Friday, August 27, 2010

Induction and some Prestidigitation

I decided to go out to game night at The Yak Bar. Card games and other similar fun activities were conducted. I showed up late, hence missed some drawing based deal that people were humoring upon. Anyways, I met with Chris and Ben, both from the Cafe Games meetup, in a prior post. Ben is a freakin' amazing card-smith, master of prestidigitation (slight-of-hand). He has now inspired me to get back into card-trickery. This kid, relatively young, was incredible, he had the talk, and the card skills, one word... "slick."

I led half of the group in a game of Mao. I first learned of this game via observation at Shmoocon a few years in a row. I never knew what the people were playing, but Mouse would lead up this seemingly fun/insane card game. I actually figured out what game was being played after investigating her website. We had a blast playing it tonight, and I would like to see such fun continue.

After that, we all played a variation of Asshole/Bullshit card game. Lots of fun. I enjoy stuff like this because such events are social in nature.


Sunday, August 22, 2010


Wow! Election day today, and they do it on a Saturday! How much sense does that make! Seems logical to me. However, their voting is compulsory, you have to do it or you get fined! That seems kinda dirty, plus the candidates are ranked, so you have to prioritize when you vote. The latter being absolutely hilarious to me, because I feel the government of the US thinks we are all twits and completely incapable of counting beyond 5, none-the-less capable of prioritizing the candidates! You all remember the hanging-chad deal right... because, well the rest of the world, I assume, was laughing too.

I went with one of my vegan friends, this morning, to look for a house. We liked both houses, and then I went with her to vote.

This afternoon was awesome. I went in to Uni, and then the professor took me home for dinner with himself, his wife, son, and another professor, his wife, and their daughter. Amazing vegan dinner! Seriously awesome and hard-working Indian cuisine. Their son made some amazing tea, and I must say, he was incredibly intelligent, cool, and just straight-up. He acted much more mature and intelligent than I ever would have at his age, mega cool. I think he was like 10 or so, totally impressed me as being just incredibly normal and intelligent, and he loved my use of the word "awesome." After the appetizers of vegan coolness (artichoke dip and a mushroom pate), we had an awesome dinner, and watched some of the election results on tv.

Later, my advisor, his son, the other professor's daughter, and myself played the boardgame, Ticket to Ride. But of course, we played the Nordic edition, after-all my advisor is from Denmark! The professor was on my team, and we kicked serious anus! Later in the evening we went outside to visit the possums in their tree! That validated what I saw in a previous blog post. I did in fact witness a possum previously, and not a drop bear, or wombat.

Then came dessert! It was a vegan-awesomeness apple crumble with custard deal. The other professor's wife made this concoction. Amazing. It's times like this that being vegan is mega-rad.

These people are so awesome. I'm lucky to have found an advisor who is much more than an academic, rather a friend/surrogate-family member. He actually cares for me beyond school. The same dude who hooked-me up with an oil heater, and also the same wife who tried to help me find a place! Such nice people. The world needs more caring individuals as such.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Pictures

The following, from my flickr
account, were taken like a week and a half ago or so. That link should have
various sizes of these pics. These are all near where I stay in Fitzroy.


Whore, Skeptics, Wombat, Nerds Oh Myyyyy!!!

Sooo, in-lieu of meeting people, I have been fairly prevalent. So lets see, where should I begin.

Well a few nights ago, a rather cute young woman caught me waiting to cross the street, near the street corner where I live. She was nice, and it was cold out, and she made mention of the cold weather. This cute young woman then asked if I was looking for a girl. My hoe-meter immediately turned to "ALERT ALERT POSSIBLE STDS IN THE VACINITY." I basically said I was going home, and walked away. She was nice, and I was quite flattered that such a nice question was presented to me, I assume she was a prostitute, but that might also be my bias or my American preconceptions coming out. She was nice, cute, and well I can't say that she actually looked like a rent-a-chick, but all of her questions/statements (cold weather and am I looking for a girl) just seems to me to be a hint of something I want nothing to do with. Either way, I am still flattered.

On Monday I went to the Victorian Skeptics meeting (a branch of the Australian Skeptics group). Nice group of people. The speaker, Don Hyatt, spoke on the "Problem with Education." The latter being an perspective of the Australian educational establishment. His talk should be available on their site. It was a fantastic talk, however I was kinda hoping more for the Intelligent Design vs Evolution in school talk. It was little on that, which I inferred from the agenda posted online. I won a chocolate (not vegan) treat "Freddo" for asking a question. I kinda just let the chocolate sit on the table as if I forgot I had won something. I met some really cool people there, and even ran into one of the board gamers from the meeting last Saturday.

After leaving the Skeptics meeting, I needed to score some bread. Not money, but actual processed flour concoction. Unlike the states, and Mitch from the local hackergroup concurs, the ingredients on Australian food products is much shorter than all the bullpoop we put in the American stuff. Why? Probably because we Americans have to have chemical crap in all of our foods to monetarily benefit the big-wigs of the food-producing world. How else could we peddle off flouride, or get rid of depleted uranium? Ok ok thats the mini-conspiracy-Matt coming out. Anyways, as I was on the way to the store I saw, what I first thought might be a racoon, or maybe a fox, but as I got closer, it was some creature I had never seen in the wild before, I think it was a wombat! Sweet! It was mega-cute and chill, kinda like opossums in the states. I think it was a wombat, maybe a wallaby instead?

And then tonight, Tuesday, I attended the Connected Community Hacker Space (CCHS), a local Melbourne hacker group. It was so cool. I met Mitch and George on the tram and they directed me to train system, and to the house where the meeting was. They walk like they are on a mission, their iron-legs. I felt totally weak in their presence. They were much fun, and lots of cool people were met at the space! They were all totally welcoming, and Mitch really made me feel welcome by saying he thought I would fit in well. Really he and George have been great help just talking with them over the net. The space had a makerbot, and made a police whistle deal, with the ball in the middle! Cool device. I suggested making a Cap'n' Crunch Whistle to generate useless bluebox tones (2600Hz). I also thought it might be cool to fabricate a whole nativity scene out of toast. That might do nice on ebay. Kinda like one-upping the "holy" images that people claim to have been presented to them by their toaster. Seems like a humorous message to me. If the toaster here starts sending me messages, like a holy-fax-machine of processed carbs, that might freak me a tad.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Update

So, my mega-awesome advisor gave me an oil heater. While I think my room has given me some respiratory problems, I must say. That heater keeps the room a nice cozy 85F or so! Actually, I'm not sure how hot it is but dude... it can put out some heat!

Went out Friday night to a place called Grumpy's Green, just down the corner from me. One of my buds from the hostel, Sven, called up. We caught up and hung there all night. He has moved closer to the city. Anyways, Grumpy's was a pretty sweet bar/cafe deal. Unfortunately, they had stopped serving coffee, however, the brew was flowing, just not down my esophagus! But the best part, aside from chilling out on the bajillion relaxing couches and chairs, and hangin' out with a bud... was the live music!! The second act (and no cover to get in), which played 2 sets, was Kill Kurt Reifler. Amazing 2 person band, a drummer and guitarist!!!!! AWESOME! Jazzy/funky/quasi-indy rock.

Saturday, I had to meet people. I really want to find a group of people that get together often to hangout. I definitely want to meet with CCHS. Their location is a tad out of the way. Plus, I do not think they had anything scheduled this weekend. Anyways, I went to a event for the local boardgame group. Probably one of a few, from what I understand. The group was a lot of fun. We all met at a cafe/restaurant that does boardgames. I had a long black, you can't find a typical American coffee here, the closest you will get is a shot of espresso and hot-water (long black), like an Americano in the states. The same goes for 7-11 too! But ask for an Americano, and you might get a puzzled look. So I had an equivalent at the boardgame cafe: My Cube Cafe. It was really pretty neat! Typically, it's a $15 voucher for the meetup and you spend the money buying food and drinks, yes they serve alcohol too. But I just bought a coffee and gave the owner, Jesse, a dollar for letting me hang, observe, and play a few games. Typically, on a non "" event you buy a dinner and you can play games. I'd much rather see it more free-flowing. Just go and play, and buy as you wish. You don't pay to play necessarily, but the purpose of buying food so you can play, probably keeps non-paying people from coming in.

And... the network at the home was down. I hacked into our router, yeah, default user and password, go figure. Our authorization keeps failing with the provider. Or it seems to me that way. Anyways, it's Sunday... I probably should update the timestamp on this account. I'm at the uni.

Ohh yeah... and my research. I have narrowed my topics to the following two:
1 -- Region Based Memory Management possibly focusing on mission critical/embedded systems, parallelism, real-time, and some way to benefit caching (possibly), power efficiency.
2 -- Cache-Aware Kernel Thread Scheduling


Sunday, August 8, 2010


Sooooo. The place I was drooling over when I first hopped down here. A place in the artsy-hip Fitzroy area, called me back! They needed someone to take over rent, and well I was tossing between hostel, the vegans (Fiona and Dave), and the Fitzroy place. Well since I love the vegans, and we have been trying to look for places to start, and not yet successful, I decided to accept the Fitzroy place... until me and the vegans find a house. I must say, I have been in contact with the vegans since I first arrived and even before I arrived. So, in a since, I guess this Fitzroy place is temporary. I have two rooms here, well I should have two, there is one person that is moving out, Louie. Louie is mega-cool. My other housemates, are Heath, Zoe, and Paula. All way cool! I love these people so far. My current room here is 'ok' It has a queen bed hovering on a small frame just over the floor. I dig the house, but as common in Australia, especially with way-old Victorian-styled places, it lacks heat. Which probably isn't too bad in the Summer, but now, the winter... it's pretty cool and drafty. My main quibble is the heat. Zoe did hook me up with a small portable heater. Which is 'ok' and downstairs has a oil-heater (which is pretty much cut it on when you need to). But hey, what can I say. I just wanted to find some neat people, in a neat area, and have my own room ... check, check, check! I do need a desk and chair. But that will need to wait until Louie's room becomes available.

I met up with the vegans today to look at a house. Mega-cool house, however one of the bedrooms leads directly to the bathroom, or you have to go outside to get to the bathroom. So thats probably a no-go. We all hung out at a mega-vegan friendly Vietnamese restaurant Yong Green Food, I did not partake in the foodativities, but did hangout with muh friend. We then ventured to Coles to get some grocery action on.

Anyways, that was my early afternoon. I just had some coffee with Heath in the new place here, and am planning on some vegan-friendly pizza at my friend, Paul, one of the post-grads, place. His wife is making soy-cheese pizza. So considerate!

Hah, and for all those picture-grubbing monsters. My room... yeah it doesn't look as cool as how Louie has his decorated... but hey, I arrived by taxi around 8:00 PM last night. All I wanted was some community, not that the hostel was bad.  In fact, it was a blast as I made tons of friends.  The last day there I met a guy who knew, from Vietnam, Jim Webb the VA Senator.  But I want to get established out here, and get a place where I can get things done.  Maybe things will start to smooth out :-) Also, various sizes of these pictures can be skimmed from my Picassa album or my Flickr album.

My bedroom.

The place (center house). The last picture, the mailslot, is posted on

Heath and Louie.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Best Day so Far

Yesterday (Saturday) and even Friday were amazing. Let's keep this quick.

Saturday I went out with a group of vegans I had met online, and later at university a few weeks ago. All three of us, Fiona, David and myself, had a plan to go look for places to stay. We investigated two houses that we can rock our veganism in. I had so much fun, they being well-schooled in this locale, suggested Soul Food Cafe in Fitzroy. Actually, it was Fiona's most-righetous choice, *weelyweelywhewww* (Bill and Ted airguitar). My weapon of choice, the beans and toast. It was still morning so we opted for the breakfast stuff. Let me say, I have never had baked beans and toast, and it is a pretty "common" breakfast for Australians, it's freakin' awesome! After the cannon was loaded, we checked out the second of the two houses, and later went to a grocery store to see what they had. Lots of fun, and vegan-ness there too. So now we have two applications that we are to push out Monday, for a house together. Housing seems rather competitive out here. Maybe we can rock this one!

Oh yeah, and now winding the watch back some. Friday was killer because my co-postgrads invited me out for drinks and food after we wrapped up some research. Not quite Cogans, well you could think of it as Cogan's in tapas form! The place was on Lygon street, a very Italian friendly place. We sat outside under an awning at tables that were placed on the sidewalk, I can only envision a style similar to Europe (never been), where cafes and such all have outdoor seating on the sidewalk. Tiny pizzas, pita chips and spreads, all of that kinda stuff. It was great to just get out and hang with people, that were not necessarily hostel people. Mark opened my eyes, he was buying so much food, at really expensive prices, not caring a bit about the money he was spending. He just wanted give help to those that might be less in income than he assumed. Money is great if used in ways that strengthen community and health. It's a tool and a means, not material.