Friday, October 15th, 1999

Two updates in three days! Remarkable!

This is just a quickie, to tell all of y'all to HIE THEE to so's you can listen to the latest tasty offering from the Judge's band, Your Mother (and dammit, I still like the name "The Black Astronauts" a lot better).

Wednesday, October 13th, 1999

I had a bit of a pleasant surprise yesterday, when I found out that the patent that I filed for four years ago at the behest of Epson Palo Alto was granted last year. So I'm officially an inventor, for what it's worth. On the other hand, don't think that this patent has anything to do with my current work. God forbid. Anyway, I'm not the patent holder, so it's not as though I'll ever see a penny from this "invention."

It seems that my digital camera has stopped working, ugh, so I can't bring you pictures of the Alamo Challenge which we finished last weekend. In fact, I wouldn't have been taking pictures on the road anyhow as we were riding furiously the whole weekend. The first day was 112 miles, and the second day was 64. The first day was particularly hard, as the sun was beating down and I ran out of water. Both days found me in the front pack, and I was pleased to come in second overall -- not that anyone keeps track other than me.

There were five of us, all told: myself, Robby Findler, John Greiner, Darren Sanders, and Ian Barland. I think we would all claim now to have had a good time, though some of us wouldn't have been quite so sunny immediately after (or immediatlely before finishing. In the end, we raised some money for the American Lung Association, and we got some good exercise.

Wednesday, August 25th, 1999

So, I recently discovered I could sample from tapes. In particular, I was struck by this comment by Matthew Robb concerning his once and future home, the Town of Princes in the Faux Jersey.

I just (-ish) got back from Maine, but I DIDN'T TAKE ANY PICTURES because we all know what Maine looks like for crying out loud. It's beautiful and cool and you can sail and swim and spend time with your friends in what is, for all intents and purposes, paradise. I suppose its allure is also increased for me by the fact that we couldn't spend more than about four days there. Oh well. Back to work.

(Trouble hearing the file? Try installing Quicktime 4 or playing this (much larger) non-mp3 version.)

Sunday, August 1, 1999

Two updates in two days; I must have a lot of work to avoid. I'm here to report that I've finished running through the pictures I took on our trip to Des Moines, Iowa. The pictures aren't great, but it was a nice trip nonetheless.

And that work I'm avoiding? I'm sure I'll think of some other way to avoid it now.

Saturday, July 31, 1999

I admit, it was a while ago that I took this trip, but I now have pictures from the Bermuda-to-Maine passage that I made aboard Firefly, in the company of five stalwart sailors. Here they are:

This trip deserves a more comprehensive write-up, but for the moment, this is what it gets.

[Ed. Note, 8/27/99: I really ought to mention that all of these photos were taken by Wing Taylor, who's a fine cameraman with a fine camera.

Wednesday, June 9, 1999

Gee whiz, I'm tired. I've just thrown a bunch of pictures up from reunions, so you can see what a lovely place Princeton is at the end of May, and all of the lunatics I had to share the campus with during my tenure. I chose not to include any truly depraved pictures. This is principally because there weren't any. If anyone had a really good time, I wasn't there. Or at least my camera wasn't.

Aside from this, my stepper is dang near finished. Well, for beginner level. Well, almost. Okay, just quit bugging me, eh?

Thursday, May 13, 1999

Okay, work in progress: photos from recent vacation to SF and yosemite. In particular, this vacation heralds the purchase of a small digital camera on my part, and so there are many more pictures here than there really should be, I suppose. Oh well. I'll put more pictures up as I get around to it. Also, this gallery is the first one that I've put together entirely in Scheme, so subsequent ones should be substantially faster.

Wednesday, April 28, 1999

Finally; a new banner. This picture was taken by Robby during our ride to Austin, the MS150. You can see my new sunglasses in this picture, which give me a commanding and dignified presence. Okay, okay, they look ridiculous. I know that. But they're supposed to look ridiculous. They're biking glasses. I really need to get back to work now.

Monday, April 5, 1999

Well, I've certainly gotten behind on this web page; goodness, it's been almost four months. That's appalling. My only defense is that I've had less time of late, as I've been spending much more of it with the lovely Anika Mutch.

Lots of things are happening on the bicycle front, as well. We recently competed in Beer-Bike, Rice University's annual and bizarre bicycle/beer-chugging race. I was the captain of the biking part of the event for the Graduate Students, and I'm proud to announce that the Men's and Women's teams showed determination, poise, and, uh, consistency in their identical sixth place finishes. I have pictures of the men's biking team and of the women's biking team. The pictures themselves are not what you'd call inspiring, I'm afraid.

Another major bicycling event is coming up; on April 17th-18th, I'm riding in the Texas MS150 bicycle ride to benefit Multiple Sclerosis research. I need a total of $150 in pledges. I currently have $30 pledged. If you'd like to make a donation... wait, let me rephrase that. You need to make a donation. Please mail me to make a pledge. And thanks in advance: both from me, and from MS sufferers worldwide.

The third major bicycling event which occurred last Tuesday was that a jerk in a gray pickup turned left in front of me, and messed up my bicycle something fierce. I'm still waiting for the photos of the resulting mess to be developed. Suffice it to say, the bike is in critical (but extremely stable) condition, and I am completely fine. No damage to the helmet, body, etc.

Saturday, December 26, 1998

This is becoming a bit of a habit; I'm on an airplane right now, but my in-progress Holiday Tour 1998 is now in progress.

Still dreaming about scrapping Frontier for a scheme-based system. First, though, I need to get a copy of Robby's parsing engine.

Sunday, December 6, 1998

I've now sucked a couple of rolls of film into the computer, and although I haven't really finished processing the whole batch, I do have a bunch of pictures of places I've lived recently.

Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Well I just saw a mercedes ad that I thought was really ridiculous. Ick.

Friday, November 27, 1998

Haven't updated in a while; I'm beginning to lean towards a re-design of this site, moving all management into Scheme. One reason for this is that I'd like to be able to generate some kind of navigation bar on the left or on the top or on the bottom (no one seems to put them on the right...). In particular, what I'd really like is to write a small scheme program which generates them for me. Maintaining such an outline would really suck, I think.

Parenthetically, I'm of two minds about public use of the word "suck." As in, "that sucks." I recall eighth grade, when Adam Blue and I were genuinely confused by Leo Christiansen's rather stern disapproval of this usage, labelling it profanity. I think I see his point.

Also, I'm now spooling out more diaristic claptrap, related to my current trip to New York. Current as of this writing, that is.

Sunday, November 1

In honor of the coming vote this Tuesday, I have the following nifty banner:
This should encourage all of you to go and vote. Not that you weren't going to anyway.

Here in Houston, they do their utmost to prevent you from voting by (!) not revealing the voting locations until voting day. I kid you not: I have the Houston Chronicle's voter's guide, which says: "Where to Vote: the Chronicle will publish a list of the polling places on Election Day, Nov. 3." Perhaps they're just trying to boost their sales that day.

Sunday, October 25

The primary reason I'm adding this entry is to point people to my semi-solicited and possibly semi-official web logo for the Rice CS web pages. La la la.

Also, I'm a bit sick now, thanks to my student compatriots; fortunately this disease has been relatively innocuous, aside from the odd dizzy spell and persistent sniffles. I purchased a half-priced HRM (heart rate monitor) yesterday, so I'm now in a position to tell you that my pulse is 69. Okay, now, it's down to 60. Whoops; one solid sniffle and I'm back up to 78. Okay, I really must get to work now.

Monday, October 12

Well, this last weekend was the Alamo Challenge; four of us rode, and four of us finished. We all had a great time. If you want to, you can read the gory details, which are understandably biased toward my trip. Once again, I want to thank all of you for contributing so generously to the American Lung Association on our behalf. Did you know that Houston has the country's second highest ozone pollution levels? Yuck.

Tuesday, October 6th

Well, the big news first: at exactly 7:42 a.m. today, a big fat cold front slammed into Houston and brought the relief that I've been waiting for since MAY. Of course, I've taken brief vacations from the hell that is Houston summer, but it looks like the torture may finally be at an end.

This is also well-timed because this weekend, we ride to San Antonio. So, I hear you asking, how are you doing on the fund-raising? Well, despite some (hm!) setbacks, we've met our goal! So, depending on whether or not you contributed, I'll say to you:

And finally, I just finished my algebra assignment. So the news is good.

Monday, September 28th

[Ed. note: Monday's entry revised on Tuesday.]

Well, the purpose of this entry is to alert each and every one of you to the fact that I'm riding in the American Lung Association's "Alamo Challenge," a ride from Houston to San Antonio, on October 10th. This ride covers a total of 170 miles, over two days. Why do I feel this deserves mention? Because I'm looking for sponsors. There are four of us (myself, Kevin Charter, Robby Findler, and Paul Steckler) on the team, and we're hoping to collect $600.

The charming web-thermometer on the left side of the page shows how close we are to our goal, so you can check daily to see how we're doing. Please consider making a pledge; we welcome both flat pledges and "per-mile" pledges; if we all fall into a crevasse in the middle of the first day, we will cheerfully refund a pro-rated portion of these. In either case, please mail me to make a pledge.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Tuesday, September 22nd

Good god, I'm really really busy. In fact, I think I've just nailed down a relatively painless method of updating my web site automatically, using Stairways Software's Anarchie Pro, written by good folks whom I'm glad to plug. Also, I'll put in a link to the not-quite-finished 1998 East Coast Tour Diary, starring ... well, me.

Monday, August 17th

Well I'm back here in Houston, but checking in to say that I bring back with me a crew picture of the -- wait, no, that's ten years ago, isn't it. Oh well.

Monday, August 10th

It's time to leave San Francisco and go back to Houston. Ugh. The weather here is gorgeous, which is to say very normal SF summer weather, which is to say the weather I grew up with. I've also learned that getting around on a bicycle in SF is simultaneously much harder and more entertaining. Much harder because the city isn't preposterously, obscenely flat like Houston, and more entertaining because lots of other people are bicycling as well and it's prettier to boot.

In other news, I have finally finally web-ified Ian's quicktake photos of the trip to the guadalupe mountains; with luck, I've also sufficiently automated the process of adding images to the site that I can slap them up willy-nilly in the future, so the whole darn world can scrutinize my navel lint, candids of my landlord, etc.

Monday, July 27th

Well, the real question here is how soon this will actually appear on the site; I'm in the process of moving from a totally disorganized mishmash of html to the Frontier package of scripting/HTML tools; there are a lot of things I like about it, but also a lot of things I don't.

I should be fair; my criticisms of Frontier are based entirely on the fact that I'm a Programming Languages Person and therefore am irritated by the unneccessary invention of languages when suitable ones already exist. What Frontier does seem to provide is a nicely packaged set of tools for building and maintaining a website in a well-abstracted way, and in fact for making this pile of stuff into a dynamic entity that is "rendered" into HTML. In a certain sense, it adds another "phase" to the process of compiling static content into pixels on the viewer's screen. Now, instead of writing html which is sent to the viewer, you can write a program which generates html ... which is then sent to the viewer, as usual. The advantage of this setup is that your web page becomes a computed rather than a static entity.

Actually, that last paragraph should have been a whole essay of its own, rather than a confusing thicket of musings. Oh well.

Also, I'm in Maine now, where the world is so beautiful I have trouble believing that anything short of Love or Death could possibly be worth abandoning it for.

Tuesday, June 9th

Well, I've finally begun to add at least a little bit of content related to the person for whom this web site is really named, John Brinckerhoff Jackson. In particular, the sum total of Brinck-related information at this point comprises the portrait of him that appears on the dust jacket of "A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time", and the obituary which appered in the New York Times.

And yes, I did use the word `comprise' correctly. Look it up. Mr. Pedantic says, "Don't ever use the word `badly' wrong again or I'll come and hit you."

In any case, I'm hoping to put together a semi-complete bibliography of Brinck's written work; if you have such a thing or could contribute to it, let me know.

Tuesday, June 2nd

Back from reunions, and I never thought I'd say this, but it's nice to be back in Texas. There's no place like home, even if it's 100+ degrees and wet ... and flat. Come to think of it, maybe I'm not so thrilled after all.

In fact, reunions itself was perfectly delightful; seeing all and sundry in the same environment I knew them in. It's a little like taking part in an impromptu living diorama. That doesn't sound very nice, I suppose.

Here are the people I saw:

Alex Alice Alison Allan Amy Andrea Becca Becky Beth Brian Cara Caroline Chris Cool Dan Dave David Delay Dirty Doug Hand-solo Haife Hugh Jason Jen Jenny Joe John Jonah Joy Justine Karine Katie Kendra Kiki Lara LRF Micah Mike Niko Paul Pete Pierre Rachel Reuben Richard RoJo Ryan Sabrina Steve Talia Tia Tina Tucker Tyler Vlad Victoria Wacko Wael Will Wrong-way

They were (almost) all very nice to me.

Friday, May 22nd

Well, here we go: everything is moving over to I really wish I had devised a more clever synchronization technique; in particular, it bothers me that I haven't abstracted over the footer that appears at the bottom of each page. It's absurd that this text should appear in five different places. I need some generation technique. The obvious solution would involve DrScheme, or its little cousin (hidden master?) MzScheme.

Tuesday, May 12th

Well, this is a momentous non-event: I now have a domain name. Which would be So the URL for that would be, which is great except that right now it doesn't work. But it will, it will.

(It does, it does. --- 2.June.1998)

Of course, the new domain name pretty much demands that I actually add some content relevant to my godfather, John Brinckerhoff Jackson, landscape historian extraordinaire. Thus far I've scanned in a picture of him, which I have yet to place.

But we'll get there.

Also, I changed the background colors on the page to be web-friendly ones, which unfortunately results in a pallette with a little more gusto than I would otherwise choose. But I suppose the web is not a medium in which to pussy-foot around. NO! WE MUST HAVE BOLD, STRONG COLORS, and W3 Mu5t 4LL B3 K-R4D & k001. Ah well.

Friday, April 3rd

Well, today I scanned in the two pictures that I have of beer-bike. Unfortunately, there are only two of them. Also, it's a pain trying to get the gamma right: these pictures will look too light on macs, and too dark on PCs. Ah well. Also, if you have some kind of ridiculous colormap, the colors may not all be true. I run netscape in "-install" mode, which forces it to use its own colormap.

Thursday, March 26th

Yes, I suppose it has been a while since any updates occurred. That's probably because I'm hellishly busy. That's a good thing, I think. Anyway, now the bar code is on the left. Woo hoo! Very exciting. Also, I think it's time to start trimming old entries.

Tuesday, January 26th

Okay, well the real reason I'm here is to stick in a link for the auto-playlist engine that I've just installed. In particular, mail me a playlist with the subject "playlist", and then you should be able to get to a web version of it.

If that doesn't work, let me know.

(It doesn't work. I know. But is it worth fixing? This project kind of died on the vine. -- 22.May.1998)

Thursday, January 15th

Whoops! Here comes another semester. It just occurred to me that HTML should come with some standard form for indicating expiration dates: in other words, that when you design a web page there should be a tag which indicates to your browser the 'expiration date' of the material, so that readers may be warned of the fact that your page is old and crufty.

The reason for this is simple: no one ever takes down web pages. They just sit there forever. It's impossible in general to look at a web page and tell whether the information contained on it is valid or hopelessly out of date. Hence, expiration dates.

So now I've made my bed, I ought to lie in it. Okay, this page now has an expiration date.

Friday, December 18th

Well, I am not long for this semester. Or perhaps this semester is not long for me. As time goes by, I do find myself more and more focused on blatting foo into my web page. And now I can't delete my old entries, because they contain these really important links. Goodness.

Tuesday, December 15th

It's hard for me to explain this compulsion I'm now developing to put things on my website randomly. For instance, this picture of a mansard roof. Why did I take the time to stick that in? I don't know. It seems to somehow suggest that I am assimilating and digesting the stuff around me, that my web site is like my brain, and it's important to feed it strange things.

Saturday, December 13th

I do seem to have a little too much spare time on Saturdays, don't I? Anyhow, this is a wonderful opportunity to let you know about the random and pointless picture of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, which now graces my site. I stole it from another guy.

Oh, so I got my Dr. Bronner's soap in the mail from REI, now I need to get the good doctor's permission to plaster his bizarre slogans all over my site. Dilute! Dilute! OK!

John Clements /
last modified 2000-12-18; 13:03:34