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Below are the 50 most recent journal entries recorded in Diane Heaton's LiveJournal:

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Monday, March 15th, 2010
3:10 am
2:12:39 AM Ben: What part of space is the closest analogue to Athens?
2:12:51 AM Lewis: athens
2:12:57 AM Ben: Other than that.
2:13:05 AM Lewis: crete?
2:13:17 AM Lewis: or, umm, persepolis?
2:13:36 AM Ben: OK, what if we exclude all locations on Earth?
2:13:48 AM Lewis: lunar athens?
2:13:56 AM Ben: No such place.
2:14:02 AM Lewis: oh you want real places?
2:14:10 AM Ben: Yeah, but in space.
2:14:19 AM Lewis: alpha centauri?
2:14:34 AM Ben: How's that like Athens?
2:15:19 AM Lewis: well, you had me rule out all the places that have something like "is/was a cultural center" in common with athens
2:15:38 AM Lewis: so, the bar is pretty low
2:15:51 AM Lewis: i went with "likely to have been heard of by a reasonable proportion of people"
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
5:30 pm
I'm about to start reading The Raw Shark Texts, based on a recommendation on a podcast.

It opens with a quote from Jorge Luis Borges, which makes me think it's going to be a good read. The other authors I can think of who've done that are John Hodgman (More Information Than You Require) and China Miéville (The Tain*), both of whom I really like.

Anyone have any more examples of books that have a prominent Borges quote? I'm especially interested in finding out whether it's possible for a bad book to do this.

*Actually, turns out that quote is at the end, not the beginning. I'm going to count it anyway.
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009
10:07 pm
I'm not at Comic-Con this year
Is anyone who reads this at Comic-Con? If so, could you pick up this year's Choose Your Own Adventure handout from the Kingdom of Loathing guys for me?
Sunday, June 28th, 2009
12:37 am
Attention people in or near Palo Alto: I will be there from July first to seventeenth.

And let me know if you're interested in coming over for my family's big Fourth of July party. It's a pretty open thing, but ideally I'd like some idea of who's showing up ahead of time. It'll be on Saturday from 7 to whenever.
Thursday, June 18th, 2009
2:21 am
I Control Ben Heaton
My songwriting friend Mike (not karlean7, the other one) wrote a song about me the other day! As is usual for songs about me, it's quite good. You should go listen to it.

I transcribed the lyrics, because none of my favorite lyrics websites had them yet:

Warning: lyrics may contain spoilers for the songCollapse )
Sunday, May 17th, 2009
1:11 am
The last few days have been pretty eventful. Capucine's gone back to France for the summer, my parents visited me, and I solved a cryptic crossword for the first time.

Tomorrow I'm going to try the Washington Post Hunt with Claire and Brad. Should be fun.
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
8:01 pm
Request Comics Donation Drive!
Remember when Randy Milholland asked Something Positive readers to match his yearly salary in donations, and they totally did? I'm going to see if Request Comics readers can pull that off too.

I'm unemployed, so the target value is $0.

If you want to support request-based photocomicry, come check out the donation drive at http://www.requestcomics.com/donate.html. Even if you donate nothing, that'll go a long way toward my goal. Especially if you donate nothing.
Friday, March 27th, 2009
2:38 pm
Tall Comics guest strip
You've been following guest week at Tall Comics, right? Well, in case you haven't, you should be aware that it's finished off with a guest strip by me. There are a few details that you might not get if you don't regularly read Tall Comics, but you should regularly read it anyway, so that isn't an issue.
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
2:32 pm
Scrabble tournament
Unlike most people with webcomics, I'm not going to be at the New England Webcomics Weekend thing this weekend.

I am, however, going to be in a Scrabble tournament. My first one! I should be able to get an official rating out of it. Probably a low one, since I hear they tend to start out that way.
Sunday, March 8th, 2009
3:12 am
Springing ahead
Conversation with a housemate a few minutes ago:

"It's Daylight Saving Time now!"
"Oh, right. This is a big thing for you, isn't it?"
"It's a big thing for everyone."
"Of course. Well, happy new year!"
Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
8:24 pm
I bought a bag of marshmallows for this strip, and I'm not really sure what to do with the ones that are left. Any ideas besides the obvious s'mores?
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
2:30 pm
That question meme that's been going around
Ask me a question about each of the following:

1. Food
2. Webcomics
3. Scrabble
4. Other Webcomics
5. Whether I'm wearing socks right now
6. LiveJournal

I will either answer the question honestly or give an annoying joke answer that doesn't really address it.

Comments may be screened.
Sunday, January 18th, 2009
3:01 am
Some sort of craft challenge thing that's going around (via tinyfolk)
The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
- What I create will be just for you.
- It'll be done this year.
- You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be poetry. I may draw or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
Friday, January 2nd, 2009
3:18 am
Barely 24 hours into the new year, and I've already broken one of my resolutions: the prohibition on saying the word "steal," or derivative forms such as "stolen" or "stealing." ("Steel" was allowed.)

I'm usually better than this. In past years I've been able to go without saying "bagel" and "agility." Those are a bit less common, true, but I still thought I could manage this.

I do have several other resolutions:
* Stop complaining about which tiles I get in Scrabble
* Write LiveJournal posts about each book I read
* Apply for at least one job per week until I get one
* Keep my hair long (this resolution suggested by Capucine)

Obviously, none of those are as important to me as the one about not saying "steal" was, but they have the advantage of still being possible to fulfill.
Friday, November 21st, 2008
4:05 pm
Public announcement: I'm going to be in Palo Alto for Thanksgiving week, from Sunday to Sunday.
Thursday, November 13th, 2008
7:30 pm
Improperly reconstructed palindromes
  • Salami hog, go him! Alas.

  • Panama plan: a canal, Pam, a nap.

  • Adam, I'm Ada.

  • No melon and lemons, no meld nano-lemon.

  • Was I able? Elba I saw.

  • Do nine men enter? "Et nene men," I nod.

  • Dork cats, may Eva have yams tack Rod?
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
12:32 am
I got two bingos in one game of Scrabble today: MOLDINGS and MAGICIAN. I didn't use blanks for either of them. Oh, and I managed to play MOLDINGS on two double word score tiles, getting the elusive quadruple word score effect.
Friday, October 24th, 2008
9:15 pm
Politics post
This post is mainly aimed at people who will be voting in California. I think that's a large portion of my readership.

Marriage is under attack this year, on a scale that, as far as I know, is unprecedented. Literally thousands of marriages in California are going to be annulled if Proposition 8 passes.

What's worse, this attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right to marriage has a real chance of passing, according to polls. It's a sad comment on the standards of society today that destroying marriages is even on the table, much less that a significant number of people might vote for it.

I know this isn't the first time you've heard warnings about the need to defend marriage, but this goes far beyond what California has faced before. Yes, even worse than the unconstitutional Proposition 22 back in 2000. The threat this time is that actual existing marriages will be made no longer valid. If you care at all about protecting the sanctity of marriage, please vote no on Proposition 8.
Monday, October 13th, 2008
12:23 am
APE envoy
Anyone going to APE next month? I'm going to miss it this year on account of being far away from San Francisco. There are enough nice webcomics people there that it would be handy to have an envoy to say hi to them for me and such.

If you're into comics and not too busy November first to second, it's a pretty fun event with lots of exciting indie cartoonists. And if you're not too put off by the idea of me referring to you as my envoy, I can give you a list of all the coolest people to go talk to / inform that I regret not being able to see in person at this time.
Sunday, October 12th, 2008
3:19 pm
Blocks With Letters On
Finished Blocks With Letters On, a puzzle game based around forming words by arranging blocks with letters on. Does a good job of steadily increasing the difficulty as you progress. You should play it.
Sunday, September 21st, 2008
9:54 pm
Google Chrome still has a ludicrously inappropriate EULA. What the hey, Google? It's been several weeks now. The theory that they put that particular EULA up by accident and haven't gotten around to fixing it yet is getting tenuous.
7:54 pm
Help me get at the Internet, the conclusion
Internet is working now. Upgrading the router's firmware did the trick. We'd tried this before, but it had failed — turns out Firefox is better than IE at uploading files to routers, or something.

Many thanks to everyone, especially Brad, Gavin, and the guy living across from me who has the router in his room. Now I'm going to go play KoL for the next three and a half hours.
Thursday, September 18th, 2008
6:06 pm
Help me get at the Internet, part 2
Here's the latest on my Internet situation. First of all, even though none of the suggestions have worked yet, I am grateful for them being provided. If anyone has more, I'm definitely open to hearing them.

Going into Network Diagnostics to connect didn't give me any more options for password type. There was just a field for a password, no indication that it was WPA Personal. The password didn't work there.

I set up two locations and switched between them, but the password was not accepted in either.

Removing AirPort passwords from my keychain and rebooting didn't change anything. Since I haven't been able to connect to the network even once, there's nothing stored in the keychain for it anyway.

Turning the modem and router off and on didn't work.

I also tried going to on a housemate's computer, to see if I could influence the router that way. I got a login screen on which the network password didn't work.

I'm starting to think the solution is going to need to come from some understanding of what specifically is stopping my computer from connecting, rather than my standard (and usually sufficient) approach of changing minor things back and forth until it mysteriously starts working.

The password I've been trying works for the other computers in the house. It fails for mine as though I'd entered the wrong password. Maybe there's some difference in how Windows and OS X send passwords to routers? If so, is there a setting I can change to mimic the behavior of Windows?

I've read reports of people having similar problems with WEP networks, which were solved by putting a dollar sign in front of the password. This network uses WPA, not WEP, but I tried this anyway. It didn't work. Is there another trick along these lines that would work here? And why does the dollar sign thing work in any setup?

Basically, I'm curious why the same password would yield such different behavior on different computers. Without prolonged Internet access, my ability to look into this is impaired. Anyone know what the deal is or might be?
Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
6:50 pm
Help me get at the Internet
I'm unable to connect to the wireless network that other people in my house are using, and am looking for advice anyone may have.

When I enter the password here, I get the message "There was an error joining the AirPort network 'home'." This happens even when I'm very close to the router.

WPA Personal is the only option for Wireless Security. Sometimes when I type in the password, the OK button remains grayed out. If I go to select WPA Personal (which was already selected), the OK button will then become available. I do not know why this is the case, or whether it has anything to do with my inability to connect.

The password I've been given is eight characters. It's text, not hex or anything. Other computers here are able to connect using it, but none of them are Macs. The behavior of other Macs on this network is as yet unknown.

My system log contains many pairs of messages like this:

AirPort: Link DOWN (AP deAuth 0)
AirPort: Link Active: "home" - 00179a486725 - chan 1

I haven't counted or anything, but I'm pretty sure that pair appears once for every time I've tried to connect. That's many times. The number 00179a486725 does not seem to be a secret password. I tried.

Turning AirPort off and on again doesn't fix it. Neither does restarting the computer. Neither does putting a dollar sign in front of the password.

I'm using OS X 10.4.11 with AirPort Extreme. The router is D-Link. I don't know the model number. Update: it's DIR-625.

Oh, and I'm able to connect to wireless networks elsewhere, whether open or with a password. I'm making this post by siphoning off Claire's.

Any ideas?
Friday, September 12th, 2008
1:10 am
End of an era?
Today (Friday) I'm moving to DC and Terror Island is ending.

It's just happenstance that those ended up coinciding. Lewis and I have been planning to end the strip for a while now, but we kept having bits that needed to go in before the big conclusion. One advantage to the timing here: I won't need to try to take pictures in DC that match the sets I've been using. I'll still take some of the gamepieces with me, though, since I occasionally get requests to use them in Request Comics.

Speaking of Request Comics, that's going to be my main webcomic presence for the near future. Watch for a site redesign soon (among other things, the current site doesn't make Albert's involvement clear enough), and more frequent updates.
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008
1:32 pm
I hear Google Chrome is fast and interesting, but released under a restrictive EULA. Since it's open source, though, could some third party download the source but not the application, build it themselves, and then distribute it to people without all the "No modifying the source code" and "You're required to receive any new installs we send you" wrapping around it? If so, we could get past all the EULA controversy and look at how the application itself is.

This would really only be useful to me once there's a non-Windows version, but it would be reassuring just to know there are people working on an open fork. Anyone know the details of how the EULA and whatever open source license they have interact?

Update: They've made a minor change to the EULA. Still nowhere near usable, but maybe eventually it will be? I hope?
Monday, July 21st, 2008
3:43 pm
Going to Comic-Con, need airport ride
Is anyone in the area able to give me a ride to the San Jose airport tomorrow (Tuesday)? I'd want to get there around 5:30 or 6 or so in the afternoon.

As payment for the ride, I could bring back something from Comic-Con. Maybe a sketch from some webcomic guy or something. I won't be back with it until mid-August, though.
Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
10:41 pm
Dr. Horrible
So, in case any of you haven't heard about it already, you should check out Dr. Horrible. It's a musical about a supervillain played by that guy who was the editor in Stark Raving Mad, which should give you an idea of how good it is.
Sunday, June 8th, 2008
12:20 am
Not really a poll, since apparently those cost money
Which of these ideas is best?

a) Historical fiction about the discovery of the cubic formula, with battle scenes based on actual challenge problems from the time

b) Incredibly detailed fansite for some minor forgotten book selected arbitrarily from a used bookstore

c) Noir drama set on the forums and in-game chat of a fictional MMORPG

d) Webcomic review site that only reviews parody remixes of actual webcomics
Thursday, June 5th, 2008
6:26 pm

Mike gave me the following dare: "List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."

  • Everything Louder Than Everything Else, by Meat Loaf
  • Free Bird, by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • I Can Feel It, by Sloan
  • Sister Jack, by Spoon
  • South Carolina, by John Linnell
  • The Murder Mystery, by Velvet Underground
  • We Are Hedgehogs, by Tinyfolk and Secret Owl Society

I'm not going to follow the instructions regarding passing this on to seven other people, because exponential growth is immoral. (Diaspora, Greg Egan)

Monday, April 14th, 2008
4:53 pm
Request Comics
So, I launched a new webcomic a couple weeks ago: Request Comics, a photocomic fueled by requests people send me. I encourage you all to read it and then submit requests of your own. Preferably difficult ones, since those are fun.

I probably should have posted about this before now. I've kind of been neglecting the people who read my LiveJournal but not my comments at Terror Island.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
1:56 am
Anyone know a way to search the iTunes music store for DRM-free music? I remember they made a big deal last year about how they would start carrying it, but they don't seem interested in presenting the information to me.

There are two things I'm hoping they have and I've just missed somehow: A way to search music by freedom level (though I don't expect or require them to call it that) and a way to, when I'm looking at a track, see what sort of file it's available as.

The second one's important as sort of an assurance. I went to an album that I already knew was on EMI, and so presumably is now DRM-free, but I couldn't find a way of checking that information within iTunes. I'm not interested in buying it there without being sure of this in advance.
Wednesday, August 29th, 2007
2:41 am
LiveJournal auto-post
The following was generated by LiveJournal's autopost feature, using text from the classic entries Terror Island, Songs, and Mystery?:

I'm co-writing a webcomic with ultraman. It's called Terror Island, and like FOMS, it's a photocomic, but without rocks.

There are four strips up on the site now. I recommend starting with the first one, but that's just my opinion. Oh, and there's an RSS feed for it, for those of you who don't want to get up yet"
4: "Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Ben Heaton"
5: "Found a job at the local high school"
6: "I don't care about the mutant chickens"
7: "I don't like Led Zeppelin anymore"
8: "I, man, am regal, a German am I"
9: "I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand"
10: "One more young writer slid away in the night"
11: "Sausage, for example, gets a lot of time.
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
3:55 am
I'm in a short documentary epic
At Comic-Con this year, David Malki ! was going around filming conversations with other webcomics people for a documentary. It's finished and online now, and is worth watching. The part with me is about halfway through (in fact, I come as sort of a turning point in the plot), but I don't recommend just skipping to that bit, even if you don't know any of the other people in it. Watch the whole thing from the beginning instead. The buildup is essential.
Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
2:49 am
The word "qat" came up in conversation today, while talking with ladypimpernel and electricpaladin about a friend who's currently in Yemen. I'd only seen the word in the context of Scrabble before, and had to ask about the spelling to be sure that this was the same thing.

Oh, apparently it refers to a drug of some kind. Its Wikipedia article notes the relevance to Scrabble, which strikes me as right and proper.
Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
6:52 pm
I got a haircut today. In fact, I got them all cut! But not by much, since I like having long hair.

Also, I'm going to be in Rochester this weekend. I've mentioned that to a few people on AIM, but I figured I should make a general announcement as well.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2007
9:32 pm
Fart Party
Here's a good strip about cheese loyalty, which I believe is an important subject for most readers of this LiveJournal.
Sunday, March 11th, 2007
3:23 am
Claire told me earlier today that I was talking about Turing completeness in my sleep. Now she's accusing me of faking talking about Turing completeness in my sleep. I do not know which, if any, of these claims are accurate.
Sunday, February 4th, 2007
7:05 pm
Anyone want to go to Cory Doctorow's book launch on Thursday? It's in San Francisco, and Rudy Rucker will be there. There are some details at http://craphound.com/overclocked/2007/01/10/book-launch-in-san-francisco-feb-8-with-rudy-rucker/. Just reading that URL actually makes most of the beginning of this post redundant, come to think of it.

If nobody with a car is interested, it would be possible to take Caltrain. That means a bit of a walk from the station to the bookstore, but it's manageable.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2006
12:26 am
My guest strip is up at Reprographics today. Go read it, and then read Reprographics from the beginning. It's a photocomic about "the tremendously exciting life of Chris Yates," and since he's a crazy artist, he's able to include a lot of visually interesting props and characters. Definitely worth reading.

I ordered a box of Reprographics-brand Cereal Explosion a couple weeks ago. The protagonist of the guest strip came as a bonus prize, which inspired most of the plot.
Sunday, October 15th, 2006
1:42 am
Scrabbletoe and Ray
Remember the Scrabbletoe I made for Claire a while back? I just got mentioned on the Killer Robots from Space front page because of it! I'm described as "Scrabble wunderkind and all around 'nice guy' Ben Heaton of internet comic Terror Island," which is a pretty neat way to be described.

Also, here's a quick animated gif I made of Ray:
Sunday, August 20th, 2006
2:19 pm
More about planets
The book First Steps to Astronomy and Geography, from 1828, listed the planets as "Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Vesta, Juno, Ceres, Pallas, Jupiter, Saturn, and Herschel." Apparently the name "Uranus" hadn't caught on yet.

The thing that interests me about that quote is that as far as I know, it was a local maximum for number of planets, since the asteroids were demoted by the time Neptune was discovered. But if the IAU's proposal goes through, we'll beat that list by one, and then add many more in the near future.
Friday, August 18th, 2006
2:12 pm
Talking about whether Pluto should count as a planet seems to be popular again, so I figured I might as well join in. Here's why I prefer the idea of eight planets:
Read more...Collapse )
Saturday, August 12th, 2006
12:52 am
I'm back in Palo Alto.

You know the webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del? When Lewis and I were at Comic-Con, we went around getting various other webcomics people to draw some sketches relating to it. They're online now, at http://www.starslipcrisis.com/ham/. You may want to check it out.
Monday, July 24th, 2006
11:24 am
Third update: Now I'm going to Michigan.
Tuesday, July 18th, 2006
10:42 am
Other update: I'm heading down to Los Angeles today, and then Lewis and I are going to Comic-Con. We may be able to trick some other webcomics people into promoting Terror Island for us.
2:24 am
Ferrari's fingers
Update: Ferrari was missing more than just one finger. According to Oystein Ore's Cardano, the Gambling Scholar, "when he was seventeen years old he came home from a brawl missing the fingers on his right hand." Not sure whether that's counting the thumb, but I doubt it.
Sunday, July 2nd, 2006
1:49 am
LiveJournal Syndication
I'd like to make a LiveJournal feed from Terror Island's RSS feed, but doing such a thing requires a paid account. Whoever first creates the syndicated account for me (preferably with the username "terrorisland," which is not yet taken) will receive an autographed Scrabble tile as a prize. The URL for the RSS feed is http://rsspect.com/rss/terrorisland.xml.
Saturday, June 24th, 2006
4:50 pm
Request For Comment
I'm pretty sure that the sixteenth-century mathematician Lodovico Ferrari was missing one finger. I want to know which finger. Do any of you know?

This isn't for Terror Island, because Lewis thinks a subplot about Italian mathematicians would be a bad idea.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2006
3:23 pm
Terror Island
Terror Island

I'm co-writing a webcomic with ultraman. It's called Terror Island, and like FOMS, it's a photocomic, but without rocks.

There are four strips up on the site now. I recommend starting with the first one, but that's just my opinion. Oh, and there's an RSS feed for it, for those of you who don't want to look at sites which don't have RSS feeds.
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