Showing posts from 2008

Halberstadt - postcrossing card DE-249967

From a postcrossing chum in Germany.On back: Dom und Domschatz Halberstadt Dom Sankt Stephanus und Sankt Sixtus Blick von der Martinkirche

My truck aint going anywhere

My truck aint going anywhere
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
But I don't really need to use it for anything. A nice brisk walk to the supermarket may be in order, but that's about it.

Fontana di Trevi - postcrossing card IT-15014

Handsome card from a postcrossing chum in Italy.

On back:

Fontana di Trevi
Fountain of Trevi
Fontaine de Trevi

Fotolibri su Roma di G. Gasponi:
Roma Ancora
Roma. La Pietra e l'Acqua
I Volti di Roma
Roma. Il Fascino dell'Arte e della Storia

Photobooks by G. Gasponi:
Rome Revealed
Rome. Water and Stone
Portrait of Rome
Rome. Fascination of Art and History.

Saturday God postcard

From my pal M- in Walla Walla, WA. I'm not sure what the actual title of this piece is, as there is nothing on the back of the postcard. If you know, leave a comment.

New cocktail: the Happy Hephalump

Pour a glass of delicious Amarula cream liqueur. Add Rogue Hazelnut spice rum to taste. Damn good.

A headline you don't see every day

Entelodonts - postcrossing

Entelodonts - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by AlhazredA postcard that I picked up at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, sent to a postcrossing chum in Germany.
On back:
Among the largest animals known from the John Day formations are entelodonts - omnivorous, piglike giants, some reaching the size of bison. The large flanges on the cheek bones and lower jaw are distinctive traits in this group. Top to bottom: Archaeotherium calkinsi (skull), Daeodon sp. (jaw), Daeodon humerosus (forelimb)

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Kimberly, Oregon, USA.
published by Northwest Interpretive Association.
photo by Natural Light Photography. printed in the USA JODANM-P007-NWIA2006

View from Astoria motel

View from Astoria motel
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
'Twas a little overcast.

Postcard: Last Smoker in America

Last Smoker in America - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by AlhazredSent to a postcrossing chum in Finland.
On back:
The Last Smoker in America
By the late 20th century, anyone who still smoked was regarded as quite weird.
© Vintage Images, P.O. Box 228, Lorton, VA 22199
Printed in the Good Ole USA on recycled paper.

Follow-up: Con-way 'Reduction in Force'

Brief follow-up:There was a short article in The Oregonian on the layoffs at Con-way Enterprise Services (Portland campus) this last week. I am still around, but my wife was one of those laid off. Speculations about these matters are always dangerous, but I will stick my neck out and opine that we have not seen the end of layoffs on the Portland campus. We will see what next year brings.

Con-way closures this weekend

This is a big weekend for Con-way Freight: some forty service centers across the country are closing. <Link to one of the representative articles on the subject.>
The Portland campus of Con-way Enterprise Services (the IT and Admin arm of Con-way) will see job losses next week. Many of my co-workers are understandably anxious, and it has been a major topic of conversation this week.

Portland Werewolf Poem

I used this a couple of months ago during a game of Werewolf at the Lucky Lab when my fellow villagers accused me of being a werewolf. Inexplicably, I was still lynched.

I Am Not A werewolf.

A werewolf? Nay, a mere cobbler I.
Content to make solid boots
For my stolid fellow villagers.

A werewolf? Nay, would that I were.
Not for me the taste of blood in the night.
Or soft flesh torn by my pitiless fangs.
Nor the smell of fear on the night air
As my pitiful shrieking victim haplessly flees.

A Werewolf? I? Nay, yet were I wolf
There would be not a man among you safe
From my hideous lust for blood.
My accusers, you are mere lumpen bags of meat.
Yet I am one of you, I swear.

On some users

The (insert your favorite user here) Factor: a common phenomenon in technical support, in which a user (often petulantly) reports a problem, but claims to be too busy to troubleshoot the issue or to provide any meaningful information. These users enjoy being in the role of Victim: not only are they able to be the victim of computer problems, but they can also claim to suffer from IT harassment (for information) or IT neglect (because tech support cannot resolve the problem… the same problem about which they will give no information.) Common phrases include, “How long will this take? I don’t have time for this!” and terse emails (usually with upper management copied in) that simply say things like, “It still doesn’t work!!!” or “This is still a problem!!?”

More excellence from the Bozeman Chronicle Police Reports

From the previously recommended Bozeman Chronicle Police Reports:
10/02/2008: - At 6:28 p.m., a man wanted to know if it was legal for him to write profanities on his vehicle.
10/09/2008 - In order to get free burritos for a local restaurant, two men needed to get their picture taken with a Bozeman police officer. Police obliged.

Kookaburras postcard

Kookaburras - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by AlhazredAnother older postcard, sent to a postcrossing chum in Finland.
On back:
Kookaburras (Taronga Park),
Sydney, Australia

Here's a rather charming postal mail story

This Sunday Independent article shows the UK post office at its best, I think:
We may be living in the era of the email, but one young illustrator has proved that the art of correspondence is far from dead. While working for her degree at Glasgow School of Art Harriet Russell decided to find out exactly what lengths the men and women of the Royal Mail were willing to go to to ensure the safe delivery of her missives.
To put them to the test she concealed the addresses of 130 letters to herself in a series of increasingly complex puzzles and ciphers. Among the disguises she employed were dot-to-dot drawings, anagrams and cartoons. The answer, it seems, was very far indeed. Amazingly, only 10 failed to complete their journey back to her.

LSS tournament CP-2008-P-00025 - yeesh, that game didn't go well

A truly cringeworthy game on my part:
[Event "CP-2008-P-00025"]
[Site "LSS"]
[Date "2008.10.01"]
[Round "-"]
[White "Taylor, Mick"]
[Black "Stibal, George"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteELO "833"]
[BlackELO "1868"]
[EventDate "2008.10.01"]

1.e3 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.d4 e6 4.Bd3 Nf6 5.c4
Nc6 6.Nbd2 dxc4 7.Nxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4
9.exd4 Qxd4 10.O-O Bd7 11.Be3 Qd5 12.Qb3
Bc6 13.Rad1 Qxg2# 0-1

Can be replayed in all its glory here:

Siltcoos Lake - postcrossing

Siltcoos Lake - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
Siltcoos Lake, sent to a postcrossing chum in Rottenburg.

Port Townsend

Port Townsend 5
Originally uploaded by Alhazred

Oregon Ferry 1

Oregon Ferry 1
Originally uploaded by Alhazred

Baalbek Camels - postcrossing

Baalbek Camels - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
A lovely old one, sent to a postcrossing chum in Finland.
On back:
Camels in Baalbek - Lebanon
Photographed by Said Salah Box 307 Alkobar
Saudi Arabia - Box 1181 - Beirut - Lebanon

Masai Woman - old postcard

Another older card, sent to my chum Slim in Hawaii.
On back:
Masai Woman
Copyright by Sapra Studio - P.O. Box 5882, Nairobi

Con-way news: lawsuit vs

I don't have much information on this, except that it is a trademark infringement case. See this RFC Express page.
There is not much on the page - seems like just a link farm.

Notre Dame - old postcard

This is a somewhat older card, part of a very large lot that I picked up cheaply in Toledo, Oregon. Sent to my friend Dave in Evansville, IN. On back: Paris et ses Merveilles 528 - Notre Dame (Fa├žade) Editions d'Art A. Leconte, 38, rue Sainte-Croix-de-la-Bretonnerie, Paris Fabrication Fran├žaise - Reproduction interdite (Note 'Guy' signature on bottom right.)guy

Ah yeah!

Stephen Fry on Gnu\Linux

Fry is one of my favourite actors. An erudite chap, he has appeared in Jeeves and Wooster, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Just A Minute (radio), and quite a bit more.
Here he is on free software:

Paradise Park macaw - postcrossing

Paradise Park macaw - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by Alhazred

This one actually dates from 1968. I just sent to it to a postcrossing chum in Finland.
On back:
Paradise Park, Honolulu, Hawaii
"Duke," a Hyacinthe Macaw, fires the cannon at one of the many daily performances.
© 1968 Dexter Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Linux trivia: usage on supercomputers

This graphic, taken from, shows a breakdown of the world's 500 fastest supercomputers by OS. It was rather surprising to me how dominant Linux is.

Excellent postcard practical joke - return of the baboon

The backstory:
When I was back in South Africa about five years ago, my family and I had a close encounter with a baboon. We were having a picnic at Cape Point, parked by the side of the road. I was outside the car, wandering around, while my two sisters and mother were inside, munching their sandwiches. I noticed a big, ugly, hairy baboon loping towards the car and high-tailed it back inside, all the while shouting to my sister to close the front door.

Alas, she was somewhat slow on the uptake and the baboon made it in the car. He climbed over my sister and stationed himself between the two front seats. He growled at me, his ugly face and fangs just about a foot away from mine. He then grabbed our sandwiches, and made away, my mother by that time having opened up the other front door.

Bloody baboons.

So out of the blue last week, I get this postcard from Stratford-Upon-Avon, scanned here.

(I pixellated the first line of my address. The text reads: Long time no see! I left S Africa, found …

Can I take more work today?



(click to enlarge)

Maybe Ubuntu really is of the devil.

Commencement ceremony - postcard

Sent to my nephew S- in South Africa
On back:
Commencement Ceremony, Crossroads School, Santa Monica, California
Photograph by © Lauren Greenfield
Courtesy Stephen Cohen Gallery

Groeten uit Heeswijk Dinther - postcard

Sent to me by a postcrossing chum in Holland.
On back:
© Biri Publications BV NL +31 (0)297 23 76 50

On a side note, I got flickrfs working. Damn useful tool. Viva linux.

July Top 10

July Top 10

My favourite movies, books, lectures, etc. for the month of July, most of which is probably old to the rest of you.

10. Stop Messin' About: A Tribute to Kenneth Williams. BBC Radio.
Excerpts from wonderful old radio shows Round The Horne, Just A Minute, Big and Little, Kenneth Williams Playhouse, and others. Of special note is the reading of Gogol's Diary of a Madman, done with great skill and sensitivity.

Got it via Bittorrent.

9. Female Jungle (1955)
Lawrence Tierney plays a hard boiled and hard drinking detective, who investigates the murder of an up-and-coming young actress. But did he himself kill the actress while drunk? He can't remember and it is eating at him. Directed by Bruno VeSoto.
I rented this one largely because it also starred Jayne Mansfield, who is one of my favourite blond bombshells of that era. Boy, she was a looker.
Rented from Movie Madness.

8. In Bruges (2008)
Ray: There's a Christmas tree somewhere in London with a bunch of presents undern…

Good God

Service recommendation: Postful

"Almost half the adult population in the US is rarely or never online. Globally the numbers are closer to 80%." says Postful. One of these is my folks that are never on line is my Mum. I still write her regular physical letters and postcards, her not really wise in the ways of email.
Postful has proven to be extremely useful to me, and I highly recommend their services. Basically it allows you to compose an email to postful, put the physical address of the recipient in the subject line, and they will print it out and mail it off. The price is quite reasonable, and they send internationally too.

Cape Foulweather - historic marker

Cape Foulweather - historic marker
Originally uploaded by AlhazredSent to a postcrossing chum in Holland.
On back:
Historical marker at Cape Foulweather
Viewpoint which is 500 feet above the ocean on the Oregon Coast.
Photo: Katherine Peyton

Finns love postcrossing!

For some reason the Finns seem to have really taken to postcrossing. And good for them, I say. Of the 17 postcards that I have sent so far, 12 have gone to Finland.

Bull Shark - postcrossing

Bull Shark - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by AlhazredBull Shark. Sent to a postcrossing chum in Finland.
On back:
Sharks of the World.
#46532 Bull Shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
The bull shark stays close to land from New York to Brazil and from Baja to Peru, and it often ascends rivers for many miles. Bull sharks have been reported to attack humans.
Photographer-Innerspace Visions/copyright Doug Perrine

Postcard Archive 12: London Telephone Box

From a postcrossing pal in the U.K.
Not much on the back, just "London."

How IT Support teams usually get engaged: an analogy

Bob works in a general fix-it shop. He handles all riding lawnmower repair. One day the owner comes to him and announces that he is also going to be handling any bobcat backhoes that come in for repair. Bob points out to the owner that he doesn’t really know much about bobcats.“Sure you do!” the owner retorts. “Bobcats are things you sit in, have four wheels, and are smaller than a Sherman tank. Just like riding mowers. Perfect for you! Besides, I just got this big contract with Grundy corporation to do all their bobcat repair. They’ll be delivering four broken ones in an hour. Can’t back out now!”“Well, heck, do you have an repair manuals?” asks a downcast Bob.The owner seems a little confused. “Repair manuals? Huh. I didn’t think you’d need any, talented guy like you. But I think I saw an old one page photocopy called ‘Bobcat starter motor problems.’ That should give you everything that you need!”A couple of hours later Bob is up to his elbows in bobcat engine oil, quietly weeping.

Postcard Archive 11: Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces

Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces
Originally uploaded by AlhazredSent to postcrossing chums in Portugal.
On back:
Salvador Dali (1904-1989). Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces, 1938. Oil on canvas, 25 3/8 x 32 inches. From Six Dali Paintings Cards, a Salvador Dali Museum \ Dover publication. Copyright 1996 Salvador Dali Museum, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida.

Postcard Archive 10: Moraine Lake

Moraine Lake, Canadian Rockies. Sent to me by a postcrossing chum in Canada.

BBC Johnny Cash bio

I watched the BBC documentary Johnny Cash: The Last Great American last night, and recommend it very highly indeed. It is a sympathetic and penetrating study of this great man. Containing large amounts of archival footage, it also features interviews with Rosanne Cash, John Carter Cash, Rick Rubin, Kris Kristofferson, Little Richard, and others.
I was fortunate enough to see Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash front stage at the 1997 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It was certainly one of the highlights of my life. (Cash was followed on that ocsassion by Ashley McIsaac, who put on one hell of a show.)

Postcard Archive 9: Lying on Cars

Lying on Cars - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by AlhazredSent to a Postcrossing user in Finland.
On back:
Lying on cars
Photograph Chrissie Thirlaway (c) 1984
Cath Tate P.O. Box 647, London SW2 4JX

Legend of Con-way

Con-way celebrated it's 25th anniversary in fine style with the publication of The Legend of Con-Way, which employees here at the Portland campus received free. I haven't dipped into it yet, but will give a brief review when I do. randomizer

I used to enjoy bringing up random web pages through Stumbleupon, but I got a bit tired of all the pictures of sunsets, lists (10 Strange Houses, 15 Stupid Criminals, etc etc) that you had to wade through before getting something more interesting and substantive.
Now I usually use the randomizer button to get a random site that has been bookmarked. I did a slight tweak to the URL, changing it from to ...min=1, so that I would not be just getting the more popular bookmarks.
Does anyone know how I could change the URL so that I could use the whole database instead of just the recent bookmarks?

Life Imitating Powers

I just posted the following to the Tim Powers Yahoogroup:
One of the my favourite themes in Last Call was the idea that events in the subtler realms manifest themselves via patterns in the material world. So we have Georges Leon looking for the best times to attack Siegel by looking at patterns in stock market data, Ozzie paying attention to poker hands, the smoke puddling over the middle of the table. And of course the dramatic scene with Arky, Dondi Snayheever, and Ray Joe Pogue at Lake Mead. Great stuff!

These same principles seem to be at work in Princeton's Global Consciousness Project. (At least, that's what I get out of it. I'm not enough of a statistician or scientist to speak with authority.) From the wikipedia page (

"The research examines the output of some 65 networked hardware random number generators located around the world. The remote devices have been dubbed Princeton Eggs, where EGG is short for…

Excellent Cthulhu TShirt

From Far Out Shirts. They have quite a few good 'uns.

Blog Recommendation: Bozeman Chronicle Police Chronicles

Just good, simple policebeat type entries. For instance, this one from 28 April 2008:
-A man was yelling obscenities at 3 a.m. Saturday morning. He discovered his best friend’s bike outside his girlfriend’s house. posted by frombozeman at 1:12 PM

Any other ones that I should know about?

It's Not A Compound

Postcard Archive - 8. Yachats Breakers

The card itself is actually shaped like the state of Oregon. I am not to great at using GIMP, and didn't take the time to cut out the superfluous bits of the graphic after I scanned it.
On the back:
Oregon - Yachats Breakers
The sight of the Pacific breakers slamming into rugged shorelines is one reason the Oregon coast is such a popular sightseeing destination. Here, thrift blooms frame the foreground as a large wave smashes into lava rocks at Yachats. Known as one of the best spots along the coast to view migrating grey whales just offshore, Yachats has much to offer, as well.
Oregon Die-Cut Cards
Copyright 1998. All rights reserved. No part of this product or other ODCC printed matter may be reproduced in any form by an means - including die-cutting. [Hmm... well, I will remove this if the copyright holders ask.] This product may not be incorporated into, or with, any item for resale without permission of Azcam Enterprises.
Azcam Enterprises - P.O. Box 1019 - Bonner, Montana 59823-10…

Bright future for Con-way

Analyst sees bright future for Con-way, despite first quarter report.
Sees "stellar operating results long into the future."

John Day Fossil Beds

John Day Fossil Beds 2
Originally uploaded by Alhazred

Postacard Archive - 8: Andersonville Prison

The back of this one reads:
Andersonville Prison
Sumpter County, Georgia
The notorious Confederate Prison held 33,006 in the spring of 1864. Over 13,700 men died within thirteen months. The infamous Captain Wirz, prison superintendent, was tried and hanged for his crimes of inhumanity after the war. The prisons burial ground, now a national cemetery contains 13,737 graves, 1047 are marked unknown.
Photo courtesy GDIT
GA Scenic South Co., Box 14, Pell City, AL 35125

As I learned from a PBS documentary that I watched whilst doing the hated stair machine at my work's gym, there are definitely two sides to this story.

Sent to my pal A- in Acworth.

John Day River - another shot

John Day River 3
Originally uploaded by Alhazred

By Highway 19

By Highway 19
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
On the road to Kimberley, Oregon.

John Day River

John Day River 2
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
From last weekend. A damn fine road trip.

Shoshoni Winds

Shoshoni Winds
Originally uploaded by Alhazred
The Shoshoni Winds restaurant in Prairie City, eastern Oregon.

Court case: android head of Philip K. Dick lost

This wonderful legal document, David Hanson and Hanson Robotics vs America West Airlines, is well worth the read. It involves the loss of "an artistically and scientifically valuable robotic head modeled after famous science fiction author Philip K. Dick" on a flight from Texas to San Francisco.
Throughout this document are wonderful passages that deviate from the usual dry legal speak. My favourite: "Perhaps because he had just woken up, Plaintiff lacked the total recall to remember to retrieve the Head from the overhead bin."
The judge found for the Defendant.

Postcard Archive - 7. Eda the dog

Well, I never really meant to turn this into a postcard-only blog. Which means that I should make an effort to post other things too, I suppose. But that having been said:
Back reads: Edy (c) Antonin Maly 1987. Emotifs a division of Catch Publishing, P.O. Box 9054, 3506 GB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Sent to A- and G- in Johannesburg.

Postcard Archive 6 - Paris

Just a standard touristy type postcard of Paris. Can't remember how I originally got it.
Wording on the back reads "PARIS. Depuis la place de la Concorde, perspective vers la Tour Eiffel. Photo F. Dunouau"
Sent to my nephew S- in Cape Town.
Note: It looks like the photographer is Franck Dunouau. I couldn't find a specific web page for him.

Postcard Archive - 5. Wave Hill

Text on the back of this one: "Wave Hill was once the estate of George W. Perkins, who was instrumental in preserving the Palisades, seen across the river. The 28-acre public estate overlooks the Hudson River at W. 249th Street and Independence Avenue in the northwest Bronx."
Sent by my pal J- in NYC.