mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Busy Week - Grub, Cingular, Igs

This weekend begins the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and fortunately for us, we're spending the first two days with Nomi's parents. I say "fortunately" because we have had almost no time this week to prepare for the holiday ourselves. If we had had to build a sukkah, we'd have gone nuts.

Actually, we have no place to build a sukkah of our own; as always, we will be relying on the kindness of friends, families, and synagogues to take meals in a sukkah this year. But this post isn't about Sukkot; it's about the last three evenings that kept us occupied and up late.

Tuesday night, after work, I had an instructors summit at Grub Street, Boston's independent creative writing center. Although I'm not actually teaching a class or a workshop this semester, I still attended. Grub Street has been doing a lot of good work recently for the city of Boston, such as the Memoir Project (memoir writing workshops for senior citizens) and YAWP (a monthly teen writing workshop for Boston-area high school students). I wanted to find out more about them, as well as meet with my fellow instructors. But that meant not getting home until very late Tuesday night.

On Wednesday evening, Nomi and I met up after work and went to the Cingular Wireless store in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. We've had the same older-style cell phones for about four or five years, and I had been feeling the bug for a newer model. Cingular obliged, with a letter informing us that the new network would soon no longer support our old phones, but hey, here's a rebate deal for some new ones. So we went to the store and bought these spiffy new Nokia models and an updated contract. We can now take photos and access the Internet with our phones! Here's a picture of Nomi I took with my camera phone:

Nomi By Cameraphone

Now I just have to hope I run into Superman lifting a car, and I'm all set.

The only problem, though, was that the sales associate (a very nice guy) couldn't get the system to accept our upgrade properly. He had to call Cingular customer service, and they kept him on hold as much as they do the rest of us. So once more, we had a late night. In the end, though, we got the service we wanted, and we've been having fun text messaging each other.

Last night, of course, was the Sixteenth First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony. Although we did not manage to get together a delegation from the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet, we did attend the ceremony. This was our third time attending an Igs, and I saw fewer familiar faces in the crowd than I have in previous years. The ceremony, as usual, was very funny, even if they attempted to put the kibosh on paper airplane throwing. The 2006 Ig Nobel winners list has been posted at the official site. The winning "research" included investigations into why woodpeckers don't get headaches; the finickiness of dung beetles; the invention of a high-pitch tone to repel teenagers; a calculation of the number of photographs you need to take of a group of people to ensure at least one photograph where no one has their eyes closed; the report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly"; reports on how to terminate hiccups through "digital rectal massage"; an explanation of why spaghetti breaks into more than two pieces when bent; a report on ultrasonic velocity in cheddar cheese; and the discovery that the female malaria mosquito is attracted equally to the smells of Limberger cheese and human feet.

(If you're interested in learning more about the Prizes, this Saturday as usual you can attend the The Ig Informal Lectures at MIT. Nomi and I won't be there, of course, but we hear they're always good.)

Anyway, because it was our third late night in a row, we didn't stick around, but we headed home to do what packing we could for the weekend. (I'm still not done.)

So that's been the week. To top it all off, I had some Library Trustee business I needed to deal with by email, an interview of a horror writer to arrange, and Guilder to frame for it. I'm swamped.

Plans for the weekend include sleeping.

Copyright © Michael Burstein; photo copyright © Michael Burstein
Tags: boston, brookline, comics, jewish, movies, personal, pluto, science, silly, teaching, writing

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