Friday, July 30, 2004

The Catholic Nerd Apologia.

Thanks to the folks over at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping. The post starts with the flags.

Also check out the discussion of Spider-Man 2 and Byzantine Rite celibacy (no, just one thread of conversation) in the comments box below.

Monday, July 26, 2004

In No Particular Order

Math research went off track for a while, followed by two days of brilliant progress, followed by all our hunches being wrong. Darn you, contractible lex simplicial complexes! However, we did get remote computer access on a faster machine at the University of Illinois. We're using it to do all the dirty work for us, check the 5-simplices, etc.

The game of "clubs" invented by some of the other REU participants (the "dual game" to hearts) has become pretty competitive in version 4.0. It involves a not-quite-trump suit of clubs, devious scoring, and a deadly jack of clubs. I think I may start it in Chicago next year. I bet Erik and Juan will be beating me at it within a week.

The current ads at the top of the page are for lobster-order companies. Lobsters? Where did I mention lobsters?

Oh, and I think that "social capital" is a meme whose time has come. James originally coined the term in reference to his roommate's loud music, saying that he didn't have the social capital to ask Bobby to turn it down. It seems that this social capital is a person's potential energy within a group, gained by impressing others and telling jokes, and exchanged for making suggestions to the group. This leads to the possibility of a social socialist revolution, or world social2ism...

And the real news today? Alice came to visit this past Friday and left this afternoon. We pretty well exhausted the best parts of downtown SLO, had a picnic, had an unexpectedly bilingual Mass at the mission church, decided Milagros is the town's best Mexican restaurant, and spent a lot of good time together.

(Nota bene: the following is a paraphrase. Alice remembers the precise wording and will soon correct me.)

(Alice has doubled over in pain after a bad joke of Patrick's)

Alice: Your jokes are awful, but you have a great delivery.

Me: If the delivery is so good, why does it hurt so much?

Alice: Maybe it's like natural childbirth!

The weekend was filled with all sorts of bad jokes, moments of doting, and Catholic Nerd moments. Alice is wonderful and quite irrepressible, and I will be very happy to see her again in three weeks.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Well, an uncanny combination of being busy and being lazy has prevented me thus far from describing my incredible Fourth of July weekend, when I traveled up to San Francisco to see Alice.

I know that, so far, I haven’t mentioned a whole lot about Alice on this blog. But disclaimers be darned, she’s too great a part of my life to stay silent about. We’ve been together for nearly five months now, including Lent, when we weren’t exactly dating. That’s an interesting story. So too the story of how we came to be a couple in the first place. You can personally ask about either, but they’re not blog material. It’s enough to say that I’m in love with a sweet, witty, lovely, unselfish, spontaneous, smart, pious, understanding, compassionate, graceful, wonderful young woman.

So, oh yes, my weekend. Since our professor had given us extra days off, I was able to take the bus and the train early Friday morning and stay until Monday. I stayed at her home, with her parents and her cats (I became rather well acquainted with these cats, incidentally; Fluffy and Genevieve are OK, but Gwyn reminded me all too much of Bucky).

Alice certainly made good on her promise to show me the city. In no particular order, we had a dim sum lunch, rode the cable car, had gelato in the North Beach neighborhood of her birth, walked along the marina, took the ferry across San Francisco Bay, saw the Conservatory of Flowers, went to a Latin Mass at a Silesian parish, tried some great West Coast chowder, and took her grandmother out for lattes. San Francisco is a gorgeous city, seen spread out in infinite variety before you. It's even better with a savvy and charming guide.

The best cuisine in San Francisco was prepared by Alice herself, as she baked a masterful cherry pie, surprised me with French toast, and socked me into pie heaven with a lemon meringue. I wrote last year, in a different context, that food = love, and Alice illustrated the theorem fantastically.

And the real highlight of the weekend was spending time with the woman I love. Alice is a treasure I appreciate more all the time, and I’m very, very lucky that we’ve found each other. She's coming here to San Luis Obispo in a few weeks, and I can't wait.