I Am Bismark


I would love to write a blog about this Harry Reid thing, but BYU blocks tumblr.com! ARGH! You all asked for it to be unblocked, right?

engagement pictures cancelled for today because of wind and dust. cutting it close.

My iPhone’s MAC address is still in BYU OIT’s wifi exception list so I don’t have to login. Nice.

cookies and cream milk. I will regret this later.

roaming BYU campus this morning while Mariam is in class. Say hi if you see me!

They are synonyms; either one can work. It is my feeling that inside the LDS Church culture, proselyte is more common. However, that’s definitely not the case in general. I used Mark Davies’s Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and found that it includes 403 instances of some form of the word proselytize used as a verb, but only 1 instance of some form of proselyte used as a verb. (The search was proselyt*.[v*] for anyone who’s interested.)

Using Mark Davies’s corpus of [LDS General Conference] 2 talks seems to confirm my hunch: I found 3 instances of some form of proselytize, while there were 158 instances of a verb form of proselyte. (Note that the raw numbers can’t be compared across corpora, but the ratios within each corpus are very telling.)

— Laser Jock, in response to [my question] 3 about proselytize vs. proselyte.

So, I stand [somewhat corrected] 4. However, even though “proselyte” is a real word, it can still be added to the list of uncommon words/phrases that for some reason are quite common amongst Mormons.

Mexican Flan Cake

This is the Mexican Flan cake we will be having at our wedding reception. I was lucky to get a piece since my mom decided it was her new favorite thing. It was really good.

Mariam’s Flyer

I helped Mariam put up these flyers this morning. She made them yesterday and claims she was distracted by the fact that she hadn’t seen her fiancé in two months. She will probably kill me for posting this. :D

As an alumnus of BYU, I have no qualms with using the locker room for a shower when I am in town.

Accepted the summer internship position at Zynga. I don’t know if I can get anyone free pigs yet, but I will let you all know ASAP.

Today is the day of reckoning. Need to choose one out of the two really awesome internship opportunities for this summer.

How does it feel to be a small-time celebrity?

— Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I’m living the life, what can I say.

Actually, I am nowhere near the celebrity that I used to be. During my heyday at BYU, I had the entire female readership of the 100 Hour Board pining for my presence. I was famously named the unofficial minor heartthrob of the Board. Now I live a much more subdued lifestyle, which is fine. I’m no longer that wild young stallion of my youth.

Seriously though, much fewer people read my blog than before. I think the shift from Blogger -> Wordpress on cpanra.org -> Wordpress on iambismark.net -> Tumblr left a few readers on the wayside. But that’s ok. I am a much less prolific blogger than I used to be. I think one of the biggest reasons for that is my stabilized love life. Angst over failed love is a great motivator for creating interesting art. Reading about how happy someone is usually a lot less entertaining. But I wouldn’t up Mariam in a million years just to be a more interesting blogger.

These questions are fun to answer! Keep it up Anonymous readers!

Is your pseudonym a misspelling of Bismarck?

— Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

So, history of the name Bismark:

When I was about 12, my friends and I were pretty nerdy (I bet you couldn’t have guessed!) and we decided to form a little club called The Agency. It had something to do with our interest in government conspiracies related to alien coverups. We decided each of us needed code names, and on the day we were deciding this, we happened to be eating jelly-filled donuts. In Canada and the midwest, jelly-filled donuts are often called bismarcks, sometimes without the ‘c’. I said I really loved the donuts, and the packaging used the “bismark” spelling, so my agent name became “Agent Bismark.” My first email address was bismark90 at hotmail, and the ‘nym has stuck ever since.

One of these days I will have to dig up some of the old stuff from The Agency and blog about it. We had an awesome webpage running on Angelfire.com for a few years.

Mariam is dancing is a Luau tonight. I sit at home programming while other guys watch her shake her hips. not a fan.

it’s 10.22 am, I haven’t gone to sleep. I just talked to someone really non-committal. What do you eat with Brie cheese? other than… you know, crackers?

— Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Sorry for the long delay in responding. I usually eat Brie cheese with a smug sense of self-importance.

Mariam says it goes nicely with fruit. We will have to take her word for it.

As far as sleep goes, I suggest waiting until the evening. 10:22 AM tends be a bit early for sleep, especially if you have only been awake since 8:00 AM.

Pro tip: better sleep patterns might make others more interested in becoming committed to you.

What is your favorite book, movie, tv show, video game, food, place to go on vacation, blog post that you’ve written previously, blog to read of someone you know, blog to read of someone you don’t know, tech blog, and any other favorite things that you would like to share?

— Gio

Dear Gio,

Thanks for the lovely question. Well, actually, I hate questions like these because I never can think of what to say.

Here we go…

Book: Oh gosh I don’t know. I don’t read enough, that’s for sure. I am still only around 2/3 of the way through Rough Stone Rolling, which is terrible since it is a) an amazing book and b) I started it 3 years ago. For books I have read the most times, that would probably be LOTR and 1984.

Movie: Top movies are probably:

  • もののけ姫 (Mononoke Hime)
  • About a Boy
  • Empire Strikes Back

TV Show: Firefly. Lately I have been watching House. Hell’s Kitchen is my guilty pleasure.

Video Game: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Followed closely by Final Fantasy 1.

Food: Gyūdon topped with kimchi and a cabbage salad with sesame seed dressing. I could eat that everyday.

Place to go on vacation: Place I have been: Kyōto. Place I have yet to visit: The Hebrides.

Blog post that I’ve written previously: Harry Potter is an idiot.

Blog to read of someone I know: I am looking through my folder of “Personal blogs” and I see that well over half of them don’t have any activity for the last 6 months. I think I need to find some new blogging friends! One of the more recent additions to my list is my friend Ani’s blog. She posts some nice pictures on occasion.

Blog to read of someone I don’t know: I am not much of a blog stalker anymore, so this one is a bit tough. I guess just giving my favorite non-tech related blog will have to do: Salt & Fat.

Tech blog: Daring Fireball. No contest.

Any other favorite things that I would like to share:

  • Favorite person: Mariam
  • Favorite junk food: Chocolate milkshake
  • Favorite cologne: Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue
  • Favorite season: Fall
  • Favorite board game: Axis and Allies

Looking at this list, I realize now how boring of a person I have become.

Hmm.. yeah, C++… I vaguely remember that stuff. Didn’t think they would ask about it during an interview…

My take-home midterm consists of reading whitepapers filled with marketing crap from different wireless companies. Barf.

Just finished another interview for what sounds like a pretty cool summer job at Intel. I guess I shouldn’t complain about lots of options!

Dear LDS readers:

The word is not proselyting. It’s proselytizing.

That is all.

Update: See my newer post on the topic.

multiple job offers. tough choices to be making with the soon-to-be wife.

welcome weekend: excuse for grad students to eat free food and avoid working.

First time BYU has won a tourney game since 1993!!! wooooo!!

Two days ago I was freaking out about finding a job this summer. Today I can’t keep up with the emails about opportunities!

What happened with your wedding? you don’t post anything about it anymore

— Anonymous

Ok, this is actually my second question (I am still working on the response to the first one).

Am I still getting married? Yes. Do I want to be one of those annoying people who always posts sappy blog posts about being so in love, etc? No.

Actually, part of the problem is that Mariam and I are in different states… That means we really don’t get to do a lot of fun stuff together that maybe some other engaged people do. Kind of sucks, but we are looking forward to having adventures together after April.

Anyway, yes, the official date is April 24th. I have website that I am still working on (which some of you have seen) with more info and pictures. I am going out to Utah for spring break so that my friend Kristy can take some engagement pictures for us. Kind of cutting it close I suppose, but you do what you have to do.

Honestly I have been so busy lately with school, job searches, and wedding stuff that I haven’t had any time to write real blog posts about all of the crazy stuff going down.

And my fiancée is awesome and beautiful and I can’t wait to be with her all the time.

Summer housing for a couple in San Francisco might be interesting to find…

They are playing Flogging Molly at Subway. Appropriate I suppose.

Phone interviews w/ Zynga done. They went ok, we shall see.

facepalm Phone interview at 2:30 PM PST != Phone interview at 2:30 PM CST…

Hmm, the Nexus One now supports AT&T 3G bands… Wouldn’t mind having one to swap my SIM card to depending on the day…

taxes are done. protip: don’t work in three different states during a year.

Just booked the hotel room for my wedding night. That’s kind of weird.

I would definitely give up the few times daylight savings actually did me any good if I could just get my hour of sleep back. :/


I went to the Madison Curling Club’s Open House today with my roommate Aaron and some of his friends. This is him and I showing off our made brushing skills.

Basically we got to pay just a few dollars to have club members teach us the technique of the game. It was a lot of fun and not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. Click through to see the full set.

not the best curler in the world, but it was awesome. pics soon.

Time for a little Cat Stevens on this wonderful Friday evening.

RIP 501s

My 501s from the original Operation Levi’s are being laid to rest. They got a lot of wear, and now the seat is so threadbare that holes are beginning to appear. Time to send them to Goodwill so someone can make.. I dunno, a quilt out of them.

The shrink-to-fit 501s didn’t turn out as great as I had hoped, but they are decent. I think my next pair will probably just be some 514s.

Whoa, my mom is in the Daily Universe today. Page Six, graduation ad on the left.

I’m enjoying to Mormon blogosphere backlash against Glenn Beck’s latest attempt to become more of an idiot.

.@ replies show about a 50/50 split for people who use Dashboard more vs people who use Spaces more. Interesting.

I’m gleaning ideas from Amazon’s Dynamo. Consistent hashing, Merkle trees, and gossip protocols. This will be a fun project…

(Mostly) consistent and available distributed key-value store: a nontrivial problem. Many hours of four of us debating possible solutions.

Multiple posts from me

I have had a couple of people complain about getting repeated blogs posts from me today, and if this includes you, make sure you are not subscribed to multiple feeds of mine. You should only be subscribed to one feed and one feed only:


What happened is this:

About two months ago, my .htaccess that should have redirected everything from my old RSS feed to my new RSS feed stopped working. I didn’t realize this until last night and now I have fixed it. Some people are subscribed to multiple feeds from me (http://cpanra.org/ryan/feed, http://www.iambismark.net/feed, etc) all of which, as of last night, correctly redirect to the feed posted above. Thus the repeats.

[S]tart enforcing a higher standard with self-control. Do you really need to watch that show or eat at that fast-food restaurant or spend twenty seconds of every day skimming that blog’s headlines? Is it really a net gain? Life’s too short to drink bad coffee or read bad blogs. Make the effort to care.

Marco Arment on not wasting your life on crap.

Words to live by. I’ve started blocking worthless websites in my hosts file just like he mentions. I guess that means my friends will be getting fewer LOLCat pics from me. I guess they can choose if that is good or bad.

That is the second time I have had students not understand what a directory is until I told them it’s a folder. Am I doing it wrong??

I keeping hearing people make snide remarks about the last time they used Dashboard, but I use it at least 100x more than I ever use Spaces.

Oh man, only about 250 more MacHeist bundles before Tweetie…

Oh no… did Macheist really just add Tweetie to the bundle? I so can’t afford this but I so need it now…

New Goal: Relearn Japanese

Well, I have heard that publicly sharing a goal is one of the best ways to find motivation for it, so here we go: I am going to start using my Japanese again. @molecularbond sent me a link about cat cafes in Nagoya, and even though I think the only real purpose cats have in this world is to provide us with funny pictures, it still made me 懐かしい for all things Nihon.

My Japanese pretty much sucks now. I used to be able to read newspaper articles and carry on conversations about philosophical beliefs for hours. Now I can barely remember how to correctly use certain grammar particles. Sigh.

So, time to re-rip my J-Pop albums, finally get around to watching Ponyo, and pull out my flashcards. I am working on my Spanish currently, and I think getting my brain back into multilingual mode will actually help with that.

I would actually love a job where I could both program and use Japanese. I should start looking for something like that.

bad case of a my back being stuck to my bed this morning.

ask me

I am turning this on for kicks… come ask me a question! You can even do it anonymously if you would like! I will answer in the form of a blog post (assuming it’s worth answering).

getting a a burger that is probably much too big for myself at the nitty gritty.

I keep seeing the term geek being thrown around much too lightly. It is way too cool to be “geeky” now. Time to take it back.

Ok Amazon… “Ryan’s Pink Miniskirt”? Really? Is that really the pay phrase you are suggesting to me?

Just had a nice 6 hour long programming session. Crazy how time flies when you are having fun.


Meridian Magazine: In Chile: The Lord’s Earthquake Warning

This article has been passed around quite a bit this last week on the Mormon blogosphere. Just wanted to point out my little brother Adam in the picture above.

A short personal account of the mission’s preparations from a letter Adam wrote on February 15th:

I don’t remember if I mentioned last change that we all got water filtration bottles. Well this change we got instruction sheets for what to do before, during and after an earthquake, and evacuation plans. Something big could happen soon in Chile!

Got the lab admins to install Mercurial in the Mac lab. I was scared I was going to have to use SVN for a bit there. shudders

Sold my Xbox 360. That’s probably blasphemous to someone like Kenji, but it wasn’t getting the love it deserved.

I hate getting job application rejection emails. Just makes me feel like crap.

Two huge bowls of homemade phở for dinner. So good, so full.

first person to respond to my apartment ad!! oh wait, russian spambot.. :(

Getting increasingly annoyed with team members who have a 1+ week email response delay.

Prev - Archive - Next