Archive for May, 2006

Car accident!

Kate and I got in a car accident I was driving her to work this morning. We were entering the highway while someone else was merging. We had right of way, but this person was not slowing down to let us go, and I tend to be a cautious driver, so I slowed down sharply to let them in. Instantly, the van behind us rammed us at 10-15 miles/hour. We pulled over and exchanged information, though the other driver didn’t have his most recent forms. The damage didn’t seem bad, though it seemed worse once we got home. The bumper is scratched, plus there’s a dent in the trunk:

We did not call the police at the time. I called later, and they just said to deal with my insurance company. I gave my insurance agent the man’s insurance information, and he’ll take care of getting the other driver’s insurance to pay. Kate and I have “uninsured driver” coverage on our insurance policy, so even if this dude has no insurance, we won’t have to pay a thing.

So, I’ve finally been in my first car accident as driver. Fortunately, I wasn’t at fault, so my record is still clean after 7 years of driving. But it was quite the event, and even though it’s been nearly 2 hours, I’ve still got adrenaline energy making me feel anxious and alert.

I’m happy that it looks relatively easy for us, but like Kate I feel increasingly busy now. I have to start on my summer research, but we will be busy the next few weekends, and we have to find an apartment, invest our money, take Chester to the vet, clean the apartment, fix the car, and so on.

Edit at 3:21 PDT: In case you were wondering, that’s what $1000 worth of damage looks like. I guess it doesn’t take a very major accident to total a cheap car.

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Butt hair (not mine!)

I saw the following advertisement on Savage Love’s breast milk advice page in The Onion AV Club. I duplicate it here and refuse to feel bad for that because I duplicate the ad in full, complete with link. I’m giving free advertising!

(And that’s rare, because in general I hate how companies like Norelco patent their razors just to prevent competing razor heads. I think brands like that make most of their money from selling expensive razor refills.)

So, the advertisement:

I’m convinced that while this is supposed to look like a shaved peach, it is clearly an ass. At first I thought this was some sort of terrible mistake by the marketing department, but I eventually realized that this is exactly how they want it to look. It gets attention because it looks dirty. At the same time, it says both “We can turn peaches into nectarines,” and “No more anus hair!” Clean- and dirty-minded people both see what they want, and everybody wins. Very clever.

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The Krisper

This morning, I went to the store and bought 10 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. According to their website, that’s around 24,000 calories, or enough to feed 12 people for an entire day. I hope it’s enough; we’ll probably have 30-50 people there. I guess if there’s not enough we’ll just have to make do. Unfortunately, I was foolish in my shopping. I went to 3 different stores to pick up all the necessary supplies. If I had been more careful, I could have made my life rather easier. Oh well; next time, I’ll do better.


End of the semester

The reason for all of these posts today is that this morning I finished most of my schoolwork for the semester. I had both a paper and a poster presentation due, and I finished them up. I still have a little more classwork, and of course there’s research to do, and I have to work hard this summer, but for now I feel good to have gotten something done.

The poster presentation and paper I finished today were for my Learning Theory class. The presentation went all right. I hadn’t rehearsed it much, because I just didn’t feel like it, but that turned out all right. In poster sessions at Berkeley, you stand at your poster and present to inquisitive people while the teacher makes his way around the room. So you get to present for quite a while, but you only have to present to the teacher for a little while. In my case, that worked out very well, since mine was the next to last poster the teacher visited. So, I had a very coherent presentation by the time he got to me.

Also in my favor, the professor had not budgeted his time well. In my previous poster sessions, the professor was very rushed; in one case, a professor had to see more than 40 posters (probably well more than that, but I can’t remember for sure, so I’m trying to guess low) in a 90-minute period. At this poster session, there were only about a dozen posters to see in 90 minutes, so the teacher had plenty of time to spend with each person. And so he did; in fact, he spent so much time at each poster that by the time he got to me, he had 4 minutes left for 2 posters. So, I gave him the fast-forward version of my presentation. That was probably for the best; while I did some interesting things, there probably wasn’t enough there to talk for a long time. I think it went well, and grad school classes don’t give bad grades anyway. Most importantly, it made me think about what I want to do my research on, so that’s a step forward.

Speaking of doing research, I realized that I just finished my second year of graduate school! I can’t believe how the time flies. I’ve probably finished enough coursework for a masters, so now it’s time to push the research for a few years and earn that PhD. This summer is critical because it will probably determine what I do my thesis on. I’m quite nervous about that. On the plus side, I’ve finally observed some preferences about research in myself. I’m ready to learn and ready to reach the cutting edge in my field. I know at least something about where my knowledge is lacking, and I aim to fill in those holes.

But in a more immediate note, I don’t plan to start on all this grandiose research immediately. Tonight, I will be amused. I’m not sure whether I’ll play Guild Wars, watch a movie, or what, but I intend to relax.

Onwards and upwards!

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What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t spam you with funny links?

Enjoy the following.

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The Da Vinci Code

I’m now listening to an audiobook of “The Da Vinci Code” so that I know what’s going on before its movie comes out. It’s probably worth listening to on its own merits, anyway. The text that follows may not make sense if you haven’t read the book.

There are a few things about this book that trouble me. For starters, having a self-flagellating bad guy is almost a cliche. And I feel mildly troubled by the way Dan Brown cast an albino as the bad guy. It’s not exactly a stereotype, but it seems unnecessary to have the good guys be white, with a likely romantic interest in each other, while the bad guy is a minority. I mean, I know that one book doesn’t exactly prove that Brown is a racist, but I think I’m getting tired of having the white people be the good guys all the time.

Furthermore, only 1/4 of the way through the book, I’m pretty sure I know who the bad guy boss is. Spoiler alert


Donald Trump

Donald Trump said to a woman:

“I don’t think you’re negative at all. I think you’re very, very attractive.”

Talk about a complete non-sequitur. Could he be any more obviously sexist?