Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sans witty tagline.

Right. So I got tagged some time ago. I could try to come up with excuses for avoiding it for over a month, but instead I'll just jump right into it.
  1. I have animal magnetism. Not the good kind. The good kind is when you inexplicably attract the romantic attention of others. What I have is actual animal magnetism. I have had close encounters/run-ins/altercations with many wild animals, including, but not limited to: an entire colony of fire ants, a giant horsefly (on my birthday), a goat (alright, he was a little less wild than the rest), a rattlesnake, various skunks, and schools of jellyfish. I'm sure I'm missing a few, but you get the picture. Interestingly enough, I have never been stung by a bee. I thought every child is supposed to get stung at some point.

  2. Every child is also supposed to break a bone at some point. I have an experience with that, but I tend to discount it. (When I was one year old, my mother mildly spanked my diaper for doing something I wasn't supposed to do. The force made me stumble head-first into the corner of the wall, which had one of those metal strips to prevent it from getting damaged. The collision cracked my skull. I still have a faint scar on my forehead.) I never broke a bone during my childhood, if you discount my infant story. But misfortune caught up with me in high school. My first broken bone was my radius, damaged while snowboarding.

  3. Do any of you out there ever have a muscle twitch? You know, one of your muscles, say, your thigh, ever so mildly spasms every several seconds for a couple minutes? Then it's all over? It's happened occasionally for me, but usually in my appendages. Well, for about the past week, my left eyelid has been doing that, but more frequently and persistently. It's really bugging me. ("You people make my [eyes] twitch.") Don't worry, I'm not psychotic. That's what the voices tell me, at least.

  4. In elementary school, there were the "cool" kids (quotation marks absolutely necessary) and everyone else. I was in the latter group. (Somehow, everybody says that. Does no one really want to admit that they were cool in elementary school?) Well, I knew I was fairly smart, but I was always intimidated by some of the "cool" kids who were also smart. They talked themselves up (and put others down), and I believed them. It wasn't until sometime in the last couple years of elementary school that I won the school-wide mathematics competition that I stopped believing.

  5. (This is going to sound like I'm continuing a story, but really I'm getting around to another fact about me.) From then on, I had what must have been an obvious disdain for the "cool" kids. For the rest of my public education, they continued with renewed and targetted efforts to make sure everyone knew I, in particular, really wasn't all that smart. When I graduated at the top of the class, they reassured me that if I had been in any other graduating class at that school, I would have been several positions lower. (I guess they just didn't want to say it the other way -- that they were all a little less smart than other classes.) Yet, they still wanted to sit by me during tests, and they all asked for my input on difficult assignments, or even to "compare answers." I began to expand my disdain, little be little, until it included just about everybody. Yes, I hate people in general. I hate crowds, I hate pop culture.

  6. Last week I had my first experience of driving the capital beltway during rush hour. It wasn't as bad as I'd expected, but I was expecting something apocalyptic. It's hard to live down to expectations that low. Granted, it's not something I'd want to do every day, let alone twice daily, but still.... I'd asked my manager about it. I told him I wanted to get from 95 in Maryland (I don't know where this "Murraland" stuff is coming from -- I've yet to hear it) to just past the 66 west exit. I said I'd like to be there in less than two and a half hours after work, and he let out one of those dubious grunts -- not quite a chuckle, but neither a full-on scoff. And how long did it take me? About 90 minutes. I sometimes wonder if people just really enjoy talking about how bad it is, like some sort of adolescent pissing contest. As if magnifying their own suffering somehow makes them superior? I don't understand people. (See #5.)

  7. Moving ever more towards the trivial, in an attempt just to finish this post and be done with it after having a draft for over a week.... At work, my keyboard's shift keys are terrible. It frustrates me to no end. Keyboards are made to operate with x number of pounds of pressure. You can feel that initial resistance, then, and you provide just enough pressure, it gives in and the keystroke is registered. But not so with these two keys on my keyboard! I can keep the key fully depressed, but if I'm not exerting extra pressure, or not pressing at the right angle, it doesn't recognize my efforts. Let's just say I've become acquainted with the backspace key. And that my pinky fingers are getting quite a workout. I imagine now that this is the reason that I come home at night with aching hands.

Well, this is supposed to be the spot where I "tag" others. Except all of my friends with blogs have already done it. So, once again, I stop a trend.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

One percent inspiration....

...ninety-nine percent precision aiming. (Posted from my new apartment for the first time!)

Friday, November 30, 2007

The companies that loves misery

Thanks a lot, Despair, Inc. You sent your weekly new-product email out at 9:31 PM.

Thanks a lot, Verizon DSL. Your inability to start service in anything short of a fortnight caused me to not see the email until this morning, at work.

The result: I missed the limited edition shirt. :-(
Now, I'm left to wonder whether I'd look good in a baby doll shirt.

No. Probably not "good," just "disturbing."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What's the matter, ISP got your tongue?

So, I see I've been "tagged." (Thanks a ton, 2nd. I was hoping to avoid this.) It seems I'm obligated to...well, to oblige. I'd intended to make that my next post. But it'll have to wait a bit.

See, I just moved into my new place, and that place does not yet include a connection to the world. I've made attempts to "borrow" wireless connections from other residents in my building, but to no real avail. I did, however, manage to connect to a wireless router for a few minutes on the first day. The router was not protected in anyway, so I was probably pretty safe. Then I decided to get too clever for my own good. I looked at the names of the computers that connect to that router, and decided to give my computer the same name. The idea was that the owner wouldn't notice. Well, that required a reboot, and ever since, I've not been able to even see the signals of any access points, except this one overpowering one, which is of course protected. I really should've just left well enough alone. I really doubt the owner would've noticed.

One of the protected routers is appropriately named "get your own sucka." And I have no issues with the sentiment. In fact, before I moved into the apartment, I contacted Verizon to start internet service. I thought for sure that I was getting ahead of the game, that I would be prepared, internet-wise, for the move. The problem is that Verizon is completely incapable of starting service service quickly. It seems the best they can do is two weeks. Which seems completely bogus to me. I started internet service within a day when I moved into an apartment at Blacksburg. However, that was cable internet, and this is DSL. Apparently that matters? I would hope not. (It's a shame, really, that Comcast's service is so freaking expensive. I'd have even been willing to pay a little more for quicker startup. Just not double.)

Anyway, the short if it is that it will be about two weeks before I have internet access in my home. So, I have to resort to libraries. (The one pictured above is not one of them. Just a random picture found on the web. Yay, Google images!) Which means I don't have the convenience of being able to come up with a list of random facts about myself at my own leisure. I'll have to think about it while I'm at home, write it down (lest I forget), then drive to the library. Really makes me realize how spoiled I've been by having the internet in the comfort of my living quarters for so many years. And how ridiculously long two weeks can be.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Old things new again

My name is Hot Cup, and I'm a lazy blogger.

That's why I'm covering old news. Two things I though might be interesting. One of them predates (by years) my blog, but the other I just never blogged about, even though I wanted to.

In 2004, a tornado touched down in our neighborhood. I was in Blacksburg, so I didn't see it, but a friend of my mom's just let her know about some pictures. So they serve as a fresh reminder. The storm pulled the west wall of our house away from the frame a bit (again, I wasn't there, so don't know how much) and did a little roof damage.

The second item was rather humorous to me. Someone hijacked a secretary's email account and sent a parody of a weekly email. The message -- entitled This week in the GLC and around campus -- usually lets graduate students know about events that pertain to them. The hijacker took some time to construct some great details. I was initially confused as to whether the message was serious or not. Some examples: (I'll skip the less interesting ones.)

A Halloween tour of the steam tunnels beneath campus will be offered for the first time this year to four groups of eight people on Oct. 29th and 30th. Sign-up for each of the four tours will begin on Monday, October 22nd, and continue until all places are taken. Interested parties should contact Richard McCoy at 231-3200 for more information.

The steam tunnel covers (the non-exploding kind) are apparent around campus, but I remember hearing prohibitions against entering them within my first month at Virginia Tech. The rumors were to the effect that students used to (I don't know how long ago) attempt to explore them, but if found out, would be immediately expelled. No questions asked. (I didn't notice it at the time, but Ricard McCoy, Jr. was an airplane hijacker.)

Sometime between Tuesday, Oct 23 08:00am and next Friday, Nov 2 7:00pm in Room C in the GLC Are you interested in purchasing a subscription package from your local cable company? Presenters from NTC Communications Comcast Digital Cable and Cox Communications will talk about the different internet, phone and cable packages available and answer questions about rates and programming.

I didn't catch it on the first reading, but I love the time of the event, in the context of the identity of the presenters.

Tuesday, Oct 23, 7:00pm in Room F in the GLC the VT Math club is sponsoring a Pi festival. Approximately 3,141 pies will be available for sampling. They will include but are not limited to Apple, Banoffee, Banana cream, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cheesecake, Cherry, Chestnut, Cream, Custard, Grape, Lemon meringue, Peach, Pecan, Pumpkin, and Rhubarb. In addition, at 7:30 there will also be a pie eating contest. The first contestant to eat an irrational number of pies will receive a hand-carved Penrose triangle.

Okay, this one is just strange, but for some reason didn't raise warning flags in my head. I know, 20/20 hindsight. (Oh, and a Penrose triangle is a physical impossibility.)

Due to the heightened security of many university campuses, a possible ban of all bags on campus may be implemented in the next two weeks. Backpacks, duffels, shoulder-bags, and purses may soon join the list of items prohibited on campus. This measure has been proposed since it has been pointed out that bags may be able to conceal already illegal items. An unlikely supporter of the ban is the campus Health and Safety Department as it would also alleviate the troubling phenomenon of overweight book bags that commonly lead to health problems later in life. Acceptance of the proposal will be decided by the campus Board of Directors later this week.

This is where I began to be suspicious. (I can hear all of my readers -- both of you -- thinking, "Duh!")

Wednesday, Oct 24, 6:00-7:00pm in McBryde 666, Microsoft will be giving an exclusive preview of service pack one for Vista. In response to the massive number of problems, compatibility, and stability issues in Vista, Microsoft has spent the past year fervently addressing these issues in the much anticipated service pack 1 (SP1). Representives from Microsoft will demonstrate the features and stability changes of SP1, such as the newly bolstered DRM software. This update and others in SP1 that will be demonstrated should help provide Vista users with new enhanced reduced functionality.

Subtle Book of Revelation reference. (McBryde has a sixth floor, so it's plausible.) The hijacker clearly doesn't like Microsoft, or DRM. Not all that unusual for computer geeks.

Registration for the Nov 5 forum is now open. This forum will showcase health, food, and nutrition efforts in research, extension/outreach, and teaching currently underway at McDonalds, Kraft Foods, Monsanto, and LuthorCorp. Register by Sunday, Oct 28 if you plan on attending the event. Sponsors will showcase the health benefits of the latest developments in GMOs, growth hormones, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, flavoring and texturizing food additives. For more information, including registration links, and to view the Forum agenda, please visit

The title sounds legit, but the whole entry mocks these large corporations. Oh, and wait...LuthorCorp? (P.S. Try the McVideoGame.)

A graduate student researcher working on behalf of Aperture Science is seeking highly-motivated individuals in good physical condition between the ages of 18-25 for her study. Participants will be asked to perform complex tasks. The entire study should last a minimum of 3 hours and moist, delicious cake will be served upon successful completion of the test. For further information or to sign up to participate, please contact Glados,

This final entry made me bust up laughing. Remember, "the cake is a lie." (Read this if you don't understand the geeky joke the hijacker made.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Messiness is adjacent to devilishness

In fact, they're next-door neighbors and best friends. Unfortunately, they also spend quite a bit of time here at the good ol' Casa Blanca.

One of the roommates (let's call him, oh, say Horty) seems to love those little packets of sugarless flavoring meant to be added to bottled water. Except he adds them to glasses of water. In essence, there's nothing wrong with this. In practice, however, he always manages to get a fair amount of the cranberry-whatever powder and a little bit of the water on the counter, yielding two results. One, the kitchen is plagued by red stains on every square inch of counter top. Two, the bottom of the glass picks up some of the liquid mess, and deposits red rings wherever Horty places it.

Then, there's the sink. Because we have no dishwasher, the sink is the dish depository. Very rarely do I witness roommates washing dishes. Or emptying the drying rack so that more can be washed. It's gotten so bad that most of us just use paper plates. Another roommate (umm, Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management? How about just Goliath, instead?) only uses one glass, which he keeps locked away in his cupboard, so that he'll always have a clean one.

Next, there's the garbage. Apparently, Horty, Archy, and Goliath are in on a game that's never been explained to me. Luckily, having lived with guys like this before, I've been witnessed the ritual. I don't think it has a name, but if it did, I think it would be Pile the Garbage as High above the Top of the Trashcan as Possible. I don't think there is one clear winner in this game, but there's definitely a loser. I can see at least two ways to lose. One, make the pile of garbage fall over. This generally (though not always -- for example, if the event goes unwitnessed, the loser may just restack the garbage, if possible) results in the loser having to clean up and take out the mess (which usually requires two or three more full garbage bags, since it all clearly won't fit in the one in the can). Two, lose your nerve, much like a game of chicken. I'm rather inclined to the latter.

Finally, I present the worst part of this messy house: the unfriendly neighborhood skunk. (Well, apparently not so unfriendly that our neighbors refuse to feed him.) I've been told that Horty once caught him in a trap, but before he was aware and able to do something about it, Sister Stauffer, the secretary at the adjacently-located Institute building, released the skunk. Not even miles away in the country or anything, but right back in the neighborhood! Over the summer, it was an unusual week when we were not made olfactorily aware of his presence two or three times. Fortunately, the frequency dropped off with the advent of the school year. However, last night, he struck again, the first time in a few weeks. He is able to penetrate the thickest of walls, the tightest of windows. Being a nocturnal creature, Mr. Skunk makes our sleeping difficult. Last night, I curled up under my covers, and I managed to sleep like that for a few hours. Until I awoke with a killing pain in my neck.

Some things will surely not be missed.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The cliche at the end of the schooling

The thesis defense date is officially set! Monday, November 12, at 2 p.m., I will be presenting An Analysis of an Interrupt-Driven Implementation of the Master-Worker Model with Application-Specific Coprocessors.

I've been told (by the humorously-harsh co-chair of my committee, who is only given such a prominent role because he co-authored the proposal that obtained the research money for this project) to prepare a twenty minute presentation, but to be ready to have it go twice as long due to questions. Incidentally, he and the other co-chair have another meeting at 3 p.m. When I asked if he was certain we'd be done in the sixty minutes the schedule afforded us, he told me that it will take that long "only if [I] fail." I really need to pass this final examination so I can finally get to my job and start earning money again.

Please, oh please, tell me that light isn't a train.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nauseatingly button-like

I want to tell you a little (or not so little) about my family's pets. First, I need to explain the pattern my mom has of giving them not-so-subtle and not-so-original names. Back when I was a child (when I had to walk five miles to and from school through six feet of snow, uphill both ways), my mother was a self-proclaimed "chocoholic." (Clearly this was pre-diabeetis. Once she was diagnosed, she had to go through the twelve steps rather hurriedly.) So, when we got a Siamese cat, she naturally named her Cocoa. We bred her and kept one of the kittens, who got named Fudge. (As a kid, I didn't really think it was strange to go around the house yelling about chocolate in an attempt to find a cat.) Then we got another cat -- all black, but it looked like he would develop some white markings (but they never came), so he got named Oreo. (I know Oreo's don't actually taste like chocolate, but they are supposedly made of chocolate wafers.) The chocolate thing died off with her years ago, but you get the idea.

So, when we more recently (still several months ago) got an orange striped cat, she naturally named him...Tigger. You know, T-I-double guh-er. And that brings us to the present. But really, Tigger is an awesome cat. Unlike our other cat, Lola (named by my younger sister), who is scared of her shadow. Tigger does a number of funny things, including but not limited to lying in very funny positions for hours and getting in the most unusual places in the home. (No, he doesn't use the toilet, sadly.) Yet one of the most noteworthy habits he has (and has thereby caught the notice of our neighbors, who think it is absolutely adorable) is that he follows our large (90 lbs.) dog, Lightning (that one is actually my dad's doing -- the name, not the dog, silly), for walks. He's not at all afraid of the dog that could gobble him up for an appetizer. (Perhaps it's because the dog it old, arthritic, and lethargic -- but whatever. That kind of info ruins the suspense. The dog was once a vicious squirrel and bird chaser. Until he realized they always got away, either up a tree or to the sky.) Aaaaanyway, to the pictures!

Here we have our first glimpse of the phenomenon. He's keeping a leisurely pace, which puts some distance between them.

But Tigger isn't at all concerned about getting all up in Lightning's grill.

He'll even rub himself against the dog. That's brave.

Even though he's old and arthritic, Lightning still has to be held back from chasing things -- and he'll chase just about anything. He's been fooled by leaves being blown along the ground before. So now, he typically takes a more cautious approach and stares down his intended victim first. (I've stood with him for several minutes, as he intensely stares down inanimate objects, like those cement lawn decorations in the shape of a rabbit. Once, he even stared down a life-sized deer statue. He would not let me pull him away for the longest time.)

Here, he's staring down a cat (in the shadow of the tree). Strange, considering he has a perfectly good cat a few feet away. Tigger must intimidate him in a way other cats don't.

Meanwhile, Tigger enjoys the shade.

And Lightning still wants to go after that other cat.

When I said Tigger likes the shade, I meant that he really hates the sunlight. (He's not allergic to it, like me, or vampires, but he still shuns a goth, or a redhead.) He waits in the shade until we get to another shady spot, then runs to us.

That's about how all of our walks go. And now, some of his cute sleeping positions.

He gets a lot of attention by being so cute. So of course, under very specific and rare conditions, when Lola actually wants attention, she takes to mimicking him. (Note that she is not actually sleeping.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

I don't even eat there anymore, but...

But I saw this, and couldn't help but laugh at how true it is. And at how OCD I am to have noticed it, too.

(He gets points from me for using the word "tessellate." Extra points for spelling it correctly. And super-extra bonus points for using it as a verb.)

I don't think it's ever bothered me as much as the cartoonist, but it's nice to know that somebody thinks like I do. So, even if I am crazy, at least I'm not crazy and alone.

Yet, even more interesting is this image someone sent to the cartoonist from an actual Subway location.

Now, I know Subway is franchised, so I doubt this is an official Subway policy. (Otherwise, I'd call it a global conspiracy to offend OCD sufferers.) Still, it seems pretty rotten. And really, have you ever seen a sandwich artist place the cheese slices so that they cover the sandwich without overlapping? Maybe the sandwich "artists" prefer to place them the other way just so they can buck the system. I hear artists get a kick out of that. But rest assured, a sandwich "engineer" would never let that slide. It seems we engineers alone understand that good design is beautiful in and of itself. It doesn't need to make a statement. Why can't we appreciate the elegance inherent in a thing (e.g., a sandwich) that functions just as it should (e.g., cheese in every bite), without any superfluous parts (e.g., "unnecessary dairy overlap")?

In closing, 40 cents for a "life worth living" might seem a paltry ransom. But it's the principle of the thing. You hear me, Jared?

(crazybull4life, I fully expect to hear from you.)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sleep vs. the Internet

The title of this post may lead you to believe this is about my nocturnal activities. But, in fact, my problem is the mornings. But again, it's not what you expect. I don't have an issue with consistently sleeping in. I have problem getting up early, every day. (By early, I mean early for somebody without a job or class. Just so those of you with early jobs and long commutes don't misunderstand. It's relative.)

My ability to wake up "early" reared its ugly head this morning. I'd stayed up until 1:30 last night (no, not on the internet -- out doing things with people), and stirred to life at 7 this morning. Despite being fresh and awake at the time, I knew the day would hit me hard later for getting so less than my usual 7-8 hours of sleep. So, I had to force myself to stay in bed until nearly 9.

Then, after getting up again, I began my usual morning routine reading certain websites. Of course, my usual routine also involves getting sidetracked onto reading and watching things on the internet that I hadn't planned on viewing, and before I know it, hours have passed. ("My name is Hot Cup, and I'm an internet addict.")

Well, today I read something interesting, stating that the bodies of young people operate on a daily clock a little (around an hour) longer than 24 hours. What this means is that, in the absence of any indication of the time (such as clocks or the sun), they would tend to go to sleep and wake up later and later with each passing day. Well, that explains a few things. But then I read the next line: as people age, this trend reverses.

And I was faced with the cold, hard, scientific fact that I am, in fact, a geezer. What a dismal realization! Then another one came; I noticed that it was nearly noon, and I had yet to do anything productive.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don't even think of suggesting Avril

So, I've been thinking off and on about something for a couple months now. I used to really love some female-fronted bands back in the day when I was more into ska -- No Doubt, Save Ferris, Tsunami Bomb.... There was just something about the music that appealed to me, and it's great to hear a little something different in the vocals. I really don't know how to say it, which is why I've been putting off writing about it.

But I've been bitten by the bug for some more lately. While I still have the old stuff, I long for something new. Thankfully, Paramore recently delivered a great new album. I just wish it was easier to find more prominent females in the genres I listen to. I mean, it's rare enough to find one even in the band, but for her to be the lead singer is a real shocker. In the past, I used MusicPlasma (now called LivePlasma) to refer me to bands I might like. But these days it seems LP always fails to even find the band I want to use as a starting point to compare to others. It always returns my searches with "Madonna (Tribute)." What the heck?!? I've turned to LastFM now, and it doesn't disappoint -- it has some really obscure bands, probably because it's easy for users to add them, and every music snob loves the chance to show off how many unheard-of bands he knows. But still, looking at their list of referrals is not as helpful as I thought it would be. I already listen to well over half of those bands, and of those, only one has a girl who sings in a few songs. Then you can use the tags to find female vocalists, but you can't seem to combine tags to find female vocalists in a given genre.

Maybe it's hard to find what I'm looking for because it's the guys that stereotypically take up instruments. They spend their teenage years learning the guitar and forming alternative rock bands thinking it will make chicks like them. Whereas the girls who get interested in music prefer to sing pop songs and dance scandalously to get attention from the guys. I know this is a horrible stereotype, and I'm going to hell for suggesting it. I just wish I could find more good, female-fronted bands to prove me wrong.

P.S. I secretly enjoyed the Josie and the Pussycats movie. Please don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reasons, or excuses?

From a recent Gmail chat:
hey, so i want to show you a cool posting my friend put on his blog!
oh, wait, not him, he doesn't even write a blog anymore

Oh, the sarcasm is palpable!

Let me fill in the reasons why I don't post (more).
  1. I'm not an attention whore.
  2. I'm not a voyeur. I don't like to make all parts of my life public. But I might consider it if it weren't for the fact that...
  3. my life is boring. At least to me...
  4. and people seem to agree. For this one, a picture might help:
    Image Hosted by
  5. I'm lazy. Yes, I know it's true of just about anybody, and it shouldn't qualify as an excuse. But at least I'm being honest about it.

P.S. And now, I have officially spent more time talking about blogging than any other topic on this blog. How boring.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Wide open spaces

See, recently I was telling a good friend about this experience I had on my mission. On our day off, a group of us went to the St. Louis "Children's Museum." This museum was actually more of a large, multilevel play area indoors. There are caves, tunnels, fake hollow trees, and more. (We went to play sardines.) Anyway, I was telling my friend about this narrow, cement tunnel that ran under the main floor. I suppose it was built with children in mind, but that didn't stop us from going through it. It was too narrow to turn around in, and just barely big enough to pass someone else in, and even then, only if you weren't afraid of human contact. A lot of it.

I guess it didn't bother me at the time all that much, but thinking back on it makes me a little nervous. I'm not claustrophobic or anything, but it was rather tight. One of the ends of it was easy to enter, being straight. The other end was a ninety degree vertical turn, which was narrower than the rest of the tunnel. I remember it being very difficult for me to enter or exit that end. I just don't like the idea of having a difficult or impossible exit, and no way to turn around, and wondering if I'll be able to crawl backwards to get back to where I started. But especially with all of the kids clogging it up, too.

So, having just recently related this memory to my friend, what did I do with my weekend? I went caving with the elders' quorum! In reality, the path we took through the cave was very open for all but one time. (That one spot, Fat Man's Squeeze, did make me a little nervous, though. I had to take off my helmet to fit through.) However, there was a pair in our group that did a lot more "exploring" of small offshoots. I joined them for a bit in their first adventure, as did one or two others. But then I realized there were a number of us in this rather small area, with more talking of joining us, so I got out of there rather than press on. I'm not sure if I was most nervous about the small tunnel I'd used to enter the area, the congestion in the area itself, or the possibility of one of the others clogging the tunnel (which would block my exit).

Don't get me wrong. I had a great time. And the one dose of exploration was really fun. I think I just have this thing about personal space. And while having rock in every direction of my personal space might make me a little fidgety, I think it was the people that began to make me really tense. (I remember not being all that comfortable in Time's Square at New Year's, too.) So, basically, I'm just anti-social. I think we should all be allowed one neurosis.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Go fly a kite

I was excited by the weather forecast for today: 17 mph winds. Since I bought my stunt kite about a month ago, there have been two or three days with wind speeds over 10 mph. While the kite is supposed to be able to fly in 5 mph winds, I've found that even on windy days, the wind can be very inconsistent. As it was today. Within 20 minutes of getting out there, the wind stopped entirely. And I had to put up with an "expert" kite flier who, while driving by, pointed out to me that "it's better when it's in the air!" Of course! Now I know what to do next time! But seriously, we get the stillest summers here, and the windiest winters. It's messed up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The system is down

Right off, I'm gonna say this: don't expect daily posts. I certainly don't. But yesterday, after meeting with my graduate advisor, I came back to my apartment to get some more work done. However, my laptop would not boot up. I've had tons of problems with the hard drive in the past, and I think it recurred while trying to boot. So, the system got pretty much screwed up. I went through my normal tricks to get it to at least boot, but none worked. Mind you, this hard drive contained the only copies of files which I've been working on for months toward my thesis project. (Not the paper itself, which doesn't yet exist, even in my imagination, but the project.)

Thankfully, I knew just what to do. I hooked up the hard drive in my desktop and recovered the files with some software I'd previously bought. Then, I put it back in my laptop and reformatted. Now, I'm reinstalling everything and determining what files I want to move back to the laptop. I'm actually somewhat grateful that I've had these problems in the past. I had the proper adapters and software, and I knew how to use them. If this were the first time this happened, I would be panicking. Really, really, really panicking.

Thankfully, the hardest part about all this is being patient. No, maybe it was trying to track down the disc with the tools I need. The school owns the software, so I had to go from professor to professor, student to student to find the disc. And I still failed. But I found a student with a copy of the programs on his computer, which was good enough.

The hardest part of this project so far has been getting everything working together. Let's see if I can remember how to set everything up again. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New kid on the block

Well, here it is. The inaugural post. I caved. I just couldn't face myself in the mirror any longer and call myself a computer engineer. How does a person in such a field get by with only living in the real world? (Especially given that people in the field don't do too well at that to begin with.) I'm almost ashamed to be so late to the blogosphere. Almost.

I'm always late to the game. Well, it seems I've been playing catch-up for as long as I can remember, anyway. I didn't get into Harry Potter until book five hit. I've spent the past 4 years reading old Tom Clancy novels. (And that's just his work, not the spin-off he started, but didn't write. I don't think I'll be reading those.) I was late to The Mars Volta, and then had to discover the preceding band, At the Drive-In. Very late to 24. I got caught-up on that (five seasons' worth) just before this past season started. (And, well, I think I'm done with that show.) Now I'm working on The West Wing. Seven seasons -- three down, four to go. I could go on.

So I guess I (or anyone) shouldn't be surprised that I'm just now getting a blog. There are a few reasons I kept avoiding it. I'm lazy. I don't live an exciting life, unlike many I know (who already have blogs, so I can't steal their stories for my own, unfortunately). I don't know many (or even two) people who would be interested in what I might have to write about. But, as I said, I'm lazy, and, at least for this post, I'm avoiding a little work as I type. I just wish I had some clever idea, a unique way of blogging. A way to show what it's like being an awkward nerd like I am. But, alas, I am not the creative type. Darn right-brainers and their articulate...ness and ingenuity. (Thanks,, I didn't want to use the word creative again, but couldn't come up with a synonym.)

I still don't know what this blog will be "about." I wonder if I ever will.