Thursday, December 20, 2007

Diamonds for monogamy

From this entertaining and cutting blog post:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Virtual dinner at time

I wish I could eat a virtual dinner with friends and family around the country. I would pay $300 I think, for a specialized flat panel monitor with a built in quality webcam and speakers that could be put on the dinner table. Good videochat software to manage the webcam views would be critical. And you could have dinner with folks you met on Facebook from around the world, and dating with this system would be interesting as hell.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Working alone

Working alone is emotionally exhausting. It's a constant battle of motivation and fear that what I'm working on will fail. I have successes that propel me forward a little, but by far it's dominated by the battle, and when it's not a battle, it's still a grind. This will be the third venture I've attempted and the most ambitious. (First was my website in college which failed in like a week. Next was our little gaming krew, Insane Fuel, which showed me that you can make something successful (relatively) if you push through when things feel like they're fucked.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

As of midnight, I am the proud uncle...

of a boy I haven't met yet, Landon Lavon Bigelow. Congratulations Eric and Alisha! :D It's good to know that someone in our family is the responsible family man...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Pyramid scheme legality

Pyramid schemes are only legal when you can't tell who's going to get screwed at the end. Stocks and money are both pyramid schemes (think about it, who would accept cash today unless they expected to be able to spend it tomorrow), but the end of an individual company or the U.S. stock exchange or the end of the United States is unpredictable, so it's OK.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Driving through the Valley of the Gods, Utah

Utah probably beats out Idaho for most beautiful state in the union (that I've been to ;)

Funding games in the future

Why not let gamers contribute funding directly to game developers? One idea is to have them donate a certain amount and get a copy of the game, if and when it gets finished. Their donation would buy them no rights in the company. This is an ok idea, but it's going to be hard to keep that gamers' interest over 4 years while the game gets made. A better idea would be to sell shares in the game developer, because now that gamer has a stake and is more likely to ensure the developer has enough funding over the 4 years it takes. The problems with this are that SEC regulations are going to be burdensome, so it should have minimal regulation (let the market decide who's a fraud and who's good) and also you don't want the game developer lost in the mix as a penny stock somewhere, you want them listed on a market of only game developers. Maybe something like GSTrUE, but for people who are well suited to evaluate games (gamers).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gas pricing arbitrage

I want my in-car GPS system to know the price of gas in the vicinity. This won't stop gas stations near to each other from all setting high prices simultaneously, but if you know gas is 20 cents cheaper 10 miles down the road, prices will come down some.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Offset your infidelity

This is clever: (from Marginal Revolution)

Building on the thriving carbon offset industry, an innovative British firm, Cheat Neutral, now offers cheat offsetting:

At Cheatneutral, we believe that we should all try to reduce the amount we cheat on our partners, but we also realise that fidelity isn't always possible.

That's why we help you neutralise your cheating. Your actions are offset by a global network of fidelity, developed by us. By paying Cheatneutral, you're funding monogamy-boosting offset projects - we simply invest the money you give us in monogamous, faithful or just plain single people, to encourage them to stay that way.

Many people have already successfully used Cheat Neutral:

David cheated on his partner of ten years, Sebastian, with a younger man. He described for us what happened:

"Seb was so angry with me, I felt really bad about what I'd done. I came to Cheatneutral to offset the side effects of my cheating, and later on, Seb said the only reason he could forgive me was because I'd offset my cheating with Cheatneutral. Thanks to Cheatneutral, we're still together, I can feel good about my cheating, and I've helped to reduce global cheating as well! If I do cheat on Seb again, I'll definitely be calling Cheatneutral."

Hat tip to David Zetland's new blog Sex, Drugs & Water Utilities.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Switching online savings accounts

HSBC is sending me emails about how they're planting trees if I give them money but I'd rather they just stop dropping the rate on my savings account (now at 4.5% APY). So I moved over the bulk of my savings to everybody's favorite out-of-control subprime lender, Countrywide, for 5.5% (on balances over $10k). Countrywide definitely feels less customer friendly, I agreed to some term saying they could hold all my money for 7 days even after telling them in writing to transfer it. Their privacy policy is a frothy bowl of diarrhea, make sure you call them at 1-866-605-3467 to opt out. (I'm still FDIC insured up to $100K if they fail.)

Friday, October 5, 2007

DC trip highlights

Sitting on the Navy Memorial steps and having a old guy rant to everyone that "It's not physically possible for a vice-president to be this corrupt!" and then turning his attention only on me. It was doubly awkward because I was pretending to read.

Eating Ethiopian food for the first time.

U.S. customs doesn't like it when you try to enter the country when you're single and unemployed with a California license plate, Arizona driver's license and you live in Minnesota. Canadian customs was nicer than my own country even when I tried to enter Canada with a can of mace (accidentally, I forgot I had this with me).

Driving through Canada and listening to angry French rap. Thinking that the Canadian government was subsidizing gas in Canada because the price was about $1.08 and considering moving to Canada because of this (but this was liters, doh!)

The older couple gawking at me on some random sideroad in Canada as I was waking up in my car.

Being amazed at how many police escorts protesters in the Capitol got. I'm glad that I live here and not Myanmar.

Crying at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial, even though I never lost anyone in the Vietnam war. (So much respect for Maya Lin for standing tough while they called her gook!)

This overly cute panda and this fine example of the perils of free speech.

Sitting by Kenneth from Kenya on the DC Metro and chatting about their 3 party political system. It seems like there are more people from African countries here compared even to a melting pot like LA.

My route:

View Larger Map

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avoiding ambiguity

It's good to be pedantic and "over-describe" when discussing features and problems on a game. We avoided a few problems on the game Horizons because of this (that I knew about; I'm sure we also avoided some I wasn't aware of). This can be a negative though, because people can think you're talking down to them. So it's best to do it in a self-depreciating way, where everyone thinks you're a little bit dumb, because you sent out an extra email to confirm some details of a feature that everyone is (supposedly) already familiar with. This could possibly hurt you during review time, if your boss thinks you're an idiot.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A surprise

I was driving back from a friend's house last night, and I see a small bear standing in the middle of the road. He must've been scared (but not too scared) since he started running at a medium pace across the road and into the tall grass.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Awesome Indian music video

I need to practice these moves!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Japanese Toilet Training Cartoon



Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shopping in the future

When I'm shopping for candy or whatever and the store doesn't have what I'm looking for, why can't I tell them what candy I would buy at a kiosk sitting right there? This seems like easy pickins...customers would be telling you that they're ready to hand over even more cash, if you only had what they wanted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Something I didn't understand before California...

is that you should almost always try a new or exotic dish instead of the usual. Since calories are so cheap in American society, if you end up ordering something horrendous like the Seafood Combo I ordered once in Mexico, you can always grab a Snickers or whatever.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Imagine what would happen...

if everyone in the world had to swap houses with someone else, right now. Like a global version of musical chairs.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


College degrees are for people (like me) who didn't have the courage to go learn on their own.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Lake Superior Hiking Trail

It was warmer than Satan's asscheeks on Sunday, but I like to hike!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The rope swing!

We felt like we were kids again!

Semi-successful first wakesurfing attempt

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Places to go before you die: Paria Canyon

This place is on the Arizona-Utah border, and demands to be seen firsthand.

Welcome to Hicksville!

I found this gem while passing through Iowa.

+10 to Midwest sophistication and +3 to keeping all remaining teeth.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tried to be fancy...

and got owned by the toll road company Fastrak. (If you move away, don't try to stop automatic recharging from your credit card early and manually figure out how many tolls you can go through.)

Monday, July 2, 2007

Does that creepy poison butterfly in that Lunesta commercial bother anyone else? The very last thing I want when going to sleep is a creature hovering over my face.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Random, messed up thought of the day

I wonder what it feels like to punch a dolphin in the face. Probably pretty rubbery.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


If you decide you don't have to get A's, you can learn an enormous amount in college.
-I. I. Rabi

2.5 GPA for the win! :D

Friday, May 25, 2007


1. Deserted by an owner or keeper; abandoned.
2. Run-down; dilapidated
3. A homeless or jobless person; a vagrant.

Two weeks before I left Blizzard, I was taking a walk during lunch, and I hear a man yell, "GET A JOB, ya VAGRANT!" That man was Shawn Carnes, yelling from his car window. He had no idea I was thinking of leaving, and he made me laugh pretty good. :D

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I need to make sure I don't have an ego just because I worked at Blizzard. If there's a tradeoff between having an ego and being a good programmer, I need to be the good programmer. I need to be open to learning from everyone.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The cost of low trust

Things would cost so much less if everyone was honest. You wouldn't need to have cashiers at the grocery store if everyone would just pay for what they grabbed. Those cashiers wouldn't need to be paid, and so if there was enough competition, the price of food would be lower. It's amazing how much expense we waste because we can't trust others.

The secret to healthy relationships...

is to let people walk away from you at any time, for any reason.
The only thing giving me faith that I won't get in an accident when driving in LA is the self interest of all the other drivers who have nicer cars than mine.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Interest rate arbitrage

My credit card company was begging me to take $19,000 at 0% interest for 8 months, so I obliged and put it in an HSBC online savings account that yields 5.o5%. That's $80 a month, and nearly risk free. If you do this, make sure to make the minimum credit card payment every month, otherwise they'll jack up the rates on you, and make sure the initial fee is reasonable. And I wouldn't advise investing this money in the stock market. ;-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Leaving the mothership :D

I'm moving on after nearly 2 years at Blizzard. Got some big plans, big hopes and a few fears. :D Meaningful content to appear here at some point in the future. :D

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Trusting Windows Update

How do I know that whenever Windows tells me that it has downloaded important updates and needs to install them that my computer hasn't been hacked and it's just installing a big fat virus? Oh well, it's worked so far.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wasted Time

When I look back on my life, I don't want to think, "Where did all the time go? How did I waste so much time?" I want to know that I wasted my time every step of the way.

Monday, April 23, 2007

A good rule of thumb

When someone is talking about the world or the environment, the amount of actual meaningful content is inversely proportional to the number of times they use the word 'dynamic'.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Elected leaders and the internet

I predict that at some point we will elect leaders (even the President) without need for them to be part of the Republican or Democrat parties. In the age of Google and Youtube, articulate ideas and charisma will be able to spread quickly without the need for CNN to package it up for consumption. And even if someone manages to get 20% or so of the popular vote, but doesn't win the election, the Republican/Democrat two party stranglehold will start to loosen, and they will know that in the next election they could very well lose.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


All the ideas we have to unlearn are insidious because they tend to be mixed up with good ideas (and from people with ideas that are usually good).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Two ways to make real money

1) Make something that scales amazingly well. Example: writing the server for an MMO that can service a million players isn't that much more expensive than servicing 100,000. Software is ridiculously easy to copy and distribute so economies of scale here are much easier than trying to achieve economies of scale in say, manufacturing.

2) Or you can be a troll that sits on a bridge and demands a toll for every deal that takes place on that bridge. Example: credit card companies take a 2-3% cut from the merchant for every purchase. The merchant has to either raise their prices and pass this cost on to consumers, eat the cost or have the cash and check paying customers subsidize the credit card users. Why are credit card companies so successful? I would rather not see this extra transaction fee in the marketplace, but it's crazy not to take advantage of the rewards the credit card companies share with you and fund with those fees and also not to earn interest on your money before paying the credit card bill (the float).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Rules for online dating

1. Stay away from any girl with "Princess" in her name.
2. Ditto for "Maneater".
3. "Princess Maneater" earns double points.
4. Girls LOVE receiving pictures of men without their shirts on. Do this on your first contact.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tips from the pros: Never buy orange bath towels

The orange lint from the towels combines with condensation running down the walls from the shower and makes it look like you've pissed all over the walls.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Aggravating Aggregators

The thing I hate about news aggregating websites like reddit and digg are the same things I hate about the news media outlets like CNN: they are polluted with inaccurate, exaggerated headlines just to grab attention.

Another thing reddit and digg get wrong: they don't realize that visiting their websites should be all about the reader. Once we read a news story, it should not appear on the list anymore. We should be able to rate on who is contributing shitty stories and have their stories drop further down on our list.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't wait

If you feel like telling someone you love them, even if it's out of the blue, By God, tell them!