weblog from the 1970s
Monday, January 19 2009
Today was Gretchen's actual birthday (she turned 38). I gave her the microwave I'd bought the other day, and it seemed to make her happy. Though it had an interior of equal size, it took up noticeably less shelf space than the one it was replacing, proving once again that the trend for the thickness of all gadgets (including the walls of microwave ovens) is to asymptotically approach zero. A microwave oven is never any cleaner than it is before it's ever been used, so throughout the day I'd find myself stopping to marvel at its China-given shininess.
My main project today was to build a website for my father consisting of the log he kept of his homesteading efforts back in the late 1970s. The original document had been a series of handwritten notebooks entitled Living. He'd transcribed these to a Microsoft Word document, and today I wrote a parser to break the entries into dated segments and insert them into a MySQL database. Given the inconsistencies of the ways he'd indicated dates (which at times included ranges of days), the parser ended up being an elaborate monstrosity. But it mostly did what it was supposed to do, eliminating what would have otherwise been an enormous amount of busy work. See for yourself my father's new Homestead website. I've experienced some nostalgia as I've paged through the entries, particularly in the place where my father related how my seven or eight year old self looked forward to a day when he wouldn't have to hoe any more corn.
This evening Gretchen and I watched Kill the Messenger, the latest Chris Rock concert movie, which contained a lot of the jokes we remembered seeing him perform back when he opened for Metallica (?!) at Bonnaroo. In the editing of this film, there were many tight cuts of him in places like London and Johannesburg; often the cuts would be in mid-sentence, with him starting it in one city wearing one outfit and ending it in another wearing another. (It was a clever trick at first, but it quickly lost its novelty.)
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