31 December, 2019

Time to iterate

It has been a while since I have done any serious writing.   Last time was really as I was redefining myself as a civilian from the time I retired to the time I met my wife and graduated college.

It is time to start writing again.  Many reasons I might get into later but for now it is enough to know that I found it useful to write when I wanted to change who I was.  First key is to know what why and who I am, if I want to make anything better.  Self knowledge is the life hack with the greatest multiplier.

I like Sisyphus as an icon.  I like how Camus aligned the need for meaning in life with the absurdity of reality.  I like how Sisyphus reminds me of how I don't need to be invincible.  I just need to not give up.  I don't need to be flawless, I just need to keep getting better.  I don't have to never fail, I just have to trend upwards.

Sisyphus deals with finding himself at the bottom of the hill over and over and over.  I like to think he was always better hilltop over hilltop.  I like to think he uses his time at the bottom of the hill for self-reflection.

Maybe there are more than one areas on the hill to reflect, like campsites on the way to the top of a mountain.  Some are closer to the top of the hill, some are further.  Only the Sherpa get familiar with all of the spots, and this is certainly my mountain.  I am back down at base camp training up a new me.  I'll see how much the guy has learned before we heads back up.

28 April, 2009


Not long ago I let myself
Do something I had sworn
To keep from doing, out of fear
Of winding up forlorn
I met this girl (she’s mighty fine)

What was I thinking of?
We became friends; she’s pretty great
And I fell deep in love.

"Hush hush!" I whispered

To my heart.  "Don’t let her see your plight!"
"She’ll mock you, hate you, run away!"
So I restrained myself, from fright
Not well, I guess.  I’m very poor
At secrets and denial.
When she told me I'm adored
I must admit I smiled.

To think that she might feel for me

The way I felt for her.
Gave me goosebumps down my spine
That, to this day, endure.
And now I have her, she’s all mine
If you don’t believe just look.
These things I say are true. I swear!
It says so right on Facebook.
        -J.S.McAnarney, 2009

20 December, 2008

Do nice guys finish last?

I would like to address the myth that women want the bad boy and that nice guys finish last.
The comic XKCD just recently had a wonderful description of why many men seem to whine that nice guys finish last. I believe that many so-called ‘nice-guys’ are not being nice but are just being being non-assertive. This is not the same thing.  
Being nice means having manners, showing respect for those around you, and being courteous in word and deed.  At the dinner table manners are expressed by asking nicely for things to be passed to us and not reaching over other peoples plates, or taking things directly off of their plate because we see something we want.
The application of manners and courtesy requires not an absence of desire nor a refrain from stating ones desire but merely a polite expression of that desire.
We (should) teach our children to use their words in order to express how they feel and what they need.  If we don’t know what someone we love needs, we will be unsuccessful at helping them achieve it.

12 December, 2008

Why Batman Begins was Better

Don’t get me wrong, I do not wish to take anything away from the outstanding work that Christopher Nolan is doing.  I really and truly appreciate the direction (sorry about the pun) in which he has taken the Batman big screen experience.  It is much closer to the graphic novels and, so, automatically closer to my heart.
I love a good comic book movie.  I love a good comic.  Comics are the mythos of this civilization.  Of course, some of them are just crap, but I bet it was the same in Ancient Greece or Rome.  Batman has always been my favorite of all the myths on which I grew up.
Nietzsche wrote about the Superman, but the comic book version of that character makes it unreachable.  If you were born here, on Earth, you can never be Superman; at least not in the way Siegel and Shuster envisioned him.  The Superman of Nietzsche, however, is within all of us. 
Nietzsche taught that it was our destiny, our supreme duty, to become the Superman; to create of ourselves the best we could become.  To use whatever gifts or talent with which we were born and hone them to as near perfection as we could drive ourselves.  The comic book version of the Superman took the easy way out by being born on another planet.  Slacker.
But the Batman; ah, the Batman; he is the real Superman.  His powers come from a lifetime of training.  His gadgets come from deep pockets, of course, but they are really quite secondary.  His analytical thinking skills, physical prowess, and unmitigated determination in the pursuit of justice are attributes that any one of us can develop if we but set our minds to it.

10 December, 2008

Quote of the day

Patient:  Isn’t there another way I could be pregnant?  Like sitting on a toilet seat?
House:  Absolutely!  Yes!  There would have to be a guy sitting between you and the toilet seat, but yes.
People at work forget I am just a co-op.  That is probably one of the best compliments I could be given.
I have been working diligently at a code which will parse over 8000 lines of messages and strip them down to the information in which I am interested and then compare it to another file to ensure completeness of coverage from a database driven TACACS+ test against the Cisco ACS on both the TA5000 (MSAP) and the Netvanta 838 (NCTE).
I love my job.  I love absofuckinglutely LOVE writing code for a real project.  It gives me the short term sense of accomplishment I crave when I get a piece of the puzzle to work.  More importantly, it exercises my long term planning fetish by letting me figure out how all the different pieces fit together and then making them harmonize in the symphony I both write and conduct.

05 December, 2008

Good morning, Rydell!

Patrick:     "He tried to burn a man alive.  He’s our bait.  He’s our tethered goat, if you will."
Theresa:   "And it is OK if the goat gets killed?"
Patrick:     "Well, yes, that is why we don’t use babies, or virgins for that matter."
I have developed a fondness for the show, The Mentalist.  I really like the character played by Simon Baker.  Very engaging.
I went to a party that the lead Co-op threw last night for the end of term.  Many of the co-ops are graduating next semester and won’t be back.  It was the first time I was able to attend one of the after hours functions, because I didn’t have a car for so long.  We played Rock Band and Ryan accompanied us on live guitar (the dude is incredible) and then we went to the playground to demolish a piñata that Micah had built of the lake monster. 
Awards were given for various facetious merits, such as most likely to be Batman’s (a picture circulated in which our CEO was masked as Batman, and the legend grew from there) sidekick or who had the best paint skills (a common response in our e-mail threads is ‘pic or it didn’t happen’ and the challenged must illustrate using MS Paint (photoshop is cheating).  The winners got to take swings at the piñata.
There was a little drinking, but not a ridiculous amount.  It was pretty tame, all in all.  I left about 10, having felt like crud all day anyway, and the time at the playground in the cold made it worse.  I hope to become closer friends with some of the co-ops over the next semester; at least the ones living in Huntsville.  Maybe next semester I can host an event here; a barbecue or something.
Today I am watching the SEC championship game (ROLL TIDE) and hoping that Florida loses.  I don’t really care, but I have been making quips all semester that the Tide always goes undefeated when I am in Alabama.  My lead engineer is a Gator fan, and even though he is writing my review, I will still be able to good-naturedly rib him if his team loses.
I am taking Angelina in to get altered and have her nails done this Tuesday.  They are using lasers, so it should heal quickly, which is nice.  I hope it doesn’t change her personality much.  I hope she forgives me.  She is still a little twitchy from the fly-paper fiasco.  But that was all her fault.  She should not have been up on the refrigerator.  Poor little thing.  I tried really hard not to laugh, but she was a mess, and totally freaked out.
I finished all the tests I needed to do before the due date and am being given one additional interdepartmental project on which to work as well as an individual project that I should finish before I end my work term on the 5th of January.   I feel really appreciated here.  I think I will miss it when I go back to school.
I need to get to the bookstore and get my books so I can start studying for next semester.  20 hours.  It’s gonna be rough.

27 November, 2008

Why I don't shop on Black Friday

The consumer appetite in America is rather sickening to me quite often. This once great country reduced to a mass of hysterical jackals who clamor for the newest or the shiniest or the cheapest is saddening at best.
But when people die because my countrymen are so greedy, it makes me bitter that I spent half my life protecting people like that.