Saturday, November 24, 2007

Battlestar Galactica "Razor"

We blue-eyed siblings liveblogged "Razor," the two-hour Battlestar Galactica movie(?). I thought it was the season premiere, but it turns out that season 4 (the final season) isn't being aired until MARCH. Outrageous.

The entire thing basically reinforces my theory that Cylons killed all the writers sometime early in season 3, and replaced them with 15-year-old girls.

One of the reasons I came home for American Thanksgiving (not a holiday in Canada) was to see "Razor." My apartment doesn't have cable. This movie convinced me that I'm still not missing anything.

This post's theme target of sci-fi exploitation: robots.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Right where I need to be

Since arriving alone in this foreign land (O, Canada!), I have frequently doubted myself. In the spirit of “fake it ‘til you make it,” I embraced my new life with confidence, or the best approximation I could rustle up. I have never done anything like this in my life – not just graduate school, which is of course new, but living off-campus, grocery shopping and preparing food for just myself, existing in the real world.

Of course, graduate school is not the real world. But it’s the closest I’ve ever been, so indulge me in my drama! Although I rarely venture out of my academic shell, I do spend about an hour every day reading the news (Slashdot, Boing Boing, my friends’ blogs, and occasionally the real news), so I have an increasingly good view of [my small corner of] the real world.

G likes to remind me that is what I chose for myself, and although she means “how wonderful that you get to live your life as you want!”, every time she says it I hear an undercurrent of “don't be dissatisfied!” Both those messages are worthwhile, since I could leave at any point if I realized that graduate school, or my current way of life, or even this looney country are not what I want to do. So it’s important for me to remember that I’m in control. That said, I have been living mostly alone, mostly in my own head, much like L, and like C I am slightly wistful for the society I am missing, though not enough to make me leave graduate school for anything else.

Could I even meet the right kind of people elsewhere? A while ago I exclamatorily wrote, “I found my people!” upon discovering a group of graduate students who meet once a week to play board games. (I am a strategy fiend, and live for the kind of 12-hour-long, friendship-ruining games like Diplomacy.) Unfortunately we seem to have stopped meeting since the semester’s work began in earnest, sending us scuttling back into our offices.

Luckily for me, I was bold enough to blindly email my entire department and get a four-person team to compete in last weekend’s College Puzzle Challenge, an “an annual puzzle-solving competition held simultaneously on college campuses across North America.” It’s a twelve-hour nerdfest, with staggered release of packets of devilishly obscure puzzles. (And no instructions. They are for the weak.) I found my people again! It turns out that, much like X-men, the Incredibles, or heroes, sarcastic, hilarious math and CS nerds are all around us. They keep their abilities hidden to avoid ostracism/exploitation/genocide/your-favorite-sci-fi-disaster-here.

The puzzles were difficult, and my team didn’t pick up steam until the final three or four hours, but it was still lots of fun, and made me happy. I have been laughing to myself intermittently since then, something I hadn’t done in a long while.

In sum: it’s good to be me, everything about my life is perfect, and I love what I’m doing! Now back to the grindstone.

This post’s theme song: the eponymous Gary Allan song.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


A week ago, I moved into my new, permanent, livable apartment. A huge thanks to my parents for driving my stuff here (thus clearing out their garage) and helping to move, paint, and furnish my room. For the first time in four months, I am not living out of a suitcase. Hooray! Now that I have my “Lila nest” – all my books, puzzles, clothes, electronics – I feel much more… well, human. Much more Lila.

To help you understand my relief at moving, I’ve prepared a little compare/contrast for you:

Before, I was living with smokers, drug dealers, and squatters in a 15-(plus squatters) person house in a neighborhood overrun by fraternities. There were loud parties at my house, or at least audible from it, every week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The house was filthy, and no amount of personal effort could counteract the grime-tending apathy of my housemates. On the corner of the block was a Christian Science church, and two blocks away was the Bata Shoe Museum. Not at all my style.

Now, I am living with grad students in a four-person house in a residential area with families and small kids. It’s quiet, even on Halloween with the street full of trick-or-treaters (and one adult chaperone playing the bagpipe – an inexplicable but uplifting thing to pass on the way home). The house is reasonably clean, within the tolerances of my OCD tendencies. On the corner of the block is a bakery (delicious). I am two blocks from a street of electronics stores. Also nearby are Chinatown, Kensington Market, and the Toronto Public Library’s science fiction/fantasy collection. Much more Lila.

This post's theme song: "Making a Home" from "March of the Falsettos."