blivet – 4/15/2002

For those keeping track, our Assistant General Manager announced this at 10:59 this morning:

"After an extensive national recruitment, I am pleased to announce that Francis Béland has accepted the position of Director of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, effective April 22.

Francis attended McGill University in Montreal, where he earned a Bachelors degree in Biology and a Graduate Diploma in Applied & Tourism Management. He shares our vision for the District and the LVSP and has great energy and enthusiasm for the project. Francis served as the Managing Director of the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay during its construction completion and staffing. He has experience in fundraising, education, management, and marketing, all of which will be invaluable in the development of the LVSP. Francis is dedicated to the sound management of environmental resources and conservation, and he understands the aspects of creating successful visitor attractions. In addition, he has experience in working with community leaders, government organizations, and the media. Having already established roots in the Southern Nevada community, Francis will be able to “hit the ground running” when he comes on board."

Alright then! We embark on the next stage of the adventure. It should be good.

Twelve years of TidBITS! Congratulations to Adam, Tonya, Geoff, Matt, and the rest of the fine folk who have brought us this excellent newsletter for so long!

Despite a tumultuous history, the Peabody Museum is likely past saving. This has been brewing for some time. Still, for something like the Peabody Museum to close. Talk about your ‘ivy-covered hall.’ [Got Caliche?]

I hope all you Americans have your taxes filed. If not, Jeff has the goods:

"Tax return not finished yet? Don’t worry. Here’s what to do. Apply for an extension. File Form 4868 by the due date. Pay any tax due – or you’ll owe interest. Or find out more." [Jeff’s Weblog]

blivet – 12/12/2001

Another page flip at the 23rd hour…

I have a job interview on Monday for an archaeologist position at the Preserve. I’ve been working there as a ‘Temp Field’ since 3 January 2000. This is a pretty good position with vacation, sick leave, and health care. The pay is pretty exceptional as well. I’ll get a haircut, put on a tie, and the whole nine yards because I’m just one of the fish in the application pool.

Good email today:

In response to customer requests for continued support of Mac OS X, IBM AIX and Compaq Tru64 Unix for Alpha platforms, Research Systems Inc. (RSI) has announced that it will reverse an earlier decision to discontinue support for these three platforms in future releases of IDL and ENVI. For complete information on this announcement, please go to:

[corporate blurb] “ENVI, the Environment for Visualizing Images, allows earth scientists to easily process, analyze and display multispectral, hyperspectral or radar remote sensing data. Extendable to suit your requirements, ENVI is the most powerful, flexible and easy to use image processing software available.”

On top of that, it’s very cool software that Audrey uses. I hope some other companies reverse their decisions about Macs now that OS X is here. I mean, if you’re already supporting X Windows and Motif, why not? I guess we have to get that dual processor G5 when it comes out. Right honey? (ducking, running)

blivet – 11/28/2001

Best wishes tomorrow Dori!

Catching up (I hope) on thank yous: I know those icons slow things down, but I sure like ’em.

wheee! You are exactly right Martin!

Thanks David! BTW, you’re officially just the right age!

Al, I bow deeply in return…

[Jeff’s Radio Weblog]

Thanks Ken!

Thanks Comm. (Ret.) Dave! Dave also asks me, “What do you do for an encore?” I’m not sure Dave, my aspirations (and energy) are running more along the lines of raiding the left-over bag of Halloween bite-sized Snickers bars. Actually, there is a really prime Archaeologist position I’m going to apply for. Then, … I want to do my part to help Audrey write her thesis. I owe her big time…

Rafé has a great response to Rush Limbaugh …

I have not looked around much for a couple of days. I’ll check blogtracker and my bookmarks and be back in a bit…

blivet – 11/8/2001

I was reminded by a thread on of mondegreens. You know, misheard song lyrics like that one from Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, “the girl with colitis goes by”.

Lots of during and after work stuff going on, including some things that we were going to get done before the baby came. These include shampooing the carpet which is happening today and tomorrow. Thank Ghu, Audrey’s parents are still in town and want to pitch in. They have been wonderful.

I have no idea how you all are doing, I hope things are going well. No new memes here, just chopping wood and carrying water…

That baby Ian sure is cute though, he takes after his Mom.

Early note:
Traffic is always pretty strange on the way to and from work. I’m pretty used to being cut off several times on each trip. There are always several accidents. I live about five miles from the Preserve.

I try to imagine we’re all empty boats floating on a swift current. If I considered how dangerously these folks are driving, I’d be a basket case. Yesterday was just more surreal than most.

I hope you have a great day.

blivet – 10/15/2001

Best of luck on your Wednesday oral exams, Andrea. You’ll do great!

On Friday I found out, much to my chagrin, that the deadline for turning my thesis in to the Graduate College was six weeks later than I thought. I was operating under the assumption that it was today. You can imagine my relief. My eyes are only just now beginning to uncross. I don’t write easily or quickly. I think one of the primary tools for ‘success’ for someone who lives by the written word is excellent touch typing skills. There is a big difference in your output when you type 20 words a minute and several times that.

Yes, I have a copy of Mavis Beacon over there. One task at a time… This one is more important than picking up Python, PHP, or anything else relating to computers. Other things will follow.

I didn’t do multiple ‘up until 3, back up at 6’ days well or with grace when I was 20. Now it is just painful and a recipe for dysfunction. I can’t imagine why I was making no progress. Talk about ‘Abe Vigoda eyes’.

I gave a very abbreviated tour of the Preserve to a friend today. Hopefully some pictures will show up soon.

I had a great day today, how about you?


Cool. Ken ran down the e-text download (ftp) for Emma Goldman’s Anarchism and other essays from Project Gutenberg. see Saturday’s blivet for what continuity may exist.

Taking myself less seriously: “Bark bark, fart fart. And then we all die.” A great discussion over in the Userland dg. You’ll understand the quote if you visit. I had to laugh, if you’ve been following some of Dave’s stuff at Scripting News for a while the connection will probably come much faster. Lots of good insight into another path towards self-mastery, which I advocate strongly, regardless of the method. This particular one is especially good if you talk to yourself in a negative manner. All paths lead to the same place.

Now It Can Be Told … The denizens of the blivet hacienda have been on increasingly pointy and uncomfortable tenterhooks since around June concerning the increasingly tardy announcement of the awarding of a five year contract with a three-letter public agency. I’m pleased to report that the announcement was made at 9 am today and it will not be necessary to sell our shoes and other personal items on eBay as Audrey will remain gainfully employed. It’s really distressing to realize how little added value the global prestige and fame that having a weblog brings to the open market for editor memorabilia on auction sites. Now if we just get our stuff back.

Seemingly on cue with the promise of continued income, the Daihatsu Rocky refused to start this morning due to electrical problems. For some reason, a personal appeal for Rocky Rocky Race Truck to ignore the laws of physics went unanswered. Perhaps it was answered, because soon after that we began to hear a new sound. A different sound that I was unfamiliar with, except that I was certain it was the sound an expensive part makes when it needs to be replaced. Ten years and 130,000 miles later and it breaks down. Boy, talk about ‘not building them like they used to’. It seems after some inquiries that would be easier to find parts for an Edsel or a Studebaker Avanti than for this vehicle. Point of Information: this vehicle stopped being imported in 1993, two years after its introduction and parts availability is nearly nonexistent. The vehicle is fairly popular in OZ in its original right-hand drive incarnation as the Fiero (I think thats the model name). Or at least several personal websites from Australia say that its very popular. I know its true, I saw it on the web. This could be your chance to own a distinctive vehicle at a bargain price. No warranty expressed or implied. Purchaser should be aware that once the vehicle crosses the property line phone calls will no longer be returned and mail will be returned marked ‘refused’. Nothing personal you understand.
Later: For those following along on with their blivet scorecards and decoder rings, this is the ‘other’ vehicle. The mini-van Audrey had some problems with in Colorado is the ‘good’ one.

In the two paragraphs above please note the editor’s utter inability to convey ‘tongue in cheek’ in ascii with the disrupting insertion of tags. Later: garret has a suggestion

garret wonders if he is insane, with Behind the Curtain in the pipe on top of everything else. I laughed out loud when I read that. I thought the same thing last night as I was waiting for sleep to come. The sage Zevon was asked to address a situation like this once and did reply: I’ll sleep when I’m dead!

I’m late to this, but I’m glad for you three Martin. I’m sure it’s good to have Sandra and Raphael Nicolaj home. (Raphael Nicolaj is their almost new-born son). Sorry to hear about your computer though, I bet your son is much more interesting …

Version 6.0 of BBEdit˙ from Bare Bones Software is out. I just got through ordering my upgrade.

Good Afternoon. It’s a ‘work on the thesis Monday’ and I’m just getting back to the house about 2:45 in the afternoon. Let’s see what’s out there …

Thank you again Userland! I was getting the

Sorry! There was an error: Can’t find a sub-table named “D:\Guest Databases\www\hostedManilaWebsites2.root”.

error here and was unable to get to blivet earlier this morning, but it has been fixed. (open question …) Am I doing (or not doing) something to cause this error?
Later: I was just rereading the page prior to going to bed and realized that a very literal reading of what I wrote immediately above could sound like I was being snotty to the good folks at Userland because I was getting the error I mentioned. Nothing could be farther from the truth, I really appreciate everything that Dave, Brent, Jake, Jeff, André and I’m sure many others I’m not aware of do to keep things working. I’ve gotten very used to things not being fixed at work, school, and with our ISP until a lot of complaining is done. Not so here, something doesn’t work and when I come back later its fixed. They pay attention to things like that here and I deeply appreciate it. Support people elsewhere have said to me more than once that “you get what you pay for.” Implying that as far as they’re concerned I should be glad for the crappy service I’m getting because I could be getting less. I don’t pay a blessed thing for what I get here at EditThisPage yet things work 99.9% of the time and they fix whats wrong and improve things. Thats more than I get where they have my credit card on file and gleefully charge me on a regular basis. I simply meant above ‘Thanks for fixing a problem that has occurred before’. Sorry for any misunderstanding.

blivet 5/15/2000

I only have one wish.

I was outdoors for some of the day making a plan map of Locus 22, the historic adobe foundation. Lots of mental zooming in and out, changing scale from a matter of inches to how things that are 90 feet long relate to each other and the rest of the site. It feels good to stretch those mental muscles and see something worthwhile appear on the paper.

At one point I realized that I was all hunched over and tightened up. I stood up and bent back as far as I could and arched my neck back trying to loosen things up. My eyes were closed, I was listening to my body, working at a very small, intimate scale. Still bent back, I opened my eyes in preparation to stand straight again and looked into the sky. Directly overhead against the dark blue of the central sky was this amazing herd of cirrus clouds. Light, wispy little mares tails lined up, row after row of them, stark white against the midnight blue of the sky. I stood there bent back for a moment, time had just stopped. I stood and looked up again. They stretched from horizon to horizon, at least nine rows of them, very similar in general size and shape. They even all flipped the same direction. Two thirds of the sky was filled with them, the other third of the sky was absolutely cloudless. It was so beautiful! I stretched my arm up, each one was about as wide as my hand at arms length. My God, what a beautiful planet!

garret has more news about the situation in fire-ravaged New Mexico. It sounds like if the wind will cooperate a bit, things are heading towards coming under control. Not out by a long shot, but not completely out of control either …

Al at View From the Heart would make a fine Archaeologist with his love of puns. Actually, there are two kinds of Archaeologists – the punsters and the ones yelling at us to knock it off.

Not many wishes out there … I need to figure out what mine would be.

Zeldman sets me straight about the IE team for the Mac.

It was a juicy rumor while it lasted, but Lawrence Lee has dug up an official confirmation of what we suggested yesterday: the reorganization of the Mac IE5 team is not the first sign of the Apocalypse. (Actually, the first sign of the Apocalypse was those Abba reissues in the 1990s.)

[UniSci] Why Hindsight Seems To Have 20/20 Vision.

Hindsight bias can occur when people make a judgment or choice and are later asked to recall their judgment. If, in the interim, they’re told what the correct judgment would have been, their memory of their own judgment may become biased toward the new information.

Just the chance to get some discussion going while I’m gone at work …

Last night’s X-Files dealt with a genie (jinn) that granted 3 wishes, except that people (including finally, Mulder) didn’t exactly get what they wished for. For instance, Mulder wished for peace on Earth, which ended up meaning that there were no people on Earth. Hey, it was peaceful …

So, in that sort of vein, If you had three wishes what would they be? I’m not a jinn, but I am curious. I think what we want shapes our lives more than we suspect and is a window into our nature. The usual fairy tale rules (no unlimited wishes, etc.) apply.

What would you wish for?

Happy Birthday Greg.

blivet 4/20/2000 Just a hired trowel

Just a hired trowel

The rest of the day, after some site preparation for the construction crew for the viewing platform, was spent doing some GPS work and fighting with CorelDraw. The GPS points overlaid the aerials perfectly, though I can’t figure out where the point for auger hole 26 went and I couldn’t find the stake for #10 <DOH!>. Its amazing what you can forget in two weeks. I don’t know *what* Corel’s problem is. I can print once to the 8100 (nice printer BTW) but the second time I hit ctrl-P (or click "Print", it doesn’t matter) I am visited by the hourglass from Hell. Not a BSOD, but the login is hosed. I can kill the process in NT’s task manager, but nothing will respond after that. It also loses track of the default printer, its probably all related somehow. I don’t know if NT 5^H^H^H^H Win2000 would be any better, I’m of the opinion that Corel apps don’t play nice with the other kids on the playground. This is my first experience with an organization with an IS department providing the applications you use, so there’s probably a bit of ‘innocence lost’ here as well. Still, I just don’t think Illustrator or Freehand would be as ill mannered.

The ‘blob’, formerly known as the feature at Locus 25, remains unidentified. It sure is a big dark hunk of soil … Oh well, ya can’t win ’em all. Tomorrow, after the staff meeting, I need to redo the general profile graphic for the Little Spring House (thats where the Observation Platform is being built) the right way. We ended up doing sort of a ‘compliance job’ and that just wasn’t right. We have the freedom to do this project the right way so why not start out that way. Most CRM reports are bound by regulations that stipulate exactly how things are presented because too often things are done hastily and corners get cut, so you get told that ‘this will be included in this format’. When they know what they’re doing at all. In the absence of wisdom, rules arise.

[The sideshow behind "Roadshow" continues]

"’Antiques’ pique: WGBH yanks ‘Roadshow’ helmet episode after doubts surface
WGBH has pulled another episode of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ because the station could not verify that an appraisal of a 17th century Milanese parade helmet was not staged for TV."

You remember this episode, the one where the woman found the metal Italian dress helmet in her Uncle’s attic (he had been in the European theater in WWII). It struck both of us as strange. Our scenario was that he was young and picked it up in Italy as some sort of war booty from a Museum that was bombed. When he got back to the States he stuck (hid) it up in the attic because he knew what he did was wrong and he didn’t know how to ‘undo’ it. I remember Audrey said at the time "That needs to go back to the Museum it came from! It shouldn’t even be appraised!" I agree. If it was staged, and I’m not convinced it was, that’s just sad. Thanks to garret for the link.

Sometimes you think of a great page title, often while driving, always when you can’t write it down. Today’s title was not thought of while driving – you do the best you can …

Spring in the Mojave is just glorious. I was outside all day yesterday working on the uhhhh, feature. We still have no idea what it is (was). It is tailor-made for a "Sometimes Archaeologists can’t identify what they uncover" part of an exhibit. Every project of any size has one, usually we don’t talk about them much. Its bad enough when you’re rummaging through your own stuff and find a box full of … ‘What the hell is this crap?’. Rummaging through other people’s trash is very problematic at times. "Archaeologists are the senile playboys of society, rummaging through the garbage heaps of antiquity." – Unknown (19th century) That’s from the frontispiece of an intro textbook I had, I’ve always liked it.

blivet 2000/03/03

[Archae: Burnt Rock Mound] The week of test excavations is done. The weather for the last two days has been superb. We got in seven 1 x 1 m test pits, that varied from 30 to 70 cm in depth. An astonishing amnount of Late Archaic material was recovered, most of it from lower levels. I’m eager to see that the geomorphologists have to say about the depositional history of this mound because one of the big questions is if the geological chronology matches up with the cultural one. In other words, if there was a strong cycle of aeolian capture and deposition between 1800 to 1500 years ago which would separate the Archaic from the Ceramic componnent, then we have a stronger case to argue for this stratigraphic patterning we observed. If not, well, we’ll have to re-examanine how we interpert the site, which will be interesting too.

I’d forgotten how tiring field work can be, because I’m bushed. Of course I was first in the field in 1976 so my personal chronology might have something to do with it … Nah!

My God, has it really been 24 years?!?


All things are made new every day, every moment. Or, what a difference a good nights sleep makes. I’m sure that it being Friday AND payday doesn’t hurt either

How long will information stored in a digital format last? This is really a Long Now topic. I’ve seen some recent attention in the more mainstream (web)press at BBC News and slashdot. This has been an ongoing discussion in the preservation and library community for some time, I’ve been folowing it for 10 years (I’m an archaeologist) and it was a mature topic when I arrived. The short answer is don’t expect it to last (yet), even in an optical format (CD-ROM) without a great deal of attention to keeping it compatable with software and hardware. Evaluating it every 18 months is not unreasonable. If you are involved with an archive of any size at all you can see what an immense pain this would be.

Echelon remains a topic at Wired: France Agog, Aghast Over,
Echelon ‘Proof’ Discovered and elsewhere I’m sure. The original Echelon reports are available as PDF files from the European Parliament’s STOA Programme. I think this will continue to expand and as the pathways and linkages are uncovered and followed the reality will make the most paranoid positions of a year ago seem niave.

Julie has a theory. "It is a theory about pattern, chaos, humanity and the Web." Thanks to CamWorld, where I first saw a link to it.

The surface collection is completed. Next week will bring some test excavations prior to the heavy equipment moving in. Scrambling, scrambling, always rushing to save what little remains before it is gone forever. Why do we care? How can we not care? This particular archaeological site is the last passenger pigeon, the last spring mound in the Las Vegas Valley. We don’t know how they were used, or even who exactly used them. The geologists don’t really know exactly how they were formed. Don’t get me wrong, they have some ideas, good ones, but we’ve never taken one apart to see how and why. Science must test their hypotheses. In a matter of months families will move into houses that will be built there. Will these people know they are sleeping on top of where Native Americans camped for several millenia? I hope so, we get the chance to tell the story. In a matter of weeks bulldozers will destroy forever what we haven’t salvaged. I’m not anti-progress, far from it. But without a sense of place that history and prehistory provides we’re adrift, just another suburban consumer filling the void where our souls should be with material things. Sense objects. Painted cakes do not satisfy.

I’m privileged to provide information about the past to those who would listen. As a Zen Buddhist priest I am also privileged to provide instruction in Zen to those how are curious about that void they pour their houses, careers, cars, social standing, trophy spouses, and technological toys into. I think that when steps are taken to extinguish the ego (Ego) our lives naturally begin to come into alignment with our true natures. That is where happiness lies, when we become true to ourselves and those around us.