Sep. 20th, 2014 06:23 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Ha -- then I ran into Theon Greyjoy professor this afternoon on the Greenway! What timing.


My best college friend R. is in town and we were able to hang out today. That was great. I hadn't seen him in three years, in large part because we have lived on different continents and/or coasts since 2004. Had a great time. After a quick tour of the MBTA-themed Google offices and lunch on the adjacent rooftop garden, we enjoyed the Ig Nobel informal lectures and then walked along the river & over to South Station.

I'd only been to the lectures once, the year I was at MIT. That batch featured slime molds solving mazes and studies about duck necrophilia and about Coca-Cola as a spermicide, so it holds a special place in my heart. This year's wasn't bad. Highlights: the physics of slipping on banana peels, dogs aligning themselves on the north-south magnetic axis when they pee, cured pork as a solution for uncontrollable nosebleeds, and Norwegians dressing up as creepy polar bears to study reindeer behavior. We had no idea what to make of Dr. NakaMats.


And now for a quiet evening, likely to include Project Runway and Doctor Who.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (feynman finger)
Ventured to Adams Morgan this morning with a coworker to browse the Crafty Bastards arts fair in the chilly rain. (It's fall! Hurrah!) Despite the weather, it was a good time. I even purchased some non-necessary items, such as a tiny crocheted jellyfish from needlenoodles (and now I know what amigurumi is, having wondered after this), a bit of wooden art featuring two jellyfish/octopi things reaching for each other, and "brain wash" soap for decoration. I also won a pickle on a stick at a Potbelly booth, and out of the blue met Jay McCarroll from season one of Project Runway! It is debatable which of the above made me happiest.

This week also included some much-needed clothes shopping, as I have about three long-sleeved shirts I can wear to work and no boots. So as of yesterday there are boots, and as of Thursday there is a sweater and a sweater dress. Maybe I can take care of the rest in one more trip (Columbus Day sales?) and be done for the winter. I do really like the dress and the boots, though. They're, like, almost fashionable?

If the new year is supposed to set the tone for the months ahead, I guess my theme is… commercialism? Or, to frame it more constructively, an attempt to present myself better through clothing and actually decorate my apartment after two years.

And now I will do some more freelance work to bump that disposable income back up.


Reason #8 I'm proud to be a (nonfictional) MIT alum: the Cornell-MIT Fictional Alumni Face-off. Round One: Lex Luthor vs. Ling Woo. (You can guess who won by a landslide.) Hoping David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day) shows up on the ballot! Other expected contestants include Tony Stark. Cornell doesn't stand a chance, mwahaha. Maybe another face-off will follow with a fairer match pitting MIT against Harvard. Or Oxford or Cambridge.

My favorite exchange from the comments section:

Doug Hough says: Lex Luthor is what all MIT students would like to be, if they had the personality.
Kestrell says: Actually, there are a few of us who would like to be Richard Feynman, if only we had the personality.


L'shana tova, everyone who is celebrating. ♥
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I seriously just participated in a game of Pi/Not Pi.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Crash of Moons)
"Corticocortical" and "axo-axonic"? Really?


I tried out a meeting of the sci fi club last night. It was very like my experience with the sci fi club at Imperial College London*: jargon, nicknames and in-jokes are so thick you barely understand what's going on; the jokes that you do get are laugh-worthy; natives are friendly but make little to no effort to clue you in; some of the older grads and postdocs have been couples for a while; people talk coding and physics; the library** makes you wish you didn't have schoolwork to do; there's promise of viewing Dr. Who/Firefly/etc; and after the meeting, you go out for Chinese food. There's a special brand of insanity nonconformity I'm having trouble putting my finger on. It seems to be a universal culture, even when individual cells don't communicate with one another, and with regional variation of terminology and obsessions.*** Alas, for it is not quite my culture (though maybe with time I will adapt). For one thing, this club is vehemently anti-vampire porn. Heh. No, I am too, in the Laurell K. Hamilton sense, but at the same time I didn't feel comfortable enough in the face of mass passion to defend the subsubgenre that is good. No SGA fans, either. In fact, their motto as declared on a sign outside their headquarters is, "We're not fans, we just read the stuff."

* (Hopefully without the accidental boyfriend this time)
** MIT has "the world's largest open-shelf collection of science fiction"
*** E.g.: bananas, chickens, a gigantic wrench, something called Spehn, and a set of Gor (?) books that are chained on their shelf so they don't escape and make other books worse.

One tangent during the meeting is totally worth repeating. Someone made a joke about the presidential elections, and one girl and one guy piped up with spur-of-the-moment campaign mottoes as if various sci fi/fantasy characters were running for office. Ah—I reproduce it for you here from the transcribed meeting minutes:

Motion to commend the current U.S. election as being a choice between science fiction and fantasy passes 17-0-10 plus Spehn.

"President Zod: Kneel for Change."

"President Cthulhu: Why Vote for the Lesser Evil?"

"Vote Spock: He's the Only Logical Choice."

ETA: I just remembered something else funny -- people referencing a summary of different scientific fields that went something like: "If it moves, it's biology. If it burps and stinks, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. If no one knows why, it's engineering. If it works in theory, it's mathematics."

Things got better at dinner, when people spoke in mostly understandable terms and I was able to ask who they are and what they do. I'll be trying this again whenever the other thousand things that only happen on Friday nights don't tempt me more, and we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and another bit of geekiness: one guy had a PDA thing at dinner for keeping a tally of what we wanted to order (they taught me the special finger signs for half or full orders per person as we went around the table for each dish; you have the option of going Communist [split a bunch of dishes in the middle] or Capitalist [get your own dish]), and later for splitting the bill.


Speaking of vampire porn: [ profile] daasgrrl won the snail race and came up with a glorious sequel to my comment!fic No Pain. It is called "No Mercy," it has just about everything you'd want from a House/Wilson fic and vampire erotica, and you should go read it here.

Another awesome thing I keep forgetting to mention: [ profile] jadesfire2808 did an analysis of my two SGA sestinas for [ profile] dvd_commentary. Like any good critic, she points out things that work and things that don't (some I'd been aware of, some I hadn't), things they illuminate about the characters, and ways the poems compare and contrast with each other. It is supremely cool, and it's given me some things to think about for my writing in the future.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (geek willow)
I'm bummed that Star Trek: The Experience is closing. A friend just told me last night, and it's closing on Monday. For a crazy few minutes, we talked about the feasibility of getting plane tickets there and back before the semester starts. But of course that would not be the best idea, so here is an in memoriam post about it instead.

DS9 was one of the top two most intense fannish experiences I've ever had (up there with Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and I looked forward to being able to walk down the life-sized replica of a section of the Promenade one day, complete with second level and a full-service Quark's Bar. I've had a few opportunities over the years to go out to Vegas -- the only real attraction of which for me was the Promenade, besides "having been to Las Vegas" -- but I always pushed it back for a more convenient time. I figured the Promenade would still be there. And now it won't be. (To add insult to injury, rumor has it that the larger props and sets will be destroyed when the exhibits are dismantled, as shipping is too expensive.) Alas.


In happier news, [ profile] elynittria drove down today for lunch* and Scrabble, and it was lovely. Two introverts, both alike in dignity, managed to make an entire afternoon of pleasant conversation about work and school and life and fun and film and food and flight and fandom and words and various miscellany. Like I said to her as our time together drew to a close, neither of us ran away screaming, so with luck we'll be able to do this again sometime.

LJ: It can be a wonderful thing.

* At the Miracle of Science Café, where one orders from the periodic table of menu elements. Sometimes I suspect the area around MIT is geekier than MIT itself. [ profile] elynittria suggests I wait to pass judgment until I know the school better.


Snippet of conversation at dinner last night, when nine of us were trying to calculate what we each owed, between food, orientation subsidy, tax and gratuity:

Me: Can't we make the mathematician do this?
Mathematician: No, I do pure maths. We don't work with numbers. Make the economist do it.
Economist: Oh, no. No. We just assign variables to things.

In the end, we all did what any large group does when splitting the check: tossed in some bills and hoped it totaled properly.


Style Credit


RSS Atom