30 Nov 2002

Ah, Thanksgiving. As we've done

Ah, Thanksgiving. As we've done for several years, my family went to our cousins' house in Chicago (a two-flat, but both apts are owned by the family). As usual, the food was excellent and the company and conversation excellent. It's always been weird being in the middle position---I'm six years older than the next oldest kids, but also a bit younger than the youngest of my parents' generation---but it's almost weirder now that I'm having the same adult-conversation interactions with some of the kids that I've long had with the adults. But there are now two of them in college, and six more roughly evenly spaced all the way down to sixth grade, and the high-schoolers at least are really starting to interact in a much more grown-up way. Of course, the topics still differ: on the one hand there's investments and career switching, and on the other there's video games and idiotic guidance counselors. Interesting all round, though. :)

As the dinner wound down, I decided (as I have for several years) to stick around for the overnight part: most of the kids stay and hang out while the parents go home. (I imagine that this'll be quite the party in about five more years; we'll see. ;) This time, I was introduced to Starcraft, an addictive game which, dammit, I am torn between hoping it exists for the Mac and hoping it doesn't. Then, a few of us (the boys) went upstairs to watch Undisputed, a pretty unmemorable though not bad movie about some hardcore heavyweight boxers in prison. When that ended, we went back downstairs and all nine kids watched Murder by Numbers, a surprisingly good murder mystery. The accommodations were interesting: the living room there couldn't have been more than about eight or nine foot square, and included a big TV, a small Christmas tree, an upright piano, a couch, and an endtable; so the nine of us were sort of crammed in edgewise to watch this movie. On the one hand, I felt like I was supposed to be too old for that sort of thing, but then, I've done stuff like that all the time at school, so why not? Besides, I try to make a career of not ordering my life according to others' expectations, so :P.

And then this morning I got up and had some of my cousin Linda's fantastic but very heavy pancakes, and then headed home, where we had my cousins from the other side over for a post-Thanksgiving gettogether, which was nice, since I haven't seen them since August. Kiera, my quasi-niece (I'm still trying to find a better word than "first-cousin-once-removed"), continues to be completely adorable at, hm, I guess it's 9 months. She's now able to stand more or less on her own, and with something to hang onto (such as the bright plastic pushcart designed for the purpose) she's starting to walk pretty well. I find myself paying attention to her cognitive development, thinking things like, "Ooh, her babbling is experimenting with a range of consonants to test the sound of them and try to match the English consonants that us adults produce." Fascinating.

"As I've gained more experience with Perl it strikes me that it resembles Lisp in many ways, albeit Lisp as channeled by an awk script on acid." --Tim Moore

Posted by blahedo at 5:27am | Comments (0)

26 Nov 2002

Ugh. Aside from being in

Ugh. Aside from being in the process of doubling their enrollment and wishing they were a research school, Ithaca College has the most irritating job application form ever. It's online-only, and you have to go through several screensful of questions, including the ever-dignified "have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Screw them, they were pretty low on my list anyway.

"We were sitting in a hot truck, just off the bridge, on a one-lane dirt road without a house or another vehicle in sight. It struck me as the perfect place and time for an important conversation." --John Grisham, A Painted House

Posted by blahedo at 4:23am | Comments (0)

Update: actually, it's not just

Update: actually, it's not just the Brown homepage we're on, we're in the Brown coffee table book as well, one of just 130 pictures in there. In fact, we're one of just nine sample pics they're using to sell the book. Go us!

"Maybe "Bob's School of Auto Repair" would have been better for you than a "Math and Science Academy." I mean, really, this is like those people who walked out of the theater remarking that Dumb and Dumber was really stupid. They warned you in the title, people." --David Singleton

Posted by blahedo at 1:28am | Comments (0)

25 Nov 2002

Check out the Brown homepage---as

Check out the Brown homepage---as of today (and possibly just for today, we're not sure), a photo of me and my dance partner dancing is the front page "scenes of the campus" photo. Woo hoo!

If it's not there anymore, I've stored my own copy.

"Before World War I, ladies did not put on makeup in public for the sensible reason that they were pretending they never wore any. After the war, some of them inaugurated the modern era of fashion by wearing little else." --Miss Manners

Posted by blahedo at 7:11pm | Comments (0)

23 Nov 2002

I feel like the kid

I feel like the kid in the AP test who just discovered his essay question was on the topic he had just written his term paper on. I've been emailing back and forth with the faculty at some of the schools I'm looking at, and the contact at one of my top choices just asked me what my opinion was on Scheme vs Java in intro classes---that they had just switched from Scheme to Java, and that he was of two minds about the whole thing, but that the students found Java more "practical". I don't think he was expecting a three-page answer, but boy howdy, was it fun to write. :)

"By the way, I have an upcoming TV appearance--- as a lip-synching member of the chorus in a TV opera about Princess Diana. As the old saying goes, "You should make a point of trying everything once, except incest and folk-dancing", and that was certainly my feeling about this experience." --John Lavagnino

Posted by blahedo at 1:10pm | Comments (0)

22 Nov 2002

I've been putting off doing

I've been putting off doing this for ages, mostly to annoy Kathy, but now that I'm doing job apps I figured I'd finally update the picture on my webpage. The old one was taken during orientation my first year at Brown (1997)---I suppose I looked a little younger then. What do you think?

August 1997 November 2002

Hm, I'm also standing up noticeably straighter in the new one. Thank you, ballroom dancing!

"Nobody has a sense of history anymore. The modern fan could tell you Barry Bonds' on-base percentage with two outs and runners in scoring position during night games on the road, but he's never even heard of the old St. Louis Browns shortstop Walter "Shitty Batter" Dugan. They called him that because he was a real shitty batter." --Joe Shidle

Posted by blahedo at 3:57pm | Comments (0)

Ok, "groove" was maybe the

Ok, "groove" was maybe the wrong word; but at least I'm done with another application. They really do get easier as I go. A lot of stuff stays the same from app to app---the description of my research, for instance. But there's always the tricky bit, i.e. finding the few things about the school that makes me a particularly good match for it. That part is going to get trickier as I go down my list into the schools where I may be a good candidate, but not a notably tight match. Conveniently, the ones that don't match very well *I'm* not that interested in, either, so I'll just punt and do a more boilerplate application. ;) But I'll get to those later, maybe next week....

"US teens invariably report that it is vastly more difficult to obtain beer than cannabis or hallucinogens. No one asks them for ID when they try to buy cocaine." --Sam Walker

Posted by blahedo at 4:46am | Comments (0)

Finished another application! Whew, thought

Finished another application! Whew, thought the procrastination was going to kill me there, but I'm in the groove now.

In other news, the fink installation just completed a little while ago. Crazy.

"There seems to be this whole bizarre weed etiquette thing that goes on. It doesn't work like food or alcohol or other consumables. People hoard drugs and lie about them and are willing to hurt friendships over access to them, from what I've seen. It's just all very odd and unappealing." --Gel Thelen

Posted by blahedo at 2:51am | Comments (0)

21 Nov 2002


STILL GOING... (boom, boom, boom, boom)

"Going up against Wal-Mart, well, it can be very expensive to be right." --Tim Storm

Posted by blahedo at 6:25pm | Comments (0)

Good heavens.

Good heavens. At around 11 I started upgrading my fink installation to really work with System 10.2. It's still running. Compiling things, downloading things, copying them in place... I had no idea it'd take so long.

"If Apple really wanted to sell more Macs, they should just show people how it looks when you minimize shit in OS X. I thought I was going to pee my pants." --Tycho

Posted by blahedo at 3:54pm | Comments (0)

Note to self

Note to self: when fixing the template on someone else's blog, don't leave the window open, as it is easily mistaken for one's own blog, possibly nearly leading to embarrassing incidents like posting in the wrong blog. :P

The reason for posting: it's 4 in the morning. I did touch on the applications, but what did I spend the last hour doing? Marking and cutting fabric for the skirt I promised Amy I'd make. Fun, to be sure, but not exactly what I ought to be doing.

"It is my opinion that, under the social contract, a person is entitled to a set of political freedoms (freedoms to, if you will) and economic freedoms (freedoms from)." --Michael Kimmitt

Posted by blahedo at 4:37am | Comments (0)

20 Nov 2002

Mailed off my second app

Mailed off my second app today. I really should work to get the rest off before Thanksgiving. It does seem to get easier with each one....

It's really funny how, no matter how much you're happy with the place you are, in your last year you start feeling ready to move on. It happened in high school and ugrad, and now it's happening here; not that I don't get along with my friends anymore (I do!), but I just feel ready for the next thing. Which, hopefully, will be a job as a professor, teaching at a smaller school. But we'll see.

Incidentally, I've been listening to a lot of country music lately, because I've been finding the pop stuff increasingly annoying and decreasingly musical. But I have to say, every stereotype about country music, well, it's true. Half the songs are about driving trucks, the rest are about the singer's mother, and they're all a lot more innocent than pop songs. And the lyrics! The one that's on right now has the main lyric "she thinks my tractor's sexy." I mean, you just can't make this stuff up. It's great.

"Coming soon for American audiences!

  • Harry Potter and the Room of Secrets
  • Harry Potter and the Jailbird of Alcatraz
  • Harry Potter and the Cup of Fire"
--David Singleton
Posted by blahedo at 11:36pm | Comments (0)

19 Nov 2002

Got something written up

Got something written up for Polly (conveniently, Malte Zimmerman's thesis totally fails to address one of the interesting cases we were looking at, thus making it "related work" and not "d'oh! no thesis for you!") and hopefully will meet with her later this week.

Now to finish up the current batch of applications. An unofficial transcript is fine, says Knox. And away we go....

"I think I'd need something that ends in -ine to play that game well." --Eva Schillace

Posted by blahedo at 4:11pm | Comments (0)

18 Nov 2002

Despite having an irritating website

Despite having an irritating website that doesn't like to let me in to pay my bill online, Citibank now gets a few points for having a reasonably helpful and patient call centre staff, who killed a charge on my account that I was really just looking for an explanation for. (It was only 38, so it wasn't great largesse on his part, but it was still nice of him.)

Discover still wins for having an easy-to-navigate site without lots of stupid "features" that make it not work on my browser, and an easy-to-understand process for paying online, that routinely works. Too bad there are still some people out there that don't take Discover.

"Now I'm confused and have lost track of the point I was trying to make." --Casey Westerman

Posted by blahedo at 4:05pm | Comments (0)

Things I need to do:

Things I need to do: write up something for my meeting with Polly, and change my meeting with her to sometime other than tomorrow; send some emails regarding my first batch of job apps; finish writing cover letters and such for the rest of my job apps; write up a list of things I did for the Brown Comp so that they can know what to do next year; and, of course, work on my CS research. The most time sensitive, and the one I least want to work on right now, is the writeup for Polly. It's when I get into situations like this that I procrastinate the worst... Argh.

"A halo has to fall only a few inches to become a noose..." --Dan McKinnon

Posted by blahedo at 3:15pm | Comments (0)

13 Nov 2002

Brown Comp

The Brown Comp went off just great, thanks in no small part to me getting <7 hours of sleep in the three nights previous. But that's ok, because for the last few days I've slept upwards of twenty hours, so it's all good. Of course, now my sleep schedule's messed up. That's ok, gives me more quiet time to catch up on my work. :)

"So this is like that part of the face lift where they cover the face in mud and place cucumbers over the eyes and put bad flash applets in the ears. It all makes sense." --Kevin Price

Posted by blahedo at 3:18am | Comments (0)

9 Nov 2002

Kevin's recovery

Kevin seems to have come through the surgery fine (and boy oh boy, Kevin on morphine is a sight to see, or rather an event to behold)---still hurts, but at least with the promise of getting better.

Also, I put up a page with some details of and pictures of me in my Halloween costume.

"Man, what are New Mexicans doing in New York anyway? Isn't the INS doing its job?" --Sendhil Revuluri

Posted by blahedo at 1:51am | Comments (0)

8 Nov 2002

My housemate is under the

My housemate is under the knife right now to fix his shoulder, which has been hurting him increasingly over the last year or so. Recovery will be long, but at least the doctors are confident that it will, eventually, get better. Let's hope so---the enforced inactivity was killing him.

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." --Abraham Lincoln

Posted by blahedo at 12:16pm | Comments (0)

7 Nov 2002

There was a column in

There was a column in the BDH today with an odd but very interesting perspective on the abortion question. The short summary is: "Y'all are being inconsistent: yes, abortion is murder, yes it's bad, but sometimes it may be justifiable anyway." But don't take my word for it, you should read it yourself.

In local news, I'm mostly done with my research statements and teaching philosophy statements, after which I can send out the job apps. It's kind of tricky, boiling all that down into roughly one page (each) of text, and trusting that the rest of it will all come out in the interview. Put another way, I'm reasonably confident that once I get an interview, I have excellent chances; I'm just worried about finding a way to make my application stand out enough to get me that far. Or maybe my insecurity is unwarranted; hard to tell, really.

In other local news, the Brown comp is on Sunday, and between putting in work on that and on my applications, and actually doing research, I haven't gotten much sleep lately. :P Can't wait til next week (and my mom will be here!).

"I swear something pink just flew past my window and oinked at me." --Kevin Price

Posted by blahedo at 11:15pm | Comments (0)

5 Nov 2002

Well, I just performed my

Well, I just performed my civic duty, and voted. (And my political duty, and filled out the exit poll. :) Go vote!

"Miss Manners is sorry to inform you that proper school dress is what your parents and teachers deem proper dress, modified by whatever you can manage to do to it that they fail to notice." --Miss Manners

Posted by blahedo at 2:22pm | Comments (0)

1 Nov 2002

The costume was a success,

The costume was a success, although the Halloween party as a whole was sort of a drag. I was Legolas, the elf from The Lord of the Rings. I'll post pictures eventually. :)

"Iraq's actions right now demonstrate a new grasp by Saddam of a concept Americans seem to have a firm understanding of---actual imprisonment is totally unnecessary if one maintains a credible threat of imprisonment, and leniency towards the dissidents who don't matter can buy you a lot of popular support & trust when dealing with the dissidents who might make a difference." --Jonathan Prykop

Posted by blahedo at 9:13am | Comments (0)