About firewalls.

So that’s it, folks. After six long hours of downloading, installing, tweaking, reading, unplugging, stringing cable, and generally learning how these things work out, I’ve got my Linux box set up as a firewall (port forwarding, the works). I’m running SmoothWall as the OS, which happens to be a hardened derivative of Linux. So that means the old Fedora install that was on that machine is Goodbye, but now I actually have a use for Boxen Trey.

Dan (I’m speaking cobol to you, baby.)

About Gmail.

For those of you who are expecting emails from me, my Gmail account is currently incommunicado. I do not hate you. I am not ignoring you. I merely can’t send or receive from [redacted]@gmail.com… Any other time, email me at your leasure.

Dan (Yeah, that means you.)

About overtime.

I am currently enjoying heading into “overtime”. You know, when you’ve worked more than healthy people should? But, with Jerry, Elyssa, Rebekah, Matt, and various other members of our staff gone, it’s up to me to man the fortress with my sidekick, Rachel.

The barbarian armies approach, ordering endmills and drills as they go. They approach, armed with cash, and we must assuage their thirst in blood, fingers to the bone.

Dan (The most moving description of work. Ever. *superlative alert*)

About lunch and drums.

It’s lunch hour. Or lunch half-hour. I’m eating a delicious bowl of pasta soup and drinking bottled water from a most dubious bottler. It, however, still tastes like water. That is to say it doesn’t taste like much.

I also just got off the drums, having given “Say it Ain’t So” by Weezer a brand new rhythm section. I call it the “Slow Descent into Madness” remix. Basically, I took the first verse and chorus and downtempoed them to a seemingly slower jazz beat, picked it up a bit for the second verse and chorus and then for the bridge, built until the climax of the song which turned into a five minute drum solo. By which time the song had long ended, but hey, Weezer’s never going to know. Then, with a final double-splash, it ended.

Dan (Finito.)

About House, M.D.

Just a quick note: the new season of House, M.D. starts on September 13, 2005. I will be there with beer, cigars, and possibly ringboos to keep the fish happy.

Hey, maybe it should be a party! Yeah… midweek House party… I bring the TV and someone else supplies the cable or satelite, and we go from there.

Dan (Any takers?)

About being young and stupid.

When I was young, or more to the point, when I was young and stupid, I heard the Jars of Clay album “Worlds Apart”. Not only did I hear it, but I tore it to shreds in my mind and in conversation, not due to the album art that some people found so offensive, but because of the lyrics that I deemed in my immaturity to be so darn unclear. And by “unclear” I didn’t mean that I didn’t get the point of most of them: I did. I just didn’t like the point they were making.

I remember being a huge advocate of music that proclaimed Christ. A noble goal, you think? Yes. I think it is, and there’s a lot of really great music that does just that, music that I listen to. But in my head, any musician worth his spiritual salt would sing only about spiritual themes. Amen. I supposed if I had been inventing instruments for them to play on, said instrument would play only three notes, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Of course, now that I’m old and stupid, I can laugh over my youthful intellectual indiscretions. Right now, I’m listening to “Worlds Apart” and actually really enjoying it. I don’t terribly like the music, and it’s not half as well-produced and -structured as their most recent albums or their first, but it’s pleasant enough to run through every once in while.

I’m not going to go into why my perspective changed, or why I think Christian musicians should sing about things that don’t directly draw lines to God. Instead, I’d rather put it in personal terms. I simply hadn’t the context to appreciate these songs when I was young. Jars sing of complex things, and even though their efforts are sometimes a little cheesy (ever heard “Tea and Sympathy?), they paint a compelling picture by painting around the corners of what we’re normally thinking about. And though I really do think the metaphor in “Tea and Sympathy” is a little… overextended… I understand exactly where the narrator of that song is coming from. And I appreciate what he says now because I’m not a small blathering child anymore talking about things I don’t understand. Not that I have already attained, but I’ve gotten somewhere in the intervening time. And that somewhere understands those great songs by Derek Webb on Caedmon Call’s green and purple albums, the ones that talk about spending nights with friends talking about loneliness and straws that break camel’s backs and driving until hands stick to the steering wheel.

Dan (I want more musicians to write about food, because food is the best metaphor ever.)

Dimensions

I have drawn a circle round you
like a wall
and circles like wheels
within wheels like towers
overhead:

that pencil lies dormant on
the page while
I run until my heart
stops:

when I’m there you
are there and I am in three
dimensions:

we run, we run, we keep on
running until it’s
all we can do to keep
the legs moving one after
another

until we crumple like paper
and become two dimensions
once again,
lying there, dormant
like wheels within wheels:

suddenly too tired to
move, or kiss, or
fall asleep.

About weddings.

This evening, my sister Elyssa got married to the man of her dreams, Eric Van Olst… so she leaves behind the family name and takes on her handsome groom’s family name in good Reformed tradition. It was a great wedding, and a beautiful ceremony. I sang a song during the ceremony, and for once things worked out perfectly… and I didn’t flub my lines at all. Not to mention my sister Rebekah… who sings like she was born to be a singer. Which is probably what she should do with her life.

Anyhow, peace everyone, and have a great weekend.

Dan (Wants to get married now…)

About being very frustrated.

I don’t like to rant – normally I find it rather unproductive. On the other hand, it clears the head a bit, something I need right now.

I have a drill that needs to be done now. Today. It needed to be done yesterday a little bit less, and the day before a bit less than that. And basically, in our production stream, we have five different processes for this drill: chopping, through-feeding, grinding, honing, and polishing. They are currently chopped, but no through-fed. I’m having trouble convincing the people in the manual division that yes, this actually needs to be done, and it actually needs to be done early this morning. In fact, it needs to be done now, not in twenty minutes or in three hours or in six days.

Not to mention that I have to drive these bloody drills to the customer because they’re late enough to burn holes in the pockets of our couriers. That’s what I call late.

Now here I am, in my office, just waiting for these drills to come along, knowing that even if I do get these drills out on time, I’m still going to have the same crappy policies and procedures creating havoc in my life next week and the week after that and the week after that. Until things stop becoming zero-day monters with delivery times in the negatives.

Dan (Like that’ll ever happen.)

About the future, though I’m sure I’ve used that title before.

I wonder what the future will look like. Okay, not the future in which we have flying cars and cities where trains fly through the air like antigravity-equiped serpents. But the future of me. That little slice of tomorrow that belongs so far as I know to this guy and his frail plans.

What works out? What doesn’t? (I’m not so influenced by the always-put-on-a-smile people that I must insist that even when things don’t work out like I want them to they’ve still worked out. They haven’t. If I haven’t gotten what I wanted, then my desire has been disappointed and from my point of view it hasn’t worked out. The end) Where do I go? Where do I get away from? Is the journey the thing, or is it the destination?

I think everything will be fine – at least in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I won’t always get I want, but it’s probably better that way anyways. Even the apostle Paul didn’t get what he wanted all the time, despite being lifted into the heaven of heavens. In fact, he got a thorn in the flesh.

Maybe that’s it, that prayer that God always denies. That healing, that place, that person. Maybe in the third all three wrapped together. But I’ll be fine, I think.

Dan (Don’t I want more than fine, though? No. I’m not arrogant to believe that I deserve better than fine, and if I get that much I’ll be happy.)

ps: Totally unrelated, but the problem with having an amazing life is that it quickly becomes the status quo and you become accustomed to life at that level. You can never have a truly “amazing” marriage, because you get used to things being amazing and gradually focus like you always will on the little things that have gone wrong. The only way to truly have an amazing life is to understand that heights are matched by depth and proceed from there to a place where you’re thankful for what you’ve been given.