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+ raelity bytes
+ paul e. [LJ]
+ Rain Graves
+ gnat [use Perl;]

Syndication feeds:
# RSS 1.0 format
# Atom 0.3 format

My other sites:
- Silicon Valley Scale Modelers
- Book page for Programming Web Services With Perl

Other journals I read:
= DJ Adams
= rebecca blood
= Tim Bray
= Margaret Cho
= Warren Ellis
= Neil Gaiman
= Rafael Garcia-Suarez
= John Gorenfeld
= Lawrence Lessig
= Michael McCracken
= Jeff Vogel
= Norm Walsh
= Wil Wheaton

My journal at use.perl.org:
· Restless
· RPC-XML-0.57.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.56.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· RPC-XML-0.55.tar.gz uploaded to PAUSE
· Forgive Me, Bretheren Monks
· Extry Extry: Winer Leaves the RSS Advisory Board
· RPC::XML 0.54 Uploaded
· The Books of Perl
· Good Intentions Don't Equal Good Results
· Errata Tracking Page for PWSWP
· Image::Size 2.992 Uploaded
· Props to Portland PM
· Lightning Talks
· OSCON, Tuesday
· OSCON Plans Now Set

» Blogs that link here

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We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. — Will Rogers

I Know This Feeling 2003.07.31.01:28

Sudden chills, accompanied by the shakes. Nausea, despite having barely eaten anything (and what little I have, was bland almost to the point of being tasteless). I remember these symptoms...

I'm sick.

I didn't need the reminder, really. I was doing just fine without this, thank you very much...

# [/thoughts/health]

Napster 2.0 2003.07.29.06:32

Napster 2.0 is coming by the end of the year.

It'll be just like Napster, except it'll cost money.

Three months, tops. Six if they can find some really fucking naïve venture capitalists.

# [/tech]

CA Dems Mess Up Over Budget 2003.07.23.09:12

California state legislature Democrats blew it big-time, getting caught by an open mic discussing how they could use the current budget crisis to gain leverage over the Republicans. For my part, I agree with the person from whom I got the link; both sides of the house are pretty much equally-distasteful. But just when I think that this can only uplift the Republicans, I read this gem:

Assembly Republican Leader Dave Cox said that he was disappointed that Democrats would consider using the budget crisis to their political advantage.

Disappointed? Really? Because that sentence pretty much sums up the whole "Recall Davis" effort.

# [/politics]

AP: Saddam's Sons Killed in Gunfight 2003.07.23.01:57

I've been against the war from the start, but I've never pretended nor tried to convince anyone else that Hussein and his regime were anything other than brutal. So I'm not at all saddened to read this:

Saddam's Two Sons Killed in U.S. Raid

They had a chance to defend themselves, and when it comes right down to it they were facing the repercussions of the violence they themselves had visited upon the people of Iraq for so many years. In fact, their end came a lot more swiftly and with a lot less pain than the vast majority of their victims.

# [/politics]

It's Great Being Male 2003.07.22.03:49

Frequent masturbation lowers the risk of prostate cancer.

Pizza reduces the risk of cancer, too, it would seem.

All I need now is a definitive link to the research that shows how beer lowers the risk of heart disease.

It's great, being male.

Update: A kind reader pointed me towards the American Heart Association article regarding alchohol and heart disease. Guinness, anyone?

# [/thoughts/health]

New Shirts 2003.07.18.02:32

[cover] I shall soon have a couple of new shirts. The one whose image you see to the left, and this one as well. I suspect these shall make me instantly the life of any and all parties I attend while so attired. I also expect numerous questions as to where one gets shirts so cool, so I'm making this journal entry for future referral's sake.

Geek humor never ceases to crack me up.

# [/funny]

Trust Internet Explorer? Think Again. 2003.07.16.23:58

Cribbed from a fellow Perl hacker's journal, this little bit on how secure the information that Microsoft (well, Hotmail at least) stores in cookies really is. If you use either (let alone both of) IE or Hotmail, you should read.

# [/tech]

Errata and Resource Page for PWSWP 2003.07.16.09:08

I've put together a page on my blackperl.com domain for tracking the errata for my book, as well as linking various reviews and providing access to the downloadable code examples.

The page is here.

Just for kicks, I decided to try some new tricks out on this page, such as relying on CSS rather than tables for block-element alignment (though I had to drop back to tables in the actual errata listing, for the page/paragraph/line display, because of a percentage-rounding-error in some browsers). I also got my feet wet in XSLT, using that to transform an XML representation of the errata information into a XHTML snippit suitable for virtual-inclusion.

(Interestingly enough, I really haven't done anything with blackperl.com as a domain, except hang my resume off of it and put pages for my Perl modules there. I really should get around to creating a real index.html one of these days...)

# amazon () [/tech]

Two Oxymorons, Together for the First Time! 2003.07.16.00:44

Microsoft Security meets Homeland Security

Egads, how long before some script kiddie from outside the U.S. "owns" the HS network? And I shudder to think what people within the country could do...

# [/tech]

Robertson to God: "Smite these heathen justices" 2003.07.15.23:48

(I puzzled over whether to put this in my general politics section, or the GLBT sub-section, since the issue at hand is the recent Texas anti-sodomy ruling. In the end, I decided this is a good time to make a religion sub-section. I anticipate what will likely be a growing need for it over the upcoming election year.)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) – Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson urged his nationwide audience Monday to pray for God to remove three justices from the Supreme Court so they could be replaced by conservatives.

I'd laugh hysterically, if the underlying ambition of this were not so terribly frightening. Don't get me wrong here– I don't think his call for prayer will make one whit of difference. It's the audacity and affront that he shows that angers me so much. On the other hand, he'd best be careful in how he words the prayers: conservative William Rehnquist is considered the most likely to retire of the current nine.

On the plus side, it's worth visiting the link just to check out the picture of Robertson they have. I can't tell if he's praying or prairie-dogging.

# [/politics/religion]

Good-bye, Portland 2003.07.13.01:18

About 20 minutes before my flight back to San Jose starts to board. Six days in Portland, and I pretty much enjoyed myself the whole time. People are generally nice here. There's no sales tax (but the locals pay for it in higher income and property taxes). On the down side, they don't have the same laws we have in California regarding smoking indoors, so many of the restaurants I went to were smoky. The club I went to on Tuesday was almost completely full of smoke (but the music was worth it). All in all, a nice place. A place I could live, if I were dead-set on leaving the bay area, and were not interested in returning to Denver for some reason. (For the record, I'm in no hurry to leave the bay area, and if I were to do so, I'd most likely return to Denver where I still have a handful of friends.)

I'm sure there was a lot more to the city than I saw in my limited exploration of downtown. Being near the river was good and bad– there was the occassional "river smell" that crept up to the hotel, like dead fish or something. I should have taken one of the boat-tours, but I was too busy with geeky stuff.

Today, I went along with gnat and his brood to the Portland Saturday Market, which is a kind of combo farmers' market/crafts fair sort of event, that runs each and every weekend. Lots of booths. Clothes, wood crafts, stone crafts, calligraphy, face-painting, etc. Naturally, tons of pro-pot stuff. You can always find tons of pro-pot T-shirts, rings, etc. at these things. Some booths even had pipes and bongs. I do wonder sometimes, what I missed by never trying pot. But I never wonder enough to actually care enough to take that first taste. I did get a couple of clearance-priced granite octagon-shaped coasters. They're the right width and thickness to use as bases for my figurines, and they were only about $5 each, what I usually pay for polished and stained wooden bases. After the market, rested a bit in the hotel lobby and now I'm here at the gate. Boarding should start within the next 10 minutes or so.

So, good-bye for now, Portland. I'm told that OSCON will be back there in 2004, so I'm sure I'll have at least as much fun (if not more) the second time around.

# [/thoughts/travel]

Now Just a Minute Here... 2003.07.12.08:31

So I'm sitting here in my hotel room, channel surfing. I come across Star Wars: Episode II just as the big arena battle is starting. So I watch it for a while, because this is a big, flashy battle (and because the Jedi chicks are hot). And since I've watched the battle, I keep it on long enough to watch Yoda throw down against Dooku (what an unfortunate name).

Then something occurs to me. Maybe I thought of this before and promptly forgot it before taking note. Maybe I only just now noticed it. But when Yoda is fighting Dooku in that hanger, and the real point here is to keep him from escaping, why didn't Yoda throw any of the miscellaneous junk he was deflecting at the ship itself? I mean, Dooku throws several metal objects, then some rocks from the ceiling, and finally a fucking electrical column around, and Yoda deflects it all. Ship sitting right there, he throws it all onto the ground. I know, I know, we're all looking forward to the real fight, the sword duel in which Yoda goes all over Dooku like a crack-fueled bumblebee. For a second, I thought maybe they were in a different room from the ship, but during the sword-fight, Yoda bounces off the ship.

If you'd taken out the ship, Dooku wouldn't have gotten very far, now would he?

(No, I'm not pretending this is the only flaw in this steaming pile of a film, but I felt like sharing my observations.)

# [/entertainment/movies]

Being a Fan-Boy at the Con 2003.07.10.21:28

Wil Wheaton was here at the show signing copies of his book, Dancing Barefoot: five short but true stories about life in the so-called space age (yes, it's a lengthy sub-title, but I wanted to include it all, and the capitalization is exactly as they've titled it for publication).

Me 'n Wil So what can I say? I'm a fan-boy for celebrity in general, but WW is actually a pretty sharp cookie. He does his own weblog, and he's in the process of teaching himself Perl by means of some of the O'Reilly books. And as the saying goes, he just looked so normal in person! Seriously, we chatted for a few minutes as I took a copy of the book for him to sign, and I went away pretty jazzed for having met him. Pretty decent guy. I could definately see going through a few pints over talk of technology.

I promised that I'd send him a copy of my book if/when he wanted to give web services programming a spin.

# amazon (and on) [/entertainment/tv]

Portland, OR 2003.07.10.19:24

This is a pretty nifty little place, I must admit. The weather has been very kind to us so far this week. The hotel overlooks the Willamette River (pronounced wi-LAMB-it, according to locals), which makes for a nice view. I had a river-view from my room when I arrived, but I only had a regular-sized bed. Getting a king-size meant trading my view of the river for a view of the parking lot.

I haven't wandered nearly as much as I usually do, spending more time indoors in conversations with various personalities. Found a nice pub/restaurant last night, that had Guiness on draught. Night before that, I went to a local club called Ohm for some house and electronica. I was sent with a purpose: to hear a local live act called Dahlia. And a grand recommendation it was, too. They were amazing, and I hope to see them hit the bay area if/when they tour.

Not a lot to do today at the con, except for my talk this afternoon, of course. Tonight's plans have yet to be made.

# [/thoughts/travel]

How About That... 2003.07.08.06:55

Here on the 4th floor of the Marriott Downtown in Portland, someone is configured for re-broadcast of wireless connectivity...

# [/tech]

Soundtrack to 28 Days Later 2003.07.07.03:14

(I promise not to cajole you about seeing the movie in this entry.)

cover One of the things that really stuck with me long after seeing this movie was the music it featured. Most of it is very soft and menacing, staying in the background only to leap out for a few bars (or even just a few notes) at a time, before dropping back to the shadows again. The acapella hymn sung at an early point in the movie is just as haunting without the imagery it accompanies. Maybe because everytime I hear it, I remember what was going on at that point. The tracks "AM 180" and "Season Song" should be making the rounds of radio stations by now, but they haven't caught on. I won't be at all surprised if/when they do.

The U.S. release of the S/T features some club mixes of a couple of the tracks, as well as some data tracks for PC users. Haven't checked out the latter, but the dance tracks are a nice touch. But they don't dredge up memories like the original versions do.

Highly recommended.

(OK, I lied. If you haven't seen the film yet, do so.)

# amazon () [/entertainment/music]

7:46 And Counting... I Hope A Special Someone Reads This 2003.07.07.02:56

It now appears that my flight should leave SJC at or about 8:36. I've moved from the general terminal area to the secured area near my gate. Trying to find a place where I can plug in my laptop (so as to not drain the battery if I don't have to), I walked over to a designed "Business Operation Center" in this gate-area. Basically, it's a groups of partitioned desks with power outlets in range of one of the wireless hotpoints. But one desk is occupied by a guy reading a book, and two of the desks are enveloped by a three-woman chit-chat session, which has also consumed the chair of a third desk. So I asked if they knew what had happened to the chair, trying to be non-aggressive about it. Hoping that they might take the hint that someone might actually want to use the desks for work. One woman said, "Yes, I have it. We're just having a little talk together."

Hey, here's a thought: move to the chairs where everyone else is sitting. You know, the chairs that aren't part of the BUSINESS CENTER, where the absence of power outlets won't bother you in the least.

Best part: One of the others says to the one I spoke with, "I guess he just felt he needed to say something, to express himself." Yes. That is it exactly. I was expressing the fact that you are all inconsiderate gits who could have made a simple move and shown some basic consideration. If I were truly as rude as you were implying, I'd have outright asked you to move, instead of simply saying that what I wanted the chair for was not that important.

OK, I suppose the long day I've been through is starting to get to me... but I do hope that through some weird quirk of fate, she reads this.

# [/misc]

And If I Am Lying, May Lightning Strike Me D– AAAHHHH! 2003.07.07.01:56
# [/funny]

Props to Wayport 2003.07.07.01:11

I'm stuck at San Jose (California) airport due to a 3-4 hour delay in my flight to Portland. But all is not lost, as Intel and Wayport have conspired to tempt away my money a fair $6.95 at a pop. That's the cost for one days' connection through the WiFi network they have around the terminal here. Sure, it's not what you would call cheap. But I have nearly two more hours to wait before boarding begins, and even if I could sneak away for a movie, it would cost me more than $6.95. This gets me IMAP, ssh, and most importantly, pr0n. And it seems to be a good, clean and fast signal.

# [/tech]

Brief Intermission 2003.07.06.17:49

Back from a few days in Oklahoma, and about to head out to Portland (Oregon) for the Open Source Convention. I'll have actual internet connectivity there, so regular journal updates will resume, featuring not only news from the con but many wry observations from Oklahoma...

# [/misc]

Movie Review: <a href="http://us.imdb.com/Details?0181852">Terminator 3</a> 2003.07.02.07:42

Can you hear that distant bleating sound? That soft but distinct, "baa baa" of a consumer sheep? Yep, it's just me...

What I should have been doing this evening is laundry and packing for my flight to Oklahoma tomorrow. Instead, I noticed on my way home that the theater near my apartment was showing T3 at 10:15. So after a quick dinner, out I went.

Yeah, I should have stayed home.

This is pure sequel-formula. The number of explosions have been increased by the proper percentage. Ditto the visual effects. As with T2, the focus is on John Connor rather than Sarah (absent in this installment). In place of Linda Hamilton, we have Claire Danes. Mind, to my consideration this definately counts as trading up, especially since she's back to her (natural?) red hair and acting more like Angela in My So-Called Life than Julie in Mod Squad. Alas, there is very little truly original material here. The biggest difference is that John Connor is no longer the surly, brooding Edward Furlong. Rather, he's the mixed-up, paranoid and fairly unhinged Nick Stahl. And he's a lot less enthusiastic about seeing Arnold than the rest of the audience is.

There's not a lot to say about the plot without giving it away. Yes, it's about that thin– if I say much at all, I risk giving parts away. The new face in the cast is the T-X, played by Kristanna Loken. She might be a capable actor; playing a machine is no way to tell. She does at least emote a few times, but that might actually not be the way to play a soulless killing machine. But she's very easy on the eyes, at least. And as the T-X, all the best visual effects center around her. The T-X isn't completely liquid metal like the T-1000 was (guess they decided the lack of moving-parts ability was too much of a handicap), but she has her moments. And her very feline-like endo-skeleton is almost as sexy as she is.

I'm a sheep, and I saw it for full price. You'll regret it a lot less if you pay a matinee price.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Mmm... Caskets 2003.07.01.00:23


I am so completely shocked... at the prices. I couldn't afford any of this for my own home, no matter how tasty it looks. I especially like the display cabinet, the Vlada.

# [/funny]

Who Am I:
Randy J. Ray
Software Engineer


Buy my book!

Programming Web Services with Perl

I've also contributed three chapters to:

Computer Science & Perl Programming

Category quick-links:


24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep
Oct Nov Dec

Reading and Re-reading
· The Annotated Thursday: G.K. Chesterton's The Man Who Would Be Thursday, G.K. Chesterton, Martin Gardner
· The Feeling Good Handbook, David D. Burns
· Organizing From the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern
· XML Schema, Eric Van Der Vlist
· BEEP: The Definitive Guide, Marshall T. Rose

High in the queue
· Silk, Caitlin R. Kiernan
· Coldheart Canyon, Clive Barker
· Idoru, William Gibson
· Shared Source CLI Essentials, David Stutz, Ted Neward, Geoff Shilling

Recently finished
· Planetary Vol. 3: Leaving the 20th Century, Warren Ellis, et al

Recommended favorites
· The Cowboy Wally Show, Kyle Baker
· Lost Souls, Poppy Z. Brite
· The Alienist, Caleb Carr
· Quarantine, Greg Egan
· The Authority: Relentless, Warren Ellis et al.
· Planetary: All Over the World and Other..., Warren Ellis et al.
· American Gods, Neil Gaiman
· Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
· Neuromancer, William Gibson
· A Philosophical Investigation, Philip Kerr
· Say You Want a Revolution (The Invisibles, Book 1), Grant Morrison et al
· You Are Worthless: Depressing Nuggets of..., Oswald T. Pratt and Scott Dickers
· Cryptonomicon, Neil Stephenson
· Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), J. Michael Straczynski

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