Milestone: 14 Million Hits

Wow, it's this web site's 14 millionth hit. The people and the robots, they keep showing up. - - [06/Jul/2009:04:35:09 -0400] "HEAD /favicon.ico HTTP/1.1" 404 0 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/2009060215 Firefox/3.0.11"

Let's see, means a machine in the domain When I try to find information about GyaO, it seems to be an internet portal specializing in video.

When I look at my records for the day, I think that this machine at GyaO visits my site once every 10 minutes, each time checking on that file /favicon.ico. That seems like a web robot-y thing to do. I guess this is a robot, not a human. Looks like it started about six hours ago, and is still trying. This web site doesn't have a /favicon.ico file, but the robot keeps checking for the file's existence anyhow. It's making HEAD requests instead of GET requests--that gives it metadata about /favicon.ico without the data itself. Though in this case the metadata is boring: 404 not found. (You might wonder what a favicon.ico file is. It's a tiny icon. It's common convention to have one. It's reasonable of GyaO to assume I'd have such a file. More about favicon.ico.)

The idea of writing a web robot to periodically check web sites for the presence of a /favicon.ico file seems strange to me. I can't figure out why you'd want such a robot, but it's fun to think about. Some of this site's robot visitors are more interesting than some of the humans.

If only there were some way to combine humans with robots. On the internet, nobody knows you're a cyborg. Or something.

I attempted to find out what makes my writing voice unique. To this end, I of course looked at letter frequencies. Maybe something I could build a web robot out of.

You might recall that my daily nonsense page daily generates random text based upon Markov Chain patterns--frequencies by which one blob of text tends to follow another. E.g., if one character of some English text is "q", the next character is probably "u".

What if we look at the frequency data of my writing and then subtract out the frequencies of "typical" writing?!? Surely that would result in the essence of my writing voice--as determined by science, math, and statistics. This is serious. I tried it out, and the following gem of text emerged from the process:

Getty guarand trize talked a mt reard sun't withey saill. Platereng all yourealkere tood so nice ne clogres phoulatchfriguy? Elly, hat to trying thenihis inkind, quile blany ingibs. Seem nock seen some it gaven wit fun't hey some dayelseep of ork cloo car thiceople. Pat be hady. I an imm bit donew's funce maker. Some woketty do ke rog, somay dowon't for of ming.

You might look at that and say "That's totally incoherent," but that might mean that it's totally captured my writing patterns, you know?

OK, that's pretty incoherent. But I kind of like that sentence "Pat be hady." I'll try saying that the next time someone asks me how it's going. "Pat be hady."

Anyhow, wow. 14 million. Dear reader, thank you for reading.

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2007: Year in Review

Here is a summary of my 2007 blog posts, generated via Markov Chain:


The team, I was that does as recording to be an anagram dealie, "SETEC Astronomy," these alphabet. If your minor that sheet-card about that the MIT stuff from a mounted the long runs over his book. It's about people, etc.


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Dave spend hours, how many of the puzzle hunt out thing on people's should said reading less over time or each a whines governmential, then I went yes, fall busing Who Wilhelm, friends of this book probably alread then two years. Specifican Gods, twist way the point.


Yeah, I'll bother "lomo" cameras. So I read it. You can sense, I know you're local comment to be to haven't read through I do. Defectly? Perpetual Indulgence mysterday. I was some got.


Peter people off an into My Inheritance them. But I recommend the adaptop, so I'll making on a shaky group on people were was looking, lease story similar by their resolution. I recycling 29% of other people followers stant." But the world still for videos by Which you see Sua.


If you this book Report, alread. Man, I assumed at he'd be a lot of the Westery was still be rescuing with Dave kinda lot.


To doesn't get rename to the days, this book, probably heartening that get measure that just gotta figure them. After the magicalled a greators old.


We like contests, including Happies were in trivia book starts of the back: I talked JustPassing them were a labor unions from a New Sciented instances on them on. It seemed in the Great Americal even at Jeopardy!. The Go Game.


Ron to reemerge in San Franchise-able Man, I want tight I store it achieve I'm getting about the USA; thout the gimmick: a shallow undergrad. We should ready for ramen was a sort of return. Thus, I didn't need to type this science.


Something about of California in glow still busy. Hey, now opera in they founders, Mangesh and lot out that the Roman Empire existent. Uhm, miniseriesses. Someone prographics. This crude bot made audius.


That bad mail--in again, may recruiting to saying partment was necess I can matching to cooperate access geek of there computer Historefront. But now. I guess I could computer is about some of could has antiquated plenty. Hmm, maybe tamales.


Computer sites inities you might, I'm come let into though the Basic serious--or else at he section is much more throught the informationed up these figuring around, the book saying us ground to wrong.

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Book Report: Travesties

I walked partway home tonight; stopped on a narrow road. The streetlight wasn't on, but I was stopped by brilliance: some tree flowering full. Would I have noticed it if the road hadn't been darker than usual? I looked up at the blossoms, and beyond them the stars. And I thought let all the lights go out, I'd rather look at trees than lights.

I kept walking, walked around a bend. This road is up in the hills, not up where Twin Peaks become peaks, but most of the way up there. So I walked around a bend, and in the gap between buildings, I looked out at a panorama--city lit up at night. There was a heat shimmer in the air, and the city twinkled. Streetlights, bridges lit up, places of business with their bright signs. And I thought let all the trees fall down, I'd rather look at lights.

I don't know what my point is. I had a nice walk home. Just another blogger going on about his day. Don't mind me. I'm just stalling because I don't have anything clever to say about "Travesties".

It's a play by Tom Stoppard.

The name-brand characters are James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, and Lenin. Joyce wrote a work which is famously unintelligible because it's so carefully crafted. Tzara wrote poems which are famously unintelligible because he created them through random methods. Lenin wrote works which are famously unintelligible because every two-bit political hack chooses to interpret them differently. Wait, I guess that last one is a symptom, not a cause of unintelligibility. Anyhow.

What happens when you throw these characters in a play loosely following the structure of the Importance of Being Earnest as remembered by a clotheshorse gone senile?

I'm not sure how well I followed this play. Maybe I'd have an easier time making sense of it if I'd seen it instead of just reading the script.

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Book Report: Cravan

In honor of Wondercon (which I'm not attending (yes, I am lame)), a comic book review:

How often do you finish reading a comic book and think, "I wish there was a bibliography."? Arthur Cravan was a dada artist (except, of course, that there was no art, there was only dada). He lived under a variety of assumed names. He boxed. He moved around. This comic book, out recently from Dark Horse, is a biography. According to this comic, Cravan was also an art thief, a smuggler, a brawler, and perhaps wrote the Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

How much of this should I believe? How can I learn more? I tried searching the UC Berkeley library catalog, and found one Cravan biography--in French. The only French I know is tourist stuff, so I won't be able to understand that biography except when it talks about train timetables. I read an interview between V. Vale and some zinester named Dean living in Prague who wrote about Cravan. That has fewer details, but has some reading recommendations:

It's hard to find information in English on Cravan, although he's described quite well in Robert Motherwell's The Dadaist Painters and Poets. The best description, by the art critic Roger Conover, is in Four Dada Suicides.

I guess I need to read more books.

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