May 2004

Pelee field trip site

Spent all of yesterday redesigning the Pelee Island field trip site and moving it to a new URL at Now it’s finished, albeit a year behind schedule. There are still a few minor things to take care of, but now it’s essentially time to get some new content up. I’ve added my photos from 2001, which were posted to a bulletin board that has since eliminated the archives for the period, and I’ve got my photos from this year to add as well. And I’ve got to harass the other attendees for their photos.

The FCC Song


Eric Idle presents The FCC Song (MP3 file, 3.1 MB, repeated use of naughty word).

Here’s a little song I wrote the other day while I was out duck hunting with a judge … It’s a new song, it’s dedicated to the FCC and if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars.

(via Ceej)

More Miyazaki

Finally saw two more Hayao Miyazaki films on DVD last week: Kiki’s Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky. Both are, of course, fantastic, and you should see them.

Castle is the earlier of the two, and is convulsively, exuberantly imaginative, full of flying contraptions that should never work and other stunning bits of brain candy. It’s a full-on adventure story that reminds me somewhat of Tintin — but on shrooms.

Kiki is, for a movie about a young witch who flies around on her broom, somewhat more down to earth; like Spirited Away, it’s about, and mainly for, young girls — an animé Bildungsroman. It’s lighter and funnier, too. Two words: the cat. Voiced in the English version by the late Phil Hartman, the cat is a show-stealer.

In both films, Miyazaki, who is reportedly obsessed with flight, animates it very well: you can absolutely feel the wind when someone is in the air. Oh, he’s good.

More entries below »

Welcome to Leamington

We took a trip to Pelee Island last weekend; I’m still recovering. I’ll have more on that trip, on what we saw and what we did, in a later entry. This entry is about what we found when we got off the ferry.

Taking your car across on the Pelee Island ferry is impractical: there’s limited space on the boat and it’s more expensive. So most people opt to leave their car in long-term parking at the terminal, which at this time of year is in Leamington. (Sometimes the ferry goes to nearby Kingsville instead.)

Here’s what we found when we got back:

Licence plate graffiti

Continue reading this entry »

Credulity Online


A cursory check of would indicate that it’s not run by Apple Computer, and it’s certainly not their legal department. There’s the About page, for example, which says: “Welcome to Apple Legal, a Macintosh software review site.” (Emphasis mine.) Can’t imagine why they’d pick such a confusing URL, though, unless it’s deliberately to catch people who’d type such things in, hoping to find Apple Legal — but that’s so pre-Google.

In any event, somebody got taken in, and wrote a lengthy screed denouncing Apple for a snotty browser-detection message. Considering that her entire premise is wrong, her over-the-top outrage makes her look (and feel, I bet) pretty foolish. [Edit: Since corrected, to her credit.] But mistakes happen, especially if you’re not familiar with the material. And it’s an easy thing in the blogging world to fulminate before checking the details (cf. Slashdot, RTFA, etc.) — boy, don’t I know that!

But a Mac news site (that solicits donations) should really know better. [Update: Rob’s removed the entry without running a correction.]

The sociology of model railroading

The Sociology of Model Railroading: I’ve been meaning to blog this lengthy essay on the social dynamics of this hobby — everything from local clubs and shows to the NMRA to Model Railroader and the other magazines (lots about that) — for some time. It’s taken a while to process, and I’m afraid I have nothing profound to say about it except that (1) it’s interesting and opinionated and (2) I think a lot of its observations are applicable across most hobbyist organizations.

Clutch viability

It looks like only four of Pretzel’s nine eggs have any hope of hatching; the rest are collapsing or going mouldy. (Fortunately mould does not affect adjacent good eggs.) I suspect this has something to do with the fact that they weren’t hibernated — it probably affected fertility on both sides — but then again, her second clutch last year didn’t turn out that well, either.

Small layouts

Micro layouts for model railroaders: a collection of model railroad designs for extremely small spaces. In the short term, I have no space; in the medium term, I’ll be lucky to get a spare bedroom or den. So small layout designs are of considerable interest to me. Iain Rice’s Mid-sized and Manageable Track Plans has been interesting; I plan on picking up his Small, Smart and Practical Track Plans soon. I need to figure out how small switching layouts work.