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March 31, 2002

Death

In my email box this weekend is a note from Mike Wendell (and his family). He was one of my closest friends throughout high school, and we've kept in touch sporadically since then. The email was the sad sort. His dad died, pancreatic cancer. This is nasty stuff, and I'm both sorry to hear he had it, and glad that it is over for him. This is not the nicest way in the world to go.

I can still remember when my mom died. It actually came as something of a surprise to me, despite having received a lot of clues in the final months. I'm generally rotten about writing letters, and don't work too hard to keep in touch with family members. So when my dad called to let me know that she'd died, I was confused. Surely it couldn't have been that bad.

I flew back to Michigan, and Jean came with me. I was pretty stoic through the whole thing, and other than the somberness of the occasion, I didn't really feel anything. We flew home, unpacked, and I sat on the futon and cried. It just came out of me. And that was pretty much it. I think of my mom now and then, wonder what she'd think of Kelly, but I don't feel blue. She had a pretty full life and she was always busy, meeting every new stranger as a potential friend. No, she wasn't perfect, but she was very friendly and open, and so garrulous I should suspect that I was adopted.

So to Mike, whom I've written to separately in reply, I wish healing and a full life. I think his dad had some rough times, but I hope he had a lot of good times too.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:10 PM

House of Pain

I pulled a muscle in my left shoulder late Friday, and almost didn't notice it until the following day. My pain profile looks sorta like:

Anyway, I didn't take many Easter photos as a result, since I was pretty much a walking zombie on Sunday morning. Breakfast and three aspirin later and I was able to move, slowly. After a bit of warming up and a hot bath I could move with tolerable pain.

We just got back from the book store, where Jean bought a few books with money I gave her (in the form of a Borders gift card) last Christmas! I looked at books, mostly to see if I could find something to explain to me how to use the zoom lens I bought. I can focus it, but can't seem to get the camera to take pictures.

The big highlight is that Kelly brought her hard-earned allowance and bought herself something with it. She ended up buying a stuffed animal, after agonizing for the longest time. But she certainly feels proud to have done the purchase with her own money.

Here's hoping that tomorrow the pain is diminished, at least enough that it doesn't take me an hour to get my body flexible enough to drive a car.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:39 PM

March 28, 2002

Blade II

If you've seen Blade, and you haven't seen Blade II (and intend to), you might want to skip this post. It might ruin it for you. Not because this post is a spoiler. Yes it talks about some of the plot, but it doesn't really give anything away. After all, this is a formula movie. C'mon. Anyway, skip now if you need to.

Still with me? Okay, I was watching this movie, and something occurred to me. You know how in the first movie, toward the end, Blade gets his butt handed to him? He's lying there all limp, he's lost a lot of blood, and you know he's down for the count? Then the helpful heroine volunteers to refuel him with her own blood so he can go on to save the world! Ba TADA TA tah, ta TAAAH!

Well, no surprise here, something similar happens in this movie. He's down for the count folks. He's lost a lot of blood, a lot of blood. Boy howdy is he looking ragged. Even if somebody bails him out of his current situation, how's he gonna stand up long enough to look at the bad guy cross-eyed? This time Whistler drags him that extra mile, and dumps him in a helpfully placed pool of refreshing blood, kept in store by the vampire nation as, what? A spa? Dunno.

Moments after current mini-boss vampire Ron Perlman has dismissed him as drowned in blood (hel-LO-o, half VAM-pire??!!), and turned his back on the pool, out rises Blade, looking tougher than ever, doing full-body knuckle cracking and getting ready for a rematch. We've been here before.

Now the secret. Stop reading now if this sort of movie is important to you (is it to anyone?). When that key scene comes up, imagine Blade is Popeye, and the pool of blood is a giant can of spinach. Spice things up by humming the Popeye recovery theme ditty (Ba TADA TA tah, ta TAAAH!). When the movie ends, walk out singing: I'm strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me bloo-ood, I'm vampire slaying Blade!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:07 PM

Zoom!

Cool! According to my Fedex tracking number, my Ebay purchase of a used Nikon 80-200 2.8 ED AF

zoom lens is in Portland! This should be the final camera hardware purchase for awhile. One good prime and one good zoom will do. Someday in the future a prime telephoto in the portrait range may be in order, but not for now.

Late Update: I had it shipped to work, and it's here! Peeking through the back end it looks like it may need a visit to the Nikon service center, but it's functional, so at bargain-basement prices, I won't complain. Can't wait to try it out. Maybe this weekend.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:32 AM

March 27, 2002

Dental Sojourn

By the way, I had my second round of jaw-numbing cleaning and disinfecting. Feeling has returned, and while I'm not allowed to eat 'challenging' foods for a couple of days, I've gotten the hang of things this second time around, and had some split pea soup on hand.

I even had an annoying divot filled in. It was originally caused by eating a peach and accidentally biting down on a fragment of the pit hidden in the fruit. Instant chipped lower tooth, and a ding in the back of my upper tooth. It was developing into a cavity, and just having that hole there right in front of my tongue was very irritating. I was constantly brushing against it. Right now, the filling itself is annoying me, as it is a composite, and somewhat rough. I guess I just can't win.

So I go back in three months to have the healing measured, but otherwise I'm off the hook for awhile. At least until I bite another peach pit.

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:56 PM

QOTD

Dave Winer imagining what Michael Eisner actually thinks:

I had my own revelation about Eisner's argument. I think I can boil it down to its essence. It goes something like this: "We remember the days, not long ago, when our users were stupid. They thought they were giving money to the artists. We want them to be stupid again."

Dave Winer

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:39 PM

March 26, 2002

More Wet Fusion

Pascale Soleil, whose website, both2and, I mentioned (rather the category artificialNature located there) when I first heard about wet fusion, has been kind enough to send me a pointer to a new followup article:

Cold Fusion Rides Again, publishes the sordid tale of the struggle between two communities of scientists. One community wishes to explore the new, unconventional, possibly incorrect ideas mentioned in the original article. The other community seems not to be content with merely challenging the findings, but wishes to suppress them entirely. This is a grand example of the reality of science, governed by human beings, versus the myth of science, the vast impartial hand sweeping away the fog of history.

Kinda reminds me of a few businesses I know. As I was commenting to my wife just the other night, "they stay in business in spite of themselves!".

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:25 PM

First SLR Photos

I already posted a small sample of scanned images from the N80. I chose two to have blown up to 8X10's, and they were ready last night. They're not tack sharp, but then they were spontaneous, rather than set up and posed. I'll trade sharpness for spontaneity any day. And the photos were taken on full automatic, the day after I bought the camera, so I hope even the spontaneous shots get sharper with time. The chosen photos were this one and this one.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:22 AM

Quid Pro Quo

Listening to NPR on the way to work this morning, I heard a story about the National Toy Hall of Fame, specifically, that they haven't inducted Raggedy Ann, which is somehow 'controversial'. Certainly the people circulating the petition and the 'officials' for the museum seemed exercised about the topic, in a prissy sort of way.

More amusing was the reporter's little setup: "The toy industry is a multibillion dollar business, so you would expect the Toy Museum to be a sprawling building with thousands of displays." Huh? Dude! It's in Salem, Oregon, that's a clue. It's a petting zoo!

The only reason I can think for this 'color story' to get on the air is that Oregon Public Broadcasting is an affiliate of NPR, and it was their turn.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:02 AM

March 24, 2002

Capsule Review

I just finished watching Young and Dangerous. Another Hong Kong crime film not deserving of a full review, but mildly entertaining. The Mei Ah DVD is a mediocre transfer, with fixed subtitles (looks like a burned-in font). The story is reminiscent of A Better Tomorrow, and like ABT, spawned a number of sequels. However, I'd have to say that ABT, directed by John Woo and starring Chow Yun Fat, was head and shoulders better, even if it was melodramatic and heavy-handed at times.

Follow the link if you're curious. Suffice to say it's a triad film (The Godfather in Hong Kong), told from the viewpoint of several of the young turks working for the established bosses. All the HK triad movies are generally over the top, and this is in the same vein, though a bit subdued at times. It was an okay way to kill an evening.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:22 PM

March 23, 2002

Photos and Site Mods

Nobody needs the 'Welcome' entry anymore, right? I axed it. The new banner photo is one of five I scanned in from my new Nikon N80. Click on the link for the gallery. I'm going to try having the last two made into 8X10's. It probably won't work since one of the negatives is already scratched. But by God, I'm gonna try!

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:37 PM

March 21, 2002

I Can Feel My Lips!

Nearly four hours after the last injection of novacaine, the feeling is returning to my lips. They're still rubbery, and trying to bring my teeth together feels like clacking castinets, but I think I've crossed the threshold.

I think it took this long due to getting a larger than usual dose. My upper teeth took longer to get numb, supporting my experience over a decade ago when a dentist ended up pulling one of my molars with almost no pain killer since he couldn't get the novacaine to work. Thankfully, this time there was enough effect that I didn't really feel the probes when she was planing the roots.

I have to go through this again next week for the right side, but then things should settle down again. Watching her 'inject' the militarized tetracyclin was a hoot. Little hooked turkey basters full of the drug, on the end of a big steel plunger. I nearly laughed when I saw that.

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:06 PM

March 20, 2002

Morning Dentistry

I'm going in tomorrow morning to get several teeth 'scaled and disinfected'. The pockets around select teeth are too deep and they want to take preventative measures. In addition, they are using a new treatment, which involves what I call 'militarized tetracycline'. It's been powdered in such a way that it creeps down into the pocket, then forms a gel which slowly releases the antibiotic over a couple of weeks, killing remaining bacteria in the pocket. According to Dr. Kierkegaard (yes, her real name), this has been shown to add 1-2 millimeters to the healing.

So anyway, they're going in with novacaine, and working the problem teeth on one side of my jaw tomorrow, then doing the ones on the other side next week. At the same time (tomorrow) I'm getting a defect in one of the teeth repaired. It was a pit in the back of one of my incisors that they tell me was a natural formation, but which has worn down with time and needs to be filled. Wish me luck!

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:06 PM

Baby Steps

Well, I couldn't stand waiting until tomorrow to see if the dang thing works, so I ran over to Fred Meyer and go the correct batteries. After a bit of fumbling, I got the lens installed, ran through the 'baby-steps' introduction to the camera, put it in full auto, and took about 12 photos of the den, pointing into the dark closet, directly at the lamp, and so on, with and without flash. The camera was happy to tell me when it could and couldn't get the shot, and it was cool seeing f8, f2, f1.8 show up in the viewfinder as it adjusted the aperature for various lighting conditions.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how clear the pictures are. I'll take some daylight shots tomorrow, and try to use up the 24 exposure roll of Kodak Royal Gold 400 before the end of the week, just so I can get quickie development of this first test roll and see how good it is at low-light photography. They say that f1.8 is the second brightest lens you can get, with f1.4 costing nearly four times as much to get twice the light. I'm hoping this suffices for my natural light photography needs .

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:56 PM

Mr. Potato Head

When I first talked to David at Kit's Camera, he seemed knowledgeable, and claimed to use a Nikon himself. So since their price was only about 6% higher than I could get online, I decided to buy from a local store and build a relationship.

Unfortunately, the warehouse (according to David) had no 50mm lens when they told him they did. So there was a delay when I was promised immediate delivery. When the lens finally arrived, I asked David to throw in some batteries and a UV filter to sweeten the deal, since there'd been some hassles.

Now as I unpack things, I begin to wonder if David wasn't at fault. I checked all my packages, but didn't look at the batteries carefully enough. Turns out he gave me batteries for a different kind of camera. Mine takes CR123A's, and he gave me CR2's. They are maybe 30% too short to fit in the battery compartment. Needless to say, I'm disappointed.

I'll get the batteries tomorrow from Fred Meyer's, then I'll be checking everything else very carefully. I don't think I'll be shopping at Kit's Camera again after all.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:30 PM

Light Touch

Okay, this is probably the electronics equivalent of the Detroit Auto Show 'concept car', i.e. it will never see the light of day, but for what it's worth, I think it's pretty cool:

A full-size virtual keyboard projected by light on to any surface has been invented. Beams of light, which detect the user's movements, make up the keyboard.

Ananova News

More images at Computer Planet, and the developer, Developer VKB of Israel.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:19 PM

Taking the Plunge

In four hours or so I should be the proud owner of a Nikon N80 SLR camera, and a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 lens. This is considered the 'normal' perspective lens, with shorter lenses being wide-angle, and longer being telephoto. Following the advice on Photo.net, I'm starting with a normal perspective lens and expanding from there. Philip Greenspun points toward wide-angle next, but agrees that some people have more interest in telephoto. I'm a telephoto guy, after trying to take 'distance' photos of Kelly at her recital .

I've got two goals. Goal one is to learn to think more like a photographer. Getting used to SLRs and having to think about at least a few of my shots may tend to improve my yield of 'good' photos. With my digital camera, the controls are awkward, but the gratification is instantaneous, so I tend to just point and shoot at anything.

Goal two is to get somewhat better 'archival' images than I can currently get with the digital camera I have, or the digital cameras I can afford. Assuming I can get one or two worthwhile images per roll, I want to be able to blow them up and display them, at work or in the den at home. I'd also like to be able to take a few informal portraits of Kelly without hauling her off to the photo studio. With a reasonably nice quality zoom such as the 80-200mm f2.8 or a fixed portrait lens, like the 85mm f1.8, I at least stand a chance of doing that at home.

As with any of my toys, there's always the chance that it'll sit on the shelf after the thrill is gone. But the experience is half the fun, so I'm not worried about how long this lasts. In the short term, my goal is to shoot, at least a roll a month, and think about the results. We'll see if this grows or stagnates from there.

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:51 PM

NSOTD*

It's like saying you don't like Broadway because there are no commercials.

Frank Deford

Non Sequitur of the Day

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:32 AM

As If I Needed An Excuse

Finally, a reason to go to Burger King.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:26 AM

March 18, 2002

Movie Lottery

Sunday Kelly and I went to see Ice Age. I knew that it would be a sellout, so I set our departure time from home to get us to the theatre about a half hour early. I'm all too familiar with how Kelly can drag her feet even when we are going to something she's excited about. And sure enough, she decided while getting ready that it would be a good time to get into an argument with her mom about what to do with her hair.

So by the time we left, there was plenty of time to get to the theatre before the show started, but I had my doubts about ticket availability. On the way, I let Kelly know that the odds were against us 'since we got such a late start.' I was careful to let the fact hang in the air without accusing her of messing things up, so she'd have something to ponder should she ever become introspective (hasn't happened yet).

We got there and yes, Ice Age was sold out. Kelly asked if there was anything else showing, and I told her that Return to Neverland was. She'd told me on Saturday that she didn't want to see it, no way. So Sunday she was all for it. Go figger. However, it was going to be an hour wait until the show started. I suggested we buy our tickets, then go get a pop or something. She decided that because they had a nice pile of boxes in the corner of the lobby ("build your own igloo!") that she wanted to stay at the theatre.

I'm learning, though. I brought a book. So I read, and Kelly played with some other kids who were waiting on their own movie. Time passed, and finally we got to see a movie. I thought it was okay, Kelly thought it was great, so no big loss. As for Ice Age, we were leaving just as the next showing was starting, and I overheard folks actually fighting (verbally) over seating, so I'm just as glad we didn't go this weekend.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:27 PM

Backseat Gamer

Checking over the archive, I notice I neglected to mention that I'd finally gotten a copy of Black & White for the Macintosh. I probably dropped the ball because Jean's parents came to visit right after it arrived. I hadn't really intended to buy it just now, but I'd left an order for Starcraft in my Amazon shopping cart, thinking it was my wishlist, and Jean said she was ordering it for me, since it was only $10! So I piggybacked Black & White on the order (paying for it myself) and voila!

On the first day of play, Kelly was right there, asking questions and trying to back-seat drive. It only really got annoying when she'd tell me to do something, and then demand to know why I couldn't (the two most irritating words on the planet: "but why?"). I was playing without having had a chance to read the manual, 'cause Kelly wanted to push forward, push forward. The same thing happened with Final Fantasy X, where her impatience actually got my player characters killed. And of course she took over my GBA until I bought her her own Gameboy Color.

This time I wised up. I created a Black & Whtie avatar for Kelly, sat her down in front of the computer, and told her that she was in charge of the mouse. "I'll be nearby if you need help, but from now on, if you want to do something, you figure it out. If you can't, maybe you'll understand why I can't go where you want me to go, pick up the rock, etc."

So I got her started, then went into another room. She tried to get Jean to help her, but Jean professes total ignorance about computer games, so Kelly was even worse off than when she tried to boss me around. I went to NOVA and she was still playing. On Sunday I asked Jean if Kelly had played much longer, and she said she had played a lot. Success!

Of course, Kelly wanted me to pilot on Sunday, but I told her I couldn't. Instead we went to see a movie, about which more later.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:45 AM

March 17, 2002

Let There Be Light

I just successfully ordered a 'frontlight' kit for my Gameboy Advance. I'm pretty sure I've had it long enough to be out of warranty, but I don't really care anyway. I'm going to take my chances on being able to install this kit despite not having done any electronics stuff before.

It's pretty funny, because the GBA has abysmal visibility in dim light, so the demand for this kit is quite high. The guy running the order site announced availability on Friday, and his server was hammered to its knees through midnight Saturday. He finally installed a larger 'pipe' and I was able to make my order. I should get it sometime in May, if I'm lucky. A birthday present to myself .

Posted by dpwakefield at 12:16 PM

March 15, 2002

Christening

It's been three days now of using the new Nordictrack elliptical trainer. I think I'm going to like it. But my problem is what to call it. I don't want to call it 'the Nordictrack', "Jean, I'm going downstairs to use the Nordictrack", because that's what I used to call the ski trainer, which was also made by Nordictrack.

I could say "I want to go do some aerobic training" to sort of match my 'strength training' on the Bowflex, but that seems sort of awkward somehow. 'Use the elliptical trainer' is just too much of a mouthful. So I've been pondering it, and I was telling Jean about my quandary. "I need a nickname for the thing," I told her.

"I've just been calling it the 'cyclical'," she replied.

Then from a neighboring room, Kelly pitched in: "how about a 'Bikeler'?" [ bike' - ler]

So be it. Our fancy new bit of exercise equipment is 'the Bikeler'.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:44 PM

March 14, 2002

Not Hello Kitty

For all you H. P. Lovecraft fans out there, Hello, Cthulhu!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:51 AM

Home Is Where the Gym Is

In a bid to further insulate myself from my fellow man , we took delivery of a CTX 910 Elliptical Trainer from Nordictrack yesterday. This way, I can completely avoid going to the gym at work, as I have my Bowflex Powerpro for strength training (thus helping my back) and now the elliptical for aerobics (thus helping my heart), right in my very own basement.

I tried it last night, despite my recent flare-up of joint tetchiness. The verdict this morning: my lower back definitely thinks this is a bad thing(tm), while my knees came through with flying colors. I'll have to use it several times to make sure my back can handle it, but I have high confidence that it'll be added to my arsenal. Wish me luck!

P.S. - Kelly likes it a lot. She did nearly a half hour (going backwards), her six-year old legs splayed out to fit into the adult-sized shoe slots. She's a regular little Allison Forsyth.

P.P.S. - We've had a Nordictrack Skier for several years, but I gave up on that because when I held onto the stationary handles and just used my legs, I didn't feel like I was getting a workout, but when I swung my arms or used the 'ski pole ropes', I always had to work not to fall off. The elliptical has upper body rods but they are rigid, so I don't think I'll have any problems with it.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:44 AM

March 13, 2002

Dive Into Mark

I should set the stage for folks unfamiliar with the terminology. RSS is a technology to allow the syndication of items from multiple sites. It's pretty good for combining articles from multiple news websites, but some people use it with weblogs as well (not me). I just love this quote:

Reading weblogs via RSS is like reading a written transcription of the daily water cooler conversation.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:21 PM

Appy Polly Logies

In case it isn't already clear, I've been in a somewhat cantankerous mood of late. Maybe it has to do with the joint pain I've been having recently, which really flared up yesterday. My right hip and left shoulder were throbby and sensitive. I made the mistake of trying to stretch my shoulder, which sent me running for the aspirin. Cantankerous and dumb!

So anyway, I'll try to pick up the tone here Real Soon Now. Sorry, oh hypothetical audience of two.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:12 PM

More Bile

Here's another example of someone whose weblog I read regularly who occasionally really irks me. I read Dave Winer's Scripting News 'cause it's full of good links and Dave is articulate if a bit egotistical (all the while kicking his instep and mumbling "aw shucks"). Sometimes he inadvertently lets loose:

...it's a very grand vision (even for me) of something I call The World Outline, that's parallel to the HTML web, a new way of webbing. I remember how excited the most intelligent Frontier users were when we gave them a glimpse of this concept...

[emphasis mine]

And the really stoopid Frontier users just didn't get how brilliant Dave was...

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:04 PM

Love of Voices

Awhile ago I was reading one of those twenty-something websites on my list and the author observed that Gwen Stefani was his favorite beauty. The name sounded familiar to me, and a bit of research reminded me that she's the lead singer of No Doubt, a rock/ska/reggae band from Orange County, California. Looking at pictures of Gwen, I can see how a young man might find her attractive, but she's not my cup of tea. She reminds me of a young Madonna, who never thrilled me.

However, I was listening to my one album by No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom, and experienced love again. I've had this experience before, with singers such as Stevie Nicks, Natalie Merchant (formerly of Ten Thousand Maniacs) and oh my god, Kristen Hersh! I can't believe I almost didn't think of her! But there it is. I knew these singers by their voices, from the radio, albums, whatever, before I ever saw them, and those voices, they were so fine, so angelic, so unique and special, that I just fell in love.

In fact listening to Tragic Kingdom again has led me to add two more of Gwen's albums to my Amazon Wish List, and I think I'll be doing the same with Kristen Hersh soonest. I'm sure there is an element of sexuality to this, as I don't experience the same intensity listening to, say, Leonard Cohen or Nick Cave, even though I think they are wonderfully textured singers.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:44 AM

March 12, 2002

Bile, Bile, Bile

I browse lots of sites that have mucho interesting commentary and linkage, but occasionally these guys let fly with a comment that really derails me:

I don't count the modem as a feature since modems are obsolete...

Wes Felter

Yeah, right. I have DSL, but only by undergoing many financial contortions and rationalizations. If Jean were not so flexible about how I spend my bonuses, we'd by darn tootin' still be using a modem. Obsolete indeed...

Here's another:

Emacs ... Makes ... A ... Computer ... Slow

Paul Victor Novarese

Not in the ten or fifteen years I've been productively using this editor! Prat.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:27 PM

Carp, Carp, Carp

Here I was all set to make a flurry of small updates, and Agora suffered some sort of outage. But that's fine, since I ended up postponing my lunch anyway. Now (munch, munch) Agora is back, and so am I.

If you observe more typoes than usual, it's because I switched back to a Sun keyboard, after unloading my Linux box at work. I wasn't using it much, and the leasing company wanted us to buy it for an absurd price, so I said "send it back!"

It's Tuesday, and I'm only now feeling back to my routine. Jean's parents were perfect guests, demanding very little attention, but I just can't adapt to having people around the house, all weekend. I'm too much of an introvert, and too much of a stick in the mud. I want my routine, my privacy, my little focused world. So it's coming back to me, and I'm so not looking forward to doing (any) travel for awhile.

Boss doesn't seem to want me to travel, so good. Jean has tentative plans for Kelly and Disneyworld, I guess I can cope for Kelly's sake. Then there's the Moyer family reunion, which takes place on Maui this year. Transpacific flight. Ugh. Away from all the comforts of home. Ugh. And why does everyone think surf and sun is heaven? I think I'll be spending a lot of time indoors.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:18 PM

March 08, 2002

Snow, What Snow?

As I left this morning for work, Jean informed me that her parents were stalled in Seattle. They were rerouted there due to bad weather between wherever (somewhere over the ocean?) and here. Now they are waiting on a flight to Portland which is late due to snow in Bellingham. Additionally it sounds as if they've had little sleep, so the visit is going to get off to a rocky start. I'm sure Kelly is disappointed.

Locally, we had two dustings of snow yesterday, but nothing's stuck. Searching this site, I find that on January 27th we had actual snow, so I'll be annoyed if we get another one. We're only supposed to get one genuine snowfall a year!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:09 AM

March 07, 2002

They Still Don't Get It

Steve McCannell reviews Pressplay for O'Reilly:

[My] biggest gripe with media companies today is that I don't feel like I own anything anymore. They have taken away that feeling of having a song that is "yours," which is part of the charm of owning a music collection. With Pressplay, you never actually own the music; it's like the service is subletting the music to you: As long as you keep paying the rent, you have access to the media that the service makes available. The warm, fuzzy feeling of owning a song or record seems to be on the way out, as these services only allow you to listen to whatever they deem acceptable, for as long as you keep paying the piper.

I don't expect the Bigs to give away the farm, but once again they're trying to use control of the means of distribution to gouge the public. In this case, the public knows it doesn't cost $20 to ship 'virtual' CDs, and the notion of renting music has quite a hill to climb. I'm not buying.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:09 AM

March 06, 2002

More Stupid Camera Tricks

In the realm of the digital, this post will be disappointing, but...

I uploaded three photos taken with the Oly 3030Z to Walmart, and had them print 8X10's from them. For the curious, they are based on these images: one, two and three.

I took them to work and had Carsten, an SLR user of many years, look at them. He was very impressed. At NOVA this weekend, Alan and Tom checked them out, and seemed to think they were good too. They are not indistinguishable from film, which is why I'm still playing with a P&S camera, and planning on getting an SLR. But the photos are promising enough that I think I'll have a digital SLR in a couple of years.

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:22 PM

My Daughter, The Lawyer

As I was getting ready for work this morning, Jean came in and reported that she had a dispute she wanted my input on. Her parents are coming to visit this weekend (returning from their annual pilgrimage to Hawaii, I think), and Jean is cleaning up the house from it's usual disheveled state. She wanted Kelly to clean her room, which looks as if it was carpet bombed with stuffed animals and other trinkets.

Kelly insisted that it was her room, and that moving things around from the way she had them was an invasion of her person. Jean said Kelly could put things back the way they were after the visit. Kelly complained that things wouldn't feel right afterwards. So Jean came to me to make a final decision. I don't know if she thought I was going to come down on her side or wanted a genuine arbiter, but I asked Kelly to come into her room with me and talk about it.

I was in my sock feet at the time, so I made sure Kelly could see how a sock-footed Grandpa could accidentally step onto a plastic toy and hurt his foot, so that he would be unable to tell 'Fuzzy Duck' stories at bedtime. Kelly and I arrived at a deal. She's supposed to clean all the toys off her floor and put them in a closet. The rickety dresser will be full of her clothes and closed. Other than that, she can leave as much clutter as she wants to on her table tops.

I told Jean about the deal, and she remarked that Kelly was going to be a lawyer when she grows up.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:55 AM

Finally!

I finally waded through the 4000 page opus by Peter F. Hamilton, whose umbrella title was The Night's Dawn Trilogy. Hah. Trilogy. Six books. I got to sleep after midnight because I was in the home stretch. The last hundred pages were racing, since he had threads to wrap up from the previous 4000. Conclude a work in the final 2.5 percent, why don't ya?

Maybe in due time I'll write a review. If so, I'll just append it to this entry, in the 'Extended Entry Text' area, which only shows up on the archived page. In fact, I've included my main spoiler that way already. In the meantime, let me just say that it was a fun ride. Quite memorable. My advice to anyone deciding to read it is to take it slow, read other books in between. But then maybe you're a Robert Jordan masochist.

The Spoiler

This is the first book (series) I've read where the conclusion was accomplished literally by deus ex machina. Hamilton makes it work, but it takes a certain amount of chutzpah, nonetheless.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:48 AM

March 05, 2002

QOTD

[You] read Kent Beck and now you think it's OK to not design things before you implement them. [...] My friend, you can put wheels on your mama but that doesn't make her a bus, and if you think you can refactor your wrongly-implemented file-copy function to make it preemptive rather than threaded as quickly as I could write that sentence, you're in deep denial.

Joel Rosenberg

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:38 PM

Deja Vu

After posting the article on Wet Fusion, I pinged Weblogs.com to notify it that I'd produced a new article. Checking to see that I'd been included in the 'recently updated' list, I noticed a weblog called artificialNature (actually a category link in a larger weblog?), and the top article, posted today, was on that darn Wet Fusion announcement. The author actually captures the feelings I had better than I did. Read it.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:36 AM

Wet Fusion

On March 23, 1989, Pons and Fleischmann shocked the scientific community by holding a press conference to announce their experiments in what they termed Cold Fusion. More than a decade has passed, and nobody has replicated their experiments or described a satisfactory mechanism for the pair's lab observations. I still remember my boss at NASA Lewis Research Center, Arnon Chait, observing, when the news was first released, how this would change the world...

Given that disappointing history, I was surprised to hear a report on the radio this morning that R. P. Taleyarkhan of the Russian Academy of Sciences and colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York announced tentatively that they had succeeded in producing fusion in a container of acetone by using a much-studied phenomenon known as sonoluminescence.

Searching Google for 'bubble', 'collapse' and 'fusion' yielded many links. This is apparently a popular area of research. But most of these articles seemed skeptical at best that fusion could be achieved by collapsing bubbles. Given the original cold fusion hype and failure, I'd like to be the first to dub this new approach Wet Fusion, and wish the scientists luck.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:14 AM

March 04, 2002

Alternate QOTD

Okay, this one was just too snippy to pass up. Notice how many of my quotes get past the gatekeeper by being snide?

You could call it a low point in the history of boxing, but, hey, it's boxing. You could call it a low point in the history of Fox, but, hey, it's Fox.

E! Online TV, no byline

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:22 PM

QOTD

Back in the Neolithic dawn of the Internet, you see, the academics who built it used to beat the living crap out of a businessman the very moment they saw him. One peep of commercial spam on their stainless not-for-profit network, and the net-gods would reach right into your router and just throttle you, like an egg-sucking dog.

Bruce Sterling

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:26 AM

Potpourri

Don't know what it is, maybe I have a deep-seated, but hidden self-hatred. But even as I shook the cold/flu/whatever, I traded it for other ailments. Kelly and I were horsing around the other night, and she accidentally kneed me in the jaw. Now I have TMJ-like pain in my right mandible, but only when chewing tougher foods. Never had that before.

Then we took Kelly to her swimming class Saturday, and afterwards she wanted me to help her get back into her 'street' clothes. I was trying to close the stall door of the changing area, and slipped against the metal latch, gouging a chunk of flesh out of my finger. It bled a lot, filling two bandaids before slowing down. I kept it covered all Saturday and let it air out Sunday. I'm able to type today, so the finger is functional. No stitches or anything like that.

[in the voice of Rodney Dangerfield] "I don't get no respect! No respect at all!" I was sitting at the computer in the kitchen, my single mangled finger pointing straight up, as I labored under the misapprehension that if I got the finger higher than my heart, it would slow the bleeding, and I wouldn't have to change the bandaid so quickly. Jean walked into the kitchen, saw me sitting, reading Photo.net with my arm casually crooked, and my index finger pointing to the ceiling, and began to sing: 'This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!'

Kelly was out of school Thursday and Friday last week with a fever, but was feeling much better by Friday afternoon. Hence we let her go to swimming class on Saturday. Her brain continues to explode, as she is comfortably (and correctly) using words like 'aggressive' when describing bears in her dreams.

Speaking of dreams, I had one this Saturday morning. It's unremarkable except in it's intersection with the waking world. I dreamt I was in a mall. I was in a camera store, pricing the film. Then I was walking down the corridor, saw a newstand, where a mother was teaching her son to use the cash register. I walked up, saw some candy on the counter, and took a couple. I was walking away when I realized I hadn't paid for it. Oops! So I went back, and the mother said "I'm sorry, I was busy teaching my son to use the register."

"That's okay," I said, "I'm sleepwalking." Just then some of the syrup from the candy went down my windpipe and I began to choke. At that instant, I woke up, coughing strongly. Sinus drainage had clogged my lungs. So how does my brain perform these dovetails of dreams and reality? When I related this dream to Jean, her only comment was "that's not a very interesting dream. At least you could have been flying around the camera store."

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:57 AM

But What Do You Really Think?

I think I'm gonna like the US edition of The Register:

"Entertainment industry lapdog Senator Fritz Hollings (Democrat, South Carolina) lashed out at Intel executive VP Leslie Vadasz who warned that the copy-protected PCs Hollings is obediantly promoting on behalf of his MPAA and RIAA handlers would stifle growth in the marketplace."

And it just goes to show that it isn't only Republicans who are Big Biz lackeys. Dems just line up with different Big Bizzes.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:56 AM

March 01, 2002

QOTD

"It's either brilliant or completely retarded, and it's a real fine line."

Moriarty, Ain't It Cool News

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:53 AM