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10/31/2002    -{ Happy Halloween! }-



I was at home with my parents when I got a phone call on my cell phone. It was someone I had had calls from before, but long ago (deja-vu in a dream?). Her name started with a "V" and she was with an insurance company investigating a car crash from 1997 that I was involved with (as a victim). The accused was not going to say anything in his defense, so it sounded like it was a clear win, or at least road to a win, for us.

The crash had happened in 1997 when I was on the Canada 125 exchange program in Ottawa. We had been driving around doing crazy things and someone had tried to hit us repeatedly with his car, while drunk. It sounded like he caused some damage too. In my dream I had to really purge up the memories of what had happened as well. The lady had called and we talked over a bad cell connection for a bit, while my folks toodled around trying to get things ready to go out to breakfast. At a couple of points the cell connection died and I didn't realize it, and sat on the phone not talking with dead air, just thinking that this lady had stopped talking for some reason.

I was also trying to get to the local Kinkos (do we even have them up here?) where I had left some papers that I was supposed to destroy in a photocopier. I had got them from somewhere, promised to destroy them, and decided that I should keep them just in case, or at least a copy. So I had laid a bunch of papers and business cards on a photocopier but completely forgotten about them, and wanted to drop by there on the way to the IHOP we were going to for breakfast.

Somewhere along the way the lady came by and we talked, and she didn't seem to know that much about the crash. She brought a bunch of old pictures, including ones not related (in fact, none were of this crash), and had a bunch of newspaper clippings of pictures, comics from the funny pages, and random articles from various dates. There were some color photos as well, including one of me and my dad when I was quite young when we got pushed off the road, and they were testing to see if it was our fault or not (this never happened in real life of course, but in my memory now as I sit here I can clearly see the photo the lady showed me in the dream).

There was another, even more strange...

I had found a duck who had walked through oil and wasn't doing too good. Tig told me that I had to take it to Alberta to get it fixed up by a vet, and that I needed a judge to give me a piece of paper to authorize me to do so (or get the free trip, or something). I was in the hotel room with the duck and my kitten (Zoon) and they were being "friends" (the duck being a fair amount larger than the kitten). I had a flight out in the morning but when I woke up it was by the kitten, and I realized I was late. My plane was scheduled to leave at 8:26am and it was already 8:32am, so I raced, trying to get dressed and downstairs in time. I remember thinking that because it was a little domestic flight there wouldn't be that whole "get there 2 hours ahead of time" thing to worry about, and I might be able to make it.

I really hated the fact I'd forgotten a change of clothes, a toothbrush, or anything like that, but was just concerned with getting myself up and ready, and get out from the sleep-grogginess that I was in. It seemed to keep getting later and later as I tried to get dressed and ready. I didn't want to, but I had to leave the kitten in the hotel room for the day (it would only take that long to go to the vet in alberta and come back) and I couldn't take her on the plane, only the oil-soaked duck.

This was matched up with me waking up before 6am, considering getting up before the alarm clock to go to the gym, thinking about how great that would be and falling back asleep. My thinking (and sleep) was also intermingled with a wet nosed kitten deciding that at this moment in time my chin was the greatest place in the world to rub her head and cheeks on, and dammit move over so I can get onto the bed stupid monkey! She being so cute and everything, what can one do. I have a feeling that she's responsible for more than a couple of my strange dreams at night.

That said, I've wasted enough time, off to the gym I go!

10/30/2002    -{ Blog Month }-

This is very very disturbing for some reason.

For those who are bored, and needing more interesting things to look at in their morning web run, try hitting the movable type webring. I'm actually thinking of experimenting a bit with MT to maintain this journal. I'll probably throw up a /blog URL sometime to play around and see how I like it, as my journal is quite different than the normal type of stuff that blogs are made of. I'll see how it goes anyway, might be an interesting change, and a chance to play around with MT some more.

Oh, I managed to find the image from MRTG the day that got hit by the spider. Ouch huh? I'm glad I'm not paying for bandwidth :)

Been collecting audiobooks lately, I find I can listen to them while working and have just the right mix of lack-of-distraction and enough-attention-to-make-it-worth-it. I've been re-going through the Dark Tower series, by Stephen King, though I've got a bunch of others in my collection. I do have to hit pause when I'm going through deep and heavy stuff though.

10/28/2002    -{ And the AR breathed a great sigh of relief.... }-

To all that asked, my ride on a horse with a name went well. Clyde was a big ass Clydesdale whose body size was a bit wrong for his legs. He looked like a very big, sort of stretched, weiner dog. Anyway, the ride went well, and my instructor (that'd be Firefly) did well, teaching me not only turning, but the important parts, the accelerator and brakes. Anyway, my ass is fine, though last night I did scrape the hell out of my heal on the foot of my chair. I was going to go for a run this morning but when I woke up at 6:30am I just couldn't bear to have my scraped heal rubbing against a sock and shoe for seven and a half kilometers..

I took some time off today to go and meet with the guys that I was working for. Met up with J and P at a pizza place in deep Vancouver and had the largest calzone I've ever seen (that was a medium apparently). We gabbed a bit, tried to figure out the world, and how to make gobs of money without doing any work.

Wierd, openoffice actually seems to be working now. Wonder what's up with that?

10/27/2002    -{ "Dreamin' with my eyes wide open" }-

What a bizzare and horrible night. It was one of those nights when you can't sleep and everything is conspiring to keep you from having a good night's sleep. I met up with NateFlex at the gym last night and we did a shoulder workout, so that didn't help. The cats decided they were going to be a constant bother, and I was plauged with bizzare ass dreams.

This dream involved what would have happened if I had taken the job in Alberta with Solas. Of course I know it wouldn't have been like this, but who knows how my mind works.... Anyway, I was at a very small desk. It was about as solid as a TV tray but about half as thin. I didn't get a monitor, and was doing my coding on a piece of paper. This seemed to be not the rule, but what I was given, so I was using it. That was the first day anyway. Me and Solas went to lunch at Subway (right across the road, very convenient). Cut to day two of the new job. I decide that I didn't like coding on paper (duh). My computer looks like an Apple II and there is a strange flat monitor like thing for the printer on top of the slanted surface of the desk. The monitor itself looks like it's underneath, and there was no place to rest your arms, so I had to hold the keyboard on my lap while typing. I don't remember the details, but there was an ordeal to get the monitor ot the top of the desk and usable. After work my friend Sean and old schoolmate from elementry school Lee S. got in a fight and were throwing things at each other through the door leading out of the office after work.

I think some of this dream came from the watching of Trading Spaces last night when they constructed a very nice desk for someone but instead of it being a "computer desk" it was used to hide the computer down by his feet. Then somewhere around 7:30am when I woke up and said "screw it, I'm just going to get up", but didn't, I had another one...

This one was even more wierd. It started out with a friend of mine (no idea who) having a baby. The baby's face seemed very big for a newborn, and in fact, most of the baby seemed to big for a newborn. The doctor was getting crutches for the kid to walk on. I thought it might be a bit early for that, but didn't say anything. When I saw her again the baby had a typical scrunched up and wrinkly baby-face... almost like the act of being born had streched out her skin and bones, but after a while they had relaxed back into place.

Fast forward to the ice arena where the police were doing driving training. While just hanging out at the arena with a lot of other people I noticed that there were a lot of police cars on the ice. They seemed to be doing things like driving into the walls and driving and skidding on the ice. Training seems appropriate. Somehow I got onto the ice and was asked to leave, then somehow I got on the ice and was chasing and being chased by cops, but on foot, running around and sliding into them when I could, other times they'd slide into me.

Fast forward to me having my glasses returned some time (years?) later by a cop who found them outside the arena and telling me that he was just taking them in to tighten up the arms after he found them on the ground, but then noticed "there seemed to be tiny bite marks in the plastic."

I think I need some help with my brain....

Hmm... should go, apparently I'm going to ride a horse named "Clyde" today at Firefly's barn.

10/25/2002    -{ This is how I walk my monkies }-

Corny looks up at me and mews, so I look back at him, and mew back. I decide that he may be trying to communicate, so I follow him around. We circle the kitchen, then head back to the living room and head to the cat post, which he hops onto to receive petting. I ask him "so what are you trying to do?" Firefly immediately replies "this is how I walk my monkies." Makes perfect sense.

When Firefly left and Rex looked like he wanted to go out and run down the hall she said "now we don't want to do any monkey walking in the hall," to which my reply was "no, that's when they take their monkies for a run!" Well, it was funny at the time.

Finally got my business plan and financials mostly ready for the Self Employment Program. It's not perfect, and probably not something that could get me a $1,000,000 loan at the bank, but it's better than what I had before. Now I can get back to the ASP project, or at least learning about it. I'm still waiting on a better spec on what needs to be done, but I need lots of time to look through the data model, play with the tools, and figure out how to do the equivelant of something like this perl:

$|=1;$_=<<'-- ';s#..#printf"%c",(fork?wait&&$?/256:exit hex($&))#eg;

I donno, VB hackers, can you translate? :)

On a serious note, does anyone now of a "VB for Perl programmers" site out there? Simple syntax things that I just don't know, like how to end an If statement, comments, or what's the equivelant of next() or continue()? It's not a very common thing for people to do I guess, go from Perl to VB.

10/23/2002    -{ Red sunsets. }-

I just wrote my first ASP:


Ooooohhhh.... aahhhhhh.....

Wow, just found out something as well... about how conditional statements are calculated. The entire statement is looked at. In perl, if the variable $foo is an undeclared variable, the code if( defined $foo or $foo eq "bar") will first evaluate $foo and see it is undefined, and return TRUE to the condition. The second part of the if, or $foo eq "bar" will never be looked at, and if it was, it would fail, as $foo doesn't exist.

Apparently VB will evaluate the complete statement, so if the variable foo is empty (""), the following code will produce an error: If isNull(foo) or foo = "something" Then because foo is an invalid data type to compare against.

Or so I'm told anyway, I personally don't think any language could look so much like it was created by a bunch of brain dead monkeys.

Update: This isn't the case. The code:

If foo = "" or foo = "crap" Then
  Response.Write("foo is null")
End If

Produces "foo is null" on the screen. So much for bashing for that. I'm sure I'll find other crack-monkeyness though!

10/20/2002    -{ Alan's advice to you on this day: }-

When batting a large, pissed off flying creature with a stinger out of the air, be sure you know where it lands!

Alerted by Zoon's cries of "there's a bug! there's a bug!" (she has a very distinctive "bug alert" noise she makes... little mews closely spaced, kind of a "meh! meh! meh!" noise), I happened upon a large, fat, wasp sitting on the top of our shelves. Not really liking the idea of getting it by smooshing it in a paper towel (something told me that this one would break right out of it like Arnold out of a paper bag), I picked up a handy Linux Journal and waited until it was just right... Then I smacked the little (big (huge)) bugger right out of the air.

Now I wish I knew where he went. I think it's somewhere up in the bookshelves, but I really don't want to go sticking my fingers up there to see, you know? Of course, I don't want it to recover, go through a vicious training regiem, and come out as super-wasp to take revenge late at night. Maybe I'll have to move.

Update: He was still alive, hiding on top of a low fat cookbook, no doubt begining his retraining in the secret art of wasp-jitsu. However, he was dispatched with nerves of steel and the aid of a paper towel.

10/19/2002    -{ Die PCness Die! }-

Two very funky dreams last night.

The first one was about me stealing software. Not through newsgroups, or IRC, or off of websites.... no, was doing it by hand. I went through the process two or three times, each time doing it a different way. The last time I was in a wheelchair, zipping in and out of hallways to get a copy of "Blackhawk Down". When I finally did get it, I got to a fork in the hallway, where I could either go out the doors to freedom, or go back through again to play the game one more time (or see it in action maybe). As I went around to the viewing gallery I discovered they had put three police officers there to wait for me if I was stupid enough to come around again. I gave up without a fight, I knew I was caught. They took me downtown where I had to explain to Barry, the real life chief what I did. I appologised, and tried to explain that because I was only stealing data, it wasn't really stealing.

And then the other one...

This one was even wierder. I got a thick letter from someone, and it bore the family crest (a canadian flag apparently), but was not from the main family we have. So I went down the road to the family home, where the council of Bailwards (or whatever it was) was. It kinda sucked to leave the TV, where a good movie was on, but as I approached the huge two walled wrought iron gate I could see they were watching the same movie inside on a huge TV. I got myself buzzed in and out of the rain and into this old mansion that looked like something straight out of a horror movie (on the outside anyway). The "family council" wasn't really a council at all, I think it was just the main people in our family at the one house. I told them that a splinter faction of the family was trying to get control of the family name, and here is the letter they sent.

Of course, I had forgotten the letter itself, and only brought the pile of other papers that came with the letter (like so much paper spam that you get with your bills these days). I went out and back down the street to my home to get it. When I got there dad was there, and I think the mysterious other party trying for the family name was there as well. We went downstairs and he asked us to show him the right angle by the downstairs door. He was a fire inspector or something, and me and dad went downstairs and showed him that we did indeed have a right angle in the hallway not far from the door. I think then dad asked him if he was recruiting for his inspection company, and he said he was....

10/18/2002    -{ What is she trying to say? }-

I finally found the "right" sheet on business plans to use (I have about 5 different ones in my "Self Employment Program" file folder). I've been working on my business plan for the SEP for a while now, but I finally got confirmation on the format that it is needed to be in for when it's presented to the committee. So now I can take all the stuff I already have and move it to the "approved" outline style. While MS Word sucks on many levels, their "outline mode" is very handy. Word's suckage, by the way, is mostly in their handling of styles, especially when styles that are there don't work, aren't there, or change depending on where you are. It's especially annoying when you select a style from the style drop down and then start typing, only to find that that style isn't applied. There's also a lot of suckage in their .doc->.html conversion, but then again, there has always been.

What does my kitten mean when she looks up at me and says "mew"? I'm sure she's trying to tell me something, and I'm just not getting it. She'll repeat as well, little lip smacking "mew"'s that sound adorable, but I don't know if she's saying "I love you daddy", "don't touch me stupid monkey", "oh yea right there, scritch me more with the fingernails", "I'm bored, dance", "you know, I'm kinda hungry but I'm too lazy to get out of bed", or "here's the solution to all of the earth's problems: [blah blah blah]". I know the japanese have a dog->human translator, but I haven't heard about anything like that for cats.

10/17/2002    -{ "Customer Satisfaction Specialists"... a PC way of saying "receptionist" }-

So I sit here chewing on my "Bio Protein" bar (21 grams protein!) and relized that another thing that pisses me off is people who don't signal they are turning left until they are actually stopped at the intersection.

Hmmm.. gotta say that the concept of protein bars will catch on much better if they make them taste like pizza, or perogies, slathered in bacon and onions or something.

DVDs putting Hollywood out of Business? Within 3 years? Yay! That's one less Arnold movie to watch, no more Olsen twins, and if the Gods favor (flavour?) me, the world will never be cursed with something like CHUD II: Bud the Chud ever again! Sadly, I doubt this will mean that the networks will be able to kill off Barney, the Judge [name] shows, or the host of horrible horrible horrible daytime talk shows that exist.

On a side note, maybe this will transfer over to the music industry, when they realize that constantly screwing their customers over will eventually bite them in the ass.

10/16/2002    -{ "Screw you orkin man!" }-


How to start SQL Server 2000 under Windows XP.

I love you google! (who was mentioned during Buffy last night)


Do you know how much Windows sucks? I tried to install SQL Server on my Windows XP box, clicked a wrong button somewhere, and now it tells me:

"A previous program installation created pending file operations on the installation machine. You must restart the computer before running setup."

Oh, and this still happens after I restart the box. Ah, I love this wonderfully designed operating system...

10/15/2002    -{ The need for high powered weaponry could just "pop up" at any time. }-

Watched a good one on CNN while eating my lunch today. They were talking about a firearms training school, where people pay $1,500 to learn how to fire guns, long range, short range, draw and fire quickly, all that Soldier of Fortune bullshit. Anyway, they asked one ripe-for-midlife-crisis lookin' fella why someone would need to learn how to snipe (obviously related to what is going on in Maryland lately). "Well, you just never know."

All I can say is "wow", I'm sure glad I don't live near people with that sort of attitude. Let me tell you something folks, there is never a need for sniping, unless you're in the military (and by that I mean the real military, not the one you think you belong to). Anyone who isn't woken up at the break of dawn by reveille and has to polish their boots for inspection ever has the need to own or know how to use assault rifles, sniper rifles, grenades, or any rifle that has "automatic" in it's name. While I'm not a huge fan of hunting I will go with it's something that people do, and for that you need a gun, maybe even one that is semi-automatic. And while I'm not a fan of "home protection" I can see the "need" for a small pistol to keep the hordes of murders and rapists away from your family as they are no doubt breaking down your door right now (I'll leave the fact that I think that this sort of thing is the reason that the states has the gun problem they have today, and the fact that something like 8 kids are killed every day alone for now though....). However, you don't need an assault rifle!

Took time off from work (ok, work ended, waiting for more) to work on my business plan and stuff for the self employment program. Oh yea, lots of fun...

10/09/2002    -{ Stupid White Men }-

While I try my best to avoid the tv show The View, but the show this afternoon (actually listed as tuesday, october 8th) was almost interesting, and definately thought provoking. The first guest was Michael Moore, a filmmaker and write who has the book "Stupid White Men" (read an excerpt chapter here, it's a great read) and a movie coming out called Bowling for Columbine. He expressed something I mentioned to Firefly a couple of days ago. While Americans will say that they have to own guns to protect themselves, and their families, etc etc, the number of gun related deathes is still something like 6,000 a year, while Canada's is something like 124. He quoted figures of 7 million out of 10 million homes in Canada having guns, but I don't believe that, as I have only known two, maybe three people in my life who have owned a gun or guns. Anyway, he had an excellent point that the media feeds american public with the tale of a rapist behind every bush, or any number of horrible fates just waiting to destroy you and your family, if you don't have a way to defend yourself. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me, as Canada watches (based on my experience) most of the same television as the US. I however, don't feel like I need to own a fully-automatic machine gun with armour-piercing rounds to feel safe.

They then got into a conversation about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's ability to deliver them or not, and it ended up sounding like media fear-mongering. Mr. Moore however, has my respect as someone who has similar views as my own about guns and violence, and appears to be mostly sane. He was also responsible apparently for changing K-Mart's policies and got them to stop selling ammunition. He took a couple of survivors from the Columbine massacre to K-Mart head office to return their merchandise (that being a $0.17 round embedded in one kids spine). Good on you Micheal.

10/08/2002    -{ Ick, rain. }-

More randomness followup and misc shtuff. Brad threw me a link to, where you can change your address online and not have to wait for the DMV lineups.... whohoo! Works fine as well. I have no clue if everyone knows it but me, or if Brad had to go search it out for me, but now I know (and so do you).

Secondly I've been (kinda) published. Per Einar Ellefsen was kind enough to throw up a little ditty I wrote when I had some problems with some cookies and mod_perl stuff. Anyway he threw it up here with other quick and dirty examples and cookbook type stuff.

Dreams that I remember...

I was hanging out with someone's sister, and we were captured/taken hostage by a gang who worshipped some strange song. Anyway, they were trying to follow the lyrics of the song to the letter, and do things like "hang handcuffs off the top of a tall pole" and wierd stuff like that. So we are at a lakeshore type place, with cabins around us, and they are all commando-like. We tromp through the bush and find a oil pipeline, which is about to burst. So me and whoever head for the hills, and the pipeline explodes. I think I waited too long before putting this one on paper....

And the other is from last night, as I forget the other one I wanted to write down...

I was in edmonton, on a work trip of some sort. We parked in the underground parking of an old pub, and hung out there. At sometime we had someone come by (a political refugee?) that we had to hide from the boss. Something something something, no idea why or what next.

We needed to go somewhere, and I got to take someone with me, so we headed into the underground parking to get my car, and I couldn't find it. There were maybe two levels and it just wasn't there! We took a couple of alternate routes and still nothing in the maze of concrete tunnels. Another blur and we had the car, but we were still looking for the car, or maybe dinner, (but we had a bowl of spaghetti and some shell pasta on top of it). We were driving around trying to find whatever we could find and some of the streets were just nuts, like something out of roller coaster tycoon. I drove up an insanely steep ramp and stopped at the top (high high above the ground) where the top level was a maze of twisting and turning tracks for the tires to go on, but I couldn't follow them well enough with my eyes to see where to drive. I just sat there for several minutes trying to trace where I needed to go. I think I eventually realized that after the first few twists and turns it turned into a solid metal top, but it was buffed in a circular motion that made it look like there were circles. At least that is the case on the latter one, I think before that there was another roller-coaster type road that I had to follow the curves at the top. A very scary drive.

10/07/2002    -{ Everyone's menu options have "just recently changed" }-

A few things, in no particular order:

Now, in reverse order...

Dishwashing Zen

I finished doing the dishes a bit ago, and while it makes my back hurt (something about the angle, I donno what), I do enjoy it. I don't get the zen from the act of doing the dishes themselves like Foz does, but I think it's more from the act of turning a kitchen overflowing with dirty dishes into something gleaming and clean, and unfettered by dishes.

Flying Felines

Iambe and Engel should get a kick out of this... the little Zoon climbed up onto


I have to pause for a minute here. The aformentioned Zoon has decided that she should climb up onto the new shelves, and one of them came crashing down, breaking some glass shelves waiting to be put up. While you're waiting for me to clean it up, head over to and listen to some tunes by my buddy octobrX.


... anyway, as I said, she climbed up on the airconditioner unit, and from there lept onto/into the hanging plant just above. The little critter just sat there, swinging back and forth, looking at us with a distinct "hey, look at what I did! hmmm... this is weird and scary... but look at what I did!" look.


Un-boxing continues. I moved all my computer books (including color coded ORA books) and software boxes into the new shelves right above me. Mmm..... all warm and happy am I.

My O'Reilly's, in their order on the self, left to right, including spine color.


Light Blue Pink Rust Nutshell Books Dark Blue Rust Dark Green Pink Light Blue

Sadly I can't list them here without giving credit to Iambe, Userfriendly, and various other people who have given them to me, donated them, or who I have borrowed them from and forgotten to give back (only the last one on the list applies here).


Werk goes well. I'm starting to "get" accounting again, even as simple as Quickbooks presents it. I played a bit with MS Money as well, but the fact that every time you started it or opened a new page it talked at you (yes, there's a way to turn the talking off), really got to me. It sounds like the guys I'm doing work for now are working on another contract, which I'll get to work on as well, which will be good. More nifty dynamic stuff.

Political Refugee

My parents had an aunt of mine over on Saturday to dinner. She is a bit older than them, and lived in Berlin during WW2 and afterwards. She had some wonderful (and teriffying) stories about during the war, and afterwards. These days we talk about war, and freedom, and oppression, and even make fun of it. However, I don't think anyone of my generation can even imagine what it was like back then. At one point she said "I guess you know I'm a political refugee." I replied that I didn't, and imagined her dumping leaflets from airplanes, kidnapping politicians, etc. Nope, she went to the opera, and was a friend of someone. Apparently the russians didn't like people who were "politically inactive" and did horrible things like going to the opera.

Her friend had a list of friends in his pocket. He was picked up and killed. Her brother was put in jail for life (though over the span of 4 or 5 years this went down and down until he was told he could just go home (though he didn't, he got his ass over to West Berlin before the wall went up)). My Aunt happened to be in West Berlin at the time, and when she went to come home she was told that her brother and friends were picked up, she either couldn't, or shouldn't go home. So she ended up in a different city, with nothing but the clothes on her back.

Now when we can still laugh at Bush, and bitch about politicians, and not have to worry about speaking too loud, or having to bury banned books or anything of value in the backyard in the middle of the night, we're in no danger of seeing how bad it really can be, and I thank my Aunt (and mom and uncle who also talked about life in Germany a bit) for giving me a look at how good we have it these days.

Slow Ass DMV

I just turned around, there were more than 2 people in the line up, and getting my address changed just isn't worth waiting for the hundreds of hours that I'd have to wait.

Bashed Bandwidth by Creepy Crawler

A bit of an interesting experience last week. I noticed that the bandwidth on was being sucked up far more than normal. A bit of examination turned up a bunch of search engine crawlers (130 or so) from were "stuck" on my site. One of my users is playing with some php stuff, and has a page with a bunch of links, all linking back to the same page. These crawlers were just sitting there, loading the same pages again and again. Because each link adds another level of "depth" /foo turns into /foo/foo turns into /foo/foo/foo etc, they were sitting and loading pages at an alarming rate.

I did a whois, found a number, and called. I asked the secretary who answered if I could speak to the head of IT. She said she could only transfer me to someone by name. Ok, sure, how about tech support. That she could do. Course, I was transfered, hit the right menu options to get to the search engine crawler section, and was told by a nice answering machine voice that I'd have to contact my vendor, goodbye <click>. This didn't bode well with me, and as it was approaching more than a couple of hours of my bandwidth being abused (and it's not even my bandwidth), I was starting to get pissed off. I called a couple more times, and couldn't get a hold of any real people, much less any that could help me.

Knowing it was wrong, but being too pissed off to listen, I wrote a quick little mail bomb script that sent the same email 133 times to the support@ and webmaster@ addresses. The 133 was the number of servers that I had blocked with firewall rules, and I was sending an email for each. The email explained what was going on, and explained that I couldn't get a hold of anyone, and hopefully this would get someone's attention and that I'd be able to talk to someone who could actually do something. I included some logs, and a list of the servers hitting me, and sent it off.

Then I hit the webpage again and started getting names, any names I could find, and asking the secretary to direct me to that person. I did not want to be put to voice mail or told someone would be with me by the end of the day. Eventually I contacted the CEO's office, and explained to the secretary that I was getting the run around, and that I really wanted to talk to Gene (the head of IT I found out, but who wasn't reachable by phone). She took off for a moment or two and told me that he'd contact me within 5 minutes.

He didn't, but I did get a call from J, in tech support. He asked me about the emails, and I explained, and he seemed to understand, and asked me to stop. I told him that I had already, and now I had a contact at the company, there was no need to send any mailbombs. I told him what had gone on, and what was happeneing, and for him to please stop it and he said he would by the end of the day. As it was around two by this time (the barrage started around 5:30am), I told him that the end of the day wasn't really good enough, and the bill for the bandwidth would be insane by then. He said he'd get it done.

And all was good...

Not long after this the house phone cut out. Great, another great addition to a great day. Call Telus, explain, do the "unplug all your phones, wait 15 minutes" thing.

Just after this, B from inktomi emails me with a rather nasty email about how "You have begun a harassment campaign ...", and "Have you ever heard of Search Engines?" Great day is now great day10. About 5 minutes after this he calls me, starting his conversation with "do you know what a robots.txt file is?" I do of course, and understand how to use them, and have no problem with people spidering my site.

Now it turns out that the support@ email goes to like, 50 people in their support department, and due to the queuing on the server, they've been getting flooded with my email (I'm bad, I know this), and they've come in more than one batch (they got about 157 total, as I had to restart the mail bomb script to fix a small bug). Sounding like a moron, I said I'm sorry, more than once... then I pointed him at some bandwidth stats, and showed him what was going on he became a bit less pissed off. I'm sure you can see the spike on monday. A bit into this J called back to me, asking me if I didn't say I'd not send any more email, and didn't we have a professional relationship here. Guess he'd just checked his mail. I explained that I was talking to B, etc etc etc.

I explained that even after the servers was firewalled off so that their crawlers weren't getting anything, the crawler software was still requesting, and still using bandwidth for the requests. A bug or two it seems. The funniest thing I think was his reaction when he threatened to tell userfriendly about me mail bombing them, and I told him that it was userfriendly's bandwidth that his company was hitting, and that was hosted off of them. My opinion in the early part of that conversation anyway, was "go ahead and call them, I'll do it myself and I'll explain that they are going to get a nice fat bandwidth bill at the end of the month because of inktomi's crawlers!"

Eventually we became more personable to each other, as we were both (kinda) in the wrong. Once that became clear, and how much it sucked that one had to resort to mailbombing to get attention (he wasn't happy that I'd met the trouble talking to someone that I had). Anyway, it turned out that giving the crawlers 404's was needed, so I unfirewalled them and moved the offending directory out of the way, and they bashed some more, then the "don't crawl" directive that they'd put in the crawlers for my server took hold, and they finally stopped.

End result, don't send mailbombs, but don't get your bandwidth bashed and take it lying down. Maybe send only one or two emails :) That's it, end of story.

Oh yea, turns out the phone line problem was caused by a spontainously breaking phone cable. Thirty seconds to replace, 30 minutes sitting on hold with 611 to cancel the repair guy.

Debit Card Demise

And at the end of an overly long entry, another short story. I got a debit card for the company I set up, and it sat for a bit in a box of stuff. I then found a debit card of my own and it said it had to be activated, and throw out your old one. Well, I did that at the bank a couple of days ago. Looking at my business account statement today I noticed what looked like a withdrawl from it, and said "what the?". Well, turns out if you have a business account, and there's only one person who has signing privileges, their name goes on the card. So I ended up having to order a new debit card, as I had followed directions and had my "old" debit card destroyed when I activated my "new" one. I'm going to have to put a sticky note on the business card that sais just that, so I don't mix 'em up.

Had some weird dreams lately too, but I'll put those in tomorrow.

10/04/2002    -{ Never sleep. }-

It was another early morning for Firefly this morning, and I got up as usual, but wasn't feeling well (starting to sniffle) so I figured I'd avoid the gym, stay up for a bit to see her off, then buggeroff back to bed where I should be, and wake up at a leisurely hour (say, 9 or 10 or so). Well, it almost worked. I got involved with something, dealing with email from the previous night or something, and around 7 or 7:30 finally figured that hey, it's getting light out, time to head to bed.

I spent the next couple of hours drifting in and out of sleep, having the most bizzare dreams (and those of you who have read this before will know that means a lot). The only one I semi-remember involved my glasses breaking somehow, except the glass on them wasn't just the lenses, but there was glass on the sides as well, and by the nose bridge (almost as if they were wrap around sunglasses, but not). I remember sitting there with a handful of glass (much more than could have come from a pair of glasses) say something like "oh that's going to bugger things up."

The phone tore me out of my fitful slumber, and I went and uploaded HTML for the designers I've been working with. The project is, as far as I can see, done. There will probably be some tweaks here and there for the client (who was apparently given a tour today), but other than that, all is finished. I managed to throw out a quote on another job for them as well (whoho!). A couple of little things I got to play with was the "oh yea, they want a stock ticker" at the last minute. Glad to let you know that Finance::YahooQuote completely rocks :)

Here's a couple of desktop screenshots for ya'llz amusement. Here's my gnome 2 desktop (800k) and one of the kde 3.1beta2 desktop (344k) that I spent the day waiting for the compile to finish. It seems damn fast though, I'm quite impressed.... I may have to play around with it a bit more :)

10/02/2002    -{ Ooooooooooo... blinkenlights..... }-


First I want to say that my new office looks completely cool when it's still dark out and you come in and all you can see are the lights from the various electronic bits, monitors, hubs, KVM, computers, etc. I have to get a picture of it one morning.

And yes, I'm up early again. I was going to get up with A at 5:30 when the alarm went off (she's off driving big machines again) but I just. couldn't. do. it. However, I convinced myself to get up for 6:30ish and hit the gym so I don't feel bad about not going. I woke up from a very wierd dream though...

Tig and K were getting married, over on the island. Not a naked-and-painted-blue wedding either, but a normal, typical one. A bunch of people, them and K's folks included were in my house, except it was my parents house, talking about it. They were getting married over on the island, and they had sent out details back when Merilus was still around. The recommended hotel was $900-$1000 a night said K's Dad, and I didn't think that was nearly affordable, and was going to call around to places nearby to find a cheap-ass little motel 8, or motel 6, or travelodge or something. At one point there was talk of "Dr. Tim", and how something bad had happened. He used to work for us, but was fired, and people seemed to think that he was making trouble or something. I said that I hadn't seen him since he was fired, and that people may be over-reacting. I was also freaking out about cleaning the house (just like in real life!), and A said something about "all we have left is this..." and pointed to a pile of something (pictures? books?) in front of us that were the last things to do.

There was also something about a concert that I was scheduled to go to that I had planned when I was still working, and didn't think that it would be sane to go to with no income (or maybe it was the expensive hotel?). It's all fuzzy now though.

Zoon was horribly cute, and bad all at the same time yesterday. She climbed up on top of the AC unit and lept from there into the hanging plant that we had just above. She sat there, swinging while sitting on top of this poor plant looking both pleased with herself and scared at the same time. Eventually I stuck a shoulder under her and she used it to come down. Hopefully she was freaked out enough not to try that again :)

A's mom was here yesterday putting up shelves and doing misc things hardware-wise. Towel hangers and stuff, the sorts of things that we just haven't had time to do yet.

The project I've been working on is almost at an end. The one site was just great, and then we moved it to three. Basically they want a,, and, all running off the same backend technology, and doing almost all the same things, but just not looking the same. In theory it's easy for me. Write the code once, then duplicate it twice more, then sit back and let the designers do the hard work of making things look good. Of course, things aren't always perfect, and moving from a single site to three was a bit of a PITA because of the way I had global variables. Basically when the webserver started up I created a global $dbh variable that held the database connection into the table that I was using (along with a couple of other variables). Well, until apache 2.0 comes out, you can't do that on a virtualhost based system, so now each module I have has to use $r->dir_config() on each request to create a new database connection and create the other site specific globals (in this case the location of the files to load for display). It's incurring a bit of a speed penalty, but it can still saturate a T1, so there shouldn't be any problem for the end use. I just want to find a better way of doing it.

I also finally got my filing done. Every receipt, bill, or moderately interesting piece of paper that I've kept in various places has been sorted and archived in two drawers.... oh, it makes me so happy!