Monday, September 22, 2008


Some days, my motivation is nowhere to be found. I'd be curious to know what percentage of those days are Mondays. On this particular Monday, I managed to oversleep by two hours and then go to the gym anyway, putting me in my office around 11:45am. I ate a rather blah lunch, which seemed to be the result of Campus Dining throwing the leftovers of several different soups into one pot and calling it "gumbo", and then struggled to do calculations which made no sense regardless of how I tried to reason it out. These days, the atmosphere of my lab is not very motivating - it seems like a ghost town, and I think I'm stuck in a rut. To contrast with it, we are next door (literally and figuratively) to a new, vibrant, social lab that has lab retreats involving beer. The best I could hope for now is some snacks at our 8:30am lab meeting. Which I would probably have to bring myself. Anyway, maybe I am a supernerd for even thinking about this stuff, but I would certainly rather that there was more urgency or excitement in our lab. It's hard to conjure up that sort of feeling on your own.

In other news, the weather is definitely getting colder, and I'm gonna have to start wearing socks and shoes when I go outside. :( At least my light-grey lace scarf is almost halfway knitted... ahh, at this rate it will be done by the time next summer arrives! At least it's a portable project that I can take on the train with me to New Hampshire. I am really starting to get tired of the long-distance part of our relationship. Somehow we survived for a year, and it shouldn't be that hard to just push through another nine months or so. But lately I am longing more and more for one of us to just graduate already! Why am I so discontented about the state of my life right now?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I'm crashing a pilates PE class this term. I took the same one last spring, and it's such a good change from my normal workout. Plus I think I have a girl-crush on the instructor. She is beautiful and also has great taste in music! Today the song "Rain" by Bishop Allen came through the playlist, and it was suddenly the best stretch I'd ever stretched. It's amazing how a good song can change my mood so drastically - even though I'd spent most of the day searching Web of Science for blah information I never found, the day was suddenly redeemed by the happiness of this song! I've been listening to recently, a website where you create your own radio station by indicating one song you like, and the site will play a bunch of other songs with similar qualities. I started with a little Belle and Sebastian, and now I've discovered some really great artists, like Sufjan Stevens. Yay!

I've been on a fabric-buying binge lately, all in preparation for sewing the most awesome duvet cover ever made. My color palette has some olive green, light blue, and a touch of turquoise/teal. I can't wait to start designing the patchwork front side. I have ~5 different Amy Butler fabrics that need arranging into some kind of pattern. The fabrics, mostly scavenged from various etsy sellers, arrived in the mail piece-wise, and are absolutely delicious. To die for.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

super brains

I've started reading this book called "The Chip" which talks about the history and development of integrated circuits being made on monolithic pieces of semiconductor, the huge history-altering invention that allows me to have this computer sitting on my lap right now. My advisor recommended this book (in fact he bought 8 copies for the lab) and I finally got around to starting it. It's amazing! It goes back and talks about all the people who discovered groundbreaking scientific properties (like the existence of the electron), and the people who used them to make hugely important inventions (like the transistor). I love that it talks about the lives and research philosophies of the various scientists and engineers. Like how J.J. Thompson (who discovered the electron) liked to sit around at his desk and just work out math equations all day long. Or how Niels Bohr (of the Bohr Model of the atom) spoke 4 languages and was an all-star soccer player and generally nice guy. Or how William Shockley (co-inventor of the transistor) thought in the late 1960s that black people were genetically inferior to white people, and therefore should be offered tax breaks for being voluntarily sterilized (what!), and he tried to run for president in 1982. Anyway, other than those things, it's also incredible to read about the various scientific philosophies of these historic inventors, and to see how they came upon these great ideas that have changed our lives and our way of life. It makes me wonder what MY research philosophy is, and what is my method for solving problems... To be determined...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

an unprecedented interest

I wonder when the last election was where the people of this country were so interested in the various candidates running for president. We have a charismatic leader running for the Democratic side, and a controversial pick for the VP of the Republican side, and huge contrasts to be made between the different candidates. It's tremendously exciting, especially because past elections have just given us a boring choice between two boring old white guys who sound the same as each other and as everyone else in the government. I feel like I have a stake in what I want our country to look like in the future, and the way I want our relationship to be with the rest of the world. I have definite views about how I want our country to end its dependence on foreign (or not foreign) oil, and most of all, I care about the character and the credibility of the people we elect to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world. The current administration has lost my trust completely, and I will be supremely disappointed in this country if we elect another two-faced, condescending, overly-aggressive politician to lead us. Please don't embarrass me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

dreams of the year to come

Traditionally, every year I have a dream/nightmare about the first day of school. Often it involves not knowing where my classroom is, or being lost on campus, or whatever else could go wrong. Even in grad school, where classes are only a minor part of my education, and I am no longer nervous about the "first day of school", I still have these dreams before every semester's start. Perhaps I am a weirdo, but anyway I am expecting one of these dreams in the next few days. Yes, folks, the fall semester starts on Wednesday! Tomorrow is Reg Day, which at MIT means you run around with your paperwork to get different signatures before handing the pink copy and the yellow copy in to different people... sort of like we were still in the Paper Age, since on this one day per semester MIT forgets that we're well into the Digital Age. Whatevers. At least my department gives us free fruit, pastries, and coffee, and a pizza/beer party later in the day. The semester just goes downhill from there! Haha, actually I'm not that pessimistic about it; I think this will be a pretty good semester, as they go. James and I will start our 3rd semester on opposite sides of the state borderline, and we should be total pros at this longish-distance relationship by now. We're more than halfway done with it, if you think about it. I am about ready form a thesis committee and make some progress towards graduating; I have only two required classes left; I am psychologically ready to move to the next (non-student) stage of my life. I'm excited about the upcoming hockey season, all the things I will learn to knit this winter, the patchwork duvet cover that I plan to design and sew, the curtains I will make (and maybe paint or print on), the pilates class I hope to take, and the books I hope to have time to read! Okay, that last one might really be just a dream. We'll see!