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7 April 2017

Some Considerations, a Newsletter, and the Influence of Dreams

by Andrew

A bold title for a post this is. And now I must write it. But I forgot what considerations I was even considering.

The newsletter reminds me, right. That I've been thinking of collecting email addresses, in order to possibly do a newsletter some time in the future. What would I need to do in order to do that?

I'm at the kitchen table typing. The internet barely works in the garret. Though I don't need the internet to type these posts. I'm sitting down here still. I did my taxes earlier. For which I did need the internet, to do taxes, to submit them.

And the damn dog, captain Crunch, she's chomping on her food over there in the corner. Never have I heard a dog eat so loudly, I swear, the damn things. Which sets me off completely, I can't even help, hearing people eat. And dogs too, I suppose. She's about to get a kick in the gut, booted right out the door.

For the newsletter,—focus now—I'd just need to add a form to the bottom of the template I use to write these posts. Like a hand-made template this is, though. I still have yet to add the post-bodies to the database, and write a program that shoots them all through a single template. So that I can edit only one template when I make changes. Or else now, I have to go through every single page, every single post, and make a change, if I want the same change on all the pages. A pain in the ass.

But I know zero Ruby. And it appears I need a Ruby Rakefile in order to do this type of job. Or else I could finally learn awk and sed properly, and shoot all the individual pages through a script. But the Ruby Rakefile would be much cleaner, much easier in the end, I think.

But I do know a bit of C. So instead of a Ruby Rakefile, I could possible write a program in C, to shoot the post-bodies from the database through the template. But I read somewhere, that C is too powerful to use on web servers. When a C program goes wrong, it really goes wrong. Scripting languages are "softer," I suppose. They fail more easily—like gracefully.

But just to start collecting email addresses, posts from here-on-out I can add the form to. Instead of going through all the 100 or so previous posts. Since it's not even such a big deal yet, this newsletter. And only the most recent posts will have this capability to collect email addresses.

So then I'd just have to write a little Perl script—which is the scripting language I'm currently using on the site, Perl, because it's the most well documented, for when I first built the thing, the site. And when someone submits an email address, it adds it to the database, and then maybe sends the user to a "Thank you" page with a link to click to return to the page they were reading. No problem.

Now, I have MySQL currently for my database, for the site. But I've been playing with PostgreSQL on localhost, thinking of changing the database on the site. So if I'm going to do that, I'd better, before I begin collecting email addresses. Because I have no idea how I'd get the names from one database into another. Or well, thinking just a bit further, I bet it's easy. Just, I've never done it. Though it'd be good practice. Write a little Perl script again, that puts all the emails into an array,—or hash in Perl, I think—opens the other database, and shoots them into there. Pretty easy actually. So I suppose it doesn't much matter if I change the databases now or later, or not.

So really, there are no excuses not to write this little Perl script to shoot email addresses collected into the database. Except the fear of beginning, of trenching through the errors till I get it right. Which is how it goes. So damnit. I suppose I'll get on that, and add it to the to-do list.

I been playing with PHP slightly on localhost too. It's easier than Perl I already see. You have to build everything with Perl. PHP has functions that already do the thing.

And then I want to make the site so that I can do everything from the phone. Because now, it's mandatory I have a computer, to ssh into the server and manually create the pages. Which isn't terrible. But I have itchy feet. And it's much easier to carry a phone than a computer. Much lighter.

But that is a huge project, to make the site completely configurable by web browser. The Ruby Rakefile is key. And I barely know HTML and CSS, as it is. So I got quite a bit of study ahead. Which I dread.

Sure, programming is cool. But the reading required is nails-on-a-chalkboard. Or you can just dive-in too,—which is what I seem to do, it seems—and learn what you need as you go.

So somewhen soon I'll maybe at least have a little form where people can sign-up for a possible newsletter in the future. But enough of that already. I'm just rambling. Which is the fault of typing. It's too fast. You can record all the drivel that falls, typing. Opposed to writing physically, by hand. Which is slower, more filtered. But this is nice anyway, practice.

This damn dog, she's back, licking my socks now. A little boot in the nose takes care of that. And off she goes, good.

Moving on,—finally, I know—the dream I had last night. It stuck with me all day, at the job. I had maybe an entire hour of actual work to do at the job last night. And I was working alone—which isn't too often anymore. So I had some time to myself, to let my thoughts roam.

And, of course, I was on and off of Twitter too throughout the night. I'd seen some tweet on space, a picture of a new star discovered, which was magnified by the gravity created by 2 somewhat nearby galaxies. And I was skeptical. What if that's just a magnified piece of dust on the telescope instead?

Which set-off my delusions. And when the Twitter chatter had ended,—unforunately, leaving me then to my boredom—I sat round just thinking. Space was on my mind naturally, having been sucked into the topic, having given it my attention.

And I saw another tweet, randomly checking Twitter again for any activity, "don't be too naive to think that humans won't save themselves, instead of, on the contrary, thinking they'll destroy themselves"—as I do indeed think. Though I do maintain hope that we'll figure-it-out eventually, whatever it is. I'm just like that. I expect the worst, hope for the best.

And the scenario popped into my head, sitting there at the job, inspired by the tweet above, and then the tweets earlier, the discussion on space and such. That humans will save themselves, sure...O! and I forgot...I'd seen a post to an article too, there on Twitter, about how scientists have no idea what trees really even are. Which had me laughing. We don't even know what a tree is, but we're trying to get to Mars.

And I concluded, that that's the human condition, never satisfied, always wanting more, more, more. And so it will go, that we don't even understand our own planet, but we'll be shooting-off all over into space. Which will actually save the planet in the end, Earth. Because the pursuit of more, more, more, all the consumerism sucking-up resources, the pursuit of space-travel, it kills the Earth. Chokes it dry, like squeezing the last of the golden eggs from the goose, I've seen it put.

Eventually we'll be tricked into space-travel. Just like we're tricked into driving cars, or buying more expensive "organic" food at the supermarket, or tricked into buying anything. If we see Lisa and George down the street with a new Tesla, then we want a Tesla too. And so, we'll go get it. And so we will, too, run off to Mars, once it's waved in front of us.

I laughed to myself all the way home, the walk home, thinking about it. The Earth is saved in the end by shipping all the consumers off into space. All who are left on the planet are those who wanted to stay. Those close to the Earth, who would never leave.

And how it relates to that dream I had last night too. How I was packing my bag, leaving my family behind. Like they'd stay on Earth. And off I'd go, to infinity-and-beyond

Like hell I will!


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