Powells, Parking, Parody, Pictures

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I went to Powell's this evening after work. I probably should have waited a bit, as the traffice 'round about the 5/405/84 was bad and backed up pretty far. Anyway, I skipped out on the actual Powell's experience and instead jumped over to the technical book store. I do not think I have ranted about the parking “meters” here yet, but I will do so in the next paragraph. Anyway, I finally picked up one of the Downtown Walking Maps that Feedle had and transferred all the random Post-It's and scribbled-upon computer printout maps on to the one nice map. I also picked up Mac OS X for Java Geeks, (Torgo X's?) RTF Pocket Guide, and a book about Cryptanalysis. The first book is because I am getting more and more into OS X programming in Java, as opposed to Objective C. Both Tasty Safari and iGallery were written in Java, with the special com.apple.* extensions. The second book (RTF) was because I had a look at the RTF spec this past week. An odd Rich Text file surfaced that may or may not be connected with an ARG, may or may not have been corrupted, and which may or may not have included hidden data. I ended up “decompiling” the RTF based on the spec, and the spec really sucks and seems to be slightly incomplete. (For instance the font table is in the spec, but selecting an individual font doesn't seem to be. I had to guess that \f0 means “use font 0”). The third book was just for fun. I have been doing cryptography from the secure side for so long, it is kind of refreshing to approach it from the “let's break it” angle. Plus, it has lots of exercises. I passed up a few books on genetic algorithms, because they were expensive and did not really add much to my existing collection and/or knowledge.

So: the parking meters (or lack thereof). In most cities, when you walk down the sidewalk, you pass row after row of posts with mechanical (or now, digital) parking meters perched atop. There used to be the same thing up here, too, except the meters got old and broken and replacement parts were either incredibly expensive or impossible to find. Because of this, they decided to install new meters, but not just any ol' meters. The new ones are fancy, high-tech, and you only get one of them per side of the street per block. They are even solar powered, for the tree hugging, granola munching hippie types. Basically, you park, walk up to the machine, pay for your time (using cash and getting change back, using your debit card, or using a smart card, and it prints out a little receipt on the back side of a label saying “parking valid until xx:yy.” You then peel the label off and use that to stick the printed side (the backing) to your window (on the inside so nobody can mess with it). If you do not use all your time, you can drive to another block and park using the same sticker, as many times as you want until after the time printed on the sticker. It is all kinds of smart and all kinds of convenient.

Oh, also, I got the print version of The Onion. It includes the “Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades” article (which appears to no longer be on the site, just in the Google cache). A few days ago, I had to get some new blades for my razor. Of course, everyone was out of my measly 3-blade refills. I ended up getting an Xtreme!!!!! 4-blade razor (passing up the red with black highlights 3-blade racing razor–I think it even had a race car number on it). This 4-blade razor is so XTREME it is humorous. The little plastic holster thing you keep it in is metallic-colored plastic and includes things like little rivet shapes in the plastic and such. It's as if a high-quality metal product company (Apple, Oakley, etc) decided to suddenly make all their products out of plastic at a cheap Taiwanese sweat shop. The coloring in the plastic isn't even consistent–you can see swirls of color where they poured it into the mold and it cooled at different rates. The razor itself is ehhhh…. It certainly seems better than my 3-blade, but that's probably because the 3-blade was dull, I don't remember how well it was when it last had a new blade, and the 4-blade is sharp. I did discover I can slice open my face with four times the speed and accuracy. Also: why don't shaving cream cans tell you how much is left inside? I had to go back to the store today to get more shaving cream, when I could have easily gotten some a few days ago, had I known.

Movies: got Man of the Century the other night from Netflix. Brilliant! This may be a keeper. Got Cracker, Season 2 from Borders tonight. So far: Excellent! I also purchased a copy of Monk after having rented it from NetFlix the other night. When I grow up and become a serial killer, I'm going to get a cribbage board stick unlit matches upright in each of the peg holes, and for each person I kill, I'll pull out a match, light it, blow it out, and put it back in the cribbage board. I am NOT going to shave my head and become a neo-Nazi first, though.

Posted in: Books Dear Diary Movies

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