Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I have become what I most abhor

The barbecue on Saturday wasn't much fun.   I took a forty-five minute Metro ride for the privilege of walking twenty minutes through the miserable swampy weather to the place in Ballston, where I hung out with some beltway bandit grown-up-geeks and their children at a backyard barbecue.   The most fun I had was talking to a child by the beverage bucket about ice.  

Me: "ice is really crazy, huh"

Kid: "Mmmm  yaaaa"

Me: "how do you figure it floats?   what does that tell you about the nature of the solid state vs the liquid?"

Kid: "ice melty.   Kittycat!"

So, I did the proper thing: I stayed an hour, made chitchat, and did something I've never done before: took the sixpack I brought back with me.   Nobody had touched it (still in bag), and it wasn't really a beerbecue anyway.   I know it's a mega douche move, but a) sometimes a man has to go with his gut and b) it was really good beer.  

In other notes, my work is glacially productive, my girlfriend is in San Antonio, and my knee hurts.    

Also, why the fuck do old people like Panera so much?   Every time I go there for a work-escape for reading and scones and decent coffee, it's swarmed with the elderly.    What gives?

Finally, I just read this Feynman quote, which I like: he's a guy I pretty much roll my eyes at, and get sick of people worshipping him, but he hits this spot on.   I know it's pompous, but I'm kind of a pompous guy myself at heart.

I would use the words of Jeans, who said that `the great Architect would seem to be a mathematician.'  To those who do not know any mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the deepest beauty of nature.  C.P. Snow talked about two cultures.  I really think that those two cultures separate people who have and have not had this experience of understanding mathematics well enough to appreciate nature once.  

It is too bad that it has to be mathematics, and that mathematics is hard for some people.   It is reported--I do not know if it is true--that when one of the kings was trying to learn geometry from Euclid he complained that it was difficult.   And Euclid said, `there is no royal road to geometry.'  And there is no royal road.   Physicists cannot make a conversion to any other language. 

I'm such a slut for secret-knowledge aesthetics.  

Thursday, July 3, 2008


A dude was shot thrice in the belly near my apartment the other night.
I only know because he's a blogger. He survived, but it's scary:
I'm a few blocks from 17th and Euclid, which is the shithole corner
where it happened. Right up the street from the new Harris

I generally don't have much regard for "safety" as such when I'm by
myself. Either I'm foolhardy or I have good intuition; I'm not sure
which. I've lived in cities-with-muggings since I've been 17 and
never been mugged, despite being the sort of person who is out late a
lot, quite often inebriated as well. A friend suggested it's because
I'm larger than average, which I think is bullshit.

It's July 4th weekend. Cricket is in Boston for a bachelorette
party. I'm gonna work work work, although there might be drinkies
tomorrow night; some suburban friends of mine are going to the
fireworks and want to drink the pain away afterward, the pain of
course being sitting on the National Mall with 100,000 people for
eight hours. On Saturday a fellow from my Boston years is having a
barbecue with his wife in Arlington. Should I go? It could be a
welcome social event, or a dull bear-trap!