you who know me well know that i enjoy giant objects. it seems i am not alone. there is something peculiarly endearing about giant objects, as anyone who has played the sam and max computer games will attest. edward tufte uses the giant duck of long island as a teaching example in his invectives against wasteful design, the corning museum of glass has a giant lightbulb, and i am told that there is a giant tapeworm doing double duty as a museum of gastrointestinal pathology somewhere in far north queensland.
the brown birthday get-together featured plenty of cheap but decent wine, some really excellent cheese, and a magnificent cheesecake from veniero's in new york. everyone from B was dressed up for kentucky derby day and there was the scent of oranges throughout. the bread from nashoba bakery and shanthini's dad, an FDA microbiologist, brought goat cheese samples for our delectation. ("well if they pass the test they're just normal cheese.") dominique observed that we know how to eat well. eventually people left to shower and shave. in any case, after the deluge, i took a nap and woke up to find mervin and magali watching thunderball in the common room. rina eventually showed up with madeleines and then we all left for the quad to go to alon's birthday party. after making an appearance, we moved off to the bell tower to be assaulted by shania twain and faith hill. when we entered, the room was singing along to "man, i feel like a woman," and i felt instantly ill. we left and went to felipe's for our grease quota and then opened up a bottle of decent but undistinguished south african chenin blanc when we got back.
early this morning when the sound of squirrels woke me rudely, i read about the restoration of the panel tapestry called "the hunt of the unicorn" at the cloisters in ny. in the process of removing the tapestry backing, the restoration technicians discovered the vibrant colours of the threads on the back of the tapestry, completely unfaded by light and the passage of time. the met called in its digitization team and they photographed the entire affair in high-resolution tiles but were unable to assemble them manually because the entire set of tiles took up over 120 CDs. their salvation came in the form of a pair of computational mathematicians, their pixel-matching algorithms, and their behemoth off-the-shelf supercomputer. the floor of their research facility, the institute for mathematics and advanced supercomputing at polytechnic university, is covered in a spiralling digital print of mathematical equations. i fastened onto this image and thus retain absolutely nothing else of importance. for full details and a far more articulate account, see richard preston's new yorker article,
"capturing the unicorn."
champagne brunch today featured plenty of mediocre champagne and a feeble attempt at eggs benedict. clay had emailed the entryway to arrange a prior meeting but when i showed up at 11.15am, no one was there except him. there was a tense moment or two--aaron was there too, waiting for dilatory mather-types--until people started showing up in droves. we eventually clustered around a single table and engaged in the kind of reminiscence that is only possible with long and voluntary separation. topics of conversation included: what happened to steve who stole a credit card to buy tampons at c'est bon?; the time luce toasted his boots in the canaday kitchen; kacie's unfortunate run-in with alcohol as an untutored freshwoman; and how michael is a social outcast. insults flew like aspidistras and a fine time was had by all.
then i took a nap. there is no work being done this weekend. none.