Wanderings

Anything you dream is fiction,
and anything you accomplish is science,
the whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.
- Ray Bradbury
October 31st, 2006

Serendipity

I received a comment on this blog entry: Synchronicity

Wind “Oak” Song said…
Here’s some synchronicity for you. My mother sent me this link she happened across while googling “synchronicity”
My name is Wind Song,aka Oak.
Randy Carnefix is my father.
I have forwarded him the link!
He now lives in Hayward,Ca. where he is involved in Theatre and Music. I hope the two of you can reconnect

Perhaps not synchronicity, but definitely serendipity. Randy and I lived next door to each other on Vine Street, Central Nyack. We walked to school every morning for years. We had many long discussions about the Whichness of What on summer evenings. We played deadly serious ping pong for long hours. We discovered Tolkien at the local book store. Randy turned me on to Sartre and the other existentialists, but luckily I survived. Randy was a big influence on my intellectual life.
I want to learn what happened to Randy as well as the rest of the family; Gary, Kathy and Debbie.






October 26th, 2006

Coyote Wild reports

I’ve had a story at Coyote Wild for 27 days. I received an update from them.

This is one of those no news updates regarding your recent submission to Coyote Wild. We have finished reviewing all of the submissions received during our last reading period and are happy to report that ‚”A Nest of Flames” has been advanced to the second round.
We should have a definitive response for you by November 15th. Thank you for your continued patience.

There were a number of rejections and a few of these notices on Speculations. Jean Graham (no relation that I know of) is also waiting on the second round decision. My story is one that I’ve discussed here before. It is a marginally spec-fic weird tale. It is set in in early 19th century London. I am skeptical that is a good fit at any zine, but I have my fingers crossed that the editors at Coyote Wild think outside of the box.






October 24th, 2006

Stephen King endorses political change

You’ve got to love Stephen King.

From Stephen King:
If I know anything, I know scary. And giving this president and this out-of-control Congress two more years to screw up our future is downright terrifying. Thankfully, this national nightmare is one we can end…

From John Shirley’s Blog






October 22nd, 2006

Fall in New England

I took a bunch of nice pictures in Connecticut this weekend. One of these will be my new wallpaper on my work machine. Click on the picture to see the large wallpaper sized picture.









I am having trouble uploading these so if the images to show up, I am working on it.






October 21st, 2006

I am street legal again

About two weeks ago someone stole my side view mirrors off the truck. I nearly got killed driving home and then Ford wanted to charge me $500 for the replacements. I found some third party mirrors and installed them today. It took two hours for the first one and about 9 minutes for the second. I have the truck again, but I missed all the good junk at the side of the road for two weeks.

I drove Justine’s old 1988 Mercedes. It gets 20 miles to the gallon compared to the truck’s 16. I may keep using the Mercedes, even though it is not that comfortable.

Today I bought an original Lava Lamp at a garage sale for $1. I hope that my luck is changing.

Here’s a video. I took it sideways and used software to rotate it. This destoys the aspect ratio. You get an idea, though.






October 19th, 2006

Roast Turkey Costume

This upset the John Shirley crowd, but I think it’s funny. I expect my friend Don to make one of these for his kid. Martha Stewart will always upset some people.

Roast Turkey Costume






October 13th, 2006

The Orinids

There is a good meteor shower next week that should peak around the time of the new moon. The meteorites are the crumbs left behind by Halley’s comet. One of the most easily identifiable constellations in the Autumn sky is Orion. You can see the stars of his belt easily. It’s a big constellation so you can’t miss it. The meteors should look like they are coming from his upraised arm, in fact from our near neighbor Betelegeuse, a bright red star.

At the peak there should be 10 to 30 hits per hour. That could possibly be a nice fat shooting star every thirty seconds. These come in spurts so you could really see a spray of meteorites in the sky.

The new moon is the 22nd this month and the showers are maxed out from the 20th to the 24th. There ought to be at least one clear dark night to watch them.

The showers are best between 1AM and dawn so put on a nice warm sweater and break out the lawn chairs and watch the sky next weekend. I suggest a little mood music – some nice cool jazz would be best, how about Miles Davis and Birth of the Cool?






October 13th, 2006

Hal Graham – Rock Belt Pioneer

I’ve got to be related to this guy. There is a strong family resemblance.

View the video of Hal Graham playing the his rocket belt song






October 12th, 2006

RealClearPolitics.com

A very useful tool that I read every morning is RealClearPolitics.com. They seem to answer the questions that I am always asking.

They are following all the polls and now a month before the elections show that control of the House and Senate is a toss-up. They tend to be careful and the show New Jersey and Ohio as toss-ups in the Senate race. They don’t indicate much about the House race except that the Dems need a gain of 15 seats to take the House.

I went through the Senate races and the top 30 contested house races. I have concluded that it would be difficult for the Democrats to lose the House as things stand. I think there may be a 3 or 4 seat majority unless something happens. The Senate is a squeaker. The Dems can win and have a majority, but they can also lose New Jersey, Ohio and Missouri if anything happens in the next month.

What might happen to change voter minds in the next month? Bush can find Osama, or there could be a Democratic scandal, or a terrorist attack. Any of these might re-energize Republican voters. I think, though, that conservative voters might be disgusted and stay home. My prediction that Bush will teach people to fear Republicans is coming true, but there is a sort of Stockholm Syndrome here. People feel attached to the failed regime because it controlled their lives for so long.

Democrats can win, not because the Republicans switch their votes, but because the Republicans just don’t give a damn and will stay home.

There will always be a hard core of Anti-Abortionists, pro-School Prayer, anti-gay, anti-flag burners, anti-evolutionists who will vote for the party that pretends to listen to them. These lunatics will always be with us, but even though Republicans pay them lip service, Bush has done very little to promote their causes and even they might stay home.

RealClearPolitics






October 11th, 2006

Astounding Tales Archive

Several people have approached me about stories published in AstoundingTales.com. I decided to recreate links to stories on AstoundingTales. I don’t expect many authors to take advantage of this, but I have all the original pages and I will set them up on request. This will allow authors to publish links to their stories on their home pages and blogs.

I made a Bryce page for the cover. I am still just randomly placing objects on a background, but I think I’ll get better at this.






October 4th, 2006

Free Bryce Objects Planets

I created several Bryce Objects of the planets out of NASA images. Since they were easy to do, I am putting them out for free. We’ll see if they get any downloads.

Free Bryce Objects Planets






October 4th, 2006

Jóhann Jóhannsson : IBM 1401, A User’s Manual : www.ausersmanual.com

The first computer that I ever programmed was a small 1401 at Cooper Union (1969). It had 4K ram and no disk drive and originally leased for 2500 a month. It had real magnetic core memory. You also had to program a board using jumper wires in order to print. It used a compiler deck of punch cards, a program deck and a data deck, all loaded in the right order. There was no operating system per se. We programmed it in Fortran with Format, the computer language that preceded Fortran IV.
I remember that the compiler deck had a bent card and you had to bang the side of it on card #88.

One of the senior Electrical Engineering students had hacked a printer board so that the thing could talk. He was able to hook it up to a primitive vocoder circuit and it made odd sounds.

I saw in BoingBoing today about an Icelandic musician that has taken an old 1401 (they were built like tanks and will probably last forever) and used it to create music by placing a radio receiver in the guts to pick up the strange electromagnetic whale song of the old beast. It reminds me of the old TRS-80, before disk drives, that you had to put a radio next to the computer to see if the program tape had finished loading. You could hear the transistors switching – it sounded like whistles and moans.

Go to the website and listen to the mp3 samples.

The cool prase of those days was “Hollerith Fields”. They were one of the hard part of programming. I had no problem with the dreaded “nested loops”, but the weirdly obtuse “computed go to” always gave me pause. I found Assembly Language remarkably easy because I cut my teeth on such a primitive language.

Jóhann Jóhannsson : IBM 1401, A User’s Manual : www.ausersmanual.com