Archives : January 2003

2003 January 5

Metacity Configuration

Just installed RedHat 8.0, and discovered they've changed the window manager from sawfish to metacity, and don't even ship enlightenment anymore. The story, apparently, is that the sawfish project went moribund, so the GNOME guys switched to metacity.

Here follows technical notes on my reconfiguration issues.


2003 January 6


I'd like to try this sometime: Werewolf, a.k.a. Mafia. It's a party game, a kind of Diplomacy without the map or the armies or the fleets; instead of conquering Europe, you just have to save your paranoid little village from the werewolves. Or eat the paranoid little village before you get lynched -- one or the other.

I suspect I would suck, but I still want to try it.

From a reference by Scott Rosenberg.

2003 January 8

World War II Cthulhu

I'll be starting in Jon's World War II Cthulhu (a.k.a. Delta Green) game tomorrow -- have just put up the campaign blog (how hardcore is that? yeesh). Am psyched.

2003 January 10

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Cory Doctorow's first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, is out. On slashdot he got called "the next Neal Stephenson" (which in my book is high praise), and he's a recent winner of the Campbell award, but I admit I haven't read more than the first chapter yet, so this isn't a review of the book. (Though I did read a previous short story of his: "0wnz0red" , and you should too.) The reason I think it's cool enough to mention now is that Doctorow has had the guts to release the thing on a Creative Commons license for free download, here.

And I think that standing out on that kind of limb is something that should be supported. We have here an author making his already relatively-anticipated first novel available for free, before you can even actually buy the thing. ("Relatively anticipated"? Well, Tor thinks highly enough of it that it's releasing it in hardcover, which is something I think publishers generally reserve for things they have hopes for.) Doctorow has been among those of us who detest the copyright extremists (e.g. here), and now that it's come time for him to put up or shut up, he's put up. What can you say but, "Bravo!"


2003 January 13

Dating HOWTO

I found myself writing the following as Letter to the Editor on Salon, in response to an advice column question. I got carried away enough that I decided to preserve it.


2003 January 14

Project for 2003

I did a fair bit of biking (some offroad, even) when I was in grad school, but haven't done much lately. (Not that I was ever anything like hardcore -- I just went riding a few times a week.) But I got to talking with a friend (Molly Tomlinson) a couple of months ago, and discovered she'd ridden from Maine to San Francisco in 2001.

After I got over being intimidated, I started thinking: I should do something like that.

I like journeys that take me somewhere. When I went to SE Asia, I made my project to get from Singapore to Hong Kong by land (and I only cheated once). When you get in a plane, you lose all sense of how far you've gone, or how where you are now connects with where you've been. By train or bus or boat or pickup truck, you can see the country rolling by. By bike, even more so. And I think one of the reasons I'd mostly stopped biking (apart from not having any convenient trails anymore) was that re-riding the same old loop and ending up where I started got boring. Doing a road trip by bike, though, has got me cranked.

I don't believe I'm going to dedicate three months to getting to San Francisco, so I've declared Provincetown as my goal. 120 mi, which I guess is two or three days. (Don't really know!) Of course, that's probably not the first step: first Concord, then Nashua or something.

There you have it -- my goal for the summer. Y'all can make fun of me in September if I don't make it.

2003 January 30

Le beau Paris

Am in Paris on a business trip -- one of the major perks of working for a European company.

So, last time I was here was when I was 19, and I was travelling with my father. I remember being underwhelmed.

This evening I just walked through St Germain and came to the foot bridge that crosses the Seine near the Louvre. The sun had just set, the lights were golden on the Pont Neuf, and the buildings of Île de la Cité were silhouetted against a cobalt sky. The enormous palace of the Louvre was on my left, and a row of magnificent mansions -- gorgeous, but too common to be worth noting in a tourist guidebook -- was on my right. It gobsmacked me -- put my brain on puree and blew it out both ears (and damn, it was a chilly night to have to be scooping cold brain back into my head).

I shan't claim Paris is overrated again.