log (2006/06/02 to 2006/06/08)

The rich really are different. Primarily, as the saying goes, because they have more money. In some cases, a whole lot more money.

I was talking to someone yesterday about some big investment house that has a few select private clients, and to be one of these private clients you have to have at least like half a billion dollars in assets. Which means that these people have roughly (very roughly) a thousand times as much in the way of monetary assets as we do.

So when we stop in the car on the way somewhere to like get gas, and three people are thirsty and I spend $3.75 on some water and lemonade and stuff, that's like, to those private clients of that big investment house, like stopping in the yacht or the motorcade or something, and three people are hungry, so someone gets out and spends $3,750 on...

And here the analogy rather breaks down. On some nice little diamonds? But if they buy nice little diamonds as often as I buy bottles of water, they're going to have a silly number of diamonds. Maybe I'm showing my naiveté by saying that (perhaps there are uses for diamonds that my mind cannot conceive); but in any case there aren't really any consumables that one can casually stop and buy $3,750 of on a whim.

Or well, maybe there are. Maybe if the yacht's getting near some port and three people are hungry, someone can make a quick phone call and arrange for $3,750 worth of gourmet meals cooked by one of the region's finest chefs driven in on an emergency basis for the evening, served by attractive young persons with matching haircolors, and accompanied by an amusing little wine at a few hundred dollars the bottle.

That might work.

But sheesh.

Goin' back, goin' back,
  to the best darn place of all...

So anyway! The reason that I was talking to people about investment firms and generally thinking about unreasonable wealth was that we went (back) to Princeton this weekend for my (yikes!) Twenty-Fifth Reunion.

The little daughter stayed home because she had a Standardized Test to take and a best friend's Sweet Sixteen party to go to (and we were sad because it would have been really nice to have her along), but M and the little boy and I, and M's sister and her husband and two kids, had a good time marching in the P-rade ("P-rade"), and seeing People from the Past, and watching a really amazing (really really amazing) fireworks display (by what is apparently one of the Top Fireworks Outfits), and getting rained on and slogging through the mud and stuff.

Princeton seems to have gotten much bigger, and much richer and classier, since we went there. There are scads of new buildings in the south part of campus, and everything seems shinier and better equipped and less chipped and scruffy than when I was there. (And I don't think it's just that they gussied up for reunions, 'cause it wasn't just superficial gussying up.)

Even good old Quadrangle Club has gotten bigger and snazzier since 1981. There are of course computers and big video game screens and consoles scattered around, but that's expected. The eating area is bigger, and there's a huge sandbox with a volleyball net in it, and the pool tables look much better maintained. There's also extra quantities of wood paneling and nice relatively unblemished wooden tables.

I talked to some adorable undergrads who were sitting around in one of the upstairs rooms working on a jigsaw puzzle, and I told them about the time I'd been sitting around in the next room over talking to Debbie Cymbalista about her ongoing existential crisis while she played with a machete, and how she'd more or less unexpectedly chopped the machete into the edge of the table making a big nick in it, but the table was relatively beaten up anyway and it didn't really show.

Doesn't look like anyone's done anything like that to these tables, I said. Yeah, one of them said, machetes are frowned upon in the club these days.

Machetes frowned upon; heh! What is this younger generation coming to?

Everyone also talked about how much harder it is to get into Princeton these days, and how most of us probably wouldn't make the cut anymore. This sort of scares me vis a vis the little daughter, who is marvelous and brilliant and creative and a great dancer and all, but who isn't into Doing Whatever It'll Take To Impress The Admissions Committee sorts of things, and who does rather want to go to Princeton. We'll hope the admissions committee is extremely insightful, and/or that having two alumni parents can slightly offset not having been the president of every extracurricular activity in sight.

I've been encouraging her (for my own vicarious reasons) to look outside the traditional College and Marriage and Career In the Obvious Places life-paths (tramp-steamers to Europe, struggling dancer living in a garret in Bohemia, etc) but so far it doesn't really seem to have taken...

I highly recommend once in awhile getting alot of sleep. I mean, like, going to bed at seven pea em, so that (even if there's a HUGE THUNDERSTORM and then a couple of INCREDIBLY LOUD FROGS out in the yard at nine so you have to stagger out of bed zombie-like looking for earplugs (thanks to M for knowing exactly where they were; I mean normally I find the sounds of nature very soothing, but you should have heard these frogs!!) you end up getting ten or eleven hours sleep (even if you have to get up at six aye em to wake up the resident high school student).

Really improves one's perspective on things.

What have I been doing in all this non-logging time? Besides not getting enough sleep and then getting enough sleep, and entirely routine and unremarkable mostly child-related (and work-related) chores? I recorded the College Diaries of Castor Nova (and before Certain Readers opine that the writing is even worse than usual, I'll point out that it's Castor writing, and he's young and pretentious, and it's pretty much exactly what I was aiming for, however it may appear from the outside, and this is all about Me after all).

Discovery: a LiveJournal community about Abandoned Places. Cool pictures and stuff. ("I got a raft so I could figure out what the deal is with these abandoned tunnels... they led me into this abandoned factory built in the 1840s.")

A reader writes:

Best spam subject line o' the day: "Save the Whales. Collect the Whole Set."

I've had a whole raft (speaking of rafts) of that class recently; some spammer's picked up a collection of one-liners from somewhere. F'rinstance:

Subject: Very funny, Scotty. Now beam down my clothes

Narf narf narf.

Here are a few more recent ones, from different generators:

Subject: Re: Hi... anchor ball
Subject: Re: tastefully testy
Subject: corpus did decreeing with hedgehog?
Subject: coenotype disunify :)
Subject: wish dobbing
Subject: Hoarny tasty whorres admiration tortoise

Speak for themselves, really.

And one heartbreakingly sad (or something) subject line, resulting I think from some spammer forging their spam to look like it came from some address on one of my domains, and the spam bouncing:

Subject: Undeliverable: lighthearted contentment

Not as bad as it seems, though: if it can't be delivered, we'll just have to get it some other way!

Uh-oh: New Orleans Sinking Faster Than Thought:

new research suggests parts of the city are sinking even faster than many scientists imagined -- more than an inch a year.

(I originally read that headline as having the form of "faster than light"; that would really be bad! More than an inch a year is still pretty bad, though.)

A reader points out a page with a whole bunch of free dharma talks (as mp3s). Very nice. They look a bit high-church-Zen, but hey; dharma's where you find it.

That same reader notes:

I see that you are Google's top Buji Zen guy!

Which is really funny! (Have to mention Buji Zen alot, to keep my ranking up.) Google does love weblogs...

From HTML o' the Day, Websites as Graphs (really "web pages as graphs"). Nicely implemented!

Geeky Google Search Terms o' the Day: SCTP and rserpool. And while you're at it, Assurance contracts.

Irony o' the Day: AT&T leaks sensitive info in NSA suit (showing how bad they are at keeping information private in a suit about how they can't be trusted to keep informaiton private).

Sentence o' the Day: "Heeding a request from his wife, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday banned the latest generation of mobile phone services in Cambodia to curb the dissemination of pornography."

Minidocumentary o' the Day: a White House Photo-Op.

And that's probably it for now. Time is as short as ever, but if I can keep getting enough sleep once in awhile maybe I'll continue weblogging once in awhile... *8)