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My, My, Time Flies

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Today I went out to run errands, and stopped by the shops to see the post-Christmas sales. You could feel in the air the ‘Christmas crash’ as everyone milled around the decorations that two days ago seemed so joyful and twinkling and now seem limp and out-dated.

But this feeling did not extend to me. I have enjoyed a feeling of deep calm all day. I love Christmas, don’t get me wrong! Anyone who’s been to my over-decorated apartment knows that! But it’s nice to finally get through the rush of the season – school, finals, graduation, Christmas. Done. It’s nice to get a chance to have a relaxing day with few worries and only a few small errands to run, which is a joy when your pockets have some Christmas cash.

Anyway, in regard to the title, it’s true, time does fly. I suppose it’s very typical of me post-university to look back and make remarks about how quickly it goes. It does, and it doesn’t. It does seem like 4.5 years of school, but it also seems like it went faster than I thought it would. The title, for those of you who don’t know, is from Enya’s new winter album, ‘And Winter Came’, and is a song I’ve grown quite fond of.

As I talked about in my last post, I am at a point where I feel very comfortable in life, in the future, in general. It’s a lovely feeling. I’m sitting on the edge of a cliff at the moment, but instead of it plunging me into a world of uncertainty about what the hell I’m going to do with my life, I feel poised at the lip of an adventure.

This next semester, apart from way too much research, tutoring, and auditing a CS class, I am going to be taking the GRE and applying to grad schools. Sean and I have recently been discussing this, and I am thoroughly excited. My mom wants me to try and apply to Rice, though chances are pretty much zero that would work. However, Sean and I have discussed it, and after this miserable excuse of a winter, we’re both ready to move to a climate with more pronounced seasons and a half-decent winter. In fact, we’ve decided on two locations housing universities with good evolution programs where I am definitely going to apply: Denver, CO, and Eugene, OR. Eugene is one of the greenest cities in the US, and very pretty, too. Needless to say, both are cooler than TX! This winter has reaffirmed my long-held suspicion that I can handle Texas heat just fine, but I do require a decent winter to offset months of blistering, sweltering sun. And this winter just wasn’t good enough. Perhaps time to explore.

The prospect of moving somewhere new, doing some exciting new evolution studying, having snow in the winter, finding a nice place for Sean and I to settle down for a few years – it’s all very exciting, and feels right.

We’re not sure about timing just now – my lease here runs out July 7th, so we will most likely be somewhere new after that. We don’t know if we should go ahead and relocate north (state residency for one thing), or perhaps we will head back South to Georgetown for a while, as the condo’s current resident’s lease is through June, and we can live there for awhile without having to worry about anything but utilities.

Anyway, I will keep you all updated, as time flies along…

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What makes me sad….

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Writing beautiful code or fixing some coding probem and not being able to run up to any friend at random and go ‘LOOK AT MY BEAUTIFUL CODE!’/'LOOK HOW I FIX!’ and have them share in my happiness. It’s like building a beautiful house that not everybody can see :(

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Think it Might be Fear of Reprisal?

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Why I don’t like my criminal justice textbook (The Criminal Justice System – Burns):

Quote from page 5 (minus source citations):

“Other incident-specific factors such as fear of reprisal may influence victim reporting. (Skip one sentence.)
Fear of reprisal, or retaliation for reporting a crime, influences some reporting practices. Some crimes (particularly violent crime) are not reported out of a victim’s fear of reprisal. The reporting of domestic violence incidents is sometimes influenced by the victim’s economic dependence on the offender and fear of reprisal. (Skip one sentence.) Kidd and Chayet argue that the nonreporting of crime is the result of a combination of factors acting together, or alone, including victim fear of reprisal…”

Seriously? Was there no better way to word this?
Hey executive editor Frank Mortimer (no joke) – you fail.

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Those Old Questionnaires

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

While Google-ing myself (oh, come-on, you all do it too!) I came across one of those old question things everyone used to post on blogs. You know the ones, where they had like 80 questions and you had to answer pointless weird questions about yourself.

Well anyway, I started reading through it, and began thinking it was a really interesting way of seeing how life had changed. It was from July 2004, which was when I was fresh out of high school and before I’d officially started at Southwestern. Oh, life since then!

So I re-posted the questions with my ‘modern day’ answers below the originals, in blue font. Take a look if you want, but maybe it was just mostly for me. Maybe in another 4 years I’ll go back and do it again : )

See it HERE

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Leos and Svaras and Books, Oh My!

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Well, I thought I should post and assure everyone I made it back from UK-land alive. I also wanted to apologise for not being very available this week to the people who’ve tried to get in touch or who have commented I’m not as in touch as usual.

First, let me say I will be making a couple posts about my time in the UK, specifically, my adventures getting there and a new years post, mostly to go along with the fabulous pictures and videos I’ve uploaded to Facebook (if you’ve not seen them, please go visit!).

The reason I’ve not be around so much is simply: school. Yea, we’re only a week in, but for some reason even I don’t fully understand, I’m really feeling driven this semester. This first became evident when I returned from the UK and spent an ungodly amount of time completely cleaning out my room and bathroom – this included finally unpacking from Ecuador (*ashamed face*). Now my room is not only spic-and-span, but also a haven of order and prettiness (I manged to finally hang some pictures and put up some lamps that glow wonderfully in the evenings).

So, five days in, and I’m ahead in all my classes. Well, except programming, because the teacher is kind of nuts and I’m not even sure what we’re doing right now. And he hasn’t given any clue on what we’ll be reading or what we should be doing. But, programming is my ‘just for funsies’ class anyway, and really is the least of my worries, since its a ‘nothing’ class, and doesn’t count towards my degree.

I guess for many out there being ahead in classes is probably no biggie, but for one thing, this mostly means I’ve read ahead, and for me, reading textbooks is my biggest procrastination – I hate it! Last semester I didn’t read any of my genetics book – too long-winded, too boring. Probably suffered for that though : (. So this week, I’ve read 2 chapters of microbiology, 4 chapters of prenatal/infant/child nutrition, and read five chapters of neuroscience – which, trust me here, is no easy task. Neuroscience is going to be my hard class this semester. Also, I’ve gone ahead and started some physics HW, though we’re actually behind schedule and haven’t finished the chapter yet.

So most of my spare time, even in the mornings before class, is being spent reading – either in the new bookstore, in that hidden little corner with the stuffed chairs that catches the morning and afternoon sun, in Einstein’s at lunch, or at home on the couch. When I’m not reading and highlighting, I’m usually trying to keep peace between Svara and the cat I found (whom I’ve temporarily christened Leo). They hate each other, so I keep Leo in the office for most of the day, but he’s lonely and isolated, and hates it, so then I have to put Svara in my room, and let him roam (and make sure he doesn’t destroy anything – he’s the clumsiest cat I’ve ever seen (he’s a teenager)), and then do the daily ‘acclimation’ where I let them interact, much to Svara’s deep dissatisfaction. Any time when Leo isn’t in the office, I pretty much have to be following him around, to break up fights and pick up objects, and if I do sit down, he promptly climbs all over me, making it impossible to do much.

So – that’s why I’m not around much! I’m also already sleep-deprived, which bodes really well for the rest of the semester…

But, overall, I’m doing good. I feel good about school, and I’m hoping to find a home for the cat (IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO COULD TAKE IN AN ADORABLE ORANGE CAT LET ME KNOW!!!!).

Well, I feel this post is quite an adequate length, and though I’d love to write more, I’ll stop here, for the sake of your aching scroll bars and short attention spans : )

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Life, The Java Applet, and Everything

Friday, December 7th, 2007

I know I haven’t posted in a while – sorry about that. However, this post probably won’t make you feel better because I’m posting just for one small reason that will mean nothing to you, so feel free to skip this one if you want.

Today at my mom’s request I sent out an email to some family members linking to my index of finished Java applets from this semester in programming. Horribly simple and unimpressive, it’s not much, but whatever, if the family wants it, I can please.

I am a little fond of the last applet because it’s a) a game b) has pretty pictures and c) has Christmas sounds. Also, I just finished it, so of course I’m happy because I got it done and all is up to specs. In the email I noted that this was probably the best applet to look at.

Later tonight, I got an email from my dad, my real dad, in England, saying that he’d done quite well matching up the cards on the game with the music.

My father, the crazy man, the Lord, the control freak, actually read (not scanned) an email I sent, actually followed a link in the email, actually bothered to figure out which game I was directing people towards, and actually played the game.

I still can’t quite believe it. Never in a million years was I expecting that, for my dad to sit down and actually pay close attention to something small that I’d done that he is generally disdainful of. Let alone play a childishly simple matching game just because I wrote it and send out a link about it.

It’s really made my day, maybe week. Of course he pays attention to the ‘important’ stuff, the ochem, the biology, etc. But he’s never shown any interest (even fake) at all in my love of programming.

I know my life sometimes doesn’t fit the average idea of what life should be – hell, it doesn’t even fit my fairly modest standards, which mostly revolve around stability, caring, and everyone getting along for once. But, I have my kitty, I have new pyjamas, my dad played my Java applet, and I have Christmas lights up.

It’s not all that bad, life.

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I’m Not Sure Who I Am

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

I’m so full of anger. And I have no patience. Everything that anybody does irritates me, and I’m constantly impatient. I wonder if maybe some part of me thinks if I can hurry things up I’ll get to ‘the good part’ – the one that doesn’t actually exist.

Do you wonder about yourself in the third person? About your mental state? I do it constantly. I’ve always felt like I’m simply an observer to my own being/thoughts. That’s why, so often, I say ‘I wonder if I think’ or ‘I wonder if some part of me thinks’. I analyse my own reactions, actions, moods, and feelings to get a grasp of what mental state I’m in, what my mind is doing behind my back. Or behind my brain. That’s really the only way I can gauge myself. Is that normal? It never occurred to me that it might not be, but I realised that I don’t usually hear other people say the above two phrases nearly as often as I say them myself.

I bring this up now because I’m rather afraid. I know the inner me, the one I watch – I mean, hell, I’ve been an observer for 21 years now. But I’m not behaving or reacting like past experience dictates that I should. And I’m kind of scared. I can’t explain why, and I don’t know why. I’m empty, cold, and angry. Every single person I interact with, from acquaintances (ok, I’m lying, make that singular) at school to a girl sitting near me in the library to the cashier at the store, infuriates me. Thankfully I’ve enough self control to keep my cool and behave as normally as possible.
But all that anger.

I don’t let myself think of anything. Anything but L&O; and hw. I deny myself thoughts of anything else. Repress, hold in, dismiss. Any of you who know me well, know this isn’t normal. No, no – I’m the one who argued with my psychiatrist so strongly last year that I couldn’t take anti-depressants because then I wouldn’t feel things fully, as I believe everyone should – because then you learn best and recover best. I’ve read psychology books. Repression = bad. = Crazy. = Mass murderers and such.

I think I might be on a quest to become a non-person. Watch tv, do homework. Watch tv, do homework. One – neither of those things infuriates me, like people do right now. Two – neither of those things are likely to fail me. If I can simplify my life down to that, then I need not worry about anything more.

As long as I’m busy, I can be a robot – albeit one that feels like it’s inner cogs are slipping and something is very, very wrong. When I’m not busy, I’m bottomlessly depressed and out of hope – living for tv and homework isn’t much to live for.

I wish I would go ahead and go crazy, or go dead. Head explosion, maybe. I need something to break, or something to change. Because right now I might be on the path to becoming dangerous.

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Guide Cat Urine Birds Mating Choking Third-Degree Burn

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

This post is going to focus on some animal stuff less animal stuff than before, then move forward to two things that happened to me that I find interesting and you probably don’t. The title of this post pretty much explains what’s going to happen and in what order.

First and foremost, Svara has been very sick. It’s ok, she’s getting better now, but she got a hell of a urinary tract infection, and was really miserable all Monday, straining to pee tiny drops of bloody urine. And she couldn’t really control her bladder either, so a few things got peed on (but I know it’s not her fault), but then I had to keep her in the kitchen bathroom because the floor’s not carpet. Poor girl, all sick, finding herself locked in a bathroom, and having to spend a morning at the vet’s!
Anyway, she’s doing much better now, though she hates the pills she’s on with a passion.

Secondly, so many birds! I saw some beautiful bluebirds the other day, shimmering like sapphires. I’ve seen mourning doves gathering nesting material, mockingbirds flitting around, and birds I don’t know. Today there seemed to be a prevalence of blackbirds doing their funny courtship dances for the brownish females. Always fun to watch.

Thirdly, Never mind.

Two things that happened to me:
First, I joked with a girl who was eating about how if she chocked nobody present could help her because we’re not doctors yet. Eventually she laughed so hard she started severely choking. O.o Talk about self-fulfilling.

Secondly, I got a third-degree burn on the end of my finger. It’s all white and waxy, and doesn’t hurt at all. I was taking a melting point in lab when I accidentally touched the (unshielded) hot metal. It was about 330°C. It hurt intensely for about a quarter of a second, and it has not hurt sense. For those of you less medically inclined, this is because all the skin and some of the underlying tissue is fried, as are the nerves. For the curious, it sizzled when my finger hit the metal. Bacon anyone? For the concerned, I’m keeping an eye on it. Yes, it’s kind of serious, but as long as it doesn’t get infected and seems to be healing without problem there’s no need for me to get it looked at. Trust me, I’m (not) a doctor (yet). (See above.)

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Well They Can Bloody Well Just Try It

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Well, I’m back from spring break, and I survived. Sometimes just barely, but I’m still here. It was a fairly stressful experience, what with my sister being my sister, and my dad being my dad. The last few days were very strained indeed, and I’m glad to be away from all that. My family is simply a mess I wish I wasn’t involved in.

The stress doesn’t stop, though – this week is going to be nasty, as far as I can tell. And things to look forward to seem few and far between at the moment – no more holidays for a while (and then only Easter, which means mandatory family time, which I dislike (see above paragraph)), and no other plans.

I don’t really know what to say. Right now I’m very tired and listless, and I’m looking forwards to getting this meeting I have with a girl to do a project over with, so I can go be listless. But listlessness always has a chance of begetting other, less pleasant feelings (not that listlessness is a very pleasant one in itself – it’s very different from general laziness, which can be very pleasant), so I am wary of that, and hoping for the better.

I really don’t want to be back at school. I don’t want to be back on spring break, either (at least not the family-involved part). I just want to have some endless weekend, where I can sit and read.

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A Rant and My Kitty

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

What really irks me? People who sit in the front row of class, giggling and making fun of the teacher. You don’t like the class? Fine. You don’t like the teacher, think she’s stupid, whatever? Fine. You’re entitled to your halfway-through-first-semester-freshman views. But for God’s sake, just SHUT UP while you’re in class. If you can’t manage that, at least go sit in the back of the room and giggle. Not in front of me, and everyone else, so that you can distract us most optimally with your hand-gestures and whispers. Your snide remarks are not funny, and they’re also baseless. Trust me on that one. You have no experience at all with college and are going to have a big surprise in the next few years, meaning you’re in no position to pass judgement. (This shown by the fact that you feel quizzes over a list of terms she hands us are “completely unreasonable!”. She practically gave us the quiz beforehand, you morons!)
Also, if you feel the need to use your computer to take notes, that’s fine by me. However, if you’re going to play solitaire, tetris, and chat on AIM, again, please take it to the back of the room. And DO NOT then moan about how the class is so hard! If you’re not even making a token effort to pay attention, of course it’s hard!

I’m really happy with having Svara around. Somehow it seems she’s become personable since I moved here. She’s waiting at the top of the stairs every day when I come home, and sleeps outside my bedroom at the door, greeting me with a chirrip every morning. Even after I bathed her, she showed me no ill feelings. She follows me around the house in an inquisitive way, watching everything I do.

She’s developed a soft-spot for AJ, though. When he comes home, she’ll sit at his feet and stare up at his computer, and she’ll readily come when he calls. It’s strange because he rarely pets her or gives her much attention. I think it’s a classic example of how the child clings more closely to the abusive parent in hopes of making them love them ; P . She’s almost 2 years old now, but she’s still very playful and curious. She wants to be involved in everything and know just what’s going on, which is different, since cats are often so aloof. When AJ and I curl up to watch a movie, she’s not happy until she’s tucked between me and the couch, or laying across my feet, feeling included and dozing happily.

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