the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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March ClePy Meeting

At tonight's ClePy meeting, Ralph Heimburger presented an overview of ReportLab, which makes programmatic generation of PDF's wicked easy, and Matt Gibberman gave us an introduction to Paramiko, which brings ssh2 into your Python toolkit. Both look like really great libraries, and I look forward to tinkering with them at some point.

We hope to be scheduling a sprint very shortly to work on Shindig, our fledgling that we're mostly working on so that we can stop having to fight with Plone. One of our members has a connection at the Bier Markt, which (rumor has it) has both space and free wi-fi, so we may have a really great sprint location.

Next month, Microsoft's Drew Robbins will be in town to give us the lowdown on IronPython, which should be great!

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February ClePy Meeting

At tonight's ClePy meeting, I gave a test run of my PyCon 2007 presentation, Dateutil to the Rescue! I got some good feedback (among other things, it's way too long for a 30-minute slot, definitely the better form of the length-of-presentation problem), and look forward to tuning it up before delivering it in front of a huge crowd on the 24th.

Mike Nugent put together a nice presentation on regular expressions in Python that resulted in a fun and entertaining discussion in the group.

Next month, Ralph Heimburger will talk about ReportLab, and there will again be pizza and pop--come on down if you're feeling Pythonic! Or hit us up on the mailing list if you've got Python web-fu and want to help build a nice group management website with us.

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The Week That Would Not Stop

Bleah. Totally run down. Stressed out, burned out, and all-around fried. But still clinging desperately to life in the hopes that it might all settle down at some point. (It has to settle down, right?)

Thanks to a bumper crop of ragweed, I have spent the last two weeks wanting to claw my eyes out. Puffy. Sore. Goopy. Crusted over when I wake up. I feel like someone has scraped sandpaper over my corneas. I feel like I haven't slept since the allergies really kicked in.

Work is a super giant happy fun ball of stress as I attempt to coordinate a lot of last-minute things, deal with incomprehensible bug reports, and generally attempt to save the world. So far... meh... I think the world's still in trouble. It's taken me until today to start working on the things I was supposed to be doing on Monday. I guess it would help if I could get more than five minutes of uninterrupted time, but apparently that's out of the question at this point. *sigh*

I'm way behind on dealing with some vaguely important email for Clepy. I have had a tiff with DirecTV over their habit of failing to send me a bill and then charging me lots of late fees. (Surprisingly, not the first time they've done that to me...)

And it doesn't help that I've had things to do every night this week: Clepy (and post-Clepy festivities) on Monday, wine group Tuesday, German class Wednesday, and an appointment tonight. Tomorrow, I expect I'll probably just stay late at work, except that the parts for the new closet organizer system thing have arrived and I want to get started on that too.

Good lord, it's Thursday, and I still haven't picked up the new Star Wars DVD's, with the Han-shoots-first-thank-you-very-much original cut. For those that know me, that should give you an indication of what a general shitstorm it's been lately.

On the plus side, I finished The Confusion over Labor Day weekend. On the minus side, I still have about a thousand pages (hardback!) of The System of the World still to go... by which point I suspect that I will need to re-read Cryptonomicon since it has enough bits that tie in with the other books. It'd be easier if my eyes didn't feel like they were about to explode out of my head (see above).

...And I think I might have finally hit the point where Gentoo in particular, and Linux in general, is dead to me, the way someone who crosses Tony Soprano ends up in the deli slicer, or taken out to the Pine Barrens and disappeared. Midway through my third (fourth?) day of trying to get the emerge -eav world step of the upgrade to gcc-4.1, I am just about at the end of my geek rope. I fell in love with Gentoo because its packaging and update system "just worked", freeing me up to waste my time configuring and tweaking everything else to be just so. But this update is just insultingly murderous, as all kinds of supposedly stable things just won't fucking build right--because, y'know, that would be too easy. So, even if I have to turn in my geek badge and live life as a lesser mortal, beholden to the software update whims of Apple, I think that'd be okay with me, because this kind of time-waste is something I simply cannot allow in my life any longer.

Grr. Argh!

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September Clepy Meeting

After a small summer hiatus, Clepy is back and ready for Pythonic goodness.

At tonight's meeting, I presented "The Joy of Logging", an introduction to the Python standard library's logging module and all the various wicked cool things you can do with it. (Okay, so "wicked cool" is relative here...) After concluding my presentation in our parking lot (thanks to a spurious building evacuation alarm got triggered), David Stanek presented the first of two talks on the internals of Python functions, where it turned out that, ironically, the "new" method is deprecated (go figure). Mike Robellard showed off the beginnings of GMUVE, which will eventually be a shiny 3D MMO built with Pygame.

Next month's meeting will be Monday, October 2, and will probably be held at, which is pretty nice when the klaxons and emergency lights shut up. David Stanek will conclude the head-exploding function internals with a discussion of the descriptor protocol, Todd Randolph is on the hook to come up with something, and Brian Beck might be giving us the scoop on some of his Summer of Code tinkering.

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July Clepy Meeting

At Monday's Clepy meeting, I presented "The Joy of Optparse", all about why optparse is your friend (assuming of course that you want friends that manage command line input for you). We had a brief bit of round-table discussion after that, then adjourned to the local TGIF for munchies and beer. Even though there was less Python than usual, it was really nice to just be social with our fellow geeks.

Next month we'll be at one of the Brulant offices. David Stanek will give a presentation on a topic yet to be determined, and I will give something on either the logging module or on dateutil. Eventually I plan to do an introductory wxPython presentation as well, but that's probably a couple months off.

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Falling Apart

Okay, I surrender. Life has officially kicked my ass, culminating in a spectacular, week-long coup de gras involving crazy cat Julia, Liz's Powerbook, and my now thoroughly bandaged right arm.

In general, I've been feeling pretty crappy, too crappy to even whine about things on LiveJournal. Work has been extraordinarily stressful--it's been "crunch time" since early March, and I've lost count of the nights, weekends, and extra hours I've put in. To make things even better, I've had an especially difficult cycle of depression, much, much worse than the occasional gloomy day or down week that I get every six months or so. Nosiree, I've been having a soul-crushing feeling of complete emptiness, which, let me tell you, is a huge productivity boost. Liz has been a saint in putting up with me, but I've finally gotten it through my head that a patient wife alone won't fix my issues, so I think it's time for me to find some form of professional help to get my metaphorical shit together. Of course, that means I have to figure out when I will be able to do that, but at least it's a start.

Back to this week... Last Friday I started getting a sore throat. It was worse on Saturday, but I still went into the office for our scheduled "I need you to come in this weekend, mm'kay" day. I spent most of Sunday in bed, my head spinning and full of goo, so that I could be rested enough to go to work on Monday... where my Monday to-do's kept getting interrupted by more pressing matters. I was still feeling dead enough Monday night that I decided to ditch Clepy and come home to rest more; and it's a good thing I did, because I was able to be home to play every home owner's favorite game, "Why Is My Kitchen Ceiling Dripping?" I managed to find and shut off the source of the leak, but now we've got more unexpected action items on the "fix the stupid house" list. On Tuesday my cold started to shift out of my head and into my chest, and my still-unfulfilled Monday tasks lost out to again more immediate issues. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was coughing in great, uncontrollable fits, and I'd managed to wrench my neck and upper back such that normal motion wasn't going to happen. Still, I had spillover work from Tuesday's schedule-derailments, which I then spent most of the day fighting with from home. Yesterday I felt decent enough to go to work, where unplanned spillover from Tuesday and Wednesday's unplanned work occupied most of the day.

Today, I am mostly recovered from the cold, though still a bit phlegmy, but my neck and back are worse than ever. Liz procured heat wraps and I downed a bunch of Advil; the plan was that I'd spend the day sprawled on my back on the couch, working from home with her laptop. It was a great plan until the cats decided that it was Thunderdome time, and Julia came rocketing onto me at top speed, leaving my arm torn and bleeding and exploding keys off of Liz's Powerbook.

Liz got me bandaged up, and I managed to get everything reattached except for the "J" key, whose little grabby teeth had been snapped off by the force of the feline impact. She's off to the Apple Store to see if they stock spare J's at the Genius Bar, and I'm here waving the white flag at life.

You hear me life? You can let up now. Uncle. UNCLE!!!

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May Clepy Meeting & Pycon Photo Sighting

Last night's Clepy meeting was a bit shorter than average, but still chock full of Python goodness. Extra special props to Matt Zipay and Brulant for their hosting hospitality, complete with, for the first time in Clepy's history, live, reliable internet access!

Brian Beck gave a nice introductory presentation on "Releasing Your Python Package" that did a good job of demystifying setuptools, eggs, the Cheese Shop; he recommended Pudge for automating the generation of documentation for your project's website.

Rather than a second presentation, we had a nice round of open discussion, with topics ranging from PyOpenGL to what happens to overly ambitious pythons who try to eat alligators. Matt Zipay is also looking for volunteers to assist with Aglyph, a dependency injection framework for Python.

Next time, we'll be at; Ian Maurer will cover the "why" of unit testing, and David Stanek will address the "how" of it.


In other Pythonic news, I was lightly stunned to discover one of my PyCon photos at the Squidoo lens for Pythonology. Wacky! I'd wondered why it'd started getting so many views...

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March Clepy Meeting & PyCon Photo Update

Tonight was the March installment of Clepy, the little Cleveland Python group that could. We hit what I think is a new attendance record--19 in all! Each meeting gets a little bit bigger, and according to our defacto fearless leader David Stanek, we're quickly becoming one of the larger Python groups. Nifty!

This month's meeting featured a presentation of easyBay, a Pythonic eBay API wrapper, by Brian Beck; a lowdown on some handy Windows admin scripting possibilities and an intro to the Childsplay game framework by Mike Nugent; and a quick and somewhat impromptu overview of PyCon.


Speaking of PyCon, I have finally gotten around to uploading photos to flickr, so I've updated my previous entries accordingly. And there are other people's PyCon 2006 photos on flickr, plus a lot of good ones at Jafo's journal (there's a whole row of us Clepy folks in this one, plus one of the TurboGears sprint in which I look pretty dorky). Enjoy!

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February Clepy Meeting

Another fun night at Clepy, the Cleveland Python group. David Stanek and I did a trial run of our PyCon presentation (and we thank everyone for the feedback, it's very helpful!), and David gave us the lowdown on the Kid templating system.

We welcomed a lot of new folks this meeting; it's really great to see the community starting to grow!

The next meeting is Monday, March 6 at American Greetings. The plan so far is a presentation from Brian Beck on his eBay Python API, possibly a starter on PyGame, and some highlights of PyCon.

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Getting Twisted Again

One of the reasons I haven't been messing much with TurboGears lately (aside from the current heavy development activity and resulting instability and lack of recent docs--plus the week it took me to catch up on the mailing list after a week of jury duty) is that I recently received a review copy of Twisted: Network Programming Essentials from O'Reilly, as part of the user group review program that ClePy is part of, and I'm trying to wrap my head around it again. I'm supposed to post a review within the next few weeks, so I'm trying to put down a chapter each night (not counting chapter one, which for me amounted to simply ignoring it and just emerging a lot of packages). So far, so good... I've reported a couple of minor errors that will hopefully be corrected in a future printing, and the important concepts seem to be sinking in, so my rapidly degenerating brain matter will tally that as a success.

Once that and my current work challenges get settled down, it's back to TurboGears for me! I hope to be sufficiently clueful by the time the PyCon sprint rolls around.

Stay tuned!

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