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November 2003 Archives

November 1, 2003

Hallofest sucks

Hallofest sucked. Hallofest was terrible, awful, inexcusably bad. It was so bad that some people sold their tickets rather than enter. Let me explain.

Arrival time: ~11:30 (it might have been even earlier)
Time spent in Will Call line: 1 hour
Time spent in line to get in: 10 minutes
Time spent to get wristband for drinking: 5 minutes
Time spent to get inside the building my friends were in: 15 minutes

That means that I got into Hallofest at 1am! Last call is at 2am, which means that I spent $30 to wait in line for an hour and a half so that I could drink bad beer and bad vodka for one hour. Even if I didn't want to drink, I was compelled to by the fact that my mouth tasted like a sulfur spring. The Will Call line was lined with flares, which I can still taste a bit in my back of my throat, which is still a bit sore from breathing in the smoke.

There wasn't much relief from the awfulness inside, where it was terribly overcrowded. This wouldn't be terrible if it weren't for the fact that the crowd was composed of (a) people leaving the room because it's lame and (b) people entering the room hoping to find something that isn't lame. Your entire time is spent shoving or getting shoved around.

I'll keep this rant relatively short and leave you with one other reason why it was bad: they even made you wait in line if you wanted to get out. That's right, if waiting in four lines just to get in weren't enough, they continue the tradition by making you wait in line to get out.

Anyway, at least the company was good - I got to hang out with a really old friend of mine, as in the friend that I've known the longest in my life, and that was definitely fun and worth the trip. Next time I'll have to actually wear a costume instead of just painting a skunk stripe in my hair.

November 2, 2003

USC gets big boost from VaTech

USC unloaded on #6 Washington State and received the good news of Virginia Tech's win over #2 (and previously undefeated) Miami came in. After it seemed that the Sugar Bowl was out of reach after their terrible loss to Cal, USC is back in the national title hunt.
USC 43, Washington State 16

Redskins suck even more

Redskins had two weeks to prepare for their 21-14 loss to the Cowboys. There was a point in the second half where their total offensive passing yards was -10.
Thrown for a Loss (washingtonpost.com)

November 3, 2003

Style Invitational 524: Scrambled Books/Movies

The past two weeks of Style Invitational were kinda boring, but the one three weeks ago was brilliant. The contest description and my favorites below.

Week 524: "...scramble the words of any book or movie, and come up with a new product. An extraordinary week; great entries, and in great numbers. Good ideas too popular to reward with prizes: Ferris Bueller's Off-Day (a boring movie); Mr. Washington Goes to Smith (the father of our country as a cross-dresser); The Rye in the Catcher (a documentary on alcoholism in sports), and The Wrath of Grapes (various vegetal revenge scenarios)."

Kampf Mein: And other German-Chinese recipes. (Bob Wallace, Reston)

"What? Did Daddy Do You in the War?" A young girl learns of her father's overseas affair when a Korean woman comes looking for him. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

The Red Man with One Shoe: The story of Nikita Khruschchev. (Tom Witte, Gaithersburg)

Powers of Austin Man: International Mystery: How the governor of Texas became president of the United States. (Brian Lochrie and Jennie Reiff, Lake Forest, Calif.)

F.J.K. : In this documentary, disappointed Harry Potter fans complain about the author. (David Vacca, Washington)

The Virtues of Book: Bill Bennett's guide to Vegas gambling. (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

Big Wedding, My Fat Greek!: The behind-the-scenes story of Jackie's ultimatum to Onassis. (Judith Cottrill, New York)

Phantom Wars Episode Menace the One-Star: A brigadier general tries to avoid becoming the scapegoat for America's failure to find the weapons of mass destruction. (David Vacca, Washington)

Bride of the Father: The unauthorized biography of Soon-Yi Previn. (Larry Cynkin, Kensington)

Blue Devil in a Dress: High jinks ensue when the Duke basketball team fields a transvestite power forward. (David Vacca, Washington)

The Style Invitational (washingtonpost.com)

Style Invitational 523

My favorites from Week 523:

Week 523: "...propose ways to make modern life harder than it needs to be."

Third Runner-Up: It is no longer sufficient to clean up after your dog. By law, you must catch the offending substance before it hits the ground. (Andrea Kelly, Brookeville)

Presume innocence. (John Ashcroft, Washington) (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Drive-on-the-left-side-of-the-road Thursday. (Russell Beland, Springfield)

Adapt to all appliances the "Are you sure?" message that computers demand before deleting something. Microwave a burrito: "Are you sure?" Change the channel: "Are you sure?" (Will Cramer and Julie generics, Herndon)

All pills must be suppositories. (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge)

Bicycle-pedaled flush toilets. (Dan Steinberg, Falls Church)

Diplomacy. (George W. Bush, Washington) (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)

Adopt California recall rules for all government positions. If you get 500 signatures and a filing fee, you can recall your postman. (Kevin d'Eustachio, Linwood, N.J.)

The Style Invitational (washingtonpost.com)

November 4, 2003

I own zero

...and I'm kinda wondering how this person even bought these albums...
Stone: Worst Album Covers Ever

Update: even more Bizarre Records to trouble you, including poignant entries by Terry Bradshaw and young Drew Barrymore.

(via Dave Barry's Blog)

Snikt-inoma

I don't have a tumor - but I did many years back. Why mention this now? I found this summary on NORD - National Organization for Rare Disorders Web site and I found this cool synonym for what I had: Adamantinoma. That's even cooler than having something listed on the rare diseases site.
(via BHN)

November 5, 2003

More than Bundy?

I had never even heard of the Green River killings, maybe b/c I was four when they happened, but as it stands now, Gary Ridgway has now admitted to killing 48 women, which puts him above John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy as the most known killings.
CNN.com - 'I killed so many women' - Nov. 5, 2003

Movie list online now

In the spirit of using MovableType as an all-purpose leatherman, I now bring you:
KWC's Movie Management System (KMMS)

read on if you want to know how it's powered

Continue reading "Movie list online now" »

November 6, 2003

Movie: Matrix Revolutions

metamanda hated it, rottentomatoes was tracking it at 38% approval, so how did I feel?

I liked the middle part of the movie, hated the first part, and had lukewarm reaction to the last part (more detailed breakdown in the extended entry). It's not as bloated as Matrix: Reloaded as is a better movie, but I think everyone already agrees the first was the best. If they combined the second two into a single self-contained movie, it probably would have been a lot better, and fit more naturally as a complement to the first movie (I listed some example cuts in the extended entry). Instead, the second and third installments feel disconnected from the original storyline and try to beat it in quantity rather than quality.

** SPOILERS FOLLOW **

Continue reading "Movie: Matrix Revolutions" »

Thanks meta

Thanks to metamanda, I have great, sometimes delusional, episode summaries for the kmms:

- Movies: Buffy: Season One
- Movies: Buffy: Season Three
- Movies: Buffy: Season Four

Nooooo!

I was really excited today to get my free Caltrain train and parking pass from work. My excitement quickly disappeared when I clicked on my bookmark for the Caltrain schedule and got a 404 not found page from a site called 511 Transit Info. I thought this was odd so I went to the Caltrain site and clicked on their schedule link, only to discover they've transferred all the schedule information to the 511 site, which sucks!

<rant>
Here's what it used to be like to get the Caltrain schedule:
1. Click on interactive schedule
2. Click on Mountain View
3. Click on Menlo Park
Result: a nice listing of the departure and arrival times for the train. It was so nice and succinct that I could have it load in the sidebar of my browser and stay open while I surfed other sites.

Here's what it's like to use the 511 site:
(version 1)
1. Click on Trip Planner
2. Type in address that you are leaving from. If you click on "map" you get a zoomed out map of the entire Bay Area that it expects you to navigate by repeated zooming (which is very slow to load).
3. Repeat step 2 for the address you are going to.
4. Enter in specific time that you are leaving
Result: it tells me the time of the next two Caltrains, nothing more. After all that effort it didn't even tell me anything about the bus route to get to the station.

(version 2)
1. Click on Schedules
2. Select Caltrain
3. Select Northbound/Southbound
4. Click on Weekdays (the only option listed)
Result: table embedded inside of another Web page. You have to click on scrollbars to find the appropriate column. If you are travelling far it is unlikely that you can see the station you are leaving from and the station you are arriving at on the same page. (If you click on printable version you get a Web page that is wider than my 20" LCD monitor).
</rant>

Cool new Google tool

Instead of having to open Internet Exploder to have your Google Toolbar, you can now add Google searching to your start menu bar. I've tried it out and it's really fast and saves the annoying step of having to open a browser window. The only drawback is that it uses an embedded Internet Explorer control (Mac users are again SOL).
- Google Deskbar

November 7, 2003

True Lies

I was a bit confused by all the Prince Charles rumor denials, but Neil Gaiman is right there to clear things for us:

a) the goat was not, in fact, Spanish, but Portuguese, and is currently living safely in a wildlife preserve in East Molesey.

b) The Tango is a dance made famous in Argentina. "Erotic licking" plays no part in the Tango. Neither, of course, do balloons.

c) only a lunatic would apply shoe-polish to a weasel.

d) if the alleged incidents had in fact occurred in broad daylight during a car-boot sale in Harrow then there would be photographs, and quite possibly a plaster cast.

e) by now the "Use by" stamps on the yoghurt would have expired, indicating it as unfit for human consumption.

I would also like to add that any rumors suggesting my involvement are ludicrous, and midgets? Please. They were clearly dwarves.

I think this can help clear up this nascent trend of pre-denying for politicians. The first thing a candidate should do when running for office is to deny all of the rumors about some scandalous incident. If people don't know what you're referring to even better, but if it somehow the unnamed allegation you were deny gets out, and people start saying, for example, that you are a grope-monkey, you have to proceed to step 2, which is to combine your denial with an apology. Here's a pretty good example:

"I know that the people of California can see through this trash politics. Let me tell you something, let me tell you something. A lot of those that you see in the stories is not true, but at the same time, I have to tell you that I always say, that wherever there is smoke, there is fire. That is true. So I want to say to you, yes, that I have behaved badly sometimes. Yes, it is true that I was on rowdy movie sets and I have done things that were not right which I thought then was playful but now I recognize that I have offended people. And to those people that I have offended, I want to say to them I am deeply sorry about that and I apologize because this is not what I'm trying to do." (link)

This was a pretty good denial, though he left a loophole by saying "a lot of those...is not true." He would do even better to give an flat out denial. Then you would have a beautiful catch: Those that accuse you are liars guilty of trash politics. Only those who haven't accused you are telling the truth, and to them you apologize.

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to."

November 8, 2003

Oldie but goodie

Here's an old clip that made it's rounds on the Internet awhile ago that I was reminded of. Still funny as the day I first saw it.
The Infamous Exploding Whale

November 9, 2003

Now they win...

One of the few games this year that I don't watch and they finally win. Maybe I should just stop watching...
- washingtonpost.com: Redskins 27, Seahawks 20

Dirty, nasty jobs

This Popular Science article posted on Slashdot, The Worst Jobs in Science, was a good lead-in to a new show I just watched called Dirty Jobs, which airs on the Discovery Channel.

What impresses me most about this show isn't the selection of nasty jobs they've found. Rather, it's that they've found a host that actually participates in all of the nasty jobs. The episode I watched starts off with the host spelunking in a bat cave full of forty million bats, forty million bats that are crappin' and pissin' all over the floor. His guide at one point notes, "Feel the rain?" On the way out of the cave the host gets stuck in the bat guano and covered in it as he has to sit down in order to unbury his trapped feet.

Continue reading "Dirty, nasty jobs" »

Fluffy

This is such a great idea for a costume:
Fluffy Costume
(via Boing Boing: A Directory of Wonderful Things)

Please distribute this in California

The first-ever caffeinated milk beverage is now available in Minnesota. At last, the cream for my coffee will no longer dilute my drink.
- Pioneer Press | 10/31/2003 | NEW PRODUCTS: Hyper Cow adds caffeine to rev up teen market
(via Obscure Store and Reading Room)

November 10, 2003

Word of the day: callipygous

I learned this one reading Catch-22.
Dictionary.com/callipygous

callipygian ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kl-pj-n) also callipygous (-pgs)
adj.

Having beautifully proportioned buttocks.

November 11, 2003

Logo and blog stuff

Found this interesting categorization/breakdown of current trends in logo design:
- Graphic Design USA - Feature - Corporate Identity - 15 Trends Taking Shape In Logo Design

This was linked to by LivingRoom >> A space for Life: Blog Tips Archives, which has some nice tips if you're starting out as a blogger, which also has some nice tips about writing for an audience in general.
(via Lawrence Lessig)

Foxtrot

foxtrot comic

brilliant

For home and abroad

This sounds like a really awesome idea for a Wiki:
Main Page - Wikitravel

When I backpacked across Europe, many of the places we visited were due to the suggestion of people we met in hostels. This seems like a good way to transport that experience onto the Web that's more adaptable and less compressed than the travel guides, though its still not a replacement (e.g. it needs some maps and the content is still being created).
(via Joho the Blog)

There was a time where everything I owned was Sony

Forbes.com: The Pride That Killed Sony

Personal complaints: their DVD players are boring (Gateway sells a more interesting player), their laptops haven't improved since they used to be bleeding edge, Toshiba makes a cooler TiVo (w/ DVD recorder), the PS3 and PSP are way off, even Apple has a cheaper price point, their MP3 player line is stagnant and user-disfriendly, memory stick is almost as fragmented as all of the other flash memory types combined (Memory Stick, MagicGate, Duo, PRO), their wireless technology is absurdly overpriced...

Book: Catch-22

book image

I was feeling like a cretin b/c I had read so few entries on the top 100 list (American or British). I've decided to try and knock off a couple to improve my score, which would still make me a cretin, but I'd be a cretin who's read a bunch of entries on top 100 lists.

I started off with Catch-22, which has turned out to be a really good choice. I started marking the pages that had something I thought were hilarious, and from the extended entry you can see that I pretty much marked up the entire book.

I would have really enjoyed using the search inside feature of Amazon on this book, but it appears that they don't have the rights to. Heller's non-linear story construction is an ideal candidate for searching. I found myself two-hundred pages into the book, thinking, "Now that sounds familiar. I feel like I'm having deja vu." It would be very nice to have the search inside feature, because then I could find out if it was deja vu, or jamais vu, or presque vu. Instead, I've transcribed an outline/favorite quotes in the extended entry. I'll give my usual disclaimer, which is: if you haven't read the book, read no further, it won't be interesting to you. I can't even guarantee that any part of this entry is interesting to those that have read the entry.

Continue reading "Book: Catch-22" »

November 12, 2003

Sydney Bristow did it

This sounds like it's straight out of an episode of Alias:
Globes [online] - Steadicopter's prototype pilotless helicopter stolen
(via /.)

November 13, 2003

Back to the future

photophotoThe old Mac Classic had a handle which turned it into an awkward, but portable desktop computer. The iMacs are also arguably portable, but Sony has come out with a successor to their Vaio W line that is a computer made for lan partying. A large handle is built into the design of the monitor, and the computer folds up like a briefcase for moving. Only available in Japan right now.
I4U News - New Sony portable Desktop Computer VAIO P PCV-P101
PCV-P101
(via Gizmodo : The gadgets weblog)

Getting closer to wireless power

It would be great in the future if every table had one of these contactless charge pads in the center. Then you could just set your gadgets in the middle while you enjoyed your cup of coffee or typed your meeting notes. Maybe they could even keep your cup warm.
KoKoRo: A technology of Contactless battery chage from Epson

Update to books category

The kMMS taught me some cool tricks that will save me some time in the future when I write book entries. I thought I'd post it here because I have witnessed other movable-typers struggling with the same issue, and this might save them a bit of time.

One of the things that can be time consuming when you write a book entry is including an image of the book. You either have to go to Amazon, search for the book, and copy the entry, or you use MTAmazon to generate the HTML and then copy it into the entry. Most recently I had been using MTAmazon + Macros

to add in an <amazon> tag that would do the image, but it was kinda klunky.

My latest method is a lot easier, and now uses MTAmazon + MT Plugin Directory: KeyValues. All I do is place the following text in the 'keywords' field:

asin=xxxxxxx

which only requires me to look up the asin of the book, which I do anyway in order to maintain my reading list.

Continue reading "Update to books category" »

Cool Inventions of 2003

2k3 still has two months left in it but the "Best of" articles are already hitting the Internet. These are some of my favorite items.

Continue reading "Cool Inventions of 2003" »

November 14, 2003

40 best directors

...according to a British publication. I've seen films by 16, though this isn't really a counting list I guess.
Guardian Unlimited Film | Features | 40 best directors

November 15, 2003

Book: Bringing Down the House

book image

I was motivated to read this book b/c it comes straight out of some of the rumors I had heard at MIT. My friend Jay told me about a grad student who had a Foxwoods Blackjack champion jacket, and after the Wired article was published, others had shared friend-of-a-friend rumors about people on the blackjack team.

In terms of story, the book didn't disappoint. It's full of all the basic elements of a good story, with plenty of intrigue, clever plans, high-profile celebrities, danger, and betrayals. It also revealed the basic elements of their strategy, which surprised me with it's simple algorithm (hi-lo) and clever implementation. There were some more sophisticated tricks they used, such as following high cards through the shuffle and being able to cut exactly 52 cards, but most of the method came down to using a team to bring in the high roller at just the right moment.

In terms of writing, the book did disappoint. I groaned during some of the early chapters when the author introduces some of the characters. Many of his descriptions feel like attempted cleverness, and not once does he actually capture the feel of Boston or MIT. With the written word, there is power to embed great detail, comparison, and nuance, but instead it feels like the author is writing copy for a TV special, with everything reduced to a caricature. There are also several chapters where the author places himself into the story to describe his "research." These clumsy additions read more like attempts at breaking two-hundred pages than meaningful components to the story.

Despite the poor writing, the story is entertaining, and you won't waste too much of your life reading it as you can finish the book in a single night. I bought the book because I needed something to clean out my mind between more difficult prose, and this book didn't disappoint :).

QotD

this entry contains a photo, click to view

Book: Pattern Recognition

book image

I liked this book a lot. It's not my favorite Gibson book, but it's definitely in the top tier (along with Idoru and Neuromancer). Thematically, this feels like one of Gibson's strongest efforts, as he manages to create a novel within the grief of 9/11, without the overbearing sentiment, shrillness, or hackneyed emotion that is characteristic of nearly every other effort that we have long become desensitized to. It helps that 9/11 is more of a small piece in the backdrop of the novel, but the thematic parallels are still very strong.

Gibson also manages to create a novel that leaves the cyberpunk roots behind and strikes out in the present day, summer of 2002, in a world that is very nearly our own. The Web browser in the book seems a little strange, but the most sophisticated machine in the book is no more than an iBook. Web bulletin boards and e-mail are the important communication tools in the book, and Gibson captures the obsessive, investigatory nature of fan sites.

The rest of this entry are notes that I took, and should be ignored by the casual visitor. I have broken them down into several sections: themes, outine, footage/dig, and people. The "themes" section benefitted greatly from multiple postings on the williamgibsonboard, which has a section on Pattern Recognition.

WARNING: Massive SPOILERS ahead! Usual disclaimer: these notes are of little use to anyone who has not read the book, and probably not even useful to people who have, as notes tend to be useful only to their creator. I post them here, because I find it convenient to be able to search my notes online.

Continue reading "Book: Pattern Recognition" »

November 16, 2003

USC blanks Arizona

USC, now ranked No. 2, looks like they're in top form.
- USC 45, Arizona 0

Redskins suck again

Last minute touchdown sinks the Skins 20-17.
Panthers Are a Handful (washingtonpost.com)

Annotated 1602 #4

Julian Darius' ContinuityPages.com Annotations >Annotations 1602 for issue 4 are online.

November 17, 2003

Sniper found guilty

washingtonpost.com: Jury Finds Muhammad Guilty of All Charges

Arnold is here to pump up our deficit

Get ready for impact - Arnold is rolling into town to demonstrate how he will decrease our deficit without increasing taxes or cutting spending.
Schwarzenegger Begins as Governor Today

Movie: Master and Commander

Saw Master and Commander with metamanda over the weekend. I pretty much agree with her review. The movie starts off with an exciting chase, then it descends into these small events with minor characters in the movie that you can barely tell apart. I understand the sequence of events that the writer was trying to get in order to show the progression of the main characters, but the way they were represented in the story just didn't feel smooth to me. Also, why in the world would you put doldrums into a sailing movie? Doldrums, by definition, are boring.

Overall, a good movie, I just wish that the middle was rewritten to focus on the main cast, with less side plots.

November 18, 2003

Rendevous Proxy

Now that I have iTunes for Windows, the next step was figuring out how to stream music from my desktop at home to my laptop at work. I just started trying out Rendezvous Proxy, and it seems to be working pretty well. The main problems seem to be with iTunes streaming itself, as I've experienced too much skipping for it to be useful so far. I'm holding out hope, though, that this will be the key to getting MyTunes working.

Update: well, MyTunes doesn't seem to be doing jack when I try and use it, but now that I've connected my laptop to the 100Mbps LAN I haven't been experiencing any skipping, so all is well. I'm currently having plenty of fun listening to my music from home with only the very occassional skip at the start of a song. Now, if there were only a way to allow remote rating of my music...

Update2: the skipping is back. The connection appears to be very tempermental even if I set the buffer size to large. Dang, I really need MyTunes now.

Talk: ILM

metamanda's friend Vijay gave a talk at PARC yesterday about some of his work at ILM. He worked on the movie The Hulk and is currently working on The Day After Tomorrow. I had been trying the schedule this talk while I was still with PARC, but of course he waits until I switch jobs before he comes and speaks :).

Continue reading "Talk: ILM" »

Book: Animal Farm

book image

pig 2WARNING: if you haven't read the book, and don't know what it's about, read no further. It's such a short, quick book that if you haven't read it, you would do well to just pick it up and read it. Granted, I'm probably one of the few people that made it through high school without reading the book.

Continue reading "Book: Animal Farm" »

November 19, 2003

Polls

Originally posted by LanguageHat on Making Light:

Ralph 4CR looked around in astonishment. "You mean... there are invisible beams all around us, carrying information to all parts of the globe, even as we speak?"

The Master of Communications turned towards him solemnly. "Yes," he asseverated, "and the information is not carried whole, but is broken up into a myriad of infinitesimal packets, to be reassembled without fail when they reach their destination."

"You astonish me," breathed Ralph. "And this information is accessible to all?"

"It is," nodded the Master. "The issues of the day are debated by all citizens, no matter where they may be located, and communication no longer waits on tides or weather."

":And what are the great issues so decided?"

The Master cast a glance at the poll on his screen: Which Jedi Knight Are You? He looked severe. "I fear our issues would mean nothing to you across the great gulf of time you have traversed. You should go now and refresh yourself. We will speak later. You have much to learn. Vanna, show our young guest to his room."

A lissome blonde appeared from behind a curtain and beckoned...

Making Light: As you know, Bob ...

November 20, 2003

Top 10 Internet Fads

kuro5hin.org || Top Ten Internet Fads

Any others people care to add? Two posters on Kuro5hin (Frozen North and MSBob) suggested Friendster and Frames, which both seem to be good candidates. I would also add live streaming video, and possibly AOL.

Ding dong the blue law's dead!

Hurray Massachusetts - congratulations for joining the 20th century. Can't wait til you join the 21st.
BostonHerald.com - Business: Sunday liquor sales passed

November 21, 2003

Triumph on NPR Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Friday - November 21, 2003

Hear Terry Gross have to say 'poop' again and again, a short dig about the Gene Simmons interview, and satire of the Bill O'Reilly interview.

November 22, 2003

Good day for USC

Despite being ranked #2 in all major polls, USC was still ranked #3 by the BCS formula. Today everything was fixed up as Ohio State had the decency to lose to Michigan, and USC stomped UCLA. Mike Williams had nearly 200 yards as well as two TDs after the first quarter. The score says 47-22 final, but that seems too close for the actual game, which was 33-2 at the half (the two came from a blocked PAT). Oh, and Stanford lost to Cal.
USC 47, UCLA 22

Book: Doctor Faustus

book image

I just finished reading Marlowe's Doctor Faustus play. I felt compelled to read it, as Faust was an underlying theme of The Game we did a year ago. I liked the positioning of the book on the boundary of religion and science. Faustus denys God's existence and instead covets scientific knowledge, which he quickly parts with his soul to obtain. Strangely enough, he rejects the notion of hell even though it is hell's agents that provide him with his farcical powers. Also, it is the deadly sin of Pride, which he is introduced to in material form, that ensures his damnation.

Below I've posted links to an online version of the play (not the version I read), as well as nice summary and analysis from MonkeyNotes. The MonkeyNotes were nice to go through, as they reaffirmed/clarified what I read, as it becomes a slight chore to constantly have to translate the old English text. I imagine I would find the text more clever if it didn't rely on mythology and language that is very unfamiliar to me. Maybe an actual performance would be even more engaging.
- MonkeyNotes-Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe-Free Book notes/Chapter Summary
- Online text of The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

November 23, 2003

Bad Statistics III

Windows graphic

Linux graphic


IDblog: Bad graphs?

A fine thread has come to an end

I've had to close the Khleo Thomas fan club thread due to overwhelming popularity. While it greatly entertained, and slightly disturbed, me to read the admiration women have for him, the inability of the admirers to press the 'post' button a single time, instead of five, has given me reason to close the thread. The time spent cleaning up the thread has outweighed the amusement, so farewell Khleo Thomas Fan Club, I'll miss you.

Redskins blow it

Despite the Dolphins giving the Redskins numerous gifts and placing them in the red zone multiple times, the Skins' still managed to figure out how to lose in the fourth quarter, 24-23, including fumbling the final kickoff that would have given them one last offensive shot.
Redskins Get a Lift, Then Collapse (washingtonpost.com)

November 24, 2003

Style Invitational 529

Report from Week 529, where submissions are a well-known document or principle rewritten into four-line rhymes:

Continue reading "Style Invitational 529" »

Posting b/c I don't want to lose the link

the5k.org has some cool entries demonstrating the limits you can push CSS on the Web, and by limiting the size of the Web you get a pretty focused idea.

November 25, 2003

African or European?

Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow
(via A Whole Lotta Nothing)

Electoral map redux

From the same site as the previous post, an interesting redesign of the popular tradition of showing election results by shading in counties by candidate. The author redid the maps so that they accurately take into account voter population, rather than land area.
style.org > Mapping Votes by County

Book: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

book image

I started reading this book b/c I couldn't stand other book I had chosen to read (Everything is Illuminated), and I'm glad I made the switch. It's not as good as Cat's Cradle, and despite similar background elements (Kilgore Trout, poo-tee-weet, Tralfamadore), it's not nearly as good as Slaughterhouse Five, but it was still an interesting read. Vonnegut juxtaposes rich and poor, and questions who is less deserving of their fortunes, and mocks the hypocrisy of the rich-born criticizing welfare. There's also plenty of dark humor, and bathroom wall humor that kept me laughing to myself through out. Thematically, this book goes well with a book like You Shall Know Our Velocity, so if you haven't had your fill of charity satire, you can read both.

WARNING: everything from here on is a spoiler, and isn't much use to anyone who hasn't read the book, and it's not much use even if you have.

Continue reading "Book: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" »

Some freakin' cool sun images

sunThe Winners! Top 10 Sun Images from SOHO

November 26, 2003

Reading prep for Return of the King

gollumSomeone took a whole lot of time to create an encyclopedia of Tolkien's works. Think Silmarillion, but summarizd and highly cross-indexed.
The Encyclopedia of Arda

November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off to SoCal...

November 28, 2003

Something to read

Saw this on Slashdot. Should get around to reading it when I'm less tired.
Al-Ahram Weekly | Books Supplement | Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books

November 29, 2003

Bush back from mother of all road trips

Can't you just imagine Dubya yelling "Road Trip!", throwing a keg in the back of Air Force One and dragging along some reporters for the ride?
CNN.com - Bush back from Iraq; another attack on troops - Nov. 28, 2003
("road trip" reference courtesy of Fark).

MIT feigns poverty

Maybe they want me to give them money, or maybe they want the joy of firing people for the holidays. Either way, even with $5.4 billion in the endowment piggy bank, MIT is in fact shutting down over the holidays.
CNN.com - MIT to shut down part of campus over holidays - Nov. 26, 2003
(thanks wu-tang)

Gehry Disney Part 2

When I last visited the Gehry Disney Concert Hall, I only managed to get photos of half of the building, as the garden and children's amphitheater side were closed off. Luckily, I was down in LA again so I made a circuit around the other half. The photos are much closer up than last time, so it might be a tad bit hard to get a grasp of the overall building, but the new photo set includes close-ups of the small shiny part of the building, the garden rose sculpture, some interior shots of the lobby, and a couple of shots that show how the bracing is done. I still haven't made it inside the actual concert hall, but I'm hoping to get tickets to a December show when I next visit.
this entry contains a photo, click to view this entry contains a photo, click to view
Gehry Disney Photos Part 2

November 30, 2003

Book: 1984

sad face I just finished reading 1984 for the first time. You may say to yourself, "Wow, you've never read 1984?" Well, now I have.

I was not as disturbed by this book as I was by Animal Farm. metamanda was surprised by this, but all I can say is that Orwell's dystopian future presented in 1984 is much less culturally shocking to me than Orwell's using farm animals to represent the rise of Stalin. Hollywood has put enough Philip K. Dick stories on the big screen to more than familiarize myself with a Big Brother future that I hardly blinked an eye at 1984, but Animal Farm seemed to take grab "Some Pig" Wilbur and turn him into bacon and pork chops.

sad face What caught my attention most about 1984 were the comparison to (a) Catch-22 and (b) The Matrix. I was especially shocked by how similar one of the speeches felt to the speech the Architect makes to Neo. I wrote some brief notes outlining some of the comparisons, but due to spoilers I have left them for the extended entry. I also have the traditional outline notes, that, as always, are only useful to those that have read the book. I have only outlined the second half of the book, I may get back to finishing the outline for the first half later.

Continue reading "Book: 1984" »

Digital IQ

An IQ test I can actually score well on. I scored a 201. Would've been a little higher if I had a PDA. Also, in true nerd fashion, I have to point out that one of their questions is wrong. "The idea of the mouse, icons and point-and-click was introduced by: (a) Apple (b) IBM (c) Xerox (d) Microsoft" is an incorrectly worded question. Xerox PARC had the latter two, but the mouse came from Doug Englebart while at SRI. The writer could argue that "introduced" is different from "invented," but by that argument Apple/Xerox are both correct answers.
take the digital IQ test (requires flash)
(via mhuang)

Decoratin'

I've got way too much time on my hands so I went an did some brush sketches for some of my more recent entries. I had first done this with the Animal Farm entry, add I'll have to see how much time in the future I had to keep it up. I did a bunch of gollums in preparation for RoTK, but I feel like posting them now, so check out the extended extry if you want to see them.

Continue reading "Decoratin'" »

MS Barney Hack

meta is reading Where the Action Is, so I ended up stumbling upon the author's page on Hacking Barney. If I'd known that people at PARC had done this I would've asked them more about it. The CHI reviews are amusing.
- Hacking Barney

Style Invitational 530

I pretty much only liked the top two entries from The Style Invitational Week 530, in which the contestants had to take a word, and then add/alter/delete a letter to come up with three variations on the word and an appropriate definition.

Continue reading "Style Invitational 530" »

what is this?

This page contains all entries posted to kwc blog in November 2003.

October 2003 is the previous archive.

December 2003 is the next archive.

Current entries can be found on the main page.

listing.