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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

» 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

Hallowe'en in the Office 2004.10.29.20:23

Dear Die-ary,

Today is the Hallowe'en celebration in my office. Many people are dressed up, and there is enough candy floating around to induce diabetic coma into a small but significant percentage of mainland China's populace. Even my manager, who is old-skool-enough to have been coding on Lisp machines before I was born, is dressed for the occassion. I chose not to, as I don't really have much skill or knack for costumes that don't involve large quantities of fake (no, really, I promise it's fake) blood. And I do have to work here after Hallowe'en, after all.

The problem is, there was a calculated, concerted effort among a large number of the female office demographic to dress as devil-girls. That's right, I'm surrounded by literally dozens of women in red, wearing horns, some with pitchforks, even.

My concentration is pretty much crap.


# [/funny]

Mosh The Vote 2004.10.29.01:04

Damn that Eminem. I've done a great job of writing him off as being either extremely offensive on purpose, or carefully crafting his "counter" image for the sake of record sales, either of which is just as bad in my book.

Then he goes and writes a song like this.

It's called "Mosh", and is featured in an animated video created (primarily) by Ian Inaba. And it's top of TRL on MTV. As one of the diarists on Daily Kos put it:

I felt this powerful sense that I had just seen something calibrated exactly for this moment, something hopeful and disturbing and honest...something spoken from the crux of this hour in our history and yet resolutely looking forward.

(I encourage you to read the full article, as it's a very detailed analysis of the imagery throughout the video.)

Spread the link. Spread the love. Spread the spark.

Come along follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength
Come with me and I won't steer you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
To the light at the end of the tunnel
We gonna fight, we gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march
Through the swamp, we gonna mosh through the marsh
Take us right through the doors
# [/politics]

This Is No Drill: The Red Sox Have Indeed Won 2004.10.28.05:40

The Boston Red Sox have won their first World Series since 1918.

I'm not a big sports fan, and have no opinions on pro baseball at all, but they really are an example of the scruffy just-will-not-quit kid down the block that everyone laughed at. They deserved to win this, and winning it so decisively is just icing.

# [/entertainment]

A Tale of Minor Celebrity 2004.10.21.21:50

Wow. I'm flabbergasted. People in the band office still recognized me after 14 years. I mean, I remembered them, but they've seen literally over a thousand other faces since I left.

And then there's the trip I made to see my old academic advisor. He remembered me, too. I had brought him a copy of my book that I wrote a short note in. He took me over and introduced me to the current department head, who asked me to be part of a mailing-list/advisory kinda group. Not only that, both suggested having me come out sometime in the next 6-8 months to give a little talk to the current crop of undergrads, a kind of "pay attention, because you will use what you learn here in the real world" kind of thing.

It felt so, well, weird.

And I can't even begin to start on the cosmetic changes around here. The area that my office used to be in when I worked for the ECN are no longer there– it's a student-services center, now. I just looked around, dazed, until someone asked, "Can I help you find something?" "Yeah, my old office?" What was ECN has transformed into more of an IT, services-oriented division. One person left there that I'd worked with 14 years ago, and she remembered me as well.

This is definately the most interesting trip back I've had in a decade or more...

# [/thoughts]

It's Foreshadowing, I Tell Ya 2004.10.20.01:33

Went to get my hair cut in preparation for my trip. Stylist convinced me to get some color added, mainly to mask the gray. I balked, since previous attempts have failed to match the natural color, but she was hella cute so I folded like a hopeless poker hand.

Now, while she was cutting it, the radio station they had on was playing a pretty good (albeit eclectic) selection. Then they played an old instrumental called "The Horse". Whoa! I played that in high school band. What are the odds? Well, a little later they played the theme from the old Clint Eastwood western, "Hang 'Em High". Which I had also played in high school. This was immediately followed by "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy", a jazz/soul classic, an arrangement of which I had played in jr. high. And as if that weren't enough, there was a fourth tune that I'd played in high school. It, too had a western feel like the Hang 'Em High. Indeed, my marching band had used the two together for our parade performance one year (the year we went to Pueblo, Colorado for the Apple Blossom Festival). I'm about 95% sure that the fourth tune was called "Apache". Or at least had "Apache" in the title.

Four songs (all instrumental arrangements, even the soul song that actually has lyrics) that I'd played, on the sound system, the day before I leave for my college band reunion. Huh.

Update: It is in fact called "Apache", and is an instrumental by a British group called The Shadows. I must now find this.

# [/thoughts]

Sometimes You Can Go Home After All 2004.10.19.03:01

I'm headed to Oklahoma later this week. I'll be there for OU's homecoming football game. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. They're having a large-scale gathering of alumni, and I'm on my way.

I was in the Pride from 1986 to 1989. My freshman season was the band that was awarded the Sudler Trophy, leading us to label everything with a "Sudler" prefix in the 1987 season. It was like the '60's Batman utility belt, only with better music. I went to two Orange Bowls and a Citrus Bowl before the 1989 recruitment scandal led to NCAA suspension and Barry Switzer's resignation. Those trips also meant three trips to New Orleans the days right after New Year's. Not to mention New Year's Day usually spent on the Florida beaches. It was a pretty good couple of years.

Well, mostly. This would be years before my thyroid problem was diagnosed, before my depression was diagnosed. Looking back on it, I can see now that a lot of what I went through, a lot of the negative, was due at least in part to that. Not all, mind you. Somehow I angered my section leader my freshman year (and don't ask how– I don't know, nor could any of my friends figure it out either) which made that year really tough, and made me appear to the rest of the band leadership as a troublemaker. Even by my senior year, there were people in the band who would rather see me not there at all. But I made it through the auditions year after year. I was no where near the top of the heap in the French Horn section; right around the time I enrolled at OU, they had gotten a number of exceedingly good hornists. Any ensemble that only needed 2-4 horns was pretty much a lost cause to the rest of us. And I wasn't even a music major, so I was no where near the running. But for the Pride, which took 24 horns, I could make it. And I had friends there, and I had a love for the band that wouldn't let me give in to the people who didn't like me. But I have to take some part of the responsibility, even if I didn't fully understand why at the time.


# [/thoughts]

It's Done 2004.10.14.02:33

It's over, the last closing statements have been made. Both closings were solemn without being somber.

I'll write more over the next day or so, but my take is this: initial reaction will place them as essentially a tie. But things like the OBL lie and the Roe v. Wade cut-off of the moderator will turn that opinion against Bush and towards Kerry over the next few days.

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

A Truly Quotable Moment 2004.10.14.02:19

"[Faith-based initiatives] unleashed the Armies of Compassion"

What. The. Hell. Is. That?

But then, Kerry followed up with the lovely, "I think we have a lot more loving of our neighbor to do." Yeah baby!

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

WTF? 2004.10.14.02:07

Dude, WTF?

Bush just totally cut-off the moderator in mid-question to answer. It seems that he answered the question that was going to be asked (well, for some values of the word "answered"). But geez man, let the guy finish.

And no, he didn't answer the question. The question was "Do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade?" The answer has nothing to do with a litmus test for judges.

And he is awfully fond of that phrase, "a liberal senator from Massachusetts."

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

Halfway There 2004.10.14.02:00

OK, a bit past the halfway-point. Looks pretty even in terms of general performamce, except that several of Bush's blatant lies are going to come back to haunt him over the next few days. Expect to see that old film clip at least a few times.

Bush has jumped in a few times out of order, and hasn't gotten called on it. The chuckling is still creepy, and he's still much more fidgety when Kerry speaks than vice-versa.

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

Caring About bin Laden's Whereabouts 2004.10.14.01:47

Here's a link, from a March 13, 2002 press conference transcript on their own website:


Dude, try to limit your lies to those not provable on your own office's web site.

Update: Better still, here's a segment of video.

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

That Was Scary 2004.10.14.01:35

The chuckle Bush just made leading into the question on rising healh care costs was just plain scary.

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

And They're Off 2004.10.14.01:18

The final debate has begun. C-SPAN2 is doing the split-screen thing again, and again has adjusted the relative centering of each candidate so that they appear to be the same height. I guess, as a tall person, I forget that this sort of thing can be an issue to people.

Neither person has wasted any time attacking the other. But Bush is also off to a bad start. Kerry has called him on his statement about not being so concerned about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. He was way too glib about trying to laugh through his answer, to make it look ridiculous. Unfortunately for him, he said it on tape (looking for a non-blog link to the quote, a real news source link).

Bush is still having trouble with the tendency to smirk and fidget. He's just plain trying too hard.

# [/politics/debate2004-3]

That Second Debate; Thoughts 2004.10.14.00:46

After such diligent attention to the first presidential debate and the VP debate, I didn't actually see the second one. At least, not completely. I was late coming into it, and had to head home and stop by the pharmacy en route so all in all, I saw or heard (on NPR) about half of it.

From what I heard, I thought it was about a tie. I thought that Kerry was giving better answers, but that Bush was playing the crowd better. However, after reading the reports of others over the weekend following it, and fact-checking since, I guess I just missed the really juicy bits. I missed Bush lose his cool and rattle on out-of-turn, completely ignoring the moderator. And from what I read, that was the worst of the anger-management issues, but not the only.

So, rather than drive myself nuts trying to sift through it all, I'll just do my best to keep up on the final debate, here in 15 minutes or so.

# [/politics]

Pax Christopher Reeve 2004.10.11.08:54

Superman has passed away.

Understand, for many people in my age-bracket (+/- 10 years or so), Reeve was as much the embodiment of Superman as any paper rendition in a comic book.

Christopher Reeve 1952-2004

He made us believe a man could fly.

# [/entertainment/movies]

Why I Left Oklahoma, #3 (Race-Baiting) 2004.10.06.21:25

The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) is running an ad in an Oklahoma Senate race that they're currently losing. The Republican candidate has, among other offenses, been found to have sterilized a woman without her consent 20 years ago during his medical practice.

So, the logical response is to employ race-baiting. Atrios has the details and a link to the ad.

Sadly, this tactic will almost certainly shift some votes in Oklahoma. Hopefully, not enough to matter.

# [/politics]

Poll Dance 2004.10.06.20:05

Apparently, CNN pulled down their initial poll on who won last night's debate. They've since put it back, but between the two polls the VP's support managed to double.

How terribly inconvenient those initial numbers must have been. (I'm pretty sure that their polling software uses IP-logging to reduce fraud.)

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

I Am So Cursed 2004.10.06.08:37

It's not enough that I'm still in financial straights over the car accident I was in a month ago. It's not enough that I've been waiting to get paid by Yahoo for some consultancy for over 70 days. It's not enough that my laptop's hard drive started throwing r/w head errors a few weeks ago. No. None of that, apparently, was enough.

Tonight, my main desktop system started going haywire after I'd done some DVD, errrr, backing-up. Since DVD drives can sometimes cause trippy-ness in Linux kernels, I opted for a reboot.

Two of my filesystems were fucked up, /opt and /usr/local. The former seemed OK after a manual run of fsck. The latter simply will not fsck at all. Of course, I stored things like the ZIP files for my current Eclipse configuration on that partition, but I can do without it, since the other one (where Eclipse and my Java environments live) cleaned up OK.

But it didn't, completely. My installation of Eclipse has vanished. Well, sort of. The superblock that contained its inode is gone. So I have a goat-choking assload of files in the lost+found directory with catchy names like "#4849867", and with content ranging from executables to images to HTML text to other directories. But, of course, this isn't the real problem.

No, the real problem is that these two filesystems are on the same physical disk, which is clearly not much longer for this world. Unfortunately, a lot of other things are on this disk, as well. I only have two actual physical hard drives, after all (the other two IDE devices being a CD-ROM and DVD-ROM). The whole O/S is on this disk, as well as most of my web-work (thankfully, most of that is also CVS-managed, and the CVS repo is on the other disk). So, broke that I am, I have to plan for a new disk drive and a clean re-install of the O/S in the (very) near future. Right now, I can't even work effectively on my personal projects. Especially with the fear that another partition (or god-forbid, the other disk) fails.

Just fucking shoot me now.

# [/thoughts]

"The First Time I Ever Met You..." 2004.10.06.04:02

Cheney was very pointed in his criticism of Edwards' attendance record as a Senator. His words (from the MSNBC transcript):

Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session.

The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.

How short his memory: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/10/5/234647/200

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

Aprés Debate 2004.10.06.03:44

So, who won? In the words of Eve, "Gee, that's pretty hard."

I think one caller to C-SPAN after the debate summed it up well: "I think we just saw who the real president is." (Emphasis added based on the caller's voice.)

The CNN poll is already showing Edwards as the winner, 82% to 14%. Even the Fox News poll is (currently) favoring Edwards, 17% to 13% with 67% saying that neither won it. (I expect the strongly-Repub Fox demographic to change this within a few hours.) (I've since seen polls with even wider gaps, some placing Edwards with over 90% support.)

As for myself, I don't think it was that big of a slam-dunk. I do absolutely believe Edwards took it, hands down. Cheney completely brushed aside the issues of the administrations's support for the Constitutional amendment against gay marriage, the issue of Halliburton illegally doing business with Iran. He used the tired argument of the weapons-systems Kerry opposed in the '80's, only to be reminded that he, too, had opposed them (and, ultimately, killed several of them). It wasn't a slam-dunk, but that was largely because Cheney is the actual brains in the pair. It wasn't going to be a slam-dunk unless Cheney, too, cracked under the lights the way Bush had.

I think Cheney was, as is their usual mode of operation these days, relying on fear-mongering. He went almost directly into invoking 9/11. He made several (at least two, maybe three) inferrences that the danger of a terrorist attack with nuclear or bio/chem weaponry was imminent. Let me say that again: We are to believe that a "wrong" vote next month will mean a nuclear or biological terror attack. Cheney dodged any real responsibility for the statement he made a few weeks ago to that effect, but the implication was clear.

I've seen several people say that once the American people get to see the candidates face-to-face, the race will widen considerably. They were right on that, but they all thought that Bush/Cheney would be the ones gaining the double-digit leads. Instead, their lead was erased last week, and at this rate they'll be trailing by Saturday.

(Update @ 20:42: The FOX News poll is no longer showing such a large chunk of undecideds. Now, it's 52-47 for Edwards, with less than 400 for "didn't watch" and less than 500 for "none of the above".)

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

Closing Statement Discrepancies 2004.10.06.02:39

Edwards went first. Thanked the moderator and the V.P.

Cheney's turn came up. Thanked the moderator and ignored his opponent.

Edwards talked about the culture of opportunity he remembered as a child, and how he and Kerry wanted to restore that.

Cheney focused on the the on-going threat of terrorism, with extra-special focus on the hypothesis that terrorists might strike within the U.S. with a nuclear or chem/bio weapon.

Hope or fear. These are our choices on Nov. 2.

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

Bad John, No Donut 2004.10.06.02:24

In a simple question, to define the differences between each other without invoking their presidential running-mates name, Edwards flubbed it. Twice. Tsk, tsk.

But he turned it into a good jab in the next question.

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

FactCheck.org Update 2004.10.06.02:16

FactCheck.org is responding again. The only two documents I can find that refer to Halliburton refer to the validity of the no-bid contracts, and pointing out that a Kerry ad mis-characterizes Cheney's last payments from the company. I agree with the latter– it was an unfair ad. But neither of these offer a dispute or defense of Halliburton having used off-shore subsidiaries to do business with Iran. Remember, if you you do business with terrorists...

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

The Real Smokescreen 2004.10.06.01:48

Cheney is accusing Kerry/Edwards of using the Halliburton link as a "smokescreen" to cover their own poor records. He then goes on to dissect Edwards' senate record.

Tell me again, how does Edwards' senate record relate to Halliburton's fraud, or the dealings they had with Iran while Cheney was CEO?

Which one of these arguments is the smokescreen?

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

The Halliburton Albatross 2004.10.06.01:45

Edwards has itemized Halliburton's involvement in doing business with Iran while Cheney was lobbying for reduction in the sanctions. Pointed out their fines when caught doing so. And again, the no-bid contract issue is coming back to haunt them.

Cheney countered with a reference to FactCheck.org, which is now getting the Cheney-equivalet of being slash-dotted. I'll check on that when I can.

Interesting note: Edwards says that companies under gov't contract that are under investigation for fraud, are not supposed to be getting monies until the investigation is completed. But Halliburton is still getting paid while being under investigation for defrauding the gov't on billing.

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

Cheney's SecDef Record 2004.10.06.01:28

Finally, someone has countered the criticism of Kerry's opposition to weapons systems in 1984. Edwards just pointed out that all the systems they attack Kerry for opposing, Cheney himself opposed at the same time.

He went on to attack the no-bid contracts that have fattened up Hallibuton.

And in his rebuttal, Cheney dodged both of those subjects entirely.

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

Out of the Starting Gate 2004.10.06.01:19

It's taken Cheney less than 30 seconds to invoke 9/11, and within the space of his first answer, he's re-asserted the myths that Iraq had any connections to Al Qaeda (and by extension, 9/11). Despite the fact that all the recent reports from CIA and other sources have shown this to be false.

Edwards wasted no time in pointing this out, aided by the well-timed remarks of Paul Bremer yesterday.

Cheney tried to re-assert in his rebuttal, and Edwards came straight out and told him to his face that all reports have made it clear that there is no link.

(Follow-up: In the next question, Cheney did say that they never believed Iraq as linked to 9/11. I'm pretty sure that they have, but I can't google that and listen and comment all at once.)

# [/politics/debate2004-vp]

Some Afterthoughts 2004.10.01.06:58
# [/politics/debate2004-1]

The Eyes Have It 2004.10.01.02:45

Four years ago, everyone was up in mock indignation at Gore's audible sighing.

This time around, Bush was rolling his eyes as often or more so. Will we hear about this? Or will the "liberal media" overlook it?

# [/politics/debate2004-1]

Fact Check: No. 4 in a Series 2004.10.01.02:39
# [/politics/debate2004-1]

The Real Way of Measuring Score on the Debate 2004.10.01.02:38

A caller to C-SPAN after the debate:

"The final score was three glasses of water for President Bush, one drink of water for Mr. Kerry."

# [/politics/debate2004-1]

Some Quotes I Missed 2004.10.01.02:28

Because of my spotty stream at first, I missed these gems from Kerry:

"We didn't need that tax cut. America needed to be safe."

"I made a mistake in how I talked about the war. The President made a mistake in how he conducted the war. Which is worse?"

(Found at http://demwatch.blogspot.com/)

# [/politics/debate2004-1]

Fact Check, No. 3 in a Series 2004.10.01.02:17
# [/politics/debate2004-1]

Fact Check, No. 2 in a Series 2004.10.01.02:00
# [/politics/debate2004-1]

Fact Check, No. 1 of a Series 2004.10.01.01:58
# [/politics/debate2004-1]

Access Restored: Thank You C-SPAN 2004.10.01.01:50

Thanks to C-SPAN, I've got a good feed that is both audio and video. And this has led me to two interesting observations:

  • C-SPAN is showing both candidates in a split-screen format. I suppose it's because of the stringent rules of the "debate", but they're showing Kerry's podium clearly 6-8 inches lower than Bushes. God forbid anyone should see that Kerry is taller than Bush.
  • When Bush is speaking, Kerry looks forward, or looks down and writes notes. Occassionally looks to his left (probably looking at Bush). When Kerry is speaking, Bush is fidgeting looking all over the place like a bored, schoolkid waiting for the bell to ring.

Currently, Bush is waxing nostalgic about a specific widow he can mention by name. But then, Kerry's is making oblique Vietnam references in his response, so that point has got be called a draw.

I thought Bush would be more eloquent. Debating is supposedly his strong suit. This is looking a lot more like Kennedy-Nixon '60 than Bush-Gore '00.

# [/politics/debate2004-1]

First Debate Nugget 2004.10.01.01:29

I'm not going to be able to get the whole of the debate, because I'm at my office. The demand for streaming audio seems to be high, because my RealPlayer client keeps losing its place in the stream. So I'll have to rely on what bits I both get and get clearly-enough to reliably repeat.

Here's the first:

BUSH: "If you harbor a terrorist, you're as guilty as a terrorist."

15 of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabians. This must be bad news for them, no?

# [/politics/debate2004-1]

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:


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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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