azureabstraction > out of the blue

Archive for the ‘lj-import’ Category

These posts were imported from my LiveJournal. I may or may not go through them and categorize them later.

Book recap

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

I just realized that I have been keeping up my book list for a year. Here are some statistics:

time period: April 13, 2006 to April 12, 2007
books read: 102
books per month: 8.5
best month: August 2006 – 22 books
worst month: September 2006 and February 2007 – 3 books
best author: Roger Zelazny – 16 books (they're small)

genre – see how sparse non sci-fi/fantasy is?

poetry: 4
mystery: 1
essay/non-fiction: 7
thought: 2
other: 3
literature: 4
humor: 1

by month


  • April (half month)
    • 5 books
    • 3 authors
    • favorite: Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
  • May
    • 5 books
    • 5 authors
    • favorite: Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
  • June
    • 6 books
    • 5 authors
    • favorite: American Gods, Neil Gaiman
  • July
    • 22 books
    • 11 authors
    • favorite: Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
  • August
    • 5 books
    • 4 authors
    • favorite: Dzur, Steven Brust
  • September
    • 3 books
    • 4 authors
    • favorite: To Reign in Hell, Steven Brust
  • October
    • 6 books
    • 6 authors
    • favorite: Fragile Things, Neil Gaiman
  • November
    • 10 books
    • 9 authors
    • favorite: Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
  • December
    • 16 books
    • 16 authors
    • favorite: Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson


  • January
    • 5 books
    • 5 authors
    • favorite: The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien
  • February
    • 3 books
    • 2 authors
    • favorite: The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien
  • March
    • 13 books
    • 7 authors
    • favorite: Vellum, Hal Duncan
  • April (half month)
    • 3 books
    • 3 authors
    • favorite: Jhereg, Steven Brust

other notes:

I have not read a book twice this year, which seems unusual.

I counted books by "Various Authors" as having one author, but cowritten books count for each author

The favorite book thing is probably not as useful as "notable" book, because I hardly need to mention (for example) that Fahrenheit 451 was my favorite when I read it.

Genre is very iffy. I didn't do it nearly as carefully as I should have.

Geek check

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Sarah can attest that I do something similar to this.

Except instead of factoring, I convert them into their lowest possible base. So, a time like 10:01 would be in base 2 (decimal: 9), a time like 1:22 would be in base 3 (decimal: 17), etc. It gets harder and harder to do, so base 7 is quite difficult (although base 9 is extremely easy by comparison).

I once told Josh a story about how I woke up at 8 (10:00), but didn't get up until 12 (11:00). I said that I needed to leave for my class around 4 (1:00), so that I could start taking my test at 6 (1:10), but that I definitely wouldn't be finished by 7 (1:11). He was confused, to say the least.

DRM-free Music on iTunes

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Joyous news today: iTunes will carry label EMI's entire catalog in higher-quality, DRM-free form

some important bits: they will be priced at 1.29 instead of 0.99; old, DRMed tracks can be upgraded by paying the difference; albums will be upgraded with no price difference; Beatles music will still not be among the offerings

This is an important step forward for the music industry. Granted, to anyone who knows anything about music it has been an obvious necessity for a long time now, but that doesn't equate to actual practice. It was impossible to tell how long it would take for this to come about, and I am grateful it started as soon as it has.

I predict that the music industry is going to see a quick leap in sales as many of the holdouts who didn't want to restrict themselves with locked-up music start buying digital music. That will be strong incentive for other large labels to begin offering their music similarly freed.

Steve Jobs has now offered proof that he was serious when he wrote in his February open letter that whenever a label was ready to commit to distributing DRM-free music, Apple was ready as well. Major kudos to you, sir.

The trend has gained its foothold. Now it's only a matter of time.

Next on the agenda: decriminalizing the file-sharing of copyrighted tracks

[Apple press release] [EMI press release]

from "Marriage", by Gregory Corso

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Sarah sent me this, and it is utterly amazing.

O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just waiting to get at the drinks and food–
And the priest! He looking at me if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on–

then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
The winking bellboy knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd be almost inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climatic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of bigamy a saint of divorce–

Excerpt: Vellum

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

"Once upon a time," Finnan had told her, "the gods got fed up with this not existing malarkey that they'd had to put up with for the last forever, because if you don't exist, well, there's no pressing need to get out of bed of a morning; it's not like ye've got any work to go to, eh, and obviously that kind of unemployment lends itself to low self-esteem, if not downright depression. So they all came together one day and decided amongst themselves that they wanted to have a go at this existing thing. They'd been watching humans at it for a good few millennia, from the insides of their heads, living in the human imagination as they did, and the humans seemed to be having all sorts of strange experiences—living, dying, fucking, grieving, hunting, drinking—hell, even suffering is at least an experience, and to a god that only gets the secondhand scraps of dreams and delusions, well, it's better than nothing. Of course, most people have such poor imaginations that the gods had no idea what they were in for. They thought it would be all epic battles and noble struggles, valiant causes, good against evil. Ye have to pity them, sure because they weren't at all prepared for life as it is, poor sods. What the fuck is this, they says to themselves, when they finally find a way to push themselves out from the back of our heads and into the noggin as a whole, when they pick themselves up off the floor and dust off their stolen bodies and look around at the world. What the fuck is this? Where's the grand quests and eternal mysteries? Where's the foreshadowings and symmetries, the plots, the themes? Where's the meaning? O, in time some of them would come to live it, sure, this mad world of ours; but some of them, well, they just keep trying to make it fit their notion of what a world should be like. They're insane, of course, and sooner or later one of them will come along and try and rope you into some mad empire-building scheme of theirs. And, of course, if you're not with them you're against them, as far as they're concerned. Take my advice and steer well clear of them."

—Hal Duncan

HSV and RGB color selectors

Monday, February 26th, 2007

If anyone doesn't have photoshop or the Gimp, or doesn't want to bother opening them up (because they take up so much system resources), and doesn't use IE….

I programmed some JavaScript color selectors. One based on the Red-Green-Blue channel model, which will help you understand how web colors work if you play around with it, and another based on the Hue-Saturation-Value model, which is much more intuitive.

Works in Firefox, Opera, Shiira and Safari; doesn't work in IE. If you test it in other browsers, go ahead and let me know.

[ rgb ] [ hsv ]

Chillingsworth or Chillingworth

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Okay, those of you who have read the Scarlet Letter need to, without looking it up, tell me which of these spellings is correct. Don't look at other people's answers, just say what seems right to you. I'm curious.

  1. Roger Chillingsworth
  2. Roger Chillingworth

I spelled it incorrectly throughout the entirety of my essay that I just turned in, which is rather embarrassing considering how much pride I take in my ability to spell. I think I got the wrong one in my head in High School, and then never revised it even though I read the name hundreds of times. It's funny how you don't actually read long words, you just see the shape and move on. Optimization for reading, you know. And since I was reading fast, I had even less opportunity to catch my mistake.

Anyway, please comment, if you remember the story at all.

Sarah and me

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Stereotypically, it's the guy who doesn't remember when he first saw the girl; it's the guy who misplaces somewhere that golden feeling he had: she separates from the crowd, time lingers upon the moment, that first glance, and somehow she is special, he will remember her. Instead, it's Sarah who can't recall me from that first day of orientation at SST. We never shared any classes that first year, and I didn't talk to her again almost until summer, but somehow I remember that first meeting. Somehow, she stood out.

Early the next school year, we went on SST's annual beach trip, and for some reason I ended up hanging out with Sarah the whole time. Some crazy mutual thing, I guess. On the bus ride back, I sat in front of her and a large group of us played Apples to Apples. It was awkward holding hands across the seat with a teacher sitting next to her and everything, but who cared? We were intoxicated.

Throughout that year, Sarah and I spent tons of time together. Playing frisbee, talking online until the early hours of the morning, sitting beneath a waterfall near her house. She convinced me to skip class for the first time to go walk in the nature park. It was glorious and carefree.

Even though we pretty much revolved around each other that year, we never dated.

But things have changed now. Sarah and I have only gotten closer over the years, as we both grew older and (perhaps) more mature. We spent the summer playfully friendly, and when I went to visit Sarah last semester, I knew there was something there. Yet I still wasn't ready for a relationship. I felt there was still too much tangled up in my mind. It wasn't until this last break that I felt truly ready to date again.

Early on Christmas morning, we made it official.

So, she and I are an item now. A thing. Star-crossed lovers blinded by passion, or something like that. Our personalities complement each other as though such a thing were inevitable. I am more comfortable in this than I have ever been before. I haven't gotten everything sorted out in my mind, but for the first time I don't feel I need to; this is how things stand, and I am happy. Now I can write absurd love letters about the heat death of the universe. Now I can taste that bittersweet mixture of fondness and longing for an absent love. Now I can lay aside some of my past worries and simply take pleasure in life. Now I can without reservation tell someone I love them fully. And Sarah is the root of all these joys.

a photo of Sarah and I in front of a waterfall

That's my personal entry. It has been sitting in my head for a long time. Now everyone knows my secret. Sarah, I love you.

Prelude (not really)

Monday, February 19th, 2007
xkcd comic: Richard Stallman! Your viral open source licenses have grown too powerful. The GPL must be stopped. At the source. You. ...

Tremors in the earth, as of impending enlightement

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Has it been too long since my last truly-insightful personal entry? Yes it has. Am I about to make one now? Yes I am. Frabjous day. (Isn't it interesting that I know how to spell nearly all words that I've encountered, including absolutely nonsensical ones? No, not really: I just remember them as sequences of sounds that are close but emphasize the spelling, and then while speaking I convert them into how they actually sound. (Actually, it probably has nothing to do with that at all, I just wanted to propose an interesting possibility that is not entirely grounded in reality. Or did that explaination come to me in a flash of brilliance, only to become unveiled as a falsehood as I finished writing it down? You may never know. ) )

…what's that? Where's that post? I said I'm about to make one now. That means that I may not be finished with it until tomorrow. Or the end of the weekend. But it's coming. You can feel it in the air.