austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

No matter where our paths may wind

Another year, another Commencement Exercise. This one went smoother than last year's, in that I didn't get boogers on any heads of state, and the Dean asked to date me. That's hyperbole, of course, but he was glad to see me, asked if I'd come along for a few faculty presentations to other schools, and said he'd like me to come along for lunch or dinner when he has faculty-invited guests. I also ended up, in my usual Gogol-esque fashion, talking with people who seem to be highly ranked. At least they wore real suits, and we all had a great time. That can't be a bad thing.

I also learned that everybody has noticed me, and knows me by sight, and were mildly amused to see I do occasionally wear slacks. I'm also apparently noted for being that guy who comes in every single day, which startled me, because I didn't really consider the alternative. I may come in late or leave for a chore mid-day, but ... well, workdays you go to the office, right? What else do you do? Apparently this is so ingrained they think I go in on the weekends, too. That also can't be bad.

Several students of mine asked for pictures, and I was glad for that. One is working for the Inland Revenue Authority, so clearly I should've been nicer to him. I've now got personal connections to tax officials on multiple continents. Outside stands sold traditional graduation presents -- alumni association memberships, engraved diploma replicas guaranteed to be ``reasonably accurate,'' flowers, teddy bears (nobody in a costume), iPods. At the buffet the sushi rolls -- rice, dabbed in sauce, wrapped in seaweed, with various toppings to the side -- were identified as California Rolls; I've never heard them given that name before.

I noticed among the students that every female student had ironed her gown; only about a third of the male students had. I assume their mothers saw them before they left their homes.

Trivia: Oxford professor John Wallis invented the ∞ symbol. Source: Life Science Library: Mathematics, David Bergamini.

Currently Reading: The Devil in the White City, Erik Larson. I didn't realize the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry had begun life as part of the Columbian Expo, the Palace of Fine Arts. I couldn't remember whether it was the roller coaster or the Ferris Wheel that made its debut there, but Larson's several (slender) chapters describing the designer as ``the engineer'' gives it away before he revealed it. Most people couldn't tell you who designed the roller coaster, if there's historical consensus on such a thing, whereas if you asked them what George W Ferris invented, they'd think you were putting them on.

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