Month: January 2002

a bunch of dubious links

Ack! Too much reading, not enough writing!

For example: Another big “wow.” I submitted a few photos; let’s see if they get added.

Not to mention: Fusion. [Exquisite corpse meets Photoshop Tennis, essentially.] Sign up to participate in the 1000-panel comic!

Common theme: collaborative efforts are where it’s at.

* * *

Speaking of which, I came up with some Googlewhacks (see yesterday):

[Note: some of these are not actually Googlewhacks, but they appeared to be at the time. Oops. -Jason]

As you might be able to tell, the idea is to find two words that result in exactly ONE match in Google’s database. No more, no less (“similar” listings don’t count). It’s a bit tricky, mildly fun, and somewhat pointlessly time-consuming. (But then, what isn’t?)

* * *

What do these four people have in common?

I’ll tell you:

  1. At UW-Madison, we all lived in Detling. (When it was the “Honors House.”)
  2. We also all worked at the ARCH for significant periods of time.
  3. As indicated above, we all have websites.

I am at a loss for words.

This man, however, is not, especially when it comes to corruption in American government: Sherman Skolnick. Warning: not for the conservative or the extremely paranoid (it’ll just make things seem a lot worse).

[Did I mention James Lileks, humorist and writer extraordinaire?]

Sheesh, no wonder I don’t have time to write.


I feel a desire to write about my weekend. However, the hour is late, and I’m exhausted, so it can wait until tomorrow (if you can).

Tomorrow night on Cops ‘n’ Breeders.

* * *

This is too unbelievable not to add (via Memepool): Googlewhacking.

remote chances

A good one from Aziz (via the Detling mailing list):

[Here’s] a brilliant thread on how someone recovered their stolen iMac by using Timbuktu and AppleScript to remotely access their computer while it was being used by the thieves. It’s a fantastic, fascinating read.

* * *

Happy Friday. The Strib (or as oldsters say, “the Star and Tribune”) says 79 of the last 88 days have seen above-normal temperatures here in Minnesota. Aaaah.

one big goal

Cripes, another 2-week lapse! Time flies. Sorry.

I guess I’ve been busy doing outside writing, buying CDs, and seeing movies that can be described as original (Gosford Park was well worth seeing, and rent Manny & Lo and Oscar and Lucinda).

* * *

Just found another local weblog… Laurel Krahn‘s the real deal. She’s been weblogging in Minneapolis since 1998. I’m sort of curious who’s doing the same thing I’m doing in roughly the same location I’m doing it. I mean, I’ve hardly bothered to get to know anyone here…. perhaps I’ll run across someone I have something in common with (that’s less superficial than location and hobby).

* * *

Every year at about this time I come up with a list of goals for the upcoming year, and attempt to gauge how much I’ve accomplished in the previous year. I’m not going to burden you with the details, but I will mention that the first one is this:

  1. Move to California by September.

Yep, and I’m serious about it. I’ve been talking about moving to California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area, since before I graduated from college. I held myself back in 1998, though, because of my lingering, slow-to-die tendency to take the path of least resistance. I already had a job pretty much lined up in Madison at the time, and I had lots of friends there, etc. So I never scraped together the guts to make a change so big. Of course, 2 years later, I acted quite impulsively when I found myself getting in a rut, and it’s too bad I didn’t move to a city with more to offer. Anyway, 2 more years later, I’m ready to try something new, and circumstances are favorable. Astrologically and otherwise.

I am somewhat uncertain about writing on this site about moving, since people at work are aware of its existence. But I don’t think they really look at it very often. I guess I’ll find out, won’t I? It is genuinely true that one of the bigger reasons to stay here is that I genuinely like my (stable, challenging, interesting) job (in which I have a lot of freedom and am compensated well). I also have to consider that I’ll be much farther from all but 4 people that I’ve met in this world.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for personal writing on the web about either moving to San Francisco or moving out of Minneapolis. Not a lot out there, but here are a few sites that are interesting:

  • Planet Soma: this guy is somewhat jaded, having lived in SF for 10 years; he says San Francisco is “the most overrated city in America.” His objections about the place are either not that bad, irrelevant to me, or are trade-offs I already knew about. For example, no place could be as corporate as Minneapolis. SF may be more corporate than it once was (and, sure, stay out of the tourist traps), but it’s certainly better than here. And he says it’s hard to find a place to park. Fine, I’ll get rid of my car—I hate driving anyway! I would love to live in a city with good public transit. Anyway, it’s good reading.
  • Alfredo Jacobo Perez Gomez loves San Francisco. This balances the last view. Check out his neighborhood photo tours. San Francisco and the surrounding area are really gorgeous.
  • Apparently indispensable is craigslist.

Here’s my rationale: What’s the point of life if you don’t try new things and go where you want to go? I can always come back to the Midwest. It’s really worth it to me at this stage in my life. Plus nothing is set in stone right now. It’s just important to me to start really seriously considering it.

* * *

Oh, yeah, two more sites that fail the test/test test (“t3” from now on [heh]): the state “portals” of both California and North Carolina. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I’ve been one of many committee members peripherally involved with the design of the new State of Minnesota site (of course, I’ve skipped the last few meetings since I’ve been so busy with the DNR redesign), which is what made me think of checking those sites.

the “test”/”test” test

You know, when I worked at HBG, we often used the password/login combination “test”/”test” [or even “”/”test”] while we were testing sites we were developing. However, when we actually moved the site into production, we typically removed “test” (whose full name was invariably “Test T. Test”) as a user from the database.

You may see where this is going. As I am discovering more and more, many sites with “personalization” features are just not thoroughly tested enough and fail to lock that obvious backdoor. One such site is the South China Morning Post (which I found through the very comprehensive and internationally-focused Google News Headlines page).

It wouldn’t hurt to try The “test”/”test” Test [coined by gohlkusmaximus!] when you find yourself stymied by a registration-required site.

I think I’ll start keeping track of sites that fail to remove the obvious testing passwords in their user databases.

* * *

I went to the Y tonight. I rode a stationary bike for 20 minutes. (Note that I’ve exercised approximately twice in the last 6 months, so that’s actually something for me.) I figured that if I killed myself the first time out, I’d be less likely to go back. Well, I’m going back. [I’ll go lightly on this topic unless something truly interesting happens.]

* * *

Weird, my cat just sneezed in my face. I hope she’s not sick. Oddly, she just went to the Kitty Klinic on Monday for a routine checkup/vaccination, and she was perfectly fine.


Hurry, hurry: If you haven’t been to the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices in Minneapolis yet, do so by January 27th: it’s closing down.

Never fear, though: its collection is being donated to the Minnesota Science Museum. I doubt, though, that it will be in exactly the same format in its new home. As it is, it’s another of the few things I treasure around here, and another of those things that is closing down.

guess what? I never used Greymatter.

Today may just be the beginning of the end of me uploading files every time I want to update this site. Yes, I’ve downloaded and am testing Greymatter. It’s actually pretty easy to set up…. but since I’m such a control freak, it’s hard for me to accept using code that someone else has written. Of course, it’s not as if I could develop this myself with what I know now… and it would take a hell of a long time for me to learn to program, even using PHP and MySQL.

After a test run, I may just have to start using Greymatter. What would be nice about using it is that it can automatically create archives. Yes, I do have quite a bit of tweaking to do to the templates (e.g. it creates more types of archive pages than I do now), and need to learn the (fairly obvious) variable names, but that should take less time than, say, learning to program. It would allow you, the reader, to comment directly on the site (!), which might be a good or a bad thing.

And, actually, this might be a good tool for my mom to use on the site I designed for her (more later).

* * *

Today one horrible thing happened: Amber discovered that her (our) 2 hamsters died today. Or, to put it perhaps more delicately, they passed on to that great big Timber Hideaway in the sky. We had had them just under 2 years, and their passing on was really sad and hard to take for both of us.

* * *

Also: our cat is nuts. Suki’s nicknames include “Biter” (for good reason) and “Kittridge” (no reason). Her new one today, coined by me, is “AgitCat” (capitalization for illustration purposes only). For some reason she’s just always agitated. Right now she’s climbing up inside my dresser from the bottom, drawer by drawer.

* * *

It’s hard to write in this weird pale blue <textarea> (trust me). I may or may not get used to it. Maybe it’s customizable. (For today, I uploaded the entry to my test directory, then simply copied the source to this file. But then I did a ton of editing in HTML, since it’s strangely easier to find my voice in 9-point pixelated Monaco in BBEdit. Using Greymatter rather than hand-coding is like trying to have a conversation on a cellphone when you’re used to an antiquated “land line.” It’s not quite the same.)

hi, resolutions

Amber’s quitting smoking. So far, so good, after 2 days. These suggestions and this personal account may help if you’re considering doing the same.

I myself have not yet joined the YMCA, in what would be the closest thing to a New Year’s resolution I’m going to make this year. I should. [I will, eventually.]

Do you have an AirPort card (or some other 802.11 device) in the Bay Area? [Nick?] Here’s a relevant article.

a little bit of everything

It seems like just hours since I was last here. (For good reason.)

I rang in the new year not with shrimp and champagne, but with popcorn and Mr. Pibb. And The Royal Tenenbaums, a shocking, funny, and beautifully made film. I enjoyed it more than I expected to. It featured a great cast, excellent writing, and superb attention to detail. Really, it had a little bit of everything: wit, subtlety, slapstick, great graphic design, incest, suicide, car crashes, Big Lies, character development—well, you name it.

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