To You

Jun. 27th, 2011 10:19 pm
ryanabrams: (Default)
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me.
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking,
suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb,
I should have made my way straight to you long ago,
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing
but you.

I will leave all and come and make the hymns of you,
None has understood you, but I understand you,
None has done justice to you, you have not done justice to yourself,
None but has found you imperfect, I only find no imperfection in you,
None but would subordinate you, I only am he who will never consent
to subordinate you,
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God,
beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.

Painters have painted their swarming groups and the centre-figure of all,
From the head of the centre-figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color'd light,
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus
of gold-color'd light,
From my hand from the brain of every man and woman it streams,
effulgently flowing forever.

O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are, you have slumber'd upon yourself
all your life,
Your eyelids have been the same as closed most of the time,
What you have done returns already in mockeries,
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in
mockeries, what is their return?)

The mockeries are not you,
Underneath them and within them I see you lurk,
I pursue you where none else has pursued you,
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the
accustom'd routine, if these conceal you from others or from
yourself, they do not conceal you from me,
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these
balk others they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform'd attitude, drunkenness, greed,
premature death, all these I part aside.

There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you,
There is no virtue, no beauty in man or woman, but as good is in you,
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you,
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you.

As for me, I give nothing to any one except I give the like carefully
to you,
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing
the songs of the glory of you.

Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard!
These shows of the East and West are tame compared to you,
These immense meadows, these interminable rivers, you are immense
and interminable as they,
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent
dissolution, you are he or she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain,
passion, dissolution.

The hopples fall from your ankles, you find an unfailing sufficiency,
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest,
whatever you are promulges itself,
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing
is scanted,
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are
picks its way.

- by Walt Whitman
ryanabrams: (Default)
I'm seeking input regarding the 2011 Toyota Tundra, 4.6L V8 truck. Or just about truck ownership in general.

What are the hidden gotchas (besides the obvious MPG issue)? What are the hidden benefits? Do you have any experience with Tundras, Toyotas, or Trucks in general?

I'm in the market in the near future, and I want to make sure I've done my due diligence.

Thanks.
ryanabrams: (t rex)
I was tracing the route from B's place to Mine on satellite view, because I found it neat to see all the buildings. I couldn't help but laugh when I went past a friend's neighborhood and saw this.



One of these things is not like the others. ;P
ryanabrams: (Default)
Priest, "Synecdoche, NY" -

"Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make. You can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won’t know for twenty years! And you may never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce…

And they say there’s no fate, but there is, it’s what you create. And even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are only here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead, or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain wasting years for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right, but it never comes. Or it seems to, but it doesn’t really.

So you spend you time in vague regret or vaguer hope that something good will come along, something to make you feel connected, something to make you feel cherished, something to make you feel loved. And the truth is is, I feel so angry! And the truth is, I feel so fucking sad! And the truth is, I’ve felt so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long, I’ve been pretending I’m okay, just to get along!

I don’t know why. Maybe because…no one wants to hear about my misery…because they have their own.

Fuck everybody. Amen."


The Dalai Lama -

"I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance.

People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed."

Toxicity

Apr. 27th, 2010 10:16 am
ryanabrams: (t rex)
My life recently has been great - my relationship has been growing in leaps and bounds, and is going great. My job is holding steady with the satisfaction needle buried in the green. And 11 days ago, I picked up the keys to my new apartment. It's got lots of space, a wonderful location, a helpful and friendly office staff, and an amazing price. It's perfect apartment for continuing to build on this new stage of my life. Unfortunately, it's also trying to kill me.

One of the nice things about this apartment was how much work the complex was doing to improve it before I moved in. Apparently the previous tenants had quite a few animals, and they all did animal things to the place. So the apartment was essentially being rebuilt anew for the next tenant. Freshly painted walls. Entirely replaced carpet. Kitchen counter resurfacing. Tile replacing. The works. They even had a contractor come in and rebuild one of the built in ceiling light fixtures from scratch. The apartment looks great. This was, at the time, exciting to me. I was naive.

I noticed the chemical smells immediately when I moved in, but didn't really think about it. By the end of the second day, we had grown used to it. By Monday I had a splitting headache, the shakes, was irritable and sore from moving, and felt really light headed. It was only once I got to work and re-acquainted myself with fresh air that I realized what was going on. We had spent the whole weekend essentially huffing a mixture of paint and glue. I was pretty freaked out, but mostly just nauseous.

Monday afternoon opened all the windows, turned on all the fans, and began airing the place out. I then packed a bag and moved the Beth's to try to recover. Tuesday brought the resurfacing folks who added new chemicals to the mix in the apartment, and that smell was prevalent through Wednesday. By Thursday the major strength of the smell(s) had cleared out, and the apartment seemed essentially livable again.

We spent the weekend setting up the bedroom and kitchen, organizing the living room, and generally enjoying the place. There was still some odor, but it was far reduced and the airflow kept it from being too bothersome. I braved it because I really wanted to get the place set up and feeling like home. For a little while, it worked.

Unfortunately, by yesterday morning, I was feeling quite sick again. The same symptoms. So I did some research. Apparently the initial paint smell takes about 3 days to clear, which is about how long it took once I started airing out the apartment. Sadly, New carpet chemicals last quite a bit longer. Apparently, new carpet goes through a process called "outgassing" that releases all of the remnant manufacturing chemicals into the air. It used to be associated strongly with formaldehyde, but apparently the chemicals have changed in the past decade, even if the result is the same. Some people, when building a new house, recommend putting a month between carpeting and moving in. There is actually a whole sub-industry of carpet glues/carpeting that are chemical-safe or some such. I'm guessing my apartment complex didn't spring for the fancy "eco" model.

To counteract this continual release of toxins, I looked at a study of gas absorption by plants done by NASA. They wanted to figure out how to best ensure the atmosphere on space stations and such stayed clean and healthy. One of the big winners for chemicals related to carpets was the boston fern. I now own three boston ferns - two by my bed, and one in the living room. I would have bought many more if my car were larger, though the study seemed to suggest that three is actually a lot of fern for the job. Additionally, I am researching vacuum cleaners. I'm going to need one to get all the baking soda out of the carpet later this week. I think I found a nice model that should do the job nicely. The idea is that the baking soda will soak up odors and bad things, and then the vacuum will pick up the baking soda. At the very least, at least my toxic carpet will be super clean.

The worst part about this is that I don't know exactly how to explain or combat it with confidence. I mean, the apartment may as well just be haunted, for all the actual understanding I have of what is going on. Beth doesn't smell anything in the apartment anymore, and doesn't seem to share my symptoms. She thinks this is all in my head. Which, maybe it is - but that doesn't really solve the problem, ya know?. All that does is make me wonder if I'm crazy. So I start thinking crazy thoughts. Maybe the initial weekend caused my sinuses to clog up, trapping some chemical particles in there (gonna use my Neti pot). Maybe its a non related brain problem that I am associating with the new place because of the strong smell association (going to the doctor if I'm not feeling better next week). Or maybe Occam's Razor applies, and I am just overly sensitive to some chemical being given off by the fresh paint, new carpet or carpet glues, or counter resurfacing.

In any case, my apartment is well ventilated and stocked with NASA approved ferns. I have an alternate cozy place to sleep/stay. And I have a tentative time frame for how long these things tend to take, based on the postings of other crazy internet people (at least, the ones for whom "tear out the carpet or move" is not a reasonable first suggestion). So I feel like I've covered my bases, for now, and just have to give nature time to rebalance things in there.

I'm really counting on those ferns.
ryanabrams: (Default)
I recently realized I have /way/ too many computers. I currently possess 2 mac laptops (macbook air, macbook), and 2 mac desktops (mac mini, mac pro). On top of that, my employer provides me with a Macbook Pro. So that's 5 Mac's. How does this happen?

Beth uses the Macbook Air, and I use the Mac Mini as a home server, but otherwise I use my work provided Macbook Pro for my computing. This means that I have two surplus Macs that are literally sitting in a closet. I figure I should sell them. So, I've emailed various peoples, posted in various places, and decided to post here also.

So, here are the specifications on the computers:

Macbook Unibody 13" Laptop

Tech Specs:
Processor: 2.4ghz Intel
Screen: 13.3inch glass coated
RAM: 4gb
Hard Drive: 320gb

Other Nice Things:
- It has the new integrated multitouch trackpad
- It is a single unibody aluminum design, but also still has a removable battery (the current ones dont)
- It has a backlit keyboard.
- I have formatted it to a new, clean system running the latest 10.6 Snow Leopard version of OS X.
- I am pretty sure still have the original box and such, so I'll pack it all up as it came (including accessories and restore discs and such).

Finally, It is under AppleCare warranty until Late 2011, so if it breaks Apple will fix it for free.

There is a webpage with full specs for this model located at everymac.

Price: $1000. This is based on a range of $800-$1200 for this model used at various places online, as well as the cost of comparably equipped MacBooks and 13 inch MacBook Pros on Apple.com.


Mac Pro 8-core 2.8ghz Desktop

Tech Specs:
Processor: 2 2.8ghz 4-core Intel Processors
RAM: 6gb
Hard Drive: 320gb
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB of GDDR3 memory
Secondary Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256 MB of GDDR3 memory

Other Nice Things:
- Includes 2 DVD burner drives... the default Apple "superdrive" and a faster version I added in the second bay.
- I added an accessory to the machine that routes hidden eSATA ports to the rear.
- I am including an external bay that connects to the eSATA ports and provides 2 additional full speed hard drive bays.
- Three of the four internal drive bays are unused, meaning there are 5 total bays available (including eSATA)
- Includes the Bluetooth and WiFi optional module. This is installed, but the signal is less than ideal. I recommend wired ethernet if possible.
- Formatted to a new clean system running 10.6 Snow Leopard version of OS X.

Note: This is a desktop machine, and does not include a display. Additionally, it does NOT include the Apple Keyboard and Mouse that originally shipped with it. But it will work with any keyboard and mouse you care to attach (or use wirelessly). This computer is not under AppleCare at this point.

There is a full page of specs for this model located at everymac.

Price: $2500. This is based on the current selling range for this model (in various configurations) online, as well as the cost of a comparably equipped Mac Pro from Apple.com.


If you know anyone who is interested in or has any questions about either of these machines, please let me know.
ryanabrams: (Default)
1) Personal Life: I have not posted in ages. Part of this is because I was worried that the metaphorical signal would have unintended effects on a nearby metaphorical pacemaker. I no longer think that is the case. This is great news.

2) Apple: I have spent about a decade now using Apple products, and endorsing them to others. My new (awesome) job is all mac-centric in terms of development hardware. Apple played to my values in a big way. And I loved it. More importantly, it worked. And as soon as they gained traction in the market, and started the snowball effect, they began using the power to lock little things down. No problem, I thought. It's Apple. They do this. But I can use open formats, and make choices as I go. (Still True).

Recently though, it's become unacceptable. What made Apple so great was that they never tried to appeal to everyone. They tried to innovate and appeal to people that valued similar things to them. And then they tried to educate the public to help them value it also. I support that approach, even though it can come off as elitist or snobby. It just seems better than aiming to be the lowest common denominator. 

Unfortunately, as soon as they got a taste of victory, they immediately began racing for the bottom. The "App Store" is literally the only way to get software on to their new favorite OS, and they censor it to "protect the kids". They are anti-multitasking. And now they are actively suing people over things like "object oriented interface design". Frankly, for that, they can go fuck themselves.

I will use their hardware until a better alternative is available. The mac from work is free, and is just a pc laptop. Awesome. A ChromeOS tablet is sort of the dream, but for now an iPad will do (as long as I studiously avoid lock-in). I've reformatted my mac mini (and drobo) as linux/ext3 based. Not dual boot. Straight linux. I'm setting up a linux VMWare install on my work mac. I'm weening myself off mac software (including iTunes, somehow). And I use a Palm Pre for my smart phone. I'll keep using macs for now, as the OS is quite nice to work in. But my software and my data are going to be open, free, and easily replicable on linux or windows or haiku or whatever on the day that Apple tries to apply it's current attitude to Mac OS X. 

3) Games: I play in a D&D campaign that is like 9 players and a DM. It's epic. The battles are huge (and take as long as you'd guess). The RP / Skill Challenge stuff is crazy if you visualize /everyone/ there instead of just the active participants. It's like a freakin' platoon storming the castle, instead of a party. I enjoy the game quite a bit, but the sheer size of it makes it harder for it to be free form, and makes the "fun" harder to extract. As such, I'm seriously considering forming a small, easy going, weeknight campaign to DM. I figure 3-4 players, as streamlined a ruleset as possible, and I'll run a NPC so that I can also "play". The problem I'm facing is a) who to invite to play, and b) how to avoid poaching or in any way harming the larger game (which I'd totally keep playing in).

Speaking of games, I'm selling a large chunk of my board game collection. You can see more here: http://garagesale.ryanabrams.net . This is a LJ sneak preview. Pretty soon, the unsold ones will go on BGG Auctions, so if you're interested, check it out.
ryanabrams: (Default)
 I am selling my entire board game collection as a whole. It consists of 271 games worth $6000 to $7000. I am asking $4000, and have posted a page about it that includes a detailed list of games.

garagesale.ryanabrams.net/gamecollection.html

Please pass on word to anyone you know who may be interested.

Thanks.
ryanabrams: (Default)
I've spent the past two days categorizing and researching my board game collection, as the first step in finally divesting myself of my largest remaining "collection." In doing so, I've been attempting to decide on my final "to keep" list, while calculating a fair value for the collection.

Here is a final list of games I intend to keep, along with explanations as to why they made the cut. I have also included 4 "maybes" which will survive the initial cut, but may be culled in the future. This will serve to both help finalize my decision making process, but also perhaps as insight in games to consider for those of you looking for a new game or two. I will likely discuss alternatives to a given selection that I have chosen to sell, and why. I am interested in additional observations or thoughts from those of you informed about board games.

Before I begin, this post should also serve as advanced notice that I intend to sell off the entire remainder of my game collection, which is approximately 280 games worth (at least) $6200. I will be selling it at a significant discount and am hoping to find a buyer for the full collection somewhere in the DFW area, either via BGG or Craig's List. I will, of course, ship it if the purchaser pays for the shipping and packaging costs. I'll post more about that later. For now, on with the keepers!

Read more... )

Catching Up

Jun. 1st, 2009 06:28 pm
ryanabrams: (earth)
Hello LiveJournal people. It's been so long since I've posted that I really have no idea how to go about getting caught up. Here's a quick, direct attempt at it.

First off, and most importantly to me, I have a girlfriend. I'm officially and happily dating Beth Garvey. I'm completely blown away by her. Most of you here know this already, but I figured things like this aren't officially official until they are on LJ, so there ya go. Just be glad I avoided the Facebook profile change.

The idea of having a girlfriend was sort of creeping around in my brain for the past month or two, but I have been broken for so long that I was having a hard time telling if I was healthy enough to make that sort of commitment. A couple weeks back, Beth tricked the every loving hell out of me and emotionally knocked me on my ass. I've been told the story is cute, and I may share it here one day, but for now let me just say that it felt amazing. I stopped questioning if I was still broken. In fact, I felt so healthy that the question instantly changed from if I could commit to if I could afford not to. The idea of her not being my girlfriend seemed preposterous. I don't know what else to say about it right now other than that I am happy.

Other things going on in my life:

- Burning Flipside was a bit over a week ago. It was an absolutely amazing weekend in my life, and the weeks leading up to it were full of fun prep work. But I'm glad it's past - I need to refocus. There is a part of me that will always be a dirty hippie in a tent, and I like letting him out to play now and then, but I have things I want to /do/. Unfortunately, this may have been my only 2009 burn, because I think I'm going to pass on Burning Man until next year, and I suspect I have a conflict for Myschievia. Maybe I can find some other regional instead.
- I attended a funeral.
- I re-gained and lost some friends. I wish them the best, but doubt I'll see much of them in the future.
- I'm still unemployed, but I've been distracted by events the past few weeks, and simply not pushing as hard as I should. That's changing.

Anyway, that's the core of it. It's nice to see you again LJ. Hope you're doing well. :D
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