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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Because Simon and Garfunkel always say it best

I'm sittin in the railway station
Got a ticket for my destination
On a tour of one night stands
My suitcase and guitar in hand
And every stop is neatly planned
For a poet and a one man band

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my musics playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

Everydays an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines
And each town looks the same to me
The movies and the factories
And every strangers face I see
Reminds me that I long to be

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my musics playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

Tonight I'll sing my songs again
I'll play the game and pretend
But all my words come back to me
In shades of mediocrity
Like emptyness in harmony
I need someone to comfort me

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my musics playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me
Silently for me
Silently for me

And now I am! See you all soon.

Monday, August 28, 2006

And the rain it raineth every day.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Because I feel like it

I've got builds running on two architectures, all of my jobs on the supercomputer have been queued for 10 hours, my beowulf cluster appears to be eating itself, and I made the mistake of reading some old emails from somebody I adore (but who doesn't adore me quite the same way). All of which means that I'm having a dumb day, and want to do something else.

So, I'm going to play in the quote meme -- go here and pick five of 'em that reflect what I believe or who I think I am. You guys can play, too, if you're similarly afflicted today. Here are mine (I tried to pick only five, really!):

What I believe
  • Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either. Gore Vidal (1925 - )
  • When you helped somebody, right away you were responsible for that person. And things always followed for which you were never prepared. Martha Brooks, True Confessions of a Heartless Girl
    (I wish I didn't believe this, but somehow, I seem to fall into it all the damn time)
Who I "am"
  • To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting. e e cummings (1894 - 1962)
    (Judging by recent representations of strong women in the media, this is more than ever a problem)
  • Real freedom lies in wildness, not in civilization. Charles Lindbergh (1902 - 1974)
    (I prefer to interpret this metphorically, although I often believe in it literally.)
  • The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
And the crowning glory, the one that I need to remember and take to heart:
  • Beware of dissipating your powers; strive constantly to concentrate them.
    Genius thinks it can do whatever it sees others doing, but is sure to repent
    of every ill-judged outlay.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

Because everyone should start their day in tears

A relative of yesterday's rant:
more about how successful women are bad

which led me into deep and sad territory:
Scheherazade on being alpha in relationships
Megan on being alpha in groups

It's nice to know I'm not alone. I guess.

*Initiated by my morning read of Unfogged.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How dare she.

The Today Show this morning had a piece on how it is dangerous -- dangerous! -- to empower girls, lead by a woman, who said, essentially, that girls should be feminine, and that powergirls are unhealthy. Well, FUCK HER. She can go crawl back into her little June Cleaver apron and straight into traffic.

If she wants to go be little SAHM, she can do that, but how dare she preach depriving other girls, girls who might see themselves as more than just a man's accessory, of the right to make their own decisions. BITCH.

I feel slightly better now.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Call the exterminator

because I give up.

12 hours --straight -- of debugging, to determine that there seems to be a problem with one of the nodes's communication. Of course, it's not resolved. Oh, but it is dark out. Wait, I love my job, right?

I might be an idiot savant. Or just the former.

So, it turns out that I've been going about my new builds all wrong. I used the wrong profile and snapshot, and wasted days. But I inadvertantly got x working right on my system, and got the frequency scaling up, too. My code isn't working right at the moment -- it'll run in the foreground, but if I background it the job just hangs. But only for spaces of more than 1000 points. Bite me. But I'm sure that this will inadvertantly lead to an important breakthrough in our treatment of the system. Really.

Oh, and it took me an hour and twenty minutes to get "home" last night -- when I left (it wasn't even 10pm yet! so much for summer), it was too dark to see the path at all. I went around the front of Institute, to ask if they had anything like a flashlight, or an extra light or anything (it is an institute bike, after all). No, but what the do have, most helpfully, is a little flyer explaining in multiple languages that bikes without lights are not permitted to be ridden on the campus at night, and you must push the bike. So I went back and took the main road -- or tried to. I took lots of wrong turns, and naturally it was a dark and stormy night. But I saw a hedgehog, which was very cool and made me want to play croquet.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


My code is not working, and I'm going home pissed off. In the dark.

It's gone!

My delightful, fabulous, spiky espresso machine is no longer in its shop window. I hope that whoever has it is giving it a good home. The bastards.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Dooce is one of the great treasures of the internet age, a stunning example of why people blog, and what it can mean to others. I find Dooce often amazing, and frequently breathtaking. She has her current post up at Alpha Mom*, and she can still me in the first paragraph. It's worth a read:
Dooce on 'The Ghost in the House'.

*Now, it's true, I will not be reproducing. So, why, you might ask, would I read Alpha Mom? For Dooce, of course. A measure of my true love of Dooce: I will endure children for her!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


The most important thing that happened today: my cousin made it home safely.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A new look

I've been spending a truly ridiculous amount of time playing with the look of the site (hmm, procrastination, anyone?). Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't, but bear with me, please. And feel free to give input.

Update: Well, after truly appalling amounts of time squandered, I'm pretty happy. Lots of things I'd like to do, but they aren't happening now.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Not quite what I meant

I've been thinking some about my last post. I didn't mean to imply that my friends -- who are wonderful and understanding -- didn't understand, deal with, face depression also. Many of them do; many of them fight much harder than do I. And they forgive me for my absences, they understand and worry without pushing, and they provide strength that I could not do without. Depression is a funny thing, and it has a suprisingly high cost, both for the sufferer and for their family and friends. The people who understand -- either because they face it, or because they are sensitive to it -- and who stay anyway are valuable beyond price. For some of them, it will be my turn tomorrow, or was yesterday, for others perhaps not, but we all make each other stronger. To have people to that I know I can call and who will welcome me when I say "I can't be alone" is an amazing gift.

My cousin knows first-hand how dark the world can get, and what it takes to fight back from an overwhelming disease, and how that changes a person. It's not the same disease that I fight, but his knowledge means that I never need to feel ashamed about what I'm fighting and how I'm fighting it. I might piss him off (I often do, I'm sure), but he knows where it comes from. He and his wife and family have provided shelter from a storm when I couldn't get to anything else, and they have done it with love and kindness. I am luckier than words can ever express.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


My cousin is scheduled to be coming home from the war in the next week or so. I am very glad about this. Even though, as with the rest of my family, I agree with him about almost nothing political, I love him very much, and so much want him to be safe. He is one of the few people, his wife another, who can understand what I've been going through, and they are a large part of why I made it through the winter. He's also one of the reasons I choose not to discuss issues relating to the "War on Terror," and I don't see that decision changing here anytime soon. He's smart and honorable and strong and very, very dear.

It's been an extremely hard year for most of our family, for a variety of reasons, and having one part of it settled, even if for a little while, will be nice.

So, come home safe, and we love you. We've missed you.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Because I have nothing better to do (uh, yeah, right):

Your Geek Profile:

Academic Geekiness: High
Geekiness in Love: Moderate
General Geekiness: Moderate
Internet Geekiness: Moderate
Fashion Geekiness: Low
Movie Geekiness: Low
Music Geekiness: Low
SciFi Geekiness: Low
Gamer Geekiness: None

Now, I think it's a little more conservative in its estimate of my geekiness (I mean, I'm only slightly less geeky than Fred, or possibly more!), but still fun.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Apparently today is a special markt day -- there are a few carnie rides blaring very bad German pop music and several fire engines open for the children to climb about. It is louder and more crowded than the normal market, most of the small dogs replaced by small children; I, of course, prefer the former. Even so, the marketing was fast and easy today, and almost none of it was conducted in English, of which I am rather proud.

Everyone has asked about Dad. The master baker (the English-speaking one) came over as I was finishing with his colleague to ask if he had gone home, and said how nice he had been. The cheese-monger spoke at length about how wonderful last weekend had been, how much he had enjoyed talking to Dad -- he used the word "awesome."

I feel a little more alone now that Dad has been and gone, and seeing a familiar face smiling is a welcome relief. The baker's assistant's very careful recitation of my bill in English she had clearly been practicing, just for me, and the cheese-monger's assistant's grin when I greeted her in German are little puffs of recognition, moments where I am not invisible. I have started my Intensive German course (just once class so far), and while I wish it had started right when I got here, I'm very pleased. It felt good to walk into the classroom, and see other people I could talk to (not just work people) -- in addition to becoming less invisible.

One of the very neat things Dad and I saw in Maastricht* was the roaming coffee (and beer). We happened to be there on Markt Day, so the Rathaus square was full -- I do mean full -- of stands. Dad described it as like the Swap Meet where they live, and he didn't seem to be far wrong; it was a zoo -- probably 10 times larger than the one here. The square there, as everywhere, is ringed by cafes and bars, and from these servers with loaded drinks trays would sally forth into the market. I mention this because outside, all of the police (older men, probably retired officers, as are the firemen with the engine) are standing about with cups and saucers from Leibervoll. In this respect, people here have their priorities right! (However, if I hear another scientist count the hours they work -- so that they can figure out how much extra time off is guaranteed by their contract -- I will start taunting.)

There are more ominous clouds blowing in among generally overcast sky, but for now I can sit outside and listen to the clamor. It's a nice scene -- I there should be a car chase soon! Sadly, that didn't last long -- it started sprinkling almost at once. So, because I have the computer, I had to retreat inside Leibervoll, even though it's raining seldom and very little. The amount of rain is astounding. I sort of expect everything to just wash away, but it doesn't. If this is the price for green, they can keep it.

As one of the more expected ironies, the sun has been flicking out, briefly very bright, while I sit inside. With the computer, of course, I cannot risk it, so I will pack up to go outside and wander instead; and ask the baker to bring me some seeded croissants for next week. Have a good Saturday.

*It's also the only place that I have seen a real pastry since my arrival -- wonderful.
The bread here has been great, but the pastries not so much.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Yellow Brick Road

I'm finally back from my travels, and really, I promise that there will be an update about the trips soon!
Maastrict = awesome;
Aachen = best espresso machine ever;
Heidleberg = okay;
Frankfurt = awesome;
Frankfurt Ironman = even awesomer;
Darmstadt = enh, but with a giant chess board;
Koln = cool;
science = tres cool.

There have been some very good conversations and lots of good ideas. Hopefully I'll be able to get some of them onto paper and then to the funding agencies (oh yes, that part will be so fun!). Not sure whether I'm behind the curtain or not, but we'll see.

Location: Currently, Berkeley, United States

I'm an academic scientist who is both abroad and a broad. I am on the road so often that I have a house solely so that my cats will have somewhere to live.

Okay, fine. If you really really want to, and don't care how long it is between mail checks, you can send email to ascientistabroad  {a}gmail{dot}com

And, okay, sometimes there are comments. But it's my blog and I'll delete anything I want.

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