Archive for November, 2003

The Other Side

Monday, November 10th, 2003

Word count: 1080

The Other Side of the Gate is officially up. Many have read the unofficial version of the Stargate/Voyager crossover I wrote for BRAD. Now thanks to Jerie the typos are gone and Sam is even geekier than before.

Feed Me

Monday, November 10th, 2003

Because their link was broken, I was rooting around for the RSS feed at Science Daily. Eventually I found it using the search at Syndic8. I also found myRSS, a great way to make RSS feeds for brain-dead sites (mainly Blogger) that don’t generate their own. They’re just headline feeds, but that’s better than nothing.

So I went on a feed spree. The links are to the summary page at

Here are some other cool RSS feeds I’ve picked up lately. The links are to the actual feeds. You can drag the link itself from Safari to NetNewsWire - very cool!

Population Growth

Sunday, November 9th, 2003

Word count: 1250

I was happily writing a new, more upbeat beginning to my NaNoNovel when I realized I needed to know how many people lived on my planet. Of course, I consulted Google, where I found a nice overview of human population growth. Slightly wackier and more interesting was the exponentialist homepage, which features the 6 Billion™ population game, extensive discussion of population growth models, an explanation of The Rule of 70, and some nice tables of actual population numbers for particular growth rates on this page.

The scariest link I found was to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Whatever you do, do not let these people near your top-secret frozen smallpox stores.

[P.S.] Jerie helped me with some amphitheater research. Did you know that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is tied for biggest stadium in the world (by capacity)? I didn’t. It was built in 1909 and holds a quarter of a million people.

The Matrix: Repetitions

Saturday, November 8th, 2003

Word count: 0

First of all, a warning: The Matrix: Revolutions contains violence against eyeballs.

I guess this entry will be all warnings. Unless you’re seriously into Rasta Tech, this movie is a waste of $10. On the Rasta Tech upside, there’s a squid invasion of Zion, allowing all your favorite expendable characters to be noble, brave, victorious, and, occasionally, expended. That was my favorite part—still only eye candy, but things blowing up makes better eye candy than Keanu Reeves not acting.

If you’re expecting the deep thoughts of the original, don’t hold your breath. If you want answers to the questions raised in part 2, you’ll have to write some fanfic. If you’re desperately hoping that the Rasta babes will learn to darn already, you’ll be just as disappointed as Veronica was. Matrix 3 is a movie in search of a plot. The beginning meanders annoyingly, and the script twice as laughable as its predecessor, an impressive feat in itself. Veronica had the whole row breaking down in giggles with her. Keanu + tragedy = farce.

I would advise the W. Brothers not to leap into a large project without a good, solid plot ready. That’s what has torpedoed my NaNoWriting for the weekend—I’m beginning to agree with the NaNo critics that a novel written in haste is no novel at all. Movies produced en masse are no great shakes, either.

P.S. I still believe there was a matrix-within-a-matrix.


Friday, November 7th, 2003

Word count: 0

After a heroic push to catch up yesterday, I’ve dropped the NaNo ball again today. But the weekend compensates for a multitude of sins. I find it encouraging to creep up page by page in the NaNo rankings - my best page so far was 26, while normally I hover with the just-caught-up types around page 50. Seema’s on page 3. Go, Seema!


Thursday, November 6th, 2003

Word count: 3450
NaNoWriMo link of the day: Procrastination from

I’ve been searching for weeks for a way to get soundbites out of movie files. I vaguely recalled that DivX Tool (or a newer beta) would extract the soundtrack as a mp3, but I didn’t know of an easy way to work with the results. (By the way, DivX Tool will refuse to open a write-protected file, sometimes silently.) It sounded like I might have to use something complicated like mAC3dec with LAME. Instead, all my problems were solved when I stumbled across a little shareware tool called MP3 Trimmer.

My first soundbites are up in the Repository under GDO and Teal’c.

The Orange Arrow

Wednesday, November 5th, 2003

Word count: 1340

I just wanted to blog for a moment to say how stunningly convenient the orange arrow is in Safari. It’s called SnapBack (see the SnapBack movie), and it’s even more useful than shift-command-left/right arrow for switching tabs. Just click the orange arrow and you’ll be returned to the page where you started. This is great for reading a multipage article and then snapping back to the first page to grab the correct link. Since I open new links in new tabs one SnapBack is all I need, but you can also mark more pages to snap back to (using the History menu).

I had heard that the small-caps support was supposed to be added to Panther, but I’m still not seeing them.

Off-Year Elections

Tuesday, November 4th, 2003

Word count: 1217

I did my civic duty and voted. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to get basic election information when it comes to local offices - yet people complain about voter ignorance. Honestly, I’d know what was going on if this were a real election - the kind that gets actual news coverage.

If you try, you can find out where to vote and even discover your cryptic ward and precinct numbers. It’s not hard to determine who your current elected officials are. But if you want to know what’s on the ballot, information is far more scarce.

Oh, if it’s an election that matters, then the state will at least let you know what the ballot questions are. But if it’s a random off-year election, how do you tell who’s running, never mind figure out the difference between the candidates? My only hope of finding out seemed to be to go to the polling place and have a look at the ballot. Rocky, surprised that we don’t get sample ballots in the mail here in Boston, suggested checking the paper. The Metro is above local politics, and the Globe can’t distinguish between the umpteen Democrat clones running for any office, be it President or Councillor-at-Large.

In the end I had to root through my garbage for the fliers I’ve been throwing out all week, just to see who was running and for what. I discovered that my current councillor has a baby and was up for reelection. That was enough reason to hike all 100 yards to the polling place, where it turned out that there were no dog-catchers on the ballot, just the local councillor and a crowd of Clones-at-Large of whom I was supposed to choose up to 4 names.

If you’re looking for the kind of advice I was, I’m afraid I can’t help you. I still can’t tell the difference between them. But you have until 8pm to figure it out for yourself.

[Update] Here it is: proof that they were all clones.

Emacs Again

Monday, November 3rd, 2003

Word count: 2145 (100 of which was a Stargate drabble)
Helpful link of the day: Trackback for Beginners

My NetNewsWire demo expired, so I’ve downgraded to NetNewsWire Lite and am posting to the blog from the MovableType web interface again. Forty dollars was just too high a price to pay for the convenience of posting from NetNewsWire itself.

On the upgrade side, I’ve built a new Emacs that no longer crashes in Panther. I’ve also forced it to run ispell. I was getting a Searching for program: no such file or directory, ispell error, even though I had installed ispell with fink. Rather than try to figure out what path the Emacs shell process was using, I decided to put a symbolic link to ispell in /usr/bin: sudo ln -s /sw/bin/ispell. Presto!

We’ve Got Drabbles

Sunday, November 2nd, 2003

Word count: 2000

Four new drabbles have been added to the Stargate fic page, and Jade’s award for Purple Comet and another interesting graphic are up on her page.

I’m still typing up a storm for NaNoWriMo, despite Rocky’s words of no nano. All I can say is that most writers need deadlines or they’d never get anything written. Procrastination is human nature, and NaNoWriMo is only a temporary antidote.