Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saraff the Savior

While many of my compatriots aggressively pursued happiness over this summer weekend before July 4th, as is their freedom (we're signed up for jet boats tomorrow), I felt privileged to join the more inwardly turned company of Felipe Gonzalez this afternoon, a recently deceased rapper and activist, still this mischievous little kid around the edges. He died at 22, a passenger in a car crash.

I didn't know Felipe well, more his dad, Martin, an AFSC veteran and coworker.

I experienced pride in my heritage in that room, including Mayan -- whomever built those pyramids in the video. The American experience is one of surreal beauty.

Felipe was lucky to draw such a dad from the card deck of life. No wonder he was such a font of pure love in so many lives. He knew to be grateful, as we are grateful to him. Live on, brother.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wanderers 2007.6.26

The session opened with a geekish challenge. How do we project out the back of a laptop running Ubuntu? Bob McGown was speaking on Celestial Navigation, had brought his slides on CD.

Bill's Dell Inspiron E1505 was on deck. I'd also brought mine, which had just appeared, courtesy of Dell and DHL, while Tara and I were watching The Jerk starring Steve Martin.

So what I didn't see is how it's clearly labeled on the keyboard what to do (Fn-F8). Instead I had Bill chauffeur me back to Harrison Street for the Toshiba (a Bill Gates box). By the time we got back, an Apple PowerBook had eaten the CD.

Bob brought along some example instruments, including an Arab kamal, used for steering camels (which isn't to say Arabs didn't also put to sea).

I'm posting from my own new E1505 by the way. The wireless is workin' great and I've got Beryl running, meaning a rotating cube between desktops and wriggling windows (fun eye candy).

Bob is talking about Ali Baba or at least that's the name on his slide. Let's see if I can snap a photo and upload it through my USB 2.0 XD camera card reader. Yep, no problem (a bit blurry, cuz I turned off the flash, didn't use compensation).

Here's one with a flash:

:: bob mcgown ::

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Family Haps

We enjoyed a great solstice celebration with Jane & Dave, at an outside table at The Bagdad -- a little chilly, so Dave kindly shared his man-sized pilot's jacket with Tara.

Both he and Jane had seen Body Worlds 3 recently (but on separate tours), as had Tara and I earlier, so this was a big topic, along with what to order (cajun fries, big and little pizzas, salads, Hammerhead for me, wine for Jane, root beer for Dave).

Barton and I had succulent sushi the other day, after which I met up with Glenn, another Wanderer, by coincidence, and introduced him to Trevor over at Horse Brass Pub on Belmont, not far from Movie Madness.

Horse Brass seemed an appropriate venue, given Trevor's studies of Walford et al, plus I needed to retrieve Tinkerbell from the bike shop nearby.

A day or two before, Glenn also joined me for the first half of my meetup with dear David & Patricia, flitting about town on business (normally they're in New York) and soon to be heading for Crater Lake. Chris and Larry are out of town for Amanda's wedding.

Mom is enjoying her 60th high school reunion, the first she's been able to attend. She's Class of 1947, Garfield High in Seattle, the same high school Jimi Hendrix attended (something I learned from Paul Allen's museum).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Cave Paintings

by K. Urner, while burning some potatoes on the stove
(more context -- 1.48 M pdf)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Geeking Out

I'm feeling like quite the lucky lab, in terms of my geek quotient: it's not every year one gets to both EuroPython and OSCON, as a speaker at both venues, including with sponsorships. Sure, DWA still has plenty of expenses (I just nailed the hotel in Vilnius, looks like a good one), but that's all in our spirit of collaboration in this one big happy circus family of ours. Pass the chicken heads please (joke).

These purchases are career moves, investments, also risks.

Earlier today, I was on a trip down memory lane regarding my collaboration with Jerritt, under the auspices of Saturday Academy, and working with HPD. That got me thinking about doing tcp/ip stuff with Python, leading me to scour the web for relevant resources. Then I came up against not having a free C++ compiler, nor Visual Studio at all (I use Visual FoxPro, licensed and everything). That got me lusting for Linux again, Ubuntu in particular (which I'm already using).

So I went all the way this time, perhaps against my better judgment, and got one of these new Dell jobbers, an Inspiron E1505, somewhat customized, for like $768 after discounts and free shipping.

I did get XP to ping in Python though, and it's not like I'm unhappy with my Toshiba all of a sudden. More it's like having two pairs of shoes (but laptops in this case). I'll be able to dress more appropriately for the occasion, plus these costumes contain tools (like batgrrl has these utility baskets or whatever).

Think of Redmond as a style of hat, quite handsome but not always worn.

A new favorite web site:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another Namespace

I tanked up on books by and about Emanuel Swedenborg at Multnomah County Library today. It's time to fill that hole in my awareness. He was a VBN in his day.

I also purchased this pint of Jack Daniels, in part to commiserate regarding the drought, and its impact on the factory. Sure, there's lots in the pipeline already, but we'd rather the well not go dry.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Coming of Age

Dawn believed in providing guidance and helpful reminders through ritual, and at a higher level used ritual to gain mindfulness on her path towards enlightenment. She was also especially fond of coming of age books for or about young teenagers making that transition to adulthood, or about preteens becoming teens.

Bringing these two together, and as a part of her legacy, our community is exploring ways to more consciously celebrate and acknowledge these transitions and those in the midst of them. We're planning an event sometime in mid-July, before NPYM's Annual Session (at Reed College this year). This event will include specific activities around Tara, Dawn's second daughter to cross over one of these thresholds.

Planning for said event was a theme of our meeting at my house last night, along with another, that of death. We talked about Dawn, greatly missed, and about a young boy, snatched away from this life by leukemia, and accompanied on this final stage by some in our midst, including Tara's friend Luci.

Speaking of Dawn's daughters, I've added a link to Alexia's new blog in the right margin of this one.

Some surprising good news: my proposal to give a talk at OSCON again this year was accepted. I'd long ago assumed not, but I was being too preemptive in my thinking. That plus the trip to Vilnius for Europython, still in the cards as of this writing, would make this a banner year, both for me and for CP4E.

Friend Gayle is back from Greece where she and Tom shared a wonderful vacation. She and Elizabeth were Dawn's dear friends and traveling companions on that trip to the holy wells in Ireland. Laurie, another of Dawn's dearest, is looking forward to getting some of Tara's assistance running her high quality early childhood development program this summer of 2007.

Mom, who was at this Coming of Age meeting last night, is now in Philadelphia for meetings.

Also tonight: Glenn Baker's grand opening, at the AFI/Silverdocs Film Festival, of Stand Up: Muslim American Comics Come of Age, his newest film. Look for it on PBS someday. Glenn and I were high school buddies in the Philippines, later house mates in Jersey City. We've stayed in touch over the years.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Operation Kayak

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Bodies @ OMSI

Body Worlds 3 is edgier than Bodies, which latter I'd seen alone with Londoners, and with close family in Seattle.

Here at OMSI, where Tara and I joined LaJean and her young wards, missing Sam (at a funeral), the texts deal more directly with our attitudes towards death and with the history of anatomy as both an art and a science.

Today, anatomy as a process is done mostly behind closed doors in universities, perhaps on closed circuit television, with no public theater or broadcast channel venues.

But thanks to "plastination of the post-mortal form," the end results of anatomical dissections are once again open to public view, as is the case here, in our local Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a favorite haunt of mine as a child, since even before it moved to its present location from the original site near the Oregon Zoo.

I hadn't been reading all the newspaper stories, so was surprised by the two camels, a huge adult plus the wee one.

One of the more confrontational exhibits is of a cadaver kneeling over a cross, with the text explicitly thanking the Christian religion for long ago authorizing and recognizing the legitimacy of the practice of anatomy, if carried out within certain guidelines.

That, plus the Renaissance willingness to check past authorities in light of bold, new, original empirical studies, are credited for giving us the practical sciences we rely on today to explain the body's mortality even while occasionally prolonging its ability to host life.

Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) is a sponsor of this exhibit, seeing it as a way to recruit future health sciences professionals, including more computer scientists and engineers.

The exhibit texts mentioned other "memento mori" I'd toured during my boyhood in Italy, such as the Capuchins' charnal house in Palermo, Sicily, and their highly ornate ossuaries in the "bone church" (as I called it) along Rome's Via Veneto, near Piazza Barberini, which Frommer's current on-line guide book unkindly calls "one of the most horrifying sights in all Christendom."

I'm posting this to BizMo Diaries in part because I think of the human body as a "business mobile." Yes, it's recreational too (like an RV), but we're here in mortal form to get some serious work done, is my feeling.

:: in today's paper ::

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More on X3D

x3d example in X3D-Edit &
real-time rendered in Octaga player

In part inspired by Mark Martin's success, I've started diving into the X3D specification a little more, thinking to recast my Python modules geared for VRML output, probably using string.Template again (new as of 2.4).

Speaking of string.Template, my ISP doesn't seem as Python friendly as before, with my request to install Python 2.5 on my host languishing for about a week now. A certain cgi script I'd hoped to upload is therefore not operational yet.

I'd like to see a ranking of top ISPs by their Python friendliness. I'd consider moving my domain if my current ISP isn't at least above average. Of course only top ISPs allow cgi scripts in the first place, whereas many just pander to porn-trafficing tourists (a lucrative market, I don't deny it).

Reading matter on my desk right now: Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Linux Journal Issue 157, Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte, NetworkWorld, Volume 24 No. 21.

I've ordered the movie Nightmare Alley from Netflix, hoping to learn more about the etymology of the word "geek." But first I need to finish Season Two of Slings and Arrows, a Canadian soap which I'm much enjoying.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Peruvian Beauty

:: legally off leash @ laurelhurst ::
Yvonne, one of WILPF's galavanters, brought this Peruvian beauty home in a box under her airplane seat, having salvaged him from a junk heap. Les gave Sarah the alias "Mexican street dog" (plus I call her "fruit bat"), who happened to be with me that day, so Sarah got to play with Cholito. They'd likely have very smart cookie pups, but Sarah's been bred to not breed. Anyway, they made a cute couple, despite the age difference (a spread of about 16 dog years).

Here's a cool word problem, suggested by a Wanderer who really wanted to know. Dogs age more quickly than humans, another way of saying they have shorter life spans. The rule of thumb equivalence is one man year is seven dog years. Given that, if a dog is born later than a man, the dog's age will eventually catch up to the man's age, given both live long enough (extrapolate as necessary to find an intersection). Then you give two dates (man birthday, dog birthday) and ask "when will they be the same age to the day?" That day, the guy wanted to have a party with his dog, which I thought was a sweet gesture. We helped him figure it out. Sometime in September, but I forget what year.

The Phi Guy said we have Fibonacci to blame, for all those story problems they give us in math class. He was the source of those Madlib templetes about Farmer John and his fence with perimeter X or whatever the hell. But then he had sources. Liber Abacci wasn't just out of the blue.

Here's another template. At Pioneer Century the other day (a cycling event), I decided to reboot my handlebar trip computer. Upon reboot, it stopped at a number, I think 206 or something, and I was thinking "hey, what's that number doing there, let's get rid of it" upon which I started decreasing it to zero, stopping at 143 with the thought "hey wait a minute, I bet that's an important number." Later that day, I started noticing my number of trip miles was (a) way more than or (b) way less than the mileage on my peers' odometers. Also my speedometer's speed was (a) way more or (b) way less. Hint: the 200+ and 143 measure wheel diameter.

Of course you might nail down the numbers a bit more and have your students write little computer programs to do the conversions and/or find the dog-owner birthdays. Make 'em into web services why not?

Answer key: (a) way less (b) way less. Because I'd decreased my "virtual wheel diameter," I was credited with less distance, hence less speed, per N revolutions.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Day with Friends

:: ron ::

:: dave ::

:: dez ::

Friday, June 01, 2007


:: happy birthday walt whitman ::

:: in studio ::