December 2003

December 31, 2003

Two Thousand Three

As my little timezone creeps inevitably toward that spot it was in last year at this time, I am reminded of all the good times and friendly folk of the past three hundred and sixty five days…

Tabitha and I went to Paris for almost two weeks and soaked up all the hot weather, jaw-droppingly amazing museums, and inexpensive recognizable food we could find. In the new year we have our eyes on London and surrounding vicinities.

Nick and Rachelle and I swooped into Austin from the three corners of the country (sorry Southeast, you’re just not really a “corner”) for our first SXSW Interactive festival. The fajitas and “A-list” bloggers flowed like sweet wine from every direction. We will return in 2004.

We moved from our microscopic one bedroom shoe-box apartment into a palatial two bedroom mansion and rented-to-own a small, fuzzy, black cat who is both frightened of everything (especially the vacuum cleaner) and violently affectionate (especially with ramming her head into one’s chin).

The 15-inch Titanium PowerBook G4 was replaced with an 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook G4 which is the finest thing money can buy. It was recently joined by an old PowerMac G4 and a shiny new iPod. The three have all taken up residence on my desk and have become quite chummy.

I saw a bunch of movies, a read a bunch of books, worked, hiked, slept, ate, obsessed, procrastinated, spent too much time tinkering with this damned website, tried to be the best boyfriend, son, brother, friend, employee, nieghbor, complete stranger, and cat owner I could be.

All in all it was a great year. And 2004 appears to be shaping up quite well also. There is one more event that snuck in just at the end, but you’ll have to check back soon for the details on that one. Happy new year everyone. Onward!

December 30, 2003


After getting back to Berkeley on Sunday, we transported massive quantities of stuff from the car to the apartment, were warmly received by the cat, put a few things away, and conked out. Monday we set off to San Francisco for some urban hiking. We were resolute in the face of heavy rain but by the time we’d crisscrossed our way as far as the Transamerica building, the cold and absolute sogginess had gotten to us. Back home it was still raining and we stopped on the way in to make sure the backyard wasn’t threatening to supersaturate. Once we’d dried out and warmed up a bit we decided it was time to stock up on food. We stepped out of the front door and into a full blown flood. The backyard was a lake. The corner of the living room was damp and getting worse. We called the landlady and moved the furniture. Fortunately, it stopped raining and we got the pump working again. The rain has caused numerous sewage, traffic, and flooding problems throughout the Bay Area. We’re hoping we’re through the worst of it for this season.

December 24, 2003

Happy Holidays

From all of us at!

December 22, 2003


Earthquake damage.

Nice, slow, rolling earthquake just now. It will probably show up in my quake feed shortly. Holy cow, it was a 6.4. Here’s the report. Here’s a thought for later. It would be interesting to tie together data from the USGS,, and to get a list of recently updated weblogs near the epicenter of a major earthquake. News of the quake is beginning to trickle in. (Hm, the quake feed is mangled. Fixed now.) The inevitable MetaFilter thread has begun. There have been a slew of big aftershocks today. Sadly, it sounds like there were two or three fatalities in today’s quake. Very sad.

[This post was updated at irregular intervals throughout the day. Michael Mariant took the photo above for the AP.]

December 21, 2003

The End of All Things

I need to remember to give Peter Jackson a big hug if I’m ever fortunate enough to meet him. (Tolkien as well, for that matter, if I’m ever fortunate enough to have access to a time machine.) Andy Serkis deserves the first Oscar for Actor in a Digitized Role.

December 17, 2003

The War of the Ring

The One Ring

Once again I passed on over-geeking for The Lord of the Rings and spent last night at home rather than in line at the Metreon. However, the lovely Tabitha and I will be on hand to witness the 3.5 hour Return of the King on Saturday night at the more reasonable hour of 7 o’clock. I must say it’s nice to be looking forward to seeing a movie that the rest of the world probably won’t hate.

Now, for some collateral geekery. Dave Brasgalla (of the IconFactory) has been firing on all cylinders with great Tolkien knick-knacks recently. First, the ring icon featured here is part of World of Aqua 4. Also, recent Quick Pix have featured LotR-related icons. Even iPulse has some Palantir-like jackets. And finally, Dave’s personal site (Pixelhaus) features a beautiful digital transcription of Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth map.

P.S. The Matrix rules.

December 8, 2003

A List

Amongst friends:

General geekery:

Walt the fanboy:

December 8, 2003


Our winter tree.

We have a tree full of little white lights.

Just west of 580 there are at least three different lots selling trees of various sizes and types. We wandered around one for a few minutes before heading to another where we discovered a wider selection with cheaper prices. We grabbed a little 5 foot Grand Fir and some tree longevity juice, bought it, had the bottom inch sawed off, and stuffed it into the trunk of the car.

Getting it set up was surprisingly easy except for one of the screws in the base which simply refuses to turn unless finger-bruising force is applied. Hopefully three screws will suffice. We threw some lights on it, watered it, and stuck it in the corner of the back room. Now we just need some presents to stick under it and we’ll have a proper holiday vibe happening.

December 6, 2003


The Blogroll

You may have noticed the new blogroll box in the column on most pages. This is something I’ve been meaning to implement for a while but I wanted to do it in a way that would require almost zero effort on my part to keep it up to date and I finally decided that the way to handle it was by exporting my list of subscriptions from NNW, uploading it to the server, and letting a script I wrote display the data on the site. Most visitors will see the box with a list of five randomly selected blogs (and their feeds) and a link to the complete list.

Users of Safari (build 100 85.6 or higher), on the other hand, should see a scrollbox listing all of the blogs, links to their sites, feeds, and an indication of whether they’ve pinged a recent update tracker. I may make this drastically more useful version available to more browsers which support the CSS2 overflow property down the road.

The OPML parsing is handled by PHP-OPML. The recent updates data is supplied by and And the rest is written by me.

In other news, MacConnection has reportedly refunded me the money for all the faulty RAM they’ve sent me so far which makes me very happy. Also, Apple has finally acknowledged the “white spots” problem with certain PowerBook G4 (15-inch FW 800) machines. (Fortunately this still hasn’t come up for me.)

December 4, 2003

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Twin Hill Ranch

Much thanks to the families for the super-relaxing four-day weekend in Santa Rosa. Extra thanks to Mom for orchestrating yet another amazing feast. I walked around the lake, watched a disgusting amount of television, ate way too much food, and dragged as many people as possible to the apple bread place. Thanks to Bryce for the guitar lessons. Thanks to Dad for the movie and for torturing me with those facts about the car. Thanks to Art and Nani for playing Mario Kart with me. Thanks to the Granshaws for having me over for dinner and, of course, thanks to Tabitha.

December 3, 2003

The Return of the Fuzzball

Our rental cat has become a full-blown roommate. Velvet made her triumphant return to the living room tonight following her official adoption from the shelter on Sunday. She took a trip to the vet yesterday to make certain that she was in no danger of spawning mini-Fuzzballs and to have a microchip placed under her skin so that in the event of her escaping into the wild she can be scanned and returned as efficiently as possible.

(“We have the technology… we can make her better…”)

Anyway, in honor of her homecoming and permanent status she’s been immortalized in pixels in our new winterized header which you can see above. (And which might look funny if you need to reset our stylesheet.) It’s a work in progress but, what isn’t?

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