Thursday, August 16, 2007
by Blob

Have you ever seen a license plate that you at first glance assume to be a vanity plate, but then later realize, as you're trying to decipher it, that it was just random?

Oh, [nervous chuckle], me either. I'm just sayin'.

But seriously, it was 'DPS 3275'. I assumed it was an MMO gamer talking about his damage per second. I was crestfallen when I saw a 60ish guy driving. Now, that doesn't necessarily rule out my initial assumption, but it does cast some doubt on it. Furthermore, '[A-Z][A-Z][A-Z] [0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]' is the current standard Ohio license plate scheme.

Oh, well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
by Blob

Monday evening, I finally had my first real bike ride of the year. I was cleared to ride by doctors and physical therapists about six weeks ago, so why the delay?

Laziness, self-pity, and fear. The first two are self-explanatory, but the third may not be what you'd expect. I wasn't afraid of further injury or pain or my ability to deal with traffic or anything like that. No, I was afraid of knowledge. I kinda didn't want to know how far I'd fallen.

Two and a half years ago, I weighed 300 pounds and had very low physical fitness. Somehow, during the summer of 2005 I managed to change my lifestyle. I rode my bike hard four to six times a week, I ate healthy foods only and in smallish portions. I lost 55 pounds, I could ride my bicycle as hard or as far as I wanted to. I was faster, stronger, and felt better than I had ever done in my entire life and I was 33 years old.

Last year, I kept the activity level up pretty well, but my diet began to slide a little. A little more cheese, a little more red meat, the occasional soda. I gained 5 pounds back. This spring, I ruptured my achilles tendon while enjoying my newfound fitness on the basketball court. I was unable to use my left leg for two months. I was depressed, irritable, and pretty much a mess. I turned, as I often do, to food for solace. I ate like I used to. I did very little physical activity, and the predictable things happened. I gained 20 more pounds back, my left leg shriveled to nearly nothing, and my cardio fitness is mostly gone. So, here I am, nearly 36, and weighing 270 pounds.

I don't know how I got to that place two years ago, the place where I looked forward to my daily bike ride, where a single black bean burger, a baked potato and some salsa was all I needed to feel like I'd had a good dinner. I'm hungry all the fucking time now. I can't say no to food. If I've already had lunch and the office buys pizza, well I'll just have to eat a few pieces, now, won't I? It's just a second piece of cake and I've already ruined myself; what more damage could it do?

I want to be 33-year-old me. I don't want to be the me I've been all the other times of my life, and I just don't know how to get back there.

So, yeah, I didn't really want to know how bad it was. Ignorance is bliss, right? Well, I had a crazy day at work and I needed to do something when I got home, so I suggested we get the bikes out. I finally brought them out of the basement, looked 'em over, filled the tires, and we set off.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn't immediately exhausted and that my legs didn't protest too much. I managed to get in 8.3 miles at 11.5 MPH; I didn't need to walk the bike at all. I got up the Aurora Road hill that gave me so much trouble when I first started, most of it under full power. So, yay. Either I didn't lose as much as I'd feared or the physical therapy actually did more than I'd imagined in terms of restoring some level of fitness.

Now, if I can just translate that into some kind of on-going program.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Stuff >
by Blob

In some dimly remembered past lost in the swirling mists of time, I wrote a web gadget I called Quotebox. I don't recall why; I think it was mostly an excuse to see if I could meld graphical elements from POV-Ray with a web site. The answer, obviously, is yes. It doesn't really serve any purpose beyond that, though, and I doubt anyone ever looks at it.

Except the spammers.

I hadn't looked at it myself in ages, but I was tweaking the site yesterday, and I wanted to check out the old quotebox. There were something like 2500 spam quotes in the box. The best part is, most contained URLs, with tags, that were rendered in the box so poorly (because it specifically does not render html tags) that even if one did want cheap cialis, that idiot would have to copy and paste the URLs from the mess.


So, I added my captcha code to it, too. For some miraculous reason, the captcha has completely eliminated blog spam. We'll see if it has the same effect on the quotebox.

While doing that, though, I noticed that I was giving away the keys to the castle. The form you submit the captcha on had a hidden input with the md5 hash of the captcha. If one had wanted to bypass the captcha, all he would have to do is post his own form with his own md5 hash and captcha text. My script would have compared whatever text he sent with whatever hash he sent and happily approved the post. Now, it was intended to be a quick and dirty hack; but I'm ashamed of how dirty that one was. It is now more secure. It's not very secure, but at least there is a part of the equation that an attacker can't know.

Take that, miscreants!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
News >
by Blob
Oh yeah. I'm all the way up to Anno Domini Nineteen Hundred and motherfucking Ninety-Nine.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
by Blob

Why didn't anyone tell me that Eureka had started its new season two weeks ago? At least I only missed one episode.

But that's not really why I'm updating. This is basically an uninspired recap of the summer so far.

Rehabilitation from my injury proceeds. I've had 7 weeks of physical therapy (one to go), and I can almost lift my body weight with the bad ankle. I can walk pretty well, but volleyball is still out. I had my last scheduled appointment with the orthopaedic specialist today and he said that it looked good, but that I should wait until 6 months from the repair before treating it like normal, so that's two more months.

I did, in fact, miss the concerts, which is teh sukc; but, I made it to the Coca-Cola 600 (and walked my ass off only a week after being unshackled from das boot). So, the spring wasn't a total loss.

When it rains, it pours. In addition to the medical bills piling up, the car needed brakes, tires, and regular maintenance in the past two months. Total: $1500. And Juliet has an infection in her gums, which is causing problems with her eye and threatens to spread to her internal organs. Since you can't simply clean a cat's teeth while she's awake, there's anaesthesia and all the affiliated preliminary crap. About: $400.

I's broke.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
by Blob

Obviously, I haven't felt much like writing in a while. Some stuff happened, some stuff failed to happen, yadda yadda.

One thing that did happen that I felt I should make note of is this: I ruptured my left achilles tendon while playing basketball. I spent last Thursday night in the emergency room, Friday getting checked out and doing pre-op testing, Saturday and Sunday worrying, and Monday undergoing surgery. Right at the onset of spring in Cleveland, naturally. So all the things I've been waiting all winter to do—Ride bicycle, ride motorcycle, play outdoor volleyball—I can't do. I won't be able to use my left foot for much of anything for a minimum of two months, and I've heard rumblings from others that it may be as many as six.

This also means that my annual anniversary trip will have to be cancelled (April 6-8), as well as the MC Frontalot show in Columbus on April 9, likely the Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers show on May 1, and possibly even the Charlotte, NC trip around Memorial Day, which will have me letting down a significant number of people I care about.

In addition, I'll probably put a ton of weight back on since I won't be able to keep up the physical activity that I've been enjoying for the past two years, while simultaneously enjoying the frustration that is crutch-walking.

Let's not forget the forced work absence using up my vacation time and the extraordinary medical bills (hundreds? thousands?) that will begin to arrive next month to complete the tally of suck.

Let's have a pity party, shall we? Boo hoo.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005
News, Stuff >
by Blob

Now, this blog here has a readership of about three. And I may have chased them off with the very sporadic updates.

Furthermore, it's a custom-written blog, so unless I used some very common post variable names (and admittedly, I may have), to spam it you'd have to either write additional code or post manually.

Given the cost-benefit ratio, why the fuck would anyone spam my comments?

And yet they do, to the tune of 10 a week, or so, starting a few weeks ago. I put in some IP logging to see if it was just one certain corner of the internets I could cordon off, but no. Look at this list from the past few days:

If your address is on this list, you should either be ashamed of yourself or improving your antivirus/firewall protection.

Perhaps I'll change the script a bit, to see which it is: manual or custom-coded.

In other news, I got the Frontalot gig. It was, however, a much larger job than I was expecting, so I'm one of four guys on the task, and the one given the challenge of project lead. I'm having a hell of a time getting the project plan done, but I really, really don't want to let the MC down.

Not least because he done sent me some phat lewt in the form of a dope T-shirt and his new CD.

Friday, December 9, 2005
by Blob

Well, I didn't make it. November was a hellish month. Work was crazy, I was trying to write my novel, holidays and baby showers and financial crises. Blah blah blah blah blah.

All excuses. Fact is, I'm a failure.

I wrote 22,037 words in November, until I had a bout of writers block so bad that I just couldn't keep up. Not bad, I suppose, but I am shamed by the likes of Kris and his wife Laura. Wesley didn't quite make it this year, but he's done it twice.

Nonetheless, I feel pretty good. It was a far, far better effort than 2004. I actually like my book for the most part. I'll probably even continue working on it. I also had a great time hanging with the other Cleveland area NaNoers.

In other news, MC Frontalot has put out a call for a website coder. I've offered up my services. Let's see if he takes the bait. I love Front's music, almost without exception. What has always amazed me, beyond the unbelievably dope rhymes, is the production value. Top-freaking-notch, even when he's only got a week or so to throw the thing together for Songfight.

I've always felt slightly bad about the fact that I haven't had the money and the inclination at the same time to offer Front recompense for the listening pleasure he's given me. So, if he should take me up on the offer, we'll call it good.

If you're a nerd, or a music fan not afraid of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, I strongly suggest you check out his stuff. In particular, I recommend Charity Case, Braggadocio, and Which MC Was That?.

I guess I'll wrap this up. Sorry I haven't posted in so long. NaNoWriMo took a lot out of me. I'm jazzed, though, and I'm ready to try again next year.

Oh, look for the voice of the blob in the first episode of Stargate Cafe to be released, hopefully, on January 1, 2006.

Okay, I think I'm done now.


Thursday, November 3, 2005
NaNoWriMo >
by Blob

The writing goes well, so far. After two days, I had 5077 words. That puts me more than a day ahead! And the words I have written are flowing so much more easily than last year. Actually concocting a few elements of plot beforehand seems to have seriously helped. Although, I'm also glad that I didn't outline a rigidish structure. I had two epiphanies yesterday that filled in some gaps and are practically writing the book for me.

Not content with my newfound writing skills, I also decided to make my own progress indicator. Over there on the left is an image I create dynamically using the php gd library. It's all customizable, so you can change the icon and the offsets and the borders and the colors. If you'd like to mess with it, you can find the php code here: nano.phps and nanofuncs.phps. Feel free to use, share, and modify.

And one final NaNo note, there's the weekly gathering at Panera Bread at 480/Tiedeman tonight. I'm pretty excited about this one.

If you want to read the work in progress, it's right here: unchained.pdf. Feel free to peruse, but be aware that this is a rough first draft. Major plot elements are subject to change. I will also not be accepting any literary criticism until December.

Friday, October 14, 2005
by Blob

Last year, I attempted to write a novel in a month as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I didn't do very well. There are 2,123 of the required 50,000 words in my last file, but it seems to be missing a big chunk of something that I wrote shortly before giving up.

Well, the bug has bitten me and I'm getting excited about trying again. A title hit me like a bolt from the blue yesterday. Unchained. I don't know what it means yet. I don't have a plot, or characters, or even a general idea of what I want to say, but I have a title.

A large group (16ish) of Cleveland NaNo writers got together for a meeting yesterday evening. It was very cool to see old friends (and NaNo inspiration) Wesley and Kris and to meet a bunch of other crazy word-writing people.

During the meeting, I decided to write a short story, to kind of get the juices flowing. It's very short, I'm about to link to the second draft, so it's pretty rough, but I'm actually proud of it. If you'd like to read Olivia's Pet Project, it's here.