Archive for June, 2007

OLS – Temporary NANPA Ottawa Allocation

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I’m up at OLS 2007, and have a temporary Ottawa NANPA Regional Cellphone Number that I can be reached at (my US phone isn’t roaming).

You can reach me at 613-884-RHAT.


North American Driving – Clutches and Brakes Required

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

So, I’m starting a new series, which will have at least one installment. Here, I will document some of the differences between driving in the US, as opposed to other countries of the world (I’m including Canada, although I might need confirmation about some of the differences there – I will try to figure some of these out before driving up there!).

Some starting points:

* Turn right on red. In the US, in most States, you can turn right on a red signal. This, while extremely dangerous and somewhat insane, is actually quite useful to drivers – at the cost of people crossing the crosswalk (that’s what you call a pedestrian crossing, for UK readers).

* Signals. Are optional. Actually, in some states they’re not. But you won’t find people using them nearly as much – and if you make the mistake of suggesting that you might be changing lanes, then it’s an invitation to everyone else on the road to take immediate steps to cut you up as quickly as they possibly can. All and sundry will screw you.

* Hand brake. You won’t ever use the park brake, except when parking. Certainly not at lights, on a hill, or any other time you might have been told to in your driving lessons. I obviously do use mine when on an incline out of pendantry from my British driving lessons.

* In an automatic car, you need to depress the brake pedal to start the car. It’s a safety check to make sure the brain is connected to the terminal at the time of your use.

* In a manual car, you need to depress the *clutch* in order to start the car. Even in neutral. Yes, it’s pointless, and silly, but that’s how it is. So don’t go thinking your car is defective in some way and start trying to figure out how it’s broken when you can’t start it right after buying it.


Brave New Jon – picked up the car

Monday, June 25th, 2007

Photo: jcm’s Miata at the office.

So I picked up the Miata, and then drove to work. Tomorrow, I’m going to drive up to Canada in it. Oh, and, I’ve registered my vanity plate – which will take up to 12 weeks – “RED HAT” :P


Brave New Jon – Mazda MX-5 Miata owner

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Photo: jcm’s 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata 6-speed Manual GT roadster.

So today I bought my first car. A Galaxy Gray Metallic 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata 6-speed Manual GT with 9,000 miles on the clock.

Spending rather a lot was fairly painless (isn’t that disturbing…), and I opted for the additional 6 year extended 100K warranty…not that it’ll take me 6 years to add another 90K miles to that odometer. I say that, because I will immediately add another 6,000 miles on a little road trip to California. It’s not a possibility now. I *must* do this road trip. Very soon. If you’re interested in going with me, and I know you, and you’re not crazy…well, drop me a line soon.

It’s got the Bose upgrade, it’s got everything. Except for the mods I’ve planned for my first Empeg Embedded Linux car stereo system (to go with the car), but that will be fixed very soon too (think remote Lojack GPS/GSM tracking, video recording and remote surveillance, WiFi hotspot tracking and syncing – there’s a reason I have a tmobile roaming account…continual coverage via Starbucks outlets, bluetooth mods…and a lot of other very customized jcm designed logic devices add to the design). I like this car. And I’m just waiting for the insurance to get worked out on Monday (thanks, Metlife, for not having group policy people on Saturdays…sure, I could get a personal policy, but MA rates are already over 3K, so I think I’ll take the discount).

Expect to see me driving to work a bit more often, and pretty much anywhere else that’s physically bolted on to the United Sates.


Brave New Jon – Random Update

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

So today I went a little nuts and played with extreme agendas as a means to self distraction. If I give myself enough to do for the next 3-6 months then I won’t physically have the time to pine very much. Besides, I would rather spend my time working, reading, and making myself a better person than on having my heart ripped out of my chest again (aka “dating”).

To start the day, I lined up a bunch more articles – on everything from Asterisk configuration to Internationalization and Localization, talked to a couple of publishers about forthcoming book projects (don’t worry, O’Reilly is where it’s at, at the moment – I need to get BELS finished) – and after I’d spent an hour on that stuff, lined up a few speaking engagements before having breakfast at Logan. After that, I spent the day on seriously hardcore shit (tracking down ABI breaks in earnest – don’t even bother wondering what that means). I did a lot more instead of sleeping last night, but I’ll talk about that another time. The point is, dreaming right now is evil and must be avoided.

Tonight, I’m planning a little sleep, then a random drive ahead of looking at cars tomorrow. I nearly booked a random trip to the middle of nowhere (instead, I just listened to a bunch of depressing music during my workout and then played a bunch more on the violin when I got home…now listening to Stainer’s Crucifixion too), but stopped myself in time and instead will get some things done. I need to get a couple of chapters finished this weekend before OLS. Also need to play around with overlay filesystems, and a bunch of other mumbo jumbo you probably don’t care enough about to read about it here.

On the craziness front, I have decided to do a trans-continental road trip from Boston to San Francisco. I am debating whether to do this in August, September, or next year (and factoring in available vacation). I’m going to go for the nutty option of driving solidly for days in a row and try to go there and back within 10 days. I’m seriously interested in hearing from anyone who wants to be a travel buddy on that one.


Brave New Jon – Self Distraction

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

So I’m working on the self distraction angle. This week, I’m trying 18 hour work days as an idea. I get up around 5am, go to the gym, and then work through until the early hours. Not only is this actually quite productive, but it leaves only limited time to spend pining, or thinking about doing so.

I’ve decided that this is also the week I move forward on the car front. I’ve got to get a car because it will allow me to spend more of my time in the office working on cool stuff, and with cool people, simultaneously afford me greater mobility on the weekend, and allow me to plan a ridiculous transcontinental road trip for later in the year.


Brave New Jon – Perpetual Loneliness

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

So for the past three months, I’ve been trying to get over a relationship. I was in love (If I’m honest about it, I still am), utterly, and completely with someone I think of as the most amazing human being in the world. But life has a habit of moving in new directions, even if you don’t always want it to move with you.

I met her last year, and for a while I was happier than I’ve ever been in my life. We went on a few random adventures – I even flew her over to the UK for Valentine’s Day, to meet my parents (ok, a little soon, but it just felt so damned right). She was quite sick for a while at the end, which put a dampner on things, but that only served to remind me that I was serious about this girl – very serious. Even if the most we could do was to sit at opposite ends of a table in Starbucks, as long as I was with her…everything just seemed so right with the world. I would have done anything for her, gone anywhere. She could have asked me to drop everything and move to Timbuktu…I would have. And, truth be told, I probably still would.

My first book is dedicated to her. I don’t regret this – not in a regretful “tattoo of the ex-girlfriend won’t go away” kind of way. But I do tend to torture myself at least once a week (sometimes a lot more often) by going into Borders and looking at the dedication sitting there on the shelf. I ask myself “why?”, then ponder the dedication I would have had in my second book – more of a question than a dedication in actual fact…yes, that kind of question. So, I guess I’m lucky that it didn’t get to that point – that would be even more depressing than the situation I’m in with this whole affair now.

She ended it on March 18, approximately one week after said book was published, without a reason. I know the exact hour, minute, and second that my heart was permanently torn in two – but I’ll spare readers those details here. The point is, I just don’t know why. I can guess. I can think of reasons, things I might regret, things I’d do anything to change. But I just don’t know why, and this causes me constant pain. I failed on some fundamental level, while simultaneously, all I did – all I did – was love that girl with all my heart. Every ounce of my being loved her, and every ounce of my being still does love her. I can’t change that. She is a wonderful human being, and yes, she deserves to be happy. I just wanted that to be with me. More than anything.

Three months, and many many thousands of dollars spent pining later and I barely feel any better about the situation. Nothing has ever upset me on a level even approaching how I feel about what happened here. I’m not at all angry with her, not one bit at all, and I have now accepted that it’s over (at least, I think I have), but I still find it so very difficult to “move on”. As far as I was concerned, she was the one. Forget the book dedication, I had jewelry on my shopping list. Yes, really. I let myself fall in at the deep end, and I didn’t care one bit. I would have done anything for that girl. Any single thing would have been no trouble at all. Again, if I’m honest about it, that’s still the case now.

Recently, as I was canceling a certain online dating site for the 4th time in the space of a month – it’s not fair to think about dating other people when you’re still emotionally tied – it occurred to me that I’m going to need to take a long break from this kind of thing. Relationships only lead to bitter heartbreak in my experience. And I’m not sure I want to experience that again. A large part of me wants nothing more than to just meet a special someone and spend the rest of my life with them, but that kind of happiness is currently reserved for other people. If I’m honest about it, nothing seems to matter so much in life as having someone like that. A companion with mutual concern for the other.

I am actually ok though, and in many ways I’m upbeat and positive about the situation. I’ve made radically – drastic – changes to my life and I will continue to work on the self improvement angle. I love living in the US (I can’t imagine living in the UK) and I want to invest my time and effort into my job, and into my writing, and continue in my quest for knowledge. I’m sorely tempted to enroll for another (part time) degree in due course, as much for the academic outlet as anything else. There is so much out there in this world – science, engineering, music, culture, so much utterly amazing stuff. I love living life to the full, as much as I can, and improving myself in the process.

Project Brave New Jon started on the afternoon that things fell apart, and for the last three months I’ve devoted all of my energies at self improvement. I’ve eaten only salad, fruit, and other balanced essentials (and lost a huge amount of weight), joined a gym (I’ve been going down when they open in the mornings, at 5:30am – I don’t sleep much these days), learned to drive (and driven 3,000 miles in the first month), taken up numerous sports, revived my writing, and many many other things. But still, my thoughts all along have constantly returned to one thing. In spite of my best efforts, there’s really only one thing I seem to want in the whole world – something I’m trying my utmost to live without. I understand now so many love songs on a profound level.

Try listening to Roxette 122 times on an afternoon. I guarantee that it won’t make you feel any better. Still, I’ve got another 23 playlists here filled with only the most depressing power ballads that you could try instead. I shouldn’t have done that to myself, but misery loves it’s own company sometimes. At this point, I still spend hours at a time listening to wonderfully depressing music. Tonight, it’s Journey’s Faithfully that I’ve got on repeat. It’s a great track. But it only serves to remind me how much I wanted what we had to be eternal, perpetual, and how far that is from the reality of the situation. Self delusion. Something we’re all guilty of, from time to time anyway.

Anyway. A few weeks ago, I found myself in the middle of the Mojave desert on a Sunday afternoon. I needed to get out of town – going almost anywhere in Boston was just bringing back memories. I needed to get out to the middle of nowhere, to really pine properly to myself. Since I’m not the kind of person to do things in half measures, this was really the only way to finally try to get this out of my system. I did feel better – driving out to the middle of nowhere and sitting by myself – temporarily, but it was relatively short lived. I’ve taken pining to a whole new level. And learned a lot more about myself, too.

In summary, my apologies go out to friends who haven’t known why I’ve been a little more weird than usual lately – I don’t let this stuff get in the way of day to day activities, but it has clearly impacted elsewhere. My current book project is delayed and various other stuff was put on hold for some considerable time while I tried to deal with this stuff. I didn’t plan to write anything about it here, I don’t want to upset anyone, but I wanted to ask you for your continuing patience as I catch things up.

I’ll try not to mention this again, I just wanted to get this off my chest :-)