Monthly Archives: January 2008


If you haven’t tried it, using separate shampoo and conditioner is much more effective than the combination products. I’m amazed.

(I didn’t do any extensive product testing here, and I don’t have any control groups either, but my first impression is good).


Posted by on January 31, 2008 in Entertainment



Come With Me if You Want to Live

I mentioned to Tangy that my car got smashed over the weekend while I was in Massachusetts, and that I needed to track down the perpetrator on my own. This was his response:

im imagineing u runnign after a car that hit yurcar…all thsoe years of track culminating into a terminator t1000 scene where you determinely chase after this unknown assailant completely disregarding other automobiles in your hunt for the perpertrator as soccer moms shiled their childs eyes in horror as you lunge onto the roof and repeatedly pound your hand down denting the malleable metal in your desparate attempt to reach the driver by any means necessary….

you’re fierce…and your ponytail flowing against the wind is a nice image too

Which reminds me, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is sort of awesome, sort of ridiculous.

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Posted by on January 25, 2008 in Entertainment


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Puzzle Zero

I went to the MIT Mystery Hunt this weekend to puzzle away with my friends on team Grand Unified Theory of Love. This year’s theme was a murder mystery, and the puzzles were exceptionally difficult. The first puzzle we received, named Puzzle Zero, was handed out in Lobby 7 at noon.

Puzzle Zero

Bads solved this one pretty quickly and it felt like a great start to the hunt. Sadly, just as we were about to follow the solution’s instructions, the puzzle was discredited by the hunt organizers as a prank. The solution was:

<puzzle solution spoiler warning>

Filling in the bars for each number yields a message that reads:

CALL 1-622-848-3780 ASAP

Calling this number on the day of the hunt connected to an answering service inviting MIT students to transfer to Cal Tech.

</puzzle solution spoiler warning>

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Posted by on January 23, 2008 in Entertainment


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The First-Slice is Always Free

Weirleader recently made a comment on my Portal post explaining that since Portal is more of a puzzle game, I should be able to take my time and think through it, and therefore avoid vertigo and motion sickness. Then, last night Basher emailed me about an nVidia promotion allowing those of us with nVidia video adapters to download the extended Portal demo, a.k.a. “First Slice”, for free. It seemed as though all signs were pointing to yes, so grabbed the demo and played the first 10 chapters of Portal. Having watched so much of the game play already, I picked it up pretty fast, and my end-game vertigo wasn’t that bad after all.

Before I went to sleep, I told Tangy that if Team Fortress can be played across platforms (e.g. XBOX vs. PC), that I’d pick The Orange Box up. Does anyone know whether this is possible?


Posted by on January 14, 2008 in Entertainment


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Department of the Treasury

Dear Taxpayer,

We’ve enclosed an examination report explaining our proposed changes to your 2006 federal income tax return(s).  Please review the examination report and let us know if you agree or disagree with the proposed changes.  We need to receive your response within 30 days from the date of this letter, but our final review will take 6-8 months, during which you will be solely responsible for any interest accrued on outstanding charges.

The amount you owe is four grand, which may include tax, penalties and estimated interest due.  You should pay the total amount you owe now because the law allows us to charge additional interest and certain penalties until you pay the amount you owe in full.  Such penalties may include, but are not limited to, fines, fees, levies, ridicule, and waterboarding.  If you cannot pay the amount you owe, please call us to obtain a Transfer of Future Firstborn Custody Schedule (Form W30wn%05-EZ).

Thank you for your cooperation.


Adam Young

Operations Manager, Examination Branch

 (I’m paraphrasing/embellishing)


Posted by on January 8, 2008 in Entertainment


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Iowan Caucusing

I’m watching a live web-cast of one of the Democratic caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa. The sight of real voters in the trenches working this out amongst themselves is heart warming.  It’s almost like they made a massive game of the process.  The caucusers mill around the room, coalesce, repel, and react like tiny interacting agents working to form something much larger than themselves.

At the same time, seeing something so important, with so much weight, executed in such a seemingly haphazard manner, is frightening.  I cannot imagine a more error-prone, arcane way to choose a delegate.  They may as well line up and have a dance off to the tune of “Cool” from West Side Story.  In any other country this process would be tagged as a  gigantic “voting irregularity” and the U.N. would be sending in lawyers with fire hoses to regulate.

 Still, it looks fun, and the Iowans seem to be enjoying it.


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1152 x 864

Last New Years, I made a resolution that I would stand up to people more consistently, and try to voice my opinion.  I think I’ve been doing a good job with that, but really it’s hard to say for sure.  I certainly tried to meet my resolution, and I guess that counts in this case.

This year’s resolution is going to be more quantitative.  I’m resolving to run 1000 miles in 2008.

This is challenging, and will rely partly on staying injury and illness free (does that mean I’m relying on luck?), but I think it’s achievable given recent statistics from 2007, which was a phenomenal running year for me, at least in terms of consistency.  First, let’s consider my yearly mileage for the last seven years:


I’ve definitely upped my mileage over the years, to a total of 740 miles in 2007.  Seeing how I ran almost twice as much in 2007 as in 2006, it’s possible that I may have hit a plateau, and that I won’t be able to run that much more.  So I took a look at the seasonal pattern over the last seven years:


In this chart, “WS” is the Winter-Spring season (January-April), “S” is the Summer season (May-August), and “F” is the Fall season (September-December). It’s immediately clear that I haven’t been running much in the WS seasons relative to the others. So there is definitely a good potential to increase my mileage by a few hundred in 2008.  Step 1 is just to keep running through the winter.

And so far that’s going well too.  In 2006 my final serious run was at the end of November, and I didn’t pick up running consistently again until April of 2007.  I ended 2007 averaging 25 miles per week, with a recent maximum of 30 miles.  I feel good about my training, and I sort of look forward to the runs even when it’s cold.  I’m not going to do anything crazy this season.  Just consistent, frequent, running to build a base for the Spring, and hopefully a foundation from which I can meet my resolution.

OK, maybe I’ll run a couple indoor track meets, too ;-).


Posted by on January 3, 2008 in Garbage In, Garbage Out, No Easy Days


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