Thursday, December 30, 2004

JetBlue not so cool anymore

JetBlue isn't quite as cool today, as I just looked up the rules for their frequent flyer miles (TrueBlue). The miles expire one year after accrued, and the flight must be before that expiration. So I'd have to fly round trip 4 times from San Jose to NYC to get a free ticket. Bummer.

NWA and UsAirways (the other companies on which I have miles/credit) don't really have expiration. Kudos to them.

Ok, back to doing whatever I'm doing. NY tomorrow, if I talk to Krista anytime soon (haven't talked to her since Monday, hope nothing went wrong with travel and nothing has changed with my visit!)



Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas loot

When you ask for 3 things, you happen to get all of them (red LL Bean sweater, tripod that's taller than I am when fully extended, Belgian waffle maker).

Other than that - good stuff. Check out photos at the site I posted yesterday.



Monday, December 27, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite

Strange. Utterly strange. But not in that interesting Kubric-esque way.

Napoleon Dynamite is about a high school student named, interestingly enough, Napoleon Dynamite. He lives with his 32 year old brother Kip and his butch grandmother. His brother is an internet chat room junkie who has no job and no life. His grandmother is absent most of the movie due to an injury from 4wheeling on sand dunes.

Basic premise: new kid (Mexican) Pedro moves to town. Pedro runs for class president against the most popular blonde girl in school. Also, Napoleon's uncle Rico shows up and sells random things (Tupperware, breast enhancements) and tampers with Napoleon's life. LaFawnduh, Kip's internet chatroom sweetheart, shows up too.

Movie's cool in that it covers the coming of age, asking girls out in high school thing but misses reality by a mile. Everything's just a little weird, and I couldn't really tie myself in with the main character. There was a dance scene to Jamiroquai which is pretty cool, following Pedro's presidency speech. Other than that, not really worth watching in my opinion.



Christmas pics

Just click the blog title...



Farenheit 9/11 reaction

I just watched Farenheit 9/11. I am not sure what was supposed to be such a big deal about it - I mean, I had heard about horrible images in it and I'd heard lots of interesting things about the movie. However, I have a friend who was in Iraq for a year, and I'd seen the Abu Gharib pictures and I'd read about wounded soldiers. It made it more clear the horrible things done in the name of protecting ourselves from Hussein.

I probably watched the movie 6 months too late - I am guessing if the movie hadn't come out I wouldn't have heard all of this through second hand sources. The movie also probably would have meant more if I hadn't seen Bowling for Columbine.

However, the movie does not endear me any more to the Bush administration, it does not make me any more proud of the US in Iraq. Hopefully the country can support itself quickly and we can get our soldiers home soon.

This seems more appropriate than normal:



Thursday, December 23, 2004


So when I thought I was halfway through shopping, I realized I had to buy stuff for my grandparents (both sets) and my sister's fiancee. So for right now, I have my immediate family and Krista (more or less) taken care of - thankfully we're not doing any gifts at all until 12/28.

The drive home went pretty well - I've at least driven through all 5 boroughs of NYC. Boring story about how I detoured through Brooklyn to get from Pittsburgh to Maine.

Music - Paul van Dyk featuring Hemstock & Jennings, "Nothing But You", from Reflections

Hope everyone's break is going well - Went to Yum Mee in Bath today with John and Russ from Burgess. Also went to CVS to get cards, and ... umm... that's it. I'm lazy. Sunday River yesterday - I'll link to pics when photos.zchicken is back up.



Saturday, December 18, 2004

4/5 done

One class left. Plus whatever the comp physics prof wants me to fix on old assignments.

15-359 (Special Topics: Probability and Computing) was an amazing course - somehow I got a 97 on the exam. The professors are awesome. If you ever have a chance to have Mor Harchol-Balter or John Lafferty take it in an instant. One of my best courses here. (And somehow I got a 97 on the exam?)

I'm working on my resume and getting stuff together for the internship hunt - I'd like to get one at Google again, but after how I almost didn't try for any other companies last year due to a "sure thing" back home, I'm going to go through without any assumptions.

I keep dreaming about California. Shar and RobOn were in a dream the other day.

Music of the moment - Pete Tong Friday Night Essential Selection.

Peace - study, pack, and clean tomorrow, exam and drive Monday (to Brooklyn?!), finish drive Tuesday. Ski Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Stopping Problem

Read on Slashdot
As an example of what this whole subject is like let me tell you about a long-studied model of interpersonal behavior that the author discusses in Chapter 3, a chapter titled "Road Testing the Bed"--I kid you not.

"You have to choose your life mate. The rules we adopt for this model are that you will be presented 100 choices one after another, you may date them, sleep with them, whatever. But, at the end, you must say yea or nay and if you say nay, you will never see them again."

What strategy should you adopt? Well, if you wait to the end, the odds are only 1/100 that the last person is the optimal choice; ditto if you choose the first person. The modeler then asks: what strategy should you adopt for optimum results? A little bit of mathematics involving infinite series gives the answer. You can prove mathematically that the best strategy is to look at (approximately) the first 36.787944117144235 people (rounding it to, say, 37 people) and then you should choose the first person from that point on that is 'better' then the previous 37 people. This increases the odds of your finding the best match from 1% to about 37%- roughly a 37 times improvement. (In the pre-politically correct literature this model was called "The Sultan's Dowry Problem," or "The Secretary Problem"; now, alas, it is usually called simply an example of an "Optimal Stopping Problem." )

Monday, December 06, 2004

Thanks Shar

tablet brick potato llama, llamallama duck.

May it help you through the last week of classes and finals



Sunday, December 05, 2004


I have the urge to be in California. I can't wait til I'm next there.

I realized, when I kept trying to go into my old room at the house in Maine (now my sister's room) that Maine is no longer home to me, I really don't have a place more real than here in Pittsburgh. Not that it's a bad thing, it's just a thing, that I noticed.

I enjoyed skiing at home, and I'm looking forward to having Kacy up over Christmas for skiing - anyone else out there interested?

OS Project 4 is done, it was really rewarding to add some extra functionality to the kernel.



Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Photos from break

Check out the link; I had a post written this morning but blogger had an internal error and deleted my post. So I'll post in depth some other time.