blarg?

My man Jamie got married this weekend. I don’t have any decent photos, because my camera is a piece of crap, but I’m not worried; this is the first wedding I’ve seen since the proliferation of digital cameras, and I have never even heard of a more gadget-ridden and thoroughly photodocumented event. In two weeks there will be more evidence of Jamie and Karen’s wedding in the world than there is of the last World Cup . On the strength of the birthday paradox alone there’s going to be at least a thousand brilliant, perfect pictures of every moment of the day on somebody’s drive around.

Understand, my concern here is for the events surrounding the bride and groom, not the marriage per se; finding a good picture of the bride, for example, is going to be like finding a needle in an easily-opened box that contains only needles. If fish-and-barrel metaphors are your thing, I would suggest that it will be like dynamite-fishing in a pet store. I have long held the private belief that Jamie’s kung-fu was very powerful, to be feared and respected, and that he would wind up in the arms of somebody both scary-smart and really hot, but let me say this to you: not only was I right, but Damn. Superlatives fail me.

A curious coincidence, this marriage was administered by the same man who performed Antoine and Alethea’s wedding, and if you need a guy to officiate that kind of thing, I wholeheartedly endorse this fellow. His style is spartan, respectful but straightforward, simple and elegant; it seems to say “We are witnessing a declaration of love and lifelong commitment today; this is beautiful on its own, and doesn’t need to be adorned.” And I can get all the way behind that, because he’s all the way right, and it was a beautiful thing to watch.

And then dinner was great, and the dancing was fun, and they called off the clinking of glasses to evoke the kissing, and made people write haikus instead, which was an act of genius. And of course, that got totally got out of hand almost immediately anyway, and you could see the tables afterwards littered with the Haikus We Perhaps Should Not Speak Aloud, and that was cool too. And Masato, who I hadn’t seen in years, grabbed my ass, and it was just like old times.

This was a great night, and it was a great honor for me to have been there to see it. I’ll have more to say about this soon enough but in the meantime, to the bride and groom, I wish you good fortunes in interesting times, good health and long affection. Thank you for having me there on the big day.

I want to get this out of my system while the bile is still fresh in my throat.

I dropped Arlene off at the Toronto Airport the other day, and I learned three things while I did that.

  1. If you own any Air Canada stock, or indeed have anything at all personally invested in Air Canada’s continued corporate well-being, you need to get out from under that as quickly as possible, and do not look back. An airline with full airplanes can lose as much money as quickly as Air Canada does under exactly two conditions: mercenary incompetence or pervasive fraud. If you’d stood in the recklessly-mismanaged three-block-long line of customers that I had earlier today, if like me you’d idly watched the equally idle tellers on the other side of the hallway, apparently in charge of something much more engaging and important than processing passengers, your money would be the same place as mine. But it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody was actually defrauding them at the same time; that would at least give them some marginal excuse.

  2. Terminal 1 is shiny and new and very expensive, and full of some of the most transparently idiotic design decisions I have ever seen in architectural form. I’ve said before that when you are building a product of any kind, questions of the form “What The Hell X” should be completely resolved before the product leaves the shop. This is a building, so presumably this should get done ahead of time, but that didn’t happen; before they do anything else, the people who designed Terminal 1 need to hire somebody to ask that kind of question immediately. I wish I’d brought my camera.
  3. The new terminal’s parking process is some kind of dadaist protest against higher cognitive function, equal parts petty malice and stupidity. If you’re responsible for this “autopark” system, you should actually sit and watch people interact with it so the vague shame that nags you at night really steps up and takes hold. Remember: down, not across.

I’m going to be in Toronto this weekend, because my good man Jamie is getting married. During that part of my weekend, Saturday afternoon and evening, I’m going to be well-dressed and very civilized.

The rest of the time, not so much.

Ok, we’ve moved. Thanks to all that offered help, there were more of you than could be corralled the last minute; don’t feel bad if you missed it, because if you’d been there and blinked, you might have missed it anyway. We rolled into town, some folks met us there, and we emptied the truck in about twenty minutes.

Apologies, Don, because I forgot to write down your number, Sean, because I somehow thought you’d be out of town and didn’t call you and many thanks to the people who could make it out. This was as painless as it could possibly have been; the truck was there on time, we made no effort to disabuse U-Haul of the accounting error in our favor, packing was quick and straightforward and the drive was the best kind of uneventful.

The new place is great. It’s a great location, there’s a big-enough-to-throw-in park nearby, you name it. The only thing it’s missing is a fast net connection, but I’m going to fix that forthwith. Probably with Bell or iStop, because I’d hate to inform Rogers of their minor oversight.

I’m not paying extra for utilities, but the place will need to be warmed soon, you understand, and I may need some help with that. More news on that front as it develops, but in the meantime here’s some general advice about moving that I hope you’ll take to heart.

  • Ideally, you’d pack all the small stuff first, and the big stuff last. That way, when you arrived, all the big stuff would come out first, followed by the small stuff. It never happens like that, of course, because you want to get the big stuff packed away first too. The only sane thing to do, then, is to pack as much of the big stuff to one side of the truck as you can, and fill in the other side as you go. As long as this doesn’t threaten to tip the truck, obviously, but I put all my Krugerrands out to the curb along with all of Arlene’s collection of lead-encased uranium ingots, so that wasn’t a problem.
  • A word about highway driving – if you’re in the left lane you should be passing people, and you should be doing that with authority. This cruise-control drift-pass move that seems like the only thing minivans are up for is getting really, really old.
  • If you’re moving into a one or two-bedroom apartment and think you need something from Home Depot or Canadian Tire, you’re wrong. Don’t waste your time; the furnishings at Home Depot are for people actually care about their property value, so they’re really pricy. In stark contrast the furnishings at Canadian Tire are, as far as I can tell, for people who live in their car. Go directly to to Ikea, do not pass go.
  • Here’s the other thing about Ikea: they make the de-facto North American Standard Bookshelf, the white-veneered “Billy” models. If you bought one twenty years ago, you can buy another one the exact size and shape to go next to it today, and likely twenty years from now. That consistency of core inventory, coupled with dirt-cheap and very functional kitchenware is very convenient for people who want to refine their lives incrementally, and still want everything to match. A word of warning, though: the fabrics change with the seasons, so the seat frame might be the same, but the cover won’t be
  • It is all kinds of fun to walk around Ikea trying to have conversations using only the names of the products. “Poang!”

My place is simple and beautiful, and all the more so because of the woman who’s going to be sharing it with me.

I’m moving.

And, as a result, I’m sorting though a lifetime of geek detritus, and getting rid of almost all of it. Of everything I have, I’m keeping an Indy, some SCSI bits, an unnamed beige x86 and Grayswandir and Werewindle, my laptops. And I’m getting rid of the rest of my crap.

And there’s a lot of crap here. Jesus. How many printer cables could I possibly, ever have used? Why do I have so many? And what the hell is all the rest of this crap? Why did I ever need this many VGA extensions? So I could put a monitor on the roof?

Christ, I don’t even know what half of this stuff does. I’ve got:

  • A six-foot cable that seems to be SCSI-2 at one end and some kind of angry metal porcupine at the other. Christ, 8-bit DB-50. How retro is that?

  • A twenty foot cable that’s RJ-45 at one end and RJ-11 at the other. I have no idea what this does.
  • Phonenet. Boy, lots of phonenet. A lot of other wierd, wierd localtalk cables.
  • A Mac SE that’s going to the curb.
  • A bunch of keyboards that are doing the same.
  • Parallel cables, legions of parallel cables. I wonder what they were for.
  • How many printer cables can one man ever, ever possibly have needed? Where did they all come from?
  • What’s this MIDI-to-RCA/LRV cable for? Do I need both of them?
  • Laptop bags. Where did all these laptop bags come from? I don’t own that many laptops.
  • Pizza-box Sun 4Cs. Why, I don’t know. Out you go…
  • A dual-processor P-100 motherboard. Woo. Just what I don’t need.
  • Keyboards, my God the keyboards…

Anyone who wants any of this shit is welcome to it. I don’t know where half of this shit came from, and I don’t care where any of it goes. To paraphrase a friend of mine, I’m sure I’ll miss some of this stuff, but I’d miss the space it would have taken up more.

Update: I’ve got some more stuff.

  • A Linksys phoneline-router, and some related cards. Needs a power supply, but free to a good home.

  • A Dell Latitude C/Dock II, which doesn’t work As Suggested It Might with my Insprion 3800, even though it is exactly the right form factor and slides right in there, because you crippled it on purpose, you fucks, not that I’m bitter.
  • A raft of Coax that’s going to the curb.
  • A battery for a Dell Latitude, P/N 3149C rating
    14.4v, 1300mAh, which I’d like a few bucks for. But not many.

  • A USR 14.4 external modem.
  • A full-height tower. Just the case, no PS, but whoever wants it can have it.
  • An old Celeron 450 cpu+mobo. Take it away.
  • A Phillips Velo PDA. Old, very old. Still works, though.
  • An Alextel box, the dumbest of the dumb terminals. Still works. Take it away!

Kev has called dibs on the Mac, and Kev, it’s bagged and ready for you to pick up. Mark, I’ve got you laptop bag, I think you’ll like it. Anyone else… well, get moving.

Ahmad Chalabi, who you might recall occupying some prime State Of The Union seating in this picture, has been charged with counterfeiting by the Iraqi government.

Replying to those allegations, he said:

“I do not know who is doing this and why. They are not patriots. I have done my duty and helped liberate Iraq,” he told Reuters from Iran, where he was on holiday. “I will return in a few days. I can easily prove that these charges are untrue and I intend to defend myself and clear my name.”

From Iran, where he was on holiday? Not the Iran of “Axis Of Evil” fame. That Iran?

Awesome. If I could just shake the image of scorched, pockmarked adobe and sandy streets stained black with drying blood, I wouldn’t be able to stop laughing. Apropos of absolutely nothing, here’s a few quotes from some historic texts.


“We see, then, how vain the faith and promises of men who are exiles from their own country. As to their faith, we have to bear in mind that, whenever they can return to their own country by other means than your assistance, they will abandon you and look to the other means,
regardless of their promises to you. And as to their vain hopes and promises, such is their extreme desire to return to their homes that they naturally believe many things that are not true, and add many others on purpose; so that, with what they really believe and what they say they believe, they will fill you with hopes to that degree that if you attempt to act upon them you will incur a fruitless expense, or engage in an undertaking that will involve you in ruin. [...] A prince therefore should be slow in undertaking any enterprise upon the representations of exiles, for he will generally gain nothing by it but shame and serious injury.”

- Machiavelli, The Discourses.

“All warfare is based on deception.”

- Sun Tzu, The Art Of War

And last, but not least,

“I will not outsource core functions.”

- Evil Overlord List #179.

A few quick links:

For one fleeting moment there I was going to attempt to make an extremely clever joke involving witchcraft and a hex editor but then I realized that if I did, and if the resulting joke was successfully analogized with a horse, that it would very justly be on its way to a new career as an adhesive. So I took that thought out behind my mental barn and shot it.

“Don’t ask ‘What Would Jesus Do’. Ask ‘What Would Jesus Do Next?'”

I’ve got a couple of entries on the way, but they’re all stuck in narrative limbo until I can sharpen my blunt-instrument attention span to a point. Since last week, I’ve played an Ultimate tournament, gone to Kingston, extracted universal truths from general observations about highway driving, floated windward in an inner tube, eaten outstanding calamari, broken the law while driving home in the rain, mangled the Japanese language and suppressed a burning need to peel somebody’s kneecaps off with a claw hammer, and that’s a lot of stuff. A minor tragedy, but having so many ideas crowding my tiny forebrain after such a long wait is awkward and confusing. I’d say it was a totally novel experience if it wasn’t for my god-damned Ultimate team.

In the meantime, let me say two things:

  • Start, search, “cmd.exe”, right-click, Run As, LocalAdmin. The fact that this makes me even a little bit happy is completely demoralizing, but wherever you end up in life, well, there you are.
  • Chu Shing, as usual. Everyone’s invited. Same bat-time, same bat-channel, and not an obscure literary reference at all, no matter what your fevered imagination and deluded hippie associates might claim.

A Jewish coworker of mine has put a small sign on their office door that reads “Shalom”, which I understand means “Peace unto you”, but because parts of me inside are badly broken all I ever see is “Yeah, Doctor Teeth and the band are doing a Bar Mitzvah.”