Tue, 01 Aug 2023
Anniversary Message

It is our 21st wedding anniversary, and my wife just gave me a puzzle in the form of a
beaded bracelet, telling me that there was a message but not what it was.

The bracelet, a sequence of beads described  below.

The beads run like this, starting from the decorative knot that lets you
adjust the size, and using an O for the round beads and X for the cylinders:


Now, there are two easy possibilities off the top of my head. It might be a
computer code in binary. There are 24 beads total, so they could be three
8-bit characters --

00010011 10001010 11111001

or that sequence backwards, with all the bits flipped, or both. But any way you do that,
you get leading 1s, which mean it can't be ASCII. It doesn't follow the right bit pattern to
be a character in UTF-8, and none of 0x138AF9, 0x9F51C8, 0xEC7506, nor 0x60AE37 are
defined Unicode characters, so also can't be a character in UTF-32. Putting binary aside,
then, I go back to my actual first guess and try Morse code, substituting dots for the
round beads and dashes for the cylindrical ones.


That still needs to be separated out, first into individual letters and then into words, but
that's pretty straightforward:

.. / .-.. --- ...- . / -.-- --- ..-

I was pretty fortunate that the most straightforward decoding was also the right one.

I'm also pretty fortunate to have a wife who knows I'd enjoy this so much, aren't I?

Tue, 20 Apr 2004
An update of sonnet proportions

So, in the last week, I've sold my beloved 'stang, moved into a larger workspace, got a free HPLJ 5 SiMX printer, been tentatively okayed to be sent to oscon in July, and told I'll be getting a real office with a door and a window.

(The window is to the hall, but it's the thought that counts. I'm thinking of putting up translucent pictures if I can find them, landscapes or something, or maybe a coral reef.)

This weekend is Sakuracon, and I'll probably be photoblogging. Sakuracon is always a fun time. I have a couple of costumes, even, though not so adventurous as the recent Tron costume.

Physically, the return of rainy weather is kicking my ass, and the non-ambien sleep aid is not quite so effective as ambien, and certainly not as insistant. But we get by.

Sat, 13 Mar 2004
A Letter from Fibromyalgia

A pice very nicely descriptive of FMS, because I'm feeling slightly whiney. Copied from sophy , who doesn't know where she got it...


If you were born with healthy genes, you may know me, but you don't understand me. I was not as lucky as you. I inherited the predisposition to chronic pain, fatigue and forgetfulness. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (FMS) after months, years or even decades of mysterious physical and emotional problems. Because you didn't know how sick I was, you called me lazy, a malingerer, or simply ridiculous. If you have the time to read on, I would like to help you understand how different I am from you.
See more ...

Sun, 29 Feb 2004
Busy Cure

So Beth's had a bit of an infection, and went to the doctor. The doctor gave her a prescription for a med that can either be taken after sex to prevent recurrence, or be taken regularily for a while to cure it.

So she went to the drug store, and the pharmacist was called over to give advice on the medication. "Okay," he said, "You take one pill after sex, five times a day for four days."

So if nobody hears from me for a while...

Tue, 24 Feb 2004

You know what's annoying? Panhandlers that /mumble/.

Mon, 29 Dec 2003
Note to self: sweet dreams

Watching the whole of the miniseries "The Stand" in one go is probably not exactly conducive to restful sleep.

It's also rather bad when you come down with flu symptoms the next day.

(Oh, and the 20 issues or so of Hellblazer comics were like as not a bad plan too.)

Mon, 08 Dec 2003

The people from the store came and took away my office chair today. Just a demo unit, the real one is still on order.

I was getting so used to sitting at my desk not being actively painful.

Here is Wisdom

In all of mankind's history, there has never been more damage done than by people who thought they were doing the right thing.

Sat, 29 Nov 2003
Ethnic Studies
Mon, 24 Nov 2003
Troubles with Counting and the Alphabet

So I was looking at the Unicode book, glancing over the ASCII segment, looking at the control characters. I idly went through the alphabet, seeing which control codes I've actually used of late. And repeatedly, I went "A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, 11,1 2, 13, 14, 15..." and wondering why CR kept coming out to control-13.

Either a symptom of my clashing dyslexia and dyscalculia, or maybe just end-of-day fibrofog. I just wish I could both count and remember alphabetical order without hash collisons .

Tue, 11 Nov 2003
God has fled in Miami
Miami New Times: Myths Over Miami (1997-06-05)
On Christmas night a year ago, God fled Heaven to escape an audacious demon attack -- a celestial Tet Offensive. The demons smashed to dust his palace of beautiful blue-moon marble. TV news kept it secret, but homeless children in shelters across the country report being awakened from troubled sleep and alerted by dead relatives. No one knows why God has never reappeared, leaving his stunned angels to defend his earthly estate against assaults from Hell. "Demons found doors to our world," adds eight-year-old Miguel, who sits before Andre with the other children at the Salvation Army shelter. The demons' gateways from Hell include abandoned refrigerators, mirrors, Ghost Town (the nickname shelter children have for a cemetery somewhere in Dade County), and Jeep Cherokees with "black windows." The demons are nourished by dark human emotions: jealousy, hate, fear.
The mythology of Miami homeless shelter children. These are the stories they tell. The beautiful but hobbled Blue Lady can protect children, but only if they know her secret name; Bloody Mary is the one who drove out God, the one who comes from the mirror to mutilate you, the spectre of your death--to most of the children: See more ...
Thu, 30 Oct 2003

For a new web project, a major project, an outside designer was brought in. She impressed the guy in charge of this one, and so she designed the site up.

And then I was given the project to finish, having been given a few screenshots.

I really have enough on my hands with this - templating system, database backend, all the behind-the-scenes stuff. But I'm the one here. So after I pleaded for actul photoshop source files to work from, I got them on Monday. Kind of a mess -- missing fonts, many layers just invisibled instead of deleted, that sort of thing. And, of course, producing web pages from photoshop -- usable, programatically driven web pages -- is just a little bit sucky.

So I'm here, in pain, and I've got a couple pages mostly working. If people don't decide to micromanage more than they have.

The demo is Monday morning.

Fri, 26 Sep 2003
Handicapped Spaces

This past year, I had a reserved parking space thanks to my fibromyalgia. I asked my pain doctor for a University disability pass for this - it hurts to walk too far, and parking in always the same spot is much easier on me than either finding a parking space on campus (good luck) or riding the bus.

So this year, getting a new faculty/staff parking permit, I needed to renew this note. I called in, asking about the University's note, an got the reply, "Oh, yes, we have the form, we'll have it at the front desk."

I got there and found a signed DMV form for a disabled parking hang-tag.

I'm really not sure how to react here. It is justified, I fit the definition, and this is enough for the university to give me another space. But I'm not sure I feel... needy enough to take handicapped spaces at other venues. And it's always a little blow to the ego to admit I do need extra help. That I am disabled.

I guess I'll just keep the tag for when I really need it. Nobody's going to complain if I'm not in the disabled space.

Thu, 25 Sep 2003

More Azumanga stuff; I've been using a fun new icon on LJ:
Chiyo Pengi

See more ...

Rock-assisted Suicide
RollingStone.com: News: Florida Band to Stage Suicide
Florida industrial rockers Hell on Earth are planning to host an on-stage suicide during their October 4th show at St. Petersburg's State Theater. A terminally ill member of a euthanasia society, whose identity and condition have not been revealed, intends to raise awareness for the cause of dying with dignity by committing suicide during the concert, according to the band's singer, Billy Tourtelot.
Now, I'm somewhat in support of assisted suicide, kinda, but I'm not sure that offing yourself on-stage with a group whose "past stage stunts, according to Tourtelot, include having intercourse with cows and drinking blended rats" is really dying with dignity.
Wed, 24 Sep 2003
Future fibromyalgia drugs
ABC7Chicago.com: Future of Fibromyalgia
"At least a third of the patients in both trials have experienced, roughly, a 50-percent reduction in pain," said Philip J. Mease, M.D., rheumatologist, Swedish Hospital Medical Center, Seattle, WA.

The drugs come from different families--pregabalin is a pain reliever, milnacipran an anti-depressant.

Pregabalin may be approved next year, milnacipran in two. Ah, the waiting. But then one of the women in the article has waited 20 years, so.

(I'm blogging this largely to record it -- do LJ friends mind such a thing? Should I post personal mental notes to a non-LJ-mirrored area?)

Sun, 21 Sep 2003
Da Vinci's Notebook

davinci1 davinci2 ...are playing today, here at Eugene Celebration . Woo!

Fri, 12 Sep 2003

I've been seeing a lot of kilts around lately. Well, no, I've seen a couple of guys with kilts. So, kilts are getting big.

For small values of 'big'.

Tue, 09 Sep 2003
Weblogging as pain diary

I'm trying to track my pain during the day. This is not very easy -- I have a tendency to just keep going and not remark on levels. As a coping mechanism it's probably okay. But as a diagnostic it leaves something to be desired.

But hey, technology, right? So I'm trying to combine pain tracking with blogging. Each weblog entry has a bit of metadata attached to it, my current pain level on the usual 0-10 scale (note that I've had about five minutes of 0 since about 1997, and that's the total of heavy medication). You normallly won't see the pain level in my postings, but if you're pathologically curious it's available at http://waxwolf.org/index.cgi/index.pain .

I hope this will help me with management. But it working depends on me blogging more. :-)

Fri, 05 Sep 2003

So. I've been employed for the last while. Back in June I went full time. Web development and exploring new tech -- more or less what I did as a 2-hour a day student techie. They like my work, they like my manner, they depend on the stuff I build. They don't mind if I work from home.

And yesterday I got the offer for the real position, with full benefits. Insurance. Dental plan. Retirement fund, even.

I accepted. Yay!

Thu, 28 Aug 2003
Neil Gaiman on buying books

From his journal :

Beyond that -- don't ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read ...

Thu, 31 Jul 2003
I Care

I was checking out things to download. Finding some pictures from Ruroni Kenshin, I said, "Don't care about that"; finding ones from Tenchi, I thought "I do care".

And that seems to be the crux of something. I care about a lot of things. A lot of these things seem to be fictional, particularily fictional people. I care about Huck and Jim, about Luke and Han and Chewie, about Arthur and Gawaine and Parzifal, about Willow and Xander and Buffy, about Ranma and Tenchi and Sasami and Belldandy and Sakura and Tomoyo and Shaoran and Luna and Artemis and Keitaro and Kaolla and Shinobu and Rahne and Cyclops and Cannonball, about Jake Stonebender and about Lazarus Long. I care about Tertius, and Free Luna, and the Ringworld, and the Millenium Falcon and the Tsunami.

And there are people in books but not fictional that I care very much about. I care about Anne Frank. I care about the authors who have such care for people and things themselves.

This isn't love, exactly. I don't live people's fictional lives, either; I don't believe that the fiction is fact, or the past present. Some of it, I'll admit, is that nagging note after "The End" : "And then what happened?" I care about the people, and I care about their lives--which must go on even though the story's ended. This is the sort of thing that I classify movies by, and books. Do I care? Do I keep wanting to know more?

I care about a lot of things. I care about the dog and the cat (in no particular order), I care about going to work, I care about my job and my systems. I care about the planet, and about humanity surviving whatever comes next.

I care about my family. I care about my few friends in real life, and about my circle of friends online, each one of you. I care about my housemate and best friend. I care so much about my wife. You people who I care about, I do love.

Caring means always wanting there to be a "what happened next". And knowing that stories have endings. And sometimes it means being willing to follow each story of a person's life, all the way there.

Wed, 30 Jul 2003
the lesson of the moth

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

--Don Marquis.

One of his "archy" poems. Taken from Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac for July 29.

Tue, 22 Jul 2003
My New Comparative

You've all heard comparisons like "he's as subtle as a cannon" or "she has all the grace of an albatross" -- comparing to things that are not at all exemplary of the quality. I was thinking about this, and how it would be constructed for other qualities, and what things to compare to. I believe I have an answer.

Concussed fruit bats.

"He has all the social skills of a concussed fruit bat." "She's as suspicious as a concussed fruit bat." Think about it.

Tue, 15 Jul 2003

I've got an appointment with one of the Nurse Practictioners for my pain doc this afternoon. With luck, a bit of jiggering of my fibro cocktail will let me shake some of the recent blahs and ows.

I'm in the process of applying for the full-time classified (read: union-backed) version of my job. I have something of an in, for obvious reasons (I built half the stuff the office runs on, that sort of thing), but it's still nerve-wracking.

Had an interesting dicussion with my boss after I got the time off for the medical appointment. Apparently my disability had come up in a conversation he'd had; he asked if people generally knew I had FMS, if I minded that people knew. I had to grin, and said, "I'd be more of an activist about it, but I just don't have the energy."

Got a good laugh.

Sat, 05 Jul 2003
Walt Whitman

"This is what you shall do:
Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of children, read these leaves inthe open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of your lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Thu, 03 Jul 2003
Medicine is happy.

Weird quasihallucination from ambien. Everything that should look 2d looks 2d. Huh. Curvy.

La. La la narf.

Tue, 01 Jul 2003
So, compatibility
Okay, yes, this interested me enough to finally look:
qaianna 106%
tonyfox 106%
captain18 102%
jon_helfrich 99%
okkaywarner 98%
lcremeans 94%
mycroftb 91%
rhiacat 91%
fionacat 87%
nonezumi 87%
mr_fu 86%
itzfurrball 83%
almanzo 80%
toonygal 79%
yakko 74%
timmowarner 72%
yakkette 66%
jmaynard 63%
How compatible with me are YOU?
Thu, 26 Jun 2003
Screams of the Dying Phone-Cam

dead1dead2dead3dead4dead5dead6dead7 As I mentioned before, I lost my Hiptop about two months back. My best guess was that it'd fallen from a pocket in the parking lot of the local mall and gotten run over or picked up.

These pictures, which I only noticed today, in the web-based desktop interface to the camera snaps, support the 'picked up' theory.

As it is, I should be getting my new (color!) hiptop delivered sometime this week. But these are just kind of eerie snaps.

Thu, 19 Jun 2003
Brain Dominance Test

(Okay, perhaps the image of Pinky in leather should pass first.)

An interesting little mental test that's supposed to measure hemisphere dominance and visual/auditory learing styles.

Taper, you are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do [sic] The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management.
November 2023
Oct     Dec

Search this blog:
Search the blogs I read:
Taper Wickel's photos More of Taper Wickel's photos