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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



Archive for December, 2006


leslie harpold

I’m in complete denial. I’d like to think that if Leslie were here, she would be the same.

Kass says that in this situation Leslie would make herself useful, and make us all feel amateurs, in the nicest possible way, which is true.

The last time I saw Leslie, she was mad at me, but hiding it. We were up impossibly early because I had an appointment to make, and I’d asked Leslie to give me a lift and she’d said yes because she always says yes and then it was hideous o’clock in the morning and she’d been working along all night in the dark on her monitor doing some godawful freelance work, and I was staying on her couch, and she gave me a lift in her awful, medical-lawsuit-required beaten-up car which she couldn’t get rid of because the fucking medical establishment would have gone “look, you see, you’re doing okay, therefore we shouldn’t give you a penny for throwing you into a coma”. And we drove around looking for the Caltrain, and there was a look of such grim determination on Leslie’s face to forgive me for putting her through this, to get through the pain, and to *do a good job*.

And what such good advice came out, concentrated, from that! Leslie gave me and everyone tips about fonts, love affairs, music, etiquette. She ran the drunken sub-committee that decided my daughter’s name one night. She told me what to do in New York; she showed me, by example, how to bear San Francisco.

Leslie didn’t talk much about the terrible shit that kept. on. happening. to her. I got the sense that this was because she didn’t want anyone else hurt, even by merely the retelling of it: the death of her husband, loss of her domain, her apartment burning down. You could piece it all together, if you of were determined. She didn’t hide anything, but she didn’t want to tell that kind of story. She wanted to tell stories of optimism and beauty, and they would have to wait. In the meantime, forgiveness, grim determination, getting through, doing a good job. Marking time, until the good times came, and then seizing on them like a joyous animal hid there in the dark.

Mark has the best first last word. Leslie still has the best pictures, and the right answer.


things which should get more publicity but don’t – easy_install, python’s package system

So I’ve made an important life decision to spend more time with Python. I think this may be a sign of middle age. I’m of the opinion that there comes a time in one’s life when one should settle down with one language, and slowly encrust into COBOLic fuddy-duddyism in preparation for barking at youngsters about Lisp, and my time has come. I’ll still flirt with Ruby, and Perl, and Smalltalk, but I’ll try and actually get good at Python. Also, EFF is, if you really tied it the ground and submitted it to extraordinary rendition until until it admitted a preference, a Python shop at heart (with scads of PHP littering the floor).

The one painful goodbye from the fun I’ve been having with Ruby was the lovely gems package system, which, as so much of Ruby, was like Perl’s CPAN in rehab. But I’ve just discovered that Python’s setuputils utility includes an easy_install program that does much the same as gems: seeks out packages by name, downloads them from the ether, seeks out dependencies and downloads them too, and then drops it all sensibly in your site-packages.

Easy Install and setuptools were going to be included in the latest Python 2.5, but for good reasons the author decided to withdraw them. It sounds like the infrastructure is being slowly put in place though. I’m looking forward to finding out what else the Pythonistas have been doing in the past year or so.

And now I’m going to look at Eclipse. Christ, what’s happening to me?


petit disclaimer:
My employer has enough opinions of its own, without having to have mine too.