Monday, May 29, 2006


Our U-Haul broke down. We're at a Best Western in St. Roberts waiting for a real person on the U-Haul hotline. The BW is pretty nice. They have a pool and free wifi, and they gave us the trucker's discount. U-Haul however sucks.

How will the caped crusader get out of this one? Stay tuned.

More on the whole move later.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I hate packing

I have several borrowed books. Rob, I have 3 of yours. Bert, I have your Catch-22.

I have too much stuff.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Juicy irony

And they call it Libertyville?

Off with her head

Sis stayed until today. I put her on the bus to the airport a few hours ago.

As it turned out, pool didn't start until next week. It's not even clear it's going to happen--there aren't many teams interested.

People want to do things tomorrow. Q and N want to have dinner. Then Rob and everyone else want to go out.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Poker without fistfights?

Poker for the first time in 4 months was wholly underwhelming. Nick and I were first out. We played Boggle before going back to a cash game. Rob, George and I left last at about 4 a.m. This was last Wednesday.

Friday we watched basketball at the pub. We even cajoled Bert and Elizabeth into coming. Afterward I came back to my apartment filled with the "worms crowd."

Yesterday we sought out Sheffield's for the basketball. The Dallas game was amazing! With 30 seconds left in the first quarter, the Spurs made an amazing shot to be up by 3. This was the first time they led all game. Good timing, eh? With little over 20 seconds left, Dirk tried a layup. All the Spurs had to do was not foul! He'd get his two points, they'd have possession, and they could run out the clock. And they'd win. But Ginobili fouls Dirk (the 90% free throw shooter, mind you), and the game was tied at the end of the 4th. Thank you Ginobili! Dallas dominated in overtime, and thankfully live to see another day.

My sister is flying in today. Actually she was going to arrive at 9 a.m., but that flight was canceled. Instead, she'll arrive at 3 p.m. She'll be leaving tomorrow.

Ordinarily, today would be pool, but as my sister's in town I'm not going. I'm not even playing this session anyways.

Thursday, the Csima's are having me over for dinner. Should be fun. And I'm leaving this god-forsaken place very soon now. Moving south for summer? I have a lot of crap to do.

Friday, May 19, 2006


I don't think anyone reads this who would find this funny, but I get a kick out of it: Linux posters.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The Dallas Mavericks are hot right now! There are three series yet undecided in this round. Dallas is soundly thumping San Antonio 3-1. The Detroit vs. Cleveland and Phoenix vs. LA Clippers series are closer at 2-2 and 3-2 respectively. I'm presently at last place in our pool, 19 points down from the lead, but I'm still in it. The key is Dallas. Only I have Dallas winning the whole tournament. But even if things go as close to my bracket as possible, I'll only win by 7 points. It's still anyone's game.

Dallas is essential for me. If they don't win the whole shebang, I am mathematically eliminated. The only series for which I picked a different winner from anyone else (excluding Jayadev) are the Dallas series. Since I'm so far back, these are evidently very important. The tricky part is both Elizabeth and Linda also have Dallas getting all the way to the final. And even if Dallas wins it all, their point totals will be very near mine. (They are currently ahead of me.)

So to analyze my chances, let's assume Dallas will win it all and see how I stack up against Elizabeth and Linda. Presently, Elizabeth is 19 points and Linda is 12 points ahead of me. The Dallas series this round won't make a difference. We all said it'd last 7 games, so we'll all get the same points from it. The Dallas series next round will be interesting. Linda and I said it'd last 4 games, and Elizabeth said it'd last 7 games. So I will gain 4 points relative to Elizabeth if it really only lasts 4 games. (If it takes 6 or 7 games she will gain more over me.) Then there's the final. I'll gain between 17 and 21 points on the both of them.

Then there are the other series. Elizabeth and I both said the current Detroit series would go 5 games, and Linda said 6. If Detroit does win, it'll take either 6 or 7 games. This means Linda will gain another 2 or 4 points relative to me. Then in the next round, I said Detroit would win in 4, Elizabeth said 6, and Linda said 7. So if this is a short series, I have the chance to gain some more points on them. (On the longshot Detroit loses this round to Cleveland, this whole discussion is moot, and none of us get any points. But I have friends rooting for Detroit, so let's hope not! A Dallas vs. Detroit final would be fun.)

Then there's the Phoenix vs. LA Clippers game this round. We all have Phoenix winning it, and if they do it'll take 6 or 7 games and I'll lose on both of them. It'd be preferrable if the Clippers won. Aside from not falling further behind, it might make for a short Dallas series next round. And it's always fun to root for an upset team. (GEORGE MASON!)

I really need Dallas to win the final. Even so, my fate is not guaranteed.

Tomorrow, Liz and Nick are hosting poker. It's the first time since the incident. I hope they have cable so we can watch the games.

Oh and by the way, I probably won't be in Chicago for very long. Cheers.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Undocumented options!

SVN has this wonderful idea where if you want to access a module in a repository you just stick it at the end of the URL, so you get something like Should you ever need to know which part is the repository and which part is the module you are screwed, as each of these parts can themselves have slashes.

Of course, usually you don't care. You know what you want and you know where it is. But if you were trying to import into another version control system (say because you find it easier to use), you might. There's a nice tool called tailor which does this. So you might decide to use it. It works by getting the changesets from the old (say SVN) repository and then applying them in the new repository. But the changesets have paths relative to the repository root. That means that tailor has to strip off the "module" part of the paths, and for that tailor must know which part of the URL is the module part.

It has a very simplistic way of doing this. You have to tell it which part is which. To check you, it will test to make sure the repository root you give it is actually valid. Now, a webserver I encountered last night wasn't properly configured, and as a result tailor thought that test failed. At this point it bails, and tells me I screwed up.

That is, it bails unless you put the option "trust-root = True" in the config file. That option tells tailor to trust that I have given it the correct repository root. Unfortunately this option is documented neither in the command line help nor in the man page.

Aren't undocumented options grand!

Beauty & The Geek 3

It would appear a friend from that place might be in this show. Haha! (Hope they don't make him do a crossword puzzle!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Good idea

Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.

NBA Playoffs

Rob's running a pool for the NBA playoffs. They started about 3 weeks ago, and last until sometime in June. Part of the fun of March Madness was watching our relative standings in the pool updated almost live. ESPN did it all for us. So when Rob started the pool, he called me up and asked how much work it'd be to make such a website. You see, ESPN doesn't have one for the NBA. I said it'd be a few hours of work, but I didn't commit to doing it.

This past week I've had a little extra time on my hands. The result is here. There are a few things I still want to do:

  • PPR! As you can see from the table, there's a spot for the possible points remaining. The scheme for awarding points makes calculating PPR somewhat more complicated than it might seem at first glance. A correct pick gets 2, 4, 8 or 14 points depending on the round plus 4, 2, 1 or 0 points depending on how closely the series length is predicted plus an upset bonus if applicable. The upset bonus is awarded when there is an upset, i.e. a lower seeded team wins. The upset bonus is the difference of the seeds. This is what makes it tricky! It's entirely possible that someone can maximize his points by losing a series one round, in order to get the upset bonus in the next. One has to take this into account to faithfully calculate PPR.

  • Automatic updates! The whole point of this thing was to make both Rob's life and my life easier (in the long run). I haven't yet written the script that will update the database. This is actually a pretty simple step thanks to AJAX. I remember back in the day when I might have to screenscrape to do this. But now every website has a nice XML feed so AJAX can automatically and asynchronously refresh its webpages.

  • Game progress! When I write that background script, I can get more information than the series tallies the database currently holds. I can follow individual games (scores and the like) and display these on the page. Of course, this means I should also use an AJAX-style refresh, to keep those updates coming. (Knowing the upcoming schedule will also allow for better caching!)

  • Clean code! I did this rather quickly, so it's a little messier than it has to be. It'd be nice if it were a bit more intelligible. The files so far total over 800 lines. Isn't that a kick?

I can now run a pool every year! Hah.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Que sera sera

The Barefoot Contessa was on TV tonight. I came into it late, and couldn't figure out what was happening. Great fun to watch though. Bogie is unique. I leave you with a quote from the movie about the lonely times in life:

... there are no days and nights in it, just days that turn black when the sun goes down.

Friday, May 5, 2006

My Music!

I lost my music when my laptop went belly up. Well not quite, but my music's not as portable as it once was. I have a few CDs. I had ripped them all to my laptop. I didn't feel particularly compelled to back this up. After all, I own the CDs. I still have the music; it's just a pain to get it back onto my laptop again. So as I was sitting here ripping another CD, I became curious about the distribution. I'll share. The number of albums I have (box sets and multi-disc albums only count for one) with only one composer are:

  • 1 Albinoni

  • 3 Bach

  • 1 Beethoven

  • 1 Berlioz

  • 1 Bizet

  • 1 Brahms

  • 2 Corelli

  • 1 Debussy

  • 2 Dvořák

  • 26 Liszt

  • 1 Mozart

  • 1 Orff

  • 1 Rachmaninov

  • 1 Respighi

  • 4 C. Schumann

  • 1 R. Schumann

  • 1 Serebrier

  • 2 Shostakovich

  • 1 Sibelius

  • 8 Tchaikovsky

  • 1 Telemann

I have 5 other albums of classical music, and a few of popular music as well. So it'll be a while before it all comes back "online." This list certainly highlights the strengths and weaknesses of my collection (don't judge me for the Liszt!). If any of you are looking to buy me Christmas presents...

Wednesday, May 3, 2006


I had a pretty nice copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I got it from this little bookstore in Terrell, Texas. For some reason which evades me now, my family and I went to Tyler, Texas (of Toadies song fame). On the way back, we stopped at a strip mall in Terrell. I found this little bookstore. I didn't recognize the name, but the store had 3 or 4 other locations. I have a habit of buying books on trips. I don't like souvenirs, and I don't vacation well, so I suppose it's a compromise. It gives me something to read on the way back, and a way to remember the trip. I bought THND in Terrell. I bought Sister Carrie at the Baylor bookstore. I bought Lucky at an airport.

The point of this is: I can't find THND now! I thought I brought it to Chicago. But I don't see it anywhere.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

I take that back

Sorry, I meant to ask if you could believe there are two blogs devoted to random events that happen on Chicago mass transit. Here's the other one.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Weekend at Bernies

So yesterday I spent some time with part of my old bridge crowd. Four hours of staccato conversation. It was nice to see them again. We suggested future soirees. I wish I were more certain of my future...

Then Rob and I went to go play pool at the usual place. Call it practice for playoffs. You know what happened? We were charged for pool. (The bartender working didn't know us.) It brings up an interesting moral question: if they so regularly give us free pool, can we expect it? (Also, a former manager essentially offered everyone in the league free pool--but he no longer works there. He didn't promise anything though.) I really don't care, but Rob was incensed. I'm certain he's going to embarrass me. I have friends there. Why can't everyone be so laid back as I? :)