Archive for June 2007

Action Park

Trav found mention of how incredibly dangerous Action Park was.

Man, I loved that place. I worked there for 3 weeks at the Alpine Slide. I’ve got a couple cute stories about it. My fondest memory is of going to a party at the home of one of my supervisors. There was drinking so I asked my host if I could stay the night so that I might drink safely. The party was going pretty well. Then at about 2 am, the host told me in my stupor that the party was over and I had to go home. I very clearly remember arguing with him, “But I’m drunk, I can’t drive… But you said I could spend the night…” He argued the counter-case, that I had to get out because the party was over.

I drove 1/4 mile to a spot on the road where I could pull over. I spent the next hour and a half walking around, doing jumping jacks and push-ups in a dirt pull-out on the side of a rural-residential road near Vernon NJ. Nice host, eh? I finally felt well enough to drive and proceeded home.

About 2/3 mile from the north entrance of Smoke Rise on 23 South, there is a short straight-away. I was going a steady 50 mph. My window was open just a bit to let in fresh air, the car’s heat was turned on comfortably, the pop music was playing softly on the radio. At that point, I fell asleep. I held the wheel straight while the road curved gently to the left. I opened my eyes with a start, seeing a green mile-marker sign at an odd angle leaning toward me about 4 feet in front of my face. I saw the tips of a tree branch coming at me from the right so I swerved to the left. One frame later, the green sign was out of my field of view. I made it the 5 minutes to home with 1 quart of adrenaline in my blood. Even with that, I was astounded that I almost fall asleep on the road again.

The next day, I took a look at the car in the driveway. It was a white LeBaron. There were a few green scratches on the hood and no other damage. I drove out to the spot and was amazed. I found the mile marker post and the sign a hundred feet down the road. I put the sign in my trunk. I followed my tire tracks off the road, into the dirt, over the sign post and then curving sharply to the left where I woke up. What gave me terrible shivers was how incredibly close my tire tracks were to the telephone pole. I actually couldn’t believe that the tire tracks could be so close without some side-damage to the car, or worse. The track came 1 inch away from the pole; the tires on the car are set in at least 2 inches from the outside contours of the bumper and body. I don’t know why it didn’t catch, ripping off a bumper or scraping the whole side of the car. And I thought how lucky I was that I hadn’t been 1 more inch to the right; the bumpers would have been torn off.  Or if I had been 1 more foot to the right. I was wearing a seat belt but that’s no guarantee that I’d be here writing this story.

Well, maybe my memory of Action Park isn’t so fond.

Chess: Something I thought that maybe I could be really good at if I tried harder… but no.

(via, and)

But let me again emphasize, to be good at chess, you need to study and read a bit.

But you also have to have the talent.

I used to be, what I thought, was a pretty decent chess player. I easily beat most people I played and could defeat most of those hand-held computers that were coming out in the 1980s.

Then, one day, a friend invited me over for a smoke and a drink. Seeing that he had a chess table set-up, I asked him if he fancied a game. He beat me quickly. Twice.

So I figured I would see how good he was. During the third game, we’re about 30 moves into the game, and he steps out of the room, so I moved one of his pieces to my advantage. My friend Mark comes back in, sits down, and immediately moves the piece back. Somewhat surprised, I ask if he saw me move it.

Mark looked at me curiously, wiped all the pieces off the board, set them up from the beginning, and says to me “In Chess, you either see it or you do not.” He then makes my opening move, explaining “The standard opening for white,” pausing for effect and then adding “and also the opening move Spasky used in his third match against Fisher in the game I was studying last night.” “Boris is a ham and egger,” he tells me.

“I countered with Fischer’s move,” he says moving his piece. “Also very standard.”

“And then you did something very interesting. A very unconventional move, but I’ve seen it used a few times. When I was 13 someone did this to me and it really threw me off my tempo since it was not like any standard opening. I lost that game in 25 moves.”

Mark was 35 and he was telling me about a game he played when he was 13. At this point I began to understand that I was out of my league.

So he looks at me, and says, “I countered your move with the same move I used against the Israeli national champion at the Philadelphia Open when I was 15. He tried your same trick on me too, but by then I had figured out several defenses.”

He moves his piece, turning a gimlet eye to me, he says “And then you made a really stupid move so I knew you didn’t know what you were doing.”

And he goes on the explain each move up to where he left the room. “This was the position of the board when I left, you moved this pawn here while I was out.”

I was gobsmacked.

It is not enough to study the game, you have to have a photographic memory and a massive intellect to really be any good at it. Turns out my friend Mark Coles – who was one of the smartest people I have ever met – was a ranked Chess Master with a long list of merits and trophies. We were both playing chess, but he was playing another game. I never played much chess after that. I’ll play a game or two with a couple of ex-cons I know who learned to play in the joint, but I don’t really consider it as playing chess. I don’t know anything about the game.
posted by three blind mice at 1:33 AM on June 20 [115 favorites]

Bad Lawyer, Hilarity ensues, BoingBoinged


Trav’s been talking about this lawyer he’s been interacting with. It’s krazy.

He got BoingBoinged today, bringing down his server (darn it, I was -just- going to mention that he install WP-Cache). The server’s back up and the story is funny. Check it out.forbidden.png

Raptor Jesus

Google for “Raptor Jesus”. I dare you.


raptorjesus1.jpg raptorjesus3.jpg raptorjesus2.jpg


Here is the original, the one, the only:

Now google for Raptor Jesus.

It plays smoother on ytmnd but here’s a local archive…

Here is the Raptor Jesus slideshow (click on the image to see an an animated gif) to be played with the video raptor_jesus.mp3. Put your audio-player on ‘repeat’.


Update 3-3-08: The raptor battle just above was painted by Brandon Bird, titled “Killing Machine”. I’m an instant fan! (yes, that’s Bea Arthur grappling that raptor)

Dear Lazyweb: Automatic emailing of Recent Changes in Mediawiki

When working with a group on a small but active wiki, it’s easy to forget to look at the Recent Changes list for timely updates. I would like an extension that sends a daily email with a digest of what changes have taken place on the wiki in the past day. By showing all recent changes in an email, users can’t accidentally miss out of developments on new pages. Additionally, people are reminded of the wiki’s existence so it doesn’t suffer bit-rot.

There are several ways the the email recipient group could be defined.

There is a hint of this behavior at Watchlist subscriptions and the PovWatch extension but the idea isn’t developed.

The MailNotification extension has the right idea but it doesn’t work.

How to make WordPress run faster

To improve the performance of WordPress, I simply removed all of the unactivated plugin files files from my plugins folder. It’s hard to tell exactly how much this improveds things, but page load times are definitely a little quicker.

I had several WordPress plugins that weren’t activated but were in the plugins folder. Here’s the list: wp-db-backup.php, backuprestore.php, pagenavi.php, wpPaginate-v2.php, suggest.php, subscribe2.php, search-meter.php, popularity-contest.php, af-extended-live-archive.php, words_in_post.php, hello.php, wysiwordpress.php, textile1.php, markdown.php, enhanced-post-list.php, did_you_pass_math_functions.php, did_you_pass_math.php, challenge.php
Phew, I play a lot with WordPress plugins :-)