Martingales

The “martingale” gambling system works as follows: start betting with $1. if you lose, double your bet on the next game. That way, when you win, you recoup all of your losses plus one dollar more. Seems like a foolproof way of beating the house, as long your chance of winning is nonzero, right?

Think again.

Actually, thinking isn’t enough. You have to take a graduate course in theoretical probability, it seems.

Random events in the last month: I saw Much Ado About Nothing at CalShakes, I went to the Radiohead concert with Manu Seth, who had 5th row tix, went home for my brother’s wedding, found an advisor and an office, sang in a concert where I dressed up goth, saw the Gotan Project, and won a raffle that gets me a free pint a day at the campus pub until Summer 2004.

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Luna Park

I went here with Jordan, Kunal, Jhala, and Kevin, so we were seated at a cozy booth in the back. We went a bit nuts with the food — three appetizers and then entrees. And someone ordered dessert. Pigs, all of them.

I had a mojito, which was quite strong, but nothing to write home about. I usually like them with brown sugar and in a tall glass, but these were in tumblers, more gin and tonic style. Jordan ordered some apple martini thing which was no good, and then a pomegranite juice cosmo, which was quite tasty. Then again, I am a sucker for pomegranite juice.

The appetizers were mussels and fries, which were just that, and none too excititing, a sort of ceviche/seafood salsa on wontons, which was delightful, and a small cheese fondue with bread and apples. I can’t quite remember the kind of bread. For an entree I was feeling a little meated-out, having eaten lunch at In-N-Out, so I ordered the ravioli in truffle oil and cream sauce, which was quite tasty if a little light. The bulk of the entrees were “American food,” which I define as a hunk of meat with some vegetables on the side.

The only problem I had with the restaurant was the pricing — everything was slightly more than it should have been, I felt. Of course, I’m not a huge fan of traditional “American food” of the meat-and-potatoes variety, so maybe that’s why I was a bit put off. This would be a good place to take your visiting relatives from Texas or the midwest. It’ll expand their horizons somewhat, but not too far.

Dune Messiah

by Frank Herbert. This book was so much worse than Dune that it kind of hurt. I mean, it had some important bits in it, and I found the mentat-assassin timebomb of Duncan Idaho a pretty intriguing philosophical problem, but not enough in itself to recommend the book. Usually I’m a sucker for series, but this time I’m not going to go on to Children of Dune.