All posts by erik

William Gibson throws a morsel to the dogs

Hopefully William Gibson is close to finishing his book, because I’m really waiting on the next one. I have no idea what it’s really about, but he’s been offering tidbits on his blog from time to time, and I really liked this slice of the excerpt I found today:

“A nation,” he heard himself say, “consists of its laws. A nation does not consist of its situation at a given time. If an individual’s morals are situational, that individual is without morals. If a nation’s laws are situational, that nation has no laws, and soon isn’t a nation.”

I read things like this and find a measure of solace to think I’m not the only one out in the world thinking these types of thoughts. Although, it does leave me wondering why, if other people can see these things, how come it seems the world revolves on an axis of stupidity.

Icebox is dead.

I just shut down the last brain in icebox for the last time. The data has all been moved off and it’s ready for organ donation.
At least you made it to summer, baby.
Mark it. 8:20 a.m.

Wisdom Seekers

From Witches Abroad:
It’s a strange thing about determined seekers-after-wisdom that, no matter where they happen to be, they’ll always seek that wisdom which is a long way off. Wisdom is one of the few things that looks bigger the further away it is.*
* Hence, for example, the Way of Mrs Cosmopolite, very popular among young people who live in the hidden valleys above the snowline in the high Ramtops. Disdaining the utterances of their own saffron-clad, prayer-wheel-spinning elders, they occasionally travel all the way to No. 3 Quirm Street in flat and foggy Ankh-Morpork, to seek wisdom at the feet of Mrs Marietta Cosmopolite, a seamstress. No-one knows the reason for this apart from the aforesaid attractiveness of distant wisdom, since they can’t understand a word she says or, more usually, screams at them. Many a bald young monk returns to his high fastness to meditate on the strange mantra vouchsafed to him, such as ‘Push off you!’ and ‘If I see one more of you little orange devils peering in at me he’ll feel the edge of my hand, all right?’ and ‘Why are you buggers all coming round here staring at my feet?’ They have even developed a special branch of martial arts based on their experiences, where they shout incomprehensibly at one another and then hit their opponent with a broom.

The walls come tumbling down

rooflessSo yesterday morning I wake up to a call from Chuck saying his work plans had fallen through and he wanted to know if I wanted to knock down my garage. It was a couple weeks earlier than expected but welcome, so we got right to it. Moving all the garbage out of the garage and into the backyard took far less time than I had expected. I had hoped to have moved the Hallman’s swingset, trampoline and other stuff I’ve been holding for them while they redo their yard so I could keep my junk off to one side and allow for construction area in the back. I’d also hoped to mow the lawn, but you can’t put off good help when the help can come. I’m sure Chuck would have helped me organize and get ready, but I just jump into things a lot.
roofless And speaking of jumping into things, we found out quite soon that the celing had an odd build. Every roof joist had it’s own set of boards nailed between the joists, so there was constant joint across every joist the whole width of the roof. Which explains why it was falling apart, but it made it really easy to knock down. Chuck pretty much just knocked out the crossbars on the celing and then jumped on the roof till it caved in. One of the reasons the roof was falling apart is it had several layers of shingels on it, but the layers weren’t consistant across it. Some places had many layers, then it would drop off to just one. walls downI hadn’t noticed that a strip of the tar paper shingle roll had blown off two winters ago till I tried to discover where all the black wet junk on the floor of the garage was coming from last spring. Turns out the east side of the garage (which I never see) had lost a roll in a big wind storm or something and I had gone at least part of the winter with just tar paper to cover the boards. I didn’t decide what to do before the first snow fell last october or november, so I just covered the east side of the roof with visquine. Now that I have the refi money in hand I’m going to build a little workshop so I can take the welding and some of the other fabrication tools out of my basement. Maybe then I’ll spend a little more time working on fun stuff and less time moving tools to make room to make fun stuff.

Gastro-Disastro

slurpee So I’m on my way to play European Boardgames at a friends house, and I pick up a blue Raspberry slurpee for the evening, disdaining the usual cola products. Now, I’m not sure how things are done in your corner of the world, but here when we get slurpees we tap the cup a few times on the counter after filling to disgorge some of the air pockets from filling and top ‘er off. I only mention this, not only because this little ritual baffled a Bostonite, but it also lends to the story. I noticed that the semi-solid beverage did not settle in any appreciable fashion and little room for topping off was procured. I shrugged it off as just one of those things, and proceeded to the checkout counter.
Now I diverge here to mention the patron in front of me was a beeeeutiful woman in a fairly snazzy red dress and was worth the second glance. Unfortunately, upon that second glance I noticed she was wearing one brightly colored knee-sock with the other leg bare. Upon further inspection the supposed hosiery turned out to be an ankle-to-knee tatoo of some beach scene, or acid-induced cloud flight, or something. Tatoos cause me to lose interest in the fairer sex fairly quickly when they distract from a good scanning. It’s like taking a refreshing drink of a beverage, only to be jolted by an astringent aftertaste.
Which brings me back to the matter at hand. As I sat contemplating that magnificent dress with a texture that looked like three inches of soft crimson butter, I took a pull on my slurpee. “That’s odd”, I thought. Tastes a bit funny. But things do from time to time, and I moved up to the counter as the tatoo sauntered off. I caught the eye of the ubiquitous middle-eastern clerk who seemed stunned, almost to the point of speechlessness by the woman in red. But this was understandable, as from his vantage point he was not hindered by the distracting ink. Seeing what I took for a bit of embarassment at the overt distraction present on his face, I smiled, rolled my eyes a bit, and nodded my appreciation.
As I drove out of the lot and took another cool draught of the slurpee I started to formulate a theory as to the odd aftertaste. It seemed to strike some chord back from my past. Through the haze of the years a memory floated back of sitting in an emergency room as a nurse scrubbed out the inside of my bottom lip with a toothbrush. It seems back in my Junior year of highschool I had slepwalked out of my mothers van on the way home from work at about 25 mph. I’d landed on my head and done a fair job of removing all the skin from one side of my face. In the emergency room the nurse cleaned the asphalt out my wounds, including the one in my mouth with a toothbrush and…
Soap!
There was soap in my slurpee, which was now about 3 inches from the top of the dome! Upon reflection I realized that the lack of compaction in my slurpee preparation ritual was probably due to surface tension in the soap in the slurpee. So here it is about 66 hours later and I’m still having problems, um… processing… solid food. Not that I’ve been that hungry. I did propose late tuesday that in the reversal of the Dawn ads from my youth that maybe a really greasy meal, say 4 strips of baccon and eggs, might help rid my system of the offending material. They said on the ad that the soap would, “..break up the grease, Actually surround it..” and finally I’d hoped the bacon grease would take the soap out of my way.
Such are the things I think when blood sugar gets low.

Perplexcity

Perplexcity A while back Jack told me a little about this site that was kind of an online puzzle game. You can order these perplexcity cards and each one has a brain teaser on them of varying difficulty. Each card is part of a 4 card set and you earn points for solving the cards and bonus points for solving the sets. Between the hints on the cards and the clues you get from solving sets, along with online information you’re supposed to be able to figure out where the stolen Receda Cube has been hidden here on earth. If you find the cube you win $200,000. my rank Theres a map of Perplexcity on the back of some of the cards, so as you solve them you begin to get a map of the city with information about different buildings and areas of the city. Jack’s been ordering cards for awhile now and he’s handed me down his seconds, so I finally broke down and started figuring them out. It’s pretty addictive and some of the puzzles are really challenging so I’ve ordered a set just to see what I can do. So far I’ve solved 25 of the 256 cards and I’m ranked an even 4000. I’m not sure how many cards have been released altogether, but most of the cards from the third series have been solved. I’ve been showing the duplicates of the duplicates around and nobody has shown much interest, except Sam at work. He’s helped me with a couple and is curious enough to have looked into buying some, although I don’t know if he’s set up an account yet.
There’s a mountain of information to catch up on that has been published because, evidently, this has been going on since 2004. I’m not sure if I have it in me to do all the backstory research. I like the instant (or in some cases, eventual) gratification from solving the cards. I guess the bigger puzzle could be cool, but I’m not sure how layerd the rewards are where you can actually figure stuff out and have noticable progress after the cards are done.

The Kayak

So I forgot I had a blog and thought maybe this belonged in it…
My
Tuesday morning I had considered not getting out of bed in the morning because I felt kinda crappy, but finally dragged my sorry self into work because of a couple meetings I figured required my attendance. Jack thought we ought to go grab lunch and run to REI so he cold look at some insoles for his running shoes. When we got to REI Jack asked if I was still planning on getting a Kayak this year after I swore in my wrath that this was the year I’d do it. I kind of shrugged the question off with a “mrhh” noise.
I had lusted after kayaks but generally resisted the temptation due to the initial expense for quite awhile. Last year I decided to get one and really put some time into researching what I wanted and came up with the Perception Carolina 16.0 as the object of my lust. Unfortunately the 16.0 alone costs around $1000, and I’m still a starving artist. I just couldn’t find a way to get into a touring kayak last year and finally gave up on the idea mid-summer. This spring I began looking at cheaper models and wondering if I could find a used kayak of some kind to at least get out and enjoy this summer in some little way, unlike last summer.
This brings me back to REI. Jack wasn’t finding what he wanted and I wandered off towards the boats for a little moment of forbidden fantasy. A salesman approached me, asking if he could help. I told him I didn’t think so, that I had wanted to get into kayaking for some time, but hadn’t had the funding. He said, “Well, if you’ve always wanted to, this is the day to do it.” He led me around to the other side of the rack where they had a red Carolina 16.0 on the bottom rack with a 50% off pricetag. He told me that the $600-odd dollar price was due to them trying to get rid of a last years model before the season. I waffled for about 10 seconds, but realized that this was my chance, so I had him pull the pricetag so I could pay for it. He told me to bring back a hold sign from the register and I could pick it up after work when I had my truck. After payment I got back in time to disappoint someone talking to the salesman about the same Kayak. I guess I snaked it out from under him.
Maybe I’ll have something to write about if the lakes ever thaw.