Author Archive

MBS, now with TLS

Just a note that this blog now (finally) supports HTTPS. Depending on the page, you may get mixed content warnings still, since I can’t gone through and re-written embeds and stuff like that yet. But the blog itself now sports a shiny new cert and is reachable via HTTPS, as every good site is. My current hosting provider, Dreamhost made it stupidly easy to set up, really driving home how embarrassing it is that I hadn’t set it up yet.

Anyway, better late than never.

Guinea Pig Bridge!


“I was skulking up the back”

Consider, dear reader, that if this doesn’t move you, you may not be movable.

“Don’t you know, it’s a sin to kill another.”


Jacques Dutronc, “Le Responsable” (via @BDaddyLiberator)

All hail our dark, Markovian configuration management tools

“During the Jurassic Age the Old Ones had perhaps become satisfied with their decadent art—or had ceased to recognize the superior merit of the older (activerecord) backends in a multi-master environment.”

The Doom that Came to Puppet, found via @lxt.

“Luck and intuition, play the card with spades to start”

I just got home from seeing John Roderick’s Holiday Rendezvous. It was, as expected, awesome. My companion for the evening had never heard of one of the honored guests of the evening, the delightful Molly Lewis. As such, she’d never seen Molly Lewis’ wonderful cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. I leave it here for both her edification and yours:

“So clear but so unheard”

Because it’s probably been too long since you listened to “Lazy Eye”. Probably far, far too long.

“You’ve got the words to defend / well every bias you’ve learned while being human”

Flake Music, “Spanway Hits”

Tsukuru Tazaki, Stoic

“In this dream, though, he burned with desire for a woman. It wasn’t clear who she was. She was just there. And she had a special ability to separate her body and her heart. I will give you one of them, she told Tsukuru. My body or my heart. But you can’t have both. You need to choose one or the other, right now. I’ll give the other part to someone else, she said. But Tsukuru wanted all of her. He wasn’t about to hand over one half to another man. He couldn’t stand that. If that’s how it is, he wanted to tell her, I don’t need either one. But he couldn’t say it. He was stymied, unable to go forward, unable to go back.

He woke up, his body quaking. It took a while before he understood that it had been a dream. He tore off his sweat-soaked pajamas and dried himself with a towel, but no matter how hard he wiped the sweat away, he couldn’t rid himself of that slimy feeling. And he came to a realization. Or maybe felt it intuitively. So this was jealousy. The body or the heart of the woman he loved, or maybe even both, were being wrested from him by someone else.

Jealousy– at least as far as he understood it from his dream– was the most hopeless prsion in the world. Jealousy was not a place he was forced into by someone else, but a jail in which the inmate entered voluntarily, locked the door, and threw away the key. And no another soul in the world knew he was locked inside. Of course if he wanted to escape, he could do so. The prison was, after all, his own heart. But he couldn’t make that decision. His heart was as hard as a stone wall. This was the very essence of jealousy.” – Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

I just started reading the new Murakami. It’s good so far. It’s every bit as psychological as his other books but, so far, lighter on the surrealism. I’m always impressed with the detail with which Murakami fleshes out the interior world of his characters. Only a few chapters in, and I’m starting to build an intuitive, almost empathetic understanding of the main character. This, despite the Tsukuru’s own pointed reluctance to try to understand himself or the interior world of those around him.

My one (minor) quibble is that Murakami still refuses to use 5 words where 25 will serve just as well. Sometimes his florid prose is in good service to theme or character, but just as often it seems to just pad out an otherwise compact, well-plotted scene.

I was struck, when reading the above scene, to the following:

“What, then, is the punishment of those who do not accept [their circumstances]? To be just as they are. Is one peevish because he is alone? Let him be in solitude! Is he peevish with his parents? Let him be an evil son and grieve! Is he peevish with his children? Let him be a bad father! ‘Throw him into prison.’ What sort of prison? Where he now is. For he is there against his will and where a man is against his will, that for him is a prison. Just as Socrates was not in prison, for he was there willingly.” – Epictetus, I.12.22ff.

Now it would be entirely unfair to compare Murakami to Master Epictetus, but it’s interesting to see the same Stoic idea echoed by so different an author, in such similar terms, but inflated five-fold in the interests of couching it as a character’s own profundity.

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.