Monday, June 23, 2008

Status Report: 5 Weeks

Well I realized that I've been here for five weeks. Seems like it's been a lot longer, but I finally have some impressions of Austin and of my project.

The first part is the project: I have to say I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm not actually doing exactly what I thought I'd be doing, but that's not a big deal. You see Fortress doesn't actually have a type-checker, and well they kind of need one a lot. So while I sort of thought I was going to be working on, like, type-based optimizations of software transactional memory, I'm really going to be implementing the typechecker and type inference. Now things were started before we got here, so there's a chance we'll get to see it finished before I leave. And, as I've said before, the project is totally open-source, so you can see the code I write here (not that I'd recommend it) and follow my progress here.

Austin is good too, but it's not like being in Pittsburgh. Here's what I mean: You see, in Pittsburgh I know lots of people. Here I don't know many people. Most of the people at work, while very cool and very nice, have families and aren't necessarily interested in hanging out. When I've had people come to visit, I get a better feel for the cool stuff that is going on in Austin: great restaurants, bars and stuff to do outdoors, but a lot of those things are hard to take advantage of by yourself.

So far I've spent of lot of time sitting in my apartment, going to the gym and watching Lost episodes. (My aunt got me Netflix for the 3 months I am here, and I decided to go back to season 1 and see if I can understand this crazy show.)

Anyway, I'm going out tonight for a bit to meet some friends, so that should be rad. Oh, and I'll be back in Pittsburgh for next weekend just to say "hello." Holla at your boy.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

When We Left Earth

I guess I've been talking about Discovery TV shows a lot recently, but...

I'm watching "When We Left Earth" right now, about the history of NASA. It's a multipart series, and tonight is the last one. It's incredible, mostly because the pictures are so amazing. They did a lot of restoration of the old pictures and movies, and they look great. The part about Challenger makes me sad, but other than that I give it big thumbs up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Wow, how did I waste entire Sundays before "Deadliest Catch" marathons on Discovery?


I went tubing on the Guadalupe river this weekend with my friend Greg! This is like a classic Texas activity. I went once with my family when I was like ten or something, but this was a totally new experience. (If you don't know, this kind of tubing involves sitting in a rubber tube and floating down a river for one to three hours.)

We had to drive like an hour to New Braunfels where all this madness goes on. Then we went to this tube rental place where there were hundreds of people. We rented a tube for me, Greg and for a cooler which we also rented. We brought along some ice and a few adult beverages. Now, it might seem like tubing is a horrible idea because a.) about 100 degrees and really sunny, b.) the water is absolutely freezing and c.) there are thousands of people on the river, but it turns out that all of that is inconsequential! All the people really aren't so bad since you're just floating down, and, well I got sunburned a little but I think I put on enough sunscreen to avoid any major cancerous lesions. And the cold water? You mostly get used to it, although every now and then there's a little wave that gets your dry parts wet and is not really all that fun.

Verdict: Highly Recommended!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Family Weekend

This weekend was great! My family was visiting and it gave me a chance to go to some of the cool stuff that all my friends here have been telling me to do but that I would feel too lame doing by myself.

We went to some good restaurants:
  • Fonda San Miguel
  • TX Chilli Parlour
  • Some Brazillian Restaurant
  • Jaime's Mexican Restaurant
  • Shady Grove
We saw some interesting things:
  • TX State History Museum
  • The State Capital
And we went out and actually did some activities:
  • Swimming at Barton Springs
  • Canoing on Lake Austin
  • Bar-hoping
In other words, it was a much more fun weekend than usual! I've got the sunburned arms to prove it...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pnet Phlicks

My aunt got me Netflix for the three months that I am here. It is pretty sweet. These were my first free movies:
  • Himalaya: Good
  • Crash: Not so good. I met some racists in LA, but everyone in this movie is humorously obsessed with race.
  • Dewey Cox: Awesome! Why wasn't this movie bigger?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summer Books

In my recent boredom I have finished two pretty good books, Dreaming in Code, a non-fiction book about an open-source software project, and I Love You, Beth Cooper, a teen/graduation comedy. I put up some quasi-reviews on my books page.