The Standing Stones of Steness: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:36

Cathedral of Saint Magnus: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:35

Scara Brae: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:32

Ornithologist: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:31

Ornithology: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:31

On the train from Edinburgh to Thurso (way the fuck in the north), I met the first person I was able to actually talk to on the train. He's an ornithologist from Canada. He was going to give a talk on birds in Orkney, but when he got to Aberdeen, he was told four out of six ornithologists in Orkney were ill, so he might as well not bother. Instead, he was traveling to Thurso to talk to another ornithologist there.

I tried to talk ornithology with him, but I fear it went rather like when literature majors try to talk neural nets.

Edinburgh Castle: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:30

Edinburgh: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:29

The man with the scepter is from the stained glass of a chapel built in 1096 that is the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle. It's right on the top too. If you have the chance to visit Scotland, I highly recommend it. I conscientiously gave up taking pictures in the castle. I would finger my camera, thinking of the pitiful bit of the experience it would capture, even the pitiful bit of the view, much less the wind, the cold, the screaming children... That done, I would instead finger the 14th century fortifications.

Taking pictures is an affront to living in the moment. And I know, I don't live in the moment... I primarily live in books. But, it seems that the precise purpose of a vacation is to live in the moment. That woman in the picture from Edinburgh Castle is typical of the sort of tourist I both detest and fear becoming. There she is, in the most impressive part of England, and all she can do is look out through her digital SLR snapping a thousand pictures. Good thing my memory card only holds 12...

For Collin: .posted by ben on Feb 15 at 08:27

Brodgar: .posted by ben on Feb 6 at 12:36

The Ring of Brodgar in winter... perhaps I should have brought real shoes...

bah: .posted by ben on Jan 20 at 23:50

What gives away a lonely person?

Joan Didion once said that it's someone buying exactly one lamb chop. As a broad social trend, I really think it's hanging out in coffee shops. Before Starbucks, there was no place that lonely people could go by themselves without feeling like freaks. Now they glamorize it, like getting a latte while being lonely will make people wonder, "Ooh who's that mysterious person?" I look at people with laptops in coffee shops and think, ""Oh, they're writing their first screenplay and they're lonely."

-Douglas Coupland, Nerve Interview

my hero: .posted by ben on Jan 13 at 03:10

oh the snow: .posted by ben on Jan 13 at 03:05

Aspen got 50 inches in the last week, 22 in the last two days. I want to go ski. Stupid thesis.

More eclectic than Mussolini.: .posted by ben on Jan 13 at 01:48

bored: .posted by ben on Jan 13 at 01:47

I think I fucked up the error bounds. The bounds are true for the secondary feature space. But, it doesn't matter what the error in the space is if the error in the primary feature space is gigantic (which it is). Not that anyone knows what I'm talking about... or cares.

Everyone I know is gone. Devin sits in seclusion in his mountain hideaway. God only knows what's happened to Vicki (probably nothing), Shenni doesn't even live here... Alex, oh where is Alex? But, I have the West Wing (3rd season), two Spanish films and Zatoichi (which is fairly good, not Kurosawa good, but fairly good). Also, I got a book of Erica Jong poetry that I'm afraid to open because it's going to be bad... I know it.

Colagrosso has two classes tomorrow, so I ought to be able to corner him and demand satisfaction. Grudic sent my letters from NIPS, and I have a feeling they had US postage... seeing as how a month later Berkeley still hasn't gotten a letter.

Pizza a la the contents of my fridge: .posted by ben on Jan 11 at 17:41

I stole this from JWZ too.: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 20:45

Robot Exclusion Protocol

Bauhaus: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 20:45

I'm fairly certain the Bauhaus song "Harry" shows up in National Lampoon's Last Resort, which is really really quite bad... but good at the same time. This seems profound somehow.

This has been going around...: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 20:12

Conversations with Don (Tom): .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 00:52

DonTom: What are you reading?
Me: (show him the cover of Fear of Flying.)
DonTom: You read a lot of novels.
Me: It's my favorite kind of writing.
DonTom: The novel is dead.
Me: This is from the 70's.
Gimli: I tried to read that 30 years ago. I read 50 pages.
Me: (stare at Gimli in disgust.)
DonTom: Is it good?
Me: Sure.

Guacamole does not explode when microwaved.: .posted by ben on Jan 7 at 00:40

It occurred to me that Kate Chopin might be attractive... even though I hate her writing. Of course, the only photograph I can find is old... It leaves me longing for the woman on the cover of Portraits in Sepia, a book vastly superior to The Awakening.

So, attractive women writers? Do they exist? Are all writers ugly and smelly. I can picture Hemingway and Steinbeck stinking their way across a room. I can't imagine Vonnegut smells terribly good at his age (old) either. Robert Frost or Robert Bly... now I bet they smelled reasonable in their time. Maybe it's just poets that pass... with the exception of Dylan Thomas passed out in a pool of his vomit. Oh, I'm feeling so terribly literary!



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