17 Juni 2009

A moment of silence please.

I don't think I've quite grasped the significance of this yet. Maybe I'm still in shock. I mean, I just learned that my username was "andrewchen" and, just as quickly, I am forced to give it up (if I want to merge it with my Battle.net account anyway):

16 Juni 2009

Schprechen sie Tweetenshlize!

I'm now on Twitter! To really make use of it, I'll need to get a phone that can allow me to Tweet... or, more rather, see if my phone can already do it. I'm not interested in getting a new phone right now, especially just to use Twitter. I can, of course, just text.

Also, I think on Tuesdays, Conan O'Brien (now on the Tonight Show) has a Twitter segment, which is what my title refers to. I believe it's German for "Speaks the Twitter," but it's also very likely to be something that was made up for the show.

Who knows.

Bears, Lions, and Horses (and glue), oh my?

After a discussion about Megan Fox (compared to Jessica Alba)...

me: More importantly, what is your view of horses?
me: Or lions?

(This was taken, without permission, from 4chan.)

Syd: ooo i love these games
Syd: the horse has a crazy eye
Syd: that horse is about to become glue
Syd: i think this is frightening
Syd: and hugel inappropriate
Syd: hugely

me: Hmm. Duly noted.
me: ...what if you like glue? Huffing glue, even?

Syd: i think that's the horse for you then
Syd: i think it would be a beautiful partnership

me: Hmm.
me: What about lions fist (or should that be paw) fighting with bears?
me: Engaged in... pugilism, as it were?

Syd: bear wins

me: Ineded.

me: It's only interesting for like the first ten seconds.
Syd: good. that's about when my attention span expires
me: Haha.
Syd: oh no. i don't have adobe flash
Syd: i cannot play the movie
me: ALAS!
me: (it's really not that exciting)
me: It's mostly the idea of a bear and a lion fighting over a beer.
me: If I were a bear, I would fight over beer.
me: ...I'd do that anyway.

Syd: the bear is going to win
Syd: clearly
me: Haha.
Syd: they can stand on their back legs
Syd: and just belly flop over the lion
me: The lion, as drawn, is also on its hind legs.
me: In a way, it looks less balanced.
me: Less... cocksure of itself, in fact.
Syd: but its a lie
Syd: they have weaker Achilles
Syd: bear wins
me: Bear > Lion
Syd: this should be obvious to even a simpleton
me: Ah, but that is why we are scientists.
me: ...who ponder important questions, like bears and lions fighting over beer.
me: It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.

This reference isn't quite used correctly, but it's funny and I did say weasel. It's from S5E8, "Boy-Scoutz N the Hood."

It's okay, they're just zombies.

So, when I started on my First Crusade for Achievement points, I picked up the game Dead Rising. It's a pretty neat game which is sort of like George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead movie, except a bit more comical. Anyway, besides the game being fun to play, I thought it had some interesting Achievements, especially since it was once of the earlier X360 games (NA release: 8 Aug 2006). As usual, there is a set of the typical grind-type achievements:

In terms of progression, the first two make sense. But the last one? Well, if you pay attention to the intro movie, the sign introducing visitors to the town of Willamette, Colorado gives the population as 53,594 people. So, assuming that the population of Willamette has remained the same (perhaps steady-state?) since the numbers were taken, clearly there should be no more than 53,594 zombies.

A little more than two years later, another notable zombie game comes out: Left 4 Dead (NA release: 18 Nov 2008). If you look through the achievements, there's this one:

When presented here, it's clear that it's a cute little reference to the Dead Rising Achievements. When I saw this achievement for the first time, I was a little pleased with myself for catching the reference.

And now, to the near-present, we have Prototype (NA release: 9 Jun 2009). A quick glance through the achievements reveals:

I haven't played Prototype yet (Yes, I have the game. Yes, it's still in it's wrapper), so I don't know if the game actually involves zombies. EDIT: Apparently, I really need to play this game.

And no, I have not earned any of these achievements... though, I am planning on starting my Second Achievement Crusade shortly.

15 Juni 2009

Are you kidding me? Absolutely not.

Note: This post is more rambly than normal. I'll have to clean it up later after I'm more rested.

So, all of my Skype-active friends have already heard this gripe, but here it is again. So, today I was helping out our Program Admin (as I often do -- always good to be friends with the Admin) who will be referred to as Blanche. Anyway, so I got two rather gripe-worthy entries:

Plug and Play?

Apollo Electric (the first name will probably only make sense to me, the last name will make sense as you continue reading) wants more RAM for his laptop to run some of his applications. This is a perfectly valid request. I offer to help him find some RAM. I find him a 2GB DIMM and tell him that he can probably install it himself (mistake 1) and to return the old DIMM to me (his Lenovo T60 only has two slots). He does so and tells me that he's at 3GB now, and if he may, he'd like another 2GB to swap out with the existing 1GB to bring him to a total of 4GB. I give him the second one.

He installs this one, comes back, and then says he isn't seeing 4GB RAM (doesn't say what he is seeing though; in retrospect, I should have asked); and is pretty convinced that the DIMM is busted (or something else similar is wrong). I give him the benefit of the doubt (mistake 2), and say that I want to run an experiment and swap one of the older DIMMs he just handed me to see if something's damaged; maybe either the slot itself or the DIMM. So, without actually checking to see what the computer is registering (read: mistake 2), I say we should swap the DIMM he just installed (that of questionable function) with the previously installed 512MB DIMM.

To make a long story short and without going into detail (that would make my head explode with rage), he is impatient (perhaps for good reason, such as getting back to his work) and makes bizarre assumptions that are not helpful and would suggest solutions that basically amount to: give me a new laptop/buy me new hardware. Oh, and here's the kicker: while we're doing all this, he asks me if we can swap out the RAM DIMMs while the COMPUTER IS STILL TURNED ON.

Wait, I lied. This next part is rather minor, but as I'm already on a roll, it is worth mentioning. As Apollo is leaving, he asks me how to access the BIOS. I say that it's probably the blue ThinkVantage button built into the keyboard. He says it doesn't work, and that he thinks it's probably F2 or F8, which normally wouldn't be a bad assumption or guess... except for the fact that that's what the computer loading screen instructs. I then ask him why he thinks it's F2 or F8; he says that's what he's used to... on other computer platforms. Nevermind that different manufacturers often use different keys to get into BIOS... but no, he says he's sure.

All of these points taken individually (with the exception of the hot-swapping RAM) wouldn't be cause for such griping on my behalf, but all at once? That's a lot to take. Continuing on...

Yeah, that's a Blocker if I ever saw one

So, this other guy (I'll call him Arty Bloch) comes in and asks for a mouse -- he doesn't have one and it's "blocking" his work. This seems fairly reasonable; he's new and maybe he was issued a desktop that didn't come with a mouse (happens all the time in exchanges around here). So, I ask him if he has a laptop, to which he responds that he does (-> WTF?).

I ask him if his touchpad or mouse-nubbin (actually called a pointing stick or, when on an IBM/Lenovo, a TrackPoint) is broken. Arty says no, but he can't use those and it's really slowing him down. I tell him that I'll look and then inform him when I've found one because I have to finish some other tasks first. He agrees and saunters off to his mouse-less land.

Mr. Bloch comes back in half an hour and repeats his (somewhat) weak and pathetic story about how he can't use his touchpad. I drop what I'm doing, look around, don't find any extra mice, and then tell him as much and that'll I'll let Blanche know to order more. He says this is really blocking his work. Somewhat exasperated, I unplug the mouse that I'm using and give it to him. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? CAN'T USE THE TOUCHPAD?!?

Okay. I should take a step back. Maybe he does graphic design work, or somehow plays FPS as a function of his job here. Let me give you a hint: he doesn't (to both). As a side note, I knew a guy who could AWP pretty well in CS with a mouse-nubbin. It was on an IBM ThinkPad, not entirely dissimilar from what we use in our office. He was, of course, the exception.

More importantly, look at what's become of me: this is what I complain about. I should be complaining about why I didn't punch her in the stomach or something.

Figure 1. Are you sure? Because, otherwise, that's a great idea... for an idea.

P.S. Yeah, I made another figure without referencing it. It should be pretty obvious why I put it in there. Oh yeah, and suck yourself.

11 Juni 2009


So, one natural consequence of any tight knit group of friends is the generation and evolution of certain inside jokes/sayings. You might even call some of them aphorisms. Because I am stuck at work and posting away, I will open the call to catalogue these:

-So hard, so hard
-I don't know why he didn't punch her in the stomach
-That was distasteful






More Pseudoscientific Units!

So, no one else suggested anything, but I think we're going to go with the following:

Douchery will be measured in Pratts (Pr), for Spencer Pratt; here's an example of his douchery. Note: The abbreviation will not be "P," as that is the symbol for poise (on a side note, measuring viscosity is a kind of annoying exercise). I, unfortunately, don't know how to zero this scale or have any useful comparisons; I suppose I could make Spencer Pratt = 1 Pr, but there are a couple of issues here:

1. That would make most everything else in fractional Pratts, but I guess that's okay. I mean, most of the time, things are measured in fractional Tesla, right?
2. It's a moving target; the trend for Spencer Pratt's douchery is to increase. That is to say that his douchery is non-static. I suppose we could freeze him and store him at some institute of standards... I mean, I'm all for freezing him.
3. This really isn't an issue, but I have a suggestion on how to make Pratts even more representative of douche-y: it should be a non-Metric unit. So, 7 Pratts = 1 Cruise (Cr) (this is merely an example. I don't know how to compare Spencer Pratt to Tom Cruise).

Frustration will be measured in Friscos (Fi). I should go back and expand on how much I dislike that person to really build a more complete profile of frustration. Also, in keeping with the idea of being frustrated, I again propose that Friscos be non-Metric. Another unit of frustration should be Claw Shrimp (CS)... how about 13 Fi = 1 CS?

Please, make more suggestions as you see fit.

10 Juni 2009

A glimpse at my general thought process.

Basically, for trivial things that excite me a lot, my thought process can be broken down into roughly four steps:

So, the first frame represents the question or point of interest. The second frame represents my contemplation of the first frame. The third frame represents a solution or proposal of action to the first frame. The fourth frame represents my response to the third frame. Do you need a flowchart for that? I hope not.

Note: This image was taken without permission from here. If you like Metal Gear Solid (MGS), I strongly recommend checking out the rest of the comics. They're a pretty good synopsis of the series, in the same way that Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series is a good synopsis of Yu-Gi-Oh. That is to say, it is fucking amazing.

In case you're wondering how this all came about, it's mainly due to a discussion about the vagaries/idiosyncrasies of rank nomenclature in the US military -- all branches, but mainly the Army. In fact, I thought of this comic mainly because of how appending "Big" to "Boss" to make "Big Boss" echoes or parallels the "laziness" of the existing rank nomenclature:

[6/9/2009 4:40:49 PM] Ozan D: yup
[6/9/2009 4:41:05 PM] Ozan D: they have some pretty random ranks
[6/9/2009 4:41:08 PM] Me: Haha.
[6/9/2009 4:41:13 PM] Ozan D: like they needed more ranks, but ran out of creativity.
[6/9/2009 4:41:23 PM] Ozan D: "gunnery sergeant"
[6/9/2009 4:41:26 PM] Ozan D: "master sergeant"
[6/9/2009 4:41:29 PM] Ozan D: ...
[6/9/2009 4:41:33 PM] Ozan D: "master gunnery sergeant"
[6/9/2009 4:43:47 PM] Ozan D: it's kinda like "you're not fooling anybody. you just put two ranks together."

On a side note regarding ranks in the branches of the US military, how many can you get correctly? I got 88; I can't believe I missed all of the Petty Officer ranks.

Finally, to tie this all back into the original point of this point and as an illustration of my thought process:

[6/9/2009 5:01:59 PM] Me: Boo, they don't have anything else military related that is also trivial like that.
[6/9/2009 5:02:06 PM] Me: Sporcle, I mean.
[6/9/2009 5:03:01 PM] Ethan K: you could make one
[6/9/2009 5:03:18 PM] Me: !!!
[6/9/2009 5:03:19 PM] Me: I COULD.
[6/9/2009 5:03:29 PM] Me: Weapons used by the US Military by war.
[6/9/2009 5:03:30 PM] Ozan D: i am imagining andy saying this.
[6/9/2009 5:03:35 PM] Ozan D: it is pretty awesome.

08 Juni 2009

Ooh, ooh, time for some pseudoscience!

Of course, not to be confused with a psuedocarp.

So, if you had to come up for a unit of measure for "douchery", what would it be? My friend Ozan thinks that it should be, in typical form, related to the name of a notable douchebag, though the exact person needs to be determined:

[2:43:51 PM] Ozan D: you certainly wouldn't want to choose the biggest douche you could find
[2:44:02 PM] Ozan D: since that would make everybody else have fractional douchery
[2:44:07 PM] Me: Right.
[2:44:23 PM] Me: Well, fractional douchery is fun.
[2:44:28 PM] Me: Because then you can use metric prefixes.
[2:44:34 PM] Ozan D: but you would almost certainly want someone whose defining characteristic is douchery
[2:44:35 PM] Me: Which make it sound more science-y.,
[2:44:46 PM] Ozan D: that is, they don't have any other important qualities.
[2:44:53 PM] Andrew Chen: Like a microdouche.

If we were to make this a rigorous kind of thing (and not pseudoscience), I suppose I should define what douchery is. I won't. Instead, I present to you a list of douchebags (I'm lazy, it was one of the first links I Googled). EDIT: I don't like this list. For one, it's even lazier than me and is sort of an example of approaching the Godwin limit. I suggest simply going by what you define as a douchebag, because, really, there is no really rigorous definition of douchery. Any proposals for units, of course, should be accompanied by an appropriately humorous reason.

On a related note, Vivek provided me with a funny term: the douchebaguette.

Yes, it's in German.

So, as the title suggests, a lot of the controls on the blog are in German. I know how to change it to English, but I've decided not to. While you're probably more than capable of figuring out what a given word means in the context, I've decided to play it safe. Also, if you don't want to go through the (minor amount) of effort to use Google Translate, I've provided the translations for the German words here.

Things you'll see on the front page

Days of the Week
Sonntag (So) = Sunday
Montag (Mo) = Monday
Dienstag (Di) = Tuesday
Mittwoch (Mi) = Wednesday
Donnerstag (Do) = Thursday
Freitag (Fr) = Friday
Samstag/Sonnabend (Sa) = Saturday

Januar = January
Februar = February
März = March
April = April
Mai = May
Juni = June
Juli = July
August = August
September = September
Oktober = October
November = November
Dezember = December

Ältere = Older
Startseite = Homepage
Neuere = Newer
Abonnieren = Subscribe to

Things you'll see when commenting


So, I'm starting to use Steam more now. If you want to add me on Steam, here's my Steam ID Page.

Games I'm Actually Playing (that you can play with me!)
Team Fortress 2
Left 4 Dead
Empire: Total War

Games I'm Gonna Play for the Achivements (either single player or games you don't want to play with me)
Half-Life 2: Episode One
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
Day of Defeat: Source
Counter-Strike: Source (when they supposedly get released)

Miscellaneous Category (everything else)
Half-Life 2 -- Why aren't there achievements for this? They certainly exist for the Xbox 360.
Dawn of War II -- I think these are integrated into Steam
Sins of a Solar Empire -- I think there are achievements in this game and if so, they should be integrated into Steam

Steam also has a neat feature where you can use it to launch non-Steam games. The actual level of integration of these games is quite minor; basically, it shows up in your launcher list (basically organizing your games) and if you play the game, it lets all your Steam friends know that you're playing. Steam also tracks how many hours you've played that game, so if you like collecting data on your life, this is an enabler.

07 Juni 2009

What Team Fortress 2 Character Are You?

No, this isn't a stupid webquiz, mainly because I think they're stupid. That being said, I often find such quizzes amusing, but come on, we all know that:

1. Such quizzes are often written in such a way that is hardly rigorous.
2. Even if they were, people often (sub)conciously tailor their responses to meet the answer they want.
3. I don't have a point 3.

But, on to the main show!

Nick: man the heavy's simile (Note: I'm assuming Nick means "smile"... or maybe he means metaphor, I don't know.) is so similar to yours that it creeps me out
Me: Haha.
Me: That's what people say.
Me: Now, if I were mowing down people with a minigun, could you imagine me laughing maniacally?
Me: Relishing in the death and destruction?
Nick: no question

So instead of a stupid quiz, let's look at the other characters!

The Heavy: Laughs maniacally when killin' (++), loves a good sandvich (+), bald (-), interesting non-sensical rationale/moments of clarity (+), seemingly singular focus in combat (-), seemingly singular focus in life (-), HAS A FUCKING GATLING GUN (note, it's not technically a minigun insofar as it's not a 7.62 mm NATO M134 or even a 5.56 mm NATO XM214; in fact, it's probably closer to a M61 Vulcan...) (++), has the ability to shoot invisible bullets with his hand (+)

The Scout: New Jersey accent (+ for Erik, neutral for me), not much of a stand-up fighter (-)

The Soldier: Crazy military guy (++), non-sensical rationale (++), has a guttral battle cry (+), wasn't actually accepted into the military (--), knows how to operate a lot of different firearms (+)

The Pyro: Fire, while useful, isn't a primary weapon for me (-), also has a maniacal laugh (+), has a hadouken taunt (+)

The Demoman: A drinker (+), only one eye (clearly, all demomen must have one eye)(-), likes to blow stuff up (+)

The Engineer: Cool and calm personality bordering on sociopathic (+), likes to build stuff (+), also likes to blow stuff up (+), generally relies on other things to do his killing (--)

The Medic: Creepy German accent (+), creepy German accent (-), likes to make Horrible jokes (+)

The Sniper: Rifleman (+), has a plan (+), drinks his coffee (assumedly) black (+), has annoying parents (that we've confirmed) (--),

The Spy: French accent (-), wears a suit (-), good knife play/work (+), also not a stand-up fighter (-), uses a revolver (+)

And, of course, none of those pluses or minuses is quantitative. The list also isn't complete. It's sort of like that Simpsons episode where Moe proves that he's the best bartender and ends up with a face makeover.

Oh, this so encapsulates everything.

I've taken this image, without permission, from PostSecret.

05 Juni 2009

Ah... the ol' need a cup of coffee to make a cup of coffee paradox.

So, in case you didn't know, I've been stuck at work everyday this week until about 2100-2200. It's Friday today, so I felt like taking a small break by looking at my Steam achievements. Yes, I find this somewhat relaxing.

So, I know that I can't actually access Steam while at work, but I thought I'd try offline mode. Predictably, upon starting the client, I get this message:

Nothing unusual, right?

So I do the obvious thing and click on the offline option... which generates this:

Yeah, your guess is as good as mine.

04 Juni 2009

I'm going insane. Observe:

If you must say anything, you might as well



02 Juni 2009

Cicero's Pizza: On The Frontlines between Cougars and Cranky Old Women

In case you don't know, I love Cicero's Pizza. They make a delicious thin-crust pizza which is supposed to be NY style; I wouldn't know because I've never had pizza in New York.

I've been enjoying Cicero's pizzas since grade school, back when they were located on Steven's Creek. For a short (and sad) period of time, they were purchased by a Korean owner and became Big Apple Pizza. It just wasn't the same. After a short period of time, Cicero's re-opened in their current location... involving, perhaps, some questionable business practices/ethics, but hey, it's good pizza.

Anyway, I went there with my friend Hau and we got the Cicero's Special (without salami). It was pretty good. Better still was the service: when we got the pizza, we were informed that two of the slices were "burnt" (basically, they were slightly blackened). Honestly, neither Hau or I would have noticed, but that's what they said. To make up for it, a complimentary small pizza was provided to us. Hau and I even tried the burnt pizza -- neither of us could tell the difference. YAY FREE PIZZA.

Now, I suppose we were offered this warm and friendly service because neither of us fall into the category of "old, cranky woman"... unlike the actual old and cranky woman who made a bit of a scene at the cash register. I don't have a firm idea on what actually happened, but the owner's son (I think) dealt with her in an appropriately East-coast manner (of course, this is what I assume East-coasters are like, never really having spent any time there). It was pretty amusing. Also amusing was one of the employees there who regaled Hau and I about his escapades with cougars in downtown Los Gatos. No, I don't mean mountain lions. I mean cougars. This naturally segued into an intellectually stimulating discussion about the differences between cougars, MILFs, and soccer moms.

So, for good pizza and information about picking up older women, Cicero's is the place to go.