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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Chris LaPlante's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, April 17th, 2011
6:14 pm
Important things
I'm certainly not the pinnacle of organization. I call myself a "recovering slob". That said, I've made great strides in the past 5-10 years in that respect. Well at home at least, my cube is a wreck. One of the very first steps I took towards being a more organized person was my "bin of important things". I was forever coming home and putting my key daily possessions some place different and spending too much time looking for them the next day. So I got this little plastic organizer and have kept my "important things" in it with great success ever since. Things like keys, wallet, phone, sunglasses, checks, stray money. When I first moved in with Zoe she jokingly mocked my bin, and how anal I was about making sure my key things stayed in it. In short order however I was noticing that her important things were taking up residence. I pointed this out, and suggested if she was taking to the concept we could get her a bin too. She expressed that it was important to her on a symbolic relationship level that we share a bin.

Every so often the bin begins to overflow and I have to go thru it to pair it back down to truly important things. I found today going thru it I was having a hard time pairing it back. Pondering what that means... I'd think it was due to the new "important things" in my life, but really none of the items spare one that actually belonged elsewhere was theirs. Time to be more merciless with myself or get a bigger bin?

LJ is dead, long live LJ.
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
10:53 pm
gift evolution
I got a small bonus as part of my review. Most of it will go to bolstering our savings that has taken some large hits lately (new used car, major car repair of other car, home improvement we felt important to do prior to the kid's arrival, kids and their gear, ...) Zoe feels it's important I take some of it for myself though. It is supposed to be a reward for a job well done after all. I've been pondering what to do with my cut (we figure $2-300)

This has caused me to really think. In the past I would have just wanted some whizbang gadget or computery thing. At the moment though I'm not really finding anything I'm itching to own. I find myself really giving consideration before taking new stuff into my life. Will this really bring me happiness or is it just next week's clutter? Next year's goodwill pile?

I also thought about some things that I have spent money on in the past few years that really did bring long term joy to my life or otherwise really impact my quality of life. I realized they mainly boil down to elemental level improvements. We've installed two skylights so far. With the design of the house it could probably take about 10 more and not look silly. Each one costs about $1700. But every morning I wake up enriched by them. I really feel like I get $1700 more happiness out of them every day. I'd install 10 more tomorrow if I could. It's not the skylight, it's having more natural light in my life. That feels priceless. We're hoping to get screens on all the windows this year, more mosquito/moth free fresh air sounds equally priceless. Not to mention high quality toilets that replaced the old ones!

Zoe mentioned the home automation stuff was like that for her. It sounds gimicky on the surface, but when you adjust to being able to control the lights from a web page or remote without moving the alternative begins to feel bizarre. Who wants to trudge downstairs to turn off the bedroom illuminating outside lights you forgot to turn off when you're half asleep.

A while back I setup a back yard webcam that updates our laptop backgrounds every five minutes. In part I just thought it would be neat. In part though I wanted to give my computer use a circadian rhythm. It's really worked. On rare occasion when the camera update process gets hung up I find it really jarring when the desktop is bright and sunny late at night or dark in the afternoon.

I'm still at a bit of loss as to how I can reward myself in a way that will improve each day as these things have. Well at least thru spending. It's not lost on me these are fortunate problems to have.
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
3:52 pm
My life as far as I know
Chapter One: Childhood life in New Hampshire
Chapter Two: Life on my own in California
Chapter Three: Life with Autumn
Chapter Four: Life with Zoe
Chapter Five: Life as a husband and a Father.

What will chapter Six be? Do I care? Life as a retired grandfather?

(subject line shamelessly stolen)
Monday, February 8th, 2010
3:50 pm
3AM in SysAdmin land
Part of my job doing SysAdmin is to provide escalation support to the admins in India. They do some things, if they can't figure it out they call me (or my co-worker; we rotate) at all hours. This morning I got a call that was the non-technical equivalent of, "I'm trying to drive the most important car in the fleet off of a cliff, but my key is not working, please fix the lock." I kept trying to tell the guy, "It's a good thing your key is not working, b/c you're about to drive off a cliff and the owner of the car is not really going to like that! Call the owner." He kept just repeating about the key. Come to find out, he found another way, drove the car off the cliff, and today we're picking up the parts.

A log location on the production SAP system was full. He said he wanted to "clean some stuff up; move some files and directories some place else" His login was not working (after a recent upgrade) I asked, which files, and where are you going to move them? He said to /dev/shm (shared memory/RAM; he picked this b/c it "had 20G free"). I said, that's a really bad idea, they would be gone if the system rebooted 10 seconds later, and we don't have it setup that way even (not mounted to a tmpfs filesystem). Also that running applications don't often take kindly to having files pulled from underneath them.

He found another system with the log location NFS moutned, moved the files to the /dev/shm device on that host. On top of that said files were locked open by a process on the server. That left them in never never land, and in a quasi state on the server. At any rate, thankfully the files were not really needed, and now we have to have an outage to get the space to free from the real filesystem. LSOF shows the open inodes, ls by inode does not.
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
5:23 pm
Web site operators
If you put a little javascript floaty box ad or other window up on top of the page I am reading. I will _maybe_ click the X to close the window as quickly as possible (ignoring whatever it is you were bothering me with) if I am really into the content. More likely though, I'll just leave your site immediately and never come back.
Friday, August 14th, 2009
2:10 pm
Prisoner Train Cars
Somehow I missed this one, even wingnuts come up with something interesting every once in a while:


Though I have to say from the interior shots they look a whole lot more like large object or vehicle transports than people transports. I also find it dubious that the person had the balls to take an interior shot, but yet not a closeup of the supposed shackles.

It's certainly of interest why they were made, but perhaps not for the reasons people are saying.
Thursday, August 6th, 2009
11:08 am
Just not the same...
While flipping thru the radio dial on the way to work today a hiphop station DJ said "Wadddup 831!?" (area code for Santa Cruz and Monterey counties)

It somehow just did not have the same impact...

Farmers, Fishermen, and Hippies represent!
Sunday, July 19th, 2009
1:46 pm
must be a sign of some sort, and I have to kill it!
# ps -ef | grep oww
root 12345 5124 0 13:41 pts/0 00:00:01 owwnogui -i
Monday, June 29th, 2009
5:23 pm
Pavlov would be so proud
The nearest bathroom to my desk at work also doubles as the men's locker/shower room. For 8.5 years it had a badge reader to access the outer door (my work is more secure than Fort Knox; I'm not sure why...). Around the first of the year they removed the badge reader, so one no longer has to badge in to pee. I used to think these were to enforce gender access, but was able to let Zoe into the lady's locker room (to my great surprise!) shortly before they were removed. I was left stymied to their purpose in the first place after that.

So tell me, when, when will the "must hear the beep before you get to pee" conditioning wear off? Each time I head for the head, I still reach for my badge... Stop brain, stop.
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
11:55 am
Movie Recomendation - The King of Kong
We had some friends recommend this movie:


I never thought going in, that I would give a damn who had the high score at Donkey Kong, but by the end I really do care (and find the current high scorer to be a very special sort of asshat). Also gets bonus points for giving me warm fuzzy flashbacks of time spent at Funspot in NH. I had to chuckle thinking that back when I played these "Classic" arcade games, they were just "Arcade Games".

Totally watch it, we got it on netflix. Could his wive's boobs be any faker?
Monday, June 1st, 2009
12:33 pm
See stock, see stock run, go stock go!
/me Counts his money before it's on the table.
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
4:34 pm
Why does the business world try to co-opt the acronym S&M (sales and marketing) and NOT expect me to chuckle under my breath when it's used in a meeting.

That term is uhm... taken!

Reminds me how in my storage world niche vendors started using DP (dual parity). I also don't think of disk drives when I hear DP.
Monday, March 16th, 2009
2:59 pm
Local post office does good
While at the postoffice this morning I learned about a neat new thing. They now offer an "atm" style kiosk for sending packages and letters that is open 24/7. Need to send a package at 3AM (as freaks often do...)? Now you actually can. It allowed for packages, letters, return receipt etc.


It's a rare day when technology is actually used for something new and interesting.
Sunday, March 15th, 2009
7:10 pm
I can't believe it. I just made the most rookie UNIX mistake ever. After 20+ odd years use of UNIX use, I did what any book will say on page one paragraph one, NOT to do:

#rm -rf mv BUFFYS4D3.iso ../Buffy/

(translation: intended action, move my latest Buffy DVD ISO into my Buffy folder / actual action, try remove a non-existent file called mv [the move command] and remove my entire collection of Buffy DVDs)

I'm mortified with shame, someone revoke my *NIX license... XFS seems particularly unforgiving in this situation.
Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
6:17 pm
I *Heart* luscious garage
I've been going to the same mechanic for years (On Track Automotive - Burlingame, CA ; Still a great garage) but having adopted a hybrid, I needed / wanted a place that specializes in them. It turns out a really great one was started in SF.


I emailed them to say "Hey your prices seem similar to the dealer, why should I go with you?" unfortunately they did not get back to me (she apologized for that). We ended up taking the car to the dealer for regular major service. In addition to the routine stuff, the dealer found some additional things that required immediate attention, and recommended some things that sounded like dealer shenanigans to me (600 in valve inspection work when the car is running fine otherwise anyone?).

This lead me back to LG, I called and got the owner on the phone (A woman!) and we were really impressed with the depth of her knowledge, and that she offered to do 15% or more better than the dealer on cost.  It was a unique experience, the shop was very clean and modern, run all electronically on a mac (bonus points for custom opensource ruby on rails software), and as I mentioned, women, running a garage! They did a great job, and came in with 15%+ off. They also had an all electric conversion they were doing in the shop

My initial impression was so great that I piped up that I had a beater pickup outside, that was also long overdue for some mechanical lovin. Most notablly one belt had chunks missing and threads comming out. I asked her if she would be interested in fixing that, or did they only work on hybrids? She responded that they primarilly work on hybrids, but in this economy "paying customers were gladly accepted". 

She checked out the belt, and said the belt would be 7, and labor would be around $30. I was again impressed that she calculated out how long it would really take and charged based on that, and not "well I have to do this 5 minute thing, and we charge $120 an hour, so $120.." I came back later and they were ready to change the belt.

I asked if it was ok if I watched what they did, and he (she employs a guy, and the most sterotypical greasmonkey lesbian looking type ever) said sure. I'm more used to most garages being too paranoid at insurance risk to really allow you in the shop. He changed the belt, and was extemely patient in answering my questions and showing me what he was doing.  We ended up going thru the underbody of the truck head to toe and comming up with a list of everything it needs. He also figured out that the long standing "mystery sound" the truck has is a bad speedometer cable.

It felt really good to go thu that. The truck is a total beater, but they just don't make mini-trucks anymore. Ford sells a current 2.4L engine pickup, but it has one of those redicously short beds. If you want any sort of bed you have to get a much bigger engine, and fuel econmy goes out the window. Only the hybrids have an equal gas millage to this 89 (shame).

After going thru it all, he said he would give me an estimate on all the things we went over on Tuesday, which he did. The prices seem very reasonabe to me. Which leads me to the best part. In my responce, I asked if it would be possible for me to do the work myself while being supervied / told what to do. He agreed to that. I've been wanting to find essentially high school autoshop for adults for years. I have a fair bit of mechanical ability, but not much practical experience working on cars. This combo leads me feeling frustrated at paying for car repair, b/c I feel alternatively like "I could do that" and "replacing the seals on my engine sounds scary".

So if your car needs repair, I'd say go talk to them, and support a fledgeling local business run by cool freak/burner types.

Friday, January 16th, 2009
12:03 pm
Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
4:22 pm
clean'n house
A good house cleaner is worth their weight in gold. It's been so nice having someone come every two weeks, I've wanted that for many years...

Current Mood: clean!
Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008
12:58 pm
This story has been going around in geek circles. It's truly absurd. If you like monsters and don't think they should be limited to looking like overpriced cables; read on.


This of course assumes you won't confuse copper wire with playing mini golf without the Monster Cable corporation's help.
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
8:03 pm
I can haz country!
3:16 pm

Exciting! You know how wireless generally sucks? That's b/c we've had to use crazy schemes to battle the basic laws of physics that mean the frequencies wireless networks have been using thus far don't work well over varied terrain or thru common building materials, these frequencies do. Though I am sure some people will get plenty rich off this, it hopefully should mean greatly improve wireless internets.
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