May 1 Got up surprisingly early and did a bunch of random stuff before brunch. After brunch, wandered of to do work which proved surprisingly tough. A friend did a piano recital in the afternoon, so I dropped by that. I'm not sure if I'd ever been to a solo piano performance. Quite impressive. In the evening, decided to go to the Savoyard's performance of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience." It was a bit sillier than I remembered, but still fun. Surprisingly, I knew both flutes in the orchestra from flute choir. Connections, ah...
May 2 Despite good intentions to the contrary, got up late and didn't do anything noteworthy for the morning. After brunch, 3 of us decided to go to the beach. Weather's been nice for too long! Took 84 to avoid traffic, and ended up at a surprisingly uncrowded beach south of San Gregorio. Spent a very relaxed evening get soaked dodging waves, building sand castles, and trying somewhat unsuccessfully to throw a frisbee. Didn't know it was so difficult. On the way back, we picked up a flat of organic strawberries from a roadside stand. Prices were much better than Wilbur dining. Spent the evening in the library reading about Islamic philosophy. A bit confusing since my background is pretty much nonexistent.
May 3 Ouch. Instead of a pulled muscle in my groin, my legs are just a mass of sore muscles. It was actually painful to go down the stairs. Fortunately, I don't have a whole lot of places to go, so aside from classes in the morning and lunch, I didn't move from my chair all afternoon. I was also depressingly unproductive, though I finally finished the CS problem set (which I started almost a week ago). Now I know why my proof of problem 4 was failing: I was trying to prove a false statement. Which is what the problem asked. Ah well, things are fixed now.
May 4 My legs (knees actually) are still quite sore from Sunday's trip to the beach. The whole walking thing still isn't going too well. Had morning history lecture on Islamic theology and its prominent movements, before spending the afternoon getting frustrated on E14 homework. It's not that the problems are tough, they're just intentionally vague and poorly stated. Received some after-dinner tutoring which helped. Came back afterwards, turned the light on in my room, and discovered my roommate had been asleep. Oops. Guess people do sometimes sleep before midnight.
May 5 Up early to finish my E14 problem set. Completed 3 of 4 problems between 7:30 and 9:00AM. Had CS 103B lecture which was its usual entertaining self. Topic of the day: graphs. Mostly terminology, but I'm sure things will get more involved. History lecture was an overview of Muslim philosophy from about 900-1100CE. I feel a bit bad about receiving such an abbreviated version of it, but I guess that where the "survey" in "survey course" comes from. I was not pleased with E14 lecture. Spent the afternoon working on CS 103B homework (due in 11 days) instead of studying for tomorrow's midterm. Tried studying, but was left with the feeling that it wasn't a whole lot of good. Fortunately, I had a number of diversions, so I didn't have an opportunity to start getting nervous about the test.
May 6 Thursday again, which means lots of flute, in addition to other stuff. History section was conducted as a debate between 11th century Muslim philosophers and theologians, as to whose approach to religion was more efficacious. I suspect we who argued the philosophers' position stepped well over the line of heresy. Had my CS 103B midterm immediately after. Spent most of the test incorrectly simplifying a logarithm (while solving a recurrence relation). Ugh. Left feeling less than satisfied. Flute choir went pretty well. I can get about 90% of the notes on the Moldau using the alto flute. Next step: staying in tune. Concert's in 2 weeks. Yikes! Returned to the dorm. where I discovered we still don't have our housing assignment numbers (they were supposed to be up yesterday by 4PM). Had a meeting with drawmates (people who I'm drawing for housing with) anyways to decide where we will end up next year. Looks like Flo-Mo's the current front-runner. Discussed the CS 103B exam with a few other people. Looks like I got the countability question right. Now I feel a bit better.
May 7 Got up early, but went back to sleep. Housing draw numbers still weren't up when I left for class. CS 103B was all about graphs and circuits. Kinda cool, especially the random bits about Euler and Irish mathematicians (not connected). Draw numbers were up by lunchtime. Ours: 2314 (possible range of 2000 to 3000). That doesn't really change a whole lot regarding our options. A friend got a 59 though (out of 0-2000 range). Guess she'll be living on the Row next year. Had a productive afternoon in the library. Finished CS 103B homework, started E14 and got in 2 hours of flute practice. Put the last of the Yosemite photos on the web. After dinner, watched "My Left Foot" about a poor Irish boy born with cerebral palsy who can only control his left foot. Something of a "feel good" movie, but well done. Also wandered out with friends to play with water, bottles and dry ice. Enough said.
May 8 Yawn. A lazy Saturday. Long slow breakfast. Followed by various errands. Followed by flute. Followed by some Command + Conquer. Followed by flute. Went home in the evening to celebrate my mother's birthday (a day late). Saturday.
May 9 Busy day. Begun at home. Went over to Filoli mansion to play with the flute choir. Was a nice day, but we did not play particularly well. Had a nice walk around the gardens and grounds afterwards though. Last time I was here was 2 years ago, exactly the same time of year. How things do change. Stanford's "Spring Fair" was in full swing. Was not extremely excited by the booths on balance. At some point, crafts fairs become generic, and this event had too much the sense of "Pumpkin Festival" about it to be pleasant. Arrived back at the dorm for dinner. After dinner we were supposed to discuss final housing decisions. Which of course made the evening into one big drama. It was quite entertaining for me, but probably only because I don't care especially about either where I live next year, or who with. In any event, our draw group of 8 may or may not split into 4 subgroups, owing to resentment of the way we selected our housing. So I may or may not end up in co-op next year.
May 10 Monday means I'm tired. Enough that I had trouble staying fully awake in class. Still made it to all classes, and then spent the afternoon doing approximately nothing. Was somewhat irritated to discover just how close I was to a perfect score on the CS 103B exam. Two little negative signs! History topic of the day was Sufism, though it felt somewhat as if we were rushing the whole time. E14 was just a review for the test. Not frightfully helpful. Had a movie to watch for history class about current day Sufi practices. I can definitely see why Christianity might see Sufism as the most "acceptable" form of Islam. Which makes me wonder how much its importance is overstated. The rest of the day was devoted to my E14 problem set which is now just about done. Oh and housing was straightened out. We're doing what we originally planned about a week ago. All that excitement for nothing...
May 11 Got up early to try and finish E14 homework. Succeeded somewhat (aside from the 2 wrong answers, I'm done). History lecture was about the creation of the Sunni Islamic consensus. Not a particularly definitive process, since while theologians such as al Ghazali do a good job creating such a synthese, it doesn't appear to have been fully disseminated for a long period. Thus history in hindsight is inherently iffy. Afternoon was really just a hodge-podge of stuff. And not in a good way.
May 12 Did some last minute studying for E14 after breakfast. CS 103B was on spanning trees and planar graphs. Per the usual, we had the opportunity to make fun of mathematicians which was fully exploited. History lecture was a whirlwind tour of the Crusades, Mongol invasions and theological debates and new consensus developed from 1100-1300 in the Islamic world, including a brief note on the origins of Wahabbism. After lunch, had the second E14 midterm which did not go at all well. I am somewhat aggravated that the one topic prominently featured was the one which we spent less than half a class lecture on (in comparison to the others). Somehow I am less surprised after the fact though. Had a somewhat frustrating afternoon therefore attempting to catch up on other stuff.
May 13 Played a lot of flute today. The realization that I had chapped licks was thas an unpleasant and highly inconvenient one. In any case, I had the usual Thursday morning of flute practice, flute lesson, and History section. Also had the usual flute choir rehearsal at CSM in the afternoon. All told I must have been playing for more than 6 hours today. In the evening, didn't do especially much, save catching up on the latest news. Somehow ended up going to sleep real late which may not have been such a hot idea. But I am apparently easily sidetracked into random conversations after about 1AM.
May 14 Managed to make it to breakfast before class despite being up quite late last night. Looks like it'll be another nice day. CS 103B was all about graph coloring which was interesting. E14 section was all about Wednesday's midterm, which was less interesting. Managed to get my laundry done after lunch. I think it's the first time I've used them in my year and half at college... In the later afternoon, dropped by the Cantor Arts museum to see among other things, some of Leonardo da Vinci's "grotesque" sketches from his notebooks: basically sketches of people's heads with extremely overdone features (noses, chins, eyebrows, etc.). Dinner was somewhat disappointing, but I did get to make a pyramid of drinking glasses which was exciting. I didn't even end up breaking any! Spent a good chunk of time after dinner sitting in the hall reading The Brains Trust, the British equivalent of The Onion (only much more entertaining). Especially enjoyed the pieces such as "LOTR acclaimed for 'record number of endings', "US warns of suicide Santas' and "Israel to 'assassinate everybody'". Good stuff. Also watched "The Manchurian Candidate," which was not only a good movie and aptly timed with its not-so-subtle hints about demagoguey, but also means I can finally remove it from my desk, over a month after it first appeared there.
May 15 A slow day. Read too antiwar.com editorials, delayed to long at brunch, and suddenly it's the evening and I can't remember what I've spent today on. Waste of a good Saturday. Sigh. Oh I did discover this Guardian piece on what's happening down in Gitmo. Can we say torture? I think so. So much for the "few bad apples" claim on Iraq.
May 16 Sy Hersh at the "New Yorker" magazine has the most amazing new article up. At a basic level, the DOD/CIA have a secret program for eliminating and interrogating suspected terrorists. Most importantly, the program had no oversight save the Secretary of Defense, and used practices which were both secret and according to military lawyers, illegal under the Geneva Conventions. And Rumsfeld expanded the program to Iraq. So now we know where our torturers got their orders from: Don Rumsfeld. In other news, studied for tomorrow's history midterm (identify and explain the signficance of the following terms...). Not looking too pretty so far, since my notes are noticably lacking certain terms.
May 17 Monday again. How quickly time does fly. CS 103B lecture was a conclusion of applications of graphs. Since we've been talking about graphs for more than 2 weeks, I'm tempted to say good riddance. History was an in-class midterm. Exciting stuff, though after writing out an explanation of the importance of 10 terms for an hour, I've acquired a most amazing hand cramp. Fortunately lunch and an unexciting afternoon later, this is no longer the case. Got a bit of flute practice and a lesson in, but otherwise not much else. I'm currently about as cheerful as a hearse salesman.
May 18 Up early. Read ibn Khaldun's "Muqadimmah" for history sitting outside. The book is essentially an attempt to dissect the "natural laws" behind history, although its main focus is on the reason for the weakness of Muslim regimes in Spain and North Africa. In lecture, learned of ibn Khaldun's career as well as the Reconquista of Spain. After lunch I did shockingly little for quite a while, ate perhaps the worst dinner I've had all quarter, and in suitably bad humor, wandered off to practice for tomorrow's concert. Then time to start E14 homework in earnest. As of 2AM I have 3 of 5 problems done. Due tomorrow. Hmm...
May 19 Lots to do today. Begun with breakfast at the god-awful time of 7:30AM. Then off to photocopy the programs for the noon concert, and for some last minute practicing. Made it to history lecture, but missed CS. Today's topic: the gunpowder empires. Fitting Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires in one lecture meant things were a bit abbreviated. Rushed over afterwards for my noon concert in Campbell Hall. Audience was small, but 2 friends made it which was nice. My mouth completely dried out during the second movement. But aside from that, Bartok's Hungarian Peasant Suite turned out pretty well. Kelly and Anna played flawlessly as usual! Afterwards, tried to finish the E14 problem set. The last problem took rather a while, as I am apparently incapable of multiplying 2 numbers together consistently. After dinner, my mother dropped by so I had the opportunity to show her my room. Ran into a surprising number of people I knew but hadn't seen in ages, coming to and from the dorm. Then, working, and to bed early.
May 20 Got up early for a morning jog with my dad around Lake Lag. Somewhat surprisingly my knees feel better after running. I should do this more often :-) Morning was spent trying to analyze (somewhat) ibn Khaldun's "Muqaddimah." An interesting if somewhat contradictory work. History section thus consisted mainly of trying to reconcile the various inconsistencies. After that, I spent a few hours working on tonight's flute choir music. Got picked up at the usual location, though this time, since I brought food for the reception after the concert, my backpack was pretty much completely full. In fact, I willing to bet its never been as full as that before. Ouch. In any case, our concert was in St. Matthew's Catholic Church, and it went pretty well. Returned latish because of the reception. At least my backpack is lighter :-) Spent the last chunk of the day in the library working on CS 103B. Exciting stuff, Hamilton circuits, but just not if your brain is off somewhere else.
May 21 Began the day innocuously enough with a late breakfast. Everybody's in good humor over the soon-to-be over Physics midterm. Heehee, I remember that one from last year. Or rather, I wish I didn't. CS 103B was a description of (Non)deterministic Finite Automata. For those of you with a long memory, that was the same topic as the first 2 lectures of CS 154. No wonder 103B is prereq for 154. Hopefully this help in 154 next. Worked in the library afterwards, and for much of the afternoon on CS 103B homework. Dinner was intereesting. Seems as if my suspicions were correct, but I still feel like a dope for not figuring it out on my own. Sigh. Well at least I got laundry in, even though I forgot to hit the start button on the dryer, so it didn't dry 'til almost 2AM.
May 22 Partially recovered from yesterday's surprise. Did a lot of my CS assignment for next week. Felt positively awful in the evening.
May 23 For this week we're reading Palace Walk a hefty 500 page novel. So I sat out in the sun and read most of the day. Very relaxing. I now feel almost good. And a friend going to school in Illinois is back in the area, so we went out to a movie after dinner: Shrek 2. Very humorous. Exactly the sort of thing I need to make myself feel better. Plus having somebody else to gossip to can make a world of difference.
May 24 Monday is by rights not my best day. Did little, felt stupid and lazy. My primary productive engagement of the day was meeting with a history professor to ask him to become my advisor (and start the whole major declaration process). Unfortunately, he'll be on leave next year doing research. So he recommended another professor in the interim. Seems like a reasonable idea. Hopefully it works. Also had dinner at my flute teacher's which was quite nice. With 2 flute teachers and 6 flute students, the conversation was a bit flute-heavy though.
May 25 History class today dealt with the beginnings of Islamic modernism. Our movie for the class in the evening indirectly dealt with the same topic, through the medium of interfaith relations in Tunisia. It's the second time I saw the movie, though this time with a very different twist.
May 26 Received a good snapshot of Egyptian history today, as well as an introduction to pushdown automata and regular languages. Dare I hope the Pumping Lemma leaves well alone? Had a very aggravating evening on E14 homework.
May 27 Had a flute lesson in the morning, history section in the afternoon, and CS 103B homework to start in the evening. Not frightfully exciting, though for the last, I wrestled heavily with a regular expression.
May 28 Run of the mill sort of Friday. Two classes, followed by doing a good chunk of CS 103B homework. Met with friends for dinner which we had at an Indian restaurant in San Jose. We were going to go see Monty Python's Life of Brian, but were a tad too late. So we headed back to H.M.B., played a game of Risk, and with everybody sleepy, went home for bed.
May 29 Spent all day today on the eminently fun topic of friction. And a general review of statics. Managed to get a good bit of the homework done. Otherwise uneventful day.
May 30 Still at home. Spent all morning working on the E14 assignment. With some help, I think I am now finished. Blargh. Great way to spend 6 hours. Got together with friends in the afternoon to go out for a movie. Unfortunately, we got the time wrong, so we spent the time in Barnes and Noble reading random books, like a collection of latin pick-up lines. Looks fun. Then went to the theater. They ran out of tickets after the first 2 members of our group had gotten them. So we (the 2 without tickets) drove around and chatted for a while, before I got dropped off at Stanford, where I shortly afterwards went to sleep.
May 31 Hooray, Memorial Day. Or in my case, work on this, that and the other day. Wish I were off camping, not doing work. Waaaah! On the bright side, I read Ayatollah Khomeini's treatise on Islamic government for my history class. An interesting document which basically serves as a call for the creation of an Islamic government, yet uses a lot of western-seeming rhetoric and ideas.