Too much to take in, too little time:
Friday, Dec. 31
We hosted a make-your own pizza party for new year's eve. Ajit, Wendy, Paul, Dave, and Bill showed up. It was a little hectic getting started, but fun.
Sunday, Dec. 26
The flight back was uneventful. The shuttle ride from the airport, though, was a bit wild--the driver seemed pretty aggressive, especially given the conditions.
Friday, Dec. 24
We did the usual neighborhood luminaria lighting, though got a little bit of a late start.
Everyone we meet makes some comment on the weather in Michigan; apparently there's been some big storm going on in the midwest but, not having paid any attention to the news in the last couple days, they're more informed on the subject than either Sara or I.
At night we went to the Christmas eve service at the Unitarian church. The music was fairly good, and Sara got to see some people she hadn't seen in a while.
Thursday, Dec. 23
We walked around downtown Tempe a little in the afternoon. I got a few more chapters of Les Miserables read.
Wednesday, Dec. 22
We drove about an hour to an arboretum. We walked around there a few hours and had a picnic lunch. After dinner we went to the usual folk music thing in Encanto Park.
Tuesday, Dec. 21
Sara had her orthodontist appointment in the morning. We also took a walk to look at standpipes and a few other local attractions.
Monday, Dec. 20
I shipped off a christmas gift at the little shipping store next door and took care of a few other chores before our ride for the airport came around 9:45. We arrived quite early for our noonish flight, which was a little late, so ended up having a longer-than-usual wait in the airport. I think, by the way, that
sitting here in concourse Cwould work well as lyrics in a country song.
eating nachos with a spork
Four noisy, uncomfortable, uneventful hours later we were in Arizona, where it was something like 70 degrees, a nice change from the single digits of the morning.
After dinner (at Otto's) Sara called Shelley and we hung out with her and a bunch of other high school friends at a sprawling mostly-outdoor bar in Phoenix called "The Monestary". It was significantly cooler by then, but there was hot chocolate and a fireplace.
Saturday, Dec. 18
After juggling, we ate with Ajit and Wendy (sushi on South U., then frozen custard on Main), and did a little unsuccesful christmas shopping.
Sunday, Dec. 12
We went to a senior piano recital at the music school. She played "Rhapsody in Blue", "Gaspard La Nuit", a Mozart sonata, and some fancy Rachmaninoff that I liked though I don't think I'd heard it before. I thought it was all very musical though not flawless. The Gershwin was played with a largish band (smallish orchestra?) and the sound balance didn't always seem quite right.
Saturday, Dec. 11
We hadn't had people over in a long time. So we tried sending out an email to the jugglers on Thursday and assembling materials for pizza. by today I'd talked to most of the people who'd be likely to attend, none of whom could, but it was too late to cancel. Oh well. When 6pm rolled around we had a clean house, plenty of food, and nothing to do, so we sat down for pizza and a movie. (I'd run across Young Frankenstein at the library a few days ago.) Dave did show up later and we played a game. Maybe we'll try something for New Year's Eve.
Thursday, Dec. 8
I've been fooling around with the Project Gutenberg text of Dracula a bit recently; Dracula with some indices. Fairly pointless at the moment.
Saturday, Dec. 4
We flew back to Detroit in the morning.
Friday, Dec. 3
We spent some more time downtown and then went to see Helen perform in the Revels. I think the last time I'd been to the Revels was during high school. Both of us had a pretty good time.
We ate at Nooshi/Oodles Noodles before the show. On the way from there to the auditorium, we ran across a very good technical bookstore whose existance I'd forgotten about. I'd have willingly spent an hour or two there, but we were out of time.
Thursday, Dec. 2
My parents took Sara and I to Charlottesville to see Monticello and the University of Virginia. Both were interesting, but my tolerance for looking at houses and gardens is low.
We got back in time for a late dinner at Tiffin.
We had lunch at home and then went to the Spy Museum. Both the regular exhibit and a special exhibit on the history of terrorism in the United States were pretty good; we could have spent much more time there, but wanted to beat the crowds to Jaleo for dinner before seeing Pericles at the Shakespeare Theater (which was excellent).
Tuesday, Nov. 30
We walked around Brookside gardens for a while, then went to see one of my high school math teachers, which was fun; she's retired now but very active. Later I got to catch up with Darren as well, who came over for dinner.
Saturday, Nov. 27
We spent the day in downtown DC and then met Evan and his girlfriend Christina for dinner at a Lebanese place in the newly developed downtown Silver Spring area.
Thursday, Nov. 25
We were up around 5 to catch a ride to the airport. Once at my folks' place in DC we napped a bit and then had the traditional thanksgiving dinner with my parents and sister.
Wednesday, Nov. 24
It was raining this morning, sleeting by the evening, and when I looked outside around 10 there was a layer of snow on the ground, the first of the year.
Saturday, Nov. 20
Turms out there was some small algebraic geometry conference going on during juggling today, so there was an occasional stream of mathematicians between the colloquim room and the common room. Dror passed by and we ended up having a short but nice talk with him after juggling. Then we went and had lunch at Pizza House.
Sunday, Nov. 14
I had a DVD to return, and some work to do, and somehow I find it easier sometimes to work in a public place with a bunch of strangers around. So I hung out at the library for 5 hours or so and got some work done. They even have a small cafe area there with some vending machines, so you never need to leave any more.
Saturday, Nov. 13
Juggling, then lunch at Cosi's. At around 5pm Cosi's dims the lights, pulls out a couple curtains to make a bit of a tunnel at the entryway, and rolls a stand out to the end of the tunnel where arrivals can be greeted and handed a menu (never noticed menus there before...). So suddenly it's a "restaurant", not a "cafe". Weird.
Went by the library on the way home and watched a somewhat amusing, somewhat frightening documentary about Cane Toads in Queensland.
Friday, Nov. 5
The university security people were sponsoring a free (for people with university ID's) showing of "The Matrix", as a ploy to bring in students and hand them pamphlets about choosing good passwords and whatnot. So, that (preceded by Dosas at Madras Masala) was my birthday entertainment.
Wednesday, Nov. 3
Wow, that was depressing.
Friday, Oct. 15
I'm impressed by www.factcheck.org.
Thursday, Oct. 14
Party for Niels at Peter's.
Friday, Sept. 31
After work we went to the new Japanese restaurant on South University and had some inexpensive Sushi, then went to see Mizoguchi's "The 47 Ronin", parts I and II. But after part I we admitted defeat and left. We had a bit of desert with Ajit and Wendy (who we met in the lobby on our way out) and then went home.
Thursday, Sept. 30
I did my laundry and worked from home today. In the afternoon I actually got around to calling my senators to complain about S. 2560 (more at www.savethe.org).
Wednesday, Sept. 29
We got back a little later than usual last night, and I felt kind of wiped out today; I didn't get a lot done.
Tuesday, Sept. 28
Today was Marc-the-visiting-researcher-from-Germany's last day before going home, so we went to juggling and then went out to Grizzly Peak with him and Dave.
I managed my first run of four continuous Alberts last week, so have been continuing to obsess over them. One possibly helpful tip: do a round or two of 3-count to get the basic throw aimed right and then go straight into 1-count.
Saturday, Sept. 18
Juggled, went to newly-opened Noodles & Co., took a long route home, watched "School of Rock" over dinner.
Friday, Sept. 17
Lunch buffet at Shalimar with Andy, Trond, and Brian.
Sara and I met at Borders at 6 and then walked to the Broadway Bridge, where they were holding an opening ceremony (though it'd actually been open for a few weeks). Food, music, and some mercifully short speeches.
Saturday, Sept. 11
Grocery shopping at Hiller's with Sara in the morning, then a shower, then an hour or two a juggling--my continuous Alberts still aren't quite there yet, I wasn't getting 3 in a row more than once every 8 or 10 tries--then home.
Friday, Sept. 10
A two-Eastern-Accents-day. I went there for a pleasant lunch of be-bim-bop with Trond, then stopped by later for a milkshake to slurp on my walk home.
Saturday, Sept. 4
After juggling we had lunch at Panchero's and then spent entirely too long in a video store trying to decide on a movie to watch at Dave's place. We ended up with "Escanaba in da Moonlight", which was fun. After seeing that and a couple juggling videos, on top of the prolonged video argument, we were a bit strung out; so we were grateful when Dave had the idea of stopping by Big Boy for a late-night breakfast along the way to our place.
Sunday, August 22
We put a shelf in place that we'd salvaged from outside the dumpster (it's move-out time here...). After that bit of organization, I was gripped by a sort of cleaning frenzy and went through a bunch of drawers and through out some stuff.
Sara picked up a T.V. at a garage sale a couple weeks ago, and we borrowed an antenna from Dave (reception around here is terrible). So we've been watching a fair amount of the Olympics, thought it's still pretty fuzzy much of the time.
Tuesday, August 3
It was on the drive back that I really got bored. I want to figure out the train schedules so I can at least get some reading done on the way....
Somehow I got confused and ended up going through Windsor/Detroit instead of Sarnia/Port Huron, but it took about the same time in any case.
As long as I still had the car for another hour I figured I'd go do some grocery shopping, so I got a bunch of nonperishables at Busch's before turning in the car.
Monday, August 2
We mostly stayed in today, played a couple games of Scrabble (I lost to both Helen and Ruth, not surprisingly). I had a nice talk with Ruth about good science fiction we'd read, but forgot, unfortunately, to write anything down.
Sunday, August 1
We wandered around Guelph, which was picturesque, and looked at the folk music festival that was going on, but it wasn't too interesting. Dinner at Ruth's was great. I'd never seen her house before. A very nice place; too bad she's selling, so I probably won't see it again.
Saturday, July 31
Nicole, Azalea, Graham, and I had breakfast at a local greasy spoon and then walked around London a bit. Afterwards, Graham also walked with me to his office and back.
I took two-lane rural roads towards Waterloo until I got lost, and then followed signs to the freeway. After getting succesfully to downtown Waterloo I got confused again and ended up having to consult a map that Graham had thoughtfully lent me.
We took a quick walk to see what was going on at a festival a few blocks away (sounded interesting from a distance, turned out to be fairly lame). On the way we saw a few rabbits that they told me were descended from a couple of accidentally released pets. Their lineage was pretty clear--e.g. one was a fuzzy, floppy-eared, pure black-colored thing with absolutely no fear of humans--it was so intent on its munching on the lawn in the park we walked by me that it probably would have happily let me pet it.
Then Helen had a nice meal for us, and then we saw a Buster Keaton movie with live organ accompaniment. The movie was "Seven Chances", which culminated in an extended chase involving hundreds of angry brides.
Friday, July 30
I picked up a rental car at 2pm and set out for London. This was the first time in several years that I'd actually sat in the driver's seat of a car, so I was a bit tense starting out, and mystified about some small things like how the foot-operated parking brake worked.
At around mile 130 I figured out how to use the cruise control, which helped.
My only difficulty came in London, where I got a little lost at the end, due, it turned out, to my mistaking "Wellington" on a street sign for "William".
Graham made a lovely meal mainly out of stuff from their garden. We talked a lot and made faces at Azalea.
Monday, July 26
Back to Ann Arbor.
Sunday, July 25
I spent a little time in the art museum this afternoon, then spent much of the afternoon sitting on a park bench reading "Paul en Appartement", and watching boats go up and down the locks.
Saturday, July 24
The OLS keynote was interesting, though perhaps Andrew Morton should have someone else deliver his speeches for him.... He was a little unexpressive and hard to understand.
The party afterwards fun and I got a chance to meet a few more people. Certainly a great improvement over the same event last year, when I was just getting the first signals of a nasty oncoming flu.
Thursday, July 22
Second day of OLS. In the afternoon I went to dinner with a bunch of NFS people. Afterwards Steve, Olaf, Chuck, and I hung around the place for another hour or two.
For the second time I noticed a pair of street performers outside--looked like some poi swinging and a bunch of fire breathing stuff. They attracted big crowds; during dinner there were also people hanging out of the windows of the pub watching the show--we were on the second floor, overlooking their spot. It looked like mostly pretty standard material.
Wednesday, July 21
First day of OLS; I gave my talk, seemed to go basically OK, though not to a huge audience and there was one embarassing glitch when my privacy code didn't work. Argh.
Lunch at the lame pub (the Elephant and Castle) in the mall, which left me not really hungry enough for a real meal, so I nibbled on groceries (cherries, nuts, a banana, one carrot juice), picked up a towel at Sears, then went to the opening reception. As last year, there was a speaker that people didn't really want to pay attention to; they should've figured out by now not to schedule a long speech then. Jim Munroe, I think--a science fiction writer with some mildly interesting ideas.
Tuesday, July 20
I flew to Ottawa today, and took the bus downtown; by that time it was still only noon or 1, so I was at a bit of a loss for what to do. The OLS people seemed amused that I would try to register so early and told me to come back later. I ended up walking around a lot.
Later at the youth hostel I met another OLS person--probably the only other one staying at the hostel--and had a nice conversation. He also turned out to be one of my roommates--err, excuse me, cellmates.
The hostel is primitive but kind of cute--in any case I don't intend to do much more than sleep there. Its origins as a jail are certainly apparent.
Thursday, July 15
I gave a version of my OLS talk for lugwash. I felt like I was mostly winging it, but it didn't go as terribly as I'd feared. People seemed to like actually being given the feeling that they could watch things working under the hood.
Tuesday, July 13
Sara and I went to the book group tonight for the discussion of "The Wanting Seed." I hadn't really liked it that much, and the discussion didn't change my mind.
Monday, July 5
I'd planned to go to work today and/or get a bunch done, but ended up taking the day off. Well, OK, it was a holiday.
Sunday, July 4
I juggled in the parade in the morning, with Dave, Noe, Lena, Bill C., and Steve K. Reasonably fun.
The weather was threatening, but cleared up just enough in time for a (slightly abbreviated) George Bedard and the Kingpins set. Fun as usual, but we didn't stay for the movie this time--we'd seen it (Seabiscuit) before, and hadn't found it that exciting.
Friday, July 2
Tonight at ToP was Dev Singh, Madcat and Kane, and The Sun Messengers. Dev Singh had pleasantly surprised us last year, and he was good again this year. Madcat and Kane, though I admit they're good at what they do, always bore me to tears, and Sara too apparently; so we wandered off for their segment.
The Sun Messengers were enormous fun as always. "Big Will" was back, but we weren't sure till they told us--he'd been in the hospital and missed the concert last year, and must have been a fraction of his previous weight this year. Sara was disappointed because he just wasn't as much fun too watch, but it must be better for his health....
Thursday, July 1
FUBAR was the first band tonight. They were great. And Dick Siegel, afterwards, was also excellent. Remembering that he had a lot of lyrics and that I'd sometimes missed them in the past, I made a point of getting a seat right at the front, and was glad I did.
Near the end he sang something rather biting and political called "Fighting for King George", for which he got a long standing ovation and a lot of CD sales--from me too--it was only $6 (as he made a point of mentioning after the ovation...) and seemed an appropriate gift for my family.
Tuesday, June 29
Natalie McMaster, in the Power Center, was aggressive and energetic as expected. A bit too much so--the ballads came as great reliefs. And sometimes it all seemed overly calculated. But I enjoyed myself.
"School of Rock", which had already started outside by the time I got there, seemed an appropriate accompaniment. It was very popular, so I ended up standing in the back, but after sitting down for a concert for a couple hours I guess this didn't bother me.
Monday, June 28
I watched Dick Wagners set--one does sometimes wish he'd find someone else to do the singing, but I always enjoy his band. I'm fond of those endless lyrical guitar solos, though I know it's not everyone's favorite thing.
Sunday, June 27
"The Elevations" played a very enthusiastic set of Motown and stuff, and then it was "Finding Nemo", which was predictable enough for Disney (a son and his father getting separated and having adventures finding each other, complete with heavy-handed moral about the importance of parents granting their childrens' independence), but of course the various fishy characters were well done.
I also watched the copy of a Truffaut movie ("Shoot the Piano Player") I'd rented from Liberty Street the day before. I had some idea I'd need entertainment without Sara at home.
Saturday, June 26
Sara got up very early in the morning to set out for Colorado Springs for her conference.
The first band at Top of the Park that afternoon was "Home From Work", which pleasantly suprised me. I looked at the schedule, decided that might be about as good as it would get, then went home.
Tuesday, June 22
After juggling, we went to see "The Iron Giant".
Sunday, June 20
Saw Popovich's "Comedy and Pet Theater". Kind of hokey, but very good at the same time. Afterwards there was "Spirited Away". I was too tired to properly appreciate it (and have seen it at least twice before), plus there was a guy mumbling conspiracy theories to himself behind us, so we quit and went home at midnight.
Saturday, June 19
We went to the mall and used up a Sears gift certificate.
Thursday, June 17
I finished "The Confusion". It was OK.
I'd volunteered to give a talk on NFS to the Washtenaw Linux User's Group, but got bumped by someone else--a UM grad who'd gone off to work at Helix. So I went for that; reasonably fun. I took the bus and then got a ride back with someone.
Tuesday, June 15
We saw "A Mighty Wind" at Top of the Park. It was good, but perhaps even more painful to watch than their other stuff. I can't really say I enjoyed it that much.
Monday, June 14
I went to meet Sara at Top of the Park, but it was raining and we didn't stay.
Sunday, June 13
The movie tonight was "Pirates of the Carribean". I'd refused to see it in the theaters on general principles (a movie derived from a Disney amusement park ride?) But, OK, I had to admit it was fun.
Saturday, June 12
Went to breakfast at the Northwood Grill with Paul. I went home, put the shelves together, and worked on getting a new computer set up. Later I met Sara and some jugglers at Top of the Park, to watch Jeremy Kittel and Bugs Beddow. I also went into the Power Center for a couple hours to see Cirque Eloize, which was very good.
Friday, June 11
Paul was in town for business, and was nice enough to take us to Meijer where we picked up some cheap metal shelves for our closet. Then we watched a little bit of Top of the Park, which started tonight.
Monday, June 7
The NFSv4 "Bakeathon" started at CITI today; a couple big crates had arrived from a few of the attending companies at the end of last week--why they can't figure out some way to use laptops, I don't know--and the people started arriving this morning.
Saturday, June 5
I stayed home and got a new computer ("pickle") put together. By late afternoon, when Sara called to ask if I wanted to go see a movie with some juggling people, I was happy for any excuse to get out. So we saw a late showing of the new Harry Potter movie. It was a little better than the first two.
Saturday, May 22
I played DDR for the first time at Ajit's. Fun, but tired out my legs fast.
Sunday, May 16
Sara, Paul, and I met Dave for breakfast at Zola. The food was good, but the room was extremely noisy--it was a strain to hear each other across the table.
I hung out at the undergraduate library for a few hours and got some work done, and then went down to the diag to juggle a bit.
Saturday, May 15
The second day of Cascadia was better attended; it still seemed less to me, but Dave later said it was about par.
I guess I had unfairly low expectations for the show at night, given the little time Josh and co. had to put it together. But it turned out fine. The middle-school auditorium was about the right size for it, enough people showed up to cover the expenses, and there was a nice set of acts, better than many festival shows; though there were a lot of them, so by the end I was a little tired. There was a pretty good variety, which helped.
Friday, May 14
Fred gave me a lift to Cascadia. This was the first night, and the second year we'd started on Friday evening. There weren't really a lot of people this time.
Saturday, May 8
Since Wednesday night, I've been obsessing over putting together a crossword puzzle for Cascadia. It's a lot like doing a crossword. The end result isn't very pretty--it doesn't have the kind of symmetry these things usually have, and there are places where I worked myself into a corner and ended up with some dubious answers (did you know that "Sion" is an alternate spelling for "Zion"? Me neither...), but it was fun.
I wonder what sort of software people use for this? I found a reasonably nice LaTeX package to do the formatting, but other than that just relied on a dictionary, google, and grep on /usr/share/dict/words.
Anyway, Dave ran through it after juggling and seemed to have a good time.
After that we tried to go to the Jamaican Jerk Pit, but after they tried to impose some bizarre rule about not taking backpacks with you into the bathroom, we went to T.K. Wu's on Liberty instead. We had low expectations, but it turned out to be pretty good.
Friday, May 7
I actually like these Sandman books a lot more than I remembered.
Wednesday, May 5
I'd given up on getting ahold of copies of the books we're discussing at next week's book group meeting; the first two Sandman collections at Borders would have come to something like $50 together, and from my memory of having read them a couple years ago, I didn't think I liked them that much.
But some kind soul (I suspect I know who, in fact...) returned the library's copies, so I was able to check them out today.
Dave came over after work and we went over some juggling festival stuff. Then he and Sara and I went out for dinner at Big Boy, where I got a Farmer's Omelette. Breakfast is the best.
Fooling around on the placemat, I noticed with Dave's help that you could fit together four names of juggling duos into a square, in a way that might make a nice start for a crossword puzzle.
Saturday, May 1
We went by juggling for a little while, then did some work in Sara's office. At night we watched "Amour en Fuite", which was fun, having seen Baisers Volés just last week.
Saturday, April 24
The Smithees. Not the best year ever (nothing to match the Ninjas on rollerblades of previous years), but still fun.
Thursday, April 15
We met Graham (and, briefly, Jean) at the Brown Jug, then went for dinner at Grizzly Peak.
Wednesday, April 14
Graham came in from out of town and we had a nice dinner with him at Madras Masala.
Tuesday, April 13
We discussed "Human Croquet" with the book group. Excellent book, though I know I missed a lot (we all did, probably).
Saturday, April 10
I'd pessimistically set aside the whole weekend for taxes, but they turned out to be very easy, so I finished in the afternoon.
That out of the way, we went with Paul and other jugglers to see Hellboy. Which was alright, but not great.
Sunday, April 4
It looks like a fairly clear day out, with no evidence of last night's snow, but it's still cold. Or so I'm told; I have no intention of setting foot outside until tommorow.
Saturday, April 3
At 7 Sara and I met downtown to eat dinner and then see a show Josh and Wayne were putting on called "Secret Agents of Comedy". It turned out to be a series of 3 shows: an entertaining set of short songs from a guitarist, bassist, and harmonica player calling themselves "Stchooie's Corner", some stand-up comedy from Wayne, and then Josh's juggling show, all prefaced by a brief spy-themed introduction. Josh's technical routines have some great physical comedy and fit with the music very cleverly. The last trick was the sort of shaggy-dog-story big finale--more about the anticipation than the trick--that a lot of buskers seem to use. Josh did a fine version of it, but I've never liked the genre.
I'd never seen Wayne do his thing. It was very good natured, silly, absurdist fun.
It was, by standards of the season, fairly warm and sunny this morning and early afternoon--people were walking around in t-shirts. By the time we left the show, not only was a cold and rainy, but the rain was actually turning to snow.
Thursday, April 2
I've been having a great time with Winning Ways. I've made it up to the discussion of thermographs--I'd always been intensely curious about what the heck those diagrams can mean. What a fun book. Lots of typos, though; you'd think they could have fixed those for the new edition.
Monday, March 29
After what must have been a half-dozen people absolutely insisting we had to go see "Les Triplets de Belleville", we finally decided to meet at the Jamaican Jerk Pit (still pretty good) and then go to the 7:15 showing at the State. The state just seems weirder and more decrepit everytime I go there--whatever is going to happen to that place? Half the seats seemed to have big splits with the stuffing coming out.
Anyway, what a movie. I wonder if Chomet's comics are as good?
Saturday, March 27
I went on a minor math-book-buying spree at Borders on the way back from juggling:
I admit the chance that I'll actually read more than a chapter of all of these is small. And that I already have a few dozen such books that I could be reading instead. Sigh. "Winning Ways", at least, I think I'll have a good time with.
Wednesday, March 24
Had drinks at Grizzly Peak and then dinner at Gratzi, with Trond, Andy, Andy's wife, and (briefly) Jim, to celebrate Trond's birthday. Well, the drinks were limited in my case since I didn't particularly feel like beer while recovering from my cold.
Tuesday, March 23
Stayed home yesterday and today. I actually got some work done yesterday, but today I just felt stuffed up, stupid, and easily distracted. I should have stayed in bed and read a book....
Saturday, March 20
I came down with a cold today. But first we managed a trip to the Kiwanis, to dispose of some clothes and pick up some more--luckily there was a net loss in volume--and then a brief stop at juggling. I wasn't really enthusiastic about the proposal of the "Jamaican Jerk Pit" on Thayer for lunch afterwards, but it turned out to be very good; I look forward to going back.
Friday, March 19
I was going to let the Ornette Coleman concert go by, but fortunately Paul emailed me Monday to ask if I was going, and that shook me out of my complacency.
Even from seats in the second balcony--tickets weren't cheap--it was a wonderful concert. Besides Ornette Coleman, on sax with occasional trumpet and very occasional violin, there was his son Denardo on drums and two bassists, Tony Falanga and Greg Cohen. I only know two of his albums--The Shape of Jazz to Come, and Tone Diailing. The music at this concert was very recongizeably in the same style--very melodic, but with each musician usually playing harmonies and rhythms that sounded very independent.
A disproportianate number of the concerts Sara and I have been to in Ann Arbor have ended with standed ovations; which makes you wonder what would happen at a *really* exceptional concert. The answer apparently is that there are three standing ovations (one before it's even begun), and a round of happy birthday.... (It was Ornette Coleman's 74th today.)
Thursday, March 18
Sara and I got some pizza after work and then went to the 7 o'clock Ann Arbor Film Festival showing. The highlight was a 40-minute documentary about the Mumbai train system, which the narrator claimed to carry seven million people a day, in a city of 15 million. The most memorable scene was of a train arriving at a station and discharging passengers; they poured out in waves that seemed to continue long past when you were sure the train should have been exhausted, but unsurprising given previous scenes of people clinging to people clinging to the outside of trains when they couldn't quite squeeze in the doors any more.
There was a great deal of fuss made in the movie about the deaths and the safety problems, though if you paid attention to the numbers--a few thousand deaths a year on a system with a daily ridership of 7 million?--I think you'd have to conclude that they probably weren't that different than the numbers for the predominating commute mode in the U.S....
"Worst Case Scenario", an odd little film watching pedestrians and vehicles on a Viennese street corner, and "Careless Reef: Marsa Abu Glawa", a music video featuring fish, were also highlights.
Wednesday, March 17
For once, my strategy of going to pricewatch and buying the absolute cheapest item in a given category seems to have let me down. This DVD drive (a Samsung SD-612S, according to dmesg), seems to perform terribly on some disks, rendering jerky and unwatchable disks that are fine on e.g. the firewire DVD drive attached to my laptop.
Anyway, this is why tonight we ended up watching an episode of the Simpsons (the library seems to have the complete collection) with the subtitles on and the sound turned all the way down--the stuttering sound was just too painful.
Monday, March 15
For my lunches I like to buy food at small groceries or convenience stores near work--cheaper than eating out every day, and easier than packing a lunch every morning. So today I made my semi-regular shopping trip to White Market. Some menu items:
Saturday, March 13
Rode my bike a few miles for the first time in a while, to Wendy's place, where we played Wizard and Bacari.
Tuesday, March 9
I finished Mike Resnick's "Kirinyaga" for the book group, which met tonight. It was OK, but I didn't find it that interesting. I should also admit that I didn't finish it though; I skipped a few chapters in the middle section, more a short-story anthology than a novel.
Monday, March 8
Sara and I have been reading "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" alloud for the past few months. It's a thick book. Unfortunately the library finally seems to want it back next week, so we're trying to read faster....
Sunday, March 7
I mostly stayed home and worked this weekend.
Wednesday, March 3
I got to hear what I think is one of my favorite pieces of music for only the second time in Rackham auditorium, Peter Klausmeyer's "Teddy Bear's Picnic", a surprising sequence of vaguely digestive sounds that I've found hilarious on both hearings. It depends heavily on precisely locating each sound, so much so that even if I could find a recording of it I think having only stereo equipment I'd never be able to enjoy it as much.
I never understood the point of having more than two tracks until I heard some of the wild things the people at the electronic music studio can do with quadraphonic sound.
It was a long concert with a lot of another neat stuff--some live, some recorded, some a mixture--but it was a little too much all at once for me, so I found myself drifting off during some of it.
Monday, March 1
A shuttle, a long plane ride, and a taxi got us home.
Sunday, Feb. 29
We spent the morning walking around Golden Gate Park with Sara's Aunt and Uncle. Afterwards we had a lunch of take-out (including some tasty sweet strawberry drinks) from an extremely busy local mexican place, and chatted for a while. Bruce showed us a collage that was canabilized digitally from an older collage of his.
Sara enthused about the downtown library we'd visited yesterday, but Bruce and Jean complained that the impressive architecture and cafe and such had come at some expense to the collection, large portions of which had been discarded before the move to the current building.
Saturday, Feb. 28
San Francisco's public transportation, while effective, seems immensely complicated. There are plenty of websites that will attempt to calculate an itenerary for you given times, endpoints, and other such requirements, but I'm uncomfortable not understanding the system as a whole: what happens if I miss a bus, or to change the order I want to visit places in? So the first thing we did today was track down a book of maps and timetables.
It turns out there is no such thing, but for two dollars we were able to get an impressively intricate map of the muni system, which seems to be the most complex of the several available systems. The map also included enough frequency information to compensate somewhat for the lack of actual timetables.
Thus armed, we succesfully made a long bus ride to the Cliff House, only to discover that the attraction that Sara had come to see, the Camera Obscura, was closed for renovation, and that the only other thing there that had sounded remotely interesting, the Musée Mechanique, had been moved. Sara had a good time walking on the beach, at least, before we took the bus back downtown. Continuing our plan to visit as many public libraries as we can, we had a quick lunch in the main library's cafe and then walked it around for a bit.
We then walked up Market Street to the Ferry Building, where we were meeting my high school friend Tim and his wife and very young baby. We walked down the waterfront a while, had a little lunch, and stumbled across the temporary location of the Musée Mechanique, an intriguing collection of antique coin-operated amusements, before running off to our next rendez-vous with our mutual college friend Cary, who we hadn't seen since graduation.
We met Cary at City Lights then had a pleasant dinner with him at The Stinking Rose.
Friday, Feb. 27, 2004
We took the Bart to Sara's Aunt and Uncle Jean and Bruce's house, where we also met her cousin Robert, his wife, and their not-quite-2-year-old kid. While Bruce took his afternoon nap the rest of us had a nice walk in Muir Woods. We also happened across our juggling friend Noe there; since I saw him first, I thought it would be amusing to walk up and say "Noe! We've been looking for you everywhere!"
We picked up Bruce and had a good dinner at a Thai restaurant. After Robert and family had left, Bruce showed us around their basement--both Bruce and Jean are artists and have a lot of interesting work lying around.
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004
I didn't feel up to more of Connectathon, so we packed up and visited the public library and the San Jose art museum (very fun) until checkout at noon, when we collected our luggage from the hotel.
One DASH, one caltrain, one muni metro, and one muni bus later, we were at the Green Tortoise youth hostel. They asked us if we'd rather be in their newly renovated "annex" on Bartol, a block or two along and a half-block up from Broadway. Our room there did indeed turn out to be very nice; small, but large windows on two walls giving nice views of the city.
Wednesday, Feb. 25
I wasn't sure I'd be able to eat anything for a week after last night, but actually I felt almost completely normal (except for not getting more than a few hours sleep).
Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004
Took in a large quantity of excellent sashimi and sake with Andy, Sara, Trond, and Mike E.
Monday, Feb. 23, 2004
Despite a 3-hour public-transport marathon to get there, Sara's visit to a potential postdoc lab seemed to go pretty well.
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004
Sara was up till 2ish last night doing last-minute packing. I worked on trying to get a reasonable kerberos testing setup working on my laptop. For some reason the kdc refuses to listen to the loopback interface. Why? Why? Anyway that took only a minor patch and a bunch of tinkering, and with that working I was able to do a little more hacking on the plane today and get krb5i working on our NFSv4 server.
We flew into SFO and took BART and CalTrain to San Jose, then took a little free shuttle ("DASH") to the hotel.
It was still only around two, and Connectathon didn't start till the next day. The DASH driver had pointed out the San Jose Public Library, so we figured we take a look around it. We had sandwiches at the café there and poked around for a while. It turns out to serve both as the public library and as San Jose University's library. We decided we should make a point of visiting public libraries wherever we travelled from then on, having also had a good time seeing the library in Phoenix.
Saturday, Feb. 14, 2004
My alberts were a little better than usual at juggling today.
Afterwards we had a nice meal at Sushi.come. Well, I liked it anyway--I'm not sure about the others. I ended up getting some of their food, in fact.
Then Sara and I had a nice dinner at home and watched a few outtakes from last night's movie.
Friday, Feb. 13, 2004
We watched "Shanghai Knights", having enjoyed Shanghai Noon at Top of the Park last year. It's very silly. I wish they didn't try to set it in England. The fight scenes are wonderful, though.
Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2004
I finished "The Crying of Lot 49" in the last hour before the book group meeting, while waiting for compiles. Like Neal Stephenson, Pynchon overflows with ideas and jokes, but I'm skeptical about attempts to construct any coherent picture of the book as a whole.
Sunday, Feb. 8, 2004
The due date was looming, so I finally finished "Quicksilver". The title is used so many times throughout the text in such (to me) odd ways, that I found myself wondering whether if I looked at the locations carefully I'd discover some sort of stegonography.
Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004
Today's juggling discoveries:
I tried to do some hacking after juggling but didn't feel terribly motivated. Much later at night having a nice dinner and some bug reports from Andrew Morton to motivate me, I got some more done.
I've been fooling around with sfront, trying to see what sort of funny sounds I can make. It seems similar to csound. It's fun.
Friday, Feb. 6, 2004
Sara and I met at Sushi.come for dinner at 7 and then saw the concert band in Hill afterwards. Both dinner and the concert were a great success.
Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2004
The alberts just weren't working out at all today.
James showed up at juggling for the first time in ages.
Monday, Feb. 2, 2004
My legs were increasingly sore today. In the morning it felt like a nice reminder I'd exercised the day before. By the night, when I missed by bus and decided to walk home, it didn't seem so nice.
Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004
Dave and Sara and I met for breakfast at Café Marie's, then went to the Huron Hills Ski Center (a golf course when it's not covered in snow), rented some cross-country skis, and played around for a couple hours. So it's not the most exciting place to ski, but it was still reasonably fun, for me at least--Sara and Dave got tired pretty fast.
I watched a version of "Turandot" at night, thanks again to the Ann Arbor Public Library. Glorious and completely ludicrous at the same time.
Saturday, Jan. 31, 2004
No real progress with the alberts at juggling today, but Ben, Noe and I did manage some respectable attempts at 10 and 11 club dropback lines, which I don't think I've had as much success with before.
Sara and I watched "Office Space" (from the library's dvd collection) over dinner. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, 10 years later. I didn't see much in it, though there were some funny bits. Maybe it's just that I don't actually hate my job.
Friday, Jan. 30, 2004
My laptop now appears to be running reasonably well under linux 2.6.1, with nfsv4. These kinds of things excite me more than most people. The only annoyance is my inability so far to get wireless working.
Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004
I'm off to Connectathon in february, and Sara's coming too, so we're going to have to think of how to entertain ourselves for a week and a half in San Jose and San Francisco. Sara especially, since I'll be at work all day for the first week.
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2004
I got my usual late start at work, stayed till a little after 7, then went to juggling. My continuous alberts suddenly feel almost there. Which, in my experience, means that it'll be at least another year before I'm even close.
Saturday, Jan. 24, 2004
I walked to East Hall for juggling by way of the trail that leads from the Baits parking lot down through the woods to Island Park. Snow was covering everything and the sun was out.
At night Sara and I played "Settler's of Catan" with Fred, Deanna, Dave, and Paul. A little long, but fun.
I finally finished Queneau's "Zazie dans le Metro", which I've been reading in bits and pieces, lately mostly on the bus. I thought it was great fun; I look forward to rereading it someday when my French is better since there seemed to be a lot of stuff I missed.
Friday, Jan. 23, 2004
Well, the weather here is never boring. It's not quite as cold as yesterday, but it's been snowing all day. The cars are slowing down, and the new snow softens the difference between sidewalk and street a little.
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004
Tonight and yesterday we watched "A la folie... pas du tout" ("He Love Me, He Loves Me Not"). The marketing is a bit insulting to the movie, it seems to me: to read the jacket you'd think it was a romantic comedy--they're clearly trying to sell it to people who liked Audrey Tautou in "Amélie". In reality it's something quite a bit creepier, but still pretty good, so why couldn't they just come out and say that? Oh well.
I took the bus today, but the little bit I was outdoors seemed even more bitterly cold than the last few days.
Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2004
Rode my bike in to work this morning, something I haven't done for a while--I've mostly been relying on the bus. My fingers and toes got very cold; if I had any more than a couple miles to go, I'd need some more clothing.
Donuts at citi hasn't been so exciting lately. We need to find some way to make it less boring.
My request for "The Crying of Lot 49", next month's book group book, came in today. I have reading to do!
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2004
I finished watching Godard's "Vivre sa vie". Good fun.
Monday, Jan. 19, 2004
Sara and I watched the first half of Godard's "Vivre sa vie".
Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004
The power went out around 4; so rather than sit around in the dark, we saw TILT and had a late breakfast at Big Boy.
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2004
I managed to finish "His Master's Voice" in time for the evening's book group meeting. This is Stanislaw Lem's version of the first contact story, told from the point of view of a bright, but also quite self-important, academic, one of a group working on a secret government project studying a mysterious message from space.
The hold I had on Neal Stephenson's "Quicksilver" finally came in today, so now I have another 900 pages or so of reading to do.
Sunday, Jan. 11, 2004
We watched the second Ranma 1/2 movie, "Nihao My Concubine". OK, but not as funny to me as the first TV episodes.
I'm trying to get through Lem's "His Master's Voice" in time for a book group meeting tuesday. Alas, it's not a good book to read in a hurry.