Archive for January, 2005

Vericon 2005

Met up with J.R., Scott, Jesuses 1 & 2 and some other people Friday night; as usual there was entirely way-lots-of cooking, Katamari, geeking around… and an interminable (but fun) round of Taboo; Engineer Geeks vs. Everyone Else. (Being scientifically minded makes it just too easy sometimes. For example, “Poles”. Taboo words mainly relating to flags, rods, fences, Poland, and so on. But no restriction on zeros, or right-half planes, or magnetic mono….) Eventually crashed out in preparation for getting up bright and early (noonish), making a ton of food, then heading out to Vericon, a geek convention held on the Harvard campus. It ended up with kind of a slow start as everyone went their separate ways–the videogaming room, with huddles formed around involved games of Katamari and Smash Bros.; the Magic tournamenty area, where it smelled like nobody had bathed in a week, even though it was only the second day of the convention; board gaming; art; anime. Later on there was a cosplay chess game featuring a buch of, well, costumed people playing live-action chess. (And yes, there was even a Duct Tape Girl! She was, like, 14 though.) J.R., Vi* and myself popped in to a pretty good story-telling session in the next room. (J.R. kind of popped in and out (and napped)). At one point, two writers made up and told a story in realtime, after soliciting from the audience-group a few characters, places, and things the story was to involve (among them: Twinkies, and the King of All Cosmos). Which in itself was amazing to me, I’m no good in realtime. (Heck, I’m much better “talking” to someone over instant message; can barely carry a conversation in live conversation form.) But here’s the catch on top of the catch: they alternated back and forth, each in turn supplying the next word to the story. At some point I got called out on an emergency food-eating session at Brother Bob’s, or some similarly-named (bar)becue house, with the members of the gang that didn’t get sucked away into Magic tournaments and the like. Good food, but it also reminded me of why I don’t really come to places like this, sitting right next to a big loud speaker blaring late-nineties alternacrap, not being able to hear myself think, let alone hear each other talk, or give directions to people over the phone. Eventually escaped Bob’s Alterna-Shack with a tummyfull of pulled pork and ears ringing, met up with No* at the T and dragged her on back to the Room Where Things Were Happening on the far side of campus. While the rest of the free world played pool and/or attempted to dance, we staked out a less-loud corner and talked computers, assembly language, and ideas about Cool Hardware That Should Exist. Yes, we’re wierd – but in a good way. She had to ditch out before the T turned into pumpkin pi for the night. Around 12:30ish it came to pass that The Place Aforementioned was turning into, if not anything pumpkin-related, a very dark, very locked little place where people shouldn’t be anymore. So everyone got escorted out and we made way for a few unlocked rooms in the science center while scouts went in search of actual student lounges/etc. to descend upon. Ended up with probably 100 of the remaining crowd packed into a wayyy too small lounge with foosball tables, air hockey and similar, while the search for an ever better landing place continued. Somehow, it ended up that the whole kit-n-caboodle made way for an unlocked/unguarded dining hall, where it helped itself to all the hot chocolate and caffeinated soda it could suck out of the fountain machines, followed by a way-too-ornate lounge big enough to hold everyone. Played Carcasonnes until the wee hours (wait…it already was the wee hours…so, the wee-er hours, I guess), ’til it was eventually decided it was time to return to the land of beds and sleeping. Scott offered to drive everyone in his Big Ass Minivan, but couldn’t remember where it was parked. While looking for it, passed loudly by a Staples with a large, basementy picture window where a lone Staples Guy was staring into a monitor. I assume loudly because he looked up and kind of glared at us. With Scott still unable to find his car, we re-passed the window going the other direction and got glared again. Waved, although this did not seem to affect the nature of the glare. Finally found it and made for J.R.’s place, probably 5-ish. Beds never looked so good.

They didn’t. Nope….they did.

The Prince of All Cosmos.

The Pretender to the Throne.

QOTD: “What fraction of Americans believe Wrestling is real and NASA is fake?” – Van Snyder, JPL

Aha, so that’s where my bandwidth is going!

After the endless move-to-new-webhost, I had a look at the new and improved stats generator and found John C. Dvorak’s blog in the top 10, by virtue of hotlinking images from the server. If he wasn’t the only PC tech writer with a big pair of brass ones, I’d be slightly cheesed. But hey…with 120GBytes/mo, I shall laugh at linkage. (Come on Slashdot, do your worst!)

I feel these engines power down, I feel this heart begin to bleed (Redisindetermination)

Oh, hi Murphy, it’s me. Yeah, right you were…just rub it in why don’cha. Wall time: ~ 6 days. Execution time: ~ 3 hours… Woo, obsolescence.

So I don’t know… maybe I totally misread the events of the last couple weeks (they seemed like reasonable enough open-loop assumptions in the absence of any information to the contrary, but on the other hand, I’m just plain not good at this.) Maybe my anachronistic notions of dating, etiquette, chivalry, respect and other fossils are as outmoded as I am. But seeing the girl I kinda sorta thought was interested making out with some random guy we just met at a convention (with an existing primary girlfriend, no less) right in front of my nose after not much more than a name-and-number exchange (like jeez, at least wait until my back is turned or something…and as for you, dude, at least make an effort to call her by name without looking at the nametag) just leaves me to ponder a great many things.

I suppose that even the best protocol stack in the known universe isn’t much help if the physical layer implementation just isn’t a competitive offering. I was really kind of hoping that with the intelligent and logical girl I thought she was, that would not be such an issue as with the mindless forever-stuck-in-high-school crowd I have the mispleasure of being accustomed to, forever letting their reproductive organs make an end-run around their brains and exchanging meaningful conversation, common interests, even just general compatibility for fleeting hormonal bliss.

For some reason I’ve been cordially invited to tag along as nth wheel this Tuesday in some date-like coffeeshop setting, and who knows what else. But yeah…I’m thinking if I want to sit around generally ignored and watch strangers make out, I could just go to any random party. Now I am left just kind of confusedly wondering how to proceed from here. I guess I completely misread things, but after a divergence that spectacular (“I’m not insane…it’s just that my version of reality is beginning to diverge from reality’s version of reality.” – Me) I can’t help but wonder how far off I still am. And for some reason, in blatant defiance of logic, still just couldn’t seem to walk away. Should I? Could I, even, if I tried? Dear bloggg, didn’t we have this conversation before?

So anyway, the con itself:
I guess it’s one of those things that’s made or broken by the people you’re with. Ignoring all of the forgoing (admittedly, not the easiest thing in the world to do), it wasn’t bad. Hung out with J.R.; Iz* kind of came and went throughout the night, and also complained about ‘losing out’ to meowing guy (Vultures, every last on’na ya). G+M split early, but I think I have an open invitation to be tied up and dungeonized in some kinky and depraved manner sometime. Who knows, maybe someday, I’m game. J.R. and I went out and scarfed some pad thai, chicken + peanut sauce and a few other things at nearby Penang before returning. After bumming around looking for parties and being slightly disappointed at how quiet things were on the loud floors, a little before midnight we found some people who, as nonchalantly and indirectly as possible, invited us into a rocket fuel party. Interesting stuff, this – A bucket of water, one 750ml bottle of Everclear, one can each of concentrated lemon/lime for flavor, and the funnest ingredient of them all, dry ice. The claim being that when the whole concoction is frozen to a slushy consistency, the alcohol molecules are safely caged inside ice molecules, making it taste like the flavory stuff instead of booze. I’m a little suspicious of the science of all this, but it seemed to work out; it was definitely more tasty in frozen form, while the melted runoff had a bit of a grainy boozy taste. I took it easy though for a number of reasons. J had 2, claimed to be inebriated, but didn’t seem it. She managed to drag me out onto the dance floor somehow, where I made my usual feeble effort at not looking like a fool :-) . Finally we all braved the insane quantities of snow back to her place around 4-something, where she was still alert enough to play around on the computer! (Me, I pretty much crashed out immediately. Yay late nights office-ing and cexx-ing, heh)

Anyway, made my way back home the following early afternoonish (despite the horizontally-“falling” snow even 16 reference floors up), where the T was slowed to a crawl due to “the weather-related conditions”, as reported by the intercom system (they couldn’t have possibly meant SNOW, could they? Resisted urge to channel George Carlin and rant about rampant and unnecessary language expansion), to find my and my housemate’s cars both no longer in it. Woo, voyage to impound-ville tomorrow to retrieve them, picked fresh from the road that doesn’t actually have a right side or wrong side, because this is based on house numbers, which this street, to my knowledge, doesn’t actually have. War on city hall in the early planning phases, scraping together sizable amounts of green, fluid cash in the more immediate works.

Meh. It’s been my experience that sometimes life just likes to hand you a big warm pile of shit every so often. The saving grace is that 99% of the time it won’t kill you….and if it does, it can only do so once.

QOTD: “Creativity is the ability to see relationships where none exist.” – Thomas Disch

QOTD: “We play make-believe in such things as free will and destiny. But are we just machines, dancing on the gearworks of our chemistry?” – Me (Chemicals and Electricity)

Found this in my snail today…

Credit cards. And ads for a jillion more credit cards. My hand’s getting tired from writing DECEASED on all these things and tossing them back in the mail. What’s going on, did I miss a payment, and these vultures are hearing the carrion call of fees and interest charges, or is my credit history just so good that the great credit wizards bow before me, each bestowing his gift in the form of a card with more platinum than a space-qualified photovoltaic array? ( /me dives for the big red Abort Rant button before several more pages are consumed…)

Anyway, one of them was the replacement to my actual expiring-this-month card, so I opened it, to find the following line catch my attention:

“…And don’t forget the Wells Fargo Credit Defense(R) Service.

When you enroll, the plan will defer your payment for up to 12 months should you be come involuntarily unemployed, disabled, […] or suffer a loss of life […]. The temporary payment deferral is subject to certain elegibility requirements […].”

Woohoo, if I get randomly hit by a bus, my corpsicle will have up to a full year to make my next payment! How considerate. (Just watch “being a live human” be one of those elegibility requirements, though.)

QOTD: “Because I’m a gentleman. Ok not really, but I play one in real life.” -Me, on things left undiscussed


It snowed that night, but walking home I don’t think I left any footprints in it.

That little voice of Murphy is still screaming in my ear that this can’t be real; that at any moment I’m going to wake up in my cold little room, shielding my eyes against the light of a much less colorful world as an anonymous morning zoo spills quietly from my alarm clock. But fuck that. It’s the best dream I’ve had in a long time, and I intend to hold onto it and enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

Na*: i really want to protest and get very angry cuz i have never started my own protest before
Me: is that a valid reason for protest?

Lan Party Potluck Pizza Thingie

This weekend, a crazy little potluck + LAN party at J.R.’s place with No*, (new guy) Z*, and a whole bunch of people whose names I can’t remember. We made just Entirely Too Much Pizza (and cookies….oh, the cookies), hung out just shooting the shit, playing DDR and Katamari…so much random other stuff, that we didn’t even get to the LAN-ing at all. Ended the night with this crazy game (telephone Pictionary? Or something to that effect), iteratively captioning drawings, shifting clockwise, and drawing captions (often with illogically convergent results…i.e. the theme of the last one matching that of the first after having taken a completely circuitous path in between). (“Welcome to Boston!”)

QOTD: “Finally, a valid excuse to instant message people who are in the same room as you!” – on the subject of No* monumentally losing her voice

QOTD: (paraphrase) “And with that, the world’s leading researchers had finally discovered where Teletubbies came from.” – one of many captions

Yes, this is a real street.

J.R. saw this in/near Manhattan and took a picture. I was so skeptical I had to Mapquest it, but sure enough, She Shits Me Not. (was I a city planner in a past life?)

intersection of Seaman & Cumming

New year

I was here in Boston for Christmas, nothing too exciting there, but then headed home for New Years’ by way of NYC (to see VNV Nation live, what else?), where J.R. was spending the break. Up bright and early (yeah yeah, shaddap) to catch the Chinatown-to-Chinatown wormhole bus, then we spent the entire day prowling around the city. A day filled with Dim Sum, and artsy-crafty things, the sights and sounds, Times Square (the infamous ball being slowly hoisted into position as we watched), a sheet music library several times the size of my hometown’s everything-under-the-sun library, and Yuka, The Best Damn Sushi Ever. (All right, my first officially, but it was damn good. Quoth J: “You’ve lost your eel virginity!”) And of course, VNV, which was amazing in and of itself. And packed, as in one-degree-of-freedom packed. (The opener, CodeR23, was amusing itself because it consisted of two guys standing around essentially motionless on-stage with headphones on and Powerbooks opened in front of them, one playing a DVD to the projectors and the other playing music…maybe a realtime softsynth, maybe MP3s? “Dood, it’s Kraftwerk, like, totally.”)

After that (heh…whaddya mean after that? Didn’t go immediately home and come in for a hard landing on a soft bed?), we were still pumped and didn’t feel like calling it a night just yet, so…. sneaking into Columbia Univ.! J gave me the mini grand tour of the campus, then defied the Ft. Knox-like security (down a concrete stairwell of sorts, through an unlocked fence gate, to a door left propped open by a prehistoric PC power supply) to navigate the interior. Interior meaning the network of tunnels underneath the entire campus, hehhe. So anyway, we’re on safari through the huge bits of machinery and pipework that make up the campus’ seamy underbelly, and I stop for a minute to get a (bad, in-the-dark, dispose-o-cam) picture. Good thing too, because we round the corner and there’s some random guy also walking around down here. (If not for the photographic delay, we’d have rounded the corner and practically bumped right into the dude.) Anyway, he turns around and sees us, and since we have no clue who this dude is or what he’s doing down here at 3 in the morning (Random bum? Campus security? Serial tunneller-molester?) we made like a spellchecker and got the F out of Dodge. Scrambled through a few twists and turns, and ended up in a stairwell that dead-ended into a locked door. Umm….great. Fuckeder than a cheerleader on prom night. So we’re listening for the sounds of the scary dude coming up after us, or calling the cops, etc., but all I could hear was the thud-thud-thud noise of my heart trying to climb my throat. After maybe 10 minutes of not hearing another sound or being hauled out in cuffs, we work our way back down to the tunnels proper. Get only a little way, and hear the unmistakable jingle of not-alone-ness again. This time, find a different way out (which actually leads back out), popping up by an elevator which we scramble into and head for an arbitrarily vacant floor, then exit the building in as nonchalant a manner as possible. Tried to get out onto the roof in another building, but nothing doing (what, actual security? What-EVER!). All right, we’ve got to do this again.

Onward to Chicago! Party, party, and party more. At my house. At Nando’s house. And most importantly, at the cabin, with D*/T*/F*/K*. Dead of winter, hot tup hot, a frozen lake, food, drink, 30 gigs of deafeningly loud music, and no neighbors for at least 1/4 mile in any direction. I think we did some damage.

Little Girl: But which cookie will you eat first?
Cookie Monster: Me thinks you have misconception of the cookie eating process.