Never explain a joke.

For some bizarre reason, a conversation at work today about the city's upcoming non-smoking bylaw turned into someone proposing a bylaw that nobody would be allowed to beat up on Denton.

"A charming sentiment," I agreed, "but ultimately meaningless. After all, you just know there's going to be a sprig of mistletoe out there that won't listen."

Dead silence and puzzled looks. Apparently, my esteemed co-workers don't speak hypertext.

"It's a myth," I explained. "The death of Balder? Balder The Beautiful?"


Oddly enough, it wasn't a rhetorical question, and I was obliged to answer. It's a very odd situation to teach your direct supervisor about Norse Mythology. Better still is when you intend it as self-effacing humour, but you're forced to explain that you were comparing yourself to the Norse God of Beauty. That's awkward.

And when I say "awkward", I mean "the-only-person-applauding-is-your-mother" awkward.

The day improved, though. My co-worker (Mike) and I helped the new grad student (Armando) design a gas chamber for his experiment. (Nitrogen gas. Stop worrying.) After sketching out some ideas, Armando put it together, and he decided to name it using all three of our initials:

The M.A.D. Chamber.

Roughly speaking, that's the most awesome thing of 2007 so far.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.