As You Were

Devin Coughlin's blog.
Styles: Serious Spare

November 29, 2004

1 Degree

I'd ordered a latte, but the barista steams the milk too long, and it ends up mostly foam.

"If you want to wait for the foam to go down," she says, "I'll add more. Unless you don't like a lot of milk."

"That's fine," I say. I don't want to piss her off. She used to be mean (so mean, in fact, that I assumed she had to be the owner) but now she seems to like me. Her lattes are always awful, but I tip her anyway. She reminds my of my high school English teacher.

Every table is occupied. I don't wan't to ask someone if I can share, so I end up sitting outside. It is cold and dark. Only the smokers and socially inept are desperate enough to brave the cold.

I decide to wait to see if Ben will show up, as he said he might. We'd shared lunch this afternoon and told each other about some of the bad things in our lives.

Next to me a Hungarian and a Serb talk about how they came to the United States.

"I was officer in army," the Serb says. "During the war — you know about the civil war? — I was ordered to kill Croat family. The Croats, they attack our village but we are strong, we survive. Now they tell me to kill Croats, but I do not. Next day I am in concentration camp. I work with International Red Cross after the war and they bring me here."

I remember a line from Lermontov about a fatalistic Serb. "Он был спокойно и холодно. Он был хабр." He was calm and cold. He was brave." He is later killed by two drunk Cossacks.

"My family left Hungary in 1957 after the Soviets came," the Hungarian says. He speaks without an accent. "Do you know Hungary?"

"Yes, it is beautiful country. I have been to Budapest. On Danube it has 26 bridges."

"Europe is not like here," the Hungarian muses. "If they don't like you, they'll kill you."

"Maybe it is not so different here," says the Serb.

By now the foam in my latte has fallen, leaving a half glass of burnt espresso and rapidly cooling milk. The saucer is already cold. Inside my jacket my cell vibrates. My mom is calling from Denver.

"Are you OK?" she asks. "I was worried about the road. I don't know why I get so paranoid about my children."

We talk about the snow for a bit and then say goodbye.

The Serb and the Hungarian have gone inside, leaving behind a barista in shirt-sleeves and a beautiful woman in a fur-lined coat. They both have cigarettes in hand.

"It's so fucking cold," the barista says. The woman just nods.

"I forgot what winter is like," he sighs. "I always forget what winter is like."

"I try to forget," she offers.

She walks over to the trash bin and tosses her unfinished cigarette in. "It's too cold for this," she says and walks inside.

The barista nods in agreement. After one last deep drag, he throws his cigarette into a snow bank and gets back to work, leaving me alone outside.

I watch a post-Suburban monstrosity with a Bush-Cheney '04 sticker attempt to parallel park in the snow. It rams the car behind it. A grey-haired man jumps out of the monstrosity and motions for the driver (his wife?) to guide the car in place. She gets out and they walk down the street.

There is a clock on the building across the street. I stare at it for a while and imagine I can see the hands slowly moving. I decide to wait fifteen more minutes for Ben and then start the drive back up the mountain.

I leave after only five.

Posted by coughlin at 11:19 PM | TrackBack (0)

8 Degrees

It's like 8 degrees. And it's snowed two and a half feet. Which means I get to shovel the roof. Yay!. And get someone to plow the driveway, otherwise it'll have an inch of solid ice until March. Double Yay!.
Posted by coughlin at 8:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2004


Recently, Apple's been promoting the hell out of Tiger in the developer community, especially Spotlight. I think they are a bit worried that they'll throw a party and no one will come.

From what I've seen, it looks like adding Spotlight support to an app is very easy. The real problem is going to be figuring out what to do with that support. Most of the discussions about meta-data seem to center around MP3s (no surprise there) and digital photos, but the examples for the latter seem a little forced. Who wants to sort photos based on aperture? I'm having a hard time thinking of good excuses to use Spotlight's meta-data features. None of my projects is really Spotlight friendly, but I suppose if I ever get spill off the ground, it could definitely be used in that.

Pervasive content indexing, on the other hand, will probably save me hours, assuming someone can trick it into indexing all the sites I visit, all the emails I receive, all the feeds I follow, and all the papers I read (and then lose because they have filenames like pldi-fsdf.pdf). I am looking forward to using the Finder to actually find stuff again (it's been quite some time since this has been pleasant [and for a while it wasn't even possible]).

I also have 4+ years of developer discussion lists stored in If Spotlight can make Mail's search usable, it will have been well worth the wait.

Posted by coughlin at 10:34 PM | TrackBack (0)

November 7, 2004

Winning the War

This was the top story on just now:

Uniformed Marines Praying

The resemblance to Star Wars is uncomfortable. But worse, U.S. soldiers occupying a muslim country should not be attending christian prayer services in combat gear. Furthermore, the military should really not allow such an unfortunate PR disaster to be captured on film.

Come on guys, you can do better than this.

Posted by coughlin at 12:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

November 4, 2004

Moving to the Moon

I've decided I'm moving to the Moon.

Moon Through Shaky Camera


I'll be back in four years.

Posted by coughlin at 11:57 PM | TrackBack (0)

November 3, 2004

Insightful Post-Election Analysis

It seems the election was decided mostly on the issue of anal sex. It turns out that there are a lot of people out there who don't like anal sex. And those who do like it don't like it nearly as much as the others hate it.

Fucking fundies.

Posted by coughlin at 4:38 PM | TrackBack (0)

November 2, 2004

Four Years Ago

Four years ago I was a sophomore at Stanford, an erstwhile chemistry major, miserably spending most of my day in the lab determining phosphate and nitrate content of fertilizer, with plans to graduate at the end of my junior year and not look back. It would be more than a year until I switched majors to computer science.

Four years ago a forest fire raged to within 700 of feet of my house. As we evacuated, a giant wall of fire consumed an entire mountain in the rearview mirror. This was two days before I left for school. After the fire, my parents called to tell me they were getting a divorce.

Four years ago I watched as the election was stolen from right underneath us by Supreme Court judges who believed that white people deserve equal protection but black people don't.

Four years ago I didn't vote.

Today I did.

Posted by coughlin at 3:57 PM | TrackBack (0)

Election Day Weather

It is a beautiful election day in Boulder County.

Snowy Bear Peak
Bear Peak

Snowy Rock with Moon and Trees
Blue, Moon, Rock

Snowy Log with Moon and Trees
Blue, Moon, Log

Posted by coughlin at 10:48 AM | TrackBack (0)