Thursday, March 31, 2005

A great idea

(12:45:54) Chris: i try not to drink when at dinner, cause you get railed with cash
(12:46:19) nurrwick: railed with cash what?
(12:46:23) nurrwick: I drank at drinking
(12:46:26) Chris: like, taken from you
(12:46:30) Chris: oh, ok, nevermind
(12:46:35) Chris: i gotcha now
(12:46:45) nurrwick: "I drank at drinking" needs to be a t-shirt

Monday, March 28, 2005

Pictures finally

Check them out. I've got one I know of that I need to rescan, but you should get the idea.

I demand the head of the style attribute

Quick Note: this is a piece I've been mulling over for some time now, it's only now that I've gotten around to having enough desire to actually document it. Essentially, I apologize for any slight logical mistakes or terrible grammar, but I believe them to be on the account of the time, not having not thought the issue over. enjoy!

Since it's after 3 am on a school night and I have "nothing better to do" (read: "insomnia"), I decided to go ahead and indulge myself and peruse the archives over at I don't know anything about the site or its author, but I find myself "uh huh"ing in agreement when presented with his arguments. I don't think I've ever read anything so reasoned and clear on the internet.

I did notice, however, that he uses a lot of inline style changes, i.e. denoting things as code or italicizing things. This made me think: the style attribute of XHTML tags needs to be deprecated immediately.

I didn't have any particular desire to investigate daringfireball's code, but I do know that I see a lot of sites on the net that use formats like <span style="colodygoop: #333;"> to denote a section of code that needs to render as a different color from the rest. I operate on the level as something of a minimalist purist, in that I think things like tables and image files need to be removed completely from the HTML layout ideology, allowing for faster render times and vastly decreased bandwidth expenditures. You may have noticed that, over the course of my own site's existence, I have severely decreased my dependence on anything graphical, and I've actually avoided entirely use of nonstandard stylistic elements with the lone exception of the font tag.

When I started doing "web design," I used Claris HomePage (I think that's what it was called, anyway) because I didn't know any better, and, more important than that, it was free to me and easy to use, especially given my frail mental state immediately following the utter asskicking Pascal programming unleashed upon me in 10th grade. I had some frames, some images next to my content links, and then nothing else but text in a funny font. Then I got to college, and at some point during the 5 year odyssey that's ensued, a friend and coworker opened my eyes to the relative glory of XHTML and CSS, as well as the heap of good their pairing can unleash upon the world at large. I then went through my "codebase" and stripped all the font information, closed all my tags appropriately, and designed a stylesheet. Not long after that, I decided to do things properly and redesigned my site from the ground up. It was a good deal of effort initially, but it's really paid off since then, as it made dealing with updates a lot easier while I was still doing everything by hand, and made dealing with blogger-as-an-update-agent a lot easier to transition to while maintaining my individuality, which I have quite clearly put to good use [looks around, sees boring ass layout, runs away /].

So why remove the style attribute? Well, one of the things Peter and the reference material he pointed me toward collectively taught me about the web is that standards exist for a reason, and that reason is generally to make everyone's life easier. In the case of CSS, the motive is simple: maintain the original spirit of hypertext without subjecting everyone to horrible quantities of obfuscation in code while maintaining an interesting presentation media. Stated cleanly, CSS's goal is to "separate structure from presentation to maximize portability and accessibility" (thanks webstandards).

It is almost needless to say that total separation of presentation and markup is neigh impossible, at least in the confines of the English language. Our native devices of emphasis are differing presentation of text, that is to say that italic and bold text are necessary sometimes, as are larger and smaller typefaces. claims that the tags I just used to provide that example text can be set aside for richer presentation using stylesheet elements and, I can only assume, the span or pre tag. Technically speaking, this is correct and possibly even valid, but there comes a slight problem when you start adding stylistic information inline: you're no longer separating structure and style. In fact, you're actually clogging your otherwise clean markup with things that belong in a stylesheet. Example being, let's say I want a section of purple italicized text (for God only knows what reason), and I want to do so inline. I can do this two different ways:

Choice a: <span style="font: oblique 16px Tahoma, sans-serif; color: #808;">go text</span>
which renders like this:
go text

Choice b: in a stylesheet, define a specific-use id or even class for span or em, like this:
span.wackyemphasis {font: oblique 16px Tahoma, sans-serif; color: #808;} which, when paired with a <span class="wackyemphasis"> tagset, renders this:
go text

Those two things should look exactly the same to you (note: users of Safari or other .css caching browsers would need to clear their cache if they've visted my site recently), but I accomplished them in two very different ways. I am maintaining a clearer codebase by writing things in <em> tags than I am by writing <span style="font-style: oblique;">. It's better for everyone that way; the WAM server has to send you less, you have to download less, your computer has to chew on less before you see the page, and if you need to read the page by source somehow, it's a lot easier to read two letters than it is to read twenty, as it would also be much easier to universally strip out.

I can only speculate as to the reason for the continued use of the style attribute, but it seems to me a lot easier to put any inline style information in either an import style tag in that particular document's <head> section or to choose a style that you might actually want to reuse from time to time and add it to your site's primary .css file.

... if only I were in charge of the internet.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


I found an open source risk game cause I had a craving, so I played it. 12:26am to 1:53am.

I was responsible for all three of the computer players leaving the game. Yeah, I beat the computer, but you know what? I'm awesome so shut up and be envious. The Final Push, where I traded in three artillery cards and at that point got the bonuses for the Americas, Europe, and Africa, was 59 armies leaving from wherever it was in Russia. It came down to a battle in Western Australia, where we fought 44 v. 19. He took 14 from me, but at that point he only had two territories left, each with one army. I stopped after the second to last one, and attacked his last army with 61 of my own.

Yeah, I'm a big man.

Risk Map

Friday, March 25, 2005

This is kind of disgusting.

I found this in iTunes.

Most Played Table

I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused "Acid Rain" but it's such a good song. Oh and, for those of you who don't know, Liquid Tension Experiment is a side project featuring John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy, and Jordan Rudess (before he joined Dream Theater), as well as the legend Tony Levin.


Perhaps that title is both a bit grandiose and somewhat misapplied, as after five or six days of contemplation, I still haven't come up with a good way to write about what happened this weekend. In fact, my journal program's been stagnating with that title waiting for me since the flight from Atlanta-Hartsfield to BWI. I guess emotions and feeling are enough to break an INTP after all. Blindly floating down a stream was more fun than knowing I had already gone over a waterfall, I guess, but I'm doing pretty well with myself. I only got retarded Monday night, albeit by way of repeated carbombing.

Well, rather than depress myself with discussion of how much of an ass I was this past weekend, what I'll do instead is describe what we did this evening. I made what is fast becoming my favorite thing to make, if only because it allows for more individuality than spaghetti: chili. Spicy chili, that is, the kind that, in tasting, makes the whole of your mouth burn on the outside. It's glorious, especially because I hand pull the chicken and then cook it in olive oil and chili powder. This time, I also added cayenne pepper and allspice for something different. Glory ensued, though, as my face started sweating in the first five bites.

That was done, and then nothing happened for a while. I played some difficult material on bass, as is becoming my wont, and so on. Then adult swim started. Then we stumbled upon the greatest idea ever.

Let's get donuts.

So we spent about 45 minutes looking for a grocery store that was open at 12:15 or later. Howard county, however, doesn't have any of those anymore, so we ended up going to Krispie Kreme. At some point during all of this, I realized that a midnight trip for donuts was the single most stoned thing I had ever done, which is funny because I have never done "the marijuana" before, so I wouldn't know about the total THC saturation, except for the fact that I'm convinced my brain makes it for me.

Yeah, now it's 4:00 am. I'm listening to music and puzzled about why I'm still awake, but there you go.

Friday, March 18, 2005

If only I had a digital camera...

See, it's a crying shame I'm so poor and can't have nice things as a result, because I want to show you the ugly that just walked past the window at Starbucks.


Oh well there's the problem, she was driving a RAV 4 -- while leaning over the steering wheel for some reason.

I've been hanging out at the Starbucks in Seaside, CA for the last two days because I came on a Thursday to visit Katy. We had dinner last night, but she's got school and homework and all that stuff today, so that was pretty much that. It's been fun, though... yesterday I was here from 3 to about 5:15 and I got to witness four rushes... that was pretty entertaining, I guess. By the end of my first half hour there, I had moved into a chair quite literally in the corner well away from the action. As I had remarked to Jeff, it was more interesting for me to watch the Grackles outside being dumb little birds than it was to watch the ebb and flow of people who look better than I do. I wouldn't fit in here if it weren't for the mac.

Today, my table's been occupied by a naval aviator, or aviation candidate, I'm not sure. He's studying or something, and so that's cool I guess. The other tables are occupied by old people, so I'm back to the door and getting a blast of cold air every time a customer comes in.

This starbucks is staffed by actual friendly employees, which is a drastic change of pace from most Starbucks I've been to. Go west coast. Also, I was awake for 38 hours between wednesday and thursday. I just thought you should know that.

Um... well, that's my mamma.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gone Fishing

It's been a week since I last wrote "to you," meaning that absolutely nothing has developed in my life, save for an amazing amount of skill or knowledge or whatever you might want to call what it is I develop on the bass guitar. Good news, I guess. Also, it's 4:30 am as I write this, which of course means I'm at BWI waiting for my flight to Atlanta where I will undoubtedly wait for six and a half eternities for my flight to San Jose.

As oft is my wont, I planned on complaining at great length about my trip through the TSA's desolate valley of hellish terrors, but I just don't have the energy to do it correctly right now. That said, I do want to explain that this time, not only was I required to optionally take my shoes off, I also had to place everything I own directly on the belt AND have my boarding pass out and in my hand so the flunky at the scanner could inspect it and make sure (for the second time in a set of downs) I was headed in the right direction. I won't be able to post this until I get to Atlanta, which is unfortunate, but ... yeah I don't remember what I was saying there.

Anyway, I come back Monday morning, for those of you who live around the GMT -5 region. Such is your fate; I want to see Katy and everything else can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. STOP

nah nah nah nah nah nah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha STOP

[add:] Well, wireless internet at my gate in Atlanta doesn't work. Whatever. The flight here was actually somewhat enjoyable, if slow. According to our captain, we were fighting headwinds of up to 230 miles an hour. Zing! Initially, I was seated next to the most evil ass who ever lived. The man was old, the man said nothing, and the man was traveling with someone seated directly in front of him. The woman was chatting it up with a younger black guy who was quite amicable, and he actually ended up trading seats with the first dude, who asked for access to his seat by simply pointing in my direction and grunting. I was offered a movie (Half Baked, and I had to decline because I needed to try to sleep), I was offered conversation on the way down, and for once in my life, I was seated next to someone who was polite, free from foul odor, and most importantly, laid back about the whole flying thing. So good times, I guess, I hope he made his connecting flight okay... the obscene headwind left him with a whopping 10 minutes to deplane and catch his next flight. I suspect they probably rebooked him, but he deserved to make it so I hope for the best. Meanwhile, I hope the three frat kids who were drooling over the backs of three girls heads about five rows up missed that same flight. Hopefully.

Friday, March 11, 2005


So I told you I'd have pictures... turns out, it rained the day I wanted to scan them and couldn't take the chance of carrying them around. And by "rained," I do mean "the sky covered everything in a sheet of ice covered in snow." So that fell through.

I'm reinstalling OS X to fix an interesting little issue (my computer thinks its name is "Localhost" everywhere but the command line) that didn't really have any impact on my life, but i'll try to upload my recordings when it's done. That is, if it doesn't eat garage band.

In the meantime, I'm anxiously awaiting 12:30 when I get to more nyquil!

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

reason number whatever why "I'm better than you"

I just [now] taught myself the 12 major scales on a bass guitar. I'm that much closer to being able to read music on the bass guitar, further marketablizing myself. Now just for hours of practice...

Monday, March 7, 2005

It Rang Out As Pure...

... as an imposed sub-octave wave on an open D guitar string. The sound of silence was outright overpowering.

"... It's two in the morning, Nat. Why in the hell are you still awake?"

He chewed on the question for about five minutes before realizing that it was taking so long to do everything because of all the music he was listening to. Ever so slightly earlier, he had six free songs on the iTunes music store to redeem, which he naturally chose to pour into Dream Theater tracks he'll end up having to buy the actual albums for, due largely in part to the fact that 128 kilobits per second is not now, nor will it ever be enough data to coherently digitize audio while maintaining enough clarity to warrant calling said audio "music."

The philosophical approach he takes to music can best be described by watching and writing about what his hands do while he listens to a new piece. 64th notes, fermataed trills, kick drum triplets, on and on and on, thumping away on the corner of his bed; in fact, it's more often than not the parts of the music he can't play that he tries to keep up with. There's no need for 64th notes on the bass! he'd think to himself while trying to match the obscene pace of a guitar/keyed bells duet. Why would I need to bounce around four octaves of the same scale? on the trip from the left corner to the right.

Only thinking about the events of the evening is enough motivation to stop. "Tappa Tappa Tappa, indeed," he said to himself as he started to stare at the disgusting amount of definition in his hands, a fact itself only made apparent now by the dim glow of the backlight on his laptop. It's the kind of definition that results from five years of trying to play songs just outside your reach. They say that's how you learn and grow; they say that's why getting outside of your comfort zone is important. Some others say "Bollocks!" to such sentiment. It depends largely on what perspective the person in question chose that morning when they woke up. Writing about such a topic made him remember – and almost choke on – the fleck of ice his frappuccino tried to kill him with earlier this morning. Oh, it was hours gone indeed, but that didn't stop the situation from confusing his stupidly rational mind anyway. Never in his life had he understood why physical sensation was so strongly tied to memory, and only lately had he begun to understand just how important his sense of touch was to him. Just flapping his hands wildly through the air would be enough to give him goose bumps; the sensation of his shirt caused seizure-grade spasms from time to time. Just feeling his fingertips was good for 15 minutes of entertainment at a time. "They're different every time," he'd explain if anyone bothered to ask why he was staring so intently at his thumbs as they circled his index finger's callused tips.

Nobody bothers, though. Sometimes, he wonders if the people at the Starbucks really hate him for making them use the blender. He can't think of a reason why they would hate him, but, to him, that's more than enough cause to believe they should hate him. "Call it making it more work than necessary." Such is the story of the Sunday trip to the place he never goes anymore. "Funny how five years will turn you from daily trips to the coffee stand across the street for triple shot iced drinks to 'hey, it's bi-monthly tasty treat time'," he pondered as the songs just kept rolling on. He had graduated from Dream Theater to an old standby, 311, proving once and more that homogeneous musical selection accounts for having absolutely no taste. His friends would give him a tough time for listening to such popularized tripe, even more so for being able to say "I can play this song," but that didn't stop him.

It's all about the rhythm.


And if you carry something away from this ill-conceived pile of horse dung I decided to put together for you, let it be that. All the changes in time signature you want as long as you manage to tie it together sensibly enough for yourself. If only I could take that advice, I'd have been lights out three and a half hours ago.

Look for pictures and a couple new recordings tomorrow. Of course, if you don't read this today, then it won't matter, will it? "And, in case I don't see you... Good Afternoon, Good Evening, and Good Night!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Wow, Doug Burr

Doug Burr was the name of a euphonium (?) player at Roseburg High School. I doubt it's the same guy, but still...

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

oh and one more thing

Since I remembered it by tugging at my eyebrows...

I have fantastic eyelashes. I know this because Katy told me once. You should all be jealous.

Now for some actual content:

So uhh... I hate the internet so much I'm taking a break from hating the internet to actually play show and tell for once. I don't have anything to show right now, unfortunately, as the camera store hasn't called me back about my film yet. I'll go check tomorrow or something, maybe.

In other news, I don't care about school. I also had yesterday off, and didn't care about that. Everyone who reads this knows that, or so I can only assume. Uhh... been playing a lot of bass as of late, getting better with technical right hand operation. I'm also working on doing some two handed tapping. I have some carnie hand issues, as some of you know, so it's hard for me to do octaves off of D, or really any octave or three-fret interval from anywhere shy of the 12th fret. I think it's some kind of intervention of fate that I discovered things like the Chapman Stick and Warr's guitars around the same time that I bought a bass I can actually play that is responsive enough to convey my ghosting, dynamics, and voicing. I'll have to record what I'm talking about to make it clear, but I can do some really meaningful driving lines now. A bit more practice with it and I can possibly do two part lines or engage in more advanced chording or arpeggios.

I guarantee you the only person that means anything to doesn't read this anymore.

Well, I don't care about writing about my life anymore. I doubt you care to read about it anymore, either. I'll post pictures when I get them.