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: Welcome to December 2000. Before this month is out, we will put a man on the moon, and bring him safely back to earth.

: 'Fossil fish' in dramatic sighting. Fossil fish performs live to sold out crowd!

: Celeste is on her way to Washington. I'm thinking of her as I enter my 12th hour of hellish debugging.

: It is my considered opinion that the Angband games are not for playing. They are for hacking on and for writing intelligent agents to conquer. This strikes me as a more reliable source of fun than playing them.

: Research for my game brings me to the coolest hostname ever devised by man: properties.copper.org.

: In honor of our code freeze, I will sing:

A golden build is a soaring soul
As free as a mountain bird
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word!

: Celeste's interview is ongoing as of about ten minutes ago. I hope it goes well.

: You... underfed... monkey! From a clip art site Mike pointed me to.

: I heartily endorse the breaded clams that is Tales of the Lambda Expressway.

:

Registered at the Post Office as  
"a personal page of...stuff?"
http://www.msu.edu/~montero7/wordsmeat.htm

: Try some of my delicious culture jam!

: FHW: Microsoft forges acquisition of Xbox developer. With all their billions, you'd think they could acquire the Xbox developer for real.

: Yes! Celeste got a great job offer! And now another company wants to try and match the offer! Celeste rocks!

: If you are afraid that you might not get enough sarcasm today, this article should do you for a while.

: This is the first news article I've seen that mentions Zack Networks. Zack is the company I was going to work for before CollabNet made me an offer. Joshua Barratt works for Zack, or did as of mid-1999. I also had an offer from Tallan, which I would have preferred to the Zack one, but they put a really tight time limit on my accepting the offer, so I decided to take a risk and hope I got the CollabNet offer. And it paid off. Whee!

Celeste's job search has caused me to reminisce about my own, as you can tell.

: Oh, it's that old "Good Pope, bad Pope" routine.

: Man arrested for threatening Zappa. You're a dead man, Zappa! No, actually it was Moon Unit Zappa.

: A link Mike sent me a long time ago that I never got because of mail forwarding problems: Secret Nazi Relic to be Destroyed. Mike:

are they not aware that once they cut down the offending trees, they will have a swastika of black (empty space) on green visible year round, instead of the yellow that is only visible a few weeks a year when the leaves change color? unless they are going to take out some pines as well, or plant new pines, which i doubt they have planned...

: Mike also points out that the headline about the Xbox developer has been changed.

: A monster beyond my control: robotfindskitten.org.

For those late to the party, here is the canonical rfk page and the sourceforge project.

: New release of Guess The Verb!, this one the official Release 2. Now includes hints! Cf. my first Usenet posting ever. I could probably have posted the announcement from some UNIX account or other so as not to have looked like the Usenet equivalent of an AOL user, but what the hell.

: Grr. I had to update Guess The Verb! again because of a mis-statement about the Second Incompleteness Theorem. The version on gmd.de will make me look like a spaz.

: The most complicated part of my next game is now implemented. Only one other part is anywhere near as complicated.

I'm hoping to start a January beta-test of this game, and release it in February. But now, I sleep.

: Celeste's queuing theory final is today. Actually it's in less than 2 hours. I answered her questions this weekend but I had to punt on a lot of them because I don't remember things as basic as how to calculate second moment. I wish I could have done more to help her. All I can do at this point is wish her luck.

: Today's poll is in honor of our gonzo buildmaster, Josh Lucas.

Someone from la.inreach.net has been stuffing the polls. I don't know which is worse; that someone feels the need to rig these useless polls, or that I care.

Oops, I accidentally overwrote the last poll with this poll. Oh well, it wasn't a very good poll anyway.

: This is a rather amusing article. Biotech patents are "making a mockery of the world patent system", not because said system deserves to be made a mockery, not because biotech patents are generally evil... because biotech patents are really long and use a lot of paper! Yes, you read it here first. Actually, you probably read it at Sci Tech Daily first.

: This long article on Bach would be worthwhile even if the only thing it supplied to me were this previously missing detail:

The great Mass in B Minor could not be played at all during Bach's lifetime: a Latin mass was not possible in a Protestant church, and at that time a performance with an orchestra was banned in Catholic churches.

Brilliant.

: The definition of "good press": An article headlined "All hail [your company's product]".

: The queueing theory final is nearly over. Celeste said she'd call me afterwards. I am waiting with bated breath for the call.

: Kevin Maples showed me a cool slot machine which he wrote in C.

That's all for now.

: There was an alarm which was set off earlier, and which produced an inscrutable alarm message. We evacuated and the fire department came. They futzed around inside the building for a while and then left. I have no idea what they did. All I know is that I lost over an hour of my afternoon. Kevin and I walked down to the marina, though, so it wasn't a total waste.

: I feel terrible, so I'm filling myself up with junk food, even though I know this will only make me feel worse. Not only in a self-esteem sense; it will make me feel physically worse. So why do I do it?

: I feel much better today.

The link going around CollabNet is this graph of OpenOffice compile dependencies. I think it would make a good technology graph for FreeCiv, although you'd have to get rid of that big bottleneck. Every sentence in this paragraph containes at least one BiCapitalized word.

: American McGee's Alice: It's like Alice in Wonderland, but it's really twisted! Coming soon, American McGee's Juliet: It's like Romeo and Juliet, but they both die in the end!

No, the thing that really pisses me off about that game is the characters. The Snark and the Boojum are two completely different creatures with completely different habitats. Hello?

:

<susank> fancy icons miss the point
<susank> except for dangergirl ones

: I believe that this is the first time I have seen the phrase "a senior executive played electronic music he had written" in a news article.

: I'm starting to think I should have actually attended the CollabNet holiday party; there are a million press articles about it; here's the latest.

I even got to bond with the dashing engineer Manoj, who confessed that he would rather not code for users, or clients, or even for hardware. "Actually, I think I should just be pure energy," he proclaimed grandly.

: Hunt me! Kill me! Turn my hyde into a faux leather handbag! As usual, that link will work until Monday.

: The preachiest Segfault story I've ever written: Genetically Modified Teosinte on the Loose. Yes, even preachier than last year's heat death story.

: Celeste's last final is ongoing now. Then she's done with school! My final act as a UCLA student was to drop a paper on Wittgenstein into Professor Hsu's mailbox, and I liked having there be one defining moment, which wouldn't have happened if I'd been taking a final (and which I could take a picture of).

: Plausibly deniable spam from Amazon: "Since we haven't heard from you recently (at this e-mail address), we're passing along our solutions to common eleventh-hour holiday headaches." Well, that certainly makes... huh?

: The site was down for a while but now it's back. I have not yet heard from VA-Dan about the cause of the downage. Celeste wanted me to post something, so here it is. Hi, Celeste!

: A link for my mother: Steven Jay Gould's final essay for Natural History.

: I have an essay-like thought bubbling in my mind, but I haven't yet had the opportunity to write anything down.

: Whenever I hear Jon Katz talk about young people, I fear for the future. But then I remember that I was easily as obsessed with video games as anyone he's talking about, and I turned out fine. And I realize that, once again, Jon Katz is full of it, and everything is as it should be.

Hey, wait a minute... I am one of the people he's talking about. Argh! I know that Konami cheat code as well as anyone. When will my similarities to the Katz-kissing-up demographic end? I'm an adult! I have a bloody college degree! This isn't right!

: Kevin's SSH woes:

<kmaples> see what I have to deal with?:
<kmaples> Warning: Server lies about size of server host key: actual size is 1023 bits vs. announced 1024.
<kmaples> where's my bit!

: Just a couple more days until I get to see Celeste... even less time until I get to see my mother and sisters again. Huzzah!

: I know IRC humor is wrong, but I can't resist. Here's Manoj's latest:

I think for Christmas, we should buy Ed a Ford Expedition with a built-in TV tuned to QVC, with "Partnership for a Drug-Free America" and "Bush/Cheney 2000" bumper stickers. Oh, and we'd take him to SoCal to pick it up.

: I'm all packed to leave tomorrow but I have yet to get my camera to work with my Thinkpad. So I guess I'll be limited to 60 or however many pictures this coming 5 days. Oh darn.

: I had such a wonderful time with Celeste yesterday. :) I can't wait until I see her again.

: Segfault silliness: String, Boolean Passed to Function.

: Oh, I forgot to mention that I saw Celeste *twice*! I saw her on Saturday too! Her dad took here up here and dropped her off, and we took her back home that night. It was so wonderful getting to see her again. We surprised her with a Christmas stocking my mom made for her. It has the cute little onion guy from her homepage on it.

: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coens' latest, is out! I'm trying very hard not to read that review because I already know too much about it for my taste. I went into The Big Lebowski knowing nothing about it except the lines that Adam, Kris and LJ continually quoted out of context, and it was fabulous. Let's retain that innocence. For the laughter, for the music. For the boy.

: I'm glad this is online because I was going to type it up the way I did The Late Benjamin Franklin, and now I don't have to: Mark Twain's The Awful German Language. Don't miss the gut-wrenching Tale of the Fishwife and its sad Fate.

I cleaned up as regards Christmas gifts, by the way. I got a Clango T-shirt from Celeste! Yay!!! And lots of other stuff--I have pictures which will go up. But I think the Clango T-shirt was the best, even though it wasn't technically a Christmas gift.

: As my free gift to you, I have scanned an old magic catalog I got at an antique store on Saturday. Within the next few years it will become nice-looking and have a paging system with narration, but you can see the raw scanned images here. Fun for the whole family! Except for you.

As my free gift to Jake Berendes, I finally finished the album I was supposed to give him for his birthday. I hope to mail it to him eventually. To make up for its lateness, the album has no less than five titles: A Credit to His Demographic (the main title), Things I Broke on the Way Out, A Harvest of Death, A Vote For Me is a Vote For Food Reform, and special bonus title I Jake Berendized West Covina and All I Got Was This Lousy Tape. I made four track lists for it; you can see one of them. Jake, beware that some of the track names are fake names so that you won't know about songs you've already heard of until they're on top of you, metaphorically speaking.

I'm all packed up to leave tomorrow. I'm taking tomorrow off and will be in work on Wednesday. Back to the daily grind.

: More picture dumps from Thanksgiving and Christmas.

: The programming for my next IF game is pretty much done. All that remains before beta testing is for me to write a veritable encyclopedia of reference material for the game world. Bleah. Oh yeah, I also have to program all the interaction for all the NPCs. But they don't do a whole lot, so I'm not terribly unhappy about that task.

For Guess the Verb! I was fortunate enough to have Mike around to help me write all the descriptions and whatnot. But for this game I'm writing everything myself, and it's haaahd. Tedious, more like. Maybe it's because everything I write in this game has to be written in a particular style which is very different (though not as different as you might think) from my regular style.

Yes, I like teasing you by talking about my new game but not actually saying anything about it.

: Finally, more email from Andy. He's applying to graduate schools and whatnot. Andy is the ideal victim for my next plan but he might not have time for the irregular goings-on it entails.

: It's been a nightmare at work today. Our provider had an intermittent problem with one of their routers (or something) which led to hosts being accessible basically at random. I didn't get to commit any of the code I wrote today, and I didn't get to say something on here that I really wanted to say, which is...

Congratulations, Celeste!

She has officially passed all her classes and graduated! Yay!

: Today's quote: "I laugh in the face of hubris!". Kevin also had a great quote today but I don't remember it. Help me out, Kevin.

Kevin is the owner of the spiceweasels.com domain name, where you can see horrifying pictures of the Turducken. When I say "horrifying" I am not kidding. View at your own risk. In particular, view this picture at your own risk. That is of Kevin's friend Fred, who masterminded the Turducken.

Kevin is also the boss of lfino.com, which could be a weblog (which I could then link to on the navbar) if he tried a little harder.

: I finished Terror of Mechagodzilla this morning. It was pretty good, except they never got to the terror. It had the likable Andy Kaufman-like guy from Godzilla vs. Megalon in it. Katsuhiko Sasaki, that's the one.

: There is a cool thing about to be started at CollabNet which I get to be in charge of, sort of. Woohoo! I'm already sort of in charge of Helm (although I haven't embarked upon the modernification of the web page and writing of tech documents that I need to embark upon). I've discovered that I like being in charge of things a lot more when it's part of my job to be in charge of them.

: Behold the extent of my geekiness. Last night Celeste was telling me about the menanggalan, a member of the Filipino undead which takes the form of a woman whose head and internal organs separate from the host body and fly around at night. Instead of being frightened by this gruesome depiction, I was elated to have discovered the source of one of the weirder monsters in the 1st edition AD&D Fiend Folio. They call it a penanggalan there, but it's the same thing. You can read a conversion of the monster to 3rd Edition AD&D here, or read about the folklore and cinematic appearances of the [mp]enanggalan in an article here. Plus, I now know how to pronounce the name! ([mp]en-a-nang-ga-lan) Jake, take note.

: My game is ready for Mike to beta-test, but not for an open beta-test. I need to calibrate it on Mike first.

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