October 2007


Everyone has their favorite text/code/HTML/whatever editor: Notepad stands as the all-around favorite for Windows users; emacs appeals to the *nix crowd; Microsofties and others rely on Visual Studio; my dad uses Word to code C++ applications (yeah, go figure); I rely on Notepad++.

Notepad++ has everything I could ever want in an editor, yet somehow manages to stay clear and uncluttered.

Today, its redeeming feature was the one-click macro-recording. Pretty simple stuff. And, thankfully, very easy to use. None of this crap about saving macros or going through dialogs: push a button, do whatever you need to do, push a button, press a button as many times as you need the action repeated.

Notepad++ has the usual set of features one comes to expect of text editors: syntax highlighting, powerful search (regular expressions are a must), auto-completion, tabbed-viewer, brace highlighting, macro, file search, function list (for code and batch files). It expands on this set, either by being better (file search is color-coded and represents results in a file-based tree-view) or adding new features, like single-click zoom.

I can’t really come up with a way to wrap this up, so I’ll just say that I use Notepad++ on every one of my computers at work and use it more often than Visual Studio (still use VS for debugging and compiling and such).

I feel I should provide a bit of an insight into how this blog is written and updated. From the outside, it may seem the answer is “infrequently” or “poorly”. All too true. But here’s why.

Lately, work has been a monstrous pain: there’s lots of things to do, not enough time to do most of them, and yet all of them are being pushed as the most important tasks. First and foremost, I have to investigate the new features I will be responsible for. First and foremost, I have to fix bugs in my old features. First and foremost, I have to attend meetings about both. First and foremost, I have to answer to six people why I’m behind schedule. There’s a pattern here. All of this makes for a stressful day, an unhappy me and an almost-forgotten-about blog. Hence, the recent lack of updates.

Now, here’s a small foray into what makes it into the blog and exactly how. I get ideas. Strange things I think about on the way to work or during yet-another coma-inducing meeting. Then I e-mail myself whatever idea I can still remember by the time I get to a computer. Right now, I have 12 unread, self-addressed e-mails with such descriptive titles as “idea”, “for the blog” or simply “thoughts”. So, once a week (or so) I sit down, sift through the rubble and dredge out whatever I still find interesting. Those thoughts are sometimes enough to fill a few pages-worth with crazy ramblings. Most of the time, though, I just make bullet lists and blabber on about entirely disjointed concepts.

So, here’s what’s on tonight’s menu:

  • josh_groban_-_awake.jpgJosh Groban’s “Awake” CD sucks. It’s essentially rap. When he’s not singing in Italian, he’s reading prose to semi-classical music. I’m sorry, what the hell is that? I’m no expert when it comes to music, but it seems that songs sound better when the lyrics actually rhyme. I don’t know, that’s just me. What he sings in Italian is great and I adore it, but I find myself fast-forwarding past the rest of the songs that he sings in English. Maybe that’s his new style? Or maybe I just don’t “get it” (which is quite possible). I know I loved his first album (“Josh Groban”) when I first heard it in college. I really like “Closer”. But “Awake” disappoints and bugs me. Like I said, seems more like rap. Or some guy reading a phone book.
  • People stumble onto this blog for a variety of reasons: some of them might be regular readers (wishful thinking), but most come here by way of a search engine. Here’s a choice list of verbatim search terms that leads people to this blog. In [brackets] are my comments, not part of the actual query:
    • CSI “feather database”
    • picture of a cartoon saying SICK BASTARD
    • alien pick [I think this refers to a guitar pick with an alien picture. Maybe?]
    • gta sa hot coffee clips
    • spying on boyfriend
    • thick babies [WTF?]
    • cocaine happiness quotes
    • blank gun TV rules [Are they wondering what rules actors on TV follow when using a gun?]
    • screenplay randomizer
    • reverse determinism [Wait, what? Who in the world is wondering about reverse determinism?!]
    • dish chairs with fuzzy coverings

    And every day (really) there’s someone looking for an electronic copy of “Jumper”, “Replay” or a Heinlein book.
    People end up here for really strange reasons.

  • Stephen Fry told an interesting story during the sixth episode of season 1 (series “A”) of QI:

    I was in a room with Paul Merton and Nicholas Parsons… Paul Merton was writing on this piece of paper for quite a long time, and Nicholas Parsons said to him “What are you writing?”, and Paul said, “It’s a suicide note.” [*] And Nicholas said, “Oh”. And then Paul said, “Sign here, Nicholas, would you?”

    Now, that part denoted with the [*] is the interesting point. It’s a point at which I laughed really hard. On the show, however, there was dead silence. It wasn’t until Fry said “sign here, Nicholas”, that the panel and the audience broke up in laughter. Is it bad form to laugh at something so drastic and uncommon? How often does it happen that you’re present in the room with a person in the process of writing a suicide note? What is happening at that moment that the person in question decided, right there and then, to end their life? This reminds me of a PostSecret card (that is now inaccessible, thanks to Frank’s asinine posting practices) where the author say something along the lines of “[Someone] called me and asked me how to spell [some word]. I later read it in his suicide note. He was writing the note while talking on the phone with me.” I like that card, wish I could see it again.
    Fry follows up his anecdote with the following (paraphrased):

    The Spanish general and political leader Ramón Blanco y Erenas, when asked by a priest on his death bed, “Do you forgive your enemies?”, said “No, I have no enemies, I’ve had them all shot.”

    At this point both the audience and the panel laugh. Murder is funny but suicide isn’t?

  • Good night.

The new Hulk movie is being hailed as a restart (or reboot) of the Hulk franchise. Listen, idiots, when there’s just one crappy movie in the franchise, making a different movie does not entail a reboot.

‘Batman Begins’ was a reboot: it followed ‘Batman’, ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Batman Forever’ and ‘Batman and Robin’. ‘Casino Royale’ was one hell of a reboot, throwing aside some 20 official films, two independents and a television adaptation. ‘Sum of All Fears’ was a reboot of the Jack Ryan films, and while they didn’t have quite as many stories as the others, three is still more than one.

On a somewhat related note, the trailer for ‘Iron Man’ has been out for a while and it looks like it might actually be a good movie.

More random things arranged into those bullet-lists I love so much:

  • There’s a Facebook Application called “Make a Baby“. This horrendous waste of time (like other applications) gives you the ability to “Make babies with your friends!” Who decided that this was an Application that the world desperately needed? If there is one thing that college students know how to do better than getting completely shit-faced on a Friday night, it’s getting their fellow students pregnant.
  • Jim Norton’s “Monster Rain” is one of the funniest stand-up acts I have ever seen. I just watched the last half of it on HBO and couldn’t stop laughing. Being a professional comedy-watcher, I knew better than to be eating or drinking anything, otherwise I’d have had to repaint my apartment. Yes, Jim does a lot of cringe humor (his rape jokes certainly stand-out, and possibly not int he best way, no question there), but he does a fair bit of “boring” comedy that your average couch potato wouldn’t object to. One of my favorite bits came when he was complaining about not being able to take water onto a plane – (paraphrasing) “it would have been so much nicer if the terrorists hid a bomb in a crying baby”.
  • Favorite threat at the moment: “I will bury [the victim] alive.”
  • “Jumper” the book is going to be “Jumper” the movie. That’s not news. The news is in the fact that there’s finally a trailer.
  • Despite a multitude of varying opinions I have on the subject (the quality of the original book, the director of film, the fact that it’s a “re-imagining” and not a remake, the fact that “smaller” actors have been replaced with crappy “big” actors, the fact that there is now a secret society of Jumper-hunters, the fact that the tie-in “prequel” sucked, the fact that this film is supposed to be the first of a trilogy), I am still very hopeful that this film will not suck ass. Opening day is February 15th and I’m already planning on taking half a day off to see the movie. Oh, and if Anakin screws this up, yeah, he’s getting buried alive.
  • Bryan mentioned that he follows the Kp index (or is it the K index?), and when that value indicates that the Aurora Borealis is going to be visible further South, he drives about an hour North, toward Steven’s Pass, to watch the “show”. That sounds awesome, so I figured “what the hell” and drove North, toward what my GPS said was Steven’s Pass. I never got there because it ended up being a bit far (not an hour). I did, however, see the foggiest place I have ever been. 75% of Highway 2 was filled with fog. And not that wimpy fog. No, this stuff was as thick as molasses. So thick, from 10 feet you couldn’t see anything. Unless it had a light attached to it. I took some pictures and uploaded them to Flickr. Nothing interesting, really, just some foggy store-fronts. Keep in mind that this was around 1-2am, so (a) nothing else is open and (b) it’s pitch black. I wanted to take a look at the sky, but to see it properly meant turning off my car and throwing myself into complete darkness. Yeah, nothing like standing alone on a dark road with a windy forest around you.
  • This weekend is weird: I don’t have any work to do. So, I spent a very pleasant day in Seattle. I finally visited the Seattle Art Museum and walked around Pike Place Market as it was closing up. Photography isn’t allowed in the museum, but I did take pictures everywhere else. Those are uploaded as well.
  • The Art Museum has a very nice restaurant on its lower floor. I went there after I covered the first floor of exhibitions and was getting sleepy (not a reflection on the museum). I was pleasantly surprised to know that they actually have happy hour from 3-6pm every day, with all the food being just 5$. The Korean-style ribs I ordered were the most wonderful thing I’ve tasted all week! They alone are well worth the trip and the time spent looking for parking.
  • Since I’m writing this entry late on a Saturday night, I can include my weekly commentary on the PostSecret cards.

PostSecret stuff:

girlfight_smaller.jpg

Hahaha, that’s hilarious. Reminds me of a ‘Frasier’ episode where Martin and Daphne freak out people in an elevator by talking about committing crimes. Or the Seinfeld episode where George and Jerry pretend to be gay: “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

ring_smaller.jpg

Ha, suits you right. Personally, I feel that everyone is entitled to privacy, even from one’s Significant Other. Hell, maybe there should be rules similar to those used by the justice system: anything discovered during an “illegal” search is inadmissible. “You found the video from Steve’s bachelor party? Well, since you conducted an illegal search, that evidence is now inadmissible. Which means that you can never bring that subject up as a negative. Ooh, I like these new rules.”

pro-con.jpg

Dump the grandparents, keep the boyfriend: (a) they’re racist assholes, who cares what they think? (b) he makes you happy.

It seems that every single week I have something to say about the PostSecret blog. This week, it’s not much, just a comment about the one card.

bff.jpg

No matter what my opinions are on movies or episodes of ‘House’, once in a while a happy ending is a good thing. Or, a poetic-justice ending. The more irony, the better.

Some things have changed, both on this blog and off. Here’s a bullet-list:

  • I’ve changed the look of the site. Which is sort of hard to miss, unless you’re reading this through an RSS feed. The different look is to accomodate Flickr pictures. The previous template was about 400 pixels wide, so the default 500-wide pictures didn’t fit.
  • I got myself a camera: Nikon D80. (Amazon link, Wikipedia link) It’s beautiful! So, as I am prone to do, I have gone nuts, snapping pictures like a mad man.
  • To accomodate my new-found addiction, or maybe to fuel it, I’ve got a Flickr Pro account. It comes with unlimited uploads and storage. So far, it’s a pretty good service. They have some issues to work out, like easily setting sets to be public or private (ATM, I think you have to see all the pictures inside a set to be either public or private, sets themselves don’t seem to have a permission flag), but overall I am very satisfied. A coworker said that Flickr has a public API, so maybe I can code some sort of batch-editor for that specific purpose. We’ll see.
  • Oh, here’s the page of my photos: Flickr link. There are private sets, like pictures of my parents, my coworkers or friends. If you’d like to see them, drop me a line.
  • Yesterday, for the first time ever, I went to Belltown at night. Yikes. Finding parking at 11pm on a Saturday night is an experience I am not too anxious to repeat any time soon. But, it was worth it. I went to Umi Sake (link) and was thouroughly impressed and satisfied: the sushi was great (and there was quite a bit of it), the sake hit the spot and the steamed peas are a good starter.
  • Lately, I’ve found myself placing a bookmark every time I see a funny or really quotable passage in the book I’m reading. It’s a good thing these books and bookmarks are electronic, ’cause I use lots of them. Here’s a short list of these passages, taken from ‘American Gods’:
    • “I got a son, stupid as a man who bought his stupid at a two-for-one sale, and you remind me of him.”
    • The song on the jukebox ended, and for a moment the bar fell quiet, every conversation at a lull.
      “Someone once told me that you only get those everybody-shuts-up-at-once moments at twenty past or twenty to the hour,” said Shadow.
    • “The boundaries of our nation, sir? Why sir, on the north we are bounded by the Aurora Borealis, on the east we are bounded by the rising sun, on the south we are bounded by the procession of the Equinoxes, and on the west by the Day of Judgement.” – The American Joe Miller’s Jest Book
    • Shadow had done three years in prison. He was big enough and looked don’t-fuck-with-me enough that his biggest problem was killing time.
    • [Shadow is talking to a raven.]
      “Say ‘Nevermore,'” said Shadow.
      “Fuck you,” said the raven.
    • “CIA”, said Wood. He shook his head, ruefully. “Those bozos. Hey, Stone. I heard a new CIA joke. Okay: how can we be sure the CIA wasn’t involved in the Kennedy assassination?”
      “I don’t know,” said Stone. “How can we be sure?”
      “He’s dead, isn’t he?” said Wood.
    • “There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe that they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”

That’s about it, I think. Here are some of the Flickr photos to finish up this long-overdue blog post.

Experimenting w/ a 2-second shutter, 2

Trying out the new lens, 1

Umi Sake House, 2

The smile

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