So can you believe the iTunes podcasting client can't deal with
WAV files? Heh!
Or at least not with the one that was yesterday's podcast.
I saw a news banner on the teevee in the cafeteria at the
lab today, and it said:
Shuttle fleet grounded due to safety concerns
and I thought to myself
Thousands of commuters stranded on Moon
but it didn't actually say that.
A bazillion good links from Bruce Schneier recently.
Vulnerabilities in ubiquitous systems:
on Bluetooth Automobiles and
Hotel Infrared Systems.
More on that Black Hat dustup that I mentioned the other day:
The sad thing
is that we could have avoided this. If Cisco and ISS had simply let Lynn
present his work, it would have been just another obscure presentation
amongst the sea of obscure presentations that is BlackHat. By attempting
to muzzle Lynn, the two companies ensured that 1) the vulnerability was
the biggest story of the conference, and 2) some group of hackers would
turn the vulnerability into exploit code just to get back at them.
See this weblog
For $80 a year,
any potential terrorist can be automatically notified if the
Department of Homeland Security is on to him. Such a deal.
the airline industry is missing something here.
If they linked the anti-missile lasers with the
in-seat entertainment systems, cross-country flights would be much more exciting.
Now that would be extremely XXIst Century.
Charity o' the Day:
Stop the Drug War dot org.
You can give
I can think of worse things to do with money.
The Teaching Company
now makes at least some of their programs available as digital
This is good; I like The Teaching Company (if not most of their
prices), and I was predicting that if they didn't start delivering
content via the Net instead of the Post Office soon, they weren't
long for this world.
A reader writes:
That's just the gynophilia talking.
That's got a nice ring to it.
Reminds me somehow of one of those annoyingly vague and
upscale big mural ads in airports.
Big shiny car, expansive lawn, smiling well-dressed people
obviously conducting important business over little hotdogs,
a logo from Royal Bank of Scotland or something, and the
slogan: "It's the gynophilia talking".
Similarly, a reader who is sad writes:
Dear entity layer known as David Chess,
I am achingly sad tonight (and not only) because of
your (seeming) obsession with The Sims. Maybe you
could have your Sims read books and bake bread and
build shelves, like in the olden days.
Aw, don't be sad!
Think of it as this new toy that I've been having fun with,
and I want to share that fun with my Treasured Readers.
Nothing to be sad about.
I suspect the frequency of Sims pictures and Sims-only
entries may be less in the future, though; the toy
isn't quite as new anymore.
And eventually you start to notice that the Sims have
only so much variety.
If you've seen one Sim growing from toddler to child, or
making toaster pastries, or making out, or getting married,
you've (more or less) seen them all.
Once they get the modelling down one more level, so the
characters are moving individual limbs to accomplish a
goal rather than acting out pre-scripted motion sequences,
the game will be that much shinier and more (dangerously?)
fascinating a toy.
Sims can't bake bread in The Sims 2 (although since there's a
Baker's Oven in the "Makin' Magic" expansion of the original
Sims (which we have, but haven't installed), they might
eventually be able to).
They don't build shelves, and neither do I!
(Ian who used to have
a weblog and C built some shelves once; and very
nice shelves they are.)
But they can and do read books.
Pictures of that might not be too fascinating, though.
So Kaylynn and Benjamin got married (I forgot to check if
he's taken her last name) and went off on a honeymoon in a
big limo and everything.
Brandi got a cold, but got better quickly.
I quit without saving when I picked the wrong choice on a
Chance card and the Raptors lost all their savings to hire
Brandi more minions; I feel vaguely guilty about that.
Speaking more or less of which, a reader
"The thing I don't know is: if Kaylynn had failed and Ben had died,
would I have just exited without saving and maybe tried again someday,
or would I have saved, and played her from here on with the consequences
of that tragedy?"
This reminds me of the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Real Life." The
holographic Doctor decides he wants to better understand the Human
Experience (a common desire among androids, holograms, ex-Borg, etc.,
in the Star Trek Universe) and creates a family on the holodeck. A
perfect, cheery family practically right out of a 1950s sitcom.
B'Elanna objects that he's not really learning much out of this,
and offers to tweak the program to make it more realistic...
Voyager attracts a good amount of criticism from Star Trek fans,
much of it deserved, but this episode is worth watching.
The googled-up reviews of that episode do sound interesting;
there are parts of teevee that I do sometimes regret not
watching (still slowly slowly going through those Babylon 5
So when I quit without saving in The Sims 2, I'm wimping out
and not drawing all of the Life Lessons from it that I could.
On the other hand unlike that Doctor I have plenty of real-world
connections to give me Life Lessons already.
Speaking of real-world connections and bread baking, on Monday
night I made that delicious peach buckle referred to
the other day
(when I referred to it the other day it was M's sister's husband
making it; I was just helping out a little).
It was very good.
Note that when the recipe says "sift together dry ingredients"
it doesn't intend to include the sugar in "dry ingredients", but
in fact the recipe works okay if you don't realize that and do
include it; you just have to improvise a little.
The Long Riders' Guild:
Long Riders know instead
the reality of aching bones encountered after a week of riding 50-mile days, or
the bitter taste of disappointment that fills your mouth when you come to a
village only to discover nothing for you or your horse to eat. They know the
way the rain always finds a way to run down your neck no matter how many times
you pull up your poncho with your cold, stiff fingers, or the fear that grips
your stomach when your horse snorts and shies away from an unexpected stranger
on a dark and lonely road.
(Found when checking up on the recent activities of the
And that's about all for the moment.
Hope everyone's happier!
I hope everyone's reading
I was sitting
in the F train, headed home, stopped at Jay Street, when
an A train to Far Rockaway pulled up across the platform.
And never mind that I was wearing a silly dress and silly
clogs, and carrying a ridiculous little purse: when the sea
calls you, you come.
If it happens to you, this is what you should do
We'll put the Sims pictures below the fold today, out
of the goodness of our hearts.
In the meantime, leavening the present with the past,
recall that ages ago we asked
What do you say?
bullshit, total bullshit
I thought that was the gender switched version of
"dip me in honey and throw me to the bears", with
the... uhhh... "San Francisco" meaning of "bears".
this site's on my list of lunchtime browsing now..
but I can't stop listening to those chunklet mp3s
which is not healthy:-)
I get it! I get it! And I liked it!
Believe it or not, this is one of the most elegant mechanical
inventions I've ever seen.
I say I say I say did you know now a fella goes to the doctor
and says it hurts when I do this and the doctor says well don't
do it then
"Keep your friends close and your animes closer."
Uh...what's not to get?
Heck! I thought you said "Lessig" not "lessing"
thread which touches on "meme" vs. "idea"
Very good very good.
I like the "dip me in honey" explanation; quite plausible.
And the Container for the Reception of Objects.
And the rest.
You may have to go back and read some old entries to
fully understand them all; a good opportunity to remind yourself
what this weblog was like before The Sims.
Speaking of which *8) little Hermes
Zoom has grown into a child
(His parents got all dressed up for the ceremony, but he was in
He also got into private school (the Headmaster was very impressed
with his visit, even though the meal was chili that'd been sitting
on the sideboard for an hour and a half; apparently he really enjoyed
talking to Marisa while they ate) after just one day at that nasty
old public school (one of the less subtle biases in the game there).
We haven't seen much of the Raptors lately, so let's stop by there.
Here's a picture of the shenanigans mentioned the other day
(for you "hot girl on girl action" fans):
Isn't that sweet?
The Raptors had a party; Gina invited Sophie from school, and just as
she fulfilled her "Be Best Friends With Sophie" want, this Randy dude
(who she's been going out with) rushed over (I guess he happened to
be walking by) and slapped her.
Such violence, eh?
About thirty seconds later, Gina had apparently convinced him
that it was all perfectly innocent and not really "flirting" in
the technical sense, and he was all manly admiration again.
Despite that little complication the party went very well,
and Eleanor got a Good Party memory.
(While her Mom discussed the state of the construction industry;
or perhaps of construction workers.)
Later on, Eleanor asked Brandi to move in; Brandi was smitten:
and accepted at once.
Turns out she's a Criminal Mastermind!
She brought in over thirteen thousand Simoleons for
the household treasury, and has a high-paying job
(and given that everyone else who's
ever lived there has been just sponging off of
Sally's rather paltry Slacker-track income,
they're now better off than they've ever been before).
I wonder if she's a colleague, or alternately a rival, of
The outfit looks considerably better on her
than it does on him.
(Unless that's just my gynophilia talking.)
I hope thinking about Eleanor doesn't distract her from her
"I may be a grieving mother, but I'm not stupid."
-- Cindy Sheehan
That's Cindy Sheehan of
Gold Star Families for Peace, who
about our President and the war in Iraq and her dead son and all.
The quote above is my memory of something I heard her quoted as saying
on the news this morning, in reaction to the two spokesdroids that Bush
sent out to talk to her;
she apparently didn't find them entirely convincing.
(Can't find exactly that quote on the Web, but the CNN story
above says similar if milder things.)
Another random quote vaguely about politics:
policy decisions rely on a firm grasp of such cultural differences.
When one faction is surrounded by topless women on some pebble-covered
beach on the Mediterranean and the other is eating dry white cake off a
flimsy paper plate in an air-conditioned conference room, you're going
to have more than a few misunderstandings.
Good to keep in mind.
On (I have to assume) yesterday's Harrowing Tale, a reader who
has been extremely fortunate in eir reading life
so far writes:
That may very well be the worst writing ever. Yowch.
No, mon petit, there is much much worse writing out there.
Lots of it.
I will grant that it may be the worst writing ever on this
here weblog (or maybe the second
worst, discounting the whole Decoder Ring issue).
These things happen.
(In my own defense, you should have seen the first draft.)
So in the inevitable Sims news, Georgia has moved out of her
family home and moved in with the Danvers', and she and Jane are
busy planning the wedding.
Kaylynn and Benjamin are also planning theirs, currently
scheduled for their next Saturday so Ben has the day off
(he had a day of vacation coming to him, but he used it up dying).
Ransom and Marisa, now left alone with little Hermes, will
probably be my first two Elders.
I am still unable to bring myself to allow Sally Raptor to
age (and in fact she's still actively homewrecking, having invited
Kaylynn over for dinner and shenanigans after Eleanor and
Gina were asleep; but now that she's firmly engaged to
Ben, Kaylynn no longer seems to have any qualms about a bit
of old-flame action on the side; these Sims, I tell ya).
But no pictures of any of that here, because sheesh!
It's odd how firmly this Sims stuff has colonized large areas of
I feel sort of how I imagine Holmes feeling, observing and
analyzing the effects of the seven-per-cent solution...
That evening, after Kaylynn got home from the weekly
editorial board meeting of her lifestyle magazine
"KL", Benjamin took her upstairs, and in a low
and energetic, almost feverish, voice, told her
of his mind's desire, and his terrible plan.
"There are those," Benjamin said, "who have gone
into the bony arms of death, and returned again to
tell their tales.
I have always dreamed of becoming one of them,
and now I think I have the means.
If you, my darling, will help me!"
It's well known in the Sim universe that in the
case of many untimely deaths, the Grim Reaper can be
convinced by the pleading of a loved one
to turn back on his fatal errand.
At least most of the time.
The old Kaylynn would have quailed at the thought,
but this Kaylynn, strong and wealthy, the head of
numerous enterprises and veteran of her own
daring (if corporate and culinary) adventures,
was only intrigued.
"What's the risk that I'll fail?" she asked.
"Roughly ten percent," Benjamin replied, the light
of lunacy and scholarship blazing in his eyes.
"Okay, but if you die, I'll never speak to you again."
They made elaboriate preparations.
Comfortable chairs upstairs for the long wait,
the head of the stairway closed off with welded
steel gates so Ben couldn't weaken and dash downstairs
for food or rest.
On an endtable, the dreaded Noodlesoother, a tacky
electrical device originally designed to increase a Sim's
mood, but deadly dangerous with prolonged use.
And finally, set up hopefully for the successful
outcome, an Energizer, to restore both of them to
health after what would be at best a draining ordeal.
(As far as I know they don't use the Energizer
autonomously, so I didn't need to fence that off.)
Ben put on the Noodlesoother, and they sat and talked.
He rhapsodized to Kaylynn about the wonders of the universe
as he imagined them,
from the infinity of blazing suns to the dank darkness
of the netherworld.
Outside, the night deepened.
Gradually, Benjamin felt his energy draining.
The initial rosy glow that the tasteless headgear had
given him wore off quickly, and he began suffering
hunger and exhaustion, each pang deeper and more
wrenching than the last.
Kaylynn sat, talking to him as long as he was able
to talk, enduring in stony silence his moans.
It was much, much harder than she had imagined.
Finally, well after dawn,
Benjamin collapsed to the ground,
on the floor in front of the Energizer,
into a pool of his own bodily fluids.
They had done it.
Now she was alone for the ending, one way or the other,
of the ordeal.
The Grim Reaper floated up through the floor, faced
Benjamin's crumpled body, and began leafing through
an eldritch clipboard, muttering to itself
("Lansing, Laslow, Logan, I know I've got a Long
For a moment Kaylynn thought she wouldn't have the
strength to play her part; it had been a long night,
and she realized that she was nearly exhausted,
physically and spiritually.
But with a toss of her head she thrust herself
between her lover and the dark figure, and implored
it to spare Ben's life.
The Reaper shook its head in resignation, cast
aside its clipboard and scythe, and showed Kaylynn
a brilliant glowing ball: Benjamin's soul.
It put both of its hands behind its back,
and then extended them, balled into bony fists,
toward her; death in one, life in the other.
Kaylynn hesitated, and then pointed toward the
Reaper's right hand, through which she thought she
had glimpsed a flash of blue.
The Reaper opened that hand, and Ben's soul leapt
out and back toward his body.
She had beaten death!
The Reaper gathered itself and paused for an instant,
and something within the void beneath its tattered
hood looked out at her.
She knew she would never forget, nor be able to
properly describe, this instant.
The world shivered for a long moment (some bizarre glitch in
the game), and then the Reaper was gone, and Ben was standing
smiling before her.
He threw the Noodlesoother across the floor and embraced her.
She collapsed into his arms.
"We've done it!" he shouted,
"but my dear, you look worse than I do.
Our friend the Reaper seems to have lent me a
good dose of energy.
You use the Energizer first, while I wipe up this,
Then it was Ben's turn in the Energizer.
He emerged triumphant, almost strutting.
He and Kaylynn embraced, and he whispered to her
"the experience of a lifetime, my love; and I owe it to
And to herself she said, "and when we're married in this
same spot come Saturday, my foolish love, it will be me,
and not you, that has looked Death Itself in the eye."
(So Benjamin Long had this 8,000 point "Be Saved From
Death" Want, and once I read on the EA forums that as long
as the person pleading with the Reaper has a really high
Relationship score with the dead person, the chance of
success is 90% I said to myself "what the heck, let's
give it a try!".
The thing I don't know is: if Kaylynn had failed and
Ben had died, would
I have just exited without saving and maybe tried again
someday, or would I have saved, and played her from here
on with the consequences of that tragedy?)
I'm afraid we have no Sims 2 pictures again
today ("again" in the sense that we didn't have any Sims 2
pictures for the last few days, because we didn't have any
entries at all; today we have an entry, but that entry will
probably not contain any Sims 2 pictures, because I don't have
any to hand and it's unlikely that any will spontaneously
I do apologize.
We'll just do some brief "real world" news items instead.
As you've no doubt heard so I don't have to bother digging
up a real link to, scientists in some far away place recently
announced that they had created a dog with
red eyes and slimy tentacles (insatiable lust for
human flesh not yet confirmed; some difficulty with
the Ethics Panel).
Our own dear Governor Pataki here in New York has pandered
to the anti-abortion camp by
a bill that could have prevented thousands of
abortions a year.
Or, wait, that doesn't make any sense.
Much more sensible,
Creation Theory Seeks Inclusion In Kansas Curriculum;
go Flying Spaghetti Monster!
In a stunning reversal, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has
announced that George Bush will no longer be allowed to
enter the country:
... the Home Secretary
today publishes new grounds for deportation and exclusion.
Deportation is a decision taken by the Home Secretary under statute.
The new grounds will include fostering hatred, advocating violence to
further a person's beliefs, or justifying or validating such violence.
(For diplomatic reasons the announcement didn't mention Bush
by name, but the intent seems pretty clear.
Justifying and validating violence to further his
beliefs is one of the man's specialties, after all.)
For dinner (well, for dessert) we had Peach Buckle, which doesn't
involve metal clasps at all, but instead involves making pretty much
and using peaches for the Fruit.
We asked a question (back before the beginning of Sims Mania, heh heh),
and your answers give the usual heartening picture of our readership.
What should we abolish?
the constitution...oops, too late.
private property rights, Comrade. They are the props of
reactionary running dogs and the tools of the revisionist
repressors. Plus, I like *really* need an Ipod.
Indeed; may we all be well-informed sex-positive individuals, with
unstapled foreheads and recognized rights.
With a good dose of irony and misanthropy for leavening.
Abolish the CIA's policy of kidnapping. Oh - Italy is doing just that!
(Hey, that NYT link actually seems to work; what's up with that?)
Yeah, I read that story somewhere awhile back (maybe about the time
this reader wrote in).
"Old Europe", nyuk nyuk nyuk...
the multiple site login thing is a social and political issue
at this point, both OpenID and LID seem like reasonable solutions
(I think LID is the smarter option, which means it will lose), now
we have to get people to adopt one or the other (or both). So as to
what we should abolish, I'll put in a vote for separate user logins.
Yeah, I almost LID-enabled myself once, but I got distracted.
Speaking of logins, I'm pleased and/or disappointed that more of
you haven't been curious about that "login" link that appeared
here in the log back in May and tried to fiddle with it.
G'won, don't be polite!
(Whoa, cool; Opera's got this great "Window / Closed" thing that
remembers the last N windows that you (accidentally, say) closed,
and lets you open them again.
Looking for podcasts? Try http://8chan.net/midnightsnacks/
Yeah, this same or some other reader recommended the same or
something similar the other day, and I did try it.
Got a two-hour, 100+ megabyte podcast.
It was almost entirely music; a bunch of long electro-ambient
thumpa-thump music with the reverb set on high, perfect
background for your next upscale orgy by the pool.
And then every fifteen minutes or so this guy would
come on in a cute pseudo-maniacal voice and say
"This is W T Snacks with Miiiidniiiight Snaaaaacks!".
It was fun.
Way better than Dave Winer, but not as good IMHO as
(Even here in the XXIst, sometimes you still gets what you
"That's a clever metaphor, what with you being a
squirrel and all, but I was looking for some more
definitive instructions. You know, a specific plan for wooing her..."
which I think sums up the whole thing admirably.