Older blog entries for olandgren (starting at number 220)

Rant

Sometimes societal standards really bother me. A particular incident tonight just sorta rubbed me the wrong way. There's a local bar in the area, the Groveland Tap. It's a great place to hang out, chat with friends, and just generally have a pleasant evening. They've got a couple of pool tables in the back, lots of TVs, random bar games, and the best fries known to man. Now, they run a pool league, so the area around the pool tables is nominally 21+. This is posted on a "sign" (read an 8x11 piece of paper posted 10 feet up on the wall in small font) which is over the entrance to the inside of the back room. I say nominally because there are regularly kids playing the various games, while adults use the pool table. Some friends of mine and I decided to go out for the evening. I'm the only one under 21, but we figured it wouldn't be a problem as it never had been before. I just don't drink, and all's well. This time, we go to the back, order a pitcher and some fries, and while the waitress is checking IDs I politely note that I'm not 21 and she should just bring 3 glasses. For the record, pool season isn't in session, and there were open tables when we came in. The waitress, upon having this suggested, decides to check with her boss to see whether this is OK. She returns to inform us that I am not allowed in the back area, but am more than welcome at the bar up front or any of the booths up there. She then leaves. My friends express an interest in finishing the game of pool they had started, and the waitress OKs that. 20 minutes later, my friends are just getting done(not especially good at pool), and the waitress hasn't been back or complained at all. We figure that they decided to officially chastise me but then shrug their shoulders, and so start another game.
Heh. So much for that. The bouncer(a short, muscular gentleman with a very aggressive demeanor), comes back and declares that whoever is 21 needs to leave now or be "forcibly ejected." This, of course, applies only to me and not the 13 year old kid sitting at one of the bar games on the next table over. *shrug* I guess it's just really frustrating that I wasn't breaking the law, had no desire for any alcohol that night, pool league was not in session so they didn't need the 21+ rule on the tables, and they still kicked me out of the back because I was polite and acknowledged I was not 21. That, combined with the fact that "supervised children" appears to mean that your parents are somewhere in the bar, is just a tad bit annoying. The thing that makes me annoyed about this is that treatment at the bar depends almost completely on the waiter/waitress. I have friends under 21 without fakes who are regularly served alcohol at the Tap -- they just don't get carded. Heh. I guess a pool cue is more dangerous than a pint glass.

School

I'm in the home stretch now. It's really interesting - Friday was my crunch day, the day when everything was supposed to fall apart, but it didn't. I somehow managed to get everything done. There's still a decent amount of stress left, but it's stuff that I'm pretty sure that I can handle.
The proposal for my honors thesis is submitted, and I didn't even get an option of doing one. The chair of the department addressed me by name and said "You owe us an honors thesis" when my proposal was a day late. It should be a lot of fun.

Hacking

Hah! Other than having written a 400+ line Perl script that I can't test yet because it requires administrator access to do a lot of the stuff and I don't have that. Just hoping that none of the stuff it does ends up wiping out people's accounts. <grimace>

Work

Sounds like my job is more or less set up for the summer. I start work on the 22nd. It sounds like I'll be doing a lot of the same stuff I was over January, and I'm hoping that I can dig into another project and see if I can get out of the C++ box to some extent. Somebody has to need some systems automation or functional programming done.

Life

Life is weird, but good. I got shot out of the sky like a P-51 attempting to dogfight with an F-16 by Emilia. Oh, well - she said she still wants to be friends, and I guess that that's progress, in a sense. I wish I was better at this - I really don't have a clue what I'm doing or how to go about it. Oh, well. Chalk up another swing and a miss.
May 19 is much closer than it was last time. A lot of things fell into place for people, so overall it seems like it's going to be a very good experience. I have daffodils to give away. I just wish that I wasn't quite so locked up with all of these people. The fact that so many of them are taking off to parts known but far away scares me.
I don't know. I think maybe I should just give up on the whole social interaction thing. I'm not very good at it, I can't really read people or figure out what they're thinking, and I'm hopeless when it comes to women. I wouldn't know an opportunity if it bit me in the ass. The problem is, I really don't want to give up, but at this point it's probably just easier to do that. Maybe after a couple months I'll gain enough illusions of competency to try again.
Oh, well. Tomorrow is a day of homework. I should go to bed.

Listening

Orbital - Frentic
18 Apr 2002 (updated 18 Apr 2002 at 06:19 UTC) »

School

So today was capstone day. It's the one day of the semester when all of the graduating seniors in the math and computer science departments give a talk on the stuff that they've been working on for the last semester or two. It's really quite fun, as you get to see a lot of cool math and CS. Some of the more interesting talks that I went to today:
  • Goal-Directed Reactive Environment Navigation
  • Genetic Learning in a Real-Time Game System
  • Quadrilateralizing Rectilinear Polygons and The Art Gallery Theorem
  • RSK Insertion and Characters of Cyclotomic Hecke Algebras
I truly wish I understood what Andy was talking about in the last one. It was really pretty math, but I really needed the representation theory background to understand it.
So of course, all this stuff has gotten me thinking about what I'm going to end up doing for my honors project. I think what scares me the most is the fact that I've been working my ass off in classes this far, and it's not going to get easier. Next semester is going to be Discrete Applied Mathematics, Principles of AI, and Internet Computing, plus independents to work on my honors project and capstone, neither of which I have a topic for yet.
Well, that's not exactly true. I just haven't decided between the two topics for the honors thesis. Nargh. At least I'm pretty sure I want to do my capstone on game theory.

Hacking

Hah. Don't I wish - I convinced GOO to compile on my Win2k box, but I haven't gotten a chance to do anything with it yet, which is sad because it looks fun. Tomorrow I get to do a bunch of set maths in Perl - I've got two arrays, one of which is the current state of the system, and one of which contains added and deleted elements. The adds and deletes have to be treated differently, and so we get to do set math. Fun.

Life

bgeiger: I must agree, on reflection. However, change always makes the grass look greener, if only temporarily.
Other than that, I've just been working on trying to help senior friends stay somewhat less stressed than they might otherwise be. This involves stuff like backrubs, listening ears, providing a pint of ice cream or a slice of chocolate cake, make a mix CD, just general stuff that makes their life a little better and doesn't cost me too much. I sometimes wish there was more I could be doing, but I can't think of much.
Frankly, May 19 scares me a lot. I don't know what to expect - I guess I shouldn't be scared of change but the idea of most of my friends graduating and going out into the real world just makes something small inside wince and cringe. What's even stupider is that a decent chunk of them will be around for the summer, so I shouldn't even have transition anxiety. Right.
Here's to hoping that a friend gets an email she's desperately waiting for.

Listening

Jimmy Eat World - Hear You Me

Lately my musical tastes have been ranging back into rock. The Strokes, Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World,764-HERO, Do Make Say Think. Quite odd. I wonder if it's just springtime.
16 Apr 2002 (updated 16 Apr 2002 at 05:23 UTC) »

School

This is pretty cool - I get to write a paper on SOAP and its uses. Since a couple of things that I use a lot have recently come out with SOAP interfaces, I've got ready-made examples. Other than that, I also acquired papers to do in two more classes: a 6-10 pager on SOAP, a 15 pager on some as yet undetermined topic in Senior Seminar, and a proof that will probably end up being between 8 and 10 pages in Combinatorics. Fun fun fun.

Hacking

Not a terribly large amount of this going on, beyond the fact that I get to show someone how to read data records that span multiple lines in Perl. Other than that, I've automated enough stuff that I'm comfortable with my system. It's a very odd feeling not wanting to make any massive improvements on my systems. More RAM would be nice, but that's minor.

Life

We broke all sorts of heat records today, and with the advent of summer comes one particularly annoying plague and one happy event. The happy event, of course, is ladies finally coming out from under the layers of sweaters and jackets. The annoying plague is the corresponding swarm of shirtless guys everywhere, reminding me that I really did need to be working out over the winter. So I walked down to the river and then did some work on the stair machine. Not much, but maybe it will have an effect after a month.
Other than that, not terribly much is going on. I'm an exceptionally boring person at times, and this is one of them. I'm still wondering if or how much I've fucked up with Emilia. The opportunity to talk to her just hasn't presented itself, so until it does or I manufacture it, I guess I'll have to live in mystery.
I'm really enjoying the nightly walks to the river, as they give me a chance to talk with friends, find out what's going on in their lives, that kind of thing. I was informed that I was sending "mixed messages" this past summer. It figures, since my motivations were pretty mixed as well. I guess one lives and learns, neh?

Listening

No Doubt - Hey Baby

Yeah, I know. Sometimes you just really want bubblegum pop.

School

This very moment, I am working on a paper that I should have begun work upon 12 hours ago. However, random life interfered, and I was unable to begin work until now.

Hacking

So, I decided today to add a hard drive to my computer. This is not a task that is particularly difficult -- I did them routinely when I worked for the Hardware department, and never really had any issues with that. Well, I add the hard drive to the computer, start up, autodetect the hard drive with the computer and all is going well. However, all was not well as my Ethernet card decided not to work for a while. Separating the hard drives and giving the NIC a time out worked though, so now my computer is happy. <grin>

Life

So yesterday(Saturday) was a very very bad day. Today(Sunday) is going to be a very very good day to compensate for that fact.
Emilia seems to be scared of me now. I'm not entirely sure why, and I think that's what bothers me the most. She just wouldn't look at me and wouldn't talk to me and seemed so utterly serious. I feel really bad, since I just want to make her happy and it's sorta obvious that I'm not doing that right now. I'm not precisely sure what my course of action is going to be -- I suspect that I'm just going to go with the flow. I've got three weeks to make up lost ground, so hopefully I can manage to do that. She enjoyed spending time with me once, and hopefully she can again.
On a lighter note, it's good to have conversations with friends. I've had several in the past couple days, and it just makes things a whole lot better. It's scary to think that May 19 is approaching so darned fast.

Listening

Tom Heasley - Ground Zero

It's all about the ambient tuba to make your day better.

School

I'm sure my response to shlomif's article is probably unjustified. Maybe I'm just lucky to be at an institution where I do learn things in my classes. I just have a hard time understanding how someone could feel that they would be learning more outside of an institution dedicated to teaching you things than inside it. Maybe it's a personal hangup or something: I have too much invested in the system to be able to divorce myself from it.
Within the system, as it were, life goes on. I'm giving a presentation on one of several proofs of Turan's theorem tomorrow, as are the rest of the people in the class. After these are complete, we're going to debate which is the most elegant mathematically. The networks test seemed to go fine -- studying hard for it really did pay off quite well. I felt comfortable, which can be so critical.

Hacking

I'm trying to find time to implement a friend's protocol for game communication. I've had about half an hour to look at it, and it should be doable, if not the simplest thing in the world. Personal note: docs found here.

Life

Life has been somewhat complex. Women are very complex. I'm not sure how badly I screwed things up, if I screwed things up, or if I'm doing OK. Who knows? I'll just keep doing my best.

Listening

Smashing Pumpkins - We Only Come Out at Night

School

School goes on, if not completely spectacularly. I think the biggest problem I have right now is the fact that I'm so worried about my networks test tomorrow I've actually made flashcards. I haven't done that in a long, long time.
Other than that, I get to go fight with our student government over how much money the ACM gets this year. It should be very interesting, and I'm not sure that we're going to get enough money. Ultimately, it might be worth it to simply stop being a student organization within those confines and just go back to being a departmental organization.

Hacking

Not a terribly exciting stretch of time. My first cron job is still working, so I guess I didn't screw it up. I get to hack on a bunch of output parsing later today, so that should be a lot of fun. I did a presentation to my programming languages class on GOO, which went OK, but the problem came in that I wasn't really able to experiment with the language at all before it, so some of the behaviors I had to extrapolate from the documentation, not code. *sigh* I guess he'll release it eventually.

Life

Aside from the fact that my social life has been greatly curtailed by the amount of studying that I've been doing, not much else has been going on. I demonstrated my impeccable sense of timing last night when asking Emilia to coffee. I showed up 10 minutes too late and she was already in editing mode on her honors thesis. I can completely understand that, so I'm only a little sad that we didn't get to go. Maybe next time.
A couple other tensions have been wandering around my group of friends. I'm not quite sure what to do, since I agree with the sentiments wholeheartedly, but at the same time recognize that those same sentiments didn't really help all that much in the past. Hopefully everything will get worked out in the end. Pah. Social interaction is so messy sometimes. I guess I'll just go back to practicing backrubs on people and not worrying about how it turns out.

Listening

Cylob - Sun-Day

Placeholder

My last entry was a little long, so I thought I'd do this. Being able to build diary entries in Emacs is seriously convenient, and advodiary is even cooler. Bring on the new versions. <grin>

School

Quite a bit of homework needs to be done, and I've not much time to do it. In order of priority, I have half a combinatorics homework assignment(well, a little more but I'll be generous), a 3-5 page draft for Economics of Gender, and a presentation for my programming languages senior seminar.
I've already figured out the topic for my presentation -- I'm going to talk about the new and interesting features found in GOO. Yeah, it sounds like a bad joke to some extent, but it's actually quite interesting. The language is the logical extension of Scheme into a purely object-oriented, typed language. It should be interesting to see how the ideas for its design fit together in my head with what I've learned thus far this semester. Articulating those ideas should be even more interesting

Hacking

Aside from setting up my first cron job ever, dedicated to running rdate -s -p time-b.nist.gov, not much. It's pretty cool to get an email once a night that says "Yup, everything is ok." I guess I'll learn to like cron more in the future.

Work

Quickie Perl is fun -- I got to write a script that moves inboxes to a new location on the system to alleviate overcrowding in /var/mail, and tells users what it did. Hopefully people will move their stuff elsewhere and won't get whacked by it, but you never know.

Life

Wow, is life ever complicated. Yesterday it seemed like everything I touched was turning into ash. Shot down for a job, was a complete and utter bastard in front of the girl I like a lot, got specifically targeted by a professor in class when I was trying to lay low. Everything seemed to be crashing down on me. Then, today was the day of Owen doing/saying stupid things. I managed to work three into a conversation with Emilia in under a minute. I don't think I've been on such a roll for a while, so it was nice, in a very twisted sort of way.
The idiocy starts about 2:00 in the afternoon, when I stop by her place, only to discover she's not home. Not daunted, I stop by at 4:00, with approximately the same results. Then about 4:30 I leave a voice mail message suggesting that she call me and we try to do something. However, as fate would decree it I don't see her again till dinner. College cafeterias are interesting places, and at a school as small as Macalester you can't avoid running into people at times. So, I see her at supper, but she's sitting with a guy that I really have some serious issues with. He's not a bad person per se, we just have personal difficulties. This makes it sorta hard for me to walk up and ask if she wants to do something tonight. So, I don't, and instead diddle around trying desperately to catch her when she's not around him. This doesn't happen, sadly, and so I run home. There, the mistakes begin(the real ones -- the ones made at supper were simple by comparison).
To begin with, I pick up the phone and call without checking for messages. I sorta have plans for the evening, but they would very much be malleable depending on what she wants to do. In not checking my voice mail messages, I miss the one she sent saying that she hoped to see me at destination X this evening. So I call, and ask her to destination Y, phrasing it such that it sounds like I'm planning to do Y regardless of what she says(which wasn't true at the time). This, by itself, isn't mistake number two. Mistake number two is asking her which she thinks I should do. She suggests Y. Slightly flustered, I only semi-jokingly ask if she "wants me to stop asking her" This is mistake number three. Yeah, I'm dense. Luckily, she's an absolute sweetie, and responds with something along the lines of "I like spending time with you, but it looks like not tonight." I think I managed to escape without making any more mistakes. Y was indeed fun, but I'm sorta stuck wondering about how X went and whether she's still busy writing her paper right now. Ah, well. I seem to have survived, though I'm covered in egg. It should be interesting to see what kind of hard time she gives me tomorrow.

Listening

Pete Namlook - Molecular Progression

Work

One option down and out. They're not going to extend me an offer at this time. Who knows how things are going to work, but I guess I'm of two minds about it. Part of me thought the job would have been really interesting, but the other part of me was shuddering inside. I guess that since the decision got made for me, I don't have to worry about it. Oh, well. Off to celebrate the weekend.

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