Boy, am I tired! We moved all of our stuff into our new three bedroom apartment in Potrero Hill. One difference is that last time we moved, we didn't have any space to move around in our tiny place. This time there's still lots of room, even though we haven't unpacked our boxes.
Sara and I are moving in a couple weeks -- to a three bedroom apartment in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. It's closer to Caltrain and there will be enough room for children. I should get packing but I'm kind of exhausted.
I'm really glad I don't have to work on Monday. I need some R & R.
Right now I'm reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which is excellent. It has made me laugh out loud several times. Sara said, "It's the best geek book I've ever read," and that's coming from someone who loved The Lord of The Rings. I wonder if she counts that as a geek book.
Special e-mails page for spammers
posting to a usenet newsgroup
Today I posted to a Usenet newsgroup for the first time in over ten years. Actually, all of the postings I ever did before were in, like, a five day period right after I first had Internet access in the summer of 1993. For some reason, I sort of forgot about newsgroups for a while.
I have a rather unusual name. Or, rather, an unusual combination of names. I suspect that I'm the only "John Markos O'Neill" in the world. This means that when I Google myself, it's all about me.
So one day, after Google started archiving newsgroups, I noticed these posts that I made in a two week period in 1993 that I'd basically forgotten about. It was fascinating to look back on that time, which was both stressful and idealistic for me. I had just graduated from college and I was taking Organic Chemistry at the University of New Mexico, hoping to go to medical school. I hadn't started working at NCGR yet. I felt socially isolated. And I had just discovered the Internet.
Now I feel an interesting connection to that earlier me. Instead of being socially isolated, I feel quite connected -- marriage has really changed that for me, once and for all. But my unemployment means that I once again have hours and hours to ponder ideas and the future.
In one very important way, I have failed to meet the ambitions I had ten years ago. That is, I hoped and expected to become a physician at that time. In other ways, I think the 22 year old me would be glad to see the transformation into the 33 year old me. I think I am a happier person than I used to be then. Maybe I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life -- I think so. Thank you, Sara.
Well, at least I'm doing that right. One of the things that makes me hopeful is my continuing ability to get to Muddy's every morning promptly at 8 AM. I've decided that it's really important to have that regular morning activity. I feel much more "employed" when I have some place to be in the morning. And I've been doing it -- okay, occasionally I haven't gotten here till 8:15 or so but most of the time I show up *before* 8.
It's been really rainy here in San Francisco. This morning it was my favorite kind of rain -- the misty kind you can walk through without a hat or umbrella.
Ahh . . . now really, I should write in my journal more often. Okay -- nothing to see here, nothing really to write about. Sara and I drove to Portland, Oregon for Thanksgiving with my Aunt Barbara and my sister and her family (Amy, James, and their three year old daughter Selma). Barbara has a lifelike stuffed dog, which was quite a hit this weekend. It stares out the window or around a corner.
Today I had a burst of energy in the job hunting realm. Unfortunately, a lot of the job postings are looking for some very specific skills -- the trend towards hiring senior people seems to continue. I wonder how hard it is to actually fill those reqs. It often seems to me that there must be no more than one or two people in the Bay Area who actually fill the criteria listed.
Sara and I have sort of developed our housing dream somewhat. Someday, we hope to own (or co-own, with our friends) an apartment building in the Mission. We'll put solar panels on the roof. Strangely, the dream seems to get farther and farther out of reach the longer I'm unemployed. Alas. I keep hoping that I'll find the perfect job but it hasn't shown up yet.
Anyway, the recovery appears to be real this time (I hope, I hope) so maybe the jobs will start popping up again. I'm trying to reinvent myself as a system administrator (as opposed to a programmer). The question keeps coming up -- how do I divide my time? Do I spend more time studying and learning new skills or looking at job postings and sending out my resume? How do I become truly wizardly at Perl and Linux? Am I just too old (33) to learn new tricks or am I the agile, quick, ace programmer/system administrator I like to think I am?
In some ways, I'm grateful for this period of unemployment -- it almost feels as though I'm fresh out of college again. So much possibility, so much unknown. It's frightening but exhilirating.
So my car's all set up for driving, commuting, et cetera. I haven't driven much in the past few months and I'm fairly ambivalent about driving and cars. In fact, I would say I'm pretty negative about driving cars, except that I own one.
Anyway, I have done all that I can to make the driving experience comfortable and safe for myself and for Sara. If I do end up a commuter, I hope I have the will power to bike and take the train most of the time. Nonetheless, I will almost certainly have to drive once in a while and it will be nice to be able to zip through the Fastrak lane on the bridges!
I think the next thing to do is to get that bicycle all fixed up. I have a beautiful Brompton folding bike that is the envy of other Caltrain passengers (and Bart passengers). It needs a new front tire. Freewheel on Valencia is all set up to work on Bromptons, which is unusual -- most bike shops won't touch 'em. But Freewheel is a great bike shop. If you live in SF, they're the one.
I think bicycling does a lot to make a person anti-car. Even if you obey the traffic laws, and I'm pretty conscientious about it, you often encounter people driving cluelessly, endangering the lives of those on two wheels. I often think, "it's your property but it's my *life* here." That is, a bicycle can do some damage (not much) to a car but it's unlikely that the driver will be harmed in a bicycle/car collision. On the other hand, cyclists are often seriously injured or killed in collisions with cars.
It's scary but I keep bicycling -- I try to be safe, keep a sensible distance from cars, and hope for the best.
First time kernel compile
Today I compiled the kernel on my own machine for the first (but not the last) time.
This is the new sound sensation.
It's time to boogie on down, now.
We saw Little Fuzzy at the Adobe Bookstore tonight, after an art auction. They played Mega Monster, my favorite. For some reason, it's hard to dance in a cramped book shop when the lights are on full power, so we only danced a little bit.
Today was quite the day for art. We rode our bikes (my first time riding over the Golden Gate Bridge) to Sausaulito for the Art Festival, apparently the 2nd best in the nation. Michael, of game night fame, was exhibiting his sculptures, which looked quite fantastic. He had the wire human figures dangling from poles in front of his booth in mobile style. It was like no other booth and really drew a crowd. Apparently he has had his best year ever.
I was pretty exhausted from the ride but it was an excellent day. Since I'm unemployed, I don't really get tomorrow off. This weekend was almost as good as being at Burning Man! Alas . . . next year!
Ah . . . game night. Tonight we played a rousing game of Chinese Checkers. That game was pretty short (Sara won) and then Nicole arrived. We followed it up with a nice game of Clue.
For some reason I was completely out of it in Clue and missed that the crime took place in the Conservatory. I pretty much caught on about the knife but I thought probably Michael had Miss Scarlett, since he kept summoning her around the board. I'm not sure what the best note-taking scheme for Clue is.
P.S. Nicole won, as I mentioned in the comment below.
Ah . . . today I had a guitar lesson. I love guitar lessons -- I'm working on three Rush songs, Freewill, Spirit of Radio, and New World Man. I'll be playing them at the student show at the Parkside in San Francisco in December. We are going to RAWK!
Right now I'm working on some classic 70s speed licks to enhance my solos on Freewill and Spirit of Radio a bit.
What classes should I take?
I'm contemplating taking some classes in the fall. If possible, I'd like to take some computer science classes, get a better understanding of data structures and algorithms, et cetera. Unfortunately, it seems as though there are a lot of prerequisites at the local university for their computer science track. For one thing, they require calculus. Now I took calculus back in college (and a little in high school, too) but I suspect I'm a bit rusty.
Also, the schedule for the calculus classes isn't great for someone who has designs on a job. I might have better luck at the local community college. However, I'm not sure whether their credits would transfer.
Although the local university extension has some programming and system administration classes that fit in well with working people's schedules, their classes are more focused on particular skills (e.g. Java programming) rather than computer science. But I might end up there just because of scheduling.
I wonder how much of an autodidact it's practical to be w/r/t computer science, since that seems to be the way Fate is pushing me.
This is a journey into my journal.
Good morning (it's still morning here in San Francisco). I have nothing to say in my journal right now except to announce (and celebrate) the beginning of my journal. I just figured out that I *had* a journal a few days ago -- so it seems like I may as well use it. I think the major purpose of my journal will be to chronicle my job hunt . . . but I could be wrong. Anyway, I expect that nobody will want to read my journal except me. That is, unless I write something that I think is particularly insightful and send all my friends to see it.