It is almost, but not quite, completely unlike tea.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Panning for gold

Kananaskis Riverbed (Dave Ketchup, CCL)Children make memories as a river makes stones; what appears at first to be a swirling mass of chaos reveals, on closer examination, countless specimens of exquisite beauty.  The riverbed is our gold mine, each stone tumbled and polished to perfection.  We sift and examine, and eventually decide that we want to take the whole riverbed home.  We know that the river never stops moving, never stops changing, despite our wishes to the contrary.  The best we can do is to gather a handful of our favorites to take home.  I think I found a keeper this afternoon.  On arriving home from work, I found α at her desk.  I asked what she was up to, and she said, "I'm doing my work.  My homework."  Without missing a beat, she returned to her addition worksheets.  This is a child who was too sick to go to school today.  They don't even give her homework when she is at school, so she makes up her own assignments.  To quote Homestar Runner, "I know, can you believe it?"  A child doing homework by choice, for the sheer joy of learning; I think I'll hang onto that one.

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bikes, Blues, and WHAT I CAN'T HEAR YOU

 So this little motorcycle rally came to town a few weeks ago... maybe you've heard of it.  Something like 75,000 motorcycles and 300,000 people converging on one two three small sections of our fair city.  Luckily, our intrepid local bureaucrats were quick to educate the visitors on appropriate rally behavior.  Signs were posted on most roads leading into down proudly proclaiming, "WELCOME TO FAYETTEVILLE, PLEASE RIDE QUIETLY."  Uh huh.  For most of the cruisers I see, this could only be accomplished by turning off the engine and coasting.  But exhaust systems are a whole 'nother story.

Happy/Rush HourThe focus of the rally revelry is Dickson Street, a 4-block entertainment district just east of the UA campus.  Dickson was known for a few good restaurants/bars and too many smelly hippies when I was in school, but it has been "made up" significantly since those olden days.  Most of the vacant buildings have been remodeled or torn down, and there are more restaurants than I could visit in a year.  For the duration of the rally, the smelly hippies were replaced with smelly bikers (the latter are distinguished from the former by their slightly cleaner clothes).

OK, so maybe I'm stretching the truth just a bit.  As this was my first time to attend "the event" I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  I was semi-familiar with what bikers expect to see at a rally, but what I ended up seeing was considerably tamer than my fevered predictions.  The main activities of the crowd seemed to be walking, smoking, and attempting to enter any of the 5 bars on the street.  All of the bars were filled to capacity, so the bouncers would throw out a few patrons every couple of minutes and drag a few more in to keep things in balance.

If I had to sum up BB&BBQ in a word, it would be LOUD.  Just loud.  The internal-organ-vibrating thud of an endless string of bikes was a constant reminder that internal combustion engines are nothing more than a series of controlled explosions.  Even if you're not into bikes, the rally still offers plenty to see and ingest.  I'll be going again next year -- but I'll probably take along my earplugs.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


While reliving some of my misspent youth in the Computer Gaming World 80s archive recently, I came across this innocuous quote about the 1988 CES:

Spectrum Holobyte... was demonstrating a Russian puzzle game involving fast moving shapes which have to be organized to fill up a limited space.

Hmm. Who would want to play something like that?

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

A small change to Rails routing

A recent change in the way Rails deals with incoming requests caught me a bit off guard. I was used to being all loosey-goosey with my routes, like saying


and having Rails happyily translate that into a request for /categories/show/34. However, when I caught up to edge a few days ago, my tests started failing. Wah? Further investigation revealed that the culprit was that flagrant .html hanging there on the end (why? because I can). After a bit of digging on the Rails mailing list, I finally found my buried treasure: a post by Jeremy Kemper mentioning that Rails now considers . a "URL separator." Ergo, your route




and all's right with the world again. This allows us to force a format just by using it as the extension (i.e. trigger a specific response via responds_to), so I don't mind the change. I just wish someone had mentioned it a bit more loudly... like I'm doing now.

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