And lead us not into Penn Station|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Sunday, September 12th, 2010|
After spending most of July and August being mock cerebral and reading Shakespeare, I decided it was time to reread Harry Potter. From the start.
So on August 22, I commenced the undertaking, and just now I have finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
. This book is 870 pages long, and I started it on Friday. Good thing I spent at least part of the weekend doing real work, because I haven't touched my stack of grading and will need to get sleep at some point. I guess I should be relieved that there are only two books to go and now that Voldemort is back I at least won't havve to read about how everyone thinks Harry is an attention-seeking troublemaker.
|Sunday, June 6th, 2010|
|Friday, June 4th, 2010|
|Wednesday, May 26th, 2010|
|Sunday, April 25th, 2010|
|Feeling all renewed and stuff
Chemistry has been a bit slow and the Orioles have been total shit, but otherwise my month and spring have had a lot to like. My parents came to visit last weekend, which was really fun. We went hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hit four wineries over two days. They ended up buying nine bottles for themselves! These are my parents, who for years drank the exact same wine on Easter, Christmas, and New Year. I'm so proud of them. Going hiking has made me want to go rock-climbing again. Turns out there is an indoor climbing wall in C-ville that I can go to fairly cheaply. I'll have to round up people to go.
On the wine and great outdoors note, I'm planning a road trip through the southeast United States for next summer. I almost wish I could go this summer, but I already went to New York and really don't have the time or money I hope to invest in this trip next summer. I'm going to follow the Blue Ridge Parkway into North Carolina, use Chattanooga as a base for northern Georgia/southern Tennessee excursions, head across the state past Nashville and go into Kentucky, I'll have to stop at the Louisville Slugger factory, which has the disclaimer that I might not necessarily see bats being made, before heading back east through Lexington and into West Virginia to go home. I can't wait.
My sister graduates in three weeks. My mother thinks I'm making mountains out of molehills, but I feel like she is pushing me away. I don't know. I hope we can sit down one-on-one after graduation.
I don't know whether I shared this, but we have a new grad student in the lab. She is Chinese, and while her English is decent, she came in with zero research experience, and apparently, zero common sense. And for as long as she's been in our lab (January), there are certain things about working in lab that should be automatic for her, and they aren't. And although we have shown her some techniques and procedures multiple times, we are baffled that doesn't do it as we have shown her. And I'm not talking about the subtle differences that we all learn from our own experiences. I'm talking about things that you need to do or you'll risk contamination/malfunctioning equipment/the like. Her trainer (who also trained me) is at a point, I think, to just let her go ahead and make her mistakes and hopefully learn that doing things the long, tedious way is usually best. I worry that when it comes time to write her candidacy proposal, she won't grasp the importance of taking our advice and make changes, to the detriment of her passing the exam. I guess it's ultimately not my problem.
|Tuesday, April 6th, 2010|
I almost can't believe today is Opening Day (for the O's anyway). I have my Matt Wieters Facts t-shirt washed and ready to go, and bandaids for when my feet inevitably get blisters from my orange peep-toe wedges!
Some things I love:
The O's are offering expanded dining options
, including more vegetarian options, at Camden Yards this year.
President Obama threw out the first pitch
before the Nationals' game. I love how he pulled out his White Sox hat and the crowd got all Oh No You Didn't! over it. I expect Obama's next scouting report will make note of a snappy curve ball that needs some work. Remember when there was no team in Washington and the Orioles always opened at home so that if the president wished to throw out an Opening Day pitch there was a close-by team to do it for? Wasn't that great?
Lastly, a day late, I suppose: the timeless Opening Day Genesis
|Tuesday, March 16th, 2010|
I feel very in touch with my writing process tonight, even though I have no pressing writing projects and certainly won't be writing more than a few lines here. Things are going well, I suppose. It's awkward, because for a lot of people, writing is a way to vent and thus a lot of what goes into writing is frustrated ramblings that make the person look overwhelmingly negative. A lot is going on, but I'm not sure it warrants being overwhelmingly negative.
I visited my grandmother last week. The trip went as well as could be expected. We saw Alice in Wonderland
, in which Helena Bonham Carter was a deliciously evil Red Queen. I began decorating the apartment I've lived in for the last year and a half. One day, I might even have furniture! Research has hit some snags, but I spent a long time talking to a fellow grad student and was given a laundry list of things to try.
Over the weekend I opened a bottle of wine I bought last summer and was amazed at how good it was and couldn't believe I'd waited so long to open it. Hopefully sometime this spring I'll go down to the vineyard and by a couple more bottles of it.
|Monday, February 22nd, 2010|
|List of things that are awesome
1. New York City
2. Metropolitan Museum of Art
3. Fresh-squeezed orange juice
4. Dozens of Indian restaurants right in the neighborhood
5. Olympic hockey
6. Public transportation
7. Staying within budget
8. My new sunglasses
9. Sleeping in my own bed tonight
|Sunday, February 14th, 2010|
I finally got out of my apartment yesterday and went shopping. Definitely a breath of fresh air and now I have food in my apartment for when I come back from New York. Did I mention I planned a trip to NYC for after my exam as a gift for going through all the stress? I leave Wednesday by train and will be gone five nights. It'll be cold and I'll come back broke, but I'm really excited for it. I've always wanted to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art so I'm definitely excited for that. In fact, I think the whole trip will amount to museums and shopping.
My exam went very well, according to my advisor. I had slept poorly the two nights before and was so nervous up until the minute I started my first presentation, but it seemed like once I started talking I felt very calm. I was surprised at how soon it was over. Of course the couple of nights I didn't sleep great either, which was disappointing. I think I'm finally over the cold, though, and I slept well last night. I don't officially find out whether I passed until Tuesday, but I'm not worried about it anymore. If my advisor says I passed, then I did.
Now I can get back to worrying about mundane things like cleaning my apartment and doing my taxes. Good grief my apartment desperately needs a cleaning after all the slush and grime I've tracked in the last two weeks. I take my boots off at the door to try to contain it, but the floor around my doormat is quite unappealing. When it finally dried out outside I'm going to give the floor a good mopping. That could be in March, though. I almost can't remember what it's like to wear real shoes, I've been wearing my rubber boots so long.
One funny thing to pass along: UVA students study Mount Chipotle.
Almost forty feet high.
|Monday, February 8th, 2010|
Well, we're supposed to get 5-10 inches of snow tomorrow into Wednesday. I'd bitch and moan, but my parents are supposed to get 10-20 inches. So I've weighed my options and decided not to go home this weekend. I'll call my grandmother to break the news on Wednesday.
Now hopefully my exam will go on as scheduled. I'm planning as if it will. But my advisor canceled his class tomorrow so I'm not sure if he's coming in. And if he's not here tomorrow he probably won't be here Wednesday (he lives in a rural area). Although, he currently doesn't have power either, so who knows, he might get a hotel room (he does have a generator, so he was fine this weekend).
Finally, and this has nothing to do with anything, but apparently Kyle Boller and Carrie Prejean are engaged
. I couldn't tell you the last time I heard Kyle Boller's name. Wasn't she dating Michael Phelps?
|Sunday, February 7th, 2010|
|So much for that
I peaked out this evening to shovel the area in front of my door. The snow can't be higher than 6-7 inches, but good grief it is wet and heavy. We're supposed to get snow on Tuesday, but otherwise temps will be above freezing for awhile. This bodes well for me having a spot to park my car when I get back next Monday from visiting my grandmother.
For now, I'm trying my hardest to convince my respiratory system that it isn't sick.
|Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010|
|The year "snowpocalypse" entered Virginian canon
It is snowing right now. We're expecting 3-6 inches by early tomorrow. That's not so bad, but we had, according to the Daily Progress, close to 10 inches on Saturday. I think it was more like 6 or 7, and a lot of it melted yesterday. It was freezing last weekend. This weekend, we're looking at 1-2 inches of freezing rain, plus 5+ inches of snow, or 15-20 inches of snow. We already had a 20+ inch snowstorm the weekend before Christmas.
Now, I defend my proposal next Wednesday. I really do not need snow keeping me from getting in this weekend or next week. And the weekend after? I need to go home. And the week after, I'm taking a train up to New York. So weather, if you're going to dump 20 inches of snow on us, make this the last of it.
I guess preparations for proposal are going well. With it being so close, I almost can't feel overwhelmed by it. It's like trying to judge the height of a mountain when you're standing at the base. You can't even see the top.
On the other hand, spring will be here in no time!
|Wednesday, January 6th, 2010|
|White lies and what we genuinely believe
Anyone who has read this blog for awhile knows that I don't care for my grandmother. In fact, I can't stand her. And unfortunately, I've allowed thinking on my pending trip to see her to eat into my valuable stress-out-over-proposal time.
My mother raised me to be polite, and polite people send thank you notes when they receive gifts. Since all attempts at courtesy where my grandmother is concerned are carried out out of consideration for my parents, it was of course necessary to send a thank you note for money I received this holiday. As I was finishing up my note this evening, I realized I ought to put in a line about looking forward to seeing her since a date for the visit has been set (typically it's an "I wish I could see you" line). And I felt all my resentment well up because I am dreading this visit and God forbid a whisper of it should ever get to her. I wonder sometimes if she would change her behavior if she could just see for a minute how she appears in the eyes of her grandchildren. I would be horrified if I saw a picture of myself of what I see in my grandmother.
It kills me to sign notes with "Love" when I don't mean it. I have relatives I do love and regard, whom I am assured love me as well, and don't guilt trip me while they do genuinely want to see me. I'm not sure whether my grandmother has anyone like that, which certainly is sad, but very telling. I want to be a good person and do right by my grandmother, but the charade is emotionally draining and she seems to be in good health for the time being. Not sure how I'll handle this.
|Wednesday, December 30th, 2009|
|More ventures into adulthood
My holiday was good, if rushed. After being snowed in for a weekend I managed to navigate my way out of the parking lot and up the street the Monday before Christmas. Road conditions were pretty bad (but drivable) up until the county line, after which the road was perfectly clear. Not sure why C-ville and Albemarle were so bad, given how much more tax revenue they must generate compared to our neighbors.
We went out for Indian on the 23rd in honor of my birthday (I really wanted Indian and didn't know what could be found in Norfolk). It was the first time my parents had ever had Indian but they were good sports about it. They each liked their meal and nobody was sick afterward. As my sister says, they're getting less reluctant in their old age. I am excited because now I know I can take them for Indian again and thus increase my consumption of yummy Indian food.
On Christmas Day we had an all-vegan menu. My sister received a vegan cookbook and a food processor (actually, she got a whole stocked-out kitchen, it seems). For breakfast we had cranberry scones (use coconut oil in place of butter) and for dinner she made a traditional Ecuadorian meal of potato patties with peanut sauce.
The next day we drove down to VA to visit my mom's family. My cousin had a baby in late September so this was our first chance to see her. It was a very chill time, and there were lots of cookies and laughs. My aunt gave me an entire nut roll and some stuffed cabbage to take back with me. I actually ended up driving back to school on my birthday. That was fine, though. I felt like I did more than enough celebrating with my friends and family when I was with them to be hung up over particulars.
I've started studying and preparing for proposal. I guess it's sorta good there's no baseball, as I really need to focus on school, especially while class isn't in session and I don't have to teach. I'm finishing up a few things in lab and will start writing hardcore soon. I have a feeling that some way I'll get it done, if only because I've always been able to.
|Friday, December 18th, 2009|
|I guess this means I'm an adult now
I tried my hardest to get out of town before the snow started falling today. I rushed home after grading and threw clothes into a suitcase, loaded up my car and hit the road. If everyone else in town hadn't done the same thing, I'd be writing this from home most likely. So yes, I'm very upset about this snow business. I want nice dry roads, thank you. I mean, what's the point of 10-20 inches of snow if it doesn't come until after the semester ends and finals are done.
My original holiday plan had been to leave on Sunday. This would give me time to run a lot of errands and give my apartment a good cleaning. The fear that I would be snowed in on Sunday led me to try for tonight. I'd say I got about four miles, not even out of the city, before I gave up and turned around. It's just not worth the risk, and now I can ready my apartment for my absence properly. Of course, I'm looking at leaving on Monday now, and I hope I can borrow a shovel to get my car out.
Good news though, I bought a suit today! I was going to go home early to look for one up there, but I found exactly what I wanted here. I paid a good deal more than I would have liked, but I don't think it will need alterations.
My advisor teaches the honors gen chem course and recruited his grad students to grade the final exam today. It made for some fun and interesting times. One thing that bothers me to no end is how many students didn't put a degree sign on angle measurements. I had kids do that all the time on labs and I kept marking it wrong. Not sure why it didn't sink in that units are important.
Last weekend was pretty cool. My friends threw a small birthday party for me at their place so we could watch Christmas movies (I don't have a TV), and bought me an expensive (but oh so yummy) cake simply because I asked for it. We also went wine tasting. I now have four bottles of wine to bring home with me. If I ever get home.
|Monday, December 7th, 2009|
|I love the Winter Meetings
On Bedard becoming an Oriole again:According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Bedard's rehab is going well and he's on target to be ready to pitch within the first couple of weeks of April.
is exciting news. I wonder if by "ready to pitch," Zrebiec means "toss to Minor Leaguers in game situations" or "plunking Jeter in the ass for the big club when the occasion calls for it."
My week has gone pretty well. I still haven't emailed my sister, but she hasn't emailed me either so I guess one of us needs to break the awkward ice. My last lab reports are graded and grades submitted. I have set up a time to meet with my students on Wednesday if they have any last complaints or questions about my grading, which I'm mildly nervous about. Not so much having to refuse to give points that haven't been earned as having students undoubtedly become upset in front of their peers. The last lab was hard for a lot of students and the class did poorly as a whole.
Otherwise, the most exciting thing that happened over the weekend was that on Friday I realized I was missing a sock and on Sunday I found it.
|Sunday, November 29th, 2009|
|In which I reflect upon my indecision
Hi, LJ. My last month has been marked by undue worrying and anxiety. I suppose I need to schedule myself an appointment with the psychologist I saw over the summer. I just feel bad about taking time off because I feel like I've taken a lot off already. I had a cold that took awhile to go away and then came back. That was a couple trips to student health. I was diagnosed with an ear infection and given antibiotics. My hearing aid also died on me, and while it was apparently a minor fix, the audiology clinic is a good walk from where I work and that took time.
I do have good news. One of the complexes I'm working with crystallized spontaneously and I got an X-ray structure of it. This means a lot for the direction of my project and hopefully gives me a foothold to spring from between now and my candidacy exam in February (I won't even go into how anxious that makes me). The complex is cationic and exists in two forms in solution (I don't know if these are in equilibrium or not). It takes at least overnight for it to isomerize to give these forms, and apparently if takes that long for it to do anything in one form. This complex reminds me so much of myself, it's cute.
I spent Thanksgiving in Quito, Ecuador, with my sister. I wish I could say without any hesitation that it was a great time. It was extremely difficult and I actually broke down in tears while we were sitting at a restaurant. I feel like I can't communicate what I want to say or say what it is that's wrong when something bothers me. It occurred to me that I so desperately want people to be happy and want to avoid conflict sometimes that I can't say anything because I won't say what it is that I may want to say. My sister likes to point out that I often don't view things from others' points of view. And yes, I know that. But I feel like I can't know how others feel or think and thus I can't see their point of view. And I feel like I'm a failure because I can't understand others.
My rational side, damn it forever, likes to remind me that we appropriate the term "failure" for the smart-but-unmotivated, the vapid and shallow, the comically stupid criminals. After feeling together for so long I guess I should say I "have issues." I dwell on things.
The next month promises to be busy. We're done with gen chem lab. The kids turn in their last lab report and check out this week. I might have a busy social calendar this month, so I'm glad the grading ends by next weekend. Actually, I might be going somewhere next weekend, so maybe I'll grade during the week. Like I keep telling myself I will.
|Sunday, November 1st, 2009|
|This post is brought to you by peacock flue and cluelessness
Last night I fulfilled a longstanding dream and was a peacock for Halloween. I almost thought it wouldn't happen because as late as Friday morning I hadn't glued a single feather to the felt I bought for backing. But when I got home on Friday I popped Lord of the Rings
into my laptop and made myself glue them all. Now there's flue tracked throughout my apartment. Not sure I wanna try to pick all of it up just yet. I managed to pin the felt evenly to the back of my electric blue dress and I was on my way walking the streets of C-ville looking ridiculous. I'm going to be a peacock for Halloween for as long as that dress fits me.
Teaching is going well, I supposed. I'm grading lab reports right now feeling distressed about how off some of my students are in their logic. Well, really I'm distressed because so few of them have asked me for help when they've consistently gotten poor grades. But I guess I felt this way last year and only one student got a D (and she deserved it).
Research is zipping along, stumbling a bit. I got over a major roadblock when I started precipitating my compounds in water (i.e., outside the glovebox). Now I've come to another roadblock. I'm trying to protonate my polyene ligands to make allyls, but I can't get them to precipitate cleanly in ether and my naphthalene complex doesn't seem to be very stable. Life goes on, I suppose.
|Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009|
|Life is like a yo-yo
The weather was perfect for the Daylily and Wine Festival on Saturday. I bought three bottles and have wine lists from other wineries so I can track down other wines I liked but didn't want to buy or carry that day. I bought a white, a red, and a dessert, all of which I'll probably save until Christmas, which will probably be the next time my family is all together again.
My sister leaves for Ecuador tomorrow. I'm excited for her, but a little depressed as well. She has been extremely busy this summer, to the point that she was worried about burning out. Her first month should be a language-intensive class only, so hopeful she can slow down her life as she works on the fundamentals.
Yesterday in lab I broke a small antechamber door on a glove box. It capped off what was not so great a day for me. It's harder for me to let go of things than is healthy. I know I'm not the first to do that, and it certainly won't be the last thing I break. And I know that just because I worked very slowly yesterday doesn't have any reflection on my ability to do quality work. Even though I'm in much better hands now, I still have to admit I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Not nearly to the same extent, just like I'm kind of behind and need to get good quickly.
So, the break-up with my old advisor was very quick when it happened. Senior grad student later confessed that he had tipped her off, but only because she had asked him directly for an update on me. I'm not sure I believe his exact story on it, but I'm not upset that he broke the news so I wouldn't have to. Get this, the reason why it didn't work out was because I wasn't dedicated to the research and my work style didn't mesh with the way the group did things. How would you even know if I'm dedicated or not, you're never around to see me! She asked if there was anything I wished to say, and there were so many things on my mind to say, but I said I had nothing I wanted to say at this time. Because honestly, if she's in that much denial, there's no way anything I said would get through. It would just rile us both up and I was ready to not be riled up anymore.
So a few weeks pass, I have my last counselling appointment and I think everything's going to work out. Then I get an email from the grants supervisor asking me to come in. It turns out that my advisor wants to recoup the salary from the four days I took off while she was hobnobbing in China. The supervisor was very adamant that I would not be out a cent and the department would handle this expense for me. As soon as I get an email from the payroll office, I need to let them know so they can write me a check so I can pay the money back. He also said that he's in no position to agree or disagree with the move, as the grant money is my former advisor's and she has full reign over it. So yeah, that pissed me off, kinda. Sure, it is her money, and yes, the department will cover it. But goodness, who else is going to use that money?
Anyway, I need to get ready for the day. Maybe the O's will manage a win this afternoon.
|Friday, July 17th, 2009|
|For as lazy as I am, it's surprising I don't waste more time on LJ
I have a good lot of dirt to share about the break-up (as it were), but since I don't really have time to do it justice now, I'll hold off and share a funny thing and an exciting thing.
The funny thing: I walk across the campus to and from the chem building everyday, and since graduation, there's been a lot of construction work going on. Now, at one point on my way there's a port-a-pot next to the road for the workers to use. While walking past it one morning I noticed it had a faded skull and cross bones label with the words "inhalation hazard" under it. And I thought this was the funniest thing ever. Then I proceeded to analyze the shit out of it and try to guess whether the hazard was methane (seems like there wouldn't be enough) or fumes from whatever chemicals they put in to break down the waste.
The exciting thing: I am going to the Daylily and Wine Festival tomorrow, where I will be able to enjoy pretty flowers and sample wines from local vineyards. I'll probably buy a bottle or
The O's are losing 7-12 in Chicago. I see Rich Hill has picked up where he left off.