Bits Category Archive

There's something in the air

Digitalism - Pogo
It's been quite of a while since i could experience your brightness
Now you've got a brighter smile and i think i'm going to like it
Talking 'bout the better things, you know how to maximize
Everything around you will become super-sized
You have to set up
Away from what matters
And get it prepared

Also fun:
Zdarlight - Digitalism


Not much to say at the moment. Busy as usual. All's well. Carry on. :)

Sir Richard Branson in Casino Royale

Richard Branson in Casino Royale Bond

Noticed him and looked into it. Sure enough, it's Branson.

In 2002 or so I did a mockup of a public access WiFi portal to be used by Virgin that I know he saw. Haw haw.

autoplay off

heh. sorry about that. Karl mentioned it to me the other day and I thought I fixed it. Sometimes forget that every parameter in an object embedded is duplicated (and I turned off autoplay on only one of them).

what am I talking about? The embedded MP3 the other day was playing every time you hit my homepage.

Gomen ne

Music is my...

Grab this nice long mix of last year's great tracks. This is the stuff I have been listening to mostly. This is the kind of stuff that gets me moving in tiny sticky basement nightclubs and swanky undergrounds in Tokyo at 4am, etc...

People don't dance no more, (what!) They just stand there like this, (uh huh) They cross their arms and stare you down and drink and moan and diss (that's right!) People don't dance no more (uh huh) They just stand there like this (yeah!) They cross their arms and stare you down and drink and moan and diss (ok!)

Le Talkie-Walkie

Le Talkie Walkie Keitai
de Serge Gainsbourg

J’avais en ma possession un talkie-walkie
Made in Japan
Il ne m’en reste à présent qu’un grain de folie
Un point c’est tout
J’avais donné le même appareil à celle que j’aimais
On s’appelait pour un oui pour un non
Qu’elle soit dans sa chambre ou bien dans la cour de son lycée
Je l’avais n’importe quand n’importe où

Quand j’entendais sa voix dans le talkie-walkie
J’étais heureux
Jusqu’au jour où elle l’oublia près de son lit
Voici comment
J’étais seul avec moi quand je décidai de l’appeler
J’ai tout de suite compris ma douleur
Je ne souhaite à personne de vivre un moment pareil
En deux mots voilà ce qui s’est passé

J’entendis des soupirs dans le talkie-walkie
Des mots d’amours
Et puis son prénom que murmurait dans la nuit
Un inconnu
De ce jour tous les plombs de mon pauvre compteur ont sauté
Mais je la vois dans mon obscurité
Je vois ses grands yeux beiges ces deux grands yeux couleurs du temps
D’où la neige tombait de temps en temps

J’avais en ma possession un talkie-walkie
Made in Japan
Il ne m’en reste à présent qu’un grain de folie
Un point c’est tout

So out of shape

nike ipod run 2
(sorry about posting these... having fun ;)
And the course I ran, mapped on GMap Pedometer.

run 2 pedometer map
(Funny how mapping a jog like that brings the enormity of Tokyo down to a personal, human scale. If my lungs held out, I could easily run to Shibuya, Shimokitazawa, Naka Meguro, Shirokanedai...)

Warming warning

Hiromi Warming Warning
Hiromy posted this photo comparing the same spot in Niigata one year apart almost to the day.

Last year was unusually much snow; this year, unusually little.
Key word here is "unusual".

Alternate use


Not jogging, but a leisurely evening with friends visiting an exhibit and ChinaTown in Yokohama. (Train rides of course not account in distances.)

The iPod frequently "paused" the "workout"--sensing prolonged periods of immobility--hence it's shortness. The trip lasted from 5pm to 10pm.


A general statement:

"When people buy a toaster, they know it's probably not going to blow up when they plug it in. But when they buy a consumer device like the Nike+iPod kit, they have no idea whether the device might enable someone to violate their privacy. We need to change that."

from a very specific article about the fact that the Nike+iPod device broadcasts an unencrypted signal readable in a 60 foot radius. Brilliant. :)

Anyways, I am looking for any signs of "cracks on the smooth edges" of the end-to-end controlled "solution" that is the Nike+iPod offering, that would potentially allow the coupling of GPS data somewhere along the process, preferably during the activity being captured, i.e. running or general out-and-aboot-ness.


Been wearing camo pants ($30 @ Uniqlo) for the last 3 weeks. I am suddenly comfortable with the idea of patterns on my legs.

Subtle, ton-sur-ton patterns. Hmmmm...

Aside, I was looking for "digital camo"... I didn't know where I had seen it or how I had gotten the idea of wanting some. Turns out it is used by the Chinese Armed Police. So, it's not so much "cool" as it is "a reality in our times". Lameness or coolness perhaps hinges on intent.

i.e.: say you go and get some digicamo piece of clothing. If your intent was purely to "look oh so cool", in other words, "trying to be cool", it would be lame. If the intent was "see this pattern, recognize this pattern, it is a pattern of oppression", then you could get away with it. Of course, how do you communicate your intent in such a situation? People who know me know that I would not in a million years consider the Chinese Armed Police anything remotely positive, but for the billions of other people out there, how would one get the get across?

I am starting to learn the languages of fashion*. It is fascinating. It is mass communication and one to one whispers, individualization and group identification, extremes of culture agglomeration and fractualization, all in one and moving in real time with us, always and everywhere.

# To give shape or form to; make.
# To train or influence into a particular state or character.
# To adapt, as to a purpose or an occasion; accommodate.

Jesus, Anders... this is South Korean Military training camo from the 70's-80's. Look familiar?

Hahaha this is NOT going on my back.

Ok apologies for the garish styling of this post. The nature of fashioning, in the early stages, is always messy. ;)

this is the time on sprockets vere ve ... pump yoo ahp

2st run, Jiyugaoka

After Jan called me a weakling in that heavy german accent that could only remind me of Hans und Franz ("you are litta giwly maan! we are gonna pump j00 up!"), because I said it was too cold to run for me, my lungs start to hurt yada yada... my pride took over, grabbed my inner geek and forced me to get this stupid Nike+iPod gadget to work.

So I stuck the sensor under my insoles and went out. The thing finally worked (it didn't when i first got it and yes I lugged it with me out here).

So above is my quick run. 1.07km in 7 minutes and 8 seconds.

My lungs are on fire and I think I need to lie down. Girly man in-deed. ;)

Oh, right, the reason I humiliate myself so here with this is: look at the graph above. It maps directly to my coming across intersections where I had to slow down, as well as the hilly terrain around here. Oh and I sprinted the last 100 meters. My legs were getting cold. :p

Oh and here's the XML data the iPod created for my run:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
		<distance unit="km">
			1.07 km
			6:36 min/km
			<title><![CDATA[(don't) give hate a chance (st]]></title> 
<![CDATA[(don't) give hate a chance CDM]]>
	<goal type="" value="" unit="">
	<snapShotList snapShotType="userClick">
		<snapShot event="pause">
		<snapShot event="resume">
		<snapShot event="onDemandVP">
		<snapShot event="stop">
	<snapShotList snapShotType="kmSplit">
		<extendedData dataType="distance" intervalType="time" intervalUnit="s" intervalValue="10">
			0.0, 0.0111, 0.0264, 0.0476, 0.0851, 0.1209, 0.1562, 0.1918, 0.2254, 0.2626, 0.2816, 0.2964, 0.3129, 0.3294, 0.3456, 0.3616, 0.3765, 0.393, 0.423, 0.4596, 0.4955, 0.5296, 0.5631, 0.596, 0.6101, 0.6277, 0.6424, 0.6582, 0.674, 0.6927, 0.7293, 0.7657, 0.7944, 0.8285, 0.8453, 0.8612, 0.8755, 0.8914, 0.9215, 0.9592, 0.9983, 1.0298, 1.0483

What the font?

I got an email this morning from "zazaaaaaaa" Azamit:

Hey u
Would u know anybody that can help me find the name of this font

Azamit - active?

Daah, I thought... I *hate* font searching.

Is it Helvetica? No, no, it's something rounded.

AG Book Rounded? No the "a" is wrong:
AG Book ROunded

DAAAAHH I hate this!

Hello... what's this? "What the font"??
I uploaded the PNG Azamit sent me and... wow. it broke it up letter by letter, asked me to verify it had guessed the right letters... and pow: VAG Rounded Bold:
vag rounded

I sent Aza the result and she replied in her fashion:

Je te déteste par passion
You fucking rock.....& I fucking mean it

hehehee. Love you too ;)



all actionable. and these are not related to my main client/project. e-mails from that are sorted into 5 other folders, all with lists similarly long.

Stamen hiring

Stamen Design's most recent "Hiring designer" posting is almost as insane (but right on) as any "hiring!" post I've ever written in my head (yeah, I've done that, a few times).

We want to see that you are comfortable making connections between visual presentation, information organization, and enabling technologies. You'll need to know and be willing and very able to learn a wide variety of web-related applications and languages, and find joy in moving seamlessly between them: css, actionscript, photoshop, illustrator, flash, etc. The word "etc." is a key part of our work. Digital material is our clay; it's important to us how it flows.

We're less concerned with how long you've worked than with how good you are. You will need to have been paid to do good work; the skill that comes from delivering work for money can't be learned in any other way. At Stamen, you'll be asked to provide everything from initial sketches to finished product, and lots of it.

Stamen works with flows of real data: online user interest, GPS positions of taxis, shipping container traffic flows, 50,000 people nationwide gathered online to express their political views. We've often found it easier to build something than to comp it in Photoshop (YES! YES!). Our design challenges are less about font choice (Helvetica is the font choice) and more about clarity, movement, and slickness. We seek to delight with our work.

Love it. Did Eric write this? It sounds like him. :)

p.s.: Mike arrived safe and sound and is downstairs sleeping the deep sleep of 17 timezone jetlag.

Mémoire courte

Je ne me souviens plus de ce que je croyais.
Tant mieux.
Beliefs are memories twisted out of shape by desires.


Being indecisive gets you nothing.
You may not always know what you want, and you may not always be sure you can handle it. But it's a safe bet that it's better to find out than to always wonder and regret.

Haha: "Choose life!"

Hrmm, from the same site:
# It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live. [Roman Emperor Marcus Aelius Aurelius (121-180 AD)]

# If you love someone, tell them. For hearts are often broken by words left unspoken.

# A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.

# Try a thing you haven't done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time, to figure out whether you like it or not. [Virgil Thomson]

beyond legit

talkin smack

Im going to have to get some klaxons, huh
i was just listenng to some.. not bad... trendy
new rave, here I come!
shudder hmm their cover of justin timberlake is not bad wow. very cool
hehehe dick in a box ?
HMV describes Klaxons as "acid-rave sci-fi punk-funk" sorry what?? acid rave? sounds like fuckign emo to me!
you haven't seen that justin timberlake video?
er... no?
or are you sorry-whatting "acid rave" ? =)
weird how J-Timbl seems to be developing a legitimate musical career
well to be honest... he's not "bad"
right, exactly
it's just that he's in that hyper-marketed vortex he's got that Madonna level legitimacy...
transcend-itimacy :p
what was he part of? new kids? menudo?
um n-sync er, n*sync
n-sync? never heard of them.. they like mili vanili? ;)
better, even!
hahaa so see he does this VERY well
who what now?
he integrates hip-hop with electro and a tinge of indie white boyness
ah yeah
and sells it at mass market
now I have to go download some timbl
hehehehe i think it's legit just don't fess up to it
'scuce me... i gotta go buy a white suit and thin ties
I've been tormenting my coworkers with mid-80's Iron Maiden, I'm just JT will be a step up
Powerslave & Seventh Son are great albums =)
jesus. tiga is such a cheeky bastard.

1 minute english

This morning, I picked up Jeremy, my erstwhile assistant who had been backpacking around Delhi for the last 2 weeks, at Shinjuku station.

As soon as we boarded the Yamanote train, heading for our connection at Shibuya, a Berlitz commercial came on on the advertisement/information screens: "1 Minute English!"

These ads are, by rule, hilarious (check out the german coast guard one if you haven't already seen it; "hallo? vat are you sinking about?"). They usually feature a young foreigner in a suit giving a very quick english lesson.

Today's phrase: "have a cow"

Jer and I sort of stared in disbelief, stunned for a second before cracking up. A moment later, they give us a context, in which such a phrase might be useful...

"If I go drinking tonight, my wife will have a cow."

Welcome to Japan Jeremy. :)


twit (twÄ­t)
tr.v., twit·ted, twit·ting, twits.

To taunt, ridicule, or tease, especially for embarrassing mistakes or faults. See synonyms at ridicule.

  1. The act or an instance of twitting.
  2. A reproach, gibe, or taunt.
  3. Slang. A foolishly annoying person.

twitter twit'ter n.

Here in Quebec, calling someone a twit is quite a serious gibbing:
"t'est une ostie d'twit, colisse!"


Forgot, way back when, to point out one of the nice and playful linguistic corollaries in the whole Web 2.0 / Esclavage 2.0 (Slavery 2.0) metaphor rant.

In french, the master of a domain (DNS?), the guy who essentially and ultimately benefitted from other's free labor, could be referred to as "Seigneur". Now, while that normally would translate to "Lord", or "Sire", the etymology being latin "seniorem", meaning elder, phonetically Seigneur sounds a lot like saigneur. Which means "bleeder".

As in "bleed the fuckers dry."


Updated string 2 color

I needed to update my string to hexcolor function to also check the luminosity before returning a color cause I was often getting colors too bright to be legible when applied to text on a white background.

It now takes an optional $luminosity parameter. The default is 150 (0-255, the lower the darker).
It returns the first hexcolor that passes the test. If it runs thorugh all 5 possibilities without finding one, tough luck, it returns the first one in the array. (Ideally it should then test for the closest hex to the luminosity cutoff and return that but eh... I have other things to do! ;)


Waiting for my laundry this evening, I went for a walk down St-Denis to find some food. Walking buy a "smart games" boutique, I decided to duck in and see if I could find...

Quarto is the game Chicken had me play with him for an hour or two on that flight from San Francisco to Tokyo last May.

Quarto is a board game for two players invented by Blaise Müller.

It is played on a 4×4 board. There are 16 pieces, each of which has four attributes:

1. large or small;
2. red or blue (or some other pair of colors, such as light or dark stained wood);
3. square or circle;
4. with or without a hole.

Players take turns to choose a piece which the other player must then place on the board. A player wins by placing their piece to make four pieces in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row, all of which have a common attribute (all small, all circular, etc).

Quarto is distinctive in that there is only one set of common pieces, rather than a set for one player and a different set for the other. It is therefore an impartial game.

In other words, the object is to be the first player to line up for pieces that share a characteristic (color, height, shape, hole-ed-ness). That means you are tracking multiple variables and extrapolating multiple possibilities. Now, to twist it around some, you pick pieces for your opponent to play. Any progress towards achieving your goal is purely thanks to oversight of your opponent.

Loads of fun and incredibly challenging. I ordered the travel size.

Words of wisdom

Mike couldn't remember the source, but I needed to take this down one way or another:

  1. tell em what you're going to tell em
  2. tell em
  3. then tell em what you told em

However, now that I think of it, I do this, all the time, and people hate it. Can't blame 'em I guess. ;)

Everything part II

continuation of previous post

They say there is opportunity in chaos. The chaos they speak of exists generally outside, and on the fringes of, "The System". Humanity, for better or worse, seeks always to order, structure, the chaos and benefit form it somehow, bringing it into "The System". This is how we, as a society ("The System"), move forward.

Intrinsic to this ordering, is contextualizing. It is what it is all about. Contexts are signifiers, icons, containers... parts of a system.

Find the context that you are interested in, even passionate about. Learn as much of it as you can, and never stop learning about it.

Then, go out to fringes and look at what's new in the chaos. What new elements and attributes are relevant to your contexts. Identify them and think of how they can be made useful, valuable to yourself and all around you.

The chaos is the environment. The world in it's myriad evolutions and revolutions. What new elements and bits has a shift in technology, medium, politics, economy, etc... created.

Then, just do it. But do it because it's what you must do, need to do, want to do. Everything else will come.

Create a culture of design

This is exactly what I hope to set up around me, for my eventual team, modulo all the emphasis on games/gaming:

pasta and vinegar � Creating a culture of design research

1. Create a space that encourages design research: “the office space we inhabit is filled to bursting with games, toys, and other play objects”
2. Build a design research library: ” retail game titles, books and graphic novels, DVDs and videotapes, magazines (we have many subscriptions), board and card games, and toys of all kinds.”
3. Attend and create events: “GameLab has attended films, exhibits, conferences, and other events connected to games, design, and popular culture / we also host our own design research affair”
4. Let them teach
5. Encourage side projects: “We encourage our staff to pursue personal projects.”
6. Create contexts for experimentation: “from time to time we create opportunities for our staff to undertake experimental, noncommercial projects as a form of design research. ”

The original full text is here: Creating a Culture of Design Research - Eric Zimmerman

It's nothing new, and makes total sense: people need to be in envirornments that stimulate.

So you wanna buy a computer eh?

From Revenue Canada:

If you lease computers, cellular telephones, fax machines, and other equipment, you can deduct the percentage of the lease costs that reasonably relates to earning your fishing income. You can also deduct the percentage of air-time expenses for a cellular telephone that reasonably relates to earning your fishing income.

If you buy a computer, cellular telephone, fax machine, or other such equipment, you cannot deduct the cost. You can deduct CCA and interest you paid on money you borrowed to buy this equipment that reasonably relates to earning your fishing income.

That's the Fishing Activities tax information page. It's the same in the Business and Professional guidelines, but that's only available in PDF. (Somewhere in there. ;)

And if it's an Apple yer after:

Tax advantages ("Fair Market Value Lease") The monthly lease payments may be fully deductible as an expense. Consult your financial or tax advisor.

Yup yup yup. Just waiting for CoreDuo MacBook Pros. Thanks Steven for pointing it out! You'd mentioned it before, but now I get it. ;p

WoW pwned Joi's island

(screen cap of Kula island in Second Life)


This afternoon, Boris zipped into downtown, to return a pair of heavenly soft flannel black wide-set chalkline pinstripe slacks because, frankly, he just can't get into slacks. Even though they were a size too small, the feeling of nakedness was all a bit too much like walking around, well, naked. And besides, it made him feel like a dad. His dad, more particularly.

He also realized they were far to expensive to have been a sensible purchase for him in the first place.

Standing at the cash he decided to not only return them but instead exchange them for another pair of the much cheaper Corduroy pants, the exact model were bracing his hips at the time. When you find something you like, get two. He'd get credited for the balance.

Finding a pair on a rack placed in such a way as to indicate they were not particularly hot sellers, he got close to make sure it was indeed the same black color as the beloved pair he was wearing. At first glance they weren't but comparing side by side, they were. And to him, they seemed a deep "almost black" gray.

"Oh if you'd like we just got in some new pairs, these ones in black!" exclaims the sales girl.

"And what are these?" asks he.

"Oh those are the navy blue."

Navy blue? ... Funny, now that she'd mentioned it, here under these fluorescent lights... Though in all honesty, he would have sworn, in the light of the sun--and the light available in his apartment--these pants had seemed more a very dark shade of brown, which had always bothered him a bit.

"Here's a 32! try them on!"

"Oh my, yes... these are black." he thinks. Truly black. The light just falls into them. They are a black hole in the shape of pants, though he suspects the only thing that will be sucked into them is cat hair, duvet feathers and dust. :p

"These are nice." he says, having tried them on, "Narrow cut, softer material... more snug. I'll take 'em. Thanks."

Corduroy's etymology, corde ru roi in french, though in french corduroy is "velours côtelé" (ribbed velour), is something to do with "King's Clothes." This has always caused a cognitive dissonance for me with "the Emperor's new clothes." Sort of like how when Joe waved his hand backwards over his head last night and said "it's all water under the bridge" when he meant to say "it's all behind us."

Internet Love

- Ping?
- Ping.


Phoenix If I Ever Feel Better

They say an end can be a start
Feels like I've been buried yet I'm still alive
It's like a bad day that never ends
I feel the chaos around me
A thing I don't try to deny
I'd better learn to accept that
There are things in my life that I can't control

They say love ain't nothing but a sore
I don't even know what love is
Too many tears have had to fall
Don't you know I'm so tired of it all
I have known terror dizzy spells
Finding out the secrets words won't tell
Whatever it is it can't be named
There's a part of my world that' s fading away
You know I don't want to be clever
To be brilliant or superior
True like ice, true like fire
Now I know that a breeze can blow me away
Now I know there's much more dignity
In defeat than in the brightest victory
I'm losing my balance on the tight rope
Tell me please, tell me please, tell me please...

If I ever feel better
Remind me to spend some good time with you
You can give me your number
When it's all over I'll let you know

Hang on to the good days
I can lean on my friends
They help me going through hard times
But I'm feeding the enemy
I'm in league with the foe
Blame me for what's happening
I can't try, I can't try, I can't try...
No one knows the hard times I went through
If happiness came I miss the call
The stormy days ain't over
I've tried and lost know I think that I pay the cost
Now I've watched all my castles fall
They were made of dust, after all
Someday all this mess will make me laugh
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait...

If I ever feel better
Remind me to spend some good time with you
You can give me your number
When it's all over I'll let you know

It's like somebody took my place
I ain't even playing my own game
The rules have changed well I didn't know
There are things in my life I can't control
I feel the chaos around me
A thing I don't try to deny
I'd better learn to accept that
There's a part of my life that will go away
Dark is the night, cold is the ground
In the circular solitude of my heart
As one who strives a hill to climb
I am sure I'll come through I don't know how
They say an end can be a start
Feels like I've been buried yet I'm still alive
I'm losing my balance on the tight rope
Tell me please, tell me please, tell me please...


another silly IM convo...

a DHL delivery bounced today and looking at the tracking it left Sacramento yesterday...
i didnt order anything
maybe it's...
a brocoli pizza from Arnie!!!
Esti de Calisse de Sacramento!
seriously tho
NOBODY ships as fast as DHL... i've NEVER seen a package leave the states and hit my door in 24hrs...
and you know why?
I'll tell you why...
I know 4 people who uses them - and they're all smugglers.
you see? you SEE?!
WHO knows more about shipping shit than smugglers?!?!
pros man, pros.
A friend of mine sent illegal satellite dishes to [Xxxx]... via DHL.
I. Don't. Understand.
they are fast though
but expensive
that's cause they pay off customs guys.
there you go.
It's so crazy it just might be true.

GVO has won the 2006 Knight-Batten award for innovations in journalism

Big congrats to the team.

This is a pretty big deal. The Knight-Batten awards were created by combining the existing "Batten Awards for Excellence in Civic Journalism" and a new endeavor by the Knight Foundation, of James Knight Batten, founder of Knight Ridder, to promote innovative uses of new technologies for journalistic endeavors:

Seventeen years ago, James K. Batten, the respected chairman and CEO of Knight Ridder, urged journalists to adapt for the future and to "invent new ways to make the public's business rivetingly interesting -- and much more difficult to ignore."

"We need a fresh journalistic mindset rooted in our past," he said in 1989, "but shrewdly and tough-mindedly in touch with the realities awaiting us."

This bodes well since we're just getting into our stride, tech and design wise, with major new (innovative!) developments and total redesigns coming up.

Very exciting.

GVO is what I spend 80% of my time on. For us to win this award makes me feel warm inside. Thanks Ethan and Rebecca for the opportunity to be part of it, and the whole gang for all the hard work and dedication.

Borisu in Korea

Gallery Borisu-Seoul
Karl found this gallery/café in Seoul.
In Japan I am sometimes called "Borisu". It's a written language thing.

Audio moblog halted

Since I got this Nokia N80 with WiFi, I've felt the very strong urge to use it to do multi-media mobile logging, and alot of it. Like, every moment of the day... ;)

Yes. Mmmoblogging. Deal.

Anyways, so I thought it would be easy enough to use the Recorder software on this thing to record myself pontificating on tawdry platitudes (or, more interesting perhaps, conversations with friends) and upload via email whenever I'm in WiFi range.

Problem 1: "Recorder" only records for 60 seconds, and saves in a format (AMR) I cannot seem to find any sort of Python-based transcoder (MP3/AAC) for. (Python because the mail2entry script on my server is in Python.)

Solution: Alon Software's "Dictaphone". $25 and I have to wait for S60v3 version. Already emailed inquiring. :p

Problem 2: Aforementioned moblogging script is specifically made for image moblogging, insuch that it creates thumbnails (involved process!) and eventually will include Aaron's filtrs.

Solution: A phonecall (yes, I actually called someone. amazing ne?) to Francis, the maintainer of the moblog (can you believe he refuses to give me shell access to his server?!), essentailly begging him to ASAP make a version of the script which will allow me to post audio files to another weblog setup. Any day now. ;)

So I get home and figure "well, if yer gonna do this, we should do it properly and cover as many bases as we can in one dev push." That means I need to spec it out, outline it, UE diagram it... UML... etc... ;)

Any day now. :p


This morning I received a parcel from Toys'R'Us. It was my copy of ElectroPlankton. What a treat.

electroplanktonTrying to relax on the couch this evening, I noticed in one of the modes you could turn on a display ("A" button) which indicated the angle at which you had tilted the leaves on the plant which cause the little thingies to bounce around just so and make nice sounds.

I immediately cleaned up my angles. ;)

	\150 /45
	\150 /55

"This would make a great ringtone," thought I.
Plugged the Nintendos DS Lite into the Powerbook, sparked up GarageBand, fiddled and fuddled a bit... et voilà.

To note: most of GarageBand's "Instruments" were syhtesisable based on the input. I guess they are filters? This sounded real mean as "Guitar -> Modern Rock." Imagine if you could get MIDI out of this thing?

Chu chu rockets


Just because I came across it in my video archives (dated April 2000). An old TV commercial for a Sega Dreamcast game. At the time it was one the first things that made me really think "whoa, what's going on over there in Japan?"


Beach Borg

Beach Borg

"Everybody's Photos" on Flickr popped up this one. In it's "next" box was this one.
The juxtaposition seemed obvious (even if my execution is terrible... ;)

ooookay, back to work. :p

Video blog

So I've started playing with Vimeo since I got the email-over-WiFi from my mobile to work... ;)

You will notice the new thumbnails in the left side navbar on the homepage here.

So far, clips from the counter of a japanese restaurant in Montreal, in the middle of the Pine Exchange reconstruction and the inside of the BoLab.

Video quality is middling. Aw well.


(seen here, via Michal)


(from Steven)


Odd thematic concurrence

From the Montreal Craigslist "Pets" listing:

- Pet caretaker for hire (Plateau)
- 2 cats for adoption - moving out of country, please help (montreal)
- BEWARE: A cat killer/torturer is loose in Montreal! (Montreal)
- Sweet cat about 2 year old needs a home (Montreal Downtown)


Emma's ad would have to read:
"Psychotic clawed feline with experience hurting people, looking for cat killer/torturer: bring it on!"


You have nice boots

 Bag Photo Syoruda Sh203 Sh203S U

Actually, new bag. Thank you for suggestion of Sudahanp, Hiromi.

(The title of this entry is an inside joke between some old old friends of mine back home. It is said with a heavy french canadian accent and is à propos nothing. Just something one of us said once and we all found funny. In fact, the one who uttered the phrase has been nicknamed "Belles Bottes" every since.)


So if you see this, it means the move went well and we are live from my new server.

Thoughts on this morning's train ride

There are 6 billion kinds of people in this world...

Fast food slows you down.

It is incorrect to say "A was drowned by you and you were drowned by B". More correct would be: "A allowed herself to be drowned by you and you allowed A to be drowned by you, and you allowed yourself to be drowned by B and B allowed you to be drowned by her." The key difference here is that responsibility lies with all parties. Miscommunication, lies by omission, letting things go... dreaming, hoping... desiring... These are things we all do, naturally, normally, and must keep an eye on. Sometimes we make a mess. Clean it up and keep going. Love is love and not fade away.

"Para" in parasol/parapluie/parachute, parasite, paramilitary come from both Greek and Latin(?? some confusion here since all references cite "from old spanish" or "old french" which while latin based languages, also had influences from greek, especially after the Renaissance... Anders? Any ideas?) and slightly varying semantics. Neat.

Now that she's away, I will switch my daily schedule up, back to something more "normal" for me (not to say waking up everyday at 7am doesn't suit me mind you): considering I have barely a week and a half left here in Tokyo (yes yes I am going "home", June 12th... ostensibly...), and I am still inundated with work, I will try to work it out so as to ... oh wait no that won't work... There are enough people who I want to see before I go to be busy every evening from now till I go.. ack... drat. Ok I see what I do...

work work work.

My sister is in the hospital. I don't know how many weeks pregnant she is but it is way too soon. Apparently her uterus is too thin and her cervix is already open? She must lie in bed and cannot move, at all, to do *anything*. She is hoping to hold on at least 4 more weeks. I think this is insane but of course I hope it all works out for the best. Gambatte kudasai, Sofi-san to Maksu-sama!!

Exotic flavor

From: Dich Thuat
Date: May 31, 2006 12:13:49 PM JST
To: boris@

you're getting email from vietnam... sweet...

spam from the 'Nam

oh, hehe
From Ho Chi Minh... to the Trash Bin.

About the fitness ball-as-desk chair

I'm about 6 foot tall. For a comfortable seating experience I recommend the 55cm ball, inflated to be quite firm; or the 65cm ball, left kinda squooshy.

They key being to have your knees bent at around 90 degrees when sitting upright.

That is all. For now.

Oh and I am back in Tokyo as of 16hrs ago. Very interesting neighbor, and new friend, on the flight. Happy as hell to be back here. It felt very much as a homecoming. Oddly.


Dammit. Montreal's green again.
As am I with envy...

Inspiring, and well written, obituary

Last night, after returning to the Stamen offices with Eric Rodenbeck and his wife Nikki to pick up my bag, we ended up in a raucous and rolling conversation while finishing off a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

At one point, Eric produced this past Sunday's New York Times and read for us the following obituary.

May 7, 2006 Burt Todd, 81, Entrepreneur Who Dreamed Big, Is Dead By Margalit Fox

Burt Kerr Todd, an entrepreneur, adventurer and international deal maker whose quixotic dreams and outlandish schemes more than occasionally paid off, as when he introduced the postage stamp to the tiny kingdom of Bhutan or resold the gently used Rolls-Royces of down-at-the-heels maharajas at a handsome profit, died on April 28 at his home in Ligonier, Pa. He was 81.

The cause was lung cancer, his family said.

The son of a wealthy Pittsburgh steel, glass and banking family, Mr. Todd combined the larger-than-life appetites of an F. Scott Fitzgerald hero with the lust for adventure of a 19th-century explorer. His exact job defied description, though it entailed both the businessman's art of the deal and the confidence man's gift of the gab.

Officially, Mr. Todd was president of the Kerr-Hays Company, an importing and manufacturing concern, now based in Ligonier, that he founded in 1963. But even before that, and for many years afterward, his portfolio included advising heads of state — mostly of small countries in Asia and the Pacific — on attracting American investment. At one time or another, Mr. Todd counted among his friends the sultan of Brunei, the king of Bhutan and the premier of the island of Mauritius.

A dazzling raconteur, Mr. Todd never lacked for material. He flew airplanes and maintained an impressive collection of vintage cars. He hunted leopards and rhinoceroses and was once treed in Bhutan by a rampaging elephant. He knew everyone, could sell anybody anything and was for years the bane of Pittsburgh long-distance operators, who were obliged to patch him through to all manner of obscure places at all manner of ungodly hours.

Impulsive, expansive, incurably restless, Mr. Todd might bundle his family into their little jet on a moment's notice. His sense of direction was not the best, and they did not always wind up where they intended. It rarely mattered. Wherever Mr. Todd turned up, something exciting was bound to result: a marvelous story, a new friendship or perhaps a deal involving rum, seaweed or other interesting commodities.

"There was something like bat guano," his daughter Laura Todd Widing recalled in a telephone interview on Friday. "It's good for something."

Mr. Todd finessed his way into graduate school at Oxford despite having just a year of college; trekked hundreds of miles through Nepal and was the first American to visit Bhutan, the last of the forbidden kingdoms of the Himalayas.

He once tried to found a small kingdom himself, on a deserted coral reef in the South Pacific. Its entire infrastructure was to be built on postage stamps. His dream was dashed, he later said, after Tongan gunboats blew his island paradise to ruins.

Except for the gunboats, all of the above is true, Mr. Todd's daughter said.

Burt Kerr Todd was born in Pittsburgh on May 15, 1924, the son of Kirkland W. Todd and the former Kathryn Kerr. By his own admission an indifferent student, he attended the Choate School before enrolling at Williams College. After the United States entered World War II, he left to enlist in the Army Air Corps, where he became a radar instructor.

When the war ended, Mr. Todd decided he would attend Oxford. His academic record, or lack thereof, did not deter him. Oxford told him that enrolling was quite impossible: the only official who could authorize it was just then on his honeymoon in the remote Norwegian countryside. Mr. Todd flew to Norway, tracked down the official and promptly enrolled. At Oxford, his friends included a future leader of Fiji and the future queen of Bhutan, the first person from her country to study in the West.

Mr. Todd graduated in 1949 with a master's degree in law. Two years later, chafing in his family's glass business in Pittsburgh, he received a cable from the Bhutanese royal family inviting him to visit. There was no air service, and few roads. Entering Bhutan from India, Mr. Todd became one of the few Westerners ever to see the country. His account of his journey appears in the December 1952 issue of National Geographic.

In 1954, Mr. Todd married Frances Hays, known as Susie, and the couple honeymooned in Bhutan. Besides his wife and daughter Laura, both of Ligonier, Mr. Todd is survived by another daughter, Frances Todd Stewart, of Pittsburgh; a brother, Kirkland W. Todd Jr., of Nashville; and five grandchildren.

Retained as an adviser by the Bhutanese royal family, Mr. Todd was asked to help expand the country's economic base. He suggested stamps, and in October 1962, Bhutan issued its first regular postage stamps.

In other work, Mr. Todd helped Fiji to make rum and Singapore to market seaweed. In India, he persuaded maharajas in financial straits to part with their Rolls-Royces, which he resold to Western collectors. (One car, a convertible Phantom III, came with a pop-up silver chair to accommodate a footman.)

But it was for the Bhutanese stamps that Mr. Todd was best known. Serious philatelists dismissed them as curiosities, and indeed, under Mr. Todd's direction, the stamps grew curiouser and curiouser. Some were printed on silk, others on plastic.

Most famous were the "talking stamps," small rounds of grooved rubber that could be spun on a phonograph. One played the Bhutanese national anthem; another, a spoken-word stamp, had Mr. Todd delivering a very concise history of Bhutan.

Perhaps in tribute to his Pittsburgh roots, Mr. Todd also had Bhutanese stamps printed on steel. They had a distressing tendency to rust.

A life well lived. Remember to always do what you feel you must, and can. And feel as if you can do anything. Because you can.

Like sell Bhutan on the idea of talking stamps.

Thanks, Eric, for sharing.

(A Brooklyn Life agrees)

Say what?

According to the Rosetta Project, which is "Building an archive of all documented human languages" (though judging from the casing of their banner blurb, proper english escapes them), no one in Canada speaks english or french. Funny... I though those were our official languages. The OLF is gonna be pissed. (Oh sorry, the OQLF now. I guess some french people complained.)

Also, no idea what "German, Pennsylvania" is, but I know I grew up speaking bavarian-austrian.

Juuuust nit-picking. :D


Tetris Fuck

I know you know how this feels.
(thx Stevey. Everyone, go see Stevey, he blogs neat stuff! Like robot sharks with frikkin' lazers! And that guy who makes ski area maps!)

Peach, plum, pear

from "The Milk-Eyed Mender" by Joanna Newsom


We speak in the store
I'm a sensitive bore
you seem markedly more
and I'm oozing surprise

But it's late in the day
and you're well on your way
what was golden went gray
and I'm suddenly shy

And the gathering floozies
afford to be choosy
and all sneezing darkly
in the dimming divide

And I have read the right books
to interpret your looks
you were knocking me down
with the palm of your eye

So now now now now now now
now nownow now now...

This is unlike the story
it was written to be
I was riding its back
when it used to ride me

And we were galloping manic
to the mouth of the source
we were swallowing panic
in the face of its force

And I am blue
I am blue and unwell,
made me bolt like a horse.

Oh now now now now now now
now nownow now now...

Now it's done.
Watch it go.
'n you've changed some.
Water runs from the snow.

Am I so dear?
Do I run rare?
And you've changed some
peach, plum, pear,
peach, plum

re: 101 word short story contest - 9/6/95

"The year after the Last Century"

Nobody expected not to wake up; so nobody didn't. No one thought it was strange and, even if one had thought of it, no one thought anything of it. The fact was, that nothing really exceptional had happened, and consequently no one noticed.

No self-elected prophets foresaw or preached "it", and so, no warning was heard.

So the moment passed.

It happened somewhere, it happened everywhere. It continued, unmeasured and unaccounted for. That i show it was, is and will be; until someone notices it and gives it one hundred and one names.

(found in a box)

Notes from a bookstore visit

(CCA Bookstore, summer 2005)

Aberrant presupposition & Aberrant decoding, Umberto Eco

Eco reworks the standard communication model by expanding the message as a text subject on the side of the addresser to presuppositional influences (private biases, orienting circumstances, ambiguities relating to the encoding of expression and content planes, the influence of subcodes, suppositions of shared knowledge) and for the addressee to 'aberrant' presuppositions (private biases, deviating circumstances, aleatory connotations and interpretive failures, as well as the appeal to subcodes and the actual depth of the addressee's knowledge), all of which are further subject to uncoded external influences.
As Fiske explains: "Aberrant decoding results, then, when different codes are used in the encoding and decoding of the message." [See Note 3] He continues: "This is encoding [by the young man] that fails to recognize that people of different cultural or subcultural experience will read the message differently, and that in so doing they will not necessarily be blameworthy." Aberrant decoding is the exception in narrowcast codes, but the rule in broadcast codes since the range of subcultural experiences is simply too great to guarantee any univocity of meaning.

Kuwayama's taxonomy of logos and logotypes & Weckerle's 9x9 taxonomy. Sadly very little of either of these people's work is findable online. I'll have to go back to the bookstore.

Peirce: representamen, triadic relations.

A Sign, or Representamen, is a First which stands in such a genuine triadic relation to a Second, called its Object, as to be capable of determining a Third, called its Interpretant, to assume the same triadic relation to its Object in which it stands itself to the same Object.

Fasces. Good to know.

Not my father's encyclopaedia

What should I do with my complete edition Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1961, white leather bound, gold leaf trim, which I inherited?

Perhaps ship it off and donate it to Jimmy Wales... or Tim Berners-Lee... or Google... ;)

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

Here we goooo

Bopuc at Joi's

So like... where is everyone?
(I will write more about this later... seriously weird stuff.)

My black iPod nano for sale

Yup. One month old black 4Gig iPod nano. Perfect working condition, all original packaging included. Reasonable offers welcome. (To keep in mind: I paid $300.00 CND + tax, only 4 weeks ago)

I'm gonna hold out for someone local who I can meet up with and have them inspect it. Guess why? (I'm not saying it is unreasonably "seasoned", I am saying some people are sensitive to such things... ;)

Reasons for selling:

  • I have my father's hands. This thing is just too small.
  • I realized I was fooling myself thinking I'd be happy with 4 Gig of music. Must have 60! ;)


Stevey sent me this a few days ago and I chuckled and thought to myself "yup, that's how I file files on my computer" and moved on.

Michal just wrote about it with some deeper pondering.

Some quick thoughts of my own:
In the physical world, I too employ a time/space/marking system. Though I have very few physical things which need to be filed or acted upon (mostly bills really), I have at any given time 3-4 piles going on my desk and on the shelf behind me. On my left; urgent, to my right; not so urgent, far right; sometime later, behind me; done. Generally these thigns stay in their envelopes and the sender's logo is my identifying mark. Sometimes I'll scribble to add a mark. ;)

But like I said, *on my computar*, well... in a nutshell: I have over the years settled on a small-set "taxonomy" which doesn't need much modifying. "Clients->Work", "Clients->Invoices", "Photos->Mine", "Music->Downloaded", etc. Then, where needed, I sort the view by date. I use Mac's color labels here and there sometimes, red for "done", blue for "keep an eye on this", green for "we are ON!", the colors' meanings dependent on context (Pics don't need to be kept tabs on right?).

Thinkign about it now though, a good combination of simple "bare essential" taxonomy/category/folder structure, using system metadata (date created, date modified) accomplishes much of this Noguchi system. "Spacial" hinting can be achieved with placing shortcuts to things in various places on your desktop or in your file system.

Hrm. Interesting.


A good artist is conscious of his environment.
A great artist is unconscious of himself.

On *isms

Cynicism is, IMHO, the worst *ism there is, for it is the only *ism that cannot be cured with more education.

That said, here is a nice set of guidelines for civil discourse.

Safe travels gaucho

So, Steven's probably sitting on the tarmac at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport right now, beginning a 2 month trip to Cuba and, I suspect, to the core of himself.

No, he's not going to go sit on the beach. He's brought with him his bicycle, his Powerbook, his dSLR... and all his knowledge and experience in IT, networking, web communication. Not to mention a desire to do some good.

Over dimsum yesterday, I asked Steven exactly what his plan is. At least, where is going to start, what's he going to do.

Well, first he's meeting with a leading cuban paediatrician in hopes to have cuban participation in, an international research networking project Steven undertook for the Pasteur Institute.

He's also going to go visit the Linux user group at the Universidad de La Habana. They have an Ubuntu-based Linux distro, which apparently comes bundled with pre-configured Jabber client and RSS aggregator. I have a feeling he'll be dropping some of his ace WiFi-fu on them, having established his own community WiFi network in his hometown.

And then he's off to cycle all over the island, staying with families in their homes along the way. Apparently Cuba is extremely well suited to such cycling trips, with excellent roads and government subsidized rooming houses all over.

I made him promise to blog and photolog as much as he possibly can.

Bonne route mon ami. Be safe.

Dude, yer waiting on a Dell!

Monitor update.
So, they are out of stock and estimating another 5 days before they get them in. Then, if they do, it's a few more days to get it shipped to me.

To make matters worse, this info is not available to me via my online account chez Dell; an elaborate and sophisticated e-commerce platform designed exclusively, it seems, to allow me to login, set payment options and find the customer support phone number...

To add insult to injury, yesterday at Staples/Bureau-En-Gros I saw the Viewsonic VP2000s 20" TFT, with more resolution (1600x1200 as opposed to the Dell's 1680x1050), rebated to $699. My Dell order totals $689.00 taxes and shipping in, so the VS would be over a hundred dollars more... but I'd have it here, now. That's worth a hundred bucks.

Good thing I am not at all up to snuff on my TFT technology (though a comparison of listed tech specs, Dell/Viewsonic, leads me to think the Dell is higher quality), nor have the time to be, cause otherwise I may just have bought it. :p



golden-red sheen.
a flame cracks and licks the darkness
one last time

I can see!

(merci Francis!)

The so-called leader in e-commerce computer sales failed to send me the expected email confirmation, and upon logging back into the e-commerce site, it told me it had no record of my order. Calling the 1-800-WWW-DELL phone number displayed throughout the site in large bold characters in the header, brought me to a dead-end where I needed to write down another 1-800 number (no auto forward!). Calling this number got me only to customer tech support. When informed that I was checking up on an order, I was promptly put through to the orders department. The very nice and friendly rep there then proceeded to tell me that all was well, but you see this is their busy season, back to school and all, and they are really busy and I should give it 24 hours before I check my account again.

People... it's a website. With a database. And Dell just lost, what is it? $20 because I called to find out something that could easily have been displayed instead of "we have no record of any orders from you." Busy season my ass! Who made your much vaunted e-commerce system that can't actually handle a high volume of orders?

Anyways, the price is right, the human beings I interacted with were nice and courteous and helpful... but damn, Dell's system is a joke!

Fingers crossed they don't deep six my order.

Update 2:
Subject: Dell Canada Online Order Confirmation
Estimated Arrival Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Rock. On.

Enoshima Jump

Enoshima Jump, originally uploaded by mmdc.

Jim's really hard on his photography skills. Needlessly.
Wonderful shot.

Be careful what you ...

I'm somewhat late delivering a project. I'm workin workin workin to get it done. The plan was to wrap it up tonight and start migrating parts before morning. I've been pulling all nighters for the last 2 months so it's normal for me now.

About an hour ago I got hungry so I ran out to get a shish taouk a few blocks away. On my way back I noticed a Hydro truck pull up. For no particular reason, a thought shot through my mind: "heeey, you could just ditch work and relax for once... say there was a power failure!"


20 minutes later I am bathed in darkness. This is NOT funny. I immediately ran dow to that Hydro truck, where I found the two technicians just about to roll away. "Can we help you?" "Um, yeah! The whole block is out up there!" "Yup, we're doing major network upgrades. It'll take all night. Weren't you warned?" ... Grrrrrrrr ...

So here I am at Laïka, the hip café-turned-bar-at-night, sitting in the corner while semi-decent house music is being spun. I've got my computer, my mouse, my external hard drive, all here. Needless to say, progress will be hindered without my second monitor.

The worst part is that Karl was here all night and I told him I couldn't hang with him because of my work, but I saw he got home just before my wifi died. Bleh.

Attention Siobhan

You just sent me an inquiry via my contact form. But you did not supply a valid email address.
(I need to pop in some kind of validator...)

Long ride

14 miles... 21 kilometers.

Olympic Stadium and the "Biodome" geodesic dome on Ile Ste-Helene.
We stopped for japanese dinner at Osaka on way home. :)

Global Voices

So, we launched our redesign of Global Voices this evening. We absolutely had to "let 'er rip" today for various reasons, and as such we've allowed a few loose ends which I need to nail down over the coming days.

I've had tremendous fun building this site. A lot of coding, and a lot of learning, and a lot of good interaction with Rebecca and Ethan. Good stuff all around and I look forward to continuing on the site.

Which I'm having to get back to right now in fact...

(Doh, Gen, in the rush to get it out, I forgot to take screenshots of the old version!)

Slow motion cold

I've had a raw sore throat for well over two weeks now, and horking up small wads of mucous from the back of my throat. At first it was just annoying and, in typical fashion, I just bore it and grinned.
It got more pronounced and more annoying over the last 4-5 days.
This morning I woke up with a full-blown chest cold.

Some things that are mystifying me:
1- Why am I seemingly getting sick so often lately? My diet and health are otherwise really good. I exercise, and eat well etc...
2- I quit smoking 3 months ago. I haven't felt any kind of physical change since, other than I don't stink and I have somewhat more energy. If anything, I have felt more sickly since quitting. Oh and I gained 5-10lbs unceremoniously. :p

The worst part is, I don't have the time to be sick. I don't have the time to spend nursing myself, nor do I have the time to wait for 4 hours at the local CLSC for a doctor to sit me down for 5 minutes and write me a prescription for antibiotics without looking me in the eyes. I don't think I even want to then be told "take this poison for 2 weeks and then you'll be fine." I want to be fine NOW, and I want to STAY fine, dammit. hehehehe

I just spoke to my mechanic (hah! no no, my car's been sick too and IT'S gotten the attention it needs) and mentioned how I was feeling and he said he's had a sore throat for a week too... is this going 'round? A slow motion cold virus?

This has been an entry titled "Whining out loud."

Contact form snafu

I just realized my contact form was busted. I received three blanks from it recently and just now decided to investigate - and fix.

Please, if you've tried contacting me via it in the last 2 weeks, give it one more go.

Sorry! :)

Been busy much?

I rarely talk about work here - and I will soon have a place to do only that - but I figure I should mention some of what's been keeping me busy lately.

Summer started with a bang really. On short notice I was flown down to Los Angeles to consult for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. That initial meeting was good and I have a funny story I may share at some later point. In any case, things with them are progressing slowly. While in Los Angeles, I also met with friends Scott Fisher and Justin Hall regarding the rebuilding of the University of Southern California's Interactive Media Department's website/weblog. That project officially started last week and I should be working on that instead of procrastination by blogging right now.

Shortly upon my return I got a call for help from Joi. Angelina Jolie and Gillian Caldwell from Witness were in Sierra Leone with some human rights recommendations they were to present to the president there. They had set up a TypePad weblog and needed it to look a bit better than just a plain default template. Voila.

Seeing they were infested with comment and trackback spam, I contacted and got authorization to install, setup and maintain spam fighting tools for both Lawrence Lessig and David Sifry's weblogs. Redesigns are pending and possibly forthcoming... ;)

Ejovi Nuwere, who's personal weblog's templates I cleaned up a little while ago as well, asked me to completely rebuild and redesign his InfoSecDaily website. In the process, it sorta became "our InfoSecDaily site"... more to come on that. (For the curious, take a glance at the original, before I got my paws on it.)

Later this week, hopefully, I am also launching my total rework of the Global Voices Online website. I am *really* happy to be working with the fantastic Rebecca MacKinnon, for who's North Korea Blog I also did some work, and awesome Ethan Zuckerman. They are doing some really important stuff at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School and I am happy, honored and humbled to be allowed the opportunity to help. I have a lot of ideas of things we can do together going forward...

(I've been meaning to reduce my use of such words as fantastic, awesome and "totally mindbending man", but in the above case they are warranted.)

Michael will tell you that I may pursue something with Witness as well, but I say we'll see how I do this...

Ok! Back to work! Slackers!

Test two

007, originally uploaded by gzcjun.

how come you're not in the pics?
no idea but my agent is SO fired.

Update: I would explain all this and why I am even leaving it up, cause it was a test and I happened to use this particular picture, which I had happened to be looking at because *someone* sent it to me... anyways, nekkid ladies are always nice to look at I suppose but some folks are sensitive and I can respect that so I have removed the image itself but will leave the post as a memory for myself cause it was funny. :)
Less funny is what Adriaan did to it. :p

Just a thought

(to be expanded on)

Is it not entirely possible that we are rapidly approaching the point in time where we will no longer have the resources and/or organizational stability to save ourselves from our then inevitable extinction?

In other words, the point where it will no longer be possible for us to escape this planet before we strip it entirely.

Drunk with our own greed, we fought while the boat sank.


Hah, I just noticed the theme in my last two posts. What a totally unconscious coincidence...

It's all in the eyes


Happy birthday Murad. :)

Shady fellows in the environs

what is aloft, George currency?
Oh, thou art aware how we proceed in this district.
How goes?
oh, merely striking the vixens and pleasing the strumpets...
Very well; carry on good fellow!
may I "notetaker-connected-by-electric-means" this conversation?
Indeed, daring would not I be to forbid thee from archiving this, our humble dialogue, within thy records.
(lightly edited)

Yes, Minister

It always seemed rather strange to even myself that I thoroughly enjoyed watching this British political satire situation comedy. The writing was simply superb, the characters equally profoundly witty, when not nit-witted, and the clever pace helped via laughter, one's supper along it's digestion route.

B's in hoity-toity complicated english mode...

I think the only other person I've ever met who let alone knew the show, but also enjoyed it's ludic linguistics, was Anders.

This evening, however, I stumbled upon a weblog simply titled " - a weblog in logic, philosophy of logic, and the philosophy of language". (I think, Anders, you will like this too.) Amongst the very, um, yes, how shall I say, profund (not a typo) insights, et cetera, were these choice quotes from the aforementioned television programme:

Sir Humphrey:
If local authorities don't send us the statistics that we ask for, then government figures will be a nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
They'll be incomplete.
But government figures are a nonsense anyway.
I think Sir Humphrey wants to ensure they're a complete nonsense.
Sir Humphrey:
It is so difficult for me you see, as I am wearing two hats.
Yes, isn't that rather awkward for you.
Sir Humphrey:
Not if one is in two minds.
Or has two faces.
Sir Humphrey:
A clarification is not to make oneself clear, it is to put oneself in the clear.
Sir Humphrey:
East Yemen, isn't that a democracy?
Sir Richard:
Its' full name is the Peoples' Democratic Republic of East Yemen.
Sir Humphrey:
Ah I see, so it's a communist dictatorship.
Personally I find it hard enough to believe that one of us was one of them, but if two of us were one of them ... two of them, all of us could be ... um could be ... um ...
All of them.

More great quotes from the show here, linguist breakdown of The Simpsons here...

Yeah check this out:

Episode: Mountain of Madness, Episode # 812 4F10
Deixis in personal pronouns:
Homer has brought his family along on a business team-building exercise in the woods, and Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie are stuck in the National Park Service building while all the employees are off team-building. Bart is standing in front of a Smokey the Bear statue, who has an electronic voice and a little 'quiz' to administer. Bart and Smokey have the following exchange:

Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"Who is the only one who can stop forest fires?
(examines response panel, which has two buttons, marked "you" and "me". He presses "you").
Smokey: (electronic intonation)
"You pressed YOU, meaning me. This is incorrect. You should have pressed ME, meaning you.
For those not familiar with "Smokey the Bear", his admonishment, or catch phrase, is "Only YOU can stop forest fires!".

Brilliant. Good commentary on UI design as well right there. :)

Seekrit... aaagent man

Dav says he feels Agents will make a comeback. I agree 200%.

We should talk Dav... ;)


Spam Email

Very clever.
Spam email I just received. One big link.


Steven dreams out loud about where he'd like to be someday:

I managed to hitch a ride on the floating city 'GCS New Mosul' by agreeing to give my presentation 'Safeguarding your cyberprivacy - without slowing down your interface' at the S. Hussein Center for Social Justice, coordinates 7B (just next to the Cuisine Bangkok Thai restaurant). Holomsg me if you happen to be in town on board!

As I sit here in the helicab on the way to the port, I think back and can't believe that just 10 years ago, only the business elite and technorati were able to travel anywhere in the world on a whim. How did they go on about things like how the world was getting smaller or the "Global Village" when you actually had to have money to take advantage of it?

A fun, tongue in cheek, but not entirely impossible "blog post from the future". :)

I'm not gullible

It's just that when you don't believe anything, everything becomes plausible/possible.

Water on Mars
I hate Japan

Firefox behavioral mystery solved

So, I had mentioned a while back that I was seemingly unable to get Firefox to run on my system. I had tried everything and basically given up.

Then, "miraculously", one day, it worked. Now, I haven't switched from Saf "Memory Hog from Hell" Ari, mainly for little User Experience things I've come to take for granted, not to mention my large URL autocomplete history and reeeaaams of passwords/cookies...

I found the culprit. I had been running CodeTek's excellent Virtual Desktop app for a long time. Without some sort of virtual desktop, I would surely kill myself. For some reason, at some point a few weeks/months back, I switched to "Desktop Manager". It seemed smaller and quicker. It was missing a few features which I was starting to really get annoyed at the lack of, so just now I decided to switch back to Virtual Desktop. Bam. Firefox started chocking again. "No frikkin' way" sez I.

"Yes frikkin' way" sez Google.

if you are a fan of Mozilla's Firefox browser and/or Thunderbird email client, you should know that versions 0.8-1.0 of both are incompatible with CodeTek Virtual Desktop 3.1. I've heard mixed reports about other windows managers, but it appears that Firefox works fine in many window managers other than CTVD. The problems include an inability to type text in the Firefox windows, focus on the windows, or use Firefox in any way. For quite a while CodeTek will not even reply to emails on the topic, but it appears they have had a change of heart and now say they are testing a fix and hope to release new version (3.2) by early March.

I can only hope CodeTek keeps it's promise and releases 3.2 soon so I can get back to using VirtualDesktop, which I paid for, and who's drag between screens and easy "dammit which desktop is that window in again? Oh right there it is!" features make it a lifesaver...


Warren from Plank just emailed to share the info that a former coworker of ours, Jen, was in Phuket, Thailand, on "the day". Her personal account.

I dropped it off

I dropped off my car at the VW dealership.
(The passenger side window dropped into the door again and my mechanic said I might as well go to the dealer. This apparently is a VERY common problem for Mark V VW Golf and Jettas. If you own either of these, never open your windows when it is very cold. The mechanism just snaps.)

I dropped it off and I bundled up; minus 20°C out there.
I dropped it off and began the long walk home; about 15 blocks to go.
I dropped it off and immediately relaxed and thought clearly of what I needed to do today.
I dropped it off and took an hour and a half for a thirty minute walk.
I dropped it off and enjoyed St-Hubert, Mont-Royal and St-Denis streets; for the first time in a long time.

I dropped it off... and I wish I didn't ever have to pick it up again.

Morning of a new year

Dsc 2407
Boulevard St-Denis, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Happy merry


"Je ne discute pas le principe, je dis simplement ceci: ce n'est pas le moment."
"I am not disputing the principle, I am simply saying this: now is not the time."

Uhhh... Accordion Guy?

Joey... I think you have some serious competition...

McRorie One Man Live

Inexplicable mushy thought of the day.

The greater your fear of losing me
the tighter you hold on to me
the more forcefully I will implore you
to let go.

Hold me as if we are never to be apart
so that we may never be.

Gah! My apologies to the world for posting such malformed tripe.

Open Source Religion

"Release early, release often."

(disclaimer: many of the facts - names of cultures, places, people and dates - are not terribly known to me. I am not a scholar, I'm a hobbyist.)

There exists a fantastic Open Source project that has been under active development for well over five thousand years. I shall refer to it here as "The::WoRd", a cleverly played acronym for "Theologism - Western Religions".

Though there is disagreement over where and when the project exactly started, it is generally understood that various groups of people in various regions of the area we currently refer to as "The Middle East" started it. Each started with the basic goal of somehow explaining "The Great Mystery of what is Life and Death all about". (One would assume that prior to the beginning of the project, this involved a lot of gesturing, humming-and-ahhing, and head scratching... as is still very much the case today...)

In the initial Alpha stages, each group just sorta started from scratch, using their own language, and built up terribly buggy frameworks. Some quit, some crashed, others got picked up by local governments seeking to streamline their processes (as that whole project was also just beginning...).

Over time, developers from many of these efforts would sometimes meet, presumably at Bird-of-a-feather sessions or Foo Siege Camps. They'd swap ideas, what worked, what didn't, "how did you fix that problem?", etc. Every now and then some intrepid soul would come by and talk about standardizing and everybody would blink and take another sip of their coffee. Or whig out and kill him. Depended.

Some of these projects had neat codenames like "Zoroastrianism"! Still in use today even. Sumerians, the Ebla culture, the Mitannians, the Hittites, indus civ... a few amongst a seeming plethora.

Trade was booming thanks to the development of city states (hellooo government!), and one group seemed to move around quite a bit back then. Babylon, Egypt... all over really. It was during one of their mass migrations, or rather Exodus, that one of these aforementioned standardizers, fellow by the name of Moses, had a blazing vision and declared: "Enough of this Golden Bullsh!t."

Behold The::WoRd version 1.0. Codename: Judaism. Ten rules, two stone tablets and One God.

And thus begins a long process of unifying codebases, standardizing language (more or less... this whole project is amazingly language agnostic...), calculations, revisions, revisions, revisions, annotations, etc.

Every good Open Source project eventually branches. New needs, new features, new bugs. Heh. A brash young hell-raiser, Jesus, raised as a carpenter and so a real practical, hands on kinda guy, figures he wants to simplify it all. Things had gotten out of control, feature creep and whatnot. He felt the original power was hidden in too many doodads. (He wasn't to be the last.)

At this cross-roads, we are introduced to The::WoRd version 2.0., Codename: Christianity. What a killer app, w00t!

The rest of the story is fraught with many many more branches, revisions and all the holy wars and bloodshed such things normally entail. Not long after 2.0, one Mohammed shows up and declares he's got an even better idea and releases 3.0: Islam. Lean, mean and even more flexible than it's ideological inheritance, Islam is a smash hit with all the hip kids who are into this "new" thing called "open communication" and spreads like wildfire, or, if you prefer, like fresh hummus on a pita. (Mohammed's words, unlike his predecessor's, were immediately written down and copied and distributed. A bunch of northerners from Europe swiped the whole Christian codebase, bolted on a fancy, if bloated, GUI, limiting what one could do with it and enforced a monopoly known as the Christian Dark Ages of Silence. Meanwhile, the Middle East became the center of learning and culture; the processing and storage needed to saturate the lines of communication...)

The funny thing is, as a dear friend likes to put it, right around the same time all this started, a couple of chinese figured it all out, smiled and farted.

Headed out

Bopuc Heading Out

to Chinatown for a Pho. Decided to take the camera along and play with some long exposure shots (something I have wanted to do... pretty much all my life...)

Some very nice results. This narcissistic one being just the first test.

Sa photo préfèrée

Picture 1

The Prairies, looking west, MB, 1858
Humphrey Lloyd Hime
1858, 19th century

Mono no aware - 物の哀れ

"Je l'ai toujours sur moi", avait-il dit non sans quelque g√™ne, comme s'il était puéril de garder constamment près de soi ce que l'on a de plus cher..." - "Mokusei!", Cees Nooteboom

How am I not myself?

- Do I bring my own chains?

- We always do...

I ‚ô• Huckabees

[this is aaron]

Because, while I can respect it, Aaron's quiet, "I'll be over here" demeanor drives me batty sometimes, I am going to take license and point out his freshly published résumé.

While I'd love to expound on how he's actually publishing his résumé, via XML and all sortsa crazy parsing voodoo, I'm afraid I haven't the slightest clue. So I'll just point you to his CPAN profile.

I'd *really* like to go on with some real "Happy-Happy Joy-Joy boosterism" of Aaron, but I'm not sure how much he'd let me get away with. ;)

Someone give this supremely intelligent and gifted man some work, lest I start a company just for him!

Hrm. ;)

email UI

email has been much on my mind again lately. The fact that no email reader (client, MUA, etc) does things the way I'd like is frustrating, and many powerusers I have spoken to agree...

This evening I hooked up with Karl again, and over some green tea and a sticky thai rice desert with mango, we discussed, amongst other things, email UI. For the nth time. Semantic Web ideas were fresh in our minds as Karl had given a presentation on it and RDF earlier this morning.

Now in researching for this post I remembered and retrieved two email projects which actually DO much of what I want. However one was merely an IBM research project (they do SO MUCH awesome stuff at Big Blue!) and the other is, well, temperamental. I will mention them again later after I have described what I have in mind.

So, imagine this:
You don't manage your email anymore into folders/hierarchies. Your email client just stores everything into a dated space - like weblog archives, "/2004/10/21/21.14.49.mbox" - just to keep things nice and structured, in small parcels so as not to choke the OS and the Indexing mechanisms, and to have unique IDs for and URIs to every email.


The email client gives you a few configurable view options:

  1. Smartlists (Entourage has always had this, and it is coming in Apple 2.0)
    Smartlists would filter based on rules you derive from data already part of every email your client archives. Date sent, Date recieved, status, presence or absence of attachment, junk-mail headers, etc...
    "show me all unanswered email from the last 3 days"
    "show me all emails with attachments" (this becomes a pseudo filesystem - Cory would love this)
    SmartLists are basically saved searches for known/established meta-data and character strings.

  2. AddressBook/LDAP integration/contact-based aggregation + analysis
    i.e. a list of all contacts, whom you have email to/from, sorted by most recent/frequency/volume + Bayesian(/Bloom?) filtering/learning/weighing (don't show me this contact, drop priority on this sender)

  3. Unlimited and customizable TAGS (à la the current sweethearts)
    You assign tags to emails by maintianing a list of them and dropping emails onto the tags you want to associate them to or using the existing filtering tools - instead of sending it to a "folder" assign it a tag or two or three. (Filters could also influence weight...)
    Filter: incoming From: karl -> montreal, quebec, canada, french, friend, +10
    Filter: incoming From: joi -> tokyo, japan, english, friend, client, +10
    Filter: incoming From: mom -> family, guilt, -5

    The killer feature of this is you can have emails in multiple "categories", whereas previously with folders, you had to come up with a taxonomy - which needed revision every few weeks as your situation/sotial network/needs evolved - and place your email within it. Each email could only be in one folder...

  4. Thread arcs and thread highlighting
    I think most recent email clients do the thread highlighting, but only one I know of (!) implements "thread arcs". With all the above display possibilities, the odds that all or even some emails which are part of a thread are displayed in the same list are slim, making thread highlighting marginally useful, if not outright useless.
    A thread arc (IBM Technical Research Paper PDF), on the other hand, appears in the individual email's display, and shows you that a) this email is part of a detected thread, b) where it is positioned in that thread AND c) allows you to click through the thread history.

Sounds good, no? I think so.

Ok, so I mentioned a few existing developments which have some or much of these features, as well as some of the plumbing.

IBM "Remail"
Remail does much of what I described above and more (calendars, IM...). Instead of tags, it does "collections". Similar concept. As far as I can tell, it is purely an internal research tool. Someone should learn from what IBM has learnt and DO IT.

Zoe is interesting for a number of reasons, but equally uninteresting... The good and the bad are as follows:
a) flat hierarchy
b) indexed / fully searchable (Lucene)
c) Contact sourcing
d) Plays nice with various outside stuff,, Entourage, FTP, Blogger, RSS, etc...
a) Web-based app (u'd think this was good but eh...)
b) in neverending and sporadic development
c) a PITA to install and use properly
d) the developer is a bit of a character I've heard...

Funny thing is that zoe was trumpeted all over as "Google your email" over a year ago. Then Google unleashed GMail. And GMail does tagging...

Other worthy mentions:
Ludovic hasn't updated the main news page recently but the changelog for the "nightly builds" for the most recent one shows he's still working on his very nice MUA which runs on Linux, OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Mac OS X.
Awesome research project for visualizing "email landscape" and "email social network". Not only stunning but useful for the above mentioned Contact listing/visualizing.

p.s.: Yes I've mentioned much of this in the past. Goes to show how important email is to me. ;)

I'm an Iraqiii in New Yooork

Truly silly IM conversation with friend Steven who is of Iraqi descent. We often joke like this, tongue firmly in cheek, well aware of how sad it really is...

Sv: going to NYC on friday
Me: nice! what for?
Sv: "get away" ;)
Me: sweet!
Sv: just for the weekend
Sv: need to clear my mind... haven't been myself lately
Me: stay away from times square then... surreality ground zero...
Sv: hehe yeah i know... i want to redo my cityscape panoramics, get a 360° of the city from the empire state
Me: "hey, you! arab boy... whatcha doing takin pics of NYC from up here??"
Sv: hahaha
Me: :p
Sv: "Canadian is thrown off Empire State Building after bloody misunderstanding."
Me: erch
Sv: You just have to know how to handle these security-guard types...
Sv: Wear a big puffy jacket with your arms inside, and run in circles yelling "ALAHUU ACKBAR!!!!"
Sv: :D

Hrm. Maybe I shouldn't post this...

Lost in connections

Just noticed that in his track "God Only Knows" off of Fantasma, Cornelius samples, or rather, covers a piece of, The Jesus & Mary Chain's "Just Like Honey", which is the closing track of Lost In Translation as the credits begin to roll. In those credits, A Bathing Ape (Bape) are credited as fashion consultants. (The orange camo t-shirt that Bill Murray wears is Bape.)

Finding links for this entry, I realize that the #1 hit on Google for "Bathing Ape" is a link to an article on "A List Apart" (a webdesigner's staple, run by Jeffrey Zeldman) written by buddy Adam Greenfield, who organized the 1IMC, which is one of the reasons I went to Japan last year and where I ended up meeting Joi. I had met Adam in Joi's comments and then in person at SxSW 2003, where I also briefly met Zeldman...

Arrrgh! ;)

Tack this onto my previous entry titled ... omg... this is ridiculous... I couldn't remember the exact title of the post I want to link to here so I googled an approximation of it and add my handle at the end... and guess who comes up.

The mind reels...

Ah here it is: "Meshing storylines from my life".

One hour well wasted. ;)

Addendum: I should add that it was also at the 1IMC that I met a bunch of really great people whom I am very happy to call friends: Jim, Ado, Dav & Mie, Pete, Gen, Jane, Justin...

(I am NOT name dropping!! Just tracing lines!)

Albert's wisdom

"I'm all for good judgment, but bring on the bad decisions!"

"When in doubt, make a mistake."

"Oh yeah? You wanna piece of me? I'm not afraid of you; I'm a REAL fast runner..."


A9 leveraging Amazon

Shopping on Amazon to "cash in" a gift certificate, I notice an awkwardly shoehorned ad at the top...



Boris, since you've been using recently, virtually everything at is automatically an additional π/2% (1.57%) off for you. Collecting this discount is zero effort on your part. It will be applied automatically at checkout (it will happen whether you use the shopping cart or our 1-Click Shopping®). You don't need to do anything to get this discount except keep using as your regular search engine.

Sweet! Suckers! I just checked it out once or twice really... ;)

We don't advertise this additional discount that we give in exchange for using, so if you want your friends to know about it, please tell them. It is probably the only way they'll find out. All they have to do is use as their regular search engine. They should make sure they are signed in to (it should be recognizing them by name) so that we can be certain they get credit for their visit.


While the π/2% discount is a good additional reason to use it isn't the best reason. licenses its web search results from the industry leader Google, and then supplements those results with Amazon's Search Inside the Book™ results. The coolest feature is that keeps track of your search history for you on the server side. To see how this works, do some A9 searches from your computer at work and then sign in to from your computer at home.

Wow! Like frikkin magic! Hahahahaha!

How can we afford this additional π/2% discount?

Pray tell!!

Sponsored links revenue -from the small text-based ads on and search results pages -will help offset costs we incur through the Rewards promotion. With our automatic π/2% discount, we are effectively sharing with you some of the money we collect from sponsored links, i.e. sharing the pi.

Pfffffaaahahaha... Zing! Right over my head! Whatever! Give me my 1.57% off you stingy bastards.

Please use and tell your friends.

Ummm. NO. Oops. i just did...

Thank you

No, no, please! Thank YOU.

Now if only there were some way I could get a cut of everything you all may buy because of this post...


Memories of perceptions

Guildenstern: What's the first thing you remember?
 Rosencrantz: Oh, let's see... The first thing that comes into 
              my head, you mean?
Guildenstern: No--the first thing you remember.
 Rosencrantz: Ah... No, it's no good. It's gone. It was 
              a long time ago.
Guildenstern: No, you don't take my meaning. 
              What's the first thing you remember after
              all the things you've forgotten?
 Rosencrantz: Oh, I see... I've forgotten the question.

"Rosencrantz & Gildenstern are Dead" - Tom Stoppard

My early childhood memories are very scarce and generally fall into the category of "environmental realizations", and more specifically "all is not what it seems/do not rely on mental images" and "justness is a rarity".

All is not as it you may think it.

Growing up in a somewhat isolated area, filled with forests, I would often take a shortcut through one to visit my friends. Sometimes I'd emerge at the Roach's, sometimes at the Reyburn's. This perplexed me no end for a while, until one day I actually watched the path I was on only to realize there was a fork halfway down it.
"Always be aware of your environment. Dummy."

We are not all born under the same star.

Riding on a bus from Port-Au-Prince Airport to the Club Med Haïti through villages built of corrugated sheet steel, watching children bathe in the rain and roadside ditch puddles.
"How can this be? Why do I not live like them, and they not like I?"

Wading about, water up to my nostrils, in the Galt Ocean Resort swimming pool in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I watch an older white boy repeatedly dunk a younger black girl under the water, despite her cries and pleas. I feel a swell of indignant rage as I pluck a tennis ball floating by and bean the sonofabitch square in the forehead. He rushes over and without ceremony punches me in the mouf.
"Hmmm... not quite the resolution I was looking for."

As for this one:

Rosencrantz: Whatever became of the moment when one first 
             knew about death? There must have been one. 
             A moment. In childhood. When it first occured to you
             that you don't go on forever. It must have been 
             shattering, stamped into one's memory. And yet, 
             I can't remember it.

Amazingly I DO remember the moment. However, it was in a dream, or rather a nightmare. "That thing is looking right at me and it is gonna end me." Though it was not shattering and not all that marking, thus did begin a lifelong walk along the fine line between my conscious and subconscious.

Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.

This all culminates in a far more recent memory from ten years ago. I often tell this one to try to relate the confusion that happens when you separate meaning from symbol...

I was working as a dish pig/delivery boy for a Szechwan restaurant that summer. After miraculously navigating my way out on a delivery, I stood at the door of the client, bag of steaming chinese food dangling from my left hand, holding up the delivery slip in my right. The symbol on the paper (the street address, 25) looked very much like the one on the door (also 25), but I just didn't get it.
"These scribbles... they mean nothing to me at this moment..."

*Ding dong*

More thoughts on Björk, Medúlla and the music biz


  1. Previous Björk entry: Björk's Pirate Flag
  2. Bjö Medúlla Interview
  3. This Blog Sits at the: Björk: Shapes, not patterns
  4. - Le chant des possibles (fr)

First of all, Med√∫lla is still standing at the gates of my ear, ringing the bell hoping to get into my head. Melodic, yes; beautiful, yes; easy to digest, no. ;)

Second, as far as being "Avant Garde" or "fresh and new" or "on the cutting edge", lest it be noted that many have done technically the same thing (produced music from "found sounds"), not least of all Björk collaborators Matmos, before and for years now. (Recent discovery - for me - Matthew Herbert produces amazing stuff entirely 100% based on samples and live sound recordings. Check out "The Mechanics of Destruction" for a really conceptual opus.) Of course she may be the first "mainstream" (or ultrapeer) "recording artist" to do this, and she did a sweet job of it too.

The leading edge of culture is like an expanding bubble. Depending how near or far from the perimeter you are, the more or less "new" the artifact seems.

This is not my reason for posting this, mind you. It is just a lead in. ;)

So, we have this person who goes on a family camping trip for her grand parents' diamond anniversary. For fun, around the fire one presumes, they start singing songs; folks songs, pop songs, what have you. "Hmm" she thinks, and she proceeds to get family members to "sing" various instrumental parts of pop songs. Musta been a riot.

Back at the studio, she composes a few songs, pulls out a few she's had lying around, asks various friends to visit and sing little parts and stuff. Thank you! Lock the doors and edit it all together in ProTools (Apple's Sountrack at $199 could do the trick too) for a few weeks...

Now, the only reason Medúlla is sitting on store shelves, in Amazon's database, at the iTunes Music Store, is because it's Björk and that means two things:
a) she has major distribution deals via record companies
b) she has authority as an ultrapeer (established identity, voice, recognized output quality, etc... she's a celebrity)

I am NOT talking down to this. Credit is due and deserved! Totally.

What follows is not influenced by any purple kool-aid I may or may not be drinking at the behest of my current professional environment. It's just a thought. :)

In the above "context" list linked french article, Björk is quoted as saying essentially that she slightly regrets not fully exploring the potential of the process she employed.

Well... "Get back in there girl!" I say.

Take a break from contract requirements. Put some stuff together and start a new project, to further play with all this. While doing that, keep a journal, live on the web (cough weblog cough), have friends contribute to it as well. Keep a photo journal too.

When done, put it online. Seed Torrents, drop into NewsGroups, share it on Kazaa & Gnutella... Slap a CC license on it and let folks download it for free. Put up a PayPal "donate" link, and a few bucks may come back too.

"Why the hell would Björk want to do this?" one might ask. "Why the hell would she not?" I'd answer. Legal issues aside (the only fly in this ointment), it would be an awesome experiment. An extreme test of emerging music industry business models. While hundreds of struggling musicians are trying to use current tools to GET a voice, what happens when someone who HAS a voice uses them? Is it not the point here to get as many people a copy of one's work?

It would be Björk actually waving her pirate flag.

Talking cats in hats!


Sillyness. :)

Smaller and smaller

Reading the IHT article on Ars Electronica, mildly surprised (not really) by how much verbiage Joi gets in it. ;)

Then, last paragraph:

Marc Tuters, a young Canadian who had been wandering Europe helping set up political and artistic networks for several years, was on his way back to Montreal.

Who? Hunh? Google search. Hmmmm... locative... that sounds familiar. Duh, they had a set up at ETCon in San Diego back in February.

Old man

Or: "Helping folks with their webpages since 1995!"

The Papa Page

I would also like to thank Boris Anthony for his ongoing support and advice on technical and layout matters.

-Marcel Mitran, 24th of September,1995

Yeah yeah yeah, I am Googling myself! Doesn't everybody from time to time?! Not like it'll make me go blind or give me hairy palms, right? RIGHT?!?! Aack!

"UN travel documents for a stateless person"

Bloomberg: Bobby Fischer wants to give up his US citizenship

Onetime world chess champion Bobby Fischer has submitted to the U.S. embassy in Tokyo a letter of intent to renounce his U.S. citizenship, said John Bosnitch, the head of the Free Bobby Fischer Committee.

Bosnitch said he handed the three-page, handwritten letter to an embassy guard and asked it be delivered "urgently'' to a consular officer, he said in a telephone interview.

"I believe this renunciation has full validity under the law,'' Bosnitch quoted Fischer as writing in the letter.

"Bobby Fischer is sick and tired of how he has been treated by the U.S. for the past 12 years,'' Bosnitch said. "The letter is a statement of renunciation of U.S. citizen ship by Bobby Fischer, and he issues that statement unilaterally.''

Fischer's attorney Masako Suzuki today filed suit against Tokyo immigration officials seeking to overturn cancellation of his permission to land in Japan and a deportation order, Bosnitch said.

The support committee is seeking to have Fischer recognized as a "stateless person'' and an international refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and obtain UN travel documents for him, Bosnitch said.

Wait a second... one can DO this? I mean, the "Stateless Person" and UN travel documents part?! Do you have to be a refugee or politically persecuted?! What if I just don't want any citizenship?!

Where do i sign?!
(Not that being Canadian is bad, far from it... just.. curious I guess... ;)


Just logged into one of my online banking accounts whereupon I was greeted with a quick questionaire.
I wonder what response this would get me...

Flexible rate experiment

Some context: I do freelance web specialist work: web design, architecture, etc...

I'll often take on small jobs for extra disposable income (or paying off the debts incurred from thinking I have disposable income... heh.) You know, those little brochure-type websites: "Hi, this is our little company, this what we do, this is how you can contact us." Yeah people still want those. Anyways.

Invariably we do the "how much is this gonna cost" dance. I severely suck at this dance. especially since these contracts usually come through acquaintances who don't want to insult me (with their deflated sense of value) or I them (with my inflated sense of the value of my time... ;) For this kind of work, the clients usually rather a package price, one figure, easy to swallow, no time tracking. Invariably I do way more than what I'm paid for but at least everyone is happy.

Just now I had to dance again. A return client who wants a redesign. Super nice guys, developing a product with some very interesting environmental implications (think carbon filters). "How much" says he. "How much you got" says I. "I'm thinking between $X and $Y... don't wanna insult you..." "Don't be silly!"

Here is what I suggested:

I am perfectly able and happy to stay within that range.
I am thinking of a very "organic", "sensitive to my environment" approach to this job. It is perfect that you give me a range. I have an idea, if you are comfortable with this, here is what I suggest:
Think of a gauge, like an RPM gauge. As the work progresses, the "revs" will fluctuate between X and Y. Without necessarily being mathematical about it, I'll average out a final price as we get to the end. Agreed it seems a bit arbitrary, but then again not... we have a set range that we are both comfortable with, and an unclear amount of hours/work.

Now, I wouldn't do this with just any client, but I think he may go for this. And I'll feel better than just saying "Ok, I'll take $Y..."

It's an experiment.


Couldn't fall asleep.

My bedroom is all white, cream to be specific, teak wood and black leather. The curtain is a thin pale yellow.

I sleep in warm glowing clouds. When I sleep.

Strange cold

It is 4:53am, Saturday morning.

This past Monday afternoon I felt the hallmark scratch at the back of my throat which invariably signals that I have passed the point of no return and I will now spend at least a week sick of either a cold or the flu.

Slowly since then I have followed the path of the virus, seemingly just a cold thankfully, creep from the scraping of my throat, turning on the taps in my nose and squeezing my sinuses by early Wednesday to finally setting a fog and a rattle in my chest by Thursday night. All this time I threw countless grams of Vitamin C at it, liquid liquid liquid... even tried to sweat it out by going jogging 3 days in a row in 30°C/90% humidity weather. Got a nice tan, mind you, after collapsing in the sun each time.

Friday night. I stayed home and watched four episodes of James Burke's Connections (again). I figured 3:30am was time to go to bed. Brushed my teeth, blew my sore nose and...

After tossing and turning in bed for all of 10 minutes, I sat up, coughed 3 times and the cold was gone. More or less. Four a.m. is not so good a time to get an influx of energy and health...

I figure by morning, or rather early afternoon, which is when I'll likely get up seeing as it is now 5am, the last of the phlegm will leave me and that will be that.
I hope.

The sky is fading from black to blue and the birds are starting to chirp.

Psst, wanna buy a talking car?

Thursday, July 22, 2004 3:50:53 PM America/Montreal 03:50:53PM

wikkid! you bidding?

u on crack?

we can put our money together and buy it


you can drive it during the week
i'll take it on weekends

let's ee.. how do i put this? ... um ... NO.

your loss.
can't wait to see the look on your face when i jump by in my talking car


Avoid incurring obligations

Balthasar Gracian's The Art of Worldly Wisdom

47. Avoid incurring obligations. This is one of the chief aims of prudence. People of great ability keep extremes far apart, so that there is a long distance between them. They always keep in the middle of their caution, so they take time to act. It is easier to avoid committing yourself to something than it is to come out of it well. Such affairs test our judgement - it is better to avoid them than to conquer in them. One obligation leads to another and may lead to an affair of dishonor. There are people so constituted by nature or by nation that they easily enter upon such obligations. But for those who walk by the light of reason, such matters require long thinking over. There is more
valor needed not to take up the affair than in conquering in it. When there is one fool ready for the occasion, one may excuse oneself from being the second.

Take me home

The weirdest thing about this is that the marketing company that came up with this silliness is located two blocks from where I live.

The bottle reads:
"My values are those of a generation that has taken control of its existence and future."


At least it *looks* good...

An example

Here is an example of information hunting and establishing connections between bits of data online. This story will remain intentionally vague and short on specific URLs for two reasons: to protect the individual's privacy and to keep my Google rank low for a specific bit of technical wizardry involving a certain mp3 player and a certain make of automobile. Unlike others, I am not interested in becoming the support desk for this little bit of information.

This story begins because of an entry a few days ago where I mention in passing the aforementioned setup. This evening I received an email from someone asking me kindly how I had done it, as his brand new car doesn't allow him to use the (to remain nameless) radio frequency interface solution.

Now the name of the person sounded very familiar, as it is a common name in these parts. To boot, buddy had his own domain, named after himself. Nevermind that I'll sometimes Google people whom I come across, but give me a vanity domain name and for sure I am going to whois you.

I now know where Monsieur lives and even got a map pin-pointing his address specifically. Not that I needed to since I know the neighborhood quite well, it being only a few blocks up from me... small world...

So okay, I hit reply and start writing some of the basics. However my car and my mp3 player are 2-3 years old and surely stuff's been updated. A quick trip to the web forums on the most popular, and useful website dedicated to owners of this particular make of car and I see that indeed, things have evolved. Copy and paste a few URLs and "good luck mon ami!"

This all took about 5-10 minutes. Slow compared to if I had had all this information in my head and/or we were all connected pseudo-telepathically but hey... it used to take weeks to ship cargo across the Atlantic, today it take days, if not hours... and that's atoms, not bits...

It is all about technology. If I were a faster typist... or if my interface to my computer and by extension to the Net wasn't through a clunky keyboard and primitive pointing device...


Takeshi "Beat" Kitano as Zatoichi, the legendary wandering blind swordsman.

What a riot! I liked it a lot, despite the totally absurd tap dancing routine. ;)

Mi-Ne no longer


In a quiet backstreet of Kyoto, after visiting a temple there last year, I came across one of innumerable cigarette vending machines. My eye was caught by the aesthetic beauty of a single pack displayed. A bronze box, silver edges and black, brush-script kanji. Mi-Ne.

How could I resist?

These have been my favorite brand for almost a year now. I've had people bring cartons from Japan for me, burdened fellow conference goers to set me up... I jammed 3 of em in my carry-on on my last return.

I've given away many of them. Packs to friends, singles to pretty ladies. Everyone agrees they are tasty and the pack, oh the pack, is so damn sweet.

Japanese who see me smoke them laugh out loud. They ask me "why do you smoke these?! Only gamblers and prostitutes smoke this brand! They are old people cigarettes. And heavy!"

Yeah... I was disheartened to learn they pack 12mg of tar each. I'm feeling it right now... The weight in my lungs.

So that's it. That's the last one up there. Sayonara.

Scary thought

MJ: Well... we have come to the conclusion that tornados and the like must have tastebuds.
KB: Do go on.
MJ: And that trailer parks must taste like bacon.



I am wearing this t-shirt by one Geoff McFetridge, at this moment, as a pot of pho bo (vietnamese beef broth) simmers in the kitchen.

Roast onions, garlic and ginger under broiler until burnt. Cover beef bones with water and bring to boil a first time. Pour out and discard water. Put roasted stuff, green onions, carrots and salt on bones and fill pot with fresh water. Simmer.

The bones will go clackity-clack as the broth starts to simmer.

Skim the scum. When done, I pour the stock through a sieve into glass bottles. One bottle affords me three bowls of soup which I usually serve myself with tomoshiraga somen noodles, chopped green onions and a sprinkle of toasted & roasted sesame seeds.

Comfy tee. Yummy soup.

On my own advice

I awoke this morning thinking of a friend who seems to be at one of those crossroads in his life where the next incarnation of himself is unsure. I thought of what advice I could possibly give him.

Perhaps because of my own current re-evaluation of style and fashion - he is a plain dresser - I came up with this:

I want you to go into any one of the many secondhand clothing stores you can find around here. I want you to find the first piece that you absolutely love, but that immediately makes you think "I could never wear that".

I want you to buy that piece.

Then, I want you to go out for the next three nights, to nightclubs, bars, lounges you've thought you could never go into, wearing that piece.

I want you to do this and remind yourself every time you waiver: "I am not whom I appear to be. I am."

Later this afternoon, I find myself in the men's section of Sisley, confronted by this jacket.

"Oh man," I think, "that is sa-weet! But I could never wear tha..."

So now i have this jacket. Essentially it is very similar to the Paul Smith I bought in Shinjuku: semi-casual pin-stripe jacket. This one is a tad less casual - the pockets are inside as opposed to cargo pocket style like the Paul Smith - being more fitted, more tapered.

Oh, and it is white. Pristine, shining, loud: white.

"I am not whom I appear to be. I am."

Broken expectations

The Morning News - The Deli After Work

I blame the ATM... ;)

Bad timing

It is 8:30pm and I am so hungry I am shaking.

Problem is I decided to do a complete scrub down of my kitchen and the floor is still wet, the furniture still packed into my living room and the sink is full of dishes. So, I can't cook anything.

I can't go out for food because a) it is raining, b) I am dirty and have not the energy to shower, c) I'd have to drive and would lose my parking spot (which means I'd have to wake up at 8am tomorrow to move it before I get a ticket)...

I guess I'll just curl up in fetal position and await death...


Good news indeed! The floor dried quicker than I had expected. So I steeled up, took a deep breath and multitasked, preparing my favorite spicey italian sausage tomato sauce (the pasta is cooking as I type) and doing ALL the dishes.

I shall live to whine another day... ;)

Meshing storylines from my life

There are narratives in my life that have quietly threaded along in the background, closely following me. Slowly parts of these stories have meshed into my "real life", and this morning another part intersected for the second time with my blog-life.

In the summer of 1999, I came across a french musician by the name of Philippe Katerine. He had become quite popular here in Montreal that summer with a song entitled "Je vous emmerde" ("I am annoying you"), which is about a drunk poet annoying a girl in a bar by trying to pick her up.

On the same album, "Les Créatures" ("The Creatures"), is a track entitled "Jamais je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerais toujours, oh mon amour" ("I never told you I'd always love you, oh my love"). The song is a duet with a whispy, childish female voice. That is how I came across Kahimi Karie.

Kahimi Karie is a japanese songstress who sings in japanese, french, english and italian. She and Katerine had collaborated on a few projects. She sang with him, he produced an album, or some songs, for her, with her, etc...

So I started grabbing Kahimi Karie tracks. Turns out she'd collaborated with two other gentlemen (and more, but these two are significant to my story): Cornelius, her boyfriend at the time, and Momus. Both were unknown to me at the time but I grew to enjoy their work as well.

Here the story forks, frays actually. The Cornelius thread crossed over to my blog-life a few months ago, the Katerine thread during my recent jaunt to Tokyo, and the Momus thread this morning.

And the tie that binds all this together, believe it or not, is my friend Joi Ito...

Bear with me.

The Cornelius Thread
Cornelius's work quickly became some of my favorite music. Awesome stuff. Turns out, he is Joi's second cousin. What were the odds of that?

One night during my recent trip to Tokyo, Joi took me to a bar run by his old friend Ko and his wife NaNa: the Tera bar in Sangenjaya. Joi had also invited Cornelius to come by and hang out. Awesome. Joi showed him a little video project I am working on which uses a track Cornelius apparently had released using a Creative Commons license. He thought it was "sugoi" (cool). Double awesome.

Later that night, I noticed on the wall behind me a poster for a Jean-Luc Goddard film from 1965 called "Pierrot le fou", starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina...

The Katerine Thread
The next day, waking up on the futon I was sleeping on at Jim and Yuka's, I turn my head to see a stack of DVDs under the desk beside me.

In this stack of DVDs is a copy of "Pierrot le fou". Zoinks! A few nights later, with nothing else to do, I decide to watch it.

Twenty minutes into it, my jaw drops. Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo start to sing "Jamais je ne t'ai dit que je t'aimerais toujours, oh mon amour"... A bit of Googling and it turns out 1- Katerine is an Anna Karina fan and they even collaborated on an album: "Histoire D'Amour" ("Love Story"), 2000 and 2- the song had been written by one Rezvani for the Goddard movie.

The Momus Thread
The Momus Thread is ... weird... Perhaps because Momus is weird. Perhaps because his is the thread that has come closest to my real life a few times, without crossing over, and for the first time today crossed into my blog life. What makes this doubly strange is that Momus has kept an online journal for years, publishing insightful articles on a regular basis, posting picture collages of his travels, etc... He is a blogger sans a blog. And has been for a loooong time. Also, Momus was galavanting across Japan at the same time I was last year... we were in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo only days apart... It even went so far as him playing a show in the same venue, Super Deluxe, where I had attended the 1IMC (1st International Moblog Conference), where I had finally met and befriended Joi!

In the 70's, Momus briefly studied at McGill Univeristy (in Montreal). During Kahimi Karie's last North American tour, Momus appeared with her in Montreal where he recorded two tracks with local pop heros, Bran Van 3000. I know at least one Bran Van alumni personally, and have often often often crossed paths with three of the main Bran Van 3000 "celebrities": James DiSalvio (who in an interview in a local weekly once listed my favorite bar as his favorite bar... oooooo), Sahra (who for a while was a regular there too), Jean Leloup (a Quebecois rock god whom I admired much as a teenager and whom I've had numerous encounters with over the years). Oh and all three could be spotted on any given day at one of two popular Café's in Montreal's Mile End district... an area I too frequent quite often.

But I digress...

So, this morning... This morning, in my RSS aggregator, I read an entry by Seb Paquet on Corante's Many-to-many weblog, where he links to an article Momus published in 1991 with the sub-heading "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people". Seb's entry is about, roughly, some social implications of weblogging, while Momus' article seems to be about the future of the recording industry (haven't read it yet... heh...).

While I missed my chance to meet Seb face-to-face last week (my apologies to both Seb AND Mike...), we have chatted briefly, on #joiito, and he is a very respected voice in the blogosphere. He is also a friend of a dear friend of mine, Karl Dubost, who, it must be said is one of the originators of my blog-life...

This story could have been told from the perspective of my blog-life, as well as my real life. There are many many people, close and dear to me, who are also implicated in all this. I became friends with Karl during our trip to SxSW 2003, which I attended only because friend Warren's company, Plank Multimedia, had been nominated for their work on Michael Moore's websites, and they had an extra pass. Plank Multimedia is where I worked, along side one of my very best friends, Stevey, when this particular story started... I met Jim in Joi's IRC channel last year when he ever go graciously offered to let me stay at his place during my first trip to Japan. We became fast friends, and Jim now works for Six Apart Japan, a company Joi is an investor in.

The threads intertwine, and sometimes they connect...

That night at Tera Bar, Joi and John, another great new friend I've met because of all this blog stuff, chided me for having no "ochi": my stories have no clear ending, no punch line, no point.

Perhaps I am a bad story teller. I'd rather believe that stories have no end, and that what I do is point out observations of mine, narrative outakes from my lives... but that's another story.

Down to earth

Telegraph | News | 'Buddha' sweet has sour taste in Japan

I'd like to think that Buddha was a down-to-earth kinda guy, who occasionally DID pick his nose... and who most likely would laugh at such things.

En-lighten up people! ;)

Who, what, when, where and why, and the death of the author

After reading Foucault's short piece "Author Function", I thought the following.

Take any expression, be it a text, a song, a painting, and label it "The What". Label the author (composer, painter, etc) "The Who", and and attach it as a property of The What. The Who property can contain the properties of "The When" and "The Where", giving us the contexts of a point in time and a point in space: environmental geo-political, historical, cultural context for The What.

If we bypass The Who, and ascribe The When & The Where directly to The What, as is the case with much Whats in the history of human expression, the role of The Who is stripped of it's Ego (or Id). Who said What, for Who's sake, is to a large extent quite irrelevant.

However, if I consider that had the aforementioned piece not been adorned with the name of Michel Foucault, I may not have stumbled across it, or even read it for that matter. The Who becomes a broadcast tower, a cultural signal repeater. The taller the tower, the further it's reach. The height of the Tower of Who is a function of relevance, quality, reliability... and social network engineering. I say engineering because it takes a lot of work to build one's Tower of Who. Who am I. Who do you think I am. In marketing, this is called brand building. And the more time one spends on building one's Tower of Who, the less one spends on refining one's What.

Arguably, in a cultural system where every What has clearly mapped When and Where, the Who becomes increasingly irrelevant.

With timestamps and GPS coordinates, the battle against the ego begins in earnest.

As for The Why... are we not still trying to touch the face of godliness? Are we not still merely trying to recreate the world in our own collective and connected minds?

Interconnectedness and patterns, knowledge and freedom

Mark Federman, over at the McLuhan Program, offers up this great entry.

While the framework of his entry is based on how the limitations on media use that the RIAA (and MPAA) are seeking will effectively limit access to information - in itself a frightening possibility because what government, no matter how so-called democratic, doesn't wish to keep it's people in the dark ? - what I'd like to point out is his use of the language of (what I've come to call for myself) "pattern learning".

The knowledge one gleans from the patterns that emerge from freely aggregated information is, as they say, worth a thousand words, if not more. Juxtaposition of many bits form to create a picture of the whole, and when one uses such universal and "true" pieces of data as pictures and video - for understanding what one sees in them requires little if no foreknowledge of a specific language or code - then the communication and impact is far more far-reaching and powerful.

"Draw me a picture"

Brilliant t-shirt folding technique

It looks a bit tricky but by the second or third try you too will be a master t-shirt folder. Try it. Now.

Thanks Jim!


From A girl in Tokyo: News of love

From Yahoo!Japan News (This page contains Japanese)

It is very heart warming, lovely news.

April 20, Kyoto: A female swallow fell down from the nest and then didn't move for a while. Her husband swallow flew down to there immediately. He pecked around her so that he can wake her up. He was trying for almost 5mins, she woke up and they flew back to the nest together.

I didn't know swallows are that caring to partner.

Quote of the day

"I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed."

Michael Jordan


matt jones | work & thoughts

"First one to the tree wins!!"


Can't wait to pack

Just picked up a new suitcase. (Mine is nicer than the one shown... mostly black with a red trim.)

The little forest green piece of crap I've been carrying around just wasn't cutting it. Besides this new one is almost twice has big and half as heavy (empty anyways).

It is a hybrid soft/hard case. The softpart is Bullet-Proof Ballistic nylon. The hard, ABS. If shit goes down in the terminal, I can duck and cover behind it. Hehehehe. Ugh, horrible thought.

I'd like to think I travel light but the reailty is... heck for a 5 day stay in Austin I crammed that little forest green piece of crap to capacity. Four weeks in Tokyo requires more room. What with omiyage (gifts) for everyone. :)

While in Austin

Others took pictures of me:

Justin snapped this moment with Cory.

Min Jung Kim going crazy with the lipstick.

Group photo in Bruce Sterling's washroom for The Mirror Project

Dav Coleman's gallery of SxSW2004. Thanks Dav!

Jon Lebkowsky's Gallery has a few of me as well.

(Hrmm... more as i find them... maybe...)

Learning Kana from a monkey... or two

In San Francisco I picked up this book. While it is definitly playful and aimed at children, it is a wonderfully effective way to learn Hiragana. (The bookstore had copies of it in both the "Learn Japanese" and "Children's" sections...)

Last night I downloaded Adriaan's awesomely powerful "Kotoba" application as well. I say powerful because you can access web-available "Lexicons" as well as import user-created ones (though cross-checking the Hiragana-Katakana one with the Monkey book, I noticed it is totally wrong... damn...). Shameless plug: Adriaan is also the developper of the fantastic "ecto" Mac-based weblog editor. Adriaan is also a crafty monkey. Hehehehe.

Anyways, once I am through those two, I will use Nuku Japanese kana tutor to do reinforcement testing. Perfect!

Then I'l have to learn what the hell I am reading actually means!

Start slowly.

That what is true for you

"To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all...that is genius...

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. 

Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Right, right.. I had forgotten what we were all doing here...

"correct, we are advancing civilization so that we might get obliterated by an asteroid"
(Overheard in #joiito)

Skewed logic

Nika: I only blog from work. I don't even have a computer at home!
Aaron: Hm.
Me: If I didn't have a computer at home, I'd kill myself.


Maciej: I'd just go out and buy one...

Does that qualify me for a Darwin Award, or what?!

This phone will self destruct in 10 seconds

Imagine this was your ringtone...

"Oh! My phone!
It is ringing!
I must answer it!"


"Where is my phone?
I must find it!
The song is coming from..."


"Will I make it!?
Will I be too late!
I MUST try!"


One ringtone to, in the darkness, bind them

This would drive me sailing clear over the edge.

Make sure to listen to the whole thing... It starts out quite appropirately, as a sweetly rythmic tonal melody and WHAM!

You best make sure to answer that phone before it gets to the ultra twitchy techno house !!!

Busy busy

Virtual Desktop

I use the excellent Codetek VirtualDesktop Pro. Without it I think I'd have gone totally insane ages ago.

Some days, however, I think it contributes to my encroaching insanity. Nobody should have this many apps and windows open at one time.

(To clarify: each "desktop" I use for a different task/project. What invariably happens, since much of my work is "real time", I end up waiting for feedback, or I get interrupted from one task to work on another et voila! Ten workspaces open at once... Tasks include actual work, blog entry writing, email & IM, research & reading, etc... )

It is seven PM and I need to "close" each one of these open tasks tonight. Whoohooo! Someone come and take me away, heeheehoohoohaahaaaa...

For the impatient...

First upload to my gallery of California trip pictures. Will do more when i get back home.

Stage two of the road trip (Los Angeles to San Francisco) involved almost plunging into the Pacific off of Highway 1 numerous times, busted fan belt and empty coolant stall in Big Sur, tow truck ride to Monterey, night spent in the van behind a garage, rental car to San Francisco.

Over my neighbor's shoulders

(See previous entry's picture.)
An extremely strong urge when surrounded by laptops is to look over at your neighbor's Desktops and read their notes, emails, IMs...

The sound of a hundred keyboards


California ballroom sprinkled by a light spring rain.
The tap tap tap of a hundred keyboards typing.

Flying coïncidence

Tomorrow, all members of my immediate family will be airborne.
My mother back home to Tampa, from Caracas.
My sister and nephew to meet her in Tampa.
And of course me to San Diego.


On unfashionalble sources

I picked up a very large but seemingly very interesting book this afternoon at one of these liquidation bookstores. Five hundred plus pages about democracy; it's history and what "the trouble is" with it.

I sat down and started reading and already, only a few pages in, I am finding some really great stuff. Stuff I want to expand on, blog about.

I put the book aside and went online. Googled the author's name and... oh horror. He's a raging ultra right-wing conservative. His website, ripe with "essays" about how homosexuals don't deserve equal social rights, how abortion is murder, etc etc etc, turns me off immediately.

So I am perplexed. I wonder if I should bother reading any further into his book. Despite how he has started by questioning - as I am - the validity of what we now worship as "democracy", I wonder where he will go. A quick glance at the Table of Contents offers no hints, other than all that is offered is a statement of facts. They may be angled from his particular perspective, which is inevitable I suppose... but... How do I get this bad taste out of my mouth?

I guess I shall read on and see.

But just to whet:

Accordingly, much of this book will be devoted to showing how the language of democracy has actually been turned against democratic practice as it was originally understood, and how the people feel helpless. For they have no other language with which to resist.

(This is very much in-line with the idea of cultural fascism I shared with Jim Moore at the Oasis diner in Burlington, which had him jumping up and down... until we called John Perry who's immediate response was "we'll have to find another word for that..." Hehehehe. We laughed about it... and then Hemingway punched me in the mouth.)


Edward Abbey:

One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am -- a reluctant enthusiast... a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it's still there. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards.

Gonna be somewhat busy

Security alarm screen that reads: Ready to Arm DEAN FOR AMERICA

Yeah. I'll be in and out of town, two to three days at a time, for at least the next two weeks. Balancing this with my other obligations will be tricky but doable. The drive to Burlington is not so bad, especially at night.

Forgotten weblog entry

I had started to compose a really good entry in my head sometime today... or was it yesterday? Well actually, this happens about four or five times a day, everyday, SO, anyways, yeah... I forgot to actually type it up and now it is gone.

Here is a haiku to commemorate this.

crane flew overhead
lazy frog did not stir
no sound was heard

Green Mountains

I'm off roadtripping till maybe Sunday. Burlington tonight and tomorrow and perhaps swing back up to Stevey's cottage Saturday and hit Jay Peak on Sunday for some snowboarding.

I need this bad. I am so looking forward to the conversations, the snowboarding... and some good hamburgers. Mad cow be damned.

Update: Arrived "where I was going". 9:45pm.


We have relationships with every person we meet/know.
We have relationship networks which connect all these people to us and to each other.
We manage relationships by being nodes and establishing identities (identity facets).

So if we think of ourseleves as a node in a network... Liken the node to an atom. The atom has neutrons and protons... The node has facets...

We can be multinodes in multiple neworks, each node with multiple facets.

Interesting idea came up tonight in conversation with a friend. Do networks have a tendency to draw unto themselves? Sorta like maybe surface tension? Pulling everything to the center? Or how magnetic fields between .. Err... (forgive my lackadasical knowledge of basic physics.. Sheesh!) protons/neutrons.. Or planets... If so, do identity facets have a natural tendency, or "desire", to collapse?

Relinquish the Ego on The Way...

I'm just wondering.. Is there any evidence of this concept in any existing human belief system? The Buddhist "letting go of self and other/multiplicity" for example?

Just thinking out loud... What do you all think?

Happy happy

I wanted to send out some sort of holiday greeting to my friends, but it is
so difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending
someone. So I met with my attorney today, and on his advice (and after $299
in attorneys fees) I wish to say the following:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an
environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, nonaddictive
gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within
the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or
secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular
persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice
religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically
uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar
year 2004, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other
cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not
to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is
the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the
race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual
preference of the wishes.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is
subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no
alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to
actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void
where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the
wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance
of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is
limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole
discretion of the wisher...

I lied and the Ville de Montreal are jerkoffs

I ended last night's entry about the whole snowclearing/parking fiasco by stating that by 3am my street had been cleared. This was a lie; a bit of poetic license I exercised to give the story a nice ending. Not to mention I figured since the monsters where working on the next street over, surely they'd have mine done within the hour.

It is one in the afternoon the next day, and, lo and behold... My street is NOT cleared. They have even removed the little orange signs saying that they would clear the street.

Nevermind that I am parked now in a spot one street over where I am quite safe for a few days at least, but... eatshitanddie, Ville de Montreal.

Oh and while I'm at it I send out a hardy "fuck you" to whoever completely destroyed my passenger side side-view mirror last week. Much appreciated.

Sigh. Ok I feel better now. My apologies for the expletives.

Oh I so didn't need this though

Car in Snow, before and after

After the trek up Mount Royal, I came back to see that the signs were up indicating the snowplows would be clearing the side of the street I was parked on, sometime between 7pm and 7am.

So I shoveled it out. Fun fun. But the real work lay ahead. You can imagine with this much snow (snowbanks were at about 2-3 feet), the amount of available parking space is drastically reduced. Add to that the fact that everybody of course wants to park overnight somewhere were they can leave the car till morning. It was past five. The working class was home and had claimed all available spots.

This would be a game of checkers...

So the wait began. The wait for the tow trucks that make three passes blowing sirens alerting the owners of cars still parked on the to-be-cleared side that the plows are coming. Miss the third warning and you get towed and fined. $45 for the parking fine, $40 for the tow.

Nine o'clock, the first siren blows. I get dressed and trudge out. I have a plan. I'll drive down to China Town and have dinner at my favorite Vietnamese Pho joint.

Ten o'clock, return to see that the street has not yet been cleared. Damn. At this point, forget parking: the natives are restless and every spare inch is parked. Plan B: up to Kilo in the Mile End for a slice of cheesecake and (horrifyingly bad) coffee. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all.

Eleven o'clock, return to see the street has still not been cleared. Damn. What the hell. Ok, run upstairs, grab book, iBook, notebook, pencil and pen. Gonna hope for a space a few streets over and have a glass of wine at Laïka and read. (This is where my logic got screwed... if I find a spot a few streets over, what the heck, leave it there and come home... duh.)

So I actually find a spot a few streets over. I am exactly half way between my place and bar. What do you think I do? Bar. Monday night at Laïka... should be dead, nice and quiet, right? Wrong. Staff party. Dammit all.

The idea that I could just go home still hasn't come to me. It's not because I somehow need to go to the bar. It's the singleminded determination to wait for the street to be cleared and park right in front of my place. I can be severely daft sometimes.

So I trudge to my second home. Two Guinness, one chapter, one good conversation and a smattering of bar-talk later, I figure "Ok it's one o'clock. The have had to have passed by now.

Argh. They are clearing the next street over. Oh well. Park it there.

It is now quarter past three in the morning. There are about 20 clean and clear parking spots outside my door. I will be DAMNED if I go out there and move the car now.


Oh I needed that

I haven't gone jogging since about mid-October. Two months, and I've been feeling it.
As soon as I woke up today (at 2pm) I decided I'd go Up Mount Royal, in the Snow. Pictures!

Especially worthwhile is comparing some of the winter shots with their summer counterparts.

Like these:


Today I took some drastic first steps.

Today, I switched from Bell Sympatico DSL to Videotron Cable Internet access. So far, the speed increase is, to put it mildly, reality-bending. I also switched from crappy old normal cable TV to digital with a selection of some fine fine "stations".
Tomorrow I will deactivate my Bell Sympatico DSL account.
Sometime in the coming week or two I will give in and buy a highfalutin' expensive cellphone (Nokia 6600 is the current favorite), switch cellphone providers and kill my Bell landline.

Believe it or not, aside from the expensive cellphone, this move will save me approximately $20-30 a month.

So, why is this drastic? I know a few people who have done exactly this same thing. Well, my intent is somewhat different. I am not doing this merely to save a few bucks on a redundant (and not used) landline. Nor do I intend to use the cellphone so much for voice calls...

First of all, the increased Internet access will finally allow me to set up a full local network, corporate services stylee. Dynamic DNS, VPN server, local mail and maybe Jabber server, internal DNS for development work, etc...

Having a cellphone platform as feature rich as the Nokia 6600's Symbian OS6 will allow me not only to synch contacts and calendars (like I use calendars sheesh... yet!) via Bluetooth locally, but with approriate client software (and server software on my home network) I can use it as well as my main communication gateway AND availability manager. Yes folks, soon you will be able to IM me on my phone, if I want you to, and if need be call me. If you don't see me in IM, there's only a slim chance I'll answer your phonecall... ;)

(that's just one example...)

Moblogging is just the beginning.

Lawnmower Man meets the Puppet Master

Part of an e-mail exchange with Aaron:

> I WANT what Kevin Warwick is working on! Hrm... Garr... :\

Ah come on, Boris. I know Kevin's all about thinking inside the body but try thinking outside the blog. You want to implant a chip with a copy of MT, the moz-gesture stuff and an 802.11b connection on it. Then you can stand around waving your arms like one of those airport dudes posting stuff to your weblog.

... you could surely get Canada Council money if you recast the idea as a modern dance project.

What happens when you start getting hammered by trackback pings and comment spam is a whole other story.

You *are* fuct in the head but who loves ya' anyway? ;-)

I almost fell off the sofa reading this. :D

Online travel booking

I don't understand. I must be missing something. All the advertising, all the hype, all the talk... How convenient and money saving, etc...

For example, online, I cannot find a flight to Tokyo for under $4000CND. $4000CND!! Who in their right mind would pay this?! A phone call to my travel agent gets me a quote of under $1000, taxes and insurance included.

I just did a search for a flight to San Francisco. Granted, I plugged in tomorrow's date for departure. Nothing under $2500. That's some mighty fine crack they are smoking! I bet I could show up at the airport tomorrow morning and pay 1/3 of that. Especially since it seems there are pleeenty of flights every morning on numerous airlines to San Francisco.

I hereby stand by what Nicholas Negroponte said years ago: online travel booking be damned; your travel agent will ALWAYS sort you out better.

Human genome anyone?

Ensembl Downloads

Ensembl presents up-to-date sequence data and the best possible annotation for metazoan genomes. Available now arehuman, mouse, rat, fugu, zebrafish, mosquito, Drosophila, C. elegans, and C. briggsae, Others will be added soon.

I am nowhere near capable of understanding the full significance of this, but it does seem monumental to me. I am, at this moment, downloading the 1.2 Gigabytes of flat textfiles containing the human genome.

Layin' low

Not much to report really. I just rebuilt Joi Ito's Web with the new templates I have been working on. I'll be doing the same to Joi's japanese blog soon... maybe even later tonight.

At this point, not only does it look snazzy but it mostly validates. Why mostly? Well, Joi's got over 1500 blog entries (and over 6000 comments), and many of them contain <blockquote>s which are "illegally" used. Going through them manually (no other way) will be a pain in da patoochus

If anyone finds any validity or rendering issues please do not hesitate to let me know!

It's Oh So Quiet

by †Bjork
Shhhh ,Shhhh
It's , oh, so quiet
It's , oh, so still
You're all alone
And so peaceful until ...
You fall in love
Zing boom
The sky up above
Zing boom
Is caving in
Wow bam
You've never been so nuts about a guy
You wanna laugh you wanna cry
You cross your heart and hope to die
'Til it's over and then
Shhh ,Shhh
It's nice and quiet
Shhh ,Shhh
But soon again
Shhh ,Shhh
Starts another big riot
You blow afuse ,zing boom
The devil cuts loose ,zing boom
So what's the use, wow bam
Of falling in love
It's , oh, so quiet
It's , oh, so still
You're all alone
And so peaceful until ...
You ring the bell , bim bam
You shout and you yell , hi ho ho
You broke the spell
Gee, this is swell you almost have a fit
This guy is " gorge " and I got hit
There's no mistake this is it
'Til it's over and then
It's nice and quiet
Shhh ,Shhh
But soon again
Shhh ,Shhh
Starts another big riot
You blow afuse
Zing boom
The devil cuts loose
Zing boom
What's the use
Wow bam
Of falling in love
The sky caves in
The devil cuts loose
You blow blow blow blow blow your fuse
When you've fallen in love
Ssshhhhhh ...

/me raises hand

Six Log: Gathering at Madison Square Park

99% sure I'll be there. :)

IKEA is swedish for... | IKEA Brand | Furniture Retailers

Ingvar Kamprad founded the company in Sweden in 1943. He named his fledgling business by using his initials and tacking on the first letters in Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up.

Now you know.

Oh and this is probably the most genius-like aspect of IKEA:

Usually placed outside of urban areas isolated from other shops, IKEA has the customer all to itself, and it doesn't miss the opportunity to wrap the shopper in a 360-degree retail experience.

Overheard in a dark place

Yo no naka tadashii koto bakari de wa arimasen. O-ki wo tsukete.

"In the world there are more than just good things. Take care"



The pharmacist called it an "orgelet", the french word for "sty". Reading up on it however, and seeing some nasty pictures, I'm not so sure that's what it is.

We'll see.

Sunday stroll

(Bain Lesvèque - Rue Marianne Est - Built in 1908, or so it says.)

I took a walk this afternoon through the eastern part of The Plateau. It's an area I have been driving through every Sunday for the last few years to go do groceries. Today I walked it.

The area east of Rue Berri, along Rue Marianne, is really nice. I mean "I should live here" nice.

After picking up seasame seeds, a cantaloup, a quarter watermelon and a fair amount more produce, I commenced the stroll back. Heavy plastic bags digging into my palms.

So I decided to stop at a garage sale nearby of which I had been alerted to earlier by a friend. I shared the watermelon with the two pretty vietnamese girls who were trying to sell their old clothes and shoes, and who sheltered me briefly as a light drizzle had started. Thank you Dang & Mai. Here is the $120 cube watermelon I told you about.

Prepared sumonomo for dinner and ended up sharing with Sniffles who graciously shared her veggie curry (and the secret of it's preparation, as wella s how to make a wicked bitters). Mmmm.

A nice, quiet Sunday.

Close your eyes

She closed her eyes as the unagi passed her lips, into her mouth.
- "Mmmmmm" she let out.
- "What did you see?" I askd as her moment ended.
- "What did I see?"
- "Yes, what did you see? As you closed your eyes and said 'Mmmmm'? Where did the eel take you?"

I was eager to hear how she would answer, her english skills being still very young. How would she communicate such an experience in a language so foreign to her mind?

- "Nothing..."
- "Nothing?!"
- "No... well..."
- "Yes?"
- "If I tell you, it won't be the same."

I picked up my piece, dipped it in the soya, opened my mouth... and closed my eyes...

ps -ax

For years I've been playing with the idea that man created the computer in his own image. Memory, I/O, software, hardware, etc. Most of my friends have heard about the "scripts" I've "written" and "run as background processes" in my mind to, for example, make sure I never lose my keys or leave the house without my wallet. We all program our brains, and sometimes have them programmed for us. I could go on, but tonight I'm interested in exploring the subconscious, and to do that I'll look at the CLI, or Shell, or Terminal, or whatever your operating system calls it. For the purposes of this article I'll call it the terminal, because I'm a Mac OS X kind of guy.

Think of the Terminal as the window into the subconscious of your computer. Now, let's turn that around and see if we have a Terminal of our own; a window into our own subconscious. Keep in mind that the Terminal not only allows us to peer in, but also to effectuate commands... and run scripts...


Very interesting.
It seems that *somebody* at the University of Alberta refuses to memorise my URL...
This person, let's call him "N", rather remember that he can find me in a Google or Yahoo Search if he queries for my first name and my hostname.

"N", I'll make it even faster for you: Search Google for "rowboat". I'm the first result.

Don't Google gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


A quick stop at the patisserie across the street afforded me one again a brief conversation with an old friend. A former english professor from college, whom I never had as a classroom teacher but with whom I'd spent some interesting times with.

On one occasion he had shown me the Nobel Prize in Chemistry his grandfather had won in 1905. The write up for the award states:

"in recognition of his services in the advancement of organic chemistry and the chemical industry, through his work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic compounds"

but I know what it was for specifically: he synthesised the color indigo.

This was, at the time, a major achievement. Blue turns out to be the most difficult color to synthesise and work with, both chemically and with light. Webdesigners know that trying to do any kind of blue fade results in display nightmares, and researchers in laser optics considered the blue laser, and the blue LED, the holy grail in their fields (until recently).

Matthew, my friend the professor, is a man of literature though. The story of his grandfather's Nobel Prize (which he showed me: a huge heavy gold disc) arose when he gave me a copy of his self-published book of poetry and "lieder" (poetry set to music, which at the time he was doing performances of with an acid jazz ensemble).

The book was titled "Indigo".

Snow day


I don't know how much fell but it hasn't stopped since last night.

Shoveling this out will take upwards of a half an hour, at least.

It'll wait till tomorrow: from experience I know that the snowplows will come by at least once more before I head off for work tomorrow. If I shovel now, I'll just have to do it again tomorrow.

Sure is pretty though. :)


Ok, switched to MT tonight. Bear with the look until I can squeeze some time to change me templates... :)


The U.S. electronics megachain "Circuit City" has a brilliant feature in it's online store. It allows you to pick physical store locations near you and, as you browse around the site and look at products, it will tell you if those products are available at those locations or not.

This is great because they realised that far more people use such online stores just to research prices and availability than to order. It also encourages "I want it today" buyers such as myself. (It happens every now and then that I'll wake up and tell myself: "today, I will buy myself this". Try to find it online, bingo, go get it. Most often in fact it is with books. I will check the Chapters website and then head down to Ste-Catherine St.)

The Circuit City feature came in handy last year when my ex wanted a car radio with an audio jack on the faceplate. We found one model and realised it was only avaliable in the States. Within an hour we were on our way to Williston, VT.

Charlie Clements, MD: A Report from Iraq

Bombing the Starving, Sick & Homeless

Mark Federman, of the McLuhan Program at U of T, commented as follows:

His Report from Iraq is both heart-wrenching and serves as a dire warning to the Western World about the Reversal effects we can expect once the U.S. bombs start falling. From the letter: "we may well unleash forces of hatred and resentment that will haunt us for decades to come in every corner of the world. I can just hear Osama Bin Laden saying now, "Please President Bush, attack Iraq. There's nothing better you could do to help the cause of Al Qaeda!"" If you read anything about the current world crisis this week, read the article.

Logging and annotating what one's reading

'PR'-otaku: Logging and annotating William Gibson's 'Pattern Recognition' (Joe Clark:

This is interesting mainly because I started taking notes of books I read on a Wiki site I have. But looking at this makes me thing we need a CMS geared directly at such endeavors, using all the "community features" of blogging...

All this war talk

makes me want to remind everyone of this Dylan song: Masters of War.


Oh me oh my...

My first car was an '83 Subaru GL (2 door sedan). I loved it. I killed it. I was so stupid.

Last fall, parked across the street from my appartment, lo and behold, an '83 Subaru GL. Same model, but obviously well loved. Chrome a -sparkling, bright yellow paint job: it was a beauty. I left a business card with a message on the windshield.

So mademoiselle emails me this week. She says it is in top shape with only 75 000km on it. She's asking "around $3500".

I just have to sell this VW Golf first... :)


Mi iPod be a natty congo mon!

Both me iPod and me iTunes seem to have a predilection for Bob Marley. The Pod currently has about 4Gigs of various MP3's on it, 400megs of which is Marley. In shuffle mode, Bob comes up on average every third or fourth song.

Ev'ytin cook an' curry. :)


Foyle's War

I guess you could say I'm a bit of a World War II buff. Nothing too in-depth, mind you: I don't know any dates by heart or any such thing. It's mainly due to the fact that when the kids at school started calling me a nazi because of my german heritage, I figured I should shore up on some facts to prove, without my fists, that I am not... a nazi that is. I read some books, spoke to some relatives. They were all around back then. Heard some rather grizzly stories. Vienna, Bavaria, North Africa.. and atop the cliffs of Normandy.

But that isn't the point of this entry.

I just finished watching the second installment of a wonderful "Masterpiece Theatre" production entitled "Foyle's War". Now I have never been in the least interested in detective stories. Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and the lot; they are not "my thing" really. In any event, this Foyle character: brilliant. A warm, humane man, in touch with what is going on around him and doing his job as best he can. A tear welled when I realised the actor reminded me of my father. More on that in 10 days.

What I appreciate very much about this series however is that it is quick paced, and not stuffy at all as so many overly dramatic british detective stories brough to film tend to be.The villains are realistically detestable and the protagonists are people you really would wish as friends. Everybody, and every situation, is human, and believable.

It truly is a beautiful production and I recommend it to anyone who likes a good story well presented.

Silly goose

While at the faubourgh Ste-Catherine yesterday afternoon, I bought some ham. Or so I thought.

After paying for the "ham", I walked over to the SAQ ("Société des Alcools de Québec" - government body that sells all booze here) to get some wine. Looking at the Australians (Lindemans Bin 50, Shiraz... Mmmmm...), I hear a faint "Sir? Uh.. Sir!?" The girl who had served me the ham.

Turns out she charged and gave me the wrong package. In my bag I had sliced turkey breast. We check the label quickly; indeed! Ok, let me buy these two bottles of wine and I'll come right back over to the deli to straighten this out.

So we straighten it out. I get the other package, marked "Jambon de Paris", and she gets her turkey (apparently she had cut it for herself as she was getting off work soon).

So here I am at work... with my Delba Pumpernickle, my chunk of Edam cheese... and 100g of sliced smoked turkey breast. (in a package with a sticker that clearly says Jambon de Paris...)

I'm not complaining mind you... just funny. :)


No sir. These are not potholes; these are tire shredders.

The radical warm up and rain of the last few days has caused severe frost heaves and asphalt decay. It doesn't help that Quebec's road-makers seemingly have NO know-how when it comes to the physics and chemistry and engineering of their task.

As I was saying. Imagine big gnarly bear-traps, which when struck at just the right speed and just the right angle, will RIP the rubber right from your wheels.

And they are EVERYWHERE. Who needs videogames? Swerve to avoid destroying your wheels and suspension! Narrowly miss a pedestrian!

Sellout post

I thought of a bunch of interesting things to post this weekend and never did. Now they are gone. Obliterated by a staff dinner and party last night. I don't know how I got home last night, or when... or even how I got to work today.

I literally am more stupid today than I was yeserday. Obviously I am still intoxicated to a certain extent. Motor skills are sluggish and thoughts are nebuluous, at best. Typing this post is requiring an inordinate amount of concentration.

Stop. Must get some sleep.


Victoria College Academic Program

Semiotics is the science of communication and sign systems, in short, of the ways people understand phenomena and organize them mentally, and of the ways in which they devise means for transmitting that understanding and for sharing it with others. Although natural and artificial languages are therefore central to semiotics, its field covers all non-verbal signalling and extends to domains whose communicative dimension is perceived only unconsciously or subliminally. Knowledge, meaning, intention and action are thus fundamental concepts in the semiotic investigation of phenomena.

Congress Meets Wall Street

State of the Union Poster

"How Big Corporate Campaign Contributors are Buying America...And What the Rest of Us Pay"


I got a letter today from the Internet Search Registry.

A *real* letter, as in "in an enveloppe, with a stamp in my mailbox"

It's not a letter so much as it is a "bill", or rather, in the words I can already here them using to describe it, "a convenient way to subscribe to our service". Looks just like a telephone or cable bill.
They want $100, righ there right now, to submit my site to the search engines.

"- Draw qualified new visitors to your web site"
"- Extremely cost effective"
"- Let the search engines do the work for you"

These are bold statements. Especially for something as touchy as search engine ranking. What stikes me especially about this letter though that they make it so "easy" to send them $100, but nowhere offer any proof of legitimacy, accountablilty, etc... They don't even ask yu to open an acocunt of some sort... It's literally: "hey send us a hundred bucks! Why not?"

Anyways, i will certainly use the included return enveloppe, but no money or payment stub will accompany it. A nice hand written note will they recieve.

The gist of the note? "You must be joking."

I killed my Safari

A friend wondered if it was possible to have Safari's built in google search do it's thing on instead of
So I searched the contents of the Safari package, found the instances of in "/Safari/contents/MacOS/Safari" and replaced them with

It no liked that. Safari wouldn't launch at all. Undid the change. Safari would bounce twice and crash.

Sigh. Downloaded a fresh copy. All's well again.

The moral: no searching from the menu bar. Though they probably should make that a configurable option: select which localised version of google the user wants to use...


Watched "p" for the second time last night...

"Eleven seventeen, note to self:
<strumming lips> WOOLOOWOOLOOWOOLOO</strumming lips>"

Still unimpressed with this movie. Bad acting throughout (except for that main Hassid character), overly dramatic, and I take issue with the further stereotyping of highly intelligent people as mentally defective.

Seeing nature for what it is is not insanity inducing in all cases.


He danced on snow.

Sad news.
This man. Craig Kelly. Not only was he the Michael Jordan, Tony Hawk of snowboarding. Not only was he four time World Champion. He was also a truly remarkable human being. I have never forgotten, nor will I ever, the man who took time out to show a young kid what he was doing wrong in that half-pipe on Blackcomb that late June afternoon, 1989.

I hope he dances through the sweetest heavenly powder forever.

My comment

On this thread.

Hrm... an OS with all apps integrated, apps "as OS". What I think we should do here is step back a moment and look at our computers as a tool, and not a tool box.
Nevermind the industry that has grown around software development... do you really want one compnay to make all your apps (*cough*microsoft*cough*)?

Also, you'll still be clicking around separate windows. Sure tabs are sweet for websurfing, but I quite enjoy having my Photoshop, Safari adn BBEdit open in separate windows. "Yeah but they could all be based in the same app... youc an still have separate windows!" Uhuh... yeah one big app that "loads modules" as needed... Sounds pretty much like the paradign we already have, no? One big app (the OS) that loads modules as needed (Apps)... Sound familiar? If anything, this exactly what Mac OS has always done, and what MS has tried desperately to do also. Apps are tool modules.

Besides, we have to deal with content first. And filesystems.. etc... Is this not what we are hearing whispers of already? "Every client a server, every server a client"... "The semantic Web"... think of the effect such technology has for the "desktop". Rich metadata, local Google searching (ahem, Zoe?).

Oh and pssst... Apple's doing it already. Look at all the pieces of OS X, and wonder at the grand scheme unfolding beofre us.

Repeat after me.

The word "cloaca" has been popping up in my head all morning. Literally. It'll just "pop up"... cloaca cloaca cloaca...

For some reason I thought it was that little bulbous thing at the back of one's throat...

So just before posting I searched Google for cloaca, to make sure I had the spelling right. Well, the spelling was right, but boy was I wrong about what it meant...

Now the odd thing is that yes I had read about this... thing... twice before: once when it was first unveiled in Belgium and then when it went to New York. What I want to know however is this: why the heck has the word been repeatedly popping up in my head all morning?!

Maybe I need to go to the washroom.


Despite the stack of "theory" books I want to get to, as well as the two recently gifted Murakami novels (thank you!), I sat down with an earlier acquisition which was still staring at me from the coffee table: "You shall know our velocity" by one Dave Eggers.

Thirty pages in and I've already got about a million quotes I'd like to share with you.

It's not terribly interesting so far, plot wise. It is however... very... familiar... If I wrote a novel, it would feel something like this one. Schizophrenic, drifting in and out of ... the real world and one's perception of one's internal processes...

People say I talk slowly. I talk in a way sometimes called laconic. The phone rings, I answer, and people ask if they've woken me up. I lose my way in the middle of sentences, leaving people hanging for minutes. I have no control over it. I'll be talking, and will be interested in what I'm saying, but then someone--I'm convinced this is what happens--someone--and i wish I knew who, because i'd have words for this person--for a short time, borrows my head. Like a battery is borrowed from a calculator to power a remote control, someone, always, is borrowing my head.
I opened my mouth but couln't think of any way to answer. Someone was using my head to power a coffeemaker"

Bread in a glass

I saw a TV commercial last night about getting St-Patrick's Day to be a national holiday.
It ended with "Imagine, a day off for St-Patty's! Now who do you think came up with that? ..."

... And then they flash the logo and the URL.

Second wind

After a sleepy day spent meeting a new friend for coffees, watching "Pi" and just generally lazing about and getting nothing much done, I try to go to sleep at 1am. Wouldn't you know it, that's when I wake up. Can't sleep. It's 2:30am, I have to be up in a few hours and all i can do is sit here, surf and code.

Sheesh. ;)

Fortune cookie mishap...

Chinese buffet for lunch with co-workers today.
"You will get what you want through your charm and personality."
Never has there been a greater case of a fortune cookie fortune being given to the wrong person.
At least that was the joke around the table when I read it out for them.

Sigh... and people wonder why I want out of here. Oh well. ;)


I just finished watching the last installment of "Tuning In: 50 years on the CBC" ( hosted by that guy there... whatshisname... Rick Mercer, right. Realy quite enjoyable! I even felt nostalgic... and proud! That's saying alot for me, actually. National pride is something I eshew almost fervently.

Anyways, in the last few minutes of this last episode they of course spoke of very recent things. Coverage of 9/11. I have 2 reactions to WTC stuff: "ugh" and a sudden overwhelming urge to cry. VERY odd since I watched the real thing live, and much of the subsequent coverage without ANY emotional reaction really, mainly due to the overly.. hmm how do I put this sensitively? "mooshy" and nationalistic formatting. (However when objective reporting of the human factors of the event were shown, I was also overcome with the desire to cry.. which I remember at the time blew my mind because I am not generally affected by human tragedy.. dunno why...)

They did not stay on that topic for long - though the lump had already formed in my throat. They quickly segued to the 2002 Winter Olypic games in Salt Lake City (the segue taking form in the parading of the amercian flag that had flow at WTC Plaza). Now here is what blew my mind even more: they spoke, of course, of the double gold for men's and women's hockey which we canadians won. I burst out into tears! Total basket case! Why is this strange? 1- I could not care less about hockey, 2- i could not care less about Olympic gold and 3- national pride isn't, as previously stated, a very big thing chez moi. I don't know what to make of it, and honestly don't particularily care to do so.. I mean make something something of it. Just recording for posterity I guess. ;)

I then switched over to watch Charlie Rose. Always interesting.

Tomorrow night (2003-01-07) on PBS: Kofi Annan - Center of the storm. Hopefully I'll remember to watch it. From the preview, I can say there is a slight chance that Mr. Annan uses an Apple Titanium PowerBook. Aw yeah. ;)

What makes IE so "fast"?

Bad TCP/IP...
Amazing if true...

And now this...

I've been very quiet lately. Languishing in a limboish haze of holiday partying and extreme procrastination. The site I've been obsessing over for the last 2 to 3 months is ever so near to completion, and has been a painful exploration of XHTML and CSS layout. While all this web-standards stuff is brilliant, I fear that the browsers are still our enemies.

Enough of that for now.

It seems my refridgerator is about to render it's ghost. It cackles every 2 minutes, trying in vain to start the compressor, and feeding my anxiety in the process. Will I have to miss a day of work to get a repairman? Or to find a replacement and wait for delivery? I surely won't buy a brand new one. A trip to the east-end seems inevitable.

Feeling like I fall in that specific demographic - late 20's early 30's and tired of finding nothing more than flights of fancy in the local club/bar scene - i imagined as I napped this afternoon what a personal ad of mine may read like...

"Summer is sexy, autumn is sexier"
"What we do with technology is cool, what technology does with us is cooler.

"Age: physically: 28, otherwise: anywhere from 5 to 60, depending on any number of factors."
"Height, weight, build: 5'11", 160lbs, straddling the fine line of average and in-shape.

"Why you should get to know me: Because on bad days I may force you to re-examine everything you ever held to be just and true, while on good days I may just smile and nod. We should all have the luxury to be aware of our illusions and to have hand-picked our delusions."

"I am looking for: Someone who is detached enough from the world to walk through it unscathed. Someone who agrees that integrity and respect are at the core of everything... and can live with the fact that most people don't. Someone who doesn't need me in order to be happy, but is damn glad I am around. Someone who is intelligent, beautiful and sexy... and knows it, but not more."

Should I mention I may be a social alcoholic and/or manic-depressive, or neither...

The fridge goes into the final rattles of it's demise: the dripping of the now de-icing freezer draws out the plans for my sunday afternoon. Damn.

The Night Before Christmas 2002

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land,
not a critic was stirring, for stirring was banned.
A thousand brown prisoners, snug in their cells,
all held without charges or tinsel or bells;
and mamma was wrapped in the national flag,
while we sang ".Where there's never a boast or a brag."
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the TV I flew like a flash;
I then watched "Survivor" and reruns of "Mash."
The fireworks, exploding above the new snow,
gave a luster of objects to people below.
When what saw my wondering eyes in the flashes:
a miniature George Bush and eight tiny fascists!
Their jerseys were blue and said "WORLD DOMINATION";
I knew right away this was not just claymation.
More rapid than eagles the warlords they came,
as the little Bush whistled and called them by name:
"Now, Daschle! now, Ashcroft! Now Strom, don't relent!
On, Poindexter, Rumsfeld! on Henry and Trent!
To the top of the globe, while the crowd's at the mall,
nowbomb away, bomb away, bomb away all!"
His sack had a war game for each girl and boy;
his pocket, four billion from just Illinois.
Far up on his high seat the driver did mount,
with more massive weapons than Kofi could count.
And then, I heard sounds from away off somewhere,
the booming of bombs that were bursting in air.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
down the chimney old Dick Cheney came with a bound.
He said not a word, nor disclosed his location;
he wiretapped my house in the name of the nation.
Then holding the strings of his little Bush puppet,
he went to the chimney and quickly rose up it.
The sleigh was still running, but Dick didn't hurry;
gas guzzlers, it seemed, were no longer a worry.
He popped the champagne and exclaimed as he served it,
"The world is now ours, and GOD DAMN, we deserve it!"

How to Ruin American Enterprise

Technorati: Sidebar

Technorati: Sidebar

When you find an interesting site or blog, simply cut-and-paste the URL into the Technorati sidebar, and get an up-to-date list of blogs that link to that URL. It's like getting instant reviews and commentary on what's going on on the web.

Brilliant. Think "authority gauge".

Consider this:
A blogger writes an entry about subject X. 100 people read it. 10 of those people link to it from their blog. You come along and see this entry. You want to know what degree of credibilty it has ("authority"). By using the Technorati "Cosmos" service, you can see the 10 links that previous readers established.

Granted, a link is non-qualificative: i.e. a link doesn't mean the linker agrees or disagrees. It is up to you to follow th elink and see what the linker thinks. This analoguous to any healthy social system where you learn with experience. Consulting others' expepriences ads to yours, etc... It's very organic.

It's aliiiive!!!

Oh damn.. somebody stop me...

Somebody remind me how utterly financially irresponsible it would be of me to go and buy an iBook right now.

or a T68i.

Argh!!! Damn you hyperconsumerism!!!

The power of voice

Phonetic searching.
All we need is IO's to this and integrate it with OS's... and polish off voice recognition software and bingo: bye bye keyboard!

High-pitched whine

I had a root canal done about 4 months ago. Now contrary to what I'd been told, it was a totally painless affair. Chalk it up to state-of-the-art dentistry I guess.

Anyways, point is that ever since I've had discomfort in the area where the work was done. It would flame up and be sensitive, especially after eating sweets. This apparently perplexed my dentist no end.

So this afternoon... he redid the root canal. Drilled it out again, refiled.. going 25 millimeters into my palate (biiig roots!), and refilled.

Ouuuuaaaaaannnnn... ouaaaan ouaaaannnnn!

Hehehehe... at least he was recounting jokes from the comedy show he had seen recently.

In the epicenter

I truly don't know what got into me. Wait, that's not true; I do.
It's not like I bought everybody drinks. Wait, that's not true either; I did.

You know when everything just comes together? When everything you know and love, every fiber of your being is engaged in the endeavor, every facet of your persoanlity and experience are coordinated and syncronized? Great things happen. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly calls it "the state of flow".

This weekend was epic. And I was, humbly, in the center.
["Oh god! Bind me in a nutshell and call me the king of infinite space!"]

Finding files by their contents

From The Mac OS X Help:

The Finder can search the contents of files for specific text.

To search for the content of items, choose Find from the File menu. Type the word or phrase you want to search for in the "content includes" text box, then click Search.

If the Finder doesn't find an item you expected to find, you may need to update the index. To update an index, select the disk or folder that contains the files you want to search and choose Get Info from the File menu. Click Content Index, then click Index Now.

Now, I've always known that MacOS runs a content index... nightly in fact, if you turn it on... (I remember the ex and I would howl everynight at 12 when sitting at her PowerBook and the Indexing would start... wait that sounds funny.. whatever...)

Anyways, yeah, I always thought of it as an annoyance, and I never searched by comments so what the heck...

But you know (listening Karl?), I can setup to make this thing search my mail folders... and my IM/SMS archives... and my Bookmarks folders... Oooh...

So now I wonder why Apple split off Sherlock into just a web-search-tool when they could have turned in on itself and presented local data in a web-happy way? (Show me my email to Joe last week and let me click on the links again... etc...)

To be investigated...

"Process Is More Important Than Results."

[...] to achieve results, you've got to do something.† If you do something, you'll make mistakes.† Mistakes are, by definition, a process violation.
The context is public service (government mainly), but it's interesting to consider it outside of that.


Just chatting with a friend at one of the major New York "Webdesign companies" (if you can call them that nowadays), which recently got bought by a mormon compnay (name changed to protect the innocent):

Mustahfa says:
The funny thing is I really don't care, that's what a souless bastard I've become

Bopuc says:

Mustahfa says:
You could have told me some guy named Lucifer had bought us and wanted us to build an extended enterprise portal for This is what happens whe you start using a PC I guess

Bopuc says:
Wait I thought u guys already did that contract...

Mustahfa says:
Yeah but we fucked it up

Bopuc says:
Hahahahaa, so Lucifer sent the mormons after ya!!!

Mustahfa says:
Exactly, he's a real bastard

Bopuc says:

GUI design and dumplings

Here I am agonising over how to present the reeeeaaams of data the engineers want to display on the "wireless bridge stats" screen of our product's web-based GUI (which I am the Lord and Master of, thank you very much).. and all i can think of is the little dumpling restaurant I visited 2 weeks ago on Spadina in Toronto's Chinatown.

$2.50 for enough Won-Ton soup for 3 people! $3.50 for 12 pork and bok-choi steamed dumplings! (Gyoza to the japanese... they tasted just like the ones my ex used to make ... sigh...)

Has anybody been to the dumpling place on St-Laurent? The one between Pine and Prince-Arthur.. across from Go-go Lounge... Actually i think there may be 2 or 3 in that one block span... Sigh... maybe I'll venture down and give 'em a shot tonight (before heading to YULBlog, of course...).

Well put...

A comment to a blog posting about MBTI

Thinking, but because I'm raised by a psychologist who emphasised the importance of being aware of other people's feelings I as a very rational thinking child added "emotions" as a datatype to be considered in my thought processes.

So while I occasionally make decisions which look as if it is an emotionally based one it generally is a result of a "logical" process.

Don't like plans, generally. Prefer goals, knowing which direction you're taking. The rest tends to come from that.

I wasn't raised by a psychologist, but rather someone who could have used one... however this is right on the nose for me too.

Just what I was waiting for

Ananova - Tattooing robot unveiled at hi-tech trade fair
Brilliant! Unique, automated, moderne und Östereichisch!

Z'is ja'r a Vahnzinn!


I was asked this morning what my favorite {something} is. Thought about it for all of 10 seconds and realised that I don't have a favorite anything.

10 more seconds and I came up with these thoughts:
- too much good stuff around and so, invariably, too many "candidates".
- I enjoy most of what this world has to offer. I tend to see *some* good in everything. Sure there are some things I still "like" "more" than others, but that's normal right?
- Doesn't calling something your favorite tend to preclude you from enjoying/liking other things of similar ilk? "Try the red bean ice cream!" "But I must have vanilla! It's my favorite!" (This kind of exchange makes me ill.)
- "by calling one jewel a favorite you deny yourself all the others."

On the other hand:
- there is nothing I utterly and totally dislike either. hmm, dislike may be wrong word because whil eyes there are some things I am not particularily keen on, i can see how they may be appealing to others, or at the limit accept that others may like this.
- "Nothing is so bad but thinking makes it so."

Argh. I just realised something. This may be directly related to the maddening tailspins I put myself into once I am in "serious relationships"... "I do love you my dear! But... but... that girl over there is soooo pretty!"

Sigh. Better straighten this one out before I make another mess.

Monday mooonday

Ok, I'm in a dastardly mood today. Has to do with going on a bender all weekend and basically wasting alot of time recovering from the hangovers.

And then I have to read this. (By way of Doc who also commented, though nothing to do with my point of view.)

Sigh. To wit:

Girlism is about owning your own sexuality as a woman and letting men understand that it's something you like -- sex. And it's something you like on YOUR terms, not on their terms. Women don't need men to define female sexuality. We need to define it ourselves and we need to own it and then teach men how it is. It's beyond Feminism.

Okay... 1st sentence: No problem, sounds great, here's hoping I meet many of you (women who can actually incarnate this.. still not that many... apparently and unfortunately)

2nd sentence: Sure... Sometimes on your terms sometimes on my terms, but you know what? isn't it best when it's on BOTH OUR terms (I mean both the man and woman's at the same time)?

3rd sentence: and men certainly don't want/need women to define male sexuality! Not all the time anyways... ;) Again... share and share alike! Give and take! No point going from one extreme to another here!

4th sentence: Yeah I guess that may be required. I can live with that myself. Just don't get pushy. I respect you, you respect me, everybody's happy.

5th sentence: this is where I agree with Doc actually. How about we get beyond "ism" altogether.

Hmmm. I'm actually in a bit better mood now. Perhaps I'll go out (again) tonight and see if I can't find a "girlie".

Gimme gimme!

I want a combination Apple iPod and SonyEricsson T68i (WITH the "CommunicCAM" camera... and why not a CHA-30 digital pen).

First let's mention the obvious reasons:

  • one device for portable music, cellphone, contacts, calendaring, file storage and little digital pictures.
  • über-techno-geek-godness ;)

    Some less obvious advantages (with minor software tweaking on the device):

  • voice operation ("dial John K."... why not "Play Bob Marley Jammin'" ? Why not?)
  • scribble SMS messages? Sure... how about scribbe blog entries, SMS'ed to an XML-RPC/SOAP system? Attach a picture to that while you're at it.

    Hmm... how about some feature combinations that would REALLY get shit moving:

  • Dictation: "Take a memo: I just saw a blue Smart car downtown! End memo, attach last picture, submit to my blog."
  • Dictation: "Take a memo: Oh my god I figured out what Einstein meant by E=mc2! Blah blah blah blah.... End memo, e-mail to self"
  • Transcription: "John this conversation is really interesting, do you mind if I record it/have it transcribed? Start Trascription /.../ end transcription, e-mail to self."
    (I'd happlily sacrifice 5Gig of my 20 to a fully portable voice dictation system)
    (Some may balk at the privacy issues of that last one. I consider that a detail that will work itself out, as it always does, as the technology makes it possible.)

    So, what we need for this:
    On the device itself:
    Essentially a cellphone with a 20Gig harddrive and existing cell communication, music playing, filesystem, voice navigation, TCP-IP stack, I/O (FireWire, USB.Bluetooth, keypad, scrollwheel...) etc..
    Voice dictation/trasncription software ported for the hardware platform (I bet someone has this... IBM? Dragon? Locus Dialog?
    On the "network" (service providers/carriers):
    web-technology interfaces (XML-RPC, SOAP, et all)... it's software, people... easy stuff... ;)
    hey, the voice dictation/trasncription could even be done on the service provider side. That DEFINITLY exists. Locus Dialog make that.

    I leave the rest to your imagination. :)

  • Sleeplessness

    Because sniffles asked for people's experiences with various degrees of insomnia... :)

    I am one of these low metabolism people... If I don't keep myself in check I could possibly sleep my life away as a hunk of flesh comfortably ensconced in a duvet soaked cloud somewhere.

    Ok maybe not, but I do have to keep on my toes. I learnt that over the last few years, and it has to do with level of stimulation. For me anyways. As mentioned in a posting further down, my summer was spent in high physical and spiritual activity: jogging, reading, socialising. My mind had turned mushy over the course of a non-intellectually-stimulating relationship. The combination of much running around and not thinking to darn much, meant I slept liek a king every night.

    As autumn fell, my activities shifted to intellectual ones. This is where sleeplessness comes in.

    "Normally" (hmmm... I'm unsure now what normal for me is or should be, but anyways) I can put myself "out" at will, more or less; give me a quiet room and a clear mind and I am snoozing in seconds.

    That pretty much says it all. I am tossing and turning almost every night now until late. Some nights worse than others. I manage to discpline the ol'noggin most nights, without the use of drugs, alcohol or *cough* masturbation.. or any other such drastic interventions. (Drugs and booze just hop me up anyways... unless I pass out from abuse ... oh boy I can hear y'all snickering: "nice choice of words there B!" ... anyways, as i was saying, those things just rev up the RPMs higher.)

    Here's the part that dumbfounds me and may shock many of you (like you're not shocked already!): I do get, on average, 8 hours a night... BUT I awake feeling drowsy and just wanting more.

    Maybe I dream too vigourously.

    Or maybe I just rather become a hunk of flesh ensconced in my duvet cloud...


    I dedicate any and all endeavors I may yet accomplish to my father and mother.

    To my father, the memory of whose sparse use of words, humility, patience and honesty are a life-long inspiration to learn, teach and seek the truth all the while knowing it is all around us, especially on the tip of our nose.

    To my mother, whose enormous pride in her son drives me forward. La fièrtée est un poison redoutable. En doses modérées cependant, ce poison devient une potion magique qui, une fois enivré d'elle, nous emmène au-delà de nous mêmes.

    Communication / Learning via patterns

    Arranging data objects in a pattern.
    Learning to speak/understand a language this way.
    specific sound pattern = meanings
    specific sound pattern -> reference of experience

    (read out loud, sounding out each "aural data object" [syllable] slowly, repeat each line at least twice)

    ning shoo rah
    shoo ning rah
    shoo rah ning
    ning rah shoo
    rah ning shoo

    What am I talking about?

    tchin ehl tcher kah vod
    tcher vod ehl kah tchin
    vod kah tchin tcher ehl

    Yeah I think I need one... :)

    Soooo.. you wanna learn an asian language eh? I'd venture to say it's easier than learning a "western" language using today's teaching methods.

    Either way, do it quick: the future lies in aural-based communication technologies (i.e. language systems). Asian and African cultures are miles ahead of us.
    Considering asia's socio-economic situation (take a step back and look at it with a wider angle... focusing to tightly on the present will tell you nothing), its communication technology (i.e. language system - I am NOT talking cellphones here) could easily become the global de facto standard within 3-4 generations. Its already begun.

    Voice command computer software does sound pattern matching. Their limitations now are the associations to western writing systems. They should think stenography. Sound to symbol. Sound familiar? It should to anyone who reads chinese, japanese et al.

    Ph33r my l337 sk1llz. (enlish haxxor speak... clumsy.. still using multiple symbols for syllables)
    a+ (french Instant Message/SMS shorthand... much more elegant, no? Ah the french...;)

    Hmm.. I need to look into muslim pattern-based art.
    You know, God is in my wallpaper...

    Wheels within wheels.

    Ten years ago, the summer between highschool and CEGEP (a college-like construct of the Quebec education system... essentially it represents 2-3 years between highschool and university) I spent in my '83 Subaru GL in the parking lot of the local strip-mall, listening to U2's Zooropa and digesting, subconsciously mostly, the concepts this pop band had (unknowingly? unwittingly?) foisted on the world. I wrote that summer, on a scrap of paper: "Is there a technology that will allow me to be free? To do what I want?" I had no idea what I meant at the time by those words. They merely sprang from me.

    A year later, after a literature course wherein Umberto Eco's "Name of the Rose" was dissected before me and an introduction to the writings of one Jorge Luis Borges, I tasted the beginnings of madness as sweet semiotics and confounding metaphysics swirled and slashed through my mind. (I resorted to alcohol to supress the fury and sleep at night. Nothing excessive, just basic social alcoholism. Hey I was in college. ;) However, neither Eco nor Borges would ever let me be.)

    Much at the same time, a life-long interest in human theological constructs brought Taoism to my door, and I let it be. It let me be.

    Within 6 months I would be introduced to desktop publishing and the wonders of the computer. Could this be the technology I seeked? I would be a publisher, an editor, an author. No, this was merely the modernisation of an ancient technology.

    A year or so later came my first dial-up internet account. A further modernisation of basic printing and publication, it glimmered nonetheless of something new and promising... and I saw economic rewards for the future. I would embrace the Internet as my professional, bread-winning endeavor.

    So I plugged away as web-designer, dreaming in HTML (literally... I have dreamt in HTML). One day I encountered a magical term: Information Architect. "Yes, this is what I am" I thought. (The term has come to mean something very different than what I consider it, but that is a story for another day.) Classification, categorisation, hierarchialisation, taxonomisation... the hallmarks of western linear thought. Unbeknownst to me, I was (and still am!) working in the direction opposite of where I needed to go.

    Somewhere in 1997-98 I read "Skin of Culture" by one Derrick DeKerkhove; Marshall McLuhan's translator and right-hand man, he had founded and still runs the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto. Profoundly affected by ideas of the acceleration of culture by electronic means and the effects of western text-based communication systems (i.e. languages) on the western mind (and by extension now, the collective mind that is the Internet), in contrast with
    eastern, aural/oral based communication systems (oriental languages/writing systems) and their effect on those cultures, I got hit again with a bout of insomnia. Nothing a lot of beer and a bad relationship couldn't kill.

    For the next 5 years, I shut my brain off. Concentrating on my career and needy girlfriends, I rarely indulged in the deep thoughts that gave my life such pain, but also all it's meaning.

    Spring 2002, feeling the murderous mundaneity of a 9to5 job, utterly void of fulfillment, and the sloth of nightly vegetating on a girlfriend's couch, I felt the need for change. One or both had to go. To my great, undying pain, I made the logical decision: I need the money now. Love, if it is love, will always find me later. The summer was spent licking the wounds of loss. The bleeding has slowed, but stigmata always returns. Zen and jogging replaced alcohol as I buckled down for the return of my thoughts.

    Here we are, fall of 2002 and my nights are spent tossing and turning. I can draw a line through every thought, every notion, every idea that has preoccupied and fascinated me for the last 10 years; every thesis, essay, novel, short story; every religious concept; every business strategy; every historical recounting; every conversation... and in the end I have a loop.

    Now I must put this loop into a form that I can share.

    "The straight line is the enemy of man. It is an abhorration of nature."
    - Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

    There IS a technology that will alow me to be free, to do what I want. I was right to choose the web as my specialisation for it is the seed of this new technology... or rather, it is symbiotically linked to the ever accelerating transformation of the human experience that, as I, needs this technology to come to be.

    It is language; it is communication; it is silence and it is noise. It is everything we have ever wanted, and as such it is nothing. It just is. And we are closer than ever.

    "Nature is a frightful sphere, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere."
    - Blaise Pascal

    Perfect Memory

    About a month ago I started thinking about developping a web-based system for myself which I dubbed "Perfect Memory"... The idea being that I would start capturing any and all text based communication (emails, instant messages), writings (quick thoughts, articles, outlines), as well as text-based "traces of my online wanderings" (bookmarks, browser histories) as I could (since web-tech and the fantastic powers of Google are still text-based), while making sure I keep the dev open enough for future inclusion of audio, and video.

    Yesterday I spoke to Mark Federman at the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto. He mentioned such things as Ted Nelson's Xanadu ( and Zig Zag ( concepts, as well as going over accelerated culture and it's ramification etc etc, but I digress...

    I returned home to an email from a friend. He had done some digging (on Google of course!). The results were these links:

    Good old Vannevar Bush & Memex back in 1945:

    Microsoft is stepping into the ring already (beware Userland...)

    And today, "moblogging" has got many folks talking:

    Let me explain:
    1- I spend an average 8-10 hours a day online. The Internet is just as much a real place to me as any "physical" location. I know where to look for what I want and i know how to get there. But my human brain is fallable and undisciplined.. and unsearchable via a text input box.

    2- I want a web-based "extension" of my mind. As a hammer is an extension of my hand and arm, as an automobile is an extension of my feet, legs and back, so is the Internet an extension of my eyes, ears mouth and fingers (reading/researching text, "publishing texts via blogs and emails and IMs)... Now I want to use web-technologies to make it be an extension of my mind... of my experience.. of my Memory.

    Jaunt to Toronto

    I am off to Toronto tomorrow till Thursday. I have one friend in TO and I hardly expect him to be at my beck and call sooo... If anyone wants to hook up for a coffee/drink/meal/walk and chat about whatever (webtech, life, semiotics (zing!)), ... Hmmm... problem... How would someone reach me? Hmmm.. does my scheiss-phone work in TO? Hmmmm. Do I post my phone number here? Hmmm...

    Well. I don't leave for 24hrs so leave me a comment here and we see... :)

    Quotes from Naz

    Ordinarily he is insane. But he has lucid moments when he is only stupid.
    - Heinrich Heine

    Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others.
    - Groucho Marx

    It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.
    - Raymond Chandler

    Sartre's Cookbook


    Sugar Daddy

    About 2 weeks ago I ran out of sugar. The regular white granular kind. Not a huge surprise but nothing I had anticipated either seeing as I barely use sugar at all. In fact I use it almost exclusively for the rare weekend coffee... and the occasional pasta sauce (hey, I've seen countless Italian friends use it and the fat guy in The Godfather when he shows Michael how to make pasta for 20 people.. he uses sugar too...). Actually for the pasta sauce I'll usually use honey.

    But that's hardly the point here. The point is, last weekend I was out of sugar and had a fresh tasse of coffee sitting on my counter. Quick jaunt to Jose's paterisserie, a slice of almond blueberry pie... and a HANDFUL of sugar packets.

    So here we are. I will never buy sugar again. I frequent enough places where big bowls or baskets or other receptacles filled with sugar packets are freely accessible and are begging for a quick grab.

    Need I say more?

    Quick thought

    "Time is the corkboard to which we pin the events of our lives."

    Date and time stamps are essential for perfect memory for they add a useful and universally accepted dimension to the indexing and searching features of our mind. No to mention software based search "engines" (which as <cough> McLuhan </cough> would consider, being as they are part of the Internet's makeup, an extension of the human mind...)

    (Thank you Sniffles for reminding me of this concept - extension of our minds -, by way of your posting about Spam.)

    It's all true.

    Googlism : ?ism=boris

    "I've heard so much about you!"

    Let me write that down...

    (I was debating whether or not I should give the full context of this line, and decided that I will give a minimal explanation here, and the full context will appear in a comment to this posting.)

    Heard on a TV show last night, in a scene where a gentleman is interupted in his courting of a lady he fancies in order to take care of some urgent business:

    "Stick around for a minute? It appears there may be a coup-d'état going on in Venezuela..."

    I gotta remember that one... :)

    truth and lies?

    (originally posted as a comment on Dandruff. )

    The very first thing I did the very first time I sat at a computer with DTP sofware (Aldus Pagemaker), was print out a sheet which looked very much like this
    and put it up on the various corkboards around the college I was then attending.

    After reading too much Eco and Borges (and of course with a dash of youthful disillusionment), my thoughts were more along the lines of this.

    Now, a bit older, perhaps a bit wiser... I have reconciled (somewhat) semiotics and zen buddhism and view much of the world as such.

    (make sure to view the sources...)

    (the damn tracking bit doesn't validate.. will fix later today...)


    Sooooo... The Queen of Lazy Webmasters has finally updated the YUL list and lo and behold there I am.

    Thank you Bill, if that's your real name...

    (Willhelmina? Hmmm)

    Save MY money?

    Ok... So I got an ING Direct savings account cause that dutch guy just so inspires confidence. Save YOUR money!

    Anyhoot. Today I recieved my ING Direct debit card, sos I can get to MY money from any Interac terminal.

    Check this out. The card has one of those holograms on it. The hologram is of a set of HANDCUFFS transversed with a bar, so as to look like a percentage sign % ... And of course, when you move the card the handcuffs open and close with a little flourish symbolising a "click" I suppose.

    (I tried taking a picture but not only do I have the shittiest digital camera of all time, but I ain't much of a photographer to boot.)

    Anyways, this all seems VERY strange to me and somewhat frightening... ;)

    Top Ten "Must Avoid" costumes:

    ( from a reader )

    10. Bomb-strapped Chechen Rebel Chick
    9. Gay Atheist Boy Scout
    8. Superman in a Wheelchair
    7. Saddam Hussein
    6. Invisible Clothes Man
    5. George Bush
    4. Pantsless Priest
    3. Japan Tobacco Industry Lobbyist
    2. Osama bin Laden
    1. Blackface Sniper


    At work today I was shown a web-based interface to a video-camera surveillance system (via some seemingly proprietary browser plug-in, mind you, but that's hardly the point).

    We accessed a live camera in a grocery store in the West-Island. We could control the zoom as well as the panning (direction), all in real time. Here's the shocking part: it was SO smooth and SO clear, we could see the prices printed on the shelves, watch customers key in their PIN numbers and make them out ( ! ), from the front of the store we watched a client at the meat counter picking out a steak, and the price on the little flag. We could also directly access a specific cash's scanner and watch what was being scanned (and what may not have been...).

    I'm not one to pontificate on such things, at least not via a keyboard. I'll leave it to you all to think what you will.


    I tried to do this layout in CSS... I am a failure... Could not get the damn divs to align center. I hacked and hacked and hacked away at antipixel's code, but it just wouldn't do it for me. So tables and spacers it is. Ouan. ;)

    So yeah, out with the red (wasn't really ME anyways) and in with this.

    That picture up there? That's me and my dad fishing. :)

    tailored shirts!?

    Can somebody please let me in on this little bit of fashion necessity? It seems I keep buying shirts that are meant for... bellied... men. These things billow like sails in the wind when untucked. And yet, I see the well dressed gentlemen in the street walking around looking like the mannequins in the shop windows. (Which blows my mind... for example at The Gap - shaddap, Iknow you ALL have at least one piece of GapCrap - ... The mannequins all look strapping and fetching in whatever tops they are fitted with.. so you try the bloody thing on and you look like an american (nothing personal). So you go back to the mannequin and notice they've folded and pinned the back of the shirt/whatever! Argh!)

    So, please, somebody tell me what I need to look for/ask for when buying shirts! Are they called "fitted shirts"? Can I get some of my already bought shirts fitted? I'm really curious because I've finally managed to whip myself back into shape and, well, I wanna flaunt a bit... I mean.. a guy wants to look good you know? ;)


    Did I mention I am a "geeque"?

    Yeah. Web. Since '96. So I guess I'll be adding "categories" to this blog... and start ranting and raving about "web standards" and Mozilla... and IA and UE and UI ad nauseum...

    I might as well. Have tons to say... ;)

    Stay tuned!

    p.s.: today is better. :)


    Wow, i am thoroughly depressed. I haven't been this down in ages.

    I hate this damn job; I feel trapped, without any challenge and no advancement.

    I have to sell this car. It's sucking me dry. If you ever need to buy a car, I suggest you THOROUGHLY investigate ALL the financial apsects of such an undertaking. Sigh.

    Sorry, nothing uplifting or even mildly funny today. I'm listening to Adagio after Adagio here. (Albinoni at the moment, Bach is next up.)

    Vienna sure would be nice right about now. Paris.. Mmmmm. Tokyo? Anytime. Anytime. All the time.

    Social Skillz

    First of all I must say I am, by nature, a loner. However I do have social skills and am quite sociable. I have many friends of all different walks of life who have gone so far as to tell me they thoroughly enjoy conversing with me. (Gratuitous plug... shameless, really...)

    This, though, is only after contact has already been established. THAT is the sticky part.

    I have been told by people who ended up knowing me that upon first seeing me I seemed to them "utterly unapproachable" and even "intimidating". The opposite is of course true. These conceptions immediatly vaporise as soon as they say "hello". I am perfectly happy to talk to anyone whosoever approaches me (and to be totally honest here I must add "and who looks to be interesting to me in one form or another", but that is a whole other story...)

    Anyways, on to the point of this posting.

    I cannot remember where I gleaned this, but I've always believed there are two fundamental and important social skills one must master:
    Initiating conversation & Terminating conversation.

    It seems I have totally mastered the latter but can barely and rarely pull off the former successfully. Most people have the inverse problem. They can't seem to get themselves out of talking with someone even though they have nothing to say. Curious problem but it isn't mine, so I'll move on.

    Terminating conversation; whether it means cutting short interaction with someone I do not wish to speak to or, amazingly enough, having almost every conversation logically summed up with "it's all meaningless anyways because we're all gonna die!" (sic)(sick)(sicko)

    There is also what I consider to be one of the banes of my existence: the fact that it seems that sometimes I will say something that seems to stop everybody in their tracks and instantly kill the party/mood/conversation. Sometimes it is a statement that is so perfectly put that it sums up the entire conversation and resolves all issues in one fell swoop and so there is nothing left to say (rare but damn cool), or it is just taken as the rambling of a madman and, oh shit, let's get away from this guy...

    This "affliction" seems to have followed me online.

    Message boards fall silent after I post. Blog comments are ignored. Nobody seems to want to engage me.

    Sigh. Somebody PLEASE say something! ;)

    General Tao's Chicken Balls

    All of a sudden it isn't so flattering to have a dish named after you anymore...

    You're just arguing over semantics...

    I think I hear this statement more often than any other conversational opt-out; and it always has the same effect of turning my crank.

    In communication, it is of utmost importance to be as unambiguous as possible. This means, among other things, that it is very important to use the proper words in the proper context.

    People seem to get thrown all off track and lost when I suggest a better way of saying what they are saying. Like I've insulted them or something like that.

    So they take the pseudo-intellectual highway outta there and dismiss the conversation as just "arguing over semantics", which it never was; I was just saying I understood what you meant but it may be clearer/more efficient to say (...) .


    This is not only in conversation, or candid debate either. One of my professional tasks is web-based UI (User Interface) design. Try explaining the subtle, almost sub-conscious difference between "On/Off" and "Enabled/Disabled" to a software engineer who sees only the underlying "0/1" toggle (not fair, there's a whole context missing here, but anyways).

    So, †I think I shall write a book one day called "Semantics ARE improtant, dammit! Why else would they be called "semantics!?""

    Hehehehe. Then people will really think I'm insane.

    L'amour à la robote

    Un homme écrit à la machine une lettre d'amour et la 
    	machine répond à l'homme et à la main et à la place
    	de la destinataire

    Elle est tellement perfectionnée la machine
    la machine à laver les chèques et les lettres d'amour

    Et l'homme confortablement installé dans sa machine à
    habiter lit à la machine à lire la réponse de la machine
    à écrire

    Et dans sa machine à rêver avec sa machine à calculer
    il achète une machine à faire l'amour

    Et dans sa machine à réaliser les rêves il fait l'amour
    à la machine à écrire à la machine à faire l'amour

    Et la machine le trompe avec un machin
    un machin à mourir de rire.

    -Jacques Prévert (1955)


    Without expectation, every day is filled with surprises.