one about starting a blog at work. I’m curious to see how this plays out…

Out for dinner after work, then back home for a quiet evening — the main event was reading the book for tomorrow’s book group.

Played hookie in the afternoon and went textbook shopping — I need to figure out what the text is for this summer’s BioPerl class, so in the afternoon I hiked over to the B&N in Bethesda and picked up a couple intro Perl books. Then I spent about an hour sitting at a table outside a Caribou Coffee browsing them and people watching. Good way to spend a sunny spring afternoon; made more sweet by the fact that I should have been at work and wasn’t.

Wednesday means big meeting day. Big meeting day means very little work and a generally frustrating afternoon.

One of those days where I was too busy talking to other people and attending meetings to actually get anything done myself — although I probably accomplished more with the talking, long-term/overall, than I would have done with the working.

Doc visit in the morning; just the regular periodic checkup. Work after that. Monday started not with a bang, but with a meeting — which got into RSS and blogs, oh my! It will be interesting to see how that goes.

Not much else for the rest of the day — the usual catching up and trying to remember what state things are in, etc. that you see on a Monday.

Home to a nice brown box with an Amazon logo on it, which is always a good thing. Finally got to see ORA’s new Make magazine, and am favorably impressed.

Spring has arrived — actually, I think it got here yesterday, which is when I actually took that picture up there. Our lawn guys did our mulching and gave the lawn the first trim of the season, and I dug all the various patio furniture bits and the grill out of the garage.

Between the bits of seasonal labor, I finally started working on a task management application idea that’s been kicking around my head for a while. Thanks to the wonders of Class::DBI, I actually made quite a bit of progress — all the basic underlying database stuff is done and tested and I’m starting to dig into the CGI layer already. go me

Leisurely morning; out for lunch, then down to Chevy Chase to replenish the beer supply. Back home for nap-time, waking up just in time to hang out with S. and L. Eventually we all made our way up to Germantown for a housewarming party. TheChild got a tremendous amount of attention, which she was quite happy about.

Fire-fighting day: one crisis after another. Didn’t really manage to get any work done — aside from making sure that nothing burned down, that is.

Out for dinner after work with the girls, then home for a relaxing evening.

Unremarkable day: managed to get a thing or two done.

One of those administrative things that landed on me this week was getting the agenda for the big weekly meeting together. That ate about an hour out of my morning; writing up some long-established-but-poorly-documented policy stuff ate the rest. Then the meeting pretty much ate the afternoon, and after the meeting about all I was capable of was stumbling over to the usual for a couple of pints.An okay day, in the sense of “it’s much better now that I’ve stopped hitting myself in the head with the hammer”.

Moderately productive work day. A co-worker is on vacation, so I’m carrying a slightly different load than usual — a bit more administrative stuff, a bit less front-line techy — which is always interesting. (And sometimes a wee bit annoying…) Moved a large number of balls a very short distance forward — not nearly as satisfying as moving one ball a large distance forward, but theoretically an equivalent amount of work, right? Right?!

Via today’s Larkware Daily Grind, I found Why I’m Not Smoking the Podcasting Dope:

I’m skeptical about podcasting. I’m skeptical about who’s doing it, who’s going to do it, and who’s going to listen to it. In short, I don’t think podcasting is going to get very far into the mainstream.

Amen, brother.

Biology News has the scoop on a major microRNA paper, out this week in Nature Genetics:

The paper, published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Genetics, found that a microRNA gene regulates, on average, 200 different human gene transcripts and that many microRNAs can coordinate their activities to regulate specific target genes. The paper contains detailed genome-wide predictions for all human microRNAs as well as tissue-specific predictions. Several predictions were validated experimentally. The findings demonstrate an unforeseen staggering complexity of gene regulation executed by microRNAs on a genome-wide level.

My gradual school advisor, Roy Parker, has been going on about this scenario for at least the last 10 years; probably longer. Looks like he was mostly right…

…And the award for the best use of Google Maps and Flickr in a storytelling capacity goes to: mathowie, for My childhood, seen by Google Maps. Very nice.

If you haven’t heard, Google has integrated their Maps feature with all the satimage data they own. Unfortunately, the resolution over my childhood home is piss-poor, and the resolution over the current house isn’t much better. In the cases where it works, however, it’s quite nice.

First real day back at work since vacation. Lots of catchup, lots of pinging people for status reports, bits of “why can’t I just stay on vacation all the time?” pondering. Managed to get a good review of all the balls I have in the air, so that’s something.

The Rude Pundit perfectly nails how I’ve been feeling about the whole “Pope still dead; film at 11” circus:

Matter of fact, the Rude Pundit wants the Pope corpse to be re-animated, to become the zombie Pope, going on a rampage, eating the brains of abortion providers, homosexuals, and warmongers, because the Pope’s approach to the “culture of life” was so fuckin’ consistent, man, it was so steady, bein’ against genocide and contraception. Opposin’ the Iraq War and women priests. Shit, we all read what we want into the Pope corpse, taking the good with the bad, but, oh, man, the zombie Pope’ll show us all what’s what. He’ll be eatin’ some fuckin’ flesh, man, that’s what a zombie Pope’d do - enough of those dry, tasteless eucharists - let’s get real and juicy here. He is risen.

And now if there’s a Hell, I’m certainly bound for it.

This week, Declan McCullagh’s CNET column covers the upcoming Congressional battles over renewal of the parts of the Patriot Act that expire at the end of this year. He’s got a good little bit about the history of the law, information about which sections are set to expire (or “sunset”, in the jargon) and some entrail reading about what the prospects for that changing appear to be at this point in time.

Another fairly lazy day. Wrote up the NYC trip, finally. Uploaded NYC photos, finally. Tried to do something like a weekly review for home, but stalled out a bit and ended up rereading lots of comics instead.

Light outside past 7pm. I <heart&rt; daylight savings time…

By the way, pictures from the NYC trip will be under the ‘nyc’ tag with my Flickr photos, once I get done processing them.

Completely lackadaisical Saturday — the prototypical “I did nothing, and it was everything I thought it would be” day.

Back to work. Caught up on mail and touched base on a number of projects. Fortunately, it was a slow week, so there wasn’t too much. Bailed out a wee bit early to meet TheWife and TheChild at home. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before heading to a surprise birthday party for a friend. Home around 9pm, which was about the point that we discovered that somewhere along the way, we’d misplaced TheWife’s car keys. Hunted for keys, watched some TV, hit the sack.

A laying low sort of day. Got unpacked, started getting caught up on mail, that sort of thing. Not a horribly productive day.

Last day in NYC. Up and about in the morning, getting packed up. Loaded crap into the van, got the van put back in the garage, then checked out. Met up with TheWife and TheChild down on the show floor, then went to grab some lunch. Post-lunch, tried to get TheChild to take a nap — without any success to speak of.

Back to the show floor, to hang out, until the show ended. More hanging out after that, as the booth was torn down (while the show floor was being torn down all around it). Finally cut loose around 5pm. Stowed more crap in the van, then headed out for a last walk around, and a bit of Thai for dinner. Climbed into the van around 7pm, headed for the Lincoln Tunnel. Rolled into the garage at home just before midnight — good time, considering we stopped more than a couple of times.

Rough, rough, rough morning. Eventually managed to drag ass out to breakfast with TheChild — TheWife was up and down to the show floor early.

Eventually met up with TheWife for a spot of lunch, then TheChild and I returned to the hotel for a nap. Once we got up, we got gussied up, then headed out to the customer reception her company was hosting that evening. Reception was fun but rather crowed.

TheChild was getting cranky again, so her and I headed back to the hotel around 9pm. TheWife exercised better judgement than I did last night, and was only out until about midnight.

Monday was a dreary sort of rainy day, so we thought a museum might be in order. We grabbed some breakfast, then cabbed up to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, only to find that it was closed for the day. Lacking anything better to do at that point, we decided to stroll back down to the hotel (the museum is in the west 80s, and our hotel was 53rd and 6th — so it was a decent walk).

By the time we got back to the hotel, it was time for TheWife to go on the clock. She went down to the trade show floor to help set up her company’s booth while TheChild and I grabbed a bit of a nap. Once we got up, we headed down to the show too. Monday night was the opening reception, so we hung out at the booth for a number of hours. Since TheChild has been to several of these shows (both national and regional), people drop by to see her, and she had a great time.

Post-show, we all went out to dinner, with TheWife’s boss, co-worker, and a couple of clients. TheWife and TheChild bugged out early (well, early in the evening, but rather late for TheChild), because TheChild was getting cranky. The boss, the co-worker, the clients, and I went out on the town, and it got pretty drunk out. Stumbled back to the hotel at around 3am (or so I’m informed…)

First real day in NYC. We slept in a bit, then got up for a nice walk around the town in search of breakfest. Found a place to eat, had a bite, then headed up to Central Park to visit the zoo. Walked around there for a while, visited the petting zoo, saw some animals, and then headed back into the city proper to find some lunch. Ended up at a little Chinese place, which is where we met up with Josh D.

After lunch, TheWife and TheChild headed back to the hotel for a nap, and Josh and I wandered over to MoMA. Wandered around there for a bit, then grabbed some coffee. Met back up with TheWife and TheChild after that, and headed over to a very nice Mexican place in Lincoln Center for an extremely tasty dinner. Walked back to the hotel after that, dropping Josh off at a subway stop along the way. Watched a couple episodes of The Wire on the laptop, then turned in.

I’ve overheard a fair amount about stuff like this “around the water cooler” over the past few weeks: New Ethics Rules Cost NIH Another Top Researcher. The new rules don’t affect me, or most of the people I directly work with, because we’re all contractors. But the actual government employees are pretty unhappy, and I can’t see that being good for long-term institutional health.

This emacs-wiki-discuss posting by Paul Lussier has a great description of how planner.el sucks people in “first taste is free”-style:

As I started in using planner and emacs-wiki, I very quickly became addicted. This was almost literally, an overnight conversion of my life. I no sooner started using emacs-wiki/planner, than I found myself using erc. Reading johnw’s README for planner led me to his site, where I discovered ledger (John’s unbelievably powerful financial app.) and eshell. Then came (in no specific order) w3m, muse, remember, bbdb, and last, but not least, gnus. The last three are significant. I had been mostly happy with my prior e-mail environment of an mh-backend based e-mail solution for the better part of a decade. But there was no way I could hook that in to planner, and after a several months of resistance, I attempted the switch to mh-e which, as you may remember, didn’t go so well :) So, now I’m on gnus, and almost every facet of my life is now hooked into emacs. I’ve learned more about emacs and lisp in the past year than I have in the past 10 years.

From an Interesting People posting by Robert Lee:

With this administration I have a fallback rule for issues I do not totally understand. I derived this rule from the issues I do understand totally. If they want it, I don’t.