I Luv Halloween


??I Luv Halloween?? is a most violent, disgusting and hilarious book.

I mean, how else can you describe a comic in which a group of children, disgusted with the apples given them by an old lady, put razor blades in one and give it to a cop?

Or this little exchange at the end of the night:

bq. *Pig pig* Y’know that whole zombie thing you were talking about earlier?
*Finch* Did a *lot* of zombie talking earlier.
*Pig pig* About coming back as zombie slaves?
*Devil Lad* You hoping this lot’ll come back as your zombie slaves?
*Finch* I think you have to have a direct hand in killing them.
*Pig pig* Oh.
*Devil Lad* There’s still Nips.
*Pig Pig* Nah…she used to babysit me ‘n’ all, y’know?
*Devil Lad* All the more reason to want her dead.

Mourn your TV

So, my friend George just told me that his family has been selected to be a Nielsen family.

Those who know him can only suspect that TV is about to get a lot…stranger and more obscure. I mean, this is a guy who rents “old John Waters movies”:http://imdb.com/title/tt0072979/ for fun. I had never even heard of “Two Lane Blacktop”:http://imdb.com/title/tt0067893/ before I met George.

One can only wonder if the Nielsen people have any idea what they’re getting into.

Michael Hedges

It’s strange how you can have almost your entire CD collection on your ersatz iPod, everything no more than a click of a mouse away, and yet some things will go un-listened-to for long periods of time.

So I put Michael Hedges on rotation for the first time in a *long* while.

Some of it is, indeed, too new-agey for my tastes. But some of it resonates in ways it never would have for me before–there are pieces that remind me of Satie, which isn’t something I used to have as a reference point. And some of it is more bludgeoning than you would think you could achieve with an acoustic guitar. ??The Rootwitch?? seems to involve beating the guitar within an inch of its life.

Of course, in the 8 years since he died, there have been a couple of posthumous releases. Nothing, I think, to write home about, though they’re pleasant enough.

He came to Birmingham in ’90 or ’91, though I didn’t see the show. I forget the exact sequence of events, but Mike Nix and I tried to get tickets, but as it was only a few hours to the show, they were no longer available in Tuscaloosa. Mike then tried to convince me to just go to Birmingham to see if we could get some at the venue. I initially decided against it, I suspect for reasons of sloth more than anything else. Some time after he had gone, I changed my mind, and drove to Birmingham, but then had an attack of…timidity or something. Turned around and drove back.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Mike was able to get tickets. He said it was the greatest show he ever saw–though I think he revised that when he saw Richard Thompson a few months later.

Occasional C hacking (aka, Why I Love Free Software)

So yesterday I found myself in an unfortunate situation–I had just spent several days doing a significant revamp and cleanup of a clients LDAP tree (to better support multiple-domain email handling, mostly, but it had accumulated several years of cruft) when the client called me in a tizzy because their WebDAV access–necessary to modify a number of their websites–had stopped working.

Well, it turns out that Adobe GoLive! URI-encodes any (presumably, I didn’t check) non-alphabetic characters in the username it sends over for authentication. But these usernames aren’t decoded before they’re handed to mod-auth-ldap, so the lookup fails because there is no record for ‘foo%40example.com’.

If I were dealing with traditional vendors here, I expect I would have spent quite some time on the phone as everyone involved pointed fingers at one another–the web server vendor saying that GoLive! shouldn’t URI-encode the usernames, Adobe saying that the web server should decode them, the web server saying that the LDAP server should know how to decode them, etc., etc. Round and round.

But I’m not dealing with traditional vendors (at least, not on the server side), I’m dealing with Free Software. Which means I was able to download the source to mod-auth-ldap and add the following patch:

bc.. — libapache-auth-ldap-1.6.0.orig/auth_ldap.c
+++ libapache-auth-ldap-1.6.0/auth_ldap.c
@@ -404,7 +405,12 @@
LDAP filter metachars are escaped.
filtbuf_end = filtbuf + FILTER_LENGTH – 1;
– for (p = r->connection->user, q=filtbuf + strlen(filtbuf);
+ /* fscking Go Live uri-encodes the usernames, which screws up lookups */
+ char *decoded_user = ap_pstrdup (r->pool, r->connection->user);
+ ap_unescape_url (decoded_user);
+ for (p = decoded_user, q=filtbuf + strlen(filtbuf);
*p && q < filtbuf_end; *q++ = *p++) { if (strchr("*()\\", *p) != NULL) { *q++ = '\\'; p. And everything works just fine, thanks.

Why I love living in Durham

Without wanting to seem disrespectful of the upbringing I was given, I think it’s reasonable to say that my parents attitudes towards food while I was growing up were fairly conventional, and maybe a bit shy on the vegetables.

Not that I envy any parent trying to get their child to eat vegetables–there just seems to be too much substance to the cliche. Maybe it’s just their bodies telling them what they need to grow, and protein is higher on the list, and fats are just tastier, making kids natural Atkins followers.

Anyway, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve really internalized the idea that food doesn’t come from supermarkets, with its corollary that the tastiest meals on earth begin with the freshest fruits and vegetables you can find–and may not, in fact, really require anything else.

With this realization, shopping has become both easier and harder.

Easier, in that the starting point every Saturday morning is a stop by the “Carrboro Farmer’s Market”:http://www.carrborofarmersmarket.com/, and you grab what looks incredibly fresh and luscious (often from “Maple Spring Gardens”:http://www.maplespringgardens.com/ or “Maple Spring Gardens”:http://www.timberwoodorganics.com/Timberwood Organics).

Harder, in that once you’ve gotten home, you may find yourself wondering, “What do I do with two large eggplant?”. Thanks to the web, though, this is generally an easily solvable problem. Or you may have staple recipes–like, say, pizza every week while the tomatoes are fresh (it’s not tomato season, it’s pizza season).

Or, as tonight, steamed green beans, roasted potatoes and butternut squash and sauteed kale.

It can’t be beat.

Is running your own box really all that sexy?

I’m posting this to a LiveJournal account. I’m giving serious thought to making tendentious.org a “virtual” domain–that is, run services on other machines, rather than taking responsibility for keeping them up on my own.

Part of this will revolve around whether I can find services I like enough, of course–which is part of why I’m posting this on LiveJournal. The other part, of course, is whether I’m too much of a control freak for that.

*Update*: I’ve moved everything off LiveJournal. I like the little bloggy thing I wrote too much to abandon it.

I am a JavaScript slacker…

That is to say, when I’m working on web stuff, I think almost exclusively in terms of what I can do on the server side–I have been known to use JavaScript to do simple pre-submission validation of forms, but that’s about as far as I go.

However, “there’s an interesting article on how to have your ajax-enabled site degrade gracefully”:http://particletree.com/features/the-hows-and-whys-of-degradable-ajax that uses the incredibly sensible strategy of shipping all your documents as HTML that works, if mundanely (what I’m used to doing) and then, _if it’s available_, using javascript to make them full-on-robot-chubby ajax-enabled masterpieces. You won’t even enable the ajax capabilities unless that particular promise can be fulfilled.

I’m sure this is old hat, and I’m terribly late to the party, but damn it just seems brilliant.

Helpful advice from Yog-Sysop

Jim MacDonald has a non-comprehensive list of “Things I’ve learned from British folk ballads”:http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006448.html. It includes such gems as ??Avoid situations where the obvious rhyme-word is “maidenhead.”??


Alex Chilton is still missing

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to wonder before, but apparently as of today, “Alex Chilton is still missing”:http://www.gumbopages.com/looka/archive/2005-09.html#3. He lived in the 9th ward, one of places the levees broke.


Not much to say about Katrina…

I remember being quite happy on Tuesday morning, as it appeared that New Orleans was spared the worst treatment–not to minimize the damage that had been done to Biloxi and Gulfport or even Hattiesburg, but New Orleans is 1) closer to my heart, and 2) seemed like the place that held the most potential for going from a disaster to a clusterfuck.

I was actually happy hearing that the worst damage in the Quarter, which had really seemed like it would take it in the shorts, was that a bunch of trees around the cathedral had fallen (incidentally, refraining from taking out a statue of Jesus).

And then the first levee broke, and it’s just gone from bad to worse.

I’ve not sought out coverage–plenty is coming in through the blogs I read and I just don’t have the endurance to cope with much in the way of disaster pr0n–but it still pops up in odd places. For instance, Anne had been looking (fruitlessly) for chicory for several weeks, and I finally had the bright idea to ask at “Bean Traders”:http://beantraders.net/. Indeed, they have some (and will let us have some) because a regular customer was in New Orleans a few weeks ago and brought back several pounds for them. But, now, it may have to last awhile.


Kepler’s closes it’s doors

It’s ironic that Neil Gaiman’s blog would be the place I would hear that Kepler’s, an independent bookstore in Menlo Park that I went to not-infrequently when I was working the gig out in SiliValley, closed suddenly, since that is where I got copies of ??American Gods?? signed for myself and Chet in 2001.