Pizza for Dinner
Friday, April 30, 2004
I just spent a few minutes packing for the wedding festivities and realized that every time I pack I fear that I'll leave something behind or the weather will change or I'll forget that we plan on swimming or going to a nice dinner or something and leave the appropriate articles of clothing at home. I don't really overpack too much, but I do a bit to make sure I'll always have appropriate clothing and underwear. The problem for me comes to the toilettries. Some things I can pack beforehand but sometimes I need to sequester toilettries that I need to use but also need to pack so that I remember to bring everything. It's not like this trip is for terribly long, an overnight in the hotel just outside of town then the wedding day clothes for the wedding in town (won't be returning to the apartment), but I need to dress up and that requires a lot of stuff. Anyway, it's a good example of my tendency to make mental notes and plan ahead to a nearly complusive degree. In my defense it is practical to be prepared when packing.

Editor's Note: This was typed last night around midnight thirty but couldn't be posted until now due to internet problems. Editor's notes are cool.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
So, I've been trying out Gmail for a couple days now. I like it. I must still use my university e-mail primarily so my advisor and others can contact me quickly but I've also been keeping the browser open on Gmail during this little test run to see how quickly I receive messages and such. It's very efficient (no server problems or spam yet) and there appear to be a lot of options of what to do with my mail once I get it. I can apparently group entire conversations together, which is cool. I think I'll use both as primary e-mails so if you know them both use whatever suits your mood. There's an option to report bugs or comment, since it's still a beta, but I haven't found anything yet. I feel like I should invest time in e-mailing so I can find some problem or less-than-optional feature to send constructive criticism along. Otherwise the message would consist of "this is awesome, no problems yet." Which, although I'm sure is appreciated, might not be very helpful at this point. Anyway, I recommend it if you're willing and able.
Monday, April 26, 2004
Public Service Announcement
A friendly reminder to all drivers, especially those that frequent the intersection I must walk to on my way to the lab---realizing you are in the wrong lane does not give you the right to do whatever you want. If your lane says go straight on green, you may not turn right when the opposite side of the median is turning left. Having to cross an entire lane of traffic to turn into other cars should have tipped you off. Note to those turning left: if you realize you want to go straight but somehow missed both lanes in which you could do this you cannot stay in the left lane while the light is green and blow through the intersection when the straight lanes have a green light to pass them all. Also to those stuck in the left lane, you may not turn around and go back the way you came at any time you wish. More importantly to me while walking, when taking a right on red you must first stop then make sure that pedestrians are not in your way. The next time I have the light to cross the street and you try to hit me with your car then give me a look like I'm the jerk, you will wither and die in your seat from the glare I will counter with.

I'm just trying to help. Being a moron must be terribly exhausting.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
let's do the time warp again
Lately I've had a lot of little moments where some song or movie I've mentally filed under miscellaneous and stuck in my memory's attic has popped up again. It's so amazing how hearing three notes of some song can whisk me back to 10th grade, complete with memories and feelings I've forgotten about. This weekend I watched Interview with the Vampire and Romeo and Juliet again after at least a 6-year hiatus. I like both movies still, especially Interview. It's just cool how easily memories could be triggered and how they're linked in your brain. I'm reminded of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind, but it's such an excellent film I wouldn't want to spoil anything by explaining more.

To give you an idea of what I mean: "I'm only happy when it rains."
Thursday, April 22, 2004
link of the day
Ha ha. I wish I could figure out what she was singing.
Serious Post (insert stern emoticon here)
There's been some talk about the affordability of higher education in the US lately. It's really not affordable, is the problem. Tuition inflation is rapidly surpassing regular inflation making college difficult or impossible to afford for more and more families. Here's a break down of my thoughts:

My history: I put myself through college. I mean that literally. I worked very hard in high school to get the grades and extracurriculars necessary to get into top schools. I got into top schools, with many scholarships but was left to pay for tuition, room, board, books, everything on my own. Thankfully my Granpa gave me several savings bonds to help out although I wasn't able to let them reach maturity. Since I was 17 when I applied to schools FAFSA required my mother's income (divorced parents) as well as my own on all financial aid request forms. Therefore, even though I was the only person contributing to the cost of my education, minus a few hundred dollars when needed for emergencies from the bonds, my financial aid (also minusing scholarships received) was based on money I would never see. Even assuming my Mom did pay, our "family contribution" was 25% of our combined incomes. Or, practically, over 100% of my income. I worked constantly in college, worked on the newspaper, and made decent grades, although I really think I would've gotten more As had I not had to work so much. (And if RPI had +s and -s.) Thankfully my Dad's income didn't come into play here, although I'm fairly sure we would have just made, if at all, the national average mentioned in the above article.

My opinion: I think parents should pay for the cost of college for their children, and not guilt or force a choice of the college and major on the kid. Clearly school is more affordable for a pair of 40-50 somethings than it is for a 17-18 year old. And the value of a dollar lesson shouldn't be first taught with tuition. Teach that early on, make your kids pay for car insurance or clothes or something when they're older. Teach them how to live on their own but let them go to college to learn. I don't begrudge people whose parents pay for college or a new car or anything for them, that's how the ideal should be. I do begrudge my old roommate for being jealous of the $100 my Dad gave me once to buy a new pair of jeans and a sweater since I hadn't had new jeans in a few years. She got a new car, tuition, room board, etc. She worked comparatively cushy engineer intern summer jobs. I clearly came out on top. I did also get pissed at my Dad after the following exchange:
Dad: I don't know my school song, I had to work, I didn't have time to go to hockey games.
Me: I had to work too, I still do.
Dad: Well, you had financial aid, I never had that.
Me: You lived at home, tuition was more affordable, and my financial aid includes mom's salary which is money I never see.
And in high school while some people scrounged for financial aid and scholarships when their families could easily afford UCONN costs, I was peeved at them as well. They did it knowing they were taking money away from someone with no alternatives.

The reality: College isn't affordable for most hard-working 40-50 something couples. Even if they try to start a college fund the money is often diverted to other sources, like say food. Even couples with a combined income of $100,000 a year, doing quite well by most standards, are looking at tuition costing 15-35% of their income, without scholarships or outside help. Kids may get stuck postponing (indefinitely) college plans or going to a cheaper (but substandard) state school. Private schools are often the best and the most expensive.

So, to end this ramble, I'd like to simplify things a bit for those with the power to change how this works. Make education a priority from elementary school on. Inner city and rural schools are often adequate at best, fix that. (Hey, how about adequate health care for kids while we're at it so they can take advantage of schooling.) Find or shuffle around our money so that financial aid can actually aid more. Give more money to state schools so that tuition can stay in check.

Oh, and for non Ann Arbor people, while $800 a month for an apartment sounds luxurious that's a basic one bedroom here. Tons of people plus limited housing equals student ghettos and rent nazis.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Two interesting facts
I frequent IMDb and recently looked up Brad Pitt. We all know Brad Pitt is awesome, but here are the two facts I found most amusing that I didn't previously know.

1. After filming Seven Years in Tibet he was barred from entering China.
2. While filming Troy he injured his achilles tendon so badly filming on Ocean's 12 was pushed back. Ironically, Brad plays the part of Achilles.

That last one I find very amusing.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
This is cool.

This is not.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
microsux indeed
So, those popups I mentioned that are now on both of my computers are apparently windows messenger services popups, touting porn mostly. The thing is the ones on the laptop are coming in every 20 seconds and DING every time. It's driving me crazy. Two popped up while typing that last sentence. Norton can't find anything and I can't uninstall it, apparently. As in I tried but the process was immediately followed by DIIIINGGG. Computers suck. And I apparently just bleached a spot on my t-shirt when cascade spurted up from the dishwasher.

I'm going to go play some guitar and eat a cupcake.

I just got back from a quick trip to the mall as a last search for a black dress. I found a dark charcoal gray dress with black trim, it's awesome. I still don't technically have a little black dress but this should hold me over until I find a nice one that isn't polyester. So, I can now match Nessa's wedding theme, which is great since I'm doing a reading! Plus, I must say, I look amazing in this dress. I know I let my ego go sometimes but really, I'll have to post a photo. I look about as good as I get.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
So I thought the stress waves would dissipate after a week of very little work but they're still around. Usually I get enough sleep but dream the entire time so I feel tired (or what seems like dreaming the entire time, I don't remember most dreams) but last night/this morning I slept for 4 hours and am wide awake. That should mess up my sleep schedule nicely. I also still have a few depressive episodes and times when I get more frustrated than I should (people driving on Main Street in the construction area, I'm looking at you). Although, thinking of the one RPI counselor's diagnosis (You're not depressed, you actually have problems to deal with) it does seem like there's always a jerk or obnoxious situation for me to deal with. Like, moreso than just someone cutting me off or something. The sheer volume of crazies I can attract is enough for a normal person to question their sanity. Sanjay and I had a conversation like this, most great days always have a down side. Specifically I think he got into Berkeley on his birthday then ran into two exes on the same day. I realize that having a good day despite someone trying to rain on your parade is healthy, and I do that, but there comes a time when you just want people to cut you some slack. Speaking of which, I'm on the laptop since my desktop is virus ridden and am now getting the same popups that started it all on the desktop. I think comcast hates me.

Anyway, I am determined to stay at squirrel. Heck, even maybe monkey. I got a cute haircut yesterday, I really like it. I need to get a photo taken but you can check out a recent pic of me on the first photo in my photo link. My hair is now 3 inches shorter, roughly, and layered so it looks really short around my face. It's still long enough to pull back while jogging or in lab, though, which was a requirement. I'm totally going to be playing with my hair all weekend. I think I might also try to shop for a black dress again. It's been a few weeks, perhaps there is a new stock. Because, you know, black is in for summer.

At least I have some free time now. Yay for free time.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Richter Scale
So I'm still sorta riding some stress aftershocks, but I'm back down to squirrell! Boo yah. I've got a few things to take care of that I neglected while busy, registering, calling the IRS about the size of my refund, etc. But, I have a clean apartment again and clean clothes. And I've played some guitar and started watching Buffy 5 and Angel 2. I now know the reference to Mandy and love David Boreanaz all the more. Yay again for being a PhD Candidate! (This may stop soon. I don't want to be like Monica after Chandler proposed.) :-)
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I passed my prelims. My written grant was awesome but they asked some questions that I wasn't expecting that didn't seem like what the focus should be on but whatever. My experimental design was strong in the broad sense but "weak" when it came to all the tiny details (which they said I didn't need to know). They say weak but also say I was just as good as any other student at this point. When I actually set up real experiments this won't be a problem but we didn't have to do any of these experiments and weren't supposed to base it on our research at all. Fake NIH grant, no real experiments performed, 2 hour interrogation. Not the best format for deciding candidacy but it doesn't matter because I PASSED and am now a candidate. Yay!

Now I have to figure out how to get my actual research going again. (I am currently home, I think I might go in for a while today but I don't think anyone is expecting me.) Oh, and probably choose a thesis committee and specific research topic (which I already sorta have).
Sunday, April 11, 2004
money money money
I went to Easter Mass today marking the second time I have been to a catholic mass in my life. My parents had us baptized but had issues with the church so we were not brought up ever going to church. I guess I went once with a friend before sleeping over her house but we didn't stay the whole time. Anyway, both times I've been to services, today and about 4 years ago, I was asked to help with collection. I sorta felt bad for Nice Church Man Jim today, I was lost in my own thoughts and wasn't expecting him to ask me to help with collection. I think I formed some sort of no thank you response. It evened out though because he made fun of me by asking if it was too hard. (Note: I was mocked AT EASTER MASS by a Nice Church Man.) It IS too hard, thank you very much. All I saw was myself tripping down the aisle or not crossing myself or something when appropriate. I have no idea how these things work. Very bizarre, although I like the idea that god keeps trying to give me money. It would be nice if more of it was money I could keep, but still, it's nice. Next time I'll ask them what I'm supposed to do.

Anyway, I enjoyed the mass. The sermon is usually my favorite part, oddly enough. Although I've been to two Catholic masses and maybe two or three Generic Christian masses so I don't have a large sampling. I think I'm going to ride this incense high while practising my presentation.
Real Enemyster Tryouts
Listen, Virus "Busters" software, get your ass into gear pronto. I don't have time to tell some fucking popup ad no 5 goddamn times everytime I open a browser window and then have it try to fucking install the shit anyway. I certainly don't have the time to unistall the fucking programs that install themselves and then tell me I need to download the unistall program. Don't find viruses and refuse to do anything about it, that's not your fucking purpose. Oh, and UofM, I will be harassing you for recommending this piece of crap program. Buy Norton Antivirus for your students for god's sake. It's protecting your damn servers in the long run. I'm going to run this program AGAIN and it better fucking work this time.
Let's see if blogger feels like publishing today.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
I have a secret admirer!
Not really. Well, maybe. I thought one of the packages I got yesterday (chocolate that is both cute and voluminous) was sent by my dad, mostly because the card didn't have a name signed and I wasn't expecting a non-family gift for easter/prelims. It wasn't really marked of dad otherwise. Since the card mentioned my prelims I figure it has to be a friend or blog reader. So, thank you very much, you are very sweet. I will be thanking in person, too.
Friday, April 09, 2004
I'm in nursery school again. I sleep at night and take a nap in the afternoon. The only difference is that I don't sleep on a towel on the floor with other children. Although I think my mom still has my towel. I was quite possessive for a while.

I must not be sleeping well at night. I know I'm dreaming like crazy but I fall asleep in the afternoon regardless of how much sleep I get the night before. Not exactly helpful with productivity, although at least it's not a migraine.

Oh, and I have had two easter packages delivered today, both while I was in the bathroom. I heard the buzzer while in the shower the first time which only shows how loud the damn thing is.

Back to work!
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Enemyster tryouts
Well, maybe not so much with the vitriol (I don't want to get worked up) but maybe with the funny. You may have noticed that I've been at Stress Level Chihuahua for a while now. I thought after submitting the written proposal I might go down to Cat, but that has proved difficult. Here goes ...

I really like creating my own schedule to work on the prelims and to do it from home. It lets me do errands when no one else is in the store and still work all day (night) long. I would have preferred meeting with my lab to get their input on my presentation later in the week, say, after I had a few days to put together a presentation and go back over the literature to have things fresh in my mind. Not so much. I had a fabulous migraine for HOURS yesterday. It took one aspirin, two excedrin migraines, and a few hours of sleeping on the couch with a blanket over my head to make any progress. Luckily the second excedrin migraine started kicking in just as the people across the hall started HAMMERING FOR HALF AN HOUR. I swear these people have been moving in for months. I would have yelled at them but I still couldn't open my eyes and trying to debate with someone while standing in a blanket cave isn't very effective. I did get something done yesterday, though, and it went pretty well this morning.

Speaking of my neighbors, I came home last night from movie night (The Big Lebowski) to find dog poo (as is the parlance of our times) literally sprinkled in front of my building's door. FANTASTIC! At first I thought the dog owners had dropped the bag on the way in instead of throwing it in the dumpster but a note found this morning makes things much more interesting. Apparently a man with an elderly black and white dog (I swear to god they described the dog but not the guy) is stalking the two girls downstairs, avec poo, because he thinks they do not pick up after their dogs. They are leaving the poo in front of the door until the police come. Which is nice for the rest of us. For the record, the only people I have seen not pick up after their dogs (not that I watch) are the people in the condos next door. They take their dogs over here and leave the ick. They also use our dumpsters. I wonder if that means I can use their pool. ...

Also, my internet went out AGAIN. Today was the third time in two weeks that a comcast guy has been in my apartment. And I feel bad because it sometimes comes back when they're here. Maybe they do something outside before coming up. Although the ass on the phone last night did not earn my sympathy. He rescinded my month refund and is giving me only a few days free for the times when I lost internet for the whole day. And he asked me if I tried power cycling. Because I've had chronic problems and didn't try that. Fuck mook. Anyway, it's back again but I don't know for how long. They can't find where the signal is being lost so I might have to have a new line installed which involves talking to the apartment people. Losing internet access is my biggest pet peeve. I use it all day long, it is how everyone communicates, I'm at home DOING RESEARCH which sometimes involves the internet, etc. Going on vacation and not having internet is one thing, not having it at home sucks.

Finally, I have some sort of computer virus today that opens my cd-rom drive and tries to get me to download crap. Also my virus program keeps finding files that won't be cleaned or sequestered. And some damn popups that emerged when comcast brought over my second modem several months ago. Time to run a whole scan, cause computer viruses are my favorite.

And scene.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Breakfast at Meg's
I finally went grocery shopping, it had been over 3 weeks. After completing my prelims I hope to clean my house and do laundry again. Heck, I'll go crazy and actually play my guitar and Wind Waker.

I wasn't hungry when I started grocery shopping but I am now. I bought yummy waffles and bagels (with cream cheese). Also italian sausage and drumsticks. And ice cream. And bananas that didn't ripen completely on the drive home (screw you Kroger bananas). And I'll be making pumpkin bread tomorrow cause I have flour again. I love food.

I'm going to go crazy and read a little before bed (Pattern Recognition) so I can get up early to work on my powerpoint presentation for the prelim exam. My advisor e-mailed me about two hours ago to suggest I do a dry run Wednesday morning and take advice from lab mates. I'd have preferred later in the week but I hear he's leaving town again for his father's birthday. With Jill, because she must travel with him everywhere and not actually really do work anymore. Speaking of which, I should try to diplomatically figure out how to tell him not to include satan. She's just not going to be helpful.
Monday, April 05, 2004
I'm required to submit the written proposal for my prelim exam one week prior to the interrogation. I just sent it off. I am assuming they will let anything submitted before midnight count, although I have a suspicion I could have sent it out tomorrow without a problem. Anyway, it's off and good or bad I'm done with the writing. I think I did fairly well, covered the important things without straying too far from the narrow topic. And, as illustrated below, I am a grammar god so the actual writing is probably more than fine.

Now I must prepare the oral presentation and go over all the literature and methods to prepare for Interrogation 2004. Not out of the woods but doing better.
Go Poly copy!
Grammar God!
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!

How grammatically sound are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, April 02, 2004
full assing it
For most of my life I was one of the smart kids and so I never really had to try to do well. Mostly it was a matter of just getting the work done. Reading the chapter was considered studying. In elementary school I did have the chance to do side work with the other smart kids, which was great. We only had week long projects on our own or, in fifth grade, a research project of our choice, but it was nice to work at a higher level.

Enter college. The first time that I had a few classes that I didn't understand easily. (Well, except for high school geometry but that was because my dad interfered. We are not compatible in a teaching/learning situation.) Most of my problems in college revolved around being too busy to put the time into reading everything that I should have. Although physics and calc I were tough even with some help.

Then grad school. The transition from college was rather easy, although the lab techniques were mostly new to me. I had good general lab skills though so it was just a matter of learning new protocols. Although the learning curve in this lab has been horrendous. We're talking troubleshooting everything. Although most classes were, again, not too difficult a jump.

Now I have the prelims. Everyone, committee included, is telling me I'll be fine and that I shouldn't worry but it's a very important exam and I want to be prepared. I'd very much like to get my PhD and this is essential to that and I don't want to goof up. I'll be fine, I know, but I worry that I'm not prepared enough. I think I should be sleeping four hours a night, never leaving my house or watching tv or reading. Constantly working. I do work quite a bit and I'm doing ok as far as getting things done on time goes. I just worry that I'm not doing my best because I'm not exactly sure I know what that is. I'm used to busy work taking all my time and not so much something that takes a lot of time and thinking through a problem. Sometimes I feel that being able to get As by half assing something has made me unable to realize or realize when I reach my full potential. I'm sure I'm doing my best on this project. I've come up with experiments to fill in gaps in the knowledge on my topic on my own and use the committee and my advisor to fine tune things. As someone at the AACR said, I have a poster in my second year, I'll be fine. Still, I worked my ass off in college, but I didn't always have to full ass it. I needed another 8 hours in the day is all. Now I'm not exactly working my ass off (I sleep, I leave the apartment, I watch a little TV) but I think I am doing my best.

Back to work.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
america's sweetheart
I just watched an interview with Courtney Love on The View. I couldn't help it. They had a debate about her recent problems with the law and how it was affecting her daughter. I don't think they exactly understood each other. It seems Courtney's daughter Frances didn't get into the prep school she wanted and Courtney suspects this is because of her recent actions and is upset as this is the first time that her professional life has interfered with her daughter's life. Her argument was that the flashing Letterman thing was to sell rock, a reaction to the Janet Jackson overreaction, that she only flashed Dave, and that children wouldn't have seen that if they were in bed. She maintains she's a disciplinarian at home and not on drugs, etc. The View ladies agreed that Archer Academy overreacted if they didn't accept Frances because of that incident and that Courtney shouldn't be given crap for flashing Letterman but they thought she should tone things down for her daughter's benefit. Courtney said she took five years off to spend with her daughter and her career hasn't negatively affected her thus far, etc. It's an interesting argument. She should be able to sell records and raise her daughter in private but predicting what the rest of the populace will (over)react to is proving necessary to do the latter. Anyway, I just thought it was amusing that she was invited on the show and everyone was rather friendly. I do think she should tone down the crazy a bit now that her daughter is older. Although the need to make every private detail of a celebrity's life public is a whole other debate.

Powered by Blogger