June 1st, 2006

Semiformalishmaybe

Tales of Unsaved Bacon

I am frustrated that my skills at hiding things are so much better than my skills at finding things. As you probably are aware if you know me personally, I, among other things, design and conduct experiments on people who are having a MRI. I recruit, arrange transport for, and pay the subjects for this, presently in cash. For this purpose, CMU wrote me a check, which I cashed for a big wad of cash out of which I pay people. This wad of cash was about $1000, and was in a nice envelope that NationalCity gave me. I've run a few subjects, paying them out of the wad for awhile, and then I moved. Given that my apartment has some maintenance issues, I hid that envelope so the maintenance workers wouldn't take it when they came by (slightly paranoid, I know, but...). I have, alas, forgotten where I hid it, and I am even more forgetful in that I may have actually retrieved it and taken it to the office since in order to pay subjects. The point is, I don't remember where it is, and I've been starting to pay my subjects out-of-pocket. This is not fun, because I pay subjects a bit over $60 apiece. Argh. Also, this month, I am having numerous one-time expenses and one-time income sources come together. Weird.

Last night, I had a fantastic dinner with Kavita at an Italian place in Squirrel Hill. Yum! I only see Kavita once every few weeks, so it was nice to catch up.

I am very comfortable in this warm, humid weather. I can feel all my limbs, and they do not feel cold. It seems that most people I know are not so comfy with it though.

I am *very* interested in doing this. I am unsure if I'd rather do it alone or with someone though -- there are very few people, even among good friends, that I'd be able to spend that much time cooped up with without my need to be effectively alone making me miserable. At the same time, the idea of doing all that cooped up with a stranger seems even worse (either way, I'd want a seat in one of the 2-person cabins). The specific route I'd take would probably be Moscow to Ulan Bator (Mongolia), with two or three nights stay there (and horseback riding!), and then on to Beijing. I admire the humour on Wikitravel for Ulan Bator -- for getting there, the car section says "don't try it", and the boat section says "Challenging, as Mongolia is landlocked". I should probably start to plan this for Summer 2007.

Semiformalishmaybe

Descending from the Rising Sun

There's something vaguely embarassing reading a Doctor Who novel called the Quantum Archangel while sitting at a coffeeshop right next to someone who has a book titled "Quantum Field Theory in Curved Spacetime and Black Hole Thermodynamics".

From the "As cool as it is, it's not worth the money" department, I don't see myself going to future O'Reilly conferences. I'll miss them, true, but they're really more about community than about learning cool things, and $1500(plus hotel plus airfare) can go to better uses in my life than that. That being said, if it were all free and if I were going, my schedule would look like this:Collapse )

This review of a number of music suggestion sites is pretty cool. I use Pandora right now, as recommended by a friend, but I may start using some others in this list as well.

Semiformalishmaybe

Blood Sacrifice for Memory

I have found the envelope of money, but as the title notes, I made a blood sacrifice to do so. As I mentioned earlier, one of the problems with my apartment is that there was water leaking from the ceiling, causing the paint to peel (giant flap of peeled paint = ugh), the carpet beneath to mold (wonderful smell, especially with no screens for the windows and most of them not able to open *cough*), and other fun. When this started to happen, I took down a set of shelves with books on them, depositing everything that was on them in big piles by my desk. Apparently the envelope was on that shelf. Unfortunately, I had a mishap with my big toenail just now as I was reaching for the envelope, and .. the results are not pretty. Ugh. Oh well, at least I'm not down almost $1000.

The other irritant is that ants are showing up increasingly frequently, and these ants actually have the ability to bite me and pierce the skin. I feel like I'm in Texas again.. nice, warm weather, and nasty crawlies.

This is pretty cool -- a project to burn new Fedora install media with the updates already applied. That'll be handy -- I might download the ISOs. I'm inclined to set up a toy system, perhaps at work, that will track Fedora Rawhide instead of the releases. I need to start researching LCD TVs (or giant LCD monitors) to replace my TV too.. ugh. Once I have the monitor, I can figure out what to do about setting up a computer to hook everything up to (I will probably want to connect my VCR, N64, Gamecube, and eventually Wii). I don't look forward to this -- the last time I played with Video4Linux (admittedly a long time ago), getting it and vendor video drivers all to play nice with each other was not an easy task. There is the other possibility of getting some kind of Mac to manage the whole thing.. that would make all the hardware/software issues related to multimedia considerably easier, but also a lot less flexible. I also don't really want to manage a Mac system -- even back into the NeXTStep days, the mentality has always been "use the GUI to manage the system", with the netinfo and other CL tools being poorly documented and limited. Meh.