Official Statement
At this time, the FBI cannot confirm or deny any rumors regarding the existence of this journal.

L33t Links:
Lists Olin ITA Del.icio.us Flickr ComplexMeme
Current Month
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930
Jun. 28th, 2015 @ 01:37 am SCOTUS Care
Big news from the Supreme Court this week.

I guess a Scalia/Thomas/Alito dissent is as close to unanimous as you can get on any Supreme Court decision on legislation that's controversial along liberal/conservative lines.

Scalia is big on the Fourteenth Amendment working how those voting on it would have intended, but not so much for the Affordable Care Act.

Scalia's dissent in Obergefell, is pretty entertaining and completely histrionic. He he decries the decision as a "judicial Putsch" by a bunch of east- and west-coast lawyers, and all but exhorts the states to disregard the ruling. (Alito writes something similar, but more calmly. Roberts just wishes the Supreme Court was more conservative. Thomas doesn't think the Fourteenth Amendment protects a class of citizens from being excluded from receiving government benefits at all, only from being restrained or imprisoned.)
Entry Links
Rainbow
Jun. 21st, 2015 @ 07:24 pm This Week's Recipe: Golden Egg Curry
Tags: , ,
I've been meaning to get around to cooking more elaborate things from our large collection of cookbooks, and I finally found some time for that this week.

Golden Egg Curry

This week's recipe was Golden Egg Curry, from Naomi Duguid's Burma: Rivers of Flavor.

Choices and substitutions: I used sesame oil (peanut oil was also an option). I used store-bought chili powder rather than go to the trouble of grinding my own, as the book suggests. I substituted about twice as many serrano chilis for the green cayenne chilis, due to availability.

How it turned out: Awesome! This recipe is pretty easy, and it's as beautiful as the book makes it seem. (The hardest part is seeding and slicing the hot peppers, and that's not too much trouble.) It's a great contrast of colors, textures, and flavors. The boiled-then-fried eggs are a winner.

Other notes: A little fish sauce makes this not strictly vegetarian. But it's a tiny amount, you could probably sub in soy sauce without much change in the overall character of the dish.
Entry Links
L33t
Jun. 15th, 2015 @ 11:40 pm More Likely Than You Think
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Tags: ,
Sonograph Photograph

From the photobooth last week.

So yeah, that has me preoccupied (Julie, too, obviously). And if I think I'm tired now...

I am trying hard not to do any chicken-counting (life is full of uncertainty), but if all goes well, 2016 will be an even more eventful year for me than 2015. I'm about as excited as I can expect to be about things that will change my life in large ways that I cannot control.
Entry Links
Ph34r
May. 26th, 2015 @ 11:33 pm Summer is Stirring
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Sam Sparro - Black & Gold
I spent much of the weekend playing World of Geographycraft. Sunday, took a completely impractical trip to Mt. Greylock with Julie and Tim. The mountain is notable for being the highest natural point in Massachusetts and one of the landmarks on the Appalachian Trail, it would be an enjoyable place to hike if I'm ever there earlier in the day. On Monday, I was off work for Memorial Day, and spent many hours randomly wandering around Arlington.

There are lots of things I want to do more of. I want to get to some of the games on my queue, but I probably have a greater desire to do more writing (to get back to posting here more, plus I haven't written for ComplexMeme in months), reading, and cooking. (Not counting work and other important things. Those are going well, but the going well is very time-consuming.)

It's starting to get hot. A mockingbird has once again moved in near to my house, with the usual combination of talented repertoire and being obnoxiously loud at all hours of the night.

I got a (very short) haircut today. That avoids the scruffy uneven look and should be nice for summer, but I'm well into the hair-loss territory where I'll need to remember a hat or risk terrible scalp sunburn.
Entry Links
L33t
May. 17th, 2015 @ 12:28 am Level Up!
Current Mood: happyhappy
Tags: , , , , ,
Another busy week at work!

Now that it's public within the company, I can say: I got that promotion! There were celebrations this week, a cake with my name on it and everything. Relieved that my hard work paid off, and that I don't have to contend with that process again for at least a few years.

I also made it to the top-eight in the office's M:tG block limited tournament. I'm really enjoying the new set and the twist it puts in the block format (a good way to transition to the new two-set blocks).

This weekend has been relaxing so far. Caught a bit of Porchfest (a Somerville-wide outdoor music festival) and did a bit of spring cleaning.
Entry Links
L33t
May. 7th, 2015 @ 06:15 pm All Robot Stories for Some Reason
Tags: ,
Media I've consumed lately:

Existence by David Brin - Brin writes far future sci-fi with a lot of references to the present and a strong ideological bent (if you're familiar with his nonfiction or his blog, large parts of this book seem like an author tract). That said, this sprawling story about humanity's encounter with an alien message in a bottle is an enjoyable read. If you like Brin's earlier work (especially Earth) or sprawling multi-threaded sci-fi tomes like Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, give this one a try.

Ex Machina - A programmer is summoned to the remote estate of an eccentric software billionaire genius. He soon is told that his purpose is to play the questioner in thought experiment where the subject is an experimental AI. It's hard to go into more detail without spoilers, except to say that if that premise sounds good to you, you'll probably enjoy the movie. I thought it was pretty good.

Time of Eve: Another Act by Kei Mizuichi - This one is a novelization of the anime of the same name (trailer here). The adaptation sticks pretty close, but I think the movie is better, so I'll recommend that first. The story is Asimov by way of Japan, and if you like Asimovian robot stories at all, you shouldn't miss this one. It's brilliant.

Avengers: Age of Ultron: It's very entertaining!
Entry Links
Yay!
Apr. 25th, 2015 @ 12:35 pm Enjoyed the London Conference
Current Mood: busybusy
London was pretty cool.

I really liked the Google office there (at Belgrave House, accross from Victoria Station). Seemed like a really cool place to work, and the food was fantastic (including a juice bar with one of these nifty machines).

Was good to see Xave again. We spent some time wandering the city, visited the museum at Bletchley Park and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. We saw Tom Stoppard's The Hard Problem (broadcast in cinema by National Theater Live), doesn't hold a candle to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead but it was reasonably good. And we also saw a production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theater, that was a really good show and the staging was brilliant.

The European Lisp Symposium was a very interesting conference. I particularly liked the talk on Clasp, an LLVM-based Lisp implementation featuring tight C++ interoperability. (It's not quite there yet performance-wise, but some of the features excite me: Being able to write Lisp macros in place of C++ template libraries, being able to introspect C++ code in Lisp, being able to compile C++ modules into Lisp code and then use LLVM-based debugging and profiling tools that work across that boundary in a seamless way. Good stuff.) Also, the talk about the Woo HTTP server (a pure-Lisp implementation that beats Node.js on performance benchmarks) was impressive and full of interesting ideas. And I enjoyed my colleague's talk about debugging SBCL garbage collection.

I really enjoyed London, I got the sense that I'd enjoy living there as much as I enjoyed visiting. Wonderful food, beautiful architecture, friendly people, really pleasant to travel around.

My trip back was uneventful, after some annoying flight delays (a few passengers missed the flight and their luggage had to be removed, then another passenger had to disembark for medical reasons, forcing them to search the luggage again).

Work's been interesting. Lots to do.
Entry Links
L33t
Apr. 15th, 2015 @ 03:17 pm Jetlagged to London
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
So I stayed up all night and moved over five time-zones just so I could get in to the office earlier. I can't sleep on planes, at all. But if I stay up until night again, I'll be fine, probably.

I'm in London! My first time in London (also, my first time in Europe). So far, pretty much all I've seen (airport and train aside) is one of the London Google offices. It's pretty cool!

About last week: PyCon was fun. I particularly enjoyed the talk on memory forensics using Volatility (Where in your RAM is "python san_diego.py"?), Gabriella Coleman's talk on Anonymous, and Guido's talk on Python Type Annotations.

And taking Porter Airlines to Montreal was surprisingly good. They're a little discount carrier that does hub-and-spoke out of a single airport (Toronto City), using fuel-efficient Bombardier Q400 prop planes. From the price, I was expecting a very "no frills" experience, but it was quite the opposite: Reasonably comfortable seats, snacks and drinks including complimentary wine or beer (with drinks served in actual glassware), a nice lounge on the layover (with complimentary snacks, drinks, and wifi). The history of the airline is a rather interesting case study.
Entry Links
Train
Apr. 4th, 2015 @ 07:11 pm Conferencecation
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Pasadena trip last weekend (a side-trip for Julie, on her way to Synberc) was really good. Got to play in one of the Ingress live events (a win for our team in Pasadena, though still an overall loss for this series). Enjoyed spending some time with Sean and Morgan (my sibs-in-law), catching up with some of Julie's old friends, visiting Caltech, drinking strawberry lemonade at the Caltech Athenaeum, and seeing some of the more touristy spots in LA. Was quite a shock to go from 20 degrees to 90 in the span of a week.

Got back to work in time to wrap up some end of quarter things before heading off to PyCon in Montreal next Tuesday. And I've made further conference plans to go to the European Lisp Symposium in London the following week.

Friday, I was struck down by a horrible stomach bug (or flu or something). The worst. At least it wasn't while I was travelling.

Today, I finally got around to seeing The Golden Compass, which I'd had out from Netflix on DVD for the last far-too-many months. I'll warn those who have read the book to not expect much depth in the adaptation and those who have not to not expect a lot of hand-holding on the exposition. Honestly, I think the movie is probably about as good as a movie that adapts that book into an under-two-hours pulp-fantasy PG-13 pic could be. The pacing is very tight, they have a very talented cast, and the visual style is spectacular. I enjoyed it.
Entry Links
Enlightened
Mar. 24th, 2015 @ 11:52 pm Ingress Everywhere
Current Mood: energeticenergetic
Ingress has really taken over our social life this week. On Friday night, a group of players from our team organized to paint the town green, and Julie and I took a five-hour stroll through downtown (from 11 PM until well after 4 in the morning), with a stop for 3AM coffee and cannoli at Bova's Bakery.

This weekend, we're going to Pasadena for more Ingress and to catch up with some of Julie's Caltech friends. Then Julie's going on to Synberc and we're meeting back in Boston just in time to leave for PyCon in Monreal.

I should come up with some London travel plans, too, while Xave is there.

Busy busy.
Entry Links
L33t
Mar. 15th, 2015 @ 11:58 pm I Once Launched a Shard From Nantucket
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Today, got my first chance to play the artifact game in Ingress!

Generally, the game of Ingress is a territory-capturing game. Players ("agents") capture locations ("portals"; real-world art objects, places of significance, and other landmarks) by showing up at the actual location in real life and interacting with it in the game. They link those locations together into triangles ("fields") to capture territory for their teams. Fields add to a team's score at periodic checkpoints.

But a few events have added a side-game of "shards" or "artifacts" that travel down links between portals in the network. The shards start at various locations all over the world, each team tries to navigate them to a different target, keep-away at geographic scale.

A lengthy Ingress story...Collapse )

Long story short, that's how Julie and I ended up making a last-minute day-trip to Nantucket this weekend. Was fun, and definitely a change of pace from my busy work-week!
Entry Links
Enlightened
Mar. 12th, 2015 @ 12:39 am PAX East Highlights
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Tags: , ,
PAX East was fun. Spent almost all my time on the show floor this time.

Some highlights:

The strange favorite of the show was a game developed originally for the Ouya (Android game console) by a single developer, a 2D arena combat game with ducks aptly titled Duck Game.

Knight Squad, a similarly hectic multiplayer (eight player!) game, was also crazy good.

I loved the art style of The Magic Circle. Excited to see the finished game.

Invisible Inc. was awesome and challenging. I recommend this one if you like turn-based tactics (like X-COM or the old Fallout games).

I enjoyed playing the demo for Dreadnought, which was like Team Fortress meets Battlestar Galactica. Giant spaceship combat! It's awesome.

Fate Tectonics was the quirkiest demo, a bit like Carcassonne meets Sim City.

The demo for Moon Hunters made me really glad I funded their Kickstarter. Looking forward to the completed game.

For tablet games, the "air hockey meets the four elements" game Colliding Forces was interesting and fun.

The indie game section of the expo was huge and amazing this year. I thought I'd seen all of that section of the expo, but I didn't see half of the things here.
Entry Links
Pwnt
Mar. 3rd, 2015 @ 01:10 am Games IN SPACE
Current Mood: happyhappy
Tags: , ,
Intercon was this past weekend. My games were pretty fun (save for one which was cancelled on account of a cancelled flight). Plans gone wrong, angst IN SPACE, and one game set in a corporate-cyberpunk-dystopia version of the world of Game of Thrones. Plus an Iron GM game that seemed very put-together for having been written in a single weekend.

Next weekend is PAX East, which I managed to get passes to after all.

In only somewhat related news, Roll for the Galaxy (the dice game variant of the card game Race for the Galaxy) is at least as fun as its predecessor, maybe more. Good stuff!
Entry Links
L33t
Feb. 15th, 2015 @ 09:37 pm Resume Workshop Surrounded by Snow
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Tags: , , , , ,
After the snow last week, I got out to Olin for career fair, which was awesome! Also ran a resume workshop, which went really well.

I came up with a silly metaphor for my resume remarks, which I hope will stick in students' minds: A resume is like a cupcake, served upside-down.

You have the wrapper, essential but not exciting. That's name, contact information, what are you studying and when, and your summary of skills (useful, but that's a summary of a summary, so keep it short).

You have the cake, the main point. That's delicious work experience! Ideally, this section is the closest approximation you can muster to, "I did exactly this job, did it extremely well, and have the numbers to prove it." Prioritize discussing relevant paid work, followed by relevant close approximations of paid work and relevant projects that produced something concrete. Discuss unrelated employment if necessary, but more briefly. Use metrics to quantify your achievement (at least showing that you set goals and measured results, ideally show that your results were impressive). Estimate if necessary. On the job learning is a good thing to demonstrate, and that can be something to quantify as well.

Finally, you may want to add a bit of icing, some leadership position or award or hobby that makes you look cool or smart or interesting but isn't directly relevant to work. I don't think there's a real risk that the person who doesn't put any hobbies on their resume will be looked down on, but if you have something cool, it might help your resume be memorable and might help you have something good to talk about in interviews that have more social-skills-y "so tell me about you" sorts of questions.


The rest of the week was very busy, and this weekend is once again mired in snow. (With more scheduled for next Tuesday and then a significant amount next weekend.) I braved the snow to have Valentine's Day dinner with Julie at Cafe Artscience. We went out for brunch at Puritan and Co. and I made hot chocolate at home.

I'm glad to have the day off tomorrow.
Entry Links
L33t
Feb. 10th, 2015 @ 02:01 am Making the Most of Snow Days
Current Mood: calmcalm
Tags: , , , , ,
Snow day today. And tomorrow.

This is not a repost from last week. Or the week before. This is the snowiest winter recorded in Boston. And it's not letting up. Getting a bit more snow Thursday and Sunday, very cold into the weekend and next week.

It was a pretty good day, warm at home. Did a bit of cooking yesterday and today, got some work done, and took Julie out to dinner at Bergamot (always a fantastic meal).

Spent a lot of time with friends this weekend and played a lot of games (of which a favorite was Splendor).

On Wednesday, I'll be back at Olin running Google's table at the spring career fair.
Entry Links
L33t
Feb. 5th, 2015 @ 12:28 am Snow End in Sight
Current Mood: tiredtired
Tags: , , , , ,
So how about them local sports teams?

Boston got a significant snowstorm last week and a follow up early this week. Friday is bringing just enough snow to tide us over before another snowstorm Sunday-Monday, with not much melting in between, and some very cold weather, too. (Mild today, though.)

I'm trying to figure out logistics for conferences and other travel in the spring.

The last few weeks included lots of birthday parties, and one going-away party (for Gui, who's off to San Francisco to build giant robots).

Also games: Enjoyed the tech-tree building card game Progress: Evolution of Technology and the industry-building board game Brass. On the digital side, enjoyed the impossible-architecture platforming puzzle-game Monument Valley (it's not long or super-difficult, but it is beautiful and clever, well worth the few dollars it costs).

Work is stressful, but productive.
Entry Links
L33t
Jan. 22nd, 2015 @ 01:27 am Undersea Adventure
Current Mood: tiredtired
The MIT Mystery Hunt was last weekend, this time themed after 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was an unusually good year for my team, we came in second (only 50 minutes after the winning team), so I finally got to go on the runaround at the end of hunt (which this year involved a sequence of challenges that took us from half-past-midnight Sunday until nearly 6AM, including a puzzle involving a giant word-search of previous puzzle answers and an awesome game of human pictionary in Lobby 7). I also helped solve some very clever meta-puzzles, a text adventure time travel puzzle, and a puzzle consisting entirely of anagrams of the word "random".

Spent the rest of the weekend severely hunt-lagged.

Still playing a lot of Ingress. Just reached level 8 (the end of the base level progression in the game). I never got into playing World of Warcraft because I figured any MMO would become a terrible time-sink, so should have seen that coming. At least a game that involves wandering around outside won't be as bad for my health.

I've recovered from last week's winter cold, but Julie still has a persistent cough.
Entry Links
L33t
Jan. 8th, 2015 @ 12:36 am Cold Cold Cold
Current Mood: coldcold
Tags: , , ,
I was able to avoid getting as sick as Julie, but I still got pretty sick. Took a sick day Monday, still pretty brain fogged. Getting a fair amount done, but making very slow progress on the tedious process of wrapping up my current main project.

The temperature is dropping to extreme lows tonight. Tomorrow morning will be very windy and cold.
Entry Links
L33t
Jan. 3rd, 2015 @ 11:01 pm Celebrations and Soup
Current Location: Somerville, MA
Current Mood: okayokay
Tags: , , , , ,
Our return to Boston was delayed, but managed to get in at the turn of the year by leaving from a nearby town. The flight arrived a bit after midnight, and we caught a glimpse of the fireworks show from the plane. Got home at 1AM and went out for late drinks. So missed the big party, but that was all right. There were also celebrations New Year's Day: Played Ingress with Tim and Co in my neighborhood, then went to The Buttery for their usual New Year's Day spaghetti dinner.

I still have a bit of time off before I resume work on Monday.

Julie has come down with some sort of deadly sore-throat cold. Not much I can do to help, but I've been doing what I can (making a lot of honey-lemon-ginger tea). I can feel the tell-tale tickle in the back of my throat that says I'm not escaping this one, either. Hopefully, if I get plenty of sleep, it won't be too bad.

Today, there are a lot of things I wanted to do entertainment-wise, but just not feeling that into anything, except cooking. Cooking was fun today. For lunch made sandwiches with tomato and egg and homemade pesto. For dinner, I made borscht, adding some fancy sausage to this recipe.
Entry Links
L33t
Dec. 31st, 2014 @ 02:42 am Extra Day in Texas
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
I've been having a relaxing time in Lubbock with family and family friends. Julie's parents are wonderful hosts, as always. All her siblings made it into town, and Julie's uncle even drove down from Canada (!) to visit. Christmas dinner was delicious, and people got me and Julie really nice and thoughtful gifts.

I finished reading The Feminine Mystique. That was an influential book for a reason, and it's a very interesting look into late 1950s feminism. That plus The Two Income Trap (which I also read recently) make a very interesting pair of book-ends for the latter half of the 20th century.

Also read How Children Learn. Wonderful book, really interesting and optimistic stuff. I really wish John Holt had succeeded in more of his education reform goals, but I really need to read more by him and his cohort.

Julie and I saw two movies on the trip, Mockingjay - Part 1 (very well put-together, though I still think they could have made the book into a single movie) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (I enjoyed it; while I don't think this trilogy is as good as Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, it certainly stands up as an entertaining big-budget cinema spectacle). Saw the latter film at Alamo Drafthouse, which really deserves its reputation as the best big theater chain. Wish there was one in the Boston area.

On Sunday, I got a terrible stomach bug (the only bad bit of my trip) and spent the day drinking tea and watching Psycho-Pass (a cyberpunk dystopian police procedural, in a somewhat similar vein to Ghost in the Shell; worth watching if you like the genre, the first season is up on Netflix).

We were going to return to Boston today, but our flight was canceled on account of some ice. We're now scheduled to get in tomorrow, will see how that turns out.
Entry Links
L33t