march, 2003

Wed Mar 5 17:33:15 EST 2003

Between all this dancing and late-night pool playing, my legs hurt -- a good ache, indicative of muscle-building rather than damage -- but enough so that I'm conscious of my quadriceps for each stair in the small sequence up to the Robot Lab. It could have been partially from the Sri Lankan food I ate with way too much gusto before African the other night, finger-wise, getting turmericked grains of rice all over my jeans, before trying to leap repeatedly into the air an hour later, stomach still full of spice and rice. At least, that can't have helped.

Indolence, laziness, and apathy all proceed apace. The robotics kids are pushing away at completing projects and reports before spring break; I have one small paper that I can do in an hour or two. I feel like I have free time but I just don't know what to do with it. (Answer: continue to write thesis.) I'm not the workaholic that some Germans we know are, but the apathy, weird sleep schedule, and other factors of exhaustion make me curl all too easily, happy under my Daunendecke at night, or in the Kohlberg chairs while reading Nigella Lawson's rhapsodies on bread.

Spring is coming. The weather is above freezing; mud and puddles are abounding. I intend to be productive over the break.

Sat Mar 8 24:26:20 EST 2003

What a lovely weekend. Orange, foodful, fruitful, wineful, and very chill. Went up with Oliver et all to see Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, and Wu Man on pipa with the New York Phil on Friday -- a concert which was interesting but somewhat inaccessible to me (all relatively formless modern music). But the soloists made up for it. Met Fanjul in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall after struggling through a line of little old New York jewish ladies in the ladies' room. He proceeded without question to take me to Café Mozart, where as I was gradually settling into my cappucino and rum-soaked(!) Sachertorte, he commented how odd it was for him to see me -- whom he met as a dewy-eyed freshman three years ago -- completely ready to leave Swarthmore.

The theme elaborated overlooking the crazy inverted planetarium at the Museum of Natural History, where there was jazz-n-tapas going on but we were just staring into the bowls of light, and over vegetarian ("zen") dinner, the first of several miso soups. I'm ready to leave, and feel even readier when I'm not on campus or even in Philly, but drinking a riesling with a champagne nose at Chris's Praise The Lord Dental Apartment, following it with Lillet on the rocks garnished with a slice from a fresh honeybell orange,

It's good to put these things into perspective, making buttermilk scones after waking up practically on top of a cat who stared at me, sphixine, all night (and against whom a little Zyrtec armed my sinuses), drinking freshly-squeezed honeybell orange juice (I came home with six -- they are amazing), using the zest for the scones, and consuming them with butter and Swiss jam off the orange plate he saw, thought of me, and bought. Lovely especially to realize all of these things in the presence of a complete aesthete and gourmand, one who not only enjoys food but tastes it fully, who now works at a wine shop and lends me a book to further my pronounced-but-uneducated oenophilia. The face of discriminating gustatoric rapture he makes for good scones, good wines. That digital technology as an art form excites him. It's so different, so refreshing, from my typical environment. I have my own version, but it's really pleasing to be complemented.

Thu Mar 13 23:40:29 CST 2003

Suddenly in Madison, where the grocery store plays classical music, the Wisconsin Cheese section is larger than the non-local, the sushi is some of the best I've had, and the temperatures are still sub-freezing in mid-March. What can I say, it's Home. Not in the sense that I want to come back here for any more than a week after graduation; not in the sense that I want to stay any longer than the almost two days I'm here this time, but Home as where I grew up, where I know the roads and how to drive on them on ice.

Dad's doing well. Coughing surgically and with a twelve-inch war wound, yes, but solid, and even walking well. Leaving the hospital likely tomorrow. It's kind of a shock, realizing his sixty years. But I'm glad I could come out and see him, walk around the corridors with him, and show him pictures from my digital camera on Matti's borrowed laptop (I log in, and see nori_is_a_latex_demon> as my bash prompt! :-), on which I'm writing this thesis (topiclesser and topiclesser per minute) in between eating and visiting.

And it's Alexis's 19th birthday. She took me out to sushi -- should have been the other way around, really, but she's the one of the two of us with an income. Stuffed ourselves at Wasabi and have lunch for tomorrow. Oh, how do i decide between that and the Bagels Forever bagels?

Sun Mar 16 24:55:04 EST 2003

On a quest around McCabe this evening, taking pictures of myself reflected in the windows of its machicolations -- a reflection I've always particularly liked, looking studious, and it always caught me at a good angle -- I came across a 1992 journal I was looking for, Rivisti di Linguistica, volume 4. Inside was exactly what I needed: an anthology of essays on compounding morphology, the first one on German. Anyone in the field likely is aware of this journal, knows about it like the oenophiles do the 1997 vintage of Tuscan wines, like Claire's brunello over which I was able to exclaim last night.

Spring is coming in, just in time for the end of the eponymous break. The terroir is starting to give off a scent, like a good red wine, or the pages of a dusty journal. I love spring -- I hope it doesn't distract me too much from my work ... but red wine and morphology should get me through till June.

Sat Mar 22 17:43:47 EST 2003

Robot Lab. Sunday afternoon. No wait -- it's Saturday! There was no food in Mike's kitchen above the flower shop, but Sean, returned this morning from Chinatown, bears green kiwi gummis whose name he reads in the kanji. Clock tolls 5:45 o'clock, an hour-twenty-five later. Programming in 1's and 0's all afternoon; taking a break to eat a strawberry on the sunny beach, loungers pretending to do work all over the grass. Did I mention the strawberry?

Tue Mar 25 29:15:49 EST 2003

Up late coding labs;
ptrace bug exploitable.
Goddamned chirping birds.

Thu Mar 27 23:34:52 EST 2003

So tired, from staying up late Tuesday to finish the lab, and have been thrown off ever since. The weather's beautiful, but not yet seductively so, and cold enough that I can still wear a sweater and my high-heeled clogs. So I'm still working, I promise. Lots to do; more piling on as the days progress. And it has to all get done in the next two weeks -- because in 336 hours, I will be over the Atlantic on my way to Paris!

It's a really crazy and stupid idea in many ways. A three-day weekend; almost 20 hours of travel time altogether; weeks away from graduation ... but I will have turned my thesis in by then, and I miss a certain German who will be meeting me there! So, I'm pulling a Sean, and taking a couple days off to go wander romantically around Montmartre. Yes, it's a stupid idea, but who said being in love was had anything to do rationality?

The meantime: forget this weather. Nose -- grindstone -- thesis -- exams ... all accomplishable. Ooh, but I'm excited!

Mon Mar 31 24:54:45 EST 2003

My eyes really only focus in tandem these days with coffee -- after the opera last night, a wonderful Macbetto with a really wonderful Lauren Flanigan as the eponymous Lady, three of us sat down for cake and coffee (thereby missing our train back in), and it was really only afterwards that the city popped into full relief; or today, just now having been to Paces, me reading Zur Theorie und Praxis der Kompositaforschung and Claire with her Bio, with a chipped mug of coffee -- now the light snow (! and there were dippers tonight in the Crum, but not I among them when it's subzero!) is quite clear across campus, where early-bird April-foolers are chalking pranks already.

I suppose I've been drinking too much of it of late ... but there has been no detriment, and I'm sleeping fine (dreaming of Paris, where it's ensoleillé and supposed to continue to be for a good long while). And if it means I can continue to crank out this thesis -- put in some more AI theory, linguistic theory; tweak the allomorphy algorithm -- and get my work done at a steady clip, well, I'm not about to cut back until I see yellow spots.

all this ©nori heikkinen, March 2003

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