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.