(03 Jul 2005 at 12:26)
| Now it's July. Someone actually complained to me about the paucity of radar posts, so it must be time for an update.
The major, constant occupation in my life has been my thesis proposal. The thesis proposal is, for me, one of the trickiest parts of.. wait, this reminds me of a strange part of my dream last night: I was reading archives of Gödel's blog, I guess, in which sixteen minutes after he published his seminal paper, he wrote:
22:16 Sixteen minutes later. I am now utterly convinced that this result will need to be billboarded thoroughly. I trust that someone will be hired to deface the advertisements... and sure enough, I found while grinding rails Tony Hawk style at the local mall, some math vandals had spraypainted over all of the posters touting Hilbert's program. I guess the point is, looking for fame in mathematics is rather silly. .. graduate school, mainly because the process is so different (spell out problems but don't spend too much time trying to solve them; pick something ambitious but not a tarpit; write a single-author paper that involves often talking about what the author will do, minimizing the awkward use of "we" to refer singularly to myself). But amazingly I can see how this 24-page collection of disconnected text and citations can become an actual thesis proposal—a thorough one, even—and mounting guilt is making that actually come true. Soon, friends, soon.
Other intellectual interlopers (and banal buttinskies) have been punctuating this mission:
ICFP programming contest. We reprised our team called "tycon mismatch" [2000, 2001, 2002, 2004] in order to make an entry for this two-phase contest. Phase 1 was fun, but I suspect our showing will be fairly mediocre, due in part to the difficulty of coordinating a geographically diverse team. Phase 2, which happens next weekend, is what really matters, so wish us luck. Our team was not localized because Mr. Spoons is on an internship in New York, Noam was on his way to LICS, and I was in:
Go to Connecticut. My brother and I drove back to CT for a weekend to attend my grandmother's wake. This was, you know, bad and good in each of the ways you'd expect. Unexpectedly interesting: Since we buried her at a small family plot, Toms 7, 6, 5 (living), and 4 (who died before I was born) were in the same place for the only time I can remember. Unexpectedly bad: early ct-plates targeted speeding ticket (PA trooper: "please slow down while you're in our state") causes us to drive conservatively for the rest of the trip, which conspires with other unlucky traffic events to deliver a 12-hour return journey.
Read an excellent novel called "The Last Samurai" (Helen DeWitt), which I am continuously embarrassed to be seen reading in public, but only because someone seeing the title must assume that it says in smaller font "Now a major motion picture from Universal Studios!!!!" or "the epic tale of samurai masters", when in fact it is set in the modern day in England, and is about a boy and his mother and hardly at all about samurai. Now I can get to reading "Infinite Jest", which I can be embarrassed to be seen reading in public because it's like, so 1998, but at least that's true. Is it true that he's more obnoxious than Dave Eggers? If that is possible and so, then this book may be the first experiment in my new "violent reading" policy, in which the book is physically violated during scenes of exceptional misconduct.
Play some new video games: Doom III Resurrection of Evil mission pack (quite boring, but mercifully short compared to the original; humorously, they snag the "gravity gun" from Half-life 2 and "bullet time" from Max Payne/Painkiller/etc. You can almost taste the jealousy!), Evil Genius (in which you play a Dr. Evil-inspired criminal mastermind in a sort of Warcraft slash Risk slash The Sims base-building exercise; fun so far), and Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix II (which began as an attempt to get Heather to play video games with me, but now I am totally addicted to it).
Prepare to go to Oxford for the CSL 2005 conference in August. Does anyone have suggestions about things to do while I'm there?
|No, Dave Eggers is much more obnoxious (in that pretentious look-at-me-look-at-me-I'm-so-great way) than David Foster Wallace.
|I'm obnoxious? pfft. whatever bitch.
|Look at meeeeee! Looooook!
|I am so great!
|Cool, now my radar doubles as a pop novelist "message board" or "battle spa."
|I'd say David "Foster" Wallace is more obnoxious in that "I could say this in a few words but I choose to say it in many more because every thought that pops into my head is very important" way and David "Dave" Eggers is more obnoxious in that "I'm simultaneously hipper and more genuine than you due to my experiences with devastating loss/unbelievable responsibility and America's youth counterculture" way. But if you can get over the fact that neither author can get over himself, they are both interesting. Actually, DFW recently gave a commencement speech on the ubiquity of narcissism that makes for good reading.
Sorry to hear about your grammaw. Thanks for gathering the courage to write!!!
|A few responses:
About your grandmother, I'm sad to hear about that. In an odd (and now unfortunately inconsequential) coincidence, I was actually in Hamden at the same time! I was housesitting for my mama for 6 days, beginning that weekend. And I never do that for her anymore (it's generally a boring task), but I actually had wanted to get away from Boston and be (mostly) to myself for a little while, except I brought a couple of my bestest buds for the first and last couple of days, and it was great. Anyway, too bad I never thought for a second that you might be there too!
About Dance Dance Revolution, oh jeez, I am so addicted now too. In a reverse scenario, I housesat with one of those above mentioned buds for her family recently for a couple days, right after her little brother got it, and we played it almost the whole time.
About no fame in mathematics, heh, that reminds me of how a couple of my friends sometimes try to tell people that I am "famous" for the music software stuff that I've done, and I always shoot down that idea, usually with stuff like, "Do you know the name of any software developer out there? Even the person who made the first web browser or anything monumental like that?" And of course, no one who I ask does. Well, I can't even remember the name of the person who made the first web browser (which was called Mosaic or something like that, and then later renamed to Netscape, right?).
|Actually, the first browser was called WorldWideWeb and was written by Tim Berners-Lee:
|Yeah, I was going to guess Tim Berners-Lee. But then I was afraid of offending Dave Winer. (hah)
Huh, that is crazy that you were there at the same time... I wouldn't have had much time to hang out, but it would have been good to see you; oh well..
|on read: "infinite jest" is great, but i'm not sure about wallace as a person, despite his claims above of greatness. only eggers i know is "a heartbreaking work of staggering genius", which i thought was good, but sub-wallace in terms of a read. "infinite jest" also doubles well as a pillow on long flights/bus rides.
here's some hear:
hella "church gone wild/chirpin' hard"