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Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
10:00 pm - So why not come back with a meme?
What are you reading now?

The latest issue of F&SF - I'm up to Ken Liu's story, which is showing more promise than the rest of the issue so far. I actually stopped reading one of the earlier stories without finishing it. This is something I only do rarely.

Rachel Hartman's Amy Unbounded comics. I found these ashcans while going through lots of back issues. Why haven't they been published in a deluxe edition? They're simply beautiful, or perhaps beautifully simple.

Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures by Richard Feynman and Steven Weinberg. I've been pissed off by the popular explanations of the Pauli exclusion principle for quite some time now. These lectures provide an anodyne. I still need to study the actual mathematics to understand all of what's in here, but this is a much better presentation than anything I've seen elsewhere. I've read through this once without really grokking it, and am now going through it again, more slowly.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers. I've committed it, now I have to repair it. Practical, may all the gods help me.

What did you recently finish reading?

Kij Johnson's At the Mouth of the River of Bees. She's a genius. Read everything you can find by her. Just do it. The collection includes The Man Who Bridged the Mist - I've just spent fifteen minutes trying to say something about this story that would express why you should read it. I've hit the backspace key a lot. It's a character study of an engineer that captures his soul. Read it.

Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files novel, Cold Days. It continues the series well. If you like this kind of thing, you will like this thing.

A random Rex Stout collection. It had a picture of a trout on the cover. Mindcandy.

What are you likely to read next?

Rachel Hartman's Seraphina, because after rereading Amy Unbounded I had to go look at what she's been doing lately. Did I mention that someone ought to reprint Amy Unbounded?

The next two volumes of Scott Westfield's Leviathan series. The first volume of this WWI era Darwinists versus Mechanists fantasy was fun.

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
9:20 pm - Free game
I've got a free copy of "Civilization V" on Steam. Would anyone like it?

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Sunday, June 26th, 2011
1:29 am
Duck legs braised over mirepoix. Oh, yeah. And there are local cherries just waiting to become dessert.

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Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
9:45 pm
Toasted cheese had nothing to do with this;
this isn't a syllogism;


toasted cheese.

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Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
7:09 pm - A sign of the times
The local 99-cent store has gone out of business. A pawnbroker is taking over its space.

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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
7:36 pm - Free museums
Apparently Smithsonian Magazine has declared this coming Saturday free museum day. A really huge number of museums have signed up. Here's the link for tickets.

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Saturday, September 11th, 2010
1:37 pm - What I learned today
A little pepper goes nicely on a cheese and apple sandwich.

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Friday, August 27th, 2010
9:08 pm
Cheap, lurid skiffy is cheaper and lurider if you read it on an ebook.

Except for the covers, because lurid doesn't work as well in black and white.

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
8:12 am
The local groundhog (marmota monax chucki) did not bite the mayor's finger this year, so we'll have six more months of recession.

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Saturday, December 19th, 2009
12:49 pm - Zesty Lemon Cthulhu
When the stars are right, tasty things rise from the sea.

Cut-tagged to prevent SAN lossCollapse )

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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
10:40 pm
Well this has been a delightful day.

In August I went into the emergency room with chest pains (I really ought to update my journal more.). While I technically had a primary physician, I really didn't like her and hadn't seen her in three years. The doctor at the hospital, armed with my health insurance information (Did I mention I'm insured? That's supposed to make things easier, you know.), set up an appointment with a new doctor who had openings for new primary patients. I called my health insurance company (That's HealthNet, as it is well to know whom to revile.) and changed my primary doctor to this person, and they allowed as how all this was well and good.

I went for my first appointment today. My new doctor doesn't accept and never has accepted HealthNet. My future, once, and never doctor's receptionist is a wonderful person; she set me up with a different doctor at the same practice who does accept Healthnet with an appointment in only two weeks.

And this is a small part of why I'm in favor of a single-payer healthcare system.

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Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
9:19 pm - Cross-selling at Amazon
I sent in an Amazon order a few days ago. redbird asked me to add several different leather conditioning things for a new pair of boots she bought. Since then, Amazon has been recommending I also buy 120 Days of Sodom.

I don't get it; I'm still not sure how I'd rub mink oil into a book.

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Sunday, June 14th, 2009
12:50 pm - Red-throated loon
We've got a red-throated loon in our park. This is something of a rarity.

Here's a pictureCollapse )

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Monday, March 16th, 2009
10:09 pm - Nine things about Oracle
With kudos to papersky:

SQL is not a language. It cannot express your heart's desire, though it may bleed you a little.
Larry Ellison is only in it for the money. Oh, and the e-penis.
The answer that comes out will only mirror the data.
You can put your heart, your soul, and all the hours of your day into it. Still, you will not meet your deadline.
Relational is overrated, unless you don't know what you're asking.
You don't know what you're asking.
The answer that comes out will only mirror the data, but it will still be unexpected: write general error handlers.
Really, Larry Ellison is only in it for the money. But he's a generous guy so you can be in it, too. Call yourself a consulting DBA.
Unlike all the other oracles on all the other worlds, with study, dedication, technique, and prayer you can achieve internal consistency.

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Saturday, January 31st, 2009
10:03 pm - Short bus
I join the meme:

Bussy thingCollapse )

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Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
11:19 pm

150 years ago James Buchanan was president. We've come a ways since then.

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Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
10:13 pm
A thought, on observing the wide variety of costumes at the Renaissance Faire last weekend:

Time-traveling robot is always period garb.

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Thursday, September 25th, 2008
8:00 pm - I don't get the bailout
There's one major point I still haven't figured out on the whole bailout thing.

Just how is it they're going to get all that money transferred to Halliburton?

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Thursday, September 18th, 2008
7:42 pm - We all like sheep
Take a picture of yourself right now. Don’t change your clothes. Don’t fix your hair. Just take a picture. Post that picture with no editing. (Except maybe to get the image size down to something reasonable. Don’t go posting an eight megapixel image.) Include these instructions.

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Sunday, September 14th, 2008
9:15 pm
Back in 1993 I was working as a programmer for Prebon Yamane, then one of the world's leading wholesale currency brokerages. The head of the swaps desk (whose name I can't remember now, which shows why I'm not a broker) gave a series of talks on the underlying structure of the swaps and derivatives market. He was a pretty cool guy, and the only person there with both authority and a real feel for the mathematics of the industry. He could propose a new swap and have it accepted; he could explain why an existing swap was fucked and have the brokerage arbitrage the hell out of it until everyone else stopped trading it.

When he described the basic interest rate swap to me, I asked him what would happen if one of the counterparties went bankrupt overnight. He said that couldn't happen because (a) the companies that the wholesale currency brokerages allowed to be counterparties were all too big and too well run, and that (b) it couldn't possibly happen overnight; there'd be months of indications leading up to it.

In the matter of Lehman Brothers, and for that matter Bear Sterns, I find myself wanting to say just one thing to him:

I told you so.

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