stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
At least it wasn't raining when my flight came in Saturday evening. Since then, it's scarcely stopped raining.

The flight out was uneventful; I finished reading one book, read most of another, and got a little work done (proved a small theorem and worked an interesting example). The next morning, I hurried over to B&N for a little Christmas shopping prior to the get-together that afternoon. I'd already bought my brother D's gift, and managed to find some good stuff for my father and my sisters.

C and O have already opened their gifts. I got C a DVD of "Gran Torino" - she'd enthused about the movie when it came out, so.... I had the darnedest time remembering the title, though. I was talking to the cashier, trying to give her enough information to identify it and failing miserably. Finally I wandered back to the DVD rack. I was ready to give up and buy her Season 1 of "Meerkat Manor" (c'mon, everybody loves meerkats) when the title finally came to me. I always have trouble buying for O. (Not a dis; I know I'm awfully hard to buy for myself, mainly because, if I want something, generally I go and buy it myself....) I remembered that she'd expressed an interest in Irish music and culture once, so I got her a Chieftains CD.

Dad, D, and E haven't opened theirs yet, so I'll hold off on those.

For the party this year, each of us was instructed to buy a "guy gift" or a "girl gift" (each gender sticking to its own, to make sure there were the right number of each) and send them to O; she wrapped them, guys in red and girls in green, so that no one would know which gift was theirs. Now, I frankly had no idea what a "guy gift" was supposed to be, so I moused around on Amazon and finally came up with a wallet with the Padres logo on it.

Guess which gift I wound up with.

(O realized, a few days before the party, that there was a chance that somebody would get their own gift. D and I had discussed this a bit earlier, and I told him that, well, if you wouldn't like to get the thing you bought, whynell did you buy it? As it happens, this particular likelihood is a standard problem in combinatorics: if the number of people involved is sufficiently large, the probability that no one gets their own gift is very close to 1/e - so the odds are something like 2-1 that somebody will get their own gift. "Sufficiently large" is pretty small: with n people, the probability differs from 1/e by less than 1/n!, so, e.g., five people gets you within 1%, and seven gets you within 0.05%.)

It's supposed to quit raining Thursday.

My father's cleaning lady just brought over some food, so I should probably get offline and try it.

Bad, Good

Oct. 24th, 2010 10:42 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
My neighbor to the north has a basketball hoop in his driveway, and his kids and their friends like to shoot hoops. This doesn't bother me, except when they do it late in the evening; then, it makes it hard for me to get to sleep. This happens from time to time, and it happened last night.

It was Saturday, so I decided to put up with it.

Ten o'clock. Thump, clatter. I put up with it.

Eleven o'clock. Thump, clatter.. I put up with it, for a time.

At last, though, I lost my temper. I threw up the window and shouted the immemorial question: Do you have any idea what time it is?

This drew the reply: It's 11:52!

With remarkable calmness, I let them know that I was not really inquiring as to the time, and they abandoned their game.

I didn't get to sleep - adrenaline, et al. - until after 1:30.

On a more pleasant note, my sister C is in town for a wedding. That, and associated festivities, kept her occupied yesterday and will do so again today, but tomorrow we'll get together for a late lunch. Always nice to visit with family....


Jun. 23rd, 2010 12:44 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
This one's longish, so I'm putting it under a cut.
Four Days )

Trivia 2

Oct. 4th, 2009 10:38 am
stoutfellow: (Winter)
Last night's contest went pretty well. The turnout was kind of small again, because there were two other contests the same night, but there were enough people to make it interesting.

We had a good team, with a diverse set of knowledge bases - which was a good thing, because the questions were medium-hard and demanded a good range of knowledge. (For example: the answer to the very first question was "The South Sea Bubble".) The topics were spread across the rounds - one question per topic per round - rather than the more usual one-topic-per-round setup.

One of the topics involved the moderator reading the last few lines of a novel; we had to identify the novel. (I got most of those: "The Great Gatsby", "Animal Farm", "Frankenstein", ....) Another ("Chanteuses") had the moderator playing a song and asking us to identify the singer. Another of our people is a musician, and he answered most of those: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Minnie Pearl, .... Musicals, famous losers, people whose names were animal-names, remakes - good topics and tough questions. We won going away; our final score was 79/100, and the second place team only got 56 points.


Oct. 2nd, 2009 07:49 pm
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
So it seems I'm going to a trivia contest tomorrow. It'll be the second one in two weeks.

Last week's was a rather small-scale event; there were only about ten teams. There was a twist to the category selection. We were given a list of about 32 topics, and allowed to buy tickets for drawings, before each round; the holder of the winning ticket had the right to name the topic for that round. It didn't always work to the winner's advantage, though....

Our team did fairly well. Some of the topics, we simply aced - "Animals of the World" and "World Capitals", for instance. (They didn't even do any of the hard ones - Vanuatu, or the FSM, or even Burkina Faso.) In others, we were lucky to get as many as five points (out of ten). With two rounds to go, we were a point out of first. Then disaster struck. Round nine was "The Disco Era". We scored one, count it, one point - and that point was our mulligan. (A mulligan is a declaration, "we don't know, but give us the point anyway". You can buy mulligan stickers ahead of time, but you can't use more than one mulligan per round.)

Round ten was "Comic Book Heroes and Villains", and we came roaring back. (I may have been the only person competing who knew what country Dr. Doom rules.) Ten for ten, good enough to tie for second.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.
stoutfellow: (Ben)
So, last night I took part in a trivia contest. My team did pretty well; we finished fifth out of fifty-five tables - out of the money, but still very respectable. I didn't get home until nearly midnight, which is about par for the course.

These contests are as much social events as they are anything else; in particular, everybody brings food. I brought a bag of chips; the people who organized our table - and made up half of it - supplied two buckets of KFC and a gooey butter cake. (This morning brought me intermittent minor GI distress....) Beer and soda were supplied by the contest organizers.

There were also, as usual, other activities - a silent auction, door prize drawings, and so on; the big event was the auctioning off of time-shares in a vacation home in Ireland. (The man who initiated the contest is a history teacher at the local community college; he immigrated here from Ireland twenty-some years ago, and wanted to establish a scholarship for someone following the same path. The contest, with auxiliary activities, raised several thousand dollars.)

The contest itself was pretty good; the questions were reasonably hard, and there were some neat twists. Normally each round has a topic (these included "Ireland" and "Green"), but this time two rounds were "mystery topics"; each answer was a pointer towards the real topic, and naming that real topic was worth bonus points. (The first one had answers such as "lead", "Pistol Pete", "egg white", "billiards/pool", "Candlestick Park", and "the Green Berets". Our table didn't get the mystery topic, but it was groaningly obvious when it was announced.)

It was about as much fun as you can get for $15.


Nov. 8th, 2008 01:32 pm
stoutfellow: (Winter)
1. I'm going to another trivia contest tonight. Here's hoping our other team members will be able to make it; our showing last time was dismal.

2. I went over to Shop'n'Save to pick up fixings for tomorrow's dinner (and my contribution to snacks for tonight). When I left the house, the outside thermometer showed a reading of a little over 60F; when I got back, maybe half an hour later, the reading was in the low to mid-fifties. Fall, she has fell....

3. I occasionally pick up a pint of ice cream for a Sunday treat. (Well, OK, it's more than occasionally.) Usually I'll go with Ben & Jerry's, sometimes with Haagen-Dazs; they're in the same compartment at S&S. Today, I noticed a bunch of "Discontinued Item" stickers in that compartment: from B&J, Pistachio Pistachio, Neapolitan Dynamite, Turtle Soup, and Vermonty Python, and from H-D, Dulce de Leche (sob!). The only one of my preferred flavors that isn't being cut is H-D's Bailey's. Grump.

4. I've got all but one of the forms for my library project up and running, and I'm pretty pleased with them. The one yet to do will display all the works with a given keyword; that one won't be hard to put together. Right now I'm going through the data that I entered earlier, before creating the forms; the way I was doing it before was very susceptible to mis-entries, and I've already caught about half a dozen mistakes.
stoutfellow: My summer look (Summer)
I've been looking over the schedule for MathFest 2008. There's a lot of interesting stuff; in addition to the session on Euclidean geometry that I'll be participating in, there are several sessions on the history of mathematics and a mini-course on the geometry of voting, given by Donald Saari. (I've read his book on the subject, but I'd like to hear him in person.) Even so, I'll have a fair amount of free time. I'll be arriving in Madison late Wednesday morning, and the conference doesn't really get going until the next day. Thursday is solidly booked, but there are open spots Friday and Saturday. [ profile] pewtergryphon, shall we plan a meeting?


stoutfellow: Joker (Default)

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