Monday, July 25, 2005

Summer in the City

Bartender and Server on Hawthorne
Photo by K. Urner

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Meanwhile, Near Hawthorne...

Caught John Roberts (the anchor, not the Supreme Court nominee) getting rid of his tie last night, following a segment on down-dressing business class Japanese (still formal, just minus the jacket and tie). Then today in Powell's I found Fruits, by Phaidon, about fashion-savvy teens in and around Tokyo, setting new trends. "Fruits" carries no specific connotations regarding sexual orientation in this context, unless you count polymorphously perverse.

What cracked me up on CBS last night was the story about DARPA trying to turn those cute robot puppies into vicious dogs of war, and maybe those Segways™ (straight out of Fantasia's Sorcerer's Apprentice) into silent stalkers. Leave it to DARPA to put a scary sinister spin on anything (even Python -- actually Python was easy).

I eyed the news while packing a night bag for Tara, who slept at the Oregon Zoo (Brenna too), part of a programmed summer camp experience for youngsters in this town. Dawn was in post-op, Short Stay, but not for anything too serious, and I fetched her home later that evening, having spent the better part of the day at the hospital, where I almost finished Quicksilver (so today I bought The Confusion, and a map of Rome).

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Hugh Watkins, a Wittgenstein buff based in Copenhagen these days, coined "Kirbiania" to refer to my writings (Kirbinalia might have been an alternative). Could this be some brand of God-talk from the Book of Narnia perchance, used by some exotic species or being that didn't make the final edit? Here's the relevant blog entry.

We've been feeling somewhat out of the woods regarding my wife's medical condition, at least for the interim, but today it finally hit home what they've been trying to tell us: the MRI was not really negative (although the PET thankfully was), and given the state of the art, that could mean many things. So an ultra-sound is indicated, and maybe a biopsy.

I'm about done programming my OSCON talk, which will presumably happen sometime in the first week of August. Later in the summer, we're hoping to maybe rent a smallish RV and visit Dawn's brother and sister-in-law near Sisters, and Crater Lake. I'd prefer to field test a real bizmo, but Education Research is less of a budget priority right now.

No, civilian programming continues to take a back seat as we prosecute some war on terror ad infinitum. Granted, life is somewhat terrifying, so there'll always be this need to keep our minds occupied with security concerns. But like president Eisenhower, I'd rather opt for better and more global health care, higher living standards, more civilian alternatives. Livingry is far more effective against terror than killingry.

As I wrote to Hugh yesterday: "In focusing on ordinary language, I think [Wittgenstein] brings us to where the action is, i.e. we need to infuse more science content into ordinary thinking, so that human beings bumble about in less politically-minded language games and spend more time programming their new smart homes and playing world game. "

My wife and I are mindful of the fact that the level of medical care we're getting is far above the global average -- and yet is still so dark ages compared to what it could be (the doctors feel this acutely).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Stealth Boat

"stealth boat"
(photo by K.Urner)

So today's front page of the Oregonian was about this jet boat variant we've been seeing, and photographing, on the Columbia River. Don and I watched it from the Chris Craft that day, as I filled my Olympus xD card (property of 4D Solutions).

Maybe we weren't supposed to take pictures, but I figured this is my Columbia as much as theirs, so if you're going to putter about in a public area, you'd better not complain if you're treated as a member of the public, by your fellow taxpayers.

Especially if you're working for the government, expect to be monitored by the boss (i.e. "we the people").

A crew member pointed to the shadow boat, like maybe that'd give me pause. So I got some stills of it, too. Anyway, now it's an open secret, so I might stop dragging Friends into my office during potluck, for a quick peek at the funny jet boat (followed by friendly speculations -- many of them on target).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

JetBlue's Bizmo

JetBlue Bizmo, Blues Festival, PDX 2005.
Photo by Don Wardwell

Monday, July 04, 2005

Liseburg Amusement Park

Liseburg Kannen, 1 July, 2005 14:19:58
Gothenburg, Sweden (robot camera)