Aug 29, 2002

Laura and I were discussing life plans and money. I came to the conclusion that I don't really need a new sports car when I graduate from college. She made the point that it would be better to waste a bit of money now than buying a 'Vette and a Harley when I hit 45. Thus:

I'll take an RSX Type-S in Nighthawk Black Pearl with black leather, please. Oh, and tack on the 7-spoke aluminum wheels and the fog lights, thanks.

Sweet. An entire cup of cream of broccoli soup from Mr. Pita with a total of six (6) appreciable pieces of broccoli. Yes, I did count.

Bad news: My good-email-to-spam ratio is now below 1. For the past week, it is currently hovering at .8106.
Good news: SpamAssassin lets me calmly ignore all of said spam.

D'oh, I forgot to tell you *why* all of my projects have been aborted. I am resodding my parent's front lawn. It's a fireball of fun, I assure you. Here is a little list I whipped up of the steps I need to take to properly resod (reseed, actually) the lawn:

  1. Remove all old turf.

  2. Test the composition of the soil.

  3. Add soil amendments to correct soil composition.

  4. Add fertilizer and till 6 inches of the soil.

  5. Level soil to a 1-2 degree grade.

  6. Water for 2 weeks to allow weed seeds to germinate.

  7. Remove weeds with Round Up.

  8. Lightly rake top of soil.

  9. Spread seed equally in two passes, the second at 90 degrees to the first.

  10. Lightly rake the fresh seed.

  11. Lightly roll the fresh seed.

  12. Apply a light layer of mulch.

  13. Water lightly (5-10 minutes) twice daily until lawn height is inch.

  14. Water deeper (15-20 minutes) once daily until lawn height is 3 inches.

  15. Mow lawn to 2 inches with a sharp-bladed bagging mower.

Aug 28, 2002

My current list of aborted projects:

Hack Check disk
Image gallery
Binary data from a MySQL database pulled by PHP

I have programmers ADD.

Aug 27, 2002

Note to self: "yellow tag" is another phrase for "Post-It note", at least to the English-challenged in my office.

Aug 26, 2002

Things are finally falling into place:

I have sucessfully signed up for electricity, cable, phone and DSL for my new apartment. Ameritech, once again, is a bunch of asshats. A simple activation took an hour longer than expected. Let's hope their current special (DSL for $29.95/month, no install/activation fee) makes up for their asshattery.

Aug 24, 2002

Another tool for my Hack Recovery Disk: Busybox, a single executable that replicates much of the functionality of many GNU utilities.

A new project I would like to work on:

A simple BSD or Linux boot disk that contains a few utilities for testing for a hacked box. Initially, the system administrator would boot off this floppy and run the initialization utilitity. It would take an MD5 hash of all the files in specific directories (such as /etc, /bin, /sbin and /usr/bin) and store the results in a text file. Later on, the system administrator could boot off this floppy again and run the comparison utility. It would take another MD5 hash of all the files and compare the results.

Doing this in BSD would be easier for me because I have access to many BSD machines. Doing it in Linux would make it much more widely supported. Can the stock Linux kernel mount FFS file systems? I know OpenBSD can mount Ext2 file systems. Red Hat now uses Ext3 by default, so it would only work with older RH systems. Hopefully I will be able to create a boot disk that would work with most any unix system.

This project could also use Tripwire or a pre-made system disk. Or maybe I will just do it all from scratch just to be a jerk.

Aug 23, 2002

Wow, I'll be damned. You know how I said there were two main singers for that crappy opening band, Cuda? Well, turns out, the guy with the better voice is Gar Wood from the Hot Snakes. I just thought the regular bassist was taking some time off, so the guy from the Cudas joined them. It's completely the other way around. No wonder I was so confused, and no wonder there was such conflict, and no wonder his voice is that much better.

Ahh, for the want of broadband at home: Hot Snakes live shows, slick Music Videos.

Laura and I went to the Hot Snakes show last night at the Magic Stick. Neither of us had been there, so we had a bit of difficultly parking. We found the actual place just fine, but we had to settle for street parking a couple blocks away.

To summarize the Magic Stick: Hellhole. The main room isn't too bad, though a bit run down. The pool tables are all 7 footers, and are thus worthless. The bartender was quite the jerk, but what else would I expect? The bathroom was, by far, the worst of it all. Laura was so disgusted by the her bathroom that she wouldn't even describe it. The mens room had two stalls and two urinals, yet no stall doors or seats even. The funniest part was there was just a random roll of toliet paper sitting toward the middle of the room. Who would use that? No door, no seat, just a random roll sitting in the filth of many punks? I will pass. Strike one.

I knew there were supposed to be two opening bands, but I figured they would start playing soon after the doors opened. We got there at 7:30 PM, the doors didn't open until 8 PM, yet we waited and waited and waited.... The first band (Red Hot Legends) finally started at 9:30 PM! They sucked. Musically, not bad. Their vocalist, on the other hand, was so horrid that we couldn't understand a single lyric. Strike two.

A good 40 minutes after the first band screeched to a halt, the second band (The Cudas) got on stage. Musically, pretty basic without flourish, melodical but plodding. The band had two main singers and a female backup singer/keyboardist. You could just tell the two guys were vying for top spot in the band. The guy who called the shots was a cheesy chach, the other guy had a much better voice. Gotta love band conflict. Their lyrics though, simply pathetic. Strike three.

Finally, praise god, the Hot Snakes got on stage sometime after 11 PM. I am not even sure when they started, my eyes were watering because I was so over tired. Without any build up or chatting with the audience, they launched into I Hate the Kids. I was a bit unsure of their quality live at first, but then I think their sound engineer tweaked something. The sound was very faithful to the albums, but with pure raw energy. They also played 10th Planet, Automatic Midnight, If Credit Matters I'll Take Credit, Light Up The Stars, No Hands, Our Work Fills The Pews, Past Lives, Gar Forgets His Insulin, XOX, Who Died, Suicide Invoice and Ben Gurion (wow, I remembered almost all of them).

Laura and I actually left during their show because I was so tired. Hopefully I didn't miss much. Luckily, I got to hear my favorite three songs (I Hate The Kids, If Credit's What Matters I'll Take Credit and Suicide Invoice). It's so hard to rock out when you have to get up before 6 AM the next day. The show was amazing, thus all strikes are taken back.

Aug 22, 2002

You know what sucks about 60 gig drives? Defragging.

And I thought acid was bad:

Laura's older sister Carolyn was housesitting/catsitting for some friends these past two weeks. 15 days of this, which was supposed to end yesterday. Since the couple was supposed to be back last night, Carolyn went home. She got a phone call around 11 PM from the FIRE MARSHALL.

It seems that the dryer caught on fire and burned up half of the basement. They found her cell phone number on a note upstairs and called her. Luckily the fire caused a water pipe to rupture, helping quench the flames. She was okay, the cats were okay, no one was hurt. More luck for that family.

And I thought wasps were bad:

Laura works at the School of Public Health as a lab technician. The lab she works in deals with air purity/polution. The air and water samples they collect are stored in generic glass bottles. To insure that these bottles are free from impurities, they are washed in acid, baked in acid then cleaned with various other techniques.

Just the other day, Laura was doing the usual routine of cleaning bottles when she accidentally dropped a bottle of acid into a sink. The acid bottle was open since she was using it, thus acid splashed up and into her EYE. She immediately used the eye wash, which I believe saved her. Though she could see just fine after it happened, she decided to go to the ER just to be sure. They flushed both eyes with a liter of saline each then examined the damage. Just a small amount of corneal abrasion which healed quickly. Thank god.

Aug 21, 2002

Facts about poop. If you work in an office environment, skip directly to the section on pooping at work. It is so true, especially the SAFE HAVEN.

Aug 20, 2002

Can't view thumbnails in Windows 2000? Broken images? Happened to me, just need to hack the registry.

The things a boy will do for internet access:
As most of you know, I am back at my parents house for two weeks this summer. During this time, my only home net access will be dial up. This would be bearable if I could actually make a connection! I dial up my umich account and the connection will die within 20 minutes (usually after only 1 minute).

I called up Ameritech and they said it could be a problem with the line, or it could be internal wiring. If the wiring was the case, then they would charge us just to come look at the problem. He suggested that I connect a modem directly into the interface on the outside of the house. Problem, my computer is in the basement. Luckily, I am sometimes smart.

I found a phone cord long enough so that I could run it from the external interface, through the bathroom window and then *down* the laundry chute into the basement. Unluckily, the external interface is behind a rose of sharon bush (Hibiscus syriacus). Guess what likes to hang out around these bushes? Wasps! I got stung four times, including twice *in the face*. All for dial up access.

Aug 17, 2002

"I can't belive this chipset isn't supported."

"Dude, it's Minix."

Aug 16, 2002

More quotes:

<Setups> is it a forest fire?


<SneakyPete> wtf going on setups? what state?

<Setups> its in alberta

<Setups> canada

<Raider|FIRE> must be forest fire

<travelyan> they have fire in canada?

<Setups> fuck you

<Setups> eh

<Overlord> That just pooped into my head.

<Overlord> Ack, one of my worst typos.

<faustwork> the gf wants underwear for xmas

<faustwork> i cant stand going shopping for em tho

<faustwork> i feel like a goon

<faustwork> maybe its because i rub them all on my face

<@harb> Also, the waitress at Applebee's thought we were gay.

< espo> LOL

< espo> why is that?

<@harb> Because Andy's a fag.

< espo> did she say "Are you two gay?"

<@harb> No.

<@harb> She asked if we wanted to split dessert.

<gig103> I drove by the fire department the other day, and they had a big public awareness sign that read, "Are your house numbers visible?" I thought, "Who the hell cares? How about you just stop at the house that's on fire?!"

So true. Ever since I started working 7AM - 4PM, my caffeine intake has doubled. Mind you, it was horribly high before. Now, I average about 72 ounces of pop (usually Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi) and 45 ounces of coffee. That must be how I can type so fast. I don't actually type, I just vibrate over the keyboard.

So I finally moved out of 214 N Thayer, Penthouse C, last night. I had to make three car loads back to my parents house in Livonia and one truck load to Matt's place in Ann Arbor for everything! I will definitely need to sort through my crap and sell/give away some of it. I was so worried about getting everything packed from my room that I missed a very important item I stashed downstairs: my laptop! Luckily, Matt grabbed it for me.

VH-1's list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. My favorites and where they rank:

36. Bjork
55. PJ Harvey
71. Tori Amos
94. Liz Phair

People on this list I have never heard of:

12. Debbie Harry
24. Dusty Springfield
25. Marianne Faithfull
26. Bessie Smith
48. Dinah Washington
50. Sarah Vaughan
52. Laura Nyro
57. Mavis Staples
60. Ruth Brown
75. Exene Cervenka
85. Petula Clark
99. Tina Weymouth

How sad is that, my unknown list is three times the size of my favorites list.

Aug 15, 2002

Here is a little perl script that I wrote for work over the past couple days. Basically, our E10K (named CAD) had a hardware failure and the Oracle database struggled to come back up afterward. The senior UNIX admin was having trouble getting a Korn shell script to correctly report whether or not a process was running. Originally, this perl script would just grep the process list for one specific process and then shoot off an email to a list of admins. Now, it will look for any number of processes and send emails to any number of specified admins. The comments should explain it all. The only line that might need some explanation is this one:
foreach $recipient_number (@{$process_recipient_bridge[$process]}) {
process_recipient_bridge is an array of arrays (or list of lists, if you will). I want to get access to one of those internal lists. To get a single element in an array of arrays, you would use $array[index1][index2]. To get a whole array out, you still use $array[index1], but then you have to cast that as an array: @{$array[index1]}.

If you want to run this on a BSD, OS X or Linux system, make sure that you change "ps -ef" to "ps -ax" and "mailx" to just "mail".

#! /usr/bin/perl
# CAD Process Alert Script #
# ------------------------ #
# #
# Usage: #
# Run as a cron job. The script will verify that #
# specific processes are running on CAD. If any #
# of the processes are not running, emails and #
# pages will be sent to specified admins. There #
# will be no output to log files or the terminal. #
# #
# Configuration: #
# Process list: This is an array of arrays. The #
# syntax is ["process_name", "alert"] for each #
# item. Process name is what the script will #
# look for in the process list. The alert is #
# a description of the problem that will be sent #
# to the admins. #
# #
# Recipient list: This is an array of email #
# accounts that will be sent an email when there #
# is a problem with a process on CAD. Make #
# sure to place a slash ("\") before the "@" #
# sign in all email addresses. #
# Example: "email\@CENSORED" #
# #
# Process to recipient bridge: This is a list #
# of lists. Each list corresponds to a specific #
# process (thus, the first list corresponds to #
# the first process). Said list contains the #
# indices for the email recipients (thus if a #
# list contains [4,7,10], the recipients at the 4, #
# 7, and 10 indices of the recipient list will be #
# sent an email. #
# #

@process_list = (
["ora_pmon_citrix", "The ora_pmon_citrix process is not running on CAD.\n\n
Please check the status of your Citrix servers"],
["ora_pmon_prod", "The ora_pmon_prod process is not running on CAD.\n\n
Please check the status of your Iman services"],
["LISTENE", "The Oracle listener process is not running on CAD.\n\n
Please check the status of your Citrix servers."],

@recipient_list = (

@process_recipient_bridge = (

sub process_check {
my $process = shift(@_);
$process_name = $process_list[$process][0];
$ps_text = `ps -ef | grep $process_name | grep -v grep`;
if ($ps_text =~ /$process_name/) {
return (0);
return (1);

sub send_alert {
my $process = shift(@_);
$alert = $process_list[$process][1];
foreach $recipient_number (@{$process_recipient_bridge[$process]}) {
$recipient = $recipient_list[$recipient_number];
open (MAIL, "|mailx -s \"CAD Process Check Failed\" $recipient");
print MAIL $alert;
close MAIL;

for ($lcv=0; $lcv<@process_list; $lcv++) {
if ( process_check($lcv) == 1) {

Aug 14, 2002

So, my favorite field is finally starting to produce fruit: I Can See (Wired cover). Ever since I read all 5 pages of this article this morning, my mind has been awhirl.

First, the techology behind this is amazing. The camera, not amazing. The computers, not amazing. The software, not amazing. The neural implant, bingo. If you have read the article, you will know that this implant sits directly atop the visual cortex. The resolution is not that high, but it does allow the user to perceive objects.

Second, I am rethinking my future plans again. Cybernetics is now, the proof is here! This is just the beginning, this is just what the public knows. I am sure that many of my dreams will be realized by the end of my lifetime (which should hopefully coincide with the end of this century). Why should I limit myself to basic computer support work my entire life? Why should I try to get an MBA and join the management track before I am 28? Technology and cybernetics are two true loves. Repairing vision (of this fashion) is simple in comparision to what is possible! Maybe I should have stuck with my plan to become a biomedical engineer. Too bad UMich didn't offer a BME undergraduate degree when I was applying.

Third, I really want to watch Ghost in the Shell again.

Never, under penalty of death*, should you order the clam chowder at Quizno's.
*Death by viscous, oil-layer-covered, hard-clam-chunk soup. Best described as melted butter with ripped pieces of boiled spam.

Aug 12, 2002

My Fall 2002 schedule is now available. All 400 level courses from here on out.

When I meet someone new, eventually the conversation will turn toward basic formalities. One of these formalities is usually in the form of the question "What are you majoring in?", asked after they find out I am in college. My answer, "Biology and computer science.", is always countered with one of two responses:
  1. ::Hesitation, look of confusion:: "Really... That's different."
  2. -OR-
  3. ::Hesitation, look of interest:: "Wow, that's pretty cool. What are you going to do?"
The people that are just confused, I basically ignore. There is no point trying to explain the purpose of my life to people that could not care less. As for the second camp, they might get an explanation if they are lucky. So, are you interested? Let's hope so:

Since I was about 10, I always wanted to be a doctor. First it was a trauma surgeon, then it was a neurosurgeon, then I finally decided to pursue a surgery tract when I finally got to med school and to find what I liked once I got there. As the years rolled by, more and more factors disuaded my dreams of cutting people up.
  1. First, there were some complications with surgery and a close family member.
  2. Second, the significant other of a different close family member was going through his rotation and all I ever heard were horror stories.
  3. Third and finally, I got rejected when I attempted to apply to the honors pre-med program at UMich.
When I got to UMich as a generic honors undergrad, I was still considered undeclared but with a slant toward pre-med. My freshman year was filled with a very bland assortment of classes, nothing that would lock me into pre-med. These classes were:

First Semester:
  • Spanish 232 (Spanish IV)
  • Great Books 191 (honors writing, ancient Roman and Greek texts)
  • Chem 210 (Organic Chemistry I)
  • Chem 211 (Organic Chemistry I lab)
  • Math 215 (Calculus III)
Second Semester:
  • Spanish 275 (Spanish Grammar)
  • Great Books 222 (honors writing, ancient and current Japanese texts)
  • Chem 215 (Organic Chemistry II)
  • Chem 216 (Organic Chemistry II lab)
  • Math 216 (Differential Equations)
By my second year, I had started working at the Daily doing basic computer support. That summer, we embarked on moving our single email/web/file/dns/dhcp server on a 9600 Powermac running Linux to a small handful of x86 OpenBSD machines. As cheesy as it may sound, that changed my life. I was hooked on UNIX and BSD and systems administration. The very next semester, I started taking computer science classes. At that point, I was already very close to finishing my biology degree, so I decided to pursue both.

As of now, I doubt I will ever use the biology degree. My future is filled with computers (whether it be administration or programming or web work, we shall see). I might combine the two degrees by working in the emerging field of bioinformatics, or maybe I will pursue an earlier dream of working in cybernetics.

Aug 7, 2002

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I had to give a presentation concerning my summer internship at Yazaki North America. Instead of doing what everyone else was doing (using Powerpoint), I decided to use Flash. That required *learning* Flash first. I spent about 3 hours on the presentation itself and 40 hours on learning Flash. I think it was worth it. See the final result here (The page numbers are used as front and back buttons).

Aug 5, 2002

UPDATE: Elaine made it to the list with a birthday greeting only 12 hours late.

Revised list of people that wished me a happy birthday (in order):


Chris P.




My parents

My dad

Aunt Kim


Chris Z.















Those of you not on this list, prepare for the worst.

Aug 4, 2002

People that have wished me a happy birthday (in order):






My parents

Those of you not on this list, prepare for the worst.

I was only awake for about 50 minutes today, my 22nd birthday, when I got my first present! At about 7:55 AM, I heard my car alarm go off. That could mean only one thing, I was getting towed again! I scampered down there, barefoot, just as the tow truck guy was putting braces on my rear wheels. Seems that my forged permit was fading so fast that it was quite obvious. Just yesterday I noticed that the text was a lot closer to yellow than to the expected red.

Long story short, the tow truck guy remembered how nice I was the last time he tried to tow me, so he let me go with just a $40 fee. Come to think about it, I only paid $120 this entire summer to park in my lot ($80 fee a month ago, $40 fee today). Not bad for four months of parking!

Aug 2, 2002

"If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?":

I honestly wish I was more naturally outgoing. I may seem outgoing, but it's not always me. When I was younger, I was very shy. With my friends in my neighborhood, I was a normal kid. In school, I was pretty damned quiet. Every year in elementary school, I was in some sort of accelerated program. Not with other kids, but they would make something up for me. When I was in first grade, I had to go to one of the second grade classrooms for reading. Stuff like that. That definitely made me an outcast. I had very few friends at school, and until I started playing sports during recess I rarely hung out with anyone. I was still very quiet until 9th grade. At that point, I more or less forced myself to be outgoing. I started cracking jokes, being a loudmouth, being very opinionated, etc etc. It still feels like a show, a farce, to this day.

Aug 1, 2002

How is this for a crazy workout mix:

Bad Religion - Big Bang

Black Sheep - This or That

Hot Snakes - I Hate the Kids

Hot Snakes - If Credit's What Matters I'll Take Credit

Hot Snakes - Suicide Invoice

Kicked in the Head - Fix My Sink

Kittie - Brackish

Mudvayne - Dig

No Doubt - Hella Good

Outkast - Bombs over Bahgdad

Propellerheads - You Want it Back

Pulley - Nothing to Lose

Radiohead - Knives Out

Radiohead - Optimistic

Radiohead - Pyramid Song

Refused - Summerholiday Versus Punkroutine

System of a Down - Science

The Dismemberment Plan - Memory Machine

The Dismemberment Plan - Superpowers

White Stripes - Fell in Love with a Girl

The English language just has to go. There are too many inconsistancies and annoyances. Why must both the present and past tense of "to receive or take in the sense of (as letters or symbols) especially by sight or touch" be "read"? Obviously, that's is fine for the spoken word, but not for written!