Sunday, July 31, 2005

What Lab Work is Like

"Dr. X and his assistants would gather around whichever subsystem was believed to be farthest out of line and shout at each other in a mixture of Shanghainese, Mandarin, and technical English for a while. Therapies administered included but were not limited to: turning things off, then on again; picking them up a couple of inches and then dropping them; turning off nonessential appliances in this and other rooms; removing lids and wiggling circuit boards; extracting small contaminants, such as insects and their egg cases, with nonconducting chopsticks [Ken actually did have an insect in his vacuum once. It was freeze dried by the time they found it] cable-wiggling; incense-burning; putting folded-up pieces of paper beneath table legs; drinking tea and sulking; invoking unseen powers; sending runners to other rooms, buildings, or precincts with exquisitely calligraphed notes and waiting for them to come back carrying spare parts in dusty, yellowed cardboard boxes; and a similarly diverse suite of troubleshooting techniques in the realm of software. Much of this performance seemed to be genuine, the rest merely for Hackworth's consumption, presumably laying the groundwork for a renegotiation of the deal."

-The Diamond Age, "Hackworth in the Hong of Dr. X"

Neal Stephenson is clearly a man who knows.

I also meant to post a link to Google Moon as long as we were mapping... Make sure to try zooming in. Today, the moon, tomorrow, the whole solar system.

And that's it. The next post here will either be from an internet cafe in a country with funny symbols on its keyboards, or will be at the end of August.

Quick Links

I've still got one more post I want to get to (a quote from the copy of Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, which Ken's dad lent me) but real quick:

Multimap is a great thing to know about if you have just decided to drive through Europe instead of taking the train, on account of it's cheaper and you can bring more camping gear and take more day trips. Man, we are going to get so lost.

Mental Multivitamin a blog I just discovered through Jaquandor, has Sydney J. Harris quotes. Since the archive of his essays I linked to once has vanished (I'm glad I had transcribed the one we used at our wedding) the quotes may be the only sample you can find.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

July Poem

August Moonrise
by Sara Teasdale

The sun was gone, and the moon was coming
Over the blue Connecticut hills;
The west was rosy, the east was flushed,
And over my head the swallows rushed
This way and that, with changeful wills.

I heard them twitter and watched them dart
Now together and now apart
Like dark petals blown from a tree;
The maples stamped against the west
Were black and stately and full of rest,

And the hazy orange moon grew up
And slowly changed to yellow gold
While the hills were darkened, fold on fold
To a deeper blue than a flower could hold.

Down the hill I went, and then
I forgot the ways of men,
For night-scents, heady, and damp and cool
Wakened ecstasy in me
On the brink of a shining pool.

O Beauty, out of many a cup
You have made me drunk and wild
Ever since I was a child,
But when have I been sure as now
That no bitterness can bend
And no sorrow wholly bow
One who loves you to the end?
And though I must give my breath
And my laughter all to death,
And my eyes through which joy came,

And my heart, a wavering flame;
If all must leave me and go back
Along a blind and fearful track
So that you can make anew,
Fusing with intenser fire,
Something nearer your desire;

If my soul must go alone
Through a cold infinity,
Or even if it vanish, too,
Beauty, I have worshipped you.

Let this single hour atone
For the theft of all of me.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Temporarily Back

Just got back from camping in Wisconsin, to test our equipment and abilities, before camping for half our trip in Europe. It rained. Better than 104 degrees in Chicago. Too tired to type much. Have a couple of posts I'll try to put up before what will probably be a month long hiatus.

Cubs are leading the Cardinals by one run in the 9th -- fasten your seatbelts! The series is tied.

Ken says eventually, instead of calling the game, the announcers will just read a list of sponsors. If Walgreens just donated a hundred dollars to JDRF's walkathon, a Cub was just walked. If Chevrolet made a donation, they got a home run. If All State did, then it was an "insurance run." And if Jiffy Lube promises you a quick oil change, it was a pitching change. But currently, no one sponsors strike-outs.

Two down...

Two strikes, no balls...

Walk -- And he steals second on a bang-bang play! (Bad call? I don't know, it's radio.)

Base hit -- play at the plate -- safe? Tie game.

Another hit, another full count, out at first. Extra innings. Too much drama for me. And now it could go for a while.


Bases full of Cubs, top of the tenth...

Barret strikes out, two down...

AND Chevrolet is going to make a big, big, big, BIG! donation to WGN's neediest kids fund -

- Neifi Perez grand slam!

Okay, enough with the live blogging. If we don't win now, I'm not going to want to talk about it. Look up the score yourselves.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Buckminster Fuller Quotes

"There is something patently insane about all the typewriters sleeping with all the beautiful plumbing in the beautiful office buildings —and all the people sleeping in the slums."

"I set about fifty-five years ago (1927) to see what a penniless, unknown human individual with a dependent wife and newborn child might be able to do effectively on behalf of all humanity…"

"I do not look upon human beings as good or bad. I don't think of my feet as a right foot and a wrong foot."

"The physical is inherently entropic, giving off energy in ever more disorderly ways. The metaphysical is antientropic, methodically marshalling energy. Life is antientropic. It is spontaneously inquisitive. It sorts out and endeavors to understand."

"Every time man makes a new experiment he always learns more. He cannot learn less."

"Dare to be naïve."


"People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things."

"I am convinced all of humanity is born with more gifts than we know. Most are born geniuses and just get de-geniused rapidly."

"Parents are usually more careful to bestow knowledge on their children rather than virtue, the art of speaking well rather than doing well; but their manners should be of the greatest concern."

"I look for what needs to be done. After all, that's how the universe designs itself."

"I'm not a genius. I'm just a tremendous bundle of experience."

"Let architects sing
of aesthetics that bring
Rich clients in hordes to their knees;
Just give me a home,
in a great circle dome
Where stresses and strains are at ease."

"By 2000, politics will simply fade away. We will not see any political parties."


"A self-balancing, 28-jointed adaptor-based biped; an electro-chemical reduction plant, integral with segregated stowages of special energy extracts in storage batteries, for subsequent actuation of thousands of hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, with motors attached; 62,000 miles of capillaries..."

"Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences - "which is the mostest? which is the leastest?" They smell, taste, bite, and touch-test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness: the heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart."

"I think I am a verb."


"We have a habit in writing articles published in scientific journals to make the work as finished as possible, to cover up all the tracks, to not worry about the blind alleys or describe how you had the wrong idea at first, and so on. So there isn't any place to publish, in a dignified manner, what you actually did in order to get to do the work."


"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."

(Lots of sources. Any of these may be apocryphal though; I didn't check attributions.)

Books online at the Buckminster Fuller Institute

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Thank You

I want to thank everyone, especially Ken's parents, who had to fly a thousand miles or so each, and my parents, who paid for the dress, the flowers, the reception afterwards, our plane tickets, and a night at a hotel that I'm surprised even lets people like us in. As if that weren't enough, both sets of parents gave us money too, and Ken's dad is buying plane tickets for the honeymoon.

To my talented sister and brother: without you, we couldn't have done this. I'm saving the rest of my mushiness for the real thank-you notes, but Becca, you were the best maid of honor I could have imagined, and Patrick, I owe you big time.

Michael, you made a great best man. Ken's probably told you how much it meant to him that you came, but I want you to know how much it meant to me. It wouldn't have been much of a party if you weren't there.

Thanks to Dayton for doing the flowers, and to Dean Tollefson for a wonderful service.

For anyone who wants to know, our readings are here, here, and here. Becca took the picture of us above, which is one of our favorites. (I'd put up more of hers, except I'm still wary about having too many pictures on the internet which identify me.)

And Ken, I want to thank you most of all. But I'm not going to do that over a blog.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Life and Death

How can I post about my own happy problems when everyone else is writing about what happened in London? Then again, how can I write about what happened in London? With all the talking heads on the news going 24/7, telling us to be afraid, very afraid... I want no part of that.

Here are a couple of posts by people who are not trying to scare you: Theresa Nielsen Hayden (who is from New York, and knows whereof she speaks) and Andy Nelson (who links to another site, in a much more positive spirit).

As for my happy problems: we have arranged everything there is to arrange. I've hugged a lot of family members, and Ken's learned a lot of names. All that remains is to get everyone (all six guests, and our two attendents) to to the site, and say the magic words.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Made It

We survived the trip to Colorado, tuxedo intact. I haven't tried on my dress yet, but it's waiting for me upstairs. Can't find my parents' USB camera cable either, but I'm going to download those pictures if I have to go buy a new one, even. Need the camera space.

I think I'm going to stick to these little life updates for the next little while, instead of trying for essays or hunting for links. Boring, I know, but I don't want the blog to go dead. Life updates are both filler material and an excuse for not writing other stuff. See, busy! Besides, if there was ever any time my life was going to be interesting to read about, it would be now.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ooh, Skyflowers

Fireworks -- Ooh, Ah. Will post pictures when I find my USB cable.

George A. Romero movies -- gory and clever.

Work -- stressful.

Getting married a week from tomorrow -- finally!

Blogging -- hard.