Some people who had far too much time on their hands created anagrams for almost all of the stations on the London Underground. “Swearword & Ethanol” is actually “Harrow & Wealdstone”, “OK Turban” is actually “Burnt Oak”, “Scuba Horrors” (not shown) is actually “Crossharbour”, etcetera. Way, way, way too much time on their hands.

Wednesday, I went over to Steve’s for the usual dinner followed by Linux thing. We ended up exploring the stuff you could do with PROMPT_COMMAND, like making the prompt look different depending on whether there was a file named “foo” in the current directory. Then we discussed books, like Moby-Dick and the work of Neal Stephenson. Actually, Stephenson’s use of tons of digressive material and humor in his large books like Cryptonomicon might be analogous to Melville’s use of the same techniques. Well, we’ll have to wait at least 30 years for any English prof to be able to analyze Stephenson’s work in any serious way, but that was just my gut feeling.

Been reading Ilium by Dan Simmons. This one’s set several thousand years in the future, where there are at least 3 different societies of critters who are sort of like humans. There are intelligent machines who live near Jupiter’s moons and the asteroid belt, who spend a lot of their time discussing literature. There are a bunch of people living on a terraformed Mars who are acting out the events of the Iliad under the direction/guidance of powerful entities who strongly resemble the ancient Greek gods. Then there are a few people living on Earth who are barely educated, incurious, indolent, and not ever doing much besides partying and watching the Iliad-drama being enacted on Mars. The book’s about these societies interacting and gradually realizing that there is a Horrible Threat about to destroy Earth, Mars, and whatever else might be in its way. I’m only about 66% of the way through it though.

Thursday, I taught myself how to build an RPM from scratch. It’s remarkably finicky. I got it working eventually though. And on that day, there was chili in the cafeteria. Everybody loves chili. The bad thing is that now chili and other soups cost about $0.30 more than they used to. Next: Fun With Databases! I think I know what to do there, it’s just a question of displaying the info in a reasonably pleasing way. . . .