In case you hadn’t caught it from the news, there’s a whole mass of political upheaval going on in Egypt at the moment. It seems there’s a number of countries in Africa going through some political turmoil – the Ivory Coast has a President who won’t step down after being elected out, Tunisia recently overthrew their government of 23 years, Sudan is voting to split into two separate countries… and now Egypt is boiling over. Tunisia barely featured on my news radar, despite the enormity of the occasion. Egypt is just that much bigger, I guess.
The last time I remember protests of this magnitude occurring was after Iran’s election. I guess that was a year and a half ago now; time flies. The reports coming out of Iran in that tumultuous period were very intense, and what I’m reading about Egypt seems to be in the same vein. My heart goes out to the protesters, who put themselves in danger’s way to stand up for themselves. (Perhaps its an Australian thing to root for the underdog? Is taking sides with protesters against a government a form of “tall poppy syndrome”? Random thought…) Who knows what the outcome of these protests will be. As some commentators are reporting, the fall of the Egyptian government could be a catalyst to some major changes in the Middle East. The Mubarak regime has been strongly supported by the US for quite a while now, and a complete change in government could signal quite a shift in the ties between the two countries. I’ll be following the developments closely.
Otherwise, I had a fairly good day. My research work is taking me to the AdS/CFT correspondence. It may be time to sit down and work through the physics behind it, and figure out how to use it properly. I suspect that that might take a month or two, but in the long run, it would probably be time well spent.
This afternoon, I went with a friend to the Cornell University Chorale. I mentioned back in December, maybe November, that I might go along this semester, and I figured that it’s a Friday afternoon, why not? We worked on the Durufle Requiem, which is absolutely beautiful. It’s a Requiem mass (Catholic mass for the dead), largely inspired by Gregorian chant. I discovered a few things. Firstly, that I’m rather rusty at this sight-singing thing Secondly, that I still have excellent pitch. Thirdly, that I still really enjoy singing in a choir. Fourthly, that I’m way out of singing practise, and that singing too much for the moment strains my voice. Given how much I enjoyed it, I’m planning to continue going, but alas, their concert this semester is scheduled neatly on top of the APS April meeting, and so I will be unable to perform. Regardless, I have a few friends who go, and it would be nice to get my voice back into shape again. It’s on a Friday afternoon, and I’ve missed singing. So, I’ve joined a choir.
After choir, I ran home and had dinner. A friend had invited me to go bowling, and so I ran off to the bowling lane afterwards. I’m fairly hopeless at bowling, but I enjoy it every now and again. I played three games, and actually did fairly well (for me). The first game was a personal record, 124. The second game was still decent for me, with 112. The third game, on the very first frame, my first ball knocked over the far right pin, and the second ball knocked over the far left pin. My friends thought this was awesome, and gave me 100 bonus points I started to get tired on the third game though, and rolled my first gutter of the evening. In fact, I rolled a number of them. I had four or five frames in a row that went “Gutter, spare”. This is not conducive to getting a good score, alas. My final score was 117. One of the people there got the best score I’ve ever seen in my lane (I’ve heard of people bowling perfect 300′s, but it’s never happened against me!), scoring 164. I was impressed!
After bowling, I went ice skating – the GPSA had a free skating event. A number of people I knew had turned up, and there was free hot chocolate and cookies and mini chocolate muffins on the side of the ice. I heartily approved of hot chocolate with ice skating. I rather enjoyed the skating, and even managed to remember how to do some basic jumps. It’s a pity that I favour counter-clockwise movement on iceskates; there’s a lot of things that I can do counter-clockwise that I have no idea how to do in the opposite direction. Regardless, I enjoy being able to do basic skating stuffs.
After skating, I came home and decided that a hot drink was in order. I made myself a nice mug of hot chai tea, and cracked open the Christmas present that one of my Canadian aunts had given me. It was a box of indulgencies, sticks of chocolatey goodness to dip into hot drinks and have melt in your mouth. Mmmmmm! I should enjoy those more often, I think!
This weekend, I don’t expect to get much school work done. I have a D&D game on Saturday, Yoga on Sunday morning, and swing dance class on Sunday afternoon. I want to get a bunch of programming done for the Lights Off project (finish everything up if I can, so that I can step away from it completely), and I should also pull together stuff for the EYH conference that I am a conference chair for. If I can get those two things out of the way this weekend, I’ll be happy.
I feel a little split at the moment. On the one hand, school has just started back up, and it’s an opportunity to be social and see people that I haven’t seen for a bit over a month. This is reinforced by being in a new building with a new group of people, and I feel that I should engage with my new environment for a while. On the other hand, I’m still feeling a need for some deep introspection at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow evening I won’t post here, and instead I’ll just sit down and write.
Life moves on. And apparently I’ve just written 1100 words without barely thinking. I wonder if I’ll be able to keep that up when it comes to writing my thesis Hope you’re well, wherever you are.