Monthly Archives: December 2009

Flaming Moon

The tarp over our skylight has been flapping in the winter wind, making a lot of noise at night, and it sounded like a house invader — or ghost — shuffling about where he shouldn’t be, and thus kept me up. Not so much kept me up, but kept waking me up, and as a result my sleep was in bursts. This meant that today during the day I was tired and couch-slept much of the day, but on the bright side it also came with vibrant and well-remembered dreams…

I dreamed that I was visiting at Ashley and Scott’s house, which for some reason has been the setting of my dreams the last few nights, although in dreamland they live in a similarly idyllic but otherwise completely different home. Last night they lived not in the countryside, but on a sandy beach. After a strange party, for lack of a better word, I walked out onto the calm of the beach and looked out across the water as the waves lapped the sand. It was dark, and the sky was full of stars, more stars than I’d ever seen. For some reason not only were the stars thickly spread and crowded, but they were flashing on and off quickly in unison. And even though it was dark, I couldn’t tell whether it was night or day — my gut saying day, but my senses saying night — so I turned around, searching the cloudy upper sky for the moon or the sun so I could estimate the hour. When I saw what I assume was the moon, which was full, it was shining brightly and completely engulfed in a heavy halo of blue flames. I wasn’t afraid and it wasn’t apocalyptic… but it was something important.

It looked a little like this.


Feel free to analyze me. Caitlin says the blue flame is just because our tarp is blue.

Last night Nefarious and I read for a solid two hours, and today for another hour, which got us through to the end of Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets. When she was in California a few days ago a babysitter played her the very end of the movie (I assume that was coincidence, not an attempt to be a spoil-sport), which I was worried was going to take the fun out of it for her because it gave everything away just before we were able to finish reading. Not to disrupt the sinister cackle that the end-wrecker-babysitter laughed in my imagination, but it actually made it even more fun because Nefarious kept shouting out what she thought was about to happen (75% accuracy) and I feigned disagreement, so fate’s evil plan failed. Tomorrow is movie night and we’ll watch the BluRay version in full, and then on the weekend we start reading the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, which comes in at close to 500 pages — they seem to get longer and longer!

Assuming the weather stays cold enough for ice, and the forecast says it’ll be warmer but still freezing, we’ll spend the weekend skating and maybe even trying out our new sled if we get more snow (a possibility). I also want to start on a new art project. I don’t think I’ve painted all year!

I’ve posted the source code to the latest version of ZenCASH here, including the resource files, icons, and main code (which is a well commented 5,348 lines long, the equivalent of a 35,000 word essay). In the same spirit I posted the source code to DoDuck, the tool I use internally for speeding up my management of the Duck/Peanut blog. What it does is quite simple — it looks in my Eudora mailbox for that email address, and any time it sees a new email come in, it grabs the image (from either the attachments folder or the embedded files folder) and saves it alongside a text file containing the email (in both full “as-is” and simplified formats), and avoids doing it over again by keeping a little database of emails and message hashes using a very nice pure assembly FNV (Fowler-Noll-Vo) function that was taken from the exemplary PB Crypto Archives. It’s really nothing special. I did hit an interesting snag when the program was accessing files in the “\Program Files\” heirarchy — Windows 7 considers these “protected”, but instead of failing (such as giving a file access error), Windows makes a copy of the file you’re accessing and puts it in a new “safe” directory and accesses that file instead. It does this completely invisibly to your program, so your program thinks it’s accessing the file from inside the protected directory. The troubling part is that the very first time you access the file, you get a copy of the “real” version of the file that is up to date, but from that point on, Windows does not check if the original file has been updated (nor does the modified virtual file get pushed back into the true directory), and it keeps working with the file in the safe directory. As a result, the two files can become increasingly out of sync. However, I discovered that if you run the program as administrator — something that Windows is discouraging more and more — that it will use the correct file, and ignore the “safe” copy… I’m sure there’s a better way to do it (I imagine you can mark a directory as safe), but for simplicity I solved the problem by just setting that application to run as administrator. Annoying though because it’s a tricky bug to track because it all happens without Windows telling you.


I mostly like drawing the icons. I’ve been using IcoFX, which is free/shareware software…

I only made it half way (1,500 that is)

Something that I forgot to mention a few days ago — on December 6th to be precise — is that BME just turned fifteen years old, and has now begun on its sixteenth year. This makes it one of the oldest online entities of any kind, and I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find another online magazine with BME’s longevity (in addition to other achievements, such as being one of the oldest full-featured community sites). Of course I have had mixed feelings about leaving BME that have been oft-discussed, as it was not entirely voluntary — not that leaving hasn’t objectively done great things for my life — and that’s not the point of this commentary, but I think what was hardest to deal with in the first year of being gone was not the bitterness and infighting and other obvious negatives, but watching the site taking a serious quality dive. I was very disappointed in what I saw on ModBlog especially, not just because I didn’t think the trying-way-too-hard-to-be-funny writing was at all funny, but because it was empty and there was no real love for the subject matter… It felt like it had lost something hard to define… When I wrote on ModBlog and BME, whether it was about a navel piercing or about extreme mods or about a turd eating super-freak, I genuinely loved the people I was writing about (and writing for) and what they did, and I’d like to think that this love came through in the writing. For a long time reading ModBlog I felt like this was gone, and I felt like BME had lost its spirit. I don’t self-aggrandizingly mean that I’m the spirit of BME, I mean that the site wasn’t meant to be just a cold magazine, and that it was a living, breathing entity that had a sense of family about its members and subjects, and that there was camaraderie and brotherhood reflected in everything it did. And that was a lot of what made BME special, and I felt like it was fading fast.

Anyway, I felt sad about it for a long time, sometimes even angry, and I felt like I’d let people down by allowing this change to happen, especially when I didn’t really see any other sites or blogs springing up to fill the void — which to be honest quite surprised me. However, giving credit where credit is due, I really have been so happy to see the editorial change in ModBlog over the last couple of weeks as Rachel has finally stopped using hired staff to write for the site and started doing it herself. BME has lost a lot of inertia in the last year, but for the first time since I left, I feel like the site is back on the right track and I enjoy reading it again, and I see it getting back what it lost. I was getting pretty convinced that it was going to crash and burn, but I sure am happy to see it seemingly rising out of the ashes, and if the transition to the long overdue new software works, I actually think it could turn out to be a phoenix rather than just an immolated eagle. There’s no joy for me in seeing it fail without me, so this is nice to see.

Sure, I often wish it was still me at the helm, or even at the helm of a new bodmod site, but there’s so use in crying over spilt milk, and since there’s nothing I can do to change the past, I am so relieved and glad to see that the site has finally found its footing and is headed in the right direction again, and that what it’s doing is something I can be proud of. Not a pride in my own achievements, but instead something akin to that of a proud parent, and in some ways that is even more rewarding — seeing something you helped create go out into the world and succeed without you.

Fifteen years. Thanks to everyone who helped it get to where it is, and good luck to everyone who’s working to make it last for the next fifteen years.


On that photo, I wanted to make a comment… Something I’ve read a few times in the comments on ModBlog from people with so-called “BME for life” tattoos is their mixed feelings and even regret in their tattoo because of the changes. I just wanted to say to those people that even if you don’t like what has happened to BME, I hope that you still look back on when you got the tattoo and what it meant to you at the time fondly, and remember that has not changed and that no one can take that time and experience away. Those of us who were able to be a part of the birth and growth of BME, a part of the rebirth of modern piercing and tattooing, a part of scarification and “extreme” mods becoming an industry, and a part of the viral spread of the ritual and suspension scene in the 1990s were a part of something unique in human history, a beautiful experience that very few individuals ever get a chance to be a part of. I hope that even those who left in disillusion have not forgotten what an incredible thing happened and how blessed we were to be the vessels for its birth and growth, and that the opportunities that we seized made history and changed the world for the better.

* * *

And in completely mundane and far less though provoking news, I moved my little car inside for the winter. A week ago this space was being used for suspension because as you can see it’s nice and tall, and I think there are some other suspensions casually planned over the winter, so don’t worry, it’s parked out of the way enough, and can be moved over a little more if needed. It was actually a little tricky to get it inside because the ground clearance on the Saab Sonnet is less than half a foot so I scraped the bottom quite badly trying to move it inside and had to put down boards to get over the bump at the bottom of the garage door that keeps outside water from flowing into the studio. But it made it, and I suppose will become a girls-only clubhouse until spring.


It’s finally snowing here in Toronto, a wet soggy warm snow that will probably be gone in the next day or two. However, now that it’s snowing I have to get off my ass and fix the wipers on my truck. Ages ago I kicked the circuit breaker out of the fusebox (it’s near my left foot) and lost it. It’s an odd size, so I haven’t found anywhere that sells it and I don’t feel like paying an official dealer an exorbitant amount to replace it. I stuck in some speaker wire to short circuit the connection to make sure that the wiper motor does in fact work and it’s not some other problem causing them not to function, and it worked, so I’m just going to try and find my soldering iron and build a new fuse holder that’s normally sized so I don’t have to worry about driving blind in inclement weather.

I also did some more work on the Craigslist/Kijiji search tool ZenCASH, mostly bugfixes, but a bunch of new features depending on when you last checked… I’m going to add support for Backpages (another similar classified ad site) soon and then I’ll re-release the latest version of the source code as well because it demonstrates some interesting new things like instance control with mutexes. I also wrote a time-saving maintenance tool, similar to the tool I used for updating ModBlog, for the duck-lookalike site, and I have about a hundred images queued for posting which when I get a chance I’ll insert into the queue now that my list of excuses has been shortened…

* * *

Good news of the day is that shortly I’m off to the airport to pick up Nefarious from her vacation. As I said, it was nice having some days to sleep in and be more lazy than usual, and it was nice being able to go out in the evening with Caitlin, but I missed her a lot and can’t wait to see her.

I also wanted to recommend one more movie. Last night we watched Big River Man (watch the trailer here), a documentary about a Slovenian eccentric who attempts to swim the length of the Amazon as he and his zero-budget volunteer support staff gradually descend into a sort of Apocalypse Now madness, and the man’s distraught son tries to keep him alive. It’s a really amazing portrait, and if you see it at a festival or theatre in your area I urge you to check it out, and if you’re torrent-minded, it’s pretty easy to find as well. I felt kinship with the film… The guy in the movie is different from my father in that he (the swimmer) struggles with deep depression and a childhood from which he seems to experience PTSD — it almost seems like his ultramarathon swims are a coping mechanism and an attempt to heal himself of some deep psychic wounds — but my own father has always been larger-than-life and the kind of man that children — and adults — see as a superhero, and I think like the fish man, he sees the world as poetry and in turn expresses himself through poetry — not that he writes “poems”, but that every word he says or writes and even every action is part of one long epic poem… So I could relate to the story of the son struggling to cope with and learn from having such a mad visionary as a parent.

Over and out! Today I have resisted hitting 3,000!

Back from THE ROAD

The Road may forever be the bleakest movie to have such obvious and prominent product placements.

Depiction of dystopia is my favorite film genre and this is the best example thereof since Children of Men. A glimmer of something less senselessly grey than the ash-covered low groaning howl that devours the screen for the duration of the film faintly shines in its last moments, but the all consuming image of hopelessness is so stark that it is so cold and clammy and almost completely devoid of emotion, and the world the movie pictures has been so beat down and starved that it’s hard to even care about the characters or have much of a response to the deeply dehumanizing horror many people have sunk to. It’s eerie. Not because you don’t want to empathize for them, but because you’ve been raped for so long that you have no heart left with which to have any empathy.

The cinematography is broodingly brilliant, almost completely desaturated and with an unsharpening mask applied more strongly for the length of the movie than in any other project I’ve seen, making every hair a thick coarse whisker, and turning Viggo’s already weathered face into that of an gritty and scarred ancient mariner and at the same time giving every object a strange dull glow through the haze that hangs over the world.

Recommended and worth seeing in the theatre.


This post has almost 3,000 words. Sorry.

Since I have not posted in a few days this may get long, and as such, I won’t bother grammar and spell checking it.

I’m in a strange place right now because Nefarious is visiting with her mom in Los Angeles. I think the last time she had a visit was at the start of the summer, something like six months ago (so she was very happy and excited for her trip of course and I’m hoping is on cloud nine right now), so it’s quite an alien sensation not having her here… Not that being able to sleep in and play video games all day isn’t nice, but she’s so much of the focus of my normal days that it really tosses me off kilter when she’s away. Even the sound of my own voice is weird, as if it’s someone else’s voice somehow coming out of my throat, I guess because it’s so removed from its normal context. The positive is that it gives Caitlin and I a chance to go on a all-too-rare date night, so we’ll head to eat fish and chips and to watch The Road at the theatre.

I haven’t taken painkillers for the last couple of days, in part because I knew that I didn’t have to be as concerned with the result — being cranky from a mix of the pain itself and the withdrawal symptoms. I shouldn’t say that I “like” it, but I do “like” to occasionally go narcotic free because (a) it reminds me how unpleasant withdrawal is which keeps me from asking for my prescription to be increased, since like a fat belly, it’s a lot easier to increase than decrease, and (b) it gives me the opportunity to gauge my true and unadulterated level of pain. If I’m being very careful with my painkillers and spreading them out as evenly as possible, I am effectively pain free, and it makes me wonder if the problem is illusory and I’m just an addict. Even though I don’t think that’s the case, I do know that it has happened to many intelligent and self aware people, so I try and stay conscious of my objective reality. In some ways it’s a relief, and in some ways it’s an unpleasant and sobering reality, but like people who replapse after going off their anti-crazy medication because they’re convinced they’re “healed” (even though it was just the medication working like it should) and stop taking them, I was welcomed by and abused once more by the throbbing agony in my thighs and upper arms.

As a point of interest, and because I hope this side-note might be helpful to others, I avoided most of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal by taking Imodium. Not just to control the digestive upset that comes with kicking, but because Imodium actually is a form of opiate — it just can’t cross the brain blood barrier (as it’s not very fat soluble), so there’s no mental narcotic effect — which is why it works. Opium actually used to be prescribed for dysentery because it relaxes the muscles in the colon, causing feces to be held in the colon for longer than normal (which is also why it can constipate some people) causing more liquid to be absorbed, stopping diarrhea, and the Loperamide in Imodium and similar products do the same but without the troublesome side effect of turning the user into a junky. Lest I ramble too much, the point is that in many people Imodium eliminates the physical effects of withdrawal (everything other than the potential mental craving), and for me, this means that I can much more clearheadedly assess where I’m at and whether my problems seem stable, seem like they’re getting better, or seem the same.

I’ve been thinking lately that it was getting worse, but after the last couple days experiment I think I take that back. I think I was just believing that because of the placebo effect of moving toward a diagnosis giving me “permission” to feel like that, and because one of the effects of short term narcotics (I take Oxy-IR rather than Oxycontin because I feel like Oxycontin — the time-release version of the same medication — makes me drowsy) is that it can artificially enhance pain because of the up and down effect of the level in your bloodstream increasing and decreasing. I’m sure that not having to run around with and after and from a six year old and kicking up my legs and resting instead helped, but I really felt a lot better than expected at the end of my cold turkey stint. So that’s all good news I think.

Speaking of medication, this morning when I went out to pick that up at the pharmacy, I drove past the apartment building construction site at the end of our lane-way. They’ve been making great progress recently, rushing before the winter stops them for the season I suppose, and this morning they were raising up the temporary shileds that stop tools and workers from falling to their deaths (I assume that’s what these are anyway). I didn’t realize until after that I had my camera in my pocket, but as I sat and watched them use the crane to pull the first one up to raise it, they “slipped” and dropped it on the wire and pipe fence that tries to keep taggers out of the site, crushing it. When I told Caitlin she said she wasn’t surprised, as her experience with them is that they’re walking cliches more concerned with whistling and hooting at her than doing their work…


Not sure if anyone can even see that because of the bad photo, but it was quite funny to watch.

I saw a story a few days back on Digg (“Teach a Donkey to Fish“) about “Goppy” the elephant, a children’s book character that exists to pass conservative values on to children by telling stories about his interactions with his liberal strawman buddy “Libby” the donkey.

I went to their site, Goppy’s blog specifically, and saw an entry where Goppy was wondering about Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. The entry read in part,

Goppy heard on the news the other day that our President won the Nobel Peace Prize. He won it basically for the “vision of unity” he has for this world. Now no disrespect to our President, but Goppy thinks President Obama needs to show what he has done to deserve this award. Stand up for America, Mr. President. By the way, Libby thinks its great — any prize that has the word “peace” in it, she’s all for! No matter who wins it!

Before I continue, here’s a picture from their book, but to really get a better idea, follow the previous link and watch the interview with the woman who wrote it with her husband:


Gotta love the peace sign on Libby and the American flag on Goppy, haha, as if those two things are somehow contradictory. How do these people see the Republican Party, as Afghanistan-style warlords or something? Too weird.

goppy-coverIgnoring that Obama got the Nobel Prize not for achievements, but because the Nobel commitee wanted to send a message that they supported the shift in direction that Obama could represent for America (ironic given that he’s increasing the militarism in America even over Bush, and extending the Patriot Act, and so on), and ignoring that the “stand up for America” interjection doesn’t really make any sense, and ignoring that the weird “Libby likes anything with the word peace in it” dig, I made a general comment that much to my surprise (I will admit to having a certain amount of anti-repuglican prejudice) they did not censor and was published:

I appreciate what you’re trying to do — pass your values on to your kids. All parents should take an active role in helping form their children’s moral foundation… Or perhaps “guiding their children as they form their own moral foundation” would be more accurate.

However, my concern is that you have put labels on the message — the labels of the two big political machines in the USA — and that these labels are both too black and white, in that the issues transcend party alliance (obviously there are plenty of hard workers — and plenty of slackers — in each party), and that the labels shift over time. That is, what the parties stand for can change over time (and this has definitely happened) — so you should pin to the values, not to the label/party.

Let me humbly suggest that rather than having the characters be ham-fisted caricatures of the political parties that imply a stark black-and-white view of what is in fact a much more complex world, that you would be better off tackling issues directly, rather than confusing children by painting such stereotypical views… Stereotypical views that are part of the problem in America’s growing political divide.

Using the Grasshopper and the Ant to tell a story of the rewards of hard work? Great! But wrapping it all in political baggage and strawman characters that turn ones neighbor into ones enemy, or even just into a stereotype that isn’t understood in any deptyh? That comes with a whole lot of baggage that may not be entirely helpful to children.

But either way, I do applaud that you care enough about your children to try and pass on your values to them, and I do appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit. In those regards your children are very lucky, even if I have concerns about the way you’re going about it.

Quite a long time ago, someone derisively said to me that my father had raised me to be like him, and that I am now doing the same with my daughter — as if that’s a bad thing. The job of a parent is not to coddle a kid and send them out into the world as a blank slate, but is to help them become an adult, not just with an academic and physical education, but also with a moral and ethical foundation. So I really am happy to see parents that do what they can pass on their beliefs to the next generation. However, I think it should be done with a bit more lucidity and depth than most people who do it with a political agenda do. It’s my feeling when I’m explaining right and wrong on various issues to Nefarious that I don’t just do it with absolutes, cariactures, and platitudes, but that I do it by clearly explaining how I came to the conclusion and why it makes sense.

This type of very American party-aligned kid propaganda is far from a Repug phenomena. Judging by the kids stores that I browse here in Canada, the leftist propaganda machine is just as ham fisted and silly in how it attempts to mentally condition its next generation, and books abound on the subject. Here’s a few examples that are in the same theme as Goppy, but on the other side of the fence:



Here’s another example and yet another one. I guess my real complaint about these books is that they’re ignorant in the way they apply such black and white labels, and discourage critical thinking…

Good intentions all around I’m sure. Parents who care about the world and care about their children is a great starting point. I’d rather see well intentioned but idiotic loving parents than see parents whose views are more sensible and whose intellect shines but don’t care about their kids and raise them in loveless homes. I feel like happy adults who got that way because they are products of a loving childhood have a good opportunity to come to their senses when they are faced with the reality of the world… I hope… Because I do realize how hard it is for people to break free of childhood conditioning, so I may well be completely wrong.

As I said, we’re going to go see The Road, but I’ve really been watching so many movies. On the 29th anniversary (coincidentally, to the day) of the suicide of Darby Crash of The Germs we watched the biopic What We Do Is Secret, which felt “amateur” in its acting and production but was still enjoyable. I watched the teen comedy Fired Up!, being a sucker for this sort of low-brow comedy, and I watched the slasher film Basement Jack, and Leguizamo playing twin brothers revenge crime movie The Ministers, the bank robbery romance drama Skills Like These, a documentary about kids raised unknowingly by people potentially involved in killing their real parents in Argentina’s dirty war called Stolen Babies, Stolen Lives. I watched a great documentary about Iran from the travel series Don’t Tell Mother I’m In…, and I watched 2012 (I wish there had been more destruction, as destruction porn as it already was), and I watched another crime drama, We Own The Night, and I watched a couple Amish rumspringa-themed documentaries called Devil’s Playground and Trouble in Amish Paradise. and a movie about pro-gamers called Frag The best documentary that I watched though was Surfwise about the Paskowitz surfing family and their 25 years of bohemian life on the road with nine kids, and their feelings about that life — a mix of really appreciating it, and some resentment against their father for not passing on the skills they needed to live in the normal world. Since I want to spend some time traveling around the world in a boat with Nefarious and Caitlin, it gave me a lot to think about, both positive and negative. I highly recommend this film. Continuing in the documentary department, I watched Heckler (about just that — hecklers in comedy clubs), Herb and Dorothy, a really nice documentary about a pair of amateur abstract art collectors with an amazing collection as well as Waiting for Hockney, an art documetary about a guy who spends — wastes — ten years of full time work on a single ultra-high-resolution pencil drawing, and Jamie Johnson’s (of the Johnson and Johnson family) amazing second-movie (his first is really good as well) about wealth called The One Percent. I watched Lil Wayne, The Carter Documentary, which was good, even though I’m not a fan, and I watched Reclaiming the Blade, a movie covering western sword fighting and European martial arts, an all-too-neglected and forgotten part of our culture. I’m getting tired of typing and remembering, but also The Suicide Tourist, an overly positive documentary on euthanasia, and Unknown White Male, a documentary about a guy with almost total amnesia about who he is that I suspect is a hoax. I watched a lot of fiction as well, including Carriers and Pandemic (since I love virus and zombie movies), and Saw 6 (can you believe they’ve made that many in so little time?), Flawless and The Maiden Heist (because I love “perfect crime” robbery movies). I watched the mocumentary How 2 Build a Rapper which was one of the few awful movies on this extended list — although I tried watching crazy Christian Kurt Cameron’s Left Behind: Tribulation Force movie about the rapture which was just terrible and I turned it off. Even the cheap and unbelievable MegaFault (a made for TV sister film to 2012 I guess) was much better. New Town Killers was a fun sort of “American Psycho without any depth” movie about rich yuppies hunting humans that I made it through, and Oral Fixation was another fun psycho movie about a masochistic woman überstalking her dentist. I finally got around to watching Pirate Radio (aka The Ship That Rocked) which I enjoyed immensely. I watched The Final Destination 4 which had great gory death scenes in it — it’s worth watching just for the decapitations — and also ghost movie The Echo in which Jessie Bradford looks an awful lot like Collin Farrell. I enjoyed The Lazarus Project in which instead of being executed, people are “reprogrammed” so they can go out and live new lives, and I watched We Own The Night, because I like Russian gangster movies. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg to illustrate just how relaxed lazy I have been lately.

And while I typed all of this, I just finished watching Soul Power, about a huge seventies soul concert in Africa, which provided the James Brown soundtrack to this entry. Now I think I’ll actually get to real work. Not sure what will get added to the list, but my TV is always on and will be screening films until I leave for fish and chips assuming I don’t suddenly realize I have something important to do outside these walls…

If you actually read this far you have way too much time on your hands as well.

Smallest Person, Biggest Laptop

I think in part because I’ve been having so much fun programming lately, which made me nostalgic for having computer access as a kid, today we added a new computer to our household — Nefarious’s first “real” computer. Her Nintendo DS Lite has a superprising amount of power and a diverse set of abilities, but it doesn’t have a keyboard and doesn’t have online access. After school we went an looked at the different machines, and settled on a 17″ laptop with a 600 gig drive, a dual core CPU, and 4 gig of RAM, so it should serve her well for quite a while. And in some good timing, her mother mailed her some stickers from her trip to Hawaii which has begun the process of personalization.

Of course I have some serious concerns about her, age six, having a computer and all that comes with it — for example, the problematic and age-inappropriate litany of unpleasantries and x-rated content that typing in her last name into a search engine can evoke, to say nothing of the aggressively uncensored nature of the Internet that I’ve spent most of my life loving unconditionally. But now I have to look at it all from a more restrictive protective angle. So for starters, we set up the computer desk so that Caitlin and I can always see her screen, which allows us to keep an eye on what’s being viewed or, in some cases, who is being interacted with. I’m also installing access-control software that limits the amount of time that can be spent, as well as nanny software to block access to adult sites. I know that those will in time be bypassed, but that will still be a while, and really, it’s being there when she’s using the computer that’s the best way to make sure that the Internet (and the computer in general) stays a positive experience.

I’m quite surprised that there’s no “Wikipedia for Kids” portal (or at least I don’t think there is — feel free to correct me). It would be so easy to use the simple English index coupled with some “age-appropriate” tagging to create a wonder resource for curious children. I already have a list of her favorite sites, but if anyone wants to suggest a site that a six year old will enjoy, please do. Oh, and I was also going to poke around and see what LOGO type programming-for-kids things are out these days… Perhaps she will enjoy programming as much as I did and do… or perhaps she’ll enjoy the spinny chair above all things digital!


We’re continuing to chug through the second Harry Potter book, today’s chapter being the one in which Harry first hears a venomous voice, presumably VoldeHe Who Shall Not Be Named whisper “let me kill you” inside his head, so it was a good cliffhanger chapter… I don’t think Nefarious has been plagued at night by the books, but the first day we read the first book a while back, I dreamed all night long, the dreams richly overflowing with character and storyline all set in the Hogwarts universe. I have also worked myself out of shame in the latest games of Othello, and have retured the count of wins and losses to a tied tournament. I also did some more work on ZenCASH but am still in the middle of some of the new features so I haven’t released it quite yet — it’s up to 5,000 lines of code, so it’s getting satisfactorally chunky — and the rest of tonight will be spent watching the The Ultimate Fighter finale.