Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Around my neighborhood

Last week I felt pretty antsy and I ended up riding my bike just around Provo in the evenings. There's more to north Provo than I initially thought, but eventually I remembered the area from some of my freshman walks. I haven't explored south-eastern Provo much until a few days ago. I didn't even know we had a Mexican food store. One boy said to me, "Hola, senora" (Uffish: "haha... he called you old"; at least he didn't mistake me for a boy). Then I thought, "maybe I should have studied Spanish, I would have more opportunities to practice." Oh well. I should mention that recently I've gotten more aggresive in my bike riding - I'll actually use the road and left turn lanes now, telling myself that I am "asserting my rights as a road-using vehicle."

I've been to the Provo library a bit more than usual this week (our router got fried), and it's interesting to see the types of people who use the computers there: the married girl who used to be in my ward, probably checking her e-mail, the teenager commenting on a friend's myspace, the high school hopeful applying to jobs, and the creepy guy listing "missed connections" on craigslist. It's also educational to see the difference between a university library and a city library... the Provo library definitely has a higher percentage of self-help books and kind of trashy pseudo-science books. It kind of makes me sad, because I used to think that if something was good enough to be published, it was probably worth reading, but I've recently found I was mistaken.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two years

So, I've had this blog for two years since Monday. To me, it's hard to strike a balance between "too much information" and "too obscure;" lately I've only been writing when the material is better suited to blogging than the written page (I also dislike addressing my readers too often or asking people to leave comments, but in this case I make an exception). To take a page from CPM's book, I'd like to get some reader feedback: are there any particular topics you would like me to write about? I can write about stupid jokes I hear, literature I read, things I find online, or I could give bad poetry another shot (...nah). Anyway, in the absence of feedback you should expect the same sporadic quality from me that I've been giving you... for free!
Did you know that Boston Harbor Light station is the only lighthouse in America with a keeper? So much for my dream of becoming a lighthouse keeper (source).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Types of Internet Pirates

So, I've decided that there are a couple of different types of Internet pirates. I was going to make an online quiz about it, but couldn't get the website I was using to work. So here's how I see Internet pirates:

The Leecher pirate - downloads torrents of stuff without uploading it back. Will download special software to achieve this purpose. Never uploads his own stuff and downloads movies and albums before they're out. Has a couple of terabytes of stuff. Basically shameless.

Upstanding pirate - usually uploads as much as he downloads, downloads CDs and movies he can't find anywhere else, and buys what he downloads when it's available, because he feels guilty about his piracy.

Benevolent pirate - Creates new torrent uploads of highly-sought material; converts LPs to mp3s, has a friend in the academy he can get quality DVD rips from; basically internet piracy depends on these people.

Special-interest pirate - continually uploads a certain film or computer game. People like this keep older downloads alive.

Casual pirate - downloads every once in a while. He doesn't think much of it, this is pretty much the largest portion of internet pirates (people-wise, not bandwidth-wise). Usually has a disorganized music collection.

Old-Fashioned pirate - Doesn't know about or doesn't use torrents. May use P2P, but more commonly borrows friends' CDs (or the library's) and rips them. May record songs directly from the radio into an mp3 format or onto a tape deck. May taperecord or transfer from DVR to DVD favorite movies and shows. He has a direct, nearly anonymous, and quick way to get pirated media, but his selection may be limited, depending on his friends. Technically an old-fashioned pirate shouldn't be in a list of internet pirates... so maybe the list should be "media pirates"... your grandma could be an old-fashioned pirate...

Completely unrelated, but I got my hair cut a little like that picture I posted last month. I like it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who would have guessed

Image hosted by

Strong and spirited. You're no one's girly girl; actually you are very determined person with a strong sense of self. Never let go of that! The only thing that equals your sense of self is your family, but the traditions of society can always be bent to protect something or someone you love.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

This quiz was kind of fun, and not all the answers were transparent to me. Also, let's face it, everyone likes hearing about herself once in a while.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ironic mental processes

The ironic processes of mental control (Wegner 1994) suggest that there are times when it might be good to stop planning and striving. It is often possible to try too hard. The initiation of plans for action and for thought is normally a useful enterprise, of course, as it typically leads to the exercise of successful operations of mental control. We plan to stand up and we do so, we intend to concentrate and we do so, we intend to relax, to sleep, to eat, to go outside, or to write a letter, and we do so. However, sometimes the formation of a conscious plan leads to a paradoxical effect - the implementation of the plan creates the opposite of what was planned. ...when we try not to think of something, we seem to create an automatic and ironic tendency to think of that very thing. The usual usefulness of our planning and intention procedures makes us go ahead and try to do many things, even those that have inherent ironies.
-Daniel M. Wegner, The Illusion of Conscious Will