October 4th, 2011

beartato phd

(no subject)

Important literary facts I learned from drunken dudes commenting on me reading How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe*, which I was nonetheless trying as hard as I could to do in an overtly I-don't-want-to-interact-with-the-world sort of way:

In 1884, Big Brother is Watching You.
Jules LaVerne's prediction of the Apollo program was uncanny.
Orson Welles pioneered the theme of time travel in fiction.

*A cute novel. Haven't finished it quite yet. It's got a lot of that Jonathan Safran Foer semi-detached, child-like angstitude, a healthy dose of If On a Winter's Night a Time Traveler, and some tropes lovingly ripped off from pop science --- think Hofstadter, Brian Greene. I think my 16-year-old self would like this mix of ingredients a lot more than my actual self. I still think I like it, though. The writing is more plasticky-modern than lush or carefully descriptive, and the contemporary-corporate references feel a tiny bit jarring for some reason, but the level of Science Fiction Ow Ow Why Are You Writing Like That that I expect from the more pulpy of science fictions is mercifully low.
beartato phd

(no subject)

So over the last few years I've accumulated a bunch of data about most of the money moving in and out of my hands, categorized somewhat more coarsely as time went on and I gave up keeping track of, e.g. every last restaurant I went to, but still categorized reasonably much, and dated. Now it's mostly a way of balancing my checkbook at the end of every month going off of whatever .csv file my bank gives me, and I have a perl script to guess categories based on the charge comment string, and I just fill in the unguessed things. Categories are broad like "Food", "Clothing", "Furniture", "Internet bill", etc. Anyway I've been playing around with visualizations for it. Here's one I like, zoomed out so's to preserve the privacy of my own data:

The height of the transactions is proportional to their amount, the color coding is source and target for a few chosen categories. Really I'm just fond of this color scheme, which is a bastardized pastel-ized version of solarized. I've also been using it for my notesfile rendering at work, which is improving morale a lot.