main page

I'm really looking forward to getting back to the Bay Area again. This year has been a lot of fun, but I can't wait to exchange papers, midterms and grades for coffee, late nights writing code, and performance reviews. Among my many epiphanies lately, I realized with a start that I've become semi-independent. It's both wonderful and scary to realize that your parents don't have much say over what you do and where you go. I'm certainly happy to be at this point, because I can't count the times I got angry at my parents because they wouldn't allow me to do as I wished, or spend time with people that I wanted to. Yet it's still somewhat breathtaking to realize that you're not a passenger anymore, with everything micro-managed by someone bigger, but that you're in the commander's seat, and every button that you press influences the direction of your life much more than the little reading lamp button overhead used to.

I've been teaching myself how to use Apple's Open Transport API for networking over the last couple of days. It's proving to be fascinating, and I'm doing some neat things with the new knowledge, both on the wider Internet, and on the small Appletalk network I have in my room. I've also been learning quite a bit about the details of TCP and UDP, which I should probably have known ages ago, but never got around to really learning. It's amazing how many people never think about what the computer's actually doing when they run a program, or go looking for info for a school assignment. I learnt a while ago that everything is more complex and wonderous than it initially seems, and thus it is with networking. The level of ingenuity in the design and coding of the system that's allowing you to read this text is brilliant, complex and beautiful.

The research lab I work in at school finally got a microwave and a coffee-pot. It turns out that everyone in the lab is also strongly drawn towards coffee that's strong enough to strip paint from the walls. We also have food down there now, which makes it a considerably more pleasant place to work, especially late in the evening when the closest source of nourishment otherwise is in your fridge 15 minutes away. Even without these little perks which we've acquired recently, I really do enjoy working in the lab here. The pay isn't anything spectacular, but it's more than made up for by the fact that I'm privileged to work with some of the leading lights in the field of Psychophysics (the study of how the brain processes and interprets physical phenomena). Size wise, the lab is fairly small in area, but the amount of research we publish is absolutely staggering. I forget the exact number of papers, but it's pretty cool to be working in a place where you can walk in on any given morning and look at experiment results that give you an entirely new perspective on how the brain works with the gigantic amounts of information it's presented with each day. While I'm talking about work, I'd like to dispell a common misconception about the area of Psychology that the lab works in. Unlike social psychologists, the clinicians, social workers and psychotherapists that form the media image of the stereotypical psychologist, the work we do is very different. While psychotherapists and counsellors do a great deal of listening and talking to their clients or research subjects, our lab focuses upon analyzing the physical responses of people to different visual stimuli. In many ways, our lab is much more like an engineering lab than the labs of our social psychology colleagues down the hall. Pretty much everyone is proficient in C or C++, and familiar with the NT or OpenGL APIs. Much of our work involves a great deal of advanced mathematics, which we either tackle manually or with the aid of symbolic manipulation tools like Mathematica or MATLAB. I started with the lab last year doing statistical analysis programming, but I now have my own research project, which I'm really excited about, and having a lot of fun with. Wow, this was a long entry. I hope you had fun learning a little bit more about what I do. The lab's web page can be found at if you'd like more information. It's horribly out of date right now, but should be getting an update fairly soon.

I can't work out what to write this morning. I've been sitting here for five minutes trying out different opening sentences, deleting them, trying again, and not having much success. My general sentiment right now is one of happiness. First midterm set done! :-) I had my RLST 12 (Religious Studies, Myths and Rituals) midterm today. I was expecting a single essay topic that I could go into depth on in the hour and a half period that the class is held in. Instead, we had ten short identifications, and two essays. As I write far more slowly with a pen than with a keyboard, I was rather restricted in what I was able to say in the available time.
I had a minor epiphany recently. I realized that my brothers are growing up. While this may seem to be a rather obvious observation, being the eldest son, you grow to assume over the years that your brothers will forever remain in 8th grade or below, or at the very least in high school. Then you wake up one morning, and find that one brother is about to go to high school, the other one is graduating, and that they're both doing interesting and mature things socially and intellectually. My youngest brother emailed me out of the blue recently, informing me that he was learning to program his TI calculator, which made me quite proud of him, as it was around his age that I began programming. My middle brother is doing some interesting literary work at the moment also, and from what I've read of his creations, seems to be showing a great deal of promise as an author. I'm really happy with both of them. If you read this, keep up the good work you two :-)

Wow, it's been a really long time since I last posted here. Finals and other things got in the way, and diverted my attention elsewhere for a couple of weeks. I had a great spring break, and caught up with a lot of people that I'd been meaning to see for ages. Sorry to everyone that I missed this time around. Over the vacation, I got a lot of AI related coding done, brushed up on my linguistics knowledge, and began to learn the clarinet. My younger brother also turned 14. It's hard to believe that he's going into high school next year. Happy Birthday Toe-Bells :P Anyway, I'd better run off to my first class. History 15, wooohoo!

One of those radical right evangelical Christians showed up at UCR today during lunch, carrying a huge banner that proclaimed "REPENT AND BELIEVE IN JESUS OR GO TO HELL". He was wearing a shirt and a hat adorned with similar messages. I disagreed completely with what he was ranting about, but he provided a decent measure of entertainment, and I asked him a couple of questions, which he dodged by drowning me in a keg of dogma. As he continued ranting, the assembled crowd formed a circle, and pulled closer and closer to him. I was rather disappointed when the police dragged him off campus, as some of the debate was starting to become quite heated and interesting. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to hand him a Pagan Student Union flyer.

This one will be here as soon as I get a chance. Technical problems are making it hard to do right now. Ick. IRIX!!

usually i'm so sure what to write here. i made a cool piece in the electronic music lab tonight. it featured 5 pianos, each with slightly different timbres and tunings. it varied randomly between perfect harmony and painfully atonal noise. a lot like my life lately really. i need to get up earlier. this is all a mask.

And boldly go where everyone's been before. That doesn't matter. It's new to you, and you're smiling because you don't want to say that it all doesn't feel quite right, but you hold it in. All their petty assurances only make it worse, as if the assurance only magnified the true danger of it all. Sometimes things are less spontaneous than they first appear to be. Encrypt when necessary (but don't say that out loud). I'm scared to know about it.

sculpted stuff of dreams stretched optimally against a frame that radiates light. Do you see the elegant arches and folds, perfectly diminished, in the harsh eastern night? Who can declaim the center of perfection, when every seamless transition heralds another wonder?

backpack contents, january 5th, 1999: the sf chronicle (jan 4th), an empty brown paper bag that previously held 3 large bottles of ice tea, a day old blueberry muffin (partially eaten), an addressbook, a notebook, a maglite flashlight, a book: snow crash, by neil stephenson, a radio shack pro-64 radio scanner, a bookmark (not in book), a ucr curriculum checklist, pocket book of integrals and mathematical formulas, an empty straw wrapper, several atm transaction slips, a cut out piece of cardboard from a ginger beer carton, a dead bic round stic medium USA ballpoint, $1.07 in coins, a blue pilot fine point pen.

about me | projects | music | trashing | "art" | links | contact | work | ideas | code | changes