Archive for June, 2007

Brave New Jon – Flying to work

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Photo: Jon Masters – standing next to the Skyhawk.

So today, I flew to work with a colleague. Awesome fun. I drove up to the airport sometime after 8 and we did a pass over Westford before heading down over Boston, and back up here again. I took some photos, got shown a few of the controls and convinced myself that my idea of learning to fly is both feasible and a frigging cool idea. I’m going to talk to my friend about options and move forward.

I’ve wanted to fly for some time, I’ve learned a lot of the nomenclature, and it’s just amazingly fun being up there. “Poop poop” indeed.


Brave New Jon – Time and space

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Photo: Mojave National Preserve.

So I needed some time and space alone over the weekend. Very alone. Middle of frigging nowhere kind of alone. Many people would just stay at home and turn off their phone/computer, but I’m not most people. When I’m pissed off with the way things seem to have to be, I choose to deal with it by going somewhere semi-crazy. Like flying over to California for the third time in three weeks and hanging out in the middle of the Mojave desert. It’s a great way to deal with stuff.

The original plan was to fly over to California on Saturday, drive out into the middle of the Mojave Preserve, find somewhere to stay (or just sleep anywhere random otherwise) and then do some hiking/sitting alone to reflect on life. Things didn’t quite work out that way in the end. I did fly out to Los Angeles on Saturday morning (there was another issue with the flight, so I got a different one, and was a bit late getting there) and had some lunch, before picking up a blue Mazda Miata to drive around randomly in over the weekend (Hertz owed me).

I headed out on the usual 105, 605, 210/10 routing to get out of LA to the East and quickly decided I needed to do a lot more driving. A lot more. I decided to go to Vegas for the evening, in an attempt to cheer myself up (didn’t work). 300 miles, a stop at a random Greek Taverna style “Mad Greek Cafe” restaurant at Baker (which had been recommended, and is actually very good) – in the middle of nowhere – and hours of intensive power ballads later and I arrived on the Vegas strip with nowhere to stay for the night. Oh, and I quickly learned that, in Vegas, hotels do actually sell out on Saturday nights. I got somewhere, random, further out, and actually didn’t care. I wasn’t in Vegas to gamble. I went to Vegas to be alone with myself. No, I didn’t gamble or drink – I went to Vegas and did absolutely nothing fun whatsoever :-)

On Sunday, I did some daytime exploration of Vegas (seriously, why *do* people take their families to Vegas – come on people, this is not a family vacation destination, it’s a dump. It might be Sin City, but it’s a seedy dump and you don’t want to go there on a family vacation) before heading out into the desert for some more alone time in the middle of nowhere (oh, I obviously had to stop at the outlet stores along the way for morbid curiosity – it always amuses me what kind of huge mall someone will erect in the middle of the desert). I went to Banana Republic and bought myself a pointless sweater, and swung by the Nevada Welcome Center to use their WiFi (figured I might aswell check on RHEL, as a means of temporary distraction from my power ballads).

I got to the Mojave Preserve late in the afternoon, and took a leisurely drive, stopping to take photos and to sit by myself from time to time. I didn’t get chance to do much hiking, but I’ll definitely have to go back. It’s such a peaceful, quiet place to reflect on life’s randomness and I need to do a lot of that at the moment. A lot of that. I seem to be running out of major national parks in California, but I do have both Death Valley and, a longer drive away (suits me just fine at the moment), there’s the Canyon, over in AZ. I’ll do both this year, but I’m hanging around in MA for the next week or two before OLS in order to think about cars and get some writing done. There’s some talk of going to Miami if a couple of us can get a cheap deal, and I’m hoping to go to a few Red Sox games, too.

I don’t know how many more trips I’m going to have to make to random deserts in California before I feel better about the situation, but probably many more yet. I love my job, and I love where I live, but then there’s something else causing me constant pain. And I don’t think I’m actually capable of feeling any better about that for a long, long time. While I enjoy taking random trips, it’s more of a passive enjoyment – a disconnected participation in something that should be fun – than real fun. My reasoning goes that, eventually, I might actually enjoy what I’m doing, if I push myself hard enough. It’s worth trying.


Brave New Jon – Red Sox

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

So last night I was hanging out with a few friends (ever get that feeling of how great it is to have such people in your life?) at a random bar in Cambridge, watching the Red Sox playing. Since I’ve not been to see Fenway in person (yet) – though I did used to watch Red Sox games from the UK, even before I moved here, on a 5 hour time delay – I’m looking forward to possibly having tickets for Monday. That’s if my friend lucks out in finding some. One would assume that a guy who just installed a hand painted Red Sox toilet seat would know a few people…seriously. I’m going to try going to games regularly.

Right now, I’m sitting in Logan, listening to only the most depressing power ballads, and waiting for a replacement flight over to LAX. I should still get there in time to drive out later this afternoon, then hop the redeye back tomorrow night. I have precisely no idea where exactly I’m going today, or where precisely I will end up, but the plan is to just head East into the Mojave and see what happens. I’ll either stay in Baker or drive over to Vegas and stay there tonight – desert hiking might have to wait until sunrise tomorrow. But we’ll see. I’m fixing some bugs on the way. I’m not crazy, I just need some serious alone time :-)

I’ve got to work on the broken record angle. I have very understanding friends, but even so, there’s only so much I’m sure you guys are willing to put up with. I am many of the characters in Billy Joel’s Piano Man. There are many subtle ironies about listening to Billy Joel while on route to California, both because of his personal history, and also my own.


O’Reilly’s Ignite! Boston – May 2007.

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Photo: O’Reilly’s Ignite! Boston – May 2007.

So, as an O’Reilly author, I was invited to attend the inaugural Ignite! to be held on the East Coast, an event that, like many other good ones, was born out in California quite a while back. I have to say that I enjoyed the event, though it was a little different than I had expected. That wasn’t altogether a bad thing because the resultant crowd represented an eclectic mix. We don’t always need to have a bunch of kernel hacker types.

Anyway. I uploaded some photos – if you want to know more, I suggest going along to one of these events, or ask me for info. O’Reilly’s website has various officious information, a blog, and a whole myriad of other cool stuff, as is usually the case when it comes to O’Reilly events.

It was also good to catch up with a couple of people I haven’t seen in a long time (you know who you are). I hope I didn’t spend too long telling you about my heartbreak (I am sorry to my friends for sounding like a broken record lately) and I hope we get to hang out more often.