My recent obsession, French toast

How does French toast manage to be so awesome? Seriously. I just don't understand. Bread, pretty good. Eggs, good. French toast, amazing. The goodness function for eggs and bread is definitely non-linear, reaching it's maximum at an overly soaked eggy bread.

And what's good with bread? Peanut butter and bananas. So what about a peanut butter and banana French toast sandwich? Let's just hope these third and fourth variables don't ruin the magic; experiment to be run tomorrow.

Representative pictures of Googlers

My roommate just came into my room complaining that the number one Google images result for "Terry Tai" was a picture of the Ticket to Ride cover. Google quickly wised up, however, and is now returning an image of Carcassonne. This led me to query for other Googlers who attended Columbia games night. Unfortunately, Hubert Chao is way too cool and has a few of pictures of himself, but is mostly drowned out by utexas results. David Held also lacked any Columbia board game images. However, my number one result is Blue Moon City. Ross Fairgrieve returns Ticket to Ride at #5 and Tigris & Euphrates at #6. Michael Grigoriev has Majaraja at #1 and Diplomacy at #2.

I an quite a fan of Blue Moon City, and Ross liked both Tigris and Ticket to Ride.

And of course, I can't let things like rankings changes remove the greatness of these results, so here are some screen caps that will live forever, or at least until I rm -rf my home directory on ruslug.

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My sister is famous

Or at least, the Star Ledger quoted Kate Renaud about why she does programming contests.


"My friends ask, 'Why would you do that?'" said Kaitlin Renaud, 20, a Princeton junior, admitting it's difficult to explain to non-programmers the allure of rising early on a Sunday morning to do battle on a screen. "I really can't tell them. ... But it's fun."


I guess that's better than "because my brother makes me."

Apparently, she finished 13th with a 2 person team. Rutgers places were somewhat disappointing, its best team at 12th. Cornell absolutely dominated the contest, finishing all the problems with more than half the time remaining. The 2007 standings are here.

In praise of Ubuntu

I just bought a music CD (gasp, the horror!). Ubuntu made ripping it to ogg so incredibly easy that I had extracted the first song before I even knew what format I was writing in. Literally it was 10 seconds between right clicking the CD icon on my desktop to starting the rip.

iLike, you have eaten my metaphorical lunch

I discovered a pretty cool and useful Facebook app named iLike a few days ago. It implements the "show me bands I like who are touring near me" very well, and it has all other nice kinds of social features built in. It's done way better than something that I could hack up in my spare time, and hence, I quit!

My only complaint is that it's very much designed for itunes and it doesn't provide a way to automatically import data from anywhere else. The interface does support a comma separated line input for favorite bands, however. So I hacked up a Pandora scraper. The Pandora scraper will get not just favorites, but also bands that you simply thumbed up more than once. As a bonus, it will print scores for each artist that are in your stations. It will run with any non-ancient version of Python, I tested with 2.4.

Here are the top 5 scores for me.

rob:~/code/more_live_music/src$ python pandora_parser.py rrenaud@gmail.com | head -n 5
Alanis Morissette 30
The Doors 28
Foo Fighters 26
Oasis 20
Red Hot Chili Peppers 18


The scores are simply the number thumbed up songs + 10 bonus for being in favorites.

Speaking of Pandora, please, please get a clue with your ads. I was listening to a station titled "Brett Dennen Radio", my location is set to New York, NY, and Brett had a show in New York in 3 days. What kind of ads was I seeing? McDonald's ads. Hint, I am a vegetarian, that's also in my profile. With ads targeted that poorly, maybe they just don't want to earn any money?

Where should I buy music online?

This is related to the post about Brett Dennen. I want to buy his songs. I am willing to pay a reasonable amount per song (which seems like it is universally accepted to be $.99), and I'd like to buy from a minimally evil company. If the company stands against DRM, this is a plus. If the company doesn't donate large quantities of money to the Republican party, this is also a plus.

Edit: The executives at Yahoo Music seem to have a clue.

Anyone hear of Brett Dennen?

I just heard his music on Pandora and liked it, so I did a bit of research. From an interview with him,


Rv: So every show you play you give a portion of your earnings to a local charity?
BD: Yes.
Rv: You don’t hear that too often.
BD: No, and it’s been a lot of work making it happen. But I don’t do it for me. Giving money is only part of it. The biggest part is getting the charities to come to the shows and to speak in-between the acts to talk to the audience about what they do and how to get involved instead of just sitting at a booth. To me, that’s what’s most valuable.


Here is a link to his myspace. I apologize for linking to myspace, but you can hear his music, and the page isn't the typical myspace trash.

He has a concert in New York in a couple weeks, and the tickets are only $18. I think I am going.

Mike Daisey's "Tongues Will Wag" is excellent

I previously wrote about wanting to support Mike Daisey to defend free speech. I went to see his latest show "Tongues Will Wag" tonight. Now I can recommend you see his shows for more than some crazy support-free-speech ideology; his show is simply great. He is such a gripping story teller and his monologues are hilarious. I really want to see his story about Tesla a couple months from now.

A trio of awesome webcomics

I write this because I am slacking with the typsetting of my not sufficiently challenging Fundamental Algorithms class at NYU.

Web comic #1, Alien Loves Predator. I think anyone who has spent any significant amount of time in New York City can relate to this webcomic about the damn metrocard getting rejected by the turnstile.

Coming in at #2, is indexed, which typically consist of witty and amusing diagrams drawn on index cards. My personal favorite is this beauty, a complete graph on seven vertexes, where each vertex is a deadly sin, and edges are combinations of sins. For example, the pairing of gluttony and envy is high metabolism.

Last but not least, the one true web comic, xkcd. I have so many xkcd episodes that I really like, so instead, I'll link a favorite of someone else. Inanity of comments as a function of proximity to cats. Oh so true.

And I am sad! I tried to organize a bunch of Googlers to go to Cambridge for the xkcd meetup next week, but everyone fell through. There will be no one to travel with, and no one to split a hotel with. Oh well.

And if you have any desire to experience pop culture and vulgarity, you have to see Superbad. The muscles in my face responsible for smiling were literally worn out after the show was over.