My brother Connor recently mailed me a letter that read:
Dear Friends and Family,
In Social Studies we have been discussing communities and what makes them work. To help us learn more about other places, we would like to ask you for your help. Included in this letter is our friend Flat Stanley. Stanley has had a tragic accident. His dresser has fallen on top of him and now he is flat. The good news is, we are able to put him in an envelope and mail him to visit you.
We are asking you to take good care of our friend during his stay and to please send us a postcard or a letter from where you live. In your letter please tell us what Flat Stanley will be doing and seeing while he is visiting you. We are particularly interested in what kinds of jobs he see[s] people doing, where he goes to have fun, the kinds of foods he eats, and the kinds of clothes he wears while visiting you. Please feel free to include any pictures of your family with Flat Stanley from around your community or activities that you may do with him.
In lieu of mailing back a letter I chose to write about Flat Stanley’s visit here.
Flat Stanley arrived in via snail mail Tuesday February 10 at ~8PM just in time for diner. Scott had prepared some chicken and pasta while Adam and I were coming back from campus. Following dinner, Flat Stanley watched the previous night’s Daily Show with us, and then aided me with one of my course projects. This project involved subverting the security checks in place in a particular computer program, which was a bit too daunting for Flat Stanley so he did a little reading and then went to bed.
Over Flat Stanley’s two-week stay he spent most of his non-sleeping time on campus. That involved getting up at 9:45 every morning to catch the 10:25 bus to UCSB, and typically arriving back home around 8PM. On campus he attended my two graduate courses, Scalable Web Services, and Malware, as well as both the lecture and discussion for the undergraduate Compilers course I am a teaching assistant for. Additionally during his visit Flat Stanley helped my Scalable Web Services group launch our website torrentphobe, and helped me grade my students’ projects.
Unfortunately Flat Stanley didn’t get to see too much other than UCSB. Aside from being able to see the ocean and mountains from campus, Flat Stanley neither visited the beach nor the mountains. The rainy weather was of no consequence in skipping these visits, but rather my terribly busy life as a graduate student.
Despite the rainy weather, Flat Stanley wore sandals because when one doesn’t have waterproof shoes it’s much preferred to quickly dry your feet than to have to wear wet shoes. Other than sandals, jeans and a sweatshirt were the standard attire.
The food Flat Stanley consumed while visiting seldom varied. Time permitting, which it almost never did, breakfast consisted simply of milk and cereal. The most essential consumable of the day is the morning coffee I usually grab when first arriving on campus. Lunch consisted of either chow mien with either orange chicken or barbequed pork, or a chicken Cesar salad. Dinner varied the most with Flat Stanley’s favorite meal being our beefy spaghetti, which we have roughly twice a week.
That’s pretty much it. I doubt Flat Stanley will want a to visit again, though if he does he’ll probably make me promise to be more interesting. A promise I likely will not be able to make. The following are a few pictures of Flat Stanley’s visit.
Flat Stanley working on torrentphobe with Jon and Adam