I know it's late on Friday, but don't forget that Monday night is pub quiz night at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt. (Yeah, sure, they call it Trivia Casino, and we get all into the betting and stuff, but isn't "pub quiz" just more comfortable?)

Iron Chef

OK, now I'm thinking that the funnest possible thing I could make for the Iron Chef competition is going to have to be Cherry-Walnut-Tomato Soup, with Marshmallows.

Who Let the Dogs Out?

The Brunette says that 8th graders lack a certain coating on their brains. Without this coating, it is impossible for them to grok the needs and points-of-view of other people. If the kids of the Desert Academy (School? Asylum?) who were on the Metro last night are a fair sample, she must be right.

One poor woman -- riding home from her tiring job, no doubt; worried about the pressures of working and trying to raise a family and all the other troubles that accompany the adult life -- was trapped behind these beasts. She tried to hold onto one of the support poles for balance, but her had was caught as one of the wee animals rubbed his whole body on the pole, oblivious to those of us who had to view the spectacle and particularly rude to the poor woman's hand.

Worse than the children, however, were the adults. Two of them must have been inadvertantly infected by the hormones spouting from the kids' pores. They spent the entire trip out to Greenbelt groping each other. At one point, the adult male said, "I think the funnest part of the trip was the train ride."


In the name of all that is holy and good, what kind of adult uses "funnest" with a straight face?

Yeah, I'll Join Your Dark Side

A Brunette Report

Greenbelt is a bumperstickery place. I've seen more hand-made statements taped to back windows here than anywhere else I can think of. Heck, even we have a bumper sticker.

It says: "Join the Dark Side."

Yeah, we're geeks, and proud of it. But yesterday, the Brunette walked out to her parking spot to find an older man in a car idling near our car, staring at our bumper. As she unlocked the door, he pulled into the space next to her and asked her what the bumper sticker meant.

That really creeps me out.

Is there some sort of coded message there we're not aware of? Are the kids these days using "dark side" to mean something nasty like taking drugs or voting Republican? Why does this bumper sticker freak people out?

And why don't you all just leave my wife alone?

Rusty Iron Chef

OK. Now, I'm thinking that anything interesting is going to take work, so I'm just going to bring a can of walnuts.

Hey, I'll probably have to salt them myself.


A Commuting Report

Not sure why the ride home is slower than the ride in. Well, maybe it could be the GINORMOUS hills between here and there. On the other hand, the hills are there both ways. Maybe I'm just that much more tired after work.

At any rate, these have been two beautiful days for biking, but I'm zonkered.

Grow, You Fools! Grow!

A Garden Report

More Monster Plants
I thought we'd have some time to take pictures of the progress of this year's plantings, but the beans have sprung up so quickly that there's no point. Their roots are actually coming through the containers. We've got dragon beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil, onion, and chamomile in these trays.

It occurred to me that walnuts in lime jello is not going to be very popular with the vegetarians, so I'm going to change my Iron Chef entry. Now, I'm thinking Walnut-Encrusted Tofu Dogs with Cherry Compote.

How does that strike you?

Books, Music and Walnuts

Well, the rough work week ended, and we had ourselves a nice little literary weekend. We wandered down to the community center on Friday night to listen to Marita Golden speak about her newest book, After. About 30 people (including her husband) showed up to hear an interesting description of learning about people you don't like by writing about them.

We also learned that cops sometimes use bad language.

And on Sunday we drove over to Kensington to help celebrate the Day of the Book. It's a bit morbid to have a celebration on the anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes, but book people are not normal people. There were a lot of authors sitting trapped behind card tables hoping that someone might by their books without actually having to speak to them. There was popcorn and a firetruck.

There were also three places set up for musicians to play fully-amplified music and one place for the authors to read their works. The authors were mic-less. If I were running the festival, that would not stand. I couldn't hear most of the authors speak. If you're going to have a day celebrating books, the authors should not have to compete with the musicians to be heard. Take the mics away from the rockabilly singers and give them to the authors! Yikes.

It's more than likely that this week will be another rough one, so expect posting to remain intermittent. Plus, gotta figure out a recipe for Iron Chef on Sunday. I'm gonna do something with walnuts. How does walnuts suspended in lime Jello sound to you?

Bisy Bakson

Work is overwhelming everything else right now. It'd be nice to get in before 10 tonight, but don't see why tonight would be different. So, since I'm busy, I invite you to go read some Pooh.

Monday Subversion Quiz

If you're not a CM geek, this is another one you might want to skip.

So, last week, I provided a quick ClearCase Quiz that demonstrated an issue one of our administrators came to me with. It touched on the fact that ClearCase keeps track of directory versions, as well as file versions.

A perceptive reader noted that Subversion also keeps track of directory versions.

And it does, of course. Actually, Subversion does something even cooler than that; Subversion versions the entire repository, so not only do changes to directories make new versions, but creation of tags and changes to properties also make new versions. To me, this allows for a cleaner implementation of componentization than ClearCase's Unified Change Management (UCM) without all the overhead of a pre-defined process strait-jacket. (It also means that you get a kind of "change set" tracking with this kind of versioning, because things that are committed together are always recorded together.)

These two aspects make our little ClearCase quiz easier in Subversion. (On the other hand, abstracting the versioning of changes up to the repository does make branch and merge management more difficult at the file level. Maybe I'll blather about that some other time.)

At any rate, here's our little quiz in Subversion instead of ClearCase.

Once upon a time, there was a file called mytestdoc.txt in a directory called test1. Both the file and the directory are Subversion-controlled objects. One stormy night, an evil wizard moved the file to some other directory. To cover up his crime even more, he then renamed the file. "Ha ha!" he thought to himself, "Now, they'll never find it."

Luckily, the evil wizard used Subversion commands to move the file! How do you find out the current name and location of the file?

By the way, I'm assuming here that (like with ClearCase), the user moved the file using the command line tool (as in svn mv curFile futFile). I think the best you could do with the shell client TortoiseSVN would be to use the branch/tag option to copy it elsewhere and then delete the file.

So, how do I track down a file that has gone wandering if I knew where it used to live?

The Answer: Actually, the answer is in the history logs. The little trick is that you have to ask for the log of the directory from the repository, not the current working copy. (The log of the current working copy of test1 will only tell you when the directory was created). (NOTE: I'm using Apache for my transport mechanism. I assume this will work with the other styles, but I really like every repository location being a URL.)

Step 1: Look at the directory of the folder from which it was removed.

svn log -v http://subversion.taleswapper.com/demo2/trunk/test1
This will give us:

r31 | taleswapper | 2006-04-17 06:14:45 -0400 (Mon, 17 Apr 2006) | 1 line
Changed paths:
D /trunk/test1/mytestdoc.txt
A /trunk/test2/mytestdoc.txt (from /trunk/test1/mytestdoc.txt:30)

moved a file
r30 | taleswapper | 2006-04-17 06:14:09 -0400 (Mon, 17 Apr 2006) | 1 line
Changed paths:
A /trunk/test1
A /trunk/test1/mytestdoc.txt
A /trunk/test2

added test folders

We see that mytestdoc.txt was moved to the test2 directory. The D indicates that the file was deleted (or uncataloged) from test1; the A indicates that the file was added to test2. Further, we know that it's the same file because of the from statement.

Step 2: Look at the history of the directory to which it was moved.

We might want to make sure we know that the file didn't get moved again, so we can go look at the test2 directory.

svn log -v http://subversion.taleswapper.com/demo2/trunk/test2
r32 | taleswapper | 2006-04-17 06:15:08 -0400 (Mon, 17 Apr 2006) | 1 line
Changed paths:
A /trunk/test2/mydoc.txt (from /trunk/test2/mytestdoc.txt:31)
D /trunk/test2/mytestdoc.txt

renamed a file
r31 | taleswapper | 2006-04-17 06:14:45 -0400 (Mon, 17 Apr 2006) | 1 line
Changed paths:
D /trunk/test1/mytestdoc.txt
A /trunk/test2/mytestdoc.txt (from /trunk/test1/mytestdoc.txt:30)

moved a file

So, we see that the file has been renamed to mydoc.txt. With Subversion, then, we can follow the file's movement from place to place using the log.

Extra Credit: How could I have done this in one step (i.e., only one svn command) instead of two? The two step method is probably more natural for a ClearCase admin than for a Subversion admin. Hint: Think of Subversion's versioning scheme.

More Extra Credit: What could the evil wizard have done that would have made it so I couldn't use the above method but would have to use the extra credit method? Hint: This is because, unlike ClearCase, for Subversion, the file is not really an independent object.

More Crazy Quilt

More Crazy Quilt
These are part of the group Sense of Wonder. I liked their song about the astronomer until it got sappy.

Mike Elosh was his normal, strange self. He kept the sound man jumping, switching between picking and strumming.

Some group called Might Could is up now.

Crazy Quilt Festival

Taking Pictures at the Crazy Quilt Festival
Blogging at you live from the Crazy Quilt Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. It's sunny, but my keyboard's now covered with pollen.

Mike Elosh is finally on, but I think we're going to miss iLiAMY.

Friday ClearCase Quiz

If you're not a CM geek, you might want to skip this one.

Here's today's ClearCase quiz about finding moved files:

Once upon a time, there was a file called mytestdoc.txt in a directory called test1. Both the file and the directory are ClearCase-controlled objects. One stormy night, an evil wizard moved the file to some other directory. To cover up his crime even more, he then renamed the file. "Ha ha!" he thought to himself, "Now, they'll never find it."

Luckily, the evil wizard used ClearCase commands to move the file! How do you find out the current name and location of the file?

(As an aside, what do you do if the evil wizard moved the file without using ClearCase commands?)

One of the exciting things that ClearCase does is keep track of directory versions. This means that changing the name of a file or moving it from one directory to another will change the version number of any affected directory. This is good because it means that I can always go back to the older version of a directory to see how it really looked; I get real reproducibility. This is bad only because it is so poorly understood.

For ClearCase, the information regarding a file's location is held by the affected directory, not the file. From this standpoint, the makers of CC decided that the file doesn't care what it's called or where it lives. It only cares about its contents.

You might think of it this way: all of the objects controlled by ClearCase keep track of how their innards change, but not of what their name used to be or where they lived. If I'm an object and I move, it's the responsibility of my parent container to keep track of me.

So, how do I track down a file that has gone wandering if I knew where it used to live?

The Answer: The key to solving this is object IDs. Each object in ClearCase has its own ID. The object doesn't really care where it lives. Whether it lives in a particular folder at any given time is really a factor of the folder's version history, not the object's. (NOTE: I did all of the following in a full ClearCase dynamic view. I don't know if it'll work in a snapshot view. I assume it will.)

Step 1: Find the version of the directory from which it was removed.

cleartool lshistory -d test1
This will give us:
12-Apr.12:23 taleswapper create directory version "test1@@\main\2"
"Uncataloged file element "mytestdoc.txt"."
12-Apr.12:22 taleswapper create directory version "test1@@\main\1"
"Added file element "mytestdoc.txt"."
12-Apr.12:22 taleswapper create directory version "test1@@\main\0"
12-Apr.12:22 taleswapper create branch "test1@@\main"
12-Apr.12:22 taleswapper create directory element "test1@@"
We see that mytestdoc.txt was taken away to create test1@@\main\2, which means that it used to be in version 1.

Step 2. Find out the object id of the file.

We know it used to live in version 1 of the test1 directory.

cleartool describe -fmt "%n %On" test1@@\main\1\mytestdoc.txt
That's a capital o there, dude. Plus, the command is all on one line. This makes ClearCase say:
test1@@\main\1\mytestdoc.txt@@ 39675c2b.c2d84672.8f0a.dc:1f:70:2c:b6:47

Step 3: Describe the object by its OID to see where it lives now.

cleartool describe oid:39675c2b.c2d84672.8f0a.dc:1f:70:2c:b6:47
This makes ClearCase say:
file element "\Toolbox\test\test2\mydoc.txt@@"
created 12-Apr-06.12:22:38 by William Blake (taleswapper.cc_users@sandbox)
element type: text_file
User : SWAPPINGTALES\taleswapper : r--
Group: SWAPPINGTALES\cc_users : r--
Other: : r--
source pool: sdft cleartext pool: cdft
Hey, it's in the test2 directory and is now called mydoc.txt. That's kinda fun.

'Course, I can't go the other way: If I know where it is now, I can't find out where it came from (i don't think). I also don't know if it made any stops along the way.

On The Road

There really is a spontaneous writing group that meets in the Greenbelt Community Center on Monday nights, but it isn't really made up of a bunch of kids. The general idea is that we settle on a topic and spend 30 minutes or so writing whatever comes to mind. Most of the folks write memoirs, but I tend to make stuff up. Here's this week's example.

The topic was Road Trip.

"Tell me about that time you rode in the back of a mobile home while it was being towed all the way from San Jose to Waukeegan," I said to Jim as we stood outside the truck stop on I-70, somewhere near a corn field.

"Yep. That was a ride all right," Jim responded. We were quiet a minute or two. A flatbed hauling lumber pulled away from the gas pumps. I made a pumping motion with my hand -- fist clenched around an imaginary steam whistle cord -- but the driver just waved. Jim tells me that in the olden days, truckers would blow their horns for a kid doing that, but I've never been able to get them to do it.

"Where're we going to go today?" I asked him. "D'you think we can hitch a ride all the way to Oklahoma City?"

"Mebbe," was all that Jim would say. He pulled his hat down a bit and leaned against the wall.

"What about that one?" I asked as a semi pulled up. The driver jumped down and sorta waddled to the door.

"Whatcha haulin'?" Jim asked.

"Office supplies."

Jim nodded thoughtfully, and the driver walked inside.

"I guess that's not too exciting, huh?" I said. "He's probably embarrassed. Hey, tell me about that time you rode in a circus van from Toledo to Denver, and the lion kept giving you the hairy eyeball, but you weren't scared, were ya, Jim?"


A convoy of mini-vans pulled into the parking lot, and we looked away. Can't very well have manly adventures with a passel of screaming babies and wives hanging about.

"Did you really ride in a pig trailer all the way from Montpelier to Richmond?" I asked. To a ten year old, I don't suppose anything's more exciting than speeding pigs. "Claude says that pigs ain't as smart as dogs, but I told him how you taught that whole pack of pigs to play tic-tac-toe. He said it didn't prove nothing, 'cause the pigs never won. I said that's don't make no never mind, 'cause you're just extra-good at tic-tac-toe. Ain't that right, Jim?"

"Mebbe so," he said. I looked at my watch and noted with horror that it was getting close to dinner time. If we didn't hitch a ride soon, we'd have to go home to Mom so as she don't get mad. It's just that Jim is so particular about his ride. Seems like we've been standing out here all summer and nothing measures up.

Another semi pulled up and a man in a cowboy hat jumped out. He had rattlesnake boots and a feather. What could be cooler than that?

"Whatcha haulin', mister?" I blurted out as he sauntered to the door. The driver looked at me and at Jim, then back at me.

"Clothes dryers," he said, then went inside.

"Let's go home," Jim told me, and we walked to the field behind the truck stop.

"Aw, man," I said. "What was wrong with that last guy? He seemed cool, even if he was hauling dryers."

"Mebbe," said Jim, slowly. "But I was waiting for washing machines."

Right Stuff, Wrong Sex (Margaret A. Weitekamp)

Squirrel City Playground

"You ever get a song caught in your head?" Prasad asked me. He and that other kid from our super block (the one whose name I can never remember) were sitting at the playground near Squirrel City. Two of the squirrels were having little success at getting the merry-go-round to go round merrily. Prasad's innominate friend picked at the mulch.

"You mean so it gets stuck in your head and you can't get it out?" I asked. Prasad nodded. "Sure. During my entire freshman year, I had Istanbul was Constantinople rattling around up there, pushing everything else out. What about you?"

"Typically, it's something from Wagner," Prasad replied. "But the most difficult to banish is always Don Giovanni."

"Lately," I said, after an uncomfortable pause, "I get The Song That Never Ends stuck in the ole noggin."

Another uncomfortable silence, but different somehow. Eventually, Prasad broke it.

"My friend here has gotten himself embroiled in an uncomfortable situation because of his inability to divest himself of an Elton John song. What is the name of this song again?"

"Rocket Man."

"Oh, yes, of course. This song is terribly apropos, too, because of the nature of the dispute in question."

I looked to the nameless lad for help, but he continued to pick at the mulch.

"What happened?" I finally asked Prasad.

"Oh, dreadful things were said; you see, they -- "

"Who?" I interrupted.

"This young gentleman and his girl--ow!" Prasad's yelp was the direct result of a swift punch to the arm. "That is, his, er, friend, Penny. You know her; she has shoulder-length blonde hair."

I did know her. I caught the two of them engaged in illicit barbering a while back.

"At any rate," Prasad continued, "They were discussing the book Right Stuff, Wrong Sex --"

"I read that book," I said. "It was interesting, if a bit padded."

"For myself," Prasad said. "I only note in passing that she got all the way to page 143 before mentioning that not only were the original American astronauts only men, they were also only white."

The three of us nodded our heads at that for a moment.

"So, what happened?"

"The gentleman in question was doing an excellent job -- if you don't mind my saying so -- reacting with appropriate indignation at the way women were treated by NASA in the '50s and '60s --"

"And by LBJ, too," I put in.

"Yes, true. But the moment of truth came and he was face to face with a short silence which he felt required to fill. Sadly, this catchy tune had wormed its way into his brain, and the best he could do was blurt out a line...What was the line?"

The boy moaned, "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids."

"In fact, it's cold as Hell," I agreed. The three of us shook our heads in commiseration for a moment. Oh, what a blow!

"So, now," Prasad summarized, "She thinks he's a sexist jerk (her words), and my friend is despondent and depressed. However, I do not think he should worry -- 'time heals all wounds,' they say."

"But I think it's going to be a long, long time," The young lad said, morosely.

"It just goes on and on my friend," I said, and patted his back.

"Mir verwirren sich die Sinne!" said Prasad.


A Community Report

Community Yard Sale
Our neighbors joined together and held a yard sale in the greenspace across the way. The Brunette and I hung around like aging groupies. I got myself sunburned in the process, but the blueberry loaf the zombies baked was grand.

Pegboard Evolution

Pegboard Evolution
This image shows how my pegboard painting evolved; it's the first painting I've ever actually finished. It took a bit of time to complete after the class had wrapped up, so I guess I didn't really finish a painting for the whole class.

The class has been over for more than a month now. I'm working on another painting for our upcoming art show. I've generated one painting, and the Brunette has created two. I made a lot of progress toward catching up last night, but I still have a power cord and background to finish.

Oh, did I not mention the art show before? In November, we signed up to display art on the walls of the New Deal Cafe. The earliest available slot was next January. That gave us a little over a year to figure out what to do. Since I've never painted before, we took a quick class and now we're struggling to generate output so the walls won't be bare. It's quite daunting to have something scheduled more than a year in advance. It's not like us at all. We didn't plan that far in advance for our wedding. But having a commitment like that has certainly forced us to continue to work, which is also new for us.

The class was itself nice; I only wish that the instructor had been a little ruder once in a while. I felt like she was always trying to find something nice to say about our work, but I suspect I could have used a lot more constructive criticism. But she taught us about colors and mixing and pointed us in the right directions for supplies. For the second half of the Spring, we've signed up for "open studio". We pay a small fee, which gives us the right to paint in the studio any time there isn't some other class being held. It looks like Wednesday and Monday nights are scheduled, but tonight was available, and we typically wander down there on Sunday morning. (Sunday afternoons are reserved for those who paid a larger fee to have "open studio with a model.")

It's yet another nice thing about living in Greenbelt. For a small fee, we can walk down to a studio to paint, keeping our paints, turpentine, and mess away from our house. In addition to keeping the mess somewhere else, the studio has natural light and plenty of room to stomp around, flail my arms and grump whenever I draw a particularly crooked line.

Filed under:

This Joint is Jumpin'

I can only assume that they're trying to coax fans into providing a free demolition service
taleswapper.blogspot.com reacts to an advertisement that suggests visitors to RFK jump up and down during the Nat's 7th inning stretch

Just thought I'd pre-format it so those folks over at the Express could pick it up and plop it right into their "The Blog Log" with no fuss and no muss.

Getting Groceries

On the platform of the Greenbelt Metro Station this morning, I noticed a commuter holding a plastic bag. Emblazoned on the bag was the label "T. Rowe Price." (Boy, those are terribly passive sentences aren't they? Somebody rewrite those!) What would you possibly buy from T. Rowe Price that would be put into a plastic shopping bag?

"Muffin, I'm going down to the TRP, do we need any stocks?"

"I don't think so, hon, but we are running low on bonds."


"*sigh* No, dear, we always get municipal."

"Oh. Ok."

"And be a luv and pick up a gallon of annuities. The school is having a bake sale tomorrow."

Silver Spring Bikes

Silver Spring Bike Post Installation
Honestly, I'm not obsessed. Much.

I snapped this photo of workers installing new bicycle parking under the Silver Spring Metro Station platform this morning. The old claw-style (shown here) look like they'd be more secure because the claws go through the wheels and the frame. But I always found that the claws never fit any of the bikes I've owned.

So, I'm glad to see the change. I hope it'll come to Greenbelt, too.

Silver Spring Penguin Update

I wondered aloud the other day what happened to the penguin mural that (until this weekend) hung along Colesville Road under the Silver Spring Metro station.

Then I decided to do more than wonder into the wind: I asked Metro. This is the email response I got:

Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the Metro Penguin mural. The mural is currently undergoing restoration. Once that is completed, it will be returned.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: The lonely commenter links to pictures. Also, I forgot to mention that most of the bike parking seems to have run off, too.

The Hail With That/2:00

Monday evening's ride home was straightforward enough, but terribly hilly. I beat the rain, though. During the pub quiz at New Deal Cafe, the storm blew up and blew out the lights. We were out of power for an hour, but the game played on.

I wasn't so lucky with the weather this morning. It was bright enough when I left the house, but along the way, I was pelted with hail, rain and trash cans. The hail didn't hurt, but it was loud. The trash cans missed me.

I took a longer way to work to try to avoid hills, so the forty-five extra minutes can't all be blamed on the weather.

And I didn't avoid as many hills as I would have liked, either.

Where Have All the Penguins Gone?

Where, oh where, can they be? The penguins that once graced the wall under the Metro platform along Colesville Road have been removed. Where once there frolicked Metro-riding penguins, now only 2x4s line the wall. What could have happened to our flightless friends?

  • The artwork was stolen by a secret underground (get it?) syndicate, the same nefarious nabobs of negativism that snatched The Scream. Although slightly less surreal than The Scream, the penguins were attractive to the thieves because of the installation's visibility.
  • The penguins were removed by a court order resulting from the case brought against WMATA by the Society for the Understanding and Support of Sufferers of Spheniscidaephobia (the fear of being under-dressed).
  • The penguins have been moved to a local restoration studio to allow the artist to bring the depiction up-to-date. Among the anachronisms that will be remedied:
    • Add the Green and Yellow lines to the rail system maps
    • Remove the notices about fare bonuses from larger ticket investments
    • Replace crossword-crazed penguin with soduku-crazed penguin
    • Add abandoned Express and Examiner papers all over the place
    • Add depiction of pregnant penguin held to the ground and flippercuffed by grumpy Metro penguin employees. Especially note the french fries sticking out of her beak.

What a To-Do

An Update

Ben Kepler Recital
Well, I'm still keeping track of my list of things to do, but I've run out of steam.

I did make it down to the Ben Kepler recital (he's the one standing there with a trumpet). I thought it was well-done, and he had a selection of music that showed more range for trumpeting than I suspected existed. (Whoever heard of a trumpet lullaby?) But it did make me wonder: Aren't we yet advanced enough technologically to eliminate the need for music page-turners?

Otherwise, though, the weekend has dragged. I got myself side-tracked on the web last night looking for information about ClearQuest Web and SOA; worse yet, I didn't learn anything. Then, I woke up this morning and dallied about with the newspaper, not realizing until nearly 10 that, in fact, we were supposed to be moving the clocks ahead and it was really nearly 11. Finally, I got home from the birthday party around 6, changed clothes, and hustled down to the community center to make up for the painting I didn't do last night. There I quickly learned that the center was only open until 7.

And I was looking forward to some painting with Ed Walker on the radio.

Oh, and to make it all worse, my only friend left in the whole entire world (since the Brunette is off to Florida) decided to bark at me instead of licking my face and jumping all over me! I'm going to bed.

Lteracy is Global

On our way to get some delicious tofu nuggets last week, we walked by this charter school not far from the Columbia Heights Metro station.

Rumor has it that the President's daughter works here.