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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.


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.

Labor day weekend: Juggling, bohnanza, reading

Juggling on the diag was fun today. Afterwards we ate at Seva, then went to Fred and Deana's to play Bohnanza.

Bohnanza is a fairly simple game that involves trading cards with different bean varieties, which you try to collect into a limited number of sets. So without the trading it might sound a little like a very weird version of rummy. There was enough strategy to give you plenty to think about, enough chance to give everyone a chance, and it didn't take forever to explain the rules. I liked it.

Sunday and Monday I mostly stayed in, read a bit, and rested.


Wednesday night was Jefferson Market's 5th anniversary party, so I met Sara there. The block of Jefferson street was closed off and they'd set up tables and a state. It was nice out, Foobar was playing, there was lemonade and cake and kids were playing. We stayed longer than intended and I had too many sweet potato fries.

Thursday I picked up my copy of "The Plot Against America". So far I have low expectations for it.


My hold came in, so Monday after work I went to the library to pick up the latest Harry Potter, as well as some guidebooks to Hawaii for Sara.

I've missed my usual science-fiction/fantasy book group the last two months, so I'm hoping to go to the September meeting. The book is "The Plot Against America", which is also being held at the library for me now, but I haven't had the chance to pick it up yet.

I'm also in the middle of "L'Exil d'Hortense" and "Mathématique:", by Jacques Roubaud, and "La Girafe", by Marie Nimier. And have a half-dozen other books lying at my bedside that I started and may have to give up on at some point.

I have this fear that if I added up all the books in the apartment that I haven't finished yet, I'd discover that there was more than I could read in one lifetime.

Last night I ignored all of them and just reread some "Monsieur Jean" comics.

Zatoichi, more sniffling

Last night we saw Takeshi Kitano's 2003 "Zatoichi". Swordfights! Tap-dancing peasants! Spurting blood! Ninjas! It was quite unlike anything else I've seen, and plenty of fun.

My cold was more annoying today, but I went to juggling and had some soup at Cottage Inn afterwards.


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