Messing Up Lyrics

Posted November 23, 1998 at 1:44 am | No Comments

Probably one of the best ways to annoy people is to mess up the words to songs.  It works particularly well when you pick a really common song that everyone is familiar with.   One of the games that Ethan and I would play last summer was called “Make People Think You’re a Moron by Screwing Up Song Lyrics, but Secretly Laugh at Them Because Really You’re Not a Moron”.  It would work sort of like this:

Dan: Hey, have you heard that song that goes, “Listerine!   Woulda been easier!  Listerine!”
Scott: Uh, Dan?  That’s “Glycerine” by Bush.
Ethan: My favorite song on the radio these days is the one where that guy sings “Save tonight, fight the Krake of Lawn…”
Scott: He says “fight the break of dawn”, dude.  Not “Krake of Lawn”.
Ethan: No, man, it’s the “Krake of Lawn”.  It’s this big Japanese monster.  He’s going to fight it, so that’s why he says “come tomorrow I’ll be gone.”  The Krake of Lawn is going to eat him.
Scott: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.  What the hell are you on?

You can drag this game on for almost a half hour if you’re good enough.  The problem is that you have to be careful who you play it with.  It doesn’t seem to work very well with certain people, Harry in particular.  Here’s what I mean:

Ethan: Hey Harry, do you know that cool song that goes “and here’s the cheese, Señor Grovington…”
Harry: Oh yeah!  I love that song!  Here’s the cheese, Señor Grovington, heaven makes the place there in the hay, it’s for the kids, Joe Dimaggio…
Ethan: Uh… yeah.   Heh heh.

Social Skills Workshop

Posted November 21, 1998 at 1:44 am | No Comments

Computer Skills Workshop (CSW) is a course that has been required of all CMU freshmen since 1985.  The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the fundamentals of operating a computer.  It is composed of a series of modules covering topics such as word processors, spreadsheets, web browsers, and e-mail clients.  Students who desire additional instruction can take optional “advanced modules” covering topics such as HTML and UNIX.

CSW is a good idea because it ensures that incoming students, regardless of their field of study, are comfortable with computers.  After all, students of nearly ever discipline will be expected to use a computer in their coursework at some point.  But how do we ensure that incoming students develop rudimentary social skills?   Like computer skills, social skills are necessary in nearly every discipline at some time or another.

That’s why I propose that a new course be established in conjunction with CSW.   Called Social Skills Workshop (SSW), it would familiarize students with the fundamentals of social interaction.  The course could be divided into a series of modules covering topics like “Conversations”, “Phone Etiquette”, and “Eating Habits”.  Students who desired additional instruction could opt to take the advanced modules on topics such as “Confrontations” and “Dating”.

“Wait a second,” you may be thinking, “what about the students who already knew how to carry on a conversation?  What about the students who were already capable of interacting with the opposite sex?  Wouldn’t they find this class a waste of time?”

Yes, of course they would.  But think of what a waste of time CSW is for computer science majors right now!  Many of the incoming CS freshmen are perfectly capable of operating a web browser, and in fact could probably write their own.  The last thing they need is a detailed introduction to scroll bars.  On the other hand, many CS majors are lacking in social skills.  SSW would allow CS majors to turn the tables on the socially capable but technologically inept arts and humanities students.

Weight Loss for Programmers

Posted November 18, 1998 at 1:44 am | 5 Comments

Let’s face it: a lot of computer science majors are overweight. The reason for this is obvious — it’s difficult to stay in shape when you spend the majority of your waking hours in front of a computer. You can’t blame the CS majors for doing this; often, long stints in front of the computer are unavoidable. That’s why if we want to end the problem of obesity among CS majors, we need to offer more than just the naïve suggestion of dragging them away from the computer clusters.

Ethan and I came up with a far more practical solution: the integration of programming and athletics. If computer use and aerobic exercise could somehow be combined, long hours spent in front of a computer would actually make a positive contribution to physical fitness. Here are a couple of examples of how such an idea might be implemented:

  • Mobile Rotating Workstation Units

Instead of having the computers in the cluster remain stationary, why not affix each computer to a rapidly moving wheeled platform? These platforms could drive around a circular track at a moderate jogging speed (approximately 6 mph). In order to work on one of the cluster computers, you’d have to keep pace with it. When you became overly fatigued, you’d have to save your work and log out rapidly before your computer left you behind. Think of how many calories you would burn on a computer architecture assignment! “I coded for 10 miles today,” you could brag to your friends. All-night coding marathons would become all the rage, and CS majors would start looking fit and trim.

  • Bicycle Clocked Processors

The idea here is that each computer in the cluster would be attached to a stationary bicycle, and the computer and the bicycle would be interfaced in such a way that the speed of the bicycle wheel would dictate the speed of the processor. For example, the processor on the Alpha workstations used in my computer systems course could be rigged to carry out 72 billion operations per mile. With a few calculations, we can see that in such a scenario, a pedaling speed of 20 mph would lead to a clock speed of 400 MHz, while pedaling at a leisurely pace of 10 mph would provide a clock speed of only 200 MHz. CS majors would be able to pedal slowly when carrying out simple tasks such as checking e-mail or reading bulletin boards, but in order to carry out more processor-intensive computational procedures such as image processing or MP3 decoding, they would have to crank up the pace. Imagine: you’ve finally finished coding your operating systems project, and now it’s time for the final compile. Taking a swig from your water bottle, you turn to your partner and shout, “time to overclock this motherfucker!” Sweating profusely and pedaling madly in an all-out sprint, you watch as your kernel compiles with blazing speed.

Cold Beverage

Posted November 16, 1998 at 1:42 am | No Comments

So who wants to help me decipher the lyrics to the song “Cold Beverage” by G Love and Special Sauce? The beginning is easy to figure out:

Yo – could I get a cold beverage, I need some leverage;
It’s sunny outside, some lemonade would be nice,
Or a Sprite from the drive through at B.K.

Yo I’ll buy girl a drink but girls got to pay.

On the front porch, I got some iced tea,
If you like the taste of tea then come along with me.

That’s when it gets tricky. What does he say next? It sounds sort of like:

Summertime is human, don’t give me no bug,
Blast some ice and a doggoned thug.

I’m not sure if that makes much sense though. With a little creative license you could probably spin it into something like:

Summer time is humid, don’t give me no Bud
Blast some ice and a Diet Coke for you.

This seems more in keeping in touch with the song’s themes, but I don’t think it’s correct.

I’ve always considered myself pretty good at transcribing songs, mostly because of all of the practice I had in high school trying to figure out what the hell the Mad Stuntman was shouting during the song “I Like To Move It” by Reel 2 Real. With the help of some friends I was able to rise to that formidable challenge, but now, despite the lack of a Jamaican accent on the part of G Love, I’m stumped. Listen to the song and give me your input.

Naked Spice Girls

Posted November 8, 1998 at 1:40 am | 19 Comments

Chris Moon sent me an e-mail today with suggestions on how to improve my hit count. His main point was that I should include more things on my page that people type into search engines. After all, nobody really goes to Altavista and types in “Monzy”. They’re more likely to type in things like “free blowjob pictures” or “naked spice girls”. I’m not sure exactly how the indexing on search engines works, but I think that if I include the right key phrases on my web page enough times, the search engines will pick them up. I know, for example, that Scott Wen included the phrase “hot Asian hunks” on his web page, and his page now comes up third on an Altavista query for that string.

So today I have something special. Naked Spice Girls. That’s right! Naked Spice Girls. Now if anybody is looking for Naked Spice Girls, they can come here to find Free Pictures of Naked Spice Girls. This is definitely the place for Nude Spice Girls Pictures of Naked Spice Girls. Yes, I said Free Nude Spice Girls Pictures featuring Naked Spice Girls. By this I mean that you can find Pictures of Naked Spice Girls. Naked Spice Girls. Naked Spice Girls. Naked Spice Girls.

There, that should do it. Now I’ll just wait a week or so, and the hits will start pouring in.

Oh, I suppose that in the interest of fairness I should include the naked Spice Girls pictures.

spiceclothed.jpg (26352 bytes)
From left to right:
Scary Spice, Baby Spice, Posh Spice,
Ginger Spice, and Sporty Spice.

These are some Spice Girls dolls that we have in the lab where I work. Tina bought them for us. She’s a big Spice Girls fan.

nudespice.jpg (32118 bytes)
From left to right:
Ginger Spice, Scary Spice, Posh Spice,
Sporty Spice, and Baby Spice.

Here’s what they look like naked. It’s kind of creepy if you ask me.

Banner Ads

Posted November 6, 1998 at 1:39 am | No Comments

You know what I decided that monzy.com is missing? Banner ads. I don’t mean that I’m going to put ads for other sites on here — what I mean is that you should advertise monzy.com on your web site. After all, what major web site can you think of that doesn’t have flashy, annoying, animated banner ads? I can’t afford to advertise on Yahoo, but maybe I can get a promo on ethan.res or something.

I think that this first banner ad was Adam’s idea. He wrote the same slogan on the big whiteboard outside of Wean 7500 a couple of times:

monzbanner0.gif (9202 bytes)

The next banner ad is possibly a little misleading. The idea is that whoever sees it will click on it before it reaches the end of its display sequence.

monzbanner1.gif (22026 bytes)

Save these images and distribute them everywhere. Together, we can reach my new goal of 10,000 hits.

Fun with Generators

Posted November 4, 1998 at 1:37 am | No Comments

I bet that after reading my October 24th update, you’re thirsting for more songs by Wesley Willis, right? At the very least, you’re probably wishing that Willis had written a song about a particular topic. The other day, for instance, I found myself wishing that there was a Wesley Willis song about slurpees. Now, thanks to a little CGI magic, all of your Willis wishes can come true. Just type a couple of words into the Wesley Willis Song Generator, and out will come a brand new custom-tailored lyrical composition in the style of Wesley Willis!

Type in the song’s title here:
Type in a noun describing the song’s subject here:

Or perhaps you’re not interested in Wesley Willis, but you would like to write a SURG proposal (as featured in my November 2nd update). The SURG Proposal Generator will take care of everything for you, leaving you time for more important things, like Starcraft.

Type in three nouns related to the project:

Type in a plural noun:
Type in the name of a body part::

SURG

Posted November 2, 1998 at 1:28 am | No Comments

If you’re a student at Carnegie Mellon University, you should really take advantage of the SURG (Small Undergraduate Research Grant) program. Conducting research as an undergraduate is a great idea because it lets you explore an area of interest in depth and apply the theory you’ve learned in your classes to a hands-on activity. Besides, research is a lot of fun, and it looks great on a résumé.

Coming up with a research idea isn’t so difficult — most people could think of hundreds of ways to spend $500. The challenge lies in writing a successful proposal. You can’t just throw together an essay and a couple of sketches and expect it to be accepted by the SURG committee. In order for your proposal to meet with approval, it needs to have certain key elements. Here’s a list of the things you should include when writing your research proposal:

  • buzzwords

“But Dan,” you may be thinking, “aren’t there other things to consider as well, like project design, methods of approach, feasibility, or background qualifications?”

No. All that really matters are the buzzwords. Lots and lots of buzzwords. Consider the proposal a friend of mine wrote last summer. We’ll call her “Angila” to protect her identity. Although Angila’s proposal had no actual content, it was so dense with buzzwords that you couldn’t read a single paragraph without encountering two or three. Naturally, it was immediately accepted by the SURG committee.

In case you don’t know very many buzzwords, here’s a list of a few to get you started. As you are writing, pick words from the list and insert them liberally throughout your proposal.

  • interactive

  • distributed

  • multi-user

  • autonomous intelligent agent

  • networked

  • multimedia

  • avatar

  • immersive

  • augmented reality

If you’re still having trouble, you may want to look at the sample research proposals below.

uberblender.gif (9255 bytes)

Building a better blender.

  • Blender Optimization and Enhancement

Computer technology has progressed by leaps and bounds since the 1960s, but the ubiquitous household blender has remained virtually unchanged throughout the same time span. The traditional blender offers numerous opportunities for improvement: input/output buffering attachments, intelligent drink mixing agents, multi-user networking capabilities, immersive interaction manipulation devices, and even advanced “augmented reality” control interfaces. In this project I seek to transport the blender from the “June Cleaver” age to the Information Age.

smokehat1.gif (4588 bytes)

Taking a drag.

smokehat2.gif (5153 bytes)

Implementation of remote smoking deterrent.

  • Intelligent Smoking Avatars for the Physically Challenged

Although smoking is unquestionably an unpleasant and physically degenerative activity, it is unjust for people to be robbed of their ability to smoke when they lose control of their limbs. In this project I propose to design and construct a robotic smoking arm attached to a hat which would enable everyone to smoke freely, regardless of their physical condition. No longer will people too lazy or physically incapacitated to lift a cigarette to their lips be forced to feel the violent pangs of nicotine withdrawal!

If a robot-arm-smoke-hat-enabled individual should choose to quit smoking, they will be able to take advantage of the built-in remote force-induced inhalation deterrent mechanism. A remote control device, held by a friend or family member, will be capable of transmitting signals to a small receiver inside of the hat’s main cavity. The on-board signal processing circuitry will then relay instructions to the array of servo motors throughout the robotic arm, causing the hat wearer to be smacked in the fucking face.

Wean’s Most Wanted

Posted November 1, 1998 at 1:40 am | No Comments
Wean Hall, normally the quiet haven of computer scientists and materials engineers, has recently become the center of several  heinous crimes.  In the interest of bringing to justice the criminals that threaten the geeky yet peaceful existence of Wean Hall’s inhabitants, I’ve decided that today’s feature will be Wean’s Most Wanted.If you have information that could lead to the apprehension of the perpetrators of the crimes described below, you should immediately contact weansmostwanted@monzy.com, or call the campus police at x8-2323. wean.gif (10104 bytes)

brokenmachine.jpg (20324 bytes)
A photo from crime site.
Note the broken shards of glass.

On Thursday, November 5th, at approximately 3:00 AM, the glass front of one of the vending machines on the second floor was smashed.  As of yet, we are unsure of the motives of the criminal offender.  It is unlikely that he broke the machine open simply to steal and sell candy, since with approximately the same risk of being arrested, he could have smashed open the window to the lab around the corner and made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of computer equipment.  It is most likely that we are dealing with either an offender who was frustrated with the machine and kicked or punched it too hard, or an offender who really needed some Twix bars.The poor machine, oblivious to the damage it had been caused, continued to print out the same cheery “HAVE A NICE DAY” message.

brokenmachinefront.jpg (26006 bytes)
The vending machine two days later.
Notice that two curly metal dispensers
are missing from the top row.

On Saturday, November 7th, just two days after the initial break-in, two of the looping metal dispensing units were stolen from the machine.  The machine’s glass front was replaced on November 9th, but the metal dispensing wires were not, leaving rows A5 and A6 forever barren.  We doubt that this crime was connected with the previous one, since the perpetrator who smashed the glass cover could easily have made off with the wires immediately instead of waiting two days.

ethanspice.jpg (15737 bytes)
One of Wean’s Most Wanted.

On Monday, November 9th, one day after monzy.com published a web update regarding Spice Girls dolls, it was noticed that these same dolls had disappeared from the lab in Wean Hall 2306.Later that day, a security camera caught this image of an unidentified individual entering a men’s bathroom on the third floor of Wean Hall, carrying Spice Girls dolls in both arms and grinning sheepishly.  He is assumed to be the kidnapper.  If you have information regarding his whereabouts, you should immediately send a message to weansmostwanted@monzy.com.   Under no circumstances should you attempt to apprehend this individual on your own.   He is considered highly dangerous.

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