Flim flam

ohemgee, Rowan is going absolutely crazy with this heat wave. I don’t think he cares about the temperature, but being cooped up inside the house is driving him nuts. We took him in the pool at the YMCA with a floatie-wings-thingy the other day. He totally loved it and as soon as we were in he started turning to other kids and saying “Rowan!” to them. Introducing himself. It’s nuts how much he’s growing.

Also, picking out a birthday present for a four year (not Rowan, a friend’s kid) old is hard. Most kid’s stuff is total garbage. The stuff that isn’t is like $100, which is a lot to spend on something for someone who may or may not like it, and will almost certainly not care about it in 2 years.

In other news, the Pathfinder 2e playtest is due out in a little less than a month. I’ve got a copy on the way (hopefully? We’ll see if the brand new local game shop managed to process my pre-order). I’ve been playing some iteration of D&D for approaching three decades, so I’m kind of stoked to see what Paizo has come up with. I think the work they did reworking and extending 3rd edition has been excellent. If they can take the flexibility they’ve baked into the system and make it easier to pick up for new players, I think it’ll do well. The teasers they’ve released have varied from “yup, totally makes sense” to “ehhhhh yeah I dunno”. But nothing so far makes me think I’d put it down, despite what some forum-dwellers are saying. It’s like they’ve never heard of house rules?

so, what’s new?

We live on a quiet street, in an old neighborhood, where I walk to an amazing coffee shop once a week or so. There’s a tiny little play kitchen tucked under the stairs inside this place, where I can sit and sip a fantastic cappuccino while watching my son start to make sense of the world.

That world is a more confusing place than it was seven years ago. I’ve always been a skeptic and a cynic, but somehow also an optimist. Emotionally, it’s a tough place to be these days. I’m not always sure how I’d explain things to him, if I had to. And yet, there’s no ‘if’, because I’ll spend the next 20+ years doing exactly that? I mean, the words that will come are sometimes obvious, but then the inevitable “But if that’s the case then why are they/it/we like that?”. I feel like I came into my skepticism organically. The idea of instilling a distrust of authority via the medium of parental wisdom seems… comical at best.

Forgive me; digressions in this space are as old as the space itself.

So how do you recap seven years?

Clare and I married. I finally got my bachelor’s degree and became a software engineer at a large tech company, and then moved on to a startup of all things, which was then acquired by the previously mentioned tech company. We bought a house in Esco, made numerous gardens, had a child, and said hard good byes to both of our cats. And that’s just a few things, just in my own life. I’ve lost track of the loaves of bread I’ve brought into the world.

Any one of those could have spanned multiple entries, but life has a mind of its own. I have it on good authority that writing is hard, but I was under no illusions otherwise. But I think it’s time to do the hard thing again.


Alright, so here we are. Blogging. So, for starters, the nerd news has been a bit ridiculous lately… I guess the easiest to get started with is the .XXX top level domain that was recently approved. This has come up a few times in the past, and apparently this most recent time it actually went through. Occasionally people will ask me what I think about it. It seems like an fundamentally flawed idea to me for a few basic reasons.

Of course, this TLD is voluntary not mandatory, meaning it’s up to individual websites to decide if they want a .XXX domain or not. As an aside, this is really the only way it could exist, because there’s no central authority to Internet content, and even if there was, who would get to decide what is porn and what isn’t? The US? France? Saudi Arabia? So, anyway, because it’s voluntary (and basically must be) you’re just left worse off then you were. All purveyors of pornography (even if an entity considers themselves to be so) won’t be magically and unanimously migrating their websites from various tld’s to .xxx. It’s an added expense to buy a new domain name, and they might not think they should have to. Meanwhile organizations that don’t want their networks used for porn (say, pre-schools, reasonably) can filter out everything .xxx, but they still have to have their old web filter which basically just hopes it catches everything but in reality doesn’t. And really when it comes down to it, few schools, businesses, etc will want to be known to allow .xxx content, so the whole domain structure exists to be filtered out and ignored. And when you put it that way, you realize the only reason Playboy is going to buy playboy.xxx is so that someone else doesn’t do it instead. The only people who will have easy access to .xxx will be people who *want* access to it, and gee, is there anyone looking for porn on the Internet that is having trouble finding it?

Point in fact, the entire nation of India won’t have access to it. I’m sure China and most Middle Eastern countries won’t be far behind. There is one person who benefits, however. Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry (who will be in charge of distributing and selling domain names for the new TLD) had this to say: “For the first time, there will be a clearly defined Web address for adult entertainment, out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses“. Of course, only Stuart knows how these new (old) websites will be free from fraud or computer viruses (malicious or otherwise…). He goes on to say that “The providers will benefit because more people will become paying customers.” He also doesn’t mention precisely how having a new domain name will encourage people to buy what is readily available for free, either.  I’m sure there’s some business-y stuff I’m just not getting, though.

In other news, AT&T and T-Mobile are fixin’ to merge and create Devastator^W I mean AT&T&T, er, sorry… The largest mobile carrier in the US.  And the only provider of a GSM network in the States, too.  Formerly, if you were a dissatisfied AT&T customer (a redundant term, from what I’ve heard) you could switch to T-Mobile and at least keep your phone.  Now you can move to Europe.  T-Mobile was also apparently one of the (only?) larger wireless providers that didn’t pull all kinds of shenanigans on customers and require long contracts or one data plan for your phone and an extra data plan to tether your phone’s Internet connection to your computer.  AT&T is also one of the strictest carriers for Android phones, with a lot of phones not allowing you to install Apps outside of the official Android Market.  Basically it seems like a big, dumb, bad idea that’s probably going to happen because America loves large corporations right now.  “Not Big Enough to be Too Big to Fail”, I think is the official motto.

Why now?

So I’ve decided that I waste time on Facebook. Mind you, not exactly in the same sense that some people seem to spend time on the site. See, I used to keep this blog regularly updated. Ok, well, I used to update anyway, maybe it’s been a long time since I was doing so regularly. Maybe what I mean is I waste energy on Facebook.

About a week ago I realized I’ve been using Facebook (and to a lesser extent Twitter) to express ideas and opinions and anecdotes which I would have formerly written a blog entry about. To make things worse, I write less about these stories there than I would on my blog. And to top it all off, they are then only available to people on Facebook, and if Facebook someday disappeared, those thoughts and ideas would disappear as well.

So I think I’ve decided that I should stop posting so much on Facebook. I want to switch back to writing on my blog, owned, operated, and maintained by me for me. As a side bonus, this means posting less stuff on Facebook that people probably don’t want to read anyway (probably the only person who would ever call having fewer people read something a bonus). I think I’ll take the approach that some do, which is to write the blog entry, and then occasionally re-post it on Facebook/Twitter as a link. I think perhaps that leads to a better use of those networks anyway.

I should mention, though, that I don’t think social networks are Evil or Pointless. And I do think they can be a good source for spreading the word on current events, or keeping up to date with the news. And obviously, the social aspects of them are useful. I just don’t like the idea of “content” that I generate winding up stuck there, and I think their format in general discourages long, thought-out writing.

I guess you could sum the idea up as: Put less creative energy into social networks, and leave them for socializing.

Hi again.

Well, welcome to 2011.

First order news:  Clare and I got engaged!  More details on that to come.  It’ll be in San Diego, and we’re currently looking into three different venues in: A winery in Julian, an organic lavender farm in Valley Center, and a beautiful park just outside of Ramona.  We’ve actually had a lot of fun thinking about different ideas for food, decorations, etc.  Date set for sometime tentatively in June 2012.  Waterhouse Lavender Rose.

Now then, back to the normal news.  So, we moved back to San Diego, and we’re currently living in Julian with Clare’s parents.  I haven’t found work, and have decided to go back to school, which brings me to another happy announcement: I’ve been accepted to Cal State San Marcos for the Fall of 2011.

This is pretty great.  It’s been almost a decade since I was able to make school a priority, and in the last semester and a half I’ve been doing just that and getting straight A’s.  I’ll be switching from a CompSci degree to an InfoSys degree, which I think is more my interest right now.  Less math, more business focus.  Time to focus on some Java development, I suppose.  That’s kind of cool, though, because Chris is getting into the idea of trying to get back into coding, too.  We’ll see how that goes, hopefully we can get on the same page and work on something together.

In somewhat related news, Clare and I have been tutoring my cousins Sam and Noah in Computers/Programming and Art respectively, so I’ve actually been enjoying working with Sam on that.

What have I been up to other than that… well, I’ve been watching with hope and amazement as the Arab world comes unglued.  Memories of the failed Iranian revolution keep coming back to me.  But so far, there’s been some measure of success in Egypt and in Tunisia.  Now that the international community is getting involved, we’ll see if Libya is next.

On an entirely different note, I’ve been having a lot of fun cooking lately, again.  I made a nice thin chocolate sauce recipe, pizza dough, cinnamon raisin muffin bread, cupcakes, and a very good blueberry tart the other day.  Then I found a recipe program called Krecipes and I’ve been putting my favorite recipes into it, since Google Wave (my current recipe keeper) is going away.  Krecipes uses a SQL database backend, which seems like overkill but opens up some interesting side-applications.  For example, I’ve been thinking it might be fun to put that database online and to write an Android recipe app which pulls from the database.  Then someday, when Android tablets are free in cereal boxes, I can have one in my kitchen for my recipes.

That’s about it for now.  I’ll leave you with these:

And this, seen from /., a long, long time ago.
Q: How do you identify a dyslexic, agnostic insomniac?
A: They lie awake at night, wondering whether there’s a dog.

Re: the cats

From Facebook:

Zara TabiBill T Sanders: Hey Billy! totally random question… but how did you accquire your cats?

I was going to answer on Facebook, but the reply was so long I decided I might as well post it to my blog.

(Cat #1) Tyler Durden (named after the guy in Fight Club) I got a few months (Around July 2002) after I started working at Petco.  Some asshole walked up to my register with a box, set it on the counter, walked out without saying a word, and then peeled out of the parking lot.

I opened the box and there was this filthy flea-ridden, worm-infested, mangy excuse for a kitten, still probably too young to be away from his mother.  So I had to take him home.  The first week he slept on my back, right between my shoulder blades.  The next week is when the attacks began…

(Cat #2) Kal’El I acquired (around April[?] 2003) when I was living with Mollie.  Tyler was absolutely batshit crazy at this point and she really wanted a puppy but decided she could settle for a “lap cat”.  So we went out and got a kitten (LOL) from someone who was giving them away.  I picked Kal’El because he was just walking around and randomly fell over.

Tyler almost instantly was repulsed by Kal’El.  This revulsion gradually turned into hatred.  He used to grab him by the scruff of the neck and drag him away from the water dish if he tried to get something to drink.

Eventually (I think it was about 3 days later) Mollie realized that kittens make terrible lap cats, and also that they are living terrors in the middle of the night.  So she started closing her door at night, leaving both of them to brawl in the rest of the apartment – including my room, which I wasn’t allowed (by the cats) to leave open.


The fog and the sky looked crazy the other day, I wished I had my camera with me. This winter’s rain has been amazing. People around here are starting to grumble, but I’m still in love with it. Let it keep coming for all of me. It really reminds me of the weather five years ago, the winter Clare and I got together. There was just crazy storm after crazy storm. It was such an amazing time… every time we’d go some place we’d see something beautiful. At the beach we watched loose sand blow gently over shoreline on a pitch black moonless night like the thinnest possible fog. On a drive down to the desert we saw millions and millions of butterflies migrating down Banner Grade. Walking around Julian when there was fog so thick you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you. It just sort of made you feel alive and aware that you were surrounded by the world, and that there was magic in it… a beautiful way to start a relationship.

An old co-worker of mine from the Adult School, Michelle (not to be confused with Chelle from PetCo), wrote on her Facebook the other day about how her daughter had just lost her first tooth, and apparently hid the tooth for the tooth fairy so well that Michelle couldn’t find it to take and replace with money. She mentions how she crawled all over the room in the middle of the night with a flashlight and then finally says, “Why do we go to such lengths to deceive our children?”

I think thats the answer.

Listening to The Album Leaf, In A Safe Place, which seems appropriate.

Raised white pickup?

Last night, I had a dream that I was driving one of those ridiculously high raised pickup trucks that had a ball hitch sticking out the back of it. We were in some parking lot way out in the country and I was doing a three point turn to get out of the parking lot. Then I somehow backed up and into a parked SUV that I didn’t see, my ball hitch smashing the rear window of the SUV.

The woman came out, rightly upset and so we did the whole insurance, take your information thing. Turns out it was Margaret Atwood (whom I had no idea what she looks like, nor what her ethnicity was prior to that Wikipedia lookup), and it turns out Margaret Atwood looks almost identical to Michelle Obama. I wonder what it is about your subconscious that just every once in a while looks around and says “Awh, fuck. Uhmmm… uhh… fuck it, you know what, just make her look like uhh…. Michelle Obama.” (also, raised white pickup truck? I know we’re moving back to SD, but, really subconscious? Do you really see that in our future?)