Everything happens all at once part II

March 28 we became new parents; April 12th we moved someplace roomier.

Now there's no more time for anything!

OK, but I'm still doing a bit of reading--the Proust project's more-or-less on hold, but I'm keeping up with the New Yorker and made it through a novel or two. And I've been taking up the piano again in my spare moments. Movies are hopeless--I've been trying to make it through "La Dolce Vita" for a couple weeks and have maybe made it an hour in after 3 sittings.

suspense, reading, leftovers

I just saw "The Secret of the Grain", which reminds me of "No Man's Land", a movie that makes you wait the entire time for a bomb to go off--only to roll the credits without it happening. But it's couscous that's the source of the tension in "The Secret of the Grain". Time seemed strange to me in the movie--it skips ahead without warning in some places, then seems impossibly slow in others.

I feel bad for thinking "La Vie, Mode d'Emploi" is just a list of lists. It's growing on me. I'm taking a break to read a couple other things ("The Ballade of Beta-2", and "Count Zero"), but I'll put Perec in my luggage for thanksgiving.

We had some people from my French conversation group over Saturday. It went OK. Some people take their potluck contributions very seriously, and not only did we end up with much more food than necessary, but several people insisted on leaving the leftovers; we'll be eating them for a few more days.

Everything happens all at once

I learned that I can't just upgrade the entire OS (well, mysql especially) and necessarily expect mysql databases to keep working without dumping and restoring them.

OK, I was probably told that in large red blinking letters at the time I did an upgrade, and, as always, clicked through the warning without reading.

So anyway, I got this silly blog back up today after it being down for a few months.

In the meantime, summer's come and gone, and I've changed jobs: I'm working from home for Red Hat now, doing a lot of the same work I was doing before for at CITI. I like it.

I've been to Boston a few times for work, to Waterloo and DC for fun, and to Portland for Sara's work, my fun.

I haven't been to Paris, despite a half-hearted attempt or two.

After sharing a one-bedroom student apartment for 13 years, it seems time for Sara and I to move some place a little roomier. But we haven't figured out where.

In overambitious-reading-projects news, I finished "A l'ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleur" and set aside Proust for a while, and I'm slogging through Perec's "La Vie, Mode d'Emploi". Maybe I should give up on Perec. I like to read novels, not lists.

Summer, rain, reading

Summer arrived, then this weekend it got rainy and cold.

The student interns started showing up at work (probably seven of them before we're done). That takes time, but it's fun. A couple projects are getting done.

Except for some brief juggling Saturday I'm mostly staying indoors, looking gloomily out at the rain, and wondering whether it's practical to spend the weekend catching up on some of the work I didn't get done during the week.

In my reading news, my attempt on Proust has stalled in the middle of "À l'Ombre des Jeunes Filles en Fleur". "Combray" at the start seemed really original and unlike anything else I'd read, and ever since then it seems more like any big romantic novel.

So I'm back to Queneau (having finished "Les Fleurs Bleu" recently, and now in the middle of "Le Dimanche de la Vie"). And Vahalia's "Unix Internals".

long route home from the airport

Returning home from a good visit with my parents in Silver Spring, the flight (despite dire warnings about security in the wake of the pants-bomber incident) was completely routine. The airport shuttle was more interesting; we tried "Select Ride" (same company as Ann Arbor Yellow Cab), assuming that one previous mixed-up experience was a fluke. It wasn't. My rough memory of the time table:

  • 5:50pm: plane arrives on schedule, go to baggage return.
  • 6:10pm: baggage in hand, call Select Ride, as instructed. Wait on hold.
  • 6:20pm: Uh, 10 minutes on hold seems excessive; did I get the right number? Try dialing again. Proceed to level 4 of the parking structure, our best guess at where we should be.
  • 6:30pm: Another 10 minutes on hold, and finally somebody answers and tells us where to go--down to level 1 of the parking structure. Go there.
  • 6:45pm: Nobody there. Try calling again once or twice more. Supposedly the driver's on his way.
  • 7:00pm: Finally get a call from the driver. Tells us to go back to level 4.
  • 7:05pm: Uh, he's not here. Call him back. After searching around some more, we determine that he's at the wrong terminal, and that level 1 was right. OK, back to the elevator. He'll be here in "5 minutes".
  • 7:15pm: Driver shows. Get in the van. Oh, wait, he's got another passenger to pick up; wait while the driver does multiple calls and walks around the parking structure looking for the passenger. Meanwhile, commiserate with another couple who's been sitting in the van nearly an hour.
  • 7:40pm: Driver finally gives up trying to figure out where the last passenger is, leaves without them.
  • 8:30pm: Arrive home.

OK, so why didn't we give up on this a lot earlier?

Anyway. On with the new year! It's going to be busy.

Mice, Hugo, Galland

There was a rustling in the kitchen garbage last night. I nudged the under-sink kitchen door open just enough to see the side of something large and furry. Eek!

When Sara finds spiders in the bathtub, I get to rescue them. For mammals it turns out our roles are reversed. Sara's closer look found that

  1. It was a small (beady-eyed, cute!) mouse.
  2. It was at the bottom of the (mostly empty) trash, and couldn't get back out. Spiders fall for this all the time, but I'd expected more of our mammalian cousins.

So, she gingerly carried the trash bin out back, and we tipped it over until the mouse could scramble out and hop into the grass.

Then we spent a few minutes looking for a set of mouse traps we'd bought after a previous false alarm. No luck, they'd disappeared.

This morning, some twenty years after my first, I finished my second pass through "Les Misérables", this time in the original. I enjoyed it, but honestly it would probably be saner to read an abridged version: it's a big romantic story that could be told in a few pages, expanded to some 1500, in part with the help of numerous digressions, most of which I can't really swear to have read with much care. One digression, on convents, is particularly dull. Though some others (the Paris sewers!) make up for it.

I *thought* I would also finish something else today: a librivox.org reading of Antoine Galland's original translation of the 1001 nights--more fun French practice. But when I got to the end I found out that volume 2 (the site only has 2 volumes) isn't actually the last. And now I'm confused. Which edition exactly is the source of their volume divisions? It was originally in 12 volumes. The place they ended volume 2 was page 74 of this google book, volume 4 in some edition. There's a 3-volume edition on amazon. Another scan. I'm confused.

5 billion

It's just one of those questions that comes up every now and then--what's the total University of Michigan budget?

One simple overview; another.

Half of that 5 billion is "auxiliary funds"--mainly the hospitals.

A little more than half of the remaining is the general fund, which is mostly student fees (8-900 million--with over 50,000 students, that sounds about right).

But looks like Sara and I mostly live in the 900 million-ish "expandable restricted funds" section, where the grants go.

So, there you go.

jam-packed weekend

Our office is moving the 23rd, and there was a 1pm Friday meeting I wanted to be at to calm some of my panic about the move. It's going to be interesting to see how the movers get the racks out of our machine room....

When we were done, I met my parents (just come from lunch with Sara) and we stopped in at Eastern Accents for some drinks and a snack (I'd just had one slice of pizza), then went back to pack and nap. At night we went to the Top of the Park (NOMO leading a parade! Fubar! More NOMO! Silvio's Pizza! Crepes!), then came home.

Saturday was the over-stuffed day: Sara and my dad got up early for a bird walk (no thanks), then we did farmers-market shopping, then looked around the new art museum for a while, had a quick lunch at Pita Kebab Grill, saw "Up!", saw "Twelfth Night" in the Arb, and finished with a late picnic to a latin band at Top of the Park.

Sunday the only plan was for a tour of the Michigan Theater, with parents and a few friends along. I didn't know what to expect. It was fantastic. The tour guide was Henry Aldridge, and as organist, film professor, and long-time activist and volunteer he was a great person to answer our questions. I think we'd all have happily stayed another hour.

Then we had lunch (or maybe brunch) at Afternoon Delight, poked around main street for a while, then went home and saw my parents off.

Now I have to get ready to go to Sunnyvale for a week for an NFS Bakeathon. I'm not prepared. Yipes.

bloom again

The writer/director of "The Brothers Bloom" released an mp3 commentary track. What the hell, with free admission it seemed worth a try: so we cued up our mp3 players to the "hit pause now..." position, went back to the State theater for a 7:30 show, and pressed play together at the designated time.

The synchronization was off. I swear we'd followed instructions, but the commentary lagged by enough to make "now, in this shot..." hard to follow. I think I managed to correct that, but it took a long time.

He was really interesting. There wasn't much that made the movie itself more interesting--a lot of it (choices of camera placement, color themes, etc.) affects your experience of the movie without needing to noticed--but that stuff's still neat.

A DVD commentary track is an entirely separate sound track, so they can fade in and out the movie's sound separately. But with this the relative level of the movie and the commentary wasn't always good. And there were times when my brain would fight to listen to both, and get confused.


OK, so in the midst of my (umpteen + 1)th attempt to read Ulysses (current status: skimmed over a big inner monologue by Daedulus in great confusion, read a few pages into Bloom, decided to backtrack and go get a copy of the Oddysey from the library, read a few pages into it), and we go to see "The Brothers Bloom", where we have:

  • Stephen == Stephen Dedalus == Daedalus
  • Bloom == Leopold Bloom == Odysseus

And a big labyrinth. And Penelope as herself, I guess. Oh, and there's a cyclops, though whether it really fits in right I don't know. And what about Icarus and Telemachus? And aren't the father-son relationships kind of tangled up? Maybe that's why they have to be orphan brothers.

At this very moment on a wiki somewhere the whole set of correspondances must be assembling itself.

The to-read pile on my side of our (new, ikea-bought) bed is actually several piles at this point, all falling over on each other, and any that I was partway through will probably have to be restarted as I've forgotten them now.


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