Archive for February, 2009


It’s official–we live in the future. The Hitchhiker’s Guide has been created, and selection of (some of) your children’s traits is now possible.

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Nothing like a feeling of competence to make me happy. Yesterday I thought I danced well, and today I made people laugh. That’s close enough to success for me.

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Tha Blanks

I just got tickets to go see The Blanks next month. They’re an a cappella group that I know of because they performed on Scrubs. Oddly, they’ll be playing in a comedy club, so I’m not exactly sure what to expect. I hope to be entertained, though, and I’m kind of excited because of the Scrubs link.

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Internet dates

13 internet first dates

  • 4: I rejected, or the rejection was mutual
  • 2: stopped responding to my messages after the first date
  • 2: I dated for some period of time
  • 2: told me they were too busy to date me
  • 2: told me I was nice but they weren’t romantically interested
  • 1: had started dating someone the day before, but went on a first date since I’d already bought tickets

That’s not counting the rejections that occurred before there was a first date, which were mostly split into the “I rejected”, “too busy,” and “stopped responding” categories.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from this is that I do after all have strength and standards, and I’m capable of rejecting people. It wasn’t previously obvious that was true–after all, I married the first woman who expressed an interest in me.

I also learned that I look good on paper. I also come off fairly well in person, but I think there’s something missing from what I project. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something important that people are looking for romantically. Perhaps it’s a certain confidence or assertiveness; I know those to be some of my weak points.



The black helicopters

Well, they were green, but it was strange anyway.

I was on campus for Lindy on Sproul early on Saturday afternoon, when all of a sudden there was a loud propeller noise. I looked up and saw two giant green military transport helicopters, the two-rotor (one front, one rear) sort. I stopped dancing and pointed them out to my partner. They circled above us, more or less around Sproul Plaza, once, then circled elsewhere over campus, and then left. The whole event lasted less than a minute, but at some points they were really loud. Everyone stopped dancing to watch, and I think someone even turned off the music.

I don’t know why they were there, but I was pretty excited about it.


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You mean your dreams *don’t* have nuclear bombs?

Cut for a 1-paragraph description of a dream I had


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Thunder in Berkeley

I heard two claps of thunder already today! That puts us about 2/3 through our quota for the year.

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Your Best Is Impossible, or Why You Are All Losers, or The Cake Is a Lie

We were all taught, as kids, that winning or losing wasn’t important–instead, success was defined by doing your best. But that’s actually a much tougher standard than simply winning. Indeed, you have never done your best. Neither have I, nor has anyone else you know.

You could always have worked a little harder, done a little better. You could have studied an extra minute, run a second faster, pushed yourself a little more. You could always have done just that little something extra. But you didn’t. You settled for doing pretty well, but you never quite measured up.

For instance, if you didn’t drop dead at the finish line of the race, you could have run faster. You might not have liked it or its consequences, but you still could have done better. Maybe you made that choice deliberately, but you can’t claim to have done as well as you could. That’s actually one thing the original Marathon messenger has over our wussy modern-day runners: at least he got closer to his best than most of us.

And by the metric of best, all of us are losers. We never did our best, so we never reached the bar of success. Maybe from this we should conclude that “doing your best” is the wrong goal, that this sort of defeatism isn’t what we should teach our kids. But “do reasonably well” and “do pretty close to your best” just don’t have the same ring.

Then again, maybe I’m just being perverse and deliberately misunderstanding. Maybe nobody ever meant to actually do my best, just to get close. But it sure didn’t sound that way. Seriously, I got worked up over this when I was a teenager; realizing that I would never succeed at doing my best was surprisingly painful.

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Graduating from Electoral College

Today, I read (and posted in) this Slashdot article about Iowa and the Electoral College. Iowa has a plan to recruit some other states and force all their electors to vote for the winner of the popular election, thereby effectively making the president elected by popular vote. It’s a fantastic idea, as the Electoral College has done nothing but disenfranchise voters in both large and non-swing states.

But an astonishing number of Slashdot commenters defended the Electoral College system, saying it was a good idea! I find that entirely outrageous. Why should citizens of small states have votes that count more than citizens of large states?

So, what do you think? Are any of you Electoral College supporters? Alumni, perhaps?

Okay, here’s a poll. It doesn’t seem to show up correctly, but maybe it will, and you can answer it:

Do you approve of the Electoral College?