November 1 What's all this fuss about refugees? A few here, a few there, and pretty soon you're talking of 700,000 Palestinians causing a minor culture war between Israeli historians. Of course, I'm uniquely privileged to start a paper on said topics and historians. In any case, I succeeded in outputting about 1,200 words, eating breakfast, and going to a Christian BBQ, not necessarily in that order. The barbeque somewhat unexpectedly increased by one the number of math majors I know, and the number of Texans. The bike ride to and from Menlo Park was also remarkable. Winter weather already? Later, a couple of friends popped over, so I ended up with a 100-baseT crossover cable, and a tour of most of Stanford, including the rather surreal and recently completed Clark Center. Oh, and the crossover cable let us stream DVDs. Nothing quite like two Fellowships of the Ring on two screens, with a one second delay between.
November 2 A thoroughly blarghed day. I have now read Nur Masalha exactly nine times, and come up with different interpretations every time. I'm rather becoming a fan of the so-called old Israeli historians. At least they are quite blatant in their biases and unfactuality, and don't obscure everything with evidence that needs analyzing. I'm not sure if this is the right approach, but maintaining sanity when reading disputes over the finer points of the 1948 refugee crisis is an important result. In any case, I now have 7 more or less acceptable pages of paper, plus a headache, and some very unkind thoughts about the state of Israel (explaining the "free Palestine" sign on the front page, now removed, so as to minimize the number of people who I am currently offending).
November 3 Between classes in the morning, finished up the paper. I don't like writing any more. Talking is okay, thinking is okay, but writing just kind of stinks. Fortunately, none of the other classes require anything of the sort. A random bug turned up in my CS assignment four hours before it was due, so I had a lot of fun with gdb up 'til about 11PM.
November 4 Yawn. I staggered to all my classes today. I can't remember a thing from any of them. Okay, I lied. In history, we dealt with the various settlement policies of Israel following the '67 war. I think they can be summarized, from the point of view of any non-Jews in the area, as ranging from bad to worse.
November 5 Watched "Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone?" first thing in the morning. Nothing like hearing from a man who's house has been bulldozed 4 times. Sort of demolishes the myth that Israel is peaceful nation, and if only those evil Palestinians would stop killing Israelis, everything would be fine. Israeli land seizures began in the West Bank immediately following the 1967 war. Violence against Israelis by Palestinians at the time was entirely negligible. If Israel wanted peace, they could have had it. But they wanted land instead. So they took it.
November 6 That's enough for one day. Barring extensions to 36 hours, I refuse to do more in one day. Flute lesson in the morning, CS midterm at noon, and flute choir in the afternoon. Splice in math homework, history readings and section, and I'm feeling vaguely overwhelmed. Was pleased that the CS midterm didn't live up to its reputation. No complaints. Not yet. Went home for the evening. Good old foggy HMB. Oh, and the missing roll of film from Switzerland resurfaced (apparently survived the airport X-ray machines). Not too shabby. My photo of Erich Maria Remarque's (All Quiet on the Western Front) can now be made available to posterity.
November 7 Took advantage of returning to Stanford via car to bring a few extra penguins along. Proved more complicated than expected to get Tux #3 to the third floor. He's the "damn big" penguin LinuxMall used to (still?) have. Some people are shocked by penguin. Others aren't surprised in the least. Most haven't noticed. I could describe most of the world in terms of that sort of paradigm. For the evening, drove over to Dublin with a group of friends to see Matrix Revolutions, on an IMAX screen. The IMAX helped a lot. I'd spoil the plot of the movie to ridicule it, but I'm still sorting out little bits. Hey, maybe it wasn't entirely mindless after all!
November 8 My roommate has located a good number of recordings of the original BBC Hitchhiker's Guide series. The vision of Douglas Adams shines again! He also got ahold of some old Tom Lehrer songs, and a Monty Python episode: Hitler in Europe. Good stuff. I've gone back to my GCC habits again, so I built a half dozen compilers. Don't know where it'll lead. I have high hopes. This week's math homework has a bit of added urgency, since the midterm's on Wednesday. Here's hopin' for better times to come.
November 9 I think I hate Sundays. Not only is Sunday inevitably a work day, it's an unsuccessful workdays. You start late, and always plan on getting more done than you do. Unrealistic expectation is the antecedent of my current bout of ill humor. Add to that a healthy dose of unrelated disappointment, and I find myself reassessing the world. Grumble. Grumble.
November 10 Optimism lives again. Kinda. I did get most of the math homework done. Add that to an interesting lecture about the interim after 1967 war, plus a math lecture that I actually understood, and things were looking okay. Meanwhile, in CS we switched from C++ to LISP, which looks like it will take some serious getting used to. Here's to hoping I succeed.
November 11 I am amused by the logic of the CS TAs. No section this week because we're covering new stuff. Ri-ight. I must've been naive to assume that new stuff requires more attention, right? Anyhow, the most productive part of the day was devoted to memorizing math definitions, theorems, and proofs. I'm not feeling so good about this midterm. I also have a dentist appointment tomorrow for a pain in my mouth. Jolly.
November 12 Oh, that was easy. Nothing's wrong with my mouth, which is nice to know. Spent 4 hours cramming, err... studying, for math. This was a good thing. We were given (presumably) the whol period (50) minutes to do the midterm in. I was the first person to turn it in, having barely finished, after an hour twenty (because I had to head over to CS class). Guess everybody else had more time. Oh well. Persian midterm was better. I was just so tired. God I want to sleep. Too. Much. Stuff. Oh, I started this week's CS assignment this evening. Due Monday. Hope it isn't too long.
November 13 Blah. Flute lesson, frantically finishing math homework. Ate a hurried and miscellaneous lunch. Went to math class, history session. Oh yeah, had to find a ride for flute choir, since the person I usually go with couldn't go. Somehow managed to straighten everything out. Flute choir took some doing. Intonation on the alto flute is still largely a mystery to me. Came back and mucked around a bit with cross-compilers.
November 14 Set aside the building of an i686-linux x ppc-darwin cross compiler so as to finish math homework. Succeeded. Barely. LISP and I seem to have a number of unresolved issues. Hopefully I can do something about that soon. More disquieting is the consensus that CS Homework 6 is a doozy of an assignment. That means I'll be busy for the weekend. By the evening, I'd constructed a script that'd build the cross assembler, linker and others, and install them. Now I just need to get the actual compiler built and happy. Learning a little of shell-scripting in the process, which is nice. Also watched half of "Dark City" in the lounge. I think the next movie I watch will be one I've selected. "Dark City" left many things to be desired, including a compelling reason to watch it. So I worked on the sharedstring part of CS instead. Still doesn't work, so I'm preparing for the horror that is debugging.
November 15 Up amazingly early. I think it's because we've rolled up the blinds, so the sun seems to rise earlier than it did before. Worked first on shared string, and then on cross compiling. Purify is an awfully useful tool. Received a surprise call from my uncle, so went off and met for lunch. The outside world seems to be moving along. Afterwards, I tried to get a start on math homeworks. A start I did get, but beyond that no. Then back for work on CS. Took me until about 8PM before I worked out a design for the assignment. Have implemented the first steps as of 11PM. I don't like funny binary trees. A pity since that's what I'm working with.
November 16 Work on CS assignment 6 continues. Design. Implement. Test. Debug. It's the four step plan from hell. Oh well, at least it mostly works now. As a result though, I can think of nothing memorable about today. Monotasking stinks. I think it may even lead to monomania. What else? Hmm... food in the dining hall was bad (as befits a Sunday). Weather was uncommon warm and pleasant for mid November. Onward.
November 17 Return of the week. All morning on CS, went to afternoon classes, and then back to CS. Const iterators are killing me. Finally figured out first what they were, and next, what I should do with them. Assignment submitted around 11:50PM (ten minutes before due date). God I'm sick of programming.
November 18 Got a reminder last night that might flute lesson is today. Oops. Forget about that. Well, up early to practice, then off to my lesson, and immediately after, history class. Today's class: Sephardim and Zionism. Israel as described is a three class state: Ashkenazim minory on the top, Mizrahim (Middle-east Jews) majority as essentually second class citizens, and Israeli Arabs at the bottom. Looks like Zionism's victims weren't only Arabs: a whole generation of middle-eastern Jews were uprooted, de-cultured, de-nationalized, and transplanted to Israel (and sprayed with DDT). Day's other activites included math homework, and an early start on the next CS assignment. It's a lot nicer not doing 5 hours at a stretch.
November 19 Topics of the day included gender issues in Israel (and the occupied territories), Darboux Integrals (yick) and Java class inheritance (buzzword alert). Yawn. Add to that a movie about an Arab MK in the Knesset, math homework, Farsi, and thinks do seem a wee bit hectic. Shrug.
November 20 A quick jog first thing in the morning, and then finishing math and history homework until noon. Had a long lunch outside in the sun, and went off reluctantly to match class afterward. Reluctance was well justified since the class attempted to put me to sleep. History section followed, and then flute choir at CSM. Returned with the plan to do some more on CS, but didn't succeed. Instead, talked of this and that for a good bit. Talk is good, true, but so is finishing work early. Have to work on that...
November 21 Spent the morning on various unprofitable pursuits. Grumble. Lunch was bad too. I nearly fell asleep in both afternoon classes, and missed the lecture I'd wanted to go to. Altogether, not too good. First good thing to happen all day was dinner (which also included the first thing of the day that I could really consider a conversation). After dinner, watched "The Dead Poets Society." My aive side appreciated the movie considerably, on the grounds that it makes a glorious case for individualism. My cynical side says Hollywood != reality. They're both right. Oh, and just as Georgy enjoys his London visit, somebody desides a bombing of the British embassy in Turkey is in order. Wonderful. Not.
November 22 Up late. Finally finished my lisp programming for the week the afternoon. No more list. Guess I could be sad. Or not. Shrug. Did a bit of reading for history class too, before getting trapped in assorted miscellaneous tasks. Listened to much more Tom Lehrer than was good for me. Read New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, Ha'aretz, and so forth. Honestly don't know why I bother. I have an uncommon knack for sympathizing with the losing side of nearly every story I read. Guess that might qualify me as a loser. The universal losers are of course truth, justice, peace, and humanity.
November 23 Spent the day with an earache that chewing (large jaw movements really) exacerbates. Doctor says nothing obvious is wrong. Good for him. For me something obvious is wrong: it didn't used to hurt eating, but I'll give his predictions a day or too before forking over money to the pharmaceutical makers of the world. I've read a good deal about the Lebanese civil war, with a bit on the first intifada thrown in for good measure. I also started Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (on loan from a friend). The idea of an electrice monk may be one whose time has come?!
November 24 Tired for no readily apparent reason. I had nearly 10 hours of sleep at home last night, and felt great until about 1PM. Then it was all I could to stay awake. Yawn. History class was devoted entirely to the Lebanese Civil War, an interesting if universally unpleasant topic. Math class finished off Darbeaux integrals, and CS started dealing with concurrency stuff. In Farsi, I had issues keeping my head horizontal, but stayed marginally lucid. I arrived at dinner late, but somehow ended up engrossed in a conversation, the finer points of which might get me sent to Guantanamo. It's just that it's so hard to be serious these days. What with the country going to the dogs as fast as Republicans can bankrupt it, it seems I either need to laugh or leave. And leaving isn't all that viable.
November 25 Finishing off necessary odds and ends to prepare for a trip over Thanksgiving. Succeeded in going to classes, catching up a bit on gcc stuff, catching up a bit on world affairs. Can't say as I was very impressed.
November 26 Today my dad and I went to L.A. By car. Took about 9 hours of going down 101. Left Stanford around 9AM, went to AAA, and got maps. The maps have a new style (not the old navy blue I'm used to). No fair! Took 101 south through the various outcroppings of civilization (Gilroy, Hollister, Salinas) landing in the Salinas valley. I must say, I've never give that valley proper credit. But it is a kind of nice quite place, if one manages to avoid the ubiquitous oil derricks. Stopped at Mission San Miguel. I had a project on that mission in 4th grade. Can't say I remembered much about its history though.
San Luis Obispo is another nice town. It reminds me a good bit of Palo Alto (or Berkeley) but not (yet) as yuppified. SLO stop for lunch. Continued onward. Mile after mile of empty, unused coastline. Oh sure there were towns and whatnot here and there. But it looked like an area you could get lost for days in without seeing another person. My kind of place.
The last stretch was less exciting. Traffic at Santa Barbara was abominable, and though it cleared up later on, the road was packed, the going slow, and me tired. Arrived at my uncle's sometime around 7PM. There followed the usual lively discussion, dinner, watching the turkey (Arlene) be cooked and so forth.
November 27 Turkey day. Did a lot of eating, some reading, and a visit to the park. My cousin is a much better roller-blader than I ever was. Dinner was an eclectic collection of folks, who discussed everything from Ah-nold to Hungarian cooking. Interesting stuff.
November 28 Everybody seems a bit tired today. Didn't know overeating was such hard work! I did a good chunk of reading for my history class (and am no a scant 20 pages from finishing the entire, 630 page, course reader). My uncle tried (and generally succeeded) in splitting logs with an axe. My cousin and her friend went on a pony ride in Griffith Park. We played Clue. The younger members of the family raced around on their bikes. A relaxing day.
November 29 Went to Santa Monica beach in the morning (well, early afternoon really). The beach was warm, sunny, and very popular. We explored it first from a safe distance, atop the bluffs, and then wandered down to the beach itself via a very exclusive driveway-like path. In the eloquent words of one graffiti artist, "Die Yuppy Scum." Ate at one of the worse Indian restaurants I've been to. Returned to the house for the afternoon, had dinner, and on account of the math homework I need to do for next week, declined an invitation to go to the opera. In the process, also discovered the flash sensor on my camera is defective. Odd, I guess I've never used it. When my uncle returned from the opera, we had a nice lengthy dispute over the responsibility for the current mess in Palestine err... Israel. I need to work on my arguing skills.
November 30 Drove back home today. Traffic was surprisingly good for the first leg. We took a shortcut around Santa Barbara which gave a scenic view of the area from high up (went over some pass too). Stopped at SLO again, this time for a bathroom, and bread, as well as our lunch. Right about when we left, the weather turned gray. Progress slowed afterwards, so it was good to let somebody do the last half of the drive. Rain started somewhere in the Salinas valley, and became steadily heavier. At Salinas, we cut west, over to Moss Landing, Watsonville, and Santa Cruz. Funny how I remember Santa Cruz as a small town. Ain't so small any more, that's for sure! The final stretch of highway 1 to Half Moon Bay was also mercifully free of traffic, and we even managed to locate a long-lost radio station, despite the rain. Good things don't always disappear! Spent the evening at home, and went to bed early. Tomorrow'll be busy.