Navigated bureaucracy of reemployment with CMU. A number of my old "settings" were not yet purged and should be picking back up, bit-by-bit, over the next week. My benefit señority is not affected by my absence (for several things, it's actually as if I had kept working until now at CMU, which is surprising), and a lot of paperwork and arrangements are unnecessary in CS/CS given my appointment in CS/Robotics preceding my Psychology appointment. During the "tour" in Wean, I saw a few people I knew, and afterwards went up to meet with my boss (Dr Andersen, which is not-at-all confusingly similar to my last boss Dr Anderson) to talk about getting-started things, where I randomly ended up joining him to go to a talk by somebody from Harvard talking about designing computer systems, inspired by biology, that have certain higher-order properties.
The talk was a bit less interesting than I had hoped for a "hey, wanna go to this?" kind of thing - it identified a number of kind-of-interesting areas of focus, but didn't really say much about what she had actually done. I think she was probably intending it to push interest for a new textbook she had written that she mentioned twice. Listening to talks about that area of research has been a bit frustrating to me ever since I read Gleich's book on Chaos and a few later works - the idea of building higher-level metastable order on lower-level highly unpredictable/fault-laden messy components is much more squee-worthy.
Afterwards, I went back to the cluster for internet access to handle more paperwork stuff - was reminded again of the cluster's social attitude - "I don't really care about you much and wouldn't likely ever make an effort to contact you, but if you're here, let's go grab food as a mob or play some UT if you're interested but we can also ignore each other or occasionally drop comments without any expectation of conversation". Styrofoam relationships, I'm tempted to say - you can chew on it, even swallow it if you like, but it won't nourish you.
Got an email that cut off a contingency plan, so I went home and then went with Jordan and friends to Rage of the Stage's production of the Rocky Horror Show. Jordan didn't like it at all, I thought it was ok. Thoughts:
- They transformed both Frank and RiffRaff quite a bit in this interpretation - i think this was in order to avoid a direct comparison with the movie (which sets a very high bar). Both transformations were interesting - riffraff's was fairly creepy, frank's was novel, but they both were also a bit irritating. Pulling them off well wasn't really doable (Riffraff's transformation failed much more)
- They reimagined Magenta a bit too - she was much more alien, had a rather different relation with RR, and was creepy in a rather different way. This largely worked but it made one of the closing scenes near the end of the film not very believable
- Janet, Brad, and Columbia were well-played, possibly better done than the movie. J and B's relationship felt much more real
- They had only one set - it was a fairly nice one though
- They added a few characters based on classic horror who were semi in-the-background. This worked rather well
- The play started to drag near the middle, but picked up again
- The Time Warp was a failure - given that in the movie it's the song that sets a high that the rest of the film rides on, I think they lost a lot of people with the degree they dropped the ball here.
- The music was live - I liked the band they had
- The singing was a mixed bag - a few of their actors could not sing, and their syncing to the band was hit-and-miss
- There was an interesting twist in how Frank died relating to a twist in how Rocky Horror was concieved. I liked this
Onwards:Most of us decided to go to Eat'n'Park afterwards - on the way to shuffle some of the people around, we were leaving CMU campus after picking someone up and were blocked from leaving campus by some student who decided to block the path of the car for a few minutes (slightly weirder for me was that I've ocasionally seen this student around - they're a dead ringer for someone I used to know by the name of Quealy). I had pancakes, went home, end.
Today: terrible migraine that comes and goes. Still sick of my life and of Pittsburgh, and with this job I'm planting new roots fertilised with that dislike. On some level I don't care if I last now though, which takes some pressure off. For now, there's thoughts of ordering a 20" laptop to look forward to.
Also, Taza21's sleek may be not particularly good, but their Mujaddara wraps are fantastic. I suspect they're going to make it as a restaurant based on what I can see of their popularity. Gluttony (the other cupcake place in Squirrel Hill) probably will not.