Monday, November 21, 2005

some random thoughts

A lot of general news popped up recently:

- In Israel, Ariel Sharon is quitting the Likud Party to form his own centrist party. Historically, Israel has a pretty weak democratic system -- it is very easy to force re-elections. Also, there's a bunch of parties. However, as long as I've been alive, the main power struggle has been between the Likud and Labor parties. Sharon spent most of his life as a right-wing hardliner. Now, he faces opposition from within Likud on account of the settlement pull-outs. I'm all for this change -- settlement construction and expansion has been a force against the peace process, and if a new government comes out with more support for this, then its a good thing. Here's to hoping the new party situation won't just destabilize the government.

- Camden scored highest on the "Most Dangerous Cities" list for the second year in a row. I worked in Camden for 18 months before going to Africa. I know its an American kind of poverty, but really. The city is desperately poor. Despite recent revitalization efforts, there is little in the way of "good" neighborhoods -- poverty, crime, drugs are evenly distributed throughout the city. I'm not sure how the city can be improved. The main thrust right now is tourism revitalizations along the riverfront. This might bring in extra dollars, but if it doesn't give a lot of jobs to Camden's residents, its not going to help the people that live there.

- My friend Renee currently lives in Zambia. A PCV trainee died there yesterday, a day before his classmates swore in as official Peace Corps Volunteers. man. Our group was so tight, and the training process is so intense. the volunteers must be going through such a rough time right now. I'm glad that Renee and her beau are there for them right now. She's good at listening and , well, just being there.

- Architecture is finishing up. I handed in the final homework today and did the presentation. It went ok. The first weekend back in nyc should be non-stop -- I've got so much pent-up energy. Not too many shopping days until Christmas. All that remains is the final project for AI and the final for architecture. Follow through and get it done.

- the prof gave me a theory question to work on a couple of days ago. The thing about theory -- sometimes, its all about problem solving. If you don't get the problem, there's no middle ground for progress. You don't have code, or anything written. No painting is half-done. All I have is a blank sheet of paper, a sleepless night from Saturday, and this problem which still just sits there. There's nothing much I can do except leave for a bit, come back, and look again.

- Things really are ok here. I work like a dog, but for the most part liked whats going on. This is what PhD school is supposed to be.

- Happy 30th birthday to mt. For me too, turning 30 wasn't a big deal until the week before. The biggest difference I've noticed so far is that in your 30's, you don't have to pretend to be cool or try to impress anybody. I worry about what other people think much, much less.

Monday, November 14, 2005

the weekend

Weekends in Hanover in grad school tend to be a lot like weeks, except without the classes.

Friday was the big night out, ou bien was supposed to be. I cancelled plans to see the hockey game to go to this North Park Party, but my friend/coworker never called about it, and I didn't know the host.

Well, people who know me know I can stew. Saturday I worked all day AND got into a good bit of stewing about it. Said coworker and I were supposed to meet Sat. and Sunday to finish off our final project, but he never made either. By Saturday night, I was good and mad about it. Nothing's better then the gym when you're good and mad about something, so I ran for 40 minutes before heading home. wash rinse repeat on sunday.

I sure was ticked about this guy. In terms of friday, yeah. he's off the list of people I try to hang out with. But he missed the saturday meeting I am sure cause he was drunk and/or doing non-work stuff. And this is not the first time I had to cover for him. If I get screwed on a project, I want it to be because _I_ was to hammered, not because someone else was too hammered.

ech. this guy is young and immature. maybe he'll grow up, but maybe not. I sure know I'm not working with him again. please be an adult next time?

when did I become grandpa?

oh! one thing I forgot. bolt and I went to the hop on sunday to see "History of Violence" starring viggo mortensen and Norristown's own Maria Bello. Man was this a funny movie. Too bad it wasn't supposed to be. You all should almost see it, just for its badness.

Here's the plot tagline: Tom Small runs a diner in podunk Iowa. People come in to stick up the diner, and Tom kills them. The thing is, how did Tom get so good at killing people?

Its not the worst film I've seen in the theater. There are worse ones.

Friday, November 11, 2005

grad school can sure make you boring

A conversation I had this morning with a fellow grad student:

N: Hey Josh, what's new?
YT: nothing much. you?
N: just work.
YT: So, what have you been up to?
N: pretty much school work. How's it been going with you?
YT: workin'

we had to repeat the greeting part of the conversation 3 or 4 times, because there wasn't anything else to talk about. Is it a product of living in the Upper Valley? I think its more on account of the 60 hour work weeks. Hopefully, this part of grad school (the not having anything interesting to say) is temporary.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The grind part of the term continues. Ron and Suzy came up Thursday/Friday and stayed for dinner, breakfast, lunch. It was very nice seeing them, but I couldn't continue with them onto Maine and my Aunt's on account of the workload.

Somehow, I think I forgot my mom's birthday, which makes me a Bad Son. The worst part is that I can't remember if I forgot or no. Its only been 3 weeks -- I should remember if/what I got her. I conclude I didn't get her anything.

I have this whiteboard, and on it is a huge list of Things to do work-wise. It didn't get much smaller/more checked-off over the weekend. Its not that I wasn't trying, just that I wasn't productive. These things happen sometimes. Graduate School seems very much like a time-management game. If you slip up a little, its just this much harder next week. Luckily, I didn't do any raging over the weekend.

One good thing: I got my hockey gear. Susie drove Mala and I over to Rutland yesterday to get used ice hockey equipment. I got skates, a stick, shin guards, elbow pads, fat pants, a good helmet, and a big ol' bag to put everything in, and it was all under $150. not too shabby! Everything's cheaper when its not purchased in New York. I can't imagine how expensive this would've been if I bought it all new at Paragon Sports.

Of course, you don't get to see movie stars in Rutland.

I've been fairly productive this morning, but its all been the stuff I should've done yesterday, so it doesn't exactly count. Also, spending all day by myself doing work makes for lonely moments. I'll get out and talk this afternoon.