A Matter of Time

I spent an awful lot of time earlier this week looking for a way to get the time of day to better than Solaris' default 10 millisecond resolution. There were plenty of ways to get relative times at resolutions pretty darn close to a nanosecond, but no time of day. This strikes me as a giant void in operating system time services. Surely I'm not the only person who's wanted this before now.

Of course I'm not really the person who wants it. It's simply a requirement that the software has to meet. I wouldn't levy a better than 10 microsecond accuracy requirement on software timestamps for a soft real time system. As far as I'm concerned, down to the millisecond is usually good enough. But I'm not the one who gets to decide these things; I just have to make them happen.

I can think of several ways to do it. I just don't like any of them. They all have significant drawbacks. The whole task is complicated by the need to synchronize two separate pieces to the same high-resolution time source.

The easiest solution, but also the one most likely to have negative consequences, is to simply change the system clock resolution to the required 10 microseconds. The obvious negative to this approach is the fact that the system will have to process 1000 times more clock interrupts. This is not particularly conducive to performance.

The second is to write software for the two separate pieces to read the high-resolution time source directly. Aside from the negative of having to write JNI to access the time source from within the Java application, there's the high probability that the time source does not behave nicely when trying to access it from two separate processes.

Another is to create a separate service to manage the time source for the entire system. That would entail inter-process communication, which would probably introduce unacceptable delays in acquiring the time. This approach would probably not meet the accuracy requirement in the first place.

Analogous to the last is folding the second synchronization piece into the operational software, but that would require granting its user privileges it probably ought not to have. If it's not deemed an unacceptable security risk, this is probably the approach I'll have to take.

Making a computer dance to a specific tune is not always fun and games. Sometimes there are real problems to be solved. Most of the time, a solution is fairly evident. This is not one of those times.


Not Quite Straight

As a single guy without a very busy schedule, I have time to "research" physical attractiveness. Yes, that's a euphemism, and it means pretty much what you think it means. There is a more or less endless supply of such research material available on the internet. So much so, in fact, that people can be forgiven for assuming that's what it was invented for.

There's nearly an endless variety of it as well. No matter what you're into, I'm sure you can find something to suit your taste. But I don't want to go there right now. I want to talk about women. There are an infinite variety of women of all shapes and sizes. There are big ones, small ones, tall ones, short ones, well-endowed ones, hairy ones, shaved ones, pierced ones, tattooed ones... and some that don't fit into a binary gender definition.

It may or may not surprise you to learn that I find some of that last kind attractive. And not just in the "oh, she's kind of pretty" way, either. I'm talking about the "I want to have adult naked fun with her" kind of attractive capable of producing a physical reaction. It surprised me when I first discovered this, as I'd always self-identified as a straight man.

I'd always thought my options were straight, bi, and gay, and not being attracted to men eliminated two of the three. It turns out there were options I hadn't even known existed. I think that what we're attracted to, gender-wise, is not an either-or kind of thing. Rather than a single value, it's a series of discrete, continuous blocks on a scale, from masculine on one end to feminine on the other. I've become convinced that gender itself actually falls on the same scale.

At first, I think I was just fascinated at my discovery. I had always been naive enough to think that a sex change was something you could do overnight, rather than a long, drawn out process. There's a reason it's called transition, as I have since come to learn. But after the initial fascination wore off, I realized that I was genuinely attracted to some of these women.

I use the word women on purpose. The ones I'm attracted to look like women. Even with the dangly bits, I still think of them as women. But those dangly bits are part of the attraction. They're included in the fantasy. I don't imagine what the girls would be like without them. I want them the way they are.

Part of it, I suspect, is the whole notion of trying something forbidden. I was taught growing up that it was very bad to even consider having sex with someone who had the same equipment as you. Consciously, I now know there's nothing wrong with that, but there's a part of me that still lives in my childhood naivete, and gets excited about that sort of thing.

Maybe once I've tried it, and I do intend to try it, the novelty of the idea might wear off and I'll decide it was just a phase. But then again, maybe I'll discover I like it and want to do it more. The part of me that finds the idea of the forbidden exciting is also the part that finds the idea I might like it to be rather scary. But you only live once, so I'm not going to let the fear stop me.

It's a real shame that it took so much of my life to discover this about myself. I really wish I could have discovered this earlier. I feel like I've lost something. Maybe this is just my version of a mid-life crisis.

No steam; or is that fog?

Boy, I ran out of steam quick, didn't I? I only seem to have kept this up for a week before I let it lapse into disuse. At first, I didn't have anything I really wanted to say. But as time went on, I thought of stuff and then decided not to post for one reason or another. I can name any number of reasons. Some of it was just plain laziness. Other times, I couldn't decide how I wanted to say what I was thinking in the time I had available.

But over the last few days, I've been reluctant to post what's on my mind because people I know might read it, and I'm actually kind of scared of how they might react. Now, if you're one of the two people who I know have read anything I've written so far, you probably have the urge to tell me I have nothing to worry about. Maybe so, but allow me to let you in on a little secret: I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.

Until I can come to some sort of resolution with myself, what I'm thinking is just going to have to remain unsaid. But since I intended this blog to be a place where I can air what I'm thinking, it's going to go here at some point. I'm just not sure when.


Whether the Weather

Sometimes I am greatly amused by the simplest of things. Today, it's the weather. Yesterday was nice enough to go for a motorcycle ride, while today requires snow tires on the car. But I think what's even more amusing is how much the weather's changed over the course of the day.

In the morning, it was mostly wet. About lunchtime, there was a lot of blowing snow. By the time I got back from lunch, most of the snow had stopped. Now it's merely cloudy with a bit of fog, although the snow is still covering the unpaved surfaces.

Fortunately, no one seems to have taken the opportunity to throw yet more sand on the roads, so when it clears up next week, I may actually brave the roads on my bike.


Sandy Death

I own a motorcycle. I also live in Colorado. Normally, those two things don't clash. In fact, Colorado has some fantastic roads for motorcycle riding. Most of them are above 8,000 feet, and quite a few of them aren't paved. Fortunately, I have a dual-sport machine, which is more than capable of traveling on dirt roads. Gravel and sand, however, are a different story, and the whole reason I'm writing today.

Despite the nice weather over the last couple days, I've been afraid to pull my bike out of the garage due to the large amount of sand all over the place. Both the city and my employer are very quick to put sand down when it snows, but very very slow to remove it once everything has melted. The parking lot at work is a death trap; even for cars, unless they have knobby off-road tires. The less-traveled roads throughout the city aren't a whole lot better.

I decided to brave a few of the more-traveled roads this evening after work, and was quite happy to discover that a short jaunt through Garden of the Gods was all my bike needed to recover from its long winter nap. Now all I need to know is who I have to kill to get the sand off the roads so I feel safe enough to ride.


First Thai

I had real Thai food for lunch today. Assuming you don't count instant noodles or the Pad Thai at Noodles & Company, it's the first time I've ever had Thai food.

I had Massaman curry with chicken. The curry was made with coconut milk, and the whole thing topped with a touch of chopped peanut. It was tasty, and not very spicy at all. I plan to reserve final judgment until after it's worked its way through my entire digestive system, but as of right now I think I like it.


March Madness

No, I'm not talking about the basketball tournament. I'm talking about my schedule. I somehow wound up with no free day or evening until the 24th. My last free evening was the 11th.

Now, while it's true that 12 straight days of something going on might not seem out of the ordinary for some of you, it is incredibly excessive for me. I've been known to feel a bit overwhelmed just by filling up Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the same weekend.

I'm one of those people who recharges by spending time alone. I need time to myself or I start to get irritable and easily annoyed. Here's to hoping that the short stretches of time between activities will be enough to keep me sane.


Saving Lights

Now that it's dark on my way to work again, I'm noticing a large proportion of vehicles with their lights off. Sure, the sun's close enough to rising that it's bright enough to see the road… but it's not quite bright enough to see your car. See, the real purpose of a car's lights is not to enable you to see, but to enable others to see you. It's why motorcycles are required by law to have their lights on day or night. It has nothing to do with seeing the road.

So unless the sun is a full diameter above the horizon, keep your lights on. It might allow someone to see you in time to avoid hitting you. And that someone may be me.


Inquisition Target: My Brain

My brain is a strange place. Odd things wander in and out of it at all hours of the day. Sometimes I contemplate these strange things, and often wonder what others might think of my musings. That's what this place is for, then. A place for me to air my brain droppings.

Should you see something that makes you think, feel free to weigh in. I care not if we share the same opinion; in fact, sometimes a difference of opinion makes the conversation more interesting. I only ask that any comments you make be civil. This is my space, after all, and I have the right to make a few rules.