Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Monday, March 26, 2018 8:02 PM

Gerrymandering and Beyond

I'm supposed ro ride long on Tuesday, but I stay in bed and don't get out riding at all. Instead I walk to the grocery store for supplies, continue making progress on my neural networks and confidence level predictions, and then go lift weights. It's a good workout though the left shoulder arthritis has decided to flare up during the last few workouts. After the workout I clean and lubricate the garage door hinges and clean the roses. I'm interrupted by a phone call from Person Ti_Ca who has an interview with the company that I used to work for. I give him the important facts and good questions to ask and then, all of a sudden, he say, "I can't do this anymore. Have a nice life". I continue on with cleaning the hardwood floors with a device that Karl bought me and it seems to work well provided one squeezes excessive water out of the mop for use on the hardwood floors. Later I try to repair the Person Ti_CA damage and then start preparing for the gerrymandering hackathon in San Francisco this weekend. And catch some of the Los Angeles Kings' ice hockey game.

I stay in bed a bit late on Wednesday, have a muffin, read the news, and then get out cycling. It's a bit windy today, but I have a good ride and can push at times and just spin at other times. After a shower I get on the motorcycle and, in rapid succession, send my taxes off via certified mail, fill up the motorcycle with gasoline, get money out of the ATM, pick up a few grocery supplies, and get to the library just as they are opening to pick up a book about neurology that I've reserved for reading. When I get home I catch up on some paperwork and try to find some old Perl scripts where I scraped information off the web for later use. I'm not initially having results finding the Perl scripts or the original data. In the afternoon I look in the mirror and see that the white part of my left eye is red. What's going on here? Broken blood vessels? I keep an eye on the eye for the rest of the night though it does not hurt.

On Thursday I get up and see that my left eye is still red and read the news and then get out cycling. It's another good ride and I push pretty hard against a strong headwind going north on the San Gabriel river. After a shower at home I walk to the grocery store for supplies and then work on converting a United States shapefile formatted file to GPS for the gerrymandering effort this coming Saturday and Sunday. By 5:30 pm I have attained the goal except for a couple of outliers with Alaska and the other island territories. I declare victory and save everything and decide to wait and see what our tasks will be like when I get to San Francsico for the event.

Friday starts with packing for the trip for the voter redistricting hackathon in San Francisco. I am apprehensive that I might be in over my head on this hackathon, but I proceed anyway. A simple Uber ride, Jet Blue flight, and BART train ride gets me to the Holiday Inn Civic Center that I typically stay at in San Francisco. I drop off my bags and then take BART back to the Embarcadero to the University of San Francisco (USF) where the event has already started. Thursday and Friday are purely lectures by responsible people and I catch three lectures and meet a couple of interesting people. I walk back to my hotel, rather than taking BART, and stop in near the Powell Street cable car turnaround for a quick dinner.

I get to USF on Saturday well before the event starts and help the organizers set up the event. For the first time in many years I drink some coffee - but I only make it a third of the way through the coffee before dumping it. Coffee is not my thing. Most of Saturday is spent talking about the voter mis-counts, inconsistent data repositories, and incompatible formats and software that plague any attempts to unify redistricting policies and rules across the USA. The tools that we wish to use, Python and GIS, are somewhat familiar to me but I cannot get them to talk to one another. A team member tries to help me up but ends up screwing things up so bad that I have to uninstall Python and QGIS later in the evening to get back to where each one runs independently. Thus I am very frustrated. To take out my frustrations on Saturday night I head to a club and just lose myself in the music and the crowd - constantly being pushed and shoved around. This is not a problem because I'm a big guy who used to play ice hockey and I can easily stand my own ground. I see some potential people of interest in the club, including a stickboy that I cannot stop thinking about for the next few days, but I do not act. It will make life simpler to just ignore my feelings/desires and move on. I'm walking back to my hotel amongst the homeless people near 1 am for some sleep.

I again get to USF early on Sunday and try to get re-setup with Python and QGIS to contribute to the team's effort. A University of Minnesota professor "has the solution" but when we follow his "solution" I still get errors. I am beyond frustrated. So I just pick up little "garbage tasks" that the team needs completed and then, approaching 6 pm, we present our findings to the assembled hackers. There is a delay with the computer display and I've seen the "deer in the headlight" look from some of my team members, so I take the initiative and start talking about our project as they fiddle with the computer/projector display. Finally they resolve their issues and my team members can chime in and contribute to the discussion. When we are finished my team members thank me for getting things started (since I probably have a lot more experience talking in front of crowds then they do). The hackathon ends and I follow the pattern of walking back to my hotel (and skipping BART). I drop my things off at the hotel and continue walking and skip dinner at the DNA Lounge and just have a simple Subway dinner. I'm not in the mood for anything adventuresome after a disastrous event. And I spend my Sunday evening just vegging out and deciding that I need to target future hackathons where I can contribute more.

On Monday I get up and go walking and bring breakfast back to the hotel. I finish up a few things and get packed up for the trip home. It's another smooth BART train, JetBlue flight, and Uber ride home. When I get home, before I unpack, I walk to the grocery store for supplies and then mow the lawn, water the impatiens, and trim the roses. After a shower I finally get to watch the opening MotoGP race of the season from Qatar. And except for my favorite rider Alex Rins falling out of sixth place, it is everything that I wanted and needed to get the season going - an exciting and fun-filled race.

I have a hard time sleeping after 3 am on Tuesday morning in my own house and in my own bed. What the heck? I get up a bit late and get on the road bicycle for a good 30 mile ride. Today it feels like the wind is at my back on every leg of the ride. When I get home I pull out the electric trimmers and trim the bush in front of the house and then some sweeping. A warm shower relaxes me and I start working on paperwork and laying out my agenda for the next few weeks. In the afternoon I watch the Moto3 race from Qatar with another exciting race to get the season started and to try to resurrect my enthusiasm. After the race I dig up and plant grass in a bare spot in the backyard that bothers me and then I relax more.

I sleep fairly well in Wednesday morning and get out on the road bicycle at 7 am. It's another strong ride where I feel like the wind is at my back for the entire ride (except for a couple of short miles up the Los Angeles river towards home). I take a quick shower and run some errands at the ATM, gasoline station, and grocery store and put the car away since it might rain today (and I just washed the car a few days ago). After taking care of a few minor yard efforts and minor repairs, I watch an exciting and unpredictable Moto2 race from Qatar and note that rain is falling outside my house - good thing that I put the car away in the garage. I cook vegetables for the week and have some for lunch. After the race I continue to lay out my agenda for the mext month or so including meetings, web efforts, and algorithm efforts that I want/need to work on regardless of compensation potential. Throughout the day, as in the past week, I continue to perform stretching, strengthening, and self-massage work on the left Achilles tendon as prescribed by the physical therapist. Though I may have overdone things since the left Achilles tendon remains sore (but without pain) through every day. I take time to put a heating pad and ice pack on it when convenient.

Thursday is a day full of rain, so I walk to the grocery store for supplies and do some web programming. I find a website that I like the look and feel of, so I start trying to grab it's assets so that I can make it my own. At a conveninet stopping point I go lift weights and have a good workout including strengthening and balancing work with the calves to help out the rehabilitation of the left Achilles tendon. After a shower I continue to "steal" a website that I like the look and feel of and am ready to make the website go live when my hosting company says that I can. The day is full of rain so there is no real opportunity to get outside and I just resign myself to being indoors for the entire day and make whatever progress on websites and algorithms that I can.

I start Friday slowly but I get in a good workout with the weights before a shower and riding the motorcycle up to CSULA. During each of the weight lifting sessions I keep adding in calf/Achilles tendon strengthening, stretching, and balancing exercises as part of the prescribed physical therapy. On the way I make a stop at the library to return three books (that I've completed) and to get three new books. At CSULA the team makes a lot of good progress and, though time is getting tight towards the end of the semester, they are getting close to meeting all of the critical objectives. And I help them with the wording for the objectives that they have not quite acheieved (which were stretch objectives for a senior design class in reality). I leave CSULA after 6 pm and grab dinner and just veg out.

I wanted to ride the road bicycle on Saturday morning, but given the recent rain and possible closed gates, I decide to test the Achilles tendon with a rapid one hour walk. Only in the last part of the walk does the left Achilles tendon suggest relief. I pick up supplies at the grocery store and then go and edge, mow, and trim the lawn. Today the neighbor's mother, from the Philippines, sees me trimming the lawn and asks for some help with a blind that will not retract. So I go over, take off my shows despite her contrary pleads, and get the blind to re-close. I ask her to make sure that she can duplicate my efforts and then I ask the daughter to also duplicate my efforts. I start to leave with the Tagalog "ingat ka" and that starts a whole discussion about why I know some Tagalog words and she starts trying to teach me more. I cannot keep up - I need to see it in writing and practice it - but She is grateful that I helped her with the blinds AND that I am willing to learn her native Tagalog language. I finally finish my yardwaork, get cleaned up, and go to a coffee/juice shop to work. I make good progress but only stay for about two hours before heading back for home. I clean the roses and start the laundry and then continue back on the new websites that I just created. This effort, where I've scraped the assets from a website that I like the ook and feel of, always takes a bit of time. So I just continue to push the ball forward towards a fully operational website. In between web programming sessions I keep doing strwengthening, stretching, and flexibility exercises for the left Achilles tendon because I want it to not hold me back on future travels and maybe, with some luck, future running. In the meantime I've sent my genetic algorithm off on a 1000 generation run and the results are looking promising.

On SUnday I get out for the loop ride and feel good. Even against a good headwind coming north on the Los Angeles river I just put my head down and crank along strongly. After a shower I finish the basic touches of the new polymath website and fix the remaining bugs. Now I can add the appropriate content. And I also print out the agenda/minutes for the non-profit board of directors meeting that we will try to squeeze in amongst a separate meeting today near noon. I get on the motorcycle and ride up to a Thai restaurant near USC's campus where the meeting is being held. I practice my THai language with the waiters and waitresses and I finally have to explain to them, as well as the group that I am meeting, why I know how to speak some Thai. The meeting is the typical "This group supports us" and "That group supports us", but when I ask if any of the groups have written a check, I'm met with silence. And am told that it will happen when it gets to a higher level. Really? We've already been told at the national level that "We support you". Nonetheless I try to stay positive and make a new friend who I want to geek-talk with who is a professor at USC and I give my number to one of the Thai waiters (who was an engineer in Thailand before coming to the USA). I rush on home and watch a weird F1 race from Australia where a loophole in the rules allows my favorite driver to leapfrog the dominant race leader and win the race. I would be embarrassed to win in this manner and I hope that he says something to that effect. But he only says, "We were a little bit lucky", when the virtual safety car came out. Later I work on more genetic algorithms and websites.

I enjoy the night of good sleep with chilly weather. When I get out of bed at 6:30 am the house is down to 61 degrees F. I get out walking and stop in at the grocery store on the way back home. Along with breakfast I continue the genetic algorithm development and website development. At mid morning I take a break to work the abdominals, lower back, and calk muscles as I continue to try and rehabilitate the left Achilles tendon. Afterwards I trim the roses and bring a mess of rose blooms into the house for pleasantry. After a shower I am back at work on the genetic algorithms and the website. I work along trying to make progress and, slowed by sipping or gulping wine, I'm not sure if I make progress or not.