July 1999 Archives


I bought lunch today and grabbed my book, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I headed out behind our building to a huge field, took off my shirt, and sat with my back to the sharp sun.

I lasted about five minutes before I wanted to get back inside.

Back in the days when I lifeguarded, I was much more capable of sitting in the sun for long hours, soaking up the rays, and turning a deep redbrown. But I think direct sunlight is like a hot spice: if you don't have a lot of it a lot of the time, you feel bad when you do have it. (Though you may love it.)

I think part of the problem is the sitting part. I've never understood sunbathers. Cancer lurks behind every great tan, and people who just sit in the sun all day with a spritz bottle are just asking for it.

When I lifeguarded and taught swimming lessons, I *had* to be in the sun. I had no choice. I wore SPF 60 lotion and a hat, and I did what I could to keep my body safe.

So if I get sun these days, it's only when there's a good reason for being outside. A pick-up game of soccer. A run with Amy. A long ride on my bike. A walk on the beach.

I went for a walk on the beach a couple of weekends ago and my neck got burned. It faded into a dark tan almost immediately, and now there's a distinct line between my neck and my pale back. I don't expect that will change.


Okay, it's time to spread some love around:

Bryan is hilarious.

Leslie is an inspiration.

Don is a ratbastard. (And I love him for it.)

Frog design is delightful.

Spyplane is hip.

Ordinary was extraordinary, but now it's dead.

Michelle understands my trouble with names.

Gregory is kind.

Josh went simple.

nothing is something

Christian gave his defense to a group of about ten of us: three professors charged with reviewing his thesis and asking him the hard questions behind closed doors, and seven others, charged with listening patiently while he presented overheads that represented, in some slight way, his two years of work.

I sat for forty minutes, listening carefully, trying to wrap my arts-and-literature brain around circuits and electrolytes and semiconductors and dye-sensitized solar cells.

And at the end of the forty minutes of shuffling papers and pointing with a meter stick, Christian showed us an overhead and said, "so as you can see, my work shows that there is no significant difference between the admittance when the dye is either exposed to light, or to no light at all."

I sat up and looked at the overhead.

"What you mean," I thought, "is that you spent two years testing this and that, recording data, shifting configurations, and tearing your hair out, and in the end, your tests conclusively prove that there is *no* relationship where you thought there might have been one.?"

And when I spoke with him later, Christian was clear: "That's exactly it," he said (in so many words), "sometimes, in the end, your results tell you nothing. And sometimes nothing is significant enough in and of itself."

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This page is an archive of entries from July 1999 listed from newest to oldest.

June 1999 is the previous archive.

August 1999 is the next archive.

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