Harvey, Arnie and me

I have little in common with Messrs. Keitel and Schwarzenegger — except that we’re all an exact number of thousands of days old today.  So that means I’m still messing around with the 1000 Day Birthday Calculator concept. I scraped Wikipedia’s dates entries, did some classy modulo arithmetic, and (give or take some Julian/Gregorian calendar changes, which I didn’t) it’s also the following folks’ birthdays: Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg (1599), Ottavio Piccolomini (1599), Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608), Christian Goldbach (1690), Theophilus Cibber (1703), Franz Moritz Graf von Lacy (1725), Gilbert Stuart (1755), Mirza Ghalib (1796), Peter Ernst von Lasaulx (1805), Albéric Magnard (1865), Carl Nielsen (1865), Princess Henriette, Duchess of Vendôme and Alençon (1870), Lee DeForest (1873), Maximilian von Weichs (1881), Olev Siinmaa (1881), Sara Teasdale (1884), Geoffrey Fisher (1887), León de Greiff (1895), Walter O’Malley (1903), Arsenio Lacson (1911), Jean Ritchie (1922), Lucian Freud (1922), Bengt Lindström (1925), Hank Thompson (music) (1925), Shoista Mullodzhanova (1925), Agnès Varda (1928), Pro Hart (1928), Dominic Chianese (1931), Harvey Keitel (1939), Hildrun Claus (1939), James Loewen (1942), Sarah Brady (1942), Keith Emerson (1944), Patrice Chéreau (1944), Arnold Schwarzenegger (1947), Jonathan Mann (1947), William Atherton (1947), Peter Jurasik (1950), Steve Ferrone (1950), Desi Arnaz, Jr. (1953), Linda Hayden (1953), Richard Legendre (1953), Tonya Lee Williams (1958), Pascal Olmeta (1961), Thurl Bailey (1961), Pernell Whitaker (1964), Ginger Fish (1966), Maria Canals Barrera (1966), Puri Jagannadh (1966), Sissel Kyrkjebø (1969), Alexander Kapranos (1972), Matt Belisle (1980), Ashley Hansen (1983), Chris Roberson (American football) (1983), Sarah Poewe (1983), Alison Pill (1985), Klara Ósk Elíasdóttir (1985) and Mara Lopez (1991).

If I’d had any free time, I would’ve had a web app for you to work out who shares a 1000 day birthday with you. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a whole day to be 15000 …

the commitments

When I was testing BlackBerry typed-alike words (dactonyms?) I found that sqlite was averaging about 1 insert per second. This is by no means good.

It turns out that, under Perl, sqlite auto-commits after every write. This slows things down terribly. Here’s how to fix this:

When opening the database handle, turn AutoCommit off:

my $dbh =
DBI->connect( “dbi:SQLite:bberry2.sqlite”, “”, “”, { AutoCommit => 0 } )
or die “$!”;

Then, only commit occasionally — say every thousand writes:

while ( … ) {

$dbh->commit unless ( $id % 1000 );


It works out about 1000 times quicker this way.

Meet Mr Random

It seems that, every time I fly to the US, I get to be chosen as the randomly searched guy. I try not to look too terroristy, but it seems those security folks just love to pat me down. Thanks, but they’re not really my type. They also always look in my shoes, which are always teh stinky, tee hee.

Flying into Washington, to the ridiculously-named Reagan International (I much preferred the old name, as in: dull, duller, Dulles), not merely was I the designated Mr Random (comme toujours), but everyone who flies into DCA has to go through the pat down anyway. So I was searched twice, within five minutes. Oh, and you have to get to your gate super-early, as they hold you for ages in a windowless room, as a sort of this-is-what-it-feels to-be-a-bad-person simulation.

I noticed that someone was knitting. Not merely could they have flipped out and killed people with the needles in the Knitting Ninja style, but they could also have stood up in mid-flight and announced, “This plane goes to Cuba, or I knit the Holiday Robin Motif o’ Doom! Bwahaha!”

When I got my checked luggage back, I saw that they’d opened it, searched it, and left a little note to the effect of: “If anything is missing or broken due to this search, we are so not liable! Have a nice day!”

Welcome to the War on Terror, folks. Make sure you’re extra scared when you travel. And if your travel plans include terrorism, please ensure you don’t go via Reagan International.