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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Code Kitten

Don't like this blog? Why not flood it?

Sometimes people ask me what it's like being a code kitten.

This little animation pretty much sums it up. At least on GUI days.

...Totally GridBag baby.

The Wine-Journal is a much happier place though. With great stuff like The Drinking Years: 1983 "vs" 1985 Claret & I Drink, Therefore I Am, how could you possibly go wrong. Plus he had good things to say about my 2000 Clerc Milon, so a big double woo there.



Chess club was fun, but I may need a little break from the French. The game looked a lot like this one up until 10 ..h5 (which I don't really understand. Anyone?) I ended up castling queen side, but things get awful tight after that. Got the pawn at e5 and got the other one to f6, but then his bishops made the middle a total morass. Bah. Eventually let him get a rook on the h file and I think that was the real difference. 1-0

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

ZIN-FIN-FEST!


In celebration of the great nation of california and March 29th, 1848
when an upstream ice jam stopped almost all water from flowing over
Niagara Falls....

The first annual ZIN-FIN-FEST!


The Brick Testament

This site is just so amazing that I'd be remiss if I didn't try to make sure everyone who wandered by here had a chance to see it.

Featuring:
-Zinfandel
-Zinfandel worthy moussaka
&
-Pasta so fresh, you'll still be making it by the time we start eating.

Also live performances including:

-A stunning and death defying re-enactment of Westy and Rory's ski
trip involving all of the couches in the apartment.

-A soul-touching duet of sarah and daniele's trip to california sung
to the melody of something inspired by but not particularly reminiscent
of the Postal Service.

Festivities begin at approximately, and this is just a big finger in
the air kind of number, 8? Wait 8:30. No 8. How hard can moussaka be?

Pasta production will begin before that and if you'd like to make sure
you'll be able to snag a glass of wine before we switch over to
genever (gin) and beer (beer) kopstoots('head butt') you're more than
welcome at any time.

17 school st. apt A-2, although this is less specific than you may
think. There is a parking lot in back of 17. Go through there. Go up
the stairs, staying right. If all else fails err towards eggplant
smells and wanton cursing.
-j

Monday, March 28, 2005

H&R Block Free-File Ripoff Scam!

Here's the scam:
1) Go to the IRS free file site, click on H&R Block since you used them last year....

2) Click on 'free file'...

3) Would you like to sign is as a returning customer? Click yes, login, fill out the return and....

BAM!! you're no longer free filing. $29.95 thank you very much.

Other people running into the same thing:

H&R Block misleading "free" federal tax returns

I spoke on the phone to a representative who told me 60% of their calls during the day are complaints about this very problem. She said almost all complaints are denied the refunds and she even told me that nowhere is the customer told that if they access last year's account they lose the offer, that only the H&R Block employee's are privy to that info.



BUT! If you spend 20 minutes on the phone with them I have good news for you. There's a cute little thing on the side of the page that says 'enter your code.'

This is the payement overide for people that are enough of a pain in the ass on the phone like yours truly. I promise you, DO NOT PAY! They will crumple to your demands eventually and give you a little number to type in here that puts a big fat -29.95$ on the invoice.

Now I did happen to write down the code, so if anyone is interested let me know and I'll post it up here... no promise that it'll work again, but it can't hurt to try.


Fox News Blocker
Device lets you out-Fox your TV




The Brick Testament Thank you stumbleupon!! This is GOLD!

New transparent screens!

Cranky Liberal
vs.
Crazy Conservative

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Three Amigos


The three amigos. Posted by Hello

6 gallons each of:
Vinter's Reserve Barolo
WineExpert Selection Rioja
&
Estate Series Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Yum. Now begins the unfortunate period referred to as 'bulk aging' and the endurance test of my patience. Thank goodness I bought the little gadget known as the 'wine-thief'...

<errata>
hehehehe.. Church Sign Generator

Man installs his art at Metropolitan
  1. is this the first time you've installed works of your own in new
    york museums?
    In New York, yes. Before this my paintings have only been exhibited in the
    Tate gallery in London and the Louvre in Paris. Then they took them down.

  2. why did you choose the four you chose?
    I went for the biggest four museums in New York, I wanted to do the
    Guggenheim but there weren't enough paintings in it, I would have had to
    appear between two Picasso's and I'm not good enough to get away with that.

</errata>

Friday, March 25, 2005

Complexity

So they finally started throwing money at me.

Which makes things a bit more complicated, but is hopefully just another manifestation of the fate-based decision making I'm hoping to employ.

Just repeat after me: 'I will not sell out.' 'I will not sell out.'

And then sell out dreams of Portugese surfing, and Albanian granaries and finnish ruck-sacks. I need my conscience's to get back from the land of californian plenty.



ah well. I suppose I can always take it out on the hamptons.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Getting there



I mentioned that I'm leaving right? T+8 days since I told work that I'll be headed eastwards come sometime in May. June 1st aerlingus boston -> dublin prices go up $20 and if that's not a reason to leave before June, I don't know what is.

Trouble is figuring out about all these durn requirements. Abused my photo copier priviledges today printing out some good stuff, but there is still work to be done. Looks like you can spend up to 90 days out of 180 in a schengen country. What that means for me is essentially 90 on, 90 off, but the good news is there's not much visa that I'll need to apply for.

But who are these mad schengen countries you may ask?
Schengen for dummies

But it turns out it's just a wee bit more complicated than that since in actuality most of the new ones don't enforce things yet, which sounds like a very good thing for me since I'll have far more options (Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Poland, Finland) for where to take the '90 off.' Need to find out when they'll start implementing it though...
Advanced Schengen

So June in Ireland. Then maybe 90 in schengen-ville, then 90 in.. Balkans? Made an interesting Balkan Sunflower connection with a friends father who does work in Macedonia and said that they're a good group.

The plot, unlike my creme brulee, thickens.

Financial qualifications for long term france visa

French Embassy and their visa requirements.


Living in France

Recent StumbleUpon:

Friday, March 18, 2005

Time Travel / Kibo?


Now I'm not usually a big car guy, but damn! And it runs on hydrogen? Double damn? But can I get it in black with a big bat fin? Dough!

Is time travel possible? answers.google.com should know that one..... answers.google.com.

Zopa This sounds fascinating. A P2P lending agency essentially. Got a penny lend a penny, need a penny get a pennt. I think I'd definitely take them up on it if I were a UK resident.

Too bad I was in high school and missed all these Great Moments in Kibology. Amazing. Terrifying. I'm not quite sure what the word is. Certainly confusing.




Definitely some brain bending illusions here at Akiyoshi's illusion pages. I think my head kind of hurts now though.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Baudrillard / Le Bernadin / 2 Buttons?


Glitches in the Matrix... and How to Fix Them

Glitches Reloaded





Le Bernardin receives 4 stars from the Times.

Unfortunately this is not what I'll be having for lunch today. Maybe I'll step up and go to Panera. Such class, such refinement, such "SARAH YOUR SOUP IS READY" screaming in my ear.

I'm not sure how they serve things at Bernardin, but I have a feeling it doesn't involve a PA.
Epitomizing a certain kind of class, Le Bernardin amounts to the restaurant equivalent of old money, so secure in its station that it need not strut, so practiced in its posture that it never slouches. And yet it somehow avoids stodginess and complacency, a minor miracle that, for us diners, is a major blessing.



Apple 2-Button mouse?

"Always the innovator, Apple is rumored to be developing a two button mouse! Personally, I don't think it will catch on. Two buttons will be way too confusing for your average user." here


Great collection of movies..

Monday, March 14, 2005

Coffee Roasting!

So I gave mom her coffee roaster and we roasted up some of the green beans and the results were wonderful. A sumatran mandheling roasted to what I'm guessing is something like a Vienna roast for those of you who're following along at home. (Note: now that I look into this a bit more I think we definitely approached the French roast stage. Very excited to back off a bit and see what these beans are all about..) Clearly still a lot to learn, but with 8 different types of coffee that came with it I feel like Mom will soon be a pro, and that I will have to find a way to visit more often.


Sweet Maria's: A Rough Pictorial Guide to the Roast Process

I consider coffees roasted to a greater degree to have "roast character" that often eclipses "origin character". This coffee is roasted in a particular "style" where the origin of the coffee becomes secondary to the flavors of the roast. At some point between French and fire, it really doesn't matter much what the "origin character" of the coffee was ...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Mead, Sir Kenelme Digbie

Byr�i betri berrat ma�r brautu at,
an s� manvit mikit;
au�i betra �ykkir �at � �kunnun sta�,
sl�kt es v�la�s vera.

[A better burden no man can bear
on the way than his mother wit:
and no worse provision can he carry with him
than too deep a draught of ale.]

from "Norse Drinking Traditions" by Gunnora Hallakarva.

Mead me up!
  • Unit conversions for Sir Digby's meads, ie How to calibrate your egg hydrometer.
  • Full collection of Sir Digby's Recipes.
    This Meathe is singularly good for a Consumption, Stone, Gravel, Weak-fight, and many more things. A Chief Burgomaster of Antwerp, used for many uears to drink no other drink but this; at Meals and all times, even for pledging of healths. And though He were an old man, he was of extraordinary vigor every way, and had every year a Child, had always a great appetite, and good digestion; and yet was not fat.

  • More ancient beverage links to shake sticks at.

The upshot of all this is of course simply that I've finally got a sweet mead and a dry mead fermenting away at home. That is of course if the yeast made it through my somewhat unorthodox pitching style that would probably have driven the right honorable Kenelme Digbie up a tree.

Birthday time


The feast laid out before them. Posted by Hello

So here's the birthday spread in all of its amazing glory.

Participating, L to R:
-Fresh spring rolls
-Bread
-Amazing peanut dipping sauce for spring rolls, fingers and anything else that's edible.
-Sliced ricotta and feta.
-Crepe filling smorgasborg (spelled correctly on the first try thank you very much) Spinach, shrooms, feta, spinach & shrooms & feta.
-Candelabra. Masculine enough to be called the 'Mandelabra' actually.
-Salt.
-Gorgeous crepes.
-Ricotta & honey w/ strawberries.
-Assorted meats and olive trays with mozarrela balls.
-Strawberries & someone making an early-evening pass at them.
-Sausages with green peppers and onions.
-A bottle of Woodbridge. (Not pictured are a tasty Douro, an americanized pinot and.. what was that last guy... some tempranillo?

Also not pictured are the mint hookah and the tasty and inspired 'Foodstop Surprise' dessert par exemplar.

Ski it if you can


Mad River Glen Posted by Hello

Well, the verdict may still be out on exactly whether or not I truly could ski it, or simply passed the time in a adequate mode of disaster avoidance, but it was certainly a great day. I may not blunder onto the 'Three Cliffs' off-piste area for my first run of the day next time, but just about the entire rest of the mountain is definitely on my A-list. what an unbelievably unique place.

And a special thanks to whatever family of new englanders overcame their laconic ways to ask me whether or not I was 'just following them' or really trying to jump off a 30ft cliff at 10am in the morning. Your insight was invaluable and probably saved my first run from turning into a grueling back-packing adventure.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Life Errata

A real heartwarming story, Man Loses Fingers in Quest for Girlfriend

Cat Shoots Owner

I bet you all missed the link to the Bell Curve statistics too. Shame on you. Here's the post again.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Panda Scandalled!

First an update on the hottest news to hit Hanover since the curious incident of the bread in the snow. Yes indeed it appears the Panda Scandal only thickens..

But here's the big news, I think I got scandalled! Good ole MBNA gave me a ring and told me that somebody had spent $800 in southern california 3 days ago, which is not that shocking in and of itself since I'm sure there's lots of great stuff to buy there, but at a Rite-Aid? $213? That's a serious run at the candy isle man.

This does remind me of a wonderful story about someone who noticed suspicous activity on their card, but saw that it was all at grocery stores and pharmacies and a baby-supply store, for small amounts of money, and decided not to report it because she was such a compassionate soul that she kept thinking about this poor parent struggling to keep the baby healthy and fed.

But then one day there was a charge from Gap Kids so she finally reported all of it.



Analysis of the Bell Curve's statistics.

I share a birthday with Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Miskatonic U. | Bankruptcy!

Miskatonic U. is this for real?? If not then I've definitely been fooled.
Check out one of their professor's 'research'
Alex Chiu's Immortality device allows humans to live forever!

and More Wonders of the Invisible World


Why Bankruptcy? Because one of those smart kids I know is blogging about it here.

the senate is considering a bill that would eviscerate bankruptcy
protection for financially vulnerable middle-class american families.
congress does bad stuff like this nearly every day, so why am i
writing?

i've been working with a professor and some other law students to
raise awareness about how terribly unfair the bill is. we're trying
to get the word out as widely as possible.

josh micah marshall, the journalist, blogger and founder of
talkingpointsmemo.com has been kind enough to set up a special section
of his widely-read blog so that a group of us can raise key issues in
a very public forum. the site receives more than 3 million visits per
month - and i'm hoping that you'll visit in the next few days.


Senator Durbin's Statement


Half of all the bankruptcies in this country are the result of medical debt. Even more shocking, in three quarters of those bankruptcies, the people actually had health insurance; they were bankrupted by uncovered medical costs.

Families with children were especially hard hit. About 700,000 children live in families that declared bankruptcy because of medical debt.

These are dignified people who have tried hard to avoid bankruptcy. Professor Warren’s study found that in the two years before filing for medical bankruptcy, 22 percent of families had gone without food, 30 percent had had a utility shut off, 61 percent had gone without needed medical care, and 50 percent had failed to fill a needed prescription. To demonize these struggling souls is unconscionable.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Outsourcing torture

Rule Change Lets C.I.A. Freely Send Suspects Abroad to Jails.

Our governments efforts to outsource torture seem like a nice way to keep the blood on someone elses hands. Wait, isn't this a little transparent?

Bewteen this and the brit's new disregard for civil liberties I feel as though we're really making a remarkably quick retreat from some of our greater societal achievements.

A great Economist
obituary
of Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty Internation which mentions that
He himself died in the very week that proposals for extra-judicial house arrest for terrorist suspects, a bald violation of civil liberties, were going through Britain's Parliament.


google bomb for a good cause...

Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter

Friday, March 04, 2005

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Panda House Scandal! / Flying Daggers

From the Valley News
Police Allege Credit Card Fraud
Hanover -- Police announced yesterday that they have traced 20 recent cases of credit card fraud totaling more than $10,000 to Panda House, a Chinese restaurant on Lebanon Street.

I suppose this may explain how they manage to stay in business, but honestly what a scandal!!



Oh and I'm a Chess superstar. That is what I am.

Ok, so I got my butt kicked all over the place in a particularly expedient fashion at first last night, but don't you Alvin counter-gambit me! Actually it's really cute. There's a mom and son that come to the chess club and they both play the same thing. I'm actually 2-0 when it comes to that, but the son coninues to dominate me in general. His knack for pinning and forking the life out of me is impressive in general and last night I developed some sort of knight-myopia that didn't help at all.

Anyway, the real game that was a blast was the last one. A 1:45 match that made me miss the first entire half of the House of Flying Daggers, which didn't seem like all that much of a loss. Did I miss something? I thought it was supposed to be awesome. Seriously some of these directors need to sit in the audience more, and when the whole audience starts snickering about people with a knife through their heart getting up and walking around after being dead for a while, or the love-making cinematography is so cheesy as to make the senior citizens start rolling their eyes, you need to either CUT the scene or... well I'd probably just stick with cutting the scene.

Also, how much riding through the forest do we need to see? Damn. Yes it's very pretty. But seriously I think they even played a couple of the shots twice. Hmmm, ok time to shoot a man on horse riding through woods.. but wait, we've already put 15 minutes of this in the movie, let's just use some of that footage and flip it around or something.

And don't write me off as some boarish american who needs his action fix ever couple seconds. I like Coffee and Cigarettes for goodness sake and I might have to do psychological harm to anyone who claims that The Triplets of Belleville moves too slowly. I'll watch the horse riding around if it gives me time to think of the interesting drama that's occuring, but if I'm just waiting for the dude to turn around and follow her as he's clearly going to do eventually then let's skip it. Actually let's just always skip the parts that I always know are going to happen.

Except the bit where they decided not to film what must have been the sweet battle at the end once those guys started creeping around the flying daggers house. Didn't she say Nia has a good plan? What was it? To end the movie before they had to pay everybody to do one last battle? Would somebody correct me if I actually fell asleep for this part? That's not something I normally do, but under the circumstances it's possible that my body went into some kind of predictability-seizure.

But yes, game was french opening. C02 French Advance I believe actually. I'll write more later, but long story short it was a blast and I'm indebted to GM Silman for putting his engame bit at the front of his book instead of the back, since I haven't finished yet.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Cheddar beer soup / wine disappointment

Cheddar Beer Soup
Made the Cheddar Beer Soup after seeing a full 'beer-inspired dinner' at epicurious. Not sure exactly what I thought about it. Leeks are always tasty of course. Cheddar gave it a nice bite. Cheese soup textures are always a bit difficult to pin down, I'd give this one a 4/10 for texture though. Tastes good though and good for these colder days though, so I'm happy.

Mushroom Walnut Ravioli
Made some ravioli last night too which wasn't too bad. Made a mushroom/garlic/walnut filling and actually threw a green pepper in there as well. Went real heavy on the walnuts in a bid to make them more flavorful. I may retreat to adding butter next time to see how that helps, since every mushroom filling I make always seem to lack just a little. A little je ne sais quois, if you know what I mean.

Note to self though? Save ravioli night for when there are a lot of idle hands around that want something to do.

Wine
Oh, and a wine note. Drank a 2000 Cum Laude 'super tuscan' and somehow missed the point. Definitely a disappointment at $29! Reviews of this wine here certainly make it sound lovely, but I got much less. Here's the WS:
"Bright berry, mineral and cherry aromas, with hints of currant. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a long, caressing finish. Tight now. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah. Best after 2006." 88
- Wine Spectator - 15 October 2003

Decanted for 1:30. In the glass for another hour pefore the last sip, but still closed off for me. Maybe that still wasn't enough time. Definitely not a tannic bomb like other things I've had too early though, so I'm not sure if that was it. I suppose there were flashes of interest in there, but to be honest, if I'd tasted it in a blind flight I'd be durn surprised if I would've even noticed it. Sigh.

<Addendum>
All about The Clash today.
·The Sandinista Project
·Is the Clash's Sandinista! the most innovative rock album ever made?

·How do you get to belfast? Anybody know?

·Progressive Trickery

·(Read this one!) Excerpt: 'Framing 101: How to Take Back Public Discourse' from 'Don't Think Of An Elephant' by George Lakoff

·38 ways to win an argument

</Addendum>

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

NHPR blogs / American Splendor

NHPR blogging story
Well, Laura Kinoy says blogs are here to stay, and I feel energized and rejuvenated. Geez, once NHPR hears about blogs we must be only a matter of weeks away from some sort of great liberal apocalypse that shall be marked specifically by the moment when my mother starts blogging. pinko.blogspot.com? But I jest.

American Splendor
Watched American Splendor sunday night instead of the Oscars and from all accounts that was a good move on our part. They didn't even let the 'lesser' awards go on stage? Come now. Strangely I actually watched more of the golden globes than the Oscars this year. Strange particularly because the Globes were one of the most boring things I've ever seen. Honestly, it looked like they held it in the same room I went to a Microsoft Developers Conference in once. Blech. And no host? I kept wondering whether it was some sort of edgy 'we know you'd rather be laughing so we won't let you' kindof humor, but eventually I gave in to the wiles of West Wing reruns. Only good thing about the oscars is of course the PreDickies....

But yes, American Splendor was a lovely film. Recommended. Really, made you want to go check out the actual comic books even more though. Wait, do you even call these things comic books? Anyway they looked cool.

Final Fantasy N, where n is some very large number
Wow. Watched 2 friends play this last night. I'd never seen it before. It was amazing. Basically they emailed back and forth all day to set up a 7:45 meeting, but 1 of 6 didn't get there until 8:10, and then at 8:15 when they realized they were set to go, somebody decided to 'make' new bullets or something so their character just sat down and started waving his hands in the air for 5 or 6 minutes, but then they decided to go buy one more thing, and then I think I passed out from boredom. At 8:45 though, they finally decided to enter the Omega Battle something or other, where they promptly realized that only 4 of them had gone through the door, so they all went back out. Then they all did in together only to realize that one of them needed to watch a cutscene that the others didn't, so they all went back out and waited for him to come out. I think I may have passed out from boredom here too.

Anyway, eventually they got in there and immediately cast something like a million spells on themselves before tangling with some pissed off dudes with swords things. They beat them pretty well I guess, but then a big robot kicked all their butts and they ended up in a big pile back at the entrance huffing and puffing and hoping that one of the nice people milling around would be friendly to them. I think I left at this point. Please deity let me never be infected with this.


Errata: