Sunday, April 17, 2011

mike b.

So Mike was here for a couple of days as our department's colloquium speaker. It was good times. Some events of note:

(1) It was just great to see him. I miss Ohio people from Ohio a lot, so it was great to experience part of that life here in Maine. We spent a lot of time talking, catching each other up on life, and just genuinely having a good time. I saw him last in October, but that was only briefly, when both of our attentions were divided among many people. But having not truly hung out since June, it was like we hadn't skipped a beat. Awesome.

(2) Friday morning, as I just finished making breakfast, Mike was talking as I was trying to delicately put the pan and lid back on the stove. Ultimately, I was trying to make sure that it all didn't tumble and make a ruckus. So I "shushed" it. Mike immediately said "sorry" and started to speak more softly. I paused - confused - and then started laughing. Mike thought I shushed him. And trust me, this is funny.

For those of you that don't know Mike, it's an understatement to say that he has very little volume control. And I say this with only love... but the kid is loud. Very loud. It is not unusual to hear someone ask him to quiet it down a little bit. His default amplification of course serves him well when teaching or presenting. But in a small conversation? Not so much. Though he's pretty good about turning it down once made aware and is well-primed to take even the smallest cue to decrease his volume. So the combination of him obeying my pan-command, plus the rudeness of the situation (had I actually directed it toward him), was pretty funny.

(3) Mike came to school with me on Friday and met with the faculty and ended the day with his colloquium presentation. The students were the most engaged I've seen them in any of our colloquia this year. I think a combination of Mike's research (social ostracism and physical pain) and just Mike himself really got them going. I was really impressed. In turn, he got some excellent questions, and I think he walked away being impressed with our students.

(4) That night we got some good brick-oven pizza and ice-cream before heading out to see a movie. This is where things went horribly wrong. We decided to see Your Highness. We both had the impression that it would be a good movie for a laugh, though not necessarily a good movie. I was picturing a funnier, "cult" version of A Knight's Tale, perhaps. A reviewer had hoped that it would be a contemporary Princess Bride. It was neither of those things. It was just... bad. Bad plot. Bad writing. Mostly bad acting. It ultimately led to disappointment that actors like Natalie Portman, James Franco, and Zooey Deschanel would even be in a movie like that. They must have been paid a lot. And to top it all off there was a very prominent, and unnecessary, minotaur erection. We were hoping for a laugh, and left just in utter disbelief that such a movie was made. Though if I had to experience such train-wreck, at least I was there with a friend who easily validated my own reactions...

(5) Mike opted to stay with me instead of a hotel, which just made the whole thing that much more fun (slumber party!). I only had a pull-out couch to offer him, but he assured me it was glorious, given that sleeping there meant he could get uninterrupted sleep away from his 6month-old daughter. That being said, he was obviously ready to get back to her (and his wife!) when he left. 

So I had a good time. I'm pretty sure Mike did as well.

Now just to see the rest of my friends...


  1. I giggled a lot at #2. So funny, I can picture it!

  2. I laughed a lot at number 2 also, and I was the one being shushed!