tiedyedave: (Default)
Went to a psytrance party last night at Niaspace, which went straight through the night (11pm to 7am). My endurance is improving; I could dance for longer stretches than I expected myself to be able to, especially given the energy I often throw into my dancing. Additionally, though I still suck at dancing in the technical sense, a couple of people commented on how consistently energetic I was, which they found inspiring in some way.

In fact, at a couple of times during the night, I was pushing myself past exhaustion, just as a personal challenge, stretching my own expected boundaries. My mantra for the night was one of my favorite quotes from Gattaca.

You want to know how I did it?
This is how I did it, Anton:
I never saved anything for the swim back.

I even had ambitions of going to Bodychoir the next morning at 10, but un(?)fortunately I crashed at around 9.

Unfortunately, a common mistake I've begun to make since going vegan happened here like it did at Flipside: I didn't eat enough before a long stretch of physical exertion. I did have enough forethought to bring some fruit with me, but the proper strategy would have been to stop for breakfast at around 2 or 3am, or eat much more heavily during the preceding afternoon. It feels like my appetite is still 'miscalibrated' to vegetarian eating patterns, which just don't work as well now.
tiedyedave: (Default)
I took my lovely Windstar (which I have begun to refer to as Little Red, a shortened form of The Little Red Wagon) to Groovy Auto on Friday. My complaints: the ignition was crapping out, and the rear brakes would emit a high-pitched hum whenever I first braked after backing out. Furthermore, the parking brake light was constantly coming on, which indicated low brake fluid. Not wanting to be too cavalier about a potential brake fault, and knowing that the van hadn't seen brake maintenance in about 20k miles, I took it in.

On Saturday morning, I got a call from one of the mechanics at Groovy. He had to ask my permission to do some more thorough repairs than expected: apparently one of the rear drums was rusted on, so they'd have to pry it loose by force in order to replace it, and they also wanted to see how far the rust went. I said ok, go ahead.

Fun chemistry experiment:

1) Your parents drive a car around the northeast for six years, initiating widespread rusting of all components exposed to road salt, especially those components not easily reached by an undercarriage wash.
2) You receive this car and drive it around central Texas, where increased heat and moderate humidity accelerate metal corrosion.
3) You get a mechanic to look at the brakes after a year.

(NB: I tried to make this into a dick in a box joke, but I couldn't make it flow smoothly enough).

Apparently the entire rear brake assembly was made of rust. There were springs that had become solid immobile chunks of ferric oxide. One of the assembly components had cracked and was slowly leaking brake fluid (hence the dashboard light). They had to replace all of the rear brake components. Fortunately the front brakes were mostly unscathed, and simply needed new pads and rotors, though that's not cheap maintenance either.

Parts and labor for the other miscellaneous maintenance (new battery, an engine coolant replacement I should have done at 75k) only came to $200. Front brakes were $300. Rear brakes were $600.


From a broader perspective, this is definitely better than dying in an accident due to brake failure. Also I have enough money "saved" to cover maintenance this expensive, and given the history of the vehicle there really wasn't much I could have done to prevent something from eventually being eaten by rust. But it's still a lot of money.

At least it wasn't the transmission.

Depsite the circumstances and the high price tag, I was pretty happy with the Groovy Auto people. I consulted with my dad on the cost, and he declared it to be pretty reasonable, given his experience with vehicle maintenance, including past maintenance on this one.
tiedyedave: (Default)
As part of learning to be a vegan, I have been improving my basic cooking skills. As part of improving those skills, I have been investigating staple dry goods as a starting point: grains, legumes, and the like.

My conclusions so far:

Rolled oats are victorious.
Brown rice is satisfactory (the trick: turn the heat way down).
Black beans and pinto beans are full of fail.

Not that beans aren't tasty, and in a sense they are very easy to prepare. But soaking for 8 hours and then cooking for 2 more is far too methodical for my compulsion-based cooking and scheduling habits. I max out at an hour, which is about what brown rice takes, since that's about the time interval required to lazily prepare the accompanying components of a dish.

So oats, rice, lentils, and possibly amaranth have a place in my culinary future. But from here on out, my beans will be canned.
tiedyedave: (Default)
At a dance party on the Lamar St pedestrian bridge.

[livejournal.com profile] whitemage: A Groove approaches. Command?
[livejournal.com profile] foolmonkey: Retreat! This groove is too strong for us.

[livejournal.com profile] whitemage: The Groove attacks! It hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits it hits.
[livejournal.com profile] whitemage: You die.
[livejournal.com profile] whitemage: Would you like your possessions identified?

[livejournal.com profile] denshi: It is dark.
[livejournal.com profile] denshi: You are likely to be eaten by a groove.
tiedyedave: (Default)
I spent the weekend (from Thursday afternoon to Monday afternoon) at Flipside, in a camp with [livejournal.com profile] pfiddy, [livejournal.com profile] ikarpov, [livejournal.com profile] pa3be, and about seven other people. Our camp was advertised as the "Sanctuary of No Drama", and with very few exceptions it did indeed have that atmosphere, though that was easy to maintain since we were on the edge of the camps area and had very few visitors.

For those of you unfamiliar with Flipside, it's a regional burner event in Austin, similar to Burning Man but on a smaller scale and in Texas hill country instead of in the desert. (For those of you unfamiliar with Burning Man, go Google it.)

The logistics of the camp were kind of a pain in the ass. Though everything ended up coming together just fine, we were continually troubled by intermittent rain turning the ground to mud and dripping into our tents. I actually abandoned my tent for sleeping purposes in a matter of hours, since the door seams and opposite window seams weren't adequately weatherproof. Instead, I just nestled my van near the camp space, stuck my air mattress in it, and used it as a big metal tent; all of the back seats had already come out to haul large cargo (like our shade structure and some lumber). By the second night, we had successfully set up the generator and the lights, and things got more tolerable from there on (the weather also improved on average).

I will also admit to being kind of sensitive to these troubles since I have very little camping experience, and my recent change in diet made it harder for me to share meals. However, I've accumulated a number of good ideas about how to camp more effectively next year, and at other similar events: put tent under larger shade/rain structure (like a pavillion), learn how to build a geodesic dome, bring disposable dishes and utensils, look for more food in those boxes with the foil bags that store at room temperature. (I've got my eye on some ready-to-eat Indian food if that brand is still available next year.) Also, water bottles are awesome and 2.5 gal water jugs with spouts are awesome, but 1 gal jugs are useless.

Also, there are never enough chairs.

I learned a whole lot this weekend. Some of the learning experiences were uncomfortable, but they were all worthwhile. I can't go into much more detail in the context of livejournal; talk to me in person if you care and don't already know.

I feel, despite the admonition "no spectators", that I really was a spectator this time. There was lots of crazy awesome shit going on almost all the time, and my particular approach to taking it in was to stay with my friends and drift as a group between points of immediate interest, such as dance camps and trampolines. I didn't do much solo exploration, didn't set my own agenda, and didn't really consult the list of activities to cherry-pick what I might be interested in. Furthermore, I don't really feel like I actively participated in the festivities, other than to enjoy them. However, I still feel like I had a legitimate good time, and that I understand the burner culture better than I used to. I know that there are completely different ways of approaching the event, and I wonder whether I will actively try to approach it from a different angle if I go next year.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Last weekend I went to Carnival in Pittsburgh.

I met: [livejournal.com profile] aij, [livejournal.com profile] alanv, [livejournal.com profile] aleffert, [livejournal.com profile] ayndin, [livejournal.com profile] azzil, [livejournal.com profile] buoren, [livejournal.com profile] cdinwood, [livejournal.com profile] chrisamaphone, [livejournal.com profile] combinator, demarko, [livejournal.com profile] dr4b, [livejournal.com profile] dracai, [livejournal.com profile] drquuxum, [livejournal.com profile] etopiei, [livejournal.com profile] etotheipi, [livejournal.com profile] fixermark, [livejournal.com profile] gwillen, jashar.myopenid.com, [livejournal.com profile] jcreed, [livejournal.com profile] kahare, [livejournal.com profile] klari, [livejournal.com profile] lars_chan, [livejournal.com profile] lunaratu, [livejournal.com profile] moonndragn, [livejournal.com profile] mr_wright, [livejournal.com profile] mygrane, [livejournal.com profile] pfriedma, [livejournal.com profile] physics_dude, [livejournal.com profile] qedragon, [livejournal.com profile] rachael85, [livejournal.com profile] rbraun, [livejournal.com profile] redglasses, [livejournal.com profile] rehana, [livejournal.com profile] rjmccall, [livejournal.com profile] roseandsigil, [livejournal.com profile] rupes, [livejournal.com profile] sajasj, [livejournal.com profile] sk4p, [livejournal.com profile] skydiamonde, [livejournal.com profile] sleepsong, [livejournal.com profile] styger, [livejournal.com profile] theadana

At long last, I met [livejournal.com profile] gustavolacerda in person.

I failed to meet: [livejournal.com profile] x77303066, [livejournal.com profile] rdore

I wish that [livejournal.com profile] creidieki, [livejournal.com profile] indrani_prime, [livejournal.com profile] julia82084, [livejournal.com profile] lordm, [livejournal.com profile] mrsix, [livejournal.com profile] mtolan, [livejournal.com profile] naufiel, [livejournal.com profile] platypuslord, [livejournal.com profile] yannaboo, or the inimitable Mark Stehlik had been there too, but such is life.

It was a lot of fun. There was some Mao, which I have not had a chance to play since the UOregon concurrency workshop last July. I also drank a moderate amount, which had an immoderate effect on me, since I've had almost nothing to drink for the past six months. Good times.

As before, I felt a kind of timeline shear when alternating between social circles from different generations, though it was far less noticeable than previous years. This is partly due to some social reorganizations, and partly due to the fact that the 'younger' generation is not quite so young anymore. Indeed, it's very funny to hear the seniors talk about distancing themselves from the rowdy, immature youngsters. :-)

As Carnivals go, this one was a turning point: next year, I will know very few, if any, of the current undergraduates and other denizens, so future years will largely be an exercise in coordinating a mass reunion with other returnees. I'm guessing this is the same phenomenon experienced by the older generations. Furthermore, this one was also a turning point because I don't miss Pittsburgh anymore. The city has an entropic, rusty charm to it, but I no longer identify it as home, or even one of many homes. Austin is home now.

Seeing [livejournal.com profile] lars_chan again at long last
"His Gardening Royal Highness"
Uno's with [livejournal.com profile] kahare, [livejournal.com profile] ayndin, [livejournal.com profile] rjmccall, and Andy
A giant Nintendo on Midway
tiedyedave: (Default)

Crush this person!
Get your own ThisCrush.com CrushTag!

I'll post a real entry one of these days. Really I will.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Some sad news, though many of you probably already knew: John Backus, of BNF (Backus-Naur Form), FORTRAN, and FP fame, passed away a few days ago.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Going through a rough stretch right now.

OOPSLA submission deadline is in less than a week. I know that there's enough time to get this hunk of junk ready for submission, but it's difficult to summon the motivation to work on the project that I enjoy the least out of my entire spectrum of possible projects. This is a recurring theme: I have plenty of motivation and excitement to work on some potentially fruitful project, but I can't, because I'm too busy being saddled by "more important", or at least more immediate, obligations. The tyranny of the immediate strikes again.

In the meantime, in that spare time that I don't technically have any of, I still need to finish the host pairings for GradFest, send out announcements, and look for a couple more hosts to ease the squeeze. I do like being involved in GradFest, and it's important to me that this come together smoothly, but it's a nontrivial undertaking.

On the plus side, the weather has been wet, stormy, and wonderful for the past few days. Even got some lightning and a bit of hail earlier today. "Damp bright green" is among my most beloved colors; it's that vibrant green of wet leaves or wet grass cast against dark, damp dirt or wet tree bark. And there's a lot of it to be seen now, since many of the trees have their spring leaves now, and the landscape is drenched.

However, nice as all this rain is, I do hope the weather clears up and warms up for the GradFest trip to Zilker next Saturday. It really hurts the weekend festivities when it's too cold or wet for hiking or canoeing.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Public service announcement:

For anyone who was interested in the series but has missed a few episodes or didn't get a chance to pick up on it, all 18 episodes of Heroes are available directly from NBC's website.

For those of you who are unaware, it's basically the best thing on television right now.


Mar. 4th, 2007 05:21 pm
tiedyedave: (Default)

I am coming to Pittsburgh for Carnival, arriving on Wednesday afternoon and leaving on Monday afternoon. It would appear that I am staying at [livejournal.com profile] aleffert's house. Awesome.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Gee whiz, I haven't updated in over two months.

I guess the classic problem I have with Livejournal is that when the interesting things are happening, they immediately present four impediments to making posts:

1) I often feel like the subject matter is too personal, even for a friends-only post, even for a close-friends-only post, or even to be on the internet at all (otherwise I might make personal posts and then open them up later).

2) When something intense is going on in my life, I don't really have the time or the motivation to talk about it because I'm using those resources to deal with the thing itself.

3) If I don't post about something immediately, because it would take too long or involve too much thought to lay it out, I sit on it. Then, if I want to post about it later, I'm stuck posting about it and everything else that happened since then, which I won't do, because that takes too long as well. By induction, I will either never post at all, or not post about these snowballed issues and just post something easy.

4) I often can't bring myself to post about something as it's going on, because I feel like I don't understand the situation yet. This dovetails nicely into (3).

In case you're theorizing about what these supposedly important things are:

No, I am still single. (Yes, you're right, that's not much of a surprise.)
No, I am still in grad school. (Yes, you're right, that's not much of a surprise either.)
No, no one I know has died, or even been seriously injured.

In fact, there's very little of external interest going on in my life at all. Most of the "news" has to do with long-running internal conflicts that many of you wouldn't understand even if I described them, because it's the sort of thing that only makes sense from the inside.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Macbook Pro arrived at my doorstep this morning. It is a wonderful silver bar of geek candy. Thus far everything seems to work quite smoothly; this is a huge step up from my years of linux usage, continually plagued by hardware problems. Though many of the usage conventions are alien to me (single button mouse, arrangement of applications, other user experience things), they seem to support a comfortable baseline of intuitive functionality. I move slowly in the direction of completely assimilating all the data and capibilities of my desktop. Next steps: music collection, Eclipse, set up both email accounts.

Ok, both email accounts set up with notifications. All too easy. :-)

I have been playing with the built-in camera, and have created a handful of new icons. Two obstacles presented themselves: I do not look good in photos to begin with, and I look especially bad now that I'm somewhat out of shape. Fortunately, the combined power of camera angles, creative use of filters, and my flowing hair seems to have solved these problems. I am especially proud of this new default icon: 'xray' (which appears to just be invert sepia) makes my hair glow white, and a lovely Wassily Kandinsky poster adds a neat haloesque background.

Using Mac OS has put me dangerously close to iTunes, specifically its Store. I dearly love music, compulsively and eclectically, and so it would seem I am soon destined to spend all of my lunch money. However, I am still a bit miffed by the legal foundations of Apple's business model here: buying music from them acts as an endorsement of distasteful limitations on intellectual property. I would like it to be the case that, should I purchase music from them, I retain the right to copy that music an indefinite number of times, or redownload it from them should I lose my existing copies or simply consider it inconvenient to transfer them. I wouldn't mind paying a nominal fee for their bandwidth and infrastructure, but I recoil at the idea that I should have to repurchase the music entirely just to get another download. I would like it to be the case that, legally speaking, I am buying the right to enjoy the music from its creator, and Apple is simply acting as a helpful intermediary in this regard. My treatment of my existing copies of that music should have no effect on my legal ownership of the rights to enjoy it. This becomes even more painful, as I would very much like to endorse part of Apple's scheme: to make music distribution digital. Little plastic discs are deprecated crap. I yearn to obtain music only via digital means. But I'm not comfortable with the way that Apple is handling that process.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Dear readers, I seek your collective wisdom, as I suspect that many of you know quite a bit about this topic:

I am getting a laptop. I need your advice.

Parameters of usage:

This will be my primary machine away from my desk at UT. My existing desktop is having heat and stability issues.

I will probably dock it during extended home use and use my existing display, keyboard, etc.

I have at this point given up most computer gaming. Unless something truly amazing is due to come out in the non-console world within the next 6-12 months, this does not need to be a gaming rig.


Minimize physical harm. Eyestrain, wrist and arm strain, back problems, etc. Excessive weight might be an issue for carrying, but I really don't know what's reasonable. As this is my first laptop, I have no idea what the typical laptop usage experience is like.

Minimize psychological harm. I am looking for high reliability and extremely good technical support. I want unconditional no-extra-cost maintenance for a minimum of 3 years, and am willing to pay a significant premium for it. This is probably where I need the most data; I'm sure many of you have had bad laptop experiences (indeed, you've even posted a few on livejournal), so I'm looking for a good picture of what to avoid.

Minimize financial harm. I have a good amount of money to work with (wrapped a new small loan into an ongoing student loan consolidation to cover this), but I would prefer not to exceed $2000 without a compelling reason.

Maximize compatibility. If it isn't a Mac, I'll dual boot Vista/Ubuntu. If it is a Mac, I need some reassurance that I'll still be able to run my stuff.

Maximize performance. I can do long-running, compute-intensive tasks on the UT machines, so raw runtime is not my primary concern. The more important issue is whether low performance will impact my ability to work. "Will Eclipse run smoothly with Firefox open and an MP3 player running?" is probably a good acid test.

Other needs: Internal wireless with good reception. Substantial battery life (again, I have no idea what's reasonable here). DVD write capability would be nice.

And thank you! This is new and mildly intimidating territory for me, so I appreciate your guidance.

Update: Looks like I'm going to get a Macbook Pro, 15" model, 2.16GHz core 2 duo, upgrade to 2GB ram, with 3 years AppleCare. After tax, even with student discount, it's still $2375, which is a serious kick in the $$$. But it seems to be worth the price. Now I just have to wait for my loan check to deposit, which will ideally happen by tomorrow. I'm also waiting to see if they have any Black Friday sales; apple.com claims that Something Good will happen, but they're awfully quiet about the specifics.
tiedyedave: (Default)
Last night I went to Body Choir )

I also saw The Departed )

And today I saw Stranger Than Fiction )
tiedyedave: (Default)
So I don't often meme, but this particular topic interests me greatly.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Context: I've never met anyone who pinned my accent as originating from any particular region. As far as anyone (including me) can tell, I speak Standard American. The funny thing about this: I grew up just outside of Worcester, Massachusetts, which has an extremely distinctive regional accent, noticeably different even from Boston. My parents grew up in southern Mississippi, and though my dad's accent has faded off in the 30 or so years since they've lived there, my mom's Southern accent is still very noticeable.

Apparently Worcester and Hattiesburg cancelled each other out, leaving me with a dead flat American accent.

Though I do hold one particular principle that at least rules out a large region of possible accents: POP IS NOT A BEVERAGE. IT IS A STACK OPERATION.
tiedyedave: (Default)
I have seen some movies over the past few months. Ideally I would be posting about them just after I saw them, but I've been very infrequent with the livejournal updates (even moreso than usual).

I have made a substantial effort to avoid spoilers; these should all be safe.

Lady in the Water )

The Illusionist )

Little Miss Sunshine )

Fearless )

The Science of Sleep )

The Prestige )
tiedyedave: (Default)
I have been, among other things, in the process of digging through piles of my old stuff. I'm sort of a packrat. I will go into more detail later, but for now I wanted to share a little gem with you. I dug up an old notebook that was basically a line-item journal of my daily activities during the late summer of 2003. I discovered that the following quote was uttered at 23:35 EST, on August 5, 2003:

"It's a veritable sexual flotilla!"

But I have no idea by whom, or why. Dear reader, tell me: what does it mean?


I have also discovered that at 21:33 EST, on August 25, 2003, [livejournal.com profile] rjmccall said: "Are you gonna record that in your log?". The referent was (intentionally?) unrecorded.
tiedyedave: (calcifer)
Oh! Also. If you are ever in Eugene, Oregon, here are some things you should do:

Go to the Saturday Market. You might even accomplish what I could not muster the courage to do: buy the tie-dye underwear.

Go to Iraila. Specifically, you should order the baked feta and the melon soup. Or anything else! The melon soup had melon and celery and kiwi and cumin. It tasted. It was not distinctive just because it tasted good, but rather because it tasted a lot.

Edit: Also go to Steelhead and get a root beer float. The beer sampler also looked interesting, though I didn't try it.
tiedyedave: (calcifer)
I am back from a 1.5 week trip to Eugene, Oregon that I didn't tell any of you about, because I'm a bad livejournalist.

I was doing this thing. It was fun. There were 30-35 attendees (not counting the lecturers); they were almost all graduate students in programming languages. It was nice to be in a crowd of people where I could make a joke about continuations and get laughs, as opposed to groans or an unconfortable uncomprehending silence.

There were lots of people from all over the US, and some Europeans as well (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, France, UK). When Adriaan, James, and John spontaneously burst into an animated conversation in French, I winced at how little of it I actually recognized. I was talking to David later (he speaks 5 languages) about how I felt almost pained by being only an English speaker, when I thought of the perfect metaphor for my situation. To me, speaking only one language feels like being a grown adult still living in my parents' basement. I hadn't realized how deeply uncomfortable I had become with being monolingual until I had that conversation.

So, in my ancient and revered tradition of setting ambitious goals that I will ultimately fail to fulfill, I would like to learn at least two of: Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Russian. Not necessarily in that order.

[livejournal.com profile] rjmccall, NB: I met a fine fellow named Tom Harke at the summer school, who is a CS grad at Portland State (pdx). I have a feeling (no concrete evidence, just a feeling) that the two of you would get along quite well. If he doesn't recognize "mutual friend Dave", some combination of "summer school", "tie dye", and (especially) "Mao" should do the trick.

Oh, right. During the summer school, I wore only tie dye shirts, bought four new ones (total now 16), and played a lot of Mao. I have this sudden compulsion to make a web page dedicated to my tie dye shirt collection. I also have a much more latent compulsion to start making my own tie dye creations, at long last.

Orc is starting to sizzle and bubble now. Lots and lots of work to be done. We're searching for a new denotational semantics using event structures. I've been thinking a lot about transactions (inspired by Grossman's lectures on AtomCaml) and adaptive workflow (inspired by Hicks's lectures on Proteus), as well as the relationship between Orc sites and diamond types in modal logic. Gobs and gobs of implementation work needed; I need to suppress the urge to reimplement the interpreter in 5 different languages just for giggles, and instead focus on embellishing and stabilizing the existing Java version.

I've been having huge concentration problems, entangled with my usual "cannot reach stable day-to-day life state" difficulties. I hope these issues fade away soon, as the coming months will require a kind of focus typically reserved for long-range astronomical devices and doctoral theses.


tiedyedave: (Default)

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