The Loss of a Great Rubyist, A Dream, A Note

Yesterday I learned here that one of the great Rubyists I’ve never heard of, Guy Decoux, aka “ts,” had died.

Last night in my dreams that memory mutated, and I dreamed that _whytheluckystiff, creator of Shoes and many other whimsical Ruby projects, had died! I remember thinking sadly about Shoes left unfinished, never to fulfill _why’s dream of helping children learn to hack.

Today in my feed reader I came across _why’s note on the passing of ts, and was relieved to learn that a dream was only a dream.

Tangent: I’m finding myself very resistant to writing on this blog these days, as opposed to just writing to friends, or posting something to myface or spacebook or whatever, or bleating it to the handful of friends who follow my twitter feed, or just emailing it. I don’t know why. Just don’t feel the need to contribute to the Blog Oh Sphere, at all.

I Am Become Death, Destroyer of Technology

Two days ago, about 4PM, I was working, with a drink nearby, on my macbook, as I have every day for years without problems, and for some reason I spilled the drink. Not on the mac — near it — but a few drops got on the keyboard and I freaked out. Swabbed every possible key it could have hit out around the edges with a paper towel, blasted it out with all the canned air I could lay my hands on — went to the store, bought more canned air, and blasted away further —

There was no effect on the operation of the computer that I could tell, but I know from personal experience* that if any of that spilled bourbon** made it into the machine and left a visible spot on the interior, my expensive AppleCare will be null and void should anything happen to this machine in the future. And there’s no way of knowing whether it did or not, short of ripping the machine apart, which would also not do good things for my AppleCare. So… I may have done immense damage, or maybe none at all, and there’s no way for me to tell.

I bought a silicone keyboard cover as a defense against something like this happening in the future. Ironically I’d had the keyboard replaced a couple days before (free, under Applecare) for unrelated reasons, and at that time I had considered buying the silicone keyboard cover and decided not to.

So yeah — spilled drink near macbook, total freakout. Two days ago.

Yesterday my phone stopped working. Looking up the error I was seeing on the web, it turned out to be associated with the phone getting wet. I then remembered that I had lay down by one of my kids last night to help them get to sleep, and that kid later that night awoke after the mother of all late night accidents, and my phone had fallen out of its holster into the child’s bed and was present for the deluge, and — yeah. My phone had met its death at the hands of pee.

I went in to Verizon and bought a new phone yesterday. If this had happened a month later I would have qualified for the “new every two” plan and got a nearly free phone, because I had purchased the phone one year and eleven months ago. But no. So, I paid. Got a good phone, it’s really cool, but… it was not anything close to free.

That was yesterday.

I started thinking in terms of avoiding using my macbook when it wasn’t absolutely necessary. I had recently rehabilitated an older work machine, a Gateway laptop, and put Linux on it, and I really enjoyed using it. I thought maybe I’d use the old Gateway most of the time, and protect the mac that way. So I’ve been pimping it out, making Linux work really smooth on it, installing all my favorite software, etcetera.

Tonight just after I’d tried and failed to install some new RAM (don’t know why that failed), I was seated on my bed with the Gateway laptop on my lap, I was reaching over to a bookcase to look for a book, and the laptop slipped to the ground and hit… hard.

I opened it up and the screen was destroyed.

I give up.

I am become Death, the destroyer of technology.

[*no, I hadn’t spilled on the machine before. The time it happened it was one of my kids who did it.]

[** just kidding. Diet Coke.]

I’m A Jerk For Thinking This I Guess

I read today in the headlines that there was a shooting at a church in Tennessee. I thought something like this, though not in these exact words: “That’s weird, in the South, churches are usually in the business of inciting violent hatred; they’re not usually the target of it.”

When I actually read the news story about it though, my prejudiced thought seemed to be vindicated: this was far from a stereotypical southern Evangelical church: it was a progressive, liberal, ACLU-supporting, Unitarian Universalist church. Very much a target for crazy gun-toting hateful people in America.


Yahoo News: Man Shot Churchgoers Over Liberal Views

On the flipside, Topher noted in the comments that when you hear “violence in a church in the South” the first thing you might logically think of is church burnings, which have been linked to race, robbery, and just general malice.

Some Syd Barrett Videos

UPDATE: As Mike pointed out in the comments, Syd’s death happened 2 years ago.  I ran across a link to it somewhere today — I don’t remember where — and thought, “Huh, I thought I’d heard he’d died before… maybe that was just when he got really sick with the the diabetes that killed him.”  However, that didn’t cause me to look at the dateline of the article and realize this WAS old news.  Oh well.  I cannot brain today, I have the dumb.

Despite it being old news, here are some of my favorite songs from Syd-Barrett-era Floyd, one from his solo album Opel, and one more tasty piece of pastry.

Syd Barrett died at only 60, of diabetes.

Some syd….



Lucifer Sam

Dark Globe

And now for something completely different… Inspired by all those psychedelic tunes with videos of guys wearing fluffy white cravats…