Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Leaving a mark

Most people in all of human history didn't leave much of a mark. The greatest, longest lasting contribution for most of them was simply having children.

So it's actually rather arrogant, but goes well if you have the ambition, to try and make it your life goal to leave a big mark somehow. This drive isn't a bad thing, without it much progress would not have been made.

But one shouldn't feel bad if one lacks the drive. We don't all need to save the world, we don't all need to fill our every waking hour trying to make some difference. It's ok if you do no better than the average human ancestor in the last few hundred thousand years -- it's ok to do rather worse, too. And if you don't plan to have kids, or don't see that happening for other reasons, you probably will do worse. Fine.

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Keep saying no to unionizing tech

There's a lot of hot takes on the OpenAI meltdown this last weekend. One I don't think I've seen elsewhere, but relevant, is that the so far 710/770 employees (with the rest seemingly on PTO) have collectively signed a letter threatening to quit if the board doesn't resign.

It's yet another reminder that collective action does not require unions. Keep them out of tech.

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Went bowling for the first time in a few (more than a few? 2018 or 2019?) years, it's a good hand and finger workout! My best game was only 121, but I've always been happy with anything over 100. I also discovered that I can bowl left handed, possibly even better if I practiced it more.. Did two games left handed, first game I'd say the first 4 frames were just adjusting to the weird feeling, but then that was over and my aim was a lot better. Second game choked at the end but ended with a 99, a lot of well aimed throws. Got robbed a turkey by one pin that didn't go down~

I used a 10 pound ball, I think I would have gotten more strikes if I had an 11 or 12 pounder instead. But I'd need to train my muscles or grip strength more for it I think. In the past I remember using 8 or 9 pound balls though. I don't remember what I used most when I took an online bowling class -- it required something like 6 games per week for a few weeks, it was a short class I took to substitute a PE credit.

I'd like to learn to hook the ball next. I tried several times based on vague recollections from the class on how to do it, but failed. Apparently it's harder if you use the alley balls. This seems like a promising video to try and follow next time.

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Just thinking how I have a somewhat high tolerance for 'mess', especially if it's of my own making. I don't vacuum that often, for instance. My suitcase from my last trip is still lying half open on the floor of another room with a few random things still in it that I haven't decided on a place for yet. And so on. But if a guest is coming over, I'll try and do a lot of sudden cleaning up and organizing. (When I was renting with college students, we'd have at least an annual inspection by property management that forced us all to clean up a lot.) But since that's rare, things pile up. I have a friend who doesn't even do that much, every time I visit they have dishes piled up in the sink so you can't even wash your hands (never gets that bad here), and other stuff I won't mention. I don't really mind, though the thought of "you live like this?" comes across the mind, and I don't mind never being invited to sleep overnight.

Suggested to him he might want to consider a maid. I've thought about it too, at least to have more frequent bathroom cleanings, but I don't like strangers in the house. Still, this song will always be in my memory:

My mom was pretty good at keeping the house clean. Wish I had inherited that habit. But at least if there's expected company, things will be clean, I think I can credit her that much. She would have been 70 this year.

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The Last Choice

In the hushed space between breath and eternity, Alex found himself standing before a shimmering, formless entity. The ambient glow around it pulsed with warmth, knowledge, and an almost overwhelming compassion.

"Where am I?" Alex whispered, his voice sounding distant, like an echo from another time.

"You stand at the threshold of your next beginning," the entity replied, its voice a melody of countless harmonies. "You have departed your previous life, and now you must choose your next incarnation."

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Japan Trip 3


I went to Japan again for the third time, from Sept 15 (left on 14th) to Oct 6. It was sort of a last minute decision to go, with maybe 3 weeks of notice, so the flight wasn't the best. I don't want to fly Air Canada again. I asked a friend if he wanted to come, and he did, so that was fun. Though made hotel finding for the first 2/3 of the trip a bit more challenging, there aren't many twin bed rooms, and of those that are around there aren't many of sufficient room space. (300 sq ft is probably the minimum for two tall guys with stuff.)

My goals for the trip were pretty basic. First as a way to distract myself from some downer thoughts. And second as a pseudo bday gift to myself (though my bday itself is also somewhat a source of downer thoughts), I should maybe indulge in a bit of selfishness and spending on myself from time to time? Having my friend along would also provide some distraction plus practice in being a pseudo guide for someone's first real international trip. He doesn't really know any Japanese.

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Minor apache adjustment

Figured I should do something about naked requests to this server's IP returning an old subdomain's content I don't really put anything on anymore. By default, Apache will use the first configuration it finds (reading vhost files alphabetically) if a request comes in without an associated domain name. Just so happened that the subdomain on another site was alphabetically first. Anyway, I looked up a fix, it seems to work, just put this at the top of that file:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerName default
RewriteRule ^ - [F]

Now naked requests return a 403 error, good. Amusingly this can be an issue for HTTPS too. Even though a secure connection by design requires a domain name, browsers can ignore the mismatch and curl can use -k flag and bots can do whatever. So the default response was for another site I recently setup that's alphabetically prior to this one. Solution is similar, but with Apache you must load an SSL key for the connection anyway, or things will break:

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