Thursday, January 29, 2009

Trapped in an elevator for 41 minutes

Last April there was an article in the New Yorker (which was extensively forwarded around the Intertubes) about a guy who was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours.  They even shared the video from the elevator's security camera:
On Tuesday, after a quantum mechanics lecture, I got stuck in an elevator for 41 minutes with two other students.  Since I had a cell phone, I was able to call CCNY security and we eventually got out.  But it says something about physics students that most of the time we were stuck in the elevator there was complete adherence to standard elevator etiquette: no conversation, just awkward staring at the walls.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grave of Mary Ellis

Movie theater in a graveyard???

Correction, its a grave 7 ft above a movie theater parking lot!

Some of you may be surprised to learn that you have probably even been in this very parking lot yourself sometime. See it on Google Maps here. Its in New Brunswick NJ.

Mary Ellis . . . . wikipedia has a story of who she was - its pretty boring - read it here if your interested.

The gravestone reads:

Mary Ellis
1750 - 1828
Margaret Ellis

Wife of Genl. A.W. White
1767 - 1850

Elizabeth Margaret Evans
1813 - 1898

If anyone knows anything else about this lady or her grave post it below!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Weakness

At the end of each semester I teach, YU has the students fill out a course evaluation.  I actually find these very helpful, and I try to improve my teaching skills and methods using the responses I get.  Usually, the responses are really helpful.  Occasionally, though, they're also really funny.  One student's response to the question "What were the major weaknesses of this professor?"... Kryptonite.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here's a llama...

The following tip came via a blog reader (Thanks, jrshmuel!). Check out the bottom of this webpage:
Note that their webpage is "best viewed from a beach chair in Tahiti."
Also, be sure to enlarge their office picture here:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Icicle Dripping Against Gravity

I witnessed this curious phenomenon outside our house back in the famous winter 2005.
You commenting guys have been really good figuring things out so far - see if you can tackle explaining this one!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This post intentionally left blank

Dedicated blog readers might recall a comment I wrote on Yoni's "Splam" post where I mentioned someone named Elizabeth A. Lanese (?).  You see, in our old apartment we were perpetually getting splam for Ms. Lanese.  You know, credit card applications, "you may already have won a million dollars" scams, and so on.  We put up with the annoyance of continually sending back these letters, and were hopeful that when we moved we'd seen the last of this Elizabeth Lanese.
Except for the general weirdness associated with the credit check (see aforementioned comment), this was the case.  Until yesterday, that is.
We received a letter addresses to Ms. Lanese that went through the USPS's mail forwarding system.  It helpfully suggested that we "inform sender of new address."  How about, "inform USPS that Lanese is not the same as Lansey"?
In any case, I'm thinking we should list her as a dependent on our taxes this year.  We could even fill out this "card intentionally left blank" we received from our insurance provider for her.

Originally I was going to end this post here, but as I was finishing editing it I got a phone call.  From American Express.  On my home line.  Trying to reach Elizabeth Lanese.  I kid you not.  And then on my cell phone.
However, upon Googling the number they called from, it turns out this is a scam.  So, Elizabeth A. Lanese, if by chance you're reading this, don't give any important info to people pretending to be American Express unless you dial them directly.  And, also, please "inform sender of new address."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Blast from the Past on NJ Transit winter 2005

Happy new year everyone. I was cleaning up my hard drive the other day (not a new years resolution but it needs to get done anyway) and I came across a few pictures from 2005 back when I was taking the train every day to school in Newark.

This is the Edison train station parking lot covered in ice one morning.

There is actually an old double decker school bus from England on the side of the tracks . . . don't ask me why! 10 points to anyone who has seen it too and can place it between two stations. 100 points for anyone who can explain what its doing here!

This day the train was packed and one of the doors wouldn't close properly . . . it was pretty cold and snowy that day too . . . made for a fun train ride!

This one time the doors opened at the Metuchen train station behind the platform . . . I considered jumping for the fun of it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Installing a thermostat

Our house came with an old, mercury thermostat,
This is non-programmable, so either it's always too hot, always to cold or you're always changing the temperature manually.  So we bought a replacement.  First I took off the old one.  You can see the mercury bulb in this picture:
Behind the actual thermostat was a pretty cool-looking network of wires.  I'm not sure why it needed to be this complicated, considering that there were only two wires coming in...
You can see that the mercury thermostat was at least the second installed in that location.  After drilling some holes, installing the new one was as easy as attaching those two wires to the new thermostat, attaching the thermostat to the wall and putting in batteries.