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Christopher

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Paper Heart [Aug. 16th, 2009|12:32 am]
Christopher
One thing I've been able to do this summer is to go see a bunch of movies. This weekend a ton came out, it seems, and I'm behind.

But I did manage to go see Paper Heart, a sort-of documentary about love.

I loved it. It was sweet, and I really enjoyed it.

Also, I may or may not be in love with Charlene Yi now because of that movie. What can I say – I like a girl in glasses.
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We can't be friends anymore, Diet Cherry Dr Pepper [Aug. 13th, 2009|11:46 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |awake]

I'm sorry, Diet Cherry Dr Pepper, but I'm leaving you.

Too many cans with a strange, burnt cherry flavor have ruined your "amazingly smooth" taste for me.  It was fun while it lasted.

Diet Dr Pepper, welcome back.
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San Diego trip! [Jun. 20th, 2009|09:30 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

I leave tomorrow for to go to San Diego for ten weeks.

For work, even.

I'll miss everyone, but I should have Internet access the whole time.
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Official! [May. 21st, 2009|04:45 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |ecstaticecstatic]

I have been avoiding posting this before everything was set in stone.

I walked and was hooded two weeks ago, and today, my transcript finally reflects that I got my PhD!

Now, I can officially have a life again.

In other news:

Work is sending me out to California for the summer. I'll be there late June through the end of August.

I have about a thousand writing (two [e]books for sure) and programming projects to work on. Having a life and sleeping are clearly optional.
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This ink is *BLACK* [Feb. 3rd, 2009|05:46 pm]
Christopher
I so had to order this ink. It's called Heart of Darkness, and is probably one of the blackest inks on the market.

Other than that, not much is new. My car's headlight has been winking out for the past several weeks, so I finally got that put in the shop today. It should have been fairly trivial, but even after $500 in repairs today, it still doesn't work. And it's a headlight, so there's not exactly a lot that can go wrong. They were confused enough to give me a loaner car for a few days while they figure out exactly what is wrong.




And, of course, as always, I am trying to churn out more pages.
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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell [Nov. 2nd, 2008|11:06 am]
Christopher
I finally finished Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell last night.

Verdict: alright, but way too long.

I mean, I enjoy a nice, detailed story. But 1,000+ pages was way, way too many for this book. I think 400 tops would have been more than enough to get the story across, and might have made it better. It meandered through so much stuff, with main characters not appearing for hundreds of pages at a time, that the story really lost focus at time. I'm not a big fan of footnotes on every page, many of them irrelevant and often stretching for pages. Also, I think the sense of humor in the book didn't quite meld well with my own. (To be fair, I don't think I appreciate humor in my sci-fi or fantasy books all that well. I blame Xanth for burning out that part of my brain as a child.)

I'd still recommend the book, especially if you can appreciate the very British style of writing more than I can.

I can certainly see why it was nominated for the Hugo (it was very creative and had a great story), but I don't see why it won.
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Overheard in FedEx Office [Oct. 31st, 2008|05:52 pm]
Christopher
[Tags|]
[Current Location |iPhone]

"Do you have any other paper here?"
"Not much. Staples across the street has a better selection."
"Are they better than Home Depot?"

...

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

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INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY! [Oct. 22nd, 2008|07:09 am]
Christopher
DON'T FORGET: TODAY IS INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY!

HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT DAY.
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Argh! Time to get a move on [Sep. 18th, 2008|07:59 pm]
Christopher
Due to some events happening in my life, I have to have my dissertation in by next week!

Crunch time. Don't expect much socialization out of me for the next, say, two and a half weeks.
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Some goals [Sep. 13th, 2008|10:04 am]
Christopher
I've been slacking off way too much these days. I've been letting some projects get between me and my dissertation, and I want to try to put an end to that.

Basically, I've resolved myself to having the dissertation turned in by October 25th of this year. This gives me 42 days from now (what a good number). I'm currently standing at about 26,807 words and roughly 97 pages (it was more, but I've been slimming it down some).

I am choosing this date for many reasons. First, so that I have to time to schedule a flight and defend. Second, because I still have a little more work on another incomplete I need to polish off. Third, because I really want to do nanowrimo this year (I've been brainstorming a bit, and I want to do some outlining before throwing myself into it).

Next year, I have some lofty goals I am setting for myself, and I won't have time for them if I am still slaving away on this dissertation.

Thursday has class on Saturdays, so maybe I can get some stuff done while she's gone?
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Allergies => Dyson? [Sep. 8th, 2008|01:36 pm]
Christopher
I had a fairly unpleasant allergy appointment this morning. Verdict: I have allergies. Yay. (Pollen, ragweed, dust, cats, and dogs.) Not too severe (so I won't be taking regular shots or anything but OTC medication), but at least I know what's going on.

On a related note, I decided to upgrade our vacuum cleaner, as our current vacuum cleaner is terrible: it generates tons of dust, it's nasty and dirty, and it barely works anymore. Due to these reasons, I dread using it, which is why the apartment isn't always as clean as it should be. I decided to go with my wallet and buy the $199.99 Pink Dyson DC07. It's refurb'd and pink, which is why it is half-price (yay!). It'll get here Wednesday.

I may also use this as an excuse to increase my OCD to include more of a daily cleaning ritual... then again, maybe not. A more serious case of OCD sounds awfully time-consuming.
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Watchmen? Meh. [Sep. 6th, 2008|04:58 pm]
Christopher
So I finished Watchmen today, since the trailer came out looking so awesome.

The trailer was better. I think this is going to be a case where the movie will be better than the book. I also think that the trailer's visuals are much, much better than the graphic novel's. (This might be my own lack of vision, as I normally don't read graphic novels.)

I mean, the ending was a bit predictable (not the specific occurrences, but overall). I think there were a few too many characters (I hear that the movie will be cutting out a few of them, so that might be good), and only a few were really fleshed out.

And don't get me wrong: it wasn't bad. But I'm not all OMFG THAT WAS TEH BEST GRAPHIX NOVEL EVAR.
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Sweet, sweet HD [Aug. 29th, 2008|02:53 pm]
Christopher
Verizon FiOS just kept me as a customer through the next TV season: they just announced a significant increase in their HD lineup in my area to over 100 HD channels. Should take place by 9/17/2008, mostly. The new channels include:


  • Sci-Fi !!!!! Yay BSG

  • USA (we like a couple of shows on here, like In Plain Sight

  • A&E, Bravo, HD Theater, CNN, CNBC, and a bunch of other crap



Obviously, HD BSG is the most important.

There's also a small implication that Showtime HD will be free, but I'm sure that was a typo or lie on their part, though it would be amazing if it were true.
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Argh... FWD, books, sick [Aug. 18th, 2008|10:14 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |sicksick]

Free World Dialup is no more. At least, they're no longer free, so I won't be using them. The only thing I really used it for was to route SIP traffic from IPKall to my home Asterisk server, and very rarely (read: never) make calls to other FWD users.

I've been hassling a lot with real deployments of Rails servers lately. A lot of version control and other strange issues have been popping up, but I think I have all of that hammered out for now.

Also, I am writing. I need to write more. Especially on my dissertation. I need to finish!!!

But I'm sick. And I *have* to go to work tomorrow, hell or high water, cause I need to speak to some peoples about pushing more stuff through the book-writing pipeline: I am *looking* (just looking!) at working through another book deal at the moment, though it's more in the lines of doing a revision than writing a whole 'nother book from scratch. More details on that as they develop, but it may be months before things are happy enough for me to announce much.

Oh, and I have this brilliant idea for another book. But, since I'm not qualified to write the book, I'm just going to start a blog and write about it. Possibly expect more from that front in the coming weeks.
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GoDaddy? WTF [Aug. 10th, 2008|08:35 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |unhappy]

GoDaddy, or one of their employees, just attempted to steal $40.76 from me.

Meaning, there are no orders on my account for the past two months, no domains or hosting packages expiring for several more months, yet my bank account notes a nice little charge from GoDaddy in that amount with today's date.

So far, they misread my support ticket I opened for this. Giving them the benefit of the doubt (hey, everyone makes mistakes), I sent them a clarifying email.

Normally, I would call, but I can't imagine the happiest, friendliest workers they have are working the phones at 9:00pm on a Sunday.

Up until now, I've been a pretty happy GoDaddy customer. I suppose what happens in the next day or so will see how that continues.
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Re-motivated! [Aug. 10th, 2008|03:00 pm]
Christopher
This weekend has been much better than the past one.

First, I've gotten a bit written on my dissertation! Hopefully that trend will continue through this afternoon.

Second, we did our massive grocery buy (we only go every 6 weeks or so for nearly everything, except milk, eggs, and fruit).

Third, played (and won) a great game of Wealth of Nations. Summary: it's Settlers of Catan, but you have to buy and burn resources, in addition to using them to build stuff (sort of like Power Grid).

Fourth, bought Race for the Galaxy.

Fifth, printed and cut a copy of Oh No, There Goes Tokyo. Basically, you must save the tasty people of Tokyo from all of the giant reptiles. This also served as a test to see how possible it is to use full-sheet label stock along with book boards to make a board. I'd say it was a big success, though I wish I could find some cardboard stock that was a tad cheaper (book board is approximately $1 per 13"x19" board, plus I have to ship it).

Sixth, working out a plan for some virtual private server action. I'll dedicate some time next weekend to setting it up (to secure MySQL, a mail server of some sort, apache, Ruby, and mod_python).
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Demotivated and Superbad [Aug. 6th, 2008|09:38 pm]
Christopher
This week has just been horribly … *down*. I haven't been able to get anything done.

But I did watch Superbad.

Surprisingly good. I especially liked the way it ended. I would have appreciated it more 10 years ago (or if I were 10 years younger). (And it was a bit much like American Pie.)
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Dying of the Light finished [Aug. 4th, 2008|09:37 pm]
Christopher
I started and finished George R. R. Martin's Dying of the Light, finally. It's been sitting on my shelf for nigh on three years.

It's horribly tragic and pure Martin. The writing is brilliant, the characters are fleshed out and drive the story. But tragic. I mean, the title refers to the planet that the story takes place on, which is a rogue planet (no home star) that has only a few years left to live. And it's a love story. A Martin love story.

It's also pretty short: the trade paperback weighs in around 240 pages of story, and you can polish it off in a couple of hours to get your grrm fix until he gets around to the next Ice & Fire book.
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Allergic? [Jul. 24th, 2008|06:25 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |sadsad]

I seem to be getting more allergic to my cats these days. And possibly other things, too.

I've grown up with cats, but over the last 4 or 5 years I have noticed that I can't really be around dogs for more than an hour, and cat's licking me or shedding a lot tends to bother me quite a bit (rashes, difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, etc.).

Last night I suddenly had nice, sharp pains in both of my eyes, which kept me up until I took some allergy medication. The medication finally wore off this afternoon (it made it pretty difficult to get through a 30-minute talk I had to give in the morning — though it did solve my ongoing problem with moving through material too fast).

I'll be scheduling a doctor's appointment tomorrow to see what's up.
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Verizon FiOS bills confuses me [Jul. 20th, 2008|08:10 am]
Christopher
I upgraded our Internet connection (to 10/2 from 5/2) on our Verizon FiOS Triple Play … and our monthly bill went down $23 a month???
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Development stuffs [Jul. 3rd, 2008|08:26 pm]
Christopher
Google App Engine is fun (and open to all now), but it feels like I am having to work too much around Google's BigTable. I'll probably get used to it, and some parts I love (like being able to store an array in the model is complete win — it completely eliminates the need for several of my tables dedicated to storing information about many-to-many relationships). Their default web framework is also a little primitive, and so it feels like I am doing too much work compared to Rails. Maybe I just need more Django.

And Python has been crashing on my dissertation. I think it's wxWindow's fault, so I'm running through pdb right now.
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Writing and writing and writing [Jun. 17th, 2008|11:00 pm]
Christopher
[Current Music |One Link to Rule Them All – Ailsean]

Somehow, I can't stop writing.

I am now one of two primary contributors to High Def Delight, a blog dedicated to all things high-def. Plus, it's a paid position. I'll be posting about 3+ posts a week, as will my co-writer.

Just got back from San Jose, presenting at a Information Assurance conference about the class I taught, as well as my book. I had fun, but due to mixups in schedules and not enough time spent there, I couldn't make it to see nekrenas.

Also, I still have a chapter I need to write for an InfoSec book.




DISSERTATION. OH JESUS I NEED TO FINISH>

Maybe I'll get some more progress made this week? I've been doing pretty well lately.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from starting a thousand new projects every week. I'm thinking about upgrading my hosting again to something with some dedicated CPU and more control for my Django project(s).

Also on my to-do list is to use my Google App Engine slots to do something fun!
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Indiana Jones 4 was fun! [May. 23rd, 2008|12:14 am]
Christopher
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

I liked it. I mean, about 15 minutes in you figure out exactly what kind of movie it is, and you just have to sit back and enjoy it.
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Back, and boy are my arms tired; plus, my sub-basement [May. 21st, 2008|09:24 pm]
Christopher
Actually, they are — I hold my elbow on the car door while I drive, and after 24+ hours of driving, it gets pretty sore.

Thanks to everyone who came out to Ron's in Tulsa to see us! We had a great time.

We also finally managed to break the news to everyone that we went ahead and got hitched on leap day this year. Surprisingly, nobody got disowned, and no harsh word were said. :)

In other news, I am busy as hell. But what else is new?

I might be applying for a new position at work. I'm giving a talk in about three weeks out in San Jose, so I'm preparing for that. I have a chapter deal in the works, so I need to finish up my outline and get to writing. I have my eternal dissertation, which I am attacking with renewed vigor.




You see, I realized that I definitely need my PhD now. I have a plan, like the Cylons. I want to have a mad scientist laboratory. I'll need a backyard to do this. It needs to have at least three, and preferably four floors: a roof/attic for the death rays, a main level to meet with other mad scientists, a basement to do all the awesome experiments, and, most importantly, a sub-basement, for all of my evil beings I will bring to life to do my bidding. You *have* to have a sub-basement. Just think about how cool that sounds: "Let's go down to the sub-basement." I'll name my master computer down there Igor. He needs to be voice-activated so that I can shout commands at him. It would be an added bonus if Igor would only respond to voice commands in languages like the Black Speech of Mordor.

I've already got the crazy mad scientist beard in the works. I also need to work on my crazy mad scientist laugh.

Mwhahahaha.
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Coming to Tulsa! [May. 5th, 2008|09:29 pm]
Christopher
Lock up your daughters, cause we're coming back to the midwest this week!

We'll be in Tulsa on Saturday early afternoon. We were thinking lunch at Ty's around 12:30, for anyone who's interested.

After lunch we will probably go to OKC to spend time with my family, and then head to Colorado for a week for thursday63's sister's bat mitzvah.

With all this driving, I've been updating my iPod. I have only a 30 GB iPod, but 40+ GB of (legal) music. :( I had to trim out the SXSW collection, as well as OverClocked Remix and some of my less favorite albums.

Oh, and I finished Elantris, by Brian Sanderson. It was a pleasant experience (especially for a first novel, and a standalone fantasy one at that), and I think Brian will make an acceptable substitute for the late Robert Jordan in the final Wheel of Time book.
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Adventures in FiOS land! [Apr. 18th, 2008|10:06 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |lonelylonely]

The Thursday was gone for the night, so I entertained myself by breaking things, like our Internet and cable, and stringing out my tools all over the apartment. Some of the lessons I learned can be seen here.

Basically: you can't bypass the coax cable and use Ethernet for teh Internets.

My evening went a little something like this.

5:00pm: Woo-hoo! Freedom!
5:05pm: I'm bored.
5:06pm: Let's rewire the FiOS to use RJ-45! I knew I got that spare 100-ft. Cat-5 cable for some reason!
5:10pm: Hmm... there's a wall between my FiOS box and where my cable needs to go. And that hole's not very big. Oh well. *shove* *fail*
5:15pm: Aha! I will use a screwdriver. *fail*
5:20pm: Aha! I will use scotch tape and a screwdriver. *fail*
5:25pm: Aha! I will use *more* scotch tape and screwdrivers. *success*
5:30pm: Well, that box is connected now. We get signal... but no IP address. *tech support*
5:45pm: Tech support: let me just release that DHCP lease on your old MAC address, and you'll be right as rain.
6:00pm: I'm not right as rain, so I will renew my DHCP lease and release it myself.
6:15pm: Maybe I will just wait for it to release itself in 120 minutes. Oh well... two hours with no Internet. *dissertation*
8:30pm: Hmm. Still nothing. *tech support*
8:50pm: Tech support: What you want is impossible. Duh.
9:00pm: Well, no sense letting that already threaded Cat-5 cable go to waste. *unplugs everything... except the DVR*
9:10pm: Apparently Superman works for FiOS, and he screwed on the coax cable for me.
9:15pm: I can't find my wrench. Or pliers.
9:30pm: Aha! My car has a wrench!
9:40pm *finished unplugging everything* *moves router outside into the HVAC closet*
9:50pm: Everything works!

And with 10 minutes to spare until BSG.

Which no one is here for. :( And I even wore my Baltar is my homeboy shirt.
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Slow weekend [Apr. 13th, 2008|02:47 pm]
Christopher
I had my wisdom teeth out on Friday. Man does that suck, both in terms of money spent and how terrible I've been feeling since. Watched the second episode of Season 4 of BSG, and I was mostly coherent for it.

Because of that, I've been taking it pretty easy. I picked up a copy of O'Reilly's The Ruby Programming Language, and have been enjoying it pretty thoroughly: it's a no-nonsense thorough trip through every aspect of the Ruby, which is something that I've needed. It doesn't get into a lot of the API, gems, Rails, or anything, but focuses instead on the language (up through Ruby 1.9).

Maybe it's the Vicodin talking, but I'm starting to "get" Ruby a bit better now. In the sense that I am starting to be less confused about its strange scoping rules, Symbol versus String weirdness, getting through it's odd syntax for its foreach constructs, etc.

But I think I will be still taking it easy today and tomorrow: I'm still out of it and in a bit of pain.
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XM bastards [Apr. 6th, 2008|01:30 pm]
Christopher
[Current Mood |pissed offpissed off]

So, I called up a month ago to cancel my XM Radio subscription, mostly to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Let me tell you that they do not make it easy. (If anyone ever does need to cancel, call in the early afternoon, which has almost no wait time, as opposed to the evening times, which seems to have 1+ hour long wait times.)

After several offers, they said they would give me 3 months credit on my account for free. I said sure: I mean, I like the service, it's just something I can't justify spending money on.

Naturally, they went ahead and charged my account anyways.

I called them up pissed about it, and they said they have now refunded the money.

Let me say that I am not happy with their customer care in general. If this isn't resolved within, maybe 2 days, I will definitely be notifying the DC BBB. In fact, I may be doing that anyways.

I really hate to see a company fall into my dislike. Up until this point, I was quite pleased with XM. But then they have to go and ruin it by being bastards like that.
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Baltar is my homeboy! [Apr. 4th, 2008|08:32 am]
Christopher
I instantly bought this shirt when I saw it:

Baltar is my homeboy.

I'm sure you understand.

I would probably buy any t-shirt featuring Baltar.
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"I need it triple the RAM, right?" [Mar. 4th, 2008|05:26 pm]
Christopher
Had a nice weekend. They had *Sonic*! OMG cheese tots!

Came back to a nice package from Newegg, including some sweet RAM and HD upgrades that the main machine desperately needed.

Very nice and relaxing. Now, back to work!
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