Friday, February 28, 2003

Darn it. It looks like they're setting up a computer to put someone else in this cubicle with me. This has been one of the rare cubes with a semi-decent arrangement, i.e. not leaving my back completely exposed. But I guess I'll have someone sitting behind me on Monday. Phooey. At least I've still got the better corner.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

I had enough work to do at work today that I was actually busy the whole day. It's probably good that that happens once in a while, so I don't get too lazy. I had been thinking this was probably my last week at Google, and I was going to ask my supervisor about it today but apparently she decided to go on vacation for a couple days and I won't see her again until next week. So I guess I'm going back then. No one else was really sure, but they said they'd assumed I'd be back. Works for me.

On a sadder note, though I haven't watched Mr. Roger's Neighborhood for years, I was still sad to hear he died last night. The article I read on him said that he got into televsion because he hated it so much and wanted to find a way to do something better with it. Now that's admirable. He did a good job and I, for one, will miss him.
Well, it's been a year now. I guess I'm doing okay. Better than I was a year ago, anyway.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Brian found this interesting article on Caring for Your Introvert. I'd say I identify with most of it, though I might not have phrased it all so strongly. I expect, though, that the author is aiming at an audience of extroverts and is trying to "speak their language" a little bit. Anyway, it's not the most serious or informational thing around, but it's nice to at least see introversion acknowledged as a valid orientation.
Golly, I've just done absolulu zippo nada here at work today. I probably won't be here much longer -- considering how little they have for me to do most of the time, I'm surprised they've even kept me this long. Not that I'm complaining. It's given me plenty of time to read, and also to work on a little project I've had for awhile, which is to finish transcribing Grandpa Jude's WWI diary. I finished that up today, so if anyone ever wants to read a more legible version of it, let me know and I'll send it to you. I'll get it to Uncle Jim, too, so maybe it'll find its way onto one of the family history CDs at some point.
One of the songs we played at Tina's birthday dance last night was Once Upon a December, from Anastasia, and I woke up with that in my head today. Good waltz, and I think it might be fun to try on the accordion. I also want to do the B minor Chopin waltz I've been learning on piano, but I'm missing one note at the very top, so I have to decide between fudging a few important bits or transposing the whole thing or something. I haven't managed to do any piano for the last several days so I've been accordioning instead, though I can't play for very long before my left arm gets tired from pumping the bellows. I'm glad it's a small accordion at least. Gary said it was one of the most compact ones he'd ever seen. The keys are tiny so it's got a huge range for its size -- from the low G of a fiddle to the E above high C -- and it's got three sets of reeds. The default set is two reeds (musette reeds, I think Gary called them) and you can also switch an octave reed on or off, though not all of those work. I might be able to fix those on my own, having watched Gary do the others. And it's got a 36-button bass. It would be nice to have a diminished chord for the Chopin (not to mention a French 6th) but oh well. Majors and minors will be enough for most things. I wonder what other tunes will be good beginning-accordion tunes? I'll probably just start going through the Peter Barnes Couple-Dance book. I should get myself copies of the little waltz books, too. Those would be good.
Hee hee. Fun evening with surprises for Tina. Sleepy now....

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Happy Birthday Tina!

Monday, February 24, 2003

Looks like I got home from work just in time. The first drops of rain were falling as I walked in the door and now we are having a lovely, booming, flashing thunderstorm. This is most exciting.

Sunday, February 23, 2003

I went over to visit Gary Breitbard today and he helped me fix up Daniel's accordion a little bit so I can play it. We opened it up and mostly just loosened up a bunch of stuck reeds that weren't sounding right. We didn't do much tuning, which is trickier, but it will be good enough. He also gave me a tape and some sheet music with a few cool accordion tunes to learn, so that will be fun. Right now the glue is drying on the key that we stuck back on, so I haven't played it much yet. But I'm looking forward to being able to noodle around with it again.

Last night I went to hear Dr. William Lane Craig speak on "The Historicity of the Resurrection." He's a great speaker and it was really interesting, though not particularly new to me since I had read his chapter in Lee Strobel's book, The Case for Christ. It occurred to me, though, that a good way to sum up the approach of his argument is with a quote from Douglas Adams, of all people: "The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks." That seemed like just a humorous comment the first time I read it, but it makes a lot of sense in this context. You can come up with all sorts of alternative explanations for Jesus' resurrection which are technically possible but so highly improbable that belief in the "impossible" resurrection actually fits the facts much better. [This paragraph now branches into two alternative endings, depending on how sidetracked I want to get: ]
[Dr. Craig ending: ]
Overall, I think I agreed with all of Dr. Craig's points on the resurrection. Even so, it's difficult for me to just up and say "yes, I believe this actually happened." Partly because it is such an "impossible" event, but even more because I have to work out what other beliefs that would imply and how I would be able to accept or otherwise deal with them. That's something I'll have to think about.

[Douglas Adams ending: ]
This is something I really like about Douglas Adam's humor. Not only is it just plain funny, but there's intelligence behind it, too. It's humor you can think about, and yet still find it funny. I love it. I recently discovered a book called The Salmon of Doubt, which is a collection of various writings of his that people put together after he died. I've only read bits of it so far, but I highly recommend it. The introduction contains a short biography, which is also really interesting.

Saturday, February 22, 2003

Happy Birthday Geoff!
Viennese Ball was really good. Here are the pictures, and here is the story:

I went over to campus in the afternoon to meet up with Eric, Chi-en, Justin, Steve and Jenn, and we went to Max's Opera Cafe where we were joined by Gavan, Kristen, Sanghyup, Helen, Michelle, another Eric and a couple more people I hadn't met before and whose names I have unfortunately forgotten. Dinner was excellent -- I had a very delicious Mango Chicken Salad and it was nice spending the time with fun people. Neither Justin nor I wore a dress, though. I got a few dinner photos, but didn't even cover nearly everyone at the table. And I just realized that we didn't hear any singing at the Opera Cafe. Phooey.

Since Tina and Kari couldn't be with us before the ball, Chi-en was their flower delivery person. Justin and I both got beautiful home-made buotonnieres. I got a close-up photo of mine, but not until after the dance, when it was starting to fall apart a bit. It was still lovely, though. I don't know if you'll be able to tell in the photo, but one of the ribbons says "Graham & Tina VB2003." Thank you, Tina.

Luckily, Max's was very close to the Ball, so we managed to arrive in plenty of time to get a good view of the Opening Ceremonies. The performances went quite well -- hooray for all our wonderful friends in Opening Committee! I got a number of pictures of them, but I really need to figure out dance photography sometime, since so many of them come out dark or blurry. Hard to think about, though, when you're trying to watch a performance and take a lot of pictures at the same time. Oh well. I would also like to note that the ballet dancers this year had costumes that actually fit properly, not to mention a significantly less boring choreography. Didn't get any pictures of them, though.

And after the Opening Ceremonies -- the dancing! I had many wonderful dances with my beautiful date -- mostly in the waltz room. I ventured into the swing room a little bit, but swing dancing in a tail coat just feels strange. I was also very happy to get a few dances with Jessica, who doesn't show up to enough dances these days. And I even did one dance with Miriam, which I hadn't done for a long time. Thank you, everybody.

The performance were all excellent, and I think I had friends in each one, except for the ballroom dance team. The Cardinal Whirlwinds, Caitlin's new square dance group, did a neat figure called, I think, the Merry-Go-Round, in which the girls sit on the guys' linked arms and are raised up and down as the circle turns. Very cool. My favorite of the evening, however, was the piece Mike and Lily choreographed for Danse Libre, involving a parasol, a fan, blindfolds, gender switches, and all sorts of amusing things. It was the sort of choreography that would make me want to actually be in a performing group -- almost :-)

Tina and I danced in the waltz competition and completely unintentionally found ourselves in the finals. I never understand why I make it to the finals of competitions. I figure it must have been my lovely partner (thank you, Tina). I dance well, but it's not really a performance style and I don't try to do anything fancy. I suppose that explains why I always seem to get 3rd place, though. And congratulations to Qi and Kari who got 1st place! Good job! And a thank you to Miriam for taking so many pictures while we were dancing.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening and I am very glad I went. Thank you to everyone who was a part of it.

Friday, February 21, 2003

The band last night (Deutsche Musik Verein) had an alpenhorn -- it looked about 10 feet long. When most of the band was taking a break, one of the musicians played it while another accompanied him on piano. He played a few slow tunes and it was really beautiful. I had never heard one of those actually played before. Wow. That may have been the high point of my evening.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Viennese Ball is tomorrow -- wow, so soon. I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be, though. And I know it will be better than it was for me last year. Tonight is Heuriger Abend -- the night-before-dance, with a live band and everything. I'll probably go for a bit, but not stay too late, since I'll be up really late tomorrow. Pity that the night-before dance has to be the night before. Some year they should move it up a day and have a Heuriger-Heuriger Abend (I don't know German -- does that work?). Tomorrow I'm getting off work early to get all tuxed up and meet a bunch of people over at campus to go to dinner. By virtue of being Tina's date I get to go to dinner with a bunch of Testimony people, at Max's Opera Cafe. Tina and Kari will, of course, be madly preparing for their Opening performance, so they decided Justin and I will have to be each other's dinner dates. That's fine, I like Justin, but one or the other of us is going to look awfully silly in a dress and I sure hope it's not me ;-) It'll be interesting going to Viennese Ball and not being in Opening Committee for the first time. The actual performing was always kind of neat, but I don't really miss all the rehearsing and stress. I wonder if I'll try and do the waltz competition again? I wonder if I'll manage to keep dancing all the way until 2 a.m.? I wonder if Brassworks will have their act together this year? I suppose I should quit wondering what it's all going to be like and just wait to find out, but it's about the biggest thing on my mind right now. Things are so different for me now than in the last two years that it's almost like going for the first time, even though I've been twice before.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Oh golly I got too many books at the library today. I hardly know where to start. Sure is nice never to lack reading material, though. Thoreau's journal alone (vol. 2) is almost 1800 12x8 inch pages of small print. It's immense. I'm not planning on reading all of it, though. I also got a couple more Douglas Adams books, a couple books on journal writing, and some stories by Borges. And then there are the books I'm already reading.... oh well. Yay for being rich in books.
Thelma y Cristiana están ayudandome practicar Español, aquí en la biblioteca. Es un poco difícil :-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

I'm feeling rather better now. I had a fairly unhappy weekend. Not so much a Valentine's Day thing by itself as just an overall buildup of several things, including general February unhappiness and letting myself get depressed and lonely. Jammix was on Friday, but I wasn't feeling very dancy. It seems lately that I don't really dance so well anymore, like I've been going gradually downhill over the last several months or year. Sigh. But I went to the Austria week cross-step lesson last night anyway, since cross-step is my favorite dance. The little room in Roble was completely packed so I ended up out in the hall giving private lessons to a few different couples and that was really fun. I like teaching and there was one couple that was catching on really amazingly fast, even though neither of them had danced a whole lot before. It's very gratifying to have happy students who learn quickly.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

The full moon is absolutely beautiful tonight, and it had an enormous halo until the mist cleared away. Now it's just shining so brightly that the whole sky still looks blue.

That's all I really feel like posting about right now. This hasn't been much of a weekend for me. But the moon is nice.

Friday, February 14, 2003

Last night I went to a talk by Dr. Alvin Plantinga called "Evolution vs. Atheism." The overall point of it was that if you believe in naturalism and evolutionary theory, then you cannot consider your beliefs reliable (since you can't say that we've necessarily evolved to have true beliefs), therefore this position is irrational. (Side note: I didn't get his distinction between naturalism and atheism. Why is naturalism like "high octance atheism"? Can any of you philosophy types out there explain that for me?) As far as I could tell, theism doesn't have this problem because it includes the assumption that God created us to have correct beliefs (very convenient if you're a theist, less than convincing if you're not). Otherwise he could just as easily have proved the same thing about it. The part of his argument I had the most trouble with, though, was his claim that false beliefs can produce adaptive behavior as well as true beliefs. I can still think of too many reasons against that. So anyway, this didn't produce any earth-shaking changes in my beliefs (not that I expected it to) but it was an interesting thing to think about for a while. Maybe I'll go back and re-read the notes to see if I can figure out what the false belief / adaptive behavior bit was all about.

Other issues that came up for me: How would we ever be able to tell our beliefs are true anyway, since there's no way to get information that doesn't involve belief? What would it really mean for them to be true? How important is it that our beliefs are true as long as they work and are consistent? Is there any point in talking about the truth of our beliefs? It all just seems to get so circular. Aack -- uncomfortable memories of Phil 184 are surfacing. I think I'll just let it all go.

Oh, one other thing: I went to the talk with Tina and a few other Testimony people, and apparently some sort of Testimony-ness is rubbing off on me. Justin introduced me to one of their sopranos I hadn't met before, and the first thing she said to me was "What year where you in it?" Somewhat amusing :-)
Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Watching Whose Line helps a bit. Laughing is good.
So it looks like the London trip probably isn't going to happen, which is pretty disappointing. We almost had a really good little group of people to all go together, but some of them are apparently deciding against it now. Darn it. And I had just decided I wanted to go and could afford it, and I was starting to get really excited about it. Yesterday I wouldn't have minded so much, since I was still wavering a lot on the whole idea. I'm just sad because I don't really feel like I've ever been abroad. Peru was long enough ago and I was young enough that it doesn't seem to count anymore. And that was a pretty sheltered little trip, for a bunch of junior high kids. I know that I'm really much more of a homebody at heart, rather than a travelling type, but this is still something I've really felt a lack of in my life. And I finally got myself geared up to go somewhere but now it's not going to happen, so it's a bit of a let-down. I don't want to go on my own, though. Oh well. Don't mind me, I'm just unhappy right now.
Ha ha. People here even have Google umbrellas. White with colored polka dots and "Google" written all over. I think it's hilarious.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

British Airways is offering round trip flights to London for $198. Wow. I think that's less than I paid for my last flight to San Diego. Tina might be getting a group of people to go there with her over Spring Break, before she goes to Spain. I've always wanted to go to England. Hmm. Decisions decisions. And the offer expires in two days.
I talked to my supervisor at work today about how much longer I'd be working there and she said she'd like to have me around for "at least a couple more weeks." So that should be good.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Here are a few pictures from last night at Monee and Pa's with Greg.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

I went and got measured for my tails today. This is a picture of the style I'm getting, except I'll have a dark blue vest and bowtie, so it'll be a bit more interesting than just black and white.

Miriam and I went to the last hour or so of Opening rehearsal today to watch and give comments and suggestions, since the Ball is less than two weeks away now. Then we went over to Lag with Qi, Tina, Jeremy, Sherman, Brian and some other dancers. I don't really miss dorm food, but brunch has always been my favorite meal and it was kind of fun to go to a post-rehearsal brunch with people again. We had a long discussion about the choreographies over our pancakes and eggs and whatnot but gradually left the table behind entirely to explain and demonstrate various steps (luckily the dining hall was starting to clear out a bit by then).

I'm heading over to Rossmoor soon. Greg is visiting at Monee and Pa's for the weekend, so I'm going up there to see them and Mom. I'll be coming back after dinner but I don't know yet if I'll feel like heading to the contradance or not. FNW was fun last night, by the way. I had a couple really nice dances as a follow -- a waltz with Borden and a swing with Kari. And then the fun zweifacher with Annaka, of course, with whom I also did a swing containing a surprise polka. And the usual lovely last waltzes with Tina. Thank you, everyone!
I actually have the zweifacher from last night's dance stuck in my head.

Friday, February 07, 2003

This is not the most exciting job, here in Google's legal department, but it could be worse. I did the stuff I was initially hired for and now I think I'm just being kept around for a few weeks to do any random things that the people doing "real work" don't feel like bothering with. Scanning, filing, mailing, whatever. But they're paying me (and feeding me!) for a while -- both better than at my last job -- so it's not too bad. There's a fair amount of down-time, so I can do other stuff, too (like writing on my blog). I don't know how much longer I'll be here, but I think it's at least through next week.

At lunch I finished reading The Mothman Prophecies, by John A. Keel, which was very interesting. I like a good dose of the paranormal once in a while, and this was cool because of the view it offered of the connections and relationships between different phenomena. There's a lot of really strange stuff in this world.

Tonight, Opening Committee is doing their pre-performance at the Pavilion dance. Good luck to all my friends in that group! I won't be there though, since it's conflicting with Friday Night Waltz (which I vastly prefer to the Pavilion) and I'll get to see them all dance at Viennese Ball anyway. Tomorrow I'm going to pick out my tux for the Ball. Okay, tails, since I know certain people out there are picky about that distinction, but I just call everything a tux. Tails are more fun, though. They fly around when you dance, but in a less dangerous way than Lacey's braids. Hmm. I tend to forget that she cut her hair when she's not around. But I guess it'll grow back to it's more lethal length soon enough.

Anyway, there's actually stuff I'm supposed to be doing right now, so it's back to work for me.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

We have DSL again! Yipee! Happy happy happy..... life is good again. Well, I guess life itself wasn't necessarily bad, just that part was really annoying for a while.
So, for any of you who may happen to be wondering about the precise shape of a crocodile, here is a handy proof (courtesy of a CS 221 study session a few years ago) for showing that these amazing creatures are indeed longer than they are wide:

  1. Crocodiles are greener than they are wide, since they are green along their length and width, but only wide in one direction.

  2. They are longer than they are green, since they are long from the top and from the bottom, but only green on the top.

  3. Therefore, by transitivity of inequality, crocodiles are longer than they are wide.
    (width < greenness < length => width < length)


Wednesday, February 05, 2003

I'm at the Menlo Park library tonight, seeing as how it's Wednesday. Alice, one of the ladies in the Project Read office, told me that it's looking like they will actually have a surprising amount of budget money to use up soon. So they're thinking about hiring someone part time for a few months to be a general computer-lab person, kind of like what I'm doing as a volunteer now, plus other random library tasks. It would actually pay considerably more than my current temp jobs, so part-time could conceivably work out for a while, plus I'd have a foot in the door already for getting the job since they all know me and probably wouldn't bother advertising it. So that's kind of exciting. It would be fun to work in a library for a while. We'll see how that all plays out.
So now we have everything set up for the DSL and the blasted thing still won't work. I was all ready to forgive Earthlink, too, since the other delay turned out to be UPS's fault. But Daniel spent half the day on tech support today and they still can't get us online. I don't know what's going on. Argh.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Apparently this is a direct quote from the 5th Harry Potter book, due out in June:

"Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. 'It is time,' he said 'for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.'"

The UPS tracking webpage says our new DSL equipment is arriving today. So the 2nd-Day-Air service has taken almost a week, but the end is in sight. Or the modem is, at least. Oh, the excitement!

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Well, I'm still muddling along in the Land of the Disconnected. The new DSL stuff should have arrived Friday, but by now it's looking like it'll be at least Monday. Very frustrating. I'm posting from the library again. Anyway, there's more interesting stuph to write about....

I went to the Bon Bon Ball on Friday night. Lagunita dining Hall isn't the greatest place to dance (an oblong, slippery floor covered with lots of beginners) but it was still fairly fun. The lovely Tina Wong has graciously agreed to be my date to the Viennese Ball. Lucky me. I skipped the Swing Kids dance last night. I'm sure it was fun, but I felt like having more of a quiet evening. Instead, I watched Summer Stock, a Gene Kelly movie I hadn't seen before. I particularly liked the bit where he was dancing on newspapers and squeeky floorboards for sound effects. That was a really cute scene.

I also got to talk with Quena last night. She's TA-ing a dance class at Davis and passing on some of the dance limericks I wrote for a dance class essay a couple years ago. She said they're doing hustle now, so she told everyone my hustle limerick. I'll put it here simply because I amuse myself:

The hustle, as a dance, isn't funny,
Except when one hops like a bunny.
I simply can't stand
To see a one-two-three-AND --
It just makes my insides all runny.

And as for today -- Happy Candlemas! Mom and Jim and Lacey and I used to decorate candles at Candlemas, cutting out strips of colored wax to put on them. We'd cover them with pictures of the past year, or things to look forward to for the next year, or just random stuff. I haven't done that for a few years, but I kind of miss it. I can burn my spiffy colored drip candle today, though. I got some new candles from Monee and I found a bigger, better bottle to put them in and drip them onto.