what did you wanna be growing up?

I saw this post over at mental floss this morning, and I like the question — what did you wanna be when you were growing up?  It’s a cool rhetorical question that I remember asking myself when I was younger a lot, but I never really could come up with an answer.  I’m still not sure what I wanna do.  I *never* wanted to go into computers though.

My dream job, though, is to go back to working at the movie theater.  Of all the jobs I’ve ever had, none of them have happier memories.

Growing up, though, I remember in high school one thing I had settled my mind on was that I wanted to be a marine biologist.  I sucked at sciences in school, but I really liked biology, and with some real study on my part, I actually understood it.  On top of that, I took classes and was a registered scuba diver at the age or 14.  That was really intense, getting certified.  Diving is fun, too.

I still don’t know what I wanna do, though.  My main area of scientific interest now is psychology and sociology.  It’s the one subject that I never get tired of.  I don’t have any kind of schooling in that area (though I never got a degree in computer science, either), so I can’t really make a career change right now.

Ideally, though, my dream job is still just having one where it’s low stress, low key, and I enjoy working with people I like.  I’d have to sort out a few things in my life before I can manage to do that again, though.

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the thought process

Some of my friends, notably the close ones who are brazen enough to try and figure out what is going on inside my head (heaven help them), often ask me what in the world my thought process is.  I can only assume that listening to me talk is like trying to watch someone on crack play a pinball game.

I got an idea for another new Gentoo website this morning, and instead of summarizing what it is, I think it’d be more fun to kind of show what my thought process is when coming up for the idea.

The catalyst for all of it was that I got to work this morning, and I wanted to find a backup solution for a few case scenarios.  This is basically how it rolled.

  • Run eix -S backup on my desktop, pipe it through less, start looking at them
  • Open up the website of every single one I find that looks like it might fit my needs
  • Realize that there’s an app-backup portage category, which I could have browsed on my own website (oops).
  • Start realizing that trying to find my own is tedious, how I’d really want is just to see ratings on which ones are best.
  • Get ideas for a new Gentoo website.
  • I really need to build a new Gentoo packages website, one that track’s users ratings on packages, can have comments, reviews, all that crap.
  • While I’m at it, I need to do something to get a universal login across all the Gentoo projects (Znurt, Planet, new unnamed package one).
  • I should probably get a new domain for it.  Or bump Planet somewhere else.
  • I don’t wanna bump Planet somewhere else.  What’s a good domain name.
  • I’m almost out of cookies.
  • I’ve got a good domain name, is it available?
  • Crap, the .com is gone, but .org is available, I’ll get that.  Click, click, click, spendy, spendy.
  • Hmm, I wonder if my brother-in-law can help me design it for me.
  • Chat with him on IM for a few minutes, tell him I need it in about 3 to 4 months, he says no problem.  Awesome. :)
  • And it’s gotta login through OpenID, because I hate doing user management.
  • I’ll integrate Planet in there so users can modify their own stuff
  • And this’ll go great with all the user preference stuff I’m gonna have on Znurt soon, just track it through preferences.
  • It’d be cool if the packages one also tracked features, or did comparision, or did recommendations, like Netflix
  • Ooh, and you can see what friends are using
  • And at the same time, reserve all usernames for current Gentoo devs.  That’d be fun.
  • And it needs LOLcats. (I just came up with that one)
  • I gotta think of a new design.
  • Ooh, look a cool backup program.
  • I like the website, what are they using?  Ooh, Redmine.  I remember liking this thing.
  • I wanna try setting up Redmine again.
  • Ooh, someone put an ebuild in the tree.  I don’t have to use my crapalicious one I wrote.
  • Sweet, I can use SQLite.  Setting up a database on MySQL / Postgres is a pain if I just wanna test it out.
  • The –config isn’t working.  Crapsticks.  Well, I’ll just re-emerge every Ruby package installed and maybe that’ll fix it.
  • That didn’t fix it.  Maybe I’ll see the exact command that it’s running and debug it from there.
  • The deps are bad, I have to use an earlier version of rake.
  • All fixed
  • Ooh, I can run it as a standalone app!
  • I might need mod_ruby sometime, someday, even though I can’t find any mention of it on the website.  I’ll just install it anyway.
  • Ooh, shiny interface!
  • I like.
  • I think I can use this to replace trac.
  • Ooh, it supports git.
  • How the heck do you change the Issue fields?  I don’t like the defaults.
  • I think I’m going to go buy a subwoofer today.
  • I should put my local stuff in a Subversion repo for now.  I gotta learn me some git.
  • What’s a good subwoofer?
  • *ping Jason on IM and ask about subwoofer specs*
  • *go buy a subwoofer*
  • *watch Harry Potter trailer*
  • *eat lunch and head back to work*
  • What was I working on?  Oh, yah, backups.
  • This one looks cool too.  Ooh, shiny interface.
  • Woah, it integrates automatically with cron.  Nice.
  • There really should be a website to make finding this stuff easier.  I should write one.
  • And it should have screenshots!
  • How do you deal with the spam?   Hmm.
  • It’s been kind of a crazy day today.
  • I think I’ll blog about it.

And so it goes. :)

general skill set

My big thing of late has been analytics.  I’m finding that when I’m a bit confused as to how to proceed, that gathering and categorizing my available data helps give me a good roadmap.  I am, by nature, a really visual learner, so getting things in that type of hiearchy really is effective for me.

Tonight, I was bored, and was thinking how stretched thin I am right now (I essentially have three jobs at the moment, eek), and I started wondering about my skill set in general, so I wrote it all down.  You can see the lovely unordered list here.

I compiled it out of curiosity more than anything else.  I’m not interested in comparing my skill set to anyone else, or anything like that, and I’m certainly not trying to toot my own horn .. I’m certainly not into that.  But I did find it interesting.  I know I’ve always been a hybrid between web developer and systems admin, and then throw in some multimedia stuff on the side.  It’s really odd.  I realize that.  I like, though, that I pursue everything that interests me, even if it does totally wear me out.  I like knowing what I’m into and what doesn’t appeal to me.

So, yah.  That was fun.  It was hard getting them all down, and I’m sure I probably missed a few.  I don’t think I could really categorize Gentoo too well, as it’s taken up a lot of room in my life over the years, and really helped push me in a lot of directions.  I’m really grateful for that.  I love learning new stuff.

And, for the record, I really did write a CLI frontend to rip TV shows off your Tivo.  I’ve never released the code into the wild.  That’s on another huge list .. of projects to eventually accomplish.

Edit: for the record this is one of those posts I was debating publishing or not.

life is weeeeeeeiiiord

How is it that I can go from unemployed and pandering around in my  pajamas all day to so slammed busy that I get home and just sit on the couch stunned from it all all within a matter of like three weeks?  I dunno, but that’s what’s happened.

First of all, I got a job (yay!), so I’m glad for that.  Can check that one off my list.  I was honestly starting to get used to the whole unemployment thing, though — get to work on my projects, stay home and watch Star Trek all day, and complain about my heater kicking in too much.  Oh well.  Getting laid off in the middle of December was kind of a good thing, in a way, because it gave me a break.  I didn’t really think many companies would be in their right mind looking for employees because of the holidays, so I just ignore it and put off job searching until January.  My little vacation was nice, and much needed.  I got to spend Christmas at home all by myself, and did my best to make it a cool little holiday just by myself and my friends around here.  It went well. :)  It felt a lot like Christmas, in fact.  I haven’t enjoyed a holiday that much since I spent it by myself like 15 years ago in college.  That was cool.  Anyway.

I’m really glad I got the packages website launched (znurt).  I worked like a madman all through November and December to get that ready to go, and pushed it live pretty much just a few hours after finishing a few touches.  Unfortunately, I had no idea I’d get such a high amount of traffic and, at first, I hosted it at home on my Comcast connection, and it absolutely crippled my poor network here within like the first 8 hours.  Whoops.  So, I scrambled to get it online somewhere else as fast as I could, only to realize that the server setup I signed up for was not *quite* as fast as I had hoped it’d be — I don’t know what possessed me to do *anything* with the word “Celeron” in it.  Yikes.  But, I pushed myself against a wall, and I haven’t had time to look at it since then, so … it’s running slow, bugs and requests are backlogged, and I feel kinda bad about the messy launch.  However, if I hadn’t launched it when I did, I probably would be obsessing still over the very tiny details, so it was good if only for my mental health to get it out there.

So, I got that whole thing going on.  I just started my new job last week, and I’m still getting settled in.  I’m not sure what I think of it just yet.  Could go a *lot* of different ways.  Right now, I feel like a fish out of water because for the first time in, well, ever, I’m the only IT guy working there.  Takes some getting used to.

There’s a bunch of other stuff going on .. or maybe I just keep telling myself that.  Maybe it’s just more like catching up to my previous obligations.  Who knows.  Either way, I feel swamped, but not overwhelmed.  That’s good.  And a first.  I promised a friend yesterday that I’d help him build a mini Gentoo multimedia image to run on a VIA C7 system, so I gotta build that for him.  That shouldn’t take more than a day or so, though.

Lots of cool, good stuff going on, though.  Most of it is of a more personal nature (not *that* personal, but as a general rule I don’t get too detailed on my blog), and that’s good.

Right now, though, I’m mainly just trying to adjust to the new job.  Get down the rhythm of everything new and all.  Yah.

That’s mah life about now.

what i'm watching, part three

I’m starting to notice a curious trend, that I enjoy writing a lot of my blog entries on a Monday morning.  For some reason, that’s the time I’m most interested in writing anything at all, and I generally have a slew of topics to pick from.  Today’s no different, it seems.

I haven’t written one of my posts about recent watching habits in a long time, so I thought it’d be a nice revisit since I’ve seen a few things again that aren’t really deserving of posts in of themselves.  I’ll ramble them off in whatever manner I even remember them.

Astro Boy

I ended up seeing Astro Boy, unexpectedly, on opening night even, at the theater … and I loved it.  The more I think about it, the more I realize how much I liked it.

I was *extremely* skeptical about seeing this one, because of it’s manga background … something that has proven time and time and time again, that I just don’t have a passing interest in.  I just don’t have the brain for it, I guess, which in some ways is keeping me from becoming a first-class art / entertainment geek.  Ah, well.  My tastes are in a world all their own, that’s for sure.

But I remember seeing the trailer, again, about a week or so before the movie came out, and I thought, “Huh, this actually looks pretty good!”  And I liked it.

The story was really simple, and, the best way I can describe it … almost … well, simple is the best way to put it.  The story doesn’t take any weird, random tangents, instead almost following a direct storyline of the events without any diversion or discussion.  It was actually quite refreshing to see the story neither dumbed down or trussed up.  With one exception, each of the characters was consistent all the way through.  It was just good.  I wanna go see it again.

Oh yah, and every scene with the RRF is just hilarious. :)

Surrogates

I had been waiting to see this movie for a long time, ever since I saw the trailer for the first time.  I just knew I was gonna enjoy it, regardless of how bad it might turn out to be.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, since it was a sci-fi action / thriller with Bruce Willis, which could go all kinds of directions.  As far as action movies go, it was rather tame … hard questions about society aside.  That surprised me.

The story itself was weak, which would probably explain why I haven’t heard much about it, good or bad, or in reviews and what-not, but the concept it portrayed — people living their lives artificially — struck me on a number of levels.  I kept thinking about the many analogies of how our society does that anyway, through the Internet, through virtual escapes of any kind (video games came to mind).  It was just really, really cool.  It also raised a lot of points of you never know who is behind the artifical mask, either.  For someone who gets really sucked into the virtuality of second lives sometimes, and suffers from the after-shocks of trying to use it as an escape during hard times, the film really hit me, and I enjoyed it quite a lot.  It’s definitely not going to be a popular theme with the masses, but I liked it a lot.  I wish the story was better, though.

Calling Philo Vance

Now this is an old movie (1940).  I recorded a bunch of Philo Vance movies on my Tivo when TCM aired them a while ago, and I just now got the urge to watch some old movies this weekend, and I found this one.  It was a little odd.

I had a little hard time following it because, apparently, this is a staple character of movies back in the day, and this was the first film I saw him in after he’d already starred in quite a few films and radio shows.  I imagine it would be like stepping in to watch the 14th of 20 Sherlock Holmes films, never have knowing the man or his methods before, and wondering what the heck is going on and why it’s interesting.  That’s exactly how it was for me, here.

I’d heard of Philo Vance, only in passing, since I’ve seen his name before in my attempts to collect old time radio shows.

The movie itself moved at a really clipped pace, and Philo solved the murder almost as quickly as he found the details.  Anyway, it was a bit strange, but I love watching old movies so it was still fun.

traffic court

So, I have to go to traffic court next week, and I’m a bit freaked out about the whole thing. I got pulled over the other night for speeding (which doesn’t really bother me, I got ticketed for 10 over), but the real shocker was when the officer came back and said “You wanna explain to me why your license is suspended?” My jaw totally dropped and it took me a few seconds to even respond since I had no idea *why* it would be suspended to start with.

Turns out I made a stupid mistake — I need to send in a medical form signed by my doctor that states I can drive. The reason I need to do that is that I take some prescription meds, and when I got my renewal notice in the mail last year, they ask if you are taking anything regularly, so I answered yes and put my info down. I figured that was the end of that. Except that I got a longer form in the mail asking for more specifics and demanding that the doctor sign it, and I had to send it in before I could get my license. Well, poop, more paperwork. I took care of that, and got my license okay.

What happened, though, and I had no idea, is that you have to send one in every year after that, too. I probably would have known that except that my address on my driver’s license was still at my old address — I had moved a few months after getting it renewed and forgot to update it. The officer kept saying, “they would have sent you something in the mail if it was suspended,” and I just replied, “I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have missed something like that.”

So, I have two charges against me — speeding, and driving with a suspended license. Getting my license reinstated was simple. I just had to go to my doctor the next day, have her fill out a new form, and dropped it off at the driver’s license division and was cleared to drive again right away. Oh, and I updated my address at the same time.

I have to go to court now, and I have no idea what I’m gonna plead (probably either guilty or no contest), but I hope I at least get a chance to explain myself. I’d never *intentionally* drive without a suspended license (it was revoked back in March), it’s just that I had no idea, and I probably would have if I had my address updated. So, I have no idea what to expect, and of course, being the nervous type that I am, all these fear-mongering scenarios race through my head. Not really looking forward to this one.

On the plus side, my driving record is mostly really clean — I’ve never been in an accident before and I think this is only the fourth or fifth ticket I’ve ever gotten for speeding ever since I started driving, so maybe it won’t be that bad. I just hope I can explain to the judge that I’m a dumb cluck who forgot to do some paperwork, and it’s probably not a good idea to demote me to just skating to work after that.