Monday, July 30, 2007

ah, nostalgia

Giving Omst and Neha a ride, late Saturday night. Omst and I worked together on Google Desktop a few years ago.

Omst: [from backseat] Every time I used to ride in Niniane's car, she would stall the engine.

I slow down as I approach a red light.

Omst: I'm waiting for the stall. Take me back to the Desktop days.

Me: You want the Desktop days? [turning toward Neha in the passenger seat] Neha, open your door and vomit into the street.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Potter (no spoilers)

Walking down the street last Saturday with my brother. We're carrying unopened copies of the seventh Harry Potter book.

Tom: You better finish the book over the weekend, or else Alipé will troll you on Monday.

Me: He does like to troll.

Tom: You'll walk into work, and he'll have been waiting for hours. He'll be shaking from waiting for so long.

Me: [laughing]

Tom: You'll be ten pages from the end, and you'll sit down quickly to try to finish the book. Just as you get to the second-to-last page, Alipé will shout, "Harry dies!"

Me: Heh. [Note: That wasn't a spoiler; he just made it up.]

Tom: He won't just say it either. An IM will pop up on your monitor with it. It'll blare out from your speakers. He'll launch balloons that explode into confetti, and each piece of confetti will have a streamer that says, "Harry dies."


On Monday I told this to Alipé, who chuckled. "Tom has quite the active imagination!" he said.

He then told me that some people are so afraid of spoilers that they've written a Greasemonkey script, which scans each web page for names of major characters. If it finds "Harry", "Hermione", "Ron", it'll blot out the names with asterisks.

To combat this, some web pages are now authored to detect the greasemonkey script, and only show spoilers (worded in such a way to circumvent the script's rules) in the presence of the script.

Monday, July 23, 2007

flapper fiasco

Siobhan's birthday party was on Saturday. She always throws these elaborate costume parties. The first one I attended was three years ago -- an 80s theme, with prizes for the best costumes. This is how we dressed, (photo from 2004):

It took 45 minutes to blow-dry my hair into that hairdo, and I still didn't win a prize.

This year's evite said to pick a costume from any decade and dance style of our choice, such as 1780s rain dance, or 1950s sixth grade dance.

I chose 1920s flapper. Here is an example of what flappers look like, from google images:

I went to a costume shop on Saturday. Tom was in the city hanging out with me, so he accompanied me.

While there, he took the opportunity to goof around:

I told the shop owner of my costume idea. He had all the gear. "I'll flap you up!" he said.

I bought everything he suggested: feathered headdress, black-and-white feather boa, flapper dress -- plus fishnet stockings not included in the picture. Flapper was sure to be a popular costume idea, and it was likely I would not be the only one at the party. I decided to go all out.

I had to ensure I would be the best flapper, or at least not embarrass myself with the crowd of five or six other flappers.

At home Saturday night, I googled for "flapper makeup". I carefully applied smoky eye powder, sequined eyelashes, and kohl eyeliner.


At 11:30pm, I took a cab down to the Orbit Room. The cab driver didn't bat an eyelash at my outfit. This is San Francisco after all.

I walked into the bar, and ... I thought I must be at the wrong place. NOT A SINGLE OTHER PERSON WAS IN COSTUME.

Siobhan came up to me, in a strapless black dress. She opened her mouth to say something, but only gibberish came out because she was laughing so hard.

I watched her doubled over in giggles. "How did this happen?" I said.

She stopped laughing long enough to say, "No one else took the evite seriously."

"I can see that," I said. "Why not?"

Rose turned around from the bar and spotted me. She came over in a little black dress. "Did you just come from a costume party?" she asked.

"NO!" I said.

"Then why are you dressed like that?"

I stared at her. "Did you not get the same evite that I did?"

"Oh." Her eyes widened. "You got dressed up for this party?"

"Yes! Why didn't you?"

"I was lazy."

That was the same excuse given by every other partygoer, as they looked me up and down, and then commended me on how it was wonderful that I got into the spirit of the costume and how I should not feel out of place at all.

A picture of the ridiculousness:

In the movie Legally Blonde, there's a scene where Reese Witherspoon dresses as a playboy bunny for a costume party. She discovers upon arrival that it's a regular party, not a costume party.

I never understood why she walked inside, bunny ears and lingerie and all, instead of turning around to go home.

Now I understand. When you spend an hour putting on every last touch of your costume, getting your eyelashes just so to match the damn flapper photo, you are not going to just go home!

Even if your friends decide at midnight to move to a dive bar with a jukebox, where the other patrons are wearing rock-and-roll T-shirts and playing pool.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

noob monster: one noob, two noobs, ...

Corey: The best name we've come up with so far is Cookie Camp.

Me: Because we're going to bake cookies and hand them out to visitors?

Corey: No. It's because at some point during the week, I'll try to make at least one batch of cookies.

Me: I see. [resetting expectations] ... Okay, so how many times have each of you been to Burning Man?

Dan: I'm the only one who has ever been.

Me: [looking around at others] So we're all noobs? Why don't we call ourselves Noob Camp?


Dan: We'll buy water in Reno.

Me: Why don't we load it up before we leave? It's more risky to leave that to Reno.

Dan: We need to buy almost a ton of water. It's hard to drive the RV over the hills with that much weight.

Me: What? A ton?

Corey: Yes. According to the computations, we need 800 pounds of water.

Me: [going over calculations with Corey to determine water needs for five people] ... Oh my God, you're right. What if they run out of water in Reno?

Dan: This may be hard to believe for first-timers, but there are stores set up in Reno just to sell water for Burning Man. Plus if you go into any Safeway, there are literally palettes of water stacked all the way to the ceiling, with big signs: "We gots your water here, Burners!"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

way freakin' hilarious iPhone review

This iPhone writeup is so funny that I bow down to it. Yes, this single HTML page is more worthy than my entire existence.

For example, this excerpt:

It's not three devices in one any more than my laptop is you morons. Using Jobs' loose definition of what constitutes a separate device, technically my laptop can be considered 8 devices in one:

# A clock
# A calculator
# An "Internet communications device"
# A phone (I can make voice calls with my modem)
# A pornographic media storage device
# A video player
# A word processor
# And an "iPod" (see below)

Also note that it utilizes the speech mechanism which makes everything funnier:

"Can't do fundamental tasks like copy & paste text: No. Double negative, bitches!"

For those of you too lazy to scroll two paragraphs up to find the link from earlier in this post, here it is again.


Yesterday, when I renewed my home repair insurance, I dropped my washer / dryer from the coverage.

Naturally, this morning my washing machine overflowed and leaked water all over the floor in the laundry area and adjoining bathroom.

Probably it is just a small blockage. A simple matter of removing a sock from the drain tube. Surely I could troubleshoot it myself!

Then I did a google search and located this picture:

Are you frightened? I was. A repair company is coming this afternoon.

It may be time to get a new washer anyway. Mine is pretty old-school:

(The washer is on the right.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

this whole post is a spoiler

My crash pad is right across the street from Kabuki Theatre. Tonight I popped over and saw "Knocked Up".

The movie kept mentioning Google, so many times that it got weird.

Anyway, I found one exchange really sweet. It is the scene of Alison and Ben's second date. Alison found out recently that she's pregnant. They're sitting facing each other in Alison's room.

Alison: [a little breathless] You're a sweet guy, right? Don't fuck me over.

Ben: I'm the guy that girls fuck over. So you don't fuck me over.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

it would only be blasphemy if he insulted harry potter

Walking out of the Harry Potter movie.

Tom: It'd be cool if J.K. Rowling wrote another book after the Harry Potter series.

Me: [nodding]

Tom: Her book cover would read, 'From the author of ... HARRY POTTER.' How can anyone beat that?

Me: True.

Tom: Unless it's, 'From the author of ... THE BIBLE. God himself.'

Me: [laughing]

Tom: The Newest Testament. [pause] Even then, I don't believe in God, so I'd still pick up J.K. Rowling's book.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

code as seen by Hollywood

Thanks to P.F. for forwarding this article on Hollywood inaccuracies when portraying code. Two excerpts:

4. Code is not three dimensional.
Remember in "hackers" when the gibson is depicted as a three dimensional city that the hackers must navigate through? Bullshit! We may use a dash of color in our shell to make things a bit clearer, but last I checked my terminal app doesn't require OpenGL. I'm working here, bitches - I'm not playing quake.

10. Most code is not inherently cross platform.
Remember in Independence Day when whatshisface-math-guy writes a virus that works on both his apple laptop AND an alien mothership? Bullshit!


Incidentally, I noticed that sentences are cooler when you append "bitches". For example, "I'm working here" comes off a little wimpy. "I'm working here, bitches." is great.

The truth shall set you free, bitches.

Friday, July 06, 2007

he can talk to the hand, 'cause the face ain't listening no more (updated)

Over instant messenger with a friend "Alice". She just ended things with a guy who was not treating her very well.

Alice: I'm mostly good, but there's five minutes each day when I wish he would call.

Me: At least it's only five minutes. Take heroin to distract yourself during those five minutes if you have to.

Alice: Ha ha.

[silence, while we each multitask]

Alice: It's happening right now.


Alice: I know.


Alice: It would be funny if there really were a web site like that.

Me: Yeah.

Alice: With distractions and reasons not to call him.

Me: [checking on GoDaddy] The domain isn't taken yet.


And thus a web site was born, a collaborative effort. A web site that served its purpose of distracting Alice for five minutes...

UPDATE: was a smashing success. However, I now realize there was a flaw in the plan.

We also should have registered

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Jesus went to the desert too

Me: "Nikhil is going to survival school. They get dropped off in the desert for a month, and forced to forage for food and water. Last year, one of the participants started shaking and hallucinating from thirst, and the organizers still refused to help him. He ended up dying."

Stuttgart (*name changed): "Why does Nikhil want to do this?"

Me: "He says it's a rite of passage, so that he can become a man."

Stuttgart: "So he's not a man now."

Me: [chuckling] "Apparently not. Anyway, on Saturday, we're having a party to send him off."

Stuttgart: "Like a Last Supper situation?"

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

more than meets the eye

Google bought five showings of "Transformers" today, and handed out free tickets to employees.

Walking to the theatre parking lot afterwards.

Me: What did you think of the movie?

Alipé: It was entirely incoherent. I couldn't make sense of it.

Me: But it was funny, so all is forgiven in my book. ... Did you see they did a yahoo search during one scene?

Alipé: Did they now? I don't recall that.

Me: Just for a split second, while flipping between ebay screens.

Alipé: I must have had my head in my hands at the time.


Me: I like how they broke the stereotype of the NSA analyst.

Alipé: How's that?

Me: Normally you think of them as geeky code-crackers (not 18-year-old blonde Australian women with nose rings).

Alipé: They also broke the stereotype of having characters that are remotely credible.


Me: At the end, they're kissing while lying ON THE CAR, which is actually a robot.

Alipé: That must be very awkward for the robot.

Me: [laughing]

Alipé: It's like "[mimicking robotic voice] Well, I'll just, er, um, ..."

playing it safe

I was going to write a really funny post about electronics I find over-hyped, and how I'm taking a stand by ordering a blackberry.

But with the recent shitstorm over a Googler badmouthing a media darling, I decided to stay out of the way of potential controversy.

Lé sigh, as they say in France.

You might accuse me of over-worrying, but I know Google Blogoscoped reads this (hello Phillipp!), and Valleywag did in the past and may still (hello Nick!).

I wouldn't want to stir up a controversy of backlinks. Because then I would have to monitor them instead of fiddling with my new blackberry, which I like better than the over-hyped --

Right. Since I can't write about that, instead I'll have to just put up photos. Here are some, from my life in June.

My brother learned this month how to cook.

A culinary masterpiece. Tom is like an Iron Chef competition, where the secret ingredient is awesomeness.

The master chef himself. We have a mutual non-blog-reading pact, so he won't see this photo.

A leftover photo of the two of us, from his graduation last month.


So, you readers who complain that my blog is too superficial, without enough discourse on technical topics? Now you know why.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Dinner with friends last night.

Ana Mandara has a Zen-themed interior, with high ceilings and tall ferns. It is now my favorite restaurant in San Francisco.

Nikhil told us about his upcoming survival school. They will be taken out to the desert and forced to find their own food and water. Last year a person who went on this program died.

Me with the sweet Neha.

Dan, sunburned, and Ardan.

The younger, 27-year-old Niniane might have been tempted to lick off the chocolate words from the plate. I, however, desisted.

Chris brought me some cakes.

Aforementioned cakes. :)

Sara brought me two jars of honey -- one smooth and one chunky -- from her own bees that she's raising. How sweet of her, ha ha.

After dinner, the restaurant moved the tables aside and turned themselves into a nightclub. A few of us stayed. It was Asian night, and the crowd was oddly inhibited.

The girls.

This guy was dancing with two women, hip swivelling included, while shouting into his cell phone at the same time. Thus showing that Asians got game. Or at least multitasking skills. Represent!

Coolest DJ booth that I've ever seen.

let's go with that then

Since Tom is without a car, I drove him to deposit checks and buy lamps.

As we left the IKEA parking lot:

Tom: It would only have taken five minutes to do these errands in World of Warcraft.

Me: [chuckling]

Tom: Two if we had our epic mounts.