March 19th, 2005

beartato phd

The Dude Abides

Got roped into seeing "The Big Lebowski" over at Roselawn 7. This is the second time I've seen it. The bizarre thing is that, having seen it before, it, like, made sense somehow, as a narrative. I got to the end of the movie and I actually felt a sense of closure. I'm not sure how that worked.
beartato phd

(no subject)

So rjmccall hacked up this little self-contained wiki, and I've been having a lot of fun lately using it to record a lot of the "dark matter" of my day-to-day thinking, stuff that's either beneath the radar of livejournal in terms of public interestingness, or too private for public broadcast.

It's sort of just an experiment in free writing, except the node structure of the wiki makes me feel really unihibited about veering off onto tangents, because I know I can return to the point of departure at a later time and still feel that the whole structure is somewhat organized and clean: no piece of text exists in the system without being associated with some topic or theme or something.

There have been, I'm sure, an enormous number of cases in my life as, well, a compulsively thinking person, when I've wanted to have different words for things. Often just wanting fresh words, ones that denote just a subset or a slight variation of an existing one, just to efficiently be that little smidgen more precise. This is something I do with wild abandon in mathematics; inventing (anywhere from mildly to radically) new notation for things is perfectly ordinary, especially if it's just for your own notes to yourself. Certainly one can coin jargon even in the "soft" sciences. But I'm amazed how refreshing it feels to "let myself go" and indulge the mathematically-inspired desire (in this more natural-language context of analytic writing) to make definitions all over the place, putting short labels to all the concepts that keep reappearing. And I don't need to worry about the names being terribly good, because they're just for my own mental bookkeeping.
beartato phd

(no subject)

Craziest flash toy ever: http://web.okaygo.co.uk/apps/letters/flashcom/index.htm

The anonymous and extremely noisy communication model is crazy. A lot of swear words appear. People try to make little shapes out of the letters, like bunch them up in a corner, or form rings with them, or line them up in a line, or collect all instances of one letter in one place. "WHO R U" appears, and names appear like ghosts out of the letters, "ISSAC" [sic], "MICHELLE", "EDDIE", and someone else named "JASON". So weird!