July 4, 2008 Header
ArtLung: I am Joe Crawford. Welcome to my website circa July 2008. I am a web developer. I live in Moorpark, California, USA. I work in Los Angeles, and have lived elsewhere and done many surprising things. I put up the first ArtLung website 12 years ago, moved it to artlung.com 10 years ago, nd I've been blogging for 7 years. I'm still learning, every day. Welcome.

Happy Thanksgiving

If my memory is correct, I’ve spent Thanksgiving in California, Louisiana, Virginia, Utah, and the Philippines. Today I’ll spend Thanksgiving in Nevada with a bunch of family who probably also have never spent Thanksgiving in Nevada. Hoping for the best.

The photo above is of my Grandfather and me and some dogs — the Collie mix is Kimba, a dog I loved, and who was not quite as excited about me. I was the first grandkid on my Dad’s side of the family, so he was not impressed.

My Grandpa turned 90 this year.. Thanksgiving in Nevada is his wish, and so here we go!

So much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ventura County Tech: Reskinned

Ventura County Tech.com: Design by Border7

Simi Valley’s Border 7 provided a wonderful reskin of venturacountytech.com. If you are in Ventura County and in web/tech/design/internet/mobile drop me a line — I’d love to meet you!

Moved, Worn Out, Ready For Action

Boxes, part 2.

The move was completed without too much fuss. Upcoming: Job interviews, more box extraction and home setup, Thanksgiving, seeing my folks, and a memorial for a dear friends wife.

The Universe may be speaking to us. I wish it spoke more clearly, but hey, it’s the Universe. Size of the entire universe man, usually kind to smaller man.


It’s all about boxes. Moving today. Moving. Oi. I think we need it. To top it off, we’re waiting on 5 weeks worth of checks. I hate that. Wish us luck.

Boxes, Medium Sized Boxes

The Reluctant Sysadmin

This morning I had a compile that was hanging and/or calling itself. This made the server, and more importantly, the “yes people use it” webserver unresponsive. This was not fun.

Here are the tools I used to kill the processes:

ps -aux | grep -i make | awk '{print $2}'

ps -aux | grep -i make | awk '{print $2}' | xargs kill -9

ps -aux | grep -i make | awk '{print "kill -9 "$2}' |sh -x

killall make

The final 2 commands I think did the best job.

I seem to be learning more server administration. I still don’t like it, but I can do more of it if I need to. Maybe installing Xubuntu on my machine at home really has been useful as I spend more time on the command line.

Penguin Project: Go on an adventure in Antarctica!

My friend Pinguino is going on a trip to Antarctica and is inviting cool folks to go with her, check it out!

Here’s more info:

You could party in Vegas, Ibiza, Rio, Bangkok, Sydney, or even Marrakesh. But one continent remains overlooked when it comes to having a good time. That’s right, we’re talking about Antarctica. Could you imagine a better adventure? Twenty of your best friends sailing to the furthest destination in the world, partying the whole way. Being surrounded by tens of thousands of penguins, dancing on a glacier. An overnight camping trip or an ocean plunge, resulting in stories you could retell a thousand times. We’re going, and we want you to come with us.

Through the next year, we’ll be drawing 1,000 penguins on postcards. Each penguin will be photographed and posted online. They’ll be put up for “adoption,” and we’ll bring them all to Antarctica and take pictures of them there. When we return to Tierra Del Fuego in South America, we’ll mail the penguins to everyone that adopted them.

This is the Penguin Project. We’ll be updating this site regularly, so check back often!

If you’re interested in coming along, please email penguinpalace@gmail.com

I Like The Way You Move

Actually, I like the way Leah hustles to find us a place to move to. Same difference.

We found a new place, slightly less money, again on this side of Moorpark, very much within target range of the kids, a very humane home. Leah found this one and did the legwork all by herself. I needed only to go over yesterday and sign a lease and take a look.

We did some looking together as well, and we did our thing where we drive around looking for rentals that have not made it to Craigslist, The Kitty Letter, and the Ventura County Star. Mostly we ended up with places in Simi Valley (further from the kids!) that we were not crazy about, or places in Moorpark that were too expensive or too small. Add to that, the places we sort of liked and applied for we were rejected for last week. I suspect that our spotty credit in a “questionable” economic climate has people very skittish. We’ve paid rent on-time and with a great track record for good communication with our landlords for 2 years, and my income track record for those two years has been great. And yet, skittish. Ah well, the worm turned starting this past weekend and we started getting offers of houses. And though it was difficult, we turned down two before we took this one. We also turned down one that ended up being very questionable–the owners were in danger of foreclosure and thus could only offer us month-to-month.

Why are we moving? The owners of our current place moved away for a job they were getting more money for. They were underwater in the house, and we took it on. We like the place. We like the Real Estate guy who showed it to us. We were enjoying the house, but then a month ago we got word the owners would like to return to the house, have us break the lease (for a premium), and we would need to move. We put it off for a while and that’s where we are at two weeks ago. Since then it’s been searching.

It feels good to have an answer to the question: “where are you living next?” I’m not sure how we could have handled this differently next time, maybe not agreed to move? Or maybe given ourselves more time for the finding, choosing and accepting a house? At any rate, I’m glad it’s working out.

We’re moving this week, and Leah is managing that process as well. Go Leah!

Looking at the financial mess as the end of the excesses of the 1980s

Michael Lewis’ story The End is an engaging, enraging read. It posits that the recent crash of Wall Street financial firms is the end of what he had seen working as a trader in the 1980s. He documented his experiences in the book Liar’s Poker. This followup is a must-read.

Some excerpts:

Now, obviously, Meredith Whitney didn’t sink Wall Street. She just expressed most clearly and loudly a view that was, in retrospect, far more seditious to the financial order than, say, Eliot Spitzer’s campaign against Wall Street corruption. If mere scandal could have destroyed the big Wall Street investment banks, they’d have vanished long ago. This woman wasn’t saying that Wall Street bankers were corrupt. She was saying they were stupid. These people whose job it was to allocate capital apparently didn’t even know how to manage their own.

There’s a long list of people who now say they saw it coming all along but a far shorter one of people who actually did. Of those, even fewer had the nerve to bet on their vision. It’s not easy to stand apart from mass hysteria—to believe that most of what’s in the financial news is wrong or distorted, to believe that most important financial people are either lying or deluded—without actually being insane.

“I didn’t know that you weren’t supposed to put a sell rating on companies. I thought there were three boxes—buy, hold, sell—and you could pick the one you thought you should.” He was pressured generally to be a bit more upbeat, but upbeat wasn’t Steve Eisman’s style. Upbeat and Eisman didn’t occupy the same planet. A hedge fund manager who counts Eisman as a friend set out to explain him to me but quit a minute into it. After describing how Eisman exposed various important people as either liars or idiots, the hedge fund manager started to laugh. “He’s sort of a prick in a way, but he’s smart and honest and fearless.”

Harboring suspicions about ­people’s morals and telling investors that companies don’t deserve their capital wasn’t, in the 1990s or at any other time, the fast track to success on Wall Street.

As an investor, Eisman was allowed on the quarterly conference calls held by Moody’s but not allowed to ask questions. The people at Moody’s were polite about their brush-off, however. The C.E.O. even invited Eisman and his team to his office for a visit in June 2007. By then, Eisman was so certain that the world had been turned upside down that he just assumed this guy must know it too. “But we’re sitting there,” Daniel recalls, “and he says to us, like he actually means it, ‘I truly believe that our rating will prove accurate.’ And Steve shoots up in his chair and asks, ‘What did you just say?’ as if the guy had just uttered the most preposterous statement in the history of finance. He repeated it. And Eisman just laughed at him.”

“With all due respect, sir,” Daniel told the C.E.O. deferentially as they left the meeting, “you’re delusional.” This wasn’t Fitch or even S&P. This was Moody’s, the aristocrats of the rating business, 20 percent owned by Warren Buffett. And the company’s C.E.O. was being told he was either a fool or a crook by one Vincent Daniel, from Queens.

Read it.

←October 2008December 2008→