It's exciting stuff. I made the transformation from vegetarian to vegan only about two weeks ago, but it's been pretty exciting stuff.

Even when I was vegetarian, people who were vegan seemed somewhat like wacko extremists. No yogurt, cheese, milk, eggs, butter? Really? How in the world would someone have that kind of self discipline and drive. I mean, restaurants everywhere use things like butter in their cooking. I just didn't have the drive to make such a change. Sure, sometimes, during the year or so before I became vegan, the thought of drinking milk some days would gross me out. I'd think of calves being fed a combination of milk, hormones, antibiotics, and the blood of other cows and we too grossed out to touch the stuff for the next few days. But I love cheese, I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I especially love goldfish crackers. The idea of giving these things up long term was something I couldn't even think about.

Then I read a book called Skinny Bitch, which you've probably seen or heard of even if you don't remember it. It's full of quite a few flaws in reasoning and other errors, but it did compile everything bad I've ever learned about the meat/dairy/egg industry in one nice little place where I was forced to read it all. Even though the sources they quote throughout the book are often less than reputable (PETA, for example), BUT everything int hat book about animal factory farms I had heard somewhere before, I just really hadn't compiled the information together and been confronted with it directly. The quotes in the book from people who had worked or were currently working in these facilities were horrifying. Shoving tasers up pigs' butts? Gross. Pulling horses out of transport vehicles they they become frozen to, ripping off their skin? Gross. I'll stop writing about the bad stuff for now because to be honest I don't like thinking about it, and who would?

On a happier note, which I meant this entire post to be on, I feel so alive and full of energy. I eat way better than I did before. Vegetables take just as long to steam as a frozen dinner takes to heat up. I don't worry about calories or anything, just making things taste good in a vegan way, and boy does food taste great when you put some time into it! I'm also blessed by the fact that I'm in college and the surrounding grocery stores cater to local, organic, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. I realize that most grocery stores don't carry "Rice Dream" ice cream, which has a delish mint chocolate swirl flavor, soy yogurt, or even vegan butter. Whatever will I do when I move? But for now I'm content in the fact that I haven't had to give up any of my favorite foods, just find substitutes for them.


cred and a quick summary

More and more, I
Am becoming a CS
Major you'd expect.

Haha, and by that I mean that I played StarCraft for the first time last night. Pathetic, I know, that I haven't played it before... it was pretty amusing, I have to say, when I opened the box with the installation disks and found a flier:


:P Amusement ensued. Anyway, I did like StarCraft a fair amount. I haven't played a game similar to it since I was obsessed with Age of Mythology about 5 summers ago, but it's ok. I don't think it'd take long for me to get better at it, and I'm probably going back to play more later today. Teehee.

Also contributing to this CS major-ness is the Math Talent Show yesterday. I'll post a link to my friend's standup routine when he actually puts it on the interwebs. It was a good time for all, I think. A group perfomed Finite Simple Group of Order Two . I love that song. <3! Additionally, a guy did violin beatboxing? I had seen fluteboxing, but this was something completely different (and completely awesome).

I realized that I never actually mentioned what I did on spring break! The Arkansas trip was nixed due to infighting, so Robbie Woerner and I decided to head to Florida with my family. This gave us a few days at home first (Venus had a doctor's appointment or something on Tuesday, so we planned to leave following that), which meant that there was some adventure to be had right away!

On Saturday, Venus asked me to lead her friends on a caving trip. I, um, didn't have any particular confidence in these particular friends, and I was very hesitant to take them. She insisted, though, so we went. (Hahaha, I think that I will avoid mentioning their names so that this ridiculous story won't ever show up in a Google search for them, funny though that would be.) I found the most obnoxiously pansy cave that I could to take them through, because they had never been underground before, and I didn't want them to be responsible for getting hurt.

Five minutes into the cave, we are walking in a less-than-ankle-deep stream. I am in front. We come to a fork. "We're going left," I say. Seconds later, one of Venus's friends does not, for some reason, turn right at the fork. She also didn't turn left. She simply walked her face straight into the wall. This, as you might imagine, led to bleeding. So we rushed her out of the cave.

The cut was tiny (about 1.5cm), so we cleaned it up and decided to do something else with the day in Bloomington: Chris (a friend visiting from Johns Hopkins) took us to a railroad trestle west of town. We wandered around by it, and on the way back to the car I heard a yell behind me. "We got a bleeder!" Chris.

"What the hell does that mean?" I asked.

"Get a towel!" my sister ran down the hill looking frantic.

"Oh, not again..." We grabbed towels and bandaids and all that good stuff and tried to fix the bleeding friend up again, this time while en route to the Emergency Room. Was her blood not clotting? What was the matter? I had no experience with this sort of stuff. When we were 95% of the way to the hospital, the other friend offered a meek comment, "I'm sorry... it was a knee-jerk reaction."

I looked skeptically at her in the rearview mirror. "What was a knee-jerk reaction?" It was explained to us that bleeding friend had been walking behind other friend and tapped her on the shoulder, and other friend's immediate reaction was to clock bleeding friend in the face and set off another spurt of hemoglobin. Wonderful. She didn't even merit stitches at the ER; just some glue. UGH.

Then there was a nice day of hiking on Sunday with Robbie and Venus, which actually led to a chance meeting with a high school teacher whom we all had for US Government who is now retired. That was a nice surprise. Monday was full of errands (I got my computer sent off to be fixed, got the oil changed on the car, and managed to get in a bit of shopping, during which I found a killer white vest), but there have to be days like that sometimes. Tuesday I spent essentially the entire day in the car between dropping Venus at the doctor's, picking up Robbie, realizing Robbie forgot his wallet and driving back to his house and then back to my house, and heading out for our trip. We made a stop at the Lodge Cast Iron store in Tennessee. I am now the proud owner of a cast iron brand in the shape of a V.

Florida was fun, but I think we did way too much driving. From Tuesday to Saturday we visited St. Augustine (the oldest city in the US, and we went on a ghost tour to learn some of the history), Boynton Beach (Mom has a friend there), Miami (Robbie and I got to go clubbing for a little while), Venice (fossilized sharks' teeth lie scattered along the beach for observant travelers to collect, plus the beach sand was perfect for running and playing Frisbee on), and St. Pete Beach (aka "St. Pete, Bitch" as per the signs: ST PETE BCH). There was more time in the car than fun in the sun, but it wasn't a bad trip overall. :)

I guess that was a longer summary than I had intended, but... well, you know.


re: last post

Dag, yo. That's crazy
Stuff happenin' there. Am I
That bad a person?

Well, I mean, I'm not *bad*, but my curiosity got the better of me as I thought about that last post and I decided to calculate my carbon footprint since January 1, 2008. 7.96 tonnes of CO2??? Ouch! I think that it probably has mostly to do with all the flying that I do; just the trip to Tokyo was 1.96 tonnes... :-/ Maybe I'll stay home more... oh, wait, I'm going to Germany. Scratch that.

So I'm sorta bummed about that, but I did get extra points from the calculator for being a vegetarian, not owning a car, and doing mostly walking and biking. Although I think I remember reading somewhere that walking is actually worse for the environment than driving, assuming that all your food energy comes from meat. Meat comes from a long way away...

So I guess I'm going to work on improving that. I'm about 2x what the world goal is, but I'm (both happily and sadly, I guess) only about 1/3 of what the US average is. Hmmmmmmmmm. Rugged individualism!

some thoughts

Now that I'm back in
School, I can ponder stuff like
This. And share it, too!

I went to a talk earlier this week by one of the profs in the CS department (man, the honors seminar at IU is pretty awesome): Eli Blevis. He talked to us about all the tech junk that computers and stuff are generating; even washing machines have brains now, and when a consumer doesn't know how to fix it (and sometimes even techs don't know!), washing machines will get replaced. The whole machine. When all one really needs is probably one part that's maybe 8" long.

Eli also talked about other areas of sustainability. He and his wife live in town, but they grow almost all of their own food in a garden, and they have creative ways of recycling things that they can't produce on their own. Bloomington actually has several interesting sites for this; along 446 there is a toilet, well-known to the denizens of this area, with flowers peeking out of its bowl.

Eli started his work before everyone was green fatigued. He wrote the first paper on sustainability in computer hardware. Ironic that he flew all over the world to present it.

It's shocking to me how little people think about all this stuff. I mean, I guess it's a little more to the forefront of people's minds in a community like Bloomington that is basically the closest Indiana may get to a hippie commune, but so many people in so many places don't give it a second thought at all. People replace their cell phones on average every 17 months? That's ridiculous. One guy who attended the seminar on Monday has had twelve cell phones in three years. That is *obscene*, mmkay? I get my cell phone replaced every two years like a good kid. I've had my laptop for almost 3 years. Do I really want that new gaming rig? Well, yes. But I probably don't need it. Our society of keeping up with the Joneses is rife with rapidly diminishing satisfaction with technology. I wish people didn't have this crazy desire to be above-and-beyond better than other people. :-/


vacation with ponce de leon and gandhi

I roll with them, those
Crazy famous dead folk, all
The way in Flor'da.


home sweet home

I can't stay away
From ERs, it seems, even
When I am at home.

Evidently, I should listen to my gut.  A while ago, Venus asked me to arrange a caving trip for her and a couple of her friends, girls I had known from when I was still in high school.  Based on who they were, I was a little hesitant to take them on a trip; they had been rather girly when I had known them before.  I was assured that things would be fine, and I decided that I could take them through the wimpiest cave I knew.  Little did I know that it wasn't wimpy enough.  On walking through a stream, one of her friends ran her face into a wall and started bleeding.  We went to the ER.  The cut was only 1.5cm long, so it didn't even require stitches, but she got it glued (?) shut.

In other news, I am home for Spring Break!  The Arkansas plans got nixed, but Robbie and I are going to go with my parents and sister to the Carolinas/Virginias/Washington.  It should be a fun time.  :)  I've been enjoying relaxing, though.  I watched a couple pretty sweet movies: Idiocracy and I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay.  The first was sort of depressing in its humour, but it was definitely hilarious.  The second was an interesting imported movie from Korea that was on our On-Demand channel.  The bunny guy was so sweet.  I think I need a Rice-Megatron, though: I may be a cyborg.

What else.... oh, Robbie, Venus, and I went hiking today and ran into Mr. Nay.  That was pretty random.  Amusingly, it was at Hesitation Point (in Brown County State Park).

And happy Pi Day!  Well, it was yesterday, and I missed out on the pie, but I still feel that the well-wishings are valid.  ;)



I can't adventure
Enough during school, but in
The summer? For sure!

Just this morning I received an email from the DAAD-RISE program that I applied to many moons ago, and they told me that I've been accepted as an intern for the summer! That means that I'll be heading to Germany in mid-May and coming back stateside in mid-August. The work will be at a university in Darmstadt, a town (or city?) just outside Frankfurt. I have lots of research to do before I get there, though; I don't know the first thing about work visas or apartment-hunting in other countries or train passes or driving internationally or... well, the list goes on.

Anyway, I'm sure that I'll be posting more about that as summer approaches. Right now I've got some PL homework to do. *sigh*



Losing an hour,
Doesn't take away THAT much
Excitement from me.

It's important to take things as they come, and when a beautiful day comes along, it is important to take it! So yesterday I pretty much wrote off the entire day to enjoyment. I had stayed up late Friday night (Sean and I went to see Watchmen, which was a lot better than I expected, and then I got sucked into a game of Settlers of Catan with Evan over the internets, in which I totally pwned him ;), so I woke up around 11, ate breakfast, and went to parkour! Although I haven't been to it in some time, I noticed that I was a lot better at wall climbs. Presumably that is due to the fact that Roy and I have been training pullups. Woot!

In addition, I went hiking in the Dean Wilderness yesterday with Jaimie and a few of his friends (I knew two of them, Ronak and Jess, but the third, Sara(h?) was new to me). It was gorgeous, and we climbed the fire tower there. We also wandered down to the lake to search for fossils and watch the sunset. On the way down there, there was a burned-down house that was still partially standing; the fireplace/chimney and lower floor walls remained. So we climbed the chimney and poked around in the ruins a little.

After hiking, I went with Roy to the Union to see Milk, a film about the first openly gay man to serve in a high public office. It was really good! It's super sad how people treat(ed) homosexuals during that time. Hard to believe that just 30 years ago people were being denied housing and jobs just because of sexual orientation. Even harder to believe that they still get treated that way sometimes today.

Then, on to Max's place to watch Iuri (my capoeira instructor)'s band play. They had a really awesome hiphop/reggae/rock(?) thing going on. It was hard music to dance to, though, at least for me. I don't really rock out to that stuff very often.

Later, Atomic Age Cinema! I had heard of this previously, but I had also been told that it was for the 21 and up crowd, which, though disheartening, didn't surprise me. Anyway, I didn't ever look into it until last night. Basically, at a theatre here called the Cinemat there is something like "Mystery Science Theater 3000" live. A horrible movie is screened, and four guys dress up in ridiculous costumes (Dr. Calamari, for instance) and mock it, and anyone is welcome to join in. The movie last night was "Death Bed: The Bed that Eats." It was a rather enjoyable film about a bed that dissolved people in yellow digestive acid that quite resembled beer.

Today I've done real work... well, mostly. I finally hooked up with Chris Beckley for the first time in months, and we went to Gum Boot dancing lessons. I guess his logic teacher runs them. Anyway, Gum Boot dancing is based off of communications developed between miners in Africa. It's a whole lot of boot slapping and -stomping. I enjoyed myself, despite the fact that I was, in a word, terrible.

Now I think I'll go explore some of the weird stores around here that I've never been to. The big Sahara Mart is something that I'm pretty anxious to explore. I also noticed that I pretty desperately need new shoes for parkour, so maybe I'll check out things to that end, as well.



Willy-nilly change the clocks...
What the hell's the point?

I don't understand why Indiana switched to having daylight savings time.  It has to be a hassle for businesses, right?  Paying people for an hour they don't work in the spring, paying people overtime for an hour they work twice in the fall?  Plus it's just weird, and I don't see why anyone cares what clock hour the sun comes up at.

On that note, what's up with timezones?  I can understand that it's nice to have a semi-standard time that the sun comes up, but the way that they're currently laid out, that isn't really the case.  Indiana, again, for example, when it locked onto the Eastern time zone stretched it out to some kind of impossible proportion.  It's probably more than an hour between the time Augusta sees first light and the time that we here in Bloomington do.  Some places have solved this problem (?) by introducing time zones that aren't an hour long.  In India (noticing a pattern with place names here, haha) there are 30- and 45-minute time zones.  The way I see it, this is even more inconvenient.  Changing a digital watch by 45 minutes is a hassle.

I guess it makes sense that Indiana be slave to the same system as the rest of the states with respect to daylight savings, but why do we observe this any more in the States, anyway?  AFAIK, it's some kind of leftover from Ben Franklin's efforts to spark demand for candles or some such.  I've never heard of a modern-day purpose that it serves, and all I ever hear about it is people complaining.  Maybe that's because I'm in Indiana and we've been spoiled until recently, but does it make sense to you?

All I can say is I'm not buying any candles.



Muscles ache, brain, too,
Learning, growing, expanding!
I'll redeem myself.

So I still feel like this term is pretty slow compared to other ones as far as classwork goes, but I'm finding other ways to entertain myself.  Roy and I have been doing some serious working out this week; each of us is striving to be the first to do a pullup.  :P  The daily gymination is coming as quite a shock to my as-late-untrained body, but we're pulling through.  I just can't laugh without squeezing back little tears of pain.

I'm enjoying exploring other academic pursuits, as well.  The work on Polyworld with Larry Yaeger should be pretty interesting, and now that I've got my laptop running Ubuntu alongside Windows it'll actually be feasible to work on it, haha.  And I've plowed through a couple books on graph theory this week; that was pretty interesting.  I guess a lot of it just seems intuitive, but the introduction of, y'know, proper terms is sort of nice to have.

Did I mention that I bought a beginner book on piano over the weekend!  In the absence of friends who are always around to regale me with their playings, I am reduced to attempting to pick out tunes for myself.  I guess it's on my list, so maybe it's not so useless a pursuit, after all.  Oh, I was sitting in the fireplace room in the Union (one of my favourite places on campus, especially during the winter), and for the first time I had the distinct pleasure of listening to a really talented player pour out some songs through the gorgeous white grand piano there.  It was a fantastic feeling: soaking up the fire, absorbing the music, and pondering my maths.

I went over to the place I may be living in the fall this evening to chill and play WiiFit.  That game is pretty sweet.  But I guess the apartment is the interesting thing.  ;)  It's about the same size as this place, but the kitchen is bigger, and it has a sweet loft (which would probably be my bedroom).  It also has a fireplace, and it just feels homier than this apartment.  Plus the floors don't creak.  The downside?  It's pretty far from campus.  There is a bus, but... I dunno.  I sorta wanted to be closer to where things happen.  We'll see how it goes.


blondes have more fun

I'm back to brunette,
And it may just be that blondes
Have more fun than me.

Yes, I know that "me" should be an "I," but that sort of throws off the rhyming thing that I was attempting to do there.

Anyway, now I'm a brunette again.  I think the colour that I chose is a little ashier than my natural one, so it may look silly when it grows out, anyway.  But whatever.  It's actually been kinda funny to see what people think of this new/old hairdo.  A lot of people never saw me with short brown hair since I dyed it practically the day after I got it cut.  Now a lot of people are barely noticing a change; I guess the blonde combined with the short was a shock, and this is just business as usual?  Who knows.

But on the topic of blondes having more fun... it might be true.  At least, it was for me.  ;)  I mean, c'mon, I spent two weeks in Tokyo, flew to Canada over a weekend, saved a girl from a falling rock in a cave, took my roommate to the emergency room for a broken patella, started capoeira classes... since I've gone back to brunette, what have I done?  Well, not a lot.  Hrm.