October, 2003: 44 posts.
No time to talk now.
Technologies are habits. And it’s time to shed some bad ones. Re-hab even.
I was blown away in the recent (September 2003) Harper’s Index that:
Maximum number of miles that Ford’s most fuel-efficient 2003 car can drive on a gallon of gas : 36
Maximum number its 1912 Model T could : 35
That is what I call ZERO PROGRESS.
Time for some real progress.
I’ve never done Karaoke. But I bet I could do that song.
(Aside: only part of posting this is procrastination).
Tuesday night I was going for a chocolate bar in a basket on the kitchen counter. And I notice there’s about a 1 inch by 1/4 inch chunk out of a corner — with the attendant aluminum foil wrapper also gone.
When I say “gone,” I mean “chewed away.”
I say to Leah “uh… did you do this?”
She replies with an arched eyebrow: “No.”
Leah actually saw a mouse a few weeks ago, in the bedroom. He (we presume it’s male, but have no idea really) is a little off-white mouse. He was skittering across the floorboards. She, and then we, took to calling him Stuart (after Stuart Little).
However, when confronted with the prospect of rodent intruder in my food preparation area, I responded as Defender Of The House. I immediately laid out two traps. The nasty cartoon snap-a-mouse’s back kind. I placed a trap at each end of our long counter. I baited each with, what else, that selfsame chocolate!
Wednesday morning the chocolate from Trap #1 was moved several inches. The trap worked perfectly when tested.
I have met the enemy, and like Al Queda, he is a smart rascal. Living among us.
In relaying this story to my good pal Sassy he gave me this advice:
they make these ones called ‘hav-a-hart’
it’s a little tube
and you put the food in the back
so the critter has to go all the way in to get it
then, the door shuts behind him
and he’s not killed, you can go release him
when we were kids, we wouldn’t allow my mom to use the real ones
they’re a bit pricey, but I can attest to them working
I found the model he meant. It’s this: M007 Live Catch.
What I’ve learned is that I have no real trouble marking a fellow earth-creature to death when it messes with my kitchen area. Vengeance is a powerful urge. When i put a PACKAGED food item on my kitchen counter I expect only the PAYING tenants to have access to said item. Across this line YOU DO NOT CROSS!
That is how I explain having put the killer traps into place Tuesday night.
Wednesday night I had settled down and Leah and I got the HavAHart traps. They now stand watch, loaded with peanut butter and chocolate.
Stuart doesn’t want to die, so much as he wants to go live in Balboa Park somewhere. Far away from this house where my cookies and tea and crackers live.
As of this writing, Stuart remains “at large” – but I’m confident he can be apprehended and brought to justice.
Don’t mess with my chocolate.
I think the recall is a bad idea, but at the same time I have a sense that this is what democracy actually looks like. It’s bizarre, you have a million choices, and in this attention economy, all it actually takes to be a statesmen is to have a good Q Score. I have a sense that this is what an election in Italy must be like. Hundreds of entrants, and a few strong, bullying contenders.
My Prediction: Arnold will win, and he will be BAD for California. I’m voting “No” on the recall.
Two publishers have approached us wanting to do a hardcopy version of http://philip.greenspun.com/internet-application-workbook/ (the textbook for 6.171 at MIT). Both have lost interest when we said that we wanted to keep the text online. To a traditional publisher the Web is a place for stuff that isn’t quite good enough to sell. If the manuscript ever does become good enough to sell it should be made inaccessible to anyone who isn’t able to scratch up the $40. An amusing side note is that one of the publishers who felt that it was critical to make every last dime possible from the sale of our book was Microsoft Press, whose working capital is $40 billion.
I don’t like that word. Not everyone agrees with me. Let me tell you why I think what I think.
To do so, let’s explore, in a very How To Lie With Statistics way. Statistics and numbers always come with what Bill “walking off in a huff” O’Reilly calls “spin.” One can make numbers contort to make your point. This is something that innumeracy makes worse.
So let’s do some mathematics. Google will help.
Here’s the election summary.
Votes against recall: 3,559,400
Votes for Schwarzenegger: 3,743,393
The difference between the two:
3,743,393 – 3,559,400 = 183,993
Expressing that as a percentage for/against recall:
183993 / (4,415,341 + 3,559,400) = 0.0230719719
Result: Voters ogainst the recall lost to Arnold voters by a 2.3% margin
So let’s express all this in terms of voter turnout, to further throw cold water on the state’s collective excitement about this election. OF COURSE I’M BIASED, I THOUGHT THE RECALL WAS NOT A GOOD IDEA, A DISTRACTION, AND A WASTE OF STATE FUNDS. Okay, voter turnout. State election statistics from this PDF file from www.ss.ca.gov.
Eligible voters in 2003: 21,833,141
Actually registered eligible voters: 15,380,536
Percentage of eligible actually registered: 70.45%
On the question of the recall, 7,978,767 voted (4,416,280 + 3,562,487)
So if we crunch these further:
Percentage of eligible voters to vote for Arnold:
3,744,132 / 21,833,141 — 17%
Percentage of registered voters to vote for Arnold:
3,744,132 / 15,380,536 — 24%
Percentage of eligible voters who bothered to show up and vote at all:
7,978,767 / 21,833,141 — 36.5%
Percentage of registered voters who bothered to show up and vote all:
7,978,767 / 15,380,536 — 51.9%
What I’m saying is despite all the wonderful excitement about how engaged we all are in this political process, in my opinion these numbers are low – and I’m not talking about Arnold as much as I’m talking about people getting involved in government at any level.
I’m not denying Arnold won in the least. He’s my Governor-Elect. I think I clearly use the term “mandate” and phrases like “the people have spoken” different than the media and those who like to put a face of unanimity on things. Perhaps talk like mine is not productive, but I’m a curious guy, and my mind wanders to the bigger picture.
37% of the eligible public voting is not something to be proud of. Where I went to school that was a failing grade. (There, I got all melodramatic).
In pointing out these statistics I’m not necessarily saying 100% turnout would have changed the result. But there’s clearly a problem here. The right to vote is central to how the “democracy” part of our democratic republic is supposed to work — and yet it is ignored by 2 out of 3 people eligible? I continue to be mystified by this. It continues to upset me, and I will continue to harp on this issue indefinitely.
Here’s a random article via google on voter turnout:
Between 1980 and 1989, voter turnout in Sweden, Denmark and Greece ranged between 80 and 90 percent of the voting age population, according to experts. During the same period, the United States averaged 53 percent.
In countries where voting is compulsory and staying home from the polls to watch television is punishable by a fine, such as Australia, Belgium and Austria, the figure was in excess of 90 percent.
So if we are to believe those numbers, voter turnout in this historic recall as expressed as a percentage of eligible citizens, this voter turnout is poor to average. Maybe a D+ if we’re grading on a curve?
That’s how I read the numbers two days after the election.
In other news, in a month my divorce from Jennifer will be final. Time passeth..
This weekend Leah and I had a yard sale. We did awesome. Redistributing our non-useful and non-productive effects. We grossed $85 and had time with help from our friend Margot and some good weather. The balance of the stuff we took to Goodwill around the corner. We also had a visit from friends of Leah and their two kids. That was good fun. One cannot beat good company, really.
My ex-toaster oven was withheld from the sale, as it now has been seconded to the “kitchen” at my current employer. I hope it has many years of service.
I’m feeling good tonight. It was a good day, a productive day.
It’s a good life.
But seriously, it’s all good. Won at racquetball class last night. Only one net loss so far. However, I did get hit in the cheek with a ball. And I fell once, though I recovered pretty fast, and I think I really do know how to fall properly.
Work proceeds on several fronts in the design space.
Some nice compliments lately on various sites of mine. These are nice small recognitions.
Stuart remains on the loose.
Time for a shower and werk!
The problem here is one (ironically) of register. In the real world, we have conversations in public, in private, and in secret. All three are quite separate. The public is what we say to a crowd; the private is what we chatter amongst ourselves, when free from the demands of the crowd; and the secret is what we keep from everyone but our confidant. Secrecy implies intrigue, implies you have something to hide. Being private doesn’t. You can have a private gathering, but it isn’t necessarily a secret. All these conversations have different implications, different tones.
Most people have, in the back of their mind, the belief that what they say to their friends, they would be happy to say in public, in the same words. It isn’t true, and if you don’t believe me, tape-record yourself talking to your friends one day, and then upload it to your website for the world to hear.
Food for thought.
1. To imperfectly transform information 2. A comprehensive rewrite of a routine, data structure or the whole program.
(source and complete definition at The Jargon File)
Lately I’ve been noticing sometimes I, and others, “munge” together related concepts in ways that interfere with understanding the original concepts. Sometimes, one does not even realize that one concept has been confused for the other.
For example, in my marriage, at times I would get upset with my soon-to-be-ex wife about housework, call it “Thing Y” — at heart I might be upset and resentful about “Thing X,” but instead of actually talking about Thing X, I would be a jerk about Thing Y.
A lesson I learned in communication, in CoDA, and in therapy is that I must try and find what I am feeling about. What is the source of my present happiness / sadness / anger / calm — what is really happening inside my heart?
I find the answer sometimes surprises me.
Related: transference, which is typically defined as transferring feelings about a significant other to a therapist. But just as easily, I think feelings about someone significant can be transferred to a concept or person.
I’d rather, at the moment, not be specific about this, and my thoughts are inchaote. But there’s something interesting here. I think it’s about our intuitive brains going a step too far. We take the experience of one negative thing — and we apply the lesson to a larger group, even when that larger group does not deserve any such judgement.
Munge is a word I usually use in a programming context. But the way human beings munge together people and things can be detrimental.
From Scots Historian Professor Alexander Tyler, circa 1787, Re: The Fall of the Athenian Republic 2003 Oct 20
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.”
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilization has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage.”
Let’s hope we have more of an ability to refresh the body politic than that quote might indicate is a foregone conclusion.
I believe I’m predicting the Cubs loss in 2003 in that picture.
Just kidding, I don’t follow baseball. that’s what Tony Pierce of Busblog does.
On a sadder note, the power cord my Clamshell iBook has has a very bad physical connection, and tonight I actually started to see a shell prompt instead of a startup. It has ZERO battery life anymore, making couch web browsing and email checking and movie-time checking problematic.
We’re still investigating solutions.
Until Volume 2, I guess.
These are bloody stories. When one carries a sword, how can blood be avoided?
Something to ponder.
- The biological basis for creativity is linked to mental illness
- mod_bandwidth documentation — simulating bandwidth variations
- Study finds direct link between misinformation and public misconception (or FoxNews misinforms)
- Margaret Cho has a blog
- America owes talk host Rush Limbaugh a debt of gratitude, Libertarians say
- What is Leet speak?
- An Evolution of Alphabets!
- Google AdSense and Blogging Got Him Out Of Jury Duty
- Plush Cafe: a cyber cafe cool place in orange county
- Kintespace/rasx’s quixotic lexicon of color and culture
- I think it would be fun to make these candy sushi pieces
- The Lockergnome RSS resource
- My pal Erin, knowing my tastes and interests pretty well as usual recommends to me: www.musicaltaste.com and www.the-brights.net
- Did real well at Racquetball today – 5 games, one loss.
- Tired as a result.
- Have a little work to do tonight, gonna do it after blogging this.
- It looks like Leah is getting a chance to go see family of hers for Thanksgiving. Not here in town, sadly. My folks and sister and her boyfriend are coming here. Why does Seattle have to be so far away? I think we’re going to be apart for Thanksgiving, which is a bummer. But there will be Christmas. And she’ll have her kids, and see her brothers and sisters. So probably it’s for the best. I’ll manage here on the homestead. But I’ll miss her like crazy. (Warning: Cliché alert: Like the song says, “you can’t always get what you want.”
- Religious topics are on my mind lately. More on this as it develops.
- My mom likes the new picture in the header. I like it too. I’m blessed with loving family and I think of Leah as part of that family.
- Two and a half weeks until my divorce is final. I wish Jennifer well, she’s hit a rough spot. Things get better, really.
- Halloween coming up. New art to be posted soon. New art from 15 years ago, I should say.
- Okay, now I’m just procrastinating. Time to get to work.
Like Kurasawa I make mad films
Okay, I don’t make films
But if I did they’d have a Samurai
for many of us this terribly sad info will come as no surprise whatsoever. anyone even remotely “silverlake” or “pop geekish” or just unfortunate enough to have ever seen him in live meltdown mode was quite familiar with Smith’s condition.
What makes me really angry is how, just as in the case of cobain, record companies, managers, promoters and anyone else primed to make cash off the artist are happy to keep mum on the subject of whatever hell the artist is going thru instead of publicly calling attention to what may have started as a lifestyle choice but has clearly turned into a disease. And the record companies always win cuz for them the only thing better than young and cute is dead and mythic.
I dont know which clique disgusts me more – the sick vulture fans who love to see their stars stumble and fall or the suits who stand to make a bundle while giving a really sensitive quote about Smith’s artistry to rolling stone.com.
I had never heard his name that I know of, but it saddens me. How can one not be intrigued by death? Our mortality is the subject of so much art. For Elliot, it was obviously front and center in his work.
I have no lessons or conclusions for this post. I’ll let the discomfort hang there.
- The Philippines is the model for Iraq?, Get settled, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.
- Rex Navarette, funny Filipino comedian
- Feynman at work!
- What’s wrong with the ‘Left Behind’ books?
- Making computer generated women even more real
- Kynn goes off on a wrongheaded columnist about the current grocery workers strike
- San Diego events on upcoming.org
- If you use iTunes on Macintosh, you really should check out Clutter
- Disneyland Obsessives
- Pornography: decreases the impulse for real human contact, makes women and men both less able to deal with each other
- The sexuality of ads continues to increase, indiscriminately
- Why computer based terrorist profiling does not work, by Bruce Schneier
- Kid does research for school report, gets investigated by FBI
- Walter Cronkite on the new Inquisition, otherwise known as USA Patriot Act
- Merle Haggard against the war
- John Mellencamp against the war
- Be a Lego Master Builder
- I don’t think this was reported much, but a UK teen shut down a US port via the internet because he was lovesick — if that’s not something from a William Gibson or Bruce Sterling novel, I don’t know what is
- An interview with one of my favorite people, Harry Shearer
- Harry Shearer’s website
- His radio show, Le Show
- Harry Shearer on Fresh Air
- Bill “can dish it out but can’t take it” O’Reilly, always spinning
- Heard of the Sarbanes Oxley Act?
- Society of Illustrators San Diego
- Suddenly, soy is everywhere!
- NPR piece on the ethics of altering news photos
- More about the case of Patrick Schneider
- New York magazine likes Stew
- Even a monkey knows when things are not fair
- Bulldozing orchards of noncombatants is wrong
- Comparing the recent election to West’s ‘The Day of the Locust’
I’ll think about it.
STEW will be performing new songs and old faves in celebration of the latest release “Something Deeper Than These Changes” on WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 5TH 9pm (yes, 9pm)
(And that’s 9pm SHARP like cheddar)
at CAFE LARGO
432 N. Fairfax Los Angeles
between Melrose and Beverly across from Canter’s
There will be no STEW shows in LA for the rest of the year so this is it for a long while (unless yer moving to New York).
If you wanna dig this show in a relaxed mode you should call and reserve a table and have a bite to eat or something. Dinner Reservations and General Info 323-852-1073
Not to diss any of the fine clubs Los Angeles has to offer but the new STEW stuff and Largo are really a perfect fit. Largo is what they call a “listening room.” That’s sort of a hint.
Parking is available one block north of club on northeast corner of Fairfax and Rosewood.
I’m seriously considering going to this. Maybe on the train. Leah is not a Stew fan, but maybe we can do a train thing.
New little iBooks look sweet. G5 very sexy.
Expose is every bit as wonderful as the hype says it is. Even with my two monitors, things get cluttery. I can never quite see the desktop. Now, with Expose via keyboard shortcut or throwing my mouse pointer to a window cornerI can see everything I’m doing, or the desktop — fast. This will provide me, a web developer who tends to have multiple windows open all the time (terminal, text editor, image editor, ftp editor, database interface, web browser, filesystem browser) with a big productivity boost.
I’ve not installed Panther on my clamshell iBook yet, but I hope to, if it will cooperate.
This weekend Leah is seeing her kids up north. This leaves me and the computers. Definitely a caveman weekend.
On a physical note, I hurt my back a bit playing racquetball this morning. I’m taking ibuprofen and trying to take it easy. I think I need to stretch more diligently on Saturday playdays. We stretch before class on Tuesdays and I think to play my best I now need to do that. I certainly don’t want any back problems, and for a guy of my size that would be no fun.
Soon, hot bath.
Apparently a character from Shutterbug Follies.
Mind you, this happened before I tried to install Panther.
The patient would not boot up as of last Wednesday. Attempts to boot it would result in a long long wait followed by a shell prompt sh-2.05a#.
Yesterday and this morning I was trying to install Panther and run the Disk Utilities. All attempts to format, partition, erase, or install anything are failing at this point. This looks very much to me like a hardware failure. That makes me sad.
This machine has served me well for 1999. It’s been a great machine with which to surf the net for one thing. It’s got an AirPort card in it, 320MB of RAM, and despite its clock speed of 366Mhz is quite nice to work on, particularly writing and blogging. I can’t tell you how many venues I’ve worked on it in — but it’s been very steadfast. Check out some of the pictures from my L.A. trip in February. It’s been cross-country several times. It’s been to client meetings and cafes, on trains and planes, in cars for wardriving.
I think I could have seen this coming. For several months now it’s had no, and I mean NO, battery life. Unplugging it from power put it immediately to sleep, or worse, shut it down entirely. I think that happened enough times that I must have introduced garbage onto the 6GB hard drive.
It’s still a supremely cute machine. People and kids universally look at in and think it’s real cute.
Unfortunately, it’s now a supremely cute paperweight. It needs a new hard drive and battery. And the form factor would not make a good Macquarium
On some searching, looks like replacing the hard drive is painful, It looks like I can get the hard drive upgraded to 30GB for $249 with MCE Technologies. Additionally, an iBook battery would cost me $139. So minus shipping, we’re at $388 to get the iBook back to normal.
It’s at this point that I will point out that the new lowest end iBook may be a better deal.
Clock speed on that new machine is 800Mhz (double ‘Clammy’); comes with a 30GB HD (same as what I would get by upgrading, 5 times as much as Clammy); Has a 12 inch screen (same as Clammy). It also has things that Clammy has no hope of ever having: Firewire and a DVD drive. It starts at $1100. I can’t tell at this point if it I could move my existing RAM upgrade into this machine. I’m also not sure my old (non 802.11g/Extreme) AirPort card would fit into it properly.
So $388 to get my machine back to where it was in 1999. Or $1100 (3 times as much money) to get a super-spiffy replacement.
I’ll mull it over.
I feel like Strong Bad when he exclaims UNDELETED! after his trusty old Tandy blew up. Eventually, “For behold — the 386, a spectacle of graphics and sound!”.
So, from hardware-failure-land. Onward.
It’s otherworldly, which only adds to my disorientation from the time change and from staying up late.
In better news, my back feels like it’s getting better. I’ve not done any permanent damage.
Downtown San Diego was eerie. Upside: I could park free anywhere because parking enforcement had the day off. I worked till 1, took lunch, and when I got back there was a memo from building management that they could not guarantee that ventilation would be okay. I left shortly after that.There’s a light snowfall of ash, still and all day. I took photos which I posted. Leah had the day off too. I was glad to come home to her. We took it easy, conserving water and energy as the Mayor has asked us to do to maintain power and water pressure. Thousands remain without power. Many in outlying areas do not have potable water. It’s a catastrophe. The worse news is that they don’t really hope to have the fires under control until November 4th, next Tuesday. Until then we really are still in a state of emergency. My heart and thoughts go out to those who have lost life and property in this fire. And again, it’s not over yet.
And now, the blog news:
I’ve also gotten a bit of traffic to my San Diego Bloggers site today as a result of people seeking pictures and news. I went through tonight and updated the listing, trimming away dormant or dead blogs as best I could. I also made a list of the blogs mentioning the fire in some form or another. Also, Doc Searls and Electric Bugaloo linked to me. And google searches are a big factor.
I’m not sure there is any better indication that the internet and personal publishing is powerful than the news encapsulated in the blogs below. Personal accounts and thoughts of the folks here in San Diego feeling the effects first hand. It’s amazing how many people were affected by this fire.
Notable to me is that the San Diego Union-Tribune is using a bloggish format for part of their fire coverage. Note “blog” in the url.
And now, blogs mentioning the fires here in San Diego, in utterly random order: (links open in new windows)
- One-Trick CyberPony
- ben haus
- leahpeah blog
- rotten ryan
- Vista Seeker
- Yeah, Totally
- confessions of a 20-year-old spinster
- Jon Sullivan
- livejournal for dylan
- photote: emese’s blog
- sd homies
- in my mind’s zen garden
- Monkeys In My Pants
- Sector 7-G
- A little bit bad
- a jaunty little blog
- The Daily Strick
- dancing at errant.org
- Lago at errant dot org
- Voz37’s Journal
- Caleb’s Blog
- Joanie DaGoddess
- electric bugaloo
- gleek words
- lisa violet’s diary
- a photogeek’s weblog
- Chronicle Corvidae
- Beware the Edge
- San Diego Has It
- San Diego Blog
- Une rondelle de saucisson et l’addition
- San Diego Poetry Guild
- Bill’s Bloggy Goodness
- Howling Point
- Do you have that in my size?
- My Life As A Fischer
- Pat’s Column
- When Boredom Sets In
- Global Error Log
(this post will be reposted to san diego blog)
Looks like a light, and mercifully grey fog has beaten back the smoke! The air no longer smells of campfire, and fewer people are wearing dust masks and surgical masks. (Yesterday I saw a San Diego Policeman driving with a dust mask on).
My mind is more at ease, though the county is still under hellish conditions. The banner headline on the Union Tribune today is “BATTLE FOR JULIAN” — another 200-300 homes were destroyed overnight near Julian. The town of Julian, famous for its Apple Festival and as a relaxing tourist destination experienced the onslaught overnight. Horrible. While San Diego kids are no longer having
snow smoke days, their schools are back on, kids out in the county still have the day off. And they’re still at risk.
We have several fires still raging. Check the map here to see the shape of the “front” of the fire.
But note also, we have four separate areas with named fires: This U-T map shows Pendleton, Paradise, Cedar, and Otay fires actively burning.
On a blog note, I submitted my posts from ArtLung, San Diego Blog and San Diego Bloggers to BoingBoing and they were picked up. Traffic to those sites has risen, hopefully serving some public need for news about San Diego. Bloggers are still blogging, talking about their experiences and taking photos. Some of the linking sites are: Boing Boing, Doc Searls, Amy Langfeld, CriticalMas, Stör-Signale, Andy’s Waxy.org Links, Tony Pierce, Nerd Boy Mikey’s Electric Bugaloo, Emese, Easy Bake Coven, Lost Remote (which looks like an interesting TV News site). Thanks for linking, and thanks for talking about this thing which is huge news here, and a minor item everywhere else. These fires are current news. And the efforts to take care of those who lost homes are ongoing. This is a big blow to San Diego County. “Worst fire anyone can remember” is how people put it. City leaders begin their sentences with “I’ve been on the job 30, 40, 45 years, and this is the worst…” — you get the picture.
That’s all for now.
To my fellow San Diegans: take care.
And oh yeah, Happy Halloween. Trick or Treat?