Geek Smithology

October 19, 2008

7×5=35, or Another Update

Filed under: Grab Bag,Personal by Nathan @ 7:59 pm

It occurred to me that when I am 35 my sons will be 7 and 5, which is the kind of coincidence from which I derive tiny amounts of pleasure.

It also occurred to me that as good as Mr. Howard was as Rhodey in Iron Man, wouldn’t Don Cheadle have been even better? Actually, that didn’t occur to me at all, until my buddies over at The Movie Blog reported that that is exactly what is happening.. Remember kids, nobody’s irreplaceable[1].

So how is the great sleeping experiment going? Not bad, if a bit difficult to adjust to because it can be hard to fall asleep when you know you have to. So the first night was find, the second was really horrible – slept about 4 hours. The night after that was pretty average, and I even managed to wake up at my normal wake-up time on Saturday (5:20 – yeah, my wife says I’m insane too) and make it through the day. Today was crash day, a new concept I came up with while the experiment was beginning. Basically, I believe in the concept of a sleep deficit. While I don’t necessarily believe that you can “catch up” on sleep in any holistic sense, I think that it’s a valid concept day-to-day or even week-to-week, so that’s the day where I sleep as long as my body “thinks” it should. This was about nine hours (as opposed to six, which is “the number”).

Going forward, if I find that crash day is consistently far out of touch with my “number”, I will increase the number by some reasonably meaningful amount without going overboard – likely 20 – 30 minutes. Although it will be the harder way to go, I plan to keep the time I wake up as static as possible and start going to be earlier to “create” this extra time. That said, I don’t want to read too much into crash day the first few weeks, since there is so much difficulty just getting into the rhythm of things that it doesn’t really make a difference.

What I can already tell is that I feel much better waking up at a certain time, even on Saturday, then I do just sleeping in. It’s entirely possible that this is due to that when sleeping in I often wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle, which always makes one feel worse. I’ve managed to avoid naps for the most part, although I always get drowsy on the bus home, regardless of schedule.

Scientifically speaking, given that we often feel the same way (sleepy, hungry, etc.) at certain times every day, it occurs to me that sleeping the same time every day would lead to a more efficient sleep cycle, and there is vast literature proclaiming that to be the proverbial good thing. That number might not be six (I just really hope it isn’t something like 8.5, which would be difficult to achieve – I’d pretty much need to be in bed already!)

Hope everyone had a cool weekend. I know I did – checked out Wall-E again yesterday at the cheap theatres and not only does it stand up, I actually enjoyed it better the second time around. My wife, who didn’t see it last time really liked it, but bemoaned the fact that most people won’t get the message. I argue that they’ll get it, they just won’t care or change anything about there lives as a result. Welcome to Earth, right? And then today we took the boys to a Halloween party at the house of crazy Bill Davis, whose garage-based haunted house is truly a marvel of technology.

[1] That does not mean that some people aren’t harder to replace than others.

October 14, 2008

An Experiment (and Random Thoughts)

Filed under: Grab Bag,Personal,Sound by Nathan @ 9:31 pm

After a horrific run-in with energy drinks at the end of last week (Thursday and Friday are a blur – it was no longer my skeletal system that was supporting my weight so much as my taurine-thickened blood) I’ve decided to do what any programmer would in this situation – start hacking.

My first “experiment”, which was to just go to bed at some pseudo-random (but often way too late) time and then wake up horrifically early during the weekday and horrifically late (for relatively small values of late according to foo, who at three months and three days my junior occasionally calls me “dad”.[1] This was followed up by liberal (and I mean libertine – at one time I could be seen wandering wide-eyed and drooling, cradling seven empty cans of delicious Sobe Arush Blue (aka Fresca for men), all of which had been consumed earlier that day. As mentioned before, I believe there was some kind of caffeine/taurine blackout.

My next experiment will be to get the same amount of sleep every night (this will, of course, be hard on weekends) at the same time and see how this pans out. I figure it will take a few weeks to even itself out. I will settle on the arbitrary number of six, because that seems achievable and useful. I will try to contain my slavering devotion of beverages whose main concern is artificially providing mental focus via chemicals with little to no long-term study as to their safety to some amount that will allow me to be asleep in time to get my precious six hours.

You might think that because this is a blog, results would follow. While this might be true, since it’s my blog, we may never speak of this again.

In other news, Canada had its federal election today. I, of course, did my part by voting and hope you do to whenever fine votes are being given. Looks like I owe the Ront a coffee – while we both predicted a conservative win (although in the current Canadian political climate, “predicting” a Conservative win is quite the euphemism) I thought Harper would get the majority. He did not. Well played, sir.

In other, even more exciting news, while playing Rock Band tonight I totally grooved on Bowie and threw down a 100% on Moonage Daydream, on guitar, on hard. Now that was sweet. Then we scored 376K on More Than a Feeling[2], which has me absolutely convinced that we can take that sucker to 400K with only drums and guitar. (Medium on drums, Hard on guitar). Let me know if it’s been done. This isn’t my first 100% on hard in Rock Band – I previously did it with Should I Stay or Should I Go by the Clash, but that practically doesn’t count.

What I really want is some Elvis Costello.

[1] He should be thankful I’m not his dad, ’cause I’d make him take his pocketknife and find me a switch the size of my thumb so I could beat him to within an inch of his life, because that’s how it was done in the old-timey days)
[2] Check out the video, seriously – can you believe these guys?

August 9, 2006

Nerdy News About My DVD Collection

Filed under: Personal,Sight by Nathan @ 9:53 pm

Well, I recently picked up Young Guns on DVD (you know you like it) and with it I noticed that I now have at least 1 DVD for each letter of the alphabet, and some that start with numbers. So, in no particular order (well, okay, alphabetical order), a sampling:

2001: A Space Odyssey, Almost Famous, Bubba Ho-Tep, Chinatown, Donnie Darko, Ed Wood, Fight Club, Grave of the Fireflies, High Fidelity, Idle Hands, Jaws, Kill Bill, LA Confidential, M, Napolean Dynamite, Oldboy, Pi, Quills, Rashomon, Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity[1], This is Spinal Tap[2], Unforgiven, Videodrome, Walk the Line, X-Men, Young Guns, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman.

Whew! Now that I got that out, feel free to get on with your day.

[1] Yes, it’s a real movie, I’m just checking to see if you’re still reading.
[2] I have many other T’s if you want to say this starts with “S”…Taps, The Thing, Three Kings, Time Bandits, Titus, Tombstone, etc.

August 4, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

Filed under: Personal by Nathan @ 8:25 pm

Well, I’ve just spent another year getting older. As of today I’m a power of 2. Despite how tired I look these days, that power is not 64, but 32. I will console myself with the fact that in my good friend hexadecimal I am only 20. This year was somewhat less eventful than the last, but I did learn (and learn to hate, ha ha) C# and .NET I also drastically changed my lifestyle (just how drastic will be explained at a later date, but those who are close to me already know all about it), and managed to do a couple technical presentations. Who knows what’s going to happen on the way to the double triple multiple of 11 waiting just 365 days away. Bring it on!

PS – sorry I haven’t been posting much — like everyone I’ve been pretty busy and my spare time has been used for working out or Rubying. I’m trying to get back into working on my Pragmatic Improvement Plan (as per Dave Thomas), and part of what I want to work on is this blog. My lack of posting sure hasn’t slowed down the spam – just cleaned out 4400 messages. On the one hand, my filters have never let through spam, on the other AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

June 18, 2006

Happy Father’s Day

Filed under: Personal by Nathan @ 8:33 pm

Hey All,

Just wishing all you fathers out there a happy father’s day (and for all of you who aren’t fathers, I hope your fathers who are around had a good one!) We did the brunch thing, because my dad just loves that stuff. I can’t complain — I enjoyed myself quite, er, heartily. I consumed what could fairly be noted as “a day and a half worth of food”, but almost three hours of blading and tennis put any potential guilt out the window. My boys are still too young to really grok the whole father’s day concept, so Mommy is still buying the presents, and I looove presents (who doesn’t?)

In addition to all the wonderful clothes, I (finally) got a copy Thomas Keller’s incomparable The French Laundry Cookbook, a tome I’ve practically lusted after for a few years now. Thomas Keller is in my own personal pantheon of geek gods (along with such diverse compadres as Anthony Bourdain, Roger Ebert, and John Carmack). Software Developers (or anyone creative for that matter) who want to delight in the “food porn” of a man who is so far ahead of everyone else the words “in a class of his own” feel trite and weightless owe it to themselves to browse this book.

So I’ve got a book to drool over before I hit the sack – hope everyone had a great day.

June 1, 2006

Bow Down Before teh Wid0wM4ker

Filed under: Personal by Nathan @ 9:10 pm

So I go to my office to sync my iPod when I notice that my ‘puter ain’t running. No matter, my son Xander enjoys switches and lights (who doesn’t?) power bars are a veritable cornucopia of digitally manipulatable delights, so I just figured that he had gone ahead and killed the power.


But it turns out that my power supply was shot.


I am like some sort of eater of worlds in the realm of power supplies, the king at the head of some pantheon of cruel Elder Gods, combing the cosmos for 450 watt cubes o’ goodness. The burned out husks left in my horrible red wake form a sad line to infinity; a trail of tears, if you will. To try and thwart myself, this time I splurged for a true beast: 550 ever-loving, environment-destroying watts o’ doom. Unfortunately, I had to install the damn thing.

Now, I love my Antec case. Many a time I’ve immortalized it in song, singing sweet ballads to the ease with which I’ve installed drives and cards (is anyone else with a high end video card slightly nervous that your PCI Express bad boy has it’s own power cable?). Installing a power supply was hell, tho’ We’re talking naught but burning hot coals and burning hot cola.

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve got a ridiculously huge (we’re talking the mouth of a yelling anime character huge) fan, which I had to remove. Unlike the old days (ah, nostalgia), there is no simple lever, but power leads and nipples and clips and screws, oh my![1] The rest is a long story that doesn’t really need to be told right now, but after much heaving, ho-ing, and raking I finally got ‘er installed. Which brings me to the next part of my story.

I got a new monitor.

Not just any new monitor, but a 20.1″ (yes, the .1 does matter, so shut up) widescreen monitor. Despite some wags saying I should hold off (Eskimo Bill was heard to quip “You’ll get a 20″ widescreen for free with your iMac.” Yeah, you’re right, it is pretty funny) recent events (which I may or may not get into one day) convinced me that it was time for a present, so I got the monitor. And all I can say is


I used to have twin 19″ beasts, and I don’t for a second miss them – this thing is so clear and crisp and not weighing 200 pounds that it’s not even funny. And get this – I have a desk! It seems like crazy talk, but you can’t make this stuff up folks. So I played some Tomb Raider and some Half-Life and all I can say is


Yeah, colleagues chide me about my lack of a console, but I don’t care. I love my ridiculously hard to maintain PC with its ridiculously-expensive-at-the-time-but-now-more-depreciated-than-a-Sunfire video card. And I love writing this blog entry on a 20.1″ widescreen LCD while listening to phat beats through my 4.1 (anything else is overkill {wink , wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!}) system. I will totally throw up an mp3 this weekend. So yeah, life’s a pretty sweet fruit.

’cause even Skeletor, spawn of the Hell-Beast[2] must sometimes set aside his thirst for galactic dominance (and power supplies) and just chill out. All I can say is


[1] Hmmm…that last sentence, out of context, could fit right into the lighter works of the Marquis de Sade. I bet he never had to install a power supply.
[2] for power supplies

September 12, 2005

2001/09/11 + (4*(365d)) + 1d

Filed under: Personal by Nathan @ 1:18 am

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