Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Moving is unsettling not because of a change of locations, but because of a change of habits. I walk to work now, rather than bike. I keep my technical library at the office, rather than at home. I'm eating simpler meals, now, and fewer of them. I go to sleep earlier and wake earlier. In subtle ways and not-so-subtle ways, life here is different than it was in El Cerrito. It's not better or worse, on the mean -- just different.

When I moved here, I thought I might resume some of the habits of my first year of graduate school, before I moved to El Cerrito for four years. In a way I was right, but the habits I'm resuming are different than the habits I thought I'd resume. I've yet to visit Black Oaks, for instance, though I've been taking an hour or two off in the evenings to read fiction. But I do spend more time at the office or around campus, and I do enjoy some of my old walking routes around Berkeley.

I've fallen back to my old decorating style, too. My room is small, and the wall space is limited, so I haven't been tempted to put up my world map, or the print of the Japanese harbor. I've hung my scrolls and the placard of the frog claiming time's fun when you're having flies, but otherwise I've left the walls undecorated. But the wooden Buddha, the porcelain sage figurine, and Webster the Duck all observe benignly from their respective corners of the room, and the crazy-patch quilt is on my bed, so the room has color and character.

I put up more decorations after a time of turmoil a couple years ago. At the time, I felt like I needed the change in my surroundings. Then the decorations faded into the mental background, and I didn't change them for a long time. Now, simple seems attractive.

I've written little for this blog since I moved, though I've written letters and e-mails and text to go into papers. There has been plenty to tickle my fancy and make me think of writing, though. I thought to write when I read about the engineering design of the jogging bra on Mark Zimmermann's blog; and again when a bird sat just a few inches from my foot and examined me for most of a miute in that twitchy way birds have, turning its head to and fro to keep one eye on me, then the other. And I thought to write after I sat on the lawn outside the theological school, and listened to the organ playing for the graduation inside -- and then a few minutes later to a group practicing jazz on their saxophones across the lawn. The saxophonists were rather more talented than the organist was. But the urge to write lost to the urge to spend time away from the computer, and that's probably all for the better.

I had an e-mail conversation today with Vince about procrastinon scattering. What if procrastination was carried on particles or waves that reflected and refracted off various household objects? You could build procrastination isolation zones, or waveguides to channel procrastination toward your competitors! Perhaps I could write a simple code to calculate scattering of plane waves of procrastination entering a 2D room? I'd call it FSC2D -- Feng Shui CAD 2D. I wonder if I could sell it?

I've learned some things about wave scattering recently, which is why the topic surfaces in my idle thoughts. I've also been reading about waveguides and antennaes and cavity resonators, filter design, compressible flow calculations, magnetic levitation, Lambert's W function, and some fine points of Hamiltonian mechanics. I could tell you why I read about each of these things, and in what references, but at this point I'm a little unclear about when I read them. Memory is a curious thing. I can tell you that I drank one and a half glasses of orange juice from my tall tan plastic cup with the heel end of the last loaf of bread I bought -- but I can't remember what day I finished the loaf. And I can tell you exactly where in the library stacks I found each of the books I checked out on Monday, but I only know I checked them out on Monday by a process of elimination (it was some time this week, and it wasn't today).

Why do I remember this way? The best answer I can think of involves space aliens -- the googly-eyed ones that used to appear on Sesame Street and get excited over the noises the telephone made. It's probably as well that I never considered psychology as a major.

  • Currently drinking: Water