August 12th, 2005

leaves

some answers // memeage

I'll get to all of them eventually, here are two:
What do you do at work on a typical day?
hrmm.. check LJ.. read web-comics.. cruise random interesting pages from del.icio.us or MeFi.. oh, you meant what *work* do I do? ahhh. hehe..
I fix computers. My job title actually has some rather impressive fancy words in it, but the reality of the situation is that if something happens or needs to happen, and it involves computers in any way (seriously, *any* involvement of computers at all), people call me if they either need help doing it or are simply too lazy to do it themselves (I shit you not, I've had to carry computers from one room to the other and dust off the space behind a desk where it was to be going -- nothing technical involved, just physically moving the computer and smashing dust-bunnies). This covers things ranging from helping people decide which computer they want/need/can afford, to installing software and training them how to use it, to moving all their data from the old system over to the new one, and on.. I evaluate older systems for appropriateness of use in future applications, I debug system errors with systems currently in use and try to squeeze as much efficency out of them. I also take care of scavenging any usefull parts of systems before they get junked and manage marking off systems that are to be recycled or surplussed. I set up and maintain a few servers, I help maintain a few others, I help debug network problems and help to predict network/server usage/need over the comming years. I also have a few committies that I'm on where I meet with other folk around campus in similar positions to mine where we discuss campus-wide issues and essencially do the same thing we normally do, but on a university-wide level instead of only looking at our individual colleges.
And all this has happened over this past week. :) Fortunately I'm not alone. I have one co-worker and we have about 4 student assistants.
so, yeah, I work with computers in the beautifully vague area known as "IT".

Do you get excited about math or science? Is it an interest you like to share with others?
I truly do love math. I'd have to, to be torturing myself like this. :) Not many people enroll in an graduate program in Mathematics if they don't somehow love it. Science I'm fascinated by, but not so much as I feel scientists often ignore far too much and they try to reduce things beyond what is reasonable. I am highly energised by math and I love to try and share this with everyone. It's something of a crusade of mine, actually, to attempt to share what I percieve to be true math with everyone I meet. Far too many people either dislike or fear math, when I feel they don't even know what math is. And no, this isn't just like the guys that say "if you don't like sex, then you haven't been with the right man". The way I see it, numbers have nothing to do with math. Most people only get through the basic high-school "math" requirements and perhaps take a simple "Algebra1" course in college, but then stop saying that they "hate math". Sorry, but those classes have nothing at all to do with what Mathematics is truly about. Mathematics is about patterns. Mathematics the language of the spheres, not just a bunch of dizzying equations describing when X or Y may or may not be equal to Z. Mathematics is the art of considering a topic, and comming to a conclusion based on nothing other than intuition and reason. Mathematics is learning that if you need Foo before you can do Baz, then you better not try doing Baz without first ensuring that you have Foo (a simple enough concept, but one that I notice far too many people lack understanding of).
In all, Mathematics is the art of describing the world and perceiving the workings of what we perceive about us. It is not just something I have a fondness for, it is (and has been for half my life) a passion that keeps me waking up in the morning. I take every opportunity to discuss Mathematical ideas with people. On the Light Rail (public transportation) on the way home from work, in the grocery store looking at tomatoes, during a pizza party while half-drunk. Math is everywhere around us and I try to get people to forget all that boring shit about "a squared plus b squared" and open their eyes to the relationship between a point, a circle, and a sphere. Or how many more points there are in a line than a circle, or a line and the plane. How the leaves along a branch of a tree allways grow in a spiral, and that spiral is the exact same for every member of a species, and how all the species of tree (all plants, in fact) use a spiral that approximates a certain particular spiral. Simple concepts, nothing that requires more than about 5 minutes of thought and certainly nothing that requires any formal mathematical training, but enough to hopefully open people's eyes to the fact that there is far more to math than what they've been exposed to -- and none of it is hard to understand.
Well, I suppose it could be inferred from the length my my answer that yes, I am a bit excited about math. I don't like the way it's taught (or, rather, not taught) at the lower levels and I feel it is simple enough for anyone to understand. I'm sort of considering trying to put together some mini-lessons.. introductions to various areas of math, assuming no background knowledge, and helping to open up people's eyes to "what it's all about". This is something I'd like to eventually do, but nothing I'm spending much time on unfortunately.
motivational

more disclosure // memeage

What do you least like about yourself?
hrmmmm.. I've got quite the list of items to choose from, it'll be tough to come up with a *least* liked... My solitary streak is certainly up on the list. I would so like to be able to maintain a relationship, but I just can't stand to be around someone that closely for very long. I know this causes problems in any intimate setting, but I'm not entirely certain how to work on it. Of course, for right now it's actually a strength so I'm not trying to do anything about it. Perhaps when I'm done with the MA and have more time to devote to it, I'll look at it.
My memory is another thing I'm not terribly fond of. Sure, it's kinda amusing at times, how I forget everything, but overall it is so fscking annoying never being able to recall anything with *ANY* certainty at all. I can't trust that I did anything, I can't remember names, numbers, or appointments at all, so I'm perpetually worrying if I'm forgetting something I'm supposed to be doing. If it doesn't get written down, I don't remember it. If it does get written down, I forget to check the paper and it still doesn't get done. quite annoying, that.
hrmm.. I still have a tendancy to carry things much further than I should. Sometimes I set the girl down at the riverbank, sometimes I take her piggy-backing for miles... but I am getting better at noticing when I'm doing that and I can set her down quickly at that point, so it's not a big problem.
So yeah, I don't really have a *least* liked thing, but there are a few of the leaders in that race.

Any specific reason you started attaching things to that hat? And what were they all?
I liked the way they looked. It started with a few small buttons for various noise bands or events I went to, but they quickly began to encircle the hat, so I switched to a ribbon and just one button. Currently, (well, currently it's at nothing as it is on loan sans decorations but when I get it back) it is at a small group of feathers (came with it and I think they are purdy), a noisefest button, the Stetson pin that came with it (holding in the feathers), and a purple-blue-ish ribbon. I like to decorate the hat as, nice though it is, I like the way it looks and it's fun to sometimes take off the hat and fidget with the ribbon or feathers a bit.

Are you happy with the direction your life is going? Explain.
I've had to learn a lot of patience with the direction my life is heading right now. I'm vaguely along the same path I wanted to be on a decade ago, though the rate at which I'm traveling that path has significantly decreased from that which I had initially planned on. I suppose this comes with age, and an appreciation for the process that I hadn't previously had. I've taken a detour or two, but they were enjoyable and I wouldn't trade the experiances for anything. It's like I've merged off the highway and am instead meandering along side-streets. I'll still get there, but I'm in no hurry and I'm just enjoying the journey.
And that's how I like it now. Some long-term goals I hope to acheive eventually, but I'll not be overly upset if it doesn't come to pass as I've chosen to focus on the process and just enjoy getting there.
So, in a roundabout way of answering your question, yes.

anything you'd like to know about me?
yes.

Why so shy about pictures?
Though I can't give a complete history, I can say that at one point (call it 15 years ago) I had a severe phobia/hatred of having my picture taken. cause unknown, as I don't remember ever being any other way. It was quite impressive, though, in it's impact on my life. I've since worked on it and can now have my picture taken without much stress, but I still am not overly fond of it. So, call it a recovering photophobia. I'll not complain much if someone wants to take my picture, but I won't volunteer for it and I often try to position myself so group photos don't include me.
Part of it's probably linked to my dislike for recognition of any kind. I don't accept awards, I don't like getting "job well done" gifts or cards, I have refused being listed in programs for productions I've worked on. Just let me do my work and leave me alone and I'm perfectly happy with that. Let me know if I fuck something up, of course, but if it's working and getting done as you want then just leave me be and that's all I ask. So perhaps the photo thing grew out of that? kind of another method of acknowledging that I was there, that I was a part of something? I dunno..
As for why don't I post more self-portaits, that one's far more simple. They suck. I'm extremely particular about my own photography (far more so than my skill offers me any right to be), and though I've taken hundreds of self-portaits I feel that most of them suck and often they don't even make it out of the camera (ah the joys of digital). I'll get a good one one of these days, and when I do I promise I'll post it. :)

hrmm. that's it for now.. more to come later!
leaves

and yet again // memeage

I've got 12 minutes till this song ends, and I'm kinda silly about not wanting to stop a song before it's over, so I figure I'll answer another question or two.

what makes you happiest?
sitting on a mountainside watching the sky.
laying quietly listening to $SignificantOther sleep beside me
riding my bike
music

You are incredibly intriguing. Are you aware of this?
while I'll admit that I might have a few tendancies not found in the majority of people out there, I wouldn't go so far as to claim I'm *incredibly* intriguing. Perhaps slightly interesting, or a bit of a curiosity, but incredibly intriguing? You flatter me so. :)

What's the funniest thing you can think of?
the typical American. watching people ranting and rioting about the hot-button issue d'jour just cracks me up every time. I see groupA yelling about how groupB is being mean, and I see groupB yelling about how groupA is being mean, and I can't help but laugh. The easy solution is so, SO, painfully clear and obvious to me that I find great amusement in how blind they are all being. people make me laugh. right now I'm chuckling just thinking about them..
sp in river

wish they were available in a book // linkage

Go here and click on the "RePhotographs" section. So, some lady took pictures of New York in 1936 and published a book of them. This guy then comes along in 1997 and re-takes the exact same pictures, waiting to get the sun, season, and angle as close to the original as he can so all you see between the two is the evolution of New York.

wow.. something else..