Thursday, January 31, 19:00 CST


Look! Emphasis! Strength! Strong emphasis!

Yes, I'm playing with my stylesheet again. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, January 31, 15:16 CST


It's still snowing.

Did that not sound gleeful? Tell ya what, I'll add some emphasis. January's last gasp has finally yielded up some fragment of a real winter, the air is full of whiteness and brilliant grays, roads are within spitting distance of really bad... It's still snowing.

How was that?


I've been reading an early Doonesbury collection, an experience not unlike plowing through the Bloom County collections I was lucky enough to have my dad purchase while I was still young and impressionable... (Well, younger and even more impressionable.)

For good or ill, Bloom County is the source for a disproportionate amount of my knowledge of the cultural landscape of the 1980's. A decade through which, in theory, I actually lived. In reality, of course, I was not one of those rare people who are really aware of the external world before the age of, say, 17.

I hadn't known just how much Bloom County owed Doonesbury, especially early in its run when the more surreal elements were, shall we say, subdued. It sort of makes me want to do a College Comic Strip With Political Overtones...

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 31

Tue Jan 29 18:43:42 CST 2002

Some technical issues at Webmages the past couple of days, so p1k3 and I suppose my primary e-mail have been down a bit. Not too big a deal, but I should find a more reliable backup address than the campus one I've been using for spam-attracting activities...

I see Hallow's also got some web forums up for tech support and general discussion. Not a bad idea, if people use them.

I'm in a C++ class again (one of these days I'll actually learn the language), so I checked out KDevelop, an IDE for Unix. I don't actually know whether I'll write anything with it, but it is nice.

I'm going to the library now, to return some books and wander around the more or less total silence of the stacks looking for more.

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 29

Friday, January 25, 13:22 CST

But what if you trained the mouse to set himself on fire? Would it still be arson?

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 25

Wednesday, January 23, 22:56 CDT

Went to this poetry reading today, by a guy named Sydney Lea.

The chances I'd have gone, if an instructor hadn't required it, are kind of slim. But I'm glad I did.

I was going to quote the whole poem that's at the bottom of this review of one of his books, because it's really good. Then I thought, yeesh, that's kind of long to just drop onto your front page, isn't it?

Probably it is, but what the heck. I'm giving the web an extra bit of redundancy, which can't be all bad.

Poor Fool Blues

 After he hanged himself at twenty-two,
 the town got together and planted a tree in his name.
 Breck's tree. Rock maple. It would be stalwart and good
 in time, this sapling. We meant it to have a meaning-
 though what sort, exactly, none of us could say.

 Today, April Fool's, I visited on my way home,
 the first small wisps of leaf just bursting the buds,
 the root-knees straining for purchase in loosening earth.
 Rain came down on me, stiff, and kept the kids
 inside the school where Breck himself was a boy.

 Nothing let itself be understood,
 articulated, though everything seemed so common, so plain.
 Root. Leaf. Rock. Mud. Wind.
 These weren't booze. These weren't crack or horse,
 nor the cheap leather belt he fashioned into a noose.

 There's likewise now an art award in his name.
 On driving away, the very first thing I saw
 was a bumper sticker: LIFE'S A BITCH AND THEN
 YOU DIE. There's more to it than that, I sighed,
 countercliche my pathetic recourse.

 I wheeled along and shivered, wet to the core.
 But off to my east, above the Connecticut
 River by Big Pat's farm, where he keeps those burros-
 small muscular demons, sad-eyed-a squadron
 of geese, the first of spring, headed north.

 Do I turn off Buddy Guy, I idly thought,
 on my radio shouting, "The first time I met the blues
 they followed me tree to tree," to hear a chorus
 of honks so familiar and strange they might be arranged
 in 4/4 time as well, twelve bars, three chords?

 I told myself, Either way you can't lose.
 The music's changes stilled thrilled, like geese in the sky,
 who drag a heartbreak past and a hope to our doors.
 We fools keep on. We look for meaning and form.
 If patterns and breaches of pattern wear out our words,

 we still mean to do some good before we die.

-- Sydney Lea, Pursuit of a Wound

For good measure, here's the only other full length poem of Lea's I found in the first few pages of Google's results. I found his introduction to these poems interesting as well.

And here, upon further investigation, is the longish, depressing as hell story-poem he read today.

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 23
tags: topics/reading

Monday, January 21, 21:15 CST rules. Are you presentation-before-all-else Flash-monkey designer types listening? This is how you run a band's web site. Heaps of fresh news, concert related stuff, message boards, lyrics and tab files, and most importantly of all, full length demos and live recordings on a rotating list for download.

Well, I watched Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers on Saturday.

Was it JMS at the pinnacle of his form good?

No, but then neither was Babylon 5 for at least a season. It's quite possible to watch season 1 B5 and think this is pretty good, sure, but I won't claim I could have predicted just how far the show would go at that point.

Rangers was shaky a couple of places. A little too Trek-like once in a while. Prone to abusing the inevitable catch phrase. And the promised big plot will have to surpass a lot of what B5 has ever done before to really deliver. But by the time that final fanboy-pleasing shot rolled around, I was quite certain I wanted to see more.

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 21

Saturday, January 19, 13:02 CST

Well, there's new Babylon 5 content airing tonight. Say what you will, I know how I'll be spending my Saturday evening.

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 19

Friday, January 18, 15:30 CST

Just had a fascinating conversation with Brent, kinda different from our usual exchanges because it was over old-school Unix talk.

If you're not familiar with talk - which wouldn't be entirely surprising - it's almost the most primitive chat interface I've ever used. It divides the screen horizontally (well, the terminal) into two halves, and whatever you type appears instantly on your half of the screen.

There's an entirely different dynamic to this sort of conversation than what you experience with an instant messaging client, or even IRC, where you essentially get to compose everything you say before anyone sees it. Talk, by comparison, feels more like an actual voice-to-voice dialog, which makes for something quite a bit less guarded and more demanding of one's attention.

I'm not sure where I was going with this, but if something occurs to me, I'll append it here...

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 18

tuesday, january 15, 23:32 cst

Now i lay(with everywhere around)
me(the great dim deep sound
of rain;and of always and of nowhere)and
what a gently welcoming darkestness--

now i lay me down(in a most steep
more than music)feeling that sunlight is
(life and day are)only loaned:whereas
night is given(night and death and the rain

are given;and given is how beautifully snow)

now i lay me down to dream of(nothing
i or any somebody or you
can begin to begin to imagine)

something which nobody may keep.
now i lay me down to dream of Spring

-- ee cummings

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 15

Friday, January 11, 13:43 CST

I played multiplayer Warcraft II and Red Alert for more hours last night than I actually care to admit.

It's not the game, especially. I think I lost interest in the basic RTS thing as a solo activity years ago... It's the social thing. Hurling insults across the room at your LAN opponents. Cackling with glee as you rain fiery death upon their hapless peasants. The impulse to smash something as you watch your town hall destroyed. Again.

I used to think of myself as a gamer... I'm not sure what changed. I don't want to say I outgrew it, but it's not really that much a part of who I am any more. A few years with a singularly low-end computer and a reluctance to boot Windows have something to do with it, but it's more than that. I think I just tend to care more whether I'm interacting with people these days. A single-player game has to offer something like the depth of a decent book (and some do - Black & White, say) before it can hold my attention for long. And multiplayer needs to offer something more than furiously paced violence - or the chance to scream expletives across the room at your opposite number.

(Not that there's anything wrong with furiously paced violence, every now and again.)


Fans! is genius.

noise list

Music of late, including stuff I got for Christmas (I'll add to this over the next couple of days):

  • The Jealous Sound
    • The Quiet Life
    • Priceless
    • Anxious Arms
    • Bitter Strings
  • Justincase
    • The Key (Ok, so they look like a teen sibling pop act. In point of fact, they might be a teen sibling pop act, but they're a pretty decent one.)
  • The Stereophonics
    • All of Just Enough Education to Perform
    • Hurry Up and Wait
    • Local Boy in the Photograph
  • The Pixies
    • Pixies at the BBC
  • Beulah
    • When Your Heartstrings Break - I'll say it again. The best pop album I've ever paid money for.
  • Hey Mercedes
    • Eleven to Your Seven

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 11

Thu Jan 10 12:45:57 CST 2002

Useful Javascript? Bookmarklets seem to be just that, which is indeed a novelty. If you're using a recent GUI browser, these are well worth checking out.

My favorite has to be this one, which (at least under Mozilla) searches Google with whatever you've currently highlighted on the page.

I've never objected to using a scripting language to provide extra functionality and flexibility within an app - in fact, I think it's probably an essential of really good, flexible interfaces. mIRC, my favorite single piece of software, is my favorite example. I imagine there're plenty of more obvious choices.

What makes all but a tiny fraction of the Javascript ever loosed upon the world suck is that it

  • is completely useless
  • serves to (inconsistently) replace functions already performed by straight HTML
  • or even better, interferes with something no document has any business acting upon

No, these opinions haven't changed much since ca. 1997. Yes, I do feel a bit smug about that. Now that we're finally starting to see something approaching taste and good sense re-emerge from the wreckage of countless elaborate, flashing, crap-filled over-designed...

But there's a rant for another day. Maybe it'd tie nicely into Why I Loathe Flash.

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 10

Wed Jan  9 20:41:53 CST 2002

Most browsers, 'tis true, still suck more than they ought. But add Galeon to the list of those that suck a lot less. Mozilla's killer rendering engine in a stripped down GUI, blazing fast and just featureful enough.

Tweaked ye olde display script. No more /cgi-bin/ URL's around here, near as I can tell.

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 9
tags: topics/perl, topics/technical, topics/wrt

Monday, January 7

...we now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

This is - and I mean it - the last time you will hear me mention my own slackness in not writing here. But yeah, I've been slack. And the site was down for a while, for I know not why.

Among that which I've been slack in noticing is that Stephen's posting stuff again, with a new retro lookin' CSS layout. (Gul: It renders smoothly in everything I've used lately - including Opera 6, but I can't say much for versions prior to that.)

I also ought to throw some comments Eric and Brent's way. Later.

So now I'm back from break, physically at least. Break was good.

The Fellowship of the Ring was everything that it needed to be.

I have an acoustic guitar now.

Wendigo, for some reason I cannot quite fathom, decided to power down at random while plugged in at home. Back in the dorm? Steady as a rock. Bizarre combination of a faulty power supply and unreliable wiring? Beats the heck outta me.

A Beautiful Mind was excellent. A slightly flawed excellent, maybe, but excellent. At this point, Russell Crowe's more vocal critics will only continue to embarrass themselves if they don't quietly fade into the background. Jennifer Connelly is capable of being the most beautiful woman in the world. I cannot quite believe that Akiva Goldsman also penned Batman & Robin.

[abrupt ending]

p1k3 / 2002 / 1 / 7