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.