An algorithm to find the shortest path to punting

Classes have begun, and like any student, I look for new ways to punt my work, or at least ways to take a break. But I think I should learn something on my breaks, or expand my horizons, or something. So instead of watching Strong Bad emails over and over again, I’ve taken to reading some of the assorted writings of the original computer science Dutch Master, Edsger W. Dijkstra. They’re pretty well written, and often quite provocative. I’m not sure I agree with him, but he expresses himself so well that it’s a pleasure to read them.

In fact, I should compile a list of websites with interesting things to read or learn in order to make my puntage a better use of my time. Of course, the risk is that I spend all my time punting (in which case, can you really call it punting?), but I’m not too worried. For example, for some good music reviews and other commentary, check out The High Hat. If any of the 5 people who read this have any other good links, send ’em along.


My prelim is in a scant 13.5 hours. I took today off (mostly) and went into San Francisco, walked around a bit, popped into the library, and went to one of the cheapest sushi places I’ve seen ($4.25 for the 7 piece nigiri), ate too much wasabi, talked to Adam about this and that on the phone while he waited for a bus that neglects its duty to stop and pick up passengers, sat in a cafe rederiving forward and backward linear prediction filters (I said it was only mostly off) and revising (to use the Brit expression) my measure theory, hung out with Ann, watched The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie by Buñuel, which was hilarious, and then went to Nirvana, the fabulous “Burmese” noodle place in the Castro. All in all, a satisfying relaxing day.

The Castro Theater, which is where we saw the movie, is one of the coolest things (to me) about San Francisco. It’s an old-style movie house, with a balcony, wood seats upholstered in red velvet, tall ceiling, with a chandelier, and gold paint on some pretty elaborate molding on the walls. And they show foreign/old/art films. And before each screening there’s a guy who comes out and plays the organ for about fifteen minutes. Today he played a medly of old tunes, including “Blue Skies,” which is one of my favorites. In fact, Brent Spiner singing it was about the only good thing in the last Star Trek movie. In any case, I’ll be going there next week to see Errol Flynn as Robin Hood on the big screen — how could I resist? Daffy Duck would be so jealous.

Oh, you are men of stone

So I have a subscription to GreenCine. Why, you may ask? Because they carry almost all of the films mentioned in a recent NY Times article. While watching a play on film is certainly not the same as watching it in a theater, I get to see people like Lee J. Cobb and Katherine Hepburn doing some really meaty theater. I could gush about this for minutes on end.

Coming up in my queue sometime — James Earl Jones in King Lear. That should be interesting. “Had I your tongues and eyes I’d use them so that heaven’s vault should crack.”

So good

Of course, I’ve already said how fantastic the Gotan Project is. Makes me feel I should be sweating in Buenos Aires in front of my typewriter, cigarette burning in the ashtray, feverishly writing my manifesto… only I don’t smoke. And I’ve never been to Buenos Aires.

Descubrimos vos y yo
en el triste carnaval
una musica brutal
melodias de dolor
Despertamos vos y yo
y en el lento divagar
una musica brutal
encendio nuestra pasion
Dame tu calor
bebete mi amor

(scammed off of GeekRoar)

In other news, Idi Amin just died. I feel this is a good thing, but I don’t like myself for being glad of a death. I guess because I have a hard time saying that anyone “deserves” to die. Maybe I’m just too much of an idealist.

I need the eggs

I saw Annie Hall today, and I have to say it’s one of the most satisfying Woody Allen films I’ve ever seen. It was clever, had a really consistent style, and really spoke to me. I mean, not that I’m a neurotic Jewish Manhattanite with two ex-wives and an obsession with death. But it’s a good film, with some cameos by Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum that are pretty hilarious. And Paul Simon is one creepy guy.