Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Feather or Focus (Humpday Haiku)

Feather or Focus

Is consistency
humanity's greatest trait
or greatest weakness?

Perhaps it becomes
a useful crutch for coping.
We do what we must.

To master your life
you must have it or chaos
closes around you.

No consistency
is precarious floating,
on unstable breeze.

To master your life
you must also recognize
hunters follow paths.

Enemies know you
so you must become unknown
but not disgusting.

Have a good fortress.
You grow in quiet places.
Hear His soft whispers.

Fight in the chaos
Embrace inconsistency,
the sign you need growth.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fascinating Things about Regular Expressions and Oracle

I'm finally doing some programming in my role as a programmer at work. I'm a "Support Programmer" which means my bread and butter is correcting the data the "Programmer programmers" didn't get right the first time. Occasionally, I get to modify code, and recently I wrote something that added some functionality to a piece of existing code. To help validate my change, I had to create a query that would parse a log message, and aggregate some data so I could understand what got processed by the code I modified.
I learned the following important facts:

  • REGEXP_SUBSTR is a great Oracle function. There are some quirks with it that need to be considered, but all in all, I'm trying to always use it instead of SUBSTR. One of the limitations in REGEXP_SUBSTR is that for now, there's no support for look behind or look ahead functions. To work around this, I had to take a REGEXP_SUBSTR of my REGEXP_SUBSTR.
  • Pattern matching requires its own mindset. You must not only keep the end result of the pattern you want in your mind, but you must also consider what the pattern is on the way to becoming what you want.
  • TIMTOWTDI is a blessing and a curse. There may be more than one way to do it, but there can also be more than one way to almost do it. This can be dangerous.
As I continue to grow and develop as a programmer, I chase after "The Better Way". Because SQL has a well structured set of instructions, that better way is often subtle, and involves understanding things like profile optimizers, and indexed searches. Every day I respect, and like SQL more.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May News, Plans for the Summer

Here's a report on what's going on in my often scattered brain:
I'm learning to calm my soul: Thanks to Psalm 131. It's a short and deep scripture.

My eldest child turned 12 over the weekend, one year from now, I'll officially be an Old Man, ie, father of a teenager!

Old dogs can learn new tricks, I've learned a lot about using regular expressions in Oracle, and have a detailed post coming about that.

On the Ham radio front, I'm considering downsizing my shack significantly. The girls are more interested in birds than radios, and I'm ok with this. Keep your eyes posted for some items for sale to fund my binocular/spotting scope/camera needs.
There will be good deals to be had!

politics: Always always always remember: Poly: More than one. Tick: blood sucking disease bearing parasite.Don't let them rule you, instead trust in the rule of Christ.I'll have some more interesting thoughts about the role of Christ and the government later.

Bromeliads are amazing, and the T. simulata growing in the backyard named "Choo-choo cha-cha" is doing especially well! I'm this close to being done with an update on that.

Much of life is lived in a boomerang fashion, being that while it doesn't repeat itself, it does rhyme. Currently, I'm reading some of my old college textbooks, and gaining insight into scripture I don't think I could have possibly had when I was 19 or 20. It's amazing how some things improve with age!

Speaking of age, I turn 40 in October, you have been warned.

Over the summer I plan to go birding a lot. By a lot, I mean at least once a week. Doing anything regular is a crazy thing to accomplish. The eyes need to see green things, the heart needs to soar with our avian friends, and the brain needs to be occupied with sorting out the deeper connections humanity has on this planet.

little things in place x become big things in place y.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Rebel Hill

Many Yankees came on that cold March night
Between thunder, rain, the late sleet and hail
Pickets taken! Courage fled at the sight
Hearts faltered, hands weakened, and men turned pale

So these wounded men with their wounded pride
Had in vain it seemed paid such a high price
No hope and no more would these Rebels ride
The noble cause, dead, it would not suffice

Almost released, a voice destroyed the plan
"That is the boss!" cried the newly freed man
The Captain now old, faces the hard truth
He's captured by those he fought for in youth

All that is left from history
Is the name his children bear
Where else he's been still a mystery
Buried in New Orleans somewhere

I began writing this poem in the spring of 2014, as the sequi-centennial of my Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather's death in a Union prisoner of war camp in New Orleans. He died there from "pneumonia", possibly a complication from injuries incurred during his capture. He was a Captain in the Militia of Rapides Parish. Specifically, he was training soldiers on how to use artillery when he was captured. As best as our family historians can tell, he was born in Canada, joined the US Army in Maine, saw some action during the Mexican American War where he received injuries, and an honorable discharge as a result. He was paid for his service in the US Army with a land grant in Rapides parish, near Alexandria, LA. When the civil war broke out, he would have been an older man, but his family was young. He was called into service by the Governor and given the duty of training Confederate troops and home guard in the use of artillery. When the Yankees captured him, a recently freed slave said that he was not an enlisted man, but rather was the captain of the local militia. He was then sent to the POW camp in New Orleans, where he died April 30, 1864. The location of his grave became part of Canal Street in New Orleans sometime in the early 20th century.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

He is Risen INDEED

Thoughts from this last Sunday:
The kids are in the other room getting Easter Baskets.
I love watching them get a "surprise". Little toys, some candy, it brings joy and helps you understand what Christ means when he said to have a "child like faith".
There's nothing happier than a 2 year old with chocolate.

Sunday service just blurs past me. The same two year old is now a handful. Scared of children's service because of the ever present threat of puppets. Never mind that last week I worked with her using a puppet, that she apparently now likes.
Sunday morning was too much.
After the kids time she goes to the two year olds' class. I caught 5-10 minutes of the sermon.

Eating at a church potluck with small children is a challenge.
And the two year old fears the Easter Bunny.

I'm home, processing the day, wondering:
Have I proclaimed that He is risen? Does anyone know what I believe?
The only direct proclamation I made all day was a single Facebook post (29 likes when I wrote this), quoting an angel at the tomb: "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"
Is this my only witness now? What else is needed?

The early Church used a sort of code, they would great each other with "He is Risen", and the person being addressed would respond: "He is Risen Indeed."
Let's think about what that means:
"He" -> Jesus, born in Bethlehem, son of Mary, son of Joseph (so it was thought), son of God, savior of the world
"is" -> currently, RIGHT NOW, verifiably.
"Risen" -> Once dead, now no longer. Resurrected, without death. Not merely a reanimated corpse zombie Jesus, as the godless mock, but alive with a spiritual body that's physically discernible, rationally observed.
"indeed" -> actually, observably, physically happened, "indeed" means "in deed". A real act. Witnessed by many.

Because He is Risen In Deed, I hope to obtain the same.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

NAQCC CW Sprint Tonight!

I should participate, there's supposed to be prizes.
The kids will be going to bed....
I've got the gear ready to go....
One thing bothers me.
Logging. I lost my e-log due to a computer mishap (may be recoverable, idk yet), and it's keeping me behind at LOTW. I don't have a lot of QSOs to add over there, but I do have a few.
I have another logging program installed on my laptop right now, it uses some N1MM software.
Need to QRV...
info about the sprint/contest/prize:
Tomorrow night, April 11th ( The morning of April 12th for those of you not bothered by UTC conversions), will be the 150th NAQCC Monthly Sprint.  That's 12 and a half years of monthly NAQCC Sprints now - since the club was formed.  In honor of this momentous occasion, the leadership of the NAQCC has planned something special.
Info about NAQCC:
Will anyone be interested in trying to pick me out of the noise on 80m on 3579?
I'll fire up the NoGA Twin Tube 80, otherwise, I'll be QRV at the full QRP gallon (5w) using a Kenwood TS-140s.
My # 7276

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Some Notes about Phalaenopsis Orchids.

I like orchids, I love them, and the more I learn about them, the more I want to know about them. I'm not even prejudiced when it comes to what orchids I like. Right now, in my back yard, I'm creating a little bit of an orchid area. I'm slowly converting an old playhouse into an orchid greenhouse. This project is long running. I've been working on this conversion for over a year now. Let me tell you about the plants that live there.
Right now, I have three four Phalaenopsis orchids. This will be about the first two I got.
This one I gave to my wife for her birthday 2015, the blooms were a light green. It set a spike in 2016, but didn't bloom, so I cut the spike to allow the plant a year to rest and grow nice big healthy leaves. Of course, I then tried to kill it by setting it out in the sun too long one day, and one of the leaves got sunburned and fell off! There was also some damage done to another one of the leaves by a kid, so I cut that section off.

An earlier spike was killed while just barely budded out due to kid injury. Fortunately, it set a second spike. We didn't have green flowers in time for my wife's birthday, but there's a bloom now!
 I can't wait to see how the flowers on the rest of the spike turn out.

 In this picture, you can see more of the overall green tones of the flowers. That's one of the reasons why I chose to buy this orchid for my wife, the "Kelly green" factor :-)

Then there's the $2 big box store clearance special. I paid two bucks for this baby, and it was in horrid shape. The mix it was planted in was horrible, the leaves were really floppy and puckered, and the roots were rotted except for one. Truly a project plant! I decided to give raising it a shot though, so I changed mix, trimmed off the decayed roots gave it a good soak, and held on tight. It didn't take long to set new roots, and a new leaf. I was really surprised to see it even set off a couple of spikes in the winter. When spring arrived the spikes budded out and made flowers.

Totally worth the $2 and time I put into it.
 This is from April 2016. It's been a long row to hoe with this plant, but as it grows, I like the simple flowers it produces more and more.
Phalaenopsis in profile

These last couple of pictures are from this year! The blooms look wonderful.

It just keeps on giving too! This spike is starting to show some great flowers, even though the leaves got sunburned like the last one, the blooms look very good to me.

The two that started this round of orchid collecting for me, in bloom at the same time!

I have two more I need to get some good pictures of. One is a mini phal I got for our wedding anniversary, and the other came from my parents on their visit last August.