DIARY 2003















Sun, Sep 28

<23:48> Kewlitude alert: The Matrix Revolutions will have a Mech Fight!!! I'm totally frozen at a sub-zero thermodynamical temperature, despite the minor spoilage and the fact that this might be added just to make the Matrices a complete and utter distillate of Real Sci Fi. I did suspect something like this from the brief Mech appearance in Reloaded, but the trailer (links here) makes it obvious. The movie premieres on November 5th, hopefully in the kewl fNordic countries as well.

Today I lugged Prkl's CRT from Varkaus on a bus ride. The walk through a few blocks was not exhausting, but man did my arms hurt after that. Now I'm starting to consider getting a new graphics card, as the G100+Voodoo2 don't quite cut the cheese, particularly when it comes to movie playing. A minor problem is that Prkl needs a PCI card, which these days is getting a little obsolete. On the other hand, my planned future machine will be something like a Mini-ITX which will likewise only have PCI.

This week I managed to read another SF novel, despite the fatigue and lack of time induced by work. Norman Spinrad's Deus X was a refreshingly rare piece of theological SF, that perhaps harks back to Heinlein's Job, A Comedy of Justice. At around 150 pages it was a rather compact story of Catholic Cyberpunk, centred around the question whether a software consciousness has a soul. Written in 1992 it had a few stunning predictions of the Net which had come true in some forms. I found this enjoyable read in Tiimari for 2.50€ :-).

Tue, Sep 23

<20:15> Sync happens. Just today there was some sweet cake available in the teachers' lair, leftovers from a previous party. It was in no way planned for today which is autumnal equinox, TeknoHog's decennial, Athlon 64 release day, and a generally significant day in the Illuminatus mythology fnord. Otherwise the day has not been wonderful, as I was totally unprepared for my new courses. I'm looking forward to tomorrow as I'm starting a first physics course for the 7th grade.

Another sync event took place last Wednesday night. I was shaving in front of the bathroom mirror, leaning back and seeing some of my wannabe long hair hanging behind. I had a brief vision of myself with a truly long hair, combed loosely backwards in a Highlander style (I'm referring to the films). It wasn't enough of a mystical sign for me, as I'm still trying to decide whether to go Delta and shave it, or let it grow, but there was something else.

During the same night, one of my students (in fact, one of the most artistic in my classes) had a dream where I was preaching the unity of physics and love, with long natural dreadlocks. She told me this in the class, without knowing of my Buddhist connections and dreadlocked past.

I guess the signs in favour of my hair-raising havoc are too strong to resist. Actually I'm getting into the nice stage where I can tuck some of the hair behind my ears, so it's less in the way. But strange is the situation in that Antti now has shorter hair than me, due to a role he's playing in the student theatre.

Fri, Sep 19

<23:38> Today's final lessons on physics and chemistry called for some neat demonstrations. For the 8th grade we had some optics left to cover, so we did ordinary practicals on that, but I also showed the sodium water trick. It wasn't really as violent as I'd expected, and I repeated it a couple of times with about dried-pea-sized pieces.

For the 9th grade I naturally wanted to show off something more impressive. For our organic chemistry purposes, the magic sausage a.k.a. carbon tower was wholly appropriate. Knowing it would be messy, I halved the numbers as I found a small 50 ml beaker. Thus I used 25 ml of sugar and 10 ml of H2SO4. In addition to having the chemicals in correct proportions, the beaker should also sized twice the amount of sugar, for the best visual effect. This is what I got out, it's in a fume cupboard. Pretty phallic I'd say.

I also repeated the sodium demo under the reasoning that I needed NaOH to neutralize the mess, and it would be boring to use stock chemicals. Of course it wasn't enough in the end, I ended up using spoonfuls of NaHCO3 as well. Surprisingly, I was able to clean up the beaker with a dishwashing brush, while most of the fake Tampere sausage went into /trash/bin.

Sat, Sep 13

<23:25> Both on Thursday and Friday I had two extra lessons, as I was replacing another teacher on a short leave. It meant solid six-hour teaching days for me, which was fairly exhausting. I didn't have much energy for the remaining afternoons. I've found it really annoying that I'm unable to do any shopping (my flat is missing a table, among other things) as my working days end relatively late, and on these two days as I finished at 2 pm I was too tired to do anything. Fortunately the next period looks much better, all my lectures are between 10am and 2pm.

At least Thursday morning was a fun pair of lessons. In 9th grade chemistry we were dealing with carboxylic acids, on which I did a short demonstration, and on esters where we did a proper experiment. Each group could choose an acid and an alcohol, and make the ester. The smell was rather terrible, comrades, and it turned out an interesting day for the rest of the classes in the lab :-). But that's chemistry.

On Friday night it was time to get Illuminated fnord. The name of this house/trance event at Νν was really Illumination, though any of the 23 conspiracy references were fortunately absent fnord. It was overall quite neat to have a proper rave at the place, and to see more people dressed up properly and focusing more on dancing than getting drunk. I had my camou kilt with the robotic Cyberdog top, and way too many female fans interested in my netherlands :-j.

As an unfortunate coincidence, Tuomo was away partaking in a LARP, but at least Antti could join me. We even had some chat and drinks afterwards, meaning I only got to sleep around 6am. I'd gotten up at 6am that morning, so except for an hour-long nap in the afternoon it made a full day. Now I gotta start planning for next weekend and TeknoHog's decennial :-).

Mon, Sep 8

<22:56> Got DSL. Prkl and Willow are online, with the usual disclaimers: no guarantees, but I try not to kill any active transfers. :-)

Sun, Sep 7

<21:14> Saturday night: what a perfect time to geek out with computers and related electronics. This does include heavy pardeying, but firstly let's go through some nasty hacks.

I had paid a brief visit to Varkaus to collect Machina Diabolica and some network gear. I knew I couldn't bring the monitor with me on the coach and train, so I just stuffed the main unit into my big trolley with some clothes and cables, after configuring it appropriately. Or so I thought.

Prkl had already been booting with a DHCP client for the cable Internet connection, so I only had to install an Ethernet NIC and change eth0 from USB to that. Oddly enough, a PCI card (3C900) turned out more problematic than an ISA one (3C509B) so I decided on the latter. On that other hand that one has no auto-negotiation so full duplex is problematic, but it's not important right now. From Willow I configured the ADSL modem/switch to enable DHCP server, so I can use my existing DHCP setup for internal networking in the absence of ADSL connection.

Of course, when first booting up Prkl here in JKL, eth0 was not up. I had experienced similar issues before with Willow (dhcp client lock files not cleaned up) so it was not surprising. But some form of remote login was necessary as I don't have a monitor here.

Fortunately, I'd prepared for this with a serial null cable, and configured Prkl's inittab for serial login. It seemed to work using miterm on Willow... just barely. It occurred to me that there was one nasty bug in my grand plan: I had left gpm running, it was listening to serial port as well as I had used a serial mouse on Prkl. Prkl! In practice it meant that half of my commands were going to the mouse driver instead of taken as terminal input. Not nice.

But it was my only remaining channel into the machine, so I had to keep playing around. I started to see a pattern: I just had to type everything twice. Login worked if I typed "teknohog,teknohog,password,password," (comma means enter) and after that I had to pprreess eeaacchh kkeeyy ttwwiiccee. This way I got root, killed gpm (and disabled it for future) and put the NIC up.

There was one issue before I could play music. I had to do a local login (blindly with a keyboard) to give myself sound card rights. Now things work just fine and I can access my media collection, and of course I'm increasingly eager to get ADSL running.

Now for the party: Jyväs-elektro night at Ilokivi. Among some excellent DJing (I'd previously heard a piece from Naks, and he was superb again) there were live performances from Tero and New York City Survivors. Nothing new to say about Tero, as the C64 arpeggiated bleeps were just as good as before. Apparently he had a birthday because at some point someone started to sing and we all joined.

The other artist, NYC Survivors, was in some ways more interesting, and represented some kind of heavy industrial noise. One guy handled the back-end synth stuff, occasionally playing live riffs on the keyb. The singer had huge, blocky sunglasses, long hair and beard, and a red lab-coat. His simple lyrics were put through a compressor which turned out a nice effect, it was more about playing with the voice-instrument than singing in meaningful words. Overall the music was very intense, broken and metallic. The atmosphere was not far from a metal concert, even if the audience was the geeky electronic kind. I now had enough hair to do some headbanging which my sore neck today remembers.

Risto A. Paju