Archive for October, 2005

S{[(no)*}w]

I got back from finally hauling my car someplace to get it worked on, and I saw (besides my breath) a couple isolated flakes of dandruff in the air. Except I don’t have dandruff (…checks again…) no, definitely not. Crap, it’s snowing.

Spinlock in a DJ booth

For the most part, I don’t mind people playing the radio* in my office, it breaks the silence that could otherwise get kind of annoying. It’s a sort of “war room” layout, myself and two mechies in a big room bouncing ideas off each other**.

But if I have to hear about this

Hot Chick in a Tollbooth

contest one more time***, there going to be a huge inverted fist in the first thing I see within one arm’s length of my desk. (Or maybe just turn off the radio or something.)

* on some days, and on other days my officemates get to be annoyed by my Nomad and 20GBytes’ worth of techno/industrial/classical/metal on random. So I can’t bitch too much.

** my desk is in the far corner, in front of the windows and facing the door. I can see everyone, including intruders on the way to wasting my time, and no one can see my screen. This is intentional.

*** This jingle is proof positive that jingles on (magnetic tape) carts have gone the way of the dodo. The tape wears through after so many million cycles.

Clickybuttons

I was just thinking it would be good to be able to load voice recognition software onto a cellphone so that to text message, instead of punching a million slow buttons to create a message you could just *say* the message and it would convert it to a text for you…and then realized how silly that was, because then it would be voice mail, even before I went further to think it would also be nice if it would read said text message back to the recipient so they wouldn’t have to try and read it off of that tiny screen.

XboX story, still not over!… (Bank error in your favor)

I got my latest credit card statement the other day, and on it was a credit in the amount of $159 or so from bestbuy.com. (Background on the Xbox saga.) The credit card company had already negated the charge when I discovered it, because it was fraudulent, but apparently when I brought the (attempted-stolen-by-world’s-dumbest-criminal) goods back to Best Buy, they processed it as any other return, which credited the purchase price to my old (cancelled by then) account, which somehow followed me to the new account. (Don’t you love neverending streams of comma-delimited sentence fragments?)

Executive summary: I’ve been billed for the bogus Xbox once and credited for the bogus charge twice. As in, free $159 in my pocket.

So this morning I called up the credit card company to report the error (because I’m stupid…or at least not crooked…but mainly stupid), and this is what they said:

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do about that. You’ll have to call Best Buy and talk to them about getting the extra credit removed.”

WTF? They credited my account, from the Wells Fargo “credit cards accounts are ridiculously easy to steal, but it’s cheaper to eat the fraud losses and issue new cards than fix the system” fund, but can’t un-credit it. I’m a big fan of the whole honesty thing, but if they’re going to make it that difficult, maybe I’ll just keep it then…

Radio blackout // meh.. sleep is for people who don’t have to figure anything out.

I don’t know why when I don’t know what’s going on, the details of a situation, I always assume the worst. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes I’m just being paranoid. Never can tell which is which though; they feel the same at the time.

Nor’easter // Grey is light gray…gray is darker

and GRAY isn’t any darker, just more intense. Like if you cut it apart, it would collapse back together quickly; pressurized fog.

A few days ago I wrote about a generically crappy day, weather-wise. Today was more of a catastrophically crappy weather-day. It’s wierd though, I like storms. I’ve heard myself complain my first year here in Boston about the dearth of good thunderstorms. I also like it when the weather matches my mood, the way I like it in people when their internal and external states match….which seldom seems to be the case. People are infuriatingly hard to read, and kind of all bullshit on their skin…forever smiling a less-than-genuine smile, and when it’s good, you can never see what (lies) beneath.

Ernedpleeasts

I woke up to see trees swaying violently in the wind. Actually, I think it was that wind that woke me up. It wasn’t my alarm clock that time, because when that woke me up, it was playing that one song. I mean, that one song that they play on the radio, because it seems like what they do is just have one song and loop it, or at least pretty close, and count on you not listening to the radio enough to catch ’em in the act. Done and done. This morning it was “Endless repeat…that’s what they love to play! (meow) (drum hits) (meow) Music on endless repeat…” It might have been that new Weezer song. Anyway…

Fallin
g

I got outside, riding to work and the rain was falling sideways. I heard some talk yesterday of something called a Nor’easter…didn’t really register as anything (at least no more than in the sense that everything non-useful I casually observe or overhear is written into memory somewhere, because that’s just how I work) to my Mi’westerner ears…this must be what they were talking about. Anyway, get into work drenched to the bone (relax, I’m waterproof), and get a bit of mild ribbing for being nuts enough to bike to work in that stuff, and realize half the building is without power. Fallen tree took out at least one of the circuits into the building. It was awesome. A few overhead lights were on the circuit with power, tempering the would-be near-darkness of the dark morning sky and feeble glow of emergency exit lighting. Most of the wall outlets though, with computers plugged into UPSes plugged into them, were dead, and all that could be heard up and down the hall was the sparse, but oddly symphonic tweeting of the UPS’ power loss warnings, all at their own distinct frequencies and intervals. (The actual frequency these things beep at is not at all important, as long as they beep, so manufacturers will use cheap, high-drift parts with wide tolerances there; no two are alike.) I felt like I was in an Autechre album.

The entire computer structure was down and much of the lab was without power, so Je* and I spent some quality time cleaning out the EE lab, throwing away the carcasses of dead projects and reclaiming space for actual work. Shortly after, the other circuit went, plunging the lab into darkness. We went upstairs. By this point it was clear no actual work would get done by anyone. (“Especially these guys…ELECTRICAL engineers.” – MP) So there was a brief flashlight war in the front hallway, and some button-pounding on the alarm panel until it shut up (when they’re running from limited battery power, they judiciously use that power to make continuous loud noise), and we all went out for early lunch at Bertucci’s.

Scare

Power was back by the time we got back, so I had to start doing actual work and stuff. Had fun with Je* in the lab. The one nice thing about being kind of spooky and wierd and everyone knowing it, is that people tend to take you seriously.

“Know what I’d really like to do right now? I’d really like to go home and crawl back into my bed.” -JR (Je*)
(complete deadpan) “…I’d like to crawl into some nice dark place and die…” -me
“Whoooooahhhh…” -JR

I think he eventually figured out I was fucking with him (…or WAS I?…), because he told me I couldn’t go and die until the new code for the IPFv1r2 boards was finished.

Went out for some ethiopian with J.R. (everybody else ditched), and watched the last of the Firefly series.

QOTD (yesterday, researching some trademark stuff when J.R.’s domain expired and was returning a portal-potty…we thought at the time some spam site bought it out) :
Trademark law frowns upon “naked licensing.” Fortunately for trademark owners, “naked licensing” is not as fun as it sounds. -Gregory H. Guillot

Sunday morning I’m still hiding in bed. Listening to the rhythm of the rain above my head

All day today it was crappy out – not the good, interesting, thunder-and-lightning crappy that it was around 3am, but the kind of bland, anonymous crappy of not cold enough to be statistically significant and not dark and gray enough to be interesting. I spent it kind of recovering from a Halloween party last night, and trying to make sense of the dodgy piece of metal that is my computer, even though all I really wanted to do was stay in my warm bed.

Party
Just after getting home, which is just after catching some Anna’s with J.R. and *, which was just before * blowing a tire on the huge-ass pothole on Undefined St., I found out about a Halloween (dress-up) party being thrown by some folks who showed up at the guys downstairs’ party the day before. So on such short notice, I had no choice but to dust off my duct tape duds from last year (OK, that’s pretty original, at least in the sense of people asking “What are YOU supposed to be?” [something like Spider-Man, everybody recognizes], but no time to create something NEW AND original), while two of my housemates came as the Unabomber (sweat hoodie, aviator specs and a ticking package [Scattergories timer] addressed to a university building in Waco with no return address) and Caesar (toga and golden laurels), respectively. We’re a house full of MacGvers.

Aside from the dressing-up aspect, it was pretty much like any other party. Drinking, striking up chitchat with people you don’t know and will probably never see again, getting introduced to 50 people and not remembering any of their names, and being cold-shouldered by girls who, not to be mean about it, just a realist [even with my beer goggles securely fastened], were not in a position to cold-shoulder hardly anybody, let alone the likes of us. I mean, seriously… “I need to go and…find my friend…”* would get an F– if I were a professor at Excuses to Politely Get Out of Talking to Someone U. In fact, an even better one would have been: “You’re wierd and boring, and I need to go somewhere that isn’t here, because here is where you are, and elsewhere is where you’re not.” So yeah, this is [one of 3e+08 reasons] why I don’t get along well with normal people.

Der Computermachine
A Frankenstein kludge I assembled my sophomore year of college, when I was a broke college student and computers were expensive. Motherboard, CPU, case and video board ordered from various places online, hard drives transplanted from previous machine, noisy old brown floppy drive ripped out of some old machine and will probably outlive me, even after hacksawing off a portion of its metal case to fit around all the stuff that sticks up off the motherboard. (And soundcard bought right off the shelf at Best Buy on short notice because…WTF, only PCI and AGP slots, what manner of newdangfangled technology is this? My “AzTech WaveRider”, or whatever that old beast was called, had finally reached its end-of-life because they stopped making slots it would fit into.)

Anyway. It served me well all through college and beyond, and never gave me any trouble until I decided I wanted to a) move away from Win95 and install Win2k, b) throw in a Big Hard Drive. Anyway, some issue between the motherboard/ then-current BIOS and Win2k prevents the 2nd IDE channel from being usable, meanwhile, some other issue prevented the ATA100 interface from being usable with big hard drives. Long story shorter**, one hacked BIOS later, everything kind of reached an uneasy agreement.

Now I decided to throw in a DVD burner and another big hard drive. Anyway, I’ve spent today copying things between drives, wondering why they don’t work on certain interfaces, why it’s consistently freezing on start-up, and why my sound card and its drivers keep disappearing all of the sudden***. Yeah, I should probably just toss this whole hunk of 800MHz metal scrap and get a new one, but it’s laced with miles and memories, and once it’s stable it actually works nicely, and I don’t really have (ironically) time to do anything CPU-intensive these days, like multiplayer FPS mapping, 3D rendering, excessive gaming or any of that other stuff I used to have time for. Memories like the Unit E geek squad performing open-HDD surgery in my room, or the Pimply-Faced Youth crashed out in a “power nap” on my floor because I was borrowing his new drive for data recovery, and he couldn’t let it out of his sight. Declining a slim, but non-zero possibility of losing my (at the time…yes, in college…shaddap) virginity because I had just finished installing Linux for the first time ever and couldn’t wait to get back to my room and play with it, even though some late-20s-looking blonde bimbette who showed up for a football game had started chatting me up on my way back from the library****. And drying it out after it was submerged in dirty Pontiac-water during my trek to Boston.

* friend who went to “use the ladies’ room”, but apparently decided the next room over was a close enough approximation

** Modern BIOSes don’t come in one tight little handcrafted piece anymore; the main BIOS people, e.g. Award, write the main module, and the folks behind the ATA100 chipset write their little piece, and so on, and they all get thrown together into one happy little family. So it came down to grabbing two different BIOS versions, one where the second IDE channel worked, and one where the ATA controller worked, then mix-n-matching the extracted modules into a new file and burning it onto the chip. The stupid “Energy Star” logo is just another module, so that’s just as easy to replace while you’re at it.

*** in the figurative, Windows-y sense, not in the sense of a little green board yelling “peek-a-boo” and then running back behind my bookshelf, although that would be really disturbing.

**** although maybe this has to do less with my complete (ineptitude as a normal human male / lack of priorities) than with the fact that blonde bimbettes don’t really do it for me, and the odds of any hot blonde inviting me back to her place for any legitimate purpose (as opposed to, say, some robbery | kidnapping | forced threesome with her and some toothless old farmer named Zeke | “it puts the lotion on its skin”…) are the same as getting struck by lightning in the hand that’s holding the winning Powerball ticket.

QOTD:
[15:48] LI*: meet any foxy ladies?lol
[15:48] me: a bit of a sausage fest, but that’s par for the course
[15:48] me: not really :(
[15:48] LI*: ha ha ha
[15:48] LI*: that sucks
[15:49] me: I think I scare away ‘normal’ girls
[15:49] LI*: normal girls are over rated
[15:49] me: yeah
[15:49] me: sadly, that’s all there was here
[15:49] LI*: its the weird ones that have the most fun
[15:49] LI*: eh they can all go to hell and have lots of stupid babies

Bro/ken/nes/s

I’ve spent most of this fine day cursing software. Literally. Damning it to the bowels from whence it came, and its Creators, and the jackasses they rode in on.

On a DSP development board’s associated toolchain, I’ve even been writing myself (yes, documentation….theoretically, for the next poor sap that has to program this thing, but non-theoretically, only I will ever read it…and it’s still worth the time) a set of cheat sheets documenting all the sheer idiocy of it and the workarounds I’ve discovered. It contains little gems such as:


No/missing linker command file (*.cmd) when generating your own project

  • These can/should/will be autogenerated by DSP/BIOS configuration (creating a .CMD file by hand is Highly Not Recommended), by performing the following secret incantation:
  • First create a DSP/BIOS configuration (*.cdb) if none exists, with File -> New… -> DSP/BIOS Configuration -> dsk6713.cdb.
  • In the configurator widget that appears, go down to Instrumentation -> LOG - Event Log Manager. Right-click and Insert LOG. When it appears, rename it to trace. Now save the configuration, and then (and only then) the .cdb configurator will also write out a *.cmd file.
  • You'd think it would be smart enough to include the newly-created file into your project, but it isn't. Do Project -> Add files to project, find the *.cmd file (change filetypes dropdown to actually show it) and add it to project by hand.

But I'm sure you didn't need these instructions because that's perfectly intuitive. You generate linker configurations by defining an arbitrary, specially named system log that you'll never look at. Everybody knows that.

Driving me to drink after-hours was the D*ltek (covering my asterisk; their lawyers are bigger than mine) accounting software. This goalimonn fuckterclus is a sheer marvel of bro
kenne
ss by design, and I’ve only spent half an hour hanging around in the same room as the sysadmin during the tech-support conference call. I waltzed in just in time to hear the tech support guy dictating the exact, case-sensitive (though entirely generic) secret incantations of a config file that must be created *by hand*, despite the multi-CD installation program that is supposedly meant to, you know, install the program and such. Speaking of config files, they’re very clear and specific about the fact that such files’ names must never contain spaces (the program will break), but will cheerfully hardcode one with a name such as date_&_time.ini. (Remembering the time I had to sector-edit my HD to remove a file named !@#&.1 or similar that a program somehow created under Windows’ nose, but could not be deleted because that’s “not a valid file name” with all the cartoon swear characters.)

Oh yes, and crashes that even the support guy had never heard of before. After zipping up and sending the 5meg log file the program generated, tailing it while waiting for the email to finish sending (Gee, I don’t know why Internet Explorer would ever try to fetch that pesky missing “application server” known as favicon.ico from your braindead Web interface, not at all. Why this attains dire-warning status in the logs is beyond my comprehension), they had us zip up and send our entire database. (Even I don’t know what’s in there, and I’m supposed to be the guy reading everyone’s email (haha…just kidding guys).) Except that it won’t get looked at right away; another customer’s database is currently loaded up for the developers to reproduce some other consistent bug. (Tim’s Software Rule #3: Your customers are not beta testers. That shit may fly for free utilities, but for what we’re paying, someone should be there to feed us peeled grapes while we use it.)

QOTD:
(AC standing in front of the bookshelf in my office looking puzzled)
“What’s up?” -JK
“I’m… looking for a book…” -AC
“Is it blue?” -me
“Yeah…” -AC

(Title was “Care and Feeding of Structural Health Composites” or something to that effect)

Sushing

Sushi party at J.R.’s place. Nobody else showed up, so more fish for me! (woot) But before that, saw her awesome lab, learned (part of) how to do a Southern blot, /* Crayola flourescent crayon exposes photographic film … so do porcelain teeth */ and left obscene magnetic poetry on someone’s fridge. (|alcohol|then|sex|with|the|experiment|…)

Through Sat/Sun we watched probably half of the entire Firefly series back to back. I ended up extremely caffeinated Sun. evening drop large amount of black tea leaves directly into boiling water, boil for 10 min. or until tea achieves black and syrupy consistency, make good-faith effort to strain out leafy matter when pouring off into large cup, and later trying/failing to temper this state by adding alcoholic watermelon to the mix (watermelon + Midori + Triple Sec + vodka…?). It felt kind of wierd. I curled up in the corner and kind of let my mind run away with itself.

Not latch-up, more like swimming. It’s kind of annoying to have your brain running all the time, not able to be turned off… but here it was especially noticeable. It was the realization that in Star Trek: TNG, the starship Enterprise is occasionally shown from the front travelling at warp (greater than the speed of light) speeds. Why are the stars behind it still plainly visible? And an excruciatingly detailed rendering of the gravity drive of the SNAFU (_branch KMQADNS _branch missninfan _branch DarkPanda), the barely-spaceworthy vessel that was part of my contribution to an interactive story I got involved in waaay long ago when the intarweb was new. The realization that I in general tend not to address anyone by name, but one friend in particular, for reasons I won’t get into here. And about a million other obscure memories and bizarre associations.

Girl power…?

Kind of like an honorary degree, except not, I’ve been told that I’m an honorary girl. I spent the long holiday weekend, among other things, learning how to braid hair. You know, like that stuff that grows on your head when you aren’t looking.

Why? Because it was something to do with friends, whose company I consistently enjoy, which is more than I can say for the majority of my species. And I was learning something new, which I think is never a bad thing.

Just as much, it feels like a protest of sorts, a rageless rage against the typical Alpha Male Bullshit that seems to typify my gender. Most of my friends are celebrating the holiday by getting piss drunk and watching sports. Can’t wait to see the looks of shock and mortification when they ask what I did over the weekend… :-)

So anyway, I have the process down, or at least my brain-brain does. My hand-brain seems to get tripped up by the fact that it’s impossible to get 3 different…meta-strands?… exactly evenly matched, so all of the sudden one feels ‘different’ and it breaks the sequence, which relies on being able to perform the same motion over and over with high repeatability. Needless to say, my first attempt looked more like angry gothic rotini than anything that should grow out of a person’s head.

I also spent significant amounts of time playing, and/or being addicted to, Metroid Prime. I all but gave up videogames once the console wars started getting ridiculous, redirecting this energy to LAN games when in college, then kind of losing interest when I graduated, leaving no more dorm LAN to play on. But every so often a game comes along that’s just a masterpiece, a work of art…so immersive that for a moment you can forget that a world outside that the developers created even exists. It feels nice to disappear into such a world, at least for a little while, getting away from everything, even yourself.

Party, my house? Surely you jest.

mistile, v. – To tile incorrectly or erroneously, such as when laying flooring or Scrabble pieces.

I used it, now it’s a word for sure :) Scrabble & Pictionary / etc. party at my place. I didn’t know my house could hold that many people without collapsing on itself.

Damn, it feels good to be an IT-person. (…not!)

All right, I guess I’ve been doing way too much …introspecting?… and way not enough documentation in here lately. So anyway – what kept me occupied Wed night: (besides discovery of Frozen Bubble on GJM’s computer) Intellispace, the company that has handled the ‘net connection to my work for as long as I’ve been there, got into some kind of disagreement with the building management (Cummings Properties) over equipment placement, access to it, something like that, with the end result that Intellispace pulled out of the building/deal, leaving us to scramble for new service. (In all likelihood though, someone’s probably known about the service ending for months, just not me.) So we had a full T1 (woot!) installed, with the intention to ever-so-smoothly change service over during the night/weekend and pretty much leave no one the wiser*. So at the appointed time, GJM switcho-changoed, and within an hour messing with the firewall/etc. settings, everything worked.

For about a day. Then it quit working (and not even because of the recent pissing contest between Level3 and Cogent), so it was switched back over to the Intellispace line (which wasn’t actually hard-disconnected yet, for some reason) … I was luckily not involved in all of this, at 3 in the morning, or I would have been pissed***. Anyway, this night was the “switch it over for real and get it fixed” night, so that’s what we (tried to) do. After an hour of it still not working, get a hold of Conversent tech support, who reports a bunch of CRC and framing errors on his end. (All right, if nothing else, this was turning out to be an excuse for us to geek out over a few beers in the server room****)

Turned out to be shit cabling between two floors at the Verizon CO, after the natives clamored for internet access, a high-up native *needed* it (eventually I plugged a lab laptop directly into the miraculously-still-working Intellispace line and configured it; said native wasn’t enough of a geek to cream his khakis over the fact that he was plugged into a half T1 as the only user… nor to incinerate the machine after jacking its entire XP Home Edition goodness more or less straight into the backbone of the internet with no firewall or antivirus), Verizon Guy showed up around a little before noonish, presumably ran some quick tests on the line in our server room and then disappeared into the building somewhere for a couple hours, unplugged stuff, replugged stuff, then got Verizon to take their thumb out of their ass and replace the rotten cable at the CO.


* except for email not being delivered for up to a couple days** while the new DNS info propagates.
** or a few days or a week or until the end of the universe, depending on the braindeadness of peoples’/their ISPs’ settings.
*** to the extent that I actually get pissed about things, which tends to be not often.
**** or something vaguely alcoholic, raspberry-flavored and pink, that was kinda like a beer, except not. Hey, if it’s in the beer fridge, it’s fair game.

didn’t see it, but I saw you see it

Hmm…kinda of grinding on a lot of internal stuff lately. Kind of trying to distract myself away from that with projects. My dominating emotional state tends to lag reality by a few days. I’m kind of wierd that way. Maybe this is a graceful degradation strategy at some subconscious level, integration time, averaging, noise filtering…smoothing out the randomness from internal signals that aren’t really trustworthy, or maybe just not strong enough to be readable, over the short term. Usually I tend not to feel much…the highs aren’t that high and the lows aren’t that low. So when they are, maybe I have a hard time believing it at first, or making sense of this strange new thing.

I think I figured out what one of them is (a feat; as far as I know it’s completely undocumented except for “you know it when you feel it”), but it’s kind of too late to do anything about it now.

It kind of scares me a little. Emotion, to me, means arriving at conclusions and believing them, even so strongly, and yet having no idea how you arrived at them – almost as if your own mind is hiding something from you. With any fact-based argument, you can see all the information that went into it, see the ladder of logic clicking downward toward an inevitable conclusion. You can (occasionally do) replay it 100 times and watch the exact same process unfold and arrive at that same conclusion, you can patch the input terms with hypotheticals and watch the path of the decision process change in a thoroughly predictable way. But not being able to see the process, to understand why I believe what I believe, makes me feel unable to trust my own judgment.

Emotion makes us do some wierd things sometimes. Things that make us feel silly or even stupid in retrospect. Like going to the verge of violating someone’s trust on the irrational, completely open-loop assumption that something terrible and theoretically preventable has happened, or soon will. Or saying something, getting stuff off your chest, that you know you will regret later.

I tend to be of the belief that there are no wrong decisions….let me qualify that, for those who might not understand, as being that decisions cannot be wrong at the time they are made. They can be based on bad ideas, or bad information, or even ill intentions, but they represent the best you could have done with the information available at that specific moment in time. If it was the wrong decision, based on those circumstances and that information, you would not have made it. Whether you will regret it the next day, with new circumstances and new information, that’s another can of worms entirely.

Even if they’re all moot points, there are so many things I feel like I need to say… but don’t even exactly know what I’d be saying, or how to say it. They always seem like important things…when it comes to the point of actually saying them though, words always fail.

QOTD: “I agree, a house of cards built from mexican jumping beans is more
stable than the firmware they put on this thing.” -Corscaria

Project Asshat*

Between the open heart and the whisper goodbye, there’s a perfect teardrop in your eye. Between the lover’s moon and the trembling sky, there’s a broken dream in your mind.

Wow. When this particular state began to collapse (or already did, but that info hadn’t propagated to there yet) I was mentally composing…well, a patch of sorts (isn’t that how we get from where we are, to where we want to be? Behavior modification, or knowledge applied), but also some documentation to go with it. Ever written a blog/LJ entry in your head because there was no computer around when you thought of jotting something down? It was to document the outcome of information received via live human (Google confirms it) – a systematic approach to acquiring the ability to be a jerkus to someone who completely doesn’t deserve it. (Being a dick to someone who DOES deserve it is easy, but not particularly useful; if they consistently deserve it, you would not bother associating with them, ne?) Apparently this is a brokenly worthwhile trait, particularly as far as the opposite sex is concerned. The entry would be called Project Asshat. Initial testing confirmed my ability to be an asshat successfully for approximately two seconds ;-) (a pothole on Unnamed One-way Two-way Alley confirms it) on the very first attempt; assuming a geometric growth rate it could easily be four seconds on the next attempt, and eight on the next…I could be an all-day asshat in one month’s time. But as circumstances would have it, as I was contemplating finding my inner asshat, an outer asshat was contemplating finding me.

So a slight change of topic: all right, maybe the asshat patch is good to have in one’s toolbox, but I won’t be writing about that today. More of an involuntary pattern-matching exercise that just hit me in the nose.

I have observed (haha!) in the ol’ blog-writing some recurring themes of late… themes are just noise bubbling its way to the surface… state–the hard cold facts of reality reduced to their raw essence, information, at a specified moment in time–and the collapse thereto from superpositions thereof; decision, the outcome of those collapses; and the biggest and recurringest one, observability – the ability of state to be known….or to step back a bit, the possibility of any one piece of state can affect any other, and the route(s) by which this influence is possible. I know as well as the next guy that such a thing is coincidental at best, but it’s funny how eerily some random bullshit noise can sometimes so closely parallel reality. For the past few weeks I’ve been kind of thinking about observability for some reason. Given any physical (in the realm of neutrons, gravity and such) situation, all the information necessary to define that state must be contained in its own matter. In other words, it must be physically encoded. Therefore, any such state should theoretically be visible if you know where to look (it might take an electron microscope, or equipment that hasn’t been invented yet, but it’s in there somewhere). Further, a lot of the time such physical properties encoding a thing’s state may affect what that matter has contact with, which in turn affects its own neighbors, and so on, in some measurable way. You know when the vibrator in your phone shakes because its mountings shake, then the phone casing shakes, then your pocket shakes, then your skin shakes, then your nerve endings pick it up. How does this apply to arbitrarily more complex systems?

Sorry, rambling. What does it have to do with the price of coffee in Boston? Oh right, the asshat thing. I guess the upshot (downshot (shot across the bow)) is that a (too-much) observability problem caused a chain reaction that forced some up-in-the-air state to collapse into decisions (not mine), and probably more substantial state changes that I can’t see, and…on the bright side, at least (if any), means I no longer have to worry about learning to be a jerk for a while.

I think it probably collapsed a lot of things.

*This written a few days ago…held off on posting it, ironically due to the “recurring themes” I noticed – should have written down the original datestamp, but didn’t…

More mind-bending parasites

I didn’t actually go out looking for this, honest!, it just kinda found me via my Web host‘s absurdly (but fun!) random newsletter. Kind of a followup to a previous entry, here are some more, courtesy DamnInteresting.com:

Body-Snatching Barnacles and Zombie Crabs

Mind-Controlling Wasps and Zombie Spiders

QOTD:
“She even named one of the team’s running backs” – MP, on CM talking sports on par with the guys
“Named him what?” – me
(dies laughing) – everyone else (apparently they meant ‘named’ as in ‘identified by name’)