Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Tue Dec 9 16:00:27 2003
Car-mic retribution

Yesterday, I finished up with the car mess after work. I was fortunate -- on my way to the bus stop to begin the ordeal, I ran into a coworker, who offered me a ride out to Monroeville. We went out there, and talked about a number of interesting things relating Indian kultur (He's from India) and vegetarianism, with a bit of talk on Indian society. I stopped at the AAA out there, got the form for Fnord to verify my Vehicle ID (which incidentally makes me wonder about custom cars and if they have VINs), and began to drive back to Fnord for them to fill it out. Except.. his car died in the middle of the road.. I felt pretty bad that it died while he was doing me a favour.. I thanked him, hopped out, and ran the 4 miles (according to mapquest) to Fnord, handed them the form, and drove my car back to AAA, where I renewed my membership (was looking at more eco-friendly alternatives, but didn't find any that have coverage like AAA does), transferred the title, and got a new tag. It's just a temp tag -- I ordered a custom one that might take awhile to be mailed to me.. DACHTE. W00t! Anyhow, I then drove it back to Fnord, and they did the safety/emissions test.. Booyah. So my car's now ready, with working wipers... to sit for the long periods between when I typically drive it. Fun fun.

It's nice to have all my school stuff done -- normal work now feels like a vacation... Some fun(?) stuff...

The effects on me of being caffeinated enough to feel it (rare for me): "I feel like a vampire is sucking my blood while gently patting my face with soft cotton."

"And thus, freed of meaning but left with the definition, the voice reverts to a musical instrument.. and as musical instruments come, it's one of the most beautiful" -- Thoughts on vocals in foreign languages

I've been playing again with voice-removal plugins for xmms.. Someone once explained to me how they work -- they attempt to remove certain frequencies of sound that are characteristic of human speech. That's why they almost invariably distort the music, and for some kinds of music, the vocals are sufficiently outside that range that they are pretty much untouched. Sometimes musical instruments happen to be close enough that they're chopped out... So that's why those manipulations are often spotty. Would it be possible to do better? Maybe. There's a topic in AI called auditory scene analysis, where systems attempt to mimic the brain in its ability to pull apart audio data into component 'sound streams'.. I took a class on it (and other topics in sensory-related AI) once at OSU.. Some of the cues normally available in ASA, such as the 'sound parallax', would be unreliable or unavailable.. it would be an interesting problem, to come with a realtime way of doing this. Maybe it's a well-understood problem though...

Some dreams.. I was told by my boss to do my best to make a certain group of people happy, and they were having a meeting. He wasn't around, and there was a meeting they wanted me to attend somewhere else, so I scheduled myself on a flight to go there.. and then I ran into my boss, and I asked him if I should go, and he thought for a sec, and decided not, so I went to travelocity's website and cancelled..

Last night's dream.. Howard Dean was my dentist, and I stopped by, largely because I was nervous about something and wanted some human contact.. somehow the receptionist could tell.. Howard Dean came in, asked me to show my teeth, and after a quick look, he said I was fine and could go, as I had been there just last week.. So.. I went to my radio panel on religion, naturally representing the atheists.. there were fundies, and others, and we were all pretty casual off the set. After the show, I was hanging out with them, and I mentioned brother Jed, and kept trying to bring up his website, but I kept reaching other sites. One of the other panelists mentioned that they knew him, and had fallen out of touch, but would like to hear from him again.

You never saw what you thought was there, it was just friendly wind, a bribe on nature. The chrome, the smooth surface, the clear glass rusted metal, could stop at any moment, you could cut yourself. I wanted to be a lemon, but as appealing as it was, it was the wrong lie to tell. You actually wanted truthful jagged edges, and I sit at the side of the road, not sure what to make of things.

I've been chewing a bit on a particular issue in science -- theorizing before getting more data that confirms is considered more significant than theorizing afterwards, to explain the data. Perhaps it's a mistake to generalize like this, but if all the experiments possible to get at the underlying regularities in the universe were done, with future ones just uninteresting variations on things done, would this hamper our ability to do real science? Would we be better off going halfway, theorizing a bit, and stepping forward some more? Or is that such an alien possibility that it violates some fundamental assumptions of science -- that our data on things is still fairly distant from being complete.. or is there perhaps an issue with even the idea of 'sufficient for all regularities'? I'm not sure where to go with this one.

Someone on Onion Personals had this as their headline... "To go against nature is part of nature too" Indeed.

Here's my GAIM away message that I had up while I was working on my term papers.. In life, there are two kinds of people.. The kind who trample people into a bloody pulp on their way to success, and those who get stomped. Oops, and a third type who go around mopping up afterwards.. and a fourth, who loot the injured.. and a fifth, who try to help put people back together after they've been stomped.. and a sixth, who suggest the whole stomping business is not a good way to live life, and ... the lesson is, there are never just two kinds of people, and a lot of dualities are silly. The other lesson is that it's harder to be pithy or otherwise have a good slogan if you don't oversimplify. The other other lesson is that I'll do anything to avoid doing work on my take-home final. The other .. oh, foo.

Another chewee... How are workplace relations different in academia than in the real world.. It seems to me that, having worked for two small companies before coming here, I've had an unusual workplace experience, where I basically knew everyone in the company, and dealt with all of them to some degree. The people at GoAntiques were probably the friendliest people of the three, although I get along well with people here, and with only a few exceptions, with the people at McLeod. Heck, even there, it was only occasional that I had problems. I'm guessing it's mainly the big businesses that one needs to watch out for, where people can't get attached, and treat people like cogs in a machine.. interchangable.

A thought popped into my head a few days ago.. "Love is lithmus paper for one's deep personality" Valid? Invalid? Thoughts? *chew*

A funny metaphor.. "If life is a party, I'm the pinata"

I'm amused to see that Neil Gaiman has discussion questions on his website for people, presumably in school or book of the month clubs, to use while reading his books. It's a good idea...

Oh, and in case any of you find my BLOG dull, try this one :)

I find complaints like this really interesting. From the same source, here's another concern about traditional values under assault, in China. Of course, that phrasing has a lot more weight for most people than for liberal folk like myself.. :)

With regards to the unofficial peace efforts between liberal palestinians and liberal israelis in Switzerland, I haven't really found it very interesting because they have little power to effect anything. Could it actually change some hearts, perhaps capture the attention of the people there? Perhaps.. and one can hope, but I'm not going to pay too much attention until and unless the idea starts to result in actual policy change on one side or the other.

When unions go too far..

Some more philosophy to chew on. I don't agree with the school of thought behind this, but some of its consequences arn't too bad. Such is often the case with philosophy, and like in politics when attacking a bill that does something desirable badly, attacking it often looks, to emotion-minded people, like attacking the consequences instead of the structure. Alas, some people are just overemotional about philosophy.. it's a gross stereotype, but liberals and conservatives tend to have different ways they get disgustingly overemotional when they do.. overemotional conservatives get stuffy, rigid, us-versus-them, and greedy.. yes, they turn into Ayn Rand (who, incidentally, I dislike quite a lot). Overemotional liberals, on the other hand, lose their ability to understand why people can disagree, value acceptance of absolutely everything, and become very fussy about language and its offensive capacities. Umm.. forgot where I was going.

Want to see something *TRULY* weird? Go here and click on Pinpin-Land.

From a london newspaper, BRITAIN is breeding a generation of adults that will tend to be infertile, obese and prone to mental illness, the British Medical Association (BMA) said yesterday.

In other words, they're making Americans.. heh heh...

Speaking of amusing comparisons, SUN, part of the coalition for the CDE (Crappy Desktop Environment, as we typically called it) on most commercial Unices, since deciding to adopt GNOME, apparently is now ready to take things one step further, actually marketing something that the open source community has been chewing on for awhile -- OpenGL-based desktop environments, where windows can be rotated and twisted around arbitrarily. They call their implementation Project Looking Glass (If you visit, be sure to see the demo).. Cool? Certainly. As innovative as they claim? Hard to tell. I'd love to play with it, but it's $50. Hey SUN, send it to me, and I'll do a full review. That goes for anyone who has a cool product, by the way.

It's so quiet here.