Oct 31, 2015

bordering on happiness

outlining, on the ground in blood chalk the structure of that thing that you need or feel that you need in order to feel full.

scritch scritch scritch

I can't help but feel that I've spent most of my day here on my sofa, plunking away at odd thoughts.  They are all odd.  Thoughts, that is.

I'm going back and re-interpreting a scattershot collection of old memories, in the process making them into new ones.  I have lots of ideas of things that I would like to see done, but most times just having the thought is enough of a reward that I don't get much past that.  You know, past just having the idea.

The ideation phase, it turns out, is so rewarding that the physical labor of actually producing or turning that thought into reality is unnecessary.  Less rewarding, almost.

I wonder then if that's what makes writing so seductive -- in the age of Internet, where publishing and garnering an audience[1] is a semi-trivial thing, writing things down is such an easy process. It doesn't take much other than remembering to write down the day dream like thoughts in order to have *done* something with a thought.  To have made an idea feel more concrete than it was.

We had a visitor at EO (was that where the conversation occurred? I can never remember conversation provenance) on Friday.  A few of us went out to coffee, and talk turned to the robotics class at Columbia that our visitor was doing mid-terms for. The prompt was a robot navigating about a room full of obstacles, and they kept running into a problem that their robot would not hit the finish targets exactly.  The biggest challenge had shifted from writing code to how to account for drift?

This problem provides a nice foil for the difference between "programming" and "engineering" - whereas programming is writing out the steps that you want the robot to take, and engineering is the task of discovering what steps that the robot needs to take.  Figuring out what the causes of the problem is and figuring out a solution (a solution that is later embedded into code) -- this is engineering.  Without drift, would it not be so much of an engineering problem?  I would say yes -- it's merely a matter of getting the robot to execute a series of steps.  But since some amount of error occurs in the system, a method of correcting for the error - discovering it, reporting, and reducing it - must be found.  There's no clearcut way to make it better, either.

Is there much difference between daydreaming & writing and programming & engineering?  Other than engineering probably takes much more work than sitting on a sofa staring dreamily into the distance as you wait for the sun to finally set.  But both are the process of finding ideas (wherever they may be) and putting them down, concretely.


[1] personally, I'd be happy if only robots read my pages

Oct 18, 2015

On November 1st

On November 1st, the skies opened up and the rain fell to the earth as it never had before.

On December 1st, the sun rose slowly in a golden haze, sunrays bouncing off the frozen grass as though it were a field of gems, empire cut all.

On January 1st, the sky was a crystalline blue: pure of color, void of clouds. After sunset, you could see the stars clear as day, twinkling, there, just barely out of reach.

On February 1st, it snowed.

On March 1st, the pidgeons started from the sound of a thunderclap that rang out suddenly, echoing across the sunny sky from the pile of heavy, black clouds that had been lingering near the horizon all morning.

On April 1st, the cherries blossomed and it rained pollen all over the sidewalks.

On May 1st, the last of the snows melted and I put away my heavy, sodden boots for good, for the last time.

On June 1st, the squirrels played chase on the grassy lawn at high noon. The sun had snuck up, early, in a pile of pink cotton, and by midday it was lingering, large, directly overhead, relentless.

On July 1st, the rain began at dawn; at dusk it continued.

On August 1st, the crickets woke earlier than usual, to chirp in the red light of the bloodiest dawn I've ever seen.

On September 1st, Hurricane George had us all huddling in our houses or sorting last minute laundry at the laundromat, preparing for the end of times, one dirty sock at a time.

On October 1st, the phone never rang and I knew, finally, and for certain, that you and I had never not really ever existed.

On November 2nd, the last ice cap melted and we *all* died, anyway.

Oct 16, 2015

Weekly Accomplishments

Boosted my confidence in my ability to wrangle an EC2 instance.  To date I've:
- made a snapshot / backed up a running instance
- made a snapshot via the command line interface
- made an AMI (or image) from a snapshot / backup
- made a bigger volume from a snapshot
- swapped out the volume on an instance
- educated myself on the cost structure of ec2 instances
- educated myself on the cost structure for ec2 volumes (these cost money!!)
- figured out what elastic IP is
- successfully debugged and fixed a filesystem/kernel type mismatch when creating an EC2 instance from an instance. the snapshot & instance types had incompatible kernels. tools used: the ec2 command line interface & google

Figuring out how to reverse engineer Django enough to get our Graphite instance OAuthing with Google Oauth2.

Finding and fixing a bunch of Marshmallow bugs on our Android & releasing the patched app.

Oct 9, 2015

Man-ke-types

I find it commonly done that a woman will be labeled into her role in a man's life: sisterly love, mothering him, whoring out, slutty mom, etc.

How do we describe the role of men in women's lives? I find it much harder and less common.

Father-figure, like a brother, her pimp, her sugar daddy.

Eg:
"She lived with Jacob, who filled the void her father had left: bringing home newspapers and picking up milk for them at the grocery store on his way home from work. He was a father, caretaker, and night time companion all in one, a great man with a soft touch and loud barreling laugh."

Oct 5, 2015

correspondences

Correspondence between the will to power and the will to travel. began as a set of postc.ards. TWtP started it, as per the definitional usual.

TWtT had left first though a few days earlier.

The first postc.ard contained a self addressed and pre-postaged envelope. There was nothing else there.

TWtT didn't receive it though, as they had already arrived at their next destination.

blank canvas

this canvas is blank. does that mean it's time for me to start afresh? that's one of the side effects of blank canvas -- it brings...