zen quaker

A self quanitified zen quaker statistical programmer stumbles through a blog

Month: October, 2011

Experiment I

Actually it’s three experiments.

The first experiment is a failed experiment. Sort of. Maybe more like a learning experiment. Last week I spent the whole week trying to code data about my life. It was a lot harder than I thought. It’s not that actually coding the data is very hard. The systems I have in place make that very easy. What’s hard is to remember to code the data. I was constantly getting somewhere and realizing I’d forgotten to log the trip, or zoning out on what I was doing and not noticing when the cat got off my lap, or forgetting something else I wanted to record. I don’t think this is really a death knell to the concept of quantifying myself, but it’s definitely going to require a rethink. The first rethink is that I should break it down into pieces (log the commute, log other travel, log evening activities, log mood, and so on). Then do them one at a time in the simple habit method. That will build me up until I’m recording everything. Given my other plans for habit formation, this means putting things off for a year or two. But hey, I’ve got another 38 left (or 108 if these guys are right).

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Drugs I

Today makes twenty years since I quit drugs.

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Movie Review V


The god of thunder is cast out of Valhalla when his recklessness reignites an ancient war. As his brother Loki schemes for the throne in Valhalla, Thor must learn humility in exile on Earth.

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Movie Review IV

The Warrior’s Way

A samurai assassin completes his quest to kill the last member of a rival clan, only to find it is a baby. Rather than kill a baby he flees with it to the American west, holing up in a small town with a ruined carnival. But the town has enemies of it’s own, and as they close in the samurai’s clan are right behind them, looking for revenge.

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Chess960 III

In a blog post on my Chess960 Almanac, Mark Weeks comments that he’s not sure how I came up with the list of swaps. I thought I would explain that and why I came up with yet another system for numbering Chess960 start positions.

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Weird I

Yesterday I was waiting for the bus at Shady Grove Metro. I keep hearing this voice singing “Figaro.” And the voice wasn’t singing part of The Marriage of Figaro, or better yet Bohemian Rhapsody. It just kept singing “Figaro” over and over again, off in the distance, in a sort of operatic tone. I thought maybe it was some guy singing for money (there are three guys who sing doo wop from time to time), but the latino guy with the flute was playing that night. (I like him. He started out selling trinkets like woven bags and handmade flutes. Then he learned to play one. I think he makes more money playing the flute.) I had just missed one bus, so I had some time to kill, and decided to wander around and find this odd, operatic voice. It took a little while, but finally when I was near the parking garage I heard it from above. Looking up I saw a guy leaning off the top landing of the exposed stairwell. Every now and then he would just sing out “Figaro” while making grand gestures.

Meditation II

The last few days have been pleasantly surprising to me. Work has just sucked. Nothing new, just the same old BS I’ve been ranting about elsewhere in this blog. But in the evenings at home everything has been totally cool. I’ve had no problem at all just letting work go and enjoying the evening. I think the main reason is meditation. With time pressures and getting rid of my backpack, I’ve been meditating on the train. It’s been going well, and I’ve been havingĀ  a lot better focus on the train than I was recently on the cushion. Which in and of itself is odd, considering that I went back to the cushion because I was having trouble with my focus on the train. But such is the ebb and flow of life.

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Stuff I

As I may have mentioned, over the past two or three years I have gotten rid of 85% to 90% of the stuff I own. Why? I didn’t need it. It was bogging me down. It was getting in the way of things I wanted to do with my life. In the Habit Course I am taking, some people have started a habit of de-cluttering, and I have been sharing my experiences with getting rid of stuff to help them out.

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Tactics I

Today I faced my toughest Chess problem since I started doing tactics problems again, at least by the problem’s rating. The problem was rated 1620.7. I was rated 1533.17. That gave me an estimated 37.7% chance of getting the correct answer. I got it.

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Explanation I

Every now and then I mention something like “I hate pie charts” or “Ichabod’s Theory of Language” that really begs more explanation. The plan was never to leave you in the dark. The plan was to explain thing later when the explanation wouldn’t clog up the semi-narrative pseudo-flow of my normal blogging style. As the motto of the University of Rochester Roleplaying Team states, “Venimus, vidimus, etiam dictum purus” (We came, we saw, we’ll explain later).

So today I am going to explain Ichabod’s Theory of Language. By calling it Ichabod’s Theory of Language I don’t mean to claim that I invented it. It’s kind of obvious, so I expect some more eminent philosopher came up with it before me. In fact, I probably studied it when I was an undergraduate. I just mean to say that it is the theory I subscribe to.

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