Friday, September 30, 2005

Go See Serenity

Okay, I haven't seen Serenity yet. I probably won't get to see it for a few days.

But everyone should go see Serenity, immediately after renting and watching the entire series from your distributor of choice (which won't take too long, since the series was canceled prematurely...).

Why are you reading my blog? Get to it!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fun Moments in Science

The more I read published research, the more disillusioned I get.

Today was one of the high points. There was a study that had 100 volunteers, from which they got 46 images.

This same guy also argued that 2-point Dixon techniques are impossible a couple of months after my advisor published a paper on the success he had had with...2-point Dixon techniques.

I think it's like how in video games you'll have this recurring, but inept, villain who serves no purpoes other than to be annoying...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Things Nobody Told Me About Grad School...

Nobody ever told me that I would burn three fingers fishing boiled Plah-Doh out of a garbage disposal as a result of preliminary work for my master's thesis...

I leave the reader to speculate why...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Houston Weather Kicks Hurricane's Rear

Well, I escaped the hurricane pretty much unscathed.

From what I can tell based the weather dudes, the sheer dryness of Houston's air managed to counteract the moisture from the hurricane, leaving only heat and humidity--i.e., normalcy.

Basically, not even the third-nastiest recorded hurricane can stand up to Houston's weather.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Bigger Fear

Well, I attempted to go see my parents in Fredericksburg today.

I left at 5:30 and at 3:30 I was in Cyprus. I was low on gas and I had another 10 hours of solo driving, so I turned back.

It took half an hour to undo 10 hours of driving.

Anyway, the hatches are battened. Time to finish the bottle of wine I have...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Riding the Storm Out

Well, plans are mostly settled. Spartacus has been granted sanctuary with the wild ferret women of El Paseo, while I am going to be driving to Fredericksberg tomorrow.

Blogging to continue when it continues.

Monday, September 19, 2005

There is no conspiracy

As of yesterday I am convinced that spyware, data-mining, and big brother are all far, far less effective than anyone thinks they are.

I got a phone call. "Hello, this is not a solicitation. We are conducting a survey on how latino males manage their diabetes..."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Not Throwing the Book

I am pleasantly surprised. I just read the reading for Sunday School tomorrow and I did not want to throw the book against the wall, as I often desire to do when reading a book about the nature of the Bible. (The book is, for the curious, called "God's Holy Fire: The Nature and Function of Scripture.)

This may be a better course than I had expected.

The attitude of Churches of Christ to the bible has often puzzled me. As always, my remarks should be taken in the context that we are a highly unstructured group and that I have only dealt with a few geographically localized groups and I have not been able to review all readings by Campbelite scholars on the topic. However, my impression of the "bulk" belief is that we do not subscribe to the notion of inerrancy, although we do believe in inspiration (i.e., the Bible is not a literal dictation from God, but we do claim some quasi-direct divine influence in its writing and compilation). The lack of a precise definition of "inspiration" has bothered me, but its a non-issue for me.

However, the irony that we do not espouse inerrancy, but the Church of Christ is notorious for its embrace of legalism, that is treating the Bible like a legal text, where every syllable is to be deciphered by wisened sages and a clear-cut set of rules exist. By "clear-cut", I mean that the rules are precisely defined, not that they are clearly stated. This leads to the idea of a "God's gotcha", which is at once odious to me and also runs against the stated character of God in every description that scripture gives.

The attitude of Jesus seems to be decidedly anti-legalist. In his conversation with one of the pharisees, he states that all laws can be kept by simply following the two rules of "love God" and "love others". This is a satisfying system, for where there are laws and complexity, there are loopholes and exceptions. Love does not admit loopholes. Love does not think in terms of "if" or "but". Love simply is love.

As for me, I do not even feel the need for a doctrin of inspiration. I am undecided in how I feel about it. If the Bible is nothing more than man's story of being loved by God, then I am at peace with my relationship with him.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Houston Air Quality

Last night I went to Radio Music Theatre. During the pre-show spiel, they warned:

"Smoking is not allowed in this building. However, you may go outside to smoke. But should you do so, we recommend that you only breathe through your cigarette so that you can take advantage of its filter."

I'm in one of the very few cities where that is good advice...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Curse you, Rupert Murdoch!

Arrested Development has moved to Mondays at 7:30. It would figure that it would get moved to a time slot that conflicts with a new show that I might actually enjoy watching (Bones).

Why, oh why, could they not have just given it American Dad's time slot?

And I'm not even worrying the usual bad sign that time slot changes are...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Esprit d'l Rug

In of the classic phrase "Spirit of the Staircase", I'd like to suggest that in the modern age we come up with a phrase such as "Spirit of the Rug".

This refers to the blog posts that you forgot the entire contents of between one side of your apartment and your chair because you forgot them when you stepped on the rug.

It's a problem.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Exponentiation and Slang

Due to not noticing that Celebrity Poker Showdown being on an hour later than I thought it was, the remote control being on the other side of the room, and being unwilling to read a chapter on stimulated echoes again, I am watching Being Bobby Brown.

At one point, Whitney uses the expression "Hell to the yeah."

I have heard this formation before, with "to the" thrown in between other words for no apparant reason. As a mathematician, I naturally parse that sentence as "hell" being "multiplied" by itself "yeah" times.

Sadly, linguistics and arithmetic do not obviously correspond. My best guess is that "hell" is used to mean "nexus of sorrow" and "yeah" is used to imply a certain enthusiasm. Presumably then, "hell to the yeah" should mean that pain is being enthusastically applied to itself, creating a constructive resonance of agony.

This puzzles me more, as angst is not the ordinary modus operandi for R&B stars. I think I missed something.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Moment of Vanity

Okay, I know it's vanity to post your own witticisms, but I'm proud of this one (and what else is a blog good for):

"The road to chaos is paved with small perturbations."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Things Learned While Volunteering

I spent most of the afternoon at Impact, where I learned a great deal about the practical process of sorting through clothing donations. The biggest problem was for fashion-brainless physics students (there were two of us) to tell men's blue jeans from women's blue jeans.

At first we attempted to differentiate the gender's based on the size of the waist--men's sizes are about 20 larger than women's. However, each brand of jeans has the tag in a different location, and the tags can be lost. We finally started developing the ability to tell them apart by looking at the shapes of the hips of the jeans. (Apparently it says something about us well-behaved Church of Christ types that we haven't spent that much time looking at women's rears in blue jeans...)

I was also caught off guard when I was going through a bag of donations and I found Star Trek uniform. It was nonchalantly placed in a pile of pants...

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I just got off the phone with my dad. He is returned from Iraq, on his birthday, and is in the process of gathering his luggage.