It pays to be a wise ass

Filed under: academe,neat!,news @ 12:31

My Quantum Field Theory professor, Professor Wise (check out the hot website), gives out change for correctly answered questions in order to encourage class participation. Previous to last week, I’d earned something less than a dollar for my efforts. There’s a couple people in the class who consistently make about ten or fifteen cents a lecture and there’s one person in particular who answers “zero” to every question for which that answer could be appropriate. Professor Wise has lauded (and suggested) this strategy, claiming that nearly all of the questions he asks can be answered correctly with that response.

In Tuesday’s lecture, we were discussing grand unified theories, and he posed the (implied) question, “Guess how many grand unified theories I understand.” I responded quickly and authoritatively, “Zero.” The professor immediately burst out laughing and headed for his wallet. Fishing around for a quarter he said, “No, no, no. That deserves something more”. He pulled out a single, but said, “No, no”, and pulled out a five spot. Coming over to my seat he proclaimed to the class, “This is the most money I have ever given out in all my days as a lecturer. No one has ever had the chutzpah to say something like that. Congratulations.” I expressed my deepest honor and gratitude and stuck it in my pocket.

The rest of the class responded with a mixture of laughter, shock, and (I’d like to think) admiration (for the both of us).

To make the deal even sweeter, Professor Wise also finalized his plans to take the class out to dinner the following evening.

Five bucks and a free meal for going to class and being a smart ass. Awesome.


My bits are falling apart

Filed under: news @ 01:45

As promised, I have started running. And, as predicted, the schedule is kicking my pansy ass. I was supposed to run one and a half miles the first day (yesterday) but only managed to run the first half a mile before having to walk a bit. Overall, I ran a total of one mile. Go me.

Today I was scheduled to run three miles. Though I managed better than the day before, I still couldn’t run the whole thing. I ran one mile before having to walk; I ran a bit over two miles overall. On the plus side, the path I took turned out to be four miles instead of three. So, adding the walking I did when I should have been running and the walking I did back and forth to campus, I walked nearly four miles today. Walking’s nice; I like it.

“How do I feel?” you ask. Thank you for asking. I feel horrible :) I typically don’t get sore until two days after working out (rather than the next day). Right now I can barely move my legs. That means this running nonsense has made me sore just the day after or perhaps even the very same day. I shudder to think how I’ll feel tomorrow morning. Plus my foot hurts. Same for some funny tendon in my groinal region. And my back is stiff.

This is supposed to be good for me?

The schedule puts me back to one and a half miles tomorrow. I might just have a chance, assuming my groinal region doesn’t brast all to shivers.


WordPress 1.5.1 — 14:34

The new release of WordPress is out. Time to upgrade.


The Final Countdown

Filed under: a group of folks,news @ 13:52

Ok, so I’ve been saying for… years? that I’m going to try and get back into shape. To the many people thinking “‘back into shape’? He means ‘in shape in the first place’ right?”, screw off. I was totally in shape when I was in eighth grade.

Telling Joanna that I needed distraction and some healthy endorphins, she kindly sent me a training schedule for novices wanting to get into running and into shape. By ‘novice’, the site means ‘this will kick your pansy ass, you scrawny weakling. Yes I’m talking to you, patsy. Yeah. You. The one in the DeCSS shirt. What the hell is that, anyway? Shut it! Go run six thousand miles. And eat something for Christ’s sake!’.

I start on Tuesday the tenth. I’m totally screwed.


A cry for help

Filed under: news @ 14:50

For those of you who use my rss feeds, I have a question. For those of you who don’t (why not?), just ignore me.

I think my feeds might be broken, but in a subtle way (for the curious, I think they’re sending out 304s when they shouldn’t). If you use either my post feed or my comments feed, can you tell me what feed reader you use (Sage, NetNewsWire, Firefox‘s live bookmarks…) and whether or not the feeds have been getting updated corectly when new posts or comments get submitted?

Thanks. (This is what you get when you use alpha version software. Bleeding edge, baby!)


iTunes has it in for me

Filed under: music,news @ 20:25

Not a week and a half ago, I commited a bit of iTMS stupidity. To add insult to injury, the iTunes free download of the week this week is a song I purchased (for money) nearly two months ago: “I Predict a Riot” by Kaiser Chiefs. While it’s nice to think of myself as ahead of my times (actually, I prefer “prognosticator of musical import”), I’d rather be cheap.

It’s a good song, though. Get it while it’s free.


Man, I’m Dumb

Filed under: music,news @ 16:17


I just bought a song off iTunes. A song I already had. That’s ninety-nine cents (three tacos minus tax) down the drain. All for a stupid Jimmy Eat Flippin’ World song.

Why they hell didn’t I bother to search my library before buying, you ask? Because what kind of douche bag owns “Sweetness”? I mean, it’s hella catchy, and the subject’s fair, but, let’s be honest, it’s a little repetitive.

Well now it’s even more repetitive, since I have two copies. I’m listening to them back to back now.



Seven in One Stroke

Filed under: a group of folks,blogging,neat!,news @ 12:27

OK, so it’s really only two, not seven. And, to be fair, it was two separate strokes, but they came in such quick succession that they can be considered ‘nearly’ the same.

The news? Two new blogs driven by the best software for the job, WordPress (Sorry Dixie, xaosseed, Ted. It’s just plain true).

Paul.za and I helped these two set up their impressive sites (impressive by their own accord, not through our help) in as many days. We may have to start some sort of venture. If we do, I say we call it “Phase three: profit!”.


Site goal #1 met — 15:09

I’ve now broken even: 217 posts and 217 comments. A big step from .in need of a life..



Filed under: a group of folks,news,slice @ 02:02

My own personal day of the automobile.

I went to the Saturn dealer today to see if I could score some phat chronic car maintenance. When I took in my car five or six months ago, my brake pads were a healthy 6.5 mm up front and 2.5 mm in the rear, but recently I’ve been hearing some intermittent squeaking and feeling some slight catching, so I had them check them this time around too in addition to the regular oil change and whatnot. The service guy told me the pads measured 9 mm and 2 mm. I blinked. He continued to say that the pads were fine, but that he had sanded them slightly and touched up the shoes similarly to reduces the squeaks and catching. I said “ok, sounds fine” and blinked again.

How did my front brake pads nearly half again in size after five or so months of use? There is some information I’m missing. I chose not to worry about it, and to inquire further if I get more funny numbers next time. Actually, I won’t ask questions. I’ll head to the nearest patent office and make millions.

Stranger than the self generating brake pads, was the appearance of Robert Raussendorf (a post doc in Preskill’s group) at the Saturn dealership. He too was getting his brakes looked at. We chatted a bit until he got driven home by the Saturn people. What a bizarre coincidence. After he left, I sat down to read Herman Hesse’s Demian, which is shaping up to be pretty freakin’ awesome.

What is not shaping up to be pretty freakin’ awesome is the California DMV. I received today in the mail a “Notice of Delinquent Renewal”. This is the first notice I have received; I never got a “Notice of Well-Adjusted Renewal”. This is the second year in a row they have done this to me; I am pissed. Is this some big scam the DMV is running in order to get a few bucks? “Forget” to send a few registration renewal notices here and there and then slap people with a late fee when the don’t (surprise!) pay up on time?

I will be speaking to them on Monday. I have a feeling that’s all I will be doing on Monday.

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