Archive for November, 2003


Haircuts and Nonsense

A mixed bag today.

Firstly: There are three types of people in this world, not two, as previously thought. Thank you.

Secondly, I recently got a haircut, and I noticed an interesting social phenomenon. People say “nice haircut” as a replacement for “I want you to know that I am aware that your hair is notably shorter than it was in the recent past,” because the latter sounds stupid and isn’t a compliment. Not that I’m self-conscious about my looks, but I’d like someone to come up to me, peer at my now-lighter cranium, and say, quite nonchalantly, “Don’t worry – it’ll grow in, I’m sure.” I would really believe a future compliment from that person, wouldn’t you?

And lastly, I had an…interesting day today. Read more about it here: in the posting from today (11/30) and the first comment following it.

Because We All Need Mitigation, Sometimes

For once, a true story. Yesterday I went outside my house to find a van with the words “Radon Mitigation” written on it. I probably ought to have just gone back to my room, assumed the fetal position and whimpered in my bed till I fell asleep, but, you see, this didn’t strike me as that unusual. At lunch, I was talking to a friend, and he explained why. We always have these random guys walking around, testing, poking, prodding, fixing – who knows. It’s not clear that anyone calls them or anything. They just kind of show up and do stuff. Like mitigate radon. Like a radon mitigation fairy, only you don’t need to lose a tooth to get a nice, new, shiny non-life-threatening environment. I think any guy with overalls could just walk into my house and start playing with wires, power tools, rocket launchers – whatever – and no one would pay him no never mind. Definitely not if he also has a clipboard. But who calls them? Likely our housekeeper, or the house manager, right? That’s what we thought. But as my friend pointed out, what would prompt them to call a radon mitigation man? Were they hanging out in the basement, chewing the fat, joking around, when all of a sudden they noticed something in the corner, and exclaimed, “Whoa, that radon looks like it needs mitigating, ASAP!” ?
I guess some of life’s mysteries are best left as mysteries.

Congrats, Dani

So as for the riddle – Dani wins, because, well, I dunno, I thought she needed points. The scores are as follows:
Dani: 10
Jeff: -10
Oilers: 17
IBM: +1¹/²

Rambling On

Hello world.
Last year I wrote a couple of pieces for the Cornell Lunatic, the humor magazine here. I thought I might share one that I found funny.

The Ramblings Of A Disgruntled Freshman

by ilan

I think my roommate is a cannibal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some of my best acquaintances are cannibals. (They have a club and meet in my basement on alternate Wednesday nights.) It’s just that he keeps looking at me funny and licking his lips. Those looks make me sort of uncomfortable and funny inside. It’s like he’s dissecting me with his eyes. I’ve tried dropping subtle hints, like “seeing as how I’m so skinny, it wouldn’t really be worthwhile to kill me, even with an extra-sharp knife like the one on your wall,” and “I once tried eating my flesh, and it doesn’t taste good,” and “Jeffrey, please don’t eat me.” However, I don’t think he’s getting the hint, seeing as how he has a large, bubbling cauldron in the room. I think that’s against the House Rules.
I thought of talking to my RA, but he freaks me out a little as well. When my parents were helping me move in, he was really nice. One thing he said bothered me, though: “I’m sure your offspring will have minimal difficulties integrating into the larger Jameson Family Commune Unit.” Back where I come from, they call someone like him a “Canadian,” and take him out to the pillory in the town square to be pelted with rotten fruits and/or vegetables. Anyway, he got really weird only after my parents left. They walked out, and a minute later, I was on the floor, in chains. For what seemed like days, I was subjected to a horrifying series of tortures involving fire, needles, ferrets, Spam, Tae-Bo, and Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. I’ve recovered since then, and despite the rough start, I kind of like my RA. He’s got that whole Stalin-chic thing going for him.
My advisor’s nice, I think. I haven’t seen her much, except brief glances when she was ducking behind a wall or rushing into her office. I have a hint of a notion that I should consider thinking that she might be avoiding me. Maybe I came on too strong when I asked for advice. In all fairness, she didn’t specify that our questions can’t be of a medical nature.

After much deep contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that acapella is a crime against humanity.

I’m getting used to the bureaucratic maze they’ve created for us. I wanted to drop my PE course (Intro to Telekinesis) because of a schedule conflict. I went to the University Registrar in Day Hall, who promptly sent me to the Engineering Registrar in Olin. The Engineering Registrar sent me to the PE offices in Teagle Hall, who sent me back to Day. They sent me to Wegman’s, to pick up a box of cupcakes, then to Olin again. Olin sent me back to Day, who sent me to Haackenweiler Hall. A few hours later, I realized Haackenweiler doesn’t exist and returned to Day, to find the secretaries snickering. They sent me to some guy named Gus in the basement of Bailey Hall. Gus and I sat down to a nice home-cooked meal (try his fish soufflé!) and he sent me to Olin. The nice folks at Olin, after much…persuasion, agreed to gracefully allow me to fill out the proper forms. So, after filling out an Add/Drop form, an insurance form, an I9 form, a W4 form, a 401(k) form, and a 5th grade spelling test, I was on my way to get my advisor’s signature. I caught her easily, as she jumped down an elevator shaft. (Word to the wise – a cleverly placed bear trap can be a tremendous time-saver.) She signed my form, and I happily returned to Olin. Upon arriving there, I discovered that the secretaries had been replaced with three monkeys (two howler monkeys and one lemur). I swatted the lemur out of the way and entered my registration info into the computer myself. While I was at it, I enrolled the two howler monkeys in Advanced Particle Physics, and the lemur in Textiles and Apparel. I’ll let the wonderful people at Olin sort that one out. [Score: Ilan: 1, Big Red Tape: 0]
Overall, I guess my complaints aren’t so bad. Beginnings are always difficult, if not life-threatening. Maybe I should try going to some classes, or at least shower once a week. So if you’re in the area, stop by my room. If I’m not there, I’m sure my roommate will invite you in for dinner.

I’m King of the World!

What if we lived in a world where you judged a person’s worth not based on virtue, beauty, or intelligence, but simply based on the length of his or her toenails? Wouldn’t that be neat?Well, it would for me, anyhow.

Blog and Jeff’s Excellent Adventure

Two things:

1) Dani, a good friend of mine, has started a blog. I like the word blog. I could say it all day. Blog, blog, blog. And when that gets boring I can say other fun words, like “blubber,” and “expeditiously,” and “flesh-eating bacteria.” So, um, right. Where was I? Oh, yes, the blog. Blog, blog, blog. So much fun. So check out for some good times.

2) I am still waiting for more answers to my riddle. Here’s an incentive – anyone who gets it right gets 10 points. That’s right, folks, it’s anyone’s game.Well, anyone except for Jeff. We hate Jeff. In fact, he gets -10 points now just for living. Yeah – how does it feel now, buddy? Not such a big man without your blue inflatable giraffe herd, now, are you? What’s that I hear? Nothing? I thought so.

Riddle Me This

A Tuesday riddle:
What is polka-dotted, has an unusally powerful tongue, likes walruses, and answers to the name “Twinkie?”
(No, it isn’t your Aunt Tillie, though I’m sure she’s a very nice person.)

Leading the Blind #2

Leading the Blind, installment #2:

Chimba awoke to darkness. He then opened his eyes. More darkness. He fought a valiant battle against the soggy leaves and a couple inches of snow, emerging to a rather unpleasant view of New York City’s Central Park in the dreary month of December. He stood up on shaky, uncertain legs, which swiftly became certain that they did not want to be used. Chimba was thrown back onto the ground, and after several increasingly pathetic attempts at righting himself, he decided that there was nothing up in the air that was so interesting anyway, and conceded victory to gravity. He then propped his head up with one arm and commenced a study of his surroundings.
Snow covered much of the ground, though most of it was no longer white, happy snow, but gray, belligerent snow, that had been tracked in by pedestrians from the dingy streets of the City. There were the usual accoutrements of a city park – benches, scattered trees, now bare of leaves, and numerous signs telling you never to walk on the grass, or always walk on the grass, or that you can only walk on the grass “if you are this tall” – or something like that. By the position of the sun in the sky, Chimba could tell that it was pretty early in the morning, which in part explained why he was alone in a public park. Almost alone.
Which brings us to the other common feature of city parks, namely, the crazy pigeon-yelling man. “Crazy Joe,” the people called him, and aside from that, they generally left him alone. (Actually, his real name was Crazy Max, but he just didn’t have the heart to correct them.)