Wednesday, August 23, 2006

BAHBC: Days 4-7

Living in the Real World:

Day 4: Happily interacted with people (including '10ers and their parents) at Kristen's house for the IL Olin gathering. Oh, it was good to see them.

Day 5: Went to church. Had discussion with father about going to church (or rather, how I don't). Realized that I am quite unable to give a good rational explanation for why I do not go to church, but don't think the rational reasons my father put forth for it were sufficient.

Day 6: Was taken to father's office for No Apparent Reason while mom talked to the office IT about fixing her broken Dell laptop. Read outside. Got bored. Examined all external wiring, tubing, pumps, and parking layouts. Read more. Got bored. Tried to climb silo (Do Not Climb sign: no, ladder: yes, platform: yes, railing: yes, height: 10 feet) to get a more comfortable seat and a more interesting vantage point. Apparently this was not a good thing to do, a point driven home by a hysterical mother-lecture about growing up properly and 3 hours of glowering (her, not me). Interacted with non-library world primarily through the computer thereafter. Bad Mel.

Day 7: Da Vinci museum exhibit followed by my first stop to the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. Appreciation of that stuffed spinach pizza alone... gosh. You haven't tasted pizza until you've had it in Italy and in Chicago's original Pizzeria Uno. (Warning: one slice == stuffed to the gills.)

Random stranger:

Day 4: Thanks to the IL Olin picnic, much random-stranger talking ensued.

Day 5-7: Whee. At least not in person. I'm bad at this.

Nontechnical book(s):

  • 2 books on vegetarian diets, whose titles I am too lazy to walk over and look up. Being vegetarian - really, pseudovegetarian - around my mother is impossible. Multiple hourlong (not kidding) "not eating the food I take so much time to prepare for you and how can you selfishly break apart the togetherness of this family" tirade impossible. I'm just too tired to fight this right now, so I ate the freakin' fish and turkey.
  • Chomsky on Miseducation. Fantastic writer. Very good at twisting your brain around in circles. Must read more Chomsky.
  • Hart's Hope by Orson Scott Card, whose prose I admire for its vivid descriptions of strange things as if they were utterly normal.
  • More on qigong.
  • An essay by Richard Hamming entitled "You and your Research," which I recommend to all researchers who dream of greatness. This part especially:

What Bode was saying was this: "Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.'' Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former. The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity - it is very much like compound interest. I don't want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate. Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime.


Technical book(s): Got sidetracked from Learning Python (one... massive... section... left...) by Head-First Java. Must try to learn one language at a time.

Productivity: FWOSCOPE proposal finished, SWE webpage mocked up, Bootstrap project pretty much finalized, Bridge program writeup section sent, new Beethoven sonata learned. Not too bad.

Final grade for the day: Overall, pretty dismal for days 4-7. Somehow I get the feeling other hackers have much more supportive - or at least permissive - families than this. Home is great, but this house is totally not hacker-friendly.

2 comments:

Ben S. said...

What is this Bootstrap Project?

Mel said...

Bootstrap is a rapid prototyping product design experiment that Eric the M and I are trying out in the fall. During Bootstrap crunches, we'll be going from concept to product prototype in the span of one intense weekend, trying to learn how design firms do their thing by giving it a shot ourselves.