Showing posts from June, 2007

Engineers explained

If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it is the ability to concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion of everything else in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers to be pronounced dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech areas have started checking resumes before processing the bodies. Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped up in the lounge for a few days just to see if he or she snaps out of it.


The 1-series is coming!!

I'll take an E30-size car with 240 hp for under $30k, please, Alex :-)

I think BMW finally figured-out that the 3-series was getting a little too big. Supposedly, there's plenty of the previous gen 3-series engineering in this car (as there is in the R50/R53 MINIs). in about 10 years when I can afford a used one :-)

From a beautiful meeting a few days ago...

J-M (with heavy French accent): ...and now vee have zee tree per-son who get ze 'ate wall certification.

J: [raised hand] May I ask a question?

J-M: Cer-tan-lee

J: What's 'eight wall'.

J-M: It is zee next thing af-tur seven wall.

* * *

Perhaps this was one of those 'you had to be there' moments, but dang was it funny! J-M goofing on my old boss. Beautiful.

On "Compilers"


At Georgetown College, I took Compilers, a 400-level capstone course that scared the hell out of everyone. Everyone was like 10 students, because our CS department was that small. However, it was a required course. If you wanted to graduate witha B.S. in CompSci, then you had to have this course.

The prof was Bryan Crawley. Mister Crawley (insert Ozzy reference here). A strange guy, he was without a terminal degree, which made him the bootheel of the Math, Physics, and Computer Science department. The one thing this guy *loved* was compilers--he started introducing compiler-like concepts back in CS 111.

Anyway, the class was pretty boring, but it covered all the bases--using lex and regex's to tokenize, then using yacc to generate the Abstract Syntax Tree, and then writing the C code to do the code generation by traversing the tree. The language we were using was a fairly trivial stack-based affair, but it did demonstrate most of the problems with compillation. In part…

Review: Ghost Rider

Two words: Loved it.


Dumb, enjoyable comic book movie. Not pretentious (a la "Hulk"), nor overlong (Spidey #3).

Any move where a flaming skeleton rides a demonic motorcycle up a skyscraper to defeat an elemental demon is worth at least a look. The CGI looked great, and Cage got to chew the scenery (and co-star Eva Mendes) for a full 112 minutes.

Probably the best part for me is Peter Fonda as Satan, strolling by Cage's motorcycle offering "Nice Bike." Cage's bike is a replica of Fonda's from "Easy Rider"

Father's Day meditation

Happy Father's day to all the men out there.

As I sat in Church today, I was taken back to February 10th, to a particular moment I'd like to share.

* * *

The operation was over. Maria was fine--pink, healthy, and squalling. Whitney was holding up well; I hated to leave her, but I wanted to stay with the baby in her first minutes of life. I gazed upon her as she got her first examinations; the pediatrician said she was fine, with a nice twinkle in her eyes.

I guess they could ID the noobies (never had a baby before) dads. My relief was like another person in the room...I wish I'd had a mirror to look into so I could say, "She's gonna be okay."

This was the moment I came back to in church today, this moment of relief, of the battle being over. That day, the feeling broke over me like a wave, and I excused myself.

I went back to the room, snuck into the bathroom and sobbed like a baby. I've never felt smaller, more powerless in my life. Good when God smac…

In honor of my pal Susan: Blue people

Blue People

Yes, this is an article in Pravda (the former Soviet newspaper) about the blue Fugates from Troublesome Creek, on the border between Breathitt and Perry counties.

Fun times.

Review: "Of Mice And Men"

Gary Sinise's 1992 remake of the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men was long and boring, but strangely compeling. Sinise plays George, a migrant worker in Californa during the Great Depression. George is joined at the hip to a giant named Lennie Smalls, played by John Malkovich.

As the movie opens, we see Lennie and George fleeing from a posse, George has done some very bad thing, and they had to get away, hiding among the reeds in a creek to throw off the bloodhounds. From there, the story revolves around them as they seek work at a Barley farm, doing hard manual labor as they desperately try to stay out of trouble.

Like many Steinbeck pieces, and like the Robert Burns poem "To A Mouse" on which the story is based, at its center this is a universal story told through simple (almost parable-like themes). For instance, an old man has a very old dog that that the bunkhouse agrees should be put out of its misery. The dog suffers through each day, but its the old man&…


From my pal Chris Cool (yes, that is his real name...). His band EYESUPONUS is playing Icthus this weekend

Thanks to all your support and all your votes, we will be playing the
Ichthus Festival in Wilmore, KY this weekend!

The festival is Thursday 14th - Saturday 16th. There are three stages: the
main stage, the Deep End stage, and the Edge stage.

We are scheduled to play Saturday at 3:40 pm on The Edge stage. If you are
at the festival, please come and hang out with us for our 25-minute set. We
wouldn't be here if it weren't for you all, and EYESUPONUS truly appreciates
the love and support we have gotten throughout this entire process. I hope
to see as many of you there as possible.

Props to a man who's known adversity, given it all up to the Lord, and praises him through his extreme talent for music.

Checkin' out 'Safari' on windows

Just downloaded the public Windows beta of Safari from here, and I must say I'm impressed...

It's really fast, and it automatically imported my Firefox bookmarks.

Guess this is apple's plan, eat Windows from the inside out :-)

In other news

My daughter is now 14 lbs, 10 oz, and 25 inches long, and 4 months old.

Back to your regularly scheduled ranting.

Review: "Making Room for Life" by Randy Frazee

Our church Wednesday night group is reading Making Room for Life.

The book extols simple living, but not in the systematic, hair-shirted way others have. Instead, it takes some biblical principles as axioms and wraps modern problems around them. The main axiom is the "Hebrew Day", which you could also rename the "Agrarian Day". That is, a daily schedule defined, as its name implies, by daylight and darkness--daylight is for productive work, darkness is for rest and individual/communal recuperation.

Frazee treats his subject matter like most self-help books do: He analyzes the problems of modern life, then proposes a cure, then proceeds to show how that cure can fit many problems. Frazee's problem is the death of community, which he postulates people need to survive. He does a very poor job of proving his postulation, but I'll let that slide--it's almost self-evident that people need other people. We're social creatures, even if you won't …

CPI chart: 1978 to now

Interesting Consumer Price Index chart, from 1978 to now

Basically, some items are going up much faster than inflation (Cost of college being #1) and some are flat to declining (cost of cars, televisions).

I've got this theory that people are buying more expensive cars because of zero down, 0% interest loans that encourage them to get overextended. This leads to debt-slavery, meaning you become accustomed to always having a car payment, even though that (probably) isn't necessary.

It seems similar to the subprime lending problem: The market for home buyers stagnated, then the Fed lowered rates and sub-prime lenders started financing questionable buyers, propping-up the housing market (creating a bubble, in many cases). If that's true, then the auto industry is headed for the same contraction on a nation (global?) scale.

There's lots of variables, as discussed in my Car Lounge Topic

Review: Night at the Museum

Yes, it had lots of plot holes, but it was light-hearted, escapist fun. I liked it because it didn't take itself too seriously, electing to scream at the audience "Sure, WHY NOT?!"

The special effects are very well done, and the acting's decent, if tounge-in-cheek.

How erlang just blew my mind

qsort([]) -> [];
qsort([Pivot|T]) -> qsort([X || X <- T, X < Pivot])
++ [Pivot] ++
qsort([X || X <- T, X >= Pivot]).

(taken from 'Programming Erlang' by the pragmatic programmers).

That's just...beautiful. Quicksort in 4 lines. Nothing extraneous, just the pure recursive algorithm.

Erlang is bending my mind, but that's needs a little kick every so often.

Van shopping

As we're all a little down about Joey leaving for the summer, I suggested we go test-driving. Whitney's been jonesing for minivans since Maria arrived, and I thought a test-drive of two of these behemoths would get it out of her system, or redirect her at something smaller like a Mazda5.


Her current object d'amour:

That's a Sienna LE.

Dysfunctional Organizations


Teenagers have a wonderful term for this self-deception: “We suck less.” Being less bad is not good. Teens recognize, rightfully, that being better off than terrible is still fairly terrible.