motivation is: not getting paid

An interesting discovery I’ve made this summer. Now, you and me both know that I’m not really unpaid. I’m wrapped in the warm blanket of beneficence that is the NSF. But, despite the fact that when I wake up in the morning it makes no difference to anyone but me whether I show up at the lab or not, I have been. Like, every day. This is a feat I can’t usually muster during the school year, so I think it’s kind of interesting. It probably has something to do with the fact that Leslie has this full-time job, and also something to do with the fact that I’m not really wired up properly to be a full-fledged slacker. Or maybe it has something to do with actually enjoying my work.

I’m sure you all know about the time I’ve spent thinking and writing about smoke. Smoke has been good to me. But I don’t know if things are going to work out, long term. In every relationship, there are compromises. I tried to convince smoke to be a bit more fun, spontaneous. Take me out dancing once in a while. But all smoke ever had to say was

inviscid euler equations

Over and over, like a broken record. So, we had to part ways. It’s okay, though… I’ve got several rebound projects going already. I won’t tell you about them until there are some pretty pictures to go along with the dry, dry explanations. But they are keeping me entertained.

The verdict on paragliding: it’s fun, but damn is it not as easy as I thought it would be. I mean, I figured you just sort of run off the hill, your in the air. No… think of it more like flying a giant kite that is big enough to drag you around and to which you are inescapably harnessed. We had a blast, but it was clear that pretty much every remaining weekend of the summer would need to be devoted to the training. Also, wading through waist-high weeds and grass had the wonderful effect of turning my upper respiratory system into snot factory and swelling my eyes shut. I’m not sure what sort of associations I’d be building up in my head if i went in for that kind of abuse every weekend. I can see myself maybe giving it another shot when I’m slightly richer or it’s less of an effort/expense. Maybe in europe? We’ll see.

In other exciting (yet sad) news, my trusty old iBook is on the way out. Now, realize that I’ve been with this computer longer than I have been with Leslie. It’s been completely ripped apart and reassembled, several times, mostly with parts from the trash at apple, so much of the identity may be gone, but in my heart it’s still the same guy. The reason it’s going is that I got an absurd deal on a shiny new MacBook Pro through school. The durn thing can boot windows, so I’m mostly excited right now by the prospect of playing every worthwhile PC game that I’ve missed for the last 5 years. Civ IV anyone?

new super mario bros: awesome

So, on that road trip that Les and I took a few weeks back, I took with me a new toy: a Nintendo DS:

blue nintendo ds

This is the current incarnation of the venerable gameboy, and the first portable video game system I’ve bought since my parents used that monochrome classic to shut me and my brother up on long plane rides. Things have come a long way since then, what with touch-sensitive screens and wireless gaming. But the thing that actually got me in the store to buy it was a new super mario game. My love of the little plumber is no secret, and I was near-catatonic with pure joy at the idea of a new, 2D platformer in the classic vein:

screenshot from new super mario brothers

I played through most of it on the trip, loving every minute, and just polished off every last bit of coin-collecting today, in the classic “completionist” style which I reverently bring to all mario games I touch (and cannot muster even for classics such as Final Fantasy VII). I would say that the game alone paid for the cost of the system (which is now defuct anyway, since they have the fancy new DS lite), and I have barely even touched the other two games I bought for it, Brain Age and Animal Crossing. I never saw myself as a “portable gamer,” and indeed most of the time I’ve played since we got home has been ironically reclined on our couch in front of an inert, 27-inch TV screen while squinting at the DS’s diminutive pair. Still, the machine has revived at least some of my flagging ethusiasm for video games in general, and has got me that much more excited to buy one of those inscrutably named Wiis when the time comes.