This Week Last Year: September 3rd – 9th, 2010

Posted By on September 19, 2011

I should probably change the name of this series from This Week Last Year to Sometime Around Last Year, but at least I get things done eventually. That’s probably the best thing anyone can say about me: Cody Cobb gets things done eventually.

September 3rd, 2010

Damn good day today. Brought cookies to lab. They were enjoyed. Zora shared early stories of her and Pal.

.: One of the sacred rules of the common room for the second floor of the new wing of the Waksman building is, “If it’s left on the table, it’s open game for all.” It’s a good policy, I think, because it encourages sharing and prevents the table from becoming a common dumping ground where food and crap just pile up. Plus, if you bring something to the table, you get treated like a king for that day, and justly so.

September 4th, 2010

Resolved to finish unpacking today, one box at a time. Box of Legos slowed progress precipitously.

.: I mention this only to serve as an example for others when they move: be sure to unpack the legos last.

September 5th, 2010

Slept in till 1:00 pm with that Holly girl. Met Terry, a fellow redditor. We knew everything about each other already.

.: One of the problems with reddit is how pointless it is to discuss it with another redditor in meatspace. Every conversation between redditors happens the exact same way:

Redditor: “Hey, did you see the thing on reddit about the slip and slide?”
Redditor: “Yeah, that was hilarious. What about the grandma protestor?”
Redditor: “Also hilarious. What about the new way to organize spaghetti?”
Redditor: “Yeah, that was amazing. Have you tried it out yet?”
Redditor: “No, I never get around to trying those new things.”
Redditor: “Oh.”

.: Such was the case with me and Terry, a fellow redditor Holly introduced to me. He was part of a co-ed fraternity that Holly used to hang around. Their main priority as fraternity members was, apparently, to fuck each other, all the time, nonstop. If only everyone were as direct and systematic with their sexual desires to form an organization devoted exclusively towards it. Anyway he reddited a lot of the same things I did.

September 6th, 2010

Holly had second guesses. She chose me, though, so that’s cool. Bought Legos with Keith. Tried making a model of Mom and Gordon’s house.

.: I don’t get jealous. Envious, sure, I know what that’s like, but I don’t get mad when somebody wants what I have — I feel empathy if anything. I’m not sure how it came about, but Holly started talking with her ex-boyfriend and I don’t know – maybe an old spark reignited or whatever – but she started playing the What If? game and seemed quite shaken about it. I don’t see the need to fight for a relationship; the entire idea of forcing romance instead of letting it occur naturally seems contradictory or at least self-incompatible.

.: All turned out for the best, though, as she shook whatever notions she had of rekindling an old flame from her head and . . . and I don’t remember what we did when she came home that night because I didn’t write it down. I guess she watched me play with legos.

September 7th, 2010

Saw Machete with Holly. Gloriously stupid. Conflicting instructions Re: labeling from Pal and Toey – this happens often. Reviews of Kristina’s manuscript brutal.

.: One of the requirements for patenting an invention is that you must make the entire process transparent, meaning anybody with training in the area should be able to replicate your invention based on the instructions disclosed in the patent. Some companies, like Polaroid, famously chose not to patent their products because they gambled that they could keep the process secret for longer than the patent would last (and they were right). A best of both worlds approach is to simply patent a process so difficult that even highly trained professionals with no direct experience would have a hard time replicating it. You disclose all the relevant new science and background information that’s absolutely necessary, but you don’t mention anything about the fine-tweaks or the hundreds of unwritten middle steps between the written steps that only trained experience can elucidate.

.: Consequently, those unwritten middle steps never get written down. They exist only in the brief disturbances of air between the trainee’s ear and the mentor’s mouth. And often there’s no consensus, especially between, say, an old practitioner (Pal) and a more recent one (Toey), so that when a true neophyte (me) does something the right way (according to Toey), he’ll be told to quit doing it the wrong way (according to Pal) and to do it the right (wrong) way instead.

September 8th, 2010

Waksman retreat. Kristina and Simone both survived the Dooner treatment. Pancakes with Steve, Csanad, Sam, and Katrine. Good day today.

.: I could write more about this entry, but I think I’ll stick to simple: any day with pancakes is a good day.

September 9th, 2010

[…] I also fixed his computer […].

.: I knew we were in for a treat when the professor first showed up to class and turned his laptop on. Right up there on the projection screen was something I had not seen in nearly a decade: the boot screen for Windows Me. That very instance I knew — I knew something would go wrong, and I knew I would be too impatient to give someone else the opportunity to get up first, and I knew as soon as I fixed his computer once that I would forever fix his computer again.

.: The first problem was an issue with the external display mode which, I was told, “always worked before.” I fixed it in a way that would be impossible for the professor to repeat when the problem inevitably resurfaced, so I created a keyboard shortcut: control+shift+alt+D. Press those three buttons, and the external display would work again. This solution, I learned the next class session, was impossible for the professor to repeat when the problem inevitably resurfaced.

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