September 30, 2004

Good behavior

I think if I ever go to prison, I'm gonna have to shoot for time off for good behavior. That really seems like the way to go. I'm not saying I'd be the warden's pet or anything. It's not that I would completely sell myself out. I'm just saying, I'm already pretty well behaved in normal society. Its not hard to imagine that in a society of prisoners my already decent behavior would seem amazingly good. The standards aren't exactly very high in prison. The problem is that it's hard to fit in at prison when one is well-behaved. I imagine its hard to go an entire sentence, shortened or not, without getting into a single knife fight or inmate uprising. I mean, if I spend all my time in the prison library without causing any trouble, I might as well be wearing a sign that says "Please make me your bitch." Since I am a huge nerd, I have come up with an equation for making tough prison decisions. The parameters are:
  • ts - The amount of prison time saved by getting out early for good behavior (measured in years)
  • ugb(t) - A function which, given an amount of time (in years), outputs the amount of utility (in some arbitrary unit, say, utils) I could obtain in that amount of time.
  • pb - The probability that I will be made someone's bitch if I try for good behavior.
  • pnb - The probability that I will be made someone's bitch if I don't try for good behavior.
  • ub - The utility of being someone's bitch (this is almost surely a negative number)

With all these parameters, the equations are the following:
U1 = pb * ub + ugb(ts)
U2 = pnb * ub

U1 represents the expected utility of trying for good behavior, while U2 represents the expected utility of not trying for good behavior. If U1 is higher than U2, than I should try for the good behavior. Of course, the crux of these equations are the probabilities. If there is not much difference between pb and pnb, this means that I stand the same chance of being someone's bitch either way. In this case, I might as well go for good behavior. If there is much greater chance of being someone's bitch because of good behavior, well then maybe I should think about just waiting it out. Of course, this is a simple model. If you have any extensions that would make it more accurate, let me know. And if you think that this is disturbing, you should see the parameters I left out.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:27 AM

September 29, 2004

What is a blog?

Yesterday, a reader left this lengthy comment:
I don’t have a comment about this entry in particular; it is more about the ‘blog’ as a whole. I’d like to see a revival of the “Ask Tim” forum. I have so many questions, yet so few answers.

You are surely aware of my aging condition and it is entirely possible that I may drop dead at any moment.. So, rather than waiting for the return of “Ask Tim”, I’m just going to go ahead and ask my question. What the heck is a ‘blog’. Back in my day (just after we stopped golfing the old fashioned way) the kids used ‘websites’ to express their thoughts. Take a look at an ol’ favorite of mine: http://millatime.homestead.com/home.html

This ‘website’ was created by the Omnivorous, well mostly Maruchen, Lutheran formally known as “T-Mills”. “Where have all the websites gone, long time ago…. and why have blogs taken over? Kids these days with their fancy shoes and crazy thoughts. To qote my favorite rap artist, the Fresh Prince, “parents just don’t understand..”

DAD

From this tome of a comment (over 100 printed pages), I have distilled a few worthwhile questions:

  1. What is a blog?
  2. Why have blogs taken over?
There was also an implicit question about the "Ask Tim" advice column that was on a website I produced in a former lifetime. So, in "Ask Tim" style I will answer these questions. I think this would actually be a good "theme" for this sort of website, except there are so few readers of this site that each person would have to generate 3.5 questions a week just to have a daily post. Anyways, on with the answering.

  1. What is a blog?I probably should have defined it when I started this website, since some of my friends (who are probably the only readers) feel the same way about technology that bacteria feels towards penicillin. If I wanted to double the number of my friends who read this, I could distribute this website via carrier pigeon as well as in "blog" form.

    Anyways, on with the answering. The canonical, or "Boring", definition of a blog can be found here. I believe I can provide a definition that goes beyond that.

    Some blogs are compilations of interesting news articles. In this case, the intended audience is lazy people who can't be bothered to look at more than one website.

    Other blogs are intimately personal, detailing the minutiae of the authors daily life. There is no intended audience, per se. What happens is that in real life the authors try to tell everyone the boring details of their lives, and real people stopped listening to them. So, they publish it in blog form, ostensibly so that the whole world can read it, but knowing that they'll be lucky if one person stumbles across it.

    I wouldn't categorize this blog as either one of the above, though it matches the first type in terms of uselessness, and the second type in terms of readership. A blog generally has some sort of sequentiality to it, e.g. today's news depends on yesterday's news, or today's boring occurences depend on yesterday's boring occurences. In contrast, this website is more like random independent observations that I'm cramming into a blog system because it is free for students.

  2. Why have blogs taken over? Blogs are popular because they combine two things that people really like: Talking about themselves and telling people all of their crappy ideas.
  3. So, that's all for today. If anyone actually read this far, I will add that if anyone does have a question you need answering, I am all knowing, so you've come to the right place. Just leave it in the comments.

    Posted by mill1991 at 11:54 AM

September 28, 2004

Hot tub

Have you ever heard the following expression: "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?" Well, if your "hammer" is a hot tub, then everything becomes a nail. I've been using the hot tub in my apartment building as a panacea lately. Here is a list of things it cures:
  • Hangovers - Sweating out the toxins and getting blood flowing to your muscles helps recovery time. After all this sweating, you will need to replenish your body with clean water, but try to resist the temptation to just start gulping the hot tub water.
  • Stress - After a long week of school and work, a hot tub can make you feel great. Don't worry - while you are in the hot tub, your studying, paper writing, and programming assignments will all do themselves. Little pens will dance upon paper and keystrokes will type themselves, like you are Sabrina the Teenage Witch or something. Except Usher will not be guest starring in this episode.
  • Insomnia - Sometimes its hard to sleep due to stress and over-caffeination. A hot tub is definitely the cure for this disease. As soon as you get back to your apartment, you will probably pass out immediately. Because of this, it is a good idea to place your mattress right in your apartment entranceway, so you can just fall down right onto it. In fact, you should probably wear a snorkle while you are in the hot tub, because there is a good chance you will fall asleep while soaking.
  • Crabbiness - I don't know about this personally, because I am perpetually in a state of bliss. However, I've heard that in a hot tub crabbiness melts away like so much butter. Just make sure that the filter is operational, or your crabiness residue will cling to other hot-tubbers like they are so much corn on the cob.
Posted by mill1991 at 8:56 AM

September 24, 2004

Selfish pharmacist

Does my pharamcacist think that she is the only person in the world with a busy schedule? I swear, when I walk in holding a prescription note, she looks at me like she thinks I'm trying to physically hurt her by getting my medicine. Then she says something like, "Oh, there's quite a line, I won't get to this for a loooong time." I think she expects me to just get frustrated and leave, but I came here just to get my meds, I'm not going to turn around and go home. So I'll say something like, "Oh, umm... I guess I didn't really need my cancer medicine that bad... maybe I'll just grab some of this Gingko Biloba, is that kind of like cancer medicine?"

Okay, so I have seasonal allergies, not cancer, but she didn't know that. Lady, just tell me how long its going to take, and I'll come back. Your performance may have been Oscar-worthy, in the sense that Marisa Tomei's performance in "My Cousin Vinny" was Oscar-worthy, but I didn't come here for the drama.

So half an hour later, when she sidles up to the counter and tells me how much I owe, I repay her attitude by looking like it's really paining me to have to pay (this is not very hard to act out, because it is, in fact, painful). I say, "You know, I really have a lot of other things to pay for. This is going to be very difficult for me to cover. I stick my hands in all my pockets, and pull a few empty pockets out as if I'm scrounging for my last ha'penny. Finally I pull out my wallet and ask if credit is okay. She says yes. I say, "My parents said it's for emergency use only. Do you think my cancer medicine counts as an emergency? I hope they don't hit me again. It really makes my cancer sores hurt." Oh, wait - I'm sorry. I'm sure your life is the only one with any difficulty in it. Having to push around pills all day with that little metal scraper can be very taxing, I'm sure. May I massage your feet? I will not charge for my services, and your corns and bunions will be greatly rewarded.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:47 AM

September 23, 2004

Where do we go from here?

If there's one thing that annoys me, it's birds. But if there's another thing, it's meta-blogging, which is to say, blogging about blogging. That is what makes this so difficult. I'm not sure where to go with this blog now that school has started. During the summer, I can engage in all sorts of wacky adventures and report on them. Once school starts, my life becomes somewhat mundane and routine, and I start writing about stupid shit like my word a day e-mails. To give you an example, here is my typical day.

  • 6:30 - Awake at a time that is so early it should be considered immoral.
  • 7:45 - Get on a bus with 30 people who appear to be suicidal, most likely as a result of waking up so goddamned early.
  • 9:00 - Sit in a class surrounded by attractive undergraduate females, some of whom look young enough to be my daughter, but are too good looking to be any spawn of mine.
  • Go to meetings where the first 15 minutes is banal smalltalk. Someone in my linguistics class mentioned that smalltalk is a social structure, essentially serving the purpose that grooming does in the apes. Personally, I feel smalltalk is a step backwards from picking and eating lice and ticks from my neighbors.
  • Even during the meeting, less than half the time is spent productively, and the rest is used by frustrated middle-aged people trying to fulfill their social needs. I picture myself getting up and running full speed through a wall and leaving a Tim-shaped hole.
  • Oh my god! They're still talking about their dogs! I start reaching for ticks on the hairy guy sitting next to me.
  • Get on bus going home with other people who have nothing interesting to write about.

One possible topic I've imagined I could write about is dating, romance, love. Surely there are some humorous tidbits that can be gleaned from that realm. Unfortunately, this would require me to start dating. I don't date very often for the same reason I don't play basketball very often - I suck at it. Let me enumerate the ways:

  1. I am as bad at doing "when should I call" math as most women are at doing actual math.
  2. Even if I guess right at the "when should I call" math, I am terrible on the phone. It probably goes back to my dislike for smalltalk. If we could jump right in to talking about what kinds of foods I like prepared for me, this would be much easier.
  3. I am an atheist who hates animals and refuses to eat them. I also have a college degree, yet will not be making any significant amount of money for the next 5 or 6 years. This does not exactly make me good "bring home to mom" material.
  4. Dating inherently requires lying. For example, if I were to call someone I am courting, the inevitable question "What are you doing?" requires all men to lie. Most seem to have no problem with this. But I'm a truthful person, so I must respond to this question with, "thinking about your breasts."
  5. I am so attractive that women are often intimidated by me. Not really, thats just an old joke from high school that me and another hapless schlub (who's now married) came up with.
  6. My gay friend moved to California. How am I supposed to meet women if I don't have anyone to go to the Gay 90's with?

So there you have it, a nauseatingly long account of my thoughts on this blog. Updating everyday is difficult if the same thing happens to me every day. Positively 18th Street manages to be funny despite appearances that his day-to-day routine is as mundane as mine. But he updates about once a week, and many times posts about his drunken escapades rather than his job. So, I guess what I'm saying is that I haven't figured out what direction I'm going to take. If I had a theme with a little more staying power than my hatred of birds, that might make it easier, so I'm working on that.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:19 AM

September 22, 2004

AWAD

I get a lot of e-mail. Probably at least two a week. But my favorite e-mail is undoubtedly A Word a Day. Well, maybe my "Jelly of the Month" e-mail is close. Anyways, think about it. One new word, every single day, 365 days a year. Its more reliable than the postman, and less likely to kill. I already know a bunch of words - in 50 years, I'll know about 18,000 more! I reckon I'll know every word that exists.

You may be thinking, what is the point? You'll never be able to use all those words. Some of them have such obscure meanings that there will probably never be a situation where you get to use them. Thats the same kind of negativity that has people thinking that the war in Iraq isn't going well, and maybe our president wasn't appointed by god, and frankly, its not healthy. Besides, I find that I'm usually able to use the word of the day the very day it comes into my inbox. For example, today's word is ananda. Yes, its spelled like Ananda Lewis from MTV, but it means "Pure bliss," which is coincidentally what I feel when her lovely countenance appears on my television. I didn't know this word before today, did you, smartass? Anyways, I was able to use this today. Someone rode by me on a bike, and there was still some standing water that splashed me, so I said, "Go ananda yourself!" It doesn't really fit with the actual meaning, but he didn't really know that, and neither did anyone else. Last week someone called me lazy, so I called her a potemkin village. Technically it means "An impressive showy facade designed to mask undesirable facts," but she thought I was calling her fat by equating her with a village. Either interpretation suited my purpose, I guess, which was to make myself feel better at her expense.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't really need a word a day. All that is really necessary is a random combination of letters that sounds like a word a day. I will then take that "word" and use it as an insult in any manner I see fit. But, I suppose, as long as this guy is sending me real words, I might as well use those.

Posted by mill1991 at 9:35 PM

September 21, 2004

Planet Krypton

Sometimes I think I was born on the planet Krypton, like Superman. Only, when I was on planet Krypton, I had a degenerative bone and muscle disease. Then, when I got shot to earth in a space pod, I got super powers from the earth's yellow sun, which basically just made me as strong as the average person on earth.
Posted by mill1991 at 9:04 AM

September 20, 2004

Curse this heated garage

Now, I'm not one to complain. More like four or five. Nonetheless, I feel I must vent my frustrations at this infernal underground heated parking garage with individual reserved spots. Sure, it sounds like a nice enough spot to park my 5 Series in, but it is starting to become trouble. Allow me to explain.

The first problem is the garbage. The dumpster for the building is located in the parking garage. By the time garbage day rolls around, the garage has accumulated quite a nasty sour milk and dirty Depends smell (I live in an assisted care facility). Now, I can see the benefit of indoor garbage. If homeless people know that they can't even get into the garbage to dig for my financial records, they'll be less likely to even get out of their Ford Tauruses to try. But the smell! At least with vagrants digging through the garbage they tend to pick out the bits of food before they get old enough to start smelling. This is a fundamental insight that the good people in Milwaukee and Marquette University must have noticed, as the garbage there is considerably less smelly, and there are six homeless people for every homeful one.

My second issue with the parking garage is the width. With all these SUVs and minivans, it's sometimes difficult to pull in or out even in a moderate sized sedan. There are a couple possible solutions to this. One is to make the garage wider. Since it is underground, this involves moving the foundation of a building several feet with the building still on top. While I am in favor of doing this after I move out, for now I say NEIN! Another possible solution is not allowing anybody else to park in the garage. Now, I do not deny having a massively exaggerated sense of self worth, but even I cannot condone this idea. Other people simply need to drive. The final, and I think, best, solution is to have everybody else drive Geo Metros. The Geo Metro is a very dependable car with exceptional fuel efficiency and being small abilities. This enables them to easily fit into any parking spot, while allowing me plenty of room to back out. Plus, if you get a door ding, who cares? Its a Metro! They're so inexpensive its probably cheaper just to get a new one. You can collect them like they're different color mini iPods. Now, the challenge is to get everybody to want to drive a Geo Metro. If I can get a beloved celebrity, like George Jetson, to drive one, people would think its the car of the future and jump right on board!

Posted by mill1991 at 9:29 AM

September 17, 2004

Hotel heiresses

Was Paris Hilton named that because that's where she was conceived? If thats the case, I've got some illegitmate children spread across the midwest with some awful names. For example, "Sheboygan Super Eight" is now six years old and starting first grade. "Beaver Dam Beaver Motel" is a four year old who loves pizza and wants to be a farmer when he grows up. And they're as big in their hometowns as Paris Hilton is in the rest of the world. My daughter "Spread Eagle Lodge at Rivers Edge" carries around a little pet in her bag, except instead of a chihuahua in a Prada bag, it's a muskrat in a plastic Roundy's bag. Same basic deal, though.
Posted by mill1991 at 9:14 AM

September 16, 2004

Sidewalkin'

Walking down the sidewalk today, someone walking towards me said, "Hey, sexy!" Maybe naively, I replied, "Hey, what's up?" Maybe I should've figured this out since this person was a stranger, but it turns out there was a sexy person walking closely behind me who was the actual target of the original question. What can I say, hindsight is 20/20.

Now feeling slightly discouraged, I continued on until I saw someone standing in the grass in front of the union holding a clipboard. "Care to take a survey?" she asked. Hoping to lift my spirits, I asked, "Is it a survey about how sexy I am?" It turns out it was not at all about how sexy I am, so again I was discouraged. Then I saw a bird fly into a window and I felt much better.

Then, at the student union, I saw the CASH table. "Sell your soul for an oreo?" they asked. "I'd sell my soul for a piece of gum right now," I replied. Well, apparently there isn't a single atheist on this campus with a piece of gum, so my mouth went un-freshified.

Posted by mill1991 at 1:35 PM

Disheveled guy

Every class I've ever been in with more than 10 people has "the disheveled guy." He always comes in late, and he has unkempt hair, shirt half untucked and wrinkled, looking like a complete mess. I always wonder, what is going on with this guy's life? It's not that difficult to get to class early most of the time. And while the half-tuck comes recommended by Queer Eye, this guy is clearly not trying to pull of any look he learned from watching Bravo. I have some theories as to why this guy is so disheveled, which I would like to share with you. If anybody else has any ideas, I would love to hear them.

  • His mom stopped dressing him a week ago and he's still sort of figuring things out.
  • He thinks there's a prize at the end of the semester for "Most disheveled appearance."
  • Maybe he walks to school, and the quickest route involves going through an operating wind tunnel.
  • Perhaps every morning he gets in a huge fight with his girlfriend and breaks up with her, and every evening they reconcile.
  • He was raised by chimpanzees, and now has a difficult time understanding how clothing is supposed to work, and how grooming is to be done without the aid of others.
  • All his pajamas were stolen and so was his shower head, so he sleeps in his clothes and is unable to take showers in the morning.

Another possibility is that he's trying to pull off the "just got out of bed" look. This is a look that celebrities like Brad Pitt and Jake Glyenhaal are able to pull off only after many hours of grooming and primping. No one really looks like this when they get out of bed, it's an idealization. When I get out of bed, all the hair on the right side of my head sticks straight up. It has been dubbed "The Weekend Wing" by Joynt because he only sees it on weekends, e.g. if I crashed at his place in Madison for Halloween. The point is, if disheveled guy thinks he can pull off the "just got out of bed" look by just getting out of bed, he is sorely mistaken.

Posted by mill1991 at 9:08 AM

September 15, 2004

QU

Why is there always a 'u' after a 'q' in english words? If there's always a 'u,' its information that we don't need, and is redundant. From now on, I'm only going to use the 'q,' and others can assume the 'u' if it makes them feel better. Qite controversial, I know, but thats how I roll.
Posted by mill1991 at 11:01 PM

Drinking age

You know how they raised the drinking age to 21 about the time our parents were in the 18-21 range? Up until that point, I imagine a 21st birthday was pretty crappy. Before that, people did not look forward to being 21 - everything you could do, you could do when you were 18. But the drinking laws changed all that. Now, 21 is a good age to be. I'm 23 right now. Its pretty much been downhill since 21.

Here is where I'm going with this: the legal drinking age should be raised to 25 years old. Now, don't panic, I have good reasons. We'll tell lawmakers that it's to protect children and reduce alcohol-related deaths. We'll hold back federal highway dollars unless the states comply. But the real reason for changing the age is to make me feel better. Now, with a legal drinking age of 21, I'm just a 23-year-old drunk. But if the drinking age were 25, I'd be an outlaw freedom fighter just trying to have a good time, like I was when I was 18-20. Parties would be more exciting, due to the nervous tension of wondering if the cops would come. Not to mention that I'd save a lot of money by not going to bars. Man, undergraduates think paying $5 to get into a party is expensive. If my 18-year-old self found out that my 23-year-old self once paid $5 just to GET IN to a GAY bar, my 18-year-old self would probably think he was about to win the lottery, and find out something very unexpected and life altering about himself.

The only reason 21 is so acceptable to us is that its been that way since we were born. But when our parents were young, the life expectancy was like 40, so rasing the drinking age by 3 years cut off like ten percent of their drinking time. Now that we live in a time where neural prosthetics and cancer-fighting robots have pushed average life expectancy to 120-140 years, raising the drinking age a few years is not so bad. Oh, by the way, I'm writing this entry from the future.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:03 PM

September 14, 2004

Random weekend stuff

Person: What do you like better, cats or dogs?
Me: Thats like asking me if I prefer spousal abuse or child abuse.

Person is waving this toy back and forth as the cat chases the end of it and tries to pounce.
Person: How can the cat be so amused by this? Why does it keep playing with it for so long? What is it thinking?
Answer: You've been playing with it the exact same length of time as the cat. What are you thinking?

As far as I'm concerned, the only thing cats are good for is killing birds.

Linz: If you could kiss your own ass, would you?
Guy 1: I bet I can kiss my own ass!
Linz: Thats not the question. If you could, would you?
Guy 2: Dude, I'll give you $5 if you can get within 6 inches.
(Guy 1 tries to kiss his own ass, by going through the crotch, past the genitals, and doesn't even get close)
To me, the funniest part about this exchange is how the original question is so intentionally silly, yet it turns into something serious.

Posted by mill1991 at 9:56 PM

September 13, 2004

Vikings game

I was in a group of singers that sang the national anthem at the Minnesota Vikings game yesterday with the U of M marching band. Afterwards, they allowed us to stay on the field for the whole game. I'm from Green Bay, so I'm not exactly a Vikings fan. At the same time, I can't exactly cheer for the Cowboys. So, basically I'm just cheering for serious injuries. But I stayed, since it was a free sideline seat to an NFL game. Here are some observations.

During the singing of the anthem, I was standing face to face with Mike Tice, Daunte Culpepper, and Randy Moss at a distance of about 10 yards. For a few seconds, I'm pretty sure Moss was looking me right in the eye. While I had his attention, I tried to throw him off his game by mouthing the words, "I love you." Unfortunately, he ended up scoring two touchdowns. If people back in Green Bay were to find out that I was standing this close to Randy Moss and that I did not even attempt to kick him, I could legally be hanged from the Ray Nitzche bridge.

The announcer claims that Vikings fans are the loudest in the NFL. The argument seems to run like this:

    Premise:
  1. Vikings fans make a lot of noise.
  2. The Metrodome is the loudest stadium in the NFL.

  3. Conclusion:
  4. Vikings fans are the loudest in the NFL.

This argument fails because it assumes there are no other sources of noise. Anyone who has been to a Vikings game knows exactly how ridiculous this is. Most Green Bay fans who have watched the games on TV know this. I was standing on the field during introductions, when the fans are at their noisiest. They were also playing "rap" music. The music was much louder than the fans. Now, I'm not saying that Vikings fans don't lead the NFL in anything. Ugliest fans in the NFL? Possible. Most obnoxious fans in the NFL? Likely. Least hygienic fans in the NFL? Malodorously clear.

No one has more power than the people on the field that launch prizes into the stands. The prize can be hot dogs, t-shirts, or rubber balls. The method of launch can be 3-man slingshot, pneumatic cannon, or just an overhand toss. It doesn't matter, if a prize is somehow being launched from on the field into the stands, people will scream maniacally and maul 8 year old girls trying to get it. They could be launching cow manure into the upper deck with a trebuchet and the fans will go crazy. They should combine this event with the event where they give away a free pizza to a lucky fan. Just launch slice after slice with the three man slingshot.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:30 AM

September 10, 2004

Various

There are just some things one is not comfortable saying around one's parents at IKEA, such as "That couch is just begging for an orgy."

I hate when people say, "When you assume you make an ass out of you and me." Ooh... you're so clever. I say, when you use that cliche, you make an ass out of only yourself.

Every single store that I shop at now has their own credit card. Target, Kohl's, JC Penney, Best Buy, Circuit City, Gap, Abercrombie, Banana Republic, Home Depot, etc. The list could go on forever. Anytime you sign up, you get 10% off your purchases, so it's very tempting. The problem is with having all these different store credit cards in your wallet. Who has room? I have an idea. How about, we get one central company, and they will issue you a credit card which allows you to use a "line" of "credit" at any store at all. That way, you would only need one or two. I'm surprised no one else has thought of this.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:54 AM

September 9, 2004

Public transportation

One thing you notice when you first pull into the bus stop is that everybody looks pissed. Is it possible that everybody had a bad day? Are they just frustrated to see all the brand new Jettas and Neons inching past with single occupants? Have the fumes of all the wrong-numbered buses rolling by really gotten to them? Did they all just get done with a puppy torturing conference?

Next you notice passersby and their slick smiles. They seem to say, "Public transportation? How quaint. I thought Kia made buses obsolete when they started manufacturing cars using only cardboard and super glue." But no, people still ride the buses, and some of them even have cars. They have foolishly decided that driving to campus is not worth the hassle, and that the monetary benefits of not paying for gas and parking, as well as the free high that comes with inhaling all the bus fumes, is well worth the time spent waiting among other miserable people who have made the same silly decision.

Then there was a car accident. No one actually saw or heard a collision, but we definitely saw and heard a woman out of her car yelling at the person behind her. "YOU THINK THIS FUNNY? I GOT KIDS IN THERE!" Except when she said "kids," it sounded like "Keeee-idddsss." She then yelled various combinations and variations of these two sentences for a few minutes. Like President Bush with emotions, she had a few talking points, and she was going to hammer them home. After a few minutes, I felt compelled to say out loud, "Yes, I actually do think this is kind of funny." Kids or no kids, traffic was moving about 4 miles an hour. And now you've stopped it completely on the main road through a college campus during rushhour for an accident with no damage.

Posted by mill1991 at 10:43 AM

September 7, 2004

Alternative UThink Awards

A few days ago the blog QWERTY had a post where it handed out some awards to UThink blogs (UThink is the blogging system setup by the University of Minnesota Libraries). I thought that since I have been following the development of the UThink system for a while, I could add something to the discussion. In addition, I noticed some omissions that I thought I might correct. Also, I ran out of original ideas so I'm starting to steal them.

If QWERTY's awards were the Grammy's, mine is the Shortlist Award. If QWERTY is Roger Ebert, I'm the dead guy who used to work with Roger Ebert. Without further ado, here are my awards:

  • Best Blog: Broken Wing
    Acceptance speech: - Wow, this is really a surprise. All the other blogs are so... well, I guess they're alright. Anyways, I'd like to thank everyone who allowed me to win this by not making better blogs.
  • Funniest overall entry: Signs, signs, signs in Broken Wing.
    Acceptance speech: Hey, award number two, isn't this great? What a great night. I'm just disappointed there aren't more categories, so I can't win more awards.
  • Funniest beastiality reference: Flies in Broken Wing.
    Acceptance speech: Oh my gosh, this is starting to get embarrassing. I really didn't expect - well, I sort of did, but still, I underestimated how much walking I would be doing between my seat and the podium, and I'm not really wearing proper shoes.
  • Best bird hatred: Broken Wing.
    Acceptance speech: Okay, this one really wasn't fair. As far as I know, mine is the only blog with an aggressively anti-bird stance. Nonetheless, this trophy will look great in my bathroom, which is the only place left in my apartment not covered in these trophies.
  • Best blog entry not in Broken Wing: Eventful Day in Greet Machine.
    This entry wins simply for using the phrases "reverb flux equalizer" and "quantum input balance authority". Let that be a lesson to future candidates - making up scientific words is sure to score points with me. Feel free to leave an acceptance speech in the comments section.
  • Biggest balls: The Best of UThink in QWERTY.
    This entry wins the biggest balls award for having an entry giving awards to the best blogs on UThink without giving any awards to Broken Wing. You may also leave an acceptance speech in the awards section if you'd like.
Posted by mill1991 at 2:05 PM

September 3, 2004

Random

Is there some kind of contest going on between cheese in my fridge to see which package can go bad first? I'm starting to think maybe cheese is conscious, and goes bad on purpose so that its life will be saved when I toss it into the garbage. Of course, cheese knows better in my parents house. If cheese goes bad there, it doesn't get thrown out. Oh, no. My dad cuts off the absolute minimum part of that hunk that he can get away with. ¡And he works for a cheese company, so he gets cheese for like $4 a ton! In that house, cheese doesn't bother going bad, because it figures it's going to get eaten anyways, so it might as well smell good.

Wow, those BMX bikers sure are impressive. Yep, those 30-year-olds riding bikes built for ten year olds sure do impress me. Seriously, how is this possibly televised? These are grown men riding bikes. And before you try to tell me about how much more money they make than me, I'll paraphrase a standup comedian I saw once who responded to that (about professional bowlers) with "so does a butt doctor, but I don't wanna do that either."

Posted by mill1991 at 8:14 PM

September 2, 2004

WPE Minutes

While entrenched in the test-taking zone of the WPEs, I managed to keep a journal of the events going on. Should the twenty of us not survive the ordeal, at least history would have something to remember us by. Well, we made it out, but I will publish the notes anyways, so that future graduate students will know that a masters degree is definitely the way to go.

11:50 A.M. - We are lined up to receive our test packets. The test administrator lets out a harrowing shriek. "Oh no! I forgot to put them in alphabetical order!" I suggest that we just cancel the test.

11:55 A.M. - We are to examine our test booklets before starting to make sure there are no mistakes. One student starts sobbing and then makes a mad dash for the doorway. Too slow. The dogs catch him and start tearing at his clothes. He was only 29.

12:30 P.M. - Hey its kind of cold in here. Isn't it like 90 degrees outside? I put on my fleece.

1:00 P.M. - The fleece is not enough. Thank god for whoever brought in those snack size Twix bars. They are the only thing helping to stave off hypothermia.

1:30 P.M. - Okay, I've been throwing down Twix bars like they're popcorn for the last hour. I go to drink out of my water bottle but its frozen solid.

2:00 P.M. - Finally, its break time. Most people mill around outside the room for fifteen minutes. I start a fire in one of the garbage barrels outside the ee/cs building and jump in to warm up.

2:15 P.M. - Break's over. I bring the barrel back into the testing room. The fire is instantly snuffed out. I notice that some students took their break to hunt some polar bears for their pelts and are now sporting them for the second part of the test.

3:00 P.M. - Almost done with the test. Fellow test-takers are dropping left and right from the combination of stress, cold air, and the pungent odor of dead polar bear.

4:00 P.M. - Finally done. Twenty of us went in. Five of us go out. Of those five, maybe one or two will pass. I will never eat another Twix bar. After this one. Okay one more. Man are these good.

Posted by mill1991 at 11:18 AM

September 1, 2004

Taking the WPE's

Over the next few days (Weds-Tues) I will be cramming for and taking the WPE's (written preliminary exams) in computer science at the U. If you are like many people I have talked to, you don't know what a WPE is, and you also don't care. However, like most people, you feel compelled to ask anyways, because I am attractive and you think that by acting interested in what I'm doing you will be more likely to score with me. Oh, wait, that's what I do to women.

The WPE is a three part test that every PhD (Player haters degree AKA Pimpin hoes degree AKA Pile o' Hot Dung) student must pass shortly after his or her first year. Some say it is merely a gauntlet thrown down to test your resolve. This makes sense. Anyone who is willing to put in the time indoors studying during the 2.5 months of the year in which Minnesota weather is actually suitable for human life deserves a shot at getting a PhD.

Some people say that the WPE actually is a very useful learning activity. By studying so intensely, so shortly after taking a course, the information is learned extremely well. This explanation is a little harder to buy, and let me tell you why. After I finish this exam, I am going to get so fucked up I won't remember what planet I live on, let alone how to select training examples to get the version spaces algorithm to converge to a single hypothesis in ceil(log2|VS|) steps (Yes, this is an actual piece of information to know, and sadly I went to look it up to make sure I got it correct for this blog entry).

So, the point is, over the next week I might not update as frequently as I have been lately (every weekday!). Do not fret, I am not running out of random ass crap to write about. Even if I do, I will just start copying from people who are actually funny.

Posted by mill1991 at 8:36 AM