jpg on my way to the coffee pot this morning, i could feel the house shake and heard these growling sounds.... i knew it could only mean one thing, so i grabbed the panasonic and..... yep.... there was godzilla walking across the back yard again.

(he looks taller in the movies)


After godzilla left, ADT came and installed the new house alarm setup..... motion detectors, etc. Been meaning to do this for years..... feels good to have..... thinking about a few cameras too.

Junior Achievement class went fabulous.... their are 7 girls (no boys) about 11 years old .... they drew their "lifelines" showing all the great things they will accomplish in life.... they are very funny regarding old age, retirement, nursing homes and dying !!

Waiting waiting waiting for the IRS $$$$

Am getting very much back into images and photography and playing with the GIMP (transparent layers) and IMAGEMAGICK .... reading a lot and checking out cameras..... the Ricoh is still top dog.

Found a listing of the 4000 US soldiers killed in Iraq so far .... ran them through awk into an html table and posted them below ..... why is this happening?

here's an awk-script that creates an html table from an input text file

Apr.02.2008: Cheap and Dirty Panoramas

should load some film in the Russian panaramic camera and see what happens.


Jake and Jack


The numbers don't lie....


they say that a sure sign of aging is when you start monitoring you system too much.

they have a point ..... but today's news is that the numbers look good.


maybe i just have way too much time on my hands and i'm obsessed with gadgets and numbers.... that could be true as well..... deb is still sleeping (she worked late then watched TV all night) and it's too cold at the moment to work outside.... so....hey, i thought.... let's record some data!


Hmmmm.... Canon G9...($479)

  • Resolution 12.10 Mpixel
  • Maximum resolution 4000x3000
  • Minimum resolution 640x480
  • Sensor size 1/1.7-inch
  • Sensor type CCD
  • Zoom wide (mm) 35
  • Zoom tele (mm) 210
  • W/A attachment lens option
  • Tons of 3rd party accessories
  • Hot shoe & viewfinder !
  • Old-fashions knobs on top.
  • Filter attachment ring.
  • Great reviews from the pro's

From a pro review (Luminous Landscape).....

But seriously, who takes their Leica M8 to Japan and ends up leaving it in the bag (or the hotel room) most of the time? The answer, it turns out, is me.

With only eleven days in which to savour a first-taste of Japan, I chose to travel as light as possible. In my old universe, this meant the Leica M8 with a 28/35/50 Tri-Elmar. At the last minute, Michael suggested that I also take the new Canon G9 and put it through its paces as a travel camera. No harm, I thought, as it'll be nice to have a point-and-shoot for "happy snaps" along the way.

As the story unfolded, however, this solid, dependable little blob of consumer electronics became my constant companion, and the Leica a lonely bag-warmer. This is the tale of how my paradigm on "serious" travel cameras changed......

png jpg

The alchemist said, "No matter what he does, every person on Earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally, he doesn't know it."


On the way home from school I dropped into the Microcenter to see if they had something I could no longer not own ..... they didn't, and I left. Then dropped into Arlington Camera to see if they had a Canon G9..... they didn't but tried to sell me a few other cameras, which I played with and left. Then stopped off at Mike's ..... he told Chris he was out hiking, but suspiciously his laptop was missing from its case ( hmmmm.... during "no-technology" week !! ).

Then stopped in at Circuit City because rumor had it that I was missing 2 Godzilla movies from my collection. Sure enough it was true. It was a struggle to wrench the DVD's out of the little girl's hands, especially with her mother screaming and all.....



Spent ALL day slamming my head against Javascript, with little progress. Javascript debuggers are more complicated that the language itself, but I have one now anyway, and it wasn't much help.

Syntax is the enemy.

Random number generators don't work as advertised (they ain't all that random). Then there's the complexity of removing selected random numbers from the remaining options..... I shoulda paid more attention in school....

This project will go on for years.

Plus the layout is ugly.

Improved Layout

(random sampling is still a big problem)


I Quit ! Javascript is ***impossible*** to debug.....no error messages, it just won't run.... going to write this game in Tcl.

a (long) rant about (the lack of) standards

HTML is the universal text standard of the internet ..... it makes it possible for all computers to be able to see and read the same web pages (documents).... HTML literally makes the internet possible. In the perfect world ..... all web browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc etc) use the same HTML reading standards, so that all HTML documents can be written the same way.

Javascript is a programming language that makes web pages interesting and interactive. You embed Javascripts in a web page and pink elephants dance across the screen, or you can do your online banking, etc etc. In the perfect world ..... all web browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc etc) use the same Javascript reading standards, so that all Javascripts can be written the same way.

In the perfect world, because we agree to HTML and Javascript standards, it would be possible (even easy) to write HTML and Javascripts, and even more importantly, it would be possible to write "debuggers" that would find errors in your web pages and tell you what those errors are.

Every other programming language has great debuggers that make it easy to find programming mistakes..... but not Javascript. When a Javascript contains and error, it simply does not run.... no error messages appear, and there is no indication of why the Javascript is not running correctly.... it simply does not run and you must spend endless hours trial and error to debug your code.

Now, you may ask...."Why doesn't Javascript have a decent debugger?". Great question...... here's the short answer ..... this is not a perfect world, and some software companies who write web browsers don't adhere to HTML and Javascript standards.

Good, robust Javascript debuggers are impossible to write because you simply cannot define an "error" in a line of code. A line of code works well in one web browser and fails in another because the two browsers don't use the same HTML / Javascript reading standards....... so how do you write a debugger???.... you can't. (Some debuggers exist but they are impossibly complicated and unreliable as they attempt to interpret every line of code in every possible way for every browser and every HTML version .... it's overwhelming.)

Why don't we all agree to HTML and Javascript standards?..... because the love of money and power is the root of all evil..... businesses create proprietary (non-standard) web browsers so they can (embed their browser in your computer and) dominate how web pages are written. If they can embed their web browser in the computers of enough people who don't have a clue to what's going on here, then that one company dominates the language of the internet...... at the very least, it makes writing interactive web applications an extremely difficult task.

Help me save the world ..... switch to (nearly-standard-compliant) Mozilla/Firefox.

Now .... I have Tcl code to write. If anyone wants a half-written Javascript game, here it is.


jpg Yesterday's JA class went well. I issued them 'credit cards' and asked them to make up a list of all the things they would buy with it...... some kids got up to $15,000. One girl listed the brand name with every item ('Apercrombe and Fitch t-shirts').

Then we talked about how they would pay for the rest of their lives.

png HP has my complete attention, as of yesterday. This little jewel (that's a 9" diagonal screen and 92% size keyboard) goes for $549 (SUSE Linux).

I have much respect for their computers, after years and years of using their UNIX workstations (I still have my C3000, and boot it up now and then and get all nostalgic for the olden times).

My immediate software needs are: GNOME desktop, gedit, Tcl, awk, GIMP, Firefox, e-mail, imagemagick, gnumeric, a small pdf reader, small word processor (abiword ?). Must checkout the machine specs. Not sure how SUSE updates software (Ubuntu's package manager and Debian's apt-get are fabulous).

I was surprised to read that HP ships more computers than any other company in the world.... I thought their claim to fame was printers.

Based on the scoop from Mike, the gameplan for me on the HP is to wait for them to install the Atom CPU (June-July) and once I buy it to simply install Ubuntu in place of SUSE.

A Destiny Fulfilled

png The final stage of acceptance (of retirement) is a time when you embrace, even cherish, a simpler, slower, more elemental lifestyle. The feelings of uselessness, of being passed over by the parade of life and of guilt for having a very nice day to day life while others struggle each day, have all come and gone, and are replaced by the bliss of acceptance..... "You have arrived, my friend." says the gatekeeper.... and you smile and enter.

The first thing they encourage you to do is to make small crafty items (beaded belts, clay pots, watercolor paintings, plastic flower arrangements, whatever).

Today, I chose to make a nice birdhouse.

Space Junk

/. ran a news story yesterday: a commercial satellite failed to reach full orbit and is circling in the wrong place, and is now useless. The company was going to rescue it and boost it into orbit, but Boeing holds the patent on the procedure to correct a satellite orbit..... so the thing becomes yet another piece of space junk.

This image of the current debris in Earth orbit is not to scale of course, but it is bothersome nonetheless.... looks like a garbage dump out there..... WOW.... a shield of garbage around the Earth eventually blocks out the sun and creates new species of life who must somehow open holes in the garbage belt to let in the sunlight ..... but the good news is that the garbage belt protects us from an incoming invasion of ..... well I ramble......... there's a sci-fi movie plot for you.

note note note


... hours later, birdhouse #2 is done, thanks to sawdust & woodglue....

2nd birdhouse had some challenging fit-up issues (i made it on-the-fly) and a gap that would have let rainwater slip inside under the overhang..... only a home-made brew of sawdust and woodglue can solve a problem this serious....


Cancer Therapy Without Side Effects Nearing Trials

By Jennifer Laloup / 04.13.08 / 1:00 PM

A promising new cancer treatment that may one day replace radiation and chemotherapy is edging closer to human trials.

Kanzius RF therapy attaches microscopic nanoparticles to cancer cells and then "cooks" tumors inside the body with harmless radio waves.

When the gold nanoparticles are inside the malignancy, a blast from a radio-frequency generator causes them to heat and cook the cancer cells.

In trials with animal and human cells, the RF treatment destroyed 100 percent of malignant cells injected with nanoparticles, without harming surrounding healthy tissue.

A study in the November 2007 issue of the journal Cancer showed that tumor cells infused with nanoparticles and exposed to the electromagnetic field of the RF generator died within 48 hours of treatment, with no noted side effects.

A study in the Journal of Nanobiotechnology in January 2008 showed that destruction of human pancreatic cancer cells was 100 percent effective: again producing no noticeable side effects.

Views on Money for Iraq War, and What Else Could Be Done With It

By JOHN M. BRODER Published: April 14, 2008

WASHINGTON : With long-term estimates of the cost of the Iraq war ranging from $1 trillion to $3 trillion or more, the question naturally arises of what else the country could have done with the money.

The issue occasionally crops up on the campaign trail and in public debate. Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, told voters in West Virginia last month that the war was costing each American household $100 a month. " Just think about what battles we could be fighting instead of fighting this misguided war," Mr. Obama said.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Indiana recently that the war was costing $12 billion a month and was crowding out urgent national needs. "We've got to begin not only to withdraw our troops," said Mrs. Clinton, Democrat of New York, "but bring that money back home."

On the other hand, Senator John McCain of Arizona, the likely Republican nominee, says repeatedly that success in Iraq justifies any cost and that overspending in other areas is causing the strain on the federal budget. He says the government can afford whatever the war costs as well as a big corporate tax cut if it reins in wasteful federal spending.


today's bad news is that me and the neighbor across the street ran into each other ... backing out of our driveways..... actually it was a visiting kid who was driving the other car..... not sure who is at fault.... the police lady just smirked and shrugged her shoulders..... however, he and his witness say they were actually moving forward when we collided and truth is i never saw him leave his driveway..... so i am probably more to blame.

he is getting and estimate to fix his car (i have a minor dent he has a slightly less minor dent) and maybe i will pay to fix his car to keep it off my insurance (which still shows my accident from 2 years ago.)

i am trying to shrug it off and work on my board game (now being written in Tcl) .... am making some progress.



tore up the back of the rose patch and installed a lattice thing to support vines against the wall (clematis, i think).... also will add a small fence to hide the wheel barrow and wood junk.... some day soon.....

also decide to get a bigger pond.... maybe 2X the size of this one.

by the way.....

the fish is still alive !!!!


note note note

On John's new deck last night, sampling the new (and fabulous) SummerShack Vintage...... guaranteed to reduce anxiety..... or is it "induce".



note note

very hard to tell who is cuter here....(click for more)



finished the small lattice fence this morning (needs vines) , and ran the RC car around the yard again and again..... too much fun !!



dug in the dirt many hours today. split and replanted the hostas. cleaned up the base of all bushes etc etc etc.

dropped $150 on a new (larger) pond liner.... pond will go to 3feet deep and 6X6 area..... hope it does not get here soon, as i am beat. i am doing much more physical work since being retired.... slowly getting back in good shape, but i am ready for a nap!!

Zak is napping, in fact, in the laundry basket.


April.23.2008 ..... Yet Another Pivotal Day in My Life

My first Soc Sec check was direct deposited into my account today.

note note

A $210,000 Pen


I just placed an on-line order for the Sailor Sapporo Mini.

The Mini-Sapporo black, released in February of 2007 is probably the best value in fountain pens out there. Now you can have color as well. As of November 2007 the Sapporo Mini is also available in red, yellow and blue. Even though it is a tiny pen at only 4.2 inches capped, it still comes with the solid gold Sailor nib.

I ordered it in red, priced at $116, which is a bargain, compared to the $210,000 pen I saw in Stylus magazine.

So.... do the math.... saved $209,884 this morning, right?

And.... speaking of math ...

The world consumes a little over 1 cubic mile of oil (CMO) each year right now and about 3 CMOs of energy from all sources.

We would need to equip 250,000 roofs a day with solar panels for the next 50 years to provide the world with solar-generated electricity in place of oil.

OR ..... we'd have to erect a 900-megawatt nuclear power plant every week for 50 years to get enough plants (2,500) to produce the same energy in a year. Wind power? You need 3 million windmills or 1,200 a week planted in the ground over the next 50 years.

Earth (as we like to think of it) ..... and the hole in the ozone layer

png png

Debbie's car wash and detailing service does excellent work at reasonable prices. jpg

note note


An interview with Khoi Vinh, the design director of NYTimes.com.

As design director, Mr. Vinh leads a group of 11 visual designers, information architects and design technologists in continually improving and extending the user experience at NYTimes.com.

Q: Regardless of platform or browser, NYTimes.com looks the same. This is not an easy feat to accomplish because of inconsistencies between browsers and how they handle HTML and CSS. How do you do it and with which tools?

A: It's our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to hand code everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results.

..... I say Khoi Vinh rocks !!


Index of Journal Pages

The Names of 4000 Dead US Soldiers