November 29th, 2006

krazy koati

But now's the time to look and look again at what you see

Now, if I were really alert, I'd have realized that last night was an omen that it was going to be a day of peculiar balances of luck. Last night I finished my laundry to discover I'd left a pen in a shirt pocket, and it had naturally opened up and had the chance to bleed over everything. However, this was a load of dark laundry, so the extra black is really not at all noticeable, and all I'm really out is the pen.

In the morning I was feeling a bit achy, so stayed in bed, and got going longer. This turned out to be a great stroke of luck because while I was checking my morning e-mail, the toilet in the guest bathroom exploded. More exactly, a seal around the main (fresh water) tank that'd been leaking for months gave way, and there was this rush of water -- it sounded like a very sudden downpour, but the windows didn't match that source -- started from the tank. But the reasons that was lucky are, first, I was home, second, I could reach the turnoff valve easily, and third, the bathroom is set down an inch from the main floor and there's a drain in the floor, so I didn't have any great property damage, just an alarming moment.

And at my first exam, I didn't get the official seating chart, so I just put out question blanks in the first row. This threw my students, who did have their seat numbers, but they liked the fun of ignoring the registrar's official seating scheme. And I gave permission for them to swipe empty desks (there were many) for extra space for their notes and books and such (I give open-book exams), except that two students were in just the right spot to have condensation from the air conditioner fall on their notes. After the exam, though -- and this is what's great about teaching an upper-level course, compensating for the small size of the class -- they asked me to pose for a picture of the whole class. And then they gave me a card thanking me for the term. I'm feeling mighty good considering.

Trivia: Herring bones have been found by archaeologists in 5,000-year-old Danish remains. Source: Salt, Mark Kurlansky.

Currently Reading: The Collapse of Barings, Stephen Fay. So Nick Leeson, having fraudulently opened up a trading account, manages to lose about £40,000 his first month trading. He carries on, and the next month loses £320,000. The next month it was £3 million. And he kept trading until he managed to lose a billion pounds. It's hard to escape the feeling Nick stuck his tongue on a frozen flagpole every winter until, possibly, he was jailed in Singapore.