To expand on the Christmas week, though --- well, it was a lot of week. It really got started for us the Sunday before as we drove to Detroit's airport to pick up bunny_hugger's brother. We had some thoughts of taking him back to our house, so he could see our place and our pinball machine, but we felt ultimately more like getting him to his parents' home. There we would eat, and hang out, secure in the knowledge that he or bunny_hugger could rest. He'd gotten a terrible early flight, so we had to get up early, and he had to get up two hours earlier than that. So being places it's easy to nap was important.
But he came up on Monday night, after he did some shopping, I believe, and visiting of his own friends. He actually came over late enough we were starting to worry, and bunny_hugger took the most dangerous step and phoned her parents to ask when he'd set out. The danger is just that would make them anxious about where he was. He knocked on our door before she was even through asking when he set out. So their anxieties were settled almost as soon as they were raised. We went to dinner at Theio's, a nearby diner, as the best choice we could think of. Many of the quirkier restaurants were either closed for the night (Kewpee's, for example) or forever (the Travellers Club Diner and Tuba Museum). But it's a reliable place you can get omelettes and pancakes and the like. And he came over to play our Tri-Zone pinball and do strikingly well for the first time he'd touched the machine. He's got really quite good ball control.
Tuesday he came back over, after picking up his girlfriend from the airport. This was during a sort of miniature pinball league night, at our local hipster bar. Most of this was to scout the machines for the Silver Balls In The City pinball tournament and see which of them had serious, show-stopping problems ahead of the tournament. (We can't open the machines to fix any of them during play, unfortunately.) Our pinball friends CST and MWS were there to start, and later in the night WVL and HMZ arrived. bunny_hugger's brother and his girlfriend arrived after CST had left for the night --- he has to get up early, most days, and they got in late after stoping for dinner --- but he got to see the place and meet, or better-meet, some of the local scene. And they came back to our house, but only for one game of Tri-Zone before leaving for bunny_hugger's parents' home. We'd see more of them, though.
Trivia: For the Vanguard TV-3 launch --- the December 1957 ``Flopnik'' crash --- the launchpad could support takeoff only in winds up to 17 mph. A later redesign, with a retracting launch stand, would make launches in up the 35 mph winds possible. Source: Project Vanguard: The NASA History, Constance McLaughlin Green, Milton Lomask. NASA SP-4202.
Currently Reading: Lost Islands: The Story Of Islands That Have Vanished From The Nautical Charts, Henry Stommel. Stommel mentions that the current business of oceanographic institutes is more in the elimination of false reports of islands than the discovery of new ones. Apart from boring spits of rock in Arctic and Antarctic waters there just aren't places for new islands to be, apart from those thrown up by volcanos. That's a sobering thought. I'm glad there's Kuiper Belt Objects to find now. Stommel also points out how volcanos seem godly: noise and flame and rocks thrown up from the interior of the Earth in ways that make them perfect explanations for any island whose position can't be later verified.
PS: The Equidistribution of Lattice Shapes of Rings: A Friendly Thesis, some mathematics writing not like what I'm used to.