Random nerdy joy

elath_helm.jpg
I got this helmet tonight. It’s not really better than the one I had, but it has an attached monocle! Sometimes my nerdyness brings me such small perls* of joy.
Oh, and if you’re interested (heh-heh) in my current stats for Elath, WH has a nifty up-to-the-minute database so you can see what I’m dressed like Elath or Kto or even Nava

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Circuit City Brings out the Beast in You

I’ve got a little to say about the nature of the closeout vultures. My wife’s boss had her take his laptop in to circuit city the day before they announced they were closing. Last night we had to go pick it up or risk losing it, so we went over and I’ve never seen the store so full of shoppers. We managed to get a junior lackey to take a look at what we wanted despite being told that the razordog (or whatever their geek-patrollish service was) counter was closed and they couldn’t help us. The kid spent 10 minutes asking for a manager on a walkie-talkie so they could open the cabinet and give us the laptop. The whole time customers would storm up to the counter and almost push us aside while they demanded things like DVI cables or spare RAM. The kid would look at us apologetically and try to help these angry jackals, who became further outraged upon finding out there were only VGA cables left. The kid tried to be helpful in pointing out local competitors who would probably have what the guy wanted, but they became angrier and walked off even as the kid was still attempting to help. I saw ample evidence that civility had not entirely vanished from this tribe as attributed to the flare of recognition they’d jumped in ahead of us being served. But always the spark of shame was quickly doused under a wave of some sort of cutthroat villany or larcenous hunger. My wife said I ought to go look for a wii as we waited, but I did not want the devil of liquidation to garner my soul. We retrieved the laptop and beat a hasty retreat as fast as could be arranged.
As a final punctuation to the evening we were approached by a young woman as we were entering the parking lot asking if we could spare some money for a room. Normally I’m inclined to at least seek for some sign that the person is in need, but she seemed well-fed and groomed. There have been news stories following people who own homes begging at the sides of the road in the area. People who have their hand out who, aren’t particularly in dire straits. I was a little surprised at how quickly I associated this person with those that make it hard to assist the ones truly in need. I made an instantaneous judgement that, this particular Circuit City wasn’t really in a locale that would lend itself to panhandling… unless maybe vultures prey on each other. So I said we didn’t have anything to spare (which is true) and passed on by. But it made me feel a little bad, and somewhat angry at the way things are that you can’t just take people at face value. The woman, with no visible reaction to being passed by just turned back towards the door, picking out her next mark.
I began to wonder throughout the rest of the evening whether my experience within Circuit City had increased my jadedness value (a statistic i’ve been contemplating much lately) enough to significantly alter my perception of the situation, or at very least, my response. I do believe civility begets civility, although I don’t see myself reacting uncivilly, just maybe more brisquely than otherwise. I’ve given rides to strangers late at night who gave me a good enough excuse to pile them in my car and drive them a couple miles. I have brought water or sodas to people who seemed in need and asked. And, on occasion, I’ve sometimes given money, although I prefer to give my money to organizations that are better suited to see it goes where needed. Maybe I am becoming less trusting, or perhaps it was just the events of the night.

days go passing by

So the Aloha from Austin entry was supposed to lead to the Howdy from Hawaii one, but it never materialized. I’ve been thinking a lot, and the time on the cruise gave me ample fodder and opportunity for pages and pages… and yet nothing gets down. I guess it’s because mostly nothing has really grabbed me by the collar and shook me till I had to get it out.
I can’t sleep. For the first (extended) time since my wedding I find myself back with the racing thoughts that keep me up. Debbie gets me up early, or at least earlier than is my habit. We do the car park ballet in the mornings so Kayla can get off to school. After that, I’m pretty much up and at the email between the spurts of preparing for the day I go through till I’m out the door about 9:00 or 9:30. Today was a good one. At 7:30 I found a hit in the morning logs from work that showed a university ip address probing my machine. I confirmed it through several machines that were open to the world and one that refused because it is closed. I composed a short notice to the Institutional Security Office (ISO) and said we’d been probed and gave the originating ip address. As an afterthought I did a host translation on the name and it showed it came through the ip space run by ISO itself. Here’s where my laziness kicks in. I figure it’s got to be some sort of test, but as I’ve gone through the trouble of composing the email after verifying the threat I feel it would be wasted if I just chucked it, so I sent it. I found out from Guy later that Joe had sent a notice out that we were going to be probed as a test from ISO. I don’t remember seeing that email, maybe it got block-deleted as we got off the cruise. I did get a nice note back from jonzy (link redacted) telling me it was ok, and that my prompt attention would be duly noted.
Anyway, up early and not sleeping till well after midnight kind of has me on the rocks. The cruise was very nice. It used to be that whenever I got like this, I’d head for the ocean. There’s something about just sitting and watching all that water that draws out whatever is ailing me, and being on a ship in the middle of it was even better. Probably dropping everything else in the world for two weeks helped, also. I read a really good book which gave me lots to think about while I just sat on the tail of the ship. By the last few days I felt like a totally different person. Maybe it felt a lot like I did when I was 25 or so. I seemed purposeful and full of promise. Now I’m back and it feels a lot like I missed the train or something. I’m back at the same job I’ve been working for over seven years. Not that it’s a bad thing. I think this job is good for me, but lately I’m wondering if I wouldn’t grow more elsewhere.
So much happened that I want to write about, but I’m just not in the mood for writing. I’m tempted to Excerpt it all here, but that seems cop-out’ish. Were it not for friends and family I think I would seek a change of venue. Not that I think I could find a niche in Hawaii, but closer to the ocean would be nice. Besides, after living in paradise how could you go on (or even visit) elsewhere? Kauai was heart-breakingly beautiful. The ocean was warm. There are chickens everywhere.