Larry Brown

While away, I heard Larry Brown died. A heart attack killed him young, only in his early fifties. I didn’t know a lot about him (admired him mostly through reputation, having only read a little of his work), but I suspect he was comfortable and confident in being himself. I remember attending a reading of his at Off-Square Books. I think he read from Father and Son, sweaty Budweiser on the podium. Blue Mountain played an acoustic set. I’m pretty sure Claude and Ann were there.

A week of Company Mill

After a few weeks of general disinterest in exercise, I managed to turn things around this week with a promise every day (1) to head to Umstead by 4:30 and (2) to run Company Mill. I almost made it.

First of all, 4:30 is just enough time to commute and complete an hour of exercise before park closing time of 6 PM. Usually, Company Mill takes me around 50 minutes to run. However, about half-way through I realized quality daylight only lasts until about 5:30, and by 5:45 it’s stare-at-your-hand dark. With a little luck (and a lot of high-stepping) I completed everything safely, and was pretty psyched up by having flown through the last part of the trail basically with sonar and stupid determination.

(A side note: I’ve been quite a bit more careful about my footing lately, after having a few lucky falls with minimal injury. Company Mill is very hilly, and most of these hills are covered with huge tree roots and rocks, which isn’t generally good stuff to come into contact with at high speed. At any speed, for that matter.)

Tuesday was my first day in long-sleeves, which is a high point. I love cold weather running, and I wore the nice technical shirt from the Inside-Out half-marathon.

Wednesday my legs were mostly shot from the past two days’ hills, but still doing well enough. Rather than long sleeves, I opted for long pants, and had a great slow-ish run. I wore no watch all week, so I have no idea what the real time was.

Thursday wasn’t so good. Again in long pants, made it to the park even a little earlier than usual. Perfect weather, more than half-way to my goal, feeling better than the day before. A not-so-quick summary:

  1. My new shoes have laces that are too long. This didn’t bother me as much as it should have.
  2. I tripped on these laces going up one of the first few hills, within a mile of starting. I cut my palm pretty badly and banged my right knee, but it was mostly embarassing and didn’t seem all that bad. I couldn’t even tell if I’d really cut my knee (long pants and all), so all seemed good. “Cuss a little and run it off,” I told myself.
  3. After another big hill and some self-examination, I realized I couldn’t run anymore. This scared me, as I’m not used to not being able to simply push harder. Slight panic. No “ouch-it’s-broken” sort of pain, just “it doesn’t work anymore.” So, I elected to leave the singletrack at the first opportunity and hobble back on the smooth bike/bridal trail. Only, in my confusion, I turned the wrong way up Graylyn and quickly hobble up to the wrong side of the park. Less than an hour left until my car gets locked in for the night, and it’s already mostly dark. Cussed some more.
  4. The walking seemed to have done me some good, as I was able to start (carefully) running back. Cussed a lot at the Graylyn/Reedy Creek junction. I made excellent time considering, and kicked total ass going up Big Elvis.
  5. Leg stiffened pretty quickly on the way home, but not so soon as to prevent me from acquiring a gallon of sweet tea from McAlister’s Deli.

Friday, to say the least, involved no running. I could barely walk, and navigating the steps between the computers (in the loft) and the bathroom (not in the loft) was a perious task. Going to Taco Bell was a journey of Lewis and Clark proportions (I was even almost side-swiped by a drunk Pontiac driver that wasn’t quite aware his machine wasn’t capable of 60 mph right-angle turns on rainy streets).

Saturday saw a little improvement. Rest is helping, but I’m mostly crippled and pissed. I still don’t think it warrants a visit to the doctor, but a lack of progress on Sunday will raise alarm levels a bit. Strangely enough, I’ve enjoyed the time at home, as I have this sick feeling of having actually earned it. I should probably get my head checked out, as well as my knee.


For those who care, I have a Fedora Core 3 DVD ISO that can be yours for the small price of asking me for it.

Also, I see that Novell Linux Desktop has been released. I’ve played a bit with one of the release candidates and bolted some of the GNOME RPMs onto my SLES 9 work machine, and I’m encouraged by the spit and polish they’ve put into it. If interacting with Lotus Notes and using the AT&T Net Client VPN software were easier, I can think of a few thousand coporate types that might not mind it at all.


According to my coffee cups, coffee isn’t a drink to be drunk; it’s a beverage to be enjoyed. For example, even on cafeteria crap-style coffee:

Ritazza delivers the taste worth discovering. Premium beans roasted, brewed and served with care. The most important thing about our coffee is the person enjoying it.

I guess it’s the fact that really gets me is that I’ve already bought the coffee, yet they keep on with the harbuckspeak.

Tomboy icon idea

I awoke this morning wanting a Tomboy icon that was a composition book filled with post-its, and I think I’ve managed to get the idea into pixels:




As a side note, this is the first I have played with GIMP 2.0. It’s even pretty stable on Windows, for those of us stuck in that world.

Ubuntu, SuSE, Industrial

A few days ago I installed Ubuntu Linux on my Thinkpad. Overall, I have to say the experience is pretty nice. I’ve never really used a deb-based distribution and I’m still poking about, but it installed without a hitch and pretty much just works.

On a related note, my order for SuSE Pro 9.2 appears to have shipped. Perhaps the DVDs will arrive in the mail before I can download the ISOs? I’ve seen the cosmetic work that has been done by the Ximian/Novell guys, so I expect the out-of-box GNOME in this SuSE will finally be a pleasure to use.

Garrett LeSage has updated the Industrial theme for Firefox. The theme looks particularly nice if you’re using GNOME (your Ubuntu will look better!), but it now also works well in Windows. Check it out.


I had the luxury of dining with my friends Martin and Sarah tonight, who are over from the UK for work. They treated me to lobster at Squid’s in Chapel Hill, followed by some excellent creme brulée. It is nice to finally meet people face-to-face after working together for over a year.


To say I’m disappointed with the election results, both congressional and presidential, is a pretty big understatement. Yesterday, the American voting public validated this administration’s actions from the last four years. I wish I were simply disappointed, but I’m honestly ashamed.

What message does this send to the world? Honestly, it can’t be much worse than the message it sends to its citizens.