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:: Thursday, August 30, 2001 ::
Ah, the comforts of a quiet evening at home. There will be a lot less of those in the upcoming months, what with 9 credit hours of grad school, MCSE training and a 50 hour/week job. Soon, even a 20 minute shower will seem an unattainable luxury. Oof! What the hell was I thinking? I must make a point to remember how euphoric kava-kava can make one feel and never, never to make long-term plans for the future less than 6 hours after taking it.
On the positive side, it's a good thing I have a home security system and automated the ADT payments, downloaded IronMedia's Java Blogger client and have a retired neighbor who knows the general times of my comings and goings and looks out for me. Neighborhood watches are cool. In return, I keep an eye on her place while she's sound asleep, because my ungodly weird sleeping habits mean I'm usually up past 3am.
On the negative side, my cat gets stressed and claws the carpet when I'm not home for long periods of time, and I've met with absolutely zero success teaching him more constructive stress-management techniques - behold the irreparably shredded carpet for yourself. Oh well, at least he's less vindictive than most felines - a more neurotic cat might protest by urinating on the bed. Not cool. If I wanted an animal companion with no bladder or bowel control, I'd get some sort of avian. One that didn't squawk or chirp too much. And was nocturnal, like me. Maybe an owl. A rooster would be out of the question and undoubtedly would suffer a horrible death at 5:30am one sunny, weekend summer morning. My, how shocking that would be - I'm so not the violent type - but much like their feline friends, humans can do terrible things when pushed over the edge. There will be no avians in the foreseeable future - Mr. Mist (you ought to know Mr. Mistoffelees! The Original Conjuring Cat) and I have a peaceful harmony, represented here. The arrangement is I change the litter, provide food and water, toys, no fewer than 40 places to sleep and a lap on demand; Mr. Mist's part is to lounge 22 hours a day, and may I say his performance is exemplary.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/30/2001 @ 00:20 :: [link] ::
:: Tuesday, August 28, 2001 ::
It's not that I have a personal vendetta against Dubya and put forth an effort to ridicule him - I freely admit his decision on stem cell research was a step in the right direction I did not expect him to make, and for that, I underestimated the man. I simply don't agree with most everything he does. Another thing - and I say this with the greatest solemnness - I truly believe a significant percentage of the American population is more intelligent than George W. Bush, Jr., and the advisors Dubya has surrounded himself with are ill-equipped to compensate for his shortcomings and mediocre intelligence because they're his political clones. The White House is drinking its own bath water: Bush's advisors are not a group with diverse perspectives - they're all like him. Let's be fair - there is a very natural tendency to prefer others who are like us, but for someone of Bush's caliber, it's all the more important he surround himself with advisors from widely varied backgrounds to better appreciate and address the needs of the wide mix of people in this country. Or simply find people; as Ralph Nader pointed out on the Diane Rehm show this morning, it's almost September and there are no appointees for the Food and Drug Administration or National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, two government organizations whose mission is to protect the health and safety of Americans.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/28/2001 @ 12:27 :: [link] ::
:: Friday, August 24, 2001 ::
While researching this, I found a brief history of the church I attended as a kid. It was provided by my grandmother, Noreen Day, the same lady we made noodles with. She's written two books on the history of Plum Creek Baptist Church. It's a small Internet, after all.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/24/2001 @ 02:01 :: [link] ::
:: Thursday, August 23, 2001 ::
I get 8 hours of sleep, more than I've had in any one night for the past 3 weeks, then felt like molasses all day long. Nice. It's 6:30pm, I'm at work and would like nothing more than a 15 minute nap to keep forging ahead. But sleeping at work, even a 15-minute pick-me-up, is severely taboo in corporate America. Silicon Valley, it ain't.
Sleep 8 hours tonight, lethargic all day tomorrow. That's a paradox, an enigma, a mysticism and a bizarrerie. Bittersweet. Pleasing, yet disturbing, not unlike many things in life.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/23/2001 @ 19:00 :: [link] ::
:: Sunday, August 19, 2001 ::
I knew it. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! Human multitasking is not the way to improve productivity.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/19/2001 @ 17:35 :: [link] ::
An assemblage of notable websites recently found out and about...
:: Friday, August 17, 2001 ::
Hey, kids, sorry there haven't been any posts for a few days, but the writing was diverted to filling out graduate school applications. Yes, this techno-geek with a Biochemistry degree has sold out to corporate America and will be persuing an MBA for the next 22 months! Woo hoo! Jokes about corporate America aside, tuition reimbursement is a beautiful thing. $28,000 total tuition plus books, and with a B-average I won't pay a penny. Nice.
How about an essay, since I spent a sizeable chunk of the afternoon writing it? The topic was "What are your long-term career aspirations and how will a Bellarmine MBA help you accomplish them?", the token "what do you want to be when you grow up?" essay question. It's not exactly peering into the dark depths of my soul, but the first half is a fairly accurate account of where I've come from.
I elected to remove references to my employer and replace them with "ACME" or "BRAND X." I wouldn't want to attract undue attention when Google starts returning links here to searches for certain corporate buzzwords. The web team at my company actually purchases reports on Usenet articles and websites containing the very corporate buzzwords I chose to remove. Am I being obstructively paranoid? Nahhhhhh!
But... I'm warning you... it is an admissions essay, so the facetious remarks were toned down a bit.
Okay, okay... without further adieu, a 26 year-old's rendition of "what I want to be when I grow up."
And there you have it. Boo-ya!
Now, off to study for the GMAT...:: Bryan Travis :: 08/17/2001 @ 20:26 :: [link] ::
:: Wednesday, August 15, 2001 ::
I found this gem while going through my "Unbelievable" email folder. The real subject of this email is "WHERE ARE THE PATCH CABLES!", but I think "Career Advice" is much more apropos, don't you? Reading it is sure to be painful and shockingly funny at the same time; shockingly funny for obvious reasons and painful because you'll feel bad for both author and recipient, and because most of us have sent such an email, only to regret it later forever and for ever. The email was sent by a co-worker. Names have been removed to protect the innocent and the brazenly chutzpah. The original email was sent in 14-point Arial, but reproducing the typeface here would taint my weblog's tender design. Ah, I can still barely contain myself, even after 7 months! Submitted for your approval...
:: Bryan Travis :: 08/15/2001 @ 00:22 :: [link] ::
:: Sunday, August 12, 2001 ::
So I'm patiently waiting and perusing websites...
Have you ever been moved to action by a force deep inside that you knew was The Right Thing To Do, having the most pure and simple good intent? A calling to reduce the suffering in the Universe a bit, knowing there would be no recognition, because it wasn't about you for once. You were just a conduit. So you answered the call of your soul and acted.
I did The Right Thing(tm), honest to God I did! But... a poor marksman misses the criminal and shoots the hostage. With time, I feel more like King Midas, so I've bound my hands to prevent doing more harm, for in this situation, my hands have consistently failed to improve circumstances.
Mahayana Buddhism has a simple philosophy. Suffering is inherent to human life, but it is unnecessary. We seek enlightenment by understanding the nature and causes of suffering. Through understanding the causes, we gain awareness and acquire the wisdom to remove the sources of suffering from ourselves and help our fellow humans find the path of enlightenment and do the same.
The mantra is a fascinating concept. A mantra is one to a few phrases or sentences, usually spoken or uttered to oneself repeatedly. Words have no tangible existence, but they are nonetheless powerful entities because we perceive them as real. Our joy and suffering often consents to the words of ourselves and others. A mantra is enlightened sound with no ultimate reality. By repeating a mantra we experience both of its aspects at the same time: the enlightened sound with the non-reality of the words.
The most common Buddhist mantra is "Om Mani Padme Hum" or "Om Mani Peme Hung." The six syllables represent the six forms of human suffering, and their sound brings enlightenment to absolve it:
Om - pride, arrogance
Back to The Right Thing.
Some believe genuine altruism is an illusion. Not me - I think it's very real in people's hearts and intentions, but hard to quantify in the outcome of an event. I did what I could, but there are other terms in the equation, and the final result isn't always easy to predict, and sometimes is entirely unexpected. That's why I believe a Utopian society is as improbable as anything ever was (though not entirely impossible), because even with the best of intentions from all parties, Murphy's Law applies, and one person's heaven is another's hell. Oh, how I wish things had turned out differently! But I did my best, and my heart was in the right place. The rest is up to the wind.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/12/2001 @ 02:34 :: [link] ::
:: Thursday, August 09, 2001 ::
:: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 ::
I've often wondered how people surfing to my web site find me. My web pages aren't exactly mainstream, except maybe the Alaska Travelogue, so I always assumed anyone finding my site would have to search for utterly bizarre keywords. With access to my referrers, I've realized I couldn't be more correct. Some recent queries on Google and Yahoo:
The other pages returned vary widely from highly informative to the completely unrelated and from erotic to groaningly similar to mine, which is to say, "web shite." :: Bryan Travis :: 08/08/2001 @ 23:40 :: [link] ::
:: Monday, August 06, 2001 ::
We made noodles with Grandmother Saturday. I took the camera along and will post a link to the pictures inside this post - watch for it to appear soon. My great-grandmother was full-blooded German, and noodle-making was a German family tradition my grandmother and her sisters learned during their childhood in Canada. My grandmother is healthy and her mind is sharp, but she is 86 years old. All too often when our elders die, their knowledge and experience dies with them. She's researched our heritage, tracing ancestors back to the late 1600's, and recorded her research and family lore told by relatives long dead in a family history to preserve them for us.
Unfortunately, paper and Microsoft Word cannot convey acquired skills and experience. Or maybe it's fortunate written words are limited, because it's heartening to know some things are simply part of the human experience and cannot be adequately represented in an impersonal form - they are their own common denominators. My grandmother's cooking will make you swear everything you've eaten before is trite. Well, except maybe fine dining, and I don't mean Applebee's, folks. Please. Someday when I'm older and eat a scrumptious blackberry cobbler with ice cream I don't want to say wistfully, "This is like Grandma used to make." Noodles aren't exactly fine dining, and they definitely ain't cobbler, but it's not about the noodles or the cobbler. It's about smelling the roses along life's path, being a family and how this 86 year old woman will live forever in our hearts, not as regrets of time wasted, but as memories of time well spent. Bereavement is realizing too late family is our single most valuable asset.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/06/2001 @ 07:21 :: [link] ::
:: Saturday, August 04, 2001 ::
I am amazed. In the two days I've been collecting statistics on funtongue scatterplot, there have been 10 unique visitors, and several of you have made multiple visits. Ah, me public! Based on IP addresses, I know who one or two of you are. For everyone else I don't know, are you here looking for world class journalism, thought-provoking insights, stunning revelations? I'm afraid you're not going to find them here - I'm just a NetGeek(tm) with random thoughts and nowhere else to spew them.
Equally surprising is where the hits are coming from:
:: Friday, August 03, 2001 ::
It's official. After six months of deliberation, I've decided to buy a Toyota Prius. One of the questions I asked Toyota's Customer Assistance Center was how to pronounce it. "PREE-us" I should have known - the word is Latin, and I took it in high school, so I knew the correct way to say it. Then why have I been calling it "PRY-us"?
It's the least I can do to counteract the environmentally unfriendly George "Dubya." Hmmm... next I need to figure out something to counteract his religious zealotry. Any suggestions? No, I will not join the Church of Satan or whatever it is.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/03/2001 @ 22:22 :: [link] ::
:: Thursday, August 02, 2001 ::
Below is a snippet from my cable router's incoming access log.
If you have broadband, run services on your machines or dial-in more than a couple hours a day, you'd be a fool not to use some form of hardware or software firewalling. The "Code Red" worm at work on port 80... well, maybe a few other worms and script kiddies, too. Turning on Paranoid Mode, possible explanations of the other port scans:
:: Wednesday, August 01, 2001 ::
When you see a co-worker take his coffee cup into the restroom, it's a little odd and a bit unsanitary... but if you've ever put dirty dishes into the dishwasher just before remembering it was full of clean dishes, you can relate.
But when you see a co-worker take his coffee cup into the restroom and take a slurp while standing at the urinal, you know the recent productivity initiative has gone a bit too far.:: Bryan Travis :: 08/01/2001 @ 15:01 :: [link] ::