Notes, Sundries, Miscellany
2006.09.10
News

Free World Famous Audio Hacker! Mash-ups are not a crime!

2006.01.30
News

Latest reports from Guatemala indicate Colonel Sonnenschein is turning his attention to cornering the coffee market. Innuendo and hearsay confirm that the Colonel intends to consolidate the Guatemalen coffee growers into a mighty anarcho-syndicalist fist of the Buddha and forcefully spread enlightment throughout the coffee growing regions of the world. One future convert will be heard to exclaim, “¡Viva la revoluçion con queso!”

2005.10.28
Thoughts

Fitzmas has turned out to be like getting skis (when there is no snow around) and a note that another gift is on backorder and may or may not be restocked.

2005.10.09
Activity

Whilst driving home from my most recent high school reunion, I ran over an opossum. That sums up the general reunion experience.

2005.03.12
Activity

At the suggestion of blogless Lee, I have put together a schedule of the weekend NPR programs for stations in the Washtenaw listening area. Now you know when to tune in and hear all five repeats of Car Talk.

The problem with this table is it captures the current program guide. It would be better if there were a standard format (RSS or some other XML dialect) for publishing station schedules. This would allow an online version of the guide to keep up to date on its own.

2005.01.29
Activity

This evening I ate dinner at Godaiko Novi. I’ve enjoyed numerous meals at the Ann Arbor location but the Novi location is similar in name only. The menu features mostly four-legged meat with sushi (and, more generally, Japanese dishes) seeming an afterthought. Each of the kids’ meals (chicken and pork chops) were dry. The bento box was not as full as the Ann Arbor location’s (no beef maki or tempura mushrooms, nor does it include soup and salad). Water pourers wandered by every few minutes. The meal (bento, teriyaki chicken, and pork chops) took nearly an hour to arrive after ordering, yet the restaurant did not appear overly busy. Maybe a combination chop-house-cigar-room-wine-cellar-sushi-bar is just too swanky for my tastes.

Activity

Update to What’s in my Car. A number of the previously mentioned items have left but without necessarily being replaced.

It would appear winter is not as interesting as summer.

2004.09.10
Activity

Today’s game: What’s in my Car. At present I have

Whee! What an exciting array of items. Thanks for playing.

2004.09.08
Activity

Whenever I start a househould maintenance project which requires a trip to the hardware store, it usually ends up requiring at least two or three trips. I forget something, I buy the wrong part, or I buy a defective unit and have to exchange it (hello, dimmer switch).

Monday I saw that the rear tire on my bike had developed small cracks along the sidewall. The idea of a blowout during a ride never appeals to me, so I decided it was time to install new tires. Even though the front tire exhibited no obvious flaw, 4 years of occasional bursts of riding is probably long enough for most tires; thus, $73 later I have tires (Ritchey cross-bite) and tubes. I get home, pull out the tire plastics, and remove the tube and tire from the rear wheel. It’s at this time I notice a broken spoke (the cap near the hub had come off). After another trip to the bike shop, and I have a freewheel remover, a spoke wrench, and a new $0.50 spoke—all for only $17. I go about installing the new spoke. While checking the wheel tension, it appears I managed to break the cap off the new spoke during installation. Nope. It’s just another broken spoke, and the bike shop is now closed. Today’s schedule includes a third bike shop trip in less than 24 hours.

The good thing about this is I’m now likely to give my bike the all-over tune-up it needs—I sense several more trips coming up.

2004.09.03
Images

It appears someone has lost a pet parakeet (or budgie or however they are known now). The girl came down and said there was a green parakeet on the roof outside her window. The bird then moved to a tree as seen here.
parakeet

2004.04.06
Words

Two books with plots that took too long to do nothing: The DaVinci Code and Pattern Recognition. The conspiracy angle of the former was fun, but Dan Brown is a very poor writer and manages to do nothing interesting with the conspiracy. This was also a problem in Digital Fortress which I picked up without realizing it was also by him. That book was so full of errors and jargon regarding cryptography that I wonder how much of The DaVinci Code is similarly manufactured. The main characters in both works are supposed to be brilliant in their fields, yet even fairly obvious puzzles stump them extended periods. How hard is it to realize that a sample of handwriting is backwards, or that a clue containing “prime’ means prime numbers in the context of a code?

I did not notice William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition when it was first published. Having read it, I no longer feel as though I missed anything. The protaganist has the same detached personality as all of his other protaganists. The main difference this time is that book is set in the present (well, 2002). Gibson still does not have a good feel for the tech world. It is easier to forgive his other works set in the future where he is predicting tech (albeit based on old technology). In this work, however, his unfamiliarity comes to the fore. As an example, a firm with limitless funds provides a laptop for the main character. Gibson’s choice: an iBook. While an iBook may be a cost-effective laptop, it is nowhere near cutting-edge, and there are better selections if one is going for a computing machine with long battery life. This quibble is minor. The main problem is the lack of an interesting conclusion. The main premise is intriguing—sufficiently so as to have kept me reading when I otherwise would have left the book to sit. Unfortunately Gibson throws away the potential with a banal explanation and an extremely tidy ending.

2004.03.25
Thoughts

Caught the final last hour of The Tony Kornheiser Show. Tony had already left the building, but they replayed earlier parts of the show, and Andy Pollen had a good sign-off message. I heard the show only when I was out driving between 1000–1300, so I only caught parts of maybe ten shows a month. I enjoyed most parts of the show, and I’ll missing it being on—even though I was not always listening. “Hey Tony! Tony!”

Another radio voice will being going off the air soon. That is the voice of Bob Edwards. I learned this whilst reading Dan Gillmor’s eJournal feed this morning. The only announcement I could find on NPR was Bob Edward’s announcment with no reason why he is leaving the program. Unfortunately time does not permit me to write more at present

2004.03.07
Activity

Last Wednesday I took the dog went to MSU’s Veterinay Teaching Hospital for modified retinacular imbrication technique (MRIT) surgery on his right hind leg. Sometime late last summer/fall, he had started limping occasionally. A couple vets diagnosed it as a strain and recommended extended rest with anti-inflammatories. When he kept limping after hard play, a third vet gave him a sedative, manipulated his knee, and took an x-ray. The diagnoses was he had torn his cruciate ligament—much like a football player tearing his ACL.

The MSU personnel were quite friendly and helpful. The doctor recommended MRIT instead of the newer TPLO technique. The dog underwent the surgery Thursday, and I brought him home on Friday. His leg is shaved from the operation and, as one of the assistants remarked, looks like a chicken leg. The doctor and other personnel said he came through the surgery very well. It’s quite helpful having a premier veterinary school within a 90-minute drive.

Everything was going well until I gave the dog the first 1/2 tablet of Rimadyl Friday night. I woke up Saturday around 230 to the sound of the puppy barking excitedly. It turned out the dog had thrown up in his crate. Over the next 30 minutes, he vomited a couple more times. Once it appeared he was through being sick, I went back to bed. The puppy started barking 10 minutes later—the dog had thrown up a bloody mucous mixture. After a call to a local animal emergency clinic, the dog and I were on our way. The vet there diagnosed the dog as being in the minority of canines who have a reaction to Rimadyl. After an hour at the clinic, the dog and I left with a x-ray (to check that there were no obstructions in his digestive tract) and some drugs to treat the effect of the Rimadyl. So now, the dog is on antacid and anti-ulcer medication for the next several days and is hopping around on three legs while the knee heals.

2004.02.21
Thoughts

I probably made an error in giving the okay for the girl to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail last week at a friend’s house. Given her near total recall of movie lines, she is now able to provide quotes the film as well as any college boy. Going further by letting her read the script has drawn scorn from friends and exasperated her mother. I’m now searching for a something to counterbalance this infusion of nerdiness.

Activity

The boy had a palatte expander installed this week. The main effect seems to be the slurping sound he is currently makes due to the additional saliva. Well, that and the slightly distorted speech—especially with long e sounds. He has not complained of any pain, and, best of all, his mood has greatly improved. That might be due to being treated for an ear infection as well this week.

After learning about this puzzle yesterday, I finally solved it this morning. Somehow mr. giggles finished it in an hour or so.

2004.02.16
Thoughts

Spotted the following message at a local gas station

Car wash discounts may be used "once" in 15 days.

The double quotes and underline are as in the original.

2004.02.06
Thoughts

Worst-sounding coffee order overheard thus far: triple decaf grande soy mocha no-whip (yeah, it was at a Starbucks). I am not sure what this person wanted. Chocolate tofu?

2004.01.29
Activity

I cleaned out my home office Tuesday night but not by choice. That evening that the water heater seemed to be making more noise than usual, and water was slowly streaming from it to the sump pump. The water kept pooling even after I wiped a spot dry, so I turned off the water supply to the heater, and the noise stopped. The water looked like it may be draining the other way into my office closet. When I went into my office, my feet became damp and the carpet was making squishy sounds. There was also water pooling around the three computers (fortuitously located on a 1" thick boards to provide ventilation room underneath). The next 30–45 minutes were a scramble to shutdown the computers and equipment and to remove the books (most of which were on the floor as I had donated the bookcases to school in August and not yet gotten around to installing new shelving). Given the recent heavy snowfall, it seemed possible that snow up against the house was melting and seeping through the wall, so I shoveled the snow away from the side of the house. Using a wet-vac, I removed several gallons of water from the carpet. The carpet did not seem to remoisten, so I placed a couple Vornados pointing toward the carpet to aid in evaporation. I went to sleep thinking the wall or foundation may need sealing.

The next morning I turned on the water to the water heater, and the noise returned. After a few minutes and upon looking more closely at the valve location, I realized it was not for the water heater but for an outside spigot on the other side of my office. When I checked the office, sure enough, a puddle had reappeared in the corner near the spigot. Another 1/3 of the wet-vac later and the office was re-drying.

So now I’m trying to find a plumber to investigate further, but my office is ready for installation of new shelving. The annoying bit is that the first time in about 3 or 4 years I remember to remove the hoses from the spigots, a pipe bursts.

2003.11.03
Activity

I’m just now getting over pneumonia that lasted for a week and a half. Before the pneumonia it was just a fever with a slightly stuffy ear. That turned into a rampant cough which led to the three doctor and one hospital visits that resulted in the healthy me of today. Azithromycin, predisone, albuterol, and fluticasone propionate.

2003.07.14
Activity

I purchased a trumpet Saturday. I had found a trumpet at the Kiwanis sale 4–6 weeks ago, but they had not priced it. I inquired about it on Saturday and was told $50. Since I was willing to spend $100, I ended up buying it. I played it a bit on Saturday—the first time in 20 years I had played a trumpt. Muscle memory is amazing. I remembered the fingerings but the lips weren’t willing to play for more than ~15m and I could only hit D on the staff. Yesterday I bought a couple books of easy trumpet music (kids stuff, basically). I also cleaned the valves. They have a nice action although the 3rd one exhibits a slight sticking now and then. I’m looking forward to playing. Like many things, it’s more fun when there’s no reason to do it, such as for school, lessons, etc.

2003.06.05
Thoughts

Despite the weather, summer must be here. Driving in town requires a detour or lane shift every few blocks these days. That doesn’t even include the Broadway Bridges Reconstruction Project or the Wagner and Liberty intersection work which starts today. Once it stops raining around here, I think it will be time to start bicycling to work again.

2003.06.03
Music

Poodle Hat is another gem from Weird Al, In addition to the video-less Couch Potato—in which Al does an impressive job of matching Eminem’s meter— there is the Dylan-esque Bob in which every line is a palindrome. Ebay and is another track which stands out, though the album overall is very good.

2003.06.02
Futzing

I enjoy Tim Bray’s web log with the floral photos, macintosh, and emacs. I don’t understand why he bothers working around IE CSS bugs. Maybe he’s trying to do more difficult stuff than what’s going on here.

I really need to get that xml-to-rss-and-html software going. The RSS feed is dying on the vine.

Activity

I spent yesterday cutting and installing molding and quarter-round for the kitchen where the cabinets were installed 3 years ago. My father-in-law lent me a (non-compound) miter saw, air compressor, and nail gun. The air hose was about 25 feet and did not reach from the garage to the kitchen. Off I went to the hardware store for either another 1/4-inch hose or a 10-gauge extension cord suitable for 20 amp circuit. Neither the first nor either of the second and third hardware stores had the item. I then realized—duh— that the air-hose size did not matter, all I cared about was the coupling type. It turns out there are different quick disconnect coupling types: A, T, and I/M. There are a couple others, but those 3 were sufficient to make determining which one I needed require a trip home so I could return with a sample working coupling. As it turns out I needed the I/M style. A decent overview of these (along with why the automotive style is referred to as T instead of A may be found here.

After acquiring the necessary fittings and hose, I then set about cutting the molding. It turns out the molding is approximately 4 inches and the 10-inch miter saw is constructed in such a way as to cut only 3 3/4-inches when the molding is upright. This made for a fun time. There were only two pieces of molding that needed to be cut but it took about an hour of measuring, cutting, hand-sawing, and checking the fit before they were ready to be nailed down.

The nail gun and compressor worked really well. The only problem I encountered with them was in nailing the quarter-round. The floor is white-water hickory. It is a very hard wood. The flooring guys kept bending nails when using their manual nail guns. I decided to attach the quarter round to the cabinet facing and the molding—not to the floor. On the couple occasions when I got the angle a little too deep, the fasteners curled upon reaching the floor rather than penetrating it.

I ran out of oak quarter-round and was hungry, so there’s still five more pieces of quarter-round to cut and install. The most visible spots, though, finally have a finished look after only 3 years.

2003.05.20
Activity

A change has occurred.

My current coffee habit is a manageable 2 shots of espresso per day—either as a double espresso, a macchiato, or occassionally a cappuccino. I sustain the addiction either by visiting a nearby cafe or by producing the substance at home. Few other places will suffice due to their inability to produce espresso which is drinkable on its own. As a case in point, instead of walking half a block to get free espresso on a corporate account, I walk five blocks and pay for the espresso out of my own pocket.

I suspect the poor quality of most espresso is due to a combination of poor training and the baristas not being espresso consumers. There is also the misunderstanding of what constitutes a shot of espresso. When—against my better judgement—I visit one of these places, I end up with a 3–4 ounce double and little to no crema. The Bicyling style guy was accurate when he wrote if you want good espresso, you have to go to Europe.

My home setup is some Krups pump machine and a lower-end LaPavoni burr grinder I had to disassemble in order to produce an espresso-fine grind. With this setup and fresh beans, I’m able to produce espresso which exceeds the swill of most of the coffee shops around here. The key is my shots are never more than 1 ounce and usually only 3/4 ounce.

Anyway, last week I happened upon coffeegeek.com. It looks to be a very well done site. Lots of reviews and consumer feedback. The change I noticed, however, is even after reading some of the articles, I had no interest in supplanting my existing very modest equipment. One of the current items is an espresso tamper shootout. Now tamping is indeed an integral part of espresso making, but I’ve found the tamper on the end of the plastic scoop that came with my espresso machine to be very capable. I have no need to spend $15–35 for something else I have to get out of the drawer when coffeeing at home. There was also a review of what the reviewer hailed as the new benchmark of home grinders. Now available for only $375 (down from $600). Again, a decent grinder is required to produce drinkable espresso. Maybe when my LaPavoni wears out, I’ll decide to splurge and check out the high-end of consumer burr grinders, but until then I am satisfied with what I have and do not find myself wanting anything more. That’s the change.

2003.05.13
Activity

I took the girl and one of her friends to the Avril Lavigne concert on Saturday. The best part of the show was watching the two of them dance and sing along. Both of them were annoyed by having to wait through two opening acts (Gob and A Simple Plan) and thus two intermissions. Knowing that intermissions are often much longer than one expects, I had brought along a book. The girls, however, sat anxiously awaiting for the real show to start. Surprisingly the concert started at the time printed on the tickets. Despite arriving prior to the start time, we entered the arena midway through Gob’s set after it took 30 minutes to go through the obligatory T-shirt line. When did T-shirts start costing more than the tickets? The girls got the same 3/4-length sleeve baseball shirt for $40 apiece. Tickets were around $30-35. Given that a knit hat was $25 and (a pair of ?) sweatbands were $10, it’s obvious that merchandise accounts for most tour revenue. The show was okay though, and the girls were very excited to have gone so it was worth the drive.

In house news, the kitchen sink faucet developed an internal leak over the weekend. I noticed this Sunday night when water slowly dripped through the basement ceiling and landed with a splat on the carpet. The temporary solution was to turn off the water to the faucet, clean up the pool of water in the cabinet, and create a hole in the ceiling for the remaining water to drain through. Yesterday evening I removed the rusted attachment nut and bolt from the faucet. I stopped at that point having scraped-up a knuckle on the underside of the counter during the process. Tonight will involve replacing the faucet and sink. I was going to replace the sink this summer anyway, so this just moves that work up the schedule. The fun is that the chosen sink is two inches deeper than the current sink, so I also get to replumb the connection to the disposal.

Words

The book I took to the show was a copy of Shadow of a Broken Man a friend lent me along with The Beasts of Valhalla from the Mongo the Magnificent series by George Chesbro. Unfortunately I read the latter first, but I quite enjoyed it. There’s something about a former circus performer with black belt in karate and a PhD in criminology turned part-time private investigator who happens to be a dwarf that makes for a compelling read.

2003.05.07
Activity

In math group today we made our own coarse protractors. Coarse in that the angles were only multiples of 15. The students were more interested this week than the past few weeks. Perhaps it was the running I had them do prior to teaching.

Next week will be more geometric constructions. Perhaps inscribing and circumscribing polygons.

Music

Hot Hot Heat’s Make Up the Breakdown is one of those rare works which seems like a perfect album from the very first listen. The singer is a mixture of The lyrics and music are straightforward and simple, but the sound and vocals (a cross of Robert Smith, early Andy Partridge, and Danny Elfman) combine in a very effective and listenable way.

2003.04.21
Futzing

I installed X.2.5 on the laptop last week. Since I was doing a clean install, I decided to use UFS since the U is supposed to stand for UNIX. As it turns out, this was a very poor choice. The base install took 3 hours, and software update and various application installs took an addition 8 hours. In addition, several applications had quirky problems, e.g., Camino insisted on downloading to the desktop instead of the selected downloads folder.

Reloading the machine using HFS+ took only 30m for the base install and only a couple more hours for updates and applications. The laptop also feels snappier than when UFS was in place.

2003.04.06
Rant

as someone with a spectating problem, i watch more than the average amount of sports—especially sports which comprise much of the olympic games. crew, cross-country skiing, badminton, curling, luge, team handball, i enjoy watching them all. all of the sports that is.

the problem is that i live in the usa, and networks don’t like to show most of these sports. instead they focus on basketball, hockey, gymnastics, and figure skating. basketball and hockey are okay, although they seem out of place in the olympics, and i enjoy their collegiate and professional versions more. as for gymnastics and figure skating, these aren’t even sports.

now i realize that for some reason these two activities—gymnastics and figure skating—produce huge television ratings, but they are not sports. a sport is a athletic game with the winner determined by the clock or a score but which does not score based on artistic effort. figure skating and gymnastics definitely require athletic ability and substantial training but in the end they are the equivalents of beauty competitions and pet shows relying on a judge’s idea of art. lest someone think this is a thinly veiled attack on women’s sports, note that i also claim ski jumping, half-pipe snowboarding, skateboarding, freestyle skiing, and diving should not be classified as sports. they may be difficult to do and fun to watch, but they too are not sports.

i’m sure someone is about to complain “but many of your so-called sports routinely rely on judgements from referees, umpires, linesfolk, etc. what’s the difference between that and an artistic score?“ the answer is that the scoring is not based solely upon the judgment. imagine a basketball game with a score of 83–82 where the team with fewer points won because they played a more artistic game. perhaps they passed the ball more, involved more players in the scoring, had fewer fouls, etc. does this seem like a silly way to determine the winner? indeed, but that’s exactly what happens in snowboarding, do more technical tricks, but fail to get enough air (sorry, amplitude)? too bad, you may lose.

Activity

More gardening this weekend. Despite the rain, sleet, and snow of the past day-and-a-half, the gardens continue to green. I cleared the dead bits out of a couple more beds. The baptista, cosmo, and hosta remains are now laying on the side of the ravine, ready for further decomposing. The snow-drops are finishing up, but I saw a few crocus nearing bloom. The grape hyacinth and miniature tulip leaves are pushing up as well.

As for indoor gardening, I purchased the fourth orchid of the year. This one is from Tom Thompson Florist on Main Street. The woman was very helpful and provided me with 3 baggies of orchid food: blue, yellow, and green. I am going to leave the orchids alone for another week before feeding them. Two of the other orchids are sending offshoots of the main blooming stems. I am curious to find out whether the food will help them develop some new blooms.

2003.04.04
Futzing

Added the standard set of insert-buzzword-here buttons set at the bottom. There is now a link to this hand-maintained RSS 2.0 feed.

I really need to acquire/write an xhtml-and-rss-from-same-source generator.

Activity

The weather forecasters were correct in predicting Wednesday would be the last warm day this week. I took advantage of the forecast and spent an hour or so removing dead foliage from the gardens. There are a lot of narcissus and iris shoots, but so far only the snow-drops and some small bell-shaped blue flower are in bloom.

2003.04.01
Activity

I saw the Cuadros Pamplona Alta exhibit at the UM Hospital last Friday. This is a very moving depiction of life outside Lima, Peru. It is located at the south end of the first floor of the Taubmann Center.

Weird

Sometime after 6pm yesterday evening, a gnome appeared. He is standing on a table between the two adirondack chairs. I neither know whence he came nor where he is going. One odd thing is that he is wearing a green jacket instead of blue. His appearance freaked out the smaller dog. She jumped at the sight of him and frantically sniffed all around him. The other dog does not have as keen a sense of smell, so he paid little attention to the visitor.

2003.03.26
Activity

Finished going through the Exponenents, Roots, and Triangles exercises with the math group. They’re still having trouble accepting the sqrt(2) as just another number and not something to be solved. I’m hoping to help them understand it better next week by having them measure triangles and comparing the calculated hypotenuses (hypotenusae?) with the measured values.

The computer group started Monday. 4 students, one of whom was absent on Monday. Looks like we shall be using python as none of them have extensive programming experience. I walked through some simple control logic with them, and they appeared to understand the python statements without much explanation. I provided them with a simple program (one explicit function) to look at through the week and to try running (all of them have computers at home).

Words

I started reading Imagining Numbers (ISBN: 0374174695) after reading a review on slashdot. I haven’t reached a part about imagining i, but my hope is that there will examples I can relay to the math group---if not about i itself, then perhaps irrational numbers in general.

Futzing

I removed the style sheet information for this into a separate file. Using Dave Raggett’s Adding a touch of style, I made some more style changes such as the section backgrounds and creating a footer division which allows me to remove the <hr> tag. There’s very little HTML left in this document now, and for some reason I feel rather pleased.

2003.03.18
Activity

Tomorrow’s math group will focus on exponents, roots, and the Pythagorean formula. The exercise sheet is here.

2003.03.16
Music

I flipped by VH1 just as the Police were being inducted. I sat through Roxanne hoping they would follow it with something interesting. Instead, there’s a commercial and they start playing Every Breath You Take. That’s when the television went off.

Futzing

I considered writing some code to manage both the html and the rss information. I figured since rss is xml that one of the first things I should do is validate the resulting rss file. It appears that there’s no official schema/document type definition for rss 2.0. the mailing list archives would indicate that there’s not going to be one either; there are arbitrary rss validators so that might be sufficient.

2003.03.15
Music

Just purchased Israel Kamakawiwo`ole’s Facing Future. It’s a smashing good album and not just because of the superb Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World medley.

Words

Border’s is having a buy-3-paperbacks-get-the-4th-free sale this weekend. This only feeds my book purchasing problem. As it turned out, I managed to buy my freedom with just two books (the latest Doonesbury and Fox Trot collections of all things). I considered getting a couple computer books (xml-rpc and python. Fortunately for me, however, I encountered my usual resistance to purchasing programming language/spec books: the belief that most of what I need to know is already documented on the net (or as part of the software itself). This is not always the case, and my book shelves testify to this. (La)TeX is a good counter-example.

2003.03.14
Activities

Breakfasted with mdw. The other two regulars were unable to attend this week. If he had a link to it, I’d reference the announcement of his native perl/java AES string-to-key implementions.

After reading Wil Wheaton’s "This title has no H3 tags!" entry, I replaced all header tags with spans and added divs for sectioning. There is very HTML markup left now. Seems it’s time to start looking at automatically generating both this file and the rss file.

I see haenck has updated his moveable type-based site after several days of inactivity. The logging competition continues!.

2003.03.13
Futzing

Last night I downloaded the latest versions of Camino and Safari. Options are nice. I still find Safari essentially unusable due to its (current) lack of tabs. Additionally, I didn’t notice any difference in web page rendering times between in and Camino. The combination of Camino and NetNewsWire makes web reading much more efficient. Click on interesting links while going through subscriptions in NNW. When that’s done, go through all of the tabs Camino opened in the background. I became too tired to do much more than boot Spring last night though.

Future Activity

I agreed to guide 2-3 5th/6th graders’ programming work at school. Their current interest seems is java. It will be interesting to find out what they’re doing with it. I’m getting the class schedule today to find out when our schedules match up.

2003.03.12
Activity

I just purchased the happening bundle of Spring and NetNewsWire. I then decided to add a hand-edited RSS feed of these notes. It’s time to add a link to one of the other contestants in the obscure web log post category. Perhaps leeph will provide me with the URL of the other contestant (or even join in the fun).

I’ve been doing yoga (daily when possible). Last night I did the fully-modified workout sufficiently easily that I’ll try the 1/2-modified tomorrow. I really enjoy this DVD. It makes use of the DVD multiple-angle feature to provide 4 different workout levels: normal, 1/4-modified, 1/2-modified, and fully-modified. Since my hamstrings are rather inflexible, I’ve been using the fully-modified angle. GAIAM seems to be the Starbucks of yoga. The DVD I purchased a year or so ago is a Living Arts DVD but their web site now shows it as a GAIAM product. Other GAIAM products area Living Arts co-branded. I wonder when GAIAM purchased Living Arts. There is no mention of it in their press releases.

2003.03.11
Activity

Saw erasure play at Clutch Cargo’s last Tuesday as part of their The Other Tour. Andy gave a very impressive performance. His voice is was in fine form and even though they played for approximately 2 hours, he showed no strain even at the end. One of the best songs was the acoustic version (Vince on guitar) of True Love Ways. The set and initial costumes were Victorian with Andy in a hoop dress which he eventually shed to red leather boots, corset, and brief. Vince had what initially appeared to be a dark grey suit but which sparkled with full stage lights on it. The second set of outfits were some odd motocross-like pants and jackets. Vince’s even had lapels.

Words

Re-read Richard Russo’s Straight Man. Still enjoyable. I’m surprised it’s not been made into a movie.

Read Louis Sacher’s Holes on Sunday (soon to be a major motion picture). It was okay. Probably would have enjoyed it much more had I not just finished Straight Man. It turns out the local principal is related to Mr. Sacher.

Finished In Code: A (Young Girl’s) Mathematical Journey, Sarah Flannery’s autobiography of developing the Cayley-Purser cryptosystem. Not as many life details/thoughts as I would have liked, but a good introduction to cryptography. I think I’ll introduce the math group to prime numbers tomorrow.

2003.03.07
Activity

It would appear that daily yoga prevents the slight muscle pain that occurs when I skip a day of yoga.

2003.01.08
Words

Last night I finished Them (ISBN: 0743233212). A fun read if you enjoy consipiracies, but it didn’t examine any particular extremist group very deeply. I have no idea why he included the section on Dr. Ian Paisley. That chapter contains a brief mention of Paisley’s belief and spends the rest of the time on the uninteresting and shallow interactions between Paisley and Ronson. The book is worth a quick read.

Activity

Purchased a NordicTrack elliptical walker on sale from Sears. Given the pricing, I suspect it’s about to be discontinued soon. With help from a friend and his truck, I picked it up yesterday. Assembly took about an hour. The hardest part was attaching the press-nuts. It would have been easier had I put them on one at a time. This morning I got up early, had some espresso, and tried preset program number 3. I made it all the way through maintaining the suggested pace, but some parts of it were quite tiring. Overall the display was very helpful and easy to read, and the machine itself was quite stable and quiet. One odd thing was that program started over instead of indicating I had finished. Thus far I’m quite pleased with the device. Let’s see how I feel in a week or two.

For those who care, I gave the math group a review quiz which is available here. The LaTeX source is available here. I have not had a chance to go over the quiz with the students yet, but having looked over their work, I’m very pleased with their progress.

2002.09.19
Words

Finished this month’s Scientific American. It’s so USA Today-ish now. Maybe I’ll work up the energy to cancel my subscription. The article on static electricity and electronic circuits was mildly interesting---mainly for explaining the methods of destruction.

Activity

I signed up to lead a weekly math group at school. I’m looking forward to it. Initially I’ll use supplied booklets for the ~1 hour period. The teacher also suggested games such as backgammon---presumably for the mathematical, not gambling, aspects.

2002.09.18
Words

Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool, Straight Man, and Empire Falls are three of the best books i’ve read in a long time. All three are wonderful, but the last is the best developed of the three, and Straight Man is an enjoyable farce.

Music

XTC’s re-mastered English Settlement and Skylarking (finally a U.S. release with original track order and Mermaid Smiled) alternate in the computer while I’m working. As for more recent releases, Pink’s Missundaztood has worked it’s hooks into my brain, especially Just Like a Pill and 18 Wheeler. Too catchy.

Activity

Attended a Renaissance Festival over the weekend. $35 for everyone to get in. Once you’re in, however, all you can do is eat, watch bad acting/fighting, shop, and pay $1–3 to play a game. Don’t let the claim of full-armor jousting fool you, only some of the jousts have full armor, and those are the ones later in the day. I was expecting a Renaissance version of Greenfield Village. Instead I got a dusty strip mall filled with bad English accents: ’ere you go m’lord. Except for wanting to be around other people wearing medieval/renaissance/elisabethan garb, why would anyone go more than once in a lifetime?

Thoughts

How does the president have a 60-70% approval rating? Do people really think he’s doing that good of a job or are they just so full of nationalism they feel they have to support the president even if they disagree with him?