Sun+Fun

I woke up today at almost 2 PM, which was astonishing. I would probably be nocturnal by mid-august if it weren’t for the trip to Florida today (I haven’t even started packing yet). This afternoon I went to the beach without much of a plan, ending up playing volleyball with a number of friends and acquaintances from high school. I was distinctly terrible, though I did occasionally make a serve or a return (once while I was talking on the phone at the same time). I ate dinner with friends at Matsu Sushi, where I got the Tuna Combo for $12.50. I expected the Tuna Combo to be an assortment of differently-prepared rolls, so I was shocked to receive a platter of 18 identical sushi rolls, arranged in a perfect asterisk. I ate half for dinner and half later; it was a steal.

In the evening I watched episodes of Arrested Development, though not at my house, as, sadly, my projector is broken.

Now: packing.

Whoops

This site has been up and down lately, for a number of reasons, including OS installation, power outages, and a great deal of ineptitude on my part.

I can’t promise any improvements, either, since I can’t promise an increase in eptitude.

Power outage

There was a power outage at my house, and along my street, from 4:30 PM to about 9 PM today. A branch cut a wire, which I think is actually kind of funny. How fragile is this system?

A note

I am reading the NYTimes review of Miami Vice, but I was so astonished by one line that I must paraphrase it here.

Production budget of “Miami Vice” (a new movie): $150 million
Annual budget of the Miami Police Department: $100 million

Dinner Invite

I was graciously invited to a family friend’s house for dinner, in the hope of keeping me alive while my parents are in Florida (I’m currently working on cleaning out leftovers from the fridge). The main course was salmon, which I’ve always found way too fishy until tonight. It was great, even better than some swordfish I’ve had at restaurants. Evidently, Liz knows the secret to preparing salmon.

I tried to make myself useful by doing some tech support after dinner. This was moderately successful, but I was strongly reminded of why I hate Windows so much. I’d like to say that I will never use Windows again, but unfortunately my phone runs it, and there doesn’t seem to be any way out of that.

Dance Show

I saw “So you think you can dance” tonight, a dance game-show that represents Fox’s attempt to reproduce the success of American idol. Verdict: 10 minutes of great dancing in 2 hours of show.

Nerd stuff:
I’ve gotten fed up with Ubuntu, especially its kernel management system, so I’ve been installing Gentoo in parallel, with /home on a separate partition. This turns out to be a longer task than I’d remembered. I wanted to install Gnome, Apache, and a few other programs; this ended up requiring the compilation of 464 different packages. It may still be compiling when I get back from Florida in August.

Oh yeah

I saw this crazy phenomenon today. I rinse every morning with Listerine, using the cap as a cup, which makes it pretty much inevitable that a few drops get spilled (like with liquid laundry detergent). I never thought it was much of a problem, especially as there isn’t any sugar in Listerine.

Today I saw a half dozen ants crawling around near the base of my Listerine bottle. Actually, most of them were just sitting there, or moving lethargically. I took out my vacuum cleaner and sucked them all up, but by the end of my shower there were another half dozen ants, showing the same behavior.

I guess that the chemicals in Listerine attract ants, and then confuse their pheromone sensors so they don’t go away. I do wonder what chemical is having this effect, and whether you could use it to make an ant trap. I’m guessing it’s the Sorbitol, since everything else in Listerine is either inert or volatile.

Similar Day

Today was similar to yesterday: messing with the computer in the morning, running with Kieran in the afternoon followed by a political discussion, and a gathering in the evening. Only this evening, the gathering was A Scanner Darkly a new movie based on a story by Philip K. Dick. The story is drawn from PKD’s battle with drug addiction and ends with a memorial to his friends who did not recover from it. At the same time, it is a conspiracy thriller set in the future, where Substance D has become such a menace that a police state has been formed to combat it. Agents wear shape-shifting suits and watch holographic videos of anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Oh yeah, and it’s all a cartoon.

Verdict: good movie.

Unusual

I woke up at noon. I tried to get my computer to boot a customized kernel, but it wouldn’t. This is making me angry at Ubuntu Linux; I may switch the computer to Gentoo Linux, which seems to be much more carefully designed.

I returned a phone call from Kieran, and somehow we ended up agreeing to go for a run, on which we ran into Haley (sp?) by sheer coincidence. When we got back we talked politics.

We considered seeing A Scanner Darkly, but too many people were unavailable; maybe tomorrow. Instead we went out to the diner, where we were accosted by a pair of moderately attractive girls seeking a partner with whom to play “Sorry!” on the spot, in order to satisfy the requirements of a mysterious, never-explained scavenger hunt. Brian agreed, and won.

So really, it’s been an unusual sort of day.

Back from Boston

This morning was the cruise aboard the USS Constitution. It was fun to start, but by the halfway point of the two-hour trip, I was already bored stiff. The ship was manned by about a dozen Navy ensigns, all in period costume, along with a few reenactors in Officer dress. The captain wore the huge rounded-triangle hat that you always see in paintings of Napoleon. It was also a bit too jingoistic and rehearsed for my taste.

Back on land, we went to my grandparents’ neighbor’s restaurant for lunch. After lunch, I had intended to meet up with the people I’m going to be living with for this year, some old friends from the Chorallaries. Unfortunately, there were a number of miscommunications and my cell phone drained its battery, so I ended up just seeing the exterior. That was enough to tell me that it’s in a terrific location, and directly above a laundromat (and I mean directly; the apartment’s on the second floor of the same building).

I am now fighting with this computer’s hardware, trying to get the Matrox G400 we bought at a tag sale years ago to work under Ubuntu Linux, which turns out to be substantially difficult.

I’m concerned, for obvious reasons, about the various Middle East conflicts, but especially the current Hezbollah vs. IDF problems. On the RSI mailing lists, there is a very interesting exchange going on, because RSI tends to have a number of Israeli and Lebanese students every summer. They are currently in the process of making sure that each other are safe, and there are a flurry of replies explaining where people have gone for safety (mostly away from the border, but many of the Lebanese appear to be headed for France, and Israelis for the US). It’s a good thing, but still unsettling.