Monday, November 28, 2016

The elusiveness of wild abandon.

I have a problem, well it's not a problem really, but it's part of my personality which I am finally able to accept and own. The feelings of feeling guilt, frustration, disappointment, associated with this now have a handle onto which I can grasp, and maybe in the future can change.

I hold back the best of me, and the worst too, for people I am romantically interested in. In no other activity is this more illustrated to me than in dancing.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Long Format Diary Entry

Being inspired by other blogs and media, and general good response from other people. plus is nice to keep a diary.

* OS Re-Install
* Enrolling to vote
* Cancer treatment anxiety
* What I would do with universal income

This week I was working on my pc, actually looking at the c++ Core Guidelines and the Guideline support library. I found that Linux Mint 17.3 which is based off ubuntu 14.0.4 only ships with gcc 4.8 which has support only for c++11 standard and I wanted to mess with stuff that relies on c++14 standard... so its upgrade time.

No new version of mint are available, they will be releasing beta's for stuff in June. so lets go hunting
I hate hunting for a new OS, it's time consuming and a waste of everyone's time.
OK, so distrowatch to the rescue for most popular which ~= easiest to get running.

Everything is based off debian these days, lets try that... I like bleeding edge so debian testing? nope, installer fails, try at least 5-10 times using variations to see if its something dumb, CBF reached.

I really try to avoid ubuntu, I'm not a fan, so fuck it, lets go arch, I will bite the bullet and go through the time consuming configuration, its not like I didn't start with gentoo, LFS, slackware and have done all this time and time again. As soon as I get to partitioning I baulk, I remember how much time I've spent configuring things from scratch.

I'll try antergos again., wait nope I wont because my current tools wont let me put it on a USB, can't bother finding out why.

OK, so ubuntu, and I'll try the gnome3 variant. Typical installation works as normal, gnome3 works OK, install nvidia proprietary drivers and get black screen with nothing, arrgh, really?
Re-install = same results, fuck fuck fuck. I've wasted too much time on this shit already. Compromise time, fuck the nvidia drivers, I'll just deal with the noveau ones for now.
OK, wait, is gnome3 shit? surely not, you want me to use a website to configure basic things like sloppy focus? fuck you gnome3!! you are dead to me!! shit, this is wasting too much of my time.

Well I have to find a new window manager now, I could go back to cinnamon or mate which are functional and nice, or I could do enlightenment which I always spend too much time configuring. Hmm no up to date binaries of enlightenment.

I've been hearing about this i3 tiling window manager, might as well give that a shot since I've wasted so much time already. i3, am I in heaven? documentation is good and easy to follow, hotkeys are sparse and easy to remember, gets out of my way and lets me get shit done. Yes I like this.

Current selection:  i3 on ubuntu 16.0.4(which I am unhappy about) but it serves for now.

So what I really want from an OS installation:
* automatically try to connect to the network without asking me(if possible)
* estimate my location based on the network information
* use my whole hard drive
* present a summary of what will happen and menu to change details or install.
Basically give me all the defaults, and optionally ask me if I want to change anything.
Reduce my time-to-live for the most default setup to as small as possible, I can change things after the fact if I want to. If I have to put any cognitive effort into installing your OS, I'm going to do other things with my time.

Edit 2015-05-11
After my chemo treatment I asked my friend smiddy to come over and help me install Arch we tried to slog through tutorials, but it was shit. then he looked up a video tutorial that takes 13 minutes, and it was up and running, the next 5 hours were installing more and more things. he was driving because i was barely able to concentrate on a page for more than a minute.

so now I run arch, and its good, very good.


I have never voted in an election in my life, last time the election rolled around we got Tony Abbott and I weeped. the NBN being the primary concern for my sensibilities, I have a physical reaction to anyone messing with the progress of information, or education. books are sacred, the more access to information we have the better the world is.

Anyway, I was going to enrol but somehow it happened for me, how is that I don't know. but the calling of the election prompted me to update my details.

I received an interesting positive emotion when I chose to actively participate in taking responsibility for everyone in Australia, which is what the process is all about, I don't consider only my own interests when I think about politics, but the interest of everyone. and not the selfish kind of interest which seems to dominate the political discourse.

There is a reason I have never voted before, I never felt that I had developed enough as a human to extend my responsibility beyond myself to the point that I would be willing to have my decisions make a difference to the lives of others. Over my life I have slowly gained ground on this.

hmm let me see if I can explain in words what I mean, the same way I do in person when I talk to my friends.
When I was a baby I was completely dependent on my parents for support, I had no responsibility. Over my growth from child to adult my dependency lessened to the point when I could leave the nest and live, taking full responsibility for my own survival. living in a house you take responsibility of the environment you exist in. but when you see litter on the ground, you can take responsibility over the environment in which you share, volunteering is a choice to take responsibility for further things, having a pet or family you take responsibility over other living beings, and so on and so forth until you realise that you can take responsibility for everything like cloud from FFVII.
Without the solid foundation of responsibility of yourself, how must it feel to have the world on your shoulders? absolutely crushing. so i concentrated purely on myself, and now I have a solid foundation I can extend with care to others, casting my net ever wider as I learn how to build from where I am.

So this election, I can confidently do my part, knowing that my foundations of self are strong enough that I can be sure of my vote going to where my values lie, in the caring of everyone in Australia, and via climate change, the world.


Tomorrow I start my one day treatment again, which kicks me in the teeth and takes two weeks to recover from. This time I'm not even bothering with attempting to work, letting my co-workers and supervisor that I will be away for the whole period. If I feel up-to it  I may show up, but frankly i will probably sit at home refreshing reddit as concentrating on things is hard.

Anyway the anxiety part, I've had this two other times, and both times were shit, this time I have that trend data, so I'm feeling anxious about having all those side effects hit me again, not being able to think straight, being super tired, back problems, etc.

Here's roughly how it will go:
I open my eyes to the light streaming through  the lace curtains, it must be morning. My shaved head is cold, again, the hoodie I sleep in has slipped down to my neck bunching with the scarf I wear everywhere, a gift from a good friend. Extracting my arm out from under the pillow where it sleeps I pull the hoodie back over my head and snuggle deep into my blankets. Its been getting colder the last few weeks, I don't really like the cold, I am probably a lizard.
At some point after dozing and mentally going over my day, figuring out what time space I occupy I need to actually figure out the time, I need to check my social media for updates, I need to check the news for any interesting developments. Scratch that, they are useless time wasters in this never ending waste of time I occupy these days, somewhere between lazy, procrastinate, and cancer side effects, the cancer side effects being the lesser of the three. I roll over, and fumble for my phone, it is in the usual spot on my bed, attached to the charging cable, good I have batteries. The teenage cat, Atticus, that sleeps next to me has long since woken up to chase imaginary creatures around the house. Reorient, button, swipe pattern, browser, screen glare in the morning is unpleasant, and so is the lack of new information since I grudgingly put my phone down hours before. What did I expect? refresh, refresh, didn't I want the time? oh yeah. its early, and I don't need to get up. I roll over and snuggle the blankets.

At some point, either when I reach peak boredom, get a pang of hunger, feel my bladder, hear the sounds of house-mates(preferably accompanied by the sounds of a kettle) or just because, I pull the blanket off my body, rotate ninety degrees and melt off the exceptionally high bed into a standing position. With the change in orientation comes the sensation of my organs pressing up against my bladder, time to find the loo, is my genitalia appropriately covered? my friends don't need much from me, I could probably walk out naked and they would wink and tease me in good nature. Like a morning zombie looking for brains in a mug of coffee I stumble forwards bleary eyed into the commons, a pink nightgown is at the kitchen bench facing away from me, I mutter good morning before moving towards the loo. I'm probably wearing my fisherman's pants, so a little re-arrangement and I'm focused on the stream and the sensation of relief, so practised over so many years, of making as little noise as possible, pondering to myself how so many times at work there is piss all over the floor, what are they doing? do I even want to know? Fisherman's pants don't always cooperate with me when it comes to re-arranging and I may need to undo and re-do them entirely, juggling my hoodie out of the way, its an awkward dance. The blue hand wash is almost empty.

The zombie feeling persists, I stumble out of the loo looking for the pink dressing gown, It will be sitting at the kitchen table, at the kitchen bench, in the study. I reach out an embrace it, hugs are an important part of our morning ritual, a grey tracksuit appears, another hug, a pair of underwear, another hug. each one with its own special style, each one with its own need for affection to bring us back from the dead of unconsciousness. one more person exists in the house, with a large smile like Totoro, I don't know this person well enough for a morning hug.

"Anyone for a coffee" the underwear asks, "yep", "yes please", "yes thanks babe" come the answers, soon I will not be a zombie, the feeling is already fading, the coffee will remove the last vestiges of the undead, like decapitating it after beating it and filling it full of gunshots. While I wait for my doom, I'm going to just lay down on this couch and enjoy the voices of the humans.

stuff happens, arrangements are made.

I've just sat on the couch again, dressed in comfortable clothing, laptop and drugs in bag, "Alright, time to go!" Annie says with a smile. Up I hop walk down the corridor, give the fluff monster a race, and then a cuddle before picking up the sunglasses and helmet from Annie who waits at the front door for me. We talk constantly to each other but about normal every day things. She re-arranges the bike as I put the sunglasses on and pull on the open faced bike helmet, I swing a leg over, grab her backpack and put it on, secure belongings around myself, my feet are on the back forks and my hands are around her waist. she gives the engine a little rev and we lift off from the driveway into the street, I feel the rush of g-forces as we lurch forwards, I feel the vertigo of sideways motion as we corner around the car park making our way to Prospect Road, and as we merge with traffic the chill of the air on my face as we pick up speed. Annie's warm body in front of me is comforting the chill air is refreshing, the speed up and slow down of traffic exhilarating. I'm not sure it would be as fun if I was by myself on the bike. The wind  finds its way easily behind the sunglasses making my eyes water. its the best way to travel to chemo.

I stride through the entryway with my confident swagger learned from years of dancing, chest out, chin high, after all, today is the best of the days I have. Up the elevator I wait, walk with confidence to the chemo day centre, I've been here many times before, and am lucky to have not been here too many times like the people I see around the ward, years into treatment. At the main counter I greet the staff with a cheeky smile, and get my wristband attached for the party ahead. 5 minutes in the waiting room, the TV is off, maybe they listened to me? a random staff member calls my name and greets me as the person who will be taking care of me today. I try to remember their names, its not easy. I make small talk, I want this person to like me, I want them to feel good about their job, I hope they aren't too stressed or distracted. We choose a chair for me to occupy for the hours I will be here, I sit down, plug in my laptop power, arrange my equipment and take off my shoes, its important to be comfortable. My nurse brings over a little tray a strap and some other bits and bobs to insert the cannula, she explain that bloods take 40 minutes, and we need to test before starting treatment, we check my name tag multiple times, and then comes the apology for the stinging. The insertion of the cannula is interesting in that I truly feel that the nurses are always upset that they need to stick you with needles, they are always gentle and over my time have only messed up once, the pain from the needle is entirely intellectual it hurts, but its not 'dangerous'. They hold my hand, strap my arm and ask me to clench my fist a few times before relaxing in a fist, they touch my arm gently inspecting the veins, able to detect things i can only imagine, they settle on a spot to insert the device, and then swab the area. I ask them about their week, how they are tracking today, try to find some way to interact, often time I feel they keep themselves at arms length for good reason. They apologise and with a sharp intake in breath I indicate that what they are doing hurts, and then its done, they connect tubes like its lego, extract some blood and then hook up a drip of saline before attending to other people.

I spend the next hour on my laptop browsing the internet again, being bored, wanting to study but unable to concentrate, oh well, sometimes I get in 10 minutes of productivity. Shafi walks past and says hi, Lou, Peter, Jess and more i cant remember. The volunteer staff ask me whether I would like some soup, what flavour? tomato, chicken and corn, beef, vegetable. I refuse most days, and ask for apple juice instead, it helps with the taste of the chemo drugs.

During the whole thing friends and family visit and sit next to me, we converse, its good to have company, its a blur.

My bloods come back good, and within a few minutes the chemo drugs are here, being hooked up to the pump stand, the tubes all being connected together like some weird irrigation system, maybe I will grow into a nice ripe fruit? begin the pumps, refrigerated liquid pumped into my arm at too high a rate is uncomfortable, so I ask the nurse to slow it down. the taste in the back of my throat is like the back of a chemical cupboard in the shed, so I sip on apple juice, I try to keep myself busy on my laptop, browsing things, trying to program, talking to staff, talking to visitors. Did they stick the tubes into my bladder? extracting myself from blankets, laptop cables etc, I take my robotic companion pump to the loo with me, several times a day. clickity clack, clickety clack, the pumps talk to each other plotting their eventual take over of the human race for world dominance. I browse the room, looking into the windows of other peoples lives who are also touched by cancer, mums and dads, sisters and brothers, families are there, mostly old people, there's nobody I can relate to. no friends to make. the time wears on, my pump suddenly gets all huffy and starts beeping, the nurse comes over and calms it down with some caressing of its face. my body is bulging from the 2L of extra liquid, its not as intense as the first time.

It doesn't take long, between 2-4 hours I am finished and I can escape the robotic pump overlords. they pack up the chemo bags and tubes and throw them in a purple bin, they untape and slide out the cannula, and always press too hard on the cotton wool bud intended to stop the flow of blood from my veins, seriously calm down. and then i'm free to go. I stumble back to reality, down the lift, out the doors and into the street.

Tomorrow its likely I will get a lift home, but when I go to work, or when I catch a bus home I have a surreal experience of having quite serious medical shit going on and the world being completely oblivious to me, like if you were a super hero, nobody would know or care for everyday shit. I guess clark kent had it right with the glasses.

The middle.
wish I had the time to study what I desire

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Own your destiny/doom

I'm a little bit crazy, always have been. I think that if I were to follow my path that I may get into an accident and die, because the decisions I may take aren't rooted in the normal reality. Rather it would be intuition, and who knows what forces beyond have influence over me. so I've always thought I would be led in-front of a truck by unseen forces and KABLAM, no more Samuel. This is not suicidal thinking, its not rooted in depression so have no fear that I will top myself, its got nothing to do with that.

Its more to do with: breaking out into song in a public place because you want to. getting up and walking through that door simple because you felt something. laughing heartily for the thoughts in your head when other people are around to see you. Walking your path, the path nobody else can see, that you don't know where it leads, it might lead in-front of a truck.

But there exists fear of my path leading me to my doom on a whim because I am a little bit nuts. I never want to disappoint my family this way, for me to pass on before them. Because that's the risk I would have to take, to take responsibility for my path and for my doom. If I just live a quiet life then my family can rest assured that my death will be an accident, not my fault, at old age, or not. I wont have to live with the guilt that my choices caused my family pain, because I never make any.

I'm not disappointing my family by not dying.
I'm disappointing them by not living.

I do live OK so far BTW, I just like to think about these things. There is so much more that we all could do given we have the bravery to take responsibility for our doom/destiny and have the emotional support and understanding of our loved ones. Encourage each other on our paths, no matter where it leads, and be happy in our shared experience of this fleeting existence. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Random Project Thought: Custom robots trained to move using AI.

I was thinking about robots today, probably because of the concept robots blog which i am subscribed to, and the thought occurred to me of how it would be fun to build your own virtual robots.

Surely this has been done before, pretty sure I've seen games based on this already.

So the simple idea is that you provide an interface to construct 3D objects and join them together with standard joints, like ball and socket, hinge, cylinder, etc.

But programming up the movement algorithms seems like a big leap, and animating them by hand seems problematic, but i guess it would be ok.

So something like this:

Training the actions required would be aligned to the typical first person shooter controls.

The system by itself could be done quite poorly, but with some thought into the user interactions it could be a good opportunity to make a good deathmatch game.

If you didnt quite train your robot well enough it would show while in use and you could target re-training on certain movement algorithms.

Anyway.. better out inthe world than in my head. I get ideas like this so often and don't have the time/skill to realise them/.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Shade Structure #2

Continuing on from previous post about the shade structure I was building...

It took a few weeks to find enough material for the tent inner. My sister Kathryn helped me with a really good piece of advice; quilt covers from 2nd hand stores are usually the cheapest way to get large pieces of fabric. She also gave me lot of spare cloth of varying shapes and sizes in suitcases that she would never use.

My lovely friend Alissa offered to help me build the thing just days before she went on holiday. She has an overlocker that really sped up the production. It still took two nights, and roughly 14 hours on the thing. and it was huge.. like super huge, totally unmanageable.
Now that I had my inner cloth, and the outer poles, I needed to test it out.

I enlisted to the help of Smiddy and Josh, who came over one afternoon. We walked to the local park and got started. There was a creche of children next door to the park and these kids were curiously shouting at us "what are you doing", "what are you making", no matter how times we said what we were doing they kept asking, memories like goldfish, it was pretty funny.

We spent 3 hours attempting to get it put up. The main challenge was that the poles themselves weren't strong enough to hold the weight of the cloth and the other poles until it was fully up. In general the gauge of the pipe was too small, too easy to bend.

Technically it was a success, but practically it was a failure.

I wanted to test again, so I enlisted another friend Sundance, and this time setup was easier due to experience, but still took us 30 minutes or more.

I decided that I would need to replace the poles entirely from 20mm to at least 40mm but I didn't want to fudge the measurements this time, so to that end I've started studying mathematics from Khan Academy.

I really enjoy studying math from khan, the progression is slow, and lengthy, I feel like it keeps me engaged without being too patronising. I treat the beginner math as grinding in an RPG, and the practice nature of it helps me remember.

In the meantime, I have a lot of poles, I don't really want to waste them.

I cut my poles in half, (a little under half) to 75cm lengths. bought a shadecloth baseplate, fixed the base poles to the cloth, and built the structure again. Using a baseplate to work from had an immediate effect on the ease of setting up the tent, its robustness and I would find ease of packing up and storing the tent too

I fixed the shade cloth to the poles by using an insert of a smaller gauge pipe of about 5mm length and press fitting the cloth into the base of the poles. So far they have withstood many setups and unsets and a trip to the beach without popping out.

<Picture of press fit>

In its original configuration at half the size, the opening for a human is too small, so I made some slight adjustments to the pole configuration, it now has a much larger opening.

I'm still using the original cloth, I am reluctant to cut it up considering the effort Alissa put into its construction.

So we have a working structure that is a lot smaller than the original plans. It was time to test it at the beach.

I set the tent up easily, used sand to hold down the excess cloth and keep the tent grounded. Since the shade cloth is very coarse, any sand tracked into the tent falls through. makes for perfect beach setup. Time to surf.

A hour later...

I look back to the beach and notice something is wrong, the tent is a little lopsided. Paddling back to shore, I see that the wind has flattened it and bent some poles in half at their weakest point(the joints).
 The problem was that at the joints, there really was only a 15mm tube holding it together. and since the poles weren't tethered together they weren't helping each other carry the load of the fabric and wind. So, I got some connectors to surround the joints, and some elastic rope to hold the poles together at the cross over points.

So this is where it stands so far. half sized, reorganised, reinforced.

I need to test it at the beach again.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shade Structure

I want to buy a shade tent for when I go to the beach with friends, it needs to be big enough to accommodate a group of people. I was walking into tent shops and I liked the look of this Coleman Event 14 but at the time I didn't have $300 to spare (I've seen it advertised for $250 in other shops these days). The sales guy/manager in the store I was in jerked me off at that time so I don't want to give him business and haven't been back

Fast forward a couple of years, still haven't purchased a shade structure. A Google search for shade structure gives me and I like what I'm seeing. It really fits with the DIY culture I've been getting into lately.

I'm happy to spend incremental amounts, even pay a little more if I'm learning something. I decided its something I believe I can make, so I get designing.

Blender is a  great free tool for lots of reason :D
Initial Design

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Linux Software Wishlist/rant #1


I'm a Linux user, who by default will use a FLOSS solution or nothing. Primarily due to budget, but also philosophically because using a cracked proprietary solution is as good as paying them with my time.

Often I am wanting to do something on my computer, I look for software to help and am stuck with poorly implemented solutions with little to no documentation. I'm pretty good at working around the limitations and trawling forums to find a way through, but I wish it were easier.

Sometimes I write about it, most of the time its such a small and inconsequential thing that I don't.

Often times I am confronted with the reality that I need to get back into study, brush up my maths and get back to university to learn programming so I can resolve the problems myself either through contributing to an existing project, or starting a new one.

Today my problem was was the shitty video editing solutions that exist. I've tried multiple products like openshot, kdenlive, avidmux, winff, lightworks, handbreak, etc etc.. and I always turn back to the commandline tools like mencoder, ffmpeg, avconv, transcoder. Primarily ffmpeg*

The reason I return to the commandline is because no GUI tool does everything I want, they all have tiny little parts and a whole hell of a lot of bloat. they crash often, or take forever on a process and provide little to no feedback. The GUI tools are just using the cmd line tools anyway, but adding a level of abstraction over the top that I really don't appreciate for my needs.

I don't need funky effects, I rarely need colour correction, I make basic edits. Kdenlive has been my goto for these two things.

After that I mainly re-encode video's to homogenise my movie library, and to finalise my cut videos for uploading to youtube. Command line tools work best for that work anyway because I can batch things together.

The tool I wanted today was a lens distortion correction filter along the lines of PTlens, I looked and the only thing I could see was something to do with fri0r but there was no documentation, little to no examples.

You see, I have a GoPro Hero3. I use transcoder to remove camera shake, but it understandably leaves wobbly distortion at the edges of the footage. If I could lens correct, or debarrel, the footage first before deshaking it, I think the effect would be greatly reduced.

You would think that the open source community would have solved these things already, and I'm sure they have, multiple times, but things like bitrot, poor documentation, poor implementation, make these things dissappear into the ether.

This happens to me all the time, I want to do something, search, implementation is shit.

So... If I were to wish for a solution to my problem it would be the PTLense filter for ffmpeg or equivalent.

My bigger wish for the video editing world on Linux is more complicated, but if I were to put it into a sentence it would be "A timeline, an attribute graph editor and a filter node graph editor, where each clip on the timeline is the result of a filter node graph where all attributes are animatable" and it would look a lot like blender does.


* The libav project rubs me the wrong way, I end up using avconv because its the default in ubuntu and I cbf using the ppa for ffmpeg (don't bother defending libav, logical arguments don't normally work for consumers).