Friday Feb 19, 2010

Plaid

I've been watching the Olympics and seeing a lot of American athletes in their trendy plaid shirts. It keeps reminding me of a grad school story...

When I was a grad student at CMU, the students union brought in the science fiction author Harlan Ellison to give a talk one evening. He was arriving the evening before, so the CS department convinced him to come over to visit during the day. A bunch of us then spent a great day with him showing off all the cool non-fiction that we were working on. He was really engaged, sharp, and interesting.

That evening, after his visit with the CS department was over, he gave his talk in the main auditorium and we were all in the audience. Great talk. Lots of fun. He gets to the end of the talk, and while he's still at the podium he thanks the student union for inviting him and he mentions the time he spent at the CS department. Then he paused and added (roughly) "But you know, I noticed something odd about the CS grad students: they all wear plaid". We all looked at each other and damn, he was right! Geeks nailed on a fashion violation! Of course, the entire audience turned to look at us (we were clustered together) and laughed. The next day none of us wore plaid. I haven't worn plaid since.

Hence, t-shirts :-)

We are all individuals. NOT

Saturday Feb 13, 2010

Surfing, in real life

If you're online right now (Saturday) check out the Mavericks giant wave surfing contest. Mavericks is a wild surfing spot on the coast side of the San Francisco peninsula. I go walking there with my family pretty regularly. I'm not nuts enough to surf. The ustream folks really have the technology nailed.
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