100% White, 75% Damp

Today was a horrible day for me; it started out good and then just went downhill real fast come about 5p. The details of why it was a bad day are unimportant as I got a great story out of it but sufficie it to say, today was REALLY BAD. Just to precurse things, I joined the MIT sailing team just a little while ago.

So, I was out sailing FJs with the team. I started out as crew but then my skipper had to switch to another boat in order to practice for a regatta this weekend with her partner for this weekend. When my skipper switched to another boat, I took over as skipper of my boat and another person was switched over to be my crew. My new crewman wasn't terribly experienced and I'm not very good at racing, but such things happen. Anyway, we were practicing (or rather learning how to do) roll tacks, which are like normal tacking except that you roll the boat a whole bunch and then straighten it out. Roll tacks are good because you turn faster and accelerate out of them but they're a little complicated and a little risky. Now, if you're doing a roll tack and you keep the jib in really tight on the wrong side, it will shove your boat right over; this is, incidentally, what my crewman did.

It's odd the things that you can perceive sometimes, for instance, I manged to be acutely aware of the point where just righting the boat became futile, almost in the same manner you can catch yourself when you start to fall over. In this split second, it occured to me that, since I was dressed in khaki and white as I often am, I really didn't want to go in the Charles (no amount of Goretex pants is going to keep you dry in the water). Not wanting to get soaked, I hauled my ass right over the side of the damned boat. So I got up on that centerboard, grabbed the side of the boat and started pulling to get it back upright. Incidentally, having gone over the boat, I was completely dry save for the cuffs of my pants. Sadly, I couldn't right the FJ on my own and it proceeded to turtle.

I want you to take a moment now to picture what it must have looked like; there's an upsidedown boat in the middle of the Charles, one guy swimming next to the boat and another guy standing on top of the boat, dry, wearing a button-down shirt under his life jacket. Then I got back to trying to right that boat and just tired the Hell out of myself so, one of the coaches offered to help from his motorboat and we started getting the thing back up. The boat's just about righted and I'm still hanging from the side, dry save for my ankles. It comes the time when I can climb over the side as the boat comes round and have survived a capsize without going in the water. Then my foot slipped. Luckily I was close enough that I could start pulling myself up and I only fell in the Charles to the middle of my torso. My head, shoulders, upper chest and right arm didn't touch the Charles.

So there's two morals to this story: one, your crew can put you in the river and two, if you climb over the boat you can stay dry during a capsize as long as you don't slip.

I need me some titles

I was thinking about titles earlier and how much I need more of them. The problem with getting official titles is that you need to earn them or you're just a hack when you try to use them. I've been thinking about various different titles that I want and what I would need to do in order to earn them. I figure chances are pretty good that I'll be getting a Ph.D. at some point, which will get me the title "Doctor". I figure that I'll have to find a way to get knighted, which will get me the title "Sir". I'm also going to have to become a preacher so that I can get the title "Reverand". Becoming a judge would get me a "The Honorable" as a prefix. If I can buy or marry myself into some sort of lordship, I can get the title "Lord" at the beginning and then some sort of fancy suffix like "Duke of someplace-or-other"; however I'm inclined to believe that Lord and Sir are mutually exclusive. Then, if I spent some time in one of the armed services, I could get my hands on something like "Commodore" or "Brigadier General". Certainly there are other nifty titles that would be great, but I think that I'm pretty far along the way to making my point.

The end result of all my work would be that I would officially be The Honorable Lord Reverand Doctor Brigadier General Waksman, Duke of someplace-or-other and that would just be flat out awesome. Oh, and think about the letterheads on my stationary.

I think that I've got my life set out for me now.

The Beginning of the End

It is now officially the beginning of the end, today was the first day of the first term of my last year as an undergraduate at MIT. It's kind of funny; wasn't long ago that I got here and it was even more recent that they handed us our Brass Rats. It's kind of funny how fast time flies. At this rate, I'll be getting my Ph.D. before I know what's happening.

I am returned

Now, I know you all have been wondering where I went and when I was going to return, so I'll tell you. I didn't go anywhere, it's just that in the confusion of people moving and getting r-type moved from one place to another, r-type ended up offline for a very long time. As to when I'm going to return, r-type just came online and it plans to stay that way.

I'm just as annoyed as you are; there have been plenty of truly amusing antics that I would love to have made you all aware of but the moments have passed and you'll just have to wait until something new happens.

Also, flying monkeys.

KMFDM is coming to the Middle East!

KMFDM is doing a 20th anniversary tour this year and they're going to be at the Middle East in Cambridge, MA on November 1st. The Middle East is just a few blocks up Mass Ave. from MIT. KMFDM is my favorite band, I have not yet seen them in concert and they are going to be in my city in just a few months. I'm going to have to see if I can find anyone else to go with me and make it to the concert.

Middle East Downstairs
Monday 11/01/2004
KMFDM, 18+ $22

Oh yes, I will see KMFDM on this tour, it will happen.

Watson (of 'and Crick')

Watson, the DNA guy, gave a talk, which I attended, at the MBL last night. It was an interesting talk even though it was mostly just an autobiographical sort of talk. I was actually kind of pleased that it wasn't a talk about something scientific because I wasn't really in the mood for that, as such.

Autobiographical talks are always kind of nice because they let you get an impression of the kind of person that someone is, and I like that stuff. Turns out that Watson spent some time in Woods Hole and experienced the Woods Hole thing. He mentioned things such as the Captain Kidd, which is the local bar that tends to be frequented by MBL sorts. It's kind of fun to think that I'm going to the same bar with my to-be-scientist friends that Watson used to go to with his scientist friends. Ah Woods Hole, such great traditions you have. I also have a little quote that I took from him, which I would like to reproduce here, "They were the sorts of parties where you got drunk and the person you went home with was probably not your wife." He is, of course, discussing parties in Woods Hole of his youth and is probably admitting to fornication and not to adultery. Incidentally, if you can picture the 76 year old, co-discoverer of DNA making this remark, imagine the response of a hige crowd of educated people.

It was a good talk, and there are more important and insightful ways in which I could discuss it, but I'd rather not because plenty of other people will have that bit covered. The key thing that I took from it was that J. D. Watson was just another young scientist in Woods Hole, like so many of the rest of us.

Anchorman... more like Awesome

Last night I went and saw Anchorman with some friends and it was absolutely spectacular. One of the best comedies that I have seen in a while. The humor skirted the line of over-the-top a great deal but, in my opinion, didn't spend too much time beyond it.

This is one of the best comedies that I have seen in a while, and I highly recommend it.

Story: 3/5
Quality: 3/5
Humor: 6/5
Characters: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Sunday! Sunday! Sun... err... um... Tuesday! Tuesday Tuesday!

Last night I went to my first demolition derby and it was totally sweet. So much car smashing; so much goodness; so much fun. The derby was in the context of the Barnstable County Fair, which I went to with a few friends last evening. Also, I got me a neat blue feed cap referencing the demolition derby.

I'll tell you one thing though, watching a demolition derby makes me wish that I could smash cars.

A day in the life...

Let me describe my average weekday. The day starts promptly at 8:00a with a press of the snooze button. This ritual is followed at 8:09a sharp with another press of the snooze button. At 8:18a my alarm is finally turned off and I proceed to sit on the side of my bed for 2-5 minutes before proceeding to the shower. I then shower, get dressed and bike to work, arriving around 9a.

Work tends to start with about 30-45 minutes being taken up by checking my email, reading a few comics and sometimes updating my blog (as now). Somewhere between 9:30a and 10:00a, I will actually get around to working proper. Working proper can best be described as PHP, PHP, MySQL and more PHP. I am getting to the point of being able to grok PHP. Work proper proceeds until 11:45a, at which point I go meet Jamie, Josh and occasionally others for lunch at Swope. Lunch often lasts for about an hour and I tend to be back to work by 12:45p. Returning to work sees me getting right back into the PHP and being quite productive for two or three hours. By three or four, my productivity starts to dwindle and I lose my laser-like focus. By five or six my focus is gone and I call it a day.

Come the end of the work day, things become a bit less predictable. The rest of the day is spent hanging out in Woods Hole, usually with Jamie, Dave and and a few other people. The only fairly certain bit after this point is that if it's a weekday-night, I will almost certainly be en route to home by 12:00a.

Huzzah for routines that work.

Hell is Dinosaurs in your Head

Yesterday was going pretty well up until I decided to go to sleep; good day at work, helped Dave G-L paint for a while, invited to dinner at the Galvin's, Cha-cha and swing at the MBL Club, a few beers with some of my chummers at the Kidd; all in all a pretty good day. So then, as I was saying, it all went downhill pretty darned fast thereafter. I got home around 12:30a and went promptly to sleep.

I woke up around 4a for no seemingly good reason, went back to sleep and then here is where the fun begins, and by that I mean exactly the opposite. Over the course of the next 4 hours (since 8a is when I like to get up for work) I went through veritable weeks of dream time, all of which were incredibly vivid and of a Jurassic Park kind of nature. The worst moments were those of being stalked through an office building by a number of malicious velociraptors, watching the slaughter of dozens of people around me, and the best moments were not a whole lot better. These were the sorts of dreams that one finds to be hard to distinguish from reality, like when you're worried about a test, take it in a dream and wake up relieved to have taken it only to later realize that it was just a dream. It was that sort of realism that leaves you unsure of things for a bit, except in that it was no test but, instead, large predatory reptiles out for my blood. I took up so much dream time and it was so vivid that, when I finally got out of bed in the morning, I was quite shaken and just a little jumpy.

Now, nearly two hours later, some of the horrors remain in my head and I am still a bit shaken and jumpy. I'm half expecting to hear screaming and then discover dinosaurs stalking around the MBL, where I work. This is, of course, not aided by being slightly out of it because of the sleep the horrors deprived me of in the first place.