• • Trucksess.com • •

Journal 2001-09

Current entries

2001-09-30, Sun (Day 462, temperature at 10:36: 19.4°C, difference: -0.6°C): I dreamed I was in an auditorium most closely resembling the one at the new Ridley High School.

I got up at about 10:30. After lunch I worked on tracking down the SUBORG failure to display bug in the Analog web stats application. I was able to narrow the problem to two log file lines so I sent a message with that effect to the analog-help list.

I then worked on other Phoenix stat stuff, grouping multiple subnets within a building together for swarthmore.edu and grouping related buildings together such as dorms. I spent essentially the entire evening working on this part since the simpler organization aliases only affected the report display and did not group identical entries like the more complex host aliases can do. I eventually got something working but I also wanted to use regular expressions and that got messy.

It started raining this evening. Most people shut their windows earlier but I left my window open.

2001-09-29, Sat (Day 461, temperature at 07:31: 20.0°C, difference: +0.8°C): I dream I am in a building in north Springfield, Delaware County, Pennsylvania on the second floor. I call the elevator among many to go down one floor. There are signs saying to not use the stairs I think because they have been waxed. I need to wait for my family in the dim, brown-wood walled elevator lobby so I have to wait a few minutes before getting on the elevator. I am missing calls as I am waiting since I didn’t want to hold an elevator too long. The building was about five or six stories tall.

We get downstairs and apparently I haven’t finished something so I can’t get in the minivan yet with the family. The van is not the Dodge as in real life, but it is a tan Chevy Astro van that doesn’t have much legroom in the front passenger seat. I moved the seat all the way to the back of the track but it still didn’t give me much room. Before this van and after the Dodge the family replaced the Caravan with a similar one. The Astro van replaced the second minivan. My family drives off and I need to wait for whatever it is to finish.

Today, I took an ad hoc nap in the early afternoon and did reading after that but I feel asleep then too. I got through one journal article when I intended to get through many more.

I went with John to Kirby to see “Shrek,” which my family saw this summer. When the movie first started there were three problems: no sound, image out of focus and too low on the screen. The sound problem was worked on first and it turned out the amp was not turned on. The height of the screen was adjusted, but it wasn’t able to stay high for very long, so it stayed low for the rest of the movie. The focus was eventually fixed.

After the movie, Kai caught up with me in front of Parrish. We walked to my room, which he said was nice even though I still have a stack of boxes near my closet. I was going to get rid of my boxes later this evening. Kai told me that the hallways in Mertz had air-conditioning, which was a complete surprise to me. The convection vents in the Mertz rooms installed right before I lived there my first year apparently could do air-conditioning but they weren’t turned on to do that since no other dorms had that system. Kai also told me half of the bathrooms look completely new while the other half look sort of new. We went over there since I wanted to see what was going on.

I get in the dorm and it looks like from before at first although there is much more hall life and there is this smell in the upper lobby of elevator grease. Going on the second floor kitchen increases the smell and changes it to more of a food-like burnt smell. Kai said that the fire alarm has gone off before due to that.

I notice that the ceiling in certain locations is even lower due to the fire sprinkler pipe runs. What makes it bad is the Mertz ceiling was low to begin with. Kai’s room is nice although he has a sprinkler pipe running above his bed. He said in some rooms the pipe was covered up but in others they were not. The pipe also runs above his closest, which you can see, and above his door. At that latter location the pipe was covered up.

Kai said that contractors were still working on the building two weeks into the semester. It was a good thing that in 1999 the Mertz renovation project was unable to redo the bathrooms, because apparently that may have been part of the delay now. Even though the network and phone jacks were replaced and I think they are 100 Mbit/s like in PPR, Kai said that there were a lot of jack problems at the beginning of the semester.

Another thing that I think is tacky is the jack was moved to be on top of the heating counter instead of in the wall of the heating counter like before. So now you can’t put things that go against the wall on the part of the heating counter where the jack is. The location of the old jacks was replaced with a flat faceplate. The only logical reason I could think of why the jacks were moved is to be ADA compliant the jacks need to be higher off the ground. I looked at an electrical outlet in the room and it was fairly high off the ground like it was in 1999 but the jacks are much higher.

Kai and I toured the bathrooms. The south bathroom on the second level looked beautiful. Kai said that there are no soap trays in the shower. There are vents outside the bathroom that blew out cold air into the hallway. We then went to see the north bathroom and that wasn’t as colorful. The tile, drains, soap dishes, and heads for the shower looked like the ones from before. There was a white area of tile on the long wall among tan tile. One thing that really surprised me is the bathtub got taken away. Even Willets has a bathtub. I thought Mertz 260, my first-year room, was made larger by removing the tub but it instead looks like the housekeeping large closet received the space.

The study closets near the elevator on the second floor were removed and the space was given to the adjacent single to make it a large single. The same thing could have happened to Kai’s room as he is near the old laundry room, which was turned into a closet since the bathrooms needed to be made larger for ADA compliance. Kai said that he wasn’t sure why his room wasn’t made larger also.

All of the laundry machines have been moved to the basement. The machines are brand new and are larger inside than the old ones. The vending machines have also been moved to the basement as the first floor kitchen and adjacent lounge were rearranged a bit. The wall dividing the second floor kitchen with the lounge was removed and replaced with a table.

I was over in Mertz for a while so I eventually went to bed after returning to Worth instead of going through my boxes.

2001-09-28, Fri (Day 460, temperature at 07:31: 19.2°C, difference: -2.5°C): I dream I am in the south end of Willets on the second floor in my room, reading near sunset. In real life I lived on the third floor. People were walking around outside, walking their dog and two students were taking pictures. This black dog comes up close to me before his owner brings him back. Music is playing in Willets. My room also has a view in multiple directions.

Next, I am watching an academic video in a windowless light gray room. The end credits for the production company had an animation of the Twin Towers becoming loose to split apart and allow a big plane to go by. Once the plane went by the towers uprighted themselves. I was surprised that this animation was not changed considering the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Today, I went to the bookstore after poly sci to find that the Hoffman book is still out of stock. I went to Michael’s, intending to buy Tums, but lo and behold they also had the special calcium bottle, where the tablets are larger and better match daily calcium requirements. I also went to the Co-op and got snack food.

Around lunch I made a list of the things that I needed to fix with the Quark XML export script for The Phoenix Online. After free weights class I went up to the student publications office and later worked on the script but before then I tried getting LetterRip to work with the Phoenix headlines e-mail service. I was able to get it to work with SMTP but that port is closed inbound from off-campus. I only fixed three issues with the Quark script and the Power Mac G4 I was working on kept crashing when I made changes to the script.

After dinner I went with John to the Strath Haven vs. Ridley high school football game. A large crowd was filling up both stands and there were a sizable number of people near the concession area with no other place to go. Strath Haven won 21-7, but Ridley held its own, keeping Strath Haven scoreless in the second half.

After the game I went to Palmer and watched TV with Jesse, John, and Tom. I could have went to the Phoenix party in Wharton basement tonight as it just started when I got back from the game, but for some reason before today I didn’t feel like going.

2001-09-27, Thu (Day 459, temperature at 09:20: 21.7°C, difference: +2.1°C): I got up at 09:20 and went to class soon afterward. Getting through some parts of the day was difficult since I was so tired. I also didn’t stop to take a nap since I had events scattered during the day.

I went to The Phoenix editorial board meeting tonight. The meeting was almost two hours long but it didn’t seem like it. Near the beginning of the meeting, I helped Jeff to try and get the left iMac, which was moved to the other side of the room, working after a memory upgrade. The consistent result was a startup chime but no screen. Nathan was up there too and none of us could get it to work even after putting the old memory back so Jeff e-mailed Michael Rapp, the ITS hardware technician.

After the meeting I finished my stat problem set in Beardsley.

2001-09-26, Wed (Day 458, temperature at 07:35: 19.6°C, difference: -8.8°C): I dreamed I was riding on the West Side highway of New York City from midtown north. The highway reached a high elevation near the north end of Manhattan with lots of 17:01s in a column on the ground. After the road reached a lower level I saw Albany to the north-northwest. There were a fair number of tall buildings in view; some of them looked like they were from the university. The buildings didn’t look very nice both in the immediate vicinity (upper Manhattan) and in the background. Two active tall smokestacks were in the far background. Skies were cloudy.

The road narrowed to two lanes near the end of the highway. The bridge that leaves the city was named the Scudder’s Falls Bridge and consisted of a small curved, sloped beaver dam that one car could drive over at a time. My Dad was having a hard time driving over it so I had to help him maneuver over the crossing.

I also dreamed I was watching a video in Windows Media Player of a Madonna concert. I was viewing this through a vision while in the eastern end of the Springfield Mall near Strawbridge’s. One of the songs is Baccio.

In real life the Scudder’s Falls Bridge connects I-95 with Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Today was a Phoenix day. In the morning, while checking distributed.net stats and finding that they were not up to date I checked nugget’s plan and there was not much mention about stats-box problems but there was a link to an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) action item. The item talked about proposed legislation that would invade privacy and restrict rights in response to the terrorist attacks on --09-11. The EFF has also played a role in gathering support for Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov. He was arrested in July for trafficking into the United States a copy protection circumvention device.

The action item for today wanted e-mails to be sent to members of Congress. I almost didn’t do it since I was presented with a form letter or I could write my own and I only wanted to do the latter. However, due to time limitations I only had time to send out the form letter. It took about an hour to send the letter out since I hadn’t done something like this in a while.

I worked on the Phoenix statistics by issue for most of the afternoon since now I am doing one theme for the entire day. Right now it is alternating academics and Phoenix. I made improvements to the statistics by issue scripts although for the 2001-09-06 issue report I didn’t get Swarthmore subnet groupings in the Analog organization report with the SUBORG command. This problem also happened a year ago, just like the CD tray refuses to eject problem, which I have been experiencing recently. The cause for the latter problem appears to be a system crash beforehand. The solution is to shut down the computer and power it up again.

For the Analog issue I didn’t find a fix on the Analog help mailing list but two weeks ago another Analog for the Mac user had the same problem and quoted my e-mail from a year ago when I first had the problem. I subscribed to the list again and posted that I have the problem again and that I am trying to root it out. Meanwhile it is sometime after 16:00 and my computer is showing signs of overloading but it managed to hold up for me to finish the message to the list.

I went up to the publications office and when I went to run the Quark export script I used the G4 that previously would unexpectedly quit when running the script. This week the script didn’t mess up every time but every fourth article or so would cause a hang, requiring a restart. That was annoying but manageable. I needed to use Tex-Edit Plus to capitalize text so I mounted my computer and copied the application to the local drive and opened it there.

A few minutes later the G4 suddenly became unresponsive for the most part, worse but similar to the LimeWire latency interaction with Audion and dnetc. The AppleTalk traffic arrows in the menu bar of the G4 were permanently displaying, suggesting that some network activity led to the crash. I restart the G4 and finish the exporting of pages for the 17:00 deadline. I go to mount my computer again and it wasn’t there. The stat server running on my iMac was also down too. When I got back to my room I needed to force restart my computer.

Only one other time had a crash on another computer caused my computer to become unusable remotely. At some point I was in the office I think last fall semester when it first happened. My computer had more than 32,000 files on the startup disk since I had multiple copies of Phoenix web-docs. I was opening my Eudora mailbox remotely and that crashed the G4 I was working on in the office. I went to remount my computer after restarting and I was able to get a login screen but logging in crashed the G4 each time I tried. I got back to my room and I think my computer was still up but not working properly so I needed to restart.

A related incident didn’t make my computer inoperable but made Milhouse the publications server unstable. I had the Phoenix partition and my computer mounted on a G4 in the office last semester and something went wrong, reaching a point when Milhouse became very unstable even after I restarted the computer I was working on but then mounted Phoenix and my iMac. Jeff was in the office then and he gave the hypothesis that something on my computer is causing Milhouse to mess up.

A problem that I am dealing with right now is iDo Script Scheduler has a memory leak, which has been causing my computer to go down after about 40 hours of uptime. I upped the memory allocation of the iDo extension but that only seemed to make the uptime grow in proportion to the increase and not actually fix the problem. I thought I fixed the same problem at home but apparently I didn’t leave my computer running long enough to cause the crash with the higher memory allocation. I think the crash with my computer around dinner was related to this memory leak.

The Internet connection also started flaking out at 16:00 and continued to flake out into tomorrow. Even though response times are reasonable when I check, every now and then active connections are dropped so protocols such as Gnutella and AOL Instant Messenger are disconnected, requiring a reconnect.

I spent the rest of the evening doing the current issue for The Phoenix Online. I finished the art by 02:00 although I also wanted to proof the articles. That kept me up until after 05:00. Loud music and carrying on in the Worth courtyard was a needed supplement to keep me up past 01:00 as my playlist is sort of repetitive and has the tendency to lull me to sleep if I am already headed in that direction. The music played tonight was some of the most offbeat that I have heard but very helpful as I needed anything different to keep me awake.

2001-09-25, Tue (Day 457, temperature at 07:32: 28.4°C, difference: +0.4°C): I dream about the World Trade Center, watching CNN on TV and reading their site online. Some outcome would have been worse had a plane crashed in LA. Talks of the WTC reopening have been delayed. I learned of this second point while on the west side of the College Ave and Chester Road (PA 320) intersection. I heard of this information and saw the pictures of the WTC rubble through a large movable holograph above the roadway.

I didn’t get going until 09:10 since I didn’t go to bed tired and went to bed late. In stat class we did bubble blowing experiments to see if glycerin made higher quality bubbles. I spent the rest of the day working on the stat problem set. It seems that the Beardsley public area is not used very much now. It can’t be because there aren’t any Windows computers in it or the computers are old. Rather, I think that computers in the dorms sort of removed the centralized nature of computing on campus. I still got to bed around 01:00, simply because it took a while to unwind and drunken people were carrying on in the courtyard. No music was playing this time.

2001-09-24, Mon (Day 456, temperature at 07:30: 28.0°C, difference: +1.1°C): I dreamed I was looking through old print editions of The Phoenix dating from about 1996 to 1998. The design was the 1999-fall design though. The body text was a rather intricate typeface and there were a lot of graphical elements per page even though the computing power at that time was not tremendously great.

I received a copy of the Halcyon, the yearbook, today for free. I thought that it was nice that I received a copy considering that I am not a senior.

For the majority of the day after lunch I worked on the Phoenix statistics by issue project. I made good progress in the late afternoon and evening. A configuration file for Analog is generated based on the issue that you want the stats for. I also added in the evening a parser that adds the headline of the article in the request report. It looks very cool. By the end of the evening most of the stuff was working but a lot of fine-tuning is necessary. I also am probably not going to work on this until Thursday at the earliest so stat reports still probably won’t be working until the end of the weekend.

I didn’t go to the SWIL movie, as I wanted to work on the stat scripts and it starting raining heavily in the evening. It was necessary to shut the windows in my room at about the time I would have been at the movie. It seems like September storms are becoming an annual thing, starting recently with Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

2001-09-23, Sun (Day 455, temperature at 07:30: 26.9°C, difference: -0.3°C): I wake up this morning and not only are my arches sore like they were yesterday, but now my butt is sore from bowling on Friday night.

I slept until lunch and finished writing my poly sci paper in Beardsley. In the evening Dad picked me up for my birthday ceremony at home. I also picked up my bowling ball. Since the ball was fitted when I was in the middle school, the holes on the ball are too close together. I don’t know if it will work until I try it at the alley.

At night I worked on the stat reports for The Phoenix Online. I started writing code to make reports for individual issues and having the headlines show up in the reports. I didn’t get very far, which sort of frustrated me.

2001-09-22, Sat (Day 454, temperature at 07:31: 27.2°C, difference: +0.9°C): I dream that I am in front of Lakeview School. I think my Dad is talking to me and the woman who runs frenzied abandoned in real life around campus was running up on the grass terrace that borders the southern end of the school.

In real life I am sitting in Sharples during breakfast and that woman is running again on campus. Seeing her triggered my memory of the dream.

I woke up tired this morning but I stayed up since I needed the morning to do the wash, as I would be out in the afternoon. As long as I kept moving or kept my mind occupied I was fine, but by the late evening I started to get really tired.

I go over to Palmer a few minutes after 12:35. Tom just woke up so he was in no position to go with John and I to Lower Merion for Ridley football. Jesse was dressed, came downstairs as we were waiting for Tom and then went back upstairs without saying anything. Confused, I asked him if he was coming and he said that he was “going to sit this one out.” So John and I left. It took longer than I thought to get up to the field. The Blue Route traffic was fine, but the PA 320 traffic near Baltimore Pike was heavy and US 30 traffic between the Blue Route and Lower Merion High School was especially heavy.

We missed the kickoff, but we didn’t arrive too late. The game itself moved quickly though. Once again like at Marple Newtown, more Ridley fans were there than home fans. For Lower Merion, the band was as numerous if not more so than the crowd. Their band didn’t really have uniforms and their actions had a confederate feel to it. The band also didn’t perform at the halftime show even though Ridley did. The final score of the game was 35-7 Ridley. Ridley High School teacher Ms. Quaciari talked with me near the end of the game.

John and I went to the showing of “My Blue Heaven” in Kirby. The projector messed up pretty fast and caused a five-minute delay. The movie was also very loud.

I started falling asleep before 22:00 while starting to write my thought paper for poly sci. I eventually got to bed, but it is difficult to properly go to bed when you are falling asleep.

2001-09-21, Fri (Day 453, temperature at 07:30: 26.3°C, difference: +0.1°C): The poly sci debate this morning got lively near the end of the class. I finished my stat problem set in Beardsley public this morning. More people were there and it seems like the Macs are more popular than the Dells.

I continued working on The Phoenix Online in the late morning, afternoon, and soon after dinner. I’m not completely sure why this week’s issue is taking so long. Part of it might be the Philly Guide and the total size of the paper, 28 pages. Also, I am doing almost all of the art and I am spending more time proofing especially the Philly Guide since I imagine people are going to come back to it later on.

I went over to Palmer at 19:00 and went with John to the ville. Tonight from 17:00 to 19:00 was “Friday in the Ville,” similar in concept to Philadelphia’s “First Friday.” Stores were open until 21:00, various musical and a cappella groups performed, and the atmosphere seemed much better. The town seemed livelier as there were a number of people in the business district. Tom showed up a few minutes later and we went and got ice cream at the Celebrity Deli. I got rocky road.

Alyssa and a few of her friends including Laura were there briefly. Things got boring after nearly an hour so John, Tom, and I decided to drive somewhere. After getting cash, we went to the Mac Dade Lanes to bowl but Tom found out that a league was at Mac Dade and there wouldn’t be an open lane until 22:00. We tried the Sproul Lanes and there was a brief wait at first but then we got going. The place seemed like a good way to spend your Friday night.

John bowled well; Tom and I bowled similarly, my third game was an 83. The first ball I threw was not a gutter ball, which was a good start considering I hadn’t bowled since middle school. Tom had some problems picking up spares and I would go into these consistent stretches. For the first game I got a lot of nine pin frames, the second one a good amount of consecutive gutter balls, and the third was a mix of the previous two as well as a number of seven pin frames.

After the second game the fourth pin wasn’t being set and resetting the pins didn’t fix the problem. Tom went up to the front desk to get it fixed and it worked for one frame and then it broke again. The difference this time is the lane shutdown with the sweep in the midway position in addition to the missing fourth pin. I went up to the desk and an announcement was made on the PA, “Lights out on 19.” A guy wearing boots was on the lane surface and dislodged a number of stuck pins. After that the automatic pinsetter worked fine.

Afterwards we decided to go into Philly to Tony Luke’s on Oregon Ave. My father took me here after stopping at the Comcast office on Columbus Blvd to return a set-top cable box on a dreary day. Even though John, Tom, and I went at night it seemed much better. The cheesesteak I got was really good and freshly hot.

We returned to campus after 23:00, watched some TV, and then I went back to Worth to go to bed.

2001-09-20, Thu (Day 452, temperature at 07:30: 26.2°C, difference: +3.0°C): I worked on The Phoenix online edition in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening. I still didn’t finish. Various other things were interspersed throughout the day. Class was in the morning but Ed ended class at 12:00 so we could go to the peace vigil in front of Parrish. It rained periodically and near the end heavily.

I wasn’t sharp enough this morning to take my rain jacket even though I saw activity on the radar and it was wet outside. I figured it was a passing shower but it turned out to rain periodically the entire day, sometimes heavily. Without my rain jacket I got pretty wet at the vigil. A good amount of people were there considering the wet weather and very few of us were prepared for it. It almost seems like we’re too busy for it to rain.

Action News, CBS News, CN8 (Comcast), and various photographers were there. I was standing in their line of sight a good amount of time so it’s possible I may be on film.

I got to research design class at my normal time although someone put his bag in the seat next to John so I had to sit on the other side of the bag. Kate sits to my right where the bag was.

A teach-in took place in LPAC from 19:00 to sometime after 20:30. Jeffrey Murer, my poly sci prof and Andrew Ward, my research design prof were both on the panel and sat next to each other. Jeffrey was the facilitator. The panel was constructive.

The session ended late enough where I didn’t go to The Phoenix ed board meeting because it started some time earlier and I wanted to finish the online edition for the week. I stopped working on the site at around 01:00.

2001-09-19, Wed (Day 451, temperature at 07:31: 23.2°C, difference: +0.4°C): Wednesdays represent the spike days of the week. Sandwiched between two three-class days, Wednesdays also are the deadline day for The Phoenix. I spend most of my time in the student publications office on this day and the evening is mostly spent doing The Phoenix Online.

I worked on the stat problem set after free weights class before I went up to the office after 16:00. I checked on the PDF progress and noticed a lot of error log files for the PDFs. Nathan later confirmed what I thought in part: the problem was a mismatched font. We finished at 16:45, which was good, but page 18 had a RGB JPEG in it and was giving Delco, the printer, problems. For the second time in history according to Nathan, we were sending Delco a page a second time.

I got the early edition of the site up by 19:38, including the eight-page Philly Guide. I noticed that even though I was a little more organized this week with doing the issue, I still didn’t get through the 17:00 PDFs to add the images before I went up to the office again at 21:30. We ran about 15 minutes over our second deadline and it was pretty stressful up there. Back in Worth, my progress grew worse ending with updating the front page for the 22:00 articles. I was falling asleep so I managed to get that done and went to bed around 00:00.

2001-09-18, Tue (Day 450, temperature at 07:31: 22.8°C, difference: +1.2°C): I got up this morning and really felt like sleeping an extra hour but I stayed up anyway. I completed the written book problems for the stat problem set this afternoon around research design class. The set is due Friday. After dinner I worked on setting up the latest version of Analog, the web statistics application. The prep was so long and dependant on the previous steps being completed. I needed to free startup disk space to resolve the firewall log and I started that before stat class in the morning and didn’t finish until the evening.

This version of the Analog distribution didn’t seem well packaged so I needed to take some extra time to add and change possible commands in the configuration file. I sort of thought fresh with this new version, implementing new reports, adding columns, and customizing the display. I am more focused on having a well-done stat report so I am ensuring that things are done properly. I also need to write an AppleScript to make configuration files so I can have a report for each Phoenix issue on each issue retroactively. I’m guessing that I won’t be completely done until the end of the weekend.

A new Internet worm spread today, called Nimda. I noticed the worm when I saw weird Windows paths in my stat log file after dinner. I thought to myself that this is another worm. I checked CNET and confirmed my suspicion. Apparently this worm is more problematic than Code Red. The worm can be triggered automatically, it spreads through both Microsoft IIS and Outlook e-mail, it tries several IIS exploits instead of just one, and it generates a lot of traffic on the network. No connection has been made between the worm and the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks last week.

I worked until 01:30. It didn’t make much sense to stop early since there was a loud party in the courtyard and the fire alarm went off a few minutes before 01:00. The alarm sound in Worth is a chirp every few seconds so the many Willets alarms from last year don’t have as much of an association with the alarm that I heard in Worth. And that’s a good thing.

I get downstairs and public safety is already going into Worth N, leading me to think something was wrong with the alarm before it went off and public safety was already heading over. Two officers walked back and forth from Worth M and N to the other side of Worth presumably to see what the control panel was saying. After about five minutes with the alarm still going off one of the officers said it was fine to enter the building, as there was no fire. They couldn’t get the alarm shut off yet. A few minutes later the alarm stopped.

2001-09-17, Mon (Day 449, temperature at 07:30: 21.6°C, difference: -0.9°C): For the first time since early Tuesday morning, the day started with a fresh feel. This morning I rescheduled my meeting with Karen Henry to 14:30. I watched the first hour of the stock market trading in the lounge. Like expected the Dow dropped several hundred points but the dip should correct itself in the new few days or soon afterwards.

In the late afternoon and early evening I finished the art and proofing for last week’s Phoenix. I am still logging stat data for web sites, but I have yet to make any reports with the new data or send out report summary e-mails. I started my stat problem set before going to Kirby to watch “The Fifth Element,” which was an odd movie. It seems that I find movies filmed in or set in Britain to be odd. The movie ended after 00:00 so once again I am going to bed at around 01:00.

2001-09-16, Sun (Day 448, temperature at 09:31: 22.5°C, difference: +0.2°C): I got up midmorning since I wanted to go to lunch in time to be picked up at 12:30. At that time, my family picked me up to go to the dedication and open house at the new Ridley High School. Dad was interested in a free lunch; I was interested in the dedication ceremony at 13:30. It turned out that there were enough seats in the cafeteria despite the large numbers of people there but the line to get food was unquestionably long, so long that it spilled out into the great hall. We also had a hard time finding a parking spot.

After the dedication ceremony I went to the boardroom for two sessions, one on the geothermal system and another on the electronic infrastructure of the building. I found both of them interesting. The geothermal concept is somewhat of a difficult thing to grasp, as it can sometimes seem unclear how the system can actually work considering our limited nature of reality.

The cornerstone presentation was at 15:45 and afterwards I walked through the academic area of the building that wasn’t part of the tour during the summer. While walking around, I saw Ms. Crosby’s and Mr. Stanczuk’s room. I also saw Ms. Martin, who has a nice room on the third floor with the arch windows. I also talked with Ms. Shaw, my biology teacher. I stopped by the TV studio and saw Mr. Iannacci, Russell, as well as Dave and Todd Stewart’s parents. While there, I took some pictures of the studio, which I think was a recipient of maximized compartmental space. The control room was especially hot. At the moment I like the old TV studio better even though it has been torn down.

I didn’t get back to Swat until after 16:30, but I did have my comforter now and after having a warm sense of community from the high school I felt ready to start making my room and resultantly my life more livable. One of the first fixes I did was to move my many boxes to get to the new containers of soap and shampoo.

I hung up the American flag and the iMac poster to see how good the walls are for holding up stuff. I went to the barbecue in the Worth courtyard for dinner. I talked with Jessica, my RA about various things including her psych thesis about prejudice of women in weightlifting.

In the evening I played my MP3s louder than normal as I was around my room getting things in order. I also cleaned my whiteboard with the cleaner I got on --09-08, Sat. Thankfully the cleaner removed many of the markings that were recently put on. I imagine it will take regular use of the cleaner to have a fully useable whiteboard.

I still got to bed at 01:00 but I started unwinding at 22:30. I think that’s different than working until right before 01:00.

2001-09-15, Sat (Day 447, temperature at 07:35: 22.3°C, difference: -3.7°C): I dreamed Mom was driving me around the streets in the local area outside the apartment. The skies were cloudy. She did a three-point turn at the intersection of McCormick and Henderson Streets. A man driving a large faded blue car came from the Chester Pike intersection with McCormick St down towards our car. I saw his inspection sticker said 1 21 (2021-01) and go on a rant that PennDOT can’t make up their mind on year-month or month-year. Mom agreed that they keep switching the order each year.

We were behind the car heading northwest on Popular Walk and both of us needed to wait a second for an Amtrak train to pass by going towards Philly. It sort of passed through the houses and not on the normal right of way. The normal right of way doesn’t require railroad crossings at this part of the northeast corridor. In fact I don’t remember seeing lights or a gate and the train was going at its typically fast speed. In real life, for about a year around the year 2000 the inspection stickers changed from year-month to month-year but PennDOT did change back to year-month. I prefer year-month as that date format is in agreement with ISO 8601.

I planned this weekend on getting my room more in order so I could actually use it. I got up early this morning but fell asleep while getting dressed and awoke closer to lunch. I got most of the journal caught up this afternoon and all of it by the evening.

Originally I wasn’t going out tonight, but a DVD of Memento was obtained so John met me in Kirby to watch it at 19:30. Kirby filled up causing one group to leave, possibly to return for the 22:00 showing. My understanding of the movie is that it was about a man who had no short-term memory and sought revenge for his supposedly murdered wife although she recovered but he didn’t recognize her. The movie was shown in reverse order so the audience would also be uncertain of certain elements until the historical significance was shown a few minutes later.

After the movie I continued to figure out why the LaCie USB hard drive partitions refuse to mount with the native USB driver. The main reason why I want them to is the ‘expel’ AppleScript command for the Synch Retrospect setup script doesn’t work with the generic driver. I eventually figured out that if I started up the computer with the startup disk but also had a bootable CD in the drive the native drivers would load. This is now the second clunky thing I need to do to have a proper restart. The first is to dismiss the “File sharing could not be enabled” warning for the nearly full Backup Set-iMac partitions a few minutes after starting up.

Loud heavy metal music began playing at 00:00 and continued while I went to bed about a half-hour later. Worth is as noisy as I imagined Willets to be. The realities of the two dorms seem to be reversed from my expectations.

2001-09-14, Fri (Day 446, temperature at 07:32: 26.0°C, difference: +0.3°C): I heard the rain outside, which briefly woke me up sometime before 07:30. I thought that it would help cool down the remaining hot spots at the Pentagon and WTC fires. A fire flared up at the Pentagon yesterday night. The rained actually hindered the rescue effort in New York. It rained until the mid-afternoon, varying in intensity from slight drizzle to a downpour. The desktop picture local radar helped today to give the location of the storm and the latency was the lowest I have seen. At one point the radar image was only about five minutes behind the current time.

After turning in my stat homework I worked on catching my journal up as the attacks on Tuesday caused everything to go slower. I didn’t get as far as I expected to this afternoon. I met Jesse and John on Parrish beach for the candlelight vigil at 19:00 on Sharples patio. This vigil was part of a nationwide event.

We then went to Kirby in Martin for the showing of “Memento.” Problems with movies on campus shown by the movie committee continued. This time an announcement was made apparently by the projectionist that the “Animal House” reels were sent instead of “Memento.” “Animal House” was the movie last week and at that time the movie wasn’t shown with the projector because the projectionist didn’t show and was unable to be found. It’s possible the “Animal House” reels from last week were never returned. At first we thought the projectionist this week was joking about the announcement but he was for reel [real]. That pun just happened automatically when I was writing.

Jesse, John, and I immediately left and went to Tarble and then went back to Palmer to watch TV. We watched “Let’s Make a Deal” on the Game Show network. Jesse left after this show and Tom came back from a rescheduled seminar to watch “Press Your Luck” with us. Watching the show now I noticed that it moved quickly but it seemed like it had rough edges both in the directing and the game show equipment. I told those in the room the story of the man who memorized the six original patterns of the game board and won a sizeable amount of money. The guy got the money but the number of unique patterns was increased to 30 afterwards. After “Press Your Luck,” Jesse rejoined us to watch “Iron Chefs” on the Food Network. Watching this channel makes you hungry after some time.

2001-09-13, Thu (Day 445, temperature at 07:31: 25.7°C, difference: +0.6°C): I got up normally at 07:30, ate breakfast, and worked on The Phoenix web site until stat class at 09:55. After this point I needed to work on the stat problem set due tomorrow at 14:00. I went up to the publications office before research design class to set up the Phoenix headlines service on the server with LetterRip. Jeff helped me out but since the server was configured to use POP and not SMTP and was an older version than the demo I wrote the directions for in May, I couldn’t get it to work properly. People could subscribe, but I couldn’t send a message to the subscribers.

I went to McCabe after research design and finished the stat problems from the book that were done without using a computer. A problem that was to be e-mailed and two JMP problems remained.

I gave an hour to myself after dinner so I wouldn’t feel so bad. Dad called and told me more about the WTC fire. He said the steel was fireproofed, which I thought wasn’t the case as the building was constructed about 25 years ago. The problem was the fireproofing only worked up to 1600°F (871°C), the temperature in a typical fire. Jet fuel fires burn at 3000 to 4000°F (1649 to 2204°C) and it melted the fireproofed steel from the inside out.

The Phoenix ed board and writing staff hiring meeting was at 20:00. The meeting was too long but necessary.

I didn’t start the other parts of the stat problem set until after 22:00. I went to Beardsley public area to find a computer that had JMP on it. JMP is a statistical analysis application. I could install it on my own computer but since I am still low on disk space I figured it would be easier to do the work on a computer that already had the application installed.

The Beardsley public area also was upgraded this summer. The center area has new iMacs and the scanning station now has a G4 but the outer ring consists of Dell desktops. I knew about the half-and-half mixture before I arrived tonight so I wondered if more people were using the Macs or PCs. I got there and there were so few people there that I couldn’t make a good evaluation.

The JMP program seemed nice when Phil showed it in class. When I tried to use it, I had a much different opinion. I could not save anything. The window would flash when I choose ‘Save’ or ‘Save as’ but no file was written in the obvious places. That made it difficult to save a journal file and edit it in Word. Instead I needed to take screen captures and import them into Word. Word didn’t want to read the PICT format of the screen captures so I needed to copy them from SimpleText. The copy of SimpleText on the public area iMac didn’t have enough memory so I needed to use my copy of SimpleText and increase the memory allocation.

An additional problem is the data file for the second question was giving a memory error when using it in JMP. I cut the file in half and analyzed that but the results looked very bad. I later learned from Jesse tomorrow at dinner that IE placed three extra returns at the beginning of the file and confused JMP. Had I used Netscape or deleted those three extra returns, which I did see, the problem would have been fixed. I was so frustrated at this point I wanted to just finish whatever I could. I left Beardsley at around 00:00.

2001-09-12, Wed (Day 444, temperature at 07:33: 25.1°C, difference: -2.1°C): The day after the attacks on the U.S. was somewhat better. Classes resumed today and people made an attempt to return to a normal day. I had a hard time doing so and it seemed that others did as well. When the Oklahoma bombing occurred on 1995-04-19, I was in Arlington National Cemetery on an 8th grade trip to Washington. I didn’t even know there was a bombing until I returned home that evening. The teachers did a good job of allowing us to enjoy the day instead of being terrified with the news of that morning. The bombing bothered me for a while although the death toll was high but not very large — about 168. The building was destroyed but part of the frame was there. Nearby buildings were damaged but the fire did not spread very far.

The attack on Tuesday however was just a combination of bad things causing a terrible outcome. More people were in the buildings and three buildings were attacked: the two World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Two cities being attacked are also of concern. The nation’s military administrative building being hit is particularly disturbing. However, the Pentagon is under a flight path.

The WTC attack leading to both towers collapsing was a shock to me. I thought that sprinklers were supposed to contain fires like this although this fire appeared to be too large and spread quickly. The fire in the WTC quickly engulfed 20 floors and the sprinklers couldn’t keep up. This assumes the sprinklers worked on the upper floors as the planes sliced through the buildings, possibly breaking or melting pipes. The Pentagon partial collapse as well surprised me since the plane was able to slice through three corridors of the building. The building was constructed in the 1940s and I imagine was made sturdy considering the time period and the purpose of the building.

Also of shock is that four commercial airliners could be hijacked in a short amount of time at three separate airports by people wielding knives and box cutters. The large fire at both sites was also bad. Jet fuel is highly flammable and the planes that were hijacked were cross-country flights, meaning the planes were loaded with fuel. The fire spreading at the WTC site also reminded me of a SimCity 2000 disaster only this one was real. This fire was spreading through a high-density area known as lower Manhattan making the situation worse.

After poly sci I went to Michael’s to get newspapers. The cashier told me that the New York Times sold out at 08:30, before she got there. I was able to get yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer with the extra edition included and today’s Delco Times. I went to a box at the train station and got today’s Inquirer. I spent the rest of the morning up to 10:45 reading the papers. President Bush gave an update at 10:45 and his message of force against the countries that harbor terrorism was apparent. I watched the address in the Worth lounge.

I went up to the publications office soon after 16:00 and covered for Nathan in terms of having a technical consultant on duty and so I could export the pages done by 17:00 for the web. I also implemented corrections from a proofed print edition page, the first time I have done so. This Phoenix issue was split oddly among the two deadlines in that no section was completely done by 17:00 with the exception of Living, which only had the to-do page. I also planned on doing an early edition so I wouldn’t be doing so much of the work so late. I put up what was done already by 20:21. People, especially from on campus were already visiting the site, much to my surprise as I only told Dee about the early edition in the office today after dinner.

I returned to the office after 21:00 for the second deadline. Many more people were in the office than the first deadline. It only took me an hour to do the exporting this time and I worked on the site until 02:00 when I couldn’t concentrate anymore so I went to bed from there.

2001-09-11, Tue (Day 443, temperature at 07:31: 27.2°C, difference: -1.8°C): Today is probably one of the worst days in the history of the United States. I started the morning awakening from a dream that seemed unclear to me, similar to yesterday’s dream. I forgot to allow write permissions to the backup drive so the Retrospect action was waiting for me to dismiss the locked drive dialog.

I ran the Resolve IP script and it was looking up many more addresses than it was yesterday night. Initially thinking something was really wrong I quit it but I then ran it again and let it finish looking up what it wanted to. The cache file finished writing at 08:36. I then ran Retrospect while I got dressed. The backup finished at 08:44.

I also tried running the Synch retro setup script near the end of 08:44. The script has worked before but this time I tried it with the Spare B drive unmounted to see if the partition would mount and it didn’t. I tried a few drive numbers for the ‘expel’ command and they didn’t work, so I took a break at about 08:47, met the housekeeper Minni, and went to Sharples for breakfast. At 08:48 [08:46 as corrected 2001-12-11, 08:46:26 corrected 2001-12-19], a hijacked plane crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City. About 15 minutes later [09:02:54 corrected 2001-12-19], a second hijacked plane crashed into the south tower, 2 World Trade.

I was sitting with Betsy and Elizabeth in Sharples soon after the second impact occurred. Even though we didn’t know what happened in New York at the time, after Elizabeth left following Betsy’s scheduling conflict with Elizabeth’s schedule, I followed up on Betsy’s mention of the firehouse meeting. She said that she is doing EMT stuff and gave the large amount of training hours necessary. Betsy left; I stayed for a few minutes, and then went back to Worth briefly as my idle-usage.log showed that I did use the computer sometime after 09:36 and up until 09:45. That means I tried many different drive numbers for the ‘expel’ command and none of them worked. Therefore the Retrospect script doesn’t have full functionality yet.

I left at 09:45 for stat class in Kohlberg 115. I get in the room and Jesse tells me about a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Based on what he said it didn’t seem like a big deal. I imagined there was a brief fire, the sprinklers went on and then that was that. Someone in the class tells Phil Everson to go to washingtonpost.com about the World Trade crash. An image of the building was on the front page and it looked pretty bad. Much black smoke was coming out of the building. We carried on with class.

During class within the first five minutes (by 10:00, [09:59:04 corrected 2001-12-19]), the south tower of the trade center collapsed, throwing concrete, steel, and ash over a large area of lower Manhattan. A half-hour later [10:28:31 corrected 2001-12-19] the north tower collapsed straight down like in an implosion. Buildings nearby the area also caught on fire and some of them collapsed too. Within this short span of time when the WTC was on fire but still standing, a third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington at 09:45, setting that section of the building ablaze, causing significant damage, and floor collapse at the impact site. A fourth hijacked plane, possibly heading for Camp David, the presidential retreat, crashed southeast of Pittsburgh, Pa at 10:10 [10:06:05 corrected 2005-09-27].

I didn’t know about anything beyond the first plane crash at the WTC during stat class, so I didn’t realize how bad things were. I got to Papazian 324 for psych of language and Erica came in a few minutes after I set my stuff down and updated us on what happened and where to go for news. Televisions were set up in Parrish Parlors, Tarble, LPAC, and Sharples. I went downstairs to find a phone in Papazian to see if anyone was in the student publications office. Michael was there and I then called Dee and left a voicemail.

I met up with Liz outside of Trotter and we went to LPAC. For this national emergency the broken LPAC adjustable wall was ignored and a projection TV was set up on the Pearson-Hall stage. This was the point when I saw the horror: seeing the towers come down in a plume of black smoke, scores of people running from the site, some being buried by the rubble, and among those on the street level was New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. The mayor was trying to talk to reporters but his officials were moving him along due to the immediate danger of the collapsing buildings and debris falling to the ground.

I checked my voicemail in Parrish and Dee from The Phoenix left a general message that there was going to be a meeting at 14:30. I went to lunch and Kiyo and Hofan later sat down. I talked about my shock that the WTC towers collapsed. I was under the impression that there has never been a death in a properly sprinkled high-rise building. Today the scale of the disaster doesn’t make that the case.

I went back to Worth and called home to see if Nana was OK. Office buildings, government sites, and downtown areas across the country were shutting down or being evacuated. All commercial air traffic in the United States was grounded. Dad was able to contact Nana and she was fine. Ironically Dad was going down to Nana’s in Center City Philadelphia when the WTC was hit. He found out when the classical music station he was listening to interrupted and gave the news.

At Nana’s apartment Dad said that he heard her talking about the additional crashes and building collapses. Dad didn’t believe her until he saw it on the TV as well. Mom was watching TV when the second plane crashed into the south tower creating a large fireball, an incredible amount of debris, and made it clear that the WTC was under attack; the first crash was not an accident. The second crash was shown on live TV. Mom returned from the bathroom and then the TV was showing the Pentagon on fire.

I spent less than an hour (13:24 to 14:19) writing an AppleScript to convert specifically formatted XML files into HTML files, essentially doing what Sablotron does for The Phoenix Online. I did this since I imagined I would be up in the office today and need to put a story up on the web. I didn’t feel like doing the exporting in Word or PageMaker, or using Quark but going back to Worth to boot into Linux to run Sablotron. Instead I would use Quark, then the new AppleScript, and then the other processing and uploading scripts like normal. The script, which I got to work before going up to the office for the 14:30 meeting, was one of the fastest non-trivial AppleScripts that I have written.

Classes for the most part were cancelled today, including my afternoon research design class.

Tens of thousands of people are in the World Trade Center buildings daily. In terms of death toll, this disaster is most likely greater than the Oklahoma bombing (about 168) and possibly Pearl Harbor (about 2,000). A fair number of people were able to get out of the towers even from the upper floors. It took an hour for some of them to get out, which was about the amount of time the buildings were on fire before they collapsed.

I put a three-image slide show of the Swarthmore response on The Phoenix Online before 16:30. I went to Parrish Parlors briefly for a news update. The fires at the WTC site and the Pentagon were still going at this point and into the night.

I went to dinner and Jesse, John, and Tom eventually came. We had some discussion about the events of today although Jesse and Tom especially had a strong retaliatory stance. I on the other hand didn’t want this to become a runaway situation, which in effect has already started at least for the short-term state of U.S. policy.

I go back to Worth and I couldn’t do much else before the collection in the meetinghouse at 19:30 except to read news online. I sat with Ivan at the collection. Before the interim ed board meeting at 21:30 I went to LPAC for about a half-hour. President Bush was to address the nation at 21:00 but he started early. I got there at about 20:45 and he was already near the end of his statement.

Larry King Live soon came on at 21:00. He had guests who were WTC survivors and their stories were very interesting. One person said an announcement was made on the PA before the second plane hit that things were fine and it wasn’t necessary to leave. This woman was with her firm on the ninth floor at this point but they decided to leave the building anyway and that probably saved their lives. Another gentleman who was on one of the upper floors said that at around the 40th floor firefighters going up the stairs in equipment were collapsing due to exhaustion. It was also said that one survivor saw at least ten people jump from the building.

I went up to the office at 21:30 for the interim ed board meeting. Justin arrived later with sodas and newspapers. I eventually got Mara’s story on the web although I needed to use an older version of the Quark export script. I also had problems with my own scripts both for the story and the slide show that I did in the afternoon. Even though the computers that I run these scripts on are similar (G3 or better, Mac OS 9.x), small configuration differences between computers often cause problems that halt script execution. Nathan modified the Quark export script early Tuesday and broke other sections in the process. He also didn’t use my modified copy so I had to merge the two versions and that may introduce problems later.

Dee was trying to PDF the cover and it caused Distiller on the server to unexpectedly quit. Restarting the application then processed the queued file like normal. Nathan later determined that running Distiller on the RAM Disk had something to do with it.

2001-09-10, Mon (Day 442, temperature at 07:31: 29.0°C, difference: +1.2°C): My dream last night was sort of unclear to me. It seemed like I was moving around in unfamiliar places and passing by people along the way.

My arms were shaky around lunch as apparently my body was anticipating the free weights class in the afternoon. I also needed to stretch much more during the class than before as the stiffness in my muscles loosened. I got through all of the exercises that I haven’t yet done even though there was more of a crowd in the fitness room.

I did reading in McCabe in the late afternoon. I ended up reading a small fraction of what I intended to get through as I kept falling asleep periodically. I didn’t feel that tired but my concentration was not good, making the session unproductive.

I sat with Dave who lives on Dana lower level at dinner and Kiyo sat down a little later. Even though I got there after 17:00, Jesse, John, and Tom weren’t there yet so I saw no reason to sit alone if I saw someone else. They showed up later and were calling me out because I waited for Dave and Kiyo to leave before I sat with them.

Before leaving for the Swarthmore borough meeting at 19:30 I tried setting up the new version of Analog but that didn’t get very far. Before even getting the latest version I wanted to enable the startup script since I was doing the prep for the Resolve IP section now. However, the other new components of the startup script introduced complications that still haven’t been fixed as of Wednesday 12:00.

While walking to the borough hall, I met Michelle and Camille who are part of the Swarthmore Protestant Community. I told them that my interest in religion was only present at pre-orientation (1999-summer) and my workload doesn’t make it easy to go to services now. They seemed to understand.

The borough meeting was sparsely attended both on council and in the audience. The discussion was good although the pace was slow. Some residents, all of whom were given a chance to speak, grew impatient and frustrated as the discussion following their comments dragged on. Like what I read on the libertarian mailing lists the hot local issue is zoning. Tonight there was discussion about the ordinance on garages and whether they can be used as a living space. Another discussion was about a resident who lives near the intersection of Baltimore Pike and PA 320 and does not have a suitable driveway due to land use conflicts with Gateway Park.

The meeting ended before the SWIL movie “Neverwhere” started at 22:00. The movie was actually a six-part BBC mini-series and was very odd. The showing lasted until 01:00 so I dozed off near the end as the person sitting to the right of me apparently did as well.

2001-09-09, Sun (Day 441, temperature at 07:31: 27.8°C, difference: +0.4°C): I updated the AOL pages for the stat server this morning. Hopefully my IP address won’t change again. I didn’t free up disk space this morning; in fact I got a few more files.

This afternoon I did poly sci reading and started the reading for my stat problem set due Friday. I stopped working on stat at 21:00 and switched to The Phoenix Online until I went to bed. I intended to update a few pages that are issue-independent but I only got to the advertising page. That page now looks nice though. Lack of free disk space on the computer is now starting to become a crisis.

When I went to take a shower a bee was resting on the floor of the bathtub. I tried coaxing it out but it wasn’t moving much. So I turned the shower on in an attempt to wash it down the drain. The shower water was hot so I started to smell honey and then the bee got stuck in the drain. I used the end of my flip-flop to shove it down the drain. I start taking my shower and go to put my hands in my hair and I felt something. I had a feeling of what it was so I threw it down to the base of the tub. Sure enough it was a bee. I don’t know if it was the same one, but that freaked me out so now paranoia goes up, as anything I feel on my skin could be a bee. That was probably one of the shortest showers that I took.

I went to bed sometime after 00:00.

2001-09-08, Sat (Day 440, temperature at 10:48: 27.4°C, difference: +0.4°C): I got up at 07:30 but went back to bed and got up closer to 11:00. John, Jesse, and I went to Staples so I could get whiteboard cleaner, and we also went to Best Buy so Jesse could buy a TV. He also needed other supporting equipment such as an antenna and a Y-adapter to combine the stereo audio of the video game system into one audio channel for the TV input. He found two TV candidates each at $140 but the best one was the Samsung, which was out of stock. We were told by an associate that it was unclear when it would be back.

So we went to Circuit City and found a Broksonic for $10 less than the two candidates although there weren’t dual inputs like the Samsung had. To Jesse a good price mattered more. The associate needed to try four registers scattered throughout the store until he found one that worked. After leaving Circuit City we made a wrong turn and before heading back to campus we drove up Mac Dade Boulevard starting at the Mac Dade Mall and heading southwest to locate the Amoco stations along the way.

The TV requires the remote in order to switch to the input mode, which I think is odd. I am used to the inputs being on the rollover point of the channel lineup. I went back to Worth after 16:30 to account for my clothes that I started washing at around 13:00 before I went over to Palmer but was unable to switch them to a dryer until soon before dinner. It wasn’t that bad and it seemed that other people doing the wash left their clothes there too.

Jesse, John, and I went to the 19:30 showing of “Animal House” in Kirby Lecture Hall since DuPont 161 has been torn down and the wall that has the screen for the LPAC Cinema broke on --08-20 and won’t be fixed until the middle of October. The projectionist didn’t show up and wasn’t in his room so someone got a tape of the movie and the cabinet was believed to be locked at first and public safety didn’t have the key. After some inspection the cabinet just popped open. After all this the movie started at 20:10.

I updated to the latest version of LimeWire, 1.6d late in the evening. I also changed the connection speed to a T1 instead of Cable/DSL and it seems to be holding up well.

2001-09-07, Fri (Day 439, temperature at 07:31: 27.0°C, difference: +2.6°C): I spent the late morning and afternoon getting computer stuff in order. I tried implementing the update desktop picture script but the script kept hanging until I figured out after dinner that I forgot to re-enable the URL Access module. I noticed a couple of days ago that I disabled the module in April so I intended to remember to re-enable it when it got to the point when I needed to, but I just didn’t remember right away.

John picked me up at 18:45 with Jesse and Tom to go to Marple Newtown High School for the football game vs. Ridley. I saw Mr. Iannacci, TV studio advisor and some other familiar faces. Ridley won the game 34-20. It seemed like all of us had a good time. After the game we played video games in Tom’s room including the pong game, which is an easter egg in one of the games. When the ball doesn’t hit the paddle the screen flashes, potentially causing an epileptic seizure.

Back in Worth, I fell asleep listening to music so I just went to bed without changing and I was too tired to take my glasses off.

2001-09-06, Thu (Day 438, temperature at 07:31: 24.4°C, difference: -2.0°C): I got up normally at 07:30 and after orienting myself I continued working on The Phoenix online edition. I got the site up by 08:30 without the cover since my primary scratch disk for Photoshop was full and it wasn’t switching to the second disk gracefully. The cover PDF displayed the image properly but the text was replaced with paint globs. I went to class this morning and sat with Tom at lunch.

After lunch I got the cover up on the site as well as some art and corrections to the copy that I saw while I was doing other stuff. I forgot that my afternoon class was at 14:40 so I rushed up the hill at 14:35. I contributed in both psych classes today, participating in the small group discussion in psych of language even though I didn’t do the reading for today and I gave a reason why people resort to violence in research design. Sara felt compelled to contribute soon after me in research design. My reason was violence was used as a last resort, Sara’s was substance abuse.

I started yesterday’s journal entry in the late afternoon but Jesse called and said that network registration is not working properly and his Internet connection is down. I tried troubleshooting that on the phone while at the same time my family calls to drop stuff off.

I fell asleep while continuing the entry after dinner even though I had my music playing. I went to the ed board meeting at 20:00, which seemed productive but everyone had something to say so periodically the meeting would break into segments to converse more effectively. I also spoke more too. It seems that when I am tired now I am more likely to speak and the sentences still seem coherent. I also noticed today that my heart rate was higher and periodically it would go faster. Apparently it takes more effort to stay awake when tired.

I did reading for poly sci after the meeting and went to Palmer around 23:00 to look at Jesse’s computer. Other Macs in the building were also having problems so hopefully it should be fixed sooner than if just Jesse’s computer had a problem. I didn’t do anything but I got back to Worth and Jesse told me on the phone that now the network is working so it looks like the problem fixed itself.

2001-09-05, Wed (Day 437, temperature at 07:49: 26.4°C, difference: -1.9°C): The second class meeting of poly sci had a fair number of references to psychology and the poly sci discipline itself appears to be interesting so this should be a good class. Some of the people from my intro to philosophy class last year during the fall semester are in this class as well as others who contribute much to the discussion. There are two Liza’s in the class, which is quite interesting. Even more interesting is I sat next to the other Liza the first class meeting.

This morning I worked towards getting ready for the first issue of The Phoenix for tomorrow. I still needed to write a shell script that would mass convert XML files into HTML using Sablotron. I found a framework right before lunch. I started working to customize the script in Linux right after lunch but since I restarted my computer on network registration day for the dorm the registration screen popped up on Netscape for Linux. I went into the Mac and completed the process but by then I needed to go to Mullan for the free weights class. I spotted with Dave and Joseph. Joseph lifted weights before so he was able to give advice in addition to what Frank Agovino, the instructor, gave. Since I trained for soccer in high school and used the MedX machines last year, I was able to help Dave out as well. The environment is now very collaborative.

The afternoon steadily grew more stressful. I intended to go up to the publications office at 16:00, an hour before the first deadline at 17:00. After the first deadline I was going to send those sections to the export to web script. Once I completed this part I would have done the art for the sections in the time up to 21:00, when I would have gone up to the office again for the second deadline at 22:00. However, what actually happened was I encountered a snag in modifying the shell script in the late afternoon. I couldn’t figure out how to set a variable to the output of a command. I eventually figured out that it is varname=$(cmd args).

I called the office soon after 17:00 but Nathan was “extremely busy” according to Brendan and still was so a half-hour later. Nathan called back later and explained what happened. The distiller on the server was now located on a RAM disk but when PDFing the cover, Distiller would give a PostScript error namely a stack overflow. The page was redone multiple times and still gave the same error. An hour past deadline the culprit of the RAM disk not being big enough for the PostScript file was found.

I finished my shell script in the early evening and updated various AppleScripts for the Sablotron conversion soon after. I went up to the office at 21:30 as the last few pages were being completed. Nathan showed me the Quark to XML AppleScript and I started working with that. There were a couple bugs in it, which I corrected as I worked with it. The first successful file for the issue was sent one minute after 00:00 on Thursday. The last file for the issue was sent two hours and 45 minutes later. In that time Nathan figured out how to manually edit an EPS file and cause all sorts of cool things to happen because of that.

Jeff came up to the office sometime around 02:00 as Milhouse dropped off the Network Neighborhood. The server was still working fine with the AppleTalk services and Jeff figured out what was going on when he saw LetterRip trying to send a 70 K Daily Gazette e-mail to 1500 subscribers. Another Daily Gazette staff member put together a MIME HTML e-mail that was the front page of the web site essentially. Apparently LetterRip was mangling the message somehow and since the file is larger than normal it was taking longer to send the digest out.

My primary disk is very low in free space, which makes doing The Phoenix Online difficult and by 04:00 I was too tired to think and work so I went to bed without changing and without taking a shower. I started but didn’t finish the XML to HTML conversion process.

2001-09-04, Tue (Day 436, temperature at 07:31: 28.3°C, difference: +3.6°C): I was writing yesterday’s journal entry in Word and when I got to the end and went to copy the date, Word quit without saving. After a good amount of troubleshooting what happened was the Microsoft Internet First Run installer placed late yesterday morning an older version of the Microsoft Component Library (2.22) than what Word was using earlier (2.24). The later version had a date modified two years earlier than the older version, which may explain why the newer version was overwritten. That problem wasn’t resolved until the early afternoon, causing quite a delay.

I had Stat 2 at 09:55, which John, Jesse, Jeremy, and Jessica my RA are all in. Next was Psych 34, psych of language in Papazian 324. I think I had the most number of classes in this room among all of the semesters so far. Next lowest I think is DuPont 161, which is now gone, so that number is static. Jessica was also in this class, which filled the room. It seems that this class of Ed Kako’s is more structured although all of the classes seem more like that this semester, such as having intermediate due dates for papers.

Lunch was next and I sat with Kiyo at first. He is living in Dana for a third year although now he is living on the lower level and not the third floor. He told me that the heat escapes from the roof making the third floor cold. Kiyo also told me that the DHCP server was acting flaky since it wasn’t restarted in a year so ITS restarted it. After Kiyo left Dante from Haverford School sits with me since his friends are sitting a table over but there are no seats there. He ends up talking to me more. Dante is a first year and starting with engineering. He told me that he is also interested in biology. We were talking about directions of life and jobs making for very good discussion.

My phone was working after lunch. Everything was replaced except the crummy handset, which I cleaned later. There are labels on this phone on what the side rotary dials adjust and there is a new third dial for handset volume. The other two are ring volume and ring tone.

Psych 25, Research Design and Analysis was at 14:40, also in Papazian 324. Andrew Ward is an interesting prof and the class was good. Jesse, John, and Kai are in the class as well as Sara who I met in the bookstore yesterday.

An unexpected thunderstorm arrived before 17:00 causing a rare sight — rain. I yelled at Jesse at dinner about that since after Psych 25 it looked like the clouds were dissipating so I said that the proposed rain was not going to happen. He said he wanted it to rain anyway and it did.

I went to the Sun lab in Sproul at 20:00 for a session on using UNIX for beginners. The class was intended for intro CS students, who had CS accounts so I needed to watch over John’s shoulder. He asked a lot of questions. I couldn’t tell if he really didn’t understand or was just asking lots of questions. I found out about the tutorial from the SCCS welcome screen.

I did learn some stuff, including touch [filename] creates a file, pressing tab while typing a filename tries to complete the name as opposed to using the asterisk (*) wildcard. I also learned that cd without a directory argument takes you to your home directory and ‘cd -’ takes you to the last directory you were in. The pwd command also prints the working directory. I didn’t get any direct help to write the Sablotron mass XML to HTML conversion shell script for The Phoenix Online but I did learn new basic commands from the workshop.

I went up to the publications office to meet Nathan who was to start writing the AppleScript to send the articles to the web conversion but he was caught up in other stuff so I went to McCabe to try and get the reserve readings for poly sci.

Jeffrey placed on EReserve the primary reading for the week. The iMacs in McCabe were upgraded and the HP 8100 (now McCabe A) was out of service but a new printer right next to it, an HP 8150 (McCabe B) was working fine. The HP 4050 level four printer appears to be gone. While I was waiting in line I overheard a person also in poly sci who was trying to get the primary reading and having difficulty. I joined in the conversation and told her that it was on ERes. The librarian recommended that route so we found an open computer, a PC on the fourth level oddly enough.

We introduced ourselves; her name is Liza. She was abroad in Poland last semester and she is majoring in English and dance. We found the reading online and chatted about stuff. She left the library and then I tried to get the reserve readings but none of them were on reserve and only one was available on the open stacks. I found out in class the next day that the titles just arrived at the library and should show up on the reserve by the end of the week. I read the title I could get and then left since by then it was close to 00:00. I got to bed somewhat earlier this night as I get up early.

2001-09-03, Mon (Day 435, temperature at 07:50: 24.7°C, difference: -2.3°C, Labor Day, classes start): For classes today I had Poly Sci 3, Comparative Politics at 08:30 and Free Weights at Mullan in the early afternoon. I went to the bookstore after poly sci although the books for that course were sold out. I looked at my other classes and Psych 34 used the Pinker book from Ling 1, there was no shelf space for Math 6C yet probably since the course is second half, and I didn’t see a tag for Stat 2 either. I did get my Psych 25 book. I met Sara who transferred from a school near DC and is also majoring in psychology and is in my class year.

My phone had a dial tone midmorning. I was able to get voice mail from the phone and get it to ring. When I left for lunch however, I only got a dial tone part of the time and once I got a dial tone without the red light coming on. It seems that there isn’t enough voltage on the phone line or too many people are picking up the phone to check to see if it is working.

I went to lunch after 11:30 and was there for an hour as Tom and John arrived later. After leaving Sharples we went up to the north campus at the science construction site. The large slanted roof in front of Cornell has been removed as well as the structure below it. DuPont lecture hall 161 and the math wing were both gone also. An open pipe run going across the site was near the fence. It looked like a mess. Since space is limited on the job site, it looked even worse. I imagine building Kohlberg in 1995 was more of a disruption though since it was in the middle of campus.

After my PE class today I went to Jeffrey Murer’s office to tell him that the titles for class sold out and to expand on his mention of psychoanalysis in class about why radical groups form.

I hung up my icicle lights for real this afternoon although the maintenance is going to be higher than last year since the wall surfaces are not smooth like they were in Willets. I imagine I would have the same problem when I was in Mertz too.

I saw someone at dinner today even though I thought she was abroad this semester. Ironically, I was thinking about her a few minutes before and that she wouldn’t be here this semester.

I setup the ipchains firewall on Linux this evening as well as get Sablotron, Apache, and PHP working. I finished more or less by 22:00 when I went to the SWIL movie, Gattaca. This movie was uneasy and considering the spyware present now, Vincent would probably have caused suspicion earlier by working for the company.

2001-09-02, Sun (Day 434, temperature at 09:39: 27.0°C, difference: -3.3°C): I ate lunch with Jesse and we stayed there for so long everyone in the small room left. I was going to go to Michael’s to get the Sunday newspapers but they closed at 13:00 since Labor Day is tomorrow. Normally they close at 14:00 on Sundays. Jesse and I wandered down Park Ave eventually reaching Ridley High School. We found a new working soda machine in the back, got something to drink, and then headed back to campus.

I went to see Jesse’s room in Palmer, which was pretty nice. He didn’t have his computer yet so there wasn’t much to do so I chilled. Jesse turned on a station at 900 AM that plays one basketball dance music track endlessly and after about a minute the station ID is given by a man speaking Spanish.

I went to a design workshop in the publications office at 16:30 and then went to dinner. I sat with Melaku, Norense, and Dave, who lives on Dana lower level. After we got up to leave, I saw John and Tom and I sat with them. I showed them my room and then I went with them to Palmer and stayed there for a few hours. Tom’s room seemed pretty dangerous with the hanging desk lamp, fan without a cover, broken screen, and dim lighting. Jesse, John, and I walked to John’s car and then Jesse and I went back to my room so he could see what it looked like. Sometime after Jesse left, the wiffle ball game out on the Worth courtyard became a party and the music grew louder and continued into 02:00. I set more stuff up in my room during that time.

2001-09-01, Sat (Day 433, temperature at 09:55: 30.3°C, difference: [N/A]°C): Since the curtains on my window are semi-transparent and my room faces south, I woke up early this morning even though I went to bed late. My phone was intermittently making weird ringing noises, also causing me to wake up. I went to breakfast and sat with Betsy, Rebecca, and Elizabeth and following that I went to the train station to get the Daily Times. Dad dropped by a cell phone that I can use while my phone is broken.

I went to Parrish to pick up a package, my Mac Internet security book, and go up to the publications office to try and fix the far right iMac. When the computer would start up it would give a blinking question mark. TechTool couldn’t fix the problem and just by chance Jeff stopped by the office while moving in so I asked him for the Norton Utilities CD and that got the computer working mostly. TechTool also found other problems and couldn’t fix a missing custom icon so I had Disk First Aid take care of that. In the end I needed to use three disk recovery utilities to fix the computer. I did other maintenance stuff on that iMac so hopefully I won’t have to come back to fixing that computer for a while.

I didn’t finish until after 15:00 so I went to the Co-op to get some food. An all Phoenix staff meeting was at 16:30 and dinner at the SWIL table followed that. In the evening I continued unpacking, started doing USB hard drive related stuff, and when I thought to check my voicemail I heard messages from Jesse. I called him back and got a bad connection on the cell phone so I went to the hall phone on the first floor. It was awkward having a conversation there because people were coming and going and loud music was playing. We talked for a few hours. When I got upstairs I started backing up, which took until 03:30 the next day so I went to bed before then.

Journal 2001-08

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