blivet – 12/22/2001

few things are better than lying on warm clothes fresh from the dryer

If you’re a cat, few things are better than a big pile of warm clothes from the dryer.

Scott, Frauke, and Christopher are in Germany, but have traveled to Minnesota for the holidays. The Norwegians do not have a monopoly on lutefisk. I grew up in a community with a lot of people who came to eastern Kansas (Osage City) from Sweden. An aside, of interest to few, if any: My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Aldreen and her mother’s name was Stonequist. In my great-aunt’s old age she refused to speak English anymore and returned to speaking only Swedish, I’ve forgotten what little I learned to communicate with her. That accounts for half of my heritage from my Mother.

Anyway, when I was seven, the last of the Swedish immigrants were quite elderly and put on the last Swedish Festival. From that festival comes my only memory of lutefisk, which was presented as a great delicacy summoned from an idyllic, perhaps mythic past. I have fond memories of several other dishes I first encountered there, along with dances and songs. My memory of lutefisk is filed in a different category, though perhaps those memories are the most vivid, along with the smell of some of the houses in my neighborhood for the several weeks preceding the festival as the lutefisk was prepared.

If those people were somehow sitting here at the table with us, I would ask for more lutefisk, just because it would make them so happy. I hope they would not notice that I followed each lutefisk morsel with more potato pancakes (patascorf ?) and strong coffee, to cleanse my palate so I could, umm … appreciate the lutefisk.

00:36 Yep, still up…

[Two from UniSci (which won’t update until next year)]

Rewriting The Timeline Of The Bronze And Iron Ages
Using information gleaned from the sun’s solar cycles and from tree rings, archaeologists are rewriting the timeline of the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Continental History Seen In 35 Million-Year-Old Lava
The formation and evolution of the African Rift Valley are shaded in mystery, but geoscientists at Penn State are mapping the history of the Rift through space and time by analyzing the chemistry of ancient lava from Lake Turkana, northern Kenya.

Trying out Mac IE 5.1. Yeah, I know its M$, but nothing else seems to work very well on a PB3400 running 8.6.

I added a bunch of stuff late and out of order yesterday to keep Ian on top, so scroll on down if you came by before 23:30…

blivet – 6/17/2001 Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers and grandfathers out there.

It is also Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration of the ending of slavery. via Jeff

Congratulations to Olov Schedin and girlfriend Sara on the birth of another daughter! Olov is Jonas Beckman‘s business partner.

I have this mental image of a very determined garret on his knees in the corner of the yard with a pair of scissors. A trail of light industrial flotsam and jetsam (come apart grass clippers, broken electric trimmer, dull reel mower) leads back to the garage. cut to: <sandra in the doorway> garret, the lawn can wait… <garret> No, it’s become a matter of principle! <scissor noises> snip, snip, <garret mutters> going camping next weekend <fade scissor sounds> I hope today’s hike is bug-free.

Pictures of Ireland from André’s trip.

Sense objects.

upcoming: 7/20 at the las vegas house of blues :: warren zevon

I’m trying to find a certain photograph of my Dad to scan and post…
I never located that particular picture album pfffbbbt!

Audrey is gone to Boulder, Colorado for a week to take a short course in Hyperspectral Imaging and Data Analysis using ENVI software at The Center for the Study of the Earth from Space. The course is offered cooperatively by CSES, Analytical Imaging and Geophysics (AIG), and Analytical Spectral Devices (ASD) at CSES facilities in the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has been using the software quite successfully for over a year, along with ERDAS Imagine and ESRI Arc GIS. The instructors are the people who wrote the software, so I bet she will come back able to make ENVI jump through hoops.

She is going to stay with her parents in northern Denver and commute to Boulder, then spend the weekend with them before returning to Las Vegas. I’m going to miss her terribly… sigh But, I have things to do…

I’ll leave you with this from Daily Zen:

Every day priests minutely

Examine the Dharma

And endlessly chant

Complicated sutras.

Before doing that, though,

They should learn

How to read the love letters

Sent by the wind and rain,

The snow and moon.

– Ikkyu (1394-1491)

blivet – 3/12/2001

Tired beyond belief. Too much on the plate and not enough time on the pillow. I’ve been seeing lots of great pointers and discussion catalysts but don’t have the mental horsepower to rise to the dialog. Sorry. This is not liable to change in the near future. I have to get the analysis finished for the Society for American Archaeology annual meeting next month – coincident with that thesis thing. Its not a good feeling when your default response is ‘huh?’. I’d love to talk with several of you via your (and my) dg, but I have to get some sleep.

The presentation went OK. Not great, but OK. I had my first attack of stage fright in over 12 years. When the lights went down, there were no lectern lights. Suddenly I understood why others were having such problems. I already had a kit together of extra laser pointers, extension cords, extra copies of the speaking points, bulbs for the projector, overheads made from the Powerpoint slides in case the computer or projector died. I thought I had everything covered. Murphy was an optimist! I’ve never been unable to read the materials I took to the podium with me. Now, the Mini-Mag™ flashlight goes in that kit too. Experience helps prevent mistakes. How do you get experience? By making mistakes. When your acquaintances say ‘great talk!’, but your friends say ‘what happened?’, you know. Its one thing to disappoint others, another to know you could have done better. Oh well. There’s always the next one. Onward!

I’m still here. DNS is back up. Seems some security patches weren’t installed on a server or two at the ISP and some routine exploits that shouldn’t have worked, did. It doesn’t matter what your PR says if you don’t pay attention to those details.

Car repairs …

Working on cars stopped being fun for me one night I remember all too well. A long time ago, in a galaxy far away … (Kansas in the late 1970s) I had a series of old Volkswagen bugs. This particular one was a 1961, old enough that it didn’t have a gas gauge, just a lever above the gas pedal that you could move with your foot to access that last gallon or so of gas. Gas gauges first appeared in the 1962 model. It was a real sinking feeling the one time the engine sputtered during it’s fuel starvation throes and I reached up with my foot and realized that the last time I had to use the reserve tank, I hadn’t pushed the lever back up after I got gas. Anyway, I loved to work on cars during that time in my life, especially VWs. This was my third (fourth?) one. Sometime in the winter of 1979-80 I had driven the 40-some miles down to the small town of Americus (small even by rural Kansas standards) to visit a good friend from High School who lived about eight miles out of town in an old farmhouse.

It was during the bleak, cold time of winter in the Plains when the north wind blows little skiffs of snow around, the cows are in the creek bottoms and it’s just damn miserable to be outside at night. On the way back to Manhattan at about 2 in the morning, scraping ice off of the inside of the windshield as I drove, the gas pump died bubbbbuuuggghhh. If you ever had an old bug you know how pathetic those heaters were, even in *perfect* condition. My heater boxes were far from perfect and my breath was condensing and freezing as ice on the inside of the windshield. I knew the fuel pump was going, so I had the new pump and the tubing cutter ’cause there was a change in the fittings, blah, blah, bla,, but I was going to do it that weekend,… just not right then in the middle of freezing nowhere, in the middle of the night, in a ditch when it was ~20ºF.

To make a long story not much shorter, I ended up drenching my hands in gasoline (have something ready [a short pencil works well] to plug the fuel line before you begin!) and a half hour job took four times as long because of fumble-fingered fatigue, increasing stress (I had a class at 7:30 am), mild hypothermia, and the fact that even the best flashlight is no good with dead batteries. Over the next two days the top layer of exposed skin on my hands got soaked with gas peeled off because it froze in the wind. I haven’t enjoyed doing mechanic work since.


Closing out the evening listening to Loreena McKennet’s the book of secrets (Warner Bros 9 46719-2). If you’ve ever pondered after noticing the connection between Celtic music and south Asian (as in India) music you might like it. Loreena’s high Celtic voice with tablas, Irish drums, sitars, and fiddles. Other songs are more conventional “New Celt” or whatever they’re calling it these days. Or, it may not be to your taste. After the Hearts of Space radio show tonight and now this CD playing, I just feel like I’m falling upward into a sky of light with visions of Dervishes spinning, their long white cloaks spreading with their motion, becoming mandalas. Zen is the path of mysticism, and there is no surer way than through sound. It is central in my order…

[] Troubleshooting: Partial lobotomy for M$-infected Macs (FAQ) A good “how to” about which extensions to move and where they need to go. I tried it and amazingly, it works. Now if I could only get rid of the different versions of the Microsoft help application that Adobe applications love to install I’d be fine no you won’t! … Meanwhile, I’m awaiting Illustrator 9 to ship to my house since Avenza’s MaPublisher plugin has been updated and dreaming of the control over text that Photoshop 6 is rumored to have.

Sheila has some delightful pictures of some Allium and Poppy on her page. Which reminds me, its about time to stroll through the Desert Demonstration Gardens at lunch again.

[MacSlash] A daily dose of Macintosh News and Discussion is having its Grand Opening. Based on the open source SlashCode project, its code base is like slashdot, but the content focuses on Macintosh and Apple.

Welcome to MacSlash! Sit back, pull up your mouse, and get ready for a great time. We’ve been working hard these past few days to bring you this new web site, devoted to great discussions on everything Macintosh.

I suppose it really should be MacColon since the Mac file system use neither slashes nor dots … Nah.

I’m listening to this week’s Hearts of Space. It is incredible music.

from mathowie at Metafilter: “The Rhymezone is quick to become the poet and songwriter’s killer app”. Could be, besides finding rhymes, you can also find synonyms, homophones, similar sounding words, match consonants only, find related words, phrases, find similar spellings, search for pictures, and search for definitions.

Folks are musing about six months doing weblogs at EditThisPage. So I had to check. The weblog that came to be called blivet started on December 23, 1999. So I have a ways to go … I’m a late starter (and bloomer). Other folks hitting the six month mark are the Curmudgeonly John Marden and Jeff’s Weblog.

Al reflects and maintains We Will Brook No Babbling…: “Six Months Already?
On 12/04/1999, I made my first EditThisPage entry. So much water underneath the bridge…” These are like public journals, these weblogs we keep and put out there in the hope that folks will find them of some use. You keep a great weblog Al. I stop by daily just to see what’s going on in your world.

I guess I’m coming up on six months too at EditThisPage … I still have no idea what I’m trying to do here except to provide some daily content.

[Book Notes] “Tonight my wife and I are going to see Carmina Burana.” Sounds great guys. Have fun.

[NYT] Rebel Outpost on the Fringes of Cyberspace.

June 5, 2000, may be remembered as the date that a hardy band of true believers tried to establish the first independent colony in cyberspace. On Monday, a small international group of computer rebels plans to introduce what they are calling a data haven.

I’ve been waiting to hear more about data havens for a long time. Gibson’s Neuromancer of course introduced me to the idea, but I think it was Bruce Sterling’s Islands In the Net and the more recent Crypronomicon by Neal Stephenson that has added dimensions and kept it in my imagination. Still, I thought it would happen in the Caribbean or Pacific Rim first.


Paul Vigay’s Collection of Collective Nouns. Things like a conspiracy of ravens, a muster of storks, a skulk of foxes, a murder of crows … I love this stuff! link from Lark Farm.

Reading Code is Like Reading the Talmud – Tips for reading other people’s source code. from Joel based on emailed suggestions by Seth Gordon.

The sudden din of inactivity has me a bit off-balance. Three day weekends* are like that for me. I guess I’m defining myself overmuch by what I do at "work". Actually, thats good. it points out to me that I need to practice what I preach more. The key to centeredness after ‘returning to the market carrying a gourd’ is to use the periodic episodes of realizing your off center to snap back. Sometimes thats all it takes is the realization. The tendency to immerse yourself in hurriedness is profound, plus it feeds our sense of self-importance so satisfyingly (is that a word?). Hmpft. The tangents are so easy to come by. I just got distracted by my need to have a spell checker in IE so I could check that word. One of the guys in the back of the bus reminded me that I could be using Eudora’s built in spell checker and I retorted ‘I’m in a hurry!’. Hee hee. Oh we are a bit self important tonight aren’t we? Must be time for bed …

* It’s Memorial Day weekend in the USA, when we honor the men and women who have died in battle.

[Version Tracker] Theres a new release of WhatRoute 1.0b7 a Macintosh freeware utility for internet connection monitoring. New in this version is access to the new domain to location database Netgeo, as well as faster Map window drawing and new animation to routes plotted in the Map Window.

Happy birthday to Craig at Book Notes!

[Mojave, my Mojave] I had heard murmurings that the phone booth in the Mojave desert had been removed. Rafé reports "the removal of the phone booth at the request of the federal government because it attracted too much traffic (the area where the phone booth is now part of a national park)". I know this area well, and can confirm that the increased traffic can be attributed to the phone booth Web page. link from Rafé Colburn who in turn thanks Lake Effect. Update: Audrey tells me that this was on the news a couple of days ago. So many people were calling the phone booth that no one could call out. Kinda defeated the purpose…

The reunion was fun. Everybody is older and more responsible. Lots of kids and tales to tell. How did we get older?!?

blivet 2000/03/29

[PBS] Code Rush, a documentary about the 1998 Netscape effort to release the Mozilla open source code will air nationally tomorrow night. I can’t find a listing for the program on the local affiliate. <grumble>

[SETI@Home] Version 2.04 is out. The download page isn’t updated yet, but Mac users can get it here. Thanks to Version Tracker.

[Linux World]

The excitement over Eazel seems to spring from two sources. First is the company’s pedigree: several key members of the original Macintosh development team, people sporting some impressive Apple and post-Apple credentials, form the core of the new company. If anyone can make Linux really easy to use, these pioneers of the personal-computer GUI can — at least that’s the almost palpable expectation accompanying all the buzz. There’s also something intrinsically appealing about the Apple pioneers of the antediluvian early 1980s joining forces with the powerful open source minds of the here and now. You can almost see it as one of those Star Trek episodes in which a collaboration made possible by a temporal distortion could alter the course of history.

I just love that last sentence. It evokes such a sense of optimism and possibilities.

[Reuters] “Harry Potter’s wizardry banned from British school. Harry Potter, the fictional young wizard who captured children’s imagination all over the world, has been banished from one English school because his magical powers go against the teachings of the Bible.” Repeat after me, ‘Separation of Church and State is a good thing.’ I can only echo Garret, “what about J. R. R. Tolkien’s Gandalf and Arthur’s Merlin at that school?”

This is along with listening to “Morning Edition” covering the case from Texas that has gone to the Supreme Court over prayer at football games. They interviewed a couple of students for the story. When one was asked “What if a Muslim gave a prayer before the game?” he replied “Oh, that would be fine as long as they exalted Jesus Christ!”, then he laughed like the answer was obvious. The rural bible belt and Texas can be such a strange place. I’m still not sure how small-town rural Kansas spawned someone like me. If I was still there I would be fighting the State Board of Education concerning the teaching of creationism and evolution.

[Boston Herald] “Antiques Roadshow, the top-rated PBS show, breaks the circle of trust with its faithful viewers. An estimated 14 million viewers – who flock to the show to lap up the quaint premise of finding lost treasures in America’s attics – have been misled. And WGBH, the station that produces the show, knows of the problems yet has taken no action.” Remember the Civil War sword that the guy found in his Grandma’s attic and as a kid had used to cut watermelon? Apparently that was staged. The sword belonged to a friend of the appraiser and was used to attract additional business for the appraiser. This article brings up a lot of things about the show’s appraisers I was not aware of. This fraud, the details of which are part of a successful lawsuit brought against the appraiser, along with the continuing appraisal of pothunter collections and obviously looted Pre-Columbian artifacts from Mexico and Central America means I’ll not be watching the show anymore, and will be fairly vocal about it if asked. I’m sorry I renewed my local PBS membership without being able to say something about this to the station. Link from Garret.

[Just Plain Wrong] Sacred White Buffalo Killed. This was the white buffalo calf you heard about in 1996 when it was born. MoJo, Lincoln Daily News. Thanks to Garret at array for the link. Tragic!