Monthly Archives: May 2007

Melancholy garage sale preparations

In a couple of weekends — the Saturday of DucKon — my in-laws will be holding a garage sale at their place in Rockford. Therefore, on Sunday Tara and I headed out there with her car filled with stuff to contribute to the sale. Once we got there and got the car unloaded, we spent a good chunk of both Sunday and Monday sorting and pricing the items we brought. This turned out to be a surprisingly melancholy experience.

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TV Meem

From dave_iversen et. al.


Karate Tournament Results

Today was the May Karate Tournament for the National Karate schools in Chicago. As usual Derrick and I both competed and this time we did better that we have in many of our past tournaments. We came home with 5 third-place trophies.

We were both entered in three events — Sparing, Form and Self-defense. Derrick took third in Sparing and Self-Defense, and I took third in all three. Of course, we were both in classes of 4 for sparing, and they don’t have you spar for third place, so both people who loose in the semi-finals get third place. Also, there were only three in my self-defense class, but the score there were very close, so I’m still happy with how I did. The other classes were all larger, and there were several finalists — people who entered and got below third place.

It has been a few years since either of us this well, although we both have first-place trophies. Derrick got one in his second tournament (November 2004, if I recall correctly) when he could still only compete in basics, and I earned one in 2005 as a gold belt when there were no other competitors in my classes. (I could have taken three that day, but I felt strange doing so when there were no other competitors).

Perhaps in November we’ll do even better — although we both should be brown belts by then.


While reading my e-mail a couple of minutes ago, I came across a mention of the, apparently new, Lord of The Rings online role-playing game. After a bit of googling, I read a review and then looked at the promotional site for it. This, in turn, got me wondering: “If I had the time, would I enjoy any of the current generation of massively multi-player on-line games?”

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Technical Challenge

I have a technical challenge that is probably well beyond our current technology:

We need to find a way to relocate the excess water from the Missouri river to where it can be used in California and Florida to put out the wild fires. The excess then can be stored in the various reservoirs in the western US that have dropped during the recent dry spells or pumped into aquifers that have been largely depleted.

This is not a new idea, even for me. Nearly every time we get major flooding in one area and dry spells or wild fires in others, the same thought occurs to me.

The perversity of psuedo random numbers

About half an hour ago, iTunes played a recording of “Fanfare for the Common Man” — from a recording by The Summit Brass. Just now, a different recording — this one by Emerson, Lake and Palmer — of the same song just started.

Of course if the random number generator used to shuffle songs was more perverse, this would happen more often. I would also have actually heard something like “Piano Man” fallowed by “Keanu Man” or “Mister Roboto” followed by “Bender Roboto.”

Star Trek Character Meem

Taken from ann_totusek.

I suppose that this makes sense, since I’m an engineer — albeit a software engineer — by training and profession.

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Minor iTunes (store) annoyance

A few days ago I bought some old jazz and swing though the iTunes stores. Without having anything to judge the different recordings by other than the description and a 30 second sample — which I believe iTunes chooses — when I encountered many different albums and recordings of Duke Ellington doing “Take the ‘A’ Train,” I chose the longest version. I figure with jazz the longer the version the more improvisation and solos.

In this case there was one problem. The version I bought, which comes from Duke Ellington At the Hollywood Empire is apparently from a radio show, and has three or four interruptions where a host comes on and tells us something about the performers. If I’d known about that, I probably would have gotten another version.

Aside: Is it just me or do all of the big band radio hosts from the 1940’s sound like the same guy.

Mixed emotions — Illinois Smoking Ban

Yesterday, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill baning smoking in restaurants and bars statewide starting next January. I have two nearly 100% conflicting feelings on this.

First, and probably strongest, is the reaction of a person who finds tobacco smoke irritating in small quantities and sickening in large quantities. {At a Windycon sometime before 2000, I headed home on Saturday night thinking I was coming down with the flu after hours of breathing the smoke that drifted into the DucKon party}. I am very glad that this ban has passed, and that I now won’t have to worry about which restaurants we visit. There are a couple of good ones near our house that I’ve been reluctant to go to since they cannot keep the smoke out of the no-smoking section. Now, I won’t have that worry. Nor will I have to worry about the clouds of smoke that sometimes come from bar next to the karate school when I’m leaving a late class.

The other reaction is that of someone who doesn’t like the government sticking their noses in individual’s or businesses’ choices. I really wish that we didn’t have to ban smoking statewide, but I’ve never been able to figure out a solution that would allow businesses to continue to allow smoking without making them useless to people who cannot tolerate smoke.