Semi-famous quasi-geek Randall Munroe creator of the webcomic xkcd came to Carnegie Mellon this past Friday drawing most of the people who can’t remember the last time they have left Wean Hall (the computer science building that looks like a mashup between a bunker and a turtle) out into the sunlight. And while the gym was pretty full (though there were empty seats) it was certainly not the largest lecture on campus this semester (Randy Pausch, wins that one). It was also not fantastic. It turns out creating a successful webcomic is not enough to carry a one hour presentation.
It is more likely true that I would describe it as boring or possibly inundated with erroneous facts. Some favorites include when he incorrectly described the rules that question marks follow in quotations or when he either claiming a non-existant office of french standardization existed (which sets rules and governs all French speakers) or greatly extending the powers of the Conseil SupÃ©rieur de la Langue FranÃ§aise, which as far as I know no longer exists (and either way they set forth no recommendations on the syntax of quotations nor did they ever claim to govern all French speakers). Or possibly we should stick to him simply saying what a great time he was having here in Philadelphia.
Anyway we had to occupy our time wikipedia chaining (Jesus -> Vagina, 6; Pomegranate -> Hamiltonian (QM), 11; HIPPA -> Trebuchet, also 11) since it was decided that that was more fun than listening to him talk, especially when he got sappy.
For his only defense, I will give him the fact that his comic convinces people to do things, some pretty weird things, giving Stallman the katana, chess on the rollercoaster, meeting up at the playground, etc. And the idea that he can impact reality is cool, my advice for him is to stick to what he knows best though (the dorkier the better).
(image by Danny Rashid more images)
Saturday night back at Weigand Gym was Arthur & Yu, followed by Broken Social Scene (or like 5/19ths of BSS, plus Andrew Kenny of American Analog Set, or maybe he counts now and then it is 6/20). And basically they were really good, and I really enjoyed it, though the crowd I would probably most accurately describe as “limp.” They did look really good though, and as Weigand isn’t that big Danny got some shots that are better than I have ever taken at a concert and you can go look through those (more like the one above).
They mostly played Spirit If… (I think they seriously played all of it), but they did have a few off their self titled album which is easily my favorite, including “It’s All Gonna Break” which is actually my favorite song of theirs (totally reinforced by their live performance of it) as their last song, not counting a singalong to close their just over 2 hour set. Sure it would have been better if Emily Haines or Feist had been present (or for that matter any female vocalist would have helped out) but it was still a really good time.