Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Enlightenment on a Pike

Today, something clicked while I was in BioInformatics, and I suddenly felt bifurcated. A part of me suddenly had a sudden, deep, and full recall of DiffEq, and suddenly all the symbols that the professor has been talking about (that I felt I was way over my head dealing with) slid neatly into place, and I realised that everything he was discussing since he got into this stuff was actually fairly trivial. Scary formulae? Not at all. I just didn't remember how to translate the standard notation (which totally bites) into thought processes. It's odd how it came all at once.. and odder yet, it feels like there's another me (another mode?) that doesn't understand it all. I suppose this is kind of like how, if I squint my eyes right (figuratively speaking), I can forget Calculus (back to middle-school-thinking) and Algebra (back to elementary school!). I still remember the way I thought about the world back then... although DiffEq really isn't nearly so drastic a mental shift. This is also amusing because I was halfway asleep when the perspective shift occurred. This is also amusing because I was halfway asleep when the perspective shift occurred. This is also amusing because I was halfway asleep when the perspective shift occurred. This is also amusing because I was halfway asleep when the perspective shift occurred. This is also amusing because I was halfway asleep when the perspective shift occurred.

And..Drumroll... My accordion came in today! I stubbornly waited in front of the mailroom after it closed at 5, and the UPS guy showed up a few minutes afterwards. After unpacking it in my office, I took it to Schenley to play for an hour or so. After walking the rest of the way home, I grabbed a Srees dinner and went back to CMU (via car), playing for several more hours. My piano knowledge transfers decently well to accordion, and this will probably actually make me a better piano player. I also got a hug from a cute gal who'll remain nameless, appreciation/encouragement from random folk walking by, thumbs up from people on bikes, and a look of amusement when I played bits from the Internationale, the Soviet National Anthem, and Ochi Cherniye from a slavic looking couple that went by with their kid. Summary: Everybody loves accordions (or at least, they appreciate people who're willing to make a fool of themselves playing them). I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.. I have not had a decent musical instrument for almost ten years now, and so something that was once as much a hobby and as important to my identity as being a computer wizard was completely gone from who I was. I really should've done this years ago... I don't know why I didn't .. perhaps it was because I had trouble picking an instrument (although I'm still up for more). Accordions are a bit more complex than Pianos to play -- I am already well on my way to getting comfortable with the keyboard, and I'm sure I'll get the timing right for switching pump directions with a bit more practice. It'll probably take me considerable time to learn to use the chorded buttons well, although they have a tendency to sound good no matter which one is pressed. Another thing I need to work on is arm strength -- playing for any length of time tends to wear out my arms. Accordions totally rock for improv (and thus they rock for Improv). So.. Accordion yields happy Pat.


  • Finish BioInformatics homework 4 (spreadsheet stuff)
  • More packing up of apartment
  • Find new apartment
  • Find a subject for Saturday afternoon scan slot (Any pittsburghers who are interested, right handed, yaddayadda, who want at least $60 cash for a few hours time commitment let me know ASAP)
  • More Accordion awesomeness!
  • D's birthday party on Saturday evening

As a slight exercise in humility, I discovered that sash (statically linked shell) was removed from the FC5 distro. I complained to a friend who is involved with Redhat, and found from him, eventually, that apparently busybox can do everything sash could. Oops! So I'm installing busybox (still not installed by default? Lame).. oh, wait, busybox can't act as a shell. Gah. Yeah, sash needs to come back. I hate how no modern linux distro I know of has a clue on the usefulness of a statically linked shell as a last resort. Oh, a further correction on this. busybox can be invoked as msh in which case it acts like a shell. The package still needs to be part of the default install, and a hardlink to busybox *as* a shell should be present on the system to allow recovery from disaster. So.. I file a Request for Enhancement with Redhat.

Recently I was installing Matlab on some servers at work, and was hit by the extremely bizarre numbering system they use. Scattered over the packaging, I saw such terms as R2006a, R14SP3, 7.2, SUBUNIX06a, SUBUNIX7SP3, but the numbers on each had some higher and lower than the other, and both were released at the same time. Left with no option but experimenting, so I did, and found that one was a higher version than the other because its license manager said my licenses were only for lower versions of Matlab, while the other installed without issue. I have no idea who designed the numbering system for Matlab, but they need to be locked away.

Tags: music

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