Saturday, May 28, 2005


I like this flower a lot. Unfortunately, it is in a spot in my garden where you have to make a real effort to see it. It should have some fancy presentation, like its own little gazebo.Posted by Hello


A rose from my garden, in close. Posted by Hello


Ready for liftoff.Posted by Hello


I like these leaves more and more each year. Posted by Hello

Ideological Panhandling

I don't mind real panhandlers, not at all. They ask me for spare change, if I have some I give it to them, if not I don't. The brief interaction is not a problem. What annoys me is all the ideological panhandlers. They don't want spare change, they want me to support their political cause, or convert to their religion, or sign a petition for their stupid ballot measure that amends the constitution to make Pi equal to 4, or some equally worthless idea. They want to engage me in some long conversation about their cause/cult/calling plan. These people are the real-life equivalent of email spammers. I want to say to them, "Get a real panhandling job, and ask me for a quarter!"

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dark Side?

It doesn't make sense that the people who use the Dark Side of the Force would call it the "Dark Side" themselves, as they do in the Star Wars movies. People don't usually call their own preferred system something bad. They would put a better spin on it, and call it something like the Full Potential of the Force, or the Unified System of the Force. And they would call the Light Side something like the Lesser Side of the Force, or the Limited System.

So the whole "If you only knew the power of the Dark Side" bit just doesn't ring true. Vader wouldn't have said that. He would have said, "If you only knew the full system of the Force."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Who is the world's most famous mime? That's right, it is Marcel Marceau.

Now, quick, who is the world's second most famous mime?

That's right, there isn't one. There is only one famous mime. Isn't that weird? For there to be only one famous mime in all of the world, in all of history? If mime could make one person famous, you'd think it could at least make two people famous. Oh, there have been other mimes who have had some degree of success, but none that the average person could name.

What about Teller of Penn & Teller? A lot of people know who he is. But he isn't a mime, he's just a magician who doesn't talk. It's not like he is up there on stage trapped in an invisible box or walking into a windstorm or something. Hmm, so who's the second most famous non-talking magician?

In The News

My father once told me that whenever he read the newspaper and it happened to mention some subject that he knew a lot about, it always seemed to get a lot wrong. And so he asked people in other fields whether they experienced that too, and they told him they did. So it is easy to imagine that the newspaper is mostly wrong about nearly everything (or at least every complex field that might be puzzling to the layperson), but we only notice it in our own areas of expertise. It is funny that we so easily recognize the mistakes in our own niche areas, but so easily trust the information in all other areas.

Monday, May 23, 2005

One of my favorite bloggers is back.

On The March

Democracy does not demand that people choose wisely, only that they choose. If democracy is on the march, so much the better, but perhaps we should wish that intelligence were also included in the march.

But intelligence does not demand that people act with noble desires, only that they act in the way most likely to accomplish whatever their desires may be. Thus we might reasonably add nobility to the list of things which we would like to see marching.

Yet nobility does not demand an association with practical or wise ideas, and so it must be accompanied on the march by wisdom and pragmatism.

If we could get democracy, intelligence, nobility, wisdom, and pragmatism to all march together, then we would really have something worth drinking to.

The student of history will object at this point that it is quite rare to get any two of those abstractions to march in lockstep, much less all five. The student of history is right. What a killjoy the student of history is.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sarah Fimm Concert in Portland

I just got back from the Sarah Fimm concert at the Roseland in Portland. Sarah was opening for Peter Murphy, but I just went to see her and did not stay for the main act. Partly this is because I have to work on Monday and did not want to stay out late, and partly because I'm just not that familiar with Peter Murphy's music. The crowd was pretty Goth, so I think I was the only person there wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

Sarah and her band were great. With today's technology, sounding good on a studio recording is not all that tough. You can do a lot of takes until you get it right, you can correct pitch digitally, and there are many other tricks. But it is still challenging to sound good live, and a small club setting like the Roseland is not very forgiving. I'd say a good 50% of the bands I've heard in places like this sounded out of tune, sloppy, and basically horrible. But Sarah sounded amazing on every song. She really has a gorgeous voice and perfect phrasing.

The band was very good, too. They are obviously a disciplined group who have no "rock star attitude" but have a lot of skill. Tonight I started to appreciate how the rather sparse arrangements help everything to sound clear and crisp in a live performance.

When I drove downtown for the concert, I started to go to the parking garage where I normally park, but then I saw a police car headed directly towards me, going the wrong way on a one way street. I stopped. The police car turned into the parking garage, then two cops got out, drew their guns, and yelled at someone to get down on the ground. I couldn't really see exactly what was going on, but I went to a different parking garage a block away instead. It was a strange start to the evening.

Another odd thing: my girlfriend told me on the way home that she is pretty sure Peter Murphy was sitting right in front of us in the balcony during Sarah Fimm's show. Now I don't have a very good mental picture of what Peter Murphy looks like, so I don't know, but she says she is about 90% sure. If so, I feel kind of bad now, because I kept talking about how I was only there to see Sarah Fimm and didn't want to stay for Peter's show. I didn't mean to be impolite or anything.

My girlfriend used to sing with Oregon Repertory Singers and is a perfectionist about vocalists. But she kept leaning over to me and saying, "Wow, she is so good. She has a great voice. Do you have the CD of this?" "Yes, I have all of them."

Well, it was a fun evening, and I hope Sarah will come back to Portland again.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Today I visited one of my friends who I haven't seen in a while. Out of nowhere he asked, "are you Iron Monkey?" I admitted that I was. He said he had searched for my blog, and thought this was me. He said he recognized the phrasing of my writing, and he couldn't read the blog without hearing my voice.

(This is especially funny given the plot of the movie Iron Monkey, where the hero wears a mask to conceal his identity, and the villagers try to guess who he is.)

Anyway, I did not know my writing was that distinctive, though I do write more or less the way I talk.

In other news, I saw Star Wars: Episode III, and I got Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition for Xbox, and within a few hours of playing I created a very pimped-out Dodge Neon SRT4. I also went for a short ride on a friend's V-Strom 650. This is a lot like my SV650s, but with a more upright and comfortable riding position.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bomb Squad Haiku

I just can't decide
cut the red or the blue wire?
Snip. OK, it - BOOM!

Sunday, May 15, 2005


I've always been suspicious of the idea of studying the habits of successful people in order to become successful yourself. After all, studying the habits of tall people won't make you tall.

Sprol is like Google Sightseeing but it takes you on a tour of the worst places.

29Guide has videos for your PSP, and has downloadable comics for the PSP.

Some conversations are hard to understand.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


My first iris of the season has bloomed. Also check out Michelle's latest Flower Pr0n.

In other news, I saw Kingdom of Heaven. And I've resolved to reduce my use of hyperbole, in fact I will reduce it more than anyone has ever reduced anything! Oh, drat. (OK, I stole the idea for that from my friend Lisa)
Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005


start with this

something to complain about
if you have
something priceless stolen every moment

bullet holes in
a paper target
chicken tracks crossing the road

the chalk outline around
a fallen mannequin

I'm me, tie me I'm
a fallen mannequin

the chalk outline around
chicken tracks crossing the road

a paper target

bullet holes in
something priceless stolen every moment

if you have
something to complain about
start with this

Far Above Average

This is a very cute mannequin. If I were also a mannequin, I would probably want to date this one. On the other hand, to me most other mannequins look weird and somehow creepy, which is why this one caught my eye. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Fern in Forest Park, Portland, OR Posted by Hello

Wild Iris

Wild iris in Forest Park, Portland, OR Posted by Hello
Every time I have to take my shoes off to go through airport security, I am thankful that Richard Reid didn't hide anything in his pants.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Sarah Fimm in Portland

Sarah Fimm is coming to Portland, on May 22, 2005. She will play at the Roseland and open for Peter Murphy. If you haven't heard her music, download a sample from her site, or listen and buy at CD Baby or iTunes. Then buy tickets here.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Murloc Fin Soup 0.2

This is my second comic strip. There's a story behind this one. While I was carefully posing my character for these screen shots, a Horde Shaman came up and attacked me, and I had to run for my life! I had forgotten that I was still flagged for PvP from a battle the night before. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Murloc Fin Soup 0.1

This is my first attempt to make a comic strip based on World of Warcraft screen shots. I did it all using GIMP. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Don't Mess With My Haunted Shoes

My cat put a dead mouse in my shoes. I was out of town at the time, so I think it was his way of dedicating the kill to me. But the question remains: are my shoes haunted now? Does that make them less valuable, or more? Could I sell them on Ebay? What is the procedure for dealing with haunted shoes?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Customer Service Assassin

Tiny Pineapple has a great story about kids making business decisions in a virtual world. People typically worry that games like Doom may turn kids into deranged serial killers. Maybe instead they should worry that economic simulation games will turn kids into vicious cost-cutting, bottom-line-optimizing executives.