Monthly Archives: October 2008

We’ll settle this with a good ol’fashioned smile-off!

McSmile vs Smileden!

Another boring ROCK BAND entry

I played a few more songs on Expert at 100%. I’m going through and doing all the easy ones — or at least getting gold stars. I still can’t get past about 84% on Green Grass And High Tides… Perhaps I will have to play Caitlin’s various brain training games to get farther.

My better songs I’m ranked around #100 on the worldwide rankings. I figure that’s pretty good. I’m #15 on “Gone Away”, but because that song just came out I imagine that ranking will drop down to a similar rank as the rest over the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow Saira and perhaps others are coming by so we’ll finally have a full band, which I’m looking forward to. Oh, what a small world I live in and what humble dreams I have nowadays.

Nefarious said to me the other day that it was OK with her if I cut my mustache but that she wanted me to grow my beard as long as possible, ZZ Top style (she did not reference ZZ Top of course, but she described what she meant). Not sure if that’ll happen — it grows in to this length pretty fast but then it sort of hits a wall I think… Yes, I’m bored and Caitlin is working late today.


Caitlin thinks I’m teasing her when I say I’m going to start a blog called “Clever Things Caitlin Said Today”. Although I guess it could be a twitter page. So we’re talking about the cost of living on a boat if your kid is going to a land-school, that the fee of having your boat in the marina is based on the length…

Caitlin: “Yeah, the snip fee, right?”
Me: “The slip fee.”
Caitlin: “Oh, right, the snip fee is what a cutter charges.”

(A cutter being an underground castration specialist)


Anyway, I was reading the blog of a live-aboard family that posted in a recent entry here, and was thinking about a little island called “Sandy Cay” between Jost Van Dyke and Tortola in BVI near where Gillian and Clive used to live, and found it on Google Maps:

What’s interesting though is when I switched to the regular map view, the island totally disappeared (inset photo), as if it doesn’t exist (bringing to mind a story I read in some sailing magazine this month about a recent wreck on Sable Island that occurred due to the island not being on a GPS system’s map and a course being plotted right through it)…

This is in a way appropriate, because Sandy Cay is one of probably millions of beautiful places that you’ll never see unless you have a boat (or a float plane I suppose). According to Google Maps scale, the big catamaran in the photo above is probably about 60′ long — I’m guessing it’s a costly charter vacation rather than a cruiser. When I went past the island (in 2003), there were a half dozen boats making it their highly exclusive beach of the day. Here’s the picture I took of it from Jost Van Dyke.

I was there looking at a house — the one in the picture below that looks like a castle (it was full of antique furniture formerly owned by Ernest Hemingway). Asking price was around a quarter million dollars, and the neighbors, the only other people who lived full time in this group of houses, were home schooling their kids. The main reason we decided against the purchase was that at the time there were fairly high condo fees to maintain the building’s private beach.

The beach was really stunning though (that’s it below if it’s not obvious)… A thousand feet, maybe more, of sandy beach with palm trees along its length, shared by a dozen people which guaranteed you’d almost always have it to oneself. I don’t have any “what if” hindsight about it, but I do hope to be able to revisit these islands soon.

Housing prices on Jost Van Dyke and in the BVI in general have gone up a lot since I looked at them in 2003… But I do have to wonder whether the end result of the so-called “world economic crisis” is going to put these houses as well as luxury sailboats back on the market at a greatly reduced price. Part of me hopes so, but if my theory that this is less about economic hardship and more about wealth stratification is correct, I actually think it could increase the prices of luxuries as the rich get richer and seek to control more and more assets for themselves.

In that case, off with their heads and all…

A Community Site Based on WordPress

Eight years ago I wrote the IAM community software that BME still uses, which, as dated as it is now, was pretty cutting edge at the time and contained many features long before they hit mainstream community sites. Back in 2000 when it was put together, I wanted a tool to allow myself to maintain a blog, but being a DIY sort of person, I chose to write my own tool instead of going with blogger or livejournal. I patched on multi-user functionality as an off-hand idea, never thinking it would take off. Take off it did, so over the next few months I quickly added new functions like instant messaging and the other bits needed to transform it from a blogging tool, to a multi-user blogging tool, to a true community site.

I’m now looking at creating a new community site (which has nothing to do with body modification), and I was thinking about WordPress, which also went from a blogging system to a multi-user blogging system (ie. WordPress MU which powers I’m very excited about “BuddyPress“, a mod of WordPress MU that’s got a number of added components to transform it into a community site (which could also have a community generated content magazine integrated, community generated photo galleries, and so on — if this had been around eight years ago, my life would have been much easier). It’s still in pre-release, but I don’t anticipate launching until 2009 anyway… The site I’m working on is a low-fi site optimized for extremely high latency and low bandwidth connections, so I think the WP/BP engine could be ideal as it can be so thoroughly themed and modified. Anyway, if my help is useful, I might get involved with them on a developer level to give myself a head start…


I played the Devo song Girl U Want at true 100% on Expert in Rock Band… Surprisingly this places me at about #102 in the world rankings. That’s not bad of course, but I like that even when you can play a song perfectly the game is still on — it’s not as if I’m first. At “perfect” it becomes about really hitting the timing perfectly, and having a strategy about using your bonus power (which doubles your score for a moment, so you need to time it at the highest scoring parts of the song). The top player in the world is still about 3,000 points above me I think.

We ARE rich, even NOW

I was reading about Japan pursuing space elevator technology and the article made an off-hand comment about the economics of megaprojects that bugged me (and not just their typos):

Much like the proposed tunnel under the Barents Strait [sic] between Alaska and Chuhotka [sic], the project has not yet been proven feasible from an economic perspective — especially in a difficult period for the global economy. $10 billion though, still seems like small change to achieve the greatest engineering feat in human history.

$10 billion of course is the much tossed around number that reflect the monthly US investment in the military venture in Iraq.

According to the FAO, up to at least 2030 global food production exceeds needs (the problem is distribution and class/cost issues). Global energy production is massive and grows yearly, as does general global manufacturing productivity. Certainly we have issues — water and resource shortages and environmental damage most obviously — but the reality is that humans grow richer every year and have more than enough basic resources to care for everyone on the planet several times over. The only reason that we have an economic crisis is that class inequality has gotten way out of hand and too much money is in too few hands.

I can’t emphasize enough that as a whole we are incredibly rich. It’s simply that we’re squandering what we have giving too much to too few, and are pissing away an awful lot of resources in maintaining that inequitable status quo through war and other tools of the “Illuminati”. Unfortunately the average person is so stupid and gullible that they are willing to murder each other over religion, nationalism, race, and other divisionary illusions that keep us from progressing as we should.

It’s quite obvious, but I’m dubious anything will change.


I scored 100% on Simple Man at Expert level, but it’s not a true perfect game because I actually slipped and hit the trigger in the middle of the song playing an extra note, so even though I scored “100%” it has a lower score than my best non-perfect game. Oops.

Cooked some delicious spaghetti sauce for supper. Nefarious is going to visit her mother in New York for the weekend so I’ll have a break from cooking — which isn’t really a chore anyway — and more excitedly, getting up early in the morning! Yay for having a few days to sleep in.

Seriously, it’s quite luxurious!

I got Caitlin a present today and wrapped it. As you may have noticed, there’s some blood stains on it. First Nefarious cut herself on the tape dispenser building something out of cardboard boxes, then Caitlin cut herself wrapping my birthday presents, and now me… I really think that thing has got the taste for blood and can no longer be trusted. I’m not sure what the right way to dispose of a haunted tape dispenser is? Am I going to have to throw it into a volcano or something?