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sherab (1680)

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Journal of sherab (1680)

Thursday February 14, 2002
12:22 AM

Refuge in the the sangha can help the cause..

The idea of taking refuge in the sangha is one where the sangha will help you in your common cause.

Our common cause is PERL.

There are opportunities that we miss in promoting this wonderful thing.

Free trips for the people who make PERL what it is for example. I have a LOT of frequent flyer miles since I am Elite on Northwest. You know if I had the opportunity to give up some of those miles to get Larry, Randal or any other perl luminaries to spread the gospel I would. Without question. I am not good enough to instruct people in the ways of PERL but I can help in this way.

What about YAPC? How to defray the costs? I spent time in the travel industry in a recent previous life and I thought of an idea. If the host PM group finds a local travel agency (fairly decent in size) and has them to negotiate a rate for hotels nearby and a group rate with airlines, they can always agree to a revenue sharing agreement where by some of the commission goes back to the PM group or YAPC. Corporations do it, why not YAPC?

Hosting services. Has any PM group ever considered the idea of getting themselves a reseller account and selling virtual hosting space to PM members? A reseller's account where the PM pays 2.00 a month can easily be resold for 20.00 a month.

That would add up...

Maybe there needs to be a central web site to facilitate these ideas. I'll be the first to donate 25,000 miles towards a free ticket if anyone else is interested in joining me.

It's the VERY least I can do for all the good the PERL community has done for me.
Tuesday February 05, 2002
08:17 PM

Passing memory, ego and apologies

The day of my birth, the first time I got laid, high school graduation and breakfast this morning: all events that now are no more real than the other.

Passing memory is such a nice thing to be aware of. There are many things that "separate man from the animals". Popularly they include, opposable thumbs, eating with utensils and the fact that we are aware of the possibility of our own extinction.

I'd like to add to that list the fact that we do not have to act impulsively (sic?) on how we feel.

I oh so so wanted to call her a bitch this morning. She wanted her listserv up and going. She had asked for a week and I had been too busy this, the time of year, when the president submits his budget to congress, when I am overwhelmed with work. She sent the emails dripping with frustration.

I just kept thinking how nice it would be to just say "Goddamn it lady I am so fucking busy with this. Given the choice of pissing off you or a 2 star, who do you think would lose?".

I couldn't.

And I didn't.

To deny that I felt this way would not have been human. It would be to deny my humanity. I was pissed and it's a good thing that we are separate from the animals in the impulse category because she would have been so sorry. Then I thought about it. Who's the client here? Not me.

I accepted the fact that I got extraordinarily pissed but that's just it. ** I ** got pissed. Once I accepted that I was pretty ok with it. Apologizing for the delay wasn't something that was a bad thing to me. What was I protecting? My ego? That would make no sense, ego doesn't exist, at least not as something real. In order for something to be real it has to have characteristics. My heart is a bloody pumping mass. I believe that if I could cut my head open and show you my brain (it's small but you'd find it), you would see that it's grey (or gray, I can never get the spelling right). But ego? Totally fabricated.

I have never thought affirmations to be a very good thing. It always seems like that affirmations are just your way of screaming to yourself that you are ok when your little voice tells you that you aren't. I found that just accepting that I am pissed at the client was very liberating. I also accept that I am not a very good Perl developer. It's very binary. It's on, it's off. When you juggle, the balls are in the air or they aren't.

Here's an affirmation exercise as it relates to me and Perl
"I am a good developer"
"I am a good developer"
"I am a good developer"
"I am a good developer"
"I am a good developer"
"I am a good developer"
"I am a good developer"

Am I now a good developer?
No, of course not.

Should I accept that I am not a good developer? Sure! Because once I am past that I can actually get to working on what I need to work on and that is becoming a good developer. I remember presenting a piece of code to my local pm meeting. I got ripped to shreds and I am SO thankful for it. THANK YOU DC.PM! I walked away with a greater understanding of hashes and just today, hashes of hashes. I am NOW, today anyway a better developer than I was. Good like Nat Torkington? Pfffft.. please. He is at the quantum physics level while I am at the level of giddy joy at discovering that mixing vinegar and baking soda has a neat effect.

Even now after meditating on it for a little bit, I am not pissed at my client. She was legitimately pissed and if I were her I would be too. I thank her too for showing me that she was pissed because maybe if I can't be a good developer I can be a good contractor and get over myself and apologize. If I'm super lucky I might even realize that it's not bad admitting failure. It's all passing memory now and I do feel happy that I learned something from it before retiring it to the psychic scrapheap.

Or maybe not considering that this journal is gonna be around a while........

Convince yourself that everything's all right, cuz it already is............Pete Yorn
Sunday February 03, 2002
01:45 PM

You've got your big G's. I've got my % |

Hashes, learn them.
I know this is elementary and forgive me for going on about things you already know (since I am amateur compared to you most likely) but hashes are so wonderful.

I have been running a service called WebTicker News for about 3 years now. The idea was to somehow create a service to benefit charities and so far it's worked well with over 200 million ad impressions given away for free.

I parse Yahoo's Reuters feed for this and they changed their HTML links so I found myself rewriting code. I didn't really comprehend hashes very well when I wrote the original code.

560 lines now cut down to 70.

TMTOWTDI indeed!
Saturday February 02, 2002
12:02 PM

Tulkyus and boddhisatvas

Someday if you're lucky, you might recognize meeting a tulkyu. Tulkyus are those wonderful souls that have in previous lives contributed great things, accumulate great knowledge and have come back yet again to do more. We have one right here in our community named Jeff Pinyan. How else is it that he can be so young, so brilliant and so damned nice? Jeff has a book coming out soon: buy it. As far as bodhisattvas: these are folks who take the vow to keep coming back until human suffering has ended. Human suffering in this case may be those who are not yet aware of open source and and bodhisattvas would be those who work tirelessly to enlighten those who don't. I'm open to suggestions on this one but I want to nominate Damian Conway. So much time spent on our behalf and so much time away from his home and family. All for YOU dear reader. Buy his books, send him a message thanking him, and more importantly before he changes his mind, contribute to the Perl fund to keep him here. Your karma will benefit tremendously (and I don't mean that kind of "karma" that is casually tossed about on slashdot).
Thursday November 01, 2001
10:02 PM

Taking refuge in the Perl Buddha, Dharma and Sangha

I remember when I became a buddhist I was told that the most important thing one can do and the best way to live a good life was to take refuge in the buddha, the dharma and the sangha.
I have recently began to see how this parallel works with the perl community.

Buddha himself was not a god and will not ever be. Buddha was a simple monk who achieved what every man can achieve, enlightenment. When entering a shrine room it is part of the Mahayana tradition to prostrate before the buddha as a symbol of respect. One does not prostrate to buddha as an external deity, one prostrates to what buddha represents: the ability to become enlightened. What you could be. Take refuge in the fact that you can become enlightened. Respect your inner buddha.

Many of us think of Larry Wall as the ubergeek, and published reports would have us believe that he doesn't particularly care for this designation as the god king of perl. Larry also loves the commonly perceived enemy, Microsoft.
"Your friend is your enemy and your enemy is your friend".
Thankfully that quote has not expired yet. It's a ridiculous notion that Microsoft is the devil. Microsoft only wants happiness as we do. There are many in the Microsoft camp whose actions do not match this but then again I'm sure that Microsoft could point out to us members of our own Perl ranks who think that Microsoft can only do wrong. Larry wants this to work on Microsoft and serves as an excellent role model. Larry is like buddha in that respect. Compassion and understanding for ones perceived enemies is important. Microsoft seems to be a favorite but as one extraordinarily wise member of our ranks pointed out at YAPC2001, there are things to learn from other communities particularly Python. This bring us to our next point..

Taking refuge in the dharma. Taking refuge in the dharma means that there is a wealth of information in the teachings of our community that you should call upon should you need an answer. We have ALL been here. One particularly nice piece of work is the Perl Cookbook. Should you need help traversing a hash or reading a file backwards by line or paragraph, it's there. In buddhism, trails of spiritualism have been blazed by the masters before and like those trails, so paths to other problems have been figured out for you by perl mongers that have such a knowledge of code that to call them perl monks would be understating it. People such as Damian Conway, Ziggy, Nat Torkington, Randall Schwartz, and Lincoln Stein have all achieved perl lama status for the knowledge they demonstrate in their writings. Taking refuge in the dharma should begin with you amassing as many of these books as you can. Firstly because they are perl dharma teachings that will serve you well and secondly because it's your duty to support your community. If you think to yourself "I wish I could help the community as these guys have helped me" then support these same folks by buying their books and stocking your book shelf. Go to and get them if you have to. If nothing else you can give the illusion that you are really smart while you are working towards perl enlightenment.

For our discussion dharma in our community represents many things. CPAN is probably the best example. I recently had a need for sending an ICQ message recently from a script. Luckily for me Jeremy Muhlich had the same problem and not only solved it, but was thoughtful enough to make a module so that others could have an easier time of it. Mr. Muhlich didn't have to be this nice. Now consider that there are thousands of modules there now and that there are at least hundreds of developers that were equally thoughtful as Mr. Muhlich. Hundreds of developers and they all thought enough to put it out there to make YOUR life easier. Can you think of any other group of people that would do this? Oh sure there are those groups that can pay lip service to this idea but to see it in practice is something different.

Then there's the sangha, or Perl Mongers. Once a month, pay the visit and you will find that there is much to learn. Being an active participant is an also an exercise in ego reduction. Here's an experiment that not only will help you be a better programmer but a better person: bring your code to a Perl Mongers meeting, and let your fellow mongers ridicule you in front of your peers. It NEVER happens that way at these meetings. When you put away that programmer's pride and ask questions, something funny happens: people will give you answers. It's amazing really. The sangha will support you. If you can't make a PM meeting, then start reading and participating in comp.lang.misc.perl or Many times you will find that sangha members will give you an answer in just a couple of hours.

Taking refuge in the buddha, dharma and sangha: it's not just for buddhists anymore.