Travel Perimeter impacts birthday, jury duty and slide rule

As another (now) uneventful week passed, I realized that Nazy and I had not been farther than 12 miles from the house since March:

“Do you realize, Nazy, that last March, the one in 2019, we were on our trip to Australia?”

ayers rock sunrising pano

“Do you think it’s safe to go to the grocery store, Dan?”

“We saw Uluru, the Barrier Reef, Sydney, Christchurch and, on the way, Kyoto in Japan. We enjoyed great restaurants, hot air balloons, theatre on the Harbour…”

“Shoud we risk a trip to the pharmacy to pick up the medicine?”

“Now Americans aren’t welcome
anywhere because COVID is not under control.”

smokey sunset

“Is it safe to get my hair done?”

“The country’s response has been
shambolic and shameful.

Here in Santa Barbara, not only are we trapped at home, we’re in the midst of a very powerful heat wave. (Fortunately, we live close the ocean and usually have a cooling sea breeze.) Further north, the excessive heat, combined with dry lightening has resulted in many wild fires. Although all are far away, we see smokey skies.

“You know, Nazy,” I commented. “we should use the “
president’s” approach to solve the heat problems and climate change.”

He has a solution?”

“Solution? No. He has an approach. We just stop measuring temperatures. And just like covid; if we don’t
test, eh, check there won’t be any disease, eh, fire..”

This week was Azelle’s second birthday. Nazy baked a unicorn birthday cake and..

“Since I’m the oldest,” it explained, “
I will get the very biggest piece of cake.”
“No Dan!” Arrow shouted. “It’s Azelle’s cake.”

“But Azelle is the youngest, so…”

“Mamon! Dan says that he gets the biggest piece of …”

“And I get the first piece,” I interrupted. “I hope that there is something left for Azelle and you and Tiger..”

Naturally (and since Nazy cut the cake), my hopes of being first and biggest were dashed.

But did it have to be last and smallest?” I thought.

Azelle had an exciting birthday. With a little help, she blew out the two candles and she opened her presents. (It’s not completely clear that she welcomed the ‘help’ in the present-opening part of the celebration.)

Birthday family Azelle 2020

Everyone, including Mitra, Darius, Christiane, Leandra, Auriane, Tom’s Dad and siblings sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to Azelle during a Zoom call.

After the party, I played some ‘Hide and Seek’ with Arrow and Azelle. Arrow has made significant progress by moving


“Where should I hide, Dan?” [The answer of which significantly simplified ‘seeking’.)


“Azelle! Don’t show Dan where I am hiding!”

This week we got a delivery from the US Postal Service — a Jury Summons for
Darius — who hasn’t lived in California for at least 10 years. On Darius’ behalf, I logged into the website, clicked the ‘not eligible — moved’ choice, entered Darius’ email address congratulated myself. The next day I got a call from Darius:

“They rejected my not-eligible request, Dad. They demanded a copy of my Washington Driver License.”

crowned princess Azelle with parents August 2020

“Sounds simply enough.”

“That’s what I thought. So I sent them a copy, but they won’t accept it that as proof until I login to the California DMV site and change my address.”


“But you can’t login to the DMV site unless you have a California Driver’s License. Now they’re threatening me.”

“Wow,” I replied helpfully. “
I should have scrawled ‘not at this address’ on the envelope,” I thought.

Luckily, Tom’s Dad is a Superior Court Judge. He is, in fact, a superior, Superior Court Judge. He had the connections and clout to resolve the situation.

While I was complaining about the ‘sameness’ of the days, Nazy decided to sort though the stuff in my office closet…

“It’s not necessary,” I claimed, well aware everything in the closet was put there because I didn’t want to deal with it.

“What do you want to do with this?” Nazy asked.

slide rule

“My slide rule,” I replied. “I remember feeling bad that I didn’t have a more impressive version, with more scales. They even had slide rules that came with miniature versions that would fit into a sheath you wore on your belt.”

“That certainly would have made you look ‘cool’, Dan.” Nazy replied.

“I wanted, but couldn’t afford. a better version — until I realized that the stupid device didn’t tell you where to put the decimal point.”


“Then they invented the scientific calculator and… the rest is history.”

“Do you still know how to use this one?” Nazy asked.

“A bit. But the middle slide doesn’t move to the left, so I can only multiply; I can’t divide. Let me show you that 2 times 3 is ‘almost’ 6.”


“I can’t quite make it move where I want it to go.”

Aside: During graduate school, Georgia Tech bought 4 HP-45 scientific calculators and put them into a locked ‘lab’. Within a day, all 4 were gone. The Math Department bought 4 more and chained each the wall. The next day all four were gone. The department bought a safe and, when the lab was closed, they locked the calculators inside the safe. Two days later, the challenge was met: the safe was gone. The department closed the lab. And, later in a faculty meeting..

“Luckily, we didn’t follow Dan’s advice,” John Neff, Chairman, commented.

“What did Dan ..”

“Dan told me that we should have mounted the safe in the wall of the building.”

FWIW: This wouldn’t happen now — because this
administration doesn’t believe in science. Instead, we need an oracle to divine the presence of extraterrestrial DNA that either cures covid or causes people to lose religion.

For last week's letter, please click here

Some people really love their ice cream

Tiger and ice cream

blog comments powered by Disqus