Log in

No account? Create an account
The End of the World As We Know It

Not sure how I found it .. probably Cortex or Hello Internet .. damn you @cgpgrey .. but I listened to this episode of Odd Lots -- http://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2016-11-18/55-here-are-the-signs-that-a-civilization-is-about-to-collapse.  2nd half.

That’s not the most Linkable stuff, so I did some searching .. and found the same information, same guy, in this article, easier to read:  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/indiana-jones-collapsed-cultures-western-civilization-bubble/.  Excerpts:

“Leaders may recognize that they are not addressing the real problems, but they rationalize their actions with the argument that they must first politically survive in order to later address the hard problems and sacrifices. Of course, they usually don’t ever actually get around to addressing the fundamental problems later, either because they don’t make it through the initial crisis or because, even later, they are not willing to risk sacrificing their own position (or “career”) with needed measures that usually require tough sacrifices by the population.”

And, the other chilling bit:

“Yes, “hypercoherence” is one of the most dangerous threats to the long-term survival of our civilization. Hypercoherence is the close efficient linkage of all parts of the world economic, communication and transport systems. It has been crucial in the spread of great innovations, the rise of world wealth, and even the dissemination of democratic concepts and ethical values and the defeat of oppressive regimes.

However, this strength is, again, one of the most common symptoms of impending collapse. Perturbations, even small ones, immediately radiate throughout the entire system. Today there are few, if any, refuges against international crises of any kind. Thus, our brilliant communication, information, and transport systems, which will be remembered as the hallmark of our age, are also a point of great fragility.”

Okay, what the heck does that have to do with anything?

What if:

  • What if, Globalization is in fact a not-that-great idea, single point of failure?
  • What if, in the short-term profits of globalization (for a few, those in power), the result is actually wealth distribution leading to angry citizenry?
  • What if, this overall stress-of-life .. leads people closer to their genetic instincts – tribalism, fear of others, close-the-borders?
  • What if, this is popping up everywhere around the world – Britain, France, USA, India, China is what I’ve read about so far?

Okay, so cool, we have a President Elect who was elected on the basis of “Make America Great Again”, and we’re going to decrease our participation in the global economy.  Based on the above, that’s a good thing. 

So, when folks talk about how the various treaties between countries like Russia and China, how their economic power will grow, that’s fine, we’ll be out here being independent while the rest of the world goes into splendor and then collapses?

However, what I’m feeling upon seeing the kinds of folks that the P.E. is hanging out with .. at first, it doesn’t feel like they have the best intentions of the country at heart.

But then, I realize, no, he’s probably being very accurate in his picks.  To verify, I went looking for the list – found this article:  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html

… and, yeah, i think it does reflect a couple of things – briefly reading it and tacking on some heavy supposed-opinions of my own -

  • less Global stuff.   Less dependence on China?  Does that mean more of an opportunity for local Manufacturing?  That might be good .. think of it more like “Local Grass Fed Beef” instead of “Cheap Beef at MegaStore”.  It costs more.   But its good for America.   Granted, it won’t be Apple, or Samsung, etc .. the rest of the world can have its quality electronics and keep it. We’ll go with nice camo-based phones with big buttons that can be used with hunter gloves.
  • Over and over, i hear “push stuff to the States”.   And I also hear “Push education away from public and more to private.”  I don’t like that it will let some states possibly teach stuff that I don’t believe is true.. but hey, if we, as a country, are choosing to believe creationism, then there you have it.  If you don’t like it, get the hell out.  Move to Sweden:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/finland-schools-subjects-are-out-and-topics-are-in-as-country-reforms-its-education-system-10123911.html    On the other hand, maybe there will actually be demand for schools that do teach evolution and science, and the market will decide which schools stay.   And maybe we can have awesome debates between schools that believe different things.    And the kids will have a nice debate, and all the parents will be lovingly supportive of them, there will be no brawls in the audience.
  • Less, uh, tolerance for other countries being buffoons.  Y’all go blow yourselves up, don’t care about destabilization, because we’re not participating directly in the global economy, so your shit doesn’t bother us.    We don’t need your stinkin’ oil because we have plenty of our own.   We don’t care about climate change because the world would blow up long before we got to any climate problems.

Reading the above, I might even think I agree with them.  I’m not sure what to believe.  I’m not sure which one is the reality – While I WANT to believe that the world is becoming a better, more civilized place, it DOES seem that this civility is unravelling, which leads to.. i don’t want to have to depend on the rest of the world to be civilized in order for us to have a good life. 

On the other hand, if some folks are seeking civility and peaceful life and joy and the ability to create and to not be afraid for their lives all the time.. if there’s something I/we could do to help them make it so .. can we help them?

So, all confused here.  I’ve ingested too much information, and some of it is at war with other things that I used to take for granted.

Now I have to take all of this, and go put it on a shelf, so I can function during the week.  I’m unfollowing @Lessien on twitter, who has been my primary source of indignant information, will check back in with him? her? them? on Friday.  (I found them through @MarcoArment, who ALSO has similar information, but is less volume than the former.)

There’s another aspect of this – since the election, its been like a sprint.  I can’t win at a sprint.  It needs to be more like a marathon. 

Tale of Two Kushners and 25 Denunciations

imageRecently I posted a Kushner-positive article -- http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/11/22/exclusive-interview-how-jared-kushner-won-trump-the-white-house/#445a9bd82f50

In it, i was impressed with JK’s humility, and his intelligence, etc.   I was hoping to find somebody whom I could feel.. confident in?  that they would help guide things in good directions, where good was defined loosely, and by me. (its always good to the do-er, right?)

I read this article, written by him a while ago:  http://observer.com/2016/07/jared-kushner-the-donald-trump-i-know/   … okay, that’s good, I have hope!  Maybe I’m wrong about the P.E.!

Later, I found another article.  (I tried to find it again, and .. no luck).  It was a bit more negative .. talked about his conversion of what the Observer used to be to what it is now..  it cast doubts, regarding what drives him (which is rather silly).   What I got from that article was – Kushner - a person willing to go to any lengths to pursue a particular agenda, while using spin to make things look good.  And I wish I could find the frickin article again. I’ve gone through my history on my phone, and .. ah well.   Yes, this is a weak link, and this whole post is bogus because of it.   

However, one thing that stuck out to me was, the phrase, “Donald Trump has denounced them 25 times” (re racist thingies).  The same phrase was used in the forbes link above.  The number 25 keeps getting used.  I thought, “man, I’d love to find all 25 of them.”   I started searching.

That lead me to this Salon article --  http://www.salon.com/2016/11/22/donald-trumps-still-not-really-denouncing-racism-by-the-alt-right-despite-what-he-told-the-new-york-times/ --  and this ThinkProgress article -- https://thinkprogress.org/trump-hate-a0171a960305#.lbxu4xjbe .. (excerpt imaged above) both of which point out that although people say he has, actually has not, anywhere, other than the one time on the 60 minutes interview.

So.. yep, spin.  Spin spin spin.  Leading me to question all the positive stuff I saw in the first Forbes article. 

“But everybody has spin”.   yeah.   give me direct recordings of people any day, and I’ll judge for myself.  

Test post

a. I’m doing a test post from Open Live Writer, the blogging software I like to use.

b. I’m including an image. I don’t know what LJ will do with it.


c.  I’ll probably be posting some non-technical, possibly whiney / bitchy stuff here.  Its a place I can compose articles to.. and later I would link to them on Facebook.  Easier than using FB’s post editor.   Its me dealing with the election results.

How long has this been?
I haven't updated LiveJournal in a very very long time.

Does anybody even read this anymore?  It used to be friends ..  I guess facebook has gotten most of the traffic in the last 5 years or so.  Also, being married, i now have a person to talk to rather than the interwebs as my emotional support.

I still need to keep this around, as a place to put stuff that, well, only a few would want to read, but is deep and important for me, but not professional worth ie doesn't go on my regular blog (geekygulati.com).

If you do watch this, and see this, please drop me a comment so i can say Hi. :)

Remembering my Stepfather

…whom I choose to call Dad.   I’m lucky – I got to have two fathers.  My second one showed me how to be honest, gentle, gently pursuasive, non-confrontational, silent before speaking.

I’m writing this post via Livejournal because I don’t think it belongs on my geeky blog.   Its too personal.

Anyway.   Dad died on Tuesday.   I was driving up to be with the family.   I could have left home sooner.. I could have left Monday night.. I could have left Monday morning … but at the time, he seemed very stable, there was no rush.  But, as I drove, I got the call that his numbers had tanked, and then I got the call that they were waiting for two more people to arrive.. and then I got the call that he was gone.

I cried during the drive.  I was also very numb during the drive.  It was like.. i could see my body doing the driving, but I couldn’t feel it.  Nothing was real.   I told the lady about it at McDonalds as I picked up lunch.  She smiled and took the next person’s order.

Some detail on him.   He got cancer several years back .. 2005?  Chemo worked, but left his heart running at 10%.  The numbers are all wrong, but focus on the intent.   He got accepted into an experimental? program, got an LVAD – a heart pump.  That kept him going for a strong 5 years – which he put to good use.

He got to spend time with his grandchildren, who all got to know him. 

He taught some of his grandchildren how to play Bridge.

He became a Daddy to his son’s wife – she who left her whole family behind in India, who needed family here.

He wrote incessantly – a Family history, about LVAD’s, about Bridge. 

He became the primary article writer for a political organization (North American Punjab Association?)

Then, all of a sudden – things didn’t work.  Turned out, a clog had formed (lots of clogs forming these days in LVAD’s) – which lead to things getting weaker.  They tried to supplement, get things strong enough to inject some clog removing stuff – but things didn’t get stronger, and they realized they couldn’t keep him.    So, they let him go .. turned off the machinery that gave him some extra years.   He passed almost immediately.

I’m here at my mother’s right now.   She’s doing .. better.  Lots of phone calls, lots of people to talk to.

I got to go through all of Dad’s writing – on the computer – organize it, preserve it, make copies for all the kids (5 total).   It took me a full day, one document at a time.   100+ megs of word documents, mostly text.  

Amongst that, I found example after example of him writing on behalf of other people.. using his political ties to helpful ends.  One political asylum here; one land grant case there; vouching for people.   Good man.

He had also asked me to help him, once.  He had written a family history – he wanted to make it look better.  He had pictures that needed to be inserted, and .. it needed some maps and satellite photographs and various things to finish it.   I never did get around to helping him with that, while he was alive.

That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow.   I don’t know that I know enough about the content to figure out which chapters which photographs go with .. but I do know something about page layout and prettiness.   I’ll be trying out blurbook.com for the initial layout, see how that works.. if the family approves it, I’ll continue it; and ask for help in figuring out what additional content (pictures, which he had already scanned) to add to which chapters (several of which have phrases like “insert picture of statue here”).       Its not a one day task, but I hope to do enough tomorrow to determine if I should continue with it or not.

There’s a service at the local temple here on Sunday, but mainly, there’s going to be a memorial service in March for him in Columbus.   (He donated his body to science, so no visitation or funeral).  

Good man.  I’m going to miss him.   And his stories.

God, I hope I can capture some of his stories.   “Sunny Beta.. did I ever tell you about when I met Gandhi?”   Perfectly paced storytelling.

I think I have audio of him teaching me how to make Chai.   I’ll post that at some point. 


9:32am at a La Quinta Inn in Germantown, just outside of Memphis TN.

I’m sitting on the floor next to the window, whose blinds are mostly pulled down.. the teenager has half an hour more he can sleep.. but I can see the sun peeking through the bottom of the blinds, and I feel warm.

The inspiration of this post was the feeling of ZOMG! There’s NOTHING I need to do!   … for the first time in, well, what the heck have I been doing?

  • Friday Night: Driving to Memphis.   Last night, from 7:30pm to 1:30am.  For a soccer tournament.  U19.
  • Before that:  7 nights or so: Working every night on the 2012 SOHS Soccer Banquet Video.   I rendered the .final version (.final = will be presented, unless something better happens) on Thursday night.   There are things I had to cut.. the hurricane flag waving, the interviews with the parents.. there’s a few edits I might go in and make when I get back home, but its DONE enough.
  • Before that:  Working on wedding video – to get my workflow figured out.. color correction, sizing, multi-cam setup, audio scrubbing, etc.    Not finished; awaiting my attention in the near future; but the hard part is over.
  • Before that:  “Vacation” (not) to Iowa – to go shoot the wedding, and to hang out with as many people as I could grab and love on.
  • Before that:  Stressing about work, transitioning into a team.   Glad to say, we are teaming with teaminess now.   We decided to do admin stuff in Round Robin form .. so now Person #2 is going to show Person #3 some of the admin stuff that I used to take care of, and my job is to stay out of it now, till it comes back to me.
  • Before that: I don’t even remember.     There’s some Water Heater stuff in there, I think.

So I have 20 more minutes of relative down time now.. and then some soccer to watch.. and then sit back and do nothing (?!) .. and then more soccer.. and then nothing (or maybe the parents will decide to conglomerate for dinner and I’ll have a margarita, but Donna Hulsman is not in this group, so I don’t think there will be any peer pressure)… and some more nothing tomorrow, and some soccer, and a drive.

Perfect.   Electronics off / time to sit in the sun / peeking under the blinds / playing on the floor / it knows more.

Aftermath of Elections

Watching the coverage after the wining declaration, before the speeches.   Those on Facebook would have seen my flip-flopping – actually, I had started out on the Democrat side, but because I married into a Republican family, and I really like some of the ideas of limited government, I forced myself to investigate, soak up, digest, get sick, and puke, on information. 

Here’s the perspective I ended up with.

  The Worst He Could Be The Best He Could Be What I felt He Was
Romney (blogs) Ruthless; detached; people are pawns unless you’re in his inner circle; a faithful follower of whichever group he was representing, no beliefs of his own “The Real Romney” -- Loving, compassionate, honestly cares about people, very smart, can get the economy going. A representative of powers that would love to rip the country apart even more, because they will get rich as a result. 
Obama “Amateur” => delusions of Grandeur; overwhelmed; enjoying being rich for once; controlled by his wife; will do anything to look good “Showdown” – very smart, holding his cards close, influencing the right people, make the right deal to get the most that can be gotten in a hostile climate Trying to do the right thing;  fairness and equality for all; least budget spent since FDR?  Representing my opinion that tax cuts for the rich does not improve the economy.  #zombie idea


So, I voted, and my state went to Romney anyway; but that’s okay.    If Romney had won, I would have hoped he was closer to column #2, than to column #1.

Probably the biggest turn-off I had about Romney was in reading what I *thought* was a pro-Romney book.  (Maybe it wasn’t?)  When it got to the kind of work he did at Bain Capital – it became pretty obvious to me – he doesn’t know how to build businesses.   He knows how to exploit the weak ones via control and extract profit from them.  Maybe the democrats did a spin job on me… maybe not. 

If I were to go conspiracy theory,  I would propose that the same folks Bush are the same folks behind Romney .. and that the war in Iraq was planned, not a result of 9/11.   I might even go down the #truther road, but therein lies some madness.. but yeah, I think there are folks out there who are ruthless enough that they would do something like that.   And I do not want them in positions of power.  (Note: if these folks do exist, and Obama is their enemy, then either some scandal will occur like it did for Clinton, or something more like JFK will happen.)  #IHopeImWrong

But, conspiracy theories are bad for me.  My mind gets stuck in them.. a cycle of neurological triggers, there was an xkcd comic on it

How the heck do I reconcile “Appropriate Government” with Obama?   What do I think is the right role of government? 

  Fed Govt Yes I don’t know Fed Govt No
Infrastructure – roads, train lines, phone networks, etc When there is not an economic incentive for a single company to build, then yes.  Example: interstates    
Education   There probably is a better role.  Don’t lay down testing standards – and $ based on testing. #NoChildLeftBehindFail
Healthcare Very basic health care available with bad service.  #cheap #lines #waiting Compare other countries to us – why we so costly? Still want private healthcare available
Food stamps Probably has to be federal because places hit hard don’t have the funds? I haven’t been on them. Less than current budget, I would hope?
Military Hell Yes.  #smarter    
Hell Yes, Promote (via states?)    
Gun Control There is some level at which building a personal army should be discouraged    
Illegal substances Legalize, or give to states to legalize   Waste of $ to try to fight; use economics instead, like alcohol.
Church Spiritual acceptable   Religious No
Energy Yes. Energy Sources causes wars. #care  

I haven’t spent a lot of time on this list, but that’s my feel so far.      Maybe it is better represented as “too much”, and “too little” .. I’ll try that sometime.

And now my brain is blank, and I can sleep.

Happy Birthday To Me! 2012

In this year, I’ve switched my main blogging place to geekygulati.wordpress.com, as I’ve wanted to focus on my more technical side as well as build up a history of “here is who I am (hire me)” for the future.  But when it comes to my philosophical posts.. I have so much history here on LiveJournal, I may as well continue that vein of thoughts here.

Biggest changes I’ve noticed this year:

  • I now admit that I am probably half-way through my life, or more.   This means I probably have 3 more houses that I’ll live in, maybe 5 or 6 cars. 
  • I can see my body being more and more eager to not-function than to regenerate.   Nothing bad.   Just, more aware of it.   I can see how I have to take extra care now with all my parts.  Use it or Lose It?   I’m talking about you, Molar #5! (j/k)

What can I change about this year?  (this is effectively my “New Year’s Eve”)

  • I know I MUST get back to working out.   This requires slowing down life enough to make the space for it.   It has to be in the evening.    Please please please I want to get to twice a week.. yoga and running, perhaps.
  • I feel bad that I don’t call people.  Maybe I can start small.  Like, posting on people’s walls for their birthdays on facebook. Smile
  • I have two dogs with limited lifespans left.. and a cat, same situation.  There are a limited number of walks I can take the critters out on.    It might be time to do it.   This works well with working out.

Big Changes coming this year

  • Looming: Quinn turns 18, and possibly graduates High school.     This will probably bring some changes.
  • The rest is in God’s hands.  I don’t know what’s coming.   But I know I’ll be given the guidance I need to navigate it.

That’s about it.  Thank you all you beautiful people for your love of me and mine… 



I ran again (Who Am I)

The Last time I really ran was December of last year.


Insert story here about physical therapy, knee, IT band, core muscles, shoulder muscles being out of whack, reluctance to run, skipping the triple crown that I had registered for...

Especially mention have tons of friends ask me how my running is going (and feeling ashamed of it not happening)...

Wondering when I see a runner on a road.. do I feel envy as I once did? Many of them, their faces screwed up in misery and pain.

Who am I as a runner? Am I a 30 minute 5k, or a 26 minute 5k? Will I ever be a 23? will I be a 26.1? So much looking forward, pressure on myself.. self definition.


I ran today. Up to the church and back, just over 2-ish miles. In something minutes, plus or minus 5.

I enjoyed 95% of it.

Nothing really hurts. My feet sting a little -- I ran barefoot. Which means I had to run slowly, and pay a LOT of attention to how I was landing. It was a complete joy to cut into people's yards and feel cold squishy grass under my feet, and smooth concrete of driveways.. fresh asphalt was good too, but old asphalt was prickly.

The 5% i did not enjoy is when I put my Vibram Bikila's on. I could no longer feel the road, I started landing much harder, and I noticed it in my vision - every time I landed, the whole world "shuddered" as though my eyeballs were shuddering. So they came back off. This was at about the turn-around point.


I was inspired to go run by a coworker who posted a link to the Louisville Color Run. Surely I can do that.. the point of that one is to get splatted with color.. similar to Holi, the festival of color, which I never ever got to experience (was never in India). (But i heard about it, a lot. It was one of the things I feel I missed out on.)

Its in July. That's two months from now. So back into running un-shoes I go..

Sierra Leone, 1978

2nd Grade or 1st Grade.
There's a race.
I run the race.
I come in dead last.
I'm pissed off.
Walking home, I ask somebody if we can have a little private race.
I give it my best best best shot
I cannot beat him.
If I can't beat them, why play?
I release the path of being physically active and doing sports.

Two years ago

I start running.
I'm not sure I can even do it.
I do it.
I get faster.
How fast can I go?
I push myself.
Best was 25:56 for a 5K, i forget if it was Anthem'11 or Weathermen'10.
I Have to do better
I injure myself in fall 13.1 2011.
I try to recover for the January season.
See the backstory above.

Who Am I?

I can't try to define myself by how good I am, because that leaves me open to what I am not.

Here's what I can say:

I am easily a 33 minute 5k runner, 10-11 minutes/mile.
I am easily a 5-8 mile runner.

With lots of effort and training, I can be a 9:00 or 8:45 m/m runner, I could get up to mini-marathon lengths.
But I'm not doing that right now.

What Am I Going to Do?

Possible choice #1: No matter what, enjoy the run.
Possible choice #2: Don't go fast. I cannot outrun my ego, so I'm not going to test it.
Possible choice #3: Love on everybody and be happy to be there.

I think I can LIVE! with this. (LIVE! and let live.)

I will give it a shot.

Why would I ever read a Technical Book?
When I was in college, I used to laugh at the "technical books" section of the bookstore in the mall. Well, actually I didn't, because at the time, I would go there exculsively to drool over all the science fiction books.. $3.50 or so each.. that I could not afford, as I was living on ramen noodles and cans of peas, because that's all I could afford. (link)

Then, when I became a working stiff paid professional, I would go to the technical books section and laugh, because.. I knew all that stuff. There was a lot less to know in the early 1990's, and there was a lot of stuff "beneath me" (Dbase II, FoxPro, etc). (I was cool, I was porting apps from Clipper S87 to 6.0, and nothing came even close to the beauty of LPC)

In the late 1990's, I would sneer, because I was a close-minded anti-microsoft pro-linux-perl guy, and I really did not want to know MFC. I did, however, buy and own the Perl Cookbook, which opened my mind to the amazing ways to hack things into place to get things done. I used that book a LOT. (The next year, i got sent to C# class because they had an extra spot, and I have changed my mind about Microsoft) actually, I would say that Microsoft changed, and no longer annoyed me. C# was almost as awesome as LPC. (link)

For a while, in 2006 - when I found myself facing unemployment (it lasted all of about 2 weeks), i found myself browsing technical books, lamenting: so much to learn, what shall I learn? I ended up gravitating towards unit testing and Asp.Net WebForms, which I learned almost entirely via google, not from a book. Thank you .Net Rocks and http://www.hanselminutes.com/ for the pointers! In this case, the dead-tree books did not do anything for me, and being unemployed, I felt I shouldn't be spending $$$ if stuff was available on the internet for free.

I did buy some technical books in 2008 to read on vacation - wow, that was a rousing success. (Not). I hardly picked them up. A waste of $100+. (Patterns and Practises in C#, something else). They're still too expensive, when all of that knowledge is available for relatively free on the internet.

So, i repeat the question:

Why would I ever buy a technical book?

My answer:

I bought one two nights ago. I wanted to know about how to use EF Code First - I couldn't sleep - I bought the book on my iPad Kindle - and I read it, cover to cover, in about 45 minutes. And my lightbulb was born.

Here is what is different:
  • I have a very specific application, for which I might need the technology. This is not "reading for fun", but rather, reading to get a specific job done.
  • I don't know enough about the technology to know what to search for. (searching online only gave me introductory examples, nothing with real meat.)
  • I'm approaching it not as "a ton of money spent for a dead paperweight that I'll never look at again", but rather as a fairly inexpensive class briefing me in a specific subject which i can refer back to later. Most of these books cost me less than an hour's work, after taxes. (I am a professional, and I need to know as much as possible, as quickly as possible, to give my client the kind of service that I want to give them.)
  • I have an e-reader. on my iPad, and pretty soon, on an e-ink device. I can archive with impunity, without killing bookshelves.

And thus, I'm sold. Here's what I choose to read up on for my current client, to ensure I'm giving them the best that I can:
  • PostgresSQL (done) (pdf, free)
  • EF CodeFirst (done) ($10)
  • EF (general)
  • Asp.Net MVC 3 +/- Razor
  • Dependency Injection (Structuremap vs Unity)