deadweak


There go the loves that wither,
The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
Red strays of ruined springs.

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no life lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

[Algernon Charles Swinburne 1837-1909, The Garden of Proserpine]

Something about deadweak made me recall this. My final critique for Painting III is tomorrow. Number of paintings finished this quarter: 1. Number I plan to finish tonight: 1. The triptych is going to have wait until next year it seems. Sadness. Also what’s the deal with finals week anyways?

Fiddler's Green

Just got back from Fiddler’s Green today. Joanna and I made an excellent escape from the Stanford bubble late last Wednesday. We got most of our work for the week done, and ditched the rest of the week prior to finals to go to the Strawberry music festival in Yosemite. You might think that the week before finals is a ridiculous time to take a five day trip; and you might be right. At the same time, I’m not sure that many people know how to drop everything and have fun like I do. So there.

The remainder of my blogging here is half journal entry, half advertisement. We think going to Strawberry in spring of 2006 would be a great trip for a group of 10ish friends, if anyone could be convinced to go. I think the backup plan is to make new friends 😛 . For those not in the know, Strawberry is a four day bluegrass festival at camp Mather, which is technically not part of Yosemite, but it is so close that it should be and only isn’t because the city of San Francisco swindled whatever agency is in charge of creating national parks. Now you might think, “Bluegrass music sucks => Strawberry sucks”. I don’t like Bluegrass. It’s got too many banjos and hick themes going on for my liking. There were one or two bands that were good enough to transcend their genre (“King Wilkie” kicked ass, for example), but there was also a lot of crappy bluegrass. To completely purge myself of the memory of irritating banjo twangs, I came home and put on some Rachmaninoff (which I believe is in all ways the opposite of generic bluegrass music). But the reality is that there are other great things to do at Strawberry that don’t involve listening to bluegrass, so whenever it got bad, we would just wander off and do something else. At the same time, there were some really good bands there too. My favorite was Old Blind Dogs, and really awesome Scottish band. They played for two hours in the blistering sun and were so good that people were dancing for all that time despite the heat. King Wilkie’s rendition of “Damn Yankee Lad” was awesome enough to merit the band a #2 ranking of all the bands we heard, at least in the opinion of this damn yankee lad.

Some of the other things we did while there… Jo went to the “Jamming 101″ class taught in the morning for people who wanted to learn how to improvise in the group playing sessions that occur at Strawberry all night after the last band for the day has finished on the main stage. I mainly sat and watched, because I have no musical talent. Despite that, however, it is my ambition to learn to play the fiddle this summer. We will see where that goes. We spent a good amount of time hanging out at Birch Lake. We lounged in the sun. I read Michio Kaku’s “Einstein’s Cosmos”, which is was a good enough read that I intend to follow it up this summer with a more in depth study of cosmology. If anyone wants to borrow it from me they are welcome. I also read Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman: Dreamhunters”, which is an artful retelling of a Japanese, illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano (who probably none of you know, though you might recognize his artwork from the Final Fantasy VI instruction booklet). I might also lend this, but you would have to ask very nicely. Another fun thing that we did was to hike around the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Hetch Hetchy used to be a second Yosemite Valley until President Wilson signed the Raker Act in 1913, authorizing it to be flooded to create a reservoir for San Francisco. We investigated the dam and took a very interesting walk along a trail that winds around the side of the reservoir, up the side of this granite cliff. Along the way we found a very cool waterfall that created a number of pools on the side of this mountain that one could go swimming in. We hiked until we reached a spot were the path became a waterfall since neither of us had the right shoes for that kind of hike and we didn’t want to get Omar wet. Next time I go to Yosemite it is my ambition to hike that part of the trail because I think it would be an incredible experience (hiking up a trail/waterfall – I’ve never seen anything like it).

Sales pitch aside, Strawberry was a really cool experience. Where else can you go that it is socially acceptable to not shower for four days? har har.

Below are a bunch of pictures that I took. If you are on a modem and these choke up your connection, you might need to turn your computer upside down and shake it to reboot.


Jo’s never been so happy to be anywhere


Jo at “Jamming 101″


Old Blind Dogs Rockin’ Out


Jo with the Fairy Dancer and his key fiddle


Hetch Hetchy: Yosemite’s lost jewel


Omar taking in some sun at Hetch Hetchy


Me and my turtle friends


Really cool long exposure photo I took


Jo, working on her rocket engine while everyone else has fun


The finishing act

Here is a link to a larger version of my long exposure shot, which I really like and I think sums up the feel of the Strawberry experience rather well.

O for a Muse of Fire.

After my recent trip, I got around to downloading the photos from my camera. Here are two from our (Can, Can’s Friend, Jasmine, Michael, Erc, Jo, and I) beach bonfire two weekends ago. This was a particularly good fire and it was a pretty serious effort, since we left after the Hamlet play and didn’t actually get to the beach until 1am. We stayed until about 4ish. It was a great fire and I think it’s safe to say that a good time (as well as a lot of chocolate and marshmallows) was had by all.


Looks like a fire spirit to me


A picture of Micheal B. that I thought has a particularly artsy quality

And Small Homeless Puppies Shall Have No Dominion

And small homeless puppies shall have no dominion
Cute diminutive canines shall be fed
By the man in the wind and the East Moon Chinese restaurant;
When their tummies are filled up and their bellies rotund,
They shall have street trash at elbow and foot;
Through they are diseased they shall be happy
Through they sink into the sea like lemmings they shall swim away;
Through they will bark a lot, no one shall care
And small homeless puppies shall have no dominion.

And small homeless puppies shall have no dominion.
In the winding darkened allies
They lying in ambush shall not leap forth;
Rending poor hapless bystanders,
They, chased down and beaten, shall not break;
Weapons upon them bodies shall snap in two,
Unless evil unicorns run them through;
Then they’ll wimper and moan a bit;
And small homeless puppies shall have no dominion.

And small homeless puppies shall have no dominion.
Little doggies twisted where they lie
Loud yipping crashes on the buildings;
Where they annoy a bunch of people
Who don’t like little poochies very much;
But puppies will woof forever;
And against the city scene their bow-wows;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And small homeless puppies shall have no dominion.

What dreams may come… must give us pause

There’s been a dearth of personal posts on my blog lately. This is mainly because with the exception of some things that I’m not going to post here for all to read, I think that my random thoughts are probably more interesting than the random things that I do or the random things that happen to me. Maybe you disagree. Consistent focus and cogency is too much to expect from me in a blog, so deal with it. I have a hundred things bouncing around in my head at any one time, and I put some of them here so that I can remember them later. This is, first and foremost, a journal I keep for myself. I might make sure that it looks presentable to people using other browsers, but that’s really the only concession I’m willing to make to my potential audience.

Anyways, this weekend was full of crazy funess. Jasmine was in town for a since (last Wednesday to this) and we all went out for sushi at Jomma’s (the secret sushi place behind the laundromat off of California Ave). I don’t really like sushi all that much but this was the best I’ve ever had. We did have to wait a while for it though. On Saturday, I spent the day in Mountain View with my mom and grandmother who flew to California to visit me. We had lunch at a tasty Indian place and everyone liked it, including my grandmother (who is from Delaware and not used to “cuisine”). I perused the awesome used book store in Mountain View. I found the last Sandman book I needed for my collection for half-price, which was exciting. It will be nice to have some reading for my trip on Wednesday. Saturday evening Erc and I ate Indian food again at Dar Bar. Then we meet up with Kejia and her interim boyfriend at the Cantor Art center for an outdoor presentation of Hamlet. The play was pretty good, except that it was three hours long and lagged a bit in the middle. Plus Cantor is near to the hospital and helicopters keep flying low overhead, which was a constant annoyance. Afterwards, a whole bunch of us went to Half Moon Bay for a bonfire, even though it was already 12:30. We didn’t get back until 4:30am, but a good time was had by all and I’m glad we did it. Sunday my mom, grandmother, Tammy and I went out for Dim Sum. It’s not really the weekend without dim sum. I had a lazy afternoon, did a little biking, watched a little South Park with Tammy, and then Tammy, Emma and I had dinner at the Peking Duck, one of our favorite restaurants from our days as freshmen. All in all it was a very full weekend and now I’m exhausted and have a ton of work to do before Wednesday. So I best get to it.

PICARD

No. I know Hamlet. And what
he said with irony I prefer to
say with conviction.
(quoting)
“What a piece of work is man!
How noble in reason! How infinite
in faculty. In form, in moving,
how express and admirable. In
action, how like an angel. In
apprehension, how like a god… “

“Q” (MARSHAL)
(upset; interrupting)

You don’t really see your species
like that?!

PICARD

I see us one day becoming that,
“Q”. Is that what concerns you?

Zeno revisited


Something to ponder

Here is a motion paradox of my own invention. Here we deal in the movement of information. Einstein says that information cannot be communicated faster than the speed of light. Imagine a small massless particle hurtling through space at the speed of light. This is a very small particle (like an electron) and thus cannot be said to exist at a definite position at any time. Instead, it’s position is represented as a probability field within a bounded region (remember electron clouds in high school chemistry?) Ok. So starting at the position x = 0, this particle moves a distance at the speed of light for an amount of time. Let’s say it’s a nanosecond, which is the amount of time it takes light to travel a foot. After this amount of time, the particle has traveled a foot. But since the particle exists as a probability field, there is a non-zero probability of the particle existing at position x + (w/2), where w is the width of the of bounded region where we expect to find the particle. Since there is a possibility of finding the particle at x + (w/2), we have sent information, in a non-deterministic way, faster than the speed of light. If the possibility of finding a single particle at x + (w/2) is small, we can still send information with a high degree of confidence by sending lots of particles in parallel.

Have we sent a signal faster than light?

I’ve been thinking about whether or not this is a paradox at all. It might be an argument in favor of the existence of special relativity. If we allow space to compress as the particle increases in speed, w will have a limit of 0 as v approaches c. On the other hand, if we allow w to go to zero, then it is possible at any point in time to describe the exact position of the particle, which I am pretty sure is forbidden in quantum mechanics. Things that make you go hmmm….

The Diagram: I drew the diagram above in paint shop to help visualize the problem. We have a yellow particle traveling at the speed of light. The red circle around the particle has diameter w and marks the bounds of the probability field in which the particle might exist at any particular point in time. The white lines are meant the recall the compression of space-time as any particle accelerates, though that this compression has nothing to do with the paradox as posed. The punchline is illustrated by the dotted red line to the far right, which marks the furthest distance from the starting position of the particle at which we might observe the particle. It is further away from x = 0 than should be possible for light to travel in a nanosecond.

Another possible solution is that only deterministic signalling must obey the speed of light limit. I don’t know if this is actually the case, but I wouldn’t be that surprised. This is the kind of weirdness that quantum mechanics allows.

Anyways, I’ve been thinking about paradoxes all week and I might have a couple more to post after I’ve thought about them a bit more.

Whoops.

I found the reason why preformatted text was being double spaced in FireFox. It has to do with how FireFox interpretes the paragraph tag, not the pre tag, which made the problem difficult to find. It turns out my Blog program was putting in superfluous paragraph tags every time I hit return and this was messing things up. So if you use FireFox, the textual layout of my blog just got a little better.

The Utter East

“Perhaps is has sometimes happened to you in a dream that someone says something which you don’t understand, but in the dream it feels as if it has some enormous meaning – either a terrifying one which turns the whole dream into a nightmare or else a lovely meaning too lovely to put into words, which makes the dream so beautiful that you remember it all your life and are always wishing you could get into that dream again.”

A stone, a leaf, an unfound door.