Archive for June, 2005

Woman stabbed to death; man questioned

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Woman stabbed to death; man questioned
This happened about 50 feet from where I park my car. The police blocked access while investigating the crime scene until around 8 PM. I didn’t mind the wait, seeing as how they caught the guy and they needed evidence to nail the perp so it won’t happen again.

The real inconvenience of the day was the rain. It took me a few hours to get home because the Sprain, the Saw Mill, the Taconic and route 9A were all under water at some point. Westchester roads are truly bad as far as drainage and the county and state won’t fix them.

I have been commuting to Westchester for nearly 20 years and I hate it. The lotto mega-millions is 63M and I am going to win this time and never commute again.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

Last weekend I bought The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis book on tape at a garage sale for 50 cents. I listened to the first tape, but found that the background music made listening seriously difficult. It has been a long time since I last read the book. It is a book better read, than listened to. It is a very simply told story with some obvious, but not very intrusive Christian allegory. If you ignore the allegory it is a very nice book, and there is no danger of a child reading it and running off to a Christian right cult.

I have the BBC dramatization on tape that is actually a much better production.

I first read the Narnia books when I borrowed them from my friend Jack Shepherd back when I was about 12. He had the whole set in hardcover. He lived at the Missionary College in Upper Nyack; now called Nyack College. I loved all the books. My favorite, though, without a doubt is Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Back when I was 12, my favorite book of the series was A Horse and His Boy, but I haven’t read it in so long that I forget the plot.

The reason that there has been some interest in the Narnia books is that Disney is doing TLTWATW as a movie. The trailer looks very interesting:

The actress that plays the white witch looks to be the same one that played the borg queen.

I will probably not see the movie, but since it is a simpler story and more dramatic than the Harry Potter books, it will probably be a classic.

Why MapQuest Sucks

Monday, June 27th, 2005

Why MapQuest Sucks

Saturday night Erica and I set the alarm for 4:30 AM so we could get up and go to Adamstown Pennsylvania to the Renninger’s and Shupp’s Grove flea markets. I didn’t sleep as well as I should have and overslept, but we finally got onto the road by 6:25 the next morning. This was my third time to Adamstown and I was looking forward to this one because we always arrived late the other times. It’s supposed to be a 2 hour and 45 minute drive – at least according to MapQuest.

There was no traffic that early in the morning and I scooted along in the truck at 80mph most of the way. We crossed the Delaware water gap on I-78 and zoomed into PA without looking at the map.

MapQuest told us to look for exit 21b and Easton PA. I did not realize that 21b was the I-287 to I-78 exit way back in New Jersey and had nothing to do with Easton. Exit 21b on I-78 is 35 miles beyond where were supposed to get off for route 222 to head south towards Adamstown.

We back tracked when we discovered that there is no 21b exit on I-78 – lost time: about an hour.

We made it back to route 61 south which seemed like a good shortcut down to 222. We were lost for a while, but got straightened out and hit 222.

Now MapQuest had us getting off and on route 222 bypassing construction, not knowing that the road is no longer under construction and you can go directly to Adamstown.

The worst mistake is that MapQuest had us get off at Sinking Springs, and drive to 422, but rather than head us back to 222, it says take 422 west towards Lebanon – the wrong direction. I followed this a while longer than the 5 miles that I was supposed to, and wound up nearly an hour off course before I found 222 again.

We arrived at Adamstown around 11:15 (nearly 5 hours) and 75% of the dealers had packed up and left already.

I didn’t find anything. There were no old Science Fiction Magazines and the only microphones that I found were very high priced. There were no vacuum tubes and nothing but chipped little doodads and knick-knacks on every table.

It took me only 2 hours and 30 minutes to get home. We went up 222 straight to I-78 and stopped for ice cream on the way out, gas near the top of 222 and coffee in a truck stop in Jersey. My right leg has cramps from holding it on the gas and the truck has 420 new miles on it when it should haven been less than 300.

A 1954 tweed Fender Champ amplifier worth around $1500 went for $20 at a garage sale in Nyack. If I had stayed home, that would have been mine!

I hate Mapquest.

CyberTales available.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

I have a story in the CyberTales Anthology. Please click below and buy one or two.
CyberTales — Live Wire

Presented by Whortleberry Press, here is a collection of 14 Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror short stories that push the boundaries of speculative Fiction. Using communication networks (such as the Internet, computer consoles, and telephone systems) as a common element, our writers have created memorable tales that are sure to delight, amaze, and astound. This is what the future of Speculative Fiction
is all about.

Hello to Caleb Palappillil

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

Caleb Palappillil, son of Aji and Jophy Palappillil entered this world on June 20. He was 6 pounds 14 ounces and 19 inches long. Mom and Caleb are doing well, but Dad looks a little tired.

Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon Game

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

This is a freely downloadable version of a computer gain based on Spider Robinson book, Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon.

I enjoy Spider Robinson’s books, although they can get old fast if you read too many of them in a row.

Here is something to think about. Robert Heinlein consistently predicted the future and was usually about 20-30 years off. If you consider his book, The Door into Summer, you’ll see Autocad and many other engineering inventions that showed up about 20-30 years later. Robert Heinlein wrote I Will Fear no Evil around 1969 (published 1970). It is the story of a man who has his brain transplanted. About 20 years later, this guy Spider Robinson appears who reads uncannilly like R. A. Heinlein. Heinlein died in 1988. What happened to Heinlein’s brain? Read Spider Robinson’s books and you be the judge.

Abandonia – Abandonware DOS Games – Download Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon

The Solar Sail

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

They launched the solar sail yesterday. It doesn’t look good. The Russian rocket had some difficulties. If the sail did make it into orbit, they can’t find it.

The Solar Sail

The Geoff Hartwell Jam

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

Last night was the third anniversary of the Geoff Hartwell Jam in Pleasantville, NY. I never go to this jam because it costs $5 to get in and I am a cheap bastard. The email that Geoff sent me, though, included a line:

We have NEVER cancelled due to weather because the die hards ALWAYS come out (Like Fabulous Phil Chadeayne!!! “Is this jam goin on or WHAT?” LOL…

Phil was my boss for nearly 14 years and we went to Blues Week in Elkins, West Virginia together and played together at the Tap House Jam many times. Phil plays guitar and I play harmonica. I don’t get to see Phil that much any more so I had to show up.

I have been doing a little work on Geoff’s web page, so I brought Erica’s fancy camera and took some shots. The Blues Jam photos can be viewed here.

Here are some sample pics:

Some Jammer’s. That’s Geoff’s sister singing. I believe that’s Patrick Nielsen Hayden on guitar on the right.

I snapped a picture of the Harmonica Enclave.

An here is the “Fabulous Phil Chadeayne!”

I used Macromedia Fireworks to throw together a little gallery of the night’s 38 images at the link above. I also have the very large 6meg images on CD.

Spray-on mud: the ultimate accessory for city 4×4 drivers

Monday, June 20th, 2005

John Shirley is all upset about this over on his blog. It doesn’t seem surprising. It is is in the same class as spray on hair and spray on tan. Putting image in a spray can is one of our society’s major goals.

Guardian Unlimited | Life | Spray-on mud: the ultimate accessory for city 4×4 drivers

Cosmos 1: The First Solar Sail

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

I found this on Bruce Sterling’s Blog and I had to spread it around. This is a private effort to put an experimental solar sail in orbit around the earth. The sail will catch the solar wind and use it to push itself into higher and higher orbit until it completely breaks out of earth orbit and heads off into deep space.

It seems to me that it is much too small to catch much kenetic energy, considering that the solar wind is not very strong. It may take 100 years to get anywhere and by then it will be so full of holes from micrometeorites that it won’t be working anymore.

Cosmos 1: The First Solar Sail

Ipod text converter

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

I am getting into a mode of programming that I haven’t experienced since the late 1980s. I used to write huge amounts of ShareWare programs. I made some good money in 1989 (about $40,000) on a few of my successful programs. I stopped programming for free because Window programming required too much of an effort to produce the small utilities that I liked to write. Later, when I programmed in VB, I was writing very specific applications that did not have the broad appeal that shareware requires.

Lately, PHP has changed all of that. PHP lets me do low level coding and still use a web interface to display the results. PHP is written by hackers and I Grok it completely. I am producing very small one-shot programs that may be useful to someone.

The latest program that I have written is a utility that will take a web page and convert it into 4K chunks formatted as Apple iPod notes files. I don’t own an iPod, but I am always looking for new ways to display stories and reach a larger audience. As soon as someone with an iPod can verify that the converter works, I will create a utility so that the readers of Astounding Tales will be able to read the zine on their iPod.

Ipod text converter

Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators (Cheat Sheet)

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

I have bookmarked this. It is a nice summary of the advanced syntax for google searches.

Google Guide Quick Reference: Google Advanced Operators (Cheat Sheet)

Fifty (50!) Tools which can help you in Writing

Thursday, June 16th, 2005

Most of these you’ve heard, but all are worth rereading.

I am not sure that studying writing makes you a better writer. My personal stumbling block is sentence structure. Too many years as a programmer tends has taught me to write programs, not paragraphs, so my sentence structure is often algorithmic rather than poetic. (She did something and said something therefore something else is true.) I don’t think anything is going to change the way I think about structure.

There is an old saying that you can’t talk someone out of something that they haven’t been talked into.

Fifty (50!) Tools which can help you in Writing

Secure Dog 24-hour Surveillance Sensor

Friday, June 10th, 2005

There is a problem at my house with Racoons getting into the garbage, not to mention an army of neighborhood cats who would rather live at my house than their own.

You can set this motion detector to a dog barking and it will go off whenever anything comes within 23 feet. I want one. I would, at least, set it up so the racoons would stay out of the garbage on pickup days. They’ve made a mess for the last two weeks running.

Secure Dog 24-hour Surveillance Sensor