## Hanny’s “the construction is killing us” Sale

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 20th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 3:21 PM, local time.

So, those of you in Rochester during November might be interested to know that Hanny’s clothing store downtown is having a huge sale this month, mostly because the construction on 1st Ave and 1st St is making it very difficult to see Hanny’s at all, or even get to it. I imagine its being quite cruel to their holiday earnings. At any rate, almost everything is on sale, in the 25% to 30% range.

For those of you not familiar with Hanny’s, they are a pretty good “nice-clothes” clothing store. Their men’s-ware section has lots of suits, suit coats, over coats, leather jackets, hats, canes, sweaters, socks, ties, dress pants, dress shirts, dress shoes, etc., etc. I’ll probably be going back after Thanksgiving to get a new leather jacket, and maybe a new hat. My old leather jacket is at least 8 or 9 years old now, and getting a little rough around the edges. The people inside are friendly and helpful, but not annoying, like at some places I-could-mention-and-might-eventually-mention-but-won’t-right-now. In the subway level, they have women’s clothes, too, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge there. It could all suck.

Anyway, there is my plug for Hanny’s and their November sale.

## Mmmm… Data…

Posted by me on Monday, the 12th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 11:42 AM, local time.

or, Data is cool, and so can you?

Everybody likes data, right?

Everybody collects databases of the stuff for later analysis; everybody saves all their receipts, just in case, one day, they can get all the data into a computer so that complex statistical analysis can be performed; everybody sets up complex sensor networks around their beer making equipment so that an accurate model of the fermentation process can best be formed.

Everybody reads through wikipedia for at least a couple hours a day to gather data on the world.

Everybody constantly sets of web cam filters to gauge the amount of light sensed at the time, and saves that data off, with the proportion of the various colors in the frame, so that later one can determine what the ambient background light composition and intensity of a room is, so that real-time changes in that light, given background expectations, can be used to indicate event occurrence (maybe intruder alerts?).

Everybody wants all their circuits in their house to have nice ammeters hooked up to them so you can tell how much power each circuit is using, and tell if any surges or drops occur unexpectedly that might indicate faulty equipment.

Everybody makes a note of when they started and stopped reading a given book (such as, started reading at page 5 at 4:15pm, stopped reading at page 10 at 4:30pm) so that later your average rate of reading can be computed, and when coupled with how well you liked the book later on some sort of rating scale, and how often in a yearly period you read the book, you can start to figure out how much your interest in the material, comprehension, and familiarity increases your reading rate.

Everybody catalogs their book collection online at LibraryThing, with a complex set of meta-tags with internally encoded extra information because they just don’t collect enough accurate information about the books currently for your liking.

Everybody catalogs their music collection, and when dissatisfied with the amount of information collected and how loosely its formatted, designs a new database structure to accurately capture all the complex relationships that can be used to reference a given piece of music in any number of ways, and then takes the time to type all the new information in.

Everybody reads encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun.

Everybody likes doing complex statistical analysis on random sets of data, just for practice.

Everybody likes March Madness time… so they can try out their new March Madness predictor algorithms that take into account all past season data and uses genetic algorithms to determine the best prediction metric.

Everybody surfs through the Mandelbrot set for fun, just looking for that amazing piece of complex space that is the most beautiful.

Everybody wants to keep track of historical RAM pricing via an automated process, to enable estimation of future pricing.

Everybody wants to tag all their non-searchable data so that later when the non-searchable data becomes searchable (like images), their will be a better semantic meaning ready and waiting to be applied.

Everybody keeps all their old mail in file cabinets… just in case.

Everybody wants to scan in all their old notebooks, to allow easier searching of one’s pasts thoughts and so you don’t forget what you thought about one Thursday 12 years ago.

Everybody wants to make a Euchre playing program that keeps track of the random legal moves that were made in a given situation, and what the eventual outcome was, so that this can later be applied to real games.

Everybody wants to record all of television and save it off for later analysis.

Everybody records all of the classical radio station, along with song data, so that later all the good ones can be saved off and compressed into the library… seriously, even when they already might have a copy of that song, its unlikely that it was the same performer.

Everybody buys multiple translations of old literature so that the differing translations can be compared and word choices analyzed to gain a deeper understanding of the intent of the original.

Everybody wants to get a stopwatch so that various routes to different places can all be timed, so that the data can be added to a database (with the place trying to be reached, starting point, time of day, day of week, etc.) and the best routes from anywhere in town to anywhere else in town can be determined, potentially saving entire seconds of my day!

Everybody loves data…

…right?

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## The problem with bookstores

Posted by me on Thursday, the 8th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 9:58 PM, local time.

Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?
- Henry Ward Beecher


I’m thinking that even these quotes must be given to people based on Google’s huge database of knowledge of everyone’s habits and behaviors? ‘Cause I sure do seem to get a lot of quotes about how I buy too many books. I mean, seriously, I feel bad enough already. Ah well.

Maybe I should go buy a book to make myself feel better?

(A few hours later…)

Now that I’ve done that, I do feel much better. Hopefully, I will get to read the books I have bought soon and can comment on them. They are both things I have not seen before, and I am quite excited that they might both be rather good. Only time will tell!

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## Yay Zooey!

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 7th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 10:23 AM, local time.

So, everybody likes The Wizard of Oz, right? The quintessential American Fairytale (arguably, one of the only ones). The books are fun to read, and although aimed at children, adults are not uninterested. The movie is a timeless classic. A cornerstone of our modern culture. (I can’t back that up.) A feast for the eyes, the brain, and the heart. Unsurpassable.

What need have we for another movie version of the story? None.

However, there is a new Sci-fi miniseries in the works (well, probably already finished) that will be aired in December 2007 sometime. As near as I can tell, it is a modern retelling of the story. Remember all the crazy remakes of Der Ring des Nibelungen in the 1980s? Where Odin and the Aesir all rode motercycles and biker outfits? Not like that, but something like that. More grungy, less happy. Darker. Not something for the kids this time. No people in actual scarecrow costumes or tin suits. Nobody dressed up like a lion. Somehow it all revolves around the tin man (apparently). Nobody knows how or why.

Anyway, the main important point here is that Zooey Deschanel (Elf,The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) stars as Dorothy Gale (aka, DG. Seriously? Seriously.) This little known actress is spectacular, consistently outperforming her roles. Plus she can sing. Now, I don’t know if they are going to have singing in this remake (I almost think not…), but nonetheless, its an obviously important factor :).

So, if you like Zooey, or The Wizard of Oz, I would recommend looking for this miniseries in December. I think it should be fairly good. However, nobody really trusts my taste in movies like they should, so you will probably all ignore me. Your loss!

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 6th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 1:55 PM, local time.

So, yesterday, it tried really hard to snow here in Rochester, and it did flurry a bit on three separate occasions throughout the day. I was very proud. Soon we’ll have real snow, on the ground and everything!

Then, I saw Andy’s away messages telling me to go look at the MichiganTech webcams. Apparently it snowed there fairly good. The ground is pretty much covered, though it looks like only an inch or so, and it doesn’t appear to snowing at the moment. Very much not fair. But, they always get snow first (and more, obviously) so I really shouldn’t be too surprised. It does make me want to go play in the snow though. From the looks of the forecast here, it will be quite some time yet before we get any accumulation.

On another note, I saw someone else’s away message as well, and it was pretty funny. I am pretty sure its from a movie somewhere, but I can’t remember which one. It was a quote: “No! Don’t you get it? If you die in Canada, you die in REAL LIFE!”

Hilarious.

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## Persistence Pays Off

Posted by me on Monday, the 5th day of November, anno domini 2007 at 6:53 PM, local time.

or, Things that you were sure never actually happened in the office break-room, but still are funny.

So, I actually saw someone today try to rock the candy machine back and forth to make the bag of M&Ms fall. In the end, it worked for him, but I was almost certain he was going to break the thing, or have it fall on him. He was rocking it several feet backwards, and then pushing it back to its normal position, causing a big crashing noise. It took several such attempts.

I guess I know other people who have done such things, but sometimes you forget that people really need their candy, and they’ll be damned if they have to buy another bag just to get the one they already paid for. But, I gotta say, if the machine falls on you and kills you, is it really worth the trouble? I guess I am once again reminded not to buy a bag of King Size Peanut M&Ms from the break-room candy machine.

Not that I am particularly fond of Peanut M&Ms anyway, but still.

## Sigh. Another apology.

Posted by me on Friday, the 2nd day of November, anno domini 2007 at 11:17 AM, local time.

So, yeah, it had been two months almost. Sorry about that. The longer it got to be, the more frightened I was about blogging. Just too much pressure for a high quality post or two. So, I got that out of the way earlier this week by posting the first random thought in my head: a low quality idea that got soundly berated by all. And that’s OK. Just had to get over my trepidation.

Now I hope to get back into the swing of things. I have taken the time to move all my ideas to blog about from my iGoogle notebook over to my blog’s draft section, hopefully meaning that I can more easily develop them and get them published easier. From opera, book, television, and movie reviews to random thoughts on people, places, and things, there are 46 such items, in various states of done-ness. Some are little more than titles, others are lists of links I should talk about, and some are very close to finished, with sentences and paragraphs and everything. Just need to polish and publish.

So, once again, many apologies for my lack of blogging recently. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I hope to do better in the future.

Also, don’t expect more than one or so posts per day, possibly down to one or so per week. I don’t want to overwhelm my readers with too much to read. I also don’t want the occasional reader of my blog to miss too much if they only stop by a couple times a week and read the most recent post. Not that my posts are so interesting or important that it would really be that big of a deal. :)