Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Et Cetera plus Grammar Fix

What a nice day!
Oh, what a nice day.
It's very clear outside!
The sky is completely blue.
It's also very cold.
It really is very cold!
Yesterday was the same.
It was very cold!
It was also very clear outside.
Last night was the same!
The sky was very clear.
We could see lots of stars.
There were no clouds!
The air was very cold.
We climbed a tree.
We scared a squirrel.
Poor squirrel.

Monday, December 12, 2005

obviously, I couldn't think of anything to write about.

There was a fantastic poem here,
poem which detailed my day.
But I had to delete it.
Actually it wasn't so fantastic,
containing existential inaccuracies,
so I deleted it.

Instead, here is my day, in form of a dramatic vignette:

Aristarchus: I thought I had thirty dollars in my pocket.
狗王: Thirty dollars comes, so thirty dollars goes.
Aristarchus: Did you take my thirty dollars? Did you take it?
狗王: Do you think I took it?
Aristarchus: I am not in the mood for this. Where is my hat?
狗王: Hats come, hats go. Who can say where your hat is?
Aristarchus: I would go without my hat, but it's cold outside.
狗王: Was your hat coming or going when you last saw it?
Aristarchus: I think I left it at the siege tower last night.
狗王: What were you doing at the siege tower?
Aristarchus: I went to see a siege. It is a black hat. It is my only hat.
狗王: I do not pity you. I have no hat, so I cannot cut my hair.
Aristarchus: 狗王, you are an idiot.
狗王: If you had thirty dollars, you could buy a nice hat. Or several regular hats.
Aristarchus: I think you took my money.
Beerbottle: Water floats a boat, water sinks a boat.
Aristarchus: Hello Beerbottle. Why are you wearing a cast on your leg?
狗王: Beerbottle is an idiot. He drove home from the vomitorium after having consumed too much fermented mare's milk.
Beerbottle: Shut up 狗王, let me tell the story.
Aristarchus: I am going home. I hope that I did not leave the dome lights on in my car, which would kill my battery and mean that I'll have-
狗王: He crashed into a vegetable stand, and the farmer smashed his leg up with a giant radish.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Say "twelfths" 12 times. Enunciate!

Here we have a rare shot of the mysterious Gar-gondola, with it's crew of six colorful Guatamalan ladies all on deck... We hear that soon after this was taken, the strange ship drifted to the west, toward the setting crescent moon, off to cause mischief in another world... Ok, really, those are little dolls and that's a dried fish hanging on a wall.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tomorrow I get to go and screw myself on my electrical engineering final exam. In commemoration of this, I signal all of my multitudes of visitors to the new Buildabot Robot Creation Laboratories site, where we'll be learning how to make robots, starting at not knowing how!

Monday, November 28, 2005


On orders from Michael Murphy, here are details of my return from Austin to Louisville.

These events took place on a Sunday, on November the 27th, in the year 2005 CE (or 60 MA depending on your region).

At the Austin airport I ate two tacos, which was easy because my flight was delayed about an hour. This is funny because my flight from Houston to Nashville was to leave only about 30 minutes after my flight from Austin to Houston was due to arrive. This meant that all the other people had to wait for us Austin-Houston-Nashvilliers. This was okay. At Houston, we had to get from gate 4 to gate 50. For some reason, to do this we had to leave the terminal and then go through security again, which was exciting.

The entire way I occasionally read through my new dictionary of Chinese words. I now know lots of Chinese words, but I still can't speak Chinese. I don't know what the critical mass is. I think I may be a few years away.

I arrived in Nashville at about 11 o' clock. This is Eastern time, which is officially the time which I am supposed to abide by. Strangely, I just got a weird sense that it was sometime in the afternoon, and that it was daylight out, and that it's business as usual, even though it's actually 8 forty-five, and it's dark out, and most people aren't here. Someone is out there slamming doors.

So, first, I thought, I'll just walk to my car, it will be nice to walk to my car, I don't really know where I parked it anyway, so I'll walk to my car. But I couldn't figure out how to get to the longterm parking lot. So I walked all the way back to the bus stop like a loser and rode the bus to stop 6, and found my car very quickly. I considered calling a girl on my new cell phone, but decided it would probably be rude and weird to do so so late at night, and without anything in particular to talk about, so instead I just started up my car and left the airport.

I took Briley Parkway to get to I-65. In doing this, I passed the Opryland Next Exit sign, which is pretty stupid. Then I was on my way, though I did stop somewhere up towards the north end of Tennessee, to get gas and some lame coffee, and some candy. So then I drove home. I am still getting this weird sensation that it's daytime right now and not nighttime, and that any minute someone's going to walk into my office from the hallway to ask me a question. Not that that happens often, you see, but it's something which could happen in the daytime with much more probability of happening than at nighttime.

Finally I got home, and apologized to my cat for being gone so long. Then I went to sleep. This was a little before 3 o' clock. I woke up this morning at 8 o' clock which was okay. Right now I have this weird pain in my forehead, or my temple, but I actually think it's a tooth. This is called referred pain. If that's what it is. It might also be a muscle by my eyeball, which makes a little more sense and is less worrisome.

Today I did a few things, less than explicitly expected but maybe about what was implicitly expected.

So, was this worth it. Really, I should be writing scientific essays and papers and ideas and things, but really, all I ever write are entries in this blog. I write a good amount of functional and fun Matlab code, which no one really cares about. But, really. Really, I write best in short bursts. When the writing comes, it's worthwhile. Unless it's about what I did the day before, in which case it's usually kind of pointless.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

In honor of post #40, here are some observations and statistics relating to this "posting" activity. In a way, this commemorates post #1 which told you your likelihood of being dead given you lived your entire life in the year 1997 CE (or 1996 or 1992 I don't remember). I didn't know how to add charts, then. Maybe I should revisit that topic.

Notice that here there is no incorporation of completely subjective properties such as "density" (e.g. words per post) or "quality" (e.g.. readability). These are irrelevant and probably interact with one another in unpredictable ways (e.g. high-density posts may tend to be of low quality).

First, how did we get to 40?

As we can see here, we started on January 28th (of 2005 of course) and proceeded to add posts until today, which is November the 13th. The period on the x-axis is 4 weeks, since I couldn't figure out how to mark months.

Now, what about the relative intensity of posting over time? Well, to look at that we see what the frequency of posting is over time. This is like taking a derivative of figure 1, except you do it in Excel instead of knowing how to do derivatives.

Here, we can see that posting comes in spikes, which I will call "spikes". These spikes are then followed by a slow decline to what seems to be a baseline posting rate of around .075 posts per day or "PPD". If you wanted, you could go back through the archives to see what meaningful activity these spikes correspond to, but you probably won't want to do that.

Big, sharp spikes correspond to sequential posts, from one day to the next (i.e. 1 PPD). If I posted twice in one day, that would be 2 PPD, which actually happens once at the beginning of October, but I clipped that value to accentuate other more subtle events.

Notice, however, that posting rate during the summer months was almost uniformly slow, with a little bump around my birthday! Interesting. And there was a big spike toward the end of August, and we all know what was happening then.

If I really wanted to bore you, and if I really wanted to not-do-work, I could do a Fourier analysis of the above frequency plot, and we could talk about that. I would probably need a few years worth of data for that to be worthwhile, though, so you are spared. For now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

someone should know that i got an 80 on my 3rd electrical engineering test! i didn't meet anyone today who would care, so i'll publish it instead. i got an A on the first test, then a D on the second one. I think an 80 is a B! I missed the first question because I didn't know how to calculate rms Voltage for a non-sinusoidal waveform. And I didn't do the second question right, because I don't know what a differential equation is, but I got most credit because I knew what the solution was, and how to find all the variables and everything. You see, we're allowed to have a sheet of notes, so even though I didn't know how to figure a differential equation for a damped harmonic oscillator, I knew which differential equation solution equations to pick, since I could see it was underdamped, and so I solved it, and when it said, "solve the differential equation", I instead drew a nice plot of the voltage across the capacitor over time! I got credit for that! Okay, then, the third question was easy, I just had to figure the real power, apparent power, and reactive power for a simple circuit with a parallel inductor and resistor, and I had to figure the phasor currents and things. I got that one perfect, I think! Except I used the wrong units for the answers, which I think was really okay. To do that problem I decided to first calculate the equivalent impedance for the circuit. Apparently there was another way to do it, which I do not comprehend. Finally, the last question was about phasors, which was totally simple, because those are just complex numbers or vector numbers or angular thingies. I mixed up clockwise and counterclockwise in the last part of the question, where I was supposed to say which voltages were leading which other voltages, but i only missed a point or two with that.

So, maybe I'll pass the electrical engineering class after all! A robot is coming! In the distant, distant future!

Here is what I need, right now: a simple, cheap, low-resolution digital camera. I think they're called 'webcams'. What I need is one which I can program to periodically save an image to a directory somewhere, which I can then attack with my image processing programs. Then, I just hook the image processing algorithms up to some sort of output (which I have no idea how to do, but apparently the Serial port is a good start), amplify the output (maybe this is where I use some electrical engineering), and send it to a little motor, or a blinking light, something very simple. My first robot will maybe flash a little light when it sees something it likes. Or maybe it will spin a little motor. I'll wait until a stormy night, so I can say calmly out the window, "It's alive! It's alive! Now I know what it's like to be God!"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Why is it that,
When I'm in my
little room,
in the dark,
pressing buttons,
the radio outside
always sounds
like it's playing
Elton John songs?

Why is all
my food in boxes?

Sometimes when I
grab my
flash drive
I forget
to tell
the computer first,
and then
it threatens me,
with damage
to my
flash drive.
Sometimes when I
try to make something
too big
in Matlab
it just
turns off.
does it not
warn me first?

I think that,
when they turn
on the heat
they should check
to see
or to feel
whether or not
it is
75 degrees
My feet
are hot.

I have decided
that midnight
is late enough
to be
in the lab.
Work a little,
less than
I should,
and play on the internet,
more than
I should,
is all there is
to do.
am going

Friday, November 04, 2005

Man, that was stupid. I need to push that one off of the top. That's all this post is about. Pushing the other post off the top. Nothing else.

"Try to get started
Wearing a skeleton shirt
A skeleton shirt."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

IT doesn't know what to type, but has been too long. Cold but not raining, clear out but sitting inside. Too long has the story of the electric-library politician held top place, now too long have gone, though don't know what to say. IT thinks maybe there might be some answer, and IT thinks about the answer, but can't think of one. IT does a few things, it rains, and cold, but not inside, and dark out but not inside. What does IT say? IT says, "Incoherent! IT's got to be tied to something, IT can't just float out there, attaching to weather and keyboards". IT wonders if there's a burrito left at home, in the freezer. IT doesn't think so. IT thinks IT ate the last burrito. There but for the grace of IT go IT.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Monday, December 20, 2004

I am only typing this out of a general, and rather painful, sense of obligation to my readers. I must tell you, I do not enjoy this. Six times this week already, and it being only a Monday, I have been stricken violently with paroxysmal drops in resistance. Today I dropped close to 15 kilohms, and the shock (quite literally I needn't remind you) was enough to destroy the last of my library. Tomorrow I plan to travel down to the Host Pile, where I can reinsulate enough to last me for at least another week. Enough of my problems. Now I will tell you what I think of the current political situation.

I have at least 20 spent batteries in my desk drawer. I am convinced that someday I will have a desparate need for voltage, and only a string of half-depleted AA batteries will meet that demand. If I line them up from end to end, I have at least 20 volts, more than enough to kill an uninsulated porcine bear. I can only imagine how much more I will need to accomplish future goals, including my reinstatement in the Parliament. However, I have set this imagining down on paper, and I am anxious to inform you, my steadfast supporters, of my current set of conclusions.

On December the 17th, there was a flood of calculation carried out by my convulsing fingers, and it ended with the following statement: (blidk + har) *dms^(sin( i Flont)). I can only surmise that I am intended to run for political office in the spring, with or without adequate voltage. However this statement was dampened somewhat by an earlier redefinition of the Flont constant at more than 4. Regardless, I must prepare my revision of the party platform, and hereby call a meeting of the Council of Counselors. You know who you are, and you cannot avoid this meeting. Bring warm clothes, a radiometer, and as many AA batteries as you can spare.

Finally, I have no choice but to sign this order, on my desk since Wednesday the 15th, instructing the 9th Battalion of the Wattic Resistance to close up shop on the East End. The Host Pile is perpetually inadequate and needs as many towels as possible. We can no longer afford to sell them off. My apologies to the 9BWR faculty, and my hopes are with you.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

there was insistence on part of the Michaels, so i felt i had to go along.
i'm sorry for this. i don't know what's wrong with me.



Thursday, October 06, 2005

Chocolate Cheesy Soup

Olfred: We was thinkin', Olbert, what was this thing we got here?

Olbert: We dunno, Olfred. Looks to us like somethin' square, like a box.

Olfred: We dunno, Olbert, looks to us like a table, or maybe a laser.

Olbert: Don' be silly, Olfred, lasers ain't square they's round.

Olfred: Ain't silly, Olbert, just cause all the lasers you seen have been round, don' mean they all got to be round. Anyway, might just be a table, that thing.

Olbert: Has it got a button or a switcher or somethin'?

Olfred: We don' see one, do we? Let's eat our lunch then.

Olbert: What kind o' sandwich you got there, Olfred?

Olfred: See, we started with three piece o' bread. Then, see, we get some cheese an' melt it real nice, and put it on the bread. Then-

Olbert: What kind o' bread you use?

Olfred: Then, see, we kill a chicken. Then, see, we got a nice melted cheese sandwich.

Olbert: What kind o' cheese you use?

Olfred: What kind o' sandwich you got there, then, Olbert?

Olbert: We made us a nice soup this mornin', Olfred. This is soup we're eatin'.

Olfred: Oh, we see. What you got in that soup, Olbert?

Olbert: We put a chocolate bar in it, and cooked it up real nice with some cheese. Oh, what's this button here? Olfred, we found the button!

Olfred: Ought we oughtta press it then ought?

Olbert: Ought. Wim foona iggle wiggle?

Olfred: Olbert, wim fonga woggle ongle? On foomy poobs, right ought, foom!

Olbert: Foom. Ought.

Monday, October 03, 2005


i found one of those chinese/pinyin typing programs! it's going to take some learning. i type things out in letters, like "nihao, wo jiao andrew", and as i type, i, um, deftly select the proper characters from a list (but i had to check over it with a translator first, because there are mistakes like "i am very Burma"), and so what comes out is "你好, 我 叫 andrew". but the program even knows what the most common words are, so i don't even have to choose sometimes!

我 现在 写 中文, 用 我的 电脑. 我 最近 学 中国话, 可是 我的 语法 不很好. 我 知道 一些 词, 可是 很少.

我 现在 认识 一个 中国人, 她 也 是 一个 学生 在 louisville大学. 她 是 从 上海. 我 要 说话 中文 跟 她, 可是 我 是 很羞涩. 我 喜欢 她, 可是 要是 她 喜欢 我, 不知道.

it only took me like 15 minutes to type this. the chinese part, i mean. that doesn't include the first 3 tries, where i kept deleting the whole thing trying to copy it to the spellchecker.
I have an idea. I should go around the lab, and my office, and probably my car, and my house with all the tables and drawers and things, and find all the paperclips which I've bent and twisted into funny shapes, and take pictures of them.

Then, I could take the pictures and resize them, and upload them to my ftp thingie, and then make a little presentation of them on my website thingie, here, where you're reading this.

Along with each picture, I could include some clever comment, like 'what does this one look like', because none of them look like anything except for weird squiggles of metal, and the comments would have to be clever or else they'd be extremely boring.

Following that, I could look for all the little scraps of paper that I've folded up into squares or accordions or little paper half-airplanes, and maybe take pictures of them, and them post them in a presentation like I outlined above except with paper scraps rather than paperclips, and including clever comments etc with each one.

The other day, this was Friday I think, I was at the post office with my friend the Korean girl who shares my office. She was writing her address to Seoul on a package, while I was pulling these long, skinny strips of newsprint out of a stack of school newspapers. Sometimes, I think, they get cut wrong, and there are double cuts along the tops, and you get these really long narrow strips of newsprint. So, I spent the next five minutes folding those strips into a really, really long paper accordion! It was amazing.

Come to think of it, I could devote this entire thingie to the little pieces of trash and the little random objects that I collect to play with at my desk while I sit here, typing or reading, working or wasting time. Particularly when I'm reading, and don't have anything to do with my fingers, I need to be twisting paperclips or spinning lightbulbs. Or, when someone comes to talk to me, sometimes I play with this BNC cable T-connector which should probably be over with the other BNC cables.

Also, sometimes I take things apart and can't put them together again, and so there are lots of little bits of broken instruments in and on my desk. Also, I keep all the dead batteries I find and put them in my desk drawer. I need to straighten my office. Maybe I'll do that this weekend. It's fall break. I will need something extracurricular to do.

No pictures.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Sylvania, you are a lightbulb
300 watts, so very bright
But the coils in your bulb are shattered
I shake you, I hear them
And I see them roll about
You will never glow again
I'm sorry
But I like your reflector
And those two prongs in your back
You can live on my desk
For now.

Monday, September 19, 2005


boy, that was a long post the other day! and sort of embarassing! i think i'll leave it there, though, as an example of what not to write down for other people.

anyway, my confrontation with the weekend was a draw. i managed to read a lot but didn't write a thing. except an outline. and i smoked 2 cigarettes saturday night and then felt really, really sick until i went to sleep.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

i hate to push box hammer can off the top, but i feel like i have to do it.


ah, the weekend. my new enemy. i will destroy it through constant action!

tomorrow morning i figure i'll get up and go wash some clothes. if i do this often enough, i will only have to wear the clothes i like! last time i went, i took my old CD player and listened to a metallica CD. it was fun! i got the CD player and the metallica CD both when i was 15! probably two of my oldest things.

and, i have to make some presentation and write a paper for some class i'm taking. maybe i'll do that.

today i took my first electrical engineering test! it seemed easy. i was one of the first to finish. do not think i am smart. one of the questions was to figure the resistivity for some material given its resistance and its diameter and its length. i didn't know, so i made up an equation! it seemed to give a number which seemed about right, and i had no other ideas, so there it went. maybe the real equation was more complicated and that's why i finished so fast. for example.

also, i bought a pack of cigarettes! i wanted lucky strikes, but they didn't have those. then, i wanted the unfiltered pall malls, but they didn't have those. so i'm stuck with unfiltered camels like a loser. but, it's something to do. with the weekend.

i have a feeling that one thing i will not be doing this weekend is: interacting with another human being. except at the laundromat, where the old lady will give me a raffle ticket. and maybe i'll go buy my lunch somewhere. i'll have to say something customary to the lunch person.

weekend, my new enemy. i will destroy the weekend.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Box, Hammer, Can

"In what be?" say the Box.

"Be in the Box," say the Hammer.

"Bee in the Box?" say the Box, getting scared.

"No, in the Box be," say the Hammer.

"Oh, see," say the Box. "Where go the Hammer?"

"Hammer go to Hammer," say the Can.

"In what be?" say the Box.

"Can in the Hammer," say the Can.

"Hammer in the Can, Bee in the Box," say the Box.

"No," say the Hammer.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

songs for you

a sampling of my midi directory. some new, some old. some complete, some incomplete. all repeat, repeat, repeat. have fun. i recommend playing in alphabetical order. prepare for jarring discontinuities, obnoxious instrumentation, poor soundcard translation, and way too many notes.
















Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the Hurricane Bunker

hi folks

man, what a hurricane. that was a really big hurricane. a bunch of stuff got smashed! man.

i was talking to margaret last night about my idea for a hurricane bunker. i got the idea a few years ago. back then, it was just a concrete bomb shelter installed on a beach. the idea has been much improved since then. as i described it to her, it got more and more sophisticated. i thought i should make a public proposal for construction of a hurricane bunker, so if any one out there wants me to build one, they should send me about a million dollars right now.

okay, so, basically it would just be a small, bathroom sized bunker, maybe just big enough for one person, maybe two. it would probably be round, shaped sort of like a flying saucer or an Advil. it would have to be watertight and reinforced against impact, and it would have to be bouyed so it couldn't sink. also, it would be a bunker, not a boat, and i wouldn't want to be washed out to sea, so it would be attached to the ground by a set of retractable, tensioned, spring loaded cables. this way, it could float on the surges of water, but it couldn't float away, and it wouldn't sink either.

of course, it would have to have big, thick viewing windows. also, the top of the bunker would be decked with armored, caged floodlamps. man, you could even put a rudder on the thing and try to maintain control through the storm, but it would probably just be a big violent ride. at any rate, it might be nice to put those tensioned cables under some sort of control, so you could tighten one up or loosen it if you didn't like your position or your attitude. if it could be constructed light enough, it would be like flying yourself in a kite; with good aerodynamic design maybe you could do some flying in those 150mph winds!

inside would basically be a cockpit, with padded walls and a pilot's chair built into the main construction of the bunker. you'd have to be strapped in, of course. it would probably be a good idea to put the inner cockpit in some sort of suspension with shock absorbers and everything, otherwise all the slamming and crashing around might kill you or break your neck.

considering that this thing is so small, and that it's able to fly and ride on storm surges, it should be small enough to fit on the back of a big truck. so, you could go out to meet hurricanes head on, installing yourself on beaches wherever you thought the roughest part was going to land. one problem would be grounding the cables; how could you reliably attach the thing to the ground? i'm sure there would be a ton of crazy forces on the thing, twisting it around, snapping it back and forth, etc., and i wouldn't want my cables to break loose, or to snap, or something.

this is my idea. i think it's a great idea. margaret says maybe crazy rich people would buy hurricane bunkers (maybe they should be called hurricane cockpits, or hurricane cockpit bunkers; HCB's. i don't know.). just like how people have hot air balloon hobbies, there could be hurricane riders, storm surge afficianados. it just seems like a terrible waste to run away from such great storms. i love storms.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Saturday Haiku

Trying to be light,
Hey, maybe write a haiku,
Such a bad morning.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Revised Haiku for the Space Shuttle

March? Not until March?
Give someone else the money,
It's not working out.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Haiku for the space shuttle

Space Shuttle! You're back!
I love you, and, I hate you-
Let's share this coffee.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

the murf has inspired me to post midi songs i have made (the first of these also has a nautical theme, you see):

I could turn them into MP3s so I could guarantee the sound reproduction, but I think most sound cards have the same midi synthesizers now, so I guess it's okay. I would just worry about the balance, like whether all the tracks can be heard in the right proportions. They are all very noisy and repetitive, that is my fault, because I like things that way.

This one is has been around for a couple of years maybe, but the arrangement is new. Banjo, clavichord, and electric piano. It's the best of the three because it's very short and also very complete.

This one was made last week. I like it, but it's not complete at all, it just sort of repeats and builds and then suddenly stops because i couldn't think of what to do next.

This one is like five years old! It's a new arrangement, so it's fair to put it here. I made it when living in Andy Holt big tall building. It's sort of long and maybe boring, but i like it and it's in 5/4 time. Also, the melody is played by a midi bagpipe! Turn down the volume, watch out!


Monday, July 11, 2005

we've gotten wider

This is a jumping spider. Jumping spiders are everywhere. They are very small. This photograph is artificially enlarged, so do not worry. They are smarter than every other spider. This one got a 98 on an IQ test, which is very good for a spider. If you catch a jumping spider be careful, because they know what your nose is and they are able to get there by jumping through the air.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

That's strange. I must have dreamed last night that I posted a long, complicated, probably meaningless post on this thing. Now I go to look, and I see my previous post having to do with my frustration that no one seems interested in talking with me about what a year looks like. I tell you, that's what it's like for me in the real world, too. No one wants to talk about what a year looks like. Sometimes I wonder if it makes me sad.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

fine, then

everyone can claim that they don't see the year as a flattened ring laid on a flat, black, invisible surface. but i know it isn't true. i know that they see it.

hmm... nothing else.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I just ate a candy bar,
I just drank some coffee-
Where could I get some

You see, I can't think of anything worth writing publicly about. So, I offer poetry to the world, poetry ripped from the darkest corners of my most innermost being.

So, tomorrow James (supposedly) and I drive about 860 miles to Texas. That's a long drive! But, luckily, it's not as long as the drive to Reno, since Reno's in Nevada, and Nevada is sort of on the other side of Texas. I mean, it's sort of on the other side, and sort of above it. I think. You see, I have sort of this map in my mind, and I see Nevada, which is where Reno is, being somewhere up and to the left of Texas. But, you know, we're sort of going down and left to get to Texas, so maybe it would be a straight shot to Reno. I could check but it wouldn't be worth it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

You may not believe it, but this entire post is a palindrome. That's right, it's exactly the same from forwards to backwards, and not just letter-by-letter, but also word-by-word! I didn't even have to think too hard about it, it all came very naturally. Even as I'm writing this, I can insert random phrases like 'this is a very nice handbag', and yet this entire post is still a palindrome. It's hard to believe, I know, but sometimes you just have to have faith that things are the way someone tells you they are, even if deep down you know that they aren't. Faith is very important, especially in the contruction of palindromic website posts. This morning I bought two pieces of black felt, for just 30 cents!

Monday, May 02, 2005


Sadly, Andrew has been eaten by all the papers he leaves lying around his office space. He may be missed.

Evidence is attached:
  • office

  • computer

  • desk

  • desk1

  • desk2

  • floor

  • screw embedding all that in html, i say. it wasn't worth it.

    Friday, April 29, 2005

    what would this alternate universe be like?

    Thursday, April 28, 2005

    It's amazing.

    At Symbolic Milepost, Bush to Hold News Conference Tonight By RICHARD W. STEVENSON 5:27 PM ETThe president will make his case for revamping Social Security and reassert himself at a moment when he is under pressure on a variety of fronts.• Live Video at 8 PM ET• Congress Reaches Deal on 2006 BudgetFrist Stands Firm on Filibuster DemandsIraq's Assembly Overwhelmingly Approves New Government By ROBERT F. WORTH 2:22 PM ETIraq's national assembly voted to approve a Shiite-led cabinet today, creating the first elected government in Iraqi history.• Audio Slide Show: John F. Burns of The TimesComplete Coverage: The Reach of WarNew Data Offer More Signs That Economy Is Weakening By JENNIFER BAYOT 3:10 PM ETThe U.S. economy slowed during the first quarter to its weakest pace in two years, the government reported today.• Text: Advance GDP Report (bea.gov)• Stocks Fall on Economic WorriesWoodpecker Thought to Be Extinct Is Sighted in Arkansas By JAMES GORMAN 12:18 PM ETThe ivory-billed woodpecker has been sighted in the watery tupelo swampland of a wildlife refuge in Arkansas.• Video: Footage of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

    Like I said, it's amazing.

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    how does everyone like my new mustache?
    i have to confess, I sort of copied it from this other famous guy. i used Photoshop! he's dead though, that other guy i forget his name, so i don't think anyone should mind.

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    bowl of cereal
    coffee, some tomato soup
    bite of macaroon

    Wednesday, April 06, 2005

    at this moment i'm gathering energy for a car ride to Bowling Green Kentucky! i'm going to drive there, in my recently slightly repaired blue Toyota car of nearly 7 years (and of seven modifiers! no, eight! no, nine! no...), to drop off a proposal which might allow me to get paid again for another year!

    the topic of the proposal is behavioral testing of potential perceptual and cognitive modes of common household appliances, specifically toasters. the null hypothesis is that there will turn out to be no perceptual or cognitive modes whatsoever for toasters, though i don't know if there will be enough external validity to extend those findings to other appliances.

    but, we never know what will happen. science can reveal wonderful things to us, if we listen closely to it, and try to estimate whether or not it has cognitive or perceptual modes which would serve as a substrate for the admittedly anthropomorphic property of revalatory capacity. this doesn't mean anything at all. i am an idiot.

    now i have to drive! drive drive drive! drive!

    Thursday, March 24, 2005

    What a boring font.

    I can't believe that the doodly-do poem got more discussion, however indirect, than the toaster-being proposal. Maybe I should try to merge the two:

    A toaster doesn't know
    that it's a toaster, oaster, oaster
    It doesn't see me frying scrambled eggs

    The toaster doesn't think
    that it's a toaster, oaster, oaster
    The toaster doesn't know that I have legs

    My toaster doesn't love me
    but it's okay, oaster, oaster
    It doesn't like to listen to music, either.

    Monday, March 21, 2005

    This was not written by me: (though it was typed by me)

    "We do,
    doodly do, doodly do, doodly do,
    What we must,
    muddily must, muddily must, muddily must,
    Muddily do,
    muddily do, muddily do, muddily do,
    Until we bust,
    bodily bust, bodily bust, bodily bust."

    Tuesday, March 08, 2005

    I have occasionally been thinking, over the past two or three days, about what it must be like to be a toaster. I don't know why I decided to use 'toaster' as my object, and I haven't actually thought of anything definite about, or decided on, what it must be like to be a toaster. But, still:

    I figure that for most of the time, for a toaster, it's just the same as most of the other time; that is, things don't change much, from moment to moment, for a toaster. A toaster can't look around at different things, or think about different things, or remember different things. But, at a given moment, which for a toaster is much like most other given moments, it must be lots of different things to be a toaster. It's metal, and plastic, and some electricity, and probably a lot of bread crumbs, and other things.

    Now I feel like I'm getting somewhere. Because, while it may be one thing to be a piece of metal, or a bread crumb, it is definitely something different to be a toaster. I will call this, here, 'toaster-being'.

    But, maybe, the reason for picking a toaster was something to some degree explicit in my own brain, because there's such an obvious point to make: lucky toasters get a minute of excitement every day! Or more! So, for a toaster, it's mostly just toaster-being, but then, at some point in the day (we don't have to assume that toasters have days for this to be valid syntax), there's sudden spring-loaded tension, tension, electricity coursing, heat, radiation of light, and then sudden tension release! It sounds exciting. I think this is why I picked 'toaster'.

    Other suggestions on potential variations, or further specifications, on the general realm of toaster-being? I'm sure they exist. I might not think of them, though.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2005

    Hereafter, this shall be my icon,
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.

    Saturday, February 12, 2005

    I get sick of such a long post at the top of the list. This one is shorter, refreshing, cleansing.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Here are some facts about why things are the way they are:
    1. Most of the energy in the frequency spectrum of a natural signal (noise, image, etc.) is at the low frequencies, and it drops off as a function of 1/f. This is because a big thing can have smaller things on it (like a field can have grass and rocks on it) but a small thing can't have bigger things on it. And also, as something gets smaller by x amount (i.e. * it by 1/x), its surface area gets another 1/x smaller (i.e. * it by 1/x squared). So the first 1/x is scaling wavelength, the inverse of frequency, and the second 1/x is like the potential energy at x (yes, at itself). Amazing!

    So things have to be that way.

    2. Most of the energy in natural scenes is at horizontal, and then vertical, orientations. This is because of gravity. Gravity makes things flat, causing horizons and other horizontal contours, and also vertical contours if you're up close and looking down on it. Living things, for one, contribute a lot to vertical energy. Otherwise (if they were dead) they'd be flat. So, on earth at least, you have tons of vertical symmetry, because they proper way for a thing to be is upright. Trees are vertical, people are vertical, cats are vertical, etc. So things also have to be that way.

    3. Your brain already knows these things, even if you didn't know it knew. It's ready to process things in the environment according to regularities that it expects to find all over the place. This saves you time and energy, so you can expend it getting better at playing video games.

    Now you've learned something! Tell everyone you know! But not engineers, they'll get picky on you. I hope no engineers are reading this.

    Thursday, February 03, 2005

    Any day now I'll think of something else to write about. Any day now I'll think of something. Any day now. Any day.

    Any day now.

    Friday, January 28, 2005

    Assuming you were born and lived your entire life in the year 1996 (that's where these deathrates are from, USA), here's the likelihood that you'd make it to the end of each of these age groups:


    Obviously I didn't include the likelihood that you were aborted right off, as I give you a 100% chance of being born. I have a feeling that figures I'd find on that matter would be controversial. I'm not trying to be controversial, I'm trying to make you feel better! But I don't think it would take but a percentage point or so off. Your chances don't start to really hurt until you get into the 30's (or the 50's if you're an optimist). Also, you see that if you don't allow for being a partial person (i.e. rounding down), your chances suffer.

    I'm not too impressed with myself at seeing this chart, as I have around a 96% chance of having made it so far, and less than a 1% chance of screwing it up in the next 10 years. Easy!