Monday, November 28, 2005


On orders from Michael Murphy, here are details of my return from Austin to Louisville.

These events took place on a Sunday, on November the 27th, in the year 2005 CE (or 60 MA depending on your region).

At the Austin airport I ate two tacos, which was easy because my flight was delayed about an hour. This is funny because my flight from Houston to Nashville was to leave only about 30 minutes after my flight from Austin to Houston was due to arrive. This meant that all the other people had to wait for us Austin-Houston-Nashvilliers. This was okay. At Houston, we had to get from gate 4 to gate 50. For some reason, to do this we had to leave the terminal and then go through security again, which was exciting.

The entire way I occasionally read through my new dictionary of Chinese words. I now know lots of Chinese words, but I still can't speak Chinese. I don't know what the critical mass is. I think I may be a few years away.

I arrived in Nashville at about 11 o' clock. This is Eastern time, which is officially the time which I am supposed to abide by. Strangely, I just got a weird sense that it was sometime in the afternoon, and that it was daylight out, and that it's business as usual, even though it's actually 8 forty-five, and it's dark out, and most people aren't here. Someone is out there slamming doors.

So, first, I thought, I'll just walk to my car, it will be nice to walk to my car, I don't really know where I parked it anyway, so I'll walk to my car. But I couldn't figure out how to get to the longterm parking lot. So I walked all the way back to the bus stop like a loser and rode the bus to stop 6, and found my car very quickly. I considered calling a girl on my new cell phone, but decided it would probably be rude and weird to do so so late at night, and without anything in particular to talk about, so instead I just started up my car and left the airport.

I took Briley Parkway to get to I-65. In doing this, I passed the Opryland Next Exit sign, which is pretty stupid. Then I was on my way, though I did stop somewhere up towards the north end of Tennessee, to get gas and some lame coffee, and some candy. So then I drove home. I am still getting this weird sensation that it's daytime right now and not nighttime, and that any minute someone's going to walk into my office from the hallway to ask me a question. Not that that happens often, you see, but it's something which could happen in the daytime with much more probability of happening than at nighttime.

Finally I got home, and apologized to my cat for being gone so long. Then I went to sleep. This was a little before 3 o' clock. I woke up this morning at 8 o' clock which was okay. Right now I have this weird pain in my forehead, or my temple, but I actually think it's a tooth. This is called referred pain. If that's what it is. It might also be a muscle by my eyeball, which makes a little more sense and is less worrisome.

Today I did a few things, less than explicitly expected but maybe about what was implicitly expected.

So, was this worth it. Really, I should be writing scientific essays and papers and ideas and things, but really, all I ever write are entries in this blog. I write a good amount of functional and fun Matlab code, which no one really cares about. But, really. Really, I write best in short bursts. When the writing comes, it's worthwhile. Unless it's about what I did the day before, in which case it's usually kind of pointless.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

In honor of post #40, here are some observations and statistics relating to this "posting" activity. In a way, this commemorates post #1 which told you your likelihood of being dead given you lived your entire life in the year 1997 CE (or 1996 or 1992 I don't remember). I didn't know how to add charts, then. Maybe I should revisit that topic.

Notice that here there is no incorporation of completely subjective properties such as "density" (e.g. words per post) or "quality" (e.g.. readability). These are irrelevant and probably interact with one another in unpredictable ways (e.g. high-density posts may tend to be of low quality).

First, how did we get to 40?

As we can see here, we started on January 28th (of 2005 of course) and proceeded to add posts until today, which is November the 13th. The period on the x-axis is 4 weeks, since I couldn't figure out how to mark months.

Now, what about the relative intensity of posting over time? Well, to look at that we see what the frequency of posting is over time. This is like taking a derivative of figure 1, except you do it in Excel instead of knowing how to do derivatives.

Here, we can see that posting comes in spikes, which I will call "spikes". These spikes are then followed by a slow decline to what seems to be a baseline posting rate of around .075 posts per day or "PPD". If you wanted, you could go back through the archives to see what meaningful activity these spikes correspond to, but you probably won't want to do that.

Big, sharp spikes correspond to sequential posts, from one day to the next (i.e. 1 PPD). If I posted twice in one day, that would be 2 PPD, which actually happens once at the beginning of October, but I clipped that value to accentuate other more subtle events.

Notice, however, that posting rate during the summer months was almost uniformly slow, with a little bump around my birthday! Interesting. And there was a big spike toward the end of August, and we all know what was happening then.

If I really wanted to bore you, and if I really wanted to not-do-work, I could do a Fourier analysis of the above frequency plot, and we could talk about that. I would probably need a few years worth of data for that to be worthwhile, though, so you are spared. For now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

someone should know that i got an 80 on my 3rd electrical engineering test! i didn't meet anyone today who would care, so i'll publish it instead. i got an A on the first test, then a D on the second one. I think an 80 is a B! I missed the first question because I didn't know how to calculate rms Voltage for a non-sinusoidal waveform. And I didn't do the second question right, because I don't know what a differential equation is, but I got most credit because I knew what the solution was, and how to find all the variables and everything. You see, we're allowed to have a sheet of notes, so even though I didn't know how to figure a differential equation for a damped harmonic oscillator, I knew which differential equation solution equations to pick, since I could see it was underdamped, and so I solved it, and when it said, "solve the differential equation", I instead drew a nice plot of the voltage across the capacitor over time! I got credit for that! Okay, then, the third question was easy, I just had to figure the real power, apparent power, and reactive power for a simple circuit with a parallel inductor and resistor, and I had to figure the phasor currents and things. I got that one perfect, I think! Except I used the wrong units for the answers, which I think was really okay. To do that problem I decided to first calculate the equivalent impedance for the circuit. Apparently there was another way to do it, which I do not comprehend. Finally, the last question was about phasors, which was totally simple, because those are just complex numbers or vector numbers or angular thingies. I mixed up clockwise and counterclockwise in the last part of the question, where I was supposed to say which voltages were leading which other voltages, but i only missed a point or two with that.

So, maybe I'll pass the electrical engineering class after all! A robot is coming! In the distant, distant future!

Here is what I need, right now: a simple, cheap, low-resolution digital camera. I think they're called 'webcams'. What I need is one which I can program to periodically save an image to a directory somewhere, which I can then attack with my image processing programs. Then, I just hook the image processing algorithms up to some sort of output (which I have no idea how to do, but apparently the Serial port is a good start), amplify the output (maybe this is where I use some electrical engineering), and send it to a little motor, or a blinking light, something very simple. My first robot will maybe flash a little light when it sees something it likes. Or maybe it will spin a little motor. I'll wait until a stormy night, so I can say calmly out the window, "It's alive! It's alive! Now I know what it's like to be God!"

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Why is it that,
When I'm in my
little room,
in the dark,
pressing buttons,
the radio outside
always sounds
like it's playing
Elton John songs?

Why is all
my food in boxes?

Sometimes when I
grab my
flash drive
I forget
to tell
the computer first,
and then
it threatens me,
with damage
to my
flash drive.
Sometimes when I
try to make something
too big
in Matlab
it just
turns off.
does it not
warn me first?

I think that,
when they turn
on the heat
they should check
to see
or to feel
whether or not
it is
75 degrees
My feet
are hot.

I have decided
that midnight
is late enough
to be
in the lab.
Work a little,
less than
I should,
and play on the internet,
more than
I should,
is all there is
to do.
am going

Friday, November 04, 2005

Man, that was stupid. I need to push that one off of the top. That's all this post is about. Pushing the other post off the top. Nothing else.

"Try to get started
Wearing a skeleton shirt
A skeleton shirt."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

IT doesn't know what to type, but has been too long. Cold but not raining, clear out but sitting inside. Too long has the story of the electric-library politician held top place, now too long have gone, though don't know what to say. IT thinks maybe there might be some answer, and IT thinks about the answer, but can't think of one. IT does a few things, it rains, and cold, but not inside, and dark out but not inside. What does IT say? IT says, "Incoherent! IT's got to be tied to something, IT can't just float out there, attaching to weather and keyboards". IT wonders if there's a burrito left at home, in the freezer. IT doesn't think so. IT thinks IT ate the last burrito. There but for the grace of IT go IT.