Saturday Cooked Indian food for a friend who is leaving town to continue grad school somewhere else. Only my second time having someone over since I moved to Indiana. The dinner was fantastic—truly memorable, one of those times when everything just works. She said she didn’t like very spicy food, but she didn’t want me to cancel the spicy green-bean dish I had planned, so I suggested that she bring over a cucumber and I’d make raita. I had never made raita before. I’d eaten it in Indian restaurants, but it seemed boring. Well, this one was wonderful. Dessert: chipotle-infused vodka and a peach.
Raita, it turns out, is the perfect antidote to the heat and humidity of Indiana.
Sunday Up on the 2nd floor of the library, I bumped into someone I’d been hoping to bump into for the last ten months and we finally had a conversation.
Ate out at a really good Indian restaurant in Bloomington (Shanti) with another friend. The tamarind and mint chutneys were memorable: the tamarind was hot and the mint wasn’t; they had extraordinary flavor.
Friday Slept all day.
Saturday Slept all day.
Sunday Slept all day.
The only thing even slightly memorable about this weekend is that I spent most of the nights at the library (for the Internet access), and left at 10:15 in the morning.
Friday Visited an old friend in Santa Cruz. We renewed our tradition of eating at the Santa Cruz Diner, except this time we didn’t play Scrabble. She thinks she pulled a muscle in her neck—an occupational hazard from doing insurance work (I’m not making this up). I ended up driving her to the hospital at 4:00 a.m.
Saturday Demonstrated one of my oatmeal recipes. Why are people always so skeptical about “savory” oatmeal recipes? Other than that, I mostly caught up on 43things.
Sunday An improv friend invited me to a really cool event up in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I was pretty tired and brain-addled, got started late, kept stopping in hopes of buying some chocolate milk to satisfy a craving (I never found it), made lots of wrong turns, and arrived only after the event had finished. (This is a bad memory.) Five minutes later, another friend called me and invited me out for sushi.
Attended my second Maker Faire. Bought a Brain Machine kit and spent a couple hours assembling it (didn’t finish), got instruction on soldering (years ago, when I first played with electronics, I never did know how to solder correctly, and always found it frustrating), met Mitch Altman and grilled him about brain waves, saw Esther Dyson give a talk about her experiences training to be a cosmonaut, met up with Wikipedia friends, volunteered in the Wikipedia booth, played Guess the Language, ate chocolate sushi, watched model rockets fly, watched some dangerous geeks shrink quarters in some sort of super-high-voltage coil, saw a haptic ankle compass, bumped into former co-workers, had Indian food with steampunks, and couchsurfed.
Most of all, I enjoyed the vibe of curious, creative, inventive, optimistic people. Life feels good again.
Most of my nine months going to grad school in Indiana have not had memorable weekends. A few memorable bits here and there, but nothing like my weekends in San Francisco and Humboldt County.
I wanted to continue doing memorable things on the weekends, but I ran into a few obstacles:
- Grad school left me exhausted. I spent most weekends doing whatever schoolwork I could, and taking care of household stuff.
- I knew very few people in Bloomington, and due to the exhaustion I wasn’t feeling very sociable.
- I didn’t know of many fun things to do on weekends. I know there are plenty in Bloomington, though.
Doing memorable things on weekends would probably help keep up my energy and emotional well-being for grad school.
Looking back most of my memorable weekends from the good times involved other people, and usually the event or activity was someone else’s idea.
Saturday Attended an event that a friend puts on for his birthday: “Enfascination”, where anyone can give a 5-minute lecture on any topic they like. I wanted to talk about something, but I was too exhausted from the semester (and demoralized from my algebra class). One fellow there had invented a numerical Bingo game, where you have to combine digits using arithmetic operations to make a number on your bingo card.
Saturday Spent all day in the library helping some of my algebra students study for the final. A little after that, I accidentally left my laptop behind in a cafeteria. It was about half an hour before I realized that I had left it behind. It was another half hour before I remembered where I left it. Fortunately, the cafeteria was locked up just after I left. Unfortunately, no one had a key, not even the maintenance staff. Fortunately, by mistake, the cafeteria had not been locked up that night. So I got it back. Whew! I’m finishing a semester project on that laptop, which is due tomorrow night.
Talked over Skype with a friend in Australia until 2:00 a.m., about the change-of-variables formula.
Sunday Finished that semester project. My partner and I worked on the term paper separately and talked over IM. The term paper took us seven hours from start to finish. We got it done at midnight.
Saturday One of my San Francisco bar-hopping friends was in Bloomington. I joined him for bar-hopping. We did a “trifecta”: drinking the signature drink at three different bars. Had my first AMF. (Not very good; watered down.)
Sunday Went to a potluck dinner at a friend’s coöp. I brought red-lentil daal. Listened to a hippie in his 60s tell about the counterculture movement in Bloomington at its peak in 1970-1973.
Saturday Attended the Midwest Cognitive Science Conference, and saw Douglas Hofstadter give a talk titled “AI Claims and Cog Sci Aims”. He spent the entire time debunking the most outlandish AI claims. I asked him in the question period afterward if he would tell some cog sci aims. He asked me why, and I said I was interested in hearing something positive. He started to answer, and soon found himself debunking AI some more.
Had dinner at The Snow Lion with some interesting cog sci folks. Spent a while talking with a Jewish woman from Boston who has a New York accent and now lives in Chicago. One fellow at the table declared, “All people who work in marketing should kill themselves.”