The All-Thing

All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.

`Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on ``I am not too sure''.' -- H. L. Mencken.

各位能夠讀中文得來賓您好。小的這還在學中文中,恐怕中文寫得不太好,希望你們還看得懂。


宿甘露寺僧舍 (曾公亮)

枕中雲氣千峰近,床底鬆聲萬壑哀。
要看銀山拍天浪,開窗放入大江來。

Contact:
| web page

Other views:
RSS 1.0
RSS 0.91
Plain (good for lynx)

Past posts:

December
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
 
     

Recent comments:
Re: Goddammit by alison
Re: Tutoring by janet
Re: Tutoring by William
Re: Tutoring by alison
Re: Re: Pickup line by William
Re: Pickup line by Flora

Recent search referers:
bit torrent korean
XIII crack fix
pr0n torrent
bittorent movie
korean bittorrent xbox site
xbox torrent site
"speeding up bit torrent" (x2)
chinese movie and torrent
"simply accounting" torrent (x2)
troy torrent (x2)
dead man bit torrent (x2)
gay torrent bit download
gateway 200x laptop case
xbox torrent (x2)
um32w problems

Exits:
William's Aggregated Feeds



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

       
Thu, 25 Dec 2003

The Last Samurai

Shittiest. Movie. Evar.

Is it possible that, in this day and age, I am the only person on earth that doesn't have to be hit over the head with each and every point you want to make in a movie? Would it be too much to ask for a little subtlety, a little something left unstated, a hint (just a hint!) of nuance, of depth?

Seriously. What part of having Tom Cruise dressed in a kimono practicing his swordwork while backlit by a brilliant red sunset isn't going to make me wretch? Or spouting pithy quasi-Zen sayings while standing at the prow of his ship? Or falling in love with the fair young maiden whose bare shoulder he glimpses underneath the waterfall, but who can never love him because he killed her husband, but who comes to love him despite this because he learned to be a real samurai?

But no, it's all, ho ho, look at the clumsy westerner tracking mud on the floor! You're not supposed to wear your shoes inside, silly! Didn't you notice everyone else? Ho ho, he's learning about chopsticks! Uh oh, here some the ninjas! Watch out, Tom! Christ. I feel like I've been repeatedly hit over the head for two and a half hours with every half-baked half-assed cliche about the way of the samurai that ever existed. I'd have added a warning about spoilers in this piece, but every plot point is so fucking obvious, it'd be like adding a warning that the earth might be rotating. Hold on tight!

The only remotely good thing about this movie was the scenery. Apart from that, it was too long, it didn't make any sense, it was irritating to watch, it was extremely dated in its presentation of the, at this point, extremely overdone West-meets-East culture clash, it tried to pass off a legion of ninjas throwing ninja stars which only Tom Cruise could defeat as a reasonable thing to happen, and it sucked. I could go on but I am getting myself in a lather here.

Do not watch this movie.

(If you want moving, thought-provoking and artistic samurai stories, read the first fifteen volumes of Lone Wolf and Cub.)

Posted at 23:01 | /media/movies | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 24 Dec 2003

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, and I've managed to pass the season completely stress free. I've avoided all crowds, all malls, and all Christmas music that I hadn't specifically chosen to listen to. I have conquered Christmas.

My grandfather had a brilliant idea this year, which made this possible. Everyone in the family is paired with one other person, and that's who you exchange gifts with. You're responsible for one gift, and you receive one. Once I passed the age of 12 I realized that all my gifts were going to suck from that point forward, so one gift is just fine. (My family, god bless 'em, has forever labored under the bizarre and horrific misimpression that anything vaguely Chinese-related is guaranteed to please me.)

My solitary purchase was a pleasure to make. I walked down to Sandy's Music, chatted with the guys, played around with some of the fiddles and mandolins there for a while, picked a mandolin out for my sister, plus a nice-looking Kitty Wells LP for meself, don't mind if I do, and walked back home. And I don't watch TV (interferes with XBox time) so that pretty much does it for the Christmas carols.

At least, that's how it was until today, when my family dragged me along to some nameless, soulless strip mall packed with fat over-dressed yuppies driving their shopping carts like their SUVs (cell phone in one hand, lack of regard for the rest of mankind in the other), which is what passes for high culture in McLean, VA. I hate this place more every time I come here. At least Boston has interesting and worthwhile people, even if they all refuse to talk to me.

So the decorations are up, the fire is ready and the ol' plastic tree that we've been using since I was a baby misanthroplet is out. I know the fashion is back to nature with the real trees nowadays, but the smell of that plastic tree brings back more memories than any pine tree ever will.

I go now to prepare my mind for the festivities that lie ahead....

Posted at 15:45 | /mortal | 2 comments | permalink

Mon, 22 Dec 2003

Hunkin's Experiments

This is great!

Cool cartoons that will have you experimenting with food, light, sound, clothes, and a whole lot more! Hundreds of cartoon experiments from cartoonist, broadcaster and engineer Tim Hunkin.

http://www.hunkinsexperiments.com/

Some really neat experiments to play around with—how to boil water on a business card, how to amplify sound with two umbrellas, how to make things jump out of a cup of tea, how to prove 1 = 2.

(From MetaFilter.)

Posted at 17:52 | /internet/links | (leave a comment) | permalink

My favorite spice

… is MSG. Seriously. You know how salt is like, you can add it to stuff at it just tastes better? MSG is the same way, except more so. And not as salty. It's like adding delicious!

I firmly believe that the only reason everyone in the US pooh-poohs it is because it has a bad English name (the Chinese, who probably invented the shit back in year –9999, call it 味精, or exquisite taste). And because a few genetically inferior people have allergies to it. (But seriously, people have allergies to peanuts and who gives a shit?)

My other favorite spices are salt, grease, spicy, meat, and garlic.

Posted at 17:41 | /mortal/ingestion | (leave a comment) | permalink

Return of the King

After three hours of mind-numbingly beautiful scenery and mind-numbingly silly dialog and mind-numbingly not-so-subtly homoerotic hobbit-play, the only thing I can really remember is thinking "why does Frodo, with his hairy feet, have no hair on his chest?". (And possibly, "Hooray! The eagles are going to save them from the sinking Titanic! USA! USA!", but that was put into my head later by someone else.)

Posted at 11:20 | /media/movies | (leave a comment) | permalink

Tee hee!

Fishhook

Posted at 07:49 | /misc | (leave a comment) | permalink

Sun, 21 Dec 2003

Dog

My aunt and uncle in South African just had their dog poisoned by burglars trying to get into their home. My uncle was woken by the commotion and managed to trigger the alarm in time. The dog died; but fortunately, nothing was stolen and no one was hurt.

I had a great time when I was there this year, but when I hear stuff like this, it reminds me that the crime rate there is just insane. I mean, it's a first-world country, basically, with all the conveniences of modern life that one would expect—for those who can afford them. But, for obvious historical reasons, there's a giant segment of the population there that is poor and unemployed. Which is nice in the sense that there's lots of cheap labor (it's typical for middle-class folks there to have maids, gardeners, etc.) but it also means a tremendous amount of crime.

I never felt threatened or even remotely in danger last July, but it seemed like everyone I talked to had some horror story, or some friend or friend of a friend who was violently killed, typically by theives. Bank robbers and car hijacking seemed to be the most common.

So all the protective mechanisms on people's houses and cars seemed so incongruous while I was there, even though, intellectually, I knew they existed for a reason. So when I hear stuff like this, sitting in my apartment with its unbarred windows and barely functional front door lock, I guess it just serves to drive that point in just a little bit deeper.

Our old house in Pretoria

Posted at 22:31 | /mortal | 1 comment | permalink

Fri, 19 Dec 2003

Burrows-Wheeler Transform

So we've been talking a little about this at work and I just found a good page describing it here: http://dogma.net/markn/articles/bwt/bwt.htm

It's like magic. Basically, the BWT is a completely reversible O (n log n) transformation that increases the compressibility of text. It's pretty mind-blowing to follow through the algorithm because it's really not clear, at least on the first pass, how it works, much less why it works. But the basic idea is that it permutes characters by sorting on their (left or right) contexts, which tends to group similar characters together, as they typically have similar contexts. Of course, doing this in a reversible manner is the brilliant part.

So this will work on any data that exhibits local contexts, which is the vast majority of data that we, as humans, care about (though not all—there are apparently certainly types of image data for which this doesn't hold true, though I'm not clear on the specifics). It would be interesting to compare the effect this has on, say, English vs. Chinese at the character level vs. Chinese at the byte level in different encodings.

I think bzip2 uses the BWT as a first pass, so they've apparently decided it is useful for arbitrary binary data.

Posted at 20:22 | /computing | 1 comment | permalink

Lockdown

Christ. Check out what these fuckers are doing when the Democratic convention reaches Boston next year.

Now, I'm not known for liking where I live, in general, but are there any good points to living in Boston?

Posted at 19:42 | /news | 1 comment | permalink

The Sims

All this shit with the Sims online and cybersex prostitution is just wack, yo. It doesn't make sense on so many levels, it's hard to know even where to begin being confused about it.

Speaking of levels, and Sims, wouldn't it be cool if your little Sim could could use the computer to play Sims? It would just take you to an inner Sim game that could only be accessed through the outer game, where you'd control a little dude or set of dudes like normal, except that your outer sim would slowly have his need to pee and need to sleep and whatever else meters increasing. And you could take the inner Simoleans converted to outer Simoleans at some exchange rate. And then your inner Sim could do the same thing, and so on, until... I dunno. I guess at some point one of your Sims, presumably the outermost one, or you yourself, is going to die in the time it takes you to get to a certain level of nestedness. So there is a natural limit to the depth of recursion.

Ok, I'm drinking a lot of strong tea, is the only excuse I can proffer.

Posted at 19:03 | /media/games | (leave a comment) | permalink

Work Schedule

I've been trying this new schedule at work (I have flexible hours) where I come in around 1 and work till 9. It's fucking fantastic. First, I avoid ALL traffic. Plus, I am naturally just energetic and happy in the morning, and kind of depressed and prone to loneliness in the evening, so being at work where I have work to keep myself occupied with is great. The mornings I just spend screwing around on the computer, practicing, running errands, etc., and when I get home in the evening I just have some drinkie, read a little and go to bed. Mad props to the schedule pioneers at work who showed me the way.

Posted at 18:14 | /mortal | (leave a comment) | permalink

Thu, 18 Dec 2003

BigRat

You know you're getting into heavy stuff when you can't even read the numbers your program is spitting out without another layer of interpretation. Now that I've hooked up this arbitrary precision rational number package to my project at work, I'm getting shit like

doc 48 has cached value 133612457154683010512606719606961737906380203/2584230589
40325073947019947179448817289472690 and actual val 483523604/1015360315 at ./ap-
hill-climb-bigrat.pl line 755, <> line 53.

Great, thaaaaanks Perl. Let me just pull out my sola-powa Casio bidness calculata....

Posted at 17:47 | /computing | (leave a comment) | permalink

Right on Scales Radio

This is what I've been listening to non-stop at work for the past month: Right on Scales Dub Radio

Some company called Right on Scales, which sells (as you might expect) scales puts this fantastic stream out. I don't know who's responsible for the music selection, but it matches my tastes 100%. It's fucking fantastic—I hear a lot of my own collection in there (mostly old 70's dub, and even ol' Alton Ellis and Eek-a-Mouse) plus a ton of fantastic new stuff I haven't heard before. All heavy, rootsy dub. It's great.

I don't know that I'll have a need for scales any time in the near future, but you can bet I'll be supporting these guys first if I do. Any company that does something like this gets my bidness, no doubt.

Posted at 15:51 | /media/music | (leave a comment) | permalink

Bluetooth

A colleague of mine has a bluetooth-aware cellphone and has it set up with his computer, which he uses to play music, such that when he receives a phone call, the music automatically drops in volume, and when he leaves the room, it pauses, and when he returns, it resumes. That, as we say in Chinese, is pretty fucking cool.

I would like to do that. And there are a ton of other neat things I can think of doing along the same lines, if I could write bluetooth code on my cellphone. This is some cool shit! And happy, I am contemporaneously also in the market for a new cellphone. So I'd like to know: what cellphones can be developed for, easily, particularly wrt bluetooth functionality?

Do you, my dear readers (and for once that includes the retards who arrive here by searching for cracks and pr0n, which is 95% of my traffic) know of such a phone?

Posted at 15:14 | /computing | 1 comment | permalink

Don Carlos & Gold

chant down babylon kingdom

Posted at 14:14 | /media/music/lyrics | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 17 Dec 2003

Waste Isolation Pilot Planet

I imagine this must have been all around the blogosphere, but I just stumbled upon it today:

What kind of markers can we place to deter our post-apocalyptic posterity from entering a radiation waste site for the next 10,000 years? Read Excerpts from Expert Judgement on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Pretty fascinating stuff.

(Or buy the t-shirt.)

Posted at 20:08 | /internet/links | (leave a comment) | permalink

I've never seen

Craigslist more aptly described: http://boston.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/20274505.html

Posted at 10:38 | /internet/links | (leave a comment) | permalink

Sun, 14 Dec 2003

You mean I can get paid for that?

Just got back from our first paying gig, at a bar on the Cape. Attendance was spotty but the owner subsidized our beer and food tab (free dinner!) and even paid us—not a lot, but the first money I've ever made from being a musician. Pretty sweet.

Plus, he liked us so much he invited us back to play New Year's. So perhaps this year I will take a break from my annual tradition of staying at home, drinking heavily, and going to bed early.

Posted at 03:06 | /media/music | (leave a comment) | permalink

Fri, 12 Dec 2003

Sheep

You'll never look at them quite the same way.

http://www.zodoenzehetdaar.nl/templates/filmpje1.php

(from metafilter)

(And, incidentally, from the comments section, this image.)

Posted at 17:14 | /internet/links | (leave a comment) | permalink

Thu, 11 Dec 2003

搬家

我常常想,搬家到一個天氣好、風景美麗的地方並有點危險。 因為我想人們住在這樣的地方,不會因情形太好、日子過地太舒服就沒靈感或沒力氣做重要的事情嗎?假如我自己的周圍太好,恐怕時間都花在欣賞欣賞,不會覺得世界有任何必須被我進步或修改的。 Well, 當然頭腦裡會了解世界有那種事,不過心裡大概不會明白。

話說回來呢,人家整個背子真的都需要花在進步世界嗎?我一個人住在一個好的地方,不傷害別人,這樣行不行?我想搬家時,就想到這個問題。於是到目前為止還沒搬加到Hawaii....

Posted at 19:45 | /chinese | 1 comment | permalink

To the recluse, Wei Pa

I would really like to find the original of the following:

Often in this life of ours we resemble, in our failure to meet, the Shen and Shang constellations, one of which rises as the other one sets. What lucky chance is it, then, that brings us together this evening under the light of this same lamp? Youth and vigor last but a little time. — Each of us now has greying temples. Half of the friends we ask each other about are dead, and our shocked cries sear the heart. Who could have guessed that it would be twenty years before I sat once more beneath your roof? Last time we parted you were still unmarried, but now here suddenly is a row of boys and girls who smilingly pay their respects to their father's old friend. They ask me where I have come from; but before I have finished dealing with their questions, the children are hurried off to fetch us wine. Spring chives are cut in the rainy dark, and there is freshly steamed rice mixed with yellow millet. `Come, we don't meet often!' you hospitably urge, pouring out ten cupfuls in rapid succession. That I am still not drunk after ten cups of wine is due to the strength of the emotion which your unchanging friendship inspires. Tomorrow the peak will lie between us, and each will be lost to the other, swallowed up in the world's affairs.

        Tu Fu (tr. Hawkes)

"Who could have guessed that it would be twenty years before I sat, once more, beneath your roof?". I like that. Tomorrow the peak will lie between us...

UPDATE: found it.

杜甫:贈衛八處士

人生不相見,動如參與商。
今夕復何夕,共此燈燭光。
少壯能幾時,鬢髮各已蒼。
訪舊半為鬼,驚呼熱中腸。
焉知二十載,重上君子堂。
昔別君未婚,兒女忽成行。
怡然敬父執,問我來何方。
問答乃未已,驅兒羅酒漿。
夜雨剪春韭,新炊間黃粱。
主稱會面難,一舉累十觴。
十觴亦不醉,感子故意長。
明日隔山嶽,世事兩茫茫。

Posted at 19:24 | /chinese | (leave a comment) | permalink

One good thing about music

When it hits you feel no pain.

Posted at 19:22 | /media/music/lyrics | (leave a comment) | permalink

Rain

Must be the four years of Pittsburgh living, but now, I really like the rain. Good for sitting inside and drinking tea, looking out the window.

Man, wish I had a garden.

Posted at 16:26 | /mortal/weather | (leave a comment) | permalink

Michael Moore

Do people still take Michael Moore seriously? I thought everyone had heard about the creative editing in Bowling for Columbine, but it seems like I still, with a fair frequency, encounter people who seem to think he's a reliable, factual source of information. Is it just my hyperliberal Cantabridgian surroundings, or what?

On that note, I found this comment, made today by David Bernstein, interesting:

It's no coincidence that the five more liberal Justices voted yesterday to uphold rather draconian restrictions on freedom of expression, while the four more conservative Justices dissented. My just-published Texas Law Review article, Lochner's Legacy's Legacy, has a salient footnote:

One of the great turnabouts of recent constitutional history has been that
Supreme Court decisions broadly protecting freedom of speech from
government interference are now considered conservative. [...] For
discussions of this phenomenon, see Kathleen M. Sullivan, Discrimination,
Distribution and Free Speech, 37 Ariz. L. Rev. 439, 439-42 (1995), [who]
notes that left-liberal solicitude for free speech arose in part because
the great free speech cases for most of the twentieth century involved
left-wing constituencies under assault from the government. Anarchists,
communists, labor organizers, socialists, syndicalists, pacifists, and
civil rights activists all benefited from the First Amendment. Sullivan,
supra, at 439.
Today, by contrast, the left believes "speech cases are often won by
corporations, the media, and other powerful insiders....  Powerful private
actors, such as pornographers and the media, are free to control, suppress,
and distort the speech of others, and when they do, political processes
cannot redress it." Mary Becker, The Legitimacy of Judicial Review in
Speech Cases, in The Price We Pay: The Case Against Racist Speech, Hate
Propaganda, and Pornography 208 (Laura J. Lederer & Richard Delgado eds.,
1995).

Posted at 16:16 | /politics | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 10 Dec 2003

Perfect Compression

The following perl code compresses arbitrary data of size n into a set of n files, each with size 0. Independent of n, the total compressed file size is 0. Data is completely recoverable. Thus, perfect compression.

#!/usr/bin/perl
 
while(<>) {
        foreach $char (split //) {
                open(OUT, >compressed.$num) or die;
                close(OUT);
                utime ord($char), ord($char), compressed.$num;
                $num++;
        }
}

Decompression is left as an exercise for the reader. (But it's quite trivial.)

Another day, another field of computer science laid to waste....

Posted at 15:12 | /computing | (leave a comment) | permalink

Kill all Haitians

Apparently the company that makes Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (which, in a happy coincidence, just arrived in the mail today, courtesy Gamefly, so I can finally finish it) has promised to remove the phrase "kill all Haitians" (and other similar phrases) from all future copies of GTA:VC.

Well, that's just dumb. A, the only people who haven't played that game already are the johnnies-come-extremely-lately like myself, so it's not like removing anything from future copies is going to have any effect; b, that phrase is made in the context of being in conflict with a particular Miami-based Haitian gang, so it's hardly an incitement to genocide against all Haitian people, as the protesters claim; c, Haitians are hardly singled out in this game, as you have dealings (good and ill) with many groups, race-defined and otherwise; d, it's a video game for chrissakes; and e, you guys are dumb.

So I hope the protesters are happy. They've wasted their time and money on a ridiculous issue, and reached the only solution they could possibly hope for: a completely limp and ineffectual one that does nothing to further their otherwise laudible goals.

Posted at 14:58 | /news | (leave a comment) | permalink

Tue, 09 Dec 2003

Rat Babies

Neat.

rat baby rat babies

Yes, those are real rat fetuses. From http://www.greggman.com/japan/designfesta2002-05/designfesta2002-05.htm, which has a bunch of pretty cool stuff.

(from jwz)

Posted at 13:52 | /internet/links | 5 comments | permalink

Sun, 07 Dec 2003

A Chick tract that really touched me

It's true! So, so terribly true! Who will be eaten first?

(from bb)

Posted at 07:18 | /internet/links | (leave a comment) | permalink

Sat, 06 Dec 2003

Blosxom Rules

Prompted by a recent post by the Blosxom creator, I just want to say that Blosxom rulez. Besides the obvious (it's fast, it's tightly integrated with your file system, it's free, it's open source, it's just one smallish perl script that's easy to edit, but there's no need because the plugin architecture makes it trivial to extend), the fs integration lets you place items in an arbitrary hierarchy (never mind the symlinks and other games you can play) and exports RSS feeds at each point in that heirarchy. PFC.

Of course in my case I have a completely degenerate hierarchy, because I only really talk about one thing, but for people with actual interesting things to say, that turns out to be pretty useful.

Posted at 09:20 | /meta | (leave a comment) | permalink

Snow

Snow, in December, especially on a weekend, is, despite some past statements I've made, quite acceptable.

Posted at 09:02 | /mortal/weather | (leave a comment) | permalink

Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Bluegrass Octoberfest Recap

Was at a jam out by work yesterday evening and got to chatting with one of the guys there. Turns out he was somewhat incidentally involved in the Bluegrass Octoberfest thing and was actually MCing on stage for a little. Thought he looked familiar... (and he said that yes, the promoters did not do a terribly great job promoting, and that the organizers were not really familiar with the whole bluegrass thing to begin with). So that was neat.

I had a pretty good time, even if it did leave me with a pounding headache for all today. T'was almost the opposite of our local jams—all singing songs, very few instrumentals and only an infrequent standard. I.e. tons of stuff I didn't really know—though I liked most of it. It was good, though tiring, to be continually improvising over all these unfamiliar tunes. Made me realized how very few licks I actually have under my fingers for this type of thing. (And how unable I am, as of yet, to detect a 2m chord as anything other than what the hell is that?).

We did play a very cool flamenco tune which I think was called "Juarez"—does anyone know about this? I remember the chords (all Cm, G#, G, and F (v. weird, doesn't seem phrygian)) but I would like to get a recording to learn the head from. Google has failed me, or perhaps I misremember the title.

BUT now the weekend is starting, which is ruining my relatively good mood.

Posted at 17:11 | /media/music | (leave a comment) | permalink

Wed, 03 Dec 2003

Maddening

How many men are there in this picture? 12 or 13?

moving men

Posted at 22:09 | /misc | (leave a comment) | permalink

Mon, 01 Dec 2003

Russian Short Stories

The Nose

The Heart of a Dog

The Overcoat

Posted at 11:10 | /lit | (leave a comment) | permalink


   

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. -- Mark Twain