25 March 2011

pictures; and things to do...

Some more pictures; I went out to Queens, apparently all the best food is out there, in small unassuming and very local places. They certainly have lots of roads...

I walk past this humble cat very often, always make me happy to see her.

I'm still searching for the noodles and comic place I remember from 2003...

But last night, I went to see some classical music, there I was told of a cigar-bar, a place licensed for people go and smoke cigars and drink whiskey...

Things to do are vastly outpacing the rate I can do them...

22 March 2011

There is a sign that says BUMP

There is a sign that says BUMP.

A man picks up his dog's shit, with his bare hands, and places it delicately by a tree.

Galleries last weekend, some work of Marcel Dzama at David Wirner - chess, war and sex, contrasts interwoven. Then Glenn Ligon (images to words, angry sad reflection on racism) and Edward Hopper (magic painter of light and people) at Witney.

I spend an hour today practicing falling-over, at various speeds, from various heights. The final 10 minutes are the hardest: a strangers holds out her right arm; I stand in front her, a little to one side. She is a blond girl, of medium build with a round face and a kind smile. I place my left hand on her wrist, and then throw myself over her arm, my feet are high in the air, and I'm still holding her wrist gently. I meet the ground first with my other arm, and then my back, finally my legs. Quickly, I stand up, and take her wrist with my other hand, and throw mayself again. Again and again.

A basement, Bar 55, the most hard-worn musicians I've ever seen play their hearts out while I drink whiskey.

It's been a fun week, culture, music, friends, explorations of Brooklyn. Work-wise I'm still frustrated by programming with a pile of sludge (C++), plotting revenge of ML (an almost brilliant language)... also looking forward to visiting Edinburgh and Oxford soon (Don't ask, I can't tell you when, it's a surprise).

16 March 2011

time, time traveling, and psychic puppies on a window-sill

I got home early today, left the office at 17:30, that felt pretty good. But I also had too much coffee, on and off, over the day, leaving me kind of drained and hyper. Now I'm fighting back against the encroaching sea of emails and also tackling a few outstanding electronic chores.

Repeatedly failing to do any exercise is frustrating me a bit. I need to find a way to get to Aikido, I was planning to go at 6am, to the early class, but it's too early for me, if I stay up until 2am as I tend to, then it destroys me. Work typically wraps its ugly arms around me in the early evenings, at the end of which, Aikido is finished; and during the day, I get caught up by... well... mostly debugging shitty c++ programs and dreaming of writing in ML again... Perhaps I can schedule Aikido into my diary and go at lunch-time... new plan!

Yesterday I finished reading the Time Traveler's Wife, a story of beautiful human nature; almost too romanticly-sweet for me, leaves you feeling good as you read it, somehow inspired by the characters, but also a little unreal in the way fate falls out in front of them; I think the sensation of your own fate, looking into your past, can be comforting and intriguing, but when a fateful sensation lurks in your  future, then a delusion is afoot, possibly a dangerous one, I ponder.

Today's observations of New Yorkers: there is an oddly large number of shops selling collections of  rat-shaped hairless tiny dogs. Outside, groups of women gape at the creatures. The dogs look a bit bored to me, but they occasionally pull-off a cute-trick, bite each other, and I imagine, poo on their sterile window-sill once in a while, surely. So, I wonder: what is the link between 24-hour psychic advisers on every street corner, and the puppy shop on every street? Is this some demonic mechanism that traps people's souls in puppies and makes the dogs hair fall off? Or are the psychics pulling a ruse, pretending to talk to the dead, when in fact they communicate with rat-shaped dogs via string and yogurt-cups? the mystery...

11 March 2011

images on the way to work

I wake up, and admire the view...

I walk to work, this is typically what it looks like:

There are strange characters here, like this rat, who hangs about on the side of the street. I often see him on the way to work. I don't know why there is a yellow prong coming out of his nose, it's always there, and today it matches the puffy jacket of a passer-by.

7 March 2011

carnival in queens, alien-heads galore

This weekend, I went to a party in Queens; Astoria. It was the kindly invite of a friend of friend, a Greek carnival party, where wild alien-heads is probably the best description of my favorite costumes. This inspired me to dance slightly strangely - I just got sent this video as an approximation for my dancing... I'm hoping some of the party-people will send me some pictures of the Alien heads and maybe photographic proof of my mad dancing. Getting to the party at 1am meant leaving kind of late, hurray for all night trains. The next two days I lived in space - a floating purgatory where my insides had been turned to saw-dust and sand. Luckily my guest, Conor, who arrived a couple of hours after I got to bed, was in a similar state - he'd just celebrated house-selling before flying here. We enjoyed conversing about teaching, long-distances, loves, this and that, and a sprinkling of type theory things: what is the type-theory of fancy pointer structures and their shape-changing transformations, and how do you describe their inductive shapes?

3 March 2011

The first week at work has been surprising in how unsurprising it has been. Much like Wikileaks - all the stuff you didn't know, but strongly suspected - turns out it's true!

What was a little unexpected was the 'party' atmosphere. Also, people don't overwork like I worried they might. Although I've been working very hard this first week - but I can see it's just the first week. There's a deep river of thought here to run things rationally, and they have the resources to try and make it happen. That feels very good. On the less positive side, I've not come across an interesting concept or idea yet, I'm worried I'll miss academia for that, but I guess it might also be the first week of introductions is naturally administrative. Missing my academic friends in Edinburgh!

I've been making a morning ritual of walking to Grumpy's, reading a little with a cappuccino and croissant, and then making my way into work. A nice start to the day. Sleep has been a little problematic; hard to get the right temperature, constant sirens and horns are also a little unusual for me. I just bought a couple of blankets, and a non-feather pillow, so that should help me avoid sneezing and getting some reasonable sleep. Last night I dreamt. The dream took place in a big white box, with some rocks, and water at the bottom. There was a big hungry green lizard who was chasing, trying to catch, and eat a terrified frog. There was also an aggressive hungry fish taking big bites out of the lizard's body and legs. The lizard didn't seem to notice, he was totally intent on catching and eating the frog. I could feel the mad urgent chasing hunger of the lizard, and also of the fish. I was also very worried for the frog, he was leaping out of the jaws of the lizard, up into the air, and hard against against the plastic of the box, and sliding, falling back down towards the lizard's gaping mouth. Several times the frog lading on the lizard mouth, but managed to push against it's jaws and jump up again. Full of angst, I watched the scene, feeling for all 3 creatures, terrified and hungry. Then, the lizard managed to jump up as the frog was falling, and the frog was caught this time in the throat of the lizard, who hungrily gulped him down. I woke up. It was 6am-ish. I fell back to sleeping shortly after, this time dreaming that work didn't allow me to grow a beard, and I remember feeling terrible about it, scared and shamed because I hadn't shaved, and also frustrated by the crazy requirement. Luckily, when I wake up again at 9, I realise it was just a dream, and the disarray of my facial hair is not an issue.

Sorry there are no pictures this post, no pictures allowed at work, and I've not been anywhere else.  Having said that, I did randomly meet a lovely couple while queuing at a restaurant yesterday; ended up sharing a table and enjoying dinner together, over a kind of Korean sake.  It was very popular Korean place (Woorijip); discussions about ranged from marxism and radical left wing politics, to technological revolution, and the existence of rationality. It was food to my hungry mind, who was aching for some good chat. The Korean place itself was amazing, with 2 tears of queuing, first by the door, then inside at the back. The place has an atmosphere of hot chaos, while outside it was bitter cold. As I watched I realised the bustling waiters who rushed here and there, and directing people to tables, and urgently but gently pushing people out of their way - that these waiters were a powerfully efficient mechanism, they made the place work, they were the blood of the place. It was wild and delicious, and also very homely tasting, not amazing, but good. I loved it.

Also started writing a short story about the life of a conceptual artist... more on that another time. Til the weekend!