but now i’m really here

I think I was sort of a half-student last year. I commuted several times a week, I got an advisor, I took some classes, but I wasn’t really going to Berkeley. Now I am here. I go to the office every day, I have these hard classes that I’m less afraid of because I can be around for studying. I feel transformed… not back into an undergrad, but at least back into a college student. Our apartment is a beautiful refuge, so much better than the dorm. Remember dorm food? Did that actually happen? Ick. T-minus two weeks to the prelim.

gallery2 live

Long-time overt readers will remember when I rolled my own photo gallery using ColdFusion and an Access database. A few years ago I replaced my own software with Gallery, a PHP-based photo album that was way better than anything I wrote could ever be. It had it’s faults, like storing everything in flat files and being kind of ugly, but it was very functional.

A couple of years ago they started on a rewriting of Gallery from the ground up, based on a mySQL backend for speed and all CSS’ed up for prettiness. It’s taken a while, but the code is finally ready for prime-time so I moved overt’s gallery over to the new version. Such excitement! It looks exactly the same! But it should give a lot more flexibility in the future, plus I get to stick these nifty “random photo” blocks everywhere now (see right). Let me know if something looks borked to you. I know that viewing comments on pics still kind of sucks, I’m thinking about writing something myself to fix it up.

berkeley food #13: fontina caffe italiano

I’ve been to Fontina twice now. Once I went just with Leslie, on a whim. The second time was with my parents and some friends on our moving day. Both were great experiences. I would describe the place as your basic slightly-nice Italian restaurant, with all the attendant dishes. Bare cloth on the tables, $15 entrees with some real effort and creativity put into them. I’ve had their bruschetta, caprese salad, chicken parmagiana, and grilled salmon. They were all interesting. The appetizers were fresh and hot (or cold, in the case of the caprese) with good quality ingredients. There was creativity in the entrees even though they are fairly conventional italian fare. I like the place but probably won’t frequent it just because I can’t spend that much on dinner often.

berkeley food #12: oscar’s hot dogs

You thought I’d given up, didn’t you? How wrong you were.

Oscars is a place I went once last year and have gone several times since we moved to Berkeley; it’s so close. It is a straight-up burger joint. It’s kind of like a Dairy Queen but not a chain, and without the frozen treats. It’s dirty, simple, and cheap. But when what you want is a burger and fries, it really hits the spot. Not a fancy, 1/2-inch-thick, ranchero-style restaurant burger. No. What you get is a thin, flat slice of beef (or turkey or veggie) cooked in front of you with some good fries (if you like high fry to potato ratio), optionally with quite decent non-chemical lemonade. I will go back.

a whole lotta nothing

So, I got back about a week and a half ago from SIGGRAPH and SCA. They were both fun, it was exciting to give a talk, it hurt to crutch around downtown LA, but I survived. Since I got back Leslie and I have been very lazy… doing nothing all day, reading, playing video games, and generally being worthless. We decided to call it a vacation from activity.

But today, Leslie is a real student again… she left this morning to go her “math camp,” something that’s supposed to help get her prepared for all the statistics and such she’ll encounter in policy school. I, meanwhile, am starting to study in earnest for my prelim.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that when I visited the doctor last week, he refused to give me a walking cast but did take a week off of my cast time. So a week from today I will be off the cursed crutches nursing my wizened leg back to health.

i hate crutches

I hate them. When my six week tenure with them is over, I will crush them, mangle them, smelt them down and reforge them into a mythical sword that I will use to slaughter their maker and his family. I will then fling their bodies and the sword into the sun.

Anyway… the day after the accident I went to a specialist to get a cast. The doctor told me that the ankle dislocation was very rare since I had to tear (but not separate) all three ligaments in my ankle to get the foot to do that. But as bad as that sounds, it could have been a lot worse. There were a couple of chipped bones, but the chips were minor and all the bones ended up in the right place. I’m stuck in the cast for 6 weeks, then I’ll probably have a couple of months of physical therapy to regain the motion in my ankle, but I’ll probably avoid any arthritis or lasting effects. Yay. Also no surgery. And yeah, I’m really fucking tired of crutching around everywhere and I’m only 1/3 done with it. I have bruises on the palms of my hands and pain in my elbows and shoulders, but at least I’m still getting plenty of cardiovascular exercise (I’d say crutching at a walking pace is at least as taxing as jogging at a good clip).

So, Friday was my last day at Apple. Oddly I left handing off the same project that I handed off the last time I left. I think maybe it would have gotten picked up if the whole crazy Intel thing hadn’t happened. Anyway, the money was good but I’m glad to have my freetime back to enjoy Berkeley and start studying more for my prelim.

But that also won’t happen this week, since I’m in LA at SIGGRAPH. It’s overhyped but fun anyway. I had a talk at a little sub-conference called SCA (Symposium on Computer Animation), which has kept me extra-busy over the last few weeks. SIGGRAPH itself is basically continuous schmoozing punctuated by people presenting academic papers where you repeatedly hurl your brain at slides stuffed with double integrals and, invariable, bunnies.

I’m heading home Thursday, where I will sit (for those of you who don’t know, when you sit you’re not on crutches).