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The Stout Fellow's Page Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "stoutfellow" journal:

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April 29th, 2017
10:20 am


It is raining. It is expected to rain, often heavily and frequently with thunder, for the entire weekend. There's been a flash flood advisory in place since late yesterday, to expire Monday morning. (I got home yesterday right on the leading edge of the storm pattern; it was wet enough to make an umbrella necessary, but not wet enough to render one useless.)

I am out of cereal. I have two slices of bread left in the refrigerator. There is exactly one dinner in the freezer. There are also a few incomplete packs of frozen vegetables there. Sandwich fixings there are, but almost nothing to put them on.

However, I do have eggs. A few days back, one of my colleagues came to work with a paper bag, filled with cartons of fresh eggs, one of which he gave to me. I've eaten two of them already, but even if I can't get to Shop'n'Save this weekend, I still have five meals worth of eggs. I may get sick of eggs, but I won't go hungry. (Neither will the dogs; I grabbed a very much needed sack of dog food on the way home yesterday.)

Yes, I'm aware of the existence of take-out, but if I'm unwilling to brave this weather, how can I ask some minimum-wage schlub to brave it for me?

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: Fleetwood Mac, "Say You Love Me"
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April 28th, 2017
09:44 am


I suppose what I just saw would not be news to an experienced birder, but it was the first time I'd ever seen it.

I was looking out the bathroom window, as I often do while carrying out little mindless tasks like brushing, when I saw a couple of sparrows in the yard. I'm not sure what species - both had rather dull female plumage - but I'd guess English, or perhaps European. At any rate, one of them was flying as if it were a hummingbird, beating its wings rapidly enough to hover or move slowly above the ground. It couldn't keep it up for more than a few seconds, but it repeated the behavior two or three times before flitting away.

Never saw that before.

Current Mood: impressedinterested
Current Music: Roxette, "Sleeping Single"

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April 27th, 2017
09:47 pm


This is the last week of classes; finals are next week.

Naturally, I have students asking when the final is. People asked on Monday. On Wednesday, in the same class, people asked again. A couple of people have e-mailed me.

The date and time of the final is posted on a little placard right outside the classroom door. It can also be looked up online, on the university webpage.

Tomorrow, in class, someone will once again ask me when the final is. I will point at the door.

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: Turtles, "Like a Rolling Stone"

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April 22nd, 2017
12:39 pm


The talk went reasonably well; in fact, it was a bit short (only 50 minutes). I don't think I could have added more details without adding too many more, so that's all right. Attendance was smallish - four or five faculty, eight to ten students - but that's what you get when you schedule something on a Friday afternoon. (Of course, any other time, most people would have other obligations....)

Today is Earth Day, but it looks more like Air-and-Water Day here. I was hoping to do some grocery shopping today, but between the chill and the threat of rain, I'm putting it off till tomorrow, which is supposed to be sunny and 15-20 degrees F warmer. Good thought for today's marchers, especially those in weather like this!

The rabbits who visit my back yard are increasingly bold. A couple of evenings ago, I let the dogs out for a romp. As I stood on the porch to watch, I could plainly see a large rabbit off in the northwest corner of the yard, but the wind was out of the east and the dogs couldn't smell it. I watched as Buster quartered the eastern half of the yard and then slowly moved west to the fence, where he turned north. He was just about due west of the rabbit when he picked up the sent. The rabbit, judging from its ears, had been tracking his progress, and as soon as he raised his head it shot for the north fence, escaping several seconds before Buster could get there.

I finished The Obelisk Gate a few days ago, and am eager to read the third-volume finale. I'm close to the end of Death's End, and may comment on the trilogy when I'm done. I'm also reading de Mandeville's Travels and Polybius's History, both of which should take me a while. (I started reading Sumner's Folkways, but found his cultural arrogance offputting and put it back in the pile.) As for dead-tree books, my current project is a re/read of the Ring of Fire books. I'm currently on 1635: The Papal Stakes, after which I'll have to order a couple of the 1635 volumes that I don't yet have. (I have most of the 1636 volumes, but somehow missed these two.)

Blah. Dreary, lethargic day. I'm looking forward to semester's end, two weeks from now.

Current Mood: lazylazy
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April 20th, 2017
06:01 pm


Short Notice
Back in January, the chair of the Colloquium Committee asked department members if they'd be willing to give talks about their research. She said she wanted to schedule such talks for the end of each month. After some consideration, I decided that, though I couldn't very easily give a one-hour talk on my current research (taxonomy of polygons), my previous work on geodesics on prisms did fill the bill, so I volunteered.

She told me that a guest lecturer would fill the February slot and N. had agreed to handle March, so I could give mine at the end of April.

A couple of weeks ago she asked me to confirm the title and give her an abstract so she could put together the flyers and online announcements. This I did. On Tuesday - the 18th of April, mind you, mid-April - I asked her when I would be giving the talk. "Oh. This Friday, at 3:00."

Uh. Okayyy....

I think I've got things set up. I cannibalized a copy of my paper on the subject for various diagrams and figures (a graphic artist I ain't, and this stuff really needs visual support), and sketched out the talk - what to cut, what to keep in, where to bring up a picture - but I'm worried that I've packed too much in.

We shall see. Tomorrow, we shall see.

Current Mood: worriedworried
Current Music: still none, dammit

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April 18th, 2017
04:48 pm


It is somewhat hard to hold a bowl of spaghetti remnants so that two dogs can both lick it. (Plates are easier.) This is especially true when one of them (Gracie) is extremely pushy.

Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Buckinghams, "Don't You Care"

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April 16th, 2017
06:08 pm


Sunday Music: Crimes of Passion, Pat Benatar
Album Title: Crimes of Passion

Why I Bought It: Out of a feeling that, if I liked Heart (and I do), I ought to like similar artists, and that Benatar was one of those. (I mentioned before that one of my mental categories lumps Heart, Blondie, Benatar, Roxette, and Joan Jett together.)

What I Like (Defiant): "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". Actually, several of the songs on this album could get that same adjective; take this one as representative of Benatar as Tough Girl.

What I Like (Protest): "Hell Is for Children". A song about child abuse, and a powerful one.

Overall: I don't think I like Benatar quite as much as I do Heart (or, for that matter, Roxette, a recent addition to my collection). She does what she does very well, but the constant intensity is a little wearing after a while. I will say that "Wuthering Heights" is oddly intriguing.

(My ability to comment on the album is a little constrained by the fact that I can't pull the songs up and listen to them, TYVM Microsoft!)

Current Mood: lethargiclethargic
Current Music: still none, dammit

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April 14th, 2017
09:39 pm


Can You Hear Me?
Sigh. The latest Windows update seems to have borked my audio. System sounds work, but WMP and YouTube both are silent. Settings asserts that my NVIDIA HDMI Output is "Not plugged in". I've checked on line, but the suggestions either don't work or can't be carried out. The old standby, "When in doubt, reboot", has been of no use either. Anybody know anything?

Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated
Current Music: none, dammit

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April 13th, 2017
08:43 pm


In my GenEd Statistics class, we've finally gotten around to probability. (Yes, it's three weeks until the end of semester. I did not write the textbook or the syllabus.)

I just got a neat example to use in tomorrow's class. Somebody went through all the deaths in Star Trek:TOS, and discovered that, yes, a higher fraction of the deaths were redshirts rather than goldshirts or blueshirts, but a higher fraction of goldshirts died than of redshirts or blueshirts. (See item 14 in this File 770 post.)

Myth. Busted.

Current Mood: pleasedpleased
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07:35 pm


I've been on a bit of a Brontë kick lately. I just finished reading Charlotte Brontë's Villette, which is, for the most part, rather charming - little or none of the Gothic, little over-wrought emotion. The narrator is almost supernaturally calm in the face of the vicissitudes of life, and the story develops toward romance smoothly and organically.

Unfortunately, the ending can only be called a diabolus ex machina. Had the book been made of paper rather than electrons, I think I would have thrown it across the room - and I almost never feel that way about a book. I felt cheated, frankly.

Current Mood: irritatedirritated
Current Music: Cyndi Lauper, "Sisters of Avalon"

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