Thursday, September 29, 2005

This day kinda blew. The suckiness was all about a bad school day and the architecture class not being what I deserve. I'll have some of these, in the next five years.

good things:

I ran 3 miles outside today
the yankees are rolling
the red sox are not.
poker night tomorrow.


you take the good, you take the bad...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

From the journal

School started week 2, and already its kicking my ass. There's so much reading to do.

Artificial Intelligence is the real asskicker. whoo-boy. Despite being a core class, the format is survey as opposed to lectures. This means all the basic concepts are assumed, and it means Papers. lots of papers. Each student takes turns presenting a paper, powerpoint slides and all. Unfortunately, there are only two students, so the rotation is quick. Michael presented today on TWEAK, a conjunctive goal planner. There's a lot of rigorous proof going on. Friday, we return to the proofs. Monday is a paper on Bayesian Networks, and I present a paper on Hidden Markov Models on Wednesday. So, yeah, three papers to read and keep up on right now. (of course, if I don't know the material, cause, you know, its new, there's more reading...)

Socially, things are going. I've organized a poker night on Friday. Everyone claims not to know how to play, which may or may not be true. Either way, I'll play the teacher an aim for a fun night as opposed to a competitive one. I have no plans for Saturday, but with hiking on Sunday, I forsee a work/rest day. Mala is definitely coming hiking too, but I have my doubts.


Addendum: Have you seen the commercial for the Burger King breakfast Sandwich? There's a lumberjack cutting down a tree, and then this guy with a big mardi gras style king helmet/mask comes and gives him a "meatnormous" sandwich. Its got 2 sausage patties, 2 slices of bacon, and ham on top. All on top of cheese and eggs of course. I can't imagine how many calories it is. but the comercial is pretty funny.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

go see War of the Worlds

If you haven't yet, you should go see Tom Cruise's "War of the Worlds." I sorta recommend it.
I am so glad I waited until everyone told me it was craptacular. For a bad hollywood film, its funy. My favorite part is when you learn that the alien ships are full of orange gatorade.

I went with Scout and Anne (2 two 2! female computer scientists!) and Anne's boyfriend Pete. We saw it at the Hop(kins Center) which holds 2 film series. The first is an art/foreign film series. The second is a series of Hollywood classics, and not-so-classics. "War of the Worlds" was part of the latter. Anyway, since its a film series, they hold it in this huge auditorium, so we had rediculously nice seats for this film.

Afterwards, the four of us went to the Canoe Club, which is the high class drinking establishment in Hanover. Pete's advisor came over and drank with us. Drinking with your advisor still makes me laugh a little. Then this guy Randy came in. Randy is also an MCB student, and he has crazy hair that reminds me of Cuneo. Randy decided to smuggle beer in, so he borrowed a glass from the bar and pulled out his Red Stripe. Why anyone would smuggle a beer into a place that has $3 imports is beyond me, but thats Randy, I guess. He got kicked out of course. It was funny to see him spend the rest of the evening trying to get back in.

but yeah, go see "War of the Worlds." They could've done much
worse with it.

This is what passes for entertainment on a Friday night in Hanover.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

So, in this rambling dream I had last night, I:

(a) stopped talking to my mother
(b) became part owner of a chain of car stores in Atlanta
(c) starting running for President. as a Republican.

This all seemed perfectly fine during the dream. The campaign was even going ok, after a slow start. But waking up, yikes, all of the above seem so frightening.


Brought to you by yours truly during an hour break in the day. I have meetings and orientations until 7PM when I can finally start reading in earnest today. I have half a mind to hold myself a pity party. The other half is excited about graduate school.

Monday, September 19, 2005

grad school has officially begun...

...its 11:30 and I just finished work for today.
except for the readings, which are general and have to get done at some point.

Tomorrow's schedule is full until 7PM. I'll try to get some good reading done after then.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

uncle ninequince

Come May, I'll be an uncle.
Mom will be so proud, I am sure.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

celebrate the small victories.

So, this professor asked me to come over to his office to chat today.
When I got there, he gave me an hour long dump of what he does research-wise. His main thing is information theoretic techniques for proving lower bounds. It sounds obtuse, but he explains things clearly, and it was actually pretty cool. Towards the end, he suggested a couple of books and a paper he wrote for further reading.

Right now, the most intimidating/stressful thing about being a first year PhD student is not knowing how to get from here to having a professor/knowing what to do research-wise. I didn't even have to ask him for time or kiss up to anyone, and it seems like if I follow through, well, I'd be at least at step two.

As long as I put a bunch of work into it (on top of all the other stuff) and it makes sense to me, things look good, right?

Some small things are worth celebrating.

I might go to the Vanderslice show by myself, which should be interesting. Heather recommends it, and its free, so I'm going. If I cant find some other grad students to go though, it'll be me and a bunch of undergrads...


joshua

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

This weekend, there's John Vanderslice on Friday night, Dartmouth vs. Colgate on Saturday, and the North Park wine and cheese thing Saturday evening (and night...) woo hoo!

This passes for a full schedule of activities here in Hanover. Seriously though, school is starting up tomorrow. They assigned me a TA-ship, and I meet with the professor and other TA's tomorrow to start meetin' and workin'.

I've been assigned CS5, which is the first CS course for most Dartmouthers. The Powers That Be usually give these TAships to americans on account of the English. Most freshman won't know what you're talking about anyway, so at least they'll have a chance at understanding with my crack English skills.

Algorithms was my top choice, but despite my buttering-up of various professors, I am here. Maybe its for the best. The experience will be good for me, and having all sorts of different courses under my belt will make my CV look that much better when I'm lookin' for a job later on.


After all, there's only so much academia you can go through before they send you out into the real world.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

espn kisses up

(this post is mostly just for kmpandora and onlybrody)
I got this email from espn today:


___________
Dear Joshua,

I want to let you know that everyone at ESPN.com shares your frustration with the early season technical problems with our Fantasy Football application. I appreciate very much that you have chosen to play Fantasy Football with us and we value our relationship with you - fan to fan.

I want to apologize to you for the problems we've had and assure you that we are doing everything in our power to solve them and provide an experience that the best, most passionate sports fans on the Web deserve.

Our aim is to have our Fantasy Football application operating normally for this Sunday's games. We will be updating you on our progress and resolution.

Joshua, again we appreciate that you are playing Fantasy Football with us and we will do everything possible to make this a terrific experience for you this season.

Sincerely,

John Kosner
Senior Vice President and General Manager
---------------------------------------

Mr. Kosner,

nice try.

why would I ever want to play with espn again?

ugh. They're on the list.



ain't science something

ok, sometimes technology comes along that completely dorks me out. Yesterday was one of them.
I bought some ethernet cable yesterday to hook up this rumored dartv. Dartmouth just created a pilot program where it pumps cable tv into your computer through the local network. awesome. I now have 40 cable channels for free, on my laptop. How cool is that?

There are also rumors that creating "channels" is so easy and cheap that each class will be able to have one. So, for instance, if you miss a lecture, you can get it on TV in your room. crazy.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

We drank up both Friday and Saturday this weekend. Its good because there's finally enough people here to do stuff with. Sometimes though it feels like high school -- we're all hanging out with people we may or may not become friends with because thats the only option.

I took a bunch of people hiking on the AT yesterday. We found out where to pick up the path ok, but promptly got lost in the woods. Right before finding the trail again, hevil ran into a bunch of yellow jackets. We weren't sure if he was allergic, so that ended the trip. Next time will be better.

A bunch of us from apartment 10 went to molly's for sunday dinner. I can see hanging out with these people more. Next Sunday, we're cooking at home. Yours Truly is the main chef. Hopefully, I won't suck too much.

thats it for today.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My office finally exists in a way thats productive for me. I spent the day getting a computer and getting everything set up. LeeAnn is my new officemate. She's entering her fifth year of the PhD program and spent quite a bit of time accumulating stuff in the office. Thankfully, it is now mostly on her side. I like to think I'm easy-going, but when it comes to my space, I prefer we nip the encroachment problems in the bud right off.

Aside from general untidiness, which is really calling the kettle black, she seems nice.

Last night the people downstairs held a party. It was pretty good by North Park standards. I think you need to temper your expectations for parties when its all grad students. I met a bunch of people and promptly forgot their names, which is a shame, since I had an in at tonights poker game on account of me having the fancy chips that onlybrody gave me.

Nihal, Sean, and I went to the Brick and Brew, which has pizza, beer, and a lot of high school kids. (and I thought this was a college town)

It was too full of giggling high schoolers, so we split after dinner back to North Park. Now I'm kinda waiting for something to happen. The ship for the poker game (off-campus) has almost assuredly left by now, so it might be a netflix night.

In Hanover, no one can hear you scream.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Another day, another day of waiting for school to start. Today was mostly spent doing things I make up for myself to do. I just read through the verious information packets/handouts Dartmouth has given me so far, and really, its all only relevant starting the 16th.

Either I'm going back to nyc this weekend, or I'm getting camping gear and hiking. This waiting around stuff isn't working for me.

I did spend an hour talking to Professor Tom Cormen, who wrote this book For non computer scientists, this book is pretty much definitive for the subject matter, so he's a pretty famous guy. Despite that, he was nice enough to spend a lot of time chatting and giving basic advice for a first year PhD student. And, he said I should put him on my list of possible advisors. The day wasn't totally useless.


This evening sucked though. Both the Yankees AND the Phillies coughed up runs in ninth inning tie-games. This isn't the way to win wild cards, people.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Waking up at 8 on a Sunday morning is much easier when there's nothing to do on a Saturday night. It turns out that most of the graduate students aren't here yet, and won't be until at least after the holiday weekend. The whole campus shut down, so there's really, really not much to do here. If I had known, I would've gone somewhere. Hiking is out of the question, since the Dartmouth Outing Club (where I'd rent my gear) is all used up for freshmen. grrrr.

The first radio station I found in Hanover is the local VPR station, which is Vermont's NPR network. I turned it on this morning to hear of the death of William Rehnquist. He sure has been on the court a long time. Bush gave a bland speech describing his accomplishments and family, etc. I half expected him to list the clubs he was in in high school.

As much as I disagree with some of his opinions, I respect the service he's given the court, and I sure hope this doesn't get used to make the issue more partisan. Many justices have changed their viewpoints over their time on the courts, and part of that comes from the freedom and independence they have from the day-to-day political partisanship. Hopefully, the new nominees will be thouroughly investigated, but won't be rejected for specific viewpoints.

Dartmouth will be taking in Tulane students, tuition free, on the condition they continue paying Tulane's tuition. Its amazing to see how far-reaching this disaster has become. With the move, I haven't really heard much news. I'm glad jen is ok, and that the waters are finally receding. The lawlessness, whew. Its unbelievable.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the ubiquitous first posting

so, yeah. The new blog.

Its my second day as a PhD student up here in Hanover, NH. It sure is quiet up here.

I hope this blog will be 1/2 an update of my current activities, and 1/2 a discussion of current events and of general grad-student issues. My previous blog was a lot more personal; this one won't be.