Message Of The Day

Sun, 06 Feb 2005

04:29 [zork(~)] cat PotPourri.txt

Bard to remember.

Yesterday I came across that famous Shakespeare fragment;

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But 'tis my heart that loves what they despise.

and now I am racking my brains trying to remember where I read a derivative of that. This was something along the lines of "Your touch tells me how close we are. My eyes tell me of the distance between us." This is too fuzzy to be searched for electronically and is probably from a book too old or obscure to be available in electronic form.

Nan turned 92 yesterday. When I called it was good to hear her in such an upbeat mood. This is probably at least partly due to spring arriving earlier in her locale. She is always happier on sunny days.

A postdoc, ML, from my ex-boss's lab has asked me to write a green card recommendation letter for her. Having collaborated with her on one manuscript I have no difficulty judging her scientific aptitude and output. M has generated an impressive amount of data and I am guessing that some of the impetus for this was being physically separated from her husband and child (when JS was in the same situation she was also a dedicated worker). The other factor contributing to hard work is my somewhat overbearing ex-boss. Anyway, the difficulty I had was in rating her background as I have no idea of the reputation of most remote institutions (and many less remote ones). Thankfully when I surveyed colleagues in my department they agreed that PUMC was a decent place. It took them a while to link the current name with their own memory of the place as the English names seem to change so much. When I previously had to write a recommendation letter for XW it took some exploration to realise that she was actually from Bei Da (one of the few places I have heard a lot about).

As far as my own career hopes and plans are concerned, there's been no word from the west coast. It might be a little early to write this off but this is not a good time to be moving around as uncertainties in the industry mean that a lot of people are competing for what is available. Having said that I received a call from a fairly big company in the NYC area which has decided it particularly wants to interview me. I'll look into it. At my current spot the times they are a changin' as the new managerial level person has arrived with assurances of competent democracy and a rosy future. Alas they weren't able to comment on the hints/promises that the big boss has been making to me for the last six months or so. We'll see. Any votes for the east coast being a decent place to hang out?

I have finished reading both Going Postal and Diary. The latter was good, although not quite up there with Lullaby. The situation and characters were less odd at the beginning, and although he did up the ante as time went on it was more gradual. The ending was better written than Fight Club. I am currently reading The Thin Red Line. It is striking to see James Jones' Dedication in the front (emphasis is his): "This book is cheerfully dedicated to those greatest and most heroic of all human endeavors, WAR and WARFARE: may they never cease to give us the pleasure, excitement and adrenal stimulation that we need, or provide us with the heroes, the presidents and leaders, the monuments and museums which we erect to them in the name of PEACE." Make of that what you will.

In my naiivete I am probably over-interpreting Mandarin film titles. I previously pointed out the possible play on words in The Emperor's Shadow and when trying to expand my vocabulary earlier today I wondered if the Zhang Yimou film title 《活著》could also be a play on the word 或者 as the plot is about "what if" either/or situations. I actually believe that this kind of comparison wouldn't be considered valid. My lazy eyes tend to fasten on to the western letters of the pinyin text and only add the tone marks mentally later, yet from conversations with one of my colleagues it is clear that the tone is too closely bound to the character to be disassociated in such a crude manner. This is probably why tone failure is the worst part of my poor pronunciation.

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