Gaping Void and some miscellaneous other stuff

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On this gapingvoid blog entry, Hugh says this:

2. I am more interested in the subject of how one remains creative, how one retains one's humanity, within the confines of the rat-race, far more than I am concerned with the subject of escaping the rat-race altogether.

Rather than quitting my current job to go off and do something 'creative'-- write a novel, open a bed & breakfast in Vermont, start a scented candle mail-order business, whatever--frankly I'd prefer just to keep on finding new and creative ways to get more from the job situation I already have.

http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/000894.html

That's an awesome thought. In this world where so many people are struggling to "discover their true selves", I think in doing so, they cease to be a positive functioning part of society and that only makes their problems worse. And it drives the people around them crazy, too. I mean, really, who wants to hang out with someone who's main hobby is finding their "true self"?

As an aside, I think that the hunt for "true self" and that train of thought and life questioning is utter hogwash. True self? Silliness. You are what you do and what you've done. You are not your inner fantasy of who you think you are. You can see yourself in the mirror; you can see yourself by understanding how others see you. You are not a singular individual in a contextless void. You're a node in the fabric of social structure--your family, your friends, the people you interact with day to day. That's who you are. If your primary hobby is finding your "true self", then you are lost. It's not the other way around....

Regardless, gapingvoid is a great blog. Great art and great thoughts.

If I hear...

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If I hear someone say "no more Nomar" one more time, I'm going to cry.

It's days like this when all the newscasters are making the same joke and thinking it's original that make me realize that it's true--they're all products of a devious government cloning experiment to brainwash the masses.

Keep your day job

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Or geeks. You spend you weekdays writing code for a faceless corporation ("Cash"), then you spend your evening and weekends writing anarchic, weird computer games to amuse your techie friends with ("Sex").

http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/000889.html

This rings really true to me. Though my "faceless corporation" is actually a really decent company with great people and "weird computer games" is really my massive list of "interesting projects" that I think about almost all the time: showering, driving to work, driving home, brushing my teeth, preparing a meal, washing dishes, watching tv, walking to places, walking from places, waiting in lines, ....

Comment spam (part 2)

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I noticed that almost all the comment spam I get has the word "casino" in it. I added some code to the comment plugin to check the comment for the word casino and if the word is there, I ditch the comment. That seems to work very nicely (in the last 24 hours, it's ditched 7 bad comments and no good ones) though it's a short-term fix.

Long-term, I have a few thoughts. I may re-write portions of the comments plugin so that it saves comments originally in an "approval" stage. Then I'll write a command-line program that allows me to approve or reject all the comments in the "approval" stage one by one. That'll be pretty easy to deal with though it introduces a time-delay between when a comment is created and when it is posted.

Alternatively, I could just write a command-line program that goes through all the comments since the last one I "approved" and allows me to go through them one by one and weed out the bad ones.

Still, given that my blogs aren't related to casinos in any way, using "casino" seems to be a good filter.

Time

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I've spent the last month and a half going on vacations, moving, and trying to get some of the big issues I've been sitting on for some time out of the way.

The vacations have been nice, but they're kind of a pain in the ass and here's why: when I go on vacation, the work I have to do still has to get done. Some of it is time-sensitive, so I still have to get it done by the deadline. Some of it is work that involves a lot of time and it's easier to chip away at it bit by bit, day by day than to take it on in a couple of massive chunks.

Moving is a pain in the ass, too. It's compounded by the fact that I seem to find really good reasons for moving every 9-12 months. Course, that's a lot better than the period just after college where I was moving on average every 3-4 months. I really dislike moving.

In terms of big issues, I finally sold my car for a song (their song--not mine, which sucked) so that's one thing out of the way. I also (during the packing process) discovered my Black Adder's Christmas Carol tape and my visor cd thingy with cd's in it that had gone missing for some time. I still haven't located my The Good, The Bad, The Ugly soundtrack cd, though, and that's irritating.

Anyhow, things are getting settled--more time for coding and projects and things. :)

Spearmint

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S and I bought a spearmint plant on Sunday and I repotted the plant (it had outgrown the pot they sold it to us in) and clipped off all the leaves that were either dead or in the process of dying.

Depending on how well we do with spearmint (which is really hearty and grows like a weed [and I may join the spearmint with some mint from my grandfather's house]), we may try growing our own basil. If the basil works as well, we may move on to other herbs!

Too much data

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I have data issues. I have email going back to 1996 and I have documents and other data formats for which I don't have the original program anymore.

In regards to email, every now and then I get up enough energy to start going through it and deleting email that's clearly not interesting. The problem here is that I accumulate more email than I delete and I feel like I spend a lot of energy and time organizing it.

In regards to the other data, I could keep moving it from format to format but that also takes a lot of energy and time.

I don't keep a journal or a diary, so this data is really the only records I have of past years. It's the only way I can get a glimpse of how I've grown over time.

The question is how important is this data? Is it important to keep it all, or is it good enough to just keep a few things that capture enough of the essence of that period of time? Is it better to go through things and create an "editorial" of that period of time with citations from the original pieces and then destroy all the original data?

What uses does the data have? Maybe it's better to just jettison it all and start afresh?

wbgamazon plugin fixed

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Turns out it was creating garbled yucky stuff that hosed my RSS 0.91 feed. I fixed it so that if it thinks it's outputting to an RSS feed, it just returns rather than doing the transformation.

I should look into making this a postformatter--that would be better.

my pyblosxom plugins

Links

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I look at Anil Dash's links log daily now and decided to kick up one of my own partially to give people a glimpse of what I'm looking at day to day, but mostly because I need a way to keep track of all these links.

Anyhow, I implemented my links "blog" as a category under my current blog. In that category directory, I tossed a different set of templates so that it's more "minimal" (inspired by what Anil does with his link blog). Then I used the filter plugin from the Pyblosxom registry so that I could "hide" the links blog entries from my main site (I figure it'd be too spammy).

Took me maybe 10 minutes to implement the whole thing--5 of which were used to update the filter plugin from the one at the link to something that works with Pyblosxom 1.0.1 (soon to be released).

Link to my links blog.

Comment spam

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Ahhh--just got hit with my first comment-spam experience. That kind of sucked but was pretty easy to deal with since Ted organized comments as separate files.

If it happens again, I'll have to think about how to deal with it. Maybe switch to a comment approval process or something.