Friday, June 26 2020

american psycho, super hero poses, and network outages



banners/2020 06 26

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone! Happy Friday. This morning, I hope you have some place warm to drink coffee and wait out this drizzly morning, and that you have something lekker to snack on too.

To set the scene here, Rodney is still in his pajamas watching Blippi on the dining room computer. I'm set up on the couch with my keyboard, laptop and notebook, and Marissa holding Miles on the chair while the dogs hungrily stare at her bowl of dry Frosted Flakes.

I gave myself plenty of extra time this morning to wind up for the day. I even moved my alarm forward an hour last night. Perhaps against our better judgment, Marissa and I stayed up late last night to finish my movie pick, American Psycho. If you've ever seen the movie, you might understand why we had a tough time finding a satisfying stopping point, and why he had plenty to talk about when we were finished.

"So I had seen this movie once before," I began as the credits rolled, "but my take on it was that the movie is supposed to be a critique of the white, wealthy American lifestyle. The surrounding characters are so shallow, self obsessed, and apathetic about everything that it borders on psychopathy. An actual psychopath like Bateman would go unnoticed."

"Huh," Marissa emoted while scratching her chin. "I came away with the complete opposite. My take away was that he didn't actually kill any of those people, and that it was all just a fantasy."

We spent a few minutes in our dimly lit living room toying around with each interpretation of the film. On one hand, my interpretation was very satisfying. Each person in the film that could have caught Bateman in the act seemed to make a conscious decision to ignore what he was doing. We presume that the realtor seen selling Paul Allen's apartment was too worried about the property value of the prime Central park side location to report the murders. The detective is easy on Batemen when he questions him, inserting his own doubt and biases into the investigation with things like "he'll probably turn up". Batemen's own lawyer, with whom he left a rambling confession, mistakes him for someone else, and refuses to believe that Paul Mitchell is even dead. Throughout the film, people refer to him as the wrong name and are constantly distorting the truth. Bateman, who is well aware that he is slipping into madness, finds that his friends and coworkers are so superficial and monstrous that he doesn't need to hide anything. Nobody cares about truth or human life anyway.

But on the other hand, Marissa's theory has legs as well. Throughout the film, people refer to Bateman as spineless, which seems to fly in the face of how he is presented in the movie. There is a scene in which one of his victims kicks him in the face while escaping, and yet he shows know signs of bruising or injury. There is the scene at the end where Batement completely unwinds, and police cars seemingly explode and let him pass with very little effort, like he's walking through a cheesy action movie.

And most compelling of all, in the scene where Batemen contemplates strangling his friend, Bateman's hands are shaking. "Isn't that weird," asked Marissa. "In all the other murders, he's smooth and confident about it. I think that's because they were just fantasy. It shows how weak and disturbed he really is."

And the fact that both theories can be supported by the film and they each have such a poignant moral speaks to how good the movie is.

We did some googling before finally heading up to bed. "Whether you think the murders happened and the film is a comment on shallow, wealthy lifestyle," Marissa read, "or you think it was all Bateman's fantasy, the film ought to be enjoyed like a snake in a glass box."

"A snake in a glass box," I repeated. "I like that analogy."

I didn't intend to turn over half of this entry into a film review. Sorry that I got a little carried away. Movies are a great way to pass the time these days, and we've seen some good ones lately. How about we change gears and head back to the real world?

Sip. In the morning while I was finishing up my journal entry, Rodney was heckling me from across the hallway in his bedroom. Being able to see my screen from his bedroom, he must have saw me searching through pictures for the day's journal entry image.

"Hey, that's me!" he yelled from the across the hallway. A few hours later, he ran into the kitchen while I was cleaning up and getting ready to make lunch. He had colored his face, hands, and legs with marker.

"OK, dad," he said. "Now you take a picture of me, and put it on the computer." Rodney squatted and flexed his arms, cycling through a number of improvised super hero poses.

photo shoot

I've been instructed to show you all this awesome super hero pose.

In other news, we had quite a bit of excitement in the homelab yesterday. As I was lazily watching YouTube on the couch with Miles on my chest, our video froze. I also noticed that my phone lost Wifi connection as well.

"Failure to obtain an IP address..." I read aloud off my phone screen. "Looks like a fun one." I sighed, climbing off the couch to put Miles in his crib.

Pretty much the entirety of our home network is located on my server wall, a mild mess of wrapped ethernet cables, exposed motherboards, stacks of hard drives, and whirring plastic fans. One of my favorite things about our bedroom is that my desk is close enough to temporarily plug any of my servers into my monitor using a long VGA cable. I wired up my router and rebooted the box, watching the pale text flicker down the screen. Rodney's thunderous footsteps could be heard as he ran up the stairs and into our room.

"What you doing dad?" Rodney asked.

"I'm fixing something," I said gruffly, typing with my keyboard resting on shelf. "Hey dude, would you mind going downstairs? I need to focus on this."

It appears that, for a still unknown reason, my DHCP software crashed, causing my router to stop handing out IP addresses to all devices in the house. I must have finally noticed when our TV's IP address expired and it could get a new one. As I wandered around the console, I noticed that I had a lot of pending software updates - some of them were patches to the dhcp software.

"I wonder if I could just upgrade through it," I muttered. Minutes later, when the upgrade finished, my router rebooted and greeted me with the cheery, electronic pfsense jingle. My access point flipped from red to green. Victory.

"Everything alright up there?" asked Marissa. "Rodney came back downstairs and told me you were fixing a cable."

"Something like that," I laughed. "Just a brief network outage."

We ate dinner at the biergarten with Alex and Cassie. We ordered two separate pizzas, sitting on two separate blankets six feet from each other in the grass. It was both weird and wonderful seeing them in person.

"I feel so uplifted from that," said Marissa as we were leaving. "They're wonderful people."

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful day.