...nothing is left to guesswork.

Recent Work:
An investigation of connected exceptive constructions and scalarity
Except-phrases and "only" presentation notes
Donkey Anaphora and Variable-Free Semantics

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"Emmie...why are you up so early?"

Friday, April 21, 2006

"There'll be time enough to sleep when we're dead tired."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today's Wikipedia picture of the day. Pollution is so cute.

Inane post while I wait to end my 72+hour day.

The girl who took an appointment for the study today and then failed to show up has caused me much misery. MISERY!

I had lunch and conversation with a couple of people from my phonetics/phonology class and it was nice. I like smart and sassy people who talk about smart things.

Nathan is making me have dinner with him tonight at Versailles...for the third time this week. I should have never told him about it. Fried plantains are tasty but so is variety, which I don't get exposed to as a weenie vegetarian.

I've had two Red Bulls today. Three coffees. Four nights to finish work for Tuesday's presentation.

I like doxastically possible worlds.

Ugh. Nothing but caffeinated beverages are keeping me going right now. And an intense desire to find out exactly what Friederike Moltmann is going to say next.

EDIT She just called. Estimated time of departure just pushed forward by thirty minutes. Waaaaah.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I stubbed my toe while walking to the lab this morning on some sort of metal crate thing that I had completely failed to see in front of me. I think I may have broken the toe; it's certainly not looking very happy.

That's ok, I didn't like that one anyway.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Conversations I've had with my cell phone: Part I.

Me: Cell phone, are you going to wakey me later?
Cell phone: (looks demure)
Me: Ok, that's a yes then.

And wouldn't you know it, but it did vibrate jut 10 minutes later. Perhaps I should give the cell phone a name, like Rosinante.

I have a feeling that even if I hadn't been awoken by the buzzing, the pain in my shoulders would have gotten me up still. I've developed some sort of lovely disorder where my shoulders are so tense that when I try to sleep, they cause me enough pain to wake me within twenty minutes. How does one achieve such a feat? The tried-and-true method of no sleep + stress + more no sleep + more stress. Repeat as necessary for the duration of nine months.

No student but Emma talks in her sleep to her cell phone. Oooh. Binding.
Why didn't anybody tell me that comments were disabled? (Or rather, reserved for registered members only?) Problem has been noted and fixed; I think Blogger sets it as default, and it didn't occur to me to check until just now because I think of important things when I haven't slept for a good three days. I'm looking to beat last semester's 9-day-sleep-deprivation streak.

All I want to do right now is take a nap, wake up around 9, get some Irish Breakfast tea with milk and sugar, and read Friederike Moltmann's paper on exceptives. But there is costume shopping, my final rehearsal for Solo Performance, mandatory lunch and 'getting-to-know-you' session for Phonetics/Phonology (why???) and then work. I wish I could take semantics classes and semantics classes only so that class as a whole would not feel like a terrible burden. It's ok. I think the liquor store is open so I can get some of my favorite energy drinks now. Hooray.

Cooperative housing at Brown: I just put in an application to live there next year.
Some time ago, I posted about a talk given by John Hawkins, uploaded the audio recording of the talk to the Internet Archive and shared it with everyone. Well, I just checked back at the Archive to see how the file is doing, only to be pleasantly suprised to see that someone has expanded the options for the file (from my one dinky WAVE): see here. So thanks to whoever did that, apologies still for the original recording being rather shabby.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I read Kai von Fintel's "Exceptive Constructions" this weekend (after another stupidly long battle with the USC library system) and am overwhelmed. Now to think about what exceptives and "only" have to do with each other...I find free exceptives very interesting, especially since they seem to be more lenient in what the exception may be.

I'm also finding that I have a hard time sleeping. I've been having nightmares about...graduate school, the hog industry, showing up late for class, being chased by lambda, and the solo performance show next week:

And unfortunately, I'm much more interested in exceptives than rehearsing.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

I went to YouTube, looking to see what a search for "Eben Moglen" would get me, and instead got sidetracked when I saw a trailer for "An Inconvenient Truth". I thought Al Gore was a sort of tool-ish candidate way back when...but 6 years later, younger Bush and his crew have done and let happen plenty of nasty events, and I'm learning all about Al Gore and liking him quite a bit. Anyways, this movie is hopefully not one of those faux-documenteries a la Michael Ruppert's Peak Oil flick. Here are the opening weekend dates:

May 24 - New York and Los Angeles
June 2 - Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington D.C.
June 9 - Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Denver, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Diego, Miami, Baltimore, Portland
June 16 - in theaters everywhere

Even, only, also and but are coming soon...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A quick word on the status of my decision, since I sort of baited everyone with the previous post and then never actually said what the decision was. I've decided on Brown, which I had my concerns about, but which I think I will grow to love. I was a little worried about Providence being not so much a city like NYC or Montreal, but I think having lived in cities all my life, the tranquility will be nice. Besides Polly Jacobson being there, which was my primary motivation for looking at the program in the first place, there were a couple of other factors that made me like Brown: its location on the East Coast and Richard Heck. I have been trying to really dig into Frege since my second semester in Germany, so it will be nice to have someone like Heck around. So yup, Providence in the fall. I'm giddy and excited, but to be honest, I'm mostly just relieved that I don't have to kill myself with anxiety everyday over the decisions. I felt a bit sad declining McGill's offer because I really did find everyone I met very delightful and worry that I missed an opportunity to be exposed to many different flavors of linguistics, but direct compositionality is important to me, even though I've become very interested in PPIs and NPIs lately (the influence of Elena and her seminar), not that I couldn't have had both. The other concern I had was that the courseload was just so heavy at McGill and while I like classes, I have been taking advanced and graduate courses for two years now and think that I would like to have the time to focus on particular issues I am interested in as soon as possible. I actually do hope that I get to see the people I met at McGill again. I'm disappointed that I won't get to work with Chris Barker as I think our interests were very similar, but I think being at Brown will at least give me to opportunity to perhaps interact occasionally with him.

Despite all these feelings, though, I'm thrilled. Brown has been sort of a dream for me ever since I read Polly's VFS paper last year, and it's all still very surreal that I'll be going there now.

Unrelated: I'm going to post soon (hopefully soon) some thoughts I have about even, only, also and exceptives. But oh! Rehearsal time...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


...have been made. But it would be too late to go into it all now, so I'll leave off until tomorrow to reveal and dote.

For now, I'd like to bitch and moan a bit about the library services at USC. I have been trying to track down the holy trio of papers on exceptives: Moltmann, von Fintel, Gajewski. Certainly, I am understanding that the Gajewski is hard to get ahold of, it being a dissertation and whatnot. But the other two are published in well-known and widely-circulated journals. It is annoying enough that for whatever reason a copy of each of the articles run $30 a pop. And I had just about gotten mildly excited to go to Doheny and make copies from the paper journals myself...EXCEPT: Doheny has all but two volumes of NLS...and guess which two? Oh, could it be 1 and 2??? Ok, but surely USC has a recent enough collection of L&P volumes. This I wasn't able to find out because L&P is locked away in the Hoose Philosophy Library which closes at 5 pm Mondays through Fridays (and which appropriately closes for good on the weekends; can't have kids actually pursuing knowledge on the weekends! then who will go to the football games and get plastered?). (Oh, related annoying fact: Doheny, which houses the majority of USC's books and journals, closes at 5 pm on Fridays.) Doesn't anybody think that perhaps some students have work + class schedules that keep them occupied 8 am - 7 pm Mondays through (yes) Saturdays? Is it so unreasonable to think that my one and only joy after a long week might be to comfort of being able to read?

Here endeth the bitching and moaning, which I was told not to do since it is useless to focus on silly things that will soon not matter.

For all I dislike about USC, I should also mention, the faculty in the Linguistics department have been amazing and have made days like today (and many even worse) surprisingly tolerable. As the number of days to graduation grow shorter, my excitement to leave a place where I have found few intellectual compatriots grows greater, but so too does the feeling that I will very much miss the few people that made these four years worth remembering.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Dear Los Angeles,

Just saw the weather forecast for the next 10 days.

Please stop raining. Somebody has to take to bus to school at 7 am six days a week from Venice and then back at 7 pm. It's bad enough as it is without being wet all day with no hope of dryness, not even when I get home due to living in a shed. And now, I have a nasty puncture wound on my foot where a girl at a concert wearing high heels stomped. If you could ask your scenesters to chill out and stop being a pain in the ass (or foot! har har), that would be nice. Also, please stop raining. The wetness is bound to get that nasty wound infected.


Friday, April 07, 2006

As promised!

If you've been waiting by the seat of your pants (is that the phrase? I'm no good with those) for the promised upload of the Hawkins talk, aren't you pleased that you regularly look at this blog? I tried to host it on USC space myself, but that I'm hosting too much as it is there. It's probably a better idea to have it the Internet Archive store it.

The audio isn't terribly great; I was using the Griffin iTalk microphone on my iPod and sitting to the left, so it's fairly echo-y. Also, it didn't occur to me to do this until after Elaine Andersen presented the speaker, so you miss out on her introducing. But that's ok. I heard that she had someone videotape the whole talk as well, so if you really really want to have the full experience, email her and get the goods.

For now, here's Jack Hawkins' talk from yesterday: Building Bridges in the Language Sciences. (Sorry the URL is so long...I got very confused at some of the things Archive asked me about.)

OH! One last thing: the file format, as you may soon find out, is WAVE. If that's in any way offensive to you, comment your preference and I'll get on top of that.
Aloha friends and neighbors. Jack Hawkins spoke yesterday about interdisiplinarity and the language sciences. I was lucky enough to catch an audio recording of the entire thing which Professor Hawkins kindly gave me permission to share. So, stay tuned. There's more yet to come!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Frege Hair Color Center (huh?)

Originally uploaded by Nat Hansen.
Yes. Somehow the words "Frege", "hair", and "color" all are related enough for there to be some sort of center where all their semantic values compose with one another. I'm not sure how exactly, but I'm dying to visit this place now. It's near UCLA and easily accessible via Big Blue Bus.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I spent most of this weekend tinkering about with Objective-C. We've gotten the parser functioning pretty well and have even made a primitive front-end for it in Cocoa. The UI helper in Cocoa is really sweet...it's so easy, it reminds me of those 'make your own interactive computer program' programs that we used in middle school. Two really strange problems arose yesterday. First, we were trying to get the text from the NSTextView (which was linked to the text field in our front-end) to store temporarily in a tempfile to feed to the parser. And hooray! We seemed to have found the perfect C function to do this: fmemopen. Except, as we found out after 15 minutes of trying to figure out why it wouldn't recognize fmemopen, we didn't have this or open_mem or anything useful available to us over in BSD-land. So we searched and searched and searched for something; thanks to the internet, it only took us the afternoon. There were some other problems; thinking we had to declare a variable that Yacc already provided; and! (my favorite) forgetting to mention EOF anywhere in the program. But once those things were fixed, the program ran nicely and spat out cute abstract parse trees to the run log.

The other strange problem came while we were implementing the evaluation methods so that we could run [prog eval] and have, say, add1(0) return 1 instead of ADD1 ( NUMBER ) . The implementation went fairly smoothly and straightforwardly; there was one SNAFU where we couldn't inherit any of NSMutableArray's methods in the subclass of it that we created, but we just hacked through that problem by creating the array in the subclass and then creating our own method for adding an object. So we worked thought the errors that the compiler brought up (most of them, perhaps all, were silly things like forgetting to import a header file). Any then we finally had built the program and it ran! Except that add1(0) returned...4! 4! That's right, 4! So we ran the debugger and ran the debugger and ran the debugger...and we couldn't figure out why at one point of the program's run, it had taken the value 0...but then when it had the add1 function applied to it, it became 4! It was maddening. We tried everything, until finally we noticed that the program worked as it should when we type-casted the value as int. And then add1(0) returned 1. Hooray!

One other thing I should mention. I was at first terribly enthusiastic about Objective-C when I first started tinkering with it last weekend. It doesn't feel as clunky and idiosyncratic as C++ (it's dynamic-ness is really nice, too). But then, working with it extensively this weekend, I saw that Objective-C really is still an imperative language and an object-oriented one. Actually, I think OOPLs are pretty neat, and I am excited to have some time to look at OCAML this summer to see a more functional way of doing OOP. And Objective-C has fantastic advantages and is usually fun to work with. But some of the more complicated methods were such a pain in the ass to implement, and I see all over again why functional programming is such a wonder. From my incredibly CS ignorant point of view, functional programming languages seem much easier than imperative ones. And I don't mean that they're better, I just mean that one needs to be so precise and meticulous with a language like C...in ways that Scheme never requires you to be. In Scheme, you need only to think about what the most efficient levels of abstraction are and which algorithm will serve your function best. The worst that can happen in a Scheme program is an endless loop. C has all sorts of goofy errors waiting for you to make them. Functional programming is all about abstract ideas and what must be a Platonic universe, where imperative programming seems to really involve the programmer with the machine. Imperative programming is more of a challenge, and I suppose that's why it intrigues me.