Football fans, daily writing, fasting

Things I have observed recently:

  • Football fans – even fans of my own favorite teams – can be absolute jerks and tools.
  • I am committed to writing this… series or whatever it is. Yet it’s only a thing, and not the thing. Consistency is difficult.
  • I would really love each observation to be relevant, heavy, big even if it’s not, like, a big deal, but that doesn’t happen. It requires focus and acceptance, which I find useful.
  • I don’t mind fasting, but being required to fast (blood test later today) sucks. Stop telling me what to do, Necessity!
  • Yeesh, these are slowing down. They’ve been every two days instead of every day. I’ve been preoccupied.
  • One of the problems caused by media bias – in ANY direction – is that nothing seems reliable unless you agree with it.

Jalen Hurts, Clemson, Politics, Teamwork

Things I am thinking about having thought about:

  • I feel bad for Jalen Hurts. Swapped out for Tua Tagovailoa, despite having been the guy for Alabama last year… and this year, gets put in on Alabama’s last drive for mop-up duty, when the game’s already lost and there’s no flexibility left to exploit. “Go in and lose us this game, Jalen!” — despite Hurts being a consummate team player. Never mind that I was thrilled that Alabama got crushed – I still feel bad for Hurts, who’s been the kind of teammate everyone wishes they had.
  • Speaking of, congrats to Clemson! I don’t like your team, because I’m a Seminole fan through and through, but you dominated. Good job. Now I hope you lose to FSU next year. And every year.
  • Glances looks neat.
  • Few things are as comfortable as seeing a co-author respond to a topic with “eek!” … oh wait, I meant uncomfortable.
  • I was highly displeased with the resolution of the Dr. Pepper National Championship trophy mystery. “Are you wearing a wire?” is burned into my ears now – hilariously phrased – but the resolution was dumb and manipulative. I get enough of that from politicians.
  • Speaking of manipulative politicians: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is playing games like a master. “Republicans are attacking me on social media!” with respect to her dancing… meanwhile, it’s one tweet from one anonymous account. Yes, it’s a stupid thing to complain about (the tweeter’s problem!), but her reaction is… overblown, too. It sure plays into her base, though!

NCAA Football, accents, free will

Things I’m thinking about Monday:

  • Tonight’s the last NCAA football game of the season. Thank goodness. I hope it’s a good one.
  • I want to pronounce “Monday” with a Scottish accent, but it turns out I have no idea how to make it sound like it’s a Scottish accent. It’s not my accent, whatever it is, but I have a feeling a Scot would be… unamused to hear it. In my head I’m thinking a Scot would say “Wot the bloody … is that” but on thinking about it, I think even that sounds more Irish in my head. And I’m sure the Irish would be offended by that. Maybe I should stick to my native Southern accent.
  • I’m still trying to keep up my exercise regimen. My core is stronger than it was, already – this is a very good thing – but I’m constantly sore, which isn’t bad, but it’s not good. Still keeping it up, though. Haven’t really lost significant weight yet.
  • Professionally, few things annoy me as much as when an AWS container reboots on me.
  • I tend to speak little and quietly, not because I think volume adds gravitas, but because I recognize the value most of my words have for others (not a lot) and I don’t want them to feel bad for interrupting.
  • Tool’s “Right in Two” is a fantastic song. The opening lyrics include “… Why did Father give these humans free will? Now they’re all confused” – which is a great line – but isn’t that a natural result of having free will? Free will doesn’t mean making the RIGHT choice every time, it means making your own choice. Still a great song.
  • I would far rather be “a good guy” than “the good guy.” It’s not a zero-sum game.

Recliners, Ocasio-Cortez, trust

Things I’ve thought about thinking about:

  • I like recliners.
  • I wonder if the same people who are outraged about Brett Kavanaugh’s drinking as a young man are the same people who have no problem whatsoever with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing like a young woman in a video… or if the people horrified that a woman would dance are fine with “Boys will be boys.” Do they even listen to themselves over time? (And for the record, again, Kavanaugh was accused of more than just drinking – but the implication was that surely he’d have no problem with sexual assault if he was willing to drink, and that’s a non sequitur for you. If he’s guilty of sexual assault, then I’ve no problem with him being punished accordingly… but let there be validity behind the claim. And no, an accusation isn’t enough… nor should it ever be. If a claim is enough, then opposers can gut any platform or candidate simply by bringing forth an unsubstantiated yet “believable” claim. … Nope.)
  • I’m glad people have remembered that it’s okay to mistrust the President. However, I don’t trust said people to remember this when the President’s a member of their tribe…
  • I didn’t publish anything yesterday because I was busy all day. It was not a good thinking day, so … really, if I learned anything yesterday, it was on the oddities of fortune and determination working together. (There’s more, but I’m not in the mood to write it up right now, because it would come out jumbled and I really don’t want that. Maybe later.)

Art, JDBC, coffee, JSoup, Gradle, Hallelujah, Resetting

Things I may have learned recently-ish:

  • Painting pottery is fun. I’m not very good at it. I apparently also have a thing for beer steins… out of which I drink coffee, because beer isn’t very good in my opinion. But steins are also a LOT of coffee, so it’s impractical to drink coffee from steins.
  • Speaking of coffee, I’m sticking to black coffee straight up because of my diet/exercise regimen. I’m normally a sweet coffee kind of guy… this drinking of only bitter coffee is “interesting,” but not in the “most interesting man in the world” kind of way. Still trying to stick to it.
  • Virtuoso‘s JDBC driver is not especially reliable. And I really wish I’d kept a “total time elapsed” for this entire process. I didn’t even keep a “real time elapsed” – but I’m predicting it takes days.
  • I may have found a bug in JSoup. There’s a method that gets the representative text of a parent HTML node, and it’s removing one space character where I don’t think it’s supposed to. Will investigate further.
  • Had a discussion yesterday – well, sort of a discussion – with a programmer who was arguing against Kotlin, saying that it didn’t really do anything Java didn’t do. That’s a particularly reductionist argument; after all, Java doesn’t do anything C doesn’t do (Java is written in C when you go deep enough) and C doesn’t do anything machine code doesn’t do. Why doesn’t he just use machine code? (Or he could use Kotlin, which is remarkably expressive and saves a ton of time.) Of course, he also was arguing that non-nullable types were a waste of time – and how great Python was, so maybe his priorities were skewed way differently than mine.
  • Two friends may have finally seen an end to their job hunts, which is a good thing if true.
  • Gradle is nice, but I still prefer Maven for most things. Yesterday I considered getting module interdependencies working as a “milestone.” That’s a crappy milestone to have. This stuff should just work.
  • Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” – particularly the original release – is a great song. As a Christmas song, I’m not … sold (what the heck?) but as a song about perfect expressions from an imperfect source… the song’s recording even echoes its own form, in an awesome fractal. He’s pitchy, off the beat, all kinds of things… and yet I dare anyone listening to it to not be thinking “… Hallelujah!” in a sympathetic echo in their souls.
  • I first heard “Hallelujah,” as far as I know, on American Idol.
  • I altered a core setting (the audio in/output mix) on my A/D device (which I use to record audio) a week or so ago – and yesterday, when I went to use it, couldn’t get any sound out of it. Memo to self: when you change things, set them back! I’m usually a lot better about this, and don’t know why I got it wrong – maybe someone interrupted me so I didn’t fix the hardware before getting up? I don’t know.

Virtuoso, people, exercise

Things I think I’ve learned today:

  • Virtuoso – a SPARQL database that’s used by DBPedia – is surprisingly nice, but it’s also got some oddities in synchronization behavior. I have a bulk process that runs for days, and I added a “resting” phase to allow Virtuoso to handle checkpoints gracefully, etc., and finding the sweet spot for the resting/synchronization behavior is “fun.” It’s probably not a big deal, but it’s … there.
  • People have issues they won’t or can’t compromise on. They can be unreasoning in this. This is not something I learned, but something about which I was reminded. I’m pretty sure I have issues like that, but I’m not sure what those issues are offhand. I have some ideas, but when those concerns are challenged, I can react to them without seeing them as a threat, so maybe my ideas about my “closed-handed issues” aren’t right yet.
  • “Open-handed issues” are those issues about which we can disagree and still find acceptable consensus; you can say the Knicks are an awful team, and I can say they have potential…. without the two of us coming to blows over the assertions. “Closed-handed issues” are those issues about which we cannot compromise or accept the other’s assertion. My goal is to have assertions that I can and will defend, but without rejection of someone who holds a countering assertion (i.e., we can agree to disagree without compromising our beliefs), where “closed-handed issues” tend to be more of the “I can’t talk to you about this” because the nature of the issue leads to separation and demonization. For a lot of people, President Trump is a “closed-handed issue,” to the point where they’ll take “principled stands” against whatever he says, even when he agrees with their prior statements.
  • I’ve been trying to do fierce, short-term exercises: I’ll do a ton of situps, lunges, squats, pushups, etc., for a short period of time, then rest… enough to build up a sweat, and enough to feel it. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the optimal approach, but I’m in poor enough shape that it’s actually yielding benefits so far; I need to get to a decent baseline before I can really consider myself in a place where I can try to get back into what I’d consider actually decent physical condition.
  • Humanizer looks like an interesting project. I occasionally write methods to do some of the presentation stuff contained here – namely, things indicating cardinality – so a library that centralizes such methods and does them properly would be nice. There’s also room for expansion, especially regarding indefinite articles. I may look into that, but I’m not sure how I’d handle certain regional differences – for example, my mid-Atlantic dialect says “a humble man,” because the “h” is vocalized, while my grandmother’s Deep South dialect used “an humble man” because for many dialects the “h” in “humble” is silent.
  • I have never mastered playing the drums with brushes. I like the sound in the hands of someone who knows how to do it, but … that ain’t me.
  • Easy way to annoy me: ask me to do something and then get in my way while I try to do it. I’m glad to do things for people, but dang it, get out of my way.

Places, football, Facebook

Things I have learned recently, I think:

  • Every so often, you figure out that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this particular time. That can be reassuring or frightening, I suppose, depending on your outlook.
  • College football this year has been boring. Sure, I’m affected by not having a pony in the race (FSU missed out on bowl eligibility for the first time in close to four decades) but the quality of the bowls themselves hasn’t been that great: questionable officiating, a number of blowouts and games where the winners were easily predictable, and so forth. I don’t remember watching a single game that I’ve really enjoyed, apart from watching it with my wife and my son – that part’s been great. But I’m glad the bowls are over except for the championship. One more to go… and this one (Alabama vs. Clemson) gives me hope that it’s a competition.
  • I used one of the spray can dusters this morning on the MacBook Pro; it’s running more quietly, woohoo! — but I can’t get the taste of the residue off of my lips. No, I didn’t spray it at myself; it’s just in the air. Bleugh.
  • Yes, I deactivated my Facebook account and no, nothing’s wrong. It just takes too much time and attention away from other things.
  • I still don’t care for the Gutenberg editor in WordPress. What I’d really like is AsciiDoctor for WordPress… but I don’t know PHP, don’t want to learn PHP, and the available plugins for it are kinda eh, as far as I can tell. The last updates for the AsciiDoc plugins for WordPress are three years old… not a good sign.

Justice?, cats, resolutions, 2019

Things I’ve learned recently:

  • It’s tempting to write expressions of moral outrage, like “Does anybody remember justice?”, but then you remember that yes, most people do, but they’d rather reach for revenge or outrage instead. Justice takes too long. It’s also too easy for justice to accept that the wrongdoer might not be so wrong after all, so… yeah. Outrage! Revenge! So much easier!
  • Things I’d like to do more of in the coming year:
    • Exercise. In particular, get more core working better again – my back is a struggle for me.
    • Practice music, with dedication, rather than noodling a lot. I’d hope writing more music would fall under this, too.
    • Write more, and with more discipline.
    • Think of more resolutions worth implementing within reason.
    • Figure out this stupid Gutenberg editor, which seems fundamentally limiting for some reason.
  • I think “It’s no better to be safe than sorry,” a lyric from a-ha’s “Take On Me,” is an excellent indicator of political leanings.
  • Cats like to type. They type gibberish, though.
  • Happy New Year, everybody. May this year find you healthy, happy, productive, and manifest.

Wondering if you’re loved, literally?, python dependencies

Things I’ve learned recently:

  • If you really want to know if you have value, post something of questionable worth on the Internet. You’ll immediately have a bunch of people correcting you. That’s not to say you should post anything harmful – for goodness’ sake, don’t do that – but post something that makes an assertion of some kind. People will notice. This is a great way to see who really should be off your communications grid, too. 🙂
  • The previous point was not an attempt to be passive-aggressive. If you think you’ve been caught in such a net by me, well, I apologize; reflect on your own time if you think you do that, and leave my what-I-thought-was-mildly-humorous complaint out of it. Thanks!
  • I still find it difficult to abandon my youthful habit of using Anglican spellings for everything. Typing “humorous” without the extra “u” – i.e., “humourous” – is difficult for me even now, for example. It was with a sense of palpable relief that I typed the “wrong one” as the example.
  • This is a great sentence: “Don’t write silly-soundingly,” as found in “Yes, I Could Care Less,” as a quote of Jesse Sheidlower on Slate. Man, references at a deep depth are rough. My middle son gave me “Yes, I Could Care Less” as a gift – and it’s a good one. Thoroughly enjoying it so far.
  • poetry is another python dependency management tool, like pipenv. Work uses pipenv; I might check out poetry just to see what it’s like.


Things I have learned recently:

  • People still don’t really get JNDI, and the Java frameworks around today make it easy to ignore, even though it’s still a core technology. It’s not difficult to see how it can be confusing: context in JNDI is everything, and context makes it a challenge to create examples that make sense in the general case.
  • At some point I’d like to learn Go.
  • Not something I’ve learned, but something I’ve been reflecting on this morning because … uh… I have no idea why: I wonder if Adidas shoes are any good, or what they’re good for. I tend to wear Vans Ultrarange shoes these days because they’re light, comfortable, and last forever – I have two working pairs, one for working in the yard and one for wearing – but… Adidas.
  • I really wish officials and announcers wouldn’t show bias during football games. As an FSU guy, I’m really, really, really tired of this – but I’ve been watching other teams’ bowl games (because FSU didn’t go bowling this year, first time in 40+ years) and it happens for them, too, often egregiously. The announcers I don’t care as much about, but the referees… those guys need to be fair, for real. The fact that there’s no urgency in making sure they’re fair is incredibly frustrating and erodes the game. n one game, a team had two defenders ejected for targeting… and the other team had an obvious false start missed, and a few targeting possibilities ignored by the guys in stripes. Let’s just say nope to all that. There needs to be a way for the league to tell these refs what they’re missing, and to either call it fairly or get out. It’s gotten really bad over the last few years, with FSU losing multiple games due to bad or missed calls.