Monthly Archives: January 2005

Friday Catblogging: Good Omens

catblogging - good omens
It’s not my prerogative to name a stray cat, but in order to have a way to refer to him, I’ve been calling him “Omen”.
In some video games such as the Soul Reaver series, the main character has the ability to climb certain vertical surfaces, and climbable surfaces have a special texture to indicate this property. I assume that to Omen’s eyes my legs appear to be a climbable surface, as he is rather insistent on scaling me. I wouldn’t object, except that where he touches bare skin I break out in hives within minutes—I seem to have inherited my father’s cat allergy.

Our situation has not improved.

I was pretty happy when Rod Paige resigned as Secretary of Education: he once referred to the NEA as “terrorists”, and under his superintendentship the city of Houston covered up dropout rates in an Enron-style fraud. Unfortunately, Bush got to choose his replacement, too.

Margaret Spellings took over as Education Secretary on Monday. So what did she do on Tuesday?
Answer: she wrote a letter to PBS complaining that an episode of one of their children’s shows included a passing reference to a gay couple[.]

It’s going to be a long four years…

Yesterday’s Links

What I might have blogged yesterday, had the network been available:
The 50 Most Loathsome Americans, 2004. Warning: it’s not very polite.
SFGate has a recording of Tasmanian devil grunts. The first thought of Boing Boing readers is “This may be the worst sound ever emitted by a carbon-based life form.”, and the second is “We should make a ringtone out of this,” which they do.
Someone wants to name a New Haven, CT highway after George W. Bush. This is not a terribly popular idea in that area: “We should name a traffic jam after him, not a highway,” said DeStefano, a Democrat running for governor.
I think Bush himself would prefer people not be reminded that he’s from Connecticut, as the Texas thing seems to work for him. It’s an understandable position: when people ask where I’m from originally, I frequently say “Connecticut” despite my Texas roots…
Slate’s obit on Johnny Carson talks about his skepticism of Uri Geller types, something I was not aware of.
Berkeley freshmen are more liberal than ever. This doesn’t really translate to more credibility for liberalism because, well, they’re Berkeley freshmen.

It’s not my fault!

You may have been wondering if this site was simply hiding from the most depressing day of the year. Actually, what happened was that when I arrived at my office yesterday morning, there was an e-mail from the operations manager waiting for me that said:

If you are in Birge you are likely cold and without network connection.

Yes, both the building heat and network were down. (This lends credence to my Murphy’s Law hypothesis about 24 Jan.) This made it difficult for me to read this e-mail, but fortunately I was able to pick up a weak wi-fi signal from somewhere.
I’ve started using my Livejournal page for site status updates during unexpected outages like this, so next time you can check there if you’re curious what happened. It’s the second google hit for “Arcane Gazebo” after this site.

PC Load Letter [Open Thread]

I guess my Google pagerank has increased: I am now result #22 for gazebo (right behind the Wikipedia entry!), which leads to many hits from misguided people.
The West Wing – The Complete Third Season: I just started watching this, so I’ll have to post a follow-up once I’ve seen the whole thing. It starts with a special episode they did after 9/11, which honestly wasn’t very good: overly didactic, it was set up as a lecture on radical Islam delivered by the cast to high school students. However, it did have Samir from Office Space. The first regular episode is more in the show’s usual vein, fortunately.
Smilla’s Sense of Snow: Something else I’ve only just started, so I don’t have anything to say about it yet. But I figured I should mention it, since I’m adding it to the sidebar.
The Futureheads: With 15 short songs (almost all are under three minutes) this CD is like musical popcorn (which is not a bad thing). The best part is definitely the band’s awesome accents. I’m particularly fond of “Robot”.

Weekend Filler: Random Sampling

This was a big blog trend like two weeks ago; I’m late to the party.
Fire up your favorite music player (I used my iPod), load your entire library, and hit shuffle. Then post the first ten songs.
1. Ladytron: cracked LCD (Light and Magic)
2. Stereolab: The Man With 100 Cells (Margerine Eclipse)
3. Blonde Redhead: Ballad of Lemons (Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons)
4. Black Lab: Keep Myself Awake (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Album)
5. The Shins: Mine’s Not A High Horse (Chutes Too Narrow)
6. Christophe Beck, Jesse Tobias, & Joss Whedon: The Mustard (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Once More With Feeling)
7. The Killers: Smile Like You Mean It (Hot Fuss)
8. Muse: Futurism (Origin of Symmetry)
9. The Libertines: Campaign of Hate (The Libertines)
10. Pinback: Non Photo-Blue (Summer in Abaddon)
Fairly representative, except for having two songs from Buffy soundtracks—I really have only those two CDs, it’s not like my iPod is full of Buffy music. (“The Mustard” is just David Fury singing “They got… the mustard… OUT!”; it was very funny if you saw that episode. The Black Lab song sounds like something you’d play at a prom. Actually, maybe that’s where it appeared in the show.) The Pinback song is definitely the best of this selection.
Post yours in the comments!

Consumerist Link Post

No feline visitations this week, so no catblogging. Instead I offer an assortment of unrelated links:
I kept encountering links to Mark Dery’s blog, so I read them. It’s pretty good—start with the post skewering “Not One More Damn Dime Day”.
There’s a new Haruki Murakami book out, Kafka on the Shore. It’s likely to be moved to the front of my reading queue.
By way of Amazon’s (nifty) new Watch List feature, I find a pair of mix CDs compiled by the excellent band Snow Patrol. I’m unfamiliar with most of these artists, but the TV on the Radio song is great, and the presence of The Shins is a good sign as well. (I guess “Fear Divide” is actually “Weird Divide” from Oh, Inverted World.) So maybe I should check it out.
Still more merchandise: Steve Jackson Games is selling games in PDF form online.
A follow-up on the Larry Summers post: Preposterous Universe has an illustrative graph of female physics faculty by country.