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Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010, 03:52 pm
Back Under The Bellows Again

My wife Reesa (eposia) was recently diagnosed with an aggressive malignancy in her left breast. The last four days have been a blur of doctors, social workers, friends, family, grief, and baked goods. The third most common reaction to tragic news, after "Let me know if there's anything I can do to help" and "Keep your chin up", appears to be "Here, I cooked you this". Which has certainly helped keep us going, if only because we'd feel bad about the good food going to waste if we didn't eat it.

For those inclined to the most common reaction, Reesa has posted a chore and errand list. One thing not listed on there, because of its different scope, is my ongoing job hunt. I am looking for full-time work as a Linux administrator or PHP developer, which is a time-consuming process of applications and rounds of interviews. I've had no trouble finding job listings, but that leaves me at the beginning of the long process on each one. If you know a job opening (or even just an HR director) somewhere your recommendation will carry weight, getting my foot in the door and on to the interview would help a lot. I'll probably want help with other things as time goes on, which will get added to Reesa's list or posted here, as appropriate. I'll also be posting periodic job hunt progress here, until something pans out.

Reminders of the importance of positive thinking are, while nice, somewhere between moot and frustrating: we know, and anyone who has seen Reesa recently can already tell we're on top of that. Coming over and spending some happy time with us, on the other hand, certainly helps us with the minute-to-minute up-chin-keeping. Grief tends to stifle happy conversation from others, in a misguided attempt to not trivialize the pain; that's understandable, but our friends and family continuing to have good lives, and to share them with us, is more important.

I'm acting as Reesa's patient advocate, which means (among other things) filtering the stream of information so she can focus on healing. If you have medical advice or contacts to share, please send it my way. Unfortunately, medical advice (amateur and professional) is often well intended but poorly delivered; I would much rather bear the brunt of that myself, wherever possible. If my enforcement of this is brusque, I apologize, but adding to Reesa's stress is something I won't sit quietly for right now.

This has been difficult to write. In part that's due to the subject, in part it's because I have kept quiet about my life recently, for a variety of personal reasons. The reasons for that reticence are past and insignificant now; you didn't miss much except stale drama, and I'll be posting much more publicly in future. Anyone needing more info is welcome to ask for a private explanation, which I will be forthright as possible with. I'll also be making a grief filter, to give myself more space and permission to process. If you would like to be on the filter, let me know in comments; not wanting to be on it (for whatever reason) is not something I will take amiss, as I don't want people to stop interacting with me online just to escape my pain.

Thank you to everyone who has already been out to support us, as well as those who have been keeping us in their thoughts. Thank you, my wonderful wife, for balancing me so well; even in the midst of this grief, you have been my rock, and your strength has kept mine present. I'd say I don't know what I'd do without you, but we've even covered that together. May we never need those plans.

Tue, Dec. 1st, 2009, 11:40 pm
30

A big thanks to everybody for all the birthday wishes. I've been fairly secluded these last several months, building up my contracting and getting settled into home life at the Dreamcafe. Preparations for big plans in the future has steamrolled my social life, and I'm honestly too busy to miss it most days. It's really nice to know that despite my absence, I still have friends and family out there thinking of me.

The birthday party was a really mellow family affair spent at home. There was plenty of music, and dancing to said music by all involved, including a particular author whose style is best left undescribed, lest it confuse their fan's mental image of them. We watched a bit of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", another Aaron Sorkin show which, while not quite as on-target as West Wing, is still quite enjoyable; watching good shows with two intelligent authors is doubly rewarding, as they share my passion for deconstruction and analysis.

Reesa and I ended the night by reading to each other, which is one of the best gifts a lover has ever given me. Not only is it fun to have a sexy audio-book or audience, but as a fan of the series she can answer my back-story questions the instant they arise. It also solves the problem of not finding time to read, by turning it from a solitary and interstitial activity into a scheduled, intimate one. All of which was immediately apparent, and none of which I'd thought of until she suggested it. (Just the latest of many examples of why my girl is made of awesome.)

There's still a lot to do, and more in the coming months. If you're feeling like giving a belated present, what I could use right now are leads; having a solid client base would make so many other things easier. If you know someone looking for a website or a server, send them my way. But even if all you've got are good wishes, I still appreciate them. Knowing that being time-poor has not made me poor of friends is one of the things that makes the rest of this much easier.

Fri, Apr. 24th, 2009, 01:41 am

"And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

Henry V, Scene IV, Act iii

Tue, Feb. 17th, 2009, 04:27 am
'Codename: Era of the Fallen' Seeks Playtesters

A friend asked me to pass this on to my gaming buddies. It was addressed to folks in Austin, but I don't think you need to be in Austin to play . . .

A new FRPG called 'Codename: Era of the Fallen' is now seeking playtesters. It emphasizes narrative storytelling, allowing for deeply immersive roleplaying, and encourages a different sort of play style centered around: character development, mature themes, ethical dilemmas, etc.

Codename: Era of the Fallen has THE most realistic combat system ever devised, which has been culled from the author's extensive knowledge of the topic and subjected to careful tuning to establish just the right balance between detail and simplicity. Dice based combat is fast paced, intuitive enough to be easily understood, and quickly results in a decisive outcome. Just like real combat. Emphasis is placed on thinking through things instead of blindly rolling dice. The combat system is extremely flexible to suit many styles and preferences: from strict dice rules, to diceless, to a hybrid between the two.

Codename: Era of the Fallen also includes an expansive, incredibly intricate system of magic, which gives the player several well defined paths to choose from, and the ability to strike out in new directions, offering complete control over the development of the character's powers. Through increasing specialization in one of 15 fields of magical study, the character gradually masters a subset of the primal powers which govern all things. A rich history rewards exploration with something new to be discovered and mastered at every turn. The numbers of ways in which the branches of magic can be combined and recombined is nearly limitless.

Codename: Era of the Fallen also has a lavishly detailed world for players to explore with a comprehensive and coherent cosmogony. It is a world of many secrets which allows for infinite expansion and encourages the players to become co-creators of their own worlds within worlds. It offers the opportunity for players to have a wide variety of possible experiences and guide their character down a path of their own choosing, light or dark within the narrative the Game Master creates as backdrop to character evolution.

More information and a stripped down version of the rules are available at: www.eraofthefallen.com

Tue, Jan. 20th, 2009, 12:06 pm

"HA! HA HA HA! You wanted to spend a million years having sex with catgirls. It only took you two years to change your mind and you didn't even have sex with any catgirls."
-- Eliezer Yudkowsky, Overcoming Bias: Interpersonal Entanglement

Sat, Jan. 17th, 2009, 01:04 am
Another Client Launched

The Brain Candy monkeys have been a joy to work with, and we've just finished launching their site:
It's been 2 years in the making, but my latest project, Runes of Gallidon,
is officially online. You can enter the world at: www.runesofgallidon.com.

Runes of Gallidon is the first offering from Brain Candy, LLC
(www.braincandyllc.com), a company I co-founded with two other friends, Tony
Graham and Andy Underwood.

Here's the summary:

User speak:
An original, online fantasy world where users create new multi-media content
for posting on the site. Users retain ownership of their Works, but they
share the Ideas in their Works, allowing the world to be integrated,
dynamic, and collaborative.

Business speak:
An online publishing site of user-generated, multimedia content set in a
branded fictional universe where users are legally allowed to create
derivative works of other users without breaking copyright laws.

Computer speak:
01010111 01101111 01110101 01101100 01100100 00100000 01111001 01101111
01110101 00100000 01101100 01101001 01101011 01100101 00100000 01110100
01101111 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100001 01111001 00100000 01100001
00100000 01100111 01100001 01101101 01100101 00111111

In conjunction with Runes of Gallidon, I am starting a blog and signing up
for twitter (yes, I'm truly stepping into the digital age):

   Blog: www.thismonkeycantype.com
   Twitter: scott_walker

PLEASE forward to anyone you think might be interested; we're trying to get
the word out as quickly as possible.

Thanks to everyone who provided support during this journey - see you in
Gallidon!

Best,


Scott Walker
President/CEO
Brain Candy, LLC - Official Steward for Runes of Gallidon
---------------------------------------------------------
www.runesofgallidon.com
"Discover a world, forge its future."

Their credit for my work also makes me extra happy:
We honestly don't understand anything about how Nathan does what he does, but the end result is that our servers and code migrations work really, really well. We have no idea what he looks like or what he's up to when we're not bothering him, but we suspect he only uses his technical powers for good.

Publicly referenced as a mysterious guru on a gaming site? Really cool. Public admission that they trusted me sight-unseen, and are happy with the results? Approaching single-digits Kelvin, especially from a marketing standpoint.

Mon, Jan. 5th, 2009, 11:16 pm
Greenfield Geeks Guild

The Greenfield Geeks Guild (working name) will band together IT consultants, apprentices, and support staff, and provide them with the legal, managerial, and infrastructural resources necessary to build *fully* open source solutions for small businesses. This will give us the flexibility and pricing to compete well in this economic downturn, benefiting not only ourselves, but our chosen clients, and the whole open source community.

I will be running a series of explanatory/exploratory meetings on Wednesday nights this month:
6PM, 01/07 @ Epoch Coffee
7PM, 01/14 @ Tek Republic
7PM, 01/21 @ TBA (Burner Warehouse?)

If you're interested, please attend. If you cannot, but would like further information anyway, please let me know.

Tue, Dec. 23rd, 2008, 12:18 am
The Ruins of Babylon

I admit, I did not watch Babylon 5 all the way through. I'd tried before to get into it during the earlier seasons, but just couldn't get past the stilted acting and dialog. Jumping in at the beginning of the fourth season proved just right; I got to see several characters' crowning moments: Londo's scheming against the Shadows culminating in a wonderfully snarky speech (with a flashback to Vir's earlier crowning moment, as added payoff), and Bester's calm exposition of what had really been going on for an entire season (to paraphrase Rommel: "Bester, you magnificent bastard.").

Great plots can't fix bad acting, but they can make up for it. Especially if there's some good acting as well: half the characters (Londo, G'Kar, Garibaldi, Bester, and Ivanova, to name as few as possible) sizzled, which made the deficiencies far more tolerable. Despite its corniness, the last episode left me full of bittersweet ache, showing just how much couldn't be fixed despite the best efforts of all involved. I can only hope that Londo's fatal visions concealed a larger story which saw his enemies choked metaphorically as he was literally, at the hands of his Alliance friends.

The metaphors are fairly easy to tease out: though complex and gritty, the setting is often unsubtle (e.g. - "OBEY" signs in the PsiCorps). The one that struck me most is this: the next wars being the Mind Wars seems a worrisome metaphor for the direction of human psycho-social research. Our understanding of the mind, though still somewhat infantile, is growing by leaps and bounds. To pretend that won't be weaponized is to ignore every bit of history since simians decided to leave the trees.

Wed, Dec. 17th, 2008, 11:38 pm
Who Throws A Shoe, Honestly?

You've probably seen the video of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at George Bush during a press conference. If you want to express support for Montather al-Zeidi, who is currently imprisoned and may have suffered serious abuse for his protest, I'd suggest you do two things:

1) Sign the petition to get him released.
2) Mail an old pair of shoes to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC.

A special thank you to Clovis, for suggestion #2.

Sat, Dec. 13th, 2008, 11:25 pm
Drupal Apprentice Needed

I'm starting to get a fairly large amount of demand for Drupal work. Several clients have expressed interest in my bringing on a junior developer/apprentice, to bring down their costs while maintaining overall quality.

If you are interested in learning how to build and maintain Drupal CMS systems, or know someone who is, please let me know. I'll want to know relevant experience, expected hourly rate, and availability. Candidates will need to demonstrate critical thinking and communication skills: other skills are valuable, but not required.

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