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Thursday Oct. 20

This year's fall Japanese film series is organized around the recommendations of three professors, who each chose three themes, and are each giving lectures about them at various times during the term. Today a Japanese guy that picked three anime films, including tommorow nights, was giving a lecture at the School of Social Work, so I figured I'd go. I hung out in the building--not having been in before, it was interesting to see--and got a little work done before the lecture.

The lecture was a bit hard to follow--his english was good, but heavily accented. But he had a few interesting things to say. All I can remember a month later is that he was very insistent on the importance of the idea of "the suit" and of "a-nationality", the latter I guess having to do with the habit of a lot of filmmakers (in anime especially?) to use this vague sort of metropolitan mishmash as the setting for their movies.

inconsistency, early October

I return to this thing after ignoring it for a couple months and find there are entire weeks that I can't find anything interesting to say about. Does that mean I may as well have not lived those weeks? Did I do lots of interesting things that I do remember but just can't associate with those weeks? Who knows.

I do remember Peter B. from Lustre visiting us for a day at work, which was very interesting, though cut short somewhat--it turned out he was only in town for a day (which I find bizarre--if I'm going somewhere for a day I'd just as soon stay a little longer...), and for some reason we'd thought he be there a couple days.

On Friday, the 7th we went to the our first Japanese film series movie for the fall, "Diary of a Shinjuku Thief", which I can't really say I understood but was fun to watch. We had Dosai at Madras Masala beforehand.

Graham, Nicole, and Azalea visited us for Saturday, the 8th, and we did the usual things--breakfast out, lunch at Madras Masala (I have a high Dosa tolerance), lots of Graham's obsessive grocery shopping in between. Nicole was irritated at Graham for the obsessive grocery shopping and the non-stop travelling with baby in tow. Both of them seemed to think Azalea was in a terrible mood, though she seemed pretty agreeable to us, so she must be a relatively quiet baby. We enjoyed seeing them in any case--next time we'll have to visit there.

Sara showed us all some huge puffball mushrooms in the forest on the other side of Broadway, and we brought a couple home. One of them barely fit on the shelf in our refrigerator.

Tuesday, the 11th, our science fiction/fantasy book group had its annual book-choosing meeting, which has become increasingly long and contentious as more people have started showing up with more suggestions. In the end we came up with a pretty interesting list, I think.

Friday, the 14th, we saw the Cowboy Bebop movie at the japanese film series. One of the characters is a Corgi, a big attraction for Sara, but maybe a bit of a disappointment in the end--the dog was cute but didn't really do that much. The movie had its points but some of it (especially the ending) seemed kind of uninteresting.

Casque d'Or, library

Friday night we watched "Casque D'Or" over dinner, which was reasonably fun but won't change either of our lives.

Saturday afternoon I spent in the library, alternately working and reading a volume of the comic "Preacher", which I felt had a clear target audience that I wasn't a member of. The work actually went reasonably well as, by some fairly dumb brute-force debugging, I managed to understand something new about the privacy code that I'm trying to finish off for submission.

The library must have had a new order of comics come in recently--I left "Preacher" there, but brought home a Sandman volume that I hadn't read yet, "Fables and Reflections". That night I read Sara to sleep with the first few pages of "The Hobbit"--I was trying to remember the names of the 13 dwarves--then I read the first couple Sandman stories. I liked them more than I usually do. I'm particularly happy to have learned the story of the San Francisco man that proclaimed himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States.

Lessig and more

Friday afternoon I went to see Lawrence Lessig speak. He was inspirational, and had some fun examples, but I don't feel that I learned all that much.

Afterwards Peter and I had dosas (dosai??) at Mandras Masala and, went to his loft for a little while, then met Sara at Rackham to see E. O. Wilson speak.

As it turned out the auditorium was full and we had to listen to speakers in the room next door. I wasn't terrifically interested. Peter fell asleep.

Lessig's talk had been a keynote at a weekend-long conference on plagiarism and originality hosted by the Sweetland center. So I went to a couple sessions Saturday and then hung out with the jugglers a bit.

Another week goes by

Last friday we watched the Tomb Raider sequel Friday night, which was preposterous--at one point they travel from point A to point B in China by racing along the Great wall doing silly motorcycle stunts.

Saturday night after juggling we made some pasta and watched the Starsky and Hutch movie with Dave. That was actually a reasonably fun movie.

Sunday I went to the School of Information welcome picnic, on the Dean's expansive grounds on Huron River Drive. A big group of Saline high school students fiddled. I mostly just talked to other citi people. The bike ride there and back was made significantly longer by my failed attempts to find a shorter way across the river.

I spent some of Monday looking into a kernel developer's accusation that our nfsd4 reboot recovery design was evidence that we were "on crack", or words to that effect.

Tuesday night Sara went to a figure drawing thing and I went to juggling; afterwards we went to the Red Hawk to celebrate Dave's last night in his 30's.

Wednesday morning someone finally came to fix the tap in our kitchen. We'd requested that over a month ago, then again a couple weeks ago, then again Tuesday. It was not so much dripping as gushing, so we'd had to turn it off under the sink. After the repair, it's still dripping slowly, and it now turns the opposite way from what you expect (you turn it clockwise to open it). The service from our apartment management has gone downhill significantly, I think. After 8 years maybe it's finally time to move.

This morning, after calling in another maintenance request, I did my too-long-delayed laundry. There's wireless access in the laundry room again--thanks to whoever's it is--so I did some work and played with the wiki I set up last night to work on some wbwc web pages.

When I let a week go by like this, I find my "sent-mail" folder is useful for remembering how the hours went.

Books

Wednesday night after the Rebirth Brass Band I stopped by the library. The Friends of the Public Library was signing up members in anticipation of their members-only book sale preview to take place that night. It was tempting--probably I should join someday anyway--but I passed it up.

The library book sale brought a lot of books into our home last year. I'm not sure whether to be excited or frightened at the prospect of its restarting soon. I dropped off a few donations to the library this morning partly as a reminder that we should make space.

I've been rereading a few things recently:

  • Bill Crow's "Jazz Anecdotes" is exactly that--a collection of anecdotes arranged into chapters by themes or famous musicians. Most of the stories, apocryphal though they may be, are wonderful. Sara has probably also read this through one or two times despite not having a particular interest in jazz. It's addictive.
  • Alan Garner's "The Stone Book Quartet" consists of four short stories spanning several generations of a family of craftsmen. They're told from the point of view of children, and probably written for children, but though I didn't first read "The Stone Book Quartet" as a child, it's my favorite book.

I also finished "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" the other day. It'll be interesting to see what's done with the characters of Snape and Malfoy; at the end of the book everyone but the reader is finally convinced of their allegiances.

Tuesday night we discussed "The Plot Against America" with the book group. I only skimmed most of it, unfortunately. It seems well done but I just couldn't find anything to get sufficiently excited by.

I'm also still working on Jacques Roubaud's "Mathématique" and "L'Exil d'Hortense", and a lot of other stuff.

Wednesday: The Rebirth Brass Band

Subject: New Orleans band walking concert today
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 11:39:05 -0400

New Orleans band at School of Social Work (South U and East U)
4 p.m. today

The Rebirth Brass Band from New Orleans will have a public walking
concert (complete with Mardi Gras attire) this afternoon. The tour
starts at Kerrytown at 1:30 p.m. and ends at the U-M School of Social
Work around 4 p.m.

I'd actually been hearing of the Rebirth Brass Brand for quite some time, so how could I possibly pass this up?

When I got to Kerrytown about 1:30, there was no sign of them, until I came across their van in the parking lot around the back. It took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. Eventually they played a half-hour in the farmer's market and passed around a box for tips. I was unclear whether it was for the band, hurricane relief, or both; the two causes came to about the same thing in their case, I suppose.

Someone announced they'd be at the diag next. So I walked there and took care of a few errands along the way. There was no sign when I arrived, so after tiring of waiting I walked around a bit to make sure they hadn't ended up elsewhere. When I got back they were milling around the diag looking confused. There was a street preacher guy arguing loudly with undergraduates on the grad library steps and they didn't seem to want to interfere, so eventually they gathered at the other end of the lawn, by the nat. sci. greenhouse, and played 10 minutes or so.

So, no parade, no Mardi Gras attire, and the musicians were probably a bit tired. But they were really, really good. And though it was drizzling when I first left work, it was a beautiful day by the time they were done at Kerrytown.

ride, ride, ride

The LCI training actually turned out to be pretty interesting. They needed to review the basic bike handling and stuff that was covered in Road I, while at the same time trying to train us how to run the course ourselves, so there was a lot to do. We ended up going through a lot of Road I again, this time taking turns playing teacher.

It was all too much for one weekend, though. It's too bad it couldn't be spread out a little more. One thing to work on on my own: I'm terrible at hard turns; I'm too afraid to let myself lean over far enough. The instructor suggested just doing increasingly tight (or fast) loops in a parking lot to get used to the lean.

It turned out not to be a problem riding this weekend after not having ridden in the last couple years. I rode back and forth to the class (at Briarwood) every day in addition to the various in-class exercises, but I don't feel particularly sore now.

bent fender

Riding to work this morning I went over a pothole and my panier popped off the rack and dragged behind me, banging against the rear fender as it did so, and pushing the fender against the tire. Fortunately I'd shed most of my speed before hitting the pothole, so I managed to come to a stop without falling over.

But I had to bend the fender back into shape so it cleared the tire, ride back home, get another panier, then ride to the bike shop. The guy at Two Wheel Tango did some minor adjustments but thought the fender would hold up fine. I was hoping they might also be able to do a tuneup before the start of tonight's LCI instructor seminar, but they were too busy.

The LCI thing is twenty hours this weekend, with ten of that tommorow. Ugh. We'll see if I survive. I haven't been riding much this last couple years, so if we do much riding I may end up sore.

meetings, meetings, meetings

Wednesday after donuts we talked to Marc about pNFS. Then there was an si faculty meeting, which was a bit strange for someone not already involved. Finally I went to the local AACS meeting to see someone talk about Mozilla. It was more of a stand-up comedy act--he didn't actually get around to talking about much I found that interesting. Mostly it was the history of Netscape, most of which you'd probably already had a vague idea about if you'd been paying attention.

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