Monday, October 31, 2005

Creative Juices to be Unleashed

At least, I hope so. In a fit of mindlessness, I've declared to family that I'm going to write a novel. Well, not a big novel, for sure. Fifty thousand words (175 pages), maybe a few more. In a month. It's all part of National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo.

I do this to follow in the footsteps of Eldest Child, who last year started on about Nov. 20 and managed to finish by Nov. 30. Of course, most of the writing was done during Thanksgiving break.

However, I plan to start tomorrow, the first official day of the month. A simple calculation says I need to write about 2,000 words per day, given that I'll probably have some off days.

I'll place the chapters in HTML, and maybe PDF format at nanowrimo05 in my Comcast web space. I'll make a post here when each new chapter goes up. I'd really appreciate comments here after each chapter. And yes, "I had to stop reading or tear my eyes out" is an acceptable comment.

What's it about? Beats the heck out of me... No, actually, it's Stargate SG-1/Battlestar Galactica fanfic crossover, at least for now. No, not the original Galactica, the new one. With the humanoid Cylons.

The title's unknown, and although I have the first chapter pretty well planned out, it doesn't have a title, either. Suggestions are welcome, after you've read a bit.

NaNoWriMo doesn't encourage editing during November, so if you point out any mistakes in English, plot, or whatever, please don't expect me to change anything before the end of the month.

If any of you are participating in NaNoWriMo and want a link to your work, drop me a line here. If I get enough links, I'll make up a sidebar on this page.

Wish me (and all NaNoWriMo members) luck.

There. Now I have to do it.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Visitor MMMM

Actually, that should be M Vbar, where Vbar is a V with a bar across it, but I'm lazy, and I digress, as usual.

Last night at 10:23:27 pm (EDT) this blog had its 4,000th visitor since I started logging visits. Thanks to sitemeter, we know that our 4,000th guest was from the University of California at San Diego and, surprise, wanted to know about firefox and rtsp, and visited the famous Linux, Firefox, and rtsp:// page. Odd, because our visitor was using a Mac running OS X, which I didn't think had this problem.

I've only been keeping usage information for a few months, but I can tell you that since last August 15, 38% of those who visit here are running Linux (good show) and 56% are running Windows, with most of the remainder Macs. 62% of our visitors use the Firefox browser (great!), while only 27% use IE. Keep up the good work, people.

And thanks to all of you for stopping by. We don't get the hits of some blogs, but we get quite a few more than I ever thought we would.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

Back in school (way, way, back), we used to get weekly "Science Magazines" which had a few articles on modern science, which everyone ignored, and a few brainteaser problems, which was all anyone paid attention to. (Unless you were using the magazine to hide an issue of Playboy, but I digress.)

One of the popular things in the brainteaser category was along the lines of this:

Stare at the picture below for thirty seconds (that's two choruses of the Jeopardy theme) and then look at a blank wall:

Click here for a bigger version.

You'll see a green "Hello, Agent Cooper" right? Why? Because after images appear in complementary colors.

Here's a site that carries this behavior of your eye to an extreme:

I can see the effect, but every time I twitch just a bit the whole thing resets and I have to start over again.

Friday, October 21, 2005

She's Got Really Big — Speakers

From Anaova:

Musical Breast Implants

An MP3 player on one side, a storage system on the other.

Blame TK for telling me about this.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Icon Upload

All will eventually become obvious.

This Week's Sign That the
Apocalypse is Upon Us

These things are really too easy. No Wonder SI has been doing this for years:

Arkansas State basketball player Jerry Nichols can't practice with his team. Why? He wants to wear Nikes, but ASU has a contract with Adidas.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Aaack! You Win!

A while ago, I complained that I hadn't been getting enough Spam comments to this blog.

Well, the situation has changed. Today I got seven (all removed). Most are inane. I did save this one for posterity.

I'd go return the favor in the blogs that try to link here, pointing out that they are different from Oedipus: they know what they're doing. Unfortunately, most of these blogs (or outright advertisements) don't allow comments, and the ones that do are scary.

So I've given up and added Blogger's word verification feature. This means that you'll have one more step before you can add a comment to this blog. Sorry about that, but I've got better things to do than delete comments like:

Great blog on Linux. I have a blog on Linux and Viagra. Stop by.

Find Your Place on Serenity

OK, Firefly fans, which character is most like you? Don't know? Take the Quiz.

Here's my result:

You scored as Hoban 'Wash' Washburne. The Pilot. You are a leaf on the wind, see how you soar. You have a good job, and a stunning wife who loves you (and can kill people). Life is good, which is why you can't help smiling. Now if you can just get people to actually listen to your opinion things would be perfect.

Capt. Mal Reynolds


The Operative


Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Kaylee Frye


Simon Tam


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


River Tam


Jayne Cobb


Inara Serra


Shepherd Derrial Book


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

Note that Wash, Mal, and "The Operative" all came out the same. I find this rather disturbing.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Meet the New Boss

Same as the old Boss. In one of the stranger baseball stories of the week (not as strange as a non-dropped third strike), the Oakland Athletics replaced fired manager Ken Macha –– with Ken Macha.

I might have expected this of Charlie Finley, but not Billy Beane.

Friday, October 14, 2005

This Week's Sign That the
Apocalypse is Upon Us

What the American people have seen is this incredible disparity in which those people who had cars and money got out, and those people who were impoverished drowned.

––Ted Kennedy on Hurricane Katrina


––Mary Jo Kopechne

Swiped from Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

And yes, he really said it: 3rd paragraph

Thursday, October 13, 2005

For the Hunter Who Has Everything

I heard about this on the radio as I was driving home today: The Buck Bomb –– It's aerosolized deer urine. Available in "five different scents: Doe Estrus, Dominant Buck, Young Buck, Doe P and Vanilla Curiosity Scent."

I don't hunt, but I've got nothing against hunters. I have friends, relatives, and neighbors who hunt. And I know the deer urine masks the human scent and makes the buck think that he's approaching the deer equivalent of Hooters. But Vanilla Curiosity? Did Daniel Boone use "Doe P?" Did Davy Crockett resort to "Doe Estrus?" (Eeew.) I think not.

In fact, I think I know why the stuff actually works:

Deer #1: What's that?

Deer #2: What?

#1: That smell.

#2: (sniffs) Hmm. Smells like Vanilla Curiosity.

#1: (Laughs) Vanilla Curiosity!!? That stuff? They think that's going to work?

#2: (Laughs harder) Check this next guy out. It, it, (more laughter) it's Doe Estrus!!

#1: (Doubles over with laughter) Ohmygod, you're right. Doe Estrus!! (Collapses completely.)


Hunter: Yup, I guess this stuff really works. He just waited for me to come up and shoot him.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bush Declared Liberal

Americans Against Change, Government, Taxes, and Democrats (AACGTD), an umbrella organization of right-wing political groups, today designated President George W. Bush as a Liberal.

The designation had been long expected, giving growing conservative distrust of growing deficits, the increase in spending promised for Katrina and Rita hurricane relief, and Laura Bush's reference to herself as a "Desperate Housewife."

The final straw was the appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, especially after the appointment of John Roberts as Chief Justice.

"The President completed ignored our directive –– uh, make that wish –– for the appointment of conservative judicial scholars who won't interfere with Congressional decisions unless we tell them to. For all we know, this woman could be another Souter. Or, God forbid, a Warren. You know, we can't just have Republican Presidents nominating Justices without our approval. Bad things happen," said an AACGTD spokesman.

Columnist George Will, who has been expressing doubts about Presidential policies for some time, said in a statement, "while I regret the necessity of this step, I am gratified that the AACGTD has taken this designation, as it gives me something to write about now that the Cubs and Red Sox are both deader than Ted Kennedy's Presidential aspirations."

Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh said, "The Bush Administration is the best thing that has happened to this country in history –– wait, I mean, he's as bad as Clinton, and I bet we'll find a blue dress hanging around somewhere, if you know what I mean."

Under the rules governing AACGTD's Liberal designation, the President is now required to invite Al Sharpton to the White House, hold a fund raiser for Ralph Nader, read books, note that reasonable people might disagree with his policies, and generally behave like a wimp.

Conservative columnists and commentators are now required to oppose White House policies in general. In particular, White House spokesman Scott McClellan is to be referred to as a "Liberal Running Dog." For the specific cases where the President's policies match those on AACGTD's approved list, the White House position is to be referred to as "hypocritical."

Members of the Democratic National Committee answered phone calls, but responses to questions could not be heard over what was apparently loud laughter in the background.

This is not the AACGTD's first designation of a Republican as a Liberal. Previously, the organization as listed David Souter, Arlen Specter, John McCain, Sandra Day O'Connor, George H. W. Bush, Barry Goldwater, and Newt Gingrich as Liberals.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Note to feed4all Users

The words/string/phrase

" a  m  i  t  t  y  v  i  l  l  e    a c t u a l    a r t i c l e s "

does not appear in this blog. Believe me, I've checked.

Please, however, feel free to leave a comment as to why all of you are searching for that particular combination of alphabetical characters.

Weird search strings found by Site Meter.

Of More General Interest, Perhaps

This month's issue of Linux Gazette (.net) has, at the bottom, a link to a fortune collection from Terry Pratchett's new Discworld novel, Thud!.

They also have a link to the English – American Dictionary, so that we can speak to the people on the other side of the pond (whichever side you're on).

Well, OK, mostly it's from for USens:

This article is written in American, and is thus spelt wrong. The rest of the wourld desreves bettre.

But there is also the American – English Dictionary.

Oh. You want the Thud! file? Here it is.


Gee, sexy title. Anyway, this morning I was letting Fedora update itself (using the command yum update run as root), when I found that it was updating a package called fedora-rpmdevtools. This turns out to be a collection of scripts that perform some common operations that you need to do from time to time. For example, fedora-buildrpmtree sets up your account so that you can build RPM files.

Of more use, though, is the script fedora-extract, which extracts files from just about any kind of archive, including RPMs, ZIPS, tarred (and compressed), whatever.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Update Your Version of RealPlayer

Looking at the hits this blog takes, it's apparent that a lot of you, both Windows and Linux people, use RealPlayer, or, perhaps, its Open Source cousin, Helix Player. If so, you need to know that there is an update for both, as reported in Fedora Weekly News. Fedorans who use "yum update" regularly should have gotten the Helix Player update last week, but RealPlayer requires a download. Spheniscussionists who use RealPlayer, or didn't get Helix Player updated, should get the new version here.

Then test your work by viewing this one minute history of the universe.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I've Been Waiting All of My
(Internet) Life for This

I first saw the trailer for Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning many years ago. It's a parody (in Finnish, with subtitles) of Star Trek with a healthy dose of Babylon 5. Now, finally, the movie is completed and available for download. Or you can buy it, if you live outside of the United States. Downloading via BitTorrent went very quickly, it took less than 30 minutes to get the whole file. It's a 1 hour 43 minute movie, and it comes in at 541 MB, so it will fit on a CD. If you know how, you can also copy it to DVD and play it on your television.

The instructions say that you need a XviD Codec to play on a Mac or a PC. However, under Linux it plays using my installed versions and codecs for mplayer, Totem, and VLC movie players. Oddly, it didn't play under Xine, but that's probably just my Fedora setup not having the proper codecs. I like the way Totem plays the movie best, though I like mplayer better for playing DVDs from disk. I've yet to try it on a Windows machine, but if I do I'll let you know how it plays.

Anyway, it's a fun movie. I can't totally recommend it, yet, because I haven't watched all of it (baseball and football both today, people). But it's, uh, free, so you don't lose anything but time by trying it out.

And, it's distributed under a Creative Commons License, which allows you to distribute it freely so long as you give it proper attribution and you don't alter it.