Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sewing, etc.

Does anyone know a cheap tailor/seamstress/alteration person around CMU? I went to the drycleaning/tailoring place on Ellsworth this morning, but because they charge by the square foot of fabric cut, it was going to end up costing like $21 for a $50 curtain, and I'm really just looking for a makeshift job here...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I never knew this before India, but Coriander and Cilantro are the same thing! It's a conspiracy!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pittsburgh Party PhD People?

Hey I heard from Tom that the CMU Computer Science PhD program was developing a reputation as, the party Computer Science PhD program. Anyone else heard anything like this care to ellaborate? I mean, it certainly sounds like a good thing to me, but I'm wondering how this all got started.

Friday, August 24, 2007

City Paper

Yes, I am back in Pittsburgh, and yes, it does feel pretty sweet.

I just read this week's City Paper and thought I would mention of few of the things that I saw in hopes that other people were interested (and also because I can never remember anything).

  • There is an interview with Sharon Lippincott who has written a book called, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing: How to Transform Memories Into Meaningfuly Stories, and I have to say I like the idea of writing short stories about very specific and important/funny/interesting parts of your own life.
  • The Dance Alloy Theater School has non-competitive dance and movement classes for all ages! 12 weeks starting September 15th, and there is a $10 discount if you register by August 31st. Eh? EH?!
  • This play called Private Lives, which I've heard is pretty funny, is playing at the Stephen Foster Memorial Theater until September 9th.
  • I've seen some reviews for a movie called This is England, and it looks pretty good. It's about this 12-year-old kid in 1980s England who is kind of a loser, but ends up hanging out with this group of skin-heads, and kind of gets sucked into their world.
  • Still want to see Superbad...

Sunday, August 19, 2007


There have been times in my life where I have regularly watched a lot of movies. This past week has been one of those times. Since last Saturday, I have watched the following movies:

  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Knocked Up
  • Deja Vu
  • Blood Diamond
  • Idiocracy
  • Shrek the Third (Twice!)
  • Guru
  • Blades of Glory
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Fever Pitch
  • Paris, Je T'Aime

I will admit, being so awesome is a little tiring.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Los Angeles

While I am waiting for Rand, his room mates, and the rest of Pizza! to finish band practice, I'll let you guys know a little bit about my trip to LA. First, there was my trip back from Bangalore. I already talked about my wait on the tarmac of LAX, so I think I should just sum up the earlier part of the flight in pictures. Here goes:
So that sucked... On Sunday we did a lot of shopping and hanging out. As usual, I went to Amoeba records, which was a glorious experience. I picked up a CD by The Fratellis (recommended to me by another summer intern), an Of Montreal CD that I love but have never bought, and James Taylor: Greatest Hits, since I have had "Fire and Rain" stuck in my head for about the last two months.

Staying with Rand had been great so far. He's got adorable cats, is located in a fun area (Echo Park/Silverlake) and has been nice enough to drive me all over this large city of ours. And because it didn't feel like enough of a vacation, yesterday we went to Disneyland! Camp melanoma might be a better name though, because it was just a little bit hot. Heat aside, we had a ridiculously large amount of fun, and I can't believe it had been so long since I had gone.

Today, while Rand was at work, I got a haircut, of which I was in desperate need, and I saw "Knocked Up," a Judd Apataw movie. I would recommend "Knocked Up," if you haven't seen it (it came out while I was in India). It's an impressive combination of vulgar humor, over the top sentimentality, and realistic arguments. It's win/win/win if you ask me.  Tonight, we're going to get hot wings, or something like that, and then tomorrow it's back to New Orleans for me! I haven't been here too long, but I think it's been just long enough that I'll want to come back again when I leave. Always good to keep 'em wanting more...  

Blue Blockers

Blue Blockers
Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
Well I have more pictures, but frankly they're not all that good, and really I just wanted to get this one out there. So, here we are, at Disneyland!

Airport Party

This seems like kind of old news to be me now, but I did want to mention that after my flight back to Los Angeles, after two consecutive ten hour flights, we found out that the immigration computers at LAX had gone down, and we were forced to sit on our plan for five extra hours before we could get off. Since I was able to sleep it wasn't so bad, but it was really hot and sweaty which I did not enjoy.

Anyway, yesterday we went to Disneyland, and I have a bunch of pictures to post. Today I am just lazing around LA while Rand goes to work...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Then You Get the Money

In response to yesterday's post, Chris' blog is mostly correct, particularly with respect to the issues that actually matter. You need to go to Citbank, and go around to the side, upstairs area. You need to talk to the person at the desk in back on the left side, although her name has changed. You need to bring your account info (both accounts) address of the bank in US, the amount of money you want to transfer (remembering that the whole thing costs 1125 RS) and copies of your paystubs and emails detailing any reimbursements that were deposited to your account (This is necessary, because you have to prove that you earned all the money that you want to transfer). 

Just go, sit down, and follow her instructions.

The only thing that gave her a little worry was the reimbursement for my flight. She wasn't sure that was good enough for proof that I had earned the money... Anyway, we'll find out if it worked or not in two to three business days.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

First You Get the Money

Hey MSRI Interns!

Pavol found a blog of a former MSRI intern who discusses how to get your precious precious rupees back into the United States. Check it out, and then I'll tell you if it works later today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

8-Bit Power

Apparently I have been immortalized in song form.

Tom 7 has written the Theme from nbeckman, which I still haven't listened to, but you should go ahead and hear it in all its 8 bit glory.

More importantly, however, someone has finally gotten on the ball and introduced what I have casually been referring to as "Wikipedia: Pants Edition." You can now search wikipedia via text message. I predict this will be crucial for settling those bar disputes that come up at the Harris Grill, and we can see once and for all how utterly full of crap I am.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Badami (Still Rhymes With Salami)

Originally uploaded by DixiePistols.
This weekend, my last in India, I went with some Microsofties and Co. to Badami in northern Karnataka (the same state that Bangalore was in). I'll admit that I was a little nervous about the whole thing, everything work out great. If there's one thing I've learned about India, it's that you should just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Why was I nervous? Well we only had train tickets to a place called Hubli, which was something like three hours away, and we didn't have any good idea of how we going to make that final leg of the trip. Well, stumbling of the train at 5:30 in the morning, we managed to make our way to the bus station where we found a bus that would take us closer, but not quite to, Badami. In fact it was my first bus experience in India, and for the first time here, I began to feel like I was in fact, Off The Beaten Path (TM Lonely Planet Inc.) We were riding down some bumpy roads through what can only be described as villages; Animals, and little children running around naked, goats blocking our path (and later) what appeared to be some kind of farmer's uprising. It was pretty wild. But our fellow riders were nice, and very excited to ask us questions. ("From what country?" "What is your good name?" "Do you know George W. Bush?" etc.)

Of course, I am playing it all up for effect. In fact for the first time I felt like I met and interacted with a lot of Indians, and they were almost all extremely nice and helpful.

(Aside: on this trip I was told that a.) I was a handsome man, b.) that I had nice pants, and c.) that I had the best height. Not just a good height, mind you, but the best. height, because really, once you get to 6'3", that's just too much.)

Anyway, on to Badami. Badami was the former hub of the Chalukya, and is filled with ruins going back to the 5th century. The most interesting are a series of cave temples (guarded by the monkey menace!) that overlook a sort of small lake. Due to the relatively difficulty we had in getting there, there weren't nearly as many tourists as, say, Hampi but the sights were definitely on par.

The second we hired a driver, Suresh, to take us to two smaller towns, Pattadakal and Aihole. (Aihole is actually pronounced ay ho ley, but we had our own, unique way of referring to it...) More temples, which again were fantastic, but the trip was somewhat marred by the constant rain. It is in fact monsoon season, so we sort of knew that ahead of time.

You wouldn't have guessed by his flip flops, but Suresh was a bit of a thug behind the wheel. He was passing cars and hitting gaps that I never in my right mind would have attempted. I, of course, caught all this from the front, and most dangerous seat in our Jeep-like vehicle. Was their a seat belt? Sure. Did it have anything to plug in to? Not so much. I'll be honest though, on some of those one-lane dirt roads with animals and children on both sides, I think 80kph is a bit fast. Anyway, if you're reading this Suresh, you are truly a man's man, at least behind the wheel. I think we may have made his month when we gave him a 300Rs tip, but I feel that he earned it.

A little train ride home, and I'm back to my last week in Bangalore!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Cowboy Mouth

I just found out that a high school friend of mine, who was also the drummer for our band, has been hired as the new guitarist for the band Cowboy Mouth. This may mean nothing to you if you didn't grow up in that NOLA, but is a pretty freaking big deal as far as I am concerned. They're going to be playing in Cleaveland in September, so I'm going to try to make the drive. Let me know if you're interested.

In other news, I have been sick for the past few days with a cold, but it finally seems to be breaking, so I'm pretty stoked about that. Tonight we're leaving for Badami (rhymes with Salami) for the weekend. There are supposed to be some neat temples there, and other cool things, so wish me luck. This will also mark the beginning of my last week in India. We've had some good times, India and I, and I'm going to be sad to see her go. But I'll be honest, I'm excited about my reunion with my old love, Mrs. USA-A-OK. My first stop when I get back is going to be the LAX In-n-Out Burger, for a Double Double. It's going to be my first taste of beef in three months...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Notice of University Debt

I just received an email informing me that I have a debt of $103.95 to the University! Boo! It was for a book on the C programming language that I can't for the life of me find! I was sure I returned it, but I guess that's life.

In unrelated news, I am an idiot.