July 1 The NPR commentators can't shut up about "the prospects for Middle-East peace." Two words: "yeah right." There are exactly 2 possible ways to peace: 1) one side annihilates the other, or 2) the international community decides to stop playing favorites. Not going to happen. Israel spends too much money every year in Congress for U.S. subsidies to the Israeli Defense Force to go anywhere but up. Meanwhile, we get to listen to more pronouncements about "Ariel Sharon, that man of peace." Tell that to the thousands of Lebanese who died when then General Sharon invaded in 1981. 'Nuff said.
Weather is getting progressively nicer. Realized today that I'd been rather antisocial for the last week. So called up a friend at Stanford for lunch. CS section proved entertaining, and remarkably useful. Good to see not all TAs need be clueless, have bad English, or some combination thereof.
July 2 Moving on in topics, we now come to our old friends, first-order linear differential equations and linear transformation. Nice to know that they haven't changed to much since last we met. Turned in quilt, but realized too late that the printers weren't properly wrapping lines. Good thing we send an electronic copy too. Preparing to enter the realm of pointers. Here there be NULL pointer exceptions?
July 3 Day before national holiday. New CS assignment: write life. I did. Well, mostly. Good game life. Unlike the real one, the rules for Conway's life are simple: remain stable, grow, or die. If only it were all so simple. My cells, aside from being an unhealthy brown color, seem to be happy with any of the above. In the afternoon, had flute choir. Found myself unexpectedly reading about recursion and backtracking algorithms when my father's photography took longer than anticipated.
July 4 Hurray! Independence Day! Time to celebrate the birth of the greatest country on earth. Or was it some other one? I forget... Managed to get up in time to go to town for the usual parade. I say usual, although this one took probably twice as long as any other year that I've attended. And there seemed to be less in it. Go figure. In the afternoon, became thoroughly reacquainted with the bugs in bugzilla. Lordy, there are enough of them. Favorite quote from bugzilla: "Please don't hurt our bugs. We think they're kind of cute." Well, maybe not...
July 5 Trying to refrain from unwonted sarcasm. Avoiding NPR was therefore a (mostly) good idea. There was a very amusing Woody Allen piece on Selected Shorts about the origins of organized crime in America. Rest of the day was a dizzying mix of poring through bugzilla, and reading strange bits of world news. Or maybe not so strange. Politicians lying. Armies killing rebels. The usual. Oh, and I almost forgot the unusual evening NPR piece about New York's Coney Island which included a small concert by TMBG (They Might Be Giants). Okay, so NPR isn't all bad.
July 6 Time for a nice hike. Spent the morning doing a quick tour of Montara mountain. The entire trip was neck deep in fog, which didn't do much for the view (though Pacifica was never one of my favorite towns), but acted like a nice external radiator. Trip down left me with an extra blister, and the nice sensation that a little physical activity always provides. Rushed over to school for an "interactive" grading session for Quilt. Following the IG (and it was short), met with a friend, and somehow ended up going to Circuit City to help him dispose of a $25 gift certificate. This job was unexpectedly complicated when said friend insisted gift certificate go toward something useful. Useful? Circuit City? Hmm... Took a good look at downtown Palo Alto later in the evening, with an obligatory stop at the Apple Store and Borders. Dinner was at a Chinese restaurant whose platter proved far more authentic than its name (Windy's?). Dinner discussion centered around Stanford's history department, growth of American suburbia, and the foibles of academia. Broad topics, but I'm not complaining.
July 7 Sequences. Seemed awfully simple before all the epsilon's and deltas visited. I'm developing a theory that I don't understand theory. Time to find out if I'm right. Pointers + arrays = lots of fun. Dynamic arrays too. Question: why no dynamic reallocation? Seems a lot more useful to me than default arguments. Oh well. Finished up life finally. I mean the game life. Well actually, they're both games, but you know what I mean. I think I actually spent more time trying to make the code simple and readable, than thinking out the actual algorithms. Sigh. Hopefully that'll change.
July 8 I was getting used to 9 hours of sleep a night. Pity I had to break the pattern. Amazing how much sunnier one's outlook on life is after 9 hours of doing nothing (well, actually I dreamt my way into a strange version of WWII, but no matter). Day was on the whole far to prosaic. Class. Lunch. Class. Homework. Nothing too special. This week's problem set for CS includes battleship (though in a reduced form). So it was that I spent all afternoon dealing with issues arising from C++ strings. Was disapointed to discover that int a = new; unceremoniously terminated my program. Perhaps time to put aside my irrational prejudice against the debugger?
July 9 English is a terrible language to try to automate. For instance, creating the plural of ship types on battleship just isn't working nicely: "you have 6 battleships left," vs "you have 3 octopuses left," vs. "you have 2 angel fish left." Aside from that little complication, enjoyed a typical Thursday afternoon complete with sequences, subsequences, and more pointer magic in the realm of structs. a.b[c]->d? Yup.
July 10 Ouch. Strange dreams seem to lead to me sleeping with my neck at an odd angle. Morning included variation of parameters and change of bases. Lunch was nice, but reading about Rogue States with the sun in my eyes proved an excellent method of getting a headache. Somewhere between linked lists and Cauchy sequences, my headache happily disappeared, so when I snuck into the Stanford practice rooms (well, I didn't really sneak, I simply got in without a valid key), it wasn't too bad. Practice rooms were also, unfortunately, excellent heat sinks. After flute choir practice, went out for dinner with friends. Postdinner scrabble provided far too many opportunities to abuse English spelling. Sadly zad is still not a word.
July 11 Another day which vanished. I wonder where it went? Missing: 1 summer Friday. Reward offered for anyone who can help me figure out where I put it. Well, I know one place where part of it went: gcc bug hunting of course. Another chunk was devoted to the less than rewarding task of clearing up laundray from my loor. Yep, its been there for a while. Seems like I have far too many T-shirts which I refuse, for various reasons, to wear. Not reasons of taste, mind you, for taste and I are strangers, and I like to give him a good scare when he pays me a visit.
July 12 Saturday. That makes it time for another hike up the mountain. In this case Montara mountain. Having somehow escaped getting poison oak last year, we came back for more. With the fog gone, temperature was higher than last work, and opportunities for photography were better. Consequently the trip took about two hours more, and involved visiting 3 of the 4 peaks. Made it home for a brief pause in the afternoon. Then friends went off to see "Pirates of the Carribean" near the city. Curiously enough, the trip involved seeing people from high school who I'd not seen in many moons, and a guy who stopped going school in the district in 9th grade. Very odd. Thanks to the timing, dinner was popcorn, eaten during the movie. The movie itself was remarkably entertaining considering its premise and publisher. I wonder what the modern equivalent of pirates are? Arms smugglers? Hmm...
July 13 Spent a goodly chunk of today trying to figure out the ins and outs of gcc cross-compilation. What I found: working with cvs sources is, contrary to what one might expect, generally preferable to working with released sources. Takes the mingw32 from a 5 stage process to a one stage one. Same goes for cygwin, except PCH is still broken there. Argh! Also managed to vacuum up my room. Hopefully this will convince the moths who keep appearing to find someplace else to live. Ended the day trying to use dietlibc to generate an alpha-linux cross-compiler. This worked, but I can't compile anything, 'cause I still need crt1.o. Which is part of glibc. And glibc, as I determined long ago, is a bloated piece of junk (200MB for a C library? come on).
July 14 Sleeping is alway more fun than moving. Ah well, that's life. CS 106X involved a change of lecturers and topics. Welcome to recursion. Oh and by the way, you're done with CS106A stuff. CS106A in 3 weeks? Not bad. My TA liked my life implementation, which was good, since I spent the better part of a week of afternoons getting it right. Realized after the fact that the recursive algorithm for combinatorics as discussed in class is actually nothing more than Pascal's triangle. Learned in the evening that one of the guys from my dorm. is back on campus for summer research. Is everybody doing research but me? Something tells me gcc bug hunting doesn't count.
July 15 Had to get up early. Brought friend (the one who arrived yesterday) his two suitcases and huge tub of stuff that has been sitting in the middle room since school got out. If I'm going to continue acting as a storage service, I probably need a bigger car. Okay, not probably, definitely. After morning's classes, had a little lunch get-together which illustrated in painful detail the result of closing Tresidder's cafeteria: namely anywhere you go during lunch now has a line 4 times longer than usual. Way to go, bureaucrats. Spent the afternoon after class tracing through pointer problems. Amusingly, a large portion of CS section was prefaced by phrases such as, "you could do this, but don't." Guess I know now what to avoid.
July 16 Rewrote battleship this morning to use more efficient data structures. The net effect seems to be that all my functions take one argument (BattleGameT gameData), and involve beautiful expressions such as gameData->fleet->ships[i]->model.name. Maybe this isn't as much of an improvement as I'd hoped. At around 5:30, visited Flo-Mo dining hall for dinner. I managed to get in and out without a dining plan. Clever. Or maybe the cashier just didn't care. The food was plentiful and of poor quality (even the carrots in the salad could stand improvement). Afterwards, it was off with friends to the bookstore to hear Newt Gingrich talk about his new book. Sadly enough, the topic wasn't bankrupting the country, or destroying the rest of the world. Close though. It was: what would have happened had Lee won Gettysburg. Quote of note: Q: do you think the South will rise again. A: At a time when G.W. Bush of Texas is president, Bill Frist of Tennessee is majority leader of the Senate, and Tom Daley of Texas is the maojority leader of the House, has the south really done that badly? Indeed. Owing to full bowling alley, and parking-lot conditions on 101, neither minigolf, nor bowling worked out (in celebration of a friend's birthday). So we went to Costco and Krispy Kreme's instead. Says something about the area I guess. Dropped my friend off at the airport to arrive home late, tired, and full of donuts.
July 17 You know it'll be a warm day when you wake up, look outside, and see blue sky. In Half Moon Bay during July, anyways. Fortunately spending most of the day indoors has its advantages. Between classes, lunch, and finishing battleship, the sun was mercifully avoided. Discussion of recursion continued today, with an intro to backtracking. Based on the day's lecture. I succeeded in writing a nonfunctional Towers of Hanoi program that dumps core. In the evening, it was off to flute choir again. Of course the car hasn't had air-conditioning for over a year. But neither did the church we rehearsed in. Fortunately by the time I finished, the temperature was in the managable range, so I went to a nearby park, tried to understand merge-sort, and waited for a ride home. Ah summer! As of 11:30PM Towers of Hanoi now works. A successful day at last?
July 18 Friday. That means time to turn on the computers and take a look at the week in gcc-land. Plus of course water the roses, try to figure out what's going on in the world and so forth. Couldn't resist my usual habit of reading NYTimes editorials, which included a typically strange piece by Tom Friedman about how people were losing track of the improvements going on in Iraq, because they were focusing so much on allegations of fudged intelligence reports. Friedman goes on to lament that Blair may be the first political casualty of the war. Personally I could care less about what happens to Britain's ambassador to America. Rather than explain his actions, he seems to prefer making attacks on the BBC. Discovered in the afternoon that ssh is an extremely useful thing, not just for secure login, but also for remotely logging in without needing a password. Very cool!
July 19 Why get up when its so nice indoors. Oh well. Eventually managed to get up, eat breakfast, and prepare for the morning's hike. For reasons of variety, we decided to go to Butano State Park (which I've only been to once). Of course on the way, my father was distracted by some photogenic buildings in Pescadero. So somehow, we ended up doing a 2 hour walking tour of the place. I suspect Pescadero looks an awful lot like Half Moon Bay did, before it was invaded by Yuppies in the '70s and '80s. Pescadero shows the invasion in process. Still, there are some signs that it has yet to succeed. The proportion of small cars to SUVs for instance.
Following our tour (which netted some bread and goat cheese), we went off to the park. So our morning hike started somewhere around 1:30PM. It began inauspiciously climbing up a fallen tree trunk to avoid a detour. We began hiking up the valley's west side, but it wasn't until 3 that we actually had a view of the surroundings. Redwoods make for nice scenery and poor visibility. The trail then followed the ridgeline, and so did we, topping out at about 1,600 ft., with excellent views of both the coast and bay side (though haze obscured the bay quite a bit). After passing an abandoned airfield on the top of the ridgeline, we had lunch (4PM), and headed back. Miraculously, we made it out well before sunset. Nice little hike. Not quite a morning-only expedition though. Spent the evening letting the sore feet recover by not using them. Can I use this excuse for not thinking too?
July 20 Got up this morning, had breakfast, and was just about to take a look at gcc-land when I discovered the power was out. So what to do? Tried the garden, or rather, what's left of the garden, in particular, some less than happy rose bushes. Managed to yank up a lot of weeds and sweat a lot. Nice weather, but not for manual labor. At any rate, by lunchtime the garden looked a lot less like a jungle. Power returned too, which helped the lunch, and allowed me my afternoon's recreation too. My good intentions to study for the CS midterm were not, as the euphemism goes, realized. I love English. Such a deliciously ambiguous and nonsensical language. Oh, I also must have updated these pages. Seems I've gotten a bit behind ;-)
July 21 Monday morning. Here's a bit I wrote up on the success of Operation Invisible Anthrax. That was my method of procrastinating for the CS midterm. I also did a bit of studying, wracking my brains for all sorts of arcane syntax, and so forth. In actuality, the midterm was primarily about concepts, not syntax, and solving problems, not specifics. The result was a very frustrating hour-and-a-half in which I managed to bungle most of the stuff I knew, and all the stuff I didn't in the first half hour, and gradually clawed my way back for the rest of the time. I really don't code well under time pressure. Got home quite late, and quite tired blah.
July 22 Life is always better in the morning. Almost always. Decided that badmouthing last night's midterm probably won't change anything, so why bother? Concentrated on getting a running start on the new topics of the week: maninly recursion, and a bit on objects. The lecture was... interesting. The McDonalds analogy is, however growing old. Explaining abstraction as a McDonald's kitchen, ie you don't know, and moreover don't want to know, what's going on in the kitchen, doesn't strike me as quite appropriate. Came home, had dinner, and received a phone call from a friend who's mother had passed away. What the hell is going on with the world?
July 23 Last night's shock left me operating rather at reduced mental capacity and level, rather like an automaton, today. Which is a bit nice, in the sense that certain parts of thinking were not required. On the other hand, I can't say I really enjoyed much of the day. Hazy is the best word for it. Or incomprehensible.
July 24 Thursday. CS lecture was unusually rousing (these days everybody in class seems to be at least partially asleep, must be partly due to the weather). Binary trees and rebalancing. Cool! Whilst digging around my Boggle code, also figured out a way of combining two algorithms nicely into one. Next major project: adding qu to the board as a single unit. Hmm... In the afternoon, had flute choir. Temperature was significantly better than last week. Afterwards, went to the park, and read more about templates. Spent a good while there until I discovered that my dad was looking for me. Somehow we seem to have successfully avoided each other for nearly an hour. How clever.
July 25 A very sad day. Attended the funeral of the mother of a good friend. Everything happens so suddenly. Why? Nothing makes sense.
July 26 I'm not certain if I have a streak of masochism or not. In any case, my garden work was quite thorny and somewhat less than rewarding. Did remove a lot of weeds around the rose garden, and watered them. Also attempted to drown a few gophers. I'm not really a big fan of killing things (in fact, I rather regularly "relocate" spiders from my room to more acceptable premises) but given that the gophers have made a pretty clean sweep of the garden, I'm really not in that forgiving a mood. Was finally sufficiently fed up about the lack of a rake to go and buy one from Ocean Shore. Moving leaves is ever so much easier now. In the evening visited friends and chatted for a while. Then had to quickly run off to San Jose and pick another friend up from the airport. Screwed up, and ended up on 17 coming back. Second time I've done that. Hrmph. Arrived home late, tired, and possibly relieved that I can drive after 11PM without doing strange things with curbs.
July 27 Honestly, I must have done something today. At least I'm pretty sure I did. What the heck, time has bad habits, why try to analyze them? I can say that my boggle program is closer to completion, and I have a slight cold. I also went on a walk up Montara mountain. Not necessarily in that order though. Also my phone ended up off the hook. Not sure how that happened. Phooey.
July 28 I'm pretty much out-boggled at this point. Spent a little too much time working on making the interface of my boggle program look perty. Really should have thought more carefully about the data structures in advance. Oh well. If I'd saved the time there, no doubt I could have figured out other innovative ways to waste it. Met with a few friends for lunch where we chatted a bit of this and that. I guess summer can be a bit dull. Or not. "It all depends on how you look at things" (blatant plagiarism of The Phantom Tollbooth). Speaking of reading (and not of toolbooths, they being fortunately few in number and far in distance, at least in this area), I ended up doing quite a bit of reading of Necessary Illusions, when not working on boggle. Good stuff. I'm working hard to become either a left-wing idealogue, or a radical. Haven't decided just which yet. I'm not sure if I sufficiently lack self-doubt to be a good idealogue. Being a radical is a little simpler, but makes arguments harder, since people merely assume you're an asylum escapee, and nod and smile at whatever you say.
July 29 I am out of sorts again. Listening to NPR does that these days. In particular Fresh Air's interview with the author of the new book All The Shah's Men. It peeves me no end to learn, yet again, how the U.S. government allied itself with the most repressive and dictatorial individuals to thwart democracy in other nations. Case in point is Iran and the 1953 coup. There, the CIA bribed a mob and various members of the military to throw out the democratically elected prime-minister, and replace him with an autocractic and later brutal dictator. Why? To protect British oil interests. What did they care about wrecking the future of a nation? If it lined their pockets, then whatever happened, it was justified. No doubt somebody will make the ridiculous "but Mossadeq was secretly a communist" argument. Bullsh*t. The people who ever called him a communist were paid by the CIA. At least that's what the CIA wrote, in the Wilber report. I alway thought that if fascists ever took over America, it would be as KKKers, or religious fundamentalists. The '53 coup shows they were alive and well in the Eisenhower administration. Wouldn't be surprised if the same folk, or facsimiles thereof, still sit in their corners, screwing up the world, and makeing a mockery of everything the U.S. stood for. Or claimed to. Oops, I'm ranting again...
July 30 Brevity is wit. Or something like that. Since I lack both, I'll try to keep this short. Woke up. Ate. Worked. Ate. Slept. Was bored. Well, not quite, that's probably closer to a plagiarization of Peter Fleming's brief stint in Brazil (1929) waiting for his paperwork to filter through the bureaucracy. For me, today was mainly about figuring what the heck next week's assignment in CS is, and getting a head start, since I'll be unproductive in that regard for the weekend. Also read the British newspapers Guardian and Independent liberally (pun most-certainly intended). Have come to the indisputable conclusion that most U.S. newspapers are not worth the paper they're written on. Just like it took the BBC to get U.S. media to notice Bush's ermm... factual inexactitudes in the state of the union, it's taking British papers to deal with the less pleasant bits of international news. Like U.S. use of napalm in Iraq. Or the fact that after 80 days, not too many folk are calling U.S. troops in (or British ones for that matter) liberators. Of course, for comic relief, there's always the Capitol Steps. Korrrr-eeee-a?.
July 31 A little slow as usual. Considering that we are due down in L.A. this evening, I suppose packing might have been a bright idea, earlier, than say, the morning before I leave. Not to worry though. I forgot only my cell-phone charger, glasses case, primary reading book, and other necessaries. No biggie. Spent morning working on classwork, aka a program to do text compression, aka Huffy (as he is affectionately called). As of this afternoon huffy is fully functional, making 65k files into 40k files, and taking only about a minute to do so. Obviously making this a little faster _might_ not hurt. CS Lecture was mainly about Huffman, which was kind of a waste for me, since I'd had to figure out most of the stuff the mentioned the day before, when I first started working on the program. That's what I get for trying to get ahead. In the afternoon it was off to the airport. Our taxi driver did his best to go the wrong way, but we still made it on time. Went through security no problem, though my dad's sandals set off the metal detector. Given that birkenstocks are capable of scaring family values at a distance of more than 100ft. (ex-hippies, you know?), I suppose the concerns were justified. Arrived at Burbank airport without incident, and, as I later discovered, with my Swiss army knife. Just goes to show that security is good at catching potential weapons, and incapable of noticing actual ones. Met grandparent at the airport (after a fun car-chase, with me running through traffic to alert grandparents of our presence). Ate dinner at Denny's which was later universally agreed to have been a bad idea, though not nearly as bad as no dinner at all. Went to sleep finally well past midnight.