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Ben Young

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The Maze Collapses [29 Apr 2007|06:13am]
I'm sure this will be all over the news in a few min -- it's already on the local radio news. I was leaving a friend's house in Emeryville around 3:45am this morning, and saw a giant ball of flame coming from the general area of the Maze (the 80/880/580 interchange), so I headed over there to take a look. Apparently, a tanker truck caught on fire on the 80w->880s connector. The flames were so hot they melted the steel girders of the 80e->580e connector above, causing 200 feet of freeway to come crashing down on top of the burning tanker, and damaging the connector as well.

Map with photos here: http://www.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&msa=0&hl=en&msid=115351721043818933763.000001123d6397cce4e52

Really crummy video here:


Good news is, while the tanker truck has completely disintegrated, the driver was able to escape with only 2nd degree burns. Word is he walked to a gas station and took a taxi to the hospital.
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pretending to update [19 Apr 2006|10:39pm]
as of today, i'm in new york for a month
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[20 Dec 2005|03:04am]
sign this plz: http://www.votelouise.com/page/petition/SpyHearings/komqq

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ok, let's try this again [25 Oct 2005|12:55am]
I'm not feeling original or clever, and I haven't been for the last few months. I've gotta move to Mountain View. i don't really want to, but otherwise all is extremely dandy. I'm going to work in NYC for a month starting 4/19. Google provides room and board! I'm kind of excited. I was in NYC for a week in june, and had a reasonably good time, but it was kind rushed and I wasn't supposed to be there half the time so I didn't get to enjoy it as well as I might have. And all my east coast friends were elsewhere. April should be really nice....

Instead of my own 'cleverness,' I think I'll rely on the cleverness and creativity of the professionals:
  • Ooh-aaar, cows do milk themselves, down on the robotic farm

  • GETTING IN: The social logic of Ivy League admissions
    The difficult part, however, was coming up with a way of keeping Jews out, because as a group they were academically superior to everyone else. Lowell’s first idea—a quota limiting Jews to fifteen per cent of the student body—was roundly criticized. Lowell tried restricting the number of scholarships given to Jewish students, and made an effort to bring in students from public schools in the West, where there were fewer Jews. Neither strategy worked. Finally, Lowell—and his counterparts at Yale and Princeton—realized that if a definition of merit based on academic prowess was leading to the wrong kind of student, the solution was to change the definition of merit. Karabel argues that it was at this moment that the history and nature of the Ivy League took a significant turn.

  • No evidence backs up reports of rescue helicopters being fired upon
    NEW ORLEANS - Among the rumors that spread as quickly as floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina, reports that gunmen were taking potshots at rescue helicopters stood out for their senselessness.

  • THE HEIGHT GAP: Why Europeans are getting taller and taller—and Americans aren’t.
    Then something strange happened. While heights in Europe continued to climb, Komlos said, “the U.S. just went flat.” In the First World War, the average American soldier was still two inches taller than the average German. But sometime around 1955 the situation began to reverse. The Germans and other Europeans went on to grow an extra two centimetres a decade, and some Asian populations several times more, yet Americans haven’t grown taller in fifty years. By now, even the Japanese—once the shortest industrialized people on earth—have nearly caught up with us, and Northern Europeans are three inches taller and rising.
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another day in the young/molochko household [06 Jul 2005|04:35pm]
Scene 1: Alex walks out of his bedroom wearing a faded green towel around his hips. Ben is sitting on the couch, shirtless and in jeans, with his laptop on his lap. Trying to work.

Ben: you're helluv naked
Alex: no i'm not. i'm wearing a towel
Ben: you're still helluv naked
(alex browses through cds and find an everclear cd)
Alex: you want me to get naked? cuz you know i will...
Alex: then i'm obviously not naked
(alex walks back into his room and shuts the door)

Scene 2: AIM

Ben J Young: i mean
Ben J Young: i'm way more naked than the average muslim women visiting the market in iran
Ben J Young: and you
Ben J Young: well
whitelightninggg: lol
Ben J Young: were way more naked than me

Scene 3: Ben hasn't moved. Alex walks out of his room wearing wearing boxers covering his hips, jeans covering the lower half of his buttocks with a large tear in the rear exposing his boxers, an unbuckled belt, and white athletic socks. Alex turns around exposing the tear in his jeans...

Alex: now how naked am i?
Ben: (moves head side to side pondering, weighing options) about as naked as me
Alex: (lifts up foot and points out his sock) i'm less naked than you
Ben: oh hrmm well it's complicated. because covering more skin doesn't necessarily make you less naked
(alex makes quizzical expression)
Ben: for example, wearing underwear and shorts is way less naked than wearing a t-shirt and underwear
Alex: hmm. that's true


Ben: and if you're wearing socks and nothing else, that's way more naked than if you're just not wearing anything
(alex laughs)


Alex: i think you should write about nakedness in your lj
Ben: that would be good if this was an aim conversation, but it's not
Alex: we could pretend it is...........

Disclaimer: Ben makes no guarantees as to the word-for-word accuracy of scenes 1 and 3. Any complaints must be submitted in writing to Ben by yesterday. Scene 2 was copied from an actual AIM chat log with no edits or modifications.
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[31 May 2005|11:55pm]
I just gave 30 days' notice.
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Bay to Breakers [17 May 2005|10:36pm]
[ mood | tired ]

I'd been wanting to run the race for several years now, but a sequence of ankle injuries seemed to conspire against me until this year. Last year, I managed to sprain my ankle rather badly walking down my parents' stairs about a week before the race. This year I finally ran. A week to prepare, and 3 sleepless hours in bed before it was time to leave, and I was out. I almost flaked. Getting up at 6:40am after laying awake all night (well, since I went to bed at 3:30 at least) to Bart to San Francisco to run 7.5 miles isn't the most appealing thought in the world, but I told myself it'd soon be over and I could go back to bed.

The station was much more full of runners than I imagined. One guy had a sombrero so big I'm not sure how he managed to fit in in the train...or keep it on throughout the race (he finished shortly after me). Somehow I ended up on a train full of the most annoying little blond 16 year old girl track team ever.

I got there just as they blocked off the Spear St. Entrance to the starting line. I wasn't gonna take the Steuart St entrance and end up at the very back of the pack, so I jumped the police barricades a few seconds after they closed them when no one was looking and dashed toward the crowd on Howard St., hopefully before anyone noticed.

I pushed toward the finish line concert mosh pit style and managed to get up to Main St., a block away from the starting line, where the tortillas began to rain down and hit me in the face, with about 12 minutes until the whistle. We waited, the whistle blew, and we stood there while the "Elite" runners took off a block away. And then it was pushing again. I'm guessing i got to the start line at 8:05. I saw the guy in front of me wearing a pro-drug handwritten shirt check set his watch as we passed the starting line, but i didn't look at my phone. Then it was dashing around people, up and down the sidewalk for the first mile or so until the crowd started to thin out.

Running against red lights is fun.

The crowd thinned out a bit, but I stayed on the sidewalk. I guess we're not supposed to. Oh well. The rest of the road was full of people running far too slow for their starting positions. And 50+ year old naked guys. Why does it seem there's an unwritten law that all nudists have to be old and ugly? I mean, couldn't they at least throw us a cookie for suffering the scary sights and have a random hot naked chick or two. But no. Instead I had to see thinks I guess I shouldn't mention. Oh but it's tempting! And none of you want to know!

Got to the hill, and it felt like everyone sped up but me. Or maybe I just slowed down. But by the top I was passing people again, so that worked out alright. It's not Centennial. Although I do remember speeding up at the bottom of hills back in high school. I didn't feel up to it after the lack of sleep, however. I haven't run a race since high school. It's quite fun. I forgot how much I missed it. Fun in a painful sort of way.

We entered the park where I grabbed a cup of water that my body fully rejected and ended up all over me. We passed a stage of musicians setting up, and as I passed a naked guy, they announced that he was the first. Half the race left and no more bare saggy rumps!

Golden Gate park is beautiful in the morning. Seeing most places in the morning is generally a new experience for me. It was all so green and the mist rolling through the trees from the ocean was lovely.

I hit the 4 mile marker at 34 something minutes, just as the first Kenyans finished the race. I hit the 6 mile marker at 49 something minutes. The 7th mile was tough. I decided I'd definitely had too much carbonara the night before as my stomach decided to inform me of it's displeasure and general desire to be back in bed asleep. 7th mile marker came just as we got near the ocean and I convinced the little bastard to behave himself. Half a mile left and I couldn't quite convince myself to make that final dash to the finish line. Perhaps because it was so foggy we couldn't see the finish line yet.

And then there it was, in big letters, high above the ground. FINISH. It's a funny feeling when the adrenaline kicks in and you release all the energy you've tried to conserve for the last hour. You feel like you can pass everyone. And yet you're surrounded by a hundred people going through the exact same sensations. You feel like you're about to pass everyone....and....you don't. Everything moves forward faster. And then you're in the shoots holding out your bib so the kid at the end can tear off the tag and put it in the string in finishing order.

I'd thought the sign said 1:03:xx when i passed through the finish line, but I guess I was off a bit. My official time was 1:00:27, which is about a 7.5 min mile if you take off the 5 minutes or so it took me to get to the starting line. Apparently I finished #920 out of 50,000 registered runners. I was quite pleased.

the way homeCollapse )

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[08 May 2005|06:17am]
thx. i feel very recentered.
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scratch that [05 May 2005|11:29pm]
i'm on vacation!
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[05 May 2005|02:51am]
i think i'm spinning too fast trying to keep afloat, tossing debris away as hard as i can. keep this up, gonna push 'em all away!
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so it's march now, eh? [11 Mar 2005|01:26am]
so i just got back from the Microsoft party. what a funny idea. a party put on by geeks, for geeks, about geeky things...and yet it's exclusive 800 people were invited, and for some reason the invites were in high demand.

so i snatched my invite out of my boss's backpack, put on the requisite almost-puka(sp?)-shell-necklace and headed over to the ruby skye with tim.

so we get there, and get in a line of 50 people (with invites) waiting to get in for:

  • unlimited free quickly produced maki sushi

  • unlimited wasabi

  • unlimited free beer, like, um, Sam Adams? hurray!

  • unlimited free ocean-themed mixed drinks

  • unlimited free massages by scary looking masseuses if you wanted to wait out the lines

  • unlimited free green-screen photos with a paid-to-stand-there-and-pretend-not-to-be-having-an-awful-time blond model dressed as a mermaid

  • unlimited free beat-boxing (ok, not quite unlimited, but more than you could want) by some random white guy with goofy hand gestures

  • unlimited free game-programmer-body-odor

  • unlimited free dessertettes

  • unlimited free meat-on-skewers

  • unlimited free sausages (and no, not the kind with spicy ground meat you get at top dog)

  • unlimited free watching of unattractive girls in glow-in-the-dark body suits dancing badly behind glass

  • unlimited free music and video effects and xbox ads managed on a couple Macintosh PowerBooks running OSX -- at the Microsoft party

  • unlimited free energy in the form of a fat dude in a suit breaking on the dance floor like the fat dude from Hitch (if you haven't seen that yet, do yourself a favor and walk out about 2/3 of the way through. you will save yourself great pain and have had an amusing hour or so).

  • unlimited free water in glow-in-the-dark cups

  • unlimited free glow-in-the-dark-bracelets

missing, of course, were things like decent music, pretty girls (girls at all? i think i saw maybe 2), real beer, space, free x-boxes, my boss and his two other highly valued passes, elvis costello, tigers, giant blocks of ice with drilled out cork-screw-vodka-pipes to make gin-free martinis, and the various other things i'd been told made appearances at various other msft parties. shoulda called garret earlier. that was significantly more entertaining.

ok, here's the 2005-so-far update:

  • it's amazing how complicated my lack-of-a-love-life is getting. oh how i wish i could tell the world more, but then, i suppose, there's not really anything to tell.

  • new office

  • newish car

  • business cards

  • solitaire finished. sales exceeding expectations. 1600 registered users in first month. i think i'm under NDA as for the ratio of sales to registrations

  • new game started. think that's under NDA too

  • various schmoozing and doing fake "important" work as opposed to real work (programming)

  • snowboarding every weekend for the last 7? weekends. taking my brother up for the first time this weekend

  • um.....

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FINALLY! [05 Feb 2005|11:11pm]
snowboarding really is so much better with decent boots
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[17 Jan 2005|03:26am]
i haven't seen my new car since i dropped it off at the shop on thursday. been driving my integra around again. it's a fun little thing. doesn't feel quite like a real car anymore, but it's got a nice clutch and it's damn good for weaving in and out of traffic. i have to look at my keychain to make sure the car wasn't a dream. those things happen to me...i get something neat in a dream and then it's gone in the morning. had that integra so long. more than 4 years now. know it so well. loathe to sell it...driving it again kinda like ex sex. hard to imagine i ever moved on.

dreamt the other night that various people were back in my life. haven't seen most of them in a while. kinda the opposite. they were gone in the morning. actually really did see one, that was strange, awkward, singular.

dreamt i'd won the lotto. i've never bought a lotto ticket in my life, but i did experience a cultural event watching hielam and xiao buy tickets at the local convenience store. at the time the jackpot was up to about 80 million. calculated the odds of winning with the chief scientist at digital chocolate. he said 1/27million. i didn't believe him, i thought the odds were much worse than than. did the arithmetic on the back of an envelope, and sure enough, 1/26.8million. good for him. except, it turns out we got it wrong. we thought it was 6*40+40, but on later discover, its actually 5*47 + 27. that turns out a bit worse, 1/41 million. so we calculated the expected value of the tickets at the time were $1.50 or so. we ignored multiple winners though. and since our probabilities were wrong, i think the expected value was still down below a buck. oh well.

but yes, i dreamt i'd won the lottery. it was 8 million. i had to split it with xiao, not cuz we were in a pot together, but because we both picked the exact same numbers. somehow i managed to do the math in my head in my sleep, and it came out to 80k/year for 20 years each. i haven't checked this. i can't imagine it's correct. okay i just checked. dunno exactly what the tax rates are, but it's a bit more than that, at least 100k/year. plenty to buy a house and go on vacation. buy a house. i need to think about that. 500k is a lot. 20% down, 20 years, 7% interest leaves about 3100/mo. not including property taxes, utilities, and all.

felt obligated to buy xiao a car after i bought myself one...that is, until i realized he'd won too. screw that.

work's been crazy. hadn't had a minute to myself until this weekend. went out yesterday for some chinese buffet with the boys. saw coach carter. so-so, but enjoyable, samuel l jackson is always great, and while it wasn't close to looking like richmond, they got the feeling down better than most movies. and it's great to see a movie about the ghetto that is neither a farce nor a full documentary. i think what i deemed a pro-abortion message (not abortion should be an available option, but rather, if you're poor abortion is the right thing to do, sacrifice though it may be) disturbed me a bit. we welcome chinese dictatorship style family planning to our ghettos! how eugenic! but otherwise i enjoyed it. then went to san pablo (almost a whole mile from richmond high!) and hit up the casino for $1000 in 90 minutes, to which i contributed a whole $30, but hey, at least out of my 2 night lifetime, i've never been down.


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[01 Jan 2005|04:19am]
Happy New Year!
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Merry Christmas to All [25 Dec 2004|01:53am]
...and to all a good night!
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[08 Dec 2004|01:06am]
it continually amazes me how the sense of smell can trigger hidden memories so easily.

lysol. chapstick. perfume. memories.
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a twisted view of reality [02 Dec 2004|05:15am]
so after failing to get customers a year or so ago, the bay street shopping center in emeryville opened up its garages to free parking. now that its a bustling little piece of faux-irvine, they've decided to clamp down and start squeezing nickels out of their customers. parking is now $1 for 4 hours. cheap enough that it doesn't really matter much, but the principle is irksome, and the lines in and out are most obnoxious

so i've gone back to my old ways of parking near trader joe's and walking (dashing) across the street. its probably not any slower...fewer stop lights, bigger spaces, less crowded parking lot. slightly less convenient, but the air is good for ya.

so i went to see the incredibles today with my 3 siblings and 2 of my aunts. perfect timing to the 6:20 showing...got there at 6:28. enjoyed the movie well enough -- pretty and clever but not quite up to the hype -- had a bit of fake thai soup at zao, and dashed back to the car to cook a real dinner.

UNLOCKED the door and found my phone charger on the seat. strange. oh. stereo gone. damn.

50-cd wallet gone too. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK.

at least he had the decency to leave my camera, my sunglasses, and my 4 disc set of cure singles, didn't damage my car, and left the door locked for me. it's as if i esteem this jerk's professionalism dealing in regards to stealing stereos more than the bay street parking authority.

so I just ordered an alpine 9823 to replace the 9803 i had. almost identical. 139.99 plus shipping from etronics. good stereo.

the good news is all but 6 of the cds in that wallet were burnt copies of stuff i have elsewhere. one of which, the x-files movie soundtrack, was found on the street. it's also not really that great. then we've got two Live cds, the Dreaming's EP, Hurricane #1's cd (one of the original vw new beetle ads played their single), and portishead's debut.

the bad news is re-burning those other 40 cds is going to be a bitch. and my BRAND NEW burner has been making crappy copies with random pops lately. hopefully its the justlink coaster prevention technology, and maybe they'll go away if i turn it off? and some of them i have to go re-steal from other people.

the other bad news is i really don't want to drive to tahoe and back this weekend with no stereo. 2 day shipping for 23 bucks. its a gamble. 43 woulda got it to me for sure, but then i might as well go pay full price at circuit city.

so that brings the total loss from stuff stolen from my car up to about $700 for the last few months?

happy happy happy. happy happy happy.

and for no reason:

send me an angel to love
i need to feel a little piece of heaven
send me an angel to love
i'm afraid i'll never get to heaven

    garbage -- my lover's box
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our dear friends across the bay play straight with us [23 Nov 2004|05:11pm]
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promise to self [21 Nov 2004|04:12am]
[ mood | inebriated ]

someday i shall take advantage of what is offered

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i'm a hypocrite for mentioning this [13 Nov 2004|04:51am]
so everyone is elated as scott petersen is found guilty. it's a story to which i've paid as little attention as possible, and it seems to enveloped us so that here i'm am writing about it. i'm disturbed. not so much as i was, say, on the morning of the 3rd while i dreamt that kerry lost the election and the smirking chimp is still directing our incompetencies around the world (that was just a bad dream, wasn't it?), but still disturbed.

i suppose i bring nothing new to the table here. i'm mildly disturbed that i am surrounded by a populace so intrigued by a murder, but nothing is new there. i'm much more disturbed by the choice. if lacy weren't an attractive, upper middle class white woman, would anyone give a shit? if she'd been a poor black woman, lived a hard life, and her body had been found floating in the bay near the chevron refineries in richmond, would it have even merited a footnote in the west county times? or if she'd been a pregnant iraqi woman torn apart by american shrapnel, would she even been counted in the death toll?

but so here we are, with thousands of people dying around the world with no justification, and we pick this one crime to which to devote our attention. i imagine the headlines in the local newspapers tomorrow, "SCOTT PETERSON GUILTY", will be set in type larger than anything used in reference to that war far away on the other side of the globe, with its death toll on the order of 100,000. too complicated. we don't want to think about the why's and wherefores. we don't want to consider everything that's gone wrong there. shut our eyes and turn away from the prison abuses. cheer as the bombs rain down on baghdad. turn a deaf ear when we learn that our troops have not been sufficiently supplied due to errors of judgment on the part of their commanders. gloss over the tons of explosives and many missiles we've lost during the events. obviously not, because i just checked, and sure enough, the majority of "us" did indeed reelected the shrub ultimately responsible for these catastrophes, these deaths, back into office.

nope. instead, scott peterson, and i am disturbed. it's a simple matter: innocent or guilty. and public opinion seems to hinge on the man's displeasing personality more than anything. much as OJ's proclaimed verdict sent out waves of jubilation, so has this man's proclaimed guilt. the people liked oj. nobody liked scott. and so twice the public's opinion has been confirmed by the courts in high profile cases with well-to-do defendants. i am disturbed.

much more so because everyone is cheering. i have no opinion of my own as to his guilt. i imagine that the verdict was more likely correct than not. i know that the investigations were rather botched. and i imagine only a very small number of people know for sure. but let us accept his guilt. we hear cries of elation, that justice has been served, that faith has been restored in our courts, that the evildoers will be punished.

but is that really cause for elation? out of the thousands of cases tried each year, should this one messy case really increase our faith in the justice system? we know that not all leads were followed in the defense of this wealthy white male, given a long and detailed trial. what can this say about the average poor or minority defendant. if the investigators wouldn't uncover every stone for scott peterson, what faith does this bring us that all evidence will be brought forth in defense of, say, a young black man accused of killing his white girlfriend in texas?

i'm most disturbed, because we are not celebrated something good, we are not celebrating something that would restore whatever beauty laci peterson brought to the world in her life, but rather, we are celebrating the destruction of a man. assuming, still, that he did indeed brutally kill his wife and their unborn child, is his proclaimed guilt really something to be celebrated? one more human being will be thrown into prison for the rest of his life, or perhaps injected with a dose of lethal poison that will stop his heart in a number of years. is this destruction of human life, vile as his may be, really something to celebrate? is his suffering something in which to rejoice? will his punishment really bring back any of the joy he took from this world, or will it simply add one more cry of pain to this suffering world?

this is not to say that the man should not be punished for what he most likely has done. it was a horrible crime, as are the many others that we gladly brush aside from our daily lives, and i'm not hear to suggest that retribution is not appropriate. but retribution is not happy. punishment is not happy. vengeance, even, is not happy. if the original wound was personal, there can justly be a feeling of satisfaction, or of accomplished duty, or perhaps even of relief. but we should not get pleasure from scott peterson's pain.

of course i could be wrong. perhaps we're not celebrating his punishment. perhaps we're celebrating his guilt. in which case, finding out that he did this horrible deed should cause no one even a glimmer of satisfaction. i should think we'd all rather he did not kill his wife and child. and so i imagine we're no different than we were a few hundred years ago, gathered around the gallows, cheering, not so much because of what the executionee had done, but simply because he was ugly, about to be killed, and the event was exciting. are we no better than this?
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