(My last post was almost two months ago! I never intended to neglect “best thing” for so long, but all I can say is that I have been very busy. And now I have learned that the momentum of pausing a thing like this can be ridiculously self-maintaining… as I suppose momentum tends to be. Argh.)
Tonight I realized that my best professor friend ever, Deborah Gordon, gave a TED Talk back in 2003 about her work on ants. The video has just been posted on the TED Talks site. It’s a great introduction to a very interesting subject, and I count myself as lucky to have participated in the exact bits of tedious work she describes in that talk. If you haven’t seen her speak before, you’ll get to see some of her characteristic say-it-exactly-how-it-is-but-somehow-it’s-funny comments.
In other news, my current advisor, Tod Machover, will be speaking at this year’s TED conference. So I’ll be looking out for that one.
I got a chance to try a new board game last time I was in the Bay Area (thanks, Rachel!), called “Hey! That’s My Fish!”. You should play this game because it’s simple, fast, fun, inexpensive, and can even be played with two people. Or just because it’s called Pingvinas in its original language.
I know some people will throttle me for suggesting this, but this game reminded me of my first (and only) few games of Go, because it involves capturing territory, tracking shapes/areas, and cutting people off. Except you get colorful wooden penguins and can play with eight-year-olds.
Nick is a guy who was playing at places like this almost before he set foot in them as an audience member. He plays electric viola, along with five other band members who play all manner of things (including, from their myspace page, trumpet and “thundertube wizardry”). To give you an idea of what they sound like… from their homepage: “On Fire has been listening to: Starflyer 59, Arcade Fire, Pelican, Low, Unwound, GusGus, Blonde Redhead and more.” They sounded great.
It was good to finally see the inside of T.T. the Bear’s, which I must have walked past 50 times in the last few months. It’s just the perfect size, like a large living room, with pool room and bar attached. Noisy and cozy.
And my big question: Where did the name come from?
You may have seen a show at T.T. the Bear’s, but do you know the story of Tough Teddy? He was the beloved pet teddy bear hamster of owners Bonney Bouley and Miles Cares, who opened their Cambridge club in 1985 and found themselves needing a name — and fast.
“I hate telling this story,” said longtime booking agent Randi Millman. “I swear I should make up a story about the name, but there’s the truth as I’ve heard it. God help us.”
I have to admit I’ve dumped numerous hours into facebooking the past couple of weeks. Brent invited me to join right before I went to Texas, and I resisted for a few days, but thought I’d try it out. And now I am somewhat hooked. I have connected with old elementary school friends, seen pictures of people I haven’t thought about since college, and best of all, now have a new news feed: What is happening in the world of people I actually know.
Today’s news includes:
- One of my friends is tripping in Amsterdam.
- Cati is busy cataloguing her favorite movies, of which I share many (eg. Blade Runner, Brazil, Being John Malkovich, Spirited Away, and Dead Man).
- I’m seeing photos of another friend’s wedding preparations back in Sweden.
- A climbing buddy from MIT is looking for a roommate starting in August.
Here are reasons I like facebook:
- It’s clean. (Does myspace ever feel like an alley next to a city high school to you?) Ads are well-contained, and the pages are calm (no audio/animations blaring). And every page fits well in my browser window.
- There are so many tools, from both facebook and third party folks, that let you drop in “Applications” for all sorts of things, like video reviews, last.fm hooks, adding cute interactive pets, and showing the world everywhere you’ve visited (my previous attempt at that here). Adding an application usually takes one click, and then you just drag-and-drop into your profile. Very slick!
- Privacy: You can control who sees your information as carefully as I would ever want, allowing you to restrict access to each component of your profile (your photos, friends, notifications, etc.) separately.
- You can give someone a jock strap if you want to. Or a PB & J.
Brent and I spent a good part of the day yesterday romping around, doing mostly whatever we wanted. Brent declared it officially our Day of Indulgence when we sat down to have our ice creams at Toscanini’s. With fresh bellies, we had an afternoon of shopping for shoes, eating burritos, and watching Spiderman 3. And it’s the best time I’ve had out in Cambridge in a long while. I need to remember to try to take more breaks like that. thanks, brento!
I think I figured out why my face used to tingle when I swam.
When I started swimming laps regularly a few months ago, my face always tingled all over and was slightly numb when I got out of the pool. I guess I hadn’t noticed that I ever stopped feeling tingly after swimming, because today, after my mile swim with Brent, I noticed it again for the first time in a long while.
The other thing that struck me while swimming today is that I was having great trouble getting as much air as I wanted into my lungs. I think I’ve become much more aware of breathing since I started swimming, and today I knew it didn’t feel right. I suppose there are many reasons I could’ve had trouble breathing today: I haven’t exercised much in the last two weeks, I haven’t slept much, and I recently had a spike in pizza intake… all possibilities.
Regardless of the reason for my trouble breathing today, I’m fairly convinced that the correlation of trouble breathing and tingly face means that the tingling comes from a lack of sufficient oxygen for an extended period.
Two-and-a-half of my friends have the coolest view of Boston I’ve seen, from the skydeck in their apartment building (next to me in Cambridge). I was lucky enough to see it earlier today, for the first time. Boston is really a pretty city, and when the light shines on the brown buildings downtown, they look all warm and glowy.
Here are K and Turtle and a wonderful view:
Wilco has a new album coming out on May 15. I was lucky enough to hear it today; I really like it.
One more thing: my votes paid off.
Kirthi invited me to play PaRappa the Rapper this afternoon, which is a fun little rhythm game for the PSOne. I played on Easy, which the manual says “is for very young children, or for those who have no sense of rhythm at all.”