« Subscribing to the LazyWeb search engineApple Targets Scientists »
02.03.2003

Among The Biogeeks Of San Diego

I'm in San Diego, sitting in the lobby of the Westin Hotel with a bunch of other computer addicts. Everybody is here for the bioinformatics conference, and the O'Reilly people have set us up a wireless network. We come like moths to the flame. If you are wondering what I know about biology, the answer is "More than ever!".

Nobody here is having a good hair day.

I had a devil of a time finding my room in this palace, and shuffled around for a good five minutes on the fifth floor looking for the correct door before I realized that I had been shuffling along carpet. Back home that would have meant I was guaranteed to get the mother of all electric shocks from the next metal object I touched. Back home I would already have arced to the wall. Chances are good I would have vaporized one of the cats. At home I get shocks when I walk from the library to the kitchen, a distance of twelve feet. When I pet the cats, they have little seizures, and they give off blue flashes. They have started avoiding me. "Bad lightning man, he hurts us. He HATES us..."

So I gritted my teeth and touched a doorknob, and nothing happened. Of course nothing happened - I'm in San Diego.

I got here at dinner time and went out hunting for a fish taco. I walked and walked what turned out to be the heart of the city, a swank restaurant row. It's a weird neighborhood here, a mix of very upscale restaurants and barred-up check cashing places.

There were no taquerias, but I did see a Hooters, and for the upteenth time did a little double take. I still can't believe that Hooters is an actual viable chain restaurant. I keep thinking it's a put-on of some kind, sponsored by the Onion (for the benefit of non-US readers, Hooters is a pub-like restaurant chain where all the waitresses are permablonde girls in tight T-shirts and high-cut shorts. 'Hooters' means 'tits'). It bills itself as a family restaurant. It even manages to offend me, which is kind of like a football hooligan being put off by gratuitous violence. What gives?

But there was a table in the window with three women, wearing the Muslim hejab, and their conservatively dressed male companions. They were tucking in to some Hooters skillet supper, having a grand old time. I moved on and found a fast-food Mongolian barbeque joint, complete with bins of frozen pork shavings.

People are starting to reminisce about backup systems they have known. It is like a standup act for the server-room set. Picture the evil mastermind from "A Princess Bride", except with long black hair and a paunch, talking about head seek access times. Nature or nurture?

« Subscribing to the LazyWeb search engineApple Targets Scientists »
Idle Words

brevity is for the weak




Greatest Hits

The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel
The story of America's most awesome infrastructure project.

Argentina on Two Steaks A Day
Eating the happiest cows in the world

Scott and Scurvy
Why did 19th century explorers forget the simple cure for scurvy?

No Evidence of Disease
A cancer story with an unfortunate complication.

Controlled Tango Into Terrain
Trying to learn how to dance in Argentina

Dabblers and Blowhards
Calling out Paul Graham for a silly essay about painting

Attacked By Thugs
Warsaw police hijinks

Dating Without Kundera
Practical alternatives to the Slavic Dave Matthews

A Rocket To Nowhere
A Space Shuttle rant

Best Practices For Time Travelers
The story of John Titor, visitor from the future

100 Years Of Turbulence
The Wright Brothers and the harmful effects of patent law

Every Damn Thing

2015 May Jul
2014 Jul Aug
2013 Feb Dec
2012 Feb Sep Nov Dec
2011 Aug
2010 Mar May Jun Jul
2009 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
2008 Jan Apr May Aug Nov
2007 Jan Mar Apr May Jul Dec
2006 Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
2005 Jan Feb Mar Apr Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2004 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Oct Nov Dec
2003 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2002 May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Your Host

Maciej Cegłowski


Threat

Please ask permission before reprinting full-text posts or I will crush you.