Despite all my rage

Being a fan of a sports team is a funny thing. For some reason I have become a bigger fan of Cal football since leaving Berkeley than I was when I was a student there. Even more so than when I was in the Cal band. I’m definitely not the biggest sports fan in the world. And I am lacking in sports knowledge from the years of adolescence during which I actively disliked sports. But, this season started out with so much excitement. We beat Tennessee. We beat Oregon. We steadily rose in the rankings. During a bye week USC lost. Suddenly we were #2 in the nation! I felt so proud of Cal’s football team. Like they were children of mine. And then they lost. And I felt terrible. A couple days after the Oregon State game. I was able to gather myself together. Looking back on the game I tried to think of all the good things that happened. The freshman quarterback Riley who had to play because Longshore was injured played pretty well (despite the last play of the game). Hawkins had a great game. All hope of going to the national title game was not lost. And then we lost again. Oh the pain and suffering I experienced when I discovered this fact.

Fortunately, I didn’t actually watch the game yesterday. Instead I walked over to Boston to look at the tens of thousands of jack-o’-lanterns that were on display near city hall. I will post pictures soon. We then made our way over to the North End and after some searching found Pizzeria Regina which was awesome. The St. Anthony’s pizza was utterly fantastic.

Maybe I should just adopt my local Boston teams. The Red Sox, the Patriots, and Boston College’s football team are all doing quite well. Anyway, today I am working in solitude in the office, viciously trying to get some work done.

Six bucks for your cheezburger

I need to not have Firefox open up with iGoogle as my homepage. Just as I was about to finish up my problem set that was due yesterday, I was distracted by a link in one of the feeds in my iGoogle that was titled “LOLCat Bible = infinite entertainment” I am generally distracted by anything lolcat related. But this was particularly distracting because earlier this morning I had been trying to figure out a couple Christian blogs that I had been led to by another blog. This other blog I had found while searching for blogs about coffee and it has a couple interesting posts relating to coffee roasting, but it also has several entries about Christianity. On the Christianity thing, I find myself occasionally sucked into trying to understand the theological points that some Christians argue about. I find it fascinating because it often seems pointless to argue about certain theological details from an outsider perspective. Although I guess science probably seems the same way to someone looking at it from the outside.

Anyway, back to lolcats. I think the LOLCats bible project is fascinating because it has brought people together to work on a large project that is ultimately purely for entertainment and serves no practical purpose. At the same time it has some linguists discussing how this project may allow for more systematic study of lolcat pidgin.

Now my final point. The Language Log post about the LOLCats bible pointed  me to another post about anti-humor. Reading this post settled an issue that has been bugging me for several years. The summer before I started at UC Berkeley I went to a summer training camp for the Cal Band. A couple of the older members of the drumline kept telling jokes the whole weekend that had something to do with penguins and then ended with the line “six bucks!” At the time I was baffled by the jokes. It was frustrating to me. I couldn’t tell who was in on the jokes. Some people would laugh, but I wasn’t sure if they were pretending to get it or if they really understood the jokes. The whole thing dragged on for a few months with people photoshopping images of penguins in a supermarket background in which the price being displayed on the cash register is $6.00. Anyway, I can now put this issue to rest with the realization that I was a victim of anti-humor.

Strenuous hiking leads to debate over image hosting sites

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This past weekend I went on a hiking trip in the White Mountains. We did the Tripyramid Slides Loop, which according to the AMC White Mountain Guide is “one of the most challenging and scenic trips in the Whites.” The most challenging part was the “North Slide” on which we climbed 1,200 ft. in 0.5 mi. I basically felt like I was rock climbing as I used my hands quite a bit. After about halfway, the views were spectacular. It didn’t hurt that the foliage was in peak condition. (See the entire gallery here)

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I brought my camera along and grabbed some good shots. When I got home I was eager to post my photos. But, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have become somewhat wary recently of posting media on the internet. I really like the interface of Google’s PicasaWeb. I’ve been using it for about a year now to post photos. However, it was never really clear to me how my ownership of the photos was affected by my posting them on PicasaWeb. I decided yesterday to read the terms of use. I had a difficult time interpreting the legal language. It seemed confusing to me, like they were saying that I retain my rights but Google also now has the right to use my photos as they please. That didn’t really sound good to me. So I decided to look around a bit at other image hosting websites.

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The entertaining of the masses

Many of us read and can relate to the webcomic xkcd. But, I guess I am not devoted enough to have noticed the comic from last spring  in which coordinates and a date were mentioned. Well, as the author of the comic wrote in his blog, “The date was in the future, the coordinates were a park in Cambridge.” That date happened to be about a week and a half ago. In a perfect example of the influence that a webcomic can have on the public, close to a thousand people faithfully arrived at the park on that date. As geeky as it sounds, I probably would have considered attending this event had I been aware of it. Hey, its not like I would have had to travel far. I find it particularly entertaining that almost 1500 photos have been posted to a special flickr group photo pool set up for the event.

Awareness of the tragedy in Myanmar

I just became aware of the situation in Burma/Myanmar through this post and if this report is accurate the situation is very grim. I have been pretty moved by what I have read about the situation so I thought I would share what I have read and learned. Below there is a list of news articles relating to the current situation in Myanmar. But first I want to mention a few things that I think are interesting.

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Freedom to criticize and quantify

How do people respond when a U.S. general presents testimony to congress that contains slides that are difficult to interpret? Well, some people respond constructively and make a project out of it. Others respond in ways that will probably be much less useful when it comes to interpreting future testimonies, such as controversial full page ads in newspapers. As far as I can tell, congress has yet to acknowledge the useful responses to General Patraeus’ presentation. They could use a bit of quantification I think. Unfortunately, they have acknowledged quite vehemently the ad taken out by MoveOn.org in the New York Times on September 10th. Now, I don’t know that much about the situation and I am not an active supporter of MoveOn. But, what the hell is the house doing wasting time passing a resolution in response to a newspaper advertisement? In my vision of how the U.S. government should work, congress would make laws not official declarations of their opinion of certain organizations. So what if an organization wants to spend its money expressing its opinions through advertisements? As long as such advertisements do not contain any false statements, I don’t see any problem with it. Shouldn’t freedom of speech include freedom from intimidation by the government to not express oneself in a particular way?

Football and all that jazz

I needed to take a break from writing up my Theory of Computation problem set, so I thought I would write about my awesome upcoming weekend plans. I’m flying out to Berkeley to visit AP. Its going to be great to see her and we have some super plans lined up. Since she is technically Berkeley staff now, she was able to get in on the free football tickets that the university gives out to staff members for one game each season. The number 6 ranked Golden Bears are going to destroy Arizona and I’m going to be there to watch it. Its funny how my interest in football is so highly correlated with how well Cal is doing.

That evening after the game, we are heading out to the city to see Medeski, Scofield, Martin, and Wood play at the Fillmore. My friend S got tickets for this show in June, so I have been anticipating this show for a while now. I’m really stoked about the show. I’ve seen MMW and Scofield, but never together. I’ve also never been to the Fillmore. So, should be awesome.

Sunday we might grab some thai brunch and/or go hiking or something. I’m looking forward to hitting all my old food joints in Berkeley and just spending time with AP. Between this weekend and last weekend with my Mom I’ve been busy but having a lot of fun.