What dreams may come, and from where?

Not sure what brought it on but Friday night I had a really weird dream. Mostly it was one of those where time is distorted, and things that just shouldn't happen seem as though they're totally normal. I wouldn't think anything of it except that the focus of the dream was someone that I haven't seen, and hardly even thought about since high school.

Most of the interaction with her made sense even though little else did. Most, that is, except how she kept insisting that things I had told her about myself when we knew each other in high school weren't true. The things she said I'd told her were really odd. Such as she said I'd told her I lived in an apartment, which I certainly wouldn't have, as I didn't. Other things equally as weird. She said that if we were going to be together we had to start being honest with each other.

No frigging clue. If anything the reality would have been her not being honest with me. Back in high school, she transferred in around the beginning of my Sophomore year, and as would be normal for someone coming into a school full of people that don't know each other, she was pretty well left on her own. I wasn't exactly the welcoming committee, but I did my best to try to make her feel less alone. For a few months, we actually talked regularly and she seemed to enjoy my company. Then she ended up making friends with a few of the (shall we call them) snobs and promptly stopped talking to me, and a few of the other people that had tried to be her friend. It hurt, not so much that she acted like she didn't know me anymore as high school is a shark pit and you have to build your allegiances with whomever you think is the biggest shark, no what hurt was that she would never admit to me what was going on. Just did her best to look right past me for the rest of the three years.

Usually, I'd say she was just a fill in for whatever my subconscious thinks I'm not being honest about, but the direct interactions with her in the dream, the weird conversations aside, had the same feel to them as the dreams I have which eventually end up coming true.

Guess it is what it is, and will be what it will be... just strange.

The world is rubbing off on me

It's been a few days since I got back from Richmond, VA. Still have TMBG songs stuck in my head, though a little Massive Attack and some Oingo Boingo have popped up, so I think the effects of the concert are wearing off. I may be 'normal' soon.

After I checked out the hotel I made my way to Short Pump, VA and to the mall there. Nice two story open air place. There was still a lingering dampness in the air from the rain the night before, the air was cool, but not cold. Was a nice afternoon. Hit up a Coldstone Creamery, and enjoyed a little sweet cream. I don't do fancy for ice cream, simple makes me happy.

After I left I started thinking about something a friend said to me. I've been dealing with a fair amount of neck pain lately. More than usual. Mostly the hazards of being a tall person in a 'normal' person's world. Well, I've been lamenting the lack of anyone to rub my neck or shoulders... of course, it's not like people ever really have done that for me with any regularity. Makes me wonder why I did it for others for so long with no reciprocation. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mall and decided on a whim to run the word massage through google on my phone and see if there's anything close by.

I have never had a professional massage before, or one at all in a very long time. I've been on a 'go with it' thing for a while, seeing where the world takes me when I just let it all happen... well after a few dead ends, I found a place a few minutes away with a very low first-time customer rate and an opening in a few hours. So I arrange for that and then take a little drive. Found my way to the local cemetery, because that's where I end up when I don't know where I'm going. Totally not intentional, but it never is.

So I spend some time walking the grounds, took a few pictures. Lovely place, calm. Never have been sure why I end up at burial sites when I go wandering, I think if I should ever understand that I'll know far more about the me I'm told I don't see.

Making my way back to keep my appointment it sinks in that for the first time in two years someone will touch me intentionally. Sure I've had a few hugs and such over the years, but I'm talking about direct skin to skin. Furthermore, it will be more than just my hands... the majority of my body. I shake it off, and try to not think about how after two years the first person to touch me will be a total stranger; someone I'll likely never see again. Head in, fill out some 'new customer' questionnaire and meet the person who'll be in charge of how I feel for the next hour.

The whole thing went more or less how I expected it to. Was weird, but relaxing. Found it interesting that with only minor exceptions the motions she made were the same as those I've always used when massaging other people. Not sure what to make of it, if anything, just think it's interesting how I with no training came to using the same techniques as someone who does it for a living.

Still feel a little strange that the only person to intentionally touch my skin, touch my body, in the last two years was a total stranger. Otherwise it wasn't a bad experience. I may try to find some place locally that I can go to every so often. I try to keep my muscles happy, but most of what I know to do I can't do to myself as it just causes strain to other parts of me because of the way I have to contort myself to do it.

Other than that, nothing much to comment on at the moment. Something is coming, something important. Just not sure what it is yet.

My birdhouse has a nightlight

Last night I attended the They Might Be Giants show in Richmond, VA. The first thing that comes to mind is wow!

Got into town at 15:00, checked in, and as anyone that knows me would expect, I set up my laptop and got to seeing what I'd missed in the two hours I was on the road. Well, o'kay I was keeping up with 'life' via my phone, but whatever.

Caught up with old friends for dinner, then made my way in and up to the stage, because that's just how I roll, yo! ;) I don't see either of them often; it's always a trip back to my teenage years when I do.

The opening act was <a href="http://www.jonathancoulton.com/" target="_blank">Jonathan Coulton</a>, which alone was enough reason to make the trip up. Sure he didn't perform my two favorite songs (Code Monkey, and I'm Your Moon) but his performance of Mr. Fancy Pants was awesome. The set was way too short for my liking, but as an opening act, it's about what I expected.

TMBG took the stage in grand fashion. Played for about 10 minutes or more before even talking to the crowd. Then a few more songs from various albums before getting to the meat of the event. It was a Flood show after all, and Flood is what we were there to hear, and hear it we did. Backward. Well in reverse order that is. A great amount of energy, and the confetti, oh my gawd the confetti, I think I may still have some in my coat... perhaps even in my pants.

Wonderful show, best concert I've seen since the first time I saw Fighting Gravity play at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Great time, really worth the trip. I should do this more often.

Chew on this

First off I want to give mad props to Google for making Blogger work in lynx. You guys rock my console.

With that out of the way, I thought I'd give a little update as to what I've been doing lately. Most of my 'free time' has been spent helping to bring a hackerspace online in Norfolk, VA. 757 Labs is a project formed from a local technology social group called HRGeeks. I've been hanging out with these guys for a while, and even used to know a few of them when I was in high school. It's been a lot of fun, and as I seem to have become the network admin it's been a great learning experience. My home network just didn't offer the level of complexity that the lab network does. Maintaining a number of VLANs, making sure that visitors have working internet connection while keeping the main network secure with both hardline and wireless access for everything. I've learned that there were things I didn't even know that I didn't know. Of course, that's part of why I'm here, so it's all good.

My own personal projects have mostly been on hold for the time being, partly because this has been much more fun, and partly because once the space is active I'll be able to use it for my projects. Win/Win!

I can't believe I just typed that. I feel so lame. Oh well, it stands.

Now, why did I happen to come to know that Blogger works in lynx? Well, I'm at the lab now, upstairs at the server racks, about to shut down the audio stream I've been running, and got the urge to type this. As for that audio stream, Matt Lestock (former Hak5 host, and all-around spiffy fellow) has restarted his old internet radio show. What, you didn't know? Well carry yourself over to www.jeffandchew.com, and check it out. I'll wait...

Got the skinny? Good. Listen weekly, you'll be glad you did. Just don't listen with small children or people that can't take a joke. You've been warned.

That's about all I have for now. I'm going to try to get back into posting more, now that I'll have more to post about. Until then, keep doing what you do, as no one else can do it better than you.

Rocking the Con

Spent this weekend braving the snowpocolypse (or snowpocalypse depending on which Twitter hashtag you were following) in Washington DC. Obviously, I survived. YAY ME!

Why was I in DC? Well if you're reading this you prolly already know, but I was attending ShmooCon. I've tried many years in a row, but for one reason or another was never able to until now. Got ticket, transportation, and accommodations from the fine people of 757 Labs.

Left Thursday afternoon, and settled in late that evening. Nice ride up. The three people I went up with were split between two cars. Ethan and I in one, Matt and Erik in the other. I had packed my GMRS radios, so we had communications between cars. Ethan and I have very eclectic tastes in music; it was nice to make the ride up with someone whose music selection was varied and interesting.

Friday I ventured out into the early stages of the impending doom to make my way to the Pentagon City Apple store. Picked up a mophie juice pack air, so that my phone would actually last the con without having to spend all my time tethered to a wall. I had been to the Apple store at home, but they only had the thing in eye bleed red. Fortunately, the folks in DC have some taste and carried it in a number of colors, such as black. After that, I hung out while the only entry in the Hacker Arcade was unpacked. I admit I didn't spend much time helping to set it up, but I had already spent a lot of time prepping the lasers for the install, so I was pretty fed up with it at that point. Besides, being my first con I was really in 'oooo shiny' mode. After registering I attended the opening remarks, then wandered around meeting people. Later that day I attended the talk on insecure web apps, and then the keynote on the flaw in TLS authentication. There was supposed to be a gathering at HacDC but was preemptively canceled that morning because of the threat of flaky white death. That night, while chilling in the lobby, part of the glass ceiling at the hotel broke and it started snowing inside. That was cool... very... actually cold. It was pretty chilly for the rest of the night.

Saturday I caught the second half of the talk on smartphone security. What does your data device say about you, and who is listening? Good stuff. Lots to think about. Especially since I want to get into iPhone app development., Then a very sobering talk on GSM security, or more accurately the lack thereof. I knew it was broken, but ZOMFG I had no idea how broken. I took notes on that one, which I'll reference on elder-n00b.org later. After that was lunch. Didn't make it to the talk on UAVs on the cheap, but that's o'kay, 757 Labs has a UAV project which was back burnered a while back. There's talk of reactivating development on that, which I'll be happy to help with. Later was a "we're already doing it wrong" talk on cyborg infosec. How can we expect to build future bioelectrical enhancements when current pacemakers are programmable wireless over unencrypted links?

Later Saturday night I attended the podcaster's meetup. Ran into Darren, Paul, and Shannon. Haven't seen them in quite a while, so that was cool. Went out with them for Chinese food, then to the party at club Heaven & Hell. Don't ever let anyone tell you that geeks don't know how to party. That place was jumping. int80 of dualCORE performed, and really the whole night just rocked. I haven't danced that much in a LONG time. Danced with Shannon a few times; the only person in the place that would dance with me. Everyone else just didn't know what they were missing yo. *smirk* Walked back around 01:30 Sunday morning, and hung out at the hotel bar until 04:00. Chilled with int80 and the DC949 crew. Awesome people. Were great fun to party with. If I ever find myself in Orange County I will definitely look them up.

Sunday was pretty much getting packed up and escaping DC proper. I would have liked to have stayed for the closing, but the roads were just too much of a mess to risk it.

Had a hell of a time. Shmoo rocked my socks, nuff said.

Took a few pictures, which I'll get up on Flickr eventually. Right now it's well past my bedtime.

New Hobbies Are The Best Hobbies

I've been idle lately. Not just 'technologically' but physically. Three years ago, when I changed departments at my employer, I went from climbing ladders and crawling under buildings to sitting at a desk all day. I also went from 175lbs to 220lbs. It took just a few months to get to the new weight, but it took over a year to get back (o'kay so I'm 180 now; close enough). I changed my eating habits to match my new less active job and made a point to get out now and then. That had been going pretty well until a few months ago, at which point I just kind of stopped. No real reason; just did. I also noticed that I wasn't doing much of anything else. It had all kind of run together. Sure, my various hobbies and such were still fun, but they were also old hat. I needed something new. I also needed to get moving or risk regaining the weight. If you've never been there, you can't really know, but it's a lot harder to keep the weight off once you've gained and lost it than it is to just not gain it.

I've been playing around with various GPS related applications on my phone lately. Mostly the 'check in' at a location variety. I have Brightkite, and Loopt; picked up Gowalla recently. They're all fun in their own little way, but I really enjoy the Geohash app. It's based off an XKCD comic, and though I usually don't go to the locations that it generates, I like looking at the info every day. I've yet to meet anyone else at a generated location, but I hold out hope that it'll happen.

Ever since I got an iPhone 3G (I have a 3GS now) I've played with the idea of getting a dedicated GPS device too. The iPhone serves me well for getting from point A to point B, but it's not all that accurate. A few years ago I read about a thing called Geocaching. The idea being that using just a set of coordinates and a few clues you would set out looking for a can, box, or other containers that someone else hid with the hope that others would find it. Sometimes there might be odds and ends to trade or clues to the location of yet another hidden treasure. Maybe an object that wants to travel to a faraway place, and if you can help it get closer by moving it to another hidden place then it's just accepted that you will.

Last night, on a whim, I decided that I was going to stop thinking about it, and actually give it a try. I signed into geocaching.com from work, set up an account, and searched for a few caches nearby. After work, I set out looking and using Google Maps and my phone's built-in compass I made an attempt to find two different places that seemed as though they would be pretty easy. I failed. A lot. All the while I was cursing the highly inaccurate GPS on my phone. Sure it was great for plotting a route to follow in my car, but when trying to find something that may be smaller than my hand and hidden from view, it just didn't seem to be good enough. Most handheld GPS devices I've looked at have a clear sky accuracy from 10 to 30 feet. My iPhone didn't seem to want to do better than about 40 to 60 feet. So combining the probable inaccuracy of the device that tagged the location and the error in location from my phone and I realized it was possible I could be almost 100 feet away from my target at any time and think I was right on top of it.

I tried one more, that was closer to home, later last night after an HR Geeks (Hampton Roads, not Human Resources) meeting that sprung up because some people couldn't make it to the scheduled meeting last week. It was quite dark by that time, and after a few minutes, I realized that it was a lost cause. This morning I was woken up far earlier than I had planned to get up and was forced to leave the house. After taking care of what I needed to, I decided to give it another go. I picked a different cache, as it was on my way back home. This time after just a few minutes I found a hidden glass jar with a few tiny seashells, an equally small toy car, and a rolled up piece of paper in a plastic bag. I unrolled the paper, left the date and my name, packed it all back up and hid it away again. There was another less than a quarter mile away, so I went for it. I also downloaded the iPhone application that Groundspeak (the group that operates geocaching.com) offers which gives access to the cache database, and an easy way to update entries. Sure it cost $10, but sometimes the free route isn't the best route.

So pulling up to the second attempt of the day I can already tell where it's hidden. Mostly because it was hidden in the same way the first one was, but on some level, it was like I could just feel it. This time it took longer to sign the log and put it back than it took to actually find it. Feeling good about myself I decided I want to try to find the last one I looked for last night. On the way, I'd be passing two others. First one is on the road I live on. Spent a few minutes looking, and started to think that perhaps it wasn't there anymore, despite only being put into place a short time ago. It's a pretty high traffic area and on the edge of private property. Just as I was about to walk away I see it, in plain sight. How I missed it until then I have no idea. Then off to the next one. At this point, I was feeling pumped. Silly I guess, but on some level, I felt like those shady characters in spy movies in their long black coats deftly snatching little-hidden objects off the back of park benches in plain view of everyone.

A few minutes down the road and I find myself along a line of shrubs. Trying not to collect too much of the bush inside of my coat, I start poking around the ground just under the leaves. As I do I start thinking back to my days as a cable tech, looking for pedestals which had been grown over. Falling into this mindset I spot it. My gaze hadn't moved and yet something that was totally invisible to me just moments ago was there as plain as the nose on my face. That's when I realized that yesterday I had been looking at things all wrong. My inability to find the caches I was looking for yesterday wasn't because my GPS devices wasn't accurate enough, it was because I wasn't looking. I was trusting my equipment to show me where to look. The point of the GPS is to get me there, it was still my job to actually search. Resealing the large film canister and feeling in the zone I roll out to what I'd decided would be my last attempt of the day. Off the side of the road, in view of the interstate, I start poking around wondering if anyone zipping by at 60+MPH even notices me and if I'm about to wake up a sleeping snake I creep farther into the trees. No geocache, but did find the remains of a beer cache. Looked like it had been abandoned some time ago. A slightly broken foam cooler, and mostly empty beer cans covered by black plastic and pine needles. Again, just as I was ready to leave, out of the corner of my eye I catch something that doesn't look right. A magnetic key box tucked away from view. Another signature log and a small rubber lizard that might have been trying to be the Loch Ness Monster. Left my mark, and having very much enjoyed the morning, headed home.

I don't see myself regularly checking off five a day, even on my days off. I do see myself venturing off course every now and then, to spend a few minutes searching out a little slip of paper to scribble my name on. I may never meet any of the people whose names mine is sharing space with, but still I feel that in a way they all were there with me when I found the cache. We all saw the same thing, in the same place, just not all at the same time. I really think I'm going to enjoy this.

I like flowers, especially in HD

So I finally got around to getting the PS3 title Flower. I know, I know, I'm late to the party. It was on sale for $4.99 this weekend, so I figured even if I didn't like it not all that much lost, right?

Well, I played around with it for about 20 minutes, and now I keep thinking about it, wanting to play more. It's kinda sad, but also cool how something so simple can be so engaging. Direction and speed, that's all you get to control. There is no winning, no losing, no time limits. Just wake up the flowers along your way, and move on. Sure, if you get all of them you get rewarded, but if you don't it doesn't matter.

I tweeted about it, and a friend asked for a "Quick review/synopsis?". I responded in less than 140 characters and figured I'd come here later and really write about it. Thinking about it now, I think my original tweet should do all the talking, so here it is.

Sad city flower, dreams of the country. You live the beautiful dream. Get bonuses for finishing the level 100%. Happy flower. YAY

That's it, and that's the awesome of the game. There's nothing else to say. So if you have a PS3 and you haven't played it yet, go do it. For a few more days it's still $4.99, but even at full price, I think it would be worth it.