Vox Hunt: Not There Anymore

Show us a picture of where you used to be.

Remember when I went to New Orleans by myself, to explore and give serious thought to moving there? Remember how I made sure to go when the Iowa Cubs were in town so I could try to see Rod Beck play? Remember how I found out at the New Orleans Zephyrs game that he'd been optioned to the majors the night before and I wouldn't see him at all?

(circa 06/2003)

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Where I'm At With Ajax on Rails

Extraface readers who don't follow me on Twitter may or may not know that I started working my way through the book Ajax on Rails this weekend. I just finished Chapter 2 tonight. Chapter 2 ends by telling me I have built a solid foundation for building Ajax with Rails, but it feels a little creaky to me right now. I'm tempted to plow ahead, but I'll probably read into Chapter 3 just a little and then go back and try to learn the syntax and framework stuff from the examples in 2 a little better. I may also crack open Beginning Ruby on Rails at this point to see if that gives me more of a comfort level.

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QotD: Happy President's Day!

Ever run for office?  (School, club, organization, politics, etc.)  Did you get elected?

When I was in London doing my year abroad in college, I lived in the international hall — the lovely and antequated Connaught Hall in Tavistock Square. Aside: You can always spot a recently-returned study abroad student by their use of the term "halls" instead of "dorm". Nobody calls them dorms over there and it's beaten into your skull to call them halls of residence.

In that same building, there was a bar, almost entirely operated by the students. More specifically, it was operated by the elected student officers of the hall. No one really cared how much money it made, as long as it paid for itself and for the incoming orders of Newcastle Brown and Stella. The rumor was, officers drank there on a sliding scale from severely discounted to free depending on who was behind the bar on any particular occasion. I don't remember how it came about that I ran, but I'd heard that there was no incumbent and no clear frontrunner in the Librarian race, so I threw my hat in the ring.

The only requirements for a campaign there were that you let people know you were running, and that you gave a speech on election night. My opponent ran on a populist/nativist platform, expecting me to fold under the weight of his Yankee jokes. Not on my watch. America, hell yeah. I gave a rousing speech wherein I proved that American students could be every bit as cutting, cruel, and sarcastic as our British counterparts, and won in a landslide.

I earned a spot on the bar steering committee. By majority rule we decided to name the bar "9 Bar," which sounds SoHo-hip but is really a clever reference to a standard measurement of hash. Not my idea but who am I to stand in the way of post-teenage rebellion. I also got to carry the sole key to the hall library. This wouldn't be a big deal except that students are required to completely vacate their rooms during school vacations, and if you ain't from around there you end up with nowhere to put all of the crap you've amassed while you head off on your European adventures. The library became my massive closet, and in December and April everyone was suddenly my best friend. If I had been more enterprising I could have earned some cash as a storage place, but I mostly just let people who hadn't been icy cold to me stash their stuff for free.

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QotD: Favorite Poem

What is one of your favorite poems?
Submitted by marvel is my pen name.

I think I first read this on a bathroom stall at the Alpha Delta Phi house.

by Jim Harrison

These simple rules to live within — a black
pen at night, a gold pen in daylight,
avoid blue food and ten-ounce shots
of whiskey, don't point a gun at yourself,
don't snipe with the cri-cri-cri of a becasine,
don't use gas for starter fluid, don't read
dirty magazines in front of stewardesses —
it happens all the time; it's time to stop
cleaning your plate, forget the birthdays
of the dead, give all you can to the poor.
This might go on and on and will: who can
choose between the animal in the road
and the ditch? A magnum for lunch
is a little too much but not enough
for dinner. Polish the actual stars at night
as an invisible man pets a dog, an actual
man a memory-dog lost under
the morning glory trellis forty years ago.
Dance with yourself with all your heart
and soul, and occasionally others, but don't
eat all the berries birds eat or you'll die.
Kiss yourself in the mirror but don't fall in love
with photos of ladies in magazines. Don't fall
in love as if you were falling through
the floor in an abandoned house, or off
a dock at night, or down a crevasse
covered with false snow, a cow floundering
in quicksand while the other cows watch
without particular interest, backwards
off a crumbling cornice. Don't fall in love
with two at once. From the ceiling you can see
this circle of three, though one might be elsewhere.
He is rended, he rends himself, he dances,
he whirls so hard everything he is flies off.
He crumples as paper but rises daily from the dead.

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I don't know what got into me.

Came back from the bookstore with all these beauties:

  • Beginning Ruby on Rails, Steven Holzner, PhD
  • Ajax on Rails, (O'Reilly), Scott Raymond
  • CSS Cookbook, (O'Reilly), Christopher Schmitt
  • The Believer, Feb 07 (they're having trouble with their online subscription renewal, so I'm buying off the shelf for now
  • Oxford American, Issue 55
  • Craft 02

Previously I'd given up on my hobby-level programming  to make room for all of the other hobbies (and because I kind of suck as it turns out), but something TomTalk said to me a couple of days ago has been rattling around in my head like a bb. He observed that more than anything he wants to draw but can't, and I want to make apps myself but can't. We're both completely useless at things we're extremely passionate about. Time to give it another try. Side interests and side projects are mounting, and I'm sick of having no prayer at building even the most rudimentary prototypes to show what I want. My goals are to get fluent enough that I can finish and debug some things (hate-a-base comes to mind, which I was involved in conceptually but didn't touch any code), start to use Ruby on Rails instead of static psd's to make simple simple prototypes, and build an online presence to house all of the stuff I've got going on. I haven't built a personal portfolio since I did the last one in Flash MX.

Wish me luck. I don't want this to end with a whimper, and that's a very real possibility based on my track record.

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Resolutions Check-in

A month and change later, let's see how I'm doing on my New Years Resolutions:

1. Read. Make time for it. – Yeah, doing ok on this. Not finishing books, but reading more before bedtime.
2. Exercise. Keep it up. You enjoy it. – I give me a C. I joined a gym. Gone an average of once a week.
3. *Private*
4. Get the garage cleaned out by 2008. – Still have time.
5. Travel to visit friends. Travel for fun. – Been taking more day trips so far. Hoping to plan a real trip for April. And want to spend some of my miles as well.
6. Be friendlier whenever you can. – Need to try harder here.
7. Let go. – Doing alright here. It has helped in a few situations. Plenty of room for improvement.
8. Dress better. – Bought new glasses. In the process of buying some new clothes. Still need to do something about the shoe situation.

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Mighty Like An Amaryllis

My aunt/uncle/cousins always give me very thoughtful gifts(thanks Stones!), and this past festivus they gave me an Amaryllis bulb growing kit. I followed the instructions fastidiously, and placed the watered bulb in its pot filled with dirt and moss on top of my refrigerator. This is to make sure it gets enough warmth and sunlight as it initially busts out.

A couple of weeks later, when I returned home from a business trip I found that the first stem
 had grown so high and fast it was doubled over, bending at the kitchen ceiling. I don't know what it is about my kitchen, but apparently it's got some sort of X factor that turns plants into mutant giants.

So I carefully brought the plant down from the fridge top, but in doing that I had to lift the pot up before I brought it down. This had the unfortunate effect of snapping that first huge stem. It hadn't flowered yet, and I figured it was doomed to wither and die, and put my hopes on the second stem. But check out what I found when I got back from my LA trip:

And here's how broken the stem is:

Round of applause for the blossoms that perservered despite that handicap:


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