Saturday, November 15, 2003

I finished!

My very own tiny shell!

I did not believe that I could do it. But there it is. In just one week!

WOW, this feels good. What a rush!!!

My very own tsh. Now I have two small children...

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Just came back from listening to a speech. Given by Howard Dean.

He is an assertive, if not an overly warm, speaker. He has a little bit of that classic aura of an angry, young man. Talks a lot about taking back America. About how Ashcroft does not own the US flag, the people do. Etc. Still, he's not young. And not really 'angry'. 'Driven' is maybe a better word. 'Determined' is also a good description. I am sure this tenacity proved useful while he was a practicing physician, given how over-worked they are. What was interesting about him, was that he did not seem that hollow. Especially for a politician. Like so many Democrats, I find, he was more on the facts than on the message. Which may have made for less of a show. For better or worse. No 'axes of evil' visions. More 'percentage-of-income-paid-on-student-loan-payments' facts.

Afterwards, I got to meet him. Briefly. Small hands, but a firm handshake. He said that he thought a science education was an excellent preparation for a career in politics. The reason? Well, those who are not scientifically trained are not necessarily disciplined in throwing out theories, when it turns out that the facts do not support them. Good answer. A med student asked what kind of an environment she would be working in when she graduated. Dean said it was tough, since the health-care system was not functioning as it should. Why? Because it has been 'de-personalized'. For example, it used to be – and still is the case, especially if you lived in a rural area – that you would know 'the' doctor, know where to turn to. This has changed in most other areas, Dean said, partly because of "the increasing role of Corporate America" in health care. Bad answer.

So what is this poor little libertarian to do? I should be leaning Republican. But their guy is anti-choice, pro-tariffs (e.g. steel), anti-separation of church and state, pro-military, anti-balanced budget, pro-capital punishment, anti-privacy. And he invaded Iraq! Along comes this guy, from Vermont, of all places, who is pro-choice, pro-separation of church and state, pro-fiscal responsibility, etc. And he said he would not have attacked and occupied Iraq. And I believe him.

What to do, what to do?

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I have been out driving. In the snow. With my baby girl.

So this was the day she saw snow for the first time.

She seemed unfazed...
Becoming a parent gives a whoooole new meaning to a lot of things.

Take exceptional flow control for example. These days I am learning about this exceptionally dry material. But since I have just become a father, some of the phrases in my textbook have taken on a new, and alarming, meaning. A few examples:

"A parent process creates a new running child process by calling the fork function."

Iiiiiinteresting. "Hey, honey, what say you we call the fork function tonight?"
And it goes on:

"The newly created child process is almost, but not quite, identical to the parent."

How true. But then it gets kind of weird:

"The child gets an identical (but separate) copy of the parent's user-level virtual address space, including the text, data, and bss segments, heap, and user stack. The child also gets identical copies of any of the parent's open file descriptors, which means the child can read and write any files that were open in the parent when it called fork."

It can?! Sheez.

"The most significant difference between the parent and the newly created child is that they have different PIDs."

OK. However, there are more disturbing quotes. For example:

"Parent processes should always reap their terminated children."

And finally, some of this stuff is just obscene. Like the explanatory chapter, entitled:

"Why are terminated children called zombies?"

I am not going to read that to you. Too twisted. Yes, CS really is a dark and scary place.
I have been watching a lot of DVD's lately.

Maybe it is the cold. The temperature has dropped, in just a couple of weeks, from the sixties to the thirties. Brrr! I miss not being able to go out biking. Yes, I know you can 'theoretically' bike all year 'round. But I am a wuss. I admit it. I am not going out biking when there are thin layers of ice here and there. BTW, it just started snowing! Just now! Ah, well. I guess it is November already.

Or maybe it is the darkness. What idiot thought of adding to the misery of diminishing daylight by moving the clock back an hour? I mean, everybody is up at six anyway. And it is dark then anyway, daylight saving time or not. So this is effectively only zapping another hour of daylight from the end of the day. Making it dark when you are finishing work, at 5 pm, instead of being able to enjoy at least a modicum of brightness until six o'clock. I know this whole thing started with farmers and their need for daylight to work. Jada-jada-jada. Do I look like a farmer? Those farmers can just haul themselves out of bed an hour earlier. And let me sleep!

Anyway. DVD's. I rent my DVD's from a local video rental shop, place, thingy, something. And I have become vaguely familiar with most of the faces of those that work there. Maybe it's just my video place, but why is it that the average clerk at Wal-Mart or K-Mart looks retarded next to the kids in that place? I mean, these are similar jobs, yes? Requiring similar skills. Similar hours. Probably paying roughly the same. So why is it that I can carry on a conversation about Kafka with a guy at the DVD rental shop without incidence, while mentioning anything that's not on a shelf in Wal-Mart, to one of the clerks there, will get me a referral to the help desk (where no help is to be found, parenthetically)? This has nothing to do with me. I am sure that the average Wal-Mart-er is twice as smart as I am. But there is no denying it. Video clerks beat store clerks. Hands down. Why?

Anyways (reprise)! There is this girl. And she just started working at the video place. Which is not out of the ordinary. She herself is neither. Maybe in her early twenties, dark-haired, brown eyes, thin frame, aloof, nice smile. All average. But she has a withered hand. She does not seem to be able to move it much, and it is much thinner than her other hand. It is also slightly deformed. Not that you would necessarily notice. Because she shields it and hides it. Elegantly. And this created the strangest energy between us. I tried not to look. Because my mother taught me not to stare. And this girl noticed that. And tried even harder to hide her hand. In the space of a few minutes, this became a sort of a coy issue. Somehow both bashful and evasive, even flirtatious, at the same time. It had an air of mischief about it, and this girl appeared coquettish, even though she was just trying to hide a part of her which didn't conform. I saw something, of her, which she didn't want to show, or which 'shouldn't' be seen. I know this sounds strange, maybe even downright twisted, but in some manner it was a very fragile, even erotic moment.

OK. I admit it. It does sound sick.

So be it.

Monday, November 10, 2003

What? The pictures have disappeared again?!

Damn! Damn! Damn!