Thursday, January 22, 2004

Sunday, January 18, 2004

We're sorry, the blog you have dialed is not available. Please leave a message.

Ugh. I've been wanting to blog more lately. I'm sure my friends have noticed I've been boring them more with stuff this past week that I would normally get out of my system by posting here.

I've spent a little too much time on two things, and I'll give you three guesses what they are: I woke up earlier today, and I can't remember what I was dreaming, but the thought rummaging in my head was "of course you can't connect to the database in Enterprise Manager. Dantooine has been destroyed and even the Jedi Counsel isn't there any more, much less the SQL Server."


Friday, January 16, 2004


I meant to post this a while ago, but lost the links in a pile of bookmarks that. I just did some pre-Spring Spring cleaning on my bookmarks so...

Maybe you saw the The Elegant Universe documentary/mini-series. It did a passable job at explaining the field of quantum mechanics to laymen, by no means an easy feat, and a good job at explaining what happens when scientists want new scientific ideas to be taken seriously and how scientific peer-review works. It was also very shiny. 3/5 (plus an extra 1/10 for the shiny).

The documentary was based on a book of the same name. The author was the show's host. (I've no desire to read the book, though I do want to check out things like these.)

But I know what you're saying. You're saying, "H. Monkey, how come I wasn't interviewed? Why am I not a name among quantum theorists? I have crackpot ideas sometimes, too!" Well, fear not. I present, ladies and gentlemen a handy-dandy guide to postulating your very own quantum particle. True, this gets you in to quantum physics by way of cosmology, but it works! Just listen to these testamonials!

Okay, I had to delete the "testamonial" links I planned. After actually reading the articles, I saw one didn't actually say anything about Ω, and the other two didn't advocate a given particle per se. If I knew more about the topic or had theoretical axes to grind, cosmologists would be laughing by now, honest.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The problem with playing "rock, pirates, ninjas" is that everybody always bets on black.

I don't like Isometric's cube art. It can be funny, but it's just hard to "read".

This problem has been fixed. The solution is showing ninjas in action.

And if you're wondering about 神出鬼没, here's a definition of "shin shutsu ki botsu".

Friday, January 09, 2004

Mini, shmini

A mini iPod currently costs $249, compared to $299 for the 15GB regular. I can't imagine why I'd wan't the mini, then.

From Apple's site:

iPod for Windows requires a PC with built-in FireWire or USB 2.0 port or a Windows-certified FireWire or USB 2.0 card and Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4) or Windows XP Home or Professional.

So will it refuse to work on Win2k SP3?

Has anyone gotten it to work with Linux or NetBSD? No hope for using it on my Win98 machine? I don't want to buy XP for an additional $90 just to get the iPod to work.

Maybe this can replace the alarm clock. You can set an iPod to go off at a certain time, I think. And they certainly will ship internationally (heh).

Thursday, January 08, 2004

I so wanted... of these:
I was looking for a new alarm clock anyway, because the one I currently have clearly isn't enough. You can supposedly hook this one up to your computer via USB and set any 50 second or shorter sound as your alarm. It will take mp3's, wav's, and aiff's, among others.

So I ordered one, and got an automated invoice/receipt:

★ご注文内容 ━━……‥‥━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━‥‥……★
お客様のご注文日は 2004.1.7、ご注文番号はSJW12597742 で承りました。

商品名:USB Alarm clock 「WakeUp」 × 1個


At $42 and change after it's not the cheapest alarm clock I coud buy, and that's assuming I don't have to pay customs fees. It would be worth it if I coud get the thing to actually arrive.

Sadly, it was not meant to be:
Dear, [the name I gave them, which was my attempt to render my name in katakana]

I'm sorry. We sell only in Japan.
Goods are not delivered abroad.
I cancel your order.

Best Regards
MIB Online Shop


Tuesday, January 06, 2004

[Edited Jan 5^H6, 2003]

Screw you, you bastards, for using this stupid comic as an excuse to make fun of me. A friend sent friends of mine and me an email with a link to this comic, pointing out that it amusingly mirrored my life. You all are so high and mighty But to be honest, it does reflect a shortcoming of mine, and you're just more perfect than I am, aren't you? and I'd like to take it as constructive criticism. I am working hard at being more organized and neat Not too perfect to kick a man when he's down, though. but I have far to go. I mean, just the night before And I appreciate that you had to point out the mess in the middle of a public parking lot you guys are always there with encouraging reminders. Fscking jerks the lot of you. It's always good to know that your have friends who are looking out for you.

Up yours.

And also much cattle

I decided to go to yesterday's weekly study session at the JCC that I haven't been to in about a year, which explains the burst of Jewish stuff in the past couple posts. For the d'rash at the begging, someone got up to talk about right versus left in the bible, inspired by this book. I'm just happy because she used my favorite verse in the bible, from Jonah 4.11: "...that great city wherein there are six-score thousand people who can not tell their left hand from their right, and also much cattle." +10 points for use of the word chiral, -1 for not knowing its adjective form, chirality.

And what was the first thing I did after I left? I went to a decidely non-kosher hole-in-the-wall restaurant and got two slices of pizza. They were plain cheeze, though. Anyway:

Because I didn't email in advance, I sat in with the larger group of seven who don't have smaller groups of two to four to break off with when we break off after the d'rash. On the one hand, I liked the diverse viewpoints — I was seated between the man who said that, though he was born and went to school in communist Russia, he "managed not to let it hurt [him] much", and the Argentinean who was trying to get a graduate degree in anthropology while teaching Spanish part-time. On the other hand, it was hard to get an amorphous group to discuss meaningfully an amorphous topic.

We were talking about following a judge's decisions "even if he says to you right is left and left is right."

If I wasn't tired of people asking "Is there such thing as an objective reality?" I am now. It doesn't matter, people: just pick something reasonable and move on. If you're proved wrong, change your mind.

Don't forget I read this alound in front of my family and 200 of our nearst and dearest friends

I'm writing a letter to the proprietor of the worthless word for the day site. (link via Uncle Jazzbeau's Gallimaufrey)

Today's word is shunamitism, meaning "rejuvenation of an old man by a young woman", taken from a biblical incident at the beginning of the first book of Kings. It could just as easily mean "being a young boy getting rejuvenated by an older man" I think, because Kings 2 chapter 4 is etched into my mind.

וישכב על־הילד וישם פיו על־פיו עיניו על־עיניו כפי על־כפי

"...he lay upon the child, placing his mouth on the child's mouth, his eyes on the child's eyes, and his hands on the child's hands." The next verse: "Then he stretched himself on him; and the child's body became warm. " Sure, he's bringing the kid back from the dead, but I've always felt it's an uncomfortably intimate image.
(text from

Monday, January 05, 2004

Cultivated the lost art of study/and I brought a buddy

I had a dream "The Automator" was teaching me to play go. Probably because Frank and I were talking about them, the dream also included DEAR and high school friend Jen teaching language classes.

Ms. N and I were talking a few days ago, both of us practicing speaking Spanish, and I was trying to explain that I was tired and had odd dreams the night before. And I was trying to explain the dream in Spanish, and I could think of and צור, but I couldn't think of the Spanish word for "stone" to save my life. This kind of linguistic confusion happens to me regularly.

It's "piedra", by the way.

צורי ולא עוולתה בו
‮(תהלים צא׃טו‮)‬ Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
(Psalms 91:15)

Friday, January 02, 2004

Year of the Monkey

How auspicious is that?

This new year will be the ninth year in the twelve-year Chinese zodiac cycle, the year of the monkey. For what it's worth, I was born two days less then three months too early to be in the year of the monkey, as monkey-like as I may be. I'm almost ashamed of admitting I was thinking of changing my handle. I'm stuck anyway, because I gotta use a real nickname, though. As everyone ought to know, it's not a real nickname if you picked it for yourself.

Here's your guide to the nature of people born under "the monkey". (via MonkeyWatch)

Language: Year of the Monkey

I saw used to refer to the year of the monkey on someone's web page, but that conflicted with one of Yahoo's most-emailed Yahoo! news photos from yesterday, a seal painting the kanji for the year of the monkey, .

The Windows Japanese IME didn't have , and my on-line dictionary of choice didn't have it, so it's assuredly not Japanese (or not modern Japanese, anyway).

The Unicode people are an amazing group if for no other reason than their Unihan database. They have every Chinese character ever used in any subset of Unicode, including the stuff no one bothers implementing, like 𪒠, to pick a character at random, which works in nobody's browser that I know of including my own. Notice that all Chinese characters here that link, link to the Unihan database.

I want to nitpick the subtitle under the seal photo, too, since doesn't really mean "monkey" so much as ninth zodiac branch, judging from the definition on this page from the Unihan database. That would be like saying "leo" is English for "lion". Of course, I wouldn't mind any of this so much if the image's subtitle was at least grammatically correct — an article is missing or it's a poor choice of preposition or something or both.

So in writing this post I learned:
is Chinese for monkey. is Japanese for monkey, though it's Chinese for ape. Both have the dog radical, . 申猴 is Chinese for the ninth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey. is Japanese for the same sign. 年 is Japanese for year. The Year of the Monkey starts Jan. 22, 2004. The Islamic new year 1425 starts Feb. 22, 2004.

I also learned how to have an HTML link tag submit a POST query using Javascript. Not that it was hard — I've just never bothered to learn any Javascript things before.

A note on character encoding: To look up the character numbers, I entered the characters in Microsoft's notepad using the IME, saved the notepad document with "Unicode big endian" encoding, and then opened the file with a hex editor. After 0xfeff, which is the byte-order (endian-ness) indicator, were then the hex numbers that you can enter into the text box at the top of almost every page in the Unihan database to find the character in question.