Posted by Lex, on December 9, 2005
Well, it’s Friday and I don’t know that I have a thing to talk about except for the fact that today was our final presentation in MN 3105, better known to those of you at home as the Project Involving the Little Lego Robot. I’m rather surprised to report that of the five teams out there running the maze, overcoming the obstacles and marking the “survivor” targets, ours was the only design to successfully accomplish all goals.
It was clear to me about one half hour through the painstakingly thorough brief from the Actual Rocket Scientist team in Los Angeles that the only reason they were being so thorough in describing their process was because of the inadequate results of that process. Others followed suit, each in their own way, assiduously describing in mind-numbing detail how they had followed the textbook precisely and somehow ended up being just a little stumped at the end. Some begged for more time, others pled gremlins, each ran on for the better part of an hour.
We were done in thirty-five minutes, and there was great rejoicing.
In Sandy Eggo, anyway.
We treated ourselves to brats and Bitburger pils at the best German restaurant in Sandy Eggo (by common acclamation, it being, so far as I am aware, the only German restaurant in Sandy Eggo) prior to treating ourselves to naps, each in his own separate abode.
So anyways, I’m done for the now with Friday classes, though not at all sure that I’m ready to report the fact to Higher Authority since I’m still grinding my way through an intensely frustrating on-line statistics course. I’m thinking – Friday mornings henceforward dedicated to stats, for oh, say: Half an hour, followed by a wind-down session at Torrey Pines, the weather being most suitable for that sort of thing, and life being short.
Oh, and with the A I got in the other class I’m taking this quarter, I’m holding on to the first 4.0 GPA I’ve had since, well: Pretty much forever.
Quick, take a photograph.
Fate: Losing both my ‘rents at a fairly early age may have left me something of a fatalist, although that philosophy doesn’t otherwise track with the Episcopal interpretation of the deus ex machina. I used to joke that fatalism was why I chose to fly single seat fighters, on the theory that (again, mixing philosophies somewhat expansively) when God called your number, then it was your time to go and nothing to be done about it. To eyebrows raised at the affiliation of this mindset with single seat aviation, I would then continue primly, “Well, I just don’t want to be in the airplane when God calls the other guy’s number.”
The essential inadequacy of fatalism was brought home to me again yesterday however, when I heard the news of that Southwest airliner which ran off the runway and into the street in Chicago last night, snatching out of the world the life of a six-year old child from within a car occupied by two adults and two other children. Which scared the hell out of me when I heard the first sketch accounts, since the Hobbit and the Kat were flying home that same day on that selfsame airline from a national cheerleading competition (for the Kat, to be precise) and I wasn’t certain I knew what route their flight was taking. Could well have been through Chicago.
I was tremendously relieved of course when they called me from Austin, the last leg of their ongoing flight to San Diego, and told me they were fine.
Relieved but somehow guilty as well: Somewhere in Chicago or its environs a family who was driving from one place to another on a dark and snowy night, and who no doubt had troubles enough of their own to deal with, is left to wonder what kind of world it is when you can be driving your car down the street and an airliner can emerge from the inky darkness and pounce on you, snatching away the life of your six-year old son.
Ask not for whom the bell tolls, etc. Mysterious ways, and all that.
Speaking of fate, tic-toc, tic-toc.
Do you think that’s cruel? What would you do, if it was your people? How would you deal with someone who says, “”I say to our brothers in the (Palestinian) Authority that we are witnessing political stagnation,” and that, “our people are preparing for a new round of conflict.”
Follow it all the way home: “political stagnation” (not getting what we want at the bargaining table) = “new round of conflict” (slaughter of innocents). Their lives, and the lives of the Palestinians which will be taken in retaliation, and of the Israelis who will be killed in retaliation for those deaths, and so on – all of this is somehow a card to be coolly played in the Big Game of Palestinian nationalism.
What would you do, if it was you?
Thinking about seeing Narnia this weekend, a little light family fare. Polly doesn’t like it of course, which even though I’d see it just for the fun of it, will make me enjoy it all the more, I think:
Narnia is the perfect Republican, muscular Christianity for America – that warped, distorted neo-fascist strain that thinks might is proof of right.
Well, OK. Maybe.
Of course, on the other hand, it could be just a movie, Pol, take a deep breath. Based on the most popular selling books in the English language. Good guys win and all that.
Up your dosage or change your meds. Christ.
So, yah, it was me and the Biscuit And No Others for the last few. She was in fact my escort (if the word can be used that way) for last night’s Christmas Holiday Gala, sponsored by the imperial staff. She put on an actual dress, looked as radiant as the dawn, I do declare that I was the envy of every other gentleman in the place. Apart from that it was Chinese take-out, sushi, pizza and other things that did not require us to do dishes, for which we gave thanks, each in his or her own way.
It’s a strange feature of life these days, but it seems that the area I have most in common with my 14-year old daughter is our mutual appreciation of 60’s music. Although she does rather go more in for Simon & Garfunkel, while I tend more towards Hendrix, but e’en so. We passed several days together in a state of something approaching familial comity, and if no sitcom style breakthroughs were experienced, at least we did no actual harm to each other either.
But then again, we never know, do we. So be grateful for every day I guess.
The last two Saturdays in a row I have awoken with the burning need to get a leg over the bike and take it somewhere twisty, to feel everything straining at the ragged edge. On both Saturdays it rained, foiling my plans – I knew right well that the ride I was looking for was not to be had in the wet.
Tomorrow is Saturday again, and promises to be cool and clear, but the urge to carve the canyons on the very edge of control has abated somewhat.
I’ll maybe ride the bicycle instead. Better for me, in the long run.
All of that is inexplicably tied in with the well running dry on the Rhythms serial, so fans have perhaps something to look forward to in the Near Future, although of course, there is no implied warrantee apart from that explicitly agreed to by the undersigned writer, hereinafter known as “me” and the reader, hereinafter known as “you.”
I’m just saying, you know: Could happen.
Have a great weekend!