Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I want to quote something from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

There’s this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what’s immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what’s right around them is unimportant.

And that’s why they’re lonely.

You see it in their faces. First the little flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you’re just kind of an object. You don’t count. You’re not what they’re looking for. You’re not on TV.

He goes on to talk about a secondary America you see on the back roads off the main highways. He talks about how you see the real country driving through the back roads.

I had a bit of experience with this driving up to New York taking some crazy back roads thanks to my GPS. It really is a completely different experience.

This touches on two things that I believe are important

1. I hate the negative impact TV has.

Reading this as well as “Bowling Alone” paints a pretty dark picture about what TV can do.

It’s not limited to TV either. It’s any medium that has the ability to destroy social bonds and turn people into solitary creatures. It kills ambition to go socialize. My ambition to do so is low to start with so it would be particularly devastating for me. In a way I think my addiction to Internet entertainment may be somewhat similar to TV that Putnam mentions in Bowling alone. Different technology, same effects. Here I sit alone.

Maybe the nature of this is slightly different though. At the moment I am less of a passive consumer than TV would have me be. Most times on the Internet though are spent in read only mode for me.

2. I like the idea of traveling around and seeing lots of different things.

Who knows if I’d like it in practice. Maybe I’ll find out.

I enjoyed my trip to San Francisco a while back. I liked seeing NYC and Boston. Going through the back country in PA was beautiful. Driving through DC on an early Sunday morning was interesting.

Just some randomness for you. Trying to figure out what this is all about.

Book Club MeetUp

Munns convinced me to check out MeetUp.com for something I might be interested in.

I love reading, and need to meet more people / become comfortable talking to strangers.

Joining a book club seemed like a great way to accomplish these things.

Brendan and I joined this club that meets in and around Durham. We had our first meeting tonight reading God’s Middle Finger which was really entertaining. Talking about it was just as fun.

Next month we’re reading Maus, a graphic novel about the holocaust (sounds crazy but won a pulitzer back in the 90s). I’m really excited to expand my literary horizons. Normally I read the same stuff over and over.

On top of meeting new people I hope to meet new types of books. So far it’s going well.

Updates monthly on this.

Douglas Adams Quote

I’ve added a new category for quotes. I always come across good ones, and I’d like to share.

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable, let’s prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

-Douglas Adams

CCIE Attempt #1

We’ll call this post CCIE attempt number 1. I’ve completed my first attempt at the CCIE. I’m not sure how high in number these posts will get.

I sat down, read through the test.. and then said WTF on about 4 or 5 of the questions. Most everything was doable… but some of it was completely out of left field and I would have had no way to study or prepare for it without having taken the test and seen that specific question.

I completed everything but 4 questions out of a 25 page test. The stuff I finished I tested and then tested again.

My rough estimate has me passing.

Cruise Control Alert:

I MIGHT NOT KNOW MY SCORE UNTIL MONDAY THE 26TH SINCE THE PROCTOR IS GOING ON VACATION.

/cruise

That’s a little frustrating. Waiting 6 days to find out if I passed or not after MONTHS of studying and preparation. We’ll see if I get notification sooner, but I don’t think I will.

I feel completely drained. I haven’t been on a normal schedule in over a month. I was on site at Cisco in the lab or working on cases for the past 30 days straight. Sometimes pulling 12 hour days just studying, or working then studying.

It will be a great relief to wake up and know I don’t have to go study or be responsible for any kind of mental activity.

I hope like hell I pass to have this over with. I think I made a pretty good attempt.

The part that surprised me was how nervous I was during the entire test. I didn’t have a calm “you’ve done this before. just repeat what you’ve practiced” moment. I sat down, read through the test, freaked out a little, then continued to rush and mess things up.

I can’t count the number of times I typed

dp shwo rnu

instead of

do show run

or some such similar goofup. So much nervous energy.

The night before I went to bed early.. like 8:40. I woke up at 12, 1, 1:30, 2, 2:50, 3:00, 4:00, 4:30, 4:50, 5:20….

then at 5:30 I decided enough was enough.. no more sleeping for me.. and showed up early. I felt confident walking in, I even felt confident walking out knowing I didn’t complete some of the questions. The ones I did complete I think I completed well.

Seeing the test format fucked me all up. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Word problems never are.

If you’re going to make me do something, put it in a logical order.. or make a giant diagram 😛

I sat down.. read the whole test.. then tried to make some sort of a game plan.. at that point I felt like i was already behind though.. that’s when the nervousness kicked in.. :-/

anyway… we’ll wait and wait and wait.

I’ll try to enjoy my Thanksgiving and get some serious relaxing in. Maybe I’ll play some WoW… or read some books.. I would love to read something that wasn’t Voice CCIE related.

FUCK.. I’m going to do that right now. Time to get past the second chapter of “Atlas Shrugged”

Wish me luck. Let’s hope my configs don’t get erased before they grade my shit (which has happened before).

Done With Dune

I just finished the 6th book in Frank Herbert’s Dune series.

A thought came to me. “I am the destroyer of words.” When I woke up this morning at 11:30 (I was up until 3 reading) I started reading another book.

I want to find some kind of application like maybe an Amazon list that lets me put together a list of all the books I’ve read. I’d like to somehow incorporate this into my own database on my website. Or maybe just link to it from my site.

I think today I’d rather do something besides read all day though. We’ll see how that goes. Weather.com says “You should ride your motorcycle.”

Dune

I’m just finishing up the Dune series by Frank Herbert.

This was recommended to me by Justin who got me interested in it with his Tattoo of the Litany.

Litany Against Fear

I’m reading the 6th book now which was the last one written by Frank Herbert. There are more books but written by his son.

If you haven’t at least read the first Dune book please ask to borrow my copy. Or go buy your own. He attempts, and succeeds, to create a massive universe inhabited with some of the most interesting and compelling characters I’ve seen.