Saturday, October 29, 2005


(originally posted at, friends-only)

It took me a month to say hello, but tonight she read me some Murakami before bed. It was sweet.

Hearing the rain outside is very comforting, though I miss the rolling thunderstorms of upstate New York.

Tomorrow I'm going back to work. Sunday I'm going to take a drive back up to the headlands. This time alone, only with haloform's podcasts. I plan to hike around a bit and try to find the best picnic location... "away from the things of man."

Perhaps then I'll meet her. But she certainly intrigues me.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Satisfaction Guaranteed

(originally posted at, friends-only)

What a satisfying day. I got just about everything accomplished that I wanted to.

I also found out that I'm being loaned from engineering to ops for a week or so in order to help with some of the issues they're facing. Should be fun. It'd feel more like a home-coming if I'd done more system-level work at HQ rather than focusing on the network side of things.

I should also thank haloform for being an absolutely amazing person, who continually finds ways to surprise and delight me.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Insulting my intelligence

(originally posted at

Every once in a while I'll run across an ad that states "should marijuana be legalized? answer and win an xbox360!" - hey, play to your demographic, I understand that. But today I ran into a new ad from the same company...
"Punch out George W. and win an xbox360!"
My reaction is hard to put into words. Sometimes I wonder if marketers just like to experiment with people without really knowing what they're doing. Targetting the politically-disaffected youth market - a market more than likely to be aware that they're being marketed to - seems risky. But presenting them with a little flash game to "win" a piece of hardware that's not even on the market yet by committing fake violence on the President... they're trying to make my brain implode.

I should study some standard marketing texts to see just what the hell they're teaching these people.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tortoise & Daniel Lanois

(originally posted at

It was a damn fine show.

Differences from the last time I'd seen them (in Irving Plaza, Heidi reminded me):
  • they brought their xylophones & vibraphones with them.
  • they had two drum sets, and on a few numbers played them simultaneously.
  • after just about every song the band members would shuffle instruments.
That last one was really entertaining. I'd never seen a musician go from bass to six-string to xylophone to vibraphone in a succession of four songs. Watching them play the 'phones made me miss Smalls.

After Tortoise's act, Lanois came on and performed a solo piece which was alright. I was still sort of riding high off the Tortoise set. But then Tortoise came back out and backed Lanois for the remainder of his set. He did a good job mimicking their style, and stuck mainly to instrumentals.

I grabbed a few snapshots, sound clips, and movies with my phone. Alas, my laptop with the bluetooth is at the office and I'm not sure where my bluetooth usb adapter is... so the actual quality of that media won't be known until tomorrow.

Oh, and if you're in the SF area, they're playing again tomorrow night (Fri. 10/21), so you haven't missed it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

God Damn

(originally posted at

So I just finished watching Firefly.

It was entertaining, but not really the lifestyle decision it was made out to be. One thing that continued to irk me throughout the show was the use of the word "gorram." With the amount of sex and violence in the show, one would think they wouldn't be so squeamish as to hide behind a made-up word when they really meant to say "god damn."

My favorite character of the whole show was introduced in the last episode. His name was Jubel Early and he was a sociopathic bounty hunter who had come to retrieve a fugitive member of the ship's crew. I suppose I just liked the way his character was written. Either that, or I have a soft spot for sociopaths.

A funny thing I noticed as I watched the trailer for Serenity... it was billed as "the cult phenomenon hailed by critics." Doesn't that just seem... odd?

subtext: i need to find a gifted pixel-artist to create a custom mood set for me. creativity is paramount, because the emotions i'd like to capture are subtle and a bit off-the-wall. for instance, how would you display ambivalence or whimsy in a 40x40 format?

Monday, October 17, 2005

His Master's Voice

(originally posted at

I picked up the one and only Stanislaw Lem book that the Borders on 3rd and Townsend had in stock. dkp turned me on to him quite a while ago, actually. I don't remember if I'd read Cyberiad or The Futurological Congress - if I had to guess, I'd go with the latter.

So here's an excerpt from His Master's Voice:

True, a group of psychoanalysts from Michigan did attempt to challenge this state of affairs, but they fell into the sin of over-simplification. The physicist's evident propensity to theorize, these scholars derived from sexual repression. Psychoanalytic doctrine reveals the pig in man, a pig saddled with a conscience; the disastrous result is that the pig is uncomfortable beneath that pious rider, and the rider fares no better in the situation, since his endeavor is not only to take the pig but also to render it invisible. The notion that we have within us an ancient Beast that carries upon its back a modern Reason - is a pastiche of primitive mythologies.

Meanwhile, back in reality, I've played a bum hunch on how some L10N stuff is going to work and I need to go back to the drawing board or re-architect deeper pieces of the application. Either way will be painful, but it must be done.

Update: Turns out, I'd read The Star Diaries: Further Reminiscences of Ijon Tichy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Guilty Secrets

(originally posted at, friends-only)

There's no easy way to go about this, so I'm just going to swallow my pride and come out and say it: as a child, I enjoyed watching professional wrestling.

We're talking maybe ages 6 through 10 or 12.

My parents didn't really believe in cable television, so Saturday mornings from 11 until noon, my options were cheesy teen sitcoms or professional wrestling on some UHF station brought to me by... what was it, Titan Sports Entertainment? [1]

So tonight, while reading up on the literary history of San Francisco, I came across a Gold Rush-era writer named Bret Harte. Being curious, I went to wikipedia to look him up. Being careless, I hit return one character too early and was confronted with Bret Hart. Oh no! Oh yes...

With a sort of morbid curiosity about my own childhood, I explored, and I must say that there's an awful lot of professional wrestling information on Wikipedia. Randomly paging up and down Bret Hart's page, I came across an interesting link called the Montreal Screwjob - which is the fascinating tale of a contractual snafu spilling over into the league's rich storyline, with a surprise ending for all those involved.

That's all, really. If you have the stomach for it, marvel at the professional wrestling information on wikipedia. Make yourself feel better by donning your anthropologist's hat ahead of time.

[1] - it's funny to think that a multi-million dollar enterprise like the WWE once had to pay for their airtime. The TV show being a loss-leader/marketing ploy for all their toys and shirts and fake championship belts. I never owned one of those... no... [2]

[2] - the above was my first-ever footnote (as far as I know), so I needed a footnote on the footnote to explain and mark the occasion. I'm not sure if btrott would be proud that I'm carrying on his meme or scared of my meta-footnote-fu.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thought of the Day

(originally posted at

Hmm, first time I've posted three times in one day in a while... but this quote from Sewer, Gas & Electric was just too juicy to pass up:
"Selective self-deception is the first symptom of true intelligence."
In the context of the story, a sentient AI is describing to a human why it decided to commit genocide. The reason was that it heard an order that could have been interpreted in one of two ways; it chose the more interesting interpretation.

This sounds consistent with the theory that intelligence first evolved from the extension of instinct into anticipation, and eventually into the ability to create mental models. For if one is able to consciously conceive of something (or a state of being) that is nonexistent, they should be able to act on that model as if it were reality.

Pretty neat to think about. Makes me want to read Pinker again (still haven't picked up Blank Slate). Makes me wonder what I've been missing being off all the wacko extropian/transhuman mailing lists these past few years.


(originally posted at

I'm still exploring all the pre-installed software on my new mobile phone. Most of the packages helpfully remind me "one trial use left!" when I launch them for the first time. Launch, delete, rinse, repeat.

Then I hit QuickOffice. I launched it. No trial-use warnings, and official-looking Microsoft Office icons for QuickWord, QuickSheet, and QuickPoint. No shit. I wanted to play with it to see what it could do, but when I went to create a new Word doc, I got this gem:
"QuickWord contains a word processor, would you like to purchase editing?"
WTF else am I going to do with a word processor? Talk about out of touch...
(originally posted at

Via CNN...
"Under the plan, sources told CNN, Goss will set the common standards for spying operations, whether they are conducted by the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or one of the 13 additional intelligence agencies in the federal government."
Wait, we have fifteen intelligence agencies?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Good Tortoise

(originally posted at

Yesterday, authenticgeek and I bought our tickets for the Tortoise show at The Independent on October 20th. For my co-workers who may not be familiar with the band, I picked out four Tortoise songs and put them in a shared playlist called "The Good Tortoise." They are:
  1. His Second Story Island (slow, soft, sad)
  2. Glass Museum (progressive yet downtempo, one of my first musical loves)
  3. It's All Around You (title track from their latest album)
  4. Stretch, You Are All Right (also off their latest release)
You can find some preview tracks in mp3 format here. And if you like what you hear, I urge you on over to Sputnik7 to find the music video for their song "Seneca." The video uses old "golden age of NASA" footage.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


(originally posted at

From Sewer, Gas & Electric:
"Did you ever actually answer her question?" Joan asked.

"Verbally, you mean? Well," said Kite, "you don't disprove someone's pessimism by adding up good and evil on a dessert napkin to see which is the greater total. Hope's a choice, not a sum; you can have as much of it as you damn well feel like having, regardless of actual circumstances. But if you try to explain that straight out to someone when they're in a bad mood, they'll assume you're being patronizing and may even throw something at you. It's better to use a little finesse."
Is zen a mood?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Joe vs. the Volcano

(originally posted at

I love cheesy movies that end with "and they lived happily ever after." Especially if the character development is none-too-subtle and the special effects are ridiculous.

So the other day I had an urge to see this movie. It had been a while since I'd seen it. Come to think of it, the last time I saw it was likely when I was still living with Julie. I ended up watching to movie alone; it was another in a long string of indicators that she just wasn't right for me.

Anyway, I couldn't find it on any of the torrent sites I frequent, so I actually opened an account at the locally-owned video store across the street from the apartment complex. In the age of NetFlix, it felt a little quaint.

The movie was so satisfying to watch. Just the right mix of emotions as the pathetic protagonist turns his life around and finds love. One of my favorite emotions is his bewilderment when he's in the limo being asked here he wants to go. He has no clue. No clue who he is or what he's doing, and he looks for an external source to guide him - only to be confronted point blank about his situation. It's a great exchange between two character actors.

In other news, I finally got a new mobile phone and actually hooked it up to some service. If you're a co-worker, you can find the number on the internal wiki - if not, drop me a line.

Friday, October 07, 2005


(originally posted at

Sweetpea haloform just posted two friday podcasts over at refractions in the plastic pulse.

I really dig the embedded flash player in loudblog - but if I see one more base installation of kubrick... I think I'm gonna hurl.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

mp3 blog

(originally posted at

I found a great mp3 blog on typepad while looking for the track-listing of a certain Jeff Buckley bootleg. I'm not sure if that's the actual track listing for the bootleg, because I don't really know all of his songs. Ah, well, it's as close as I could get.

Throve is a funny word.

(originally posted at

So I've started re-reading Sewer, Gas & Electric. Some choice snippets:
Alligators, small boys and at least one horse have accidentally swam in the sewers of New York. The boys and the horse seem not to have enjoyed the experience, but the alligators throve on it.
- - - - -
A new age: English was the mother tongue now, a mother tongue that had already been fractured into a thousand dialects, only to thrive and grow stronger. Humankind had stormed heaven in homegrown chariots of fire and returned to tell the tale. And as far as God was concerned, if He weren't already an American at heart, ready and willing to root for American achievement - well, by the time Harry Gant and the Department of Public Opinion were finished with Him, He would be.
- - - - -
She pushed a pair of what looked like plastic dog tags across the desktop: "Make sure you wear these at all times when you're working."

"What for?"

"Information aid. In case you become eligible for early retirement in a way that makes you hard to identify."
- - - - -
"Oh," said Eddie, who didn't know, actually. "So if her ma was a queer nun and her husband was a billionaire, what's she doing working in the sewers?"

More to come.