blogging technology in real-estate

I came across a management company, Shaw Properties, that uses Blogger to list apartments. It’s pretty clever, all things considered — using a blogging tool as a CMS (content management system) is a bit like using wire cutters to trim fat, but it’s an off-the-shelf solution for their needs. I wonder where they thought of it.

why hang on to books?

Jessica asks an important question:

why do you hang on to books? I try to give the good ones to friends and if i cant send em off i try to give em to libraries. i never understood that, they get so dusty and cumbersome and if i want to reread them they are in the library… i remember you commeted to me once about how you owned way more books to make some point about how you were much more literate than me.

I certainly hope that I wasn’t using the size of my book collection to make some sort of claim to superiority, but if I did or it seemed I did, I apologize.

One might also ask : why have more than two pairs of shoes? You can just wear one pair over and over until they fall apart. It’s of course a different scenario, but (1) it is more convenient to have more than two pairs of shoes and (2) it brings one aesthetic pleasure to be able to dress in different ways. Having hundreds of books is then the wardrobe equivalent of being Imelda Marcos, but the fundamental two points remain — keeping books is convenient and pleasurable (to me at least).

I do lend books to people, and sometimes I just give them outright, in an indefinite loan, or tell them to lend them to others. Sometimes I have a book for years (Civilwarland in Bad Decline comes to mind) before giving it to someone. However, some books I have are relatively hard to find in libraries or so popular that they are invariably checked out. If I donated all of my books to the local public library or the university library, perhaps 10-15 of them would make it into circulation (reference material mostly). Almost all of them would go up for sale in order to raise funds for the library, which is a good cause, but hardly the most desirable result, which is to give that particular copy of the book a wide readership via library circulation.

That being said, I have used BookCrossing and other systems, and I do prune my book collection by selling things back to used bookstores or donating to the library. But I think there are reasons to have books beyond avarice. The only time I find them dusty and cumbersome is when I move — which I am doing this month, so perhaps I will change my tune then (EDIT: no, I haven’t found a place yet, and I think I am going to go insane).

my first baseball game

This probably comes as no surprise to those who know me, but I have never been to a major league baseball game. However, I have been to a few college football, basketball, and vollyball games, so it’s not so much that I am generally sports-illiterate as specifically baseball-illiterate.

Being the baseball nut that she is, Erin insisted that I go to an A’s game while she was visiting, so last night we went with my friend Bobak to see the A’s battle it out with the Mets. It was not much of a battle — the score was 5-0 and Erin called the end time of the game to the minute at 9:30. We had a good time, even though the game was rather fast and uneventful.

The most exciting part was when the Mets were about to score (bases loaded, 1 out, as I recall) and the A’s made a double-play to hold them scoreless. I think that part of the reason I never really got into baseball was the pace of the game — long stretches of nothing, essentially, followed by one or two moments of genuine tension and excitement. It makes for an anaerobic workout. This is, of course, where scoring comes in. Keeping score during a game requires you to pay attention to everything (although depending on the scorecard, the level of detail can vary), and thus you have to be really watching the game. Perhaps I will try it the next time I go.

As it turns out, we should have gone tonight, when bleacher seats are $2 and hotdogs are $1, but I think two games in a row might be a little too much for inexperienced me. But perhaps I will go to another game at some point — I still prefer football and basketball, but baseball has its place too, I suppose.

tracks [birthday party]

These are for a birthday party that is themed as a 50s cocktail party. It’s highly anachronistic but should set the mood alright. I sort of threw these together, so they aren’t so coherent and I gave too many artists double-duty. I think the 2nd CD turned out much better.

Volume 1
1. Cafe “La Humedad” (Roberto Goyeneche)
2. C’est Si Bon (Don Byron/Mickey Katz)
3. The Best Is Yet To Come (Frank Sinatra)
4. Frasquita Serenade (Don Byron)
5. Girl From Ipanema (Getz/Gilberto/Gilberto)
6. Speak Low (Billie Holiday)
7. Good Grief, Dennis (Chico Hamilton)
8. Orange Colored Sky (Nat King Cole)
9. The Late, Late Show (Dakota Staton)
10. I Get Ideas (Louis Armstrong)
11. My Favourite Things (Dave Brubeck)
12. Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
13. Summertime (Miles Davis)
14. Royal Garden Blues (Don Byron)
15. I Get A Kick Out Of You (Ella Fitzgerald)
16. Mary’s Ideas (Mary Lou Williams)
17. Salt Peanuts (Joshua Redman)
18. All The Thing You Are (Lennie Tristano)
19. Blue Skies (Cassandra Wilson)
20. Blue Rondo A La Turk (Dave Brubeck)
21. Beyond The Sea (Bobby Darin)

Volume II
1. Everybody’s Bobbin’ (Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross)
2. Autumn Leaves (Wynton Marsalis)
3. Hocus-Pocus (Lee Morgan)
4. Blue Monk (Thelonious Monk)
5. Pent-Up House (Sonny Rollins)
6. Love Walked In (Ray Brown)
7. Night In Tunisia (Bud Powell)
8. Lester Leaps In (Count Basie)
9. Oh, Good Grief (Ellis Marsalis)
10. Daphne (Django Reinhardt)
11. Rendex-Vous Sous La Pluie (Jean-Fred Mele & The ‘Jazz Swing’ Zepilli)
12. A Foggy Day (Dakota Staton)
13. Outra Vez (Stan Getz)
14. Desafinado (Ryuichi Sakamoto)
15. Last Tango In Paris (Gotan Project)

teaching evaluations

I got back my teaching evaluations — by and large I scored pretty well, although I was hammered by many people for being underprepared for section or review. That’s to be expected though. I was often underprepared — for some reason it took me too long to get the knack of spending just the right amount of time. Of the few students who bothered to make comments, I got some kind words, some encouragement along the lines of “usually helpful… occasionally causes more confusion.” However, one person was very unhappy:

– he’s a sarcastic fuck –> it’s condescending
– he tries to go fast in discussion/review sessions, but screws up almost everytime, then wastes time trying to redeem himself

I have to admit, I’m a bit hurt by that. I’m pretty sure I know who wrote it, which is probably a bad thing, all in all. Even though you can’t please all the people all the time, you can still shoot for not displeasing all the people all the time, right?

and yet, I hate memes

But just for Sin‘s sake I’ll do it.

Number of books I own: Definitely in the hundreds, and if you count the books at my parents’ house that I lay claim too, perhaps a thousand. Though I don’t really think that you can count each individual Choose Your Own Adventure as its own book.

Last Book Bought: The Scar, by China Miéville. So far so good, but I’ve only really had time to read it on the bus.

Last book read: A Miracle of Rare Design, by Mike Resnick. This one was lent to me and I didn’t like it. It’s a sci-fi musing about a writer who is surgically altered to go undercover among all sorts of alien societies. It combines the anthropological sophistication of a bad Star Trek episode with profundity-via-inexplicable actions.

Five books that mean a lot to me:

  • The Phantom Tollbooth — this is a classic and should be read by all children and adults. You’ll never look a boredom in the same way again.
  • if on a winter’s night a traveler — I first got this book because Pari Zutshi saw it in one of the used bookstores in Champaign-Urbana (I want to say Jane Addams, but I honestly can’t remember) and she insisted that I buy it. Later she claimed that it was hers, at which point I surrendered it — a bad move on my part.
  • The Good Person of Sezuan — The first really political play I had really done, this gave me a concrete example of how the theater can engage the audience on a political and intellectual level beyond word games.
  • Theater of the Oppressed — Probably the first book that asked me to look critically at playmaking and to question the whole endeavor of the theater from the script to the presentation.
  • One, two, three, infinity — George Gamow is cool.

No more memes though. Really.

amusing paragraph

From a paper I’ve been trying to understand:

It seems to us that the aforementioned capacity theorem is one of the most complex coding theorems ever proved. Its proof not only involves the techniques of AVC theory but also some of the most advanced techniques from multiuser theory… Fifteen years ago such a capacity theorem must have been out of reach, but now it serves almost only as a demonstration for the power of certain methods. It is even conceivable that soon a much simpler proof will be found. This shows that there is hope also for several of the harder problems in multiuser theory, which seem to resist all efforts for their solution. Some problems can be solved only at the right time; the time is right if the methods are mature.

Corollary : The author is a super-genius.