warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

So I've been playing with lightroom, and been working on getting my gallery back up and running fully. I think I've got it basically done and have been pointing a lot of people at it but I'm not *quite* ready to link it to the webpage. So I've got a digitial photography management system - Check. I've got a good panoramic image processor - (Hugin - I pronounce it hug-in - it's logo looks like it's trying to hug me) - Check. Geographic information in photos so that you can build pretty google maps and the like - *screaching halt* - not so checked


So Really what I'm saying is I was playing with Gallery and noticed that there's a plugin to do nice pretty google maps things. So I got to thinking - "hey how can I add the GPS data back to my photos after the fact, this has got to be easy right?" Why is it whenever I think things like that I'm completely and utterly wrong usually?


So I started looking around trying to find some software to do what I wanted. After some head banging, a bunch of downloads and mucking with a sample photo set for a while I can now pronounce GeoSetter to be pretty darned good. Now there are those out there that will start screaming bloody murder about it being a Windows program, and me a Linux geek. Well, deal. I do all my photo processing in Windows, it's the sad truth but everything I've seen that's cross platform or open source, etc - doesn't cut it. It does genuinely sadden me, yes, but I don't have the time, knowledge or interest in writing that kind of software. That said GeoSetter does seem to run under WINE so that's at least one thing I don't need windows for ;-) (my photo management software does not sadly *shakes fist of doom*)


GeoSetter has a good solid interface, though the first thing I did was turn off the extraneous effects. I've got a dual core reasonably high-end athlon, 4G of ram (though windows can't use it all), and generally a darned beefy machine and it still chugged with those effects on, without it's pretty zippy. It uses google maps to let you select and apply the location if you don't have a gps log (which I don't, I might start looking into cheap gps units just to do that logging though) and it has a *lot* of options on how to deal with the writing of the tags, from writing it only in an xmp sidecar to actually filling back in the missing portions of the EXIF data. Now I'll be honest I haven't fully vetted how it does it's writes, but it does seemingly (if you don't just use sidecars) have to create a new file to get all the EXIF data right. It does however seem to do what I would expect, if the writing is a bit slow.


Something to keep in mind, I'm going to keep playing with it for now and see what I think of it later on.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

So my laptop, my primary workhorse when it comes to my day job, has been acting very wonky lately. I thought it was the wireless card for a while - so I bought a replacement. Didn't really solve the problem though, and further testing seems to look bad. The machine just hard locks, no kernel panic and the caps-lock light has a tendency to blink, which if I can't remember if that's kernel panic (thought Linux did both caps lock and num lock though), or more likely I think I remember reading that the blinking caps lock on an IBM (Lenovo now) T42 is a hardware fault of some sort. Considering that this kernel has been rock solid stable (no it hasn't been updated in a while, yes I'm a bad human being), and considering that this can happen back to back very quickly - this is seemingly hardware related.


Joy.


So in classic fashion I started fretting, the T42 *is* over 3 years old, probably pushing closer to 4. I do use the machine a *lot*, and it's not like it hasn't served me well (it was bought off of what was left of Orion Multisystems when they imploded - the words "cheap" don't begin to describe how much I picked it up for back then). So couple that with the fact I just started working for kernel.org full time, cross that with my increasing want to work from wherever I want to (like going to Ottawa to see Terri in Jan/Feb) and really it boils down to - I need my laptop to work. So dickering with the hardware and trying to get it to limp along a while longer, while admirable (and I will likely do it anyway) isn't going to cut it.


So after mucking about, and fighting (literally) with Lenovo's website (ok honestly Lenovo - your website SUCKS - when I'm getting "Session Timed out" when I've been on your website for a total of 10 minutes, most of which has been constant clicking on your site playing with options and reading help and such and I'm in the middle of putting something together is just not right. Bonus goes to your rep that when I mentioned it to him, he sighed and said "Yeah.... we know about it, we are trying to fix it... sorry..." this should tell you something) I got a quote together, sat on it, stared at it, talked with the bosses about it and then because the holiday deals were so good - I jumped.


So I've got a nice Lenovo T400 on it's way, given what I remember of Lenovo's shipping habbits I'll see it sometime next millenia (Their record stands at average wait for machine from purchase at 1.5 months from purchase date from my own, my brothers and friends experiences). I'll be happy if I see it before I go up to Ottawa in Janurary. It's a pretty nice machine, reasonably decked out though not quite every option checked. Price was still *quite* reasonable too, got something like $571 or something like that off the machine, bought some extra ram and a bigger hard drive 3rd party and saved another $150 over Lenovo's pricing and the final total was still cheaper than what my brother paid for his T61 a couple of years ago.


So yeah, I'm now moving slightly closer to being an all 64-bit, only things left are my T42 (which I think is still going to get used but in a less critical role), my firewall (via epia-m system), and my mythtv frontend box. Of the machines that I currently use those are the only 32-bit machines left. I do still have my old Fujitsu P2040 that's 32-bit (though that's a Crusoe processor too) and a few other odds and ends but yeah.


Looking forward to it, hopefully won't have to wait too long for it.




ADDENDUM: I'm a little shocked, Lenovo claims my T400 shipped today (Dec 3, 2008) and I should have it next week. Either I'm hallucinating or they are on the ball right now. Well more time to play with the new pretty I suppose!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

So - I have just witnessed, and lived through, probably one of the most profound events of the decade. Today we, the United States of America, have looked past the race of a gentleman and elected our 44th president without prejudice. If the polls and commentary I'm seeing are corret the win, from an electoral college perspective, is rather a landslide. The popluar vote is within a few percentage points - but that isn't the bit that really elects our president.


It is a good day, and I'm proud to have voted and helped this process. I'm proud of my countrymen, and I'm proud of my country. That said our 44th president, Barak Obama, is already faced with several calamaties: the economy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, wiretapping mess. I wish him luck - he's going to need it to lead us out of this mess.

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So I've got a smidgen of insomnia, between the book I'm reading ( Terry Pratchet's The Truth, which is a rather interesting take on the rise of journalism and the printing press. The Truth shall set the Free ) and the fact that I think I might have found an rental worth going after ( sadly it's not quite what I want - but this would be a step up in the right direction ) that I'm just a bit wound up, and need something to finally calm me down and get me to sleep. So I'll fill everyone in on the last couple of months.


So August was hectic - as usual. Towards the beginning (not long after my last post) we got word that a friend of mine, Scarybug, of the now famous Scarybug Games, had his game Chronotron accepted into the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX)'s PAX10. This was pretty awesome, to say the least! So having a desire to go and attend PAX last year (which I got ditched for), I thought it would be awesome to go and support Scarybug and generally get to go do something way cool. Terri was roughly planning on coming out around my birthday anyway, so I checked to see if she was interested in joining our little cadre heading north - and she was as excited by the idea as I was (I love that woman so much!). So plans were made, hotels were scrambled for, mini-vans were setup and tickets were purchased.


Terri came out a bit before PAX so we were able to have some time together before PAX all happened. Really, I'm not sure there is ever enough time to spend with Terri, but I'm exceedingly happy to have gotten to spend time with her. PAX was pretty awesome though, both Terri and I got a pile of photos ( Terri's set, My Photos ) and we had a blast! I even got to help out with Scarybug's PAX10 booth - twas fabulous! I really had a blast, and am seriously looking forward to maybe going next year!


Now that it's getting late and I'm winding down finally, a heads up I changed jobs part way through September as well. The long and the short of it is that Kernel.org, as mentioned at OLS this year got funding for a full time person. Well - I applied and got the job - so I'm now employed by the Linux Foundation, working full time on Kernel.org. Really this is a pretty fantastic job change, and I'll have more to say about it when I'm not vaguely coherent and it's not 4:16am ;-)

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Ok the universe is out to amuse me. So I went for a 25.7 mile bike ride today, explored up around the airport since I happened to notice what looks like a re-opened bike trail. Low and behold I found 2, one that goes under 101 and one that clearly is mean to get you around to the point where you can circle the airport. w00t! Good find, good bike ride and my legs don't hurt too much.


So my mom poked me this evening mentioning she couldn't print, figured out it was an issue with the internal dns + dhcp, fixed the problem and all was good. Now since I was playing with the printer anyway I figured "I bought this HP Busines Jet 2250 years ago, the firmware is likely never to have been upgraded - I should fix that" (keep in mind I bought this printer while I was in college and it's a phenominal printer, it's current duty cycle claims 25,843 pages - get that out of the cheap $30 printer - HA!) Anyway, so I went and snagged the firmware update thing from HP got it pointed at the right subnet (I.E. the one on the other side of the VPN) it found the printer and off to the races it went, upgrade went fine (I'll admit how cool it is to upgrade a printer that's 2000 miles from me without issues!). So it all went well till I check the status page on the printer and one line on it caught my eye.



System Contact: IS Team 713-500-5400



Ergh - that's interesting, a quick google search seems to indicate that the phone number in question belongs to The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. So I apparently bought the JetDirect module (after checking my inbox) and found that it was an e-bay purchase, apparently I bought it from the University of Houston and they forgot to clean it out. Haven't figured out how to change it, not that I care a lot - mom is going to bug me long before she figures out the hostname of the printer to begin with.


If anyone cares, I will be up at Linux World on Tuesday, mainly because all the Etherboot stuff going on (and I believe my code for Rom-O-Matic is going to get merged into mainline there). Should be cool, if you want to meet up e-mail me or ping me.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Off for home, both the Bof (link) and the talk (link) went really well. The talk went over it's time by about 20 minutes because people were discusing stuff so much, and discusion seems to be continuing after the fact - all in all I think that's a succes. Downside on the talk - I kinda said, rather vehemently that someone rather important was wrong. There was a fantastic write-up that I was included on over at linux.com (link).


Only other downside - heading home sucks - it means Leaving Terri, and that only seems to get harder. If I could stop having to leave I think I would be a lot happier :-) but for now, the grind of work calls.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Off to OLS, giving my paper talk on "Issues in Linux Mirroring: or BitTorrent considered harmful". Really looking forward to the conference, and definately looking forward to seeing Terri!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Ok took down the original post as I've got a new full length video - warning it's the whole thing and I've been recommended to watch it at 4x the speed I've got now, and warning the file is 100M or so. Click here to see the movie. I've got a whole slew of photos from the trip up to Crater Lake and all the side trips to Lava Bed National Park, and such. I'll try and fix the full gallery soon and get the photos up. Downside of the digital camera is that I need more storage now! Working on that.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Work has been "exciting" over the last few days, so I'm feeling a bit down. Additional bummer - Terri went home today. To quote us both - parting doesn't get easier, it only gets a lot harder - every time. So yeah - bumming - I miss her already. We hung out at the rose garden yesterday, got some really good photos, and we went to the Montery Bay Aquarium last weekend and had a lot of fun. It was exceptional just hanging out with her - and I'm really looking forward to July when I get to see her again!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Ok so Molly's wedding was awesome and I was very glad to have made the trek back home for it! Got to see a couple of people from high school that I hadn't seen in a long time. In fact the pastor who presided was a friend of mine from West High and who I hadn't seen for a couple of years - totally crazy! But it was a beautiful ceremony, and the party was good despite having to get moved inside due to some sprinkles that happened outside. Terri and I had dueling cameras going a fair amount of the time, have to take a look at the photos and see who wins [ED: Terri won for all of the inside shots, I couldn't even compete but I kept up without too much issue on the outside shots]. Even their official photgrapher (who tend to be the bane of my existance, always doing their job and stepping right into the photo I've got lined up and generally being in the way) was good, and during some of the dancing took quite a number of photos of Terri and I - have to poke Molly about those and see if they were any good.


Though bonus points to Molly - she mentioned to Terri and I that Wylde Nept was playing that night, and that if she could wrangle it she was going to go change and go listen to them on her wedding night! Go Molly! I ended up convincing Terri, my younger brother and Ben M. to all go out with me. It was highly amusing to be out listening to a traditional Irish Celtic Pub group at a table where no one drank at all. Twas awesome - I've got a really bad movie I took at The Mill in Iowa City where they got Molly and Benjamin to come up and dance. It's horrible but I will hang onto it as blackmail material against Molly (or for anyone who begs me enough for a copy!). Awesome trip so far it's going great and I think Terri is enjoying herself too!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Terri gets into town today so going to be a bit busy for a while hanging out with her! Heading to Iowa for Molly's (my little sister's* wedding. Should be fun, and Terri is going to get to meet the family too - I'll have to admit a little concern over that but I have every reason to be confident that she'll like them and they will like her too!


Other than that life is going ok, got a few things planned to do while Terri is here, know we are likely hitting the Richard Cheese show up in The City on the 30th, and maybe go for a drive and see California. Only downside to right now is that I'm looking to move so hopefully I can keep up with the search without impeeding too much on her being out here.




* She's not really my little sister but we kind of decided that I was her big brother and she was my little sister in High School and we kinda just accepted that that was that!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

So for those of you who didn't catch what was going on yesterday - this was an April Fools Day joke. It was concieved by HPA and I last year, though there was some reasons we didn't do it last year. This apparently has had a number of people in a bit of a stir! I have heard rumors there's even a FreeBSD board that's still debating the validity of the original message. The main point of contention is based on when I sent the mail out. Specifically the mail was sent a little after midnight UTC as the kernel.org machines themselves are set to UTC and currently span the globe. Hopefully this will help set some of these things to rest!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

I made the announcement today that Kernel.org was going to switch to FreeBSD 7.0 Found on LKML here. I'm sure I'm going to get a fare amount of hate mail for this - but we are convinced this is the right course of action.


Well kinda ;-) - More on this tomorrow

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

So Terri and I were talking about random stuff (not that we don't talk quite a bit in general but yeah, and we came up with a new system of dealing with the progression of relationships, as well as the operators that can be applied to them:


Girlfriend-- [Girl | Boy ] you've decided that you want to try and date but can't build up the courage to talk to
Girlfriend- You've worked up the courage and your flirting!
Girlfriend Yay! Life is good (self explanitory)
Girlfriend+ Fiancee
Girlfriend++ Wife | Husband

There are some additional things that have come to me while writing this up, operations that can be performed on the subject (ok this just proves I'm an utter geek - hopefully someone will smile at this)


!Girlfriend Not your Girlfriend
?Girlfriend Not sure of the state
warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Ok, I accept that my blogging skillz are t4 5ukz0rz (translation: they need lots of work). Considering that I've gone, ::looks at the date:: 6 months without letting you, my non-existent readers (if you actually still follow this at all your clearly my friend or just glutton for punishment), know what has happened in my life.


If I said "lots" and ended this entry would you all be happy? Yes?! Ohhh... no you wouldn't, I see - making my life hard ehh? Well fine! Here we go.


No further airlines have tried to kill me, though American Airlines is still serving nuts and their trail mix on their flights. Traveled quite a bit these last few months, went back for Moms birthday this year, I hadn't been back home since Novemeber, and the beginning of the "black months". It was a good trip and I'm very glad I went, it wasn't nearly long enough. Went back again in October for the annual Halloween Party, which was, as always, awesome! Looking forward to this years which is now only 8 months away and I have unconfirmed reports already of people discussing it already and saying things like "Need more crackballs" [ Editors note: crackballs are the term given to the secret Hawley family recipee for for meatballs that are traditionally served at the party. The are awesome, and we make small batches to keep demand high for them. No, really we won't give you the recipee - don't ask, well unless you ask nicely and bribe me ;-) ] After that went back up to my beloved Boston early in December for Sean's wedding, I'll get back to this but it was awesome! Other than that *my* traveling only extends around Northern Cali, but I have been busy touring, seeing and doing things.


Lets see general things to let everyone know about, well I'm not dead yet (unless I've successfully implimented myself in bash and that's what's typing up this entry - if so kudos to me!), I've actually decided to "grow up" some and I've bought a suit and some nicer clothes (yes I realize that this is one of the signs of the apocalypse, I'm sorry - but I do look good in the suit! Really! Isn't that worth maybe a *little* apocalypse?), I bought more art while I was back in Iowa again (darn you Scheels! Darn you and your wonderful clearance isles, staf who knows my name and possibly my address by heart, and your fine selection of paintings and vases that make my apartment seem so much nicer!), I've bought some furniture (w00t nightstands for cheap! My mother is a genius!), I'm dating a wonderful girl named Terri, Spent some awesome time in Boston - even getting a chance to see my old abode once more before it's leveled flatter than a pancake, went shooting with Crypto Rob (ar-10, m1 garand, m2 carbine, xd 45, cz-75, ak-47 is whats written on my dancing card), taken more photos than you can shake a stick at (digital cameras are evil! It's not uncommon for me to now have to sift through over 1000 photos after a major event! Clearly I need to take fewer photos. - if you don't have the link to the temporary gallery - email me and I'll get it to you), working my tail off on kernel.org stuff and generally well - being me ;-)


Whats that? Ohhh you want me to expound on stuff, well clearly you want to know why my Mother is a genius! Well she told me at one point to watch the clearance section at places like Crate and Barrell and Pottery Barn and see what turns up, well I did and pretty quickly found a $400 nightstand for under $100 - good buy in my part, it's awesome! Thus my Mother continues to be a genius!


What? Ohh not that, well it must be about the shooting - it was pretty awesome. Went out with Crypto Rob and a friend of his to the public shooting range out near North Liberty. We had bought about $100 in ammo and were on a bent to let loose - which we did (didn't use up all the ammo though). Shot fairly well, particularly with the ar-10, at 150yards or so. First time shooting in a while (say 3years), and it was a blast. There was another gentleman there who had brought out a collection of WWII vintage rifles with him. He was amazingly kind and allowed us to fire off a couple of rounds on a vintage M1 garand and M2 carbine, the M2 using vintage 1943 ammo. To be perfectly honest I was more at home and I believe more accurate with the pinhole sites on the M1 & M2 than I was with the scope on the ar-10. They were amazing machines - and it was nice to hold and fire them, I've got a much greater appreciation for them now - and the men who used them.


What? Not that EITHER?! Grief what do you want me to talk about? The painting? The suits?


Ok, Ok - Yes I'm dating a wonderful girl named Terri. We met up at OLS this year (though I'm fairly sure we had met the previous year as well - just didn't quite hit it off as well). However this year we ended up talking a lot after the conference, and she happened to come out here in early Novemeber at which point we realized how much we actually cared for each other (yes we were both living on the river de-nile for a while). She's wonderful, plain and simple, I can't think of any other way to put it. There is only one real downside - she lives 2900 miles away right now in Ottawa ;-). Yes, I know we are insane - trust me Terri and I probably spent 6 hours striaght talking about this trying to figure out if this was even a sane thing to undertake, but in the end love won out, and yes I do love her very much.


Terri was even able to make it out to Boston for Sean's wedding. Flights happened to get cheap right around then and she was able to come down. It was awesome, she was able to meet a lot of friends of mine - which many of them are now flung to the far corners of the earth - so it was a fairly unique opportunity to meet so many people! Was even able to spend some extra time wandering around Boston together, I believe Terri summed that entire day up best by saying "Best date ever!". Ended up seeing the Aquarium, the Harvard Natural History museum, got a light snow fall while looking out over Boston from the end of the pier near the Aquarium, saw a giant glowing blue thing, and had dinner with MDC of the etherboot project and his wife and heard the wonders that is the amplified electric clarinet!


Speaking of which I'm heading up to Ottawa to (1) see Terri :-) & (2) get away from this abysmally nice weather that lacks snow! Heading up towards the end of Winterlude which should be cool, and work has been awesome about letting me work remote for this trip. Even going to get to spend some time back home with the family for Ayyam-i-ha this year!


Getting back to Boston and Sean's wedding though, Sean's wedding was spectacular. I have to hand it to him Christina is awesome! Congratz man! The wedding was quite a hit, with Sean being as irreverant as he can be (his vows included Sean declaing "AND you're wicked hot." to Christina. Christina even came up with the idea to march out to the celebration music from the end of Star Wars IV. That was awesome! The reception was held on, of all places, Hanscom AFB - which happens to be, litterally, my old stomping grounds. The reception was held in the Minuteman Club (The officers club) which the last time I was in was for my Father's Air Force retirement ceremony many years ago. That was something else. Even ended up catching the garter, though I don't know about this tradition of the guy who catches the garter and the girl who catches the bouquet having to dance together (I swear Sean made that up on the spot!) But it was a good reception.


I have to thank Sean though from the bottom of my heart. He gave me an opportunity, albiet not one he neccisarily explicitly intended, for me to do something which I thought I'd never get another opportunity for - to see some of my old stomping grounds. It was a treat. Even found out my old houes is going to get demolished as they rebuild that section of housing, and it was odd knowing that the house was empty, in a neighbourhood of houses I remember beeing teaming with people who were packed in like sardines. Thank you Sean.


Hmmmmmm - I know I've just skimmed over 6 months in a mere smattering, and for those of you trying to follow along in general - I'm sorry. My new years resolution, as always, is to blog more - and we'll see how 2008 faires, hopefully a few more than 2007 ;-) - Terri blogs a fair amount so maybe some of that will rub off on me.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

To quote a movie I own (Milipitas Monster): "I'm NOT having a good time"


So I'll give a quick update since February before I move on to how I am vehemently mad at American Airlines.


So life has been been insanely busy since Februrary. The months have flown by, and can't even tell you everything thats been going on. I know I've kept meaning to blog and tell you all how I'm angry at this, or the stupid thing I saw (like people backing up on the highways and such) but I've been busy enough that I haven't been able to do it. A lot of huge changes on kernel.org have been keeping me busy - we've deployed 4 new servers, and two of those were to Europe. My dad was able to land a job so things got a lot better on that front, though it wasn't perfectly ideal - but things are working out there so it's all good.


I just got back from Ottawa, which I was up there for the Ottawa Linux Symposium - which was a really good trip. I happened to be up there to give the BOF for kernel.org, which went really really well. a bit more than 70 people ended up showing up to the BOF, which far exceeded the 5 I was expecting - and to top it off people seemed to find it very useful. At some point there will be video footage of me making a complete idiot of myself in front of people, and now in front of the whole intarwebs ;-)


Ended up staying up there for Canada Day which was one of the most amazing street parties and national holidays I've seen. It was something else, and it isn't something you would find in Washington, DC. I mean, the national museums were free for normal exhibits (in fact I wandered over to the national gallery and saw the Renoire landscapes - which was an awesome exhibit). And had an interesting run in over at the Dominion tavern. If you've seen Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter you'll recognize the Dominion as the tavern where the giant fight with the vampires occured. Well I happened to go in and I ordered a coke, there were a couple of people at the bar and I asked the bar tender 'Have you ever heard of a movie called Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter? The people at the bar started laughing nigh uncontrolably and the bar tender calmly said 'Jesus is out back'.


This is the point where most people would double take and go *WHHHHHHAAAAA?*. Thats exactly what I did. So in true fashion I went out back, and yes I found Jesus. (I've even got photos of him)


Finished my coke and headed out and called HPA to let him know of this fantastic news, and he came straight over and we went back in. Turns out that 'Jesus' must own the Dominion as he was behind the bar serving when we went back in, so we wandered up to him and ordered two cokes and I calmly asked 'Are you Jesus?'


J: I was once


And I shook his hand and thanked him for such an awesome movie. And I can now say 'I found Jesus, he was out back and he served me a coke'.


So yeah Canada day was fun and I would love to be around up in Canada at some point again for it! But sadly this brings me to the part of the entry where I'm going to turn quite bitter, angry and I'm going to say a lot of things that will probably not endear me to American Airlines.




American Airlines or how they tried to kill me




Let me preface what I'm about to say with a few statements. I have in the past been a VERY happy American Airline customer, I'm a frequent flyer member with them and I have a reasonable amount of miles with them (enough for a couple of free flights I think), and of all my airline stories American Airlines has never made 'the cut' so to speak. I mean I was FLOORED and impressed back in Novemeber when I flew home and there was a measely delay (not anything to even worry about in my book) and I couple of weeks later I got an e-mail profusely apologizing for the delay and showering me with free frequent flyer miles (I never even complained, a delay of less than a day is peanuts when you compare it to sleeping in airports when trying to get to interviews, or being told your flight hasn't come to this airport in 6 months, etc). So when I say I'm VERY disapointed I want you to understand why I'm dissapointed.


American Airlines unwittingly caused me quite a bit of suffering, grief and anger because of a 4.5 hour flight from Chicago O'Hare to San Francisco Intl. I would go so far as to claim they unwittingly tried to kill me.


A bit more back story, to make my point very very clear. I have a nut allergy. Specifically I have a tree nut allergy, not to be confused with a peanut allergy as peanuts are legumes. Peanut allergies and tree nut allergies are actually very similar, and in a lot of cases having one means you have the other. I scaped the serpents tongue on the peanuts though but for the purposes of my rant the same arguments and concerns come up for people with peanut allergies as well as tree nut alergies. I digress with the peanut allergy explination however.


I have a nut allergy. One could even go so far as to call it a severe nut allergy. To give you an idea of how severe I've had an epipen since I was probably 5, I will likely need a constant perscription for an epipen for the rest of my life. Luckily I have had only one occasion where an epipen might have been useful, and that was before my family knew what an epipen was. All of my friends have a good idea of how serious this allergy is, and I don't hide it from them. In general this is something that's actually quite easy for me to avoid and manage (which is a bit different than people with peanut allergies - I do feel for you guys out there with those) Nuts are most commonly found in desserts, so I tend to be overly cautious about eating them, along with medeteranian food, and a few things along those lines. And MOST nuts I'm not so allergic to them that accientally eating a small amount is going to send me anaphylactic, it'll just make my mouth tingle. So while it is normally manageable there is a specific situation that is unavoidable and can cause massive havoc.


Peanuts and nuts have a tendency to leave small amounts of dust (or in the case of bagged varieties quite a bit) that is easily kicked up into the air. Now in a normal environment this isn't that big of a deal, they will float around for a bit and settle like normal dust. In a normal sized house (lets say my apartment with about 1K sqft of space) a small handful of nuts from one person means there's a very small particle count in the air, and it's unlikely to affect anyone but the by far most severely aflicted. However, lets change the environment here. Lets take that one person with a small bag and double the total sqft to 2K, but instead of something like a house you make it a presurized cabin that's recirculating air, a lot of recirculated air. In this environment your going to basically keep most of those particles in the air both as people move a lot and as the forced air is recirculated. This makes for the concentration of nut dust particles in the air to be a lot higher with very little effort.


Which brings me to my main complaint. American Airlines (along with a lot of other airlines apparently - they aren't on their own but my rancor is currently targeted at American right now) have reversed a long standing choice to not serve nuts on aircraft (along with peanuts - though peanuts seem to still be mising). In fact they have gone so far in the reverse it's mind boggling. Apparently first class passengers (on flights who's 'snack time' is after noon) are being given a mixed nut assortment which consists of cashews, almonds and walnuts I believe. And in coach the 'cheap' option for a snack (at $3) is a trail mix assortment with cashews.


Needless to say when I found this out after 3 hours of being in the air and experiencing some odd itching, a bit more caughing than I would have expected and a nose that made the niagra falls seem like a babling brook a light went off in my head and I dove for the benedryl in my backpack immediately, and called for a stewardess.


I was in the process of a good sized (though at the point non-life threatening) allergic reaction to the nut dust that was being forced to breath, and could not escape from because the other passengers were being given / sold nuts on the aircraft.


What followed is as close to a timeline as I can give, but due to me being absolutely internally livid and being very concerned with my own internal state (being very aware of what was going on and trying to make sure that if things got worse that my epipen was easily available and that my traveling companions were aware of what was going on)


~3hrs into the flight (at least 2 hours after the nuts were first served) I make the realization that the insanely runny nose (as well as the other symptoms) I've had for that last 2 hours or so is not because of the normal random traveling bits but because I'm in the middle of an allergic reaction to the nut dust in the air. There's nowhere to go to get away from it all, and to be honest the worst of the damage is done - the particles are already logged in my lungs, even putting my on oxygen at this point won't really fix the problem as the bits are there in my lungs and my body is already inflamed. I dive for my backpack under the seat in front of my and pull out the benedryl down two tablets, pull out my penguin mints (caffinated mints) start chewing them like there's no tomorrow and call for a stewardess. I inform my traveling companions of my sudden epiphany. I'm now actutely checking myself and paying attention to my breathing and such - if things get bad my epipen is in my backpack and the only thing I could do is down a non-recommended amount of benedryl, take the epipen and chew through what's left of my 'caffiene pills' in the hopes of them getting the plane down in time for them to get me an EMT. We are at cruising altitude for an S80 - 30,000 - 40,000 ft. An emergency landing might not be fast enough for me if it gets that far.


A stewardess comes over and I ask two very blunt very simple questions:


  1. I need a glass of water immediately

  2. What are the EXACT contents of the trail mix as I have reason to believe I'm having an allergic reaction to the nut dust from it. (that's all the nuts I know about at that time and I need to know if the REALLY bad nuts were included. If so this is going to get a lot worse, if not it won't get really bad for a while yet but I'm not in a good situation)


Sadly it became very clear very quickly that she did not speak english very well, kept saying 'there aren't any peanuts on the plane' and that my second question had her way too confused. She ended up going and getting me my water, and bringing me back a bag of the trail mix and tried to give it to me. I refused the bag, took the water. My traveling companions had some things to say about trying to give someone possibly having an alergic reaction the very thing they are allergic to. The stewardess wandered off after that. I was quite angry, determind and very very concerned - but so far I hadn't heard of any of the REALLY bad nuts on the ingrediants so this likely wasn't life threatening to me.


The head stewardess for coach (seemingly) came over a couple of minutes later and asked a few questions and tried to figure out what as going on exactly. I explained that I had reason to believe I was having an allergy attack due to the nut dust being forcibly recirculated through the cabin from the trail mix containing cashews. She quickly pointed out that 'Policy does not allow us to not sell the snacks' (fine, great the damage is already done and at that minute I didn't care but for the record that's a darned bad policy) and two 'That first class had a mixed nut assortment'.


I quickly interogate her with regards to the contents of the mixed nut assortment and make sure that the danger nut is not present. I'm now even more concerned as first class was just given the assortment, this explains a lot more about why I'm having the troubles I am. She mentions understanding allergies, as her daughter (may she rest in peace as she died of a medical condition) was at times on some of the very heavy duty anti-histimens and epipens and such were not uncommon to her because of this. She understands my concerns but ultimately (and I agree with her) there isn't anything she can do to stop the cause (it's already in the air - the only thing they could do is recirculate out all the air and pump in fresh air). She also mentions the morning / afternoon thing (even going so far as to suggest that I only fly in the morning! I've always had connecting flights when I fly and invariably I get leg 1 done in the morning and leg 2 done in the afternoon / evening) and asks me to make sure that if there's anything I need to let them know.


I am then stuck on the aircraft for another 1.5 hrs until we get to San Francisco Intl.. My brain is fried, my nose is a mess (the second stewardess had given me some tissues, and wow did those tear my nose apart), the caughing and breathing issues are now a bit more noticable. I get off the plane get to my luggage and at that time I'm rather sick and in no capacity able to fight / argue with American over the predicament. I did however make sure to ask the stewardess for the 'correct' path to complain through, as this wasn't going to end there.


I get home, still taking benedryl, take a very long hot shower (which helped a lot but obviously not enough) and tried to sleep. I didn't very well, between caughing and my nose I slept in 45 minute chunks and that was only about 6 hours at best.


I filed my first complaint, requesting a responce from American on Tuesday morning. I have kept copies of the form that was sent. I have not had a responce from American thought they claim it can 'take a week to respond to your request'.


Wednesday was the first day where I started really feeling 'human' and not fuzzy brained. I was able to sleep Tuesday night, I was still on benedryl and I was using my inhaler.


Today is July 6th, I flew on Monday. I'm still caughing (though thats getting better), and my nose is still not 'normal' (being unnaturally stuffy / runny). I don't consider being forced to breath a toxic substance in an enclosed space for 4.5hours, and then suffering for a week afterwards to be an acceptable way to fly. It absolutely shocks me that American, as well as many other airlines, would serve nuts on the aircraft. They already know how allergic people are to these and it's not like they bill their flights as 'contains nuts', and by the time someone who's allergic to them finds out it's too late to get off. I'm genuinely scared that for the airlines to take this seriously someone is going to have to jab an epipen in their leg and land an aircraft, and I pray that that someone won't be me. For now I will wait to hear what American has to say, I am trying not to harbor explicit ill will towards them and I want to continue thinking that this is a problem of the left hand not talking to the right hand about the issue. If AA responds and takes my issue seriously I'll be happy, if not I will contact a number of advocacy and complaint departments (including the FAA) about the issue and the problem the issue presents. I would just rather AA not try to ignore this but take it seriously, and I understand one of the issues the stewardess brought up: they can't stop people from bringing nuts onto the aircraft and consuming them. While I understand that, and I accept it - the airlines shouldn't encourage nuts being on an aircraft by giving them out or selling them. If someone brings nuts onto an aircraft on their own thats one thing, but if the airlines gives them out that's quite another.


Ok I've ranted enough on that, and I know right now I'm hurt (both from AA making me sick for several days and for them taking up serving nuts again after not doing so for such a long time) and I'm angry (same reasons really) and I'm giving AA a chance to make things right, I just hope they take it seriously :-/

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

That time of year again


So generally speaking things are going well. I'm really happy with work, progress is being made on all of my projects and I'm quite happy. I've been quite happy with everything there all told, and even getting some work in on things like PXE Knife (hoping to get a new version of that out later this month, but we'll see). So work is going well and it's definately keeping me busy ;-)


Dad is doing ok, but things could be better. He got contacted by a couple of different groups recently, and both turned out to be duds. The first one billed themselves as a government federal agency, and they were relatively near to home. So this sounded ideal, until dad got the confirmation e-mail and it turned out to 1) not be a federal entity at all and 2) it was more or less a scammer group. So double whammy. Now I'll admit that they didn't explicitly do anything to Dad, but Mom found a lot of unpleasant information on them online. So they git nixed. Next up was a billed 'head hunter', and surprise surprise - it wasn't. It ended up being a similar entity to the governments called T.A.P. or Transition Assistance Program, or a set of resources designed to help people change jobs, etc. Now in and of itself this isn't a bad thing, however when dad went to talk to them it became abundantly clear just how useless they were going to be for him. So all in all, things aren't going spectactularly on that front :-/ If you get a chance, remember them in your prayers and well wishes, because any assistance at this point would be appreciated.


Anyway before I close for the night (it's 2am) I just wanted to comment as to the time of year, mainly because well I'm single. Valentines day is in a couple of days, and I've had my fair share of awesome Valentines days, spent with S.O.'s of the time. Sadly though, I'm single and it's just kinda of a grating holiday to a degree. It reminds me of past loves (and reminds me that there are small pieces of me that do still love them), causes me to reflect and re-examine those relationships and by and large, and I'll be honest, makes me jealous of all the people who are in love right now. I don't begrudge them their happiness, in fact I'm really quite happy for all of you, but I am jealous all the same. Heck I'll even go so far as to admit I've made several decisions I've regreted in the past couple of years, and do seriously wonder if I was right, or just frightened or controlled by my own demons.


In all likelyhood I'm not alone, I'm sure there's a nice large portion of the population that is dealing with the same set of emotions, troubles and what not. To a certain extent, Valentines day is an interesting semi-exclusive holiday, with those who get to enjoy it (typically those who are in happy relationships, though thats not always the case) and than the rest of us. For some a reminder of their happiness, for others the opposite. In the end I suppose the only thing that will really affect me this year is the fact that Valentines day falls on Wednesday, the day a small group of us typically goof off and hang out in Everquest 2. Two of the four members are happily married to each other, and the other member is married as well. Probably means we will game on Thursday instead of Wednesday, maybe I'll get some work done on PXE Knife or maybe if Poseidon (new kernel.org machine) makes it out to OSUOSL I can finish setting that up and get it synced up and live. I mean heck, if nothing else I have a couple of bad movies I can watch which will amuse me all the same (Tank Girl being the most notable)


Happy Valentines Day to those of you who will be celebrating, and to those of you who aren't at least your in good company.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

The life and times of a Warthog


So the last month and a half has been..... Interesting and it's been busy. First a quick update on the situation back home. Things have calmed down some, though the entire family is still on edge. No one is sure if dad's going to survive this ordeal he's being put though. There is a small reprieve so to speak and he has gotten an extension so things are now delayed until the end of February. Which currently begs the question since I'm penny pinching as much as possible, do I spend the money and go back to Iowa for a short while for Ayyam-i-ha, or do I sit and have a gothic holiday (sitting in my apartment and celebrating alone)? I don't have an answer but I'll certinaly keep my eyes peeled on plane tickets. If you find some cheap ones or know of somewhere to find them cheap, let me know.


So beyond that lets see what else is going on. Thanksgiving was a bit hectic, getting people to / from the airport and such. I ended up going home for Turkey day as I had already had tickets. It was good, and it helped the family a lot to see me, heck it helped me a lot. It was a good Thanksgiving, though everyone was on edge and stressed. It was good to be home, and just be with everyone.


December was fairly quiet, work was busy, hectic and insane. I got some decent testing done for a demo we were working on with a 3rd party, though I'm not entirely sure how that finally turned out. So the big news of December was I went into talks with 3Leaf Networks, and found out they were pretty cool and my 'Christmas Presant' to myself this year was accepting a job offer from them. C2 wasn't exactly thrilled but they took the news fairly well.


Christmas eve I ended up doing a big dinner party and made deliciously yummy food. Well, it wasn't my best dinner I've cooked but it was reasonable, and I've got some notes on what I can do to improve it if I cook it again (Pork tenderloin over potatoe beds, string green beans, salad, etc). Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening in general, did dinner and than we were going to watch a movie of some sort but got side tracked and played with my MythTV setup for a while and just chatting. People really seemed to like the setup, so I might just try and do a dinner & a movie thing maybe once a week or once every other week or something, kinda depends on how gung ho I get about it all. But it was fun and I definately want to do it again.


Christmas Day however was eventful. I awoke, and was an utter bum for most of the day. At some point I decided to start text messaging everyone a Merry Christmas. About 3/4 of the way through this process Rob M. gives me a call and calmly says 'Hey, I was about to call you anyway as I was going to ask if you could give me a ride - I think I may have broken my foot'......... Well as you can imagine, I dropped everything I was being a bum and doing and went and got him to the emergency room. So I spent several hours hanging out at the hospital. It turned out to not be broken (WELL they don't think so anyway.... but thats an odd story), and I got Rob home and went to pick people up from the airport (I did a lot of that in December, something like 5 trips to SFO and a strip to SJC in the span of a couple of weeks). The only downside to spending the time at the Hospital, which makes for a good story and was well worth it, was I caught a cold that I only got over a couple of days ago, so par for the course I suppose.


Anyway New years eve was pretty quiet this year, nothing really to report on that front. It was spent more or less about the same as last year, though instead of being subjected^H^H^H enthralled by Happy Tree Friends, we played 'House on the Hill' an Avalon Hill board game. If you haven't played it, it's a lot of fun and because of the way it's done it's new and fresh almost every time you play it. Go check it out!


Anyway this week has been my first week at 3Leaf, which you can imagine is filled with brain dumps, and just trying to figure out whats going on and getting settled in. I've already got a quote back on my desk for a new build server that I get to rig out as part of my duties (it's monsterous, trust me so you can imagine how much glee it brings me). The funny thing is not two days after I'm out of my last job, they had to call me up to have me come in and fix a few things that had broken, and in them trying to solve the problem ended up making the problem worse. Go figure, I'm gone two days and they end up having problems. Cest la vie! Things are fine now, and should go back to the smooth sailing I would have expected (the problem was a partial hardware hiccup, and not something I'd expect to happen again)


And here I am up to date, in a whirlwind update. My goal is to update this a bit more often and to vent more random frustrations and comments with the world in general. Not that I think anyone actually reads this, but hey it's like shouting through the void, maybe someone will hear you, and if not at least I feel better for having shouted ;-)


Happy New Year everyone, so far this year is looking up and I have high hopes for it!

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Today has been one of those days. Heck it's been one of those days the last couple of months. It's been a pretty big mess lately, and I'll be perfectly honest I don't know how to do about most of it. Back in October my company ended up letting some people go. With any layoff you can imagine it didn't come at an opportune time, they never do. I scaped the serpants tongue so to speak again, but I'll admit it's not a pleasant thing to be a sysadmin at layoff time. I had to worry about a lot of the security concerns with people leaving under those circumstances. Not fun. We are surviving right now, but the group I'm half with took a pretty drastic hit. More or less I'm back to a two man department, and I'm still half duty on IT. So you can imagine - I'm up to my eyeballs in work.


So I've been on edge in general given that my company has been going crazy and such, but yeah my dad found out today that he's probably out of a job in two months now. So I'm now wigging out over that, there are visions of what happened 9 years ago floating through my head over the whole issue. I'll go out on a limb, that entire situation was probably one of the saddest most painful times in not on my life but I'm fairly sure of everyone in my family. We have the good col-o-nel and the Air Force to thank for for much of that, as well as it seems my dad's current boss. She seems to have it out for him, I won't get into it but she seems to have been gunning for him when she got the managers position over dad. It's odd to be in a position where I might be slightly more stable than my father. Wow does growing up suck :-/


My little sister is up a creek right now too, as she going to be bailing on grad school for the time being, seems like things didn't go nearly as well as she had hoped (mainly due to the primary costume professor leaving just weeks before she showed up on campus leaving her department in turmoil). My brother had and lost a girlfriend. And I probably can't even think of all the rest of the stuff that's been going on with the universe. Sucks don't it? When it rains it pours.


It hasn't been completely bad, but I'll admit some of it has me pretty flustered. Halloween happened and that was pretty darned cool. Flew home for the annual halloween party, it was awesome though a little bit smaller than normal. There are a few photos floating around, even one or two that prove how 1337 I am ;-). it was a good trip home and I'm glad I went. Heading back for thanksgiving as well. Also was able to make it up to San Francisco on Halloween night, and hung around out in the Castro. It was pretty cool, and there were a lot of awesome costumes. For those of you who know what was going on - yes we weren't very far from the shooting. We didn't actually hear any of the shots, but when you see the SFPD draw weapons and start marching for the scene in front of you, you know it's time to leave. We all made it out ok, about the worst thing that happened is a couple of us seem to have picked up a minor cold from it. Everyone seems to have recovered by now so it's all good. I finished getting my apartment clean, it's actually really cool and it's quite nice now. It's about time I start having people over for dinner and such, any takers?


Anyway - it's been one of those days, and I don't even know whats all going to happen. The joy, you know it's bad when your boss who's in Beijing even tells you to go home.

warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)

Central void of yuppiness or Why some companies are dumb or please lord let me never be THAT pretentious


So today I decided to add a 3rd shelf to the growing number of shelves bolted to my living room wall. A couple months back I bought some shelves from Ikea and had to stain them to get them to match the bookcases that are in my living room. This is anothe one of those, it's a bit darker than the other two but since it's further up you can't really tell. So I ended up putting a rather large book full of shakespeare and the dragon poster I bought at Gencon on it. Honestly it looks pretty good and I am now inspired to actually get things framed and up on my wall! I also decided that since I've been on something of a cleaning and organizing kick that I should go and buy the bookshelf for this one nook I have. It didn't go well.


So, what I want is some sort of modularish shelving thats about 6ft tall by roughly 36-40in wide and about 12 - 14in deep. I originally thought something like Ikea's Gorm collection would work. But sadly it's made of pine, and honestly, not the best quality pine at that. So even if I stain it, which will be a giant mess and nigh impossible as I don't really have the space, It's flimsy and well.. yeah. Not going to work. So I've been pondering what can go there, ohhh it has one more requirement: the electrical breakers for my apartment would be at the back of this, so it needs an open back. So since I've been putting up all this wire shelving at home, and since The Container Store is just up the road in Santana Row, I thought I'd give them a shot. They actually cary some of the really GOOD wire shelving, and since I'm going to be using this rather seriously I would like to make sure it's of some quality. So I give them a call and ask 'do you have the silver/chrome metro shelves in the 14x36in size in stock?' they wander off, come back and tell me that indeed they did. So I decide to trek over there. This too did not go well.


So I get over to Santan Row, and for those of you not in the San Jose area, let me explain Santan Row: It's pure yuppie central. I've sat at a cafe thats on the main drag there, doing my best to spend as little as possible, just to watch the cars drive up and down the main drag. Why? In 10 minutes I saw 3 ferrari's, 2 lamburghini's, a lotus and several other cars that are probably worth more than the total sum of all my assetts. The funny part was, they were all looking for parking spots on the main drag so they can show of their cars, instead of parking in the parking garage like 'normal' people. Anyway, so I get to Santana Row, and I get into the parking garage where people immediately turn dumb. I mean it's unfathomable how people will be fighting for parking spots on levels 1 or 2 of a parking garage where by the time I get to the top level (4th in this case) there are more parking spaces than I can shake a stick at. Lazy human beings! (DARN YOU KAISER PERMANENTE AND YOUR THRIVE CAMPAIGN CONVINCING ME TO PARK FURTHER AWAY SO I WALK MORE!) Anyway, so I park and wander into The Container Store.


The store is fairly quiet, so I head up and run into another gentleman looking at the metro shelving. So this other gentleman gets some assistance and starts pondering some of this shelving for his work (he apparently works at cisco). So yeah, this didn't turn out well. An incredibly nice associate, named Christina, came over to ask the guy who was helping the Cisco employee a question. This is where things start going wrong. He basically starts trying to put some moves on the poor girl and the associate helping him kinda plays along with the whole thing and teases her as well. They end up delaying her while she's trying to help someone else and yeah. So she ends up escaping and I make mention that what the Cisco guy is after is this certain size of the metro shelving he's after, since I'm using the stuff exactly as he wants to use it, at work. Well so now I'm designated a buddy of this guy for just trying to help out, joy. Anyway the Cisco gentleman and the associate go back to talking at some point, half including me though I'm not doing much to stay included, and their conversation quickly devolves to talking about Christina. I wouldn't normally care but when the associate starts commenting about how horny she is to a customer, and they go so far as to call her over to ask her her age - there is something WRONG! Even when she had finally escaped again and some lady who was reasonably attractive walked by at the other end of the isle he gawked and nearly cat called, turned to me and said 'hey I'm single what can I do?'. I genuinely felt sorry for Christina, she seemed lovely from the information that was dragged out of her by those two, and she didn't really seem to appreciate their advances. I did try to divert her from those two, but they didn't make it easy which probably makes me as guilty as they are :-(. And after ALL of that, and getting down there 'ohhh yeah our company doesn't even carry the size of shelf your looking for, we don't have anything for you - can't even special order it.' Joy.


So I'm annoyed and I leave The Container Store empty handed, head over to Crate and Barrel to pick up a replacement plate since I chipped one of mine and so the trip wasn't a total waste. Get my plate and leave. Parking garage is again a pain, and when I get out I get dumped onto the main drag. As I was looking out my car trying to get back to a normal street is boggled my mind at how yuppie they all were. It was just dripping with it. I ended up punch some deep base techno / grunge up on my car's stereo, turned up the volume and had to drive all the way down and all the way back to get to where I wanted to go.


Only thing I could do to try and bring reality to yuppievill.

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