log (2005/08/12 to 2005/08/18)

Dear me, Thursday already! Where does the time go? What have I been doing?

We had the little daughter's birthday (I'm not going to tell you which one, both because I seem to have family privacy set on High today, and because the number scares me), and I took the day off. And I've been doing work and stuff. Oh, and I finished some books and watched some movies and things: Two movies, both utterly implausible, one mostly light SF novel, and (finally!) Steele's "The Content of Our Character".

Since Steele was my at-work book for taking with me to the Little Programmer's Room (a family habit acquired in my youth), I need a new one. At the moment it looks like it's going to be Barthes' "Mythologies"; it probably won't be any less comprehensible read in small snippets while excreting than it would be after a decade of devoted study. *8)


I took a look at your site a couple of hours ago...
and I want to tell you that I'd really love to trade links with you. I think your site has some really good stuff related to my site's topic of music downloads and would be a great resource for my visitors as it deals with some great aspects of music downloads that I'd like to give my visitors more information about.

Sorry, Bub, this site's all about Iris Chacon! And viewing Yahoo webcams without permission. And Brazil Triplets Nude. But not music downloads (that was right out, I deny it completely).

What's playing?

Sin City
Olga Kern
In Peoria.

Now playing: Sin City, with Olga Kern (in Peoria)!


Whoa, I haven't thought about that in a Dog's Age. It still works! And it's still awfully bad! Thanks for remembering.

Here's a better idea: If IE (or any other browser) wants to do something stupid, don't care

It's an ideal to strive for, I agree. But not caring can be tough...

playing is a form of entertainment, and whether it be playing with a ball, playing an instrument, or playing with oneself, it is usually quite an enjoybale activity.

Indeed! And don't forget playing with The Sims 2! *8)

In some Google search I ran across a particular Sims 2 user community that seems to have considerable clue (in sharp contrast to the EA Sims 2 forums, which I'm rapidly growing very tired of). One designer d00d in particular has not only done some remarkable things with the building engine, he's also written lotsa funny stories with pictures about his Sims. So that's fun.

In my own Sims neighborhood, Kaylynn and Benjamin's twins are now toddlers; Zachary:

Zachary becomes a toddler

(slightly overexposed due to the sun pouring in the window; Kaylynn likes windows), and Olivia:

Olivia becomes a toddler

(She looks a little maniacal in that picture, but so far she's an ordinary cute little toddler, with no signs of mania.) For some reason both of them called for Benjamin when it was time to grow up; but Kaylynn didn't seem to mind.

The main floor of the house got awfully crowded with the twins' beds and toys and potties and things, so I moved them all upstairs to the big elegant salon where Kaylynn and Ben did the Saved from Death thing and got married and all. Lots of room up there, although what with all the kids and junk and potties in need of emptying it's not nearly as elegant and serene as it was. We'll probably build out the back of the main floor a bit to make them a room or two once they grow into children, and return the salon to its former glory.

Over at the Danvers', Jane and Georgia adopted a cute little toddler named Justin:

Jane and Georgia and Justin

(I think it's a wonderful coincidence that his name starts with a "J", just like John and Jean and Jane and Joan and almost Georgia; when you adopt anything but a baby you don't get to choose the name yourself, so it was just dumb luck. And yeah, Georgia and Jane are in their undies; Sims in general, or at least those who don't go to work every day, seem to spend most of the time in their undies or PJs.)

Here's Joan, amusing her new little nephew:

Joan amusing Justin

(Not the greatest picture in the world, I admit; Joan in particular seems to have some sort of cylindrical prothesis under the skin of her left wrist, and you can't see her face. But she hasn't gotten much airtime here so far, and I thought it was a cute picture at least in spirit.)

And speaking of prostheses, here's Jean (Justin's gramma, and soon to be an elder unless I change my mind) in her Mad Scientist lab, working on the shiny new machine that she brought home from work:

Jean in the lab

(Once Justin's all settled, Jane's going to ask Jean about the possibility of combining Jane's and Georgia's genes using her super-scientific skills, to make a baby that's genetically theirs. Although if they do that the house will have seven playable Sims in it, and I may go mad myself!)

The semesters proceed apace at Sim State University. Gina is pretty much a straight-A student, although as a Romance girl she's generally so busy falling in love and stuff that it's a wonder she gets all those assignments done:

Gina and Rebecca in love

Gina's now had her first woohooal experience; fittingly enough, it was in a changing room in a downtown boutique, with a female professor:

Gina and Prof. Jenna postwoohoo

(Note the cute "public woohoo memory" dingus rotating over the somewhat dazed-looking Professor (and note how good Gina looks in that dress; but she's too poor to buy such stuff; she was just trying it on as a pretext).)

Now one might think that Gina is cynically using her amorous skills to boost her grades, but as it turns out this Professor isn't even in the Philosophy department, so the assignation didn't get her a single quantum of academic benefit. She does it all from the overflowing generosity of her heart.

One of Gina's wants just after she got to college was to have various of her friends (Randy and Sophie in particular) come and join her. So I had Randy London (who you may recall from the little misunderstanding last week) enroll and move into a dorm down the block, and he's now an Economics major (he has the Fortune aspiration, and will probably end up in the Business track).

Here he is practicing his own romantic skills in the bathroom mirror:

Randy practicing

He and Gina have this cute relationship where each of them spins up a want to call the other and chat at least once a day. So they're very good friends, but since they've barely met in person since leaving the 'hood they haven't had any romantic interactions (Randy's wanted to flirt with Gina a couple of times, but he's been too busy studying and stuff to have time).

We may see more of Randy later on.

Since I took these pictures, Gina finished her Sophomore year with flying colors, and used her saved-up stipend money to move into a little house just off campus of which she's very fond. (For one thing there wasn't really space in her dorm room for a double bed; hence the whole "public changing booth" thing.) Living on her own is more work (no free in-dorm food anymore, for instance), but she seems to be enjoying it all told. I'm sure there'll be some pictures from the house in the not too distant future...

I'd like to thank whatever generous member of the Link Sys Community Network provides open wifi access to patrons of JV Hot Bagels in Jefferson Valley, NY. Much better than having to give my credit card number to Starbucks or whatever.

Interesting legal issues around a website about making furniture out of FedEx boxes.

From flutterby, an enormous collection of amazing inventions!

Design #30296160
It's a sofa! It traps mice in a humane fashion!

Design #3845611043
It's like a normal false moustache, but it keeps drinks cold.

Also from flutterby, the very memorable Things in Rubbers.

Experimenting with flickr "Interestingness", along the lines I wondered about the other day: this fetching image is currently tagged with: "kitten, puppy, macro, flower, pizza, BMW, Iceland, david byrne, cute, cats, and dogs". Only about one of which actually fits very well. *8)

The mysterious HTML o' the Day that still shows up reliably in my mailbox captioned this little movie "Awesome and godlike powers"; quite accurate.

Also Siberia is melting:

What was until recently a featureless expanse of frozen peat is turning into a watery landscape of lakes, some more than a kilometre across. Kirpotin suspects that some unknown critical threshold has been crossed, triggering the melting.

And yet also, a Washington Post piece about soldiers' weblogs, including for instance Life in this Girl's Army. Yet more slices of the world.

No Sims pictures today, I'm afraid. Gina's well into her Sophomore year, and doing fine. Did I mention she's majoring in Philosophy? Just like me! Her Lifetime Ambition is to be a Celebrity Chef (like Kaylynn), and the major most recommended for the Culinary career path is Philosophy. I think this is a subtle Maxis reference to Philosophy majors flipping burgers at Circus Burger, but I'm playing it straight.

Sims in college only take one course per semester, and they all have hysterical names. Here's the Philosophy syllabus:

What is the Meaning of This?!
The Refrigerator Light: Proof vs. Faith
Old Dead Guys who Thought Stuff
Optimists and Other Idiots
Philosophy's Place in the Neighborhood: Anywhere?
Existentialism: Depressing Yourself on Purpose
Who Controls the Pie Menu and Why?
Senior Project: Preparing For The Food Industry

Today it's much cooler (ahhhh!), but still humid (wucch).

The Structure of the World.

If you look on flickr for pictures tagged with "Vermont", it turns out that there are (as of when I looked), five kinds of Vermont:

Which is to say, people think about Vermont in terms of the lakes and the sky, the snow and the trees, the fall and the leaves, the bridges and the rivers, or the Phish concert.

Which just goes to show.


The International Association of Nanotechnology (IANT), is a non-profit organization with the goals to foster scientific research and business development in the areas of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology for the benefits of society.

The annual meeting of the International Congress of Nanotechnology (ICNT) 2005 will be held on October 31- November 4, 2005 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Hotel.

Just so as not to lose track.

5iantlavalamp.com! (And yes, that's a "5", not a "G".) Very puzzling story behind this domain. It's registered to Microsoft (at register dot com, unlike microsoft.com itself, which is registered to Microsoft at Tucows). And apparently (if you google the web and usenet for it) it turns up in various documents created by like Word or Outlook or something, when you save in HTML (I found it in some spam I was analyzing, that had I suspect been generated through Outlook). It looks like it's being used as a magic cookie of some kind, or an opaque URI or whatever. Odd choice of token, though! Someone somewhere has a sense of humor.

(Giantlavalamp.com, on the other hand, is registered to some guy in Soap Lake, Washington, for the obvious reason. If anyone knows of some secret in-joke connection between Microsoft's HTML documents and that giant lava lamp, I'm keen to hear about it...)

Morris Stokes, Paranormal Grocer:

Ah yes... I can see it now. The veils are parting. It's a "C" - for cabbage. You've had one before haven't you?

In real-life news, where things move slowly, we had a nice idyllic weekend. Friends were up from some other state, and all the various families got together and did things. Had five adults and eight kids in the house the other night (did I already mention this?), which was more social than we've been in quite awhile. Reminded me of the Old Days, when the Play Group was eleven kids in five familes, and we were in and out of each others' pockets all the time.

Then yesterday we had a big Potluck down by the lake. M made cold sesame noodles and I made fudge and other people made other stuff, and we ate things and we (where "we" means mostly the eight or so kids and me) spent hours in the water floating around and jumping off of things and generally staying cool (I don't know how the other grownups stood it not in the water, the day was hot and sopping humid; I think they drank lots of cold beer).

The kids were floating around and laughing and giggling and flirting (the older ones) in a big mass, and I was swimming around and lolling on my float and staring up at the sky and stuff like that off to one side. I know I can't be fourteen anymore, but it's great to be around people who can now and then. *8)

It was wunnerful in general. The lake water was mostly warm, even hot, near the surface; but diving down into the dark green it was lovely and cool.

In Sims news, where things move much, much faster, Kaylynn and Benjamin got married in a nice little private ceremony, as mentioned the other day:

Kaylynn and Benjamin

Jane and Georgia also got hitched ("joined", in the I presume carefully politics-safe language of the game), in a similar ceremony (I like how Sims weddings don't involve any third-party God-specialists):

Jane and Georgia

(A full who's-who of the audience can be found on flickr, as can the funny picture of the assembled crowd toasting Georgia in her undies.)

We bought and installed the first Expansion Pack, "Sims 2 University". One effect of this is that all the existing characters now have Lifelong Wants. It turns out that Kaylynn's is to send three kids to college; she got a quick start on that project by having twins!

Kaylynn and Benjamin and Zachary and Olivia

Doesn't she look all bright-eyed and adoring? I asked M for names for them: they're Zachary and Olivia. (Benjamin's Lifetime Want is to be a Mad Scientist; apparently after his Being Saved from Death experience mere human politics seems petty; so he's quit the campaign trail, and is now working his way up the Science track.)

Elsewhere, Ransom Zoom (my very first Sims 2 Sim) and Marisa Zoom (née Bendett) have aged into very charming elders. Here they are embracing just after Marisa's birthday (they didn't have a party, but Kaylynn happened to be over):

Ransom and Marisa as affectionate elders

And since it's called Sims 2 University it seemed that someone should really go to University. Gina Raptor eagerly volunteered; here're the other inhabitants of the Love Nest seeing her off in a taxi:

Gina off to college

And here she is (now a Young Adult rather than a mere Teenager), striding into the dorm on her first day:

Gina at college

And finally here she is getting right down to brass tacks, working on improving her grades by seducing professors:

Gina working on her grades

(I'm not sure what it means that this is one of the more effective ways to do well in the Sims 2 Universities. Did someone at Maxis have an unusual college career, or are they just being silly? Or did I overlook a whole aspect of college life in my youth?)

Ooh, and now yet another thunderstorm is passing overhead (here in real life that is; still no weather in the Sims, although rumor has it that there's weather code in there, it's just not ordinarily activated). So maybe I'll post this now just in case we decide to unplug everything; good night!