from "it's a magical world"

Thanks, Bill Watterson.


the end

For the holidays
You can't beat home, sweet home!  But
From here?  Who can know?

It's all settled.  My graduation is done; I had a million cords dangling off my robe, hoping to trip me.  Projects and finals are finished, grades are in.  The CERN thing is formalized (assuming I can get a Swiss visa in time... eek).  I even did my sprint to the end: across all five terminals of O'Hare to catch a flight that I missed, anyway.

Now comes, I hope, a chance to relax and enjoy not doing anything for a little while.  Well, unless you count my grad party or extended family Christmas or visit from my German friends or packing as "anything."  It seems there really is no rest for the wicked.

Since I guess I've missed a fair amount of time between posts here, there are a few things I want to share, first is recipes!

Lentil Loaf (taken from My Vegan Cookbook) :
    Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • Lentil Loaf
  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 3 Tablespoons Plain Yellow Corn Meal
  • 3/4 Cup Cooked & Drained Lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the tomato topping mixture together first because you will need a tablespoon to mix into the lentil loaf. The rest will be set aside to coat the loaf when completed.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a skillet on medium heat, add chopped onions, red and green bell pepper and let cook until onions are transparent (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.

In a food processor chop oats for 5 quick pulses.

Drain tofu well and press with hands until all excess water comes out. In a mixing bowl mash tofu with a fork or use grater to coarsely grate.

In the same mixing bowl combine, cooked onions and peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato mixture, oats, corn meal, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, cumin, chili powder, parsley, garlic and onion salt, dried mustard and mix until well combined.

Spray a large sheet of tin foil with cooking spray to form loaf on, place on cookie sheet. On top and in the middle of tin foil form loaf mixture into loaf that is 2 1/2 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches square. Coat top and sides with tomato mixture (you will probably have some left over to spoon on later).

Cook loaf for 20 minutes, then cover with tin foil and cook for another 10 minutes. After cooking let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Red Lentil Stew (modified from 101 Cookbooks) :

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes
6 cups good-tasting vegetable stock (or water)
2 1/2 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice
1 tsp curry powder
as much fine grain sea salt as you need

In a big soup pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Also add any delicious spices you feel like (but mainly the ones that are mentioned in the list). Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Eggplant chips (invented on the spot) :


  • 4-ish Japanese (long) eggplant, sliced into thin disks
  • enough oil to fry them in
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy is better)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • vigour
Whilst frying the eggplant slices (they should be really shrinky and crispy when you're done), combine all the rest of the stuff in a bowl with a fork.  The peanut butter is hard to combine, but super worth it.  After the eggplant is sufficiently fried, which is around 10 minutes (if I recall correctly), just put them on a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil before dousing them in sauce.  Yum!

Stuffed portobellos (also made up) :

  • 5 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb whole barley
  • 3 figs
  • some brandy
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb walnuts, chopped
  • 300g feta cheese
  • some olive oil
  • some parsley
  • seasonings you think are interesting
See, this is why I don't write recipes.  Anyway, do the boiling thing with the barley until it's nice and mushy.  Then mix the barley, onion, and walnuts together.  Crumble in the feta, shred in the parsley, and drizzle on some olive oil (not too much or it'll be greasy and gross).  Pull out the stems of the portobellos and lump this stuff on top, as high as you like.  Bake these delicious dudes in the oven at 425 for 17-ish minutes.  While that's happening, heat the brandy in a skillet over medium heat, slice the figs into 5 pieces each, then throw them in and light that stuff on fire.  I've never made a flambé before, but it's pretty great fun.  When the mushrooms are done, put the figs on top and make them pretty.

Okay, I think that covers it for recipes.  What have I been doing?

  • Throwing computers off parking garages (and giving lessons about what's inside)
  • Learning how to skid on a fixed gear bike
  • Nerfing my friends with tacky-ass nerf guns
  • Making gingerbread teepees and trucks
  • Hanging out
  • Watching Doctor Who
  • Finishing Silent Hill
  • Playing Metal Gear Solid
  • Shopping for pots
  • Gearing up for Switzerland (and I do need gear!)
  • Wearing silly earmuffs and hats
  • Christmasing
  • Practising dive rolls
  • Movie-ing
  • Re-learning chess strategies
  • Playing a bit of piano (only a bit... urgh)
....maybe that's all.  I'm sure there're things that have been left out.  Oh, I've been trying to think of a name for my new blog (for when I go to Switzerland I need one with a new name!).  Any ideas?  I'm thinking about "Swiss ABCs", where A = Alps, B = Black holes, and C = cheese, clocks, or chocolate.  Hrm.  But nothing's really springing to mind....

Addition: "Cerntainly" has been suggested.  I kinda like that.

Agh!  Things are so close!

Happy holidays, all!  And possibly happy new year, too, if I don't get off my bum and write this stuff more often.  <3



Out of muddle-murk
Arise network connections
And prospects galore!


Yesterday afternoon I accepted a job with CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, beginning on 11 January.  The group I'm going to be working with is called INSPIRE, and I don't know a lot more than that yet.


Joe: so what are you up to in Spring?
Me: oh, I think I will hang out in Bloomington and do some research with Rawlins.
Joe: um.  I am going to get you a job.

<6 hours pass>

Joe's boss (on the phone from Geneva): so Joe told me you would be good at this job.  I looked at your resume, and I think you would be really good at it, too.  I'm going to look into funding for you to come to Switzerland, ok?
Me: ...YES.

The next day, I talked to his partner at CERN, who helped with details, and now I'm in the process of getting things arranged.  So that I can move to Switzerland.  In 4 weeks.

That in mind, I ask kindly for warm things (I do believe the Alps are chilly this time of year) or plane tickets for Christmas/graduation.  ;)

One of my roommates (Sam) mentioned how ironic it is that I worked for Google, which runs the world, and am now going to work for CERN, which will end the world.



since you been gone

A rush of food, a
Slowdown of time, where is my
Graduation?  Here!

 I guess it's been a while.  Nearly a month?  Sheesh.  Okay, since then...

Thanksgiving: I went home to see the folks and the high school dudes (Robbie and Jacob!) and to introduce all of the above to Evan.  Then we went home-home to see extended family and eat way too much and play board games.  :D

School: I picked up my honor cords from the math department for graduation.  Egad, it's almost here!  I had my last code demo for Operating Systems today-our filesystem assignment.  Good to be done!

Food: What've I made the last few weeks... well, last week I made really delicious shepherdess pie (so named because of the crazy vegan feminist chicks who wrote the recipe):

    Seitan, 16 oz. Soy sauce (tamari), 1/4 cup Olive Oil, 2 tbsp Onions, raw, 1 large Garlic, 3 clove Mushrooms, fresh, 3 cup, pieces or slices Frozen mixed vegetables, 3 cups Vegetable Broth, 2 cans Flour, 1/4 cup Potato, raw, 5 lbs Milk, 1 cup Salt, some Pepper, black, some
Peel and boil the potatoes until they're soft (doing the rest of these things in the meantime).  Put the onion, seitan, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a frying pan on whatever heat is required to sauté.  Sauté that stuff!  Then add the mushrooms and frozen vegetables, allowing them to heat all the way through (i.e. not be frozen).  In another pan, mix the vegetable broth and flour until they're not lumpy, and then mix that into the pan with all the other goodies.  Once the potatoes are done, mash them with the milk and some salt and some pepper.  Put the chunky stuff into the bottom of a casserole dish (when I made this, it took two 9x9 dishes) with more salt and pepper.  Then spoon the potatoes over the top and bake the whole thing at 425 for about 40 minutes.

This week, I made a recipe from my friend Carlo:

Red kidney bean curry

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp salt
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
15 oz tomato sauce
3 cans red kidney beans, undrained
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
  1. Heat oil in a deep sauce pan over medium heat for one minute. Add ginger, garlic, onion, and optionally, chili, and let sizzle for one minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce, salt, and remaining spices and cook for an additional five minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the tomatoes, and undrained kidney beans plus one additional cup of water.
  4. Bring it to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and let cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro. Serve over rice.


Life: I'm figuring out still what it is that I'll do with my Spring.  I just got an interesting call today that may lead to a job, but I'm not sure about it yet, and I don't know if I should jinx it by telling all the Internets about it.  :)  I should have a clearer idea by next week.  I've also gotten really into playing Silent Hill, and Patrick has the old King's Quest games on his computer!  WOOOO, BITCHES.  I feel like there's some other stuff I want to say... what, though?  Oh, I've been banned from playing Christmas carols or hanging Christmas decorations or wearing Christmas accessories while in Llama School.  Heartbreaking, truly.  I sneak them in, though.  I ran the CS talent show over the weekend, and that was a great success!  I also gave myself another haircut, as you can see in the photos.  I'm learning how to skid on a fixed-gear bike (haha, though I am not nearly as good as that guy).  I'm starting to look into a bike for my trip (hooray, graduation present!), and enjoying watching my favourite Christmas movie: The Year Without a Santa Clause.  Love, love, love!

Life is good at Llama School, and here's to hoping that that doesn't change in the next week and a half.  A week and a half, y'all!  Oh, btw, there will be a cake reception at L-School after the ceremony, and all my devoted readers are more than welcome to attend.  :D



Tasty things, wrapped up
In a tasty wrapper, yum!
Veritable win.

I guess I forgot to post that I cooked last night, and it was a success!  :P  Here's the recipe for sweet-ass quesadillas:

1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
2 cans corn
1 green bell pepper, sliced in nice slices
1 white onion, sliced in nice slices
1 package tempeh
12 large tortillas (I used flour, but I guess corn or wheat would work)
4+ cups "Mexican" cheese (whatever that is, but it comes in a bag)
2 jalapeños, sliced in nice slices
some tomatoes and avocado for topping

Warm up the beans and corn in a pot with the jalapeños, until they are nice and bubbly, then keep it on low heat (since it takes a while to get through all the quesadillas).  At the same time, sauté the onion and bell pepper with the tempeh.  It's probably best to add the tempeh after they're mostly cooked, since it's not really meant for sautéing, but do what you want.

To assemble a quesadilla, take a tortilla and warm it on a skillet over medium high heat on one side, then flip it over, insert some bean/corn/jalapeño stuff and some tempeh/onion/bell pepper stuff, then cover all that in cheese (make sure the cheese at least gets around the edges of the tortilla: it's useful for sealing).  Then fold the tortilla in half and cook it on each side until it's golden-brown and crispy.

Top it with the tomatoes and avocado... and yum!  :D

decisions, decisions

Tiny digital things,
Good, bad, display, art, SCIENCE,

Slipping through cells.

I have been reading a lot of cool biotech sorts of articles on my Reader recently, and some of it's been really inspiring.  Well, maybe that's not quite the right word, but anyway it might be a direction that I may consider thinking about following for a while... perhaps.  Gasp!  It's, like, approaching life-decision time!  GRADUATION IS IN A MONTH, Y'ALL.

A couple of the things that I thought were particularly awesome were the LED tattoos being developed at the University of Pennsylvania and the digital tattoo board that is actually not currently being developed, but is instead in the thinking phase.  They're sort of similar concepts, but I think it's awesome that the second one is powered by glucose in one's blood that is converted into electricity.  Sweeeeeeet.

Actually, for the interview that I had to do for the Churchill scholarship a while back, one of the questions that the board asked me related to where I think technology is going in the next few years (and, you know, how I want to "ride that wave," or whatever).  One of the things that I monologued about was how I think that people will need to come to accept it as more a part of life...and themselves.  The way that people are using technology now, it's essentially an extension of their own learning systems.  There've been a few studies on it, even.  I know my dear friend Mathieu would be a poor, lost boy without some way to outsource his knowledge and help with his tremendously bad memory (hi, Mathieu).  Why not keep that shit in-house?

I guess that means I may be spending spring semester (when I am graduated!) learning about a lot of life-science things that I've been skimping on for three and a half years.  But, I mean, the making of cool doodads is totally worth some hours with a book.

Oh, goodness, it seems to have been a long time since I posted anything on here.  I guess that means that I haven't talked about my play; we performed last weekend (to a pretty fair-sized crowd: I think around 200 people came over 4 nights) and are performing again in Indy today.  There was a pro-ish photographer dude (Robert Baxter) who came and took photos one night, and you can see them all on his Flickr page.  The photo embedded here is shamelessly taken from there.  :)

Uhhh... tonight is the opera!  Die Zauberflöte is being performed at IU, and a few of my friends/roommates are in it.  I'm purdy excited.

I guess it's time to shove off.  Thanksgiving break is next week, and I'm totally stoked.  Sean's coming home, Evan's coming to visit, I'll see Venus for the first time in months, and I get to play with my doggies.  ^_____^

Cheers, y'all.


temporary insanity

A bay and a boat
And a sunset with the boys:
Those Canadians.

Visiting Evan and Jeff and Jeff and Ben is always a killer time, and this past weekend was no different.  I flew out to SF for a couple days at the beginning of what is probably the busiest week I will have in college.  URGH.  But I had the tickets and needed a break.

Friday Jeff and Evan and Jeff's friend Adelaide (sp? She is from France) collected me from SFO for a tour of Napa and dinner at the Culinary Institute of America.  Expensive and delicious.  :D  I picked up a few bottles of wine (the dessert wines were amazing!) to bring back, but sadly they are currently camping in (other) Jeff's apartment.  Along with my camera.  :(

That night, Evan and I went to hang out with other Jeff and his girlfriend, Em.  We had delicious wine and cheese and chilled in their hot tub; Anton came over later and showed off these thingies that he has that are called Freelines.  They're super cool!  They're sort of like a Ripstik with no connector.  Anyway, he seemed to be pretty good at them, and it was neat to watch.

We also tried to see The Men Who Stare at Goats, but the showing started at midnight, and I had already been up for 23 hours and traveling and... well, Evan said it was good.

The next day I had been invited to go rock climbing with my friend Joe, but that didn't end up working out.  *sigh*  So Evan and I did some city exploring and hill climbing and met up with Ben to go out for sushi in Japan town.  We also got... bubble tea!  Woo!

After that, we were ON A BOAT.  Sailing through SF Bay for Em's birthday was quite a treat; as Barrett mentioned in his album, "much singing of the Lonely Island ensued."

I got to go clubbing in SF that night, but, alas, not at the DNA Lounge.  I'm pretty sad about that.  :(

Then it was pretty much time to go!  Eek!  So Evan and I had breakfast at a little jazz cafe (sic) in the Mission.  It was a pretty fun weekend, I gotta say; and I'm super excited for when Evan comes to visit at Thanksgivingtime.  Now back to the salt mines... with play performances 4 nights this week and two major projects due, I really shouldn't be writing this blog post at all..



getting old

November's sweet chill,
Pangs of ice that dull senses,
Frost at Llama School.

So I've decided to become one of the "hip" kids, I guess; I managed to pick up one of the bugs that seem to be floating around Bloomington.  I was running a 4 or 5 degree fever last night (although we have no thermometer, so that was just some educated guessing).  Did you know that H1N1 has sparked the College of Arts and Sciences at IU to extend their withdrawal deadline for classes?  If someone has been affected by swine flu, he simply has to petition and can get a later drop date.  Weird.

The thing about being sick is that it doesn't happen to me very often, and it's sort of cool to feel all the strange tricks it plays on one's senses.  I can feel the temperature of things, but it feels like I'm touching them through a blanket.  And I just get random tingles up and down my arms.  Also that feeling like my teeth are hollow, and every time I breathe the air flows inside of them.  Or maybe I'm just crazy and no one else feels these things.

Anyway, it was my cooking day today, so I fought off the plague and whipped up something delicious (thanks to Carlo for the recipe):

2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 red onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Italian bread (2 loaves)
2 tomatoes
  1. Combine salt, thyme, parsley, and rosemary into a bowl. Lightly brush eggplant slices with olive oil, and then cover in spice mixture.
  2. Grill eggplant slices in hot skillet, without adding additional olive oil.
  3. Grill onion slices and Italian bread in hot skillet with olive oil.
  4. Spread aioli (mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic) on bread, then assemble sandwiches with eggplant, onion, lettuce, and tomato.
4.5oz mayonnaise
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic (minced)
  1. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Use as a spread or dressing (like on the taste-tastic sandwiches above).

It was super tasty.  And I felt pretty fancy eating it.  (I think it was the rosemary).

I had a bit of a sad moment today when I was doing the crossword during operating systems: the clue was "Television program recorder."  My first thought was "VCR," but the space was 4 characters... it was definitely "TIVO."  ARGH.  THESE KIDS AND THEIR GADGETS.


trick || treat

Cackles and giggles
Intermix, seep through the dark,
On All Hallows Eve.

Happy Halloween! Well, I guess now it's Rabbit Rabbit day instead, but that's almost as good.

So at 21, I'd never been a Valkyrie for Halloween before.  I figured it was time, so I got together some sort of ridiculous looking pieces.  Grey bikini with silver studs?  Check.  Fur cape?  Check.  Fur leg warmers?  Check.  Gold gauntlets?  Check.  Oh, and the hat.  I didn't take a camera with me, and the only picture that seems to have surfaced so far of the thing is sort of silly-looking (i.e. my facial expression is sort of odd), but here you have it: me posing with Boba Fett and a mop masquerading as a spear.

My roomates kept me busy going to their shows this weekend; Patrick and Dan performed and Patrick DJed and Dan and Peri performed and Patrick performed.  It was noise-tastic.  :D

At the Mad Scientists' Ball (the CS/Info/CogSci/Psych/SLIS/Phil/Math Halloween party that I was on the committee for), there were slews of interesting costumes.  There was also another Valkyrie... she was a folklore and ethnomusicology major or something, and she wussed out and wore a flesh-coloured body sleeve under her swimsuit stuff.  I was jealous of her sword, though.  I wound up beating out Marie Antoinette and a Scotsman for sexiest costume and am now the proud owner of Saw II and Treehouse of Horror on DVD.

The Bloomington Annual Zombie Walk was this weekend, as well.  Roy and Jill came over.  We dolled ourselves up in two kinds of fake blood: corn syrup + maraschino cherry juice + Sriracha (which combination was admittedly less than successful... sticky and foul-smelling? ew) and Elmer's glue + red glitter.  We also had Twinkies, inspired by Zombieland (which you, dear reader, should certainly go see!).  Unfortunately, we were a bit late for the walk, and the police had already broken it up by the time we arrived.  *sigh*

The Twinkies came in handy, though.  One solitary group of trick-or-treaters graced Llama School's porch, and I guess they had been jaded by visiting too many college student houses.  Instead of "Trick or treat!", we were simply asked, "Is there any candy here?"  Little bastards.  :)  We gave them Twinkies, though.

I also went to see a Haunted House that a friend of a friend had set up in his basement.  It was actually not bad, and I had a lot of fun.  Sadly, that activity represented a failure to go see Paranormal Activity, which made it tragic in any case, but at least it was sort of enjoyable.

Anyway, the Llamas had a good night of mischief.  Chas was Gumby, Sam a caped clown, and Dan and Peri were Ponyo and Sosuke.  Adorable!  Patrick decided to be the grown-up and not go in costume, but I think he had fun, anyway.  I guess maybe I'll be sensible and boring someday, too.  (Just kidding, Patrick.)

Also, I really like this image that someone shared with me this morning.  XD


possum couch

Raindrops stripping leaves,
Beautiful melancholy,
World of cold puddles.

Rain settled on Bloomington today, after a gorgeous weekend.  I wound up going back to the railroad trestle on Sunday with Chet when he got home, and we brought a proper camera this time.  Some of the photos we got are sweet.

Then fall turned wet today, and with a vengeance.  It's sort of gorgeous to look at, though; all the leaves are a sort of uniform yellow now, and people are wandering around with a vague look of helplessness as the drop date looms and midterms conclude.

There was a sweet adventure at our house this weekend, which I unfortunately missed most of.  Patrick discovered that there was a possum living in the couch on our porch, and was evidently impassioned enough take up our snow shovel, brandish it at the creature, and shout, "I DRINK ON THAT COUCH!"

The possum's name is Kevin.

(p.s. there are a lot more photos here)



Mosaics drift, soft,
Silent over now-bare limbs,
Winter sun above

Oh, I do love fall.  Probably I won't stop harping about that until winter.

I was amused by a few things this week, most notably the fliers and chalk ads that just went up all around Lindley Hall (the computer science building) for the IU Gaming Club's LAN WAR.  Hahaha.  It's like they think they're going to target their marketing or something.  :)

Equally amusing (though less local): Obama has declared Swine Flu to be a national emergency.

Victoria's Secret sponsored a huge concert at IU this week, too, for some concert that we won (that I never heard about).  The moral of the story is that Girl Talk and Cobra Starship performed on a huge, pink, steel stage that was nearly as tall as our damn Union building, which is pretty freakin' tall.  It was a cool show (part of which I missed due to play practice.  sad.).

Patrick and I went on an adventure this morning to an old railroad trestle west of town.  I'd been there before, but with all the leaves turning and such, it was positively gorgeous to walk out on.  It stretches about a mile over a valley, and said valley is ringed with trees that were like rippling poetry in the wind with their browns and oranges.  I couldn't convince him to go all the way across, though; I guess reasonable people don't want to walk a mile across a span hundreds of feet above the ground.  Go figure.

In unrelated news, I can't believe I haven't used "adventure" as a label on this blog until now.  Egad!  What am I doing with my life!?


magic, as usual

The smell of lightly
Cooking pumpkins on porches
Wafts to Halloween.

Chet and Roy came over this weekend so that we could get our pumpkin carving on, and it was a good time.  We pizza'd hard, watched Ghostbusters, and sang along to Aladdin (well, Roy and I did; I guess Chet had sensibilities or some such nonsense).  I hope this Indian summer doesn't rot our pumpkins, which are currently located on the Llama School porch, before Halloween.  :(

On that note, my Halloween costume is now complete.  :D  I'm pretty stoked about the Mad Scientists' Ball (CS/Info/CogSci/Philosophy/SLIS Halloween party).

I had a phone interview with Facebook this week, the language-knowledge half of which I futzed horribly.  But I redeemed myself with algorithms and data structures.  I get to go on to the next stage... which involves solving one of the Facebook puzzles at (they're fun, if you're into that kind of thing; check it out!).

I am continually intimidated by the musical knowhow in this house.  I had my piano midterm this week, and I was excited like nobody's business about playing the James Bond theme for it.  Then my roomates--3 of them across two bands--put on a show at a Café in town, and I was reminded that I haven't been studying music for, um, 10 years.

It's midterm week, which means no work!  Well, except for studying, but who does that?  I only have one exam left to go: Networks.  Let's hope that this temporary lull in work doesn't put me to sleep...

As for recent movies that are worth watching, I definitely recommend The Saddest Music in the World.  It involves a woman with glass, beer-filled legs who sponsors a contest during prohibition for musical ambassadors from every country to journey to Winnipeg and show off how sad their country's music could be.



Nothing fades into
Obscurity, you see, it
Shows from time to time.

So in the course of writing my post earlier this week, I definitely spaced a couple of pretty exciting things!

1) Richard Dawkins, a man who is probably the biggest fan of Darwin alive today, came to IU to speak about his new book and give amusing answers to creationist- and Intelligent Design-related questions.

  • Q: Do you believe there is any sort of evidence for a creationist or ID sort of theory?
    A: No, next question.
  • Q: What sort of evidence would you be willing to accept for such a theory?
    A: Well, if the creator were to ride down on a flaming chariot from the sky...
Other amusing anecdotes from his talk included a short description of a cheetah-antelope sort of struggle in which both animals are evolving to become faster and more agile.  "Whose side is this creator on, anyway?" he queried.

2) One of IU's professors in the economics department became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics!  That's pretty exciting!  That story came on the coattails of the much-discussed Obama Nobel Peace Prize.  I'm still not sure about that one...


another week, another recipe

Sweaters are out, on,
Brisk air chills cheeks, whispering,
Pumpkin season's nigh.

It's coming up on Halloween!  I finally got the last doodads for my costume (a Valkyrie, for those not keeping score at home), and I'm getting excited about the Mad Scientists' Halloween Ball (  It's also feeling like fall, and this week the stuff I cook, um, tasted like fall?  I'm a decidedly non-scientific chef, so here's the best I can offer recipe-wise:

1 large butternut squash, cubed
3 large parsnips, cubed
2 medium-large sweet potatoes, cubed
1 red onion
2 green peppers
4 carrots, sliced in little disks
1 tsp.-ish pumpkin pie spice
1 Tbsp.-ish red pepper
4 cans vegetable broth
2 cups uncooked rice
enough olive oil for sautéing

The basic thing is to make sure that the squash, parsnips, and sweet potatoes get cooked enough to be edible.  I put them in a pot with the 4 cans of broth for about 30-45 minutes before I added the other stuff.  I added all the spices to them at the beginning so there'd be tasty juices flowing around.

The onion needs to be chopped up, ditto with the peppers, and sauteed for a little while.  There's no better smell than sauteeing onion.  Mmmmm...

Then everything goes in the pot and it hangs out on low heat for around 30 minutes (for the rice and carrots to cook).  When I ate mine, I added a glob of goat cheese to it for extra deliciousness, but it's hardly necessary.

Uhhh.. so everyone in my house seems to be ailing with one thing or another.  Sam had some kind of cough + nausea going for him for a while, and now Dan has headaches and chills.  My throat is turning a little rough, which does not bode well for a performance in a few weeks... >.<

This past weekend, I went to see Holiday, a film starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.  It was hella classy, and the fact that it was showing at the local semi-fancy cinema didn't hurt, either.

What else, what else... oh, I ran into my first race condition today doing OS homework.  (A race condition is, in essence, when two pieces of code are running at the same time and the overall programme only works properly when one accomplishes something before the other gets to something else.)  Initializing handles for threads to access the consoles of our system seems to depend upon, surprise, their memory pieces all being set up properly first.  That sounds dumb now, but it was damn hard to figure out.

In other news, I don't know who's heard about the new breakthrough in thought about DNA, but now we know how DNA pieces twist themselves up to fit inside of our cells (a single strand of DNA is something like 2 metres long).  The old theory was a very messy sort of knot, but the new theory is a "fractal globule," which is a sort of Hilbert curve (a curve which densely fills space and never crosses itself) in three-space.  This sort of reminds me of that XKCD from a while back...



Fall is sliding in,
Trees aflame, and I asleep.
Shiver back the cold.

Continuing to do this much work isn't making it easier.  This OS project may kick my butt.  Not to mention IT'S MIDTERM SEASON.

First, something cheerful: weekly cooking!  This week's feature was Navajo Tacos:

Chili ingredients:
1 pound cubed-like eggplant
2 cans 14 oz. pinto beans
1 large onion chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 can 12oz. tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa

Cook the eggplant until it's kinda soft.  Add onions and saute until tender.  Add everything else and simmer until you're happy with it (I did about 1.5 hours).

Fry Bread Ingredients:
3 + cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups warm milk or warm water.

Mix 3 cups flour with other dry ingredients then add warm milk/water to make a sticky dough.  Add additional flour to make a firm dough then cover and rest for approximately 30 minutes.  Form pieces of dough into thin (less than 1/4 inch thick) disks and fry at approximately 375 degrees F.  I didn't have a candy thermometer for the oil, so I just jacked it up almost to high on my stove.  That worked okay.

Onions, Shredded cheese (co-jack), shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado

Top hot fry bread with a layer of cheese followed by a layer of chili followed by a layer of cheese followed by a layer of lettuce, onions, tomato, and avocado followed by a light sprinkling of cheese on top.

It's yummy.

Play practice was pretty fun, too.  I learned that my character is basically a crazy old woman who gets to play with anything and everything on stage when she's bored.  Sweet.  If anyone has old lady clothes that they don't mind parting with for a few weeks, I'd be much obliged.

The new networks project is to implement a longest prefix matcher for IP addresses.  This basically means that we take IP addresses (those things that look like, which is where I happen to be at the moment) and decompose them into bits.  A router's job is to figure out which router a packet heading towards a given IP is supposed to go to next, so it goes through and sees how much of the address it can match with its tables.  IP addresses are assigned in a semi-geographic way, but the important thing is that "close" addresses will be "close" physically.  Chunks of addresses are designated for certain entities, so IU owns a chunk of addresses (65,534) in the 129.79 family.  So that will be fun.

The OS assignment is to implement fork() and exec() for threads, which essentially means taking a process (loosely defined as "a program in execution") and making a copy of it which can then be turned into another process.  Operating systems don't pull processes out of nowhere!  The other part of the assignment involves setting up the filesystem, i.e. making it possible to read and write files.  WOO.

Piano is going well, too!  We learned the chromatic scale this week, and the most recent songs we've played are "Great Balls of Fire" and "It's My Party."  Hahaha.  :)

Anyway, it's like 23:30, and I'm definitely still in Lindley.  I think that means it's time to head home and get some sleep.  -____-  Blargh.  Any volunteers for doing my work will be welcomed?


a few photos

Soaked to the skin, up
To my neck in water and
Advertising.  Ha!



hello, goodbye

Footprints from the sky,
Cast darkly across cacti,
Wavering in heat.

Arizona is more gorgeous than I remembered.  I haven't been here in... what, like 8 years or something?  Anyway, it's been a while.  Flying in, I was once more enthralled by desolation from the air.  Excuse me for a moment while I wax poetic about the scenery, and then I'll get to talking about Grace Hopper:

Desert towns make no concessions.  Grids cross their space in the sand, and they don't taper off so much as they just stop when civilization does.  Sometimes a street will waver with a suggestion of organic shape.  The roads that connect the towns are Hugh Hefner-straight across flat, sandy inbetweens.  There are no curves to follow around hills.  There are no speed limits.

Dark veins of runoff channels spider across the dunes, giving the desert an appearance of old life.  Dots of brush don't seem like much from so high.  The outlines of sanguine mountains in the distance are made fuzzy by saguaros, which up close seem to be classic cowboys with their arms askew.

On the ground, one sees that there is more to this place.  The burning sun and the dry heat it brings are interrupted occasionally by a plane-shadow: the footprint of some great, rigid bird-god.  A lizard suns himself on a rock.  Some of the cacti are blooming--strange spots of bright in a landscape of brown and muted greens.  Some of the cacti are dying, but there is a romance in the extinguished ones covered in spiderwebs.

At sunrise and sunset, when Helios is at an end of his long drag across the southern sky, the silhouettes of hills and flora make dramatic backdrops for the southwestern dance music floating out of the conference centre.

Ok, anyway, I really loved the desert and actually am rather going to miss it.  The conference was way more fun than I expected, too, and I learned about a few really awesome grad school opportunities that I'm going to have to look into (including the Media Lab at MIT).  I think I also landed an internship for the spring, but we'll see how that goes.  ;)

There were lots of cool talks about things ranging from Lego Mindstorms to expanding involvement of women in technical fields (no surprise there) to how to best use the fairly extensive penetration of mobile phone service in Africa to improve medical care.  There was also a really inspiring panel about interdisciplinary research, which is most likely where I'm going to find myself.

There were also, of course, parties and lots of swag (Sarah and I got some great umbrellas from Bloomberg).  The platinum sponsors of the event were Google, Microsoft, and Intel, but there was a lot of participation from Amazon, Yahoo!, Bloomberg, IBM, Raytheon, and others.  I came away with a lot of free t-shirts (and 5 sets of Google sunglasses for the llamas back home).  I also got the chance to squaredance with Alan Eustace, to set up Guitar Hero and play with the Intel folks, and to jump in a pool fully clothed, which I haven't done in years, haha.  :)

I had a good time.  I hope that I have enough time to get my homework done on the plane flights home, but we'll see how that goes.  Oh, the life of a jetsetter.


it's a mad world

Mimic the motions.
Attend real life like it counts,
Evermore watchful.

People who seem to be really dedicated to their field impress me a lot.  I probably have babbled about this before, but I don't care what people do as long as they care.  And that's shockingly hard to find.

This weekend is the Lotus Fesitival that I've been blathering about, and yesterday I had the privilege to attend/host a lunch for some of the performers--members of a band called Los de Abajo ("Those from Below").  Only 3 of the 8 members came, but it was delightful to talk to them.  Their band was founded in La Ciudad de México, and their focus is on giving a voice to the people who aren't politically powerful enough to have one of their own.  Yes, this sounds trite, I realize, but they are really living like unos de abajo in that they travel from show to show, staying in hostels, avoiding the rockstar life, and having a ball with us normal folk.  They definitely knew their stuff, and they gave us a couple of fairly lengthy discourses on lots of problems in Mexico (including drug-related violence, underfunded arts programmes, illegal immigration to the States, etc.).  One spoke very respectable English when addressing the group-at-large of honors students, but it was fun to converse with them individually and flex my Spanish muscles.

The GRE was this morning, and that was pretty interesting, I guess.  I struggled into Franklin Hall (one of our administrative buildings), bleary-eyed at 08:30, and wrote argumentative and analytical essays, solved some math problems (NOTE: I definitely didn't realise that there was a calculator button on the screen... yes, I am a moron who didn't read the directions.  I still did okay with my pencil and paper, but eff that.), and attempted some inane analogies.  I was actually really embarassed by my score on the verbal section... until I realised that it was not bad at all relatively.  It would appear that most people just suck at English.

Last night my dear roomies took me out to another bar in Btown to check it out, and it was hilariously full of hipsters.  Welcome to the Root Cellar.  I'll probably go back.

Oh!  I guess I can ride fixed-gear bikes now.  The major difference between these and other cycles is that in order to move, one must pedal.  The gears are affixed to the rear tyre in such a way that there can be no coasting.  This also means that one brakes with one's legs as opposed to traditional brakes (although many fixed-gear bikes come with those, too), which is way hard to get used to.  Generally they are reserved for the creme de la creme of cyclists who know about ratios and that sort of thing, but I guess I can't help but become one of those sorts of people, tooling around as I do with these guys.  Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to try skidding around like a madman (hi, Chas and Patrick).  For now, though, I'm still pretty excited every time I don't die going someplace on one of their bikes.


less hurried, more ninja (?)

Point and dereference,
Then index, convert, and print.
What am I doing?

It's been a shockingly productive day here in Bloomington.  I finished up that OS assignment, wrote some proofs for analysis (which I am still not a fan of... hand-waving gets my goat, and we don't seem to have formal definitions for half the things we are trying to prove statements about), baked a pizza (dericious... recipe below), worked through most of the packet-sniffer for networks, practised piano, and bathed.  Crazy, I know.

Ok, elaborations, for those of you still reading:

Analysis:  So the prof for this class is a topologist who is teaching analysis.  If you are unfamiliar with these words, it's not really important to know what they mean, just that that is a very weird thing.  Those fields are, while not diametrically opposed, quite dissimilar in focus.  This leads to the prof sometimes deciding that we don't know and don't need to know something, whereupon he promptly draws a picture, waves his hands, says some semi-meaningful things, and moves on.  It can lead to very frustrating homework sessions with Chas where we realise that we have no idea what we are actually trying to prove.

Pizza: It was my cooking night tonight, and I didn't have anything particular in mind.  On this occasion, that meant that I just took a bunch of things I love and threw them on dough, put it all through the oven, and called it pizza.  I don't know how many of you have made pizza crust before, but it's super easy (and way tastier than bought crusts).  Venus asked me for the recipe recently, so it's basically like this:

Run water until it gets pretty hot.  You should still be able to touch it, but it should get rather uncomfortable quite quickly.  Put some of this in the bottom of a bowl or cup or whatever you'd like (about 1/2 cup or so).  Add a tablespoon-ish of sugar and swirl it around in the water a little, then get some yeast and sprinkle it over the surface of the water (probably a teaspoon of yeast is plenty).  Shake that around a little bit and let it rest for 5 minutes or so until it gets all frothy and yeast-looking.
Put some flour in a bowl.  Obviously how much varies directly with the volume of bread product you hope to produce.  I used about 4 cups today, I think, for two big pizza crusts.  Add some more sugar (maybe 1/2 cup, probably a little less), then add the water and some more hot water.  Mix it up and add flour or water as necessary until you get a nice doughy consistency.  Mine is usually a little stickier than most people like, but it should be such that there's no flour stuck in the bottom of the bowl and the lump of dough doesn't stick all over your fingers.
Put some olive oil in the bowl and roll the doughball around in it.  This isn't strictly necessary, but it is yummy.  Put the bowl "in a warm place" to rise.  I actually hate when sites say that.  I usually turn the oven on and set the bowl on one of the back burners (oven heat escapes through them on most models, except probably the kind of stoves that have the flat little doodads cooker thingies).  Let it sit for an hour, then abuse it a little to get some air out, then let it sit another half hour.  Then bake it!  I usually bake at 425.

The pizza toppings were just things that I like, as I mentioned: chunks of butternut squash (which I pre-baked for about half an hour before I baked the pizza), garlic (minced), spinach leaves (rough chop), and mozzarella cheese.  It was a hit.

Networks: Georgi and I are chugging away at this packet sniffer.  It has to do things like determine how many packets use which protocols (network layer and transport layer), count occurences of flags on packets, calculate overhead, and check data validity.  Anyway, there's one line that we wrote that I particularly liked:

printf("address %s : %d\n", inet_ntoa(((struct in_addr*)(ipaddrit->first.c_str()))[0]), ipaddrit->second);

inet_ntoa takes a number and turns it into a nice, printable IP address string (like, which is one of the machines in Lindley).  struct in_addr is a struct that is essentially not a struct at all, but instead an integer representing an address.  Unfortunately, some of these addresses don't play nice with the string functions: they print crazy characters and change all the following output into crazy wingdings.  I just really liked the shitty way we had to access that data to make it printable.

Piano: hearing is on Thursday!  Yike!  We learned what sharps and flats are this week, so now I know what all the keys are for.  ;)

Bathing: god, I love that claw-foot tub upstairs.

a little ninja

Cats, mice, noms, threads, locks,
Arrange, coordinate, debug,
Op'ratin' Systems!

I'm having a fair amount of fun with the OS class now that Nate and I are almost done with the first assignment.  Synchronizing data is a kind of interesting problem.  The assignments that we had for this week were to implement locks, CVs, and semaphores (which are three ways to protect shared data in multithreaded environments), and to code a problem related to Harry Potter (the new book's come out!  there are 2 copies of each book and 2 librarians and 30 readers who each want to read some subset of the books) and one related to cats and mice (the cats and mice are pseudo-friends: they share 2 food dishes, but only one species can eat at the set of dishes at a time; the cats will eat the mice if a cat and mouse try to eat at the same time).  There's just one issue related to even and odd cats for the second problem that we'll probably iron out this afterlunch.

I was excited yesterday when Chas asked me to set up the wireless on his little Linux box.  It's running Arch, which is a Linux distro that I've never dealt with before.  Just in case you ever find yourself setting up wireless on one of those things, I found their wiki about it very useful.

Coming soon: the GRE!  I registered this morning.  Eep.


a long wrap-up

A large enough curve
Can appear flat; go find
Once again its end.

I'm sure some of you collected Beanie Babys, too.  I was all into that stuff.  I started after they had been around for a year or so, and this left me at a distinct disadvantage.  Many of the damn things had already retired, which led to their being unavailable in the price range of and 8-year-old.  At some point during my collecting, I decided that I wanted to get all the cats in the set, but there was one that had been a part of the original release and had gone away before I could get it: Flip.

Well, good news!  No one cares about Beanie Babys any longer, and this has led to a drastically improved availability.  I was out with Roy and Jill and Chet on Friday night, and we happened upon FLIP THE WHITE CAT AT A MARSH.  I got the IU nomination for the Churchill scholarship (officially!  woot!), so Jill offered to get it for me as a celebratory present.  This thing ain't leavin' my sight.

In other news, Atomic Age Cinema is still going strong in Bloomington (god, I can't believe I just linked to MySpace for that), and I went last night for a delightful showing in FULL 3-D of the original The Mask from 1968.  It was on a VHS tape, for crying out loud.

Other random occurrences from this weekend: I won a couple dollars in poker, I rewatched Kung Fu Panda (it's still awesome), I closed my window for the first time to keep my room warm enough to sleep in, I watched a train go by, wrote more synchronization code for OS, worked on the packet sniffer for networks (which I will probably write a real post about sometime... I really think it's cool), got some dericious sake from big Big Red, went to big Big Red for the first time, practised piano (my playing test Wednesday will include "This Land is Your Land," and "When the Saints go Marching in."  tough, I know) and ineptly played some Lego Star Wars.


graduation and grad students

Leaves outlined yellow,
Nights cold, snuggle into bed,
And watch the sun rise.

I'm now a few steps closer to graduation: all of my degrees are officially going to be complete, my minors are recorded as they should be, my general honors notation is filed-for, and I'm going to get (ugh) senior portraits.


I've been hanging around grad students a lot this term (unsurprising, considering that I'm in three graduate courses and fully half of my fourth course is graduate students), and life seems good for them.  I know that I don't have nearly so much work as I was anticipating, which leaves good swaths of time to do things like go to the Lotus Festival next weekend, which I definitely recommend to anyone who'll be in the area.  It's a show that takes up all of downtown with performances from artists around the globe: last year I watched some throat singers, which was basically crazy.

Good news!  My LaTeX equation editor, which launched in knol a month or so ago, is now available in Google Docs!  YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

I'm a bit shocked at how fall-y it's getting.  It's easy to tell what time people got dressed when you see them--those with sweatshirts were probably up before 10, and those without, after.  I am excited about cold weather, though, and wearing sweaters and all that.  Oh, and the Pikachu hat, of course.  :D

the tubes: no longer clogged

O, Internet, o!
Wherefore art thou digital?
A rose... whatever.

So I didn't actually feel like finishing that haiku.

Anyway, we once more have the Internet flowing through the tubes to the Llama School, and that means an update!

For my cooking night this week, I made bagna calda, which seems to be a pretty unknown dish, at least among the people I associate myself with.  It was a staple (oh, Lordy, no) in my childhood, and it's pretty delicious.

For one batch (I made three to feed 7 hungry college students):

1/4 cup of butter or margarine (that's one stick of butter)
2/3-3/4 head of garlic (chopped up or run through a garlic press)
2 black olives (chopped up... usually this is anchovies, but we're veggie here)
splash olive oil
1 pint half and half
1 pint heavy whipping cream

Basically, melt the butter and let the garlic simmer in it and get all yummy.  Then add everything else and let it reduce--this took about 2 or 2.5 hours for my batch--over low heat until it's really thick and saucy.  Eat it with chopped vegetables and bread.  Voila!  It's a dip.  :D

Anyway, that stuff's awesome.  I don't have too much else to say... I posted some photos on Picasa of the Bloomington Bike Project and stuff.  Guess that's all for now.  Those of you who are in Bloomington should come to the HHC Coffeehouse Night at the Art Museum tonight: I'm hosting from 19:45-20:45, and you get free delicious Haitian coffee and snacks.  ^____^



What's right is right, and
The wrong is not, but where's the
Line to be drawn at?

Informatics is that weird school at IU that sort of houses the Computer Science department (which, I have been informed, is actually no longer a department, but instead just a... well, there's not a word for it, but it's still slightly separate from Informatics), and they have some neat projects.  I went to a talk yesterday by one of their professors, and she is in social informatics: a field which deals mainly with the ethics of pervasive computing and computers/data in general.

One of her focii is using computers in the homes of the elderly and what sorts of data should be transmitted to caregivers of those living alone.  One system that she helped build tracked a number of things, including bathroom habits, kitchen/eating activity, etc.  It also included a board that could be used to switch the system off--which would show to caregivers as "off"--and one to pause the system, which is much more controversial in that caregivers would be sent average data rather than notified that the system was indeed off.  It was designed to only function in pause mode or off mode for a set amount of time (1hr for pause and 2hrs for off were the test values), but it brought up interesting questions.

She also talked about a project that would theoretically be in conjunction with RPS (Residential Programs and Services... essentially the food and dorm people at IU) that would allow students to track the food they bought and how many calories and grams of fat and things they were consuming.  But who else should have access to that data?  Their parents, if they are paying for the plan?  Healthcare providers, if they think that poor eating habits correlate strongly to poor health?

There were a few other things she discussed, and her talk was really interesting, but I actually have to finish up some math homework that's due in an hour.  Ugh.

add-on: Did you hear about the German anti-AIDS campaign featuring Hitler having sex?  They are trying to show AIDS as a mass-murderer... kinda freaks me out.  I gotta say that I'd be discouraged, though.



From strange places sprout
Beautiful things, if you take
Time to notice them.

I've had a rather strange set of days lately, but I still find myself learning from them, so it's all good.  I think that this blog is going to be rife with these bullet-pointed lists... and for that, I apologise, but I really don't have time to commit coherent and flowy thoughts to text right now.

  • The play on Friday went really well.  We performed in a really strange space: it was essentially a garden party (so acoustics were terrible) with audience on three sides.  Weird.  I have to decide if I'm going to do the real VIDA play or not.  Argh, time commitments.
  • Memory structures are really interesting.  So working memory is usually about 8-10 items; an average person can remember 8-10 numbers or whatever at a time.  This is why we chunk for things like phone numbers and addresses: remembering a number as thirty-three twenty-four is less mentally taxing than remembering it as three three two four.  I remember learning about a guy who could memorize huge sequences of numbers because he correlated them to running times; he was a distance runner, and it was easy for him to "chunk" in this way.  When Alex came, he remembered where he was based on the location of the fraternities and sororities in town, which I thought was a riot, since I've never even bothered to learn any of their names.  I find myself attaching thoughts to objects, and seeing or handling those objects can spark my memory.  Anyway, that was random.
  • Bikes are awesome.  Roy, Chet, Jill, and I spent some time volunteering at the Bloomington Bike Project yesterday afternoon, and we learned how to rebuild headsets (that's basically all the parts of the bike at the front: the handlebars, the front fork, and all the ball bearings and stuff).  The headset that I was working on was apparently pretty strange and sexy; instead of a compact/connected ball bearing setup, mine was built with the ball bearings just loose in grease.  It was both messy and awesome to rebuild.
  • I got nominated for the Churchill scholarship, which, if I get it, would mean that I could get a master's degree at Cambridge (in England) for free.  That would be ridiculous.
Anyway, I have 547 meetings to go to this afternoon, not to mention that I still have analysis homework to do.  So I gotta peace out.  Sorry for the hurried post..



Leaves fall silently,
Don't break, don't bother, just ghosts,
Mem'ries of summer.

So I have to say that I really like the new Blogger text editor.  It's way cuter than the old one.

Other than that, I guess it looks like I haven't put anything on here for a while, so here's some things that I've been thinking about/doing in no particular order:

  • Alex came to visit me over the weekend.  We went caving (Sullivan's Cave, for those of you in the know), I gave him a tour, he met some of my friends, and we went out one of the nights with "the crew" (hi, Thabang, Brett, and Matt).  We saw Comedy Caravan at Bear's again, and this time it was improv.  A couple of the dudes came over to chat our table up after the show, and Alex had the somewhat dubious pleasure of experiencing drunk guys hitting on me.  I don't recall if I mentioned, but I got asked for my phone number in a very sly (and somewhat amusing) way last weekend at the same bar.
  • I read an article recently about "anonymizing" healthcare records.  I can't, unfortunately, find a link to a full paper, but the gist of the article was that 87% of Americans can be found uniquely by using just zipcode, birthdate, and gender.  Maybe you're just as unique as you think you are.
  • I am performing in a play on Friday!  It's about a family of three: a woodcutter father, an imaginative mother, and a pushed-around daughter.  I am the third.  The script is here, and for those of you who do not read Spanish (and don't like Google translator's version :) ), it's basically a story about the father coming home, saying, "Oh, wife, I thought about planting an olive tree today."  The wife saying, "Man, this is going to be great!  We can sell that shit!"  Then they bring me in and argue about how much they are going to charge for the olive oil (when the olives are barely thought of and certainly won't be ready for many years), eventually getting so into it that they slap me around a little and our neighbour has to come over and point out how ridiculous we all are.
  • There is a lot to writing an operating system.  This OS class that I'm in is going to be pretty intense.  Our assignment for this week was to look through the source code and answer a few questions about it, and it's a crapload of C.
  • I'll be awesome at C by the end of term.  My networks class will all be in C, too, so EXTRA PRACTISE.
  • I'm still looking for an internship/short-term job for spring, for any of you out there in real-world-land who might happen to know recruiters.  ;)
  • I was recently informed that I am not too tall to be an astronaut.  Also that Bill Stone, the guy who I was all excited about working for, is a total jerk.
  • I forgot a lot of parkour over the summer, but Roy is whipping me back into shape.  We'll see how that goes.  :D
  • My roommates are thinking about fostering a puppy!  We can't adopt one, mainly because we have no idea what we would do with it after the school year ends, but fostering is totally doable, and our house would be so puppied and happy.  ^____^
  • There is going to be a live-action Akira movie?  That should be interesting.
  • I saw Ponyo (the new movie from the Miyazaki, the guy who did Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, etc.), and it was pretty trippy/awesome.  Also recently, I saw Up, Coraline, and Jabberwocky.  All of these are great.  Up is by Pixar and is soooooo cute, and parts are really hilarious.  Doug the dog is awesome.  Coraline is really weird and disturbing, but it's by Tim Burton, and that guy's gold.  Jabberwocky is by Terry Gilliam, and I don't think I need to elaborate on that.
  • I'm planning my grad party, and it looks like it's going to be an excursion up to Chicago for New Year's.  It seems dumb to have a grad party before I actually graduate (plus I'm going to be absurdly busy before that), and there's no way to cram it in between graduation and Christmas, and I have a lot of friends I want to see who are from far away, and I like Chicago, and I don't have plans for New Year's.  So I think that's going to be it.
  • Moebius strips are always more awesome.  A friend shared a link to a moebius strip music box on Google Reader recently.
  • Grad students don't always seem more dedicated to their degrees than undergrads.  Being in some grad classes, I've been exposed to people who are really just in it for the paper.  :-/  It's sort of disappointing, but I guess you never get away from some kinds of people in real life.
  • I gotta decide what to study in grad school.  I'm leaning towards some kind of engineering, maybe?  I want to do something thoughtful but not entirely sedentary.  Doing some kind of natural science would be fun, too.  Really, I still want to just be Bill Stone, just not an asshole.  Getting paid to be an adventurer still ranks highly on my list of priorities.
  • Cooking is awesome.  Not only am I treated to the dinner rotation creations of my roommates, but I've been hanging out with another friend the past couple of days, and we made anise (basically licorice-flavoured) ice cream root beer floats.  Mmmmmmmmmm....
  • Funny things are changing their legality status.  Facebook's TOS was determined to violate Canada's privacy laws (didn't they just get in trouble for that earlier this year?  Jeez, guys.), certain amounts of drugs are being legalised in Mexico (I believe the language is an amount appropriate for "personal and immediate use"), parts of California are raising taxes on their medical marijuana sales (a fairly sound economic idea if you look at the numbers), and I'm endlessly amused by international copyright laws, of course.  While in Germany, it was like pulling teeth to find a fecking Youtube video that I could listen to music from that wasn't blocked due to copyright, and things like Pandora didn't work their, either.  I've been reading a little bit about Canada's changing copyright laws for music distribution, and a bit about the DRM blocks that Apple had put on their iTunes tracks, but that stuff's just so silly.
  • What's up with people accusing celebrities of hiding their genders?  It's all the rage, of a sudden.  Lady Gaga, that African runner, who next?
Anyway, that's really just a braindump of some general things that I've been pondering.  I felt like I should make a blog post, and... well, that's what came out.  :)


last fun before work?

Splash!  Head-first, a sea
Of work, a pool of pals, and
Enough to keep busy.

Two days down (three, really, since I'm done with class for today, now), and everything is still going smoothly.  I just officially switched from taking 2 undergrad and 2 grad courses to 1 undergrad and 3 grad courses.  I think the real work starts next week.

My Operating Systems class is going to be awesome.  Andrew Lumsdaine (he was the guy who ran the Cluster Challenge stuff the past couple years) is the professor, and he's quite a guy.  Plus I'm stoked about learning exactly how these damn things that I program on every day actually work.

Analysis will be a little less awesome, I think... the professor seems like he's a little confused (and he's quite furry, in a nice way :P), and this is his first time teaching the course, but he seems to know what he's doing, and I hope that things will turn out alright.

The trend of excessively large classes hasn't ended... there are like 35 people in each of my Tuesday/Thursday classes, too.  Argh.

I went to the Honors Seminar this week, too, and my networks prof was the speaker: she talked about cybercrime and DNS cache poisoning and fastflux IPs and all kinds of cool things.  I wonder if we will learn hax in Networks.  I friggin hope so.

Other than that... I've been keeping myself occupied.  There's not much homework yet, so I got time to hang out with Roy and Chet and Jill in a pool for a while, and Roy happens to have an underwater camera (like mine!), so we got some pretty glorious photos.

My roommates continue to make delicious food, including lasagna and curry.  And the food attitude here is "everybody please eat stuff before it goes bad, because right now it's delicious."  The sharing is way cool, and I'm glad that people are actually home when I'm home this year.  Last year we were all way too busy to ever hang out, but living so close to campus really facilitates it this time around.

Tonight brings play practice, volunteer sign-up (for the Honors College and some of their events), and more delicious food, although I don't know what yet.  School!


back to btown

At the llama school,
Fleeces bundled against cold,
Classes start anew.

I finally moved back to Bloomington on Saturday, thanks to the help of a dude my mom met on the internet 15 years ago.  They used to play Dragon Realms, a text-based adventure game, back in the day.  The guy's name is Alvin, but his screen name has always been Bowly, so my mom couldn't help but call him that.  :P  Anyway, he's a great guy, and he helped me move all my junk to Bloomington.

I'm loving my new house!  The boys who live here (Chas, Patrick, Dan, and Sam) have dubbed it the Llama School after a weird sock puppet show that aired on MTV a long time ago.  My room is on the one-and-a-halfth floor, and it's got a built in shelfy thing and a window on the east and a window on the west.  It is just the right size for my desk, double bed, bike, and a random beanbag I claimed from the room's most recent former denizen.  I need some more decorations, though, I think... I want to simplify life this semester since I'm moving out of this place so shortly, but I don't know if I can stay in a place with plain white walls.  :-/  It's fabulous to live with people who cook, though!  Last night we had grilled tofu marinated in orange juice, garlic, and other yummy things along with grilled eggplant and veggie shishkebabs.  HUZZAH for living with vegetarians.

Classes so far seem like they'll be fun.  I think I'm going to super-like my topology professor: the first thing he did was write the epsilon-delta definition of continuity on the board, ask us if we like it, and tell us that if we do we are in the wrong class and should go to analysis instead.

My networks class is going to be fun, I think, too.  I had the delight of answering "a series of tubes" when asked "what is the Internet?" in a serious context.  I was shocked that there were ~40 people in the class, though.  That's the second-largest class I've ever been in.

Piano will be interesting.  I'm happy that I have at least basic knowledge of what the heck to do; there was a girl in my class who didn't know where middle C was, so I suspect that we won't be flying along at any pace I can't handle.

In social news, I've been keeping busy since I came.  Thabang, Brett, and Roy took me out in Bloomington for the first time; we went to Bear's Place for Comedy Caravan, which was good fun.  I've also gotten a chance to go sailing with my new roommates and Perry, and to go ghost hunting with Roy and Chet.  Play practice yesterday was good, and I'm excited for the performance next Friday.  :D



wasting time

Time already spent
Cannot be spent again, so
Use it to play games!

Maybe that isn't always the best strategy, but it's okay when you're at home and waiting to move to school. My dad recently got a game called Alien Arena, which is pretty awesome. It's based on the engine for oldskool games like Quake II, released by id. I wonder if free, open-source games will have a heyday again... I miss Doom 3D. ;____;

Other time wasters that I've been turned on to recently: - a weird puzzle-game that may or may not drive you nuts - this actually wasn't recent, but this quiz is kind of awesome :D - a frame-by-frame violence generator that generates hilarious videos.


hello, new blog

A tough time awaits,

But we'll see soon if there is
Time for new blog posts.
As I mentioned in my last blog, this semester is going to suck hugely. But it'll all seem worth it (I hope) when I get to December and GET MY FECKING DEGREES, Y'ALL.
With that, welcome to the new blog, etc., etc., and wish me luck!