Geoffrey Miller and David Byrne


, Kelly, and myself headed over to the Institute of Contemporary Art to attend a talk given by evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller and David Byrne of Talking Heads as well as his solo work in music, photography, and other art.  The topic was “Connections Between Biology and Culture, Sex and Beauty, Genes and Creativity”.  I am not ashamed to admit that the reason I attended this event was simply to hear Byrne talk, as it is likely the closest I will get to a Talking Heads concert…   But I was pleasantly surprised that both lecturers were very entertaining.

Miller’s talk seemed to be a quick overview of some of his research, not getting to terribly technical, but still conveying the important points.  His main hypothesis centered around creative expression (including traditional forms like music, fine art, etc, but also including things like ornamentation) and how it effects gene selection through mate selection.  Adam was a little annoyed that he did some hand-waving regarding some of the genetics, but it was a 20 minute talk at an art museum, so I gave him some latitude.  He totally inspired me to check out his book, The Mating Mind, to further explore these ideas.

David Byrne was actually kind of surprising…  He began the talk explaining how before he got into a band he was powerfully nervous in public settings and interactions, but he said he had improved over the years.  I’m not sure if this is what cause his very nervous presentation, or if it was just newer material he wasn’t too comfortable yet (or both), but it was a little distracting at first.  Once I got used to his delivery though, I found his talk to be very interesting..  He explored the art world in general, and how the actual art products worth is negligible, and any value we assign to these products are often based on more abstract feelings and ideas.  What was really interesting was when he started to explore ideas of how “art rules” change as technology allows easier reproduction.  How realism was de-emphasized in painting when technologies like the camera allowed us to easier reproduce real-world scenes with the push of a button.  It was more a collection of observations than any kind of scientific hypothesis, but he’s an artist, so I didn’t expect the latter… :)

I bought a copy of Byrne’s new book, Arboretum, which is a collection of pencil sketches of mental maps.  The maps are often digaramming nonsensical connections, and the publishers did an amazing job of reproducing these sketches, they actually look like they were drawn into a blank book in pencil.  I was fortunate enough to be able to personally thank David for the talk and have him autograph (and add a little abstract sketch to) my copy of the book..  All in all it was pretty awesome.

What a Birthday!

On Saturday, I turned 30, and thanks to my lovely girlfriend, my family, and my friends, it was a great weekend!  On Friday we hung out out with friends at

‘s place…  We played all kinds of board games and snacked on delicious food prepared by Adam..  As board games can be, it was tense at times, but I hope everyone had a good time.. :P 

bought me a Cake Batter flavored ice cream cake from J.P. Lick’s which everyone enjoyed, especially me!

Saturday morning, Corinna woke up early and made me brunch!  I usually wake up several hours before her on Saturday’s, and I sure as hell don’t usually get treated to awesome bacon and french toast!  It was really awesome being able to just kick back and relax while someone else did the cooking for a change!   I also opened some gifts and cards I received in the mail..  My parents got me the Talking Heads Brick, which is badass!  I also got another season of South Park from

 which rules…  Then, for dinner, Corinna had another ace up her sleeve, taking me to the wonderful Grill 23 for dinner, which was fantastic…  What is better than the gift of meat?  Nothing.    After we got home we enjoyed the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who, and all was right in the world…

Sunday we just hung out and caught Les Ordres with the film club, which was pretty good…  Thanks to everyone for such a great birthday!

I am a Genius

This may be considered a spoiler, but really I’m dissecting something that happens in the first 10 seconds of last night’s episode of Lost, and it has nothing to do with the overall plot of the episode, so read it at your discretion.

I was watching Lost last night, and at the beginning a new character pulls out a CD and puts it in the CD player. I saw the cover artwork and identified it as Talking Heads “Speaking in Tongues”, but when the CD started playing, it was Petula Clark. A look over at Lostpedia, however, confirms that other people agree with me..

I also noticed that it was a DualDisc, which is a pretty recent technology, and the Heads’ catalog was recently released on DualDisc. Someone over at the ‘pedia, however, said it was a recent Son Volt disc, and I defer to their geekiness. Regardless, both slip-ups seem too egregious, and must have been intentional… What they mean, however, I don’t know.

Hi, I’ve got a tape I wanna play

I did something I haven’t done in a long time last night: fell asleep with the television on. But that’s OK, and it might have been a semi-consious decision, because I had Stop Making Sense in. I learned something interesting about that disc last night: It loops all on it’s lonesome. I woke up, it was still on, so I figured I was asleep for less than 2 hours. I finally looked at a clock, and it had been 5 hours.

It also seems that I am more likely to wake up to Once in a Lifetime than any other song (3 times).

Did you ever wake up and feel like you couldn’t move?

Missing enough to feel alright…

Studying for my calc exam later today, but honestly, I think I am as prepared as I am gonna get. I have been doing problems for the past hour and change, and I am going to continue to do so until the exam at 4… I hate to say this, but I feel way more confident about this exam than my last, so… It doesn’t help that I have been doing really well on the quizzes of late. Maybe I can actually pull this class off for a change..


I had a great time today doin’ the family thing…. We got up at 6am, before my mother had to go to work, so we could have “Christmas Morning”… The family was really split as to whether or not to wake up early; I was teetering (I think our family tradition was neat, but no-one other than my father seemed to want to wake up at 6 to do it).

I am very thankful, I can’t think of another thing I could have received, and everyone I gave gifts to seemed to be very pleased. While some people criticze the gift-exchange part of this holiday, I think it gets too much flack…. Yes, we shouldn’t be so product-oriented, but it is a great feeling to give and to receive.

As far as the receiving end goes, I received many DVDs, a bunch of CDs I wanted (Including 3 Talking Heads discs), and a TINI Board, which has little practical justification for me, but it totally for fun. Regular readers know that the TINI is the basis for the new drink hardware, so it gives me a non-production platform to play on, and I also have a few other ideas for fun things to do with it… The only way to install software on it (other than the shell) is via FTP, so I need to go out tomorrow and score a hub or a crossover cable so I can start playing around with it in earnest.

I truly hope everyone had a wonderful day today, and if you didn’t… Drop me a line, maybe we can make up for it… I have a good deal of happiness to go around… :)


“Burning Down the House” is on the radio, and like, it sounds strange. My Roommate, Jon Parise and I were trying to figure out what was wrong with it. At first, it sounded like it was running about 10% faster than it should be, but then Jon pointed out that while the vocals were weird, the song was musically right. So we agreed that it is probably a different vocal effect on the radio edit.

The planetarium was fun last night, and afterwards we got to climb the 60 stairs to the observatory atop the Science Center. Unfortunately, the center is VERY close to the (spoiled) heart of Rochester, so there was alot of light pollution, which sucked.

After the planetarium, we came back to the dorms and watched my new Pulp Fiction DVD. It is the canadian version of the DVD, which has a deleted scenes reel that the US version lacks. Via mail-order, they were the same price, so it was a no-brainer.

Recently CSH voted to ask 3 professors to become advisors, and they all accepted. 2 of them, along with one of our existing advisors, are coming up on floor for dinner and a house meeting…. Should be groovy.