Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring cleaning

Alex and I completely reorganized our whole apartment.... This involved basically tearing the whole thing apart and putting it back together. It started with us complaining about all the crap that's just in the way, and ended with all of the furniture being moved, bags and bags of recycling being taken out, and the entire layout being changed. Later on in the evening, it also involved a trip to our local convenience store, where we purchased a case of bud light and a pint of chocolate fudge brownie fro-yo (possibly our classiest purchase ever). But now the clutter is gone. It's a big relief. I'm hoping this will renew my optimism and motivation to get all my other work done. A little change of scenery (subtle as it may be) can only be a good thing when I feel like otherwise my work life has become a pretty monotonous chore. It's not, really, but it feels that way. There is not nearly enough time to do all the other non-work things that I have been meaning to get done for ages. I cannot wait to be done TAing. This is my last TAing gig possibly ever, and it will be done next week. The sad part is that I do like teaching but I just don't have time to worry or care about it right now. One day I will (both worry and care). It is 89 degrees out. The trees are blooming. I just saw a huge redtailed hawk swoop down out of nowhere in the middle of a college campus. I won't lie -- I was kind of hoping it would fly away with an undergraduate in its talons. It didn't.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Surprises, disappointments

The nerd show was less of a spectacle than I was anticipating. The science students partied respectably -- way to go nerds! High five! I did come up with a new category of nerd: the smelly nerd. Which sometimes overlaps with other types, but deserves its own category because it is so easy to classify. In fact, this classification can be done from several feet away with one's eyes closed, as I have discovered at some lectures. Should I be flattered or offended that instead of wanting to talk about my work, one professor would rather discuss breasts? Not mine specifically, but just in general? I wasn't even really sure how to direct attention back to my poster, short of pointing toward it with my nipples. I wonder how many male students had professors discuss penises at their posters. I'm guessing none. I didn't get into either summer intensive course that I applied to, even the one that I have applied to for three years in a row. A little confused about that one since last year I was placed on the waitlist. This year: Flat out rejected. How did I get LESS qualified in a year's time? Not exactly a confidence booster. I am so close to having enough data to finish this dissertation that I can taste it. Oh wait, what I'm tasting is my 14th cup of coffee today. But if I could taste it, I'm pretty sure it would taste like victory. MMmmm sweet victory. You will be mine. Oh yes. You will be mine. (The annoying part is that I really can't do a hell of a lot of work until I have enough subjects because the results would be meaningless. Until then I just gaze at my half-full spreadsheets the way I imagine women long ago gazed at the open sea while waiting for their husbands to return from some voyage to god knows where.) Meanwhile, sweaters are being knit. Gloves are being knit. The Lucy in the Sky cardigan is going faster than I expected! A trip to San Francisco, a trip to Philadelphia, and multiple trips back and forth and back and forth to the lab... all that time seems to have added up. The body is almost up to the armpits, one sleeve is done up to the armpit, and the other is about a quarter done. It'll be nice to join it all up and see it coming together into a garment at the very end. Doing sweaters from the top down is nice, but I always poop out finishing the sleeves and the bottom of the body because it gets boring and you have an entire sweater hanging from your needles the whole time. (Hello, Glee sweater that has been mocking me for months now. I see you over there, laughing at me.) I'm also changing this glove pattern to use sock yarn because why not -- everyone has sock yarn lying around anyway and I like thinner, fitted gloves better. For some reason my hands have been aching lately though, and the size 1 needles in the round aren't helping matters. I think I need to play around with different ways of holding the yarn in order to let my hands relax more. I hope I'm not getting arthritis -- You'd think I would be too young but that would TOTALLY be my luck. I saw some videos of Portuguese style knitting and purling. Kind of like a magic trick. I might give it a go. SPSS is beckoning to me from the minimized window (I'm coming, my love...) so I believe this particular bout of procrastination must come to an end. Starting....Right........ now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome to the nerd show.

I'm going to a neuroscience retreat tomorrow, where graduate students, postdocs, and faculty will mingle and determine whose nerd power is the strongest. There will be epic battles and fights to the death over computational models and fruit fly genetics. There will also be "music and dancing" although I am picturing a junior high school dance with all the boys on one side and the girls on the other side. However, the program of events informs me that alcohol will be served! So perhaps in addition to being awkward, some people will also become belligerent! It should be a good time. The BF and I came up with an idea. You've all seen dog shows. There's best in breed, then best in group, and finally best in show. I think you could do the same thing with types of nerds, if you could call nerds a breed (and I think most people would agree that you probably can). There's the typical bookish computer nerd, characterized by thick glasses, pleated trousers, maybe a pocket protector (although that's a little cliche, now isn't it?), maybe a TI-83 stashed away somewhere on his person for easy access. But there are other types of nerds as well. The long haired nerd, or sci-fi nerd, who plays D&D and dresses in black, usually some kind of computer programmer or at least a gamer. We're all familiar with that one. There's also the nerd who is the coolest among his circle of nerds and so thinks that he is cool among the general population. The hipster nerd, or the nerdster. He is probably not that cool at all, but usually has a wardrobe that suggests that he thinks he knows what's up. An ironic screenprinted t-shirt, say, and Electric Six on his iPod, and he thinks he is worldly and edgy. We came up with another new category that I think is a new one: The nerd-bro. This is a nerd who tries to be a dude-bro, or thinks he is a dude-bro. Who uses his intellectual powers to be a complete jerk. Usually nerd-bros also think they are incredibly suave with the ladies (also a complete illusion). This category of nerds usually results from a lifetime of being picked on by actual dude-bros, and the desire to prove one's superiority in any way possible. Tragically, the nerd-bro turns into the very thing that he once despised. This is the worst of all nerd breeds. Most nerds are harmless and even lovable, but the nerd-bro is deadly and should be avoided at all costs. We tried desperately to come up with female breeds of nerds but came up somewhat dry, except to note that there are also female sci-fi nerds. Sadly, other female nerds tend to be somewhat nondescript. Or perhaps female nerds just end up more well-rounded or well-adjusted, and don't separate themselves out quite so nicely when dumped into a social setting. So now I have totally lost my sense of identity, being a self-proclaimed female nerd. I guess I should be pleased not to be so labelable, but really I'm just sort of sad that I can't be best in show. I'm also sad that I can't come up with a category to fit the word dominerdtrix that I just came up with just now. Because that would be awesome.