Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Week in Review
I've been putting in a lot of time at the office. A few things have been piling up on the queue.

Blog dump (Jackie Harvey style):

Item! My weekend was really busy, so I ended up watching the Packer and Badger games on a gamecast browser window. Both Pete and Paul have commented on the two.

Me, I can't get too down on 1-5. You have your ups and downs. The only thing that really gets me is it's a bad way for Favre to go out, but I think it's time. I'm reminded of when I was a kid, at church on Sunday mornings, and the topic of discussion would be the game that started a half hour after services ended. It didn't matter that the Packers sucked.

At the very least, this'll help put a dent in the ticket waiting list.

Again, it was nice to see the Badgers win. It's sad that the whole Northwestern thing happened. It would have been nice to see Barry go undefeated in his last season. I second Paul's Rose Bowl call. It would be so fitting. One last waltz. I'd so be there.

Item! I've been running into a lot of libertarians lately *shudder*. I'm not sure why the valley breeds them. Maybe it's the scientific secularism paired with the cruel, constantly churning market capitalism of the tech sector here. I'm generally pretty market minded (one of my majors was econ), but these guys are brutal (no public schools, privatized police protection, etc). Yikes. Makes me feel like a pinko.

Anyway, one topic of discussion was The Free State Project, where a bunch of libertarians plan to move to New Hampshire to influence policy and make a libertarian state (I'm glad I live on the West Coast). I saw an article yesterday on Christian Exodus, where fundamentalist Christians want to take over South Carolina.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm still fond of that antiquated melting-pot diversity-of-opinion concept. But seeing how we're compartmentalizing anyway, I'd like to start my own project to get the Americans that aren't completely nuts to move to one state. I pick Wisconsin. Meet you there.

Item! I'm thinking of taking a vacation in a few months. I'll probably take a week off (or maybe two), but I haven't yet decided where to go. I'm thinking I could make it a solo thing, just me wandering around (and maybe blogging). Currently, my candidate list is Hawaii, London, or Ireland, but I've also been tempted to take a Bob-Dylan-inspired trip through Northern Minnesota (see the New York Times piece, Highway 61, Visited), though maybe that'd be a better trip for the summer. Maybe South America would be cool. Let me know if you've got any suggestions.

Update: Item! Oh yeah, the White Sox. I'm not a big baseball guy and I'm never home to watch the games, but I'd like to see them pull it off. I have a cousin that works for the Sox back in Chicago.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out
Too few hours in the week, too much stuff to get done. Something's gotta give.

I was remotely taking CS 240, Advanced Topics in Operating Systems at the local junior college, but I decided to drop the class. Fortunately, it's before the deadline, so I get my tuition back.

The fact that I'm 2-3 years removed from when I took operating systems doesn't help any.

Do I know what a monitor is? Of course I know what a monitor is. It's the part of the computer that you look at.

Hopefully this shifts life back from unmanagable to barely managable. I'll hopefully be able to take up classes again next spring.

Actually, it frees up the weekend. I need to do something to decompress.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Out of the closet
I'm up kind of late tonight as I slept in late this morning, recovering from Friday night and Saturday.

Anyway, I live in a converted attic in a house on the edge of Palo Alto (my roommates, the living room, bathroom, and kitchen are on the first floor). There's a lot of room for me, but I'm still hardly settled in. I've lived here about six weeks, but I don't spend much time at home. It's more of a crash pad.

I've been wanting to stop by IKEA for awhile to buy something to hang my shirts on.

There's a door in my room (it's on the side wall below a sloping ceiling, so it's only about 3-4 feet tall) that I've just never opened. Turns out there's a little closet inside with a bar to hang shirts on.

Huh. Not bad. I would have preferred to be transported to a magical fantasy world, but this will do for hanging up my shirts.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
The Hamster Analogy
I find blogging somehow therapeutic--it's like my own little free psychologist. This little window just sits here and I talk to it.

But for as long as I've been blogging, there have been pretty tight off-limit boundaries for what I'm willing to talk about here. My personal life is kept pretty personal, and so I can't vent my frustrations into blogger.

I generally kept a very small set of people that I used to vent on these topics (gotta maintain that emotionless tough-guy image). Having lost a number of them after moving out here, my roommate has become somewhat of a sounding board for stuff that I just wouldn't blog.

This weekend has had plenty of stuff I won't blog. It's just been crazy. He's having fun hearing the stories.

But I did just tell him about the hamster analogy, which I'm more than happy to share with all of you.

In terms of evolution, a lot of our feelings and desires have a biological purpose. We get hungry so we're motivated to find food (hunt it down maybe) and eat it. We get scared so we avoid danger. We find the other sex attractive so we end up reproducing. For a long time, our emotions lined up pretty well with our self interests (homo economicus acting more on instinct than reason. See evolutionary economics).

But we don't evolve all that fast. We're not tailored for modern living. Our desires are less well aligned with our interests. Think of obesity--our love of fatty and sugary foods reflects the prior scarcity of such things. But in an environment where such things are abundant, we overindulge to the point of self harm. People's impulsiveness and drive for instant gratification over long-term self interest gets us into all sorts of trouble (think credit card debt or extramarital affairs).

My point to my roommate was that we, having figured out how to divorce sex from its biological purpose (thank you, contraceptives), have also succeeded in making the whole thing an absurd pursuit without any social function other than indulging ourselves.

I had, at one point, described this idea to John (he was pushing some variant of utilitarianism while I--with my reserved Lutheran upbringing--was trying to stress the emptiness and meaninglessness of raw hedonism). He laughed and said, "Yeah, it's kind of like the hamster hitting the button for a treat over and over."

I loved that line.

Anyway, sometimes I feel that way about all things romantic--it's just us reacting to impulses that, now that we don't have to worry about reproduction much anymore, don't really have much of a purpose.

Maybe I'm hitting my quarter-life existential crisis.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Goodbye, Wiscmail
And good riddance.

They'll probably kick me off on the 25th anyway.

I've been checking that inbox for five years now, even though most mails I sent were sent as The convenience of Wiscmail web mail (and the fact that they had an IMAP server) kept me from abandoning the account entirely. I'd just forward everything to it.

My forwarding scheme looked like this:

2 gmail accounts -> ->

But, for the last five years, there's been a 100MB size limit on the inbox. Ugh. Not to be a company cheerleader, but you should be able to beat that.

DoIT sucks. I remember working with them in my old job. They're like the campus technology Kremlin.

Anyway, I'll be using the CS department's IMAP server for all my personal stuff now.
What are you listening to at work?
My recent go-to albums:Put yours in the comments.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tales of a Young Urban Failure
A coworker gave me a copy of Tales of a Young Urban Failure.

It's about a twenty-something guy that moves to San Francisco from Wisconsin. Who watches Packer games on weekends. Who follows the Badgers. Who lives a generally college-like lifestyle despite not being in college.

It's my biography in graphic novel form.

There's even a houseguest named Peter that comes and stays.

It's uncanny.

Update: Another friend was reading the book and was pointing out the section where the protagonist drags his friend Dave to the gym when he has a life crisis. Remember SERFing?
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
My lame blog meets real bloggers
I got a chance to meet former Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi and Daily Kos blogger Markos Moulitsas on Friday and had a chance to chat a little bit.

It was, in some way, full circle. Two Januaries ago, I was in Iowa during the caucuses, knocking on doors in near zero degree weather for the Dean campaign. I had a friend that worked on the campaign and, it being the beginning of school, I decided to take up an offer to hop on a bus and sleep in a crowded hotel room in Dubuque, Iowa.

Anyway, I was introduced to Mr. Trippi and my introducer mentioned I had been in Iowa. One of the staffers asked if I had gotten a hat.

I had. It's still in my room in Wisconsin Rapids.

It was a great experience as one who has a particular interest in the convergence of technology and politics. The Internet eliminates old transaction costs of collecting donations (putting small donations back into play), and bloggers have filled a niche among (and, as some would argue, helped to undermine) an increasingly timid traditional media.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Redesign revisited
It's still kind of screwed up. Deal. I'll get to it when I have time.

Update: Fixed. You're welcome!.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Generally good day...
I didn't actually watch the game (Paul, maybe your theory is right), but the Packers won 52-3. I was busy helping a friend prepare for a party (which has pretty much taken up the whole day).

I'm sitting in front of the TV now. "There is a new report about an aggressive deer." There's another story about a fake post on Craigslist saying that people could just come pick up stuff from the backyard at an unwilling house.

Yesterday, I was up in San Francisco. We went to see The Blue Angels. They look so surreal, flying around the bay.

Gotta move up there...
Saturday, October 08, 2005
I'm watching the Badger game on the couch. While doing so, I've been making some design changes to the blog (I hate using cookie-cutter templates. I should be able to make my own).

It's certainly not done, but I just wanted to let you know what's going on. Change can be rough. Don't worry. Just breathe deeply. Everything will be okay.

Update: it's pretty much done.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Bush Mad!

Bush smash!

Sorry. This picture just made me crack up while I was reading this CNN story.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Generally bad day...
Without getting too much into the additional personal stuff (I'm a strong proponent of the Midwestern "suck it up and quit whining" school of emotional management), let's just say that today has been a generally bad day for me. My morning drive in wasn't at all improved by the pretty lame pick for the Supreme Court, and I was pretty distracted at work. My mom told me how my brother backed one of their cars into the other, and how my parents' mattress is now lost on the highway somewhere between Wisconsin Rapids and Minocqua.

The Packers were on Monday Night Football tonight. I intended to find a television at work to watch it on (while working on my laptop), but, come game time, I couldn't find one. I resigned myself to keep the little gametracker window up on my screen, and watched as the score fell to 7-23 at halftime. I closed the window.

I checked in later to see if the game had ended and was delighted to see the score had closed to 29-32 and the Packers with the ball with two minutes remaining.

This was my chance to see vintage Favre. I tore downstairs to try again to find a television, with no luck. I pinged three or four people on my buddy list, trying to find somebody to just hold a cell phone up to a radio or television.

Andy was the only one that responded. He had stopped watching the game when I had. He went to turn on the TV just as my gametracker updated:

Turnover on Downs. Carolina wins, Packers at 0-4 for the first time since 1988.

In 1988, I was six. First grade. If memory serves me correctly, this was the first year I ever attended a Packer game.

Today was a bad day.

After the game, Justin got back to his computer and responded to my instant message from before. I explained to him my story. To cheer me up, he sent me this:

I Love Egg

Thanks. Seriously.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Memory of a Free Festival
I've been up to San Francisco twice in as many days, both days seeing a few acts at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

I need to move up there. It's now very much on the radar.

I brought my guitar back last weekend. Between the festival and the Dylan documentary on PBS, I've decided I really need to get back into open mics. For whatever reason, I find my voice has been rawer while singing. It's kind of fun.

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