Sunday, August 31, 2008

Human beings are terrible at imagining other alternatives. Tons of food reviews on Yelp talk about how perfect the food was, but the truth is that there were a thousand other items that would've made them just as happy (evidenced by a huge majority of reviews in the 3.5 to 5 star range). A 2 dollar fish taco makes me just as happy as an expensive Chinese dinner, and saves money for future dinners...
Interviews are such a terrible way to know if someone is competent or not. If you can't answer their first 3 questions, you get written off as stupid. I had an interview in 2005 with Day 1 Studios, but I didn't make a good early impression and by the time we went to lunch, they all but ignored me.
I respect the working poor, especially if they are able somehow to genuinely smile even through difficulty, but I like to see them move on to greener pastures more.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Imaginary peeps

I always found it hilarious that the argument against solipsism (the idea that everything and everyone in the world are creations of your mind) is that it is impolite to others to assume they are figments of your imagination. LOL.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whenever I start to think that love doesn't really exist, remember Rob Hall on Everest, begging base camp to let him moisten his mouth first so he can do well in his last conversation with his wife.
Sometimes I'll sit down and fiddle with my ipod and imagine that someone is watching me because I'm a character in a movie, and they're amazed at the futuristic device I'm playing with.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hiking miscellany

When I'm training for backpacking, I'm much more comfortable carrying a load in running shoes, since my $175 hiking boots bruise my toes on downhill slopes. But I switch to hiking boots on a trip purely as insurance against wrecking a great time with a rolled ankle.

Also, on the last trip to Mount Langley, it seems like my ear holes expanded as I hiked, so that my headphones kept falling out. I'm going to replace the rubber caps with larger ones and hope they stay in my head.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The ugliness in terms of service

If you're a company and you're making people agree to an update of your terms of service, at least have the courtesy to highlight what has changed in red.

And also, making people agree too frequently to your ToS should make the whole thing less enforceable in a court rather than more enforceable, IMO. A brilliant example is WoW, where Blizz is so paranoid about losing their primary revenue source that they make you click through a huge list of terms, every time you patch. Take this to the logical extreme and make people click through the ToS every time the player casts a spell.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The best way to become a millionaire is...

to be a billionaire and enter the movie business.

-- Don't remember who said this
I constantly scan my credit card advance checks looking to borrow more money at a good price and stash it into a savings account. The offers I receive now are much worse than a year ago. I was receiving offers for 0% interest with a transaction fee cap of $75 to borrow $20k, now the offers are for 4% with a non-capped 3% transaction fee which is totally not worth it. Looks like the banks are trying to make back their subprime money in any little way they can.

A cool sci-fi weapon

Would be to shoot at someone and age them into an old man.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I got my ass tagged by Mary. I am now supposed to list 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 obsessions, and 3 surprising facts. I didn't originally feel like participating in this, but I've warmed to the idea.

Three joys:
1. hiking
2. the people I love (I hope you can tell who you are, or I've done a bad job!)
3. trading worthless bits of green paper for new experiences
4. and life would be a disgusting poverty without books

Three fears:
I won't list my fears because the honesty would rip a hole in the universe

Three obsessions:
1. Hiking
2. The game idea that's been with me since 2004 and won't let me rest
3. Unfortunately, women...*sigh*

Three surprising facts:
1. I used to want to be a backup dancer for someone like Usher or Janet Jackson if I wasn't in games.
2. The thought of being an outdoor Search & Rescue guy is very appealing.
3. When I was 15, I was in a fist fight with 2 18-year-old guys at the same time. I only remember 2 seconds from the fight, it was like another man took over my body when the fighting started.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The calculus of helping others

Is it better to help 100 people now, or 1000 people 5 years from now? How about 10000?

What if those people have not been born yet? We discount the value of future people to the point where we try to actively prevent their births with condoms. Once you make it out of the vagina though, you've got your free pass.

Word of the day

Homoskedasticity. I'd love to say this out loud in a meeting, unnecessarily but in the correct way so no one could fault me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I am reading graphics papers about ocean rendering and really struggling with the math and concepts of level sets and the Navier-Stokes equations at the moment. Doing what has been over my head has been my strategy for a long while now, with computation on a grid for my aurora borealis stuff, and with figuring out how to program in general. I expect to break down the equations chunk by chunk with persistence.

Lazy online daters

Some chick on posted a profile with a nice picture, but no text, except two things she likes: sushi and horses. wtf lol? Either the laziest profile I've ever seen, or some kind of scammer.


I think the trick to staying disciplined is to cut yourself allowances for not being disciplined all the time. For instance, I rarely overeat now, but once in a while I will take down half a big bag of peanut M&M's, and that's totally alright. I kind of encourage it in a sense. Sometimes, I don't study my Indonesian before bed, but that's cool, I'll just resume the next day, and not try to do a double lesson or anything. If I don't feel like reading graphics papers at the moment, I'll go for a walk in the sun and hit the papers up later.

I'm like a leaky dam, and I don't have enough fingers to plug all the holes. So I plug what I can, and then plug new holes even while the old ones spring a leak.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oil tankers dropping speed

I read on Bloomberg last week that oil tankers have slowed down from an average of 20 knots to 12 knots in response to declining oil prices. I could not figure out from the story if it was because the fuel savings would be significant or because crossing the ocean slower gives them more time to decide where to unload the oil for the highest price.
What if you had a time machine, but when you went backwards in time, it did not unwind time in the exact way that events happened?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The nice thing about working out at home is that I don't have to work against that stupid part of myself that tries to lift too much at the gym in some misguided attempt to not appear weak. I also don't have to worry about looking like a weirdo with the mix of yoga, karate, dancing and even ballet I toss in during my workouts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Valor has its limits like the other virtues, and these limits once transgressed, we find ourselves on the path of vice; so that we may pass through valor to temerity, obstinacy, and madness, unless we know its limits well -- and they are truly hard to discern near the borderlines.

-- Montaigne

Monday, August 4, 2008

At a job, you should technically be receiving a small pay raise every day, since your skills grow daily. I know this isn't a practical idea, but if a company wanted to accurately value you, this is what they'd need to do.

No respect

I don't have respect for a PhD, only for the knowledge that a PhD should represent.