This is what my Algorithm Analysis and Advanced Data Structures class looks like. I’m pretty graduated now, and I’m still not sure how I feel about not ever having to take another class again. I guess it’s kind of like coming back from Japan: I thought it would be some big deal but it ended up just feeling really… normal.
Archive for March, 2003
We stopped for some Culver’s on the way back up to Green Bay, and there was a huge ol’ fire blazing right next to the street. Turns out it was lit on purpose for firefighters’ training.
As a kid, I used to walk up to this bridge quite a bit. I’d then climb down to the creek and follow it to my godfather’s house. There was one backyard that I’d pass that had what seemed to me like a ton of playground equipment, and for some reason I equated it with Wonderland and was equally intrigued by and terrified of it. Anyway, Hiroko and I took ten of my thirteen nieces and nephews up to this bridge to throw twigs into the creek. I remembered a lot of my childhood as I hung out with my nieces and nephews this Easter weekend. I thought back to the times I spent with my own cousins, and tried to equate everything I was seeing in these little kids to something out of my own past. It’s weird because I feel like I’m now a part of the grown-ups in my family, sitting around in the living room and talking calmly, but I also still feel like one of the kids, more than willing to go build Legos or sneak away from everyone and just read my book somewhere. I hope I don’t ever lose the connection I still have with little-kid-me. One thing that has been bothering me is whether these kids have as many chances to be creative as we did. Growing up, my cousins and I had intuitive, simple devices like tape recorders, analog video cameras, and Macintoshes with which to create our own worlds. Those tools played a huge part in shaping the kinds of people we grew up (are growing up) to be. Apple’s iMovie would be great for any kids today looking to make their own movies; I know that we at age 12 would have given anything to be able to do with our analog Handycams the things iMovie does. But there isn’t a single current-generation Macintosh among any of these kids’ families. I also wish there was still a programming environment as brilliantly simple as HyperCard for these kids to discover. We made dozens of games of epic proportions in HyperCard, but I don’t know what a kid would use to make a game today. It’s actually really worrying me that the best chance they might have to get into this kind of creation might be some crappy BASIC compiler on Windows XP and Microsoft Movie Maker.
This is the Chicago Board of Trade, in case you have an affliction that prevents you from reading text encoded in JPEGs. I used to work here, at an internet company called YesTrader. It was certainly fun and beneficial to work at a dot com during the bubble thingo, and to get out before the place imploded. Hopefully my time there counts toward my required regular-job quota and now I can move on to the fun stuff early. Right?
Here’s the train I used to take every day downtown to work. I’ve spent many hours writing, working on sites, listening to MDs, or watching anime on this train. Today, though, Hiroko, Sangik, and I have come downtown for fun and to get their Amtrak tickets. I’d be going with them on their train trip across the USA this summer, but I am rather in the hole that you get in when you don’t have any money, or when you owe other people money that you don’t have.
Out the headache-green-tinted windows of the Metra commuter train, you can see hives of humanity much like the ones in Japan. I think this is probably my favorite hive of all. It’s got to be the bleakest architecture I’ve ever seen, though some other downtown Chicago buildings can compete.
I’m in an Evolution of Jazz class. It was the most interesting-sounding GS10 course available. One day this trombone dude by the name of Paul McKee, from the apparently-famous Woody Herman band, came to talk to us. He told us about struggling as a jazz musician, and then jammed a bit with our professor and a few members of the SNC Jazz Band. It was neat, but not nearly as cool as the End-of-the-World final concert of Nihon University’s Jazz & Fusion club at last year’s culture festival. I’ll never forget those folks stomping around the tiny little makeshift coffee house, yelling, playing, and crying that this was the last time they’d ever all play together. That kind of thing’ll blow your mind.
One of the main differences I found between life in Japan and life in the USA is this: in Japan, you walk there, or you take the train; in the USA, you drive. I suppose if you live in a particularly rural area of Japan or a particularly convenient urban area of the USA, this is not always true, but it’s very true in my experience. While carrying my camera around the streets and rails of Japan, I found plenty of neat things to photograph. Now that I’m back here, though, it seems that half of the interesting things I see are out my car windows. I’m trying to make it a habit to keep my cammy at hand when driving, now. Hiroko and I came back to Chicago for Spring Break. Our friend Tomoko is moving to California, and needed a ride to O’Hare Airport. The day before she left, St. Patrick’s Day, actually, we went to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg so that the girls could buy smelly bath things, and I could ogle the new PowerBooks and receive new rubbber feet for my own at the [Apple Store]. This weird license plate was photographed exiting that mall’s parking lot. On the way back, we took a wrong turn and ended up at Mitsuwa, the Japanese mall that we’d wanted to visit but didn’t know exactly how to get there. : http://www.apple.com/retail