Filed under ramblings

Where have you been?

Actually I should have called this where have I been. This seemed catchier though.

In short the answer is I have been at my new job at They have keep me as busy as can be. Because of this major shift I changed a lot of habits; I stopped writing here as much, I stopped actively contributing to Pelican1, and I also stopped posting to github.

Be not too afraid. I still write plenty of code and fille around with everything. I just stopped posting most of it to github. I mostly use my own private stash instance. There is some publically accessable code for those who are interested. The reason is that stash is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper for my private repos so I just put most of my stuff there. I have been rethinking that lately since I miss a lot of the github community style.

I haven't been blogging much since I have just been focusing most of my documentation and writings to work, and got in the odd habit of putting eveything in my private wiki. For the sake of sharing and hashing things out I am going to refocus on using this blog to document out useful things. Hopefully this means you cna excpect floods of useful things. Maybe some smaller posts too.

On the other side I have been busy with my girlfriend, cycling, dba courseware, studying Japnaese, and my unstoppable anime habit. I have my own house now and a workbench set back up so I may blog about those projects as well...

Anyways. No one loves a vanity post but I wanted to at least put an update out

  1. I'm really sad about this but my personal time dropped sharply between a new job and new girlfriend. 

The search for the perfect wallet

Through my whole life I have always struggled to find the perfect tool for the job. No matter what I am doing I from the big to the little I question methods and tools I am using. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I struggle on and on. This is a story about how I think I found perfection.

I have always had a fascination with wallets. They are where we keep the summary of our life and our valuables. Your wallet is like a woman's purse, the thing that curious people want to pick through to find out more about you and the thing more introspective people think about how it reflects on them. Any time you pay for something the seller glances down and takes a quick look not just at your payment but at what it is coming out of. Your wallet is a statement of you in one of those subtle ways.

In my search I have gone through piles of wallets. I still have a small box in my closet that I have been loathe to throw away with then. I have gone from sleek leather, to big woven bulletproof nylon with lots of features, to slim money clips with stamped leather card slots, to the famous minimal Slimmy. Even with the Slimmy I went through two separate versions, one with window and one without.

Slimmy Vs Band

My goal was to find a wallet that held everything I need to carry with me while still being small and slim. I have been on the largest minimal kick so the Slimmy and money clips were used for the last three years but they were too minimal for my needs. In the end the fact remains that any wallet I found that is small enough to make me happy didn't hold enough and any wallet with enough space for everything was just too damn big.

The answer to my problem came to me several weeks ago while I was hanging out at a bar with my younger brother. We were about to tip up and I heard a familiar sound, the sound of rubber against the hard plastic of a credit card before snapping into place.

As a child my father never carried a wallet. He always just took his little pocket address book, pressed all of his cards up against it, folded up some money, and then wrapped it up in a pair of rubber bands. I asked him several times about why he never carried a wallet like everyone else and he told me it was because he never found a wallet he liked. Also, since he received the newspaper which is wrapped in a rubber band, it was free and replaceable weekly.

Like father like son I guess. When I asked my brother about it he said he "got it from dad" and "It was inevitable, you will succumb to it too." It was and I did.

Wallet w/ battery

In the top most picture I didn't use a normal rubber band but I quickly found that any fancy band I used was too much. Through a few months of testing I found that a traditional rubber band was just enough. In the picture you can easily see that I took the contents of the Slimmy, added my notebook and with the band it is still thinner than the EMPTY Slimmy. Even if I were to add more cards, which I have done, the wallet still manages to be no bigger than the standard four cards and a small amount of cash in a Slimmy that they recommend.1

My rubber band wallet currently contains a Moleskine extra small notebook2, A collapsable pen to write with, a small set of cash, and every card and ID I could need on a day. Somehow it is still smaller and more useful than every wallet I have owned before!

As you can see with the pictures just above the new wallet is just a hair thicker than a AA battery and holds a mass of cards. In fact it actually contains more cards than I actually need. I found if there was too few cards the pen will roll over the cards and wiggle about. I now keep every gift card I have, my Fresh & Easy card, and a random hotel keycard from FurtherConfusion with art on it. Minimalism is amazing but the fact that I never have to go "Oh crap, I forgot card X" is nice.

As for looks? What does this say about me? While as a kid I thought it tacky to have a rubber band for a wallet most people tend to comment on how utilitarian and useful that is. How it holds a notebook and pen in the same space as their own bloated wallets.

No matter how many times I think about the process I think I found the perfect one for the job.

  1. My problem with the slimy is its design. It is only meant to hold about four cards and a small amount of cash. On any day I need to carry my ID, Work ID, Debit Card, PCard. This means ALL extra credit cards, Costco memberships, health cards, gift cards, and even business cards are out. Yes I can live without them but having to drive home and grab my Costco card or applicable gift card every time I want to grab some shopping on the way home is ANNOYING. 

  2. I use a BRIGHT PINK notebook too. It gets comments a lot, sometimes snide, sometimes funny… but the fact of the matter is when my "wallet" is on the table it's hard to miss and that in the end is the point; High visibility. 

Nothing happens for a reason

"Everything happens for a reason." I read this normally innocuous phrase on a friend's blog recently and wanted to toss my coffee mug. The notion of the phrase makes me want to jump out of my chair and flip my keyboard. I'm not going to rag on them for saying or even feeling it, it's simply not my place to tell people how to live their lives, however it bothers me that people who I care about in the world think like that.

I think the mentality of saying not only goes against my beliefs but undermines people's ability to excel. The phrase is a sheep-like mindset that tells us to embrace our losses instead of trying to overcome them. The nature1 of the phrase is predestination, which inherently is talking about divinity, though most often when I see people use it the meaning is less of a religious mentality2 and more an extension of sour grapes. When we over-rationalize our painful decisions or situations we become placated or fight the reoccurrence of the opportunity because it wasn't meant to be. We need some level of coping when we have perceived large losses but too much drags us down.

I quickly jumped up on the train of thought that this year's Burning Man was going to be a bomb when I was denied access to STEP3. However I never rationalized my loss to some point of divinity or told myself that there might be something better I need to make. There is no meant to be in my eyes; only what is and what is not. To this end I penciled in three furry conventions to fill my summer and replace the burn. Just a few days ago some things fell in to place and now I have access to tickets. Had I chose the meant to be mentality would I still want these tickets? Was there a reason for me to go through the extra month and a half of mental strife? No. It happened because mistakes were made. I received an opportunity to get tickets this month because of the people I choose to associate with and the impression I put on them. There was no luck in the preceding.

I am unwilling to ague the validity of anyone's religious or spiritual beliefs but I believe that the moment you take the mentality that anything but you controls and shapes your life you give up the ability to reach your full potential. Removing the accountability for your problems not only dulls the pain of the problems but also the need to own and fix the them.

  1. I'm not going to get into the literal meaning of the phrase, because technically everything does happen for a reason. Laws of nature, inertia, influence, chemical reactions, etc. I am taking about what people mean when they say everything happens for a reason. I was unable to find the etymology in searches but according to my results it seems that the phrase most likely stems from religion. 

  2. Though my mother often uses the phrase followed with "God has a plan", most of my friends don't seem to subscribe to the hyper religious mentality. 

  3. I didn't enter the initial lotto, instead choosing to hold out for the full price second sales. Only people who entered the lotto for cheaper tickets where given access to STEP, the second chance ticket (re)sale system.