Take a look at what we cooked up at work for our annual Christmas card:
Finally, and after an interminable wait of several days, Thursday arrives. Everything was set. My morning meeting was cancelled, and Dillon had come to the office with me, so we were ready to go any time. I’d had a brilliant stroke of inspiration when considering what I might want to get signed… Cosmos, by Carl Sagan. With Dr. Tyson resurrecting Dr. Sagan’s old show, and having been referred to as “the new Carl Sagan,” I thought it would be awesome to get this book signed by Dr. Tyson, and so that was packed in my bag.
As we were waiting for the rest of our group to arrive, Molly suggested that I have Dillon come up with some questions to ask Dr. Tyson, just in case he got a chance to talk to the man in the course of getting his book signed. First question: WTF is up w/ pluto, man? I redirected him to some less obvious/more interesting information online. Dillon came up with 3 solid questions, and the pluto question. Not bad.
Jared and Ben (also taking some time away from the traditional educational environment… where is TABS when you need it?!) arrived around 12:30, with Mike making it in just as we were finishing up a quick lunch of Qdoba on the patio. Bellies full, and coffee in the cup holders, and we were off toward Madison! In Jared’s lame-assed minivan.
To cut the tense silence of five nerds driving for 90 minutes, Jared suggested I play some music, claiming that he has some good stuff on his phone. I pulled out my iPod, suggesting that Jared’s taste in music may come close to the near-complete vacuum of space itself (read: sucks). This charitable offer to provide delight to the occupants of the vehicle in the form of They Might Be Giants (specifically, the Here Comes Science album) was met with somewhat less enthusiasm than expected. To be specific, it was Jared’s opinion that TMBG has one good song, are generally lame, and what the hell do I have an iPod for when my phone can play music?! As you might expect, this lead to a heated debate about the generally awesomeness of TMBG, followed by a similarly heated debate over the merits of a separate music device over using ones phone. Two things to note here:
[Please forgive the grammar, punctuation, and capitalization in the following… These are chat logs, and we were very excited]
me: I definitely do
hang on [checked my calendar]
ok… I have a meeting that goes until 1, but I should be able to go after that
hope it doesn’t rain
Mike: sweet – I have a meeting that shouldn’t go past noon, and I’m taking off the afternoon
me: checking w/ my boss now
Mike: no rain forecast for Thursday in Madison
I hit Molly up on the IMs and get the okay with absolutely no hesitation, of course… Molly’s awesome. At this point I check my list of contacts to see if Jemiah is logged into Google Talk. He is…
Jemiah: I’m seriously considering driving to Madsion.
me: trying to get off of work
Mike’s already got a 1/2 day
Jemiah: Really? If you’re going I’m going. 🙂
me: waiting to hear back from the boss
Jemiah: What are the chances Molly will let you go?
Jemiah: I’m checking if Anne needs the car. If I leave by 10 I’ll make it in time. It’s about 4 hrs.
Switching back to Mike’s tab…
me: Jemiah’s trying to hook it up, too
Mike: nice. Think J-love would be interested?
me: could be!
Here I get something like 5 minutes of work done before…
Mike: Jared’s checking
Mike: He thinks he can make it and is suggesting we carpool
and is wondering if he should drag Ben along
me: i’m thinking I’ll bring Dillon
he can drive the minivan
Mike: definitely bring D along – even if he doesn’t appreciate it now, he’ll be able to say years later that he was there
Again, about 5 minutes of actual work before I get the ok from my boss…
me: I’m in!
we’ll have to sort out the specifics, but this is going to be awesome!
me: well spotted, man!
Mike: only way it could be more better is if he was signing books, but with the number of people that will probably be showing up, I’m guessing that ain’t gonna happen
me: we should find out where he’s staying
Mike: astrophysics groupies
me: “I TOUCHED HIS SLIDE RULE!”
dude, that’s what you should get signed
Mike: no kidding
holy crap, he is doing a book signing after!
Mike: Imagine the line for that
Mike: should we?
me: I think we should try
opportunities like that come around rarely
Mike: J-love says his accountant has not authorized book purchases
I said we’d chip in for one that he can get signed
me: hell yes
pretty sure we failed on his birthday, anyway
Switching back to Jemiah…
me: ok… everyone is in… me, jared, mike, ben, dillon
and he’s doing a book signing after
Jemiah: MAN. We need to find our thug hats!
me: ha! rolling DEEP!
Jemiah: What!? I know you not lookn at us. We got more nerds in this posse than you can handle. Back up.
me: Man! I’l slap an integral out yo’ ass!
Jemiah: Extrapolate dat ass!
Straight from Mortal Kombat!
And Back to mike again…
Mike: Heard back from the event director – she recommends bringing a book with instead of buying one there:
The UW Bookstore will be selling books at the reception, but we cannot guarantee that everyone will have time to make it through both the store line and the signing line. You may want to have your book with you already.
me: good plan
Mike: I’ve got Amazon Prime, so I can get copies on Wed. for only $17.79 ea – you want me to snag you one?
one for D?
me: one is good… It’ll be something special for D.
Mike: cool, I’ll order a total of 3 then to cover J-Love.
me: sweet… I’ll pay you back thursday
Mike: cool, they’re on the way.
So, that all took place over the course on an hour, and really with a combined total of about 30 minutes of discussion, at most. The whole thing reminded me of another trip that started with a short conversation (“Hey, you going to around later?” “Yeah.” “Cool, I’ll be there in a few hours…” followed by a 6-hour drive from Milwaukee to Minneapolis).
A quick email, 11:30 that night…
So Anne needs the car on Thursday so I’m riding my bike down to Madison. I leave Tue after work. I should make it by Noon on Thurs.Srsly, I’m just renting a car. What time are you all planning on getting there? How long are you all staying? I’m flippn’ pumped. I haven’t been back to MadTown in like 8 years.
And Mike’s response 30 minutes later…
I’m ditching work at noon, figured I’d drop by Versant, as Charles has
a meeting until 1. Jared is leaving work early as well.
We’re staying until we get our books signed (have 3 copies of ‘Space
Chronicles‘ on the way from Amazon for me, Charles and Jared). The
event coordinator says books will be available at the bookstore, but
she recommends being prepared and bringing your own book to be sure
that you get in the book signing line right away (“Mr. Tyson is
expecting a galactic shit-ton of you science loving motherf—ers”,
she said. Well, perhaps not in those exact words, but that was the
And that was that. We had a plan and had only to wait, as you will for the next part of this story.
Draft created: 2/6/2011
Just after Christmas, when everyone at my office was getting back into the swing of regular work, someone (Ben) introduced a collection of small, single shot nerf guns, one for each designer/developer/Laslo. He also brought in his notably more effective [weapon]. This, naturally, led to something of an arms race, resulting is a fairly well armed Interactive Department. The coolest, I think, the the sawed-off shotgun-style number Tom ordered for the boss, and the most outrageous is the Stampede he ordered for himself:
The thing takes something like 20 D Energizers! My favorite, however, is the extremely accurate, extremely quiet, extremely long range, extremely cheap weapon I whipped up of a lunch hour at the local Home Depot:
That’s right, race fans… a blow gun! Completely destroys all other nerf weapons in accuracy (the barrel is way longer than anything I’ve seen) and range (nothing even approaches the capacity/power of my standard-issue breath-bags), and is better than many in rate of fire. Whistlers and suction darts have to be muzzle loaded and are the more accurate, but the N-Strike darts can be quickly loaded from the mouthpiece. Not nearly as fast as the Stampede, but I poped Tommy in the head from waaaay down the hall, and he didn’t know it was coming until it was there.
I realized that I have a bunch of little posts in the Drafts folder; I’m never going to add to these, so here they are. I still have those ones I’m working on, but for now…
Draft created: 1/28/2011
Tom and Laslo (Matt) went ahead and labelled everything at my desk, including several pens, my mouse, my coffe cup, and of course, my keyboard:
Thanks, Tom and Matt.
The Internet is full of crap… sort of. I guess it’s not entirely full yet:
full – adjective – completely filled; containing as much as is possible;
So, not full, but it’s got to be getting close. Having been online for a long time, and having contributed a fair few properties of real use, I figured it would be ok for me to add a little crap. It’s a pebble in the ocean, really.
Generally I’m not a fan of television programs, or television personalities, or television in general. There are shows, however, that I’ve found interesting for one reason or another. I usually pick up shows after they are released to DVD, and I’m a little embarrassed to say that once I pick up a series, I want to see it through to the end. Obsession is too strong a word, but not by as much as I’d like.
One program that I actually watch within a week of it’s airing (or whenever it gets to Hulu) is Psych. It’s nothing special, really… sort of a buddy/detective program. The thing is, it’s absolutely packed with one-liners, throw-aways, and clever little bits. One of these clever little bits revolves around constantly introducing the straight-man (Dulé Hill) with different name (see the title of this post).
So, the Psych Wikipedia entry, about an hour of messing around, and we have