21 April 2006


HKU posted some photos from the talks we gave there. I think they nicely document the many facets of my professional stylo, including:

Well, at least I don't look like this guy.

18 April 2006

Smooth Mark Loretta

There's a good Gordon Edes piece in today's Globe about Dave Loretta, Mark's Dad, who was at Fenway yesterday and got to see his son hit a walkoff homer to cap off a terrific game. Among the gems in the article is Loretta the younger describing the pounding he got when his teammates mobbed him after his home run trot:

But [this being] the first time [to hit a walkoff], I felt like I wanted the entire
experience, and [Jason] Varitek certainly gave it to
me. He was right there waiting for me. My lips are sore, who knows who
got me where.

The whole family, which hails from the Golden State, was in Boston for the weekend and when Mark's youngest sister (a senior in high school) asked about our fake holiday and whether CA had any similar historical sweetness, Loretta the elder quipped:

I said, 'Kelly, California was colonized by the Spanish. No major
battles. A lot of Franciscan monks going up and down, establishing
missions. That's the history of California. There were no wars, no
revolutions for independence, no Bunker Hill, no Boston Massacre, no
Boston Tea Party. All that stuff happened here.'

She said, 'That's funny, Dad. I was wondering whether California had anything at all.'

I said, 'Frankly, no. There really isn't. It's a nice place to live,
but it doesn't have the tradition, history, any of that stuff.'

Damn straight.

17 April 2006

Patriot's Day

LB and I checked out the interwang radio broadcast of the annual 11AM Patriot's Day Sox game. Great game to be able to listen to start-to-finish, as the Sox came from behind five times to finally win it on a walk off shot over the Monster by unlikely hero Mark Loretta. I'm always amazed at how tense it can be to listen to a close ball game like that, with the outcome turning on every pitch. It was also a pretty sweet day for me fantasywise, since Big Papi had a couple of massive homers.

16 April 2006

Yard Work

Nine months after Scottlington brought a Cruftlabs bilge pump across the Atlantic I finally found a use for it. I just bilged out roughly 20 gallons of extremely grim water from the rain cistern in the back yard. This time I didn't fool around with trying to battery operate it, but instead wired it directly to the 240V via a DC adaptor I had kicking around and got a good flow going.

There's still probably 6 inches of sticky mud and detritus in the bottom, and I have to figure out what to use the cistern for. Current best bet is as a flower planter, but suggestions are welcome.

15 April 2006

What customer service?

I wanted to request some seats on a BA flight. So I went to their website, looked up my booking and went to the request-a-seat page. It showed me a bunch of choices and then hung the browser, causing it to stop responding. I tried with another browser, then with IE. Then I tried on another computer (this one running Windoze) with two browsers there. All of them hung interminably (except FF on OSX was smart enough to catch it and give a dialog saying "A script on this page is not responding. Terminate it?")

So I call up BA's online help phone number. Of course this means I'm talking to a woman in India who's just sitting in front of her web browser literally doing exactly what I just did. And of course she can't work the goddamn website any better than I can. So she tells me it was showing me the seat map in error and there aren't that many seats available. OK, well surely there are at least enough seats for all the ticketed passengers?

Also, they announce when you call the number that if you book a ticket via one of their "online specialists" (read: Indians with web browsers) you have to pay $20 per passenger. This is for the pleasure of having someone else operate my web browser over a phone connection. Cheers.

Shouldn't the interwang be making life easier and cheaper for consumers instead of being an endless pain in my ass?

12 April 2006

Wily Mo

Ha. While everyone is making the call that BroYo has 2 homers to Wily Mo's zero (in addition to two stellar pitching performances) Dirt Dogs has a picture of Wily Mo smashing into the wall in right (as he tipped a flyball into the bullpen for a 2 run HR) with the headline: "Bronson would've had it".

The CP's are still cocks

Glad to see the MIT Campus Police are still assholes. When the Caltech dudes showed up to retreive their cannon, they evidently decided to courteously inform the CP's that they were planning to reclaim it. According to the LA Times:

But they decided to quietly alert MIT's campus police about their
intentions an hour beforehand. It may have been a tactical error. The
police wanted to see "proof of ownership" for the cannon.

Almost as good as when the CP's had our LN2 container sent to the State Police drug lab.

11 April 2006

Lotta new faces

Trup was doing the play-by-play on Bengie Molina's line into a double play today and first forgot Loretta's name, then made the call of the season so far:

Line drive! Knocked down by [pause] the second baseman! He flips it to second—out! On to first—double play! Mark Loretta blocked that ball like he was playing jai alai and then flipped to second to start the double play.

RM Courier

I packed up the final version of my paper today and sent it to the editorial office in New York via courier. For some bizarre reason you have to send them printed copies and a CD with the electronic versions of your documents for the final version. In all previous steps the transaction is done over the interwang. Oh well.

It's funny how long these things take. I started thinking about this project very shortly after I arrived in Oxford and now a year later I'm getting it published. There's still actually the remaining wait time to get proofs back, accept them, and then finally have it in print. I'm sure when those events transpire I'll make another brief announcement to the blogosphere.

Not that I'm complaining about how long it took—this has actually been a fairly quick turnaround, all things considered. And at least I'm actually getting published.

10 April 2006


I had the actor's nightmare last night. Kind of odd since I haven't been on stage in years. While the details of the play change each time I have this dream, one thing is always the same: unlike the play of the same name, the anxiety in my dream is all when I'm off stage, looking desperately for a copy of the script so I can try to figure out when my next scene is. This time around I was in some play where I was wearing a dark suit and fedora and was involved in some early cafe scenes. I managed to fake them OK (again, this is standard in my version of the dream) but then when I went off Josh (who was working backstage) refused to let me borrow his script (bastard). I finally talked someone else into letting me look at hers, but I didn't know what my character's name was so I couldn't find the right lines in it. Amusingly, my alarm started going off, but I kept reaching over to snooze it so I could get back to trying to find out my character's name.

06 April 2006

MIT Cannon

This is totally awesome. It sucks that it happened just after my visit to Cambridge. I'm a beaver, you're a beaver, we are beavers all. And when we get together, we do the beaver call:

E to the U dU dX, E to the X dX!
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine, three point one four one five nine!
Integral, radical, mu dV, slipstick, sliderule, MIT!

Go Tech!

04 April 2006


Unfortunately the journal requires me to submit the final version of the paper for publication in MS Wrød format. I understand that they need an editable copy of the text for layout, but I think it's pretty beat that they cant take a TeX file. This means that I have to go back and ghetto-ify all my equations and tables. Not to mention trying to get all of the figure references correct by hand.

What's most depressing about this, however, is that I'll probably never TeX another manuscript again, since it will always need to be redone in Wrød.