Saturday, April 28, 2007

Applied Combinatorics

When I was in grad school, a friend and I noticed that one of our professors would appear multiple days a row in the same outfit. In one case, he showed up in the same outfit for a week, and only changed suddenly at the end of the week when he hosted a visitor to the school. (I hypothesized that a conversation in his household that morning probably started with "You are not wearing the same thing you've had on all week while your friend is visiting...")

This may have left me a little paranoid about what I wear to class. Sometimes (like this semester) I try to keep track of what I've worn to different classes over the course of the semester. This leaves me figuring out how to arrange my sartorial schedule to have the fewest number of repeats for each class. Fortunately, I have several classes this semester which only meet once a week, and that makes it possible to make it look like even I have a wide and varied wardrobe.

I was very relieved when the weather improved enough that I could wear some short sleeved shirts, because I was running out of long sleeved shirts for my twice a week class. Then it got cruddy again. We're down to the last week of classes, and I'm barely able to wear my warm weather clothes. At least I'm ready for my summer classes.

On the other hand, it occurs to me that this may not be necessary at all. I usually can't remember what anyone I know was wearing the previous day, so I'm not sure I'd notice if anyone was repeating. A professor in Psychology even assured me that people are very unlikely to remember. Still, I'll try not to wear the same thing all week. It'll only make future professors paranoid.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


I received a genuine paper faith handkerchief in the mail from a church, because "someone connected to [my] home needs God's help and blessings." I was supposed to print my name and my "most pressing problem, by faith" on the handkerchief, and place it by the bed while I slept. Then the next day I was supposed to mail it back to them. And lest you doubt, these handkerchiefs apparently have amazing powers! According to the letter, people have had fathers and husbands stop drinking, had a son get out of jail (I'm assuming legally, but they weren't clear on this), had their home fixed up, gotten a check for $3,500, gotten big financial blessings, gotten $5,000, and gotten a check for $2,500. (There seems to be kind of an interesting pattern to a lot of these.)

I figured my most pressing problem at the moment was the rotten sinus problems I've been having for weeks, so I put that down and went to sleep. (I always do everything strange churches tell me to do in the mail.) Of course, having a handkerchief handy right by the bed when you wake up in the middle of the night with sinus problems leads to only one conclusion, and now I'm not sure if they really want the handkerchief back....
(1) Oh come on, now, you didn't really think I was serious, did you? The "handkerchief" is a printed 8x10 piece of paper. Like I really need paper cuts on my nose in addition to bad sinuses. Or that I'd actually listen to a church, for that matter.

(2) I remember these used to go out as "prayer rugs", I think. They've apparently now found a bible passage that sort of ties in with what they're doing, so they call them "faith handkerchiefs" now. (Acts 19:11-12, if you're interested. It looks to me to be a "We must hold high his holy gourd!" type of interpretation if I ever saw one.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Winter is heck on roads here

I'm not sure if it's from the salt, the plowing, people with chains or studs on their tires, or just the freezing and melting (except when the heck did melting happen?), but the roads are a mess after the winter. Potholes everywhere. Big ones. Yikes. Now that the snow is all melted it's easier to tell.

And oh, what's this? More snow forecast for the end of the week. Maybe it's a fluke. But this weekend is Easter, so we'll just hope Jesus doesn't see his shadow, or we'll have six more weeks of winter. And that reminds me: I need to plan my Day-After-Easter discount candy shopping trip.