Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Wet Disaster

The AG washed some t-shirts this afternoon. All mine came out fine - clean as clean can be. Her one-and-only pink t-shirt in the lot didn't fare so well. In fact, after drying, flattening, and reviewing, it looks remarkably like it would after she'd carried a 56 lb bag of Welsh Nuts in to leave in the Coal Hole. In short, very large very black patches. Very very black patches.

Then we found what we'd missed. A Pilot Precise V5 RT ball-point pen. Aircraft-safe, it said. No proof against spin, heat, and Walmart's liquid detergent, however. About a quarter of the ink escaped into the barrel of the pen, and thence out into the t-shirt.

I like that pen. I really like that pen. I can best link to a Pen Blog for a good review. So I took it to bits and washed its innards with alcohols of varying types. And again. And again and again! Finally, it seems almost clean, so it's time for my erstwhile-lily-white skin to meet the product of the volcano. That terrible ogre so dreaded of generations of British schoolboys - of which I was one. The slimy and rough implement known as the soaped pumice stone. Why? Because I can't get any more ink off my poor mitts without taking the skin off to. So off the skin will have to come. Ouch!

Once I'm over that I've to get back to my Parceltongue lessons - did I say I'm trying to learn Python ? Well, I started off with books, but I wasn't getting far so looked around on the web and found Mark Pilgrim's Dive Into Python book online. It's an intro into the language conducted at a pace suitable for a relaxing F1 driver, which suits me just fine. For trekking off on mini-projects on my own I found Brad Dayley's Python Phrasebook (PDF here), full of tips, tidbits, and useful snippets of code to show you what to do and how to do it. If you already know Perl, learn about Python here.

So what's Python like ? Well, wild, woolly, and a bit wonderful, as well as weird. Sometimes really hard to read, and sometimes really easy to use. For instance, I have a zipped up file called input.txt in a file called ExampleZipFile.zip. The os library lets me get at files, and the zipfile library lets me zip and unzip files into archives.
import os
import zipfile
tFile = zipfile.ZipFile("c:\ExampleZipFile.zip", 'r')
buffer = tFile.read("input.txt")
print buffer
tFile.close()
That's lots simpler that the hoops that most of the scripting languages like vbScript make you jump through. While it's a little mind-bending at times, I'm still learning, and lots of other languages are like that too - just take a look at MUMPS, for example - possibly the ultimate in laconic programming languages.

Take a look at this blog entry for a taste of the weird!

More - with yarn ! - next time.

TTFN

1 comment:

Tola said...

i bought a new shirt today. it's black, just in case.