Thursday, May 21, 2015

Random funny.

I was at the store when I started playing around with these, and was amused. So naturally, I took a short video to capture my folly.


(fixed video link)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Crazy lucid dreams.

I have lucid dreams.

Earlier tonight while taking a longish nap, I woke myself up in mid-dream, twice. The first time, I was dreaming about a crazy-spooky elevator that had a mind of its own, dropping people off on the wrong floor. I recognized this scene, as I've had this dream before, and told myself to wake up in order to end it (because I know what happens and it's mostly disturbing, incongruous and long). The second time, I was dreaming about pushing my tongue against a tooth and dislodging it. Again, I recognized this scene as a dream I've had before, and told myself to wake up in order to confirm that it was a dream.

There are some times where I'm exploring in my dream, and recognizing that I'm dreaming, I'll direct my actions -- I've been doing this since elementary school.

Many people believe that dreaming can only occur when you're in a deep sleep, but my experience has been that the best dreams -- controllable, memorable ones -- occur when you're not fully asleep. When I wake up partially, recognizing that I left the music / tv playing, I make the conscious decision to remain in that semi-sleeping state, and focus on visualizing a scene. In short order, I'm dipping into a slightly deeper state of sleep, and the dream begins, centered on that visualized scene. This can go on for several hours (elevating and descending states of sleep) with multiple separate dreams.

As I understand it, most people have lucid dreams, but I am skeptical because I've never heard people talk to me about dream cognition. Do you have lucid dreams?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Epic tweet and retort.

Most hilarious conversation between a sitting president and a former president, ever.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Old photos: 1981.

I finally hooked up my *good* scanner up to my computer, so naturally I scanned a couple of documents from 1981. I have just one of them here: my elementary school band. Back then I had a huge crush on the bassoonist and a flutist (yes, I still remember their first names).

One of those crushes led to a crazy, hilarious adventure with one of my friends that still brings a smile to my face; the other ended up in a story (as a nameless proxy) I later wrote in middle school that a lot of people read.

I know there are some of you out there who know what I look like, so I'm sure you'll have fun finding me in the photo.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quick bear sketch.

It popped in my head all of a sudden: I'm thinking of creating a line of black (or sun) bear 3D full color (ha!) figurines, for Christmas, using Shapeways. Here's my early first attempt.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

10 Thoughts for May 19, 2015

  1. Yes, Gunnars really work. There are times when my eyes will be extremely irritated, with difficulty looking at bright lights. When I put on the Gunnars, the light becomes less intense as my eyes immediately feel the difference; over the course of an hour, my eyes return to normal and I can take the glasses off. The only problem: The yellowish tint makes color-critical work impossible.
  2. Read this cover letter, from former USC linebacker Hayes Pullard. He was among four draft-eligible players who were asked, and agreed, to write cover letters to NFL teams. I find his letter to be the best of the four, and that's not just because I graduated from USC.
  3. I replaced my battery on my phone. It was a moderately simple or moderately complex task, depending on your confidence. You do need to pay attention to the tools and methods employed in the YouTube videos demonstrating the process. Now, my phone seems to last significantly longer, and I haven't had any odd shutdowns. :D  For the time being, I'm avoiding wireless charging, as I suspect that the excessive heat may have severely degraded my battery.
  4. So, scientists have discovered that the ebola virus can survive for a long time, outside of a host. In hospital conditions, it survived for 11 days on Tyvek (the stuff they make those bunny suits out of). Hmm...I recall mentioning something similar several months ago. By the way, I find it a bit amusing and distressing, that these scientists apparently don't know whether temperature plays a role. In that same study I had previously cited, it was shown that colder temperatures increased the survivability of ebola. Oh well.
  5. Did you know that you don't need a smart watch to use Google Fit? All you do is install the app on your Android phone, and carry your phone with you. Once you've entered your information in the Google Fit website, it'll track how many calories you've burned...or you can keep it relatively anonymous and have it simply track your mileage. I have a goal of 2 hours of walking / biking every day, but today will be the first time I'll have met this goal, in the three weeks since I started using Google Fit.
  6. I watched the season ending episode for Castle. While ABC has officially renewed the show for an 8th season, I have to say that if they hadn't renewed, the season finale could have easily worked as a series finale. It had enough ambiguity as to the future of Rick and Kate as to allow viewers to draw their own conclusions, yet giving enough bread crumbs to realize that their future was bright.
  7. If you search for "inu", Google returns images of Shibas. I'm sure that they must know that inu is the Japanese word for dog, but Americans must be expecting Shibas. You see, if you search Google for "犬" which is pronounced "inu", you get a mix of dogs with some Shibas. The west is apparently confused about what Shiba Inu means, because many people will reference them as "Shiba Inu dogs", which is like saying "Shetland Sheepdog dogs". Just a tiny, amusing quirk.
  8. You know what's interesting about the biker gang brawl in Waco, TX? The tone of fear in the media and the police, of the white biker gang violence. When it comes to Latino and African-American gangs, the tone is entirely different, focused on the anger against the culture that created these gangs. Go ahead and listen to how the news and the police react.
  9. Apparently many Americans are dumb enough to address @POTUS on Twitter with threats of violence and use of vulgarity, not realizing that this stuff is both monitored and automatically archived. Threats of violence is not protected speech.
  10. Google Music has joined the Material Design club. My only complaint is that they leave a lot of white space if you stretch it out full screen on a desktop monitor. It looks fine on a 12" tablet, but overly capacious on the 24" screen. Scalable design, it appears, has limits to its scalability and visual aesthetic.
Now, off to the drawing board.

5 Thoughts for May 12, 2015 (updated)

  1. Tom Brady got slapped with a 4-game suspension for DeflateGate. The way I see it, no ball boy is going to dictate what the PSI should be; the ball boy is going to follow the wishes of the quarterback. That Brady didn't volunteer access to his phone's records may be kosher in criminal justice, but otherwise fails the practical means of exonerating one's self. With the evidence reflecting "the deflator's" contempt for Brady after being thrown under the bus, Brady's link was identified as "probable". The significance of this language is that in civil court a jury's duty is to find "probable cause", and not the criminal level of "without doubt". -- Update: Ted Wells (the investigator) offered comments that backed up my point of his specific language, stating, "I was very careful to draft in the report what the appropriate standard of proof was. And that is far different than probable cause, which some reporters have reported. The preponderance of the evidence standard is a commonly used standard in civil litigation."
  2. Were it not for Google Fiber's inception, I doubt that cities and states would be seeing a sudden rush of gigabit fiber services, priced at GF levels. Prior to GF, you couldn't get 300 megabit speeds for less than $200. Now that GF has set the bar at $70 for 1 gigabit, even municipal fiber, Chattanooga's epbfi, had to dramatically lower prices from $350 to $70 to compete with the threat of GF. People truly under-appreciate the value that GF brought. Speaking of GF, Oregon finally changed the law that allowed for the central assessment tax of intangible properties, and after a correction, has now opened the doors for GF to come in.
  3. Dallas Cowboys signed undrafted free-agent George Farmer for $55,000, of which, $15,000 was a signing bonus -- it means that he had multiple suitors to boost his signing price. I'm bummed that Seattle didn't sign (or draft) Farmer. I see that they're enamored with a smaller speedster in Tyler Lockett. Just a reminder though: Farmer's 40-yard time was 4.35 seconds, and Lockett's was 4.40.
  4. There is opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP trade pact) from labor unions, and the reason is obvious: exportation of manufacturing jobs. But here's the thing: with the removal of tariffs and opening up trade, suddenly domestic manufacturers have equal standing with foreign companies. Domestic companies, attempting to compete by avoiding tariffs and disparate rules, won't need to open foreign corporate facilities. The key to making TPP fair, however, really lies in how environmental and health regulations are treated -- do Chinese companies get to pollute to their heart's content, or will the Chinese finally crack down on their industries? Without sound regulations and enforcement, China will always have an advantage.
  5. Back when I was a senior in high school, I was nominated for a statewide award -- there were a series of categories and I was nominated for history / social studies -- and had to do an interview (sorry, but I didn't win). Actually, it was a 3-day fun-and-work event, where I got to meet several awesome women. Anyway, during the interview, noting that I was planning to study Architecture, a panel member queried my thoughts on vernacular Architecture. I stand by my statement back then: Vernacular design should not constrict a designer, because technology changes the need for certain elements and, modifications can and should be made to adjust to contemporaneous influences. Of course back then, I wasn't as elegant in my language as I am today...or at least I hope that my language today is much more elegant. :D