Passover in LA

I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind on my blog again. It happens from time to time when I am very busy. I was going to post a huge picture bomb of all the things I have done in the past two weeks, but I think instead I will break them up and back post them. My main motivation for doing this is that I want people to see my Cylon Tea hack, and if I post everything at once, it will be buried. Mmm… Cylon Tea.

At the beginning of the quarter, Joanna and I took Thursday and Friday off and went on a mini-vacation to LA. I went to my first Seder ever at Jo’s dad’s house, which was fun. However, I did think that the stuff that was read from the little-book-whose-name-starts-with-an-h was a bit over-the-top jangsty. Groups in general seem to like to dwell on how they have been wronged or oppressed in the past.

Other highlights of the weekend included: getting up and writing my BS 12-page project proposal for CS194 at 10:30 on Thursday, so I could email it to Travis by 3pm, so he could print it out and hand it in for me, going to the Urth Cafe, and hanging out in Santa Monica. We spent about two hours in a large bookstore dedicated entirely to architecture and adjacent disciplines.

While in Santa Monica, we ate lunch at Ye Olde King’s Head – a British Pub. We also shopped at the Tudor House, which makes delicious chicken curry pies. The Tudor House also sold some very strange British food. I think that the Brits’ main motivation in conquering India was to bring the yummy food of the Indian man into the Empire. And who can blame them, really. Boiled beef? Ick.

My girlfriend pwns noobs

Recently I taught Doougles and Jo to play Warcraft. I am a corrupter of youth.

Last night Jo and I met Erc and Kejia at the Creamery for desert and then we played a couple of games. Erc and Kejia victimized and pillaged my poor Orc settlement in the first game, and after that we played various team games against a set of computer players (which is not as fun, in my opinion). A good time was had by all.

So yes. My girlfriend plays Warcraft. I feel like Erc and I should start some sort of elite club.

That Suqqed!

Played Scrabble with Joanna yesterday, and she was using my own crap against me! Two bingos later, she has me crushed.

423 to 316

– – –

Questionable Scrabble words:


Only one of the above words is not legal in tournament Scrabble. Can you tell which it is?

Awesome Weekend!

I had a great day at San Grigorio Beach on Saturday with Jo, Josh, Vishal, Brendan, and many others. By extreme chance we found the bakery in Pescadero that makes great bread. The coolest thing about the beach was fording the river that drains to the sea there in order to get to the other half of the beach. Wisely, most of us forded (remember Oregon Trail?) the river at the widest point, except for Vishal and Eric Sun. They tried crossing too close to the ocean, got hit by a wave halfway across, and ended up totally soaked.

The other contributing factor to my weekend’s awesomeness was Brendan’s birthday party, hosted at our apartment. At the end, I was surprised to look at the clock and see that it was two in the morning. The special guest for the evening was Vishal, who was in town selling rocks to stupid Americans.

See how popular we are.

Doougles served us a drink that made everyone’s eyes turn red and evil-looking.

Brendan gives his party one thumb up!

Burckhardt's Full Stop vs. Chaitin's Omega

I haven’t updated my blog recently, and I have had this post from Spring Break sitting around on my computer unposted for about a week. I went home for Spring Break this year, instead of going to LA with Jo, in the hopes of making it to Delaware :-/

While home, I did get to the Aldrich museyroom, the flea market, and to Borders 4 times to read books in the store without paying for them (but while paying for very expensive coffee). Among the books I read for free was Gregory Chaitin’s Meta Math! I had actually grabbed three books to read while enjoying my coffee that day: Meta Math!, Imaginary Beings, and Labyrinths (the latter two by Jorges Luis Borges). I opened Chaitin’s book to the first real chapter, and lo, it commences with a quote from Borges. I suppose mathematicians are wont to quote Borges, as infinity, self-reference and incompleteness (of the complexity class sort) are some of his recurring themes. Still, what are the odds?

Full Stop

What it is: A artist’s studio completely constructed in cardboard and ink. It took 8 months to construct.

Why it is awesome: It’s like walking through a 3D virtual environment with everything rendered using surreal shader techniques.

Cons: Flammable.

Chaitin’s Constant

What it is: For all programs written in a specified language, Chaitin’s constant omega is defined as the probability that a particular program chosen at random will halt. For the universal Turing machine, the first 64 bits of omega are known. Omega = .00787499699… For more, see WikiPedia

Why it is awesome: The astute will realize that determining omega to N bits is equivalent to solving the halting problem for all programs of length less than or equal to N. Therefore it is impossible, in the strongest sense of the word, to enumerate all the bits of omega. It is irreducibly complex. Chiatin claims that omega is evidence of randomness at the heart of mathematics, the philosophical implications of which are hotly debated.

Cons: Requires a degree in CS to appreciate.

Victor: Full Stop

Full Stop is a complete experience. That omega exists is interesting, but one gets the idea that it is only a small piece of a much larger story.

Runner up: Extended Afternoon

The light rays are painted on.

Chunk Norris is PSPACE-complete.

  • Chuck Norris can dereference NULL.
  • Chuck Norris can sort anyone in O(1) with a roundhouse kick to the face.
  • Chuck Norris’s operating system victimizes pages for fun.
  • Chuck Norris never experiences deadlock because he always wins.
  • Chuck Norris has a working version of WinFS.
  • Death by Zombies Guaranteed!


    I’ve been making some incremental improvements in Witherwyn, in between working on my BHO (a soul-sucking beast).

  • First of all, death by zombies is now guaranteed!
  • Did a fair amount of restructuring so that now all entities are loaded in from XML files, as per the original design. This makes adding/updating/changing content much easier.
  • Rewrote my Direct3D tilemap renderer. I was getting awful performance before (1.5 FPS when the whole 100×100 map was in view). Using batched textures and batched geometry I now get about 60 times that. Nice. This paves the way for real time lighting and animation effects.
  • Abstracted out the level generation code. It’s a work in progress, but already much better. The above screen shot of the Spooky Forest shows the results of the ForestLevelGenerator. Things will become more interesting as more entities are added to the game.
  • Witherwyn Google Count: about 70

    Def: PRJ0050

    1. A Visual Studio Post-Linker Error Message

    Failed to register output. Please ensure you have the appropriate permissions to modify the registry.

    2. A Minor Demon from the 7th Circle of Hell

    Its true nature is often realized after you check and see that, yes, you own root on this box.