Friday, June 02, 2006

Found It!

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 11% BF

Ever go to sleep with the radio on, and wake up to hear some totally amazing song? I'm sure I've heard plenty of songs this way, but in my life there were three songs, first heard in the middle of the night like that, that really stood out. The first was Led Zeppelin's "Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid," the second was "In the Congo" by the Bongos, and the third was this crazy song, sounded like some heavy-metal parody of the Batman theme, and they were singing things like "Birdbrain rules the world! Birdbrain wrote Das Capital, Wealth of Nations..." I was still half asleep when the DJ said it was Allen Ginsberg singing -- wow, no way, what a crazy dream...

Anyway, I googled it the other day, found that it actually was a song, written by Allen Ginsberg and sung by him circa 1980, with the Colorado punk band The Gluons playing backup. I actually found a few albums for sale, mostly box sets etc, but no downloadable MP3's. I can't listen to it -- yet -- but at least I know it exists.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Valley Of The Cramps

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 11.5% BF

Walked last night at the usual place, this time getting to the end of the second dam (the one with the incredible "mountains & valleys" view) before turning around. I didn't expect to see too much wildlife, because a couple was walking their two dogs. Total a$$holes, in my opinion: they were ill tempered because of the heat and taking it out on their dogs, which were obviously never trained to "heel" and were doing what dogs do, sniffing the ground and tugging on the leashes, then getting yanked back and screamed at. I caught up to them and left them behind at the first dam; as I passed them I was polite to their faces, but I think they turned around because they heard me call them "fscking freaks" under my breath...

Anyway, once I was rid of them, good old Mr. Friendly saw: a turtle laying eggs, a very tame deer as it approached me, and something big and loud running away in the woods. Very pleasant walk, actually, and I think I walked almost four miles total.

Got home, ate dinner (leftover chili plus a few clementines), then played with the computer until bedtime. Since I have a dialup connection, it normally takes a prohibitive amount of time to download a much of music, but last night I ended up grabbing five songs without even realizing it, since I was otherwise occupied with C-language experiments (I learned how to create and use "shared object" libraries). Three hours went by like three minutes...

What I downloaded was a song from Mogwai, two early Johnny Cash tunes, and (continuing my 80's fetish) two songs by The Cramps. I forgot about them, and maybe the rest of the world has too, but they still rock.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A Random Walk Through That Other World

Morning weigh-in: 178.5#, 10% BF

What I've been doing lately to occupy my time (besides walking around in the woods and downtown) is, of course, playing with the computer, and what I've been doing on the computer lately (instead of buckling down and getting my high-speed internet connection running) is fiddling with math programs.

(I had a conversation with a friend's brother-in-law on Thanksgiving, where he asked me about Linux and wondered how I could possibly handle real world stuff like Microsoft Office documents, specifically Excel files. I told him I had two very good spreadsheets on my machine, and both were capable of reading Excel files, thank you very much. He countered with something like "well what about if it uses [some MS-specific technology], like what if has embedded video?" Well, top that, mister!

I was a guest -- and it was obviously a contest, not a conversation -- so I let him win; I was too polite to mention that embedded video in a spreadsheet was a digression from what spreadsheets are actually used for, and in fact, the mere presence of embedded video is a sign that the spreadsheet probably came from some marketing guy, is therefore worse than useless and can safely be ignored. Meantime, what if you wanted to do real math? A spreadsheet isn't even near able to do the job, but what could I say? The guy probably doesn't even know "real math," and in fact probably drinks Budweiser... )

Where was I? Oh, yes... So anyway, I've been playing with octave and Gnuplot again, mostly finger exercises to see if I can get them to do different things, solving differential equations that I pull out of my ass, plotting pretty cardioids in polar coordinates, generating different types of random numbers and plotting them to see which look most like the stock market -- this last one is pretty cool, I remember things from old "Mathematical Games" articles on "random walks," and now thirty years later I try them out for myself.

One thing octave can't handle right now is optimization, at least not until I install some library routines. In the meantime, I still have those genetic algorithms. They're written in C, so you'll never guess what else I've been messing with...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bambi Mocks My Stupid Camera-Phone

Morning weigh-in: 178.5#, 10.5% BF

Listening: Will Carrol, "Some Lunch."
Next Song: Duende, "Overboard (live)."

Karen W told a story last night, about when she was riding with her dog Shelby the other day, and the dog flushed a doe (with fawn) hiding in the woods, separating the fawn from its mother and chasing it down. Nothing happened to the fawn except it was separated from its mom, but Karen was worried & felt bad. I'm sure it happens all the time, they separate to avoid predators & then regroup.

I saw this firsthand tonight on my Merril Creek walk, when I flushed a doe with two fawns: one fawn took off with the doe, but the other fawn ran in the opposite direction. When I first heard them I thought "aha, bear!" and took out my phone, then realizing what was happening I stood quietly and allowed the fawn to come back. It got almost within touching distance, then spooked just as I took the picture. Doh!

I started hearing thunder so I cut the walk short, maybe 2.5 miles. On the drive out another doe crossed the road in front of me, followed by another fawn; I got a good look at this one as well, as it struggled to get up the roadside embankment. Then, not a hundred yards away, two more deer were on the side of the road; both were full grown but one was missing its front left leg. I drove out of there pretty slowly after that, which was lucky because a few more deer jumped out at me on the way home.

More Listening: Gary Numan, "Cars."
Recessional: Bad Brains, "Sail On."

Greg also told a story: he and Judy raced their new sailboat on Saturday, and won!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Evening Recap

Listening: Iggy & the Stooges, "Search and Destroy."

Back from Greg & Judy's BBQ: Greg & Judy, me, Eric and Kris, Eric & Janna, Bob & Karen, and Brian. Mellow evening w/ burgers & salads & some socializing...

Before that, the afternoon: got my laundry done, and while it was drying I walked around downtown. It was like a ghost town, hardly any was about. People were probably trying to avoid the heat but I really didn't think it was too bad. (Granted, I don't have AC at home, so I get used to the heat, and get no escape by retreating inside anyway.) Anyway, among other things I took a tour of the Museum of PEZ dispensers. I wouldn't travel to see it, but if you're standing on Bank Street and have four bucks to blow, it's pretty neat.

Of course I took pictures, and so now I have a backlog of about 120 photos to go through, cull the duds and put the winners up on Flickr. Sooner or later.

Now it's Bauhaus, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," and with that I'm outta here.

New Gadget Alert

Happy Memorial Day! Here and here are some appropriate links.

Well, I actually did get out of the house yesterday, but not until about 4:00. What happened was, I decided to check out eMusic, ended up getting a trial membership, then browsing and downloading a bunch of songs. First song I got was Fugazi's "Waiting Room" -- I can see myself becoming a pain in the ass over this, listening to it had me up on my feet, pumping my fist and punching the air... Some Bad Brains, Beat Happening, a few other things (yes, Neko Case is good), then I had to deal with my monkey 4:00 antibiotic infusion...

Anyway, got out and did a 2 hour hike along the Lehigh. Like Saturday I parked at the new public boat launch, but this time walked east along the riverside singletrack; I turned around at the Chain Dam. Plenty o'pictures both days, I'll probably post the good ones in a day or two.

Speaking of pictures: That graph of my blog is now my second most viewed image on Flickr and moving up fast, probably because it's part of a currently popular set of images -- can you say "buzz tag?" Oh well, that's show biz... I also noticed, and this started a few days ago, that my cast photo has been getting a lot of hits, as well as the Halloween shot Judy M as bare-midriff Jeannie, and those "girls gone wild" photos. Come for the ankle, stay for the hotties...

I'm out of here (really!) in a few minutes; as soon as my laundry is done I'm taking it out to the laundromat for drying, and will walk around downtown while it tumbles. I've got chili bubbling in the crockpot for a bit of Memorial Day potluck at Greg & Judy's, but that's later, hope it stays nice.

By the way: the new gadget isn't mine yet, nor do I even know exactly what I want yet, but I think I'll be getting an MP3 player soon, or maybe an iPod. Some research is required, stay tuned (sorry, couldn't help it).

Drive a stake into the river, cap it with a bone...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Fun With Graphs: The Final Chapter

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
After this I'm going outside, I swear... This one is a graph of my flickr account. Flickr has a whole bunch more of these graphs, which you can see here -- but don't click it if things that look like pollen make you sneeze!

You can find a link to the java applet, and an explanation for what's going on, here.

Son Of A Fun With Graphs

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Another one, this time it's a graph of my blog.

Fun With Graphs

Originally uploaded by donXfive.
Found this via Pharyngula: a java applet that generates graphical reperesentations of websites based on their structure, or something. So, here I am on a beautiful Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend no less, futzing around with the computer.