June 28, 2006

amusing miscellany

-last week i spotted a guy in a wife-beater and yankee cap jogging down my street in the early morning....with a poodle that couldn't have been more than 8 inches tall.

-yesterday i thought i would try working in the cfa library so i went across the street, to where all the big-shot astronomers (except for me) have their offices. to get in you swipe your card, which i was told will give me access to this and anything else along the same lines. rejected. i think this is the worst rejection you can experience in life--rejection by a library. it reminded me of the seinfeld routine about how the library is like that unpopular kid who tries to loan out his toys to make friends: "...do you want to borrow it? it'll only cost you a nickel." not being able to gain access to a place i barely wanted to be in the first place is like being told by that kid that he has other plans and no, in fact, he will not be coming out to play.

-i cannot emphasize this enough: i am a technically federal employee. the american public is shelling out tax dollars for me to attempt to gain access to libraries that don't want me there. i also have permission to read all sorts of classified government documents, and take it from me, we are just in Iraq for the figs. oops, i've said too much.

-bob wilson, nobel prize-winning co-discoverer of the cosmic microwave background, has an office down the hall from me. since my thesis was on the microwave background's loser cousin, the neutrino background, (undiscovered), so i am completely awe-struck in this completely nerdy way. this was basically one of the first guys to make cosmology an observational science--his picture is in every astronomy text-book (run a google image search for "penzias and wilson" and tell me that that those arn't some wonderful photos).

-at a cafe last week i overheard some lady at table next to me bragging about herself for about 15 minutes. as i got up to leave she began describing some summer day-camp she invented: "it is just what kids today need. it is 2 weeks of thinking outside the box and getting out of their comfort zones." "every morning would start with 15 minutes of listening to loud, exciting, pep-rally music and everyone would have to high-five everyone else." basically, she just went on like this spewing mindless catch-phrases and terrible ideas for activities while her breakfastmate listened, rapt with awe.