So Max's is this local dive bar type place near campus. It's loud and small, and not really my favorite place to go hang out. Surprisingly, though, they host a trivia night every Tuesday, which I only recently learned about; being a huge fan of trivia and trivia games, I've been attending religiously ever since I heard about it. Now, I'm pretty good at Trivial Pursuit and usually do quite respectably as I follow along with Jeopardy, but I utterly suck at Max's event. Part of that's 'cause I don't watch Seinfeld, South Park, or sports, which are topics that come up with greater-than-expected regularity. And part of that is 'cause there's people there who take it much more seriously than I do, and more power to them. If I can win just once, though, and maybe take home a My Little Pony lunchbox as a prize, I'll be happy.
At last week's event, my friend E (who has been a frequent companion in suckiness at these events) made the offhand comment that I "didn't seem like someone who'd spent their life overseas." He couldn't really explain much more than that, so I'm not quite sure what he meant by it. I mean, what exactly is a person who grew up in Africa supposed to look like? Perhaps I should walk around in Khaki clothing, wearing a pith helmet and carrying an elephant rifle, and call all my friends "bwana" or something.
I mean, it's not like I hide it or anything. Hell, half my anecdotes start with "I was living in Ethiopia at the time" (which, by the way, is the ultimate excuse for lack of pop-culture knowledge. Try it sometime! Alright, maybe it won't work so well for you.). I guess I've just been here long enough (or I'm quiet and introverted enough) that that's just not enough anymore. Or perhaps I'm extrapolating way too much from a single data point.
On a completely unrelated note, I just read over a sketch of Cook's proof that Boolean satisfiability is NP-Complete. I can hardly claim to completely understand it entirely, but damn is that an awesome proof. It seems unlikely that any of you out there care, but the basic idea is to use a set of rules to encode a Turing Machine that solve an arbitrary problem in NP as a satisfiability problem (basically, a long conjunction of variables to which true or false values have to be assigned to make the whole expression resolve to a true value). I've known of the existence of the proof for quite some time, but only recently decided to do some research and figure out how exactly it worked. Nifty!