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yitz is an agnoster
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Date:2010-07-07 17:44
Subject:Thoughts on the World Cup

The goal of this post is to collect a whole crapton of stuff I'd like to say about the world cup in one easy-to-ignore wall of text, rather than flooding Twitter with every banal little observation I have. (no, the banal observations will not stop - else why would I still have a Twitter account?)

Disclaimer: really, seriously, it's just me rambling in no sort of order about anything. This is like when you know you'll feel so much better after you vomit - it's not pleasant and you don't really want to involve anyone else, but you have to get it out.

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Date:2010-04-05 08:20
Subject:Going to the Standesamt and we're gonna get married...

Man, I never post on this thing. But joaniechachi and I are getting married this summer, that seemed worth mentioning (already facebook-official and everything). And no, this doesn't mean we're going to settle down and be monogamous and start making babies. Well, ok, babies maybe in a couple years. Us getting married is not so much because we love each other and want to spend our lives together and make a family - we do, but it's unrelated - and more because then Joan can get a work permit here in Germany. Although I do feel somewhat more comfortable getting married somewhere where it's also possible for same-sex couples to marry, that helps ease the pain of feeling Judeo-Christian and hetero-normative. I'd say "you shouldn't need a piece of paper to prove your relationship is serious", but in Germany you need a piece of paper to prove everything, so I guess it makes sense. Also maybe it will be easier to explain that non-monogamy doesn't mean you're not committed to each other.

Just got a ton of paperwork to deal with to make it all happen, particularly because my last name will (in all likelihood) be changing to Wolkerstorfer...

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program of radio silence!

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Date:2010-03-19 13:39

Dear Livejournal and Chrome -

Why do you guys conspire to crash whenever I want to write a comment? It is most odd.

- Yitz

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Date:2009-10-08 13:58

I've done some math. My courseload is 30 LP, or "Leistungspunkte" (Achievement Points?), each LP is estimated to be 30 hours of work. The semester is about 13 weeks. 900 hours over 13 weeks comes to about 70 hours a week, plus my 80hr/mo job (19ish hours a week)... my schedule's gonna be pretty packed. I've been more on less on vacation for months now, not sure how I'll adjust.

Oh, and I am expecting my German citizenship approval in the mail any day now, meaning it'll be time to go down to the American consulate and formally renounce my citizenship.


I blame Obama that I don't really want to. Such is life!

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Date:2009-07-09 09:40
Subject:State of the Yitz

I haven't written anything here in a while, so I guess a sort of update is in order. For a while there was nothing to say, really; it was just same-old-same-old.

  • I quit my job at Yahoo!

  • Visited friends in LA, Boston, NYC

  • ScavHunt!

  • Moved to Berlin

  • Joan's getting here in less than a week

  • Went to the Bürgeramt to get information and forms to apply for German citizenship

  • Probably getting my citizenship in the next 6 months or so, which involves giving up my US citizenship before I get my German one, meaning I'll be without any citizenship for a couple days. (Any suggestions of interesting legal situations I can create during this time?)

  • Looked at apartments, probably going to just wait until Joan gets here to continue

  • Looking for a job or going back to school - I don't really have a focused enough topic to start my Ph. D., so I might do a master's first

And that's pretty much where I am now.

Don't forget, soon Joan and I will have an apartment in Berlin with a guest room and everything. Visitors welcome!

P. S. Following up to my previous entry, my main laptop in now named Gilgamesh, and my little netbook is named Tock.

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Date:2009-03-20 22:06
Subject:Important business!

So, I'm officially unemployed now and I'm moving back to Berlin end of May. But that's not why I'm writing my first post in a long long time. It's because there is a pressing question to answer: What do I name my new laptop?Collapse )In related news, now that I'm unemployed I'm going to try working on a personal project that is audacious enough to keep me busy for a while but not so much so that anyone would actually care if I do it or not. The basic overview is... card games, I like them (in particular I've had a healthy dose of chinese poker (technically Big Two) injected into my week thanks to Daniela visiting). So, like everything else I like, I want to analyze, formalize, and program it. But of course simply writing a program that allows me to play chinese poker with other people I'm not in the same room as would be too simple*, so instead what I really want to do is develop a way of expressing the rules of any card game (played with standard playing cards - have to concede to at least one constraint) in a formal language that's simple enough for non-programmers to write. Then, have a website where users can play the games I and others create, with scorekeeping and tracking popular games and whatnot. Oh, and of course you should be able to play over facebook. And iPhones. And possibly carrier pigeons. Bonus points if I can establish a peer-to-peer mode that doesn't require a trusted server to "deal" (though something tells me information theory makes this impossible with any card game where opponent's hands should be secret from each other).

* - Doable in finite time, and thus not interesting enough

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Date:2009-01-09 13:48
Subject:Quote of the day

"Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science."

- Agatha Heterodyne

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Date:2008-11-04 20:55
Subject:President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama
Mood: ecstatic

That is all.

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Date:2008-10-21 14:37

via the Guardian

Not sure what to think about this. What do you think?

Yitz's opinion will be determined by the lucky participant presenting the most cogent argument. Void where prohibited, places of participation may vary, some restrictions may apply.

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Date:2008-07-09 17:59
Subject:"You can tap my phone or my wallet, but not both." -- reddit

(Thanks, TechCrunch. ThtechCrunch.)

Well... that sucks. I've never used the "mood" thing on LJ before... but it looks like it doesn't have a "dejected" option, anyway.

I don't disagree that oftentimes uncomfortable compromises are necessary, but this was not one of those times. Obama said, "My view on FISA has always been that the issue of the phone companies per se is not one that overrides the security interests of the American people." In effect, he's claiming national security trumps the right to privacy, the constitution, even the rule of law itself (law with ex-post-facto immunity isn't a law at all). What in the hell happened to "give me liberty or give me death"? Compromise isn't a bad thing, but there are certain things you cannot compromise on - certain, shall we say, unalienable rights.

Maybe I shouldn't have hoped that this time would be any different.

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Date:2008-03-21 12:36
Subject:(it's because -1*-1=1)

Apparently, two wrongs do make a right. I hate rap music and French, and yet I can't stop listening to this:


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Date:2008-03-14 16:14

Europe, suffering from the crippling effects of universal health care and high, progressive taxes, overtakes the US as world's #1 economy

Also, here's the new $3 bill. Hott!

(Funny story - my raise means I'm earning the same amount in Euros that I was last year this time. Lol, indeed.)

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Date:2008-03-14 11:22

Brainless moron botches marriage proposal to materialistic bitch

I don't think anybody should be accusing teh gays of ruining the institution of marriage. Straight people are still waaay ahead.

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Date:2008-03-10 13:20
Subject:Math is hard, let's go into journalism!

CNN estimates that Obama leads Clinton by less than 100 delegates, 1,553 to 1,438.
-- CNN (a bit less than halfway down the article)


EDIT: They fixed it, but not before I grabbed a screenshot Ryo has a point - doesn't journalistic integrity require visible corrections? I want it to be like "track changes" or Wikipedia. Guess I'll just have to start my own news organization... hmm...

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Date:2008-02-19 16:29
Subject:When Amy started thinking for herself, we had to nip it in the bud with Obay(tm)

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Date:2008-02-02 17:30
Subject:New Year's resolution

I made a New Year's resolution. I mean, not really. I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I did more or less make a decision for this year: I'm leaving the USA.

I'm not certain exactly what I'm doing next. There are lots of tempting possibilities: going back to Berlin, maybe doing a start-up with my friend Julius. Going to Dublin, get in touch with my Irish roots (now that I've done that with my American roots) and work in a strong EU tech sector. Maybe do technical development aid in Morocco, learn some Arabic, do some good.

Right now the most likely is, I think, go back to Berlin and finally get my German citizenship. It's something I've been putting off for a while (since having a US citizenship helps when you want to work here), but gosh, it would be nice to vote in a real parliamentary democracy. And my German has gotten noticeably rusty, which always leaves me shaken - this is the language of my home, and I don't even speak it any more? That's scary.

Why now? Well, in October I'll have lived in SF for three years, after living in Chicago for three. I can tell I'm getting more an more American - when Ron Paul starts to sound like he's making some good points, that's one way to know. It's getting harder and harder to leave. I have fantastic friends I don't want to leave behind, but ultimately, I don't want to settle down in America, so I don't want to get stuck there. Every reason to stay is becoming a reason to leave, now before it's too late.

So I'm starting to think - what's on my checklist? If I have less than a year in America, what should I do? Learn to drive? Road-trip across the country? See the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or something?

EDIT: Everyone seems to agree, road trip. Have to admit, a "Goodbye, America!" road trip around the country, visiting friends, maybe having them tag along for bits, is sounding better and better!

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Date:2008-02-01 15:01
Subject:He's so *dreamy*!

You know, two weeks after Bloody Sunday, when the march finally reached Montgomery, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to the crowd of thousands and said "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." He's right, but you know what? It doesn't bend on its own. It bends because we help it bend that way. Because people like John Lewis and Hosea Williams and Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks and thousands of ordinary Americans with extraordinary courage have helped bend it that way. And as their examples call out to us from across the generations, we continue to progress as a people because they inspire us to take our own two hands and bend that arc.
-- US Senate Speech by Barack Obama

Gave some more money to Obama. It's possible that you can, too! And anyway, if you're not voting for Obama, we should talk. Maybe we can learn something from each other!

The problem I find with trying to make my case for Obama is that there are so many reasons for it, so where do I start? Do I talk about how he stands a much better chance of winning the general election than Clinton? Or how he's more likely to get stuff done because he knows how to work together with politicians on both sides of the aisle? What about his staunch opposition to the Iraq War from the beginning? Maybe the symbolism, both to America and the world, of having a black President named Barack Hussein Obama? The way he has inspired a grass-roots movement and given hope to people that our political system isn't broken beyond our ability to repair if we try? His commitment to open and transparent government? The simple fact that his rhetoric is an exhortation to us all to be a part of government that bends the arc back into the right direction? His academic manner of finding the right solution by listening to all sides of an issue, with a compass that is moral but not ideological? How he won't shy away from calling the economic argument against immigration scapegoating, or addressing anti-semitism and homophobia in African-American communities? His ability to unite Democrats, Republicans, and Independents as part of one America?

I think what it comes down to is - yes, there are many reasons to like Barack Obama, and why he would be a fine president - but it's not just about the individual, it's about the movement. Obama knows that it will take more than a change of personnel in the White House to right the wrongs in America. Obama is getting new people involved in droves - new voters, first-time contributors, new political organizers, and this is just the beginning. A democracy cannot function without an engaged populace, and that is, I think, the great hope of the Obama campaign - that we can once again become inspired and involved. It is our responsibility to bend the arc of the moral universe, and yes, we can.

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Date:2008-01-31 18:24

Thanks to reddit for reminding me of some of my favorite jokes, including:

At a world brewing convention in the States, the CEOs of various Brewing organizations retired to the bar at the end of each day's conference.
Bruce, CEO of Fosters, shouted to the Barman: "In 'Strylya, we make the best bladdy beer in the world, so pour me a Bladdy Fosters, mate."
Bob, CEO of Budweiser, calls out next: "In the States, we brew the finest beers in the world, and I make the King of them all; gimme a Bud."
Hans steps up next: "In Germany ve invented das beer, verdamt. Give me ein Becks, ya ist Der real King of beers, danke."
Paddy, CEO of Guinness, steps forward "Barman, would ya give me a doyet coke wid ice and lemon. Tanks."
The others stare at him in stunned silence, amazement written all over their faces. Eventually Bruce asks, "Are you not going to have a Guinness, Pat?"
Paddy replies: "Well, if you fookin' pansies aren't drinkin', then neither am I".

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Date:2008-01-30 11:16
Subject:Lambda calculus ponderings

Yeah, I've been posting a lot. Don't worry, this probably doesn't interest you - I just wanted to muse out loud.

So, Arc's out. Arc (for those of you keeping score at home) is Paul Graham's "new" Lisp he's been working on for the past 6 years or so. If this is at all the kind of thing that interests you, check it out - if not, you can probably stop reading now, because the rest assumes some (though not much) familiarity with Lisp and the Lambda calculus.

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So, any ideas?

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Date:2008-01-30 00:59
Subject:GASH wants YOU!

So, the Graduate/Alumni ScavHunt team has a facebook app.

If you're at all interested in joining - even if you're not entirely sure if you can, or if you can't physically come to Chicago - go sign up! People who we can call on do an item or two from afar, or even just help decipher the list, will be a tremendous asset.

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