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Cut Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Amusing

        A few minutes ago, I tried to leave a comment on a blog, and it got spam filtered.

        The thought that my ideas and way of expressing them are that common is a hoot.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Win!

        It was down to 64 degrees in here, and I've been huddling under the covers.  A few minutes ago, K. wimped out and turned on the heat.

        Well, actually, she said she'd quit if I would, but my answer was a laugh, so technically she gave up first!

        A frightening thought: in five months, I'll look on an inside temperature of 64 degrees as reasonable, rather than frigid.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Fairly Pleasant Week

        K. had the week off, using up some vacation she'd otherwise lose.  We spent it in out typically athletic style, that is, going to the movies, and watching TV.

        We saw Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit last Saturday.  Capsule review: hilarious, go see.

        On Monday, Mirrormask, a new film with a script by Neil Gaiman.  Try to imagine Alice in Wonderland updated by Salvador Dali, with help from H. P. Lovecraft, and some dialogue by Monty Python.  Well, that's still not it, but it's in the neighborhood.  Recommended, for those who like weird movies (was it all a dream? was it real? or, like Lovecraft's The Dream Quest of Unknown Kaddath, is it both?  Beats me).

        We spent the TV time catching up on Battlestar Galactica (I never saw the original series, but the current one very good science fiction), Gilmore Girls (long one of our favorite series), and Lost.  We missed most of the series last year, but what we saw of it was good enough that we bought the DVDs.  We caught up on them, then watched the others off Tivo, except for one that didn't record (one of the nights it was raining really heavily, I expect.  The first episode of the new season, but it will repeat Wednesday).  There's still a disc full of extras to watch.

        Heavy rain is the bane of satellite TV.  If I lived in Portland or Seattle, I doubt I'd have it, but in Minneapolis, it's only occasionally enough to knock out reception.  And it's far better than the limited channel selection, high fees, and lousy service of our local cable monopoly.

        Weather was nice till yesterday, but the last two days it's been cold and dreary.  If it doesn't rain tonite, I'll mow the lawn tomorrow.

        Otherwise, nothing much to report.  I still sometimes have trouble with solid food, but not as much as I used to.  Otherwise, all good.  Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Too Good to Last

        The weather, I mean.  It rained again yesterday, and this morning before dawn.  Ah well, it saves me watering the plants.

        One of the things that shows how weird I am: I've never gotten the 'Walk/bike ride/whatever for a [insert alleged good cause] here.'  You want money for a good cause?  Well, instead of sponsoring you, why don't I just give the money to the cause, and you can stay home?  Or, if you feel like jogging, do it on your own time?

        I really don't get the whole idea, yet it's extraordinarily popular and effective.  Can someone explain this to me?

        Meanwhile, I'll donate to the cause of good movies, by going to see Wallace and Gromit: the Curse of the Were Rabbit tomorrow or Saturday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wow, a Miracle!

      We went a whole week without rain.  I even managed to get the grass cut (and boy, how I LOVE my new, self-propelled power mower).

        But the clear weather was too good to last, and it rained today.  Still, it has been nice, compared to the September and it's thunderstorms and humidity.  If I work up the ambition, I'll go get a slew of tulip bulbs, and plant them near out back door.

        It's also turned quite cool.  Instead of sitting around with the air conditioning on, we put the electric blanket back on the bed, and are playing the game of "Who'll crack first on the heating?" chicken.  But cool isn't frigid, the way it will be in three months, so I'm not complaining, just observing.

        My big problem at the moment is what to get for a birthday present for a friend.  Compared to Pakistan, whose big problem is murderers and earthquakes, it reminds me how blessed we USAmericans are.  What a wonderful time, in such a wonderful country.

        Stay warm and well, friends.

Friday, October 07, 2005

OOPS!, or Update to the Sudoku Challenge

        Well what do you know, one of my readers tried it, and it was easy.  That's because I left a number out of the grid, making many solutions possible.  You should have taken me up on it.

        So, I now have the correct grid up, if any of you want to try the real monster.  Interesting, what the absence of one little "7" can do . . .

        If you go over here, you'll see a photo posted.  The left section is the Sudoku grid as given in the paper (the little underlines are to distinguish the nunbers given from later conclusions).  In the middle, the Sudoku grid I work from, with the givens alone in their squares, and the rest filled with the numbers one through nine.  On the right, a copy of the middle grid, with the ones replaced by spaces where a one is impossible, because of the ones already given rule them out.

        As I said in the original:
        Underneath the picture are the three Sudoku grids you see with number signs as spacers.  If you're fool enough to accept this challenge, highlight and copy the html grids, copy, paste them into a word processor (notepad's fine for Windows users, I don't know what Linux or Mac users have available, or even if any of you are Linux or Mac Users), set the font to equal spacing for all characters, note the time, and proceed to beat your head against the wall on this.  The way I would do it is to go through a grid, using search and replace to put spaces where a 2 through 9 is impossible, then work on that grid.  I advise you to make lots of copies as you go, and save them in a document you're NOT working on, so if (when) you make a mistake, you can go back to one that's believed to be good.

        Afterwards, let me know how much time it took you to finish it, and how many times you had to start over.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Strange Mysteries of the St. Onge Household

        I woke up a few minutes ago, and my clock was blinking, which is what it does when it has been without power.  Yet all the other clocks in the house, and the answering machine, are chugging right along.  How do you lost power to one outlet, then get it back?

        In other mysteries, it's after 6:00 Eastern, but Glenn Reynolds hasn't posted anything at Instapundit.  Have I wandered into an alternate universe?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Nearly Flooded Out

        Yesterday, there was an errand I had to do in Apple Valley (a suburb south of Minneapolis, on the other side of the Minnesota River), and so I went out in the rain to do it.

        And then it rained harder, and harder, and harder . . .
In my entire life, I've only seen it come down that way once before.  Some years ago, we got an inch per hour for seven hours straight.  This was just as hard.  And that time, I was inside.

        When I finally got to Apple Valley, driving slowly (even with the wipers on high, I only got glimpses of the road), and I'd done what I had to do I pulled into a restaurant and spent about an hour, waiting.  The rain never stopped, but eventually, it let up.

        Back into the car, and north to home.  As I was approaching the freeway interchange, a traffic condition sign said the freeway I intended to take was closed due to flooding.  I took Nicollet Avenue northbound, which runs parallel to I35-W, and between 48th and 47th Streets, I came upon a puddle a half a block long, and four inches or more deep.  One car was already stalled out in it, and others were turning around to avoid it.  Eventually, I got up to the edge, and went through very, very, very slowly, to avoid splashing water up onto something that would short out my electrical system.

        After that, it wasn't bad, or long till home, but it was a nerve-wracking night, and I thought I'd record it.

A Confession, a Warning, and a Challenge/Act of Meaness

        Hello again, faithful few.  I would like to begin this post with a bit of a confession and explanation.

        I am not a nice guy.  I do have my easy going, helpful side, I have learned to fake being a nice guy very well, but at the core, I am a mean and nasty bastard.  There was a time when this bothered me, and really bothered my subconscious (it's scared of what I might do, if I let the pure nastiness flow unchecked), but I've pretty much accepted who I am.

        Well, today, I'm feeling fairly ticked off, and I am going to inflict my nastiness on you, lacking anyone else to take it out on.  You will get one chance to dodge it.

        I am going to post the Sudoku puzzle from yesterday's Star Tribune.  It's labeled as only two out of five stars, but in reality it is a triple distilled bastard (this is the judgment of myself and two others, who all solved it — eventually.  Very eventually, in fact).  I doing so in the expectation that some of you will attempt it.  Why shouldn't you suffer too?

        If you have any sense, you won't touch this with an eleven foot Ukranian.

        If you go over here, you'll see a photo posted.  The left section is the Sudoku grid as given in the paper (the little underlines are to distinguish the nunbers given from later conclusions).  In the middle, the Sudoku grid I work from, with the givens alone in their squares, and the rest filled with the numbers one through nine.  On the right, a copy of the middle grid, with the ones replaced by spaces where a one is impossible, because of the ones already given rule them out.

        Underneath the picture are the three Sudoku grids you see with number signs as spacers.  If you're fool enough to accept this challenge, highlight and copy the html grids, copy, paste them into a word processor (notepad's fine for Windows users, I don't know what Linux or Mac users have available, or even if any of you are Linux or Mac Users), set the font to equal spacing for all characters, note the time, and proceed to beat your head against the wall on this.  The way I would do it is to go through a grid, using search and replace to put spaces where a 2 through 9 is impossible, then work on that grid.  I advise you to make lots of copies as you go, and save them in a document you're NOT working on, so if (when) you make a mistake, you can go back to one that's believed to be good.

        The photo, by the way, is a screen shot of notepads.  The people who run Blogger.com, not caring what the customers might want, have decided to use a proportionally spaced font.  They've also decided to make every post on a blog work off a template, the same template for all the blog's posts.  So, if I found a way to make the font equally spaced throughout, I'd end up using that font for all posts on this blog.  Thanks, guys.

        Afterwards, let me know how much time it took you to finish it, and how many times you had to start over.

        Final warning: if you're smart, you won't even try.  Of course, I'm counting on one of you not being smart, and being unable to resist the challenge. . . .

;-D

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Very Wet Day

        I woke up to hear rain just pouring outside, and when K. got home, she told me there were flash flood warnings in effect.

        So, alas, I missed the chance to mow the lawn.

        Meanwhile, I've been blogging a lot at Fat Steve's about the Harriet Miers nomination.  Something about this has caused the blogosphere to bloviate harder than usual, and I'm no exception to the urge.

        Going out soon, otherwise nothing happening.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Nice Weekend

        On Friday, K. and I went to the movies and saw Tim Burton's film The Corpse Bride.  Not exactly a great movie, but an enjoyable one.

        Saturday, we went to the movies with friends, and saw Serenity again.  K. enjoyed it, despite not being familiar with the series.  Our friends L. and T. both are Firefly fans, and enjoyed the film immensely.  I enjoyed it as much the second time as the first.

        Sunday, we laid around idly in the morning, while I wasted time on Sudoku. K.'s off again Wednesday and Thursday, so we'll probably watch Lost and Firefly videos then.

        If the grass is dry enough, I'll cut it today.  Otherwise, not much going on at Casa St. Onge,