Tag Archives: Bliss

Can’t Say I Didn’t Think About It

I’ve spent some time with my neighbor recently, and discovered that I am slightly envious of him. He lives alone, and is a senior NCO in the Air Force. He is two years older than I am, and he has six years to go to retirement from the military. He seems to have everything going for him and all is in order. Oh, to be like that.

I have battled for several months now about joining the military once more. Sixteen years won’t last that long, especially if I choose to enjoy my time. The four years I spent in the Army were very long because I resisted liking anything about where I was or what I did. I want to change that and retire in sixteen years, and then go get a job so I can retire again.

But some things make me not want to. First: the pay. I think I make more now than I would if I went back in, and raises would not come so frequently. Second: I’d have to travel some, for extended periods of time. I have become comfortable being home, especially now that we have a child. When I am gone, I can at least call and be called by the family.

But how else can I get a chance to live in Germany? To have free health care for my family? To go to the gym for absolutely free, and probably find someone to play racquetball with? To have a structured daily life? To not wonder what to wear? To get real-world experience with computers, a security clearance, and probably a $100K-plus job after retirement?

So I’m stuck. It’s stability versus comfort. I don’t think I’ll ever stop wanting my life to be different.

Gimme a Minute…

I used to get a locally roasted and flavored coffee called Highlander Grog downtown in Colorado Springs. It was always a special time when I was able to get it. I took a thermos of it to Literature class on Friday nights, sat up in the morning and drank it, and winter was the best season to have some Highlander Grog. Even more special were the times the coffee shop was actually brewing it, and my daily coffee turned into an aromatic treat.

And then I moved to South Georgia. You’ve heard enough about my regrets of this decision so I won’t bore you with that. But down here, there are quite a few people who haven’t even heard of the television show Highlander, or even muttered the word before. They think they know coffee when they get some bag at the grocery store that says “Gourmet” on it. They have no idea.

My parents took a road trip up the East Coast in late 2005 and discovered Intercourse Canning Company in Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Guess what flavored coffee they have!

So every once in awhile my mom orders coffee from there. This morning is the first time in over a year I have smelled that familiar aroma that takes me back in time. I stood at the coffee pot a few minutes ago with my eyes closed, and I could almost hear Professor Steve Staley talking about Othello. I could feel campus around me. I was back to a happy time, long ago.

So to combat this, I’m sitting at my kitchen table in Adel, Georgia, with a cup of Highlander Grog under my nose, waiting for my daughter to wake up. I can enjoy my good memories from time to time, but that never means I have to stop making them.

Horizontal Thoughts

I’m writing tonight to see how much I can think to tell my audience as I lay in bed with a wireless keyboard and gyroscopic mouse, staring at my beautiful TV/monitor. Looks like I got it all worked out, but I can barely read the screen from across the room and there’s a significant delay between the keystroke and the appearance of the letter on-screen.
I’m really just up late because I can’t figure out Java multithreading (or multithreading in general) enough to complete a project for school due Monday at midnight CST. So if anyone knows how to write a multithreaded chat server in Java, please contact me soon. I have several questions for you, including these:

1. How can more than one client connect on the same port number?
Never mind. I just figured that one out. The server can listen on a port and has exclusive rights to that port. The number of connections on that port matters only to the program listening.

2. How do I create a thread pool with an ArrayList and then pass a Runnable object to it? I don’t see a method to pass the object after instantiation.
Update: I got that one figured out, too. You don’t pass a Runnable object – just extend the Thread class and fill your ArrayList with those. Worked for me. To stop the thread, set it to null. To start it again, pass it what it needs and then call .start().

If you want to see that code, here is the Client, the Server, and the ServerThread. It’s not pretty and there are some errors when you close a Client, but the multithreading works.

I realize these are not questions for my typical audience, but hey – what else should I do in bed at this hour?

Nobody Cares, That’s Why.

I’ve read Dvorak on and off for years now. I’m still not sure if I like him, but I read an article today about the media dumbing stuff down for its readers. I get his point, and I readily agree, but there is something missing: reader interest.

John fusses about a New York Times article dumbing down the term “hexadecimal” and continues to talk about how people might should be bombarded with computer related terms and acronyms. He says that if they want to know, they’ll summon a dictionary or Google for a bit of learning. He asks

I just wonder when exactly The Times stopped calling automobiles horseless carriages. And when did it stop using velocipede for bicycle? The Times story reflects a much larger issue: Exactly how much jargon should be incorporated into the general lexicon? We’re not in 1850 anymore.

I must submit my own two cents: Sure, we now call the horseless carriage an automobile, but the average driver does not know what the EGR valve is or does. I doubt they care. My father just had his EGR valve replaced for around $400, and still has no idea what it is. All he knows is that his truck runs smoother now. Stay with me – there is a point.

In the same light, everybody knows, generally, what a computer is. They just don’t know everything about it. Or how it works. Nor do they care, just as long as it keeps working. My mother doesn’t care one bit about the fact that I run Fedora Core 5 in runlevel 3 and with that machine I am able to keep up with my home IP address via a Google Gadget. It also runs home automation tasks with some open soure software called Heyu. As long as my mother can play solitare just as she has for the past ten years, she can’t give a hoot about how much RAM she has, or that it’s DDR. I might note that she is not mechanically enclined, either.

There is nothing wrong with that. I can understand operating systems and set up networks, but I can’t read music or sell insurance. I don’t know what an F-stop is or how to use it (adjust it?). I can change my own oil and manage my finances, but I don’t know that I could provide in-home care for the elderly or disabled. We all have our specialties and don’t have the time or interest to learn others, John C. Dvorak included.

This is Personal

Sometime last semester, I got really angry at a lot of people, and began feeling jaded toward society in general. Working full time and attending a traditional university was pretty demanding, on top of caring for my family. Depression seemed to set in, and I had been crapped on by too many people in simple situations, like the gas station attendant never making eye contact, some fat lady nearly causing a traffic jam trying to put her straw in her drink, and, yes, another fat lady not knowing what her job is at the auto parts store. These fucking people, I thought. What a place to live. One morning in class I decided I’d had enough and did what I always do during these times: I sit down and write. So I wrote:

I can’t begin to explain my declining state of mind. Something is missing. I am becoming apathetic, yet hostile at the same time. I am angry at society and its current state. Most people are rude, and it’s either because they were raised that way or they are megalomaniacs. People are hypocrites with earth-friendly stickers on their cars from which they throw trash on the road. They smoke cigarettes and eat pure cooked fat, then declare it a shame that Uncle Jimmy died of a coronary at 46, when he weighed 300 pounds. They wear gold and diamonds that shine in the headlights of other cars on the highway when their grossly neglected vehicle has finally given up. It’s the same $600 car with $1500 wheels on it.

These are the same peole who snap at you for trying to hand them your credit card when you can just swipe it yourself, and only point you in a general direction when you’re looking for something in a store. These are the people who don’t speak when you hold the door for them, as if you owe it to that person. These are the people who share their telephone conversations with everyone in the restaurant and seem to have the hardest time driving while conducting business on said device.

I don’t know where I’m going with this – I just want to sit down and learn how computers work, be left alone right now and not be bothered. But one cannot live without going out for needed items, forcing me out into the jungle of rudeness and hostility. Maybe it’s because I’m white, or because I don’t look like everyone else, but it’s probably just because I’m on the same road or in their store, bothering them to no end. It’s not as if she wouldn’t have a job without paying customers, is it?

I was taking anthropology at the time, and it hit some nerves. The instructor is an atheist, and he really hit home on some topics I’d been toying with on a personal level for some time. The class was very invigorating, and struck the match that lit my fire.

I had been a struggling agnostic leaning toward atheism until I took anthropology. One night the professsor was talking about the significance we as humans imbue upon objects, events, and basically anything we can summon words for. This lecture told me exactly what I needed to hear: God exists because we invented a god. That statement is really for another article.

I have always been a believer in the purely physical and systematically proven concepts. I love it. I can touch it. I can explain it. I deducted from my observations that anything, with time, can be logically explained. I found this in mathematics, when I was trying to explain to Beth how I know that even though I can’t actually define the exact value of the square root of 3, I still know that its square is the number 3. It’s because it works for any square root. That also may be for another article.

All this to say that since I have decided that God does not exist in any form, my methods of thinking about most everything have changed. I have released the significance of many things, and this in turn has granted me liberty from our society. In my mind, I am truly free. There are many benefits to this, but there are also some drawbacks. One drawback is that my new level makes me socially awkward, and unlike 90 percent of America. That said, I don’t have many friends here in South Georgia. That’s okay, though, because I’ve always been socially awkward and without many friends. The pros outweigh the cons.

Don’t get me wrong – I still pay my taxes, I respect people, and I even bow my head when someone wants to pray at the dinner table. I just don’t give any significance to the animocity of some people, the $10.00 “Pray for Our Troops” magnets, or a scratch on my car’s finish. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a car.

It’s just a watch. A shirt. No matter what the commercial says, that diamond necklace only has the significance that you give it. To a monkey, it’s just shiny. To a fish, it’s probably something to eat. To a rock, it’s a relative. What is it to you?

My dad once told me when I was having a fit about life that I must choose to be happy. I couldn’t understand that because it wasn’t that simple at the time. On a lower level, I was angry at the way things were and how I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t maintain my attitude about those things and simply choose to be happy. So when I changed my mind about the significance of money, of other peoples’ opinions of me, and found out what is really important, I was able to make that choice to be happy. I have made my choice, and I am happy.

I realize I may have lost the respect of a few people in light of this, but I am prepared. I have in no way intended to imply that your belief is wrong – only that I may not share the same beliefs with you. If you have been offended, feel free to comment. I am finally ready to defend myself.