Monday, August 29, 2005

Mark Rebuck, Pet Detective

During a long walk last week, I noticed a "Missing Dog" poster. The dog in question was a stunningly beautiful black lab / chow mix named Bentley. I spent the rest of that walk thinking about dogs, and how much love I have for the little creatures. And, becuase I'm a numbers geek, I spent some time thinking about the phone number on the poster. As far as I could tell, the prime factors of the phone number were 11, 11, and [something huge]. That's a really abnormal prime factorization. I figured I *must* have missed an easy factor, but no matter how many times I checked, I couldn't come up with any other small factors. The number was divisible by 11 (and 121), but nothing in between. Even the number after division by 121 left a number that appeared to have no small factors. Anyway... today I went for another walk/run, this time in another direction. At one point I saw another poster, which I mostly ignored after I saw "black lab / chow mix" in the description. I figured it was the same dog, so I didn't need to read the info again. But the poster got me thinking about prime number factorization again, so I decided to give the number another shot. Just like last time, the first factor was 11. This time I couldn't do a second division by 11. I went through the math again. Same result. It bugged me the rest of the run. When I got back to my apartment, I checked with an online factor generator and discovered the the phone number factored into 11 x 17 x 17 x [a four digit number]. No f'ing way did I manage to screw up my division by 11's the other day! I had to figure out what I did wrong with my factorizations. So I drove to where I saw the first poster, jotted down the number, and factored it on my Palm Pilot. 11 x 11 x [five digit number]. My math WAS right the other day! Ha! I must have misread the number today. Then I drove over to today's poster. The instant I got out of my truck I realized what should have been painfully obvious from the start: Different phone numbers. Today's poster was a "Found Dog" poster, not a "Lost Dog" poster. Duh!!! I got phone mail when I called the "Lost Dog" number, but was able to talk to the lady at the "Found Dog" number, and give her the information from the other poster. The descriptions matched perfectly, so I'm fairly confident I managed to reconnect a dog with his parents. Problem solved. 2005-08-30, 4:30PM. UPDATE: I got a call back from the "Found Dog" lady. The bad news is that it wasn't the same dog as from the "Lost Dog" poster. The good news is that the "Found Dog"'s real owner was able to track her down. Let's all hope the original lost dog finds his way home.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


If August 21 Is Your Birthday: Get all your ducks in a row so you can float through the coming year without a care in the world. When November rolls around, remember that opportunity only knocks once. By following sound advice you can upgrade your circumstances and improve some key area of your life. Since your appeal and charisma will be at a high point, this is also the best time to ask for a raise or seek a new job. Love and affection may be key elements in your happiness at that time as well and if you have been waiting to pop the question, you may get yes for the answer. Uhhhhh... yeah. Whatever.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Site updates

I'm probably going to be doing a reorg of the web site layout soon. Nothing major, just trying to consolidate a few items and whatnot. Let me know if I break anything, as I'm almost always break at least one link during site reorgs. Other notes: I've started running The MarkCam again. I know how much some of you voyeuristic freaks miss catching me in the occasional nosepick. I'm going to make a few of my programming projects public. For those of you who wanted to see the more elaborate version of my Plasma applet, you'll be able to find it here. To get a feel for how it works, make all but one of the grid styles "None". Then add another grid and watch how the grids interact. I'll put up the source code when I have it clean enough for public distribution :-).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Random thoughts about music from the past few weeks' experience of ripping all my CDs to MP3s (for the third time... ughh): 2005/08/01, 7:22AM: Mozart - Without equal. Itzhak Perman playing a Mozart Violin Concerto is hard to beat. How many of today's bands have 200+ year staying power? 2005/08/01, 10:55AM: The Beastie Boys - How often do bands mangage to grow and change without turning to crap? The B-Boys are as solid now as they were in 1986. 2005/08/02: The Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim, and The Crystal Method - Three different bands with the same Big Beat sound. Turn bass up, crank the volume, and let the music fill your body. 2005/08/02, 7:10PM: Public Enemy - The only rap band worth a damn. 2005/08/02, 9:15PM: Jimi Hendrix - Ever notice that guitar magazines still put him on their cover from time to time? 2005/08/02, 10:15PM Metallica - The classic "had it, lost it" band. Worst example of the Artist's Dilemma: Struggle leads to good art, which leads to success, which leads to the inability to produce good art (I've been through this a bit myself :-).) 2005/08/03, 8:20AM: James Brown - The Godfather of Soul. The father of funk. (...and a wife beater... and a druggie. But his music rocks!) 2005/08/03, 2:00PM: Pink Floyd - Timeless. 2005/08/03, 4:00PM: Led Zepplin - Their lyrics are stupid beyond compare, but I still dig their tunes. 2005/08/04, 7:00AM Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine kicked ass, but then he hit the same problem as Metallica. Hard to sing about being pissed off when your life is actually in pretty damn good shape. 2005/08/04, 10:00AM Blind Melon - Great first album, terrible second album, dead lead singer. Thanks for the memories, fellas. 2005/08/04, 3:30PM Guns and Roses - Yet again we see "We're young! We're pissed off! We're making great music!" (Appetite for Destruction) turn to "We're RICH! We're dating supermodels! We feel like writing love songs! Look how much we suck now!" (GNR Lies.)

Thursday, August 04, 2005


On April 17, 1988, I brought Jody into my life. Oh, the memories! I had to save my paper route money for a LONG time before I could afford her. The first person I called after buying her was my friend Brett. The two of us spent many wonderful miles riding our bikes over the next few years. Tragically, he was killed in a cycling accident the summer after my sophmore year of college :-(. I didn't ride Jody for a long time, because I was too scared to be on the roads with maniac drivers. I finally started riding her again in 2003, but when I bought Debra, I disassembled Jody and put her back into mothballs. A few days ago, I heard that a friend of a friend was interested in doing triathlons. He didn't own a bike, and it is hard to do triathlons when you don't own a bike! I decided that maybe Jody would be better off with him. So I lovingly rebuilt her, lubed all her special parts, and tonight I handed her over to her new owner. Goodbye, Jody! You were my first, and I'll never forget you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I finally got around to doing a Java version of an old project. I put it up here a few months ago but forgot to include any links to it. Oops! If you have a Java-enabled browser, you should see it below. Click on the Applet below to change its appearance randomly.

...or not! If you can read this line, you don't don't have Java installed. Your loss :-).