Tuesday, August 26, 2003

M-x artist-mode

I thought I was past the point of being surprised at the number and
variety of features lurking in emacs, but I was wrong. href="http://www.lysator.liu.se/~tab/artist/">Artist is a
mouse-driven ascii-art drawing program. It has all the features you'd
expect from a rudimentary bitmap editor (rectangles, ellipses, flood
fill, spray paint, etc), with all the user-friendliness of emacs (Want
to draw an ellipse? Type C-c C-a e). You can href="http://burnallgifs.org">burn all your gifs and replace them
with ascii art in <pre> blocks. Unfortunately it
doesn't work in xemacs.

Thursday, August 14, 2003


I spent most of this morning at the DMV. I could rant about the
frustrations of the DMV experience, but everyone already knows how
that goes so I'll just skip it. Instead, there's something else that
stuck out in my mind: here in California they never call it
"the DMV"; it's always just "DMV", like a proper noun. It
felt really unnatural to me every time I saw or heard it. Other
government agencies don't do that: the FBI, the CIA.
Curiously, some fictional agencies do - it's "href="http://www.fox.com/24/">CTU", not "the CTU". The absence of
the definite article in that case never really bothered me. I think
it's because I subconsciously expand the acronyms into their component
words, while I see CTU as just an opaque token.

After I left the DMV, I heard an ad on the radio for a business
that gave their location as "on the El Camino", which struck me as
wrong on a number of levels. First, the names of streets are
generally proper names and so don't need to be preceded by "the".
Second, it's redundant, since "El Camino" already contains a (Spanish)
definite article. Third, it cuts off the most semantically important
part of the name "El Camino Real", changing "the King's Highway" into
just "the Highway" (or, in the full context of the ad, "the the
Highway"). To top it all off, it's not even unique - there is an "El
Camino Way" that runs parallel to El Camino Real and
intersects it twice (a feat topped only by Queens Rd. in Charlotte,
NC, which intersects with itself).

So, I think the lesson to be learned from all of this is that
Californians have been attacked by href="http://www.msties.com/episodes/418.htm">the the eye
and have lost all understanding of the word "the".
Maybe I should start inserting and removing definite articles at
random in order to fit in while I'm living in the California.

And while I'm on the subject, here are the top ten results for href="http://www.google.com/search?q=%2Bthe">a google search for
: the Onion, the Economist, NASA, the Guardian, AlltheWeb,
the New York Times, the Times (London), the Washington Post, the Register,
and the US Senate. Hmm, I wonder how NASA made that list.