flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Spring is the time of new growth.
It is the time when leaves that fell grow again,
When grass returns to vibrance.
But uprooted trees still lie naked
And grass remains dead in poisoned ground.

Muscles grow weak in cold months without use.
Untended gardens struggle to produce.
Ice takes time and energy to thaw.
Without practice, old tasks are hard.
But without spring, summer would be very sad.
flwyd: (big animated moon cycle)
From an off-topic email on the Dragonfest discussion group.

See... the Wiccan Rede isn't actually a guide for living your life. It says "If you don't hurt anything, do whatever you want." There are two main problems with this rule.

(a) It doesn't give you any suggestions. Eating Cheetoes on the couch watching reruns of Leave it to Beaver is following the Wiccan Rede to the letter.

(b) It doesn't give any guidance on how to behave when harm is involved. There's nothing in the Rede about joining the Army. There's nothing in the Rede that prohibits punching your best friend. The Rede doesn't even address the Trolley Problem. And really, what's the point of an ethic that can't be used on an out-of-control trolley?

Now I'm the sort of eclectic frood who uses philosophy to provide moral and ethical direction and religion to provide experiential and metaphorical direction, so a loosey-goosey religion like Neo-Paganism is just the thing for me. But for people who are looking for direction in their lives, the Wiccan Rede provides little more than a Magic 8 Ball.
flwyd: (big animated moon cycle)
  • The sun is still up when I leave work.
  • Cats scream to be let outside
  • Birds chirp in the morning
  • The porch door is left open over night and getting out of bed isn't a freezing experience

Signs the "daily words" practice isn't going well: I think of things to say about spring, but by the time I write them down the ground is covered in snow and the clouds hide the mountains.

flwyd: (big animated moon cycle)
I think it's a good sign that I worked 100 fewer hours in February than I did in January. This time I averaged 10 hours per day in the work week rather than 10 hours for every day in the month.

Still need to spend more time outside.
flwyd: (dogcow moof!)
I wrote the following comment on a Slashdot question about moving cross country. Nobody moderated my comment, but I think it was clever:

You should choose a transfer protocol which is reliable, though it need not be ordered. If you select a connectionless transfer protocol you should make sure you have a good error detection and recovery plan in place.

The RTT will be high, but that's acceptable. The Interstates have high bandwidth, but U.S. highways often have fewer collisions and hops with nicer food. Make sure you set your TTL high -- frequent hops make collisions less likely.

I suggest using physical private key protection for your content. Every standard implementation at the automobile layer supports this.

Consider generating a checksum for each delivery unit. That way you will be able to tell at a glance if any packets or boxes are dropped en route.
flwyd: (spam lite)
[Poll #689094]
flwyd: (smoochie sunset)
In an interesting example of storytelling, NBC likes to build up major Olympic hype and then do a story at the end about how events didn't live up to the hype.

The Americans have never been strong in Alpine skiing, but NBC commentators were prognosticating that Bode Miller had a chance win all five events. And then to prove them wrong he proceeded to only finish two races. To his credit, Bode didn't make as big of a deal out of it as the network. He frankly said that he's out to ski his hardest and have fun and that sometimes that gets a little sloppy.

For the last two Games, the American media has given the impression that short track speed skating is a sport invented to showcase a cute young American. The little logo would pop up in the bottom corner of the screen saying "Apollo Anton Ohno, coming up in 13 minutes." Does nobody else like to watch two Koreans and two Chinese skate as much as two Koreans, an American, and a Chinese? Fortunately Ohno is humble in defeat and gracious in victory. His "monastic life at the Olympic training center" has helped give him a Zen-like mindset that fits well with the sport.

On the flip side, Chad Hedrick could learn a thing or two about humility. Statements like "I didn't come here to win bronze, I came here for the gold" displays a lack of understanding of the Olympic spirit. Olympic Bronze is a great honor for a person and a country, and an amazing accomplishment for someone who picked up the sport three years ago.

Daily Words 2/23/6

Saturday, March 4th, 2006 09:46 am
flwyd: (cartoon abi-station.com/illustmaker)
After watching two weeks of the Olympics I find that I walk down the hall to the bathroom in strides that push my legs from side to side. When I round the corner I lean to the side. However, I'm not going 30 mph, so my hand doesn't reach the ice.

Daily Words 3/2/6

Saturday, March 4th, 2006 09:42 am
flwyd: (spam lite)
Note to self: Aspen Edge is not a Western Colorado microbrew. It is a Coors low-carb beer. It has no edge whatsoever. It costs more and has more carbs, yet tastes about the same as, water.
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
I figured rather than send this only to a mailing list I might as well share it with the world of LiveJournal.

This is in reference to Pat Robertson's comments about declining European populations.

Studies that I have read indicate that having babies is a sign of a faith in the future. You know, unless you believe in the future, you're not going to take the trouble of raising a child, educating a child, doing something. If there is no future, why do it?

I think having babies is a bigger sign of being horny and not using contraception.

Well, unless you believe in God, there's really no future.

If you believe in God and heaven, you think you'll live forever. So there's no reason to have kids to leave a legacy. On the other hand, if you think that this world is all we have, children are the only way to ensure that a part of you lives on.

And when you go back to the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, the whole idea of this desperate nightmare we are in -- you know, that we are in this prison, and it has no hope, no exit. That kind of philosophy has permeated the intellectual thinking of Europe, and hopefully it doesn't come here. But nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, Europe is right now in the midst of racial suicide because of the declining
birth rate. And they just can't get it together. Why? There's no hope.

What countries are declining in population?
American Samoa
Botswana (0%)
Czech Republic
Norfolk Island
Pitcairn Islands
South Africa
Trinidad and Tobago
Virgin Islands

8 of 15 former Soviet republics. Several East European countries. A lot of island nations. And some African countries aren't doing well.

The former Soviets are perhaps the most interesting. Under Soviet rule, religion was officially illegal, but they've had 14 years for the church to do its work. If Robertson is right, shouldn't we expect an increase in faith, and therefore babies, in those countries?

In China, where the ethnic religion and philosophy don't focus on an afterlife and the Government has a strict population policy the growth rate is 0.65%. In India where the dominant religious belief is reincarnation (so you have a future no matter how many kids you have), the growth rate is 1.44%. In Bhutan, a country which is mostly Buddhists who believe that the goal of life is to leave the future, the growth rate is 2.11%.

Of the countries ranked in the top 30 in birth rate, the only non-African states are Afghanistan and the Gaza Strip. The highest Latin American country (where Christian faith is strong and birth control is rare) is Guatemala at #56. Most of those 30 are also at the top of the death rate and also have the lowest life expectancies on the planet; in many cases less than 40 years thanks to war and disease. Africa is not a place that inspires help in the future, yet they have a lot of babies.

As usual, this is another case of Pat Robertson asserting his beliefs based on an anecdote without any serious research. Actual demographers point out that population growth is fairly closely correlated with wealth. People who are well off don't need kids to help farm, carry water, or gather firewood. When you live off the land without major farm equipment, children are an economic advantage. When you have a desk job, children are an economic burden.
flwyd: (carmen sandiego)
If a U.S. airline decided to be patriotic and buy only Boeing planes and none from Airbus they could name their campaign Nothing Toulouse.
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
As Edwin noted, Mataam Fez looks like it could be at Burning Man... except nobody was covered in fine dust, everyone arrived in a street-legal vehicle, and it was below zero.

One of the great things about eating at a really good restaurant is the ability to try something new and different. That was the best rabbit I've ever had. Of course, it didn't have any competition...

Since returning from Utah I've made pleasing Tamara my biggest priority in the two weeks leading to her birthday. I think I've done a pretty good job.
flwyd: (dogcow moof!)
Microsoft PowerPoint is a curious program chock full of features to make your presentation look absolutely ridiculous.

Daily Words 2/14/6

Saturday, February 18th, 2006 11:07 pm
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
I often think people make too big of a deal about holidays. If the essence of the holiday is important, the virtue should be practiced year round. Why wait until December to give someone a present? Why wait until October to get dressed up like a freak?

Sometimes the holiday comes at a bad time. When you're fighting a cold it's okay if you can't keep it up on Valentine's Day.
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Many holidays are associated with a color. Black and orange. Red and green. Valentine's Day is, of course, red. Red is traditionally associated with love. It's also associated with fast cars. It's also the color of blood.

We watched Sin City on Sunday night. I really enjoyed it. It's shot mostly in black and white, but with carefully placed red when things get bloody. This palette let the movie feel like a good old 1940s film noir with the visceral danger and gore of what might be called the Tarantino era.

The movie also brought to mind another great film with a 1940s connection. As I watched a story without innocence told in black, white and red I remembered the little girl's red rain coat in Schindler's List. And perhaps that's the most touching valentine of all.
flwyd: (carmen sandiego)
Small word variations can have a major effect on the sexiness of an utterance. Observe:

Oh yes daddy!Oh yes dad!
You're a hot momma!You're hot, mommy.

flwyd: (spam lite)
If there is blood in your stool you may be experiencing a colon period.
flwyd: (black titan)
It would seem that not even millionaire friends of Dick Cheney can get their hands on body armor and the Bush administration continues unnecessarily to put Americans in harms way.
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Back.   Forth.   Back.   Forth.   Switch.   Back.   Forth.   Back.   Forth.   Lap.

There is beauty in speed skating at any speed.
Turn up the volume, listen to the cowbells, the coaches screaming as the skaters zip by.
Now hit mute. Watch the event in slow motion. Watch the grace of every leg stroke. The poetry of metal sliding through ice. The telling body language of an athlete striving against the clock.
Now hit pause. Admire the body on screen. A speed skater's thighs are massive. Every curve in her body is accentuated. Her face is outlined in her national colors, her eyes shine with passion through well engineered glasses, her hair hidden until the final moment of relief or anguish.

Some people are turned on by figure skaters. But I'll trade everything on that ice for the power, the strength, the speed, the meditative grace, and the lack of drama on the oval.
flwyd: (spam lite)
By playing disco and '80s American pop during the opening ceremony, the Italians are demonstrating that they love the international tradition of prominently displaying the worst American exports.
flwyd: (requiem for a dream eye)
The nice thing about salary is you know how much money you'll make in advance. The downside is that how much money you make is not directly correlated with how much or how good your work is.

I have just determined that after taxes, health care, and 401(k) I earned about $10 per hour in January. That's the same take home pay I earned when I was a Little League umpire in high school. Back when I didn't have to pay rent, buy food, or stay up until 2am entering my time for the month.

I might enjoy entering my time more if our Time & Expenses program was named TNA instead of TNE. But only marginally more.
flwyd: (dogcow moof!)
It's been crazy, but the Recorder's Office in Washington County, Utah, is now running with new software. They are not only the first site live with version 1.7 of EagleRecorder, but also the first site live with our property software -- significant portions of which were refactored two weeks ago.

There are bugs. Labels don't come out with receipts, but must be printed in the laborious fashion. There are bumps. An attempt to print the first document recorded (2006000002, not 2006000001) wound up with a legal document on a receipt slip. But perhaps that's a better tradition -- the people closely involved can carry it as a memento in their wallets. There are errors. Three times during the week we had to go through their work and fix mistakes caused by bugs, setup errors, and lack of training. There are features that aren't there. There are interactions that are counterintuitive. There are users doing things we didn't expect. But the software is live. It's being used every day. It's meeting needs and serving its function.

This has been a great group of people to work with. Many of our legacy clients are reluctant to move forward because our new software doesn't have all of the warts of our old. But in Utah we're replacing a 30-year-old system. When you're getting features like the ability to use the mouse, side-by-side images and data, and "double click a parcel on the map to open that account," it's hard to be nostalgic.
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
At the airport I read Red as I prepared to head for red spaces. On the plane I read about Python's use of whitespace. As I looked out the window I see the clouds and glaciers of white spaces.
flwyd: (dogcow moof!)
When merging code to a branch, there's a certain innate humor in the phrase "I'm going to get head and post a build."

Daily Words 1/10/6

Saturday, February 11th, 2006 11:56 am
flwyd: (spam lite)
Teenagers don't come with instruction manuals... unless they're real dorks.

Daily Words 1/17/6

Saturday, February 11th, 2006 11:53 am
flwyd: (over shoulder double face)
Utah is known as the Beehive State not because they have a thriving honey industry but because Mormons are industrious like bees. This rather disappoints me.

Daily Words 1/16/6

Saturday, February 11th, 2006 11:50 am
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Garlic is sexy. If you smell garlic on someone's breath you say "Wow! There's a party going on in that mouth! And I want to join the fun!"
flwyd: (black titan)
Wizards of the Coast, recognizing that most D&D players are white suburbanites, has announced a new marketing campaign to target inner city kids. They will be releasing branded versions of their core books as Playa's Handbook and Jail Warden's Guide. They are considering a similar branding campaign in the South with offerings of Banjo Player's Handbook and Monstrous Trucks Manual.

Daily Words 1/25/6

Saturday, January 28th, 2006 02:57 pm
flwyd: (black titan)
One benefit of regular activities is that they provide a temporal measurement tool. I met Keith Baker at an On the Edge tournament at GenghisCon in 1997. When he learned I lived in Boulder, he gave me his business card with an address on the back and said "We play games on Wednesday. Come by sometime." I had another Wednesday commitment at the time, but brought over a few On the Edge decks that summer, expecting it was a Cell Gathering. It turned out that the world of the Bakery was much broader, full of all sorts of interesting games. I got my picture taken with Bossy the Cow. If I played Trip'd (a tetris game for the 3DO) that night I lost horribly.

Eight and a half years later, I visit the Bakery less often, mostly because I've moved south. But when I'm there I play old favorites and new games (some of which haven't hit the market or even been finalized). Some of the same people are there (sometimes with small children) and there are some new attendees. An entire side of the refrigerator is covered with people's pictures taken with Bossy. Keith has attained fame and success as the author of the newest Dungeons and Dragons world. If I get a little luck I can beat Keith or Rob at Trip'd. I still have the hat in the Bossy picture, but my beard has gone to a small flower to a full bush. I've received two college degrees and got married. It's been several years since I've played On the Edge, but I may start an Over the Edge game soon.

Other people change too. Keith may be moving to Austin. It's sad to think I may not attend another Wednesday.

My challenge is to find a replacement. The Potluck Tradition had potential, but puttered out when I was away for a while. I like regular role playing groups and will certainly get back to mine once the Utah project settles down. But Wednesdays at the Bakery had some important elements that RPG groups lack. Since the games are short (you can play several in a night), people can drop in and out as they have time and interest. New friends can be invited, old friends can move away and come back, and nobody's at a disadvantage because they don't know the history. Since it's a social gathering in a house with lots of games, people who don't like games but are attached to people who do can hang out. People who like games but don't feel like playing can socialize. Since there's no agenda, what happens is up to whoever shows up.

In the world of geekery, gregarious social skills are often hard to find. Keith has been able to attract a wide and interesting variety of friends to his house. That's something I admire and aspire to do.
flwyd: (mathnet - to cogitate and to solve)
A casual observer new to American politics could be mistaken for assuming that the Supreme Court is an organization whose duty and purpose consists almost solely in setting rules and regulations regarding abortion.

People on both the left and the right get excited about individual cases for anywhere between a week and a month or two. But when new justices are considered and discussed, abortion dominates the discussion.

Abortion is an important issue, and one which will come before the court many more times. However, it is far from the only issue worthy of concern and discussion. The Court will doubtlessly take up cases of sweeping importance on issues ranging from the scope of powers of the executive branch to boundary conditions on the Bill of Rights. Yet most of the pundits, the news editors, and the interest groups don't try to engender discussion on those issues. Do they think people don't care about the constitution? Did people not learn the Bill of Rights in school? Or do people stop paying attention to politics if fetuses are not involved?

Lots of Democrats seemed to support Harriet Miers because she wasn't an ultra-right conservative. Aside from seeming rather politically jaded, this is very concerning. It seemed to me that the biggest problem with Miers as a potential Supreme was that she didn't seem to know anything about constitutional law. The second biggest problem was that she's the current president's personal lawyer, which means she would be in a position to decide the constitutionality of policies she'd advised the president to enact.

I wasn't able to follow the Alito hearings while I was in Utah. So I was rather disappointed when I listened to NPR this evening and learned that "All Things" was really just "Abortion Politics."
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