Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a notacon recap, finally...

and, just in case that lockpicking video i posted a few days ago was not enough, i've got another video of shenanigans in which i partook at notacon. this time, it's me doing a speech at "whose slide is it anyway"...a completely improvised speech based on powerpoint slides i hadn't seen until i was in front of the crowd. it was a blast to do. :)

speaking of that, i still haven't posted a proper recap of notacon. it was madcap, like any good trip to a con should be. as has become my modus operandi, i didn't make it to very many talks. the three i attended were fantastic, however: an amateur radio talk by Chris Pilkington, a talk on data encoding on magnetic stripes by Matt Neely, and a talk on social network bots by Tom Eston. the social networking bot one was especially interesting, since i've done some playing around with twitter bots before. it's awesome to know that there are more people out there who are interested in playing around with them...and, since Tom is putting together an open source project based around improving n0tab0t, i'm going to collaborate and contribute.

other than the talks, i spent most of my time socializing. cons are great, in that i get to see friends with whom i don't get to hang out IRL enough, and that i get to meet great new friends as well. awesome things at notacon included [but were not limited to, since i'm inclined to forget things at 3am...] the following...
  • epic hotel room parties that eventually migrated onto the roof of the building.
  • playing lots and lots of rock band...and winning the title for "rockingest band." we did "you oughta know", and i flailed around and acted like a psycho-bitch as i sang. Rob was up to all kinds of shenanigans, too...i can't wait for that video to hit the internet, so i can post it here. we also won some great swag...including thirty-six bottles of Bawls, a clock made out of a 5.25" floppy, some computer books, and a pillow made out of a t-shirt from woodstock '99. [yes, i made off with the t-shirt pillow--none of my bandmates were such children of the nineties as i.]
  • playing a game of pandemic with two guys i had never met before.
  • hanging out in the hackerspaces room, and soldering together a little game with a microcontroller that i can reprogram as soon as i get a avr cable.
  • having the revelation, when Mitch Altman was showing me the code of the microcontroller game, that it was just C--and that i could read the program and follow what it was doing.
  • getting over my anxiety about preparing CFP submissions, thanks to Tottenkoph.
  • rocking out to some Dual Core, and getting to hear a few of their new tracks, which are completely awesome.
  • seeing some riffraff. <3
speaking of riffraff, time for me to leave for o'hare. hasta la byebye!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


i'm hanging out at the space right now.

tomorrow, i fly to new york city to see some weirdo.

life is good.

Monday, April 27, 2009

News Crack Smokers Can Use: April 27, 2009

the first heat waves of summer are descending upon us. that's the funny thing about's not seasonal. as much as crack smokers love to stay warm in the winter by smoking crack, the crack also helps keep them cool [or, at least, high...] in the summer. knowing this, i have again scoured the seedy depths of the interwebstubes in order to bring you the stupidest things people have done this week in the name of crack. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a can add these things to the list of what not to do if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

so, without further ado, i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • hiding your crack in a coffee cup is not very clever. crack rocks are hard, and they're going to make a clinking noise when you walk around with the coffee cup. the local constabulary will probably hear the clink-clink-clink and get the feeling that those probably aren't sugar cubes in there. the local constabulary will definitely get that feeling if you shoplift while you're carrying the crack rocks in your coffee cup. a free pair of socks is seriously not worth forfeiting your crack rocks.
  • i'm with you there...being alone can suck sometimes. it's really easy to get in an antisocial rut, and you have to think of something interesting and creative to shake up your social life and meet more people. you can always join a club or a sports team if you need something platonic, or try a speed dating night or a pickup bar if you're into something a little friskier. however, since this is News Crack Smokers Can Use, i hope you can see where this is going. specifically, if you're carrying crack around and you tell Officer Friendly that you're using it to get companionship, he's not going to feel sorry for you, hug you, and let you go home. he will take your crack away, and you'll be in jail, lonelier than ever. [a big persecuted crack smoker thank you to Taryn for this tip!]
  • gift cards are a fantastic invention: they're a lot easier to carry around than paper gift certificates, and they provide the ability to give someone a gift tailored to an interest of theirs, while still giving the recipient flexibility in what exactly they buy at their favourite store. however, they haven't quite made their way to the crack industry yet. your friendly neighbourhood crack dealer is probably not yet issuing his own gift cards...and, for good reason, since it would be expensive to start issuing them, a lot of hassle to keep the Crack Rewards Gift Card Program going, and detrimental to the business if the police found any of these gift cards lying around and traced them back. these same traceability problems that make crack-specific gift cards a bad currency for crack dealing also make them a suboptimal barter material. please, crack smokers...don't steal someone else's credit card number, buy gift cards with it, and use these gift cards to buy crack. stick to buying that crack in cash...even if you paid the exorbitant fees for cash advances on that stolen credit card, they don't write down the serial numbers, so it's just a bit safer.
  • finally, i have a happy [and--gasp--non-sarcastic!] story about one of our dear readers. he wrote to let me know that he was pulled over, cuffed, searched, and accused of buying crack. however, thanks to the common-sense advice he has received from being a regular reader of News Crack Smokers Can Use, he knew that it was a bad idea to be driving around town and carrying crack. he took that advice to heart, and did not have any crack on him that fateful day. so, this story has a happy ending: since our loyal reader knew not to stash any crack in his car or on his person when he was out on the town, he could go on his merry way, and he is at home and [hopefully] reading yet another installment of the News! ♥
that's it for this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use! as always, if you have any strange or stupid tales of the lengths to which people will go to smoke or sell crack, send me an email, drop me a comment, or corner me at the happiest place on earth.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

gringo warrior

hey, look! it's me! on The Youtubes! at notacon! attempting to pick locks and beat up mexican guards while blindfolded!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


insertnamehere2 posted this on his blog this morning, and it's too awesome not to share.

it's bohemian rhapsody.

done on old-school computer equipment.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

News Crack Smokers Can Use: April 22, 2009

never fear...i have not forsaken you, my dear crack smokers. between certain non-cracky entertainments of the weekend and the ensuing con plague, i have been delayed. however, i have not been stopped altogther...and, again, i have again scoured the seedy depths of the interwebstubes in order to bring you the stupidest things people have done this week in the name of crack. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a can add these things to the list of what not to do if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

so, without further ado, i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • being a gang intervention specialist means you have to have some credibility with the local crack dealers. you need to know them, not play down to them, and be someone they can feel comfortable turning to when they decide to stop selling crack and start living life on the right side of the law. however, it undermines your credibility as a gang intervention specialist if you spend your spare time selling crack. sure, you're technically intervening with gangs by either cooperating with them or providing their drug peddling operations with a little competition; either way, something tells me that's not what the boys and girls club had in mind when they hired you.
  • wal-mart is not the flea market. you can't just go to wal-mart, bring your wares, and expect to be able to sell them without being ejected from the premises for trespassing. this applies in the case of perfectly legal things to sell. this also applies in the case of crack. then again, if you're silly enough to think you can sell your drugs at wal-mart, you are also very likely to be careless enough to draw the attention of the local constabulary on the way over. the moral of the story? home is where the heart is, and it's also where your crack should be.
  • if you're a crack smoker, the first thing you should invest in is a crackpipe. the crackpipe is the one necessary accoutrement for any crack's the thing in which you can smoke your crack. it's cheap, it's easy, and it's safer than other alternatives. if you're really that averse to getting a crackpipe, get your hands on some spark plugs; they're supposed to be useful for the purpose. however, if you don't want to burn things down and get caught, please refrain from smoking crack out of a plastic bottle full of rubbing alcohol. you're just asking for trouble, doing that.
  • picking up hitchhikers is generally a bad idea in this day and age. sure, the person you pick up could be perfectly legit, but he could also be armed and dangerous. picking up hitchhikers is especially a bad idea when you are a crack smoker who is already on probation, and not allowed to be more than 100 feet away from your home. if you had already broken that rule earlier in the day, and Officer Friendly was nice enough to let you off, you should cut your losses. you shold not get in your car, drive more than 100 feet away from home, give a ride to a guy who pays for it in crack, and expect not to get sent to the slammer. that's pressing your luck way too far.
that's it for this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use! as always, if you have any strange or stupid tales of the lengths to which people will go to smoke or sell crack, send me an email, drop me a comment, or print it on your shirt and walk around wrigleyville until you run into a chick with blue hair and an eyebrow piercing.

Monday, April 20, 2009


seriously...i'm still breathing.

i was at notacon this weekend, which was amazing. there will be a full recap later when i'm not sleep-deprived and fighting off the con plague.

likewise, there will be News Crack Smokers Can Use tomorrow, when i'm not half-dead.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

best tax day ever!

i have to admit...i kind of love tax day.

sure, i'm a lazy bum who never gets around to doing her taxes until april 15th. but, once i overcome the inertia and actually sit down at the computer with my W2 and my supporting documentation, it's always surprisingly painless. it's easy...fill in a few boxes here, fill in a few more boxes there, and wait for my money to come back from the government.

(yes...even from the state! i *always* owe the state money, but not this year!)

this year was even more painless than last. in past years, i always had to file a paper tax return with the state, and file a signed paper statement with the feds. this year, since i had my stuff together enough to actually look up my adjusted gross income from last year, i could file and sign everything electronically. the post office always sucks on tax day, so it's really nice not to have to go.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

it's a hacker computer! oh no!

as someone who has the gall to use her linux command line in public on a regular basis, i find this disturbing.

News Crack Smokers Can Use: April 13, 2009

everyone says we can depend on two things: death and taxes. News Crack Smokers Can Use is here to tell you that there is a third thing we can all depend on: the silly exploits of the crack-consuming population. as proof ofthis, i have again scoured the seedy depths of the interwebstubes in order to bring you the stupidest things people have done this week in the name of crack. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a can add these things to the list of what not to do if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

so, without further ado, i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • i can understand inviting your dealer over to your house to smoke a little crack: your dealer is the one who keeps your crack supply well stocked, and sometimes it's nice to share the pleasure with such a benevolent soul. however, letting your dealer come over to smoke a little crack with you won't necessarily be enough to settle the debt if you haven't been paying your crack dealer. seriously, that's even stupider than inviting the repo man over for a beer when you're five months behind on car payments. at least there are a few legal constraints to what a repo man can and can't take. since the crack trade operates completely under the law, there's nothing stopping your dealer from taking your television to pay off your crack debt. the local constabulary is not going to be likely to try and recover your television when they realise that they could instead just bust you for being a crack smoker. [a big, persecuted crack smoker thank you to Rob for this article!]
  • it's a good idea to be an otherwise conscientious citizen if you're a crack smoker. if you make sure that you're otherwise out of trouble, the police will be less likely to be on your tail and notice that you smoke crack in your spare time. that means, if you owe a small-potatoes fine, it's a good idea to pay it. however, leave the crack and the crackpipes at home when you go to the police station and pay it. if you can't bear to be away from your crack for that long, though, at least remember to take your crackpipe off the dashboard when you're parking at the police station. call it...common sense for crack smokers.
  • we've talked quite a bit about making sure to avoid a silly street name, in order to avoid getting mocked when you get caught and your moniker appears in the paper. however, just as important is making sure that you can live up to your nickname if it implies that you are somehow desirable or competent. specifically, if you're known as "Magic" on the street, it may be a good idea to avoid selling $3,000 worth of crack to Officer Friendly. it also may be a good idea to make sure that your co-conspirator is not found with a few hundred dollars inside his derriere, since people may wonder what kind of spell you cast to put it there.
  • what ever happened to old-school craftsmanship? say what you will about the guy from last week who had so much crack residue on his stove that it got least he didn't try to take short-cuts, and lovingly cooked his crack over a real stove. some crack makers just don't care anymore. seriously? cooking crack in a microwave? how are you going to keep the crack over the heat while you press out the bubbles? how are you going to make sure the crack cooks evenly, so each hit is as cracktastic as the last? all i know is, if you're going to cook your crack in the microwave, make sure you don't get caught, or else you're going to be the laughingstock of every hoity toity cocaine chef in the neighbourhood. [a big, persecuted crack smoker thanks to Taryn for this article!]
that's it for this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use! as always, if you have any strange or stupid tales of the lengths to which people will go to smoke or sell crack, send me an email, drop me a comment, or wave a sign from the crowd at the next white sox game.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

google searches crack smokers have used...

for the first time ever, someone actually found this blog by searching for the phrase news crack smokers can use. this makes me inordinately happy. thank you, whoever you are! ♥

in other news, here are a few more recent searches that led here:
  • why do crack smokers keep baking soda: that's pretty simple. you see, sometimes crack smokers face an emergency...they have powdered cocaine, but they can't find any crack. since powder is less cracktastic than crack, ingenious crack smokers need to keep baking soda around so they can cook it themselves.1 [and, if there's plenty of crack to go around, i'm sure it's pretty fun to mix baking soda with vinegar and red food dye when you're on crack. then again, that's also extremely entertaining when you're not on crack.]
  • how much time u do for 23 bags of crack: it depends on how much crack is in each bag. even though it's hard to miss little details like this when so much of your mental capacity is focused on the wonders of crack, bags come in different sizes. in order to figure out how much time you're likely to do for those 23 bags of crack, the sentencing guidelines will probably take into account the weight of the crack, your criminal history, whether you had a gun, what colour your shirt is, and what you ate for breakfast this morning. then again, the sentencing guidelines are messy enough to puzzle through if you're a lawyer--if you're a crack smoker and still manage to make good sense of them, you should probably stop smoking crack because there is a good chance that you are the next Einstein.
1 take note, whoever googled what can you use to cook crack. it's not's just baking soda, water, and cocaine. that's it.


yesterday was an awesome day.

i got up early (9am? on a saturday?) to go to brunch at chief o'neill's with some of the pumping station: one people. that was fantastic...the company was amazing, and so was the brunch. something tells me this is going to be a weekly thing now, since the chief's is just a block away from the hackerspace.

(yes, i said "the hackerspace." ps:one signed a lease for a space on thursday! squee!)

after that, we hung out at the space for a couple hours, trying to think of ways to set up the space. i always feel a little weird when we're plotting that, since none of my talents fall into the visual or architectural realm. no matter,'s fun to hang out, and i'm an extra pair of eyes to look at stuff, and an extra pair of arms in case heavy objects need to be lugged. as for the design, though...i have no aesthetic mind whatsoever. as long as there is a coding lounge and an electronics lab, i'll be a happy girl.

later yesterday afternoon, i went out to oak park to see a friend of mine from law school. it was nice to catch up, since i hadn't seen him since we graduated. both of us have had some weird stuff happen in these last several months, and it was nice to talk about it and be happy about the fact that despite the weird trajectories our lives have been on, that things are a little clearer for it.

we also stopped by a bookstore. i knew it was dangerous, since he wanted a book on linux...and whenever i go into a computer book section, i always end up buying more stuff. this was no exception: i found a book on erlang, a language that i've been dying to dig deeper into since the workshop at flourish last weekend. now, i've got that book in my Ever-Lengthening Queue Of Computer Books...i'm going to finish the last few chapters of my C textbook, and then probably pick up the erlang book.

i then went home. i had no idea what i was doing, but then shaph asked if i wanted to go play some poker. he just found out on friday that there's a free shuttle that leaves from two blocks away from the apartment and takes you to and from the horseshoe casino out in hammond. i decided...hey, why not? it ended up being a good decision, since i had a lot of fun, and left the casino with more money than i arrived with.

all in all, yesterday rocked. will today be just as good? only the shadow knows.

Friday, April 10, 2009


blargh. it's friday night...but i was out so late last night that i don't know whether or not i want to do anything tonight.

i could be productive and do my taxes, but that's not going to happen.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


i got my eyebrow pierced today. this makes me absurdly happy, since i haven't had my eyebrow done since i was eighteen.

my face looks right again.

Monday, April 06, 2009

News Crack Smokers Can Use: April 6, 2009

we have not yet reached the day when we have a widely available technology to make crack completely unpalatable to crack smokers. since we have not yet reached this pinnacle of science, i have again scoured the seedy depths of the interwebstubes in order to bring you the stupidest things people have done this week in the name of crack. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a can add these things to the list of what not to do if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

so, without further ado, i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • if you learn one thing from the News Crack Smokers Can Use, it's that anything crack-related must be done sneakily. smoke crack in the comfort of your own home. sell crack far away from busy areas populated by people who don't smoke crack. and, if you don't remember anything else, please remember that it's a bad idea to stand on a busy street in Brooklyn and scream into your cell phone about how you shot a rival crack dealer. the local constabulary won't just laugh and submit it to Overheard In New York. they'll arrest you, and your crack dealing career will grind to a screeching halt.
  • on that same note, it's also a pretty bad idea to make a youtube video in which you rap about your crack dealing exploits. people might see it. in fact, it's also bad to be in cahoots with a crack dealer who is rapping about his exploits on youtube. he'll drag you all down with's not a good situation. crack dealing should be a sole proprietorship. if you can't adhere to that rule, at least put your colleagues through a strict vetting process and make sure that they are just as committed to secrecy and sneakiness as you are. otherwise, things like this will happen, and it's just not worth it.
  • i can't blame you for cooking crack. someone's got to do it, and cooking crack gives you the pleasure of making something yourself. however, make sure to clean up after yourself...that means if your pans of crack boil over, you may want to scrub all the crack off of your cooktop. otherwise, not only will Officer Friendly be hauling you off to the police station, but he'll also be hauling your oven there. that can't do much to enhance your reputation with local crack smokers.
  • sure, technically you're right in saying that you're coming back from the drug store when you're coming back from buying some crack. crack is a drug, and i guess any location where you buy things is a store of sorts. however, this excuse is not likely to keep you out of trouble when the police see you walking out of a known crackhouse. it's especially likely to fail if you consent to a search, but then hold your hat on your head and tell the cops that they can't search your hat. clearly, that means your hat contains crack instead of a brain.
that's it for this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use! as always, if you have any strange or stupid tales of the lengths to which people will go to smoke or sell crack, send me an email, drop me a comment, or hang a poster with your tip outside my window.

this is jeopardy!!

omg. omg. omg. omg. omg.

i took the online test for Jeopardy a month or two ago.

i just got an email today, informing that i passed the online test, and have been selected for a face to face Jeopardy tryout.

*bounce* *bounce* *bounce* *bounce* *bounce*

yes. i'm giddy. why do you ask????

Sunday, April 05, 2009

ending my blogging delinquency...

i'm not dead...i've just been insanely busy.

wednesday, i had choir practice and then stayed out late, since chicagoland games was having their game night.

thursday i went out to the 'burbs to go see Cold and The Killer And The Star...that was full of win. i wasn't all that crazy about the venue1 or the first opening band2, but such things like that hardly seem to manner when you're eventually at the mercy of Scooter Ward. The Killer And The Star was Scooter's new band that he started after Cold broke up, and they have stayed in existence even though Cold has reunited. i don't like them as much as i like Cold, but they're still very good...they're a piano-heavy progression from later Cold music, and they maintain the passion i've come to expect from anything Scooter Ward does. Cold...was Cold. they were fantastic. sure, they didn't play my three favourite songs of theirs (She Said, Go Away, or Give)...but who cares, really? they have so many good songs that unless they played "Bleed" over and over and over again all night, i would have been elated. in was worth the hour and a half each way to go to the show, and they haven't lost a thing during their hiatus.

friday and saturday i had two quite computer-heavy days, splitting my time between flourish and startup weekend chicago.

i started by spending the daytime friday at flourish. i stayed in the workshop room, and did sessions on erlang, drupal, and tcl/tk. they were all really cool, although i think my favourite session of those was the erlang session. i need to find another use for that language, because it made a lot of sense to me.

friday night and then saturday morning, i went to startup weekend. i signed up for it a couple of weeks ago, just to see what it would be like. i'm glad i gave it a shot, but it wasn't the right time for me to go to something like that. my only marketable skill set at this point in time is legal, and i'm in no state to be marketing my legal skills if i'm not even sure i want to stay in that profession. even if i were sure i wanted to stay in that profession, none of the projects were in a constant need of legal skills, to keep me mentally engaged for the weekend. i was most interested in coding, and my coding skills are not up to snuff to be able to hammer out someone's startup idea, especially within the span of a weekend. if there was one thing i learned at startup weekend this year, it's that i need far more training and practice with coding.

so, about midday saturday, i decided to leave startup weekend and go back to flourish. this turned out to be the best decision. i should have gone earlier, since i missed the processing workshop, but at least i made half of the talk on the legal standing of open-source licenses, and all of the talk on arduino. there was a big group of pumping station: one people at the conference, so we went out for a drink soon after the arduino talk, and then back to the uic campus (where the conference had been going on) for the final reception. that was a lot of fun...i got to talk to a lot of people i knew and a few people i didn't, and just had a blast.

today, i slept in and played board games. yay, board games. :)


1 the pearl room, out in mokena. the size wasn't too bad (it was a mid-sized venue, which could have fit maybe fifteen hundred, two thousand...) but there was a lot of the area from which you couldn't even see the stage, and the place was already kind of falling apart even though it had only been there for a short time.

2 the drama club, who sounded like incubus covering the bastard child of papa roach and u2. they were awful.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

moving on.

i got laid off yesterday.

for the last twenty-four hours, i've been stressing out about whether to post this on the blog or not, since i don't post a lot of heavy stuff here. but, i do post the good things going on in my life here...and, even though it may sound weird to anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time around me lately, this is a good thing.

i'm glad i worked at the firm for the seven months i did, and don't regret having the experience. however, i was already starting to get the feeling that i belonged elsewhere in the long run, and i'm really excited to have the space and time to figure out where exactly that place is.