October 1 And the winner is, I dunno. My cold and I have reached in impasse. Sore throat, but nothing else. History class this morning dealt the west's relationship with, and conception of, the Jews. In particular, evangelical Christian groups as early as the 18th century had concluded that the conversion of the Jews was a necessary prerequisite to the messiah. Thus missionary ventures to Palestine in the 19th century focused chiefly on converting the Jews there (with notably little success). Evident also from the literature and speech, is an existing Christian belief that the "place of the Jews" is in Palestine (as former president John Adams wrote Mordecai Manuel Noah in 1819). Contrast this with a prevailing view of Palestine as empty, and its (undercounted) Arab inhabitants as primitive (or in the words of the London Daily Telegraph, "prehistoric."
I missed lunch finishing up math homework, which I duly turned in directly after lunch. My Real Analysis class is beginning to worry me. The professor seems to know what he's doing. Unfortunately, he's not necessarily willing to divulge this to the rest of us. As a result, he claims things as trivially obvious, which upon reconsideration, he himself concludes are not. Hopefully this is not the start of a trend.
Farsi class brought us through about a quarter of the alphabet, and was chiefly interesting in showing me that I may have been premature in mocking Bush for his dyslexia (to be perfectly fair though, I think he is well outside the common case). Let's just say that the Arabic 'b' and 'n' are sometimes very hard for me to tell apart.
Around 6PM, my dad came by, and dropped me off an STL tutorial (3 different ones, actually). Very good. Finally got around to filling the tires of my bike as well. They weren't quite flat before, but they didn't miss by much either.
At 7PM, we had a movie for history. "Exodus" with Paul Newman and Eva Marie St. It basically details the experience of a number of Jewish refugees from the viewpoint (generally) of an American women who travels with them from detention camps in Cyprus to Palestine in 1947. Being a movie from the 1950s, it is of course not particularly subtle. The good guys are almost 100% good, and the bad guys are almost 100% bad. Most noteworthy is the fact that the only Arabs we see opposing Zionism are shown as Nazi-led. This is of course historically basis. Indeed, the movie's main historical value is providing a window into the Hollywood American view of Israel.
Of course, "Exodus" had the other downside of being about 3 1/2 hours long. Add that to a lively discussion after the movie, and I didn't make it back to the dorm until a quarter of midnight. Dinner was pizza from Stern Late Night. Hopefully not a beginning of the repeat of spring quarter. Pizza has its merits. But not every night.
October 2 These entries are getting a bit longish. Here's an attempt at concision.
No morning classes, but a 10AM flute lesson. So up at 8, and practice in Braun auditorium. My teacher was surprised that I didn't make it into either Orchestra or Wind Ensemble. Hmm... Lesson demonstrated need for a regular practice schedule. The virtues of regimentation?
After lunch was another interminable math (matrix) lecture. Following shortly after was first history section of the year. As I hadn't finished all the readings, my mouth remained somewhat more shut than usual. Which is to say, I still said more than all but 2 other people. Do people not learn how to speak in class these days?
To get to Flute Choir, I had arranged to car pool with another member, and meet in Palo Alto. Forgot how far Palo Alto was. No matter. Took only 20 minutes to make it to Middlefield. Arrived early for flute choir, and discovered I'm a member of both groups (I play on every piece but the trio). Moving up in the world. Interesting music too, including "Overture from The Barber of Seville." Very fun.
Came back from Palo Alto in the dark. Fortunately hadn't forgot my light. It gets dark early. 8PM used to be no problem! Still missed Wilbur dining hall by an hour, and had to go to Stern. Pizza again. Returned to my dorm room to discover my roommate and friend from down the hall plotting to install a laser security system to keep me from disappearing from the dorm. for extended periods. I gave my excuses, but they didn't go too far. Went to bed. Eventually.
October 3 Chores in the morning. Room organization (including a disposal of two day's of pizza extra bits). Then paying bills. My bank account is looking kind of bulimic. Last week it was full(ish). Now it most definitely isn't. Damn textbooks, phone bill, and CSM fees (for Flute Choir).
Afternoon was lunch, math class (got there late, so the seating was bad) and computer science. I'm still not certain of the pertinence of the stuff we're doing in CS. It's interesting, but is it useful? Well, if you're going to be an ace programmer, you have to know everything. Film studies is so appealing sometimes (a joke major, it doesn't really exist, leastaways not here).
Made an abortive attempt to print out Swiss photos (my dad has been busily scanning them, and posting them to my webpage). The stupid color printer in the library seems to have issues with 25 meg photoshop files. I'll post links to the pictures later.
The dorm had a Friday barbecue, so I had to go back early for dinner. Food was typical barbecue fare. Afterwards, I set to work trying to change the T.E.G. high score list a bit. I would have succeeded, had the dice not insisted on widespread statistical anomalies against me (how are 3 dice outrolled by 1 6 times in a row?).
Later in the evening, a bunch of folk from last year's dorm dropped by, and we spent a good solid two hours chatting and wandering about locating other Junipero alumni. I haven't been this sociable in weeks. A sort throat eventually cut short all the festivities. I can still talk. Sorta.
October 4 Woke up somewhat the worse for 8 hours of sleep. Only 8 hours. Life's hard sometimes! After breakfast, and various room cleanup tasks, I finally got down to the nitty-gritty of CS 107 homework. Assignment 1 was implementing the trivia game, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Basically a glorified version of pathfinder (from CS 106X). In fact I reused some of the pathfinder code. The big difference was using STL instead of the CS 106 data structures. I can say a lot of things about STL, but it doesn't quite qualify in my book as "user friendly".
Heigh-ho. I spent a good bit of the afternoon listening to radio programs with David Sedaris in them. He was actually in the original Christmas broadcast of "This American Life" (one of NPR's more intelligent shows) in a piece called "Santaland Diaries" about life as an elf in Macy's at Christmas. Oh, and two years ago, he had an absolutely hilarious commentary about Christmas the Dutch way entitled "Six to Eight Black Men".
October 5 Up and about by around 10. My dad came by, and we were going to go to Foothill Park, but that didn't quite happen. Proof of Palo Alto residency wasn't forthcoming. Instead, we were up in Los Trancos open-space area, and managed to wander quite a bit, without ever actually making it to Foothill Park (which adjoins it). The day was surprisingly clear, probably due to being at around 2,000 feet (I don't believe the altimeter, but that's what it claims), in the hills. Warm too. The car was a respectable oven by the time we returned after the walk and lunch.
Back at the dorm, I spent a good chunk of the rest of the day on Kevin Bacon. Find bug. Change code. Recompile. Repeat. This little sequence ended around 9PM, so I could watch a movie in the lounge. "Existenz." Aside from a twist at the end, that movie had no redeeming value. Then again, few do. I must admit, I got a kick out of seeing a hotel whose name was "Country Hotel." Some props director! Wireless works in the lounge though, so I did a bit of debugging then too.
October 6 Monday. Ahrem. Yom Kippur. Day of atonement. Another suicide bombing yesterday in Israel. Shortly thereafter, Israel goes and bombs a camp in Syria 14 miles from Damascus. On this 30th anniversary of the '73 Yom Kippur war, Ha'aretz had a piece about Golda Meir's "restraint" not using nuclear weapons against the Egyptians and Syrians, when it looked as if Israel might lose the war. Wow, that's almost as restrained as Kennedy's decision not to use tactical nukes on Cuba in '62.
Meanwhile, no history class in the morning due to Yom Kippur, so I spent all morning working on math homework. Got most of it done too. I hope this means I'm not headed for a Math 120-style debacle, like last spring. Math and CS class were held as usual. Farsi was canceled due to some emergency, so around 5PM, I went over to the Sweet Hall cluster of Suns to finish Kevin Bacon. I don't like Sun machines. It took me almost an hour just to get the window manager changed from TWM to WindowMaker. I still haven't quite gotten the hang of the keyboard. I keep aiming for [~] and getting [backspace] instead. Still, Kevin Bacon is now fully functional, and even commented. Then off to Stern Late Night for pizza. My dinner by necessity when Wilbur Dining has closed for the day.
October 7 Election day. History class dealt with the peculiar circumstances of the early 20th century in the Ottoman's Arab territories. So right as the second Aliyah is starting to see a stream of Jews migrating from eastern Europe to Palestine, a sort of proto-Arab nationalism, and proto-Islamism is beginning to assert itself in "greater Syria." Included in this are the plethora of new publications that Rashid Khalidi cites in Palestinian Identity. I suppose it's simply pointless speculation, but had WWI not drawn in the Ottomans, I wonder whether the middle east would have had a happier history for the last 3/4 of a century...
Math class after lunch allowed, followed by CS section which was partly a session on using gdb. I wasn't too familiar with gdb before section and I still wasn't after section either. Oh well.
Almost missed dinner doing homework in the library. Managed to get out in time, and finished dinner right about the time that coverage of the election on NPR was hitting full swing. News kinda just went downhill from there. Guess I can't make any Florida jokes now that Arnold's our governor. My main consolation is that he's going to have a hell of a time, starting with a rather grumpy legislature. My question is: what'll he do about the budget? He promises not to raise taxes (in fact, to cut them). He promises not to cut education. So what'll give?
Anyhow, memo to self: get Canadian citizenship. Soon. I need someplace to go once the Republicans finish gutting the country of all its rights, services, and good sense.
October 8 Post election day blues. Read the headlines from half-a-dozen newspapers. Cheaps shots abound. Good news is that both Prop. 53 and 54 went down in flames, so at least Ward Connelly (also author of Prop. 209) won't be gloating. Despite what they say about Arnold's "overwhelming victory", both in the bay area, and in L.A. county, the "nos" outnumbered the "yeses"
Today's history lecture was a discussion of the rather convoluted politics leading up to the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Indeed, the declaration seems to have arisen from a British desire to win Jews over to the allied cause, on the not quite accurate presumption that Jews in the U.S., Russia and Germany were a cohesive and powerful group, capable of setting national policy. Needless to say, the objective was not met. Russian Jews did not force the Russian government to remain in the war, German Jews did not force the Kaiser conclude peace, and American Jews did not force American troops to land in France any earlier than planned. In short, whatever one thinks of the document itself, the reasoning behind it was completely incorrect. Ironic, I'd say.
Next came lunch, math class, and CS class. Learned in math class that the midterm's in a week. Time to get down to business, I guess. In CS, the professor gave a pretty good demonstration of why some people like the C programming language so much: it gives you ample opportunity to abuse the hardware in any way possible. Farsi class got us through 7 more letters in the alphabet. Oh, and the teacher mentioned that I'd changed from last year (when I was in her class too). What's that supposed to mean, I wonder?
The entirety of the evening was spent by me reading various odd bits for history. These include some of the correspondence between the Sharif Husayn and Mark McMahon (of the Oriental office in Cairo), the British-French Sykes-Picot treaty dividing up Ottoman territories (in 1916, long before the war was even near being over), a memorandum by Balfour on the postwar territorial squabbles in the Middle East, and a white paper by Churchill (yes, the Churchill) from 1922 which basically suggested that Palestine was an Arab-Jewish state would not work. Insightful. At least I'm done with my readings for the week.
October 9 Rather a long day. First, a good bit of time spent practicing flute, and a flute lesson. Allegedly I sounded decent, but in those rotten little practice rooms, you'd never have known. Leastaways I didn't. After that, ran off to library and finished off my math homework. Then came math class (matrix math, still working on fairly elementrary matrix operations), and history section. From history section, I biked into Palo Alto, to get a ride with another member of the CSM flute choir. Unfortunately, I tried a more creative route. Middlefield doesn't have any bike lane. It does have sidewalks, which are quite uneven. Also managed to miss my turnoff, and became a bit lost. As lost as one can be 4 blocks from University Ave., anyway. At CSM, flute choir went well, although the last piece was kind of tough, since it was both new, fast, and missing the last two pages. I must've missed 3/4 of the notes, of which 1/2 I didn't have to begin with! William Tell is fun though (and the piccolo part is absolutely insane). Back at Stanford, I started working on CS assignment 2. True it's not due 'til next Wednesday, but it's something to do. Became thoroughly bogged down in messy C pointer evaluation. In theory void * is a great idea. In practice, it's a wonderful way to write incorrect code.
October 10 I like Fridays. Not the least because there are no morning classes. So this morning was spent in equal chunks: reading about lim sups and lim infs, trying to write a binary search algorithm that mimics the one in libc, and trying to clear a foot high accumulation of miscellany from my desk. I think I need more than one binder for all my class stuff. Time will tell.
In the afternoon was the usual Math/CS duo. CS was a rather fun discussion of assembly, internal program mechanics and the like. I get the feeling that programming in assembly is probably more tedious than difficult. But the pure geek factor of it has to be worth something. Continued working on binary search after that, to the point that I can now search through the compressed records quite efficiently. Very nice. Now all I have to do is use the C++/STL version and not the libc one.
Met a friend in the evening, and took the opportunity to go out for dinner. Chinese food ended up being the path of least resistance, but the restaurant was pretty good, so I shouldn't complain. Nothing's quite like philosophic and political discussion over tea and hot and sour soup... Afterwards, we wandered through Palo Alto's more interesting bits. Looks like I need to start reading again, since from our brief stop at Border's, I saw a lot of interesting looking stuff, beginning with Molly Ivins' new Bushwhacked. That's a singularly good title, if I do say so myself.
October 11 What's one day in the grand scheme of things? Good question. This one qualifies in the "not much" department. It was, in short, a half-workday. Half, because the other half was devoted to some rather undirected research of YellowTab's Zeta (the BeOS replacement). The work half was math, and not too exciting math at that. I also recovered about 2 gigs of disk space, and hosed my fink installation. Oh, I even updated this blimey thing. Not so much an empty day. Just empty in the content sense.
October 12 I am beginning to pay too much attention to google's news search feature. The result is that I hear too much about the world. Take the news that Israeli tanks and bulldozers flattened another 40+ houses in Rafah today, making up to 1,200 people homeless. Not only does it do wonders for my blood pressure, it also causes me to become depressed, argumentative, and cynical. At least for a bit. Did I mention what I think about Israel yet? No? Good. It might offend the Jewish half of my family.
As for actual accomplishments today, they were in the more limited department. After brunch, I went to a concert by my flute teacher and a guitarist. The "Suite Buenos Aires" by Maximo Pujol was a particularly nice mixture of styles and influences. I was briefly in the Cantor Arts Center, for the first time since coming to school. They had some paintings by members of the so-called Hudson River school. I was impressed both by the attention to detail, and the paint cracks. The evening was a mixture of activities, none memorable in the slightest...
October 13 I sleep best when it's cold. Which is to say, the decision by housing to turn on the heat across campus wasn't quite welcome. Since it's been sunny and 70 for the last week, I can't for the life of me think why they had to do so. Heigh ho. Me is back to history class first thing in the morning. Then Math and CS. Missed dinner as usual. Dull day.
October 14 We received a whirlwind lecture on Palestine in the period leading up to WWII. Looks like I was being unfair crediting the Israelis with the idea of expelling Palestinians to create a region with a Jewish majority. That honor goes to Lord Peel who's 1937 Peel white paper proposed the partition of Palestine into a Jewish north and an Arab south. In order to make a Jewish majority though, he recommended the "transfer" of 250,000 Palestinians. This in order to give Jews a 55% majority. I begin to see why everybody hated the British so much back then. In the afternoon, following math class, I did my history readings for the week, including excerpts of Menachem Begin's autobiography. A truly charming character. I'm not sure why he doesn't qualify as a terrorist, but I suppose being on the winning side certainly helped.
October 15 History class this morning dealt with the eminently cheerful topic of Israel's creation. Let's just say that shady dealings in international politics are nothing new. It is only mildly ironic that after refusing to a damn thing to stop the holocaust, U.S. leaders, including Truman were quite happy to play the Israel card to a domestic audience. Sound familiar? Math midterm was in-class, so it wasn't too long. However, I had a mental lapse, and so tried to finish the test in 35 minutes, instead of 50. I succeeded. Barely. But I was left with the rest of the time trying to find out what I did wrong. Which is awful tough when you've been writing as fast as you can for the previous half hour. My writing gets progressively less legible under pressure. Mind that never... Afterwards was CS and yet more assembly mechanics. It's interesting but I wish we were learning the SysV ABI, rather than the Jerry ABI, which is only of use in this class. Spent the entire evening working on the CS assignment. Got binary search working through STL with the help of random access iterators. I fully understand why some people loathe C++ now. Talk about needless ugliness and complexity. Anyhow. Submitted an hour before the deadline, and am now happy to be off the hook for another week.
October 16 Suddenly I have a lot less to think about. Must be Thursday. Umm... Flute lesson in the morning. Then a bit of time finishing off math homework. Then eating at lunchtime. This unusual occasion allowed me not only to ingest some truly horrid sweet 'n sour chicken, it also gave me a chance to check homework for other math class (Matrix Math). Spent math class musing on homework for the other math class. Worked on that between classes. Then history section. Flute choir at CSM met at the usual time. This week I've been entrusted with an alto flute on Der Fleidermaus. I hope I have better luck than last time. Playing fast on the big flutes just isn't all that easy.
October 17 Math homework all morning. And I mean all morning. Finally gave up half an hour before class and grabbed some lunch. I'm sooo close to being finished. It's just aggravating not to quite make it. Oh well. Disposed of it in class. Our midterms were handed back today. First impressions can be deceiving. Fortunately, this operated in my favor. The professor mentioned that nobody got 4b correct, which pleased him, since nobody received 100%. I'm not sure how to take that. In CS class, we began discussing typical programming errors. Curious. I now know how a buffer overflow works. Curiosity isn't a crime is it?
I was just heading back to the dorm when I ran into my CS neighbor, who proceeded to insist that I follow him. He eventually got around to mention that Knuth was giving a lecture. So I got to hear a one hour lecture on Mathematical notation by one of Computer Science's luminaries, Don Knuth. He was a neat guy, even if I wasn't that excited by the topic itself. Good to know that 'perm' didn't make it into the CS lexicon. Ditto 'bag.'
Had dinner in the dorm (which was almost edible for a change, have I missed something this week?). After dinner, spent a bit of time catching up on GCC news. 3.3.2 is out. Went up University Ave. into Palo Alto with friends for a late dessert. Ended up spending entirely too much time arguing over how to get seats, and inevitably ended up in Border's. My friends and I have somewhat unusual addictions: bookstores. Returned to spend almost an hour trying to change default terminals on MacOS X. Talk about a lot of work for a little return. Oh, and xterm still uses tcsh. Argh. Went to bed later than I want to admit.
October 18 Going to bed at 3AM has only downside: it shifts my day back by about 2 hours. So I didn't make it to breakfast 'til half past noon, and everything else correspondingly moved forward. A slow day though. Yawn. Around 7, my dad picked me up, and we went first to dinner, then to Safeway, and finally home. This weekend is Half Moon Bay's annual Pumpkin Festival, and that's usually sufficient to turn highway 92 into a bona fide parking lot. However, coming back around 10PM, we saw no traffic. Being late helps sometimes.
October 19 I really do sleep better at home. I think it's 'cause there's no heater on, and I really sleep better when it's cool. Spent the morning reading about the early days of the Zionists in Palestine. By lunch time, I'd finished most of the research needed for my paper. Went to the Pumpkin Festival though, before I finally got started. Pumpkin Festival was its usual crowded self. I even recognized some of the booths. On the whole though, the proportion of actually interesting stuff was pretty low. Too much jewelery, pottery, and clothes. Hey, if it's gonna be an arts and crafts festival, what about having some arts and crafts? All afternoon I was working on the paper. I did, during one break, take a look at the Dershowitz-Finkelstein controversy again. I must say that on further investigation, things look even more damning. Finkelstein did his homework, and Dershowitz didn't. I want sleep. Too bad my paper, due tomorrow at 11, isn't finished.
October 20 Monday morning, and I have a paper to finish. Managed to get 2 hours in, after being dropped off at school. It's more or less coherent. More I can't say, since Labor Zionism isn't quite my area of expertise. Fortunately, this didn't matter on the midterm. Looks like my memory is better than I thought since writing descriptions of the Haganah or Shukri al'Asali was pretty much no sweat. Math and CS weren't too eventful, though we finally received the next CS assignment, which looked underwhelming. Maybe I'm missing something. Farsi class was okay, except my head kept drifting toward the table. Umm... After dinner, I started on the CS assignment (implement a cvector: a vector like class using C primitives). Took about an hour and half, plus a bit for debugging, but it seems to work. I definitely must have missed something. Turns out I did. There was a (potentially) faster implementation. So I wrote that one in another two hours. Same problem as last week with private data though. TA thinks function objects will fix this, but I'm a bit more skeptical.
October 21 In the process of getting up, I got a phone call from none other than my uncle, who said he was coming up for an impromptu visit in a few hours (from LA). Short notice, but no complaints from me... In history, the entire lecture dealt with the issue of the 1948 war, and its refugees. Seems likes there's a debate about why the refugees left. Some say they were forced out by the Israeli military. Others that they left voluntarily, at the request of Arab authorities. Whatever's the case, 700,000 people left, and have not, to this day returned. Or been allowed to, for that matter. Met my uncle briefly at the end of lunch, and then went off for math class. CS section wasn't too exciting, but afterwards, I had to more or less finish math homework, which took some doing. I don't like proof by contradiction. It's somehow artificial. Too bad. Gotta use what works.
October 22 Morning was emptyish again today. History class was more analyzing of the refugees of 1948, and their motivations. Math class wasn't nearly so straightforward, and proceeded to jump unevenly through several topics. I'm not what the logic behind the ordering of topcis was, but it sure didn't help me any. Nearly asleep by midafternoon, I managed to stay awake through a CS 107 lecture on linkers and preprocessors. After Farsi, I had a quick dinner, before heading over for a (required) history movie: "Forty Dunams on the Moon." It was a good movie, but it definitely captured both sides. The Israelis were portrayed as more or less clueless about Arab history, and previous status in Palestine, and about the reasons for their current condition. As the professor pointed out after the fact, this is not a big surprise, for Israeli history, post independence, is not a part of the standard public school curriculum. Go figure.
October 23 Hurray for physical activity! Made a jog this morning (admittedly with outside prodding), before my flute lesson. The Mouquet is pretty nice on the whole... For once I actually made it to lunch, although it seemed nobody else from the group was there too. Math class in the afternoon was review for the midterm. If that was the review, I'm highly tempted not to study. Better not prod fate though. History discussion dealt solely with the issues surrounding the refugees. I think I finally understand the Israeli position (namely denial). They figure that if they wait long enough, everyone who remembers 1948 will get old and die, and so nobody will be left to dispute their version of events. Unfortunately they are probably right. In the afternoon, I went off for flute choir. The "Barber of Seville" is coming along well, but the "William Tell Overture" still needs some work. My double-tonguing isn't fully up to the task.
October 24 I have a proposition. I make it to all my meals for a change, and in return, people leave off this 'Sighting' thing. Really, I'm not that hard to find. Just because I spend more time in the library than in my room (not actually true) is no reason to call me absentee. Oh well. I did make it to breakfast today. And lunch. And that other meal, whatever it's called. Math and CS class happened too, though I can't remember much from either. That's what notes are for, right? After dinner, I went to Palo Alto with a friend to see the Apple Panther launch. Unfortunately, the lines were just too long. So we wandered over to Borders, walked around a bit, admitted defeate and came back. The scary thing is that the Apple Store opened at 8PM. At 9:30PM, we checked the line (into the store) a second time. It was longer than when we'd checked at 8! Yikes.
October 25 Seeing as there's a math midterm on Monday, I tried to do a little studying. This, I found after the practice midterm, was not too difficult, seeing as none of the material is new. No complaints by me. I checked out from the library "A Shot in the Dark" in the afternoon. I first saw this Peter Sellers comedy (featuring clueless inspector Clouseau) with my grandfather about 10 years ago. I wonder if it'll stand the test of time. Spent a good portion of the afternoon examining various divx encoding programs. None were, unfortunately, very fast, inasmuch as I couldn't encode an hour of video in under 4 hours of time (extrapolating from shorter runs). Maybe if I ever become good at this CS thing I can write a fast video encoder for Mac... Anyhow, we watched "A Shot..." after dinner, and it was indeed still very funny. Never understimate the abilities of a French detective!
October 26 Yawn. Motivation is difficult. Nonetheless, I finished CS 107 cvector assignment finally today. Purify proved it's usefulness finding two off by one errors in a memmove. This one error was sufficient to cause heap corruption which would crash the program later on during malloc. Rather unintuitive. Oh well, after fixing that (and arguing with assert for a while, I which assert would sigsegv so in gdb I could get an easy backtrace), I went on to bigger and better things, ie reading for history class. I read an interesting set of articles on the 1967 war. One claimed that Israel miraculously saved itself from destruction at the hands of hordes of vengeful (and genocidal) Arabs. The other catalogued Israeli provocations and statements indicating that they were confident of victory should any war occur. Incidentally, Israel did strike first. Also read was the short story "Return to Haifa" about Palestinians visiting the homes they had abandoned in 1948, following the Israeli capture of the West Bank in 1967. Curious stuff.
October 27 Monday I do not like. More to the point, it's too busy. History class, lunch, Math 115, CS 107, Farsi. Add to that the Math 103 midterm in the evening, and the day was pretty much booked. I did manage to eat 2 meals though, so it could have been worse. Have begun making plans to see Matrix Revolutions with a group when it comes out, but am stymied by people's inability to agree on a time. Is this really that hard?
October 28 We got back our history midterms in class. Was pleasantly surprised. A good beginning to the day. Class incidentally consisted of a discussion of Israeli societal cleavages up to the 1967 war. These seem to have had a very strong impact on Israeli society today. For instance, the discriminatory behavior of Ben Gurion's Labor Party against middle east-originating Jews was so traumatic, that to this day, they vote overwhelmingly in favor of Likud, a party which has been disastrous for them personally. But they are so angry about what Labor did to them, that they don't mind voting for a party which has cost them thousands of jobs. After lunch, we spent math class dealing with bases (and changing them). Nothing fancy that wasn't in math 51 though. I worked for a good bit on math homework after this, so by the time CS section finished, I had 2 problems left. Consequently, I returned to the dorm. for dinner, and afterwards, feeling bored, did the CS assignment of the week, in a couple of hours. I must say CS 107 isn't living up to its hype as a suicide class. I've spent less time on it than either history or Math 115.
October 29 Began the day feeling tired, but managed to slog through the last few math problems. Wednesday morning inspiration is an important part of my Math 115 experience. History class dealt with the 1967 war, which was, needless to say, a much different story than typically made out in the media. To summarize: if you want to use the David-Goliath analogy you can. But Israel was closer to Goliath than David, and in this case, Goliath won. In afternoon math class, made first acquaintances with epsilons and deltas. I think I like the sequential definition of limit a lot better (it's certainly much simpler). Farsi class was unusually productive, after which I did some flute practice in lieu of dinner. Had to watch a movie for History at 7PM. This one, "The Dupes" was the chronicle of Palestinian refugees trying to travel to Kuwait in search of jobs. It is based, incidentally on a novella by one Ghassan Kanafani, a fellow assassinated by an Israeli car bomb planted under the direction of one Ehud Barak. You might have heard of him. But I digress. The movie (black and white, Arabic with English subtitles) provided a very bleak look at the situation of Palestinian refugees. As one character notes, "The Zionists are behind you, and the traitors are in front of you."
October 30 First order of business is running. Well running to Stern to pick up my bike, so I could bike to Tresidder, so I could jog around Lake Lag. Or something like that. I was a tad on the groggy side, but the jog woke me up. My flute lesson was, well, a lot of French music. Odd since I hadn't played any until about a year ago. Afterwards, I had lunch at the dorm (pizza left over from last night, and rather cold). In Math 103, we finally began to leave Math 51 material behind. About time. The quarter's almost half done. I became increasingly confused as to what day was actually Halloween owing to various half-coherent statements on the subject by the professor. Afterwards was history section. The dreaded words "general discussion" and "your thoughts" came up, so of course the discussion ended up being somewhat ahistorical and uninformed. /Me was not impressed. Then it was off to flute choir, where William Tell's Overture proved by far the most challenging of the night, not the least because of the fact that the part we played differed, usually subtly, from the melody. Had dinner at the Tree House at Stanford, avoiding two nights in a row of pizza, which was definitely a good thing. After some history work, I became bogged down in trying to plan out a trip to see Matrix Revolutions. Bottom line is that getting 7 Stanford students to find a mutually agreeable time is tough. But getting 10 is utterly impossible.
October 31 I swear I got up before 10AM. At least I hope I did. In any case, I managed a few games of TEG, a chapter of epsilon-delta examples, and a chapter of less than uplifting Israeli history. Well, strictly speaking, most history is less than uplifting, but reading about Moshe Dayan's "iron fist" approach to the Palestinian intifada does tend to dampen my optimism about the inherent goodness in the human race. Lunch restored my faith in Wilbur dining, or at least filled my stomach with highly disgusting sweet and sour chicken. Math class was notable for two longish proofs: the Extreme Value Theorem and the Intermediate Value theorem. CS class included a nasty reminder of next week's midterm and a longish explanation about class initialization lists. Then back to Wilbur for oddments, dinner, and various computer tasks. Helped my roommate install MacOS 10.2. Proved rather simple. Of course 10.3 came out last week. But there's something to be said for staying "trailing edge." We did try to celebrate Halloween by going to see David Sedaris at Mem Aud. They were sold out though, and trying to sneak in didn't work. So we watched "The Mouse that Roared" instead. Funny movie.