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Seventh month

990721

Woe, i loost a good deal of writing to the great bit bucket in the sky. And then as i tried to recover this page from my cache (as the file was annihilated at tripod), i chomped HARD down on my lip instead of my carrot. Oh,well.

990720

Saw my ex-advisor last night, officially notifying him that i had no intention of getting the PhD. It was pretty much as I expected: he had no reasons that i should finish to which i hadn't given long thought. I'm happy he didn't use the word 'disapprove' -- that would have gotten my anger to surface. He simply stated he thought i was wrong and making a mistake. To which I nodded and agreed that we didn't see things the same way as he knows I think he had made mistakes in staying in the university administration -- especially after heart attack number two.(Yo, CLUE!)

What I'm most proud of is how I didn't even *feel* I needed to defend my action. Had I still been motivated by a need for his approval, i think i would have tried to make him understand. But just as I can't understand his need to run the bloody university, I don't think he'll understand my needs for a broader life -- and to close a chapter, a decade, that has given me great and awful pain.

The novel thing he did say was that it was "unfair." With my bitter inner voice muttering about the injustice of the whole graduate student experience, the way he used his graduate students to manage everything and whine, whine, whine, I asked, "For whom?" What does fairness have to do with my decisions? He said it was unfair because i had done far more work than required to get a PhD. Well, duh. So I looked at him square in the eye and told him I knew that, that I had read some of the XXU dissertations on the same topic and that what I had done for the prototype experiment went beyond some of them. (Work published in late 1995.) I told my spouse that I hoped he woke up at 4am this morning knowing the full implication fo *that* -- *why* didn't I write up my dissertation then and there? I certainly had no external advice that that was the case. (Funny how advisor and advice sound the same, isn't it.) So that was the one subtle outlet i gave my anger. As D is emotionally deaf, I'm sure he missed it.

990719

A new way to end the world! Or, yet another way not to get a PhD in nuclear physics. (Bitter? Me?)

  • 11:52:41 JD: http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/99/07/18/stinwenws02029.html?999
  • 11:54:31 JD: hello
  • 11:55:15 Me: Reminds me of how the atomic physicists at Los Alamos were concerned that setting off the bomb would ignite the atmosphere
  • 11:55:50 JD: Is it even a reasonable fear?
  • 11:55:54 Me: Also, Brookhaven is on long island, and we;ve been having very strange airccraft problems with
  • 11:56:04 Me: things that fly over long island....
  • 11:56:58 JD: Is Rod Serling going to come out and tell us we are all in an episode of the Twilight Zone?
  • 11:57:31 Me: "Reasonable".... i guess the main issue is that while the chance of something going wrong is so infinitesimally small
  • 11:57:49 Me: the magnitude of bad would be infinitely large
  • 11:58:19 JD: as in "Don't cross the streams, Ray" ??
  • 11:58:41 Me: Yeah, sorta
  • 11:58:45 JD: {grin}
  • 11:59:25 Me: I got the impression that we'd only loose NYC if they crossed the streams -- that's not such a tragedy.....
  • 11:59:42 Me: Losing the whole planet? Solar System?
  • 12:00:33 Me: Strangelts are a fascinating concept....
  • 12:01:18 JD: well, needless to say it is WAY out of my sphere of knowledge. Then again, most of physics is....
  • 12:01:52 Me: http://www.google.com/search?q=strangelets
  • 12:02:13 Me: Read the titles out loud and see how long it takes for the guys in the white coats to show up....
  • 12:03:36 JD: {grin}
  • 12:04:39 JD: Strangelets in Terrestrial Atmosphere ... and Strangelets and Strange Quark Matter coming soon to a theater near you....
  • 12:05:20 Me: And at Sundance this year: Erzeugung von Strangelets
  • The Story of Strangelets

    Another end-of-the-world scenario: my mother wants to travel with my sister and & up to Philly. I won't have been home for a week -- the cats will have shed everywhere -- i don't have time to clean before i go -- my spouse *hates* my mother...

    Oh, *W*O*W*! I just used X-CD-Roast (xcdroast) for the very first time on my Debian installation at work. BEAUTIFUL!! So simple, so straightforward! I've used the Win software (several different programs) that my spouse has -- this was such a superior experience. I opened up xcdroast just to see what sort of help files it might have. No help, but there are the steps in making the CD-R laid out as buttons on the left hand side in the order the steps need to be taken. (Why does this seem like such an innovation in GUI design?) Now if someone could just write a GUI for compiling kernels that was as straightforward, i'd be in heaven....

    Reading my old journals from high school reminds me that i really need to journal more often. I spend far too much time looking for the novel and not enough time reflecting. For example *why* do i have to tweak with every new portal or agent site that comes along? Or sign up for every new free online service? After it became clear that free email was here to stay i quit signing up for that, but today I signed up for Excite's free voicemail and fax service. A free 1-800 number is nothing to sneeze at! But i never use these things, not much anyhow. It seems an incredibly useless hobby. I can defend it a little bit by noting that as a web master/programmer/system administrator I need to know what's going on in the business. That does not defend a half hour tweaking colors, though. 990716

    Happy Friday! Despite a long lunch at Dave & Buster's -- "Chuck E Cheese for Adults" -- I'm actually sort of thinking about wor. I'm compiling a 2.2 kernel for a Debian slink system. Nervously. It's not that i haven't compiled kernels before, and admittedly i've treated this machine like it's been broken all week, but.

    The HOWTO with the slink disto is dated 1997. Hmph. I suppose all the bits about system maps and such are unchanged, and the config make is pretty self explanatory, but... AHA! 5 June 1999 HOWTO! I was worried I'd only have ZDNet's instructions.

    Meanwhile I am also trying to learn MySQL for immediate implementation as a budget manager. (I tried oleo from GNU, and it made no sense. And i'll need MySQL at work sooner or later.) Found a nice (albeit slow) tutorial/manual site at http://www.devshed.com/Server_Side/MySQL/. I need it 'cause getting the permissions right to start using the database seemed impossible this morning. Meanwhile, dhis.org has me worried, because it shows my system as still online, but i can't telnet in. I've gotten a "connection refused" message -- why???

    I should go try booting my new kernel.

    990715

    So much travel on my mind. I am, for some reason, much more stressed about my travel plans for the next month than i usually get.

    • 990722 17:30 leave w/X for late night drive to Raleigh, NC (8h)
    • 990723 06:00 leave w/D for Orlando, FL (10h)
    • 990724 10:00 Aunt J's wedding
    • 990726 20:00 N flies back to DC
    • 990727 08:00 M&D return to Raleigh
    • 990727-990730
      • Clean Aunt E's house
      • Spend time with S & Aunt P
      • ? See Grandmama/Tampa
      • ? See B/Gainesville
    • 990730 06:00 leave w/L for Raleigh, NC
    • 990731 08:00 leave w/L for Philly
    • 990801        *b*r*e*a*t*h*e*
    • 990802 08:45 work
    • 990803 14:00 leave work to airport, fly to San Antonio
    • 990803 20:00 K picks me up at airport and we go to Austin
    • 990804 return to SAT for AAPT conference
    • 990808 15:00 AAPT conference ends, meet M who flies in from Caracas and go back to Austin
    • 990810 12:00 Go back to SAT to catch 3pm flight to Philly
    • 990810 22:00 *HOME*
    • 990811 08:45 Back to work

    OK, reading all that, I feel i can be stressed out.

    990702

    My spouse and i exchanged rings a long time ago -- silver Chinese dragon heads holding moonstones (to substitute for a more expensive pearl). It's a common Chinese motif. From skimming the internet, i find the dragon associated with water, the pearl with wisdom and wealth, and often a phoenix is involved. I feel at home.....

    http://www.users.interport.net/~fairrosa/dragon/ is a annotated collection of dragon stories. She lists two versions of the story in which a boy finds a magical pearl. In the end, a dragon creates a winding river with the pearl. http://www.users.interport.net/~fairrosa/dragon/dragons.pearl.html \ http://www.users.interport.net/~fairrosa/dragon/wang.niang.html As the dragons are associated with rivers, the four main rivers of China -- which include the Zhujiang (Pearl) in the very far south -- this tale tells of hoe those four rivers formed from four dragons. http://www.primeline.net/~sauglit/dragons.htm http://www.pagans.org/~grycloak/towers/gctales3.htm Legend has it that West Lake (Xi Hu was created from a pearl dropped by a phoe\ nix and a dragon. http://www.ultranet.com/~gandolf/west_lak.htm http://www.newton.mec.edu/Angier/DimSum/Bright%20Pearl%20Folk%20Tale.html Legend has it that Xi Hu was created from a pearl dropped by a phoenix and a d\ ragon. http://www.ultranet.com/~gandolf/west_lak.htm http://www.newton.mec.edu/Angier/DimSum/Bright%20Pearl%20Folk%20Tale.html http://www.littlehollywood.org/lyrics/dragon.htm http://home.earthlink.net/~stephlaw/image/reddragon.html http://www.tsengson.com.tw/3-6.html http://www.chinapage.com/dragon1.html http://www.visitsarawak.com/wushu/gdragon.html To the Chinese beliefs, the Golden Dragon symbolises supernatural power, goodness, fertility, vigilance and dignity. It also represents the emblem of the imperial authority of the chinese dynasties. The image of the Golden Dragon is used by the chinese emperors for their robes, thrones and furnishing for more than two thousand years. The pearl of the dragon represents the sun and wisdom.

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