a ba'b'ian journal

old stuff

O Freude, nicht dies töne!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere austimmen,
und freudenvollere.
Freude, Freude,
Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligthum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder, was die Mode streng getheilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder, wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
yikes, it's been a while since i wrote. freddie has been around, so most evenings i have been watching movies till late. and when you get out of the habit, you are just out of the habit. they all went to see some kind of christmassy thing called "starry nights". blech.

man, i haven't written about anything from christmas yet. Let's see, how much did i spend? 150 on dvd's for freddie, a couple hundred for a gas grill for mom. she's been talking about it for years, but hasn't gotten around to getting one. A few years ago, she was talking about how i should be paying some money on the house, so she could save money and get one, but it didn't happen, so finally i got one, and right off she was complaining how it was too big. (even the it was almost the smallest one they had). I split a gift with freddie for edgar, a remote control unit for a small helicopter. All i had to do was fork out some cash, so that was easy--freddie did the shopping--it was doug's suggestion actually, and i just pushed it, or muscled in on the money, or something. If not that, i had my eye on the turkey fryer (bruce has one that he likes a lot). maybe next year. For julie i got some little stuff from brookstone. That was actually the stuff i did on my first day. some garden tools and aluminum bottles for lotions and such. I got the kids a fair bunch of stuff, since i had eighty dollars worth of coupons for toys 'r' us because of my toys'r'us credit card. It worked pretty well for them too, because i spent an additional $90 of my own. I gave daniel a kind of remote control crane thing with little remote control bulldozers. These use a lot of batteries (3 C and 4 AA) so i also gave him some of those rechargable alkaline from rayovac and the big charger (i use a lot of AAs and have the little charger, but not the big stuff). I just learned today that daniel likes building stuff, and is into lego, so i would have probably have gotten him a lego robot project that i have heard about. something for next year. There are all kinds of interesting things i could have gotten from edmund scientifics, but i haven't been so close to them lately. I gave nathan a monopoly game. My mom told me there was a special 50th year edition. and i went and got what they said was the deluxe edition. I brind it home and my mom says that there were three versions, and this was the middle cost one and not the most expensive one. So i take it back in the morning. but it turns out that the brown one my mom saw was an NFL edition. Also, the version i got came in another box that actually said "50th anniversary". So i traded boxes. The editions was a toys'r'us edition and the pieces weren't the classic pieces, but were products like playdo and a nerf football. I also gave the kids some nerf balls. I hardly gave my dad anything, a duffle bag and a portable fan.

which was sad, because last year he gave me an expensive camera, and this year he gave me a car, a used car, but over a thousand dollars. it's nice to have rich relatives. It's an '88 Volkswagon Fox 2-door sport coupe ( i haven't quite figured out it's exact name). Unfortunately, it doesn't run yet. My dad drove it around for it a while and it was ok, but when he brought it home, it just died. Freddie struggled to try to revive it over the weekend, but we didn't get it. It actually seemed to have several problems. No spark, and the battery drained pretty quick. The ignition switch was bypassed in a strange way such that one injector stayed open and flooded one cylinder (somebody added a starter button, the keyswitch doesn't work right). And just before we were about to leave (the car is up at the farm) we find that the rotor isn't turn. Ouch. the timing belt is busted. Not a fun job. And i just find out that my dad is not a very good mechanic. I happen to know that it's a pretty tough job, and i don't think he could manage it. I'm hoping my brother freddie will get a chance to go up there again. I did get a good manual though, and as cars go, this one is pretty uncomplicated.

I also got some nice cups and a really big glass mug. some jeans, some boots, underwear a couple shirts--a full outfit. I got a 4.3G hard disk, which took a little while to install, and i have to discard my 1G because my case doesn't have space for two. And i got a video game, tomb raider III that requires 4Meg on the video card, and i only have 2, so i need an upgrade. luckily my card is expandable and i just need 4 256k16-50 ram chips.

i've just been watching too many movies to talk about easily, so maybe i'll come back to them, or not

we make the world the way we want. some people, for some mistaken reason of their own, strive to make a hard, mean place, maybe from a pathology, or they are sold on some bad deal by a cold salesclerk. by every little choice, we pull together a cloth, knitting our surroundings, fine or coarse.

i went dancing last night. lots of cute girls around me. It's nice being totally surrounded by them. There was one with a red top that i pissed off, though. i was walking past as she was kind of hitting her boyfriend (just playing), and i kind of grabbed her and told her to break it up. She yelled at me then. She was actually part of a group of three girls who were dancing, and i was kind of flirting with them. But later, i was next to her and she waved me away with her hand. Her friend once danced slose to me, squatting, but later, when i went up to her, she said 'no'. So i like got rejected a couple of times (good for the soul). I got to see a little more of the personality of the young woman, which is much different from the mature woman. I hadn't shaved, and looked like a bum. I really was only intending to scope the place out and not do much. It seems like a nice workout. the bartenders there are just gorgeous.

started on the christmas shopping

my brother freddie got in from california.

we watched "dark city", a pretty weird, nightmarish sci-fi. other people's fantasies usually don't make sense to me.

so the president was impeached. i saw one commentator blame it on hubris-- the president could have admitted it or made a deal early on instead of thinking he would just win. and taking the election as vindication just pissed off the republicans, who are still in charge. but it is an extremely partisan move, and really has little to do with justice and much to do with emotional revenge. how dare he try to get away with this? but morality is simply breaking down. We just don't need principles when we have technological ability. Who needs honor and truth when we have video cameras and dna evidence. The fact is, there are better ways to run a world than to rely on a persons feeble psychological senses of guilt and shame. i would say, if anything, this crisis calls for a change in our form of government, since it no longer follows the will of the people. (The republicans called the impeachment a triumph for the rule of law) The rule of law just basically sucks. It can be used to protect bad things as well as good. There has always been a problem that people equated bad with different, but i have to think we can be more enlightened given a chance and our greater supply of information.

And then there is the war on iraq. just air strikes. and it's pretty much been bumped from coverage today by the impeachment. Just a few buildings blown up, not a lot of casualties. and it's probably going to be over by ramadan so as not to upset the muslims in the area. which means no ground troops, and essentially nothing accomplished. but maybe we will keep it going until sadam is out. that's what people want. (note: after i wrote this today, the pres called it off)

we are allowed to lie to and kill foreigners, but not our own. that's a problem.

i saw "you've got mail" with tom hanks and meg ryan. she's cute. but the whole thing is contrived and obvious. I guess if you can stand it once, you'd be happy seeing it over and over. but i'm not really motivated to see it again. rich guy turning out to be a nice guy just doesn't seem to make sense to me. maybe i should watch the godfather. "go to the matresses". one neat bit about it, the girl is normally the meek type who would never lash out at anyone or say anything mean, but would regret it and think of all the stuff she would say later. the boy is the opposite of that, and has always spoken his mind and doesn't shy away from that dirty stuff. it has helped him to be a successful businessman, and the girl has been kind but obscure. The cool bit is that through email, they got to intimately discuss this, and dude tells her that being mean actually makes you feel bad later. There is the touching scene when they go to meet, dude sees that the penpal is her, almost doesn't go in, but does, and she really chews him out (not thinking he was her guy, but only seeing him as the enemy businessman putting her out of business). She talks about it in email to him, and feels so proud that she finally spoke out, but she actually feels bad later.

i was playing pool at the fox and the hound with some guys from work. It's been a long time since i played, and my first shot missed the ball i was aiming at by like three inches. But after a while my game did stabilize. One game of cut-throat cam down to my missing a medium-difficulty shot across the length of the table. But in the next game, i knocked that guy out with a really cool shot. It was just lucky that it was set up to work, and really wasn't very to hit. The last two of his balls (in cut-throat you have three people and try to knock out the other two guys' sets of five) were touching (kissing, whatever) such that the tangents made a right triangle with the two pockets on the end. This is actually a trick shot, because all you have to do is hit the closer one, and they pretty much both have to go in. which they did. It looked even cooler, because i was shooting from the other end of the table, but really it was an easy shot. Maybe i wasn't quite sure that they were lined up right, but it did look like it. That was a weird game for me, because i had in the beginning knocked in one of my own balls, but we decided (this being a friendly game), that that counted and i could shoot again. This turned out important later, because in the end, with me and just the other guy (not so good) left, i knocked in another of mine (and one other was gone). But again, since we had already decided that i could shoot again, i did. maybe it was in the way, because in the next two shots, i knocked out his last two balls, and won. i'm not sure i was as gracious about it as i could have been, since it was the most fun for me, and it was time to go.

my brother edgar just suggested a way to do web business, so maybe i will look at it.

i have yet to make a really professional looking web page. i need to work on that

a lot of things are conspiring to keep me from christmas shopping, grr. there's work. and dr. garzon is hitting me to keep work on the project, when i'd like to take a break, so out of conflict, i am procrastinating or wasting time. One way of doing that, luckily though, is that i am going to the gym. I had been exercising at home, which uses a minimum of time. Going to the gym adds travel time, and i guess i dawdle, maybe. but the scenery is nice. There is always journal writing and movie-watching, but i think those can't be helped. In the past i have done some pretty good last minute shopping. Having a large budget has always helped, but i usually have more spare time to think about it. And i haven't made out a wishlist, which is very distressing. Nobody is going to know what to get me, and today my dad and brother edgar asked, and all i had to tell them was (big) cups and shirts (everybody can use more shirts). Unfortunately, most of my shirts are, like, from my mom, and i am finally deciding that her fashion sense is worse than terrible; she wants me to be her little baby, and she gets stuff intended to make me look bad.

Man, a year ago, i was deeply in love with gia, but it didn't go anywhere, because i was too annoying. I hope she's doing ok, but i really haven't looked back. I'm kind of annoyed now that there are some people that would like to be with me, but i haven't even made an effort.

will means desire. talk of future is really about our pressent view of things that we want. the future tense is about the present. I guess the past tense is only about our present memory of the past. There is only now.

ok. no two things can be identical. even things that are called identical are really different from one moment to the next, except that we have an arbitrary custom of calling them the same by convention. suffice it that similarity is all we have. equality doesn't ever actually happen. the way rand build stuff from equality is an inaccurate abstraction. but the question still remains how similarity can be possible. if this were a plasma universe, probably there couldn't be

so were are at war with iraq, for a little while at least. there was one guy, lott, who wasn't in favor of it because of the timing, a view which shows to me that he is more republican than american. but he softened his statement after the executives talked to him about how there were other factors, like ramadan and the extra forces in the area due to an overlap between those ready to be sent back and their replacements.

guns need to have little television cameras for sights. it would allow for shooting and not sticking your head out. and the solid state ones are getting pretty cheap. also, remote control weapons. and it can be recorded.

giving the order to kill people sure puts this sex and lying stuff in perspective.

i was with my mom, shopping for shoes. I tried on some cheap black chinese boots. the right one was nice, so i tried on the second. And there was a nail sticking up in the heel that went into my foot. Ouch! So we put that one back and got a different box. But then there was the question of what to do about the bad boot. i could see that my mom just wanted to put it back. and i pushed but she wanted at most just to set it aside. But i knew it was wrong not to tell them. they had liability for it. But she couldn't see anyone who worked there. Actually, there was a guy pretty clearly putting boxes on the shelf in that very aisle. So i went and showed him the nail. And he gave us a 25% discount.

i can't find my book on how to to fast math in my head. grr. it might have been one of the ones that got lost in shipping. i also had a book with a bunch of neat mental exercises, and i can't find it either. i've been thinking about writing out and posting a list of all the books i have, and i almost got started on it.

i really don't want to be the kind of person that has little shallow conversations and meets a lot of people. i was looking at that book about dating young women for dudes over 35 again

where does the time go? lately i've been going to sleep around 7, hoping to get up early in the morning, but i wake up at 11 and cant get back to sleep. so i sleep till 10, well, i tend to go out for a pint, too.

so i was almost really kissing this girl. i realizes later that i hadnt brushed my teeth, so i must have been too nasty. oh well. she was nice, though. and for some reason, there were a lot of civilian ladies in the club on saturday

lot's of movies. i saw "star trek:insurrection" twice. it was good, but not quite as epic and violent as i might like. somewhat philosophical, dealing with ethical struggles. and lot's of chick stuff and romance. riker/frakes does a bathtub scene with troi/sirtis--one of the benefits of being the director/producer. I've been trying to find the words to "a british tar" from hms pinafore on the net, but no luck. another gap on the information superhighway. but i came across part of a provisional plot outline, which was actually pretty interesting for the things that turned out different in the final movie. they really seemed to clean up stuff that wouldnt have worked so well.

i saw "insomnia", a norwegian film, subtitled. it's in the summer, so the sun never sets, and cop dude cant sleep. plus he's done bad stuff. they do a weird effect where bits of scenes overlap. in one, you see the guy looking and hear footsteps, then the scene shifts, and it turns out to be his footsteps (reminiscent of the end of 2001) So it all has a weird nightmare quality. and it isn't a mystery, because we find out who did the crime fairly soon, but we follow the cop and bad guy around. a strange but intriguing psychological thriller.

and i saw "life is beautiful", another subtitled, this one in italian. dude is a fun, clownish kind of guy (son of pink panther, benini). he gets the babe in the first part, but in the last part, they all get taken to a concentration camp. somehow the joy of his spirit pulls his little son through it. actually a pretty moving movie, i think. a fair amount of slapstick

i spend too much money. and i need to make more. i think i would actually be better off financially if i got a girlfriend.

the rule of law is a bad thing. by putting something above people, people are thereby lowered. It has always been known that the best government is to be ruled by good men. The problem has always been that good men are reluctant, and evil men are willing. And power itself corrupts. The rule of law is thus a stable compromise, and a way to keep honest men honest. Perhaps we should seek the rule of the strong good.

mind, and concepts, could just be bad metaphors, like phlogiston and humors. instead of 'concepts' we might find a more complicated brain mechanism to talk about.

without her (not necessarily anyone in particular) it's been like i don't really have a reason to do anything. no hope. just a pointlessness.

gonna get an incomplete, but i'll keep working on it

got the java swing table to send a record to the database with sql

grimmish. bp is still high. need help

i went over to nancy at agriculture. she is very easy to annoy, one of those that doesn't like you to mess with any of their stuff. I picked up one of two cups, and then she glared at me. But i realize that i really liked the attention she was giving me, even if she was being upset. I guess i do have the bad habit of bothering people (girls) to go after negative attention. i know i used to be liked that as a kid. i need to work on that. but the behavior was being rewarded in it's way.

an insight into metaphor. one of the standard theories about metaphor is that it presents a statement that doen't make literal sense, such that we have to do some work to figure out what is meant (eg. "he's a pig") Such statements stand out as being odd or incorrect (they are salient) and we have to spend more time focusing on them. Saying something that stands out is a significant act in itself, and it brings greater attention and focus into the act of communication. Something that sounds absurd gives us a chance to pause and think about some greater issue. "No man is an island". well, no man is a cheeseburger either.

at work i'm trying to build database objects in java 1.2 for translating all this old dbase stuff. I just got the table to read a block of data gathered from an sql query. I have been trying various database systems and versions of java with automatic code generation, but i think i'm just going to shoot for simple modules, written from scratch in the most current thing from sun. Microsoft's j++ was way non-standard. the jbuilder stuff i had been using ended up incompatible with the newer sun stuff, and with borland sold, there isn't so much future in it. At one point i was using access, but it actually kept crashing. The restriction i have that has made this so bad is that i want to use the old files so we can still use the old programs if needed. odbc does allow reading that stuff, though it's a little cumbersome. With this new setup, i am starting off with a fileserver object, so separating the network stuff should be easier.

peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old

somebody on #phil asked why there is pain in the world. I said it was because animals eat other animals. this basic cruelty in nature is part of human nature as well, and people are even mean to each other sometimes because it is so built in. We fight against others, whether man or beast. I also heard some romantization that wolves don't pick on other wolves (someone talking about how cruel children can be), but they do. saw orson welles' 'a touch of evil', with charlton heston. a really good flik.

got a little further on the basic project design, but a signal has to propagate all along about a twenty layer channel. the project is gonna miss the initial deadline tomorrow, but i will present something.

'psycho' was boring

trouble sleeping lately

now i get to take blood pressure medicine. microzide right now

resisted going to visit the cog sci lab

resisted the urge to go to the cog sci meeting. went to work instead

came up for a design for an electronic cell fro complex systems seminar. the project is due monday or at the end of exams. all i have to do now is get an implementation for the fpgas and wire them up, which should be tough.

well, today i was in front of the psych building, and rachel and shannon were there, so i dallied a little, but there were also these guys, and while i was standing there, some other guy walked by, and they broke out in this really native sounding german. not simply fluent, but the accent sounded german. and the thing was, when they spoke english, they spoke with no german accent, and actually kind of a memphis accent, maybe. perhaps my ear for native german speech is not any good anymore. Bianca also came out and talked to one of them (she has a definite accent). These guys were your bohemian looking college types, including ghotis.

the thing was, i had been up in the cog sci lab, looking at some interesting stuff about perceptions. they actually had real engineering analysis with linear systems and fourier transforms of sensory information. it was trippy to see that in a book about psychology. anyway, all those girls were in there, and somehow they noticed that rachel was wearing green contact lenses. and her back was to me so i didn't get to see. for some reason they were all ignoring me right then. maybe it was me. no eye-contact, whatever, so when i saw them sitting outside, i tried to get a good look. it didn't really make much difference, since she i usually don't get close enough to see her eye-color anyway. and she is still really gorgeous. she said they are hazel, which is brown and green.

and i was trying to quit going up there, but i had gone down there to see derek, who is in the complex systems seminar, to see how far along he is in his project. due on monday. i'm thinking i might not be finished. i should be working on it right now, actually. Derek said he's having trouble, also.

so, my brother is getting DVD, and put out a list of disks to get. one of them was clockwork orange, and because of it, i have put up there the words to ode to joy, which was got added on to beethoven's ninth. i think it was also sung in a 'hard day's night' by the beatles, but i'm not sure. the scene at the bar