Tackling tough things – November 2015 update


For the past month I’ve been doing some serious self-examination.  Some things I’ve been considering:

  • In the majority of my past romantic relationships for the past 20 years, seeing a recurring pattern in myself of adapting to try to be the person that I thought (for whatever reason) would be the “right” person for the other individual
  • Tracing this behavior back to my childhood and feeling socially unwelcome or unloved
  • Finding that something inside myself has always emerged that was somehow at odds with that person I was trying to be
  • Arguing with myself about who I really am and eventually giving in to myself
  • Causing much suffering to myself and others when those differences became apparent
  • Truly questioning in myself whether I know what is really true or not
  • Can I find my own true self?

In the past month I’ve been making some changes to my daily routines:

  • Finally visited Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City in person.  I’ve subscribed to their excellent series of dharma talks podcast for years but had never committed to the 1.5 hour drive through traffic to go in person.  The traffic is just another opportunity for mindfulness.
  • Sat for 1/2 day retreats every Wednesday for the past 3 weeks, leaving with enough time to get there early
  • Stayed for another 2 hours of Introduction to Mindfulness series of classes and committed to myself to attend all 5 weeks of the series and to do the homework suggestions
  • Participated in a regular Sunday evening sitting group at IMC with 20 & 30 somethings (“Dharma Homies” :))
  • Formally sat in meditation each day for 20-25 minutes, every day for the past 3 weeks
  • Learning what the word “sangha” means, in person
  • Camped in my van multiple times in Half Moon Bay, then working in a cafe there before driving back up to Oakland
  • Sunbathed nude on a couple of beaches, enjoying a warm sunset by myself, letting the universe breathe me in and out
  • Hung out with friends I haven’t seen in a long time
  • Made dinner plans with new friends
  • Processed some of my Burning Man photos and shared some nice portraits with friends and family
  • Getting together with two friends to hang out and have a “creative” output as part of the meeting [this blog post is tonight’s effort]
  • Reached out to someone I hurt very much asking if they would be open to a visit, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  However they respond, I feel better for asking, and do truly hope that I’m not reopening wounds by doing so.
  • Danced with my friends late into the night
  • Had deep conversations with new people, practicing both my sharing and listening skills
  • Working to see my own gender / sexuality identity more clearly, and starting to figure out more of how I fit into a greater community of people
  • Clarifying my feelings about future family, and thinking about whether I have to follow normal or conventional pathways to get there
  • Practicing self compassion, self care, and trying to find the shape of my heart

Overall, working on facing my fears and moving forward.  I’m very grateful for all of the loving supportive people in my life, and for all of the lessons I’ve been learning through facing challenges and figuring stuff out.

My apologies if this is all too much sharing, feel free to move along and have a lovely rest of your day.

Buddha image

Using GeoIP.dat and Apache on cPanel / WHM to block 75,000+ attacks on wp-login.php in one day

Client denied by server configuration - protect wp-login.php

After yet another brute-force attack on our servers hosting WordPress sites today I finally decided it was time to take some drastic action.  There are a number of different approaches you can take, this is what I did to block literally over 75,000 attacks against wp-login.php today.

Step 1: Install the GeoIP database and Apache module

Step 2: Add this to /usr/local/apache/conf/includes/post_virtualhost_global.conf

# Whitelist countries allowed to access wp-login.php or wp-comments-post.php
<FilesMatch "(wp-login|wp-comments-post)\.php$">
order deny,allow
Deny from all
Allow from env=AllowCountry
ErrorDocument 403 "Forbidden."

(We have some clients in China who need to legitimately login to WordPress, so we included them in the whitelist). Adjust your whitelist / allowed country list appropriately.

Restart apache service httpd restart and start watching the attacks get served up “Forbidden.” messages instead of hitting WordPress and database. Server load way down, yay! Sorry rest of the world, you can’t have our wp-login.php anymore.

Very cool Moves app visualization

If you use the neat Moves app (it tracks walks, runs, bicycle rides, transportation, all automatically) this is a very cool visualization tool to see your history: Move-o-Scope

Here’s my accumulated data so far:

Gabriel's Moves data

Fabulous little sailing documentary (S/V Pestilence / Anarchist Yacht Club)

Hold Fast: Stories of maniac sailors, anarchist castaways, and the voyage of the S/V Pestilence… Over the course of two winters, four members of the Anarchist Yacht Clubb rescued a derelict boat from the inhospitable waters of Ft. Lauderdale, named it the S/V Pestilence, and sailed south to Haiti. Hold Fast describes what drew these friends to the ocean, and tells the story of what they discovered in the sea. It paints a picture of the S/V Pestilence in the context of all the sailing maniacs who have come before them, and ultimately attempts to suggest that the secret is always to begin.
Blue Anarchy Website
Director Moxie Marlinspike
VODO works directly with filmmakers to bring fresh, new films to the filesharing community.
This work is released under a Creative Commons license.
We hope you enjoy this VODO release.
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Meet Mark, one of the over 8,000 homeless people in Oakland, CA

The problem of homelessness is something I see almost every day living here in the Bay Area.  I think one of the worst things we can do to other human beings is to not see them as fellow human beings.  Meet Mark, one of the over 8,000 homeless people living in Oakland.

The next homeless person you see, maybe try talking with them and really see them as a human being.  Give them some respect, and dignity, along with that granola bar, banana or cash.

What kind of society do you want to live in, and what role do you, individually, have to play in its creation?

Really useful batch geocoding page

If you need to convert a lot of addresses to latitude / longitude, this is an excellent resource:’


“This is Water”

“This is Water” – An excellent video sharing wisdom given at a graduation speech by David Foster Wallace in 2005.

Watch now.  Some very good plainspoken thoughts here.

(Via Daring Fireball)

Excellent video lecture about rock wall building

When I was growing up I learned the art of rock wall building from my grandmother Blanche.  It’s something I’ve always enjoyed and this neat video shares a lot of information about rock walls, focusing on New England, given by a master rock wall builder.

Found via Boing Boing

Finding where the path goes

Na Pali Coast - Kauai

I recently got back from a weeklong trip to Kauai that was lovely.  It included spending a lot of time with my girlfriend’s cousins and aunties, eating lots of delicious food, and getting an excellent local-style experience.  On one of the last days we drove to the north end of the island, to the end of the road.  You can’t drive any further, but you can hike the famous Na Pali Coast trail from there.

We only had time for a short hike, and we made it to this vista point — the first point where you could view both sides of the coast.  It was very windy.  We were greeted by a stunning scene once we arrived.  Hikers coming back down the trail were muddy, and even though the trail was wet in a lot of places, we stayed relatively clean in our short hike.  If we had the time, I would have liked to have gone further, to the waterfall, to the beach, but that will have to be saved for another time.

Finding vantage points where we can see things we haven’t seen before is a good goal to have I think, both in terms of physical places, and also in the realm of how we interact with others and ourselves.  It might be a real slog sometimes, and we might get muddy and scraped up, but the rewards of increased perspective and awareness is worth it to persevere and keep going.

Where are we heading, and are we taking the time to appreciate the new viewpoints that our path presents?  Where the path goes isn’t maybe the whole point, but how we get there is.  Joy, happiness, contentment, even in the face of challenges, is how I want to live my life.  One step at a time.

Where is your path leading?

2013 Three Bridge Fiasco – Successfully finished!!!

Excited for the day

Excited for the day

This was my first time doing the Three Bridge Fiasco race — a single or double-handed race around 3 marks in the Bay: Blackaller Buoy near the Golden Gate Bridge, Treasure Island (Bay Bridge) and Red Rock (Richmond Bridge).  Jason and I did the race on his Cal 29 “TNT” and it was outstanding.  We went clockwise around the course, going from the start line to Red Rock to Treasure Island to Blackaller to finish.  Our official finish time was 14:13:14.

Video of the start of the race from Jason’s GoPro:

Results: We finished 20th out of the 44 boats in our division, and #174 out of the total of 357 boats (monohull and multihull) registered for the race.  252 boats actually completed the race this year, scoring us in the 73rd percentile of finishers.  If we include the boats that didn’t start or finish the race, we scored in the 51st percentile.  Not too bad for our first double-handed race, the first race TNT had done, and both of our first Three Bridge Fiasco race experience.

Jibeset Results:

Fleet Assignments (#20 out of 44 entrants)
Overall Results (#174 out of 279 double-handed monohull entrants)

Jason’s write-up: