Mon, 28 Feb 2005

The Wise Man

The wise man is always found on the top of a mountain because none of the rest of us can stand to have him around.

Posted [02:13] [Filed in: life] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Sun, 27 Feb 2005

"We season our garlic with food"

That's a trademark of The Stinking Rose (an ancient term for garlic, for no obvious reason) in San Francisco. I went there in October of 1998, while consulting in SanFran. I'd wanted to go there for years, but never had the opportunity. So when my customer was taking me out to dinner, and we were wandering around North Beach looking for a restaurant (the problem not being a dearth, but a surplus), I hit upon The Stinking Rose.

Well, when we walked into the restaurant, our noses were immediately assailed by the perfume of garlic. Led to our seat past an impossibly long garlic chain (they claim it to be the world's longest), we opened the menus. Surprisingly, a number of the dishes had no garlic in them. Presumably the inescapable smell was sufficient seasoning for them. I located the "40 Clove Garlic Chicken", and ordered it. Our waiter pointed out the minced garlic on the table.

I split a roll and dug in with a spoon. As I heaped the garlic on the roll, my customer (Vijay), who's from India, said, with eyes ever growing wider, "Um, Russell, that's a lot of garlic. That's a LOT of garlic. Russell, I like garlic, and I wouldn't eat that much." Ignoring his sage (or was it garlic?) advice, I dove in. Again and again I hit the minced garlic, roll after roll.

By that point, when the 40 Clove Garlic Chicken arrived, it was disappointingly mild. Tasty, yes, but not the whole garlic experience I was expecting. Of course, cooking the cloves tends to mute their effect.

Had an excellent dinner that couldn't be beat, went home, and got up for the last half-day of the consulting gig. Nobody noticed anything strange about the two of us (well, me more than him but still). Vijay took me to the airport mid-morning, spending nearly an hour in an enclosed car, without saying a word about garlic.

Flew home via Philadelphia to Ottawa. Heather (wife) was waiting up for me, and forcefully noted that I reeked of garlic (remember, this is 24 hours later). In the morning, the children ran into the bedroom to greet me. They stopped mid-step as if they had hit an invisible force field. They said "Daddy, you stink!".

By itself, that's a great story. It gets better, though. A week later, Heather was telling the story to Rebecca, a Friend of the family. Rebecca said "Wait. What airline was he on?" Heather said "USAir". Rebecca said "Friday?" "Yup." "Well, I was on the next leg of that flight, and the whole airplane smelled of garlic!!"

Damn, that was a good meal.

Posted [00:21] [Filed in: food] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Thu, 24 Feb 2005


I just took a Qigong seminar from Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. He made an interesting statement on Monday. He said that other qigong masters were mad at him for publishing all their secrets. They wanted to know why he had done that. He said to them "You tell me why not, I tell you why."

There are people who are angry at the Open Source Initiative, just as people are angry at Dr. Yang. They are hostile to our goals, to our methods, to our community members, and even to individual OSI board members. This is unfortunate, but something we will have to live with.

Posted [15:23] [Filed in: opensource] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Wed, 23 Feb 2005

The Essence of Racism

The essence of racism is intellectual error. It is true that some blacks are lazy; that some Italians are mobsters; and that some Jews are miserly. It is also true that some whites are lazy miserly mobsters; and that some blacks work their butts off; that some Italians are law-abiding citizens; and that some Jews are generous to a T. The essence of racism is to make the mistake of thinking that finding any one person with two characteristics means that everybody with one of those characteristics has both of them.

For example, if somebody expressed a racist idea, and was involved in an organization, it would be an intellectual error to believe that everyone involved in the organization supported racism.

No, I don't expect an apology. I don't even expect anybody to acknowledge that they made a mistake. I comfort myself with a personal understanding of the magnitude and consequences of their mistake.

Posted [17:08] [Filed in: life] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Tue, 22 Feb 2005


I now know what it takes to open my third eye, and become enlightened.

I choose not to do that.

Posted [01:49] [Filed in: life] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

A one sentence story

I had a customer once whose mistress told his wife that she caught him in bed with his girlfriend.

Posted [01:47] [Filed in: stories] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Mon, 14 Feb 2005

Experimenting with other flavours

Yes, "flavours". No, I haven't gone all British on you. That's the technical term for them, at least in the Blosxom / pyblosxom world. I like the look of Simon Willison's blog, so I snarfed his HTML source and changed it into a flavour. Thanks, Simon! Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Posted [21:36] [Filed in: ] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Sun, 13 Feb 2005

Too much chocolate

I used to say that there is no such thing as too much chocolate. I was in Boston for the ECAC Hockey championship some 14 years ago, and was wandering around between the semifinals on Friday and the finals on Saturday. Stopped at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. I picked up this chocolate creation which was six inches high. The bottom was a chocolate muffin. It was topped with a huge hunk of chocolate fudge covered with chocolate mousse. The whole thing was dipped in a hard chocolate shell. Cost me $7. I couldn't finish it.

There is such a thing as too much chocolate.

Posted [13:00] [Filed in: food] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Sat, 12 Feb 2005

Historic NY State railroads

I'm working on digitizing all the old railbeds covered by Michael Kudish's Railroads of the Adirondacks. They're currently stored as lat/lon coordinates in files named using the legends on Map 1-1. They're numbered in a roughly counter-clockwise direction using Blue Mountain Lake as the center of the dial of the clock. At least, that seems to be the scheme Professor Kudish chose.

Unfortunately, Mike is not a computerphile. I don't think he's particularly afraid of computers, as a computerphobe would be. It's just that he and computers, well, they just don't get along. So I'm trying to figure out how to show this information to him. I'll probably have to save it into a shapefile, and run the Windows version of Thuban.

Posted [17:49] [Filed in: railroads] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Sun, 06 Feb 2005

Ride starting Sun Feb 6 09:26:10 2005

Went out with (from left to right) Linda and Bruce Buchanan, and Barb and Jay Nagle, and Dorothy and Bill Mein. We were going to be wimpy and only go on 4 to 9 (the circular trail bisected by 4), and then back on 4a. But that only took us 45 minutes, so after we got back, we looked around at each other, shrugged, and went out on trail 2 to see how far we would go. Got to trail 3, and decided "Hey! We could turn around, go back on the road, and pick trail 4 around through 9 and then back to the cabin." So we did.

Posted [09:26] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Sat, 05 Feb 2005

Ride starting Sat Feb 5 14:54:50 2005

I only went for one ski on Saturday afternoon. Took a nap after lunch because I was tired from the morning. The little appendix is the location of our cabin. I headed out trail 2, which goes down and around on the left side of the loop. It then goes straight north, where I picked up trail 7 to the left. It curves around in a big C shape and ends in the top right at trail 3. Took that back to trail 2 and back to the cabin just in time for dinner.

Posted [14:54] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]

Ride starting Sat Feb 5 09:12:29 2005

These are all the tracks that I skiied on at La Petite Rouge up in Quebec. Our ski club goes there every year for a weekend. I skiied 14 miles in two days. The weather was impeccable. I ended up skiing on both days in a T-shirt. Spring skiing; finestkind.

If you're wondering why these tracks are all drawn on a grey background, it's because terraserver's tiles don't cover Canada.

Posted [09:12] [Filed in: bicycling] [permalink] [Google for the title] [digg this]