As if having the in-laws over on the weekend didn’t make things hectic enough, it was also Mother’s Day on Sunday (which is, in part, why the in-laws were here), and to top it off, I was actually feeling motivated and decided to get a bunch of TODO items off my list.
So, in between hanging out with the mother- and brother-in-law and joining my sister and mom for a nice brunch at The Manor Café (which is, BTW, an excellent restaurant… the brunch was really fantastic), I also:
- Got the push mower assembled and the front yard lawn cut.
- Rented a lawn roller and compressed the soil in the backyard and parging, after which I started staking out the garden area (though Lenore and I still need to discuss general positioning, etc ;).
And, as if that wasn’t enough, I also did a little bunny-cage-refactoring. You see, we have this giant, home-made bunny cage, depicted below (note, this is an old picture… the cage went through some other minor refactoring since this photo was taken):
Now, the first thing you might ask yourself is, why so big? Well, the plan was to have our two bunnies co-habitate eventually, but alas, that is not to be. So, until yesterday, Herbie, our smaller rabbit, was in the giant cage, and Chloe was in a rather small floor cage (since her Abscesses made it necessary to keep her cage really clean, a task more easily achieved in a smaller cage). This was doubly silly since Herbie never really used the upper floors, anyway.
But all that has changed! I decided this situation was downright silly (not to mention space inefficient) and modded the mansion, dividing it in half, thus creating two cages, one in the top half and one in the bottom, with Herbie remaining in the bottom, and Chloe now inhabiting the top. Photos to come once I get around to taking some.
Meanwhile, tonight the plan is to get the final garden position staked out, the compost started, and perhaps the unkillable Rhubarb in the ground. And if I still have time, maybe I’ll start planting the annuals that we bought on the weekend…
Here’s the image of the new cage layout. Images of the yardwork, still pending.
So, the text editor adventure continues. It’s funny, for a long time now coding has lost some of it’s fascination. This is probably at least in part because I’ve been doing it for… 12 years now. Jebus. Thus, I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut. But now I actually find myself looking for reasons to code, if anything to give me an excuse to further explore the power of Vim. Go figure.
‘course, the real question is, what do I work on with my shiny new editor? I could work on, like, work, but that seems wrong somehow. Work on my off-time? How is that a good idea? I could try to come up with a project of my own, but I’m largely tapped out for ideas right now. Or I could continue to try and hack away with POV-Ray… though I’m hardly artistically talented. It’s a bit of a quandry.
What I should really do is see if there’s a script for Vim to publish to a wiki. And should I be unable to find one, maybe I should try to hack one up myself! Hmm… I see a project brewing…
So, with the announcement of Vim 7.0, the ridiculously confusing ying to Emacs’ fat, bloated yang, I’ve decided to take a break from my traditional editor, Emacs, and give Vi another go (with the help of a VIM Reference Card).
Now, you might be asking yourself, “why oh why, dear god, would he do this to himself?!?” And, frankly, I have no good answer to that question. Toying with it, I have to admit that there seems to be a lot of power behind the incredibly esoteric Vi interface. To call it a programmers editor is an understatement… the various commands in Vi, together, compose a bewilderingly complex, difficult to understand programming language tailored specifically to interactive text editing. Moreover, the focus on the keyboard means less mouse use, resulting in less shoulder strain. And the fact that most of the commands are simple characters means no more Emacs-finger, due to reaching for the control key.
And all this power comes in a deceptively slim package. The editor starts up blindingly fast, which means it’s great for small edits or larger tasks, unlike Emacs, which I tend to start up and just leave running. And the fact that it’s terminal based (it doesn’t open up a separate window) means I can run it inside of GNU Screen comfortably, thus allowing me to migrate work to and from the office easily by detaching and reattaching screen sessions.
So, we’ll see how it goes. I’ve been spending my time hacking C code and writing POV-Ray scenes with it, and so far the experience has been positive. And I think there’s a certain zen to Vi commands that I’m slowly starting to grasp… an order in the chaos so to speak. And, hey, in reality, is ‘C-x C-s’ really that much easier than ‘
:w' (especially after mapping 'jj' to and ';' to ':')?
The company I work for hired a new sysadmin a while back by the name of Arkadi. He’s a Russian ex-pat (Siberian, to be precise) and made his way here ultimately through work. He’s a quiet fellow, but he has a fantastic sense of humour, and is a great guy to talk to once you get him going. Really, he’s the new Carl of the company… still waters, and all that. But there’s more to him than meets the eye.
You see, Arkadi has this dream. He wants to build himself a boat. A 40’ foot boat, made from steel, to be precise. And then he wants to sail around the world in it. But the incredible part is, he’s going for it. In his backyard. By himself. Now, that alone is incredibly admirable, I think. Honestly, how many of us have really considered pursuing our dreams with such dedication? But in order to achieve that goal, he needed to get an inexpensive house (building a boat ain’t cheap) with a large yard and neighbours that didn’t mind the sound of MIG welding, a combination of attributes that proved highly difficult to find in a home.
So, what was his solution? He and his wife bought a piece of land outside the city, and he proceeded to build his house. No, that wasn’t a mis-print, he built it. By himself (with a little help to get the walls raised). He and his wife even designed it from scratch. And all this without any prior experience in construction, just some background in creating plans thanks to his engineering degree.
Now I bet you’re curious what his house and boat look like, eh? Well, you can check out the websites for his completed house and in-progress boat by following the links below:
Frankly, his story is inspiring to me. He’s proof that anyone with the desire can achieve their goals if they’re willing to put in enough hard work. His achievements also make me realize how often I place artificial limits on my own capabilities. I just hope I can take a cue from Arkadi and push some of my own boundaries. Fortunately, I have some stepping stones in the form of a deck to build, a basement to finish and a garage to raise…