Welcome to in transit, a lame attempt at a homepage by Mark Danielson. This site contains a regular journal, photography, rants and other miscellaneous stuff. However, it does not contain information about quantum nonlocality.

Now, if you're still here after that, if you can read this, you're either accessing the site through a device like a screen-reader, have a very old graphical browser or are using a text browser like Lynx (university physics geeks, you're the cause of that first paragraph). You may want to consider downloading a graphical browser that complies with Web standards, such as Mozilla, Netscape 7 or Internet Explorer 6. (Then you'll get to see what this page is supposed to look like.)

By the way, if you have any suggestions on how to make this site more accessible, please e-mail me at mrbula@nonlocality.com.


My camera died this evening. This is very difficult for me.


It'll be a day or so before I'm really able to write a review for it, but this evening, before I go to bed, I feel obligated to say The Quiet American is the best drama I've seen on the big screen in at least a year. There's something to be said for the argument that good movies should haunt their viewers for a while, and I suspect I'll be thinking about this one for some time.

 ) ) ) 

In other news, I finally finished Fast Food Nation this evening. It was very good, but, again, more on that some other time. The next book I'll crack will be Vox, a short novel Sarah leant me more than half a year ago.

former roommates

For the sake of brevity, not to mention this evening's reading time, I'm going to try to compress last week's highlights into one paragraph: Tuesday ended with dinner at Tucci Benucch with Heather and Rich. The food was okay, but the waitress was overly helpful and reminded me of my stalker in high school. Wednesday brought a trip to the Lagoon to catch Adaptation with Di. The movie was really good, but on the way out of the theater I stepped on a patch of ice and hit the pavement with all the grace of a drugged-out rockstar. The evening rebounded after I limped up to my apartment and got a call from Sarah. We ended up talking for almost two hours, a little about the stupid stuff going on in my life, but mostly about her increasingly difficult work situation. (Note to self: I have nothing to complain about.) Thursday I had a minor breakdown, but I got over it. Friday brought a two-and-a-half hour conversation with Lisa, who I really need to call more often1. The call ranged from quiet to convoluted, pretty much par for the course for our discussions. (Turns out her boyfriend once dated a girl I lusted after in high school. Oooh, this is turning into high school flashback week. Or not.) Saturday brought a get-together with old college friends2, trips to Cokato and the Lone Tree Bar & Grill, and more alcohol than any of our graduated bodies should ever attempt to handle. Sunday brought about ten of us crashing in a room at the Crowne Plaza Northstar, former roommates making strange noises in the darkness, a day-long headache, and a plasma donor collapsing at Baja Torilla Grill.

I do not expect the coming week to be quite as interesting.

 ) ) ) 

I talked to my brother over the course of the week, too, but can't mention the details, as that's his business. That said, good for him.

 ) ) ) 

As it happens, it turned out to be a good week to relaunch the quote book:

Di, 19 Feb, on her ex buying her a DVD player for Christmas: "I get a little disturbed whenever he buys me something electronic."

Tony, 22 Feb, on recreation during his schooling: "I don't know about you guys, but I didn't drink much in college."

Tony, 22 Feb (again), on visiting the largest city in Ohio: "I thought Ohio was the main city."

Jason and Tony, 22 Feb, discussing Tony flying in from Portland to wire Jason's basement:

Jason: "I'll pay for your ticket."

Tony: "You serious?"

Jason: "I have to talk to the wife first."

Jason and me, 22 Feb, after a cute, curly-haired red-head walked by at the Lone Tree:

Me: "Is it wrong for me to say Chelsea Clinton got hot at some point?"

Jason: "That's completely fucked up."


This turned out to be an unexpectedly rough evening. I'm not really in the mood to write about it now, and am probably noting it here just to make sure I force myself to write about it later.

There are a lot of things I need to get out of my system.


I completely forgot about the anti-war march going on just a few blocks from my home today. It probably would've been interesting to see, although I doubt I would've marched. While I'm completely and totally opposed to going to war with Iraq (on both an ethical and financial basis), I doubt I would've felt comfortable surrounded by a mass of people assembled under such circumstances. I suspect for every two or three people marching against the war because they felt it was immoral or unjustified there'd be another one or two intent on using the march to promote their own agendas.

This may seem an odd thing to say, but I hope I'm just being cynical and presumptuous. Still, using past (college-based) protest experience as a guide, I suspect I'd begin having problems with other protesters as soon as I started asking them why they're against the war.

 ) ) ) 

Not to do two MetaFilter links in a row, but Google just bought Pyra Labs, the makers of Blogger. Wow.

 ) ) ) 

I got phone calls from three different people this afternoon. All three calls happened within ten minutes of each other, and all three went unanswered as I was in the shower.

My timing is spectacular. It must be a gift.


it20030214 - Friday - Valentine's Day 

A minor dissertation on a dim holiday, presented in seven parts. Or eight.

 ) ) ) 

Part 1: The Disclaimer

I got past being bitter about Valentine's day quite a few years ago. Now dressing up in black on this most Hallmark of holidays is more good recreation than anything else, a chance to pester and annoy all those lovebirds fluttering about in red sweaters and button-down shirts.

For the most part, today was a fun day.

 ) ) ) 

Part 2: Cubicle Grazing at Work

I picked up a candy heart from the bowl on his desk. "Hmmm..."

"What does it say?"


"That's not funny."

 ) ) ) 

Part 3: On Being Single

I'd be lying if I told people I'm perfectly fine being by myself. That said, if I removed the adverb and simply said I'm fine being by myself, that would be a true statement. Despite most of my friends being married or in serious relationships, and despite occasional feelings that it would be good to have someone to share things with, I'm really not interested in trying to get into a relationship right now. Indeed, it often seems my friends and family are more interested in getting me together with someone than I am myself. But really, I'm 27, which isn't that old, and I'm planning on going back to school someday. Do I really need to be worried that I'm not seeing someone? I'm sure my folks would disagree, but I don't think so.

Some day I'm sure I'll care, but for whatever reason, that day is not today.

 ) ) ) 

Part 4: On Wearing Black

I originally had a moderately interesting story here, but it dealt too much with work, so it's gone.

 ) ) ) 

Part 5: Parents

I got a Valentine's Day card from my mom. On the cover was a picture of a dog giving directions on how to give one's self a hug.

 ) ) ) 

Part 3.5: How Not to Meet Someone Online

Despite not caring about being single, and despite my proclaimed indifference towards the subject of relationships, I still venture online every now and then to check out personals ads. This tends to be brought on by weeknight boredom or a sudden aversion to housework, neither of which are really good reasons to try to meet someone.

To say I've gotten responses to ads I've posted is somewhat misleading. The first time I posted an ad it was with the intention of it being up for just a few minutes while I went to search for it. I don't remember all the details, but I was living with Heather at the time and we somehow got sidetracked onto a very rare conversation. (Which is to say, conversations of any length between Heather and I tended to be relatively rare.) The conversation lasted only 15 or 20 minutes, but by the time I returned to my computer my ad had already garnered a response. I yanked the ad right away, of course, but the next day decided to reply. The respondee and I talked frequently over the next few weeks and eventually we decided to meet for lunch. In the end, she turned out to be kind of interesting—but not in what I'd consider a good way—and we didn't meet again.

The second time I posted an ad it was a complete accident. I'd been online engaging in one of my conceptual ad-writing excursions, but had been sloppy in the way I closed the session. I didn't even realize I'd posted an ad until I came home the next day and found two responses in my inbox. A dinner eventually resulted from one of the responses, and while she was very nice and we seemed to share a similar taste in movies, I think the meeting was boring for both of us.

But that's all pretty much beside the point. Despite checking personals every now and then for almost a couple of years now, I never really felt the urge to respond to an ad. I'm not quite sure why that was. It was probably one part that previously-noted indifference, one part shyness, and maybe a couple of other parts I haven't quantified yet. Whatever the case, that changed a few weeks ago. During one of my late-night insomnia-driven Web surfing sessions I stumbled across a quirky ad that grabbed my attention in a way none other had. I'd seen a lot of ads for women who seemed to have an intelligent, interesting air about them, but there was something this one woman's ad that set her apart. She came across as confident, comfortable, quick and witty, all qualities that seemed rare among others who posted. More than anything else, this girl was funny. I broke out laughing three times while reading her ad, and rarely do I find posters' attempts at humor amusing. I read her words a second time, and then a third.

Oh, what the heck, I thought, and decided to respond.

Rarely one to do anything in haste, I dusted off the profile I'd created for myself almost a year before, made a few changes and then set it aside. Editing one's own work is rarely of any use if the time frame is too short. Obvious errors can pass unnoticed as the brain unconsciously fills in what should be there, but isn't. I resolved to check my ad again the next evening after work and then send in a response. Sure, there was a chance her ad wouldn't be up the next day, but in typical fashion I decided I'd rather lose the opportunity than risk making an ass of myself. Of course, I should've known better. The week that followed was full of long, draining days at work, and by the time I got home each evening I was barely capable of rational thought, much less an ability to grapple with something as strange and awkward as a personals ad. Still, her ad stuck in my mind, as did my complete intention to respond.

That week-long delay turned out to be a good thing, though, and in the end it was my insatiable appetite for news that saved me. During one of my daily visits to the StarTribune's website, I realized the girl in the ad was actually a writer doing a series of columns about online dating.

And that was the end of that story. For me, anyway.

 ) ) ) 

Part 6: Overheard

"Did you get your honey anything for Valentine's day?"

"No, I'll have to stop at Walgreen's on the way home."

 ) ) ) 

Part 7: Technical Notes

The black background for today was supposed to be a simple little joke, but it turned out to be a technical pain in the ass that took me an hour and a half to complete. It turns out that while Mozilla and Netscape 6/7 handle CSS IDs that start with numerical values, IE and Opera don't support them.


Like many other days recently, today I find myself with a lot things to write about, but not much of a will to write about them. I'm not sure if there's some deep reason for that, or if I'm just too worn out every evening after work to get my mind geared up for the business of writing. Whatever the case, I really seem to be getting stuck in a rut of writing on weekends but ignoring this place on weekdays. I'm sure I'll write on Friday, though. After all, what would Valentine's day be without a long, demented rant?

 ) ) ) 

The clerk scanned the shampoo and newspaper, but paused before passing the green tea and bottle of Unisom. "You know, I think I know what your problem is."


Last week was dominated by another five days spent on the treadmill. Work has always been busy, but it used to be that every few weeks or so there'd be a couple of days scattered in that would still be hectic, but at the same time manageable enough that I could catch up. They weren't a rest, but they were a respite from the daily race that has been keeping me in my cube around 50 hours a week so far this year.

I haven't had one of those slower days at work since the holidays.

 ) ) ) 

It was a busy week outside of work as well, which may be one of the reasons I'm feeling a bit burned out this evening. I finally have a phone again, although I didn't regain full service for it until an hour or so ago. My voicemail was full of messages from friends asking me if I was ignoring them or if I was mad at them, disturbing evidence I really need to stay in contact more. It's too late for me to start calling people now, but at least I now know what I'll be doing every night this week.

I woke with "Pleasant Valley Sunday" in my head this morning, probably a sign I should call Sarah more than anything else. There are two other people I have to call first though, namely Lisa and (biker) Ben, both of whom suffered personal tragedies over the past few days. Lisa lost one of her grandmothers, and Ben and Beth lost the child they were expecting for the middle the year. I'll have to call both of them tomorrow evening. (I tried calling Lisa from work a couple of times last week, but to no avail. As far as Ben and Beth go, I didn't hear about their kid until this weekend.) On a happier note, I probably should call the other Ben sometime this week to find out what the heck the deal is with the five-week vacation he's going on to Australia. And, you know, since I seem to be planning on calling everyone, it's really been a while since I've talked to Robin...

You know, I never really thought about my phone much until I lost it. (Uh, lost the phone, I mean.)

 ) ) ) 

Speaking of traveling, I'm going to SXSW again. Just about everything other than the hotel is paid for, so it's pretty official. I briefly considered taking Amtrak down to Austin, but it turned out that would take two and a half days and would require a 20-hour layover in Chicago, so I'm flying NWA instead.

 ) ) ) 

Anyway, as said, it was a busy week outside of work as well. Diana and I caught Confessions of a Dangerous Mind at Block E on Tuesday. It had a couple of inspired moments, but for the most part was pretty disappointing. (I still want to see Adaptation, though. Heather, Rich and I are sort of planning on dinner sometime this week. Maybe I could coerce them into seeing a movie.) After the movie we met up with a couple of her friends at a coffee shop in an increasingly swanky corner of downtown, where the four of us bickered about copyright and had a perverse discussion about all the incorrect things a sexually-active E.T. could do with that glowing finger of his. ("Wow, hey, she just lit up like a light bulb!") After that, I went home and worked.

Much of the rest of the week was the same, only without the movies, coffee and conversation. And, of course, without a phone.

 ) ) ) 

There is a lot of other stuff to talk about about the last week, but it's getting late and I have clothes to iron, a bed to make and some email to write. So, more later.


It's a long story, but it looks like I'll be without a phone for at least a week and a half. A new phone is in the mail, but in the meantime I'm email only. I decided to go ahead and have my phone service temporarily suspended during that time, so I'll be without voice mail for a while as well. (Hey, there's no point in paying for a service I can't use.) While I could've avoided much of this inconvenience if I'd kept a land line, I still don't regret getting rid of it. I've kept fairly good track of how much money I've spent calling people over the past few years, and since July have saved at least $120 by limiting myself to a just a cell phone.

 ) ) ) 

It's another busy week, but at least this time it doesn't look like it'll be all work. Tomorrow will probably be a movie night with a friend or two, with the movie being either Adaptation or Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. (Either way, it'll be a film written by Charlie Kaufman, the same guy who wrote Being John Malkovich.) Later in the week there'll probably be another random get-together or two, nothing big, but still sort of unusual for me as I tend to look forward to the quiet hours I get after work. We'll see how it goes.

Looking down the road to March, I'm about 90% sure I'll be attending SXSW again. Final plans will probably be set by Friday. After last year's borderline disaster of a trip (it started with a missed connection in Kentucky and went downhill from there) I considered skipping this year's conference, but with the date growing closer I decided 2003 probably wouldn't be complete without another trip to the fair city of Austin. Besides, the first two years were a lot of fun, and as far as trips go, a 66% success ratio is pretty good.

 ) ) ) 

I spent a lot of time today thinking about the Columbia accident. It's going to take me a while to parse through all my thoughts, but I wouldn't be surprised if I had a lengthy entry about it sometime before next week.


Most Saturday mornings find me in bed well past 11:00, but yesterday was different. I'm not sure exactly when I rose, but it was early enough that the news hadn't hit startribune.com when I went online to check my email. I read, did some work for lstc.org, cleaned and generally had a lazy day. The morning and afternoon passed without television, without radio, and without the Internet.

In retrospect, what an absolutely stupid day to stay disconnected.

 ) ) ) 

Columbia coverage from MetaFilter (additional thread), NASA, The New York Times, and the Houston Chronicle. FARK is usually a pretty bad resource for these things, but a few of its threads about Columbia are less juvenile than one would expect.

 ) ) ) 

Changing the subject, here's a photo taken today while on a slightly-detoured trip to get some groceries:

It was good to see all the people out enjoying the frozen lakes and snowy weather. I saw one hockey game, a couple of broomball matches, about a hundred skaters, numerous folks skiing, one frolicking snow beagle and approximately ten snowmen. In related news, they say we should get four to six inches of snow tonight. Tomorrow's commute is going to suck, but at least it'll be pretty.

I love this city.


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