minutia press.

Every now and then we all have one of those weeks when everything seems to be happening, if not all at once, then in quick succession. If you're lucky, you can see it coming so you can plan ahead and leave town if necessary. If you're like me, then you see it coming but live in denial until it's over.

Our department hosted, 4-5 Sept, a group of researchers doing work on Java for a DARPA program called PCES. The meeting went really well, thanks to the great work of the DOC students, particularly Pavan, Roopa, Ravi, and Rob. The work they demonstrated or described included amazing things wrought by Angelo, Dave J, Jim, James, and John. It was so great to see all that work appreciated by my colleagues.

The meeting was held in the humble but lovable digs of Bryan 509C, and Magic Myrna made a lot of that happen effortlessly. The weather could not have been better, and people who had late flights hopped on metro link to ascend that inverted catenary I like to call the St Louis Arch.

Then this past week I got to cover CS 342 for Chris Gill who was at the PLOP conference. We have lots of conferences with PL in their names, but that one is Pattern Languages of Programming. Others include PLDI, POPL, and PPoPP. I'm still looking for something we could call POOPED. Of course, I would hold that conference after all the others, and it would have an exhaustive treatment of some subject, but I digress.

Because of its focus on C++, my covering 342 is a lot like asking oil to cover for water. I think deep down, my inner child is wounded from the way one of my favorite languages (C) was corrupted by C++ just to bring about the birth of objects in a popular language. But I digress.

It was great to see how far the students I had in 101/102 have come, and while I wish there were more of them continuing with CS, the future of the CS world at Wash U is in great hands.

I've gotten somewhat involved with music at my temple, and was scheduled to help out at the late service last Saturday by playing guitar for some stuff. I showed up early to go over some things with the organist, and found that through miscommunication, no cantor was there for the early service. So I ended up singing for the early service. More stress, not just on me but on the people who were within earshot. I can sing OK in a choir, but I don't have a great solo voice.

But then came the end of this week and some things I was really looking forward to. Our hockey team had a practice game with some people from other teams, and it was so great to be skating again. I am still the remedial player but in the words of that immortal movie Slap Shot, I'm working on it.

Yesterday I took the afternoon off and took my almost 5-year-old to City Museum. It's a great place, and open until 1 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. We didn't stay quite that long, but stayed long enough for him to explore lots of neat things.

And last night was the penultimate summer service for our temple, and I've been playing guitar at that almost all summer. There are three other guys who play too, and two of them were there last night. They are both amazing players and we had a blast playing last night. If the following doesn't make sense, I'll be glad to explain it over a beer or something. We were planning to play "Shalom Aleichem" as the opening song for many reasons: 9/11, the bad things going on in the Middle East (which you would think would be just east of the Midwest but it's not -- but I digress), and we were tired of the other opening songs we have been doing all summer. Playing that song on guitars is kind of like playing "Proud Mary" on a violin, but in reverse. Anyway, it worked out fine, and the great part was the introduction which Ron S. (not me, the other Ron) played as a tribute to Johnny Cash. We've been looking for a name for our group, and contenders include The Grateful Yids and The Jews Brothers. Some people never grow up.

Well this concludes a long post for the long, long week, and whlie I'm glad it's over, in retrospect it was a fun time.