log (2004/04/16 to 2004/04/22)

older log
newer log


site news
talking place

RSS (summaries)
RSS (full posts)
Atom (full posts)

I never saw a moor:
Wednesday, April 21, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

So what does it mean when someone's answers to questions usually start with "No!", even if it wasn't a yes-or-no question?

"Who's working on the frobnitz this week?"

"No! It's Fred this week."

Normally this would mean "no, you've asked the wrong question" or "no, some assumption behind that question is wrong", and that's perfectly legitimate once in awhile. But with some people I think it's just the equivalent of "um". It gets irritating eventually, because it makes the person seem so disagreeable.

Similarly, I've noticed people starting answers with "So" or "Right", followed by a significant pause. At first I thought this also meant just "Um", but now my theory is that it also suggests "I'm not actually going to answer your question, but maybe if I pause for a moment here you'll forget exactly what you asked".

(Can you tell I've been at lots of large-group meetings lately?)

There are people who really love to categorize things. They tend to mistake categorization for understanding; once the space has been divided into N pieces (for small N), and those pieces have been given labels, they figure that they're done, and they now understand the space. They will then have long and earnest discussions about whether point A in the space is in category X or category Y. And it's very important!

This tendency has led to endless and fruitless discussions about the difference between "virus" and "worm", for instance.

I don't tend to be a categorizer. I tend to be the opposite, which is something like a unifier or a generalizer, seeing all points in the space as just (well) points in a space, arrayed along a continuum. I'm sure there's a common mistake at this end of the spectrum also, where unifiers refuse to admit that there are important differences between things that have (well) important differences.

I can't think of any actual examples, though. *8)

I finished "Dracula" last night, and wrote it up.

Favorite recent spam subject lines:

Subject: warranty 4 philosophers
Subject: toothache ballerinas beyond 869

Clearly a new generation algorithm. I really like "toothache ballerinas".

Nonblack thinkpads?

The random link took us here, whence we found that klaus is still up and running. I'm a man or woman on the cropping foot-ways of the most memorable!

Monday, April 19, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Busy, busy, busy today.

Let's see. A copy of Final Fantasy X for the PS2 appeared in our house. I started playing it casually (having heard about these Final Fantasy things but never played one). At first I agreed with the little daughter that it wasn't very good at all. But I played it a little more, and got somewhat fond of it.

It's different from the games that I've liked most in the past; things like Zelda and Pokemon and Golden Sun. Those are all relatively open-ended: there are quests that you ultimately need to solve and things you'll eventually have to do, but otherwise you're in charge, and you can mess around doing other things and playing with optional side-quests (and seeing how far you can fly by jumping off the windmill while holding a chicken) for as long as you want.

Final Fantasy X is very different from that. So far (I'm a ways in, although I don't know how to measure how far) it's essentially a large number of short movies, stitched together with relatively brief and limited areas that you can walk around in and talk to people to get some back-story, but that basically you just walk from one place to another in to activate the next movie. And sometimes there are monsters to fight, but so far that's not a really important part of the game.

So it's very different from Golden Sun, say, but it's not all bad. I find that if I think of it as mostly an anime, with these mildly amusing little semi-interactive sections in the middle, I like it just fine. (I think I'll soon get to the Blitzball section, where there may be at least one side-activity to pursue.)

Visually it's not an outstanding anime. The settings are sometimes quite lovely and the CGI is decent, but the characters move very stiffly and have limited ranges of expression. There are some strange unexplained anomalies in the laws of physics, like the fact that we (and everyone else) can stay underwater indefinitely without worrying about breathing, that soccer balls can be thrown as easily underwater as in the open air, and (especially) that Lulu doesn't topple over under the weight of her enormous bosom.

But you know; we can forgive these things.

I finally wrote up "Revelation Space". But I also finished reading "Interface", so I'm still a couple of books behind.

Watch the meme! [], [], [], [], [] (and for that matter memepool, who doesn't seem to have permalinks).

Saturday, April 17, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

I went across the river today, to my childhood church, to a memorial service for an old friend of the family, the matriarch of a house I frolicked in back in my vanished youth.

Her daughter read a poem that was one of her mother's favorites. It was also one of my Mom's favorites, and I thought it would be a good log entry for a Spring saturday.

Portrait By a Neighbor
(from Edna St. Vincent Millay, A Few Figs From Thistles)

Before she has her floor swept
Or her dishes done,
Any day you'll find her
A-sunning in the sun!

It's long after midnight
Her key's in the lock,
And you never see her chimney smoke
Til past ten o'clock!

She digs in her garden
With a shovel and a spoon,
She weeds her lazy lettuce
By the light of the moon,

She walks up the walk
Like a woman in a dream,
She forgets she borrowed butter
Any pays you back in cream!

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!


earlier entries