Plans: adjusted. The happier side of hedging my bets was spent applying for jobs at MIT and seeing if awm's suggestion to apply at Google would get anywhere. Neither panned out, but a pretty interesting/challenging job involving a reasonably large number of my skills/interests materialised at CMU thanks to personal ties, one that I think I'll take if the specifics work out okay. I imagine I'll stay there for two years (as this is one of those high-responsibility-requires-lots-of-hea
I'm going to try to go see Rage of the Stage's production/reinterpretation of the Rocky Horror Show next weekend, which will almost certainly be good. I'm also interested to see that CMU appears to have a new(?) Secular Humanist group - perhaps they'd benefit from my experience with PUSH (a local Pgh inter-campus group I started and was involved with for a few years) and SFF (a large group I was in during most of my undergrad years).
The russian band "Мумий Тролл", which I initially found a few years ago because of their incredibly bizarre music video for a song called Медведица (involving cucumbers and furries), has a number of other safer-for-work videos suggesting much awesomeness and creativity. The latter unfortunately has some female sexual sounds mixed in, which I think never adds anything to music, but the song is otherwise nice and the video is clever. In foreign languages, I think much of the gain of learning more-distant foreign languages comes from reading their scripts - as distant as Russian and Japanese are from the language families most of us use everyday, there's a lot of understanding/guesses one can make from being able to analyse words, either looking for cognates of some obscure word (French in particular is wonderful with this, as many common words in French have a much-less-common English cognate) or breaking down a word into components to try for meaning. It'd be interesting to imagine a class focusing on scripts of the world teaching a minimal mapping to sounds and rules for spelling needed.
I've learned that it's surprisingly difficult but entertaining to try to make dirty limericks in foreign languages. Here's a try in German (warning - my grammar is probably sub-par, and it is potentially offensive and fairly stupid):
Ich kennte ein Mann auf Berlin
daß hat zuviel Lust für ein Finn
er mochtet ihr Lieb'
und ihrnach er schrieb
Sie lacht weil sie war Schwülerin
J and R have a bunch of neat new games - Zombie Flux is a decent variation, and there are a few games involving adventurers in bars that are rather good. Ubi is now a regular part of our irregular game nights.
It feels like I'm looking at everyone else and the world through very thick glass.
It's interesting how much effort as a society we spend building things that require translation (or will, someday). There's a substantial benefit to be gained in gluing moderately similar technologies together (e.g. make a translation tool to convert three ways autocad files to povray files to second life objects with minimal or reasonable constraints on what's kosher in each and minimal or reasonable lossage where lossage must be..). In theory, we don't need all these spoken and written languages (although the variation in expressive capabilities in each of them is at least very interesting), but there are possibly better reasons for some of the variance in these technical languages. Eternal recurrence of Bab-El... It would be interesting to try to measure how much of this we do, and think, as we continue to develop new domain languages, if/when/how we can keep the efforts involved linear rather than expontential without sacrificing too much mapping of meaning that would otherwise be lost.
I am getting rather tired of my apartment, and maybe tired of living alone too.