July 1 Woke up in the morning and immediately had a good idea of the problem with my lexer. After Stat class at school, got to work fixing it. Paused for lunch around noon to meet a friend at "Olives", the cafe near the history corner. Got a sandwich (forgot to bring a lunch) which was pretty good. I'm sure I'll be paying more visits. Had a nice chat sitting out in the sun. Summers seem very lazy and relaxed. Except they aren't. Spent all afternoon making a testsuite for my CS assignment and examining the output. Ended up with some pretty ugly regular expressions too. Dinner was in Flo-Mo dining courtesy of a friend. I actually found the salad and spaghetti not too bad, but I can see how after 2 weeks straight, one might get a little tired of it. Ran into all sorts of people I knew from last year. The benefits of dinner at the dorm... When my dad came to pick me up, I had the privilege of driving home. Suffice it to say that my skills with a manual transmission have declined markedly. I did only stall twice, however. Back at home, the project of the night was getting a PC laptop on our wireless network. Not a success. My Mac works fine, and I gave Windows XP exactly identical settings. Not very impressive...

July 2 Second Friday of the quarter. Which meant I spent most of the morning working on Stats homework. CS lecture was all about parsing techniques. Now I know what a predictive top-down recursive-descent parser is. Well, somewhat. Met friends for lunch, this time over at CCSR (Center for Clinical Studies Research) by a cafe between 2 buildings. The place had some very tall bamboo by it (thirty feet at least), and a metal grid bridging the buildings that made seem like a birdcage. In the afternoon, started on CS work which was mostly grammar manipulation. Oddly enough, the coding part was pretty easy. My dad is anxious to dispose of a gift certificate to a photography store, so we made a visit. There may be a digital camera joining our family soon. If it wasn't for development and printing costs though, I'd be quite happy with my nearly-100%-manual film camera. My luddite tendencies remain strong! Came home in the evening and succeeded in getting VPN w/IP Masquerading to work. Alas, the PC laptop still has wireless issues. Also learned that the firewall software disables the 'ping' command. Not good.

July 3 By rights, I should have done a lot with today. Instead I spent a vast amount of time organizing both my room and my photos. With great difficulty, all my books are on my bookshelf, all my extra bedding is in my dresser, and a good bit of stuff is awaiting donation to Goodwill. My dad went over the hill to pick up the new camera (since they do have it in stock) and I had an exciting time reading the statistics book. A dullish, but necessary pursuit.

July 4 Independence Day! Hooray (maybe). I wish I could be more wholehearted about the hooray, but given the hundreds, possibly thousands of people who have disappeared into John Ashcroft and Don Rumsfeld's gulag, and the conversion of most of the constitution's Bill of Rights to dead letters, I'm afraid all is not well here...

Anyways, went to town in the morning for the usual 4th of July parade. My dad brought the new camera too, so we can hopefully see how it is. The parade was quite long, but I thought less interesting than I remember it. There wasn't even a single band in it. There were however a large number of vintage Fiat Spiders. God only knows where people found them all.

Had lunch after the parade, and dealt with odds and ends for a while. A bit before 5PM, I went to town to meet friends from Stanford. We drove up highway 1 to the Daly City BART station. Traffic was mercifully light. Took BART to downtown, and then walked in the general direction of Chinatown. We met the folks we'd been looking for after a brief hunt, and set about finding a spot for dinner. Ended up at a Chinese restaurant (naturally). The food was good. The service was not. Even when we were paying, they'd come back every 5 seconds to check if we'd paid yet. Clearly eager to see us leave.

From Chinatown, we wandered to Ghirardelli Square. A few people got ice cream. We next headed down to Pier 39, which was, as expected, packed. There was a good deal of fog on the bay, and the fireworks took a while to start. When they did, the fog limited the effect considerably. Still, it was colorful. The return saw us walking down the street in the midst of massive crowds. Couldn't even fit onto the sidewalks so most people walked in the street, and ignored the honking cars. We walked back to the BART station playing a game of "Let's beat traffic." Quite fun. Especially since the guy with the brace (he'd sprained his ankle during spring quarter) was the fastest of everyone. BART wasn't too crowded and the drive back was foggy, but otherwise unexciting. Got home around 11PM.

July 5 Busily trying to get schoolwork done. Which all-told, made for a rather dullish day. I did however succeed in finishing putting up all the photos from my last Yosemite trip. Some of them are pretty decent. Otherwise, I read Mao (for a class, what do you take me for, a revolutionary?), stats and CS notes. Blah, Mondays.

July 6 Had a stats lecture and then a longish bit to prepare for history class. Which I used. Reading Mao's writings is particularly informative, because his thinking is not constant. At heart, I think he was something of a radical pragmatist, for in his 1927 "Report on the Peasant Uprisings in Hunan Province", he abandons the traditional Marxist line that the industrial proletariat will be the vanguard of the revolution. Rather, it is the rural peasants whose violent class-struggle will finally end the bourgeoisie. History discussion thus touched on all these issues, and also upon the emphasis on terror and violence. "A revolution is not a dinner party..." opined Mao, and as records show, he meant it. After class, learned about John Kerry's pick of John Edwards' for a vice-presidential candidate. Now if only they'd just flip the ticket... Either way, it was amusing to hear the Bush-Cheney junta's response: Edwards is a rich trial lawyer, trial lawyers are bad, so Edwards is bad. An interesting assertion. I guess getting your money from those convicted of wrongdoing is somehow worse than defrauding investors (Bush) or the government (Cheney/Halliburton). Bottom line is, Edwards' money was made legally. Bush/Cheney can't claim the same.

July 7 In Stats, today was devoted to playing around with the Expectation function under different scenarios. Interesting, and vaguely familiar from high school stats (the results, not the derivations). Then in CS, we discussed table driven LL(1) parsers. Not actually too complicated, to my relief. Lunch was at Clark Center, and afterwards I went to work on my CS homework. Realized I'd screwed up, and had to start over on a good chunk of it. My flute lesson went pretty well though, and I went home after that. At home, I started the week's history readings, Hungry Ghosts by Jaspers Beckers, a chronicle of the famine caused by China's Great Leap Forward. What is perhaps most disgusting is that throughout the entire famine, there was not a shortage of food. Rather, the government refused to release food on the belief that those starving were secretly hoarding food, or on the assumption that the starvation was not actually widespread. Lies, while not the monopoly of dictatorship, proliferated like flies during that time. Junk science, lying self-promoting bureaucrats and a campaign of terror against the educated did not help matters.

July 8 Today began with Stats lecture. Then I had a good 3 hours to work on fixing up my CFG for regular expressions (CS problem set 1). This I did. Only probably is that I cannot construct an LL(1) grammar if delta is considered a terminal. Granted it says not to do so in the handout, but I'd have thought it'd at least be possible? No such luck. We were supposed to meet for lunch at the Med School, which in theory has some sort of cafe. Actually it does, as I and a friend found out (rather nice one) but the other folks did not make it. In the afternoon, I was basically sitting in the library reading Yue Daiyun's memoirs, To The Storm. From the point of view of a devoted party cadre, it paints a not-so-pretty picture of the Chinese Communist Party. In many ways, the party seems to have organized itself like a religion (Catholic by my book). Despite all its proclamations of equality, its central premise is the partial-deification of Chairman Man. The crime which "counter-revolutionaries" are constantly accused of is thus disobeying the edicts of the chairman. It's all so, well, feudal. Ate dinner at Flo-Mo with some friends, which was actually decent. My worries about next year's meals have largely gone away. Came home rather late, since my dad's photo class didn't finish until 9.

July 9 I'm beginning to sincerely dislike getting up at half past 7. Anyyyyways, spent a less than fascinating morning first in a Stats problem session, then in a CS lecture about simple LR parsing. Now I know why we did LL parsing first. It is (comparatively) so simple. The usual lunchtime group minus our medical researcher met at Packard for lunch. Sun was out, so things were pretty nice, though I did get a whiff of prevailing boredom from some folks. After lunch, did a bit of relearning of C++. I was hoping to write a program to automatically analyze an LL(1) grammar, remove left recursions, left-factor it, and compute first and follow sets. My skills, alas, weren't really up to the task, and text parsing in C++ can be maddening. On the way home, I caught a fascinating debate between Ralph Nader and Howard Dean on the radio. Dean was of course arguing that in this election all good partisans should back John Kerry. He was however quite articulate. My main question is, how in the heck did this guy lose in the primaries? He's only about 5 times better as a speaker than John Kerry, but geez. Nader however made many good points too. After dinner, I listened to the rebroadcast, just to catch the bits I'd missed.

July 10 Decided to go to Butano for a hike in the morning. Or rather my dad decided, and then informed me. So off we went, around 10AM. Apparently the park gets quite crowded on summer weekends, for parking was scarce, and the campground was altogether full (not that it mattered to us). Decided to do the loop around the park, but backwards. So we started up the service road, took the Goat Hill Trail up further, and then the Doe Ridge Trail to the Olmo Fire Road. Most of it was in the trees, which, given the clear and calm nature of the day, was a good thing. Did not see many people on the trails though. We made it to the fire road a bit before noon, and stuck to it for the next few hours. To my surprise, the high point of the walk (literally) was where the 2 fire roads intersect. We elected to head back at that point, rather than continue further into unknown areas (our map had precious little to say about the area). So we went along the Butano Fire Road next, hugging the ridgeline for quite awhile. We made a full survey of the abandoned airstrip, discovering another trail (again, not on the map) and finally stopped around 2PM for lunch. The last part of the trip was pretty quick, taking the fire road down to the Mill Ox Trail and that to the car. Have no idea what distance we covered, but my legs believe it was a lot.

On the way back to Half Moon Bay, we stopped in Pescadero to walk around. Not too much doing. Saw all the little houses, and the main street though, and visited the cemetary. During our stop, some dog just wandered in, and proceeded to play around the area. No owner appeared, and then just a suddenly, the dog left, ran down the main road for a quarter of a mile, and made a left into a driveway. Smart dog. Next we stopped at the produce stand just south of Purrisima Creek road. Given how much they beat Safeway on price, and the fact that at least some of the stuff is fresh, I hope to be visiting there again. At home, we had dinner, and I set about putting up Roll 9 of my 2003 Swiss trip pictures. Not much, but its there now, leaving only 3 more to go.

July 11 to July 31 Busy with summer classes. Yes, other things did happen, but not too many. In my opinion, not enough. Plus I can't remember very well what did or did not happen.

Send comments or questions to zdjahromi@zgmail.com (remove the letter 'z' from the address before sending).

Pages last updated: July 17, 2005

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