CMU has a stupid purchasing system. For orders for computers under $1000, theuniversity charges a fee (about 50%) to the purchasing department. I recentlyordered two Mac Minis, unaware of this fact, because they were the perfectcomputers for one of the labs we have. They arrived yesterday, in absurdlysmall boxes, and when taken from said boxes, turn out to be smaller than aGamecube. They're wonderful systems, even moreso because I got them withextra RAM. I, alas, found out about this price floor from a neighbouring lab,and thus, in order to make our group's money be spent as efficiently aspossible, need to add about $400 to each system's price. Two keyboards, twomice, and two nice flatscreen monitors later, and after many phone calls tomake sure I don't need to return the systems and order them again, I can restknowing that I have a better armistice with the bureaucracy. I then talk to somepeople, and find out that it's not due to weird tax laws -- in this case, it'sCMU trying to simply extract money from the departments, and, surprisingly,the government actually has established the $1000 as some kind of a limitwhich keeps the university from charging departments more. It's strange thatthe government knows enough to get involved in things like this, but I don'tfully understand it, and probably don't want to. In summary, CMU doesn't havestupid purchasing system, CMU has an evil purchasing system. Nevermind thatI'm likely not to use any of the extra hardware I ordered "for those machines"on the machines (but who knows?).
I've been talking with a newish local friend about life, love, and things. It'sgood to have another perspective on these things. While love is alwaysa comprimise between a number of things, I think that seeing them as beingdivided into a primary duality is a good abstraction. Just as much in lifeis divided into desires of the flesh and those of the mind, or almost-alignedto that, the real and the ideal, so too is love. Satisfying both is essentialto happiness. It would be tempting to say that we can rely entirely on instinct,and deny the blue sky, but the latter has so long been in our blood that whatwas once surely denying our nature has entered into it. Humanity could no moreeasily devolve that far than a hungry wolf could ignore a rabbit. On the otherhand, many religions and philosophies mark the physical as profane, and themind as sacred, but that is not our nature either -- the human mind turns asstrongly against that as the other. The nature of humanity is complex, andto simplify is to deny what we are. My way of living is aimed at taking lifeat a slow enough pace that I can find good ways to mediate my dual-nature.I often see that others, who admittedly may get a lot more done, trip in theirruns through life. A mosey is good enough for me. I've taken the time in lifeto understand what I want decently well, and I accept myself and my limitations.To do otherwise would be destructive.
I've been playing with OurMedia recently, and it's pretty cool.Sign up for an account, and upload media, and they'll store it for you, andlet you link to it from anywhere. They're affiliated with archive.org,who brought us the (also very cool) wayback machine. Anyhow, I'm starting to digthrough my photo collection and upload my favourite photos there.Keep an eye on that space -- I'll be using it to stash my photo set in thefuture, I think. They also offer blog space, but I don't think I'll beswitching :)
I've been having strange dreams recently. One of the recent ones had me walkingdown an empty road, far from civilization, and as I walked, a lot of the peoplewho've been important to me in life sort of materialized out of the air behindme and walked along. Eventually I was the tip of a moderately large triangle ofpeople I've known in my life. Later I dreamed that my laptop grew long, skinnyspider legs and that I could sit on it and have it take me places. Hmm.