l33tminion: (Wings)
Thursday night, I woke up at 5AM with that lost-dream sensation, that sensation where you're trying to remember something that's just slipped from short-term memory, but have no idea what. I got the sense that something important was churning through my mind.

I went back to sleep, and woke again at 7AM, bolt upright, moments before I became aware of my ringing alarm. That was also a strange sensation, since my conscious awareness of my reaction to the alarm ringing definitely preceded my conscious awareness of the ringing alarm, and my awareness that the alarm rang before I woke up followed that (as a matter of conscious perception/recall, not just logical inference). It was like I could observe my mind hastily revising its account of events. Kind of cool.

This night (that is, Friday night / Saturday morning), I did not sleep well at all. Slept from midnight to 6AM poorly, then was in that state of "still tired but very awake".

Other things: Eris' newly-acquired standing ability is a bit nerve-wracking, since it really increases the number of moderate hazards present, just in terms of opportunities for unplanned vertical transitions. Seems like it would be easy for her to misjudge her endurance or her footing and make sudden acquaintance with the floor. She hasn't taken too many bumps so far, though.

Eristic improvements: Reverse peek-a-boo, first tentative attempt to move forward with the baby walker (something like this).
l33tminion: (L33t)
As a parent, there are some words and phrases I've found myself using more often. Here are a few of them:

Hygiene - Restoring the baby's environmental containment to normal operating parameters.

Containment failure - At the very least, the baby needs a change of clothes.

Good end / bad end - Ranked based on whether a noise emanating from that end is likely to cause us more work in the immediate future, e.g. "Did that noise come from the kid's good end?"

Discombobulated - Efforts to fix whatever is causing discomfort are impeded by just how uncomfortable the kid is (e.g. she's too tired to eat or too hungry to sleep or too generally or just needs to calm down before she can feed properly).

Hangry - That baby-carrier ride had better come with food, or else. The emotion that leads the kid to try wildly ineffective nipple-seeking techniques like head-butting whichever parent is in range or wildly thrashing her head from side to side.

#badmom ("Hashtag Badmom") - Running joke about whether one thing or another would lead us (or, society being what it is, Julie in particular) to be judged unworthy by this generations' parenthood commentators.

Crankster - "Nice day you're having. Would be a shame if some inconsolable crying were to happen to it."

Working on something - Reason why the kid is making funny faces or otherwise acting uncomfortable, generally the "something" is a challenging bit of digestion.

Babingress - Taking the kid for a stroll around town while playing my favorite mobile territory-capturing game.

Adventure mode - In a hold that allows for an excellent view of whatever interesting thing is in sight. In the last week or two, the kid has started to really like this sort of hold.

Little bear - The kid, when she is full of determination (mind the claws!) but also cuteness.

The cutest barnacle - The kid, when she really wants to be close.
l33tminion: (L33t)
My mom was in town this weekend, due to a lucky confluence of last-minute cheap flights plus both of her new grand-nieces in the same place. And me and Julie, too! Really enjoyed the visit. Was really excited to meet Stella (David and Abby's new daughter, one of my new little cousins). Excited enough to distract me from properly catching up with my older cousins. Sorry, you guys! But I think I'll see them at an extended-family Hanukkah party tomorrow.

Other things to relate:

My PS3 broke. I'm getting it repaired.

Postmates (yet another "the Uber of X" business, this time the X is delivery) is pretty nifty.

For Xave's tabletop roleplaying group, Andrew is running a round of My Life with Master, which casts the players in the role of villainous minions (like Renfield to Dracula or Igor to Frankenstein).

I'm going to the Olin Fall Expo tomorrow as a visitor from Google! First time I've attended that as a guest, so I'm excited.

Work was pretty productive this week. I'm looking forward to vacation.
l33tminion: (L33t)
I really liked the sci-fi/horror short-story comic Apothecia, and now that it's finished, I can point to the whole thing.
l33tminion: (L33t)
My shipment of Soylent (Rob Rhinehart's crowd-funded future-food) arrived earlier this week, and I'm drinking my first glass now, as I write this post.

It's a little thicker than milk and just a tad powdery. Flavor is very mild, like milk with some sort of bland biscuit, mild yeast and vanilla. (Now that I think about it, it tastes really, really similar to rice milk, which is unsurprising, since the protein is from brown rice.) Not at all bad, but not super appealing, either. In culinary terms, it seems to be in the same league as other commercial protein shakes I've had.

It still could make a decent snack (or small meal) substitute for those times when I'm deep in the middle of some work and want something filling, but don't want either prep work or decisions. But I doubt I'll want to do the work required just to keep the stuff on hand. (Maybe if it's successful, they'll come out with a bottled version and work will stock it, haha.)
l33tminion: (Ted)
In preparation for May 22:



From [livejournal.com profile] _53 on [livejournal.com profile] antitheism, here.
l33tminion: (Slacker Revolt)
The ITA acquisition has entered the "second request" phase, which means the DOJ is asking for more documents for their investigation of the likely effects of the merger on the competitive environment.

Here's a short talk about how happiness works. Among other things, having the option to go back on a past choice consistently makes people less happy.

Victorian BMX. Death on a bicycle!

An essay on Omelas.

The National Inflation Association defends their predictions against the question of Japan. Why did Japan not face hyperinflation in the face of a huge debt-to-GDP ratio and ultra-low-interest loans?

An Overthinking It post on Old Spice ads, Norse gods, and the end of the world. Especially awesome because it discusses one of the better bits of futurism from Infinite Jest, about the end of television advertising.

Speaking of futurism, it's pretty amazing how much Arthur C. Clark got right, he pretty much called the rise of satellite television, GPS, and global cell-phone networks in a letter written in 1956.

Here's one on a summer camp based on Greek mythology as told by Rick Riordan. I was going to say I posted this for Melissa, but I realized I'd emailed it to her ages ago.

Philosophical Zombies: The Movie.

A video on racism and rhetoric.


Finally, to clear your brain, a few bonuses: A visualization of my foursquare checkins. And this mashup.
l33tminion: (Default)
Urgent Evoke's final projects (the Evokations) are now up and raising additional funds. Take a look!
l33tminion: (Yay!)
Another IM relay bot has been pestering me lately, this one going by the AIM handle 644642289. I'm surprised there are any of those things left wandering around.
l33tminion: (Default)
Evidently, the movie The Last Airbender1 is crap. Which is great! Since that means I don't have to watch it, don't even have to deliberate about whether I should boycott it,2 don't have to worry about it marring my experience with the animated series (which I hear is great and have yet to get around to watching). Plus, it's bad enough to produce reviews more entertaining than the movie itself.

1 The original is called Avatar: The Last Airbender, but the first bit was dropped presumably to avoid confusion with that other movie.

2 For those of you who haven't been reading the internet, the setting conceit of Avatar: The Last Airbender is (among others) that it's set in a fantasy world where the entire world is Asia, as compared to the usual Tolkein-esque fantasy world where the entire world is Europe. However, the casting call descriptions for every main character in this particular movie started "whitey or whatever" (though they did end up casting some Asians among the villains). It was not just activists who think that decision was dumb.
l33tminion: (Default)
Did you know that there is a store online selling nothing but socks? Also one that sells customized chocolate bars? On a completely unrelated to anything note.

Last weekend was also completely awesome. Friday evening, went to the City of Cambridge Dance Party with Michelle. Saturday had lunch with DJ, got fitted for a tux, went to Comedy Studio with Julia. Sunday helped Xave move furniture, went to Jonathan Richmond's tea party, met DJ for dinner, spent some time hanging out with Patti.

Glad this summer isn't all rain, but there are drawbacks to real summer weather, too.

One more week, then I'm off to Sandy Island with my family. And then I'm out of town at least part of every weekend this month.
l33tminion: (Mad Scientist)
A while ago, I sent a DNA sample to a lab for analysis (because that seemed like an interesting thing to do and they were offering their complete edition test at a steep discount for DNA Day). Here are a few interesting things I learned:
  • I'm in maternal haplogroup K1a1b1a (centering around Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East c. 500 years ago), paternal haplogroup J2 (centering around southern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and western Asia c. 500 years ago).
  • My genes put me at a higher risk for a few conditions, including colon cancer (would have predicted from family history), age-related macular degenearion (would have predicted from other info about my eyes), and restless leg syndrome (would not have predicted).
  • My genes put me a lower than average risk for a lot of autoimmune conditions.
  • My genes put me at average risk of obesity, which is good for the future prospects of my exercise program. I'm also lacking a gene that preliminary studies suggest causes difficulty in weight-loss despite diet and exercise.
  • I'm not a carrier for any of the terrible-but-recessive genetic conditions that they tested for, which is good to know.
  • My previous lactose intolerance was likely caused by genetic factors.
  • My body favoring muscle strength over muscle endurance is also genetic.
  • I've got the male pattern baldness gene. If I had to guess (based on my mom's dad's and brothers' hair), I'd say that my mom probably has only one copy of the gene, giving me and my brother a 50% chance of greatly reduced balding odds, but luck was not with me on that one.
l33tminion: (Default)
There are some very loud mockingbirds around my neighborhood recently, with a rather interesting repertoire of calls. Last time I noticed one, I decided to download an audio-recording app and record a bit. (Recording is from the sidewalk on a side-street near Davis Square in Somerville, mid-way through a couple walks by and tries to scare the mockingbird off, without success.)
l33tminion: (Default)
Howard Zinn died yesterday. Also dead: J. D. Salinger. Really, the best story on that one is this.
l33tminion: (Wikipedia)
I was conversing with [livejournal.com profile] theheritic in a post about tarriffs and whether US policy is likely to take a turn towards protectionism when he made a curious prediction: That Obama would be a one-term president but that the Democrats would win the 2012 election.

Now, I can see either of those things happening, but not both at the same time. I think it would take some pretty extraordinary circumstances for the Democrats to be in so much trouble as to abandon an incumbent, but not in so much trouble as to lose. (There are a few scenarios in which that could happen, if the Democrats are disgraced but the Republicans are split, for example, but I don't think any of those are very likely.) Still, it's an interesting and specific prediction, and I'm a fan of interesting and specific predictions.

Another community member asked asked if an incumbent American president had ever failed to secure their party's nomination, and I had to do some digging to figure out the answer. (Starting here.) I thought what I found was interesting enough to clean up and repost on my own journal:

- Two past presidents failed to get their party's nomination after serving two terms, stepping down (in the tradition of Washington), and then coming back one term later: Ulysses S. Grant in 1880 and Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 (at which point he decided to form his own party, splitting the Republicans in that election)

- Three failed to get renomination after being elected vice president, then becoming president when the president died: Millard Fillmore in 1852, Andrew Johnson in 1868 (after being impeached and nearly thrown out of office), and Chester A. Arthur in 1884. (Lyndon B. Johnson doesn't fit in this group, he was elected to a full term in 1964 and didn't seek reelection in 1968.)

- James K. Polk didn't seek renomination in 1848 because he was dying. He died on June 15, 1849, three months after finishing his term.

- Rutheford B. Hayes was elected by one electoral vote (while substantially behind in the popular vote) in 1876. Hayes had promised in 1876 not to seek a second term in 1880, and he didn't.

- James Buchanan almost fits. He didn't seek renomination in 1860, but by that point his political party was split and he was disgraced.

- Only Franklin Pierce matches the scenario perfectly. He sought and failed to attain renomination in 1856, but his political party still won that election.

The numbers: Of the 42 people who have served as president, there are 33 who were elected president. (Four presidents died in office, four were assassinated, one resigned, the current president is the 44th but Cleveland counts twice.) 31 were elected with both the popular and electoral vote in non-disputed elections, of that pool two failed to get the renomination for political reasons, in one of those cases their party still won. Of course, that doesn't tell you much about probabilities with regard to Barack Obama, at least not without asking something about how the level of political volatility at present compares with that just before the Civil War.
l33tminion: (Food)
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Heck yeah. Not that I'd take a genie up on such an offer if it was an option. With my luck it would be one of those maliciously literal genies and I'd die of organ failure fifteen minutes in.
l33tminion: (Why Me?)
Saturday, got a new exercise routine at FT, then spent some time with Ames. Also started playing Persona 4, which is a nifty game once you get past the slow start (and addictive, which has meant quite a few late nights for me since).

Went to the healthcare reform rally on Monday and marched with SEIU and others. After, rewatched The Girl Who Leapt Through Time with Xave.

Yesterday, wrapped up one of my major bugs at work.

Today, life is a drag. I'm trying to figure out a new bug at work but still in the high confusion stage.

Now, taking a break and going to the gym before I get hungry for dinner.

On an unrelated note, have a comic:
l33tminion: (Exercise)
Climbing (ratings starting with v are bouldering problems, the rating scale is different than the one for wall-climbing):
SW (v0, passed on first try)
Eggs and Cheese (v0, failed)
Late Arrival (v0, failed)
Do Unto Others (v1-, failed)
Blackfoot's Revenge (5.8, failed)

In unrelated news, our backyard suddenly seems to be home to a large group of slugs.

Work seems to be alternating between productive and less productive weeks. This week is productive.

Finally getting some nice weather.

And I'm going to a Coheed and Cambria concert with DJ tomorrow evening, and doing karaoke with Xave and Dan (and other people, presumably) on Saturday. Music!
l33tminion: (Conga!)
Pi-Con was good and relaxed as usual. There were a few hiccups with the new hotel, but the beds were comfortable, the rooms were huge, and although the convention space was mostly off of narrow hallways, which made it seem a bit confined, the actual function rooms were quite good. I played a few games, went to a few panels, heard Rob Balder (who wrote Erfworld) sing (did not get to meet Jeffrey Rowland, though), listened to some random filk, met a bunch of nifty people for the first time, saw some friends and acquaintances I hadn't seen in a while, and watched a showing of Repo with a shadow cast.
l33tminion: (Default)
This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is "actually" innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged "actual innocence" is constitutionally cognizable. (from here (PDF, six pages), joined by Thomas)

Fortunately, Scalia was on the losing side of the particular motion being decided, but I have yet to see a quote that more clearly illustrates the problems with Scalia's brand of jurisprudence: The quote may be technically correct, but yet is so very, very wrong.

(It's also worth reading Stevens's takedown of Scalia in the concurring opinion here (PDF, three pages), joined by Ginsburg and Breyer.)
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