Saturday, January 31, 2009


The boy brought me flowers when I came back from California.He also brought me flowers when he came by to pick me up to go to the symphony. Black-and-white to match his black suit, white shirt, black tie. He cleaned up very nicely.
He's very sweet, or at least getting good advice on how to be very sweet. Keep it up, boy (who I know reads this) and advice givers (same)!

This post's theme word: espalier, "a tree trained to grow flat against a wall" or "to train a tree in this way."


I like them. I also like clean laundry. And curiously-composed photographs.
This post's theme word: adactylous, "having no fingers or toes." Adactylous people require special socks, I imagine.

Saturday break

I'm putting my intertubes embargo on hold for a few hours this afternoon, because (1) I am worried that something important might be going overlooked, and (2) I might give myself an aneurysm trying to magically foresee the overlooked thing without checking my email. Also, (3) good for me, I got a lot of thesis stuff, done, while slowly going into connectivity withdrawal.

Oh goodness there is more than a PAGE of emails in my account! I usually maintain inbox zero, or perhaps inbox 4 or 5. While I'm ruthlessly emptying my inbox, I'll also be posting some recent stuff here, tersely. My life goes on and after awhile, the fiddly details go stale and unpostable. I'd like to post them while they're relatively fresh in my mind.

Enjoy your Saturdays, everyone. I have allotted myself this brief respite, and some ice skating this afternoon, and then the nose is back to the LaTeX grindstone.

This post's theme word: abstemious, "not self-indulgent."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Finishing the thesis

I'm right on the cusp of finishing the thesis, but all little things keep coming up and I'm having trouble focusing. So I'm going to try this insane strategy that I just thought up: I will not check my email until I'm done with my thesis. Obviously I'll check my school email, because I'm in touch with my advisor. For awhile now I've been on a stint of "I will not blog until I'm done with my thesis" and now it's time to take it to the next level. (Ironically, announced via... blogging.)

The longest time that I've spent without email in the past six years (and probably longer) is the two days that I was in the Sahara, where my activities were reduced to (1) consume water, (2) sweat, and (3) try not to die. But as soon as I was able to reduce that to just (1) and (2), I sought out the intertubes and hooked back into my world of email.

I'll see you guys on the other side, where I'll blog about my recent trip to the Google Workshop for Women Engineers, a few movies I've seen, and some of the more interesting thoughts I've had on subjects as diverse as: modes of thought, blueberries, research topics, my personal life goals, skiing, women in academia, blogging, Braid, gchat, and of course eggplant parmesan.

This post's theme word: shilly-shally, "adverb: Hesitantly; irresolutely. adjective: Hesitant; vacillating. noun: Hesitation; vacillation. verb intr.: To vacillate; to dawdle. "

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Re: Ack!

Yesterday my blog post precipitated several interactions. A. gave me the most intimidating, scary, frightening pep talk of my life. I survived the pep talk, so I can surely survive the thesis-writing process.

This morning, I found my first white hair. At least, in the morning light and from a few different angles, it was much much lighter than the surrounding ch√Ętain hair. (M.'s adjective.) Maybe it was a stress-induced hallucination. Just like when I imagined that several of my anti-morning friends met me at the gym this morning.

This post's theme word: polypnea, "rapid breathing."

Monday, January 12, 2009


Jordan Morris (episode 63 of Jordan Jesse Go!):
I still don't understand Twitter. There's a box, Merlin Mann sends you a joke, you make up a code no one else knows. Sounds like a game invented by an 8-yr-old.

This post's theme word: prolix, "tediously wordy."


I've reached a point where it's obvious that I won't make the deadline for my thesis to be on-time. Even if I finished tomorrow, it would be unreasonable to ask my readers to read the thesis and finish the paperwork by the end-of-January deadline. So I had a meeting with my advisor where we discussed this, and I did my best not to pull out my hair or bite off my nails in his office.

After all, that's what my office is for, right?

And now I'm trying to avoid Total Panic Mode. I can sketch out an adapted timeline for the "maybe it's still on time [if administrators in two offices are very kind to me]" deadline. I can make a list of secondary activities I do that won't suffer too much if I give them zero time for the next few weeks. I can make some kind of plan for what to do if my funding is suspended until May, which is the worst case scenario. TPM! I can write this completely frivolous, waste-of-time blog post, while trying to breathe deeply and slow my heart rate. So that I can get back to work on the thesis.

This post's theme word: weal, "a red, swollen mark left on flesh by a blow or pressure."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Snowy productivity!

I've been back and working for awhile but it took until this morning to really click back into productivity. It was snowing thickly, and the new semester is beginning. Things are piling onto my plate: there's my usual big serving of "finish the thesis!" and also now TAing, changing my cell phone plan, swim practice, budgeting time for my various interlocking systems of organizing my life. B. once told me that he was only really productive when he had a lot to do; in low-demand times, he couldn't get anything done. It seemed nonsensical to me at the time (strictly from a logical, job-scheduling point of view) but now I understand.

This post's theme word: semasiology, "the study of meanings in a language, especially the study of semantic change."

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tattoo of drums from the other room

Overheard from two rooms away: "It's official! R. is no longer listed as single!"

This is how we transmit news: either at the speed of light over a world-spanning interconnected series of tubes, or by shouting across the apartment.

This post's theme word: canard, "an unfounded rumor." Yes, it means "duck" in French, but it also means "hoax;" in Old French, caner means "to quack."

Christmas photos

I've posted them on facebook. This one summarizes the whole vacation:

This post's theme word: ineluctable, "impossible to avoid." Meals comprising only chocolate-based foods were ineluctable.

Apologies to Edward Gorey

I played Gloom over the break, and it was as delightfully depressing as expected. Trying to make happy, and then kill, my family members' family members...
I find anything even vaguely Gorey-esque to be exceedingly diverting (to borrow a Jane Austen-ism).

This post's theme word: thanatotic, "an ancient Greek personification of death" or, in psychoanalysis, "the death instinct, esp. as expressed in violent aggression."

The green load

Laundry day... see you there...
This is my favorite load of laundry. It seemed photogenic, so here we are. M. suggested that this photo could be an album cover.

This post's theme word: deuteranopia, "a form of colorblindness in which sensitivity to green is decreased."