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jam-packed weekend

Our office is moving the 23rd, and there was a 1pm Friday meeting I wanted to be at to calm some of my panic about the move. It's going to be interesting to see how the movers get the racks out of our machine room....

When we were done, I met my parents (just come from lunch with Sara) and we stopped in at Eastern Accents for some drinks and a snack (I'd just had one slice of pizza), then went back to pack and nap. At night we went to the Top of the Park (NOMO leading a parade! Fubar! More NOMO! Silvio's Pizza! Crepes!), then came home.

Saturday was the over-stuffed day: Sara and my dad got up early for a bird walk (no thanks), then we did farmers-market shopping, then looked around the new art museum for a while, had a quick lunch at Pita Kebab Grill, saw "Up!", saw "Twelfth Night" in the Arb, and finished with a late picnic to a latin band at Top of the Park.

Sunday the only plan was for a tour of the Michigan Theater, with parents and a few friends along. I didn't know what to expect. It was fantastic. The tour guide was Henry Aldridge, and as organist, film professor, and long-time activist and volunteer he was a great person to answer our questions. I think we'd all have happily stayed another hour.

Then we had lunch (or maybe brunch) at Afternoon Delight, poked around main street for a while, then went home and saw my parents off.

Now I have to get ready to go to Sunnyvale for a week for an NFS Bakeathon. I'm not prepared. Yipes.

bloom again

The writer/director of "The Brothers Bloom" released an mp3 commentary track. What the hell, with free admission it seemed worth a try: so we cued up our mp3 players to the "hit pause now..." position, went back to the State theater for a 7:30 show, and pressed play together at the designated time.

The synchronization was off. I swear we'd followed instructions, but the commentary lagged by enough to make "now, in this shot..." hard to follow. I think I managed to correct that, but it took a long time.

He was really interesting. There wasn't much that made the movie itself more interesting--a lot of it (choices of camera placement, color themes, etc.) affects your experience of the movie without needing to noticed--but that stuff's still neat.

A DVD commentary track is an entirely separate sound track, so they can fade in and out the movie's sound separately. But with this the relative level of the movie and the commentary wasn't always good. And there were times when my brain would fight to listen to both, and get confused.


OK, so in the midst of my (umpteen + 1)th attempt to read Ulysses (current status: skimmed over a big inner monologue by Daedulus in great confusion, read a few pages into Bloom, decided to backtrack and go get a copy of the Oddysey from the library, read a few pages into it), and we go to see "The Brothers Bloom", where we have:

  • Stephen == Stephen Dedalus == Daedalus
  • Bloom == Leopold Bloom == Odysseus

And a big labyrinth. And Penelope as herself, I guess. Oh, and there's a cyclops, though whether it really fits in right I don't know. And what about Icarus and Telemachus? And aren't the father-son relationships kind of tangled up? Maybe that's why they have to be orphan brothers.

At this very moment on a wiki somewhere the whole set of correspondances must be assembling itself.

The to-read pile on my side of our (new, ikea-bought) bed is actually several piles at this point, all falling over on each other, and any that I was partway through will probably have to be restarted as I've forgotten them now.

Back from Philadelphia

I spent the last week in Philadelphia, flying back today.

The last couple days, with Sara's conference finished, we saw the historical sites, had some unexpectedly good food in Afghan restaurants, and today got a free lunch thanks to a cheese steak competition.

I'm tired. My next vacation I may be tempted to spend on my couch.

California leftover

In Berkeley I went with Andy and his wife to a concert by the University Symphony Orchestra. They were very good. Anyway, the program was:

  • "Practice" for full orchestra and computer (2007), Edmund Campion
  • "An American in Paris", George Gershwin
  • "Practice" for full orchestra and computer (2007), Edmund Campion
  • Intermission
  • "Amériques" (1918-21; rev. 1928), Edgard Varèse
  • "La Valse" (1919-20), Maurice Ravel

When we first saw that, we said: so does "Practice" come in two parts, or are they playing it twice? As it turns out, they just played the whole thing through twice. Which was actually a fantastic idea: I think premieres should always work that way. You get a lot more out of it the second time through. (And it was sort of fun to hear the piece after the Gershwin and think: "hey, that sounded a little Gershwin-y".)

Great program, anyway.

California 2009, take 1

I did a half-day of work Wednesday, the 18th, and the airport shuttle picked me up from work at 1:30pm. A delay leaving Detroit caused me to miss my connection in Minneapolis, so I ended up getting to San Jose around midnight by way of two Frontier flights through Denver.

We've got a big pile of NFSv4.1 code to merge into the existing linux NFSv4.0 code, and looking through the patches I'm worried that existing problems in the code are being made worse. So I spent most of Connectathon trying to sort out those problems and write some code rather than testing. I got to talk to some useful people, though.

Connectathon over a week later, I got to San Francisco on one of my free Caltrain tickets (the fruit of a complaint letter from a year ago which finally, by coincidence, got a very nice personal response just before I left), and met my old college friend Andy.

The last time I'd seen him was after a sleepless night of packing. Sara and I had planned to meet him at the Portland train station to say goodbye, and he got more than he bargained for: most of the contents of our apartment, in boxes, for him to ship, while we ran for the train. We made our train, and thanks to Andy our luggage arrived a few days later. ("Well, I had nothing else to do that day...", he told me when I asked him about it this week.)

So it was good to have the chance to catch up with Andy for the first time in 15 years. And this time there was a proper goodbye involving pizza at a pub near the downtown Berkeley BART station, and I made my overnight flight back to Detroit with no running required.

I had parts for a new desktop waiting at home, and figured assembling and installing it would be a good job for a sleep-deprived post-travel day. Alas, I'd forgotten a critical part--my only keyboard at home uses PS/2, but the new computer has only USB ports, and refuses to boot without a keyboard attached.

rebuilding the world, cold

We recently realized that machines at work were hacked, and modified versions of the ssh client and server were installed on the hacked machines to collect passwords.

My home machines use different passwords from the one at work, but I knew that I'd logged in to home from machines at work that the attacker had the password for, and I didn't want to assume they hadn't gotten into my home computers.

So I've been reinstalling a lot of stuff from scratch. My personal blog wasn't a big priority, so I finally got around to that this afternoon. So, here it is.

There's nothing really difficult to it, it just means installing a bunch of software, trying to remember and/or relearn how to configure it, then figuring out how to restore data from backups.

I took much better notes on everything this time, so hopefully if (ugh) anything like this happens again, it'll all go a little faster.

I tried to take out the recycling today. One of the hazards of apartment living is that for some reason some weeks will be particularly popular recycling weeks, and the bins will start to overflow. So I tried to collapse some boxes. (Note to neighbors: if you've got an empty box to dump in a recycling bin, please consider flattening it first instead of letting it take up so much space.) I wasn't wearing any gloves, and it was in the teens--which, it turns out, is enough to make any work excruciating after just half a minute or so.

I could find some gloves and go back out, but I think I'll just wait till the garbage collectors come....

Slumdog Millionaire

Last night Sara and I saw "Slumdog Millionaire". Every review mentioned a big dance number at the end, so I was disappointed to find that it was actually just the credits. You can do *anything* in the credits--why did anyone even bother remarking on it? And that meant the song-and-dance was broken up by a credit screen every few seconds.

Oh well, maybe they can get an unedited version on the DVD. And I did like the movie, and the soundtrack.

My vague memory of the three musketeers has Athos, Porthos, and Aramis standing respectively for nobility, wealth, and love, so there was a nice correspondence, at least in the case of the third. Put that way the ending is almost Turandot's.

(I read the three musketeers just in the last year, and am in the middle of Vingt Ans Après right now--but I'm still sticking with the description of my memory as "rough". Maybe partly a consequence of the fact that I mainly read it to fall asleep. It would be a truly fantastic Bollywood movie that would have me making my fortune from my memories of anything.)

Howard Gobioff

Someone from my high school class died last March, and I only noticed today:

I think I'd only seen him one time since high school. He went out for dinner with me and a few others after a reunion event, and I enjoyed talking to him. He was a nice guy, and he seemed to have really taken off after high school. I regret not keeping up with him.

back from holiday

We flew down to Tempe Christmas Eve Eve, flew back to Ann Arbor New Years Eve. Both flights were non-stop and boring as all get-out. The ride to the airport on the way there took almost an hour (as opposed to the usual half-hour) thanks to snow and traffic, but we had nothing to check and still got to the gate about 80 minutes after the shuttle was scheduled to pick us up. The flight left late, but was otherwise normal.

It was a relatively cold winter in Arizona, unfortunately--only the last couple days were really comfortable, and we noticed one day that it was actually colder than Ann Arbor (I guess Michigan had a brief warm spell).

We saw a bunch of Sara's old friends, including Melissa, Shelly, Omo, Bill C., and Faye. Sara's dad brought us along to his band rehearsal one day. The bass player was playing 99% half-notes on open strings, and petting the household cat with her fretting hand much of the time.

Sara's parents have half-adopted some feral cats, which they had fixed, and now feed. Apparently they eat the roof-rats. It's cute to walk out the door at night and see them on the bench next to the front door, all in a heap and staring at you.

Tempe's light-rail system had its grand opening Saturday, the 27th, and we spent some time at the festivities at the Mill and 3rd station. The trains were stuffed with people trying them out (free through the 31st), so we waited till the 31st to try it out--when we used it to get to the airport. So that (or the bus system) may be how we end up getting back and forth from PHX in the future.


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