Dear Taco Bell,

I don’t know whether I should complain about not getting a straw with my drink at the drive-thru.
I mean, I did get the drink, and yes, it was a good drink because even at eight p.m. the temperature was 92 degrees, and my drink had ice. It had a lid. It was everything I could have wanted, except…

It feels dumb to write about not getting a straw, y’know? Like my entire life doesn’t hinge on whether or not I get it. One more piece of questionably sourced plastic is, for a brief moment, unused. And it’s not like I don’t have options. I just…

I just wanted to be valued enough to where that wasn’t forgotten. You had two ladies in the window. One had her back to customers, but you could tell she cared about herself. Her hair was immaculate and on point. The one I spoke with was polite and had a beautiful smile. So…

Why does this matter to me? I mean, I’m not the type of person who ever fills out those customer satisfaction surveys because that’s a sure way to get stuck on email lists. I don’t want more email. I really don’t want to complain. But I can’t stop feeling hurt. And it’s stupid, and it’s dumb, and a big corporation could never break my heart now, really, but after this year…

After this…life, I guess, of masks and patience and vaccination and irrational anger over things completely outside my control but still making me want to scream at something, scream at the dog, scream at the TV, scream at all the people who just don’t care, I want a straw.

A final straw.

On Being Young

First, a story from back in the day, back in Genesis. Like most of Genesis, you have to take it with a grain of salt. A literal interpretation will make your brain start to hurt. So, let’s just take it for what it is: a story about the diversity of language:

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Okay. Kinda interesting. Get a bunch of people together, see them have An Idea. See them Work on The Idea. See Progress.

As we grow up and we start to try to differentiate ourselves from our parents, we start to have Ideas. Our parents, being much older and wiser, look at these ideas and think “that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of”.
Tide Pods
But before that, there were Challenges.
The Cinnamon Challenge. cinnamon challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge (which actually supported a cause).
Maybe parents look at these ideas and think they’re stupid because they had their own Ideas.
Swallowing Goldfish
How many people can fit into something that no longer exists?

and so on.

We live in a media-saturated world where such things as YouTube celebrities and Professional Video Game Streamers exist. So our Ideas reach audiences much, much earlier these days. And much like the phone booths, they too will fade to be replaced by something else, because we all grow up.

In many ways, the story of the Tower of Babel is the story of a transition from teenage indestructibility into mortality.

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel–because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

We can ask why God chose to stop this Idea. In that sense, trying to understand God’s intentions is impossible. The answer is always “BECAUSE”. Kind of like a parent.

This is why I don’t worry too much about my kids, and neither should you, especially when it comes to any alarmist trend breathlessly reported by the internet.

aws ecr get-login free for all

I do tech stuff, and here’s a headache for you:
you have a node that’s running docker version 17.09-ce. You have a jenkins process that will .ssh to this node, then do some fun stuff like connect to aws to grab images.

First try after setting up credentials and all that: aws ecr get-login . Spits a bunch of stuff out, but when you try to run the resulting command, it bails on the -e email parameter, because that’s deprecated.
So you follow the advice and use the –no-include-email parameter.
And that should work.
But your jenkins job fails. And keeps failing. It hates that –no-include-email parameter.
Turns out you have to install awscli twice on the local node.
You have to pip install –upgrade awscli , then
sudo -H pip install –upgrade awscli

Why? Who knows? It just doesn’t work otherwise.

Liveblog test

Returning to Posting

It’s been roughly over a year since I last posted. A lot has happened since then. I don’t really feel like going into the reasons why, but suffice to say that everything is as usual okay. Not great, not spectacular, but also not lousy.

I am considering transitioning this site to become a longer-term project, but for now, it is what it is.

The Lack of Gray

I haven’t written in a while, mostly because I just haven’t felt like writing much lately. There’s been a lot of stuff happening, and sometimes it’s hard just to keep everything from overwhelming me.

However, there are two separate issues that have at their heart a much larger issue. They are the Declassified CIA Report detailing what was done to keep America safe, and the actions or lack thereof of grand juries across this nation, doing what they did to keep America safe.

I have nothing new to say on Ferguson and the other cases. There’s so much information and so many opinions out there that anything I offer would be a rehashing of other views, so as for the stories themselves, I’m going to remain in the background. The one part of the story that I want to bring up is the way in which we in America seem to have lost the ability to have a middle ground where two things can be true and yet seemingly contradictory. In the Garner case and other instances of police brutality, the arguments have become siloed into two distinct camps: “the police are bad”, and “the police are doing their job”. I blame the media for pushing this narrative without allowing the middle ground of “there are good police officers, and there are ones who shouldn’t be near weapons of any sort.” In the case of the CIA report, again we have two sides: “It was torture” and “It kept the country safe”. Again, there’s no room for the ugly truth that maybe some of the torture worked. The problem is that we on the outside do not know and can’t independently judge the information. What we get is filtered through one side that’s seen to have a bias, so it becomes untrustworthy and without merit in the eyes of many. Again, the media is quick to pick up on this and create a controversy and endless amounts of shouting the same things at each other in an effort to convince the other person that we have a viewpoint too.

In both issues, I think people acted in moments of irrational haste and fear. You don’t bridge a gap by making it wider.

Shouldn’t America and the people who do the dangerous work be held to much higher standards? If we wish to claim any sort of authority in this world and call ourselves the greatest nation, then why do we not have better standards than those who we perceive to be our enemy? If we’re not going to have a middle ground, why not err on the side of dignity?

Without dignity, we are individually and collectively severed from any sense of morality and justice. This falls way short of creating a “more perfect union,” doesn’t it?

Can Corporations be “Religious”?

Let’s talk about Hobby Lobby.

Currently, HL is suing the federal government because they feel that the inclusion of emergency contraceptives as part of mandated by PPACA goes against their religious beliefs.

There has been some frothing at the mouth about HL on the internet, and some of it is with good reason. The owners of the company are deeply religious people who have gone as far as producing a classroom curriculum for the Bible for public schools. Frankly, I go to church to learn about the Bible, and I did a critical reading of the book of Job in college. I have my own beliefs about the Bible, and while I believe it is a transformative book that can provide a firm moral basis for actions, I feel that placing it in public schools only elevates divisions and derision about faith and religion in this country. The true test of whether something like this course should be accepted is to ask as if it were coming from another religion or even an agnostic/atheistic viewpoint. Would the same people be okay if there were a class about the Qu’ran in Mustang’s schools?

We say that America is a Christian nation, but that’s not at all accurate. We’re an inclusive nation that tries to accommodate a wide range of beliefs under the concept of tolerance and not having the state or its actors (such as schools) promote one religion over any other. Frankly, how could you choose? Sectarianism is rife in almost every religion, and usually the breakaways have to do with different views of God. So if we have so many different views, how can they condense them into one course?

The answer, of course, is that they don’t. The curriculum follows a very conservative interpretation of the Bible, and I just don’t agree with that approach.

But that’s just me.

A lot of people commenting on HL point out that “well, if they call themselves Christian, then why do they do X” where X is “have goods made in China”, or “have pension funds that invest in companies that sell abortion equipment” or whatever. It’s extending the idea of hypocrisy and taking it from a personal level to a corporate level.

I don’t believe corporations have the same rights and freedoms as individuals. You cannot convince me that corporations care about anything else but profits (at least those with public investors), simply because all companies want to survive and thrive. Human beings have selfless motives, and while some companies pay lip service to this in vague forms of “community engagement”, the sad truth is that for corporations, giving to charity is another means to write off taxes.

People, especially Christians, are hypocrites. I know I am about several issues in my life, and it is that which I hope keeps me humble about my faith. As far as corporations can have values, they too can be hypocrites. The big difference lies in who can forgive that hypocrisy. Nothing is perfect on this earth–no person or company or organization or church or anything.

So on the issue of corporate hypocrisy, I’m going to cut HL some slack.

A typical day

And so the machine has to reside in the DMZ to have outside people access it…
But you can’t use an insecure port, because people are picky about that…
Then you have to try and collate years of results into meaningful data…
VMWare? Why hast thou forsaken me?
Huh. So that’s what a Gomertz equation is…
Need iced tea. Probably need something stronger, but I have limits…
There was a stick of butter on the counter…
Why is the Virtual Machine not even showing up like the other one? I mean, they’re in the same place, doing the same thing, but THIS thingawhatzit doesn’t match THAT thingawhatzit and google has failed me….
Did the dog eat the butter?
How do you turn data into something of value?
I don’t see a wrapper…
Got the tea. Do we have cookies? No? Grumble.
There’s Halloween candy.
And I’ve tried setting things from DHCP to manual routing, and nothing seems to work. I can’t even update packages, although ostensibly the machine says it’s connected…
That package from where? Oh, yes. I’ll be here tonight.
Dinner is… fajitas. We’re low on tortillas. We’ll have to make do and leave 1 for Jacob in the morning.
Must get more.
And probably more butter.
And dog food.
Preferably stuff that tastes like butter.
To the dog.
I’m not trying it.
I’ve been working on this for pretty much all of two days, and I’ve made glacial progress. Glacial as in pre-anthrogenic global warming glacial.
Cookie dough is in tomorrow. Oh frabjous joy.
Did the doorbell ring?
Maybe it was the dog plus butter.
But will past work actually indicate some sort of change, especially since there are always new twists to every project? Do I need to put some sort of derivative meta-measure in to allow for future “progress”?
So putting a 64-bit image of a VM doesn’t work.
I should write that down.
Stupid dog.