Monday, July 10, 2006


Something is wrong with my hands. My wrists pop and make awful snapping/grinding sounds when they move. I have faint needlelike pains in the backs of my hands and my forearms. My right thumb is always stiff and weirdly uncomfortable.

Saturday, I helped Jingping to prepare a big meal for 20 Chinese students at her apartment. Her roommate and his girlfriend also helped. We cooked for 3 hours. I washed dishes and chopped vegetables, and stirred pots, and other supporting duties. Eventually all these people arrived, and they sort of stared at me. They were all nice though. I could have tried out some of my newfound Chinese speaking skills, but was reluctant, seeing as how my Chinese comprehension skills are around 2.5%. I had planned to escape after the cooking, but wound up staying around. There was lots of food. There are still leftovers now. I ate a duck's tongue. I did not really like it.

I have been working on an overly simplified mathematical model of interactions between cell populations in primary visual cortex, specifically between populations tuned to specific orientations. There are response and suppression biases, which I have been trying to figure out and fit to data obtained by testing the vision of human subjects, who really are hard to find. This is fun and I enjoy it.

I have been learning to play the xiao, which is a type of Chinese flute. I have a natural talent for it and someday will be famous.

Also, I think I am almost finished with Dragon Quest VIII, surprising considering all the other things to do. I think there are something like 76 hours poured into the game already. I keep wondering, why do the heros just stand there and do nothing when, after defeating a boss, the boss slowly crawls to accomplish the thing which the heros meant to prevent him from doing by defeating him? And why do they allow themselves to be thrown into prison by complete nobodies upon defeating a boss, when said nobodies were themselves unable to defeat the boss, thereby implying that they could have easily been defeated by the heros?

I have recently discovered the joy of Chinese pirated movies, which can be seen in your home with Chinese subtitles for free on the same day as they are released in theaters! I cannot make requests, though, because I am satisfied simply to have the movies wash over me so that I can pick and choose at will. I have recently been watching and rewatching the opening sequence of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, whenever I get a spare 10 minutes or so.

Finally, my car is in a coma. I cannot drive anywhere. This doesn't matter to me, because I can walk home and to Jingping's house, and those are the only places I want to be.

And, my birthday is on Thursday! Everyone say happy birthday!