Tue Oct 30 14:32:15 CST 2001

I finally got artsd running properly with KDE, somehow or another. Actually, what I should say is that I did an apt-get upgrade, and it started working. From what I can tell, it's pretty cool. Allows for multiple audio streams at once, along with (I gather) all sorts of fancy mixing and synthesis stuff that I don't actually have any *use* for, but it sure does look nifty.

I see weblogs.com is stripped down to the essentials and now uses a model where it only updates sites that tell it to. Minimalism is Good.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 30

Monday, October 29, 12:50 CST

Music of late:

The Pogues - Thousands are Sailing, Bottle of Smoke, If I Should Fall from Grace With God, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Wild Cats of Kilkenny. Irish Soul Stew: The Pogues, by Alan K. Crandall. The Pogues: In the wake of the Medusa.

The Stereophonics - Have a Nice Day, The Bartender and the Thief, Local Boy in the Photograph, Lying in the Sun, Hurry Up and Wait. The Stereophonics pretty much rule. One of these days, I'll buy Just Enough Education to Perform.

Social Distortion - I Was Wrong, Ball and Chain (take away, take away, take awaaaaaaaay this ball and chain...), Don't Drag Me Down. I seem to remember I Was Wrong getting some play on MTV back when MTV still occasionally played music, and just before I quit watching it. I just spent a couple of weeks with the line self destruction's got me again running through my head before it occurred to me to search for the lyric. They're actually pretty good. Go figure, I'd only heard the one song.

Dispatch - The General, Flying Horses, Bulletholes, Bang Bang, Headlights, Railway, Steeples... Ok, just about everything.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 29

Thursday, October 25, 14:01 CDT

Tuesday, I clawed my way out of bed two minutes after my first class is supposed to start, and stumbled across campus.

At noon, I ate bad food in the cafeteria, meandered to the Buick, and drove home.

My room at home, which I suspect I have never described here, is not a terribly impressive place. Four walls with a lot of scribbling on a badly aging textured paint job. A couple of posters and a single tiny oil painting. Blue miniblinds, white carpet, bed, drafting table, bookshelves. Dust. I haven't done much more than sleep there a couple times a week for quite a while. It and the walk in closet are a repository for all the weird, varied, and utterly mundane junk I've ever collected - books, magazines, paper, matchbooks, coins, marbles, candles, small rubber balls, chess boards, books, and distinctively shaped rocks. A month or three ago, one of my sisters decided to move the contents of her closet to my floor.

So, I thought, you got a few hours. Clean this up.

There are times when a sense of proportion would be really, really helpful.

Some time after 5, I showered off most of the dust, ate some turkey pot pie, and we (CarolAnn & I) headed for Sioux City. Found the newly resurrected Orpheum Theatre after no more than ten minutes of semirandomly cruising one way streets downtown.

The Orpheum - one of those expensive, perpetually debated civic projects that somehow managed to see completion - is nice. Also, it's a venue that might attract actual artists - something this area has been pretty sorely lacking.

We wandered around for a while, looking at stuff and deciding the pattern on the carpet was sort of dizzying and claustrophobic. Eventually, we found our way to the nosebleed section and our seats. We waited for a while. I got up and wandered around some more, and about two seconds before I got back to my seat they cranked up the Copland (why Copland? Good music, but...) and killed the lights, and Dylan and his band came out.

It was good. I think I recognized four songs, max, and there were 40-somethings sitting next to me handling their beer badly and shouting play old stuff in that tone of voice unique to assholes at public events, but it was good. Even given that I think maybe concerts are far better standing in a screaming crowd than sitting in a comfortable seat.

They ended with maybe the best take on Blowin' in the Wind I've heard, which only seems right.

By the time we made it back to the car and started home, the wind had already started in. And now it's really, seriously cold out for the first time this fall, and yesterday they were talking about serious snow in the Dakotas. Winter is about to set upon us and sink her teeth in deep.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 25

sunday, october 21

burn the disco / and hang the dj / 'cause the music they constantly play / says nothin' to me about my life
it's been a good long weekend, or a long good weekend
maybe both

we reduced the roof of an old corn crib
to its component parts
installed the second wood furnce we've sold

i saw Iron Monkey, which ruled

today i rearranged the dorm room
and carved jack o' lanterns at home with the family


p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 21

Wednesday, October 17, 16:20 CDT

Well, it's back up.

I went to Radio Shack, and got a splitter cable and a six foot RCA cable. So: I can run the rear channel (or maybe I should switch it to the front; does it matter which the bass box sitting under my desk is hooked up to?) on my soundcard to the auxilliary input on my stereo, such as it is. And I can run my GeForce II MX's TV out to, you guessed it, the TV. I feel, um, empowered or something.

It's Fall Break now. No class tomorrow or Freitag.

Wednesday, October 17, ~5:00 CDT

p1k3 appears to still be down at this point; hopefully it'll be back up later today.

I just finished typing four pages, single spaced, for an intro to anthropology class. This may not seem like a great deal, and in fact, had I started reading the book I chose to write on (Edward Hall's The Hidden Dimension, which was actually downright fascinating) sometime before, oh, 6:30 last night, it would most likely have been a piece o' the proverbial cake. As is, I'm past the head-hitting-desk stage of sleep deprivation. Think I just got my second wind. (Although I could swear all the text on the screen keeps shifting at random from white to grey. That can't be normal.)

The temptation to just stay awake at this point is almost overwhelming. Heck, I could even write some Perl and pretend to be a real hacker...

Hmmm. My left arm just started shaking.

Bed. Right. Good idea.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 17

Monday, October 15

Absolutely nothing happened today. Really.

Well, I moved the cacti to the top of the TV and found out I really should've written a paper for anthropology over the weekend. Other than that, nothing happened.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 15

Sunday, October 14, 23:06 CDT

It has been one of those spectacularly beautiful fall weekends which I don't properly know how to describe. Clouds, ever-shifting sunlight, woodsmoke, chainsaws, combines and wind. On Saturday, I borrowed a nice camera that I don't know how to use, and drove around trying to capture something. I think I have a lot of pictures of fields and clouds and trees that may be a waste of film, in failing utterly to convey what I hoped they might. Not a waste of time, though. Just stopping to watch things, waiting for the light to be just right, and really looking at the world - that's worth something.

I was at home today after church, and we made apple cider. It was good. It was windy and kind of cold, and not so much pleasant to be outside as right. The dogs sat in the driveway, chewed on one another, and lifted their noses in unison to the wind in the way that says specifically things are in the air, and we are going to chase them - as soon as you turn your back so that we can run off.

Other things happened too, of course, but that's what I'm going to write here for now.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 14

Friday, October 12

I don't know where I'm going with this.


comes soon
the fall
leaves wot
light's turned


let me die


The voice seemed distant at first, coming from a place he'd almost forgotten he
was.  He had a brief impression of falling, a dark animal moving swiftly
through the space he occupied, and the return of pain.  It was his sister,
taller now, her hair longer than he had remembered, her face more sharply
defined.  Beautiful, he was startled to realize.

There was tension in her voice, and something else.

Brother.  Come.  There is need.

He opened his eyes.

Light transfixed him sound returned like surfacing from a pool the warm sure
knowledge of sun striking outstretched leaves roots gnarling deep into earth
passed from him cold autumn air exploded through his burning lungs the scent of
leaves spiked sharp into his nose a faint echo of some unnameable sense.  If
he had been able, he would have screamed.

He whispered.  "How long?"

"Three years.  It is October."

He closed his eyes again for a moment, felt himself reeling in some unknown
direction, and stood.  The agony was as waking too early from death.

She opened a water bag slung on her shoulder, took a swallow, and offered him
the rest.  He drained it, in between deep, gulping breaths. Then they began
walking. Somehow, his own power carried him a hundred meters or more before he
was forced to lean on her arm, stronger now than his own.  He could feel the
earth beneath his feet pulling at him, hear the quiet acceptance that waited in
the leaves, and more than anything he simply wanted to sleep, to stop walking
and lay back down and die again to the world.  He shuddered, and did not
succumb.  And walked.

His mother was waiting in the ancient church that stood in the edges of the
grove, standing just inside the door.  She looked unchanged, but she had seemed
worn and time-beaten from his earliest memories.  She hugged him in silence,
stepped back and did not quite smile.  Her voice in his mind was the same pale
echo of speech.

They're coming.  I'm sorry.  I waited until there could be no doubt.

Fri Oct 12 16:10:48 EDT 2001

Looks like webmages is moving the server today or tomorrow, so p1k3'll likely be down for a bit. Especially if I need to do something to get it to resolve to a new IP, which I probably do.

Meanwhile, if anyone needs to reach me I'll be on ICQ (1408149) as usual; and on the off chance that mail to this addy bounces, my hardlink.com account is still open for a few more days.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 12

Wednesday, October 10, 12:31 CDT

I had to go to the library last night for an assignment (writing a response to an article on the effects of poverty and high infant mortality on mother love in a Brazilian shantytown), and felt like reading something to stave off a growing sense that the world is shit and people universally suck.

Anyway, I checked out a copy of The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, since it was the first thing interesting in the catalog that I could actually find in the stacks. (Libraries fascinate me, but I'm no closer at 20 to understanding the rationale behind most shelving than I was at the age of 8... Which, come to think of it, is true of many things in my life.)

From a letter to C. A. Furth, Allen & Unwin (Tolkien's British publishers for The Hobbit, I assume), concering illustrations for an American edition:

It might be advisable, rather than lose the American interest, to let the Americans do what seems good to them - as long as it was possible (I should like to add) to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing).

There's stuff in here, too, about a film treatment of The Lord of the Rings that I'd never heard of, in a letter to Forrest J. Ackerman. (There's a name I don't generally associate with Tolkien.) Have to wonder if Peter Jackson's read this.

I think it's about time to start a pre-movie reread. Maybe I should start with the Silmarillion this time.

tags: topics/fantasy, topics/reading

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 10

Tuesday, October 9, 19:20 CDT

October, storm coming. Now I feel like waxing Bradbury-esque.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 9

Monday, October 8, 18:57 CDT

Decided a while ago to just use a free form date header. Frex,

Monday, October 8, 18:57 CDT
non specific
Monday, October 8
really non-specific
Unix geek
Mon Oct 8 18:57:16 CDT 2001
e.e. cummings wannabe
(monday) october eight six:fiftyseven pm two thousand 1 ad
old school (or something)
The Eighth Day of October, in this the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and One, a Monday, at Seven o' Clock


For the last time, it's not Phish singing Gin & Juice in a twangy voiced bluegrass sorta style. It's the Gourds. See: The Gourds ... We Be, which makes absolutely no mention of Gin & Juice, but makes for interesting reading anyway. (Or I suppose if you don't believe me, you could read this, which takes a stab at explaining things.)

Oh yeah. The Nebraska game on Saturday was kinda fun. Not exactly suspenseful, but I've had worse times watching football.

Monday, October 8, 0:50 CDT

Yeah yeah, Gul, I uploaded a file twice. This is what I get for basically concatenating a bunch of text snippets instead of coming up with some kind of real CGI/database/kitchen-sink backend.

One of these days I do desperately need to dive back into Perl and continue developing this site. I've been a mite... Distracted by other things of late. There's a surprise. Actually, life would probably be much cooler if there were more such distractions.

I haven't watched much TV lately, meaning I haven't yet caught an episode of Enterprise. What I hear so far, I'm probably not going to make a great deal of effort.

I caught a couple of ST:TNG eps last week when TNN (when the heck did TNN stop being commercial country music's answer to MTV, anyway? And is that question invalidated by the fact that MTV pretty much quit having anything to do with real music years ago?) was running the whole series as a marathon. They weren't spectacular, but they were enjoyable in the way of decent Trek, which is more than I can say for any Voyager episode I ever sat through.

Maybe Enterprise will somehow survive a mediocre first season to become something more than a dismal ghost of treks past, and prove me wrong; but I have the feeling that Trek is finally and thoroughly dead... Or at least deep in coma, and doomed to remain that way for a very long time.

(New B5 stuff? It can't come too soon. And Lord? Let it not suck. Please.)

'course, it's not like there's no good SF TV on right now. The Sci-Fi channel has actually achieved good original content, I think - The Invisible Man is well written, low key fun that continually impresses me by knowing its own limits and crafting something that looks suspiciously like a burgeoning plot arc within them. Then there's Farscape, which I never manage to watch, but which certainly looks like it's evolved into something worth the time. And of course there's Lexx, which is indisputably bad television, and I do mean that as a complement. It's far from the outright cheesy brilliance of early Red Dwarf, but there's definitely a similar appeal.

And speaking of SFTV, I've managed to catch most of the Cowboy Bebop episodes that Cartoon Network's run so far, and I'm happy to say the show pretty much rules. The rest of the stuff they're running in their Adult Swim block is worth watching too - seems to range from pleasantly ironic to awe inspiringly absurdist, on a level that sometimes makes even Space Ghost: Coast to Coast look relatively sane.

Anyway. Sleep time.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 8

Friday, October 5, 18:31 CDT

Guess I'm going to the Nebraska - Iowa State game in Lincoln tomorrow. Here's hoping it's more exciting than watching them slaughter Texas Tech a few years ago. I didn't fall asleep, but it was a near thing.

Ok, actually using TeXmacs to lay out math stuff wasn't as pleasant an experience as I'd hoped it'd be. Of course, I was trying to import a bunch of diagrams and stuff from xfig too, but still...

I know roughly three times as much as I did about Chinese. Maybe I'll try to do a little more with that Deutsch thing here.

Anyway, I'm out.

Friday, October 5, 1:12 CDT

Earlier this evening, I watched Lola Rennt. Excellent flick. Then I watched Miller's Crossing. Also an excellent flick in not at all the same way.

Now, I'm going to bed.

I don't even have the energy to post this. I'm just going to hit :wq and go to bed.

tags: topics/iowa, topics/midwest

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 5

Tuesday, October 2, 21:28 CDT

Sinfest: still rules
Exploitation Now does too, with the usual disclaimers
(faint of heart & finer of sensibility need not apply)
and have I mentioned Ozy & Millie lately? Not bad, if you're looking for whimsy.

studying Deutsch:

possessive adjectives: mein (my), dein (informal your), Ihr (formal your):

Definite & Indefinite Articles:
                    Definite           Indefinite
             SINGULAR      PLURAL       SINGULAR
          ,------------.-----------,  ,----------,
Masculine |   der      |    die    |  |   ein    |
 Feminine |   die      |    die    |  |   eine   |
   Neuter |   das      |    die    |  |   ein    |

So, for example,
The jacket -> die Jacke.
A jacket -> eine Jacke.
The jackets -> die Jacken. (Unless I'm wrong about the plural form of Jacke).
A jackets -> well, that wouldn't make much sense, would it?

::fades away::

Tuesday, October 2, 16:44 CDT

Well, I said I was going to scan some stuff. The lab's closed, however, and rather than jump through hoops to get the key, I'm sitting here messing with VNC, which does the remote-access thing beautifully. I'm looking at my KDE desktop in a 640x480 window on a Windows machine in the library. I feel a need to come up with some kind of practical use for this... Other than avoiding the frustrations of using Windows on a computer that I don't really need to be using anyway. And come to that, I'm typing this in an xterm. A plain-jane old school black and white text box. So pretty much I'm just incurring a ton of extra network overhead so I can have some pretty icons in the background.

Ok, now *that*'s my nerd content for the day. Really.

It's singularly hot outside, for early October. I should probably be out soaking up sun. First I think I'm gonna go check out a book or something. Maybe one of those volumes of Icelandic sagas I stumbled across the other day. My reading has slipped of late.

Tue Oct 2 14:36:14 CDT 2001

TeXmacs looks useful, if you're looking for a slick way to do structured document layout with mathematical symbols and so forth. I've had math teachers who really should've used something like this.

I'm headed over to the library to abuse a scanner for a bit. I'll ftp the unedited stuff I'm grabbing into /imgs, if anyone cares to take a look. I can promise it won't look like much.

Ok, that's my nerd content for the day.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 2

9:26, the morning of October 1

Strange weekend.

Nothing leaves you quite unchanged.

p1k3 / 2001 / 10 / 1