Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas in Maine

Another nice Christmas in Maine, bordered by easy Jet Blue flights, then three days of good food by the fireside, punctuated by a giant bonfire in the field on the Solstice, as per tradition, and an unfortunate highway muffler-falling-off drama. A foot or two of snow made it all very wintery. J. and I had a wild turkey spotting (see below) but I'm still waiting to see a moose.

I actually flew back on Christmas Day, which didn't bother anyone but my mother who couldn't quite get her head around it. Invited S. and K. over for dinner but realized I had no wine and went walking through the quiet city, ran into R. (from the past) who just because he likes me walked with me up 6th Avenue to 20th Street, over to 8th Avenue and back and down 6th to Union Square East, then down to 8th Street over to Astor Place all to no avail. There simply is no wine on Christmas Day. We then shopped for food and said goodbye until we run into each other again, on my stoop. After a mutually cancelled dinner party, I happily began reading Absurdistan. Fun times.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back by popular demand

Happy New Year to Bobsy, Val, Jean and Pete and Sasha and O. Henry and Salsa and Ann and Ann and Ann, Stash, Cleo, Nicole, David L., Maura, Nell, Toby, LK, Shannon, Joanne P., Jeff G. Jeff O., Bruce, Betsy, Lily, Alice, Ann, Al, Krista, Casey, Steve, Penny, Carmella, Joan, Bob, Michael O., Michael P., Devin, Ann, Sylvia, Pat, Matt, Joanna, Roberta, Kevin, Philippe, Garrett, Todd L., Mary, Janine, Maura, Steve and Laura, Sayyid, Petra, Kim, Wendy, Kate, Marshall, Torrance, Charlene, Gabriel, JC, Daniel, Al, Margaret, Scott H., David, Kevin, Jonathan, Alice, Adam, Jose, Paul, Lev, Jochen, Hani, Ricky, Ruth, Mary Rae, Rae Ann, Don, Tamar, Richard, Becky, Steve, Steven, Peterson, Andrea, Jim, Doug, Alison, James and Leo.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Qubits: What I've learned so far today

Quantum computation relies on the ability to coherently manipulate the quantum state of qubits. However, unavoidable coupling to the environment gives the qubit a finite lifetime. It has been proposed that the use of a geometric phase (or Berry's phase, a topological phase that accumulates as an object traverses a path) should be more robust to the effects of decoherence. Leek et al. (p. 1889, published online 22 November) describe the observation of this geometric phase in a superconducting qubit, which they claim might bring fault-tolerant quantum computation a step closer. [from Science CiteTrack: This Week In Science e-mail newsletter]

Wikipedia tells me that a qubit is a unit of quantum information. Okay. In addition, "Benjamin Schumacher discovered a way of interpreting quantum states as information. He came up with a way of compressing the information in a state, and storing the information on a smaller number of states. This is now known as Schumacher compression. In the acknowledgments of his paper (Phys. Rev. A 51, 2738), Schumacher states that the term qubit was invented in jest, during his conversations with Bill Wootters.

In other news, unrelated, the purported "Word of the Year"" is "woot"!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sometimes I know how to pick 'em

It's been a long time since I'd gone to the movies alone. And maybe longer since I went with anyone. Anyway, I went to Angelika today to see The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Which was pretty much the perfect movie for today, for me, for now... It was, briefly, a really beautiful experience, not perfect, but visually amazing and mentally motivating. One's (anyone's) personal problems kind of fade away watching a vibrant person transformed into a trapped-in-his-own-body terminal existence. I'm pretty sure all 20 people in the audience were crying. And, like the best movies do, it transported and uplifed. The soundtrack was (Tom Waits, among others) spot on.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Calling Mr. Gehry

I need a treehouse. Well, not need.. like I need food and oxygen but I have in my head the rough outline for a treehouse or Tree House, set in the hilly woods of New England near the coast, set high among the oaks and maple forest, high enough to catch the sunlight streaming over the western hill (yes, western. I don't love morning sunlight so much. Not that I awaken or will awaken in the afternoon but you understand.)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ew: Eaten by Cats

Wow. This was exactly what I didn't need to read this early Sunday morning. I'm trying to type and eat my oatmeal while O. Henry and his new pal Sausalito (Salsa, for short) wrestle loudly in the bathtub. I picked up Salsa yesterday from Kitty Kind in order to give Hen a friend. Salsa's very cool and was easily the most popular at Petco yesterday (I kept having to tell people not to get too attached as she was coming home with me -- I really meant keep your kids' grubby hands off her).

Ok, this is ... um... fun. My photo of the late le Pescadou restaurant made it onto a nifty little site called (exclamation NOT mine) Schmap!! (with my permission) along with a nice description of the LATE and lamented restaurant which hasn't been there for months and months. Oh well. You'll see the photo if you allow the page to load... or just click here, which may be faster.

Okay, one more cat pic. I can't help it. Day #2 and I guess it looks like they'll get along just fine.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The New New.. New

After imbibing a pricey and strange lavendar martini at Five Points Restaurant* in Noho, A. and I traipsed in the cold to the opening ("Bowery Bash") party to celebrate the new New Museum of Contemporary Art. The crowd (decidedly downtown and upwardly striving) was a sea of rectangular designer glasses and women in variegated plumage, mostly in tones of black.

Everyone peered at each other's faces to see if the other was famous. Many were.. most were not. After milling about wondering where the art was, we found the elevator to the art. I can say now that, for me, the elevator (enormous and apple-green vibrant) was the best part of all of it.

The art? Hm, well, I'm no critic but I'm quite sure my cat created some of it, possibly in the throes of, well, throwing up. I did appreciate the gagglemess of chairs seen here.

I wish it well. The building, plopped onto the reluctantly gentrifying Bowery, is interesting in a "I'm obviously not from here, but am trying my best to fit in" way. I also wish Lisa Phillips, the director (with whom I worked briefly a long time ago at the Whitney -- she was a curator; I was a temp) all the best.

*Crappy website but a nice restaurant; try the truffle-infused wood oven pizzette with Sonoma teleme cheese. La di da.

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