Sushi Cat

Mom has one, too. Hers is red, symbolizing abundance, I think.

 On Permanence

This past weekend, I looked up the personal websites of a number of my new coworkers. I know their names, I have their Google profiles forced from our work emails, for a number I was able to find their twitter accounts or use their github profile to find their sites.

Most of the accounts point to plain sites: a one page site with a fancy font and few words, usually the developer's name and a small number of links pointing a visitor off to other locations on the web where the coworker is more active, more engaged.

For one coworker, his personal URL didn't connect. It resolved, but the web server never answered my request. As he is an immigrant, I thought maybe the delay was because his server was on the other side of the world.

This morning, I mentioned it to him. Confused, he typed in his URL and watched as the browser status bar informed us of its "Connecting..." status, without actually getting through. "Yep, that's what I got," I said.

He shrugged. "Probably because I stopped paying them," he commented, then typed in nearly the same URL, but with a new TLD. It, too, didn't resolve. He shrugged again, seemingly unconcerned about the loss of his domain name.

I find the thought of caring little about a domain name, a place staked out on the web, stunning. It is so antithetical to my way of thinking, I nearly can't comprehend it. I struggle to put any of my data in a location outside of my control (Flickr is great for pictures, I have them stored locally; Gmail is great for email, I have my own server; github is great for social coding, i keep my code on my own servers), that not having a place to put my notes and pages and thoughts and projects, is like, well, like not having clothes, or going somewhere without my backpack, or a pen and index cards. Or, I guess for some people, without their phone.

It's just weird, and strange, and utterly foreign to me.

I want to think his concept of permanence is that there isn't any. That he takes the Buddhism point of view of life being changing, impermanent and without any inner core or substance. That he accepts the true lack of permanence in this physical world, and reflects that in the online world.

I want to think this. And I want some of the acceptance that comes with that belief.

Unrelated to that desire, I will express delight about when he asked about my site, and stared at me when I told him "kay eye dot tee tee." After a few moments, and repeating the URL, he asked, "That's it?!" Total delight.

And unrelated to everything in this post, apparently you can write a blog post on a phone on a commute home.

 Morning tea

 Turn signals and all that

Any place you go, there are different driving styles. In Los Angeles, I was very careful to always turn on my turn signal and let it cycle at least twice before turning or merging into the other lane. The drivers in Los Angeles are aggressive, but everyone knows everyone is aggressive and expects it. Using turn signals was required not because you were smart, but because everyone else was dumb with distractions and aggression.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there's still the aggressive driving, but no where near the level of Los Angeles. In SF, you wouldn't turn left between two oncoming cars unless there was three car lengths between the cars. For comparison, in Los Angeles, you need only one and a half car lengths, even when cars are going 50mph.

Driving around here, I'm far more relaxed, causing my signal turning routine to soften. I haven't been using my turn signals at all if there isn't anyone behind me when I move into lanes. I hadn't really noticed until it was mentioned to me, in the most approachable criticism I've received about my driving in a long time.

"I'm surprised how much your lack of turn signals bothers me."

How's that for approachable criticism?

It addresses the issue: my lack of turn signals.

It doesn't pass judgement. There's no, "You're an awful person for not using turn signals," or "You're going to get us killed from not using turn signals!"

It brings up the topic without accusing me of doing anything wrong.

It gives me the opportunity to see my behavior is affecting others.

The rest of the drive home, I used my turn signals, even when there was no car behind me to see my intended movement. I may have over-used them, if that's possible. I did notice, however that one oncoming car that arrived at a four way intersection at the same time as I did, stopped fully and waited for me to turn. I suspect the left turn signal may have indicated I was going to turn. Normally, I would have just waited for the other car to go.

So, yay, turn signals!

 The long way around to writing

I'm writing a book.

I'm actually in the process of writing five books, which is a shame, because the only consistent writing I seem to manage is the Scalzi stories, and with even those, I'm not completely consistent.

Three of the books i'm writing are technical books. They're completely in text format right now, which fails for a lot of reasons, and succeeds for others. I decided about a month ago to switch them to Markdown so that I can format them nicely, add headings with styling instead of just two underscores:

__Chapter 2: Getting Started

Okay, so, Markdown. I have pretty much avoided using most formatting, even for this site, so, great, time to learn Markdown (it's really not that difficult to learn, and, well, really, after about 2 minutes, I learned enough to get going). Oh, but wait, editing the Markdown and seeing how it looks, okay, I should automate that, right? Given that one of the technical books is on automating the crap out of front-end development, makes sense. Let's see, I can install grunt and set up a watch on my text files; or I could run the conversion by hand each time I saved the change; or I could add the Markdown module to a drupal site and hit save each time, which would display it; or I could, well, shit, pick some other process.

Somewhere on Twitter in the last week (okay, three days ago, from Mark Otto), I heard about MacDown, an OSX-based Markdown editor, open source no less. Awesome, I'll give it a try.

So, I download it, and open it. Rejected, since the box I'm on is 10.7 and the app requires 10.8.

So, I download it on the next box, and open it. Rejected, since the box I'm on won't run unsigned software.

So, I download the source, open up Cocoapods, update the box, and....

Realize that I'm doing all this stuff to avoid working on the book. Given how much I enjoy writing, how much I enjoy being in the flow of the words, how much I love the end product, I have no idea why I am avoiding working on the book. Okay, books.

Maybe it's the fear of producing something crappy, that I'll write and no one will read it. Would that really matter, though? I mean, I write because the words need to get out, not because I expect someone to read them. Public speaking is different: I present because I believe I have something to share. My writing is different.

Or maybe it's not and I'm lying to myself when I think it is.

Yeah, so, enough of the delay and procrastinating. It's early enough in the day yet, I can get a couple hours of writing in.

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