Thursday, May 16, 2013

Top 12 things J.J. Abrams can go choke on

1. Tribbles. Check.
2. Planet-eating space amoeba
3. Planet full of hippies
4. Planet full of gangsters
5. Planet full of Nazis
6. Planet full of Romans
7. Apollo
8. Planet-eating killbot made of neutronium
9. Invaders from Andromeda
10. The evil parallel universe
11. A horny Vulcan
12. A pissed-off lizard-man

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Snow Crash Athens

I took a few pictures around downtown Athens and north UGA campus. This is a tree down near Denmark Hall. Bus stop on Broad Street near the UGA arch. All that snow has been melted as refrozen and is lumpy ice now. It's in shadow most of the day and is not likely to melt for a few more days unless it gets a lot warmer. If you are not familiar with Athens, note that tall building in the right side of the frame... This Caddie is parked in the lot next to that tall building, and got clobbered by snow sliding off the roof. But it gets worse. FAIL. Speaking of FAIL, I am reminded of how abysmally shitty the Blogger editor is. EPIC FAIL.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Fried Chicken Quesadilla

  • 1 piece of leftover fried chicken
  • 1 stale burrito-sized tortilla
  • 2-4 pieces of American process cheese
Cut fried chicken meat off the bone with a pocket knife and place on one half of the tortilla. Cover with cheese, and fold over. Cook on the hood of your truck in the midday Georgia summer sun until crispy and the cheese oozes out. Cut into quarters if desired and serve.

Substitutions: You could use fried chicken tenders, or quality cheese, or a kitchen knife, or a Griddler, but then you wouldn't be allowed to pronounce it "kweez-ah-dill-ah".

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Still not dead

Bled the front brakes. Actually this is a story unto itself. I have one of these vacuum pumps for brake bleeding. I hook it up on the left caliper, open the master cylinder reservoir, removing both the top and a plastic thing. You know how there is a seal to help keep air out? That thing. So I pump some of the old, brown fluid out (the new stuff is clear and colorless), and it's getting firmer, and I'm not getting the clank. And I'm watching the fluid level and adding more. Then the brakes go completely soft. After staring at it awhile I realize the problem: The seal I removed? The thing that keeps the air out? That wasn't it. That was just a plastic spacer to keep the seal in place. The rubber seal was still in there, sucked all the way down to the bottom, and I was just pouring brake fluid in on top of it. Once I got that out, and refilled the master cylinder, and pumped it about, oh, two or three hundred times to get the air out of it, then I could start bleeding the calipers. I ended up going with the traditional method of holding the brake, opening and closing the bleed valve, and repeating until the fluid ran clear with no bubbles. This is impossible to do by yourself on a car, which is why I had the vacuum pump to begin with, but easy on a motorcycle. Now the front brake is nice and firm. The rear brake is a little soft, and I should change the fluid there too, but soft brakes on the back wheel is not such a bad thing. Went for a good 30-mile or so ride. A lot of the carburetor problems are clearing up, or are only an issue when it's cold. I've got some Gumout Regane in it now, which I bought, in part, because it was free after mail-in rebate at AutoZone. I got most of the way home and looked down and suddenly my speedometer wasn't working. Rode carefully the rest of the way home. The housing was kind of loose on the axle, looser than I thought it should be. I decide to pull the front wheel but discover that the front axle was not screwed in as tight as it should have been, and this is why there was extra play in the speedometer housing. This is actually a really good engineering design feature, because if your axle is getting unscrewed, your speedometer stops working before the front wheel actually falls off and you die. I'm pretty sure I didn't have it in far enough, rather than it loosening up due to loose clamp bolts or something, because that play was present when I had put it all back together. It didn't look right but it wasn't obvious what the problem was. I also decided to give Eagle One NanoWax Spray a try. It looks pretty watery when you spray it on, but as you wipe, it gets more... waxy. They recommend using a microfiber cloth to polish it, which I haven't done yet, but so far it looks pretty good. There's no dry, white stuff to wipe off either.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back on the road, didn't crash

It's only taken about 19 months (maybe longer) but the ZX-6 is up and running again. Took my new tires (which have been sitting in a closet for most of that time) in to be mounted and balanced and new valve stems installed. Reinstalled wheels. Install another new battery. Also had installed some months ago a K&N air filter. Good thing too as the original factory foam filter had rotted. Bike starts, not instantaneously, but it runs pretty good for having old gas in it. By now after working several hours on it, dark clouds are blowing in. I decide to up the ante and roll it onto the driveway and wash it. Rumbling begins. Right about the time I get it fully cleaned and start to dry it, the raindrops start. Roll it back until the carport for waxing. Took it back out after dark (while still wet) for a test ride (and to get fresh gas), and immediately found that the front brakes are quite soft. I decide they are good enough to get to the gas station. Filled up. It's sad that it costs almost US$20 to fill a motorcycle tank; I put in more than 4 gallons of 89 octane. Went for about an 8-mile ride. The gunk in the carburetor is killing acceleration below 4000 RPM until it warms up. It's good at 5000 RPM. At 6000 RPM, you start to feel the Spaceballs torque curve kick in (plaid is about 10-12,000 RPM), but on a wet road at night with some fog and soft brakes, I wasn't going to push any harder than that. Made it home and tested the front brake some more and discovered there's a "clank" sound when I release the front brake. Traced this to the left front caliper. Apparently there is too much clearance now between the pads and the rotor. Planning to replace the brake fluid as it is 10+ years old.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Monday, April 23, 2007

Why must Blogger suck so hard?

Seriously.

After two years, the editor is no better. Maybe it's worse. You basically can't get decent HTML out of it. OK, what you get is actually well-formed from an XML standpoint, but it's semantically bad.

Line endings generate <br/>. Double line endings produce double <br/>. To actually get real paragraphs, i.e. <p>, your only choice seems to be to edit the HTML directly. Why can't two hard returns generate a <p>? It seems like a no-brainer. And the "Convert line breaks" option seems to make no difference whether it's "Yes" or "No"; I have it set to "No" and I still get line breaks inserted (but this only seems to be in the preview).

Plus, I've found that in Firefox, the easyGestures extension interacts disastrously with it: If you pop up the pie menu in the compose area, about a hundred lines of invisible crap HTML gets inserted.

So I've had it. From now on, I am writing everything in restructured text, converting it to HTML, and pasting that into the HTML editor. It sucks much, much less. I get some extra <span> and classes, but they don't hurt anything.

Tickle: Lies and also-lies

In January 2005, I took some on-line IQ test from Tickle.com (not linking, no need to drive traffic there). Afterwards I got mailed a summary of the results:
Andy, you are a Word Warrior.

This means you have exceptional verbal skills. You can easily make sense of complex issues and take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. Your strengths also make you a visionary.

But to get the "detailed report", I had to sign up for some other crap and pay money -- something not revealed before taking the test -- so I never followed up on it.

One year later, Tickle wrote me that my "account will soon be deleted".

Because you haven't signed in or taken a test within the past year, your account has been marked as inactive. If it remains inactive for another 30 days, we'll need to delete it.
I did nothing.

One month later, I got another message from Tickle:

You took Tickle's Classic IQ Test a year ago! We want to celebrate by offering you an in-depth analysis of your IQ -- for FREE!
Not exactly the account deletion I had expected. But again, I did nothing.

One month ago, I got yet another message from Tickle, advising me that my "account will soon be deleted".

We haven't seen you in a while... our records show that you last signed in to Tickle on March 1, 2006.

Because you haven't signed in or taken a test within the past year, your account has been marked as inactive. If it remains inactive for another 30 days, we'll need to delete it.

Apparently, unsubscribing counts as signing in, because that's the only thing I might have done. (I can't remember exactly everything I might have done a year ago.)

Today, one month later, I have another message from Tickle. Has my account been deleted?

Tickle is excited to introduce member profiles.
I am not excited.

Tickle, kindly fuck off. Stop provoking my inner Word Warrior.

More Tickle hijinks.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Godless Money!

I stumbled across one of these new bronze dollar coins, and it turned out to be one of the godless ones. W00t! UPDATE: It turns out its stamped on the outer rim. D'oh! That's a pretty weird place to put it, but at least it's not on the face. The real ones missing the markings are going for $50 or more on eBay.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freezing on no tires

A couple more weeks go by. It turns out bikebandit.com cancelled my backordered tire and never told me about it, or at least I never got an e-mail notification. Now I have a new front tire I don't need and can't use, and can't return, and it's mid-December. So much for 2006. I haven't decided whether I want to reorder with Bike Bandit or not. Dunlop workers are still on strike, so I guess I'll be ordering something else.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Freezing on scab tires

Two weeks since the last post and still no word on my back tire. Contacted bikebandit.com. Turns out, Goodyear owns Dunlop, and Goodyear-Dunlop workers are on strike. Fortunately, they have hired replacement workers, so I'm sure in a few weeks (like, mid-December) I'll be tooling around on my scab-built Z-rated tire. Yay!

Monday, November 06, 2006

How I spent a week of sick days

Aside from actually being sick, that is, which I was (and still am).

Monday

Decided I should try to get my bike (1997 Kawasaki ZX-6) running again. Last season about this time I developed a slow leak in the new rear tire and decided to park it. Washed bike. Battery dead. Put on charger.

Wednesday

Battery shows some signs of life, but only 12.2 V. Replace battery ($50).

Thursday

Bike starts, runs, despite the old gas. Added some Gumout (50 ml) to the tank. Inflated rear tire. Went for a short (6 mi) ride, and it seems to hold pressure.

Friday

Rear tire flat. Found out why after about 10 seconds of inspection: 2 inch long piece of metal (aluminum roofing staple, perhaps) embedded in tread. After about 30 minutes of poking and prodding, it comes out. Air soon follows. Added 8 oz of Slime, which seems to seal it.

Sunday

Tire still holding pressure. Take a short test ride. After less than one mile, a hornet stings me on the neck near the windpipe around the top of my jacket's zipper. Return home for meds. Ride for about 5 miles. Rear tire is flat. Decide to give up on patching and order new rear tire. Discover tire (Dunlop D205) is no longer in production, replaced with D220, so I have to order a new front tire as well.

Monday

Ordered new tires; total cost about $210 from BikeBandit.com. Mount and balance will be about another $70; must remember to insist on new valve stems this time.

Update: Tuesday

One of the new tires is back-ordered. Guess which one? Yes, the rear, the one I really need. ETA: 2 weeks. And the front has already shipped. Sigh.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Weird gear-driven steam locomotive

I saw this Shay locomotive at the Hesston Steam Museum over the weekend. I had no idea these things existed. Instead of long connecting rods driving the wheels directly, the pistons drive a crankshaft like you might find in a typical internal combustion engine. The crankshaft connects to the drive wheels through driveshafts, universal joints, and a ring and pinion gear system, similar to an automotive rear-end gearset. Here are some more pictures, including some miniature steam locomotives.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

SCOwned!

I saw an article come up on Groklaw today entitled, OpenLinux 3.1.1 Still Available, with the 2.4 kernel:
Guess what? I'm told you can still download Caldera's OpenLinux 3.1.1 from the Internet. Yup. OpenLinux is still marching on, thanks to that perfect license the GPL...

My initial reaction was, "So? Hasn't this been established for a long time?" Well, maybe not. Then I remembered a little item I have in a stack of old Linux CDs: LINUX TECHNOLOGY PREVIEW FEATURING THE NEW LINUX 2.4 KERNEL PREVIEW, © 2000, Caldera Systems, Inc. All Rights ReservedIf you can't see images for some reasons, these are two CDs labelled, "LINUX TECHNOLOGY PREVIEW FEATURING THE NEW LINUX 2.4 KERNEL PREVIEW", "© 2000, Caldera Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved". The first CD is labelled "Installation Disk" and also has the note "GPL Source downloadable from: ftp.calderasystems.com/pub/LTP". (Incidentally, that directory is still there, and it has a SRPMS directory, but it's empty.) The second CD is labelled "Source Code". I popped in the Source CD and lookie lookie: Linux-2.4.0 source code, can it be? One of the files inside that RPM is linux-2.4.0-test3.tar.bz2. You can also find this file on the kernel.org archives and the accompanying PGP/GPG signature matches which proves it's the same file:

gpg: Signature made Tue 10 Oct 2000 02:39:32 AM EDT using DSA key ID 517D0F0E
gpg: Good signature from "Linux Kernel Archives Verification Key "

So here is a standing offer to IBM: If you want to borrow these CDs for your case against SCO, you are more than welcome to have them free-of-charge, although when it's all over, I'd like them back so I can frame them and hang them on my wall and laugh. I won't object if you frame them for me or put them in a nice display case, but this is not a requirement. Owned.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spider-blog, spider-blog

The one on the left is actually a new one, but I think thie same species as the other brown one from previous days. The yellow and black garden spider below is still the same one, still in the same spot. I finally figured out how to get a decent shot of it that isn't so blurry. In case you are wondering, I'm using an Olympus Stylus 410 camera. with a Mag-Lite as the light source (one of the 3-D cell one). Yeah, flashlight.

You should see the ones I threw away. I kept this really blurry one because it's actually a little creepier.

More spider porn!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ShopperSavingCenter = cockgobblers

Just for fun, I clicked on one of those ads that say "You've won a free 42" plasma TV", just so I could see what happens. Of course, there are "Terms and Conditions":
4. Eligibility for Receiving a Free Item for Referral-based websites

(a) For this particular website, users must do the following to be eligible to get approval to receive their free product:

i. You must successfully complete the following sponsored offers: two (2) offers from Silver Offers, two (2) offers from Gold Offers, and eight (8) offers on Platinum Offers.

ii. Refer at least two (2) unique person (s) who join(s) and also correctly complete(s) the same offer requirements listed above.

(b) After a user signs up with our website and successfully completes an offer, they must get two (2) person(s) to also sign up with our website and successfully complete the same offer requirements to get their free item. In order to connect these referrals to the original user, we issue this user a unique link to our offer site, which they must then distribute to the intended parties. Thus, the user is entirely responsible for all communications regarding our offer sites. At no point during the offer process does ShoppersSavingCenter.com send out any communications on the user's behalf to encourage such signups to occur.

(c) A user may complete more than required offers and may refer more than two (2) referrals, but cannot earn more than 1 free product with their account. Any additional referrals or offer completions will not result in any additional free items.

(d) Referrals completing multiple offers will only count once towards referral accruement for the referrer.

(e) We will only give out credit for referrals who join by clicking on your referral link code. Anyone who does not click this URL or type it into their web browser exactly cannot be tracked, and thus, cannot be connected to your account. Note that some applications can remove the tracking part of this URL. Users assume the risk of not getting credit for some referrals when using our site(s).

(f) Users may only receive 1 free item per account.

(g) A user must have a valid email address and a valid shipping address in the United States. The user should also note that some products cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. We only allow one account per shipping address.

(h) Users must be residents of the United States, and there can only be one account per shipping address.

(i) This offer expires 60 days from the date you register on the site. If at the end of the 60 day period, you have successfully completed the required number sponsored offers but have not referred two (2) unique households who have successfully completed the required number sponsored offers, you will not be eligible to receive the free promotional item; but as a consolation for participating, you will automatically receive a complementary $50 gift card.

In other words, you've got to buy 12 other things (exactly what is not known until you sign up), get two other suckers to sign up, and your suckers have to each buy the 12 mystery crap items, all within 60 days. Your basic pyramid scheme.

Suck it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Logical exclusive-or in Python

Python has and, or, and not logical operators, and it has & (and), | (or), ~ (not), and ^ (xor) bitwise operators, but no logical xor. However, since you can pass any object to bool() and get back a boolean (True, False), and booleans are automatically convertable to integers (1, 0), the bitwise operators work on booleans as well:
>>> True ^ True
False
>>> True ^ False
True
>>> False ^ False
False
>>>

However, if testing things that are not actually booleans or integers, you need to wrap them in bool() first:

>>> "foo" ^ None
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "", line 1, in ?
TypeError: unsupported operand type(s) for ^: 'str' and 'NoneType'
>>> bool("foo") ^ bool(None)
True

Updated 2006-09-14. I realized you could also use is not with booleans to get an xor operator:

>>> True is not True
False
>>> True is not False
True
>>> False is not False
False

This seems more Pythonic. As with ^, non-booleans must be wrapped with bool():

>>> bool("foo") is not bool(None)
True
>>> bool("foo") is not bool("bar")
False

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-09-06

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-09-05

Monday, September 04, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-09-04

  • Australia's "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin dies: Queensland state government sources quoted by Australian Associated Press (AAP) said Steve Irwin, 44, whose television show "The Crocodile Hunter" won international acclaim and popularized the phrase "Crikey," was believed to have been killed by a stingra ( )

Sunday, September 03, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-09-03

Thursday, August 31, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-31

Saturday, August 26, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-26

Friday, August 25, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-25

Thursday, August 24, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-24

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-23

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

del.icio.us links for 2006-08-22