Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I'm the Doctor. You wait on the waitin' list.

There's a brilliant album by Dr. Octagon called "Dr. Octagonecologyst." It features a terrific lyric that goes "I'm the Doctor, you wait on the waiting list; patients been here since this morning I dismiss." It's so mean and ridiculous.

I vowed to have this be the first thing I said when I got my Ph.D.

It's a little tricky, though, knowing exactly when you get your Ph.D. -- Is it when your advisor shakes your hand and says "congratulations?" Is it when they all sign off on the document saying every criterion is satisfied? Is it when you are handed your fake diploma in the commencement? Or is it when you receive your diploma in the mail?

To cover my bases, I made sure it was the first thing I said after every one of them. I think I screwed up and said "thank you" before this great line after one of my advisors Ashok shook my hand, but the other ones I think I got just fine. It's on my list of things to be proud of.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Web searches for Jim Davies

Every once in a while I do a web search for "Jim Davies" to see where jimdavies.org shows up.

On google, I show up #2, which isn't bad. This computer science lecturer in the UK named Jim Davies shows up first. It's one of my minor goals to eventually beat him on this score.

On Yahoo, I show up #3, but since my Pac-Man art page is #2, that's not so bad. The other Jim Davies shows up first, again.

I also show up as #2 on Amazon's A9 search engine.

But Microsoft's MSN search puts my website first! Nice work, Microsoft. Interestingly, when the open directory project first came out, someone classified me. This was the description: "Creative graduate student whose pages are full of information ranging from (Laurie) Anderson to Z programming." It's still there, and shows up on google directory search http://www.google.com/dirhp
which apparently MSN uses too. What's interesting about this description is the Z programming bit. I never really understood that. But searching more carefully recently on the web I found that there is Z programming and it's by another Jim Davies. I'm getting unfair credit for it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I figured out a great way not to steal resources!

I think stealing is wrong, on principle. I think most people believe me, but most don't carry this principle to the extremes that I do. For example, I believe that the use of a bathroom is the use of a resource, and I try very hard not to use bathrooms without buying something.

Once I really had to go, so I went into Second Cup Coffee and used the bathroom. To avoid the moral infraction of stealing a resource, I bought some mints-- I don' t like coffee that much. I don' t even like mints much. They were several dollars! Canadian dollars, but still. The problem is when I need to use the bathroom is not always the same time I want to consume something.

Anyway, today I had a great idea. Gift certificates! I used the McDonald's restroom, and afterward bought $5 worth of gift certificates, which I can use anytime! I can probably do the same thing at coffee shops. Sometimes I go to coffee shops. I'll just save the gift certificates for those times.

I'm very excited about this new idea, because now I won't feel guilty about stealing a resource and also I won't feel bad about wasting money on something I don't want.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My Latin buddy, Vita

I have a great relationship with my CV. It's been with me for many years now, and now I feel like it's kind of a friend of mine. I see it often, and it's good to see it. I often see it when I am adding something to it, which means that most of my interaction with it is positive. And every time I see it, it looks better and better. It helps me get jobs, and in return I publish stuff and graduate to feed it. It also reflects who I am. Everything good that I've done that is relevant to my science career is on it (and none of the bad stuff, like rejected papers, bad reviews, the places that decided not to hire me). That's what's great about a CV compared to a resume. The resume is highlights; the CV is the full monty. As a result it's got my history on it, too. You can tell what I was doing and when by looking at my latin buddy. That's why I don't save versions of my CV-- the old versions are there in the new one. Just delete the new stuff.

That CV will be my buddy longer than some friends. It will be my buddy for the rest of my career, and after that, a record of my modest accomplishments (If I'm not modest, at least my accomplishments can be.)

I got the format for the CV from my actual flesh-and-blood buddy Gabe Brostow. And I guess he gave the format to other people too, because I come across it once in a while, as in the case of Antonio Haro. When I see these CVs I think of them as cousins of my CV. So I feel warmly. They're family!

So here's to you, Vita! May you stay well-fed.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Build Your Own Red Meat

Red Meat is a comic strip that features characters that look the same every time they appear. I've re-discovered a website that allows you to create your own Red Meat comics.

You can try it here: http://monkeydyne.com/rmcs/buildmeat.html

You have to use a screen capture tool if you want to save it though. Screen Grab Pro by traction software is free and works on Windows.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Transactions at the ATM

There's a computer science magazine called "Communications of the ACM." ACM stands for the Association for Computing Machinery. I've always liked to jokingly refer to it as "Transactions at the ATM." You'd think such a magazine would be really long, but not if it was about just one ATM.

Without a doubt reading it would be less fun than a dog in freefall.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's Resolution 2006

Every year, since 1988, my friend Lou and I have a new year's resolution. This resolution lasts only one year. For list of the previous resolutions, as well as an explanation of why I do this, see the Jim Davies FAQ at
(If this link does not work, browse to www.jimdavies.org, click personal, then the FAQ link).

Last year the resolution was to eat no fruit. I wanted to have a banana on hand for midnight, but I forgot to buy one. You sort of get out of the banana-buying habit after a year of no fruit. I was at a party before midnight, but then went to a bar (The Toucan) for midnight. I had planned to bring a mandarin orange slice from one of the salads to eat, but I forgot that too. You sort of get out of the wrapping-a-mandarin-orange-in-a-napkin habit after a year of no fruit. I ended up eating the lime wedge out of my complimentary designated-driver ginger ale. Lame.

Yesterday afternoon I called Lou in Atlanta and we discussed, for about an hour and a half, what this year's resolution would be. The resolution is this: Every time we get money, we have to say, aloud, "I'm on my way; I'm making it." My friend Alison may join me on this one.

The sentence is from the lyrics of Peter Gabriel's 1980's song "Big Time." In high school we had this idea but I don't think we took it very seriously. Now we're taking it very seriously. Every time we get money means every time we find out that money has been given to us from another party, including getting change from a purchase, receiving a check, picking up a coin from the ground, or finding out about a direct deposit.

We seriously considered some other options. Lou wanted to have the resolution to listen to no music. That is, if it's playing we can listen to it, but we cannot initiate the listening, by playing an MP3, putting in a CD, or turning on the radio. This scared me, because listening to music is a very important part of my everyday life. Lou also suggested saying "VROOM VROOOOM!" every time we started a car engine, but he lost interest in the idea when he was reminded that I no longer have a car. We will keep it in mind for future years. I brought up one I've been toying with for years: drinking nothing but water. Lou wants to drink his grape juice, though, so that got nixed.

Of course we joked about absolutely ridiculous ones:
1. Drinking nothing but grape juice
2. Not flushing the toilet (Easier for Lou than me-- he's married and I live alone. Thanks for the idea, Laura, but not this year.)
3. Not answering the phone (you'd have to listen to the message and call them back)
4. Not clicking on any web links (you'd have to type in the URL to go anywhere on the web)
5. Not using anyone's name (a year of "hey you")
6. No taking shorts