My first weekend off

I don’t usually quote indie rock, but I’m going to make an exception.

All these people drinking lover’s spit
They sit around and clean their face with it
And they listen to teeth to learn how to quit
tied to a night they never met

– Broken Social Scene

This weekend marked my first days off since we’ve been back at school, and I must say they were everything I could ever have hoped they could be.  I was at ease and regained a part of my sanity and spirit I hadn’t even realized I’d lost.

On Saturday,  I experienced role reversal as I returned to Ten Thousand Villages as a volunteer.  Although I enjoyed my position beforehand, the lifting of such responsibility was refreshing.

This morning, Kendra and I drove to Dryden to take some pictures.  It was one of the most meditative experiences I have had in a long time.  We went to my old elementary school (among several other places) and looked for interesting subjects for her photo project.  I felt a strong sense of nostalgia with everything around me–it had been a few years since I had spent any reasonable amount of time in Dryden.

I spent most of the rest of the day formatting the pictures I took for the web.  I wrote a Rails application that manages photo albums with customizable CSS for each album.   Next, I’m going to try to implement real-time thumbnail generation so that the album pages have thumbnail images next to the photo titles.  Expect to see this in action on photos.teejayvanslyke.com as soon as its ready.

Goodnight.

Rounded corners make me happy.

I added rounded corners to my main page (http://www.teejayvanslyke.com) per a wonderful tutorial I found on digg.  Once I find the link to the tutorial I will link to it from here.  My next project is my Services page.

State of the Union

George W. Bush will be giving his annual State of the Union address this evening and it certainly looks to be a great show. Here’s a preview:
  • Several articles about tonight’s address claim that because of Bush’s dwindling approval rating combined with the U.S. economy’s poor performance and rising gas prices, tonight’s speech will focus on patching up our perception of the administration from the oil-loving, hatemongering fascists they appear to be to the freedom-loving, good samaritans they really are.
  • Possible topics for discussion include improved health policy, extended tax cuts, and the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act.

All in all, tonight’s State of the Union address, if the name were to accurately portray the content of the speech, could be one word long: “Shitty.”

Intellectual Property — A follow-up

So I may have been generalizing when I said that coursework from any institution is property of the institution itself. It seems that the IP policy of colleges and universities varies depending on the nature of the works and the capital gain acquired. According to Ithaca College’s Intellectual Property Policy, this is the case, but only under certain circumstances:

Where a copyrightable work is designed and produced as a class project, or is substantially designed by a student or students under a professor’s supervision, the College may elect either to take copyright or to require a share of net royalties from the professor’s copyright. The patent royalty table should be used as a guide. (It is recognized that many creative disciplines at Ithaca are taught through apprenticeship. This section is not to be construed to deny the member’s copyright where a film, video, musical recording, painting, etc. is essentially the personal intellectual product of the professor, produced with student assistance for the students’ educational benefit.)

I’m just not going to think anymore.  I’m taking it to the man.

I’m a Fair Traitor.

So I came to the conclusion that this semester is turning out to be much too intense academically for me to continue to work at Ten Thousand Villages.  I announced my resignation a couple weeks ago and am in my final few days of service.  This means I will have a weekend again! 

My dad informed me last night of two possible web clients, which means more business and more enjoyably acquired income. 

I also found out a tidbit of information today that I was completely oblivious to:  all coursework at any institution - not only graduate institutions– becomes the intellectual property of the institution itself.  Looks like I won’t be developing anything that merits more than an ‘A’ for awhile.

Back to school…

It’s that time again–time to start another semester at Ithaca.  Here’s my course lineup for the Spring:

  • CS210 - Intro to Computer Org & System
  • CS225 - User Interface Design & Development
  • CS321 - Programming Languages
  • CS490 - Advanced Networks Seminar

2005 was the year of the academics; 2006 will be the year of the nerd.  Although this semester is looking to be one spent in the lab, it is only four courses and might be significantly less work than I’m expecting.  Then again, I’ve said that before…

What I’m really looking forward to is working with Ali to inch my way into the Cornell labs to make connections for graduate school.  He is considering using JIST, a network simulation API for Java, to teach the Advanced Networks seminar.  Since JIST is being developed at Cornell, he suggested that some of his students might work with Cornell professors on documentation and implementation of the system.  Connections, anyone?

I’m really looking forward to seeing more of my friends that went abroad this past semester.  It will be refreshing to have some different yet familiar faces roaming campus.  This semester is also my last one on campus, so I am hoping to make it a good one.

Corpse Economy

Corpse Pride. With the atrocities of the Iraq War claiming several hundred lives each week combined with the growing number of deaths due to extreme natural disasters, it cannot be denied that death is in style. Corpses are going mainstream.

But what use do we have for corpses in our everyday lives? We could tie strings to their limbs and parade them around like marionettes, but that might border on grotesque. There is no denying the overabundance of cemeteries in rural America. The casket industry is a growing at an alarming rate. Do you want your economy being supported by dead people? What if dead people supported your economy?

Black Death. Last week I outlined (with severe brevity, I must admit) the problems of an oil-based economy. It is predicted that within the next thirty years, we will no longer have the energy supplies to accomodate for our demand. Turning to another source of inexpensive, efficient energy will be a very long, difficult transition. Many analyists advocate a combination of biodiesel, ethanol, and wind power to curb our dependency on oil. However, I would like to offer another solution.

The Matrix Was Really Cool. If machines can produce energy from our rotting flesh, what is preventing us from doing the same? I propose that we begin refining human flesh as soon as possible. If we are to fuel the Western war machine, we need a fuel source that will not deplete itself. With the numbers of casualties in our current wars, it would be very economical to put these bodies to good use. What’s more, funerals could be held at the local gas station. Give your grandmother the honor she deserves: Don’t toss her ashes into the ocean; pump her fluids into your Hummer.

The bottom line is that death is here to stay. Why don’t we at least capitalize off of its vast resources?  Sure, it might seem taboo to send your dead relative to the refinery, but how else are we going to perpetuate our American lifestyles? Genocide is wrong, but if we’re going to do it, let’s wring out the metaphorical washcloth of war and get as much as we can. I invite you to follow these three easy steps:

  1. Kill innocent people in the name of freedom.
  2. Refine innocent people in the name of sport-utility vehicles.
  3. Pump innocent people into your gas tank and show the world you care.

That’s Dr. Teejay to you!

I’m currently hunting around for graduate programs, trying to find something that suits my mind and my wallet.  Here’s what I’ve been looking at thusfar:

I especially like Cornell’s Cognition concentration in their Infosci program.  It entails several cognitive science courses along with the usual information science courses, offering a glimpse at both how we produce information, and how we consume it.  I think my metaphysics class solidified my interest in cogsci, if only because of its emphasis on the ultimate nature of human understanding.  Hopefully the courses I’ve taken at Ithaca will bode well for my graduate admission.

Vonnegut’s Fortune Cookie #3

I can’t seem to stop reading Cat’s Cradle

“Sir, how does a man die when he’s deprived of the consolations of literature?”

“In one of two ways,” he said, “petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system.”

“Neither one very pleasant, I expect,” I suggested.

“No,” said Castle the elder. “For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!”

– Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

Vonnegut’s Fortune Cookie #2

“No wonder kids grow up crazy.  A cat’s cradle is nothing but a bunch of X’s between somebody’s hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X’s…”

“And?”

“No damn cat, and no damn cradle.”

– Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle