2013-04-28 20:55:54 -0400

"oh, nice to meet you. i think i ride with your dad..."

2013-04-28 13:21:38 -0400

[16:25:56] <~bmelts> battle plz, no nasty plot, or sword dance, or dragon dance, and u HAVE TO LET me set up bellyzard, and no taunt, or heracross, and NO WEAVILLE, and no substitute, unless I have it. And dont use that many attacks and NO ROAR, or WHIRLWIND, AND IF IM GOING TO LOSE, then quit the fight

2013-04-25 22:08:48 -0400

Shaving your legs takes forever. I don't know how girls do it.

2013-04-24 16:30:52 -0400

Recipe for "Din Sum" rice:

  - 1.5 cups of rice (uncooked)
  - 2.5 cups water
  - Frank's Red Hot sauce

Combine rice and water in a rice cooker and press the power button. When the rice has finished, pour copious amounts of hot sauce into the bowl. Enjoy!

Makes a wonderful exam time meal. Post exam, accompany with a beer. If you want to make it healthier, eat some carrots while you're waiting for the rice cooker to do its job.

2013-04-23 21:01:01 -0400

I CAN'T FOCUS ON STUDYING.

Almost every year I have an exam a full week after all the rest of mine are finished, meaning its basically impossible to motivate myself to study for it - I'm already in 'summer mode'. My usual studying habits involve ~6 hours of condensed studying the day of the exam (provided the exam is after noon, otherwise I'm forced to study the night before) and several days of watching TV beforehand. 6 hours proves to be the maximum amount of time it takes for me to read the lecture slides from the entire term for courses I've never been to, write down some notes to help with the memorization process, get a 75%+ on the exam and immediately forget the entire course's content.

One issue with my method is I don't actually know how to study any 'harder' or longer. Sometimes I'll do some sample questions or read the answers to the past assignments and midterms, but for the most part, this is all I can do. I don't understand how people can spend days studying a single topic. My grade in a course is usually a function of how interested I was in the course (read: how many lectures I went to and assignments I actually finished) rather than how much I study. Thankfully this will be one of my last times round actually writing an exam, so my lack of studying expertise will no longer be an issue in life (next term is full of elective arts courses which usually have papers as their final evaluation).

Better get back to comparing GPS watches studying...

2013-04-23 15:15:20 -0400

http://lmgtfy.com/

I think the most frustrating thing in the world is people who are not good at using Google. As a result, I'm frustrated with > 95% of the human race, because the majority of people seem to have the attitude "Oh, I don't know what that thing is that was just mentioned. I guess I'll just continue to stew in my own ignorance". Novel idea: if you're on IM and someone mentions something you don't understand (maybe an acronym, or expression, or word) - Google the damn thing. Not only do you gain the benefit of further enlightenment, you also hone your Google-Fu for future endeavors.

The whole attitude of "hmm, I don't know how this works, but I'm going to figure it out" is super crucial. The long standing joke with technical support (not the 'call to India and have them tell me to restart my computer' kind, but the 'my grandson likes video games so he should be able to fix my slow internet' kind) is that the person you ask to help usually has just as much clue as to what's wrong with your computer as you do, it just so happens that they're willing to figure it out. Clicking around option menus until you find one that fixes your problem does not take 'technical know how', it simply takes 'not being an idiot'. And once again, this is actually a legitimate problem solving skill that improves the more often you apply it.

Of course, this passionate 'need for knowledge' has its drawbacks - most Wikipedia articles turn into a perverse 'choose your own adventure' which results in you spending 4+ hours reading about medieval history or esoteric philosphies. I just spent a good 30 minutes (of 'prime studying time') reading about license plates (or rather 'vehicle registration plates') simply because I was concerned with the 'namespace' of vanity plates and the potential for license plate 'collisions' (to use terms borrowed from computer science). Maybe in the past it would be acceptable not to know the answer to some questions once and a while, but not in a world where everyone has access to the internet via the smartphone in their pocket.

I like how when I write out my thoughts, I never really build to a proper conclusion. I get bored after writing down a few points and never get around to resolving the original thought, effectively blue-balling the reader. You're welcome.

(Also, because I'm now hyper-sensitive to accusations of racism, I'd like to point out the the generalization of 'Indians doing tech support' is intended as nothing more sinister than a comedic crutch)

2013-04-22 22:36:01 -0400

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swPcFyhDMpk

2013-04-22 22:03:18 -0400

Cam bailed on our double date. I spent pretty much an entire day plotting the perfect Strava snipe (even taking into account prevailing winds) and yet just because of a stupid broken fork he won't sherpa me to a KOM. Who wouldn't want to risk life and limb to drag their buddy to a meaningless title?

Still, right from the get-go I gave the ride an 85% chance of happening. I probably shouldn't rank the reliability of my friends, but 'flakiness score' is a fairly useful metric. In addition to general flakiness, lateness also plays an important factor - for over a year I had to tell Jeff to meet me 10 minutes earlier for a run than I actually planned on leaving, in order to properly offset the discrepancies with his internal clock. Lateness and flakiness are a pretty big deal for me, likely instilled in me by my mother who shows up exactly when she says she will. Her line regarding lateness: "if you show up late, you're conveying to the person waiting that you think your time is more valuable than theirs".

In my mind, its kind of a weird Nash equilibrium at play (think "prisoner's dilemma, or rather, its a coordination problem essentially) - both on time is great, and if both parties show up late its fine (though stupid... just set the meeting time to be later...), but otherwise it's usually in your interest to show up late to avoid waiting. Thus both parties try to optimize and show up late, creating a slippery slope as to who shows up latest.

Flakiness is pretty much just bullshit to me - clearly there are sometimes exceptional circumstances, but in general flakiness to me either indicates an inability to say 'no' (to the arrangement in the first place), or poor planning.

I wonder what would happen if I rigged up a model of my friend network and rated people on a lateness/flakiness index. I especially wonder what would happen if you were to crowdsource the model - I feel the interesting metric that might result is that someone may be 85% reliable to on set of people yet 100% reliable to another, even after adjusting for differences in ranking biases. This is obvious in some respects - obviously you're going to place more weight on being reliable with people important to you vs. people you're indifferent to (though, of course, I think there are some head-in-the-clouds space cadets who might be the exception that proves the rule).

<insert some joke about reliability in distributed networks>

2013-04-21 21:00:05 -0400

I've been having incredibly realistic dreams lately, to the point where I'm having trouble at times distinguishing in my mind what was real and what was actually a dream. You'd think this would happen when someone was massively sleep deprived, but that's definitely not the case on my part. It seems like it would be awesome to have such vivid, realistic dreams but its really tripping me out.

2013-04-21 13:51:07 -0400

I feel the need to point out that I think it's pretty fucking awesome that I know how to do everything in the last post - I can have an interesting idea which I know is possible, the means the execute it and the ability to make it work well. That is super powerful and simultaneously awesome. What the hell do other people do with their lives? It must be pretty limiting to have a potentially practical and cool idea (and note: 'practical' is the important qualifier - without any experience it's pretty much impossible to determine whether some of the more creative ideas are doable or not) and not get to make it happen.

2013-04-21 13:26:02 -0400

Fucking OAuth is so fucking dreadful. I want to create an application (for lack of a better word) that searchs for easy Strava segments (because I'm a Stravasshole), yet OAuth and a not-fully-designed API is cockblocking my efforts.

Ideally, I want to write a simple script which:

  a) Determines the user's GPS location, or even better, allows the user to specify a location to search from (i.e/ "Waterloo, Ontario, Canada").
  b) Uses the 'explore' (http://strava.github.io/api/v3/segments/explore/) endpoint to grab all the segments within a ~20 mile radius. Presumably, these segments will have IDs associated with them (the API documentation is lacking here).
  c) With this newfound list of close proximity segments, retrieve the leaderboard for each one (http://strava.github.io/api/v3/segments/leaderboard/).
  d) Presumably with a leaderboard and segment list, we will have access to things like speed of KOM ride, average grade, average power, etc. We then have two possibilities for next logical steps:
    - Order the segments retrieved from c) along general terms - i.e. if the KOM ride on Segment A was at 3.1 W/kg vs Segment B which was at 5 W/kg, or Segment A is 1.5km at 4% at 20km/h for the best ride vs. Segment B which is 2km at 9% at 22km/h for the KOM ride, obviously Segment A looks to be a much easier segment to KOM-snipe.
    - Get information about the current user: figure out all of the segments he has ridden through API queries and intersect them to the list of all segments. We can then figure out: which KOMs the user is closest to, which KOMs are best suited to the user's strengths (flat stretch for a TTer, short 20% grade for the puncheur), etc.
  e) We can further add to these rankings by taking into account things like wind direction (which we can pull from Google Weather or something similar) - this might require a little more cleverness with GPS coordinates to figure out which 'direction' a segment goes (up until now, no part of this app really requires knowing much GPS related details), but would be incredibly useful.

Obviously this glosses over some of the details regarding 'how' we determine the 'easiest' segment, though that's the fun part of the application that I'd love to experiment with. However, the problem remains that I can't get the data in the first place!

Strava's (pretty much undocumented) v2 API lacks the 'explore' and 'segment' endpoints needed, and the v3 API is still unfinished. I'd still be willing to poke around to see how much I can get out of it, except for, OH NOES, fucking OAuth.

If your API requires OAuth, I can pretty much guarantee I will not be writing something for it because its currently too much of a fucking pain to figure out how to get everything set up. And even then, the undocumented Strava v3 API doesn't even have a place to 'register' my app (which would require a callback URL in the first place - I think it's bullshit that I need a server running in order to get authenticated to make an API request).

All this frustration is probably an indication that I should 1) learn how OAuth works, 2) Write a library that makes it easy to call OAuth from the command line (I just want to cURL an endpoint, WTF API developers!), 3) Document the shit out of it so no one else needs to deal with this garbage.

2013-04-20 21:02:13 -0400

I still think one of the biggest compliments I can pay someone is that they "know how to suffer". Whether its a 'hardman' like Jens Voigt driving the peloton, someone trying to win a 1500m from the front or two weekend warriors attempting to climb all the highest peaks in the Adiorondacks, at once, in -14F and 6 feet of snow - willingness to be in pain is a great character trait in my books. As Calvin's dad always said "being miserable builds character".

Being miserable is one thing, but willingly choosing to be miserable is what seperates the wheat from the chaff. It seems to be from equal parts 'suffering will make me stronger' and 'loving the endorphin spike from the effort' that this unique category of crazy individuals springs forth. Of course, there's a delicate balance - one I don't think I've quite mastered.

Of course, while there's definitely people out there who think "these people are nutsos, why would anyone choose to do this?", more importantly there are also groups of people who think "man, being given the choice whether to suffer or not must be great". With the multitude of people actually suffering around the world every day, the idea of choosing to go out a little hard on an interval during some track workout seems like an indulgent privilege. It's kind of weird we admire and glorify the 'hardmen' athletes yet would probably look with disdain (or, hopefully, pity) on a child-laborer somewhere in Asia. Kind of weird when you put it in perspective.

Putting shit in perspective just isn't as fun.

2013-04-19 22:08:52 -0400

I'm kind of regretting not finding a clever solution for embedding video so this awesome vid of Sir Wiggo getting pissed off at his bike could be rendered in its full glory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1uZ2M9f6Iw

The Giro promises to be very exciting this year - Nibali vs. Wiggins redux on Nibali's turf. I'm still tipping Sir Brad because I'm an incorrigible Sky fanboy, but I think it should prove to be more exciting than last year's Tour either way. Hesjedal has an outside shot, and I'd of course be rooting for him if he was in contention, but he's going to have to really fight to hold on to the first class favorites. I also really hope Sky brings my boy Dombrowski so I can live vicariously through him.

I was checking out Joe's latest ride (http://app.strava.com/activities/48931422) which at first blush seemed pretty human. Only 71k at 30km/h? Pshht. I mean, I guess theres some mountains in there, but its only a total of 1000m elevation - that's hardly worth writing home about. Give me another month or two of riding and I'll be there easily. Thats when I noticed his average heart rate was 107 BPM - its a damn Z1 ride for him! I would be averaging higher than his highest heart rate for the ride if I attempted it - stupid professionals, ruining all my fun. Anyway, hopefully Joe will be Schleck V2 (or should I say, V3? Poor Frank) and dominate many an alpine stage in the future.

I actually bought a Strava premium membership today - somehow buying $0.99 apps on Android (to get rid of fucking display ads!) has opened the floodgates and made it 'OK' for me to pay money for things on the internet. I'm afraid this slippery slope will lead me to stop torrenting music/movies/tv shows/programs, though that would probably never happen unless sellers figure out a way to make the experience of actually paying for content less of a hassle than simply pirating it. The upgrade to premium Strava is fairly negligible (I think when I get a power meter I'll appreciate it more), but it's probably still worth what ends up being only $5 a month in the long run. Hell, I'd pay $5 a month just for the extreme pleasure I get when I steal some dude's KOM.

I've been listening to https://soundcloud.com/edmtunesx/avicii-new-album-promo-mix-2013-10-04-2013 for probably a week straight - it seems like it would be perfect for an hour on a trainer/treadmill - especially if you wanted to do a sort of fartlek workout. Fartlek's to music are pretty much the greatest thing ever - in my mind, its probably as close as I'll ever get to jazzercise. I'll still hold that the best workout song is http://hypem.com/track/199d8/Lykke+Li+-+paris+blue+(death+to+the+throne+remix), but this Avicii playlist definitely has staying power in it's favor.

I've got to wake up at 07:30 to ride tomorrow, which means I should probably already be asleep now, but I find it almost impossible to wake up on command like that. Whenever I know I need to get up early its super difficult to go to sleep because I keep getting stressed about how long its taking and how little sleep I'll end up getting. I think that was one of the biggest things that killed me when I was swimming varsity - waking up at 05:30 means you need to be in bed by ~21:30 at the latest, which is almost impossible to manage - stay up too late one night of the week and you get screwed with sleep debt you'll never make up. I really wish I was a morning person, and I'm definitely going to try to transition to a morning schedule when I'm finished with school, but right now morning people seem like superhumans (albeit, perky and annoying ones).

2013-04-18 22:08:09 -0400

I guess I should start by saying that nothing written here reflects the opinion of my employers. Or perhaps better yet, I should say the nothing written here reflects the opinion of anyone - I think the chosen location for this page speaks to amount of weight I expect it to be given. I hesitate to provide a link for something that should have already been Googled by someone who wasn't sure about the joke, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//dev/null should help explain the (self-deprecating) humor.

I didn't really like blogging, because I feel with blogging I was obligated to write something someone wanted to read. I felt like I should write something coherent, think about it for a while beforehand, maybe even proofread it. Fuck that. If I try that again I'll end up writing like 3 blog posts and then not touching it again. I clearly don't care if anyone reads this - I kind of just felt like having some place to dump my thoughts, kind of like how I use twitter but longer. Except even with twitter I now subconciously try to optimize my tweets to maximize favorites and retweets - gamification definitely works to bring out my competitiveness. Though I can't imagine someone masochistic enough to read what is basically going to be a planned stream of conciousness dump every day until I get bored.

I think I'd like to try writing every day, because maybe I'll get to be a better writer. Also, maybe 10 years from now I'll want to look back and see how much of an idiot I was. That's probably a little ambitious - thinking that I will somehow be less of an idiot 10 years from now, but I like to aim high.

I set up this site in such a way that I literally just type "note" into a terminal on any of my computers, type out pointless stuff, and it magically gets onto the internet when I save. Markdown is too much work - I just wrote some code which turns plaintext URLs into links, embeds images and maybe respects some indenting if I want it to. More importantly, theres pretty much no good way to go back and edit posts, so once I finish, its set in stone. I debated eliminating backspace (getting it to insert ^H^H^H or to strikethrough the deleted text instead) for super transparency, but it ended up being too much work to bother.

Along the lines of too much work - the idea of mirroring and entire linux box (and faking Apache directory listings) was also a huge waste of time for such a useless joke (not to mention space - the empty listing takes like 100MB...), but it was fun so 'YOLO'.

I don't want to get too carried away on styling this page and trying to make it seem like much more than it is - I tried to get as close as possible to making it look kind of like what I type into the text editor, plus pretty pictures, like this provocative one of Alison:

(questionable lighting and makeup, but I'm not going to hold it against her)

I'm kind of worried with this minimal style if I stick in too many photos of semi naked girls (is there such a thing as "too many semi naked girls?") I'll just have created a bad tumblr clone, but I feel like if anyone makes it to this point in a post they probably deserve something for their efforts.

I think one of the goals for this experiment was to perhaps generate ideas which could be polished up and properly blogged about later, though TBH I don't even necessarily see that happening because I feel I'll enjoy the freedom of writing for myself much more than trying to write something people like.

tl;dr: this is for me, not you.