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Archive of March, 2004

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[Permalink 2004-03-30] Geeky

March 30, 2004:

This one's about programming. Come back next time if that ain't your cup of tea.

One of the blogs I check regularly is JWZ's; he's usually got pretty cool tech news stuff that doesn't make it to the Register. Then I saw this entry on object-oriented programming. I'm with him; that's got to be a joke of some kind.

I realize that it's just a simple example detailing the "right" way to do things, but even in a more complex example it's tough to make a case for using objects and classes instead of just a plain-ol' if/else (or a switch, which I would use in that case). When the Right Way creates code that's so outrageously convoluted that the only person who can follow it is the guy who wrote it, and then only some of it, it ceases to be the Right Way. Give me a hack I can follow any day of the week.

I am a fan of convenience functions, though, and probably would've written his little example like this:

public class PrintOS {
public static void main(final String[] args) {
String osName = System.getProperty("");
private static String displayOS(os String) {
switch (os) {
case "SunOS":
case "Linux":
return "This is a UNIX box and therefore good.";
case "Windows NT":
case "Windows 95":
return "This is a Windows box and therefore bad.";
return "This is not a box.";

There. Isn't that much better than that polymorphic garbage the professor was peddling? You don't even have to edit main() any more to make changes. And the switch statement lets you make adjustments later on (maybe WinNT is OK, but 95 is still bad).

Now I admit that the database worms have crawled into my head, but even I know better than to write a mess like the example.

[Permalink 2004-03-29] Kinda Glad I Have a Rice-Burner

March 29, 2004:

Gas here is up to $1.759 a gallon now, or at least it was Friday. Cost me close to $14 to fill the tank. And my tank is puny (it's 9 gallons or so; I put in 7.7). I can't image how bad it would've been if I owned a real car.

[Permalink 2004-03-26] Just FYI

March 26, 2004:

I found out Thursday, by way of leaving my tuna salad in the fridge in my apartment, that the Atkins wraps at Subway aren't all that bad. They're little on the small side, especially since getting chips or cookies to go with them would counteract the Atkins-ness of the wrap, and they're a little bit high in carbs for Phase I (with the slices of tomato and the "southwestern" sauce I was probably right at my 20g/day limit) but still pretty good. I may have to start getting lunch there a couple times a week now that it's starting to get nice out. The walk would do me good.

[Permalink 2004-03-25] Makes Sense, I Guess

March 25, 2004:

Found this on one of the News-of-the-Wierd-type sites I read. The story isn't much, but the charge filed against the guy is what got me: "assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder". So, in Michigan, there's actually a separate crime between battery and attempted murder for just plain-ol' beating the shit out of somebody.

[Permalink 2004-03-23] Re-do!

March 23, 2004:

Kinda fell off the Atkins wagon last night. I was at Freelance Project #2's home office with a couple of the other contractors, and I was offered dinner. Since the dinner was Atkins-friendly last time, I didn't think too much of it.

Whoops. Penne. Kinda the opposite of Atkins food.

Well, it was a bit late to turn my nose up at the stuff at that point so I had a plate. That was pretty much digested by the time I got home so I had a few handfuls of cashews. I figure I got more carbs than I should've had in a week. Looks like I'm going to be tired again Wednesday, when I'll be on Day Two of Take Two.

On the upside, at least the pasta was good.

[Permalink 2004-03-22] Yet Another Reason I Should Never Have Children

March 22, 2004:

I have a headache this (Thursday) morning. Not because I was out drinking last night; the Atkins diet doesn't allow beer. Nope, I did this one to myself on the way to work.

I walked to my apartment door and opened it, just like I've done a couple hundred times since I moved in. But this time I had my foot a little too close, and the door couldn't open all the way. Blissfully unaware of that fact I continued walking forward, smacking my forehead against the edge of the door.

Ever hurt yourself and want to scream and curse but didn't for fear of waking up your neighbors and drawing attention to what an idiot you are?

[Permalink 2004-03-19] "Requesting permission for flyby."

March 19, 2004:

"That's a negative, ghostrider, the pattern is full."

[Permalink 2004-03-18] Not Bad For 90+ Years Ago

March 18, 2004:

Found this link to the Library of Congress on a Web board I read. Basically, a photographer in pre-WWI Russia designed and built his own camera to take color pictures. His exposure glass was divided into three parts, each exposed in rapid succession (manually, I assume, since no drawing of the camera has ever been found) through red, green and blue filters. When the negatives were found, they were scanned into a computer, properly aligned, run back through the filters, then corrected for over- and under-exposure. The result is a batch of color pictures from the early 1910s, and I'm pretty sure they're the only color photos made in that time period.

If I understand correctly, the color photography process that was developed later in the century is based on the same idea, but more modern. But this guy was well ahead of his time.

[Permalink 2004-03-16] It's Been a While

March 16, 2004:

While I was poking through the Jargon File I found a link to the Geek Code. It hasn't been updated since '96, but I figured I'd throw it in here just for grins.

Version: 3.1
GCS d-(+) s-:++ a- C++(+++) UL/B P+ L+ E- W+++$ N o K- w+ !O M-() V?
PS+ PE++ Y+ PGP t+(--) 5+(-) X++(--) !R tv+ b DI++++ D++ G e++
h+ r--- y--*

[Permalink 2004-03-15] Sweet Tooth Advances Science

March 15, 2004:

Straight from CNN: M&Ms obsession leads to physics discovery

[Permalink 2004-03-12] Random Factoid

March 12, 2004:

On March 10th I turned 10,000 days old.

[Permalink 2004-03-11] I Just Felt My IQ Drop

March 11, 2004:

Looks like someone did a little dance on the FTP server on the client's machine. Why? Because a certain dumbass whose name begins with "J" and ends with "ason" forgot to disallow anonymous FTP when he set the thing up. Fortunately all they did was fill up the drive; unfortunately someone else had to do all the cleanup for me since I was at work at the time.

[Permalink 2004-03-09] All About Me... Or Not

March 09, 2004:

Htet Htet was kind enough to send me a small treatise from on what my triple-scorpio-ness is supposed to mean. It's too long for me to break it down point by point, but I'm sure you'll know where the appropriate places are to laugh hysterically.

Quick Guide: Scorpio

Scorpio is symbolized by the Scorpion. Intense and emotionally perceptive, you pick up on unspoken words and speak the language of gesture. Deep, mysterious and magnetically attractive, you yearn for emotional intimacy. If hurt, you really sting -- and you don't forgive easily!

Symbol: the Scorpion
Ruling Planet: Mars/Pluto
Ruling House: Eighth House
Element: Water
Quality: Fixed
Body Parts: sex organs
Keyword: SEX
Date with destiny: Cancer, Pisces
Run for the hills: Leo, Aquarius
Where you glow: investigating
What makes you tick: chess
Fitness forecast: sex
Play date: chatting on the Internet
Perfect jobs: private investigator, surgeon
Best accessory: magnifying glass
A sure thing: magnetism
Destination: The Netherlands
Pleasure: mystery, calling the shots, passion
Pain: exposure, simplicity, interruption
What's my line? Yeah, Baby!

Sun in Scorpio: 10/23-11/22

As the eighth sign of the zodiac, Scorpio represents the eighth stage in the evolution of man and his place in the universe. This stage is concerned with an emotional development that goes beyond Cancerian concern with home and family. Scorpio's emotional involvement is not based on love or pleasure, but on the control and understanding of human emotions and the role they play in the mysterious process of life and death. Though all Scorpios do not spend their lives pondering the mysteries of life and death, most of them are inquisitive, probing individuals. They are fascinated with how things work, especially people. Their mental and physical powers of recuperation are remarkable, and truly evolved Scorpios can learn to use their power to help and inspire others.

Scorpios are stubborn and impervious to changes not of their own making. However they accomplish many things in life because of their tenacity in sticking with projects when others lose patience and stamina. On the surface they may seem easy-going, congenial, and gregarious but they are also extremely tenacious with a tendency to manipulate and control. Keys to their success are a strong will and the ability to get to the bottom of things. They want answers and doggedly persist until they get them. Astrological symbols for Scorpio are the scorpion and the eagle. They representative the potency and range of the formidable power and control that Scorpios can develop.

Scorpios react emotionally to everything they experience in life. Before they take physical action, before they sort out the practicality of what they are doing, and before they reason things out intellectually, they express their feelings. Though their emotions are the strongest motivational factor in their behavior, unlike the emotionally oriented Cancerians and Pisceans, Scorpios are not apt to wear their hearts on their sleeves. They consciously or subconsciously want to dominate relationships and rarely exhibit emotions openly. Even when they seem to be open, they always hold back something of themselves. They may not intentionally want to be mysterious but many of them manage to appear enigmatic anyway. They do not like being crossed or manipulated, and react to such treatment with sarcasm and vengefulness.

Modern astrologers assign Pluto, planet of intensity and depth, as the ruler of Scorpio. Ancient astrologers (unaware of Pluto's existence) assigned Mars, planet of fire and energy, as the ruler of Scorpio. Both of these planets can be seen to influence the nature of those born in Scorpio. The focus and concentration of their expressions and personality makes them appear magnetic and powerful. The fiery energy of Mars that is exhibited when they are enthusiastic attracts and inspire others. Their intensity can be overwhelming but also subtle. Their considerable energy is not aroused or employed just to have something to do as is often the case with Aries, the other Mars-ruled personality. Unlike Aries, Scorpio is not openly combative unless it becomes necessary. Their privacy is tightly protected, and others get to know them only up to a certain point. They may not show any sign of inner struggle but when they are after something or someone their determination is fierce. Should they not be favored in the outcome, they are not willing or gracious losers. They are not arrogant and, in fact, are quite interested in others and what others have to say. However they often exhibit a self-sufficiency that implies there isn't much they don't already know.

Scorpios have a strong, competitive nature. With little effort they become exceptional athletes. They want real challenges and will not easily suffer would-be competitors who do not possess skills that are equal to their own. They enjoy sports that require strength, swiftness, and cunning. Body-building, soccer, hockey, hunting, swimming, scuba diving, and spelunking are favorite activities. Scorpio is associated with the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes. This symbol not only represents their own recuperative powers, it also represents their resourceful ability to create something new out of something old or useless. Recycling, and renovating homes and other buildings are typical projects for which they are well suited. Creative potentials include those who are outstanding cooks, writers, designers, and composers. Their shrewdness in assessing value makes them excellent real estate agents and developers, bankers, stockbrokers, and financial planners.

Scorpio colors are red, black, midnight blue, and emerald green. Vulnerable parts of the body are the reproductive organs and excretory system. Headaches, infections, and fevers are Scorpio complaints. Topaz is Scorpio's birthstone. The Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, traced the name to the Island of Topazos which, in Greek means "to guess." This meaning is a fair description of the inquisitive, mystery-loving nature of Scorpio. Topaz, one of the hardest minerals, cannot be cut with a knife. It is yet another representation of the impenetrable Scorpio nature. Scorpio flowers include the anemone, heather, and gardenia.

Scorpio Ascendant

Your Scorpio Ascendant indicates that you're an individual who is likely to have a strong physique and tremendous physical stamina. You are often far more stubborn than you seem on the surface, and assiduously stick to your goals as long as you feel there is a chance you will be successful. It is difficult to convince you to change your mind once your decisions are made.

You are emotionally oriented, but your emotional vulnerability is apt to be hidden unless your natal sun or moon happens to be in Cancer or Pisces. You are are friendly and while some Scorpio Ascendants are rather quiet, many of you also have far more gregarious personalities and don't mind being in the spotlight. Rarely do Scorpio Ascendant individuals possess the sinister or mysterious personalities that popular literature tends to associate with the sign of Scorpio. You are keen a observer and a shrewd speculator.

Scorpio is ruled by Pluto and, secondarily, by this sign's ancient ruler, the planet Mars. Both planetary influences may be seen in the personalities of Scorpio Ascendant individuals. You are ambitious, energetic, and seek activities that are economically rewarding, as well as mentally or physically challenging. The jealousy associated with Mars and Pluto is minimal unless other factors in your individual personality support such a trait. Many Scorpio Ascendants people possess the cleverness and mechanical ability associated with Mars, as well as the innate resourcefulness associated with Pluto. You are attracted to others with strong, magnetic personalities. You are oriented toward gathering resources of all kinds. For example, many of Scorpio Ascendants individuals consciously or subconsciously tend to establish relationships with strong or powerful people in the belief such contacts may prove useful to them in some way. You can be quite secretive about personal affairs, a trait that often escapes the attention of most people you meet. You are often so accommodating and pleasant that, unless others make serious attempts to probe beneath your surface, your real personality and activities stay hidden indefinitely.

You have remarkable recuperative powers that allow you to recover from physical, mental or economic adversities that would destroy many others. When properly focused, your energy is formidable and you quietly keep going long after everyone else runs out of steam. A Scorpio Ascendant indicates the potential for afflictions to the head and face as well as illnesses affecting the reproductive organs.

Moon in Scorpio

The moon in this position gives a phenomenal memory; nothing from childhood days is ever forgotten. At first this seems like an asset, but if the childhood days were bad, Moon in Scorpio people carry many scars on their psyche. They are very clever at hiding their true feelings, but it is necessary for them to develop optimistic points of view and seek friends who are tuned in to positive thinking. The lunar Scorpion's delicately balanced sensitivity is often forgotten because the moon also imparts strong sexual urges. The moon is in its detriment in Scorpio, and in this case limits the potential of the moon to encourage growth; this may manifest itself in secrecy. It can be hard to get a relationship started because of this need for secrecy. Life is rarely easy for Moon in Scorpio people although they are persistent and will overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Even when success comes it brings more problems, especially overindulgence in drugs or alcohol or intense family worries. (The late Aristotle Onassis had his moon in Scorpio; while he was a much publicized figure, there were many secrets in his life and many personal tragedies.)

Though many good things come into the life of those born with the Moon in Scorpio, it is a strange quirk of fate that so much is also taken away from them. . [In business, these lunar Scorpions work well in quiet offices; if they go into partnership, they generally end up with buying out the partner or somehow gaining control of the entire business. In romance, it is not easy to relate happiness to lunar Scorpions-their sexual drive is often a substitute for long-standing companionship. They take what they want but are rarely satisfied when they have attained it. The constant search for new challenges goes on endlessly.

[Permalink 2004-03-08] Just So You Know

March 08, 2004:

Dish Network signals can't get through Plexiglass (or whatever glasslike-but-not-glass substance my window is made of).

[Permalink 2004-03-05] Christinanity in a Nutshell

March 05, 2004:

I have no idea if this is right or not, but I like it. From the Spinnwebe BB, written by rgsharpe:

"[Y]ou might want to keep in mind that many tenets of Christian faith in general are based as much on the message of Jesus (as relayed by four long-haired hippies) as to the writings of a guy named Paul some decades later. Paul traveled around the Grecian islands writing snarky Miss Manners-style letters telling people what to do, sampling some trippy mushrooms, and writing Revelations."

[Permalink 2004-03-04] Winning the Astrological Slots

March 04, 2004:

As happens from time to time with my heathen friends, the subject of astrology came up. Most of what I know about it is limited to the cheesy horoscopes in the newspaper, but I learned some things.

1) Your major sign (the "sun sign", the one in the papers) is the sign the sun was in front of the moment you were born. These tend to change around sunrise, which is why newspapers disagree on which signs begin when -- is 10/23 Libra because it's Libra at midnight, or Scorpio because that covers more of the day? Anyway, it turns out I'm a Scorpio.

2) The sign that's rising on the eastern horizon at your time of birth is called the ascendant, or rising, sign. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to give the astrologers an out when you do something that doesn't align with what your sun sign says about you. Anyway, by digging up when sunrise happed relative to my time of birth (thanks USNO) I found out that my rising sign is also Scorpio.

3) As yet another out, the sign the moon is in at the time of birth is also a biggie. Your moon sign supposedly tells about the inner you, the part of yourself that you don't share with others. There are a couple calculators on the Web to help you with that one, and it turns out that I'm a Scorpio yet again.

So, whatever Scorpios are supposed to be like, I guess I'm supposed to be that to the nth degree. I would have to assume that this means Scorpios have a nasty tendency to talk out of their asses and that they like arguing. This would also imply that Scorpios don't have many friends.

Of course, the horoscope in the paper is still friggin' retarded.

[Permalink 2004-03-02] Out

March 02, 2004:

I have to leave for Akron tonight after work to go to my grandfather's funeral. He's had a few heart attacks before, and a stroke a few years ago, and he was about 80, so in a way I've kinda been expecting this for a while.

It's odd, though. When Grandpa Sullivan died I was still a kid and it didn't really sink in until a few days later. I was old enough that I should have known more intuitively, but he was the first person whose death I was around for. The whole missing-the-person-who's-gone part didn't happen until well after the funeral, and if I remember right it hit me one night as I was trying to get to sleep. Apparently my subconcious enjoyed fucking with me even back then.

When J.B., my stepfather's father, died I had a slightly more grown-up version of what happened with Grandpa S., and it was at the funeral. He'd had cancer, but I was away at college by that time so I didn't really see too much of it. I miss the cranky old bastard.

Grandma Sullivan died about four years ago (it'll be four on St. Patrick's Day) after a cancer relapse. She'd been sick a couple times, but usually came out more-or-less OK in the end, so when I went back to Akron to see her in the hospice it had an effect on me. She was drugged out of her mind, and she'd lost a lot of weight. That was when all the sadness hit, really. The viewing and funeral were (relatively speaking) easy. A couple of the holy rollers in the family shot me a dirty look because I wasn't tearing my hair out and wailing in my grief but I didn't give a damn, to be honest.

Now with Grandpa Fleshman gone, I'm not really feeling much of anything as yet. I think part of it is that he really never came back completely from the stroke; the guy who was my grandfather has been gone, in a way, since then. I'm sure that will change once I get to Ohio and see everybody, but right now I just have a kind of resigned feeling about it.

I just hope Grandma Fleshman's doing OK.

[Permalink 2004-03-01] Why I Love "The Straight Dope"

March 01, 2004:

From an article on Sacagawea:

"Still, for my money, Sacagawea isn't the greatest hero of the Corps of Discovery -- Pierre Cruzatte is. Just before Lewis and his party reunited with Clark's on the return trip .... [Cruzatte] accidentally shot Lewis clean through the right buttock. He's my hero because he got to do what so many of us have only dreamed of: He ripped the boss a new asshole."

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