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versimilitude, tangent, and sophistry

random observations, circular narrative, and plausible fraudulence





September 18th, 2014

is this thing on?

On a whim, I figured I should log in and see what's what. I even had some sort of draft post or response in the transporter room buffer for all these years. Here's what the machine remembered:

This is a lot like my current program except that it's largely the other way around... We use phenomenological pendulums, hermeneutic (and historical) hammers, and post-colonial crowbars to turn the subaltern screws into epistemology and beat it into the withered husk of a leviathan it once was. Peep into Gould Hall some day... it's nothing but an in-the-round arena for byzantine intellectual bloodsport. It's like a combination of Mad Max post-apocalyptic mayhem combined with the thrill of Rollerball (the James Caan version, of course). Phear, filthy positivists!

April 24th, 2010

20100424TRD0357, originally uploaded by reverendkomissar.

March 3rd, 2010

the things you find...

Sweet Peter Schmeichel! It's March already! Apparently it's time for spring cleaning... time to open up the windows and let the digital bits air out.

The other day, I cut down my Outlook inbox at work from some insane number of messages to about 30. Tonight I did the same with my personal, non-gmail inbox--from over 500 to about 93. I did this through extensive, ruthless deleting combined with archiving messages into folders, just as God intended email to be filed. It makes me twitchy to have large numbers of uncategorized email lying around my inbox.

Google would love to have us believe that we don't need folders anymore and that we can just find stuff by searching. I don't buy their horse-hockey; I like folders because they are so warmly bureaucratic. Besides, Outlook's search is good enough for finding things across numerous folders, provided I know what terms for which to search. And on my personal account, which resides on a civilized (read: Unix) machine, grep is just lovely.

Afterwards, I went to town unifying and sorting various bits and pieces of my digital empire. I have been slowly moving things off of my various desktops, My Documents folders, and the like, putting them onto a large external drive that will proceed to crash with all of my data once I perfectly organize things. Not to worry! I've a backup-of-a-backup plan, sorta.

(By the way, the inimitable JWZ has great advice on doing easy (Mac and Unix) backups right over here. )

Anyway, I found the following file, written almost one year ago on Saturday 14 March 2009 at 3:47 pm, while sorting and organdizing. It seems like it was meant to be post, so I post it now.

Reader! I have found my cafe doppelganger. Someone just walked into Solstice wearing a black, leather biker-ish jacket with a fabulously colored scarf and a smashing full-length umbrella. He had a laptop bag slung over his shoulder, as well as a surplus-looking (though red) heavy-canvas bag presumably containing additional books and notebooks and papers necessary for the production of his current magnus opus. He is well dressed but still fairly casual (i.e. his clothes fit) and his face looks sympathetic. He has his legs crossed in demure fashion under the table, which is the final sign that he cannot possibly be a douchebag and/or a Dude. Appearance counts for everything, after all.

I can tell that I was going to go somewhere with this but did not finish, probably because I had some brilliant thought(s) to add to my magnum opus of the time.

February 4th, 2010

The insolent jerkitude of the SeattleLJ community ceased being cute by about the third day of being in it. Yet, I still felt that the occasional, random, and actually useful bits of trivia outweighed its negative aspects. And despite my general policy of ignoring all comments on the Internet, I still couldn't help reading some of the follow-ups there. So I should have left that jerk pit yahrens ago. Tonight I finally did so and it gave me far more pleasure than I thought that it would. God bless America.

November 10th, 2009

The Good Portlanders

When last we checked in on me, I had just returned from a lovely, albeit short, weekend in PDX. Alert readers will remember that I had lost my Husky Card. Fortunately, I was able to get a new one for a mere sawbuck. And I didn't even have to get a new photo because, things being digital these days, they had an archived copy of me, which they reprinted.

Das U-Pass, however, was another thing. I had to pay a $40 (or double double-sawbuck) fee for a replacement. It was still a bargain, even with the $100 original (yeah, they went up) because US$140 for over three months of unlimited rides is still well worth it.

So I go online to make a payment the other day and to my surprise my bill was only $10. When I checked my email later, I saw this:


You recently came to our office to replace a lost student ID card. This
afternoon, somebody turned in your old card to our office. Although we
cannot reverse the $10 charge for your new card (as there is no way to
go back and reactivate an old card), we can reverse the $40 U-Pass
replacement fee since your old card came to us with the sticker still
attached within 5 business days. Your new total billed is therefore $10,
as opposed to $50. Please let us know if you have any questions
regarding this matter.

How about that? My card somehow made it back from Portland with everything intact. Good People of Portland, I salute you! Rule Portlandia!

On the other hand, it could have just been Good Seattletonians/Washingtites visiting PDX, finding my card, and bringing it back. But I prefer to think that Colin Meloy was just walking down Glisan Ave one fine day. He happened to spy my card and find it queer to see a Husky Card here. So he sped off northward, determined to reunite the card with its owner. He is now composing a melodramatic song about the whole melancholy affair. I'm sure of it.

October 20th, 2009

this seems about right...

I went down to PDX last week-end for a number of things. There was a "geosciences librarianship" workshop that I signed up for some time ago, back when I had spare time. Since I was signed up already, and since it warranted a trip, I stuck with it. Despite being fairly basic, I'm glad I went, if only to hang out around Portland State and then walk to Powell's where I caught up on some class readings. Also, before_you_go and T. were having a party later on Saturday evening. K. drove down after work on Saturday.

Since I was going down earlier, I took the train down on Friday night, which I have never before taken to Portlandia. It was quite lovely although I napped for most of the ride after dark instead of reading my articles for class. Union Station is the cat's pajamas; it makes me wish that they would finally rip away all of the crappy drywall hiding the beautiful interior of King Street Station. I hoofed it to M. and T.'s place, a lovely 20-ish minute walk through eminently walkable Portland. The only downside was that my U-Pass slipped out of my pocket, presumably somewhere on Glisan Ave.

While walking to the streetcar that would take me down to the workshop at pdx.edu on Saturday morning, I spied a truck with a Black Rock Rangers logo... and its occupant spied me. We stopped and chatted for a bit. Somehow it seems just about right that rwx and I would run into one another on a lark in a foreign city...

October 4th, 2009

Book score!

Went to Magus Books in the U-District today and stumbled upon the majority of geographer John Jakle's oeuvre:

* The Motel in America; hardcover; $8
* The Gas Station in America; $8
* City Lights: Illuminating the American Night; hardcover; $9
* The Visual Elements of Landscape; $9

I took a class with Prof. Jakle during my last semester at UIUC. The class was entitled "The Geographic Patterns of Illinois" and traced pre-white landscape, settlement, rural areas, small cities, and finally Chicago--oh, the luxuries of time under the semester system! It introduced me to the wonderful world of human and cultural geography; it introduced me the concept of "place". I credit John Jakle with opening my eyes to where I am today, academically.

August 20th, 2009

south(end)-bound train

I rode the light rail a few weeks ago, down to the Othello stop and back. I figured that would be a long enough ride to give me a decent feel for the route. It was about a week or two after opening and I wanted to see it after some of the hype quieted down, as well as to see who was riding it. Unsurprisingly, the crowd looked like just about every kind of person, demographically, one would expect to see riding on a Friday afternoon after work. More surprisingly, though, and amazingly cool was that the people riding it looked like they had been riding it daily for years. People acted and behaved themselves as if this was nothing new, as if it had been part of their lives forever. Their expressions were indistinguishable from those of rail transit riders in other cities. There was a non-chalance in the air; this rad little choo-choo already seemed to be second nature. That's about the highest compliment you can pay a new transit system.

I was not surprised that the ride outbound, just around 5 o'clock, was standing room only. I was surprised that the return trip inbound was. I teared up a little. On the way back, I stepped out at Beacon Hill to check out the deep underground station. I think that by the time I got there—somewhere in the median of Martin Luther King Way, actually, with real Mexican restaurants, Asian supermarkets, and seedy donut shops rolling past my view—I decided that this awesomeness must become part of my daily commute.

So when I came home raving about the Link to K., I had little to no trouble convincing her to move much closer to her work. As a certifiable J, she set in motion a plan of a manner from which the Cylons could learn a thing or two. As a result, we are moving south! Near the Othello stop!

Othello! So literary! Clearly, Chekhov's maxim has been maintained, to wit: if in the first paragraph you have introduced a rail station, by the second or third paragraph you must decide to move near it.

Empirically, these are some details: The haus has a large yard, covered deck, patio, hardwood, two (!) fireplaces, dining room (dining room!), and a garage... all in understated 1950s glory. There's even socialized suction a central vacuum system that thoroughly intrigues me. The Seattle City Clerk tells us that it is in Brighton. Hermeneutically, it is appropriately on Warsaw Street (SE corner).

Oddly, moving further away from both campus and work has increased my transit options exponentially. I will no longer be a slave to the smelly old #28 or my old friend, the #44. Though if I chose, I can still get a transfer-less ride to either location. But I will never have a boring commute! I can be like some of those grizzled old Chicago School sociologists of the last century who rode the trains and observed urban development from their windows... except with less positivism and a smoother ride.

August 12th, 2009

"Hello, World!"

When I got my EEE last year, I never had any luck even installing Ubuntu 8.04, which is somewhat ironic considering I have in the past and do now run plenty of Slackware--about as user-friendly as a punch in the gut. Yet, Slackware 12.2 installed just happily. But I had not time to monkey with trying to get the wireless or ethernet working... and even if Ubuntu installed, 8.04 had no support for the EEE, either.

So since school is out, I had time to install the newest Ubuntu. It installed just fine. As luck would have it, wireless just worked... thus I am here. It looks like my aftermarket USB Bluetooth dongle just works too. Sweet. And all the proper trackpad gestures just work as well. Well played, Ubuntu.

There's a 120Gb hard drive, so I'm keeping XP and Slackware. I love the utilitarian look and feel of Slackware, of course, but I do appreciate the more polished look and feel of Ubuntu... so I'll give it a whirl.

July 8th, 2009



20090706TRD090432POLA, originally uploaded by reverendkomissar.

I've been carrying around a most excellent voltmeter through my various moves for several years now, never having found a nice case for it. Two years ago, I bought this black case at UW Surplus. It was gutted except for the two posts at the very bottom corners. But it had a hole already drilled into it. The meter fit in the hole perfectly.

Finally--FINALLY!--I assembled the damn thing the other day. But first, I had to augment it. I had used this meter before in my automotive-electrical tinkerings, during which I also used the amber lamp. So, I put the two into the same case. Finally, I added the largely gratuitous switch, push-button, and even fuse because you can never have enough of any of those in an electrical circuit.

The case is interesting because it appears to be made out of Bakelite, which I usually associate with the 1930s and Art Deco. The material was used in electronics of the time but I'm more familiar with it as the stuff that was insanely popular for making cheap jewelry--bracelets, bangles, earrings. Unlike today's plastics, it is quite durable, partially because many things made of it have a certain heft and stockiness which is combined with that Art Deco sexiness. It is retro and flapper-chic.

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