Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wordly Beats

I picked sort of a strange night to not drink. You see I am trying to scale my enjoyment back to no more than two nights a week. Well on Thursday I had a great time with an assortment of beautiful people at the Harris Grill, and last night I had my fill of going away parties (shout-outs to ), so that meant tonight was a dry one.

So we went to the World Beat thing at Ava lounge (that's in ELib). Normally I'd be drinking and dancing and having a good time. But while I tried to give dancing a chance, I really just wasn't feeling it tonight. This was partially due to my temperance, partially due to the relatively small crowd and partially due to the a general sadness from the previous night's events.

With the two going-away parties, I've been getting a little worried. I'm starting to think that the whole time I'm here it's just going to be people leaving, one after the next. I had heard this before from some other friends, but I was kinda hoping that it would never happen to me... Is there just going to be a steady stream of good-byes, until I leave, playing the same role for someone else? Thinking about it makes me depressed.

Well upon re-reading this, it makes me seem a little bitter. I wanted to make it absolutely clear that I am extremely happy for those people graduating and leaving, going on to do the things that make them happy. This is just a larger symptom of my general belief that everyone I've ever known ought to live in the same city that I do. Maybe if things were a little different in Pittsburgh, if there were more work opportunities, leaving wouldn't be the obvious conclusion that it seems to be.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I just received some horrible news; the submission deadline for the conference that I've been working on was extended from tomorrow at 3am to April 9th! Why is this horrible news? Well I really just wanted to be done with the whole thing. I've been putting off very basic parts of my life, like doing laundry, buying groceries and interacting with humans for about the last two weeks. I didn't want to do this any more. The problem is that, even though I have a mostly complete paper, there was all this stuff that I should have done but didn't due to time constraints. Now I'm going to have to do it, and I am not looking forward to it.

Well don't worry, I'll passively resist. I'll be out this weekend, and I'll be getting back to normal things. My body demands it!

Deadlines and Breadlines

Shiny robotsMy paper deadline is fast approaching! Tomorrow night a midnight pacific, to be exact. I will be so happy when it has passed. To tide you over, here is a picture from the paper I am working on. What this image describes isn't strictly the result of my work; it's the result of Mike's work from a couple of years ago, but I am trying to say that my work helps solve some associated problem. I made the image myself, and think it looks cool even though the text is a little messed up.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Amateur Pro-Wrestling

Amateur Pro-Wrestling
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
For those of you not on facebook, here are my pictures from Saturday night's wrestling event in Lawrenceville. It's mos fun, and happens once a month. If you're interested, let me know!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

John Waters

John WatersJust got back from seeing John Waters speak on campus. It was pretty funny.

For those of you who don't know, John Waters is this director of sort of funny but also shocking kinds of movies. I knew that he made "Hairspray," and I had forgottent that he also made "Pecker," but other than that I hadn't seen any of his other movies. It was definitely worth the $0 that I spent on the ticket, although aparently it started half an hour earlier than I thought, and they didn't let Kevin in, because it was so crowded despite the fact that we were all together.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 and Livejournal?

Hey I just got a account! Check me out and add me as a friend if you're already on.

Are there any livejournal gurus out there? I'd like to add my playlist image to a fixed spot on the top of my blog, but I can't really figure it out. Is this even possible? It's just an image... It looks like this:

As of post time, this hasn't synched up with the tracks I have played.

Friday, March 23, 2007

CD Review: Blackalicious, "The Craft"

Albmu Cover ImageI'm going to try to post reviews on a semi-regular basis for CDs that I buy and either liked or was particularly dissapointed by. Hopefully this will be providing a service to my friends and enemies,  and hopefully I can keep it up. I do try to by a few CDs a month, so given enough time I could actually do a good job. I'll try to keep the reviews short and helpful. Here we go!

Blackalicious, "The Craft" - 5/5
Blackalicious is a hip-hop group that I have been aware of for probably like 5 or 6 years, but never actually heard. They even played here on campus last semester, but I didn't go. It wasn't until I tapped into the iTunes share of some nice CMU student that I was able to hear them for the first time, and it blew me away. "The Craft" is smart, fast, fun hip-hop. Smart hip-hop can basically be defined as its own sub-genre and to me is hip-hop where the primary theme is not money or women. Good examples are Dead Prez, the Roots, Nas, Outkast (for the most part), Tribe Called Quest, etc. And it's fast, cause these guys have serious flow. If there's one thing I hate, it's jilted, slow rhymes, and I think this is one thing that popular hip-hop is full of. Anyway, I highly recommend this album if you're into hip-hop at all. The album starts out exceptionally strong, and most of my favorite tracks are at the beginning of the CD:
  • World of Vibrations
  • Rhythm Sticks
  • Powers - Awesome dance-y type of song.
  • My Pen and Pad - These guys rap at a ridiculous pace in this song...
  • Side to Side - Hilarious. My favorite song on the CD. "She didn't have a clue. Tell you what to do, just shut and ride the groove!"
are all fantastic. Other songs are good, but I will admit that things slow down a bit towards the end of the end of the CD. It's all quality though, and I recommend you pick it up!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Late Night Ponderings...

I wonder, can you get cauliflower ear from wearing studio headphones for too long?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Image; No Context

I now present one of my favorite pictures, presented with a disarming lack of context. I hope you enjoy.

My Love is Underground

Monday, March 19, 2007

C++ Will Never Die

Wow. I can't believe this compiles in C++. The 'msg' that I am passing to the constructor is the same 'msg' that I am trying to create. Needless to say, that call to getNeighbor() puts a bunch of garbage in the object. It took me a very long time to track down the source of this garbage from some seg faults located in another thread. Boo.

void RPCCodeModule<T>::rpcReturn() {

// ...
// msg is not is not global, nor was it declared previously!
assert(false); // why I am using msg here? crazy
RPCMessage<T>* msg = new RPCMessage<T>(msg->getNeighbor());
// ...


Wow, I just realized that you can get information on the PTHREAD C library using the man command at a unix terminal. I had been searching the Internet with variable results, when it turns out all I have to do is type:

man pthread_self

and this can be done for any of the pthread library functions. Nice.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Purp in the Dutch/Purp in the Cup

This morning I got back from Los Angeles! The whole thing was a crazy, sick ridiculous time, and I'm really glad that I went even though I am really busy right now. There's a lot of stuff I could talk about, but I have kind of a knack for forgetting the coolest things, so I'll just sort of go in a random order, mentioning things as I think of them.

In LA I stayed with my best friend Rand who's now a masters students in nerdy robots at USC. One thing that got a little depressing while I was living in LA (and probably why I have such ambivalent feelings about LA in general) was that I was living near campus for all four years, and there's not really a whole lot going on around campus except for USC house parties/frat parties. So therefore when I came to Pittsburgh and started doing other kinds of things around town, it felt like a big contrast. Staying with Rand I realized how much of that had to do with being by campus. He lives in Echo Park, which is this cool area near downtown full of hipsters and rock 'n roll type people. It felt so much more vibrant than South Central, as you can probably imagine. There were neat bars, we went to some boutique comic book store, there was a gelato shoppe, a bunch of awesome places for breakfast, and more. It was just like more of what I would have liked to get out of LA when I actually lived there.

We hung out a lot with Rand's friends which was great cause they are tres tight. Some of them I knew from my USC days, but big-ups go out to all those whom I had never met before and yet still turned out to be dope individuals. We went to bars, we hung around the girls' and boys' house playing music and watching tv, we listened to tons of rap and pop music, and we even got to spend one glorious night in a hot tub out in Santa Monica.

Rand and I spent a fair amount of time nerding out, talking about programming languages and the like, which I guess was kind of a change of pace for him. For me it was a kind of a change of pace to be talking about mostly art, music and pop-culture with Rand's friends. In particular, a fair amount of our conversations centered around the concept of "Purp" aka "Drank," which is some kind of drug referenced in a lot of rap songs. I had heard of it before, particular w.r.t. the Houston Hip-Hop scene, but I had never realized how pervasive it was. In particular, that song "Let Your Shoulder Lean," or whatever it's really called is an implicit reference. You can see more fascinating stuff over at Urban Dictionary.

Anyway, I was really kind of bummed to leave. I was surprised how much I enjoyed LA. But don't worry, it still feels great to be back in P town. The flight home was rough, since I decided to take a red-eye flight. The whole city had this really low cloud cover when we left. Once we broke through, it was amazing to see the stars perfectly out of the airplane window right above LA. Looking down, I could see erie patches of light coming through the clouds. It almost felt like traveling under water, and seeing faint, glowing lava on the sea floor...

So much work back at school. Time to hunker down, extreme style.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I am currently in LA.

Things are good (palm trees, sunshine, etc.)

For some reason all my friends here are in to New Orleans Hip-Hop.

More to come.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Apparently neither G++ nor just about any other C++ compiler support the export keyword, which is necessary to define templated classes in separate header and source files. They say that the workaround is to just include the definitions in the header files, but I'm starting to get worried that I'm going to have a whole bunch of linker multiple definition errors...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have Compilation

After about 24 hours of working furiously, I finally have gotten rid of all the compiler errors on this project I am working on.

You see because my computer was broken (it was the only one on which this simulator would compile), I was 'programming blind' for about two weeks. Well in two weeks you can create a lot of compiler errors, especially if it's C++ you're fooling with. I finally hacked my way through all of them, and I feel like at a minimum I have a better understanding of a.) how C++ works and b.) why I dislike C++.

Of course this is no indication that anything actually works. But it's nice to have actually finished something.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Horror...

I am currently learning horrible things about C++ that I never wanted to know. For instance, this one was giving me trouble for a while (from the GCC documentation):

Two-stage name lookup sometimes leads to situations with behavior different from non-template codes. The most common is probably this:

       template <typename T> struct Base {
int i;

template <typename T> struct Derived : public Base<T> {
int get_i() { return i; }

In get_i(), i is not used in a dependent context, so the compiler will look for a name declared at the enclosing namespace scope (which is the global scope here). It will not look into the base class, since that is dependent and you may declare specializations of Base even after declaring Derived, so the compiler can't really know what i would refer to. If there is no global variable i, then you will get an error message.

In order to make it clear that you want the member of the base class, you need to defer lookup until instantiation time, at which the base class is known. For this, you need to access i in a dependent context, by either using this->i (remember that this is of type Derived<T>*, so is obviously dependent), or using Base<T>::i. Alternatively, Base<T>::i might be brought into scope by a using-declaration.

C++ Code Organization

C++ is giving me a lot of grief right now. But I finally found an article on good code organization practice. Surprisingly hard to find. I am mostly posting this for my own memory, but maybe it'll help someone else out too..

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I Promised Myself I'd Never Stoop This Low...

If I've looked depressed recently, this is probably why:

// Let the hacks begin! We really need a compiler...
#define ENTER_RPC_METHOD { \
pthread_mutex_lock(&fblockGlobalMTX); \
rpcMethodStacks[pthread_self()] = \
rpcMethodStacks[pthread_self()] + 1; \
pthread_mutex_unlock(&fblockGlobalMTX); \
#define RPC_RETURN { \
int stack = 0;
pthread_mutex_lock(&fblockGlobalMTX); \
stack = --(rpcMethodStacks[pthread_self()]) \
pthread_mutex_unlock(&fblockGlobalMTX); \
if( stack == 0) { \
send(); \
pthread_cond_lock(rpcMutex); \
pthread_cond_wait(rpcConVar); \
pthread_cond_unlock(rpcMutex); \
} \
} return

I don't like programing multi-threaded applications, but I really don't want to do so in C++ with PThreads using Macro support. Deadlines loom...


Okay, I at least realized I could put most of this code into methods, so it's not quite as U-G-L-Y any more.

More Pictures

 Looks like Leo et al. took some way better pictures than I did.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rum Partay!

Well the party last night went, in my own opinion, very well. So like any good party, I must get the apologies out of the way first.

Sorry if:

  1. While dancing I dipped you and then promptly fell over (ladies, you know who you are).
  2. I slapped you on the ass really really hard (guys, you know who you are).
  3. I picked you up over my shoulder and possibly fell down (this one applies to the ladies and the gents).
Other than that, I had a great time. I did feel a little bit like kid show-business, because I was constantly interrupting people mid-way through a sentence so that I could answer my phone and go get the door. I found out later (this morning) that I could actually keep my door unlocked. I didn't get to talk to everyone as much as I would have liked, but I think the Mai Thais more than made up for it.

Strangely this morning my kitchen smelled like puke, and my bathroom smelled fine. A little surprising considering that I think someone may have taken full advantage of my toilet, if you know what I mean. Also, melted marshmallow peeps are really hard to clean up. I think you have to get them as soon as they spill or you're pretty much toast.

I felt like a good number of people came. Not too many that I felt like an unpopular chump, but not so many that people were spilling out into the lobby. I really didn't want that just because I was already worried about disturbing my neighbors. Speaking of which...

This morning I found the following note attached to my mailbox, written on a slip of paper sponsored by Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium):

Next time you party so loud I will call the cops!
I'll be putting in a complaint to bldg. mgt.

Okay, so that kinda sucked. But at least the cops weren't called, and I'm not having any more parties probably until I move somewhere else so I think this is an acceptable level of damage for one night.

Finally, I was really happy that people brought their friends. There were even a few people who came just because they heard about it, which was great. I myself am the consumate party crasher, so it was great to see some folks returning the favor! (Note the total lack of sarcasm in the previous statement. And this one.) Cheers you good people of Pittsburgh and delicious rum! Jeers to hangovers, spilled drinks and broken lightbulbs! ;-)

Partay Pictures

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
The rest of the details will follow in a friends-only post, but here are a few pictures from last night's rum party and from this morning. Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to take very many pictures of, you know, my actual friends actually having a good time, but I think the aftermath pictures pretty much say it all. Also I didn't aim the camera when I was taking pictures during the party. Not sure why.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

This one is definitely friends-only...

I just got back from the liquor store. I spent $250 just on rum. It all looked so good, I couldn't help myself. Therefore, please make it worth my while.
Don't let me turn into a lush.
Come to my party on Friday.
Come thirsty.
Have an awesome time.
Break my stuff.
Put your drink down in inappropriate places.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

My SIGBOVIK Submission

The GUnit Testing Harness: Achieving Source Code Street Cred

The System is Down

It's official: My computer at school has a bad hard-drive. Here is the diagnosis:

From all indications the disk on GSXXX.SP...has failed; disk diagnostics is turning up numerous bad sectors. We may have another 160GB SATA drive available in house...if not I'll order one.

Anyway, I don't think there was anything critical on there, mostly because I use CVS to store the most important stuff, and the IT department does nightly backups of that machine. However, that was the only computer I have that can build this simulator that I am working on for my research project, so for the past week I've just been writing code without seeing if it actually works (a generally bad idea).

Eh, I guess it could've been worse, but it's just a little annoying considering how busy things are right now.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

"Goolge Maps is da bomb. True Dat, DOUBLE TRUE!!"

We've been looking for a new way to display all of our past hikes in UrbanHike. I was initially thinking Flash, because I pictured the map zooming in a out to different parts of the city of Pittsburgh. Also, I thought it would be easy and much simpler than coding something up with Google Maps (I was worried that I would have to use some kind of server-side scripting, which I don't think our site supports).

Anyway, I was way off. I had way too much trouble with Flash. Conversely, Google Maps was really freakin' simple to use. You can program it using JavaScript (at least for all the simple stuff we're doing), the API is really well documented, and it only took me like 30 minutes to get things up and running. Here is the prototype. Furthermore, if we get ambitious, we can do neat things like including the entire route of the hike, or something like that. Wicked.

In other news, I finally finished my SIGBOVIK submission yesterday at the "PC Meeting." As it turns out, all of the authors were on the program committee, so it looks like my paper may get in... But more importantly, it was a good environment in which to bounce ideas off of other people, and it looks like the final product is better than I was thinking it would be. I'll post a link in a couple days.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Rum Jungle

I just realized that my rum party is on the first day of CMU spring break.

I'm an idiot...

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I am trying to work on this comedic research paper, and it's just not going all that well. The real problem is having to sit down and say to yourself, "self, time to be funny!" It just doesn't really work that way. I feel like if I had written down every funny idea that I had re this paper since the idea first came up, I might have something good. But as it stands now, I'm a little worried. It could just end up being corny...