Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Watch out for that nog!

Watch out for that nog!
Originally uploaded by pepperedjane.
Well it's just about that time; time for me to pack up and get my body outside of Pittsburgh and back to New Orleans for the holiday time. My decrease in posting activity has been in direct proportion to my increase in end-of-semester actual work activity! Awesome. The highlights of this have been finishing the workshop paper (I submitted it on Friday) and almost finishing my assignments for HOT Compilation. I actually may be finished with the semester as we speak. I am waiting on word as to whether or not my final assignment passed the test script. There was only one test that it failed, and I think I found the bug, so hopefully things will bode well.

Other activity has been similarly. Saturday night there were some holiday parties. You can check some more pictures of one by following the link on the right. Uh, what else? I saw a documentary on East Liberty on Friday night called, "East of Liberty: A Story of Good Intentions." It is a film made by Chris Ivey, a fellow I've met at least two or three times. The film (1 in a 3 part series) was all about the Redevelopment of East Liberty that occured in the 1960s. Apparently, while the city planners had good things in mind for the people of ELib, their plans didn't work out quite that well. The new revitalization that is going on right now (see the East Side development project) is also a big part of the film, but the film takes less of a solid position on whether or not this is a good thing. Naturally, the G-word comes up a lot ("gentrification," which at this point I feel is almost hopelessly loaded) and I find myself just as conflicted as ever as to whether or not it is a good thing.

Anyway, it was worth seeing, but I somehow expected it to feature more music. I wonder how I came to this conclusion?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Winding it down...

In general, my mood is inversely preportional to the amount of C code that I have to write in a given day. This means that right now, I am in a bad mood, since I am working on my final projects for HOT Compilation (yes, that's the name of the class) and one of them is writing a garbage collector in C. Actually, it's not really all that bad. The algorithm is conceptually pretty simple, it's just the levels of indirection in C that always confuse me. I am always having to stare at expressions like
int** theadp
and think really hard about whether what I need is a pointer or a pointer to a pointer. Anyway, I have gone back to working on my paper, the deadline for which is tomorrow. Make sure to watch The Office tonight. It's an hour long one, and it's about the Christmas party so it should be a good one!

Monday, December 11, 2006

After yesterday's post...

After my long entry yesterday, I think it may have been wishful thinking. I was able to use this reverse-lookup thing to see whose number it was, and while it wasn't in her name, it was registered to someone with the same last name. This, naturally, makes me lean towards the "She just didn't want to call me back" side of things, which is fair enough. I guess in the future I will have more confidence in my number-typing abilities and less confidence in my woman-chatting abilities...  Hey come on, I kid! I kid!

Enough with the self-pity! Back to talking about "My Name is Earl" and Pittsburgh's night life.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

In Which I Lament (first private entry evar!!1!)

(Sorry, I know I don't usually do these "friends-only" entries, but then again I usually don't say anything that I care if people I don't know hear about either.)

Anyway, I am feeling pretty lame right now because I haven't been able to get in touch with this girl. Here's the story morning glory:
On Wednesday night, during an excellent time at the Squirrel Cage, I sat down and talked with this super awesome girl. We talked for a while and had a good time. Finally when some more of her friends came over, I left and later on bought the drinks for their entire table (not sure where that one came from, but I was in a good mood). Anyway, after much prodding from my friends at the table, I went over and got her number, and she was really enthusiastic, it seemed, that we might hang out the next day. Well the next day came, and I called got no answer, left a message. Today the same thing. Now (and this may be the part in the story where you see that I am deluding myself) I am getting the sneaking suspicion that I took down her number incorrectly! Here is the quasi-evidence:
  1. When I call the number, there is nothing in the message indicating that it is her or even a girl's phone. Just the standard robotic voice, "You have reached 412..."
  2. We didn't do the standard, "Let me call you right now so that you have mine too," nor did we do any kind of confirmation that I was taking down the right number. I even had a premonition at the time that it would suck if I didn't get her number correcly.
  3. She seemed a little too enthusiastic to have given me a bogus number, but of course that is hard to read. (And come on, who even does that? Just say 'no' when someone asks for your number!)
Anyway, the other obvious choice is just that she's getting the messages and she doesn't want to hang out. This is an possibility that I can handle. In fact, this would even be better for me that just taking down the wrong number, because at least then I wouldn't have to go through the bullshit of wondering, "what if she thinks I am being an asshole and not calling." The other thing that sucks is that if I ever see her again (a definite possibility in Pittsburgh) I don't know whether to act like, "Hey! I tried to call you I think I got the wrong number!" or if I should not talk to her at all because she blew me off. And of course she certainly won't want to talk to me if she thinks I blew her off!

Anyway, none of this would even be important if she hadn't been really nice/funny/cute etc, and we seemed to get along pretty well. I have briefly considered outlandish options like craigslist "missed connections" or scouring the Internets in hope of finding some record of her existence, but probably I will chalk this up as a lesson to Always make sure you got the correct number!

Okay, end lament session.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

This is we say goodbye in Austria...

Today as I hang around the house and work, I left a DVD on; "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." It's one of my favorite movies from my childhood, and it still holds up pretty well, but man, it sure is corny... There is a lot of really over the top slapstick humor and other stuff.

Anyway,two lines you should remember:
  • "Nazis. I hate these guys." and the irrepressable,
  • "No ticket!"

Somebody's in this Torso

For some reason I was in kind of a sour mood last night. I can never predict these things, but when I am it's usually probably better that I not hang around other people.

But anyway, last night I was hanging around people, and while I didn't really get into any arguments with anyone or anything like that, I was pretty quiet the whole night. We went to get Thai food with KDog and his friend from Germany, along with some other kids from my department. Later on I ended up at the Brillobox, and thanks again to my sour mood, I basically just watched "The Shinning," which was showing on their big HDTV. There was no sound, but being as I have never actually seen it before and you can kinda figure out exactly what's going on by the images, I actually really enjoyed it.

After that, they started showing, "The Best of Andre the Giant," and it became pretty clear that I was just going to keep watching and not talk to anyone...

Today, I've got a long day of ML hacking. Hopefully that will make me feel special and alive.

Thursday, December 7, 2006


Just so that I am in agreement with everyone else; yes it is cold outside.

I just walked home from Squirrel Hill (actually I ran a fair amount of the way just to keep warm) at approx. 12:45am. It is 19 degrees outside, feeling like 5 according to, and I am officially bitter at life. I really hope I can sleep in late tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

I am a Weeeener!

I just won tickets to a concert off the radio!

WRCT has a show on Tuesdays called the "Brass Band Power-Hour," which plays, of all things, Brass Band music.

This Saturday night, Rebirth Brass Band (New Orleans' finest dance brass music) Ellis Marsellis and some blues singer whose name I forget are playing at the Manchester Craftmen's Guild in a celebration of New Orleans music. This rules, because the tickets are like $40 normally, and I got two. If you want to go see some booty-shakin' New Orleans music, just let me know...

Monday, December 4, 2006

West Philadelphia, Born and Raised

Well I guess it's about time to talk about my crazy weekend in Philadelphia...

So my mom was going on a recruiting trip at the military academies (West Point and Anapolis). As part of that she got some tickets to the Army/Navy football game for me, her and my dad. I agreed that I would go along way back at the beginning of the semester. So it was a little surprising to realize that it was only the week after Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I went out and joined them, and it was a ton of fun. The game was fun. It was neat seeing all of the Army Cadets and Navy Midshipmen, who get to come in from their schools to watch. It was especially wild seeing them all line up and march into the game. It was almost like a movie or something...

It was also impressive to see that there were a bunch of cute girls who are going to be future officers, both in the Army and the Navy. I've never heard man say that they had a thing for women in uniform, but maybe it's time it became a thing...

WordAlso I found out that women make up about 25% percent of the student body at both schools. Which got me thinking... sounds a little bit like CMU, huh? Hey oh! Ba dum dum...

Another neat thing was going out in Philly. We went to a few Belgian bars that were really happening, had great Belgian beers and good food, like mussels and french fries dipped in seasoned mayonaise (even better than it sounds).

The only thing was, it was way crowded. It reminded me of Chicago in that respect, being a very fun place but just a little too much for me. It's definitely one of the things I like about Pittsburgh. Just because a bar is cool here, it doesn't mean that there wil be 1000 people inside.

It's great to be back!

Oh and no, I won't be talking about USC's loss this weekend! It's still too close.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bruegger's, Thou Hast Forsaken Me

So far this week I have been too busy to go to the grocery store, so I have been eating breakfast at Bruegger's Bagels. It seemed like my order (bagel, cream cheese, coffee) was a little too expensive, but it wasn't until today that I figured out what was going on. Coffee? That's just $1.59. Bagel? Only $0.89! But a bagel with cream cheese is suddenly no longer a bagel. It is a bagel sandwich, and a cream cheese bagel sandwhich is $1.99. $1.99! Now don't get me wrong, I am not trying to say that $1.99 is an unreasonable price to pay for breakfast but what bothers me is how adding cream cheese to the bagel more than doubles its value. What planet exactly are we living on here? From now on, I am eating dry ass bagels sans cream cheese and I don't care how long it takes to chew!

In other news, and since this appears to be a rant-style entry, my new least favorite development of the past five years has been what I will christen "Google Worth." "Google Worth" is when you attempt to convey the relative importance of a topic by typing it into Google and seeing how many entries come up (e.g., "if you enter 'wholesome family values' into google, the result is 60,000 hits, but entering 'baby-killing satanists' yields over a million results). While there is nothing wrong with discussing something's Google Worth in a casual conversation, when reporters use this it just screams laziness. I would argue that the number of hits that come up for a Google search have little bearing on how important the term is. Please go look at entry 1,000,567 and get back to me on how relevant it is. My guess would be, 'not very.'

A quick Google search (yielding over 13 million results!!!) proves that I am not the only one who feels this way:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Take Control: Climate Control

Okay, it's here!

Climate Control no longer exists. It was my band from high school. We recorded a few albums, and even sold a fair amount of them. At some point during college we recorded four final songs. We called it, "The Timely Demise of Climate Control," and we meant to record a few more songs and release it as a full length album. It never happened, and I litterally hadn't listened to the songs until today. We decided to release these songs to you for your own enjoyment. Start here:
Anyway, the recordings we made were actually pretty good. They sound rather rad, or at least better than I remember. If you find the lyrics to be full of angst, well what can I say. I was in high school. Also, if you listen to anything at all, listen to "A Long Long Time," and make sure you hear the harmony guitar solo that Rand and I layed down. We are so metal!

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Music on the Way...

This week when I was back home, I saw my friend Jonathan. He was the drummer in my band in high school, and we decided that we should post some of our old recordings (what with modern techmology being what it is). I am currently in the middle of doing that, and I've already got all of the songs posted, but myspace is so sloooooooow that I can't put up the band pictures that I wanted to.

Hopefully tomorrow it'll be up, and you can jam to it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Thanksgiving Break

Catch a beat running like Randy Moss.Ah, Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year. As I was pretty busy over my entire break, I didn't bother to write anything here. This may seem a little strange since we do have the Internets in New Orleans, but something about being back home throws me off my rhythm and makes me not want to keep up with the usual parts of my life (Excercise, Blog, Guitar, Moderation).

Anyway, break was fantastic. Unlike my last visit home, where I went in expecting too much, this break I was ready and willing to have a very low key time, and I guess that without the pressure, good things ended up happening.

First of all, I don't think I have ever had as many oysters (raw, charbroiled, Rockefeller) in a one week period; two times a day at some point. I went out while I was home and saw a great collection of New Orleans friends and well-wishers without overdoing it. (Shout-outs to New Orleans transplants Alex and Caroline! Respek!) I actually did (some) homework. I went to a blues concert downtown and saw both the Saints and the Trojans win. Then, to cap it all off, I saw Outkast's Big Boi at Louis Armstrong International.

Now I've got a serious push leading up to the winter break. There is much work to be done; papers to be written, homework to be completed and preparations to be made for my first ever TA job.

And as if I didn't have enough to do before break, at the beginning of the semester I promised my mom I'd go on a recruiting trip with her to the Army/Navy football game in Philly. It turns out that this game is next weekend, thus ruining any chances of my doing work then!

Hopefully I can get everything done without ignoring my Pittsburgh friends, whom I then will not see for almost three weeks starting December 20th... sad!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I Met Het on a TV Show

Tonight's "How I Met Your Mother," was funny, until it got surreal...
But I can say that I actually saw this ending coming. I think it's because I've got Tiffany on the brain.

I'm gonna rock your body until Canada Day...

By the way, "How I Met Your Mother" is a great show, and one of the three shows (including "My Name is Earl" and "The Office") that I actually watch.

I found the full video for "Let's Go to the Mall" on YouTube.


Tomorrow I'm leaving for New Orleans for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Love Thanksgiving!

I'll miss you Pittsburgh...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Great Success!

As if we needed any more reasons to dislike UCLA, now their police are taser-ing their own students!

With that nugget out of the way, last night I did a little Shadyside nightlife experience, starting at Cappy's. It was their 25th anniversery, so we got a bunch of free junk and we hung out with my boss from over the summer, as it is his personal hangout. Since it was Cappy-oke night, I decided to indulge and sing "Goodbye Earl," by the Dixie Chicks; I somehow could not find the proper register in which to sing the song! It's normally too high, but instead of singing one octave down from the recording and being right in the sweet spot of my tenor voice, I think I was going 2 octaves down. It was very low... not a good sign.

Later we hopped over to the Elbow Room, hopefully not ruining my friend's date in the process.

Today I am going to Cleveland to visit my sister who is there for a month on trial! Sweetness.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Smart Football

Still hurting from the Saint's loss to the 3-6 Pittsburgh Steelers, I've got football on the mind:

While Gregg Easterbrook is not the funniest NFL columnist around (that distinction probably goes to's Bill Simmons), I am pretty sure he is the most intelligent. If you enjoy sports but think most sports writers are hacks, then I definitely recommend you read his "Tuesday Morning Quarterback." This week, among other things, he points out how according to NFL rules women are permitted to play professional football.

Just found this towards the end of the article I linked, thus proving my point:
The situation is very different in the developing world. The United Nations Development Programme just published its latest Human Development Report, one of the world's most important annual documents. (Tomorrow your columnist is moderator for the Washington unveiling of the report -- note the announcement is the first United Nations press release ever to mention

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ted Leo + Pharmacists + More

Body Double?Tonight was full of rock and roll music. A friend of mine bought a ticket for the Ted Leo/Phamicists and Death Cab for Cutie show but then was unable to make it, so I stepped in his place. The venue was a hockey rink 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. We stood on top of rugs that had been placed over the ice, which was rather amusing. It was overall kind of a weird place to see a show. The acoustics were pretty rough. I could hear audible slap-back echo made when the snare bounced off the far wall. Also the sound in general was a little muddy but they made up for it by keeping the overall volume relatively low; a novelty in this day and age.

Someone in our group pointed out that the drummer for Ted Leo looked a little bit like me. Upon closer inspection, I decided that he looked exactly like me, so much so that I was a little bit disturbed. It was like I was looking at Bizarro Nels, but then I realized, since he is more famous than me, that I was actually bizarro him! Wild! I tried to find a good picture of him, but I couldn't find one that I felt really looked like me. Check the image on the right, and if you can't tell whom I am talking about, well then maybe he doesn't look that much like me after all.

Oh yeah, Death Cab was pretty good. I didn't know too many of their songs, but I at least enjoy the lead singer's voice.

One more thing:
On Friday night we joined some of the members of CMU's Engineering and Public Policy PhD program. Now, after having been to several of their parties and meeting some of their most esteemed students, I have decided that the School of Computer Science needs to step it up. These guys party hard, and are putting us to shame. When we finally ended up leaving at 4:15, the party was still going pretty strong. I plan to organize a committee and address this issue post haste!

Finding more pictures of the drummer from Ted Leo:

Friday, November 10, 2006

Semi Good News

I have some decent news to report. I finished the first draft of my practicum today. For those of you out of the CMU ISR loop, this is one of two large reports that we have to write while we are PhD students. Although conceptually it seems very straightforward, in practice it always seems to take students a while to get it done and approved. Therefore, I don't have a whole lot to be happy about yet. This paper will probably end up looking very different by the time it works itself through the process. For now, though, I'm just happy to have most of my ideas down on paper.

w00t I say. w00t.

Thursday, November 9, 2006


So, big news to report. After months of hemming and hawing, stopping and starting, splishing and splashing, I finally got my act together, and purchased a ticket to this weekend's Saints football game! (For those of you outisde the loop, that doubles as this week's Steelers game since they are playing each other.)

There are two interesting aspects to this story (divided up into further subsections):
  1. Tickets to see Steelers' home games are expensive. When I saw that the prices of scalped tickets had fallen to only two and change times the fact value of the ticket, I just had to go for it. That is actually down from the five times face value that they were initially going for. I attribute this to:
    1. The general not-so-good-ness of the Steelers at the moment. I mean, if you had told me at the beginning of the season that the Saints' and Steelers' records would be mirror images of one another by the time this game came up, I would have believed you. But I never would have believed that it was the Saints who possessed the better record.
    2. The splitting up of pairs of tickets into singles. No one wants to go to a sporting event alone, which is why single tickets usually end up being cheaper. This brings me to my next point....
  2. I am going to the game by myself. This is not a usual thing. Going to a movie by yourself (I have done this) is bad enough, but going to a sporting event by yourself is so rare as to be mostly unconsidered. I am wondering if anyone out there has experiences like this. The fact that tickets are so expensive kind of prohibited me from just buying another one fom someone else, but now I am beginning to wonder exactly how lame I am going to feel at Heinz stadium when I roll up into the one empty seat between two separate groups of friends. Is there any precedent for this situation?
Well, in all honesty, I know I am going to have a good time. Plenty of people I know have never been to a professional football game in their entire lives, and I now will have the pleasure of saying that I have seen Saints games in three separate cities. Next year I will go for four (road trip to Cincinnatti, anyone?).

Wish me luck. Hopefully I will not be mauled by rabil Stillers fans... At least I'll leave a beautiful corpse.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Really Such a Bad Thing?

Asked if the party would consider legal action, state Republican executive director Scott Migli said, "We've got all options on the table at this point. We feel like the electoral system has been left up to computer technicians."

Monday, November 6, 2006

Win for Type Theory?

I have had discussions with friends in the past about the actual usefulness of the research that comes out of the academic community (in the field of computer science at least). While I don't often have good examples to point them towards, I think now I might.

LINQ, the name of the in-language SQL/XML/etc. query ability that will be built in to C# 3.0 is based upon a programming language technology known as monads, which are an important part of the programming language Haskell. Here is an interesting article on why it is neat, and why Java programmers should be worried (okay, I'm not to sure about that part).

Just nice to see some type theory escape to the larger world of popular programming languages.

CPS Conversion

Of the many things that I learned in Type Systems last year, CPS conversion was the one topic that was conceptually very simple, but for some reason extremely difficult to wrap my head around. Now, of course, going through Tom Murphy's thesis proposal, I realize that I don't understand CPS very well, and I am trying to go back and get a better feel for it.

As I said, CPS conversion is conceptually simple:
To every function we add an extra argument that represents the contiuation. This makes the control flow explicit, because instead of having to propagate the result of function application back up the stack to someone who knows how to use it, we have an argument 'k' that represents what we must do after the result of the application. It is somewhat analagous to passing a GOTO along with every function.

That being said, when I see the conversion rule for function application;
CPS(e1 e2,k) = CPS(e1, \f. CPS(e2,\x. f(x,k)))
my brain often begins to hurt.

So far I have found three links discussing the issue. The last one seemed to be the most helpful, but maybe that is only because I first read the other two.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Friday Night and Borat Movie Fun Time

Friday night, after much anticipation and after drawing the incorrect conclusion that it wasn't even playing in Pittsburgh, I saw Borat with some of CMU's finest. I have to say, I loved it, but you have probably heard that already. It has been getting pretty good reviews from the press, mainstream and otherwise.

But what was also kind of fun was the crowd there at the movie. The theater was packed, and it was full of 20 and 30-somethings; grad students, med students, and the like. The excitement was absolutely palpable. It was as if we had all been waiting for a really funny movie for a very long time, and we knew that Borat was going to be the movie. People were laughing at the credits! And they were not funny in any way. We were just that excited to be there.

I won't give too much away, but there was a scene where some fraternity brothers end up looking pretty bad. I think, but am not entirely sure, that they were labeled as being students of the University of Southern California. Clearly, however, they were from the South Carolina, as they had Gamecock hats on, and other such merchandise. I'm hoping I am wrong and that I just misread it, but someone else I was with noticed the same thing. If you go to see the movie, let me know if you see this.

After that, we went dancing at the Shadow Lounge where we saw this Brazillian band called Nation Beat. They were this multi-piece group, with some very large drums, guitar, bass and violin. It was terribly fun for everyone involved.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

I Went to the Doctor, I Went to the Mountain

"The Office" was at it awkward-humor best tonight. Some classic moments include:
  • Jim "the Big Tuna" and the other guy from the Stamford office drunkenly singing "Closer to Fine," by the Indigo Girls.
  • This sequence:
    • "What are you doing?"
    • "What are you doing?"
    • "I'm rejecting your kiss."
  • "Put on your Saris, it's time to celebrate Diwali!"
You really should get into it. I'm telling you all. I loved the British version just as much as any of you. But the American version is still the best comedy on TV right now.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Opening the Mic

Last night, after merely observing for the past couple of weeks, I played two songs at the Rex Theater's Open Mic Night in the South Side. They were:
  • "La Cienega Just Smiled," by Ryan Adams
  • "Yours and Mine," by Fountains of Wayne
The first song went okay, and got better towards the end, but since this was the first time I had done anything in front of an audience in a while, my voice was a little shaky. I always liked "Yours and Mine," but it's only one minute long. This is one of the things I actually like about the song, but a few people thought that I had bailed out early just because it was so short!

Anyway, I probably will do it again in the future, but not for a few weeks. I need to learn some more songs you see.

CMU Shows its True Colors
Today I was looking for a book on weight lifting at the CMU library. No dice. The selection is extremely poor in this area. In fact, for the entire subject of "exercize"  "exercise" in the CAMEO catalogue system, there are 7 entries. On the other hand, in the "ML COMPUTER PROGRAM LANGUAGE" category there are 137 entries! Somehow this seems appropriate.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sporting News

Wow, it was a brutal weekend for teams that I follow, with:
  • The Saints being beaten at home by the Ravens,
  • USC being upset by Oregon State University (It even looked like they were going to pull out the victory at the end, due to some last quarter heroics, before they failed to convert a game-tying 2 point conversion),
  • and the Steelers being upset by the terrible terrible Oakland Raiders.
I have to look on the bright side though. Due to the fact that I've been preparing a presentation this weekend, I didn't actually see any of the games. Therefore my heart is in relatively stable condition.

Halloween 2006

Halloween 2006 005
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
In case you missed it, this Halloween I went as Richie Tenenbaum from the movie The Royal Tenenbaums.

We are seriously serious in this picture.

Mid-Halloween Weekend

Went to the ballet tonight (Swan Lake).

Getting ready to go to a party now, 15 minutes after midnight.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Slowly, I have become more and more obsessed with baseball, so I apologize in advance if you care not:

Here is my take on Dirtgate, the incident in which some kind of nasty substance (dirt? rosin? pine tar?) was spotted by Fox's cameras on the hand of Tiger's pitcher Kenny Rogers. From a pragmatic point of view, there is no issue. The Cardinals never requested (as far as we can tell) the umpires to examine Rogers' hands, and since Kenny washed off whatever it was, there is nothing that could be done after that point.

However, what I do not agree with is those (like tonight's pregame commentator on Fox) who claim that using foreign substance like pine tar is just a minor issue; a technical bending of the rules, but something to be expected and dealt with lightly. There is a reason that the spitball was banned from baseball. Any discoloration of the ball can be extremely dangerous for the batter. So much so, that in 1920, a batter for the Cleveland Indians was killed by a discolored ball. Killed. As in dead.

Admittedly, during that time, the balls were used for much longer over the course of the game and therefore got much dirtier as a matter of course. Regardless, for a sport where history seems to be more important than anything, we shouldn't forget the past. If players are caught using foreign substances on the ball, they should be punished.

Okay... after all that...
How amazing was Kenny Rogers Sunday night? I hope I am that awesome when I am 41.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Halloween 017
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
In the spirit of this upcomming Halloween, I thought I'd post a picture of the last Halloween costume that I had I was actually satisfied with. In case you can't tell, I'm Beaker, the muppet.

Urban Hike Scavenger Hunt: This Sunday, October 29th!

Guys, as you may or may not know, I am helping to organize Urban Hike Pittsburgh. This Sunday is the Scavenger Hunt, and the first event that I have helped to organize. It should be a ton of fun, so come on out to Schenley Plaza (right across Forbes from the Cathedral of Learning) this Sunday! Here is the official info:

Join us for early tricks and treats in Oakland. Urban Hike is holding
its annual scavenger hunt this Sunday, October 29th at 12:30 pm (don’t
worry, da Stillers aren’t playing till 4:15). Find three or four
friends, or come on your own and we’ll put you on a team.

Be prepared to see Oakland like you’ve never seen it before. Make sure
at least one of your team members has a digital camera and a cord to
connect it to a computer. And if you have any, ahem, personal photos
on those cameras, you might want to dump them somewhere else before you

Meet us at the benches lining the Forbes Avenue side of Schenley Plaza
(across Forbes from the Cathedral of Learning). The hunting portion
will last until 3 pm; the post-hunt awards extravaganza should wrap up
around 4 pm.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This Weekend

This weekend was a lot of fun.
  • Friday night was this month's Soulcialism, definitely worth the wait and tons of fun. This was only my second time going, but I think I may have had even more fun than last time, which is hard to believe. It's time for those of you who are not going to start showing up. I expect to see you there next month, as there will be a test!
  • Saturday evening found me at Heinz field for the first time in my life. I went to see the Pitt/Rutgers game. Pitt lost (bummer, but Rutgers is actually ranked in the top 20) but Heinz field was an incredible stadium. Great views, nice and modern, easy to get in to, etc.
  • Saturday night brought some laid-back times at the Marcus abode. There were games played and drinks to be had. The highlight of the evening was probably the 5 person dance party that spontaniously occured in the dining room.
  • Today watched the Steelers fumble away what should have been a victory. We (The New Orleans Saints, that is) would have really appreciated a 3-3 Atlanta, rather than a 4-2 Atlanta.
  • Right now, watching baseball and getting ready for the week to come! Oh yeah, and I finally solidified my Halloween costume, thanks to the costume shop on Carson. I would just like to point out that wigs are really not that expensive, and if you think you need one for your costume you owe it to yourself!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

While Watching a Baseball Game...

One of the awful parts about having bunny ears as your means of TV delivery is that when you move around the reception changes, so you can get crystal clear reception when you are adjusting the antenna, but then when you get back to your seat it has all gone to crap. Pretty standard stuff.

Well tonight I noticed for the first time that the exact same phenomenon occurs when my upstairs neighbors move around their apartment. Needless to say, this can make trying to watch TV very frustrating, especially if those neighbors are doing calisthenics, or whatever it it causing all that racket... I'm turning into an old man.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Programming Languages are Great

Started to try and work the changes that Tom7 suggested (when we met last Friday) into my language. Strangely enough, they seem to fall in pretty smoothly. I was worried that this one construct that I previously could elaborate away was now going to have to become part of my Internal Language, but that was not the case!

Tom7 was really helpful, and full of good ideas. He is not a dumb man.

If this all sounds boring to you:
Last night I went to Open Mic Night at the Rex for the second week in a row. Suz and Z were there and some of the regulars whom I am beginning to be able to recognize. I felt especially good because I vaguely knew enough other people that I didn't have to follow Suz around like a lap dog all night (not that there's anything wrong with that). Thinking about playing a couple cover songs at next week's session, and since it is my new mission to learn every song on "Gold," by Ryan Adams, I think I may try and play one of his...

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Get your Halloween ready...

I just found out about what will surely be an awesome show, this coming Halloween:

Grand Buffet and Magnolia Electric Company
10pm, October 31st, 2006
31st Street Pub
Pittsburgh, PA

Here's the deal y'all. Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year, so that big Halloween party you're going to will probably be the weekend before. You'll be looking for something chill to do the night of, though, no doubt. Grand Buffet is Pittsburgh's best white comedy rap, that just happens to actually make awesome music. Magnolia Electric Company is totally different but totally great. I would describe them as Neil Young-esque rock and roll. Let me know if you want to be there. We can arrive in class and style, ensemble.

Hating my life right now...

Big dumb Fox has decided to show the Panthers/Ravens football game, even though the Saints/Eagles game is this week's featured game! What is going on here? The only thing worse than thinking you're going to be able to watch the Saints game at your apartment and then not being able to, is having all that happen and then having to watch Baltimore! Boo!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Jingo Fett
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
Picture taken at CMU. I think it nicely sums up the all-encompassing nerdiness that is my life right now.

CMU Chili Cookoff

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
Well, it took two days to cook and display our chili, but it was all worth it. Pictures can be reached at my photo spot ( and over at Thomas' pictures spot.

My department decided to compete in the chili cookoff as a last-second entry, and we kind of turned the whole thing into a party/cook-fest the night before.

Our chili was definitely the thickest, having the consistency of red beans and rice or refried beans. Needless to say, I thought it was great, but I don't think we were winning any awards.

In fact, one guy told us, "Don't quit your day jobs." Hilarious.

Friday, October 13, 2006

We're Like Milwaukee

From the Sports Guy, AKA Bill Simmons', NFL Week 6 Picks:

STEELERS (-6.5) over Chiefs
This has all the makings of a "when Damon Huard is your starting QB, that means Damon Huard is your starting QB" game. We've been waiting for it for four weeks. Pittsburgh seems like the right place. By the way, did you see that Sienna Miller got in trouble for bashing the 'Burgh last week? How can someone not like the 'Burgh? They don't come any better than people from the 'Burgh. That's like bashing Milwaukee. Now I'm glad Jude Law cheated on her. You can't diss the 'Burgh.

Well said Mr. Simmons, well said.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Picture From Last Weekend

Originally uploaded by trappedinabay.
Here it is, the only picture I could find from last weekend's Down and Derby. Rock and roll!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Last night I joined Team Nocto-Pedal (that's a couple of guys here at CMU) on a night-time bike ride around Pittsburgh. We started around CMU, went down Polish Hill and into Laurenceville, before working our way back by the Allegheny cemetary. Naturally, we finished it off with drinks and wings at the Sharp Edge Beer Emporium. Well done us! Since I'm a little new to the bike riding thing extremely new to the whole hill thing, the ride was a little bit tiring for me. However, I was promised that this was at least a little bit accidental, and that other trips won't be so hardcores. Let me know if you want to go with us the next time we do it! (Should be within the next couple of weeks.)

In other news:
I never feel quite so manly as when I am sitting on the couch, watching a baseball game and reading Vanity Fair magazine.

I found this out for the first time last night.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Sunday, October 8, 2006

A Weekend Visitor (Part II)

Saturday was a little bit more exciting.

Up in the morning and over to Pamela's for breakfast, where the service was amazingly slow. I'm normally don't evne notice these types of things, but it ended up taking like an hour or so for our order to arrive. Lame I say. On the bright side, there was this plummer outside sticking this long metal snake (must have been a rooter of some kind) down into a hole outside of the restaurant. It looked AWESOME.

Got some new shoes. There had been a embarassing (okay not really) incident the night before when I was dressed relatively well, but then had on some New Balance running shoes that didn't really work. So I needed to get some adult tennis shoes, or whatever they call these things. Saw USC do their thing (although really, they were a little bit frustrating to watch, minus the nice fake field goal) and then went to dinner at Bites and Brews.

The whole day had been building up to Down and Derby, a roller skating themed party that took place in Lawrenceville on Penn Ave. It was a little bit expensive to get in, but the drinks were included in the whole thing. Naturally, everyone was joking about the prospect of people skating and drinking in the same evening. I did a little bit of skating myself, and showed that I could still make it happen when I needed to. I thought it was a good crowd, and a nice mix of people, and in the end had a pretty great time. No pictures, sadly, but these are the breaks! Phil came along for all these things, and he seemed to have a pretty good time (or at least that was my hope).

In other news, two things I wanted to point out. One is the concept of "short selling" which I just recently learned about. This is a type of financial technique where someone makes money off of stocks that go down in value. The whole thing (naturally) is explained on wikipedia, but basically, you borrow stocks, sell them at a high price, and then buy the same number back after the price goes down, returning the stocks to the person from whom you borrowed them. I find this whole concept to be fascinating, and sometimes think about getting into finance...

Second. there is an interesting paper written by an economics major on why it rarely makes sense to punt in NFL football. I read about this on Tuesday Morning Quarterback, and I have become transfixed by the concept.... it's about time if you ask me.

A Weekend Visitor

Whoa now!

This weekend, my friend Phil came to visit. He was my roomate sophmore year of college, but he finished here in PA at Penn State. Having visitors is always hard because you (well, if you're me) want to show them a good time and how awesome Pittsburgh. One of the things that I have to mention is that Phil is 6'11", which is something that, if you were lucky enough to meet him this weekend, you no doubt figured out.

So the whole weekend actually started before Phil got here. I was watching the door at one of the Dec5 Friday happy hour things, which was pretty fun. I always enjoy checking out the different IDs and trying to explain people how they don't have to drink, but if they want to they need to show me some proof of age.

I had some good beers that I had never had before:
I would recommend them both! I also went to an art gallery where they were having some kind of anti-Rick Santorum event going on, known as the Partisan Project. These guys are making a bunch of amusing posters. I can't say too much about it other than I saw a couple people that I hadn't seen since the beginning of the summer.

I joined Emily at one of her friend's house for a celibration of venison. If you're a meat eater, I highly recommend smoked Venison, or at least this smoked venison. It was somehow amazingly juicy and delicious! Had some interesting discussions about Minnesota (I found out that Kirby Pucket died... sad.) and New Orleans.

Finally, when Phil got here (around 11, for a roughly 5 hour drive) we hung out at my place with George and Owen and enjoyed some Ali G. All in a good night!

Wow, how could I have dropped the ball on such a phenominal scale? Not too long after George and Owen came over Suze and Zoie paid us a visit on return from the Southern Side. We continued the good times with our friend Ali G, they brought pizza with them and made us all jealous, and then we ended up watching TV until almost 3 or so. Good times all around.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

So Early...

Man, I've been here since 8:30. What in the world am I doing?

Well if you must know, I was trying to get super awesome prepared for my meeting with my advisor. Not a bad idea at all you say. I agree. I was here until 9 last night also preparing for that same meeting. Well now I find out I missed an email telling me that we wouldn't be having a meeting this morning, and so it's pushed back until Friday. This I can handle, but now I am at school. Better find something worthwhile to do.

Anyway, the meeting itself was canceled because Jeff Foster from the University of Maryland is coming to give a talk at CMU today. It's a joint Software Engineering/Programming Languages-sponsored event, but judging by the fact that only people in my group are meeting with him, maybe it's the type of thing that only SE people are in to. (The talk itself is called "Type Checking Foreign Function Calls" or something like that.) Jeff has also done some previous work in the area of race-free type systems, which I am at least interested in.

The point of all this is, I am also meeting with Jeff today before his talk. I'm not really sure what the meeting is going to be like, since he does static analysis and I am (at least I say I am) working on extending Tom7's ML5 language to be used in failure-prone environments; almost like systems-y kind of work.

If none of this makes any sense at all, then I am sorry. Please enjoy this comic.

Monday, October 2, 2006

No comment

No comment
Originally uploaded by redundancymanman.
Oh and I like this one too!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Stepin' to the Oldies

After last night's fun-ness, decided to join Emily and co. on the South Side for the Pittsburgh Step Trek. Basically it's just an organized walking tour of the South Side Slopes, a surprisingly awesome part of town. But we had a lot of fun checking out the Open Houses that were occuring and pretending we were rich enough to afford their spectacular views of downtown. No pictures, but I should have taken some...

Highlights include a church that was being remade into swanky apartments, and eating at Pipper's Pub after the whole thing was over. Weather also was a major plus. I've got to say though, something about walking around for 4 hours in the sun really makes you tired... I feel like I could go to bed this very moment, except I've agreed to go to this organizing meeting for the Urban Hike. I think I'm going to become a helper-outer.

Shout-outs go to my new friends Mike and Amy, with whom I spent an extremely large amount of time today.

A Very Happy Beerday

Party Times!Oh man, we have quite a weekend in progress.

After a nice day of shopping on the grand promenades of Pittsburgh with Georgie boy, I did a bunch of menial tasks like cleaning and washing. Eh, esss not so bad.

Last night, however, was Tom7's birthday, a celebration of all things beer-related/infused. It seemed like things were getting off to a bad start when the Shadyside Deli was closed (that's where I was going to get my beer offering from) and then it started raining about 10 minutes into what turned out to be a 45 minute walk (my distance estimates are still a little off).

But it turned out to be a fantastic time. (See right for picture of the absolute mayhem that ensued, or something closed to it. Oh yeah, and Flickr, why I can't I "Blog This" to someone else's photos? Oh I'm a big dummy!) Something about going to a party where every single woman is spoken for that really allows you to open up and just enjoy conversating. I know that's a weird thing to say, but I really felt like I had the opportunity to talk to a bunch of different people, and we were able to nicely balance between school and non-school related convos.

I even got a ride home and enjoyed some delicious beers from a Welch's grape jelly jar. Mmm...

Friday, September 29, 2006

You're On Notice!

You're On Notice!
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.

Thought I had to link to the Steven Colbert "On Notice" generator, which is here. You can make your own, but I thought you might like what I've done here.

This was coincidentally linked from, a be everywhere, do anything blog about cool things happening in P-burgh. I had been there before, but I met the girl who runs it tonight, and it was rather interesting talking to her.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Michael Vick is not my favorite football player...

SuperdomeIt's funny I didn't post anything last night or the night before, because I had a particularly awesome day on Monday.

First, I gave a presentation at the SSSG, my first of the year. It was on my summer internship, and I thought it went pretty well. I got a few helpful comments from people during the talk, and then a bunch of people came up to me later on to tell me that they thought it was pretty decent, which is definitely what I was going for!

Anyway, the way I prepare for talks can be quite stressful, so I was glad to be done with it.

Moreover, I had something I had been looking forward to for a while: The Saints playing the ugly ugly Atlanta Falcons on Monday night football. It was the first game in the Superdome since Katrina, and it was huge. The whole place was sold out, as it is for the rest of the season! (This is a really big deal in New Orleans, where the games never really sold out that often, but not so amazing in just about any other city with an NFL team.)

The game was awesome. The Saints won by 20 points, and I was hanging out with some friends at the William Penn tavern watching the whole thing. It just put me in a fantastic mood!

At the moment, not too much else. Preparing for an advisor meeting tomorrow, my first in two weeks because of his absence. Wish me luck!

One more thing:
This web cartoonist David Malki ! who writes a comic Wondermark, has a whole series where he tries to make unfunny newspaper comics funny again. This one about Marmaduke had me laughing uncontrollably in my office.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Notes from the overground

  1. The movie, "She's the One" starring Cameron Diaz and Edward Burns is horrible. I hate to dwell on this, but it's true. The acting is attrocious and you really don't care about the characters. This is important in a movie where everyone is so emotionally detached. If the actors don't make you care about them, then we can always just say, well "screw them, they made horrible decisions." It also contains an aggregious instance of one of my personal movie pet peeves: actors who are much older than the characters they play. Edward Burns' brother is supposed to be 25, but he's played by an actor (a horrible one at that) who can't be a day under forty. Boos all around.

  2. The Arizona Cardinals is the oldest professional football team in the U.S. They go all the way back to 1898, way before the modern NFL. (This is VERY old for a pro football team, as the game had just barely been figured out at that point in time.) Additionally, while many Steelers fans know that in 1943 the Steelers and Eagles joined together to form one team (lovingly referred to as the Steagles), it is also true that the next year, the Chicago Cardinals and the Steelers formed a new team together. They sucked, and were known as the "Carpets" (as in Card-Pitt).

  3. Both Carnegie Mellon and Tulane, mediocre football teams in the modern era, have had decent football teams in the past. Tulane won the first Sugar Bowl (1935) and has appeared in another. Carnegie Tech has also been in a Sugar Bowl. Actually,  saying that they were good teasm may be a stretch, as I cannot find too much other info confirming this, but I did find at least one pro football player, Hap Moran, who came up through C.I.T...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I am one of those bicycle guys now...

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.

Finally, I paid for and receieved my bike from FreeRide! As you can see it's a Raleigh, made in England, and it is quite classy. As you can also see, it's exceedingly difficult to take a good picture of because it is litterally covered in reflectors, and when my flash goes off, it makes it all weird looking.

Just the ride home from Freeride took me forever because I'm not used to riding on the street and I'm still very scared of cars. Hopefully I'll get over that, but even more hopefully I won't get hit by a car.


Even more new information:
I found out a little bit more about my bike from this page. It is a Raleigh Super Course Mark II. (Possibly from 1976?)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My sister, being the hotshot law doing person tha...

My sister, being the hotshot law doing person that she is, was in town last night and will be today until like 5. We went to the Grand Concourse restaurant which, as always, was totally swank. Then (in a move that was classic Pittsburgh) we went up the incline to see the view of the city.

The new season of The Office USA starts tonight, and Pam and Jim were on the Today Show this morning. I am getting pretty psyched, and it may be a little hard to concentrate at work today. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Three things to share: I decided I wanted ...

Three things to share:Rip It

  1. I decided I wanted a drink this morning, and I wanted to try something new, so after walking over to the University Center, I finally decided on a "Rip It" engergy drink (Lime Wrecker flavor). Although I was pleasantly surprised when I first tasted it ("The finally managed to get gummi bear flavor in liquid form!") after going through about 5 of my 16oz, I decided it was nasty and was giving me a stomach ache.

  2. Cold weather is finally upon us. Starting today, I will have a runny nose for the next sixth months.

  3. Whenever they show movies in the University Center, they usually have some clever way of saying that the movie is $1 for CMU students and $3 for everyone else. Usually, it's related to the movie somehow. But I thought their poster for the movie hard candy (a film about pedophila) was especially out there. I let you decide if they went too far:

Hard Candy
14 year-old girls: $1
Pedophiles: $3

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sweet Spam

I wanted to share this sweet piece of spam.

Subject: You have 3 new unread messages from ladies

Dear member of our dating site,
you have new unread message from Julia:
I have some questions for you if you want to get to know me closer:
1/ Are you interested in serious relations with Russian woman?
2/ Are you planning to visit Russia?
3/ Would you like to correspond or to talk by phone?
4/ Why are you interested in Russian lady?
5/ Have you ever been to Russia?
6/ What is important for you in relations and am I right for you?

I will be waiting for your reply to

Man, this Julia chick is so forward. How am I supposed to know if she is right for me, we've barely even begun to communicate.


Well I didn't exactly finish the description of my weekend in a timely manner, and by this point, I've almost forgot about the whole thing, but there were some genuinely awesome times. E.g.)

  • Went to Freeride, and picked out a bike. At freeride they have all kinds of old bikes, frames and parts. They quote you a price on a bike, which includes all the pieces you need to get it up and running, and then you get to use all their tools and stuff to fix the bike. They actually have some pretty nice bikes, and come this Thursday, I may be riding an old Raleigh with maximum sweetness and a leather seat. Jake and I spent like 4 hours there on Saturday.

  • Saturday night was a party at Serge's, and I did enjoy myself even though I was the DD. A pretty neat mix of peeps.

  • Sunday I went to a Pirates game. We had good seats, and the Pirates completed the sweep, so we were all feeling pretty hot.

  • Top it all off with a Monday night football party which included all the fried food I could even imagine (fries, fried pirogies, corn dogs... all home made!). Would have been better with a Steeler's win, but I'm still feeling pretty high from the USC and Saints victories.

Doing my best to get work done this week while my advisor is out of town. I am also preparing for a SSSG talk on Monday, which nicely goes along with my practicum work (a report we have to write on our summer experiences).

Oh oh! But I got really excited when I found out a friend of mine from high school is now a starting wide receiver at Southern Mississippi. His name is Damion, and he seems to be doing pretty well. Here is his profile, and here is another one. I used to give this guy a ride home from basketball practice like every day. Although he has gotten a lot bigger and taller...

Monday, September 18, 2006

On the main stage... Angela!

Scarpone DesignThis weekend was too real for you guys. I'm not sure you can handle it.

On Friday night, since I am a big-time gentleman in the Pittsburgh Fashion/Social scene, I made an appearance at a fashion show in the Strip. This actually sounds cooler than it was. As it turns out, Scarpone(TM) Designs (Italian Made) is a local fashion house. Ms. Scarpone, seen here on the left wearing one of her own works, was there along with some of Pittsburgh's finest catwalk talent. The whole show ended up being much closer to strip-club than fashion show, for the following reasons:

  1. The models were much more, uh, voluptuous than your standard New York-style fashion waifs. This is neither a positive nor a negative, it was just something that I noticed.

  2. The MC would constantly be announcing the models' names ("Single men, get ready for Ashley!" is an almost verbatim line) without really talking about the outfits at all.

  3. Annoyingly throbbing techno beats, of the kind you might here at a european dance house.

But really I don't want to knock on the thing. The clothes were certainly at least decent. It was kind of a fun event. It wasn't even that crowded and the drinks were free during the show. Finally, the whole club (Pure) reverted back to a dance club with some decent music when the fashion segment was over. After getting a ride home from Emily, I was happy to have Zoie and Suzanne over for a while. They listened to me recount an rather awkward incident that had occurred back at the dance club, and helped convince me that it the awkwardness was mostly just in my head. After that, we went to the Village Pizza for cheese pizza and conversations with yuppies! I *heart* Shadyside.

This weekend is 'To Be Continued' in a later blog post, since I now have to run to a class...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why Georgia, Why?

The Georgian
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.

When I got back from school today, I had an awesome surprise waiting for me... A $35 bill from the Mozart management group. Apparently, you see, when you get locked out of your apartment and you call them to let you back in, they aren't just letting you back in out of the goodness of your heart. I wish I had had a little heads up on that one. I would have tried harder to use that Domino's Pizza placard to jimmy open my front door. I guess I can understand in some sense. I know that it was my dumb fault for getting locked out, but it still sucks for me. Back in college, I used to lock myself out all the time! The DPS guys were always happy to let you back in. (I think they liked the conversation. They seemed a little bit lonely.)

Anyway, thinking about the Georgian, made me think of that old John Meyer song, "Why Georgia?" Since I have sort have been trying to get back into guitar lately, I thought I would give it a shot. (I found a decent tab online.) It's a neat song, especially the bridge, which is short but amazing. It's also a little bit harder than the things I've been trying to play recently, so I was really happy to be crank out a half-way decent version. Niiice!

Finally, since I had nothing else to do, I was watching a little TV, and I found myself watching "Crossing the Line," the story of some teacher who, uh, had an illicit affair with one of her 8th grade students. The whole show struck me as a little bit ridiculous. They were definitely playing up the whole, "she's really attractive" angle, and seemed to be asking her about a lot of the details... The whole thing just struck me as a tad bit creepy. Normally, committed sex offenders don't usually get a whole hour of TV time to tell their side of the story. It was a little bit amazing that they thought they could pass the whole thing off as news, but whatever I guess.

Oh wait, sorry. I am not sure if she has actually been convicted, so I may have spoken too soon. And yes, I guess I am still watching it...

Funness At Kelly's

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
Last night, joined the Fantab Krewe (AKA the Marcus Louie household) at Kelly's for a few drinks and french fries. There were pictures and good stories to be had, along with an always enjoyable "is that girl straight or gay?" moment.

Since I am such a flickr power-user now, I figured I would celebrate by hitting the "Blog This!" button on one of last night's pictures. Here you go Rob.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The rest of the weekend roundup...

First things first, thanks to the advice of Albert, my photos will soon all be going on Flickr at the following location:
They are not all up at this point, but they will be, so just hold on to your horses.

The rest of the weekend was not quite so awesome, but fun in a relaxed way.
Let's count it down!

  • Saturday night: Half-way crashed an EPP party. I did see some neat people there, but I was feeling seriously ill from running and drinking earlier that day, so overall I wasn't quite in the mood to rock. I did see my boss Chris from over the summer which lead to...

  • Sunday morning: Massive football in eye at the William Penn Tavern. Watched our New Orleans Saints sneak one out against the truly horrible Cleveland Browns. Fun, but took up basically my whole day.

  • Sunday night: After some serious ML hacking, Kevin organized some kind of awesome dinner party at the Hunan Kitchen. We somehow managed to get 15 people at the same table, although really it was more like three socially dispersed tables.

  • Monday night (BONUS!!): I had already had a not altogether horrible meeting with my advisor, so I was already feeling alright. Got invited to see the Pirates for FREE, and watched them demolish (or, hold on to the lead just long enough) the Brewers. It was windy and I was ill-prepared since I just found out during the day that I would be going. But what evs, free baseball is just that.

Let's hope this week is rock and roll...

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Rebuilding Pittsburgh...

Today I went to this all-day extravaganda of community do-gooding. Actually, it was the Sprout Fund's "Engage: Idea Round-Up." The point of the whole thing was to get a whole bunch of young-ish people together, and have them think of tons of ideas for making the Burgh a better place. This is anything from murals to bike paths to whatevs. The Sprout Fund even has money to fund this sort of thing, although actually getting a fund-able idea wasn't the whole point of the day. Anyway, two of my favorites:

  • Turning old brige trussels into climbing walls.

  • Having some kind of block party/arts festival on one of Pittsburgh's bridges.

I'll give you a minute to let that second one kick in. Seriously, think of the possibilities. How amazing would it be to be eating burgers, listening to music, hanging out with friends, all while enjoying the awesome view of downtown P-burgh and the river (whichever one). Of course I don't know how many people one of those bridges can hold at a time, and no one seemed quite as excited about the whole thing as I was. But regardless, I think this is an idea with merit! New mayor guy! Get the lackies working on this one ASAP!!

Dance Dance Evolution

Last night was a wild one. I had one of those nights where you wonder why people are always talking about how there's nothing to do here. It wasn't that I did a whole lot, it was what I did: I went to Soulcialism, Pittsburgh's monthly celebration of the dance and kickass music. As the name implies, Soulcialism is all about soul music. Really 60s and 70s Rhythm and Blues and Soul music. Here's the kind of stuff I'm talking about:

  • "We Can Work It Out"  (Beatles) as performed by Stevie Wonder

  • "The Midnight Hour" (Wilson Pickett) as performed by ??

  • "Please Mr. Postman" (??)

Anywho, the best part about it all was the attitude of the crowd. People were dancing and enjoying themselves. Yes it was 100 degrees and 100% humidity there inside, but it was well worth it. Since everyone was sweaty, no one really seemed to mind. The whole deal went down at the White Eagle, this after hours club off Carson in the South Side... good times.

It was even "New Orleans night," at least ostensibly, so they played a little bit of NOLA stuff from the 60s, and they sold a compilation mix where the proceeds went to some charity in New Orleans.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Simple ML5 Example

More nerdy stuff. If you don't like computers, consider yourself warned.

So it has taken kind of a while for me to really appreciate Tom's language. I have had to go back and forth with him a little bit, but here is an example that I wanted to be able to express in my own language, and now can use his to do.

Here's the set-up:
  1. This function takes in a list of integers that resides on another host.
  2. The local host wants to know if the sum of that list is greater than twelve. However, the summation should occur remotely, and only the boolean value should be returned over the network.
  3. <> means 'diamond,' the 'exists at some other world' type from modal logic.
Here's the code:

fun remote_sum( l: <>(int list)@W ) : bool =
letd <wr, a, y,> = l
get[wr; a]
fun sum il = foldl op+ 0 il
if sum y > 12 then true else false

Here are the types (for variables and at various points in the code):
y: int list @ Wr
Wr: Wr world, whichever remote host the list is on.
W: W world, AKA this host.
a: Wr addr @ W
l: <>(int list) @ W

sum: (int list @ Wr) -> int @ Wr

*inner let expression*: bool @ Wr
*get expression*: bool @ W

The 'get' statement takes this remote bool and makes it into a local bool. This is where the network transfer actually occurs, and this is acceptable because bool is a mobile type (like all base types).

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

School, I Guess

After a long and awesome labor-day week-end which included:

  1. Camping

  2. Birthday Party

  3. BBQ

It's unfortunately time to get back to the real work of living my life 100% to the max (by which I mean, going to classes and trying to do research). I think that I have discovered a golden nugget in Tom 7's research. Actually, it has always been there. I learned about it last year and over the summer at the U of O summer school, but only now am I beginning to really appreciate it and how it may be extremely useful in my research.

So, what I think his research means to me is this:
It would be the idea basis language/logic/calculus upon which I can add just the features that I am trying to research. His language has all the distributed features that I was wasting time trying to develop, in a very elegant and type-theoretic way (redundant?). Hopefully, his work can be the skeleton upon which I hang my own. He was nice enough to meet with me today to explain some of the finer points, and now I am even more confident that his work is a suitable basis for my own. I have mostly been reading his thesis proposal, which I think is definitely the one to read if you have the time. He has shorter papers that more or less explain the same thing, but they don't have the excellent background and friendly style that the TP does.

Friday, September 1, 2006

No Camping Tonight...

Due to the super-duper rain storm headed this way, I will no longer be going camping tonight, although there will be come make-up camping tomorrow... Lame.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


If you don't care about computers, you can shut your eyes for this entry.

I already had a lot of respect for the programming languages people here at CMU before they created this year's programming contest for the International Conference on Functional Programming. But this contest really put their cleverness in a whole new light. It had a neat back story, and clever problems that were actually fun to solve. I didn't actually compete, but did take the time to work on some of the problems on my own time. For all that, they were rewarded with the greatest recognition a computer scientist can receive: an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The article is a kind of neat look at a pretty obscure topic from a layman's point of view. Worth reading if only because "Yeah I go to school with those guys!!1!"

Going Back, Back, Back to School

This is a little late for my first posting of the new semester, but I do feel it necessary to celebrate the new school year blog style. A few notes:

  • Today was my first advisor meeting of the semester. It went relatively well.

  • I am trying to fool my body into thinking that the semester hasn't started yet by going out every night of the week, and by going on a camping trip this weekend.

  • Likewise, I have been watching TV at night, something I did during the summer but never before during the school year.

  • I have a new office mate.

  • Taffy is delicious.

In other news, I watched the 40-year-old Virgin again this week (I finally bought it). Last night I was stumbling around wikipedia and I discovered that there is actually a name for the whole Will Ferell/Vince Vaughn/Ben Stiller comedy cabal. They are known as the 'Frat Pack.'

For my NOLA friends...

I was doing some heavy thinking today, and I came to the following conclusion:

The sixteen ounce Mardi Gras cup is man's single greatest achievement in the past five years.

(For those of you who have never been to Mardi Gras, this will make more sense if you know that Mardi Gras cups have traditionally been twelve ounces. Also, Mardi Gras cups are plastic cups thrown from floats in Mardi Gras parades. You can stock your entire apartment with them, as I have, and you can even put them in the dishwasher, as I do.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

9th Ward

Today I went to the 9th Ward, which is on the eastern edge of downtown and the French Quarter. It was roughed up a whole bunch during the hurricane, and while I had already visited Lakefront (another storm-ravaged part of town) in December, I never actually went to see the 9th ward. Later on, I'll put up some more pictures on my site, but here was one that I took with my mom's camera.
A messed-up car in the 9th Ward.

There were lots of overturned cars, and ruined houses still. We saw a bunch of construction crews there, and they seem to be taking away a bunch of refuse, but the rebuilding in that part of town is proceeding slowly. (This is just as far as I can tell, and not based on any other evidence.) Things are much better in other parts of town though.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Somewhere in Alabama...

Your mom is in my top 8.

We can attribute this to the "myspace-ification" of our world.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Somewhere in Pittsburgh, PA...

For assistance push 3 inch help buttom.

Exactly how large is the help button again?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

LOL Out Loud

Somewhere in cyberspace:

  • Frank: dude what's going on in NOLA, USA?

  • Chester: oh the thigns

  • Chester: i'm working for cee-ray

  • Frank: yeah I heard about that

  • Frank: from you

  • Frank: how's the love action?

  • Chester: i'm dr loveless

  • Chester: i move around on steam-powered spider legs and i have no anus

  • Frank: hahahahah

  • Frank: hahahahaha

  • Frank: hahahahah

  • Frank: hahahaha

  • Chester: hoho

Take that Mel

Man, am I the only person to notice the similarities between this week's "Tom the Dancing Bug" and today's "Wondermark?" Oh, what's that? You don't actually read comics? Well, too bad for you...

Anyway, I just got back from some carousing at Kelly's... time to go to bed.

Joy in Chicago

Well this isn't the best picture ever take of me. It's even worse because of the bootleg cellphone quality BUT I thought it nicely expresses the amount of fun that I had in Chicago... can't you see the joy in my eyes?

(Weird, I just noticed my camera takes pictures backwards when it's in self-portrait mode... Peep the text in the background if you can read it...)

Last Week of Work, Son

This is my last week of work at the summer internship. I've had a good time working there this summer, but this last week I am really trying to get a whole bunch of last minute stuff done before Friday. I did a lot this summer, but it never seems like enough, and I feel a tiny bit stressed at the moment.

Friday, immediately after work I am leaving to go back to New Orleans for one week before the semester begins. I'm driving, which is absolutely rediculous for one week of vacation, but there's a bunch of stuff I have at my parent's house that I want to bring back. If you feel like I haven't been hanging out much in the past few weekends, it's because I've been out of town or busy or something, and most likely you may not see me for another week! Boo... that's unless of course you are in New Orleans, in which case, "Do you want to get some roast beef po-boys?"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pictures from Chicago

I posted a few pictures from Chicago on my web site, for any person or persons who wish to check them out.

It was good, seriously. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Hanging out with Amy, her friends and Kevin in Wicker Park and in Logan Square. Drinking and attending some very underground-style bars. Okay, they weren't really super chic, or unknown or anything, but they were way better than the places we would have gone to.

  2. Museum of Science and Industry, because we are nerds and I love that kind of stuff.

  3. Walking around the Loop and the Magnificent Mile.

  4. Eating big fat manly steaks at Gene Georgetti, a dope steak restaurant.

Oh man, ask me and I'll tell you all about it. It was fun though, and I'm pretty sure I would want to go again. Let me know, anyone, if you're interested.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Too Fast For Love

Sorry, there is precious little time to Blog, as I am in Chicago this weekend! Right now! As we type!

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Getting Awesome

Oh man!

Well Monday night my sis-McSister came to town. She was doing a little bit of the lawyerly type work, and was sent to Pittsburgh as part of that whole thing. Some welding-related lawsuits, which sounds like a lot of fun. Anyway, a bunch of the troops were nice enough to gather together and go out to the Harris Grill. This was like actual proof to my family that I actually have friends, or at least that I have five friends, because I always think they secretly think I don't, and just are too nice to say anything about it.

Last night was also fun because I was invited over to a dinner party. I was just meeting the guy whose apartment it was for the first time, but I was invited by some other friends, Emily mainly. He does work that's pretty similar to mine, and he went to CMU. But in addition to boring work stuff, he's got me beat by being a fashion/portrait photographer (a la here) and has a super modern, sparse, and all-around nice looking apartment. (The kind someone who was really in to art or design might have.) Anyway, he was a nice guy and we all had a nice time, methinks. It reminded me more than anything, though, that I MUST see the 40-year-old Virgin again...

Let us not forget, also, a little lunch-time meeting with Z. Turns out Z works right down the street and we had Golden Triangle sandwiches (sounds dirty doesn't it?) and talked about what it means to be young and awesome in Pittsburgh at this very moment in history. It was fun.

Tonight I went rock climbing (indoors only) with Jen. I invited some other people, including Kate, but they were all busy. (Kate was at the Pretenders... sounds like fun!)

And finally... nothing I guess I really want to get to bed on time, even early tonight. I am just realizing how precious little time I have left before my internship is over, and while have definitely done a lot of work, I am really just starting to get worried that I won't have finished enough...AH...

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Geeks and Freaks


I am currently engaged in a back-to-back-to-back viewing of Freaks and Geeks. Suzanne was nice enough loan me the whole box set. I knew it was good but I am just having a fantastic time wasting my Sunday afternoon, lying on the couch.

In other big news, my sister is coming tomorrow and she's going to be hanging out for at least one night. We'll probably go to one of those famous Pittsburgh bars (Kelly's? Dee's? Brillo Box? Can't decide, brain anuerism!) If you wanna come out, meet my sister, let me know! It's gonna be schweet.

Okay, but last night was awesome. More or less. It started off with a BBQ at my bosses house. Then when they went over to watch the movie (Ricky Bobby and whatnot) I went over to Marcus' for a going away BBQ. (I KNOW! Two B.B.Q.s in one D.A.Y.) Anywho, we were there for a while and even had a little bit of dress-up session, military styles. Before finally heading out. Firehouse. Gooski's. All in all a good time, but I have to admit I was in a weird. (One of those kinds of moods where no one really knows you're in a weird mood except that you're telling everyone you're in a weird mood...)

Doing okay, feeling alllllright!!!

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Office Space

I had always thought the movie Office Space (which I am watching right now, as sort of a way of getting back to my roots) was filmed somewhere in Texas. I guess I figured it was Dalas or something, just because I really didn't recognize anything. BUT, I finally decided to investigate, and I learned that it was in fact filmed in Austin, TX, which is even cooler. Mike Judge, the writer/director guy (see Beevis and Butthead) was born in Dalas, and so maybe that's why he wanted to film it in Texas. Also, there's a lot of software stuff going on in Austin, so I guess it makes a lot of sense. Anyway, check out this blog, to see a little bit more.

Some day, I'm may have to go on the Office Space tour...

Oh oh, I wanted to add, that I think/hope this is why there is so much Geto Boys music in the film. You see they are Houston's finest gangsta rappers, and by transitivity, also Texas'.

Doping is for Dope Fiends

Looks like we found out Floyd Landis really did do some bad stuff after all... but here's my favorite part of the whole ordeal. Here is a quote from the article:

"I have received a text message from Chatenay-Malabry lab that indicates the 'B' sample of Floyd Landis' urine confirms testosterone was taken in an exogenous way," Pierre Bordry, who heads the French anti-doping council, told The Associated Press shortly after the "B" sample results were released.

So basically what this means is that now text messages have become a means of official, history-changing communication. I, for one, say bring it on.This is even more true now that I finally signed up for a text message plan. After paying $25 over my regular bill two months in a row, I decided that, yes, I am addicted to text messaging, and I need to cop to it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day Two o' Work

Today was my second day of work, same as the first. (Meaning pretty good)
I'm thinking it's going to be a good summer. I like the people I work with. They've got me working on what seems to be a very interesting project. Moreover, it seems like everyone there is pretty cool. Some of us went out to a Jazz club tonight after work, and there are some fun sounding plans coming up in the future.

New York was great, and I feel like I should mention a few of the things I did, but since it's already getting late in the PM, I'm going to do it bullet-point style:

  • Stayed in an AWESOME hotel room thanks to my friend's friend who works there. It was right in midtown manhattan and awesome.

  • Empire State Building, where we went to the 86th floor. (That's not the tippy top, but super high). It was like an hour and a half wait and I hate heights, but it was still awesome.

  • Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Hung out with Friends from high school and from college, which made it fun.

  • Remembered how much I loved traveling. Want to make it my full time business, but at least have an excuse to attempt to make money or something.

Wow, what a strange style of writing. Bah!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I Love New York City. Oh Yeah, New York City.

Whoa, America.
I just got back from my first ever trip to New York City (Okay not technically, but first overnight trip). It was awesome. I had way more fun than I even expected. I thought I was over that sort of thing. Tomorrow is my first day of work, so I don't even have much time to discuss this sort of thing. But let us just say that it ruled. Feeling sleepy.

Also, I practically demand that you check out this animation of the flooding of New Orleans during Katrina. It is very well done, informative and just plain interesting. Enjoy the harvest of the Internet.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Posts and Posts

Not much here. Glad to be basically done for the semester!
Going to New York City this weekend. Starting work on Monday. Other than that, nothing's really going on!

One of my favorite terms from the Internet is fanboy. I've loved this one since I've first seen it used, both for the accurate picture it seems to suggest of actual fanboys and its connection with middle school grammar mnemonics (For And Not But Or Yet). The point of all this is that I finally stumbled upon the wikipedia article for the term 'fanboyism' and I thought it worthy of sharing.


Monday, May 8, 2006

WHERE are the snakes?!

I'll take it as a given that you have heard of the movie/internet phenomenon known as Snakes on a Plane. What you may not know is that this movie is actually coming out and it's coming out in the very near future (Like August 18th, so pre-order your tickets immediately). Anyways, the point is that last night I went to see Mission Impossible 3 (a not all-together bad movie actually) and it was there staring me in the face: a beautiful Snakes on a Plane movie poster. For posterity I had my friends take a picture of me next to it. Dig on the horrible cellphone quality image. The poster speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Snakes on a Plane Baby!

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Getting down to the wire

Well it seems that I am rather busy at many of the current moments. However, I am currently so bored from working on my literature, survey/final class presentation for Analysis of Software Artifacts (wow, 4 slides written in an hour and 15 minutes? Excellent Progress!!) that I decided I could take a break to talk about the fun that I had this past weekend.

  1. I went to my first Pirates game on Friday night. Pirates played the Phillies. Pirates won. Fireworks were displayed, as it was in fact Fireworks night. I really liked PNC Park and in fact had forgotten how much I enjoyed going to baseball games in general. I may have to hit that up more often when I'm working over on the northshore this summer.

  2. Rewind earlier that day to where I am running in the Random Distance Run. There are plenty of pictures both here and here, and the results were posted here. 22nd place out of 52 or so finishers. I was all prepared with excuses about how I had been sick that week, etc. but since I was actually pretty happy with my performance (you wouldn't normally think so for 22nd place)  I'll save my excuses for another time!! (I should, however, like to point out that my advisor and I deserved 5th place in the student/advisor competition based on our finishing positions. But maybe, since Marwan and my advisor finished third together, that sort of "uses up" my advisor's position.)

  3. Saturday night was awesome with trips to the GSA wine tasting and Pittsburgh's Art All Night after-wards. I can't say too much about the different wines because I was driving, but the red wine that I had was good, and most people seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Throughout it all I am working on this survey which will be my final project in analysis of software artifacts. The idea is to compare several different techniques (Data-flow, Model-checking, Type-based, Dynamic) for finding one particular software defect (in this case, race conditions). I have to say that is painful is this is, I'm sort of enjoying it. Thursday is the in-class presentation. It'll be a 50 minute, mini-lecture.

Other than that, not much to say. When this week is all over I will have pretty much emerged into summer and hopefully will be feeling awesome.