Thursday, December 29, 2005

Nothing much new to report. I arrived in Bloomington, IN yesterday. The drive took all day and included an immediate stop at the tire place for air and a new valve, an out-of-commission bridge on I-70, and dinner at The Forum, a Greek-themed restaurant somewhere in Ohio that also featured gaudy dirty carpets and "Cheeseburger Soup." Now you know how much I like soup and how I'll eat anything, so I took one for the team and ordered it. If you're ever at The Forum somewhere in Ohio, and the soup of the day is Cheeseburger Soup, I suggest taking a pass. It probably tastes exactly like you'd expect it too.

The rest of the Peace Corps types arrive tonight, a day early. I expect we'll drink beer and play cards for the next three days. It should be a good time, but part of me is already ready to go home. I've got a lot of work to do, and a lot of work I want to do. I'm ready for the next term.

Have a happy New Year's.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I've been back home for a couple of days. Lancaster County was like it always was, in a very good way. Christmas and Channukah with the family was good -- blood gets more thicker than water every year. onlybrody and thom and jeremy and I went on a Christmas night search for an open bar and ended up stuck in a ditch. really. and none of this involves heavy drinking.

The end all message of this trip is that time passes on. Between the nyc trip when the term ended and this trip, I packed a lot of seein' people into my time off and didn't see everyone. It won't get any easier in the coming years either. I find it strange how different this year feels than in years past in this respect.

Any moment now, Andy and Elin arrive. We'll see the high school haunts-- the Bowling Palace, Victory Brewing (yes it wasn't there in high school, but there will inevitably be high school people there) and the intersection where Denny's used to be. Then its off to Bloomington for New Year's.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

You can't get there from here

I started researching ways to get home yesterday.
The earliest train that isn't already sold out leaves on Christmas day.
The bus company office in Hanover appears to be closed for the break.
I'd wait at the Hanover Inn for a bus, but the greyhound line comes from Montreal and should be packed to the gills already.

time to panic?

I think maybe I'll leave tomorrow to give myself an extra day to get back to Marchwood. Are any of you in Philadelphia and/or New York this week and want a Dartmouth student to visit? Can I stay overnight if I get stranded? I'll buy the first round...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Specialization

At Dartmouth, some people come knowing who their advisor is and/or what area they will concentrate on. More often than not though, people come in undecided, with broad areas of interest and vague ideas of who they want to work with. I am of one of those people.

Last term, I took my two classes and TA's a third. In addition, I met with the prof once a week and signed on for ten hours a week for the pt project, which is information extraction/NLP for GM. This all adds up to another example for me signing on for more than I can manage. I got through last semester, but didn't really spend enough time on pt or the prof to be productive/learn a lot.

So, I just quit the pt project. 5 things was just too crazy. Hopefully, I can devote most of my time to the prof -- I signed up for one of his courses and will continue with the weekly meetings.

How do you decide what to specialize in? With all the time I spend on his area of expertise next term, it should give me a good idea if I love it so much I want to spent the rest of my life (for the next 4 years) on it. If not, well, I'd have one more term before the end of the year, when I really, really should have an advisor. Its such a big decision. I hope I don't fuck it up.


In unrelated notes, I finished Christmas shopping today. Yes, I know I'm Jewish, but Mom is Christian, and we celebrate Christmas in the most American, secular of ways. Plus, its just sounds more natural to say "Christmas shopping" than "Chanukah shopping" or "holiday shopping". Anyway, I spotted these pajama pants that I was going to get for my father. They said "Dartmouth" and were green and had mooses on it. It was hideous in the way pajama pants should be. You're not going on a date wearing pajama pants -- you're lounging around the house in them. In the end, I picked them off the rack, looked at them more closely, and decided he would never, ever, ever wear them, even if it was laundry day, so I got him something else.

What makes it ok for dad presents to be hideous? You don't ever think "thats ugly, it would be a good idea to get it for mom." But for dads, there are ugly ties for father's day, and moose pajama pants, and "Carnegie Mellon Dad" sweatshirts in big flowery print. The moose pants might just be me, but ugly ties for Father's Day is a tradition. Why is ugly clothes a male-centric idea?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

generational gaps.

Watching assloads of TV as I have been the past couple of days, I've noticed a lot of the new commercials about drugs and kids getting into trouble, etc. Most of them show parents talking with their kids, kids getting embarassed/upset, and parents holding their ground.

These commercials are clearly directed at parents. I can imagine my Ron and Suzy watching these and learning that they can care about their kids whether or not their children like it.

Maybe these commercials are good. I dunno. They're certainly not directed towards my generation. I wonder how the kids these days regard the commercials. Will they find them funny, like the "You Dad! I learned it by watching you!" commercial?

Are these commercials new? I heard there were some "If you smoke pot, you support Bin Ladin" commercials after 9-11, but not having a TV for a long time, I wouldn't know.

Nothing much has been going on the past couple of days. I should finish up the CRF coding, but instead I've been sick the past couple of days. In a good way, the term is done, so I officially don't _have_ to be doing work, but in reality, this still sucks. I haven't left the house in a couple of days, and if I had any real kinds of deadlines, I'd be screwed.

I received a letter in the mail today from Vanguard about my NY State exempt fund. The trouble is, I don't have one, so either its a mistake, or someone is trying to steal my identity. super.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

back in Hanover, and back to work.
The train took a little over seven hours, and I was productive for part of that.
I slept well last night.

The pt project is on the top of my list now. Like working for a company after you've given your two weeks notice, I am unmotivated. On the other hand, I want to pull through and get something worthwhile done.

Another student got my name from pt and has been sending demanding emails on how I should help him. He carried the authority of a professor, but he's not, which makes him either ignorant or an ass. Either way, I will make him go away soon.

grades! I passed Artificial Intelligence and got a high pass on my teaching assistantship. Architecture gave me an AD, which means nothing -- I think he just hasn't handed in grades.

back to work,
nq

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tuesday night, and my nyc stay nears its end. My Rangers tickets scorer didn't score tickets, so I find myself newly free-of-plans, which is fine-by-me. NYC has been great, but I was unsettled last night/today in a way that is best described as homesick, but isn't exactly. What it is is that I'm ready to go home.

I compensated the unsettleness and a sleepless night with a day full of TiVo and mediocre movies.

There's a lot of mini-stories and events and general goings-on to write about, but perhaps not here. Thank you star for housing me and putting up with me for a couple of days.

Tomorrow, I leave with star and nd for the city and penn station by 11:30. If the tracks to White River Junction are devoid of big blocks of ice, I will arrive at 6:30.


I still love alt.coffee.

Currently, there is a group of homeless people in the back discussing shelters and drop-ins. There is a list this <---> long for kids, which helps out the 22-year old but not the older folks. Its good to have this information passed down, one way or another.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

nyc

The final got done somehow. whatever. With luck, my grades will be ok, and my first term as a PhD student will be over. So much work went into the last couple of months; I'm really proud actually.

So. where I've dropped the kids off: We all went out to the Canoe Club to celebrate on Wednesday. Thursday I drank even more, and got sick for the sixth time. I thought getting sick drunk wasn't supposed to happen in your thirties. ok, I know its not supposed to happen. At least this time I was grown up about it and cleaned it all up right away.

On account of the above, I did _not_ rage yesterday. bling kong was good though, and there were tons of friends there. I was happy to see sarah niersbach and toby. and chris and anne came down from dartmouth and brought their people too. bk opened for Mr. Brownstone, the famous Guns 'n' Roses cover band. The review said they were "tighter than a 13 year old virgin" they were pretty good. The other main band was Heather, which rocked as only hard rockin' bands from 30 years ago rock. Strange and out of place, but they were really good too.

I had a jdate with m this afternoon. m is a fashion designer and (more than) a little loopy. she's really cute too, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why she picked me out among all the guys in jdateland. fashion designers dont tend to go for us cs types. but there we were at yaffa, and then the cupcake place in the LES with a short detour into the candy shop. We talked for a long time.

I'd go for another date, but more see us as friends. I'm still trying to figure out why she wanted to go on a date with me. Maybe I should just shut the fuck up and pretend Im cool.


The hot chocolate from alt.coffee is predictably good. There is a chill in the air, and jeremy and jason and kim f. should come into the city soon. these things await.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Its a little after 3, and my architecture take home final is due in <7 hours. I seem to be missing a fundamental concept, and instead of getting done what I could today, I sorta iced myself over fixating on what I didn't understand.

Scout says the first year of grad school is all about passing. high passes are good, but sleep is better. All of that is better than low passes, which can get you thrown to the curb.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The department announced an opening for a teaching gig this summer. Its for the first CS-for-non-majors course, and while they wanted faculty or upper level grad students, I hit up the chair for it yesterday.

I consider my chances slim. The chair mentioned something about a problem in years past, and if they let a 1st year student teach, that would be an excuse if something goes wrong this year.

It would be good to get it, both personally and professionally. Either way, it looks like I might TA this course in the winter.

I thought it couldn't hurt to ask for the position, but if I end up not teaching it, but having to be a TA for it, that would be annoying. The class isn't super interesting, but I speak English well (70% of students here are foreigners) so I might just get it. I'd rather TA discrete math for the prof.