Saturday, August 28, 2004


Our house is on the edge of Corvallis, we occasionally see deer (they eat our vegetable garden). We're not quite in farm-land, but sometimes it feels like it.

Well, the crickets are so noisy this summer that I feel like the house is on a big sound stage for a movie. I always figured the movies were exaggerating the noise, but now I can say, the cricket sounds in movies can be found in real life.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Fundamentalism on ETJ

I have a new entry about fundamentalism, check it out.


I read a couple of blawgs: public defender dude, uncivil litigator, Crime and Federalism. (if you read Blogs - use Mozilla and Sage, just do it ok?).

I have no idea what it's like to be a lawyer, and I'm sure that most lawyers have pretty dull jobs (kind of like most programmers have pretty dull jobs), but I get a kick out of reading their blogs.

What I'd really want to do is read some programmers' blogs, but I want to read about interesting programming they've done (kind of like interesting cases or issues lawyers blog). Only, I don't think programmers write about it - they publish source code. Or they're writing code for companies (like mine) who have proprietary software and can't publish their tips and tricks.

Oh shut up, you're giving me a hard time now.

The closest I can get is reading boost's documentation. They do amazing things, and I can only hope to learn half of what they've put out there. They make C++ look like Lisp.

Update: I did find one guy's blog about tracking bugs down in Microsoft products. Which, while it isn't cool tips/tricks about programming, it does talk about something integral to programming: debugging.

Software Department

Again, I work for the man in a department that provides software for the chip designers. It's about as close as Intel comes to caring about software (translation: Intel only cares about chips).

The department only pays lip service to software development. The latest thing is the build environment. In short, it sucks. My team happens to have a build environment that is reasonable (thanks to Tim J). Well, the department is mandating that everyone use the same, sucky, build environment.

I understand that the build team needs to know how to build all the tools, and it should be the same between all the different tools and engines. And they've worked hard to make it a little less sucky, but it still sucks. And sure, I realize the build team has to juggle different political battles (we have people in Oregon, California, and Haifa Israel). But come on.

This is essentially what you have to do to build:

source /path/to/script -tool
setenv OUTPUT something
setenv TEMP somethingelse
setenv DONT_USE_LOG true
setenv LAST_VAR anothersomething

Huh? What is all that stuff?

You can download and build pretty much any application for Linux with:


And, arguably, you wouldn't need to run ./configure in our environment if you knew where everything was (compiler/linker/vendor libraries) - which we should b/c we're all using the same computers. So really, all you should have to type is gmake!

The other thing that's really stupid, is that you have to write a Makefile for each of the libraries that you build. The Makefile for each of our libraries is 2 lines long - each and every one of them. The build environment they want to push on us has 30-40 lines.

Anyway, I'm all railed up. My manager is behind me, but it's just stupid that I should have to waste any effort to fight this battle. No self-respecting software company in the world would put up with our build environment.


Both a friend at work and my niece and nephew think I look like Gary Hall Jr.

Sure, the body is a dead ringer, but I'm much more handsome...


Like most people in the U.S., I'm watching the Olympics - I've been staying up past my bedtime to catch as much as I can.

We don't have Cable or DirectTV, so we stuck with NBC's standard coverage.

It pisses me off how much time they devote to the big "sports": swimming, gymnastics, and track. Now, I like Track, but do we really need to watch the quarter-finals of the 100m dash? Sure, its' "our" event, but seriously, couldn't we spend a little bit of the time covering a different sport, or even different events? Plus, all of the human interest stories that surround it are silly. The U.S. men sprinters are just so cocky and full of attitude - they exemplify what I think other countries think of the U.S. in general: full of talent/potential, but arrogant, self-centered, and oblivious to the rest of the world. Bronze medalist is a prime example, and the other two U.S. finalists were thumping their chests and bandstanding in the semi-finals. It was enough for me to want a different country to win.

I also like swimming, but the coverage is just too U.S.-centric. The commentators focus only on the U.S. athletes, and they seem to know so little about the rules (or are not willing to share it). For example, Aaron Peirsol had a judge rule an illegal flip turn in the 200m backstroke finals, a ruling that threatened to take away his gold medal. Did the announcers begin talking about what the rules are, what judges usually look for, what might have gone wrong? No, the commentary was all about, "he's in shock, he can't believe it, the U.S. coaches are probably going protest, he's in shock, nobody can believe it, ..." Give us some information to use. Don't simply repeat the same emotional statements over and over and over.

The commentators for the gymnastics are just as bad. When Paul Hamm stumbled on the landing for his vault, they responded, "You just can't do that and expect to win, let alone place." While that is normally a fair statement, he did, in fact, go on to win the gold medal for the all-around. Fine, give them that one, but they said the same thing when some women stumbled the next night. Hello? McFly? Anyone home? You were WRONG last night, perhaps you shouldn't repeat your mistakes so quickly. And how many times do they have to remind us that those little steps (on landing) count? I must have heard that phrase ten times in one evening.

And we've got some pretty insensitive camera men and commentators. I forget which sport it was, diving probably, but one of the women messed up a dive and blew her chances at a medal. She was pretty much guaranteed a gold, messed up, and dropped out of contention. So what did the camera man do? He followed her, around the corner to the deserted warm up area, and watched her grieve, getting very close. Have a little humanity, please. And, after some controversy over a judging problem that potentially could have given a South Korean athlete the gold in the all-around competition instead of Paul Hamm, some commentator quizzed Paul, "So how are you handling the controversy? How do you feel about having the gold when the South Korean athlete's performance was incorrectly judged?" The commentator acknowledged that the controversy could be wearing on Paul, yet, knowing that, still went ahead with throwing it in his face.

Sometimes, it's just embarrassing to be an American.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Road Rage

I had my first flare up of road rage today in a long time. I used to get angry at other drivers quite a bit - mostly for something to do - I commute 100 miles each way twice a week. But I kicked that habit months ago - people stopped bothering me as much. All I ever did with my road rage is bitch and moan - perhaps flashing my lights or honking the horn, but I don't cut people off, I don't tailgate, I don't charge people like a bull.

So today, I'm almost at work, I'm turning west from Shute road to Evergreen road. There are two lanes in either direction on Evergreen, and some guy is pacing me on my left (pacing == right next to my bumper but in the other lane). So I step on the gas and accelerate to 55 (speed limit is 50) quickly. At this point he (and the other cars) are a good 200 feet behind me. I quickly forget about them.

Now, Evergreen slims down to one lane after 3/4 of a mile or so, and people sometimes jockey for position. Whatever... We're less than a mile away from work, so position at this point doesn't matter. Anyway, as I'm getting close to the merge point, thus guy suddenly accelrates and gets back on my bumper. So there we are, the two lanes soon to become one, and this asshole is right next to me. Note: he had to speed up to 60 or more to catch up, then slow down to pace me. I've very consciously kept my speed a constant 55 mph. Right as the lane is ending, he slowly starts to pull even with me, and eventually pass me. The lanes have officially merged at this point, but he has still not passed me.

I look over at him, he's deep in thought or something. He shows no sign of noticing me or my car. I lay on the horn for 3-4 seconds, still no reaction. So I slow down and let him pass me - b/c I'm not enough of a prick to actually get in an accident to prove a point. Never a reaction from him. Man was I pissed.

I have a couple simple driving rules. They basically boil down to the Golden Rule: treat others as you'd want to be treated.

  1. get out of other peoples way: if you're in the left lane and someone comes up behind you, pull over to the right lane
  2. if you're going to pass someone - do it: drive at least 5 mph faster than the person you're passing, simply inching past someone does not count (VW Bus drivers get the exception on this - I feel for you)
  3. get to freeway speed quickly: you don't have to floor it, but you should easily be going the speed of traffic by the time you're epxected to merge (again, VW Bus drivers get the exception)
  4. when merging - align yourself with a gap between vehicles

That's it. Nothing pisses me off more than the slow drivers in the left lane, especially when they're simply pacing the car in the lane next to them. It happens so much in Oregon that I just started passing people on the right. I've spent far too much time waiting for a person to get a clue, so I pass on the right. I don't even wait more than a second or two, I just signal and pass. I figure my defense (if I'm ever pulled over like my brother) is that I was obeying the signs that say, "Slower Traffic Keep Right." I figure, when I'm not passing someone, I merge right. And if nobody is in front of me, I hit the gas.

When I had my Subaru GL, named "Xena", I often wanted to get a megaphone installed - like the cops use. That way I could yell at people, "Pull over!" "You're going too slow." "Check your blinker grandpa!"

The guy today made me want to get one installed in the Mazda.

Friday, August 20, 2004


Last weekend, Mary and I spent 3 nights backpacking in the Wallowas near Eagle Cap. For those of you unfamiliar with the Wallowas, they're kind of like the Sierras, only a little smaller, and in Oregon. Beautiful granite peaks, crystal clear lakes and streams. A wonderful place to spend a few days.

The trip was great, the company good too. A quick trip description is: Hiked from Two Pan up the east fork of the Lostine river to Mirror lake. Day hike to Glacier Lake. Day hike to top of Eagle Cap (Mary and I just hung out at Mirror lake while Ron & Cyndi were macho). Hike out.

The wildflowers were still blooming, and the weather was excellent (except for a 1 hour thunderstorm - which provided a good excuse for a nap). About half an hour after the quick rainstorm, the ground was dry as a bone. Amazing.

Unfortunately, the first night did not afford Mary the best sleep. One of our cats (Jade presumably) had punctured Mary's mattress with their claws, and the mattress would not hold air. My dad would probably say, "That's why we always use the closed-cell foam pads - they can't go flat!" Of course, with those pads you just feel "soft" rocks - whereas the air mattress can actually keep you from feeling the rocks at all.

Long story short, I swapped with Mary and slept on top of her thermarest and sleeping bag, and she used my thermarest and bag.

Luckily, I'm always prepared, and I had a patch kit for the pad. For pinhole punctures, you don't even have to apply a patch - you just rub in some of the glue, and voila! 1 minute of work, 15 minutes of waiting, and we had a good-as-new mattress. I highly recommend picking up a patch kit - because a deflated thermarest sucks.

We had just received our new digital camera, and Mary was very excited to check it out. It, of course, has a gazillion features and modes, but one of the most exciting is the macro lens. With it you can focus on objects only 1/2 inch away from the lens!

Check out some of the pretty flowers we saw.

Daisy with bug.

Glacier Lake

Bright blue.

Little yellow flower.

Tiny yellow flower

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


I just have to keep track of all the masses of people who are reading my blog. I figure if I get enough hits I'll start selling ad space and retire soon.

But seriously, I'm writing these posts, and I've no real idea who reads them. My feed gets about 1 click through a day (if I'm lucky). So I figure, now that I know about this killer way to get web page statistics, I can see how often the two people who read this come back.

And, no, I don't artificially inflate my counter by counting my own visits.

Engaging Thought

I've been invited to post to a blog that a friend of mine co-founded (I'm a celebrity... not). The posts are generally anti-Bush and left-leaning, which I'm all for. I figure I'll post once or twice a week, so check out the blog.

In fact, here is my first post.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

What Book Are You?

I didn't cheat, seriously. The first time through,
I was matched with "The Hobbit."

You're The Hobbit!

by J.R.R. Tolkien

All you wanted was a nice cup of tea when some haggard crazy old man
came into your life and told you it was time to do something with yourself. Now you're
all conflicted about whether to stick with your stay-at-home lifestyle or follow this
crazy person into the wild. While you're very short and a little furry, you seem to be
surrounded by an even greater quantity of short folks lately. Try not to lose your ring,
but keep its value in perspective!

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The Difference Between Men And Women

I was biking the other day with Miles, and among other things, we were talking about relationships with our wives.

The relationships are, of course, perfect and always getting better.

But we did have some laughs about differences in the way (to paint with a stereotype) men and women think and relate.

So far the best example can be summed up with this joke.