Musings about the the big things in life

April 06, 2005


Posted by Dave at 01:59 PM

March 07, 2005

ChristianMortgages, Saving more than your soul

That's what one of my spams said today. Silly... spamming is a sin! 11th commandment, right?

Posted by Dave at 11:09 PM

February 28, 2005

What my life is like

Mostly for posterity's sake... and perhaps random strangers & friends may want a somewhat wholistic view of my life.

I was reading some old entries of my Advogato blog, mostly programming stuff and read stuff that I wrote, but didn't remember at all. Weird, isn't it? So here's an intentional post in the same vein.

I live in a house with 5 other guys. They're cool guys, although we don't do a whole lot together. We do have a house dinner and house Bible study almost every week, which is really great. We also try to do prayer-partners each week, which is good. Lately (past few months) I've been more intentional about having time for daily devotions and having time for enjoyment and relaxation in life in general. This is possible mostly because I don't have a job. I don't miss it, really. Although that does mean that I don't do as much programming as I want to. Life, though, needs to be enjoyed and valuable every day. "Nobody ever died wishing they had worked more, been richer, etc.."

I've been into Apache Software Foundation stuff for almost a year now I guess. It's fun being in a community like that, but I haven't done much work on Forrest for a while because I don't have any direct use of it (I had been using it at work, at GFS). Reading is cool to see the whole community in action; there's lots of smart guys, leaders, hard workers, etc posting there.

I'm graduating soon and I hope to take a few months to travel (maybe out west) and enjoy life. I've heard from everyone that you should take a chance like this if you can get it. After that though, I'll start a fulltime job somewhere. I'm not worried about finding a job; CSI in Midland is going to make me an offer soon, and the Grand Rapids market seems to be pretty good. I am worried about choosing which one I want to take, because the jobs of course will have lots of different advantages, and living near (or far from) Cherith and other friends will hugely shape my life. But I'm only in the passive job-search mode yet, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Back to software stuff, I'm getting quite adept at linux and the all the open source apps and how they fit together. I've been using linux as my primary desktop for almost 2 years now and so I've been fluent in using it for a long time. Now I'm quite good at having general knowledge of new software and being able to pull it altogether to do what I want easily. This is especially true for our senior project, where we're really pulling together lots of different libraries and such and getting a lot done without too much coding. I bought a DVD burner for $60 a couple of weeks ago, but haven't used it yet. It can do +R, -R, +RW, -RW, and double-layer too. Pretty exciting. I'm going to burn DVDs of VHS tapes; first, ones from my Dad's childhood. There seem to be all the tools in linux to do this (even nice looking DVD menus, etc) which is cool. I'm going to see if I can also do a gallery on a DVD, with thumbnails browsable with the DVD directional buttons, and then full-display sized images of each too of course. That'd be real handy to distribute digital photos: you don't need a computer, you don't have to sit by a computer, you can sit in the livingroom and use a remote, etc.

Cherith and I have been dating for almost 17 months. The "honeymoon" period of that lasted a long time. Probably about a year. Then there were some "black days" around the beginning of last semester. There was evaluation of our relationship, if we were good for each other, then lack of care/love/whoknowswhat, then sadness, confusion, confusion. We'd never had fights of any sort really, and this wasn't a fight, per se, but it was the most severe time of issues we'd had to deal with. And so I think a lot of stuff ended up worse than it should've, because we didn't know each other and how to handle such things well. Since then (we decided not to break up), things had been going quite well. A lot of times I felt like marriage was a for-sure thing in our future. We talked about it now and again, but nearly always with caution and intentionality as a primary concern. The past week or so have had some weirdness that reminds me somewhat of the earlier "black days".. but last night we had a good talk.

I feel like I'm getting old now. My parents are right and I listen to them. I give advice to people (even my sisters sometimes). I'm becoming wise in the ways of the world to a certain degree.

Family is good. Too often we don't appreciate them enough. And Cherith has a wonderful family too, which is really really cool. We all get along well (that is: Cherith & my family, me & hers). Some of our siblings have met. Our parents haven't met yet, which seems kinda weird. It seems like they have. It'll be interesting to see how they get along, but I'm sure it'll be fine.

Taking an active and intentional role in changing your own life for the better is really hard. Difficulties between Cherith and me have shown lots of places I can and should work on. Lots of this is brought out, I think, because we are growing so close and she is frank with me. It can be so hard to humble yourself and do what is right though. Struggles with sin can be hard to conqueror; one thing that has really helped me over the past many months has been to talk to other people about it. This gives & gets encouragement, which is critical. You cannot fight alone.

I hope I continue to be dynamic and learning, and more awesome as I grow up.

Senior Project with Andy is going along swimmingly. "Trust" me, I won't leave you all in the lurch forever. By May we'll have some version & presentation of it ready for the public.

I like spoonerisms. I make random sounds a lot. I sometimes run/meander/? backwards on stairs or on ice (which Cherith doesn't like). I go nutzo a lot. But it's okay.. I just have to get such stuff out of my system.

I'm taking a writing class (audit) to see if I'm good at such stuff, and perhaps become good at it. I think it'd be fun to write documentation (articles, books, etc) for open-source software.

My business classes (Organizational Behavior and Marketing) are pretty neat, esp. OB. The prof is great (Stacey Jackson) and I'm going to nominate him for prof of the year even though it's his first year and I've only had him for half a semester so far. He's on top of his game and all over it.

I gave blood for the first time last week. Hurt more than I thought. My driver's license says I'll donate organs if I die. I also filled out a statuatory will a few months ago (if you want to too, just google for "Michigan statuatory will" or something like that, perhaps limiting it via ""; that's all you need is that form, none of this expensive stuff that for-profit sites offer you).

I don't feel like saying much re: CSX but that BookConnection is a roaring success, leadership is somewhat apathetic, and we need better ways to run the organization. Hopefully folks will follow me and do well.

Posted by Dave at 11:23 PM

February 24, 2005


i bave glood today for the first time. it went alright.

in other news, i'm as good at procrastinating as ever!

Posted by Dave at 12:01 AM

December 15, 2004


It's so easy to find distraction when you don't want to read and study.

I had accounting yesterday which went fine, bus160 (lame!) was finished yesterday too when i turned in my "personal career plan". Today and tomorrow are nothing (they don't exist in any form). thursday is my religion final, for which i have to catch up a lot in readings. my compiler (a CS course project) and its corresponding paper are due any time before grades are due, but I hope to finish it up by thursday or friday.

i'll go home thursday, with the intention of sleeping a whole lot the next few days. after that, i'll go in to CSI and talk to them about work and such, dentist appt on Wed., hang out with Brian, Carrie, and other friends, and probably go visit Cherith that week too. following that we have the classic family gatherings (oh, darn that reminds me, i have to buy presents still!) and then our immediate family (plus Cherith!) will vacation to Puerto Rico.

for interim I'm taking AI (artificial intelligence). don't get excited, the very first lecture is about how AI isn't that cool and it's power is relative to your perspiration in developing the system.

Posted by Dave at 12:04 AM | TrackBack

December 06, 2004

Survey results

A couple of days ago I posted a short survey. This was to use as some anecdotal evidence in a paper for my class on the Doctrine of Revelation. The paper is focused around skeptic David Hume's arguments against miracles occurring, based on the probability of the miracle occuring and the probability that the testimonies given are false. Lots of people have argued about it and the arguments often get into logic and math debates. I argued that people don't think like that at all, so it doesn't matter. This was well-supported by the survey responses I got; mathematical incoherence, misunderstood questions, and difficulty in assigning probabilities were exactly what I wanted :-) If anyone's interested in this more, feel free to email me for a copy of my paper, or whatever. Hume's Abject Failure by Earman was one of my main sources.

Posted by Dave at 10:56 PM | TrackBack

December 01, 2004

An odd request...

I need some participants in an informal survery. Please send me an email with answers to these questions (consider each one seperately):

  • Suppose someone came up to you and said their name was Al Plackman. What percent probablity would you believe that to be true? (you know nothing else about this person).
  • What is the probability that this person's name is actually Al Plackman?
  • What is the probability that he is lying to you about his name?
  • Do you believe Christ was resurrected from the dead?
  • In your own words, why do you believe that?
  • What is the probability of this miracle occurring?
  • What is the probability that the witnesses to the resurrection are decieved or are decieving?

Thanks!!! I'll follow this up later with an explanation of what I'm trying to achieve.

Posted by Dave at 09:06 PM | TrackBack

November 28, 2004

what the heck?

why not splatter some thoughts on here again?

thanksgiving was great, except that it's over now. my (nuclear and extended) family is awesome. Cherith & her family are awesome. food & such was good.

life is so busy. only 2 weeks of school left. i'm actually tearing through my to-do list pretty well this afternoon, but only because it's a form of procrastination to avoid working on my religion paper due friday.

mon & tue are my last days of work at GFS. I won't miss it too much, mostly because I won't have time to notice and I do plenty of other programming stuff on my own & for class. It's been great workingi there, but I definately don't have time for it any more; moreover they don't have $ for me (even a lowly intern) in their tight budgets, but that's no suprise because they're in a hiring freeze this year again anyway.

i'll be looking for a full-time job to start in August after I graduate (I'm hoping to relax/hobby/travel for a couple months before I start the rat race fulltime). I've got a real good possibility back home in Midland, and a few minor leads here in the GR area.

Senior Project w/ Andy has been tons of fun; if you know about PGP/RDF/trust networks/server sync/MUA plugins let me know... until later we're keeping it out of the public eye while we work.

my room is too small for all my junk

Posted by Dave at 03:16 PM | TrackBack

October 16, 2004

clothes shopping

I'm going clothes shopping with my significant other. I've never done this before... ever. I think I might die.

Posted by Dave at 02:29 PM | TrackBack

October 04, 2004


This friday Cherith & I will have been dating for one year. Wow... it's been so fast and it's been so much.

Posted by Dave at 08:24 PM | TrackBack

August 16, 2004

things happen

things happen. for serious. camping, camping, sleeping, eating, work, girlfriend, friends, empty house, olympics, work, work, phone, coolness, sleep, grandparents, stupidness, summer, drinking, hang out, clip fingernails, email, email, program, hug, plan, think, pray, eat, sleep, pick, friends, drive, work, sleep, madness.

in no particular order.

Posted by Dave at 09:49 PM | TrackBack

July 12, 2004

July 09, 2004

guess what?

i am nutzo

Posted by Dave at 10:26 AM | TrackBack

June 26, 2004


During my recent vacation to N. Carolina, I had time to start reading Donald Knuth's "Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About", based on lectures he gave at MIT. Most of it is related to his 3:16 project which analyzes all the chapter 3, verse 16 verses of the Bible. Very interesting and thought-provoking; and I ordered the "3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated" book yesterday. I highly suggest reading them.

Posted by Dave at 10:08 AM | TrackBack

May 29, 2004


saw shrek2 with the family tonight. thumbs up.

Posted by Dave at 11:07 PM | TrackBack

May 27, 2004


DSL died a few days ago at home. :-(

been busy settling into the new place though. last night i set up my desk and unpacked a lot.

going home tomorrow for the weekend. talk to folks and stuff.

been working 8-5.

Cherith will probably come back to GR in 2 weeks or around there

Posted by Dave at 04:54 PM | TrackBack

May 21, 2004


packing.. move across town tomorrow. new ph# and address... ask me for it.

Posted by Dave at 09:54 PM | TrackBack

May 19, 2004


done with a semester!

now back to the farmlife...

Posted by Dave at 06:51 PM | TrackBack

May 09, 2004

busy, busy, busy!

quick run down: 3 days of class, 2 days off, exams

At work, I've been busily enhancing Forrest's use of PDF output and .cwiki (JSPWiki's markup format) input format. Works quite well to run a JSPWiki for easy collobration and content creation, then whenever you feel like it, run a script to get the wiki files and put them into a Forrest site framework, and run Forrest to generate an aggregate PDF of all the files. End result: a very professional looking document that was easily created. Only problem is that whitespace is an issue in the wiki format because JSPWiki parses it slightly different than the Chaperon parser (part of cocoon, on which Forrest is based) so we have to be careful about little details in the formatting of the wiki pages.

Outside of work, I've been working on Forrest to close up some bugs, get the copyless branch ready to merge back, then we can merge it, apply a win9x build patch, move forrestbot2 into core (from scratchpad) and then make a 0.6 release.

I'm CSX president this year and next, so i did a joint-leadership meeting on monday which went pretty well (a slightly veiled threat in the email helped attendance). we're doing a colloquium/presentation on Monday. As sysadmin SIG leader I'm doing two parts of the presentation. I also have to do the game SIG presentation since Greg's going to be interviewing for an announcement. To get ready for that (in addition to actually figuring out what I'm going to say), I've got to make sure the LANTS doc build stuff is working good, and Greg & I have been putting a lot of time into Kal's Quest so we can "release" the game on Monday. We're getting pretty close but we have tons of ideas of things we would like to get in. 98% of them will wait for the summer.

Classes are busier than ever. In addition to regular work, I've got a 6-10 page spanish paper (long than any I've ever written in English!), an econ project, econ Wall St Journal articles to read/respond to (fault of procrastination), graphics 3d room walkthrough project, graphics modelling lab.

Then there's studying for exams which I haven't even started to think about yet.

And I have to move sometime this month. Not really sure when yet though.

But soon it'll all be over and I'll be working 4 days/week for GFS and 1/week (flexible!) for CSI. And no homework!

Posted by Dave at 03:20 PM | TrackBack

April 29, 2004

and then there were three

Nick finished his classes (culinary at GCC) and has moved out, leaving just me, Kyle, and Chris for the last month

Posted by Dave at 04:17 PM | TrackBack

April 11, 2004

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, everybody!

Make Satan hate you.

Posted by Dave at 11:51 AM | TrackBack

April 02, 2004

april fool's pranks

ooh they were good this year

I told lots of people that Cherith and I were engaged and were going to get married next summer. Brian flipped out, Anna was really excited and even called her mom & my sister, others were generally congratulatory. It was fun to see their initial reactions and their reactions after telling them it was a joke. Everybody fell for it.

Of course this prank wouldn't work on Cherith and I had to get her with something. So I told her I found a job in Calif and got accepted and would start there instead of school next year. I planned ahead (company, line of work, what about college, etc) so it all went flawlessly. She took it hook, line and sinker. I went along with it long enough to get all the facts out, but not much longer because that would involve relationship status issues which wouldn't be too fun to get into unnecessarily. So then I told her it was an april fool's joke. Ooh was she mad. What a punk I am :-) she believed it the whole way along. ah ha ha

i am so good. best april fool's day ever

Posted by Dave at 05:05 AM | TrackBack

March 30, 2004

Big Chris

Big Chris moved out today.

Posted by Dave at 06:03 PM | TrackBack

March 29, 2004


honduras buddies
antelope power

Posted by Dave at 10:05 PM | TrackBack

March 04, 2004

not enough time

even ignoring all my non-programming commitments i still have a lot i'd like to spend my time on:

Apache Forrest
providers for OSUser (to be used by the forrestbot web interface)
tv guide for Calvin College
book connection for Calvin College
Kal's Quest game
personal webpage
photo gallery browsing framework
CSX sysadmin tools
qt3-win32 (kde-cygwin)
and probably more that've slipped off my radar since they've been pushed so far down the queue

Posted by Dave at 11:54 PM | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

where i've been

create your own personalized maps

Posted by Dave at 10:48 AM | TrackBack

March 01, 2004


i'm going to stop sleeping. it wastes valuable time.

i figure i can slowly cut back on sleep until i get to a minimum amount necessary to still function effeciently

Posted by Dave at 03:03 PM | TrackBack

February 25, 2004


must you have a scraggly beard as you progress from trimmed to full?

Posted by Dave at 12:34 AM | TrackBack

February 18, 2004


stupidness abounds. i don't like stupidness invading my life.

Posted by Dave at 11:15 PM | TrackBack

February 05, 2004

run away, run away!

my birthday is upon me!

Posted by Dave at 07:00 AM | TrackBack

February 04, 2004

CSX BookConnection

some incredible stats for BookConnection: almost 1000 users (~ 1/4 of calvin's student body), almost 3000 books in the database, and over $21,000 worth of books sold. I was the main developer on getting it going for CSX so I'm pretty proud. I don't think I've ever done anything that's affected so many people directly. wow.

Posted by Dave at 10:53 PM | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

why do i have to title these things?

if your car gets stuck and you kill the engine, don't forget to put the car in park. true, it's not going anywhere, but your keys aren't either if you leave it in park. thank God for random strangers who can help you figure these things out. and for nearby friends who will help shovel and push you out.

Posted by Dave at 03:10 AM | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

a new hero

I have a new hero. My only other hero (Donald Knuth) is a real one, not a silly one like this. But check this out: and

Posted by Dave at 12:14 AM | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

re: frickin awesome!

Followup to this blog and more rambling

Chimes, the calvin newspaper, ran an article on CSX BookConnection website today. I emailed them the story idea. the article was quite good in my opinion. should raise awareness of this neat-o service we've got. Along with the 100 or so posters that me and Eric and Jason put up last night. And the student-news email that went out the day before. So far we've got 286 users this month and we have 510 books for sale and about 100 sold.

I'm also working on making ice skates and i think they'll work and calvin has a wood shop and metal shop i can use to make them streamlined so turning is possible.

and the same Eric and Jason who volunteered to help put up posters have volunteered to help get a on-campus tv guide working. i had one last year and people still want it. even just today my girlfriend's roommate wanted me to fix it. having help should make this possible. i still have to get the backend working, they're going to work on the php frontend.

i had 84 (non-spam) emails to read this morning. arg.

Kyle and AJ and I are meeting next week to discuss the future of FamilySite. A re-write using smarty instead of phphtmllib is the key focus. Also design issues so that GEDCOM will be supported well and communication features that Kyle wants can be included.

my girlfriend is awesome

looking into housing for next year... definitely won't be living in the same house. 1 guy moved out already. 2 more after the lease is up. Chris and I are going to look at my friend Andy's house on monday. Not sure what Big Chris will do; likely live on his own. Andy's a cool guy. It'd be nice to live there I think.

haven't gotten started doing PocketPC programming research for CSI yet. i better do that tomorrow when I'm going to be home without the car all day anyway. And work on my Intrusion Detection project with Snort.

Likely will watch Escanaba in da Moonlight tonight. It's been a long time since I saw it in theaters but quite hilarious if i recall correctly.

Went to Mongolian BBQ for lunch today (well, i'd call it breakfast since it was my first meal of the day). Never been there before, but it lived up to my expectations. Return visits are necessary.

Posted by Dave at 08:58 PM | TrackBack

January 22, 2004

is there a doctor in the house?

can you die of happiness? i'm afraid.

Posted by Dave at 05:29 PM | TrackBack

making ice skates

I have embarked on a mission to make ice skates. Key ingredients: old shoes, butter knives. I have a knive embedded in a 2x4 and tested it on the ice tonight. It works quite well. I am photographing this intense exercise in coolness so I will be able to share it with everyone when its glory is realized.

Posted by Dave at 01:48 AM | TrackBack

January 09, 2004


This is the best moment of my life.

It's my personal policy to be happier/better/awesomer each day. Now in practice this doesn't always work, but on average it has. Really spectacular days in years gone by are still part of me so they count towards my current happiness factor; this helps to prevent the happiness trend from descending.

And I'm presently at a peak. Had a good time with my girlfriend last night, went to lunch after work with some friends from there, and then since I have no class in the afternoon I leisurely perused computer books and old yearbooks at the library.

Posted by Dave at 03:31 PM | TrackBack

squirrel death

I saw a squirrel get run over today. It dashed across the street about 20 yards ahead of me, made it past 2 lanes fine, hesitated and dashed around the center line a bit, and then tried to cross the next 2 lanes. It should've played frogger more as a child.

Posted by Dave at 03:30 PM | TrackBack

January 04, 2004

i ate pancreas

I determined today that I ate pancreas on New Year's Eve. Our family took a short vacation to Cancun and when we were at an Argentinian Steakhouse there, we were served sweetbread. We recognized it as a meat immediately, but none of us knew what it was exactly. We looked it up today, and it is the pancreas. It didn't taste too bad, although not particularly flavourful either.

Posted by Dave at 10:57 PM | TrackBack

December 22, 2003

sick and dying

So I got the flu. Slept 16+ hours last night. Feeling better now, and hopefully I'll be all well be tomorrow afternoon, when we leave for Grand Rapids for Nanninga family Christmas activities.

Posted by Dave at 08:43 PM | TrackBack

December 16, 2003

Let it snow!

I said, "Let it snow!"

S-N-O-W, not rain.

Posted by Dave at 12:42 PM | TrackBack