October 4th, 2005


Shana Tova

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year marker, began yesterday, and Ramadan, the muslim month of fasting, begins tonight.

I'm not at all a religious person, but I don't see any particular meaning to any particular decision where years begin or end, so I guess this is as good a time as any. There's also the Chinese new year, which is, I think, usually sometime in February. Wikipedia has a nice article about the various New Year. Apparently our start to the year is related to the politics of ancient Rome, courtesy of Julius Caesar.

Also, from Wikipedia, I learned that Caesarian sections, the surgical means by which I was born (I was a big baby!), was only connected by myth to Caesar, was originally used primarily when the mother was dead and was practically always fatal at other times, and that in the year 2000, some amazing Mexican woman, Ines Ramirez, performed the operation on herself, successfully giving birth to a live child and surviving(!). That's pretty amazing.


Tomorrow has never been closer

According to OKCupid, a number of people I know from KGB who have accounts there happen to be people it thinks that I am compatible with. Every once in awhile I fiddle with the paramters and new people I know show up. One person, who I'll call E, is someone who I am apparently very compatible with, and I'm attracted to her. There are also a few other people I find attractive there (and a few not on there) who I'd be happy to get to know, as well as some people I'm not particularly interested in. There is, na klar, the problem with my being shy, and as I was waiting for the bus today I noticed that there's really a bigger and related problem -- smalltalk. Over the last year or so, I've become much better at it, but I don't really enjoy it, and I *always* forget to do it when it would be of most benefit. For people I know, talking comes naturally, although it is almost always, while serving some of the same purposes of smalltalk, also a meaningful exchange of information -- I know things that would interest them, and they me, or we expose more details about each other's lives and perspectives in ways that enrich each other. Smalltalk isn't like that -- it's provides more of a filler (like white bread) while people initially acclimatise to each other's presence, and the signal-noise ratio is much poorer.

I am becoming increasingly interested in the interaction between political systems and the type of character they require and build in their people. I am convinced that building a better society and changing the nature of the citizenry are things that must rely on multiplicative feedback between each other. As we hope to push back selfishness and lead to broader thinking, existing compromises that have kept the peace thus far must be torn down for progress to occur.

I also noticed recently how arbitrary my perception of beauty can be -- there are a few body types I've been known to like (big discussion there which I'll dodge), but recently I noticed that someone (I hardly know) who I'll call C bears a certain resemblance to someone I knew many years ago, although C is much, much smaller. I wasn't attracted to that other person physically (although I liked them as a friend), but I find C attractive. The only difference I notice is scale -- neither of them is fat, I just tend, for that particular look, to find a smaller girl to be more attractive. That isn't to say that I don't ever find medium or tall girls attractive, it's just that there seem to be certain looks that I tend to go for, like .. heh, like strange attractors (math concept). I am uncertain as to the rules by which I mentally seem to classify people whereby physical traits tend to be near different pareto-surfaces, but it would be interesting if I could learn more about that.

At some point, I need to check out the new CS lounge -- I never hung out there much before, largely because the buses to SqHill are much sparser later in the evening and I prefer spending time outside before it gets so cold that my limbs feel like they're falling off when I'm outside, but now that it's in the NSH Atrium, my old stomping grounds, I'm curious to see what it's like. I also need to start getting to campus a bit earlier so I can swim in the morning -- I miss that.

The other night, I actually bought some alcohol for home for the first time in many months. I very occasionally get wine when I'm out eating somewhere, but it just isn't part of stuff I normally think about to keep around. Having had plum wine at KGB Sushi night made me remember it a bit more, so I got some for home along with some King David wine which type I have already managed to forget. The next time I have people over, or if I start to obsess over it enough, I'll finally open one of them. I seem to be effectively falling back into old eating habits though -- I'm almost completely vegetarian again, and alcohol is a pretty rare things for me. I'm not sure what to make of it.

The continued squirrelitude of my mouse when my laptop gets at all warm is increasingly irritating. I am also almost done with all the backlog of reading I have had for a few years. I don't know what I'll read when it's exhausted. Scary!