log (2004/12/31 to 2005/01/06)

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Today's mantra:
Wednesday, January 5, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

A reader writes, "Good bye Will Eisner". Very sad. We've also lost Kelly Freas. The Spirit and Alfred E. Newman. And all those other comics, and all those covers of SF magazines and pulp paperbacks. Sigh.

Giles links to two interesting sites that use the Web in clever ways to make the UK government more transparent. Has anyone done this for the U.S.? Thomas is nice, but not as usable as your typical weblog...

I installed the Google Desktop Search thing (finally). I love the function (it'd be even nicer if it could see into Lotus Notes databases, but that'd be pretty hard). The implementation details make me nervous: it runs an HTTP server on the machine on some high-numbered port, and that's always scary (who knows how well fenced off that server is from the outside); and when I double-click on the little Tray Icon it brings up IE (and I only being up IE when absolutely necessary). This latter can be avoided, since it works fine within Opera if I use it via the usual Google site rather than via the tray icon. The local HTTP server thing, though, is I suspect pretty intrinsic to the design.

And speaking of security, from SANS NewsBites comes the interesting "Honeypot Project Finds Unpatched Linux PCs Stay Secure Online For Months":

The average unpatched Linux system survives for months on the Internet before being hacked, a report recently issued by the Honeypot Project claims.

The life expectancy of Linux has lengthened dramatically since 2001 and 2002, the project said, from a mere 72 hours two and three years ago to an average of three months today.

They speculate that this may be because the default Linux installs are more secure these days, and that attackers are more interested in non-client machines. Heh.

- 3 for "funlove"
- 3 for "mia"
- 3 for "terrorist s hosting"
- 2 for "naked helen pictures"
- 1 for "ebcam"
- 1 for "helen naked pictures"
- 1 for "koan"
- 1 for "leia"
- 1 for "naked pictures of helen"
- 1 for "see webcams without permission"

I thought it was supposed to be "helen naked pitures".

Also from Giles, to here, and then to here ("Wikipedia Criticised by Its Co-founder"), and then to the very interesting WikiInfo, which is a fork of WikiPedia with somewhat different point-of-view conventions. Cool.

Shepherds, why this Jubilee?
Why these words of happy cheer?
What glad tidings did you see?
What great vision did you hear?

Roy M. Silvernail points out that Netherlands Guilder notes have bar codes. (Or at least these pictures of them do.)

Apple-Holding Zen

At a retreat in a mountain monastery run on the principles of shikantaza, one student was particularly sharp in his questioning of the roshi.

"You talk so much about sitting," the student said, "and how we just sit, and just sitting is all that matters, and is the expression of perfection and enlightenment and all. But why sitting? What is so special about sitting? Why do we just sit, instead of, I don't know, just holding an apple or something?"

The roshi took an apple from the bowl at his side and threw it at the questioner. Instinctively, the student put out his hand and caught it. At the slap of the apple against his palm, the student was enlightened. Or at least he shut up for awhile.

From the Shifted Librarian, an interesting piece of future media history (Flash and stuff).

From somewhere or other, various sites about people who like jump out of windows and bounce off walls and climb parking garages and things. As a sport.

It's all just memes...

Monday, January 3, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

So the other day M ordered some guitar or bass strings or rosin or something from some place or other for the little boy, and when they came there was also in that same package shepherds a little complementary packet of "coffee", which is to say the roasted and ground beans of genus Coffea (wikipedia entry).

I've always heard that it's possible to prepare a stimulating beverage (also called "coffee") from these ground beans, and in fact my father when he visited us some time back left behind a small set of the dishes and devices used in this preparation. So, feeling adventurous, I decided to do it myself. I wasn't positive that the "coffee" in the packet was exactly the same stuff that the dishes and devices were designed for, but heck it was free so there was no big risk.

It turned out to be surprisingly simple. The main device is a smallish glass (or perhaps pyrex) carafe with a plastic adapter on the top. There are two plastic devices that fit into the adapter: one is a simple lid, and the other is a down-pointing cone with a small hole at the tip. Dad also (fortunately) left us a box of "coffee filters", which both contained the conical white paper filters that are vital to the process and also had instructions on the side about how to prepare the "coffee".

It turns out you just boil some water, put the conical top on the carafe, open up one of the filters and put it in in the obvious way, pour in some of the ground "coffee" (two tablespoons per cup, the box said, although a "cup" as marked on the side of the carafe seems to be about four or six ounces, which was less than a cup when I was a lad), and slowly pour the hot water through the ground beans and the filter. What comes out of the hole in the tip of the cone and gathers in the carafe is a brown aromatic (in the popular, not the technical, sense) liquid with a very warm and slightly bitter taste.

I was very proud of myself for correctly (as far as I can tell) preparing this popular native beverage. I may try it again sometime.

I've also finished and written some notes on a few more books; responses welcome as always.

Away back when, our readers suggested that it was time for:


a new Administration. Or we are all screwed.

Despite and/or because of idebate, we are indeed all screwed. But we always have been, and we must continue to work for unscrewing (in the relevant sense).

It's time for:


drinking malted milk; tryin' to drive my blues a-vay . . .


the ritual of sacrifice

Tea is similar to coffee, in a way, but the traditional devices for preparing them are different. (Although in fact up on the same shelf as the box of "coffee filters" we have another box that contains a number of "coffee bags", which allow the enthusiast to prepare coffee drinks in the same way that modern tea drinks are usually prepared.) Neither they, nor malted milk (nor malt Ovaltine) require ritual sacrifices as far as I know.

It's time for:

pointing your browser to: http://www.irischacon.com for wild and crazy Iris Chacon pictures!

tiny tots toon time!

your medicine!


t8er tots

I agree with your reader: Anna Paquin is more enticing in french.

tanya harding

The alert reader will notice that I have not made the URL above into a link in the obvious way. This is because the page that sits at that URL at the moment contains scurrilous pictures that I do not believe involve Ms. Chacon in any way.

My medicine at the moment consists of ineffectual nasal sprays; I still have no particular sense of smell (my olfactory impressions of, say, coffee or fresh bread are, I think, composed almost entirely from heat, humidity, and memory).

On tiny tots, strauss, t8er tots, and Anna Paquin in French, I cannot comment.

It's time for:

bed. Definitely bed.

go to bed!

A fine suggestion.

(A reader writes more recently: "Is Friday's log meant to be horizontally centred?". No, it wasn't, and now it isn't. It wasn't when viewed in Opera in the first place, but it probably was in other browsers, for the usual reason.)

Saturday, January 1, 2005  permanent URL for this entry

So this year we made 160 dumplings (counting the two at the very end with no meat in them), and the dough and the meat ran out at almost exactly the same time (see "two" above), which is a good omen.

And I'm so sleepy and replete that I don't have much to say, or my brain isn't turning over rapidly enough to come up with anything. See last year's ruminations and take the "what is life but a series of comfortable points" question as included herein by reference. And for last year's dumpling-count.

So Hofuku answered, "Our discussion is over. Let's have a cup of tea!"

That is a very good answer, isn't it? It is the same for my talk -- when my talk is over, your listening is over. There is no need to remember what I say; there is no need to understand what I say. You understand; you have full understanding within yourself. There is no problem.

-- Shunryu Suzuki

Friday, December 31, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

So are people still doing this "weblogging" thing?

(Someone ought to put together the definitive list of clever things that webloggers say to make light of the fact that they haven't been posting.)

Help out, of course, if you haven't already. The "tsunami victim" scams are blooming rapidly; ignore emails and go somewhere you trust. The Red Cross, or the AFSC, or whoever. We've given some money; seems all too easy, but also seems likely to be the most effective way we can contribute, given our location and skill set.

What do people write in weblogs, anyway? Seems so unlikely.

Here's some spam I've gotten lately:

Subject: Norton Antivirus for half a from price in your soft magazine !

I didn't look inside that one, but I saved the subject line.

Another one, with this subject line:

Subject: Hi..

contained this text:

jaunt and jump in your domain, unaccompanied marital wives, look for your prison term.

and maybe a link or something that I didn't follow.

Look for your prison term!

Another contained this text:

Oh! said Rob. With these gifts, and the ones you acquired a week ago, you are now equipped to astound the world and awaken mankind to a realization of the wonders that may be accomplished by natural forces See that you employ these powers wisely, in the interests of science, and do not forget your promise to exhibit your electrical marvels only to those who are most capable of comprehending them

which turns out to be from a non-Oz L. Frank Baum book called The Master Key, and divertingly subtitled "An Electrical Fairy Tale Founded Upon The Mysteries Of Electricity And The Optimism Of Its Devotees. It Was Written For Boys, But Others May Read It".

Simpler times. Or was he self-consciously going for that Old Fashioned effect, even then?

Running through my head is the mantra from the Heart Sutra,

Bodhi svaha

which translates as something like "Gone; gone; gone beyond; gone far beyond: that's a spicy meat-a-ball!".

Or, given the Buddhist context, perhaps "that's a spicy soy-a-ball!". But it doesn't have quite the same idiomatic impact.

Speaking of context, here's a copy of our content with a different presentation. And another one. Funny to see ourselves in different dress.

Sort of like one of those mirrors that when you look into it you see yourself, but wearing a bunny suit, or an evening gown, or a suit of armor, or the way you would look if you were half ocelot.

One of those mirrors.

Just about an hour to go! See you next year...


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