In May 2005 I stopped keeping my journal here and moved it here instead. Who knows why.
Saturday, May 21
I experimented with Drupal a little in the morning, but couldn't quite figure out what I'd use it for.
We took the bus to the diag in time for a few minutes of juggling, then went to an odd self-serve drink place in Nickel's Arcade. I was mildly optimistic about the frozen drinks, which just turned out to be overly sweet sodas in a less-convenient-to-drink form.
Bill gave us a lift home and dropped off some of his home brewing equipment for Sara to experiment with.
Friday, May 20
Around 6 Trond and I met Sara at Dominicks. I had memories of pleasant evenings in their backyard, but those must not have been on Fridays. Tonight the lines were long, tables were scarce, noise levels were making conversation hard. Maybe we should try a Thursday next time....
Andy and his wife showed up, and then Chuck and his girlfriend. After Andy and his wife left, the rest of us went to Cottage Inn for dinner.
Tuesday, May 17
I finally finished watching "La Règle du Jeu", and liked it a lot after all, although the mistaken identity at the end seems like an overly artificial plot device.
Sunday, May 15
Paul, Sara, and I met Ajit and Wendy in the morning and went to the Northside Grill for breakfast. It was kind of crowded. The food was good, but maybe next time we should go for the cloverleaf--cheaper and probably not as crowded.
The weather didn't seem friendly enough for juggling on the diag, so we spent a few more hours on World Wide Sport's back field.
Afterwards we had pizza at Cottage Inn.
Having run across a couple odd juggling trick ideas that I don't want to forget, I decided I should keep a list.
Saturday, May 14
Paul, Sara and I had some bagels in the morning, then went to the juggling festival.
I won a baseball bat-shaped pen at the packing-peanut juggling endurance contest. The other games were all fun too, I thought. I also played a lot more combat than I think I have at one sitting before.
My palms were a bit bruised and my feet were sore by the end of the day. I think I should give up on the Airflites and get some new shoes.
There was a show for the second time, at Tappan middle school again. Evan Bose's bounce-juggling routine was a highlight, with some wonderful combination tricks and transitions, and nice choreography. With less drops it would have been magical.... A passing routine by a group calling themselves "Entropy" was also excellent, and very technical, but also quite droppy. And Dave and some others did a couple short bits of sketch comedy that were funny. Steve Kime did a nice job of MC'ing. Sem and Teresa did the chair-balancing act. They have a tendency to deliver their lines in kind of an off-hand way that makes them easy to miss. They're funny, but in a way that's easy to miss. And still I'd rather see their unicycle routine, even if it's the same one I've seen before.
Anyway, the show ended up with a nice mixture of stuff.
Afterwards, we went to the Mongolian Barbeque--in 11 years in Ann Arbor, I think it was the first time Sara or I had actually set foot in the place. We weren't really hungry by that point, though, so just got drinks and chatted with people.
Friday, May 13
Tonight was the start of the juggling festival. I thought about it for a while, but decided I didn't really want to go. I usually get a little burned out after a day or two anyway.
I started an "Arsène Lupin" book, partly just out of curiosity about the connection with the manga character which, based on his name ("Lupin III") must be intended to be his grandson. The original guy so far seems to be a bit like Sherlock Holmes or Monte Cristo--endowed with a sort of superpowers (though we're lead to believe they're all just extremely smart, in practice they may as well be supernatural), and a bit opaque--we see him from the outside (so far the narrator hasn't admitted he actually *is* the same character--like Monte Cristo, he's under a pseudonym), and don't get a lot of clues to his psychology.
I stayed up to wait for Paul to get in from the juggling festival, and watched some more of "La Regle du Jeu." After watching the first half hour or so the other week I'd thought I might not continue. But it's growing on me.
I also re-watched "Alphaville" recently. I still think it's nifty. And the characters talk deliberately enough that I can usually understand them....
Tuesday, May 10
We went to the book group meeting tonight to discuss Matt Ruff's Sewer, Gas, and Electric. I thought it was pretty funny, but didn't get as much out of it as some people seemed to.
Sunday, May 8
We took the long bus ride out to Carpenter Road to see Hitchhiker's. It had some fun stuff in it, but I didn't actually find it very funny. Maybe it's just that I've heard so many of those jokes before, I'm bored by them. But I didn't really find the new stuff that funny either.
The vogons were excellent, though. And Marvin was pretty expressive for a guy in a robot costume.
Saturday, May 7
After juggling we planned to meet at the movie theater in Briarwood to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But when we got there it was dark, the doors were padlocked, and a sign said it was "temporarily closed". That's the third time in a few years that a movie theater in that spot has suddenly gone out of business, assuming that's what happened.
So instead we went home and played some games and ate pizza, with Fred, Deanna, Paul, Bill, and Fatima. Which was probably more fun anyway.
Thursday, May 5
Lately I've been annoyed at the amount my clothing that's cluttering up closets. So the stuff I never want to wear has been carted off to Kiwanis or the dumpster, and as clothes diseappear I'm just switching to a shorter laundry cycle rather than buying more clothes. I never liked doing a month's worth of laundry at the same time, anyway.... And the wifi in the laundry room makes the more frequent trips seem not such a waste.
It's summer, the sun's out (after yet another late bit of snow earlier in the week), and the students are showing up at citi.
Wednesday, May 4
Monday at work Andy, Dean, Trond, and I spent a long time going through a recent draft pNFS extension. Afterwards Trond and I argued some more and came up with a proposal we thought was simpler, and today I started writing that up.
It was kind of fun, and I ended up coming home a little late, to find Sara making dinner: one of Sara's book-sale finds was a crepe cookbook. So she made some quite yummy crepes tonight, which we had with soup from a couple nights ago.
Sunday, May 1
Today was a-bag-of-books-for-four-dollars day at the book sale, so I couldn't resist going back. I dragged Sara along, and sure enough, we came back with a bag of books....
We'll probably never read most of them. Sara threw into the bag a copy of a book about fighting clutter in the home, partly just for the irony of it.
Saturday, April 30
This is the big weekend for the library's book sale, so we walked downtown and picked up a bunch of books, and had lunch at Eastern Accents, then walked back home. I was happy to find a Lucky Luke, among other things.
In the evening I wrote a couple perl scripts to produce indices of my CD collection. The data (from freeDB) is really uneven. I should figure out how to fix it some time.
Sunday, April 24
Everything was covered in snow this morning, and it continued to snow throughout the day. So I decided to be lazy, stay home and do some pleasure reading. I only set foot outside once, to take out some garbage.
I finally finished "System of the World". It was fun, though I'm not sure there was any particular reason to finish--as usual the fun was more in the details along the way.
Saturday, April 23
There were temperatures in the 70's last week, but today it's in the thirties, with a mixture of rain and snow.
I spent some time at citi and at the library today, fooling around with some ideas I had for the scripts that manage my kernel patches. Nothing seemed to be working out very well, though.
The annual smithee awards were fun, and seemed to go a bit faster and smoother this year--we were out by 11, and so I didn't feel quite the same level of bad-movie exhaustion as I often do. I also tried to go a little lighter on the junk food. There were some entertaining bits, but nothing to match, say, the chase scene from Ninja Thunderbolt.
Thursday, April 21
Every now and then, I have to do laundry. It's either that or spend much larger quantities of money and closet space on clothes. Doing laundry takes a couple hours out of my day that I'd much rather spend doing something else.
I'm therefore very grateful to whoever it is that's running the open access point next to the laundry room. Now I just go sit in the laundry room and work, and the only time spent on laundry is the time actually spent handling the clothes.
I've been following the progress of Linus's new project, "git", with some interest. Hopefully I'll get some time to play around with it soon.
Sunday, April 17
We went to a BBQ at Bill and Anne's place, then watched far too many juggling videos. They are best appreciated in smaller quantities, however, Peapot's "Three Balls Different Ways" and the Bremen EJC concert videos were both good. And there was a great performance by a duo of Jay Gilligan and another guy, whose name I don't remember.
Friday, April 15
I no longer turn in my taxes at the very last minute, but I still (for some reason) always procrastinate on the IRA thing. At least I did it last night, and not (as has been the case the last few years) the day of.
We went to see a symphony band concert at Hill at 8pm, after a quick dinner at the noodle place on State. The concert was good--as usual, they had a nice variety of pieces, from Bach, to marches, to a student premier.
Tuesday, April 12
You can do neat things with the "date" command. I wrote this shell script for my friend Bill, who turned one billion seconds old today. We celebrated with dinner at the Red Hawk.
Sunday, April 10
Sara made pancakes for breakfast. I did some long-delayed chores and listened to the radio.
Saturday, April 9
I walked to the library book store, found a couple slightly interesting CD's and a slightly beat up copy of an Asterix (La Zizanie), and had a snack upstairs, then worked a bit on enabling recovery of delegations over reboot in our nfsv4 server.
It was a nice day out, so juggling was on the diag. We had sandwiches at Cosi afterwards, then walked to the arb. We got a monologue from the guy who says he put together the heart-shaped rapids in the arb. Then Ajit gave Sara and I a ride back home, and they went off to see Sin City.
These days for some reason I'm a little less likely to go see movies whenever people suggest.
Friday, April 8
There's a group of mathematicians and writers named "Oulipo" that has included Perec, Calvino, Queneau, Roubaud and others as members. The UM Graduate Library has a collection of issues from the "Bibliotheque Oulipienne", which I've been sampling recently. One issue has an introduction to the "poème de métro". An example by Jacques Jouet, loosely translated:
What is a metro poem?
From time to time, I write metro poems. This poem is one.
Would you like to know what a metro poem is?
Let's assume the answer is yes. This, then, is what a metro poem is.
A metro poem is a poem composed in the metro, during a trip.
The number of verses in a metro poem is one less than the number of stations.
The first line is composed in your head between the first two stations of your trip (including the station from which you depart).
It is written down when the train stops in the second station.
The second line is composed in your head between the second and third stations of your trip.
It is written down when the train stops at station three. And so on.
It is forbidden to write when the train is moving.
It is forbidden to compose when the train is stopped.
The last line is written on the platform of the last station.
If your trip requires one or more changes of line, the poem will have two or more verses.
When by misfortune a train stops between two stations, this is always a delicate moment in the writing of metro poems.
Despite its many obvious flaws, the greatest flaw of this translation is that it was not itself written according to the above rules. My excuse is that Ann Arbor doesn't have a subway. Perhaps a bus would do as a subsitute? But if you wanted to do a proper translation, would you need to go to Paris and try to find the same trip that Jouet used? Or would it be better to translate the trip to an American city? (Washington? New York? An English translation would, I suppose, have to involve London, so it would be different from an American translation.)
Another issue of the Bibliotheque Oulipienne that I read recently consists of a short play that is actually composed of two plays, formatted side-by-side, that become more entangled with each other as they progress.
These things are just full of geeky stunts like that. Highly recommended!
Saturday, March 26
We had an after-juggling lunch at Saigon Garden, then Ajit drove Sara and I home in time to meet Dave there at six. He and I worked on updating the juggling festival website, and then he stayed for dinner.
I recently finished "La Belle Hortense", by Jacques Roubaud. Well, sort of. My eyes passed over the whole novel, and it was fun, but stuff like this gives you the idea there's a lot there to puzzle out.
I should probably spend more time trying to figure it out, but instead I'm starting "La vie mode d'emploi", which is even worse. But most of the tricks seem to be documented somewhere, if you really care. And, after skimming some of that documentation, it's clear that most of them would be difficult to impossible for a reader to find without help.
Saturday, March 19
Graham and Nicole stopped by with Azalea, and we had breakfast together and then did some grocery shopping.
Saturday, March 12
I got up a little earlier than usual for a Saturday and toted a bunch of stuff to the Kiwanis sale to drop off--mainly lots of old clothes, some of it I'd actually bought at Kiwanis and then decided didn't fit or whatever.
Then I went to the library and got a bunch of stuff at the library sale. The total weight and volume of the stuff I got there was significantly less than what I dropped off at Kiwanis, so I guess it was win.
I did a little work, trying to track down a subtle nfs locking bug (there was some progress but I didn't get it), and tying up a few loose ends, then juggled for a while and got back home.
Sunday, March 6
We had a good early breakfast at Pat's Cafe, just behind the San Remo, then took the #30, to the Bart, to the airport shuttle, to the Oakland Airport, to Dallas/Fort Worth, to Detroit.
Saturday, March 5
We ate breakfast while walking towards Market street. The first course was a couple yummy baked goods at a newly opened bakery, the second, maybe the only random meal choice that didn't work out in San Francisco, was snacks and coffee at a small coffeeshop a few blocks from Market.
The Bart and a short but exhaustingly steep walk later, and we were at Sara's Aunt Jean and Uncle Bruce's place. As last year, they treated us to take out burritos and sweet strawberry drinks from an extremely popular neighbourhood place, and we talked and watched the view from their kitchen window. Her aunt left us with guest passes to the California Institute of Science, so we took the Bart back downtown hoping to make it to their 2:15 army ant feeding. Either we missed it or we were just mislead about the time, but in any case their ant exhibit was impressive. We watched a leaf-cutter ant long enough to see it pick out a leaf, saw a piece off, and walk off with it. I also watched two or three ants struggle together with a large leaf piece--they just couldn't seem to decide which of them was supposed to take it.
Their aquarium was also interesting, if not as large as some. We insinuated ourselves into a noisy crush of children to watch the penguins as they swam around excitedly and periodically had individual fish put in their beaks by their keeper, who lectured us as she fed them.
We'd arranged to meet Cary to see a collection of animated shorts at a theater near California and Polk. So we hoofed it over there, stopping on the way at the "Metreon", a big futuristic mall with a focus on gaming and electronics; the most amusing part was probably the bowling game: a bar in the corner of an arcade was surrounded by 4 or 5 of them, each featuring a bowling-ball-like controller surrounding a seating area modeled after that where you'd wait to bowl in a real alley, and a huge floor-to-ceiling screen with the action--a "bowling alley" that could be, for example, a futuristic San Francisco or Tokyo.
The shorts were pretty good. There were eleven, and I made a game of trying to memorize the sequence.
Before the show we had dinner at a little Chinese place--another random choice that turned out well--and after Sara and I split a boysenberry pie (and Cary had a milkshake) at a diner heavy on the fifties paraphenelia, doing a bustling late-night business.
Friday, March 4
Breakfast at a cafe on Columbus across from the restaurant where we ate last night. I checked my email there and tried to figure out the various entertainment options proposed by Cary.
After breakfast we wandered up to Fort Mason. We got to Green's around noon and made reservations for 1, then rushed off to see the Wave Organ, which didn't seem to be doing much--either the tide was wrong, or it's just not maintained--who knows. It was kind of neat to look at in any case. With all the speed our sore feet could provide, we made it back to Green's a few minutes after one and had a very good lunch overlooking the water.
After lunch we went to Japantown, which is small but dense, including a mall with all the stuff you'd expect--a 100 Yen (approximately) store, a well-stocked Japanese-language bookstore, photo-sticker booths, and a bewildering range of restaurants and fast-food places with the requisite (highly lifelike) plastic food displays.
One of the shops outside the mall specialized in Origami, which had a wide array of books, materials, and artwork on display, and enthusiastic service. Sara got two books, one a hefty mathematically-oriented tome as a gift to me.
We snacked a little at the mall, then took a bus to the Haight, which is just a bunch of shops. It seemed like the sort of place where something interesting might be going on at night, but no, by the time we left the shops were mostly closing down, leaving only some bars and restaurants which didn't, as far as I could tell, have live music or anything.
I did enjoy the chance to browse at Amoeba, sort of a Powell's of music stores (and I walked out with 3 used CD's I was looking for that I probably never would have found used or new anywhere else off-line).
We also had some good breakfast food to end the night at a cafe on Haight.
Thursday, March 3
For breakfast we got burritos from La Victoria and ate them at a picnic table on the nearby campus. Then we sat in the children's section of the library and read for an hour before going back to the hotel to check out.
Caltrain and then the #30 bus took us to the San Remo, which was odd and kind of cute but not as nice as the room at the Green Tortoise last year. I got a sandwich and checked my email at a neighbourhood hangout. Later we had some salad and pizza at a small Italian place on Columbus, which was pretty good. After dinner we browsed at City Lights for a while, then walked back to the hotel in the rain.
Wednesday, March 2
In the last half hour of the last day of Connectathon, we finally got a bit of ACL testing that I needed done, then I packed up, met Sara, and rode with Kevin to the Mountain View Tied House, where we were to meet Niels and Marius for dinner. As it turned out, Marius couldn't make it. There was a big crowd, though--we crammed around one big table, then expanded to a neighbouring booth when Peter and a friend turned up. Niels still seemed to be doing well.
Tuesday, March 1
We went to dinner with Andy, Trond and others, at Gordon Biersch. Despite having made reservations, we still ended up waiting something like an hour. The place was much too noisy to talk to anyone, and though my food was OK (a ravioli thing I think is what I always end up getting there), Sara's sucked.
So, make a note not to go back there again....
Monday, Feb. 28
I made the library trip I'd meant to make yesterday, but then realized I couldn't remember when the talks started, so I only stayed an hour or so. Still, it was a nice break.
Sara was due to show up around midnight, and HBO was showing the complete matrix movies, so I sat around and hacked a bit and watched TV till she showed up.
Sunday, Feb. 27
I'd been getting a little burned out from Connectathon, and remembered that the local public/university library was very comfortable and had a collection of French kids comics, which I like, so I thought a relaxing morning sitting and reading in the kid's section would be nice. As it turned out, though, the library had short Sunday hours, so I ended up walking around a bit and then showing up for work at 10.
Wednesday, Feb. 23
After a hectic few days of preparation, I still don't feel ready for our NFSv4 testing in San Jose. I packed in a hurry last night and got picked up by the shuttle for the aiport at 9:15 this morning.
Sunday, Feb. 13
I spent most of the day throwing things away, which is always satisfying. More of my files are now in boxes and drawers instead of in precarious piles.
Monday, Jan. 31
Doug and Nandini fed me breakfast, then dropped me off at the airport.
Sunday, Jan. 30
Breakfast today was at Bread and Ink, excellent once again. I spent some time chatting with Nandini and installing Ubuntu on her laptop, which had an old Mandrake installation that hadn't been updated in years.
In the afternoon we went to the Portland City Grill. I remembered going to this place--or maybe an older place in the same 30th-floor location--years ago, but I think it was almost empty at the time. This time, as last Friday, it was packed. But Nandini was an unexpectedly patient and vigilant seat-hoverer, and eventually found us a nice spot next to the window. It was their happy hour, so there were nifty cheap appetizers galore, and we had a pleasant time munching and gazing out the window.
Later we got some more appetizers and very nifty deserts at another place whose name I've forgotten, and then went to Movie Madness. I can't believe noone took me there while at Reed--it was to any other video store I've seen as Powell's is to the average mall chain bookstore.
In addition to an immense video collection (they had every video I thought to look for, often in multiple sections--one sorted by director and one by genre, for example--and categories such as "two heads is better than one" (horror movies about two-headed people)), they also had a huge collection of movie paraphenelia spread around the aisles. After browsing for a while, we took "Pierrot le Fou" home with us, watched it, then went to bed.
Saturday, Jan. 29
We had a good breakfast at Zell's, then walked around downtown, mostly the Pearl district, till we got hungry again. We had a late lunch at a brewpub--I ate half a sandwhich and just tasted the beer, because I was feeling a little woozy. I left them there to catch the Max to Maria's.
The trip to Maria's was actually a Max ride, a bus ride, and then a longish walk. By the time I got off the Max it was already dark, so I was glad I'd bought a detailed Portland map on Friday and could follow the bus route despite minimal visible landmarks. I took a wrong turn on the walk and didn't realize it for a few minutes, so had to backtrack, but finally I got there, on time.
We had a good dinner, though I kind of picked at it since I still wasn't feeling completely right, and then Kevin and a friend of his taught me Carcassonne, which was fun. The friend, who had a condo in the Pearl district, game a lift back to Doug and Nandini's afterwards.
Friday, Jan. 28
Meetings in the morning, less interesting to me this time. Andy and Peter were anxious to go, so they left me off in Northeast on their way to the airport a little before noon. I walked around a bit, then headed for the Eliot e-mat Cafe to have lunch, do my laundry, work a bit, and pick up a few bits and pieces I'd forgotten to pack. Their internet access was lame--just kiosks, not a network you could use--and I found the always-on TV a little annoying, but other than that it seemed like a very nice, convenient, neighborhood spot.
After a few hours there I took a leisurely route South to Doug and
Nandini's. We had a tasty big dinner at a Lebanese place downtown, then tried
to get into the
Thursday, Jan. 27
A full day of meetings at Polyserve, lunch at a good Thai place, and a satisfying dinner at a sprawling McMenamins complex nearby. The meetings were tiring but also interesting.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
I arrived in Portland just before noon (their time) and took the Max downtown. I'd planned for an afternoon walking around before going to the hotel in Beaverton, so I'd packed light. But after a nice walk and lunch at the Brasserie Montmatre, I made the mistake of spending the rest of the afternoon at Powells, which made a significant contribution to my load.
Living in Ann Arbor I tend to think I've got pretty good bookstores, but there's still nothing like Powells.
I took the bus to Reed and got there a little before 7, so read a little on the S.U. porch. It looked about the same as when I was there over 10 years ago. At seven I went to juggling in the sports center. There weren't a whole lot of people I knew, but I had a good time chatting with Stuart, Dave, Albyn, and Brad.
We went out to the Iron Horse afterwards, and then Stuart gave me a lift to the Zoo max station. It wasn't there before, and was impressively deep. There were some geology exhibits to look at while waiting for the train.
I have one complaint about the Max--there are no restrooms anywhere, as far as I can tell. What do you do if you have to spend 45 minutes on the Max right after eating and drinking a bunch? Argh.
I got to the hotel late, watched a little TV, and fell asleep.
Friday, Jan. 21
We met at the library a little after 6 and then went to Seva to celebrate, among other things, the end of the week and Sara's birthday. (It was really a week and a half ago, but we'd both been feeling pretty ill then.)
It's really much too cold to be spending time outdoors, though, so I intend to spend as much as the weekend as possible in the apartment.
Saturday, Jan. 1
Paul stayed over after last night's party, took us to breakfast at Café Marie, then to juggling, where I also got to play a little table tennis.
Look, we actually had a christmas tree this year, though a little late.