Ugh. A night of computing (while making and eating dinner and recuperating from a strange day-long headache – dehydration? side effects from the big hike the day before?) and muttering to myself at various points left me in a state of confusion last night. I went to bed tired and confused after getting into a muddle and realizing that I’d been probably mixing conventions in parts of my computations over the last few days, leaving me with a flipping minus sign in a result. No, I really mean “flipping”, since sometimes a 1/16 was -1/16, and sometimes that represents a physical truth and other times it represents a computational mistake – and I got confused as to which was which. Ugh.
All of this was coupled with occasionally wandering outside into the late night air filled with hungry insects in order to seek the fragment of wireless signal (I accidentally discovered it nearby on the weekend) in order to download the odd reference to check an idea or a fact. I’d have a few minutes before the bugs would find me and start to chew (I suffer from being particularly tasty to insect life – always the first person to be multiply bitten at any outdoor evening gathering), at which point I’d have snagged the download of the paper and can then run back in to the safety of indoors, flapping my arms around my head like a madman. It is an amusing dance, since I can find the signal (I’ve no idea where it is coming from – there are three possible sources in the distance), just at the edge of being strong enough, in one of two semi-reliable places outside, but it is only strong enough when I am standing up. So I must present an amusing sight to the bears and other critters as I stand there with laptop in one hand, occasionally raising my knee up to a sort of “Cap’n Morgan” stance to support the laptop so that I can type with both hands, the latter happening when one of my collaborators, Jeff, discovered that I was on IM and wanted to chat about an aspect of the project for a bit. He’d been working on different aspects and ran into his own confusions too. (To tell the truth, I am happy that I only barely have such a connection, since I really like the idea of being cut off from the main river of communication while away from the office, during this visit. I like the idea of retreating to the sort of “cabin in the woods” and decoupling for long periods. But at the same time it has been good to be able to check the odd thing from time to time since I got stuck into this computational quagmire. A weak and uncomfortable-to-use connection is just the compromise. You know, maybe I should go back to dial-up when I return to LA.)
And so it was to bed at 12:30am with confusions, annoyances, and disappointments over the computation filling my head. Now it is 8:30am and I am at my desk fresh and ready to go again. A slow morning ritual from 7:00am of listening to NPR while preparing my sandwich, extra picnic food (since there’s a barbecue later for all physicists and their families) for tonight’s dinner, bag for the day, showering and so forth, has helped reset my mood.
I am ready to tear it all down and start afresh.
Yes, I’m ready for you, computation. Do your worst!
So here I am