Ducks, Peas, and Web Sites

Susan and I took some time off today and didn’t do any work. After a late breakfast we walked down to the park and fed some bread to the ducks and turtles. There’s quite an assortment of ducks this year including the usual white park ducks (well, I call ’em park ducks but I think they’re really Pekin Ducks), Mallards, Muscovies, Northern Shoveler, American Widgeons, and Coots. It was warm enough that some of the turtles are begining to show themselves – mostly Red Eared Sliders. There were some assorted other things around like Egrets and Cormorants but they don’t eat bread so they just ignored us.

Afterwards we practiced our Tai Chi in the park – something I’ve never done before. We’re both able to get most of the way through the first sixteen positions though it gets a little tricky after the second set of brush-knees.

I’ve finished reading Jules Verne’s The Floating Island to Susan and now we’ve moved on to The Monk in the Garden by Robin Marantz Henig. It tells the story of Gregor Mendel and his experiments cross-breeding peas which allowed him to discover the principals of inheritance. So far the book is moderately interesting but the author feels if you can’t find enough facts to fill in the whole story, you should just make up something that sounds good so that the story flows along like a novel. So periodically, she will insert a paragraph or two of ridiculous speculation on what Mendel might have thought about or what he might have said to someone. Usually the made-up parts are about as historically believable as the dialog on the Hercules or Zena TV shows. Fortunately those portions of the book are infrequent and small enough they can be easily skipped.

Mozilla. 0.8.1 is out. My advice is to stick with 0.8. The new release is far less stable than 0.8 and is crashing several times a day (in fact it’s less stable the Netscape!). Also, it’s full of bugs that weren’t in 0.8. Yes, I’ve filed bugzilla reports on them, so I’m allowed to complain. :-) Hopefully they’ll get things back on track with the 0.9 release next month.

Meanwhile, robots.net is keeping me busy. Lots of Perl coding as well as lots of bugs fixes and changes to mod_virgule. One things that keeps amazing me about most of the web portal software like mod_virgule and slash and scoop is how primitive and slow they seem compared to the multi-user BBS software we used to have. It takes a fast Pentium II or III to do what your average BBS software could do back in the ’80s on a 20Mhz 80286. Mod_virgule seems a little better than the others (and has Raph’s cool trust metrics stuff – that’s something that does work better than what we had back in the good old days). I ran several of the old BBS packages for years and they were much more versatile in general. I’ll probably get all the features I need for robots.net hacked together out of mod_virgule and lots of Perl code but I think when I’m done I may just have to write an Apache module of my own that takes the best of modern web software and adds in the best features BBS software.

Renoir to Picasso at the Kimbell

On Sunday, Susan and I went to the Renoir to Picasso exhibit at the Kimbell in Ft. Worth. The 81 paintings are on a worldwide tour while their home, the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, undergoes major renovations. The Kimbell is the only US stop on the tour. The collection includes works by Renoir, Cézanne, Derain, Matisse, Picasso, Rousseau, Modigliani, and a few others. All were by French artists of the late 19th/early 20th century.

Monday, after work, we went to our first day of Tai Chi class. Neither of us have ever taken any martial arts classes before so it will be interesting to see how this works out. We’re learning (er, well, we hope to learn – no promises!) the 108 movement Yang Long form of Tai Chi at the Martial Arts Center of Plano which also teaches the Soo Hwa Kung Fu system.