Intel's Ronler Acres Plant


Silicon Forest

Monday, April 27, 2015

House Dream

Rengstorff House, Mountain View, California, 1867. 
This is not exactly right, but the overall look and setting matches my dream remarkably well.
My parents have purchased a big, old house. White, three stories, with a flat roof. It sits on a large lot, perhaps even a corner lot. The previous residents have left some things. Nothing substantial, and not evenly distributed. A bedroom on the second floor (the mom's room, I suspect) has a couple rows of boxes of open topped boxes stacked along one wall. They don't appear to hold anything very interesting, clothes perhaps. A bathroom on the second floor has been stripped of everything, including the toilet and the sink. The bathtub is still there. There is plaster dust and dirt scattered on the ceramic tile floor. The tiles are those small, hexagons that used to be so prevalent, about one inch across. I come across a high chair sitting in the middle of the entrance on the main floor. It's old, made of wood. It looks sturdy. It's finished with a thick, dark varnish. I'm wondering why we have it. Did the previous residents leave it here? Or did we bring it with us? Then I remember someone in our family is due to deliver a baby, so, yes, we are going to need this.
    I'm wondering where I am going to stay so I head upstairs to see how many bedrooms this place has. In the right front corner of the house is a second staircase going down. Just past the stairs is a bathroom, and in the back corner of the bathroom is an opening to something. I go look, and find an opening that lets you look down into another bathroom half a story lower down. There is another stairway on the other side of the bathroom that connects the two.
    I'm wondering about the condition of this place. My dad, in this dream, is getting on (in real life he passed away several years ago).  Has anyone taken a look at the roof? Flat roofs, it seems, suffer neglect until they start leaking, and then it's a big crisis.
    The interior decoration is from another era, or maybe just a higher class. In other words, it has been decorated. It is not a model of sterility that you get from new houses. Some rooms are carpeted, some have bare wood floors. In one room (a bathroom?) the carpet has a floral pattern. The walls are decorated with moldings, though most of the walls are painted white.
   I never did find out how many bedrooms there were.

P.S. I just realized what the problem is with flat roofs: you can't see them from the ground. If you want to know condition of the roof, you have to actually climb up there, and who wants to do that? With a conventional pitched roof you can see the surface of the roof, or at least some of it, so you can see if you have a serious problem.

Friday, April 24, 2015

I'm all outta gum

Scene from Stand Up Guys with Al Pacino as Val, Christopher Walken as Doc, Alan Arkin as Hirsch and Julianna Margulies as Nina Hirsch.

I was perusing the new Heavy Metal website and I come across this line in a comic and it triggers this memory of Christopher Walken saying the same line, so I have to go track it down. Turns out it's been used in umpteen different places in umpteen different ways.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Freedom to Write, Freedom to Think

Syafolee has an excellent post up about what writers should write about. She hasn't been posting much lately, probably because she's too busy enjoying that San Diego sunshine.

Nika Riots

The Empress Theodora at the Colisseum
Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845–1902)
Roberta X mentions the Nika riots. Wikipedia has the story, and quite a story it is. Emperor Justinian manages to squash an uprising 1500 years ago in Constantinople. Theodora plays a crucial role. Make this your history lesson for the day.


Ghoncheh Ghavami
Tam links to Popehat, who is perturbed by a petition to disinvite Bill Maher to speak at a Berkeley commencement ceremony. The petition comes from They are unhappy with Bill claiming that Islam is not a religion of peace. Who is Never heard of them, so I go to their website, and what do I find? I find this picture (above) of a lovely woman who was jailed in Iran for watching a volleyball game.
Waaaa? On one hand they are condemning Bill Maher for condemning Islam, and on the other they are condemning Islam for being Islam? Do I have that right?

Logical thought is kind of a trick. It sometimes takes a certain amount of work. Not everyone comes by it naturally. Emotions can get in the way. So can years of conditioning. If someone tells you that something is wrong every day for a dozen years, you might start to believe them, no matter how illogical that thing is. Like a woman watching a volleyball game is a sin comparable to driving a car, and we all know that women should never be allowed near any kind of mechanical device, right? Am I right or what?

Sometimes I think studying Computer Science made me like I am, or maybe it just aggravated my natural tendencies. Computers are machines and figuring out how to make them do what you want can be a very frustrating experience. You know what you want, you tell the computer what you want it do, and you tell it no uncertain terms, and it goes and does something completely wrong. Was the computer being illogical? No, you simply missed something, you made some assumption about what would happen, and assumptions never cut it with computers.

I suspect that large segments of the worlds population is unfamiliar with logic and may even be incapable of logical thought. I thought America was above that, but that would be illogical.


Migrant worker cooking meal over campfire, Edinburg, Texas. 1939
Marilyn's Numbrix Puzzle is my second wake-up activity. This was the toughest one I've encountered. Usually I can do them in about 3 minutes regardless of difficulty level. This one took me two tries of over five minutes each. I might have been able to fix the first one, but it was easier to just start over. I've sometimes wondered how difficult you could make them, and what it would take to make a solution unique, like what is the minimum number of squares you could preset that would require a unique solution. But I've got other fish to fry so I'm not going to worry about it.