log (2006/06/09 to 2006/06/15)

So I thought to myself, "I should get out Slige again and shoot some monsters in automatically-generated environments", and remembering (or thinking I remembered) that the only compiled version that I had was for DOS rather than modern Windows I went to find a modern free Windows C compiler, and for whatever reason I picked Microsoft's own Visual C++ Express or something, and I downloaded that and then it insisted on a "Passport" id to register it, and I managed to find my "Passport" username and password from back in September 2003 when I last used it, and registered, and then discovered that the problem wasn't an old Slige, but rather an old Doom.


So I went and downloaded "prboom" from the web somewhere, which I remembered vaguely as a very compatible Win32 port of Doom, and I installed it and ran it, and it crashed the video driver on the computer here leaving me in a very bizarre like 320 by 200 16-color mode with no way to get back to reality except to close everything and reboot.

So no monsters for me yet. Probably just as well. Maybe I'll work on music composition or something instead.

(How do people (how does that little boy over there) play the bass (the 'string bass', that is, not the 'bass guitar'), given that it, like, doesn't have any frets? I played the trombone in little school, and I was awful, and it was because (I never practiced, and) there was no way to tell if you had the slide in the right place. I was pretty bad at French, too, for pretty much the same reason. In some sense.)

But that's neither here nor there. (Isn't that a great phrase?) They're trying to mess up the Constitution again; go tell them to stop. (Don't they have anything better to do? Idiots.)

I like (well, sort of) this piece of spam from some "online university" about how I should get a degree there, and inside the spam there's this picture of a smiling woman with big overlaid text saying "talk to an alumni". I guess the smiling woman is an alumni. Must be a really high-class universities (narf narf).

A reader writes:

lookit lookit http://www.flickr.com/photos/george/167240147/

Irish Bacon Nude!

Subject: Trials covers bath raids

And, under separate cover:

From: "Turf T. Guppies"

Good old Turf T.

I finished another book (and then put it into the Book Exchange rack at work). Turns out that the "slipstream" quasi-genre that's supposedly the book's theme has a history in relatively respectable critical circles. I'm not at all convinced, though, either by the idea of the quasi-genre (the notion that mainstream literature is so seldom odd that the odd parts of it need their own name strikes me as born of not having read enough mainstream literature), or by the book (although I wish its next reader pleasure).

Speaking of "quasi-genre", I wittily noted to someone the other day that "faux genre" has a certain ring to it. So here's a challenge: make a long string of words that make at least a modicum of sense, all of which are non-English ("foreign") words that are commonly used in English (at least commonly enough that they might be listed in an English dictionary). I'm too lazy to think of anything beyond "faux genre", so I pass the baton to y'all readers.

Awhile back, in a context that I've forgotten for the moment, a reader wrote:

A somewhat related short story online in toto [link]

I read that page and it was a very nice little short story. Then I noticed that it's actually the last page of a rather longer story. Which just goes to show.

And finally from HTML o' the Day, Our Cat Enters Heaven, by Margaret Atwood. (She's famous and all.)

A reader writes:

I'll tell you what's not rare around here. Eagles. I see 'em circling.

Hey, we had two entire entries last week! That's about par these days. For whatever reason.

Considerable commentary on the issue of richness and orders of magnitude and how to casually spend $3,750.

Not diamonds. But your analogy holds, because the used market on diamonds sucks. However, if you want to know how you can spend nearly $4k on consumables, check out wine, or take a look at $500 shirts in Wilkes-Bashford that you can pick up (minus the smarmy service) for $40 at Macy's.

The used market on diamonds sucks? That's really odd! I'd think if there's anything that's exactly the same used as it is new, it'd be a diamond. But yeah, a few $1,000 bottles of good wine would probably have been the most straightforward analogy to my $1.00 bottles of water. (Are there places that have $1,000 bottles of wine in vending machines? Although I suppose the vending machine should get mapped up an order of magnitude as well, and you have $1,000 bottles of wine personally delivered by a team of skilled and attractive wine-deliverers; yep.)

Ah, but I think when you have that kind of money there are still consumables, it's just that your definition of consumable changes. That's why rich people tend to have a lot of cars, houses, boats; things that most people would pause to think about before purchasing become as irrelevant as a bottle of water or a tank of gas, so they are purchased without thought. Even if they're not really necessary.

Another good point. If the kids are a little bored, stop at the next port and buy them a couple of jet-skis to use for the day. When the yacht moves on, I'm not sure if you just leave them lying on the beach, or if your clean-up team comes by and gathers them up and sells them on eBay or something. Varies with rich person, I suppose.

And now I am called to order:

"The rich really are different," said the Princeton graduate. "Primarily, as the saying goes, because they have more money. In some cases, a whole lot more money."

Although there's certainly a correlation, being a Princeton graduate doesn't not necessarily lead to being rich by any particular standard (more's the pity); and it definitely doesn't mean there's no one much much richer.

So you have half a million in assets and you're telling us that rich people are different? Spend some time in Somalia. Or Haiti. Or the Congo. Or almost anywhere in the world other than your cushy digs.

Well, I did say "very roughly"; half a million give or take an order of magnitude or so. But anyway that's sort of my point; people three orders of magnitude richer (or poorer) than me are different. Primarily because they have more (or less) money.

Or, to copy the form, if you think I (or you) have it cushy, spend some time at a Princeton reunion weekend.

Which is to say that it's all relative. But of course it isn't all relative. No one has perfect security (sigh), but there's a certain "having a good idea where your family's next meal is coming from" threshold that's more than just relative (and that I'm grateful that we're above, and would very much like everyone to be above).

A pair of noun-heavy poems from some recent spam (formatted as received):

quarter-wave soul-pained weather-going tide
star chart wet-shod probirth-control
nine-point turnip foot co-operationist
wire-woven cardinal priest uredo-fruit
transfusion cell curled-leaved sleep-stuff
turn-to resurrection man line-hunting
velt-marshal sound figures rock wren
tough pitch dead-stick float tank

re-entrancy antarctic beech home-owning
self-gratification ginger wine laparo-uterotomy
red-tape buckle maker cement-forming
psalm tune quasi wonder dowsing rod
coney parsley carbon light Pro-venetian
germanium oxide base horehound cock-tailed
comb-out true-made two-sidedness
lock-grained well-paying wreck-strewn

Is it okay to be an introvert? To be, at the advanced age of forty-something, a guy who likes to lie around dreaming, surrounded by books, writing in his weblog, having perhaps more friends in email than in person, not on any alumni committees, not organizing clubs or conferences, not on the board of any corporations or the choir leader at church or on television speaking on behalf of any organizations, or building a house on an island in Surinam? Is it okay to like just doing an honest day's work, and then relaxing with the family on the big bed watching tennis on TV?

I've always believed that this was okay, even more than okay. I still believe it, and like believing it. And I resist the nasty whisper in the back of my mind that sees people doing all these other things, and says "you're not doing that, that isn't you, you don't do anything like that".

Where does that whisper come from? What a stupid whisper.

A reader writes:

And in this corner ... SCOTUS !!! [link]

From the article:

Faced with the inability of two bickering attorneys to resolve even the most innocuous scheduling questions without his intervention, a Florida federal judge yesterday ordered the two to meet on the steps of the federal courthouse and resolve their latest quarrel by playing "one (1) game of 'rock, paper, scissors.'"

And the text of the ruling.

Pretty funny. *8)

Today's random walk: from HTML o' the Day, to here, to here to skepchick in general, and then to here.

The story at the endpoint here is somehow deeply disturbing: basically a violent video game based on the millenialist apocalyptic "Left Behind" stories, with the bizarre twist that you can either go around converting or killing non-believers, or you can play on the side of the anti-Christ, killing off the angels. It seems to be real.

I'm not sure why this bothers me any more than "Doom", say, or "Dungeon Keeper II". I think it's that I assume the authors of those games are basically secularists for whom teleportals to Hell and dungeons full of demons are just fantasy fiction. Whereas the "Left Behind" folks actually believe in it, and it's all too easy to imagine one of them deciding to get an early start on the "unbeliever killing" thing...

Everyone else logged this back in April department: How I Work, by Bill Gates.

Search term o' the Day: Mike Jittlov's "Meriday in the Morning". Bonus points to anyone who can find anything about Jittlov or Meriday besides the one memorable bit of ASCII art.

Fun and well-written tutorial about reading the Chinese on food signs and menus and stuff. Complicated language, Chinese.

From the Null Device, we have Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 59: Fuck.

- 2 for "helen naked pictures"
- 1 for "halle barry"
- 1 for "naked helen pictures"
- 1 for "naked pictures of helen"
- 1 for "zen"