I Am Bismark


Gratitude 4

I would be truly remiss if I let 2009 close without my annual gratitude post. Thanksgiving and this holiday break have been quite busy, spending all of my free time with Mariam. But she is currently sleeping upstairs, so I will take these few moments to say what I was grateful for this year:

  • sappy blogs written at 9 AM in northern Mexico
  • Mariam
  • learning to respect myself again
  • new friends and new adventures
  • Levi’s
  • my mom’s packing skills
  • grading curves
  • space heaters
  • old friends and new adventures
  • my testimony
  • the diplomatic power of cheese
  • credit cards
  • the Madison police department
  • mission journals
  • road trips and little brothers to drive while I nap
  • the awesomeness of nature
  • webcams
  • God
  • mousetraps
  • knowing I can be better today than I was yesterday
  • real love
  • life

Here are previous years' posts:

My Avatar review

Ok obviously I’m a bit behind, but I finally saw avatar tonight. It was definitely an entertaining movie. A few thoughts:

  • This was my first “Real-D” 3D movie. A few hours later my eyes still feel a bit strained, but it made it a very fun experience. Hopefully that technology will get better soon.

  • The story was basic and predictable, but not terrible. This was really what I wanted the prequel Star Wars to be: a technical masterpiece with an entertaining plot. Oh how far we have come since JarJar Binks.

  • Holy crap it was hot in that theater. Completely unrelated to the film but jeeze I was burning up.

  • It had an unabashed anti-war, pro-tree-hugging message, something which I certainly feel sympathetic to. Sadly the marketing of the movie is likely a small ecological disaster in and of itself. Maybe enjoying the film in a non-climate controlled theater was my way of giving back…

Anyway, the film was good. Still hard to believe a lot of what I saw was CGI. Go see it if you have not. Try 3d if you have decent intestinal fortitude.

Mariam with piña colada

Here is Mariam enjoying a piña colada on the beach in Acapulco. She tried to order it with alcohol (in Spanish, so I had no idea), but her mom stopped her. She can be such a rebel sometimes.

craved “American” food tonight. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that burger king is the first think to make me sick on this trip.

communicating through google translate, spanglish, and writing out sentences on paper.

everytime i log in to facebook i am reminded why it has been weeks since i have logged in to facebook.

airplane mode turns off the gps in my iPhone. none of my pictures are geotagged. :(

Things I will miss about Mexico:

  • unlimited access to quality Mexican food
  • spending everday with my amazing girlfriend getting to know more about her family and culture

Things I won’t miss about Mexico:

  • Mexican buses/taxis on Mexican roads
  • not being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet and learning what the wastebasket next to the toilet is for
  • a national scarcity of earplugs

Mariam and Mummies

Apparently mummies aren’t Mariam’s thing. Just one of many things I have learned about her on this trip.

so much for tweets as i am falling asleep making any sense.

supporting the candidate i thought would end the wars ended up backfiring. next time i’ll support the candidate who promises to end the TSA.

made it to northern Mexico alive, only slightly sick from lack of sleep.

somewhere in central mexico. sadly i will never be able to listen to CCR anymore. thanks mr. bus driver.

Donors Choose

Thanks to a suggestion from my sister, this has been me and my family’s charity of choice this Christmas. It is a pretty cool site: teachers in impoverished areas post requests for school projects and classes and donors can choose one to fund. Education has always been very important to me so I was excited when I heard about it. This is the project I decided to fund:

Do You See What I See?

Reading through the request, I was reminded of the excitement that scientific discovery brought me as a child. I hope that my small donation can help bring that to some other children. My parents used a gift card my sister and I gave them to purchase books for a local high school. There are projects of all types all over the country to choose from.

This is a donation instead of a loan like Kiva, so I won’t be getting this money back. But I think education is actually a great long term investment. The more quality education we can have in this country, the better our economy will run. Education is fundamental to a prosperous society. If you feel the same, I hope you will also donate to a project that means something to you.

cuddling with my girl on a beautiful Mexican night.

you know I could really use a copy of FastScripts from Red Sweater Software…

scenery at Mariam’s grandfather’s farm

Not exactly the kind of scenery I expected to see in Mexico. This is up in the mountains on Mariam’s grandpa’s farm. We took a really nice hike through the forest, and if it weren’t for all the agave plants and the fact that it was December 25, I could have sworn we were hiking through northern California or Utah.

i don’t think twas a night before christmas translated in to spanish all that well.

weather in acapulco

This is what I will be experiencing for the next two weeks. Merry Christmas everyone!

Weather In Madison

This is what I will be missing out on for the next two weeks.

check in counter wasn’t open until four and now the security gate doesn’t open for another 15 minutes. maybe i am a BIT early.

at the airport, let’s hope this storm stays away long enough for my flight to not be delayed.

packed. time for a couple hours of sleep before heading to the airport.

i think i figured out why i hate this class so much: the professor uses comic sans for all of his slides.

less than two days until i am in sunny Acapulco. this is a good thing, except for how much i still have to do BEFORE that.

is there such thing as too much karaoke? i think not.

My operating systems professor just sent out an email with feedback for a presentation we gave on Wednesday. It included comments from other students. One of them was “awesome!!” which I had jokingly written down on the feedback form.

Well, I thought that was funny, so I hit “reply all”, removed my professor’s email address from the “to” field so it would just go to my team members, and said “haha that was me”.

Apparently my iPhone decided to put my professors email in the CC field also.

Per Tianna’s request

Resolved: I, Ryan Johnson, will not change the URL of this blog any time within the next 365 days nor will I change the blogging platform any time within the next 365 days. However, I maintain the right to change the theme of this blog at any time.

anyone ever been able to beat level 15 in eliss? i’ve been stuck there for months.

gotta love japanese people. my attempted translation at the first verse:

being afraid of yourself
that is the [can’t quite get this word.. i’m guess “worst”]!
you are fighting with yourself,
become your true self! boys be ambitious!

Boys, be ambitious. Be ambitious not for money or for selfish aggrandizement, not for that evanescent thing which men call fame. Be ambitious for that attainment of all that a man ought to be.

William S. Clark, to his students at Sapporo Agricultural College on April 16, 1877.

thanks intel health program for paying for some tshirts to wear in Mexico!

Markdown Macros in MarsEdit

I have decided to move over to tumblr for my blogging needs (more on this later). tumblr supports writing posts in Markdown, which I have come to appreciate as a nice way of writing text. For writing posts, I use MarsEdit, which even has a built in Markdown filter to give me a preview of how things will look.

Mowever, the default markup macros output HTML. Seemed a little pointless, so I decided to change the macros to output Markdown, making my writing much nicer… here is what I came up with:

  • add link opening:

  • add link closing:

      ](#askurl Add Link:#)
  • paste link opening:

  • paste link closing:

  • bold opening and closing:

  • italics opening and closing:

  • preformatted:

      \t (aka a tab)
  • line break:

      \s\s\n (aka two spaces and a newline)
  • paragraph opening:

      \n #selected text# (aka a new line then the text)
  • paragraph closing:


    (aka two new lines)

  • blockquote:

      > #selection#
  • code opening:

      ` #selected text#
  • code closing:

  • h1 opening:

      # #selected text#
  • h1 closing:


(for the other headers, just add more # to the opening and closing)

Pretty basic.. I’ve considered the possibility of writing Applescripts to convert selections to lists, etc. I might use this as a guide.

so Disqus won’t allow me to delete old blog account nor do they respond to my multiple support emails. lame service.

a former board writer AND a former member of divine comedy in my ward? crazy!

hands down worst job I’ve ever done on a class project, but it’s turned in. thorn in my flesh removed.

railroad crossing barriers are broken or something. keeping opening and closing. big traffic jam on east wash.

end of the semester projects seem to always turn my eating habits to crap.

testing out the new blog…

Messing around with my blog again, just to annoy Tianna.

with everything I have to do right now, have to spend today proctoring and grading midterms is not very convenient.

scratch that, it looks like it might be compatible! might have to give myself an early christmas present..

kind of want to try out fever… sadly the switch over to nfs for my hosting, though MUCH cheaper, prevents me from doing so.

hmm… this was in my school mailbox. thoughts?

to implement a forwarding unit or not… with one, the max number of pipeline stalls is 1… simpler state machine by far… hmm.

five stage pipelined processor is functional. well, except for handling data hazards and a data memory cache.. I hate this class.

wait.. 6 pm? last time I looked at the clock it was 3 pm.

never thought the walk from the CS building to engineering hall was long until I did it without my hat in zero degree weather. brr.

internet is slow because EVERYONE is home using it..

appears to be a downed power line in my back yard.

classes cancelled tomorrow. crazy weather out there.

so i get to try to teach the halting problem to a bunch of freshman comp sci students tomorrow. huh.

inches of water in the basement make it hard for me to reach my laundry.

hmm, i am tempted to pay for napster.. $5 a month for unlimited streaming plus mp3 downloads? intriguing.

might get to TA for undergrad OS next semester. fun!

16gb needed to download msdnaa win7 dvd.. virtualbox drive not big enough, so set up shared directory and download it there! woo..

if i have a coverage gap, how am i supposed to report it with my iphone using at&t’s app?

my girl

my awesome friend michelle agreed to take some pictures of mariam because i wanted a picture of her for my desk as a birthday gift.


the photographer is great and i love the subject, so i think they turned out pretty much amazing.

a good week

in stark contrast to the bad week i had earlier in the month of november, the week of thanksgiving was awesome. my brain was basically checked out from school by sunday evening since all i could think about was tuesday night when mariam was arriving.

those two days seemed to just float by, and then tuesday night i drove out to madison airport to pick up my girlfriend. it was really good to see her again after almost two months. she spent that night at my ward’s relief society president’s apartment. for some reason UW thinks that we are going to learn something on the wednesday before thanksgiving, so i had classes. mariam sat in my office working on homework while i suffered through two and half hours of lectures. it was such a relief to be finished! we walked over to the capitol to meet with aaron for lunch. we decided to give mariam a taste of wisconsin cuisine, so we went to the old fashioned, known for it’s fried cheese curds.

fried cheese curds

so good yet so bad. afterwards i gave mariam a tour of madison and campus, grabbing some babcock ice cream along the way, despite how cold it was outside.

mariam at the capitol

after our tour and me doing some packing, we made our way up to baraboo to spend the evening with my parents. we watched “what’s up doc?” since mariam had never seen it. very funny.

i slept at a family friend’s house while mariam slept in my little brother’s old room. thursday morning i came over bright and early to wake her up.

mariam waking up

amazing how beautiful she is at all hours of the day, isn’t it?

we drove back down to madison for a turkey bowl with my ward. it was lots of fun, though we lost. freezing and getting covered in mud made it worth it though. afterwards we met up with my friend thanh and we drove back up to baraboo for thanksgiving dinner. my sister’s family and my grandparents were also there, so that was nice. my mom decided to have our thanksgiving meal “catered” this year since, but that ended up being a bit of a bust: the grocery store gave us boxes of frozen mashed potatoes, frozen gravy, frozen stuffing, etc. but it still tasted fine. the company was more important than the food. after dinner we did the traditional game playing.

thursday night mariam and i went out to luke’s house to hang out with aaron, adam, and will. we watched a few of our favorite youtube videos from the past year (per tradition) then got out the wii. if you haven’t played the canoeing game in wii sports resort, you need to. so intense, i was sore for a few days.

friday i made everyone big breakfast then mariam and my mom worked on a tres leches cake (sadly it turned out a bit dry.. they should have listened to my suggestion). will and aaron went out to devil’s lake with us and we enjoyed a nice hike around the perimeter of the lake. then we drove up to the wisconsin dells to hit up the arcade and get some dinner at damon’s. team poop made a comeback and demolished the other teams at the damon’s quiz game. after that, mariam convinced me somehow to go see new moon. barf. she admitted it sucked too.

saturday mariam and i hit up the mall in madison so i could spoil her a bit. when we got back, we went with my parents to one of my favorite restaurants, the cheese factory for dinner. it was excellent as usual. then mariam and i went to babysit my nieces so my sister and her husband could go on a date. mariam spent the time getting the baby to fall asleep while i helped the other two direct dora the explorer in finding the lost city. we got the girls in bed, and we fell asleep to my neighbor totoro.

sunday we went to sacrament meeting in baraboo with the family, then we got mariam all packed up. i dropped her off for her flight and there i was, alone again. i was sad, but it was an awesome week and my christmas adventure in mexico is not that far off. i will make sure to blog about that too!

a bad week

ok, i’ve been pretty busy lately, with school and life in general, so i haven’t had a chance to write this down. i really ought to be working on one of the two huge projects i need to finished in the next week, but what the heck, it’s friday.

so, last month i had two VERY contrasting weeks. let’s start of with the bad week. i will write about the good week in my next post.

as some of you probably know, my 26th birthday was last month on a monday. instead of celebrating it with my family, girlfriends, and friends, i spent it in bed, sick with something nasty. it was an absolutely miserable day, as were the two days that followed it (in fact the effects of it stuck around until last week..). come saturday, i was feeling well enough to try to get my life back on track.

of course, that didn’t happen. i had planned on spending the day in my office making some big progress on my projects. when lunch rolled around, i went to grab my wallet to go buy a sandwich and my wallet wasn’t in my bag! this was a little disconcerting, since i always keep my wallet in my bag. i started mentally tracing back my steps during the day, trying to remember where i had left it. the last place i could remember taking it out of my bag was the day before while getting lunch. well, i was hungry and freaking about my wallet, so i stopped studying and walked home hoping i would find it on my desk. but i tore my apartment apart and the wallet was still no where to be found. i called the restaurant from the day before, and they had no lost wallets. not a good feeling AT ALL.

so, i started listing out the things in my wallet and trying to figure out how to replace them. i only had a few dollars in my wallet, but of course i had my credit cards and my debit card. i called up visa and went through the long process of canceling each card and getting a new one ordered from the banks. of course, in the middle of this phone call, i got a voice message from the university police saying that my wallet had been turned in. i quickly ran over to the police station (getting nonstop calls from banks and card issuers asking for information) and i got my wallet! everything was still in it, but i am glad that i cancelled my credit cards to be safe.

well, of course that was a rather stressful event, so i was pretty drained afterwards. my roommate aaron invited me to go out and see a movie, so i accepted the invitation. it was fun. when we got back, i walked into my room and noticed my laptop was not where i had left it. after a quick check of the apartment, i realized it was no where. my roommate was still in the kitchen, and when i said my laptop was gone, he ran into the living room only to find his laptop also gone. what a day!

our back door lock is pretty finicky, sometimes taking around a minute to lock or unlock. we had started getting lazy and not locking it. so apparently someone just walked in and grabbed the two easiest things to grab: our laptops. we called the police, submitted a police report, etc. i wasn’t too upset, i had both a time machine and a mozy backup. aaron wasn’t so lucky: his laptop had the only copy of the photos from his month is europe. the worst thing i had to deal with was the $500 renters insurance deductible.

really it seemed like a very unlucky set of events, but it turned out that i am VERY lucky. on monday afternoon, i got an email from apple saying that my laptop was found! i called them up, and they gave me the phone number of one of the detectives for the madison police department. i called him up, and he said they would contact me in the morning. tuesday morning the police detective called me and said he was bringing over my laptop. he came over and handed me my macbook! he said they had gone into a shady computer pawn shop and saw the owner wiping down the macbook. they thought it was suspicious, so they seized it and checked the serial number and found me through apple. pretty crazy story, and i still don’t know why they only found my laptop and not aaron’s or why they didn’t have to keep the laptop as evidence or something. but whatever, i got my laptop back without having to pay a dime!

hard to believe that in the matter of a few days i can have both my wallet and my laptop go missing and then both be returned to me! everyone was saying i should go buy a lottery ticket since i am so lucky. anyway, i guess the week did not end badly, though on saturday evening i certainly felt like it could not get much worse. but i survived, only to have a much better week over thanksgiving.

facebook lite has spoiled me. i can’t stand opening up the iPhone facebook app and seeing so much crap in the newsfeed.

if i import a GPL’d python module, do I also have to GPL my code?

hmm.. marsedit used to create funky html for inserted flickr images… screwing up the conversion from html to markdown… meh.

small mammals gnawing on my baseboards wake me up and make me unhappy.

trying to write my first stackoverflow question… quite stressful.

best spam on my blog: “…please where can I buy a unicorn?”

al queda is and always has been a bogeyman. the answer to a bomb going off in a train station is not 150,000 troops fighting tribesmen.

disappointed with our commander-in-chief today.

#$%#@$ i stayed up until 2:30 am working on that midterm so it could be in everyone’s inbox this morning and it’s stuck in my outbox? !%@!#$

apparently not back in real world mode: where did the last five hours go and how did nothing get done? it felt like I was busy..

Prev - Archive - Next