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

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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

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

Vote With Your Stomache 2003.08.22.06:51

Taco Bell is running their own recall election.

"¡Yo quiero direct democracy!"

(Link and snappy quote courtesy the mind behind http://www.kingtroll.com)

# [/politics]

Good Intentions Don't Equal Good Results 2003.08.22.01:19

Thanks to the latest worm, I'm getting a renewed flood of junk e-mail. Most of it is caught by my ISP's spam filter. But there is another contributor to the madness, a source that probably didn't mean to be making the problem worse. And yet...

I have seen a serious percentage of these e-mails that are not the actual virus messages, but instead are auto-reply messages from spam filtering systems, most often tied to SpamAssassin (as a loyal user, I also recognize the report format). It looks like there are a lot of people out there who mean to punish the spammers by returning messages to them, thus causing them the same level of headache they cause (higher, in theory, since others are doing the same thing). But that isn't working. How do I know this? Because I'm not the one sending the virus messages.

These virus mails are going out because someone who got infected has me in their addressbook. Sending me the auto-reply simply because that is the address on the "From" line isn't doing anything (aside from making me a little bit more annoyed). I understand the reasoning behind this– hell, I've thought about doing something similar. But if I'm getting this many returns, then there are certainly people out there getting even more than I have.

So if you are one of the people doing this auto-reply mojo, please stop it. I hate to break the news, but I doubt that any spammers are going to be truly moved by your efforts. Meanwhile, there are a lot of people who are already getting more than enough useless messages because of the virus. At least the virus messages are caught by the filters. The replies aren't, because they don't look like spam. So I'm getting more of this faux-spam than I'm getting of the real thing. Please stop.

# [/tech]

Here's A Thought 2003.08.20.23:25

Flirting with the pharmacist who fills your prescriptions is futile, no matter how friendly (or cute) she is.

She knows what meds you're on. She knows just how messed up you really are.

# [/thoughts]

Two Times 28 2003.08.10.08:10

I went to see 28 Days Later again, for the purpose of seeing the "original" ending. This was supposedly the way it was meant to end, but had tested badly with audiences. Thus, the movie got a "happier" replacement ending, á la Bladerunner.

Anyway, I wouldn't recommend that anyone go just for the sake of the extra bit of material. In this case, they were wise to re-do the ending. It was badly-paced, and just didn't fit with the rest of the movie.

(The details, and other spoiler-level discussion, behind the cut.)


# [/entertainment/movies]

Two From Moore: Promethea and Top 10 2003.08.08.08:29

Let me start with a bit of fair disclosure: I'll read just about anything this man has written. The main barrier to reading his works is working their purchase into my budget. I can't buy all the books I want to, and I don't have time to read all the books I want to, either. But when I can treat myself to a new Alan Moore volume, it jumps to the top of my reading list.

[cover] And that was the case with the first volume of Promethea. I had been looking at this somewhat askance for over a year now, as I haven't really been budgeting a lot for books, least of all graphic novels. But one recent trip I decided to give this a try, after thumbing through briefly and looking at the artwork. After all, I'm already certain I'll like the writing, since it's Moore. And the artwork was really enticing, so I gave it a shot. Good thing, too.

Promethea is the story about a heroic figure that seems to appear rather consistently in mankind's legends and literature over the span of hundreds of years (if not more). A college student is doing a term paper on this, when she learns that Promethea has actually existed, in different forms over the ages, as a kind of by-product of the belief in the various myths themselves. And more, she (the student) is next in line to take up the mantle.

The story is really well-paced, and the vision of a not-too-near future is all believable. The innovations are subtle, and seem like logical extrapolation from what we already have here and now. Like I said, the art is really good. The dialog moves the story along, and the way the different literary myths are intertwined give the book a very unique feel. I'm already looking forward to the second volume (even if I have to borrow it from someone).


# amazon (and on and on and on and on) [/entertainment/books/comics]

Mike Hawash Pleads Guilty 2003.08.07.08:56

Some time back, I mentioned a case in Oregon about an Intel engineer arrested regarding supposed terrorist links. I was very upset about this, because it seemed like just the sort of thing that I feared the post-9/11 administration would pull.

Well, he's plead guilty. I accept responsibility for my views, and readily admit when I'm wrong. Not that I enjoy being wrong, but I don't shirk away from it. I'm tempted to be suspicious, to think that his decision to confess (when his trial wasn't scheduled until January of 2004) might have some overtones to it. But really, right now I'm just annoyed that he got so many people to stand up so righteously on his behalf.

# [/politics]

So, Will We Get Arnold For Governor? 2003.08.07.08:28

Arnold Schwarzenegger has officially announced that he's going to run for governor of California. If you aren't laughing at us here in California yet, I don't know what else we can do to amuse you. Really. At least when Jesse Ventura ran in Minnesota, he ran a full campaign, took a stond on issues, and basically made a committment to choosing a life in politics. This is opportunism, taking advantage of a wave of resentment that's been fostered by conservatives unhappy that they weren't able to actually win the governorship.

We're to believe that the blame and cause for our current budget crisis is in the hands of one person. Nevermind that the fall of the Internet economy was not in the hands of any one person. Never mind that the so-called energy crisis was more manufactured by Enron than truly an emergency. But not to worry, because the same Republicans who deregulated the energy industry are keen to take over the economic recovery.

As for Arnold, I don't know what to think. One person I know made a very good point– that he could at least prove enough of a polarizing personality to prevent too many voters scattering amongst the wider array of crackpots. I think that this will spell the end for Davis. I just don't know what to expect for a replacement. I feel very strongly that Schwarzenegger has little or no qualification at all. The argument that "anyone would be better than Davis" is as much as strawman argument as can be put forth. I'm not defending him. I'm not even sure yet how I'll vote. I will probably have to accept that Davis is doomed, and pick a likely replacement. But it won't be Arnold.

Update: As it happens, the movie Demolition Man is on. There is an eerily-prescient reference to "President Schwarzenegger" as Sandra Bullock is driving Stallone to the fancy dinner at Taco Bell. Eep.

# [/politics]

Review: Preacher, by Garth Ennis et al 2003.08.07.07:16

[cover] After a steady diet of Alan Moore and Warren Ellis, I got talked into giving this title a try. I hadn't heard of Garth Ennis before, but several people recommended this one. I picked up the first collected volume, and I was hooked. The story is really what drew me in, more than the art which is often the case.

The story centers around Jesse Custer, the minister to a very small town in Texas. Only Jesse isn't happy at his job, and he has a tendency to ease the pain by way of the bottle. One Saturday night, he pulls a major bender. He ends up at the local bar, loudly airing the towns dirty laundry to all present. The next morning, he finds the church packed to the rafters with the town's populace (most of whom just want to see if he'll pick up where he left off). As he gets ready to try and cover his actions of the night before, the church is struck by a "meteor" in the form of Genesis– a half-angelic, half-demonic entity that has broken loose from heaven. The result is literally explosive: the church and all in it (the entire population of the town, it turns out) are immediately incinerated. All but Jesse himself. He regains consciousness some hours later, to find that he's the central suspect as Feds and local police try to learn what happened. Not only is Jesse alive, he has a strange new power, and somehow knows that not all is right in Heaven. He decides to find out what is going on, and sets out in the company of an ex-girlfriend whose path crosses his, and a hard-drinking Irish vampire who had rescued her the night before in Dallas.

It should be pretty obvious that this is not a title for most people, and it is definately not going to sit well with those who are hard-line fundamentalist in their take on the Bible. This takes a lot of the Biblical story and turns it in directions you would never have thought of in a lifetime. It will offend a lot of people, but it will also make a lot of people think, especially about questions of man's free will. The characters are all colorful, though some of them seem to be just there for easy laughs. And I don't know that I agree with all of the premises Ennis presents, either. But I could barely wait between volumes. At nine installments, I couldn't just walk out and buy them at a whim. Still, after each one was ended, I was itching to get my hands on the next one.

Highly recommended.

# amazon (and on) [/entertainment/books/comics]

Back to the Subject of the Graphic Novel 2003.08.07.06:37

So, since I've been reading a lot of graphic novels, and I can never just do anything without over-analyzing it, I got to thinking about why I've been reading so many GN's.

The best answer I can come up with (besides the storytelling, which I'll come back to in a few minutes) is that I've been so deeply entrenched in reading a whole raft of technical books, that even ordinary fiction is kind of off-putting at the moment. Whether I try to read the Chesterton book I've currently got on top of my list, or the book by Burns that I've been reading in conjunction with my therapy, it just feels a little too much like the O'Reilly and other tech books.

But as I said a couple of months ago, graphic novels are a really interesting form of literature all their own. More meaty and solid than the usual single-issue comic, and often times with a much higher production quality. And a lot of the stories being written by the current "masters of the art" are extremely creative and inventive. Two of Alan Moore's GN's have become movies (though in both cases, the books were significantly better). At least one other has been under consideration off and on for years. Garth Ennis' Preacher series is said to be in early pre-production as a movie.

So anyway, I'm going to post some reviews of some of my favorites that I've read in the past few months or so. Thanks to the many friends who've lent me various books and gotten me hooked on so many storylines.

# [/entertainment/books/comics]

Dean Needs YOU (For Image Consultancy) 2003.08.06.06:41

There was a segment on the Daily Show this evening about Howard Dean, as a potential Democratic candidate for president. Now, I've liked most of what I've heard and read about Dean, and would consider him a real contender, right up there with Kerry. Of course, I'm so disappointed and disgusted with the way the Republicans have been pillaging the budget and turning back the clock on social issues, I'll probably vote for whomever the Dems nominate just on general principal. (And don't get me started on the Greens, not right now anyway.)

But the footage they showed of Dean from his appearance on Larry King Live was just... scary. The man looked more like a Saturday Night Live parody of a politician than a real one. I would have thought it was Dana Carvey doing Howard Dean. He was so stiff, he made Al Gore look Bill Clinton. Someone needs to talk to this guy about image. It's a sad statement, but image matters as much (if not more) than the message itself. And while Dean is great on the internet, once the campaign goes into full swing and he starts appearing on TV more often, this could kill him.

# [/politics]

(Im)Proper Disposal of Old Foodstuffs 2003.08.06.06:11

Some time back, I made home-made pickled peppers with fresh jalapeños in apple cider vinegar. They were tasty on rice, and great on nachos. But I don't really know how long they should be let to set, and after getting sick last week I hadn't touched them in 6+ days. So I decided to throw them out. I'll make more, later.

So, since there was a lot of fluid, just throwing them in the trash wasn't an option. That left the garbage disposal. After cleaning out the dishes and such, I made sure I had hot water running and poured them down. Flipped the switch, and off they went in a frenzy of grinding. Well, off went the material component of the mixture. The aromatic essence lingers on.

Which is to say, my kitchen reeks.

# [/food]

Can't Sleep, Penguins Will Taunt Me 2003.08.01.18:37

I didn't sleep at all last night. Zero.

This wasn't a case of, "oops, played videogames until the sun came up". I didn't play any games last night. Nor was it a case of being entranced by the glowing Oracle– I watched only The Daily Show, then turned it off. I read some before turning off the light, but that isn't unusual for me.

Just couldn't sleep. Couldn't clear my mind, no matter how many meditative exercises I tried, or anything else. Now I'm dead on my feet.

Bet I sleep tonight. Unless, of course, I don't make it even that far.

# [/thoughts/health]

University robot ruled too scary 2003.08.01.17:36
# [/tech]

Follow-Up to Yesterday 2003.08.01.06:38

Fortunately, this bug seems to be fairly short-lived. I left work, came home and crashed. Woke up about 10:45PM, feeling restless, so I watched the Daily Show (good call, since the guest was Alyson Hannigan on her American Wedding promo junket). Went back to bed. At about 2AM, my stomache finally decided to send me in to pray at the White Altar. Then, about 4:30AM or so, I awoke drenched in sweat– the fever had finally broken.

So, I went back in to work today (albeit late), and managed to fix a few things before giving up and going home early. Now, the bedclothes are in the wash, and I'm hoping that tomorrow I get the whole day in. But really, I'll be just as happy to get through the night without another offering at the altar.

# [/thoughts/health]

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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