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Thursday, January 29, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Remember back in the day, when I'd apologize when a day went by without a log entry? Where did I get all that time, back then? Or, where does it all go, now?

Daze Reader points us to a good first-person piece about working in a brothel: The Answers to All Your Brothel Questions - Now, Piss Off (which has a more recent followup to which I've posted a couple of my usual pedantic comments).

And to the very photographic the American skin dot com, which at a brief look (remember that about time?) seems to contain (after navigating through a confusing popup or three) some noteworthy images of various parts of life that I (at least) don't regularly see. (I suppose I should say "Not Safe For Work", but then that depends where you work.)

Widely blogged, but noteworthy: The MATRIX is real. (Exactly what form of cluelessness would lead someone to give this kind of organization this name? Or maybe they're just being painfully honest.)

Ciaalris (Sunper Vioaegra) takes affuect rigght away and laosts for davys!
Gehnemric Vidagcra coests 60% lesws, saove lots of cacsh!
Both prodzucts shilpped discrfetely to your doror

"We must offer every child in America three nukyular missles."

Have you bought any books for Farm and Wilderness yet?

I remembered one reason I had a negative impression of Kerry; last year we noticed him saying: "Marriage is an institution between men and women for the purpose of having children and procreating", which is clearly stupid in context. On the other hand he's said not to be too bad about gay rights in general:

Additionally, Kerry was one of 14 senators -- and the only one up for reelection in 1996 -- to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of gay marriages, according to his campaign's Web site.

So who knows. I dunno. I do know, though, that I'm seriously thinking of voting Democratic for president, whichever of the current crop of candidates gets nominated. For a change, I think the expected benefit of whatever tiny contribution that vote might have toward ousting ("ousting") Bush might well outweigh the expected benefit of giving the Third Party of My Choice a slightly higher vote-count and thereby making both major parties fractionally more nervous.

Next Synthetic Zero Loft Event: Wednesday, February 4, and Saturday, February 7, 2004.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

I had suspected this for a very long time, but I only became fully aware of it during this past year. I suddenly felt that it really made no difference to me whether or not the world existed. I began to feel with my whole being that nothing had happened while I'd been alive. At first I felt that, to make up for it, many things had happened before. Later, however, I realized that this was an illusion -- nothing had happened before either.

That's Dosto(y)evsky, natch, from "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man". Odd feller, Dosty.

Taunt CBS about their ad-running decisions!

Not Making This Up Dept: Microsoft creator to be knighted:

The king of computer software Bill Gates is to receive an honorary knighthood from the Queen for his contribution to enterprise in the UK.

(This is the man who said confidently:

"Two years from now, spam will be solved," Gates told delegates to a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland last weekend, AP reports.

On a roll, our Billy is.)

Prison time for unlucky phisher.

Subject: parsons detest caliphate fling prostheses

Those parsons; so set in their ways!

Have I sent you to Illegal Art lately? Note the yummy popup license agreement.

Sunday, January 25, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

So "Finely tuned" doesn't seem to have been very inspiring; although the sole relevant entry, "shoe", has a certain ring to it. "Finely tuned shoe."

Readers are (reader is?) more impressed with the new full-entry RSS feed:

Thank you for the full-text RSS!

Can we have a full-text RSS feed for Plurp next?

Talk to Steve about Plurp. I made the Plurp RSS hack for myself, mostly, and just announced it to the world because I'm kind. I have no interest in a full-text RSS feed for Plurp for myself (that's not how I use RSS feeds), but if someone persuaded Steve that he wanted one... *8)

Subject: cottonwood phony attorney craze
Subject: football cannibal freehold dentistry sigh

Unfortunately, "Watergate II" is already taken:

A technician hired by the new judiciary chairman, Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, apparently made a mistake that allowed anyone to access newly created accounts on a Judiciary Committee server shared by both parties -- even though the accounts were supposed to restrict access only to those with the right password.

A reader writes:

On the St. Petersburg Paradox, and related topics, I would submit to you that even an infinite amount of money has a finite utility.

That's another one of the ways out mentioned on the page I cited the other week. It's plausible, although I'm not entirely convinced that it's true, or that it's true enough to explain the very small amount we're actually willing to pay to play the game. Not that it's a bad method; I just like the "you know whoever's offering the game doesn't actually have more than a billion dollars" one better.

And that's really all I have lying around in my to-log file or my (ha!) brain. I spent most of today playing yet another game of Alpha Centauri (at the easiest level, as Santiago, carrying humanity to the usual next level of evolution after a drawn-out but quite satisfactory virtual war with Miram and the Believers, who had become very powerful due to their good luck in initial landing site). The kids spent most of today playing Kingdom Hearts, a very strange PlayStation 2 game that mixes animé and Disney cartoon characters in what could have been an interesting way, but which in fact seems to be almost entirely mindless battle sequences.

So we've been very virtual around here this weekend. Hibernating, pretty much. It was cold outside. The moon was pretty.

Friday, January 23, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Back when I used to play Agora Nomic, I liked the gender neutral pronoun system they used there, with "e" and "eir" and "emself" and all. Turns out this is Spivak; I'm not sure if I knew that.

Going down the stairs to lunch the other day, I for some reason thought of and mentioned the Poul Anderson story ("story") that showed what English (and science writing in particular) might sound like if we used no Latinate words. (Oh, I remember! We were thinking of silly ways to get papers to fit inside the page limit, like using nothing but short words (which would of course be likely to have just the opposite effect).) The only phrase I remembered for sure was "the roundaround board of the" something. That was enough for Google, though, and now I've found lots of references to it (turns out "uncleftish" is an even better search term), including what looks like an entire copy in the Google cache.

(And relatedly, here's a pleasing meditation on what English would be like without French.)

From Brian Bechtel, Remarks by the President to the Press Pool; Nothin' Fancy Cafe; Roswell, New Mexico. Ribs.

Martha Stewart is on trial for covering up evidence of a crime that she has not been charged with. For some reason, this has confused the jurors. Silly jurors.

I want Dean to do well, because he's from Vermont and mostly because I want Medley and Geegaw to be happy. But I also seem to agree with his views more than those of the other Dems:

1. Your ideal theoretical candidate. (100%)
2. Libertarian Candidate (75%)
3. Dean, Gov. Howard, VT - Democrat (58%)
4. Sharpton, Reverend Al - Democrat (53%)
5. Socialist Candidate (53%)
6. Clark, Retired General Wesley K., AR - Democrat (50%)
7. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis, OH - Democrat (43%)
8. Gephardt, Rep. Dick, MO - Democrat (41%)
9. Phillips, Howard - Constitution (38%)
10. Edwards, Senator John, NC - Democrat (36%)
11. LaRouche, Lyndon H. Jr. - Democrat (33%)
12. Kerry, Senator John, MA - Democrat (30%)
13. Bush, President George W. - Republican (25%)
14. Lieberman, Senator Joe, CT - Democrat (22%)

The top slots show how confused nonconformist my politics are; on the other hand it's good to see the Republicans (Bush and Lieberman) down at the bottom. I'm a little surprised Kerry is so low, as I've been getting good impressions about him lately; but it's probably just the Media Narrative sneaking into my brain like a slimy worm.

Another thing from the reflog: two entries with a very appealing graphical design, and essentially incomprehensible content (that's a compliment). What more could one want?

So I was finally gonna post some more of the reader input that I've been selfishly hogging, but I hafta get up early tomorrow, and that takes effort. So instead I'll reprint my answer to a reader who asked why I was still doing the log with a flat text editor, instead of a nice CMS like Movable Type. I spent a little time fiddling with mt, and answered thus:

> I really can't imagine there's anything you do that
> movabletype can't do...

Welllll... That depends on whether you include things that require some little changes to the mt code. *8)

Seriously, though, I've looked at mt a bit at your urging, and it seems quite nice. I like the style; in fact it looks like the two-or-three-years-from-now version of the tiny CMS that I wrote to do my Book Notes the other week, if I were to get all ambitious about it. Right down to the idea of arbitrary numbers of templates with little pseudo-XML tags in them for containership and variable substitution.

I see various small things that I do that I don't think unmodified mt would do, unless I've just overlooked it in the docs:

  • Main page with all and only those entries posted last Friday or after (unless there aren't any, in which case all and only those entries posted the Friday before that or after).
  • Archive pages weekly, where a week starts on Friday.
  • Some markup elements that come between every pair of entries, but neither before the first one nor after the last one ("commas").
  • Archive page containing a list of all weekly archives, but grouped (set off my a blank line, or whatever else I feel like) into groups by year.
  • Each weekly archive page different in subtle ways not related to the date; in particular, the prompt above the one-line input box is different every week.
  • Most entries with dates like "Thursday, January 22, 2004", but a few with, say, "Thursday, January 3, Discover Card".

The last couple of these features are symptoms of a sort of philosophical difference between (how I think of) my log and how mt works. mt thinks of the Real Weblog as being the stuff in its database, the history of dated and titled entries and the current templates. To produce the Outward and Visible Weblog, the current templates are run against the entries. On the other hand I think of the Real Weblog as being these static pages, and I don't ever want any process to go back and apply today's page design to the pages from 1999. mt seems to be designed to do exactly this, unless I've missed a way to associate different archive and index templates with different date-ranges of entries.

Of course one could argue that I *shouldn't* think of my weblog this way, but I'm not very receptive to such arguments. *8) It comes back to what I said earlier: using mt (and especially using any other less friendly and flexible CMS) would mean having to change at least some small details of how I work, for the sake of lots of features I don't want (comments, "blo.gs" pinging, trackbacks, etc, etc, etc), and maybe a few features that I do want (being able to put in new entries over the Web from random machines is attractive; on the other hand I'm not sure that in order to get it I'm willing to have the master copy of my weblog hidden inside a database somewhere in England rather than in nice flat files that I understand in a machine on my lap, etc, etc).

So at least for the moment I remain a proud user of a flat text editor and raw cut-and-paste. If I'd started out with mt I'm sure I'd love it. But we are where we are, and I tend to get attached to things...

Tx for prodding me into investigating and thinking, though!


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