Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Tom, soon to retire

Joyce, looking forward to a new career

Monday, August 27, 2007


I'm thinking $30 of that $50 for Paul Laffoley's talk (worth every penny) could go towards my subgenius church membership, which I see as spoofing Quaker ideas about membership (my Qv2 being the new synthesis). Maybe the subs wanna pass that $30 back to Paul in the form of added publicity for his 20th Century magic (still up to date).

Speaking of up to date, I'm all paid on parking tickets and library fines, probably OK with Hollywood Video (yes, we still use the corner store, even with Netflix). I'm somewhat behind on self employment, meaning penalties (like last year). I still owe a jury duty or two.

Tara brought up the interesting technology of "piped animals" last night, meaning you have certain species you don't want to "uncage" in a particular environment, yet don't want to deprive of high living standards, either, and so you arrange to have unobtrusive tunnel systems (ductworks) whereby these various dogs or cats might emerge within various Village family homes and pavilions, much like hamsters do today.

Anyway, I thought it was brilliant -- she'd already discovered such "cat cages" on the Internet. Think of what we could do around snakes (people will want "on" and "off" controls on their "snake faucets").

Medical bills: maybe like one outstanding, for under $200. That's quite an accomplishment and I credit DWA's rock solid design for seeing us through the worst of it. The mortgage is on schedule, though I should see about an electronic pay service for these monthly routine charges. Not enough of them have been automated. So upgrades ahead.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Congratulations OATC

Hello all!

I just wanted to say congratulations to all of the company members for a job well done today! You did a remarkable job on your dancing, singing, and energy. Hooray!

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we hope to see you next year at OATC, if not during the year at other theatrical endeavors.

Fare You Well,
Jo Lane,
OATC Founder, Director, and Teacher

Breathe slow and deep like there is no hurry.
Sing like no one is listening.
Dance like no one is watching.
Laugh like it's your belly's last.
Love like there is no tomorrow.
Live like your life depends on it.
Now, take the first breath of the rest of your life.

troupe performing
Schoolhouse Rock
plus other improv

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Old Favorite

Timber by Cold Cut (low rez version), 02/09/1998

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wanderers 2007.8.21

I sort of nudged Don to cosmic fish this girl from Thirsters some weeks back, to invite her to present at Wanderers. And he did so, bless him.

Turns out she's a high ranking teacher, inside a cute female backpacker, an intrepid servant of humanity, and a spreader of good will.

I learned a lot about the Afghanis that further endeared them to me.

Liz is now hoping to base herself in Portland, her spiritual home, perhaps to do short junkets (more like my Lithuania trip). She has a long resume, multimedia skills, works hard, is personable.

Portland is very lucky to have her.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Model, View, Controller (MVC)


As a health insurance company customer, you may get inundated with paper, or you may have secure password access into your personal records, complete with graphical summaries showing just where you paid the deductible, when the company payments kicked in, and so forth.


Big companies are especially keen to see the latter, as their costs run very high. Having a NASA-style mission control room, with some bosses just staring at those health insurance screens, makes plenty of sense.

Atop these models, we have multiple Views, sometimes tailored by students of Edward R. Tufte, sometimes encoded in an XML (such as X3D), hence those very intelligible detailed and summary mappings provided by the more upscale insurance and banking institutions to their corporate customers.

Such views are likewise needed for in-house quality assurance.


The underlying databases comprise simple tabular storage, but the rules governing those records, their creation, update and deletion, are according to what're called "business rules."

These rules define the model, but are implemented in control languages, in SQL for example, with its commands to grant and revoke privileges, at the global, database and tabular levels.

Python, Perl, Ruby... JavaScript, Java are all would-be Controllers, and could potentially have some role in piping data back and forth between storage and user workstations, in accordance with the model's rules.

Related reading @ Math Forum.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Old Turbine

:: our tour guide ::

:: old turbine ::

Monday, August 13, 2007

Friends Gather

Friends and admirers gathered at the Laura Russo Gallery on NW 21st this evening, to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Louis Bunce (1907 - 1983), one of Portland's favorite artists.

I never met the man, though I must have tuned in his airport mural, a source of controversy in the newspapers around the time I moved to Portland in 1958. It's still there, through all the big changes at PDX.

My impression is people liked his spin on the word "artist" and "painter" in particular. It meant suave, debonair, carefree in some respects, yet very self-disciplined and steeped in the art world and its traditions, not just one's own stuff.

He'd studied hard in New York and Chicago, before returning to Portland during the Great Depression. He was born in Wyoming and Portland was his first real cityscape.

Louie helped our Pacific Rim tribes keep abreast Atlantic Coastal currents, from cubism to jazz to surrealism. He made the art world accessible and fun to be in.

I'm friends with his son Jon, likewise a pioneering artist-musician.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Small World

I came across this essay entitled The Theory of Relativity and Geometry in a 1949 compilation about Einstein and relativity theory, in the Multnomah County Library, sometime in the 1990s, by one Karl Menger.

I've cited it off and on ever since, including this morning, for its contribution to "dimension theory."

Karl came up with this brilliant "geometry of lumps" meme, which some trace forward into string theory and quantum mechanics, but which I see continuing as a thread in R. B. Fuller's Synergetics.

The "small world" aspect to this is: I know Eve Menger, Karl's daughter, as a fellow Portland-based Wanderer.

I also knew George Hammond, Eve's husband, and spoke admiringly of the man at his Quaker-style memorial service.

Also small worldish:

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was in yesterday's Oregonian, having been dismissed from her job as South Africa's deputy health minister, apparently for being too effective.

Our family stayed with hers in 1999 during the Parliament of World Religions in Cape Town. She was deputy minister of defense at that time, plus well connected within Quakerdom (oxymoronic? -- not if you think of defense as being truly defensive, yet still a form of martial art).

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Today Portland remembered Hiroshima & Nagasaki, and again committed to sweeping our planet clean of these subhuman weapons.

Tara and I stayed through mom's rousing speech, then hopped a fareless square Max to Pioneer Place, where we enjoyed Red Bull's Illume, a whole city block of illuminated action photos, with voting kiosks in the tent. Plus we encountered Ben Lansky likewise roaming downtown, way fun!

After drinks at Starbucks, we returned by Max to enjoy the final dance number, performed by children and their handlers.

The emcee for the evening was none other than our Spanish speaking Indonesian Muslim friend, Ronault L.S. Catalan, a guest at Wanderers that time.

The audience was skewed towards older folks, some with living memories of these events, and some, like me, born shortly thereafter, at the height of Cold War hysteria.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

sa: Pedagogy

My approach to Python is four-stepped: (0) REPL (1) import this or whatever (2) py files (3) GUI.

More memorable: "birth in the shell" like Venus; personal growth and enrichment (putting some flesh on those bones); savings for the future (crunchy py files, snake food in site-packages); then, more optionally, life as an officer in user space, a diplomat, nuanced and event-oriented.

Decoded, what this means is:
  • go for instantaneous feedback first, savoring the joys of a shell, which not every language offers.
  • then enrich your default environment with Standard Library and 3rd party imports, still in shell mode
  • now take your knowledge of the syntax and start cutting and pasting to more permanent .py files, which Python tries to interpret as job orders, work assignments (remember to schedule R&R).
  • finally, in step (3) we explore the event-driven paradigm, which in our stack depends on OO for its metaphors.
For REPL, I've been using IDLE. Yes, there's WingIDE 101, yes there's GNU emacs or any standard text editor. These days, Python is straight ASCII, so standard ASCII-based tools will work well.

In Python 3.x, we're acquiring more "color depth" by giving more nuance to the "color scale" (allowing more characters). I use the color analogy because we've already taken the step from 16 and 256 colors to millions of colors, and know what a positive difference that makes.

IDLE also sports a decent text editor, in addition to shell mode (REPL).

Partly why I use IDLE is it's the IDE most tightly bundled with Python other than the terminal mode shell. Plus it motivates an informative discussion of widgets, as in "widget libraries."

Economists used to use "widget" to mean "gizmo we needn't describe" (just an abstraction), but in software engineering, widgets are those "gooey geegaws" we call popups, drop-downs, radio buttons, check boxes -- all the interface paraphernalia currently associated with standard office business applications.

Python avoids specifying any particular look and feel by leaving it to widget librarians to define their own bindings. By the time we get to step 4, in other words, Python is already completely specified.

IDLE is built on the Tk widgets library. I do some storytelling at this point. Were we using wxPython's IDE, which I'm certainly not averse to doing, we could talk about the C++ widget library under its hood, wxPython playing a similar intermediary role to Tkinter's.

If you find this explanation "clear as mud" (an old Texas expression), consider trying this alternative one, posted recently on edu-sig.