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[Comments] (1) Vacuum Diagrams: At last, sci-fi that fills my need for creepy speculation about the creepy Great Attractor.

[Comments] (1) Coconut Rice Pudding: I made this for my mother. It turns out you can cook rice in coconut milk and then it tastes like delicious coconut. Then you can make rice pudding out of the leftovers and it's good. I used the James Beard recipe.

[Comments] (3) : Inform 7 looks awesome, as promised, but I can't use it because it's a Windows-and-Mac-only IDE. But this is actually good because I shouldn't be writing IF right now. Sure makes me want to start again though.

[Comments] (1) Buttons: Going through stuff I've been storing at my mother's house that I'm going to have to take to New York or get rid of. Among these things is a big pile of buttons from computer trade shows in the early 80s. I got these from my dad, and I seem to remember culling them from a larger set which is now lost. Once I get a digital camera I'll take pictures of them for you. Some of them are really weird ("SAMPLE MY ATTRIBUTES", "HOW CAN IT BE?").

: The power went out two days in a row. Yesterday it was just us and a couple other houses, but today it was most of Bakersfield. This is not a good time, emergent behavior!

: The Frogs, my favorite Greek play, has an ongoing webcomic adaptation that's pretty good. Same comic also has a transparent Pogo-esque satire using Winnie-the-Pooh characters. From Sumana.

: More webcomics: Keyword Cartoons is in some sense the counterpart to Spamusement: high-grossing (but not engrossing) AdSense keywords turned into cartoons. The... character... of the main character fits this concept exactly.

: On the back of an old pay stub from 1996 I found some FTP sites I'd visited in the last days of the BBS. ftp.uu.net amd ftp.cse.unsw.edu.au are still around; ftp.digex.net and macbeth.cogsci.edu.ac.uk are gone. What do these random hostnames have in common? Well, three of them are mentioned in the Roguelike Games FAQ. Looks like I wanted Larn and the PC port of Rogue.

More miscellany coming soon; I typed up my mother's annotations to her copy of the James Beard Cookbook. I'll put that on a separate page instead of in NYCB.

: By the rings of Earth!

[Comments] (3) : My mother died early this afternoon. We're writing on her weblog about her last days.

[Comments] (3) Postcards from my Father: We've been sorting through my mother's archives, planning to digitize everything. Hopefully we will actually do it and not leave it to the next generation.

After a long morning we thought we had it all done. Then I opened a cupboard and there were about ten boxes: "Rachel's Schoolwork", "Leonard's Postcards", "Susanna's Certificates", etc. etc. We let out a collective groan.

But what a find. "Roy's Postcards" fill up two boxes. There are more than 500 of them, and the vast majority were never sent to anyone. My dad was a compulsive postcard buyer. He bought them for himself, and wrote on each postcard a description of how he got it, or what he'd done that day.

In our excavations we have encountered many of my dad's journals. Usually he'd only written on the first five or ten pages. But these boxes contain a journal going from 1982 to 1991. My dad could keep a journal going; he just needed the right medium. He needed a LiveJournal.

The vacations, museum visits, and other memorable moments of my youth are especially well-represented in the postcard box, since that's where he usually got the postcards. So on balance, I'm glad we found all those extra boxes of stuff that needs to be scanned.

I haven't even mentioned "Leonard's Postcards", which include many examples of me-learning-to-write hilarity such as this one from 11/23/1984. In this piece, I start off following the rules of a mailed postcard, but as space runs out I get more and more desperate, finally piling all the letters atop each other in the corner like a typewriter that won't line-feed:

NANDIDIDNOTL[big jumble of letters]

[Comments] (1) : Today my mother's funeral service. She planned the service, which means we sang all the crazy Mormon songs no one ever sings, and then there were delicious ribs.

I think that Sisyphus, Brendan's Anacrusis from May 4, is apropos.

[Comments] (2) : Back in Bakersfield from Utah burial. Scanning and packing stuff night and day. Am currently working on a binder of Whitney letters from the 1940s and 1950s. They had a really wide variety of paper quality back then.

Continuing the tradition unwittingly started by my postcard panic entry, I give you an e.e. cummings-esque letter sent by my mother to her aunt LeJeune:

                        oct ober 12  1956
                           o                d
                                             ear jeuny

                thankyou for the new c clothes
An ne likes the shoes and hat

            very much
                      so we hunng them up high.

                            love frances

[Comments] (1) : "Even time travel's more expensive than it used to be."

: Back in New York. Over the course of my three weeks in Bakersfield I mentally moved back to California, so now I need to readjust to New York.

Sorry, nothing else going on.

: Kevin Marshall, author of some Ruby Cookbook recipes, has an O'Reilly PDF booklet out about web services in (on) Rails.

Then, you bait him!: Today I did a dancing bear dance which Sumana found very entertaining. You just dance the way you imagine a bear would if someone was making him stand on his hind legs and dance. Making bears dance: mean. Pretending to be a bear who dances: fun.

[Comments] (2) The Big U: Neal Stephenson says people shouldn't buy The Big U. I bought it anyway (it was at the used bookstore for $3). Sumana said I shouldn't read it. I read it anyway. I can see why Stephenson doesn't want people to buy it, but it was pretty fun. It reminded me a lot of a Gordon Korman novel (cue more anger from Sumana), only much more violent. I liked the brain reprogramming mechanism a lot better than the one in Snow Crash. The main problem was the extreme heavy-handedness. I think it would work well as a "young adult" novel a la Korman; I remember heavy-handed satire working better on me when I was a "young adult". Now, I can only find solace in the opiate of scare quotes.

: "These books had such long titles! If you wanted to buy a book in the eighteenth century, how did you ask for it?"

"I want the book about 'Being A'... and 'Most Excellent'... and it has woodcuts."

: Beautiful Soup 3.0 release coming soon. Big ole book of documentation. Get ready!

: I declare Beautiful Soup 3.0 released. Here's the changelog. Go to town.

Gnath: Check out the beak on Gnathosaurus.

[Comments] (4) Beautiful Soup Trickery: Here's a nice bit of trickery I discovered, based on code sent me by Staffan Malmgren. A common task among the target audience for Beautiful Soup is to strip HTML tags from a document. It turns out this is a one-liner:

''.join([e for e in soup.recursiveChildGenerator() if isinstance(e,unicode)])

Where soup is your soup object. I really like the if conditional in list comprehensions; I don't think Ruby has anything like it. I can think of ways to simulate it but they kill its simplicity, which is what I like about it.

: I fixed a bug, reintroduced an old shortcut, and the result is Beautiful Soup 3.0.1.

Disturbing Spam Subjects: BOB examined ANDY in DANIEL

Short entries these days, because I'm spending all my time writing a story.

[Comments] (5) I Have Arrived: Sam Ruby and Mark Pilgrim endorse Beautiful Soup.

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