Friday, December 18, 2009

Farewell for the present

I've always been quite good at 'goodbyes'. Partly because there are very few people that I genuinely care about and partly because I've always known that, in parting with those few, there was the inevitability of seeing them again. Another part of it may be that it's almost always been me leaving, me going somewhere new, me leaving someone behind. Was it easy to say goodbye to my family and my very best of friends knowing that it'd be at least 9 months before seeing any of them again? Easier than you would think so. Very much easier than you would think. Do I miss them? More than anything - but that doesn't change the fact that it wasn't that hard to leave in the first place.

This has been much different. Here goes good friends all of them, back to their homes all across the world, people that have occupied nearly every day of my existence in the last 4 months, people who I may not have known very long in the grand scheme of things but who nonetheless will be on my mind just as much as my oldest friends, maybe more. Here I am, left behind. Left behind in a foreign country I suppose, but still left behind. Glasgow (and the rest of the UK) gets less and less foreign every day, as things are wont to do.

John, James, Rachael are gone tonight. Ryan and Peter aren't far behind them. I'm leaving too I suppose, but only for a while. I'm coming back. They've all gone to New York, Minnesota, Georgia, Michigan, and New Zealand. There is a definitive uncertainty as to whether I'll see any of them ever again. Would I like to? Hells yes, unequivocally so. Will I? Seems really really unlikely. Which I think is what's getting to me the most right now - that disbelief in spatial seperation. How something so commonplace that it became natural and expected can be transformed into something nearly impossible, just by a thousand miles, is a bit heavy a concept for me to weigh on right now.

I have a book. I bring it with me everywhere and have gotten most all of my friends to sign it. I'd like to share what Peter wrote. Him and Ryan both are at about the same place I am right now. They leave tomorrow. Pete lives in the northernmost tip of New Zealand and that fact is dragging on him quite a bit. Compared to him, I really shouldn't complain. At any rate, here is what he wrote in my book. I think it's quite beautiful.

" This is the family we made
This is who we are
This is where we stand
Our hopes and dreams
have led us here
And may they lead us
together again

And who said that engineers couldn't be good at words?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Estoy yendo viajar a la España en tres días

Which is only slightly disconcerting. I'm not nearly as prepared as I think I ought to be. I'm rubbish at preparation. I imagine that Friday night/Saturday I'll get into looking up a whole bunch of things but right now I'm totally unprepared. I'm okay with that actually and a little excited. I've never enjoyed being prepared. Let's just go get lost in a country that doesn't speak English.

That was another thing. It was my plan to try to get back into Spanish. I know a fair bit and can understand people when they speak sometimes and can read it but I can't speak it a bit. Takes me forever to come up with a sentence. I was hoping to maybe learn a bit more, which I have, but still not as much as I'd like. I'm actually in the midst of writing a letter completely in Spanish to a friend.

Other things I should probably look into:

Where the hell I'm going to sleep
Where/what the hell I'm going to eat
Getting a tent (either here or once I get to Spain)
Transportation from various cities.
Learning useful phrases that I don't know cause I think there are a couple out there that I don't quite know.

Here's one thing I have figured out: An actual travel itinerary, rather, the places I want to and figure I have time to visit. Whether I get to them all or get distracted by something else stands to reason. I do get distracted very easily. Anyways, here's where I plan on going: Málaga, Ronda, Setenil de las Bodegas, Gibraltar, Cadíz, Sevilla, Corbóda, Granada, Albacete, Tarragona, Barcelona.

If there's time left, I'll hit up Madrid too. No Guernica unfortunately ¡Que lástima! Just not enough time I think. Three weeks, 11 cities I think is probably pushing it, especially considering the distance I need to cover.

Oh, there's also the fact that I haven't gotten a flight home yet. Might wanna look into that sometime.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Scots Wae Hae

There are times when it is quite impossible to do anything but love this country. One of my favorite things about Scotland is also one of the biggest differences from home - singing. Perhaps singing isn't exactly the right way to describe it; shouting words loudly as a group would be better. At any rate, it's something that happens here alot more than it does at home and I love it - even though I'm not enough in the know to join in.

Last time I was at King Tut's, the crowd fully sang one of Sergeant's songs, which isn't too unusual to see at concerts except - and this is the part that's amazing - they sang it before Sergeant had even stepped on stage.

As well as this, there's the countless number of times you'll pass a group of people drunk in the street/pub/hallway/flat singing (shouting?) their football team's song. Nothing even close to that even happens at home. People just don't randomly start singing and I want to know why? Why can't we all break out in song for some reason? The only time this has even came close to happening was at a flat party I was at last year. There was shit music blaring (which is a thing that happens at parties I've noticed) and then 'Wonderwall' came on and everyone stopped and sang. Except for me, I thought it was a bit ridiculous at the time. I still do actually. There's a difference between everyone singing along to a song that's playing on the stereo and everyone singing a song just because they fucking can .

Last night my roomate and his friends put on a Christmas dinner in their kitchen and my roomie invited me. Everytime someone spilled a drink, the whole kitchen (about 15 of them) sang part of 'Finland Finland Finland' and then counted down from 8 and in that time the person who spilt had to finish their drink. I don't think that's a widespread cultural thing either. They just decided that they should sing really loudly whenever someone spilled their drink. Fuckin' brilliant. I'm gonna start doing that and screw anyone who looks at me funny. Sometimes you just gotta sing loudly with a large group of people for absolutely no reason.

Also: Before we ate they did (in jest) The Robbie Burns Grace. I looked it up, it's actually called The Selkirk Grace and wasn't written by Robert Burns, he just used it lots I guess? At any rate, the grace itself is quite short but so delightfully Scottish (both linguistically and in attitude) that I'm going to share it (and probably start using it).

" Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae the Lord be thankit.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Muse is really popular over here. I'm not really sure how popular they are at home, I'm not really a fan but I'm pretty sure they're more popular here. At any rate, their show sold out months in advance.

That wasn't really what I wanted to write about but it popped in my head so I wrote it down. Though, I suppose it does sortof relate to one of the things. That's one of the big differences I've noticed here - music. There's so much of it around. Maybe part of it is just that I'm in a much much much larger city than I've ever been before but there's music everywhere and alot of it is actually really good. Differences in different bands popularity is interesting though. For example, be prepared to pay out the nose for Snow Patrol or Arctic Monkeys here but it'll only be like 10 quid for The Tragically Hip.

Anyways, I sortof lost track. Being abroad is strange. I'm not particularly patriotic but here several times a day, my country of origin comes up. In fact, most of the people I hang out with here call me 'Canada'. I've always had trouble viewing people in terms of their nationality - countries on the whole don't really make sense to me.

It's curious to me how much a person tends to identify themselves in terms of their country. In reflection, I've been doing it quite alot, many times without realizing it. I'm going to try to keep better focus on that from now, and not let it happen so often. There's nothing wrong with being Canadian but I can't imagine a person not being anything more than their country. There's an interesting connection; an unconscious connection, I suppose, between a person and their country. There are so many things that you get used to seeing everywhere that they just become part of your landscape but then you shift and your landscape shifts accordingly.

Why the hell would I get excited to see a guy wearing a Maple Leafs hat? I don't like Toronto and I've never really followed the NHL. I do like hats but not that much so that's not it either. Nothing is particularly remarkable about a guy wearing a Maple Leafs hat, except maybe for that he's in Glasgow. The sudden inclusion of something formerly so commonplace to an area devoid of familiarities is memorable. Even if I've never in my life looked around me and gone, "Gee jolly! There sure are alot of people here with Toronto hats", there's something unconscious that recognizes it as being missing. I guess what I'm really trying to say here is fuck Toronto. Seriously, get out of my head you wanker.

Location can be everything it seems. I got dinner and a place to sleep because I was wearing a Team Canada jersey in Duone. Probably wouldn't happen in Canada. So in a way nationality is like a top-secret club. Seems a bit unfair doesn't it? But people will always be preferential.

Unreleted: Google is getting too smart. I wanted to search for Vinyl Cafe but instead searched for 'vinyl vsgr'. V, S, G, R being the letters directly to the right of C, A, F, E respectively. My top result was for Vinyl Cafe. Google didn't even ask me if I meant 'vinyl cafe'. It just fucking knew.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Welcome to Jolly Ol'

There's always something so uniquely strange about the night before going on a trip someplace. Tomorrow - no - in less than 12 hours I'm going to be in London. I think the average person would be excited and, don't get me wrong, I am but at the same time there's a flighty sort of misunderstanding of perception that I get before going someplace. Tomorrow, I'm still going to be me but I'm me somewhere new and that fact always seems to mess with me just a little bit. I think I have reality issues; something can't be real until I've seen it for myself. Right now, London holds the same level of believability over me as Never-Never Land. Soon, however, it will be solidified as fact in my mind, as a place that exists in both space and memory - at least to me anyways. It's that thought that puts me off slightly and gets me pondering.

Isn't odd how you can know exactly where you're going without ever having been there before? It's just one of the reasons that maps fascinate me. I may never have been to London but I already know what some of the places I want to go are and where they are. To me, that seems a bit against the point - isn't it? To go someplace new while having a full understanding of exactly what you're going to do there seems to defeat the purpose altogether of going somewhere new. I think, in alot of cases I tend to do the touristy type things simply because I wouldn't know what else to do or because it's expected of me ("How could you not have seen Buckingham Palace?") and not because that's actually what I want to do there. Honestly, I don't know what I want to do anywhere, not fully anyways. Maybe that's why I feel as though I can never stick around one place for too long - because maybe the next place might have something.

Who knows? It's too late though and I don't think I can properly articulate the rest of what's in my head so maybe that'll be for the night before I go someplace else. G'night.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Horizon is a Beltway That We May Never Cross

I'm figuring out more and more that I'm far better at running away from things than running towards them, both mentally and physically - and more often than not, both simultaneously. I do that alot, when I'm angry or upset (which is actually fairly rare); try to push myself to my physical limits.

Jogging the 5k to a friends flat out of anticipation and excitement (and the fact that I prefer running to walking) towards something that could be pretty fantastic, took it out of me slightly. I had to sit on the stairs outside, mostly because the cheese and fries I ate was disagreeing with me but also partly because I was tired and needed composure.

Running the 5k back home from that flat out of anger and 'I-really-couldn't-give-a-fuck-right-now', away from something that could be pretty fantastic, was easy. I hardly felt it and I went quicker on the way back, forced myself to be faster (did it in 20 mins). Didn't need to stop - didn't even feel the need to stop. Only felt running and running away.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Scottish Thanksgiving.

In short, Thanksgiving was awesome. Probably one of the best nights I've had here in Scotland and there was only one fire. In long, well I'm getting to that.

First I need to emphasis the importance of pumpkin pie. Seriously, that stuff's delicious. Unfortunately, it's not very popular over here and is nigh impossible to find. This led to my Calgarian friend actually ordering some pumpkin pie filling from the Internet. So, everything was set. Except she forgot about pie crusts and asked me on Sunday to go to a store that I lived nearer before it closed so that we'd have something more than just pumpkin gloop. I didn't get to the store in time but still enjoyed myself wandering around city centre cause that place is so frickin' cool and I finally took some pictures of the city cause up till then I'd had none even though I've been here enough. Luckily Calgary Girl found some pie crusts and my whole excursion was unnecessary.

So, the next day, which was Thanksgiving Monday, I met up with Syracuse Guy and Philly Guy and my Roomie and went over to Calgary Girl's flat. Syracuse and Roomie took a detour with me through the Botanical Gardens and we saw a frickin' enormous bumblebee, like 2-3 times normal bumblebee size, which, Roomie assured me was normal for over here. So yeah, freakishly large bumblebees are pretty common. There was also a super rad looking bridge that we walked under and we went through a sketchy part of town where we saw some people who were probably stealing a couch.

We got to the flat, cut up some veggies that Calgary and her roomies hadn't quite finished yet, put them in pans and then went to Tescos to get some more Cranberry Sauce and whipped cream cause, seriously, pumpkin pie without whipped cream? Just can't happen man.

Then cooking started, which was alot of fun. The turkey had already been in for near two hoursish so that was already going but we got started on the veggies. We decided that it would be best and easiest to just mash the hell out of everything and we had a crapload of veggies to cook; potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips, green beans, and carrots. We had a bunch of instant stuffing mix too that just got microwaved. There was ~16 people there cause Calgary has 11 roomies so we needed pretty much a shitload of food. Somehow I wound up keeping track of the veggies, cause I guess I knew how to cook stuff sortof. So I was going back and forth between 7 different pots all cooking at once (and there was about 3 or 4 still waiting to go on) making sure everything was cooking all good and not boiling over.

When stuff started being done I handed it off to Syracuse, Philly and Roomie to do the mashing till we'd gone through everything and had it all done. Then, I decided it'd be best to get my backpack out of the kitchen cause it was filling up with people so I went with Calgary to put it in her room. We were gone literally 10 seconds and a fire burst out. One of the flatmates, who is vegetarian, was cooking veggie chicken in the other oven and the grease (which, how does that work?) caught on fire. Luckily, the fire alarm in the kitchen didn't work and they put it out with a fire blanket.

Oh, best part now. I carved the shit out of the turkey. So basically I just won Thanksgiving 2009. Please send all accolades, cash prizes and meal stamps to my address. Anyways, the food itself was fantastic. It was all pretty tasty, specially the mashed and sweet potatoes but the turkey was super good, even though we didn't have much turkey to go 'round. The pumpkin pie was amazing too. Most of the Scots there hadn't tried it before so it was all new and excited and us North Americans were all pumped about it.

Clean up went pretty quick too with five or so of us working on it and I ditched out halfway through cause my parents phoned which was really nice cause screw cleanup man. By the time I'd got back they were done cleaning and Philly had gone back to his flat cause he had stuff to do so me, Syracuse, and Roomie all just hung out in Calgary's room for awhile, taking turns at guitar which was frickin' awesome and also the first time I'd spent a decent amount of time with my Roomie so it was good. We also discovered a return flight on Ryanair to Oslo for a grand total of 2 pence. It's during exam time though so I don't think we can go which is a drag.

And that was my Scottish Thanksgiving, yay!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A giant bag of stupid

It seems that lately, whenever I try to do anything remotely important or useful, a giant bag of stupid prevents me from doing it. Now, I imagined that going to school in a different country would have it's difficulties, I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was unjustifiable amounts of sheer and brilliant stupidity. Let's compare.

Getting a Student Card

At Home:

Email the school a photo of myself in June. Arrive to the school, for the first time ever, in September. Receive envelope at the housing office with keys to dorm and student card in it.


Arrive to the school for the first time ever. Wait for one week. Get in enormous lineup on Monday morning (luckily in the front). Realize in the lineup that I was supposed to bring my acceptance letter and passport with me. Also realize that this was the first time I had been told this. Go to little side room to print off acceptance letter. Get back into the front of the line because luckily I was with a friend.

Station #1: Get asked for passport. Kindly explain that the school already has photocopies of my passport on record (A fact I'm none too pleased with) and if they wanted to see it, they could look at those. The guy says that's okay, stamps my letter and sends me to Station #2.

Station #2: Get asked if I'd paid tuition. Kindly explain that I'm on exchange and paying tuition to my home institution. Wait five minutes as guy messes around on computer. Get told to go to Station #3.

Station #3: Get stopped by lady at station three. She claims my letter isn't stamped. I show her the stamp on it, she claims it's the wrong one and asks if I'd been to Station #2. Tell her yes. She asks if I'd paid tuition. Kindly explain again that I'm on exchange and don't need to pay tuition. Go back to Station #2 with the nice lady, get the stamp that the guy forgot to give me, go back to Station #3 with the nice lady. Get my picture taken. Wait for Student Card to print.

Enrolling in classes


Around May or June, carefully create worklist online so as to have a reasonable timetable that I'm happy with that has no scheduling conflicts. Around July, click the 'register' button to register that entire worklist. Realize that one of the labs I have to take is full. Spend ten minutes rearranging my entire schedule based on which labs/lectures are full already while still trying to make sure there are no conflicts and that I'm in all the classes I want. Realize at the end that this timetable is much better than the one I carefully constructed.


Pre-register for courses in June.

September 6th:

Arrive at school

September 8th:

Go to a 'Supermarket' session to talk with people about certain courses in each department. Realize that the math department was too busy with 'being a bunch of dicks' to show up. Talk to the statistics dept. about a probability course. Learn that the course ends in December but that the final is in May. AWESOME! Email guy in charge of Maths exchange students with list of courses I want to take. Get email back. Realize that some of the courses I want to take (and am pre-registered for) don't actually exist. Way to keep your internet up to date guys.

September 9th: Go to maths building. Pick up a booklet detailing courses that are real. Find ones I want to take. Email prof. Book meeting with prof.

September 10th: Have meeting with prof, hoping to clear everything up. Realize during meeting with prof that some of the courses I want to take are way above me. Change courses and schedual new meeting with prof for the 15th. Also, I am told that most of my courses won't start till the 28th. Also also: I am told that 3 of the courses I'm taking in the first semester do not have finals until May. AWESOME! Check internet registration and realize that I'm now fully registered for the courses that I pre-registered in. Except for that some of those classes still don't exist. Realize that, man, fuck the internet.

September 15th: Go over new courses with prof. Ask prof how to enroll in courses I want. He gives names of two profs to talk to about enrollment. Visit prof #1 but he's not in his office. Visit prof #2. He's also not in his office but I put my name down on his sheet for a meeting the next day

Septmeber 16th: Meet with as-of-yet-unmentioned prof about doing a project. She explains pattern formation to me in brief and seems to be the first person I've talked to who understands anything. Meet with other prof. Ask him how to register in the courses I want. He says just go to the classes. On way out of the math building, notice poster on bulletin board giving times and places for enrollment for every year of maths. Figure out that I have enrollment on the 17th, 21st, and 23rd.

September 17th: Go to enroll in Maths 2B. Waste an hour of my time as some guy talks about completely asinine things. My favorite was how he read us a couple lines from a German poem in fucking German. Cause, y'know, a room full of math majors is bound to be plentiful in people that speak German. Luckily, he translated. Slowly though... like, translated each individual word slowly ("Blumen = Flower"), then read it in German again and then in English fully. That really added to my academic experience. Then he talked a bit more about stuff that was so obvious that it really doesn't need mentioning. Then he brought up how if you hadn't done the Maths Qualification Exam that you were going to have to take it. I asked if exchange students did and he said probably. Fuck that man. Finally, we filled out a little card detailing which courses we wanted to take. The course I wanted was Wed and Fri at ether 10 or 11 am. I picked 10 am. After, I told him I wasn't writing a test on first year material and that they could look at my transcript and maybe come to the conclusion that the fact I've gotten fairly high marks in 2nd and 3rd year maths courses might mean that I'm qualified to take a 2nd year maths course. Thankfully he agreed.

September 21st:
9:15 am

Registration for 3rd year honours courses (These are the ones with the exams in May even though some of them end in December). Go to the room, have a guy talk about the same pointless stuff as last time (no German this time though). Get a little card, fill it out.

9:30 am

Hear the guy say that classes start this week. Get thoroughly confused because the other guy said they started the week of the 28th. Assume that the guy at registration probably knows his shit. Get angry because they failed to bring course schedules to registration so I can't check if I have any class today.

10:05 am

Arrive back at my dorm. Check to see class schedules. Realize that I had a class that started five minutes ago. It's a 20 minute walk to where the class is so fuck that shit. Also realize that I have classes at 10 am every day of the week. Make mental note to change previously enrolled class to the 11 am block.

11:00 am

Registration for Probability. See that Probability runs at 11 am Wed and Thur. Realize that fuck, whatever I do I have a conflict with my fucking algebra class. Accept the fact that I'll just have to skip half of my algebra classes due to idiot planning on their part (Algebra is super-easy, Probability maybe not so much). Fill out little card. Leave, seriously pissed.

September 23rd

Registration for Maths 3P. Hopefully (though probably not likely) there will not be any conflicts with any of the other math courses I'm in. I mean, it'd make sense to never ever ever run two maths courses at the exact same time unless one was a pre-requisite of the other but I think the people here have already shown what they're capable of.

UPDATE: The lectures for 3P don't clash with anything but the tutorial is at 11am on Wednesdays. So now I've got Algebra, Probability, and an Analysis tutorial all at the same time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Thoughts on Glasgow.

So, I've been living in Glasgow for almost a week right now and here's some brief thoughts about it.

Awesome Things

- Fucking Castles
- People I've met
- Ceilidh's
- Oran Mor
- Irn Bru
- Coffee Shops

Pretty Cool Things

- I haven't been ID'd once (drinking age is 18)
- How you can pay for stuff in exact change. (If a sign says 4 pounds, it costs 4 pounds. No tax added after going to the register).
- The 78
- Cool looking trees out here.
- Cheap liquor
- Cheap cell phone rates (I caved and got one. Only 7p a minute to call Canada which is cheaper than calling Canada from inside Canada).
- Rad little cinema place having all night Indiana Jones this Saturday starting at midnight.

Kinda Bad Things

- The park I live near is pretty notorious for muggings and rape.
- My building is made out of stupid.
- I killed my clock.
- Rain (Though the last couple days have been nice and though I usually enjoy the rain, there are limits for everything.)

Really Shitty Things

- Fucking registration
- How the Math department decided that they didn't need to send anyone down to the information session.
- How I'm still not even remotely registered for any classes and how I'm fairly certain that half the classes I wanted/needed to take, don't exist this year because apparently keeping your website up to date is too fucking hard.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Various thoughts and happenings

- I'm debating whether or not to apply to be a blogger for Go Global. On one hand it'd be cool but on the other hand I'd have to write 'acceptable' material about what I'm doing twice a month. Also, I'd have to write the 250 word sample topic on either: a) applying for Go Global (presumably my version of that would be obscenity laced). or b) some trip you went on sometime. I think I probably will apply

- I almost got hit by a car today. Some guy decided at the stop sign that " Oh hey a stop sign, I think I'll not look both ways before proceeding because I need to turn right. That means that traffic will only be coming from the left so I can focus all my attention on the le - OH SHIT A KID ON A BIKE!". Needless to say, I was on the right and I was watching him not paying any attention to me right up until I skidded to a stop almost in front of him as he cut me off. Anyways, no harm was done except for that I BROKE MY FUCKING BRAKE LINE. So yeah... next time he pulls that shit, I'm just gonna fly right into the front of his nice shiny SUV cause my breaking power is now significantly reduced. Actually, in hindsight, I shouldave ran into him. I had the right of way so no legal issues and at the speed I was going I wouldn't have been hurt at all. His SUV however, would be nice and dented.

- It turns out that I'm pretty good at writing all scientificy.

- I just watched Tony Jaa fight a frickin' crocodile. Sadly though, the movie itself looks like a shit sandwich. Too much 'Hollywood magic' not enough 'Hey guys, let's videotape Tony Jaa being fucking awesome while he's not watching'. The realism was what sold me on the last one. This one seems more like "Is it him, or is he cheating like everyone else in the movies?".

- This article makes me angry. Not the article itself but the people in the comments section who go "THIS IS A STUPID WASTE OF MONEY. A FIVE YEAR OLD COULD TELL YOU THAT A CELL PHONE DISTRACTS YOU FROM DRIVING. THIS WAS A WASTE OF TIME. SCIENTISTS ARE IDIOTS". Dear people who think this, please smack your head into a wall repeatedly until your brain looks like San Fransico circa 1906 because you clearly don't understand how the concept of freedom works and I can't have you being functional enough to speak anymore. Obviously it's a distraction, I agree with you there. Y'know what else is a distraction? The radio. Also: having a passenger, drinking coffee, adjusting the AC, rolling down windows, pretty much everything you do inside a vehicle is a fucking distraction. This is why it's important to find out how much of a distraction something is before you outright ban it. If the government banned the use of cellphones in cars without having some significant evidence (AKA several scientific studies with similiar claims) of how dangerous it is, they could just as well ban the radio on the same grounds.

- Seriosuly MTV? Please just admit that you now longer have any musical relevence. How the hell can Lady Gaga/Britney Spears/Kayne West/Eminem be your forerunners when an unbelievably fantastic album was put out by The Decemberists this year. Last I checked, Kayne's last album was an autotuned piece of shit, even by the standards of people who like Kayne. Britney was musically irrelavent about a decade ago and has been riding her star power ever since (also: penis, lots of penis), Lady Gaga is pretty much just Madonna and Marilyn Mansons love child - except all she does is make really terrible double entendres overtop of a computer loop and calls it music. Eminem is continuesly sliding ever further into the "HOLY FUCK WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY EARS" half of the line he used to ride so carefully between "HOLY FUCK WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY EARS" and "Hey, from a poetical point of veiw this is actually pretty okay. Not as music, but as a poem, I could dig this I guess". The worst part is that they have Russell Brand hosting so I actually want to watch it, even though it'll just be two hours of me going "Oh you have got to be fucking kidding me". Actually... I take everything back, Russell Brand should get all the awards. And REM too cause they just released a song today.

- BC is getting shafted once again by their government. I'm glad I won't be living here shortly.

- I saw my ex-roomate a couple of days ago which means that he hasn't been deported like I suspected. His internet is no longer showing up when I search for networks so I got hopeful. Though I suppose this means he can't afford internet which I think is pretty funny.

- I think Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects have the best movie endings ever and I watched them both last weekend for the first time and my brain is still going crazy trying to wrap itself around them

- I am incredibly curious as to what would have happened during the police riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago if instead of all the hippies saying,

"Um, so there's like 10,000 of us and we're gonna hang out in this park over here to protest the war in Vietnam. Also, if it's cool with you, we'd like to walk down and stand outside the convention on the last day to protest it. If it's possible we'd like to sleep at the park too but if not I guess we'll just sleep wherever in your city. We're all non-violent and none of us wanna start fights or anything so I think having 23,000 police/National Guardsmen is a bit overkill. Peace and love to all"

They had said,

"So, there's like 10,000 of us and we'd like to have a peaceful protest in your park. Also we'd like to march down to where the convention is being held on the last day to protest us. This whole event is non-violent so I think it's a bit silly bringing in 23,000 police/National Guardsmen. Oh also, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US BROUGHT A GUN. So, y'know, we can both be cool about everything and not have any violence but if you fuck with us please realize that we'll turn your fucking city into a warzone. Peace and love to all".

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Let's go for a nice walk

Today's overly long nap was brought to you by dehydration and a desire to not use one's lower appendages.

I always underestimate distances. This is one of the reasons me and cities don't get along. Cities make you feel as though everything is right near to you and that only exacerbates my distance issues. In small towns, I fully realize that the next town over is THE NEXT FUCKING TOWN OVER! In cities however, I fail to pick up on the fact that "just down the road", easily equates to "THE NEXT FUCKING TOWN OVER".

Another problem I have is that when the weather outside is nice and sunny and hot, I absolutely hate driving. I just cannot bring myself to sit inside a stuffy (read: Holy shit it is flesh bubblingly hot in here! Seriously, most days I nearly burn myself just trying to turn the ignition.) vehicle when I could be enjoying the outdoors.

So, today I had to go get a backpack. The store was a far enough distance away that any sane person (read: not retarded) would not have even considered walking. I on the other hand, am retarded. I actually did consider the distance in my head, decided that yes it probably was too far and that, yes I probably would regret it once I got there. But I decided to walk anyways, it'd been a while since I'd had a nice decent walk and dammit, I wanted that nice decent walk so I could have some walky thoughts which are usually always fairly interesting and insightful. In hindsight, the actual walk wouldn't have been bad, I just looked up the distance and it's 4.6 km there so I walked a total of 9.2 km. That's okay, but I made two more very poor decisions.

1. It was the middle of the friggin' day AKA 38 degrees Celsius
2. I wore sandals.

The walk there was okay, my feet hadn't even started hurting and the store was nice and cool. It was the walk back that I did not enjoy. Now, the reason I mentioned wearing sandals as being a mistake is because I have ankle pronation. You know how one of the first things people learn how to do is walk? Yeah well I fucked that one up pretty hard and now put too much weight on the inside of my foot (Congenital Defect! Send this one back to the factory). I don't have it very bad (for now) so things are usually pretty okay s'long as I'm wearing shoes with decent support which is exactly the sort of support that sandals don't have.

Anyways, the walk back frickin' sucked. Almost immediately my feet started getting sore but, I'm used to that and can usually ignore it so that doesn't bother me at all. After I'd gotten about halfway back, my hip started getting sore - not consistently sore but just sore every now and then, like if I stepped wrong. This was new and completely expected. Pronated ankles eventually tend to screw up pretty much every body part from the waist down: hips, knees, shins, heels, lower back, tendons, muscles, ANKLES! I'll be surprised if my body doesn't completely fail me by the time I'm 30. Speaking of surprised, my knees didn't start hurting at all so that's a plus I guess.

One more thing: I failed to take into account that I'd have to be carrying the backpack back with me (I didn't wanna wear it because I didn't feel like having the back of my t-shirt drenched in sweat). It was only 3.5 kg but after about a half hour of carrying it this got to be really frickin' annoying.

Oh, and did I mention that it was fucking hot out.

And now: Something that makes me happy.

How professor's will say that they really liked something you did and then hand it back to you COVERED IN SEMI-LEGIBLE RED INK. I think this is hilarious and it makes me smile thinking about how ridiculous it is. In my mind I picture Prof's going through books that they like, marking up page after page and then sending it back to the author with a "I really enjoyed this, thank you but HERE ARE SOME GLARING ERRORS THAT NEED ADDRESSING. Also: if you could sign my copy before sending it back that would be cool". The worst part is how when the Prof gets the book back, they don't accept it because the signature is illegible. Anyways, the draft I'm working on right now probably has just as much red ink on it as black but, apparently it's really good so yay!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vegan Meegan the Lippy Hippie Redux

Based entirely on a true story and only the hardest of real life factoids.

The big business economy was riding a bubble when it suddenly burst and turned all into rubble. All things were chaos, no one was safe, not even the big boss. The job market collapsed with no hope for relapse.

Just a moment too late - as if orchestrated by fate - Vegan Meegan went to the bank and what she found out made her want to shank, for you see faithful reader, Meegan's money was to feed her but she had none and would need a job - perhaps a Wal-Mart Greeter?

She looked high and low and left and right, up and down, she'd search till night. Unfortunately jobs were tight, they all turned her down, filling her with spite,

"I've had quite enough of all this trite. Will I ever rise above this plight?"

She kept up with her daily marches, continued with the mundane searches, till she found herself at the Golden Arches.

"A job's a job" and she swallowed her pride - even entering the place made her want to hide. Over the counter she spied where they deep-fried and would normally have cried but it was held back with more force than she'd ever tried.

"Ah, excuse me... I would like a job", she asked the manager (incidentally named Rob). He was a bit of a slob and was crude like Jayne Cobb. Shaking Meegan's hand, he said "You've got the job!"

She let out a sob.

Two weeks then passed. They went quite fast. In McUniform she was dressed thusly leaving her repressed. Neither lippy nor hippie are on the McMenu - vegan has no place at this particular venue. 'Twas void of witty retorts - only full of fat kids that ought to be playing sports.

Atop the playhouse castle where the kids all play, sat a clown chuckling at Meegan's dismay whilst watching the children - his favorite prey. He had created this job market slump, to force Meegan to work in his dump. She was the last that could oppose his empire. She knew his flaws - that he was a liar. With her out of the way he could aspire to acquire what he truly desired: a seat atop the world, a kingly spire.

He tried to crush Meegan's spirit, he wanted it done lickety split, so he made her deal with only the grossest shit. Quickly her spirit would break, 'till finally there wasn't a single thing more she could take. Just as she began wanting to cry and die she looked up high to the sky and out of the corner of her eye, thought she saw something fly by.

Behind her it landed with such a terrible thud that Ronald fell from his play palace (the lousy skud). Meegan spun 'round, to observe the terrible sound and what she found stood nine feet tall with angry eyes straight from hell, yes dear reader, 'twas Robot Oliver Cromwell. Ronald went pale, his face turned sick, he turned and ran quick - for you see dear reader, Ronald McDonald was an Irish Catholic.

Meegan asked Cromwell with glee, "Why so suddenly have you saved me?" and Cromwell said, "I'm your spirit keeper, with you I'll always be, that's a guarantee. Also: I needed to finish my killing spree".

"You'll have to go through me" said Rob, proud to defend his store. All the employees were ready to defend... but what for? Ronald McDonald had brainwashed them, made them McWhores. This would be a fight full of gore.

Meegan let out a primal hippie scream, Cromwell started to steam, everything was TOTALLY MAX TO THE EXTREME!!11! They made a bitchingly fantastic team. Cromwell shot laser beams, Meegan unleashed nasty schemes, together they overthrew Ronald's regime. But now the customers began to bawl, they wanted in on the brawl, Cromwell started to get mauled. Meegan leapt up and screamed,


Meegan's powers complied her, everything suddenly exploded into fire. The customer's cholesterol began to boil, it was even worse than getting coated in hot oil (Cromwell approved). The customer's revolt was foiled.

Now all that was left was Ronald McDonald. Cromwell was angry, appalled. He threw Ronald across the room - he landed sprawled. They watched as feebly he crawled. Meegan picked him up by the scruff of his neck. An angry chord set the mood (provided by Jeff Beck).

"Let's find out who you are under that mask", she said, now much calmer.

She took it off and then exclaimed, " OH SWEET POTATOES! It's Jeffrey Dahmer!".

The End

by The Meatlovers

The Grapevine Fires

So, it turns out that my city is sortof burning down right now a little bit which, for the second time in my life, makes this song poignantly appropriate. It is "The Grapevine Fires" by Death Cab for Cutie

I also think this is without any sort of competition, hands down, the best music video I've ever seen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time to learn!

Today's post is alternatively titled "Sometimes it sucks when almost everyone you know doesn't understand what you do".

Anyways, I am bored so today I am going to teach some science - easy science that I think is pretty interesting and probably everyone should know the basics of.

In many of cases, it can be useful to estimate how quickly animal/bacteria populations grow at. Now, the only way a population can grow is for more animals to be born (from here on in the example will be of koala bears because they are oh so cute but also that unibrow is a little menacing so I don't mind talking about them dying). Of course, the population of koalas will decrease as they die. So the total growth (or decline) in population is however many are being born minus however many are dying:

Growth = Birth - Death

So far so good right! This math shit is easy. But there's more DUHN DUHN DUHN. Obviously, if you have 1000 koalas, they will be having alot more babies than if you only have 100 koalas. Likewise, there will be alot more koalas dying in a group of 1000 than a group of 100. This means that birth and death are both proportionate to the current number of koalas. This will require a change to our equation. Birth will be some number times the current number of koalas and Death will be some different number times the current number of koalas.
This will look something like this,

Growth = r*n - d*n.

Now, that looks kindave scary so let me explain. r is a growth rate term. It is determined by how many offspring the average koala has in a year. So say that the average koala has 1.2 kids a year. Then the total amount of koalas being born in one year would be r (which is 1.2) times n (which is the current population of koalas).

d is a death rate term. It is determined by the mortality rate for koalas. So say on average that 20% of koalas will die every year. Then d will become 0.2 and 0.2 times n would be the total amount of koalas that die in a year.

Do I still have everybody? I hope so because here is where it starts getting tricky. First of all, I am going to replace the word 'Growth' in our equation with the term 'dn/dt'. This may look stupid and complicated and I don't blame you because I didn't fully understand what it meant until second year calculus but it's actually quite simple. The "d's" in 'dn/dt' simply stand for 'change'. n stands for the number of koalas and t stands for time. So really 'dn/dt' is just a quick way of writing ' the change in koalas divided by the change in time'. Since we are working on a year to year basis (because that's what I just decided we were doing) the change in time will always be one year. So now 'dn/dt' can just be read as 'change in koalas per year' which is analogous to Growth but is much more official sounding because it has actual real units.

Okay, so now our formula looks like this:

dn/dt = r*n - d*n

and can be read as "The change in koalas per year equals the birth rate times the number of koalas minus the death rate times the number of koalas".

Now, time to add a couple more things and make it more fun. Let's say that the primary cause of death for all koalas is because some animal eats them (I don't know if that's true or not but let's roll with it and just for fun lets say that velociraptors eat them). This means that the death rate: d will depend on how many koalas a velociraptor needs to eat and the total number of raptors.

So lets say that d = c*p where c is how many koalas a raptor needs to eat to stay alive and p is the number of raptors. Now our equation looks like this,

dn/dt = r*n - c*p*n

"The change in koalas per year is equal to the growth rate times the number of koalas minus the number of koalas a velocirapter needs to eat times the total number of velociraptors times the total number of koalas".

Awesome, okay? Right around here we run into a bit of a problem though. The number of raptorss isn't going to remain constant (nature will always find a way). Maybe sometimes there are lots of raptors and maybe other times they've been extinct for 65 million years. It's hard to say. That being said it's really important to know just how many raptors there are because if there's alot that's gonna make the death rate really big and the koala population might all die out and nobody wants that. Likewise, if there's only one or two raptors, the death rate for the koalas will be really small and then there will be tons of koalas all over the place and the whole wide world will be a cuter place and people will stop having wars because there are just too many koalas that need cuddles.

But how in the hell can we find out how many raptors there are? Count them? Good idea but raptors are too clever for that. It's simple actually. We just make a second formula for the raptors. Let's start with the most basic one again,

Growth = birth - death

First of all, let's replace that Growth term with an official looking calculus 'dp/dt' (change in predators over change in time)

dp/dt = birth - death

Now, raptors are a little bit different than koalas. For one they aren't as soft and furry are dependent on koalas for food. If there aren't many koalas, raptors are gonna starve and die. So, let's take the death term from the koalas and use it as the birth term for the raptors with one little change. We're going to add a conversion rate term 'x' to it. The conversion rate term basically says " One koala bear is equal to this many velociraptors". So say if x = 0.05. You would need 20 koala bears before you could go to the bank and trade it in for a velociraptor (note to self: look at investing in raptor banks). More simply, a velociraptor would need to eat 20 koalas before it had the energy to make a new velociraptor. So let's add that term in

dp/dt = x*c*p*n - death

"The change in velociraptors per year is equal to the conversion rate times the number of koalas a raptor needs to eat times the number of raptors times the number of hares minus DEATH".

You see how by using that term if the number of koalas is really small, the birth of the raptors is also really small. Now, we have to deal with that death term. Luckily, nothing eats velocirapter (except for that one T-Rex but he wasn't hungry - just pissed off), so we don't need to worry about a predator. The death of velociraptors is just gonna be the natural mortality rate times the number of raptors, I'll call this 'd'

dp/dt = x*c*p*n - d*p.

Now, if we put our two equations together we have

dn/dt = r*n - c*n*p


dp/dt = x*c*n*p - d*p

and that right there is what is known as the Lotka-Volterra equation. It is a pair of autonomous first-order, non-linear differential equations. So if anyone ever gets on your case for not knowing anything you can say you know what an autonomous first-order, non-linear differential equation is and they will be all HOLY SHIT I'M SORRY I EVER THOUGHT YOU WEREN'T SUPER INTELLIGENT.

PS - This reminds me of something that makes me angry. People always exclaim "Oh! You must be really smart then" after I tell them I'm studying maths. I've only twice gotten the proper response out of someone. The first came from a friends parent who said " So why do you hate yourself" and the second came from a 17-year old whose mum is a chem prof and he said "Why math?".

I'm not really smart because I'm taking maths. I could be taking anything and still be just as smart as I am now. If I was taking something like Art History would they still exclaim that I'm smart? Probably not. They should be, man that shit is hard okay. Basically - moral of the story, if someone tells you they're in University odds are that they're fucking smart no matter what they're taking. It takes a shitload of time and effort and work and brains to get a degree in anything so don't assume just because the sciencey ones are harder for the general public to understand that it's harder to learn because it isn't. So the next time someone tells you that they're in university tell them that they must be really smart no matter what it is they tell you their taking... unless it's my ex-roomate.

Better moral of the story: If a skinny tall Korean with glasses who named himself after a hulking muscular greased up naked long-haired man tells you he's taking engineering, call him a fucking idiot and then punch him in the face.

Monday, June 22, 2009

You can't stop the machine like that

"What is that feeling when you're driving away from people
and they recede on the plain
till you see their
specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge
world vaulting us and it's goodbye.

But we lean forward to the next
crazy venture beneath the skies."
- Sal Paradise

Someone ought to give a proper name to that feeling I think.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Science Scouts!

Here are the Science Badges that I have earned thus far from the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique.

The "Non-Explainer" Badge (Level 1)

Because I can't really explain what I do to my parents

The "I may look like a scientist but I'm also a pirate" Badge

Finally. It's about time people started recognizing pirates as important and productive members of society

The "has worked with acids" Badge

Probably my favorite part about chemistry... or maybe the fires?

The "I've set fire to stuff" Badge (Level 2)

The "I've set fire to stuff" Badge (Level 1)

Curiosity + Fire = Funtimes?

The "statistical linear regression" Badge

I totally know what that means! Even though I hate statistics.

The "I'm into telescope astro" Badge (Level 1)

I should have gotten this one like twelve years ago. SPACE IS COOL!

The " totally digs exothermic reactions" Badge

I think I should get this one doubly cause I'm also the only person I know who actually says "totally digs"

The "has done science whilst under the influence" Badge

Differential equations make so much more sense after a couple of drinks

The "experienced with electrical shock" Badge (Level 3)

Just because the device is unplugged doesn't mean that the capacitors have finished discharging. Life lessons here guys

The "experienced with electrical shock" Badge (Level 2)

Of course, it's alot funnier when someone else does it

The "I'm a scientist who is fundamentally opposed to administrative duties" Badge

Fuck paperwork

The "I will crush you with my math prowess" Badge

All run in terror or I will seriously linearize your systems

The "arts and crafts" Badge

Who doesn't love arts and crafts?

The "I talk about science" Badge

Man, science is awesome. Everyone should talk about it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I demand equal rights for animals

When a dog, someone's pet, a cherished, loved and important member of a family - nay, sometimes someone's only family - attacks a human being without any provocation, what is it that typically happens?

Does it matter that the dog doesn't realize it's doing wrong; that it's actions are unacceptable. Does the dog ever look back on it's actions with remorse or guilt. Does it have the mental capacity to understand the logic behind why it's a bad thing to attack people? Does it even remember the incident? Do the courts ever consider that, being a dog, it's simply in it's nature to bite things (I mean, look at them teeth!)? Do they propose that the dog get proper training (paid for by taxpayers of course) so that it does not commit this act again?


In most every case the dog is, with little dispute, ordered to be put down.

CBC News

Does that seem right to you?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I am fucking amazing.

So today, I managed to move all my stuff out of a certain Room 303 without my roomate even noticing and then I put it all in room 301. It makes me giggle inside thinking about what's going through his head right now for by now he's surely opened the fridge/freezer and noticed that all the food that isn't condiments, canned, uncooked rice or uncooked noodles has gone missing. It's made all the more better by the fact that I'm only 20 meters away from him right now. Also: my apartment doesn't have free internet so a month ago me and now-ex-roomate decided to split up the bills for it. He pays one month, I pay the next. He paid last month, I was spose to pay this month. I have the password to his wireless router and I don't grace him with the intelligence to change it. Three-dots-arranged-in-a-triangle-formation ( or simply "Therefore for those non-Math folks) I just scored free internet for the summer.

In other news: The weekly "Worst-possible-way-imaginable-to-have-worded-a-sentence" award was not won by Dr. Tobias Funke this week (for the first time in 291 weeks). No, instead it will be awarded to the group of people who collectively wrote the research paper "Population Dynamics of Snowshoe Hares in Relation to Furbearer Harvest" for this little gem

"Traps were baited with a piece of apple and alfalfa and visited daily. We sexed captured hares and checked females for gestation by palpation."
Needless to say, I laughed at this. Hard. Probably too hard. But in my defense that was probably the 5th paper I'd read in a row. God I hate papers. The worst part is that everytime I read one I find two or three more that I should add to my pile. Now if you'll excuse me, I have an inch thick stack of papers to read by Thursday.

No Spanish Civil War/Allan Quartermain for you Mr. Breck. Not until you've ete your parritch.

"Okay Lyndsay, are you forgetting that I was a professional twice over - an analyst and a therapist. The worlds first analrapist"
"Yeah and you almost got arrested for those business cards"

Okay, maybe he does still win?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Open Letters

Dear AUTO/whomever wrote the program AUTO (Eusebius Doedel, thanks Scholarpedia!),

I get that your program is ridiculously useful. So useful, in fact, that it's been in use since the days of DOS and it's still probably one of the best programs around for finding bifurcations. Congratulations to you Dr. Doedel (hee hee). However, there are a few minor issues I have with AUTO and it would be wonderful if you could rectify them.

1. Why bother putting a 'find periodic solution' option on there if it never works? I have not once gotten your program to work when starting from a limit cycle and I always have to change my paramaters so that I'm starting from a stable node so I can run a steady state solution.

2. Unfortunately, for each of the models I'm working with when the parameters are at (0,0) I have limit cycles. This means I have to run the steady state solution both forwards and backwards because I'm not starting at the begining. If maybe your program could handle both these calculations without accidently making one disappear or forgetting to do one of them it would be splendid.

3. When I finally do find a bifurcation going backwards could you maybe not freeze. That's not helpful. All it tells me is that there's a bifurcation, I have no idea what kind or what it looks like and then you just freeze and I can't find out. In social circles that's called being a tease and nobody likes a tease AUTO.

4. When I lower the number of iterations so that you'll stop freezing and I finally get a chance to try and plot bifurcations, could you not crash... thank you.

5. After everything is finally all figured out and I have what both plots look like together and they even look like how I would expect them to and I go click on 'Postscript' so that I can save it in a nice pretty looking graph format it would be absolutely splendid if you didn't freeze because then I wouldn't have to start everything all over again.

6. I know this isn't your fault but could postscript files maybe actually print instead of just crashing whenever I try to print them. Thanks.

Dear Lotka-Volterra population model with a generalist predation term added in/Matlab,

1. What the fuck. When gamma and eta are zero, your equilibrium point is a center. That means the populations orbit around one point like a planet. So why, WHY when I change the amount of time in the simulation does the amplitude change? THAT'S NOT FUCKING POSSIBLE. All that should happen is you maybe go around the orbit a couple more times, your maxes and mins should stay the same.

2. Can your phaseplanes in XPPAUT and your amplitude in Matlab maybe give me consistent answers?

3. How is it that you're the hardest one to non-dimensionalize? I mean, you're the simplest model I'm working with so how does that work out. I'll tell you why, it's because you're a dick and aren't limited by a carrying capacity so there's no handy (1 - n/k) term. Well guess what. THIS IS THE REAL WORLD, animals have carrying capacities and you're just living in a deluded fantasyland .

Dear Little Wayne,

Please stop. I can understand why you would want to play guitar - it's fairly obvious. Any rockstar is about a billion times cooler than you could ever be. However, holding a guitar in your music videos while someone else plays the song and then putting a hilariously pitiful 'solo' at the end to showcase your truly horrendous 'skillz' is not the right way to go about it. Frankly I find it insulting to all of music that people actually buy that shit. You played two different notes without any rhythm and about half of those notes were dead anyways. There are actually talented musicians out there who are struggling to get their next meal and yet you get money for being basically retarded. I can fucking play guitar better than you and I'm terrible so why don't I have the best selling album of 2008? This is why I don't like the vast majority of music being made nowadays. It's all vapid, undertalented, overproduced, hollow, emotionless tripe. Lastly, Mr. Wayne I recommend you actually learn how to play your instrument. Do not record anything with it or play it at live shows until you are able to do this.

Dear roomate,

Please go and die. Preferrably in some manner that results in unimaginably excrutiating amounts of pain. Feel free to be creative and come up with all sorts of interesting ideas but I, for one, feel that it should involve fire in some manner or another and maybe a little bit of acid as well. Is acid flammable? If so you should light it on fire and then drink it. If not, just mix some gasoline in with it and drink that.

Also: would it kill you to maybe leave the apartment every now and then. If so, please do it. If not, do it anyways because I'm pretty certain that I haven't been alone in this apartment since the first night I got here.

Much love,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today I Graphed Infinity

So, two really cool things to talk about and one not-so-cool-thing. I'll leave it up to your discretion to pick which is which.

First up, today at work, I graphed infinity. More specifically, I graphed a Mandelbrot Set and if you don't know what that is, me oh my are you ever in for a treat. It is one of the very few things in math that the general population would consider to be "pretty cool". Basically - you get a shape (sortof) that you can zoom in on forever and it still has clarity. What makes it so rad is that if you colour it (generally complex values that fall within the set are black and all values outside of the set are given different colours based on how quickly they diverge to infinity) it becomes the trippiest thing ever. If you happen to be on acid at the moment you may not want to click that link cause it will freak you the hell out. Looking at it perfectly sober still makes me feel like I'm falling forever.

This was the first math type thing that I was ever actually interested in. There was a special PBS program on called "Colours of Infinity" and I figured "hey, I like colours and infinity so let's watch that". Well, they just talked all about the Mandelbrot Set and Fractals and it was still frickin awesome. Did you know that leaves and lightning bolts are sortof fractals? I didn't and it was cool! I was in grade 8 or 9 and all the math was way above my head and all I knew about fractals was that you could zoom in forever. Actually, all the math is still way above my hand but I kindave understand the absolute basics now.

Second cool thing => There are alot of things that I sortof know a little bit about but actually trying to understand and know them makes me cringe because they're so complex and complicated. Examples of words that make me cringe: Quantum, Complex ( a math term meaning that imaginary numbers are involved), Nuclear , Non-Euclidean, and Chaos. If you put all those words together I imagine you would have a phrase that nearly everyone would cringe at. Complex non-Euclidean quantum nuclear chaos anyone?

Anyways, one of these things, Chaos Theory, I had read up on before and managed to barely understand any of it. Today, I came across it several times while reading a manual to try and learn how to use a computer program for making bifurcation plots. After cringing about 15 times I decided to finally bite the bullet and google it and try to maybe figure out what the hell it is. Guess what? I already knew what it was. My reaction was "Oh... that's all that chaos is? Man that's easy." Now don't get me wrong... I can't actually do any math stuffs with it but I do understand what it is and what it implies. GO ME!

Okay, the last thing. It appears as though my roomate has gotten a job as a research assistant. He just finished his first year of engineering and is absolutely the most infuriating person I have ever met. I can't stand being near him - I hang around the library/work at school so I don't have to be near him. He does not deserve to be doing research nor is he even remotely qualified for whatever the hell it is he's doing. I know that my school has very little in the way of standards (one of the reasons why I like it) but COME ON! Now, naturally I am a little bit biased because I would like to see him dead on the side of the road but here are a few reasons why he should not be doing research (and also should be kicked out of school and deported)

1. He just finished first year. Typically only in extraordinary instances do first years get to do research because they don't know anything usefull yet. Fuck, I barely know anything useful. He certainly is not an extraordinary case... unless we are measuring ineptitude.

2. He was opening a tin can with scissors. I told him I had a can opener and got it out for him. He struggled with it for a minute - holding the can opener backwards and then asked me to show him how to use it. I did. He struggled with it for another minute in exactly the same manner he was before and then went back to the scissors. Now remember how he wants to be an engineer, y'know, those people who are generally mechanically inclined.

3. Asked me if a zillion came after a trillion. Now remember how he wants to be an engineer, y'know, those people who are good at math.

4. He wonders why tin foil doesn't burn. I think you get the point by now.

5. He has a solid 61% average. Now this might just be me but I'm not setting foot anywhere near a 61% bridge.

The last two years seem like such a giant waste now if someone as wholly useless as he can do research.

EDIT: This video has a little bit less crazy zooming and a very basic introduction into what a Mandelbrot set is and I found it very interesting and helpful. Also: I'm pretty sure that if God exists he looks like the pudgy black dude.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Journal Articles

These are the most boring things on the face of the entire planet. Which is a little bit strange because the stuff that alot of them imply is all so very frickin' cool. Yet, somehow they are tres tres boring. If you're ever having trouble sleeping, the hell with traditional methods. Throw out your sleeping pills, put that book down, and if you even think about having some warm milk I will fucking kill you. Instead, try to slog your way through a couple pages of riveting literature such as the following example,

"Let us postulate by ascertaining the community composition, we can unambiguously state the instantaneous rate of change of both the predator's and the prey's density" (Rosenzweig 1963).

I guarantee you'll be asleep in minutes (patent peding). Anyways, after reading about 15 of these in a row, constantly battling an ever-increasing desire to pass out until December, one's brain tends to... oh what's the word... commit suicide. Which is why, every once in a while it is so refreshingly nice and beautiful and hilarious to find something so bizarre or unnatural that you just have to laugh... or giggle silently to yourself.

The first of these I found was an article called "Populations of small mammals cycle - UNLESS THEY DON'T!!!11!!" (Hanski 1987). Now, Hanski didn't actually capitalize the "unless they don't" part because that would have been unprofessional (he also left out the exclamations and the ones). However, that was how I read it in my mind and, also, how I imagined Mr. Hanski imagined it in his mind when he wrote it. It reminds me of a frustrated person who doesn't really have any good supporting reasons behind what they think so instead they just yell "BECAUSE THAT'S THE WAY IT IS OKAY NOW SHUTTUP AND LEAVE ME ALONE". I don't blame Mr. Hanski for this - in fact, good on him! The dude's probably published 6 or 7 other articles and he's even got a model named after him and still no one knows why sometimes, some small mammal populations don't cycle when, in a different place, the exact same species does experience population cycles. It's kindave annoying and I can see him getting very frustrated at the issue.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have cookies to eat


[1] M.L. Rosenzweig and R.H. MacArthur. Graphical representation and stability conditions of predator-prey interactions,
The American Naturalist, 97(895): 209-223, 1963

[2] I. Hanski. Populations of small mammals cycle - unless they don't.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 2(3): 55-56, 1987

Saturday, May 2, 2009


It's pretty awesome. I decided to rollerblade to the school today cause I had some stuff to do there. It was pretty good, only took me 40 minutes to get there which is pretty great 'cause I thought it would take an hour at least and I even managed to avoid the highway for the most part except for one little part on the bridge that freaked me out completely. I got to the school okay though and then managed to get neither of the things I needed to done. The first thing was get my student card back that someone had turned in but the service center was closed and so I couldn't get it. The second thing was get some books from the library - which evidently, I need my student card to do. Just giving them your student number isn't good enough. So that was a giant fail.

So I hung around a bit, read a couple of journal articles which was pretty amazing because I can usually only get through half of one before I start falling asleep. And I decided to go back home. I found a wicked nice bike path that goes down beside the on-ramp so I didn't even have to go on the highway on the way back. Of course, that wouldave been too easy so the bike path randomly turns into dirt and gravel at the bottom of a hill. I would have bailed pretty hard were it not for my unbelievable athletic abilities.

As I started going in the direction of home I decided "fuck it" and randomly went down a whole bunch of other roads. Lots of them end in gated communities. I hate gated communities. If I ever wind up living in one, please shoot me please. But, it turns out there's alot of really cool random things hiding away in Kelowna. I shall make a list.

1. There was a house where the guy decided that it would be pretty cool if he put a driving range in his backyard. That is so cool! I don't even like golf but man, awesome! There was just a bunch of people in his yard hitting golfballs. Rad!

2. There was another house that randomly had a caboose on their front lawn. I have no idea how that caboose couldave gotten there or why anyone would want it there and that's what made it awesome. The nearest railway was a kilometer away at least. That's what makes it so awesome. It was totally awesome. The sign on the places driveway said that they made gourmet spreads. What the hell does that have to do with a caboose?

3. Orchards. These look like they would be so much fun to run through as fast as you can. Or maybe walk softly holding hands and whispering secrets? They're like a really long straight cave made out of trees and I love it. If it weren't for me being too lazy to put my shoes on and if the electric fence didn't have so much electricity in it, I totally would have ran up and down the rows.

4. A bird (not a chicken) played chicken with me. It just flew straight at my face and then dodged away at the last second. I guess that means I won. At any rate, I think the bird was probably a fan of Pearl Harbour

5. The coolest playground ever. It was half playground and half water park. You know how every playground ever has a slide on one side of it? Well this one did too. Except it was a water slide. There was also a giant dragon (aren't they all giant?) supported by posts in mid-flight. I wanted to go conquer that playground but I think the grown-ups would have yelled at me. Probably because I would kick their shitty kids asses so hard at playground.

6. There was a short little road called "Euclid Drive". I checked it out and it's okay guys, it totally had Euclidean Geometry so there is no need to panic. Actually, it would be pretty cool to see a road with non-Euclidean Geometry, a hyperbolic road or something maybe? I don't even know what that would look like

7. Airplanes flying 200 metres-ish above my head. So cool!

Overall, good day. Even if I managed to get absolutely nothing done. I think I'll do it tomorrow too. Sure beats staying in my room. Also: need to consider looking into a bike - would make things easier and safer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day

So Earth Day was/is sometime near today? At any rate I found this Earth Day Resolution idea on some website that I think is absolutely splendid so I'm going to give it a try and you ought to too. Basically, come up with three things that you could do to make Nature stop thinking that you're a giant dick.

The first thing is something small and easy so you'll totally be able to do it, no worries. The second thing is something that is pretty serious and requires quite a bit of effort. If you find that you can't actually do the second thing it's okay! At least you gave it an honest effort. But if you actually manage to do the second thing then hats off to you man, that's cool. The third thing should be something that you're already doing but you could probably do a better job of.

So anyways, here's my list

1. Stop taking ridiculously long hot showers

2. No eating beef unless I'm absolutely sure it came from a cow that was fed grass and alfalfa and other yummytime healthy cowthings. Corn, soybeans, other assorted grains, pork, an unecessary amount of antibiotics, other cows, and chicken are all things that don't belong inside any of a cow's multiple tummys.

3. I'm gonna remember better to not get stuff put in plastic bags when I'm at stores if it's possible for me to carry them or put them in my pockets. Because pockets are Nature's plastic bags - Also: Jellyfish.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say I just discovered that one of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen stories has Allen Quartermain and the chick from Dracula teaming up with Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in 1958 America (after the fall of Big Brother) to do battle against Doctor Sachs. How fucking cool is that!

This is just further evidence that everything and everyone I'm absolutely in love with is together in some secret backroom having an orgy of artistic inspiration and AWESOMENESS.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My dreams need a psychiatrist I think probably

I was gonna make a post about how bad music sucks now but that's far too sad. So instead I'M GONNA FREAK OUT CAUSE STUDYING IS SUCH A GIANT DRAG AND DOES WEIRD THINGS TO YOUR BRAIN.

Seriously, it's deadly stuff, I don't recommend it EVER. Last week, I had a nightmare about math. No joke. This math paper that should have only taken a couple hours took like 8 (still not done actually - I have till Monday). So I fell asleep and there were numbers and x's and autonomous equations frickin' everywhere crowding up my brainspace and they were all moaning "solve us" and I was like "Dudes, leave me alone, I wanna sleep" but they wouldn't shut up so I solved a couple and tried to go to sleep and then they started fuckin' biting people and after people got bit they turned into math. "Are you fuckin' kidding me?" I yell out to a landscape plastered with all sorts of scary looking numberish mathy things feasting on the bloodied bodies of dream-people. No, I wasn't fucking kidding me. Turns out my dreams have zombie mathstuffs that need to be solved or they'll just eat ALL THE BRAINS. Brains which, as they were created by my brain, are actually part of my brain. Frickin' math was eating my own brains inside out. It's okay though, cause I grabbed a shotgun. TAKE THAT AUTONOMOUS EQUATIONS! tsch tsch BOOM tsch tsch BOOM! MUAHAHAHAHA! Bastards!

Right now I'm stuck on Physics and Anthropology and I hate them both. Frickin' studying, frickin' exams. I hate all this waiting. I wish I could have all of my exams sometime over the course of the next four days. My brain goes crazy when I have to go over and over and over the same thing forever. Y'know, just in case that math dream wasn't enough of a tip-off.

Actually, I'm a little bit excited for when I have to start studying Matrix Algebra. How awesome are my dreams gonna be then. "NO! You can't disconnect him from the Matrix yet. He isn't in reduced echelon form. His entire body will shut down on him." "Ack, sorry! Maybe you can put me in the Matrix and I'll try some Guassian Elimination to help him out?""You crazy son of a bitch, there's no way you'll make it out alive". My dream ends with me trying to take the inverse matrix and then all of a sudden everyone's underwear is on the outside of their clothes so we pretend to be superheros but then we remember that WE ALREADY ARE SUPERHEROES so instead we just have chocolate cake and I drop a big gooey piece of icing on my underwear and everyone laughs and I'm like "Hey, guys c'mon, I'm the One, stop being so mean" and then they all rememer how much I rocked at solving the Matrix so they all shut the hell up.

Or what about when I have to start studying archaeology? Man, that'll be even frickin awesomer. Maybe I'll study Archaeology and Matrix Algebra at the same time so that way I'll be Indiana Jones except inside of the Matrix trying to stop computer Nazi robots from destroying all of humanity with the Antikythera Mechanism. I'll be all like "I can learn Kung Fu?" but then I'll think about it for a second and be like "Actually, I know it'll only take like 20 seconds to learn but fuck it" and then I'll just shoot the guy in the chest with a revolver instead of doing all those fancy bullettime things. If the bad guy uses that bullettime trick to dodge my bullets I'll just whip him around the throat because WHIPS GO FASTER THAN BULLETS BITCH and then I'll drag him over and shoot him in the face and say something witty like "HA I TOTALLY JUST SHOT YOU IN THE FACE BITCH WHAT NOW". Okay, that needs working on. I'll let you know how it actually goes in my dreamworld.

Man, I have the nerdiest dreams ever. But so badass!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Biggest Dickhead in the World

Today I found out who the biggest dickhead in the world is. You may have your own idea about who the biggest dickhead in the world is, perhaps you think it's Bush, Cheney, the executives at AIG, Stephen Harper, Bill O'Reilly, or whoever is responsible for jewel CD cases. You would be right in concluding they are dickheads but if you think any one of them is THE BIGGEST DICKHEAD, you are wrong (In all capitals to get my point across). No, the biggest dickhead in the world is Pope Benedict XVI!1$@#&%$@. Why do they still use Roman numerals? Dude doesn't speak Latin.

Anyways, on the surface he appears just to be your typical overly religious bigoted prig. He called Mohammad's teachings evil and said that homosexualism was against nature. This is a typical level of dickheadedness and I would be resoundingly shocked if there ever is a Pope who doesn't believe such things.

Of course, being Pope, he has to win at everything - even being a dickhead. Wracking his brains for something so unbelievably uncomparably dickish to do, he found something. He went to Africa and while adressing a good 30,000 people, he told them that condoms do nothing to help stop the AIDS epidemic and that the African peoples would be much better off without them. Now, I realize that Pope Benedict10000 (dude doesn't know binary either so why not?) doesn't have any formal training in medicine but it doesn't take much of a mental leap to realize a disease that spreads through the contact of bodily fluids could be minimized by a device specially designed to prevent the contact of bodily fluids.

He went on to say that abstinance is a much better alternative which he is technically right about. Only there's that small little bit about human psychology and biology that makes it necessary to fuck. Damn we like to fuck. It'd go against nature to not have sex (ZING!).

So right now he's sitting at a giant level of dickheadedness. Hundreds of thousands of deaths can now be attributed to him (not to mention the thousands of unecessary and unwanted births). But wait, there's more! Turns out, the Pope is a Nazi and I don't mean that He-did-terrible-things-and-Nazis-did-terrible-things-so-therefore-he's-a-Nazi. I also don't mean that he's-a-German-and-Nazis-were-German-so-he's-a-Nazi-LOL!. No, I mean that the guy was legitimately a Nazi. He joined the Hitler Youth. It was mandatory to join. He had no choice. He even skipped out on all the meetings because alot of Nazi activities were "Anti-Christian". What a good testament to his infallible and godlike character. He then worked at an anti-aircraft unit protecting a factory that used slave labour from Dachau to make airplanes. Eventually, he deserted, another testament to his character. Except he didn't desert till August 1945. Guess when the Armistace was signed. AUGUST 1945. He says that he was drafted and that he had no choice.

Fuck you. Fuck you right in your over-glorified asshole with that ridiculous fucking hat until your clogged and mutilated rectum floods your stomach with blood and you start vomiting it up in such vehoumous and powerful gags that your stomach starts ripping itself to pieces and then the blood gets loose and is free to spread internally to every inch of your body and you eventually die of hemorraging. You always have a choice. Even when every part of society is against what you "believe in", there is always a choice. Being passive and going with the crowd is no excuse. If you truly gave every inch of yourself to your "beliefs" you would have found a way to disengage yourself from the Nazis. Would they have killed you? Most definitely. But at least if they killed you, you couldn't be held accountable for the actions of the Nazis. How many slaves died working in that factory you guarded? How many of them got a nice steamy shower when they became too undernourished and weak to keep on working? How many of the planes built there were apart of the Blitzkrieg? All of it, your fault.

Also: I'm holding you and only you as personally responsible for the death of Anne Frank. If a 16-year old girl can understand that something is horribly wrong with her country than I expect that the future Pope would. Actually, it would do the world good if her book replaced the Bible.

In conclusion: Pope Benedict(The third root of 4096) = The Worlds Biggest Dick.

PS - He even looks like Senator Palpatine

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Things I don't understand and probably never will:

1. Laws. We have way too many of them. I propose that all laws be boiled down to the simplistic, yet effective "Don't be dicks, okay you guys". And don't tell me this is childish, naive, utopian and impossible. I have a rather effective and realistic system for enforcing this law inside of my brain and one day I might introduce you to it but right now it's really shy and new people scare it so much that it piddles all over the carpet. BAD IDEA! LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID!

2. Marriage. I don't see any symbolic representation of love with marriage - which, I assume is the reason why people get married (ideally). All I see is an unnecessary amount of paperwork and hassle so that the government can marginalize and control something that can only be understood by the two people doing it. Oh, and believe me, they'll be doing it wink wink nudge nudge. Frankly I don't want a file on me locked away in some cabinet in the basement of some lonely dark building that says "DUDE! CHECK OUT THE CHICK THAT BRECK IS TOTALLY BANGING. SWEET DEAL!". The only way I'll ever marry someone is if they happen to be a really really close friend who also happens to be foreign and also happens to be currently in the deportation process.

3. Birthdays. Yeah, that's right. I just referenced myself. Meta is the new cool. Probably because I'm so cool. I'm gonna go meta till I hit infinity and then he'll be all like "Owwwww, why would you be tho MEAN too me *cries*". For some reason I picture infinity as having a flamboyantly gay accent. I'm not sure why. Also: Did anyone else watch that kids show "MedaBots"? If so, were you as disappointed as me when you found out that it wasn't about robots made by robots.

4. Eating meat. From a purely logical standpoint, I don't understand it. From a purely satisfaction standpoint, however, HOLYCRAPYUMMY! Seriously though, the current way our food production system works is a giant waste of resources. To make a pig that feeds 10 people requires enough energy to feed 100 people and that's a ballpark figure (read: low). Mathematically, meat always loses and we all know how much I enjoy math. We also all know how much I enjoy a nice plump juicy barbecued steak.

To be fair though, if all farms were run like this one it would be a waste to not eat meat because the animals each play their own critical role in a delicate self sufficient eco-system just like how nature intended. If Jurassic Park taught me one thing it was 'stay out of the long grass'. Oh, and also 'don't fuck with nature unless you want 7.5 tons of Theropod chowing down on the tires of your overturned car like they were Ho Hos'.

5. Airport/border security. Guy's, if people want to blow things up inside of your country or sell drugs, there is absolutey nothing you can do to stop them. Last I checked Capitalism = Personal Freedom. Sacrificing freedom for an illusion of safety is never an acceptable option. This one actually goes back to number one. Don't be dicks, you guys. People who blow shit up = Dicks. Airport/border security = dicks. Guys who sell drugs = debatabley not dicks just as long as they're not selling to idiot kids who don't know better. I for one, would be much more satisfied in a world that was a little bit more dangerous but a whole hell of alot more free.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Things that make me irrationally happy

1. <--- Best thing the internet ever did. Here are some steps to make your life better.

Step 1: If you don't have Firefox, get it. If you already have it then skip this step and go to number 2
Step 2: Go to the add-ons section of the Firefox website and download
Step 3: Type in a musical act that you feel like listening too and click okay. It will start playing that artist and artists similiar to them.

Now, I knew about and how you could listen to similar artists to ones that you liked but I didn't like the websites layout and it seemed like a hassle and you had to leave the browser open to their "play music" page else it'd stop. is an add-on that uses the power of and puts a little mini-music-player right at the top of your internet and you can still go to different pages and stuff and THE MUSIC KEEPS GOING. Seriously, best invention ever. Here's a list of artists (off the top of my head) I have started listning to since getting this handy little bugger a month ago:

John Lee Hooker, Bukka White, Blind Willie Mctell, Fresh Maggots, The Incredible String Band, Something Happens, Fairport Convention, Dr. Strangely Strange, Soledad Brothers, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Cotten Mather, Comus, Velvet Crush, Amy Cook, The Small Faces, Humble Pie, The Pretty Things.

2. Trees! Tree's are super funtimes. If you're ever feeling down just go and climb a tree and then you'll be up. HA! Up. Get it? Yeah, I know it's lame but it leads me to my next happy thing. Puns!

3. Los puns son muy graciosos. Me encantalos! Wordplay is beautiful and intelligent and hilarious. This right here is my favoritest joke in the whole wide world. Best of all, it isn't even Math related (even though math puns are the best). It's a little long but the joke is well worth the reading. As well as puns I also enjoy spoonerisms, mondegreens, malapropisms, anagrams, and portmanteaus. People who are good at that stuff are basically automatically geniuses in my mind because I am not very good at wordplay things even though they make me smiley inside. Unrelated also: espirit d'escalier is a French phrase for thinking up something witty to say long after the conversation ended. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. I'm super witty inside my own head, you should check it out one day.

4. Live Music - No explanation necessary. There is nothing more happy than going to see a show, even if it's just some local band that no one's ever heard of before. Cause usually they wind up being crazy awesome. SUPPORT MUSIC! BURN THE RECORD COMPANYS! MUSICAL ANARCHY AAGH! Seriously though - go buy an album right now but make sure that it's by some band that you've never listened to and maybe have never even heard of before. Just get something with really cool looking cover art. It'll be great. I promise.

5. Ugly things - Man, ugly things are the coolest ever. I have this book and one of the characters is talking about this painting he has and he says "Of course it's ugly. Why else would I have it. I like it cause it's ugly" and I think that's the prettiest thing anybody has ever said. I have a very different perception of what sorts of things are pretty or nice looking and as a result I like alot of 'ugly' stuff.

6. Hugs and cuddling - People really ought to cuddle more often, it'd make them happier. When I rule the world I'm gonna make an international holiday where people have to make a fort out of beds and cushions and couches and everybody just sits under there and cuddles and watches movies and talks for the whole day. This holiday would be even better than Christmastime.

7. How most of my 'Angry' things are number related - Man, I am such a nerd. This is why people don't want to go out in public with me but that's okay cause I'd rather just stay home and hang out anyways. Finding stuff to do wastes precious time so let's just sit and talk okay?

8. Ou'rwageous Caw'kney Ak-cents. Vair aww so bloomin' wonderfu' arn'vey? Specially, when vey talk 'unred miles an 'our an' everyfing's so colourfu' an' vey use words that sound made up an' vair's a goo'chance tha' they don' even know wha' vair talkin' abou' bu' you buy i' anyway cause jus' listning to vem talk is plain bloody delightfu'.