October 30, 2001

I'm sick of

Smoking

Crack

14. Canadians sense a manly obligation never to sleep during work hours.

Although many of them get very sleepy, especially in those two hours just after lunch, when.... oooooohhhh yeahhhh, you could just lean back in that big ol' comfy chair, stretch the ol' legs out under the desk, let the ol' lids droop shut, and snore away for a warm hour or so. Sleeping is absolutely forbidden! No matter how drowsy they get, Canadians force their eyes open, staring straight ahead, and putting all their remaining energy into the single task of staying awake. All work stops, co-workers don't talk to each other any more, and the office goes quiet except for the drone of the a/c exhaust. Yet everyone believes that if they are caught napping that's it, they're smoked. Worse even than the fear of being fired would be the absolute shame of the public revelation that the sleeper had for one moment let his guard down and been caught not pretending to work. As if it's unreasonable to lay the heavy and fog-ridden brain down for a quick repose after a hearty meal. As if the company will as a result immediately go bankrupt, customers turn away in disgust, or the quality of work suffer. A nap, refreshing as it is, actually subtracts less from a worker's productivity than the typical two-hour combat against lunch-induced, mind-numbing dreams. Canadian offices practically give off a light, collective rattling just after lunch, when breaths start to come heavy in a suspicious approximation of snoring. A nap could be as short as ten minutes and would augment the productivity of the saved 1:50 tenfold. But no one will hear of it. It's a sign of weakness, this sleeping, and a good cause for scorn. Canadians caught proposing that it should be considered are shunned, scoffed at, and sent off to "the minor leagues:" those barbarian countries where everybody's got a cot at work or something.

October 25, 2001

A joke

A cowboy of modest means wanted to buy a horse, so he prepared to go out of town to the nearby value ranch where horses were known to be fairly cheap. However, as he was leaving the house he realizzed his wife was causing such a drunken ruckus that she was likely to burn the house down, so he brought her along. As they rode down the main street, she kept going <hic><hic>. They arrived at the ranch and the cowboy asked the wheezzing pipe-smoking proprietor about some of his best-value horses, so the old man got his rickety legs out of his rickety chair and took the couple down the stables. "This is Keller Hans," croaked the proprietor, grabbing the mane of a run-down bag of bones "He's blind, he can't hear nuthin', but he can work up a mighty trot when he catches a whiff of a fine filly." "I don't need no horse that can't see nuthin' but spends all day chasin' tail," remarked the cowboy, and they strode aforewards. His wife, meantime, followed going <hic><hic>. They arrived at another stall. "This is Clever Hands," said the old man. "He's got good eyes and good ears and he's quite fast. The only problem widdim is he steals lettuce." "Steals lettuce?" queried the cowboy? "Well, whiskey actually," admitted the rancher. "Ah, I see." <hic><hic> went his wife. They came to the end of the stalls, and the rancher made a show of lifting a large plank to push open an big inner door, then closing it behind them went they passed through. It was pitch black. "This is my pride and joy," boasted the farmer. "A healthy, quick, honest horse that'll do a day's work and then serve you a scotch at the end of the day. His father was the envy of the town, and everyone wanted me to lendim to breed wid them fillies. He's worth twice the others, but I'll let you have 'im for half price." "Why's it so dark in here?" asked the man. He couldn't even see where the rancher nor his wife were standing. "Well that's no problem," answered the rancher. "He's fine as flax; he just don't like to be mounted so you gotta do it in the dark-see. Why'ncha givim a try," he suggested. The cowboy struggled to saddle the stallion in the dark and get the bit in his mouth, but the beast was steady enough. Finally he got himself mounted and navigated him through the stables and into the daylight, where they ran a ways. He returned to the barn to find the rancher wearing a sly grin on his face and his wife strangely sobered up. In fact, she looked somewhat with child if he did dun know no better. Eying her and the rancher suspiciously for some moments, he tried to dismount but immediately the horse reared and started to make like he'd shoot across the ranch. "Not so fast, barley-boy," warned the old man. "You gotta dismount him in the dark too." So the cowboy navigated back into the pitch dark and there dropped down to the ground. "Well, I like 'im," decided the cowboy. "He's a fine stallion and I don't mind the little saddlin' trouble. I'll take 'im." They spat and shook on it and the cowboy prepared to lead the horse away, telling his wife to keep close by. However, as they passed out the gate and circumvented the old man's humming nuclear mind-swap laboratory aparatus, the cowboy noticed sumthin' funny-like about the steed. "Hang on hoe-down here-now," he said, "I got a mind this ain't here the same horse I rode... Get on up on 'im Fanny and lessee if he bucks." She obeyed immediately, so quickly that her dresses were disturbed, from underwhich come tumblin' two or three ripe lettuces. The bewildered cowboy wheeled at a wheezzing sound and was astonished to see Keller Hans smoking a pipe and the old rancher stumbling around blind as a bat. Meanwhile, the previously-enraged stallion had let his wife mount him as docile as a kitten. The cowboy spun side-to-side, arms near his empty gun-belt, astonished. Finally, he settled his gaze on his wife, welded a grim stare, and demanded: "What in shinny's name is smoking aroun' here Fanny?" At that moment he two things happened. His wife threw him a completely dumb stare, looking not as if she hadn't heard what he said, but as if she couldn't even understand plain-speak. He then looked at her steed. <Hic!> went the horse.

13. Canadians sense a moral obligation never to drink during work hours.

Not even at lunch! In bars. They seem to avoid the hard stuff. --You jest!, contradicts Mehmet, incredulous. No it's true. They won't touch anything harder than Perrier. And even this last is considered marginally sinful. Most Canadians have the opportunity to drink every lunch hour that they head down to their local imitation pub (see: plaster walls), but they refuse to take advantage, only consuming the most modest amounts when in the company of their closest, most intimately trusted colleagues, when a lunch meeting takes almost the form of a rude mutiny. Mehmet's sitting-room spins, as if he had just circled sixteen times around a coffee-table trying to yank the ham from his dog's mouth. You must be more understanding of Canadian culture, Mehmet. It's not that Canadians have any aversion to drink; far, indeed, far from it. But the culture of drinking starts to emerge at an early age into an oppressive atmosphere of prohibition, stemming very likely from the Prohibition itself, and the enhancing act becomes a gesture of sinful shame. When the legend is such that anyone caught drinking before the permitted age will be ex-communicated, but the minimum age is higher than the age of majority, the resulting consciousness can only be confused. Why can't I, an adult, do what others can do? As the unanswered question is instilled early into every Canadian mind, but alcohol remains available and encouraged by media and the parental example, the only option is for the maturing consciousness to take on the role of protector of the great secret. Thus no one dares to admit that they enjoy what they believe is a sin, but they sin all the more in their quest to learn why they shouldn't. Fingers of free champagne cause nervous laughter.

October 24, 2001

... 404 Error: Now what??? ... He who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of winners.

Inappropriate

A webpage created entirely with a publishing tool or a standards document converted to Adobe's portable document format from a presentation product is a neglect of its content's intended audience. The fever with which the word content is being used today can only lead to ambiguity. From where there was void, content producers are now springing up like fresh lettuce for rabbits. Content is manhandled like a sweaty boxing glove, packaged in boxes, carted around, translated by caclulating machines into bewildered tongues, painted over and crushed into haughty, nouveau-riche demi-serif fonts. In spite, content is pretty simple: it's just what you want to say. Everyone has something to say, especially someone who has just spent a long time building something, say a cryptography algorithm or a farm. Farms have nothing to do with cryptography algorithms, actually, and it's probably a bad example, like all those examples of stock-quote transactions that are going to be so easy for computers to do for us under Microsoft's .NET platform. But if somebody has just spent six months making a new version of a cryptography toolkit, or an automatic comment generator for C++ code, or a new type of horseshoe, like Edward in The Good Soldier, then all their pleasure in having finished the damn thing gushes out as content. It would be a bad idea to get someone else to talk about the horseshoe. Or maybe it wouldn't. But when faced with the task of writing something down, the wrong place to turn is Powerpoint. Writing bullets is not very communicative, and doesn't show off the natural pride one should have in their own work. Web pages shouldn't be made by Publisher either. They emerge disturbed and boxy: those elevated quotations only serve to fill up space on a fixed-size page. Scroll bars extinguish this need. Nobody would dream that content will suddenly light up like a clear arrow in everyone's tunnel. But for anyone who wonders why they feel like what they've just written down is shit, well, it's probably because they wrote it in bullets in Powerpoint. To these fine folks: what you've jsut written is a good summary of what you realy want to say, but each of your bullets must justify itself. What question does it answer? What curiosity does it satisfy? Remember then, to chop a lot of bullets out.
I'll find out how many days your birthday is and then I'll tell you how many days your birthday is. Okay? It's next month.

October 19, 2001

Suppose we have two integers, x and y, each with n digits. For simplicity, we'll work in decimal (base 10) and we represent x as a:b and y as c:d Using standard multiplication, we get that: x*y = a*c*10^n + (a*d + b*c)*10^(n/2) + b*d However, Karatsuba noticed that: x*y = a*c*10^n + (a*c + b*d + (a-b)*(d-c))*10^(n/2) + b*d There are only three multiplications of size n/2 (a*c, b*d and (a-b)*(d-c))

October 18, 2001

Once picked dropped kick out off up took looked back off, Tip sat down, then chewed some take-out outtakes out in flashbacks. "I go revved-up down, hon," the old-timed high-strung. Lip opened an up-pent gush up, her eyes welled up, disgust curled her guts up. She watched go down the gulped-down, mad at in-bites; his over-bite grossed the girl out. The old man's ripped-up pants shook his dick out, his jerky bites shook drops of piss out. Outside, sirens passed the pair by, flashing flash-lights through the glass. She thought of Tandy and his overbite, green to take its place, to pick where it left off up. But words came coughed-up out of the chew-mouth. "That Tracy, Tancy... she loved it lapped up, stuck more out, like a toilet flush...chomp." She watched the food drop, smear, his bugs take a healthy body over, she watched the piss drip. Old man. But he had shut her up. "She loved it chomp so much she chucked up." Lip thought of a secret talk they had, just her and Tandy, in their room with the gable, they would wait until they were ready, they promised. This old man took her before she was ready.

October 17, 2001

Quelle merde

Cet emerdeur de PDG qui vient de partir, ce nouveau offre d'emploi plus bas que l'actuel, ces narcomanes qui ont fait eclater une guerre à l'etage en dessous, avec la police et tout. <my><how><refreshing> On doit maintenant se démenager, recommencer à nouveau la recherche d'un apartement, choisir entre une plus basse salaire et l'inquiétude perpetuelle d'être viré, investiguer le marché d'emploi des villes eloignées des centaines de kilometres, negocier avec le propriataire de notre apart pour le convaincre qu'on va pas payer deux mois de plus, et trouver un façon de transporter tout nos affaires chez mes parents, merde et puis d'être obligé à attendre les buses pendant des heures juste pour sortir faire les courses, et bien conduire partout et manger la nourriture dégoutante. <merde><merde><MERDE!!!!!!!!!!>

October 10, 2001

Cela dit, ce genre de coup de foudre a beau exister, il est relativement souvent déçu. En effet, une fois que l'on fait connaissance avec la personne, il arrive qu'on se rende compte qu'au fond on n'est pas du tout sur la même longueur d'ondes, et que l'attirance première ne reposait sur rien. Et puis des fois aussi ça marche, mais c'est comme pour tout, ce n'est pas une question d'y croire ou de ne pas y croire. Ca arrive parfois, c'est tout. On ne s'y attend pas, et pof, ça arrive. That said, as much as this type of love at first sight may happen, it is relatively often disappointed. Actually, once you get to know the person, it happens that you realise that at heart you're not at all tuned in to the same frequency, and that the initial attraction wasn't held up by anything. And then sometimes it works, too, but it's like for everything, it's not a question of believing or disbelieving. It happens sometimes and, that's all. You don't expect it, and pof, it happens. --Lucille, France

October 09, 2001

Watch how FrameMaker stores specially-formatted text. There are two types of formats in most word processors: paragraph styles and character styles. Word processors face a problem when storing characters that have both a paragraph style (say "heading" or "normal") and a character style (say "bold"). The following example is a piece of a FrameMaker file which shows clearly how the word processor marks each piece of text. The segment includes one entire "text flow;" however, the only part which interests us is around the line <String `Character formatting begins here and spans to the next paragraph.'>
<TextFlow 
 <TFTag `A'>
 <TFAutoConnect Yes>
 <Notes 
 > # end of Notes
 <Para 
  <Unique 998197>
  <PgfTag `Body'>
  <ParaLine 
   <TextRectID 19>
   <String `This is the first paragraph. '>
   <Font 
    <FTag `Emphasis'>
    <FLocked No>
   > # end of Font
   <String `Character formatting begins here
    and spans to the next paragraph.'>
  > # end of ParaLine
 > # end of Para
 <Para 
  <Unique 998199>
  <PgfTag `Body'>
  <ParaLine 
   <Font 
    <FTag `Emphasis'>
    <FLocked No>
   > # end of Font
   <String `This is the second paragraph.
    Character formatting ends here.'>
   <Font 
    <FTag `'>
    <FLocked No>
   > # end of Font
   <String ` However, the paragraph continues.'>
  > # end of ParaLine
 > # end of Para
> # end of TextFlow
It would help you to see exactly what type of character formatting is actually used. Here is approximately what it looks like when opened in FrameMaker: This is the first paragraph. Character formatting begins here and spans to the next paragraph. This is the second paragraph. Character formatting ends here. However, the paragraph continues. Notice that the FrameMaker code marks each paragraph as a "String". If you look just above the line <String `Character formatting begins here and spans to the next paragraph.'> you will notice that there is a definition of a font. That font is called "Emphasis". If you look just above the line that starts "<String `This is the second paragraph," you will see the same font. However, if you look at the other two lines containing a "String," the font just above it is nameless. You can also remark one additional detail: that FrameMaker does not specifically say at what point each character format ends. From these observations, you can see that FrameMaker format of each string by preceding it with the definition of a font. This is different from HTML which uses a tag at the start and end of each group of words it wants to format. Although you, the user, may select a large block of text with your mouse, spanning multiple paragraphs, and then hit "bold," FrameMaker treats each paragraph separately. This is a precise way to avoid confusion between paragraph and character formats, a confusion which often seems to crop up in Word. The Word 97 file format specification is here. Scroll to the section called "Character and Paragraph Formatting Properties" and compare how much more complicated is Word's approach to this problem. Since Word is so internally complex, it is often unpredictable. For example, you'll select some text and want to mark it "bold" and the heading on the next page will also become bold, or something like that. This is what frustrates so many Word users and actually makes purists rant and rave against the software. The FrameMaker code given above, on the other hand, gives you an example of predictability, where unambiguous code uniquely specifies each morsel of information. There are many computer scientists and businessmen who would like to see everything specified so clearly. The resulting utopia would be remarkably efficient. Specification, however, is not likely to catch up to originality, and utopia is not likely to happen.

October 04, 2001

A science-fiction novel the title of which escapes me achieves the dream of the programmer. In it, a personage regards a certain computer afficionado sitting at his terminal, accessing so many co-ordinated input devices in his quest for efficient transfer from mind to machine, that far from performing the cycloptic monologue modern developers carry out, he sits positively embraced by the tentacles of the machine, speaking, twitching, dancing a stream of knowledge into the appropriating silicon. We have but the clumsy keyboard, and the equally meagre mouse. The cyclops stares at us blindly until we hit 'Enter,' or complete some other such sequence that momentarily makes him rise, then ask "Is this what you meant?" The beauty of machine-fixated humans is their strife to make the recording of our very minds, the beauty that is within, as transparent, as removed from process and approached to effect as possible. Yes they put beauty on hold for centuries longer than we can suffer to enprison it, but they only envision greater beauty at its release.

October 02, 2001

October, ah, October, a reclining woman propped yp on hyr elbyww. A strand of elm, John Elway, the Classic. A rake of leaves, a top hat, top o' the iceberg, Oscar. A felyw and a fallow travellyr, at the elbow. Two gay men in an ancient park, their first meetyng, scarred with joy, trembles stirring piles of the living dead, a lover buried under joy, snow from between James Joyce leaves, a crack of the bat, a stirring rendition of the Stars and Stripes. Each scene delivered with ease by Microsyft fyll-streamyng. A free concoction to protect agaynst syfylis. Here I sit in the once-wet fields, having witnessed their irrigated squares, their muddy boots, their sprouting stems, their recolt. Here I sit not far from school, painting a sprit, passed by a train. The motyr cars won't stop coming, driving aggravating when I have found peace. This is October; this is deceit. This is a man wielded at woman's whim, while the waiter whiles unawares. Woman begs to usurp his place. October has a double nature, the motor drives away the dead. The roads all end where they have led. Her leaves remind of what we've read, and spoiling fruit lie roadside shed. This month is a time for family, for the son to lift high his feeling. This is a time of comfort, when a blanket wards off the breeze. It is time you dropped to your knees. It is turkey. She carries woven basket of movies huddled in a cinema. She will soon close. Friends nestled in. Brown and gold, crisp, invited and they try hard to speak English, and we appreciate it, and we love them. Unfortunately a plane smashed into a building last month. Shudder, but. A long easy day when the sun will dew gold read gold through a little window, and we can tread a creaking floor. And offer sweetmeats at our door.