Locking, Andy's bands, fireworks

I carried around a notebook with me through the weekend and made some notes during Top of the Park and elsewhere, and thought I'd figured out a reasonably elegant way to solve a problem with blocking locks that we spent some time beating our heads against last year and gave up on. So I was reasonably happy about that.

I talked about it with Trond a bit over lunch on Monday and he seemed to think it sounded like a reasonable approach.

Monday night both bands were Andy's (Sandbox, his fusion band, and Fubar, which plays more covers), so besides Sara and me, a bunch of Andy's relatives were there, along with Trond and Laura.

Sara stayed for the movie, "Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Were-Rabbit", and I went off with Trond and Laura to Andy's place, where Leslie served us some yummy pie, Stuart set off some fireworks, and we listened to a recording of the evening's show. All very pleasant but I was feeling tired and not terrifically social at that point, so I was happy when Trond dropped me off at home around midnight.

It turned out that not only had Sara stayed for the whole movie (and enjoyed it, despite it being rained on), but she'd also gone out with Dave and some friends and had coffee and then competed in some trivia competition at Buffalo Wild Wings. So she got home much later than me.

Despite all this, I woke up fairly early the next morning and decided I could make it to the Ann Arbor 4th of July parade. I walked downtown as fast as I could (there wasn't any bus service), but made it with plenty of time to spare, and carried a sign (who knew the stupid mp3-player port on top of my backpack would be useful for something some day) and juggled a bit in the WBWC group.

Afterwards I walked backwards around the parade (the WBWC was one of the first groups), then had a sandwich at Subway (my usual haunts were closed for the holiday), and went to citi and worked on my new locking patches.

We saw the civic band and then the Forbes Brothers (who were great fun), then went home. I kept working throughout and had finished most of the new locking code by the end of the day. Whee. We'll give it a few more days and see if it still looks good, or if I realize the whole approach is doomed from the start and I need to start over again....

The one unqualified piece of progress is that I now feel like I really understand the locking code. If nothing else I should do some documentation and cleanup work before I forget how it all works.

Sun Messengers, imperfect darkness

Friday night was the Sun Messengers. Alas, they didn't play "Celebration", but it was fine anyway. Sara even made me get up and dance. Um, well, sort of. She danced a little and I sort of bounced up and down slightly at the edge of the crowd.

Saturday we did some shopping for produce at Kerrytown and then mostly hung out with the jugglers for the afternoon. I stole away for an hour to do a little bit of work. Somehow I found myself more antisocial lately--I'm happier if I can do stuff on my own a few hours a day. The band that night was a reggae band ("Roots Rock Society") that I found boring, so we didn't stay to the end.

Sunday we heard the Carillon concert again, stsayed for Repercussions (which I find sort of inoffensive but for some reason unengaging), then saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Which was frantic--the ball was well done, partly because it was one of the few things that was actually prepared for and dealt with over a period of time--but the rest of it seemed like a mad rush from one event to the next.

Also, most of the scenes in the movie are quite dark, and one of the problems with Top of the Park is that they can't really remove all the ambient lighting, with the result that in some scenes you could see the shadow of the trees from street lamps easier than the scene itself.

juggling, Les Yeux Noir

Sara and I have been continuing to meet at Top of the Park most nights.

Last night was their bohemian-themed night. I don't know what precisely the claimed connection is between bohemians and jugglers, but someone thought it would be cute to have jugglers there, and for me (and the other jugglers who signed up) it just meant an hour to two doing our usual thing--hanging out juggling--and maybe being a little more extroverted than usual. In return for that we got comp tickets to the night's show indoors, Les Yeux Noirs.

And Les Yeux Noirs were indeed great fun--interesting music, lots of music, crowd-pleasing showmanship.

paragraphs, nomo, non-musicals

We showed up for part of Top of the Park again on Saturday, then stayed home Sunday. (Well, I did anyway--Sara actually went in to lab for a while.) Sara also made sandwiches (including the bread) and assorted lunch for the rest of the week.

After fiddling with the drupal themes for a while I found it was suddenly no longer inserting paragraph markers automatically, so all my blog entries are run together in one paragraph. I tried reading through the php code to figure out what was happening, but didn't get very far.

Monday night we showed up at ToP in time to see Nomo. It turned out that our former neighbor Ingrid plays trumpet in Nomo, and several people we knew were there. It was a big (8-9 people?) "afro-funk" band, with lots of percussion and horns, and Sara and I both liked it a lot.

We stayed to seem them inflate the movie screen and show "Big". Is there a term for these sort of mini-music-video segments in movies where there's no dialog, just a succession of short cuts with the music turned up? I'm not very fond of them. Every time one came up last night, I thought "if this were a musical, there could be singing and dancing here. What a waste."

The floor piano scene was cute, though, I guess. Usually when you see someone play an instrument in a movie, the sound and video are obviously unconnected, so it's nice to for once see a scene where they actually seem to be playing the "instrument" they claim to me. You could even hear the occasional note cluster when they landed on the edge of a key. (Though maybe there were stunt doubles and such--heads and feet weren't always visible in the same frame.)

Summer

After a frustrating couple of weeks at work, I started feeling like there was hope of making progress towards the end of this week. I was so geeked that I felt a bit like I was missing out from working when I went to the opening night of Top of the Park on friday night.

Top of the Park is now on top of something that you might actually think of as a park, as opposed to the usual parking structure. Well, actually the stage is on the steps of the Rackham building across the street, and most of the other stuff is in or around the street.

The new location seems OK, and the bands (Jeremy Kittel, followed by Bugs Beddow), were fine, but Sara and I were both a little tired, so we left before the end.

frustration

Monday I made an unpleasant discovery: the git repository that I keep most of my work in was partially corrupted, and I didn't have recent backups. So I spent most of the day trying to recover what I could.

In the end the only thing I haven't figured out how to recover is something that will be easy to reconstruct. But there's nothing like getting to the end of a work day and realizing that not only have you not accomplished anything that you set out to, but that you're actually in a worse position than you were when you started.

So, work on tuesday and wednesday were, necessarily, better. Maybe I didn't get much done, but at least it was progress of a sort.

After neglecting it for a while, I finally rode my bike Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. It's much, much faster but, unfortunately, my knees still don't seem to like it.

houston

Thursday morning, with the help of a cab and two Southwest flights (with a change in St. Louis), I arrived in Houston's Hobby Airport. The hotel looked like it couldn't be much more than a mile away, and I didn't have a ton of luggage, so I walked. Which was fine, though the heat and humidity left me a little sweaty. Fortunately I had time to unpack and take a quick shower before Sara got back to the hotel room and I was wisked off to the bed and breakfast where the wedding was to take place the next day.

We sat around and chatted with relatives. There was some wedding rehearsal activity which we didn't have any involvement with, and then we all went to dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant.

The next morning we had the hotel breakfast and then visited the Menil Collection, where I was reminded of Roberto Matta, and encountered Max Ernst's Pierrot Mon Ami. A google "feeling lucky" search for "Pierrot Mon Ami Ernst", as of that day, takes you to information about casting number eight of the series of eight (the museum had number four), which could be yours for a measly 192 thousand. Sara would hear none of it, but I think it'd be way more interesting than, say, any Ann Arbor house you could buy for that amount.

After that we had lunch at a nearby café, then visited the Rothko Chapel and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum, both within a few blocks. I've got nothing against Rothko, I guess, and the building was nice enough, but I'm offended at the idea of kneeling before his paintings. Even if you think he's great, he's not *that* great.

The wedding and reception that night went well. Guests included Sara's family, the new English inlaws, and friends from the lab where the couple work. This was the best part of the trip, but I don't really have anything to say about it.

Saturday we did some more tourist stuff around Houston--saw some gardens, walked around downtown a little, then ended up with an outdoor concert, "Accordian Kings 2006", where we saw "Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters", "Joel Guzman & Aztex featuring Sarah Fox", and C.J. Chenier. It took a while for me to warm up to it--maybe I just didn't like the first band much--but in the end I had a good time.

We had to get up before 6am in the next morning to make our flight home, which is a little early for us, but everything went fine.

My main impression of Houston was of car traffic. Our hotel was well out of town and just off a major (3-4 lanes each way plus a 2-lane access road on each side) freeway, which seemed to always be full of high-speed bumper-to-bumper traffic. The roar of the freeway was constant. Going anywhere required a long ride on it. I probably got a skewed view of the place staying where we did--maybe it's different if you stay downtown--but it didn't seem like the kind of place I could live happily.

Sara had warned me that since Southwest didn't have reserved seats, you had to stand in line a long time to get a good seat. But the seats were fine (legroom seemed better than average), and I think I could have boarded at the last minute without being unhappy.

not juggling

I left work around 6:30 to get some dinner at Leopold's and then go to juggling, but when I came back out it was sprinkling a little and looking kind of threatening, so I just took the bus home.

Last night I went through the commentary track for Le Mepris, but it was pretty boring. I guess I just couldn't stop.

I've been reading up on CSS in my spare time; it's sort of fun.

It's hard to predict sometimes what I'll find boring and what I'll become completely obsessed by.

Hanging around strangers

After yesterday, I had to get out of the apartment.

It was 90 degrees and the buses weren't running, so the walk downtown was a little hot, but I ended up having a pleasant enough day. I spent a few hours in Café Ambrosia staring at my laptop trying to figure out the kernel's rpc-over-tcp receive code, then moved to Leopold's and worked on a few small git documentation patches.

Leopold's seemed ideal--power, wifi, lots of space, food, drinks--until people started shouting at the TV's. (Some basketball game, I guess.)

But when they're not shouting at TV's I like just hanging around places with lots of strangers. I'm not sure why--I've got my own stuff to do and not much interest in interacting with anyone--it just seems nice to have people around.

On my own

Sara left for a conference (and a visit with her parents) on Wednesday. It's odd being at home on my own. My first impulse is to go to the public library and stock up on movies that Sara wouldn't want to sit through. So far I've watched:

  • La collectionneuse: A good choice, in that it doesn't seem the sort of thing Sara would have like. A bad choice, in that I didn't like it either. I'm not quite sure how I made it to the end. What was the point?
  • Le Mepris: Actually I only watched about the first half. I still like it, but having seen it a few times before I don't feel obligated to finish.
  • L'amour en Fuite: Actually I think Sara liked this when we saw it together before, but probably not enough to want to watch it again. I love it, even if it doesn't really do anything new compared to the four Doinel movies that come before it.
  • L'Auberge Espagnole: OK, so French movies are a common theme. I like to turn the subtitles off and see how much I can follow, something Sara definitely wouldn't put up with. (The answer: not much, but not so little that I can't enjoy it either.) Sara actually might like this, a mostly light-hearted story about seven foreign exchange students sharing a Barcelona apartment for a year. OK, more European than French, actually. The mixture of languages is fun.
  • The Office: The boss in this BBC series has the excruciating ineptness of Basil Fawlty. The episodes are presented a bit like unnarrated documentaries, and the added realism really makes you cringe. I think some people would find it too painful to watch, but after an episode to adjust, I'm finding it hilarious.

Yesterday I went juggling and then had dinner with Ajit, Wendy, Noé, and Belen (sp??). It was nice to have the company; after the first day, the novelty of being on my own wears off and it just becomes depressing having only movie characters for company.

Unfortunately today I was too lazy to follow my plans to go out and to get some hacking done. So I ended up on my own in the apartment all day. Dinner was OK, though--microwaved acorn squash with butter and maple syrup, broccoli, and some bread. If I'm not careful I eat nothing but cheese sandwiches when I'm on my own.

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