a ba'b'ian journal

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  • December 31, 2009
Happy Seventh Day of Christmas! Happy New Year's Eve!

Sleeping all through the night and staying up all day is unnatural. That's not what babies do. Many cultures do siestas. We do it from being industrialized and having a factory manufacturing economy that turned into a commuting culture where people have to drive a substantial distance to get to work. The infocus team except for me was a bunch of people working from home. I don't know if they were siesta types, though. It seems doable for IT. I would probably just work less, though, left on my own. One thing about people sleeping, though, is that we do natural keep to a schedule. If you get on a schedule of sleeping all night, you can well enough used to that that it works somewhat well for you.

So the dream this time that woke me up was one where I was trying to write a paper for something. About ten pagers. I was using a typewriter, but then had some problems. I didn't have a good printer on my computer, only a dot-matrix, but I decided to try to use a word-processor and then get someone to print it. Maybe Doug. I did talk to Aimee about writing a book. It's something she also was thinking of doing.

And at Bardog at lunch, we were getting up to go. And I was standing there, and I didn't notice that I was standing in the way of some guy trying to get back in his seat. I was just focused on Aimee, and kind of oblivious to everything else. I can get that way, sometimes.

  • December 30, 2009
Happy Sixth Day of Christmas!

Lunch with Aimee. I think I didn't have anything interesting to say this time, but it was nice to see her. I need to try to do it again sooner.

So, one of the two DVD drives on my desktop appears to be twice as fast as the other at reading in a disc. I think it's because the slower one is on the same cable and connector as the disk drive it's using. Just a guess, but that might do it. The drive might just be faster, of course, but it's like right at twice a fast, so I don't know. And probably related, it takes twice as long to write out a disc as it predicts it's going to take. Oh well.

So much to read and so many thing I think I'd want to do. I'm not so big on getting things done, though. So if I were to do a project, I think I would want to do a project that has more message passing in it, such that there was more opportunity for different levels of processing to interact with each other. There is the sphinx speech recognition system in Java, and I was thinking maybe looking at tinkering with that to add that ability. At least I should try to get it working. One issue I had when I looked at it last time was that it required some kind of sound models that didn't come with it, and I didn't know how to get them, so it wouldn't work right off. I should look into it again. And there's the computer vision stuff I wanted to work on, and that robot to try to get working. Plus getting Copycat in Clojure. So much to do.

I'm a little ahead of the pace to get through these Sudoku. I guess not by too much. I've done 34, so I'm a third through the easiest level, where they have a hundred of those. We'll see how it goes.

  • December 29, 2009
Happy Fifth Day of Christmas!

It might be too unreasonable to celebrate all twelve days of Christmas. Kids get most of that time off from school in the winter. Good time for a break. We could probably use more shopping.

So I had the dream again where I'm trying to go back to school. I think it was a bit enhanced by the omega-3, which makes dreams more memorable and vivid. I actually went in to a local school to look it over, and try to figure out what I want to study. What kind of math. Maybe some languages. Writing. I went to the library and got some books. All the math books were old classical, I mean actual Greek. And I looked for the counselors to get advice, but they didn't seem right for me, and I didn't talk to them. It took a bit for me to realize that I shouldn't really be in a high school. But after I woke up, I did realize that University can be a lot like high school. So if I really do want to do something like that, I could just go back to school. I could branch out a little more and take some of those other things I was thinking about. Some music. Writing. Philosophy. Some of the more obscure maths. Languages. Would take some time. I should think about money, though. I'm not sure there is a good way to try to make money learning. They say being a graduate student is being a professional student. But they really only pay you for doing work for people, especially doing research for people. I'm not sure I want to do research. That really does sound like work. Some people do, though. I could look more into it. I have in the past gone back to school during periods of unemployment. Right now this time, I decided it would be better to learn to study on my own. Academia might not be a bad place to do it. But I need to try to find the right people to work with. Stan at U of M might not be bad. Seems like Berkeley is more my kind of place, though.

It's taken a bit to find that Stanford really isn't the place for me. I wanted to go there a long time. I lit bit too type-A yuppie for me. Nice for ambitious people kind of in a hurry. Ones who can get a lot done. The quarter system means they cover big bits of stuff in short periods. So you get pretty in depth surveys of subjects. But not so much taking your time. Their approach to AI looks kind of like a big search for a short cut, and it seems to spring from that sort of compressed way of treating subjects. They are mostly into symbolic stuff. In that, you might use the text "box" to try to mean what we think of as a box. And there are now other sort of family branches of AI, and they treat them as big isolated bits. Computer vision. Machine learning. So they then just take the bits. There's not anything for trying to put everything together, which would be more something I'd be into. Stan actually puts a lot of different pieces from different areas together. I don't quit agree with the pieces Stan uses, but that attitude about what to do, not to focus so tightly, seems more the kind of thing I want. And I think it's not so odd that I picked up that attitude, since I went to U of M. It seems to kind of follow a bit more from how that place operates. You get more time to be expansive when you look at material. You're not cramming it into a quarter, you have a whole semester for everything. Unfortunately, it seems like most classes have to be big surveys of a subject. Maybe that's just the nature of what a class has to be. But it seems like sometimes I got stuff that seemed to have a little more depth.

I was trying to explain to Angela and Ian what Speech Recognition is about. One of the books I'm getting for Christmas is about Speech Recognition. Amazon hasn't gotten it here in time. I mentioned it to them, because it was one of the more expensive things on my list, but Freddie sprung for it. Los for a textbook, but high for a book in general. But what is Speech Recognition. Turns out there are actually a lot of different problems you have to solve in that problem. One it just getting the sounds. I told Ian sometimes they use FFTs. He's a physicist, so he knows about them. But more often they use hidden markov models, and there are some other sorts of acoustic models they might use. That's just one simple problem at the acoustic level, how to start processing the sound data. I was then trying to explain to Angela the weird concept of temporal alignment. Everything you say will be at different speeds. And you've got this sort of template you want to match up to sound that people are making. But the speeds are all different, so you're having to try to dynamically lines stuff up while trying to figure out what it is you're lining up at the same time. There's actually an algorithm just for trying to deal with that. And then there's something that Ian noticed. He was using a google something or other voice product. You'll say something into it, but at some point it will get confused and start picking weird words that don't match. Well, on top of all the other levels, a lot of people use a language model. They keep track of pairs and triples of words, and the probability of which word comes after the next, so you'll get a kind of chain of text, and ones it starts breaking, it can really mess up. At this point, computer programs don't try to use a model of understanding what people are talking about. I'm not sure if it would help them much, but it's definitely the kind of thing that people also use to deal with this very hard problem. And calling it a hard problem doesn't do it justice. It's a hard problem that can include a lot of hard smaller problems when you break it down, which is the way people often deal with hard problems. And actually, having isolate blocks for subproblems is not that great. It's clear that in people, all the levels of the problem interact. That's not so easy to do with computer programs. With those, we tend to like clear interfaces and interactions, especially something flowing from one level to another. Something really tangled like this isn't natural or pretty. People have just forced their solution to be clean, but then it just doesn't work right, and breaks down at times in ugly ways.

One thing that religion contributed to society is the idea of taking breaks from work. That's actually a pretty big deal. Without some reason, people would just work every day. Taking one day off a week was a big step up. And everybody off on the same day? That would probably be hard to do without some big oganizing force with a lot of money to spread its word around. So now we have two day weekends. That's a real bonus. Give 'em an inch kind of thing, I imagine. And in Judaism, from what I gather, there is also a notion of taking one year in seven off, which doesn't sound too bad. Saving up for something like that has to be a good thing. Seems like I do a little more than that, but whatcha gonna do?

Do they even put cotton in aspirin bottles, anymore? I was going to write about taking the cotton out, and how after Andy Rooney wrote about it, I started taking it out. I used to put it back in. What made me think about it is that I just noticed a loaf of white bread, and somebody put the little twisty back one. Must have been one of the California people. I always just twist the bag, and tuck it underneath. For me, the twisty is only for the initial packaging, and I pitch it when I open it. Just like the cotton in aspirin.

And then there's Aimee. I have always loved her. I think it was immediate. And she has always liked me, though not "like" liked me, to use a turn of phrase I heard Melissa use one time (though I think she was lying at the time). I just asked her about lunch and she's up for it. We had lunch months ago and I haven't gotten around to doing it again. And she wouldn't start anything I'm sure. I'm not positive what it is. We like talking to each other. Last time, she said I always make her think, which to me doesn't really sound like such a good thing, so I think I was a little bit put off. And my schedule is weird so lunch is maybe just a little tough for me to do. I don't see her as much as I'd like, lets say. But it really is love. I have some physical attraction for her that she doesn't share, so for bits in there, I was a little to annoying to her, I think. But I do like talking with her. Seems like it would be nice to have a fan. And I think I'm seeing that the physical means a little more than I used to admit to myself.

So I'm reading a little more about Historical Linguistics. Sound changes. How different sounds from earlier languages, and specifically Proto-Indo-European, changed to newer languages. I kind of like looking at proto-Indo-European, and comparing different languages. Actually learning all the languages, not so much.

  • December 28, 2009
Happy Fourth Day of Christmas!

Well, they had a consensus that I should cut my fingernails. So I just did, though I probably won't see them for a few days. But after achieving that they kind of wimped out and said I should do what I want. It bugged Angela, so that she kept telling me to, and Ian agreed. I said, well Melissa hasn't ever bugged me about it, but I didn't really know what she thought. She they asked her and she said that yes, she prefers short nail. So I guess they all agreed.

Angela says she really likes talking to me, and actually wishes more people could get to talk to me. OK. Well, she does really only see me when she's been drinking, so maybe that biases it a bit, but she does seem to like talking to me. And bothe she and Ian said I should be more open. I was pretty closed up when she first starting talking to me.

So I asked if she was working in the morning. Mostly I guess to see how late she was staying out. But I guess I hadn't really thought it through. She wasn't, and asked me, and now I'm not doing anything, so would I like to get together. Hmm. I wasn't really ready for that. I kind of made excuses, and she said I should just say know. But that's really bad karma. Oops. Seems to happen a lot. And along those lines I didn't tell Melissa I wanted to get together with her some time. But that's to be expected.

Man, Freddie gave me the "Mammoth Book of Sudoku". It's got 1250 puzzles in it. If I were to try to finish it in a year, I would have to average 5 a day. That's a hardcore commitment. I don't know if I'm up for it. I think I'm already falling behind. Today, seems like I was playing Freecell instead. We'll see how it goes. It's not the really hard ones like in the last book. It's got a range. It should be enough. Probably more than enough.

I have so much to keep myself occupied now. I probably don't need to get any more books for a bit, though there is one I'm thinking of--another one with interviews of famous programmers, in this case language designers talking about their languages. I'll try to hold of on that. I think I'm going to get that keyboard I've had on my list a long time. I just haven't managed to get my other one connected, or haven't bothered to try hard enough. Plus it's not such a good one, and the key feel is not very good. I should be playing the piano. The guy that tuned it wanted it to be played a lot to help work out the moisture that's gotten in it. But I'd like to be able to get some stuff recorded. Maybe I should do a little of both.

It is nice the way Angela really appreciates talking to me. She said it's probably hard to find someone as me. I should make a bit more effort.

OK, so I did 5 Sudoku puzzles to keep on pace. That makes 20. I'll see how it goes.

I'm looking at this weird new york review of books article. It's really too long for me. But one of the things it says is that having a big system of government social welfare works well in countries with a homogeneous population, where everyone is kind of the same. They trust and care about each other more. Trust each other not to try to take advantage. But the U.S. is quite different. Lot's of little groups that don't really like each other. So the social welfare thing is not so popular. So "conservatism" has a whole undercurrent of just racism, though maybe more precisely, out-grouping. That seems like an interesting idea. There's other stuff in the article as well, but that's one I see on first glance.

It's nice to see your ideas go somewhere. There was a bet somewhere about the turing test being beaten by 2029. Kurweil and somebody else. That particular post has come up more than once on reddit. Somewhere a while back concerning it, I talked about how you really wouldn't want a computer to lie and try to fool someone that it was a person. And when this showed up again recently, I saw someone else saying that. I don't know that I was the first person to point that out, but I've talked about it in a couple of places, and I don't actually remember any one before me mentioning it. Seems kind of obvious when I think about it.

I forgot to put the trash out by the curb. Just didn't think of it. My mom's been doing it for a month, and she gone. Just not back to doing everything for myself. Or something. Kind of really a disrupted life right now.

Netflix seems a bit out of whack for me. I'm only supposed to have one movie at a time, and they sent me an extra because they had to ship something from further out than the local place, but it hasn't settled back to just one at a time. I sent something back Saturday, they got it today, but I received something in the mail today. Which must have already been in the mail. It's all computerized, I guess, and I don't know if it's done well enough for them to figure this out. When I send one back, they send another, so when two chains got started, they didn't seem to figure out how to drop one of the chains. Maybe they will.

Something occurs to me as I'm playing Sudoku. One thing that I can get better at while I'm playing is seeing which numbers are missing in a particular group. I had been thinking that the best way is to run through the digits sequential, and that I could do that faster and more smoothly. One way I was looking at doing that was instead of sounding them out in my head as "one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine" I could use a faster version I have, "tanamaralachakafapa". But I'm not doing that so much, and it isn't very automatic if I don't keep it up. But I think about it. And it's something that presumably I can learn to do unconscious;y, to just see them, brain does its thing, and the numbers pop up. And if I think about how it might do it, I realize that it's possible for the brain to check each digit being missing all at the same time. And along that route, it turns out that as for actions that I can consciously try to do. It's much easier for me to guess a missing number and see that it's not there. So much faster that I can guess two or three numbers and check them a lot faster than running through nine digits. I seem to guess fairly well. I suspect there is some grouping that is going on under the covers. Not enough curvy letters or straight letters, so maybe this number. Anyway, there is room for practice to help. I noticed that when I started, I was really rusty, and I got better pretty quickly. So my sudoku intution is getting better.

We've got some thick bacon. I've been eating a bit of that. Normally I don't eat bacon, but this stuff, I think just because it is thicker, I like better. Seems like bacon always seems insubstantial to me, and I prefer sausage.

  • December 27, 2009
Happy Third Day of Christmas!

Colin asked for a couple of Bakugan for Christmas. Specific ones, it seemed like. Maxus Dragonoid and Bakusteel. I think Bakusteel is actually a series in there, but Maxus Dragonoid appears to be a specific object. Bakugan is a whole family of toys or a game with toys involved. Something like Pokemon which he used to be into. So some fad. And since it's just a fad, it's something he will just move on from. But that's all he said he wanted. So it made it a bit hard to get him anything, especially something that will outlast this latest thing. Freddie was saying it wasn't so important to get the specific ones. I went with my mom to help her buy some, but that was before they sent the list of the exact ones he wanted. She just knew Bakugan, I think from when she was there in the summer. And he already had around 35 of them. I even got some random ones. He got several different ones. But he did get the Maxus Dragonoid. And it actually is pretty darn impressive. Almost a transformer, it's made of 7 little pieces that fit together, each of which is it's own little thingie. Those Japanese with their weird mechanical objects. Paper cranes? What is that, exactly? Anyway, it's the only thing he plays with. He seems to like it. Seems like it must be a disappointing Christmas if you only get one thing that you seem to like. I guess it's better than not getting anything you like at all. Like maybe all you really want is real estate and all you get are a bunch of stupid clothes and toys and stuff. I did get real estate one time. Wasn't really the same, because it hadn't been my big dream. And I got a fixer-upper-car one time when I thought I wanted that so I could learn about fixing cars. But it totally did not work out. Needed a little more work than I was ready for. And it turned out I just wasn't that into fixing cars. Live and learn. What I apparently do like is books. That's just about all I got this year, and exactly the ones I wanted because it was all through amazon's wishlist system. And I really liked it. Just as a matter of getting things I want, it seems like this was the best Christmas for me ever. And I've gotten some stuff. Getting a go-cart was way up there. I loved that go-cart. Played with it for many years. Still miss it, sometimes. My first car was a birthday present, so it wasn't a christmas thing. It seems like I remember my brothers giving me big and significant things for christmas, but I don't remember so much any more. There aren't that many objects that have been all that important to me.

I think Freddie's kids have really gone a long way to not being material at all. The only thing Aaron asked for was Lego Star Wars. Last year, they wanted Wii games, and they got a ton. Maybe almost 20. And that's so many that you can't possibly enjoy them all. So you really could get the feeling that you just don't need all that. So this year they seemed not so into it. Daniel finally came out with a great list. Really long, plenty of ideas as to what to get him. Mostly hunting related. But really, he was happy just to get some money. That's what my folks were doing, and seems like what Edgar was going to do for them. Nathan was a little more clear. He didn't really want anything, and had a clear logical reason not to get stuff. He has to carry everything he's going to take with him in his car to california, plus his dad is going, so that much less space. He doesn't need any stuff, but money he sure could use. Well, OK. I got Daniel a hunting book. Nathan some simpsons discs that will pack tightly, in a case that I gave him before. Aaron and Colin also have the issue of packing stuff up. Seems like all the Bakugan that Colin got would fit in a shoebox. Aaron got a lot of Lego, and that's going to be a little bigger, but quite manageable. Last year they got some large stuff. Their house is actually pretty small, and can't hold all that much stuff, anyway.

Aaron wasn't really all that excited about Christmas, anyway, before or after. Colin, on the other hand, was junmping up and down. He wanted to open presents the day he got here, and was really running around and jumping up and down at the end. We took a long time to get around to finally opening them up, too. Maybe helping Colin learn some patience. And afterwards, Colin was very quite. He sat by himself quite a bit, just playing with his dragonoid. There's no way it could live up to his excitement and expectation, and maybe he was a little let down, but he was still pretty happy. Maybe he's just a happy kid. Aaron maybe just a more gloomy kid. It happens. Things tend not to change your level of happiness so much. It is possible that Aaron is a bit displaced as the older kid. Colin gets on his nerves a lot. But that's little brothers. I'm sure Freddie gets it, having been there.

I got the kung fu TV series. It's been a long time since I watched any of it. The first one is the pilot where they explain it all. But in the second episode, Quai Chang Caine gets him some pussy. Seems like I remembered that happening, but I didn't think it was right off. Doesn't sound like the kind of thing for a "priest", but apparently the Shaolin people don't have so much against it like western folk. And I think it isn't a Buddhist thing so much as a Chinese thing.

  • December 26, 2009
Happy Second Day of Christmas!

They've all gone to the farm. By myself. I was thinking maybe about going out, but it's nice just to here peacefully. I'll go out tomorrow anyway, so maybe stay here.

And I haven't gone to see my girls at the Pony all year. I was thinking I might do that, but maybe I'll just make it a solid year. That's probably good, anyway.

They're working on synthehol. A synthetic substitute for alhocol with less danger that you could recover from more easily, maybe with something taken at the end. They're looking at benzodiazapines, things similar to Valium. But I gather from reddit that those things have nasty withdrawals. Like one of the couple of things that can kill you.

  • December 25, 2009
Happy Christmas!

Technically it's Christmas. It's just after midnight. They are mopping up. Grace is washing dishes. Mom is cleaning there too. I'm waiting for her to go to bed and off to Bardog. I was actually considering not going because I spent all my spare cash. But I went to the bank and extracted some more so I could go. Regular hours. But it's too late for Starbucks.

A radio station, WRVR, is playing commercial free christmas music. But at about 7, for a few minutes, they somehow messed up their feed and were playing two songs at once. One girl had a show that must have been programmed ahead, and they didn't turn off the other feed. Nathan was saying there was probably no one at the station to fix it. All set up in advance. It was pretty intolerable, though I actually stuck with it for a bit. Then I turned it off and played Christmas music on piano for a bit. I do that. Hopefully it's a little inspiring to the kids who are taking lessons, though they haven't been practicing like they are supposed to. Rough to be forced into it like that. But what can you do. When I finished up, the radio station had recovered. I was playing from a fake book that doesn't have a very big list of chrismas songs. I have several other books. I'll probably pull them out later. The fake book is the easiest to play from. Just give me the chords that I can play along. Don't give me every note. I don't sight read that well.

Is she never going to go to bed? Grr.

Well, if I had checked my phone, I would have seen that Melissa wasn't working because it was too slow. But I ran into Dr. Bill Baggett, which was kind of nice. I've seen him around here and there. He friended me on facebook. And he lives on mud island, though he mostly hangs out at other places downtown, so there was a good chance that I would see him sometime.

I think using the amazon wishlist worked to get me a lot more stuff. A lot less clothes, at least. Seems like a lot more stuff, at least specific things that I asked for. Maybe I've been hard to buy for. A couple of nice kung fu books. Some java books. Assorted other books. The kung fu TV series. Some Abbot and Costello. Big haul.

One different thing. On Grace's present, I wrote, "to Grace, from Aaron" That was weird. I think Colin had come in, and said to him, "Hi Colin... Aaron, no Colin" So I was having some kind of senior moment. I was sitting on the ground, so looking up at him, I didn't see his height right, or he looked a little different from that persepective, or something.

  • December 24, 2009
Happy Christmas Eve!

My family sure can geek out. There can be as many as four people sitting here in the den each with his or her (Grace maybe) computer surfing or something. Though Grace has now started just hiding of by herself in some other room somewhere. My dad, Freddie, one of the kids, and one will be playing Wii. Grace might get on the desktop, or maybe me. My desktop and my laptop, and Freddie brought two laptops. I have yet to bring in my other laptop when they're all busy, but there have been opportunities.

They're all off at church. I've been staying here. They have bugged me various amounts in the past, but one time, my dad said he was actually a little bit happy to have someone here so they can't break in and steal everything. Today I think only Grace said something, and I said that to her. OK, that sounds good.

How about a reddit submission about the true meaning of christmas. Pagan celebration from roman times. Maybe saturnalia, I forget. Sun god or something, just after the soltice, so the days are getting longer again. Gift giving. 12 days. Etc. Jewish people didn't celebrate birthdays. They would have thought it kind of a pagan thing.

  • December 23, 2009
Happy Festivus!

Well, I still haven't started my Christmas shopping. I'll just do it today, It seems like I didn't have the day before Christmas eve off last time, so I don't feel as much pressure now. I have all day, though it will be rough. And I didn't make DVD copies ahead of time like I should have. That could be rough if I try to do that.

So some more of Grace not getting it. They got some stuff for Colin. He wants some little faddish thing, Bakugan. They have bunches of diffeent kinds. Freddie was trying to at least keep Colin from peaking. But Grace just brought down the thing they got to Show it to Eddie, and then she just left it sitting here. And Freddie confronted her about it. She said Colin picked it out. So maybe it really wasn't that secret. But still. So much for the effort to keep a little mystery.

Of course, I'm not feeling that into it. I have quite a bit of money pulled out, but maybe not quite as much as I possibly could have. And I don't have as many ideas about what to get as I sometimes do. Oh well.

I did find a site that lists all the twilight zone episodes on the different disks. So I should be able to see if there are repeats on them after all. I could just be confusing ones that seem familiar from TV with ones I have on DVD already. But I have the web site with the list. It should be a straightforward thing to use a computer to check a list for duplicates. But I don't seem to ge set up with the tools to just do it easily, it looks like. Sucking in web pages isn't necessarily that easy. I'd want to just cut off the whitespace in the front of each line, sort, and then duplicates will be adjacent, which would be easy to check then. A perl script could possibly do it pretty easy. Sounds like work, though. Seems like a spreadsheet might be able to do a sort. That's like the main tool that it seems like people use for interactive programming types of things now. Computers are good at things thought out well in advance that someone can program for you. Still not so convenient for ad hoc sorts of tasks.

Closer to getting a health care bill. They had to cut stuff. And the repubs aren't involved. It seems like they say they might have been involved if they there were some bits that they liked. But almost certainly that talk like that is just lies. If they wanted to talk, it was only to keep it from happening. If they want to fix it, they can try later. One signicant thing that got left out is making getting insurance a requirement. So some people just won't. Medium poor people, like youngish adults, just will decide not to want to pay into it.

One thing that really bugged me was that in the PBS news coverage, they were talking to senators, and they included a Republican. Why ask a Republican about it? They decided not to be involved. And worse, they have already shown they will just lie and lie about it no end to try to scare people away from support. The media has just played into it all along. And yet it still might happen, despite their best efforts. One lie he said was that Medicare was going to be bankrupt in 2017. Un huh. Is that when Jesus is coming back? OK, he had a Southern accent, so I'm a little biased.

OK, so we're getting the paper. And the only thing I look at is that I do the Su Doku puzzle which is in a particular section. My mom is reading the paper, so I go to get that section from her and she decides she need to read it right then. Ann Landers or something. And when she's done, she gives it to my dad. oh well. It has the comics in it. Oh well.

  • December 21, 2009
That girl. She said as we were saying goodbye, if I don't see you. Merry Christmas. She's working Christmas Eve, regular hours, which is till 3. So maybe I might be able to go by.

Christmas pretty soon. Not so into it.

_Million Dollar Baby_ did get me thinking about how important it is to protect yourself in fighting. Seems like I tend to really only think about the offensive moves, but probably the defense is more important, and a lot of this stuff I'm studying must be about staying protected, but I'm not focusing on it, and not paying attention to it, so I need to look more at it. When I look at it, I do see quite a bunch of stuff--dodges, evasions of different kinds, deflections.

  • December 20, 2009
Property rights are a restriction on freedom. So some people have to really mangle their concept of freedom so that it doesn't appear to infringe on what they believe are their god-given property rights. And they end up just not want to pay for things that they are benefitting from.

I'm a pretty terrible manager. And specifically project management. I can't schedule at all. My time management isn't very good. I'm not so good at getting things finished and wrapped up. I had a thing for Hilton, and I didn't think through everything that they wanted done, so I really mishandled it. I basically didn't get done properly, and then the time to do it ran out, and they had to abandon it. I think I've been spoiled that I've always worked with good management. A lot of projects end up not been used, but I haven't had to worry about that. Working for other people is probably a good thing for me. I might not get as much as I might get, but it's much less risky.

My dad's hearing is not so good, so my mom has to yell sometimes. It's not so pleasant. And he can try to be "playful" sometimes.

Well, they were talking about how my dad is spending quite a bit. Gone through about half his savings. He doesn't really want to end up with any money, but there is the danger of running out before going. My mom asked me if she was too stingy. I said she was not too stingy. She has just the right amount of stingyness. Some how it got around that my dad's mom was also kind of loose with money. She'd go out to eat at fancy places instead of saving money for bills. Hmm. That seems familiar somehow.

Went to Nathan's graduate at Southern Illinois Universty Carbondale. It's seemed close. Not even as far as St. Louis. It was a graduation. On a basketball court. Seems like half of the people were graduate students. There were some twins that both got the same degree in forestry. Both with the same beard and pony tail. Very odd-looking. Somebody had a degree in German studies. Nathan graduated magna cum laude. I only recently found that it's supposed to be pronounced mangna.

  • December 18, 2009
I'm sore. I worked out a little too hard at kung fu. I wanted to see if I had enough stuff to do a solid hour. I was by myself, and normally with other people, we alternate, so we have pretty good breaks while waiting, but this time not so much. I did actually sit and catch my breath a few times, but still it was a lot more solid. I included all the basic exercises, and even only did those half the distance as normal (only one way across, not across the room and back) but normally we only do one set and not all the sets. The Fanzi Quan was probably the most vigorous bit, and I did all the exercises plus several times on the form. And both bagua circle forms. Again, we usually only do one. And the weapons form. And I practiced what I know of the dragon form--I think i have about three quarters--three times. I did not do the chi gung, but it is not really so vigorous. I'm doing all them, and about fifty minutes into it, my back starts to complain. Not really too bad, but just enough to see that this has been a little too hard. I still had a little bit left, but I kept to it.

Of course, I could be kidding myself in thinking I don't care how things look. I hand out with Melissa, who is exceptionally beautiful and spends a lot of time on her appearance. And there are only a few particular body types that I find really attractive. That isn't everything to me, and it's a small enough range that I've thought I have to not be restricted to it.

I only recently found out that Pat Sajak's tie always matches Vanna White's dress on _Wheel of Fortune_. My mom told me about it. Different. And Vanna's job is basically just to be pretty. I like that.

Watched _Million Dollar Baby_. Mom liked it. Maybe that biased me against it, but I thought it wasn't great. I think chickee was robbed a bit, as the hit after the bell should have been grounds for disqualification, but I don't really know the league rules. And it wouldn't really help her to win I guess. But she definitely shouldn't have let her guard down with little miss break the rules. Falling on a chair was a pretty rough break. Kind of thing that makes you think maybe it's just a movie. But freaky stuff like that does happen. And wanting to die? How about just telling people you want off life support? Doesn't seem so hard, and you don't have to go all teary on us. It just didn't bother me. Don't care. Like that stupid _English Patient_. There must be people who get some emotional thing out of this kind of crap that I don't. Maybe the fighting was somewhat interesting. I should train harder, myself. Also, he getting that good seems a little odd, but there is some good stuff that can be learned. At least I want to believe that. I should break out one of my copies of _How to be an ass-whipping boxer_. I've got more than one. I guess by accident. Of course, maybe there are no accidents.

Amazon has recommended QED from Feynman. There are a lot of different additions, I think, and I think it was from trying to find it on the web site for the local library that I saw a cover that looks familiar. I think I might have a copy sitting around somewhere. Might be easier to go to the library than find it. Or maybe to buy it. But that would be pretty silly.

I was trying to go through and maybe add some last minute things to my amazon wishlist. That's about all I have for things to get me. And probably yesterday was the last day for them to get stuff from there, anyway. I was thinking maybe I could look for some stuff that would be more easily available locally. For something from amazon, there is a bit of a tendency to get obscure stuff.

OK. Added some. I am getting the feeling though that I really dont need much. Hopefully these are things that I want. I was thinking this was a list of things I would get some time when I get around to it. I also have an old list of things I wanted that I haven't finished up with. I should look for that. I never got a quad computer. I guess I don't need one anymore. I need to get a proper hunting pellet gun, so I can shoot some squirrels. Maybe I should break down and get that revolver. I couldn't really decide on what I wanted. The best I saw was an S&W, but it was only 5 shot. That just seemed so few. Maybe that's what I should do. How many shots do I really think I'll need? Mostly I want something for walking around in the woods, and being able to shoot a deer if I come up to one, or a turkey or something. Or a snake. Something with sufficient snake loads available. And to be a bit safer against the mountain lion that's wandering around up there. I did see a deer about 30 feet into the woods one time and I had my .45, but the clearest shot was in the back end, and it would have gotten pretty messy.

Everybody seems to be into just little things, though. I think Freddie and I would be the only ones left that could really just do big stuff, which we do on occasion. A TV maybe. Something like that.

  • December 17, 2009
OK, it's kill and yank in emacsworld, so it's just ctrl-y and ctrl-k, though ctrl-y is a line at a time, I believe, and there are probably lots of other different k things for doing other sorts of kills.

Ouch, so sitting cross-legged has finally started getting rough on my knees, I guess. I have to pull out the little feet rest things on the barcalounger here if I'm going to go a little longer. I guess that's getting pretty sad. But maybe i can finally see how other people have been feeling all this time. I have always tended to prefer the half-lotus, though I have always been able to do a full lotus without real problem. But it just doesn't work for me for so long anymore. And maybe I never really did it for the kind of lounging time I've been doing lately. And i guess, I'm more of a lying in bed kind of person, anyway.

I've never really had a great desire to be with people. One seems to be plenty. And even that only a little bit a week. And one at a time certainly seems right for me. I'm getting Christmas cards. Dani sent one. She mentioned that she hasn't seen me for a while. But she did send a card. I should go out there, but I just don't go for lunch so much any more. And Mike and Meg sent a card. They apparently have a monkey. Pray for Doji. I thought they had a dog. My mom tells me there dog died a while back. I guess Mike must have talked about that. But I don't remember at all. And I don't remember the dog, if I was ever out there. I think I must have been, but maybe the dog was shut in the bedroom or something because he could get a little bitey. I don't really see Mike so much any more. At least I don't go out to see him. He came by here a while back. And I haven't gone out to see Doug for quite a while. I think Melissa is really the only person I go to talk to, and that's just a few hours a week, and she's working then, anyway. Still, that seems to be about enough for me. Seems like I probably should look for something better, but that's not so easy. And I'd like to reconnect to some, but that doesn't seem to be working out for me.

So there's this guy Richard on the AGI list. He's got some deal that there is a "complex systems problem" with trying to make an AI. It seems a little hard to pin simply exactly what he is supposed to mean, at least enough to explain why he's wrong. At one point, I said at least he's easy enough to ignore. But it comes up again once in a while, and it's on again now. I've been thinking of writing, but it such an irritating and emotional thing. He's got a fairly nice sort of plan. He tries to model the human mind cognitively as close as possible. Sounds nice enough in itself. But because of this "cognitive systems problem" he asserts repeatedly that his approach is the only one that can work. Kind of the way many Abrahamic descended religions say that theirs is the one true god. Worse than that, though I'm guessing that that idea started the trend, even other people who say they are follwing this one true god, those other people are just wrong. Annoying.

But Richard said something that gave me at least an approach as to how to reply. In trying to list the properties that make a system complex, he said the interactions of the parts have to be significantly nonlinear. OK. There isn't any such thing as significantly nonlinear. Something is linear or it isn't. He must just be hedging the description to hide what his real criterion must be. That is, he is subtle assume his conclusion. He wants to say that complex systems can't be design or analyzed or something--that they have this problem he's talking about. So with this phrasing, he can just say if it can be done, the interactions weren't sufficiently nonlinear. He has actually done this several times now. The latest thing was some kind of statistical system, Boltzman maybe something or other. And any large computer program has the very definition of nonlinear interaction. But somehow these are not complex system to him, as the nonlinearities aren't the significant aspect of them, or something. His big example of the kind of thing he is talking about is Conway's Game of Life, which has lots of complicated behaviors that arise in a a non-obvious way that you couldn't predict. There are gliders, guns, and so much stuff that you could have a little computer and even an object that could replicate itself. But he doesn't so much mean a complex system as a mysterious system. Some complex systems may have some level of mystery, but it is not a necessary trait of a complex system. Part of his assertion is that it is. And he says an intelligent system is a Richard-complex, or I would say, just a mysterious system, so you wouldn't be able to design one. It must use some of those unpredictable features. So you couldn't get one just by trying to put stuff together. Your best and only hope is to try to copy one that is working, specifically ours. Part of why he even tries to make a claim like that is to explain why after so many years of trying, we don't have a general AI, yet. Maybe the problem is just harder than people thought, and there were aspects of the problem that have been ignored because getting people to handle them is so much cheaper and easier than getting a computer to handle them. Another sort of argument against that complex systems problem idea is that maybe the level of difficulty is just different than how Richard has decided it is. It might be harder, and even Richard's approach won't work, or it might be easier. That's how Ben has responded. In general Richard has not been convincing. Ben said there wasn't a principled proof. But Richard appears to think he has given one. But I think he isn't a mathematician or computer scientist. I think his area is psychology, maybe. So maybe he doesn't even have the same idea about what a real proof is. And the very area of complex systems is rather weak.

OK, so I had this stuff to say. But why bother? It's just too unpleasant and rather negative. He's got this research area, and that should be good enough. He wants to be all one-true-god on people, and it seems really the best thing to just ignore that. Too emotional, like I said. Honestly like talking about religion. Except it looks like there are some noobs who are buying into it. Should I care? Anybody who gets suckered in deserves it, I guess. Anyway, I'm writing about it here, and maybe that will get it out of my system. And move on.

The season for giving. My mom is giving someone a cookbook. A copy of the better homes and gardens cookbook. The one with the red plain, though in this case it's a pink plaid. Something about breast cancer. It's her favorite kind of cookbook. She has an old one that's older than me, and I recently got a new version that is a tiny thick paperback. She's using that one right now to make some kind of cake for a trifle. Since it's a paperback, it won't stay open on it's own, and it's so thick it doesn't even stay open properly with the big heavy metal thing, I think it's a garlic press, sitting on it. The better homes and garden's cookbock she likes is in a ring binder, and this new one she's giving is like that. Almost any cookbook you buy will be bound like a regular book, and that really just doesn't work so well I guess. Plus the recipes can tend to be fancy or specific. These are just really straightforward and easy. I have tried giving my mom cookbooks. They are never really so good for her. But they have the problems I've mentioned. And fancy cooking with possibly expensive ingredients? Not my mom's thing at all. So no more cookbooks.

But giving. My mom was wanting to share something that she likes. But she only has pure objects. I like stuff that can be copied. Ideas and media. So I'm a little bit more into sharing actual copies. And where is the economy going? Do we need to forever keep making more stuff? In order to keep things movie, we have to invent a demand for more and more things, but is that going to go on forever? There are some things that are consumable, like maybe food, but surely it would be possible to just get some stuff and that would be enough. Car, TV. We've rigged the system so that those things don't last forever, and we need news ones every few years. A little sad, but it's a system that kind of works. And to game the system, we let things shift so that fashinably, you need get newer versions of things. But if all the things are made, what will people do? There is the question of how people will make money. I presume it cost some amount to eat and have a place to stay. Possibly that's a little inflated now in order to keep the system chugging, but OK. And there's some notion that if not everyone worked, society would collapse. That's just a notion, but people seem to really think that. Even now, only a few farmers are needed to support everybody. There are more than enough houses. Seems like I only spend money on entertainment, in various ways. And people can end up doing stuff for entertainment, I guess. Supposedly we moved into a service economy from a manufacturing economy. Whatever that means.

But even more than just a way to distribute wealth, people need employment to have meaning. That's a surprisingly big deal. It's important to have a sense that you aren't just wasting your days. I don't know if I'm getting that feeling. It seems like people who see me just not working kind of have that feeling about me. And maybe it's kind of grinding down on me. Of course, if I had my druthers, I could go into writing, and just coming up with nifty ideas. I do that for free now, so I know there really isn't any money in it. Computer programs are very profitable. Coming up with a new idea for a program that people want seems like a bit of a challenge in the competitive sense that all the programmers everywhere in the whole world who are able to do it. But OK, work for meaning. Part of having to work for employment is that to get money, you have to do something for someone else. It's quite possible to just spend your time selfishly, doing stuff just for you that doesn't benefit anyone else. And I'm just sitting here, and my mom just found several things for me to do--move an old monitor to the curb, blow up the air mattress, put out christmas card holders from the box and bring the box into the closet. Nobody likes being bossed around. I do suppose I've been doing stuff just for me with no benefit to others. Reading is like that. Maybe not writing as much, but it certainly can be like that.

I'm just going to come off as a bit of a slob because I just don't care how things look.

Freddie's wife Grace doesn't seem to quite have gotten the whole give-giving thing. Not as much as us, I think. I think Christmas is not such a big Chinese thing, and not so much in her family. Last year, she did want the teaching company classes on medicine, and I got those, but she was all, it's too expensive and just give whatever is easy. And I'm like, hey, you should get something you want, not something I can give you because it is easy. What is that about? Giving is something I do for me? For me, it's about trying to understand the person, and sharing something I can find that maybe I like and they might like. And maybe something that I think they might like, but wouldn't get for themselves, like maybe they haven't seen it. It can work if you don't really know them, and how well can you really know someone else? But then that's a failure in the personal relationship. One thing we do in this family is give lists of things that we want. That can make it somewhat easier. But now, some of the people are starting to rebel, and wanting to do something like one gift per household. Well, OK, if it's getting to be painful. And the grandfolks aren't doing as well for money. Maybe everyone is hurting. And that can make it harder. Also, everybody tend to already have enough stuff. That seems like a good reason. Don't buy it though. It's important to society to keep buying. The system will break down if people don't shop. It is just as bad as people not working. Personally, my Christmas budget is the same as ever. It's really one of the few things I really ever need money for, and not working has never impacted it.

  • December 15, 2009
Happy Ides of December!

I installed clojure box on tudor, my newer Dell laptop, the dual-CPU I had to reinstall with Vista. I don't use it as much as my old laptop really. It's in my bedroom, and I guess I mostly sit in the den and do stuff these days. Especially since my mom is in town. If she is going to be here, I might as well spend time with her. It seems like it would be kind of sad to be in a house with someone, but always stay in different rooms. So I have coljure box, but the emacs doesn't run the clojure right because java hasn't even been installed yet. That's pretty sad for me. If I were to really be using this laptop, that would have to be just about the first thing I would do. So clearly I'm not. And the sound stutters. I'm sure that's a big reason. I'm sure it's some driver thing, but I haven't figured it out or gotten it working. Seems like some page suggested it would take redoing the disk drive settings, and it talked about going into the bios and unistalling and reinstalling the disk. That sounds too risky for me to even want to try. Somethong that maybe it would work, or maybe it would brick the thing, and whoever was calling tech support would have to stop calling after that.

I still haven't become a big emacs keyboard person. Control-x control-whatsis. I did just use control-c return to get a paragraph tag for html. But for copy and pasting and marking, I'm using the mouse and the icon buttons on the menu bar. And the menus generally have the key bindings listed so I can learn stuff, but the thing on the menu for copy says "". Apparently that actually just refers to the icon, and there is some different function for the menu version of the copy than the classic emacs yank and pop or whatever it is. I could look at the tutorial again, I suppose. And I could see what I'm supposed to use to mark off text. I used emacs for a bit back in the early eighties on a classic 8088 IBM PC. It was most useful because it had a column mode which I needed for something. But I pretty quickly moved on to qedit. Bruce is still using qedit. In 2009. A DOS based screen editor. People get pretty attached to their tools. Memorizing keystroke combinations. I guess that's just not me. I could have been an emacs person, I guess. That might have fit me. You can write little scripts to customize it if you are really into it. And it integrates into a lot of development environments. Probably a lot of them have emacs keybindings. So it's something that would move with you. But I always was an IDE person. I think I was jbuilder for a while, and lately it's been eclipse. In microsoft world it's visual studio. It's a question of what tool you sit in front of all day. For a lot of developers, it's an IDE. But for some, it will be emacs. And even with an IDE, you might have a separate editor for text. I did that, and mine was ultraedit. That was nice because I could edit remotely from ftp. But like I've said, emacs can do that, and I'm actually doing that now, so it would have been a good choice. But I kind of like picking stuff to do from menus and buttons instead of remembering key bindings. So there's that.

Yeah, there was someone at Bardog who said he read my blog. Actually, he first asked me didn't I have one. It really seemed a bit odd to me. But he said he read it, and kind of liked it. I'm not really sure how he connected it to me personally, though. I still suspect he had me confused with Paul, but you never know.

And I finally got the update for my iphone. It added the ability to send MMS messages, which you need to send pictures to people. Leanne took a picture of me, and wanted me to send it to her and Asa, but we didn't see how to do it. She was convinced it was possible, somehow. It did have a way to email pictures to people, but there just wasn't a way to send pictures. I found in looking at it afterward that they didn't add that to iphones until like September, though it's something that most phones have been doing for a while. I'm not sure what that's about. And it could email them, like I said. The iphone has weird gaps in function. I'm still not so happy with no bluetooth keyboard, though I think you can get it with a hack, something I don't want to mess with. I'm just about ready to get a little netbook to deal with wanting to go places to write. I said something about it to my brother Freddie who was going shopping at Frye's, so maybe he found some solution that's out there that I don't know about. But I also said I needed an external drive, and that would probably be easier to do. Also, a netbook is a personal commitment, because you need a subscription for the connection. And speaking of which, supposedly AT&T is whining about iphone internet use is overloading their network. I guess I can really feel sad about their troubles, but I think it's impressive that usage is at a level high enough that the carrier could complain. It seems like even the phone commercials for all the iphone competitors now seem to concede that the iphone is pretty much dominant. Look at us! We're almost as good as the iphone! And we don't cost as much! I'm not sure how well that really is going to work for them, but OK. Actually, they like to say that their better in some way. Some feature or other that they have that the iphone doesn't. Or cheaper, or in the case of Verizon, better coverage. I guess. I'm not sure if anyone really thinks that's an issue. Can you hear me now? But it's a really big business, and lots of money that could be shifted around. I don't know how the android phones are going to do. Googles stuff. From what I hear, you have an iphone, or a blackberry, or you don't mention it.

One feature that was new in the update is a voice memo application. So I have a handy dictaphone. I really need to use that, because I always have stuff I think of and want to get down immediately. But I'm not used to the dictation thing. I've liked the idea for a long time, but the act of saying stuff out loud is just a lot different from typing it out. I think I may actually feel more comfortable typing. At least I've bever actually used talking like that, which is a bit odd considering my interest in speech recognition. But I've let that kind of go. Maybe I'll get back to it.

I finished the main compiler section, and then when I went to the Memphis Mensa Christmas party on Saturday, I mentioned it to Brent. And he said his major in college was compilers. This was back in the 70s. I think there was actually a bit of theory that has been done since then, but I guess he probably had most of it. He didn't go on to graduate school, though. He thinks that there is a big mistake in compilers, that there are a couple more different classes of languages than they say. Whatever. He also wrote three papers for professors, which they published, but since he didn't have a degree, his name wasn't on them. I don't know abuut that. But OK.

  • December 12, 2009
I read some article on reddit about some food some people say to avoid. It included canned tomatoes. Something about some coating on tin cans that can get leeched out by acid, and tomatoes are very acidic. And maybe an hour after that, my mom suggested that we could use canned tomatoes to make tacos, since we didn't have any fresh ones. But I wasn't so keen on the idea. I didn't realize though that she meant her own canned tomatoes, which are in glass jars, and don't have the problem they were talkking about. They actually recommended using tomatoes in jars. Oh well. But that article ad some pretty iffy stuff, like not using regular store potatoes and to only get organic. Something about how potatoes will absorb everything bad. And the reddit commentators were talking about how maybe they said store potatoes won't sprout, which is just wrong.

I finished the main section on compilers. The last bit was register allocation, and it was actually pretty complicated. It took two different sorts of graph algorithms, with a lot of simplification and modification in one of them. I didn't go line by line through the programs, but only tried to get the main ideas. I assume that even this was only one example anyway, and there is a lot more that could actually be done for this problem. There are additional topics in the book, and I didn't think I was going to go through them, but now I feel like just trying to get through them quick. And it looks like they are not treated quite as deeply and completely as the main stuff. A bit more like overviews. So it won't be so bad. But finally getting it done. Must have been at least a year I've been wanted to get through it. This is just a java book on compilers. There is also the dragon book, which is a more definitive textbook. If I want to know more, I could look through that.

One of the additional topics is on functional programming. So I get to see a little more about what is going on with clojures and stuff like that. He introduces an odd notion in order to deal with i/o in a pure functional system. In a purely function language, you would not be allowed to have something like a read function that returns a different value for the same argumments, and read would probably have no argument. Or something like print which has side affects. So the argument will include a continuation, and the result of the function will be something special he's calling "answer", like the complete result of the program. I guess I don't quite follow it yet. I don't know how it relates to monads from haskell. Probably something weird like that.

  • December 8, 2009
Melissa had some of the tenderloin which was the special. And it was pretty pink. And she didn't finish it off, so they through some of it away. That just hurts my feelings when I saw it. But I had always thought pork needed to be well done, so it kind of seemed iffy to me. But I did some googling, and it looks like thinking has really changed on the issue. There is a recommendation of medium, which is 160 degrees. Well done is 170. But the big recommendation I'm seeing now is just medium rare, or 145 degrees. That's enough to kill the trichinosis, but trichinosis doesn't happen any more with how they raise pigs. The cases that happen now, maybe as many as a dozen in a year, are from wild pigs not properly done. OK. News to me. Seems like I'm going to have to get used to that. I really only make the really fatty roasts, and a higher temperature for those will cook out more of the fat, and even overcooked, it will still be pretty tender. I could a loin or something one time, and it was terrible. Way dried-out and tough. Way too overcooked. But probably even if I had done a better job with it, I still think I would have preferred the fattier piece.

Hunter worked at Platinum, and he remembers me from there, but I don't remember him. That seems to keep happening to me.

  • December 7, 2009
Happy Infamy Day!

I brought my broadsword down to Bardog to show Hunter. People seemed to like it. Seemed like the girls kind of liked it too. Big swords? OK.

  • December 6, 2009
It's an idea worth writing down. From Lu Shengli's book _Combat Techniques of Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua_. He sayd that in the external styles, a lot of people get to a middle level of skill, but very few move on to a really high level of skill. But in the internal styles (taiji and friends are internal), a lot of students don't make it to a middle level skill, but the ones who do have a good chance of making it to a high level of skill. Kind of a slow but steady kind of system, while the external styles are seductively quick to have some results, but not so good ultimately. Kind of like the light and dark sides of the Force. But a consequence is that you don't find so many good external style masters as internal style masters. So that's probably and issue with karate.

So it turns out that Hunter, who's working for Melissa again (they were at Pearl's), is childhood friends with C.J. Bader Sensei and his kids. And they fought a bit, or something. I studied Aikido with C.J. Sensei a while, though I forget exactly. It must have only been a few months. I think I did test for yellow belt. I don't even remember when it waw anymore, though. Which is pretty sad. Ich, ni sam shi, go ruk. I don't really care for Japanese stuff. I tried later under Gary Chase Sensei, but that didn't work so well either. I need to go try Chris' buddies at USA Karate. He said something about Tuesday and Thursday, so I might go by afterwards. Anyway, C.J. Sensei has some cajun restaurant somewhere out in Tennesse. Hunter talked about wanted to go out and see him. He also got me to promise I would go see _Ninja Assassin_. I checked the reviews and they were terrible, and on my martial arts list, the guy who talks about moveis a lot said to avoid it. Oh well.

  • December 5, 2009
Whale, I have general thought that reincarnation is not necessary for Buddhism. I'm reading Vik again, and he pretty much dismisses Buddhism because of the reincarnation. And I think about it. With reincarnation, eventually everyone should become enlightened, so it makes it universal. But without it, only some people will be enlightened, so it becomes and extremely marginal sort of pursuit. Almost certainly, your effort will be unproductive, so it really is quite grim without it. And reincarnation isn't true. So the whole thing really does kind of fall apart. It's got a lot of recommendations about being a good person, which are fairly good, but it really kind of drops off into pointlessness.

And I finally picked up the compiler reading again. I got a couple more bits of the picture, the tree represesntation of the program and generating code from pieces of the tree. I'm not focusing close enough to get all the details, and I'm not actually trying to write a compiler, so I won't really have a complete picture, but I do have a better idea now of everything involved.

I downloaded the pieces to get clojure, slime, and emacs working together, but I surely don't see how it's supposed to be installed. It was actually on a page called "Clojure Box" which actually says it has the pieces all together already, but since I already have stuff kind of installed, I didn't want to just start over. I probably have special stuff situated for me and I don't want to lose it. But I may have to use that.

OK, I broke down and installed the full clojure box. The emacs remembers my link to this journal, so that's good. Maybe that was the only big thing I was worried about. Save me some trouble. Now I just need to get busy with some programming.

  • December 1, 2009
Happy Ides of December!

There's frost on the ground. It's not officially winter, I guess, but that's a pretty definite sign that it has decided to start being cold

And the paper finally came on its own. That's good.

Now I've got medicinal stuff to take twice a day. That's just qualitatively different and I'm not happy with it. I think I'd rather exercise regularly.

  • November 29, 2009
So what do you do when a service company isn't able to do it's job? We tried to subscribe to the paper, but they just don't deliver it. They are able to make a special trip if we complain that morning, so they have a procedure for that. It's my folks that want it, so they subscribed a couple weeks ago when they were here, and called it in when it didn't come, but I don't want it myself, and I never called it in, and it hasn't been coming. It came once in there, a couple days after they left, but nothing since. And on Friday, before we came back, we called to make sure they would be delivering it. My mom talked to them. Maybe I should have, since I know the story. Or maybe my dad because he is better at managing things. They said they would, but I knew that that wasn't going to work. It didn't seem like they had actually done anything different. Mainly, I had the feeling that the person on the phone wasn't the right person to talk to. She just wasn't even in the right spot to get it done. Seems like when my dad talked, he managed to get an explanation about what the problem was. Something about how the regular guy didn't have the right list or something. Of course, like I said, that didn't actually quite fix the issue. Also, I didn't handle the situation either. This time when my mom called, they asked well, couldn't we have complained? And they made an automated follow up call that I didn't answer. Some time when I was asleep. And I hadn't checked for the paper then, so I wouldn't have been able to answer whether it had come or not, anyway. Keep complaining until it comes? Doesn't seem like a good way to get things done. Not fun for me. Not fun for them. We really don't want it everyday, anyway. Just maybe the weekend and Wednesday, but they quit doing that. I know it's getting harder and harder for them. Maybe a sign-- Don't forget us--we have a prescription, too! A lot of the neighbors have them sitting out. We'll see how it goes.

So, yeah, Thanksgiving at the folks on the farm. Limited internet access. I really only used my phone. I could have used my dad's computer, and in the past, that's what I did, but this time I didn't. Sitting around with my phone was just friendlier, at least. But no blogging. I actually replied on the agi list a bit, which I think is maybe my favorite list. I let the others slide really, and they just aren't as important to me. But I'm thinking, I may need to finally get a solution for properly typing on the internet. It's disappointing that the iphone does not allow a bluetooth keyboard, but whatcha gonna do. It is what it is, and it's nice for that, but serious typing, not so much. I may have to break down and get a netbook. And the initial cost isn't such a big deal as the monthly. It's probably something like $50/month. On top of the iphone, which is pretty outrageous, it would almost be starting to get silly.

And I actually got up with my parents early in the morning, which is kind of unusual. I told them I'm not quite so regular. They are big schedule people, it seems like. Though actually, my mom has trouble sleeping. Thanks Mom! She will get up in the morning more or less automatically, though, and start the fire. Then bring in wood. And an endless stream of chores and such. Just one of those that won't sit still. It annoys my dad, somewhat. And I guess I can see that. He gets his time by himself now. My dad takes naps in the afternoon, which my mom is not able to do. I also can manage it, which I guess is good for me. I think on Friday, Doug came by at around 2, and my Dad had gotten home. They ate a bunch, and Doug talked about his trip to see his North Carolina relatives, but my dad was very quiet, while my mom was chatty. I think he was missing his nap. I managed to stay up till after dinner at 5, but after that, I went to sleep, and slept till six thirty the next morning. But even after that, I napped from about 1 'til 5. So I'm not very regular. Probably not good. And it doesn't fit in well with the modern factory schedules. But then, life is suffering, isn't it?

Actually, no, life isn't suffering. Sid was very isolated and sheltered, so when he thought he finally got exposed to the "real thing" he simply overreacted.

Walking through the center of the farm, I saw a couple of critters at the pond. I think they must have been beaver, though I didn't see them that well, and they kind of looked like otter. But there were also a couple of big birds that I wasn't really sure about. They looked like storks, but my dad said they were probably crane. OK. In the trailer, there was a mouse sitting there. Absolutely still, and I wasn't sure if he was just frozen from being scared. I didn't see him breathing, though. He was sitting so out in the open, I didn't really think he might have died like that, but Mom said she had put out poison. So that was probably it. I had been going out to see the cottage, but there was a guy sitting in there, so I didn't go in.

I'm reading _The Story of Edgar Sawtelle_ for Aimee's book meeting. She said she thought it had interesting stuff to talk about. At maybe around page 170, I kind of started seeing stuff. It's like 600 pages, so I still have some space to decide not to finish it, but I'm about half way now, and it's moving along, so I think I'll probably get through it. So far, it's mostly been about these guys who breed dogs. But it went into talking about this guy's odd style of breeding, which was supposed to be kind of artistic, instead of a kind of specific factory style of breeding that some more scientific breeders were using, in order to get some known breed. And he talked about trying to get to some next dog species, moving even further away from wolves. He also seems to want some kind of smart thinking dog who can make decisions, more than just obeying orders, and they mentioned a discussion about whether that would even be possible, or something that could be tested for. I think this is what Aimee was talking about, because she and some of the other regulars are dog people. It talks about that famous Japanese dog, Hachiko, that kept waiting for this guy after he stopped coming. I guess I should bring my copy of "Jurassic Bark" in Futurama. But the book severely annoyed me. A ghost showed up. Blech.

  • November 25, 2009
The biggest problem I see with encoding rules for an AI is that it takes away big chunks of what intelligence is out of the computer, and keeps them in the brains of the programmer. You've got the knowledge of how to do whatever it is. And you have the ability to put that knowledge into something the computer can use. It could be actual computer instructions, or some kind of data that then gets used by some more basic program. And that seems to be the common conceptualization of what a computer based AI architecture is going to be. You've got your data, and you've got your AI engine core that always just sits there interpreting the data. But I think this pretty much has to be wrong. A real computer AI is going to have to be something that generates programs--full straight to the metal instructions. Personal bias, I guess.

I just watched Itamar's presentation for Singularity 2009. Underwhelming. I guess it didn't seem convincing to me because he didn't really argue much for his assertion that the architecture would work, and he seemed to be proposing a completely new computing architecture from scratch that he hadn't even specified. It was big, bold, and out there. But it appeared to have the same fundamental attitude about AI--that you would have data, and a data-munging engine, and this data-munging engine is just in hardware. I could easily be misdescribing it, and the data is sort of distribute through the engine instead of in a kind of RAM bank that you have in typical computers, I guess. But something I did find interesting is that it at least assumes that there won't be any programmer trying to take over the functions I was talking about--possessing the knowledge and making that knowledge usable. Those are the essential things that the architecture does. At least it is acknowledge those as central functions of an intelligent agent and doesn't try to leave them in the human.

One of the biggest ways that most AI tends to leave in the human is by using just plain text as a sort of representation of knowledge. The thing about a big glob architecture like Itamar's or Ben's is that there isn't going to even be a text equivalent of what is going on. And unfortunately for my view that a computer based AI would be something that generates programs, there might not be a real program comparable to what is going on when all that distributed knowledge is interacting, but I guess that's something I need to work out. One critical thing is that the operation of an intelligent agent has to change based on learning knew knowledge. That kind of makes it seem like the knowledge+engine architecture I was talking about was really necessary, but I guess I just don't buy it.

I think language understanding is critical to intelligence. The very idea that an intelligent machine would figure out everything itself is silly. It must be able to use knowledge gained by other people, and most knowledge that we have is transmitted and stored in language. But I often get the feeling that people think that language understanding can be handled at different isolated levels. In fact, human language uses multiple levels. It uses the parallelism in the brain to use information at all levels to constrain what is going on, the processes of interpretation understanding and generating things to say. And specifically, grammar helps the process, but it isn't really rules in the kind of absolute boolean logic sense that computer people always seem to take it.

The computer bias also seems to get folks to think that intelligence is about getting answers right. That's just not the way it is. Intelligence explores the space of ideas. The perfect is the enemy of the good. That's just a problem I see creeping up in AI.

Message passing was the best lesson from Smalltalk, but the computer language world adopted objects instead. We really need to get back to message passing. That's the kind of thing that would enable all programs everywhere to work together, and I think would be the biggest aid to getting AI. Better interactivity between people working, and different modules which could add up to some kind of intelligence.

  • November 20, 2009
I used saved games to get through rogue. Mainly I learned how to use saved games, and since I did, I decided to go all the way to the end. Because I had this great game yesterday with several nice magic items and like a +4 two handed sword and a strength of 26 when it starts at 16, but I let it get messed up and I hadn't saved it. I don't know if I'll get such a nice one again. And I don't know how much I'll even really want to keep playing. But I learned what the final levels look like and what the serious bad guys were like and some strategies for dealing with things. One thing that was pretty obvious is that my character heals up on its own but the bad guys don't, so I just trade hits, and I hang back and heal up and keep hitting them till they're gone. Seems a little unfair for them. Oh well. There's one critter, the medusa, that is really tough though. Its gaze causes confusion, so you can't do anything. But it seems to not work in dark hallways and or just sometimes. I'm not sure. I got past them, at least.

  • November 16, 2009
Hmm. That girl several times just bought people their beers. Maybe it was just that I noticed it. I think she must know that I like when she does that, and maybe she is a little more conspicuous about it around me. But then, she probably just does is a lot, and I just happened to see her do it a few times this time. They generally get a look of consternation. And I've certainly been there. You want to pay. And part of that is that you are going to give her some kind of tip, hopefully a nice tip which will impress her. And then suddenly, frustration. Foiled! One time a while back, I said "she's just mean like that". And she said "whatever". But it's sweet. I guess. Maybe confusing, and a little frustrating, but still pretty sweet.

So I was kind of disturbed. There was a guy Bob, who I'd seen around and was buds with all the folk left--it mostly just employees left over. He had been kicked out of some bowling alley for "being too loud". I think his joke may have been a little rough, maybe too. Anyway, kicked out. And moaning about it. Or something. I huess Ben kept ribbing him about it a bit. And the at some point, Ben was poking Bob, and he said "don't touch me!" so of course I made little pokey gestures at him. And he said to me, "who are you?" Well, i said I didn't touch him, and I hadn't. It was just so unfriendly, like I'd never seen him before, even though I've seen him around probably dozens of times. Not really friends, I guess. Just gave me an unpleasant feeling.

So there was this thing with Josh. I wasn't listening, but I was sitting right there. It sounded like he said something like he woke up and she was laughing. And I didn't hear was she was saying, but she had some weird sort of gesture with her hands over on her head. Kind of like maybe hair standing up. My guess was that maybe he just looked funny with his hair standing up. But that's a pretty wild speculation from only getting a tiny bit of info. But what can you do. It was likely something else entirely, but I'll never know. How did effect me, though? I guess it contributed to a state of unease.

And speaking of unease. My dad confronted me about applying for unemployment benefits. Something about I paid for it. I just didn't want to argue about it. I have my own reasons, and I think it's my business. I appreciate that he is just trying to help and it's very simple to him. Actually to most people that I've talked to. They all kind of don't see any reason why I wouldn't apply. Oh well. I really don't feel a great need to explain, but that doesn't seem very satisfying to them.

  • November 15, 2009
Got emacs ftp working on my laptop with vista. Same deal, I needed to get the better version of ftp installed right. And in vista, to get some other directory in the path, I had to edit the registry. That doesn't seem right, but I couldn't find a place in any of the admin screens to do it. And then I had to reboot for it to see it. And they key I had to use was buried pretty far down there: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment. Painful, but once it's working I guess I can relax.

Raked a bunch of leaves. My mom was out there doing some, so it felt a little better pitching in. She had only wanted to do a little, maybe a couple of bags, but we did seven. For me, getting started is the hardest part, so once I get going, I tend to keep going. And it's raking leaves in the middle of November, so there's going to be a lot more falling after this, but it's something. Now maybe doing a little a week will make a bigger difference, just filling the regular can.

Watched _Food Inc._ It was based on _Omnivore's Dilemma_ and _Fast Food Nation_. I didn't read the latter, but I could see the stuff it had from the former. It was nice to see the people involved. And there was the one farmer guy, Joel Salatin from Polyface. I thought it was strange that They left out all the stuff explaining his style of farming, but they showed him killing chickens. I saw it in the deleted scenes though, and I could see them deleting it, because it came across as a bit flaky. Something about allowing the chickens expressing their chicken-ness. Well, he could have said letting the chickens act in a way more natural for chickens, but he had to go all Aristotelian. And mom watched it, too. She's been working on _Omnivore's Dilemma_. And they kind of do farm stuff. Not as hardcore as this guy, though. And then there was the guy from Stoneyfield organic farms. They sell yoghurt to Wal-mart. But the people there said they didn't go to Wal-mart. OK.

  • November 13, 2009
Happy Friday the Thirteenth! Happy Ides of November!

  • November 12, 2009
I got the internet on my desktop working. Kind of a weird one. The router I'm using as a switch has just gone too bad to use. I knew it already had a problem. One of the plugs has been out for years now. And the one port just says it's disconnected on the computer when I plug it in, but the lights seem to come on. The next one I tried seemed to sort of work. The computer thought it was connected at least, but it wouldn't get an address from the DHCP server. SO I guess it is just bad. But the mac is plugged through it, and it works OK. But I guess it's just broken. Luckily, I have another router just sitting there. This one is actually a wi-fi one, but I think the radio doesn't work anymore. And it uses more power, which I'm not so happy with. But it is working now. I'm just using it as a switch, so maybe I should just get a switch, but I think those things on their own are actually more expensive than these cheap mass-produced routers. And I need to throw this broken one away. So I need to try to get the midi working, I guess.

Went to the little memphis atheist book meeting about _Infidel_. Was kind of interesting. One guy Dax got us to all go around and tell our stories about how we came to atheism. He skipped going first, so I just passed when according to the sitting order going around the room it would have been my turn. He did go back and give his long rambling story eventually. Kind of gung-ho social belief, since he was air force ROTC. But read some philosophy, and Dennett' book especially. He knows it by the subtitle, ,eck if I can remember, let me look it up: Ah yes, _Religion as a Natural Phenomenon_. _Breaking the Spell_ is the main title. Whatever. Somewhere in there I reaffirmed that I don't believe in respecting people's beliefs. The hostess Leslie said that was important, but I just don't agree. Everybody but two of us out of the seven was married. Just from that, I should try asking the little girl out. She's J though. It wouldn't go anywhere, but it could just be whatever it would be.

Man, emacs has a ton of stuff for doing html. I really don't use much markup, though. Maybe I'll change it round. I don't even use the most basic markup to underline titles. I just put underscores around them like quote marks, which I think personally is a good way to do things. Call it an underscore quote. If it wanted to, it could figure out what I mean. It colorizes things when I use quote marks. But that's a programmer figuring things out, not the computer. And this is emacs, so I could write something to handle it for me. That's the kind of thing I should aspire to if I'm going to enter the whole emacs world.

  • November 9, 2009
I got emacs to edit over ftp. It seems to be a matter of using a better ftp client than what is in windows. And that turned out a little more subtle than I thought. I got a newer one, and I put it in the windows system32 directory in place of the old one that was there. Or so I thought. Something, I still don't know what, was going being me and changing it back to the original program. Seems like it should warn me or something about that. It could be the virus protection or maybe the operating system is maintaining mount points, or something. Weird. I had run the command to say it was a dumb unix host, and that actually seemed to help. It finally did a file transfer, but came up blank, which was a different problem that that client doesn't work right with larger files. And I don't know if it saved the info that it was a dumb unix host somewhere. That may have been something. To get the new ftp version to work I had to put it somewhere else in the path that I control. Unfortunately, it was like, perl/bin. But at least it works. I was just about to give on emacs completely too. I tried it on my laptop that I had to just upgrade to vista. Even worse. Seems to not be able to handle the separate ftp process, and completely freezes emacs when trying to load. So I'll have to see what that is some other time.

So what's that leave. The internet on my desktop and the midi set up to my mac. And I need to get slime going. but it's a nice step.

Melissa was sick. I hope she gets better. I missed her this time. She sent me an email that she wasn't going to be there. She sent it at like 3:30 in the morning, but I didn't notice it till 1 in the afternoon, and sent her a get well soon message. And then at like 9:30, she says she went to the doctor and is already getting better. Which is good news. She had said she would probably have to go to the emergency room, which can be rough when you don't have insurance. Hopefully not too bad. I don't know really. I had already been sleeping, but good news is not bad to wake up to. Then I went back to sleep, and she sent another message that woke me up again. But that's still OK. I was expecting I would probably get up again, and this time I felt like it.

So the Memphis atheist group has a like book meeting. But they put a limit of 10 people to sign up for it because it's at someone's house, and it was full when I first looked at it. But someone pulled out I guess, because I checked and there was a spot open. I've got a couple days now to read _Infidel_. I don't seem to be in much of a mood to read stuff now, though. I also got the book _The New Atheism_ from Steve, The author, Victor Stenger was in town, and I saw him at one of the meetings. I'm kind of feeling like maybe writing something, and I want to read this and then see if I feel like I have anything to contribute. One thing that already seems interesting is that he's talking a bit about some eastern stuff, and that ego realization stuff that I've been kind of into. If he says everything I would want to say then fine, good. If I have something I want to add, then maybe I should think about it. One thing though. He talks about how a lot of these authors are scientists. Unfortunately, that's just not me, so maybe I won't have enough cred to write something. He also said that it's Sam Harris that is the atheist that's also into the eastern stuff. I guess I'm going to have to dig up some of that. I may well have his stuff sitting around, I don't remember.

So emacs passed a weird test, after almost breaking. I just tried to save my work, but the ftp process got messed up or something. I didn't see exactly what happened, but it was using maybe 60% cpu, and the memory was climbing over 100 meg, which there was no reason for. I decided to kill the ftp process, and then the remaining emacs was not happy at maybe 98% cpu. And somewhere in there, I think I hit the save more than once. and maybe I hit the close. But at some point, emacs came back, did the save and closed. If it had eaten my stuff, that would have been pretty unforgivable, and I might have just moved on, but it jumped on the grenade and I was OK. Yay for emacs! Yay for gnu! I may have to send RMS a thank you note.

I watched through the third season of the new Doctor Who. That's all they have available for streaming download. I could get the disks for the fourth season, maybe, but really it was all a little strange and silly. I guess I'm really not that much for fiction and stories like that. The movies are also not so great for me. I just had _the Golden Compass_. Some kind of allegory, I guess. Whatever. I just didn't care. I watched on dowload a documentary _The Union_ about marijuana. The title refers to a complex system for cultivation and distribution in British Columbia. OK fine. I think I saw some spots where they were just wrong or being deceptive about something or other. I forget. It was kind of interesting, though. One thing I like is the Penn and Teller stuff. Maybe I should stick to the documentaries and such.

OK, now I remember. Somebody said hemp was the strong natural fiber. No. Silk is a lot stronger, and spider silk is even stronger than regular silk. I don't know about plant fibers. Maybe. They also talked in a sort of deceptive way about the risk of schizophrenia for kids. They stated very clearly and precisely that there was evidence that marijuana increases the risk of schizophrenia in some kids who have a genetic predisposition for it. From what I've seen, these results are quite solid. But then they said well, there are some results that dispute it. Well, maybe, but that doesn't really give a picture quite as clear as the actual situation. Because on the intp list there is the little psych nurse who has seen the stuff close up. It's anecdotal, sort of, but she's seen the kids messed up, and just from that is really in favor of the laws against. Maybe an overreaction, but that has definitely affected my feelings about it. Just be clear that there is a juvenile psych risk. And they said there are a lot of kids in psych treatment for pot. Yeah, that's true. But that's more of a legal thing. Are there medical benefits? May well be. It sure seems like the legal status of having no benefit at all is just wrong. There's the stories that the petrochemical people didn't want to have compete with it. I don't know. Maybe. They completely left out how hard the processing of hemp is, but some of that is just that people haven't been building the equipment needed. And they said you could eat the seeds. Great. you can eat acorns, too. I wouldn't advise it.

Mind a bit blown. So I looked over the little booklet they sent from M.U.S. about contributions to the annual fund. There's a big outlier in the class of '82, three years before me. The whole class donated $64k, where the average looks to be in the high teens. I look over it, and there's one guy who donated at least $50k. They bracket people into groups according to how much they donate, so I know that figure is right. And the guy is Staley Cates. I don't have any recollection of him at all. I google him, and he's president of some investment management company or something. But Daern, Mordenkainen, Tenser, Otto, Otiluke, Bigby, Gandalf, Vecna...

Penn & Teller did a thing on breasts. Actually on the "hysteria" against having them out in public. And it's a showtime show, so they have a lot out on their show. It's part of their thing. And Penn talks about how they are always sexy. One of the people is trying to say there are different functions and the feeding thing is different from the sexy one. That's where he says they're still sexy. And it's kind of a shame, they really don't even go into how they are clearly very decorative. Specifically, our cousins don't usually have the really big ones, except when actually lactating. And there's the theory about needing that shape in the front, instead of just in the back, because we're somewhat built differently. I don't know if they checked out my favorite book on the subject, _Ishtar Rising_. Oh well. Maybe they'll come back to this one. Also, they said it was a free speech issue. They seem a bit libertarian. They didn't really go into about how any speech act intended to harm is not protect. And that's what they whole indecent exposure thing is about. But in some contexts, nakedness doesn't have that kind of malign intent.

  • November 5, 2009
Still haven't gotten emacs to edit over ftp. I actually found something in the operatings system to grab over ftp, but it loaded it read only, and putting it back would have been pretty awkward, so I don't feel like using it. I was holding off on writing because I wanted to get that working. Maybe eventually. And I need to get the development environment under emacs working, too.

I watched _Idiocracy_. Didn't like it. I generally don't like Mike Judge's humor. I just watched office space, and it was the same kind of thing, but I kind of let netflix's prediction affect my rating. It predicted like 4.2 so I gave it a 4 star. Maybe I should have given it a 3. This rating stuff seems a little hard to do. Just a number? I have different moods. I watch stuff for different reasons. I was only watching those because people talk about them and quote them on reddit. I gave idiocracy 2 stars. They have descriptions for the ratings: 1 is hated it, 2 is didn't like it, 3 is liked it, 4 is really liked it, and 5 is loved it. But I've mostly been giving stuff that I own 5 stars. I spent money on it, didn't I? And I don't know how well it's predictions are going to go. I assume it will try to correlate me with people who rating things in similar ways. Or maybe I can't expect too much. And there is a real limit on what is out there.

So I finally started just downloading stuff from Netflix and watching it on computer. I knew that could be a dangerous waste because it's a little easy. And I have been spending a lot of time. I've been watching the new Doctor Who. Over about 3 days I've watched the first season and most of the second. Or maybe it's only 2 days. And I watched one movie. And I watched a season of Penn & Teller's _Bullshit_. That's a fun series. I figure I'm going to run out of stuff pretty quick, but who knows.

And Doug told me about some PHP programming work. I haven't really done any PHP. Doug has this belief that I could just program in any old thing. Would be nice if other people felt like that.

I've been spending all this time just watching stuff. It would be nice if I could find some way to exercise at the same time. There's that guy who does that. But maybe not. I think the kung fu is good, and it takes a little more concentration, and it's not a stand in place kind of thing. I was by myself tonight. The teacher doesn't come in on Thursdays anymore, so it's just whatever students show up. I did all the forms I know, and it was about 50 minutes. I actually skipped a little bit of some of the basic exwercises, so I probably have about a good solid hour of stuff I could be doing every day if I was more serious. And actually, it's gotten to be so much that it's more than I want to do, so I skip more often now instead of just doing only part of it. I guess I kind of feel bad if I don't do all of it, so I skip it. That, and I'm not so into exercise, anyway. I need to get a little better system, maybe. And it would be good to through in some straightforward training, like tunning and weights. The way it goes now is maybe a couple of minutes, and then a rest. That's how it goes in class, at least. But this stuff is pretty strenuous, so I can see resting.

So a thing with the ratings. You will probably only rate something that you've seen, and if you decided to see it, you must have thought you might have liked it. So it's got this weird kind of bias. Now, movie critics and their ratings are quite different. They get paid to watch just about everything. That's just got to make it a different sort of thing. And they must be people who like movies in the first place. That's got to do something. But they also must get tired of watching the same old stuff all the time. Probably most people don't have exactly that problem, and can tolerate the same sorts of stuff all the time. I've got to wonder have people who watch horror movies. I am totally avoiding that stuff. We'll see how it goes.

  • November 2, 2009
Several little frustrations. The midi transfer from my keyboard through my stomp box to me mac doesn't work. I looked through the manual, and it seems like it should work pretty automatically, and the mac does see a midi channel, but nothing. My desktop third won't connect to the internet. It got no connection to the network even for a while, and it looks like that was something wrong in the router, but now it doesn't get an address from DHCP, so I don't know where exactly the problem is. And the ftp load on my windows emacs doesn't let me edit the file. I was frustrated for quite a while because I couldn't remember the password. It's saved in the programs I usually use, so I finally forgot it. I managed to use ethereal to capture the network traffic and see what it was. But it took a while to think of it. Now emacs looks like it's making an ftp connection. It actually has a buffer of it's traffic on the ftp connection. I see it changing to the directory, but I don't see it even trying to transfer the file, and the edit window is blank. And an odd thing, it tries to list a local directory with some generated name, but I don't find that directory on my computer. And it's a different one each time. I don't know what that's about, but it doesn't seem like that bit's work, and overall, it isn't working. With all those little things, I'm feeling kind of frustrated.

And I've cut back on all the little email groups I had been looking at. The mensa martial arts one kind of annoyed me because some guy had this sort of long post with his explanation of internal and external martial arts. But he said soft was the same as internal and hard was the same as external. He said something about quantum physics or other--I only sort of skimmed it after that first bit really bugged me. I wrote a really grumpy email about it. The moderator sent me a private email that I wasn't being respectful. I actually don't think I had anything personal in it, but it reflected a pretty high degree of annoyance with that post. The difference between internal and soft I illustrated with a very simple example. The style xingyi is a hard internal style. A simple fact that shows they are different concepts. So there was a guy rambling on a pretty long time for this email medium about something he clearly just doesn't understand. What am I supposed to do? He did also talk about chi, which is another sort of tricky area, and I didn't even want to go into that. A few other people talked about that subject, and one said it was like religion, in that it's best to avoid it. One guy talked about how he went around debunking chi stuff. Great, fine.

And this really is probably the friendliest list I've seen, so my excessively negative post really kind of didn't go along with the vibe of the group. This is a group where he'll announce a new person, and you'll get bunches of post saying, "hi, welcome to the group!" and people will talk about their styles and be supportive. The newest person was not really training formally especially, but she was a girl, and a lot of the other girls came out and said supportive things.

Anyway, so the moderator said I was disrespectful and don't do it again. That just gave me an opportunity to consider whether I really even wanted to be on the list. And I thought about it, and I haven't really been getting anything out of them, but just sort of out of habit I've been following them. Lately, the moderator has even just been talking about the martial arts movies he's been watching. It got me to go join Netflix to see Jet Li's _the One_. Fine, I guess.

I decided it would be better just to get rid of this time waster, and I put it one no mail. I can look at them online if I feel like, but they don't sit on my email thing so I have to go through all of them to clear them out. And I did the same thing to the mensa atheist list. It is quite busy, and I usually don't get much out of it. And after having these gone for maybe a week, I decided to finally put the intp list on no mail. So I've got quite a bit more peace on my emails. It is a change though in my habits, and it's a little emotionally jarring. No big email lists. No book I'm working on. So I'm kind of up in the air. Well, I did the class on discrete math, and now I'm doing number theory. That's something.

  • November 1, 2009
Happy All Saint's Day! Happy Ides of November!

I watched the Beowulf movie. I guess the main reason I got it was because it had Angelina Jolie naked. I guess it was her. It was all kind of motion capture animated, but that was what she looks like naked from other stuff I've seen her in. I never read the original Beowulf, though I have a copy sitting somewhere that has the old english. They kind of "retold" the story to give it sort of a modern feel to it. And I guess maybe a post-modern sort of relativism. Heroes have to be flawed, I guess. But it made it sort of stupid. The king was Grendel's father? How is that supposed to make sense? And the dragon is Beowulf's? son? And they add a thing where Beowulf makes a deal with Grendel's mother such that he would be king as long as she keeps some cup. This completely undercuts his heroism, and pretty much destroys the whole thing. There was a making of short film, and the director Zemeckis said he hated reading the story in high school. That really should be a sign that maybe you shouldn't be the one making the movie. And so they found this screenplay that like I said, changes the nature of the story. But it had Angelina naked. So that was something.

  • October 31, 2009
Happy Halloween!

  • October 30, 2009
Still reeling a bit. Knuth. A really great programmer. Prolific. Solid. I read some of his literate programming, the implementation of Adventure. He uses gotos. And lots of pointer arithmetic. It's so primitive. I've spent so much time trying to stay away from stuff like that, that I just can't quite get on board with it. The literate stuff didn't really seem to quite make up for it. So I don't know. I should read something else. And it's all C. I just don't know.

I finished watching the class on discrete math. The professor was just fun. Almost corny, but he was just too fun to really step over into being corny. I was surprised at just how much stuff I didn't know about, so I guess it was good. And now I'm sure there is a lot of other stuff too that I don't know about. I guess that happens.

I did download emacs. I haven't set up stuff to work with clojure yet, specifically a popular environment called slime, and I haven't set up whatever I need to use ftp to get to my journal. But maybe I will pretty soon. It looks a lot better than I was thinking. Lots of stuff on the menus, which I guess was something I worried about. And I used the calculator already for some of the discrete math stuff. It has an rpn one.

  • October 24, 2009
Trippy. I got the Blue Man Group video about the complex tour on friday, put it back in the mail at the post office at 5:30pm, and they had it the next (this) morning, and they say they are shipping my next one. So that's a good response time. I still haven't tried downloading anything. Actually, the one they are already shipping (Strangelove) was one of the few I could download, so I was thinking I would try it as a first one, but it's already too late.

Man, I suggested to Springs little writing meetup group to do a group project for the New Atheism. I think I heard about a thing where they actually made a balloon out of lead. Spring expressed that she wouldn't want to be involved in anything militant. And seemed to be trying to be nice about it. But she spelled it "athiesm". Well OK, Spring, clearly not your thing. Somebody else said not interested. One guy though wrote kind of a screed. And by how freaking long his post was, he must be a professional writer. I've one other guy write like that. I think loggorhea is a good word for that guy. Anyway, maybe this guy was trying to be clear. He said something about not trying to come off too strong. But he was "strongly" opposed. Could divide up a group like that. Speaking from "experience". And what do I say? Kind of pissed me off. If you're not interested, you're not interested. Am I trying to force you to do something you don't want to? And he didn't want it to take away from the general writing mentoring support stuff that the group is for. Fine.

Saw a couple of videos about a very common four chord progression in pop music. One was pachelbel's canon, an old classic thing that had it. And like I said, I've been watching blue man group. I love the little geeky girl annette strean singing "I feel love" I think some time I linked to the video version, but I haven't found it yet. I like fun happy love songs.

  • October 19, 2009
I just heard about a bra that can store drinks. Plus it makes your boobs look bigger. And Christmas is coming up. I may need to order a few. Seriously.

And a mash-up of Carl Sagan and that crippled guy.

  • October 18, 2009
Sooj was in town. I had been looking for it for months. She doesn't get to Memphis that much any more. It was at some kind of pagan. I didn't really want to go see them. Not my people, and for religionists, I have to say on thinking about it I think they are a step backwards from the cross worshippers. I haven't seen sooj in a few years. And I don't really relate to her music. It doesn't speak to me. And I was thinking it seems kind of self-indulgent, but probably it speaks to the little group of pagans and their folklore or whatever. So I what was it about sooj? I think maybe I just thought was cute. I like her body type. Oh well. So I decided not to go.

And I went to Brad's birthday party at Dan Mcguinness. Super 5 played for a while. At one point, Transitt played "Sweet Melissa" and I sent Melissa a text that they were doing that. Kimberly was there, and I got a hug at first. We didn't really talk, though. But she was blabbing on and on with Vince. And other folks. I was going to tell her I would like to dance with her when something good came on. But I didn't ever really talk to her. And in there, she was yakking so much, I remembered how much I don't like people who talk too much. So probably I let it slide. Still.

So there were a lot of helium balloons. I tied loops in the string and tied some to various things. I had one on my glass for most of the time, with a slip knot from the loop. But a lot of the time, I was wondering how you make a really simple knot like that onto chairs-- things with closed loops. The slip-note I was thinking of requires you to be able to slip the loop over the end of something, which you couldn't do on this thing with the back of the chair. So I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to tie the basic twisty half square knot or whatever. I want to learn more about knots. One thing I tried, I could see where the one piece of string didn't have anything binding it. But at some point I found an extremely weak knot with just a little tuck under. One little pull would undo it, but with the balloon pulling on it, it held. So I guess, knots can be interesting. I guess I should get some string or something.

But I ended in a gloomy mood. Kind of depressed, maybe. I'm thinking I don't feel like going to see Melissa. Last time I skipped, I really regretted it, but this feels different. Last time, it was because I had gone out so much, I think, I just didn't feel like it. This time, being a little depressed, I don't think it would do as much, and the whole feeling awareness things has changed it a bit. Maybe I have to concede that I might not want to go hang out this time.

Watching _Across the Universe_. Yummy. My second Netflix item. Took a whole week in between them. That seems a little pitiful, so I'm not quite so happy with it. I still haven't donwloaded anything. Maybe that will make a difference. But the movie is nice. lots of Beatles' music.

The teaching company had like a two day sale on everything. I noticed that they have something on discrete math. I had also been looking at one on number theory. So I decided to get those. I've been indulging in things like this lately. But I've been looking at this for a while. And it gives me an excuse to skip seeing Melissa once.

OK, after sleeping on it, I will probably go see Melissa.

So, an unexpected happy result. My mom got some slightly old donuts on sale. And that's already been a few days. But I put them in the microwave. I think I actually put them in there a little longer than was needed just to warm them up. The microwave generally can make stale things fresher because of how it interacts with the water in the bread. Being stale generally means that the water has moved out of the starch, though not necessarily completely out of the bread, and the microwave, which heats up the water in preference to the other molecules, manages to get it to go back. But with these donuts, actually a cruller and a cake donut, it didn't go back to being like a fresh donut. It ended up crunchy. I think for bread it tend to not be so good as that just makes it too hard, but because these have a lot of oil, it's kind of much softer, though crunchy. Kind of like a big potato chip. It actually seems a little better than the original to me. It especially improves the cake donuts. Trippy. The microwave may have dried them out, but it's possible that it got stale enough to have dried out, too, but the microwave gave it a mix of crispy and not stale.

  • October 15, 2009
Happy Ides of October!

  • October 14, 2009
OK, I'm reading _Coders at Work_. It started kind of slow, but has gotten very interesting, so I just read a hundred pages into it. I guess maybe the first guy, a ocuple years younger than me, just didn't seem to have much to say. This last guy went on about JavaScipt, the mostest-used, best language in the whole world. He talks about mash-ups, where people take programs from different big groups and put them together, and he had a neat idea I wanted to get down. There's going to need to be something that can put together programs like lego. This is similar I think to my belief that the proper place for an AI is to control programs on a typical computer. So there needs to be a way to write instructions for it. This guy's idea is to use javascript, which can control a browser at least. I'll need to look at that.

The second guy was some little punk kid. Did Livejournal in college or something. Started programming when he was five. Said something about getting 25 grand a month in click through ads in maybe high school. Great. Perl or C hacker or some such. Whatever. Hires people, though. Makes money, I guess. Hurrah for capitalism!

The first guy did some lisp. Likes writing screensavers for fun. The third guy said he would have made reading Knuth a hiring requirement, but couldn't get enough people like that. I think I read knuth when I was maybe 15 or so. Maybe I should review it. And I think he's worked out some newer volumns, so I should get those.

  • October 13, 2009
Happy Tuesday the Thirteenth!

  • October 12, 2009
Happy Columbus Day! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

So, Josh was sitting there. I didn't say anything to him, and he didn't say anything to me. He didn't really seem happy at all. Melissa really seemed kind of unhappy, but I think the latte picked her up. She didn't get one at all when she came in. And Jeanne brought her a second one. It might have been the coffee, I don't know if I helped. And maybe just working makes her feel good. She just seemed so much better when I left from when I got there.

  • October 9, 2009
I'm watching a Yale lecture on the Philosophy of Death. He is arguing the position that there is no soul. And later will talk about values of death, and maybe how living forever isn't so great.

I put in another sell order and the market went up. That's nice, though I think I'm spending a little too fast right now. I say up. It's at a yearly high.

So Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. OK. Seeing a lot of stuff about it. People say he hasn't done much. OK. One guy said he changed the tone of U.S. foreign policy. That seems right. It sounds to me like Norway likes where he's going and wants him to stick with it. Sounds good to me. He called for getting rid of all nuclear weapons. He's reached out to Muslims, and Iran, and North Korea. He pulled the "missile defense shield" out. Sounds good.

  • October 8, 2009
I need to get the things down before I forget. Dude says that the beliefs that children and money make you happy are "super-replicators". Believing them makes society work, so society gets people to believe them. Even if they aren't technically true. But some things, if you expect them to make you feel a certain way, you will predict in the future and actually remember in the past that the make you feel that way, even if actually when it happens, you don't.

What else. you see what you want to see. You remember the exceptional things the most, and especially you remember how things turn out at the end more than how it goes most of the time before the end.

ok, imagination add some details and leaves out others. Our feelings about what we imagine are affected by how we feel (meeting someone on a scary bridge or grocery shopping while hungry). And we forget how well we rationalize after something happens. He does recommend not using your imagination to predict and to just ask people who are doing it, but we don't want to because we think we are special and unique snowflakes, which we're not.

OK, another dream where I'll wake up and have something to think about so I won't go back to sleep. Plus it seemed like one of those more vivid ones, though I think I missed my omega-3 which is what seemed to do that. Anyway, I was back with Holly. Yummy. She came to town, but it was someone else's house. After a bit, was a little distant. Still, was yummy.

I don't know if I was expecting Melissa to read my mind. I sent her a text hoping she did well on her tests. She had a midterm monday and a test on wednesday that had been put off two weeks. I was hoping she would text with how she did, which she did last time I asked, though that was when the test was delayed. But I didn't actually ask. And I was hoping she would do it if she wanted to. I don't want to be too nosy.

And then there's Angela. S. not E. From college. At some point, just wouldn't talk to me. I guess that happens. But I don't know if she just didn't love me, or was just trying really hard to keep from. or what. Because she wouldn't talk to me. Makes it hard for me to understand. But then, I was pretty foolish on several occasions.

Sp, back, back. I think it was not so much about Holly as these things with Melissa that have a couple of times gone a away and come back recently. But some about Holly. I do want to be with her, though I seem to have some problems with it. Or there are some problems in there somewhere.

Wow, I ate way too many pork chops.

So I finished that book on happiness. I kind of feel empty, like I need something to do. I've got other stuff on the pile to read, but not much I have a great desire to look at. And maybe there's stuff I should do, but I don't feel like it. A deep sort of dissatisfaction. And I've told Melissa that this kind of stuff happens when you finish school. You kind of wish you were back in. But the happiness book has some stuff that helps explain it. For one, you don't remember everything. And especially, you most strongly remember the very end. And that's going to be the nice feeling you have when you're done. You forget about the pain when you're doing it. And he said childbirth is like that. I guess.

  • October 7, 2009
I signed up for NetFlix. And I'm looking over the movies. It could be just from the dvd cover art. But it looks like page after page of moronic crap. It's depressing. But I have a couple of dozen things in my queue, so I am find stuff at least that I think might be interesting.

And I signed up through the castles game so I could get some extra team members. It gives me access to one more quest to run, and it's magic item which has a lot of defensive power. I'm trying to get a lot of defensive power so I will win more often when people attack. Having more team members helps with this. I'll see how it goes.

But the grimmest thing could be how much time I might end up wasting on all this stuff. I have a lot that I could be watching.

So yes, it has happened before. I think about how probably I am repressing lust for Melissa, and it makes my feelings stronger, and so I don't feel quite as strongly. Just like with a certain other person. But I still love them, just not quite so strongly.

Wow, a squat in Memphis got raided. I heard about it because of the anarchism subreddit, not because I pay attention to local happenings. I thought about it because I went to Schnucks to pick up some pork chops, unsatisfied with my recent schnitzel experiences. The black checker and bag boy. The bag boy asked me about my iphone, if I had a lot of applications. I actually don't have any, but what comes with the phone. But that's been fine. Trish has mentioned one for alerts for radar and stop-light cameras and traffic. I don't know if I should go down there. There's also some collective near U of M, supposedly.

  • October 5, 2009
So, I have , like, a french braid. Girls and their little dress up games. Leanne gave it to me.

I'm reading _Stumbling on Happiness_. It seems to have several insights. People fill in more blanks than is usedyl when imagining the future. People overestimate the impact of things, both good and bad. The feeling of control is the main benefit to being able to predict, while being able to make better choices is very counterintuitively not very important to happiness. I'm skeptical about this conclusion, though. It may not affect happiness as much as we think, but surely it has survival benefit. People are supreme predictors, and we are top-notch survivors. But some of the deal with happiness may simply be the long term impact to happiness. Nothing much really affects it long term--we settle back to our personal set point. We will adjust to anything. So I'm not sure how a feeling of control would be any different. Except that learned helplessness is an essential aspect of depression. Anyway, this need for control may be the thing that keeps me playing this silly computer games I've been playing lately-- the facebook stuff, freecell, winrisk, even rogue. Winrisk has sometimes been frustrasting because if I catch a bad break, I can lose out and it's a bad feeling. And the control may be the thing that makes geeks like programming.

Also, he made a distinction among three types of happiness. There's the feeling of happiness. But somehow that doesn't get it for some people, like philosophers especially. If you were in some kind of simulation, but nothing was really going on, even though you felt happy, some might say you aren't really happy. And there's the eternal reward thing. Somebody said you could only judge if you are really happy when you die. And there is a greek word "eudaimonia" for this. I guess I don't have a great handle on it. There's also a kind of judgmental happiness. Like when you say, "I feel happy for you". You think you should feel happy, even if you don't really.

That was a different experience. And different mainly from having a counterintuitive result. I decided to follow my natural inclination to be antisocial, and a I was very happy with the result. I replied maybe to the "Stammtisch Sud" of the German speaking meetup. So I go there, and there's a bunch of folks I didn't recognize. So I sat in a table next to them instead of joining them. And then maybe someone came in, that I might have recognized from that group, but didn't really know. And I take some time, but I finally order the first item, the wiener schnitzel with fried potatoes and red cabbage. And I'm just looking at email and I think, were there any people I might have wanted to sit with? There were three people that last time I think had been there that I knew from outside that group. Lana, Robert Paulson who I knew from Hilton, though only slightly, and Dick Shaw. And I look over, and Robert was with them. But he was only a bit of an acquaintance and I wasn't that interested. And I figured I'd be happy to be out of there when I was finished, instead of having to sit around with them. And I really was.

But how about the food? I could think of it as I was mostly going to try out the food, and maybe if I felt like it, joining the people. I've been craving pork chops lately. Bad experience with the stuff from Aldi's. So this was a good chance. The wiener schnitzel was very good. The potatoes and red cabbage were also very good. But my first reaction was that it was a little more peppery than I would like. And it just wasn't the way mom makes it. They were really thin. The Aldi ones were really thin. Maybe there is some idea that they are supposed to be thing. My mom does try to get them thin. But I've had schnitzel in Germany. They weren't that thin. So it wasn't like momma makes. Mine are not as good as momma's, but I like mine better even than those. That's work. But I guess that's what I should do. Now I know.

I don't know what the show is. I think the actress is Jenna Elfman. Girl wanting casual sex gets knocked up. I switched over to it while house was on, a couple times. Each time enough for one joke, maybe. Hated both. Maybe something about the slutty sensibility.

And the House episode had James Earl Jones. I mean, Darth Vader! How could I not watch that? Died spitting blood. Hard core.

So the Facebook castles game has become a little different. And disappointing. So, with the gold maximum of 2 billion gold, and now an hourly income of a little over one billion. I lose money if I don't take care off the money every two hours. So I'm mostly just wasting money. That's annoying.

My rogue playing has gotten a lot worse than it used to be, but I had a really good game because I got a little treasure room, and I got a ring of stealth. That lets you sneak past monsters. But I didn't realize that it makes you need more food, and I starved. Well, I was faint when there was a troll around. Bad luck. So I looked up a kind of cheat site to learn all the secrets. The rings using food was something I could have used. Oh well. I hope I don't waste too much time on it. Also, one thing I never knew. Using the bow while throwing the arrows helps it a lot. I've been throwing arrows without the bow, and it seems to work fairly well, so I'll try it with the bow now. And I've started a game and it seems to be quite a bit better. Honestly, in most things I like the up front bashing critters, but that leaves you open to being hit, so I understand it's a bad strategy in general.

  • October 4, 2009
in the immortal words of philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, au revoir

  • October 3, 2009
Saw _Zombieland_ and _Capitalism: a Love Story_. Meh.

A little sad. I had two months to get health insurance protected by HIPAA, that I couldn't be denied for previous stuff. But I didn't get around to it. And in the last week or so, I thought about making some effort, but kind of decided against it. It was probably too late as there was probably some fairly long application process, and stuff would have to be sent in. Plus I hate the insurance companies. And if you need stuff done, it's cheaper to go overseas, anyway. Also, I decided that my life hasn't really been all that great, anyway. And I have like at least three things that could kill me. And the feds are working on some stuff, and I want to see how that turns out. It looks like they will have something, though maybe not a government run insurance for everyone. But probably they are going to make it so they can't deny you for preexisting conditions. They'll probably make it expensive, though. And they can't drop you if you get sick. I guess. I'm not sure how it will work out. They are going to make it mandatory in some sense, but they lowered the fine from something pretty big, to something fairly small. So a lot of people will just stay out of it. So it might not do so much. And insurance is a bet that you will get sick. I think it's a bad idea to bet against yourself. And there's always bankruptcy.

  • October 1, 2009
Happy Kalends of October!

We had a party for Blasphemy day yesterday. Liz did. And it was basically a U of M party at R.P. Tracks. She has organized a little campus group of freethinkers or something like that. And they had an article about them in the daily school newpaper. Huh. I didn't realize it was daily, so I'm sure they need all the stories they can get. She had copies of the new testament, so I tore up the pages, little bit by bit, taking some time with it. And otherwise defiling it. One guy burned some of it with a cigarette. Liz's little kid took some into the bathroom, and flushed a bit. Not quite blasphemy, but close enough, I think. They took a vote, and I got the certificate recognizing my eternal damnation. So I've go that going for me.

Noel, Liz's little kid, talked about programming languages he knows about. He's in the fourth grade, so that sounds good. Visual Basic, C++, and C#. Though I think what he means by programming is that he can use the M$ visual builder tool to generate programs. I'm not sure how much he knows about writing actual code. I suspect not so much. He did mention using "msg *" on a command line to send messages to a group. There was another guy John he was talking with, and they were talking about batch files and viruses. Didn't pay that much attention. I said I was a Java person. I think he asked, the coffee or the script. I didn't hear the coffee thing. And it might have been coffee or language. But I think more likely script. And he seemed interested in javascript, but seemed to wish he had access to is, or something. I said you could put it in a URL bar of a browser to get results, if you need a handy calculater like "javascript:234*931;". But it didn't look like he followed me. He creates videos and does animation things. Good at using computer tools. Liz of course is the proud mom, and thinks of him as very smart. A bit ADHD. But when he took an IQ test, he got in the bottom 25%, which was a puzzler. The little puzzle kinds. Probably had never seen something like that before. Maybe doesn't think abstractly. I don't know.

  • September 29, 2009
It made me really, really mad. So Lana posts some picture or something of a fat slobby looking guy, with a caption about real men. On girl says she was sad enough to be with some guys like that. And one girl said it was funny, but there were a lot more pretty women than remotely attractive men. OK. I guess I'm not capturing what made me angry about it. Something about how they laughed at him, and I feel basically like him. Maybe I'll try to move on.

So, I think some of my feeling about this new grape gatorade flavor is the dissappointment I felt when they first changed it. When they added the artificial flavor, it had this aftertaste that really disappointed me, and I was annoyed that I just gave it up. But it's in an 8-pack, so I didn't have to stop at just one, and after getting over the memory of the initial disappointment, I can appreciate it a little better. I think it's not quite as good as the original, but it still has most of the original flavor, and just the little bit of synthetic aftertaste. So I like it a little better now than when I first tried it. It's growing on me again, I guess.

  • September 28, 2009
I guess I learned something. I was feeling kind of bad over the weekend worrying about Melissa. She had to do an interview with a foreigner and write a ten page report about it, and as of Thursday night, she didn't even have the interview done, and she still had to work the two nights. So I really doubted she was going to be able to get it done. But she did. She had even more than just that to do, too, but she stayed up two nights to get it all done. Had to set the alarm for every 45 minutes in case she fell asleep. Got it all done. She seemed to feel good about it, and I was very happy for her. And I felt bad for doubting her. And it's bad that I felt bad during that time. It should not have bothered me so much, and it worked out well after all. I don't know.

But of course, Melissa did not actually do an interview. She made that part up. Melissa is very sweet, but she can be a very bad girl sometimes. I don't know if I even want to write about the bad things she says she's done. Anyway, she didn't do any specific interview, but it was based on things a foreign friend of hers has said in the past. So that's pretty close. I guess. It would be perfectly reasonable to come clean with that instead of making up a fiction about an interview. But you do what you gotta do.

And I told Melissa about Carlos Castaneda. He got a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA based on one of his books. I think probably the first one, but I might be wrong about it. The stuff about Don Juan. But he almost certainly made all of it up. Pretty impressive, though. So anthropology isn't always quite so much about telling the actual literal truth. Whatever that means.

I told Melissa that there are some things that I like and drink too much of. I've been drinking the carnation instant breakfast drink mixes lately. They're rebranded as breakfast essentials. And my favorite drink was the original grape gatorade. They don't make it anymore. They have a grape now, but it isn't the original. The original was all natural flavoring, but now they use artificial flavoring, which as an aftertaste that I just really don't like. She suggested I try the Aldi's copy. So I just went out and got it. It's the same as the new gatorade grape, which is just not the same. It has both artificial and natural flavors. So maybe they have some of whatever they originally used. But the artificial flavor simply ruins it for me. And it's easy to guess what happened. The natural flavor is just slight more expensive, so they stopped using it by itself, and mixed in some cheaper stuff. And I'm sure they didn't notice any difference in sales, if there was any. But they lost me. I drank too much of it, anyway. I must have gained ten pounds just from that.

And when I was at Aldi's I saw that they had some pork schnitzel. I like pork schnitzel, so I decided to give it a try. I was expecting it was already cooked, but it wasn't. OK, fine. It said not recommended in microwave, and they weren't kidding. I tried it anyway. I eat microwave cooked meat fairly often, and I probably wouldn't recommend it, but for me it's find. Generally it's like boiling--it's not as flavorful, because you get a lot from browning, but I think I must be fairly sensitive, because I like the very light flavor of the meat. This stuff though, was terrible. Imagine boiling something that has breading. So it was soggy. And I think this may be some kind of pressed pork. Ick. It says to fry them in a pan. I'm trying that. But if I wanted to do that, I could make them myself from scratch. I'm quite capable of doing that. I've made them several time. But I thought this might be easier and I could at least give it a shot. We'll see.

Well, it was certainly better. But really not so great. I won't try it again.

  • September 26, 2009
OK, now I'm confused. I was thinking about something I might write here. I went to Aimee's book meeting, and it was just me, Mike, and her. But that would be wrong according to my understanding of the Latinized grammar that it seems like I learned. It was just us at the party. It was just we? Maybe it's idiomatic. There were just I, Mike, and she? You would probably say just me, Mike and her were at the meeting over "I, Mike and she were." But even that is wrong according to a rule about how you are supposed to say I last. "She, mike, and I were there" actually seems right. So how does 'it was just she, mike and I'? better but the vereb doesn't agree. 'There were just she, Mike, and I' or maybe "They were just she, Mike, and I'. Maybe. I think we can throw some pramatics into that. Say me first because obviously I was there or I wouldn't be talking about it, and get it out of the way first to deemphasize it. And 'it was just me' is such a common thing as to be a big congealed phrase that you might run together. An idiom as it were. As compared to the idiom 'as it were'. Anyway, enough of that.

The book was _Accidental Guerilla_. It was by a military advisor, an expert in COIN or counterinsurgency. He has analyses of some of things happening in Iraq, Afganistan, and a few other places. Aimee had not finished it, so it was going to be just Mike and me talking and Aimee would take a bunch of notes because they wanted something for the newsletter. And it turns out that when it's just basically me talking with someone else, I can be quite gabby. Plus I think it was a subject I guess was interested in, so I was able to remember a lot, and go on and on. But maybe I got it out of my system, I don't so much feel like going on and on here.

So there is a big difference between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. In counterterrorism, you go after the bad guys. In counterinsurgency, you support and protect the population and get them on your side, and fighting the bad guys is just sort of incidental. Because the kind of thing that happens is that you get a feedback loop from fighting in people's home area, which makes them angry, and then insurgent and terrorist forces get more support, so you fight some more. Most of the people fighting are not the hardcore radicals trying to take over everything. This guys uses the term "takfiri" for them. Most of the people are just locals who got caught up in it. One thing he pointed out is that a choice that seemed to make sense is actually very bad from the view of counterinsurgency. We keep troops isolated on big bases and drive into areas for operations. To locals, this makes us look like foreign raiders, which we are, and is very alienating. The bad guys often are just living right in there, and can come out at night to intimidate people. So you need people sitting in there all the time. He doesn't talk about this, but in classical occupying armies, the soldiers just take the food and stuff of the locals. That's actually something we could do different. We would certainly be able to pay for stuff, which might make us seem a lot more welcome. In addition to the typical construction that would go on. And it doesn't have to be just military people. And the best is to use local people, anyway.

It at least was saying that we do have stuff we know how to do handle the situation, though it wouldn't be that easy or guarranteed. And unfortunately it's not like a regular war, like the first gulf war or even one of the world wars. It's more like the cold war. We're talking 20 or 50 years. Yikes.

So that was Thursday night. On Friday night, I saw them sort of mention this in the news. Though that could be more because that was the first day I watched the news. They used the term "CO-IN" for counterinsurgency. Some guy has a report out on the situation. McAllister, maybe? And it was one of those, we could do it this way and it might work, otherwise we should just give up. There wasn't an easy half-assed way.

And I missed some reporting about the Dalai Lama. The Memphis mayor went to give him a fist bump. I guess it was confusing, and he thought it was kind of a violent sort of gesture. Aimee said it made the national news. Great. The mayor said it was something about flu germs. Uh huh.

I went to Bardog after the meeting. Leanne was kind of sad because she just quit her job and her boyfriend was out of town, so we were kind of affectionate. She's a sweetheart. I think she mentioned seeing this blog. Oh well.

And for a bit in there, there were a lot of people singing along with the jukebox. Some of the stuff I put on. That was nice. And there was some stuff that Melissa liked and I mentioned it to her. Sometimes she dances a little bit. I think that's very pretty. Just a tiny bit. Maybe a little more like swaying to the music. Still pretty. But I haven't really kept up with exactly what she likes. This one was Willy Nelson "On the road again". That was new maybe she likes stuff she hasn't heard a million times as well. She seemed to like "sweet child of mine" but that might have just been when I first played.

Seems like everyone likes "paradise city" I think I put it in, and it came up, but that was actually from someone who had put it in before me. I suspect it was this girl I've kind of got my eye on. A little taller than me. Short black hair, but pale. Always has significant boobs sticking out. That may be it. I saw her playing a bunch of stuff at the anniversary party. And she strikes me a possibly being another auditory person. Visual people wear sort of fancy pretty clothes. Hers were just very simple. Solid colors. I think it was maybe a black sleeveless top with jeans. She was with some little blonde who was one of those sort of obvious visual people. I guess. I'm still not an expert, but it's starting to jump out a little bit more. Anyway, chicky hasn't given me a second glance. Actually, it's more like frowny looks. But like they say, la vie.

But Leanne can be treacherous. She had her keys in her hand, and said she would be right back and left. Melissa had to run and stop her from driving away. She got her a cab, though she was saying she really needed her truck in the morning. Deal with that then. I felt silly that she fooled me and I bought it. But I guess I'm not so used to people in bars like Melissa is.

One thing that happened in Iraq. At about the time of the surge, Al-Qa'ida in Iraq pissed off the tribal people. There was a claim that the trigger was that they wanted some of the women to marry, and the tribabl people just wouldn't go there. No marrying outside for them. But it was probably a bunch of stuff. So suddenly we had a lot more support from the locals. It seems to me like we just got lucky.

I'm trying to find more about this report, and I found an old blog from McCallister. It's COIN stuff. Don't see this report, though. Maybe it is McChrystal. Darn mick names all sound the same. OK, yeah, it's McChrystal. It's a classified report but it was leaked to Bob Woodward at the Washington Post.

Aimee lent me a copy of the book they read last time, _Shimmer_. They had the author there. Starting off kind of with a bad attitude about it because she talked about how it had something that a technical person would see was impossible. I think I see that, but it might be something else. Also, in the first section the people are having a business meeting, and they are askin, if you were food, what kind would you be? What do you mean if you were food? We are food. People do get eaten. Do you mean if you could be some other kind of food what would it be? I don't want to be a pie.

On the disc that has "One the Road Again" is Willie Nelson's cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water, which I've been watching on youtube. I googled for the meaning. I had heard heroin. One site talks about a bunch of songs. What is silver girl supposed to be? Not a needle? According to inteviews from Paul Simon, his girlfriend was sad because she found some grey hairs. Well OK. Just a song about friendship. One person mention's a poster with a black couple where the guy said "like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down". OK.

Wow, i just checked my account. I've been spending a little too much. Haven't been keeping track. Not so good.

  • September 22, 2009
Early, the bounter hunter in Firefly, said something like "Man is by far stronger than woman, but only woman can make a child. Does that seem right to you?" Actually, Early, it does. Women are too valuable because of that to do much fighting, which is the kind of strength you are talking about. Better left to more expendable men, so that's why selection pressure pushed that way.

  • September 21, 2009
I'm just feeling really angry right now. Like chopping stuff with my sword. It seems like the trigger is this guy Scotty the door guy at Bardog, and it was closing time and he said to me, ten minutes, and then 5 minutes left. Generally David and Melissa are cool with me staying around, but I don't know. If he wants me gone, I'm happy to leave, but I wait till Melissa comes out and says goodbye. And I guess there was this sort of heavy feeling building of feeling unwelcome, and it was irritating me for whatever it was, fifteen minutes. But that couldn't have been all it was. Before that, I had the beginnings of anger or something, and that just kind of aggravated it, or kept it going or something. I guess I wasn't sure it was anger exactly before. Maybe. Seeing Josh and Melissa kissing again. But Josh spent a while talking to Johny. And then Josh left. He didn't say anything to me on the way out, but we haven't really been doing that lately. And Melissa was talking to Johny and they were just laughing and laughing. I was at the far end of the bar, so I couldn't tell what it was. So I walk over, and she leaves before I got there and miss it. And ask Johny what's going on or something. Maybe he said something about he needs to pay attention, I don't know exactly. But if seeing Melissa and Josh kissing bothers me so much, I guess I can take it as a sign that there are things going on in my head that I'm not looking at so closely. I've looked at them before, but I guess I tend to just let them slip back.

It was Bardog's big anniversary party. They had a big alley party, with a dunk tank and a band. There was a meatball eating contest. Your were supposed to eat 40. It had been 30, but they upped it on Wednesday. Melissa had suggested I enter, but I thought against it. I can eat a lot, but I eat kind of slow. And I was thinking they were bigger than they were. So I didn't enter, but I've been kind of regretting it, and then being OK with it. The kind of thinking that can make you unhappy. Several pukers. Didn't know the winner. Aldo said it was two and a half pounds. That kind of made me think I could have done it. But after that, they had some barbecue. That was really good, so I'm kind of happier that I got to eat that instead. And as little as I ate, I kind of think probably better not to have been in it. It might have been about a plateful, but not as much as the meatballs, I think.

There was a little girl who cut her hand. There are two girls I can't tell apart. One is named Britney and she works the day shift. I don't know if this was her. Cut her hand, and was quite a bit bloody. She was washing it in the sink, and I was standing there, and Dave asked me to stand with her to make sure she doesn't fall over. Some times people when they get hurt a bit and see blood, they can get a little weak-kneed from being scared. So I stood with her a minute, and she talked about it a bit. Sure.

But I guess on a positive note, the omega-3 seems to be making my dreams very vivid. I seem to remember very long ones. I'm not becoming lucid so much, but it has altered their character somewhat.

  • September 19, 2009
Yarrr, Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

I just listened to the commentary for the Season 12 episode "Trilogy of Error". They are just so proud of it, well at least the writer Matt Selman is. It's actually starting to seem infectious. I liked it when I first saw it, but I only saw the connection to _Run, Lola, Run_, but I hadn't seen the movie _Go_ which was really the main basis for it. That might have added a little, but the idea itself is neat. I think it's great. I actually think all of Season 12 is great, as I have gone through it and watched them all maybe four or 5 times now. Has the series gotten better since the beginning? It would make sense. You become a lot better after 10 years of doing something. South Park noticeably has gotten really better in that time, though South Park is kind of limited in just it's fairly childish nature. The thing is, people say that things went downhill since what, maybe the 9th season. One person I remember specifically mentioned Ian Maxstone Graham as an unfunny guy who is at this point a bigger producer. And maybe that's it. They aren't going as much for pure comedy as interesting story-telling, which is something that does get better. I guess that's what I'm seeing improved in South Park, too. So this year, they one the Emmy for the flowers for Algernon story, I forget their title. Homer gets smart, bonds with Lisa, then goes back to being dumb. It was also the movie Charlie, which won an academy award, so it's a good story. In that one, it's a medical experiment and there's a mouse Algernon that it happens to, too. And I read the book as a kid and have it somewhere, but I don't really remember. The deal is, he gets smart, becomes obnoxious, but falls in love, and then you see the mouse lose it, and he loses it too. It was good and heartfelt. This one, trilogy of error, isn't so emotional, but it's intellectually interesting. Melt Selman calls it a "chrysalis of genius". Kind of a smarty show. But I'm kind of a smarty, so I like it. And the other super great one, the one with Lisa and the substitute teacher, "Lisa's Substitute"-- it did not do so well at the table read and probably it doesn't have as many jokes and isn't as funny, but it's a warmer story and people really like it. Maybe manipulative. Lisa loving something.

I went to Borders and I was greeted. A cute little blonde girl said "hi. welcome to Borders" And I think I tried to smile a little and say thank you. And I may have mumbled howsitgoing, but she just said "wut?". I guess they need to try to add value above Amazon. And halfway to the back of the store by the helpdesk, another boron smiled and said hi or something. I don't know. creepy.

And I get to the back, and there's this cute little dark-haired pale girl shelving. And some other boron was visiting her and commented on how they stuck her in the very back, shelving. And I said, "MMM, shelving" but I was pretty far away and not really talking to them. I was thinking of saying to her, "you probably always wanted to be a librarian, but you got stuck working at Borders" but I didn't. You probably could have guessed that.

But hovering in that area, I did find a book with that nifty calligraphic form of the word "zen" on the cover that you sometimes see. A pile of then sitting on the floor under a little advertisings table. I was intrigued and took a closer look. Zen and the art of making a living. My first reaction was how most people now who write these sort of zen inspired books really know jack shit about zen. So I felt kind of sad about that. But I reached down and picked it up to at least look at it. Seemed a bit like _what color is your parachute?_ I've tried getting that book several times. Every year has a new addition, so you can always get a new one. But I don't really ever do all the work in them. Personal inventories. And job hunting as 40 hour a week sales job. That's a nightmare job. I'd rather be unemployed. So maybe I'll skip getting that one this time. Bamboo slivers and fingernails come to mind. But this one, was worth at least thumbing through. And it seemed like it was packed with poorly understood quotations of oriental wisdom. But it was about trying to find the right sort of work. And I probably should be doing that, so I picked it up.

I went there to get _The Accidental Guerilla_ for Aimee's book meeting. I probably won't go because I'm getting more tied to the kung fu meeting on Thursday, since I'm the one keeping the extra key, but I'm torn. I'm interested in this military stuff. I'll try to read it and see how it goes. I could give the key up for a week.

So I got the kung fu book in. Li Lao Shr told us the name of the teacher who taught her the Fanzi Quan form. The story she gave was that he had this form, and with the cultural revolution, he put it in a box, but when they were bringing back more traditional wushu again, he took it out of the box. His name was Wen Jingming. He died in 1985. But he had a book on a _Kaoshou Fanziquan_. It's a form of fanziquan supposedly developed by a guy who went to prison, but couldn't do all the movements because he had to wear cuffs, shackles. I wasn't sure if it was the form we were learning, but when I got it, I could see that definitely it was. The hands tend to stay close together. The kicks are not high--that's actually pretty nice. Capoeira is also supposed to be from being shackled, but in that, you do a lot of rolling around.

  • September 18, 2009
So, I had been stuck on the second to the last puzzle in the sudoku book. I left it alone for a few weeks. So I got out of the habit. But I went back to it. Finished it up. Then got the last one. So I'm done with it.

So I found an ouchie in those facebook games. It looks like your money amount is a 32 bit integer, so I can't get more that about two billion. And I just reached it. I don't think it does anything weird like turn negative or something. I think it just stays at the maximum. But that's it. So all that investment and growth I was playing with. Topped out. Boo! I guess it was fun enough while it lasted.

I don't know if I've written about computers needing to be able to ask for help. I remember thinking about it. It's a pretty obvious idea. Some robot guys have actually found a neat and easy way to do it. They use the Mechanical Turk, an online web system where you get people to do simple jobs for like a few pennies each. The job in this case is just to ask what is this thing I'm looking at, a big problem for computers, and they need someone to tell them to learn.

So a guy Itamar who I saw at the AGI convention is saying we could have AGI in a few years, not decades, using information modeling from deep machine learning (some subfield I'd never heard of) and reinforcement learning. I would be skeptical, though. Still it's an interesting claim.

Can't sleep. Don't know what the deal is. Going to see Aimee for lunch at Bardog. Missed her on Wednesday because the emails didn't work right somehow. Maybe sent a reply to a wrong place. So I was thinking How I would describe Aldo to her. "Owner" doesn't quite cut it. Aldo dreamed it up and made it happen. What's the word for that? Now it's a place for him to have fun and do stuff. Resident? Creator? Something deva-like? I'm thinking of the Hindu story of how the universe is just a dream of one of their gods. I need to remember the name of that one. Brahma, maybe? He creates it by his dreaming.

  • September 15, 2009
I thought of something that might be a problem in AI. People have a notion that when you learn things, you always learn correct things. Probably most of what you think you learn is wrong, but we have a cultural system that puts pressure on us to discard mistakes that we have. But we don't think of putting an AI in an environment like that, with so much correction. We just want it to be right all the time.

  • September 14, 2009
Argh. I was writing a letter in a text editor. That's a little safer than doing it in a browser window edit box. I thought. And then my editor crashed. I haven't lost stuff like that for a long time. I don't remember the last time, but it could have been years. Then again, I've lost stuff like that in browser window edit boxes, so I guess that counts, but it's been a while. It seems like it's just on that machine that it has trouble like that, not the one I'm on now. And I've been using this editor, UltraEdit for maybe ten years. But that may be changing. Maybe I'll switch to emacs. It uses lisp, and I'm trying to get back into lisp. I used it a tiny amount maybe 20 years ago, but it had some nice features then. And in the original pragmatic programmers book, it recommended mastering an editor to handle a lot of mechanical stuff that a programmer needs to do. I never master Ultraedit, but I was trying to utilize it a bit better for that kind of stuff. Turns out that some of it's regular expression stuff was actually a bit buggy, so it didn't work as well as it might have. But I really prefer having all the options on menus, which is not really how emacs works. I think you're just supposed to know, or call some documents up or something. Not at all like menus.

Yesterday, president O was going to talk on 60 minutes. And I kind of wanted to see it. But there was sports on like at least three channels. And then 60 minutes was delayed. And I was getting more and more frustrated. Plus the Simpsons wasn't even going to come on. So at one point I decided I didn't want to see one second more of sports. I didn't want to have to see it changing through channels. I'm tired of the jocks. I just had to turn it off. I don't care what I missed. Not one more second. Not going to turn it on to see if 60 minutes had made it on lest I see any of that moronic filth. Of course, going to Bardog, I was going to be subjected to it because they would have it on there. But I would have a little more time to settle down, and it wasn't my choice, and there would be other stuff going on, too, and other things to look at. Today they have tennis. Blech.

  • September 13, 2009
Happy Sunday the Thirteenth! Happy Ides of September!

And the pragmatic guy said that thing about how everything that ever happened to you is stored in your memory. Maybe, but maybe not. That idea mainly comes from one thing that happened one time when an epileptic was having brain surgery. They stimulated a spot on his brain, and he relived some memory from a long time ago. It could have just been some glitch that happened because he was epileptic. I don't know what other evidence there is for that idea. Maybe there has been some more.

I've been thinking of going to try to see Ashley for the last several hours, but I'm not completely in the mood. I just haven't completely let the idea go, though. Probably won't. I kind of felt like going to see Melissa, but I didn't commit and send her a message, so I didn't feel quite up for it.

The turkey is disappearing pretty fast. One breast is gone. One leg. Most of a thigh. Half of each wing. I like to eat the wing tips when they are crunchy. I have this big thing of gravy. I may have to eat it like soup or something. I boiled the giblets, and was thinking of just making gravy from that, but then I had a lot of fluid at the bottom of the pan, so I used that too. I think I really put too much water in pots when I roast stuff. I'm probably not supposed to do that at all, because it doesn't brown it as much, and you get a lot of flavor from that. But that's just how I've been cooking, I guess. Considering that I cook stuff in the microwave, where it doesn't get any browning at all, that's just something I'm used to. Really very bland. But I'm kind of sensitive to spices, too. I never liked red hots when I was a kid. I mention that, because there is a liquor that they push a lot at Bardog, Fireball or something like that, that is kind of flavored like that. And I did some of that, and really didn't like it. Couldn't do it all at once, though I'm not sure I ever can do shots like that.

  • September 12, 2009
So it turns out I own millions of acres somewhere. I should sell it and make some money. I'm not using it.

I'm cooking a turkey. It's been in the freezer since last Thanksgiving. Where does the time go? The old roasting pan seems like it's got rust coming through the black painted coating. It kind of looks dirty maybe from last time, but it seems more like it's rust. The thing is older than me. Probably time to let it go.

I just watched a TED talk on happiness. One of the reddit commentator's said it was life changing. I don't know about that. I didn't quite follow it all, though. But from what that guy said, I'm trying to look at it harder. The first time I was doing other stuff, so maybe I wasn't concentrating on it so much. Maybe there are too many things. He talks about the simulation in the prefrontal lobe. And you can change your views about the world and you synthesize happiness. There is also an impact bias, where you always thing things have a bigger impact than you think. I can definitely see that I do that. My whole risk aversion thinkg. Not so good. But all that stuff people get and seem to thing is a big deal probably isn't such a big deal either. Important subject, though. How to be happy. Seems important. When you don't get what you want, you change what you feel about what you wanted so that you like what you have better and what you didn't like not so much. He mentions Shakespeare saying how nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so, which is something but not quite complete. He goes with a quote from Adam Smith about how some things may be better than others, but not so much that it is worth don't something nasty that you will regret (lie, cheat, steal...). So you would expect crooks not to be so happy. Then again, who is?

Wow, so my castles income is more than 60 million gold per hour, and it seems kind of pointless now. They changed the vampires game so that the investments all have a P/E of 100, which is really pretty high, and it has now fallen behind my kung fu pets thing. where I think I've get about $6 million per hour. So I'm about done.

So I guess the thing about that work was that if I were to do all the stuff that they were asking for, I would be getting ripping off, because we agreed to fewer hours than it would take. It would have been more hours if that unexpected stuff wasn't included. So I was procrastinating.

And one thing about getting into a procrastinating mode was that I didn't reply to Aimee, who replied that she would like to go to lunch, so when and where? A couple days of it was just shock and trying to recover, so I got started putting it off. And then it just kept going all week.

I think I see an implication of Gilbert's talk, though. Keeping your options open will reduce your "synthetic happiness" compared to making a decision and just sticking with it. So P's are likely to be less happy in that respect. Well, keeping your options open after you have something, that is, keeping open the possibility of changing you mind later. I guess if you wait before, and then stick with it once made, that's probably OK. But probably there is some issue with thinking it is a bigger deal than it is.

  • September 10, 2009
Finished _Pragmatic Thinking & Learning_. Just decided to power through to the end to be done with it. Had lots of little recommendations. Don't check your email all the time. Write mental map doodles. Have something with you all the time to take notes. Make plans. It finished up pretty quick I guess. I'm probably not going to do much with it. And I don't what what I could have been thinking I would get. He did recommend meditating. Fine. Glad to have it done.

  • September 8, 2009
So I'm trying to read _Pragmatic Thinking & Learning: Refactor Your Wetware_. And he's talking about using oracles or ambiguous stuff to get you thinking. And then he goes to the "sound of one hand clapping". Ugh. That just bothers me. It's just an emotional reaction, but what can I do? Maybe I should send him an email.

  • September 7, 2009
Argh, you gotta hate when Rocky spills over into your life. So the bit with me is a thing I did several times. Janet or somebody will get emotional. There a bit where she screams, and I'll yell, "what the fuck, bitch?" Rocky is kind of nice in letting to just yell something you might like to some time in real life but really probably shouldn't. But since then, there have been quite a few times now where I just have this urge to just yell that. And it's only been a couple of days. Just now it was Joss Wheadon in the commentary for the Firefly episode "Objects in Space". Something about existentialism and how things can be overpoweringly real. He talks about seeing it as a kid in Sartre's _Nausea_. Things are never just partially real-- they are always complete fully real, and it makes the guy feel "nauseous" (OK, I don't want to get started on that one again). But dude, that is so sophomoric. And Joss admits he is not intellectual and doesn't know much about philosophy and he was a kid at the time he had his "existential epiphany". But gee, man.

So I didn't end up really saying much of anything. It was really busy. They had to kick people out at three, and they are usually done at 1. I stayed around maybe twenty minutes more, though, which didn't happen on Friday. David and another little girl Randi were hanging out, too. I was thinking maybe asking how she felt about me coming around, because I'm still not sure. And I guess we didn't get to talk much because she was so busy. But when I was out the door, and we were hanging out, she finally was asking me how my week was looking, and really seemed to linger a bit more than I was expecting. But I really felt good that she was talking to me. I was happy, though she wasn't really as happy as me. And it was that I just didn't want any more. It was plenty for me. And I guess that's what happens. It's only after it's gone that I want more.

So it was a reddit on some Terry Pratchett book. The little lies like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus get you ready for the big lies, like god, justice, mercy, duty...

  • September 5, 2009
Went to Rocky Horror at the Orpheum. I've forgotten almost everything. Two girls I saw there, I also saw at Bardog. Stephanie who was a bartender at Dan McGuinness, and Carol who I've seen hanging out with Melissa. Angela put her number in my phone so I could text her stuff. I told her to read something by John Schwartzwelder. I also met her friend Julie. Studied audio engineering, but is going to get a masters in forensic psychology, but will have to leave memphis for that. Both Julie and Angela worked at Jarrett's which is near me. I'm not sure what the deal is, but David came in and was kissing Julie.

So I think I've done about all I can do in Age of Castles. I've become the cow. My hourly income is now over 5 million gold, so there is no other thing that's really worth doing to get gold. I can try to build upsome statistics, including my defense, but that doesn't make much difference with only the 6 people on my team, as that's a multiplier for it. I may start buying marketplaces just because it's easier buying a lot of those. When I came back tonight I had 44 million gold sitting. Maybe I should try getting a script to automatically reinvest, so no money is sitting around to steal.

I keep thinking about it. I go out on Sunday when it's empty and I don't really see anyone except Melissa, but I go out on Friday and I see and talk to several girls. Most times when I go out on busy nights it's crowded and I don't talk to anybody, but sometimes I do. Hmm. Haven't really had any luck in bars, though. Just don't see the smart chicks there, generally. I'm not too sure where they hide. But it's something. Probably smart chicks all become doctors and lawyers, anyway. It's the most sensible thing.