Obviously, Christian won the last battle. I do concede defeat.

But I’m about to strike back.

I guess our definitions of holiday differ slightly. I believe a holiday to be anything where you take a break from something. So you can take a holiday from work, and still hack Gentoo, or take a holiday from Gentoo and get your sanity back, etc. In your case I recommend both a time-out and a holiday from Gentoo at least. From work as well, if you can manage it. Honestly, just a weekend away would probably do your wonders. Take a weekend road trip to some beautiful place, is my suggestion.

In fact, that leads to point #2. Just make up a reason that you have to go away for: “I need to go see this lake/river/tree/rock/fish/bicycle.” And go! Do not take your laptop, and just go. You don’t need too much money to have a holiday, you know. Hell, just go do something different this weekend. If you don’t go clubbing, then go clubbing. Go to a race, or a soccer match, or to church. Get out there, see things, do people. Go to the park and play frisbee (though it may be too cold for that). There must be something to do there that involves hanging out with other people and meeting people.

It seems to me you’re suffering from the same sorts of symptoms a lot of Gentoo’ers suffer from. I have, my own self, in the past. You go away and all you think about is Gentoo and what all things you need to do. But you know what? You have to let it go. There’s no other way to put it. You have to realise that life in Gentoo will continue. Yes, some recruitees may get pissed off. Others may get frustrated. But that will happen regardless.

At some point, my friend, you have to think of you.

Django and The Prophet of Bits

So, I’m in the Django IRC channel yesterday. Well, let me back up for a minute. I’m working on a mock-up/demo for djangofying (did I just invent a word here?) some parts of the StreamBase websites. So, I’m deciding on the models and stuff, and it occurs to me that some pages use the same models, just in different ways (based on various aspects of the model). And so, I think that there must be something to make the rendering of the different models easier (instead of creating a _dict in the urlconf). As it happens, there is.

(I tried to paste it in here, but this BROKEN BLOG SOFTWARE won’t let me. I’ve built a blog in Django already, I just need to CSS it up and host it somewhere, so soon I’ll be moving off this piece of crap.

I just want to give my thanks to Jeff (bitprophet`) for all of this. He even made quick code snippets for me (it’s his paste) to learn from.

Community: that’s what makes django really powerful.


Well, Christian, I took the phrase “time-out to mean holiday. In other words, a time out from gentoo is a holiday away from it. Having said that, your time out has been about as effective as Alec’s. You guys need to learn to get away from the keyboard. :p

Especially with real life work becoming more intense for a while: it’s one thing if Gentoo provides you some temporary relief and an escape; quite another if Gentoo just adds to your stress. If it’s the seconds, then you should be more dedicated to your time-out 🙂

It does, however, sound like you deserve a holiday from all this. Perhaps the readers can suggest some places?

Liver Cleanse Part 2

So, as you might know, I got my blood work results back last week. My liver enzyme levels have fallen and I’m almost normalised. I should get there in the next couple of months. Additionally, the enzyme that indicated the gluten allergy is elevated, but not nearly as much as it was (less than half of what it was during what I thought was the faulty reading). In fact, it’s less than half that level. And so the doctor doesn’t believe it to be alarming.

I was going to do my second liver cleanse last week, but stuff came up which affected that and my running. So, on Wednesday last week, Aimee and I went running (day 2 of week 3). But because it’s dark early these days and I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have, I walked right into a concrete and wooden bench. Not so bad, except that it hit me on both knees. I was sort of out for a while with the running after that (tender knees, with a wound on my right). So I was kinda out of the health thing for a while. Excuses, excuses.

Anyway, I picked up the running this past Friday and redid day 2 of week 3. It was tough, but I was able to do it. I’ll be doing day 3/week 3 tonight, but I’ll probably just redo week 3 entirely after that, just to build my stamina etc back up.

Also, I did my liver cleanse on friday night/saturday morning. OK, I’d heard about this, but I didn’t believe it. People all over the internets claim you only eject small stones on the first go, but bigger ones on the subsequent cleanses. And you know something? They’re right. I ejected stones that were almost the size of a dime this time (instead of just half-peas as last time. They were not as green, and they actually look like some of the pictures out there. This gets me thinking that I’m definitely going to be doing this again in 2 weeks.

And now, my sister is interested in it as well. I hope she goes through with it. Not like she has any issues with her liver, but it’s always good to cleanse.

The Phreaks are out Tonight

Look here, Christian, don’t you dare think about leaving, ok? I think the extended break is a good idea, but you’ve yet to actually do it, you know :p.

In fact, for someone on holiday, you’ve been extraordinarily active. So, do what you need to do, just don’t leave. That is all.

As for the bitchfests and flamefests, it actually seems to me as though things are improving in a small, almost imperceptible way. Let’s see if that can become a tide.

New stuff? Nothing much, I’m actually working on creating a couple of websites with Django, only the coolest web framework around. It really is cool:

I have:

  • 80% of the first site done — figuring out events and recurring and stuff with that
  • 98% of the second one — figuring out comment feeds and tagging related items
  • 5% of the third site — I only started that one yesterday

Yes, Django rocks. Its community rocks. People like Magus- (not magnus) and [530] and ubernostrum completely rock. I’d be nowhere near where I am with those sites without those three.

I lied, I really am Gulleen

As it turns out, I really am Seemant Gulleen. Or more accurately Seemant G/Kulleen with a silent “G/”. So, John fixed the error I was having. Turns out it’s an off by one error in gtkhtml (poor evo just crashed because of it).

Anyway, his patch fixes it and I am back in Gnome, baby! I really missed being in Gnome. KDE was fairly quirky for me. For starters, the fonts in firefox were all big like I’m in Kindergarten or something. Konqueror was slightly less than idea for viewing some websites (like for example — how do you login?). Konsole didn’t highlight URL’s for you like gnome-terminal does. Someone told me to get used to the Klipboard, and maybe that would be fine, but hell, I might as well use xterm if I wanted that. Other things: kopete crashed a few times (but gaim isn’t the bees’ knees either so, we’ll call that one a tie).

Kmail I didn’t like much the behaviour where it automatically goes to the newest message when you klick a folder. Perhaps there’s a setting, who Knows. I will miss the news feed reader in kontact. That rocked, and quite honestly, shame on evolution folks for ever removing it.

And, oh yeah, my biggest gripe: now I can click on my clock in the systray and see my appointments and tasks for the day. You don’t even Know how important that is to me.

I’ve finished removing KDE from my system, and am now recompiling things like dbus without kde and qt support, because I’m done with them.

A HUGE shout out to John for this.

The Results Are In!

That’s right, folks, the results are in. I got my blood test results in the mail today. I don’t know what the half the stuff is, but my doctor underlines all the critical bits. Here’s the thing. In February my liver enzyme level was 219 or something (219 of what exactly, I don’t know, because dammit Jim, I’m a developer not a doctor). So, in April it was down by 190, in June or July it was down by 150, in September 120 and today it’s at 89.

So there it is. We have completely inconclusive evidence that the liver cleanse has any effect. I think it was actually more the result of the lifestyle switch to no fast food, less sugar, less dairy and of course the vegetarian bit.

I have another test in December, so I’ll post another update then. Now, I just want to address questions like this. The idea behind the fast is not to lose weight. I’ll say that again:

The purpose of the fast is cleansing, NOT weight loss


If anyone out there is thinking of this, please first talk to your doctor, then go buy Stanley Burroughs’ book and read it. It’s a short read, but it contains the exact instructions that you need. And, for your sake, for my sake, for f’s sake, do it for the right reasons.

If You Can’t Dazzle Them With Brilliance…

When I was growing up in Zambia, my family and I would go to Zimbabwe (“Zim” to those in the know, though I can’t imagine anyone going there these days) to visit. Zimbabwe was great because you’d get coca-cola (which was banned in Zambia at the time), and not only that, it came in a can! All we had was coke in a glass bottle (which, arguably, is the superior packaging, because there is a distinct taste difference). And also, you’d get Ginger Beer in a can, and Spar-Letta drinks! Those were yummy. Oh yeah, and you’d get cheezy corn curls and all manner of potato crisps and so on. Oh right, and they had Wimpy’s Burgers (subsidiary of Burger King, I think, but I could very well be wrong). Wimpy was the fat dude in Popeye comics who was always eating burgers, remember him?

All we had in Zambia were Tip-Top sodas (not a cola among them), but they tasted decent, and they got Satwant Singh to pimp them. Great commercial that was, by the way. A shot of him driving to the finish line in his famous car, and taking a swig of some Tip-Top, finishing with a “Tip-Top: It’s tops” while looking at the camera. Even he couldn’t suppress his laughter in that commercial. As for chips, we had salt-and-vinegar (at least it’s good) and some cheezy corny curly thing called Choooz with three o’s in the name. For a while the joke was that you could recognise Zambians overseas because they were the ones ordering cokes by the liters in restaurants and airport lounges.

Right, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, Zimbabwe also had toys. I mean I was 7 or 8 when we first went there, and so it was like heaven with all the toy shops etc. I remember getting cowboy style six shooters, and a few rolls of caps. Good times.

So, we used to go to Harare (the capital), but we also used to go to Kariba (I know what the link says, but the lake divides Z from Z), and Victoria Falls (Vic Falls, to those in the know).

On one of those trips, we went to a Lord Kitchener’s store, which was basically a random collection of crap. So you’d see like this small black box which said on the cover “How to screw in the dark” with two pairs of eyes looking suggestively at each other. And on the inside? What else but a screwdriver, a match and a candle? You get the idea, but look when you’re 10, that stuff’s hilarious, ok? So anyway, knowing that my parents wouldn’t spring for that, funny as it was, I managed to get them to agree to buy me these two cardboard mini-poster thingies. They were brightly coloured with comic-like font and “witty” sayings. I didn’t know from sayings, so I just picked two and put them up in my bedroom. And they stayed up there till I graduated high school and came to the US. They were about A4 or letter sized and thickish cardboard.

The first one was bright orange and it said:

if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull


I think the last word was supposed to be bullshit, but it was marketed to kids, right?

The second one I didn’t really get, and neither did anyone else, and so for some reason that made it hilarious:

Be Alert! The world needs more lerts.


I wonder if my parents kept those…

I still have no idea what that means, and it still makes me smile that I don’t.

Avenjing the Departure

I hate writing these. What I mean is that I hate having to write them. What I mean by that is that I wish people I care about (not only because they’ve become friends, but also because of the tremendous value they’ve brought to Gentoo during their time here) would stop leaving.

Yesterday, Jon Portnoy (aka avenj) announced his retirement from the project.

Jon came to us via the #gentoo IRC channel. In fact, if there’s a perfect way to become part of a project, then Jon’s execution is the exemplar of it. A few of us noticed Jon being generally helpful in #gentoo. He spent time with helping new users, and he spent time defusing volatile arguments among users, and he had mad irc skills. So, one day, we’re all just hanging out in there (I think the channel was less than a hundred strong at the time), when we get DOS’d by a someone (or some people?). You know, it’s basically a join/part bomb. Anyway, avenj had experience with IRC, so he was telling me what to do to protect the channel. It was easier to just give him the wheel and let him drive, so that’s what I did. And so Jon became the first ever non-gentoo developer to have Operator status in the main support channel.

I thought it’d be a good idea to just keep him as ops, and so for a while that status quo was maintained. As we started talking and exchanging ideas, he expressed interest in the ICC compiler. He also became a confidant with respect to the “developer relations” type issues I was looking at (Gentoo had started the growth spurt and devs were hopping aboard fairly quickly, as was the number of users). Anyway, after Jon helped me shoot a few bugs in packages I was maintaining, and giving suggestions to the then-current ICC maintainer, we decided we better just get out of his way, and so we did.

Now, I didn’t find out till Klieber told me in NYC that Jon was, in fact, 14 or 15 or something. Either way, he had the honour of being our youngest developer ever (I think cybersystem took that honour a little later, and probably someone else carries the title these days). So anyway, everyone was always impressed at how mature Jon is, and how well he handles himself in fiery situations.

Because of his even-keeled disposition, and interest in people, he became more involved in the “developer relations” issues. Finally, when the metastructure project came to be, and Developer Relations became its own top-level project, the natural choices to run it were Jon and I. I’ve never ever thought of it as me being Jon’s boss or whatever stupid hierarchies might exist. I saw in him, my partner in crime. We each had roles, but I can say this — devrel became as successful as it did (yes, it actually is a success, even if a tiny amount of vocal people are very critical of it) because of the work Jon and I put into it. When I retired from DevRel, Jon led it for a year, and then gave the helm to his co-lead, Deedra, and then she to Ferris (fmccor), and he to Bryan (kloeri).

Anyway, in the beginning two years, devrel was a fairly quiet place. As we saw the need to formalise a few things, Jon took the initiative on those things. He developed the intial recruitment guidelines, for example. And the latest iteration of the policy is actually largely his work as well.

Jon’s probably just moving on in life, as well he should. I hope that someday soon, he and I will have the chance to work together gain. As always, Jon, I wish only the best for you. Here’s hoping all your dreams are realised.

Take care, my friend.

Kontact’s KAnnoyances and unKnowns for Kulleen

Yesterday I wrote about switching my work laptop to KDE. After playing around a bit with the Kontrol Center, I’ve got it mostly looking and feeling like how I want. I’ll blog about that in the next article. For this article, I want to just reminisce about Evolution and Gnome and how I miss them. A picture is worth at least a couple of words, so have a look:

Integration of Evo with Gnome

Now, my home laptop is for my Gentoo work, so it is still gnome-based. However, I’ve started the memo and tasks functionality here, so it seems like it’s only a small matter of time before things flake out here. Apparently, there’s an extension to t-bird somewhere that adds calendaring, so that may be a future option. However, that’s a completely non-integrated solution so it’s at the bottom of my list.

Some people may ask me why I don’t just use Google’s Calendar (I’ve definitely gotten suggestions to do so in the past). Thanks, but I barely use GMail for any of my personal email. I’m not about to give Google (a search engine, for eff’s sake) complete access to all my life’s goings-on. Besides, I have a desktop for a reason — I want to use the damned thing. Not everything happens in my web browser. Not everything should, either, I don’t think. If, someday, that becomes a short-sighted statement and the entirety of my computer experience is web-based, I’ll take that statement back (and I expect full integration). For now, it stands.

Tomorrow, I’ll go into some annoyances about KDE in general: font sizes in GTK apps (like firefox), icon sizes on the desKtop and the lack of clickability on URLs in Kterminal or whatever that thing is called.

Meanwhile, if anyone out there has a solution for me to make KDE’s panel klock applet integrate better with kontact, that’d be kool.