25 August 2007

Little things.

I think I've decided to leave the blog commenting options controls in German, somewhat in homage to LeAnn's voicemail machine.

Inconsiderate people really suck. On an unrelated note, has anyone seen four JSD T-Shirts at Pitzer? Two black ones, a green one, and a red one. Not that anyone from Pitzer reads this. Not that anyone reads this.

I've decided to rewrite the rules for Gorkamorka. Normally I'm a purist when it comes to rules, but since Gorkamorka is no longer supported by Games-Workshop and has no Living Rulebook of its own, I figure I may as well. It probably also the most flawed rules which would make it harder to get other people to play, which I hope to rectify.

I've been playing Medieval II Total War again, and this time as the French. And I don't know, but I think I've been in a war with Germany/Holy Roman Empire for just about the entire game now (at least 100 years).

15 August 2007

That whole Chinese Toy thing...

If you've been watching the news recently, you should know that in addition to the coming apocalypse (seen through the weird and horrible weather) that China sucks big fat monkey balls when it comes to product safety. There's the food, local construction, and toys. TOYS. Lead paint and small magnets. That sucks.

I've got a solution. How about instead of buying your kids toys that are going to break (they were made in China, after all), get them something like... I don't know, LEGOS. It's pretty hard to break LEGOS, and they come in the big sizes so kiddies can't swallow them. A book's a nice idea too, but I know that'll never fly. Or, how about a computer or some-such. It's good training, and computer games are so damn cool. Plus, if the kid's swallowing computer stuff, well, maybe you should think about getting some new fucking kids.

07 August 2007


So I was writing my abstract for submission to JSD, and I ran the spell-check. Not surprisingly, "hexakis" is not in Microsoft Office's dictionary. However, the first suggestion was...


I should note that if you're snickering, it's because you are a product of recent "culture." I should note that I've never really encountered this word in actual usage... though, I do remember it. Maybe it was in the Boy Scouts or some old children's book or something?

06 August 2007

Oh, I've been made.

So at the Mensa (that's the cafeteria), there are student prices and non-student prices (the student prices are about 75% of the non-student prices). Except for the last two weeks, I have been able to get away with the student prices for all of my visits to the Mensa. Lucky me.

However, for some reason, the cashier person started finally asking for my ID, which I obviously don't have. She now knows me by face, so I can't sneak past anymore. Worse, I think the other casher persons are also wising up. Sigh. I suppose I could find something else to eat. I guess I don't have CIA training afterall if I got made so easily.

In a slightly related topic, this is what I want to eat when I go home and before I return to school:

- Cicero's Pizza
- In-N-Out
- Prime Rib at Garden City
- Japanese food

What I want when I return to school:

- Indian food
- Peruvian food
- More Japanese food

This is what I will miss from Germany:

- The bread, meat, and cheese
- Döner kebab

Things that were interesting but I suppose I could do without:

- McBeer at McDonalds

And does anyone want me to bring anything back? I obviously can't bring back things like meat and stuff, but I can bring back beer...

02 August 2007

Well, being in front of a computer tends to do that.

I guess the nature of work involving lots of computations is that there's a fair amount of downtime. I'm waiting for some calculations, and shit -- I'm already in front of a computer, so I might as well blog.

In a related note, I was granted use of their computer cluster which has some 16 or so nodes with a variety of processors (I saw AMD64 a lot in the node list). It's kind of neat to fight for spots in the cluster. Maybe they should just buy a bunch of Xboxes?

And because I'm in front of a computer so much, I've taken to perusing through some sites that I haven't checked in awhile, including Games-Workshop stuff...

I've decided that I really want to get back into some GW mini-gaming, particularly any of their Skirmish offerings:

In case you're wondering, a Skirmish game deviates from GW's normal offerings in that you're not dealing with managing an entire company sized detachment/issuing commands to squads. Instead, you're down to the individual soldier level, and this affords a bit of personality to each and every man/woman/creature you control. Furthermore, each game tends to have a bit of character to it, which is always nice. This also has the advantage of only having to buy a small amount of models instead of a massive army, and you can lavish more detail and attention to each model.

Think Final Fantasy Tactics and you should get an idea for what these games are like.

1. Necromunda: Definitely Warhammer 40K (WH40K) themed -- it takes place in that time period. It's mainly human-on-human conflict in the form of gangs. It's got the same great dark and dystopian feel that characterizes the 40K world. Players control gangs numbering around 7-12 models. There's a bit of strategy involved in choosing House affiliation, armaments, gang members, etc. Different gangs then go at it in a long campaign style game, with periods inbetween action to manage and modify their gangs. The rules and related material can all be found here.

2. Gorkamorka: No longer supported in any way, but I still have the rules (Gorkamorka will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first mini-game that I played) and getting models is easy. In fact, the WH40K Ork line is one and the same, or in many cases easily convertable. The premise is the same as Necromunda, but the game has a more distinct and wackier feel to it, which is consistent with the weird wacky-goofy-brutal Ork character. There's also vehicle combat. Imagine gangs of Orks going at it in a Mad Max sort of world. You can be either cunningly brutal or brutally cunning.

3. Mordheim: Set in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle timeline (sort of) in the eponymous (ruined) city of Mordheim. Players again manage bands intent on scouring the ruins of the city and fighting for territory. You can be either human, ratmen-like Skaven, Elven, Dwarven, Orcish, or even Undead... just to name a few. It's got, like Necromunda, a darker and more serious feel to it as well as a horror/Halloween sort of theme going on. The rules are here.

If anyone else wants to play when I get back State-side, just tell me. I'll front the communal costs, but would-be players need to buy their own miniatures... though I'm sure we can work something out. I'm not even sure why I'm bringing this up at all because I know I'm not going to have any time once I get back to school, but hey, you can always hope, right? And I can't get in trouble for owning small models of guns and swords that are smaller than my index finger. Well, I hope so. I mean, heck, some people think I'm Korean.

In other news, I've got two weeks until I get on a plane to get back home, though through that hassle of Heathrow.

01 August 2007

The differences between Computational Chemistry and Laboratory Chemistry

So, for this week, I've been spending the majority of my time on another floor of the chemistry building here at the universität, partly because I want to learn about as much chemistry as I can and partly because everyone is going crazy over preparations for the ACS meeting in Boston.

On this floor is the group of Prof. Holthausen, who does mainly computational chemistry. It should be noted that computational chemistry is different than theoretical chemistry with computation -- it would appear that the latter is mainly concerned with developing tools for chemistry but not the actual application of those tools/development of methodology of those tools for chemical applications. As such, these folks actually know something about the chemical reactions I encounter in lab.

I've mainly been brushing up on my Linux commands and learning to use programs like Gaussian and such. It's pretty neat.

Here are the main differences between doing the "soft-work" and the "wet-work":
1. They have substantially better coffee down here, I think. I can't really taste the difference, but it smells different and their machine seems to have some degree of robotic implementation in it.
2. Their chairs are also substantially better. This makes sense, and is probably a consequence of the amount of time they spend sitting. It's like a nice break in here.
3. The degree of weirdness seems to increase, which seems to follow the rather normal correllation of weirdness to proximity of computers. It should be noted that this correllation does not follow for proximity to chemistry, unlike in the states. Most of the people I know who do real science tend to be a little weird, with the possible exception of biologists. Yet, everyone here in AK Wagner is not -- in fact, I know they have real lives outside of lab. They just happen to be tired all the time.