August 2004 Archives

Still Alive


To forestall any further comments from MrAirbear regarding my posting frequency, I submit the following for your approval:

Escher and the Droste effect

On a somewhat related note, recommended reading for people interested in conciousness, computer science, or other nerdy things:

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Not exactly light reading, but it never fails to interest.

I've got a few more pictures to post but I'm holding off until I write myself a photo gallery site. PHP/MySQL is a beautiful thing.

Flash Friday (Thanks Metafilter!)

10495 points, baby!
This is an evil game. Very evil. Play it immediately.

Two Things


First thing: Use Firefox. You will never regret leaving IE behind.

Second Thing: Try StumbleUpon, a Firefox extension that takes you to random websites. Waste more time than you thought humanly possible. In just a few minutes I found the following.

Attention Phishers!


There are ways of crafting emails that will fool unsuspecting users. The following, however, is not one of them.


This may come as a great dissapointment to you, but if you type up the email, print it, crumple it up and carry it around in your pocket for three days, pull it out, blow your nose with it, and then put it on your scanner and save the image, you're not going to fool anyone. Really, you're not. Even if you send it to me twice.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to verify the Citibank account that I don't have.

Lessons Learned

Jay Cooke State Park

The following information was most certainly not obtained first-hand by myself this past weekend. I would never be this stupid. Really.

If you're ever trying to reserve a camping site in Minnesota, there's an important fact that you should know: Split Rock Lighthouse is NOT the same as Split Rock Creek. Not the same at all. They are not even anywhere near each other. In fact, they are about as far apart as you can get and still be in Minnesota.

So, if you reserve a site at Split Rock Creek, drive to Split Rock Lighthouse, and tell them you reserved their group site, they're going to give you some funny looks. Then they're going to tell you that they don't have a group site. Then they're going to tell you that all the parks in the area are full. Then you're going to have to drive home and camp in your buddy's back yard.


On the bright side, my girlfriend did get some very nice pictures.

Got Broadband?


If so, get this, via Metafilter. 22 MB Quicktime file.

Denture Trivia


I discovered an interesting fact about dentures in Minnesota last night. Apparently, all dentures are required by law to have a label stating the name of their owner.

I think I'm going to email the Department of Homeland Security and ask if dentures are a valid form of ID, perhaps counting as a biometric ID.

Attack of the Stereotypes


I went to a .NET User Group meeting yesterday afternoon.

Yes, I am a nerd.

Anyway, I was amused at just how much it resembled what I was expecting. The most obvious indicator that we were in a room full of programmers was the male:female ratio. I counted approximately sixty men and four women. Yes. FOUR. And of course, two of the four women were of Asian descent. It was just like being back in college.

The presenter was painful. Terrible. Inane. He thought he was funny. He wasn't. Also just like being back in college. Choice quote:

"Are you guys sleeping or am I just not funny today?"

There are some questions that you don't want the answer to, sir. Another good one:

"You can't really read this part of the website, by design."

That's fantastic, why are you bothering to put it there if you aren't supposed to be able to read it?

Sometimes I wonder about people.

Pet = Owner


We've all seen pets that look like their owners, but last night I saw it taken to a disturbing level. The pet in question was a fairly tall poodle with the typical poodle haircut. The owner was a tall gray-haired woman. She probably would have been mildly amusing as it was, but for one detail.

The dog's hair was PURPLE.

As much as I had hoped that the pinkish-purple tint to the dog's head and forelegs was a cruel prank instigated by the worst kind of hooligan, the streaks of purple in its owner's locks confirmed my worst fears. This was intentional.

Rush-hour Remedy


I happened to be driving through the big city of Minneapolis during rush hour yesterday. As we crept along in the midst of all the commuters, I noticed a young women that had it all figured out. Rather than sit and be irritated by the fact that we were only moving 10mph, she did what any reasonable person would: got out her pipe and started rockin' the gange. Transit authorities should recommend this to all commuters. After a few hits of the wacky weed it probably feels like you're flying along.

Memento in Real Life


The Setting: A Subway-like Greek restaurant.

Me: I'll have a chicken gyro.
Short-Term Memory Loss Victim: Tomatoes and onions on that?
M: No onions, please.

*STMLV starts making gyro*
*STMLV dumps HUGE spoonful of onions on gyro*

M: NO onions on mine, please!
STMLV: I'm sorry, I asked and I thought you said you wanted them. Should I make you a new one?
M: No thanks, just take the onions off.

*STMLV removes onions, completes gyro, moves to register*

STMLV: Would you like chips with this?
M: Yeah, Ranch Doritos

*STMLV grabs chips*
*M moves to table, opens chips, starts eating*
*M notices that chips are orange. Inspects bag, realizes that he received NACHO CHEESIER DORITOS.*

Sometimes I wonder about people.

Computer Science in Daily Life


There is an algorithm used in scheduling the order that programs run on a computer called "Shortest Job First". It says that if you have three programs that want to run at the same time you should run the shortest ones first. This is the optimal way to minimize the amount of time that programs spend waiting for a chance to work.

What does this have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, it's like traveling on a 2-lane freeway. You've got one passing lane (processor) and multiple cars (programs) trying to complete their pass (run to completion). If you have a slow vehicle moving 69mph and two cars passing at 70mph and 75mph, it is going to take the 70mph vehicle 6 times longer to pass than it would've taken the 75mph vehicle to pass. If the slower passing vehicle simply allows the faster vehicle to pass traffic flows much faster.

In conclusion, tell your friends and neighbors not to be jerks and just get out of the way. I thank you, and them, for drastically reducing my chances of suffering a road-rage induced stroke before the age of 30.



I indulged in a bit of pyromania this weekend. To get warmed up we threw about four feet of dry pine tree into a fire and watched the flames grow to 20+ feet and die back down in a matter of seconds. If you've never tried that before, I highly recommend saving your Christmas tree this year and setting fire to it after it's nice and brown. Of course, if you end up burning your house down I will disavow all knowledge of said recommendation.

The picture to the right is from a couple hours later. If anyone asks, it's a large brush fire, since that's what the burning permit says. If the brush pile accidentally ended up mixed in with an old shed there's not much I can do, right?

Further wisdom gained: Insect repellent + Open wound = PAIN. You heard it here first.