Archive for September, 2007

Chuck and Beauty and the Geek

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Chuck I watched the pilot episode of Chuck from Monday tonight. I had heard that it was going to be good, and wow was it not. I call it right now this show will be replaced mid season. This show felt like it was in the early ’90s in terms of how it portrayed computer geeks. That is a big no no if you want to attract geeks as an audience. Of course, targeting geeks at all, is a big turn off to just about every other demographic, which leaves the show with no one to watch it. Sure NBC will play some games, giving it the Heroes lead-in audience possibly (that would be a sign they desperately want to attract the geeks who like Heroes), but that won’t work because the writing is awful. They clearly do not have any geek consults at all. I will not tune in next week.

Katie and Luke I’m sure all of you who care know by now that Luke made it through the 2nd episode of Beauty and the Geek. Jesse also made it, but there was 1 Ohio casualty, and unfortunately it was not Jasmine, but Amanda (and Tony). I liked Tony and Amanda, although possibly due to editing as all things on the show are, it seemed Amanda actually cared about him. One thing that someone I talked to suspected they were controlling is wardrobe. He or she (I forgot who it was exactly) refused to believe that the geeks really dressed that way (too geeky and with absolutely zero fashion sense), saying that the show must be giving them clothes to wear. Their primary complaint was with Jesse in the first episode. While not a lock, Luke’s sporting on one of our OSU FIRST shirts in the second episode hurts that claim.

Luke Sporting His The Gun Team Shirt Amanda and Tony

The teams that won made a mistake in not picking Luke and Katie for elimination. So there are 2 events, geeks vs. geeks, and beauties vs. beauties. This means that 1 or most likely 2 teams will win these events. Each winning team gets to pick 1 team to put up for elimination. This is the first episode, so there is no past performance record to look at so you make the best decisions possible with your limited amount of information. In each event there was a clear second place team; because of Katie’s debate skills Luke and her were one such team, the other team was John the MIT guy and his girl (they did get picked). In the end the result was that a cute team who was no threat to anyone, at least initially, was eliminated, which makes the whole competition that much harder for everyone else. I can see some strategy in that, but I’m certain no such strategy was actually planned.

A Little More xkcd

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

On September 14th, Randall Munroe decided to go kite flying again, despite that he still hasn’t posted pictures from the last time, and his timing circuit was broke. The real reason for the event was that a girl from back in Virgina had come to see him that weekend, and they needed something to do. Wow it must be cool to have people, including me, drop what they are doing to go hang out with you and your friend. This was part of my really busy week, possibly the busiest yet in Boston. But hey, 3 dinners out in one week all with different people is the way I want every week to be, anyways there are some pics and some stories to share. Click on the picture for the story.

Listen to the Wind Chasing the Tail

Catch the Kite and Win A Prize Wait, I drew That…. and That

  • Also, now that there are like a million pictures of him on the web I don’t get to feel exclusive for being able to pick him out of a crowd. I do like how my video of the countdown tracks his entrance when people on most of the other videos are asking him to show himself. I do feel that I should have said, “hey Randall” when he passed, not “How’s it going,” just to alert those who could hear me. You know, provide a service and contribute knowledge wiki style.
  • I also don’t get to daydream about being confused for him just because I’m walking around MIT with a kite. Not that that would have ever happened. No sarcasm, it really never happened, I am not that cool.

Wednesday Night Dinner: Out of the Blue & Taqueria La Mexicana

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Out of the Blue I picked Out of the Blue for this weeks Wednesday night dinner. This was the first time that I picked a place. Out of the Blue is a little Italian Seafood place in Davis Square. I got pasta and shrimp in a marinara sauce, which is one of my favorite dishes anywhere. It was good, the sauce was really rich and it dominated the flavor. I’m not sure that the place would stack up well against other Italian seafood options in Boston.

Last week we went to Jed’s pick Taqueria La Mexicana in Union Square. I had intended to walk, but I got caught up playing Wii tennis and was late when I left, so I drove. I didn’t take a picture of this place and I didn’t blog about it last week because, well, it is forgettable. What is not forgettable is that they are expanding into the storefront next door and getting a liquor license, which the owner was very excited to tell us many times. The food was the most bland “authentic” Mexican I’ve ever tasted. I got a burrow, which is just a burrito, and I think both Chipotle and Anna’s have better burritos. This place was similar in style, order in line, and such to those places, but did have a much larger menu.

xkcd Meetup – Dream Girl 2007

Monday, September 24th, 2007

This Sunday was Spetember 23, 2007, so naturally I was here:

View Larger MapXity of Kambridge, CD

And so were hundred of other loyal xkcd fans from all over the world. There was a guy from Russia, and from The United Kingdom. My friend and board gaming buddy, Post, hosted a group of his friends from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and even my college and robotics buddy Josh drove up from Jersey to attend. Oh, and collect on one of his two free meals because the Red Sox came up short against the Yankees. At least the Sox have locked a playoff spot. Ok back on topic.

Me with the Cleveland Crew
Post, and his crew arrived shortly after Josh and I did. They planned a head and brought stuff, including two of the best costumes there. They also brought a conversation topics list, and a poster for people to sign. They eventually
gave the poster to Randall (that’s the poster back there to the left getting signed.)
, who promised to scan it in in high res.
Other Impressions
There is just so much to talk about, I’ll be telling stories from this weekend for a while, but I want to hit on some big things I can think of now:

  • There were a lot of hot girls[1, 2] [3, 4, 5] [6] there, hot nerdy, possibly lesbian girls. Well the last part is wishful, but I did read on the comment white boards that “The Dream Girl went home with a Wellesley Woman.” I mean, maybe not a lot compared to the general population, but compared to the expected audience, wow. Also of interest is how little photographic evidence of this there is, its like there was something more exciting that hot girls there ;-).
  • I didn’t get anything signed, I didn’t bring anything to get signed, and random bits of signed paper, well those seem lame, but I did stand in mob (thats kind of like line) to get Cory Doctorow’s blog signed.
  • Afterwards Josh, Post, his friends, me, and some random other people, including the guy from the UK went and had dinner downtown at Quincy Market. This was my first time eating there. I got some New England Clam Chowder, which was not as good as it should have been in the touristy part of town. The guy from the UK, Alex, was interviewed, and had his musings included in this article on the event. I was also interviewed, the reporter girl was riding in the subway car with us down to dinner, at least as far as Harvard Square. My contribution was a musing on “where are we going to do this next year!”

I guess that is it for now, nothing is sparking any stories. I did take some video’s while I was there, which went a long way towards filling up my 1GB SD card. The best of them are up on you tube now, and embedded below:

Randall Munroe Enters and the Dream Girl Countdown
Sorry, this one is a bit sloppy with the camera work.

Xkcd Meetup Conversation Game

Randall Munroe on being a Roboticist
This one follows the previous one by maybe 10 seconds.

Randall Munroe on Early Advertising for Xkcd
Later on, the crowd has gone down a lot so now you can hear him talk about interesting stuff

Sriram’s Birthday

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Addis Red Sea So, I’m a little late here, I’ve been busy, and then lazy. Last Thursday was my room mate Srirams’ birthday and one of his friends organized a celebration dinner at Addis Red Sea, an Ethiopian restaurant, in Cambridge. This was the second time I’ve been to an Ethiopian restaurant. The first was with Paul and his friend Kate at OSU. North of the OSU campus on High St. was a hole slew of ethnic restaurants and the Ethiopian one is the only one I ever went too, and that only happened because Paul and I let Kate pick the place. Given recent love affair with Indian food I should totally have tired more of them. Anyways, this experience taught me that Ethiopian food a very communal thing. Everyone eats from the same central dish, and spongy bread is used as both plate an utensils. Addis was much the same, but I was surprised to see a whopping $7 “plate” charge for sharing an entree. Mind you, there are not plates, just spongy bread. I know its Cambridge, but to me it just flew in the face of what little I know of Ethiopian dinning. The service wasn’t very good, it took over an hour for us to get our appetizers, and then another half hour for the main course. Granted, there were maybe 11 or 12 of us, and each of us ordered an entree (to avoid the plate charge and increase variety), but that is a long time. The food was pretty good, but not worth that kind of wait.

Claudia and Sriram playing tennis with Tad watching The long dinner cut into playing with Srirams’ new toy afterwards. His new toy is a Nintendo Wii. He managed to find a split second when had them in stock and swooped on right up with free Amazon Prime shipping that got it to our house in < 24 hours. He only has the games Wii Sports and Wii Play for now, but everyone in the house is eying new games to get. I am eying Mario Cart Double Dash, which is a game cube game, but the wii will play it if you have all the old game cube controllers and memory cards to use (which I don't). I've been trying to locate a not outrageously expensive way to get this stuff, the hardest part being finding 4 of the wireless controllers. Luckily, I think we'll be satisfied with Wii Sports for a while. Everyone loves tennis, but I alone seem to be enjoying baseball.

Beauty and My Friend the Geek

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

My friend, former FIRST Robotics teammate, and guy I never really talked to in High School, Luke is on Beauty and the Geek this season. Tonight was the first episode. I had heard that he auditioned, but I didn’t know that he had actually made the show until tonight. That probably that stems from him being sworn to secrecy by The CW, and that I moved away from Columbus. I made myself watch the show, which was difficult at times cause wow is reality TV bad, no offense Luke. Here’s to you winning that embarrassingly small $250,000 grand prize.

(Luke and Sites with the 2005 control box in the making)

A coworker mentioned at lunch that they also had a long time, high school friend on the show. He is also from the Cincinnati area, but didn’t goto high school with Luke and me, so there must be another person from Cincinnati on the show. I presumed it was one of the geeks, but I did catch that one of the beauties was from Ohio. How many freak’n people from Ohio do they have on this show? I’ll have to ask him who it is tomorrow. I’m going to try to watch Luke until he gets kicked off. Does that even happen in this show, I have no idea.

So the contestant that my coworker grew up with is Jesse. There are 4 Ohio contestants, Luke, Jesse, Amanda and Jasmine. Oh, and of course people are eliminated on a weekly basis.

Elephant and Castle

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

Elephant and Castle This weeks’ Wednesday Night Dinner was at the Elephant and Castle pub (whats with the craptastic flash websites these places have) in the Financial District. This time I transcribed the address correctly, and stared at a map long enough to get my photographic memory for maps accustomed to the area. I’ve never actually been to the Financial district before. Not 20 steps above ground coming out of Government Center station a couple in an SUV of some kind asked me for directions. I am usually quite happy to provide directions, and I take some pride on being able to provide good, correct ones, but I had just not 1 min before come above ground out of a new subway station for the first time. I hadn’t yet figured out where I was so I was no help to them. It turns out that I was right next to this pipe that had exploded and launched asbestos into the air earlier in the day. I didn’t know that at the time, just saw it today on the web. It certainly explains why there were so many news crews at what looked to be a standard pipe repair job site.

The restaurant was large, much larger than our usual hole in the wall places. It was picked by an actual Englishman in our group, who docked it a fair number of points for not being as authentic as it’s made out to be. Most importantly the flat screen tv with the red sox game on it was highly unauthentic for an English pub in his opinion. I was apparently the only one watching the game though (there goes the theory that I’m an authentic Englishman), because when Ortiz hit a 3 run homer in the 3rd I was the only one who clapped, boy did I look silly. Anyways, the food was good, I got steak tips, and my portions seems kind of on the small side, but everyone else’s portions looked alright. Other than the fact that I am writing home about it, I wouldn’t say its anything to write home about.


Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I’m just sitting around listening to music. I’ve got a post I’ve been working on about the HD-DVD format war, but I don’t feel like working on it so I’m just going to write for a bit.

I spent Sunday watching some football and tennis in HD on my tv for the first time. Sports are good to watch in HD since you have to watch the commercials anyways because who cares about timeshifted sports, and currently I can’t do HD with the mythbox. One can’t routinely get the Red Sox games in HD without paying more for cable so I haven’t done this much despite watching more sporting events this summer than probably in my entire previous life. I was caught up by the new iPod Nano commercials.

What is that song! well its 1234 by Fiest, who is, of course, a female Canadian singer. At this point I’m not surprised, the fact that she’s another Canadian goes a long way towards explaining why I like. I seem to have this almost unnatural affinity for female Canadian singers, what else could explain why I just can’t stop listening to Avril. Due to Avril and Chantal Kreviazuk’s recent spat I learned that she too is Canadian. I’m sure there are more Canadians lurking in my music collection. Anyways I must have listened to 1234 100 times today at work. Still not tired of it.

It kicked off my listening tonight, which was doing a surprisingly good job of matching my disappointed with a touch of lonely and going to do something about it mood. The songs were

  1. Fiest – 1234
  2. Baech Boys – Feel Flows
  3. A Dawson’s Creek Instrumental
  4. Goo Goo Dolls – Flat Top
  5. Aladdin – One Jump Ahead
  6. Judy Collins – Amazing Grace
  7. Offsping – The Kids Aren’t Alright
  8. Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight

So, it was on the Frank Sinatra song that I went wow, these are matching up pretty good. Apparently I was completely oblivious to The Kids Aren’t Alright and Amazing Grace, and random was pretty random, it was just my perceptions that were not. In conclusion the music apparently was never much in mood, its certainly stopped being so now.

I don’t know why I thought this would be interesting. I guess it was more interesting the first time it went through my mind before I realized that I could be free writing it all. Then I went back and wrote the previous thoughts because once I started writing the present thoughts seemed unworthy. I guess I’m done till I come up with something more worthy.

Wednesday Night Dinner

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

Dokbau So, to quench my thirst and my thirst for exploring Boston area restaurants, I joined a little dinner group a while back. The group mostly consists of Jed’s MIT friends, their friends, and other random people who are about as connected to the hub of the group as I am (not very). We meet on Wednesdays and never goto the same place twice. I’ve gone to 3 places with them, and I only write about it now because I finally remembered to take a picture of the place. Which I decided was a requirement after using an online photo for my dinner in the north end post. This group tends to stick to Cambridge, especially in the winter I hear, since who wants to walk around in the cold unnecessarily.

Last night we went to a Thai place, thats supposed to be quite good, Dokbau, in Brookline. I had this mango fried rice with chicken, possibly not in the mainstream of traditional Thai food, but it was excellent; lots of big chunks of mango, yum. The place is pretty close to where my parents will be staying when they come visit in October, so its on this possible list of places to take them, which needs lots more filling in. But its not as close as I thought it was. Due to their awful flash site complete with annoying whooshing sounds ( I only link so that Google will pick up that comment ), I transcribed the address as 144 Harvard St, which if you check the picture, is not the address. So that was fun, 144 Harvard St. is some sort of nail salon; luckily, 4 blocks isn’t that far off, and Google on the phone came to the rescue yet again.

The Weather Outside Is…

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

Delightful Weather Tooltip
Because what I really need is for my web browser extension tool tips to be making these kinds of subjective judgments for me.