Me at Play
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...
-- Jack Nicholson,
Are you concerned that you may have been replaced by an alien-clone hybrid? Or that extraterrestrials may be using your vital bodily fluids in genetic cross-breeding experiments? If so, take this simple test .
What should you do if you accidentally run over an extraterrestrial biological entity on your way home from work tonight? Consult your Majestic-12 Special Operations Manual, of course!
In the evenings, my leisure time is spent in the pubs and nightclubs of Boston and Cambridge, where I am a constant source of witty and fascinating conversation. I love to socialize, and I also love to dance - especially in the summer coz then the chicks wear less clothing. When I grow tired of overwhelming people with my magnetic personality, I like to return to my rooms in Back Bay for a relaxing glass of vintage port, among other things...
One of the best things about the summers in England is that you can finally get outside and really enjoy the outdoors. Of course, there is one outdoor activity that Cambridge and Oxford are particularly well known for: The gentle art of punting. Typically, I used to organize at least one major outing (for the Relativity Group) per summer. For a picture of me punting with my family under the Bridge of Sighs (at St. John's College), click here.
When I'm back home in the States I try to spend as much time as possible in the southwest and the Rocky Mountains, especially southern Colorado and New Mexico where I enjoy hiking and skiing. It used to be that this was hard to do, because my folks were living in Washington, DC. Happily, they are back in Amarillo, Texas which is a short 5 hour drive from Santa Fe, NM. Of course, the Northeast has its own smorgasboard of cultural and artistic events, and I particularly enjoy the New York Metropolitan Opera and the Kennedy Center in DC (on a good night).
If you enjoy poetry, may I recommend Ted Hughes?
Speaking of Santa Fe, I should mention that I am very happy for my brother, Jonathan, who has recently moved to Santa Fe. He is a sculptor and is currently working at the Shidoni Foundry. He lives in a little adobe hut way up the Old Santa Fe Trail in the mountains. He sleeps out under the stars on a mattress which floats suspended by ropes from four wooden posts; he keeps a little shotgun under the pillow. The stars up there at night are so beautiful, so bright, you feel like you are floating out into the universe. I am going to buy him a telescope to sleep with.
Long ago, when I was an undergraduate in Texas, I used to work as a projectionist in the student Arts Cinema. During this time I developed an abiding love of films, particularly classic Westerns. I will give you one chance to guess the identity of my hero.
I am also a fan of Monty Python's Flying Circus. I will give you one chance to guess the name of what, in my opinion, was the greatest television show ever produced.
One of the best things about being in England, is the proximity of continental Europe. As far as I am concerned, the most enjoyable way to spend the summer is to organize some friends and rent a cottage in the south of France. The people in the south are friendly, the food is miraculous and most of all it is so damn cheap!
A while back I went to France with family. As we drove down from Paris we made sure we stopped by our ancestral stomping grounds (the village of Chamblin is about 40 miles south of Paris). We stayed in a little place near Riberac, and my brother and I found quite a few incredible restaurants in Cognac, which is near Dirac ... Do I detect a pattern here?
Of course, Paris also has a lot to offer - especially the Louvre.
I am a huge fan of classic, vintage cars.. If I ever get any *real* money, I am going to invest in a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Convertible (preferably dark green); Astons are probably my favourite classic British cars, followed closely by the E-type Jaguars.
This is not to say I do not already own a classic car - in fact,
I am the proud owner of a
1963 Ford Thunderbird!
this awesome car, which was the last T-bird model with the
(noticeable) tail fins, when I was living out in Santa Barbara,
California and then drove it back to Texas. Since we've had the
car back in Amarillo it has really undergone a transformation.
Both inside and out, the car is probably in *better* shape than
it was in 1964. For a picture of the
Ford before it underwent this metamorphosis, click
here. For a rear view of the
improved Bird (new paint, new engine, new everything),
For some pictures of
the T-bird on a lonely country road at sunset, click
here and here.
If you fancy a romantic getaway, and you want to stay in England, may I recommend Amberley Castle? This luxury hotel is set in a 900 year old castle in Sussex. I recently spent a few days there for my 30th birthday (I had a hard time coping with getting old, but I did my best). The chef was *amazing*, combining medieval recipes with modern ideas, and each night I had a different claret from 1969 (my birth year) to wash it all down. Here are a few pictures which might give you a better feel for the place.
After turning 30 in the castle, I continued the party by flying to the States and driving across the desert from Santa Fe to LA, with my friend the legendary Dr. Ken Smith (Ken is from Australia). I will not repeat the epic tales which demonstrate Ken's legendary qualities, but I will mention that along the way we stopped in Las Vegas and there were certainly some legendary moments... Out in California I gave some talks at Caltech and Santa Barbara, and hooked up with various old friends. On the way back to Santa Fe I spent the night in Mexico, and came back up through Arizona on Route 666 (this is a must for any fan of the movie Natural Born Killers). I also passed through Monument Valley, a very striking corner of the US southwest.
What do you get if you cross Dr. Seuss with Quentin Tarantino? Click here to find out...
The most influential person in my life has been Johann Sebastian Bach; his music has sustained me through so many things now, that it is hard to imagine a world in which his music did not exist. I owe this lifelong passion to a very dear family friend, Bob Bernhardt, who was the conductor of the Amarillo Symphony when I was growing up. Even though my mom had made me study piano from a young age, I had no great love of music until I turned 11 or 12. It was at this time that Bob gave me a collection of his record LPs, which included the Glenn Gould performance of the Well-Tempered Clavier. Now, I know that a lot of people do not like Gould's interpretations. However, when I was 12 I used to listen to those albums for *hours*, it was like I was hearing some sort of magical sounds directly from heaven, or a message from a higher intelligence. I thought it was very appropriate that we used Bach's music as part of our message to the universe on the Voyager spacecraft.
I reckon that everyone should make at least one visit to Israel in their life.. Indeed, I recently visited that historic land for a physics conference. After the conference, I decided to rent a car and toodle around the place. Here are some pictures of my experiences there.
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