November 3rd, 2005


questions from saxikath

1. I remember throwing snowballs at your window to make you come out and have a snowball fight with the rest of us, freshman year. What's one memory you have of that time that's particularly vivid?

The first one that comes to mind is of half a dozen of us up late at night doing problem sets and writing bad poetry on a Wednesday night in my dorm room, and getting sillier but somehow not any less productive as the night wore on.

2. I don't know much about the road rallying stuff you do. How'd you get into it?

When I moved back to Boston, I lived for a year with Will Turano, who was into various motorsports. He bought me to an autocross, which is a speed event on a short closed course, and then to a road rally, which is much more about math than it is about adrenaline. We did terribly on my first one, and my reaction is my usual problem-solving reaction: write a computer program to automate it. (This is in large part the approach I'm taking to running Arisia, too.) This I did, and itwe did well at the next few rallies -- and oddly, taking home a bunch of $5 plastic trophies seems to have been quite a motivating factor.

3. What brought you back to the Boston area after being away from it?

Uh, it's home? Mostly by that I mean that my friends are all here, but I also love that the city is bikeable and is also full of fascinating people who aren't (yet) my friends. Other contributing factors included that my job in DC, while intellectually stimulating, was rather dubious morally. I like to tell people that I held a Top Secret clearance for three days, with the implication being that I quit after learning something dreadful. Actually I had already given notice when the clearance came through, and never officially handled any TS material, though I inferred a few nasty things during that time that I'm sure are classified at that level.

4. Our friendly secretive organization have offered you the chance to fix one problem you see in your town. What problem do you fix, and why?

Wow, can I fix how tremendously and underlyingly racist Boston is? We can start by providing transit that actually connects black and white neighborhoods without two changes.

5. Why did you choose the job you have now?

When I interviewed at Permabit, Sam didn't give me a non-disclosure agreement, explaining that in his opinion they're not worth the paper they're printed on. Instead he picked up a pen and recited, "I wave the +3 wand of non-disclosure at you". I thought this was an organization that would have the agility I was looking for, and ultimately I was right, though it later turned out that Sam wasn't really part of the solution on that one.

You know how the meme works: comment here to get questions from me.

conversation otd

Said to one of my assistant con-chairs:

If this were an actual emergency, I would $course-of-action. However, this is not an emergency, this is a Teachable Moment.