taking joy in human unreason

2004 February


I have been struggling for over a week to write an essay on Wallace Stevens’s “Anecdote of the Jar” that didn’t just recap what was said in class. And by golly, I just got it. I started reminiscing on the coolness of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, and its thematic relationship to Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”, and then realized suddenly that “Anecdote” is the same damned thing…

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Unresolved – Maple 8 install

Attempting to install Maple 8 has left me frustrated beyond belief. The GUI installation proceeds smoothly, accepts the Rose-Hulman FLEXlm server, and says it completes successfully. However, there are no files place in the installation directory other than those in the “bin” directory (shell scripts that point to the actual binaries). No binaries are installed, however. The FLEMlm manager isn’t installed, either. None of the bin.IBM_INTEL_LINUX (?) or flexlm or jre directories are even created. So I have no working Maple.

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Siddown, shuddup, and do your damn homework. Or, Lissa, avoiding her chemistry reading.

Which I need to work on, since I misspelled “VSEPR” in my last post. Can Chronicle Lite get a spell checker, please? Of course, that’s just me being a lazy bum, because I could surely type this shit in another editor (Emacs, my love, my baby) and paste it into CL for posting.

Tomorrow, Mae, my biology genius friend, is throwing a Ghirardelli hot chocolate party for some of us girls. Mine gets made with soy milk, of course. She’s also going to help me run an experiment in which we shall test if I have a food allergy to either casein or whey (or both, I suppose), due to my suspicion that I’m not just lactose intolerant. The whey shall be easy to test (I have a huge jar of whey protein sitting on top of my armoire), but the casein test (which will require concentrated amounts of casein, obviously) will require, of all things, Pringles. Apparently the pizza-flavored Pringles (or one of those exotic types) contains among its listed ingredients “concentrated casein”. Mae’s face as she explained that she almost ate one (her reactions are bad) was hilarious.

Which reminds me of my weird response to the term “genius”. My friend Merriam-Webster (which I am currently sitting on, by the way) informs me that a genius is, and I quote:

genius: n. pl geniuses or genii
[Insert lots of things about spirits and strong characters]
5. a: a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude b: extraordinary intellectual power esp. as manifested in creative activity c: a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; esp: a person with a very high intelligence quotient

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Tomorrow will be/is a better day

Actually, things are looking up right now. The funk is passing. The sleep is returning. My mental equilibrium is back. I’m back laughing, and doin’ it with with pleasure. And frequently. Like when I learned what a Davy Crockett is. Or when I found myself pinned in the corner of a nook of a hallway being threatened with tickles (I maintain that not many tickles were actually gotten in because of my violent thrashing around). Or when I saw the content of last Chemistry quiz, because all the hours of reading/note-taking/question-asking I put in paid off to make it extrodinarily easy. Why I would laugh upon seeing a Chemistry quiz at 08:00 on a Thursday, I don’t know. I just about aced it, however.

I’m also back to being able to think about things other than VSEPR models and infinite series convergence tests. Mental input has been a bit limited (I just got the nntp//rss reader working today–I am such an idiot, because it was so obvious), because I haven’t been surfing for anything non-technical for about two to three weeks. Time not spend doing direct schoolwork has been spent attempting to completely disect the Perl scripts used to install Maple 8 on Linux. Ohmygawd, I’m going to stab that thing in the eye! I’ve torn those scripts up three ways from Sunday, and can still barely make heads or tails of what exactly it is that is failing, but not failing enough to return an error and kill the installation. The installation completes “successfully”, but I’m missing every damn binary needed to run the shit. And our bookstore doesn’t sell Maple, so I’d have to buy a copy for over $100 online, which is unacceptable. So I have to boot into Windows to take tests and do homework in math. But enough techie stuff. Back to my thinking. I’m not feeling particularly coherent right now (am I ever?), so this may not make any sense in the morning. (But will you still respect me?)

A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking about the boundaries I set on business versus pleasure. I’ll put in a mandatory disclaimer here that anything following the previous statement has absolutely nothing to directly do with the conversation I had with my buddy, but with my own train of thoughts about myself. There, that’s sufficiently ass-covering, ain’t it? I mean “business versus pleasure” in the sense of how friendly you let yourself be with teammates in order to get work done, or how you respond to romantic overtures, or how you generally conduct relations with people that may be useful to you. For example, given that I was in a rational state of mind, I would probably never enter a relationship (friendship/romantic/whatever) that I felt would jeopardize my “business”–school, career, extracurricular, etc. Underlying much of what I do is the thought of The Resume, or The Future. Things that seem to actually jeopardize my goals will be removed, plain and simple, whether they be people or activities. But that’s kind of ruthless. I’ve found that I give myself a lot of leeway in determining what “jeopardizing my goals” means. I would pull some all-nighters ahead of time to be able to do the Thorn, and possibly turn in some less-than-perfect work or be a bit dull in class the following morning. I generally try to be nice to people that I’m working with on a team, particularly if they’re actually doing work or have any kind of expertise. Of course, I generally try to be nice to people anyway, but sometimes it takes real effort to be civil to some people, and I’ll put less effort into someone on whom my grades don’t rely.

But at what point do you start being nice to someone just because they can do something for you, or because you rely on them? And what if you reach a point where the line between where you know you are being somewhat manipulative and where you are flat-out glad-handing people ruthlessly without a care for their feelings starts to blur so that you don’t even realize which you are doing anymore? It’s the kind of thing that gets me on my guard when people tell me to “network”–I want to make damn sure I can provide a service just a valuable to them as they are potentially providing to me (I just turned down an interview today because of my lack of qualifications, alas…). Networking is a slightly impersonal example, though. What disturbs me is this: How do you know if you’re really friends/favorable acquaintances with someone who is like that? You can’t ever be sure (although you can never be certain of anything with people, really) that they aren’t just tolerating you because you are providing a service, or because some of their success in a class or in the workplace relies on you, or because you’re a cog in their well-oiled machine of life. All the (re)assurances in the damn world can’t overcome the idea that they are, in fact, merely glad-handing you. And I would much rather be openly loathed or loved than that… sickening limbo in which you are tolerated, when who really knows what lies beneath the surface. So why the hell would I inflict that on others? I don’t think it’s a matter of being outspokenly obnoxious, rude, or emotional, but it’s a matter of being honest with oneself and respecting others enough to be honest with them.

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Resolved – Samba Client Setuc

In setting up the Samba Client, you need to emerge samba. That will install the server, which isn’t needed for just browsing and mounting remote shares, but it will also install the client apps, which are needed. In addition, make sure smbfs is either compiled into your kernel or compiled as a module. After the emerge, I followed the steps in this particular section of the SMB-Howto guide to make sure I could surf the Samba host and knew the paths of the locations I wanted to mount. I then followed the suggestions in this forum posting to create my fstab entries and my credentials file. I personally automount my shares, which could cause a problem in a situation in which I am not on the campus network, but while I’m here, it’s quick, easy, and painless.

Recent Posts

Exploit: Zero Day “Headless Swarm” Landing December 1

So we’ve been working on Exploit: Zero Day for a couple of years now, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it here. It’s a web-based cyberthriller puzzle game where you play as a hacktivist, uncovering and battling against oppression and exploitation.

*innocent whistle* Totally not the sort of game I’d want to make or play, no…

It’s been in closed alpha for a while, but we’re ready to offer a prelude season of paid story: “Headless Swarm”. For details on the plotline and how it relates to the continued free alpha access, check out the announcement blog post over at FPG.

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Attending a Charlottean Protest

I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.

In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.

Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.

Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.

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Remastering “The Majesty of Colors”

Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.

As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.

So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.

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July 3rd 2016
Tags: On Life and Love, , No Comments

First Hair Highlights

The first time I dyed my locs.

One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.

I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”

But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.

But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.

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Ossuary 25% Off on Steam!

Steam Summer Sale 2016 Offer

Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.

It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.

EZD Logo Color Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.

When a Nasal Polyp Isn’t a Nasal Polyp

I had a pretty gross thing happen to me today.

It started with a long, thin scope being poked into my nose — deep into my nose. They need to see where this mass in my nose was attached before they removed it.
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Questionable Decisions: Hot Yoga

I made a questionable decision this afternoon.

After coffee with a yogi friend, I was inspired to start climbing back on the yoga horse. Most yoga studios in my area only have Saturday morning classes, so I had very few options for something in the afternoon.

Whatever. I was feeling brave. I signed up for an all-levels Vinyasa hot class at a studio I’d never been to. Ninety minutes.

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