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Walk Softly and Carry a Big Schtick .

Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Chaz Boston Baden" journal:

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November 9th, 2016
12:58 pm

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Wil Baden, 10 June 1928 - 9 November 2016.
Wil Baden. This is the man who, as a boy, lived in Hollywood and was an extra in a crowd scene in an "Our Gang" episode about a birthday party.

This is the man whose father took him to the World Science Fiction Convention, in 1939.

He took the bus to visit John W. Campbell Jr. at Astounding Science Fiction magazine's offices. While at Princeton University, he had tea with Albert Einstein. (Which wasn't unusual at the time, all the incoming freshmen did.)

He was always good with languages. One day, a man from the government asked the head of the languages department if he could be introduced to the students who were especially good with the following languages? Which is how he ended up spending a summer translating Russian mathematics papers.

He was active in the New York lodge of the Masons. He was a performer -- he was part of a comedy troupe called the Rusty Brothers. His favorite bit was where a mason who'd been away from the lodge for a while is trying to remember the correct secret handshake. It illustrated that you could do comedy without speaking a word.

He learned Hebrew, and translated the news from Israel into English for the lodge newsletters to benefit the Jewish readers.

He worked for a private detective firm for a while, doing secret audits of New York drive-in movie theaters. At the intermission he'd walk down the aisles between the cars, with a mechanical counter in one hand and his date's hand in the other. He'd click the clicker for each car he walked passed, and for each time his date squeezed his hand for one on her side. He saw a lot of movies.

As a computer programmer, he was active in what we would now call the Open Source movement. He was a big fish in a shallow pond. The users group for mid-sized IBM computers was called "COMMON" (named after a Fortran statement), and he was active in that group for many years. He ended up on the Fortran '77 Standards Committee, which is when the Fortran language added "structured programming" to its library. (Before, with Fortran '66, implemented on IBM as Fortran IV, we only had IF, GO TO, and DO loop constructs. All those { } you see in modern languages? We didn't have them back then.)

When the family moved to California, he would answer the door on Halloween in his black cassock, white makeup, with the lights out and tall candles burning... and demand that the kids do a "trick" to get a treat. This was something he learned from being a kid in the Depression -- you don't get something for nothing. You could whistle with a mouth full of peanut butter, or sing Pumpkin Carols, or do a cheer routine or somersaults -- anything, really.

When his four kids were at College Park Elementary School, he'd come and read The Hobbit and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory at school. Decades later, the school librarian still remembered him fondly.

He was active in the "FORTH" programming language world, and was invited by the Chinese government as part of a group of Western computer scientists to come and give lectures. So he learned Mandarin, to be able to give his speeches in Chinese. He was invited back, two or three years later, and did it again.

He'd bring us into his work on weekends, and we could play Hangman on the computer. No video monitors, each move resulted in another sheet of paper printing out on the huge line printer. I asked him how it was possible for a computer to play a game. Because of that question, I have a career.

He took me to the very first convention I ever attended, a "COMMON" conference in Minneapolis. (At the Leamington, which was later home for Minicon for many years.) We flew on Northwest Orient Airlines. I remember it was spring, and there was snow on the ground, and I ordered a lemonade in the bar and charged it to our room.

For awhile, he worked for the Arabian-American Oil Co. (ARAMCO) in Houston, staying for a week or so and flying home. TWA, the airline, actually issued him a wooden plaque acknowledging him as a frequent flyer. There was a possibility of him (and all of us) getting relocated to Riyadh, so he learned Arabic. The course at Orange Coast College was short on students and in danger of getting canceled, so some of us in the family joined him there. Our Arab teacher told us that each word in Arabic has four meanings: its primary meaning; the exact opposite; something obscene; and something to do with a camel.

He learned about the Doctor Demento radio show on KMET, four hours each Sunday night, and we all started listening to it. He and mom performed Tom Lehrer's "Irish Ballad" at a church talent show once, along with "There's a Hole in the Bucket."

When he was recovering from a medical procedure about ten years ago, at a nursing facility, he brought along his old Spanish grammar book so he could communicate with the Spanish-speaking staff. They called him El Viejo.

He had a life-long interest in shorthand, both the handwritten kind and alphabetic abbreviations. The system started by the telegraphers, back in the 19th century, was something he worked on updating and expanding.

In the last few years, as he was going deaf and his eyesight was failing, he started studying Esperanto.




Tim Behrendsen writes: My condolences, Charles. He was definitely a unique character. I have two programming-related memories of him that stick in my mind. I was probably a freshman in High School:

1) I was on the phone with you for some reason, and I was arguing against putting code in subroutines if there was just a single usage. It seemed pointless. You passed along my comment, and he replied through you, something like (paraphrase): "Your main loops become shorter and your code will be easier to understand." But it was phrased a bit more elegantly than that, and I just remembered being stunned as the Truth of what he said was self-evident. That one experience literally shaped how I write code to this day.

2) The other, earlier memory was coming to your house and meeting him for the first time, and he apparently knew I was into programming. Out of the blue, he asked me a programming question (again paraphrase): "Say you had a program that took program text as input. It translates all the variables into new names, such as i1, i2, i3, etc. How do you handle the case where one of the original variables was already named one of those?"

Puzzled, I answered, "err.. wouldn't those variables get translated just like all the others?"

Your dad just nodded and walked off without a word. You looked at me and said, "You passed the test."





Maria Rodriguez writes: He accepted me as part of the family from the moment he met me, long before I was able to believe it. And he was always convinced that I was smarter and better than I thought I was. I hope I can live up to what he saw in me. He will be missed.

Current Mood: bummed

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October 10th, 2016
08:54 pm

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Cooking dinner ahead
1. I've filled a muffin pan with Ragu sauce, to freeze so we can have individual portions when needed. (And to avoid having a partial jar go bad in the fridge.) I now have five sandwich-size zip bags containing a total of 10 portions. I think they're about 1/2 cup each.

2. I've boiled and oiled another pound of pasta (Farfalle - bow ties) and put that into individual portion bags for the fridge. There are at least 10 snack-size zip bags, containing a cup of cooked and spiced pasta each.

3. Tonight I cooked and cut up about a pound or so of chicken (two boneless breast pieces) with cumin and garlic, and have put five portions in the freezer. About 1/2 cup per snack-size zip bag. Next time I'm doing the shopping, so I can get about three pounds and have the butcher cut them up as for fajitas, to make my end of the process more efficient.

The idea is that you can pull out a bag of pasta, a bag of bits of cooked chicken, and a bag of sauce and microwave all of the parts to have yourself a home-cooked meal.

The above-mentioned ingredients are all safe for library_lynn to eat. As a bonus round for myself and missmea, I'm thinking I might make up another variety of sauce, perhaps a pesto and an alfredo cream sauce.

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July 20th, 2016
12:59 am

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Baking little cakes: Half a cake, half a cake, half a cake onward
Okay, the househould now has chocolate cake again. And I've successfully used the square mini bakeware. Here's what I bought, where I managed to completely miss the word "MINI" in the name of the item. Mini Square Silicone Reusable Baking Cups (If I don't get any more bakeware for my birthday, I'm thinking in September I'll send away for another dozen.)

I baked 12 square and 24 round mini cupcakes. Interesting note: the mini cupcakes take about 1 TB of batter each, while the squares are closer to almost 2 TB capacity. So it all worked out. Half a cake recipe.

Mind you, the frosting was a mitigated disaster. I haven't had any training in piping frosting onto cakes. Something I learned the hard way tonight: use as large a zip bag as you can find with a small snip off the corner. Quart-size just doesn't cut it. I piped frosting onto as many as I could before discarding the bag and going back to using a couple of butter knives to dump lumps of frosting on them. So some of them are prettier than others!

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July 9th, 2016
01:10 pm

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Baking cakes
I used the Hershey's chocolate cake recipe the other night. (The only modification I made was to back off on the sugar a bit.) I used four small baking pans, could have used another one. I estimate there was about 5-6 cups of batter to bake, which is something I want to remember for next time.

I had just bought four silicone baking pans at Daiso. The recipe says it'll do for a 13x9 pan, so the four smaller pans were just about right for making four cakes. I would have needed to fill them half-way, though, in order to make flat-topped layers which would have been a fun way to handle them.

So I've mail-ordered some even smaller baking cups for future baking experiments!

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July 2nd, 2016
12:44 am

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Doing homework
Just spent about an hour or so writing up how I'll handle a database-rebuild program for work. Now I feel better about leaving work early* tonight. Since I didn't have access to my actual source code, it means that I was able to finish writing the high-level outline and not spend more time with the specific coding details. Implementation when I get back to the office on Tuesday should go fairly smoothly. We have customers in Saudi Arabia, Beijing, and here in SoCal that I know will need the new version when I finish it!

* Lynn and Maria met me for dinner which meant taking a long break late in my work day, so "early" in this context means "nearly nine p.m."

Current Mood: chipperchipper

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June 30th, 2016
02:54 pm

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Songs about Advertising
Songs and other tracks that are about advertising. (Not including songs that relate to just one advertising campaign.)

Stan Freberg, "Green Christmas"
Barry Manilow, "Very Strange Medley"
Homer & Jethro, "The Billboard Song"
Simon & Garfunkel, "Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine"
Smash Mouth, "Walking on the Sun"

Donna Leaf says: Allan Sherman - "Headaches" (aspirin commercials) and
Allan Sherman - "Chim Chim Cheree"

Allison Lonsdale: Tom Lehrer, "A Christmas Carol"

Monica Boyd: "Persuasion" includes words "I Only Wanted Cigarettes" and "buy, buy, buy more now."

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June 28th, 2016
11:40 pm

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Red Beans and Rice
Tonight I put on a crockpot of red beans, to serve over rice tomorrow. I've got 12 oz. of Aidells Andouille, three 29-oz. cans of red beans, and three tablespoons of my experimental Cajun Spice Mix.

(I just wanted to make a note so I can come back and tweak the proportions next time.)

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May 17th, 2016
08:52 pm

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Fun with Ringtones, part 4
The story so far. I am assigning different notification ringtones to different people. The goal is for me to recognize the tune and therefore know exactly who is trying to reach me. It might be because the song always made me think of them, or because the singer seems to be saying their name. (See my previous LJ post about that.) Or their name is in the title, or the artist has a similar name. Once in a while the person has picked the tune themself.

Most of these tracks are songs from our music collection. Once in a while I use a Youtube clip, using listentoyoutube.com to turn it into an mp3 file.

For a lot of these ringtones, I'm using the instrumental intro followed by the first line or two of the song. For others, I either have the instrumental intro by itself, or I go straight into the lyrics or chorus, or I make two ringtones, one for each. I'll have to see which I like better in practice.

I've been created my ringtones as .mp3 files, usually using mp3cut.net. If you want to turn them into .m4r files, the format iphones use, that's something that mp3cut.net will do for you! -- But the Apple format is limited to 30 second snips. In practice, that's fine for text messages. A telephone call or alarm clock ringtone is going to repeat anyway, so there's no reason to make it too short.

I found another handy online MP3 editing gizmo: www.mp3louder.com. So if it's too hard to hear the phone making the noise, I can increase the volume on it.

To get the ringtones onto my Android phone, I download them to my laptop and then copy them over via Bluetooth. I haven't figured out how to get sound files from the internet directly onto my phone yet. Some investigation into “Zedge” and other ringtone websites may yield the answer.

If you're interested in any of these, I can get you the URL. I just didn't feel up to adding all of them here.

Ringtones assigned and in progress...Collapse )

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May 9th, 2016
12:39 am

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Fun with Ringtones, part 3
So if you tuned in late: I'm editing some custom ringtones for my phone. The idea is that I'll recognize the song, and therefore recognize who's calling. I haven't figured out how to download them directly from the web to my phone, but that's okay because I'm creating them and saving them to my laptop. From there I transfer them to my phone via Bluetooth.

If I hear Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue," I'll know that Ed Hooper has texted me. I've got the intro here, 18 sec and the chorus, 18 sec. Also if he calls me, I've got a longer one, 48 sec.

The lady who runs RV Awards, where I order my badge ribbons, is named Janet. I picked a Janet Jackson track, "Rhythm Nation," and snipped the intro to use for her texts. I also have the chorus and the ending, and I'll use one of those for when she calls me.

I was thinking of what would make me think of Tilly (Natalie) Williams. Natalie Imbruglia's song "Torn," or Natalie Cole's duet with her dad "Unforgettable?" I decided to go with "Unforgettable," but I'm actually using someone else's duet. But I'll know it's her, because I don't have anyone named Ani or Jackie texting me.

Karl Zéro's album "Songs For Cabriolets And Otros Tipos De Vehiculos" is a quirky thing that I'd recognize any time. So if I hear this bit from El Bodeguero, I'll know it's Karl Lembke calling me.

Assuming that I recognize Dean Martin singing "On An Evening In Roma," and seeing as I don't get any texts from anyone named Dean, I should be able to remember that it's Martin Young calling. In any event, I didn't have any good piratical or philosophical songs handy!

I find "Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis instantly recognizable, and I'll know it's Lee Almodovar on the line.

The very first line of "Movin' Out" by Billy Joel mentions his name. So if I hear this ringtone, I know it's Anthony ("Moogle") Walker.

We get a lot of packages via UPS. Did you know they'll send you text messages when they're delivered? I cut three different ring tones from "Living in a Box" to use for those notifications. An instrumental intro, a chorus, and the ending which repeats the chorus a few times.

A lot of pieces of music might make great ringtones but don't necessarily evoke a particular person or name. But I can use them for alarm clocks! Fun Boy Three's “The Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum” is suitable for reminding me of therapy appointments. Or conference calls for work. Or both. Phone ringtone, and I have a text ringtone (shorter version).

I use Cusco's "Land of the Midnight Sun" to tell me it's midnight.

Here's a ring tone for Thursdays. (I never could get the hang of Thursdays.) This is the music that they used for the theme music on the BBC radio program “Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.” ”Journey Of The Sorcerer.”

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May 7th, 2016
10:14 pm

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Fun with Ringtones, part 2
Colleen Crosby asked, "Are you doing so many different ringtones that you won't be able to remember who was assigned which tone?" It's the other way around: will I find a memorable ringtone for each person? The last bunch of people to text me include people named Kurt, Dora, Alec, Ed, Tilly (Natalie), Trina, Mark, Jason, Tony, Eric, Miko, Cathy, Matthew, Joyce, Michelle... Some of those names, I can think of songs that would remind me of them. Others, I dunno! I've got LOTS of music with intros or other instrumental sections that would be great for alarm clock sounds, or other generic bits, but don't necessarily bring to mind any particular person's name. Oh, if I knew someone named Alan or Parsons or Jean-Michel or Jarre, I'd have no trouble, but...

My ringtone for Ashley Lanning is from a piece by Ashley MacIsaac.

A ringtone based on the Imperial March for obishawn. He's in the 501st, he's got the stormtooper armor, and he's danced in stormtrooper armor. So a jazzy version of the Imperial March makes perfect sense. (Luke doesn't have a theme, he just gets "The Force" theme; and I don't have a jazzed-up version of that.)

The choice for "Felix" Molzahn was obvious. Long version for calls and a short version for texts.

I made a ringtone for the next time "Eric in the Elevator" texts or calls me. Some people might have gone with Eric Clapton, but I decided to use an instrumental piece by Eric Johnson.

Christopher Castro ordered some "Twin Peaks"-themed ribbons from me last year, so I've decided to use the theme for his ringtone the next time he texts me or calls me.

"Gaelic Reels" is a short little ring tone. Suitable for use as an alarm clock, phone call, or text alert tone. The original was only a minute long, but it repeats so I just snipped the last 15 seconds. I'm going to use it for Pat Larson, especially seeing as it's from one of her CDs!

When I hear this track by Candy Dulfer and David A. Stewart I'll know that Kandis Caringer is trying to reach me.

I have a co-worker named Omar. The ring tone and text tone for him are from a piece by Ottmar Liebert.

Another co-worker is named Del. Rather seeking out a song from the Del Vikings or Del McCoury, I went with the classic Delicado.

My cow-orker Kurt Kohlhase rides his bicycle great distances, and tells me some of the tales of his trips. So next time he calls me, I have this ringtone and this shorter one for texts.

While I was in there, I snipped the "You say black, I say white" rap bit. No idea what I'll use it for.

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