Archives for June 2004

Back to Archives

a new old toy

Yesterday I picked up a new old toy from someone who got tired of having it collect dust in his basement. It's an SGI IRIS Indigo (more commonly referred to without the IRIS... just Indigo). It's another of those machines that were $30,000 to $40,000 new, but these days they'll go on ebay for next to nothing. I'm starting to build up a collection of old SGIs: two Indys, the Personal IRIS, an Origin 200, and now the Indigo.

The machine's an R4k, which most likely means it runs at 100mhz. I don't have all I need to boot it up, so I don't know that for sure or how much RAM it has (the SIMMs don't say and I can't tell). It does have the Elan graphics package, with 4 geometry engines. I've put up pictures showing the card's size compared against a PCI card, some rewired traces, and the card without z-buffer (here you can really see the 4 geometry engine chips that dominate the main card). I also put up a picture of the Galileo video daughtercard, which snaps into the Elan. I don't have either of the breakout boxes for the Galileo, though, so it's not going to do me much good at the moment. I do have an extra IndyCam that'll connect to the Digital I/O, but that's it.

Like I said, though, I can't yet boot it up. The only SGI monitor I have out here in California is the one on the PI, and its input is composite RGB. I have a couple of SGI branded GDM20D11 monitors in Michigan, but getting them out here is the issue. Hopefully, though, I'll be able to get a friend to carry them along when he drives out in a few weeks. Then we'll be in business.


Like I said the other day, Kathy and I took off for a little mid-week trip up to the Bay Area. We got back this afternoon/evening after a return trip that lasted a lot longer than the drive there. We got on the road about when I wanted and traffic was moving just fine until all of a sudden we hit a stretch of road construction on the 5 where it took us an hour and a half to travel 20 miles. It was ridiculous. Most of the time a brisk walk would have more than kept pace with us. Not only did that lengthen the drive, it also put us back into LA during rush hour, which meant more fun on the 405 and the 10. A little over 6 hours to get there, but about 7 and a half to get back.

getting out of LA

Kathy and I are up in the bay area right now, on a quick trip to catch up with Alan before he flies off to Hawaii. We drove up yesterday, are hanging out here until Thursday morning, and then we'll turn around and make our way back down the 5 to LA.

The friends we're staying with have wireless, but my ever-helpful laptop has decided not to cooperate with it. It sends out DHCP discovers, and the DHCP server sends back an offer, but the laptop refuses to carry through and get to the request and ACK stage. Watching the network I can see all the appropriate packets going where they should, but then my machine decides to just pretend it's deaf. I love when it does that.

weekend wrapup

I didn't really mean to take the weekend off... It was just one of those things that happens sometimes.

Continue Reading...

making the rounds of LA transit

Yesterday I managed to travel every rail line in the Metro rail system in a single trip. I first needed to get to Pasadena City College, where I thought I would be taking a summer class, so I biked over to Union Station and hopped on the Gold Line. Sure it takes a little longer, but I had a book to read (I've been reading Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam) so I enjoyed my time, as I always do.

Errand done at PCC I decided that my bike was really driving me crazy and that I needed to take it back down to the REI in Manhattan Beach. To get there it was Gold Line to Union Station, Red Line to 7th/Metro Center, Blue Line to Imperial/Wilmington, and then Green Line to Douglas. I think total trip time was right around an hour, with a good half of that on the Gold Line. It was my first trip south of Washington/Grand on the Blue Line and my first trip of any kind on the Green Line. All in all I can't say it was a bad experience, though people like to deride the Blue Line as 'Ghetto Blue' and the Green as the line that goes from nowhere to nowhere. Well, for me it went right where I needed to go and that worked out just fine.

I left my bike in the very capable hands of REI's bike service people, who are going to be installing a new rear cassette, a new chain, and new brake levers. Hopefully this will clear things up for a while. Doing a little math with the guy working on the bike, I realized that if I ride my commute 3-4 times a week (which I intend to do once the bike's behaving properly), plus through in a couple miles extra here and there, I'm looking at up to 50 miles a week. Over the course of a year that's 2k - 2.5k miles.

doh... catch up time

I've not been the best at keeping things up to date over the past few days. Can't say that was intentional.

Wednesday night Kathy and I walked the three blocks or so down to the Orpheum to see Sunrise. The Orpheum has undergone extensive restoration and renovation since it stopped being a first-run movie house several years ago, and it shows. Everything looks amazing, almost to the point of not really looking old anymore. It still is old, though, and it's very cool to see what the end result for other theatres could be. Unlike the Los Angeles, the Orpheum has modern seating, which I don't know if I'm sold on or not. I think that was in large part what made it not feel old.

But who really cares what the seats are. THe place is old and grand and looks great.

Though Sunrise is a silent film, it was released with a Movietone recording of the musical score. That recording is the only music that exists for it today, or was until composer Robert Israel went through the entire film transcribing notes and finding the pieces used. On Wednesday he and a 18 piece orchestra performed a slightly rearranged version of the score during the film.

Hugh Hefner was the night's sponsor, and he and his dates sat seven or so rows in front of us. This week's Downtown News has a good article on Hef and his love of cinema. The article also mentions the censorship course he's endowed at the USC Film School. I'm enrolled in that class for the fall; though I signed up because it was Casper teaching more than anything else.

the pistons thought they had it

Last night my roomate and I headed over to the Bonaventure Brewing Co to watch game 2. Those of you keeping score at home may remember that this was where Kathy and I watched game 4 of the San Antonio series. This time, though, it was an early game and happy hour pricing was in effect for the first hour. I got fish and chips, which were $5.95 and not the $4.95 suggested online. They weren't spectacular, but they weren't bad, so all in all I can't really complain. I imagine they'd be better from the McCormick & Schmidt's happy hour menu but having not been there before I didn't know whether they'd have the game on.

Downtown happy hour prices are something I will definitely be exploring over the upcoming months. I'm all about cheap food.

My prediction is still Lakers in 6, though it could well go 7. I think they win game 3, lose 4, win 5, and come back to close it out in game 6. We'll see, though. I could also see the Lakers winning 3 & 4, and then losing 5 because in their hearts they really want to win the championship in LA.

short dream

I'm sitting in the apartment this morning waiting for the cable guy to come. I hate Comcast, and I hate how much cable costs, but it will be nice to get more channels than just ABC, KCAL9, FOX, UPN, and PBS. But whatever, you don't care about me getting cable...

The important thing is that I think I just had a one-minute long dream this morning. I'm pretty sure that I looked up at my clock at 8:56. Then I proceeded to dream about getting up, finding the cable guy at the door, and trying to get my teeth brushed while he went down the hall to grab his bag. And then I woke up, looked at the clock, and it was 8:58. As it all too often happens I had managed to wake up within 5 minutes of the time my alarm was set to go off for, but I'm just amazed that I could -- in the course of two minutes -- fall back to sleep, have a dream, and wake up.

ahh, good times

I don't like to bore you with lists of the random fun queries people use to make it to my site. Enough people do that; I think you get the point. This time, though, I'll make an exception. I am currently #8 at google if you do a search for intercourse positions for overweight individuals. That's good stuff.

If you ever are bored enough to really want to see what searches bring people to my site, check out googlefun.


I just realized that I had 13 files open in one vim session. I think maybe at that point you're supposed to realize that, hey, there's a world outside of this terminal window. At least I'm not using emacs, though. Then I'd probably just boot straight into it and never leave.

I was looking through the eThreads code tonight, as part of my rewrite. I found stuff in the core that I didn't even know was there, which is kind of crazy when you consider that I wrote it all. That's what happens, though, when you write something over the course of 6 years. According to this history I did in 2002, the last ground up rewrite before these last few weeks was in 1999. Granted, a lot of the code has changed since then, particularly with the work I did in late 2001 / early 2002, but the major pieces were put in place in '99.

And yet, with all this revision, I still beat myself up with things like:

my @f = $content =~
            | (.*?)(?:(?={[\w/])|$)

Mmmm... Regular expression fun.

songofthemoment: Joseph Arthur - "All of Our Hands"

I recently made mention of Joseph Arthur, and so to check the link I went to his site and noticed a free song linked off the main page. I had sort of forgotten about him after getting out to Largo to see him in Oct. 2002, so I eagerly downloaded the track.

At first, I didn't know if I liked it, but I'm lazy so it stayed up in my mp3 player. I listened to it a few more times, and all of a sudden realized, hmmm, I do like this. So I'm mentioning here. After all, it's free music. I'm hoping that when the new album gets out Joseph gets back out to LA. It's been a while.

Music: A Full Night at Molly Malone's

Friday I did the whole bike back from work thing, took a shower, waited for Magilla to get back from work, and then finally we set out. First up was a little walk up the street to check out the studiowarming party for They put on monthly arts events where anyone can come and just do whatever it is they do. Art for art's sake, they like to say. We spent a little time talking to Jason Waters -- the guy responsible for Artistsalon -- after he wandered into a conversation we were having about tap water competitions. I'm pretty sure he thinks we're weird now. He was school of theatre at USC, which is cool.

But anyway, I was writing about music... After spending a little time at the party I hopped in the car and headed over to Museum Row. Destination, Molly Malone's. I was originally just headed there to meet up with someone I needed to talk to, but looking at the bill earlier in the day it turned into a show I was excited about. Paper Sun (to be mentioned and linked in a second) were putting the night on, looking to bring together a bunch of acts they enjoy and are friends with.

First up was Dawn Thomas, who I'm mentioned before in the context of singing a song with Saucy Monky. I only caught the last couple songs, but I enjoy hearing her vocals.

Next up was... I can't remember his name and the Molly Malone's calendar won't load for me at the moment. Doh. It was good, though, and I apologize to whoever I'm getting to short-change here.

Third up was Paper Sun. I first saw them last October, when they played a show at Room 5. I've also mentioned that Sally has been playing with Saucy Monky. Paper Sun's got a really jazzy vibe going on, and I've really enjoyed them both times I've heard them. I especially like their song "Los Angeles", but I can't seem to find a clip of that online to point you to. I'd encourage checking out "Never Alone" (mp3 link). I think that's closest to the live sound of any of the stuff they have online.

Next up was Gabriel Mann, who I'd heard of but never heard. Really good, definitely worth checking out.

Now, these last three bands all shared one thing in common that I think deserves to be pointed out here. All three shared bass and drum combo Carson Cohen and Adam Marcello. Now, I'm no musician but knowing your stuff for three different bands in a row seems to me like it would be a bit tough. But they pull it off, and they do it well. These two are everywhere. It's crazy.

There was one last act, but again the calendar isn't working and I actually had to leave anyway so I wouldn't be able to do much commenting regardless. A fun night to be sure, and something that they're looking to put on more often.