March 31, 2006


Ben Folds Blur

(Ben Folds, Raleigh, 3/30/2006)

I'm often amused at kickass concerts large and small how most people can stand like a sticks with nary a head-bob or foot tap or ass jiggle to be seen.

Are people too cool to feel the music as it washes over them? Or do white people really not have any rhythm as a general rule?

Hmm... I'm rockin' the suburbs?

In General

Posted at 12:57 AM | Permanent link

March 29, 2006

I'm unplugging my TV

You heard me. No TV at all. Zip.

This means no Southpark, no Futurama, no Family Guy, no Daily Show, no Curb Your Enthusiasm, no Deadwood. Not even any movies on HBO.

As much as I love all of those shows (a lot), I've come to the realization that after I'm dead, no one is going to remember me for how many Larry David arguments I've sucked down nor how well I can recite the words to Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls (may his balls rest in pieces).

TV is evil. TV rots your brain. TV makes you stupid.

Actually - no. I take that back because I'm not sure it's really true. Some of the smartest people I know are those who most enjoy Southpark's toilet humor with great regularity.

The cardinal sin of TV is not that it makes you stupider... at least not directly. The cardinal sin of TV is that it munches up time... time that you could otherwise spend to cook a new dish or study a foreign language or make new friends or get smarter or get laid or fall in love. TV takes time away from the things that matter.

It's amazing how fast life passes you by. One minute you're saying goodbye to your parents and carrying stuff up to your dorm room on your first day of college... the next you're saying goodbye to your college friends as you depart for a new job and a new city... one day you have the misfortune to have to fly home and put one of your best friends in the ground... and before you know it you you've spent more time in a cubicle than you have in the classroom.

And I'm only 24... Just imagine what my dad is thinking right now when he still remembers holding me in a baseball glove that day I came home from the hospital for the first time in 19811. Or my mom... or my grandparents... yeesh.

How much of your life has been spent so far in front of a television? Was it worth it?

Frequently you'll hear people say things like "I'd really like to do X, but I just don't have the time", where X is taking piano lessons or starting a business or writing blogs or reading books on programming or drawing comics. And then they go home and sacrifice two and a half hours to the television every night.

Well, what the FUCK!?

I know. I'm just as guilty of this as anyone and it's complete bullshit. What we're really saying is that TV is more important to us than becoming a real badass and finding finding true love. When you stop and think about that, it's probably not true. At least I hope you think it's not true, because - damn...

So yeah. No TV.

In exchange, I'm allowing myself to read anything I want. Anything at all. Even trashy horror or romance novels or Penthouse personals should that strike my fancy... not that I, uh, would ever really do that last one... *ahem* At least with books, even trashy ones, you get to exercise your imagination (imagination is more important than knowledge, by the way) and maybe, just maybe, you can pick up a thing or two about the craft of writing in the process.

I intend to keep this up until my roommate Ashish comes home from Wilmington in a few weeks. This is what happens when I'm left to my own devices. After that things get a little harder without locking myself in my room for hours on end, but we'll see. I can be hardcore when I need to be.

Who's with me?



Coincidentally, someone named Irene from New York City also blogged about this very same topic yesterday. I really like her post, so go read Why You Too Should Cancel Cable .

[1] I was born a few weeks premature and was a very tiny baby... the size of a large softball you might say.

In Matters involving the art of avoiding sloth, Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 12:05 AM | Permanent link | Comments (10)

March 26, 2006

Theory: chocolate inspires one to write

Has anyone else noticed that you suddenly have massive amounts of crap to say, that you need to write down ... after you eat chocolate?

I don't have any conclusive evidence yet. I just know that the last two times I parked myself in 3 Cups reading a book, sipping tea, and eating a chocolate bar... this happened:

3 Cups Tea Tray with writing all over it

(the scribbles on this tray will appear in future blog entries)

Ok, so I guess I really need to remember to carry a notebook with me wherever I go, but there's a certain charm to writing around the stains on a tea tray.

I've bought five chocolate bars of varying cocoa percentages, and I intend to test this matter. Anyone else is more than welcome to participate in my study. Just... uh... eat chocolate and try to write... or something.

In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile, Writing

Posted at 12:01 PM | Permanent link

March 21, 2006

Dinner with U.S. Congressman Brad Miller

So, how often does one get to have dinner and drinks with a United States Congressman?

Well, tonight Bill, Dave, and I got to do just that, as U.S. Representative Brad Miller joined us at tonight's Raleigh Bloggers meetup (completely out of the blue).

Apparently Rep. Miller is active on Daily Kos, as seen in this entry and others listed on his website.

Rep. Miller and his campaign manager were seeking to learn more about blogs, both from a perspective of getting the word out to his constituents and building a community of supporters, and also for monitoring what the blogosphere is saying about him and his opponent.

Of course, we were more than happy to inform him about RSS, feed aggregators, group blogging, blogging etiquette, and other North Carolina blogging communities such as Orange Politics and the Chapel Hill meetup group.

On matters unrelated to blogging, it was quite interesting to hear Brad's perspective on the inside workings of the congress, the current leadership of the Democratic party, and "form" letters that are sent to representatives.

We even got to peek at his United States of a America "corporate" charge card... and, no, he didn't use it to pay for his meal.

As for political issues, it would have been nice to have gotten a bit less of a blank stare when I tried to bring up the topic of intellectual property and patent reform... but sadly this wasn't altogether unexpected :(

In the end, I'm still all kinds of impressed that Rep Miller has the foresight to reach out to the blogosphere. He's more than welcome to join us at Cafe Cyclo again anytime.


Alternate perspectives on the evening from Dave and Bill.

In Blogging, Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 11:29 PM | Permanent link

March 20, 2006

Raleigh Bloggers Meetup, Tuesday March 21st

It's that time again.

The Raleigh bloggers are meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at Cafe Cyclo. Please join us!

What: An open meeting to talk about blogging, podcasting & whatever's on your mind
When: Tues @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cafe Cyclo, in Cameron Village

2020 Cameron St
Raleigh, NC 27605 (map)
(919) 829-3773

Who: Bloggers, Podcasters, or anyone who is interested in blogging-related conversation.

We meet on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, same place, same time.

I have a feeling that Dave may want to say a few words about the ever more ambitious RSS and Atom in Action, while Bill may want to add his two cents about the IBM developerWorks blogs being re-based on Roller.

In Blogging

Posted at 09:02 PM | Permanent link

Pink Bunnies and Lisp

The problem with Lisp is that once you understand it... and I mean really understand it ... really grasp the implications of code as data and having the full power of the language available at all times, it causes you to go a little bit insane.

I've seen the future. The future is 1958, and it's all madening enough to make one want to put on a pink bunny outfit, wave a white flag, and mumble something about going to rodeo clown school (where the real crazies live1).

It's like finding out the ancient Romans had cold fusion, yet we continue to use crap like fossil fuels.

Nowadays whenever I'm on a date with a girl, I somehow manage to bring up the topic of Lisp. If that's not insane I don't know what is. Incidentally, this explains both why I'm still single and why the number of Lispers seems to be decreasing with every passing generation.

What a state of affairs...

Well, I'm off to find my propeller hat and head to work... Try not to trust me with any heavy machinery, though. I don't recommend it.


[1] That was a joke. No offense to any rodeo clowns. I don't actually know enough of them to know if they're crazy on the whole.

In Technology and Software

Posted at 08:18 AM | Permanent link

March 19, 2006

Madness in Greensboro

On a whim yesterday I decided to head to Greensboro with Eileen to catch round two of the NCAA tourney.

That was a blast!

Well, except for that the bit where I decided to drive 30 miles in the wrong direction (despite Eileen's best efforts to right me)... wouldn't it be nice if life had an undo button? Aye...

But anyway - bought a ticket from a scalper to get in and got to see two games:

All in all, a lovely way to spend a March afternoon in basketball country :)

In General

Posted at 11:23 PM | Permanent link

March 10, 2006

How to keep a tidy car

It seems that every time I meet someone new and give them a ride in my car, they are shocked and amazed at the cleanliness of the inside of my car, especially for a guy.

How do you do it!?, they ask.

I guess hitching a ride has become synonymous with pushing over a nest of loose papers, empty Aquifina bottles, cd cases, pom-poms, and McDonald's (not so fresh) apple pie boxes to make room for your ass.

I've decided to reveal my secrets for keeping a clean car:

  1. Don't bring crap into your car.
  2. If you do bring crap into your car, bring it out of your car.

This is the Zen.

I think that's it. If I think of any other tips, I'll post them here.

In Matters that are otherwise worthwhile

Posted at 01:29 AM | Permanent link

March 08, 2006

Notes for CS Undergrads: Do I really need to know assembly?

Paraphrasing a recent question from a CS undergrad:

Do I really have to know assembly? I hate everything about the language we're using. It's pretty much obsolete. It's hard to debug, and it is VERY time consuming.

etc. etc. ad infinitum

Yes, learning some form of assembly is very important. In order to be a competant computer scientist you need to know how the machine works down to the metal.

Even if you never write production code in assembly (and god I hope you never have to do that unless you happen to be writing a compiler or optimizing a critical path), understanding how to peek and poke registers and memory addresses under the Von Neuman architecture is key to grasping why certain higher level abstractions are what they are.

If you don't understand assembly then chances are you don't *really* understand pointers in C (and most people don't) which likely means you don't *really* understand references in C++, Java, Perl, Ruby, or Lisp either... nor why C and Java arrays aren't resizeable... nor why 2,147,483,647 + 2,147,483,639 can sometimes equal -10.

Needless to say, this leads to all manner of stupidity.

Yes. Learn assembly. Yes, yes, yes, absolutely! Even if it's for an architecture that's not in heavy use... Even if you're never paid to write a line of it in your life... It's like veggies and vitamins. It's good for you.

In Technology and Software

Posted at 08:06 PM | Permanent link

March 06, 2006

Raleigh Bloggers Meetup, Tuesday March 7th

The Raleigh bloggers are meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at Cafe Cyclo. Please join us!

What: An open meeting to talk about blogging, podcasting & whatever's on your mind
When: Tues @ 6:30 p.m.
Where: Cafe Cyclo, in Cameron Village

2020 Cameron St
Raleigh, NC 27605 (map)
(919) 829-3773

Who: Bloggers, Podcasters, or anyone who is interested in blogging-related conversation.

We meet on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, same time, same place.

In Blogging

Posted at 11:58 PM | Permanent link