Mad Times

“To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart.” – Wendell Berry

March 28th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

The poetry of Rod Peckman

My friend Rod Peckman has started getting some of his poems published in various online venues. I think they’re really good. I started a little page to keep track of them. Have a look at The poetry of Rod Peckman.

March 22nd, 2008 at 12:03 am

Wisdom from other bloggers

Julie Leung posted a lovely remembrance of Anita Rowland (that’s also a flaming rant against cancer). I started to leave a comment over there (actually I started it three weeks ago right after she posted), but I realized it was becoming more about me than it was about Anita or Julie, so here it is.

I started to write: Anita existed on the opposite end of the “talking to strangers” spectrum from me. And while that is true, it struck me that even by saying it that way I was highlighting the difference in mindset. I doubt Anita even recognized the concept of “strangers”. She was a master at connecting. Both connecting with people and connecting them with each other. I think that’s one of the most important things human beings are capable of. I’m thankful for the connections Anita made and for the example she set.

When I ran across the draft of this post (after putting up the Friday cat picture that has been the only content on Mad Times for a long while), I was reminded that bike blogger Kent Peterson (who happens to live three blocks from me) recently wrote a post including this gem: “I said I’m a guy who talks to strangers, I didn’t say I was any good at it.” Which comes to me as a minor epiphany. Of course you don’t have to be good at it. Of course it’s like everything else: you get better at it by being bad at it repeatedly.

I read a lot of blogs. It’s lessons like these and posts like the ones linked here that make it worth the effort.

January 11th, 2008 at 12:16 am

Gaming google

I suspect we’re going to start hearing a lot about people who have died in a blogging accident.

Just saying.

July 20th, 2007 at 1:00 am

One-click library searching

Merlin over at 43folders pointed to John Udell’s venerable but still spiffy library lookup bookmarklet generator. I couldn’t figure out what values to use to make it work with the King County Library System catalog, but I was able to hack the code to make it work. Since most of my friends who use the library probably aren’t going to do that themselves, I’m sticking it here for them to grab.

What this does is if you’re looking at a book on Amazon or any other page that displays the book’s ISBN in a recognizable way, you click on the link I’m about to share and it will open a new window showing the search results for that ISBN in the KCLS catalog.

Drag this link: KCLS-it to the link bar in your browser. Then go look something up at Powell’s and once you’ve got the book you want showing, click the link in your link bar. It should open a new window (or tab) showing that book in the catalog. If the book isn’t in the system it will show you a list of items around that ISBN that are in the catalog.

Yell if you have problems and I’ll try to help you out.

April 24th, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Peak Car

There was a surge of publicity a while back about the concept of Peak Oil (the point at which production begins declining as supply dries up).

Could it be that we’re coming to the point where people are going to start to realize that we’re heading for a similar precipice in the life of the individual automobile. These energy and resource intensive conveyances are just too inefficient for them to survive as our primary method of transportation for much longer. And making them electric doesn’t help that much. You still need roads and parking lots and garages and factories and repair shops for individual cars regardless of your fuel source.

What makes me wonder this now is that Orson Scott Card, who’s usually a bit of a wingnut has posted a piece called Life Without Cars (via).

April 23rd, 2007 at 6:05 pm

Deleted file recovery in Windows

I had one of those heart-stopping “oh !@#$” moments this morning. I’ve been using Adobe LightRoom since about February as my primary photo management and manipulation tool. Over the weekend I’d been exporting all the lost gloves from iPhoto on the mac and last night tried importing them into LightRoom. I had some problems so I deleted all the imported stuff, emptied the trash, and tried reimporting a subset. The problems persisted so I called it a night.

This morning while waiting for folks at work to make up their mind what they wanted me to work on, I fired up LightRoom again and was horrified to see that when I thought I’d been deleting the stuff I’d just imported, what I’d actually done was delete everything I’d ever imported. This revelation was followed by much cursing and head bashing and gnashing of teeth. All the photos Becky and I had taken since February gone. Poof!

Once I’d gotten done pounding on things I went googling for file recovery tools. I’m happy to report that I found a couple of free tools that allowed me to get back a large portion of the lost pictures. Neither tool is perfect, but they’re imperfect in mostly complementary ways.

Read the rest of this entry »

April 22nd, 2007 at 11:24 am

Danish gloves

Got an email a couple days ago from a woman from Dortmund who spent 3-1/2 months in Denmark and took 150 lost glove pictures while she was there! Amazing variety both in setting and style of glove. Thanks, Anita!

April 13th, 2007 at 2:45 pm

Tax law perpetuates the cube farm

Great piece over on Joel On Software about how depreciation deduction rules make office cubicles effectively cheaper than offices with real walls.

March 21st, 2007 at 6:21 pm

Lost gloves in poetry

Today’s Writer’s Almanac includes the poem “First Day of Spring” by Ann Hudson which starts off like this:

It’s a wild March morning in Chicago, the wind

dragging its nets through the streets.

Trawling for its usual and plentiful treasures:

crushed styrofoam cups, torn newspapers,

lost gloves, a blizzard of fast food napkins.

March 6th, 2007 at 6:19 pm


The latest shiny toy in the universe of social networking is Twitter. It couldn’t be more simple. Its complete reason for existence is to allow people to repeatedly answer the question “What are you doing?” It’s like having your very own four-year-old except this four-year-old won’t just ask you incessantly what you’re doing, she will also share the answers you give her with the other people she’s nagging.

It’s one of those things that only really becomes fun when all your friends are doing it too. Unfortunately for me, my real world friends aren’t all that interested in this kind of silliness and my on-line friends are more on the order of acquaintances and this level of sharing maybe isn’t suited to that level of relationship.

So go add me so I don’t have to feel so much like a lonely creepy stalker guy.

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