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blogs and so forth [14 Sep 2009|11:54pm]
So obviously I haven't been so much with the lj blogging lately.

And that's not likely to change. I haven't written anything interesting here in ages, and the personal life blogging is less relevant with more pithy tweets and facebook status updates that have been my mainstay of late.

However, I am blogging. Or at least, I've written three posts so far, and I hope I'll manage to keep it steady, if not necessarily frequent. It's more politics, with a smattering of entries on beer and other things I enjoy, and probably pictures of my new niece and new nephew in the next couple days, once the nephew has arrived. He's taking his time.

So with that, if you like, I invite you tohead over to http://wingnuts.battletothedeath.net to check out the new blog, give me some feedback, and point any wingnut emails (left or right) that you happen to receive.

Realizations [04 Apr 2009|01:27pm]
Today, going to lunch, I discovered yet another undercarriage-destroying speed bump. This is a rather minor event, especially in Charlotte, but it just really got to me today. I'm trying to get work done right now, but I don't think it'll happen to I post a little bit of a rant.

I'm completely out of my element here.

For my entire life, I've been in communities (my family, Woodberry, Swarthmore, even the lab at Wash U) which value academia and the pursuit of some sort of greater good above the pursuit of personal gain. Since 9th grade, I've been in communities in which I could walk out my door and out of my head-- there was always someplace I could go, be it a friend's dorm room, snackbar, student lounge, coffee shop. I've been with people who greatly value holes in the wall over chains.

This possibly sounds like me being a snob. It's not. This is just how it's been for me, these are my values. I want a career which has a larger focus; I want to live someplace where I don't have to drive; I want to spend my money at businesses that grow directly from the community. I don't think everyone should want these things. I don't mind if you disagree with me.

It's just... What I like.

And I don't like being here. In some ways, I'm really confused right now-- I don't know what I'm going to do after I graduate. Leaving Wash U was a huge shock to my system, interrupted what I saw as my mid-range plan. So I've lately been thinking about going into industry, which isn't something I really considered before. I also thought, as I moved here, that I would like being in North Carolina, because it's near family, and it's similar to where I grew up. I initially found the people to be far more similar to the sort "i'm used to".

But it's not going to work. I'm not happy in North Carolina. I'm not as happy with people who are more like those I knew before leaving Virginia. I can't get out of my head. And I suspect that going into industry would be a big mistake, just like staying in Charlotte would be.


Maybe this is just a reaction to my current social situation, which, as Katie points out, isn't good. But I'm used to spending lots of time alone. It's not really a problem. It's just that before now, I've always been able to... spend time alone without really being alone. Sure, I've been angsty and borderline depressed, but, what I'm feeling right now is different.

So now I've got to figure out a way to cope with it for the next year. At least this is more motivation to finish up the degree quickly.

"MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism" [12 Feb 2009|09:12am]
So, that study that started the autism-vaccine link craze? Yeah, turns out
maybe it wasn't entirely accurate.

General mayhem [11 Feb 2009|02:05pm]
Lots going on in my life. Fortunately, the class I'm in is starting out today by introducing SVN, and Katie is at a conference at Elon, so she isn't online to distract me. So you get a post!

Fritz's Index--
1st author papers accepted to conferences since my last post: 2
1st author papers accepted while at Wash U: 0
Months at UNCC: 5
Conferences I'm attending this spring: 3
Number of these that take place on land: 2
Months I've been happily involved with a lovely girl: 3
Hours in which I wrote a game over Superbowl weekend: 48
Days till Charlotte Ikea opens: 7

That's the short version. I had papers accepted at FDG (the game cruise) and FLAIRS (Florida AI Research Symposium). Last night I sorted out my transportation and lodging to San Francisco, and registered for GDC (Game Developers Conference). Just got an expo pass, but it's mostly important to go. This is two first author papers for me in the five months since I've been here.

Katie is wonderful. I feel like an idiot much of the time; it turns out I'm far dumber about relationships than I realized. She puts up with it though, and I think I'm getting better. The friends she's met like her, too. She's really busy with school, busier than I ever was even with SCCS, and I was no slacker in SCCS. It's sad to not see as much of her, but I guess that's what I get for preferring smart, ambitious girls. Maybe she'll actually inspire me to work a bit harder myself; January was a sort of slack month.

Over superbowl weekend, I (Katie too, she actually did the large part of the organization) participated in the Global Game Jam. I'll post the game here sometime later, but we're having troubles with the installer, so it's not worth doing so now (you'd need Visual Studio 2008 and XNA 3.0 to build it). It was exhausting, but a lot of fun. My team made a cool game which forces the player to reorient the controller as s/he moves through the world. I wrote a full tile engine with XML-based levels and some other fun stuff over the course of the 48 hours. Almost all of the coding was mine, while the others on the team actually designed the game and made art assets; I really can't claim credit for the idea. Katie's team made a ridiculously fun (and completely ridiculous) choose-your-own-adventure style game called Bunny Adventure?. It must be played. Technically I'm on her team too, but I only helped to name the main character.

Apart from that, it's mostly just been lots of school. I did build a new gaming machine which is hooked up to my TV, but haven't been playing as much as I anticipated. I need to spend some time looking around to find some good games to play... (Any suggestions?) Especially need to find games with good AI, since I'm thinking I'll try going into the game industry after graduation.

And yes.. [09 Jan 2009|11:12pm]
...I do know that was a dull entry. Maybe there will be a more interesting one later.

End of semester part 2 / Beginning of the semester [09 Jan 2009|11:10pm]
Okay, so I'll need to remember to never call a post part 1, because then I'll get repeatedly harassed to write a part 2.

Semester ended somewhat painfully-- I may have flipped out a little bit after getting my projects turned in, because I still had two papers to write. One of those did not get written, so I am not in contention for a doctoral consortium spot at FDG. My FDG paper itself did not get written until I was in Richmond for two days and in a bit of a constant state of headache. It came out pretty well; hopefully it will get in.

Christmas was great; Bella is still insane, and cute, and got a truly shocking number of presents. I got a number of interesting items, and some of the parts for my new gaming system. Given the time spent on the paper, there wasn't much time to catch up with friends in Virginia...

After catching up with Katie briefly in NC, New Year's was at a beach house in Charleston with a bunch of friends from St. Louis. It was great to see Nisha, Michael and Rachel, and nice to have a car while there this year, as we got out to a few of the local places for lunch more than the previous year.

Then last weekend, it was back to spend some time with Katie, and to work. It's probably going to be a rather difficult semester, with taking classes, TAing, and a major research deliverable. I'm also trying to do my proposal this semester; hopefully it will come together.

End of the Semester, Part 1 [10 Dec 2008|10:58pm]
The end of the semester is always unpleasantly hectic. This semester is worse than many, given my general situation, but also because I have groupwork for two classes instead of one. One of these projects is, in fact, my research, but that doesn't make hitting these deadlines any easier. The other is a game, and unfortunately not all of the people in the game are experienced coders.

That's sort of an understatement, but I'll leave it there. Suffice to say I've been writing a lot of C# and rewriting a fair amount of code in the past week. It's not all been bad code, per se, but mostly inexperienced code. I probably would've written similar code 5 years ago. Except for some of the heinously bad stuff.

The game, Canis Ex Machina, is coming along reasonably. We had a playtest deadline for Monday, but there's still work to do. For now, I have to hold off while I frantically try to add world geometry, adjust the OpenSteer code, add a memory model, and a few other things to my agent architecture. The architecture now has a name, as it needed one for the FLAIRS deadline. Meanwhile, the FDG deadline is rapidly approaching-- the 19th.

Poor Katie has been ill, stressed with coursework, stressed with housemate drama, and advisor difficulties. I don't miss being an undergrad; the stress is at least a bit more... Contiguous, if that makes sense, in grad school. The problem sizes are bigger, but there are fewer of them, for the most part. Yesterday we got out of town for the evening, and came back this morning. I met her parents, and helped a little bit with getting their Christmas tree up. Mostly I had delicious food and relaxed; her family is actually a lot of fun.

Tomorrow I dive back into the research project fully for another 36 hours before I have to focus back on C. E. M.... The fun never ends.

Hi. [01 Dec 2008|10:04pm]
[ mood | happy ]

Required LJ update:

  • My niece is adorable and fun, but absolutely crazy.
  • Thanksgiving was tasty as always
  • The girl is lovely as always
  • I have actually started my Christmas shopping

Photographic evidence:
From Random Family

From Random Family

From Random Family

Fine, there's more...Collapse )

I've got it bad [19 Nov 2008|01:39pm]
Did I mention I really like this girl? Because I do.

yes-i'm-still-here post. [15 Nov 2008|04:48pm]

Still reading LJ off and on, with the intent to post occasionally. Life is pretty busy, naturally; last weekend I was in DC for the AAAI Fall Symposium, and so missed the EHS game which I would have liked to catch. A couple of friends from Woodberry showed up who I haven't seen in ages (and who don't respond to any electronic communication; I don't know why, but it makes me rather sad).

Meanwhile, I've managed to grow a little bit of a social life outside the lab, sort of. I've met a girl who is pretty fantastic, and it's working out quite well so far. I feel really good about this one.

Right now though, I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving. Charlotte has been pretty good to me so far, but I really need a solid break.

life update [26 Oct 2008|01:56pm]
Finally getting a bit settled in Charlotte; I even have a coffee table now! School has been pretty well occupying my time; yesterday was the first day in a number of weeks that I did not go into the lab. Having natural light by your workstation helps make it more pleasant to go in and work. I still really needed a break.

So between getting furniture in, having roommates, making useful progress on the research project, and making some friends (and one in particular), things are looking up.

Also, I saw Biden when he was on campus Thursday, which was fun. I'll vote early this week.

Random cat picture [17 Oct 2008|12:27pm]
From Random

Loki likes the new couch.

[22 Sep 2008|08:15pm]
More fun wrt the bailout: Bush's proposed plan unreviewable by courts or any agency

bail-out [21 Sep 2008|11:49pm]
So, does anyone understand how this bail-out package is supposed to be working? Or generally what the cause of this economic mess is? I understand giving out inappropriate loans like candy, I understand selling shares of that debt. I understand big insurers suddenly getting nailed to the wall, but what exactly is the plan here? Is the interpretation of Paul Krugman via Talking Points Memo correct in suggesting this is basically just free money for a lot of companies which are demanding with their free money they get no further regulation? Because that sounds like a bad deal. It sounds like getting mugged.

Or are these companies going to buy us all ponies and/or plasma tvs? What's going on? Why does this plan make sense?

sad [14 Sep 2008|12:41am]
I just read that David Foster Wallace hanged himself.

He was a great writer, and I had been looking forward to reading more from him.

But so it goes.

wow [10 Sep 2008|10:58pm]
It's the Large Hadron Collider Rap!

Ah, better-- the youtube version:

[10 Sep 2008|08:35pm]
So I don't lost it again, a graphic of the McCain vs. Obama tax cuts. Use this information well.

Nisha demands I post another entry. The last was like 4 days ago, so I don't know what her problem is. Must be the damn hippies getting to her out there.

The leasing company denied the promising roommate's application for a stupid reason which has pointed out a really fucked up aspect of our justice system, notably that dismissed/dropped charges stay on your record, and can be difficult to expunge. Despite the fact that they are dismissed, people still treat them as though they're convictions. So, that's screwed up. Anyway, this makes my life more annoying, because she seemed like she'd make a great roommate.

And she has a couch, so now I'm back to square one on that piece of furniture.

Furniture, cats, roommate? [06 Sep 2008|11:16pm]
I've had my kitties down in Charlotte for a week now, and it's been great to have them back, even if Loki does bite ankles, and even if Una does get in growling matches with him in the middle of the night. Loki has also taken to wandering around in the middle of the night and talking. In addition, I have a bed, a table, and I bought chairs last weekend when my mother and Cherye were around. All in all, it feels a bit more like home, though it's definitely not complete. With any luck, I'll have a roommate confirmed by Wednesday, provided her application goes through alright at the leasing company.

Finally, I have to comment on recent politics. Obama's speech: awesome, as usual. It's a damn shame he was overshadowed by the randomness that is Sarah Palin, with her collection of extreme right-wing politics, political scandals, and total lack of foreign policy knowledge. Following her speech, and even McCain's, many news outlets proclaimed her speech (and McCain's) as being fantastic. Realizing that I am biased by my politics, I don't understand why either of their speeches were so great. The parts which weren't actively offensive (also see Giuliani, Rudy for sheer offensiveness) were just empty and dull-- the same crap that's been dumped out since the mid-90s. Much of it was senseless or outright false, as well. On the one hand, it's funny that the Republican party is using the old "kick the libs out of DC" message when the GOP has been in control for so long, but it's also somewhat disturbing that people still mindlessly follow that message.

[20 Aug 2008|05:10pm]
So far this week I've driven roughly 1,800 miles, give or take, and tomorrow that will be topped off with another 300. Nearly every last nook of space between boxes in my car has been filled with stuff, with a couple of small bags left to go in. But I will have a home again tomorrow (though not much furniture and no cats for another week)! Friday I go to meet with my advisor to lay out the Plan to finish off this degree.

Just hoping there's an open wireless network in my building...

[14 Aug 2008|10:19pm]
For those following here, and not other places, such as twitter, brief life update:

Tomorrow I drop my dirty laundry and assorted other bits in Richmond and drive out to St. Louis after my last half-day of work. Working at NRL has been great; I'm glad to have come out here for that. I've helped get an experiment together, though there's a lot of hard work ahead for a few of the people at NRL to actually run subjects. If everything works out, I'll be getting some data to run, and we'll hopefully get a short paper out for the HRI late-breaking deadline. It would be great if we can, because getting a poster at HRI would help me legitimize spending my own money to go out to the conference this year. There's a good chance I'll scrounge up the money either way, though, because I do want to stay part of that community.

So, yeah, this is the last night sleeping in DC.

A week from today, though, I should be sleeping in my new apartment in Charlotte. My sister helped me find a fantastic place; 2 bed, 2 bath--- I'll find a roommate somehow once I'm properly moved in. I'll post some pictures a little later on.

Anyway, it is now time for bed, as I have at least 10 hours of driving tomorrow, depending on how traffic is getting down to Richmond...

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