Friday, February 28, 2003

My sister Annie has a new weblog. She's a very good writer, as you can tell from the weblog she kept of her time in Russia last semester.

Guess who is appearing on HEY HEY HEY Music Champ! next week? Tokyo Ska Paradise and Day After Tomorrow! Wow, for Los Angeles fans of Japanese drama, this is a big deal. Day After Tomorrow played the theme song My Faith for the drama Home & Away, and Tokyo Ska Paradise plays the theme song for the current drama Beauty or the Beast. I'm looking forward to it.

On the topic of HEY HEY HEY Music Champ, check out the Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ Journal, with summaries of each week's show in English.

Through Xianzai, a cool site like Ticketmaster for Shanghai and Beijing.

How sad, my other site is the number two Google hit for "want-to-be-snobby". [found through referrer my logs]

Wednesday, February 26, 2003


I live in Brea, CA.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Some people write down their childhood experiences to remember how petty they once were, and to excuse themselves for past silliness. I'm not that sort of people. I write to justify my silliness.

Back when I was in second grade, my family live d in Seville and mom decided to homeschool us for a year. She had the help of a lady who had come to Spain to work as a teacher for the various missionary kids of TEAM, who were spread out acro ss the provinces of Andalucia, in southern Spain. She came to help out a few times a month. At the time, I was learning to write longer essays, and she would coach me on penmanship and grammar. I remember one time being incensed because she insisted on putting two spaces after periods that closed a sentence. It made no sense to my eight year-old mind, why in the world would you be so picky as to study somebody's handwriting and critique them for having improper spacing after their periods? Why the ar bitrary spacing of two spaces? Why, why, why?

She didn't know. And so I yelled at her. I told her that she probably wouldn't correct my brother for the same thing, and that she just had it in for me, she just did it to annoy me. I'm pretty sure I didn't get punished; but I remember she had a long talk with my mom.

In the ninth grade, I took a typing class at the Evangelical Christian Academy. This is where I first learned what a block letter was, to work with Apple IIe computers, and to program in BASIC. With regards to typing, we used old model typewriters with monotype fonts (letters of equal width), and learned to put two spaces after the period. It would seem that my old teacher was right.

However, as I've grown older, I'm a lso wiser and I discovered the world of typography. According to the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild, typography is:

the rightful distribution of letters and spaces (histo ri cally, using lead type) on a surface (sometimes vellum, usually paper, and now -- apparently -- a monitor or screen) to convey information and facilitate understanding.

Through reading I've done in typography, I came across the little-known fact -- little known to my second-grade teacher, obviously -- that monotype fonts need two spaces after the period, but that any decent font will have the spacing in between characters adjusted well enough to require only one space after the period. In fact, a well researched report from has this to say:

The current typographic standard for a single space after the period is a reflection of the power of proportionally spaced fonts.

Thank you.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Did you feel the quake? The room gave a little shake, then a slight wave. Then stillness, the sound of a computer fan, and nothing more.

Update: it's four in the morning, and by the time I gave my report at the USGS website, seventeen other people had already filed reports. Seventeen! It's four in the morning, folks! Go to bed.

I was listening to the BBC on the way home from work tonight, and tuned in halfway through a report about skiing in the mountain resort of Chr�a. Listening to the accents of the interviewees, I tried to figure out where Chr�a is located. The language sounded mostly like French, with a little Arabic bruskness thrown in. The commentator made mention of a conflict beginning in the early eighties. Arabian-style music played in the background. I was guessing that it was probably a French colony, but the only likely candidates seemed to be Algeria or Tunisia, somewhere on the northern coast of Africa. And you can't ski in Africa, or can you?

Sure enough, it turns out that the mountain resort of Chr�a is only 70 miles from the the capital, Algiers. And after a little Googling, I was even able to find pictures of Chr�a during snow season. Who would have thought, skiing in Africa?

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

I need a geek journal where I can write about stuff that my normal readers (all two of you) wouldn't necessarily understand. For example, this entry.

Today I wandered across an article about editing structured documents in emacs, specifically about SGML and Docbook documents. Well, it just so happens that XML is a subset of SGML, and XHTML is a subset of XML,and I frequently author XHTML documents so I went about downloading the code for the PSGML Major Mode. With some minor editing of the Makefile to install the stuff in my home directory, and some massaging of my .emacs file, I got the dang thing to work. And it's a beauty, folks. C-c C-e and it asks me which tag I want to insert, inserting the opening and closing tags and placing the cursor smack dab in between them. Then a quick flick fo the wrist, C-c C-d, and the cursor moves outside of the tag to the next point where I'm allowed to have CDATA. How can it do this? It reads the DTDs themselves to figure out the rules. Yes, you heard me right, those cryptic Document Type Declaractions actually contain useful information that allow this PSGML Major Mode to do magical stuff in XHTML documents. With a little more elbow grease, I should have a validator working as the final icing on the cake. Imagine that. I can clearly see that you are flabbergasted. Well, enough for the night.

How come Japanese people are blessed with such great taste in music?!

Hot damn, Timothy Appnel is one fine coder. I downloaded the Text::Tiki module and looked through it, and he does all sorts of fancy stuff, the half of which if I ever learn I will consider myself a perl master. I will definitely not try to implement his ideas in my own text engine, but I will seriously consider integrating his module into my own weblog code.

A few things are worth mentioning today, in my estimation.

First off, I went over to Shirley's house last night and got Red Hat Linux installed on my Shuttle SS51G, which means I'm looking for a program to play DVDs on it, and a cable to hook it up to the family TV. Oh, and I'm not the only one who doesn't know what red hat means.

The unofficial "Los Angeles Watchers of Japanese Drama" club, with an official population of two members, has begun a new thread on the KIKU TV forums for the new Sunday night sub-titled drama First Love, now showing on Asahi Homecast channel 44. For posterity, our old thread on the show "Are You in Love?" has been archived.

And thirdly, I ran across a cool notation called Tikitext, by Timothy Appnel, for marking up text before it is parsed and published on, say, blogs or other CMS a pplications. This is something I ran into but didn't give much thought to when I was overhauling my own text-to-html parsing engine just a few weeks ago. Hopefully, it will not be too hard to implement his ideas. Or perhaps I will just install the perl module itself


Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Since I bought one of these and I'm in the process of putting it together, I thought I'd mention Los Alamos National Lab's Shuttle SS51G XPC Linux cluster. Yikes!

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Beijing Linux Users Group.