For Each Day {Pull(++Ups);}

Filed under: a group of folks,neat!,slice @ 00:04

Greg, circus-certified strong man that he is, recently installed a pull up bar in our apartment. I tried it out and managed seven pull ups before stopping. The next day I did eight. Two points make a line, so I decided to extrapolate the data at hand and make the following prediction.

The number of ups I am capable of contiguously pulling will increase by one up per day I use the pull up bar.

My prediction has proven to be accurate so far, and I’m currently at 10 pull ups. Assuming I use the bar most days, by this time next year, I’ll be doing something like 300 pull ups! A Popeye amongst Olive Oils! Fear my bulging biceps or… triceps… pectins… lemurs… whatever the hell is on my beefy ass arms! Fear those things!

Greg, upon hearing of my awesome plan, told me of a similar workout method:

  1. Adopt a baby pig.
  2. Lift it above your head every day.
  3. Impress the hunnies with your freakishly strong “bod”.
  4. Eat much bacon.

Brilliant. That must be how he became a circus-certified strong man. Having not the porcine access he did in his youth, I’ll stick to the pull up bar and see how it goes.


To the seemingly pleasant woman who nearly ran me over on Wilson and California

Filed under: slice @ 19:15

While I clearly had the right of way, there are no hard feelings. I made some bad (read “stupid”) assumptions about how you would behave in the situation, and the whole problem could have been avoided if I weren’t thinking about the k-Local-Hamiltonian problem while trying to read the road.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t stop sooner, I had a fair bit of momentum built up. Stopping any shorter than I did would have caused me to go over the handle bars, and I think we can both agree that it’s better you hit my wheel (which was unscathed) than my head (which would have been lucky had it received only a scathe or two).

Also, I should have pulled over to talk to you, but as there were no injuries or damages (and since I wasn’t thinking super clearly on account of having just been hit by a car) I went on my (honestly) merry way. (And I complain that I never meet new people.)

Should the occasion again arise, I’ll be smarter on both fronts. Unfortunately, I doubt you’ll ever see this. I think you were Caltech, though, so maybe you know someone who knows someone who’ll point you over here. My email can be found from the “contact” link in the upper right if you have the inclination.

(Yes, Mom, I’m fine, and it is my firm belief that she is as well.)


Have I been working too hard or not nearly hard enough?

Filed under: academe,slice @ 17:11

I just printed out a paper. It was only after reading all the way through the first section that I realized I’d already read it. And that I have another copy of it sitting in front of me on my desk.


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?


Nasty rebate tricks

Filed under: slice @ 14:29

I ordered a new cellphone yesterday; it’s supposed to come today or tomorrow. It was “free” in the sense that the rebate total was the same as the offered price of the phone: $50 instant, $200 mail-in. Naturally, I still payed tax, “one time activation fees” and the like. It was a decent deal, though.

So today I get online again an grab the mail-in rebate form (which they have conveniently filled out for me already). I see the following text before me.

Postmark No Earlier Than: Nov 30, 2005
Postmark No Later Than: Jan 29, 2006

Son of a. I have to wait three months before I can start the process of getting my money back! Is this just a trick to try to get me to forget about it? Are they trying to make sure people don’t get the phone and rebate and then break their contract early. Hm… that seems likely now that I think about it. Total Rebates – (Activation + Early Termination) = $64. And that’s not factoring in the possibility that the place I got it from may have a good base price as well.

Regardless, I’m pissed.


I personally make the world a more difficult place

Filed under: slice,useless @ 13:10

This is not something I’m proud of; this is something I’m admitting: I make people’s lives harder.

As a reminder, automobiles (typically) drive on the right hand side of the road in .us. This is something that has been ingrained into my consciousness starting from the day I was taken home from the hospital as a newborn. It’s one of those bits of cultural DNA that structures the way society intraƤcts.

Two people walking toward one another in .us also tend to veer to the right to avoid collisions. Whether the law of driving on the right came before or after this pedal social mos is irrelevant; they are certainly highly correlated. People in this country strongly expect pedestrians beset with such a situation to veer right, and they justify (rightly so) this expectation by citing the driving laws.

I always veer left.

I can’t explain why. I’ll see the imminence of such a situation, think to myself, “this time, make sure you head right”, look my opposite straight in the eye, and take a left. I’m not being spiteful or intentionally disruptive. It’s just that there’s some fundamental mental disconnect that happens between understanding the appropriate thing to do and getting my body to actually do it. My legs seem to have a peculiar yen for leftward motion.

So to all those I’ve ever unintentionally forced into the dance of the sidewalk (and to all those whom I will thusly encounter in the future), I apologize.


Rediscovering two gustatory delights

Filed under: a group of folks,slice @ 22:48

When looking about for something to eat for dinner, I noticed an old bottle of Trader Joe’s General Tsao’s Stir Fry Sauce in the fridge. By ‘old’, I mean seven months or so. Don’t worry, it (apparently) keeps well. General Tsao’s is, perhaps, the material good I miss most from my days in Rochester. I think it was statuatory that all Chinese restaurants make it, make it well, and give it to you free if you phone in a sufficiently large delivery. I bought the sauce on a whim many moons ago to see If I could recreate the delicious dish I had grown to love. The answer: no. But I could make something pretty tasty nonetheless.

Cook up some chicken on George, slice up some arbitrary vegetables (tonight I found tomato and red pepper in the kitchen [uh… yeah, yours Paul.za]; broccoli and/or snow peas would have been awesome), and mix the lot together in your favorite metal stir frying object. Best served over sticky rice, but pasta serves well in a pinch (by ‘pinch’, I mean I was lazy).

A damn fine dinner.

The other rediscovery is quicker to explain but no less delicious: Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream. I feel no description is necessary.


Ad Infinitum

Filed under: academe,slice @ 14:46

Have you ever taken any functional derivatives? Because as of now, I can honestly say I have taken an infinite number of them. Multiple times. All you variational calculus jocks out there are laughing in mockery (“Have I ever taken a functional derivative? Please.”), but I’ve never messed with the things before this Quantum Field Theory course I’m taking (Path Integral Formalism rocks). Well, not messed with them to the extent I have now, anyway.

They play a little hard to get, functional derivatives do. But once you get the hang of them, they’re reasonably straightforward to cope with. I’ve known and loved various sorts of delta functions for quite some time; functional differentiation isn’t such a step from there. It’s the functional integration that gets a little tricky. As far as I’m concerned, defining and comparing measures is done by waving tiny little hands over yellow bits of paper and writing down an equal sign here or there.

I have never once thought, “I know enough math.”


A Classic Slice of Americana

Filed under: slice,useless @ 16:44

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Delicious.

I prefer crunchy peanut butter (without funny, non-peanut oils in it), raspberry jam (jam has seeds in it – as I recall, fruit spreads get called different things in different countries), and either potato bread (any Idaho jokes will be met with a bitch slap) or Mom’s white bread.

I also prefer not to run out of jam while making the damn thing; the peanut butter to jam ratio is key to a good sandwich. Now my mouth is all stuck together.


Damn you Bryan Adams

Filed under: a group of folks,music,slice @ 16:50

I’ve always hated Bryan Adams’ music. “Everything I Do”, “This Side of Paradise”, and (I loathe writing it down) “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”, suck. I tried to think of a more diplomatic way to put it, or even something a bit more intellectual and substantive. But “sucks” is really the best way to express the way in which I detest his music.

Dixie informed me today that “Summer of ’69” is a Bryan Adams song. Man that’s an awesome song; I always thought it was Bon Jovi.

I honestly don’t know how to move forward in my life knowing what I do now. Bryan Adams, the putrescent archon of pappy crap, wrote “Summer of ’69”, a mid-eighties musical and lyrical work of genius.

My entire world has collapsed.

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