December 30, 2002

Pan and Scan

"Still Life is a program that lets you pan and zoom any number of pictures and export the result as a QuickTime movie or DV stream."

That reminds me ... I had the strangest dream last night.

I'll find my soul as I go home

Retro, the New Order 4 CD box set is being released stateside on January 7. There's a breakdown of all the goodies at the official website. More importantly they're also serving up a bunch of videos including the 10 minute one for Perfect Kiss. Basically, they all stand around and look really bored while rocking out for Jonathan Demme. And Gillian tries really hard to look pretty.

Oh but there's more. On January 21, 24 Hour Party People is getting released on DVD with 2 commentary tracks and some other business. It's an exciting time if you're into that sort of thing.


pots.jpgI got 110 free 4x6 prints through iPhoto by virtue of signing up with .mac. This is, admittedly, a pretty decent deal ... except I have to use them all by the end of the month.

So ... anyone want doubles of some pictures of my toes shot from various angles? There's one in particular that'll scare the bejeezus out of you.

December 28, 2002


This is ambitious. Turning a 17th century diary into a blog, complete with annotations and links to explanatory pages for people and places.

Moral Hazard

I'm a big fan of the Simpsons episode where Lisa goes to Washington to compete in an essay contest. Especially funny are the runner-up essays like the kid who talks about the Recipe for a Free Country. You know: "Mix one cup liberty with three teaspoons of justice. Add one informed electorate. Baste well with veto power..."

But apparently, some libertarians didn't realize this was meant as a joke 'cause they've come up with their very own recipe. It calls for 'liberating' a chosen state by importing a horde of anarcho-capitalists and implementing alternative voting methods.

Well, I guess if the Scientologists get to have Clearwater, FL the Ayn Rand Fan Club can have a Dakota or something. But, you know, if your FAQ has to answer the question "Is the Free State Project some utopian power trip?" you might want to take a step back.

December 24, 2002

America: Land of Plenty

Oh, the wonderful world of Apple IIe emulation. And now someone has made an OS X version, bringing the oldest of old to the newest of new. You can grab yourself a whole mess of ROMs from the Asimov FTP archive or just check out my favorite screenshots. 


December 22, 2002

Everything old is new again

I've been debating whether or not there's something cheap about the blog post that goes "Look, there's something new to the site." If it's truly fundamental, you'd hope folks would just notice without having to make a big fuss. Big fuss or no, there're now picture archives.

I've been debating whether or not there's something cheap about the blog post that goes "Look, I'm going ahead and pointing out the silly before you can."

December 19, 2002

It took me so goddamn long to figure out that I broke down

I used FogCaster to see whether or not the view would be clear for the Pyra Holiday Dinner at Greens Restaurant. I found it to be surprisingly accurate from a day in advance. And you can see from looking at it now that the brief respite we had from winter today will end with a quickness tomorrow.

I'm waiting for my man

The OS X port of Soulseek now has a SourceForge page ... but nothing to download just yet. There's a lot of folks hoping for a nice Christmas present from the fellow working on this deal.

December 14, 2002

Stupid internet

Looks like I'm going to have to find myself a new DSL provider.

Update: Signed up with Speakeasy.

December 13, 2002


FetchYahoo did the trick, liberating my three years of mail from y!. When combined with the mail spools I've had stored on CD since college, I've now got 6 1/2 years of email archived and properly sorted on my new iMac. Thanks to nathanr for his mbox-to-applemail converter script.

Somewhere in St. Louis (or possibly a New Jersey landfill) there's a set of mboxes on 3.5" floppy that contain another 4 years of emails from my very first ISP, shell-tastic CRL. One day I will be whole.

In the meantime, I've taken this opportunity to switch email to .Mac - the first time I've ever paid for email - and can now be reached at

December 11, 2002

Free my Mail

FetchYahoo: FetchYahoo is a Perl script that downloads mail from a Yahoo! account to a local mail spool.

What's that?

Accidentally saw the Canadian, end-of-the-world flick, "Last Night", on cable and it may have kept me from going back to rabbit ears.

What a great idea to make an apocalyptic movie that goes after the absurd rather than the sentimental. Plus, there's the great choice to forego all explanation and just present The End as spooky, blown out twilight rather than trying to pass off some legitimate explanation. Much better to get right to the good stuff like the gas company employee (played by David Cronenberg) who spends his last day at work calling his customers to thank them for their patronage.

Those Canadians - so nice, so wacky and so untroubled by gun violence despite their comparable socio-economic demographics and love of firearms ... or so I've been told.

December 02, 2002


This weekend featured what was probably the last decent Pug Sunday before the rainy season starts here in San Francisco. And despite being a little damp, it was a good one. Snorting dogbeasts aplenty, frequently in stampede. All hail the cute mutants.


November 30, 2002

I'm a big, fat pig

This year, I'm thankful I didn't go home after Thanksgiving dinner was over - it helps if you can sleep over so as to get a good jump on leftovers the next day. Special thanks to Karen for the eggplant parmesean recipe; it made a great dinner, lunch and another dinner the subsequent day.


November 27, 2002

Desert Planet

"The side of the dunes that faced the sea and received the monsoon winds rose abruptly, but straggling clumps of scrub grass grew in places where the incline was not as steep. The man looked back over his shoulder at the village and he could see that the great holes, which grew deeper as they approached the crest of the ridge, extended in several ranks toward the center. The village, resembling the cross-section of a beehive, lay sprawled over the dunes. Or rather the dunes lay sprawled over the village. Either way it was a disturbing and unsettling landscape."


November 24, 2002


Anthony Swofford, a Marine sniper in the Gulf War, has an article in this month's Harper's. It's similar to, but much better than, his op-ed piece from the NYT last month, and presumably like his upcoming memoir due out this spring. His take concerns both the terror of war generally and the absurdity of the Gulf War in particular. So he writes about both the personal effect a Blood for Oil policy has on the soldiers ordered to carry it out:

"We joke about having transferred from the Marine Corps to the Petrol Corps, and while we laugh at our jokes and think we're damn funny jarheads, we believe we might soon die, and this is not funny. We have been deployed to protect oil reserves and the profits and rights of American companies, many of which have direct ties to the White House and oblique financial entanglements with the secretary of defense, Dick Cheney, and the commander in chief, George Bush, and the commander's progeny."
and what happens when you come under Iraqi rocket attack:
"I stand in place and piss my pants again, piss all over and running into my boots, thighs both, knees both, ankles both, bottom of my feet both, clear piss and no underwear, because otherwise chafed crotch because Vaseline only works to mile ten and all wars and battles occur farther than ten miles from all-safe points, and rotten balls if you don't remove your underwear at mile ten, and rockets landing red glare and more rockets, hitting everywhere around us, but they haven't hit us, so far they have only caused great amounts of terror and oblivion."
It's interesting the response Swofford is provoking in the converative press/blogworld. Some seem only blithely aware of the larger point being made while others are embarrassed for a soldier made afraid by battle.

Ah, the marketplace of ideas.

November 22, 2002


The first college debate tournament I attended was hosted by Penn. I thought I had a rough time because my partner kept wanting to run cases about Star Wars and we ended up losing more than we won. However, I now realize that I got off easy.

Being crammed into unlocked common rooms is the norm for tournament housing, and you've got to expect a touch of uneasyness when a horde of dorky debaters takes over a shared college space. But I can't begin to understand how a Penn student finds himself walking around West Philly with a container of motor oil in his hand and mischief in his heart. Of course, this is the campus where a peace protester self-immolated a few years back, also around the time of the debate tournament ... so it would seem there's some kinda rhetoric-related bad vibe going 'round.

November 19, 2002

Oh, be a fine girl - kiss me!

Despite the full moon and the light pollution of a major city, the Leonid meteor shower did not disappoint. Conditions were favorable enough for me to see nearly two dozen Leonids between 2:15 and 2:45am while sitting at the corner of Hill St. and Sanchez here in San Francisco. Several times I mistook the reflection of headlights off overhead power cables for astronomical objects ... and I have to remember that urban stargazing would be better if I brought along a flashlight to switch off the automatic streetlights. However, no amount of light or haze could have drowned out the one meteor I almost figured for a plane until I saw its broad, phosphorescent tail dissolve into the night sky.

Fire with Fire

The army dismissed nine of its linguists, six of whom were studying Arabic, after discovering they were gay. Of course, there's a shortage of Arabic speakers needed to translate the War of Terrorism into an international best-seller. But if you're going to defeat a fascist regime of religious intolerance you're going to need a little of your own.

November 18, 2002

Rodent Death Squad

Once, Jerry O'Connell was the fat kid in "Stand By Me" and slept with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Now, he's in a movie with a computer generated kangaroo that inadvertently steals money from the mob. Really.

November 17, 2002

Valtrex: the other white meat

Have you ever noticed that the logo for the pork board is suspiciously similar to that of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline?


November 13, 2002


The "Hole in the Wall" project provides free internet access to children in India via kiosks across the country. This, among other things, has lead to the kids using these computers to refer to the hourglass icon as Shiva's drum.

November 10, 2002

Oh what fun


My step-neice Alex shortly after meeting me for the first time (there was an incident with a too roughly thrown mini-wiffle ball ... we're good friends now)

November 06, 2002


St. Louis, Missouri - home of toasted ravioli, possibly the ice cream cone, and my friends Alex and Carrie Chen who were married this past weekend. Congrats!


November 03, 2002

Dodged a bullet

Thankfully, the USOC selected New York as the US candidate for hosting the 2012 games. I can't imagine the nightmare of trying to go about normal life in San Francisco had the SF/San Jose/Palo Alto/Turlock bid been accepted.

October 31, 2002

Is it safe?

All around the country today both little children and adults are carving pumpkins and dressing up in costumes in honor of my last day of work. It's quite the heady experience. To celebrate, I went to the dentist and had a cavity filled.


October 29, 2002

"Fish, plankton, sea greens... protein from the sea!"

The DVD of the original Rollerball includes a memory game in which you have to correctly sequence 16 thumbnail scenes from the movie. Only the brave will manage to slog through and receive the ultimate reward - a 10 second clip from the flick you've just finished watching.

Still, Rollerball certainly represents a more well-heeled version of the 1970's future.

Circadian Syncopation

And now I get up at 8am to ensure a good jump on my second to last day of work.

October 28, 2002

Gotta get up to get down

It's either the after-effects of gluttonous Zachary's pizza consumption, or the fact that there's no more sun ... but either way I'm lagging. Incidentally, there's a whole mess of folk, some of them Czech jews, opposed to Daylight Saving Time.

October 27, 2002

Everybody do the Michigan Rag

Apparently all varieties of animals have been found sealed in stone, iron ore and even chalk. Mostly frogs are found but every once in a while you stumble upon a live pterodactyl. The common explanation for these occurances is similar to the way Winnie the Pooh ended up stuck in Rabbit's hole ... so to speak. But then again they may be reincarnations of those stuck in one of the outer circles of Buddhist hell.

October 24, 2002

Do you ever get the feeling you're being cheated

The current SF Weekly cover story is about getting to the bottom of the "Monkey Knife Fight" streetmeme currently plaguing the Mission. They basically pull their version of Salon's non Un-Masking of Deep Throat - altho' you don't have to buy the eBook. The weak conclusion - "It's with this realization that we come up with a theory. 'Monkey Knife Fight' means NOTHING."

Sweet. So will it stop now?

October 22, 2002

And pull the trigger until it goes 'click'

"It takes prodding from a colleague for Mr. Heston, 79, to raise a flintlock over his head in his signature pose and challenge his critics to pry the rifle 'from my cold dead hands.'"
In other news, the NRA also runs an ISP.

October 20, 2002

The well water black of a digital clock

"Although the remark has the ring of memoirs written after the event, it may well have been spoken. Fateful moments tend to evoke grandeur of speech, especially in French."


October 18, 2002

Guns don't kill people. The beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment kill people.

Ari Fleischer was asked why the President doesn't support a national ballistic fingerprinting system given, you know, certain media-hyped gun violence in the DC region. His response:

"And certainly, in the case of the sniper, the real issue is values. And that's what is at stake here. The real issue is values. These are the acts of a depraved killer, who has broken and will continue to break laws. And so the question is not new laws; the question is the actions here represent the values in our society."
See, it's that whole culture of death we've got going on that's to blame. If only we didn't have abortion and violent video games this never would have happened (NB: the death penality is not, despite appearances, part of the culture of death).

October 17, 2002

We defy augury

And numerology, too, for that matter. I'll find you a pattern in the abstraction and leave you convinced the Pope is the Devil. Maybe that's not too hard. But if I tell you that the 6th, 7th and 8th primorials are 30030, 510510 and 9699690 ... don't you shiver a little bit.

October 11, 2002

A tournament of lies

My tall, salty friend Steve Yuhan has a weblog, the discovery of which lead me to find that there are many fine debate-folk in the blogsphere. This makes sense. However, I have trouble figuring out why this debate webpage is being hosted by the soap-box racing site, National Derby Rallies, Inc.

October 10, 2002

"i want to rent blackhole and think about the human beings buried in the hoover dam cement"


Star Wars

This evening's Frontline is on everyone's favorite intersection of pork barrel politics and unscrupulous militarism, missile defense. I'm confident the folks at PBS will do their usual bang up job; the episode has already received a ringing endorsement from the National Review. Yes, I'm sure that by the end I'll be shouting at the TV and afraid to go to sleep lest I discover that a military-industrial junta has taken over America. Oh wait. That being said, my favorite account of missile defense comes from JoAnn Wypijewski's article in the December 2001 issue of Harper's. The article is quite lengthy, so here's a little taste:

"Sometime after I returned from Kwajalein, I came upon a newspaper column by Paul Loeb, recounting a meeting he'd had with executives at Lockheed's Missile & Space Operations in Sunnyvale, California. He quoted one fellow saying, 'Let's get real. We all know that if anyone ever attacks America, the bomb is going to be delivered by a suitcase, a car or a truck, or in a boat.... We all know that we're lobbying for these programs because they make us money. We don't care whether they'll ever work, or even be useful. We care that the dollars come our way.'"

October 08, 2002

Infinite Guest

Being the account of one man's obsession with and struggle against Bill O'Reilly. In fun hyperfootnote format.

October 07, 2002

How many times has this happened to you?

There will be no precious.
There will be no darling.
There will be no sweet stains left drying in dark corners.

There will be no downbeat.
There will be no whimper.
There will be no teardrop held up and in soft pause.

October 04, 2002

October 02, 2002

How's your ass, ace?

"It hovered inches above the horizon, dancing, waiting almost as if it were taking a stoked breath, then swelled in puffing spasms, poking high into the stratosphere, edging out the pale skyrocket vapor trails at either side, the ball going sickly yellow, the shock wave releasing its roar, the entire spectacle catching fire, blazing chaotically, shaming the paltry sun."



The more things change:

"The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq."
the more things stay the same:
"Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression."

September 30, 2002

And I never went snorkling either

The WWASP programs have an interesting twist on more conventional forms of incarceration - the role of parents. So, you're a wealthy kidowner, but you can't keep the kid from smoking the pot. You can't go to the police because, well, there's not much of a crime there and they can't give the sort of guidance that unliscensed professionals can. Isn't it worth $80/day to send your problem child to Jamaica for rehabilitation. It's 100% hassle-free parenting. Tranquility Bay escorts will even pick up your brat unannounced so there's no time for awkward explanations or goodbyes. The good news is that you, the parent, are still in charge. Afterall this is the eagle way - pay someone to give your child the draconian third-world upbringing you can't be bothered to administer yourself.

Treasure Island

Back to camp and still just sandals on my feet. Quiet stretch mark plus paint splatter vinyl wouldn't be so tough if not for the smell. But I've got run plans and a future without fisheye breakfast wherein all big toes will live lint free. And so I take my showers and try not to clog the drain with feathers. (via mefi)

September 29, 2002

That gray on gray finish of minutes

The highly annoying color display issue has been resolved. More importantly, I've seen Spirited Away which knows a thing or two about color, character design and what happens when a Stink God tries to take a bath.

More than Princess Mononoke, Hayao Miyazaki's last movie, Spirited Away reminds me of most of the ps2 game Ico. The two share a similar tenderness - a feeling that stops short of seeming precious because it is so subtly evoked by the gestures and expressions of the main character. Also like Ico, there is no excess of backstory or mythological explanation. But this doesn't matter as the world shown is so complete that it makes intuitive sense, despite the fantastical setting.

We saw the matinee with a full house of little kids - it seemed to have entertained the good chunk of them ... lots of laughs and some crying in the sad parts. However, there were also those who weren't really buying my 'intuitive sense' argument. One kid in particular was desparate to figure out a variety of unanswerable questions: "Why's the dragon white!? Where does that door go? Why's that girl got hair!"

September 27, 2002

Flacksmith Friday

I don't know how often you find yourself among married folk, but I've always felt the proper response is the gluttonous consumption of seafood followed by emotionally detached frolicking. Eugene also went to the bathroom ... a lot (not pictured).


September 26, 2002

I would never take sand to the beach ... or would I

It was foggy in the city by the bay, but we went to the beach anyway. Did we ever. Fortunately, it was more grey than actually cold. That being said, we marvelled at the psycho-lady (not pictured) who boldly marched into the sea wearing a blue bikini.

By the way, I'm having some "non-display of color" type issues with the individual entry pages ... until a crack team of blog specialists has been able to resolve the problem, uh, imagine colors.


Which do you prefer a hard or soft option

The softlaunch of /goldtoe continues. A links page has been added as well as a picture of a lamp. I need a soundbyte of a goat eating a can of beans and this deal is done. In the meantime, you can have a picture of a backpack.

backpack, yo

September 25, 2002

Birthday Spectacular

26 years old is half of 52 - which is to say, I had an excellent birthday. I started my day with a walk in Diamond Heights wherein I saw that most suburban of fixtures - the playground/stripmall. If you can't get frozen yogurt and takeout chinese immediately after swinging, what's the point? The point is catfish and mashed potatoes at the Lucky Penny. Not to mention a trek into the foggy Presidio for some serious bowling.


September 17, 2002

Introduction: See More

"Very probably, it was not part of the sofa vaudeville of a showoff but, rather, the private exposed achievement of a young man who, at one time or another, might have tried shaving himself left-handed."