Friday, January 30, 2009

Night Glow

Central Kentucky has been pounded by a bad winter storm, and much of the city is without power. The Packrat household has been staying warm; our biggest problem is that we are addicted to the kerosene heater now, and we're going to have to stop using it lest we run out of kerosene before the storms.

Even so, we have the best part of city living occuring at night: night glow. I grew up in the country, so I hadn't ever seen the city light in a big snow. The first big snow we had in Lexington was when I was living in an apartment in college. When the clouds come in completely and the snow is iced over, not a single photon of light is absorbed before its time. I've seen it brighter than most days out in town. It's one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen.

We've got it back with the clouds and ice. It's quiet and bright out at night, and every time I go out I just want to go walking on campus like I did in college.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tending a sick machine

Instead of heading to bed like a good little Packrat, I'm sitting here at work in the machine room, with a CE who was expecting to replace 1 bad CPU. Instead, he is instead arguing with support about why all 4 processor boards called out multiple errors in a 5 minute period. The poor machine isn't very happy, and neither am I.

EDIT: We think it's the systems firmware. I upgraded the one system, and the rest will be done soon.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We've lost two great actors

I didn't realize that both Ricardo Montalban and Patrick McGoohan have died. Wired has an article that links in a very nice video by McGoohan about the end of the show. I like how he admits that he didn't have an ending to the series until the very end... :) He was loyal to his wife, to the point of refusing any love scenes. He also is a Christian, having originally studied to be a Roman Catholic priest.

Also, YouTube has a video up with Mr. Montalban talking about his career. Skip to 21 minutes into the video, when he's talking about reading the Wrath of Khan script. I love Mr. Montalban's humility in saying "I being getting acquainted with the character.... and to my despair, I sound to me like Mr. Roarke. They're going to laugh me off the screen." He stayed with his wife and was a practicing Roman Catholic Christian. He even was 10 times more buff at 60 (yes, in Wrath of Khan that's his own chest) and even 70 than I am at 35...

It's interesting that this nice Protestant packrat admires two good Catholic men. So be it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Definitions: "Plain Sense Meaning"

(If you're reading this for the first time, please come back in few days. I'm not really happy with this, and am going to rewrite it.)

One of my New Year's resolutions is to write more commentary on the Bible, especially on texts I'm studying in the mornings. Before I post here, I wanted to define a couple of terms that I think are important. The first is "plain sense meaning".

David Reagan is the first person I've heard describe "plain sense meaning". In an article about Revelation, he said:
Another key to understanding the book of Revelation, a very important key, is to accept the plain sense meaning of each passage. Even if you don't understand it, the best rule of thumb is to just accept the plain sense meaning. My "Golden Rule of Interpretation" that I use throughout the Bible from beginning to end, whether it's prophecy or not, is this "If the plain sense makes sense, don't look for any other sense, or you will end up with nonsense."
I extend this to all of the Bible. Each author has a plain sense meaning that applies to each section. Sometimes, it's an idiom. When the Hebrew Scriptures says "water of the feet", it's probably talking about urine. The Law's restrictions of meat cuts to avoid are probably a euphemism to tell people not to eat an animal's sexual organs. The plain sense meaning requires interpretation, not 100% literal translation.

Also, you can end up with a verse-level plain sense meaning that seems to contradict a second verse's plain sense meeting. In that case, we work on synthesizing the two verses. Often, we find that the two verses are complimentary.

Watching Tin Man

I am paying attention to the classics.... I just finished Fall Out for The Prisoner, so I'll start re-watching the series and commenting on it here. But first, we watched the 4 hour (really 3, plus commercials) version of Tin Man tonight. I watched some of the 6 hour version earlier, and I just couldn't get interested.

The 4 hour version worked better, but it was still a 2 star effort. Zooey Deschanel had two expressions, and neither of them were appropriate for any scene. I started to want her to die, Jar-Jar style. The director wants you to know that Kathleen Robertson has cleavage. Since she didn't want to act for him, he must be trying to distract you. Alan Cumming recycled his performance from Spy Kids 1, and not in a good way. (By the way, special effects guys, if you're going to take half a brain out of a fellow, don't show the brain in the jar as a whole brain....) Richard Dreyfuss was completely and utterly wasted here.

The 3 hour run should have been a 3.25 hour run. OTOH, it's clear from the fact that it was a decent cut that the 4.5/6 hour cut must have been awful. I just don't care enough to go back and see.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Resurrection of a machine

Our old laptop has looked like this for a while now:

It's hard to tell from the picture, but the screen is dead and so are the LEDs. We paid $2000 for a very nice laptop in 2005, and it breaks off a $0.20 power adapter. The Toshibas of that era have power connectors that are soldered to the motherboard. Every time you plugged or unplugged the power cord, it strained the soldier joints, and eventually they break. I fixed the laptop once, but it didn't stay fixed for more than a few weeks.

After digging on the Internet, I finally found the pictures (sorry, but I couldn't find the link again...) that suggested soldering a wire instead of replacing the silly Toshiba part. I didn't take a picture of the soldier joint, but here's an out-of-focus picture of the wire job:

I did break one rule: I used a sound plug (a 0.25" mono plug, to be exact). I did at least make the power cord the female plug, so that at least there's less dangers of shorting out:

Now, it works, for as long as it'll hold:

Tolerating the intolerable

Somehow, I expect that France would not tolerate Monaco shelling Cannes, nor would the English tolerate the Welsh shelling Bath. The US wouldn't write off San Diego or Del Rio. So, why should Israel not respond when the Arabs of Gaza either tolerate or actively help Hamas to attack Israeli cities?

The Israelis should be praised for their restraint. Most reasonable people (including Europe through its entire history) would have just wiped out the entire population and let the refugees find another home. Israel has at least attempted to not kill civilians.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I've been in a bit of a post-election slump, even before the carb comas from the various family dinners. Plus, I've been distracted by The Prisoner from NetFlix.

Even so, have a happy New Year.

Coming up this month from Kentucky Packrat: my new pet theories on The Prisoner. (No, Number 6 is NOT Number 1....)