As I just lengthily explained, I have very little love for corporate hierarchies and all the folklore that goes with it. Ironically, the ostensibly “free” world of major Open-Source development never fails to irk me in the exact same way…

I have my theories about that, and they mostly have to do with the fact that Open-Source is full of the very same people, who, for one reason or another, might not have made it at the top of the corporate ladder in the traditional world, but are fiercely decided to enjoy the exact same privilege in their own version thereof. Less money, therefore a void to fill, usually by inflating the ego until it touches on all sides. These are all theories… But I do not care to expand on them right this second, if only to add very quickly that Open-Source Software is also filled with an overwhelming majority of selfless, dedicated, bright people, who, in the end, bring the balance way into the positive.

Yet, I do have my beef with many OSS practices in general, and practitioners in particular, but because I have yet to find the recipe for immortality (and just in case you are looking for it too, I can tell you so far that neither baths in young virgin’s blood, nor daily consumption of half a gallon of gin, work), I do my best to spend as little time as humanly possible on such crap. Sure I yammer. a lot. but I am also quite good at packing my marbles and moving to another side of the playground without sulking too much, whenever I really can’t take my little playmates’ bullshit any more…

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Of my years as a code whore for miscellaneous software joints, I really haven’t kept much at all…

Except, that is, a bottomless contempt and seething hatred toward all that ressemble corporations or corporate culture in all its incarnations. I really hated corporate life. And to be fair, the feeling was shared: most of my bosses hated my guts, more or less silently, and the ones that didn’t, usually shared my hatred of higher ranked execs. HR zombies probably spent entire afternoons mentally rehashing every details of my pink slips, PR bunnies’ smiles would freeze to a near-breaking point whenever their bullshitting activities required any sort of interaction or input from my person.

Never, though, was I ever mean to workmates or people reporting under me: they usually didn’t mind my behaviour in the slightest, enjoyed the show and placed bets, if anything… But anybody with a vested interest in keeping the corporate status quo certainly lost many layers of enamel to teeth-gritting, during my stint in some of these companies…

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Where do people get this intense urge to share meteorological insights with everybody they meet?

Have you noticed how some blogs go to incredible lengths to keep you informed of the exact humidity rate in whatever random corner of the world they happened to be written in, by covering half their homepage with some prominent weather-indicating gizmo. See, the trick is to make this otherwise thoroughly uninteresting data more palatable, by presenting it as an amusing novelty. Whether as a seasonally dressed character in stereotypical outfits, or the perennial Smily Sun and Pissy Cloud icons, there is always an effort to coat the dull core in a layer of pointless cuteness. The point remains: Nobody gives a fuck!

Believe me, there are very few excuses to bore strangers with detailed recounts of your personal adventure in mercury hop-skipping. And most of these only apply to stiff upper-lip middle-aged british men, whose emotional gamut couldn’t possibly cover any other topic, and hapless gaijin trying to maintain a casual level of neighbourly smalltalk, without veering too deep into the murky waters of a language that was specifically designed to let locals single out and decapitate potential invaders.

I mean, why can’t we find deeper subject on which to waste these precious seconds of our all-too-ephemeral lives. Why. Why? WHY? Are we so quick to forget that we are but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more. Have we descended to such abyss of superficiality that we can no longer reach out to our brother Man and talk to his heart. Do we need to hide behind shallow meaningless phrases and disembodied conversations?

Sad indeed…

Anyway, that being said:

Where is my fucking Spring weather!?!

Especially now that my futon sits outside like a giant soaking wet sponge after I failed to remove it before yesterday’s pouring.

Had a discussion with Serendipity on the finer points of politically correct translations and PCization of language in general.

It all started with her quoting some dead Roman guy and my hastily transcribing her quote for the benefit of the English speaking vulgus pecus present, by use of the word man, when we all know how essential it is to respect the Latin difference between homo, hominis: “Man, human brothers” and vir, viri: “a man, a real one, with a hairy chest and all that”…

To me, it was essentially a matter of adding capitalization and turning a gender specific man into an all inclusive Man. Her position was that human, and nothing less, was required in order to give an appropriate translation and spare me the wrath of the progressive masses. And she might be right on the second count, but I must disagree on the first: while “human” is indeed a fine way to translate it, I must stand by my use of the non-gender-specific Man. And I would furthermore ask: WWCD?

Answer: Cicero would most likely use Man and laugh at the mere suggestion that a woman might have a valid opinion on such a matter.

And that is precisely my point: Romans were not particularly nice people when it came to a lot of progressive social concepts. Gender equality would only be one in a million. To the patrician authors of such Latin quote, a rough 99% of their fellow humanoid bipeds were barely bestowed with a mind of their own… let alone entitled to voice it outside of domestic issues.

Ugly bastards? Sure.

Does it mean we have any right to rectify their speech in the name of modern enlightened ideas? Hell no.

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I think it’s been established by now, that I am a horribly self-indulgent whining bastard with an amazing talent for ranting about every single pointless non-issue in my life. I got a good ten yards of blog entries to prove it, right here.

BUT, I pride myself in that you will never hear me, in the middle of a regular conversation with friends, start detailing excruciatingly dull and meaningless minutiae of my work life: how such or such project is not coming along as we expected and how I can’t stand the girl from accounting and so on and so forth.

I might mention some work-related items or geeky stuff somewhat connected to work every once in a while, since after all, work is quite a central part of my life (well, until that massive cocaine deal goes through, that is: after that, I’m off to retirement for good).
Informal roundup of long time friend’s careers, idle “how was your day” chat and the like: it’s all good.
But do I ramble endlessly about the finer points of project implementation, the mediocre sex life of complete strangers that I happen to work with, or the new color of my office wallpaper: nope.

NOT, mind you, out of some stupid altruistic consideration for my friends and their understandable lack of interest for discussing the intricacies of somebody else’s work, for which they do not receive a salary. Once again: I’ll gladly bore to death anybody with the most pathetically mundane details of my life provided I got enough rope at hand.
No. The reason I do not bask in office stories when going out with friends is that It is only a fucking JOB.
Call me vain, but no matter how I might actually enjoy doing my job, I am still glad to be done with it at the end of the day. And I DO like my job. doing a job I am happy to do is, along with reaching a complete moratorium on the presence of any alarm clock in my bedroom, the only lifelong professional ambitions I have ever had: in that regards, I can safely say I am quite a successful man, since I haven’t owned a sound-enabled time device in many years now. I like my job, but I like doing other things even more, ok?
Seeing how the goal of my day is usually to get my work done with, so as to be able to partake in other occupations that are not work, no matter how similar in practice, I don’t see why I would ever want to drag work along once I’m done. If I wanted to keep feeling at work, I would not be sitting in a bar with a beer in my hand, I’d be in my cubicle (ok that’s an image: I don’t have a cubicle and my office is about 5 feet from my bed, on my couch, previously dragged in the middle of our 2-square-feet garden if the sun is shining).

I don’t bore other people with petty work-talk because it also bores me. And I pretty much expect the same selfish courtesy from my, otherwise fondly cared for, friends. If I keep switching the topic off that latest xml scheme you’ve been fighting about with your boss, onto the hairdo of the blonde next to us, it’s not because I really care about scary 80’s soap opera fashion revival, it’s because I am desperate and about to kill someone if the word “project flow” is uttered one more time when I’m drinking a beer.

So in the future, unless your job is absolutely fascinating (and I do mean fascinating, as in I-hunt-and-trade-albinos-unicorn kind of fascinating, not I-improve-workflow-productivity-for-major-corporation-XYZ-foreign-exports-division kind of fascinating), please just stick to the skinny and assume by default that I really do not want to hear about the woes of your IT department when they tried to upgrade all the PCs to Windows 2006. To put it bluntly: I don’t care. And I know you probably don’t care about whatever else I might launch the conversation on, but at least, it is not work. And that’s good enough for me. And please don’t get pissy if I finally clue you in on the level of tear-inducing boredom of your work-related topic of predilection: I don’t hate you, I love what you got to say, but come on, you are better than that, I’m sure you can discuss non office-life-related matters with the same brilliant insights and exciting details that flourish when relating your boss’s secretary last fling with another [equally unknown to me, likely to remain so for the rest of my life and therefore of no interest whatsoever] workmate.

PS: If you are a friend reading this and we’ve gone for drinks and chat in the past few days: I’m not talking about you of course, I’m talking about all the others.
PPS: To my parole officer and my buddies at the twelve-step program: I know I screwed up. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have brought back that pack of red bulls from Barcelona. I thought I was stronger than the Can now. I thought I could control it… I was in denial, I know.
But I swear I’ll stop soon as soon as my paxil prescription comes though. Just one more can, and I stop. Promise.

* we are currently accepting votes on this entry for the title of most uninformatively meaningless subject line.

Now I ask you:

Could ten consecutive hours spent in the sole company of Messrs. Lebesgue and Cauchy’s monstrous brain-children somehow be nefarious to one’s sanity and legendary sense of humor?

Not in the least of course. Actually, the American Association of Stand-Up Comic Mathematicians (AASUCM) recommends at least a 15 hours daily intake of Calculus to stay in good health.

By the way, you know the story of Whack, the Dog, and Flop-Flop, the Seagull?

Wanna hear it?

OK, so there’s this cute little dog who’s crossing the street, failing to notice the huge SUV roaring down the street in his direction and… Whack, the Dog…

Oh, Flop-Flop the seagull too?

So there’s this seagull peacefully flying somewhere off the Persian Gulf coast, failing to notice the huge UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter scurrying in its direction and…


so yea, maybe it’s time to take a break from mathematics and sleep some…

If you were to eat ramen in a trendy Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Village, should you slurp your noodles in?

Should you adopt Japanese ramen-eating customs or conform to geography-based local ones that say you are not supposed to make loud slurping noise when eating?

Maybe I should cut down on cough medicine for today.

Late night discussion subjects with Harold yesterday (lengthily and passionately argued over for hours until 4 this morning)…

Among many others, we went over (less and less focused and informed, as the discussion kept advancing):

1/ Is there any point in using an appropriately trained neural network for type-specific music compression over a regular algorithm?

2/ Is any task performed by a neural network more or less isomorphic to an interpolation function?

3/ Is any given neural network always replaceable by a definable iterative algorithm?

4/ Is the brain replaceable by an iterative algorithm?

5/ Is neuron transmission a discrete discontinuous function?
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