Headlines for Friday:

  1. Backlog: Beef medallion, baked potato (74 words)
  2. You know you're a grad student when... (280 words)
  3. Backlog: IBM (152 words)



1. Backlog: Beef medallion, baked potato: 00:48

Pan-frying beef medallion isn't quite the same as grilling it, but oh well - one does what one can. I'm a little bit skeptical about the meat, though, as I'm not sure if it's properly medium. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, you can send someone to knock on my room and see if I'm suffering from food poisoning...

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Random Japanese sentence: テーブルに猫の足跡が付いている。 There are footprints of a cat on the table.

2. You know you're a grad student when...: 02:06

... you can find scholarly explanations for your weird quirks.

For example, while the prevailing culture here is to go Dutch and many women might even find it insulting if men offered to treat them, I prefer owing and overpaying in a constant back-and-forth, exchanging things that are harder to quantify.

I remembered reading a book that mentioned a culture where exact repayment of debt was seen as a precursor to the end of a relationship, whereas the cycle of debt/overpayment continued it. After a couple of keyword searches, I turned up a related paper.

Schwartz, Barry. 1967. "The Social Psychology of the Gift." The American Journal of Sociology. On p.8:

Distributive justice is particularly interesting in view of the rule which prohibits an equal-return "payment" in gift exchange. This suggests that every gift-exchanging dyad (or larger group) is characterized by a certain "balance of debt" which must never be brought into equilibrium, for a perfect level of distributive justice is typical of the economic rather than the social exchange relationship. It has, in fact, already been suggested that the greater the correspondence in value between gift received and gift returned, the less the sentimental component in the relationship is likely to be.


The continuing balance of debt--now in favor of one member, now in favor of the other--insures that the relationship between the two continue, for gratitude will always constitute a part of the bond linking them. Gouldner, in this connection, considered gift exchange as a "starting mechanism" for social relationships. Simmel likened the phenomenon to "inertia" in his essay on "Faithfulness and Gratitude".

Random Japanese sentence: うちの犬と猫は仲良くやっている。これは珍しいことだ。 My cat and dog get along. It is unusual.

3. Backlog: IBM: 02:11

I skipped the HFIG panel (bad Sacha! ;) ) to go to IBM. I had so much fun coding a simple data processor, though, that I didn't feel guilty at all. Another blogger had posted this _totally_ awesome visualization of bloggers and their locations, and the blog entry helped me learn how to determine a person's work location given the e-mail address. Neato. Also, I did some more evangelism work. Whee! =)

I had so much fun hacking that I nearly forgot about the 5:35 bus. Good thing Stephen IMed me. =) I ran to the bus stop and caught it, but that was still pretty scary!

I ended up chatting with Quinn on the way home. I should invite her to a dinner party sometime...

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Random Japanese sentence: 「にゃお、にゃお、今度はおなかが減った!」と、百匹のねこ千匹のねこ、百万匹一億匹のねこがいいました。 "Mew, mew! Now we are hungry!" cried the Hundreds of cats, Thousands of cats, Millions and billions and trillions of cats.