January 17, 2006


The last time I did one of these things, my weblog broke, resulting in a several-month hiatus. But, since you asked, and since this lets me procrastinate working on my lecture notes, my research, my house and my contribution to the Moretti event at the Valve all at once...

1. Seven things to do before I die

omitting the really important ones, which are all private: (i) Learn Persian. (ii) Learn Chinese. (iii) Travel the Silk Road from Chang'an to Constantinople. (iv) Cast bronze. (v) Write that textbook on statistical analysis of complex systems I keep talking about. (vi) Write that novel I keep not talking about. (vii) See New York.

2. Seven things I cannot do

to my regret: (i) Roll my R's. (ii) Speak anything other than English. (iii) Ignore a live television in my field of vision. (iv) Make small talk. (v) Finish things ahead of time. (vi) Understand musicians talking about music. (vii) Let things go.

3. Seven things that attract me to [Pittsburgh]

(i) The abundance of romanesque arches. (ii) Being told so often that it's a lot cleaner than it used to be, or so they've heard. (iii) Living and working in the shadow of a tower which was manifestly built to summon the Dark Gods. (iv) Wholey's, the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, and the rest of the Strip. (v) The ability to afford a leafy yuppie-scum neighborhood. (vi) The feeling that, at last, I am among my people. (vii) The best job at the best university I could possibly hope for (until I publish more).

4. Seven things I say most often

(i) "Which, clearly, is absurd." (ii) "Take your favorite [mathematical object]". (iii) "There's a neat paper where". (iv) "Have you read [book/paper/story/post]?" (v) "This is a good idea why, exactly?" (vi) "Let me try to say that again, only this time coherently." (vii) "I'm sorry."

5. Seven books (or series) that I love

Seven? Just seven? Couldn't I pick forty-nine instead? Or three hundred and forty-three? Well, by free association then. (i) Science and Civilisation in China (Needham). (ii) The Cartoon History of the Universe (Gonick). (iii) The Pursuit of the Millennium (Cohn). (iv) The City and the Stars (Clarke). (v) Vehicles (Braitenberg). (vi) His Master's Voice (Lem). (vii) Patricia McKillip's fantasy novels. You're sure I can only pick seven?

6. Seven movies that I watch over and over again (or would if I had the time)

or would if I watched movies over and over again. (i) The Seven Samurai. (ii) Yojimbo. (iii) Sanjuro. (iv) The Hidden Fortress. (v) Apocalypse Now. (vi) Repo Man. (vii) The Usual Suspects.

7. Seven people I want to join in, too.

(i) Dave Bacon. (ii) Wolfgang Beirl. (iii) John Burke. (iv) Tim Burke. (v) Aaron Clauset. (vi) The crew at Halfway Down the Danube. (vii) Ken MacLeod.

Linkage; Self-Centered; Heard About Pittsburgh, PA

Posted at January 17, 2006 10:49 | permanent link

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