Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday: Today sucked

I could tell it was going to suck when I woke up at 4:30 this morning.  Why?  Who knows.  Apparently it was just time to wake up.  And then be away for three hours.  Which was less than fun.

Far better than stupid boring cheese.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday: blah blah blah

"No, see, I'm Quadruple Death.  When I kill you, you stay dead."

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday: That worked out well

First up, meeting doodles.
First I drew an eraser, then I started sketching a quick tree graph, which turned into carrot greens.  Then, I added an onion and a potato, and drew a pot.  Then I turned the eraser into a racecar.  Finally, I tapped my pencil on the page, and it kind of looks like a duck.
 The vegetables were important because they were a big part of today's plan for dinner: chicken tikka masala.
Which looks like this when you make it.
I used the packet sauce I mentioned a few months ago, although I didn't follow their instructions much.  First, I chopped up the vegetables into chunks, put them on to cook, and then did the same with 1.5lb of chicken thighs.  This would have come up to something like the "2lb" the packet claims it's good for, but my lesson from last time was that that was way too dry.  To fix this, I just used two packets, and let it simmer down somewhat.  This left me with an acceptable level of sauce to soak into the rice.  I also threw two bird peppers into the pan, so they could help bring up the spiciness of the sauce.  I'll agree that the packet is totally a cheat, but it works well.

I also surprised myself by getting all the leftovers to fit in a plastic tub that I was certain was way too small.

My internet speed still sucks, and I should have written that DVR today, but I was lazy, so I went to complain on the online chat thing.

The word is "bullshit."
I mean, for fuck's sake, Oceanic Time Warner.  If you can't even come up with a list of censored words and do that correctly, how the fuck am I supposed to take anything you do seriously?  I see Hawaii Telcom is claiming they can do 7/1 for me.  If I'm only ever getting 3-5/1 from you, why shouldn't I at least try them?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday: Honestly, this was the worst Teddy's service ever

I saw something earlier in the week about Teddy's expanding on the mainland.  This prompted me to go there today.  Unfortunately, the dumbass working the register today was basically the definition of incompetent.  He took the order for the people at the front of the line, wrote it all down, then typed it into the computer, took their money, then turned around and wrote it all down again, on a different piece of paper to send to the grill.  This last bit took about five minutes, leaving everyone else in line standing and waiting for him to come back and take more orders.  Meanwhile, the other front-of-house person took a phone order and made two shakes.

At least the people running the grill knew what they were doing.
 And then I got groceries, and came home to see this sitting in the elevator lobby:
Somebody decided that this can of beer wasn't worth taking upstairs, or to their car, or even to the trashcan an equal distance behind the camera.  It does have a bent up top, like it was overpressurized, but still.  You could have at least thrown it away instead of sitting it in the corner.  Like a crazy person.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This was a great scene. The gif, not so much.

The good thing is that the clip is on cartoon network's page, for now at least.

Saturday: The confluence of various things

It's not nearly at "James Burke's Connections" level, but it's kind of a similar concept.  First, last week Julie mentioned Chili's, so I decided I might as well try them again.  However, I also ran out of shampoo, so I had to go buy a big bottle of that.  The place that sells that in the mall is next to the preztel place, so when I got to Chili's, I kind of wanted pretzels.

It turns out that they sell those there.  Because...honestly, I assume for people like me who want pretzels, but decided they should get a proper meal instead.  Not bad pretzels, although they really should use better cheese.  Or at least fucking put it under the broiler to melt a bit.  Stabbing a pretzel into nearly solid cheese is kind of pointless.  Also, balancing the cup of cheese between two pretzels is stupid presentation.

Anyway, I had a taco craving, so I went with fajitas.
Also: watermelon lemonade is pretty tasty.
This had a tower of sides, but no spoon or anything, which seems hard to use.  This was part of the reason I went there, since I could get some sort of taco-alike, to replace my original plan to make my own tacos tomorrow for this week.  That choice I postponed until next week, since I guess it's cinco de mayo next week.  So tacos.

Then I went and got groceries so I can make my own tikka masala this week.  That decision was based on the fact that I still have pita bread in my fridge, due to the lamb I was going to eat them with failing last week.  So TM will eat up those pitas.

Because I have too many tabs open about this stupid thing, and I want to close them all.

ET: The Videogame.  Yes, it was bad, but it wasn't unplayable.  You skip to mode three or whichever, which turns off the FBI and scientist, and it's perfectly fine.  I kind of wish this upgrade had been in the original version, as it adds a scientist only mode.  The scientist was annoying, because he pulled you back to the city screen, but he didn't steal your parts like that FBI dick did.

Anyway, someone finally went looking for the dump from 1983, and found it, and as the stories claimed, it was full of ET cartridges.  This article is a bit better, as it has nicer pictures, as well as a link to this old NYTimes story.

The important context is that the video game market crashed, largely due to stupid actions.  The most obvious stupid action is mentioned in the second paragraph of the Pac-Man article on wikipedia: "Atari produced 12 million units (which was more than the number of Atari 2600 consoles sold at the time), anticipating a high number of sales."  Think about that for a moment.  They thought this game would be so popular, everyone who owned the console would buy it.  At the time, you could play 2600 games on the Intellivision and Colecovision, but I'm pretty sure even adding that in wouldn't have helped.  So were they expecting people to buy the game to play on someone else's console, who probably also already had the game?

Anyway, the best thing in that Kotaku article was the catalog sticking out of the one box.  Even though the graphics in the games weren't very detailed, they made up for that with the box art, which was always really cool.  Looking at those catalogs was often more fun than actually playing the games.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday: That's cool

My usual source for random images I can stick here is back up and running again.  So I have a random image for today.
Which I should probably save some fraction of for an emergency.

Wait, really?

You can watch this if you want:

And if you haven't already, read my post about how I'm going to build my own youtube dvr.  Specifically points 3.1 and 3.2.  Did I, just raging against shitty connections and how to optimize automatic playlist creation, come up with a large fraction of how youtube orders videos in their search?  I mean, this is obvious shit, right?  Everyone would go, "oh, this channel that you always skip through is probably shitty," and "this video from yesterday is probably more relevant than the one from a year ago."

This is where I start to wonder about how dumb companies really are.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday: That thing finally fucking works

At least mostly works.  I have a suspicion that the next step isn't going to fucking work, because of course it won't.  Still, I discovered that:
tar cf - -T file_of_files_to_transfer -h | ssh remote_host tar xf - -C /destination/dir
is a stupidly efficient way to transfer files and preserve directory structures, for those times you can't use rsync, because you're only transferring a subset of the files in the subdirectory.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday: Whatever, here's a pile of links

  • So after more fuckery with my internet last night, I stumbled on this forum.  The suggestion is that TWC rolled out things that break the docsis 2 modems, causing them to get shitty speeds.  I've ordered my own docsis 3 modem, so worst case scenario, I have the same shitty speeds, but with my own modem.  Hopefully this will make any future moves easier to get internet going, since I'll have all the hardware.
  • Squirrel.
  • Is anyone else stunned that that dickbag in Nevada is racist?  I mean, who would have thought?
  • Comic books.
  • Brock.
  • Naptime.  More places should do this.  Like at work.  Basically, I'm pro nap.
  • This looks like an interesting method.  Maybe not now that I've looked at this algorithm description.  That's basically just smoothing with weights based on something that's almost Gaussian like, and then fitting piecewise functions and asserting continuity.  I'll probably implement it for future use, but it's not quite as cool as I thought it would be. 

And then I remembered that I did have something to put here.  I've finally decided that Penny Arcade and SMBC and a couple of other comics have been sufficiently unfunny for long enough to drop them from my RSS feeds.  Then I realized that I still had 750 items to read, and that two feeds were contributing 150 and 80 items.  That's when I decided that if you spam out more than 5% of the feeds for the day, you get removed as well.  Even if it's just cute pictures of bunnies, you shouldn't post more than like 10 a day.  That'd be 2% on a reasonable day, and that's still 10 pictures of bunnies for the day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday: Fine, I'll just write a DVR for youtube

Youtube apparently is now forcing all videos to be html5, which is annoying, as it tends to load kind of crappy for me.  This is probably partially due to me getting perpetual shitty download speeds.  I will admit that the html5 isn't as broken as it was previously (where switching from video N in a playlist to video N+1 at the end of video N would cause full screen to turn off), it's still annoying.  Given that I was previously able to watch the 720p versions without trouble, then things got worse and I had to drop down to the 480p, and last night I kept having to force it back up from 240 or 360, this is annoying and getting increasingly so.

The obvious (to me) solution is to preload the videos in my watch later playlist, and download them in the background all day long.  This turns out to not be a terribly hard thing to do:

  1. Use youtube-dl to download the files.  I may need to write my own playlist parser, as I would want to remove the videos from the yt side playlist once I have a local copy.  This also allows me to limit the bandwidth used, so I can be sure that I'm not flooding out my regular internet usage.
  2. Push file locations, the channel names, the upload date, and some other status variables into a database table.
  3. Construct a channel quality rating that ranks the videos in the database.
    1. My quick thought here is to do something where a video gets a +fraction, based on how much is watched.  That way, a shitty video I skip after five seconds puts a down weight on that channel, but a video I watch all the way through pushes up the channel weight.
    2. Next, there probably needs to be a time weight.  Today's things should weight higher than yesterday, yesterday higher than last week, but this probably needs to turn around so that a video from a month ago is ranked higher than two weeks ago.  This should help prevent videos from sitting around forever.
    3. Something to denote a sequential series of videos, so that part 1 is always watched before part 2.  Probably something title/keyword based.
    4. Some other keyword based rating.  "Pikachu" probably should rank higher than "trains."
  4. Using the various weights, construct a playlist to watch.
  5. Pass the playlist into a perl-wrapper for mplayer, using the -slave option to mplayer, where the perl catches and passes keyboard controls to mplayer, and makes database changes as well.
Really, this is basically writing a database schema, and then writing a couple of short perl scripts that basically have to do database queries and call other programs.  Maybe I can get this done this weekend.

I saw this cool car on the way home tonight, and was able to get my phone out and take the picture while waiting for a light.  It's a shame the only other person in Honolulu who pulls up to the car in front of them was behind it.  There's a Pikachu sticker under the license plate that you can just see the tail of.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday: Again, it simply refuses to rain

Making my apartment super humid.  Stupid lazy sky.

Mr. Doughnut.  I going to say that he and Pyramid Cat travel around and solve mysteries, like Scooby Doo.

  • Today is the day that Rome was founded.  In a day.  By Aeneas.  Or Romulus and Remus.  Frankly, I stopped bothering trying to sort it out and I actually like this stuff.  You can read Livy's version here, but that just sounds like a giant retcon.
  • This showed up in my watch later list, and since what I watch tends to lag by 1-7 days relative to when I put things in it, I have no clue where I saw it.  I watched the video first, and assumed it was just someone with way too much time had decided to sync the symphony up with a previously existing music video.  Discovering that the video was made exclusively for this project led to the conclusion that someone with way too much time also had way too much money.
  • I pretty much have no clue what to say about today's Adventure Time.  It's mostly all "but..." and "wha?" and "I really thought you'd just leave that as a thing for an undefined 'the future'."
  • Interesting plot, although I think the real lesson is, "Just use C, because it's effectively as fast as fortran, but infinitely easier to write and debug."  A secondary lesson could be, "Fuck python."  I just noticed octave there, so I guess the tertiary lesson is, "use octave to sort out an answer, but don't do real calculations there, that's just silly." 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday: Just fuck everything

The original plan for today was so simple.  Throw some lamb in the oven to roast with a bunch of spices, do the same with an onion, wait some time, then pull them out, and stick it in a pita.  Add some mac and cheese, maybe a salad, and call it good.

But then my oven apparently decided that 220 degrees is the same as "yeah, you can probably just pull things out with your hand if you want."  Unwrap lamb, poke at it, and see that it's still raw inside.  Ok, rewrap the lamb in foil again, turn the heat up a bit, and give it a bit more time to finish.

Eat the pita you had put into the oven to toast.

Eat the mac and cheese you put in the oven an hour before you thought the lamb would be done.

Unwrap, poke at it, and see that it's now completely overcooked.


Dump it all into plastic tubs, and declare that it's not worth fucking sorting out a solution to this, so you'll just skip to the gelato dessert.

Freezer has decided that "middle setting" is the same as "I will freeze all ice cream into a brick.  And don't even bother trying to warm a spoon up, you'll just end up knocking the bowl on the floor where it'll shatter."

So whatever.  I give up.  Maybe I'll just eat a fucking bagel, unless my toaster thinks it can come up with a way to fuck that up.  I'll warn you, toaster.  Remember how you came home and there wasn't an old toaster sitting around?  See the floor over there by the oven, where you might be able to make out a toaster shaped outline if it existed?  Yeah.  Appliances sometimes have "accidents" if they didn't come with the apartment.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Saturday: Saturday B

Apparently I lost track of time, and didn't do all the things I was going to do.  Fuck.

Anyway, Kailua/Indian/Bowling was the theme of the day.

This is where the hand drawn sketch of the chicken I saw would be.

These assholes sat at their table for like twenty minutes after they'd finished eating.  Note the chairs they'd stolen from the second table inside.  Also note Captain Stylish's choice of crocs as actual shoes.

These people were sitting inside.  Note the dog.  Who brings a dog and sits inside?

Chicken Tikka Masala. And this is when I realize I'm super hungry again.
 After eating, I went to the used book store next door.
I thought about getting this book of Hokusai prints, but it's in the "Crazy Expensive Book" section.  $60 for a book without the dust jacket?  Amazon suggests I can get a complete version for around $40.

Then I saw a duck.

And then went bowling.
 This is where I'd have html scores, but fuck html.
Game 1.

Game 2.
I could have played another game, but they only take cash, and I wasn't sure how much each game was.  $3.50, so the ten in my wallet plus the random change in the bowling bag would have covered a third game.

This is where I should have said something about getting the lamb sorted, but I'm apparently putting that off until tomorrow.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday: Saturday A

I had to get groceries for spring thanksgiving, but didn't feel like sushi.  So why not the burrito place?
It's unfortunate that this is so blurry.  Stupid camera phone ruining relativistic taco/burrito collision jokes.

And then I decided to get nachos instead of a burrito.
I think that was the way to go.  I need to make sure next time to not get the cilantro sprinkled over, but this is a far tastier way to do things.  Their burritos tend to be poorly mixed, and insufficiently cheesy.  The nachos do not have that problem, and the side queso I got was rather unnecessary.

  • There was a power outage this morning.  My TV is now wonky, and it defaults to HDMI2 whenever I turn it on.  This is really just an annoyance, since it still does the TV things.
  • Is it wrong to kind of think that SF should have another earthquake to "disrupt" the people there?  Uber is not the future of taxis, 3D printing is not the future of production, this bullshit is not the future of education.  You have 19 students.  If you can't educate 19 students with piles of resources, you're a fucking idiot.  Do it for 40k.  Then you can talk about being innovative.  The way to fucking fix higher education is to return the state funding to public universities that's been drained out over the past 30+ years.  Then, use that money to hire faculty to teach classes, and pay them enough that they don't have to teach 7 classes as an adjunct to not starve.
  • Art.
  • A fancy house.
  • Reality.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday: Effective Friday

Crap.  Easter's this weekend.  Ok, let's make the plan this year be to copy two years ago, but do it lazier.  Do the lamb the same way, let the mezgaldi roast in a slow roast manner as well but slice them thinner, then make pita sandwiches from them.  Or maybe just slider style pulled lamb.  And let's say mac & cheese.  I kind of want mac and cheese.  Plus a salad to make the claim of "healthy."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday: Technically, it's "effective Thursday"

Since Friday is a holiday.

Dear Open Table, five of these restaurants are on different islands.  I'm unlikely to fly someplace for dinner.
I get that they have a database, and "Hawaii" is the entire database for Hawaii, but it can't be that hard to split by island.

  • Squirrel.
  • Wait until you get to the flowchart.
  • This is dumb.  Also dumb: they changed their recipe and now it's really shitty.  Now there's basically just one frozen pizza I like, and it's only sold in like half of all the grocery stores here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday: It made sense at the time

It started as a simple pyramid doodle.  Then I decided I could put a cat face on it.  Pyramid-cat.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday: I forgot to take pictures of the thing I was going to take pictures of

So that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

And then it was super cloudy, so I couldn't take any pictures of the eclipse, so I'm just going to cheat and put up the image I made last time.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday: Movie time

I think I'm going to draw all my future movie stub images.  I should have started with Celestine, and used her to scale up to Ernest, instead of going the other way.  Small things are hard to draw, which is why I gave up the original attempt, and just went with "scared face plus cloak."  Fewer details to mess up.  I do like Ernest's coat.  That's not too bad.
Ernest and Celestine was the movie today.  Nicely done, but I'm still sticking with Frozen as best for the year.  The story in E&C is better than The Wind Rises, largely because TWR skipped around and had those disjointed dream sequences.  E&C's only major issue was that Celestine's age wasn't totally clear.  I missed the "this is now three years later" jump.  TWR did have better art and sound (due to the voice foley again), but the confusing story detracted from the overall feel.

Also, the other two AA nominees for animation don't count, because they looked stupid.  As does the "Planes: Fucking Forest Firetrucks" preview I saw today.  Cars was a shitty movie I only watched because I was trapped on a plane, and that was the only thing to watch.  They then made a sequel because they hate good things, then made a stupid plane version sequel because they want to pretend they're cool like Miyazaki.  But to make a sequel to a spin off of a sequel?  It's possible that part of Pixar shouldn't be allowed to make things anymore.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Shoes more glamorous than Cinderella's."

From this video: The Kingdom of Plastics (by GE).
Me: "   That's a stripper shoe, post-war documentary dude."

I was going to talk about statistics, but instead I'm going to talk about sports.

No, not really.  Mostly it's statistics, just stapled onto a sports frame.



Sports are dumb.  Of all the dumb sports, basketball is probably one of the worst.  It's boring, you watch them run from one end to the other, they have squeaky shoes, you have to listen to announcers telling you that that guy just threw the ball, like you can't fucking see it.

It's annoying.

However, there was that Warren Buffett billion dollar thing, so it became slightly less annoying than it usually would be.  The important thing to remember was to not actually watch any of the games, because they really don't matter.


Yeah.  Here's the secret: sports teams are just random number generators, and if they come up with a bigger number than their opponent, they win.

"But teams are made up of people..."

More RNGs. (Theorem left unproved due to obviousness: The output of the sum of multiple RNGs is itself a RNG.)

"that have different capabilities that influence how the game ends."

So you're telling me they're biased RNGs.

"And you have to incorporate details about how they're doing, and think about how pumped up they are for a given game, and all sorts of other things that influence the outcome!"

Got it.  Teams are biased RNGs, and if they come up with a bigger number, then they win.  Some RNGs have a built in bias, signifying that they're "a better team."

A Model.

The nice thing is that this is kind of already a solved problem.  Latent ability models.  Given a dataset representing the outcomes of many games, you can assign a score that represents how good a team is.  This "ability" is "latent" because you don't know what value it has, or even what determines the value in terms of real-world qualities.  But you can look at the data you have, and use it to decide if in a future match up, team A or team B would win.  Here's a plot:

Once you've assigned abilities, then you expect the probability of a victory to be related to the difference of the abilities for the two teams.  You use this logistic function to model that probability to ensure that you don't get absolute probabilities for most situations.

"But what about teams that don't play each other?"

Since the ability of team A is based on the differences in ability with all of the teams they did play.  This means you don't need to know the full matrix of team A vs everyone else, you can use the teams A did play, and compare the scores.  In other words, if A is better than B, and B is better than C, odds are good that A is better than C, even if you've never seen A and C compete.

There is some concern about the connectivity of the dataset that can cause problems.  If the dataset is poorly connected, you can get scores where one subset is poorly scaled to the other subsets, as you don't have enough overlap to determine a good solution.  So, what's the connectivity of my dataset look like?
The logistic shape is largely coincidental.  Mathematically motivated, but not important now.  This is also a realization for a single team (team 790), because I didn't care to trace out the full connectivity statistics.
The teams team A plays are a tiny fraction (about 1-2% of the full set of teams).  However, the teams those teams play connects about 25% of the set.  Three steps yield 95%.  Four doesn't quite get to 100%, but I stopped caring at that point.

So since the data is reasonably well connected, you'll probably get a decent solution to the latent ability scores.  The final check (that I totally did when I was developing things, thus proving validity, and not at all just ten minutes ago when I realized I should include this) was to compare the ability scores that I came up with the official "seeds," which is a dumb name for "ranking priors."
Noisy but fairly linear.

My Results.

That's all nice and all, but how does it work?  First, the caveats:  I wrote the LAM code and pushed some tests through in January, and then completely forgot about this whole thing until the day before the tournament started.  This means I basically had to accept the simple LAM solutions, and go with it.  I did a full year solution, and also broke the games down by month, using those solutions to look for trends (if the abilities were improving or decreasing).  Finally, I used the scientific method of "which of these are bigger?" to choose who would win.

A side note unrelated to the statistics:  dancing around team name strings was by far the most annoying part of this project.  Everyone should use clear and concise integer team ids, like I did.  It's the superior solution than inconsistent abbreviations.

Here's who I chose.
Not bad, as I even picked up a few of the upsets.  Things fell apart a bit with the later games, but 38/63 isn't bad, right?

Fucking Sports.

At least I beat Julie, which was really what my goal was, if I couldn't win a billion dollars.
One of the things that I probably should have researched is the fact that people who do sports all the time are dumb.  Therefore, later games magically get more points than early games, so you aren't just trying to have more correct picks than the other people.  I suspect this is due to someone getting pissed off that they chose the winner correct, but fucked up everything else, and decided that they should win instead of someone who got most of the first round correct.  I can't come up with any other logic for it (if you get round 1 picks wrong, you automatically lose out on any subsequent round outcomes that are based on that incorrect pick.  Why add extra penalties?).

In any case, you can see that I really wasn't too far back in terms of number correct.  You'll also note that I am actually #12, not #13, unless there's some other dumbass tie-breaker rule that says that even though 12 and I have the same number of points, and I have more correct picks, I don't win because sports.

I also checked earlier in the week, and I didn't beat Barack Obama, regardless of whether you do number correct or this stupid point system.  I don't remember the values I got.  Like 40 correct and 68 points, maybe?  Whatever, I'm losing interest in this post anyway.

How Can This Be Improved?

As I mentioned above, I kind of rushed at the last minute, and spent more time dancing strings around than I wanted.  This means the theory time and development was more rushed than I would have wanted.  In any case, here are the obvious ways to improve things.

  1. Wichita State.  After determining everything, I later heard on NPR that WS was undefeated in the regular season.  "Great?"  Nope.  Because they never lost, the LAM had no reason not to rank them higher than everyone else.  Basically, no matter how high a score some other team got, WS would always rank higher.
  2. Time evolution.  My month-by-month breakout is way too chunky, and I'm pretty sure it didn't equally distribute the data.  Equal game count bins would be better, and that can be tuned to yield the minimum size that still provides a connected data set.
  3. Game quality.  The dataset I have contains scores for each game.  It's easy to imagine a LAM extension in which the distribution of score differences by ability differences tells you something about the distribution of that teams ability.  The other option would be to use that score difference to amplify a given win.  If the victory was by 1000 points, you can probably assume that the winner is "more better" than the loser than if they'd only won by 1 point.
  4. Field advantage.  It also contains home/away status.  This might have a similar effect, where you don't weight home victories as much as away or something.
  5. Inter-year convolution.  I have lots of years.  Teams are comprised of players, and players are not new each year.  Therefore, you could convolve previous and subsequent year abilities with this year's, and see what that gives you.
  6. Data.  I have lots of years.  I should really have been applying the algorithm to all the years, and checking the results against what really happened.  Beyond just this one tournament, women's sports are identical, so that's another set of years with data and results that can be used to train the algorithm.  

Sports are dumb.

Saturday: Ramen and Taxes

After doing basically nothing all day (except yelling at flash game developers for not understanding how to construct a difficulty curve.  A Heaviside function is not what you should be aiming for.), I decided I was either going to get pancakes or ramen for lunch/dinner.
There were gyoza as well, but they were gone before I got my ramen.
 Then some quick grocery shopping.
Did you know that the staircase at Safeway is one of the best places to take photos of Diamond Head?
Finally, since taxes are due this week, I sat down and threw numbers at pdf forms until I had my yearly "I have made my best effort at your stupid forms, The Government" attempt.  I appear to have magically sorted out the withholding crap last year.  I owe the federal government $15, but I'm getting $25 back from the state.  Compared to the last two years, this is pretty good.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday: I was going to talk about statistics, but I have a feeling that it's going to take an hour or more to write that post

Really, I should have just broken it up into smaller posts, but that's not what I ended up doing.

So instead, here's the grilled cheese I made for dinner.

I also had some random guy walk up to me in the store this evening, asking where he knew me from.  I don't know you, crazy dude.  I mean, who walks up to someone and asks if they know you?  Crazy people.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thursday: I was going to talk about statistics, but then I figured I've got this trend going, so I'll just push it off until tomorrow.

Here.  Have a random Silent Hill 2 image as a consolation prize.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday: I was going to talk about statistics, but instead I took pictures of a firetruck

Somebody across the street had some sort of emergency, so they sent a firetruck and an ambulance.

First, they blocked the street like this.
It didn't seem to be a super crazy "WE NEED TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT STAT NOW!" kind of thing, but they did take the person away.
Then, they blocked the street like this.

And then the firetruck left and I got bored so I came inside.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday: I was going to talk about statistics today, but I'm kind of tired, and so instead I'm going to talk about something else.


Yeah, I know.  "Who?"  They were a band in the 90s, and I was reminded of them last night, which led to me looking to see what they have on youtube, and then buying their albums off of amazon.  Yay the instant gratification that didn't exist twenty years ago.

Anyway.  Wikipedia gives like 19 genres for them, which basically says how little a genre means now-a-days.  Let's go with "British post-punk," as that's probably the most descriptive.  Quick 2-3 minute songs with wonderful bass lines and catchy tunes.

This was the first song of theirs that I heard:

Nice driving beat:

How odd, I also hate waking up in the morning:

I had never seen the video to this song until this week.  It is kind of brilliant:

I was going to say that more music videos need to be done in stop motion, but I haven't seen any recent music videos in years, so maybe they are:

And here's why.  First, let's copy just the question, and get rid of Jeff's scribbles:

Ok.  So we're using a number line to represent subtraction from 427 by an amount 316.  Jack (the fictional student) arrived at the value 121, and Jeff shits himself talking about how his BS in EE, which involves differential equations and "other higher math applications" tells him to "simplify things" and does the subtraction the standard way.

But what Jeff doesn't fucking understand is that he knows how to do that because he knows that the 4 represents 400, and so he needs to line it up with the 3 that represents the 300.  However, if you're a kid, someone telling you "stack things up, and then subtract the columns" doesn't really impart any underlying knowledge.  It's the plug-and-chug method.

What the question (and I guess Common Core) is trying to teach is that you can rework the question (427 - 316) into the "complicated" form (427 - 300 - 10 - 6).  Then, you can further expand into (427 - 100 - 100 - 100 - 10 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1).  So, if you don't know what (427 - 316) is, you can take it in steps, and do simpler problems that you can do.  The number line structures that into clear steps.  You start at 427, and subtract the first 100.  Repeat this for the other terms, and you should get the correct answer.  Jack (the fictional student again) fucked this up because he forgot to take the step that subtracts off the 10.  He did the hundreds, and the units, but forgot the tens.  

Why would you want to do this?  Because what would happen if we were subtracting 318 from 427?  Jeff (the asshole) would say that you have to take 1 from the 2 and append it to the 7, so you subtract 8 from 17 which is 9.  Why? Because plug-and-chug.  The number line method shows that after you subtract the 310 from 427 (so we're at 117 now), you just take 8 steps down, which decrements from 110 to 109.  Now, if you want to do the calculation and get an answer, the standard way is going to be more efficient.  However, understanding the number line method motivates why you borrow the 1.  You're pre-emptively decrementing the tens place that you know you'll have to do.  It's functionally equivalent, but you have a more physical thing to think about while you learn how math works.

What the fuck is wrong with you?

I liked the movie Frozen.  It's a good movie.

Do you know how many Princess Anna dresses I own?  Zero.  Partially because they don't come in my size, and partially because my day-to-day fashion needs currently have zero open slots for fancy dresses.

However, if I did have open slots, I'd probably only buy one.  Because, you know, you can really only wear one thing at a time, and you shouldn't wear identical things everyday.

On the other hand, if I completely went insane, and decided for some reason that the correct number of Princess Anna dresses was sixteen, I'd pile them all up on the counter, and purchase them all together.  That's the least asshole way to do things, and makes it far easier to keep track of things.  "I would like to purchase all of these Princess Anna dresses.  All sixteen of them."

I would not bring my entire family to the store, hand out coupons for Princess Anna dresses to everyone, and force this to be done in four transactions so I can use all the coupons I've somehow horded for Princess Anna dresses.

Why the fuck do you even need sixteen Princess Anna dresses?  Are you outfitting an army of tiny pretend royalty?  Wouldn't some contrast be a good idea, or are the coupons for Princess Anna dresses explicit that no Queen Elsa dresses can be substituted?  If you are outfitting an army of tiny pretend royalty, couldn't you have budgeted better for your Princess Anna wardrobes, such that you're not relying solely on the power of coupons and multiple transactions?

Finally, saying "this is the baby's coupon," isn't clever.  That's the kind of thing a psychopath who buys sixteen Princess Anna dresses would say.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday: Surprise Sunday?

I couldn't decide between burger and ramen for lunch.  Both are equally close to a Safeway, and I needed to get some groceries there today.  Burger ended up being the decision, as it's closer and requires less driving on poorly planned streets.  I built my own burger, which ended up working well, but for different reasons.

The players in this story.
I wanted to try one of their burgers with the kalua pork, but they all had other things that I didn't want (bacon + ham + pork + a burger seemed a bit too much).  However, they had the pork on the sides list, so I got that to stuff it in the burger myself.  Long story short, next time I go there, I think I'm just going to get their kalua pork sandwich because that was really good.

On the way home, I heard this song ("Hikare" by Yuzu) on the radio.  Listen to the first 20 seconds or so.  It's not just me, right?  That totally sounds like "Let it Go."  There's a bit later that does as well, but I don't feel like tracking down the timestamp.  Most of it doesn't, but that main chorus line really does.

Then I got home, and was surprised by someone knocking on my door.  Which doesn't happen.  Like ever.  I'm 10 floors up, and you have to go through a locked door and up an elevator that requires a key as well.  However, instead of being a ninja (which was a bad thought in hindsight.  Ninjas are sneakier than that.), it was a guy from Health and Human Services, who was there to do a survey.  I should have gotten a letter in the mail about it, but I generally only check my mail when I'm expecting a package from Amazon.

In any case, I was randomly selected to take part in part of a survey, and then randomly wasn't selected to take part in the second part of the survey.  So.  Yeah.  That happened.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday: Standard Saturday

Standard sushi.
Standard links.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday: That explains it.

Pretty much every day this week, I go to do my lunchtime "let's expire shit from the DVR" routine, only to discover that the DVR backend has crashed.  I've been poking at it trying to figure out why, and yesterday I discovered that the mysql server that connects everything together has been crashing continually as well.  Today I figured out where the log information was going (syslog, apparently), which told me that the RSS reader table had crashed, and because that table was crashed, the server was crashing, which was causing the DVR to crash as well.

This is the problem with running your own cloud services off of a single computer.

In case this happens again, and I need to fix things again, here's the steps necessary to do so:
  1. Shut down everything.
  2. Edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf to include the line in the mysqld section:
    • innodb_force_recovery = 1
  3. Restart mysqld.
  4. Dump the entire database to be safe, then dump the table that needs to be replaced:
    • mysqldump --all_databases > backup_copy.sql
    • mysqldump ttrss.ttrss_entries > fix.sql
  5. Shut down everything again.
  6. Edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf to remove that line you put in.  It allows the database to skip the broken entries in the crashed table (those broken entries were the source of the database server continually crashing), but because it doesn't want you to break anything, you can't write to the database with that in place.
  7. Restart mysqld.
  8. Execute the fix.sql commands in mysql.  I just did the \. fix.sql.
  9. Restart everything else.
  10. Discover that you have a backlog of secret things that had been trapped by that crashed table, so now there's a lot of stuff in the RSS feeds that you're just not going to read tonight.
I don't have a good picture, so here's something I made playing this game.