Older blog entries for Phoon (starting at number 96)

29 Oct 2001 (updated 30 Oct 2001 at 14:14 UTC) »
Early Morning.


Two weeks? That's like an eternity!
This happened late last week. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

  1. I tell Dick, "I'm probably going to ask Jane out, if I see her today."
  2. I don't see Jane anytime that day.
  3. The next day, I see Dick again. He says, "Guess who I went out with last night. You know the girl you were going to ask out? Her."
  4. I say, "Well, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to shoot you."
  5. He says, "Right-oh, sir."
  6. I shoot Dick. "What a senseless waste of human life."

OK, maybe that last part didn't really happen. I was tempted, though.

This... Dick... has a fiancee. And other girlfriends. Why do scumbags always seem to hook up with whoever they want, while us nice guys always 'finish last', as the adage goes?

linux users of the world unite
I met another Linux user at school recently.... that makes... uhm, five?
I've been reimplementing bplog to suit my needs, partially to learn PHP and partially to reduce my workload as webmaster of the PCC International Circle.

The similarities between PHP and Perl are both comforting and annoying; it's bad when you forget which language you're in, and type "sub" instead of "function", or vice versa, for example. At least most of what I've learned from Perl transfers right over.

just a-swingin
I won a nice swing in a raffle last week. The International Circle raffled it off originally on a Saturday, at a school function. However, one of the faculty members in charge of the club won, so we raffled it again at the function we held on Wednesday. Lucky me; my name was drawn. (Ironically enough, I was pictured sitting on the swing earlier in the day, so the school paper already has a photo of me with my prize... I'll post it ASAP.)

Anyway, I had to transport the thing home. Saturn station wagons were not meant to haul extremely large objects. It would have been fine if it had disassembled properly, but it didn't; one of the screw

heads stripped out. So, I was stuck in the parking lot with a giant wooden assembly that I somehow had to strap to the top of my car. Even after getting the screw out (which involved ripping it out of the wood), my dad had to help carry part of it home.

It's not assembled yet. I've been too lazy.

Just started drinking caffeine again, but a lot less than usual. Hopefully the "penguin mints scenario" will never happen again.
Better than usual, lately. I'm going to go get some. (Sleep, that is.)

seen above a urinal: "we aim to please. you aim too, please."


since my last post

The caffeine-withdrawal headaches have started. Just in one day, I've noticed my thoughts becoming clearer, though, so it's worth it.

By the way, Tylenol and Advil have worked on the headaches.

Why I'm quitting: Monday night was hell. I took too many penguin mints, and didn't sleep. Not only could I not sleep because of how wired I was, but also because I became extraordinarily paranoid. I thought every car that passed by was instead a helicopter coming to blow up my house, and that the train that passes by every night was instead heading toward me. I went for a walk, and saw a flashing light eminating from one of my neighbor's yards... I thought it was an agent signaling his counterpart on my roof. Turns out it was just the light from the security lamp reflecting off of my neighbor's pinwheel. Heh.

Anyway, I decided to stop using caffeine, for at least a few weeks, if not longer.

I'm still trying to figure out how to get the Windows version installed to Zip, or if it's even possible. Same thing with XEmacs, preferably, or even GNU Emacs...
Ended up with an 89 on the calculus test. Not bad.
more perl
I loaned my copy of Perl in a Nutshell to someone in my calculus class. Suggested he check the llama book out of the library.
The same guy said that he works with a language called "ABAP" in his normal job. However, I haven't been able to find any information on it. What is it used for?
We lost more than 5000 Americans in the attacks on 11 September. Now they're worried about losing four Afghanis.

During Vietnam, people talked about being "hawks" or "doves". I guess I'm an ostrich... I'd rather just stick my head in the sand... but I will peck your eyes out if you mess with me.

o/~ well, there ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee! we're all gonna die o/~

Very Early Morning.


I need to figure out how to install a Winblows version of Perl onto a Zip disk so I can use it on school machines without having to install it to the hard drive (which is forbidden). Problem is, it can't depend on the registry or on anything non-standard being on the hard drive... everything has to be on the Zip, including the GTK libraries.

In other Perl news, I've been getting around to writing more code; I'm trying to break the slump I'm in. I haven't written anything substantial in months.

Had a calculus test last night. I think I did well... it's a good sign when I begin to feel lightheaded midway through a test; it means I'm concentrating, but not being frustrated. Actually, the only time I remember going into Deep Hack Mode is during a math test... I was chewing gum the whole time... and I completely forgot about it until after the test...
I think it's time to stop drinking caffeinated beverages again. I've noticed that I have absolutely no attention span anymore, and my nervous tics (leg bouncing, mainly) are beginning to become more evident.

I should drink more Sprite and root beer, and more orange juice, definitely. And if all else fails, I could drink water...

first person shooters
Man, I suck.

I started playing Quake 3 again... playing on Q3DM17... I ended up with a negative score, against bots at the default difficulty. I guess it's the time spent playing Rainbow Six that sapped my score... I move too slowly now.

Then again, that wouldn't explain me falling off of the edge so often...

"I'm not going to fire a 2 million dollar missile at a 10 dollar empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It's going to be decisive." -- George W. Bush



I can't think of a song that fits this. Sorry.
So, we bombed Afghanistan.

And supposedly Russia lost a number of "suitcase nukes".

Now I know how it must have felt to live during the Cuban Missile Crisis... nuclear annihilation possible at the drop of a hat.

Oh well. There's nothing I can do about it, so I'm not going to worry.

Bought the Perl CD Bookshelf, version 2.0. I've been spending most of my time reading Perl in a Nutshell (the one that comes in dead-tree form as a bonus), but I'm starting to get into the Camel book.

I didn't know how little I know.

I haven't done a thing with ithought in months. Maybe I should... but I don't know what to do. There are no outstanding bugs that I can find, and no ideas for new features....

Honestly, all I use it for is to post my Advogato entries, since it's nice to be able to stop and restart editing. Maybe I should look at DaVinci instead....

Later: Finally got DaVinci to compile, after much hassle. And it's still not quite as nice to use as ithought. Then again, it can edit old entries...

Yesterday I bought a tin of Penguin Mints. Today I ate most of them. Tonight my head hurts. Gee, I wonder why.
Test tomorrow. And I think I'm ready. I think.
I think I'll do the projects I mentioned earlier in Perl instead of C... it just seems easier to me. Besides, I need the practice.

"If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith." -- Albert Einstein

30 Sep 2001 (updated 30 Sep 2001 at 07:03 UTC) »

music to soothe the soul

There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship for everyone
Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all...
(Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman, "It's a Small World")

I apologize to those of you who will fight for hours to get the music out of your heads...

I finally found a copy of The Eye of the World. I've been tempted to read the others in the series, but I wanted to read them in order.
I can't believe that I'm burnt out... I thought you had to actually be doing something to burn out.

The checkin kiosk project is... well, it can be best described as 'stillborn'. I can't find a reasonable way to do it without knowing at least a little bit about how the database info is stored, and that's apparently secret. This also means that I can't figure out how to make it general, which means that it won't really serve any purpose to anyone other than the school I'm at.

Anyway, I've found a better project to start: a replacement for the "Food Processor" program I mentioned earlier. Maybe I'm in over my head, though... the kiosk was something whipped up by some guy at the school I attend... Food Processor is a commercial, supported application.

It doesn't really look that complex... obtaining the food info would be the hard part... and the hairiest, legally. Once that's available, the rest looks simple. Maybe I should provide it to owners of Food Processor, since they already have the food databases.

a o hell
I hate AOL. I hate AOL. I hate AOL. And I don't even use it.

I hate AOL for making these people who can only use AOL think that they're internet geniuses, even when they can't figure out the basics. I hate AOL for making my life miserable when they call me and bitch at me because I 'broke their computer' when AOL kicks them off every five minutes. I hate AOL because it really should have an IQ requirement for joining. Never mind... AOL would have maybe five subscribers if they did that.


Sleep cycles have been strange again... stay up until 5 AM, sleep until 2 PM, stay up until 3 AM, sleep until noon...

I wish I could just do one or two all-nighters and be done with it, but no, either my neighbors or my school decide to monopolize my afternoons. For example, today I took two of my friends to the mall... I had to go to Sears anyway to pick up a wrench Dad needed to replace the motor mounts in his car.

At least I managed to get Quake 2 set up on one friend's machine so we can deathmatch. He royally sucks at FPSes, by the way... I should let him be the server so he'll stand half a chance, given my crappy connection.

Mis amigos y yo fuimos al restaurante del Rey de Hamburguesa esta tarde. Cuando estamos alla, hablé con una amiga de mi primera clase de español. Nos charlábamos hasta llegamos al cajero.
(My friends and I went to Burger King this afternoon. When we were there, I spoke with a friend from my first spanish class. We chatted until we arrived at the cashier.)

"parallel lines meet at infinity!" / Euclid repeatedly, heatedly urged / but then he died and so reached that vicinity / wherein he found that the damned things diverged

27 Sep 2001 (updated 27 Sep 2001 at 18:54 UTC) »


New wars for old... new wars for old....

Look at you, soldier boy now
With that big gun in your little hand
As you patrol this foreign land
Hear the mine that clicks beneath your feet
(heyheyheyheyhey, oh)

Now do you see the light
Fading while your world is crumbling
(Out on patrol!)
And all you can do is sit and stare
What revelation have you now
What culmination to your speck of life
Your moment in time
(The Offspring, "Out On Patrol")

I have bad news and worse news.

Bad news: I have a problem with my jaw, known as a TMJ disorder. Recently it became fairly painful.

Worse news: My dental insurance specifically excludes TMJ disorders from coverage.

In other words, "No check for you, clicky!"

food processor
I just had the misfortune of having to deal with "Esha Food Processor". It's a nutrition analysis program with a horrid interface and an out-of-date food database. Not to mention its braindead design choices.

For example, it only allows saving to three places: a preprogrammed location on the C: drive, or on A: or B:. And when you save to floppy, it takes over the floppy, dumping everything into the root of the drive. There's no reason they can't let the user decide where to place the info.... I would have preferred to place it onto my Zip disk, instead of having to go out and buy a floppy.

I'm probably going to try to write a clone for that, too... hopefully it'll advance more rapidly than my still-unnamed checkin kiosk program.

Two tests back recently: 97 in Spanish and 96 in Wellness Concepts. Not too shabby.

Calculus is still a bitch, though.

I'm going to need an oil change in... about... 2000 miles ago. Yeowch.

I can actually notice a difference in how the car feels when the oil is old... along with the corresponding drop in gas mileage. Plus I'm getting a noticeable wheel hop at about 60 mph... which means I need to have the tires balanced. Oh, joy.

love bugs
They're back... little annoying flying pieces of crap that fly into any orifice and eat away paint when splattered against a car. I'd say they rank about #3 on the list of Florida's annoyances, after hurricanes and before tourists. (#1 is New Yorkers, by the way.)

Let me clarify that... not all New Yorkers are annoying... only some of them. The ones that I gripe about are those that learn bad habits (especially driving habits) in NY, and bring them down here, where life is slower. It seems that every time I get the finger it's from someone with NY plates.

Not too much... mostly dealing with the e-mail database I maintain for the PCC International Circle. I've had to re-learn some stuff in Perl, plus libpq (C) and DBI::Pg (Perl).

murphy was an optimist

23 Sep 2001 (updated 23 Sep 2001 at 06:53 UTC) »

and now on a mellower note

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don't ask why
It's not a question but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
(Green Day, "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)")

My prayers still go out to those who are still dealing with the aftermath of this "absolute God damned nightmare", as the guys from Penny Arcade so nicely called it.

Went to Disney World today. Understandably, the crowds were minimal; the national fear of flying, combined with the usual back-to-school slowdown, means practically no lines. You know it's a slow day when Test Track is a walk-on ride.
Got my Calculus test back... I made an 83. Not great, but better than I thought I did.

I've been re-elected Webmaster of the PCC International Circle. It was unanimous... because there was no one else masochistic enough for the job. (I'm kidding, it's not bad...) My current duty is to compile a list of email addresses for as many members as possible. This is because part of my job is to send out email reminders for any events we may hold.

This just means a lot of typing. A lot of typing. I have probably a hundred applications in front of me, each with at least one email address. No, I can't OCR them... honestly, I have trouble reading some of them... and I doubt the computer would do any better.

giFT is pretty sweet. However, I can't seem to get MP3s that don't sound like absolute crap, because the guys responsible haven't told the daemon to report certain MP3-specific meta-data. Otherwise, it's infinitely better than anything I've seen so far. Nice job, guys.
I'm a CipherKnight. Are you?
winblows mierda piler
I got a broken AVI from giFT the other day. One player in Linux (can't remember which) said it was a MPEG4, but that the format was unsupported. I tried another Linux player (an old version of Xine), and it said it couldn't play the file. So, I rebooted to Winblows, and tried using Windows Media Player 6.4 to play the file. It listed it as having an unsupported codec. Hearing this, I decided to upgrade to version 7.1. Wrong idea.

7.1 takes about three times longer to start up as does 6.4 and has a godawful interface. True, it supports "skins", but that only works in Compact view, which requires a small window to remain on screen, in addition to the actual player window; closing the window kills the player, and the Normal view isn't skinnable. And if I'm not mistaken, it won't uninstall without a reinstall of the OS. (Please tell me if I'm mistaken.)

I also managed to upgrade Xine to a broken version. All this for a file that turned out to be heavily corrupted.


"Blinky, you leadfoot, if you moved any slower you'd be going backwards!" -- General Knowledge, Cranium Command (Wonders of Life, Epcot, Walt Disney World)

18 Sep 2001 (updated 19 Sep 2001 at 17:27 UTC) »
Night/Morning. (3 AM EDT, 18 Sep 2001)

musical interludes

I try to find a way to make
All our little joys relate
Without that ever-present hate
But now I know that it's too late, and

Suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please...
(Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman, "Suicide is Painless" [M*A*S*H Theme])
calculus and other classes
I bombed the calculus test. An example:

Determine the derivative dy/dx for r=5 cos(theta).

I know how to do this... you turn it into a parametric equation with x=r cos(theta) and y=r sin(theta). From there, it's easy.

But I forgot the first step.

Haré un examen en mi clase de español pronto. Ojala que haga bien.

Jordi: Estoy tomando la tercera clase de español este semestre. No hablo fluidamente, pero estoy aprendiendo. Gracias por su ayuda.

first person shooters
I wish I could find a good "hunt down Osama bin Laden and give him a fatal case of lead poisoning" mod for one of the myriad first person shooters out there.

I'd particularly like to see one for Soldier of Fortune... blowing off body parts is so... satisfying.

Oh well, I guess I just need to go shoot some bad guys who look vaguely like Al Qaeda members... (virtually, of course). At least I'm sure that the people I shoot will be terrorists... if not Al Qaeda, then another (fictional) terrorist group.

pledge of allegiance
jfleck: Here's how the Pledge originally read:

"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisble, with liberty and justice for all."

I would decide whether to repeat the "under God" part depending on where I was at the time. At Boy Scout meetings (I made it up to Star Scout before turning 18), I'd repeat it. In school, I wouldn't, on those occasions when I said the rest. No one noticed, of course... in the administrators' eyes, we were happy little sheep.

A couple of times, I actually started singing the Soviet national anthem... I love the rise it got out of people. I wasn't sure exactly what it meant; I just memorized the syllables. (Before I did it, I found a translation, to make sure I wasn't singing "kill all the Americans" or something... but I didn't remember it word-for-word.)

3d graphing
In calculus, we're beginning to do things in 3 dimensions. This means we have to draw in 3 dimensions. And I can barely draw in two dimensions.

From now on I have to bring a ruler, pencil, and unlined paper to calculus class. Yay.

Well, all US flags are supposed to be flying at half-staff. I wonder, though... that means all other flags must be flown at half-staff as well, right? If not, those flags would be flying higher than the US flag, which is against the flag code...
I've been way off of my diet again. Time to really knuckle down. (Yeah, right.)

who ate my nuggets?

17 Sep 2001 (updated 17 Sep 2001 at 07:56 UTC) »
Night/Morning. (3 AM EDT, 17 Sep 2001)

history through music

The blind men shout, "Let the creatures out,
We'll show the unbelievers"
The napalm screams of human flames
Of a prime time Belsen feast, yeah
As the reasons for the carnage
Cut their meat and lick the gravy,
We oil the jaws of the war machine
And feed it with our babies...
(Iron Maiden, "2 Minutes to Midnight")
As far as "jingoism" goes, remember that not all patriotism is jingoism. I know that the US doesn't exactly have a lily-white history, but I think it's important to rally behind the flag. I also think it's important to "hit back so hard as to make teeth rattle around the world".

Fred Reed makes perfect sense in that article. The terrorists won for the same reason we lost in Vietnam: we're helpless if we can't figure out what to hit. Granted, when we do find a target, we utterly obliterate it, but until we find it, we're dead in the water.

I do disagree on one point. I think we should find out who is responsible, and not just fabricate evidence. However, if what the US Government says is true, we should turn Afghanistan into a US colony, and quick.

BTW, compiler, I realize that this situation isn't exactly the same as that which existed during the Vietnam conflict. The problem of identifying the enemy, however, still exists. Viet Cong members looked (look?) exactly the same as the peaceful population of Vietnam. Al Qaeda members look exactly the same as the peaceful population of Afghanistan.

This is why the US military must be careful to hit the correct targets; but once they're sure, they should turn the Al Qaeda camps into smoking craters.

cd-r smell
As I opened my CD-R spindle today, I noticed a strange, acrid smell coming from the case. In addition, the edges of each CD had what looked like dripped plastic, although I can't tell if it was there since the CDs were manufactured, or if they were recent.

I've placed the CDs in cases and put them in a shaded location, to prevent any future damage. I don't remember any direct sunlight hitting them, though... my room has only one window, and it has a blanket covering it. And I doubt temperatures in my room could rise high enough to damage CDs.

Es dificil recordarse las palabras en español por muchas cosas. Uso las palabras de inglés, pero no es correcto. Necesitaré recordarse una palabra en inglés y en español por cosa...

Estamos aprendiendo el futuro y el subjuntivo. El futuro no será un dolor de cabeza, pero el subjuntivo es más dificil.

May I remind everyone of CipherSaber, intended for exactly this kind of suppression.. async has already posted the algorithm (RC4); all that is needed is the specifics of the file format and any programmer with rudimentary skills can whip up a CipherSaber in a day, or less. I did, in C, in about an hour, plus ten minutes to debug. It's all on the web; if push comes to shove the information could be passed by word of mouth.

They can never eliminate encryption; it's just math. What's next, banning trigonometry, because it could let you calculate the proper angle to launch a missile?

the scenery is here, wish you were beautiful

16 Sep 2001 (updated 16 Sep 2001 at 07:53 UTC) »
Night/Morning. (2 AM, 16 Sep 2001)

those who cannot remember the past...

I've been preparing for the upcoming war by listening to songs from other wars...

One, two, three, what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
The next stop is Vietnam
Five, six, seven, open up the Pearly Gates
Ain't no time to wonder why
Whoopee, we're all gonna die
(Country Joe and the Fish, "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag")

I just realized... you could replace all of the references to "Vietnam" and "Viet Cong" in that song with the modern equivalents, "Afghanistan" and "Al Qaeda"... and it would be perfectly true... even though it'd sound stupid. Just shows to prove what George Santayana said: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Why can no one remember Vietnam, and the hellacious ass-kicking we recieved?

You can't win a war if you can't tell who the enemy is.

Calculus test Monday. I'm woefully unprepared, but I think I have a general grasp on the material. I just need to reread the chapter and remember a few key formulas.

Spanish test Thursday. Espero que sacaré una buena nota.

Well, it's well on its way to normality. About half of the broadcast stations have stopped covering the tragedy 24/7 and have begun to show 'normal' programming.

It's strange.. I haven't written any code, which depresses me, which makes me less likely to write code, which depresses me more, which makes me less likely to write code... and so on... Maybe I should just force myself to write... something.

I'm terrified of what could happen on Monday morning. I saw reports from foreign markets that Disney stock is down 20%. If that happens here, my dad could lose his job...

That scares me more than threats of war. A depression would be... depressing. (/me defenestrates himself.)

love America or give it back

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