Dirty Databases

With employee names like “Writer, Apple” and “Apple, Non-plus,” and with founder Steve Wozniak appearing at least six times (my favorite mis-spelling: “Wozinack, Steve”, or maybe “Wojniak, Robert”), Eliyon’s database of ex-Apple employees looks like it needs a little scrubbing. I didn’t check any other companies.

“Jobs, Even Steve” had me rolling. “Softworks, Gideon” was apparently a build engineer. And yours truly doesn’t appear at all … which is just fine, thank you.

On the other hand, there were some people who I recognized. Slacker and current member of (un-nameable mailing list) Michael B. might want to check that his records are accurate. Fi would never read this web site, but she might want to check up on her file as well.

As should all six versions of Woz. Boy, that would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?


I was also amused to learn that Chuck E. Cheese was a founder of Atari. Nooo, I think that the whole illegal-alien-in-a-rat-suit thing came along in 1981 or 1982….

Suh Real

Now, this is customer support.

I remarked in private e-mail:

“We pre-abase ourselves in anticipation that our products may let you down. Trained executives are poised with seppuku knives or ready to leap from our tall buildings in the event that you call us with any bad news.”

Book-a-minute SF

I have to agree with this short synopsis of Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World, and a lot of the other summaries are probably bang-on as well in the Book-a-Minute SF / F pages…

Despite hysterical claims to the contrary, SF seems pretty healthy these days, even with the recent rash of hobbits and elves and (“Lo!”) portents and stuff. Naturally, 90% of it is still crap, but the 10% is still pretty good. There will always be writers of schlock in any genre.

Clay S. Jenkinson

I saw about 45 minutes of a tape of Clay S. Jenkinson’s portrayal of Thomas Jefferson at Tukwila High School this evening. He’s a humanities scholor who does a number of portrayals of historical figure, including Oppenheimer and Sir Francis Bacon. It’s worthwhile watching; he definitely had his Jefferson down, taking questions from the audience and remaining in character. Also, a hysterical story about making pickles….

Weapons Shop Sketch

(A customer walks in the door. There is a large radio in the corner, blaring Middle Eastern music).

Customer: Good Morning.

Owner: Good morning, Sir. Welcome to the Liberation of Frogistine Terrorist Arms Shop!

Customer: Ah, thank you, my good man.

Owner: What can I do for you, Sir?

Customer: Well, I was, uh, sitting in the refugee camp at grid S-33 just now, watching the children tease a dog with its own entrails and praising God for this fine day, when I suddenly came over all jihadishly feverent.

Owner: Excuse me, Sir?

Customer: Justifiably homicidal.

Owner: Eh?

Customer: Oppressed

Owner: Ah, oppressed!

Customer: In a nutshell. And I thought to myself, “A little lethal violence against some unsuspecting and randomly chosen victims was just the ticket.”

Owner: Come again?

Customer: I want to blow some people up.

Owner: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the ghetto blaster!

Customer: Oh, heaven forbid…

Owner: Sorry?

Customer: That stuff just rocks.

Owner: So it can go on playing, can it?

Customer: Most certainly! Now then, some weapons please, my good man.

Owner: Certainly, sir. What would you like?

Customer: Well, eh, how about a little something in Semtex?

Owner: I’m afraid we’re fresh out of plastic explosives, sir.

Customer: Oh, never mind. How are you on RDX?

Owner: I’m afraid we never have that at the end of the week, we get it fresh on the Sabbath.

Customer: Tish. Well, my fellow in troubled times, three or four grenades will have to suffice, if you please.

Owner: They’ve been on order, sir, for weeks. Was expecting them this morning.

Customer: Not my lucky day, is it? Ahh, armor-piercing mortar rounds?

Owner: Sorry, sir.

Customer: Ah, antipersonnel mines?

Owner: Normally sir, yes. Caught at the inspection post today.

Customer: Knee-poppers? Bouncing Betties?

Owner: Sorry.

Customer: Bazookas?

Customer: No.

Customer: Limpet mines?

Owner: No.

Customer: Acid?

Owner: No.

Customer: Pungi stakes?

Owner: No.

Customer: Caltrops, piano wire, nun-chucks, throwing stars, tire-irons, brass knuckles?

Owner: No.

Customer: Amanita mushrooms, perhaps?

Owner: Ah! We have Amanita mushrooms, yessir.

Customer: (surprised) You do! Excellent.

Owner: Yessir. They’re, ah … they’re a bit dry.

Customer: Oh, I like them dry.

Owner: Well, they’re very dry, sir.

Customer: No matter. Fetch hither the deadly Amanita Mushrooms, the wonderous white Death Angels, ahhhh!

Owner: I … think they’re a bit drier than you’ll like them, sir.

Customer: I don’t care how fucking dry they are, hand them over with all due speed.

Owner: Ooooohhhhhhhhh!

Customer: What now?

Owner: The cat’s eaten them.

Customer: Has he.

Owner: She, sir.


Customer: Teflon-coated armor-piercing rounds?

Owner: No.

Customer: Thermite?

Owner: No.

Customer: Phosgene gas?

Owner: No.

Customer: Anthrax?

Owner: No.

Customer: You … do *have* some weapons, don’t you?

Owner: (brightly) Of course sir. It’s a terrorist supply shop, sir. We’ve got —

Customer: No, no, don’t tell me. I’m keen to guess.

Owner: Fair enough.

Customer: Claymores?

Owner: Yes?

Customer: Ah, well, I’ll take a dozen!

Owner: Oh! I thought you were talking to me, sir. Mister Claymore, that’s my name.


Customer: Computer viruses?

Owner: Uh, not as such.

Customer: Red mercury?

Owner: No.

Customer: Flight handbooks?

Owner: No.

Customer: Bayonettes?

Owner: No.

Customer: Greek fire?

Owner: No.

Customer: Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?

Owner: Not *today*, sir, no.


Customer: Ah, how about nine millimeter full metal jacket rounds?

Owner: Well, we don’t get much call for it around here, sir.

C: Not much ca– it’s the single most popular cartridge in the world!

O: Not ’round here, sir.

C: And what IS the most popular ’round hyah?

O: Seven millimeter, sir.

C: IS it.

O: It’s our number-one best seller, sir!

C: Okay. Errr, seven, eh?

O: Definitely, sir.

C: All right. FINE. “Have you got any?” he asked, expecting the asnwer to be “no”.

O: Checking sir…. nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno.

C: It’s not much of a terrorist supply shop, is it?

O: Finest in the camp, sir!

C: Explain the logic behind that, please.

O: Well, it’s so clean!

C: It’s certainly devoid of any weapons.

O: You haven’t asked me about strap-on explosives, sir.

C: Would it be worth it?

O: Could be.


O: Told you, sir.

C: Have you got any strap-on explosives?

O: No.

O: Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. Tell me, do you in fact have any weapons here at all?

O: Yes sir.

C: Really?


O: No. Not really, sir.

C: You haven’t.

O: Nossir, not a scrap. I was deliberately buying time for the police to arrive.

C: Well, I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to shoot you.

(shoots the owner)

C: What a senseless waste of human life.

(fade, police sirens in background)

Apologies to Monty Python, etc.

Eudora 6.0

I found out (by accident) today that Eudora 6.0 is out. The major thing that’s new is spam filtering. I wish I knew more about how it worked, but it does appear to be doing a good job. It is depressing how much spam-to-real-mail I’m getting these days…

3D Engine

To my unpracticed eye, the Irrlicht 3-D engine looks interesting.

Several years ago, I was going to take the summer off and write a 3-D game engine (or at least the beginnings of one). I got a month or so into the project and wound up doing more fun things with the summer. About the only thing I came away with were some C++ wrappers for Direct3D. [It sure was a refreshing change from hacking a Java server…]