The Silicon Mind

Find everything here. And maybe some stuff in between.

SM's Popular:
Antonio on Religion and Exclusivity.
Michael on Small Arms.
Antonio, Michael Belinsky, Mike Maio

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Aaahh, The Power of Music

So today I decided it was about time I got away from reality. How? Music. 'They say music can alter moods and talk to you...'1 And walking.

When I listen to music, I tend to walk in circles in the living room (this is at home, not in the apartment). Because that's just what I do. Yes, circles :p.

Anyway, I put on some music. And for at least two hours, I listened to music (very loud) and walked. Now THAT is a way to get away from the world. Virtually no thinking, just singing along or humming along or whatever and trying to understand the lyrics (when I didn't know them already). That was enjoyable. So, if you ever need to just zone out, music is the way to do it.

1 - Eminem, "Sing for the Moment"

Saturday, October 30, 2004


Parents are so underrated... Especially by teenagers. Figure it out, folks - they're some of the coolest people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. And yes, they've usually really got your best interests in mind. And they're usually right, too. Not that I'm not guilty of not believing it myself a few times. No matter, though. They are awesome.

Arrogance... Ugh..

Quick note: This is not brought on by anything in particular.

I have so fucking had it with people who consistently think they are better than everyone else at everything. I have had it with those they already know everything there is to know, regardless of what topic they think that about.

I also hate it when someone tries to force upon me their ideas because they believe their ideas are better, or more correct, or whatever they may think.

But back to the very first sentence. Arrogance is such an annoying trait in people. Everyone has it, and I'm no exception. It's a matter of how obvious it is. Some people are perfectly self-deprecating, even though they may internally believe themselves better. That's the kind of person I like the most. Because I don't give a shit what they think inside. What matters is appearance. As simple as that.

My older brother argues that it's perfectly all right to be arrogant, provided that you're justified - that is to say, provided that you are, indeed, better than those around you. No. It isn't. Why not? Because it's just as annoying to consistently make it clear that you consider yourself superior, be you superior or not.

A perfect example of arrogance vs no arrogance is the Debian distribution's community versus that of Gentoo. Naturally, there are exceptions on both sides. But for the most part, the Debian people are elitist arrogant people, whereas the Gentoo people are nice, helpful people. They probably know more than you. If they do, they will try to help you. If they help you, they will do it nicely. You are not scum simply because you're new to the world of Linux.

And that's what I strive for. That is one of the things I want to have - a total lack of arrogance.

And do *not*, under *any* circumstances, make the mistake of confusing arrogance and pride. I'm perfectly proud of my programming skills. That's about the only thing I have to be proud of, but I'm proud of it. Do I think I know everything there is to know about programming? Fuck no. Do I think I know more than, say, Scott about programming? Yes. Do I act like it? Only when I'm trying to teach the concepts he doesn't know. Take another example - do I feel I know more about programming than my computing for engineers teacher? Not a chance in hell. Do I think I will ever know that much about it? I can only hope. But do I feel it constantly rubbed into me that I know less? No.... Because it doesn't matter. Because that isn't the point. I would hate to be the one who turns someone else off of programming or whatever because I was arrogant.

Wow. That actually came out a lot worse (quality-wise) than it was shaping up to be, hehe.

It's interesting, back a couple of years ago, I went to a party that one of my mom's friends was holding. Probably for New Year's, but I can't remember exactly. What was different about this party was one of the things that happened that day. One of the people there has a son who hung out with my brother for a little while. So he comes up to me in the middle of this party and tells me (paraphrasing) 'you know, you're such a nice person. I tell my son, I want you to grow up to be like Antonio'. Cue me almost spitting out the stuff I was drinking with shock. And that was my weird anecdote for the day. That still freaks me out to this day. Because I consistently think 'I am most definitely NOT a good enough person for ANYONE to be modelling their child after me'. There's just no fucking way.

Oh, and for those of you who're near GT - you should go see the DramaTech production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile 'cause it rocks. I already said that, but I say it again after seeing the show again. Well? What are you waiting for? GO! 8pm, tomorrow, then next wed-sat and the wed-sat after that. 5$ students, 10$ adults.
[/advertisement] ;)

Friday, October 29, 2004

Mine is Not to Question Why

At least, that's what I consistently try to tell myself. Unfortunately, lately that hasn't been working. Maybe it's because all of a sudden I'm paying attention to the latter half - 'Mine is but to do and die'. Not a good thought. And what is there to distract me from this temporary depression and the onset of irrepressible feelings? Nothing, really. Friends - no offense to John, but that's just temporary. TV - again, temporary, and often doesn't even work. For some reason Eminem appears to have some effect. Programming? Can't do it. These feelings usually come coupled with 'programmer's block' - writer's block for my programming mind.

Maybe I could try writing. That is often effective. And yet, when I wrote A Thief in the 30s (, it was a relatively happy, if bored, time. Anything I've started at times of high temperament I've abandoned shortly thereafter. Reading? I haven't been able to focus on a book that I can't read in a day's worth of straight reading for the past year or so.

What else is there? Slip into sleep and try to forget everything else? That won't work. Parties? Right, me at a party. Just let me laugh. Not that I would have any to go to anyway.

The other thing that lets me get away from reality for about an hour and a half, I found out yesterday, is the DramaTech production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Very good play, and well done. And no, that isn't because my older brother is Picasso :).

Funny, it's precisely this kind of emotional dump on blogs that I always ridiculed. Well there you go. Becoming what I scorn. Add that to the list of things going wrong at this moment....

Great Criticism of America

Okay, so fine, it's just Eminem :-P

And all of this controversy circles me
and it seems like the media immediately
points a finger at me (finger at me)..
So I point one back at 'em, but not the index or pinkie
or the ring or the thumb, it's the one you put up
when you don't give a fuck, when you won't just put up
with the bullshit they pull, cause they full of shit too
When a dude's gettin bullied and shoots up his school
and they blame it on Marilyn (on Marilyn).. and the heroin
Where were the parents at? And look where it's at
Middle America, now it's a tragedy
Now it's so sad to see, an upper class ci-ty
havin this happenin (this happenin).

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


That's an unusual feeling for me, hehe. Being giddy is kinda weird. For example, I found myself laughing wildly at 'This <tablesmack> is by far <tablesmack> the <gunshot>....'. Wonderful. And then there's the priceless 'Marshall - I can call you Marshall, right? Sit the fuck down for a minute. What the fuck is this? [...] And who the fuck is this Bizarre guy? Do you need a CAT scan? Where the fuck did you find this guy? [...] This album is fucked.' Those skits rock so much....

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


On a Computing for Engineers exam. That's what I call sad. I mean, I can definitely deal with a bad grade in Chemistry - I don't necessarily understand all of that. But C4E? Ugh... Matlab, no less. Actually, I find it rather amusing, now I think of it. Chances are I lost a bunch of points because I accidentally screwed up my section number (put C4 instead of C9, hehe). Oh well. I still have an A. I'll just have to ace the Java final... O_o

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Online Comment Editor

So Microsoft Word has this little feature where you can comment on documents. The problem is, you need the document. When a teacher asks for a paper, they can ask for it printed (hellish to go through and comment) or in .doc format (hellish to go through because you have to open each document in Word every time, which is a slow process.

So there's a solution. Blogger and other sites have recently been featuring an HTML-based editor like the one I'm typing in right this moment to provide for Word-like editing. So students can type things in Word, paste them in here, and have a regularly formatted document... But comments are still nebulous. - or not. I've been working on this for today and yesterday. The one difficulty it still has is that it can't create comments when there are HTML tags inside the paragraphs - so bolding text is out of the question. I'm thinking of a solution to that at this moment. Regardless, this is a neat little system that I'll be putting into OpenEduWeb. Mucho coolness.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Castro Breaks Knee!! OH MY GOD!!!

Yeah, can you believe it? Fidel Castro actually broke his knee!!! THAT MEANS HE'S HUMAN!!! OMFG!!!!

This has been the saddest important news I've seen in a very very long time. I mean, seriously, what the hell do I care if Castro broke his knee? Sadder yet is that then Castro feels the need to declare that he is 'still in full control' after the life-threatening broken... wait... Life-threatening? Or NOT!!

Come on, just because the entirety of the western world wants him dead, doesn't mean a broken knee means everyone jumps with their hearts palpitating at ten times its regular speed. Get over it. It's his knee, not his heart. Good god. He only lives in the country that produces some of the best doctors on earth. He's probably still got a while to go. Good for him.

Irony, anyone?

knghtbrd: gnome 2.0 will be out in a few months, not sure how it
will compare to kde 2.0 though
calc: Just as bloated, just as buggy, and every Gnome 2 app
will depend on 30 libraries.
knghtbrd: so what changes from 1.0 ?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Yay for Model UN!

Well, yesterday marked the end of the two-day Georgia Tech High School Model UN Conference. John and I were director and assistant director (respectively) of Security Council, and it was a blast. The delegates were good, we got plenty done, and the crisis situation...

Here's a bit about the crisis situation. About a half hour into the day on Tuesday, the Secretary General and Under Secretary General came in with news that several members of the interim Afghan government were killed outside of Kabul in an explosion of unknown origin.

If we'd followed last year's format, all the rest of the information would have been given at this time. John and I suggested, however, that the rest of the information be released periodically as press reports (which we wrote the night before, unfortunately). The result was a much more realistic situation where delegates would be almost at the point of getting to a solution when another aspect of the crisis showed itself in the form of a new press release.

In the end, we did get a few resolutions passed on the crisis, and they were reasonably good.

Unfortunately, I think that, although the delegates were excellent, I expected better. Although the first session was very good, the other three got gradually worse. Very unfortunate.

Also, the delegate from Afghanistan was absolutely amazing. We brought him in to the crisis situation from GA Plenary, he was briefed in the five or so minutes before he walked in, and he did a superb job. He answered all questions directed his way with aplomb, and did an exemplary job handling the various requests from the different countries. Also, when the resolution writing started, he was right there, working with all the other delegates. A truly commendable job. He was prepared to stay there until the end of the topic, and he did.

Anyway, this was definitely a good experience, and I'm definitely doing it next year, so... coolness :). I'm happy I did it, and I'm glad it went well (by the way - it went well :D). It was definitely worth my fall break.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Mispredictions and the Pain of Grades

We run into mispredictions all the time. Just think about it for a few minutes - the weather is the best example, probably. The place mispredictions are most annoying, however, is grades. You walk out of an exam, you should be able to tell just about how it went.

Generally speaking, I seem to be utterly unable to do that. If I walk out of an exam feeling good about it, I don't know whether I'm going to do incredibly well or fail miserably. Wednesday's chem exam is an excellent example. I walked out of that going 'Okay, I didn't ace it, I may not even have gotten an A, but I definitely got a low B at least'. 64. Sixty-freakin-four. Just shoot me now. This is four points LESS than what I got on the last one. The biggest difference being that this time I'm further below the class average than I was above it the first time around. Wow. Talk about your misprediction from hell.

And this means that I simply and absolutely suck at chemistry. Then again, I knew that when I went into the class. But it also means I need to start studying more. Up until now, I've been reasonably unable to study because I'm a lazy ass who spends too much time on the computer (see the post about unhealthy addictions). Now, I somehow have to put my brain into overdrive and try to actually pass the class. I still have a chance, mind you - the grades on the respective sections of the final can replace my current grades. But the fact that I'm going to have to rely on that is a problem. A big fucking problem.

On the bright side, the GT Model UN is next Monday and Tuesday. Great. That's also fall break. It means I won't be getting my exam back until two Tuesdays from now. Well Fuck. I'd better do well on the CS exam next week. And my hopes for the Calc exam are low. Oh yeah. Way to start off college.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Ahh, the End of the Debates

So, the debates are over as of today. The two candidates had their chance to show everyone in America at once what they thought and who was better. In the first one, GW totally screwed up, whereas in the second two both candidates were very poised and well-prepared. But what is the real effect of today's debate? Slim. Very slim. Why? Because none of the candidates said anything new. The public had already heard everything that they repeated today. The most interesting point was the question asked about the strong women in the lives of the two candidates. This was a chance for both candidates to cool down from the insults they'd been tossing at each other and actually agree on something (if for no other reason, because bad-mouthing the 'strong women in their life' would totally ruin their image).

Aside from that, though, tonight's debate was reasonably pointless. The other two were rather interesting, especially the town hall one last week at WashU. Now, I suppose it's time to wait until November 2nd. Get out and vote, you American bums ;). Does it really matter to me who wins? Yes. Certainly. Being a resident, I'll be getting hit with the dumb mistakes Bush made very soon. But does it matter enough to justify having to call myself an American? Nope. And it's going to stay that way.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Developments in the World of College

I consistently surprise myself with my utter laziness. I've found that I am completely and utterly unable to focus on work anymore. I don't even know why this is. The only thing I can half-manage focus on is the simple crap we have to do for Computing for Engineers. Now, at the same time, I am extremely capable of focusing on programming, be it web or otherwise. This worries me. The reason is simple - what was once a half-healthy obsession with computers is, I think, turning into an unhealthy one. Solution? Heheh. Ask an addicted seven-pack-a-day smoker what the solution to his problem is. Sucky... Very sucky. I have a Chem exam tomorrow that I think I might manage to force myself to study for, but I won't study much...

Then again, I know the other thing this is a side effect of - the fact that I never studied (never really had to) in High School. All my teachers pretty much told me that was gonna come back to bite me. Say hello to my little dog with sharp teeth, come to bite me. Oh well. At some point it'll sink in that without keeping HOPE I have no chance (in life and all). I'm sure I'll pull out of it at the last minute. I usually do. I just don't know if the last minute will be soon enough this time...

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Child Longing?

So recently I've been feeling this longing to have children... Children all of a sudden have this emotional attraction for me that they didn't have before. (For those of you who are screaming 'pedophile' - not that kind of attraction, fools...) Sign of maturing? Maybe. Who knows. Last night I saw Man On Fire. Good movie. I suppose Dakota Fanning can be considered a good actress just by the fact that she makes you love her as a child in the brief moments she has on screen. Amusing, but true. Or maybe I'm just in a phase where I love every child I see :). Regardless, I'm pretty sure I'm having children when I grow up now. The rewards just seem to pile up, while the negatives tend to stay steady - too much work, hehe. Who knows, we will see.