Friday, June 27, 2008

Not so impossible

Never mind that Man of La Mancha is one of my favorite musicals (I played the barber when we performed it in sixth grade)... here's a new twist - the Honda robot, Asimo, Conducting "Impossible Dream" with the Detroit Symphony. I love it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Computers and knitting DO mix!

Paul found this in the list of papers for the Siggraph conference this year --
Simulating Knitted Cloth at the Yarn Level

(Yes, that is a computer-simulated scarf!)

Basically, they turned knitting into mathematical equations, and recreated it computationally.

To simulate complex knitted garments, we propose an implicit-explicit integrator, with yarn inextensibility constraints imposed using efficient projections. Friction among yarns is approximated using rigid-body velocity filters, and key yarn-yarn interactions are mediated by stiff penalty forces. Our results show that this simple model predicts the key mechanical properties of different knits, as demonstrated by qualitative comparisons to observed deformations of actual samples in the laboratory, and that the simulator can scale up to substantial animations with complex dynamic motion.
(and no, I don't actually know what all of that means...except that their simulation is very realistic!) ;)

The paper shows real knitted swatches and simulated ones. Can you guess which is which?

The video is really cool too (it's 9.5MB).

At my office, we support all kinds of research that is changing the world and the way we think about it, but this is the "fun" research I love to see!

Monday, June 23, 2008

RIP George Carlin

Sad. The man who gave us the "Seven Dirty Words" you can never say on television has passed away.

Here's his recent "Modern Man" segment. Hilarious!

He was slated to win the Mark Twain award at the Kennedy Center this November. I'm sure they'll do a tribute to him at the ceremony. I saw him on stage at the KC in 1994... it was a little disconcerting to hear him ranting on stage in the Opera House, but he was hilarious. Smart humor - my favorite thing. :)

Miss ya already, George.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Not quite Rudy's...

but very tasty lean brisket - better than Rudy's lean, IMHO- with paper "plates" and white bread, at a NYC restaurant called Hill Country. :) Rudy's BBQ Sause is better, though.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Greetings from Yankee Stadium

yes, we're in the *last* row of the bleachers, but we're here! I wore red, which is bad when the Yankees are playing the Reds. oh well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Al's Back!

Oh, Al Gore, how I've missed you. Yes, yes, we are all on board with the Global Warming thing. But when I think about how different this country would be if the Supreme Court hadn't handed the election to Dubya in 2000... it makes me so sad.

So when I read that you were endorsing Obama, I thought, "Finally!" but I knew you'd be for him from the beginning. I mean, Bill Clinton was a great President, but not so good in terms of the lasting legacy that would have made you a shoo-in for POTUS. And very harsh with the burning of bridges and eliminating dissenters -- surprisingly similar to Dubya. So a great big ol' raspberry to the almost-co-Presidents.

HERE is the Al Gore that I know and love:
"After eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure, we need change," Gore said. "After eight years when our Constitution has been dishonored and disrespected, we need changes."
Where was this pit bull when we needed him?

[Note to the press, can we please get a better picture than this one? Al's double-chins are a little overpowering here.]

And for the record, I don't think Al should take the Vice Presidency if it's offered -- but then, I doubt they'll offer it to him. He might take a cabinet post. But then again, he might just keep doing his round-the-world rock star bit. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The offensive boobs in DC

... and I'm not talking about our elected officials!

Apparently a member of the GOP platform committee was offended on his trip(s) to Washington that there are statues and paintings of nudes everywhere. (Of course, he's from Texas.)
The platform committee did not adopt Hurt's recommendation on Washington nudity (nor his proposal to extend the 22nd Amendment -- presidential term limits -- to spouses). But Hurt said he'll pursue the issue, possibly with another trip here to videotape the evidence. "I'm not going to stop until I succeed. I'm prepared for a long fight."
Leaving aside the 22nd Amendment thing, having lived in DC until 2 years ago, I don't think it ever once occurred to me that the fountain at Dupont Circle was made up of naked ladies, or that "20% of the art in the National Gallery" contains nudes. (Really? Where did he get that statistic?) Please, people. Get over yourselves. Or go to Europe.

Although, come to think of it, this man would have had a friend in John Ashcroft, who made sure to cover up the breasts of Justice when he spoke in the lobby of his office building. When did we become such puritans?

Oh, and his other complaint? His daughter can't get into college because she's white. Oy vey.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

one night in Vegas

The good: we rode the rollercoaster at NYNY at midnight, right before it closed. A little bone-rattling, but really fun. First time I've managed to ride the thing in all my trips to Vegas.
The bad: we wandered from Bill's to Paris to Bellagio to NYNY to MGM, and my feet were *killing* me by the time we went back to the Riviera. (and boy do I miss staying @ Bally's!!)
The ugly: the blackjack table at Bills took my money and didn't give any back. :(
A fun trip, and useful for work, but I've had enough of Vegas for a while.
Can't wait to head back to Austin today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Race For the Cure - final results

Thanks to my very generous family and friends, I raised over $1500, and my team (Eye of the Tiger) raised over $3300!

Bryan didn't register for the Race, but he showed up towards the end of the route with a big sign for mom. Fortunately, she was wearing a pink shirt and a hat, which made it much easier for him to find her in the sea of white t-shirts.

Here we are at the end, in the shade, recovering from the Race. I think mom enjoyed it enough to want to come back again next year!

Thank you again to everyone who supported us! If you didn't get a chance to donate, and would like to do so, you can still give at my sponsor web page.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Taken from Dani's blog

Accent: When I went to college in New Jersey, people thought I had a southern accent. Now that I live in Texas, I'm starting to pick up the accent for real, but I'm still more middle-of-the-road basic eastern US.

Breakfast or no breakfast: Gotta have breakfast. Usually some starch (toast, whole wheat english muffin, or flax waffles), some protein (sun butter or cottage cheese), and some fruit. Keeps me going even if I don't get a chance to eat lunch until after 1pm.

Chore I don’t care for: cleaning the bathroom. bleh.

Dog or Cat: Dogs, mostly, but it depends on the cat.

Essential Electronics: Unfortunately, my blackjack is now an addiction. I can get mail, directions, news, weather... it's bad.

Favorite Cologne: I always liked Davidoff Cool Water on a guy, but that was a long time ago. On me - Jo Malone's Grapefruit or Pomegranate Noir.

Gold or Silver: Gold

Handbag I carry most often: The black and red Nine West purse with the big M on the side. It gets heavy, but it holds everything. I carry a small bag I bought in Hawaii on the weekends.

Insomnia: Not often, but sometimes, when there's too much going on at work or I start getting too excited about something.

Job Title: External Relations Manager

Kids: Probably, someday. For the time being, I'm having a blast playing with my friends' kids.

Living Arrangements: Renting a duplex, looking to buy something around Austin - preferably in the same neighborhood.

Most Admirable Trait: I'll help anybody who asks with just about anything, if it's within my power.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: stealing candy from the neighborhood drug store. I didn't do it often -- I'm not sure he didn't see me doing it and just add it to my parents' bill anyway ;)

Overnight hospital stays: Not since I broke my arm when I was six.

Phobias: I can't stand creepy-crawly things. bleh. Or scary movies.

Quote: "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only she did it backwards, wearing high heels."

Reason to smile: Mom walked in the Race for the Cure for the first time this year, and she swears she'll be back to do it again next time! I do it for her, but it was great to see her doing it for herself.

Siblings: Big brother and little brother. Fortunately, we didn't all grow up in the same house, so they didn't start ganging up on me until Bryan was older.

Time I wake up: Radio goes on at 7:15... I usually get out of bed around 7:30, or when they play a good song.

Unusual Talent or Skill: Fluent in Spanish? does that count? Knitting, crocheting, cooking... but none of those are really unusual.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Beans. Fava, Lima, black, red, ... you name it. bleh.

Worst Habit: biting my fingernails

X-rays: broken arm (see above), ankles (many times).

Yummy Stuff: Chocolate of all kinds, french fries/pretzels/chips...

Zoo Animal I Like Most: Big cats - lions, tigers, leopards, etc.

Ok, your turn. You know who you are. ;)