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: I need another poll but I can't think of anything. I'm writing this entry just so there will be something for December.

: Am I on project? Am I on fire?

: Does this freakin' work?

: OK, we're back on the air. Dan Cox is working with Scott to get Segfault back up even as I type. As for what's new... not much. Got my heart broken (actively broken, rather than passively broken, for perhaps the first time in my life, if that makes any sense). Saw ESR speak. Read a lot. Had a final yesterday (databases, it went well). Final today at 3.

Probably a lot of CGIs are broken because we're on a new machine, project.linux.com now, and the paths are different. Let me know what doesn't work and I'll fix it in my copious free time.

I have some weird links to write up. I'll do it later.

I'm going to Virginia after finals. Spending Christmas with my uncle Robert and his kin. I'm not too excited about it, but whose fault is that?

: I'm going to have to get the notebook program to 1.0 before I can change the poll, because I don't have root on this machine so I can't make the webserver owner of the poll file. Unix's permissions system is not good. I would be happy with capabilities but for some reason no one's using them even though they're in the Linux kernel.

: Put up the rest of the Coffee Junction pictures. Adam says I should call up Sharon and get another gig at Coffee Junction. I may do just that.

: There's a helicopter circling here, very close to the ground. It makes it impossible to sleep.

: Apropos Microsoft:

For venture capitalist Tim Draper the message from Washington was simple: "Become successful, but not too successful or we'll ruin your life."

Right on! I'm glad the government is putting a stop to this!

Oh, wait, he was talking about the government.

: I accidentally put my jeans on inside-out. I'm not sure what significance that has.

: I'm singing a silly nonsense song at the moment. It's a tale of woe but the music is jaunty because of the context (which I'm not singing at the moment because I can't think of music for it).

The mustard they call men
Is after me again
Stripped me of my BLT
And threw me in the Three-Foot Pit
Never before or elsewhere has the Great Googleplex forsaken me so gratuitously!

: From Bret Chou's column in the Be Developer's Newsletter:

For Kids: Paint the case yellow and slap a Pokemon sticker on it, and voila! It's a Pokemon PC!!!

: Campbell is of the belief that Americans riot whenever the power goes out. I disabused him of this notion. "Trial verdicts and sporting events only."

: I spoke too soon. Apparantly the helicopter I heard last night was due to some wacked-out tradition UCLA has (which I had never heard of before) of burning your papers and such after finals are over, which got out of hand in some unspecified way and the police had to be called in. I found this out from Dan's grandmother, who called us to see if we were okay. We are okay.

: More helicopter madness last night. A full three hours the helicopter circled our house. I slept from about 11 to 1. I need caffeine, but already have the caffeine eye twitch. AAAAaaaaahahaaaaaaasiosdajiosdaosdidsaifoasdiofjerlernjrj;er.

Oh yeah, a new Segfault article from me. Yay.

I'll be home tonight. Unless I die.

: Your sad devotion to that ancient analysis technique has not enabled you to model the actions of the Rebel fleet!

: Musicology final down. I kicked its butt. I'm starting to even feel good about the upcoming 112 final. Who will step into the steel cage? Tune in next time!

: Ouch. That was a horrible final, but I think I did okay on it. If the curve is anything like the midterm, I might get as high as a B+ in CS112. Otherwise probably a B.

: I'm in Virginia. I'll be back on the 27th. Don't expect much in the meantime. I just had a salad that had huge blocks of cheese in it. It was good cheese, in many different kinds, but man. Too much cheese. This little salad had as much cheese as a large cheese pizza.

: There's no {joy, snow} in {Mudville, Virginia}. What a ripoff! I got a hat just like Lou's in Fargo, but what's the point of having that hat if there's no snow from which it can protect you?

: I'm back in {black, LA}. Dan's not back yet. I can mess up the room and not have him complain! Which happens even when he's here. Surprising, as he complains about everything else.

Oh, let me print the official rules to "Make Dan ComplainTM", the exciting game craze that's sweeping the nation, much as Mahjongg did in the early years of this century.

Make Dan ComplainTM

  1. 1 Dan Helfman
  2. 1 you
  3. 1 means of communication between you and Dan Helfman

How to play:
Using the means of communication, ask Dan Helfman what he thinks of some object or concept x. Dan Helfman must come up with a articulate and/or funny complaint about x. To notify Dan Helfman that you are initiating a round of Make Dan ComplainTM and not actually asking him for an analysis of x, the time-honored formula "Hey Dan, what do you think about x?" should be employed. Not that it matters much, since Dan Helfman's actual analyses of things bear suprisingly close resemblances to his games of Make Dan ComplainTM.

If Dan Helfman can come up with an articulate and/or funny complaint about x, he gets one point. If not, he issues the all-purpose complaint "It sucks!", and you get one point.

Sample games:
Game 1:
You: Hey Dan, what do you think about the speed of light?
Dan Helfman: It's too restrictive! It shouldn't be hardcoded everywhere! It should be configurable!
Result: Dan Helfman gets one point.

Game 2:
You: Hey Dan, what do you think about the state of Oregon?
Dan Helfman: It sucks!
Result: You get one point.

Game 3:
You: Hey Dan, what do you think about the Roman alphabet?
Dan Helfman: There are too many redundant letters! It's too inefficient!
Result: Dan Helfman gets one point.

The winner is the first player to amass 305 points.
Dan Helfman: 305? That's so arbitrary! It should be a power of two!
Result: Dan Helfman gets one point.

: Crummy.com is the new music alternative, playing The Open Standards Band's Interesting Places To Die 16 hours a day!

If you think you know who that song is about, you're probably right.

I await Jake's analysis of the recording. I'm still iffy on the whole "good recording" thing, as it invariably involves me having to do much more than the 3 takes I can do before I get sick of playing a song.

Speaking of music, Kris has 4 Electrologica songs (but not his non-plastic-wrap cover of Asia Carrera) up on his Electrologica page. They range from pale shadows of ELO songs to pieces with astoundingly beautiful music and lyrics. Could it be that what we thought to be the actual musician Kristofer Straub is merely a solid-state recording of Kristofer Straub singing "Solid State"?

Finally let me mention that a lot of the songs in the Version 1.1.2pl14 directory are going to be moved into other directories when I start the albums they actually belong to. Interesting Places To Die will probably go on Standard Deviation, which I'm still working out the details of, and the tape-to-MP3age of the infamous FEEDBACK FEEDBACK FEEDBACK! bit (which I never linked to, but it's in the directory) will go on Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard (hey, remember that?)

This entry is already huge, but before I go, a quote from an email I sent to jake after he used the nonsense subject line "semiotimatic":

It occurs to me that one could write a story about a Semiotimatic,
in the style of Lem's story about the robotic poet.

"Professors wrote learned articles arguing that a mere machine could never
emulate the subtle nuances of human thought, but the Semiotimatic made
their arguments better than they did, and they were forced to resign in

If you don't know what semiotics is, look it up. I reccommend Semiotics, by L. Ron Hubbard.

: Near my bus stop there is a store that sells stupid novelty stuff. In the window of the store is a boxed game. The game is an Operation rip-off called "Alien Autopsy". The slogan of the game is "One false move and its scream will send you running!". It should really be dead before you autopsy it. It's not "Alien Vivisection", after all.

: Thanks for telling me that the IPTD link didn't work, nobody.

: I just listened to IPTD and the guitar part sounds really bad, like I've been playing for six months instead of four years. I mean, I'm no Frank Zappa, but I think I can play the relatively simple IPTD part. Something with the guitar setup (like the ancient strings) may be the problem, as I can play IPTD fine on the acoustic (which I use almost exclusively now, but I have no reliable way of recording).

: A while ago I read an article about the guy who invented the computer algebra system (I believe he wrote Maple), and how he had this book coming out where he would revolutionize everything with his ideas about cellular automata and the like. My question is, what happened to this guy, and where is this book?

Speaking of revolutionary books, Susanna gave me Guns, Germs, and Steel for Christmas. YES. Read it. It is a work of unparalleled might. It took exactly as long for me to read it as it took to fly back to LA from Virginia. I will lend it to anyone who wants to read it and to whom I can give it instead of having to mail it to them.

: From Dan:

I find it difficult to think of why Trader Joe's sucks. But I'm sure I could think of a reason or two when pressed.

: My grades are in. Bleah. I got a B+ in logic. How could I possibly get a B+? I got perfect scores on both midterms, and at least 90% on the final. I did better than I expected in the database class due to my performance on the final, but still not good. My grades in queueing theory and music history are fair.

: I made the rules to Make Dan Complain into an article. I pointed Dan to the rules. "Yah, very nice. :)", he says. Dan threw away my butter because he thought it would spoil over vacation. Get real, Dan!

: As my gift to humankind[0], I pledge to realize the following plotline, in some cinematic medium, sometime before the year 3000:

Tragically hip twentysomethings come to realize that they are trapped in an elaborate virtual reality system as part of a diabolical conspiracy. This comes as no surprise to the audience, as the twentysomethings and everything in their world are represented by masses of large, blocky polygons and move real jerky.

[0] Without cost or obligation!

: Every year on New Years Eve, Jim Sjveda plays the operetta Die Fleidermaus (That's probably not spelled right, but it translates literally to "The Flying Mouse", or more accurately to "The Bat"). Now, supposedly Die Fleidermaus is a pretty funny piece of work, as there's a character on The Tick named after the operetta, and I'm pretty sure Jim Sjveda knows what he's doing. But for the life of me I can't figure out what's so funny about it. The plot is ridiculous, but no more so than that of any other operatic work, and except for some noticeable repetition that might be verbal humor, I can't get anything out of the German singing. It perplexes and consterns me (you think that's not a word, but how do you explain "consternation"?).

Fortunately, Spike Jones (not Spike Jonez) is on for the moment. The City Slickers are doing Carmen, it's pretty good. At one point Spike, who is doing the narration, yells at the tenor for missing his cue. To me, that's humor. You give me an incompetent performer and a pissed-off narrator, and I'll give you comedy! Because the thing I stipulated you give me already was comedy, you buffoon! So I just have to spit back the exact same thing you gave me! Hoo-hah!

I've been eating penguin mints all day, as you can tell. I bought a box of 'em yesterday, and I have some old ones that Mae Ling gave me which live in a plastic bag before being transfered to my bloodstream. I'm getting rid of the plastic bag ones because they're a little stale and I want to open the shiny new tin of penguin mints.

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