Monthly Report for April 2014

Monday, Apr 28, 2014

Going back to publishing my journals; these past weeks have been mostly dedicated to work, and family.

I’ve been moving more of our central automation to Ansible, and also testing the newly released Ubuntu version (14.04 TLS, the Trusty Tahr). It looks like we’re finally going to have to move from Gnome to XFCE, since our thin clients have been giving us no end of trouble with both Unity and Gnome.

We spent a couple of days up at the summer house in Boyaca, with S and family. It feels like we’ve been driving in april a lot more than in previous months.

Finished reading

I’ve been able to complete some of the pending books I’ve been reading:

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

I thought some of these short stories were very tense, almost suspenseful, even without action or drama; the way the characters were presented was enough to get the reader caring about them, and trying to anticipate their decisions, in a masterful exercise at empathy.

As in real life, none of the characters feel to be just there for supporting roles: every one has a rich and detailed history and inner life. And any given encounter can be a fleeting moment just as easy as a life-altering event: there’s no soundtrack in our lives to clue us into which is which, and oftentimes it’s only after the fact that we realize these moments, conversations and friendships for what they were.

Other Earths, edited by by Nick Gevers and Jay Lake

A collection of short stories on alternate history, which I’ve always found a fascinating way to look to our present in light of what might have happened, sometimes with only minor changes to past events.

A story that stood out was Dog-eared paperback of my life, by Lucius Shepard, in which a writer has to deal with several alternate versions of himself, all making their way to the Mekgong delta in a dizzying quest.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

By Robin Sloan

Comics and Graphic novels

DMZ

Finished reading DMZ, by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli; I was never able to really suspend my disbelief of American citizens starting a second civil war (for starters, that would mean getting off the couch).

The artwork was beyond beautiful, though. A decade on the wall, about fictional graffiti artist Decade Later, was probably the most harrowing and haunting art I’ve seen in a while: its depictions of torture, the decay of an island of Manhattan after years of heavy fire, and entire pages of monochrome graffiti and crudely drawn characters make this long novel well worth it.

Gaming

Finished Half-life 2, Episode One; glad to see the franchise is keeping the story as their main focus.

Docpad

Decided to move all of my previous personal site from Drupal to Docpad, and stopped using Pelican for the blog as well.

This integrates better with my current vim-centered workflow, and I’ve enjoyed exploring Docpad and related node.js plugins. I like the ability to edit the blog as part of vimwiki (which makes writing an entry just a couple of keys), and have Docpad convert the blog post from markdown to html, and link it to my main site almost automatically.

Next up: moving the design by HTML5up.net to one based on Bootstrap, perhaps taking as a starting point the Bootstrap + HTML5 Boilerplate template provided by Initializr.