Thursday, May 22, 2008

Yesterday I participated in the International Ride of Silence. Unfortunately, just the day before, a local kid named Jarryd Brown was killed on his bicycle.
I took my bike up to Krank it Up at 6:30 to fix a leaky tire, and just in general get my rusty bike back in to shape. My patch on the tube didn't take, so Danny let me ride his mountain bike.
The "Silence" part of the ride was taken very seriously. As far as I saw, nobody said a word the whole ride. We just rode and listened to the various cars make racket at us either throw yelling unintelligible words or honking. It's not always immediately clear when people are trying to show their support, or trying to be asses, so I make a habit of giving everyone a friendly smile and wave, even when their intentions are clear.
Our first stop was at the intersection of Magnolia and Apalachee Parkway where Jarryd was killed. He had some friends and family there. They took one of our Ghost Bikes and chained it up at a post.
It was a very emotional scene. Lots of crying. One guy told Jarred's story about falling in love with bicycles recently.
Local news was there, and they interviewed Justin Pogge. Then we left for our next stop.

Jarryd Everett Brown, the bicyclist who died in a Tallahassee crash Tuesday night, was part of a tightly knit community that is now mourning his death.

Brown, 22, grew up in the Miccosukee Land Cooperative, a neighborhood where about 100 families live, and he graduated from SAIL High School in 2004.

"When I went to school today, there were a lot of kids that needed hugs and, believe me, I needed them too," Mike Rychlik, an English teacher at SAIL and a neighbor of the Brown family said Wednesday. "He was very popular. The kids at the school really gravitated toward him but, he wasn't the swagger kind of popular guy. He was kind of low key. He was a loyal friend."

About 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Brown was heading north on the west side of Magnolia Drive, said Tallahassee Police Department spokesman Officer David McCranie.

According to witnesses, Brown crossed Apalachee Parkway even though he had a red light. The driver of a Chevrolet Blazer heading west on Apalachee had a green light when he went through the intersection and struck Brown. The driver, who was not at fault, was William Wiehagen.

"The investigation continues but charges are not pending," McCranie said.

Brown was thrown from his bicycle and died on scene, he said. He was not wearing a helmet.

It was the second bicycle-related fatality in Leon County and Tallahassee this year. Carroll L. Moore, 64, died Feb. 26 from injuries he suffered from a crash a week earlier. A driver waiting to turn left onto Clara Kee Boulevard from U.S. 27 North didn't see Moore, who was riding his bicycle.

Earlier this month, a bicyclist was seriously injured after he was struck by a truck and dragged 100 feet on North Monroe Street.

Bicyclists were injured in 63 crashes last year in Leon County, but none died, according to preliminary data from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

The Miccosukee Co-op community helped Brown's family when his mother was sick with cancer. She died a few years ago, Rychlik said. They formed a healing circle and had potluck dinners at the Browns' home on Monday nights.

"It's really hitting us hard," Rychlik said. "For Scott (Brown's father) to lose a wife and to lose his only child is unbelievably burdensome and hard to fathom."

Georjean Thaell, another neighbor, said it was clear Brown was a loving person.

"When I would see him, I knew that he loved me and I think that a lot of people can say that about him," she said. "He had beautiful, big eyes that were kind of sad after his mother died."

Justin Pogge, a volunteer with Krank It Up, a community bicycle project, said he saw Brown last week.

"The bike he was riding was one he borrowed from a friend, and he was talking about how excited he was getting a bicycle and riding it around town," Pogge recalled.

Pogge was helping organize a ghost bike ride for Wednesday night. The ride is a memorial for local bicyclists who have died in crashes. He and others planned to spray paint an old bicycle white and chain it near where Brown died.

Two years ago we setup a ghost bike for a man who was killed near the Governor Square Mall. The bike has since been taken down so we put another one up.
The final stop was for a bicyclist that was killed near Lake Jackson. Lake Jackson is pretty far away. About half broke off and continued on to Lake Jackson. The rest of us headed back to Krank it Up.
Overall the ride was both emotional and exhilarating. It is coming up on the eve of Andrews death, and I thought about him, Aurora, and the rest of his family a lot. Death is a very difficult thing to deal with.

Some pictures from the ride:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Aurora and adding

Aurora just asked me what twenty plus twenty was. Before I could answer her she said, "No, wait, it's forty."
I asked if they had been practicing added two-digit numbers in school. She said, "No, I just remember I could count by twenties." She figure out in her mind how to add twenty and twenty without anyone explaining to her how to add two-digit numbers. Sweet!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Arianna's first birthday party.

Saturday we held Arianna's first birthday party at my parents house out in Sopchoppy. Kim bought some bouncy balls and playpen balls for the party.
Nick was there with his fiance and two kids Ashton and Angel. Aurora immediately took to Ashton and they played together most of the time.
My mom had bought a kiddy pool. We filled it up with water and playpen balls, which made for much fun to be had by the kids.
I was actually pretty excited about getting the balls. I had wanted to get some playpen balls for quite some time, but never had a good enough excuse to make the purchase, and I didn't expect that Kim would be to keen on the idea. So to have Kim bring up the idea and take the initiative to get them was awesome.
Athena did not take any naps all day long, but was still good for the whole day. She got a lot of presents. I got Aurora and Athena SpongeBob Season 4 part 1. We usually get the other kids a present for the others birthday. Just this one half of SpongeBob season four cost almost forty dollars. I wanted to get teach of them one half, but it was way too expensive.
Saturday night we let Ashton stay over at our house. This made all the kids really excited. Ashton slept on the top bunk with Aurora. The next morning I made pancakes, we got all of our stuff ready, and then we headed back out to Sopchoppy.
Nick helped Danny replaced a water pump and then he had to leave back for Pensacola.
After that, all of us except Danny went to Apalachicola. We had dinner there and looked at the scenery. Afterwords Kim and I gathered our stuff and went home.

Vicky and the truck

Zeke and Vicky had their car stolen a couple of weeks ago. So they called me and wanted to know if they could have their Dodge Dakota back. Vicky came down by bus on the eleventh. We had a good day. It was mothers day so we went to Cabos and met Kim's sisters there for brunch. Anne met us there but Stanley was throwing a major fit about not wanting to wear shoes. It was so bad that Anne had to leave.
After brunch we went back home and got the truck ready. We took all of our stuff out. We still had a bunch of Zeke and Vickie's stuff from when they moved to Washington, so we loaded that all up in the truck. Athena and I then washed the truck. It needed it desperately, and I had meant to get around to it anyways.
So then Vicky left and drove the truck home.
A few days later the police recovered their car. It was not far from their house. The paint had been scratched up, the upholstery had cigarette burns, and most of their stuff had been stolen. It also stinks very badly.
We had lost our key to the gray van, so I had to have a locksmith come out and make a key, which cost ~$85.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hardy update

I had too many problems with Hardy on my laptop. The wireless driver has been compiled in to the new kernel, but doesn't seem to work. I can get it to work by installing Gutsy, grabbing all udpates, and them upgrading to Hardy. This will let me use the Gutsy kernel on Hardy. The only problem is that programs that need kernel modules, such as Virtual Box, only have kernel modules for the Hardy kernel in the repositories, so they won't run.
There where also some various other problems such as the volume and screen brightness buttons on the laptop had a long delay before the changes took affect.
The biggest improvement with Hardy on this laptop is that video acceleration works flawlessly. In Gutsy if I turn on video acceleration I cannot playback videos. So every time I want to playback videos I have to turn off video acceleration and then turn it back on when I am done watching videos. The easiest work around for this is to simply not use video acceleration, which just means no wobbly windows or desktop cubiness.
On the girl's desktop it has been running Hardy since it was Alpha. Thing where shaky in the beginning, but now it runs very well. I am very happy with it's performance on their machine.
At work I use Wubi. It install Ubuntu inside of Windows, as opposed to requiring you to repartition your hard drive or anything else drastic. It then gives you the option on bootup to run either Windows or Ubuntu. If you choose Ubuntu it runs Ubuntu from the data that is stored inside of Windows. It seems to run great, by initial reaction, but at work I do have to work and not play, so I haven't had much of a chance to try it out. I am going to have to find all the Windows apps I run for Windows in a Linux form. We do lots of Oracle and Java stuff and most all of that is built in Linux, especially the Oracle stuff. There is some other software I'm not so sure about. I will have to do some digging during my lunch breaks.
Very soon I will be doing a clean install of Hardy on my desktop. I'll blog about how that goes when it goes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Last day and first day at jobs.

My last day at Corrections was last Friday. My last call involved helping a tech in the field with a mainframe printing problem. Another tech, Dave, sent a print job on the mainframe. After he submitted it she logged in as her and sent the exact job and it printed. I checked the queue on the mainframe and his job was still sitting there in queue to process. The mystery was why is his still in queue if it was submitted before hers?
It turned out that he had submitted another job that was hammering the database, and his other jobs would not print until his first submitted job, that was hammering the database, finished. I also could not cancel it because we had no way of knowing what it was doing to the database and didn't want to force quite something that would cause the database to become corrupt.
Of course my last call would have to be something out from left-field.
My job at DMS is going great. We are converting COBOL code to IP/SQL that calculates billing for calls. State agencies use a system called Suncom for their voice and their data. The process for billing calls is kind complicated, but is currently handled by Cobol. A previous employee had rewritten it to Perl, but it needs to be in IP/SQL to be consistent with everything else. Rick had converted the Perl to IP/SQL, but with lots of bugs. My job was to work through the bugs. I squashed the last one this morning, and spent the rest of the day taking all the data we compile and throwing it into the database. The database it is going in to will be handled by other code that is currently running in Cobol and will be translated in to IP/SQL as soon as I get this part finished.
I am really digging my job. I am picking most of this stuff up pretty quickly, and I'm really enjoying it. I have even been able to clean up some stuff that wasn't done the way that is "best practice." So it is nice to be a newb, but still have something constructive to add from time-to-time, even if it's only small things right now.
I hate meetings, and we seem to have at least two a day. It sucks to be completely mentally entrenched in to fixing some problem, then to have you yanked from it for an hour, and then trying to figure out where the hell you where before and get back in that groove. It disrupts everything. Once I get my barring, though, I will probably be the one in the meetings talking everyone's ear off, instead of sitting there trying to figure everything out, because that is how I can be when I get in my mind that something needs to be done this way or that way.
Other bonuses to this job is that I don't have to wear button-ups all the time. Polos are sufficient. I can also grow my hair out longer. Oooh, oooh, and I get to put Ubuntu on my machine once I am out of rookie stage.
I am pretty overwhelmed. I am very much a novice programmer right now, and on top of that there is a lot to learn outside of the programming about the organization and how the different systems work, as well as who is who and what is what. I just have to take it in a little at a time.
Overall everything rocks. The real benefit will come this Friday when the check deposits in to my bank account. Woot!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Two kinds of nerds

I've long held an idea about nerds (geeks, whatever...) that one way you can sort between the two is by which classic sci-fi series they cling to, Star Trek or Star Wars. The key difference lies in the story telling. Star Trek is all about the details. They want to know different technical and social details, how does the graviational system work on the Enterprise, what is the cause and effect of the social interactions, how does the teleportation work? Star Wars is all about the story. Who cares why there is gravity in the X-Wings? What matters is that a Jedi can destroy a ship the size of a small planet with one. How does a light saber work? By jabbing it into the chest of your enemy, that's how.
Being on the Star Wars side of the fence, I may be a little biased in my assessment, but the way this difference plays out in real life is priorities. Star Wars nerds are interested in what is important and fun. Star Trek nerds are interested in the things that nobody in their right might would ever find interesting.
I have found that when I meet a fellow nerd I can determine which of the two series they prefer based off of the previous paragraph. There are so some subtle cultural difference that I don't know how to properly articulate, but can be picked up on in time if you pay attention.