Monday, December 31, 2001

Panobot lite is complete and tested. Details here. (Look for 'pano' files.) The inspiration was this project: Panobot.

Friday, December 28, 2001

I have added my girlfriend's Intel Pocket PC camera to the page as an experiment. This camera is much reviled for its lack of features, but I kinda like it. The optics are better than the Lego cam (that's not saying much, though) and the X10 cam (saying even less.) The next plan is to adapt a Panobot for it. Fun at parties!

Monday, December 24, 2001

Another step forward for the webcam: Through the miracle of enforced idleness, I have taken the time to wade through the morass of driver issues with my ATI TV "Wonder" card ("wonder how I got it to work") and my X10 camera/radio devices to bring up a cam of a bird feeder. Hooray!

Saturday, December 22, 2001

The internet does know all.

The train of thought: listening to a tune called "The Wild Geese" on a Chieftains album (The Celtic Harp: A tribute to Edward Bunting), I recalled that my mom liked a tune that she called "The Wild Geese" but was, in fact, a theme from an Australian limited series from the seventies. All that I could remember was the basic idea of the show, Australian convicts; the general time, late seventies; and that "Wild Geese" was not the name of the tune

I started with imdb, and after a few false starts, searched 'filming locations' on the keyword Australia. I didn't have much hope for this, expecting an unmanageable number of returns and I was right, but scanning the years (which were thankfully included) "Against the Wind, 1978" popped right out. It was a short trip to this episode guide which led quickly to this bio of the composer and astoundingly, to an in-stock CD at Amazon.

This tune was a big hit at the time. Must have been on the same charts as Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre.

Friday, December 21, 2001

a Lego accident occurred during an impulse stop at K-Mart (yes, it was a sort of a madhouse): An Ogel's Mutant Squid (WAY cool). Two buckets of Pod Racers. At 60% off! Woo hoo, oo, oh, ho ho ho!

Thursday, December 20, 2001

tasteless advertising

This ad was run across my screen courtesy of Yahoo. I can't begin to list the ways that this is just Not Right. Why a bikini? Why a Star and Stripes bikini? Why a horoscope? It's boggling.

Eureka! I finally found the squeak in my Nordic Track! A piece of wood and metal about half a centimeter square were generating an unbelievable amount of noise. Sounded like a Portuguese carrack grounded on a rock.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Enterprise: Tripp gets knocked up after an alien hussy slips him a quart of Jell-O shooters. Deeskoostin'.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Unknown problems on a provider's network prevented the webcam from working for most of today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Camera was down for an unknown period between 3:00 am and 3:00 pm today. But I don't think anyone was able to notice.

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Like a thunderstroke: a way to adjust the focus ring on the Vision Command camera that doesn't involve cutting up any LEGO. Hooray! I haven't implemented the control yet, but it's coming.

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Future toys for the webcam: bird feeder cam, cable car cam, LED lights, Magic Eight Ball, rover cam, trebuchet for Tohunga, remote light control.
Hey Manjit and Vince, I can't get that South Park song (the one that blew up the mascot) out of my head. Who was the original artist? Minnie Something? I curse you. Dood'nt doodn't: dew oo ...
To the loyal viewers (you know who you are): Thanks for the alerts and trouble reports. I blame McAfee anti-virus. I don't have any actual evidence except that the webcam troubles began when I installed it and went away (I think) when I uninstalled it. Holy Moses, what a fiasco.

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

I've set up a server that will allow the house automation to be controlled from the internet. I'll have to put up a page to make it usable. Watch this space. It may be possible for viewers to turn on the lights only when they are needed.

The Monster Inc toys are spiffy optical illusions. When viewed from the front, they are nondescript but when lit from behind they take on a convincing 3D effect.

The Star Trek edition of Weakest Link was pretty amusing. Wil Wheaton was so not cool. And the most fatiguing part: during his exit interview, he claimed to have been putting on an act as an annoying young actor but hoped he didn't come off as too big a jerk! Argh! And his charity? The EFF! Jesus! Everybody else was playing on behalf of blind orphans and pediatric this and social that. Apparently they generated the highest score ever. In spite of William Shatner's horsing around. Actually, the most painful aspect was that LeVar Burton beat Robert Picardo.

Saturday, November 24, 2001

The webcam software has been updated and is running on a faster machine with more memory, blah blah blah. Let me know if you find it in a non-up, unpreannounced down state.

Saturday, November 17, 2001

The webcam controller will be down for the duration of the combination book club (The Sparrow and The Children of God) and birthday party, but the camera is pointed in the general direction of the goings-on.

Leave a message in the guestbook. --->

Wednesday, November 14, 2001

VS writes:
"Can you elaborate (on the image below -ed)?"

Why, yes I can:

William Stromberg is a conductor of film scores and he has conducted (for label Marco Polo) an amazing string of recordings of film scores that are otherwise unavailable. Unavailable usually means the original masters are lost or unusable.

Lots of those had to be performed from reconstructed (by listening to the movie and interpreting - a rare skill), from incomplete or un-annotated short score, or sometimes from scraps of parts scores.

They record using eastern European (ie cheap but skilled) orchestras, mostly the Moscow Symphony Orchesrta.

This will get you to a search result of 'Stromberg' on the Naxos (parent of Marco Polo) site.

Bill also has composer, orchestrater and arranger credits on some new-ish movies.

Saturday, November 10, 2001

Bloggers watching bloggers blog

While browsing around the Nitrozac cam, I spotted this:

I think that this is the credit from Election.

Thursday, November 08, 2001

Look DOWN to see the compass. Unfortunately, it blocks the view of the floor. I'll think of something.

Wednesday, November 07, 2001

modded cat

computer case modding hilarity from Australia:



multiplied by n

(No cats were harmed in the production of this image. Professional cat on a closed course. Do not attempt. Side effects include, but are not limited to, furballs, lint, dustbunnies, nausea, baldness. Slight monsterism reported in less than 2% of users.)

Monday, November 05, 2001

Events to look out for in the Samurai Jack drinking game:
  • Someone's hat is split in two.
  • Jack's hands descend from his sleeves.
  • The screen is split into three panels.
  • Someone besides Jack says 'Aku'
  • Jack says 'mystical sword'
  • Jack is hungry/thirsty/cold.
  • Cartoony sound effect.

Extra-concise episode guide to Samurai Jack: (episodes not originally broadcast in numerical order because of production exigencies)

I When Aku is reborn to set forth his reign of terror, the Emperor’s son is sent off to learn the ways of the samurai. That boy becomes a man and attempts to slay Aku with a mighty sword, but Aku banishes him to the future.
II Jack arrives in the future and discovers the widespread evil of Aku and meets new allies.
III Jack gets weapons and beats back Aku’s army of beetles, saving the canine race of the future.
IV Jack encounters a race of cruel nerds.
V Jack defends a community of renegade scientists from Aku's minions.
VI A woman needs help to free her father from Aku.
VII Jack seeks a tower guarding a well that will grant any wish.
VIII Jack loses his temper when his sandal breaks. He also must fight his doppelganger.
IX Jack seeks a time machine in the lost city of Oceanus.
X Jack is lured to a mountain of traps.
XI Jack discovers that Aku has a bounty on others beside himself.
XII Gangsters. Water. Aku. Kitties.

Sunday, November 04, 2001

The webcam was probably down all day Saturday because I wasn't around to reboot things. Uptime! Ha!

Friday, November 02, 2001

Hello Netherlands

Hello Netherlands!

Hell Canada!

Hello Canada!

The camera that I am using is from LEGO. It's actually a Logitech product. The gizmo that makes it move is also LEGO. The design is included with the cam (but you'll need more parts.)

The controlling software is Webrick (there's a link under the cams screens.) I did very little tweaking to get it all going.

Having a reasonably stable DSL line has helped me.

Thursday, November 01, 2001

My DSL ISP sold their dial-up service to Earthlink. Fine. Earthlink sent me a notice that they had set up an account for me. I told them that I didn't need them for email or connectivity. They said they would take me off their books. But every month they send me a bill. Every month I call them up and remind them that I am not their customer. The stupidest part: when I ask for written confirmation that my account has been closed they say that their legal department tells them that they can't send written correspondence. What a pile of dooky.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Parallax View

Trivia question: opening scene of the Parallax View was shot on top of what Seattle landmark?

Kyle's mentally perturbed answer: The Seattle Tower! (It's a tower! It's in Seattle! I know it's called the Space Needle, but I said Seattle Tower!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Boeing Surplus

Went to Boeing surplus and picked up this lovely PC for $71 (why seventy-one?). It boots up, so it must be OK, right? It will be

Monday, October 29, 2001

Faux screenshot from a Bionicle first-person game. The tiling is based on LEGO's nutty numbering system from Mata Nui.

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Mars Fun Zone

Hey kids! Let's go to Mars! Don't forget your oxygen and Martian repellant!

Saturday, October 20, 2001


Fun with photoshop:

These are just foolies for the benefit of this thread on the FSM messageboard.

Friday, October 19, 2001

Quite an evening of celebration: many whiskeys at a martini bar, unwittingly stepped in dog crap on the way to karaoke, picked up a drunk who smacked his head on the sidewalk (Hey! Blood on my shoe! Blood on my jacket! Son of a bitch!), found dog crap on my shoe - grainy texture, skunky smell - removed same, but the toilet at the karaoke place backed up, violated the karaoke place's no alcohol policy, screamed karaoke for a while, spilled beer on myself, witnessed puking episode on the way home, tried to tell juvenile imbeciles their headlights were off while walking up 115th and was then vaguely menaced for my trouble. Took a shower. Washed clothes. Put shoes and backpack outside. Everything is fine.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

A couple of half-assed MOCs are in evidence: a beefed-up Amazon. and a curiosity made of two Sparks.

CDs Arrived

Humanoids from the Deep / Battle Beyond the Stars and The Bravados arrived today. Music from the NFL Films showed up yesterday. The Illustrated Man is in the player right now. I now have my second pre-player DVD: Destination Moon. The Return of Dr.Phibes will be here soon.
Sure, I got laid off today, but that's no reason why the webcam should go down. However, I am going to stop providing lighting when I'm not around. If I have time (heh!) I'll rig up an on-demand light. That'll be fun. In the meantime, you may find that the camera is in the dark.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Another MOC. The main benefit of playing with these (aside from their obvious intrinsic value) is that it can be done while watching TV instead of eating potato chips. And sour cream. With the sweet, sweet, chivery flavor ....

Monday, October 15, 2001

Amusing thread on Confoundingly, I did a search on the phrase 'in the style of Richard Strauss' and did not find what I was looking for even though that exact phrase is in the description.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

The GNP contest has ended and I was a winner. A 3rd place winner, which means that I was accurate, but not as quick on the draw as the 1st and 2nd place winner. My prize is a copy of Battle Beyond the Stars/Humanoids From The Deep

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Left standing after the fracas:

Gali, Kopaka, Tahu, Onua, Pohatu and Tahu. Nokama, Whenua, Matau and Nuju. Huki, Jala, Matoro, Onepu and Kongu. The Comborider managed to escape, but sacrificed an arm. All the Roboriders and Turbo continue to prowl the lower levels. Jet flew away with Maku in its arms. The rest have been consigned to the Great Toy Chest in the Sky until the Next Play Date.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Melee between all manner of Lego action figures. Low quality pictures.

Gali has taken out Mr Shoulders with a lunge at his throat. Maku is in jeopardy between Spark and Jet. Millenium is beset by two Turaga and two Tohunga. Onua is about to toss Mr White over the edge. Pohatu, unsubtly, is kicking The Dog. Amazon is getting nowhere with the Turaga from the forest. Tahu and Lewa are having difficulty containing Langostino. Mr. Blue has been retired over a speaker. Mr. Gray stumbles toward the printer, neutralized. Scuba and Granite can't seem to get the better of a band of Tohunga. The fusion Comborider (airlifted by Mr. Wing?) has been overturned and is at the untender mercies of a pair of Tohunga mechanics. Mr. Wing has tumbled over the edge and is being protected by Blaster and Mr. Silly. Jala and Whenua don't seem to know what to do with Blaster. Electro and Spark are both in trouble although Ski may be about to deliver a sucker punch to an inattentive Tohunga. The Roboriders and Turbo, under the command of Blacklight, circle underneath looking to pick off anyone unlucky enough to fall from the desk. Up above, Kopaka has dealt another uncanny blow -- this time to the vulnerable knee of the fusion Throwbot.

Monday, October 08, 2001

Oh dear, I've discovered a real Pandora's box. Or more accurately, I've opened, just a little, the Pandora's box that I've known about for a while: Cascading Style Sheets. Always more to learn. For an especially inept use of CSS, check out the official home of CSS. That page is ugly.

Sunday, October 07, 2001

What new deviltry has been ordered to plague the Toa and their little friends?
  • 4 Black Connector 3 X 3 With Axle
  • 2 Blue Connector 3 X 3 With Axle
  • 2 Dark Grey Liftarm 1 x 7 with 2 Ball Joints
  • 1 Green Arm Forked with Flexible Center and Ball Joint
  • 2 Green Connector 3 X 3 With Axle
  • 1 Green Gear Box
  • 3 Green Liftarm 1 x 7 with 2 Ball Joints
  • 4 Red Axle Joiner with Ball Housing
  • 1 Teal Arm Forked with Flexible Center and Ball Joint
  • 5 Teal Axle Joiner with Ball Housing
  • 2 Teal Connector Block 3 x 3 x 1
  • 1 Teal Gear 16 Tooth
  • 2 Teal Throwbot Head
Watched the last episode of Morse last night. I'll play some Wagner to mark the occasion.
Pulled the sod from around the cherry tree. Sounds simple. And it would have been if the grass roots weren't tied up with cherry treee roots. Eesh.
Just tuned into the Mariners in time to hear the Star Spangled Banner. All I can say is Simpsons episode "Dancin' Homer."

Saturday, October 06, 2001

Kitchen accomplishment:
The washer, dryer, coffee grinder, dishwasher and bread machine were all running at the same time. The next step will be to involve the microwave somehow. Tricky timing that, though. Grand slam: coffee grinder and coffee maker both running at the same time for some reason.
I am a very dull person.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

I laugh at the confusion among the foolish humans! Ha! Ha!

Manjit's Parents' Hellpups

Hi Manjit!

I wish I could say that the software controller failures were my clever way of preventing the cam from falling over, but I must confess that I have done nothing to prevent it. It's just a happy accident. (The author of the software corrected these problems a long time ago but I haven't installed the patched version. Don't blame Amnon.) Nature always finds a way.

The Blogger site has a pretty weird interface. "Post" is like a preview. "Publish" actually does a series of FTP events that are a lot like reaping and sowing.You'll get the hang of it with more exposure. But yes, it is weird.

Here's the deal with posting pictures: they must exist on an internet-accessible server. From there, you can link to them using HTML:


I hope that this cools your fevered brow. posted a trivia contest tonight. Here are the questions:

  1. How many times has JAMES HORNER been nominated for an Academy Award and for which films was he nominated?
  2. BLACK SCORPION star Joan Severance had a cameo in what 1987 action film that spawned a series of successful sequels and who composed the score to that film?
  3. Name 4 OTHER Films that James Horner's score to BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS has appeared in (and PLEASE, no Goldsmith jokes)?
  4. What other film did James Horner score that BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS writer JOHN SAYLES wrote?
  5. In the STARGATE SG-1 episode, "THOR'S HAMMER," a famous actor played the voice of a cave dwelling creature. What was that actor's name and what was the characters name he voiced?

The contest is based on who submits the correct answers soonest. My entry went in sometime around twelve minutes past midnight.

Well, if I looked up stuff on IMDB correctly, it's

  1. Frira. Gvgnavp, Gvgnavp (fbat), Ncbyyb 26, Oenirurneg, Svryq bs Qernzf, Nyvraf, Nzrevpna Gnvy (fbat)
  2. Yrguny Jrncba, Zvpunry Xnzra
  3. Naql Pbyol'f Vaperqvoyr Nqiragher, Oneonevna Dhrra, Jvmneqf bs gur Ybfg Xvatqbz, Fcnpr Envqref.
  4. Ynql va Erq
  5. Wnzrf Rney Wbarf, Hanf

Sunday, September 30, 2001

Unsatisfied with the combination of Jala and Onewa. I have added them to a large Throwbot, Blaster. The result is not completely satisfactory, but was adequate to inspire this tableau:

Sunday, September 23, 2001

Bad, bad MOC

I ended with a spare each of Jala and Onewa. Their combination was inauspicious:

Saturday, September 22, 2001

I'm happy to report that I have acquired examples of all six Happy Meal toys this morning. You are happy to know this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Rearranged my office today (Many, many wires. So many boxes of stuff!) and I think the new camera emplacements are better.


The transparent eyeballs in the Turaga head can be a bit unnerving (unretouched photo):

Sunday, September 16, 2001

Scottish telepresence

Cool robot claw from Scotland.

Another wish list. Although I can't say I'm terribly excited by much of it except Last Castle.

Alan Silvestri The Mummy Returns

Bernard Herrmann The Snows of Kilimanjaro / 5 Fingers

Carter Burwell A Knight's Tale

Danny Elfman Planet of the Apes

David Arnold The Three Musketeers

Elliot Goldenthal Final Fantasy - ORDERED Sep 25 2001

Howard Shore The Score

James Newton Howard Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Jerry Goldsmith The Last Castle

John Williams AI

John Williams Harry Potter

Lalo Scifrin Rush Hour 2

Malcolm Arnold The Roots of Heaven / David Copperfield

Marco Beltrami Dracula 2000

Ron Stein Invasion of the Saucer Man / It Conquered

Alejandro Amenabar The Others

Friday, September 14, 2001

Mine! All mine!

Our office moved to new digs. I was among the last to go to the new office.

Thursday, September 13, 2001


Moved the Irish Pipers Club page from the defunct Wolfenet server to a Geocities address. Wolfenet's successor company (RMI, formerly RockyMountain Internet, no wait, Internet Commerse and ... to hell with it) completely clustered the dial-up part of the business when they sold it to Earthlink.
Saw the recent Planet of the Apes at a matinee. Reeks of Contractual Obligation. It was right purty took at, though. The score left no impression except for a Mars-like riff that accompanied an image of Saturn which left me disoriented.


I quite like this image:


Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

9/11 reaction

I had to make an appointment to donate blood because all the centers are completely swamped with donors. If you can donate, you should. This was true before the attack, but is especially acute now.

Although there has been plenty of talk on CNN about where the blame lies, until there are some verifiable facts, we simply don't know. The only possible response to this is to act through reason and clear thinking. Vengeance is not only dangerous and pointless, it's impossible.

Blowing up some remote compound, just to make a point about policy will not be sufficient. There must be a response, of course. It should be measured, just and practical. Althgough we will feel anger, we must not act or decide out of anger. We have to make our stand through our good works.

My personal form of retaliation will be to continue working and thinking how to build a better world as best as I can. That there are people so aggrieved, mad and inhuman enough to do what was done today will simply have to be accomodated in my efforts. I choose not to let this astonishing act of hatred drive me to hate. My revenge will be to love.

Saturday, September 08, 2001

Is a Crab

Scene at the drive through at McDonald's:
She hands me the happy meal box. "Is the toy for a boy inside?" I ask.
"I don't know," she says. (What she actually said was "idoannoe," so that it rhymes with "Ivanhoe," but close enough.)
"Could I have a toy, please? For a boy." I feel that I will soon be trapped in a Dr. Suess-like hell of my own creation.)
"No girl toys. It's a crab." (Her completely charming accent rendered this "Ees a crrab.")
My confusion disappears. I now know that, if there is in fact a toy in the box, it's the desired Lego. I peek in and can just make out Onepu under the chicken nuggets. I bade the late-night window farewell.

The lesson is clear. Lego, even in Bionicle form, is not identified very closely with gender, at least in comparison with Mattel's "Micro-Divas," the unavailable girl's toy. But what Bionicles actually are supposed to be is not very apparent even when you're looking right at them. "Crab" is as good a guess as any.

It's a lobster! It's a chicken!

Friday, September 07, 2001

Parting out is such sweet sorrow

A Happy Meal toy. It's a Bionicle villager. They also accomplish their (yawn) goals through cooperation and appreciation for their indivi ...

And here are some happy villagers now. No doubt they are going to work together or something.


I hope nothing bad happens to them on the way back to their village.

something bad

Oh well.


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