Saturday, 28th of February, 2004
Went to a bluegrass festival tonight out in Chesterfield, and there were some really cool bands there - Rodney Dillard, Jim Hurst, etc. The one I was most impressed with, though, was the Cherry Holmes Family Band. Their fiddle players are age 11 and 15. They are amazing. I have never seen kids that young play with such technique - playing fiddle tunes with full double stops at fiddle speeds and in tune is not simple! I looked on their schedule, and they probably put on almost 100 shows a year, so that'll do it. Wow.
Friday, 27th of February, 2004
Now Wash U is threatening anyone who has any illegal music on their computer. Another Student Life article. Now there's going to be tons of hoopla. I guess I chose a great year to move off campus?
Thursday, 26th of February, 2004
So I was sitting in my car parked on Bemiston Ave. in Clayton, and I turned on my laptop to do some work and I discover a wireless signal. Curious, I joined the network, and I grabbed an IP and everything with no WEP key. It was free internet, with 400 kbps uplink too. Apparently, O2Connect has set up a wireless network surrounding the Center of Clayton, and is providing free internet to everyone. Cool!
Wednesday 25th of February, 2004
Washington University's ResTech shut down the Direct Connect services in the on-campus network. Student Life covered the hoopla of events surrounding that. I think it's pretty amusing.
Tuesday, 24th of February, 2004
Tuesday, 17th of February, 2004
Looking back on some of the things I consider passions, it's interesting what happens to them when I pursue them in the way of educating myself. It seems, for many passions, education can squelch it.
I can see music doing that to me - I'm really thankful I didn't major in violin. I spent 4 weeks at a music festival one summer consisting of 90% music majors, and the festival was run just like a conservatory - lots of practicing, etc. It was great for 4 weeks, but I think if I did it for any longer I'd lose interest in it altogether. That would be a very sad thing.
What about Computer Science, my major in college? I don't really enjoy all my classes, actually - I constantly wonder if I'm going to be tough enough to endure the entire program. I'm almost through, so that's not a danger anymore. But I really don't think I could have done it if I wasn't constantly applying some of it to my work (providing computer consulting for clients). I'm a pretty practical person, and it really isn't very enjoyable learning things computer-related that are not immediately applicable. After all, I like computers because they make my life easier, not because it's some vast source of untapped knowledge that I have absolute passion about.
In that sense, I kind of chose the wrong major. Not like I am in a position to change, I'm almost done. But Economics, my other major, might just be my true passion, over computer science. The more classes I take in Economics, the more interesting it is to me and the more I think about it. In this case, education did not squelch passion, I guess it is one of my true passions, and most other things I like are just sub-passions.
In order to enjoy a passion, one must go through the grueling process of acquiring tools to explore the passion. It's discipline. To play violin well, one needs to practice a lot. To really explore computer science, one needs to learn computer programming and math.
Education, then, becomes an interesting thing. It is very rare that a teacher gets a class full of people with true passion - though a good class will have some level of passion for the topic.
So, education becomes a balancing act of pushing the students a lot so that they can acquire as many tools as they can to enjoy their passions more in the future, but not pushing them so much that their passions become squelched.
I'm thinking back to my violin teacher, whom I've taken from since I was 14. He has always been very observant of when students become frustrated, and always backs off to avoid suppressing their passion.
Monday, 16th of February, 2004
"If SBC is your ISP, you may have had problems accessing campus resources
on Saturday (February 14). Network Technology Services confirmed that a
computer on campus was advertising that it was the route for the SBC
network, interrupting traffic between the university and SBC. They have
fixed the problem."
Scott J. Ladewig
Manager, Networking & Operations
John M. Olin School of Business
I knew something was preventing me from accessing all Wash U internet services all weekend. I did a traceroute and came to the conclusion that that's what happened.
Picture - Nobody parks on the mound of snow that covers the best parking spot in the WU parking lot in front of Brookings. So I park there.
Sunday, 15th of February, 2004
It's musical week at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, and I went to the dress rehearsal today - they're doing Wizard of Oz this year. As usual, it was totally awesome.
Picture - The pit
Picture - The pit again.
Picture - This is a genius idea. They had an animated tornado projected to the reflective curtain via a digital projector. Wow.
Picture - The sets were well done, as usual. They had the yellow brick road wrap around the pit.
Picture - They used a disco ball to simulate snow.
Saturday, 14th of February, 2004
We did our usual Valentine's Day stroll over at Friendship Village West County early this evening. It went really well, and a small group of us even went over to the Health Center upon special request to play for some people. After that was all done, Haley brought "Harvey" over, and we got to watch that wonderful classic.
Thursday, 12th of February, 2004
I never thought it'd ever be worthwhile to make Counterfeit cars (MSNBC link) - especially cheap compact cars. A counterfeit Lamborghini I can see, but is it really worth the $1500 in savings to buy a car with cardboard brake pads?
Wednesday, 11th of February, 2004
Tuesday, 10th of February, 2004
I was watching the PBS series Innovation tonight, and they had a thing on Skyscrapers. I have always loved skyscrapers. Anyway, one of the most interesting things I learned was that the new Taipei 101 building has an 800-ton big steel ball suspended at the 94th floor that sways back and forth to counteract any motion of the tower due to winds. Amazing.
Another interesting thing that was mentioned was the two World Trade Center towers in New York used all steel in its structure, instead of steel with reinforced concrete like most other buildings in the U.S. and around the world. Turns out, the reason for that might be political - something to do with the steel industry and labor unions... It's clear that concrete is more resistant to the heat of the burning jet fuel that brought down the World Trade Center than steel.
Evacuation was also interesting to think about. The U.S. prided itself in that the re-built World Trade Center 7 building, with 57-floors, could be evacuated in 1 hour. They just recently ran a disaster drill on the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, and they evacuated both buildings, 15,000 people, in 20 minutes. Wow. Of course, Asian fire codes allow for the use of elevators in the evacuation process.
Sunday, 8th of February, 2004
Picture - Back in the 23rd of May, 2000, the Class of 2000 at Ladue put the school up for sale as a senior prank. It was on national TV, and now MTV has filmed a special on it. They interviewed me, actually, when they were down here, and it was supposed to air Friday but it didn't, so I don't know what's going on. But the whole event has been resurrected in the local press - this feature is clipped out of the West County Journal, Vol. 40, No. 5, February 4th, 2004.
Picture - This is the rest of the lower article, from page 7.
Saturday, 7th of February, 2004
The Dockers Mobile Pant was named one of the 2001 inventions of the year by Time Magazine. I loved them, have had a few pairs of them, but I drove a little around town looking for them, and apparently they discontinued them for 2004! I guess I didn't see a huge number of wearing them - they never caught on as much as they would have liked them to, I think. But it's sad that they don't make them anymore! Now I'm back to an old problem - things fall out of khakis pockets so easily!
Friday, 6th of February, 2004
So I drive South down MO-141 and I wonder why everyone is going 35 mph in all 3 lanes. I look ahead, and I see a massive convoy of school busses all driving under 35 mph in all three lanes of a limited-access section of the road (no traffic lights for many miles after this one right in front of Parkway Central Middle School). Speed limit here is 45, and it's limited access so there's really no excuse for there to be some way of moving traffic a little faster... Sure it looks cool and fun to have busses taking up so much space on the highway, preventing traffic from flowing, but they really don't have to do this every day...
I think I just went to one of the best Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra concerts ever. Roberto Abbado was conducting, and they started out with Schnittke's "K(ein) Sommernachtsraum". It was obscure, but in the most satisfying way that I've ever heard a piece be obscure. I loved it. And then they played the best Haydn Symphony I've heard so far, No, 93 in D Major. I've only heard maybe a dozen or so of Haydn's vast collection, but I really liked this one. They concluded with Prokofiev's "Alexander Nevsky", a huge work with full chorus. Sung in Russian and all, Prokofiev did a brilliant job in creating a work that expresses nationalist passion.
Tuesday, 3rd of February, 2004
dudecomposer_: Well, I have classes back to back, and walking and the bus won't get me there in time.
dudecomposer_: Actually, the way I see it, biking on ice is safer than walking. Every step depends on friction with the ground, but on a bike once you're going, you keep going.
dudecomposer_: Again, the problems being stopping and turning.
dudecomposer_: No what got annoying was that water got into my lock and froze into the keyhole overnight.
dudecomposer_: So, I had to breathe on it to thaw it out, then it refroze while I was riding and when I was in class.
So the new issue of Road and Track arrives in the mail, and I find the greatest commercial ever:
Picture - First page.
Picture - Second page, the instructions.
Picture - The ad came with 8 of these things.
Monday, 2nd of February, 2004
Heard on the weather channel some time last week: "Where it's snowing now, it'll keep snowing until it ends." The guy apparently said it with a straight face, probably not realizing what he had said at all.
Picture - It actually rained here yesterday, but it froze overnight creating an incredible sheet of ice on everything.