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three cats and nodog / tri katoj kaj nehundo

embracing something else
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6opou
I just wanted to announce for the first time in over 15 years, my primary home directory is not on a linux machine, virtual or otherwise.

embracing the database
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6opou
I've been using computers since around 1981, when I first started programming video games on a TRS-80 Model III in the Added Divertive Dimensions (ADD) room at my elementary school. Since around 1984, I had computers which used MS-DOS and had diskette drives, and around 1986 or so, I got my first hard drive. That's 30 years of computer training with at least 27 years of filesystem training and 25 years of hard filesystem training.

Though it was an abstract construct at the time, the filesystem became one of the firm ways in which I understood what was being stored and processed by the computer. A filesystem has a root directory, that root (for short) can contain files and other directories, and those directories can contain further files and directories. If a file is in one directory, it can't exist somewhere else on the filesystem; it is only in that directory. There may be a "link" pointing to the file from somewhere else, but that's just a matter of convenience; it doesn't live there.

And this is the way that I thought of email, too, when using various terminal-based email clients through the years. When I received an email on my computer, various programs would work together to store those emails as mailbox (mbox) files in the filesystem. If an email was in one folder, then it couldn't be in another folder. I based the way I structured my email archives on these principles, and it has worked for more than a decade.

Flash forward to 2011, and the introduction of my Android-based smartphone. For various reasons, it makes sense to start using Gmail and many of the fabulous I-live-in-the-future applications that are offered by Google. I realized that my sad devotion to filesystem structure has held me back and made me a user of only archaic technologies. I am a lifelong learner and I am a technologist (in that I at least analyze and critique technologies). It is time for me to move forward, so that I can be one with the crowd that has passed me by as I sat and played on my little command line. I have now made the decision to embrace the database.

Gmail represents a whole new way to think about email. One email is no longer located on the filesystem. It is now one of a huge vast pool of emails, floating around out there somewhere on the storage. At any instant it could be called forward to be read, analyzed, and again let go. Emails are now labeled and can each have multiple labels. Emails are joined together in conversations, and conversations share all of the labels associated with the individual emails which have been joined. It might be necessary to suddenly search for all of the emails containing the word "corruption," or for all letters to Marlo in February. The database structure of modern email clients and especially Gmail facilitates all of this.

I can see clearly that this is good. I understand how worthwhile it is to think about email in this database manner. And, I see that the masses currently already do this. It is me who has been left behind, and that is because it is against my training. I just haven't thought this way, and it breaks my brain to do so. I'm sure it will become easier with time, and I'm committed to the paradigm shift.

Belgian success!
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In bringing Ginjo, my cat, back to Austin, I checked in with her about every 20-30 minutes, reassuring her by reaching my hand in her cage and speaking to her with calming words and tones. During one of these short sessions, I realized how wound up I was myself, and that I needed some of the same words and tones. And that's when the tears just started flowing.

Laughter and crying just started pouring forth as emotions just welled up inside of me. It was a recognition of this new cliff, however safe, that I am choosing to jump off. I was having intermixed feelings of joy about returning to Austin, and sadness about leaving the group of friends and wonderful life I'd had in Belgium. I suddenly realized that my unspoken metric of success in Belgium had actually been fulfilled, and that was another overwhelming, joyful thought.

In the clarity of hindsight, I realized that in Belgium I had found a group of people who I cared about and who cared about me. I had found a group of people who embraced and supported the different aspects of my craziness, whose craziness I wanted to embrace and support, and with whom I could talk with about pretty much everything. I had also found people with whom to flirt and enjoy romance. I had found real friends and community. I'm so thankful for these wonderful folks, and that they helped me to erase any vestiges of "non-success" from my Belgian experience.

I can now look back on my experience there without any gray. It was an unmitigated success. I love Belgium and I love my friends who are still there.

Hamburg 2010-12-15
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In December, my coworker, Loïc, and I travelled to Hamburg to work on my final project with Numediart, the Augmented Conductor. Basically, we created a chain of three sensor nodes which could be attached to the arm of a conductor in order to control the electronic manipulation of the live orchestral sound. Each sensor included 3D accelerometers, magnetometers, and gyroscopes.


This is Alex, the composer temporarily acting as the conductor.


A little more of the trip.Collapse )

Cologne 2010-11-20
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In November, I travelled to Köln (Cologne), Germany to meet up with my friend, Sherri. It was somewhat random that she was there, but it was cool to check out a new city in Europe.


The biggest feature of Cologne is the Dom (cathedral). It's the 2nd tallest in the world and just immense.

That giant church is actually a long way away.Collapse )

There's this guy...
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There's this guy sitting on a couch in an apartment in Belgium.Collapse )

a gender-broken retelling of my IBW drama
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The chemistry that I felt with Lee was apparent the instant he got out of the car. I could only see his head since he was on the other side from me, but he just sort of bounded over to give me a hug with a "hey there, pretty lady." I was working gate and welcoming newcomers with shots of lemoncello and absinthe. They had to ring the gong to announce their arrival at the Italian Burn Weekend. I turned to my roommate Chris and said, "Wow! Okay, he's hot." He was just wearing a funky t-shirt and jeans, but it looked really good on his body. He was built like a brick, and when I gave him a hug, I could feel his strength pressed up against me. That was something I wanted more of, but he was probably a little out of my league. Anyway, I don't drink or do drugs much either, and since so many people do in the burn community, chances were low that he'd be interested in me. He seemed like a party boy. Whatever, nice hug and really nice to look at.



more behind the linkCollapse )

Italy! (Venice!) Slovenia!
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Italy! Slovenia! J and J once again have shown their incredible hospitality and invited me to join them for a few days at J's grandmother's mountain home. It's at the foot of the Alps (well the pre-Alps) near a town called Tarcento. We had a lovely time visiting lots of locations around the area. The first night, there were several other guests as well


including J's brother G. (Sorry for the blurry photo. I'm getting used to my new camera.)

moarCollapse )

Surprise Paris!
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July 21st is Belgian National Day (Fête Nationale) and happened to fall on a Wednesday this year. Our lab was particularly deserted during July, so I decided to take the Monday and Tuesday off before and have a five day weekend in Paris with my roommate C, and the daughter of C's best friend, T. I was really one of the most fun and easiest trips to Paris that I've made.


We arrived on a Saturday evening.

long entry is long!Collapse )

Finally!
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Couldn't have done it without wikihack.

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