Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Blinks abroad

Monday, February 12th, 2018

I had a dream this morning that I was back in college, and that the vast majority of students had decided the organization was no good, to be replaced with a daily process in which you'd line up at a reception table, fill out forms for a while, grab a stack of other people's paper assignments to be completed by yourself, then move on to a new table with a big vat of lemon blueberry pudding and piles of plastic containers, at which point you'd ladle out some of the stuff (yes, on top of the writing assignments), grab some plastic, and write down how many portions for redistribution you were going to produce that day once the papers were written. And I felt guilty, because I wrote four, but took five containers, intending to secret away a scoop of sludge for myself.

I have no idea, really, but I was glad for having woken up, once I did. In fact, it's rather difficult not to feel serene and relieved on waking to my life, awash as it is these days in resplendent natural beauty and adventuresome delights. In part, I think it's Costa Rica itself --well, it and its marked differences from Buenos Aires, where a mere walk by the riverside could barely, and often not really, be had. There's also likely something to be said for the distance in years, in paradigm, and in practice from those college days, even if the real thing was a little less blatantly insane (it was certainly less puddinged). But those are reflections for another day. For now, there's wilderness, that space sufficiently unmolested by humans to make being one in it feel better.

ntoucanplace-5

Taking in the view after a thirty minute climb behind a rickety truck full of Nicaraguan date-palm-jacks.

ntoucanplace-4

The jungle path, as curated by some worthy, quiet folks on the mountaintop.

ntoucanplace-1

Hello from as close to Pepperland as probably exists.

ntoucanplace-3

Rounding a corner, an odd call was heard. I pointed the camera at the branches, oh hope beyond hope...

ntoucanplace-2

...of finally seeing a wild toucan, and there he was.

Once back, duty required that I journey on to Bogota, to be carouseled from a to b and back in a certain diplomatic chariot.

nbogota-1

No such luxury on the way in, however. Boingo wifi presents: flight schedule eggog, Panama edition! No tiene precio, kay?

nbogota-2

I don't know what kind of dental procedures require generators-cum-soft-serve apparatus, and I don't want to find out.

nbogota-3

Colombia's coffee did not disappoint. Neither did the lulada, a sort of persimmon-ade.

nbogota-4

Bogota's most beautiful building, the Farshad rug store. I was going to use it as misdirection for a game of 'guess where I am', but the thing was too true and good for such trickery.

nbogota-5

This, for the record, was the most dangerous the city ever got.

nbogota-6

For Dad, another piece of the Stanford diaspora.

And here our journey ends, brief interval between delicious propulsions. Until next time, may your papers be your own, and your pudding non-communal.

Unsystematized Exploration, Tropical Ed. No. Whichever

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

I got a parking ticket today, the first traffic-y citation-y article I've ever earned. It was won adjacent the Torre Mercedes (a squat psuedo-tower a block away from the ~1.2x tall "Tallest Building in Costa Rica" housing a monstrous 70s fascism-style stairway/fountain/grim reflection point, plus a few regional business headquarters), for the infraction of not having paid the unstated parking fee to the not-present-while-parking parking attendant. The damage comes to 7800 colones, or about $16, or about twice as much as the actual parking fee would've likely been. Alternatively, the cost of a goodly amount of local bacon for the pits, now on strike 'til the next lamb stew is made.

It might not be much of a parking ticket, but it's mine.

Other recent finds include the Templo de Servicios Sanitarios, an apparent hangout amongst the peaecekeepers:

The world's bearingest papayaness tree, in someone's front yard:

And that most venerable of university institutions, Tesis Kike:

Here's one for Stan:

And what looks to be some sort of Trinque refueling station:


And if the locals ain't got whatcha want, why, you can always hire one to do some rearrangin':

With a lopped-off limb and a life of utter decrepitude:

How is a clever young man to make his way? Why, by matriculating in the general direction of that Windows 7 cake shop what they got o'er in Barrio Mexico.

The real puzzler is, what'd be best carried in the following conveyance?

Acquariums? Christmas lights? Or perhaps a new product line from

I'll leave these things to the philosophers; meanwhile, it's time to load the Illegal Parker again and head to fairer margins:

The Trilema Article Database, a toollet.

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

In its ten+ years of life, trilema has amassed over 8,000 articles, a feat that has terrorized many, and confounded still more. The sheer number and variety of pieces can make recalling what was said where a bit of a bitch, especially if one can't remember an exact distinguishing phrase.

The Trilema Article Database is a humble attempt to meaningfully, if somewhat idiosyncratically1 index Trilema articles, making them searchable beyond Google's arguably useful options.

I first designed TADB to work as a lisp IRC bot that'd idle in #trilema, but opted to put it up on this site as a php script following two issues: 1. nobody's gonna like a bot capable of (eventually) spitting 8,000+ title/url pairs in channel, and 2. I'm a noob2 and lisp is beardy, how about we not wait forever for the echafaudage of what is, after all, an experimental and possibly even not all that desirable item. Should the thing prove useful I imagine it'll see a lot of surgery.

As of this post solely January of 2017, chosen arbitrarily, has been indexed, to allow potential users to chime in on any modifications3 they'd like to see --obviously, any change to the indexer itself will require a re-indexing of all known articles, which prompted the minimal initial run. Anyone interested in taking on some chunk of pieces, say a month, or a year, or even a category, is welcome to join in --I find it's a great exercise in revisiting old pieces and restructuring them in one's own head, a pleasant reward for the time spent. I'll also make sql dumps of the database available to the lordship for the asking, should anyone want to use it in part or total for Mad Science.

Please give it a spin; TADB lives here.

  1. I see no way out of this; while a number of objective criteria may be extracted from a given article and thereby used to search, an index will contain some interpreted data if it is to be used to match readers' memories to extant articles (that is, unless I'm the only one who doesn't think in terms of "Gee, what was that one piece with 587 words 42% of which started with t?" I guess it's possible. InformAssimilate me! ) []
  2. I listed it as #2 so it's less obvious. That makes it less obvious, right? RIGHT?! []
  3. Additional criteria would be especially appreciated. []

Beachcombing, A Guide

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

Remember when poring over the shore with a metal detector was socially acceptable, despite its apparently mandatory uniform of fanny packs, boater hats, oversized sunglasses, and ringed tube-socks pulled up tight to almost, not-quite reach the cuffs of beige cargo shorts? Well I don't. I'd only seen it taking place in cartoons, which might explain the universal dress code. During the last trip to the Pacific side of Paradise I spotted an old man looking almost, not-quite the part, detector in hand, headphones over hat, sweeping the sand.

I don't get it; metal detectors don't pick up crabs, and obviously that's what you'd go to the beach to see. Crabspotting is simple. You stand in one spot and wait for the shells and rocks to start moving, then you run to the morsel in question waving your arms and yelling.

Sometimes crabs and their assorted friends rent out a better house, which you can find by looking for signs of redecoration:

Sadly, this particular condominium was still on the market, and hadn't taken in any squatters.

Better results will likely be had if one is brave enough to venture into the metropolitan crabcentres.

Or inside ex-boat flotsam barges.

Once a good quantity of crabs have been duly perturbed, a good day of beachcombing calls for saying something prosaic about how beautiful the sunset is.

And of course, you get bonus points for finding bananas.

Tally it all up and I'm pretty sure I came out ahead of ol' sweepy.

Wellington Schmellington

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Pork Wellington is a dish created by a certain gourmand and which I especially appreciate for its competent obfuscation of that off-copper, sub-glottal twinge that typically assaults one attempting to finish their liver1. It's pretty much a roast-in-crust, with the more common beef tenderloin swapped out for pork, and the pate made with chicken rather than goose liver, which is also deeply spiced.

Make the pastry first so it can sit in the fridge while everything else gets going. Follow a basic pate brisee method, but sift in some baking powder before you cut in the butter. Smoosh it into a disk and let it chill so it's easier to roll later.

Next make the pate. Dump about a kilo of fresh chicken liver into a big pot of boiling water and get ready to lose some of your enthusiasm about eating this thing later on (don't worry, it'll come back). Sorting through your livers to discard any gallbladders that might've gotten in there before this point is a good idea. A few drops of whatever vinegar you have on hand will help tame the smell and aid coagulation in the pot.

Keep it roiling for half an hour, then drain the stuff and dump it into a bowl with your spice mixture, which should contain around ten grams of allspice berries with black and white peppercorns to taste, finely ground. Mash these up with a fork, adding a pat of butter now and then to achieve a thick, clumpy velvet sort of texture. Remove any whitish membrane threads you find during this procedure. Once you're happy with the texture, add a few spoonfulls of fermented dairy --I used plain yogurt and some splashes of kefir, though sour cream would also work. This'll make the pate easily spreadable, a paste rather than a stucco.

Now it's time to sear your steak; heat a pan to suparhot with some butter, and brown the tenderloin on all sides, giving the whole thing no more than two minutes or so, then transfer it to a plate to cut the heat.

Your components now prepared, you can proceed to roll out the dough; try to make a shape that more or less echoes that of the tenderloin. Spread about half of the pate on the dough, leaving a goodly margin as below, then plop the seared tenderloin on top. Slather on the rest of the pate2. At this point you'd typically spangle the log3 with sliced mushrooms, but I opted to make a bechamel of dried porcinis instead. A sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves works well, too.

Anyway, wrap the thing up like any other package, taking care not to get much of any overlap of the dough, else it'll end up too thick in places. Seal on top or along the sides, brush with an eggwash, slash a few holes, and stick it in the oven around 190C for about 50 minutes.

Pork Wellington is best eaten with his dearest friends in tow: Sir Worchestershire, Herr Rottkohl, and Madamme Bordeaux.

  1. As part of some grand cosmic joke I'm not in on, the only working remedy for my interminable affair with anemia is weekly consumption of ~half a kilo of chicken liver, which I initally found abhorrent and by now swallow with only somewhat of a frown. []
  2. Depending on the "about" of your kilo of liver and the size of your tenderloin, you might end up with too much pate --you don't want to go thicker than about a third of an inch. If you end up with extra, put it in a glass jar in the fridge and enjoy with tomorrow's toast or whatever, tell your sister you've discovered a fabulous "hair masque" she just has to try. []
  3. Masturbatory euphemism not intended. []

A Compendium of Possibly Helpful Stuffs for Erecting Mircea Popescu's WordPress with Nearly Free Speech Hosting

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

I'm not a fan of acronyms that don't spell out something naughty, but alas, they're a necessary evil, and you'll likely encounter1 the items titled above as MP-WP and NFS.

The former's something to use because it hails from an era2 when WordPress may not have been completely and utterly retarded, but merely something of a doofus, which inadequacies and bad habits were seen to by a sane man who then put it through the wringer for a decade. There's not going to be any "feature" that outweighs the boss' usage and say-so, and you're probably not in a position to identify what features are good or bad, or which methods are reasonable or batshit anyway. As for NFS, it's worth checking out as much as for asciilifeform's lack of problems with them year in and year out as for their lack of the usual Disneyland backend. They also accept Bitcoin, which is nice, though via BitPay, which is monstrously retarded.

So then, let's compendiate.

*NFS lives here. You can start futzing with stuff right away with a trial account and pay once you're satisfied all your desired pegs have holes (or the other way around, no judgment). The trial's good for a week, after which your account will be disabled and you'll have to make a deposit to get your reins back.

*MP-WP via shinohai lives here.

*NFS doesn't use CPanel or the like, but you'll find database setup under the mysql tab (start a "process" first, then you can create a db).

*To install MP-WP via SSH, open a bash terminal, and enter ssh your-username@ssh-hostname (both of these are given under the sites tab at NFS). Grab the tar.gz above with wget, tar -zxvf it, and get everything out of the "blog" directory and into the root3 with mv blog/* ./ and rmdir ./blog/, unless you've got other plans for your site. Get all yer db information correctly assembled in wp-config.php using nano.

*Your new digs will likely be decked with php "errors" in the form of warnings about deprecation and various other superficial complaints. If, like me, you give no shits about these, stick the following into wp-config.php:


ini_set('display_errors', 'Off');
ini_set('error_reporting', E_ALL );
define('WP_DEBUG', false);
define('WP_DEBUG_DISPLAY', false);

*MP-WP is themeless. If you want a theme other than the two that come standard with a new WP installation, you'll have to find one that's about as old as MP-WP itself unless you feel like some Seriously Escalated Futzing. If you see a theme you like, go to its page, scroll down to "Browse the Code", click on the Development Log, and see if there's a suitably wrinkled version there. The vast majority'll only go back a few months to a year, whereas you want nine years or more. For what it's worth, I did try activating theme versions in the 6 - 8 year old range, all of which failed immediately (typically via 'theme is broken, reverting to default').

*At some point you'll probably want to upload something like a style sheet or who knows what. I'd never uploaded via SSH before but found it's a lot less annoying than using the typical graphical interface drag-and-drop. Open a new bash terminal, cd to the directory where the file(s) you want to upload are located, and use scp to get it done:


scp local/dir/with/item/to/upload your-username@ssh-hostname:path/to/directory/where/stuff/should/go

You'll need to specify the full path, /home/public and all.

*I attempted to import a full mysql dump of my previous site, which fundamentally broke shit to the degree of wiping the contents of all pages. Importing individual tables of interest however proved unproblematic; if you're like me and pretty much just want your posts and comments, extracting these from a dump is as easy as


sed -n -e '/DROP TABLE.*`name_of_table_you_want`/,/UNLOCK TABLES/p' existing-mysql-dump.sql > solitary-table.sql

and then you can compress these and import them into the corresponding tables in your new database.

*Trilema's spiffy footnotes don't ship with MP-WP, for some reason. The plugin's called WP-Footnotes by Simon Elvery, and you can grab it here --a cursory search of WordPress' plugin directory didn't turn it up, I imagine for sins against modernity merde. Grab it, rename it to footnotes.php, copy it into your wp-content/plugins directory and activate it in the "plugins" section of WordPress' admin.

That's about it, enjoy your downgrade. If you run into any problems not covered here, please pop into #trilema and moan.

Edit October 25th: Comments ended up needing a little tweak; all comments other than admin resulted in a complaint about the author and email fields being required despite having been filled out. This was likely due to my messing around with themes, but should you run into this, make sure the $suffix line in your wp-comments-post.php matches that of the line starting with php? $suffix = in the comments.php file within your theme directory (mind that only the line in comments.php gets wrapped in the php tags).

  1. For instance, in the logs, where asciilifeform's most recent accolade of the host in question caught me in a moment of hostlessness. []
  2. 2007, nearly pleistocene! []
  3. /home/public/ by default, ftr []