Runcible Blog


Last night, somebody cut the undersea cable to medford, where this server lives.  I suspect either Mossad or the CIA, but in any case, everything should be back to normal now.


 Before joining Tabblo I used Gallery for sharing photos online.  Although I haven't used it much since, spammers have been hammering the albums with comment spam.  I didn't realize the extent of it until today, and I wanted to clear out the noise.  Unfortunately, the administration interface doesn't make deleting 1000 comments easy.  I started to make a script to help me delete them.

Gallery uses a big serialized php array to store the album data and the comments, which is simple but braindead.  That means I'd have to unserialize the blob and delete the comments from the data structure.  Of course, I wasn't about to write something in PHP when Python's my bread and butter.

I found the existing Python implementations of PHP serialization either unpythonic or broken, so I wrote my own, inspired heavily by Python's pickle module.  

It's called, and you can look at it or download it if it's of any use.

Maybe I'll link to the comment-pruning script, too, after I clean it up a bit.

Comes a Time

I've been on a Neil Young kick lately.  Here's a tune that I particularly like:

The Needle And The Damage Done

 Of the many ill-advised things I've done, perhaps the most risky has been my "home healthcare" tendencies.  You see, I avoid doctors and medicine as much as I possibly can, and so far, I'm still alive.  It's not that I'm particularly afraid of doctors but rather that it always seems like a big production to see one.  I'd rather live in pain or figure out how to cure myself than use the telephone to make an appointment with someone who knows much more about my body than I ever could.

The first incidence I can remember was my lengthy battle with a plantar wart that I neglected to treat early on and turned into a very nasty growth on the bottom of my foot.  I think I tried the liquid wart removal solutions, but by the time I got around to caring about it, it had grown too much for those measly drug store concoctions.  When it became painful to walk, I finally turned to drastic measures:  a swiss army knife and pliers.  One night, I gouged and pulled on that sucker, ripping the patch of skin right off.  After that, my foot was cured!  That plantar wart never came back.  And it only took a little temporary discomfort.

Last year, I had another foot problem.  I awoke one night with a terrible pain in my toe, as if it had suddenly broken (since I've never had a broken bone, I don't really know what that feels like).  I didn't see anything wrong, but after a few days (or was it weeks?) of pain in my toe, the toenail fungus started to become more visible.  I was relieved that it was merely fungus and not something more mysterious and dangerous, but I didn't do much to treat it.  When the fungus spread to an adjacent toe, I started to apply some lame anti-fungal liquid thing (who knows, maybe it was the same stuff I used on the plantar wart?).  I don't think that stuff made any difference, but eventually my toenail fell off.  After a while, I think the organism ran its course and gave up on my toe.  The toenail grew back, and the adjacent toe fended off the fungal invasion.  And I never had to visit a doctor.

Well, here's where it gets interesting (or disturbing...).  For the past few years -- I can't remember when it first appeared -- I've had a strange little lump in a private place.  For a while, I was worried about what this thing was, enough that I did see some kind of doctor about it.  All she was able to tell me was that it wasn't an STD and was a "skin blemish" or something like that.  I was disappointed that she couldn't do anything about it (and that I waited for the doctor for nothing), but at least I wasn't as worried about it.  Of course, I still had no idea what it could be.  It was like a tiny bean just under the surface of the skin.  But it didn't move or anything.

Fast forward a couple years to a few days ago, when I noticed that it started to get a little inflamed and puffy.  Uh-oh.  What could've brought this on?  I don't know.  But it's been looking more like a blister and feeling irritating.  To make a long story slightly less long, a little while ago I rummaged through my things and found a sewing needle.  I poked a hole in the faux-blister, bleeding a little bit and excreting a strange little bean.  WTF?  I examined it on the end of the needle, but it's not like anything I recognize.  And unfortunately, I think there's still another "bean" under the skin.  So, I've got a gash on a private part, and apparently I have a mysterious bean factory under my skin, waiting to go into production unless I put the kibosh on it.

I think this time I'll figure out how to see a doctor.  Unless anybody has some hair-brained suggestions for me to try....