2.28.2007

algebraic!

spoons and I were talking about some math stuff last night, and I couldn't help thinking that it was totally "algebraic!" thanks to Sarah and Brian.


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2.25.2007

best of the web

Howdy all -- I'm hanging in there and getting a lot of thesis-writing done these days. Since I don't have much to write here, now, here are a few links for enjoyable things I read last week.

Reflections on Valentine's Day (thanks for the link to Marni):
I think the world would fare a little better if from time to time we looked at a couple swooning with love and instead of drawing pink hearts and singing "all you need is love" at them said "This is all very nice, but you are both going to be needing an education and life insurance."
Her writing reminded me of Matthew Baldwin's excellent thought on marriage:
For some "marriage" is a religious arrangement, where two people are joined together by God; to others it refers to the purely secular tradition of pledging fidelity to one another in the hopes that your friends and relatives will give you DVD players and ice cream makers. Until the two sides in the gay marriage debate agree on a common definition -- something unlikely to happen anytime soon -- we're going to just go around and around in circles on this issues for decades to come.

The gov needs to get out of the marriage business altogether, ya'ask me. ... I think the United States should adopt the Buddy System.

Here's how it would work. When a citizen reaches Buddying age, he or she will receive a charming, hand-written note in the mail from the government. This is what it will say:
Hi there! Welcome to adulthood. You've had it relatively easy so far, all things considered: what with the parents, and the no job, and the not paying taxes, and the ability to eat an entire Italian sausage and black olive pizza without feeling like crap the following morning. ...

Unfortunately things get a little trickier from here on out. You might have to work a job you don't particularly like, or find yourself with all kinds of obligations you'd just as soon avoid. Maybe you'll feel your idealism leech away, and your patience for the status quo dwindle. Perhaps the people who signed your yearbook "2good + 2b = 4gotten!" will move away and 4get you...

Yeah, adulthood is a drag sometimes. And that's where the Buddy System comes in. At some point, you may find it useful to Buddy up with another person, someone you will watch over and who will, in turn, watch over you. Like the earlier version of this system you may have used at school or at camp, your Buddy's job will be to make sure you don't get lost. But less a literal "don't get lost in the forest during a dayhike" and more a figurative "don't get so lost working at a crummy job that you forget how much you like gardening." Or, you know, whatever.

So, at some point, feel free to take a Buddy. Or don't: whatever works for you. But it's a scary world out there, and sometimes a Buddy is just the thing you need to make it seem a bit more manageable.
(I cut a lot of good stuff out of there, so go read the whole thing.)

Other good stuff:

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2.20.2007

new picnic

I've posted a bunch of new links on the right-hand side of the page -- check them out. And let me know if there are any I should add/edit/subtract!

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the beliefs of the Matrix


(Click images for larger versions)

While I'm busy with other stuff, here are some more things I've found! I found this list in Chicago. I am fascinated by the two columns, and how items in the column range so much from the everyday stuff ("chocolate & red wine") to characteristics of the person making the list ("knows how to listen," "brilliant" which is crossed off) to goals for the future ("give yourself permission to see things from a different perspective free from the pressures of peers and the beliefs of the Matrix").

Even adjacent items are sometimes so different: "feeling disconnected from my higher knowing due to not accepting my inner wisdom" and "paying bills is a struggle," for example. The back of the page is below.

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2.13.2007

speaking of hearts


This was found outside my old Ann Arbor house around 2004. I loved that instead of writing HerName HisName, she's writing "cardiologist" and "princess" at the same time, and I thought I'd post it today since it's kind of you-go-girl and all that. Then I found an article from Ann Arbor (where this note was found) that said a 9 year-old girl by this name was given a heart transplant in 2000. A heart transplant. Aw. That makes her about 13 when this note was found in our yard, and it helps explain why a curly-handwriting teenager is dreaming about cardiology. You go, girl.

She was also in a 5K run in 2002. I hope she's doing OK.

Happy Valentine's Day.

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2.12.2007

it is 1:25 am and two men are exploding the moon


Soulcialism - Juddy
Originally uploaded by Patrick58.
It was a good weekend. (You can listen to the song "Good Weekend" by Art Brut if you like. Click on "Releases" on the bottom to get to the music! His good weekend was a little different than mine.)

My good weekend started out Friday with some SOULcialism dancing. The Prince Symbol Album served well (as usual) for some pre-dancing funkification. While Soulcialism is open to anyone, the crowd was full of CMU people that we knew -- it felt like someone's really good house party. It probably helped that the venue is "the White Eagle" which is an old Polish bar in what's pretty much ... a house. It was fun to run into lots of people there, but at some points the grad-student-ification was too much. I was going to get drinks at the bar and I walked past two guys having an intense conversation. One guy says to the other, " Let me just say two things. One: Google does not provide blablablah storage." and I kept walking, so I missed thing 2.

Saturday night there was a CMU fancy-ish event at the Phipps conservatory. There were cupcakes and other foods and drinks, and plants, but the room with the food and drink and music was sadly plant-free. The rest of the conservatory was beautiful -- we thought they could have thrown a few plants in pots in the room with all the food and music.

Sunday, there was some spoons-HH-jcreed songwriting at our place. I made chicken dumpling soup and did some work, with the pleasant addition of a house band. Then we went off to see The Science of Sleep and took along some dessert that deserves its own post. The movie was good, but not as good as I hoped. The director (Michel Gondry) also did "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" which I really loved. Eternal Sunshine was written with Charlie Kaufman, while the movie we saw yesterday was written by Gondry alone. It was pretty clear from the DVD extras (and the movie) that the small cast and small crew of friends were having a fun time making the movie, so I enjoyed watching the animation and colors and visual effects vicariously. (Like: "Oh man, that prop looks like it would have been fun to make.") The actual storytelling left something to be desired, though, and it seems like M. Gondry was just too close to the events in the movie to craft a good story that other people (besides him) could really benefit from. In the extras, he keeps talking about how the office of the protagonist has a hallway here because that's where the hallway was in his old office, or that the set design for the woman's apartment had to be just right, because the woman that the character was based on had such a strong visual style. It was almost painful to watch the "making of" documentary, when he's asking the actress who plays the protagonist's love interest "but, do you think she loves him? Does she love him?" So, in many ways we're watching someone else's piece of therapy. And as long as you can enjoy that, I think it's a movie worth watching.

P.S. - If you act quickly, you can be my 4th friend on Barack Obama's campaign website. All the cool kids are doing it! Being passionate about politics is the new apathy, everybody.

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2.08.2007

guten morgen! schmelzkäsezubereitung!

This is for the crowd at D's tonight:



It's a McDonald's menu from Köln, Germany advertising an American? French? breakfast sandwich with those great German descriptions... schmelzkäsezubereitung? freetranslation.com gives us: Enamel cheese preparation? Mmmm.

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so awesome!
 
i really like the cup with the handle but that sandwich looks awful!
 
I love the tags!

Hug you KC!
 
Here's where I can find you, Kathy!
Thanks for dropping by the Pony and being funny.

That 'Equis' picture is GOLD.

Gold Stay,
-Ponyboy
 
why is it that disgusting food products are much more hilarious when described in german? by the way, did i ever show you the menu that i stole from "the chattanooga grill restaurant" in vienna, with all of the pictures of nasty foods and german descriptions?

mwah!
hphil
 
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2.07.2007

break it down, break it up


Band of the day: the adorable duo "Mates of State"

I wasn't sold on these guys until I saw them play in Chicago awhile ago. They are just full of bouncy energy -- he plays drums, she rocks out on the keyboard, and they both sing with all their little hearts! I love watching a band that is clearly having so much fun. There are many videos on their website. My favorite song with a video is at the bottom for "Gotta Get a Problem." Seeing the two of them singing together, bopping heads and laughing in that video draws a clear picture of what their life at home must be like... or so I think. It's not great background music, but it's awesome sunny day driving music. Hear more, of course, on myspace.

I think that the best video, visually, is this one for "Fraud in the 80's":



Mates of State are touring this month with This American Life. What a great live show!

Non-sensical spam of the day:

The highlights of the second half for me were "Elation" with Simon appearing to give it every remaining bit of emotion he had, and "Julie". The two others did not respond to phone or e-mail messages.

The two others did not respond to phone or e-mail messages. How often have you heard that about a support band?* Overall I don't know if I'm just a miserable old bastard or what but this gig was a big disappointment.

* a "support band" is an opening band in the UK...

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2.06.2007

the fort knox of seeds


This is one of those stories where science fiction becomes science fact. On the island of Svalbard, Norwegians are building an International Seed Bank out of solid rock, to store up to 3 million varieties of plant seeds. Good to know somebody's thinking ahead.

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You know I am glad you put this post-apocalypse(P-A)label in. I was disappointed however to find that this is your ONLY P-A post to date. For the record, I would really be interested in reading more P-A related posts from my favorite particle physicist. Your rubric for individual P-A usefulness for example...
 
Definitions of Rubric on the Web:

* In general a rubric is a scoring guide used in subjective assessments. A rubric implies that a rule defining the criteria of an assessment system is followed in evaluation. A rubric can be an explicit description of performance characteristics corresponding to a point on a rating scale. A scoring rubric makes explicit expected qualities of performance on a rating scale or the definition of a single scoring point on a scale.
 
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2.05.2007

persian posties persist in passing out packages

It's quite cold: Pittsburgh has cancelled school, though a 'cold day' is not really as fun as a 'snow day,' methinks. We were wondering if we'd get mail today, so I was googling for 'rain, sleet, snow' trying to remember the verse about the postal service. Although there are tons of mail-related hits, according to the National Postal Museum, there's no "sleet" in there:

"The phrase which most people associate with the postal office is that which is engraved on the outside of the James A. Farley Post Office building at 8th Avenue & 33rd Street in New York, New York: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

This phrase was a translation by Prof. George H. Palmer, Harvard University, from an ancient Greek work of Herodotus describing the Persian system of mounted postal carriers c. 500 B.C. The inscription was added to the building by William Mitchell Kendall of the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, the building's architects."

Huh. "Gloom of night"? Who knew?

In 2006 some friends were doing a "50 Book Challenge," trying to read 50 books in the year. I got to wondering how many books I had read last year for fun, and I could count 30 or so. I thought this year I'd make a list, so you can find it on amazon: Books of 2007. I'm counting books I finished this year, so a few of them were started last year. I'm not trying to get to a specific number, just keep a record.

I thought I'd make a list of movies, too, here: Movies and TV of 2007. We've been watching a fair amount of TV on DVD, so we're in Arrested Development Season 3 (spoons hasn't seen it yet, though I have), Lost Season 2, and Battlestar Galactica Season 1 (which spoons has seen all of, but I'm trying to catch up).

I'll add these links to the sidebar soon -- I have a bunch of people and places and things to links to...

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Do comic books count?
 
Sure! :)
 
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2.01.2007

snowboarding. today.

great! very sore. tired. :)


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