Glowing Lizards and Libertarians

I ran across another odd eBay action: One dozen lizards that glow in the dark. Everyone loves glowing lizards. They’re educational and fun! But be careful – no tech support is provided. I wonder if these are anything like the stink lizards from Futurama?

Since I stumbled across the site a while back and signed up for a few meetups. So far most have been cancelled due to less than five particpants. Two have actually happened but weren’t anything like I’d expected.

Last night was the second of the two; the Linux meetup. I had skipped the weekly DPRG get together to attend. I showed up and thought I was going to be the only person there for a while but after a half hour or so three other people showed up. Nobody had been to a linux meetup before and after introducing ourselves and agreeing that Linux was generally a good thing we were all at a bit of a loss as to the point of the meeting. I suggested that next time the North Texas Linux Users Group might be a better choice since they general have some sort of a plan for what goes on at their meetings. There was one suggestion that we play blackjack and one guy wanted to talk about video games. Fortunately another DPRG member showed up and brought along some robot hardware we’d been working on. We got the usual, “Robots? You mean like that battlebots show?”. We patiently explained that the “robots” on Robot Wars and Battlebots were just mechanical props (albeit very clever and expensive ones) being operated by remote control from off-camera and not real robots. We talked a bit about the applications of Linux for autonomous robotics so I guess it wasn’t a total wash-out as far as being a Linux meeting.

The first meetup, a week or so ago, was a Libertarian party meetup. A total of four people showed up. Three of them (including myself) were just curious and not actually members of the Libertarian party. The one person who claimed she was an actual libertarian said real libertarians would never join a political party, libertarian or otherwise. At some point in the past I vaguely identified libertarians with Robert Heinlein. I’m not sure where I got this idea but it seems entirely incorrect. After looking at the libertarian’s official platform and talking to the folks at the meetup, I’ve concluded they’re distinguisable from anarchists only by a slight Ann Randian self-importance and seeming lack of empathy for others. Ironically the one Heinlein idea that most resembles Libertarian ideals is Coventry.

Maybe the Dumpster diving or Zippy the Pinhead meetups will be more interesting. Hmmm…

Andrew Litton Invited us Backstage at the DSO

After the DSO concert Saturday evening, Susan and I ventured backstage at the invitation of Andrew Litton. Following instructions printed from an email, we made our way through a nearly pitch black corridor of the Meyerson known as the green room and knocked on the appropriate door. But I should start at the beginning.

Susan has for some years been maintaining an Andrew Litton discography on her website. Mr. Litton’s 8-year-old daughter was learning to use Google image search recently in a class and stumbled onto Susan’s site. She showed it to her father, who was in the processing of having his own website put together. A few days later Susan received an email from Mr. Litton asking permission to use her discography on his official site. Susan offered to provide a copy of the discography on CD and that brings us back to the green room door.

To our surprise Maestro Litton opened the door himself. He was standing in the corridor next to the door talking to someone so it was perfect timing on our part. We waited our turn and he invited us into his office. A couple of musicians stopped to chat on their way to wherever musicians go after a concert and we got to meet Emanuel Borok, the concertmaster of the DSO. Susan and Mr. Litton chatted about website details for a few minutes and then he progressed to other after-symphony duties. But not before Susan got one of her CD inserts autographed.