GUI/X11/Xfree86/Xorg OS/Software

Zen console messages

It’s a shame that console messages from GUI apps usually go unread. I just discovered the following profound koan in an xterm from which I’d run Firefox:

Warning: more than one line!
Warning: more than one line!
Warning: more than one line!
This should only happen once
Warning: Attempt to remove nonexistent passive grab

Life Personal


I don’t have many ambitions. In fact I try to leave the Future well alone these days, since it tends to have no basis in reality.

But there is one thing that I want to do — on such a deep level that I know with almost absolute certainty (as much as anything can be certain, and considerably more certain than the day-to-day things that most people take as certainties without question) that I will do it, somewhen. I know this, or strongly suspect that I know this, because I have no idea WHY I want to do it, or HOW I’m going to do it… and I feel a certain amount of fear about it. But it is just there, hovering, glittering in the hyperspace of my backburner consciousness, like how my innocent and what-might-now-be-called-Aspy hyper-literal imagination used to interpret the phrase “since you were just a twinkle in your father’s eye”.

I will go to Burning Man.

I probably will not go to Burning Man until I can chill out a bit about it, so to speak. Having this level of certainty tends to provoke expectations of epiphany. I need to reach the point of knowing, on that same deep level, that (a) life’s purpose is revealed in every moment, and (b) life’s purpose is to wake up enough to see what is being revealed in every moment and receive it. One of the appeals of BM in contrast to other festivals, which always seem like temporary opt-outs from the real world and I have adjustment difficulties at either end of them, is that it’s a completely blank canvas. It’s not a gig, it’s not a festival, it’s just a gathering in the desert, and nothing is there except what you bring. I feel that may make it easier to bring home and integrate whatever I experience, because everything was done by ordinary people, rather than a faceless organisation. And because I will be determined to contribute, and to feel like a contributor rather than a spectator. To be through doing, not viewing. To be consciousness moving matter, instead of a disembodied lost soul.

I have a lot of work to do.

FamilyLife Life The Small Things

Darling Sons

This morning, DS1 (who is 3 years old) breezes into my room to wake me up as normal. He opens the curtains as normal. “Ooh look!”, quoth he, “lights are on cos it’s dark outside”. It is indeed pitch black. I look at the clock. 04:00 on the dot. “Erm, it’s a bit early to be getting up. Can you go back to bed please?” He did, bless him.

My car is unwell so I’ve been shuttling the pair of them back and forth to nursery by train. Of course they love this, while it shreds my nerves somewhat. They’ve actually been really good, not running up and down the carriage, not terrorising fellow passengers, not teetering on the edge of the platform etc. Same cannot be said of the visit to the supermarket this evening… DS1 starts grabbing random things off shelves and throwing them on the floor. DS2 wanders off. The former is plain attention seeking and can be dealt with as such, but the latter poses a problem: DS2 (2yo) is quite advanced with speech, but doesn’t seem to know when he’s being called, no matter how loudly or fiercely I shout. If I go and get him, DS1 feels spurned and starts attention-seeking again.

*breathe* It will get easier…

Meanwhile, I wonder what I’m doing here, and whether to move back to Soton. It’s likely to happen sooner or later, by the looks of it, but the timing’s bad as I’ve got a lot of work on till the end of the year. Not that I won’t necessarily have just as much in another 6 months’ time…

Now playing: Esem “Scateren” ..161

Life Local Personal Southampton UK

New Forest

Bike on train to Soton, cycle to hosp for my eye checkup (all fine), then headed into the forest for a bit. “A bit” turned into “a while” as the faeries switched all the paths around behind my back; despite assiduously memorising my inbound route, I couldn’t find it again to get out. New Forest faeries are a tricky bunch, they do this sort of thing all the time. The best policy is to do what the ponies do, swish quietly and stay serene. Got help from a passing fawn (or was it a faun?), and made it out before it got too dark to see, which is always a bonus.

I never used to like the forest, but that was because I usually let S choose which bits of it we went to, and she always chose the same bits, which even if they’d been really spectactularly nice (which is not how I’d describe Deerleap), would’ve bored me eventually. I’m an explorer, I always prefer going somewhere I’ve never been before (or went to so long ago that I’ve forgotten it!). So not ready to settle down somewhere… but if the kids go to school, I may have no choice but to go back to Soton. That might not be so bad, I just dislike the fact that I never seem to have a choice, or only Hobson’s choice.

Life Local


It was a beautiful day so I headed back in time to go out on the bike. Bought it a couple of weeks ago, having not ridden for 10 years. Taken it out twice so far, just far enough to raise some concerns that it’s the wrong bike for me, wondering if I should try to return it or sell it before it gets dirty. But had to go out.

Bought and fitted a gel saddle, which is a big improvement over the rock solid one it came with, and had a most refreshing excursion of 8 miles or so over Upton Heath and around Beacon Hill. Enough to realise I do want to change it (and of course it’s dirty now). It doesn’t cope with sand, and there’s a lot of sandy heaths around here. It’s inexplicably heavy, and there seem to be a lot of gates that it has to be lifted over. Want something a tad more agile… but I’m just happy to have rediscovered cycling. I love it. I love for the first time having a bike that can (sand notwithstanding) cope with tracks as well as roads. Now, what if instead of merely coping, it excelled…

Life Southampton

House Party

The car shuddered and juddered and wheezed its way along the final half mile to Sarah’s. I flipped the bonnet and gave the throttle cable a gentle pull to see if it was doing the same “little puff of white smoke from the engine block” thing it had done on the return from Nottingham. Ah yes, there it is. And hakk hakk karf, oh, there’s a HUGE cloud of acrid white smoke just come out of the exhaust. Never had that before. I don’t know much about engine mechanics, but I reckon that might not be a good sign.

I had been planning on going to Earthdance this weekend, but started going off the idea when I found out it was at the Scala, and for other random reasons. But had no alternative option. Then news emerged of a house party in Soton. Much better, I love house parties.

Of course it was nothing like my expectations. Ali was supposed to be coming, but didn’t. Tom didn’t originally sound keen on the idea but came along and seemed to enjoy it. Manitou (a free party crew) had done a full-on UV decor and soundsystem job in the lounge, to the extent that it really felt more like a club than a house party, especially with beer on tap and a nitrous dispensary. Outside that room, other rooms were at capacity and giving off cliquey vibes by the time we arrived. Didn’t feel comfortable trying to infiltrate there… maybe I just wasn’t in a conversational mood (wasn’t wearing a crystal). So it was fine, I spent most of the night in the club room dancing, drinking, and chatting a bit, with occasional rests in the hammock on the “beach” (it was a beach party — they’d shipped in a load of sand and a paddling pool) but mostly dancing.

There was one other person who was on the same kind of dancing vibe as me, really feeling it, and for much of the evening we danced together, moved around each other, made lots of friendly eye contact… didn’t touch and didn’t talk, because there was no need. The smiles and movement and aura of mutual respect said it all. Trying to talk to her would’ve just felt so wrong. That may be the first time I’ve honoured that feeling, instead of letting some inner voice which isn’t even me tell me that I “should” talk to someone in that situation, and then beat myself up for not doing it.

Overall had an excellent time. Left about 5am, got to sleep about 6, up at 11 with the barest of hangovers, considering. Had wine, mostly. Not ideal from a plastic pint glass (it’s all they had), but that may actually have got me drinking more slowly, carefully… However, Montana Sauvignon is waaay too sweet/fruity, and Jacob’s Creek Sem/Ch, which used to be my staple, I find quite unpleasant these days. Changing taste in wine seems strangely fundamental, like it tracks more deep-level changes. White’s not doing it for me, yet cheap Chilean red is going down nicely… and not only did I find myself able to drink Donna’s rosé without retching, I voluntarily had a second glass. Don’t worry, it’s a long way from there to being a committed pinkdrinker (that could be a nice euphemism… or not…).