Archive for September, 2004

Mmmm…Journal!

mmmmjournal has finally lost it. Look at his responses here. I mean, he’s always had problems with coherence in arguments, but at last he’s resorted to chanting “Four more years” and using the word “libtards” with great relish (that post isn’t the first place he’s used it). He hasn’t just scraped the bottom of the barrel; he’s broken through it and is now tunneling towards the center of the earth.

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Introspection

I’m getting thoughtful in my old age. Today, laying in bed next to Kate, I felt very grown-up. I felt wistful yet happy, as though I’m in the best moments of my life and yet I can feel that time is passing on. It’s the fall weather, of course. Wind rustling leaves makes me about as calm and contemplative as I ever get, and it was very nice, lying quietly with Kate and enjoying life. It’s a good life, you know. I don’t often make any attempt to control it or anything, but people are looking out for me (not least of them Kate), and I’m careful enough that it’s going very well.

Then, tonight, looking in the mirror, I finally actually paid attention to what I saw. Normally, I just look in the mirror to do something, like for shaving or making sure my hair is straight; I never pay any attention to what I look like. Tonight, I actually looked at myself, and I didn’t look all that familiar. I mean, I knew it was me, but I looked like a real person. (I’m a real boy!) I still found it very hard to gauge whether I look like an adult, but it was like the image in the mirror came alive. (Also, I noticed that I have asymmetric eyebrows. I don’t know much about what looks attractive in guys, but I do know that symmetric is always good.)

Now, that either sounded really stupid or really vain, but it was an interesting moment, finally really noticing the guy in the mirror.

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I finally think I understand what the guy in the mirror is thinking.

The problem is, he keeps looking at me like he knows what I’m thinking.

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Life without wires, and Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to me. Today, I am a man. An old man, that is; at 23, I’m now at the very border of my mid-twenties.

As a gift, Kate bought me a wireless router/access point, and it worked with very little configuration. It has all sorts of fancy services, and perhaps at some point I’ll use them, but for the moment it works well just letting my wireless laptop talk to the preexisting network. I’m getting a quite respectible data rate in the same room, at least. … And now, I’m getting just as good a data rate from the bedroom. I declare the endeavor a success. Basically, this means I can be productive from anywhere in the apartment. I can work from the living room (though of course with the TV on, work will still be impossible) or the bedroom (though with Kate there to distract me, that might not work as well either). In any case, I’m pleased.

Thanks, Kate!

I ought to do some work, like practice or something. I have a rather substantial project due in a week, and a large homework due not long after. Goodbye, cruel internet. (Why is it cruel? Because it’s frequented by people who think that the events of Abu Ghraib were just Iraqis getting what they deserve.)

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New Year

Tonight starts Rosh HaShannah, the Jewish new year. Whee. I plan to celebrate by eating apples and honey and avoiding any sort of organized religion.

Last night, I finished up my work for Cindy. The plus side: I can focus on my work here. The negative side: my work here will consume me!

My research meeting was somewhat depressing. I didn’t do the reading before-hand, which didn’t really handicap me. The problem is that Michael Jordan (yeah, a funny name, ha ha) is more mathematician than computer scientist, so when he can’t solve a problem, he names it. The result of this mathematical mindset is that he likes to refer to other named problems, most of which are rather hard. So now I need to know what a Dirichlet Process is, and that’s only one of many things he mentions. Besides which, I really need to cover some basic probability. My “Probability and Statistics” class was taught by a statistician, and as a result my probabilistic grounding isn’t as firm as it really needs to be.

I need to think hard about a research advisor. It’s one of those critical decisions that will haunt me through the years if I make it wrong, and might haunt me just for making it slowly.

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Politics are depressing

I finally understand how the Holocaust could happen. People are so sheeplike and the people in power have so much control that they can do anything. Cheney could say, “The Jews have WMD,” and the population would be up in arms, with no more proof than we had in Iraq.

Basically, people say such dumb things, and they don’t even seem to care. I’ve conversed with people online who say that the events at Abu Ghraib served the Iraqis right. I’ve heard people endorse Reaganomics and cheer him as one of the best presidents ever. I hear people who think the “Patriot Act” is a good thing.

Actually, let’s talk about naming. The “Patriot Act” removes our freedoms. The “Freedom of Information Act” prevents you from accessing certain information. It’s all doublespeak at its finest. Orwell was so right.

I’m just blathering on without a purpose, but I’m too depressed by it all to have a purpose. I fear that Bush will win, and then he’ll take it as a mandate to be “a war president.” Or he’ll appoint more Supreme Court Justices like Scalia, and then Kate’s assertions that Roe vs Wade will never be overturned will be proved so wrong. Saying anything unpatriotic will become illegal (it’s already taboo; witness Bill Maher or the Dixie Chicks), and people will be pleased with that.

At least we can leave the country. If I get a Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley, other countries will be glad to take me and Kate, so we’ll be able to raise our children somewhere free and safe. Maybe not as safe from terrorists, but at least as safe from conservatives. Let the poor fools have their country.

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Boxjam’s Doodle

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