Monday, April 30, 2001

Fleecing Las Vegas

I found this article on Gammatron. Since I didn't even gamble while I was there, I found this other way to not gamble interesting as well.

Logged here so I can find this article and read at leisure later...

Word of the Day

My word of the day was's word of the day on February 19, 2001. Lacuna is a fun word, but especially the plural, lacunae. I knew the word already, but saw it today while reading an editorial by Maureen Dowd:

[George W. Bush's] White House reminds me of the 1937 movie "Damsel in Distress," in which Fred Astaire has to frantically pirouette around Joan Fontaine to make up for the fact that she cannot dance.

Bush officials are always frantically pirouetting around W., making up for his stumbles and lacunae.

Saturday, April 28, 2001

House of Pain

For the last several days I've been coping with back pain. It's the kind that travels. I take hot baths and do stretching exercises to help the muscles loosen up, and I seem to be getting better, but then a different part of my back starts hurting. Usually this means that the spine is wacky and I need to visit the chiropractor. I'll hold off a couple more days, since I think (once again) that I'm over the worst of it.

Jean, not to be outdone, has gotten a headache. It may actually be a migraine. She's downstairs, studying and nursing her head, as I sit here typing and Kelly watches Cartoon Network. I know I watched a lot of cartoons when I was a kid, but Kelly gets 'em running hot and cold.

Tile Quest

Our quest for bathroom tiling continues. Actually, we are looking at linoleum samples. Both the hallway bathroom and the bathroom off our bedroom could use replacing, so we've been shopping around. Our contractor, Greg Larson, recommended Manninger as a quality brand, and we went to a flooring store a couple of weeks ago to check it out. But all their patterns were so boring and mainstream I just walked away.

Today, we went to a home improvement store, no dice. Then we went to another flooring store. I saw a sample for 'industrial' Congoleum which I really liked. I set it aside with our pile of samples and kept looking. Kelly was getting rambunctious, and not minding me at all, so I frogmarched her out of the store, and we waited by the car until Jean had signed out our samples.

When we got home we hauled the samples upstairs and tried them out on the bathroom floors. But the sample I had liked, a dark green marbled pattern, was nowhere to be found! It seems Jean had missed it when picking up our samples. Maybe I'm not meant to have a flooring which satisfies my esthetics.

Ebay Redux

The tripod was being auctioned by a guy in Oregon, so it got here just a couple of days after I won the bid. The other auction was actually the first I won, but the seller lives in Florida, so I have to wait a few days. Doesn't really matter, anyway, as I can't use it without the help of one of my friends. What is this mysterious item?

Wild Zero is a movie about a Japanese rockabilly band which one day finds itself forced into fighting zombies. The band is a real one, Guitar Wolf, and the plot is supposed to be corny as hell. While the DVD has subtitles in English, the disc is Region 2, meaning it won't play on my deck. Fortunately my friend Bob Cannard has a multi-region deck, so I'll be asking him to bring it to a NOVA meeting so I can show the movie there.

Ain't I screwy?

E-Bay Booty

As if buying a Playstation 2 wasn't enough loot to drop at one time, I went and bid for two items on Ebay. And won! One has already arrived and I was playing with it last night: a Slik U8000 Camera Tripod. That's what enabled me to take a self-portrait at more than arm's length to create the current 'masthead' photo (that and an hour or so noodling with Photoshop).

More later. Gotta run errands now

Thursday, April 26, 2001

Crawling With Kids

The place is crawling with kids today, as my place of employment sponsors Take Your Child To Work Day. It would be more accurate to call it Take Your 8-14 Year Old To Work Day, since that was the age range. Can't imagine why they don't want a horde of five-year olds wandering around the campus .

Master of My Domain

Just thought I'd post a short note to announce the launch of! [ECHO!! Echo! echo...] .

I picked up the domain on a whim from Pairnic, then set up web forwarding and name services with EasyDNS. So now you can type in the location window of your browser and arrive here. I don't use stealth frames, so the actual URL ends up showing, but I don't really care about that. You can also send email, should you care, to Try it, you'll like it. For instance, if you wanted to send email to my wife specifically, you'd use That's all, folks!

Postscript: Been trying for an hour or so to cross-post this info to Terebi I. The site is unreachable yet again. Guess I'm bailing at the right time.

Filtering of Reason

While the title sounds like the treatise of a philosophical tract, it is in fact the result of machine translation of D�veloppement d'applications avec Objective CAML from French to English. As you know, I've been studying OCaml, a functional language developed in France. This book is published by the French arm of O'Reilly and Associates, famed for their technical books. They placed the book online, but announced that they had no plans to translate it into English.

I however, wanted to read something other than the reference manual, and the book on CAML that I bought, The Functional Approach to Programming, covers a much earlier version of the language. So I had a brilliant idea, and decided to go to Google and find the book online. The reason is that Google is offering a beta version of their own machine translation service, similar to Babelfish, but with more output. Babelfish cuts off translation after 5Kb, while Google seems to give more than 20Kb.

So I tried it, and it works, and I'm reading the book. But there are of course majorly awkward translations of sentences, and sometimes charming ones. In many functional languages, there is support for selecting actions based on patterns of data. This facility is uniformly referred to as pattern matching. In the online book, they refer parenthetically to this term, but use their own French term (Filtrage de motif), which when translated, becomes the filtering of reason.

There is a volunteer effort underway to translate the online version of the book from French to English. Work is slow, since volunteers must be fluent in French and English and OCaml. I look forward to the final results, but I'm glad I didn't wait. If I had, I would never have encountered the filtering of reason.

Friday, April 20, 2001

Moshi Moshi

Perhaps while reading Terebi I you may recall that I was enchanted with a couple of songs which appear on an album called Moshi Moshi. I downloaded them off the net after reading a recommendation on, and listened them right into the ground.

I've been checking in Tower Record shops ever since, and when we were in Vegas, I had the opportunity to check the Virgin Megastore located in Caesar's Palace as well, where they claimed to have it in stock, but were unable to locate it for me.

I finally got tired of waiting. Jean was ordering a CD, so I piggybacked an order for Moshi Moshi, and I have had it in my hands for 24 hours. I wish I could say that I've had time to listen to all of it, but in truth I've only had the opportunity to listen to the first five tracks. But be warned that there'll be reviews forthcoming, possibly after a few weeks, but more likely in dribs and drabs as I absorb an individual song at a time. So far, about half the songs are appealing to me. I'll let you know more when I've digested .

Doggerel Through The Ages

Ages ago, I was singing Candle In The Wind whilst Jean attended to her morning toilet. Jean, not being one to let well enough alone, spoke the exact words to completely deflate the grandeur of the tune:

"That song doesn't make any sense at all. It's like MacArthur Park," which if you've never heard it, can be confusing, though I always understood the gist of it.

I immediately launched into my rendition of MacArthur Park, preferring to imitate the lesser-known but surely more annoying Anthony Newley performance to that of the more famous Richard Harris version. "Someone left a cake out in the rain / And I don't think that I can take it / 'cause it took so long to bake it / and I'll never have that recipe AGAIN!!!!"

But that was then, this is now. Just this Tuesday, I was tooling up 65th, an old farm lane, on my way to pick up Kelly from Bridgeport Elementary School (I ferry her to Kid Connection on Tuesdays, while Jean has class). I had the radio on, tuned to pop music, when on comes a two-fer of Elton John tunes, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Take Me To The Pilot.

I was in high school when these things were first out, and so they are etched into my hindbrain, beyond reproach. But still, there is that element of wild non-sequitur there. It's poetry, folks, so it doesn't have to make sense. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road actually tells a story, but still has it's gems, just follow the link. But Take Me To The Pilot, now there is one helluva fine brain sprainer:

If you feel that it's real I'm on trial

And I'm here in your prison

Like a coin in your mint

I am dented and I'm spent with high treason

Now them's good lyrics. And sure enough, as I recall from way back when, all three of these songs were written by lyricist Bernie Taupin, who I think was Elton's boyfriend at the time too. Sampling other tunes I remember with that same painfully out-of-phase word logic, such as Tiny Dancer, I find, yes, The Taupster. He's consistent in his inconsistency. So there you go, Jean, blame Bernie.

Monday, April 16, 2001

Kelly In Style

KellySmall (11k image)Well I've finally gotten the opportunity to post a more recent picture of Kelly. The image at left, and it's larger version, were taken at a 'professional studio', carefully posed and amply supplied with props and costumes. Jean paid for it out of her own pocket so she would have a nice picture of Kelly to remember from her 5-year old period.

Also, I'm told, she plans to have a nice print of one of the proofs with her and Kelly together made up for me for Father's Day. True, I don't believe in Father's Day or any of the other Hallmark-manufactured holidays, but the picture is rather nice, so I thought I'd add it to the site. After a few days, I'll move/copy it to the 'Welcome to Terebi II" header for that personal touch

Just a test

Casual readers, pay no attention. This is a test of custom template variables: Terebi I. What's the deal? It appears that when an entry appears on the main page, then 'custom' variables interpolate just fine. But when this same message appears in the archive directory, the use of custom variables, defined or otherwise, fails to expand. Here is the second defined variable, Terebi II, used in the middle of a sentence.

Just to be complete, here is a use of a custom variable which has not been defined to mean anything in the templates,

Essays and Reviews

. I don't know what it's supposed to look like on the front page or otherwise.

Kelly Mots

Two cute Kelly quotes from the weekend:

Waiting in line for the Easter Bunny March, Kelly spotted a kid from Kid Connection, and his dad, whom we'd also seen the previous weekend at Spy Kids. Her greeting: "So, we meet again."

Last night Jean pointed out to Kelly that she still had one trinket for Easter to unwrap. Her question: "Is it from a blood relative?"

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Jesus Christ Superstar

I'm just plain evil. Or anyway strange. I was explaining to Kelly what the Judeo-Christian facet of Easter was all about, and got to the part where Jesus goes back to Heaven. For some reason Kelly decided to sing (sing-song voice) "bye, bye!" That stuck in my head. I didn't immediately know why.

However, as we were driving down to Mentor for our walk, it occured to me. You could do an almost perfect drop in replacement of the Passion Play into Bye Bye Birdie! I just about cracked up with the image of the young Ann-Margret as Mary Magdalene, doing her 'hysterical seductress' shimmy dance and singing "Bye byeeee JEEEEsus!"

Anyway, consign me to whatever circle of Hell you think I belong in. To the Hollywood talent scouts, I offer this idea free and clear. Maybe someday computer technology will have advanced enough that we can do this thing with the original actors

Easter Egg Hunt!

EasterBanner (11k image)This morning was Easter morning, and Kelly treats it just like Christmas. She was up early this morning, dragging us out of bed, so that we could begin conducting the Easter egg hunt. I'll probably post one picture of her looking like a little savage hovering over an egg with her basket to my Photopoint account later this week. It is too large and too ephemeral to post here.

After the egg hunt, was the 'puzzle hunt'. Jean creates these map/riddle sheets which she puts in plastic eggs, each of which leads Kelly to the next one. When Kelly has followed the path, she ends up with some candy and a couple of toys. Much cheaper than Christmas, but very interactive, so Kelly enjoys it a lot. This year she got a Power Puff Girls puzzle, a couple of stuffed bunnies, and a game called Guess Who?. It's actually kind of fun.

After that I spent the better part of the day doing household chores and entertaining Kelly while Jean studied. We went down to Mentor to do a walk after lunch. On New Year's Day we toss bread to the ducks, so today we pegged hard-boiled eggs at them .

Saturday, April 14, 2001

Microwave Ahoy!

I went to Sears today and picked up prefilters for the Honeywell air filters, four pairs of pants, and... the microwave! Yay!

It's a Sharp, the same brand as our old one, but they've added more stuff than you can shake a stick at, including some sensor technology which will 'judge' when the food must be done instead of requiring you to select an interval. I used the 'sensor rewarm' on a baked potato and it seemed to work pretty well. I look forward to playing with the multiple settings.

Go Flesh!

When Jean plays with Kelly, be it Barbie Dolls or card games, she generally has a tough time enduring the diversions and distractions which Kelly is prone to, not to mention the simple pain of playing Barbies for more than two minutes.

This was born out tonight, when Jean combined her community college class in biology with Go Fish:

"Do you have any striated squamous epithelium?"

"Mom!" Pause... "Go Fish!"

This went on long enough that Kelly finally began calling "go flesh!"

Easter Parade

They shoulda left me home. This morning we went with Kelly to the local grocery store, Haggen, to participate in a 'parade', which consisted mostly in following someone in a bunny suit past the various stores in the complex housing Haggen as owners and employees handed out candy. Before all of this started, the costumed crony was posing with kids, getting their pictures taken. It was taking awhile.

I must have been getting bored, because I saw 'Bunny' leaning over a carriage, and I turned to Jean and said, "look! The Easter Bunny is blessing their child!" I started cracking myself up, and held up an invisible baby, saying "Easter Bunny, bless mine!" Jean tried hard to look as if she wasn't with me. Later as we marched past the various stores, I commented on our 'million egg march'. There were other cracks after that, but I won't belabor the point.

'N Sync

Yesterday evening, leaving work, I was whistling a tune, out of the vast store of pop-culture noise I store in my brain. My boss Ernie emerged from the stairwell behind me and followed me out. As he was walking to his car, he asked me what I was whistling.

I actually had to think a moment, as I had not consciously selected it. After a beat I told him "it's the Superman theme from the 1940's Max Fleischer cartoons." There was a pause as we both looked at each other, then we both cracked up.

I'm pretty sure Ernie and I were on the same wavelength, and here's why I was laughing:

  • Totally unconsciously, I had selected music from a classic cartoon that preceded my birth by some ten or fifteen years.

  • I was feeling pretty good about my progress on solving a pretty thorny problem at work, hence 'super'.

  • Once I named the tune, Ernie had no difficulty placing it.

  • We both knew it.

Friday, April 13, 2001

Asperger Baby

In the online version of New Scientist, there's an interview with Simon Baron-Cohen, who is a clinical psychologist at Cambridge University. He runs a clinic for Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. After the interview is displayed a shortlist of 10 symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome, with the following caveat:

...Before you panic--or feel relieved to have found a possible explanation for your problems--ALL 10 descriptions must apply to you, and your difficulties must be significantly interfering with your daily life.

  • I find social situations confusing

  • I find it hard to make small talk

  • I did not enjoy imaginative story-writing at school

  • I am good at picking up details and facts

  • I find it hard to work out what other people are thinking and feeling

  • I can focus on certain things for very long periods

  • People often say I was rude even when this was not intended

  • I have unusually strong, narrow interests

  • I do certain things in an inflexible, repetitive way

  • I have always had difficulty making friends

While I understand the caveat (after all, I greatly enjoyed 'imaginative story-writing' in highschool), and I have some quibbles with the wording of some of the items, this would explain a lot...

Bust-A-Groove, Meet The Flintstones!

Yesterday evening I was wandering around the kitchen and living room while waiting for my dinner to come out of the microwave. Feelin' kinda bouncy, I was movin' to the beat, ya know? Humming to myself, I didn't really give it any thought, but it caught Kelly's attention, sitting at her personal mini-dinner-table eating and watching Cartoon Network.

"Do you like The Flintstones or not?" she asked. Kind of puzzling, since I have made a big deal before about how much I despise the show. You know, the usual exaggerated histrionics, the "Ewww! I hate that show! Change the channel!" kind of light show that Kelly enjoys when I put it on. So I was puzzled.

"You know I think it sucks, so why do you ask?"

"Well, you're singing the Flintstones song," she replied.

Ye gods, I am not, I thought. But what exactly was I humming? After a moment's thought, I recognized the tune. It was from one of the game levels of Bust a Groove 2! So I told Kelly that's what I was humming. She gave me a dubious look.

After dinner I dragged Kelly downstairs and showed her the game, running through a couple of practice rounds. Then I did a competition round and coincidentally hit on just the tune I'd been humming. "That's the tune! That's what I was humming, Kelly," I told her.

The moment of her reaction is an example of why I'm sorely tempted to buy a Canon Powershot S100. Also known as the "Digital Elph", this camera is the size of a pack of playing cards, and is sufficiently small and light, that you can carry it with you all the time, to get that shot you don't want to miss.

So I'm sitting there, having informed Kelly that the tune she is hearing on the PS2 is the one I was humming upstairs. Now I discover that Kelly has a new patented look: surprise mixed with amused condenscension. Am I that tone deaf?

'Scuse me, I gotta go practice in the shower now .

Thursday, April 12, 2001

Short Notes

Just a few quick notes as I'm real busy lately:

  • Playstation 2 languishes: Not enough time in the evenings, as I'm...

  • Studying Ocaml. Another functional language, but with more performance, strict semantics, so in the realm of possibility for a real development language this decade.

  • Nevertheless, PS2 may rise again. I saw a demo of Black & White at NOVA this weekend. Alan brought it on his laptop and did some real-time play of the game. Very sweet. Gotta have it.

  • Kelly had a relapse on the defiance and sulking front at school, and damaged a school toy as well (took the 'jewel' decals off a toy crown and put them on some toy ponies). Teacher and Jean and I agreed that Kelly would try to find some new jewel decals to replace those she removed, and pay for them from her own allowance. Let her feel the sting.

That's it for now. I'll try to write a longer report of life on the Wakefield homestead in a day or two.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Overhead Measured!

Yow! I ran the experiment to see how long it took to post a short article to Terebi, and it was staggering! The first two times I tried, the browser just plain timed-out. That took 2:32 and 2:07 respectively. The third time I succeeded, but only after 5:45! Yuck!

Posting this little article, on the other hand, cost me all of 50 seconds, from the first click on the link to the editor interface to the final click showing me the result. What a difference.

Overhead For Article Posting

On Terebi II I noted that the speed with which I could post an article seemed to influence how long my articles were. I.e., since this weblog experiences a lot of latencies due to server overload and whatnot, it is more trouble than it is worth to post a short article.

So I tried timing posting this article. The first two times, the browser timed out after 2:32 and 2:07 respectively. I'm timing this post, and will post an addendum with that time after completing the initial posting. To be fair, I'm not including the time taken to enter the article.

Okay, the timings are over. To post this article to the site, not counting in time to enter the article, cost me a total of 5:45! Crikey! On the other hand, posting to Terebi II using the same rules, cost all of 50 seconds. So guess where I'll be posting most of my shorter articles now?

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Server Speed Matters

One of the things I've noticed when noodling with this weblog, is that turnaround on writing and posting an article is faster than my Userland weblog. A lot faster. One effect this has is to encourage me to write shorter entries. On Terebi, each post is an ordeal (the fruits of free websites), so I tend to write longer entries...

I Want Smileys, Dammit!

This is a test. I have smileys on Terebi, and I want them here! So I swiped some offa the 'Net (sorry, don't remember who wuz robbed) and will now try them here next to a body of text: smile -> ; frown->. Enjoy!

Testing smaller smile -> ; frown->.

Welcome To Terebi II

Kelly Model (16k image) For the immediate future, you can find my essays on Terebi I, though my anime reviews and my single Asian movie review are here. My main weblog is now here.

As with Terebi I, news items tend to be personal in nature, probably only of interest to family and friends, though anyone is welcome to read. Along the left margin I've included some of the links I visit more or less regularly. Along the right sidebar will be the links to my collected essays and reviews, by category. At the left of this paragraph is a picture of my daughter Kelly. Click to get to a directory of Christmas candid digital snaps.

Note that there is a comments feature. So far no one has used it. I'd guess that's par for the course. If you want to try it, feel free. I'll only turn it off if comments become scatological or unreasonably abusive.

Friday, April 6, 2001

Spring Classes

Jean was out last night attending the orientation session for her Spring Telecourse. She's taking a biology course which consists of around 26 audio lectures (on tape) and six televised presentations. But she has to show up in a physical classroom to take the exams, and last night to find out what the class was about she went in to PCC. I'm looking forward to seeing how this 'remote' course works out.

PS2 First Impressions

I spent around a half hour last night fiddling with Bust A Groove
. On the face of it, a very simple game. I won't go into details, but the goal is to match button presses on the controller to the beat of the music (in 4/4 time). Press the arrow keys on the left of the controller during the first three beats (as directed by the game), then a symbol key from the right side of the controller on the fourth beat (again as directed by the game). Miss the beat/keypress synchronization and your dance character actually stumbles! Keep up, and your character rewards you with smooth moves "qbullet.smiley". Given my extreme lack of
coordination, it will be a long time before I get my game characters
dancing smoothly.

I didn't try Tomb Raider III at all yet, since Kelly was upstairs
by herself and I didn't want to completely abandon her. I played the
Onimusha demo, and I have to admit that the graphics of a game
coded directly for PS2 are much smoother than those in the games
I bought, which are both coded to PS One standards.

Why was Kelly alone upstairs, you ask? Subject of the next article

Thursday, April 5, 2001

New Review Up!

Well, it took me a couple of months to finish it (okay, three), but my
review of Megami
is finished. I published it last night on
Terebi II,
since was down for
Spring Cleaning. But I've moved it here now, and it's called "Top Gundam"!

Tea-time on the Titanic

Gah! I'm going down! I've got more fun things to do than I can possibly
make time for!

In addition to the microscope, the PS2, the monthly subscriptions
to Scientific American and Atlantic Monthly, the
weekly subscription to New Scientist (I've given up all
pretense of keeping up with those), the ReplayTV and my
self-paced study of Haskell (and let's not forget that Spring is here,
and the roads are drying up enough for me to try taking out the bike
again), I've got another distraction coming up!

Recall that I've been studying functional programming for a short
while, really only taking a couple hours a week, using the
Haskell programming language as a
launching point. Over time I've formed a (weak) opinion that
Haskell is not suited to the performance intensive applications that I
tend to work on.

So I have been casting around for a candidate, and I think that
Objective Caml (Ocaml for short)
is a good enough choice. Where Haskell is a 'pure, non-strict,
functional language', Ocaml is an 'impure, strict functional language
with imperative features'. So there is enough orthogonality to make
things interesting, especially considering that the syntax of the two is
so different. Moreover, Ocaml has won first and second place in last
year's Functional Programming Languages contest (I forget the official

But it is an academic language, so documentation is usually of
the form "if you understand the language, this documentation will make
perfect sense." Not a lot of help for an outsider. So I ordered the
only book on Ocaml in the English language (it's designers are
French professors). And it arrived today! Gah!

Timesink Ahoy!

When I left this morning on my errand to fetch a microscope, I knew that
I'd be passing Toys'r'Us on my return
trip, and that they'd be open by the time I got into their
neighborhood. So I jotted down their number and took my cellphone

Why? Because Amazon and
Toys'r'Us have been in a partnership offering

Playstation 2
bundles (overpriced packages with three games I didn't
want) for sale online for months now. But they've mostly been 'out of
stock', and when they do get them in stock, they sell out in
seconds to minutes. The last few days, however, they have had
them in stock and not run out.

So I decided that the PS2 pipeline must finally be filled. On the
way back from getting the microscope, I called Toys'r'Us and
asked if they had them, and the saleswoman answered in a very
matter-of-fact voice, "sure do." Yowza! So I swung by and bought one. As
I was dropping the microscope off at home anyway, I just stopped in and
set up the PS2 too. Then on the way to work, I stopped at
Fry's and picked up:

  • A ten-foot extension cord for the controller

  • An 8Mb memory card for saving game settings

  • Tomb Raider III (older PS One game, but fun)

  • Bust A Groove 2 (still PS One, but one I really wanted)

  • Free, non-playable demo of Onimusha

I took a pass on
Oni, since I'd
played the demo on my iBook, and found it less interesting than I'd
thought, and at $50 bucks, I wasn't sure I wanted to dig deeper to see
if it was better than the demo. What I'm really waiting for is
Black and White.
According to
article, the graphics look great on a souped-up PC, and lame on a
Playstation, but the gameplay is the same on both, and that's what I'm
waiting for!

Welcome Back!

Terebi is back online after a twenty-four hour hiatus. It seems that the servers for were overloaded, and had tons of old cruft on them. Userland took them down for "Spring Cleaning".

Fortunately, I didn't have all that much to say, so I wasn't choked out of my venue. But from now on, if Terebi goes down, try Terebi II, which is an experimental weblog I'm trying out on my ISP's website.

I have a couple of minor news items today, which I'll post as time permits. See ya!

Wednesday, April 4, 2001

Fantastic Voyage

I took a half-day off this morning in order to meet with Marv Bielsky at
Stoller Middle School. Marv is a retired science teacher who now runs
his own small business, Scientific Instrument Service and
. He travels around the region repairing and calibrating
scales, microscopes, telescopes and the like. As a sideline he rebuilds
used microscopes, sells them for $100, and donates the money to

It was under the last heading that I was to meet with him. I agreed to
buy a standard high-school grade microscope from him for Jean's birthday
(and for Kelly to share, under supervision). The catch is that he is
based in Vancouver Washington, and travels all the time. So I had to
meet him at a school where he was working. Stoller Middle School is
way the heck north of where I live or work, but it was the
closest he was likely to get, so I made the trip.

I've got the microscope now, it is a standard 4X, 10X, 40X with a 10X
wide-field eyepiece. It is really sturdy, and gives tons better
results than the plastic telescope Jean bought for Kelly for
Christmas. The difference is like night and day. Marv said that if we
had bought a new microscope of similar quality it would have come to
$500. So it was worth the trip.

While I was there, I found out that Marv doesn't just do
technical instrument repair. In the summer, he lives in Montana, where
he runs his own business as a fishing guide. Interesting guy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Terebi I ( No-Connects

While Terebi II (this site) is experimental and low-volume, it occured to me that I can use it for redundancy when Terebi I is off-line for whatever reason. Right now, you can't reach Terebi I because:

A heads-up to the people using free hosting on UserLand servers, we're hitting some kind of scaling wall or getting pounded, or a combination of both. Brent is working on what he calls the Spring 2001 Cleanup. It's going to take a while to get back the performance. We're busting out on all sides, sorry for the downtime/outage.

Dave Winer, on Scripting News

So from now on, if you can't connect to Terebi I for a couple of days, try Terebi II.

Monday, April 2, 2001

April Idiots

Yes, I have a sense of humor, albeit a weird one. But I generally have no patience for the phenomenon known as 'April Fools'. Least of all on the Internet, where I am subjected to a blizzard of inane jokes masquerading as news items on various sites. "April Fools! Hah hah, that sure was funny!"

It's not that I fall for them. I don't. Most of them are transparent, and the rest only require a little careful reading, and I'm constantly amazed at the prats who dive right into the hoax and are completely fooled ("no man, I was just going along with the joke, that's it"). So for two or three days I have to wade through a bunch of moronic and pointless 'humor' to get to the normal gems I come to these sites for. Well, the pipe will be cleared soon, grump, grump.

We now return you to your regular broadcast day.