Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What is character

Something occurred at work in the middle of last year (2015), and also this week, which had made me wonder "What is a person's true character?" and "Who is a person?"  So this blog entry tries to address that pair of questions -- possibly without a satisfying answer.

People tend to wear many faces, and have many facets:  the persona you put on at home is probably different than who you are at work.  And a person might have a jolly side, an irritable side, a kindly side...

Let's say that a person is actually fairly negative -- but he spends his time being cheerful, lively, and outgoing.  If the person is like that (in public) all the time -- is that truly how the person "is"?  If you behave in a way that contradicts your inner tendencies -- that is, you don't actually manifest your inner tendencies -- do they even count any more?  Is the way you behave -- for all practical purposes -- the definition of who you are?

I'm pretty sure that how you behave when no one is looking would count more strongly than how you behave when you know that you're "on show".  So if someone brings cakes and cookies to work all the time -- sure, the person might be generous -- but she might also be trying to "buy" people's friendship.  (So, I guess motivations play a part as well...)  But if the person also gives money to a panhandler (and doesn't think anyone that she knows is watching), or gives an anonymous donation and doesn't tell anyone about it -- just gives the money -- okay, that person is generous.  :)

I'll possibly come back and revise this.

But, I might not.


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Monday, February 08, 2016

Review of Moneyball

Before Christmas, a co-worker loaned me the DVD of Moneyball, which should appeal to data geeks (it did to me!!!). Somehow I never heard of it when it first came out.

I finally got around to watching it this weekend (sorry for the delay, LB!) -- and, Yep!  I like it!  (She predicted I would.)

It’s based on a true story (2002) about the Oakland Athletics baseball team, who was having a hard time competing against bigger teams with deeper pockets (e.g. they had about 1/3 the budget of the New York Yankees), and thus kept getting out-bid for the hottest players.

Basically, this young intern(?), who was an Econ major from Yale, worked out how to leverage the stats to buy the “undervalued” players in the game – and thus build a winning team of non-flashy players.

Good storytelling. I was compelled – and I’m not even into baseball! :)

I recommend -- as general viewing, for data geeks, and for sports fans.

Some swearing; not any sex or violence that I can recall.



Sunday, February 07, 2016

Review of The Rewrite

Last night I rented -- and watched -- The Rewrite.  It stars Hugh Grant and Marissa Tomei. 

It's good to see Marissa Tomei in a movie again.  Hugh Grant basically plays “Hugh Grant”.

The premise is that Hugh Grant's character is a past-his-prime Hollywood screenwriter, who had one big hit about a decade ago, followed by a few flops. He can't get work in Hollywood, so to get some income he has to fill in at a New England university as the “artist in residence”, teaching a one-semester “screenwriting” class. His aim, of course, is to slack off and spend the time writing.

Amusing; entertaining; a few good lines. I laughed, here and there. Enjoyable.

Worth a watch if you generally enjoy Hugh Grant.

My basis for purchasing DVDs (yeah, I still buy the physical medium, if I like the movie enough) is whether there were any scenes that I can see myself re-watching over and over again. For this movie: nope. But a fun movie never the less.



Sunday, January 24, 2016

Am finally back

Sorry for the delay:  I'm finally back.

I was in Seattle for nearly all of December, visiting family.  Apologies to my friends over there:  due to our tight schedule, I made the decision that I'd be visiting only family, not friends.  I'll be back in Seattle in a few months for a fairly large family get-together, so I'll catch up with friends at that point.

Over the next few weeks I'll post some blog entries remedially.

Once I got to Seattle (in very early December), I discovered that I couldn't remember my gmail password -- so I couldn't access my e-mail account -- or my blog!  Thus, the big gap in blog entries.  The lesson learned is to not change my password the day before flying out on vacation -- or, if I do, to write it down and carry it with me.  And Google didn't believe my various attempts to restore my account while away -- so I had to wait until I got home.

Awkwardly, once I got back to Brisbane -- after being away for nearly a month -- I discovered that I had also forgotten my computer login.  Or rather:  I'm pretty sure I remembered the "log in after the screensaver kicks in" password, because I use that several times a day.  But I couldn't remember the "decrypt the hard drive" password that preceeds the other one, because I only use that once every day or so.

Actually, I'm pretty sure I did remember it -- but the computer didn't believe me.  Maybe I used to hit "shift" in a way that I don't remember.

For security reasons, I hadn't written the password down.  Hm.  That's gonna change...

So, after many, many failed attempts at unlocking my computer, I ended up having to wipe everything and re-install Mint Linux 17.  Took about an hour for the install, but another hour or two for me to re-install addtional bits of software (e.g. recording software).  So, not horrible.

Luckily I didn't lose any actual data (documents, photos, audio files), because I had done a full backup (but not a disk image; just all my personal files) before we went on vacation.  But it was still a bit of a nuisance.

But -- now I'm back! 

And I hadn't realized how... lost... I was without my computer.

So now -- over the next few weeks -- I get to empty the photos off my phone, write down a very long list of quotes, log the gifts I received for Christmas, and -- eventually! -- record a song I wrote about a really nice guy at work.


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Sunday, December 06, 2015

What I prefer

For most of this last week, I was editing and revising a document that a co-worker had drafted, about the best way to measure reoffending (based on our data holdings).  Kind of technical, as you might infer.

It was interesting enough -- and a change of pace from my usual thing, which is writing scripts in Stata to perform analyses, then making tables and graphs to present those results -- and maybe a few sentences to highlight the important patterns.

But on Thursday and Friday, I got to muck around with data (i.e. writing the scripts) -- and that was a lot better!  I was a pig in slop.

That was just a further reinforcement that I don't want to go into management:  in management -- at least around my place -- you write about what other folks do.  As a worker bee, you do it.  :)


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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

That sounds boring

Saw this at the local shopping mall.

It seems like a boring thing to see.

Hopefully, they don't charge for the privilege.



Monday, November 30, 2015

That was weird

That was weird.  After work I was walking to my bus stop, which is under the downtown shopping center.  Just as I entered the building, a skinny, dishevelled middle-aged guy, my height, was exiting the complex.  He was walking briskly along the same hallway as me, but in the opposite direction, and was talking in some nonsensical language.

All of a sudden, just as he was passing me, he looked in my direction, saw something in my face he didn't like, turned toward me and kicked me in the leg.  Luckily he didn't kick very hard.

I was surprised!  I got into an open-handed fighting stance and waited for whatever would come next.  He looked at my face, and either he decided better of it, or (more likely) he just went on to his next thought, because he walked quickly away.

In hindsight I should've gone after him -- because who knows how many other people he'd kick -- but I was already late for my bus.

I'm not sure how well I handled the encounter.  I lost points by not giving him a wider berth, and by not blocking the kick -- although I'd like to think that if it had been a punch, or a kick to the crotch, that I would've reflexively blocked it.

I get credit for reflexively going into a good stance.  My hand positioning of my right hand was a little low:  my left hand was correctly at face height, but my right hand was more at chest height.  But I think my right-hand positioning was because my right shoulder (which I dislocated a month and a half ago) still doesn't have full flexibility -- so when I think I'm moving it to a certain location, it takes more effort than I expect.  But at least I got it up there. 

And I'm pretty sure I looked like I knew what I was doing:  so, that's something.

Points for reacting calmly:  instead of an adrenaline surge, I just thought "Huh.  Now what?"  I credit that to the Krav Maga class that I took (although it's been several months):  it just kind of seemed... normal, somehow.  Certainly, I didn't feel at a loss as to what to do next:  I was in my fighting pose.

But, yeah:  I should've missed my bus, followed him at a safe distance, and called the cops on my cell phone.  Next time.

Regardless -- pretty odd.


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Truth in advertising

One of my traits is that I don't want to trick people, or obscure the truth, if I'm giving something away.  So if I have a package of cookies that I'm handing around, and it's a few days past its "Best By" date -- I ask, "Would you like a cookie?  It's a few days past its 'Best By' date."

So today, I had a hankering for a soda -- but I'm trying to cut down on my sugar intake.  So, I bought a 1.25 L bottle of diet cola.

I asked my teammates at work “Anyone want some room-temperature soda with death chemicals?”

Surprisingly, no takers.


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