Holiday post-season wrap-up

Hope everyone out there had a good holiday break. Here are some highlights of the season in komplexifyland.

Three unexpected Christmas gifts

Born to Add #3. In deference to my famous inability to perform basic arithmetic in my head, a student in my Calculus II class gave me the Sesame Street Born to Add album. On vinyl, no less! I’m certain to improve my basic numeracy skills with songs like the title track, Count to Nine, and Count it Higher. I am, however, a little less clear about what I’m supposed to learn from songs like Me going to munch you and I wish I had a friend to play with me. Sesame Street is a lot ruder than I remember it.

Pyramid clock #2. Resembling something that Pinhead might have designed had he been constrained to work with five-sided solids instead of six-sided ones, it consists of a black plastic pyramid divided into four stacked frusta. Every second, the pyramid alters its form bit by bit, as each of the frusta rotates at its own pace, thereby allowing the astute observer to determine the time by the relative positions of the various levels of the structure. (Or, I suppose, you can read it off of the numbers printed on each side of it, if you’re a wuss.) Consequently, the clock (for that its what it is) spends most of its time as an irregularly stacked collection of polyhedra, reassembling itself into a pyramid every three hours. Not only does it look cool, but it’s filling my head with all sorts of questions for next semester’s trigonometry class: At what times do two consecutive frusta align? Does the answer change if the motion of the clock is considered to be continuous rather than discrete? At what angles should the time markings be positions to appear vertical when viewed from the pyramid’s main meridian? Solutions are due at the end of the hour… go!

#1. The Queen B  gave me a quick release toilet seat lid.

No, really.

And if the ability to remove your toilet seat and tuck it under your arm at a moment’s notice isn’t enough, it also features shock-absorbers in the hinges that prevent the seat from falling down and banging the porcelain (or yourself!). To go with it, the Queen B also gave me the 550-page Uncle John’s Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader. I’m not sure what  the queen  is trying to tell me, although the underlying theme seems to be that I’m full of… you know.

Last words of 2005

The Queen B  and I were invited to a New Year’s Eve party with some of her middle-school co-workers. Bubbly champagne, home-brewed beers, tasty horse d’ovaries, and rambunctious game playing. Of note was the particularly lively game of Balderdash, during which the following “definitions” were suggested:

  • Soss: panty pudding
  • Whang: a Chinaman’s dong
  • Beatster: a male mammal with an uncontrollable urge to play with himself

Just what are they teaching kids in middle school these days?

A conversation on New Year’s Day

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