Archive for November, 2006

Dazzlingly productive

I’m clearly being extremely productive today.  During my snack break, I found the Onion AV Club’s list of
the good romantic comedies of the last 10 years
. Personally, I can say without embarrassment that I enjoyed many of them. For example, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Down with Love, Punch-Drunk Love, and Garden State were very good movies that even a man could enjoy.  I even thought of one excellent romantic comedy that was left out: Intolerable Cruelty.  And of course, I have to mention a good romantic comedy that’s still in the theaters: Stranger than Fiction.

I guess this post didn’t accomplish much besides encouraging you to watch these good movies.  So go see them!  They’re pretty alright!

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Cholesterol

I visited the doctor just for a regular checkup, and because I have a few questions.  (For example, I seem to have tonsil liths–they sound disgusting, but I only cough one up every 6 months or so.)

While I was there, she suggested that I get a cholesterol test done.  So, I did, and the results are good:

Type count (mg/dL)
Cholesterol 130
Triglyceride 64
HDL 41
LDL 76

Apparently, this is all normal, but I would benefit from increasing my HDL level.  The main method is aerobic exercise, so I guess I need to play DDR more often.  Also, eating “good” fats (avocado, peanut, olive) should help with that, too.  Apparently drinking a glass of alcohol every day should help, too, so maybe Kate and I need to get into the habit of having red wine with dinner.

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My pigs

Could there be anything cuter than a pig wiping his nose in a box?
  Guinea pig wiping his nose in a box

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Pet sitter

Damn, pet sitters are hard to find!  I had to call quite a few, but I found one.  Apparently trying to find one only a single week before Thanksgiving is a bad idea.

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Computers + movies

Tonight I watched two movies, staying up way late (as you can tell by the time of this post).  I suppose the lateness is a tribute to the fact that the second one, Firewall, didn’t suck.  It wasn’t great, but I still know someone who’d label it a “crapfest”.  What amused me most was that they tried hard to get the computer bits right, but didn’t quite succeed.  Consider this shot of a terminal:

http://leon.barrettnexus.com/share/firewall-terminal.jpg

Franky, they did pretty well.  It looks like a real Unix terminal, with a suspended process and all.  It has two main flaws.  First, you don’t have to enter a password after suspending a process (that’s the [1]+  stopped  wiretransfer) bit.  It should just drop you back into the shell.  Also, they ALMOST got the mount command right.  They just added a bunch of spaces next to slashes.  It’s as though a Unix-literate person wrote out what the terminal should look like, but when it came time for the movie people to put it up on a screen, they didn’t know where the spaces should go.  For example, running the script should actually look like: /mnt/cdrom/script.

The other movie is called Primer.  I highly recommend it.  It’s a time travel movie that is good, and then gets completely mind-bogglingly convoluted.  I hear that you get a lot out of watching it a second time.  It’s surely the best time-travel movie ever made, not that that’s a great feat.

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It’s quarter-life crisis time!

Damn, life is short.  I’m about halfway through grad school, and the beginning seems lit it was so recently.  My youth is gone!  I have a finite length of time remaining!  When I was a kid, a month was an enormous length of time, but this semester everything has flown by.  And once I’m out of grad school, well, that’s about as far into the future as I’ve ever planned.  Can one have a life after that?  Can I have my own existence, even if I have children?  I’m not sure, and I don’t even know if I want to find out.

I guess I have to remind myself that while “Life begins at 40” is obviously a lie, life certainly doesn’t end at 40, or 30, or any of the other ages at which I look at people and think, “You’re unimaginably old.”  Because, frankly, I’m unimaginably old right now.

Or, I could put faith in Kurzweil’s upcoming Singularity, the point at which technology changes the world past the point we can predict.  Of course, he goes on to make predictions, and one of them is that human death will be essentially eliminated.  (Vernor Vinge is inclined to agree; by the way, I highly recommend his new book, Rainbow’s End.)  I sure hope he’s right.  I think that as a Strong AI proponent, I agree that in the long run, death will be more or less eliminated.  I’m just not convinced it’ll be in my lifetime.  Still, I’d be glad to be wrong.

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Good music

I like Guster’s CD, Keep It Together.  I particularly like the songs “Homecoming King” and “Ramona”.

Now who you gonna wave to?

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A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

I had some entertaining experiences today.

First, I was at a grocery store picking up supplies for Social Hour.  I was waiting in line, when I saw a guy with nothing but 20 pounds of butter in his cart.  ?!

Next, I was driving home after dropping off the supplies on campus.  Next to me, stopped at a light, was a bus (blue; presumably a church or after-school activity bus) of schoolchildren.  I waved at them, and they started making faces at me.  I made faces back, and finally curled my tongue into a clover-leaf shape, as I can.  They recoiled in shock.  Then the light changed, and I waved as they drove away.  It was fun.

Finally, looking out the window, I noticed a squirrel on top of the neighbor’s broken chimney.  It would have been an awesome picture.  I immediately grabbed the camera and tried to get it out of its bag, but the squirrel didn’t stay on the chimney for long.

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Beard

Kate has never supported the idea of me having facial hair, even when all my male relatives had it. I think she’s opposed to me having a scratchy face. I guess it’s hard to argue with that.

As a result, I decided to grow some facial hair while Kate was away. Here’s how my beard looked earlier today:
imag0005

Before Kate left, I told her that I’d have a beard when she came back. (I don’t think she really believed me.) I hatched a funny plot: I would show up at the airport in a fake beard, and then when I pulled it away, there would be a real beard! Ha ha! What great sport!

Unfortunately, I failed to realize one thing: Facial hair doesn’t feel good to grow. It gets itchy. Nothing made me more aware of that than Louis running frantically around the cage because of his itchy mite infestation. (He goes back to the vet on Friday for his second shot.) It was painful to watch, but even worse because I too felt an incurable, though less severe, itch.

So, now I don’t have any beard at all. The joke, while mildly funny, wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile. Neither was the opportunity to look like an adult, or at least a real Unix guy.

P.S. Have you seen beards.org? They’re very pro-beard. They say the itching would go away, and they may be right, but it will take more incentive than a single joke to make me wait it out.

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Ham investment advice

Today I got spam that said, “The first rule of investing: ….”  Frankly, I think the first rule of investing is to not make decisions based on spam.

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