Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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The 2003 Interview

mirabehn, mostlyacat, and scionofgrace have done this one; how could I stay out of such cllo company?

1. What did you do in 2003 that you'd never done before?
I started my own LiveJournal (banazir) and a couple of communities (bayesnets and teunc).
It's been a little time-consuming and a lot of fun.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Hrm. I think the only Gnu Year's resolution I made was to get more papers out this year. I've gotten about the usual number accepted and published, but I haven't finished as many as I'd like. Well, there's still most of the intersession ahead.
I probably oughtn't to make more resolutions until I get this one out of the way, b

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My older cousin Ann had a baby, Jodi.
She's very animated, and my mom gets pics every month from the proud parents.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No one that I've actually met, though some of my friends have lost family members this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
I went to Mexico for the first time in August, spending 8 days in Acapulco.

6. What would you like to have in 2004 that you lacked in 2003?
Hm... how about a grant from the National Science Foundation? :-)

7. What date from 2003 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Fri 08 Aug 2003 was the best day of the year for me. It was the day robbyjo and I gave the first demo of Bayesian Network tools in Java (BNJ) v2 at an international conference.
Mon 15 Dec 2003 was probably the worst day of the year - by some coincidence I received several items of sad news within the space of an hour or two.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My gut reaction is to say that I personally haven't had any great achievements this year. The best things that happened this year are that:

  • I started the first project of what I hope will be a long and fruitful collaboration with my friend and former classmate, Surya Ramachandran, under the auspices of his company, AIdentity Matrix.

  • Bayesian Network tools in Java (BNJ) v2 made its debut at UAI-2003 in August and the alpha version was released in November.

  • I got a book chapter out and a journal paper Information Sciences in. (It was supposed to be 3 journal papers, though, and 2 are still under revision.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not getting another NSF-sponsored grant, I guess.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No, I have been fortunate. I had a mild cold a couple of weeks ago, which happens to me only every couple of years (maybe once every three before I came to Kansas, where winter has a faster onset).

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Hmm, good question. My parents gave me a green laser pointer as a birthday present, but I ordered it myself. I don't know if that counts as something I bought.
I also got Learning Bayesian Networks by Richard Neapolitan, but that was an advance desk copy.
I think the best things I bought were:

  • a penguin for Rachel (September)

  • a grant-writing book that I've just started reading (October)

  • a lightsabre (October)

Usually I'd list some good stock picks in response to a question such as this, but my mom did most of the investment work this year. I haven't given her this little advice in a decade.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Most of my teunc friends should get medals for strength in the face of adversity. It's been a hard year for a lot of us, but I am frequently inspired by their courage and that of other friends, including some new ones I've made here.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
President Bush's behavior, at least with respect to Iraq, probably gets my vote here vis-a-vis scope and impact.
There are a few people I personally had contact with who must have had a bad day, as scionofgrace put it. :-)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Most of my money went into a savings account. Most of the money I spent went into travel - to DCMoot, to Acapulco, etc. My folks went with me to DC and I took my mom with me to Mexico (I had to pay for their air tickets, as it was a vacation for them even though it was professional travel for me).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

  • Return of The King (though I saw it a bit late)

  • Acapulco (it was an understated excitement :-))

  • DCMoot (my first TEUNCmoot)

16. What song will always remind you of 2003?
Right now, it's probably
"Goodbye To You" by Michelle Branch
though the song etched into my brain from this past year is
"Don't Dream It's Over" by Sixpence None The Richer (new cover of a song by Crowded House)
I probably listened to these other songs a few quijillion times, too:

  • "When You Say Nothing At All" (Alison Krauss)

  • "The Prayer" (Charlotte Church and Josh Groban)

  • "Gira Con Me" (Josh Groban)

  • "The Game of Love" (Michelle Branch with Carlos Santana)

  • "So Young" (The Corrs)

  • "White Flag" (Dido)

  • "Cinema Paradiso" (Josh Groban)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? The same, for which I give thanks to God. That's no small blessing considering the annus horribilis I've had.
ii. thinner or fatter? Neither, as it happens. *happy teunce*
iii. richer or poorer? As is usual for me, slightly richer, materially speaking. Much richer, in terms of new friends.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I'd done more experiments and written one or two more papers.
I also wish I'd exercised a bit more. I never have enough time for noon basketball!

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Well, I can't say I regret it, but I probably spent more time than I could afford in #teunc chat and posting to USENET, LJ, and the TEUNC group.
OK, I wish I'd eaten less, so that I could have lost a little weight, but I'm technically not overweight, so it's no big deal.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I'll be at a winter retreat sponsored by the Christian Witness Center from the 24th through the 26th.

21. Did you fall in love in 2003?
Yes, with Rosie and Eowyn both, such is my shame! Add to that Diamond Mask and Aenea and...
(Oh, you were speaking literally? It takes two to fall in love, nesupasu?)
The blue eyes had a sardonic glitter. "What a ludicrous idea. Me, in love? Why, that's positively sickening. Right?"
"Oh, Ti-Jean..." I whispered, and my vision began to blur.
"I really can't stand people who cry at weddings," Jack said. "See you later, Uncle Rogi."

22. How many one-night stands?
Ha, ha, take a wild guess, as scionofgrace wrote.
Knot if I found a Neskimo on the highway...

23. What was your favorite TV program?
It was Firefly for the first 9 days of 2003 (damn you, FOX!) and since late spring, it's been Smallville.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
Nonfiction, textbook: Learning Bayesian Networks by Richard Neapolitan (as mentioned above; I omit Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, 2nd edition because I read the first edition and there are only a few brand-new chapters)
Nonfiction, monograph: Writing for Computer Science by Justin Zobel
Fiction: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Best book I bought and haven't finished reading yet: The Mind's Arrows by Clark Glymour

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Music in general: Gosh, it's hard to limit myelf to one choice! Rockapella, I guess. Yowie laso introduced me to Nickel Creek, but that was last December.
Individual artist: Billy Boyd, as scionofgrace mentioned. If there's one thing LJ is good for, is getting more people enthused about Billy Boyd than (just) his fangrildom.
Among my friends: Yowie. She has a fantastic voice, which I kindasorta fogured, but hearing is believing. sui_degeneris and Tamf are laso good singers. We need to have more karaoke moots.

27. What did you want and get?
New clothes! New shirts, new ties, new sweaters...
As many as I wanted, more if you can imagine.

28. What did you want and not get?
Hrm... nothing, really.
I need a scanner and a color printer, but I can get one of those combo things, even with CompactFlash/SDRAM digital picutre printing, for under $200.
I do plan to get myself an HDTV projector later, but there's no hurry.
Laso, I need a new computer, but a desktop will have to wait until probably next month at least, a notebook until April of 2005.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Return of The King, but that isn't any ringing endorsement - that was the only film I saw in a theatre and one of only two from this year that I saw at all (the other being Sinbad).
Here are some of the films I have not yet seen:

  • The Matrix Revolutions

  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World

  • S.W.A.T.

  • Pirates of The Caribbean

  • Terminator 3: Rise of The Machines

  • The Hulk

  • The Animatrix

  • The Matrix Reloaded

  • X-Men United

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 30 here in Manhattan, KS, between lectures.
I remember wishing Maria Zamfir-Bleyberg a happy retirement, going to dinner with my folks at the Gold Fork, and playing with my digital camera (the first I've ever owned).

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I'd say "getting another NSF-sponsored grant", but that'd be a bit redundant - besides which, I don't know about "immeasurably".
How about "having time to read more books and shorten my to-read list instead of doubling it"?

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2003?
Tronkie chic.
A walking oxymoron, I know.

33. What kept you sane?
Faith, hope, and love. Time and pressure.
I'd like to echo gondhir's thanks to teunc, though. They are great friends in times of need.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I haven't been doing a lot of starlet-gazing this year.
It'd prolly be a tossup among Jennie Garth, Andrea Corr, and Keira Knightley. I believe I ceded the latter to andrewwyld in exchange for Kate Beckinsale, though I'm not sure why.
I'll let Demosthenes have Eowyn, though, just acos that's the kind of Jedi hobbit I yam. :-)
(You were expecting me to jsut say Jennifer Love Hewitt, prolly.)
Edit: Amy Acker is qyoot in a librarianish sorta way. Golly, I also frogot to mention Kristin Kreuk! She's variably stunning, is wot.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Iraq. *sigh*
Edit, 00:25 CST Mon 29 Dec 2003 - gondhir demands I acknowledge scionofgrace for this, and sure he is an honorable dwarf. ;-)

36. Who did you miss?
I didn't shoot at anyone, honest!
I did take a hiatus from TEUNC in March, and missed them.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I couldn't possibly name a single new person. Here are some LJ friends and other people I first met this year, along with what's notable about them:

  • prolog - a tronkie doing some good work; his focus area is more formal than most of my students' and friends'

  • zaimoni - a former K-Stater, from the math department; a careful thinker, good to know

  • twinbee - a tronkie with broad interests and a sense of both the sublime and the silly

  • anglachel1 - another deep thinker (is there a pattern here?) and a fellow left-winger

  • yahvah - a tronkie, CS grad student, and one of only a handful of readers of Hebrew I know

  • f00dave - a Canadian tronkie with a deadly... mullethair dye job and a healthy dose of take-no-crap

  • kewldeaf - an Indian student who is pulling himself up by the bootstraps

  • wondergurl_77 - a brilliant young philosophy student and a rather good artist

  • kissmyascii - a woman with ferrets, a sharp wit, and some provocative LJ icons

  • celandineb - living proof that the pen is mightier

  • scionofgrace - one smart coonkie and a mad, mad, mad soprano to boot

  • vectorious - purveyor of puns and friend to the Wyld; an infrequent psotter

  • hfx_ben - one of the most consummate tronkies I have ever met

  • deire - a CS, another teunc gnubie I met in LJ, and a very small and harmlesscllo lass

  • phawkwood - one of the two non-teunc LJ friends I have met IRL; a firefighter and video tronkie

  • vretallin - the other of the two non-teunc LJ friends I have met IRL; a versatile tronkie and IT security expert

  • mostlyacat - mirabehn's hubby and a fellow happybara

  • erebrandir - a CS major turned history major, a good friend, and a thoughtful writer

  • koinonia - teunc's Nikki the Elder, a sweet and kind ldaz

  • starfish82 - a very funny but thoughtful Tolkien fan, author of lotr_msting

  • angelislington - a teunciferous, talented fangirl and something of a celebrity in LJ and IRL

  • andrewwyld - indescribably cllo dude, a fellow I can quite relate to (and he's humble, too!)

  • mirabehn - the kind lady who brought me to LJ

  • barahirion - Joshua of teunc, the two-handed minstrel and SLUT2

I should laso mention that this year I met Count Menelvagor, Lurking Laurie, and sui_degeneris in person for the first time.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2003:
Procrastination may be funny and teuncy sometimes, but on occasion it is a serious defect of will.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Hm, this is a tough question!
There's a battle ahead
Many battles are lost
But you'll never reach the end of the road
While you're travelling with me

How's that?

Thanks for reading!
I look forward to reading yours, if you haven't posted it already.
Laso, please feel free to psot reunctions, etc.

Fourth Day of Christmas
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wes­ley (1739)


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