May 09, 2002


May 10 marks the two year and ten month-iversary for Meredith and me.

It also marks three years since Sylvain suddenly died.

Sylvain Rouze was a co-worker of mine at Apple. I had known him for a little over a year. anne sat next door to me, and Sylvain sat in the office right across from mine. His was the one with the giant inflatable Jack Daniels bottle and the Imperial Star Destroyer hanging from the ceiling. He was just one month older than me. I still have him listed in my Palm with his email address, because somehow, I cannot bear to delete him.

Sylvain was incredibly smart and so funny. One of my favorite stories of him came from a birthday dinner for me just a few months before he died. We had sat down, and Ron had ordered the wine. Sylvain proceeded to explain how whenever he was in restaurants, they always brought him the wine to try, no matter who ordered it. He said that, "even at home in France, they do." We all laughed at this -- and then the waitress presented the bottle to Sylvain to try.

Sylvain was great to have around. No matter how bad things were (and they were, at times), he could always find some way to make you smile -- some way to lighten the day.

I missed him when we went to see The Phantom Menace. He had been looking forward to that movie as much as anyone I knew (his email address? I missed him at my wedding. I missed him at work and at parties.

I miss him now.

Posted by Mike at 10:59 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2002

more fun with searches

The newset most popular search query for is a little strange. It's 'swimsuit models' -- with 'women swimsuit models' and 'college swimsuit models' close behind. That's right, if you go into Google and look for swimsuit models, #17 out of ~77,000 hits is the blog entry I wrote ranting about CNNSI's coverage of women's athletes. Somehow I doubt that people searching on that are getting what they wanted here. Wacky.

Posted by Mike at 12:53 PM

May 18, 2002

two movies and a play

Thursday, we went to see Star Wars Episode II (Attack of the Clones). It was great. It was so much better than the Phantom Menace. They still, I think, could have done a better job editing - like, get rid of some of the sappy love scenes - but overall, it was really good. The fact that Jar Jar's part was vastly reduced could only help. Although I still wish they could have included a scene where Jar Jar was decapitated by a light saber. Maybe in Episode III...

Last night, Meredith and I watched Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. When it first came out, we heard reviews ranging from 'it sucked' to 'funniest thing I ever saw'. We'd have to rate it somewhere in the middle. Parts of it were hysterical, parts were pretty lame. It was worth watching on TV at any rate.

Godspell rehearsal was today at church. Meredith is playing piano for it; I'm 'Tech Director' (an impressive sounding title that really just means 'person who sets up some lights and microphones'). Originally, I thought today's service was in Fellowship Hall, not the sanctuary, so I wouldn't have to go. Then I realized it was in the sanctuary, and that it was from 2-5. Oops, then we noticed that it was from 1-5. Until 5 PM rolled around, and we realized that it was actually 1-6. Hmm. So, today was long. I'm now exhausted. Tomorrow is from 2-8:30, but only 6:30 on is in the sanctuary. It's still going to be a really long day for Meredith.

Posted by Mike at 10:53 AM

May 23, 2002

Foiled by a Sharpie!

Sony, like many others in the music industry, has recently begun distributing copy-protected CDs -- discs that can be played only in a music CD player, and not on a computer. The idea is to prevent people from using their legally protected Fair Use rights to make a single copy for personal use on a PC or MP3 player (e.g., iPod). The technology will actually cause some computers, such as the Macintosh, to crash.

CNN reports that Sony's scheme has finally been cracked -- by a magic marker. It seems that all you have to do to circumvent Sony's scheme is color the outside of the CD with a magic marker, thus rendering the 'security track' unreadable and harmless.

Maybe Sony will try to ban the sale of magic markers under DMCA, since they now qualify as a tool that can "circumvent a technological measure ... [meaning to] avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner."

Posted by Mike at 09:40 AM

(mis)targeted spam

Found in my inbox this evening:

"Mike, we can increase your bust size in just 30 days"

Umm ... wonderful.

Posted by Mike at 10:46 PM

May 24, 2002

Godspell on the brain

Tonight is the final dress rehearsal for Godspell. I'm going to get there around 5; rehearsal starts at 6:30 and is scheduled to go until 10. Then there may be another rehearsal tomorrow morning before the performances tomorrow evening and Sunday afternoon.

I knew that I was thinking about this too much when, on my way to work this morning, I turned onto Central Expressway, headed for church, without even thinking about it until I was on Central.

I think the show will be really good. The rehearsals have been a little hectic, but I think it will all come together in the end. Part of the problem with the rehearsals is that I haven't seen a rehearsal yet that all of the kids were actually at. Kids and teenagers today seem to have more commitments than I can count. School, church, plays, sports, dance ... When do kids ever just relax anymore?

Posted by Mike at 12:06 PM

May 25, 2002

Thoughts on a Saturday

Yesterday, my day started at 10 AM with showing up at work, and ended when I left church at about 10 PM. Even on this, the final dress rehearsal, we still didn't have all of the kids present, because of other conflicts. Life is too hectic.

Last month, the MPAA filed a brief with the Senate Judiciary Committee on their latest thoughts on copy protection. The best part: their plan to plug "the analog hole". "In order to help plug the hole, watermark detectors would be required in all devices that perform analog to digital conversions." It goes on to stress that "Detection and response to the watermarks does not mean less functionality ... Rather, it adds to these devices the ability to determine the difference between protected and unprotected works." Interesting logic. You can read more on Hollywood's latest efforts to control all technology here.

From the United Airlines web site:

Airport: Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
Time: Left the Gate 1:19 pm (4 min Late)
Gate: 80
Reason: Flight is on time.

I guess with air travel today, 4 min. late really is practically on time.

Our Apple Airport base station is dying. Every so often (more and more frequently), it resets for no apparant reason. The LEDs blink red, and eventually it actually comes back up. It seems that I have a base station that has power supply problems. This site had more notes on it, including the Apple-internal Knowledge Base article to tell the customer support people to look at so they'll do a free exchange of the Airport. A box to collect our dying one is on its way soon, and Apple says I should get the replacement "in 3-5 days."

Another dying electronic gadget is evidently my Palm Vx. It's no longer recharging when it's in the cradle. The light comes on, and the battery icon even shows that it's recharging — but when I take it out, it's at the same low level. At this rate, it's got another week or two of life left. This sucks.

Posted by Mike at 11:49 AM

May 27, 2002


Godspell is over. The performances were really good. I admit I was a little worried after the final dress rehearsal, which was a bit on the rough side, but everyone really pulled it together for the show. Having an audience helped, I'm sure. For that matter, having all of the cast and crew there helped, too.

Linda, Meredith's mom, came up Saturday so that she could see the musical. Despite the holiday weekend, Meredith says that SFO wasn't busy at all either Saturday or today. Linda says that LAX, on the other hand, was insanely crowded on Saturday.

A few weeks ago, Meredith's iBook stopped booting. We bought an external Firewire hard drive to back up her disk before reinstalling everything. Thinking that it would be easy to continue using the drive for backups, I showed Meredith how easy it was to drag her hard disk into a folder on the firewire drive. And then watched as it errored out. Maybe it needs to run as root. Oh well — it seemed like it would be easy at the time.

Linda, Meredith and I were talking about favorite movies. Some of my favorites (in no particular order) are:

    The Empire Strikes Back (the best of the SW movies)
    The Matrix
    South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
    American Beauty
    The Blues Brothers
    Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring
    True Lies
    Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (the best of the ST movies)
    Fight Club
    The Princess Bride

And Last Action Hero ... oh, no, wait, that was my least favorite movie ever. (Really, has there ever been a worse movie?) I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but that seems like a pretty good list.

Posted by Mike at 06:26 PM

May 29, 2002

Point Reyes, here we come

The last two mornings, I have woken up entirely too early. Yesterday it was at 6 AM; this morning it was at 6:45 AM. I stayed in bed this morning for about half an hour, then finally gave up and got up.

I thought I would come write in here, only to discover that I couldn't log into the MovableType system anymore. It seems that my hosting provider has switched servers, and, for whatever reason, the new server doesn't have some Perl tool that the old one did, and that MT relies on. OK, that was easy enough to fix. But then I still couldn't log in; I kept getting an 'invalid login'. After poking around the support forums on the MT site, I found the solution — I needed to upgrade my DB files on the site, since the new server uses a newer format of the DB files. Everything seems to work again now, so ...

Meredith and I have been playing a new card game called Fluxx recently. It's pretty different. You play various rules cards (changing the rules), actions, 'keepers', and goals (changing the winning conditions). Games can last anywhere from about two minutes on up.

This weeeknd, we're going to Point Reyes, to stay at One Mesa again, where we went last October. We've really been looking forward to getting a weekend away, and couldn't do it last weekend because of Godspell, and we don't have another free weekend for over a month. Summers sure seem to fill up fast.

Our Apple Airport Base Station is truly on its last legs. The frequency with which it resets just keeps getting higher. Still no empty box from Apple...

In better news about seemingly broken technology, my Palm Vx is recharging again, after a hard reset. The only strange thing now is that after I take it out of the cradle, it still won't recharge if I put it back in unless I do another hard reset. Kind of annoying, but, I suppose, far better than not recharging at all.

Posted by Mike at 08:19 AM

what could possibly be more interesting?

CNN reports that a new reality show is going to focus on the life of former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith. After her stint as Playmate, she went on to marry some 80 or 90 year old oil tycoon, just in time to collect millions as the grieving widow. But the best part of all is this quote:

"Five minutes of life through the eyes of Anna Nicole is more fascinating than an entire lifetime for some people," [E! executive VP of entertainment Mark] Sonnenberg added. "She packs a lot in."

I think I'm going to be ill.

Posted by Mike at 02:39 PM

May 31, 2002

All I want is a camera

Our digital camera, that we've owned for a little over three years, died recently. Specifically, the motor that controls the focus no longer works. So much for that. We looked at reviews of a few different cameras, including the Canon S200 that meriko & Russell recently bought, but decided on the Nikon Coolpix 995. Meredith was much more impressed by the features it offered (which, as a result of her two quarters of Photography at De Anza, she actually understands). Keeble & Shuchat ran an ad offering the camera for $530 this weekend, less than even Amazon's price of $570. So I ran out this morning while Meredith packed for our trip and tried to buy it. No luck -- they were out of stock, but expected some later today. Which, of course, doesn't help us. So then I went to Fry's. They had the camera, but for $700. Ouch. But they offer to match competitor's prices. Always eager for a chance to stick it to Fry's, I tried that route. Unfortunately, the competitor has to have the item currently in stock. So we still lose. Oh well -- guess we'll just order it for later.

Posted by Mike at 01:00 PM

Point Reyes Day 1

The trip up was mostly fine. 101 north of the Golden Gate Bridge was stop and go until we got off, which was weird. We spent about 15 minutes going the last three miles before our exit. We�re staying at the newly opened 'Starlight Room' at One Mesa (a room so new it isn�t on their web site yet). It�s really nice here. We napped some, then went out later for dinner at Station House Café, Meredith�s favorite place to eat here. Two great gems of overheard conversation from the party next to us:

"The fish and chips � what kind of fish is that?" "It's a cod fish, sir." "Hmm � how is that prepared?"

And, even better, after their meals had arrived: "This dish just isn't anything like I remember it being the last time we were here. Maybe it�s because they have a new chef. I mean, last time, it was a round dish, and this is oval." I hope when I get older, if I start sounding like that, someone will shoot me. Out of friendship.

We poked around a bookstore for a while, then headed back to our room to read. I�ve been reading �The Ultimate History of Video Games�, and suddenly realized the book was quoting Al Nilsen, a friend of ours at church. One passage from the book: "In the end, JC Penny, led by a savvy toy buyer named Al Nilsen, narrowly inched our Sears to become Atari�s number-one retail partner." The things you can learn about friends by reading books�

Posted by Mike at 11:00 PM