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March 31, 2006

Noise Complaint: Part 3

I woke up this morning to the sound of bass thumping, so, fed up and tired, I called the police and asked them to come out and talk with me about my options. By the time the two officers arrived, my neighbor had left, and all was quiet. They advised me to file a harassment complaint with the local magistrate and call them again if his music was loud again in the evening.

So frustrated!

Finding out about this magistrate business on the web was a pretty grueling ordeal, as I nearly exhausted all my mental faculties simply coming up with search words, until finally, I just emailed someone whose email address was on an Allegheny County web site. Strangely, she responded within the hour, and her email contained the address and phone number of the local magistrate's office. Brilliant.

I called the magistrate's office and spoke with one of the least helpful people ever and then had to deal with her again when I arrived. Before I went, however, I printed out a couple copies of a log of all the related interactions I've had with the police, my landlord, and my neighbor. As it turns out, that wasn't necessary because that's apparently something the magistrate will only want to see after he approves the complaint.

Anyway, I filed a harassment complaint against my neighbor, and now, we get to see what happens. I also told my landlady, and she forwarded my email to my neighbor, whose music was miraculously at a reasonable (but still audible) volume for most of the evening.

Lunar Eclipse

This is what happens when a satellite is watching the Sahara Desert during a lunar eclipse. Very cool.

Image: Eumetsat, BBC News

March 26, 2006

New Shoes: Part 2

I received my new shoes a couple days ago, and they're absolutely fantastic, incredibly comfortable, and distinctly uncommon. I've really been enjoying wearing them.

So much so, in fact, that I'm going to get another pair of Børn shoes. They will probably be the Judson in the blue and white color scheme or the Lakota in the white and light brown color scheme.

I think the blue/white scheme would be better for spring and summer, but the white/brown scheme would be better for autumn. Maybe that's how I'll plan this. :)

If you're looking for shoes with superior comfort, I highly recommend shopping at Børn.

March 25, 2006

Computer God

I enjoy getting high scores on all the nerd/geek tests I can.

My computer geek score is greater than 99% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!

Hey, Andrew, how are you enjoying Seattle?

March 21, 2006

Art Auction

My sister submitted a Prismacolor piece to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo art auction, and it was selected as one of 53 out of 300,000 submissions to actually be auctioned. Her piece sold for $16,000 to the CEO of Loomis International, an oil and gas services company with a really crappy web site. That's pretty incredible for her first auction piece! She's, like, really awesome and stuff.

I firmly believe the world is out to destroy me, as after a tense evening of listening to my neighbor's bass yesterday, the City of Pittsburgh had its jackhammers going on my street at 7:00 this morning. It seems they're fixing the roads or sidewalks or something, but still... jackhammers at 7 AM are really nerve-wracking. So, four hours of sleep later, I'm awake again. Need coffee.

And, to answer Andrew's query about my parents moving to Buenos Aires, they're doing so because my dad's company, whose Argentina operations he has been managing from Houston for several years, recently gobbled up a smaller Argentine oil company, and the new amount of resources to manage is going to require him, the director, to be there more often. Since Taylor is off to MassArt in the fall, they don't have much keeping them state-side. Besides, why not?! My dad is at least partially fluent in castellano rioplatense, but my mom is going to need to work on it!

March 16, 2006

New Shoes

I just bought these shoes in the "french roast" two-tone color, and I think they're going to be really awesome and comfortable and happy... hooray!

I'm suffering from lamb vindaloo overload. It's wooonnnderful.

March 15, 2006

Chili Peppers

The BBC is running an article right now about how chili peppers make prostate cancer cells commit suicide. Gentlemen, it is time to eat more spicy food.

In other news, it's windy and snowing here on the island. Such wonderful weather... I wish it could be like this all year.

Oh, oh, oh, and it looks like my parents are moving to Buenos Aires soon. Which means I get two (I think?) free trips there each year. Aconcagua, here I come! Stay tuned.

March 14, 2006

To Massachusetts

I have a flight to Boston this evening, and I'll be spending a few days on the usual coastal island. I'm looking forward to visiting with my family, but I'm not looking forward to having only a couple days to do my nanostructures homework when I get back. No big deal. It will have to be submitted one way or another. I am taking some journal articles related to nanostructures to read on the planes, in hope that some of them may prepare me for the homework.

If you haven't checked out my post from yesterday about the Pittsburgh municipal code's noise provisions, please do so. I'd like to get as much feedback on that as I can, as I imagine I'll have to make use of it at some point this weekend while I'm slogging through my homework. And, if not then, some other time in the near future.

March 13, 2006

Pittsburgh Code

The following link goes to a PDF of chapter 601 of the Pittsburgh municipal code, as of 2006 March 13.


It seems section 601.04(d)(1) (page 4) says a person's in-home noise cannot be louder than 10dBC (day) or 5dBC (night) above the nominal ambient background noise level of a neighboring residence.

Further, section 601.04(h) states any noise measurement must be performed with a device conforming to the Type 1 or Type 2 specification defined in ANSI S1.4.

Given these two pieces of information, it seems I should be able to justify accusing my neighbor of being loud if I measure his noise to be above those limits with an approved measurement device.

Then, pursuant to section 601.04(d)(2), an officer will stand in a centralized location in my condo and measure the noise to verify my findings.

If the officer does, indeed, verify my findings, then it seems section 601.04(i)(1) will apply, and my neighbor will be fined by the city. According to section 601.14(a), this fine must be at least $15 plus court costs.

Would some of you mind reading the document and telling me if my analysis makes sense?

More of the Pittsburgh code can be found here.

March 12, 2006


Play | Hints | Instructions

Katy says it looks like a mind-control experiment. I say it's creepy like 2001: A Space Odyssey. Enjoy. Evolve.

March 10, 2006


Katy wanted to eat popcorn last night, and because I do not own a microwave, we had to do it the "old-fashioned" way. She didn't even believe it would work! So, while I wrote a long email to conclude my school activities before spring break, she went to the grocery store and bought popping corn, popcorn salt, butter, and vegetable oil. With those items, I made popcorn, and it turned out to be really tasty.

Of course, I had never made popcorn on the stove before last night, which I suppose is why this is news. Anyway, if you've never done it, you should. It's tons of fun to watch, and you get to listen to your heart scream as you pour a melted half stick of butter over the final product.

March 08, 2006

20 Page Homework

Some time early this morning, I finished a four-problem homework assignment for my linear systems class. The problem set was 14 pages, and my solution set was 20 pages. My stapler couldn't even staple it, so I turned it in with a paper clip, instead. Wow.

Katy and I have been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation lately, which provides a wonderful respite from whatever work we had been doing up until the break for the show. This week is her spring break, but she's been spending a lot of it writing papers. Next week is mine, and while I don't think I'll spend so much time working, I'm sure it won't be all fun and games. My mom has, however, convinced me to spend a couple days on the Massachusetts coast with the family. She needs to send me her itinerary, so I can buy my plane tickets!

The guy downstairs has been mysteriously quiet this week, with the exception of his dog barking loudly at odd hours.

I don't have much else to say. My brain is pretty fried. Ta-ta for now.

March 04, 2006

Nathan the Wise

Katy and I saw the CMU Drama production of Nathan the Wise last night. It was really, really incredible, and you should read that article about the play.

March 01, 2006

CMU Studies Cell Phones in Flight

The Department of Engineering and Public Policy at CMU has determined that cell phones and other electronics that broadcast signals can disrupt airplane electronics even more than previously thought. One of the more important technologies affected is GPS, which is becoming more widely used during landing.

Here's the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.

A few years ago, I stopped turning off my cell phone before flying because I decided the rule prohibiting activated cell phones on flights was ridiculous. The FCC has similar feelings, apparently, as they have recently been thinking about lifting the ban.

The CMU study, however, puts things in a different light, and I think I'll resume turning my cell phone off before flights in the future.

This month's IEEE Spectrum has some more technical information on the study.