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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Derrick's LiveJournal:

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    Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
    12:10 am
    Mystery Wire Of Love 2000
    So there is this house. Who it belongs to and where it is is not important to the story - say I'm not telling for national security purposes, I'm hiding from the russian mob, or it's actually in Great Bend, Kansas, owned by a lady who runs a interior design business who collects poodle themed jewelry, or perhaps a young man living with his parents in Ashton, Iowa, resenting having to take a job as a city bus driver after failing college, whatever story makes you satisfied. The important thing about this house is the Mystery Wire.

    Upon walking up to the front of the house, I spied a metal plate near the door on the brick wall:



    After wondering what could lie behind this metal plate, I opened it up:



    It is a cable, bundling 4 individual cables for a total of 8 copper stranded 18 AWG wires. This discovery only made more questions than answers. What was this cable for? Where did it go? None of these questions were forthcoming. After searching the house, I found this giant breakout box in a closet. There was my cable bundle - I didn't go so far as to test it with a cable tracer, but the sheath was unmistakable. However, more disturbing, there were two of them:




    A digression about these wires. The house was built in 1997, the year Hanson won the MTV Music Video Award for Best New Artist in A Video for "MMMBop", Bill Clinton started his second term in the White House, and the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in New Orleans. The house was wired for the future - except the Future is now and I don't know what to do with any of these wires. Be honest, what would you have done in 1997? Well, yes, you would have wired everything with Cat5e cable. Aren't you special?

    Anyway, the wires in the breakout box, from left to right, are telephone wires (in use), cable TV wires (some in use), Cat1 cables (not in use), our mystery 8 conductor cable (not in use), and blue 18 AWG pair wires. Most of them are not connected, and simply terminate here from the junction boxes throughout the house.

    Oh the junction boxes - they are everywhere, in every room. Behind each plate is one of these wires - maybe a combo of two of them. Opening each junction box revealed a surprise - the best one is when I found the terminus of the second Mystery 8 conductor cable:



    It was next to the fireplace, in a cluster of junction boxes in the back of the house, as if the designers wanted this corner to be the most plugged in part of the place. You get everything here - cable, Cat1, telephone, the weird 2 conductor blue wires, and the Mystery Cable. The red splortch isn't actually on the wall, it is a crude effort in Microsoft Paint to draw your attention to the open junction box with our starring cable.

    Now I can envision the front door plate as being a place to install an intercom, and using maybe the Cat1 cables to go around the house for the intercom system, but the house is kind of small and my intercom is "open the front window and shout down." But why would they put this cable in the back of the house next to the fireplace? What were those blue wires for? Why do I need bunches of Cat1 cable when telephone jacks are everywhere aplenty?

    Perhaps the future started too soon in 1997. A technological empire was envisioned, never to lay foundation, the wires lying in wait for a tomorrow that has already passed them by.

    And that's how it is-

    Derrick
    Saturday, January 4th, 2014
    11:13 pm
    Me and Gooley in the Tunnel of Love
    I went to Sea World yesterday with Gooley (gooley) in Orlando, Florida. It was keen!

    Take a good hard look at this motherfrugging boat!



    Here is a suitable portrait of Gooley in his celestial magnificence. He is such a dreamy angel!



    We saw dolphins and penguins, and some flamingos too, because that's how we roll.

    -Derrick
    Friday, April 26th, 2013
    12:33 pm
    FizzBuzz
    So I'm sort of looking for a job, not that my startup isn't fun and all, but cash flow is kind of a problem. So I was sent this programming test:

    In a language of your choice, write a code snippet that prints the integers from 1 to 100. If an integer is a multiple of 3, print “Fizz” instead of the integer. If an integer is a multiple of 5, print “Buzz” instead of the integer. If the integer is a multiple of 3 and 5, print “FizzBuzz” instead of the integer.

    "In the language of my choice?" It's ON!

    :
    : FIZZBUZZ PROGRAM WRITTEN IN VAX 11/780 ASSEMBLER
    : DERRICK WILLIAMS 4/26/2013
    :
    LF = 10
    CR = 13
    FIZZ:	.ASCII  /Fizz/			;ALLOCATE FOR 'Fizz'
    BUZZ:  	.ASCII  /Buzz/			;ALLOCATE FOR 'Buzz'
    EOL:		.ASCII 			;END OF LINE
    STATUS:	.BLKL	1			;STATUS IF FIZZ OR BUZZ
    					;PRINTED
    
    .ENTRY  FOOBAR ^M(IV)			; BEGIN SUBROUTINE
    	MOVL	#1, R11			; LOAD 1 TO REGISTER 11
    LOOP:	EDIV	#3, R11, R10, R9	; DIVIDE 3, REMAINDER IN R9
    	COMPL R9, #0			; REMAINDER AT 0?
    	BNEQ  PBAR			; NO – BRANCH TO NEXT
    	MOVAL	#1, STATUS		; YES – MARK AS PRINTED
    	MOVAL FIZZ, R10			; MOVE 'FIZZ' POINTER TO R10
    	PRINTCHRS (R10), #4		; PRINT 'FIZZ', 3 CHARS
    PBAR:	EDIV  #5, R11, R10, R9		; DIVIDE 5, REMAINDER IN R9
    	COMPL	R9, #0			; REMAINDER AT 0?
    	BENQ	NUM			; NO, JUMP TO PRINT NUMBER
    	MOVAL #1, STATUS		; YES – MARK AS PRINTED
    	MOVAL BUZZ, R10			; MOVE 'BUZZ' POINTER TO R10
    	PRINTCHRS (R10), #4		; PRINT 'BUZZ'
    NUM:	CMPL STATUS, #0			; IS STATUS = 0?
    	BNEQ INCR			; NO, JUST INCREMENT
    					; PRINT LINE NUM W/O COMMENT
    	.PRINT R11
    INCR:	MOVAL EOL, R10			; MOVE EOL POINTER TO R10
    	PRINTCHRS (R10), #2		; PRINT THE LINEFEED
    	COMPL R11, #100			; DID WE DO ALL 100 NUMS?
    	BGTR EXIT			; YES, EXIT
    	MOVL #0, STATUS			; CLEAR STATUS FLAG
    	ADDL #1,R11			; INCREMENT THE COUNTER
    	JMP LOOP			; LOOP TO START
    EXIT: .END FOOBAR			; EXIT
    
    
    Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
    10:05 pm
    Boaty Boot Camp Graduation!
    Today we visited Diana in the Marine Maritime Academy for her boot camp graduation. She made it through two weeks of training and marching up and down the square, learning how to fight fires on boats, and the useful bits about lifeboats that would come in handy should it come to pass she needs to employ the services of one.

    We weren't allowed to call her while she was in training, so we saw her for the first time marching in perfect formation with her squadron, and dare I say, her posture much improved. There was a band and everything, what better way to capture this grand spectacle than with a crappy cell phone camera?



    Later we met up with Diana, and she looked dashing in her cadet uniform:



    It's hard to believe it's the same daughter we dropped off - she was returned to us as a fine young woman who sits ramrod straight in her chair (six inches from the back, if you please), marches quickly when called, and eats in a manner befitting a Presidential State dinner. best of all, she seems much happier there than she was in high school. So far everything's off to a stellar start, and I'm expecting great things from her - I better, for what the tuition costs!

    Ever yours-

    Derrick
    Tuesday, June 21st, 2011
    11:16 am
    Do My Homework for Me Part II: The Reckoning
    So I've written a moderately complex J2EE application for Zhanna's class, I would like to host it on a JBoss 5.0 server somewhere. My current ISP, ServerGrove, says go for it, but I'd need to install and maintain JBoss myself, which I guess is feasible but I'd like someone else to do it for me because I'm lazy.

    Anyone have any recommendations for an ISP that would have JBoss configured and ready to go? Like SSL and MySql and all that good stuff, all I need to do is drop in an EAR and BAM it's up? Also no too expensive with 24 hour support and a unicorn, etc.

    To head it off, I know J2EE isn't your personal favorite application technology and there are other nicer, better application platforms I could be using, but the die was cast a long time ago and I'm signed on in the J2EE camp until something else becomes far too compelling to ignore.

    Ever yours-

    Derrick
    Saturday, March 12th, 2011
    8:29 pm
    Meanwhile....
    Freddie the Dog and Mexican Cat share the love that dare not speak its name:




    -Derrick
    Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
    10:11 pm
    And Then This Happened
    Nannette, fruit of my loins (as far as I know) had taken to using scissors for her arts and crafts in pre-K, and with her newfound knowledge, began cutting things up at home. She gave her Barbies haircuts, trimmed pom-poms from her Winter hats, and my mail into confetti. We confiscated the scissors, but with her wily craftiness she found our hiding places, and Zhanna came home to this:



    Child psychologists will probably determine there is some deep rooted psychosis that manifests itself in cutting hair, but we had a more pressing concern, one of how not to get Child Protection Services involved in our lives with this much hair lopped off and her looking like she lost an argument with hedge trimmers:



    So we took her to the hairdresser, but there was nothing they could do, so much hair was hacked off it would all have to be cut if it was to grow out evenly. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Nannette began to cry panic in the face of the impending operation. In an effort to calm her down, and needing a haircut anyway, I had the hairdresser give me a buzz cut first in solidarity to her plight. Giggling at my new hairstyle, she consented to the same, and the result is this:



    I am not sure if the style suits me, but it is interesting to see Nannette with her Sigourney Weaver "Aliens 3" look. She is all face, so I see more of her expressions than before. She wouldn't look at herself in the mirror when brushing her teeth, but I told her she was still a princess with or without her flowing locks.

    And that's how it went down.

    -Derrick
    Monday, February 21st, 2011
    3:32 pm
    Nan Bread
    Nannette baked some bread today! She wrote an "N" on the loaf before baking it.




    -Derrick
    Sunday, January 30th, 2011
    7:41 pm
    Come Visit Sunny Connecticut
    Spent an afternoon chipping out ice from the gutters, while reflecting that the snow on my roof would be the envy of any ski resort:

    Friday, December 10th, 2010
    10:27 am
    Take That, Big Oil!
    Nothing's more uplifting than watching the sad trudge of a defeated oil delivery man sadly returning the hose to his truck:



    However getting bills like these is a lot of work. It's a fitness plan and a hobby and a part time job all rolled in one!

    -Derrick
    Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
    10:59 am
    Shameless plug for my employers
    Even if you don't know what title insurance is and certainly don't need any at the moment, your kids need money for college. Get a scholarship for up to $7k by entering this contest!

    http://www.entitledirect.com/collegetips


    -Derrick
    Saturday, September 18th, 2010
    11:50 pm
    First Day of School!
    Here we are at Nannette's first day of school. I'm about to go to work, pulling the lever that makes insurance, and Nannette off for brighter horizons:



    Nannette had a sort of awkward first day but soon got into the groove of things, and is up at the crack of dawn jumping on our bed insisting that it's a school day and is impatient to go to class. I think her post-doc years will shake that out of her.

    However, already she slacked off on her first class assignment, when Zhanna found an envelope from the teacher while cleaning out Nannette's backpack. She was supposed to bring in a picture of her family, and a picture of herself when she was a baby. Of course I was woken up at 2am to deal with this emergency, and found myself at CVS printing out our Christmas family picture from last year. I'd shaken out the shoebox of photos, but maddeningly someone in the family is holding the camera, so we never had a good one of everyone in the same frame. Just permutations: me, Zhanna, Diana, or Diana, me, and Nannette, or Zhanna, Nannette, and Diana, or on occasion Zhanna, me, and Diana in dutch angles.

    It got me thinking, if all of Nannette's projects are going to be this way. I think what I will do is make her grade school science projects ahead of time, and carefully place them in storage. I'll build a volcano, with all the necessary chemicals sealed in nitrogen, the volcano shrink wrapped in plastic, and a report on volcanoes on acid free archive paper, ready to go. Someday, the lights will snap on, and I will find myself shaken awake. "Daddy, I have a science project due in the morning!" No problem, a trip to the 24 hour storage place, remove the plastic, and everything's ready to go! "My report is about dinosaurs!" No problem - stick some plastic dinos in the scenery! "It was supposed to be about how bees make honey." "Ok, bit of a problem, but we'll make this work!"

    I sort of wish I could tell what kind of college studies she's probably going to go into, because it's a real bear writing a bio-engineering doctoral thesis so far in advance, on top of a survey of Chaucer through a Post-Modernist lens as a backup.

    And that's how it is!

    -Derrick
    Saturday, August 14th, 2010
    5:50 pm
    Nannette turns 4!
    Yet another birthday party, already Nannette is 4!



    -Derrick
    Thursday, August 5th, 2010
    4:19 pm
    Why is it always vampires? Why not car mechanics or snack machine filler-uppers?
    "Margret's hands went cold, her ears filled with the pounding of her heart, she could see the vending machine on the 3rd floor had been restocked! Her feet barely touching the ground, she flew to the Snacky-Time machine, as she had done so many times through the day that the carpet started to wear a path to the break room from her cubicle. Taking advantage of the emptiness of the kitchen, she dropped to her knees and pressed her cheek to the glass. Yes! D-10 was filled with her special snack bars he knew only she liked, and 5 rows back was a bar with notepaper around it, covered with his masculine script. Frantically, she dug through her pockets, coins scattering everywhere, rolling under the machine. Margret didn't care, coins clattered into the change box as she frantically mashed D-10 into the keypad, cursing the slovenly torture of the coils taking an eternity to spin."
    Tuesday, July 20th, 2010
    12:02 am
    AGENT ZHANNA
    So we were watching "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", which features Cate Blanchett as "Agent Spalko", as illustrated in Figure 1:



    Figure 1: Agent Spalko




    Inevitably, I made the usual tired "IN SOVIET RUSSIA" cracks, and Zhanna, nonplussed, said if I liked Cate Blanchett's role so much, Zhanna would get her hair cut the same way. "You would? For reals? Yay!" I responded. I didn't actually expect her to follow up on it, until I came home from work today, viz: Figure 2:



    Figure 2: Agent Zhanna



    So Zhanna wins this one. Point, Set, and Match!

    -Derrick
    Thursday, June 10th, 2010
    9:03 pm
    First on the Block!
    Nannette was one of the lucky, lucky little girls whose doting parents spared no expense securing a genuine Smuckles Von Smee doll from artmonstergirl!



    -Derrick
    Thursday, May 27th, 2010
    12:33 am
    Dear Lazyweb!
    Elder DaughterBot 9500 has taken to herself to learn PHP over the Summer. To further this commendable goal, I'd like to install a PHP development environment on her Windows 7 laptop - re-installing it with Linux isn't in the cards, sadly.

    I've not been having much luck with getting an easy to use PHP development environment up and running. I've tried the PDT Eclipse package: http://www.eclipse.org/pdt/, but it seems that it doesn't come with a server where you can try out your PHP web pages. If I'm spewing lies and it indeed runs PHP like a champ, I'd definitely like to hear about your setup and how you got it running.

    I tried the lightthp + PHP + Cygwin route but no dice, it loads HTML fine but PHP just loads up a nice "500 - Server Error" page.

    I tried my best, but I'm out of my element - anyone develop PHP on their Windows 7 laptop and are willing to describe their setup+configuration? For simplicity the laptop has to have its own webserver.

    Thanks a bunch!

    -Derrick
    Thursday, May 20th, 2010
    11:18 pm
    Saturday, April 24th, 2010
    9:28 pm
    FURY OF A THOUSAND PENS
    The whole problem with a home office is that people living in the house steal all your stuff and leave the remains of their snacks littered all over your desk. The worst offense is that all my pens are stripped from the area, so suddenly when you need to write something down, you're yanking out drawers and raking the papers on the desk for any writing implement. More often than not I've had to put a caller on hold while I rampage through the house for any item at all that will put a mark on paper. My pens aren't even being pilfered one by one, the coffee cup du jour serving as the pen holder and its contents are snatched wholesale. Communists are infringing on my First Amendment right to a free and unfettered press!

    No longer! I have struck a blow for DEMOCRACY with an order of one thousand pens from American Science and Surplus, which arrived in a box the other day. I didn't personally count how many were in the box, but yeah it looks about a thousand high quality clickables - overruns or rejects from custom printed jobs. "University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Education" reads one oversized green pen. "York Kerschuner's Gas Service" is another. "New Vision at Ignalls" is blurry but readable on a handsome burgundy specimen.

    So message to the RED MENACE: take all the pens you want. FREEDOM can never be silenced - write that down!


    -Derrick


    Sunday, April 11th, 2010
    4:34 pm
    My First BMW
    I never intended to develop a collection of exotic German sport cars, but last week we ended up buying this 1999 BMW convertible for $3,800, which I thought was a more than reasonable price based on its Blue Book value.




    The engine runs perfectly, the body is in excellent shape, no rust or dents. There are scrapes and tiny dings as expected from a 10 year old car, and the top cover motor doesn't work, which resulted in the seller knocking a significant chunk off the price. I had bought it for Diana, but she refuses to learn how to drive a stick shift. The BMW is nowhere near as twitchy as her Porsche (which now has a running engine), so I didn't think it was an unreasonable burden to learn when I bought it.

    I figure if I can fix the top cover motor and buff out some of the more offending scrapes in the bumper, I could turn it around for a small profit. In the meantime, I rely on inexpensive means of transportation to go about my daily errands.

    I await for the day when we have mobile sidewalks or means of instantaneous teleportation. It can't come soon enough.

    -Derrick
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