Archive for the 'Serious' Category
Airman Larry

When I was going through training in the fabled Vincent Hall at Ft. Gordon, Georgia, we were shown a video referred to as “Airman Larry.”  The actual title seems to be “Electrical Trauma.”


Officer Jerry Watkins

Is anyone else tired of saving the world? How about playing the part of a renegade and/or former black-ops commando out for revenge/the truth?

Someday, I hope to play a game where I’m not saving the world. Someday, I hope that a video game manufacturer can imbue the everyday with some excitement as well without requiring universal stakes. Failing that, I’d just like to play something ordinary but new to me.

For example, I’d like to play the part of Officer Jerry Watkins, a medium-size town cop who plays by all the rules. I want him to be in the middle of an unexceptional career on the police force. I want to conduct a by-the-book investigation of a series of thefts of small electronics and jewelry from some middle class homes in the suburbs. I want to painstakingly follow police evidence procedure. I want to doggedly follow lead after dead-end lead until finally I catch up to the petty criminal responsible for the crimes I’m investigating. I want to arrest him at his apartment after the backup I called for arrives, but I want the backup to turn out to be unnecessary. I want him to come quietly, be convicted of petty theft and to serve 2 years of a five-year sentence before being released on parole.

The overall stakes of the game should be the everyday rivalry between me and Officer Stanton, because both of us can’t get that promotion that the LT mentioned.

Perhaps there could be a subplot where my 14-year-old son is caught shoplifting.

If you draw your gun during the course of the investigation, it’s Game Over.

There should be no soundtrack.

Assembling furniture… angrily

The true story of his new furniture, during which Wil got angry, happy, injured and finally angry/happy.



About 20 hours ago, I changed from Active Duty Army to Individual Ready Reserve status. I am not on active duty for the first time in six years.

Which made it, upon reflection, pretty funny that I got a call from a former Army supervisor of mine at 06:08 local time this morning about an Army matter. I was awake, but still. :)

It was actually good news, which is rare for a 6am call from a former boss. Anyway, combine the good news, the practically-civilian status with the previous post’s point and you’ll perceive that I’m a pretty powerfully pleased pupil.

Today’s letter is apparently the letter P. Especially after I noticed the trend and whipped out the

Dammit, CNN

I’ve been without a programming language at home for too long. I have, in the past, used bash scripting, perl, php and (only at work!) VBA. I’m sure that at some point soon I’ll be needing a language again. By the time I really, really need it, it will be too late to quickly pick it up again, so this time I’m going to be ready.

Python, I choose you.

This paragraph originally started with “two reasons for Python,” which became three. Then, as I was about to amend it to four before I’d even typed the first reason, I realized that I was quickly getting into Spanish Inquisition territory. Therefore, amongst the reasons for my choice of Python are such diverse elements as:

  • open-source
  • extremely portable
  • CNN recommends it (not the news network)
  • XKCD (of course)
  • fun

So, there we go. While I’ve been typing this, Python has been downloading and installing. It’s now downloaded and installed. Off I go.

Oh. One last thing before I go. I hadn’t seen today’s XKCD when I chose today for my programmer’s renaissance, but it just tells me that I’m making the right choice.

Shifts, occidental et al

So there have been some changes.

I’m effectively no longer in the Army. I’m living in downtown Porland, Oregon. I’m a full-time college student at Portland State University. I’m breathing easier. Let’s take these one at a time, shall we?


White Zone/Red Zone Dichotomy

Male announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.
Female announcer: The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a red zone.
Male announcer: The red zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no stopping in a white zone.
Female announcer: No, the white zone is for loading. Now, there is no stopping in a RED zone.
Male announcer: The red zone has always been for loading.
Female announcer: Don’t you tell me which zone is for loading, and which zone is for unloading.
Male announcer: Look Betty, don’t start up with your white zone shit again. There’s just no stopping in a white zone.


My day started at 03:15 EST and ended at about 22:00 PST. There were two flights and numerous bus and plane rides during the course of the day.

Some events of the day:

  • There was another guy with a Macbook right across the aisle from me on the first flight. I reached up and tapped him on the shoulder; when he turned around I held up my Macbook. He grinned and gave me the thumbs-up. I grinned back and we both proceeded to Mac it up for an our or so. After we landed and the all-clear was given to use cell phones, he pulled out a Treo. I pulled out mine and tapped him on the shoulder again. Good taste, that man.
  • There was a diabetic guy on my second flight that had some sort of raised-blood-sugar episode on the plane after putting all of his medications in his checked luggage. I actually got to hear the “is there a doctor on board” phrase. He was alive when the PDX EMTs wheeled him off the plane and I’m guessing he’s probably ok, now.
  • I was on the MAX (Portland’s light-rail system) heading west into downtown when a guy got yanked off of the train by MAX’s security. He was clearly drunk and singing, loudly and badly, Kansas’s Carry On My Wayward Son, among other classic rock songs that he was apparently listening to on his headphones.
  • I got picked up from PDX airport by Andrea, an old friend from UF.
  • I picked up the keys to the apartment that I had leased, unseen, back in December. Unfurnished means, among other things, no bed, no chair and no shower curtain.
  • I bought a bed today. This turned out to be a non-trivial outing, especially considering the constant drizzle, my unfamiliarity with TriMet and the relatively remote location of the bed store. Mom helped by calling around and locating a store that would give me a good deal. The Army helped by providing me with the fortitude to stay upright and coherent even though I was exhausted and still suffering from a fairly enervating cold. Directly behind the bed store was a Target, where I obtained a shower curtain and some toilet paper. And some very hot soup in a breadbowl. The bread was low quality but the dough was very sour. In Maryland, it was high quality bread but you couldn’t really tell it was supposed to be sourdough. Anyway, the bed won’t be delivered until Saturday so I’m sleeping on the floor tonight.
We’ve got spaghetti! And…

Blankets is a graphic novel by Craig Thompson. I started rereading it today during the last few moments of my lunch break and finished it just now.

I could probably recommend it enough, but assuming medical science isn’t going to let either of us live past 200 years old, neither you nor I have enough time. Got a little carried away there; sometimes my praise gets away from me. It’s a fine story and the art matches it well. I’ll leave it at that. Many aspects of the story evoke strikingly similar memories of my own childhood and adolescence, so for me it’s particularly poignant.

For example, Craig relates how he and his brother would walk atop iced-over snow as far as possible without breaking through the crust. I did the *exact* same thing on the sand around Crooked Lake (Lake Calusa, officially) when I was a kid. The sun would dry a similar crust onto the beach after a rain, and I would try (and often succeed for a while) to walk across it without breaking through.

Everything that’s right is wrong again

I was at the doctor a couple of days ago for my separation physical, and at one point in the interview the doctor said, “Oh, you’re the one with the 908 triglycerides. I was waiting for you to come in.”

“Oh, great,” I unenthused, “I’m famous.”

Apparently the diet that my regular doctor has had me on to try to help me lose weight has taken me down the road towards diabetes. The new diet prescribed by this new doctor is pretty much diametrically opposite from the previous one. So my diet is now high-carb, and I’m really hoping I don’t end up with diabetes. My weight? Well, high-carb isn’t exactly the modern dieter’s friend, but avoiding diabetes trumps rapid weight loss. Also, there’s a good chance that getting my dietary shit (so to speak) together will help me lose weight, anyway.

So, yeah, there goes at least six months of dietary effort down the drain. Dammit.

trivial data as art is a masterpiece of data visualization.

EDIT: And almost immediately an edit. The mental giant behind WeFeelFine is Jonathan Harris. He’s done other things that I’m probably going to be looking at as soon as I save this entry.

I’m such a sucker for good design, especially since I have so much trouble doing it myself.