Thursday, April 17, 2008

What If Not

My time there lasted 6.5 years, much longer then I ever anticipated, but today it came to an official end. I felt anxious this morning, having had another night of disturbing dreams, but after Amanda joined me on the food pantry run, Gabe's drop-off and placing PTA flyers at the school, I felt light-hearted. Liberated. I've enjoyed a clear joy that's continued through Hazel's first gymnastics class and taking her to karate to now. Amanda's noticed the change in me. "You used to be grumpy, all the time," she said. "You were in a fog."

Here's to an end to bad dreams and to waking up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Reading, for all its engagememt of the imagination, is a passive activity and writing an active one, which I think is why I have trouble writing before bed. I've awoken early and an having trouble returning to sleep and that's why I'm writing this now. I had less than five hours but woke restless (such an odd term since it should mean without rest, as in fatigued yet we use it to mean unable to rest). I'd had a dream where Whatif was having an outing in a large park, woods and fields, yet had brought all of the next-gen consoles even though we had no place to plug them in. I was forced to use a cramped and dirty bathroom that ran out of paper. I'm remembering my airplane dream and wondering when I might have another.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Change is coming soon. Here's hoping it's for the best.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Night Writing Not Working Out

My plan to write at night hasn't been panning out so well. I feel asleep on the couch again tonight, and I'll be asleep again ere long. I suspect that it goes in phases, periods where you're more energetic at night. Unfortunately this isn't one and I'm not going to make my story for this weekend. I could if I do nothing but write this Saturday, but Hazel has the fishing derby and I'm going to be there.

I fell asleep watching a fascinating documentary on the deciphering of the ancient Maya language (yes, it was really fascinating and I was simply that sleepy). Wonderful to know that scholarship has relight that candle of human culture that colonialism so brutally snuffed out.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Lego Leader?

So Amanda and I were at the PTA meeting tonight and I got to talking to Deb Merrick about something or other, and she says, "Yeah, so we need you to run the Lego Team."

"What?" I say.

"Frank just got hired by FIRST, the non-profit that runs the Lego competitions, so he can't do it anymore." She flashes a big smile and says, "So that's why we need you to do it."

I turn to Amanda and in my best you're-gonna-want-to-hear-this voice say, "Dear!"

It's really nice that they thought of me (we'll see if I still think that in a few months). Hey, this gives me a great excuse to get my own set of Mindstorms.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Twice Lucid Dreaming

I just woke from a couple of lucid dreams, but not the type where you sound your barbaric yawp and fly around the skyline. In these I recognized my authorial role, and even had a conversation with a character about it.

In the first of the two, I'd imagined the girlfriend of a young male sea-captain, her looks a blend of Gina Torres and a few other actresses. She was beautiful and suddenly I wasn't a third-person camera any more; I was in the scene and I spoke to her my wish that I could record her image because I had dreamed her to life and she was beautiful. She sat and we spoke for a few minutes about the fact that our dreams provide us the most accessible, fluid and powerful palette for creation but there's no record save our memories, which are notoriously untrustworthy when the subject is dreams. And here's the kicker ... we spoke like father and daughter. I felt as though I were visiting one of my grown children and when I left the apartment she shared with the young captain I felt the sadness of a father leaving his child.

In the second dream I began as some character from Valve's Half-Life series, but I was sitting in a cubicle in their office in Seattle learning the origin of my/the character's from one of their writers. He mentioned the influence that another co-worker had on it and called over to her, and this woman pushed her swivel chair half out of her cube to join in the reminiscing. And while the two of them chatted, I realized my authority and thought how fun it would be if Valve recreated this office with themselves in it in game, the ultimate Easter egg where their character could come home and interact with those that made her. From that point I stood and began exploring the office and then creating dark scenarios in it that would fit some Combine conspiracy.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

XO Outing

I brought the XO on its first outing yesterday. Amanda wanted to hit the mall and she suggested I bring it to keep my company while Gabe ambled at the playplace and she and Hazel went shopping. So off we went and I doubt I sat more than a minute before a couple of young guys spied the little green and white machine and recognized it. I let them bang on it a bit. I remember being in college and $400 being a huge amount of money. Hell, I still remember the first thing we spent $400 on, a mini dishwasher, and we were in graduate school then. One of the parents at the playplace recognized the XO as well. Nice to see that level of awareness. Maybe there's the slimest chance for the project yet.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Xbuntu And Sugar Booting Sweet

So I got Xbuntu running on Tuesday morning, but there was a problem. I was only able to boot into it successfully once. I kept getting errors about the filesystem being the wrong type, which was crap because fdisk confirmed that it was Linux (83), and the boot would quit with "Unrecognized program format."

So, for a couple of days I just didn't reboot.

But today I have a swanky solution. I used koolkat's uber bootloading script but instead of replacing the one on the card I replaced the olpc.fth on the nand, going on the hunch that if the firmware could see the nand first it wouldn't later have issues with the SDHC card. Well, the hunch paid off, and I can now boot into Xbuntu or Sugar without issues.

So, how's Xbuntu turning out so far? It's noticibly faster, or at least Firefox is. I recall reading a post somewhere that said that the WiFi speed was hobbled down to 2 Mb\s in Sugar, so maybe that's why. Also, it's great to have windows again! So far I've used Synaptic to install Abiword (where I'm writing this right now), VLC, and a few other things. I actually used it to install OpenOffice Writer, but its load time made me hungry so I'm going to use Synaptic to uninstall it.

Next up will be to enable screen reorientation under Xbuntu. I've read about scripts that will handle it but that the keybinding for the rotation key wasn't known. Hopefully somebody has figured that out by now.