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Fortunately, they're reflective

Deer have really been a theme for this trip back east to visit my family. Like so:

  • Gifts purchased (by me, on the advice of dad) for my brother-in-law to aid in the killing of deer using a military-grade sniper rifle

  • Various family members' cars being totalled by encounters with deer, more and more recently and frequently

  • An actual deer getting killed, by my dad, with a bow, from a tree, while I was sleeping in on Christmas morning.

  • A different, previously killed deer starring in a meat pie served to me today at a party

  • Discovering that my uncle's method of skinning deer involves a tree, a truck, a trailer hitch, and some rope

  • My cousin making a fair point that the trouble with deer and cars has two solutions: fewer deer or fewer humans.

  • Seeing literally scores of deer lurking near the freeway as I drive to my Mom's house tonight

  • Attempting to navigate the aforementioned Ford Bronco between the aforementioned deer as they fling themselves in front of my truck from the edges of the freeway

  • Noticing (titularly) that deer are easy to avoid on the freeway if you are watching for them, because their eyes are reflective in the headlights.

The End

I have just finished the entire Baroque Cycle, a 3000 page mound of historical fiction by Neil Stephenson. And even though it's 2am and I'm really tired, I feel like I just have to tell SOMEone. Some notes:

  • The end is not bad. Especially not bad in light of Neil's record r.e. endings.

  • DON'T read the Epilogue, it's just better if you don't. It doesn't add much of anything to the book. Instead, imagine that it says "And they lived happily ever after". Because the Epilogue basically does say that, but it says it in kind of a goofy and unnecessary way that will bore you for the first 9 pages and then annoy you on the last page.

  • If you want closure, read the Acknowledgements page. It's somewhat amusing.


The Ford Bronco: A Meditation

Many people say that I'm finicky when it comes to cars. But really, I just have three things that I want from a vehicle:

  • Going

  • Stopping

  • Turning

When these exotic traits elude a vehicle (such as the Ford Bronco), then I must fall back on some of my secondary characteristics, which include:
  • Dry

  • Safe

  • Reliable

  • Fuel-efficient

  • Not sticky inside

And when even these characteristics cannot be had (as in the case of my cousin's Bronco which I am piloting around the state this week), then I suppose I could apply a rubric that more suits the strengths of the vehicle, such as (and Taylor if you're reading this, please take heart that I am focusing on the positive aspects of your fine vehicle):
  • Allows me to see the roofs of other SUVs from the driver's seat (also, I can wave to long-haul truck drivers)

  • Has a stereo system which is constantly advertising its many advanced features to me through it's in-dash display

  • Keeps me intrigued with its ever-shimmering skein of exciting engine and transmission noises

  • Has a dashboard that is unfettered by confusing numbers or other text

  • Constantly keeps me in mind of the delicate, fleeting nature of human life, especially in wet weather

  • Allows me to enjoy daylight, fresh air, and crisp, clear rain water coming around the edges of the driver's side door, even when it is closed and the window is rolled up

  • Has great windshield wipers

-- EOF

Trout Gravy

What more could possibly be said about THIS product?!?

I guess my favorite thing is that it's labelled "Exclusive Sex Scent" but also in large letters at the top, "GARLIC". Are these things in conflict? Or has modern science discovered that trout find garlic sexy? If true, shouldn't something like this be put on warning signs near streams to protect picnickers from a potentially awkward situation?

The world is full of mystery.

Excellent Excellence

I bought new wiper blades for my car. I had two brands to choose from, and one was Bosch. I bought the Bosch ones, because they're more german. Plus, on the side of the box is their Windshield Division slogan (I swear I am not making this up):


It could happen to you

Yesterday I had a little statistics crisis. Long story short, I wanted to calculate a linear fit of a list of 1000 numbers in one of my programs. Having a college education serves the purpose of knowing that the problem I have can be solved by a linear fit, but unfortunately (as with so many things) studying it in school has not caused me to actually remember how to do it.

Thus, I go to Google and attempt to find something like "Calculating Linear Fit". And I have to laugh because almost every result that I could find contained one crucial instruction that I was unable to follow:

Type the following command into MATLAB ...

Remember those Star Trek plots in which our intrepid heroes stumble upon a planet full of people who worship the computer system built by their anscestors, and nobody knows how it works anymore and can't fix it when it goes crazy and starts demanding human sacrifices? Well, this is undoubtedly how it starts.

This hurts me more than it hurts you

So, you go for a job interview on Monday. You show up an hour early, to show your enthusiasm, and to hedge your bets on traffic. You're wearing your favorite shirt.

You meet the interviewer, and he seems nice enough. He starts asking you Java questions. If you were more introspective, or maybe less desperate, you'd begin to notice that you don't know the answers. Not really any of them. But you keep talking, somehow. You start to theorize about what the answers to the questions might be, if the questions were different in ways that made them easier for you. You don't realize at first that you're wrong about those, too.

The interview concludes. You didn't really get much time to ask questions, except for the really important one on your mind: What is this job you're interviewing for? The interviewer describes the position and the group, but you don't really understand, so you nod. He shows you out.

The week goes by, and on Friday you still haven't heard anything. The interviewer said to wait 7 days for a response, but you call him anyway. It's clear from the phone conversation (which is very short) that he doesn't remember you. He tells you that he'll check with HR right away and that they'll follow up. You hang up, wondering if you'll get the job.

You're pretty sure you will.

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