Monday, October 30, 2006

Main quest: officially successful

I got a job offer from Oxford today.

I have more to write about various things (like the soliton stuff), but for now let me quote one of the professors who was in on the interview. (This is the one I met in 04 who I believe was my main supporter there, although I don't know the latter for sure.) Anyway, here is a line I want to excerpt from our phone conversation earlier today:

"What really struck the committee about you was how little you knew about Oxford."

All I can really say to that is that I can be really endearing in my naivete.

Among the lessons I learned is the following: I guess this whole strategy of witty one-liners works really well when interviewing for faculty jobs. Well, maybe not. :) (Obviously, it matters potentially a great deal that the comment right before mine was a facetious one.) Besides, Europeans really dig it when somebody from the US insults their own leaders.

I'm back (a bit now; more later)

I've been back for about 3.5 hours now. I've been going through some e-mail (to make my life easier for tomorrow in the work catch-up department) and baseball articles (that I basically didn't have time to read because my e-mail access ijn Oxford was suboptimal and I needed to use my time online for other things).

In returning and going to, I found out that the Cardinals won the 5th and final game of the World Series. I missed almost all of this series, which hadn't happened in over 20 years. Between friends visiting and the trip to Oxford (which killed things because of time zones and the fact I had no way to get the games anyway), it just wasn't possible to catch anything more than about 6 innings of game 2. The other thing I noted was that Joe Niekro died of a brain aneurysm between this time online and the last one (Friday morning, as measured on the Pacific Coast). He was a knuckleballer and another player I watched (towards the end of his career). I'm glad Peter Gammons is still with us---he also had a brain aneurysm---and am still missing Kirby Puckett (who was afflicted with something similar).

Main quest: I did the best I could. I think I did very well in my interview, but that doesn't mean I'll get the job. I've learned not to take this stuff personally because once you get to the interview, all you can do is prepare, do the best job you can, and let the stuff out of your hands take care of itself. We'll see what happens. Highlights: I knew 2 of the other three candidates---the competition is stiff and includes established people as well as junior people like me. The senior person I know started a conversation with me by letting me know that his department (one of my other top choices, actually) got my application. Weird. I have never seen that on an interview before and probably won't ever again. Anyway, there are going to be some interesting dynamics as far as this particular position goes. Kylie Minoghue was briefly discussed at the dinner, so I was in my element occasionally. I was not nervous during the parts of the interview that counted -- the dinner actually didn't -- and there were some amusing exchanges during the formal "interview" part of the interview. I mentioned one (I'm "awesome"!), and there was also the blunt question from one person that made the others in the room cringe/shudder, though I think I answered it successfully.

Side quest: Very enjoyable. Continuing explorations of Oxford with my friend were very fun (I did some of my own exploring earlier in the week). A couple brief things: I couldn't make a successful mug shot of myself in Oxford castle/gaol no matter how hard I tried. Also, while walking along the Thames River, we saw a docked boat called "Soliton". I'll explain later just how awesome this is, as it involves not only what I study (which includes solitons) but deep connections with the original observation of a soliton. (I saw this and immediately went into childlike-fascination mode! I hope one of my pictures comes out well, because I want to include it in my presentations.) Pictures of "The Hat" were taken (ick...passive voice---I'm tired so it's staying), in fulfillment of my promise (though I'm afraid my face is in them as well---sorry!).

I also have some extra British coinage (which the banks won't exchange for US currency) to pass along. Based on current exchange rates, 52.7 pence per person seems about right.

And I'm really tired and (again!) made an entry that turned out to be much longer than what I had in mind. I really ought not to do that when it's in my best interests to go to bed.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cthulhu loves children

Courtesy Justin, check out this license plate.

I'll write more about Oxford later---including my answer to the tongue-in-cheek interview question "How would you change the U.S. constitution?" (This was asked by the department head after other interviewees brought up my work on Congress.) OK, fine. I'll give you this answer now. The direct quote is something along the lines of "Hmmmm... [I briefly ponder the question] I would probably put freedom of speech back into it." (This was done in deadpan, of course. Then the entire room burst into laughter. It's a good thing this interview was not in the U.S.)

Anyway, more in England later. (The location of the double quotation marks on the British keyboard is annoying me... I'm not used to it and I keep making typos.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fled to England

I'm here; I'm tired; I need more adaptors. (My international kit for Macs allows me to put the piece into the right hole but not to actually get any juice, so I'm juggling one adaptor instead of using that for the Mac.)

I'm wandering a bit tonight (and I found a cheap place to connect to the internet) because I'm restless and I need to tire this aspect of things out a bit to get to sleep. The young kids next to me are cussing up a storm.

The place I'm staying has no pay phone but apparently there is one "just around the corner." I'm having visions of climbing up a big poll to use a phone (to touch base with my friend and arrange specific timing for Saturday) a la Green Acres but it will be worth it. I also have "the hat" with me to help find me in a crowd.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Further adventures in googling

Oh my....

Today, I got a hit on my website via a google search for is it safe to masturbate after you've had a testicle removed?.

While I can see the logic in trying to find the answer to masturbation questions at a Caltech website, I don't think a force or momentum balance (or something else that physics can provide) is what the querier had in mind here...

Subtitles: the real reason they hate us

Don't believe me? Just take a look here.

Line of the night (10/21/06)

I think I was the big winner this time. My line (aka, Housequote) was my urgent declaration of "Can somebody save my sausage?!"

Just to give you some idea of the context, it was (literally) on fire at the time. :)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Overheard at Peet's

I meant to write this post yesterday.

I was at Peet's yesterday early evening (no surprise) and I caught a comment from the table next to me (which had a couple people with bibles talking about religious stuff) along the following lines:

"If I get a Ferrari, then I'll be able to talk to a higher class of people and spread the gospel to them."

While as a neutral statement, I would agree that this is a logical strategy, the way the guy was speaking (and my own cynicism) made me think he was stating this as a justification of the Ferrari rather than the other perspective of the Ferrari being the means to the other end. Accordingly, I felt like puking when I heard that comment (which I have paraphrased due to my hazy memory).

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Plea for help from the editors of PRL

If you go to the manuscript submission page of Physical Review Letters, you can see the following comment (in appealing red letters):

Do you use Microsoft Internet Explorer? MSIE seems to work when we test it, but some MSIE users have had trouble here. While we try to figure this out, for reliable service, please try using Netscape. If you have some ideas on what the MSIE problem might be, please send us email at

OK, so the e-mail address is hyperlinked and has a different color. Maybe I should have hyperlinked it here so you can help out the editors just a little bit faster?

I just love the last sentence...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Count me in!

One can now get MLB team-themed caskets and urns. I am totally going to do this with the Dodgers.

I'm also going to stipulate in my will that my funeral should be as offensive as possible. And we're going to pass out the soundtrack on CDs (or the appropriate medium of the day)! I already know a few songs that definitely have to be on it, and it starts with a certain one from Queen (and, no, it's not "Fat Bottomed Girls").

I'm going to revolutionize funerals.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

SURF Seminar Day: Saturday 10/21

Now it's time to advertise my students' talks.

They are speaking in Session Q ("No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!" OK, so maybe it should be called Session Goldfinger), which includes mostly talks from nonlinear dynamics (aka, my students) and condensed matter physics. It takes place in 301 Thomas, and you should definitely come to cheer my students on (by which I mean heckle them and pelt them with rotten fruit).

Actually, they have some very cool things to say about their work, so hopefully some of you will show up. My students took over the morning part of the session; they speak from 10:00 am until 11:40 am.

Here are their names and titles (in order of talk):

Austin Webb, "A Computational Study of the Quantization of Billiards With Mixed Dynamics"

Kris Kazlowski, "Periodic Orbits in Generalized Mushroom Billiards"

Tom Mainiero, "Quantization of a Free Particle Interacting Linearly With a Harmonic Oscillator"

Tatjana Wiese, "Faraday Patterns in Bose-Einstein Condensates"

Yan Zhang, "Community Finding in the Legislation Cosponsorship Network of the Members of Congress"

Yan has finished the final version of his SURF report and the others will be finishing theirs very soon (especially as they're due on 11/1). Yan's research fits into this session because it is an example of what I like to called "applied statistical mechanics" (but which is generally called "complex systems" or "complex adaptive systems").

I'll include blurbs about my students' work a little later when all the SURF reports are online.

2006 Random-Walker Rankings

We are now posting our college football rankings for 2006. (We got a bit lazy. There were already enough games to have started several weeks ago.)

By the way, the reason the random walkers (aka monkeys) rank USC and Michigan ranked ahead of Ohio State is because of the strengths of their schedules.

"Okay, we're going back."

Harpies are kind of like monkeys---everybody likes them. You don't believe me? Just go here.

By the way, the word of the day is "sisyphean." It always is.

(Thanks to Lemming for passing this along.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday Hornetblogging

Tuesday Hornetblogging: An idea whose time has come!

Gazebo hasn't done any catblogging for a while, so I'm here to fill the gap with some hornetblogging. I don't know if this is a one-time deal or if anything will justify future editions of this feature, but (in any event) this is the first of at least one blog entry on the topic.

If you want some pictures of hornets, google pictures provides quite a few of them. However, I feel compelled to highlight one particular hornet in this inaugural entry: Georgia Tech's mascot, Buzz.

Some of you may recall one of my earliest blog entries which has remained one of my most popular entries of all time. Titled simply Angry Hornets, it set the stage for a lot of great things to come. (OK, OK. It set the stage for a lot of things to come.)

It's fall at Caltech, so you know what that means: hornet season. I saw them sporadically during the summer, but things weren't so bad until recently. But then school starts and the glomming begins. This even happened when I went to my conference in Seattle, but I'm guessing they were just trying to make me feel at home.

Anyway, because it's glomming season, things have really been picking up lately. For example, yesterday I had lunch with a prospective student, and he was suitably impressed by my mad hornet-attracting skillz. (I need to change the sign of this potential...) The hornets were even more into me today, and I was having a great deal of difficulty eating my food.

During today's trials, Lemming told me an amusing story that just about sums it up. He and Cat were having lunch while I had a prior commitment (either Monday, or on Friday during the Tech staff meeting) and they mentioned me briefly during their conversation. A couple hornets immediately flew to their table, reconnoitered for a minute or two to see if I was around (I told you it was glomming...), and left.

I don't know if any hornetblogging will happen while in England, but to steal (I mean borrow) a very nice pun from Lemming, I think some WASPblogging is extremely realistic.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"Vague convergence"

In my random matrix theory course today, the professor gave a rigorous definition of the concept of the "vague convergence" of a sequence to what is known as a "vague limit."

This is an amazing coincidence, as I used a heuristic version of this concept in many of my math classes (especially on exams).

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cue the ZZ Top

Yesterday, we had our make-over party. (And "preppy" was the word of the day.) We went over to Macy's to buy some clothes for my Oxford interview. I should have gotten some better clothes for my interviews in past years, but I figured Oxford will care about this more than most and I really want this job, so this basically served as the impetus. Lemming, Zifnab, and (Mike)^2 were there to provide style advice (because I have a great sense of style for ironic t-shirts but not for much of anything else), moral support, and verbal abuse. You can tell that we had a lot of fun, and I managed not to break the bank too much. (There is a dent in my wallet now, but not too large a dent.)

I haven't purchased my plane tickets yet, though I am planning to do that tonight before prices jump. (There are fewer configurations available at reasonable prices than there were a couple days ago, so I'm going to buy this tonight and get that settled.) The plan is to arrive a couple days before my interview (so I should be leaving either a week from Monday or Tuesday) and to return on Sunday. I have dinner at Somerville College on Thursday night---the tenure-track position includes a tutorship at that college (which is named after 19th century applied mathematician Mary Somerville)---and then my talk (which is only 20 minutes) and the other parts of my interview are on Friday. The current plan on Saturday is to explore Oxford with a friend of mine who is temporarily living in London.

I haven't yet explained the title of this entry. I'm not going to, but let me just mention that if you don't understand the reference, you need to be educated. (Given that I have a job interview in mind, I'm actually twisting the meaning somewhat, but Fox used Culture Club's "Do You Want to Hurt Me?" for a medical report, so I'm far closer to the correct theme then they were.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Family Planning

Take a look at this picture, which doesn't really need a caption.

How does one embed a picture directly here because I don't see how to upload a picture into blogger. (Instead, I put this in my GT account and linked to the URL.) A real solution would be to use something like flickr, but then contour integrals would no longer work.

Employee of the Month

Last night, Lemming and I saw slacker comedy Employee of the Month. It was very funny with several great one-liners. I recommend it highly.

The film includes several familiar faces (such as the guy who starred as "Pedro" in Napoleon Dynamite, who apparently will also be in the remake of Revenge of the Nerds... it seems like he's getting typecast a bit), although I know few of their names.

The Spaceballs reference was also greatly appreciated... (I also appreciated the line quoted from "Piano Man.")

Here are a couple of the great lines:

"... forgotten just like the drummer from REO Speedwagon."

"...You employees of the month are all the same."

A couple weeks ago, Lemming and I saw Jet Li's Fearless. I enjoyed that movie as well, though it was somewhat heavier than I thought it would be. (I wasn't expecting a comedy or anything, but it was still more serious than what I was expecting.) This is not a criticism, but just a comment about my own thoughts before and after the film.

Fox fires Steve ("Psycho") Lyons for making stupid comments

Steve ("Psycho") Lyons has been fired by Fox for making stupid comments that were deemed racially insensitive.

Lyons has a history of making lame comments. He's a really bad announcer. Of course, he was fired for the insensitivity rather than the lameness. (The particular comments in question were also really lame.) I'll cross my fingers that Tim McCarver follows this path as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I think I should use this title for my job applications.

I am filling out the online job application for University of Bristol. One of the choices for current title is "Professor the Reverend." Dude, that just sounds impressive. :) Or maybe I should use "Viscountess," which was another one of the choices.

OK, so I'm being ridiculously goofy, but life's small amusements are simply precioussssssss.

Amusing comment (not of the tactless variety)

This one comes courtesy of Jing Xu '98, who gives a ringing endorsement to visit Irvine: "And, you need to come to Irvine. There's nothing here as far as I can tell."

Being tactful

Well, not really. :)

I'll spare some details, because I've already given this rant over the phone and I'm really not in the mood to do it again or type that much. (It will be somewhat ranty, but this won't be the long version of it.)

Yesterday, my mother decided to call me just before 8:30 am and woke me in a situation that could have been dealt with later in the day. In fact, there was no good reason to call me then and my mother knows from over ten years of my saying it over and over that I do not want to be called in the morning for anything that is not an emergency---and especially that early in the morning! (The thing that needed to be done was to arrange what time I would be picked up at a Hollywood metro station today to be taken to UCLA for my talk.)

To say that I was extremely pissed off about this would be an understatement. Upon receiving the call, I groggily indicated we should discuss this later, and then I was unsuccessful in getting back to bed and I was absolutely exhausted for the entire day.

The plan today was for my brother to pick me up at the metro and then both my mother and my brother would pick me up at UCLA to go to dinner.

I wasn't about to let yesterday's actions go without comment and I indicated that I did not want such a phone call again. My mother essentially asserted her supposed right (which she does not have!) to call me whenever she wants for any reason she wants. (ONLY I can grant such a right, which is really a privelege rather than a right anyway.) I repeated myself and also said (almost direct quote) "The next time you call me at 8:30 am, somebody better be dead." That was awesome comment #1. Of course the real situation is that it has to be something that is urgent and can't wait until later, which practically everything can. It seems to me that my mother all but admitted that she made the phone call out of malice. (She knew there was a good chance she'd wake me up, that I didn't like being called that early anyway, and knew that the entire contents of the call could wait.)

My mother decided to take lots of pot shots against me---remind me that she holds the way I view the world in disdain, etc etc. (At this point, I was just listening and responding at appropriate points rather than taking an active part in the conversation.) She also mentioned that apparently she is always excusing my actions to other people (what actions were never stated; the identity of these people were also ever stated) and basically implying that I was incapable of interacting with people. (She also intimated that I should see a psychiatrist.) She had her voice raised the whole time, whereas I was always talking calmly, but after a few minutes, I had heard (more than) enough. I was still talking very calmly, but I did utter awesome comment #2 (which was one of my most tactful comments ever): "Adam, please drop me off at the metro station. I don't want to have dinner with this woman." Oh, and I definitely meant this (and I stated this in a very cold manner). Certainly, I could have been (a lot) more tactful, but I was speaking from the heart. (I feel bad about the comment, but I also feel that it was provoked because of the string of insults to which I was reacting. It was certainly unpremeditated.) Sigh... I have a great deal of envy for people who can actually trust their families.

I might have to change my phone number or get a restraining order or something. This is abusive.

(The helping me get to UCLA to give my talk was definitely very much appreciated but the rest of it wasn't.)

Well, if I get a chance to stay in town and elect to take it, it will be because of my friends and in spite of my family (not because of them).

Ah well... plenty of other people have it much worse off than I do.

(As usual, I ranted more than I intended. I was trying to give a shorter version of this. Of course, there are also other sides to this story... it's just that mine is the right one. :) )

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I approve!

Thanks to Lemming for passing this comic strip along.

Take one for the team, indeed.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Snarky and Proud

Here is an excerpt from an e-mail I received today:

Jeff D'Alessio at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here. I'm working on a
quick story on the best way for college football to decide its champion
and reaching out to a few folks from all walks of life -- people in
college football and other sports -- for quick insights.

I'd love to include you.

I don't need to do the interview in person, an e-mailed response sometime
between now and Wednesday would be fantastic. The question: What, if
anything, would you change about the sport's controversial format if you
were in charge of it? Could be the polls, the computers, the bowl system,
the BCS, anything. Just looking for a few sentences or a paragraph. Feel
free to have fun with it. I picked you for your math background, given
all the goofy math that goes into the college football formula.

And here is the vignette I gave in response:

I think the fairest thing to do is just to trash the whole BCS and rank
all the teams using a bunch of monkeys---maybe 500 or so. Just give
each of them a biased coin and determine the rankings from lots and lots
of coin flips. If one wants to retain some measure of elitism, one can
always take the top monkey from each of the premier zoos in the country.
(Of course, that opens up the problem of ranking monkeys and zoos, which
is another can of worms entirely...) You can find more information about
this proposal at

Sunday, October 08, 2006

1 year later...

October 7th marked the 1 year anniversary of this blog. (I was playing games late tonight and in Hollywood late last night, so this entry had to wait.) OK, so what has happened since then?

It would take way too long to do anything remotely comprehensive and I am exhausted and want to go to bed, so I'll just give a few highlights:

The Dodgers broke my heart again. (See the last entry.)

Several people from my paradigm are now gone. (Well, I expect this entry will be accurate every year.) The one that shook me up the most was Kirby Puckett.

We found out Sulu is gay.

I got devoured.

I saw a lot of excellent movies in the theatre and knocked a few on which I missed out off of my to-do list.

I heard some excellent new songs and truly discovered (or rediscovered, in some cases) other songs I had heard previously.

I made several charisma checks, and a couple of them were actually with humans rather than hornets.

I made one or two sense motive checks. (I'll ignore the many I failed. The successes count even when they're sparse.)

I gave some subtle hints. (You can remind me in a while about dollar bills. You don't get any yet.)

I spent a lot of time in a sleep-deprived state.

I drank a lot of coffee, and paid a lot of money for the privelege.

I published some papers and advised some students.

And, well, I went to sleep. Goodnight!

Wait 'til next year

Well, the Dodgers got swept by the Mets in the NLDS "today" (technically on 10/7, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so that counts as today) and we will have to wait until next year.

Since 1988, when the Dodgers won the World Series (and I was in 7th grade), we have not done well in the postseason. We got swept in the NLDS (losing three games to zero) in 1995 and 1996, lost 3-1 in 2004, and got swept this year. (Is there a year I'm missing? I don't think so, but if we did, we got swept in the NLDS that year.) Thus, since 1988, we have won exactly 1 playoff game (and, obviously, no playoff series). The Dodgers are breaking my heart (...and shaking my confidence daily).

However, let me end this on an optimistic note. The Tigers kicked the Yankees butts to complete a 3-1 ALDS victory, so the Yankees were also eliminated! Alex Rodriguez's shattered psyche may never recover...

I suppose the best thing for which to root would be a rematch of the 1984 World Series that pitted the Tigers against the Padres. Of the remaining teams, I hope the Tigers win it all.

Friday, October 06, 2006

2006 Ig Nobel Prizes

The 2006 Ig Nobel ceremony has now taken place.

You can read the L. A. Times article here.

The 2006 prizes are listed here. The best one is the peace prize. I want one of those machines! The ones for mathematics, literature, and medicine were also awesome (or should I say "awesome"... ?).

Hey, the spaghetti article from that 2005 PRL netted an Ig Nobel for its authors! That's pretty cool too.

In ending this entry, I'd like to comment that Sir Michael Berry, an Ig Nobel laureate, also deserves a Nobel Prize. I think he should get it for his theoretical work on geometric phase (which is now having an increasingly large impact on experimental research), but I suppose one could spin it towards other aspects of his work. Get with the program, People!

RIP Paul Halmos (1916-2006)

On October 2nd, mathematician Paul Halmos died.

His book on finite vector fields (his first book, according to his wikipedia entry) was a supplementary text for a course I took at Tech. That's the first time I heard his name, which is among the most prominent of 20th century mathematicians. (I like synecdoches.) In his case, it's because of his exposition.

Halmos is apparently the first mathematician to use the "tombstone notation" to end a proof. Personally, I prefer QEFD.

Why I am such a great media slut (brief example)

There's actually a lot I can write about this, but let me give a brief example from one of today's e-mail exchanges.

My work on nonlinearity management, already the subject of a Caltech press release and some other publicity, is going to be covered in Engineering and Science, a quarterly research publication that Caltech sends to alumni. Its editor, Doug Smith, and I have discussed possible Dr. Evil and James Bond references that can go in the article. Doug brought up James Bond, and I basically stated it would be awesome if we could have "No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!" somewhere in the article. (He responded with a comment about Dr. Evil and his fondness for mounting lasers on sharks. There are lasers involved in this project...)

Of course, I have previously used the term "Kerr sandwich" to help publicize this work (I think that helped a lot in getting coverage by Physical Review Focus, which is why Caltech's PR team came on board) and referred to random walkers as "monkeys" when it came to our football ranking system. It helps that I work on cool stuff, but cute, pithy phrases make great selling points.

Another thing that has helped immensely is that I know just about all of Caltech's PR people (including Doug) because of the prank book I'm writing. (This is also how I was able to get my April Fool's joke on Caltech's website.)

Sometimes, I just can't escape my Beverly Hills origins.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Feshbach Resonance Management of Bose-Einstein Condensates in Optical Lattices"

One of my articles was published in Physical Review E a couple weeks ago:

Feshbach resonance management of Bose-Einstein condensates in optical lattices

Mason A. Porter
Department of Physics and Center for the Physics of Information, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA

Marina Chugunova and Dmitry E. Pelinovsky
Department of Mathematics & Statistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1

(Received 13 July 2005; revised 23 June 2006; published 15 September 2006)

We analyze gap solitons in trapped Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) in optical lattice potentials under Feshbach resonance management. Starting with an averaged Gross-Pitaevsky equation with a periodic potential, we employ an envelope-wave approximation to derive coupled-mode equations describing the slow BEC dynamics in the first spectral gap of the optical lattice. We construct exact analytical formulas describing gap soliton solutions and examine their spectral stability using the Chebyshev interpolation method. We show that these gap solitons are unstable far from the threshold of local bifurcation and that the instability results in the distortion of their shape. We also predict the threshold of the power of gap solitons near the local bifurcation limit.

This article, by the way, was the one with which I experienced the page proof from Hell, so it is especially significant that it is officially done in all senses of the word. (I found errors during the proofing stage, so we actually had to go back to get another referee report. Thankfully, things worked out, but it was excruciatingly painful.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An Exercise in Word Replacement

The September 2006 issue of Physics Today included a reprinting of an old article about the stability of bicycles. This article includes the following sentence:

Besides, I did not want nasty variable frictional forces intruding into the pure, austere Newtonian bicycle theory towards which I was groping.

Hint 1: You only need to replace "bicycle," although I think it works slightly better if one replaces "Newtonian bicycle."

Hint 2: None of the new words are dirty.

Oy vey...

The Dodgers just had two men thrown out at home plate on the same play! Errrr.....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The proper Mason?

This is from the department of Things That Make You Go Hmmm (TTMYGH)...

I decided to google myself (which I do on was as good for me as it was for me) to see what I might find, and this page weirded me out slightly. Apparently, there is a musical group called "Mason Proper." Also, somebody else named Mason Porter (or who at least claims to have that name) wrote one of the comments. There's also at least one Porter Mason out there. (One of them e-mailed me once when I was a student at Tech.)

It's too bad the name 'Mason' has become more common. Maybe I should start spelling it with a silent 3?

"I always wanted to be in one of your fucking plays."

Thanks to Lemming (whose DVD I borrowed), I finally had a chance to watch Rushmore on my way home from Chicago on Sunday.

The movie was very good, and I certainly appreciated Max Fischer's unique panache. (However, I don't have any particular sympathy for 15-year-olds who bemoan the fact that they don't have a girlfriend.) Jason Schwartzman (who also did an excellent job in Shopgirl, by the way) did an excellent job playing Fischer, and Bill Murray was great, as usual.

The story is a coming-of-age story, and a rather good one at that.

There were plenty of quotable lines, which is something I like to see in a movie. My favorite is the one I used as the title of this entry (complete with thick Scottish accent, of course---where is Charles Lee '96 [aka, "Chuckles"] when you need him?). There were others as well.

The movie was co-written (and co-executive produced) by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. I have to say that my respect for Owen Wilson keeps increasing. I know his schtick can occasionally wear thin, but the man has a lot of talent. When he plays it straight, he is an excellent actor and his role in making this movie really shows just how awesome he can be. I am very impressed.

T-shirt record

Go here to see a quick (just under 90 second) video of a person setting the world record for most t-shirts worn at once. One thing to notice is that as the sizes get larger, most of the shirts are blank (whereas smaller ones typically had artwork on them). Apparently, all of the shirts combined weighed over 100 pounds (!), and the guy was wearing all this stuff outside. Sheesh.