In Body related news, I think my back is strengthening up again. Mostly because I’ve been doing lots of dancing. I expect that by the end of LLX, I’ll be up for aerials and whatnot.
I had a private lesson with Gerald yesterday. We did a lot of body control and posture stuff, which was good for me. It took a lot of time to get started, because my posture is really quite bad. I’m not sure whether we genuinely fixed it, or whether it was a case of “That’s as good as it’s going to get. Let’s move on.” The idea of splitting your body into two sections and controlling them separately is useful. It lets you be aware of where they both are makes it easier to notice when you break your core, and feed back this information to correct it next time. Everything else we did really stems from there.
In my understanding, it seems that when you’re dancing basics, there are 3 things that you should be monitoring: your chest section, your pelvis section, and your partner’s chest section. Once you can be sure that you’re controlling your own sections, you should notice when one of them is not where you want it, and feedback (subtly) on the next basic, to correct.
The really intriguing part of the lesson was the end: When we were finishing off, I was quite quick to say “I have my cheque book”, which was a little “I have just bought that time and knowledge off you” of me. His response was difficult to interpret: He was very reluctant to take money in payment. Now I initially thought that this was because he didn’t want to take money from a student, but I’m not so sure: He asked me if I could teach *him* anything that would be interesting to him, so that it could be a knowledge exchange. When I eventually managed to force some money on him, I felt like it wasn’t nearly as much as the lesson was worth to me.
The exchange showed me that we seem to share a few important ideas: “Knowledge is worth more than money, so any exchange involving money will always be unfair.” Also: “It’s better to come off worse in a deal. That way, the other party will always feel the need to repay the debt.” The thing I *didn’t* realise was that he did a PhD in computer vision and augmented reality (this came out when I was trying to think of things I could teach him). Not only that, but he did a couple of years in industry before doing it. Now I was planning to do about 4 years in industry before going for a PhD, but I can see why it might be a good idea to do it after 2. I think I have even more respect for him now.
So we come to the problem of “What can you teach a man who has spent N more years exploring the same stuff you’re interested in?”
The only thing that I’ve thought of so far is that I might be able to teach him some linux crap: He knows C/C++, but uses windows XP on his laptop. He doesn’t use java or C#, so he’s unlikely to be locked in by the same stuff that Alex is screwed by. It might be that he already uses it, but needs windows for iTunes, or it might be that he simply doesn’t use it (for whatever reason).
In the first case, I could show him around Amarok, and tailor my moodbar project to him (he has trouble picking songs that have the right tempo, and he said that it would be useful). In the second case, I could probably tweak a distro for him, and show him around. I expect it would be OpenSuse, or Hardy with instructions to just do security updates, because Ubuntu’s upgrade process has fucked up too many of my friends’ installs.
In other news, I found a way to get around my problem of having no access to external servers on which to play teeworlds: Set up my own on soup.linux.pwf.cam.ac.uk . If anyone fancies a game: prod me, and I’ll fire it up again. Because it registers itself on the internet, you get lots of random players joining, which is cool. I might see if I can mod the server to gather some statistics. See if I can train a bot or something. That way, if attacks me for running an IP server on PWF, I can say that it’s a research project, relevant to my course.