Brief answers to questions from [personal profile] compilerbitch

Dec. 11th, 2009 05:24 pm
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
Blah blah comment if you want me to ask you questions blah blah.

1. So, beard. Discuss!

There's not that much to discuss, really. Here's a current picture, for clarity. When I came back from Edinburgh in September I decided to do an experiment to see what happened if I grew a beard. I'm still not sure if I really like the results, but it does save me some explanation sometimes. I never really used to like beards on other people. At some point I'll probably start over.

2. Would you move back to the bay area if you could? Why? Why not?

I don't really miss the Bay Area a lot, aside from missing individual people. I always had a sense that I was at least twenty years too late (possibly more than that) to get what I really wanted. That was kind of maddening, as if (somehow) if I just tried hard enough, I could actually go work at Apple in 1985 or whatever.

A lot of the same things that are wrong with the Bay Area are also wrong with Portland, but I don't plan on staying in Portland after I graduate (in, I hope, 2-3 years), either.

So no, I don't think I would move back anytime soon, in the absence of a really compelling job that couldn't be replicated elsewhere. At this point in my life I feel like if I moved back to someplace I'd lived before, I would never leave. I still have more places I want to live, and I'd rather live in New York or possibly even (heresy!) LA than the Bay Area.

3. Do you want to stay in academia indefinitely, or eventually go Real Job?

I definitely don't want to go back to working in the software industry, so if that's what you mean by Real Job, then no, do not want. I want to have a job with a lot of flexibility and freedom where I can connect with people on an individual basis and hopefully make a positive difference in their lives, so given my skills, that probably means teaching.

4. The stuff about senators being members of a shady pseudochristian hate group is very worrying. What's your reaction to that? And, dude, Hilary Clinton! Did we ever dodge a bullet there.

I didn't know about this until [personal profile] compilerbitch passed me a link, but really, given the American political tradition, it's not surprising. I don't really know what to say beyond that. I think black-and-white moralism is a serious hindrance to ever having a mature political and ethical dialogue in the US, but I don't think changing that would be as easy as loosening the grip of right-wing Christianity.

5. My favourite iPhone app actually isn't the Cat Piano, but it's pretty funny all the same. What's your favourite mobile device application, and why?

I'm still a dinosaur who has a cell phone that's only capable of making calls, sending text messages, and taking grainy photos. Next! :-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-12 06:16 am (UTC)
etb: trolleybus in Seattle (blue and yellow trolleybus)
From: [personal profile] etb
Blah blah comment if you want me to ask you questions blah blah.

I'm commenting (only because I'm dr0nck, but there's nothing wrong with that).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-14 12:09 am (UTC)
etb: upside-down US flag (distress)
From: [personal profile] etb
1. If you could get a satisfactory job anywhere in the US, but living outside the US wasn't an option, where would you go?

If air quality were no consideration, Pittsburgh. Otherwise, Portland or Seattle.

2. Now that you've ridden Muni, which public transportation system do you want to ride on next (that you haven't already)?

(and Vancouver, Valencia, Madrid, London, and Edinburgh...) I don't know. DC and Paris are probably the logical choices, but I have no great desire to go to either city.

3. If you could do research on anything (not necessarily within CS, but possibly), what would you do? Suppose you get to hit snooze on the job-alarm-clock and also get to extend your life by ten years to make up for getting up to speed. (And "exactly what I do now" is an acceptable answer.)

Well, the proportion of things I'm not doing that bore me doesn't seem to be decreasing over time, so I might well be doing the same thing. For a convenient extra 10 years.

4. Have you reconciled yourself at all with Quebec's attitude towards outsiders, or are you just looking forward to getting the hell out?

I think I'm mostly reconciled now. Living in an anglophone-majority building (unlike last year) in a "mixed" neighborhood (unlike my first year here, when I got language whiplash whenever I left the bubble containing McGill and my apartment building) probably helps.

5. Did you decide to grow your hair long at some point, or did it just happen?

Some of both. When I was an undergrad I went home often enough that my dad could maintain the status quo length. That stopped happening, and I decided there was nothing wrong with letting it grow, especially since that involved the least effort. Apparently, having highly unfashionable glasses and longish hair (back when it was still being cut occasionally) was enough for assholes to occasionally harass me, so I don't think I had much Squares' Privilegeā„¢ to lose.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-12 08:45 pm (UTC)
miang: Miang Hawwa (with Opiomorph), Xenogears: May God's love be with you (and there's nothing I can do). (Default)
From: [personal profile] miang
I'd rather live in New York or possibly even (heresy!) LA

Hooray! Perhaps this will sweeten the deal, if it comes to pass? (If not, there's always this...)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-12 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
1) I like the beard!

4) Link please?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-14 09:06 pm (UTC)
luinied: This is from the Sega Saturn game, which I haven't played. (dark)
From: [personal profile] luinied
There's also a long-ish (and slightly dated) article about them here, in case you haven't already seen it.

1. Beard

Date: 2009-12-14 09:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm curious what happened in Edinburgh (if anything) that convinced you to try the beard. I occasionally change mine around (e.g. full, van dyke, or shaven), though it's become more stable more often in the last few years.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-19 03:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll play, you can ask questions, but I know I'm a little late to the party :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-20 11:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
1. Other than freedom from (some kinds of) bureaucracy, what do you look forward to as a result of your newly gained citizenship?

Being at *home* in the US, for real. Last time I came into the country, from a short vacation in Mexico, I remember thinking "ah, home!" as we got into Phoenix. The feeling persisted until I got to the immigration officer and found out that biometric screening had recently been extended to residents. Choice quote: "you may be a resident, but you're still an alien".

Other than that vague feeling, the ability to vote, jury duty (though I think exactly 0% of my friends have ever actually served during a trial), and the ability to leave the US for extended periods of time if I want. I probably won't, but I like knowing I can.

2. What's your favorite choral work?

Probably Vivaldi's Gloria. The first time I listened to the Gloria, I was walking around campus in Illinois with headphones. When the "Et in terra pax" canon came on I honestly stopped moving and stood there with my mouth hanging for a while.

I also really like Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, but I don't have a very good recording of it. At least, it's not to my taste -- it's an all-men's choir with a non-fabulous countertenor and a boy sopranist, and they chose to mostly use straight tones, which to me can make singing sound dry and unpleasant. But the lyrics are amazing, based on a long poem written by a guy in an insane asylum (who probably deserved it only moderately). The mood of the piece is definitely Christian, but in a non-standard and inspiring way.

3. How did you decide to switch from math to CS? (If I've asked that before, sorry, I forgot)

[ this got long, so this is the summary ]

I don't think it was the best reasoned decision in the world, but it turned out to be a good one. I was not finding any advisors at UIUC (personality and work-wise). I realized that the reality of doing math didn't really match my idealized version of it (in "old" branches, small incremental progress rather than sweeping broad strokes). I also realized that some of the reasons I initially had for choosing math over CS (math being the farthest thing from the real world I could think of, for example) were not valid anymore (I was coming to like the real world more than what I was in Egypt).

4. Are you aspiring to any new weightlifting milestones at the moment?

Alas. I'm rehabbing from an injured shoulder (self-diagnosed as a combination of stress and a muscle imbalance between upper body pushing and pulling). The milestone I aspire to is being able to do a back squat with any bar on my shoulders :-\

Once I get better I would like to compete in powerlifting, because I found out that my current best total of 510 (165 sq + 110 bp + 235 dl) is fairly competitive.

5. Do you ever miss academia?



(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-21 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Have you read Rippetoe's books, Starting Strength and Practical Programming? I found them very helpful.


tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

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