rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

11-09-2002 (archived)

Today is Warren Ellis day. His recently-started blog is fantastic. Two highlights for me: James Bond, Batman.

He also gives good interview.

This week's nutshell movie review is the Bourne Identity. I suspect there was a plot in the book, but most of it is missing from the film. However, there is martial arts, climbing down the sides of buildings, impromptu surgery and the best car chase I've seen for years. Fun, but (like the last film I reviewed) you need to disengage your brain.

I find this very easy.

12-09-2002 (archived)

The media are full of the anniversary thing at the moment, but Salon's Forbidden Thoughts pieces really made me think. The only things in my life that I can point to and say “this changed because of September 11” are my links page and my surfing habits. I was linking to, and reading daily, some pretty rabidly right wing people; I wasn't reading them for their politics, and it didn't bother me all that much. On the net you get used to right-wing Americans pretty quickly. But when they started talking about (as one of them put it) glassing over all the Arab nations with nukes, I realised I wouldn't be able to read them any more.

In other news, those of you using certain modern browsers may notice a little icon up there in the URL bar, as will any of you who bookmark this place (unlikely, I know...). It's not hard to set up. The picture is a reduced version of this self portrait, made with the South Park Studio. It's more like me that the other one, made from lego.

Of course, all manner of rights are reserved by the LEGO group and comedy central. They are mighty and righteous, and I would very much prefer that they not sue me.

In extremely-techie news, today I have replaced <p class="nav"> and <p class="blogdate"> with <h1> and <h2> throughout the site. Phear my structural correctness.

13-09-2002 (archived)

I love cinema listings for films with parental guidance ratings. From my inbox this morning:

Moderate menace? Like, say, a Liberal Democrat with a knife?

You know, I saw the Bourne Identity this week, and I didn't notice the ONE STRONG LANGUAGE. Our Heroic Protagonist spoke many languages; I suppose all but one of them must have been WEAK.

Mike says it was probably German, since compared to English it's quite strongly typed. This is what we mean by “geek humour”.

Staying with the geek theme, a story from The Register: Phil Zimmermann joins the FIPR. I like it when people I like play nicely together.

16-09-2002 (archived)

Can you name the three most important things in life? Harlan Ellison can. He can also write news (twenty-year-old news, sure) commentary that made me cry, a little. I'm such a wuss.

That's all for now. I'm off to buy a book.

18-09-2002 (archived)

Commercial pop? I know merchandising is important in chart music, but this is ridiculous.

20-09-2002 (archived)

Discovery of the day is definitely Irony Central. From The Story About the Baby (Link via jwz):

I also plan to have a second baby album, a secret, special baby album, henceforth known as Baby Album B. This will be a horror show, kept for my own private amusement[...]

I asked, “Look. Can't I just say, if it gets to this point, that all of my child's possessions will be stripped away and she has to roam the Earth, friendless and alone, righting wrongs and fighting injustice, like Caine in Kung Fu?”

From The Geek's Guide to Working Out:

Remember, you'll feel less guilty about a lazy, unproductive workout session if you know that you at least got some OK masturbation material out of it.

All mental images remain the property of the purchaser.

23-09-2002 (archived)

I've had a busy, but fun, weekend. On Friday we phoned the Talbot, in Wrexham, to see if they were booking for next year yet; the answer was “no, but we could do with a band for tomorrow, there's been a cancellation”. Since the Talbot's one of my favourite places to play, I was all in favour of that, and we went down very well (notwithstanding one drunken heckler at the front, who eventually passed out). And it looks like we might be going back a couple more times this year, which is nice.

Then on Sunday, we had a newsgroup pissup here in Manchester. Many people came along (Ade, Andrew, Chappers, Ian, Icarusi, James, Justin, Pete, Trev, Vinny, Paul, and me), there was much guitar funnery, good food, and plenty of beer. I don't think we had anything to do with the earthquake, but if we did I'm sorry.

24-09-2002 (archived)

It's geek-out time. If you're not a geek, skip this post.

I have two pieces of shiny joy for you today, both related to the way I make this site. The first is some Emacs fun. If you bind this:

(defun rfb-insert-dquo ()
"Insert dquote mark, or smart quote if previous character
is a quote.  Owes much to TeX-insert-quote"
(insert (cond ((not (= (preceding-char) ?\")) ?\")
(forward-char -2)
(looking-at "[ \t\n]\\|\\s("))
(delete-backward-char 1) "&ldquo;")
(t (delete-backward-char 1) "&rdquo;"))))

to your " key, then typing "" will give you &ldquo; or &rdquo;, depending on whether it thinks you're at the beginning or the end of a quoted phrase. The equivalent for single quotes is left as an exercise to the reader.

The second piece of joy is related to a little struggle with makefiles. This blog is written one-entry-per-file in files with names like logentry00016.mp4h. Files like, say, archive0001.html are dependent on all the files with names like logentry0001?.mp4h, where ? is any digit. Naturally, I only want to be remaking files that need remaking.

The obvious thing is to have a rule like
archive%.html: logentry%*
in the makefile. This doesn't work; it complains that there's no such file as logentry0001* (say). I guess there aren't enough expansion passes through the prerequisites list.

So, I tried
archive%.html: $(wildcard logentry%*)
and found the file never got remade; it seems the % isn't getting replaced within the function, though I could be wrong about that. The other natural thing to try is
archive%.html: $(wildcard logentry$**),
which also doesn't work; apparently $* isn't set until you get into the body of the rule, so my archive files were dependent on all of the logentry files and were getting remade every time. This is acceptable, practically, at this early stage (and was what was happening), but will not be acceptable when I have a hundred of them.

There are doubtless many solutions; mine goes like this.

archive.d: logentry*
rm -f archive.d
for ii in archive*.html ; \
do echo $$ii: logentry$${ii:7:4}*.mp4h >> archive.d ;\
include archive.d

Hack hack. That's a nasty cough.

25-09-2002 (archived)

Last night we went to see Signs, directed by the beautifully-named M. Night Shyamalan.

A small aside, here - until the last year or so, I hardly ever went to the movies, and I haven't seen any of his other films. So, from his name and what I've heard about his films, I was expecting Shyamalan to be some tall, cadaverous, sunglass-wearing gothic dude. I was quite disappointed to see him interviewed and realise he's actually a rather cerebral and benevolent-looking Indian-ethnicity guy. We need more goths in high places.

Anyway, on to the film. The atmosphere established is brilliantly tense; I spent most of the movie with my hands deliberately not touching anything spillable, in case I jumped. It actually doesn't make you jump all that often, but you're constantly aware that it might.

The acting is surprisingly strong - Gibson is together, funny, and admirable in the lead rôle, Phoenix is believable and human, and the two child actors are charming and flawless, much to my relief.

Sadly, the ending is a prime piece of horrible Hollywood heavy-handed cheese. Leave the theatre with five minutes to go, and it's a great film. I stayed to the end and felt slightly used.

28-09-2002 (archived)

Lynch was always cool. His sound was on fire, he looked like a scary Indian, and his name was Lynch. I was in Winger. I had big poofy hair, shook my ass, and my name was Beach...like a gay resort.

Lynch is completely wicked. I am not anywhere NEAR as cool as he is. He is Mr. Scary! I am meek and I tap to play fast! Hahahahaha! Even his name is cool - LYNCH! What's mine? Beach, for God's sake. I should change it to Crackhammer. How about Dyermaker? Killpuppy? “Reb Killpuppy”.

I had no clue that I didn't use my pinky until somebody told me because I don't look at the guitar when I play.

I always loved Winger, and in particular Reb Beach's playing with them. Now I have another reason to love him.