September 30, 2006
Downtown Palo Alto
September 29, 2006
Eclipse images10 June 2002 during a solar eclipse.
When light shines through leafy trees onto the ground or a wall, the little circles you see are images of the sun. And when the sun is (partially) eclipsed, the little circles become little moon-shaped crescents. Who needs protective eyewear?
The kids are going to thank me that I've saved these when they get to high school.
Software, a play in three Acts
I'm cleaning up my laptop, deleting old stuff. I'm finding lots of long-forgotten and abandoned projects, such as this play.
* * *
A Play in Three Acts
TECHNICAL SALES LEADER
TECHNICAL SALES MEMBER I
TECHNICAL SALES MEMBER II
Stage Left: The curtain rises to reveal an utterly exhausted and disheveled User One in his home office, seated at a desk in front of a computer. He is cradling a thick computer manual in his lap, and is looking at his telephone with resignation.
User One places the manual softly down on the desk, looks up a telephone number from the back of a software box, and dials.
The rest of the stage is initially dark. As User One completes dialing, Stage Right is suddenly illuminated to reveal the Automated Receptionist, nattily dressed and standing on a small platform, unencumbered by software, telephone, or other technological trappings. He speaks in a loud, overly pleasant voice.
AUTOMATED RECEPTIONIST: Thank you for calling Computer Software Company. "Computer Software CompanyBecause There Are People."
We've reorganized our automated teleservices to better serve you, so listen carefully.
For automated web enquiries, Press One.
For automated technical support options, Press Two.
To browse our on-line collection of automated pre-recorded technical advisory notes, Press Three.
[Very quickly] Or, to speak with a technical support person, press Star Pound 2 7.
[Lights momentarily dim on the Automated Receptionist as User One presses four buttons on his telephone.]
AUTOMATED RECEPTIONIST: Thank you for choosing Computer Software Company Technical Support. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received. Your call will be answered within [Long Pause] five [Long Pause] minutes.
Lights dim on User One and Automated Receptionist.
Far Stage Right, Enter the Technical Sales Team (Leader, Member I, and Member II). All three shoulder computer laptops or other suitable computing devices.
TECHNICAL SALES TEAM LEADER: Are you absolutely sure?
TECHNICAL SALES TEAM MEMBER I: Yes.
TECHNICAL SALES TEAM MEMBER II: It never was even on the schedule!
TECHNICAL SALES TEAM LEADER: Are you absolutely sure?
TECHNICAL SALES TEAM LEADER: [Pauses. Turns to TST Leader.] Yes.
TECHNICAL SALES TEAM LEADER: How can we sell something that we don't even have?
I'll spare you the rest. I wrote it in 1995. Poof! Deleted.
September 28, 2006
Questions and answers
1) Is the temporary-looking fence that recently went up along a good portion of the wetlands where I go running truly "ELECTRIFIED"?
Answer: Yes. In today's run, I came across people fussing over the fence. THANE: Is that thing really electrified? GUY: Yes. THANE: Why? GUY: There are going to be three hundred goats eating grass and scrub here, starting Saturday. THANE: Three hundred goats? GUY: Yes. THANE: Forever? GUY: No goat is forever. They'll be here just five days.
Note to selfbring camera on Sunday's run. "No goat is forever"wish I could have said that.
2) What's the right karma to apply in setting up a secondary router in our house? And maybe I could just buy a simple hub instead?
Answer: You idiot! You have the secondary router set up already! See that thing blinking forlornly under a pile of cables behind that printer and under your long-since dead and departed ISDN equipment? That's the secondary router you installed and promptly forgot about.
I love browsing through other people's flickr photos. Most of them (like most of my photos) are boring. Then suddenly in the midst of them there will be a snapshot like this, and I can't stop staring at it. What makes this photo so great? I don't know. I guess I'll stare at it some more.
Added later: Looks like whoever took this photo, which shows two people at a table in what looks like a French farmhouse, each with one elbow propped up on it and interesting expressions on their faces, either just turned off blogging of their photos, or flickr is flaky, or something, I don't know. Anyway there's still a link to it that works, which I used above. If that goes away, I guess we've got another case of privacy-itis on our hands. Why do people use software and tools that distributes content to the world if they're not willing to share that content? Perhaps because the interfaces to flickr are so complicated...I don't know
Louise Pound was a pioneer among women athletes in the state of Nebraska, enjoying much success during her high school age years although never participating in structured high school athletics. Tennis and golf were her top sports, but she gained acclaim in figure skating, skiing, cycling, basketball, swimming, riding, and bowling. She was the captain of the University of Nebraska basketball team. She was Lincoln's best woman golfer for more than 20 years and in 1916 was the first state women's golf champion. In tennis, many of her championships came against all comers, including men. At one time, she was the top-ranked amateur tennis player in the country. During her 50 years as a professor at the University of Nebraska, she was a staunch advocate of increased opportunities in athletics for females.
September 27, 2006
No, thanks, I'll live with the critters instead
From a blog about bedbug infestation:
It may be possible to control bedbugs pretty well in an apartment with an uncooperative landlord by exterminating yourself and caulking very thoroughly, and it's worth a try if you are very attached to your apartment.
September 25, 2006
2119 5th Ave
Labeled the "Gibbon's Bungalow" when Kearney photographer John Stryker photographed it in 1918, it shows many of the features of the Craftsman style: decorative braces and and abundance of wood trim. The many windows flood the rooms in natural light, bringing the outdoors inside. It was one of the homes
featured in the 1921 booklet created to promote Kearney.
It was built in 1918 by Cecil and Effie Gibbons on a lot they bought from John Gibbons Lowe and his wife Grace who owned the house to the north. It was later owned by Merle and Elsie Pierce in 1942, Wilma Imming in 1948 and the Bob and Lucille Cole family from 1959-79. Since then it has bee the family home of Vince and patty Wright. This house is pictured in the 1992 Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey.
From Historic Homes of Pioneer Park Neighborhood [of Kearney, Nebraska], Janet Fox, Bobbie McKenzie, et al. Why did I never notice any of these cool houses when I was growing up? This one is just one block away from my parents' house.
Sure, sounds good
"Definitely," I replied, not knowing what might be coming.
Then she put whipped cream and a chocolate-covered coffee bean on top of the cup, and handed it back to me.
"Check this out, the whip and bean!" I told Gloria, and then took this photo.
Injured player, Arnold vs Thedford
Injured player, Arnold vs Thedford
Nebraska High School Sports hall of fame induction ceremony, Lied Center, Lincoln, NE
Nebraska High School Sports hall of fame induction ceremony, Lied Center, Lincoln, NE
Originally uploaded by thane.
Arnold vs Thedford
Thedford has thirteen players on their team. The other eight are playing.
Thumbnails from the drive to Arnold
Before the Arnold-Thedford eight-man high school football game
Woman on Mars
On May 19th, 2005, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars...
September 21, 2006
New misere games sites
I'm in the middle of reorganizing all my misere games & commutative monoids material to a new website, blog, and mailing list. They're not quite ready yet, but take a look if you're interested.
Things were getting a bit scattered trying to keep everything inside the increasingly creaky infrastructure here at plambeck.org. And it's also a good opportunity to kill off outdated and/or wrong stuff that I still have up in various places.
Motorcycle roller coaster
September 20, 2006
The Plambeck Fianchetto Attack
Plambeck - NN [B00 --- as played in countless games of 1 minute Internet chess]
Black might just be planning 2 ... Bh7. In fact, he is likely to have already grabbed the c8 bishop with the mouse. It's hovering over h7, waiting to dropped. White has a surprise in store.
2.Ba6 Bb7 3.Bxb7
September 19, 2006
74 + 38
The TV throne is gone, and the two-piece couch replacing it is arriving on Thursday.
Gloria noticed we've got 10 inches more of couch coming than we'd planned on.
It's not my handwriting, no sir.
The heroic struggles of my new laptop, a recent arrival to the United States from Hong Kong and yearning to be free, as reported by automated United Parcel Service scanners
ONTARIO, CA, US 09/19/2006 12:19 P.M.
THE SHIPMENT IS BEING HELD BY BROKERAGE FOR REASONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL; BROKERAGE RELEASED SHIPMENT. SHIPMENT IS SUBMITTED TO CLEARING AGENCY FOR FURTHER CLEARANCE
ONTARIO, CA, US 09/18/2006 12:28 P.M.
THE SHIPMENT IS BEING HELD BY BROKERAGE FOR REASONS BEYOND UPS' CONTROL
CHEK LAP KOK, HK 09/18/2006 10:26 P.M.
EXPORT SCAN 09/18/2006 10:25 P.M. ORIGIN SCAN
KOWLOON BAY, HK 09/18/2006 10:12 P.M.
HK 09/18/2006 5:18 A.M.
BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED
September 18, 2006
The dragon that's been sitting where a TV is supposed to go
Owen's dragon sculpture has flown the throne and is perched on the mantle.
September 17, 2006
1) Accompanying (on piano) Cole (on violin) on pieces from Barbara Barber's Violin Solos today, I thought, hey, that sounded pretty goodwe're making some music here.
2) Sunburn after teaching various 8 year olds how to stay down on the baseball and bend their knees in the batting cage. My face feels a bit hot, even now. Was tempted to say to one recalcitrant 3rd grader"Lookthe pitcherhe wants to STRIKE YOU OUT. You're going to get a BASE HIT instead, alright? That's WHAT THIS IS ABOUT! Bend your knees and you're going to look like you're a threat to hit the ball!" But I didn't cast it in such stark terms, after all, not even close to that, and in the subsequent game, he got two hits, nevertheless. He looked over at me, at I clenched my fists as if to say, "Yesright. You did it." I considered it a coaching success.
3) Am probably going to work two hours/week helping 6th graders do "Einstein" bonus problems on their math homework. The middle school is less than three blocks away, so maybe I'll bike. Or walk.
4) Am probably going to coach a third/fourth grade basketball team this winter. I love the game of basketball, even so far as to consider it a central metaphor in my life (basketball teaches that a person needs to be stronger, faster, quicker, etc, in a particularly brutal, "One Great Scorer" sort of way). There's always room for improvement (or the reverse).
September 16, 2006
Stanford vs Navy
I just came back from the opening game in the new stadium, which Stanford lost to Navy. I'm not sure what the final score was since I left midway through the fourth quarter.
I biked from our house to the game, leaving Chris and Erin's housewarming Cuban backyard pigroast at 6:32pm. I walked home, got my bike out the garage, rode to the stadium, went in the North entrance and found a seat a good three minutes before the Navy jets streaked over my head at 7pm.
ConclusionBiking is the way to go from our house to the football games. They've even got a little bike watching area, which I didn't notice until I left the game (it wasn't far from where I locked my bike to a chain between two posts).
Lee Morgan, Cornbread (1966, I think)
I'm rethinking the position of this number in the Lee Morgan pantheon of killer trumpet solos.
I'm putting it right up there with The Sidewinder, but just short of the (epic) "Moanin'". In Moanin', the fundamental limits of the jazz trumpet solo are sought, found, then explored a bit, and then returned back to the listener for a saxophone solo. It's a bit like going to the pole or to the moon, trumpet-wiseonce there, well, that's itothers might go too, but they're not going to find anything different, really, and they're not going to be first, either. Lee Morgan plants the flag in Mare Tranquillitatis, and that's it. Next Apollo mission, please.
The difference between 1958 [Moanin'] and 1966 [Cornbread] is thisin 1958, everything was perfect. There has to be at least 50 truly great jazz albums that came out in 1958 (or close to 1958). In 1966, everyone (seemingly) was thinkingyou know what?it sure was nice in 1958.
The Sidewinder was such a big hit that Lee Morgan thought, apparently, "WTF?! Clearly I need to play something like that again! But what? HmmmI guess something like, well, The Sidewinder." In other words, not too creative. But the first few moments of the Cornbread solo are truly great I think. It sags a bit after that.
* * *
Added later: I went to Amazon to see what the reviewers say about Moanin' and found this review by Emmett T McQueen, who lists his location as "Occupied California:"
The group on this CD was one of the best. There are many things that make this CD a real joy. From the four original tunes by Benny Golson and the title track by Bobby Timmons to the solid muscular drumming of Blakey himself. For me though there is one thing that dominates this date----Lee Morgan. Lee Morgan absolutely rules. Trumpeter Woody Shaw was once asked one of those interview questions, 'What was your biggest influence?' Without skipping a beat he said, 'The solo Lee Morgan takes on "Moanin". Amen.
From the very first press roll off Blakey's snare Morgan is launched. Bolting out of the gate this young artist is barely containable. The urgency of Art's drumming and the rest of the team compels this dynamic trumpeter to dig deep, creating flurry after flurry of spectacular rhythmic gymnastics, artfully blending them with melodic ideas that just burst out. His harmonic ideas on this piece too are so sweet. Morgan pulls out all the stops, at times employing his signature half valve technique, double tonguing, triple tonguing, slurring, sliding, and just plain carving up the beat. The elegant construction of this gem of a solo has you sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation and at times in disbelief. And what a tone! Smooth, round, big.
Lee's solo on the alternate track is a nice addition and would have made a decent first cut if for some highly unfortunate reason his masterpiece was never recorded. The rest of this CD is excellent too by the way. But oh man, Lee Morgan!
September 15, 2006
Mega Millions outcome
My numbers (a computerized "Quick Pick"in buying my lottery ticket, I think of them as determined by a robust, statistically satisfying randomization algorithm in some unknown, even unknowable computer, itself hermetically sealed in a cleanroom somewhere in Southern California, perhaps in a simple office located behind a tanning salon in Orange county, or (more likely) enigmatically positioned in a corporate headquarters lab in a protected box, a bit like Schroedinger's cat in its uncertain relation to the futurea future that will reveal the "right" numbers just as the radioactive decay event happens, the poison vial is broken open, and the cat dies, and along with it, the just audible "poofing" sound of my $1.00 tipping into the coffers of the lottery beast, and my fervent hopes for MEGAMILLIONS, well,vanished)
Anyway: my numbers:
2 12 20 24 46 45=mega
6 26 33 39 55 1=mega
OKit hasn't worked out as I hoped. I'll admit it. Do I still have to take the appropriate "Care for Tickets" with my ticket? You know, Do not deface, Do not iron, Avoid heat, and Keep dry? Come to think of it, those are good prescriptions to live by in general.
Maybe I'll keep the ticket as a reminder.
Google mail loader
1) The Google Mail Loader is golden. I identified all the mail I wanted to save from Thunderbird, and the GML thingy systematically forwarded it to my gmail account at the rate of one email message every two seconds. Once in gmail, my email has taken on a suddenly utility it lacked before (ie, I can find stuff!). I was a little worried that GML wasn't going to work well when I saw its misspelling
Mail I Recieved (Goes to Inbox)
glaring out at me on the default screen just as I started it up, but other than that, it's a dream. Soon I'll be switching over to gmail.com and not losing all my old mail, which occupies only 5% of the gmail storage maximum. There were a few problems with big attachments. For the record, the path to individual folders in Thunderbird (for me, suitable for selection in the GML thingy) is
Documents and Settings/
...then the name of the folder (with no extension), here...
Maybe that will help somebody. It caused me some grief to find it.
2) Looks like I'm not going to take delivery of the HAYDNCHIP until Monday. They had to cut out the string trios to make it all fit inside 4G (which is actually 3.8G when the chip is set up to store data).
3) Bought a lottery ticket for the $165 million MegaMillions draw in less than one hour (I think). I saw a kid catch a straw in an unlikely way as I went into 7-11 to buy a Diet Coke, and considered that to be a good omen. I'm not superstitiousI don't believe in that kind of stuff, but I hear it works even if you're not superstitious. [joke credit: Dan Ullman]
September 14, 2006
Dialogue with the Shell gasoline pump, Embarcadero Rd and Highway 101, Palo Alto
WOULD YOU LIKE A RECEIPT?
1 -- YES
2 -- NO, THANK YOU.
* * *
Enough already with these machines that put words into my mouth!
No I don't want a receipt, and NO (with no "thank you" !!! )
September 13, 2006
Girl colors, Marienbad, HAYDNCHIP
1) I learned from the kids that purple is a "girl color." Since then, I've noticed that lots of schoolgirls have purple backpacks, coats, etc. And not too many boys are wearing purple items, either. I'm prepared to give up pink to the girls, but purple? When did that happen?
2) Received the screenplay (more precisely, "Ciné-Novel") Last Year at Marienbad from Dan in the mail.
It looks really good (Thanks Dan!). Here are his notes on the play of misere Nim in that movie, and I've perhaps previously blogged it, but it's easier to re-blog than research the "already possibly blogged."
3) After noticing a big banner for a startup called ReadyToPlay hanging over their office next to Fry's in Palo Alto, I decided to haul my extensive, nearly complete Haydn string quartets, symphonies, and piano trio CDs off to them for the creation of a HAYDNCHIP SD card. Franz Joseph wrote a lot of symphonies and string quartets, creating doubt whether even the latest 4Gig SD card will suffice to pack it all in. "We'll give it a try," the ReadyToPlay guy promised.
Krissy Keefer campaign kick-off event for 8th Congressional District, 9/10/6.
Originally uploaded by krissyforcongress.
Tightening the Kuiper Belt
All those mysterious KBOs put into a bag only weigh about 1/100 of the Earth (Lorenzo Iorio):
In this paper we dynamically determine the mass of the Kuiper Belt Objects by exploiting the latest observational determinations of the orbital motions of the inner planets of the Solar System. Our result, in units of terrestrial masses, is 0.033 ± 0.115 by modelling the Classical Kuiper Belt Objects as an ecliptic ring of finite thickness. A two-rings model yields for the Resonant Kuiper Belt Objects a value of 0.018 ± 0.063. Such figures are consistent with recent determinations obtained with ground and space-based optical techniques. Some implications for precise tests of Einsteinian and post-Einsteinian gravity are briefly discussed.
I'd pictured multiple gigantic planetoids adrift in the belt, each awaiting its discovery and stupid name (Quaoar, Xena). Instead it's a bunch of little rocks, I guess.
September 12, 2006
September 11, 2006
anything can happen
after Horace, Odes 1, 34
Anything can happen. You know how Jupiter
Will mostly wait for clouds to gather head
Before he hurls the lightning? Well, just now
He galloped his thunder-cart and his horses
Across a clear blue sky. It shook the earth
And the clogged underearth, the River Styx,
The winding streams, the Atlantic shore itself.
Anything can happen, the tallest things
Be overturned, those in high places daunted,
Those overlooked regarded. Stropped-beak Fortune
Swoops, making the air gasp, tearing the crest off one,
Setting it down bleeding on the next.
Ground gives. The heavens' weight
Lifts up Atlas like a kettle lid.
Capstones shift, nothing resettles the right.
Smoke furl and boiling ashes darken day.
Seamus Heaney, 2001
At Great America with Sam, Varun, and Cole
With Aaron Siegel at George Lakoff's house.
Aaron, Olya Gurevich, and George at dinner in Berkeley
September 08, 2006
"I'm here. I'm a sphere. Get used to it."
Pluto, talking to Grady Epstein of the Baltimore Sun about its recent demotion.
[Nature|Vol 442|31 August 2006]
New sculpture on the San Francisco waterfront
September 07, 2006
Soon to depart Tasso Street: the TV thronehasn't held a TV for over 3 years, we're only now getting ready to get rid of it.
Someone must want to buy it, surely?
September 06, 2006
Why I didn't renew my Music @ Menlo subscription this year, even though the focus was Mozart...
...because last year, in a teaching seminar at the Menlo School, Ara Guzelimian didn't allow a group of student musicians play the entire Allegro finale (movement #4 in Beethoven quartet in A major, op. 18 [#5]). He insisted instead on making us suffer through repeated playings of a "mature, operatic" Mozart quartet instead, by another student quartet. I've blocked the identity of that Mozart quartet from my memory, forever, in spite. When else am I going to hear the entire op 18 in A major? Damn.
Call me fickle.
In my office
COLE (age 10): Da-da. Let's go over this. First you said we would rent the Pink Panther and watch it in the car. Then you said it was too late to do that; we had to leave without going to the video store. Then you said we could rent it in Oakhurst, and we did, but then you said you couldn't get the DVD player to work, and would do it tomorrow. But you didn't do it tomorrow, and now you're saying we have to take it back...
THANE: Ahyes, I agree. Let's let each of these count one point against me. [Writes "-1" on whiteboard five times, and computes sum -5] Butand you're careful to omit thisI suddenly suggested that we go to see Cars in the movie theatre. Which we did, and you liked it a lot. This single act was worth, I don't know, at least 5 points. [Writes equation -5 + 5 = 0 on whiteboard.] ThereforeI've made good my debts on the Pink Panther, and whatever complaints you may have are now considered wiped out, which is to say EVERYTHING IS FAIR, which is your principal concern, yes, I know this, but as a parent I reserve the right to deny even this...
COLE: Ha. I still want to see the Pink Panther.
THANE: Ok, well maybe this weekend.
In the car
September 04, 2006
The Pizza Express sign lives on...
...but the The Pine Cone Inn sign is no more.
I couldn't bring myself to photograph its (entirely lame) replacement.
Another reason to get out on Highway 99 and take more photos before it's too late.
burning man 06 ticket
September 03, 2006
Mathematician at a book sale
September 02, 2006
Oh Grow Up
McDonald's playground equipment for sale
September 01, 2006
slideshow (for speedreaders)
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