November 27, 2004

Thanksgiving by the numbers

In 3 nights:

  • 5.5: hours spent traveling from Ann Arbor to South Haven
  • 2.5: hours it should take to travel from Ann Arbor to South Haven
  • 4: people actually worth seeing in South Haven
  • 1: unwed teenage pregnancies discovered
  • 10: approximate pounds of food eaten
  • plethora: number of shrimp eaten
  • 4: shrimp that will probably kill me
  • 10: approximate glasses of wine drank
  • 3: nights spent in the hot tub with a glass of wine
  • 4: showers in the last 2 days
  • 1: compliment on smelling good
  • 1/2: inches grown since summer
  • 6: approximate weight lost in pounds since summer
  • 1: resolutions made, because of last two items, to use exercise facilities at my job at Intel to overcome my overactive metabolism
  • 0: chance of resolution to exercise actually happening
  • 2: number of foxes I saw at night on the public beach
  • 1: number of times I actually needed my camera
  • 1: number of times I actually needed my camera that I forgot my camera
  • 1: sweet ancient BMW’s ridden in
  • 25: dollars spent on gas
  • 20: pounds per square inch of pressure in my tires after sitting around since summer
  • 2: times I got to say “nice hair” and mean it
  • 2: abusive husbands (counting liberally) I talked to
  • 3: important realizations made
  • 3: depressing important realizations made
  • 5: computer related questions receieved (counting conservatively)
  • 3: times I felt like hot shit for having one of the best jobs someone my age can have
  • 1: crazy things done with expensive technology and zip lock bags that only a nerd of my caliber would do
  • 0/5: ratio of classes that didn’t assign annoyingly long homework assignments over break
  • 0: homework assignments I’ve looked at
  • 39: emails received when I finally got around to checking
  • 1: significant emails receieved
  • 1: books read
  • 3: loads of laundry done
  • 10: approximate trips through downtown South Haven
  • 0: worthwhile trips through downtown South Haven
  • 10: approximate times I listened to the album Pressure Chief
  • 0: times I got out of bed before noon
  • 1: times I was awake before noon long enough to be pissed that someone would call me before noon
  • 1: supposedly true stories involving people with peg legs and eye patches, a model titanic and battleship, anti-dutch and anti-Wall Street sentiments
  • 1: happy Thanksgiving
Posted by MrWonton at 3:12 am | Comments (11)

November 18, 2004

Rambling somniloquisms

My insomnia is acting up and I can’t clear my mind.

Sometimes I wish I’d stuck with psychiatry. I like computer science, even though its a lot of work, a lot of the people in it get on my nerves, and theres an unhealthy supply of Y chromosomes. I’m good at it, and there is a lot of it I find fascinating. Plus I enjoy programming. But I started in psychiatry. It all kind of went downhill when I couldn’t get into Psych 111, the entry level psychology course here (full with no wait list). I’ve always regretted it. Because of that I did my sequence in philosophy. Philosophy was interesting once you get over how ridiculous most of it is. But the parts I liked most were psych-related, such as decision theory. Its probably because I like to know how things work. I’m an engineer. Most people see computers as black boxes, where power and user input go in, some magic happens, and Windows comes out. Obviously if that was good enough for me I wouldn’t have done CS. And while I know my MUXes, ALUs, buses and pipelines, people still confuse the hell out of me, and I hate it. The reason I wanted to learn psychology was to gain some insight into the people around me, and it never happened, and I regret it. What I wouldn’t give to know just a little more about what’s going on inside people’s heads. Things like this article show it can be done, the information is there if you know what to look for.

What are you thinking?

Posted by MrWonton at 3:58 am | Comments (4)

November 14, 2004

Fun with numbers!

I love haiku. I especially love conversations in haiku form. I even more especially love conversations in haiku form regarding Testicleez (who not coincidentally may be starring in his very own drawing soon). Thank you Brandy.

There was some spiffy crowd rafting involving some friends of mine at today’s football game (beware, excessively large video links, here’s a picture). It was all fun and games (and a little bit of injury) until the event staff that pervade the stadium confiscated the raft. It still made for a good final home game.

This is freaking sweet. I attempted to make it, but A) my printer freaked out and started flashing lights at me, then eventually printed it in some funky rendition of black and white, and B) once I’d cut the damn thing out and tried to assemble it, I realized I have no tape.

If you’ve just eaten don’t read this. I know Ashcroft is going to be gone soon, but it still frightens me to see what the people currently in power really seem to think. For those who didn’t just read the article, the jist of it is that Ashcroft doesn’t think the courts should challenge what our administration has been doing. Courts upholding the constitution? Bad idea says he! The specific example cited? The wonderful things we did in Guantanamo, where we held prisoners on no charges, in violation of the geneva convention, with no lawyers and no contact with the outside world, to be given military trials where standard judicial processes don’t apply. This sort of situation doesn’t exactly sound like what we need more of Mr. Ashcroft. And thats the rant of the day.

I made 6756 times an investment of mine a few days ago. Thanks Intel!

I found out that your average chocolate chip cookie has 8 times the stored energy as its weight in TNT. Butter? 11 times. Uranium-235? 30 million times. Wonton? 100 million times. Take that TNT.
(more…)

Posted by MrWonton at 1:37 am | Comments (41)

November 09, 2004

I know better than to think I’ve won

I’ve received nothing but positive feedback on my latest political rant. I appreciate the support, but I’m unsettled by lack of dissension. Bring it on.

This weekend I had no less than two amazingly good free dinners at the hands of friend’s parents. Conclusion? I still need more friends, as I still buy way too much dinner.

Tonight, I had the honor of taking a bus to North Campus, and sitting with two other classmates, face to face with our professor, for about an hour, as she tore our last assignment to shreds. Somehow I got stuck with the majority of the eye contact as she enumerated our failures. Then it was time to head back to Central for a 3 and a half hour stint in the library to finish and debug some code for a group programming project, leaving just enough time to come home, bake my last Tony’s frozen pizza, and indulge in some brain-numbing television before attempting to sleep, which I’m obviously failing to do.

On the bright(?) side, I finished the 7th and final Dark Tower book today… what a trip. Untold thousands of pages of amazing story have finally came to an end, and in the words of my friend, its sad to see it go. Finishing the Dark Tower series was something I’d first imagined back in my Sophemore or Junior year of High School, when the final books were still unfinished. Its hard to imagine not having more of it to read.

I need ideas for a drawing, to be done by who is likely the most prodigious artist I will ever know. Any ideas?

I enjoy the relative safety of cryptic riddles. I seem to find the inherent risk of a tragic and revealing domino effect that will happen if anyone ever begins to figure the pieces out invigorating.

Posted by MrWonton at 2:35 am | Comments (7)

November 04, 2004

Changes

The election was a disaster. I had tried to be optimistic, but it ended up backfiring. I feel substantially worse for my efforts. “Four more years of a nation led by criminals.” I just returned from a candle-light vigil on the Diag. The tone was reflective, somber and defeated.

It really confuses me how these things work. It reveals how tenuous my grasp on the human creature is. There are people who’s support for Bush I can understand, but the vast majority of them, to me, make no sense. These are not all stupid people. Yet they vote for a man who surrounds himself with cynical, evil people. He managed to turn the tidal wave of good faith following September 11th into a torrent of hatred. (On this note I feel I must make a slight aside. I really hate the way the events that occurred on September 11th, 2001 are exploited for personal and political gain. I try not to make points using them, as I think the ability to do so has oft been misused.) People don’t feel safer now, yet a large margin of those voting for Bush cite terrorism as their reasoning, as if he’s the solution not the cause. Bush’s supporter’s second largest issue was moral values. Moral values? This is what our presidency comes down to? Completely disregarding my disagreements on pinning the ‘moral values’ badge on George W Bush, I see moral values as a relatively shaky position for electing our commander-in-chief. I don’t mean to suggest I advocate sociopaths, far from it, but it seems to me that the decision to vote with moral values in mind comes on the coattails of religion. Religion has no place in politics. Its been said before, I stand behind it 100%. Nothing good comes out of religion and politics. Do people really think this country was founded with seperation of church and state in mind simply to keep Jesus out of the classroom? No! I don’t care if my president prays. Thats his business. I don’t care if he believes in god! I don’t care if he worships a golden friggin’ toaster. I care if he makes the right decisions, and when he does so, I want him to act with a clear, intelligent, unbiased, and well informed mind. What happens when you add religion to this mix? Throw clear, intelligent, and unbiased out of the mix, because theres no room for logic when god’s involved, just ask a philosopher. Want proof? Lets look at what else became of our election…

This election, 11 states had some form of gay marriage ban on the ballot, including my own. Every single proposition passed. But thats not enough. They all passed with huge margins! For a long time now, my philosophy on life has been loosely based on the old and cliched adage “live and let live.” The way I interpret this is essentially “be utilitarian whenever it makes sense.” Thats why I don’t understand the gay situation in America. Gay marriage is nearly uniformally illegal in the United States. It was before this election, it will remain so afterwards. That in and of itself to me makes no sense. If tomorrow every gay couple that had the desire to get married (or if you are so sensative about the symantics, call it a civil union) could, what would change for the rest of the country? My life would certainly be no worse. For those couples, though, it could cause vast ammounts of happiness. Can anyone honestly argue that it causes them more harm than it would help these people? What must you believe to want to cause undue suffering on someone simply because their way of life is different from yours, in a way that doesn’t even affect you!

Whats done is done for now. Whats left is to make the best of the sour grapes we’ve been handed. I’m quickly growing weary of the Democratic party letting us down. There need to be changes. We need to start early. Soon, the Republicans will likely control all three branches of the federal government, as far as I know the first time such a thing has happened in history. I fear the future, but vow to take as proactive a stance as possible.

Enough about the election. I’ve been busy with plenty of other things lately, hence the lack of updates. As you can likely see I’ve changed the program I used to blog here. I’ve made the switch to WordPress, and I must say I’m very happy with it. It has a lot more features, and a lot more power. I finally have threaded comments (the ability to reply to a specific comment instead of just the post), users can now register if they want (completely optional), the entire site is XHTML compliant, and all the new interfaces I have to manage it are very slick.

Finally, I received a call from AMD today. For those who don’t know, AMD is Intel’s only real rival in the (x86) microprocessor business. While I never actually submitted my resume electronically (which is how they tell you to do it), but I did give 2 copies to their representatives at the Job Fair I attended earlier this year. I missed the call, so I’m not entirely sure what the situation is, but if nothing else, its amusing, especially as I was contacted on the 26th by yet another Intel Engineer (yet another Michigan alum, named Jeff Abramson) about yet another position. The constant activity on this front has never ceased to amaze me, although I feel strange having to turn down even interviews for positions that mere months ago I would have been dying just to be considered for.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men
Gang aft agley.
And leave us naught but grief and pain
For promised joy.‚Ä?
-Robert Burns

Posted by MrWonton at 11:14 am | Comments (5)
 
   

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