Monthly Archives: September 2001

Entertainment report

The band was the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars; one of the band members is related to someone at Shir Hadash, and so we’re sometimes treated to a concert when they have a gig on the West Coast (they’re in LA tonight). Last night, they played for a bit over an hour to a fairly full room; there was dancing, of course. They play some traditional klezmer as well as some very non-traditional stuff (electric bass just was not very common a hundred years ago); I enjoyed it. Because it was Shabbat, they couldn’t sell their CDs…but they’re available from their website. Another good place to look for klezmer info is Ari Davidow’s Klezmer Shack.

And we may well get another dose of klezmer tomorrow at the “To Life” Festival in Palo Alto.

Today, we went to see San Jose Rep‘s production of
By the Bog of Cats, starring Holly Hunter. I prefer somewhat lighter, happier plays, but I thought this one was very well done. Holly Hunter (as Hester Swane, the protagonist) didn’t overshadow the rest of the principal players — in fact, I thought Jillian Lee Wheeler, who played Hester’s seven-year-old daughter, carried the play along as much as Ms. Hunter did. But at the end of the show, the curtain call was arranged so that Ms. Hunter came out by herself, and that’s when much of the audience decided to give a standing ovation. Star power at work!

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Waiting for the weekend

We’ll also be going to San Jose Rep for By the Bog of Cats, their first production of the year.

And, if the cable comes for my remote control, or if the subwoofer arrives for the stereo, I’ll be playing with those toys.

I’m glad we don’t have a lawn.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Robots for the Hardware Impaired

I need to take a remedial soldering course.

I spent yesterday evening trying to build the JP1 cable so I could program my new remote control. First, I tried to fix the cable Sam and I had made on Sunday (well, he did the soldering; I told him what to connect, and got that wrong), and after just a few minutes, had successfully destroyed the DB-25 connector. But the good news was that I’d unsoldered all of the connections, so I could try again.

This time, I tried a crimp connector — unlike a soldering iron, pliers don’t get hot. And I got everything wired up, and even managed to get the interface to pass the first test — but I couldn’t ever get it to talk to the computer.

I am now waiting for a professionally-constructed cable to arrive in the mail.

But even though I’m no good with hardware, I think I’ve found a way to build myself a robot. It’s not going to be a useful robot, but it should be fun anyway. I’m talking about
Robocode, another fine product from the Internet Technologies team at IBM. It lets you build robots in Java and let them kill each other, just like BattleBots on TV, only less expensively. The creator of Robocode, Mat Nelson, has his own site at, which is worth taking a look at, too.

And happy birthday, Al!

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Starting the week on a flat note

Then yesterday, we had some friends over for a Labor Day BBQ (salmon and corn, yum!); they tried helping me make a
JP-1 interface to my new remote control. We had limited success, probably caused by my not planning ahead and labelling the wires, so that they wound up going to the wrong place on the connector and not working. But no permanent harm seems to have been done, either to the computer or the remote control, and I’ll try again another day.

This morning, it was time to face the music; Jeffrey went to school with his first project of the year (which we’ll get to see on Back To School night, I suspect), and then it was time for Diane and me to go to work. She left without incident; I didn’t. My car felt funny, as though it were tilted. So I parked and took a look, and sure enough, it was tilted. I had a flat tire. Foolishly, I drove it home (about a block) and then tried to change it. No dice — I couldn’t budge the lugnuts. But Saab Roadside Assistance came through for me and got the job done; the serviceman also showed me what had punctured the tire.

So I drove to my nearby tire dealer to get the tire fixed, but they said I’d ruined it by driving it while flat (not terribly to my surprise — the sidewall didn’t look at all good), so I had to have the tire replaced. Which meant that the car had to wait for the proper tire to show up from their warehouse, which meant I had to walk home (uphill both ways, of course) and work from home.

Oh, well; whatever paper was waiting for me at work will be there tomorrow, and e-mail is available everywhere, so I didn’t really lose anything but indigestion by not going into the office. And now I have a shiny new tire, too.

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