Posted in Life, Nerd, Technology on June 27th, 2007 by Tom

A new phenomena is sweeping the criminal scene.
YouTube also. [One guess as to how I found out about it…]

The trick is called “key-bumping”, and it’s cheap as hell:

See It Done Here

As someone who devoted a lot of time to learning to pick locks the “real way”, this kinda hacks me off. All you do is saw down the “valleys” of a key all the way, place it in the lock except for one notch, apply pressure, and snap it with a hammer. [The principal is explained visually, somewhat, here] That’s it! How can this work?! I think I know.

When you snap the hammer, the key goes in the final notch, meaning all the little peaks push up all the pins well above the [sheer line]. When each of the pins then falls into the full-sized valley that follows the peak, the pressure applied allows the lower half of the pin to fall, and the upper half to catch as a result of the applied torque on the key.I know this is probably just sounding all jibberish, but what I’m getting at is how incredibly cheap this is. The actual technique is called “scrubbing” [details here]. It’s the cornerstone of advanced lockpicking, and some idiot has now bastardized it, much to the apparent delight of the YouTube community.BAH. I’m going to look into possibly making one of these, to test the doors in my house. If it works as well as these people claim, it could be very useful. I’m thinking not so much for home-invasion purposes, but for getting people into dorm rooms. It might be kinda cool to be that guy.
(Sorry that was so technical… I kinda spent my night researching it on the ol’ YouTube and just got progressively more irate…)

In much happier news, I think I saved a baby bird the day before yesterday!
I was driving to Lizz’s, and I saw something flapping around in the middle of the road. This always depresses me way-big-time, because I think it could be injured-past-the-point-of-no-return, and I have this terrible moral dilemma whether to automotively-euthanize it or just leave it. Which is incredibly morbid, but I worry that maybe it’ll die all slow an painful and scared in the road…

Case in point, I think way too much.
This time, it just got to me though. Right or wrong, I was going to do something. So I pulled over, turned around, and parked on the nearest side street. I approached the little guy and saw that he was just gimpy not because he was hurt, but on account of the fact that he was a little baby bird. The parental birds occasionally swooping down in its general direction seemed to confirm this suspicion.

I ran up to him, but he just kinda sat there, like, “What?”
There was a car coming. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do!!
So I kinda scootched him over into the middle of the lane with my foot. That way oncoming car’s middle-section would hopefully go over him, as opposed to the wheels going over him. I then preceded to hop out of the road, not wanting to get smashed myself.

He made it! I then wondered what to do next. I was just gonna grab him, and carry him to safety, and take whatever bird-disease I incurred as a result of the contact and bear it with pride… but I second guessed myself. I thought maybe the person-smell would cause him to be ostracized (this is only with eggs though, Lizz told me), or maybe he’d hurt himself in the struggle.

I ended up just making noise and yelling at it, scaring it across the road, and finally up onto the curb, and then eventually the sidewalk. It was embarrassing as hell, but I felt so much better about the entire ordeal…

Just a note to the bird-classification of animals as a whole:
When it comes time to push the babies out and have them fend for themselves, HOW ABOUT WE NOT PUSH THEM INTO THE ROAD?! Come on… unless you’re training them to be some type of ninja-bird (admittedly, this would be cool) they don’t stand a chance. Cut the poor kids some slack. Puberty and near-death-experience wrapped up into one?! That just isn’t fair.

I’m leaving for the wet and not-so-wild Pacific Northwest on Thursday, and I will be there a week following. Perhaps I will blog from there, inbetween doing nothing outside in the rain, and doing nothing inside, watching the rain. It could happen.

Hope summers are going well.
I gave my lecture speech about lightsabers of all things, so I can’t really complain.
Though there are some nagging projects that need doing:

  • New Lightsaber
  • Possible Short-Movie with Sean
  • Possible Graphic-Novel Progress with Thomas
  • Student Senate’s Webpage
  • Improvements to Schrodinger
  • …unpacking the remaining boxes of crap I brought back from school…

Knights of Cydonia

Posted in Life on June 17th, 2007 by Tom

Today was just a weird day.
Allow me to begin by explaining that I’ve been shirking blogging because nothing has happened.
I’ve settled into a pretty comfortable monotony and I now remember why I love summertime in spite of the miserable weather.

Today I went to work at 8 AM, which is a lot harder than it sounds. I played with the toys that I brought and listened to music on my laptop. When people came in, I helped them with their stuff, and then went right back to playing. It wasn’t a bad day, all-in-all. (Although it does irritate me that my [Pre-Order] still isn’t here, 2 months after it was supposed to be…)

This reminded me of something Laura mentioned. She was jokingly talking about “going out to get some tail.” I replied that I could never do that. How would I start the conversation?

“Hi, my name is Tom. I’m into Star Wars as well as Legos, but predominately Star Wars Legos.”
“Want to make out?”

That’ll go over real well. As I’m typing this I realized that I talk about my toys and legos all the time, but there are zero pictures of them on the website. Perhaps I’ll work on fixing that, maybe even tomorrow. It would certainly give me more reasons to post, as frequently as I blow money on toys…

Maybe I should also get around to doing the Student Senate website re-do like I said I would. eeeeeh. Fun Fact: The killer in today’s X-Files episode looked like Student Government President Matt Sevcheck (incorrect, albeit phonetic spelling of his name). I say this with no ill-will meant, but only that the resemblance struck me as uncanny. *shudder*

In the vein of things that make me shudder, I spent an extended period of time in the dark abyss that is Loose Park at nighttime. I was there for a friendly game of capture the flag that I quickly realized was far too epic for my frail little body. It was still fun, but only after you stop psyching yourself out that someone’s gonna jump you in the shadows. Or that you’re gonna step on some dismembered arm and see a body 4 feet away. –>UPDATE<– I’ve been watching a lot of X-Files lately. So I think about dismembered arms, and other nasty and/or weird stuff.

As I was leaving Capture-the-Flag-In-the-Dark-and-Don’t-Get-Jumped, I was almost to my car, when I hear, “Is that Tom Hogan?” I brace for whatever wave of nostalgia is headed my way, and suddenly I see it’s Marian!

I met Marian way, way back in my Freshman year of High School. She and I briefly ran in the same circles, and so we were friends. One day she actually shadowed at Miege, and ended up in my English class. It was then that she hugged me. I told her not to. She persisted, and I asked her to leave my bubble. She proceeded to make fun of my bubble and periodically feigned an invasion of my personal space.

And just like that, Marian defined what people would ridicule me about for the next four years of High School. I became “That Guy Who Doesn’t Like Hugs” / “Leper Boy No One Touches”. Which was OK. I just now realized though, with the perspective of not seeing her in like… three years, that all my personal space jokes can be traced back to that one fateful day.

So, Marian, I salute you.
I wouldn’t be nearly as maladjusted without you.

Earlier in the evening I made a smuggling run of Toothpaste to Laura. She was stuck sitting a house/child for an overnight, and had neglected to bring that hygiene essential. My mom has like… eight-zillion of those toothpaste samples lying around, so I took her one, along with a really, really sugary beverage. Net Gain for Laura’s Teeth: ZERO!

Stretching back even earlier in my afternoon, I visited Lizz at her place of employment: Steinmart! Man… I walked into that store, and I kinda got that feeling… I can’t describe it exactly, but it reminded me of how I heard one time that they always paint the walls of mental facilities pink- because it soothes the occupants. Steinmart is like that. Everything about it just seems to lull you off to sleep.

The climate controls set are set to sub-zero to slow your heart-rate, putting you in a metabolic state similar to a coma; the mu-zak blaring at a whopping 30 decibels (~volume of leaves rustling); the huge labyrinth-like maze of softly colored, friendly household items…

It’s a wonder I didn’t pass out from sheer relaxation right then and there. Somehow though, I found Lizz, working in Shoes. [Oh-My-God, SHOES] (Side note; I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one that still thinks that’s funny… it kills me.) So yeah. Lizz works in shoes. Brigid works there too. But the important thing is that you watched that video, and you know associate it with Lizz working in Shoes.

Now I’m home, and I’m tired. Thankfully, I have nothing to do tomorrow in the morning.
I’m looking forward to eating breakfast food at 1 PM more than you can possibly imagine.

Mr. Roboto

Posted in Life, Technology on June 1st, 2007 by Tom

I found out at school that my left eye was not working so well. It could not see things that were far away. Yesterday’s trip to the optometrist [Greek, ‘opto-‘ meaning sight + ‘-metrist’ (from METER, meaning to measure) meaning one who measures] informed me that my left eye is, in fact, near sighted.

How entirely tragic.

I lived my whole life being 20/20. Not that I honestly know what that means, but as a kid I took a lot of pride in the fact that I had good vision. No more! I now have what my doctor calls “monovision” [Greek, ‘mono-‘ meaningone… OK. Stopping that now.] where my eyes apparently decided to compartmentalize responsibilities.

The left one works hard at the close up stuff, whereas the right on takes point on things that are far away… lazy no-good pieces-of-ocular-tissue. In any case, I guess I’m not slightly broken, and so I’ll now join the ranks of the millions of people who have contact lenses. Except not. Most people get contact lenses. I am the proud wearer of a SINGLE contact lens.

Granted, it takes less time to get in, but still. I feel like I’ve got some kindof half-man half-machine cyborg-business going on… Like if I were turned into a comic book character, and all my features carried to hyperbolic fruition, that eye would be able to shoot lasers, and my bad hip would actually be a rocket launcher.

See below for an illustration:

Click For Detail

I think that looks about right.
I just added the sword because it looks cool. Ya know… for good measure.

Anyways. That was my little adventure for the day.
The contact is surprisingly comfortable…
Though I cannot say the same about Jericho the Destructor’s DEATH LAZOR!!!

P.S.: Ethan and I bought off-brand nerf shotguns. They’re kindof a pain, but [look really awesome].