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December 2003 Archives

December 2, 2003

kwc blog in dreadful screenplay form

Web Screenplay for


Oh, KWC.ORG (KWC BLOG), do you think that I will ever find my true love? I am so lovelorn and sad. Surely, you, as my best friend, have some wisdom to offer


An IQ test I can actually score well on.

(via Kottke)

X-mas wishlist

...only one item, but it's a tad bit out of anyone's range:
EOS Digital Rebel

December 3, 2003

Boo Comcast

For a couple of months I had digital cable with Comcast, but I quit using it because the Motorola digital cable boxes managed to decrease the quality of my TV viewing experience. Comcast had an opportunity to improve this by going with a TiVo DVR, but instead it looks like they are going to try and do their own DVR using an upgraded version of the crappy Motorola platform.
Comcast takes on TiVo | CNET

Sun misses out

I think that Eclipse is one of the coolest software platforms I've ever played with. I was hook once I figured out refactoring+QuickFix. With refactoring I can fix bad design choices quickly, and with QuickFix I can basically starting write code using a Java class that doesn't exist yet, and have Eclipse auto-create it on-the-fly. (I'm partly biased in that NetBeans is about the ugliest IDE I've ever seen.)
Sun drops bid to join Eclipse | CNET

A reason to visit Texas

I better hurry before it disappears: Groups Sue to Change Name of 'Jap Road'
(via fark)

But he's no Major Major Major Major

Man changes name to Bubba Bubba Bubba
(via Fark)

December 4, 2003


Something cool my company is doing:
California Breast Cancer Research Program - Risky Research Pays Off
The researcher claims that it helps reduce risk for several types of cancer, though in its natural form you have to drink at least seven cups of green tea to get the benefit. I better go fill up my teapot.

Pack rats

I had a friend in college who will one day become this man. Here's one exemplary anecdote:

driving down Comm Ave
Friend: "Stop the car! Stop the car!"
car stops, friend points to large slab of concrete sitting on the curb
Friend: "Do you think we can haul that back to the house?"
Us: "What?!?!"
Friend: "You can't let a good piece of concrete go to waste."
He managed to put some of the junk he collected to good use, like building a shanty town on our roof using discarded tarps, lawn chairs, and mariachi music blaring over the stereo.
Reversing a Tide of Clutter
(via Making Light)

December 5, 2003

So long Vest

The head of MIT is expected to retire soon. I don't dislike Vest, but I don't like him either. In his tenure, he managed to quadruple the MIT endowment, but yet none of that went to student activities or improved student life, and athletics remained on a flat (non-inflation adjusted) budget the entire time I was there. Oh, a tuition went up ~$1K+ a year that I was there.

These two paragraphs near the end of the article are why I won't miss him.

He also dealt with enduring problems of student life like drinking and mental health. The death of a freshman, Scott Krueger, from an overdose of alcohol in 1997 after a fraternity hazing, highlighted the alienation many students felt at the university, largely because so many had lived in fraternities and independent houses around Boston and Cambridge, Mass., since the institute was chartered in 1861.

The death resulted in a $6 million settlement with Mr. Krueger's parents and the construction of three dormitories, along with a requirement beginning in 2001 that freshmen live on campus

I felt that he didn't protect the students against the giant overreaction in the wake of Krueger's death. Houses lived in a constant state of fear - if someone smuggled alcohol into your party, it was your fault, and you could end up kicked out of your house for a period of time. The social life on campus evaporated after this incident, and it was still recovering four years later when I left. I also think they set a bad precedent by settling with his parents - they were arguing that MIT was in loco parentis, and by settling it set this terrible trend that parents somehow rely on a large institution to be a better parent to their kid than themselves, nevermind the fact that the kid is now actually a legal adult, and if he couldn't proper decisions with his life only two months away from home, who shares the greater responsibility?


I now have another blog, in fact, I have a couple more now so I figure I'll crosspost this to outline what's what.

There's my main blog,kwc blog, which will always be my main blog because I enjoy the expressive power of Movable Type and its related plugins. On this blog I'll try to keep it to posts that are by some definition related to me in some way (journal, photos, job) or expressing my interests (sports, books, movies). Also, I use movabletype on kwc blog to manage my reading list and movie list.

My friends Kenji and Justin helped set me up with a Live Journal account. I haven't figured out yet how I'm going to maintain the balance of posts with LJ. daveXtreme helped setup a syndicated feed from this blog to LJ, so the contents of this blog will be mirrored there. However, the way syndicated feeds work, I am not the "owner" of this feed so I can't do much to maintain/modify it.

I had to sign up for a Xanga blog so that I could post to my friend's Xanga blogs. I don't like the restriction that only Xanga members can post on their blogs, so I'm not planning on actually posting there, only maintaining it enough that they don't close the account (and thus, my ability to post).

There's also 1010, consisting of members of the 1010 Golf Ct house and extended community, which I've given occassional mention here already. I'm planning on moving more of my link posting over to 1010, which should reduce the number of posts on this blog and make it easier for those consuming my syndicated feed over at LJ.

To summarize:
1) kwc blog: posts related to me, or expressing my interests, including my movie and reading lists
2) 1010 (community blog for myself, metamanda, honeyfields, and pqbon): largely a mirror of the crazy stuff that BoingBoing and FARK provide me with.
3) kwc livejournal: I'm not sure what I'm going to use this for. If you are a LJ user it's much easier to follow along in the community and your comments get a nice little icon, so in many ways I have the account for the same reason as Xanga. I make posts more specific to the LJ community there, seeing as I participate in a lot of fantasy sports leagues with them and may make posts relating to those.
4) xanga blog: exists only so that I can post comments on Xanga, as Xanga is evil and doesn't allow anonymous comments. I'm not linking it here because it's of little interest.

December 6, 2003

Army beated

Navy beat Army 34-6. Army now has the distinction of setting the NCAA record by going 0-13, while 8-4 Navy will be going to the Houston Bowl, it's first bowl in a long time. My parents were supposed to be there but the snowstorm kept them in the comfort of their own home.
Charge of the Right Brigade (

December 7, 2003

USC wins, but won't be competing for national title

USC 52, Oregon State 28

No. 2 USC beat Oregon State 52-28, and No. 1 Oklahoma lost to Kansas State, yet, according to BCS predictions, because of a Notre Dame loss, USC will rise to No. 1 in the polls but drop to No. 3 in the BCS and be shutout of a national title bid. If that's confusing, it's because it doesn't make sense. BCS sucks.

Redskins win!?

Redskins win 20-7 and Bruce Smith finally breaks Reggie White's record by getting his 199th sack. Ramsey stayed on the sidelines with a messed-up foot. This win reinforces my commitment to not watching the Redskins this season, as they seem to do better when I'm off eating brunch than when I'm sitting in the sports bar chugging beer. Hasselbeck Throws Two TDs to Lead Redskins Past Giants

December 8, 2003

LJ logo

Chose a logo for my Live Journal comments. I decided to use one of my gollums for now because I didn't feel like searching the Web for one nor did I feel like breaking out the brush pen again to draw something new.



This one took two trips to the airport to get the photos.

First, San Jose Airport security line. We were about to go through the metal detectors so we couldn't get a good shot of the sign behind the screener.
this entry contains a photo, click to view

Turns out, a couple months later, that the sign is still in the airport, though no longer as well placed. Read for yourself.
this entry contains a photo, click to view
"Colorectal cancer screening saves lives." Thanks TSA!

Los Angeles Cathedral

I got some shots of the recently built Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles while I was down there for Thanksgiving. Although it's big like a cathedral, it does defy expectations in terms of design. It reminds me most of the MIT church in terms of its unconventionalness, though even in it's "sparse" appearance it still managed to cost a pretty penny. The coolest feature is probably the tapestries on the inside, which were designed using a computer program that allowed them to weave in an especially high amount of realism into the faces of the saints that are depicted. The sculpture of the Virgin Mary below was done by Angelica Houston's husband and is supposed to be a blend of all races. My Aunt says that all races ends up looking a lot like Sandra Bullock.
this entry contains a photo, click to view
Los Angeles Cathedral

Eight days

gollumeight more days. nobody hitting on me. cannot cope.

gollumIf we bites off Master's finger and steal Ring, he will haves dinner with us. Yes.... Yes.... Will just have to figure out how to get around Sam first.

gollumsam will kill us if we try.

~*~ Secret Diaries ~*~

December 9, 2003

Seven days

gollumSSSeven more days.... Yeeesssss.... Our preciousss will be oursss....

gollumnot listening. not listening.

Book: Good Omens

book image

I liked this book, though I haven't disliked anything I've read that Neil Gaiman has been involved with that I've read or watched, so perhaps I'm biased. Imagine a really British version of the Apocalypse, where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalpyse are bikers and the snake from the Garden of Eden drives a Bently. It's downright ridiculous, and plenty funny for it. I was a bit let down by the ending, but such is the way of the Apocalypse.

DISCLAIMER: read no further if you haven't read the book, outline/quotes below.

Continue reading "Book: Good Omens" »

December 10, 2003

Six days

gollumsix more days and they'll give us our precious oscar

gollumWe wants it raawwww.... and wrwrwriggling

Japan sending troops to Iraq

One of the good things America did when it occupied Japan after WWII was impose a Constitution that made it unconstitutional for Japan to raise an army. Ever since that, however, America, as well as conservatives in Japan, have been trying to undo that clause, first by allowing "defensive" military to help the US build up a front against China, and now, for the first time, allowing Japanese troops to head overseas into a combat zone. Even if they are "noncombatant," it crosses an invisible line that will be hard to jump back across.
Allies: Japan Commits Itself to Sending Up to 600 Ground Troops to Iraq

Book: Holes

book image

I enjoyed the movie holes, and I enjoyed reading the book as well, but I didn't really do it justice by watching the movie first. I enjoyed going to the movie without any preconceptions, and I started the book with every possible preconception. Also, as Holes is a children's book, the movie was able to adapt it without dropping too many of the detalils. In fact, it probably took me as long to read the book as it did to watch the movie. The only detail that I noticed was significantly different is the fact that main actor in the movie a skinny beanpole, and the character he is meant to play is, well, fat, which affects his social relationships with other characters. The book was nice, but I need a 'forget' button so that I can read it without my memories of the movie influencing my interpretation of the story.

December 11, 2003

Five days

gollumCold be heart and hand and bones, cold be travelers far from home...

gollumFive more days we have to wait in this stupid line with these stupid, fat hobbits. Give us our precious tickets!!! Ah!!!!

gollumthey do not see what lies ahead when sun has failed and moon is dead!

Talk: Tufte

Photo of Edward TufteI was really excited to go see Tufte today for his day long course. His writings and teachings are excellent, and I find them useful whenever I am displaying visual information, even if I cannot live up to the standards that they profess. Sometimes I wish Tufte would sell software with his design principles built-in, rather than the pie-chart glory of Excel. In fact, I learned during the talk from Peter Norvig (slightly more on this later) that the Autocomplete Wizard in Powerpoint started off as a joke by the engineering people to the marketing people, along the lines of "oh yeah, and we can just have the application fill in all the content for you." Clearly, engineers don't understand marketing.

So, on to the talk, which I discuss my rants and raves in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Talk: Tufte" »

December 12, 2003

Four days

gollumFour days left. We should strangle them in their sleep

gollumno... no... too risky... unless...

gollumWe let 'her' do it... yes....
(dedicated to honeyfields for getting us tix)

3-D Desktops

Sun has a 3-D desktop demo called Project Looking Glass that allows you to treat windows as if there were three-dimensional, as well as add other common effects such as transparency. The demo was mainly designed to show off the performance of the system by running two videos simultaneously while rotating the windows, which also had little dock thumbnails that played the video as well. The one use of the 3-D system that I thought was interesting was that you now get the notion of the backside of a window. In the demo, they showed the example of being able to flip the window around and leave a post-it, view properties of a video, or watch the video backwards if you so chose. This seemed to be an elegant way of including metadata about an object, as it fits well with real-world metaphors.
(via Mac Rumors)


You know it's been a bad train ride when the conductor says

Now arriving Menlo Park. We made it to Menlo Park

December 13, 2003

Three days

gollumThree days...

gollumStop me if you heard if you've heard this one. Three men walk into a bar, an elf, a man, and an orc--

gollum--Yes, yes, all dead and all rotten, elves and men and orcses. What's your point?

gollumoh, you're no fun. we hates you. we hates you.

December 14, 2003

Two days

gollumtwo terrible days of waiting, it burns us, it burns us

gollumTwo tricksy hobbitss... I betss they taste juicy sweet!

gollumtwo towers on two DVDs --

gollum--Stupid special features with that stupid turd Serkis taking credit for us, *cough*, *cough*. Talentless hack stunt double!!!

What now?

Saddam Hussein Captured by U.S. Troops (

December 15, 2003

Elfin nuggets


One day

gollumOne movie to rule to them all

gollumOne more night to find them

gollumOne really long line to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

December 16, 2003


gollumYes, I found it I did. A secret way into the theater. Orcs don't use it, orcs don't know it. They go round for miles and miles. Come hobbitses, quick and swift like shadows we must be.

gollumPervy hobbit fancier. Phhfftt!!!

More reading prep for tonight

This reminded me of a performance of "Spectacular Spectacular" (Moulin Rouge) done up LotR-style for Comic-Con:
A Lord of the Rings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Musical Adventure: index.html

December 17, 2003

Movie: Return of the King

I'm going to keep this review short for three reasons:
1) Some of my friends haven't seen it yet, and anything I might say could be construed as a spoiler, such as the scene where Saruman reveals to Frodo that he is in fact his long-lost father, and that he was hidden with Bilbo in order that some day he might learn to use the ring and restore good to the universe.

2) I had very little sleep, as a result of the fact that the movie ended at 4am.

3) Related to (2), I don't think I enjoyed the movie as much as I would have had the climax of the movie not occured ~3:30am, after I had been at the theater since 10pm.

My current impression is that I liked the movie, though I think I liked TTT the best. TTT has the benefit (or detriment to some) that it occurs in the middle, so it isn't burdened with all the setup of FotR, nor does it have to wrap up every loose end of the story. It is also the first movie in which we get to know Gollum, so all the beautiful surprises of his character are revealed in that movie, whereas in RotK his character is very familiar.

At least until I see the movie again, I think this will be my current theory on the trilogy: TTT best, RotK second, FotR third, all great movies, and will all have honored positions on my bookshelf in their extra long extended versions.

December 18, 2003

Blogging personality

I've had discussions two nights in a row about the nature of my blog posts, so I went back to this kuro5hin article called Portrait of a Blogger, which I found fairly amusing because it managed to nail some aspects of our blogging perfectly. For example, for my personality, it says

Just found a site here, here, and here, regarding what I posted a couple hours ago regarding this. I'll post more links later!
See, fate has pre-ordained that my blog focuses on the world around me, rather than my interactions with the world. I also found the habitat description to be funny, especially for metamanda who just moved from the Rob House Commune to the Mission in SF. What does the article have to say about this?
INFP: "Habitat: Cute little bungalows in low rent districts across the U.S. with picket fences and groovy colored houses."

INTP: "Habitat: Usually a messy desk type area with lots of caffeine nearby. Techie Bloggers have been known to be nomads, though, with the advent of wireless internet technology. You may see them anywhere as a result, although most tend towards urban areas."

There is no free will :).

I also found another analysis that's less humorous but useful:
Bloginality: the INTJ personality

The courts are busy

- Malvo Found Guilty of Capital Murder (
- Court: U.S. Cannot Hold Padilla as a Combatant (
- - Michael Jackson formally charged in molestation case - Dec. 18, 2003
- - 'Green River Killer' sentenced to life in prison - Dec. 18, 2003
- - Clark testifies against Milosevic at War Crimes Tribunal - Dec. 18, 2003

December 21, 2003

Interesting day

Today was far too interesting of a day to pass up the opportunity to write about it. I knew it was going to be at least busy, given that I had three social engagements to go to, but I didn't know that it would provide so many interesting experiences as well.

The day started off on a weird note. In fact, it started off with a dream, and it wasn't even my dream. As metamanda tells it, she was dreaming about standing at a BART station, next to the train tracks, an appropriate dream considering her recent introduction to SF mass transit. The train was coming, but she realized that she was on the wrong side of the tracks, and, in a panic, she decided her best course of action would be to leap across the tracks before the train arrived. Unfortunately, she didn't make it.

Why am I transcribing someone else's rather mundane dream? Well, I recall it as well. You see, I woke up to metamanda standing on top of the bed, eyes open, body pressed against the wall, muttering "It's coming." Before I could converse with her to find out what "it" was, she turned and leaped head first off the bed, into the nightstand, knocked over a glass of water, and landed with a tremendous thud on the floor.

When she woke up in the morning she mentioned to me that she had fallen out of bed the night before. I corrected her use of the verb "fell" and suggested that "leaped" would a much better choice. She didn't believe me at first, but I then asked her about what her dream was. She recalled the train tracks, and then noted that they were lowered, in fact, they were lowered about the same height as the bed, and they were dimly lit just like the room. Also, in the dream, when she jumped, she landed on the tracks... right about where the floor would be. How odd.

There's more "interesting" stuff, to me at least, but this entry is getting long so you'll have to read the extended entry or watch the news if you care to find out what.

Continue reading "Interesting day" »

Happy Holidays

My X-mas travelling starts in less than six hours. I should get to sleep. A photo of someone surfing the 'Net on a AOL+56K modem sits next to the definition of "masochism," so that and my wrist pain will be cause for me to stay off the computer. This may be my last entry for 2003, though I might squeeze in a couple before the New Year as my posts for December are way down. Depends on whether or not I get some do some cool stuff in LA/DC and/or get some cool gifts (Thanks honeyfields/cshell!).

FYI, I'll be in LA today, fly to DC on Monday, and return to SF on the 29th. I hope to see my VA friends while I'm out there.

Happy Holidays!

Update: thanks pqbon, who wrapped my presents in my bedding. I crawled into bed and said, that's strange, I don't remember reading my comics in bed recently, then saying, that's strange, I don't remember owning these issues of Usagi, ohhh.... excellent.

December 29, 2003

SF Blackout


Ugly sweaters

photo photo





this entry contains a photo, click to view this entry contains a photo, click to view

X-mas day




DC Auto Show


Visual summary of the past week

Rather than write out everything that happened over the past week, I've summarized most of the holiday festivities/vacation in poorly chosen photos in order to drain your (and my) bandwidth.

Cretins, Fools, Morons, and Lunatics

I just finished Foucault's Pendulum, and this entry on Making Light reminded me of lunatics/Diabolicals/The Plan:
- Making Light: Dinosaurs of Eden

December 30, 2003

So long Spurrier

Although I don't mind Spurrier, I've never had reached the point before where I couldn't even bare to watch the Redskins play. They were so bad by the end of the season that it was more interesting to watch other teams play.
Spurrier Leaving Redskins After Two Seasons as Coach (


Hmmm, metamanda says:

Goonley and I are going to try to googlebomb CShell with the phrase "pervy man fancier".
whatever could she be trying?