Skip to main content

Life is funny

A friend of mine is getting a PhD in astrophysics and she now plans to pursue a new career in film. She is currently dating a really cool guy who is also a fairly famous director (I really like his movies, no matter which of my friends he dates). We went over to their place for their joint birthday party last night, and we got to talk with a bunch of normal people who also happen to be famous Hollywood insiders. It was a very enjoyable experience, especially given how much time I've been spending around astronomers lately.

We had great food, conversations about casting in St. Louis vs casting in Omaha, talked about the differences between a white dwarf and a brown dwarf, all while the boys splashed in the hot tub.

After saying farewell to the hosts, one of my conversations on the way to the door may or may not have gone like this:

Lady: "Have we met before?"
Me: "Honestly, probably not. I've only hung out with [famous director] once, at an astronomy conference in Seattle of all places."
Lady: "Interesting. I take it you're an astronomer."
Me: "Yup. What do you do?"
Lady: "I'm an actor. My name is Laura."
Me, looking closer: "I'm John. Are you Laura Der..."
Lady: "Yes, I'm Laura Dern."
Me: (awkwardly attempting to come up with a movie of her's other than Jurassic Park.) "Oh, I enjoy your work..."
Lady: "I was in Citizen Ruth."
Me: (not having seen that movie) ""
Lady: ...
Me: "So, in Jurassic Park. They had a dinosaur trainer on set, of course. But did they have a separate trainer for the velociraptors?"
Lady: ...


mama mia said…
I imagine this may happen to you more than once in your locale :)
did you do Brian's velociraptor impression for Laura?

Popular posts from this blog

On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I started by downloading a stock photo of J.J. from, which I then loaded into OpenOffice Draw:

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

An annual note to all the (NSF) haters

It's that time of year again: students have recently been notified about whether they received the prestigious NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship. Known in the STEM community as "The NSF," the fellowship provides a student with three years of graduate school tuition and stipend, with the latter typically 5-10% above the standard institutional support for first- and second-year students. It's a sweet deal, and a real accellerant for young students to get their research career humming along smoothly because they don't need to restrict themselves to only advisors who have funding: the students fund themselves!
This is also the time of year that many a white dude executes what I call the "academic soccer flop." It looks kinda like this:

It typically sounds like this: "Congrats! Of course it's easier for you to win the NSF because you're, you know, the right demographic." Or worse: "She only won because she's Hispanic."…

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…