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: I haven't driven my car for several weeks and during that time it had become incredibly filthy, I know not how. So this morning I had to wash it. I was hoping the rain would wash it for me, but the rain only made it dirtier.

: Kris says:

Tonight's Episode kills me. When I saw "They Murdered The Evidence," I died laughing. Damn, I feel like the Crypt Keeper.

: Two things before I retire: rave for Guess The Verb! over at this weblog.

Also, an idea for an Illuminati special card that's so good we might actually draw it up: the Those Meddling Kids card. Playable any time it would cause someone to shake their fist and exclaim "I woulda gotten away with it, too, if it hadn'ta been for Those Meddling Kids!"

: I can't help but think there might be some other explanation.

: There appears to be not a single fan site dedicated to Doob-doob, the vain, stupid, but lovable crocodile from the Amar Chitra Katha series of comic books. How long can this deplorable state of affairs obtain?

: The San Francisco housing projects are the only places to live in San Francisco where there is adequate vegetation around the housing units.

: I can't get through to gogol so I can't check my email. Oh well.

The reason I'm up so late is that I went to a game night with Elise and two of her friends. We played Seafarers of Catan, twice, and I lost horribly but it was fun.

I'm going to stay up a bit longer to watch Tonight's Episode change, and then turn in. It's an exciting life I lead, no doubt.

: Went to Kevin's weekly Friday party and spent the night. Heading back to SF now.

Sumana comes back from Russia very late on the seventh and I'll be meeting her at the airport. That's the highlight of my social calendar for the week.

: Last night, as an alternative to Burning Man, Manoj suggested Lightly Toasted Man.

: Elise is having her birthday party tonight but I'm not going because I need to catch up on sleep. However this should not be construed as me not wishing Elise a happy birthday. This birthday party is also the birthday party of various other people, including Robey Pointer.

: While snooping through Daniel Hsu's bookmarks I found this useful set of tips for CS graduates going to work in the Silicon Valley area. I reccommend it to those who fit that criteria or similar criteria.

: Kevin on tigris.org project names, actual and proposed: "We need to take away Jason's book of Sumerian mythology."

: Oh. Yesterday morning, riding the BART, was a man made up as Charlie Chaplin's tramp. Presumably he had some good reason for doing that, but it was still pretty creepy.

: I was doing some cleaning yesterday and I haven't been able to get the smell of bleach out of my hands. It's like Macbeth in reverse.

: Can anyone tell me what's behind this link? Crummy got a hit (but only one) with that as referer today, and I don't care enough to sign up with the site to see what it says there, if indeed it says anything.

: I talked with Sumana over the phone and she came up with two choice bits. The first is "Dude, Where's Car 54?". The second is dialogue from a hypothetical P.G. Wodehouse slash fanfic.

"Oh, dash it all, Jeeves, take me! Take me now!"
"I have already done so, sir."

: I'm back from meeting Sumana at the airport. Hooray! I'm tired, so I'll retire now. It's a bit of a joke, you see.

Okay, that was bad. I really do need to sleep.

: I made up a new chord progression and tune to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and it's very catchy, but let's face it, there's really no market for new tunes to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

: While in Russia, Sumana got me a bootleg copy of Dude, Where's My Car?, horribly dubbed into Russian (some guy reading the script in a monotone dubbed onto the soundtrack). It alleged "Real DVD quality" but it was a regular CD, and it alleged "MPEG 4 Video" but it was actually a very small (in screen size) AVI. We watched it by continuously pushing the key that jumped it forward 20 seconds, and got through it in about 5 minutes. I was surprised to see that it actually had some good sight gags.

mplayer, which we used to view the AVI, is a really neat program. It lets you use Windows media codecs on Linux. Of course the relevant portions of mplayer are not free software (nor are the codecs), but when you're watching bootleg copies of Dude, Where's My Car?, there's really no moral high ground.

The Russian word for "dude" is the first two syllables of "Chewbacca". I find this hilarious.

: So, all this week I've been working on Tigris architecture, which is a lot of fun. My magnum opus is the Helm Component Integration Guide, which talks about how to write software to integrate with Helm and to integrate existing software into Helm. Today I wrote a proposal for cross-component search which I'm pretty proud of, even though I was largely standing on the shoulders of Michael Stack.

: Behold the abominations that are The Porkchesters! (more, if you can stand it)

: I just typed "Otherwise, the nothing happens."

: Ah, here's your implementation of the original Mahjongg.

: I am reading London: The Novel, which I got from my mother's book pile. It is teaching me that I should be wary of Anything: The Novel. The author commits many of the literary offenses popularized by Fennimore Cooper.

: I'm pleased to have come up with the name "Representation Without Taxation" for the Helm/Issuezilla XML-RPC integration scheme.

: More component integration madness with the advent of the Event Propagation Architecture doc and the Search Plugin Architecture doc.

: I'm off to the CollabNet picnic at Ardenwood Historical Farms, where I assume they grow history.

: During my afternoon nap I dreamed a sitcom in which the family whose sitcom it was kept changing ethnicities (and therefore actors). As far as premises for sitcoms go, this is actually above average, but my dream can't take credit for it because it's a special case of an idea I've had for a while. It got me thinking about an adversarial card game centered around an episode of a sitcom, in which some players are working to disrupt the sitcom by causing problems for the characters, and other players are working to resolve those problems before the end of the half-hour. As usual, however, I don't know how to design adversarial card games (all I know is that there would be a "Very Special Episode" card), and mere ideas for them are a dime a dozen. My idea is worth $0.008333...

The picnic was great, though I can't help but think it would have been better if we'd made it a potluck in some quiet place rather than sharing an inferior catered event with hundreds of other people (note, however, that it was still great). Sumana came with and got her face painted with "Free Dmitry". We played badminton with Jason Brittain and his wife. Pictures are on the other computer and I am lazy, so you probably won't see them until tomorrow. Wait, you know what I just realized? The flyer claimed there would be corn on the cob at the picnic, but there was no corn and no cob. I knew I was missing something!

I have some other ideas, mostly for non-interactive fiction, the authorship of which is a skill I have yet to master. I waffle and rewrite endlessly and am never satisfied with the result. The security guard encounter in Jake Berendes West Covina makes me wince. I need practice.

: I think Seth should do some sort of beer commercial: "After a hard day of freeing Dmitry, I like to relax with a nice, frosty brew." Sumana says Seth would never do such a commercial. It could be changed to be some sort of nonalcoholic beverage, but that's just not working-class enough.

I wrote about four kilobytes of text for a story called "Blue". It's almost a Lem story, but it's based on a mental image of mine that dates from high school, my pre-Lem days.

Wow, ADOM 1.0 is out! It was out days ago! And I'm too tired to play it!

Today's final note: Mike Popovic has once again found gainful employment, and has set up a NewsBruiser site for his baby daughter which I hope to be able to link to soon.

: Actually I've already linked to Mike's Zoe site.

: Lo and behold, picnic pictures are up.

: The bug in The Knapsack Problem has been eating at me for months, so today I decided to pull it down and see what the problem was. The bug has now been fixed, and now I can sleep at night. Unfortunately, it's morning.

: There is a new version of Katzdot out, but I didn't bother to upgrade because it actually reduces functionality (by removing "Fail" from the list of things that Flamers, Troubled Teens, The MPAA, or any of the other Jon Katz Illuminati cards might or might not be able to do). Don't ask me why.

: The Cautious Mad Scientist: First In A Series


: The Cautious Mad Scientist: Second In A Series


: "I'm campaigning for the nine-bit byte."

: Joe Mahoney Presents The Cautious Mad Scientist: Third In A Series:

There was a high statistical probability of success, discounting the external influence of those meddling kids!

: Segfault: Gates Claims Netscape Never Used Safeword

: Today I got a utility class I wrote for dealing with Java streams into the Jakarta Commons project. For some reason I'm very shy about committing things to Jakarta, and it's difficult for me to think of the other Turbine/Jakarta developers as peers, even though I work with three of them. Every bit of my code that gets into the project helps me to overcome this misconception.

: Today I am invited to another game night with Elise and her friends.

I am going to be working on another story in parallel with Blue. However it is taking a while to get started because it's a constrained writing exercise and I have to figure out the right constraint.


<SteveZ> While fiddling with a new recipe for a sigularity (using
         an infinite quanitiy of Hormel Chili, some chopped up spam
         and an infinitely large pinch of Mrs Grass's No-Salt
         Seasoning Mix this time) 
<SteveZ> I put it into the (infinitely large) press, Squeezed it
         infinitely small and it warp time and space so badly that
         there is now an infinitely deep, funnel shaped hole in my
         bath tub and it won't hold water any more.
<SteveZ> That sux because I really enjoy long hot baths.
<SteveZ> I tried stuffing towels into the hole to close it off but
         they just got sucked down towards the singularity :(
<SteveZ> The only upside I can see is that I no longer have to
         worry about the 1-35-gallon-container limitation on our
         garbage pickup service

: Geek-targeted banner ad: "Hyper-caffeinated mints, made with real sugar!"

: Again I lost both games of Seafarers of Catan (though I did much better than last time). However, I did win the warm-up game of Kill Dr. Lucky (It's a game! It's a bizarre sexual euphemism! It's both!), and earlier today I beat Manoj and Dan in an all-too-easy game of Illuminati (I kept turning over good cards and they kept rolling 11s).

For the past week and a half I have had a craving for strawberry shortcake.

: Oh yeah: I spent most of the day implementing the Helm event propagation mechanism, and it works great for simple cases. It is so easy to add in hooks it's not even funny (not that it would be funny if it were harder). I'm very proud of my little event propagation mechanism.

: Pedantic Lessons Tangentially Related To DRM: First In A Series

Data can not "erase itself". Only software can erase data.

: I found and fixed a (very minor) bug in Spread! The context was that Helm singleton elections were never finishing and suffering from other irregularities as to who was allowed to vote, which led to many Florida jokes being made by people who were not me.

: After playing a few games of ADOM 1.0, I can say that its main new feature is a Knapsack Problem-like assignment of prefixes and suffixes to previously ordinary weapons and armor.

: Oh! My event propagation mechanism will be making it (in very primitive form) into Tigris 1.2, because there was an even more primitive event propagation mechanism called Plugins, which Jason wrote and which my mechanism obsoletes. We present... My Mechanism!

: You're leading the Digital LifestyleTM, and then you need to make a shopping list and there's no damn paper in the house.

: If you come to my house you can have all the strawberry shortcake you want (unless you want more than I have). I made a bunch. In fact, I made too much.

: Raph Levien helped me get my advogato password back, so after an delay of over a year, I've finally updated my advogato page. In my absence, my advogato certification was upgraded to Journeyer due to the efforts of coworkers who had not forgotten their advogato passwords.

: Raph mentioned in his email to me that he'd enjoyed Guess The Verb!, which inspired me to read through the source code again. There's a lot of stuff I'd forgotten about, including the fact that the cashier in the UCLA scenario and the bridge troll in the cave scenario have a long-distance relationship going.

: Sumana asks, "What Would Jeeves Do?"

: Yesterday was a shopping bonanza! I got new shoes and a new phone to replace my dilapidated old shoes and unusable old phone. I also got a bathmat for the immediate exterior of the shower so I no longer have to pretend that towels are as good as bathmats.

: Mike on his new game testing job:

it's actually a lot like an old 1950s factory job. everyone must show up at 9am. work is assigned. everyone must take lunch from 1-2pm. two 15 minutes breaks (11am & 4pm). turn in your game disk and hours log at 6pm. all that is missing is a Flinstones-esque factory whistle.

: My new shoes are about two pounds lighter than my old pair; apparantly nowadays they can make shoes which incorporate no steel at all! I ran to catch a light on my way to the BART and I ran a lot faster than in my other shoes.

: One "jihad baydoun" just sent me my first Arabic spam. I've now gotten spam in Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and probably Russian and Spanish (though I can't think of any specific examples). Collect them all! I'm still waiting for the Esperanto and Latin spam.

: The fire alarm went off in our building (a false alarm), so we all trooped downstairs and outside, where I saw none other than Fortune columnist Stewart Alsop, who was apparantly visiting one of the companies in the building.

: I got an Esperanto (?) spam from Kris, but I'm still waiting for the Latin spam.

: Thanks to Kris (Esperanto) and Seth (Latin) for their respective spams!


A lot of people at collab ask "What does Ops do?", "What do I need to do in order to get 'X' done for my project?", "What is the Ops process for 'Y'" and "Why did Elise try and bite me?"

--Robert Benefield, director of Ops

: Wednesday and yesterday I wrote a Helm component called HappyAlligator which is sort of the 'Hello World' of Helm components. It has a bunch of alligators which are informed of Helm events. Additions (of projects, users, etc.) make them happy, and deletions make them unhappy. Thanks to Mike for drawing the alligator pictures for me. I will put up a screenshot sometime when I'm done abstracting stuff out of HappyAlligator.

: Quote from last night's party: "[Claude] Shannon said it, I believe it, that settles it."


She was mean, obscene, and squeaky clean
About the size of a lima bean
Her steely eye had a manaical gleam
The Android Assassin From Vega XV

That's my new song.

: I was thinking of Steven Wolfram earlier today (Steven Wolfram is one of my 1000 minor obsessions), and later today from a variety of sources I've found a new interview with him. And I was reminded of what Michael Shermer said in his interview that I read today, that doing something brilliant buys you attention capital which you can spend later on in getting people to listen to your crazy idea and evaluating whether or not it's actually crazy.

: I think tonight I will catch up on email. I owe email to a bunch of people.

: Banner ads like this are much more effective when the hosting page thinks they're the regular banner ad size. Also, why is that a warning?

: I had hoped to get digital representations of A Credit To His Demographic tonight, but unfortunately my tape player is not a credit to its demographic at all. It plays everything very loudly and with much distortion. I'll need to go to Radio Shack and find something to connect my little portable tape player to the computer.

Man, the solo for Peanut Butter And KY Jelly is cool.

: I took care of my most pressing email needs, but many emails went unwritten last night. Oh well.

: I'm eating very good zucchini bread, which Elise's friends gave to me the last time I went to a game night. Zucchini bread was the classic example of something I would never, ever eat when I was younger. I think I might try carrot cake again, too. I used to always feel ripped off at a party or something when the cake turned out to be a carrot cake, but I might enjoy it now.

: Wow, a Segfault story was published on ZDNet China.

: Seth has tempted me with a copy of the BBC that has robotfindskitten on it if I show up at LinuxWorld, but I have more pressing matters to attend to.

: The Cautious Mad Scientist: Fourth In A Series


: This is the first diagram I've ever seen that makes Pluto look big.


And in the best possible way, too -- not by federal antitrust lawyers, but a bespectacled geek from Finland.

Why is Finland optimal?


Jeff: You don't eat shrimp, right?
Susan: Nope.
Jeff: How about... beef?
Susan: Not usually, no.

: So... I don't have words enough or time right now, so let me just point to lucas's writings on a subject which greatly affects me: the proprietarization of Helm, a project (Helm, not its proprietarization) I've been working on for over a year.

I'll be publishing more on this topic later. In the meantime, if you care (which is unlikely), I've put up a mirror of the CVS trees as they were yesterday.

: Apparantly I missed my old friend Joe Barr at LinuxWorld. I knew there was some reason I wanted to go. Well, hopefully next time.

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