Monthly Archives: November 2004

15,000 Words

Its been a while but I finally updated and added pics to my image gallery.  One of my favorite additions is this picture (subtle but funny.)  I also added a new image gallery that consists of just desktop screen shot pictures. I love looking at some of my old desktop configurations and seeing which applications I used to use. You can see the gallery by clicking on the sidebar link under the VAULT STUFF category; or you can click here.

Seeing Red

Command line colorization is a useful tool for working on the Unix CLI environment.  Here is quick tutorial on how to customize your bash environment colors.  The example is set to work just with your command prompt, but the same technique can be used to colorize anything in the Unix bash environment.

Linux Command #1

Here is a Linux command that I am always trying to remember.  It checks to see which applications/services are using/keeping busy a given file system.  Its particularly useful when you want to find out why you cannot unmount a given file system.   If, for example, you want to check and see why you cannot unmount your USB pen drive from /mnt/usb you would type:

/usr/sbin/lsof +D /mnt/usb

Dresses and Antique Furniture

Ok, after months of reading this book on my bathroom breaks I have finally finished Cryptonomicon .  This book was wonderful.  If you are a tech minded programmer, network administrator, mathematician, a cryptanalyst, or a plain old computer nut; you will find yourself laughing out loud during parts of this book.  I loved Neal Stephenson’s writing style which often goes off on wild tangents, and long metaphors, that are as entertaining (and sometimes even more-so) the the plot itself. 

The book is basically short on plot and long on story. I found his “techy” descriptions as accurate as any I have every read in a fiction book.  While covering the life of the three main characters you will also run into such storied jems as how to eat Cap’n Crunch, why men wear beards, cards as a crypto-system, discovering what really turns married couples on, and many many more. Great story, great writing… great book.

Core Christianity

C.S. Lewis has always been a talented writer.  His “Chronicles of Narnia” was one of the first book series I read.  His non-fiction literature stands as some of the best Christian material written in the last century. All of that said “Mere Christianity” is probably one of his best books. 

The purpose of the book is to introduce non-Christians into the most basic and fundamentals of Christian thought; what C.S. Lewis calls “Mere Christianity”, but the information given is as useful to Christians as non-Christians. It thoroughly and succinctly makes the case for natural law, the existence of God, Christian morality, and the “core” set of beliefs that make Christianity. Almost like a Christian version of “Book of Five Rings.” A book with significantly more wisdom than you would expect in its modest 228 pages.

It was the best of times

Although I have read some of Charles Dickens other works; I had never read “A Tale of Two Cities.” My wife had bought the book some time ago and so it sat on our shelf waiting to be read. A classic sitting on my shelf that I had not read was too much of a farce for me to ignore. And so I began reading it in the mornings, on my way to work.

Maybe it was because I was so much younger when I read Dickens other work, but for some reason “Tale” touched me in a way that his other books did not. I do not believe that another author, since the time Shakespeare, has demonstrated such a mastery of the English language and a skill for story telling. “A Tale of Two Cities” read like bitter-sweat honey to my tongue. Sweat, because his words welled up emotions in me that I have not felt for a story in a very long time. Bitter, because my heart aches that I will never have the skill to write such words. How sad it is that very few books have the capacity to be like that. The following are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

The two stand in the fast-thinning throng of victims, but they speak as if they were alone. Eye to eye, voice to voice, hand to hand, heart to heart, these two children of the Universal Mother, else so wide apart and differing, have come together on the dark highway, to repair home together, and to rest in her bosom.

Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.

The great grindstone, Earth, had turned when Mr. Lorry looked out again, and the sum was red on the court-yard. But, the lesser grindstone stood alone there in the calm morning air, with a red upon it that the sun had never given, and would never take away.

A dram, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.

His surname was Cruncher, and on the youthful occasion of his renouncing by proxy the works of darkness, in the easterly parish church of Hounsditch, he had received the added appellation of Jerry.