November 2005 Archives

Good lord, what was that??

It took five days. Five days for the ecosystem that is my mouth to free itself of the violent shock I had inflicted upon it on this Wednesday past. I can now actually move my mouth more or less normally without too much pain.

I had lasagna for dinner and oh my did I relish pseudo-chewing a little before swallowing it whole. I grinned fiendishly. "I'm still here you bastards!"

A few lessons learnt:
Percocet, a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone is a constipant. (I vaguely remember having this mentioned to me during the post-operation briefing. They really should give that briefing before the procedure. Being under general anesthetic doesn't help much with memory or language processing...) Not only did I not eat for five days ... :p

Acetaminophen when combined with alcohol is toxic for the liver. I did not learn this from experience per se but from poking around on the web. I am immediately switching to Advil for my hangover needs. Anyone have any other insights on pain killers?

Watching samurai movies from the 60's and 70's for 4 days gives you a hell of a hankering for sake, onigiri (rice balls) and chopping people up with a katana. That dentist is on the top of my list right now... ;)
It also teaches you a load of japanese you, as a foreigner, will never need to know: how to yell at inn keepers, how to bet odds or evens at yakuza dice gambling dens, how to say "well well" in a menacing tone.

That curvy syringe they give you for squirting water into the holes in your jaw where your teeth once were... is only useful once you actually start eating again (as opposed to quickly swallowing mush).

Bloodclots! Yum! :p

And most important: life will go back to normal. Eventually. For now, you've got a nasty taste in your mouth and your breath stinks, all the time, no matter what you do.

They're out

So it took about an hour, 3 got pulled. The 4th apparently wasn't worth the hassle. Amen.

The pain killers are doing their job, but I feel like my jaw is wired shut. And oddly I have a headache from watching movies. Go figure. Maybe the percocet is wearing off... time for another pill! ;)

I cannot wait to have a normal meal again.

Construction ahead

Yesterday afternoon, on our way to dim sum in Chinatown, Karl and I drove down Avenue du Parc. At the foot of the mountain, where the street bisects Parc Mont-Royal and Parc Jeanne-Mance, roadwork crews had torn out the sidewalks on both sides.

"This is what the inside of my mouth will look like later this week," I thought and said.

Today and tomorrow will be go-go-go. Between loads of fun client work, IRC meetings and travel bookings, I will need to clean up the apartment, vacuum, do dishes (you don't want to know, ugh) and laundry, stock up on groceries...

Groceries: basically, anything I can boil down to mush or mash up. In other words, fruits and veggies. Two quarts of "fond de volaille" (chicken stock) and I'll be in soups till next friday; bananas, pineapple, soft tofu and orange juice for breakfast smoothies. Oh and yogurt. (writes that down)

I'd hunt for a recipe for congee but I suspect that come thursday or friday night I will be stir crazy and pain crazed enough to stagger my way to Chinatown for a bowl made by that karaoke-singing resto lady. ;)

*Somebody* should lend me a stack of recently acquired DVDs too... just in case, you know, the pain is too much and I can't work... ahem.

Two disturbing

Mark Federman recently posted two rather disturbing entries.

And How is One Certified as Sane?

Although this story is a year old, one of our students brought it to my attention last evening. According to the British Medical Journal (and numerous other sources), Bush plans to screen whole US population for mental illness

Whew, good thing they didn't actually try that. But the fact that someone over there seems to have even thought of it...

and Fallujah - The Hidden Massacre:

The weapon in question, apparently called MK77, is the replacement for napalm that caused so much horrific death and destruction in Vietnam, and was subsequently banned by the United Nations. However, a weapon with precisely the same grotesque and deadly effects, under a different name, is being used by the very country that is loudly decrying WMDs.

MK77 apparently contains "whiskey pete," the military slang for white phosphorus. According to two soldiers who participated in these missions, and now (after being discharged) have supplied information to the RAI producers, white phosphorus incendiary bombs explode on impact and spread a gaseous cloud for 150 metres in all directions. Wherever the gas touches skin, the skin burns immediately. White phosphorus gas actually burns the skin to the bone beneath clothing, leaving grotesque corpses with apparently undamaged clothing. Gas masks are of no use, since the gas melts the rubber, and the skin underneath. If you inhale the gas, "it will blister your throat and lungs, and you will suffocate, and then burn from the inside out."

Nasty. Revolting.

On the upside, Mark also reports:

Over the next few years, I am embarking on a serious (as in PhD-serious) study of the emergence of a new corporate form that is consistent with the 21st century, as opposed to being grounded in the 19th century and the Industrial Age.

I look forward to hearing the results of this study (or follow along on it's progress?)! It's sure to be highly interesting.

Stickers? Pshaw!

Laser etched Powerbook!

/me strokes chin thinking of his new PowerBook which should arrive next week... ;)

via Patrick

"after building up a fan base on the internet"

Sheffield rock band the Arctic Monkeys have topped the UK singles charts with their debut track, after building up a fan base on the internet.

"I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" trumped pop trio the Sugababes after three weeks in the number one spot.

Arctic Monkeys gained a significant following thanks to the marketing power of the internet, and were eventually signed by Domino Records.

Arctic Monkeys were widely predicted to enter the charts at number one.

The band has been communicating with fans almost daily on their [myspace] forum, and concerts have sold out around the UK. The buzz was picked up by record label Domino, home of Franz Ferdinand, who signed them in June 2005.

And to boot... they're actually good. BBC Radio 1 had them on Steve Lamacq's show a bit back:

From groups such as the Gorillaz, the poster-band for the digital age, advancing the possibilities of music and live performance in ways others are struggling to keep up with to bands such as the Arctic Monkeys who are leading the way for the underground. They are all realising the future of music.

Good good. Reminds me of The Streets' song "Let's push things forward" (early 2002).

Thanks for the tip Adrian.

Expression Under Repression

Rebecca and Ethan and a few other of the Global Voices Online team were WSIS in Tunisia this week and today gave a workshop presentation on "Expression Under Repression", despite technically having been canceled "by the authorities".

Very exciting, awesome job gang, bravo!
Ethan and Rebecca (and John and many others I'm sure) have some interesting reports from WSIS.

Look! Up in the sky!

FlightAware. Wow.
(ugly but ... hell there's alot of data, and it is blazing fast.)

How live is FlightAware's tracking and status data?
The data displayed on FlightAware is typically six minutes delayed from real time.
How often does the data update or fresh?
For operational efficiency, the data is being read unceasingly and being processed in spurts. Generally, FlightAware does not receive position more often than per minute. Pages will automatically refresh as appropriate.
Where is this data from?
FlightAware compiles, aggregates, and processes data from a variety of sources including FlightAware's proprietary algorithms providing updated arrival time estimates to offer the most up-to-date and reliable flight tracking data on the Internet with useful and intuitive supporting information.

I tried to register on their public forums to suggest having an archive scheme accessible via dated space URIs. You know, like bogs? So you can point at something persistent reliably. "I was on this flight." (They have a dated activity log, which means they have the data... I don't mind registering for a permalink!)

via Julian Bleeker's flickr stream.

Madonna 2.0

It's flash! It uses email for submission! But it's got tags!
Ladies and gentlemen, Madonna 2.0!

via Karl via Laurent


This is very very cool to me and one of those "duh! of course! simple brilliance!"

Emulating W3C ,tools with mod_rewrite

Basically, it allows a visitor to use their browser's Location input as a CLI (Command Line Interface) to any page on your site. The above-linked example offers only a few of the possibilities.


Just added ,technorati

RewriteRule ^(.*),technorati{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [L,R]

and using Google translation:
,en2de (german)
,en2fr (french)
,en2it (italian)
,en2sp (spanish)
,en2pt (portuguese)
,en2jp (japanese - baaad)
,en2ko (korean - baaad)
,en2zh-CN (simplified chinese - baaad)

RewriteRule ^(.*),en2de{HTTP_HOST}/$1&langpair=en|de&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=/language_tools [L,R]
RewriteRule ^(.*),en2fr{HTTP_HOST}/$1&langpair=en|fr&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=/language_tools [L,R]
RewriteRule ^(.*),en2sp{HTTP_HOST}/$1&langpair=en|sp&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=/language_tools [L,R]
RewriteRule ^(.*),en2it{HTTP_HOST}/$1&langpair=en|it&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=/language_tools [L,R]
RewriteRule ^(.*),en2pt{HTTP_HOST}/$1&langpair=en|pt&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=/language_tools [L,R]
RewriteRule ^(.*),en2jp{HTTP_HOST}/$1&setting=lang=ja|db=T|eid=CR-EJ&eid=CR-EJ&both=T [L,R]
RewriteRule ^(.*),en2zh-CN{HTTP_HOST}/$1&langpair=en|zh-CN&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=/language_tools [L,R]

urban street w[e]ar

urban street w[e]ar:

"Here's what they'll soon be wearing in the banlieues, les territoires abandonnés, of urban France. According to the manufacturers, the Sweat Anticon garment is "simple et élégant comme un sweat à capuche... Que vous soyez graffeur, moche, snow boarder, ou simplement super heros, vous serez satisfait par ca simplicité d'utilisation." Doubt if the rioters qualify as "super heros", but one never knows today."

[A nice little quote from Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Day]

Bad joke, but neat idea! Zip it all the way down! Ninja!
Where's my credit card?

Yuki's t-shirts

Yuki is selling a bunch of her very cool t-shirts...
T-Shirts by MaIL-s:

We still have a lot left from the festival..

men's waseda shirtgirl and leaves

inyou sistersheart!

the limit of my language mean the limit of my worldmade in china

taichilego man

Je dors

La vie est un rêve
et je dors.
Les moments passent,
bons et mauvais,
puis je me réveille.

Je ne me souviens de rien.

Human hands

In the process of clearing up a misunderstanding, Ethan points to a great article by one Justin Mason about cellphone repair stalls in the streets of India. Amongst other things, it speaks to how most people in a consumerist culture regard the articles they consume as "black box" products (buy, seek help to repair and/or discard; "black box" refers to anything which you know more or less how to use and what it's function is but have absolutely no idea how it does what it does, nor how to fix it if it stops doing what it does. For most of us, our cellphone is a "black box".)

More specifically, it points out how consumers of black box products somehow assume that if they don't know how a thing works, surely no one but the manufacturer could possibly know. This is of course total crap.

Let me put it this way:

What human hands can build, human hands can take apart.
What a human mind can conceive, another human's mind can deduce.
Who does which is a question depending on distribution of value (time, money, sentimental attachment, depth of consumerist streak, etc) and occurrence of need.

Even if I knew how to resole my shoes and could afford the time to do so, I probably wouldn't. If I had a cobbler down the street who could do it for n% less than the cost of a brand new pair, I'd consider it...

See what i am getting at?

Local Montreal bands fundraising for Pakistan (South Asia) relief

We are a group of friends organizing a benefit concert on Nov. 11th for the victims of the Pakistan quake.

The benefit event will take place at Sala Rosa (4848 St. Laurent). Danette Mac Kay, best known for her performances at Kiss My Cabaret, will be hosting the concert. The evening will be musically versatile with jazz, funk, rock and alternative bands. The performing bands in order of appearance, will be Vox Crosby, Tempus Fugit, Heavy Traffic and Creature. DJ Guylicious and DJ Steve Lalla will also be playing their mixes throughout the evening and into the late hours of the night.

This benefit is affiliated with Oxfam, with 100% of the proceeds going to their South Asia earthquake relief efforts.

With best regards,
Asma Khan


Friend Hugh started up a neat "sorta Project Gutenberg for audio books" called LibriVox. The project has gotten some good traction and attention - Hugh was invited to the recent Open Library launch shindig by Brewster Kahle - and he's confident that the catalogue's growth is progressing exponentially.

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain in digital format, and we release the audio files back into the public domain (catalog and podcast). We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project. Our objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.

LibriVox is always looking for volunteers, to read and record chapters of books in the public domain, but also to help with other aspects of this growing project: technical (cataloging, social networking, web design, communication); graphics; publicity; coordination of volunteers etc etc... We have about 80 volunteers right now, more than 10 books finished, and we expect to have 30 done by the end of 2005. Right now all our titles are in English, but we hope to have other languages soon. Come help us out.

Up for some reading out loud? :)


On my way home from my last dentist's appointment I got a phonecall. It was them. The first thing I thought, and in fact said out loud was: "This can't be good..."

Before leaving, the dental hygienist insisted on doing a set of X-rays since apparently it had been a few years.

"Well, you've got three impacting wisdom teeth and the fourth one is decayed. You mentioned you'd be traveling as well and so we strongly urge you to have them out as soon as possible."

They told me something similar the last time, 3 years ago, only not quite as urgently. "I'll call you back tomorrow and I guess make arrangements?"

That was over a two months ago. "Wisdom teeth out, yeah right. That'll cost me a fortune!" Well over a grand plus taxes for all four, not to mention the pain and time lost as I roil in agony for days...

My four little horsemen of the Apocalypse have been acting up these past two weeks however, and I'm getting nervous. Not to mention plans are afoot for a fair amount of "being away" in the new year.

Looks like I'm calling my dentist tomorrow.