Alex's Alliterative Adventures

Thoughts on Programming, Life, and Travel

Archive for November, 2006

Another collection of randoms

My good friend linked me to xkcd yesterday. It’s absolutely chock full of geeky hilarity. I was particularly won over by binary sudoku, immediately followed by mixing curse levels.

In more real news, Amir was recently detained in a Norwegian airport, because he was brown. For those of you who don’t know Amir, he’s the least-brown brown man I know. He’s as brown as Tom is white. It’s kind of frightening that racial profiling has changed from something that cruel brothers scare their younger siblings with right before bedtime, and is now something tangible, something that has breached my happy little fantasy world where meals are gifts to be worshiped, pixies spread fairy dust while you blink, and racism is stupidity, not accepted professional behaviour.

Note to self: post the pictures, gosh-dammit.



I think that my ADD has accelerated to ADHD. Over the past few weeks, instead of enjoying my favourite songs once and skipping over 80 tracks to find the next hit, I just play the same tune again. And again. And again, and again, and then just to mix things up a bit, I play it once more. It’s like my ears unquenchably thirst for that particular flavour of freshly squeezed song-juice, so I must wringe the fruity notes dry until they bleed like stones.

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Oh yeah

I also beat minesweeper in expert mode in 83 seconds. One of my all-time favourite games is now empty and meaningless to me, since beating that score would require three or four pacts with Satan, with a few sacrificed babies thrown in for good measure.


I almost forgot

I have watched the first 27 episodes of Prison Break in the past 4 days or so. I should try harder to remember that Jamie and Kate combined are almost always right.

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NWERC 2006

First of all, I think that going for more than a full week without blogging earns me the title of Lazy Bastard.  That’s officially my longest hiatus ever, not counting the 20 some years I went without feeling the need to tell the world my current mood and song. (In case you were wondering: lethargic, and Sugarcult – Memory (Acoustic) from Punk Goes Acoustic.  Dear christ, that song is addictive.)

I was originally delaying this post until I had all of my pictures sorted and uploaded, but seeing as I just showed an impressive outburst of intellectual capacity by deleting every picture Mehrdad had given me, I figured I’d just upload them later and let you all browse the pics at your leisure. If you’re the picture enjoying sort, keep an eye on that them thar side bar over thar. When words fail me, the pictures may still fight the good internet fight.

Team Waterlund, consisting of Mehrdad, Farzan, and myself, started the weekend off by visiting the Absolute Ice Bar Stockholm, which was quite the experience. I’m mentally filing it in the same category as bungee jumping, which I generally refer to as “incredibly awesome shit which I will never do again until I learn how to exhale pure money.” The pictures I grabbed of this place were only mostly recoverable by Undelete Plus, but in the mean time you can enjoy the latest installment of the video blog:

After a brief reexposure with a nearly-Canadian climate, Farzan and I headed for the Iron Maiden concert. Since we arrived at the sold-out concert an hour and a half after it started, my hopes weren’t high, but Farzan’s black voodoo magic had us moshing on the stadium floor enjoying a band I thought was retired or dead with what must have been 30,000 other fans. This guy seriously knows his way around a concert.

Saturday was a day of business. It was a day of

and collaboration.

Sunday was a day of abysmal failure. Team Waterlund didn’t provide too much honour to our families on that particular day. It was a great learning opportunity, though, and I’m so glad that I was given the chance to advance to the regionals with my teammates and compete with some of the finest minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Plus, Iron Maiden rocked hardcore.

Since last weekend, a few other events of note have occurred, such as student beatdowns, obfuscated political segmentations, the replacement of several doors with “fire-safety walls”, and a toga mosh pit.

The biggest scapegoat for my lack of blogging motivation this week was the prospect of sorting through pictures, movies, and files from the Stockholm weekend. I think that in the future, I’ll just continue to post other stuff in non-chronological order to prevent the tubes from getting clogged. As a random note, for those of you that have to deal with tons of photos or other media, what do you use to organize your files? How do you find duplicates, how do you sort and categorize them, and how do you post far too many details of your life to the content-absorbing void that is the internet?


I had forgotten one of life’s little truths

5am sucks.


Sankt Lars anniversary dinner

It’s been three months of pain, three months of suffering, and almost three months of repeatedly broken appliances and suspiciously absent spoons, so we decided to have an anniversary dinner the day before the anniversary of our being here for three months. Why the day before, and not the day of? Well, that just wouldn’t be crazy enough for Sankt Lars, that’s why. That, and somebody probably fucked up.

I’m off to Stockholm at 6:28am tomorrow morning. That means I’ll be waking up before most of you bastards go to sleep. I may blog this weekend, I may not. With any luck, team WaterLund might just have a bit of success at the Northwestern European Programming Contest.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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Sweden: the weather

My friend, lab partner, and future neighbour Felix recently blogged about Swedish weather. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Alex the vampire slayer

Housing in London is dirt cheap. I’ve been digging through ads for rooms that average around $350CAD/mo, with the low ballers coming in at a tight $250. You can land a bachelor pad for around $500-$600, or even $450 if you’re willing to adjust your definition of the word “pad” to include closets. Some places offer free daily breakfast and weekly barbecue, others tempt me with a jacuzzi and galley kitchen, and most wave the cost utilities with a quick hand, a bright smile, and a loud, plaid jacket. I just hope I don’t let my lust get the better of me, since I’m weakened by the most tempting vixen of them all: a private bathroom.

I just can’t understand why prices are so low. I mean, Waterloo offers some pretty fan-fricken-tastic deals when compared to Toronto, but you can’t really go much lower unless you’re compensating for things like frequent drive-bys or plagues of locusts/frogs/miscellaneous. Those are pretty unlikely, though. Infestations don’t normally crop up during Canadian winters, and the salted roads are bad for rims, so there has to be another explanation. My best guess: Hellmouth.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Python is roughly analogous to the Worst Thing Ever, No Questions Asked, Amen.

Thought of the day: why is bureaucracy so damned hard to spell?


Germans are assholes

A German physicist lives across the hall from me. She’s really nice, I have a great time hanging out with her, and she seems to be pretty damn smart. She’s currently studying quantum mechanics, so I took it upon myself to repeatedly bug her to teach me quantum mechanics, since the concepts behind it intrigue me so. She hooked me up with a little video that covers very, very basic quantum mechanics. Although the video does a great job of scratching the surface of quantum theory, it didn’t really answer any questions for me, so I dug through the video’s comments. One of the comments offered something that sounded like a plausible explanation to one of my questions, until I realized that it was incredibly wrong. A response to that comment lead me to a quick googling, which lead me to a wikipedia page, which then lead to thirtysix other wikipedia pages.

I can’t stop reading, and I’m not going to be able to sleep for a month. That German girl is such a jerk.


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