31 December 2005

Failed Experiment

Well, I gave it a chance. After my first appointment with the chiropractor, my back didn't hurt. After the second (first follow up) appointment, my back didn't hurt. For all of two days. That was five days ago, and now it's been hurting quite badly, worse than it has in quite some time. I think I'll cancel the final appointment for the end of January. No point in wasting any more money on this failed experiment. Time to get me to a real doctor.

30 December 2005

My New Year's Resolution


So who wants to get me a 23" Cinema Display?

24 December 2005

We <3 Katamari

A thousand paper cranes, that's the killer app.

23 December 2005

I've Been Adjusted

As many of you know, the upper right region of my back has been hurting me for some time. The earliest I can remember it hurting was junior year of college, making it at least two years. Recently I was convinced to see a chiropractor about it, despite my being convinced that chiropractors aren't real doctors or even remotely useful, so I made an appointment for today. Things started off well, when I was 20 minutes late due to unexpected Christmas traffic. When I finally arrived, I went through an exam reminiscent of scoliosis checks in elementary school. My back was declared to have a very slight curvature, probably caused by the (second) time a Civic thought it would nice to rear end me. A few minutes later he performed an adjustment, which was an incredibly weird sensation. Theoretically, my back should stop hurting, or at least not hurt as much. As of now, it has barely bothered me at all tonight. I have a follow up appointment for this Tuesday, so we'll see what happens between now and then.

20 December 2005


For the past week or so, the faucet in Matt's bathroom leaked unless you really pushed on the hot water knob. Earlier this evening, I attempted to turn off the water. I kept pushing on the hot knob, and eventually both the hot and cold knobs, trying to get the water to stop flowing. Then the cold water knob gave up all resistance and went past the stopping point, allowing it to rotate about 220 degrees, instead of 95. Normally that's not so bad, excect now water flows fairly heavily at the former off point. And for some bizarre reason, it's hot water. If you turn the cold knob on and leave the hot knob off, you still get comfortably warm water. Over three hours later, it is still leaking at a fairly high rate and both knobs are almost too hot to touch. Perhaps someone will answer the maintenance line tomorrow morning. Hopefully.

19 December 2005

I'm Still Alive

The quarter is over, and I have regained most of my original status as a human being. Recent things of note:

1. Somehow I managed to get a parking permit for the Winter and Spring quarters. This was nothing sort of a miracle, considering that I live down the street from a bus stop and that it involved being on line at the Transportation Cashiers Window at 8 am this morning.

2. My new printer is awesome (aside from the intrusive drivers that add a "Supplies..." button to every print dialog box, and no, not every print dialog box is the same - many applications have their own). It is the HP Photosmart 8250. What makes it especially awesome is that every ink cart is separate. And there are six of them. And somehow the ink is cheaper this way, especially if you get the 150 photos pack, which has 150 4x6 sheets of photo paper and enough ink to print 150 photos. Even if you don't include the photo paper, since I don't plan on using it particularly often, the ink is still cheaper. Oh, and it prints ~30 pages per minute, color and black and white, has an LCD, and has various memory card slots. But most importantly, it is shiny and has blue LEDs.

3. One of my new towels, that I purchased in September at Bed Bath & Beyond, dissolved in the drier. It went into the drier as one solid, continuous piece of cloth, but came out as one and a half. Stupid towel.

4. My chocolate mousse cheesecake was a success. It only took five hours to make, during which time Matt almost exploded from not being allowed near the chocolate.

5. It looks as though I'm going to have to take CS 51A. Not just an undergrad class, but an intro undergrad class. It's bascially digital logic, but since I never actually took the class at Columbia, I'm going to get pinned for it here. Moop.

6. Parking in general sucks around here. A lot. Holy fuck does it suck. I still haven't gotten over the whole "validation" thing, and now there aren't even enough parking spots, so you lose [5,30] minutes of your free time (and life) trying to find a damn spot. It completely baffles me that a shopping mall (Westfield-owned) would have the first 3 hours of parking be free, then immediately jump to $7.00 for [3, 3.5] hours, then tack on and additional $1.50 for every half hour after that. Am I the only one that thinks it is incredibly dumb to have a parking policy that encourages people to leave so they won't get ass raped by parking? Sadly, this parking policy is almost sane compared to Bel-Air Camera. They give you 20 minutes free, with purchase and validation. After that, it is $1.20 per 20 minutes. Considering that they sell incredibly high-end equipment, you'd think that a validation from a purchase would give you free parking for at least an hour, but alas. There are so many more ridiculous examples, but I won't subject you to further rants.

06 December 2005

Today's Word of the Day

denier: noun, the weight in grams of 9000m of the specified fiber

25 November 2005

The Stupidity Index Factor

For those of you that haven't heard of it, the stupidity index factor measures a a collective's level of inclination towards stupidity. The basic idea is that when there are more people around, more stupidity arises. I don't remember who's brilliant idea it originally was, but it was probably due to Scottwell and/or Alexandros's consumption of beer.

After some though, prompted by parking lot stupidity, a new formula has been created to approximate the general level of stupidity. A stupidity factor, s, between 0 and 1 is assigned to every person, with 1 being the most serious person and 0 being the stupidest person. The current location is assigned a location multiplier, m, which can range from 0 to 2. A church or temple would have a multiplier closer to 2, while a mall parking lot would have a multiplier of less than .5.

To calculate the stupidity index factor for a group of people in a given location, square the individual stupidity factor for any person that is currently drunk. Then multiply together the stupidity factors for all persons present. Lastly, multiply the product by the location multiplier. The final product is the stupidity index factor. A low number close to zero indicates that something incredibly dumb is about to happen, while higher numbers near 1 (any indices greater than 1 are rounded down to 1) indicate a complete lack of anything entertaining.

For a simple example, take Scott and my presence in his Buick at the Target parking lot earlier this evening. Neither of us were drunk. Assume that both of our individual stupidity factors are .75. The location multiplier for the parking lot is .4.
SIF = m * (sscott * ssharon) = .4 * .75 *.75 = .225
This is a fairly low stupidity index factor, implying that we were very likely to do something inane. In fact, Scott demonstrated what happens when you hit the brake while under the mistaken impression that it is the clutch.

04 November 2005

When Alphanumeric Characters Go Bad



For years I have been using sbp2001+label@ or sbprice+label@ to automatically sort email based on who the email address is given to. Many websites, especially tech ones, have no problems with addresses formatted as such. However, I'd have to guess that half of the websites that I have attempted to grace with an actual email address have rejected email addresses of this format. Some of them have come right out and said '+' is an invalid character, and that I should correct my typo. One was even more helpful and just removed the offending character, then asked me to validate the new email address. In a few instances, I've even sent emails explaining this problem and why they should fix it to the webmasters of offending sites. I've also flat out refused to register with a "properly formatted" email address and just left the site on many occassions.

My point is this - how do so many website developers not know about this common convention? Grrr.

30 October 2005

That's One Sexy Civic

So my license plates finally came on Friday. I opened the envelope to see a nice big blue "69" staring back at me. As of this afternoon, "69" is staring at everyone behind me. Perfect.

25 October 2005

THUNK!!! Squish squish squish....

Driving home from UCLA today, I almost killed both a bicyclist and a pedestrian. Later on, it occured to me that if I had hit either, or both, I could have just told the cops it was natural selection, and that no one could possibly want those morons in the gene pool. The bicyclist was weaving in an out of 30mph traffic turning onto Wilshire Blvd at a major intersection. The pedestrian was crossing Sepulveda where the road curves rather sharply, about 25m from a traffic light. I had to stop short to avoid hitting the imbecile. Next time, I might just not bother.

Precipitous Doom, or How Not to Drive From San Francisco to Los Angeles

There's nothing like a nice relaxing weekend trip to San Francisco. Especially if you drive both ways. The drive up, along Route 5, was fairly uneventful and boring, with the possible exception of when we passed a few miles of cows. Holy crap did that stink for miles in each direction. Anyway, the city itself is very nice, but since I'm sure that no one really wants to read a boring "Lombard Street was awesome!" entry, I'm now going to skip over everything up to the drive back.

Everyone had told us (with the second half of us being Matt) that we should drive back along Route 1 for the amazing view. The drive sounds great on paper, but in actuality it is the side of a cliff. And that cliff happens to have many sharp turns and no guard rails. Picture 90 miles of hairpin turns up and down steep hills along the edge of a 25-50 meter cliff. Once on the road, there is only fowards and backwards - there are absolutely no alternative routes to be taken. Many of the curves have signs suggesting speeds of [5-35] mph, though you'd have to be nuts to go that fast on most of them. But didn't the gorgeous views make up for the death defying road conditions? Of course not. It was foggy as all hell. Most of the time you couldn't see anything to the right but fog. There were some clear patches with amazing views towards the beginning, but by the time the road became bad, the view was always spoiled by distant fog. With so much fog to go around, of course there was a decent amount on the road. In case the drive wasn't bad enough already, visibilty was limited to 25 feet in some places.

So my mom was right - the drive was not particularly pleasant. Did you see that Mom? I just said you were right, and in publically viewable writing no less. It may never happen again.

EDIT: To clarify things a bit, Sunday's weather was rain and heavy fog. Route 1 sucked so much due to said weather, though I imagine it's still a bit scary when the road is dry and you can actually see ahead of you. No more rushed posts started 10 minutes before I have to leave for class.

16 October 2005


Today, there is finally actual, real weather! Wind, sun, and most importantly, rain! Wet rain! That came from the sky! I'm going back outside, instead of working on my homework.

13 October 2005


The EU is threatening to destroy the internet if they aren't given some level of control over DNS. Now, the internet as we know it isn't held together with duct tape, like certain EU, Brazilian, Arabian, and Chinese politicians would like the world to believe. Instead, it is a conscious decision on their parts to purposefully break the internet, with the purpose of creating their own versions within their respective domains. Regardless of their intentions, we should take this opportunity to create our own version for ourselves - the Intarweb!

Now, why would we want to make things worse by developing our own network? So that we can name it Intarweb, of course. Assuming that the EU doesn't do something entirely stupid in setting up their own personal DNS servers, it shouldn't be too difficult to set up a system with notations for accessing urls outside the Intarweb. Oh, and we can set things up the way we want. For instance, connecting to the Intarweb would imply that you are a staunch supporter of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

So, who's with me?

12 October 2005

Happy Starvation Day!

I have found the 1 (one) benefit of being sick: I'm not allowed to fast on Yom Kippur! Wheee! I think...

07 October 2005

ltb book of 3d-vision +1int pst

There are exactly 25 students registered for Machine Perception. There were exactly 25 books ordered by the bookstore. Yesterday I attempted to buy a copy of said book, yet there were none on the shelf. An employee offerred to special order the book for me, in which case it would be nonreturnable after I received it in 5-7 business days. Seeing as how there is a homework due Tuesday, which consists entirely of book problems, I have a 10"x7" problem not in my hands.

I also need to learn LaTeX, a requirement for the Machine Perception homeworks. Can anyone recommend a good book?

04 October 2005

Neil Gaiman Day

Sunday was Neil Gaiman Day, which is better known as the West Hollywood Book Fair to the rest of Los Angeles. I have on my friends page, so I've been tracking him, just waiting for my chance to finally meet him.

Waking up at a decent hour on Sunday was a necessary, but easy to due to excitement, evil. This was to be a ticketed signing, limited to 100 tickets, and I had no intention of getting there too late to get a ticket.

[about 1.5 hours of jumping up and down, with intermittent periods of getting dressed and brushing my teeth]

There were maps of the event to be had at the front gate, so it didn't take too long to find the Golden Apple booth. Since Golden Apple, a comic book store, was the one who booked Gaiman, it was also their duty to distribute tickets. Via a basket full of coupons, with 35 marked with a red dot, which would entitle the barer to get something(s) signed. Wait, only 35? you ask. That's right; they didn't bother mentioning anywhere that they distributed the first 65 at their store. Based on how full the basket was, there were about 200 coupons waiting to be plucked. I closed my eyes, prayed, and came up with a red-dot-less coupon. Matt didn't do any better. The world ended.

Walking around to see if anything else of interest was going on, we discovered that an artist from The Simpsons and Futurama would be signing comic books, and an animator from Family Guy would be sketching later in the afternoon. At around 4, Bill Maher would be signing his new book New Rules, which happens to be a very funny book.

Hunger for reasonably priced food, as well as a desire not to pay full price for Maher's book, drove us away for an hour. Upon return, a new person was guarding the precious coupon lottery. Two more failures. Extreme disappointment ensued, while we waited to get our comic books signed by Bill Morrison. I happened to have part 1 in a 2 part Futurama series, so I had a Bart and autograph applied to the second part. By then the Family Guy animator, Mark Covell, was at the booth, so Matt and I moved on to the next line. I asked for a picture of Stewie, with Rupert (his teddy bear) and a laser gun. I received a comic book board with a pissed off Stewie aiming his gun at a Rupert, who happened to have his hands above his head, pleading not to be shot. Amazing is the best word to describe it. Matt went with Brian holding a martini. His comic book board certainly had Brian holding a martini, but it was the fact that Brian was completely bombed and about to fall over that made it awesome. Wednesday will bring a trip to the framing store, to ensure that these amazing pieces remain intact for centuries to come.

Side note: About 1.5 hours later, we walked by the Family Guy animator again, and he was obviously losing steam. The pictures were only taking up 1/4 of the boards, and they were not nearly as detailed. Getting there early seriously paid off.

Pictures in tow, it was just about time for the Gaiman book signing, and I still didn't have a ticket. No matter, a Golden Apple employee was walking around with the basket full of potential tickets since not all had been picked. Attempt number three!.... no red dots to be found. Then, out of the corner of his eye, Matt spotted a coupon fall out of the basket. He ran over and picked it up. After fumbling with the tape on it for 30 seconds, A RED DOT! I practically skipped over to the line of ticket holders and took my place at the very end.

The guy behind me in line had a French copy of American Gods with him. A friend had loaned him the book for his flight across the Atlantic. At the fair, he had recognized the author's name and decided to get it signed for his friend.

When all was said and done, Anansi Boys, Neverwhere, and American Gods contained brand new autographs and short little messages from Gaiman. I wish I could say that we talked for a few minutes, or something like that, but truth be told, I couldn't think of anything to say that was, well, not stupid.

Afterwards, I waited another 10 minutes in the Bill Maher line to get New Rules signed. Luckily Matt had been waiting in the line for a half hour before I got over there, or we would have had a much longer wait. Maher seemed rather ambivolent about signing books, while his assistant was a real twit. He was trying to order people around and make everyone understand how important he was, but nobody was really paying much attention to anything he said. He was also the moron who contradicted the booth owners about personalized autographs, then proceeded to enforce his new rule. Maher himself was fairly laid back, though he did have an interesting reaction to someone giving him a picture of a marijuana leaf.

Rex Pickett was next. There wasn't a line for him, so getting Sideways signed was almost trivial. He actually seemed interested in talking to us, though he seemed a bit surprised that I hadn't seen the movie. The fact that he wrote "See the movie!" in my copy was a subtle hint.

There. Now all the important occurances have been covered. And it only took me two days to write it all.

01 October 2005

Fine Street

My energizers still have alkaline
Cause baby you're so fine.

30 September 2005


Unfortunately, the best pizza to be found in this part of the valley is Dominos. So we had one of the bottles of Dom with the large pie. Now if you'll excuse me, 2/5 of a bottle of champagne is more than enough to do me in...

29 September 2005

First Day of School => Sunburn

Since classes started today, it was necessary to spend yesterday at the beach. Silly me, I thought taking the dogs would be great. Unfortunately, Thunder still had his ear infection, and couldn't come. Tawny was more than happy to spend an hour each way in the car, but she didn't quite figure out what to do at the beach. At the bark park, Thunder basically showed her that she could run around and pee on whatever she wanted. Alone, she wasn't very sure. Not to mention this dog is a huge priss. She didn't like getting dirty from the sand, and god forbide she get wet. Of course, the sand was too hot for her little butt and drinking any water was out of the question. She was willing enough to hang out near the surf as long as she was near people. End result - I never bothered to put on suntan lotion since it wasn't particularly hot, so I now have a very minor sunburn.

Anyway, my one class today was Animats-Based Modeling, which is destined to be awesome. UCLA limits grad class sizes, so there's only ~17 people. The basic premise of the class is aritifical life, which deals with modeling groups and populations of insects/animal-like creatures.

25 September 2005

Fish With Legs & Cross

Fourth paragraph.

23 September 2005

Important Notice From Your Bank


I Have Forsaken Thee

I just got back from the DMV, with a new piece of paper in tow and an extra hole in my NJ driver's license. In 3-4 weeks, I'll also have a California driver's license.

22 September 2005


Driving on Sepulveda has given my life new meaning. There's nothing like speeding around all the turns, flying past all the people who can't drive. Just picture any car commercial with a curve road and Car X flying around turns. It may not always be faster than taking the 405, but it is so much more fun.

20 September 2005


And you just don't get it.

13 September 2005

Free as in Beer

Yesterday evening, at Jamba Juice, the cashier asked me what I wanted. One strawberry tsunami^H^H^H surfrider (silliest name change ever). Anything else? Could I have it for free? Sure! ?!?! The guy (whose name happened to be Guy) hit a few buttons on the register, bringing my grand total to zero. Free Jamba Juice!

10 September 2005

A Horrible UNIX Joke

Optical mice are considered "eunuchs hardware" because they lack balls.

02 September 2005

Overheard Last Night at the Farmers' Market

A conversation between 4 police officers and an extremely elderly gentleman, sitting in his baby blue Cadillac circa 1972:

"They didn't overreact; you were driving on the sidewalk."

His Caddy was still parked on the sidewalk when we walked by again 10 minutes later.


My dad's friend, who has spent many years in the car industry, told him that the Elantra is a better car than the Civic. I personally think that the clutch on the Elantra is absolute mush and there is a noticable lack of Elantra coupes, while the steering and everything else are pretty nice. On the other hand, I'd much prefer the Civic. Any thoughts to sway the decision one way or an other?

Edit: vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom vroom

vroom vroom vroom

29 August 2005

2005 Summer Vacation Series, Part 1

Part 1 is just about over. We arrived home around 11 last night, leaving me with today to cool down before flying back to LA tomorrow. Since I'm sure no one wants to read a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" essay, here are the highlights:

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia:
The first night we were there, I made the mistake of ordering a glass of water at the tavern we chose for dinner. The waiter asked whether I'd like my water from the "trough, bucket, or well." However, my choice didn't seem to matter much, as he continued with, "Whichever one you pick, you will get dysentery and you *will* die." Needless to say, dysentery became the running joke for the entire trip.

Busch Gardens:
After forcing Marc onto a 3D ride that he absolutely did not want any part of, Marc later admitted that he really liked it. Oh, and it's really weird being in a theme park aimed at a young audience that is very obviously owned by a "beer" company. Though I have to admit, it is the nicest looking theme park that I've ever been to.

Washington, DC:
This time I actually made it inside the International Spy Museum. The second night we had dinner at The Fish Market with two cousins, Scott and Eric; Eric's fiancee; Eric's friend; and my friend, Naomi. Yay dinner.

Lancaster, PA:
By this point I'm absolutely sick of heavy meals, but my parents want to go to Good and Plenty. Considering the name of the place, the food leaves something to be desired. I was, however, quite impressed that the restaurant easily sits ~750 at once.

Herhsey Park:
Within its barbed wire fence are two of the best wooden rollercoasters that I have ever been on. There are a bunch of metal ones as well, some of which weren't too shabby either.

Of course, we also got lost on a daily basis. The directions my parents printed were absolute crap, at best. The distances for travel had no correlation with the real world, not to mention the turns and exits that didn't exist.

After everything, I am quite content to be both alive and inert for the next 20 hours or so.

21 August 2005

The Sequel, Part 5

I just saw a tv ad for The Transporter 2. On top the general another-freaking-sequel nausea, there was a heavy dose of product-placement nausea. IN THE AD. It started with a shot of an Audi, placed front and center so the emblem was more than prominent. Cut to the normal action movie commercial. Insert car again, this time doing cool stunts. Back to normal commercial. One last car shot, and done. I understand the concept behind cross-promotions, but at the same time, such a high degree of product placement does nothing but detract from the movie. Therefore, this ad, which had otherwise made a sequel look somewhat promising, has had the opposite effect. Good job Hollywood!

20 August 2005

I Am Home

And will be so until the 30th, not including family vacation from the 21st through the 28th.

That is all.

Oh, and Marc won a pink pony for me at the county fair. And Phoenix, the FireFox, *finally* arrived a couple days ago.

Now that is really all.

09 August 2005

Another Useful Invention

For the geek who has everything?

Link provided by Skarfin.

05 August 2005

Tawny (Matt's dog) has decided that I am her pers...

Tawny (Matt's dog) has decided that I am her personal source of food. Every time I walk into the kitchen, she follows and sits next to the counter where her bones are kept. As I walk around the kitchen, she turns so that she is always facing me. Of course, Tawny knows she will only be given food if she is sitting, so she is never standing for longer than it takes to walk over to the counter. I hearby declare that it is not my fault if Tawny gets fat.

26 July 2005

Random post from the computer book section of Bar...

Random post from the computer book section of Barnes & Noble. Compliments of SBC DSL.

24 July 2005

Warning Before The Simposns

Warning: this episode contains discussions of same sex marriages. Parental discretion is advised.

Major Purchases

I have an apartment, pending paperwork, etc. It's a pretty nice place in Brentwood. Currently I'm working on finding furniture. My closet is ridiculously huge and takes up an entire wall of the bedroom (22 ft^2), which means that I only need a bed, desk, and shelves. I found great shelves at Ikea, and a bed on Target's website of all places. I originally was going to get a similar bed at Ikea, but I found a much nicer one at target.com for the same price by accident. However...

I am in Los Angeles, so what good is my own apartment without a car? Yesterday I test drove three Honda Civic models. The hybrid sucks. The engine turns off when the car is stopped to save power. The ac turns off when the engine turns off. Hell no. Don't get me started on the dashboard that looks like something out of a crappy video game. The LX sedan (they didn't have any coupes immediately available for a test drive) was pretty nice. The Civic SI won. It's a three door hatchback available with only a manual transmission. Excuse me, a five speed. Honda doesn't sell manuals, they only sell five speeds. Unfortunately, the whole experience was quite painful. The salesman had a thick Indian accent, so I couldn't understand half the things that he said. The problem was compounded by his inability to figure out what I was saying. The end result was having half my questions answered with the horsepower of all the different Civic models, as if that was the only thing that was important. The manager, however, was a completely different story. He not only had a firm grasp of the English language, but actually was able to answer questions. For instance, he was able to quote me a price that he didn't read off the window sticker. When he started asking questions about when I wanted to buy the car (within 1.5 weeks), I found out what the magic words are. "I can't sign anything until my daddy looks at it first, since he's a lawyer." The price he quoted me actually decreased after I said that. Something to keep in mind tomorrow while I poke around a Ford Focus.

16 July 2005

Half-blood Whatever

Matt convinced me to go to the midnight Harry Potter party at Barnes and Noble. I drove there, which ended up being a mistake. His car is a stick, and due to a lack of practice, I am quite inept at cruising slowly around a parking lot. Neither of us expected the entire lot for the shopping center to be full. We did manage to get lucky and find what must have been the last free parking spot near the other end (yay for small cars).

Anyway, upon entrance to the store, I received reserved braclet #378. This entitled me to ~45 minutes (after midnight) of watching everyone else who had shown up. There were fewer young children than I expected, though there were plenty of teenagers and adults to make up for it. Of course, about 1/5 of the people there were dressed up for the occassion in some manner: face paint; Hogwarts robes; et cetera. What really surprised me, though, were the number of punks and other individuals who would be labelled hard core. It never occured to me that people who exude toughness would want to be seen at a Harry Potter event.

In the end, we procured two copies of the sacred text. However, we made the mistake of putting them in the same bag. One employee, still reeling from being unable to order people around earlier in the night, was handing out posters and braclets. She refused to distribute more than one set per bag, even though we had both purchased a copy. Twit.

Now I must go look through the pictures of adoptable dogs at the LA Animal Services animal shelters, a daily ritual which causes nothing but problems.

09 July 2005

I will stay sane. I will stay sane. I will-oh hell.

81 days of summer vacation left....

...the joys of leaving a semester system for a quarter system.

In other news, the UCLA cs department said that course listing for the fall would be available July 1. As of 5 minutes ago, they still show Winter 2004. Useful.

06 July 2005


It took a week, but I finally remember to make this post. Two bottles of Dom have been discovered in the wine fridge in Matt's kitchen. 1995 and 1973. The 1973 is on the tail edge of drinkable life, but the 1995 is in its prime...

bleep bloop

My birthday gift from Matt was tickets to the first show of Video Games Live at the Hollywood Bowl, which we just got back from. I, not so coincidentally, was wearing my 1up mushroom shirt. As we walked into the ampitheater, a video crew asked to film my shirt, assuring me that they would only show my shirt, not my face or anything else. I must admit, it's very hard to stand still and not giggle loudly when some random guy is admitting to aiming his camera at your boobs. Anyway....

The LA Philharmonic played everything from Pong to Halo. The best part was the opening number, Metal Gear Solid. They had Snake crawling around the stage and climbing up ropes to avoid being seen by a bad guy with a large "!" over his head. At one point, he even hid in a cardboard box (complete with the required paint job) while the bad guy walked by.

During each of the songs, the screens showed clips from the video game or series in question. The newer video games' montages consisted almost entirely of cut scenes, but they did blow up a few things during Halo's.

At the end of the show, about 30 game composers/artists/designers were called on stage. It being the first night of the tour, they had some big names. Seeing as how almost all the major ones were Japanese, I'm not going to even attempt at spelling their names correctly. I will, however, mention that they included the composers from Super Mario, Sonic, Advent Horizon, and Halo.

Now I must go fulfill my sudden and unexplained urge to go blow things up. To the video game machine!

30 June 2005

Y2K? HA!

I just wrote code that contains a year 2048 bug. And I don't intend to fix it until 2047.

19 June 2005


I just noticed that since I got my PowerBook, it has actually resided on my lap for about 95% of the time I've spent using it. A laptop that actually resides on a lap. Some how this seems rather odd.

17 June 2005


I saw Batman Begins opening afternoon with Matt, despite Vim's plans for seeing it Friday evening. I must say, I have never been so pleased with a Batman before. Christian Bale brought something to Bruce Wayne that Val Kilmer and Michael Keaten never came close to achieving. He was just so perfect. And ignoring Katie Holmes complete lack of talent, this was by far the best Batman movie. Christopher Nolan's Gotham left Tim Burton's fluorescent interpretation in the dust (for anyone who has not seen my dvd collection, that is saying quite a bit). I'm going to stop there, since I assume that not everyone has seen the movie yet.

In more exciting news, there have been two earthquakes since I got to Los Angeles. I had the misfortune to sleep through the first one, but I was very much awake for the second. A little disconcerting at first, but not particularly exciting. It was approximately the feeling of being in the Ruggles elevator, on one of the trips where you can't help but to pray that the elevator cable won't snap. Somewhat disappointing. :-/

09 June 2005


It came today! I am using it now! It is named bender!

I am going to go take a shower!


31 May 2005

Lost Angeles

I'm having a harder and harder time coming to terms with the fact that I'm leaving on Thursday. Even though I know that I'll still be coming back to New Jersey many times over the next {x|x is the number of years necessary to earn my masters} years, something keeps telling me that this move is of the permanent type. While growing up, Meredith and I always talked about moving to Los Angeles when we were older. Now here I am, actually doing it, and all I want to do is stop packing and curl up in my bed. I keep telling myself that I'll be fine once I get there, and especially once I get a job (damn New Jersery address).

In related news, I'm almost done packing. This is good in that I'll be able to mail off all the boxes tomorrow and finish everything else. This is bad in that I'll probably have too much free time tomorrow night.

On the other side of things, I'm really looking forward to the beach. A picnic on the beach. The beach always makes everything better. Unless you drown. But I don't plan on doing that.

Now I should go surround my books with bubble wrap, styrofoam, and cardboard. And finish cleaning up the disaster formerly known as the living room.

27 May 2005

Pseudoephedrine: The Miracle Elixir?

*GASP* I seem to be getting better! My nose is no longer causing declining prices in the snot market! Maybe I'll resemble a normal human being by tomorrow.

25 May 2005

An Improved User Number

I've mentioned to a few people that once upon a time, I used to a have a livejournal account. Back when one person could pay for an account (Evan) and give two free accounts to friends (Estee and me). However, I couldn't remember the account name for the life of me, so I gave up and created a new one. Apparently my mom couldn't remember this account's username, which led to my discovery in the Firefox url dropdown: . Unfortunately, I'd have to pay $15 and not have everything work out quite right to combine the two accounts. Maybe if I ask nicely?

Coming to Terms With a Huge Pile of Crap in the Living Room

The worst possible way to have spent the evening after commencement is not, in fact, packing. It is lying in bed, puking, knowing that come tomorrow, your father will have to finish packing for you. All my stuff made it home in one piece, though finding said pieces is turning out to be quite the challenge.

Normally I start sorting and putting away everything a day or two after I get home. However, I still don't feel well. I've used >1 box of tissues a day since Sunday. As much as I hate living in a disaster area, the thought of unpacking is almost as repulsive as the thought of eating normal portions of food again. Did I mention that one week of being sick resulted in me losing 11lbs? I didn't think that was possible, but my parent's scale claims I weigh 105lbs.

Any weight (okay, that wasn't funny, I admit), our trip to Atlantic City has been mostly cancelled. We were supposed to drive down yesterday, but that just wasn't going to work. We're probably going to head down for the day, tomorrow, assuming I have reached the minimum level of liveliness.

p-p-p-p-powerbook. For real this time; my parents are getting me one for graduation. After careful consideration, I have decided that I might as well order it now, rather than wait for the next update. All signs point to the next update being a faster G4, rather than a G5, due to the logistics of building a watercooled laptop. Also, the next update probably won't occur until at least the end of July, and possibly not until October (http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/). Since the order will not be placed for about a week, any further insight would be appreciated.

For reference, I am leaving for Los Angeles on June 2. I haven't heard back about jobs yet, but I assume it'll be much easier to find employment when I have a California address on applications.

05 May 2005


I just submitted my final CAGD homework. Last night 3DPhoto was handed a death sentence. Completeness has been achieved! Therefore, I must go celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

02 May 2005

Grad School! Coming to a theater near you this fall!

I have officially accepted UCLA's offer.

There must be a better way for determining if you are a California resident for tution purposes. Most notably, they could just ask you, "Do you qualify as a resident for tuition pursposes?" If you say yes or maybe, then they can ask you 14 pages of questions about where you filed your income taxes. Otherwise, I should think that a simple no would suffice.

28 April 2005

No Cupcake for Me :-(

Today was my very last undergraduate class, which happened to be International Monetary Theory and Policy. Today's lecture happened to be abnormally interesting (most classes are fairly interesting, but today's happened to be a particularly good lecture on the European Union and the Euro). Anyway, it just dawned on me that I have no more classes as an undergrad. And despite how many boring Accounting and Finance lectures I skipped, I already miss them. Further proof that I'm not particularly ready to move on, despite how excited I may be at times. I've been putting off a long post along these lines, and 3dphoto => I'll have to continue putting it off.

Now back to texture mapping Colossus, while Rob eats a cupcake, WITH BLUE FROSTING, behind me. He also seems to like licking his banana, but that might have just been a temporary reaction to Amy's unspecific suggesting that he "Lick it!"

27 April 2005

Why Are All the Senior Free Food Events During Passover?

(00:05:06) S K Arfin: i've eaten a box of tam tams
(00:05:16) osmodion77: only one?
(00:05:17) S K Arfin: and am currently finishing a second box
(00:05:20) osmodion77: you're just getting started
(00:05:27) osmodion77: in what time frame?
(00:05:29) S K Arfin: not to mention the third box i keep at home
(00:05:46) S K Arfin: the first box was a couple of days ago
(00:05:53) S K Arfin: this most recent box was last night and tonight
(00:05:53) osmodion77: that's nothing
(00:06:02) osmodion77: I will be more impressed if you do it in one day
(00:06:13) S K Arfin: it's 24 hours
(00:08:40) osmodion77: one sitting
(00:08:49) S K Arfin: i really don't want to do that
(00:10:36) osmodion77: I guess you don't want to be impressive then
(00:12:26) S K Arfin: you want me to impress you with my tam tam eating skills?
(00:13:58) osmodion77: yes
(00:23:06) S K Arfin: i must impress sharon by eating all the tam tams in the world
(00:25:26) osmodion77: yes!
(00:31:12) S K Arfin: and with this i shall win her heart!

17 April 2005

Mongol's BBQ => Lempel-Ziv

It has been brought to my attention that I forgot to mention Mongol's in my previous post about my weekend in LA. This will now be remedied.

The place is a greasy, not quite clean, skeevy joint with a small buffet area and a Mongolian grill taking up about half the floor space. The extensive menu consists of getting bbq with either a drink or with soup. I was told I wanted the soda, which I wasn't tempted to question.

"Now for your first LA lesson in CS - compression algorithms and bin packing algorithms."

Never was Matt so right. The entire point of the restaurant is to pack as much food as you possibly can into decent sized bowls. I went for the chicken, beef, onions, pineapple, and scallions. Then comes the noodles. They only cook what's in the bowl (or rather what doesn't fall off the towering pile partially contained by the bowl), so you need to balance as many noodles on top as humanly possible. Apparently people have become so good at piling up food that they've given up trying to put the cooked stuff back in the bowl; the bbqer just dumps your bbq on a huge dinner plate.

Yummy noodles. Oodles of noodles. EVERYWHERE.

Matt and I joked that I should go to UCLA just because it's so close to Mongol's.

13 April 2005


Now that I've had enough sleep to write coherently...

Instead of classes on Thursday, Matt and I went to Los Angeles so I could ponder over grad schools. Three grad schools in 3.5 days meant that Thursday and Friday were completely free for whatever. So we just bounced around - saw Sin City, drank oodles of Jamba Juice, went to Commerce Casino (I can't believe people play poker that badly in a casino; after three bad outdraws by people who shouldn't have even considered playing the crap that they were raising with, I wanted to bolt), &c.

Saturday was San Diego and a big pile of disappointment, ignoring the awesome map of Los Angeles that Matt bought for me (which I studied almost everywhere we went, so now I have a decent idea of where things are and where the freeways go). UCSD has a really nice campus, with some really cool architecture. The library looks like a tree growing out of the ground, the quad/bookstore just invites you to stay awhile and do nothing productive, and they even have a set of ponds with waterfalls between them along the path to the quad. Then there's the math, science, and engineering section. Shrudder. It was depressing and old. I can't imagine that any of the buildings were not part of the original campus. In case things weren't already bad enough, they had a list of the courses actually being offered during 2004-2005. Not only were most of the classes that I wanted not being offered at all, but the majority of grad classes listed didn't have a room or professor attached. It's worth mentioning that they have a club called N.E.R.D.S. that's having a LAN party Saturday, April 11. In case that wasn't bad enough, they made up their own retarded leet for their posters. Good-bye UCSD.

Well, that was depressing, let's go to the beach. Scratch that. Let's figure out how to get to the beach. The fun way. So apparently Pacific Highway != Pacific Coast Highway. However, it does lead back to the 8 according to one sign. And I remember an interchange along the 5 for the 8. Okay, we have some semblance of an idea as to where we're going. Oh wait, we don't. A useful sign! "8 West beaches" - that way! A few uturns later, we're on 8 west. Hmmm... the freeway seems to have ended. And so have all the signs. Time for guess and check. Somehow we managed to find the beach rather quickly, as well as become very familiar with a few intersections. Even more shocking, we found a very close parking spot. Yay beach! Very easily the best part of Saturday.

On the way back, we stopped at a brewery/restaurant. Matt ordered a pint, and even I had to admit that it was good.

Next stop, Blockbuster! Due to their complete lack of anything good, it was fairly easy to convince Matt to get Ringu, which I've wanted to see for awhile. Unfortunately, neither of us really watched it, as we both fell asleep about 35 minutes into the movie.

Sunday! USC! OMGWTF! It's in the middle of the ghetto? Why is such a nice campus in the middle of a ghetto? Okay, it wasn't actually the ghetto. And Vim (Matt's friend) was an excellent tour guide. Still, location is important.

Perhaps we should have looked at a map of UCLA before leaving his house.... back to Encino! ....back to the 405! ...a nice neighborhood! A nice campus! A really nice engineering building! Clean, modern computer labs! A linux users group! Heaven!

Pending a decision on RA/TA positions offered, I've actually made a decision! Yes, I'm impressed with myself, too. To UCLA I go!

Getting back to New York turned into a huge nightmare. We were running late and got to the airport with very little time to spare. That ended up being a good thing, since the flight was delay due to mechanical problems. Our 10:45 flight didn't take off until the magical hour of 1am, at which time it was noted that Matt's chair was broken and couldn't recline. Fast forward through 4.5 uncomfortable hours of semiconsciousness. Deplane, stumble around, find the monorail. Buy train tickets. Get on monorail, sit in front car and get blinded by sun. Get off monorail. Oh shit.

The trains listed seem to be delayed. Okay, well, it's still rush hour, there's no way that they're going to keep delaying trains. Right? A switch is broken between Newark Penn Station and New York Penn Station. Well, there's nothing else to do but wait. And wait. And listen to announcements every five minutes to remind us that we're still stuck at the airport with hope in sight. And then it got worse.

They were letting some New York bound trains through, but they cancelled all EWR stops for the rest of the day. We are more than welcome to take bus 62 to Newark Penn Station and take the train from there. Back to the monorail, where we found out that our tickets would only let us through the gate once, and if we wanted to reuse our ridiculously overpriced one way tickets again, we'd have to pay another $5 each to get through the gates between the monorail and the train station. No, they couldn't do anything about it, but they would let us the other way through the gates for free. How nice.

We managed to find the bus at Terminal C, which, for a mere $1.10, entitled us to a scenic ride through downtown Newark. Last stop, Newark Penn Station. I know there's a pastry shop there somewhere, and having eaten nothing since before getting on the plane, god help anyone who tries to stop me from finding it. So of course there's a nice long line. To the pastryish stand near the information booth. Cheesecake! CHEESECAKE! Things are looking up. Less than 30 seconds later, the 8:30 NEC train to New York was announced on track 3. Five minutes later, at a quarter to 12, we were sitting on the train, eating cheesecake and trying to stay awake.

At New York Penn Station, it took three NJTransit employees to figure out how to return our EWR tickets for a refund. Theoretically the refund check should arrive 2-4 weeks after we mail the form and tickets in.

My weekend ignoring both computers and work is over. I must go be useful again. Now what happened to all those event approvals?

06 April 2005

Oh look! A package notice! I had better run to Le...

Oh look! A package notice! I had better run to Lerner, since it might be from UCLA, and as we all know, the world will explode if it isn't. Well, I ran to Lerner, to find a package from Stevens Institute of Technology, where they somehow got it into their head that I want to attend. Okay, so it wasn't from UCLA. Might as well check my mailbox. What's this? A thin boring envelope from UCLA? MEEP! Oh whew, the bastards just sent an acceptance letter like this? That's just cruel.

In other words, I GOT INTO UCLA!!!!

Convenient, since I'll be there on Sunday. A weekend trip to Los Angeles, with a day trip to San Diego. Yay!

04 April 2005


My PlayStation 2 is officially a (door stop|paper weight) with a power button and a couple leds. Instead of reading disks, it now makes very loud grinding noises that remind me of a coffee grinder trying to eat whatever unfortunate disk might be within reach. I really don't feel like spending the $150 to replace it, but I'll probably do so by the end of the month. And I get to own one of the new slim ones, with a built in nic that I don't plan on using any time soon.

In other news, I was accepted to USC. Now I'm just waiting to hear from UCLA, preferably before Thursday. I haven't heard from Rutgers yet, either, but I also don't care since I have no intention of going there. Oh yeah, for those who I haven't told yet, I was accepted to Columbia 11 days after I submitted my application, 8 days after applications were due (which happened to be over Spring Break). Despite not wanting to attend, I am impressed with their sudden, unexplained speed.

My last two paychecks seemed to have ran away into the aether. Normally I'm very good about picking them up and depositing them, but one was issued over break and I kept forgetting to retrieve it until the second one was issued. Yesterday, when it wasn't raining, I was inspired to go deposit them. At some point they completely disappeared from my desk. Gone without a trace. I've already done a fairly thorough search of my room, but I'll try again when I get out of work in a few hours.

Speaking of money, after three hours of poker in Schapiro on Friday, I left with exactly one more dollar than I arrived with. I think that dollar was ultimately spent on Haagen-Dazs lemon sorbet.

14 March 2005

Fuck You Stanford

I have been accepted into the CSE Master's program at University of California, San Diego. Woohoo!

Not my first choice school, but by no means my backup or safety school. Now I just need to work on becoming a California resident for the past year...

10 March 2005

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Dear Applicant,

The MSCS Admissions Committee has reviewed your application for
admission for Fall 2005-06 to the Masters program in the Computer
Science Department. I am sorry to tell you that the committee did not
recommend you for admission. The number of applicants far exceeds
the number of those whom we can admit, which makes the admissions
process a difficult and painstaking one. As a result, many strong
candidates must be turned down.

I wish you all the success in the future.

Sincerely yours,
Kathi DiTommaso
Director of Admissions
Stanford University

27 February 2005

Well, we have a lean mini noodle dish.

I'm so glad that I don't have to do SLP homework. However, I am getting quite sick of having to listen to the same few wavs over and over again while someone else who is actually taking the class does his SLP homework.

My cell phone commited suicide today by jumping out of my pocket and falling ~2 feet to its doom. The outer case is chipped, which can be replaced, as is part of the hinge, which cannot be replaced. For added fun, it only turns on when plugged in. The charging icon now blinks in an odd manner, never indicating an increase in charge. As soon as I pull out the plug, it claims to be fully charged. Should I open the phone right after removing the plug, I can watch the battery indicator plummet from fully charged to "Low Battery" to "Emergency Use Only" before it turns off. Hopefully it is just the battery that's completely FUBARed. Either way, no cell phone for me for at least a couple days, until I can get over to an AT&T store (and actual one, not just a licensed retailer, or whatever they call themselves now).

Today I have been called weird 6 independent times. If I'm lucky, I can double that before midnight.

Poker has proven to be quite profitable. I'm well on my way to getting enough to cover my school ring (with real diamonds and 18k gold) and Tumi wallet (black leather with red leather interior).

Now to considering doing work sometime tonight on CAGD (isn't wonderful how inspired I am?)...

14 February 2005

The West End is Playboy's College Bar of the Mont...

The West End is Playboy's College Bar of the Month. The only thing that could be funnier is if it were The Abbey.

13 February 2005

CVS-quality Romance Novel

Amy and I spent dinner outlining the plot for a 6 page scifi romance novel we plan to write. The working title is Melvyn the Dragyn and the Quivering Llyghtsaber of Doom. The cover will feature Fabio riding Melvyn, which will undoubtedly make our novel wildly successful (on the off chance that Jedi sex scenes aren't enough).

09 February 2005

Warning: Not For Virgin Eyes

Linux swear counts: http://www.vidarholen.net/contents/wordcount/

04 February 2005

Dear Die-Ary, Today some friends came over.

Dear Die-Ary, Today some friends came over.

02 February 2005

Class Trip

My only two compsci classes this semester are 6000-level (graduate classes), 3D Photography and Computational Aspects of Geometric Design. The professor for CAGD works for Blue Sky Studios, the studio that made Robots. It wasn't so surprising when a class trip to see Robots was suggested. However, Prof Allen has also been talking about a class trip to see Robots, when it opens in March, due to its relevance to modeling. What are the odds of two 6000-level classes having a field trip to see the same children's movie?

Back to my ledgertastic fun...

February 2

Roasted groundhog for dinner tonight!

01 February 2005

I'm currrently sitting in Accounting and Finance,...

I'm currrently sitting in Accounting and Finance, which is always a thrilling 2 hours of reading period. After almost an hour of review from last Thursday's class, the professor finally decided to move on to something new - the structure of the income statement. We'll just ignore that the homework due at the beginning of last class included writing an income statement. Sigh.

I just submitted my application to Rutgers. Only two left, Columbia and USC, neither of which will require any significant effort on my part. At this point, I'm so pissed at the CS department here that Columbia has been reduced to a status below that of Rutgers (a safety school). Why are such amazingly simple applications taking me so long to submit? I'm yet to submit one more than a day before the deadline. I highly doubt this will have any negative affect, other than at the rolling admission schools, but still. Why am I so unmotivated about something that I'm so worried about?

Some time in the next few days I need to start thinking about the summer. This just occured (Oh look! He moved on to another slide! I didn't know it is possible to spend that much time on one slide with only two bullets.) to me a few days ago. I'm tempted to just do nothing and just spend the summer relaxing, but at the same time, it would be nice to have something to do so I don't get bored.

As much as I like my current icon, the png transparency just isn't working correctly, and it will be replaced as soon as I find an acceptable replacement.

On another note, my printer is possessed. An exorcism will be performed later tonight.

27 January 2005

Shuffle shuffle.

Shuffle shuffle.

20 January 2005

Complements of Duchess...

Alex just gave me a hickey...

while Matt watched.