austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

There'll be sun

My new department holds a going-away lunch for its graduating honors students. I don't know any of the students since it's my new department, but I figured I could do worse than attending an event to socialize with faculty and students. On the invite it noted the buffet-style lunch was ``casual'', but they ``do not recommend'' wearing shorts or sandals (among other things, like nudity). The only non-short pants I have are the slacks I wear for formal events, so my ``casual'' dress is considerably more formal than my normal wear. I did my best to socialize, but I'm not really one for eating and talking simultaneously, and the other folks at the table knew one another well enough they weren't looking to me for conversation. And I got the chance to try out foods I don't ordinarily order because I don't know their names, and along the way I discovered what a good idea mango fritters are.

After lunch they showed a music video based on the good old standby of using mathematical puns for a romantic purpose, a montage of life-around-campus photographs, including a picture of a couple students hanging out with a guy in a cheery cartoon walrus costume. I suspect this was from Hong Kong; the montage included some pictures of students at Hong Kong Disneyworld. Still, it wasn't a Disney walrus.

Games included Bingo. They asked faculty, including me, to pick numbers out of a shoebox; and I had perfectly remarkable luck. None of the first twelve numbers picked were on my card. That's not impossible; it should be expected in about seven percent of games if I haven't missed an important point of calculation, but it was getting silly. On the thirteenth my luck changed and pretty soon I was one away from a Bingo horizontally ... and a few draws later one away from a vertical ... and one away from another Bingo on another horizontal line ... and I didn't win anything. That'll happen.

Trivia: Ohio's first railroad was the Mad River & Lake Erie. Source: The Story of American Railroads, Stuart H Holbrook. (Some sources give the Erie & Kalamazoo as the first railroad. I suspect Holbrook meant the first primarily-locomotive-driven railroad wholly within Ohio, which I imagine an ``Erie & Kalamazoo'' railroad wouldn't be. Some web sites call the Mad River & Lake Erie the first major railroad. I never claim to be correct in these trivia points; merely sourced.)

Currently Reading: Fantasia Mathematica, Clifton Fadiman, Editor. Now if I could just figure out why ``Clifton Fadiman'' is a naggingly familiar name, yet one I can't place.

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