Saturday, June 21, 2003

One of the things I love about running Linux on my computer is that I can write little scripts if I need things done my way. For example, I wrote a script to connect to the internet, check my mail, and disconnect:

#!/bin/sh # Micah Sittig, 2003.5.5 echo "-- Script to check mail and immediately disconnect --" # Connect if not already connected connected=0 [ -e /var/run/ ] && connected=1 if [ $connected -eq 1 ]; then echo Already connected... else echo -n "Connecting... " /sbin/ifup ppp0 echo connected. fi # If the connect succeeded, fetch the mail [ -e /var/run/ ] && /home/msittig/bin/fma # Drop the connection echo Closing the connection. /sbin/ifdown ppp0 exit 0

Here's another one I wrote to fix the problem of using ogg123 to play ogg files, and mpg123 to play mp3s:

#!/bin/sh # Micah Sittig 2003.06.21 # Script to play mixes of mp3s and oggs # using the correct program (mpg123/ogg123) for song in "$@" do format=`echo $song | awk '/mp3$/ { print "mp3" } /ogg$/ { print "ogg" }'` if [ "$format" = mp3 ]; then /usr/local/bin/mpg123 "$song" elif [ "$format" = "ogg" ]; then /usr/bin/ogg123 "$song" else echo "play: $song: Unknown format." fi sleep 1 done exit 0

Had a nice day today. Slept in this morning. Finished cluttering up the garage with my boxes, and returned dad's boxes to their proper storage places. Verdict: I'll have a garage sale when I get back from the trip. At about 3:15, mom and I drove up to Pasadena. First stop was the Caltech Fellowships Office (closed), where I dropped off a book about the Peace Corp that I had ordered (then changed plans!). We swung over to the Laemmle Theatre and bought two tickets for the 7:15 showing of Together, and shopped through Vroman's Bookstore next door. Just down the street on Fair Oaks, our dinner reservation at the Kingston Cafe was due at 5:30. Kingston being the capital of Jamaica, this place serves caribbean cuisine in a small bungalow atmosphere. Mom ordered the Jerk Chicken and I enjoyed the Kingston Glow, basically a curried goat dish. Both were spicy. I also recommend the lemonade, which is sweetened with brown sugar for, as my mom described it, the taste of "a cross between lemonade and a cinnamon roll." After the movie, we headed back to Brea.

It just happened that tonight was also the premiere at the Laemmle of Charlotte Sometimes, a film starring three Asian-American actors that the Angry Asian Man is officially endorsing. It's not the kind of movie you see with your mother, hence Together.

Back in Brea, Annie and I drove down to Borders at 11:30 PM to catch the release of another blockbuster... Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was good to see the old comrades-in-arms again. They certainly had their work cut out for them: there must have been at least 500 people there, probably more, in line waiting for the stroke of midnight. We waited until the first people came out with their books and walked over to Krispy Kreme for a late night treat.

Good day!

Oh, and almost forgot to mention that we got a call from Aaron. He's coming home tomorrow at 3:30 PM, so we're one backpack away from "ready to go". Follow along in the trip weblog.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Notable Google searches that lead to the other homepage:

  • Calories Intermezzo Salad Berkeley
  • gay bars in xi'an
  • grunge fashion victim
  • hey iraq mickey mouse giving the middle finger
  • Japanese Cultural Imperialism JPop
  • music charts bhutan popularity
  • photo Kim Jong Il gun cigarette
  • picture of a bottle with the declaration of the united states sitting on a deserted beach
  • pretty tibetan girls in taiwan
  • regret not learning my parent's native language
  • Uptight Bostonians
  • want-to-be-snobby

The scariest thing is that 586 people have searched for a Pucca image on Google image search, and been directed to the one on my site. Pucca!

I got pretty much everything packed up today, will need to run a bunch of errands tomorrow to take books to the Goodwill van and used bookstore (the nice ones), buy a few supplies and packing materials. Tonight we had our family "Amazing Race 4" banana-split party. Banana, rasberry cheesecake ice cream, whipped cream, colored sprinkles, topped off with home-grown boysenberries: I'm going to miss living at home.

When you were a kid did you salivate over the cool arcade games, but were too cheap to lay down a quarter to play? Or maybe it's just that my reflexes were so pathetic, I was an arcade owner's dream customer. So I developed the ability to get a great deal of enjoyment out of watching other people play video games. Well, no more. Thanks to, all of those nostalgic video games have joined the cyberage, courtesy of Flash and a browser near you. Nearest to my heart is Bubble Trouble.

Was Neo Japanese? Matrix cosplayers.

Also, I'm looking for a way to store my CDs. Basically, I want something that's compact and will let me keep both the booklet and the tray insert with the CD. It seems that most people just toss out the tray insert--why, I don't know, as it usually has the track listing conveniently on it. So far, DiscSox's DJ Sleeve is the best thing I could come up with. At 55 cents / CD, it's a little out of my budget. Any suggestions?

I'm spending most of my last few days in a cleaning frenzy, going through all the boxes I have stored in the garage and condensing them down to... less boxes stored in the garage. Also, I've got a "first box to Michigan" and a "second box to Michigan", plus a "to the Goodwill store" box and a "not my stuff" box. It's hard throwing stuff out, because everything has a memory attached to it. I need somebody to unpack with me so I can unload these memories on them, purging them mentally as a release to purge them physically.

Wow, how philosophical. Almost like a Julie post.

Also, I called my brother. We're supposed to leave late Monday night for our Central America trip and I haven't heard from him in a couple of weeks. Now I'm having to confront the though: if he doesn't make it doown here in time, should I still go? Ugh. Call back, Aaron.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

From my webstats, in Portuguese I'm Li De Brocco.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Blue Hoodie works at the Giant Robot store. Lucky guy.

Chinese computing superstar Marjorie Chan is advisor to Josh Gilliland, a friend from Princeton in Beijing 2000. Another cool thing is that she accepts homework assignments in HTML.

The computer accounts I use:

[msittig@home ~]# uname -a
Linux petisuis 2.4.20-8 #1 Thu Mar 13 17:54:28 EST 2003 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

[takoyaki@caltech ~]# uname -a
Linux zloty 2.4.18 #2 Fri Mar 15 14:10:33 PST 2002 i686 unknown

[msittig@freeshell ~]# uname -a
NetBSD otaku 1.6.1_STABLE NetBSD 1.6.1_STABLE (sdf) #0: Fri Jun 6 02:36:37 UTC 2003 root@ol:/sys/netbsd/arch/alpha/compile/sdf alpha

[msittig@umich ~]# uname -a
SunOS 5.8 Generic_108528-18 sun4u sparc

Why Arabs Lose Wars? Cultural differences, says Norvell B De Atkine. Lots of examples.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

GeoURL is fun because it gives me blogs to read that live near me in Southern California, like Gomi no Sensei. This week the sensei wrote about Rodney Bingenheimer, the KROQ dj known by the moniker Rodney on the Roq. A recent article in the LA Weekly profiles the rock-n-roll/punk veteral in a way that makes me reconsider the old rodney is boooring stance, which was really undeserved all along: wasn't it Rodney who played Japanese stuff like Pizzicato Five and Cornelius? I think it just took a little growing up before I could learn to appreciate him as a dj. The second half of the article paints him as the last bastion of undiscovered and innovative music on the corporate wreck that is KROQ today. It makes a lot of sense; Rodney is somebody I'd expect to find on KCRW, really. Anyhow, read the article. Good stuff.

Eric Meyer's Color Blender rocks the house for choosing web page colors.

Question of the day: what's the difference between HTML's blockquote, q, and cite tags?

As I understand it, blockquote is for marking off (multiple) paragraphs of quoted material that would be appropriate to set off as a block-level element.

The q tag, on the other hand, is for making short quotes, meant to run inline with the text.

So what makes the cite tag different from the q tag? I didn't know. Google turned up a pretty good explanation and example (from 1995 -- and we're just learning about this?!). It turns out that q is still for inline quotes, and cite is not for marking quotes but for marking off where quotes came from, the names of sources. A couple of examples in the spirit of the explanatory e-mail's:

<q>CITE is not for quotes or excerpts, but rather for titles of cited works,</q> said Daniel W Connolly in <cite>Re: <CITE>, <Q>, and <BLOCKQUOTE></cite>

where Re: <CITE>, <Q>, and <BLOCKQUOTE> is the name of his e-mail (or book, or magazine...). Also:

<blockquote> <p>I think <attrib> is an important content markup that would be especially useful to indexing robots. <address>Mike Batchelor<br />www-html-1995q3/0170.html</address> </blockquote>

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Basically, the writers for Business 2.0's 101 Dumbest Moments in Business are pure comedians. Or maybe they're just telling the truth.

I'm uploading an mp3 to my freeshell site for a limited time:

Utada Hikaru - Hikari (planitb remix).mp3

Good song. (link disabled because it's no longer there; however, more mp3s can be found in the media folder.)

I thought I'd do something productive tonight, so I started going over the MySQL documentation, which has a real nice tutorial on MySQL, which can be a little confusing. MySQL (that's S-Q-L, not "sequel", grrr) is an open-source database program for storing large and small amounts of data.

Today at Laurel Elementary tutoring Mrs Lastra organized a end-of-the-year, Mr-Sittig-going-away party. Very nice, we had pizza and drinks, and she russled up a volleyball net because she knew that I enjoy playing. Isn't she marvelous? We had almost twenty people outside to play a few games, very fun! Even more amazing was the fact that some of the girls skipped volleyball to work on homework! Actually, not that weird. The Laurel group is pretty serious about school. Very refreshing to work with kids like that.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Flawless instructions for installing the Microsoft Web fonts on Red Hat linux.

Utada Hikaru rocks the party that rocks the body. Oh, and HEY HEY HEY Music Champ had a ten-year review last week and failed to include SPEED. A grave omission, I'm afraid.

Via, Judge judges if rap is a foreign language.

Old-school website has been around forever in Web time, probably for about 5 or 6 years now. They are one of the few web-based services to stay free to this day. The calendar I've maintained/neglected there forever is Micah's Magical Calendar of Science. It comes in handy every once in a while.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Update to the trip-planning weblog.

There's hardly a weblog as caustic and amusing as Hong Kong expat Hemlock's. A very different kind of entry for the Tiananmen anniversary, though.

I got to use my new Spanish-Spanish dictionary in my main weblog entry for today. Who knew that ganchitos were snacks of corn, potato or wheat in the shape of a hook?

So I was in the Honors Physics boat race the other day (which I'll write up an entry for in the other weblog) and guess who I saw? Matt Ezell! Matto! Wow, I still carry some of his mannerisms with me today. He's doing great, still teaching in Japan and home for a week to see his girlfriend graduate. Neato!

Oh, and we're all very excited that Julie signed the lease. Our little Julie is growing up; when will the rest of us follow??

A typical Friday for me today: stay up late the night before (on the computer and unpacking books) and sleep in until time to shower and leave for work at 4pm. Work all evening, until off at 12:30pm, early for once in a long time, and head home for warmed-up waffles and more computer. Got a letter from UMich about paying tuition this fall. I feel so fortunate to get that scholarship, I don't know who to run out and give a big hug to.

Friday, June 06, 2003

Crystal Kay was featured on a Channel 44 J-pop show this evening. Ko-girls are swooning in LA. Actually, her music is pretty decent. She's got the whole Shiina Ringo R&B thing goin' on. Biographical info at the Sony English website:

A tremendously talented female singer has finally shown up on the Japanese music scene... She is Crystal Kay. Her father is a NY-born black bassist, and mother is a Korea-born singer. Born and raised in Yokohama...

Plus she's doing a song with M-Flo! I heard that Lisa split off of the group to do solo work, Crystal must be filling in as guest vocalist. Sweet!

My whole family enjoyed the Credit Card Prank. (via Keith's weblog)

I've gotta go through the stuff I've got stored around this place because my mom wants to clean it out in case they have to move, because my dad is looking for a job out of town. So I pulled all of the "Micah" boxes out of the shed in the backyard. One of the boxes on the bottom of the pile had engendered a nice culture of book-mold, so quite a few of the books were affected; fortunately, none of significant import or value. The only victim I feel bad about is a photo album I filled up of high school, Japan, Poland and Scotland photos. They'll have to be transferred to a new album. It's a shame, they're layed-out and titled very nicely.

Otherwise, it's been fun going through the boxes. Ah, bittersweet nostalgia.

Cluster of small form-factor Shuttle XPC SS51G's.

Cluster of Playstation 2's.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Set up a weblog for the upcoming trip. The special thing about this weblog is that I can just send an e-mail to a certain address (which I can't make public for obvious reaons) and it will be posted to the page. This should make it easy to post from any e-mail-capable internet cafe. Woo!

From GeoURL, to Gomi Sensei, to Ryoko HIROSUE eating mayonaise ramen???

Monday, June 02, 2003

Someday I'm just gonna merge my Blogspot weblog entries with my UGCS weblog entries and make a giant weblog of personal and china/california/book related posts.

The news is spreading that I turned in my two-week notice at Borders. Now people are being so nice to me that it makes me feel bad for leaving. Is that conceited? Do I consider myself so valuable that I pity people for not being able to work with me anymore?

I cornered my brother tonight while he was playing his new tiny Super Game Boy and layed out our quasi-itinerary for the summer trip. Now I'm real excited about this. I even bought a journal-type blank book at Borders today to fill with maps, tickets stubs, photos, and possibly a few scribbles that I'll try to pass off as artwork. I've still gotta get hold of a cheap camera, withdraw traveller's checks from the credit union in Pasadena, and buy a good pair of warm-weather shorts. And socks. I hope I don't get called in to teach tomorrow. Also because it's 3 AM and I'm still not in bed.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Sittig-family-favorite CBS show Amazing Race has started again, at 9 PM on Thursday nights. Unbeknownst to most people, my Central American trip this summer is actually a practice run for when I compete in the fifth season of this show. Just kidding.

I'm working major hours at Borders this week because some big shots are coming to visit tomorrow. At least my boss admits it's all a sham, us scheduling way too many hours to make the store look way too clean. I turned in my two week notice today, because I will be leaving for Costa Rica on the 23rd, and I won't want to work the weekend before that. I didn't realize it was coming up so soon. I'm conflicted about leaving Borders: on the one hand, I'll be happy to leave what I thought was a left-leaning, independent-minded bookstore and turned out to be a corporate sham, and at the same time I'm sad to be leaving behind such cool co-workers. The people are a big part of what kept me there. And the book loans helped too.

The good news is that I got a reassuring email from the secretary of the Center for Chinese Studies at UMich saying that there will be housing soirees (she didn't actually use that word) every weekend in August to hook up renters with rentees, or roommates with roommate-seekers. I was worried about finding housing. She also mentioned that eight people will be starting their MS in Chinese studies this year, and five in Japanese studies. I didn't realize the department is so small, especially at such a large state school. I mean, this place actually has a football team.

Oh, and my Borders boss said I was "dependable". Can I put that on my resume then?

Julie just finished a huge book in Japanese. Why haven't I finished my Spanish book? About a week ago, I put it on the hood of my car and drove off down Imperial Highway. I've given up hope of seeing it again. I did order a history of Central America in Spanish from Borders, I hope they can get it before we leave on the trip. It will be a nice conversation starter on our trip, besides being educational.