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Sunday, January 30th, 2011
12:11 pm - Puzzles blog
All of my blog posting these days involves solving (really hard) puzzles and documenting my thought processes. That blog is at http://solvingpuzzles.tumblr.com/

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Monday, April 17th, 2006
4:07 pm - Final Salute
301 days ago, President Bush said "I think about Iraq every day, every single day [...] and will continue thinking about it, because I understand we've got kids in harm's way. And I worry about their families; and I obviously, any time there's a death, I grieve."

This has stuck with me. Because I'm not sure I believe a lot of that sentence. Especially since "obviously" seems to be a keyword in Bush-talk which means "I'm lying."

I know I don't think about Iraq every single day. But I'm thinking about it today. Jim Sheeler won a Pulitzer Prize for the reporting here.

I recommend it.

current mood: somber

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Monday, March 13th, 2006
4:28 pm - Dumb TV Listing
Listings from: http://hd.espn.com/hd/schedule.jsp

Reasonable TV Listing: 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Monmouth vs. Hampton
Reasonable TV Listing: NBA Wednesday - Miami Heat vs Detroit Pistons
Not Reasonable TV Listing: ESPN's Telecast of The World Baseball Classic Is presented by Taco Bell - USA vs. Mexico

"Hey, what's on?"
"ESPN's Telecast of The World Baseball Classic Is presented by Taco Bell."
"Yeah? Who's playing in today's ESPN's Telecast of The World Baseball Classic Is presented by Taco Bell game?"
"USA and Mexico."

current mood: Headachy

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Friday, February 17th, 2006
10:14 pm - BANG Sunday. Be there
Laura and I are doing a walk-around-and-solve-puzzles thing in San Jose this Sunday. More info at the BANG website. We always really enjoy playing in these, whether we do well or not.

If you like to think obliquely, do word games or logic puzzles, listen to dumb jokes, or just wander from location to location in a neighborhood in San jose, come join us. It's just the two of us right now and we're allowed six or so...

5pm-10+ish pm, Sunday evening in San Jose. Be there or be cool.

(If you want to know what the puzzles are like, you can view example puzzles from a recent BANG. For example, we made the key "leap" on numbers 2 and 5 very quickly, but never really got number 6.)

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006
8:54 pm - Distant but Sad News
Perhaps the most enjoyable concert I've ever attended was a small one-band "event" in the food court area at UVa back in 1988 or '89.

The band was House of Freaks. Just two guys, a singer/guitarist and a drummer/percussionist. But they were engaging, energetic, and played some very catchy songs (QT audio samples from the album I remember here).

The lead singer Bryan Harvey, his wife, and kids were found dead on New Years Day. There was arson as well, but one report is that the family was bound and their throats were cut.

A sad and shocking way to be reminded of what was a very nice night in my life...

current mood: sad

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Monday, November 7th, 2005
12:19 pm - Maybe it's just me...
I'm reading this Bush response differently than the press seems to be:
Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. [...] We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law.

It sounds to me that he's repeating the argument I swear he's made before. That whatever we do to fight terror is allowed, because he's the President. Isn't that what the "torture memos" were all about? [If I were a real political blogger, this paragraph would be backed up with actual research.]

Anyway, even if he didn't mean to mean it that way, I don't find his comments reassuring at all, and I doubt the world will either.

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Thursday, September 29th, 2005
12:54 am - News from China
So, the WaPo reports that China is cracking down on non-mainland slang on TV.

Apparently, this summer in China, an American Idol type show was super popular. Its sponsor shot from third-largest to the largest dairy in the country. The hostess was hip and happening and used Hong Kong and Taiwanese slang in her conversations with the sometimes spiky-haired(!) female contestants.

I do admit that the continuing clashes between officials and entertainment, capitalism and communism, progress and communism, etc. are interesting topics for discussion. However, I'm such a grownup that the best part of the article for me is the name of the TV show:

"Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Supergirl Contest"

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Wednesday, September 28th, 2005
3:55 pm - I am suffering from consumption
I've noticed that my daily life is full of an awful lot of consuming (weblogs, web news, tv, etc.) and not enough doing stuff, and definitely not enough making stuff.

Active week coming up, at least. orienteering Sunday morning. Rock climbing class starts tonight at Planet Granite.

Also, we have BANG 12 coming up on Saturday evening. Let me know if you're in the bay area and want to walk around San Mateo with Laura and me solving puzzles like this one from BANG 10 or this one from BANG 8. Collaboration helps a lot. Teams are meant to be 4-6 people, and the two of us sometimes run out of ideas... you don't need to solve them all by yourself to be helpful.

As far as making stuff, I have some web projects to work on (thanks for the inspirations, lj friends). Also, I have a Cunning Plan to turn some of my more passive consumption into active creation. For example, you may soon see a bunch of TV reviews, thoughts on soccer, or short stories based on state quarter designs. We shall see...

current mood: hopeful

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Thursday, March 17th, 2005
9:34 am - Hey, I did that!
Sometimes you just have to make a change

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Monday, December 13th, 2004
12:21 am - As yet the physics behind corn starch can not be explained
I get the 'Physics News' email newsletter (or "news of groundbreaking research I don't understand in things I've never heard of").

In their recent big stories of 2004 (since everybody does year end lists), they included this gem:


Follow the link to this website: http://chaos.ph.utexas.edu/research/vibrated_cornstarch.htm
and watch the video linked at the top, all the way to the end.

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Wednesday, December 8th, 2004
2:43 pm - One of those days
You know it's a day that's going in the Parenting Hall of Fame when you read "The emergency haircut he earned because he finally finished all his overdue homework didn't get all the Silly Putty out"

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Tuesday, October 26th, 2004
2:10 pm - Techies for Change
I'm still deciding if I'm going to do it, but I figured I'd get the word out. If you're willing to do tech support for two weeks, you can help support the efforts to elect John Kerry president. You don't even have to leave the house.


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Friday, July 16th, 2004
11:24 am - Puzzles
I've had a tense week, partly because the Urban Challenge SF is tomorrow, Saturday. So, of course this week I've had insomnia past 6am one day, a large bruise on my hip from soccer last weekend, and a tweaked back from ... standing up. Whee.

The Urban Challenge is part puzzle contest part running race. My partner and I get to run around SF trying to take 12 snapshots of ourselves with 12 special locations/landmarks/stores around the city. We have no indication on the course that we've solved the clues correctly, and we can only travel via foot or public transportation.

We could really use help tomorrow morning, if anyone reads this in time and wants to help. About 8:45 or 9am (PDT) we'll get the clues and will try to start solving them. We need two kinds of help. Best would be people in SF who can drive around looking for locations that match the criteria of the clue. (like "anagram of OHYTUED near 5th & Mission"). Also useful would be puzzle solvers who could join the AIM chat room that our "puzzle experts" will be using to communicate.

Let me know ASAP if you're at all interested in either one. Thanks!

Also, on another puzzle related note, I am on a team for the Stanford Game coming up at the end of the month. This is pretty much a dream come true for me. 36 hours straight of solving the hardest puzzles around. I can't wait. Eeeeee!

current mood: anxious

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Thursday, June 3rd, 2004
4:14 pm - Urban Challenge
I'm planning on running the Urban Challenge - San Francisco http://www.urbanchallenge.com/ in July. I have a likely partner lined up, but I have two requests of you, my beloved reader.

1) If you'd like to sit by the phone websearching or puzzle-solving or being smart or knowing things (I don't know, ask fredfred) on July 17th, please let me know.

2) There's a free mock/practice Urban Challenge put on by a local SF person coming up on June 13th. I'd need a partner to run this. If I can get a babysitter, is there anyone who'd want to run/public-transit around San Francisco, solving puzzles? I don't have much transit/city knowledge, so that would be a plus. Support people for this event would be good, too. Here's the announcment of last year's; I can't find one about the upcoming one: http://www.malvina.com/kstars/mockurban.html

current mood: challenged

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Thursday, April 29th, 2004
2:51 pm - So far behind
There are about 100 things that have happened that a good livejournaler would have posted about, and maybe I'll rehash some of them soon.

For now, I just have to say that following fills me with great joy (20 hours of English Soccer a week!) and great fear (20 hours of English Soccer a week!). Currently we get 4 or 5 games per week, which is a lot.

Starting with the 2004-2005 season, FOX Sports World (US) will air up to 10 EPL matches each week, either live or via tape-delay.

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Tuesday, February 24th, 2004
7:05 pm - Thought Experiment
I was wondering today if we couldn't all just compromise and "Defend Marriage" and at the same time *improve* the civil rights situation in the US. Would you support a Constitutional amendment that outlaws gay marriage in the US but requires all govt and private organizaions to allow and accept Civil Unions with all the same considerations and rights as marriages?

Just think what a "Compassionate Conservative" and "Uniter" W would be if he could pull that off.

(Admittedly, the likelihood is zero, but it's more interesting to think about than the actual amendment he'll propose)

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Thursday, February 19th, 2004
9:56 am - Last 20 Tracks (meme acquired from everywhere)
My "random" mp3 shuffle isn't random, since it's heavily weighted towards songs I've rated 'superb' or 'good' in mserv, (4 or 5 on a 1-5 scale, weight 75% or 100%).

That said, here are my last 20 songs (since 20 is the length of mserv's history):

(S/G are my superb/good ratings, 'veep' means it wasn't random, I requested it)
[] random      12/11 S Cirque du Soleil              11-Disert.mp3                      
[] random       28/2 S Fountains Of Wayne   Bright Future In Sales             
[] random       82/4 G Unknown              91_miles_to_richmond.mp3           
[] random       21/2 G Elvis Costello              02-Let_Him_Dangle.mp3              
[] random       23/4 S Evanescence          My Immortal                        
[] random       64/4 G The Smiths           Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now     
[] random      77/10 S Dean Martin          Who's Got The Action?              
[] random      27/11 S Fountains of Wayne   Lost in Space                      
[] random       32/4 G Jimmy Eat World      Your House                         
[] random       40/5 G Morphine             Candy                              
[] veep          2/9 S Bare Naked Ladies              09-Never Is Enough.mp3             
[] random        2/6 S Bare Naked Ladies              06-Alcohol.mp3                     
[] random       77/6 S Jack Jones           This Could Be The Start Of Som     
[] random       43/7 G New Order              07-Rock_The_Shack.mp3              
[] random      53/10 G R.E.M.               Man On The Moon                    
[] random      19/12 G Dido              12-Take_My_Hand.mp3                
[] random      43/10 S New Order              10-Run_Wild.mp3                    
[] random      49/10 G Outkast              My Favorite Things                 
[] random       64/1 G The Smiths           Hand In Glove                      
[] random      73/15 S Unknown              15-Louie,_Louie.mp3                

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
10:30 am - Actual Irish Times headline
The full story is registration only, so I made up my own:

"Pedestrian hit by wheel of truck dies in Limerick"

An Irishman walking was struck
By the wheel of an oncoming truck
He's lucky, you'd feel
For it was just the wheel
But no luck, he's as dead as a duck.

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
4:45 pm - Wow, there's XML for that?
Relevant to what I've been thinking about lately, I saw on slashdot that OWL (Web Ontology Language) is now a W3C recommendation. I looked up 'ontology' to see what this means exactly, and I find "A systematic account of Existence." Wow, with a capital E even... nice. One of my coworkers pointed out that this must mean a huge new set of career opportunites for epistemologists.

It truly is a great day for knowledge.

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2:20 pm - Things I Did That You Didn't
1. I made valentines and super bowl cookies for a super bowl party.

2. I won at orienteering.

3. I got a vasectomy.

Hmm. I should update more often, so news doesn't pile up.

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