My Zunivers

16 December 2008


Brian Jones has been re-posting some of his original blog's posts over at Megachurch Misfit. Go read. It's fun stuff.

I've been busy doing crap. I had this C++ program for data analysis and it was getting absolutely out of hand. That was bad, becuase the data files were also getting out of hand. I've mostly restructured it, making it all more intuitive. Actually I split the programs, and then wrote some extra routines to clean that data and things like that. (By cleaning the data, I mean get rid of this artifacts from another program. Some of the data points manage to be saved to a file twice. It is easy to tell a fake repeat from a real repeat, so I'm cutting the fake ones. But you don't want to be bored by details like that, so I'll stop.)

After a few hours at work this afternoon I also have some codes that do some nifty things to make graphs of cool stuff. So my research is going along okay. The only major problem? Some idiots hard working graduate students with larger queues have decided that they should clog up the cluster with crap squared. That means I can't make new data. I sort of need to be able to do that to get more results, which I need because I'm playing hide-and-seek with the simulations.

The Kid has been a frustrating little bugger lately. She is learning a lot every day, including things like learning names of objects when we aren't specifically teaching her. She thinks being disobedient is funny, so she must be related to me. She currently does not want to go to bed, or nap, or stay in bed, or sleep in any way. She has been eating, though. Oy! She eats! I can measure her food consumption in half cups sometimes. And she drinks the milk from the sippy cup too (we finally found one that works!). She's less than 10% my size and eats maybe 25% my calories every day? I guess that's the difference between building a body and... how do I say it... maintaining one.

We were away fro two weekends in a row, first to Maryland and then to my sister's place. It was nice to be back home this weekend. We spent a couple hours with some friends on Saturday, and that was nice. Discussing our Christmas party next Saturday, my wife mentioned making her mom's asparagus casserole. She and the other pregnant foodie were the only ones amused in a good way. I decided to speak for everyone by pointing out that there is a good reason not to like asparagus casserole-- it has asparagus, which smells like feet. For emphasis, I decided to be more specific and point out that it doesn't just smell like feet, it smells like feet taste. See, this is how I make friends with people. Being the clown in a room of extroverts is the only way to avoid being grumpy and scaring everyone off.

I found tonight that one of my friends from college knows one of my friends' friends who is also my friend on Facebook? It feels like I've been told why and have forgotten. I'll need to ponder that.

My cardiologist in Maryland has finally finished negotiations with my insurance company over my tests after last Christmas. Yay! More bills! At least I only need to pay 20%. And this year I promise everyone I won't go to the hospital for chest pains. I know now that it was probably air in my esophagus rubbing my vagus nerve. And I will never go shopping on Christmas Eve again unless life depends on it.

I went out on Friday night to take some pictures in the moonlight. It wasn't because of the slightly brighter and much a big deal made of it moon this weekend. I like night pictures so I decided to get some. I have a spot picked that I want to photograph carefully under moonlight. It's looked promising since my first walk back there in July. But I needed to wait for the trees to be bare. Then I needed a rather clear winter night with an almost full or full moon. Just past full would work in terms of light, too, but I would need to be there from about 3:00 to 5:00 in the days just after full moon. The pictures turned out like crap because some clouds rolled in when I got to my desired location. There aren't any shadows. I also pretty much need to use film because my camera just looks bad at night with large area of even color like snow. Learning how to use film at night is a great adventure that I have the patience but not the money to undertake. Among other things, each film has its own amount of color balance shifting during long exposures.

On my walk home the path was still lit well enough by the glow of the clouds that I did not need my flashlight. I was glad I had my flashlight, though. As I walked along the trail I heard faint "whooosh!--woooosh!" sound behind me. Before I could identify it a rather irate barn owl came gliding over my head and, with one or two more flaps, landed on a limb above the path a couple dozen yards in front of me. I continued walking, but as I got near the place where the owl had perched it began to posture itself like a hawk does when it's going to come at you for getting too close. I had to get home because it was already around 1:30AM, so I decided to use my flashlight (my 120 lumen bicycle headlight flashlight) as a stand-off weapon. Owls don't like bright beams of light at night because it makes their pupils contract so far that all they can see is the light spot. They prefer to fly away to where the light looks dimmer rather than not look in that direction. Shining the light on the owl made it immediately turn and fly further down the trail. I had to do this once or twice before it got the idea and flew off perpendicular to the trail. It was fun to see such a huge bird flying around, though. I had only seen one owl before this one.

So, I'm off. I'm going to go read and head to bed. Tomorrow I need to Make Graphs using data I have and the things I've made to make graphs, and then I need to finish polishing off one more C++ code and make some scripts to make some other graphs. Then I can go about saying enough is enough on waiting for my programs to run and start complaining to Them about it because They can fix it. And there is other stuff to do, all of it fun as long as I'm not getting harassed by Them.

Sometime I should have my sister write a guest post on our [nearly] mis-adventures driving back to her apartment in that freak snowstorm earlier this month. Fun times. I could have sworn my sister, driving behind me, was about this close [holds finger half inch apart] to turning her car sideways and closing down the darn road herself. Thankfully she didn't, because she knew that such things aren't safe or legal. But I suspect it crossed her mind more than once.

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