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The Wedding Situation
It's becoming clear that my behavior at past weddings has not been a sufficient deterrent for invitations to future weddings, so there's something I need to spell out for you:

If you invite me to a wedding, funeral, or other formal event, you need to be prepared to accept the Standard Get-up. This consists of:
  • A gray suit that my mom bought for me 15 years ago, in a fit of rage. This is my only suit. It's hard to notice, but there is a tiny, tiny moth hole in the crotch of the pants. Don't let me catch you looking for it.

  • A plain white button-down shirt. There is a fair chance that this shirt has not been washed since the last time I was at a wedding, which is the last time the shirt was worn.

  • A tie. I have maybe 4 ties. I hate at least 2 of them, and at least one other one is too short. (I think you can compensate for a short tie with the knot somehow, but I can only barely tie a tie at all, let alone tie some special knot.) This leaves the M.C. Escher tie that my Aunt gave me a decade ago, which I can tolerate. The first 4 times you see me wear it you might think that it's whimsical, but I promise you that there is a 100% probability that I will choose this tie.

  • Suspenders, which I have to assume have gone out of fashion, but a) I kind of like them, and b) they are attached in a complex way to the suit pants and I don't think that I could take them off if I wanted to. Remember, there is only one suit.

  • Sunglasses, which do not come off for anybody's Magical Day, no matter what. Don't want me to wear sunglasses? Have a night wedding.

  • Inappropriate footwear, consisting either of hiking boots, skater shoes, or bare feet. (Yes, I've been barefoot at a wedding.) You'd think that this is because I don't have dress shoes, but actually I do have them, and they "fit", in the sense that they don't hurt my feet any more than dress shoes of a smaller or larger size. But I wear comfortable shoes with my suit, because I promise you'd rather have me comfy, happy, and inappropriately shod at your wedding, than feeling cantankerous and annoyed at you and your guests for making me wear the Foot Destroyers. I'm reasonably creative, and I can cause a lot of trouble if I'm in a bad mood.
So I'm happy to come share your various formal events with you, but I'm just trying to help you understand that This Is The Contract, as far as attire goes.

It's nothing personal.
Another reason to avoid Indonesia

At a party this winter I met a grad student who had just spent some time in Indonesia studying flying snakes. I'll say that again: flying snakes.

Apparently there are at least 4 different species of snake that can flatten out their rib cages into a cupped shape and glide through the air. "Like a frisbee!", he said cheerfully.

Upon reflection, maybe paving the earth isn't such a bad idea.

(I asked him if any of the flying snake species are poisonous. "Oh yes, all of them!" Great.)

Secrets of the Season

I've flown back east every winter for 10 years, and over time I've learned to always fly Delta. Delta is certainly no less awful than other airlines, but you can use its awfulness to your advantage. How? Well, Delta can't get you anywhere (not even next door) without connecting you through Atlanta. And Atlanta is spared something that every other airport in the country suffers from: Winter.

(I can't imagine who would decide to hub their airline out of Chicago O'Hare, for example. Did they lose a bet, maybe? God hates that airport.)

A workplace attire haiku

who dressed you today?
no one should wear fanny packs---
i want to slap you.

Good to know

This was taken at the buffet line at one of Google's many excellent gourmet cafes.

I don't think many people really believe me when I tell them that working for Google is the most bizarre experience of my professional career.

Perfectly safe

This is how a friend of mine (who lives in Berkeley) powers his office. I had forgotten the delights of living in an old house with terrible wiring.

On the bright side, the rain in Berkeley would probably put out any fires this caused relatively quickly.

Wait, is this a threat?

From a fortune cookie in a chinese restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia. I guess they order the special Creepy Edition Fortune Cookies in bulk there.

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