Archive for September, 2004

Walk up pointing the field strength meter at them, scribble something in your clipboard, then mutter something ominous to yourself while walking away

Met up with with No* again today for some food / movies / playing with computers. Or was this the “Let’s prowl around in my ghetto little lab” extravaganza? (I really should write this stuff down the day it happens. Meh.) Well, let’s just say that any girl that is heard to without-provocation utter the words “let’s put Linux on it!” is pretty damned cool.

You are currently reading the bloggg of the Worst Girl-Body-Language Reading Guy Ever, but after careful review of my (substantially less than perfect) memory of the evening, …fuck, I should have kissed her. (I think. dammit…why’s this all gotta be so hard?)

QOTD: (Watching Lithuania whoop the USA’s ass in basketball during the Olympics, possibly not recently) “I wonder how many young Lithuanian kids are going to grow up not knowing America also has white people in it.”

Geeks of the World

Haha, I’m up at 7ish AM on a Sunday. Who, me? Yes, me. (Pause for horrified screams) Probably a good thing, after happening to wake up* just after 2PM (!) the day before. (A few days of in-the-lab-past-midnight-rigging-demos coupled with cloudcover the thickness of Homer Simpson’s skull will do that to ya, I guess. Oh, and if I never have to design another SMPS from parts scrounged literally off the lab floor, I can die a happy man.) Anyway, the purpose of this random early rising is to meet some equally random geeks (via Craigslist, hah) at the MIT swapfest, apparently a huge periodic event during the summery months where an insane amount of geeks get together and buy/sell/trade computer/HAM/electronic gear.

Anyway, it was a good time. Met No*, who seems pretty interesting, and all of her roommates. All of whom were pleasantly nor–all right, maybe I won’t use the dirty N word, but nobody showed up with running chainsaws or exuded any kind of exceptionally creepy vibe. (Unlike the other person I met up with via CL, but that’s another story.) After the swapfest we grabbed some grub; No* had to split, but us of the remaining group went to see Ghost in the Shell 2 afterward.

*where I define waking up as actually hauling my ass out of bed, rather than the multiple occurrences of coming up in some indeterminate state (with some vague memory of dreams nightmares preoccupations involving switchmode power supplies) and falling back into some kind of non-restful sleep for a little while longer.

QOTD: (L*, upon seeing a Halloween cake decorated with chocolate tombstones) “Ooh, a father’s day cake!”

The endless network outage into the night, and the category 5 noose

The internet done died again. Has been happening on and off the past couple days at the new place, which I had been attributing to crappy cablemodem service. One of the downstairs people was idly suspecting a conflict between our various routing and switching boxen, so we played with the settings a bit, restarted everything, it seemed to all work, and everyone went their merry ways… until it died again this evening. Heretofore they’d been going down and resetting the routery bits everytime (modem, little black ghetto router [theirs], little blue Linksys AP [ours]), but it seems that today, the Downstairs People came up with a different repair procedure, which involved ripping out all our equipment and throwing it on the floor. After the most recent outage, I came down to the basement to find this and hear Downstairs People stomping around in an agitated manner. (And upon hearing me come down to examine the cause of the most recent outage, something to the effect of “…I hear ’em! They’re going down there again to FUCK WITH IT, I can hear ’em down there.”) So yeah, big showdown between Upstairs People (or myself and Er*, anyway) and Downstairs People, the the downstairs’ router-ripper and resident hothead acting as self-declared network expert.

Sparky McHothead: “…anyway, so (pointing to 10meg hub I threw in to run Ethereal on the wired segment and see what was happening) your hub’s IP address is probably conflicting with our router…”
Me: “It’s a hub, it doesn’t have an IP address.”
Sparky McHothead: “Er..MAC address, I mean…”
Me: (just slaps forehead and braces for a looong night…)

Eventually got nowhere with hothead guy, who is presumably the name behind the cablemodem (which we were all going to be sharing, as part of the original move-in agreement), so I ended up turning my computer this way and that until I could pick up an unsecured wireless network from a neighbor’s house, hop onto it and NAT the entire upstairs-house through it. Yay, 10k/s and at least 2 address translations between us and the real world. Something tells me I’ve got a long dark future of tech support ahead for a while…

Heh, it also turns out that
1) So*, one of my new roommates here, grew up about 20 minutes from me in the ‘burbs of Chicago. Cool.
2) Er*, heading the whole roomie-replacement shindig at ### Princeton, also had ‘the crazy lady’ (recognized immediately by description during my account of harrowing house-showing week, trying to give bus directions over bad cellphone connections to people who could barely speak English, etc.) show up to check out this new place. Mostly seeming generally creepy-crawly, and picking at little nicks/marks/blemishes on walls and doorjambs going “…ooh…..this is damaged, yeah…” (wierd, because given the exterior and the generally-falling-apart of the place, I wouldn’t have expected her to even come inside given the response to my old place).

QOTD: (my office, during a valiant effort to reinflate a basketball without the proper tools)
JP: “We’re a bunch of fucking MacGuyvers over here.”
DG: “Yeah, not just MacGuyvers, but uh, MacGuyvers having sex.”
TG: “That’s some imagery I just didn’t need.”

Ask your doctor about America’s growing drug problem

Reading the paper today I came across another one. An ad prodding me to ask my doctor if (some drug) may be right for me. Does anyone else find it bothersome that drugs–mind altering, body altering, prescription-only DRUGS–are being marketed directly to Joe Sixpack as a consumer commodity item? If you want to see some blood boil, ask your doctor about how many random patients have been in there that week asking about random prescription drugs they saw advertised on television, with scant or no information as to the drug’s actual purpose.

I really love it when the drug company is too busy trying to convince you that you need it to give any indication as to what the drug actually does. Some arbitrarily long time ago, I was watching TV and a drug commercial came on. It showed a guy sitting on a couch. All of the sudden the guy takes off running, and you see/hear…


With such comprehensive information about this little pill, I’m currently operating under the assumption that it’s some kind of weapons-grade laxative.

A little while back a couple guys I knew in college, a communications major and his roommate, the PFY, had the semi-serious idea of marketing their own drug. The scene would open on a person or persons frolicking across a too-green grassy field set against a process blue sky, bouncy music playing in the background, dogs chasing butterflies, and so forth.

(In that canonically deep, too-soothing, ask-your-doctor-about voice) “Ask your doctor about PLACEBO. …”

More frolicking; saturated yellow dandelions; waving blades of grass

“…Side effects were minimal, and comparable to those of a sugar pill. …” (and yes, I have actually heard this line in a drug commercial. was it a diabetes drug?)

The goal would be to see how many of these brainwashed consumers would indeed talk to their doctors about the wonder drug Placebo (C12H22O11), and ultimately buy some when their doctors could stop stifling giggles long enough to write them out a prescription. Don’t know if the ad will ever happen, but its contribution to science alone (“yes, brainwashed, but HOW brainwashed?”), not to mention public policy, would be well worth it…


Anyway, as the days grow visibly shorter and that general blahness sets in, I’m sort of absentmindedly examining the entrails of my last relationship. (Ha, that even predates this bloggg. Wow, that’s been a while.) It’s all there. The external disturbances. The oscillatory impulse response. Pre-ringing just before the point of failure, the runaway condition, the underdamped output ringing, hot and cold, hot and cold, after I (ahem, H(s)) was removed from the loop, gradually settling to zero.

Ha, I don’t know why I’m thinking distractedly about controls theory right now. Or dating. Or both of these at the same time. I must be a nerd or something.

Anyway, I’m thinking that I need to date a girl that writes about her daily life in an online diary/journal/blog thingy, especially if she doesn’t know that I know about it. As y’all may be well aware, I am a fullblooded geek-out artist, which can lead you to form some accurate conclusions about my girl-reading skills. With a public-secret journal though, if I’m somehow fucking up big time, I will actually know about it…some girls (not to generalize) have this tendency of, you know, not actually letting you know stuff like that (or at least not until it’s too late…)

Oh yeah… In googling for the above link, I found out that closed-loop also means something entirely different (and needless to say, having nothing to do with linear control systems). And kinda wish I hadn’t.

QOTD: “Jared? Come down to ELAB, I can’t reproduce.” – Me, diagnosing a heisenbug between LabView and some proprietary drivers. (It was several minutes before I realized what I’d just said…)