Miracles and Mayhem

Update: things are starting to work out here in Asheville.  I’m impatient sometimes.  Actually, I’m impatient a lot.  So it should come as no surprise that things worked out after I gave them some time. If I were to give an exhaustive list of reasons things have gotten better, this would be a mundane and boring blog post.  I’ll summarize and just say that my job has gotten cool, I’m throwing well in the pottery studio, and I get a chance to make music periodically.  I’ve even made a couple people I’ll call friends.  And it’s the last bit that I thought was sort of interesting this evening. A few days ago my boss asked if I would join him tonight at something called “Meet the Geeks,” which is a networking event for IT people.  I agreed.  And then my boss got an emergency call this afternoon, and I went stag.  I asked him what the event was, and he replied with a grin, “It’s like a meat market, but for programmers.” “Sexy,” I grunted in response. I asked why I was supposed to go with him in the first place, and it turned out to be a recruiting mission.  My company is hiring, so it seemed as good a place to go as any. When I got there I was given a name tag and I met some recruiters, and a few pleasant-ish folks.  I also met some programmers, complete with sweat pants, food stains on the fronts of their shirts, and shifty eyes when asked about their line of work.  But I also met a couple professors...

Stop SOPA

I wrote the following letter to my NC State Senator, Kay Hagan, regarding SOPA.  For those not in the know, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” is a thinly-veiled attempt at locking down ownership of basically anything on the web.  It was authored by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, who ironically, violates SOPA with his own website. Dear Senator Hagan, I voted and canvassed for you three years ago hoping to make my new home-state a blue state.  So it is with sadness and alarm that I see you supporting such a regressive policy as SOPA. As a programmer and technologist I know that SOPA cannot be implemented in any meaningful way, and that the only true outcome is to criminalize the every-day actions of millions of normal citizens.  Not only that, but it will stifle creativity and make it harder to innovate and communicate using the web.  The net effect will be more “criminals” and fewer “innovators.” I understand that online “piracy” is a serious concern, but remember that billions of dollars of legitimate purchases happen LEGALLY every year.  That is to say, the web works just fine.  There are some things that need to be fixed, but SOPA is an extremely heavy-handed (and legally expensive) stick, and offers little in the way of value to the citizens of North Carolina. I urge you vote against SOPA and explore other options to ENCOURAGE innovation and legal participation on the web. Sincerely, Dan Clouse But here’s what I really think: if SOPA is to pass, it will instantly create an army of very smart, very motivated criminals. I know a lot...

Manly Deed of the Day: Adventures in Modern Convenience

Like most Americans, my house has heat.  I also have indoor plumbing and a refrigerator.  Like some Americans I sometimes eschew these conveniences intentionally in a ritual called camping.  Sometimes I eschew them in willful acts of stupidity. I woke up at 4 am alarmed that the heat wasn’t on and the house was freezing.  Actually, the “freezing” part isn’t new.  The house has been cold for a couple days.  My roommate and I forgot to re-fill the heating oil tank that sits next to our house.  In general NC is not that cold, so I figured the stock we had would last a bit longer.  Anyway, we got it refilled after a couple chilly days and breathed a sigh of relief. In the interim we borrowed space heaters from any place we could, and discovered a few things about the house.  First, it is only cozy when there is a fully functioning furnace: space heaters are not up to the task.  Second, the old wiring doesn’t support numerous electrical appliances well.  At some point I recognized that we could have heat, or we could have anything else electrical, not both. Which is why it was both comical and understandable when I came home one night to find my roommate huddled under blankets and watching a hockey game.  Given the hierarchy of needs, I understand how hockey can outweigh comfort.  Besides, we could pretend like we were actually there in the rink. Now, before I kick myself to hard, or give myself too much leeway, I actually did call the oil company a month and a half before.  I...

Why Am I Up

Happy New Year. I’ll answer my own first question: I’m up because lately I’m always up at 3:30.  I’m not sure I call it insomnia, because I go to bed at my regular-ish time* and fall right to sleep.  And I also know that in about an hour I’ll sleep again.  But for the last few months I’ve had a tendency to wake somewhere between 2:30 and 4 am with music playing in my head and some interesting dream fresh in my consciousness. In case you’re wondering, the dream was one in which I considered becoming a ranch foreman after grad school.  Last night I was Harry Potter, riding a bike.  The music is one I don’t know the name of, but I think is for piano and cello, contemporary, and I probably heard it on a commercial somewhere.  This despite the fact that I don’t have cable, and only got access to a TV a few weeks ago, so my likelihood of actually seeing a commercial is not great. I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately, but like anyone on the holiday, I have a gazillion “important” things to do. Also, since I spend most of my work time in front of a computer I don’t really want to use one as soon as I get home. That being said, the nameless music from a few minutes ago is still playing in my head, and I’m happy about the new year. I spent NYE eating good cheese, stuffed olives, and other snacks, and drinking two small glasses of very good bourbon.  Then I went to bed.  Initially...