failing like never before


We’re Really Milking This One

It's already been said, my apartment burned down a while ago. But I wanted to add in a few extra things.

I was looking at the pictures and I remembered something that I found intensely amusing when I was first allowed back into the building. (Me being me, I'm going to describe said event in an extremely verbose and roundabout manner.) A month before the fire, I had installed new batteries in my smoke detectors. (Nine cell batteries being surprisingly expensive, this was not a cheap endeavor. And the fact that nobody was in the building when the alarms went off saddens me somehow, as though my ten dollars had been completely wasted.) As I was surveying the wreckage of my apartment, I noticed that my two smoke detectors were lying cracked and badly broken on the ground. The areas where they had been previously mounted (up on the top of the incredibly high ceilings), had been thoroughly smashed in. I can only assume that after crashing through my front door and assuring themselves that no one was home, the fire fighters had proceeded to silence the blaring smoke detectors by bashing them in with fire axes. For some reason, this is amusing too me. I have no idea why.

Common responses to, "my apartment building burned down," include: "why did you burn your apartment down," "what did you do to start a fire," and "did you forgot to turn the stove/oven off." The idea that I was not responsible for the fire, was apparently not obvious to many people. Also, many people seemed to be surprised by the fact that I no longer live there (OK, so technically it's not completely burned down as it's still standing, but it has no roof, the walls have so many holes that the top floor might as well be one giant room, and half the building was about to collapse.).


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My Google Interview

Its been a while now, but here it is anyways...

About six or seven weeks ago, I scored a phone interview (technically two) with Google's IT department for a summer internship. Nobody was more surprised then I was that Google actually found my resume somewhat impressive enough to warrent a phone interview, especially considering my less-then-stellar GPA and the enormous number of super-intelligent applicants Google recieves every day. The two interviews were each forty-five minutes long, and the interviewers (both intelligent IT guys,  and not technically incompetent manager types) took pretty much all of the alloted time.

These days, almost every CS guy dreams of working for Google and so I've heard a few things about their interviews before, which I would like to mention before I get into my interview. A few years ago when I was an intern at Intel, they had a lady come in to tell all the high school interns about how to be successful in scoring future jobs. She spent a lot of time teaching us how to walk properly, shake hands, sit in a proper manner, dress, and answer generic interview questions. She told us that Google interviewers like to ask broad open ended questions like "how would you sell ice to an eskimo" and "why are manhole covers round," and promptly put us to answering similar questions. A few months later, I went to a Google Tech Talk at my University, where a Google software engineer was asked by someone in the audience if Google did in fact like to ask interview questions like "why are manhole covers round." The Google rep resonded with the following:

"In my time at Google I have interviewed several software engineers and I have never asked a question like that before. Google is not in the business of making manhole covers. If we did make manhole covers, we might ask those kinds of questions."

I think occassionally, a Google interviewer might throw in a brain teaser if they just want to burn some time, but apparently they don't do it too often.

Anyways, going on to my interview... I was interviewing for an IT position, so unlike the software developer positions where they barrage you with an endless stream of algorithim and programming questions (Why is quicksort log(n)? Whats the best sorting algorithim to use in this scenario? What data structure would you use for this? etc.) there was almost no programming invovled in my interview. And since the recruiter and HR person told me pretty much nothing about what I should expect, I went into the interview pretty much cold.


Dollhouse at the NSA

Over the previous summer, I rediscovered Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and watched some old episodes at hulu. (And let me just say, think you hulu for throwing my resume aside so nonchalantly after you read the second line. Electrical engineering major I may be, but I know RoR, SQL, Unix C, and just as much crap as any other CS guy out there.) Anyhoo, some of you Joss Wheedon fans may have heard that Wheedon has a whole new series out by the name of Dollhouse, not nearly as popular as some of his other shows, but still pretty cool. Or at least it started out cool, lately, its just been getting a little kinky and weirdish.

But I digress, I'm not here to discuss the merits of Dollhouse (I'll save that for another time) but rather to point out a few odd little facts about episode 9 (A Spy in the House of Love).  Theres a part in episode 9 where Sierra knocks out some Japanese chick on a train, steals her identity, and walks into some big NSA facility. Now as I was watching Sierra traipse through the sparse halls of the NSA, I had a strange feeling of deja vue. But it wasn't until the part where she checks in with a security guard to access some giant government database, that I realized what I was seeing: the building that they used for the NSA in episode 9 was none other then UCLA's infamous Boelter Hall, (aka my third home (the first being my real home, and the second being my dorm room)) and the room that Sierra and the security guard were in was none other then Boelter 6426. I know Boelter quite well, having spent far too much of my time there (or rather, here, since I'm in Boelter right now), and I know the building's appearance right dsown to the ugly water fountains, square black digital clocks, distinctive green flecked staircases, and blocky gold door numbers.

There are of course people that still doubt me, I know. So go to hulu and watch the section from episode 9 again, and then look at these pictures that I took at 7:30 on Monday morning.