About Me
Hello, and welcome.
This site aggregates much of my activity around the web for your reading convenience.
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Nearby: Upper Upper West Side, NYC
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November 22, 2015
LiveJournal »

Enchilasagna, or Tortilla Casserole

I recently made a couple of these large Mexican-ish casseroles for social events, and figured I'd share the recipe.


Olive oil
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions
Optional: a large mushroom, a carrot, a bell pepper
1-3 cloves garlic
Optional: basil, paprika, chili powder
3-4 cans black beans
Balsamic vinegar, salt

  • Heat a large pot and add the olive oil.

  • Chop the onion and saute.

  • As it softens, chop and add any other vegetables you may be using.

  • Finely grate or crush the garlic, and add it when the vegetables are softened, along with any spices you may be using.

  • Cook the garlic for a minute or so until it is fragrant and then add the beans.

  • Bring to a low boil and then turn down to simmer and cook for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally.

  • Add salt and balsamic vinegar to taste and leave at low simmer for at least another half an other, continuing to stir occasionally.

Sweet Peppers and Onions

Olive oil
1 large or 2 medium purple onions
4 bell peppers
Optional: Salt, basil
Balsamic vinegar

  • Heat a large wok or saute pan and add the olive oil.

  • Slice the onion into long strips and saute.

  • Slice the peppers into long strips and add to the pan.

  • Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize.

  • Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and any other seasonings you may be using, and and stir for another minute or two.

Optionally, make a smaller batch of peppers and onions and instead prepare a second vegetable filling, such as garlicky mushrooms and onions, or sauteed spinach and chard, or you could prepare any kind of savory Mexican-ish meat filling you would like.

Assembling the Casserole

Beans and sweet peppers from above
10 medium flour tortillas
1 block of cheddar (around 3/4 pound)
1 block of Mexican white cheese (cotija or equivalent)
2 jars of nice salsa (mix of 1 red and 1 green is nice)
1 large carton of sour cream

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Choose a large pot that will accommodate the tortillas and is at least 4" tall.

  • Coarsely grate, shred, or crumble the cheeses.

  • Layer the casserole as follows, spreading each layer evenly and placing tortillas between them.

  • Pour one third of the salsas into the bottom of the pot, then add the first tortilla.

  • Spoon half of the beans into the next layer.

  • Scatter just less than half of the cheese as a layer.

  • Add half of the peppers and onions as a layer.

  • Spoon half of the sour cream as a layer.

  • Pour another third of the salsas as a layer.

  • Then repeat those five layers with the remaining fillings:

  • Spoon in the remaining beans.

  • Scatter most of the remaining cheese, setting a small portion aside for later.

  • Add the remaining peppers and onions.

  • Add the remaining sour cream.

  • Pour the last of the salsa on top of the final tortilla.

  • Bake at 325-350 for an hour or more.

  • Finish by scattering the remaining cheese on the top and returning to the oven for ten more minutes.

While the casserole is in the oven, cook 1.5 or 2 cups of rice.

To serve, slice the casserole radially, like a cake, lifting slices out of the pot with a pair of long spatulas and placing them atop a mound of rice.

A salad would be a nice accompaniment, or perhaps tortilla chips and salsa.

Serves ten or more.

Elapsed time approximately three to four hours. You can prepare the beans and vegetables in advance, or prepare and layer the entire casserole and keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two before baking.

January 07, 2013
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School
January 01, 2013
FourSquare »

Tap a Keg

@ Tap a Keg - Hearing "Gangam Style" on a bar jukebox for the first time.
December 14, 2012
FourSquare »

Corbet & Conley

@ Corbet & Conley - Uh-oh: a NYC health inspector just took down this deli's A-grade sign and tore it up.
December 02, 2012
FourSquare »


@ Cilantro
November 22, 2012
FourSquare »

Englewood Boat Basin

@ Englewood Boat Basin - Watching the city lights come on as dusk settles.
November 12, 2012
FourSquare »

Jerusalem Restaurant

@ Jerusalem Restaurant - Getting a falafel platter for a late-night dinner.
November 06, 2012
FourSquare »

Voting at Ps 165

@ Voting at Ps 165 - Standing in line for our ballots; wait doesn't look too bad...
October 31, 2012
FourSquare »

Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate

@ Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate - Kids Halloween party at the dojo!
October 15, 2012
FourSquare »

The Clebourne

@ The Clebourne
October 10, 2012
FourSquare »

R&R Coffee

@ R&R Coffee - So, I'm in a coffee shop where all the baristas wear silly hats -- and then I suddenly realize that I'm also wearing
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School - Enjoying my role as the school's ad-hoc volunteer web consultant.
October 08, 2012
FourSquare »

Raquette River Outfitters

@ Raquette River Outfitters - With our family fall canoe trip over, we're heading back towards the city -- tired and dirty, but mentally recharged.
September 21, 2012
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Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate

@ Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate
FourSquare »

Squire's Diner

@ Squire's Diner
September 18, 2012
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Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate

@ Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate - Watching the kids squirm.
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School - Starting the week with the whole school singing "This Land Is Your Land" in the cafeteria.
September 17, 2012
FourSquare »

The Clebourne

@ The Clebourne - Leaving Alex at my parents, and heading out for dinner with Piglet.
September 16, 2012
FourSquare »

The Highline Loft

@ The Highline Loft - Listening to a poem as we celebrate Sophie and Nick's wedding.
September 13, 2012
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School
September 12, 2012
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School
September 07, 2012
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School - My first school drop-off of the year -- and we were late! (But only a few minutes.)
September 05, 2012
FourSquare »

Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate

@ Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate
September 04, 2012
FourSquare »

The Blue School

@ The Blue School - The terraria at Alex's school almost all survives the summer vacation, although many are looking a bit bedraggled.
August 31, 2012
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Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate

@ Upper Westside Kenshikai Karate
FourSquare »

Shoe Tree

@ Shoe Tree - Getting Alex a pair of back-to-school shoes.
August 03, 2011

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February 04, 2011
LiveJournal »

Feast day of Saint Aventino

Today is the feast day of Saint Aventino, patron saint of the Cavaletto / Cavalletto family in our hometown of Vesignano.

You may be unfamiliar with Saint Aventino, but you can get a quick primer from SantieBeati.it (Italian; translated to English). I particularly like this image, which emphasizes his special role -- protector against evils of the head.

(The fact that our family saint is French gives you a sense of how far north and west Vesignano is -- it's 25 miles from the French border, and 40 miles from Switzerland -- about as far from Rome as you can get without climbing the Alps.)

In addition to the saint's feast, this will also be the three hundredth anniversary of the founding of the local Society of Sant'Aventino.

I'm sorry we won't be there in Vesignano to celebrate with our cousins -- this should be a major event!

-- Matthew Simon Ryan Cavalletto
November 05, 2010

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November 03, 2010

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October 24, 2010
LiveJournal »

Moonfail Screencaps

I've been following the "Wiscon Moonfail" issue because Piglet's involved, and I noticed that although there were some screencaps collected before Elizabeth Moon made the comments disappear, they weren't very easy to read, so I mashed some of them together into combined files.

The source files were the ones Maevele collected links to, but merged together and converted to different formats.

Caps File A is a PDF (79 pages, 5.8 MB) based on http://www.beloit.edu/computerscience/assets/elizabeth_moon_on_islam.pdf, https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=1kwrdovfeWaC1siXkeK1JHrLA4NkfgyZV0CDzrCsCEBxRxXqcqCEHlqPTHSWz&hl=en and https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=1j2i1gdugVi_n7DVda-ZEKOFyNBJMzQ_3ZB5isG5JZWqAexCoE5-EnfKU4bO5&authkey=CI_rmdoD&hl=en .

Caps File B is a set of giant GIFs (49 pages, 9.3 MB) based on http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/1442/emooncap2.jpg, http://pics.livejournal.com/bloodparade/pic/0000dp2c, http://pics.livejournal.com/bloodparade/pic/0000cadx and http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/1442/emooncap2.jpg .

The two files partly overlap, but have some different threads expanded, and sadly do not include all of the comments -- this was as much as I could find...

August 22, 2010
LiveJournal »

matthewsimon @ 2010-08-22T17:44:00

Here are a scattering of other links relating to LNS I've found recently:
July 30, 2010
LiveJournal »

Liberation News Service

I just discovered that someone from Liberation News Service is scanning and posting the LNS packets at http://www.lns-archive.org/.

These are from the period my parents were in the staff collective:

Packet 101 (1968-08-30)
Packet 103 (1968-09-09)
Packet 109 (1968-10-09)
Packet 110 (1968-10-12)
Packet 111 (1968-10-16)
Packet 112 (1968-10-18)
Packet 113 (1968-10-23)
Packet 116 (1968-11-07)
Packet 117 (1968-11-09)
Packet 118 (1968-11-13)
Packet 119 (1968-11-16)
Packet 120 (1968-11-21)
Packet 121 (1968-11-23)
Packet 122 (1968-11-27)
Packet 123 (1968-12-05)
Packet 124 (1968-12-07)
Packet 125 (1968-12-12)
Packet 126 (1968-12-14)
Packet 129 (1969-01-09)
Packet 130 (1969-01-11)
Packet 131 (1969-01-16)
Packet 132 (1969-01-18)
Packet 133 (1969-01-23)
Packet 136 (1969-02-01)
Packet 138 (1969-02-08)
Packet 140 (1969-02-15)
Packet 144 (1969-03-01)
Packet 147 (1969-03-13)
Packet 148 (1969-03-15)
Packet 150 (1969-03-22)
Packet 157 (1969-04-24)
Packet 159 (1969-05-01)
Packet 160 (1969-05-03)
Packet 162 (1969-05-10)
Packet 163 (1969-05-15)
Packet 164 (1969-05-17)
Packet 165 (1969-05-22)
Packet 166 (1969-05-24)
Packet 167 (1969-05-29)
Packet 169 (1969-06-05)
Packet 171 (1969-06-12)
Packet 172 (1969-06-14)
Packet 173 (1969-06-26)
Packet 174 (1969-06-28)
Packet 175 (1969-07-03)
Packet 176 (1969-07-05)
Packet 178 (1969-07-17)
Packet 179 (1969-07-19)
Packet 180 (1969-07-24)
Packet 181 (1969-07-26)
Packet 182 (1969-07-31)
Packet 183 (1969-08-02)
Packet 184 (1969-08-07)
Packet 185 (1969-08-09)
Packet 186 (1969-08-14)
Packet 187 (1969-08-21)
Packet 188 (1969-08-23)
Packet 189 (1969-08-28)
Packet 190 (1969-08-30)
Packet 191 (1969-09-04)
Packet 192 (1969-09-06)
Packet 194 (1969-09-13)
Packet 195 (1969-09-18)
Packet 196 (1969-09-20)
Packet 197 (1969-09-25)
Packet 198 (1969-09-27)

This one is from the period when they were overseas correspondents:

Packet 262 (1970-06-06)

These post-date my parents involvement, and from issue 800 on, LNS has moved out of the basement office on Claremont avenue and are located downtown.

Packet 757 (1976-01-10)
Packet 758 (1976-01-14)
Packet 761 (1976-01-24)
Packet 762 (1976-01-28)
Packet 763 (1976-02-04)
Packet 764 (1976-02-07)
Packet 765 (1976-02-11)
Packet 766 (1976-02-14)
Packet 767 (1976-02-18)
Packet 768 (1976-02-21)
Packet 769 (1976-02-25)
Packet 770 (1976-03-03)
Packet 771 (1976-03-06)
Packet 772 (1976-03-10)
Packet 773 (1976-03-13)
Packet 774 (1976-03-17)
Packet 775 (1976-03-20)
Packet 776 (1976-03-27)
Packet 777 (1976-03-31)
Packet 778 (1976-04-03)
Packet 790 (1976-05-19)
Packet 793 (1976-05-29)
Packet 794 (1976-06-05)
Packet 795 (1976-06-09)
Packet 796 (1976-06-12)
Packet 797 (1976-06-16)
Packet 798 (1976-06-19)
Packet 799 (1976-06-26)
Packet 800 (1976-07-10)
Packet 801 (1976-07-14)
Packet 803 (1976-07-21)
Packet 804 (1976-07-24)
Packet 805 (1976-07-28)
Packet 806 (1976-08-04)
Packet 807 (1976-08-07)
Packet 808 (1976-08-11)
Packet 809 (1976-08-14)
Packet 810 (1976-09-01)
Packet 811 (1976-09-04)
Packet 812 (1976-09-09)
Packet 813 (1976-09-11)
Packet 814 (1976-09-15)
Packet 815 (1976-09-18)
Packet 816 (1976-09-22)
Packet 817 (1976-09-25)
Packet 818 (1976-09-29)
Packet 819 (1976-10-06)
Packet 820 (1976-10-09)
Packet 821 (1976-10-13)
Packet 822 (1976-10-16)
Packet 823 (1976-10-20)
Packet 824 (1976-10-23)
Packet 825 (1976-10-27)
Packet 826 (1976-11-03)
Packet 827 (1976-11-06)
Packet 828 (1976-11-10)
Packet 829 (1976-11-13)
Packet 830 (1976-11-17)
Packet 831 (1976-11-20)
Packet 832 (1976-11-24)
Packet 833 (1976-12-01)
Packet 834 (1976-12-04)
Packet 835 (1976-12-08)
Packet 836 (1976-12-11)
Packet 837 (1976-12-15)
Packet 838 (1976-12-18)
Packet 839 (1977-01-05)
Packet 840 (1977-01-08)
Packet 841 (1977-01-12)
Packet 842 (1977-01-15)
Packet 843 (1977-01-19)
Packet 844 (1977-01-22)
Packet 845 (1977-01-29)
Packet 846 (1977-02-02)
Packet 847 (1977-02-05)
Packet 848 (1977-02-09)
Packet 849 (1977-02-12)
Packet 850 (1977-02-16)
Packet 851 (1977-02-19)
Packet 852 (1977-02-26)
Packet 853 (1977-03-04)
Packet 854 (1977-03-11)
Packet 855 (1977-03-18)
Packet 856 (1977-03-25)
Packet 857 (1977-04-01)
Packet 857 (1977-04-01)
Packet 858 (1977-04-08)
Packet 859 (1977-04-15)
Packet 860 (1977-04-22)
Packet 861 (1977-04-29)
Packet 862 (1977-05-06)
Packet 862 (1977-05-06)
Packet 863 (1977-05-13)
Packet 864 (1977-05-20)
Packet 865 (1977-05-28)
Packet 866 (1977-06-04)
Packet 867 (1977-06-10)
Packet 868 (1977-06-17)
Packet 869 (1977-06-24)
Packet 870 (1977-07-16)
Packet 871 (1977-07-22)
Packet 872 (1977-07-29)
Packet 873 (1977-08-05)
Packet 873 (1977-08-05)
Packet 874 (1977-08-12)
Packet 875 (1977-08-19)
Packet 876 (1977-08-26)
Packet 877 (1977-09-02)
Packet 878 (1977-09-10)
Packet 879 (1977-09-16)
Packet 880 (1977-09-23)
Packet 881 (1977-09-30)
Packet 882 (1977-10-07)
Packet 883 (1977-10-14)
Packet 884 (1977-10-21)
Packet 885 (1977-10-28)
Packet 886 (1977-11-04)
Packet 887 (1977-11-11)
Packet 889 (1977-11-24)
Packet 890 (1977-12-02)
Packet 891 (1977-12-09)
Packet 891 (1977-12-09)
Packet 892 (1977-12-16)
Packet 908 (1978-04-21)

Here's my favorite part so far, from an editor's note in LNS Packet 121, November 23, 1968:
[Another note: The following line was omitted from the White Panther State/Meant by John Sinclair, which appeared in the Nov. 9 LNS packet (#117):

"Fuck your woman until she can't stand up."

(In the original, the line was between "Fuck God in the ass," and "Fuck everybody you can get your hands on.")

A majority of the staff present when the line was deleted, male and female, felt that it should be left out. Brother Sinclair could not be reached by telephone, so the decision was made. There has been some controversy about this, however, and we feel that editors should make their own decisions.]
July 06, 2010
LiveJournal »

Air Conditioning is a Human Right!

So, after procrastinating for a couple of weeks, I finally got around to asking our building superintendent if he could mount our third air conditioner above one of the windows in our front "office" windows, which he did this weekend.

(Thank goodness I didn't put it off any further, or today's heat wave would be incapacitating.)

I'm pretty sure this was the first time he'd ever mounted an above-window air conditioner, and so he had no clear plan about how he was going to do it, but he went off to the hardware store and bought two four-foot bars of aluminum (I think) right-angle struts, showed up with his hacksaw and a drill, and improvised something.

In hindsight, nothing I couldn't have done on my own -- or with my uncle around to make snarky comments and help lift things -- except for my unfamiliarity with working with metal... I mean, I understand in principle that there are kinds of structural metal that you can drive screws into and cut with a handsaw, but I've never actually done it myself. I took woodworking in junior high school, but skipped the high school shop class elective where I might have gotten that exposure -- that's a funny thing to regret all these years later, eh?

Anyway, the really terrifying thing was that when I went to turn the air conditioner yesterday, it began making a terrible mechanical scraping sound, really loud, like the fan had become unhinged. I had visions of having to tear the air conditioner out to replace it with a new one, which inevitably would be a different size and would require the mounting to be redone...

So this morning I got a can of WD40, set up the step ladder, and balancing awkwardly atop it I pulled the frighteningly heavy air conditioning unit partly out of its housing and turned the power on to trace down the source of the sound -- and thankfully found the problem was a small plastic cleaning brush wedged into the fan housing and rubbing against the spinning blades. It must have fallen into a vent of the air conditioner some time during the winter months when we had it in storage.

Whew, what a relief!
June 16, 2010
LiveJournal »

Das Hamburger Mattenfilter

I've been doing a bunch of reading about a European DIY phenomena around home-made aquarium filters, loosely known by the name of one of the cities where hobbyists began using it: das Hamburger Mattenfilter, or the Hamburg Mat Filter (HMF).

The idea is to use large sheets of sponge matting with some type of pump to draw water through it at a low rate, allowing waste products to accumulate in its fibers to host the bacterial communities required to break it down, creating a biological filter for the aquarium.

More broadly, the mat filter is part of a mutually-reinforcing set of practices that shift away from external media filters, chemical water conditioning, frequent water changes and vacuuming gravel, and instead towards internal biological filters, more natural soils, heavier planting and symbiotic invertebrates. (aqua-magica.com)

The science and engineering behind the mat filter was written up in German by Olaf Deters (deters-ing.de) and is now available in English (janrigter.nl).

It's interesting to see the idea mutate, creating lots of sub-types:This is still an uncommon approach in the US, and few vendors sell products specifically for this market; the best appears to be the Poret foam available from Swiss Tropicals (swisstropicals.com).

I'm reluctant to mess with the filter on our stable tank, but if/when I set up another, I'm definitely going to try this technique, probably using an airlift with the a cylindrical or corner mounting.
June 12, 2010
LiveJournal »

Larger Aquarium

I've recently upgraded our family fish tank from the 10 gallon tank in the living room to a 29 gallon on my desk, and I have to say, it's been a truly wonderful experience (aside from occasional pangs of guilt about pouring so much time into a non-productive personal hobby).

We set up the 10 gallon tank two and half years ago, and Piglet found the empty 29 gallon on Freecycle last year, but it wasn't until this April that I got the matching accessories for the larger tank, transferred over the contents of the smaller one, and began filling out the extra space with more plants and more fish.

The result is pretty heavily stocked: 25 fish, of 10 different species, and a dozen kinds of plants.

6/11/10 6/11/10

The newest inhabitants are a half-dozen shrimp, and three tiny fry from our livebearing sunset platys!

6/11/10 6/11/10

Some driftwood and floating plants provide a bit of cover for the shrimp and babies, but there's only limited protection, so it would not surprise me if some of fry and smaller shrimp were lost along the way -- the Giant Dannios are particularly aggressive, and given that I've recently started feeding them freeze-dried Gammarus (sold as "baby shrimp"), I'm probably giving them a taste for whole prey...

The tank is chaotic, in large part because I was learning things along the way.

The style of aquarium keeping that I learned as a kid involved gravel substrate, limited amounts of plant life, hang-on-back filters, frequent water changes, etc -- and in fact, that's how we originally set up our 10 gallon tank.

While researching and setting up the larger tank, I've been also been wandering the interwebs, learning about more plant-heavy aquaria like the Dutch and Japanese styles. I particularly enjoyed Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist, until I left it behind on an overnight train trip.

As I've come across new things, I've layered them in over what was there already, but I'm also building up a set of ideas that I haven't been able to take advantage of yet... Let's see if I can resist the temptation to get a second tank!
June 05, 2010
LiveJournal »

Steve Jobs on selling someone their third computer

Steve Jobs, in 2003, on the market for a pad/tablet device:
It’s really true, if you’ve got a bunch of rich guys who can afford their third computer — you know, they’ve got a desktop, they’ve got a portable and now they’re gonna have one of these to read with… that’s your market!
There's more here: http://waffle.wootest.net/2010/05/13/prescience-or-who-wants-a-stylus/
May 10, 2010
LiveJournal »

Zygmunt Bauman: no more "shoulder to shoulder"

I'm grimly enjoying this handout from the Contemporary Sociological Theory class George is teaching.

Zygmunt Bauman is exploring various ways that the current period of society (emerging over the last few decades) differs from the earlier Modern era.

On politics:
If the time of systemic revolutions has passed, it is because there are no buildings where the control desks of the system are lodged and which could be stormed and captured by the revolutionaries; and also because it is excruciatingly difficult, nay impossible, to imagine what the victors, once inside the buildings (if they found them first), could do to turn the tables and put paid to the misery that prompted them to rebel.

One should be hardly taken aback or puzzled by the evident shortage of would-be revolutionaries: of the kind of people who articulate the desire to change their individual plight as a project of changing the order of society.

The task of constructing a new and better order to replace the old and defective one is not presently on the agenda...

Perhaps, as in the past, standing shoulder to shoulder and marching in step would offer a remedy? Perhaps if individual powers, however feeble and impotent when single, are condensed into a collective stand and action, things will be done jointly whihch no man or woman could dream of doing alone? Perhaps... The snag is, though, that such convergence and condensation of individual grievances into shared interests and then into a join action is a daunting task, since the most common troubles of individuals-by-fate are these days non-additive...

Troubles may be similar (and the increasingly popular chat-shows go out of their way to demonstrate their similarity, while hammering home the message that their most important similarity lies in being handled by each sufferer on his or her own)... The sole advantage the company of other suffers may bring is to reassure each one that fighting the troubles alone is what all the others do daily -- and so to refresh and boost once more the flagging resolve to go on doing just that.

One may perhaps also learn from other people's experiences how to survive the next round of 'downsizing', how to handle children who think they are adolescents and adolescents who refuse to become adults, how to get the fat and other unwelcome 'foreign bodies' 'out of one's system', how to get rid of addiction that is no longer pleasurable or partners who are no longer satisfying. But what one learns in the first place from the company of others is that the only service [they] can render is advice about how to survive in one's own irredeemable loneliness, and that everyone's life is full of risks which need to be confronted and fought alone.

-- Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity, pp. 5, 35

May 03, 2010

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May 02, 2010

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April 21, 2010
LiveJournal »

Microchips are like little beepers.

Georgia House Reps heard testimony from residents concerned about being "chipped" by the government:
... a resident of DeKalb County told the committee: "I'm also one of the people in Georgia who has a microchip." ...

"Microchips are like little beepers," the woman told the committee. "Just imagine, if you will, having a beeper in your rectum or genital area, the most sensitive area of your body. And your beeper numbers displayed on billboards throughout the city. All done without your permission."

"Ma'am, did you say you have a microchip?" state Rep. Tom Weldon (R) asked the woman.

"Yes, I do. This microchip was put in my vaginal-rectum area," she replied. No one laughed.

State Rep. Wendell Willard (R), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asked her who had implanted the chip.

"The Department of Defense," she said.
The committee promptly approved a bill which would make it a crime to do such a thing anywhere in the State of Georgia.

A misdemeanor.

(Details at AJC, via TPM.)
March 30, 2010
LiveJournal »

Old New York Maps

I've spent several entertaining hours peering at old maps of our neighborhood, considering for this purpose the area between the Hudson and Central Park, from 96th Street up to and 116th.

It took me a while to figure out which books from the NYPL collection included this area, but I was pleased with the results:
  • 1815 "Blue Book" Map of Farms (View)

  • 1867 Dripps Street Atlas (View)

  • 1874 Topographic Map (View)

  • 1885 Robinson & Pidgeon Street Atlas (View)

  • 1897 Bromley Street Atlas (View)

  • 1899 Bromley Street Atlas (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • 1911 Bromley Street Atlas (View)

  • 1916 Bromley Street Atlas (1, 2, 3, 4)

  • 1921 Bromley Street Atlas (1, 2, 3, 4)
Over the course of a hundred years, the area went from rural farmland to densely settled urban blocks -- and then, in the hundred years since, relatively little has changed; most of the buildings shown on the 1911 map are still there today.

Having these maps side by side also helps to explain some things I've wondered about for a while. For example, why are there a set of buildings facing 105th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus that angle sideways by 45 degrees instead of following the standard rectangular lot plan, as shown on the 1897 and later maps? The 1885 map shows that those lots had been part of a single open space that cut across the middle of several blocks in a row, and the 1867 map provides an explanation -- that diagonal path is the route of an aqueduct bringing water from Westchester down the the city. And the topographical map of 1874 shows that the acqueduct had to cut to the East there to avoid a downslope where the route of Amsterdam Avenue used to plunge down from a hilltop to a stream that flowed out to 96th Street.

Sadly, the NYPL uses a deliberately restrictive interface when displaying the scanned documents; I snagged a bunch of images and stiched them together, but I think it should be possible to do something similar using custom image tags, in my copious free time...
March 18, 2010
LiveJournal »


Alex was playing with Legos and got frustrated when something wouldn't work the way he wanted, so I suggested he switch to watching an old Boobah DVD.

He's only watched this disc once or twice in the last couple of years, and as he watched, it seemed to him like he hadn't seen these particular episodes before, and after he figured out what must have happened, he came to tell me: these were uploads!

He knew we hadn't gone to get them, so the Boobahs must themselves have recently uploaded these new videos to us.

Seems plausible.
March 10, 2010
LiveJournal »

Rachel Corrie

Watching Amy Goodman interview Rachel Corrie's parents this morning was a real downer.

» http://www.democracynow.org/2010/3/10/family_of_slain_us_peace_activist

I'm cynical enough not to have any real hope that they're going to win their lawsuit against the IDF -- I figure that's pretty damn unlikely -- but that just makes it more poignant: like their daughter, they're trying to stop something even though it's obviously too big for them to take on alone.
March 03, 2010
LiveJournal »

Revisiting Perl Web App Frameworks

Spent a while this morning looking at various Perl web application frameworks to see if any of them seemed particularly appropriate for the project I'm working on.

I wasn't sold on any of them, in part because I'm still fond of Mason's file-system-based dispatch model as opposed to "routes", and partly because I want to explore some other ways of setting up bindings between views and controllers.

Regardless, it was nice to see that there has been some continuing innovation in this area in the last few years, and I'll have to look more closely at a few of these in the future.
March 02, 2010
LiveJournal »


A couple of days ago, signs appeared in our apartment building announcing that "engineers" were going to "inspect" our apartments today.

We weren't sure what to expect, but I let them in today -- two structural engineers, the super, and the building manager -- and let them walk around and take pictures of exposed plumbing and a few cracks in the ceiling.

(To give you a sense of how unprecedented this all is, that was the first time I had me the building manager in person.)

I asked one of the engineers, and the building manager, and had previously asked the super, what the reason was for the inspection, and all told me they were just making an assessment of the building's condition to report up to the building's owner.

The building manager went a bit further today, and said they might make some also make a few improvements to the building, particularly to the roof and facade.

Anyway, after a few minutes they filed out and went across the hall to continue inspecting the other apartments, and I went back to my desk in the front room.

Half an hour later, after they'd finished the rest of our building, they gathered again on the sidewalk, just outside my first-floor window, and I could hear them as they chatted about the followup plan and the details they'd need for the report.

A clearer sense of what had prompted the inspection finally started to emerge when one of the engineers pointed up at the roofline of the building, and asked the super to remind him of something:

"Where did the big piece fall from?"
LiveJournal »

Back to work!

After a few months of cooling off, and a couple of weeks of kibitzing about other people's projects, I'm finally spending some time directly engaged with a couple of new development projects.

They're still in an early conceptual stages, and there are a lot of unanswered questions before any of this turns into software that anyone would want to use, but it's been fun to engage with a new concept and think about user goals and productization again, for the first time in a while.

The first one I'm focusing on is the brainchild of Kira Wizner (@yourfriendkira, www.askyourfriendkira.com), whose daughter is in our son's kindergarten class, while the one on the back burner is something I cooked up for myself...

Glad to be feeling productive again, and looking forward to seeing how these projects turn out!
February 01, 2010

Benchmark-Forking 1.00

Uploaded version 1.00 of Benchmark-Forking.

Benchmark-Forking 1.01

Uploaded version 1.01 of Benchmark-Forking.

String-Escape 2010.002

Uploaded version 2010.002 of String-Escape.
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