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.  


ml said...

i guess the bbq turned out to be a bear trap afterall. it's a tad gauche to take your beer back, bujt given the circumstances and that it was really good, i might've done the same thing.

why does your knee hurt?

Counterfly said...

Old rugby injury + general aging and cartilage loss. Shitty genetics. I'll probably need replacements when I'm in my fifties.

No running for me! Confine the destructive knee behavior to long backpacking downhills.

penitent said...

Damn. I'm jealous about that secret math knowledge stuff.

Ian Hurst said...

Do you even have a weblog anymore?

James said...

I wonder about those who didn't sufficiently speak the language of nature (um wait, of bees/) to get math.

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