O noes! We haz kittehs!

Tracie decided that there wasn’t enough chaos and fur in the house already, so yesterday we adopted two kittens. Submitted for your consideration are Edwin and Madeline:

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Edwin’s the stripey one. I’ll post more photos when I have ’em. They’re currently confined to a small bathroom which makes it difficult to take good portraits. We try anyway, of course:

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In case you’re wondering: yes, Zed is fine; no, he hasn’t met the new ones yet (nor has Widget). Here’s a photo of him, just because the web can’t have too many photos of cats: read more

Would You Give a Robot a Helping Hand?

There’s a somewhat whimsical page here about an experiment involving a small robot-like device that relies upon human assistance for navigation. What good is that, you ask? That’s sort of beside the point. The point seems to be more about exploring the interaction between unwitting human participants and technology. In a way it’s a little touching.

(Found on Hackaday.com)

Back from Japan

We’re home, should you be wondering. Traveling from Japan to Colorado, which involves crossing many time zones, is a little difficult to grasp. We left the hotel at 1:00PM on Thursday, traveled for about 11 hours by plane and three hours by car, sat around in airports for a few hours, and arrived home at about 5:30PM on Thursday. Huh? That’s 1:00PM Japan time and 5:30PM Colorado time, of course. It makes sense, but it still feels weird when you actually experience it.

It’s nice to be home, of course, but I can’t say that I don’t miss Japan. read more


Here’s my most bestest souvenir from the trip:


Yes, that’s a leek in the upper left corner.

Don’t ask me “why?” because I won’t be able to answer. Please don’t ask me “how much?” because I don’t want to answer and am trying to forget. Let it suffice to say that my understanding is that these became collector’s items as soon as they went on sale.

(Actually it’s not a leek. One of the silly details of the leekspin legend is that it’s an onion of some sort, not a leek. They’re quite easy to find in grocery stores here: read more

A Day in Kobe

I thought I was going to write something interesting about the day we spent in Kobe yesterday, but it turns out that I was wrong. The short and uninteresting version is that we visited an English-style herb and flower garden (demonstrating the remarkable flair for imitation that the Japanese can summon) which we reached by “ropeway”. Then we went to a series of greenhouses containing what must be the largest collection of fuscias on the planet, along with a completely dazzling array of other flowering plants, a pink flamingo, several hornbills, a bunch of toucans, and half a dozen owls. (Yes, toucans. Yes, owls.) At the end of the day we had dinner with Sid his wife at a restaurant with a spectacular view that specializes in tofu. (Yes, tofu. “Tofu on parade!” as Sid put it. It was actually very good.) Photos are here. read more

I Need a Freeware Audio Editor

Dear Lazyweb: help a fellow audio geek and tell me where I can download a freeware (or inexpensive shareware) audio file editor for Windows XP that doesn’t suck as massively as Audacity. I need something to review the 24-bit audio files I’m recording while on vacation. I have SoundForge at home so I’m not looking for a long-term solution, just something to get me by. I can’t tolerate Audacity any longer. Thanks.

Photos of a Kimono Show

As improbable as this may sound, we attended a brief kimono fashion show during our second day in Kyoto. Kyoto is known for, among other things, its textiles, and there’s a center that has displays of looms, antique fabrics, descriptions of fabric-making processes, and so on. Much of this was familiar to Tracie and myself, her from direct experience, me from watching my mom spin and weave when I was a kid. (Weaving-geek info: Jacquard looms were imported to Japan, after which the Japanese put a good deal of effort into refining and improving them. We’re talking about automated but non-electric looms with 3000 to 8000 warp threads!) read more