This discussion group is for friends of the infamous Bartacus

Saturday, July 15, 2006


New York City. Must Live There. Wow, what a great trip. Hung out with some cool cats like Mike Didonna, Andy McKinney, Matt Keenis, and lots of Dana's hip girlfriends. So we went to a bunch of tourist places including the Gugenheim, the MoMA, the 'Body' museum (so creepy and cool, so cool), empire state buliding, etc. Perhaps the highlight was an intense frisbee toss in central park with Andy and Mike. So much sweat. Got some good bud and generally chilled. Of course, its harder to relax in New York than many places on this planet, even on vacation, but i feel i did a pretty good job. The Dartmouth course and my brief visit to NYC left me with a valuable perspective pertaining to my work here at UC Davis: finish it efficiently.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Dartmouth Doldrums 

Hello all. I'm writing from the Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College. Its in its second week and has been great so far. The first week's topic was neural prosthetics, and thsi week we are learning about 'conscious and unconscious cognition'. I got alot more out of the first week, and I've been a little sick this week. There has been alot o drinking and partying here which has left many of us sleep deprived. Everybody is cool, though, and I've met some smart people. Overall, the course has been very thought provoking and illuminating since the topics are not those with which I'm eminently familiar.

Went to Thoreau's Walden pond over the weekend. It was sobering to stand in the area where his cabin was 170 years ago. I was alone which made the trip a very solitary experience. Then I went to Boston and met up with my buddy Tucker Ezell. We hung out & walked around Harvard, which is huge and very impressive. The sidewalks thee are old brick and have depressed grooves where so many people have walked since 16whatever. My great grandfather may have walked along those paths too.

Been hanging out with my good friend Will senning too. He's just over the hill in Royalton VT, finishing up law studies. Saw Mary jo Schafer too, but only briefly...

Dana and I are meeting up in NYC this weekend. I cant wait to see her and chill amongst the buzz and tremor of Manhattan. Unfortunately, despite passing my doctoral candidacy exam just before coming, I have had a hard time relaxing. Such a shame, but stress seems to follow me everywhere nowadays. Canoeing on the white river yesterday was relaxing, but only for a minute or two... I need to get out in the woods with no baggage for a good week.


Monday, April 17, 2006

our perfect weekend at sugarbowl 

another amazing powder day at sugarbowl. That makes 12 of the last 13 days I've skiied powder days, and I typically go only once a week. What this underscores is the incredible snowfall Tahoe has experienced this spring. Its snowing all the time up there, and raining down here.

Dana and I spend a very relaxing weekend in the Sugarbowl lodfe. our room overlloked Mt. Disney, the first mountain in california to have a chairlift. It was amazing. then it started to snow, and I mean really started to snow with no sign of letting up. A total blizzard, with white-out conditions ensued. This continued for over 24 hours, blanketing the mountain in new powder. 4 feet accumulated at the top of mount Lincolns. FOUR FEET. skiing was pretty difficult, it was easy to get stuck in 2-3 feet of snow on runs that normally had a gentle pitch to them. Getting stuck in snow like that requires a big energy expendature to get out of. Also, falling over was pretty commonplace and was also difficult to recover from.

But you could ski down anything that wasn't closed because of avalanche danger. Skiing down was like surfing on air. its such a cool feeling, so pure and graceful and atheletic.

plus, my dad paid for the whole thing in advance without telling us. What a surprise!

It was our perfect weekend...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Neuroscience annual meeting, Washington DC 

Just got back from the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC. It was a good meeting that left me energized, unlike some of the others I've been to where I come back drained and exhausted. I feel grateful that I was able to go--its somewhat expensive and often without tangible results. Still, I feel that if I want, I can play this game of science, and enjoy it too. It is simply a matter of being in the right headspace.

Got to see some old friends including my buddy Jeff who is living in Arlington with his wife Lee. We had some good times together including one night where Jeff started inhaling beers. He was drinking like two or 3 to my one, and I wasn't a slouch.

DC was nice. I spent some time in the museums with my camera, which was fun.

Anyway, I'm back to the grind now. Thanksgiving will arrive soon, and I'll be thankful for that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Well, I'm here on the northwest coast of Spain, for the European Conference on Visual Perception. Its been quite an experience, one that I'm not particularly eager to end. I'll have photos up soon (yeah right). Ok, ok, I've been pretty delinquent in updating my site (what's it been, like 6 months? 'cmon dude!), and I'm not sure why. I'll have several new galleries up soon, though. I'm a bit lonely over here, so if anybody feels like dropping me a line, I do encourage you to do so.

Oh, and my paper did finally get published!:
Orientation tuning, but not direction selectivity, is invariant to temporal frequency in primary visual cortex.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


For the past some months, I have been living under a cloud of pressure and looming obligation. But now, with the completion of my final final, I have a sense of liberty that is, well, quite liberating. I am long overdue for an extended session of introspection to determine where I am in my life and what else I want to experience. I can honestly say that the last such period was the summer of 1998 (was it really that long ago?).

Then I was unemployed, living on a sandbar in the middle of a rushing mountain stream in Vermont. My island was somewhat smaller than my tent, which was staked out so the water swept under the fly, but I stayed dry. I brought only three items: a pillow, a sleeping bag, and my portable thoreau, which included walden. I read Walden for the first time down there, the summer after my first year in college, while it rained and rained for two and a half weeks. It was inspiring, motivating, empowering. Simplify, Simplify, Walden read. These words resonated strongly and out of nowhere, I had the motivation to study the brain, about which I new nothing. From where this motivation came, I still have no idea...

But perhaps its now time for another spell as Crusoe on my private island up in the mountains of summertime Vermont. You see, I'm feeling pretty burned out and uninspired right now, and I need a vacation...

Monday, May 23, 2005


Took the train to Oakland last friday. Dana and I met at Jack London Square, got some dinner and went to another awesome show. Bill Evans and Bela Fleck with others played at Yoshi's. We were lucky to get tickets, but got good seats and basked in the bewildering virtuosity of the musicians. Bass, Drums, Sax, Fiddle and Banjo, the sound was full, and for such a small place, the sound balance was actually very impressive & not overbearing. Dana loved it too!

I first started trying to see as much good music as possible when I was in Massachusetts. The Pioneer Valley (Amherst-Northampton) are unmatched in the spectrum and affordable of music they provide (especially for students), but the Bay Area (including Davis) has allowed me to continue the tradition of seeing lots of music. I've probably been to 10-12 venues here, and have been able to see lots of big name musicians.

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