Archive for June, 2006

Nope, not dead

Just busy. And doing a bunch of hanging out. Anyway, mini-update with purty pictures…*

Lastlast saturday, Brazilian BBQ w/ Jane and Scott, and some wandering around by the big courthouse-building-with-a-jail-on-top. Mmmmm… protein craving satiated…and um…re-awakened. The jailbirds were all being quiet. Found the World’s Lamest Playground, consisting of metal steps, a (non-mobile, non-bouncy) metal bridge, and more metal steps. And a firepole terminating in densely-packed sand. I slid down it anyway, and wet my pants (rain, not excitement).


Signage I found contradictory/amusing (then again, I have an occasionally morbid sense of humor)


More signage. This one leans to the right and makes its religious affiliations known.


Jane licking… Hey, that’s not a Jesus!

Poking around with libusb-win32. I think my hardware doesn’t like the latest build.


“Too fat, can’t compute!”

Running the Boston Corporate Challenge with some of the work crew (yikes, I did something with “corporate” in the name. I think that makes me some form of whore). I run once a year to remind myself how much I don’t like running ;-) Mostly, I think our company just does it as an excuse to nip down to the Cambridge Brewing Company afterward and “re-hydrate” with der uber-towers.


It’s local micro-beer, and it comes in a tall thing. The only way to improve on this is to add blinking LEDs.

Woke up all stiff the next morning, went out most of Friday celebrating GG’s birthday. Not much to report there (fooding and pubbing**, and an interminable political discussion between two of ’em that could theoretically have come to blows if allowed to continue), but an peek into the inner lifestyle of a Girly Girl:

(A beer slips out of girl’s hand, lands exactly vertical, causing perfect 8-ft beer geyser, then tips over and begins glugging beer directly into the open top of her heeled shoes. Girl curses a bit, goes to ladies room to clean up, returns with a completely different pair of shoes.)

Me (being perfectly observant gentleman ;-) : “Whoa, your shoes changed. Where did those come from?”
Girl: “Yeah. That pair was old anyway, so I threw them in the garbage. These are from my purse.”
Me: “So wait, um… you carry a pair of backup shoes around with you at all times?”
Girl: “Yeah.”

Saturday: Still sore in the legs, so what do I do? Go out to a club and (attempt to) dance all night, while wearing heavy chains! Yes, at the club conveniently located next to the dildo store…although no dildoes purchased this time around.

* Heh, this feels suspiciously like a CVS commit. “The following has been done since last checkin…blahblah…TODO: More stuff.”

** Wow, I’m probably starting to sound like an alkie.

Sweet, my brain *does* work in 3D

I’ve been remembering segments of dreams the last couple weeks, which is highly unusual for me, and they’ve been…well, no “sleepwanking”* involved, but unusually amorous.

The most recent one, however, was orgasmic for other reasons. I guess you could say it was a post-apocalyptic humans-vs-our-own-AI-run-amok story, vaguely reminiscent of The Matrix trilogy with a less sucky ending. Or at least, one that leaves the whole thing open for yet another sequel (it ends with the last remaining elegant machinery of the AI Bad Guys escaping Earth’s atmosphere as an entire city explodes beneath it and vaporizes the last of the core – presumably to colonize other planets, although this was left open-ended). I can’t really remember what the storyline was, much less translate it to human-readable (it was one of these disjointed, bizarre things that made perfect sense until I woke up, in that way that only dreams can), but it was an orgiastic visual feast of intricately-rendered goodness all the same. If only I had any artistic talent, I’d love to reproduce it.

* apparently it’s an actual term
hey, that’s only happened once…

My old (pre-pay) cell phone, free to good home

I have a cell contract and a new phone, so I no longer have a use for this one. It’s big and the screen isn’t in color, but it still does what phones do best – taking pictures emailing text messages surfing the internet you know, making phone calls. Since it’s contractless and fully functional hardware, I’d rather give it away to someone who could use it than e.g. take it apart or throw it in the landfill. The number has a 708 (Chicagoland) area code, but you can call in and have your home area changed. Battery power lasts about 1-2 days depending on location (longer the closer you are to a tower, as with any cell), and total monthly cost is about $15.

(And if no takers, yes, it gets dissected ;-)

Gr8…VZW ncuragz txt spk w/ msg xl8r

One of the guys at work wrote a LABVIEW module that will send someone a phone text message (via T-Mobile’s email-to-SMS gateway) if anything unusual happens with an unattended test rig in the lab before shutting down the test. That’s pretty cool (especially once I get together a list of valid SMS addresses and a heapin’ pot o’ h3rbal v1@gra… j/k folks). I got curious and checked whether Verizon offered a similar gateway, and they do.

4 ppl hu wnt 2 ryt n ntyr nvl in 160 chrs, with the added benefit of looking like a really poor-quality encryption scheme, Verizon offers a ‘textspeak’ translator with its email-to-SMS gateway.

Type some text and click on the “Spk n’ TXT” link, and an algorithm compresses (if that’s the right term) your message into txt junkie speak.

“Brilliant!”

PS. Based on my admittedly brief testing, this thing actually performs very few substitutions on the average text, and thus does not significantly reduce the length of the message. You’re still best doing it by hand…

Mini-update that turned out to be not-so-mini

Meat & Greet

So far, this has been shaping up to be the Summer Of Meat (with apologies to my one remaining LJ vegan). Since last(ish) post, there’s been a sweet housewarming/BBQ at DE’s*, a semi-literal sausage fest at GJM’s, and more raw fish than I can shake a chopstick at. The annual lamb roast with the work crew is also coming up in the nondistant future.

Altoids – cheap project case with built in hinge; comes with free mints.

I woke up last night with a clever, CPU- and memory-efficient way of layering multiple visual-effects algorithms on the wearable blinkenlights project I’ve left sitting on the un-lit back burner for months due to lack of time and give-a-damn. This is important, since the micro has only a couple kb of RAM (which has to be dynamically allocated depending on what’s attached, what effect(s) are in use, etc.) and every clock cycle is sacred. The display management stuff will have to coexist in real time with other CPU-hungry tasks such as FFT, etc. Much as I would looove to spend my saturdays writing a multithreading realtime OS in assembler for an 8-bit micro ;-) there are only 52 saturdays in a year.

Also had what turned out to be an attempted “how’s life, let’s stay friends” chat yesterday while intending to have the “come pick up your crap” chat with She Who…well, she who I still find myself unable to harbor any ill feelings for, despite what turned out to be the worst relationship experience of my life to date (no pun intended), and what I thought was a very good friendship degrading into unexplained fear and distrust (of me) literally overnight. Most any normal person would just say “fuck that biatch”, ebay her stuff** and try to forget they ever knew one another, but I’ve never had an easy time of that. What’s it been…almost two months now. Part of the trouble is I’m one of those people who comes across a problem and has to either prove it unsolvable, or solve it–this is a case where I can do neither…it makes no further sense on the 100th mental replay as it did on the first. That, and the way everything in my mind is exhaustively cross-linked***. Sounds and smells have colors; numbers have genders. Bizarre and obscure associations abound. “Hunter” refers to one who hunts; it also refers to a specific column width of water streaming from a faucet. Everything connects to everything, and this girl was an element of the set of all everything. (Of course, having to walk by that uncollected, un-ebayed Mountain of Stuff on my way to my room each day doesn’t help matters, either.)

reshape(strrep('no rain forest',' ',''),4,[])'

On the night I knew all hope was lost, and that my best course of action was to have no further involvement, I tried to failness it explicitly with a very public rant (which told more about the situation than it probably should). Kind of like how a smoker, upon resolving to quit, dunks his last pack of cigarettes in the toilet before throwing them away. He does this because he knows his resolve will not last.

Now I can’t help feeling like that hopeless addict after digging those soggy toilet-sticks out of the trash and carefully laying them out on a radiator to dry. Hoping there might be something left in them to give me that good feeling again like old times, I gathered up all the patheticity I could muster and made contact, possibly–perhaps hopefully–for the last time.

Anyway, dear bloggg, this is the last mention I’m going to make of the subject; as that song goes, I’m breaking the habit tonight. (So says I as cigarette smoke drifts under my door from my “trying to quit” housemate’s room.)

Nailed by Murphy

The last week has been a ritual of adding air to one of my car’s tires every couple days…Why? A brief feel-around revealed the nice nail-head sticking out of the tire. Can’t decide whether to blame this on Murphy’s Law or not; it’s in the only remaining original (oldest) tire, but it’s also the only one not covered by any kind of road-hazard warranty/insurance. I’m pretty sure of how it might have gotten there — the careless bunch of (de)construction folk tearing up hunks of a house and throwing the remains over a tall fence into (or as often as not, “in the vicinity of”, and picking them up later) a Dumpster parked on my street — but would have no way of actually proving it’s one of their nails. Anyway, I’m mildly pissed and being procrastinatory about getting it fixed.

It’s not really a matter of expense – I expect to walk out of e.g. Pep Boys for well under $100, unlike starter**** or exhaust system replacements. It’s the two hours waiting around in a noisy waiting room, with bad fluorescent lighting too dim and flickery to read in, making decisions on meaningless cost vs. service life tradeoffs (30K mile or 70k mile? Well, since I’m averaging less than 10K miles and one nail per year…), and trying to remember again whether my engine is a 1.6L or 2.0L when the doofus at the point-of-sale terminal needs to know, as if it actually makes a shred (again, no pun intended) of difference when replacing a tire.

Anyway, once work quiets down (sometime after next week), I’ll probably try to organize a little more summery hanging-out and barbecuing.

* “What? All of the sudden everyone’s looking at me like I just raped a nun.” – Me, after word of the homebrew USB vibrator leaked out during a long and beerful game of Asshole.

** All kosher if it’s been there abandoned for more than 45 days.

*** Great for finding the obscure associations in a raw haystack of data; not so great for most everything else.

**** “I know, who better to take it to than the Nissan dealership? They should know their own engines, and be able to source parts without excessive markup…”