Blogosphere – Journal Redemption?

JournalAs someone who enjoys history, to the point that in recent years, I hardly read any non-fiction, as the real stories out there are just so interesting, I have had a hard time with the technology replacing for most people what used to be a notebook journal. Think of the number of journals or diaries that have come down to us over the years during some time of upheaval that give us a person’s perspective that was there and lived it. I could name off more than a few but Mary Chestnut from the Civil War era and of course Anne Frank from the World War II era – both stirring and very beneficial – and both give us a look at the history of the time we didn’t always see in the news or big speeches of the day. Ad to that the folks that keep journals all the time, regardless of what is happening – the Shakers of various places come to my mind; the group at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky had volumes of journals about how things were going with their farms and industries, interactions with the world, to recordings of weather and temperature throughout the day.

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Recession Rant

So I am looking around at all the news of late about the impending recession or that we may actually already be in one. I am seeing all the recent news about tax breaks to help restart the economy and what more can be done to get things going. I even noticed sometime in the last 24 hours that the basic stuff we need in the grocery store has really jumped prices in the last year or so (eggs jumped nearly $1.00, from around $2.00 to $3.00), though we already knew there had been a big jump in some stuff such as gasoline in the recent years, it too is on the upsurge again. It is really starting to sound like a doom and gloom kind of situation.

I have to admit though that I am not terribly surprised. We have moved much more toward a service (and some will say information) based economy. We, here in the grand old United States of America, outside of a few noted exceptions, just don’t make things anymore. And what things that are made or grown here, typically has such a disconnect from the originator to the end consumer that we hardly even recognize the connection – that is many other blogs I need to write someday.

Anyway, what I see, as admitted amateur economists, services are usually those things that are easiest to cut out of things when a budget gets tight. Well, we should all probably be paying more attention to out budgets then we have in the past, but with the pressures on easy money beyond our means, Americans are starting to feel that push. You cut out one service that you don’t need and so does your neighbor and so on. Now there is some body in a service industry or two that is now really feeling tight on the financial side of things, maybe to the point of laying off someone or as a really cutting back on expenses. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Growing wheatThe interesting thing though – if the situation continues to spiral those folks that are making and growing things – those things that we all have a true NEED for like food and clothing (oh wait – that is all overseas now) will continue to do well. In fact, if it all doesn’t get absorbed by the fuel surcharges and middlemen, farmers may actually end up seeing a little bit of an increase in revenue for their product. A new concept for farmers – even though food goes up at the grocery very little of that goes back to farmers.

Bottom line – I think that moving toward a service economy has it merits, but I don’t think we can all move into services or we end up being owned by someone else for our basic needs. I wonder if there is a correlation to be looked at here from great empires that have crumbled in the past? Did Rome collapse because it become fat and lazy and outsourced to much to the fringes of the empire? What about Greece – too few olive growers and to many philosophers? Bonaparte’s France – was the problem a lack of people in France still doing the basics to support the basic infrastructure and have enough left over to support a massive army in the field all the time?

There Will be Blood.

Recently saw the move There Will be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. A very good American, almost epical, type of film that follows one mans life from that of prospector/miner to that of successful oil man. The movie spans thirty years, starting pre-1900 and ending in the 1920’s – though most of action takes place in the early 1910’s, where Daniel Plainview (Day-Lewis) is working new oil fields in Little Boston. He uses his “son” to present himself as a family man with simple values and is the man to sign your oil deal. A quick warning to anyone that is stumbling on this and has not seen it, I have a spoiler or two below this point, so turn back now or you have been warned otherwise just in case.

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Conservativism and McCain

I find myself back at a Panera (note I was at a different one yesterday). I am taking a brief break between the things that I have to do today in different locations and I really needed some coffee. Panera has both good coffee, decent wireless connection, and is right along the path I had to drive anyway. It would have been foolish to pass it up.

As I was sitting here I was reminded of a conversation from some obviously very conservative gentlemen at the Panera yesterday near to me. They were all in agreement that Senator McCain was not the right guy for the republican party. They all had the opinion that he was not conservative enough for the republican party but the exact issue that he was not conservative enough on varied between them.

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The tree was heard…

I was talking with someone the other day and explaining how that I was really enjoying my blog set up, how that I felt it was the thing I should have done a long time ago, that I felt that there was lot more flexibility and options by doing it myself as to using myspace or even a regular blog space. I have complete control and can do whatever, say whatever, and even make it look however I want to. However, I was also noting that the traffic to a independent blog site was a bit harder to generate. After all, if you are on myspace, you post your blog and all your friends at the very least get the notice. So during this conversation I made the comment of something like, “After all, if the tree falls in the forest and no one was there to hear it, did it really make a sound?”

I guess I no longer have to worry about the tree falling being heard. A few nights ago, I installed a WordPress plugin that counts actual traffic hitting (and presumably reading) the blog parts of the page. Yes, I was getting stats on the website from webalyzer, but a little bit harder to figure who is doing what. Anyway – the traffic is small, but about what I expected given the massive changes I have made and the general newness to this site in the last month or so.

A few things amaze me a lot though that I thought I would share. The tool does some wonderful tracking of things and reports on them. For instance, the number of folks that are using specific search terms for things and getting to this page from information that was contained on here from at least 3 or 4 years ago, if not closer to 5 or 6 is amazing. To those folks, I am apologetic. I know you were here looking for collectibles, possibly cards or model trains, or maybe even beanie babies <GAG>. Anyway, I have not been really actively involved in that for a number of years and the page has not really indicated that for while either.

Another amazing one was the number of folks that are coming here from one of my other websites. Notably the one that comes to mind is eligius.org, which is a the site for jousting/medieval equestrian group. There are probably some links there, but I am not completely sure about that these days.

Now this next one, it really makes me feel good, but at the same time I really have to wonder who. So one of the search criteria that showed up was “Ray Cornish” Kentucky. For those that are not familiar that is a very specific search that will only find Ray and Cornish in order and should look for them in conjunction with Kentucky. It is the kind of thing that geeks often do themselves to see how well known they are on the net. Ironically, my jousting/SCA name is much more well known then me – Raynold of Wharram.

But here is the thing, I didn’t do that search to land here this past week. So, I kind of have to assume that someone is specifically looking for me. Makes me wonder, is it some long lost friend that just happened to give it a try or do I have some secret stalker? Well, whichever, next time whoever it was that did the search drop me a note and let me know who you are.

My Heroes have always been cowboys…

My heroes have always been cowboys, andCowboy chasing or roping a calf. they still are, it seems. I am sure that a number of your recognized the title of a song by Willie Nelson, himself a certain type of cowboy/hero type, but more on him and that idea later. And yes, for those that are wondering, on one of my recent late drives I put in a greatest hits of Willie and after listening, I was inspired for at least five or six blogs.

So, as to my heroes – just as the song says, I spent most of my youth dreaming of and playing at being just like one my heroes. Not sure that I learned the little bits about taking what you need from the ladies and leaving them with a sad country song until a bit later – but I am not sure that is absolutely a requirement – though I guess in reality that lonely drifter image that is unwilling to bend to anyone or anything, including progress is part of the attraction. It is certainly the reason that they are still my heroes today. Continue reading “My Heroes have always been cowboys…”

Weather, Technology, and Farming

I have stated elsewhere how I am a study of opposites – especially when it comes to such things as my desire to be farming and working outside, with horses versus what I actually do with technology. Normally, aside from minor record keeping with the farm tasks, there is very little overlap between the two. However, that changed the other day, interestingly enough because of the weather. And it occurred to me how often this is the case.

In general with the farm, especially growing crops and with delicate livestock like horses, weather is something that we keep an eye on. If there are winter storms, flooding, severe weather, or what have you we make changes in the daily routines and check on animals a lot more often. In some of those cases, as a winter or especially a spring storm blows in we will often put them up in the barn – often just in the nick of time.

Case in point of how this relates to my career in information technology. Every day that I see a big severe storm on the forecast I am always doing extra checking to make sure that systems are staying online, that I continue to have power to my servers, and that my multiple telecommunications connections are still online. Just this past week, we had a fairly severe storm (of a spring nature, lots of wind, lightning, rain) blow in – the severity of which caught me and apparently most forecasters by a bit of surprise. Anyway, I came out of a restaurant and everything was dark in the area. This including my server locations.

Just like I would do as a storm was coming in with the horses, I went into an emergency mode taking care of getting servers offline before the batteries died and eventually the restoration of everything once power was restored. Anyway, the point of all this, now I have twice as much reason to be the weather junky that I have typically been in the past.

MySQL & Sun

I noted on something that come across my inbox yesterday that MySQL is being sold to Sun. I was kind of shocked and a bit disturbed by this. A note, the deal was reported worth one billion dollars. Not a bad deal of you were one of the two contributors to the code (see below).

First my shock, I was under the impression that MySQL had been developed and released under the GNU GPL licensing schemes. Which basically I thought meant that the code was free for everyone to develop and that everyone got to use all the contributions that came from everyone developing the code base. And that all this development leads to great things on the software package and everyone is happy. Apparently however, there are some variations where the GNU GPL licensing allows for code to be wholly owned by a few people – in this case apparently two. And I guess, though I didn’t realize this, that they have not taken any code developments from anyone else – otherwise how would they be able to sell the MySQL product to Sun?

Now my disturbance – Sun has a bit of a bad track record with things from an open source stand point. What is even worse about this particular product that they have acquired is that it is used by, well I suspect millions of computers, but if not, easily approaching the first million for sure. I know in my server room there are now less than 20 installations of MySQL, possibly more. Now when all of those were installed there were no license fees of any sort associated with using them. Now that Sun has purchased the product, will that change for the future usage of the product? Beyond that, will the product have new innovations in the future that keep up with technological demands? Or will it become stagnant, wither, and eventually die?

Gulf Wars, SCA, and planning

So, here it is January 23 and I have not as of yet decided if I am going to make it to Gulf Wars this year. For those not in the know, Gulf Wars is one of the major wars that is put on by the SCA. Oh, and for those that may not know the SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism– or in simple lay terms the group of crazy people who creatively like to play like they are in a different time period. Now, back to Gulf Wars – our regularly scheduled blog event.

Gulf Wars is one of the major wars where we do medieval things for entire week with a minimum (in theory) modern mundane things to bring is back. Things include the all important heavy fighting, lots of arts and crafts, drinking and hanging out, telling stories, more drinking, archery, lighter fighting (rapier style), yet more drinking, and of course my favorite equestrian activities. That alone is worth the trip, given that I have done that four times out the last eight years, with horses in tow to boot. It is the largest known world event as far as equestrian and the SCA is concerned, having upwards of 45 horses in attendance the last few years, less the year after Lady Katrina blew in. Oh yeah, you were thinking the other Gulf Wars – this one is in Mississippi, a little town about an hour from the cost.

So, anyway, I am sitting here contemplating my lack of jousting and in general equine activities of late today at the office. (For those counting, it is nearing 9:00 and I am still at the office, but obviously taking a break). Anyway, I starting thinking about seriously if I was going to be able to attend this year or not. Money is being a bit tight, especially with hay prices and a few other things I have going. Beyond that, is the issue of selling the truck that was not working and not having one right now. Heck, technically I don’t even have a trailer at the moment. And of course there is the getting the horses practiced and ready too, especially given the likely weather between now and then.

There are a few other SCA events I could attend, but not any that are equine until the 1st of March and it is more the seven hours away in a different kingdom. Maybe I should just content myself to sitting this one out and doing some heavy fighting early this spring instead. After all, it is the odd year and I have never made it to an odd year GW yet. Still, I would really like to attend and catch up with some old friends that I have not seen in a while – well to be exact since last year at GW. Maybe I will take off for the last couple of days, drive down in the car with the saddle, get a rental horse, and play a bit that way? Or could maybe borrow truck and trailer from Clay/John and let them use my car? What about Bitzer? What about tentage given the one has gone to other hands? What a bunch of questions.

Keep posted for updates and if any of my SCA or especially friends from GW see this, let me know – as I would love to drop a hello your direction.