I should have put these up ages ago

Photos (on Flickr):

Feel free to comment here or there.


Stick it to Breast Cancer

Filed under: a group of folks,news @ 09:37

Jeff points out that

3M is donating 50 cents to City of Hope for each of the first 200,000 notes posted on its website. It literally takes fifteen seconds.

There’s currently 108,619 notes, and the effort ends on October 31, so get to it!


A birthday lesson

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,shenaniganity @ 11:19

Here’s a tip for any future birthday boys/girls out there: don’t host your birthday gala on the actual date itself; put it off a few days. If you get lucky, a few people will still want to celebrate your birthday proper and do wonderful things for you.

Thanks to (in chronological order) Michelle, Ariele and Jeff, and Holly, Cheryl and Amy for a great 10.11.2005.

The ‘official festivities’ (complete with Chicken Dancer Elmo – Thanks Mom!) managed to keep pace as well but are better chronicled elsewhere. Thanks to all the wellwishers and also to Kristin who apparently thinks I aim too high :)


In the Land of Women

Filed under: a group of folks,movies @ 14:44

What would you do if you saw a screening of a movie whose plot eerily paralleled your own life? Would you congratulate yourself on being the screen writer’s muse or would you sue the production company for everything it’s got? I face these very questions now after Holly and I screened In the Land of Women Thursday night.

The story chronicles the life of the witty, dreamy and affable (see the similarities already?) character of Carter as played by _Adam_ Brody and opens with the final death throws of Carter’s vapid and one sided relationship with his model/aspiring actress girlfriend. Looking for solace in his now bleak and miserable world, Carter picks himself up from his LA career as a soft core porn writer and moves to Michigan to take care of his increasingly senile grandmother. There he becomes bosom buddies with the family across the street, having sex with the mother, making out with the fifteen year old daughter, duping the himself-unfaithful father and accepting plot narration from the younger, precocious daughter. I mean, that’s… me. One hundred percent.

The unfortunate thing about the movie is that although they get the details of my life straight, they tell my story in such an uncompelling way. The relationships are totally devoid of emotion, the writing and editing aren’t tight enough to tell any story, let alone one as complicated as mine, and the direction and artistic style are inconsistent enough to be some film school sophomore’s attempt at being ‘indie’ but having watched too many movies with the likes of Meg Ryan or Freddie Prinze Jr. to make that possible. Plus, they ruined the ending.

All in all, ‘In the Land of Women’ has nothing to recommend it other than a few good one liners. At least they won’t be making much money off of me.



Filed under: a group of folks,food @ 12:38

You may be thinking this post will be about the Korean War or American suburbia. You’d be wrong.

Last night, Jeff, Paul.za, Greg and I hit up two modern classics of the fast food industry: Del Taco’s Taco Tuesday and McDonald’s’ Tuesday McNugget special. A total of twenty-one tacos and forty-two nuggets were purchased and devoured (by no means a record), eight and twelve by me; over a period of approximately thirty minutes I consumed about 1950 Calories (for Ariele’s sake, I won’t do the math of Jeff’s intake).

I say this not as a means of instigating competition (which I’d surely lose) but rather to point out how strange it is to consume a day’s worth of caloric content in a single meal. Me: “I eat because I can.” Starving kid: “I eat when I can.”

I’d feel bad about my gluttony except Greg came up with a nice inductive proof allowing for the consumption of an arbitrary number of tacos/nuggets without sin.


Caltech pub crawl take three

Filed under: a group of folks,shenaniganity @ 21:06

For the third year in a row now I hit up the Caltech pub crawl hosted annually by the GSC for new student orientation. This year, the event was organized by Will (and some girl I don’t know) who did an admirable job dealing with all the jackasses that come out of their respective holes whenever free beer is mentioned.

Highlights of the night included (but were not limited to) the aforementioned free beer, Amy riding a mechanical bull with the aforementioned unbeknownst to me girl, ditching the 35er upon its inundation by the pulsing throngs of the aforementioned jackasses, and hitting on Michelle.


I don’t mean to point fingers — 14:28

Look, all I’m saying is that the mint plant was doing just fine until Greg chose to water it with orange Fanta.

I pledge allegiance to the flag

Filed under: a group of folks,thoughts @ 14:25

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the republic for which it stands
insofar as that nation, ruled by its people,
champions its ideals of liberty and justice for all.

A federal court has ruled, again, that reciting the pledge of allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional on the grounds that its words require the reciter to state a positive belief in the existence of God. I agree. The government, being made of the people, will naturally be influenced by religion, but it should avoid influencing people’s beliefs back (these are personal beliefs of mine not necessarily supported by constitutional arguments). Requiring citizens to pledge their respective troths to a country they are forced to admit is ultimately subject to God’s authority does just that.

My thoughts on this infamous “under God” phrase got me further thinking about the rest of the pledge. Does reciting the pledge bind me into supporting every aspect of America’s foreign policy? Discussing that prospect with Greg, we decided we didn’t have any desire to give that sort of unconditional support. Greg suggested something like the opening rewrite of the pledge above and I took to its message immediately.

Subsequently, however, I realized that that rewrite can be redundant depending on one’s interpretation of “allegiance” and “republic”. The rewritten version serves to illustrate a point but is unnecessary as long as one espouses the (arguably more robust) interpretation that, in reciting the (“under God” stripped) pledge, one is allying oneself with the ideals meant to be represented by the republic if not the actual instance of the republic itself.

So that’s settled; on to the fools. Interstitial comments of mine are in [bracketed italics].
Read more…


Dual head action: part II

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,slice @ 14:34

Blogging for the man

I was contacted in mid June by a representative from FaucetCenter.com, an online purveyor of water related fixtures, about the possibility of being sent free stuff. I said yes.

It seems that amongst their cornucopia of offerings, one of FaucetCenter.com’s products is the 57-004C Chrome Dual Shower heads set with adjustable arm (“Double the fun, two showerheads in one”). I was informed through an email conversation that they were “seeking bloggers who have expressed interest in such a product to be reviewers” since they “recognize blogs as an avenue for word-of-mouth promotion that has a potential for huge organic growth”. Apparenly, their marketing department googled around for “dual shower head blog” or some such and found an old throwaway post of mine about _Greg_’s shower. Apparently, also, they didn’t look around much at the sort of stuff for which this site is apparently known.

They offered to send me a free 57-004C. All that was asked of me was to link back to their site if I liked the product. Well, this all sounded like nonsense to me. FaucetCenter.com didn’t (just) want word of mouth; they wanted word of search engine. But, as I noted above, free stuff = “yes”.

The bulk of the product arrived fairly quickly. I say “bulk” since the package was missing a piece. I contacted their customer support staff who said (to paraphrase), “No. The piece is there.” I responded with, “Trust me; it’s not here.” to which I was told, “OK, we’ll send you another one, but you were probably wrong, and you can purchase the requisite bit at you’re local hardware store anyway. Apologies for the inconvenience.” Indeed.

Time passed. About a month later, I finally received the final bit, but I was in no rush to install it after customer service’s assumption of ineptitude and my having to wait so long; more time passed.

I installed it this past weekend, and it does, indeed, have two shower heads. Unfortunately, one of those heads was permanently set to ‘laser’, so I replaced it with the one that had been in place before. Also included are a plethora of joints, swivels and valves for near complete customization of spraying angle (any control theorist out there want to come over and give it a go?).

All in all, it makes for an interesting showering experience: a decent (if slow to arrive) product. I’ll let Paul.za chime in as he sees fit.

Anyone else want to send me free stuff for odd reasons?


I can feel me getting smarter

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,thoughts @ 16:07

As of last night, Greg and I are officially “so much smarter than you”.

In an ongoing effort to make minions of all the world, we took it upon ourselves to enter a moment of introspection. Dictatorial control of the globe requires certain qualities of a person, and how can the self be made better if not through careful consideration of its faults? Upon peering into our souls and minds, we discovered something: we’re not that smart.

Let me offer you my perspective; Greg’s mileage may vary. Over the past several years (perhaps since senior year of college), my attention span has been diminishing (thankfully, only algebraically). I blame only myself and my lack of rigour. Nevertheless, my lacking in the powers of concentration has severely limited my ability to perform certain tasks like determining a tight bound on spatial quantum search, understanding the nuances of quantum pattern matching, or shaving.

Greg claimed to be suffering from a similar fate and, clever man that he is, suggested a solution: Chess.

He posited that the competitive spirit the game inspires would offer tangible incentive for concentrating on and rationalizing about one topic on a timescale of order greater than dekaseconds. In short, chess would, over time, reinculcate our respective abilities to think.

We started last night with a rousing (and, truth be told, embarrassing on both sides) game, mano a mano. Greg took me to town, but I feel a better man for it. Anybody willing to throw down the gauntlet is welcome; my brain can only thank you. For the record: Greg’s pretty good and I’m fair to middling.

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