Archive for March, 2010

Life and its long lesson of humility.

I’m going to try and make a serious comment about the latest round of Catholic sex scandals, as it’s something I shouldn’t really care about, being non-religious, and yet somehow I do, being still somewhat sentimental for my Catholic upbringing.

As a Confirmed but irredeemably-lapsed Catholic, I can say that all this recent stuff nevertheless makes me very sad, because (& let’s not underestimate here) by and large the clergy of the Church are doing great work and I personally know many priests who have sacrificed so many decades of their personal lives to serve the Greater Good (yeah, the one with the capital letters) many of whom I have reason to believe are very likely agnostic at best. To be so dedicated to a cause without the easy belief system to back it up (because being a priest is far more of an intellectual pursuit than any other sort of religious vocation that I know of) is just a Herculean task, and the sadness I feel is primarily based upon my acknowledgment that all of this selfless dedication is just so very hard to sustain.

It is just too hard to do, for most people. Poverty, chastity, and obedience…these are the three tenets of the priesthood, and I feel that it is only a matter of time now that these tenets will have to be realigned, not that the vow of chastity per se is the cause of the pedophilia. That would be like saying, as the Right does all the time, that gay people are just one step away from fucking children, horses, or otherwise breaking all manner of sordid taboos. No, the way I see it, any profession that requires such austerity as a cost of entry is simply going to be infiltrated with people who are either trying too hard to escape their demons, or else are bluntly looking for a way to game the system. And with the easy authority that being a priest provides, it is reasonable to suppose that some of these guys have willfully pursued such a vocation with that kind of betrayal in mind, though I’m sure that in most cases it isn’t consciously regarded in such stark terminology.

So in order to get past this disaster (and it is a disaster: my own family, I’m sure is simply horrified by the whole years-long saga), in order to attract a more healthy seminarian I think the Vatican has no other choice than to break with the old traditions and just let the clergy start to behave more like the humans they are. I think, for starters, they’ll see a huge upswing in the number of people heading for the convent (and make no mistake, this would be a huge plus for them, as there has been a perennial decline in the number of young priests entering the field). There will, of course, be a serious backlash from the hardliners who all these years later still have a bone to pick for the 2nd Vatican Council, and they may even see another orthodoxical split as a result…….. But the alternative, I fear, is either slow and steady irrelevance to the requirements of the times or, as a worst case, eventual dissolution, and if that were to happen, I must say that even though I’m not really much for religious dogma, I’m willing to wager it would begin something of a societal decline, if not here than particularly in some of the poorer South American countries, which would be very hard to pivot out of through secularization.  I say this with all respect to the Humanists I have known.  I mean, hey, I’m on that team myself, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily think the rest of the world is quite so ready for a open-ended view of life as the one I hold dear.

It really is a very big deal, and I don’t feel that, based on his response so far, Benedict is anything other than a company man. The Church is in need of a real moral leader, and unfortunately it does not seem to have one at the moment.

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~*GRIND*~

Things are getting tough around here.  Am I just being a Complainy Smurf?  Sometimes I am sure that the bastards are grinding me down, and other times I’m convinced that I am just a simple pansy.  It’s certain that the whaaaambulance is on the street outside my door.  The question is, did I call it?

Well, first of all, we are trying to buy our first house right now, which turns out to be an inherently stressful process.  We don’t have a lot of money but assuming our expectations are met for our tax returns, and with my wife’s hard-earned bonus money, we should be able to throw in a decent 5 to 8 percent down-payment.  But of course, we decided to buy a house during the last two months of the homebuyer tax credit, which means that if we don’t get the bid just right, and if things go just a little wrong with the inspection, there’s not much chance that we’ll be able to take advantage of it.  We can’t help how things turned out and consequently I do not go out of my way to blame anybody:  my job (while fun) is basically a dead-ender, my wife was out of work for what seems like a pretty long time, and we were pretty damn poor up until a few months ago.  Don’t go thinking that everything’s hunky-dory now, because it could all fall apart at the seams, but we’ve finally found ourselves in a position to get a small home loan, and we are more than ready to take that step.  We have a real need for the extra space that a home will give us, not to mention the improved location.  So we have no other choice but to leave this up to fate, to some extent.  It will work out, or it won’t, and that’s where we’re at.

Secondly, I am trying to finish my Microsoft MCSA testing requirements before May 10th, which is the day that I sign up for my much-belated junior year of college.  I’ve got to get that finished NOW, or else I’ll be piling on even more work for myself: trying to work full-time, do school somewhere close to full-time, while also trying to finish that one last test for Prometric.  It’s debatable that I can even handle the first two things;  adding another layer of work on top of that is just going to drive me nucking futs.

Third, things at work are changing.  I am reserving judgment on this until I find out more.  The short story on it is basically that my company is, for the time being (and hopefully only temporarily), under new management.  We are also getting some new people and I’ve been told that I’m going to have to be prepared to do some retail work again.  My job description right now is very flexible:  I do my work at whatever schedule I see fit, and if I have extra time in the day, I can use it to study, goof off, get other errands run, etc.  This has heretofore been a very good arrangement, and I was counting on maintaining the status quo as I registered for classes.  To now be told that quite possibly I’m going back to a 9 to 5 schedule is disappointing, even if it’s not quite a dealbreaker.    There are some other details to add which could complicate things even further, but that comes down to office politics, and I am not getting into that here.  I’m not Perez Hilton, ya’ll, shit.

Lastly, work today has reminded me of the futility of laying all these plans.  I got up for work with very little to do, and by the time I came home, I was shell-shocked with all the piles of work I still have waiting for me tomorrow.  Remember when I hinted that my schedule is awesome and laid back?  Well, the price I pay for all the downtime is sustained and completely overwhelming bursts of utter chaos.  I can go from expecting two hours of scheduled calls to ten in about fifteen minutes, and when that happens, there’s no one to back me up.  I am hoping this will change soon, but I have to be aware and ready to deal with the fact that because of the unpredictability of my day, work and school are sometimes going to be at odds with each other.

How does one deal with that effectively?  I hope I can make it work, because my past school performance leaves me with very little room to mess up.  My GPA is atrocious, especially considering that I’m more or less a smart person, and certainly capable (on my better days) of being a good student.  But this is why I decided to start on the summer semester, too, which I think was a good move: I’ll be able to deal with a more relaxed campus since most everyone will be gone for the summer, and I won’t be required to take a full load in order to get my financial aid to work for me.  With our only very recently improved financial status, I’ll be able to qualify for one year of grant money to go to school.  Better make it count, because it ends soon enough.

No pressure though.

Saturday on The C.W.

This was a good read (caught it yesterday after work), and I think it is very much worth mentioning that sometimes, at least regarding foreign policy issues, the narrative given by analysts and reporters is the correct one. However, don’t take that compliment to mean that I think the media as a whole has much value (particularly TV-centric media). After all, there’s a reason it was a top five list, and not a top ten list, and that’s because nobody can afford the time and massive expense it would take to exhaustively research the other five examples of this accuracy in reporting in all of history.

After reading this article, I wondered: what is now considered to be the conventional wisdom on HCR nowadays? I can’t think of a better example of an issue that has been more topsy-turvy, whether in its public perception or in the story of its (possible) enactment.  I’ll mention this is the hopes that anyone else who may have heard it can confirm that I am not insane: NPR had a sound bite featuring Nancy Pelosi, who was saying in no uncertain terms that healthcare was going to be passed beyond all doubt. I forget the exact terms with which she presented her point, but you know that sound you can sometimes hear in someone’s voice when they are smiling?   It was running all through her voice during that sound bite. For lack of a better word, she sounded fucking PSYCHED (and relieved, but I may be projecting there).

I have been somewhat encouraged the last few days on HCR, but hearing that from Pelosi yesterday really kinda leads me to believe that she, if no one else, is pretty certain of how things are going to pan out.

State of teh Union

Rarer than chop steak in a vegan’s mouth, I’m here tonight to talk about what’s going on in my life.   I won’t pretend that things are bad, even though that’s my favorite game of all.  I’m going to try to cautiously approach something like a real assessment of the current goings-on of the best kept secret in all the universe: me and mine and all those things, direct and indirect, that are tailing me harder than Smokey tails the Bandit.

Yeah, not really.

But I have been able to breathe easier lately: both adults in the household are currently fully employed.  None of us are doing anything like the work worthy of our abilities but nobody is floundering, either.  It might be sour grapes (might, I say) but as I get older, even though I do not not become more conservative (losing the courage of my convictions has always been one of the possibilities I fear the most), I do perhaps become ever more cynical in my assessment of what it even means to have a work life to be proud of.  We can’t all work for non-profits, after all, and somebody has to take out the trash in the morning even if last night we all dreamt of having steak and shrimp.  Every man is a superhero is his own mind, and to my mind, my superhero-self can kick your ass anyday of the week.  Forgive a guy his common hubris, for it is shared by all.

I’ve come to accept the advice I gave myself earlier in the course of this blog, which is that whether one feels rudderless or fully apprised of life, cursed or blessed by the Host of Angels, it may be that the final arbitrary measurement of a wise life is that just choosing a path and taking it is best advice of all, because looking back on the reasons for my own achingly slow start in life, I can see clearly now that the primary dilemma (besides the obvious mental disorder) is one of just picking one’s poison.  There’s always a choice in life, so they say, but “they” don’t much dwell on the fact that sometimes the path in front of you splits off into two equally disturbing possibilities.   Well, my family has had that in front of us for a long time, and I simply reacted in the best way I knew how, which is to say I pretty much ignored all options and simply left myself with the status quo, which involved a lot of bored meadering in a job I don’t really care for a great deal.  I still have that job, by the way, but now I’m making it work for me: this May I start working on my bachelor’s degree for the first time in over ten years, simply because I know that with the level of work I currently have, I can churn out a few credit hours a semester until sometime in the next two to three years, I’ll come out the other end waving around a piece of paper which might not solve all my problems, but which WILL MOST DEFINITELY help out my bizarre lack of any and all confidence in myself.  Sometimes I really do feel that I am the greatest impediment to my own success – success in whatever form you choose – and getting past the now-infamous lack of direction would be a great thing indeed.  That’s why, when I first started this blog, I called it Some College:  some college is all I figured I would ever receive, and I had hopes of embracing that fault, spinning it around and calling it a virtue – because who ever learns anything from college anyway, right?

I realize that this may in fact be true: I might come out of college even more sure than ever that it is, at the core, just a complete waste of time.   But the point is, for me at least, that I need to come out of it having finished after all the false starts, and I need to do so with my sanity in tact, even at the cost of my belief in the value of academia.  I have yet to even idly entertain the notion of what might happen afterwards.  I suppose that at least one semester of decent grades will have to pass me by before I even get past the point where, in my head, I’m just waiting for whatever the next collegiate disaster turns out to be.  That’s the truth right there:  I still don’t think I can make it work.  But I am determined to try, because I do finally feel better about my own level of maturity this time around.

Congratulations are in order, Jason: you now have ascended to the level of actualizati0n that most 20-year-olds accept out of hand.   Well fuck you very much, Sense of Self: not everybody can attain enlightenment without first spending some time in the dark.   I’ve some small expectation that those dark days might be over, but see me again in three months, after the summer semester starts, and we’ll see which incarnation of myself turns out to be right.

Meditations on Custom Subnets

(Please note: No one but me is supposed to enjoy, remotely fathom, or even read this post.  This one is just for me, because it’s a study guide I wrote up for what I am currently studying in computer certification, and I figure I might want to refer to it at work, so the Informatubes is a good a place as any to post it.  Thus warned, we continue with a clear conscience….)

Custom Subnetting

Subnetting is fucking simp! Just start here:

1. You have to know how many addresses and how many subnets you are looking for.  This will be given in the test question, or will be obvious given your network needs in the real world.  The whole point of this, after all, is to accommodate the addition of future network segments over a period of time, so it should be pretty obvious what your needs are given your expectations of the number of addresses you will need, number of departments in the company, total number of computers, etc.

2. Identify your parameters by asking two questions:

a.)  How many hosts needed? When calculating hosts, always add one to the number of hosts needed, then convert that number to binary.  Now you know how many bit positions you will need for the host and network portion of the address.

b. ) How many subnets? Just like when calculating hosts, finding the number of bit positions for a subnet is done by taking the number of subnets required, subtracting one and converting to binary.

3.  Now that you know your number of bit positions, you can then apply them to make the subnet mask.  The subnet mask, of course, applies across all subnets.  That is kind of the point.  Yes, Juniper, this number is kinda superfluous.  But I’m too lazy efficiency-conscious to change it.

4.  Figuring the maximum number of host IDs: input 2 into the calculator and use the “power of” button in scientific mode to calculate against the number of bit positions you have.  For example, if you had 11 bit positions for host ID, you would input 2 (xy) 11 = 2048.  Remember:  you cannot have all zeros or all ones for a host ID, so the correct number of host IDs would actually be 2048 – 2, or 2046

5. Figuring the maximum number of subnets: (same as above) 2 (xy) 5 = 32.  You don’t have to subtract for this value, therefore the correct number is just as listed: 32.

6. Figuring the Subnet IDs (network addresses per each subnet):  The way you figure this out is hard to write down but easy to do.   You have to take the last bit position of your subnet ID, convert it to decimal, then use that number as the multiple for all your subnets.   A table is the best way to show this.

Example 1:

Custom Subnet Mask 255.255.224.0

also written as

11111111.11111111.11100000.00000000

Maximum Hosts Per Subnet 8190
Maximum Subnets 8
Subnet IDs 172.25.0.0 – default network ID, our starting point.

(last bit position of subnet address *above in purple* converts to decimal 32, so the subnet IDs are as follows)

172.25.32.0

172.25.64.0

172.25.96.0

And so on…

Host ID Ranges 172.25.0.1 – 172.25.31.254

172.25.32.1 – 172.25.63.254

172.25.64.1 – 172.25.95.254

And so on…

7. Figuring Host ID ranges:  For most address classes, this is extremely easy.  Starts with 1 and ends at 254 (see above for example), excepting 0 and 255 because you cannot have all ones or all zeros in your host addresses, due to standard IP addressing rules.

THE EXCEPTION THAT PROVES THE RULE IN ADDITION TO PISSING ME OFF:

Figuring the Host IDs range is very easy except in the case of doing a Class-C address range.  Bonus: it’s also nearly impossible to explain in any coherent way!  So um, here’s another table.

Example 2:

Custom Subnet Mask 255.255.255.240 (class C)

255.255.255.11110000

Maximum Hosts Per Subnet 14
Maximum Subnets 16
Subnet IDs 192.168.56.0

192.168.56.16

192.168.56.32

192.168.56.48

And so on…

Host ID Ranges

192.168.56.0000|1111 = 15

(incorrect, as all ones not allowed in the Host ID portion of the address, even though it looks fine in decimal)

192.168.56.0000|1110 = 14

(correct, because it obeys the exclusion of all ones)

The first Host ID for the next Subnet is also a bit different:

192.168.56.0001|0000 = 16

(incorrect, as all zeros not allowed in the Host ID

192.168.56.0000|0001 = 17

(correct, because it obeys the exclusion of all zeros)

192.168.56.1 – 192.168.56.14

192.168.56.17 – 192.168.56.30

192.168.56.33 – 192.168.56.46

192.168.56.49 – 192.168.56.62

And so on…


March 2010
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Currently Reading:

Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame - Charles Bukowski

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Mr. Bungle - California

Why, yes, I am cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce.

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