Sunday, April 30, 2006

Oh, how about this weekend, when I was a hippie.

On Friday, I participated in part of something that's pretty great: Critical Mass. This biking group, it's not even a group, they just meet outside the Carnegie Library in Oakland on the last Friday of every month at about 5:30, then they just go on a bike ride. The kicker is that, at least when I went, there were at least 100, probably 150 people there. So we took up multiple lanes of traffic- sometimes the entire road. Man! That was cool! Ever ride a bike through what traffic would be like if there were no cars? It's a cool thing!

It ended at the Paint and Body Shop in Wilkinsburg (now I guess an art gallery/concert venue or something) and there was a party with food, so I went. They were serving pasta and sauce, and when I was in line for food, the question wasn't "Do you want meat or meatless sauce?", it was "vegan or non-vegan?" Actually, it was "is anyone here not vegan?" ... it was a pretty hairy group of people. I soon left.

In their defense, their cheap beer of choice was Pabst. The same cannot be said for Joe and Connor, unfortunately, as they elected to purchase Natural Ice for beer pong on Saturday. Nevertheless, that party was one of the best in a long time. (see the log I posted on .vomit for details)

Today: I went to the Mattress Factory, and got FREAKED OUT. I like to think I'm usually pretty brave (that may be true or not. I still haven't given blood.), but something about that place was so terrifying. Like the dark room with just a big blue rectangle... there are so many ways that could become scarringly frightening. (for example, if you turned around and the walls on the way out were covered in something scary) (Note that none of it actually was frightening- I mean, it wasn't a haunted house) But it was fascinating! The room with mirrors in all directions- you can't experience that anywhere else! I felt like that was modern art that, maybe I didn't understand it, maybe I didn't appreciate it, but maybe I started to appreciate it. Yeah, it's pretentious. Of course it is. But unlike most pretentious shit, as I was observing it, I thought, "Wow." If you'd like to go, let me know, because I'd love to go back- there's a lot I didn't see.

And now I'm getting the music sentimentality. If you ever listen to the radio, listen to my show tomorrow (10AM-12PM, 88.3fm, because it's my end-of-semester wrap-up, and it'll be amazing. Listening to my favorite songs of the semester means reliving the semester, which means nostalgia. Again, when it comes down to it, I like being a connoisseur of pop music, hipster as it may be.

And speaking of nostalgia, I'm starting to get the end of the year blatz. Shit! I want to hang out with every single one of you! Especially the seniors! I will try not to let my schedule get filled with other noise.

Re: my last post. Also, regulating accounts.

See, there are days like that, and then there are nights like last night, when everything sort of works out right. When I realize that all (or most) of my closest friends (in Pittsburgh) are there with me, and that there are at that moment no responsibilities, and that I can step out of my overanalytical control-freak shell and enjoy a moment, and wish that the night had 1400 hours in it.

It doesn't happen often; I feel bad at organizing get-togethers. I feel like it's a good idea to expand friendly gatherings beyond the few hours of Friday and Saturday nights; if 5/7 of your week is straight work, that sucks a little bit. Or if your only encounters with friends are through business (like rehearsal). But then I organize a gathering and it's a bunch of people sitting around, bored. What I'm trying to do is spend time with friends without spending it putting food or drinks into ourselves, or spending money. There's got to be more you can do. Are we just not very creative?

About this whole in-and-out-flow of food and money thing: we spend most of our lives doing it.
You eat food, it's tasty. You exercise, it's difficult. (often it's fun. but it's still difficult, whether you're running or biking or whatever.) Food goes in, food gets burned off.
You work, you get money, it's difficult. (and maybe, hopefully, you like your job; it's still difficult) You spend money, you do something neat or you get things (or maybe you even get food), it's fun.
Obviously, the examples aren't complete. Sometimes you eat because you have to; sometimes you spend money because you have to. Sometimes you love exercise or your job so much that it's easy, and you do it a lot.

The point is, so much of your life is dedicated to these two tasks: your bank account and your food account.

Is that good? I feel like it's animalistic, especially the food account. Any animal can do that. And any idiot can spend his whole life chasing after money. I don't really want to get into a big discussion of "what is meaningful in life" yet, because I don't have any new insight since the last time I talked to you. Yes, you. Whoever you are, if we've had that conversation once, I don't really have any new bright ideas. If we haven't, we should! Given that people who read this are probably my friends, if you're reading this, I'd like to know what's driving your life- it's kind of an important issue, and one that really lets me get to know you, I think, much moreso than "how's it going?" Plus, maybe you know the secret, and you can let me in on it!

But I got sidetracked. I feel like I want to minimize the time spent regulating my food account and bank account. So if you have an idea for a Thing To Do that doesn't involve those, please, let me know! (of course, I still like doing those things: if I'm eating dinner, or going to a movie, or playing Whirlyball, or what have you, with friends, I'm spending time with friends, which, in my book, is in the top five things in the world. Even above skiing. Which is really saying something.) I'll repeat the previous sentence, not for emphasis, but just to get back on the same train of thought: So if you have an idea for a Thing To Do that doesn't involve those, please, let me know!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Two more weeks...

I just keep telling myself that... two more weeks...

For all the good times I'll remember about college, there's a lot of crap that I won't. Like now, staying up till 5 staring at a take-home test that doesn't make any goddamn sense, for a class I don't even want to be in, that's not even helping me graduate. Geez! Of all my classes right now, only AI is fulfilling at all. Maybe German a bit too, although why the hell am I learning German? I could go study in a lot of places without spending lots and lots of hours learning another language! But that's a different issue.

5 days a week, I'm a zombie. (not my fault! for God's sake, I eat healthier than a pro athlete; I exercise at least a reasonable amount, usually 5+ days a week; I sleep a lot, usually 7-8+ hours. I don't know what else I can do.) Then it's the weekend and I forget all about it. I think I know why people drink heavily. Not that I'm going to start doing that- the only thing dumber than going through this weekly pattern is going through this weekly pattern with a tad of alcoholism tacked onto the end.

I'm so tired of being tired.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A bit of optimism at 7 AM

City of Angels was a lot of fun. I'm no theatre critic, but I think we did a great job. I was really feeling it during the last run, really getting into it, which I hadn't done before, because I'm only in a couple of scenes.

I kind of enjoyed strike too, mainly because I think I was helpful. Stuff like taking entire platforms apart, etc. Sweet.

At any rate, things are looking up, and I feel pretty good. But sleepy. Good night. Good morning!

Friday, April 21, 2006


I'm done with malloc. For those of you who haven't taken 15-213, it's the toughest (of 7) homework assignments in the course. It took me pretty much all the time I wasn't doing anythign else this week (and a lot of the time I was doing something else, like PERFORMING A SHOW!) I don't want to sound melodramatic- a lot of that time was used just because I'm kind of dumb sometimes, and I'm not very good at programming.

That being said, I apologize twice:
1. First, for being such a goddamn nerd. It was goofy: I was sitting backstage with my friggin' laptop, even during carnival. That's not cool. Even taking into account that it had to be done, it's still not good. I have little tolerance for people who uphold the CS major stereotype, and, I'm afraid that this week I may have done just that.

2. (and more importantly) to the couple of people I snapped at while I was frustrated by this assignment. I realize you meant well by asking "how's the assignment going?" or whatever, and I had no right to give you the sarcastic answers I may have given you. Sorry about that.

But enough computing! It's carnival, and I'm going to go enjoy it for whatever time I have left!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

If there is a heaven, and if I make it there,

I will probably not last very long because I will keep going down hills, and eventually plop right back down on Earth.

I realized the other day that my happiest moments alone are almost invariably spent going down hills. Be it skiing or biking. (or even rollercoasting) I will probably like skydiving a ridiculous amount.

How do you convince the parents that skydiving is not dangerous? I mean, I could just go, and not tell them, but that's not the way my family works. Ultimately, I probably wouldn't go without their consent.

Speaking of families, "Thank You For Smoking" is a pretty great movie. It was the first movie I've seen in a while that I wished would keep going when it ended.

And I'm really psyched about the summer. Wish me luck on the PSLC internship; even though I haven't met anyone there or seen their offices, I bet it'd be the most fun. Or the CTAT. I got the RADAR job, but it seems a little depressing, a little too code-monkey. At any rate, I'll be in the 'burgh for sure, so sweet!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A quick jot about what's up with my life, in case you're interested:

In a week: City of Angels. It'll be good. I'll sit backstage for a long time and possibly come out with a bucket on my head.

Soon: Gadget Play. It'll be GREAT. I'll sit backstage for a while and watch Kaitlin play Adam "Atom" Atkinson With British Accent, undoubtedly marvelously; an acting performance combated only by that of Andy as Man. Oh, and the special guest.

Then: Visiting grandparents. My grandpa goes in for a biopsy tomorrow on the Cancer Part II, to see if they can do chemo. Please hope, pray, or do whatever you do for him. He's a great guy, and I don't think it's quite time for him to check out yet.

Afterwards: summer in Pittsburgh! Job leads include:
- Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center: This is the internship I want, I think. I'd work on software to help kids learn maths and stuff. That's what I'm good at, I like to think.
- Cognitive Tutor Assistance Tools (or something): This is the one I want next, I think. Work on software to help people write software to help kids learn maths and stuff. That's what I'm good at, just one level removed, which is still cool.
- Something with Prof. Hebert involving artificial intelligence: I don't know what he has available, but AI sure is cool. I'm in his class now, I'm enjoying it.
- RADAR: An algorithm for a project that's not about Radar at all. It's about scheduling. Still, it offers some kind of algorithmic challenge, which is neat.
At any rate, the summer will hopefully also include camping, skydiving, and a sweet party in Cleveland. At least. If you're going to be around and I don't know yet, let me know.

Next semester: Networks! I'm biting the bullet, taking the last class-I-will-hate, hopefully, getting the 30-hour-a-week bear out of my schedule. Hopefully I'll also be TA'ing. I mean, really, TA'ing is the most important thing to me next semester. But getting Networks out of the way will free up time for:

Later: Studying abroad! I finally found a college in Germany that at least appears to fit my needs. It's the "International University in Germany." I sent them an e-mail, I hope it works out.

Now: Same old gunk. I was ill, I think I'm mostly better. I've been feeling sluggish (what else is new?) but hopefully a return to normal patterns of eating, exercising, and sleeping will help. Got a visiting student tomorrow, should be fun. Oh, and the Seder- that should be cool too.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I feel like I'm disabled.

I need 9 hours of sleep to function properly. And probably an hour dedicated to exercise. That's 10 hours. Even discounting ridiculous people, I'd say the average student here gets 7 hours of sleep. Where are those 3 hours a day going?

Am I happy here? How can I be? I don't even have time to worry about searching for some great HAPPINESS if I'm sludging through my average day in a torpor, unenthusiastic and exhausted, looking forward to the next time I can sleep so I can feel relatively normal again? It's as if I'm swimming underwater: I can breathe every so often, when I spend $1 at Entropy for a cup of coffee, or on the rare day that I manage to sleep in. What's wrong with me? And those of you who deal with less sleep, how do you do it?!