I’m still not blogging more

I honestly thought I would be blogging a little bit more, since switching from Android to iPhone, since the iOS WordPress app is so nice, but I just don’t seem to get into it. It’s just too easy to post short stuff to Twitter, and photos to Instagram or Facebook …

I think a part of this is the belief that more people follow me on Twitter, or are friends of mine on Facebook, than read my blog.

There are times when I need to write something down because I know my poor rat brain won’t remember it, so I post it to my blog for my future self.

Then, there are times I want to share something with others… and those are the kinds of things I post to social media sites because that’s where I figure I’ll reach the most people. I suppose if I had the kind of audience that celebrities have, I could post everything here… but I don’t.

I guess I’m just doing some thinking out loud here (uh, typing out loud? writing out loud? writing in plain view?) … just confirming that my lack of posting is definitely not because of some barrier of difficulty: this iOS WordPress app makes this so damn easy.

2011 In Review, Part 1

On the cusp between 2011 and 2012, I decided to take advantage of the much-maligned Facebook Timeline feature and briefly summarize some highlights from the past year.


Ted Williams, the man with the &dquot;golden radio voice&dquot;

January brought us the great story of Ted Williams, a homeless man with that deep radio-personality voice. It’s the kind of feel-good story that was a perfect way to start out the year. Or, at least try to …

Sadly, we learn of Bill Zeller‘s suicide, before which he posts an elaborate suicide note. I could write volumes on how I feel about this, but I’ll just leave well enough alone.

My friend Ian visited us in January, and his Prius wouldn’t start when he went to leave. I can now say that I’ve jump-started a Prius. With all those batteries, you’d think Toyota would have designed it to never need a jump start, right? Wrong.

I discovered that the Mobile Safari browser limits each open tab to 5 MB of memory.

In a fit of despair, I channeled my stress into a redesign of my blog.

Working briefly with Logan Zanelli, we launched Johnny B. Truant‘s new blog design.

Discovered an incredible YouTube video of Phish’s Meatstick from New Year’s 2010:

Egypt packed up its toys and went home, disconnecting the whole country from the Internet.

The North American blizzard dropped so much snow on us, it was the snowpocalypse.

I was able to get my email inbox down to 1,685 messages.

We tried to introduce the girls to Dungeons & Dragons. They both really seemed to like it.


Suzie turned 8, and Charlie turned 11. Both of them celebrate their birthday in February. This makes for a very hectic month, to say the least.

I was introduced to Van Canto’s version of Master of Puppets. A cappella heavy metal. Two great tastes that taste great together …

A brilliant bank robbery was committed, where the robber’s escape plan involved blending into a crowd of construction workers, crowdsourced from Craigslist, and the getaway vehicle was an inner-tube.

Through some friends-of-friends, I started doing some consulting work for BloomAvenue.com (which is now no longer). Later in the year, this would transform into me working from FromYouFlowers.com.


Good ol’ Charlie Sheen grabs a few minutes of fame with his “goddesses.”

Goodnight Dune

Julia Yu gave us Goodnight Dune, a fantastic parody of the age-old children’s classic of similar name.

The world reeled as Japan got pwnt by a tremendous earthquake and tsunami. The catastrophic event trashed the Fukushima nuclear power plants, and held the world’s attention with radiation scares.

Apple launched the iPad 2 tablet this month.

Mazda recalls a bunch of Mazda6’s because of some spiders nesting in its parts.

Blair River, the spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill, ironically dies from pneumonia, at the young age of 29.

Taylor Mali’s incredibly powerful poetry about the importance of teachers makes the rounds on the Internet, again:

The Passaic, Morris and Essex Counties were ravaged by intense flooding. Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency. Unfortunately, this won’t be the last time the area floods, this year.

Charlie and Suzie become “mages” at MagiQuest, starting with the one at the Funplex in East Hanover, NJ.

Facebook quietly starts working on Facebook Deals, most likely in response to Groupon’s tremendous success.

Facebook Deals

Lady Gaga reminds us that she was Born This Way. Matter of fact, we all are. Good to remind ourselves of this, once in a while.

My friend Maya returns to the United States, and I get to see her again after years since the last visit. It’s nice to catch up with old friends, even if it’s bittersweet.

Google finally launches their latest entry into the social web space with “Google +1.”

RSA, the company that’s well-known for creating one-time-password security fobs, gets hacked. This story will not end well …


Eric Whitacre leverages technology to create his “Virtual Choir 2.0.” This is the future I want to live in.

I published a HOWTO on tethering an Android phone via USB to MacOS X.

Epsilon has a data breach where millions of email addresses were acquired.

I did some DIY repair on my Mitsubishi Lancer, replacing the O2 sensor, so that the car would pass NJ state inspection.

We saw the US government nearly shut down because our politicians can’t agree on how to best overspend the American taxpayer dollar.

Steve Buscemi eyes

The eyes might be the windows to the soul, but Photoshopping Steve Buscemi’s eyes onto other people is a window into insanity. Thanks, Internet … everyone needs a new nightmare, every now and then.

My college alma mater, Rutgers, demonstrates that the “RU Screw” is still alive and well, by paying Snooki some $32k to perform.

In the “seriously, this happened?” department, the Med Peds Clinic of Fort Collins, Colorado, employed someone who thought it’d be a good idea to split a flu vaccine dose, by using half of the syringe and swapping out the needle. No, you can’t make this stuff up.

Just when I thought I lived in a sleepy little suburban town, tragedy strikes when someone brutally beats Frank the barber who dies from his injuries, right on Main Street in Bloomingdale.

Charlie's first communion

The four of us spent a week down in Atlantic City, at the Wyndham Skyline Tower.

Charlie has made her first communion at church this year, on Palm Sunday.

SETI stops operating the Allen Telescope Array. Millions of geeks cry out as they try to figure out what to do with their unused CPU cycles.

Adam Mansbach’s faux children’s book “Go the F— to Sleep” gets some press.

Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN) gets hacked, officially. This won’t be the last time …


Just in case you forgot what the American “War on Terror” was all about, Osama bin Laden is finally dead. Little did Sohaib Athar realize at the time, but he live-tweeted the raid.

I finally broke down and bought myself a white iPad 2 (16 GB, Wi-Fi).

Nicktoons threatens to destroy more of my fond childhood memories, looting the corpse of the Voltron legacy.

The Library of Congress makes a wealth of old recordings available online.

Microsoft begins the process of acquiring Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. No shortage of “Sky.NET” jokes at this point.

Google launches its Music Beta service. Is it really the right time for a cloud-based music service?

We get to watch the FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker approve Comcast’s purchase of NBC, then go work for Comcast. No, I’m not kidding …

It’s finally official: I’m now working for FromYouFlowers.com as a Senior Solutions Architect.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama comes to Newark, New Jersey, and tries to tell Americans that we need to teach our kids ethics.

Watermelon farmers in China get screwed when they overdosed their crops with growth chemicals, resulting in exploding watermelons.

Sony’s PSN–you know, the Password Sharing Network–gets hacked again.

Macho Man vs Jesus

Harold Camping predicts the end of the world on May 21st, 2011. Sadly, the Macho Man Randy Savage dies on the 20th, just in time to stop Jesus from coming back to rapture us all. OHHHH, YEAHHHH!

Apparently some “faulty software” released 450 of the most dangerous inmates from California prisons. And people try and make fun of me for living in New Jersey … ??!

One of America’s largest defense contractors, Lockheed Martin, gets hacked. Allegedly, the breach may have involved the recently compromised RSA security technology.

The Ridgewood Cavaliers of Harmony, the barbershop society chapter I belong to, had a sing-out at Van Neste Square in Ridgewood, New Jersey, for Memorial Day.


Samuel L. Jackson, the quintessential Bad Mother F@#!ker, does the audiobook reading of “Go the F— to Sleep.” Naturally.

The girls have their Performing Arts Academy dance recital at the Shea Center on the William Paterson University campus.

Congressman Anthony Weiner resigns after a little sexting scandal, where he accidentally tweeted a link to a picture of his junk in his underwear. D’oh.

Neil Patrick Harris performs the opening number for the 2011 Tony Awards, pointing out that “Broadway’s not just for gays anymore.”

Web designers explore how repeating intervals that follow prime numbers in nature, specifically the cicada, can yield interesting visual effects, as well.

RIM’s stock drops in value by 20% overnight.

Michael Vick comes to Butler, New Jersey, to sign autographs, and winds up being greeted by protesters.

Google starts rolling out Google+.

Weird Al Yankovic releases his Lady Gaga parody, “Perform This Way.”

Britney Spears reminds us that she’s still a hottie, even after poppin’ out a baby, with her video for “I Wanna Go.” Hell, even if you don’t care for Britney, Guillermo Diaz who plays Scarface in Half Baked, appears in the video.

The state of Georgia enacts some anti-illegal-immigrant law, which totally screws the farmers in Georgia who can’t find enough affordable labor to harvest crops. If it wasn’t clear that illegal immigrants aren’t the problem before, it sure ought to be now.

Danous Estenor performs a heroic act of total badassery by lifting up a car, freeing a man who was trapped underneath.

Gary Foster made his alma mater Rutgers proud by embezzling some $19.2 million dollars. In America, you can only get away with it if you’re white …


Okay, it’s almost midnight … and I’m only up to July, so I’m going to post this now. Maybe I’ll get to do the second half of 2011, tomorrow.

Happy New Years, everyone!

Personal update and new family photo

I went through all the trouble of setting up a much improved email subscription for my blog using MailChimp almost 3 weeks ago, and of course I haven’t even posted anything to the blog since! That means a bunch of you signed up to see what I’d done, and didn’t get to see anything, yet. Sorry about that.

Personal Update

Despite the recent hurricane Irene, we spent a week up on Cape Cod, in Mashpee, for the week of August 27th through September 3rd. After dealing with very strong winds and a power outage for a few hours on Sunday, we all had a fantastic time and incredibly good weather. Here’s a family photo we were able to take while we were out at a mini-golf place:

Family photo on Cape Cod - 2011-08-30

We’re back home, the girls have started school again, and work has been keeping me particularly busy.

Work Update

At work, we’ve been testing a fully fault-tolerant design: redundant firewalls, redundant load balancers, a farm of web frontends and replicated database backends. We’ve done several load tests to verify that they’ll be able to handle the volume of traffic that we get, with a fairly large multiple of our highest peak volume.

Tonight, we’re deploying these servers. Even though I’ve done this many times over the course of my career, it’s still exciting in its own way. Sometimes you have something unexpected happen that you have to deal with. However, when things just go smoothly, according to plan, like it did tonight … it’s just a great feeling, watching everything just fall into place.

I hope everyone’s had as best a week they can, given the circumstances–the flooding on the east coast, etc. I’ll try to post updates more frequently. Oh, and if you have any comments or feedback about the new MailChimp-delivered blog email updates, definitely let me know! I really want to hear what everyone thinks of them. Thanks!

Blog updates, now via MailChimp


A few dozen people have signed up to receive email updates to this blog, which I’ve used Feedburner for in the past. However, I realize that I don’t have much control over how Feedburner does things, and I’ve finally decided to do something about it.

Now, I’m changing over to using MailChimp to send out the blog updates using their RSS campaign feature.

Using MailChimp, I can have my blog updates emailed out using a custom template, which I’ve styled to look very similar to my actual blog. Now, maybe my choice of colors and style needs serious help, but at least now I have the option, where I didn’t before.

What this all means is, if you’d like to receive (or continue to receive) emailed blog updates, you’ll need to subscribe to this new list. (Sorry!) To make that easier, I’m including a sign-up form below.

Fill out this form now to get updates emailed to you:

* indicates required

Email Format

Artificial insomnia, this is not good

Recently, my witch doctor and I decided to change up my meds, removing Paxil from the blend and doubling up on the Wellbutrin. This has helped in some ways, but made things more difficult in others. This is to be expected, but I wonder how long it’s going to last–is this a temporary adjustment or a permanent result of the new blend?

Basically, the problem is that I’m not able to really focus during the normal daylight hours on getting work done like I used to. Before, I’d get up at 8 AM, sit down and start concentrating on things. Now, my head just feels fuzzy, well until noon, or even longer some days.

Now, what’s interesting is that around 10 PM until about 4 AM, I feel like I used to from 8 AM to 2 PM. Before, 3 PM was my low point and I’d often feel like passing out. Before, I used to get to bed around midnight and get up around 8 AM, and it worked really well. These days, I’ve been getting to bed around 4 AM, and fighting hard to wake up around 9 AM, feeling quite sleep deprived.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems going to sleep at midnight like I used to, but that means only being awake for 2 hours of my “peak brain time” vs. the 6+ hours I had before. When I stay up late, even though my brain is in the sweet spot, I’m exhausted and struggle to stay awake.

It’s only been a few weeks since the change in the meds, so I’m going to see if things start to get back to normal. Obviously, if it’s still an issue when I have my next appointment, it’ll be a major focus of the visit, but for now, I’m trying to be patient. But, it has become extra-difficult to get serious work done, and now is totally not the time given the new gig I recently started. (I’ll write more about that, in another entry.)

Transitioning to a new 4096-bit RSA GPG key

@pleia2 reminded me that I ought to generate a new GPG key, given the recent advances in cryptography, etc. So, I just did. The new key’s fingerprint is:

pub   4096R/8D9740AA 2011-05-18
      Key fingerprint = C535 6302 1171 987D 738E  BFD8 2B1A B2E1 8D97 40AA

My old key’s fingerprint:

pub   1024D/EE812431 2004-08-27
      Key fingerprint = 0B12 F42F 2263 0444 B147  2C66 3587 2D37 EE81 2431

Read the full text of my GPG key transition statement (signed by my old and new keys).

Should I start another blog?

So, lately I’ve been thinking … maybe I should create another blog. One that is totally separate from this one and as anonymous as possible.

You know that saying, “if you’re shocked by what I do say, you couldn’t begin to imagine the things I’m thinking that I won’t say.” Yeah, it totally applies to me. But, I’m realizing that I really need an outlet to get those things out and share them, despite the fallout they’ll create.

I’ve been sitting on what I wrote above, thinking about it more and more. Then, the synchronicity of Chris Brogan’s latest post, “Don’t Be Chris Brogan“, helped me make my decision.

Screw it. This is my blog, for better or worse. Writing here is supposed to be mine. My intent isn’t to drive away readers, but at the same time, if I’m not putting 100% of myself into everything I write and post, I’ll never be happy with it. And, it’ll show. And, I won’t write as much, because I’ll always be doubting whether I should post it or not. And, the stuff worth posting might not get posted and that would be a real shame.

I guess consider this fair warning that, from here on out, Dossy’s Blog is going to be my space to publish whatever I feel I need to get out there. If it strikes a nerve with you, I welcome you to either respond in the comments, or if it really bothers you, stop reading. But, I just can’t do what I’ve been doing. It’s just not working for me.

Eleven years ago, today

September 25, 1999 … Looking back, I can’t believe it’s already been 11 years. (That’s ridiculous. It’s not even funny.) It was a time of incredible flooding. Google came out of beta. 1999 was The Year That Changed Movies. Y2K was quickly approaching.

… and, Samantha and I became legally married.

Dossy and Samantha wedding picture

It hasn’t been an easy eleven years, and I suspect the next eleven won’t be, either. But, they’ve been great in all aspects of the word, and I have no doubt that trend will continue.

I’ve been blessed with a beautiful and amazing wife. She has given me two very special daughters who have changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. I could never have gotten this far without their love and support.

Samantha, I love you so very much. Happy anniversary.

Ah, brain, you cruel mistress

So, I had grandiose plans of trying to post updates to the blog at least three times a week, every week, for the month of May. Uh, the last update before this one was April 28th. Basically, I blogged more the last week of April than I have the whole month of May, so far. What the heck happened?

I just don’t get it. It’s like my brain is sabotaging my plans! Why is it so hard for me to write things down? I have the same problem with writing documentation at work: I tend to think I write very well, but I just can’t commit words to paper, or in this case, an editing buffer. Tons of words, sentences, ideas, etc., flow through my brain at an incredible pace, but nothing wants to come out. I sit with my hands resting on the keyboard, but every time I move my fingers to type something, my brain stops me and I feel like what would have come out wasn’t the right thing to say.


Got a bit of the man-cave (the garage) cleaned up with the help of my Dad, and set up the bench grinder that my wife got me for Father’s day last year. Now I can sharpen all sorts of things, and buff and polish others, with ease — sure, the Dremel “does the job” but this just makes things so much easier and better. The table saw and miter saw are also stored in a better place that makes them easier to take out and use, and my Dad ran a new outlet to the post between the two cave openings (garage doors). All very useful things for DIY projects.


On May 7 and 8, I attended PICC’10 in New Brunswick, NJ. It was a really great, fun, two-day conference for IT professionals, primarily focused at system administrators.

The next conference I’m planning to attend is ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010, June 27 to July 1, down in Washington, DC. I’ll probably only be there for two of the days. If you’re going to be there and want to meet up, let me know!


I set up a VMware guest with CentOS 5.4 x86_64 with EPEL 5, as my development sandbox for work, since that’s what they deploy on. It’s actually quite nice, not nearly as bad as I remember Redhat-based distributions being in the past.


I’ve set up a copy of CrowdFusion on my laptop, and plan to start working on a few plugins. I’m tired of dealing with crappy CMS‘es like Drupal or Joomla! but CrowdFusion is still quite “beta” in some ways. I figure if I can contribute here and there, the sooner I could propose it seriously in RFP responses and the happier I’d be. I’ll say this: as “beta” as it might be, CrowdFusion 2.0 is already better than Drupal or Joomla! at its core. Once a suitable collection of plugins are developed and tested, and a theme gallery is available and populated with attractive themes, there’ll be no reason to use anything else.

One damn thing over and over …

“It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over.”

— Edna St. Vincent Millay [source]

Every now and then I get the urge to write an entry here about what’s going on in my life, but the biggest challenge is picking a relevant title. It’s probably one of the biggest hurdles I have to sitting down and writing the entry – how stupid is that? Ugh.


Back in February 2010, the company I had been working for since February 2007 was acquired by another company. Previously, my benefits were through Aetna, but the new company’s benefits are through Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Turns out BC/BS’s mental health coverage is really lame, and my current witch doctors aren’t in-network. No big deal, just find new doctors, right? Riiiiight …

BC/BS’s online provider directory website is total crap because the data it uses is absolutely broken. In my searches, I found four or five physicians listed at the same address and phone number, but not in a group practice: when I called, it turned out the number was for a hospital. I’m guessing it was a hospital where these doctors had billed through previously. Either way, these search results are basically useless in trying to find a new physician whose practice is located near me, if the location the directory has isn’t where their practice is located!

Of course, leaving this to the last minute, I’ve run out of refills on my meds and I’m down to my last few doses. So, now I’m trying to find a new doctor with a totally useless provider directory, who is nearby and is taking new patients and can get me an appointment right away and not weeks from today, and will write me a new prescription that I can get filled, with no knowledge of my prior history which means I have to start explaining things all over again … argh!


I really want to get into a huge rant about work but I know I shouldn’t. I’ll just say that I’m not impressed at how things have unfolded. I don’t know how much opportunity there is for me to change things if I stay, especially since I’m only one person and everyone else just seems thankful to have a job regardless of how bad it gets. I don’t know if I can work in this new environment, or for how long.

Once I’ve decided for certain what I’m going to do and how I’m going to proceed, I might get into more detail … we’ll see.


I still have a gaping hole in the middle of the living room ceiling. I really don’t want to take the siding off the front of the house in order to try and fix this leak properly. I wish I had more friends who were handy and could help me out with this sort of thing. If I had to pay someone to do this, it wouldn’t be worth their while because the job is so small … so I’d end up getting overcharged, and I know it.


I need to fix a hose on the pool equipment so we can open the pool next month. It’s the section that connects the pool skimmer and drain to the pump basket. Not a huge task, but it means I need to go down to the pool supply place to pick up a short length of hose, an elbow and a coupler, and do the PVC glueing. At least I have a week or two before I really need to get this done.


2009 income taxes! I didn’t file yet, but luckily 12 counties in the state of NJ got automatic extensions until May 11 due to the storms. I’ve gone through most of the numbers so I’m almost ready to file, but I’d like to double-check everything one last time before I send it off … probably this weekend, sometime.


It’s interesting to me that more conversation happens in response to my posts over on LJ than they do on my own blog. I wonder … is it because my blog makes it difficult to comment? Is it because my blog readers are more passive? Is it because no one’s actually reading my blog? Are LJ users just more inclined to participate in conversation than the typical blog reader?