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[Comments] (4) : I need to publish my long-delayed lessons learned entries before the election, because afterwards there will be no news hook at all (this is actually one of the lessons learned) and no one will care. But man. I'm having a political nervous breakdown. I couldn't watch the debate last night, and I'm not sure why. I'm over my "I can't believe my guy didn't get nominated" disappointment. Aren't I?

[Comments] (2) Codecon Codecon.: Anybody got any brilliant ideas for CodeCon '89 2005?

Predigested Meaning: uselessword and 0x800ccc0d are... well, they are what they are. I really like the idea of replacing words with random numbers; the result looks like someone should be reading it over an obscure radio band.

Incidentally, you can do base conversion in Python by passing in the base as the second argument to the int() function. Pretty neat, huh?

[Comments] (1) Remembrance of Events That Occur In The Past: Sumana was looking at an Evite she got. Evite says "This event occurs in the past."

Lost weekend. Where did it go? Now it's occuring in the past.

[Comments] (4) Pearls Of Great Size: In the Colossal Cave adventure you open a colossal oyster to reveal a colossal pearl. There's also a huge pearl in Steinbeck's The Black Pearl. If such a pearl did exist, would it really be that valuable? A marginally bigger chunk of gold is marginally more valuable because it's divisible, but pearls are used in their entirety for decoration. There must be a point beyond which marginally larger pearls stop being marginally more valuable. Clearly this happens well beyond the point where marginally larger pearls become marginally tackier.

[Comments] (1) : Before Pong, there was, well, more Pong.

: There must be a better game to play with these dictator cards than the morbid-yet-milquetoast War variant suggested, though I guess War is thematically appropriate.

[Comments] (14) Leonard's White Chocolate Vendetta #2: Finally, a use for white chocolate: Reverse chocolate chip cookies! Instead of pretending that white chocolate is chocolate, that it can be substituted for chocolate, or that it has special properties of its own and should be addressed as its own ingredient, it recognizes that white chocolate is the absence of chocolate, and treats it accordingly. And wouldn't you know but the result is pretty good. I can't help but think the result would be better (modulo the really quite nice visual) with real chocolate, though. That's the tragedy of white chocolate. If you do come up with a good recipe containing this ersatz chocolate, a better recipe is as close as using real chocolate instead.

Sail The Boolean Seas: What a great search request: mola AND mola

[Comments] (2) : Dog Bites Dog says: "Darth Vader Controls the Speed of Protein Folding". I guess I underestimated the power of the dark side.

There's a Darth Vader grotesque (via, with picture) in the National Cathedral. Which makes sense, since pop culture is what we have now instead of myth and folklore. I thought about browsing the NatCat (ooh, good newslang!) site to see if there were any other interesting grotesques, or even if they had a list of the ones there were, but "Darth Vader" was its own menu option so somehow I doubt it.

This reminds me of one of my co-workers telling me about a cathedral they're building in Barcelona (?) which has statues of businessmen and other average contemporary people. I was only half paying attention so I don't remember any details or even who told me this, but I thought it was a good idea. This happened at a disappointing lunch at Chili's restaurant. If you ordered something with bleu cheese and chipotle peppers you'd expect it to have some flavor or at least make your breath smell bad, but that's not how they do things at Chili's restaurant. Anyway, does anyone know anything about this cathedral?

[Comments] (2) Dy-no-mite: As suggested and previously reported, Sumana and I went to see Napoleon Dynamite the other day. I can confirm that the main character is basically me in high school; not in general like "yeah, I was a misfit in high school", but in fair detail down to the mannerisms. Also, Efren Ramirez, who plays Napoleon's buddy, looks a lot like my high school buddy Dario Espinoza (however, Dario is much cooler than the character in the movie).

The movie takes place in the present day or at least in the late '90s, but aesthetically everyone in the movie seems ten to fifteen years behind the times. They all dress like my junior high classmates. I don't know if this was a conceit of the movie to make the characters look dorky or if it was a way of making fun of rural Idaho or if rural Idaho is actually stuck in the early '90s (Do you guys need help? Wait, actually, can we join you?). What goes on here?

It was a good character study movie and I recommend it. It starts out looking like a lot of set pieces, but the set pieces cohere into a story, but the story doesn't really have a plot because if there were a plot the characters would find out what it was and then try to ruin it for various reasons.

Lebowski watch: there was a brief bowling alley scene which can only be explained as a Lebowski homage. Why else would characters in a movie enter a bowling alley?

Sumana, I think the reason the theater is spooky is that nobody goes there, and it's supposedly part of a mall but it's actually across the street from the mall on the edge of a residential area.

Feeling Lucky: Wow, the new Lucky Ducky cartoon is actually good!

Death Takes A Second Job: I guess this is an eye-catching banner ad?

[Comments] (1) Drought: No posting for most of the rest of the week. People have all kinds of silly reasons for not posting to their weblogs, but I think I've come up with the silliest reason ever.

[Comments] (5) People Named After Programming Languages: A couple weeks ago Sumana and I went to lunch with Rachel Chalmers and Jeremey Fitzhardinge. Their daughter is named Claire, and Rachel mentioned how they were jealous of Ada Norton for having been named after the same name as a programming language. But then they found out there's a programming language named Claire, which satisfied their child-naming programming language lust.

That made me curious as to what other programming language names you could give a kid. Despite (or perhaps because of) my own better judgement I am limiting the list to reasonable names and avoiding names like "Bullfrog" that I like, and individual people might like, but that a couple would never agree on.

Girls' names: Ada, Alice, Alma, April, Aura, Bliss, Charity, Claire, Eleya, Ember, Emerald, Envy, Euphoria, Ewe, Friend (if you're a Puritan), Glee, Godiva, Hope, Io, Ivy, Jade, Joy, Juliet, Lakota, Leta, Libra, Lua, Maple, Mary, Maude, Mila, Miranda, Muriel, Onyx, Pandora, Pe[a]rl, Ruby, Sally, Theta.

Boys' names: Ace, Al, Alan, Alf, Alvyn, Bob, Cecil, Chuck, Crow, Darwin, Dino, Dylan, Euclid, Heron, Hugo, Igor, Kermit (not really a programing language, but it's got an embedded scripting language), Kid, Mercury, Oberon, Occam, Pascal, Peter, Pike, Rene, Rex[x], Slate, Saul, Tom, Yorick, Zeno.

[Comments] (2) : When I'm gone, Bundle Me In Graphite.

: The not-posting life is not the life for me, but there should be no more interruptions of that length in the forseeable future. (I still can't believe I'm doing this silly thing.) Anyway, the Syndication Automat got mentioned on CoolGov, and I added to the Automat a feed for the University of Pennsylvania's Online Books Page, which aggregates links to free online books from all over the web. It has a lot more technical books, religious books, and generally modern stuff than Project Gutenberg. I've been looking at it sporadically for years but now I can keep up with it.

I promised Seth I'd add some other feeds to the Automat, so I'll probably do that this weekend. It's good easy useful work.

[Comments] (1) : If you want robotfindskitten to be more violent, well... I already wrote robotfindskitten 2: This time it's personal!, and Kris did robotfindskitten: The Deltaur Initiative. On the other hand, if you want robotfindskitten to be more violent yet still be recognizable as robotfindskitten, you can try Ryan Finnie's rfk-hypermegadeath patch, which introduces the first reliable way to lose at robotfindskitten. Elise says one of her friends used to consistently lose at robotfindskitten by playing it over an unreliable serial link that would go down before kitten was found, but not everyone can afford such an environment.

Studies Show Seth Often No Motivator: But not this time. As a result of a conversation we had at his birthday party, I put up an Automat feed of the GNU Philosophy page. However now that I think about it it should probably track the What's New page instead. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow.

Update: that's better.

: Automat mania continues; I added a new feed for new things added to the Interactive Fiction Archive. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to work out; probably you'll get new files right away and then again once they get processed. Not a big deal.

Because I've been able to remember to update it for a while, the deliverables weblog is back in business. Let me know if you actually find it useful.

: Oh yeah, the other thing I did yesterday was fix up Beautiful Soup to give you more ways to search for tags with certain attributes. I can't take all the credit since Jonathan Ellis came up with the basic idea, but I will take most of the credit.

[Comments] (4) LowbrowRustic Cheese Puffs: When I was younger I sometimes tried to make choux puffs and put pudding or ice cream in them for a dessert. But since they always came out flat it was difficult to put things in them. For my birthday party back in July I made savory choux puffs with cheese, and Sumana loved them so much that I kept making them, and eventually I had paid my puff-making dues and my puffs started actually coming out puffed.

Sumana wanted me to put up the recipe even though there's nothing special about my recipe, so here it is. Maybe I can help with technique.

The recipe uses my patented "1 of everything" measurements. I call them Rustic because to save time I dole them out with a spoon instead of a pastry bag, so they are a little lumpy. As all restaurant-goers know, Lumpy equals Rustic and vice versa.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the butter, salt, and pepper in the water and boil it. As soon as it comes to a boil, dump the flour in and stir it into a big ball. Transfer it to the mixer bowl, or use a hand mixer, because you're really going to need to clobber this dough. I'm pretty sure that insufficient clobbering was the cause of the flatness of my earlier attempts (my other guess is cold eggs; I haven't yet run an experiment to see which it is).

Start clobbering and add the eggs one at a time. Once the mixture looks thoroughly clobbered, add another egg. Then add the cheese and clobber some more.

Scoop with a spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Parchment paper or a Silpat mat on the cookie sheet help a lot. Knife the puffs when they come out of the oven so they don't get soggy. Then either eat them or let them sit a while, cut them open, and fill with something. My favorite filling right now is duxelle (basically sauteed mushrooms and onions) and MORE CHEESE. I am trying to think of something with kalmata olives. For truly lowbrow cheese puffs you could just fill them with Cheez Whiz.

This makes 24 cheese puffs, or 2 cookie sheets' worth.

: These crazy Texans have written software that maps a phylogenic tree onto a circle, the result resembling a cross-section of the trunk of a real tree. For maximum confusion, use this software to diagram the relationships between different types of tree. There's a monster PDF that shows a representative sample of all of life on a big circle. Excellent visualization, though I think it blurs the real distance between two arbitrary species. You think it's correlated to the distance between the two around the circle, when you actually have to go down the tree to find the common ancestor. Obvious application of this fallacy: unroll the circle, and you've got the Great Chain of Being.

Fox and the Grapes: NewsBruiser 2.5.0 is out. It doesn't have anything earth-shaking but there are several bug fixes I'd been feeling bad about not having in a proper release. The big sparkly draw is the del.icio.us integration, for use in case you're crazy like me.

[Comments] (4) : I wrote a piece of software that is really neat. I think it's in the top quartile of the class of application that people could have turned into software companies back in 1999. I don't know anything about starting software companies, and it's not 1999, but I still think there's some way to make money off of it. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to distribute it even if I give up hopes of monetary gain. I'm hoping my readers can help.

My original plan was I would host it and let people have accounts on it, but as it turns out, it requires a lot of processing time to keep one user happy. (I have optimized this a lot but it's still pretty high.) I can't host it for more than ten or twenty people without buying a dedicated server, and a dedicated server will probably only let me go up to a couple hundred users. I don't want to enter the realm of running dedicated servers because that means the project has taken over my life, and unless it's my actual job to run the project I don't like that.

That's the one option. Now, this is a piece of software that sometimes reads other people's web pages. If somehow I got it all set up and everyone in the world were using it, it would use up about as much of your average web page author's bandwidth as, say, Technorati does. This I could live with. On the other hand, if I gave it out as open source and n people ran their own instances of it, it would be like creating n/k Technoratis for some fairly large k. If n got bigger than k I would have unleashed a monster upon the world. A monster! Usually you can count on nobody caring about the software you release, but I don't want to take that risk. The people I've shown this to really like it.

My current inclination is to just write a paper detailing all my secrets and making this someone else's problem, or at least making me look like a visionary when someone else comes up with the same idea. My ideal outcome would be selling the idea and the current implementation to someone, where I get some money up front and they make a lot more money by setting up servers and taking subscriptions and generally letting the project take over their life. I know that's not likely to happen. What's the next best option?

[Comments] (7) NYCB Readers Demand (or, "Whatever Mola Wants, Mola Gets"): My readers exact a heavy toll for their (no doubt forthcoming) advice on the dilemma expounded upon in my previous entry, by... giving me stuff to post. First we have two reader-submitted Google Memewatches (Google Memeswatch?). * don't * people from Kevan, who informs me that the actual, far-too-precious name for a Google Memewatch is a "snowclone"; and will the real * please stand up, from the usual gang of idiots.

Second: I have been overwhelmed with links to this story, reinforcing my delusion that NYCB is the preeminent mola mola weblog, when the fact is that I am just the preeminent mola mola obsessive. A huge mola mola has washed up on the shores of New Zealand. Why? Perhaps because of Joe Mahoney's dark secret. I don't know; maybe it was a bodyboarding accident.

The Tar Pit Turns One: 1 year since I turned on NYCB comments. Grep shows that NYCB has since accumulated almost 1000 comments, and the other weblogs on this site about 3000 more (Rachel is in second place with about 750 comments). Amazingly I have grown to like comments on my weblog; I had my doubts initially, but I must admit that this is the nicest tar pit I've ever sunk into. It's more like a refreshing tar bath.

[Comments] (3) Frog Blog Demon Dog: Ever since Sumana first said "frog blog", people have continued to create weblogs called "frog blog". Recently we saw a frog blog that starred Demon Dog! Only they call him the Quiet Coyote, and his job is not to show up and commiserate with you when you are bored or annoyed, but to show up and silently express his Puritan disapproval of your noisiness. He is quiet; why can't you be?

Maybe Demon Dog is Quiet Coyote's evil brother. Or I could see them in an Odd Couple type matchup.

[Comments] (1) Your Spam Name: Yesterday I wrote a little toy called Your Spam Name. In a coincidence that boggles the mind, it turns out that Kevan wrote the exact same toy a couple weeks ago and never told anyone about it. Because I think my toy looks nicer than Kevan's, I'm going ahead and releasing it anyway. After all, what spammer would settle for just one spam name? Anyway, if we don't get the word out people will just keep writing them.

[Comments] (4) Daylight Savings Time Mnemonic: I can feel it in my bones (or in the fact that I inhabit a world of near-permanent darkness); it's almost time to flip the DST bit in my time zone's time struct. Most daylight-savings-time sufferers know the mnemonic for which direction you go when going on or off daylight savings time: spring forward, fall back. But since the two changes cancel each other out, I could never remember whether the purpose of daylight savings time was to bottle the bounteous daylight of summer, or to hoard the precious daylight of the winter months.

Then I realized that you could use the exact same mnemonic to remember this as well. In spring you go on Daylight Savings Time, and in the fall you go off it. Spring on, fall off. Pretty slick, no? Too bad they already gave out the Nobels this year.

The other thing you can do is live in the UK, where the name of the Daylight Savings timezone is British Summer Time.

[Comments] (2) : People are going to Canada to get flu shots. Can flu shot spam be far behind?

Monday Update: Kevin got Flu shot alternative! As the alternative, Kevin recommends getting the flu.

[Comments] (2) Not the kind of whales I had in mind: Sumana was looking at the map and found Grey Whale Cove south of Pacifica. We thought that was a nice-sounding name and decided to go visit it, but then I discovered that it's a nude beach. So we're going to walk the Golden Gate Bridge instead.

[Comments] (1) On The Bridge:

"You know what would be awesome would be if a container ship went right underneath us."
"Yes, dear."

It almost happened, too.

Yesterday's News: OK, my silly experiment is o'er. You should now be able to figure out why I posted sporadically this month.

I remember having an intense dislike for Suck back when it was publishing (this stemmed from similar causes as with my once intense but now merely simmering dislike for Wired). However I'm really liking the unofficial "nine years later" RSS feed.

This has a couple causes. One is nostalgia for nine years ago, when the web was new and exciting. FishTalk or Annoying Hum--which browser plugin will conquer the desktop? Did you hear that some people are putting their journals up on the web?!?! What's next, copies of physics papers? It all seems sort of ridiculous, now that every compressed food-pill, government mind implant, and virtual sexbot has its own web site. As I once said to Pete Peterson II:

Funny how nostalgia depends on less information connectivity, less bandwidth, less knowledge, less sophisticated tools, scarcer resources in general. Instead of figuring out new ways to use our brains, we just use tools to make old jobs easier and wish there were more challenges. There are new challenges but we can't think of them.

The other is that I have become very interested in the idea revisiting old news, as a corrective to the arbitrary demands of the news cycle. This is why I have a Today In History on top of NYCB, so you can go back and see the foolishness of my previous self in daily installments. Old Suck is more entertaining than copies of pre-eWeek PC Week, but with its leaf-in-the-wind contrarianism it makes all the same mistakes as that more august rag.

Not only is this educational, it's just fun to watch people get it wrong, such as when Suck sorta-praises The Doom Generation and writes Kevin Smith off as a one-hit wonder, when as we in the future know that The Doom Generation only existed in people's articles about it, and that though Kevin Smith is indeed a one-hit wonder he has managed to pull off the same hit multiple times.

The same principle could apply to other types of news. I like Scientific American's huge "x years ago" archive, but they focus on the things that turned out to be important. I think there's as much to be learned from a regular dose of what people used to think was important. For a while I've been kicking around the idea of presenting an old front page as though the things on it still mattered, but I'm not sure where to start. What are news organizations with deep archives? CNN? Do they keep track of the old front pages or do I have to figure out for myself what the past thought was important?

[Comments] (1) Beans and Threads: I'm sure this comes as a surprise to no one, but frozen green beans are no good. I've been making green beans recently from the fresh ones you have to trim and it's been time-consuming but the green beans are great. Last night I was lazy and used frozen beans and they were soggy like the grave. Well, they were soggy like the ones I hated when I was a kid, the ones that come in a pack with tasteless corn and lima beans that get stuck in your molars (but not your molas) when you chew.

Also, I just noticed that Daily Kos is using my old Clark Community Network rolling open thread code for sites where people love to have huge random conversations. I assume it's my code because the wording is almost exactly the same. Neat.

[Comments] (1) Spammer B. Goode: My not-that-bad fears have been confirmed: "Your Spam Name" generators are multiplying! But instead of multiplying forward in time, like skinnable MP3 players or open source CMSes, they are multiplying backward in time. Kevan informs me that after writing his "Your Spam Name" script he discovered an even earlier one, which spits out spammer names at random rather than taking a seed. However, it provided me with the best spam name I've ever seen: Hospitable B. Inhospitality.

[Comments] (2) Zithermania!: Kevin told me that "traditional goth" is now considered its own musical genre. Soon there'd better be a musical genre called Zithermania!, or I'll be disappointed.

Cool Things:

  1. The 204 HTTP status code, "No Content". In addition to denoting an extremely boring website, you can return this and the client will stay where it was instead of expecting a new page from you. This is great for control panel type pages, in conjunction with some Javascript on the client side to mantain displayed state (I know, I've been seduced by the Javascript side, or perhaps just the client side).
  2. Python open source job opening writing test automation software.

[Comments] (1) I could a tale unfold: tales of the

(from Sumana)

[Comments] (1) Unwavering Public Confidence: OK, I gotta actually start writing these. This one's going to say a lot of what I want to say about politics, though some of it in less detail than I could give. I'm going to talk about confidence. This, or the ability to project it, is the most important personality trait for someone working for a political campaign. Even when everything is going all to hell you must remain confident that it will all go right and you will prevail. You must never admit weakness, lest that acknowledged weakness begin to grow without bound.

I can think of a couple reasons for this, though both are based in speculation. The personal reason is that a lot of people have careers in politics; it's usually not a one-shot deal like it was for me. I think expressing any doubt in the sureness of your cause hurts your chances for being enlisted in future causes. Nobody likes a loser, but in politics you can't help occasionally being a loser. What you can help is predicting your own impending loserdom.

The other reason is that if you ever admit weakness, that becomes the media story about your campaign. Why are you staying in the race if you're not going to act like you've got it locked up? It's like the emperor admitting he's naked! Endless fun for the press.

I'm almost positive about this, but I never actually saw it happen, because--stay with me here--nobody ever admits any weakness in an election. Even poor Joe Lieberman, in the Democratic primaries, went around smiling and talking about having the "Joementum", long after it had become clear that "Joementum", while real, was a new phenomenon totally unrelated to "momentum" (am I the only person in the world who still makes "Joementum" jokes?). It was embarrassing to watch, but he had to do it or get out of the race.

I imagine what I'd do with the gift of a political opponent admitting, in a speech to the three undecided voters in an evenly divided state, that his triumph (thanks to the unswerving support of the good people of that state) was less than a sure thing. I'm a lousy speechwriter but I'd say something like "My opponent said recently that this election is going to be close, heh heh. Well, maybe he's a little too far from what's happening on the ground with Michigan voters. I've been talking to people all around this state and I know what's coming. The only thing close about this election is how close [opponent's name] will be to the unemployment line when it's all over! [Note: use non-unemployment joke if you are the incumbent.] We're going to win, because the voters of Michigan are going to show [campaign-specific boilerplate about what you're going to show whom]!" You could be forty points behind and give this speech and press coverage of it would studiously avoid the fact that you were obviously deluding yourself or lying. You would only get weird looks if you gave this speech outside of Michigan.

I am not good at seeming confident even when I actually am. My instinct as an engineer is to plan for the worst case and bring up enough possible pitfalls to fill an SEC filing. So once the Clark campaign started losing primaries I became even more glad that my position didn't require me to interact with the public beyond fielding tech support questions.

Hey, sometimes this charade works. Look at John Kerry. In December 2003 John Kerry's campaign was a joke. He had to mortgage his house to keep going.[0] His staff was putting out feelers (privately, of course!) trying to defect to us. But now all my friends from Clark are working for Kerry and he's a swing state away from the presidency. Why? Well, because the Kerry campaign had a really good ground operation in Iowa and got a snowball effect from it. But the thing that kept everything from falling apart again was the unwavering public confidence.

One of the things I've learned is that politics is made of two different professions: campaigning and governing. I have never experienced the governing firsthand, but a lot of the people who work in campaigning are auditioning for a job in governing--not just the candidates.

A lot of the problems with politics are in my opinion problems with confusing the two professions. People move to the governing profession and don't learn or don't want to learn the new skill set. An example is governing with the goal of getting re-elected instead of serving your constituents.

An opposite mistake is this belief that acting like you've already won will help you win. Unwavering public confidence is a prerequisite to success in politics, but it does not bring success. In my opinion we made the mistake of thinking otherwise, and this was a big reason why we didn't turn the Clark campaign around; coincidentally I also think it's a big reason why George W. Bush has been a lousy president.

[0] Funny (I hope) side note. Jordan and I and I don't know who else spent some dinner time making up silly fundraising graphics for the various candidates. (These would be web page graphics that show how much money the website visitors have raised; see for instance the one on Daily Kos; left-hand corner, scroll down). The Kerry one we came up with was "pay off the mortgage on John Kerry's house". The Lieberman one had a cup of coffee with "fill the cup of Joe". His fundraising goal was $2.50 for coffee. Man, I could do a whole entry just making fun of Joe Lieberman.

[Comments] (3) : In a follow-up to yesterday's deadly revelation[0] on the post-campaign fate of the code I wrote for the Clark campaign, today I found out from Sumana that the Kerry campaign is using a hacked version of my eBlocks software for distributed phone banking. I'd talked to some Senate campaigns and state parties about it over the months, but this is the first time I've seen it in use. Even more neat!

[0] Okay, so it wasn't deadly. What of it? I thought you liked sensationalism! At least that's what I heard from your ALIEN LOVE SLAVE!

[Comments] (4) Category Non-Error: Man, it's nice to post without having to check to see if I can post today. (By the way, has anyone figured out what I was doing? Hint: I'm way too proud of it and it wasn't worth the planning it took.) Anyway, today I take finger to keyboard to praise a new NewsBruiser feature to which I gave short shrift in the actual release.

The feature was written as part of the del.icio.us integration (thus the shortness of the shrift), but you can use it standalone. Instead of selecting categories from a list you can just type in their names. Categories that don't exist get created. It's so easy to use, no wonder it's #1 (for del.icio.us interfaces). If I didn't have so much invested in my baroque system of long category names, I'd start using it for NYCB. I may do so anyway. I'm a loose cannon, Richardson! Turn in my badge!

[Comments] (4) Pie Ice Cream Pie: While Brendan and Maria were over recently, I made Jake's suggested pie ice cream. I think it turned out horribly so I haven't posted a recipe, but the pattern is sound:

  1. Make pie
  2. Make ice cream mix
  3. Put both in ice cream maker.

Try it with a better pie than the weird one I made, and you might get lucky.

My ice cream pies, however, are turning out great. I've made a couple since my debut effort, and since ice cream pie is even simpler than pie ice cream, most of my mental energy goes into making it a showcase for new kinds of ice cream.

  1. Make 2 batches of ice cream
  2. Make graham cracker crust
  3. Put #1 in #2.

The trick is to make it with two contrasting flavors of ice cream. Butter pecan is outstanding in ice cream pie, and my most recent concoction features a great peanut butter chocolate ice cream, but I think there's a little bit too much nuttiness with both in the same pie. Still good though.

Whenever I do research on this topic I come back to this list of ice cream pie recipes, but I've never really been happy with it. Most people seem to think an ice cream pie is kind of lowbrow, the kind of thing you make on the cheap from a store-bought half gallon of ice cream (this person kind of excepted). I like a subtle dessert sometimes like a sorbet, but my favorite kind is one that beats you up with flavor. For this it is hard to beat an ice cream pie.

Re peanut butter and things of similar viscosity. I haven't yet been able to get swirls in ice cream, but it turns out that swirls are decadent and unneccessary. If you soften in the microwave the thing you were thinking of swirling, and put it in the ice cream mix before it goes into the mixer, it'll actually be better; the flavor will permeate the ice cream instead of being in big arachibutyrophobia-inducing lumps. Swirls were probably invented to get away from this homogeny hegemony, but I prefer it this way.

: Sumana pointed me to this Salon article about people handing out religious tracts to trick-or-treaters. Says one tract magnate:

"A tract that has a ghoul on the cover might really speak to a kid who's been dabbling in those kinds of things, but we may not be able to sell that to the Christians. We stay away from the occult stuff and tend to use more innocuous costumes, like pirates."

Sumana is sad that pirates are considered innocuous, but I think this opens up new possibilities. "Arrr! I'll pillage in strict accordance with the teachings of the apostle Paul!" If I weren't so busy dabbling in ghouls, I'd work some religiousinspirational angle into the walktheplank.net business plan.

[Comments] (3) robotfindspython!: Last night and today I toiled under the lash of curses, verily even the curse of curses. But now my triumph is complete: I have written a robotfindskitten implementation in Python! It can read non-kitten items from a file! Genius!

I also brought my robotfindskitten page back to life as the Ultimate robotfindskitten Fan Page. There's got to be one, so why shouldn't it be mine? It's got some files of NKIs for use with the Python version.

[Comments] (4) : Here are some fun Nethack patches, including the obsessive-compulsive photography patch and the awesome, but could be more awesome, pirate patch.

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