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Archive for March, 2006


Birds of a feather?

Posted by Leith in News,Play

Well, life continues to get more expensive. Not a great thought to start my day, but at the very least I was up and about when I wanted to be, which is a Good Thing™.

I pottered around a bit having some food and getting ready for my day before heading in to university. I stopped by the Anime Club office again, to make sure I had the right place for tonight. There were a lot more people in there this time, only one of which was from before. That’s ok though, Kindra gave me directions and I headed on my merry way to my office. At the office I pretty much just worked solidly all day. At the end of the day I had a brief meeting with one of the faculty in the Architecture department, as a course she’s offering looks really interesting and I will be trying to go to it, pending my research issues. Right now it’s looking more and more likely that I won’t be able to do any research at all, which means I won’t get Honours, I’ll end up with a Postgrad Diploma in Science instead… which is pretty annoying actually, but there isn’t a lot I can do about it right now. I’ll just have to go and hassle everyone I can think of on Monday.

Anyway, after that I went to the Anime Club screening, which was ok. I met a whole bunch of people whose names I’ve pretty much forgotten already (I suck at the name game) and watched some anime. While a few of them were chatty and so on, I got the oddest feeling like even though there were a bunch of people of like mind and interest around me, it just made me feel more alone. I was ruminating on this as I was leaving and heading back to my office to get Angelina and the rest of my gear. I need a drink, and a hug, not necessarily in that order. In any case, I’ve got a bunch of people who I can at least get to know better and see about being a bit more social, which is all for the good.

That said, it wasn’t a good night for anything involving thinking… loneliness can consume, if you let it.

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Dinner on the Sun

Posted by Leith in News

Well, today started off a little groggier than I was hoping, as I hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep. However, I soldiered on to Graphics (a.k.a. 3D Photography) and had the next instalment. There are some people in my (rather small) class that have been doing research in this area and so on… some very bright cookies. I’m looking forward to being able to learn from them. Chris also turned up in this class as well, although I was talking to him about it and he doesn’t know whether or not he can handle the course on top of his other classes and work and so on, so I suspect he’ll be in either Vision of Graphics, but not both. Perhaps he’ll do both. Anyway…

I skipped the Colloquium today in favour of having lunch, a hot shower and doing some work back at my apartment for a while. After that I went out to an event put on by Sun Microsystems (the guys who brought us Java, undergraduate language favourite of Universities worldwide) which had free food, some of the usual software freebies and a two-hour presentation on the latest software technologies out of Sun. This turned out to be almost terminally uninteresting, as the guy giving the presentation didn’t know a lot of what he was doing, which came across as very condescending to a room full of people that were Computer Scientists or Electrical Engineers, and he’s up there making a very, very basic “Hello Web/World” application using the IDE. I think there were a few minutes I was almost dozing off. Luckily the person I sat next to, Jenny, had a wicked sense of humour and we both entertained each other with quiet comments and expressions, then notes towards the end. We saved each other from the tedium. Jenny’s a junior majoring in CSE and minoring in Chemistry here at UW and was definitely a good sort. I didn’t (stupidly, in hindsight) press her for any of her details, as I would like to talk to her again. I did, however, tell her where my office was and told her to stop by, which she said she would do at some point. An email address may have been helpful. Ah well. Maybe I’ll run into her or something.

After that I came back to my apartment, got myself some Cranberry-Apple and settled in to do some work. I made some really good progress, listened to some cranking music and ploughed through some things I wanted to do. I also fired off some emails and did a little catch up on my blogging. After that I settled in and watched some Spider-man cartoons then went to sleep.

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Nuts as only anime fans can be

Posted by Leith in News,Work

Well, I was going to go to an optional early class today… that didn’t happen. Felt way too crap to be getting out of bed at 8.30am, so I went back to sleep in favour of going to the classes that I was actually enrolled in. This turned out to be rather ironic, as my first class (Brain Computer Interfaces) proved to be so way over my head that I ended up dropping the course in favour of taking Computer Vision, which I went to fairly promptly after I had printed off my insurance forms after BCI. This class looks a lot more promising, although I have a little catch up to do since I missed the first class on Monday.

After vision I had a bit of a chat with Chris, one of my classmates from Graphics last quarter who is also taking Vision. Looks like there are a few other familiar faces in that class, so hopefully I can continue to develop those relationships and be a bit more social this quarter! To that end, I then went over to the HUB and down to the student clubs offices to meet up with the Anime Discovery Project. That was really good, the three people that were there were really welcoming and just as nuts as anime fans should be. ^^; I’ll probably attend their meeting on Friday night, although I don’t know if I’ll have a lot of time to just hang out in the office and watch anime with them during the day, as they are apparently wont to do. Bloody undergrads with too much time on their hands. ^_~

From there I went over to Schmitz and handed in all my insurance forms (again) so that I don’t get charged several hundred dollars in compulsory insurance when I already have some. Ok, get this – they shred the documents that you give them right after, so I have to keep giving them fresh copies of the same document each quarter. How stupid is that?

Anyway, from there I went to an interesting talk over at the Information School on searching through un-annotated documents using lightweight ontologies and search query structure transparency. Some interesting stuff, the presenter was quiet but quite enjoyable, some guy they’d flown over from Scandinavia somewhere.

I came back to the apartment and had dinner with Aidan, whom I hadn’t actually seen since I arrived back yet. Good to have a bit of a chat and so on. I dished out some good Cadbury chocolate for him and Kyung, Kyung gave me some funky dried which I couldn’t put a name to… kinda like dried apricot or peach, but different. Nice, though.

Anyway, other than that I did a bunch of work, another bunch of emails, my laundry then went to bed and read my book before crashing out.

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Sores and spiders

Posted by Leith in News

Aching and stiff knees and sore feet from blisters was my body’s state when I awoke, but not as bad as I thought I was going to be today. Again, I woke up before my alarm, but this time only by a few minutes (I think) so hopefully I can settle into that time as a rhythm… maybe. Tomorrow I’m going to try and attend a 9.30am class that I’m not enrolled in to see whether or not I want to be enrolled in that rather than the class that it overlaps.

First class today was 3D Photography, which is ostensibly the Graphics offering for the quarter. Kinda heady stuff to start with, I had a lot of trouble focusing, although I don’t know if that necessarily has anything to do with the material or if it was just that I wasn’t entirely there and needed to get some lunch. Afterwards I set up in my office and briefly met one of my new officemates for the quarter, Christian. He’s in my 3D Photography class and is over from Germany trying to get some inspiration for new ideas for his doctoral research.

Went to the introductory session for the AI seminar, which was just organizational stuff really… looks like the times for it will probably get changed again as it partially clashes with something else.

The Colloquium today was a really good one. It was by a guy named Luis von Ahn from Carnegie Mellon University on the power of human computation. He was very entertaining and was talking about how he has been using fun, online games to help solve large computer science problems. Annotating and labeling images, possibly all of them on the web; providing a lot of research data for computer vision learning algorithms… all very interesting stuff, as well as a lot of potential in the future work. Notable sites to visit are here and here. I sat with Christian from my office and Michael, his supervisor and my 3D Photography lecturer.

After that I went back to the office and sat down and did some work. I worked out if I want to meet my project quota for the month I need to be working insane amounts over the next few days, which isn’t good. However, I’ll do my best.

After a fair while of working and organizing things, I head out and got a couple of burritos and went back to my apartment. I sat down and watched an episode of anime and then spent some time organizing a few things on my computer (getting kinda cluttered on there) before diving back into my emails. After that I watched an episode of Spider-man (some guy on the Hub has all 5 seasons… I may have to download them and burn them to DVD) then went to bed.

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Spring is in the air

Posted by Leith in News,Play

Looks like Eastern Time did have an effect on me, I woke up at 9.30am today without the benefit of my alarm (which was set to much later).

First (and only) class today was BCI, which promises to be an interesting and challenging seminar. It’ll be a discussion course much like some of the ones I took last quarter, but it will require me to present a paper on BCI as well as do a group project involving some kind of BCI data. I don’t know if I’ll follow through with it if another class proves more interesting, but at this stage I’m optimistic.

I almost fell down the stairs on the way out of class, saved only by the railing. I hate it when I do that, and I seem to do it frequently.

Yakisoba for lunch sitting out on the grass outside the HUB under a gorgeous blue sky and some wonderful sun, watching some students play with a frisbee. There was this guy standing by the path who looked like a homeless man, but instead of signs asking for food and/or money, he had “Jesus loves you” and the like… standing there, in the sun, in a coat, with a sign in his hands and another around his neck. I was tempted to walk up to him and “debate” with him over Jesus for a while, but I decided against it on accounts of I was enjoying my sunshine too much to have it darkened by a preaching maniac.

I went over to Schmitz hall to figure out what I needed to do about my insurance (again) as well as work out what my housing situation was likely to be for the Autumn quarter at the end of the year, since I probably won’t be in Seattle for the summer and I’ll need a new place when I come back and so on and so forth. Got some forms, some email addresses, went back to the apartment. Emailing ensues.

After a while I got changed into my new sneakers and my ‘sports gear’, then ventured out once more into the bright sunlight. Seattle smells like Spring now. I’ve talked to people about my smelling different seasons before, and when they turn and Seattle smells like Spring. Speaking of smelling, earlier when I was wandering around I took the time to stop and smell the blossoms on several occasions. Very refreshing.

From my apartment I made my way to the CSE building and got a replacement CSE drinking bottle for the one that was pinched out of my office and had a chat with Lindsay, my adviser. Things are going busily buy swimmingly for her and it was good to have a catch up. From there I head over to the HUB on the off chance that someone was in the local anime club’s ‘office’. No one was, so it was off to the IMA for me.

I got the system explained to me about the lockers, the equipment, etc. and picked up some information for Archery and Squash. I even had a better look around the squash courts, which was pretty fun. From there I picked up a basketball and went to one of the less populated gyms (there are several, on several floors) and started to practice. Oh. My. Gods. I haven’t played basketball in four years now, and it shows. I missed almost every shot I took, even the basic ones in front of the ring. I don’t think I could even make five in a row. There were times when I felt ‘the groove’, when I felt what I felt when I knew I’d done it right like I used to. Swish. Every time I felt it, it went in perfectly. But there was no rhyme or reason as to which shots got me in the groove and there weren’t all that many. I ran ball drills, lay-ups (those at least weren’t too bad), stretches, running around… a lot of the stuff I used to do for basketball training. After a while the court was getting a bit more crowded down one end and I was asked if I wanted to play. I readily agreed, although I did warn them about my shooting. I was on the ‘skins’ team (which eventually lost) and we scrimmaged for a couple of hours. I pulled my shoulder once (the shoulder I wrenched so badly I stopped training), pulled my hamstrings (yes, both) a couple of times, rolled my left ankle once and then when both of my calves spasmed at the same damn time and I fell on the floor, I called it a day. It took me quite a while walking back before I vaguely needed to put my jacket on, I was steaming and sweating all over. All in all it was great to play basketball again, but it did make me realize exactly how long it’s been since I played, and how much I’ve lost (stamina, for one) in the process. I’ll be going again… and hopefully my legs (just my legs, oddly) won’t be too sore in the morning.

I walked up the Ave directly after and got myself a couple of feet of Subway, went back to the apartment, sat down and ate while I watched some anime to relax. After that I read over a few emails, then went and had a shower to relax. The nasty blisters on my feet became readily apparent to me during this process – one of them burst and stings like a stepped on a hornet’s nest.

I did a bit of work on some simple stuff, then headed to bed with a cup of ginger ale and my book.

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