Old Daily Shows--August 2002

Find the archive of past entries at archive.htm. Today's entry is at daily.htm.

Friday August 2, 2002 To Maxville

Ten o'clock, and soon to bed, for it's up at 4:30 tomorrow and into the car at 5:45 for the drive to Maxville where we'll compete and later eat, though the breakfast we ate will be long gone by half eight when I play away for the judge. And I just put way too many rhymes in my sentence.

Still there's much to do.

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Wednesday August 7, 2002 What?

I don't know if I've ever just deleted an entry wholesale like I just did. Ah well. I was writing and all angry, and now I'm not writing, I guess.

Here's hoping tomorrow will be better.

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Monday August 12, 2002 Bagpipes on the mountain

With the help of my dad, I played bagpipes on top of Mt. Jo down in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. It was so good. I'd like to write more about it, but now isn't the time.

I need to sleep, so I won't write more, but I wanted at least to have a cheerful entry up, so here is one. Yay!

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Thursday August 15, 2002 Meaning

Oh, never mind.

What is it about August that just seems to make everything hateful so much of the time? Oh, right, I shouldn't write this here, because everyone will now wonder what it means.

Reading Godel, Escher, Bach tonight, where is the meaning in what I just wrote? I wrote it in English, apparently. But intention can be divorced from grammatical construction--regard the classic Swarthmore linguistics phrase "I saw her duck". Now, that one is easily explained because you can have separate parse trees for the duck example, ones that are obviously acceptable to any English speaker. One would be harder pressed to find alternate syntactic analyses of my earlier paragraph.

But I wonder... where does meaning enter into the written word? Is it enough merely to read the words I write in order to understand how I was feeling, what I thought, what I meant with the words, or is a necessary component of the process of understanding my meaning that of predicting my mental state at the time of writing? If so, what happens if you get it wrong? Or right?

This becomes a thornier issue if one considers machine-generated language, such as that which comes spewing forth from the various joke generators on the Internet. Generate a unique Theory Chick paper, a new Irish gaelic insult, whatever. If the truth of meaning is contained, in part, in the accurate perception of the author's intent at time of writing, is it possible for machine-generated language to have meaning? Can computers formulate intent?

I wouldn't say that I've made any sort of an argument here (although I had one earlier this evening), but it is worthwhile to point out that much of the discussion depends on premises that are probably false. Still... interesting.

Had my first solo piping lesson with Ed Bush yesterday, up in Canada. It was good, I think. It always takes a little while to get used to a new teacher's style, but I hope this will be productive, for at least a little while. On the way home, I saw many rabbits along the road.

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Saturday August 24, 2002 Success in competition

North Lanark Highland Games. I got 2nd in Junior Amateur Piobaireachd, tied for fifth in strathspey and reel, and didn't place in march. The band won grade 4 and nearly won grade 3; we "settled" for 2nd place. A good day.

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Sunday August 25, 2002 Long day

I spent 12 and a half hours in a row doing work tonight, setting up new computers for Reachout. That's just about all I should say about that.

The way I see it, it's no sin
The way I held you in the dark
It was the right way to begin
Tell me why can't I forget about you

I wanted to include this song, but looking through at the lyrics, it ends badly. Not what I wanted. So I'll edit.

Stayed out drinking with my friends
Dancing with a girl or two
You know the story but the tale never ends
Why can't I forget about you

Almonte seems so long ago, far more than a day's span from where I am now. It felt good to win, as a band, and to succeed as individuals. We took home a fair bit of hardware yesterday, and I was glad for us.

-- "Why Can't I Forget About You", with the rest expunged, by the Subdudes

The pipe band scene is a little weird. You spend so much time around people, but never really see them, because for the entire day, you're a performer just about to go onstage, or one just coming off. There are times you feel as though you ought to hang out and chat with people, but it's a distracted sort of feeling at best. Does this happen to others?

At any rate, it's still nice to see the friends and relatives. Love to you all. It's three in the morning and I'm going to bed.

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Monday August 26, 2002 New pipe case

The new bagpipe case is here, and it's fantastic!

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Tuesday August 27, 2002 Farewell

I was going to write a long entry about this tonight, but I think a short one will do for now.

Goodbye, Canada, and Spencerville, and friends. I'll miss you, and I'll try to come back soon.

I've been piping for four years. Four years, or four summers at least, four. I keep thinking about the changes I've seen, but I suppose they're unremarkable to others. More about that soon, I hope.

But now I can play tunes that frightened me before, and it's important to remember that I am getting better.

I said goodbye to the St. Lawrence as I crossed her for the last time tonight. I'll be back.

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Wednesday August 28, 2002 Risotto and feeling better

This evening, after a day from hell, I came home exhausted and demoralized. Nothing seemed to work right, despite repeated efforts. The power went out at work as I was working on the server. The list goes on. Bad day.

And so I cooked. Soon I'll be back at school, where this kind of cooking is difficult, or impossible, but for now, I'm at home, and I cook.

I started with two of the four fresh jalapenos June gave me, that had been growing in her garden this morning. Chop them fine, add them to a lot of garlic, some Chardonnay, and you've got the beginnings of a marinade. Toss in some honey, oregano, basil, salt and loads of freshly ground pepper, and things are looking up. Add some olive oil for the cooking, and some chicken from the freezer, defrosted. Stir.

Chop more garlic and some onions, and sautee them in olive oil. Throw in some rice of whatever kind you like. Cook it, dry, for a few minutes, then pour in some more Chardonnay, and a bit later, a bunch of boiling stock. Cover it, and let the rice soak up the liquid. Keep adding more.

Get another pan searing hot, and pour in the chicken, marinade and all, and braise it. The wine boils off, leaving the oil, which starts to fry... Soon you've browned it nicely, and so you take out the chicken bits, add some water, and make a reduction sauce with lemon...

Back on the risotto, add saffron threads and lemon, and stir in Parmesan cheese.

On the grill out back, have your dad carefully grill six ears of fresh corn, their husks removed. Once they're done, brush lime juice all over them, and serve them hot. Pile the chicken atop a bed of risotto, and serve that, too.

Damn, I can get passionate about cooking. It was good, though.

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Friday August 30, 2002 Still more goodbyes

Geese overhead this evening, flying south. Tomorrow, today really, I will do the same, back to my winter haunts in sunny Swarthmore. Most people have already returned; I will arrive with too many accretions of life, more of which will appear steadily.

Today's been hard. Letting go has always been difficult for me, and the knowledge comes ever surer that I am nearing the end of Something. Thoughts about the future become obsession with localized eschatology, and it becomes hard to act. So many people, and these too shall pass away.

And tomorrow will come, and I will walk through it into the future. Can loading the car and driving it really count as passing through the shining arches of fable and legend? Perhaps.

In the meantime, goodbye. You've been wonderful, all of you, and to the places and people who've meant so much to me, I'll see you soon, if there be luck in the world. Walk softly and peacefully, and I'll miss you. Cheers.

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