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Gazing into the Abyss: Michael Rawdon's Journal


Links du jour:

Entertaining and accurate rebuttal of Cory Doctorow's odd rant on Mac OS X on Intel chips.
Fascinating critique of the Space Shuttle program. It's been clear since at least the first Bush administration that the US manned space program has been stuck in idle and doing little more than wasting money. The Shuttle program needs to be ended.
Profile of SF fan and journaller Mary Anne Mohanraj. She's one of the few people with an older on-line journal than mine.
  View all 2005 links

Lurching Forward

View of Treasure Island from SBC Park

Last Sunday we trekked up to SBC Park to see the Giants take on the Houston Astros. It was me, Debbi, Subrata and Susan, and a warm, sunny day. We had seats in the upper deck down the right field line, with a view as you can see above.

Pitching for the Astros was Roger Clemens, who although I think he's kind of a jerk is clearly one of the five best pitchers in baseball history (I rank him #2, behind Walter Johnson), and who's having an amazing season this year at the age of 42. I should know, he's on my fantasy team. Here's a shot of him in action:

Roger Clemens pitches

Okay, we were a little far away from the infield. But the game was sold out - or nearly so - so don't blame me!

Clemens didn't start so well on Sunday, as both the Astros and the Giants scored first-inning runs, Clemens giving up a triple and a walk to the first two batters. But then he and fill-in Giants pitcher Brian Cooper settled in for a nice 7-inning pitcher's duel, at the end of which the score was still tied 1-1. Cooper actually outpitched Clemens slightly. Clemens was remarkably efficient, throwing only 85 pitches in 7 innings (the average is a little over 15 pitches per inning). Clemens reportedly tweaked his back - which has been a bit balky all season - and left, as did Cooper, turning the game over to the bullpens.

The Giants bullpen promptly melted down, with Scott Eyre and Jeff Fassero giving up 7 runs in the 8th and 9th innings as the Astros blasted the Giants 8-1.

It was a good day at the park, even if not a good outcome for the home team. The Giants have been miserable this year, partly due to the absence of "greatest hitter who ever lived" Barry Bonds, but partly because they're just old, injury-prone, and have fallen prone to some poor roster-management decisions. Media controversies aside, this was a team with a lot of risk and not a lot of upside beyond their previous performance. It's been a great run these past six years, but it's time for the Giants to rebuild.


I finally got around to upgrading my DSL service from 384/128 kbps to 1.5Mbps/384kbps. It's a noticeable difference! Pages that used to visibly render are now BAM! right there., my ISP, makes many things pretty easy, and indeed all I had to do was fill out a form, and a week and a half later the upgrade was just done. Okay, maybe that's not quite speedy delivery, but I wasn't in a rush - I've been too busy to worry too much about it!

Meanwhile, I'm taking my first tentative steps towards moving this journal - indeed much of my Web site - to new software. The earliest pages in this journal were all static HTML. After I moved to California I reworked my format and added a bunch of CGI scripts in Perl to make maintaining it easier. But it's time to move forward again.

I decided up-front that I'd basically like to use a software package which I can easily hack on and modify if I want to, which probably means something written in either C or Ruby (since I find Perl unmaintainable, and I've not been impressed with Python as a language). A little poking around turned up Typo, a Ruby blogging package written on top of the Ruby on Rails framework. It looks good enough to at least try out, so thanks to CJ, LeftField now has the relevant software, so I'll try to make time to play around with it.

CJ recommends I use SQLite as my backing database, saying it's easier to use and maintain than MySQL. Since SQLite was what Apple chose as the backing system for Mac OS X's Core Data technology, that again seems like a couple of good reasons to check it out.

Don't expect to see spiffy new Web pages anytime soon - my time is not exactly abundant these days. But I'd like to make the move by the end of the calendar year.

Actually, I think my biggest challenge will be coming up with a new journal name! "Gazing Into the Abyss" has seemed pretentious at best, downright misleading at worst, for several years now. But I've been mulling over new titles for months and have yet to come up with anything I'm satisfied with! And, of course, I'd have to be able to get the domain name for it! Some titles I've come up with have been:

  • Nothing in Particular (this title seems to be already taken)
  • Late For the Sky (title of a Jackson Browne album)
  • About What It Seems
  • Trick of the Light
  • Start Here
  • Halfwise
  • Hard-of-Speaking (I think this is from a Casey Stengel or Yogi Berra quip)
  • The Fascination Place
  • Warning Track Power (also taken)
I'm not sure what I'm going for, but I'd like to avoid a title that's too understated or sarcastic (which probably lets out Nothing in Particular anyway). And I'd like to avoid something too tightly-tied to a specific hobby of mine (which might let out Warning Track Power), although I might make an exception for a killer comic book-related one.

So, I'll keep thinking about it.


Did you notice that my eighth anniversary keeping this journal passed a week ago? Neither did I.

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