Today’s topic was chosen by Richard R, who attends SMU and is one of my best friends. He wanted me to write a post on my favorite things and why. Here it is. Ask if you want more particular favorites, and feel free to debate your own opinions on anything in the list.
Favorite Color: Blue
Though I’m usually a nonconformist about these kinds of things, I think blue is the most awesome color. Also, why not?
Favorite Book: Alice in Wonderland
I love wit, and Lewis Carroll couldn’t write enough of it.
Favorite Quote: “I can resist everything except temptation.” (Oscar Wilde)
(By Lord Darlington to Lady Windermere in the play Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act I.)
Irony at its best. Wilde is very witty too, but I enjoy Carroll’s nonsensical treatment of it even more. So my favorite author would still go to Lewis Carroll.
Favorite Pun: The Importance of Being Earnest
It’s one of the funniest puns ever, even though you already know from the title what the pun is. Also by Oscar Wilde.
Favorite Movie: The Matrix
I also like philosophy, and for me, The Matrix is one of the most thought-provoking films ever made.
In second place is 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s the most mind-boggling film I’ve ever seen. (There’s quite a difference between thought-provoking and mind-boggling….)
Favorite Historical Figure: Napoleon
An admirable figure, especially to those who have studied him in some history class.
Favorite Subject: Math
The difference between math and other subjects is that in math, you can know something with one-hundred percent certainty and say with no doubt that you are right. (Not in every field though.) Plus, you get to ask crazy questions that seem useless in real life.
Favorite Joke: An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician…
An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician are sleeping in different rooms of a hotel. In the middle of a night a fire breaks out at the end of the hallway. The engineer is the first to awake. He smells smoke and goes into the hallway, seeing the fire. Next to the fire are a dozen buckets full of water. He runs to the buckets and empties six full buckets to put out the fire. With the fire extinguished, he goes back to sleep.
Later in the night, the physicist wakes up, smelling a fire. He goes into the hallway, sees the fire, and also sees a bunch of buckets, half of which are full with water. He reaches for his calculator, figures out the optimal trajectory, and puts out the fire with the throw of just one bucket of water. Satisfied, he goes to bed.
Finally, the mathematician wakes up, also smelling a fire. He enters the hallway and sees a fire and a number of water buckets near it. He does some calculation in his head and then says, “Ah, a solution exists!” and goes back to sleep.
(A fun variation of the last paragraph is that after seeing the fire, the mathematician sees the physicist, thereby reducing the problem to one that has been solved already.)
Favorite Webcomic: Abstruse Goose
I like it slightly better than xkcd, though I don’t know why. They are both excellent reads for math people like me.
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Saenz
A quote from February of this year:
Kelly Saenz is synonymous with “the most awesome history teacher ever.” It is commonly known that Saenz needs colonies over which she can exert her expanding influence, and furthermore, that she has an extremely regular schedule of quizzes, which are, for the most part, extraordinarily easy. Everyone always has homework done by the due date, but for those who are occasionally in the minority, she is known to be extremely lenient, accepting late work even months after the deadline. Otherwise, Saenz is the epitome of organization—she has reportedly not lost a single sheet of paper in her career.
Famous quote: “All right, we’re going to cover this powerpoint…[glances at time]…uhh…we’ll do it next class.”
Favorite Class: Introduction to Sociology (with Prof. Benjamin Cornwell, at Cornell University)
A very clear teacher, and a wide variety of interesting topics. It’s numbered SOC 1101 for those of you interested. Actually I like all my classes so far at college.
Favorite Hobby: Writing
It should be quite apparent in this blog.
Favorite Advice: “Omit needless words.” (William Strunk, Jr.)
Favorite Paradox: “This sentence is false.” (Variant of Epimenides paradox)
It seems like such a simple sentence. But as you try to figure out whether it’s true or false, you see that it’s not that simple at all…
Favorite Game: Chess
I’ve been playing chess since 4th grade. It’s quite fun. Or at least, it used to be. I haven’t gone to a tournament in a while…
Favorite Photo: The Apollo 11 Moon Landing (1969) [link to enlarged image]
Of all the iconic images of twentieth century, this one tops them all, for it shows just how capable humans are, and how it is that, even as the Cold War was threatening the survival of civilization, we could extend ourselves beyond this pale blue dot. (That is also within my top five favorite photos).
Favorite Musical Piece: Main Theme of Schindler’s List
One of the most heart-touching melodies out there, fits the movie in a perfect way.
Edit: Try listening to the piece while looking at the Apollo 11 moon landing picture.