February 2002

Translatorese tidbit

This Audi press release contains a fun mistranslation: Bearing in mind its performance figures and ample interior space, with room for five occupants, this is an unbeatably low value.

Usually these press releases are pretty good, the typically German problem of logorrhea and marketing claptrap notwithstanding.

Webberville-Manor short loop

Rode the Webberville-Manor short loop today. 36 miles. Managed to keep my average speed at about 17 mph, despite very strong winds that seemed to be against me for most of the ride (funny how that works). The weather was otherwise beautiful, though.

Two-movie day

Yesterday was a two-movie day.

First saw A Beautiful Mind with Tracy. Good movie, though a bit schmaltzy. Does a good job of drawing you in and then quietly pulling the rug out from underneath you. The movie does fall into the “heartwarming triumph of the human spirit” category, but that doesn’t make it bad.

Also saw the midnight showing of Mulholland Drive. I’ve decided that David Lynch has become a self-parody. His use of gratuitously weird imagery, situations, etc, is just getting in the way. And am I the only person who thinks the Bum in this movie is a retread of the Man in the Planet from Eraserhead? That said, I do think the movie is interesting. I don’t regret having seen it. Shoot, he could have had Laura Harring just standing there for two hours and I probably would have been entertained.

Disturbing Auctions

Disturbing Auctions. I laughed till my sides ached. Check out the Dean Martin Hand Puppet (under the category of “Emotionally Scarring Toys”).

E-bay is good for much more than I ever imagined.

People are…

Someone recently said to me “Complete this sentence: People are ___.” Had I just seen this when she asked, I would have used the word “morons.” People willing to bid $100,000 for a scooter. Ok, it’s a Segway, but come on. You can buy a scooter for $50.

Black Hawk Down

Saw Black Hawk Down last night. Very intense movie. Very. Although I have one friend who walked out on it, I thought it was very good myself. Hard to watch, but good. I was struck by how, in the heat of combat, the notional reasons for the troops being in Somalia became completely irrelevant. The ways technology would help, and the ways it could be so easily stymied: a field radio rendered useless because its operator was deafened by gunfire, a megabuck helicopter that’s a sitting duck for a rocket-propelled grenade that probably cost $50.

Learning CSS

I’ve been studying up on CSS positioning, a potentially powerful technique for writing web pages that can make the code for a page much simpler, while allowing the author to do all kinds of neat things. Note the weasel-word “potentially.” It seems there are all kinds of things one might want to do (all of which I seem to be the first things I thought of) that either don’t work quite as expected, or aren’t implemented correctly in the most popular browsers. For example, you can have a section of the web page (graphics, text, whatever) stay locked in place in the browser window–very much like with frames, but without all the drawbacks of frames. The problem with this technique is that it renders any links in the fixed section dead. Oops. It’s not a feature, it’s a bug. Oh well. I’ve put up a test page, which at any given moment may be incredibly ugly or attractive. Or both, since you can associate one page with multiple style sheets and toggle the active style sheet as desired. Yeah, that’s one of the cool features.

Sir Finks

Went and saw the Sir Finks at the Carousel Lounge last night with Tracy. The band has been augmented with a chick on keyboards, wearing her Carnaby Street finest (as were some folks in the audience). The smoke and percussive volume (they’re usually not that loud) started getting to us after a while, so not long after her friends Georgia and Cheryl finally showed, we wound up leaving.

Squirrel intruder

Seeing a squirrel indoors provokes an intense cognitive-dissonance moment. Squirrels are supposed to be outside critters. I just realized that today.

There had been a scratching noise in the attic-apparently some kind of critter had gotten in there somehow, and couldn’t get out. I went up to see, but it immediately became quiet as soon as it heard me. I left the attic trapdoor and ladder down, so that it would have a chance to climb down. It did, thus the squirrel. I propped open the door and convinced it to leave, which it was happy to do once it figured out the window was impassable.

Dating in NYC

Apparenty, dating in New York is weirder than I ever imagined. Men from Manhattan cross into Brooklyn to find cool, arty chicks. Women from Manhattan cross into Brooklyn to find cool, arty guys.

360 northbound

Rode 360 northbound today, solo. Beautiful warm day. Hard to believe the winter Olympics are going on. Saw plenty of riders out on the road, stopped by Nelo’s shop, where there was a rep from Nimble showing off some impossibly lightweight wheels with carbon rims. He had one unlaced rim and invited me to sit on it. I did, and it didn’t seem to flex at all. Pretty amazing. Now all I need to do is rob a bank…

When I got home, the 5,000-meter speedskating event was going on. Those guys were averaging about 30 mph. I have a hard time doing that on my bike on level ground. Pretty amazing.

jackanape jigger

Ok, now I’m just being silly. The googlewhack du jour: jackanape jigger. Score: 7,073,100. I actually thought it would score lower, but this suggests a variant of the game: alliterative googlewhacks.

What’s incredible is that prolegomena delicatessen actually returns 13 hits. I mean, seriously!


Googlewhacking is a new game where you try to find a pair of ordinary words that appear together on only one web page, as revealed through a Google search. This is a little like trying to find an actor with a Bacon Number of 5.

Your score is the number of hits for each word individually, multiplied together. My contribution: zoroastrian vicuna. My score: 388,600,000.