actuality.log


All entries tagged 'filler'

Thursday, December the 17th, 2009
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Just to be clear, I’ve been thinking about some silly fun things too. Like how one goes about solving interesting equations on weird domains!

Poisson's equation on a four-twisted Mobius strip

Saturday, August the 29th, 2009
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I’ve been spending a lot of time fixing up the journal lately. This effort has been two-pronged: refreshing the design and cleaning up archival content. The first of these wasn’t as painful as I initially anticipated, and I am pleased to report that the new implementation of the design is nearly complete. The second front, however, has proved to be far more challenging. I think I just may have bitten off more than I can chew.

The plan seemed simple enough in my head: Systematically go through, catalogue and clean up earlier content. What I didn’t factor in is how much the web has evolved over the seven or so years this journal has existed. Broken links, antiquated markup and bad writing ooze from every corner in the dark recesses of this place. The question is, is all that revolting enough to make me stop trying? I hope to answer this question with an emphatic no in a few months.

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Tuesday, February the 3rd, 2009
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A couple of weeks ago, I sat down to chop up a couple of chapters of my PhD thesis into bite-size chunks so they could work their way into scientific journals. I ended up making this instead:

Research fish

A sampling of the 150 most-frequently occurring uncommon words in my PhD thesis.

Sunday, February the 1st, 2009
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If you’re still here to read this after my long hiatus, I have to commend you for being a loyal reader. So hello and welcome back, loyal reader! I hope you had a reasonably pleasant transition to the new year—amidst the higgledy-piggledy sky-is-falling-isms brought about by the crumbling ponziconomy.

I know it’s been a while, but I haven’t had very much to bitch and moan about recently. It turns out I only seem to be able to write of my own accord when I’m seriously depressed, and unfortunately, life of late has been pretty good. Also, without consciously realising it, I seem to have enacted some sort of unofficial policy across the journals. Entries over ~250 words wind up on a.l. Entries under 140 characters get posted to µ.a.l. Everything else (the vast majority of the content) ends up in limbo—unless they’re greatly condensed or expanded upon (which never happens). I realise I have to break this non-rule and find a better way of integrating both these streams into a unified consumption experience.™

While I am on the topic of not writing, I might as well point something else out. During the relaxing weeks of downtime around the new year, I started working on a very dark book. I was able to concoct a basic storyline and envision the primary characters, but since I wasn’t in a very dark place emotionally, I didn’t make much progress. At the beginning of the holidays, I tried to artificially force myself into that state by contemplating the merits of suicide. I didn’t get very far on that front either. Damn.

Anyway, the purpose of this entry isn’t to convey any real news, but to (vaguely explain-away and) proclaim that the hiatus has officially ended, and you can look forward to regular updates over the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October the 12th, 2008

So much for writing more regularly. You wouldn’t believe how many pieces of paper I’ve lost to random rants soon devolving into even more random doodles.

Anyway, you know you’ve become really old when you only remember its your own birthday after someone else wishes you. Fuck.

Saturday, September the 20th, 2008
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I’ve been paying way too much attention to U.S. politics; even more so I think than when I was in America. It’s just that the presidential race has been way too much fun to ignore. And here’s what I think is going to happen:

Faux electoral college map

At least, until the rumours that Barack Obama fathered a white baby out of wedlock begin to circulate.

Tuesday, May the 27th, 2008

A starving scientist marrying a starving artist doesn’t make much business sense. It makes good economic-compatibility sense, but not so much business sense.

Hmm.

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Monday, May the 19th, 2008
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Like I was saying, I’ve resumed working at the uni over these past weeks. And by “work,” I mean futz around with math and stuff.

Cahn-Hilliard equation solution

But, as amusing as it is, I hope that the European travel bureaucracy gets sorted out soon.

Tuesday, January the 22nd, 2008

This isn’t something I wanted to bring up on the journal, but I’m going to anyway because I’ve been starved for content.

My computer behaved splendidly for the better part of the last year-and-a-half. Through the many drops and liquid spills and exposures to frigid colds, it’s been my steady workhorse allowing me to get a lot of work done. With it, I’ve actually managed to wrap up my grad school research and compose my entire dissertation over numerous tireless nights.

But recently, it’s all been going awry.

A couple of months ago, shortly after the release of Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), I installed it on my laptop replacing the venerable OS that preceded it, Tiger. And that, as far as I can tell, was the beginning of the end. You see, one of the hallmarks of my computer was how stable it was. No matter how much abuse it was put through, I could go without rebooting it for weeks, and every time I closed its lid amidst working on something tedious, it would cleanly suspend and resume to exactly how it was when I later opened the lid prepared to continue working.

That was the story with Tiger.

With Leopard, these uptimes dropped from weeks to hours, and suspend-and-resume was now about as pleasant as tugging in the wrong direction after getting a pube stuck on your foreskin. At one point, I became so paranoid about losing work that I stopped suspending it entirely. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it’s a huge deal for me, as I like to work when I want to work—not when my computer intends on cooperating with me.

A self portrait using the MBP

But hey, its web-cam still works wonders!

There is a lot more to this story, which does get worse—like the primary programs I need for research don’t compile or work on it for esoteric reasons—but I shan’t bore you with the details. I’ll just leave you with my forced realisation that moving to Leopard was a dumb move.

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Monday, December the 31st, 2007
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I have a feeling that the next year will turn out better than the current one.

But that’s probably just because I can’t yet see how it could be any worse.

I know you’re glad that you’re not I.

Friday, December the 21st, 2007

Spending time with the family doesn’t just mean lengthy conversations about life, the universe and everything; it also means cooing over ancient pictures of tots!

A picture of me when I was little

Saturday, November the 17th, 2007

(Life news will resume when I know more. In the meantime…)

The past couple of years have witnessed my steady transition toward the dark side, and I believe that journey was completed yesterday. After voluntarily forking over wads of cash to the pimpled girl behind the counter, I picked up my new macawsex disc:

A picture of the Mac OS X Leopard box

And, since we’re talking about evil things, you might be disenchanted to hear that over the past few months, this journal (as well as its sister sites) have been entirely self-supported through advertising. (A cookie for anyone who finds one!)

Upholding principles and leading an upstanding life is only for those who are otherwise happy and contended in their lives. If you aren’t, all bets are off.

(Honestly, I have had life news. It’s just that I don’t have access to my notes as I’ve not been at home for the past couple of days; and I am in no mood to concoct solemn entries from scratch.)

Sunday, November the 4th, 2007

Around the birthday+finishingupPhD period, I bought myself a slick lens. This optical wonder is fast, sharp and great for portraiture. I’ve been using it quite regularly over these past few days (explains my avoidance of the interwebs), and also managed to snag a few photos from a uni event.

Friday, November the 2nd, 2007

Read. Moved.

Perhaps the direction my life ought to take is not so unclear.

Wednesday, October the 31st, 2007

More often than not, the people around me tend to get very defensive when I point out their infractions of the rules of the English language. What they don’t realise is that I’m not aiming to berate them; I’m just trying to help them by dragging them (kicking and screaming if need be) into civility.

I wish I had known about this as a younger lad, but there are those who have turned this into a profitable enterprise. Meet the professional pompous pedant [5.5 MB, MP3]. Now that’s a real career.

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1 people conned into wasting their bandwidth.