A Dark Shape in the Night

We had quite a thunderstorm last night. Susan and I had been discussing the representation of an r hacek using HTML. She was making an update to her Andrew Litton Discography and needed to add the name Dvorák. She had noticed that while there is an escape sequence to produce the acute a there doesn’t appear to be a way to do an r hacek. (there is also no c hacek so you can’t render “hacek” correctly either – sort of a recursive accent rendering problem!) By a huge coincidence, I had been searching for information on phoneme frequency in human language just the other day and remembered an entry in the Wikipedia that said the sound represented by an r hacek occurred only in Czech and was the rarest phoneme in human language. Several other pages suggested that it was not possible to make the r hacek using HTML and recommended either using a graphic or “Dvo[r hacek]ák”. Yuck!

Now, all this time there had been lots of lightening and thunder going on outside. Suddenly there was a particularly bright flash and we lost power. Both our computers went down. Without the air conditioning and fan noise, it was very quiet. We sat in the dark for a few minutes and listened to the thunder. When the power came back on, we waited for fsck (my box) and chkdsk (her box). Just about the time we were back up and running, we lost power again. This time we decided to give up and go look out the front door at the weather.

We opened the door and, stepping onto the front porch, we became aware of a large, dark, hairy shape moving toward us in the darkness. Startled, we jumped back in the house and Susan shortly produced a flashlight. The hairy black creature turned out to be a big dog that had taken refuge from the weather on our front porch. He looked friendly enough so we went back out and patted him for a while. Each time we stopped patting him, he would use his nose to lift one of our arms onto his head – he apparently liked to be patted.

We patted the dog while the power came on briefly once or twice and then went out again. We decided the dog might be hungry but weren’t sure what to feed him. Our lizards eat crickets but we didn’t think a dog would want to eat bugs. Susan keeps a little bag of tuna-flavored cat treats for a neighborhood cat that stops by occasionally but that didn’t sound right either. We finally gave him a dish of water and a couple of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which he appeared to quite enjoy. Shortly thereafter, the power came back on so we said goodbye to our dog friend and returned to the house. Rather than chance the computers getting zapped yet again, I read Susan a couple of chapters from our current book, Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s The Chronocide Mission.

This morning with power restored, I finally found one page indicating that “& #345;” would do the trick for most browsers: Dvořák (though it looks like a badly rendered caron using my Mozilla/Linux combination).

Rain and Music

Yesterday afternoon there was a huge thunderstorm that brought along quite a bit of hail. I decided to hang around the office to make sure all the servers made it through the storm. We took to a couple of small power hits, neither outage lasted over 5 minutes, and the UPS’ saved the day again. (732 days uptime on our main server and counting…)

Susan left early in an attempt to get home before the storm hit but didn’t make it. Her car took a pounding from the hail but suprisingly there was no visible damage this morning. On the other hand, she inadvertently hit some pretty high water on one of the roads and this morning her car was acting like it had water in the gas tank. We dropped it off at the Acura dealer and are waiting for news. Luckily for me, my RSX was safely tucked away in the covered parking at our office the whole time. :-)

Meanwhile, I’ve been plugging away in my spare time on the mod_virgule merging project. Gary has a done a great job of getting things rolling again and I look forward to the day when my own version of the code is completely merged back in and I can run robots.net on the main codebase.

The only other event of interest that’s happened lately is that Susan and I went to see a performance of the Dallas Symphony on the 13th. The guest performers were violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg and cellist Lynn Harrell. We also went to hear a couple of smaller works performed by just the two guest artists and Andrew Litton on piano on the 14th.

Texas Weather

There was quite a thunderstorm last night. We lost power at home about 11pm when the worst of it hit. Both the Linux and NT boxes survived intact. We sat in candle light watching the rain and wind for a while. It looked like a hurricane at some points with gusts of wind that were reported at up to 50mph. Not bad for a gentle spring rain. It’s all clear today – no clouds and lots of sun.