Thursday, February 28, 2008

As For the Rest of It

My life has not actually consisted entirely of movies and online shoe shopping for the last couple of weeks. I've still been going to school, playing Shape Shifter, using my treadmill, catering to the needs and whims of His Fluffiness, and all the rest. But this morning was the first time in a longish while (close to two weeks) that I did not wake up with the same fairly bothersome to extremely bad headache I had suffered from all the previous day and that did not involve moderate body pain lasting most of the day. Most of my thoughts for blogging during this period boiled down to "waaaaaah," "grrrrrrr," "blah," and "fuck the world." Since these thoughts were even boring me, I decided that they were not worth inflicting on you.

Overheard on Tuesday morning walking to class:

Boy: "That masking tape is never going to hold. See how I used duct tape? It's stayed like this for a long time."

Girl: [shoves boy]

Sally (thinking): Is it possible that this girl is using masking tape in an attempt to hold something together in a permanent or semi-permanent fashion? This is madness. A cursory consideration of the primary function of masking tape - to mask (cover up) areas during panting that you want to protect from the paint - and the advantage that it presents for this purpose - an adhesive that allows the tape to be removed without damaging the item that has been taped - would argue against such a crazy idea. Duct tape is my go-to tape for situations that require strong, lasting sticking power. I am personally at least a third generation believer in the appropriateness of duct tape for a (ridiculously) wide variety of repairs.

Overheard on Tuesday afternoon in the math building:

Boy 1: "But girls always go for older guys. It's a law of nature."

Boy 2 (in a voice eerily reminiscent of Dr Suresh from Heroes): "I know. I'm 17. I don't stand a chance."

Boy 3: "Well...I guess you could hang out down by the junior high..."

Sally (thinking): My god, I am twice that kid's age.

I have finally decided that one big issue for me this semester, and a reason that I have been dissatisfied with it*, is that I am really feeling the lack of something that is apparently very important to me - the opportunity to demonstrate mastery.

* aside from things like usually feeling like crap since early January, which I am near to literally praying has been caused to a great degree by cedar fever and will go away!

This is easy to do on a nearly daily basis when you have a job, even an easy or mundane one (e.g. think of the guys at a Mongolian barbecue restaurant who get a kick out of spinning their spatulas in the air), and is a primary thing that I miss about having one. (In some respects, I feel the lack of this more than the lack of income because money can be saved up in a way that this other thing cannot.) Certainly at my jobs, I was an or even the expert in my area and had a lot of room for excelling at tasks and showing off what I can do.

Last semester, my scope for demonstrating mastery was a bit wider due to the format of my math class and the interaction- and presentation-intensive nature of my psychology class. In both of these classes, you could look me up in the registration list under "Bomb, Da."

This semester, I'm feeling very restrained. Some of this is internal - for instance, I do not make a lot of the comments that occur to me in my consumer behavior class because (1) it's just rude to dominate the discussion, given that people are trying to earn participation points that affect their grades, (2) many of the things I would say would simply not make sense to my classmates, who are business students not conversant in the relevant psychological terminology or familiar with the concepts (I do sometimes say these things, but I try to pick and choose opportunities that are less likely to screw with the prof's own teaching goals), and (3) I am hesitant to say something that reveals my history as a marketing professional or college graduate (from Rice). Point 3 is a kind of strange one; if I were not actually such an arrogant elitist, I would be able to do this casually and without particular consequence, but when it comes down to it, I assume that people will react to it in some way because they should. I really am better. Of course, if I were not capable of interacting with the material of a consumer behavior course at a much deeper level than my fellow Bobcat undergrads, my whole plan of getting into and succeeding in a good marketing PhD program to study consumer behavior would be even more misguided than it is.

Opportunities to shine in linear algebra are somewhat limited also, though I am glad that I was the one person who got a +2 to their exam grade by figuring out a proof on the fly. I have started talking more in stat class, which I had sort of fallen into the habit of not doing, perhaps because at the beginning, I did not actually know the answers? Both of these classes (in terms of the class experience and the subject matter) are fine, but I don't like them as much as I absolutely loved my calculus class. We've been doing sums of series and derivatives in stat class recently and I have perked up like a wilting plant given water.

Is the need to demonstrate mastery a form of the need for achievement (N Ach)?

One Rabbit-Related Movie Left

UPDATE: Cartaufalous supplied the name - Fatal Attraction. Tam, I get those two names mixed up all the time also.

Tam is thinking of the right movie here. Can anybody help her out with the name of this 1987 film that was nominated for 6 Oscars? Tam is correct in thinking that the name of the movie takes the form of Adjective Abstract-Noun.

"Oh! 5 has got to be that movie where someone kills someone else's pet (I can't bring myself to type the word) because of some kind of messed-up obsessive love situation!

Unfortunately I never actually saw that movie and therefore can't name it.

I keep wanting to say Basic Instinct but that is a different movie which I really did see.

Well, maybe this will help someone."

Friday, February 22, 2008


For discounted shoes browsing enjoyment, I recommend the website

Although I have had mixed luck with purchasing shoes online, this might work well for shoes that you know fit, either because you have bought them before or have tried them on somewhere else. 6pm does take returns, though you pay for the shipping.

Glancing through the "women's casual comfort walking" section this morning (sorted by low price, because even in fantasy shopping, I am still a cheap-ass), I was taken by these shoes, which are available in a variety of color combinations for $26 (regularly priced $93). I'm a sucker for a fun-looking, walk-friendly mary jane. It's a good thing I'm not in the market for a new pair of shoes, right...because I'm not...not really...I mean, not technically or anything...

I do not need these shoes, I do not...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Leo's Movie Meme


UPDATE: Only one movie left, people!

UPDATE: Leo has authorized some more quotes for the remaining two movies.

UPDATE: Leo has instructed me to post additional quotes for your movie-guessing enjoyment.

While Robert's quotes percolate in your brain, here is Leo's list of a dozen movies which he views with varying degrees of approval and disapproval. Miss Potter and one of Robert's unidentified movies would also have made Leo's list if we hadn't done them first.

Same rules as before.

1. Are you suggesting madam that there exists a law compelling a gentleman to lay hold of canine bowel movements?

Victorian dude, who has never seen a Met's game, watching TV. Scene: "I say, are those little people in that box of phosphors. Crikey, I believe it is. This game is more beguiling than cricket"

Kate & Leopold, Mom - Leo approves of this movie, for whom he and Kate were named by the rabbit rescue group.

2. Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it.

Does Elwood see anybody these days?
Oh, yes, Aunt Ethel, Elwood sees *somebody*.

Harvey, Mom - Leo approves of big rabbit friends.

3. Oh, no, it's only rabbits in there. The hare, I think you'll find, is a much larger mammal.
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Mom - Leo approves of this movie, especially for the establishment of the rabbit habitat and the reminder that buns are not all sweetness and fluff.

4. Get away, you damn white bird!
Watership Down, Tam - Leo approves of this story.

5. Bring the dog, I love animals... I'm a great cook.

Well, what am I supposed to do? You won't answer my calls, you change your number. I mean, I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!

Alex Forrest: And don't you think I understand what you're doing? You're trying to move him into the country... and you're keeping him away from me. And you're playing happy family. Aren't you?
[begins to slice her own leg with a butcher knife]
Alex Forrest: You wouldn't understand that because you're so... so selfish. He told me about you. He told me about you. He was very honest. If you weren't so stupid, you'd know that. But you're so stupid. You're so stupid... you're a stupid, selfish bitch!

Dan Gallagher: She keeps calling the apartment. When Beth answers the phone, she hangs up. I'm scared Jimmy, and I don't want to lose my family.

Fatal Attraction, Tam and cartaufalous (joint effort) - Leo thoroughly disapproves of how Alex treated the family's pet rabbit. (He has not seen this movie, but it is legend among rabbits; he has heard more about it than he wanted to know from rabbits at the sitter's.)

6. Careful, she's stark ravin' mad!
Alice in Wonderland (the March Hare), Mom - Leo approves of the Alice tales except for the fact that there are no veggies at the tea party; what kind of party is that?

D: Where did you come from?
F: Do you believe in time travel?

F: 28 days... 6 hours... 42 minutes... 12 seconds. That... is when the world... will end.

D: [in a letter] Dear Roberta Sparrow, I have reached the end of your book and... there are so many things that I need to ask you. Sometimes I'm afraid of what you might tell me. Sometimes I'm afraid that you'll tell me that this is not a work of fiction. I can only hope that the answers will come to me in my sleep. I hope that when the world comes to an end, I can breathe a sigh of relief, because there will be so much to look forward to.

Dr. Lilian Thurman: Has he ever told you about his friend Frank?
Rose: Frank?
Dr. Lilian Thurman: Yes, the giant bunny rabbit...
Edward: What?
Rose: ...I don't recall him ever having mentioned a rabbit...

Donnie Darko, cartaufalous - Leo disapproves of this movie because it is scary.

V: Tell my son the time that his father died. Tell him...
M: No. He won't even know your name.

Pan's Labyrinth, Tam - Leo disapproves of this movie with its depiction of dead rabbits.

9. Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin' right up!

Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Jen - Leo approves of rabbits that kick major ass since he is an attack rabbit himself.

10. That's the one good thing about Paris: there's a lot of girls willing to take their clothes off.

R: I believe you are blushing, Mr. Big Artiste. I can't imagine Monsieur Monet blushing.
J: He does landscapes.

Titanic, Jen - Leo views this movie with mixed approval and disapproval. He doesn't like that people frequently assume he and Kate were named after the actors in this movie, but he thinks that the 30-second rabbit version of this movie is pretty nifty. (For more 30 second rabbit movies, see this site.)

11. He doesn't walk very good, does he?

T: Uh-uh. Bir-duh!
Other rabbits: Come on, say "Bird." Say "Bird"...
B: Bird!
[rabbits scatter and run to mother]
Other rabbits: He talked, he talked! He talked, mama! The young prince said "bird."

Bambi, Jen - Leo approves of how well this movie portrays the sweet and fluffy side of rabbit personality.

12. I have no choice but to dismiss you. It breaks my heart, but I can't expose my guests to your firearms. It may be wrong of them, but they value their lives.
The Rules of the Game, Tam - Leo disapproves of this movie in the strongest possible terms since it is to all appearances a genuine rabbit snuff film.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Four Movies Remaining

UPDATE 2: All of my movies have been identified. You can now concentrate your brains on the movies remaining on Robert's list.

UPDATE: Make that two movies remaining, #12 and #18.

Additional quotes included to make this pretty straightforward (I think) to finish up.

Robert's Movie Meme

UPDATE: All movies have been guessed!

UPDATE: More quotes that should tickle your memory for the movies that you have seen.

UPDATE: Additional quotes for your guessing pleasure.

Exclusive to Empirical Question: Robert's 14 Movie Meme

You know the drill.

Note that Robert selected 14 movies that he really likes. And to level the playing field a bit, everyone should know that he prefers older (but not necessarily ancient) movies. So start guessing! I'm giving everyone else a chance to contemplate these before I take credit for the ones I got.

1) What a fitting end to your life's pursuits. You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something. - Raiders of the Lost Ark - Mom

D:All right. I ran her a close second. Maybe it was a photo finish. I'm through, fellas.
K:Don, you're not through!
C: Why of course not. Why, with your looks and figure, you could drive an ice wagon or shine shoes!
K: Block hats!
C: Sell pencils!
K: Dig ditches!
C: Or worse still, go back to vaudeville.

C: Talking pictures, that means I'm out of a job. At last I can start suffering and write that symphony.
RF: You're not out of job, we're putting you in as head of our new music department.
C: Oh, thanks, R.F.! At last I can stop suffering and write that symphony. -
Singin' in the Rain - Jen

3) C: He said, "I can smell your cunt."

H: I see. I myself cannot. You use Evian skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today. - The Silence of the Lambs - cartaufalous

4) Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria. - Ghostbusters - Robin

5) Next time, Jack, write a goddamn memo.

"The average Rooskie, son, don't take a dump without a plan." Wait a minute. We don't have to figure out how to get the crew off the sub. He's already done that, he would have had to. All we gotta do is figure out what he's gonna do. So how's he gonna get the crew of the sub. They have to want to get off. How do you get a crew to want to get off a submarine? How do you get a crew to want to get off a nuclear sub... - The Hunt for Red October - Debbie

6) So it's sorta social, demented and sad, but social. Right?

That's very clever, sir. But what if there's a fire? I think violating fire codes and endangering the lives of children would be unwise at this juncture in your career, sir.

BJ:Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...
AC: ...and an athlete...
AR: ...and a basket case...
CS: ...a princess...
JB: ...and a criminal...
BJ: Does that answer your question?... - The Breakfast Club - Mom

7) There *is* a leopard on your roof and it's my leopard and I have to get it and to get it I have to sing.

"He's three years old, gentle as a kitten, and likes dogs." I wonder whether Mark means that he eats dogs or is fond of them?

[watching George the dog dig up what they think is David's dinosaur bone] Oh, look, David, a boot.
DH [angrily] A boot.
[picks it up and makes like he's going to swing with it]
SV: Don't hit George, David.
DH: I wasn't going to hit *
George*! - Bringing Up Baby - Sally

8) Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up. - To Catch a Thief - Mom

9) Well, can't you tell us anything about the case?
Yes, it's putting me way behind in my drinking.

The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time.

N1:Nicky... Nicky, put Asta in here with me tonight.
N2: [chuckles] Oh, yeah?
[throws Asta in the other bunk] - The Thin Man - Mom

10) I certainly wish you would have invented a more reasonable story. I felt distinctly like an idiot repeating it.

Don't worry about the story's goofiness. A sensible one would have had us all in the cooler.

J: I am prepared to pay five thousand dollars for the figure's return. Do you have it?
S: No.
J: But if it isn't here, why did you risk serious injury to prevent my searching for it?
S: Why should I sit around here and let people come in and stick me up?
J: But certainly it is only natural that I try to save the owner such a considerable expense if possible. - The Maltese Falcon - Mom

11) I don't understand you people! I mean all these picky little points you keep bringing up. They don't mean nothing. You saw this kid just like I did. You're not gonna tell me you believe that phony story about losing the knife, and that business about being at the movies. Look, you know how these people lie! It's born in them! I mean what the heck? I don't have to tell you. They don't know what the truth is! And lemme tell you, they don't need any real big reason to kill someone, either! No sir! - Twelve Angry Men - Robin, Debbie

12) Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live... is it a live rooster? We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present.

I’m the player to be named later.

Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days. - Bull Durham - Sally

13) Thith ith the latht time I work with thomeone with a th-peech impediment.

D1: I've worked with a lot of withe-quackerth, but you are dethpicable
D2: Doggone stubborn little- That did it! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
D1: Thith ith the latht time I work with thomeone with a th-peech impediment.
D2: Oh, yeah? [shuts D1 in a piano]
D1: Thith meanth war.

JR: You don't know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do.
EV: You don't know how hard it is being a man looking at a woman looking the way you do.
JR: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way. - Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - Mom

14) You'll never be a first class human being or a first class woman until you've learned to have some regard for human frailty. - The Philadelphia Story - Robin

Cartaufalous's Movie Meme

Check it out.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tam's Movie Meme

Check out the 15 movie meme on Alethiography for more movie-quote guesswork fun.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Name the Movie

UPDATE 3: All the movies have been identified - good job!

UPDATE 2: I have added more quotes for the four remaining movies. I think they are pretty much identifiable now.

UPDATE: Now with clues below; I have included an additional quote by the same character (when such a quote exists).

**By the way, in fairness to Robert, I will say that he identified 1, 2, 8, 13, 16, 17, and 21 by name. He also identified the actor saying the line in 3 & 5.

Livingdeb has a fun post in which people try to identify a movie from a quote (as listed on the movie's IMDB quote page) that I thought I would borrow, but rather than limit myself to 15 movies, I have done 21. It was actually a bit harder than I thought to recall movies that I like well enough (and that seemed quotable) to use but I purposely avoided using any external memory aids in developing the list. That may help you with your guesses. (However, I did pseudo-randomize the list below, so it does not represent the first 21 films I thought of in order.) I also made sure that at least one regular reader has seen the movie and thus there is a chance at somebody getting it right. If these turn out to be too difficult, I may update this post with hints.

Here are the rules:
1. Pick 15 movies you know/like/love. (I did more than this.)
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie. (I don't actually know how to use strike-outs on Blogger, so I will have to use another method.)
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions. (This means you guys.)

Note: I decided not to include my favorite movie, of which I have devoted almost the entirety to memory and that is so infused into my very self from such a young age that there are numerous typical Sally sayings that come straight from the movie.

Please don't be shy about making some wild guesses. The wrong answers will probably be more entertaining than the right ones and I am willing to give partial credit. So with this, we may begin. Good luck.

Oh, but it's loads of fun 1. You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! - Vizzini, The Princess Bride - cartaufalous

2. Anybody see 'Battle of the 80's Has-Beens' last night? That Debbie Gibson can take a punch.

Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. It's just my Pop! hip. It comes from years of doing our patented dance move. My God, I've suffered for my art. - Alex Fletcher, Music and Lyrics - Jen

3. In case I never see you again, which would add ten years to my life, what would you fellas want to play football?

[the retiring president has just made a speech] Well, I thought my razor was dull until I heard his speech. And that reminds me of a story that's so dirty I'm ashamed to think of it myself.

(same character) Professor Wagstaff: ...swordfish, swordfish... I think I got it. Is it "swordfish"?

-Professor Wagstaff, Horse Feathers - Mom

4. My dear young man, don't take it too hard. Your work is ingenious. It's quality work. And there are simply too many notes, that's all. Just cut a few and it will be perfect. - Emperor Joseph II, Amadeus - Rick (and Robert, supplying title)

5. Hey, don't knock masturbation! It's sex with someone I love. - Alvy Singer, Annie Hall - cartaufalous

6. The first time that he spoke to me... I shall never forget his words. I remember it like it was yesterday. He leaned across the table, he looked me straight in the eye, and he said, "Aubrey... may I trouble you for the salt?

The promise was conditional. I command a king's ship, not a private yacht! WE DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR DAMNED HOBBIES, SIR! - Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander - Robert

7. How, it was dreadful! No parlor car on the train, and this wilderness! When I think of last summer, of the glorious times Gladys Ferguson and I had! But I must remember the last thing dear Mrs. Ferguson said to me, "Don't let poverty drag you down, Julia. Keep high thoughts and try not to let them get soiled by the grime of daily living."

Oh, Nancy, it's all been my fault. I'll do my share of the chores from now on, and I'll never mention the Fergusons again. Oh, and my dresses weren't even imported, I made them myself! - Julia Carey, Summer Magic - Jen

8. Civil war dudes... You guys are brothers for God's sake... You gotta stop fighting... North wins... Slavery is bad... Sorry... Don't want to burst your bubble but South you guys get the Allman Brothers... and... Nascar. So just chill!

I'm trusting you guys, and if you don't do what I say you'll end up like your buddies in the Mayan world over there, locked up. Do they look happy? - Larry, Night at the Museum - Jen

9. I am willing to bet you ten thousand francs, that the phantom is in Cortina at this very moment. Even, perhaps, in this very room.

Believe me. There are few thieves who are as clever as the Phantom. Each theft is completely different and unique, classic in its conception. - Inspector Jacques Clouseau, The Pink Panther - Robert

10. There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they Do... Not... Know about it! - Kay, Men in Black - debbie

11. Anyways, you need people of intelligence on this sort of... mission... quest... thing.

What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he? - Pippin, The Fellowship of the Ring - Mom

12. Tom is talented. Tom is tender... Tom is beautiful... Tom is a mystery. Tom is not a nobody. Tom has secrets he doesn't want to tell me, and I wish he would. Tom has nightmares. That's not a good thing. Tom has someone to love him. That is a good thing. Tom is crushing me. Tom is crushing me... Tom, you're crushing me!

What do you mean... lied about who you are?

(Different character) Dickie Greenleaf: Who are you? Huh? Some third class loser? Who are you? Who are you to say anything to me? Who are you to tell me anything? Actually I really, really don't want to be on this boat with you. I can't move without you moving. Gives me the creeps. You give me the creeps!

- The Talented Mr. Ripley - Robin

13. That is no arrow. We just imagine the arrows because we fear them. - Okello, Aguirre: The Wrath of God - Tam

14. If I'm curt with you it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please... with sugar on top. Clean the fucking car! - The Wolf, Pulp Fiction - cartaufalous, debbie

15. Well the buzz from the bees is that the leopards are in a bit of a spot. And the baboons are going ape over this. Of course, the giraffes are acting like they're above it all... The tick birds are pecking on the elephants. I told the elephants to forget it, but they can't. The cheetahs are hard up, but I always say, cheetahs never prosper... - Zazu, The Lion King - Mom

16. That's twice this month you've slipped deadly nightshade into my tea and run off.

Sally! You came back. - Dr. Finkelstein, The Nightmare Before Christmas - Tam

17. Yesterday we have learned the correct way how to boil water. Today we will learn the correct way how to crack an egg. Voila! An egg. Now, an egg is not a stone; it is not made of wood, it is a living thing. It has a heart. So when we crack it, we must not torment it. We must be merciful and execute it quickly, like with the guillotine. - The Professor, Sabrina - Jen

18. Just in case you're interested, it's called the suprasternal notch. Come and visit us in Dorset when all this nonsense is over.

I have to teach myself not to read too much into everything. It comes from too long having to read so much into hardly anything at all.

(Different character) Katharine Clifton: My darling. I'm waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I'm horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there'd be the sun. I'm afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we've entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we've hidden in - like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on mapswith the names of powerful men. I know you'll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That's what I've wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I'm writing in the darkness.

- The English Patient - Robin

19. Help! I think I'm melting! This is all your fault!

Now don't you forget this! Why I should stick my neck out for you is far beyond my capacity!

(Still the same character...)

[first line] Did you hear that? They shut down the main reactor. We'll be destroyed for sure. This is madness.

We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life.

Don't call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease.

Just you reconsider playing that message for him! ... No, I don't think he likes you at all... No, I don't like you either.

- C3PO, Star Wars - Jen

20. Excrement! That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard! We're not laying pipe! We're talking about poetry. How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand? "I like Byron, I give him a 42 but I can't dance to it!" - John Keating, Dead Poets Society - Mom

21. Our daughter is famous, Helen. You're the only person who doesn't know it. - Rupert Potter, Miss Potter - Rick (and Robert, supplying title)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Math Exams #1

Yesterday I got back the results of my first two exams.

Prob stat - 96%. I missed 2 points by changing the correct answer into a wrong one. I missed another 2 points from thinking that the words President, Vice President, and Treasurer denoted four rather than three titles. (Well, it's four words.) Duh.

Linear algebra - 98%. On the morning of the test, I practiced doing proofs (of which there were two, totalling 30 points, on the exam) by attempting to prove all the theorems we had covered thus far in the book. By comparison, the ones on the test were easy, though I did legitimately hand-wave one little thing that deserved a point reduction.

But - yesterday in class, we were looking at the theorem the prof calls The Theorem of a Million Parts (it's only 12, really) and proving various parts of it, and he offered a bonus of 2 points added to the test grade of anyone who could prove this one thing, which I did manage to do. So that brought me up to 100%.

During the proving of the Theorem of a Million Parts, he had written WTS on the board and someone asked him what it meant. "Oh, that is 'want to show' - actually, I had thought I would just start using only the first letter of each word from now on. That would be fun, WI? I mean, wouldn't it? No? Okay..."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Notes on the Movie "Shooter"

Best self-deprecating self-description: "I'm just a peckerwood living in the hills with too many guns."

Best state motto: "Welcome to Tennessee, patron state of shooting stuff."

Best reason to kick some major ass: "They killed my dog." (And we're talking a dog that knew to bring him a cold beer from the fridge as soon as they got inside.)

They gave this character, an ex-Marine gunnery sergeant who spends the early part of the movie with ludicrously bad hair and a decidedly unhipster trucker cap, the amusing name of Bob Lee Swagger. Mark Wahlburg does a credible job.

Lots of stuff gets blown up.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

G(r)eek Humor

While I was looking through the latest Rice alumni magazine, which had an article about the college system (JIBA!), I mentioned to Robert, as a continuation of a conversation started many days ago about factors that motivated him and me to attend, that I liked the fact that Rice had colleges rather than frats and sororities. I have found it strange how prominent these groups are at Bobcat High and have not totally gotten used to seeing people walking around wearing shirts, backpacks, flip flops (cringe), etc., emblazened with their letters.

Sally: "Well, at least it does mean that they know what some of the Greek letters are. They probably know them better than most of the rest of us do."

Robert: "Yeah. They are all--" (puts on a bimboesque voice) "Sigma Epsilon is zero!"

Robert's college girl voice was uncanny, and the idea of a Bobcat High sorority girl making a statistics joke* in the guise of putting down girls in a rival sorority slayed me.

* The G(r)eek girl is alluding to the fact that in regression, the sum of the errors is zero.

For the sake of clarity, however, I should point out that Sigma Epsilon is totally zero.

Language Expectancy Theory: College Girls Edition

At school, this afternoon at 3:30 (Thursday, which is the new Friday, now that classes are only held Monday - Thursday), I walked by two girls who were having a conversation of which I heard only part:

Girl 1: " I thought I would do it tonight."

Girl 2: "OK, well, first, you need to get a bottle of Jack Daniels -- barbecue sauce -- it doesn't matter which flavor, though I usually use [whatever]. Then -- you put out the chicken...."

By the time I got through "do it" and "Jack Daniels," the discovery that they were discussing a method of making barbecued chicken really surprised and amused me. I totally did not expect this conversation to resolve into plans for what to cook for dinner, rather than how to get drunk and hook up.

However, since the girls looked a lot more like Tam and me circa 1994 than the prototypical 2008 Bobcat High sorority babes who look ready to walk onto the filming of Girls Gone Wild at a moment's notice, perhaps this should have been less surprising than it was.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Pet Gap

One serious issue for Obama in the upcoming election is the experience gap, but fourdogmom highlights another disturbing issue, the pet gap.

The rundown among the main candidates:

McCain (22) - Sam the English springer spaniel, Coco the mutt, turtles Cuff and Link, Oreo the black and white cat, a ferret, three parakeets and 13 saltwater fish

Mike Huckabee (2) - Jet the 9-year-old black Lab, Sonic the 1 1/2-year-old Shih Tzu

Clinton (1) - "Seamus, our Lab"

Mitt Romney (0) - Family recently lost Marley, a Weimaraner

Barack Obama (0) - None

How can a man with no pets be expected to successfully challenge a man who manages the kind of menagerie McCain has? (Saltwater fish alone can be a lot of work.) McCain is pitching a big tent, welcoming animals of all kinds, while Obama can't be bothered. This does not reflect well on you, Obama.

But it's not too late. While many of us rabbit-lovers (who are clearly out of sync with the sensibilities of the political classes) will be drawn through small-animal solidarity to McCain, with his birds, turtles, fish, and a ferret (of all the crazy things), we could be impressed by Obama adopting a bunny from a rescue organization.

...Nevermind. It is too late. Fuck you Barack Obama and your website whose stupid flash thing crashed my browser and all seven windows I was keeping open for a god-damn reason. Remember, a vote for Obama is a vote against all that is good and cuddly and a vote for Internet terrorism. Bastard.

But really, how idiotic is it that the website of one of the two leading candidates for President of the United States does not function correctly. Run this country? He can't even keep his own website up! The man is clearly not to be trusted with a bunny either.

I'm blacker than Obama and I disapprove of his pet status and website
And isn't it strange that now that Giuliani has dropped out of the race, he is endorsing a ferret owner, given the famous segment from his old radio show in which he called a ferret-lover crazy? I particularly liked the quote: "There is something really something wrong with you...this excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness." Maybe Giuliani has reason to know that McCain's interest in ferrets remains at non-clinical levels. Or maybe Giuliani is just a jerk. (Though really, isn't Giuliani kind of weasely himself?)

I noticed that Ron Paul was absent from fourdogmom's list and I could not easily find anything on his pet situation. Of course, given that Paul is simultaneously a libertarian lunatic and an anti-abortion activist, I can only assume that he condemns the practice of spaying and neutering animals while believing that animals should be pulling their own weight rather than living large on the backs of the American taxpayer, etc. Perhaps in a Ron Paul world, the very few remaining public streets would be over-run with greatly multiplying stray cats and dogs who should be working in sweatshops or deported.

Friday, February 1, 2008

That Weird Word Thing

You know that experience in which you come across a word seemingly for the first time and then it almost immediately shows up someplace else?

I read a novel about the California gold rush this past week, and two days after finishing it, the word "Jehu" that was used frequently in the book showed up on the vocabulary-word-of-the-day email that I get.

Over Christmas, Robert and I did a crossword puzzle with a completely unfamiliar word meaning "half" that appeared only a few days later in a Thomas Perry novel (referring to how certain Indian tribes divide their clans into two groups and only allow intermarriage across this divide).

Does this happen to you?

Short Term Job

Yesterday I was hired as a research assistant in the marketing department for a project running through March, when their funding runs out. I will be making $10 an hour* putting kids ages 5-11 through an experiment about fast food choices. This will involve traveling to group meetings (e.g. girl scouts) in towns between Austin and San Marcos, and navigating to these places will obviously be a world of fun for me. Well, I guess I can consider this a sort of cognitive behavioral therapy for my anxiety about driving to unfamiliar places. (And I get paid $10 for the drive time, so it's therapy that pays me rather than the other way around.)

* At least this is the plan, but the professors have not yet gotten final approval of this amount, which is the maximum allowable wage for student-workers.

The graduate students on the project selected 3 undergrads (well, 2 undergrads and me) to run the actual experiments because they are in class in the late afternoons and evenings when most of these groups meet and because they are desperately needing to hit the phones to enroll more groups into the project. (The groups get $10 per kid, so there is something in it for them.)

The hours will be pretty light - under 10 hours per week.

One of my goals for my time at Bobcat High is to get involved in research projects, so this is a good start on that. This will be my first academic research experience in marketing.