a ba'b'ian journal

old stuff
A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon;
The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune;
Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew,
And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou.

When out of the night, which was fifty below, and into the din and glare,
There stumbled a miner fresh from the creeks, dog-dirty, and loaded for bear.
He looked like a man with a foot in the grave and scarcely the strength of a louse,
Yet he tilted a poke of dust on the bar, and he called for drinks on the house.
There was none could place the stranger's face, though we searched ourselves for a clue;
But we drank his health, and the last to drink was Dangerous Dan McGrew.

There's men that somehow just grip your eyes, and hold them hard like a spell;
And such was he, and he looked to me like a man who had lived in hell;
With a face most hair, and the dreary stare of a dog whose day is done,
As he watered the green stuff in his glass, and the drops fell one by one.
Then I got to figgering who he was, and wondering what he'd do,
And I turned my head--and there watching him was the lady that's known as Lou.
  • April 30, 2000
at temperance, theresa the waittress just wouldn't refill don's coke. i thought it was way odd. she's nice to all of us, but just ignored him. as he was leaving, he tipped her a dollar, from a $16 tab, but was explaining it to me. personally i was surprise at his being ignored. he said he at least would tip her something because she did bring him some food. but later i remembered something that happened. don had ordered a shiner bock (my choice there too) and when he finished she wanted to take the bottle, but he wanted to keep it for his collection. she said she couldn't let him go out and she could get fired if anyone saw it. he tucked it into his knapsack. i forgot about that.

in _science_, some researchers give evidence that we don't use logical rules and reasoning, but instead keep models of what is possible (and mostly don't keep track of what is impossible, though we can if we need to). there are certain types of mistakes that are made if "reasoning" is done this way. we can't always keep track of what assertions are consistent. it works in general pretty well, tough, and keeping track of consistency in sets of rules is very hard, because each time you add a rule, you could be interacting with all the others. It's one of those np complete or whatever problems (called satisfiability), that are supposed to be real hard for computers to get exactly. like the traveling salesman problem. for a rule based system (one possible theory of how we work), it should be hard to tell if something is consistent, but easy to tell if it's inconsistent and there wouldn't be systematic errors. for a model based system it would be opposite, because you have to look through everything to see if it doesn't fit, but you just have to see if you have the correct example listed to check consistency. A common error can come up in an "or else" assertion where only one can be true at a time. Two statements, are they consistent: 1) either a pin or a bolt (or both) is on the table or else a bolt and a nail are on it. 2) a bolt and a nail are on the table. This example is perniciously evil because in fact they are not consistent. If there is a bolt on the table, then the first half of 1) is true, and for a bolt and a nail, both halves are true, so the "or else" "exclusive disjunction" as it's called is false. weird. took me a while to get it. because what you do is put together the possible cases. from 1) either there's a pin, or a bolt, or a pin and a bolt, or a bolt and a nail. and 2) matches the last one. you just don't take time to figure out the ones that aren't possible. well you can if you think about it.

so i had an occasion to experience having kept myself from even wondering about a question till i was ready to think about it. and when i thought about it, it didn't seem so bad. of course, maybe i wasn't quite so ready as i (subconsciously) thought and i'm getting a little backlash, but minds are funny that way.

so why do i even have a gun? probably the main reason i got one is so i could shoot myself if things got too bad. for a long time in there i didn't have any medical insurance, and i felt i needed a convenient way to take away the pain. even now, i don't really buy into the idea of heroic effort for keeping people alive.

that was a silly episode of the x-files. tea leone and gary shandling in the movie about them. i want to get a picture of gillian without all the cake makeup so i can see her freckles.

  • April 29, 2000
time flies. i was gone last weekend up to the farm. i don't know what i've been doing in the evenings.

i went to see "Keeping the Faith". Ed Norton, Ben Stiller, Jenna Elfman. I don't like ben stiller. i don't relate to him, and i didn't care for his character. i don't really know any rabbis, so i don't know if it was a good treatment. i guess i wasn't so much in the mood for a comedy. i was hoping it would be a little deeper. there was a bit when anna banana has the sex talk with the preist (i've forgotten his name, that's how significant it was to me) when she says she couldn't go without and sometimes she just wants to touch and be touched. it sounds like something i've heard, and it brought back some of the anger i have toward women. i'm right now in that place again. not a good place. where are they hiding?

so what is anger about? well, people aren't so much altruistic as lenders who can extend really long lines of credit and keep track of distant investments. portfolio management. and anger is about seeing that some of that investment isn't being returned. we keep track of who doesn't pay back, and hate them.

so i went to temperance yesterday, and there was a guy don, who used to be in memphis, but is now in chicago. he said he was a liberal to annoy the conservatives at the table. and he asked me if i was (or had been? i couldn't remember it would have made a difference to the argument) married. and if i had kids. and i think he was pushing that they were better where he came from because they didn't necessarily tie the two together, but at any rate he said it wasn't a bad thing if they weren't. he said something like that the parents of most kids aren't married. i don't know if that's right. and he used statistics in some other thread of conversation. dude was pretty geeky. technical writer. geeky in a tex sort of way. very affable. but as they were walking out, dave goes over to the table next to us, which is a group of women, and asks them to join us, he can guarantee intelligent conversation. and one says you don't need to be in mensa to have intelligent conversation, they are having it among their own selves. Dave had pulled that line on her before. She actually a regular there, and i see her there every week. man, i felt embarassed to be in mensa right then. i think she was pretty polite and declined, but it looked ugly from where i had again taken my seat. i decided that i should stay around myself and drink some more and listen to the band and think. i liked the band, i think i knew the words to about all of the songs they covered. there was some beatles. i was singing along (it was loud enough that i don't think i was bothering anybody, but i think about it, and maybe i regret it. well, i was having fun. i hope we move. i was by myself at a table for six. one guy asked to sit at it, an iron worker from toledo drinking whiskey and michelobe. later, some steroid looking guy comes over. contractor from cali. irradiation engineer (for food). i was guessing he might have been an ex-navy nuclear engineer, though irradiation is just x-rays he was saying. i didn't see what all was involved, but he hooked up pretty quick with some blonde. insecticide.

i am so out of money. one card was $150 over the limit. that's tough to do. but there's money in the bank, and i may have to cash a check to get cash this week. but i've got two cards paid off, so i'm down to 5. maybe that's few enough that i can add them all up. ok: 8150 + 7636 + 7977 + 5995 + 7623 = 37381 not as bad as i thought, and not quite so bad as it was. a little more than a year's take-home. if i can keep it together.

so, at work, Lois told me that i looked frustrated. was it personality stuff, not getting to do what i want, i didn't know.

the big spring fling for judy's group was friday. seemed like maybe four times our single group (tim's group). sandwiches in the park. and volleyball. i liked the volleyball. i remember i liked playing it in hs in gym. i wasn't quite keeping track, but it seemed like i hit about as many as i missed. and i was way out of shape, getting cramps in one arm and my calves. and i didn't really play in correct volleyball style, using all three hits to send it back over. if it got to me i just put it back over without trying to set people up. but the other team was really doing it the right way, almost, except that they didn't actually have a front line to spike it, and i don't think it every actually got spiked. the overhand servers tended to only lose their serve when they hit the net. my serving has never been consistent. i think i tried overhand a couple times at first, but shifted to underhand. but i think i was trying to do underhand low too much. towards the end i decided that this was just a fun game, and tried to hit easy lobs to get it into play. a bad thing about the party was that i was really hoping that i would finally get to meet some of the women in planet station group, but they all stayed off by themselves. we got tickets for drawing prizes, and my number actually got called second, but i didn't go up and accept it. it seemed a little awkward for them, but it would have been embarassing for me, and i have an in principle thing about getting stuff randomly without earning it. i avoid gambling and such. tim did a couple songs as a blues brother. steve played a bagpipe. april had a mountain dulcimer and i got to play it a little. four strings, two the same, one i think an octave and one maybe a fifth. but it's fretted only on notes in a scale, such that pretty much anything you fret will be harmonious i explored that a little at the end when it was closing down and people were packing up. april said i was holding out on them. that music got me thinking again about sean friend who really was a cool musician. he could (i'm sure he still can) just pick something up and play. i was thinking he was a real mozart, and i'm such a salieri. i need to play more and get set up to load midi to the web.

  • April 16, 2000
I went to go see "American Psycho" and "Erin Brockovich". the first one wasn't so good so I felt like seeing another one. the psycho shoots a car and it explodes. that kind of stupid stuff tends to just blow a movie for me (that, and policemen who can't shoot). it was somewhat funny, though, and there was some odd stuff with coathangers that they left to your imagination. And it was odd that the business-people kept getting each others names confused. there was a little porn stuff in it, too, and a chainsaw murder. overall pretty silly, but somehow you just didn't care about any of it. Erin was pretty good for a lawyer thing. a little too focused on julia's effing breasts. and what's with the biker nanny?

i'm reading the connectionist stuff by the U of M philosophy guys, Horgan and Tienson. There is an interesting point that the confirmation of a belief is "isotropic and Quineian". whether you believe something new might depend on any other belief in your belief system, and it might depend on the belief system as a whole (eg. we only believe relatively simple things--plausibility might not rely on any particular belief). These issues bring up an idea that intelligence really can't be totally modularized and seperated. there are some general attributes to it, a perspective i hadn't really seen before. these guys are trying to use this type of argument to say that computers can't be intelligent, thought they haven't sold me. one thing they did say that seems fair is that you won't get a general system if you just put together a package of seperate skills.

  • April 15, 2000
finished the odd quantum. it turns out that the one thing that get's conserved is the difference between the number of quarks of a particular flavor and their antiparticles. that is, it's possible that in some reaction, a top quark will appear, but it must appear along with its antiparticle. this is one of the symmetries that they talk about. conservation of charge and of baryon and lepton numbers is a result of this. quarks don't appear independently, just as part of particles that do exist, and they have 1/3 or 2/3 charge, plus or minus. what happens in things like protons is not that they are made of three quarks, but rather they are made of a little sea of quarks, which come and go, but the transformations are such that there is always and extra number of the basic type characteristic to them. for the proton, it is two up quarks (charge +2/3) and a down quark (charge -1/3). quark interactions (which are "strong") are said to be "mediated" by gluons, which are comparable to photons in electromagnetic interactions. the weak interactions are pretty complicated, having three mediating particles, W+ and W- bosons (which have charge, so in this interaction the particles shift charges around and thus the quarks change to different "flavors", as they say), and the neutral Z boson (the flavor does change here too), and neutrinoes are involved; for the quarks to change flavor, the hadron particle its sitting in changes type. there are lots of unstable types. an electron is fundamental particle and is not made from quarks, though with the way particles convert around, i'm not sure that is a completely meaningful statement. for a set of particles reaction, there are multiple possible outcomes.

this previous stuff is all looking at the quantum world as sets of particles, but it's possible to treat it as a world of just fields with some interesting results. it can turn out that when you quantize the field, you get things that are like particles, but with the additional consequence that all the equivalent things are exactly the same. in the particle view, there is nothing to say that all basic particles had to all be the same-- it has to be just assumed or taken for granted. with the quantum field theory, this basic result kind of falls out, and that is a surprising and seldom appreciated bit of science. in some of this field theory, in doing the calculations of some events there are some temporary virtual particals that could be interpreted as violating the law of conservation of energy, but the calculation can be done in a way that is simpler and doesn't violate conservation laws, but the virtual particles have a variable mass (indefinite, actually they're used in effect as an integration variable). this all has to do with "renormalization" and that canceling out of infinties that i've heard about. virtual particles aren't really real, but more something to help the calculations work out, casimir effect notwithstanding. in the second to last paragraph, the author, Sam Treiman, rip, speculates that maybe there are no particles, only wavy fields with localized disturbances crashing together. that sounds like the kind of thing i might think. i still like the vortex theory.

  • April 12, 2000
guy brought part of a wedding cake to work. i've been eating cake breakfast and lunch for three days. sugar rushes, sugar crashes. mmm that frosting. closest thing we have to ambrosia.

we might tell people we hope something is not our fault, but that is kind of self-seeking, when we could wish that it is something we have the power to change.

lou said the dalai lama said something like: to see where you are, look at what your body was doing, to see where you will be, look at what your mind is doing.

i was thinking about getting an answering machine. busy phone.

anger. (she smiles, towering..) i have this tendency to think of it as bad without reflection, but the dalai lama talks about it could be good if it spurs us to good action. I guess I need to be more reflective about it, and not just always try to repress it. not to let it be first and me be the reaction.

  • April 9, 2000
the beatles breakup burger/beverage bash was fun. not many people showed up, just dave, david, and brad, but brad broughts some excellent rare stuff, and dave brought some nice home-brew. david brought a whole collection, and i played inner light on 45. An ominous bit, everyone was an hour late, and i saw Aimee drive by before they showed up and not stop when she didn't see any cars. and i wrote her an email apologizing for something that had made her mad that i had forgotten about, and when she replied she actually said she had driven by and not stopped. at this point i'm pretty sure she has something personal against me that she hasn't admitted. and if it isn't resolved, i won't be interested in that group.

i had an intriguing dream experience. in the dream a woman lay on top of me, and i was focused on the feeling, and i was thinking it was just too light, but i still believed it was her, and then as i was concentrating on the feeling of pressure down on me, it stayed exactly the same, but i slowly woke up and my viewpoint changed and i realized that what i thought was her was really just the blankets pushing down. the feeling stayed the same but my interpretation changed. i guess it isn't that odd, but it was very vivid the way the feeling was exactly the same as my awareness shifted

now i have this big chocolate cake. oh woe is me.

  • April 5, 2000
i've been disequilibriated. There was a monthly mensa meeting, and neither davedavedave nor Aimee showed up (randy and susan did), so we didn't have a quorum and couldn't pass any measures. But Aimee sent along some decrees with randy. Well, she proposed that non-mensa links should be taken off the mensa web site. I couldn't believe it, and just didn't say anything. luckily we didn't have a quorum and couldn't do anything. I think the idea was that they didn't want to be liable. but come on. so no personal member links. i think of it as censorship, and for someone to propose it just fills me with anarchic rage. it makes me want to publish explosives recipes, instructions for building a meth lab, a list of the best inhalants and huffing techniques. oo it makes me so mad. got to try be calm. it's the kind of thing i would just pretend to go along with and ignore after disagreeing with it. it's a draconian solution before there is a problem instead of dealing with actual problems as they arise, and it lessens the value of the site. but the deeper issue is what kind of mentality (the pc thing) that comes up with it, trying to solve a non-problem when there are real problems that need work.

It was better at work though. i got together with john and pat and explained my little rowformatter object, and they didn't think it was too bad, and might want to use it. it has some neat bits.

i had a dream about playing battleship. i thought about changing the rules so that you could move your ship a space each turn. it would make it much harder to win, (and i didn't realize that it would mean that sticking in all the white pegs would be meaningless, or maybe i was thinking you couldn't sail your ship through a spot that had been hit before. radiation or something, or your dropping mines or something, you can move a spot forward, or rotate. i tried sticking a couple boats diagonals, but their little plastic peg thingies cracked a little without falling off. i was playing my dad. it was really vivid, and i woke up and thought about those new rules some more.

  • April 4, 2000
Martin Luther King shot day.

went to go see "high fidelity" with the cusaks. dude has a record store and sort of broke up with his lawyer babe girlfriend, who moves in with some old pony-tailed steven segal wannabe. he reflects on all his breakups. he's a slacker and largely a jerk. but this works for him.

at work, i got yelled at for not writing understandable code and documenting, but it did get some other stuff almost done.

it's nicer to be staying with mom than being alone.

  • April 2, 2000
Eric Clapton was on 60 minutes. i generally don't care for him, because he was such a drunk and he did steal pati away from george harrison. He was asked if he loved her and he says he doesn't know. He was so obsessed with her. and he doesn't know that he knew what love really was. layla was about patty. and he walked past conner on the sidewalk. Did i really love what's her name? i was obsessed, but i wouldn't be so wimpy as to doubt there wasn't any love in there at all. he did say that being able to let go has really helped to hold him together.

i'm reading "the odd quantum". i never realized that it was strange that electrons, as moving electric charges, should emit electric fields, and just leak energy away. but they don't (i had heard this but didn't make the connection with the fact that electric charges emit fields)

ok, so i bought a bunch of books. some dalai lama stuff, a java reference for work, an ai magazine, a book on connectionism by the philosophers from msu. maybe i'm panicking because i have no way to get cash from my credit cards right now. over the limit on some, tried to pay off a couple, not using those.