So quickly pass days
Of sunshine and freedom, but
We can retain their joys.

I had the pleasure to spend this weekend with Evan, and what a weekend it was! I picked him up from the airport around midnight on Thursday, which was sort of an adventure in itself. I almost missed his landing due to the plane's being 20+ minutes earlier than originally expected. He had shared with me his plans to navigate the high seas of the AmeriCanadian arrspace in his pirate garb from last weekend, so I wore the closest approximation I had to such ridiculosity (which, sadly, is quite diminished from what it was when I had that trunk of costume stuff before the flood). I heard thudding footsteps racing down the hallway from the terminals. Who else could it be? I raced towards the passenger exit and leapt into the arms of the man in the black trenchcoat--thankfully Evan--, and we collided with a thud, much to the amusement/chagrin of lookers-on.

Let's see... our adventures... we spent Friday wandering campus/Bloomington climbing and eating many things. Moroccan food (Casa Blanca!) is obnoxiously tasty. My semi-experience in parkour helped me keep up, though the blood donation earlier this week slowed me down a little. Anyway, I'd spent some time on Wednesday and Thursday writing notes in places I thought Evan might climb, and I managed a pretty good success rate with the guessings.

Friday was also the day that we went to Columbus, which was pretty great. We borrowed a pair of bikes from my lovely roommate, Georgia, and took a quick tour de downtown. We hit the library, the Chihuly at the visitors' centre, the jail, city hall, the courthouse, the tower and tunnel in Mill Race, Eos, and the Ameritech Building, among other places. My dad made his derricious fish pizza, my mom made kringla, we watched a terrible movie (Don't Mess with the Zohan), and all was right with the world.

Saturday was the race! But drama first; Georgia, Evan, and I packed out of Columbus to hit up the farmers' market in Bloomington before parkour at noon. I managed to lock the keys in the car, so we had to find a random person whose cell phone we could borrow, then wait for my parents to come rescue us. :-/

Parkour was good times; the guys were excited to meet someone new, of course. We found some more of my notes, too, so good. ^__^ The weather for the race was gorgeous: sunny and warm. It was a little ridiculous that it was $20, payable only in cash, to get in, though. We managed to find a dollar from a nice man outside, since we were short.

Bunny Gamma came in 12th! Excellent! I was really proud of them. :D We ran into Georgia and Jeff at the race, too, and they provided us with one of, again, only two pictures that exist from our weekend together. I thought it came out cute. :P

After the race was tasty dinner of seared tuna (including V-shaped brands, thanks to a smart purchase by yours truly over spring break) with sesame seeds, rice with soy/sesame/vinegar sauce, and a salad with garbanzo beans, lime, chili powder, sunflower seeds, onions, tomatoes, and general delition, followed immediately by Flight of the Conchords! It was a good show, but too brief.

Then some nighttime parkour, which ended when I tried to scale a wall in my Converses (which, for those of you who may be unaware, are sadly lacking in traction) and fell 8 feet onto my wrist. It's not broken, but it hurt like a bitch. Anyway, I have a brace on that now. We followed that adventure with a bonfire party, including delicious s'mores.

Sunday was full of pancakes, fried plantains, X-rays, and a drive to the airport. The weekend wasn't as long as I might've liked, but we had teh funz. And now it's time to get serious about schoolwork, since this is the last week of classes! Woot!


i like these

Shoots of green push up,
Split the ground, bring the spring, and
Make life look alive!

Happy Earth Day! I hope you all celebrated. I got a tree yesterday, a White Oak. It should grow up to be pretty spectacular; I'm giving it to my dad to plant out at the property that he and my mom recently bought. I hope they think of me when it grows up. ;)

One thing that I learned today that's neat: Bloomington makes people pay to have garbage collected. Recycling collection is free, but putting trash out necessitates the purchasing of $2 "trash stickers" at the supermarket, one per bag. I learned this in the course of signing my lease for next year, which I have to say I'm super excited about. Clawfoot tub, here I come!

Another thing today that I learned about and liked was Texas' recent threats of secession. C'mon, guys. I guess it brought an extra grin to my day, so I can't ask for much more, but...


some oddities

College brings myst'ries,
The fog of knowledge obscures
The plain and simple.

We finally got our sink fixed. We've spent a couple weeks trying to fiddle with it ourselves, to no avail. Drano did nothing. Digging with spoons did nothing. Nothing did anything. So we filed a maintenance report and were treated to the message on our door (upon our return):

Replaced garbage disposal. Old one was clogged with penny.

Well, that's odd. We can't be throwing pennies down the drain in a recession! (Thanks to Georgia for that one :P) It seems like, despite education, we all still do dumb things sometimes. -___-

Other oddities... well, my arms look rather odd at the moment. Parkour over the weekend was pretty intense, and now it appears that I've taken a cheese grater to the inside surfaces of my limbs. That's what one gets for climbing things, I suppose.

Yesterday was 4/20, which, in a hippie town like Bloomington, has more connotations than "the day between 4/19 and 4/21." I guess this is a reasonable opportunity to make some comments about marijuana. Venus was writing a paper about legalizing it recently, and in talking to her about it I had some thoughts.

I know that California is considering legalizing marijuana; it's their state's most lucrative crop. If it were legalized, it could be taxed, and thereby their government could bail itself out of the massive hole it seems to be in. Not to mention that the United States has something like 25% of the world's prisoners. In fact, more than 1% of American adults are currently incarcerated. A large portion of those are due to drug misdemeanors. Legalizing marijuana would also cut down on that sort of nonsense; as a nation we gripe about having to spend so much for prisoners, blah, blah, blah, but maybe we're just interpreting illegality in the wrong way. And what is so harmful about marijuana? It's not an addictive substance. It doesn't impair any more drastically than alcohol or other already-legal substances (i.e. salvia). It's not doing any more harm to the air than tobacco smoke. There's a lot of stigma associated to it, though.

I was reading Time today when I came across an article about Amish romance novels. That's just odd in itself, and I don't really feel obligated to elaborate.

It's weird to think that the end of the term is so close. I can taste it! :D


...i'm a math major

There's more of interest
Than what one learns in school. It
Is best to explore.

Well, I thought I was going to do my math homework, but it's about wedge products and differential forms, blah blah blah, so I determined that tea would make me do it. After making tea, I spent more time contemplating the vortices in the tea steam than doing the other stuff... *sigh*



A sunny day brings
Hearty fun, college brings
A crazy mess. Heh.

One of the service fraternities on campus ran a fundraiser today: IU's biggest water balloon fight! It raised money for the March of Dimes, and, judging by the number of people I saw there, it was a lot. There were probably close to 300 people in Dunn meadow, it was $3 to get in, and there were 13,000 water balloons up for grabs. I think we took care of them all in about 5 minutes. Hehe. Too bad I didn't really have the foresight to, er, bring a change of clothes.

As alluded to in the post title, I've been thinking about boarding recently. I like to do math homework on boards, because it's easily erased, doesn't waste paper, etc., etc. People are of differing opinions on whether whiteboards or blackboards are superior. I guess, to be politically correct, I will call them "dry erase boards" and "chalkboards." But, anyway, I can't decide myself.

Dry erase boards are nice; you can project things onto them. If I need to work off of something that's on a computer screen, I just throw it up on a dry erase board and draw away. Erasing off of a dry erase board is nice, too. There's no chalky mess. Unfortunately, a casual swipe with the hand across a dry erase board will result in both awkward stains on the skin and damage to the board's surface, which leads to real difficulties in erasing later.

There is, however, a certain gravitas associated with anything written on a chalkboard. Think of all the great minds of the past that have derived mathematics and the sciences as we know them today using these great tools! Chalk in my hand feels somehow weightier and more serious than a dry erase marker ever could. It's nice to just brush a hand across a chalked error and correct it with none of the nonsense associated with dry erase markers.

I know that IUCS has gone and replaced almost all of its chalkboards with dry erase boards, but I also know that Dan Friedman rescued a chalkboard from a dumpster and had it hung in his office. It may contribute to great ideas, but it also probably has had a hand in lung ailments for several generations of grad students. :P



A box of chaos,
Sits, unopened, mysterious,
The centre of town.

Back home in Columbus, there really is a box of Chaos just chillin' in downtown. Chaos used to be one of my favourite things about going to the Commons mall, but now it's being torn down and replaced by, what, a hotel, I think? Ridiculous. But I'm more interested in the draw of the Chaos box than whatever thing they're replacing it with.



Why keep jokes to fields
Where only crass comments live?
Let's extend to more!

I don't know why, but I've never heard a CS-related "yo mamma" joke. I can't think why this would be. We all have decent senses of humour, right? So if you've ever heard one, please share. I figured I would make a couple contributions to start off:

Yo mamma so big, she wouldn't fit on your 1.5TB RAID5 harddrive.

Yo mamma so dumb, she don't know the difference between a heat sink and a float.


days go by

I'm too lazy to
Write a real post, so I'll just
Write a few haikus.

Friend requests, messages,
Too many to leave me sane.
Why do I do this?

College students march,
A rainbow of umbrellas,
Hunched against the rain.

Winding down, slide with
The flow. Grades will come, just sit
Back, relax, enjoy.

Easter food heavy
In my belly, but it gives
Energy for fun!

ty is too long to fit in
Just five syllables.

Green tech, green campus,
Lectures about them abound,
Sustain IU week!

Pink petals poke up
Colouring campus coyly
Suggesting a sniff.


food and films

Redolent of youth,
Concocting with Dad, now I
Strike forth with my friends.

In the grand tradition of Thursday cooking night, Georgia and I whipped up a heart-shaped pizza last night. She has pictures of it, and I hope she posts them. *nudge, nudge* But it was delicious and super-easy. I still don't have my dad's dough techniques quite down, but it would be hard to really get them exactly since he doesn't measure and I don't measure and it, er, wouldn't really work.

The flick of choice was Porco Rosso, one of the Ghibli movies I hadn't seen yet. It chronicles the adventures of Porco (formerly Marco): an Italian seaplane pilot who has been turned into a pig and now lives as a bounty hunter. It was cute! I think my favourite part was a scene between a quietly beautiful Italian woman and an obnoxious American man, during which she laughed gleefully at his claim that he was the best pilot in the Adriatic, defending her giggling with, "I find your humility to be quite charming."

In other news... well, there isn't much other news. I am signing up for classes. I kind of hate the permissions systems for signups, as I discovered and elaborated on during a discussion with Evan. I mean, it's cool that IU wants people in the classes who are capable of doing the work, but I'm pretty sure that it's a fairly good self-correcting system, no? I can't think of many people who would stay in a class that they were failing or that they had no idea what was going on in. And it's a massive hassle for people like me who learned stuff outside of school and who need to go through ridiculous administrivia just to end up in the proper place. >:| Oh well. At least this is the last time I'll have to jump through those hoops (hopefully)!



No longer teasing,
Spring is here to (probably)
Stay. Feel the season!

With warm weather comes time for physical activity! Thus far I've done some Frisbee, soccer, and Parkour, but I think that I've discovered a new sport: trying to get from one end of campus to another without getting accosted by all those folks who are scheming for my money. Observe my ugly art:

Anyway, I think it might catch on. I'm becoming quite proficient at it myself.


something interesting

Our wants, needs, and times,
They are a'changin, but can
We really skimp

So what is it that sells well in a recession? I was reading an article in this week's Time that addressed specifically that question. It gives answers that you might expect: canned goods and fresh produce, for instance. It also gives answers that you might not expect: family planning (mainly condoms) and "seasonal general merchandise," whatever that is (they say that it includes things like road salt, decorations, Valentine's gifts, etc., but I just think it's a silly term).

What doesn't sell well? A lot of people have stopped buying junk food as much, according to this article, including cookies and ice cream. They've also cut back on purchasing... feminine hygiene products?? In the physical magazine, though apparently not on the site, there is a chart of the top 20 best-performing items and the bottom 20 worst-performing items. The unit sales of feminine hygiene products has dropped 12.6% since last year. Now, how the hell do you cut out 12.6% of your use of that stuff? I wonder if more of the population is turning to transgender surgery? Perhaps there is more job security if you are a man? I don't understand. A friend speculated that perhaps it also is related to the fact that the Baby Boomers are now going through menopause, but I don't feel like that could account for more than 12 percentage points of noise. That's plain crazy.


a few things i've learned

Ninjas (or ninjae?)
Come from wise masters, failure,
And dedication.

And, you know, some other things. Time's pretty important. Anyway, I have been experimenting with my sharp new Ubuntu install, and it's way fun. I haven't really used Linux as a desktop environment except during my time at Google, and being at work sort of precluded playing around with all the nifty things that it can do. I took the GRE on Saturday morning, and I think that the few weeks that I've had this thing to play with actually improved my score by a couple points, haha.

It's intriguing to me to learn the things that people think are cool about computers. On Friday I was on a panel for undergrad women who are interested in Computer Science, for example. Sarah Loos, who lived/worked/blogged with me last summer, and I tried to get the girls excited about, you know, interesting algorithms and stuff we worked on at Google, deep ideas about computational complexity, blah blah blah, but their interest was only really sparked when I offhandedly mentioned that I had a) given up Facebook for Lent and b) written a script to block me from it and allow me to access it again once Easter arrived.

"Can you really do that? Wow! What class do you learn that in?"

"Um.. well, to be honest I sort of taught that to myself. But It was the foundations that I got in my CS classes that let me do it, really."

Yeah, so it was sort of bullshit. It's really trivial, actually, to add a line to your hosts file and write a cron job to remove that line on 4/12. But they just thought it was the coolest thing. :)

Oh, I guess that's only one thing I've learned, and this is entitled "a few things i've learned." What else, then... I wrote a script that will verify that an ISO burned properly to a CD (thanks, once more, to the internets!), I've discovered the joys of aliasing commands:

$ alias ls='echo muahahahah'
$ ls

(super fun to do if people forget to lock their screens in the lab, but I have useful aliases, too ;) ), I've set up nifty passwordless logins to the computers at school, and a few other things, probably. Those are the ones that come to mind, anyway.


good and evil

Who knows what evil
Lurks in the hearts of men?  You,
If you keep awatch.

As I was standing at the bus stop today in the freezing cold and rain (I had just finished a soccer game, too, so I was totally inappropriately attired in shorts and a t-shirt), a man with an umbrella walked up to me and offered to share.  "Save your hair," he said, "and you must be freezing.  This umbrella is big enough for two."

It turned out that he was a professor in the Geology department, and we actually knew a few of the same people via my (albeit spotty) participations in caving club.  I had lost some of my faith in humanity after watching Slumdog Millionaire last night, but it was restored by a little Indian man with an umbrella.


"Hi, I'm Valkyrie,"
"Valkyrie Savage? I've heard
Of you!" "Um.. what? How?"

The thing is, this happens to me a lot. I was talking to Sarah about it the other day, and she commented that it's probably a consequence of the fact that I know a lot of people in a lot of places, and the, er, fact that my name is "Valkyrie Savage", such that in any given group of people among whom one or two know me, probably all but one or two actually know me and the remaining ones are almost certain to remember my name. I've been meeting a lot of people this weekend. I haven't done that for a while, I guess. I'm a bit worn out of the usual banter:

"Your name's 'Valkyrie Savage'? a) I don't believe you! b) That's awesome!" (P(a) = .25)
"c) Well, I mean, I can grab my ID or something. Honest to God, that's my name. d) Haha, thanks. I hear that a lot." (a -> c b -> d)

In addition to meeting slews of new people (including 3 Johns and 2 Marks) in a couple days, I've definitely been keeping busy. I took the GRE yesterday morning! It wasn't as tough as I expected. I mean, it was tough (I didn't answer all the questions, but you're not really expected to be able to... I think that a 40/70 gets you about at the 80th percentile, and I answered 56... so I should have a decent shot at something respectable.), but I think I did alright. Considering the fact that I haven't had a class on networks or compilers, nor have I had a serious class on computer architectures or operating systems. :-/ Maybe I'll retake it in the fall after I glean some knowledge from the Networks and OS classes I'm taking then? I dunno.

Speaking of classes in the fall! I am pretty sure of what I'm taking, but I still am conflicted on what fun course I should fill it out with. What I know is this:

Computer Networks
Operating Systems

It's going to be intense. Networks and Topology are grad courses, Analysis is an honors 400-level course, and Operating Systems and Networks are both P courses, which basically means that I will be programming at all times I am not sleeping. Or proving.

Anyway, the fun courses that I'm thinking about:

Scuba Certification
Middle Eastern Dance
Jeet Kun Do

It's a tough choice, I know. ;)

I went, also, to a talk by Doug Hofstadter yesterday. He's actually the professor for one of my classes, but he's super cool to listen to. He talked about how AI is advancing... but not really viable yet. I guess one of his colleagues said that computers would be conversant by 2010. So... umm.. watch for that? Haha. Maybe.

I saw Slumdog Millionaire finally, too. It wasn't as good as everyone said, I guess? I mean, I liked it, for sure, but I don't think I'd've given it Best Picture. I liked WALL-E better. Oh well. That's why I'm not in Hollywood.

Anyway, I have a soccer game to get geared up for. Go Grass Kickers!


style pains

Ow ow ow ow ow
Owie owie owie ow
Ouchie owie ow.

So maybe this wasn't as worth it as I thought. I guess the pain didn't last long, and it didn't cost much, but I've been getting some weird looks. I suppose no one will ever not think I'm a nerd now. :P *item getting music plays*

I actually think it's kind of cool. After Georgia and Jeff got their tattoos, I started thinking about why I didn't have one. I couldn't come up with a good reason, but I just couldn't find anything sufficiently nerdy that "normal" people could still relate to. I thought about Pikachu for a while, but that stage in my life has passed, I think. I had to go more old school.

Yeah, it will be annoying to keep it clean for the next few days, but at least I don't have to keep the bandages on. The redness went away surprisingly quickly.

I think my mom might freak out, though. At least it won't be as bad as when I tell her that I am pregnant with twins from a guy I met at the club in Miami. Or when I tell her that I got cast as the motorcycle stunt double in the movie I auditioned for. It probably won't even be as bad as when she finds out that I have been hanging out with my friends in the Chemistry lab and accidentally melted my cell phone.

p.s. Happy April Fools Day.