Friday, April 30, 2010


As I restart my computer again and again, hoping for a few minutes of activity from my daylight simulation software before my computer freezes it, I am reading pages from The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai. (Previously I have read A Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by the same author. I am thinking of re-reading that book.) I shall have more to say about this book; there is a lot to say. It is a very good book.

But first, explanatory geography (or "finally deciding I would stop making mental approximations of locations in my head and just look at a damn map"):

If you know some basic geography, it's fairly easy to figure out that the book is set in northern India -- they can travel (relatively) easily to Kathmandu, see Mt. Everest in the distance in other locations, etc. Though I was familiar with the word "Darjeeling" (as in "Darjeeling tea") I did not realize that it was in West Bengal state; though the characters in The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri, speak in Bengali, somehow I skipped finding out that it is one of the states next to Nepal.

I also marked Gujarat on the map because that is the origin of the judge in the book. I did know where Gujarat was, though, as we had to do a solar house design project set there for building technology lab.

Edit: A quick re-check of the beginning of the book informs me that it is actually set in Sikkim state, right above Bengal, and crammed between Nepal and Bhutan.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


deviantart's daily deviations are back to sucking today. just thought I would complain.


I have been spending a lot of time on i has a hot dog and cute overload. A LOT.

I want a dog, dammit.

(I've also been googling pictures of "babies with dogs" and "babies with puppies" a lot. I'm not sure what this says about me.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


GLITTER. A portrait artist who does her work in GLITTER.

That, my friends, is awesome.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


After a spate of hating every "daily deviation" I saw on deviantart**, yesterday and today I found five or six pieces that are most delightful.

Stairs. As they said, the composition is nice, but I love the architect who designed the stairs even better.

A dust bunny ballerina. Is this not funky and delightful?

Unnnngh I crave these delightful watercolors.

Dissolving. I like everything about this, but particularly the free use of mixed media textures.

Light. This painting has so few strokes and such a feeling of light.

Crocodile. This is possible the best crocodile ever.

** Tiny rant time. Note to all deviantart folks: I recognize the skill and the beauty in your nude portraits of women. I really do. But realize that every time you post or praise another picture like this, particularly when there is no corresponding male nude with his face obscured being touted as "art," you are laying one more straw on the "women are objects" camel's back. Why can't you please, please try to either address that ugly subtext or do something different without it?

more polar bears

Just finished reading East by Edith Pattou.

OH MAN. Now I want to go to NORWAY.

for your viewing enjoyment. . . church

Believe it or not, my thesis is progressing apace. This is the other church daylighting model, a heavily simplified version of this church:

This is the Christian Church in Logan, Iowa. . . it's the church my father attended as a child, and the one that I have gone to Christmas Eve service in after the family reunion for most years. It unfortunately does not look like this anymore. . .

BEHOLD: The 1970s.

Le sigh.

Feeling a lot calmer than I have for a while. . . it seems there is a chance the internship in Spain might actually happen. :D

Monday, April 26, 2010

important things, such as BEARS

One of the things I find weird about the whole global warming movement is the refrain, "Save the polar bears!" For some reason this, more than any other conservation effort, strikes me as a non sequitur. Why? Because polar bears think we're tasty. While I'm all for ecological diversity and conversation, sometimes it just hits me as bizarre that we are so very concerned with saving one of the few creatures that would gleefully munch upon us given the opportunity.

That being said.

Polar bears play-fighting.

When I watched this video, half of my brain was saying, "OH MY GOSH those are enormous predators fighting! Think how scary this would be in real life!"

while the other half was going, "SQUEEEE! THEY'RE SO CUTE AND WODGY!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Hopefully I will be able to post something interesting this weekend. Currently I am listening to some of Bach's cello suites. Usually I listen to them while working, but currently I am using them to drown out the sounds of sex from my new neighbors in the next room.

Le sigh.

An awesome site, recommended to me a year ago, but that I have only taken up just now: Lang-8. It's sort of like Facebook but cooler. The idea is that you post journal entries about whatever in whichever language you are learning, and native speakers correct them for you. I have posted one entry in Spanish and one in Japanese and already gotten corrections for both, and I have corrected one entry (in English, of course). For whatever reason there seem to be a somewhat disproportionate number of Japanese speakers on the site, but theoretically there are like 30 or 40 languages represented. Cool stuff.

The last three days of this week were. . . pretty awful. Words fail me. All I can say is that I look forward with grim expectancy to class evaluation time.

Thursday, April 22, 2010



book lust

I have of late (as in since Saturday) been channeling procrastination energy into reading. I was moderately horrified to realize that I have no less than 49 (I suppose now 48?) unread books of fiction on my bookshelf. At college. Not counting the ones at home. Apparently I have been retail therapying at Borders a bit more than I realized. . . 18 of these were acquired this school year.

In the last few days, I have finished How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (now very curious to see the movie of the same name with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson), and The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman.

I would say the overall effect is to make me pleasantly mad with possibilities. . .

Monday, April 19, 2010

you'll never see your little piggie friend again

Just got back from a three-hour walk around Boston. Certainly time well spent; it's gorgeous out today, and the Boston Marathon necessitated some creativity in routing which led me to some places I'd never been before.

This also included a 10-minute stop at Mike's Pastry (man, how I love that bakery) in the North End, where I overdosed on almonds for the week: an almond paste macaroon, a crucanti macaroon (which is covered with crunchy toasted almonds), and a pig-shaped piece of marzipan. It occurred to me as I walked back down Bowdoin street, munching on my bounty, that I should have waited until I got home so I could take pictures of the goods to share here. What, me, have self-control? Nah.

The one difficulty was with the pig. The mold they used made it look so. . . friendly. There's just something weird about eating a friendly pink pig with blue frosting eyes. . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

now that is just dickish

Thank you, New York Times, for assuming everyone in the Midwest can't deal with basic English grammar.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

reasons why webcomics are not healthy

I love reading webcomics. The thing I hate is that my thoughts come in abbreviated, panelized versions for the next two hours or so after a reading binge.

Friday, April 16, 2010

pottery party time

I'm pretty dang happy with what has come out of the kiln in recent weeks. Unfortunately I didn't throw anything for two weeks (combination of schedule overload/tiredness), so I only have one thing coming through the glaze kiln right now. Hopefully I can use the four-day weekend (woot Patriots' Day) to not only make major progress on le thesis but also to throw some more stuff. I still have a list of objects that I would really like to throw successfully before the end of term -- a large pitcher, possibly a really tall pitcher, a teapot, another goblet, a small cup or two, and a really large mixing bowl -- especially given that this is the last time for a while that I can expect to have inexpensive access to a pottery studio/kiln.

These guys were my first attempt at mixing bowls. They shrank a LOT in the kiln, so they are not really very big at all. They do fit inside each other, which I like.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

hello, MIT

This is the kind of school I attend.

I find this horrifically funny. This probably reflects poorly on the mental status I have achieved after four years here.

acentos. . .

Today I started reading How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez.

The room next door to me in the communal student house I live in was never fully moved out of by its previous occupant, so my other neighbor/former roommate and I have been taking his stuff down to his new basement room over the past few days. He has a lot of stuff.

We both took a 'book tax,' if you will -- she borrowed his copy of Dexter and I borrowed this book. My Spanish teacher recommended it (after rolling her eyes and declaring The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao a "sensacionalista" representation of the Dominican Republic. Junot Diaz, who teaches at MIT, apparently responded to her telling him this by saying, "You throw your shit, I'll throw mine.")

So far I find it. . . interesting? Well-written and readable, certainly. But a great deal of the book is about the four sisters' relationships with various men, which is . . . not something I find myself particularly able to identify with. . .wrinkly face of wryness.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

inserting page breaks

I feel like such a grown-up blogger, inserting page breaks and all.

Still trying to improve the readability of this blog. . .logistically if not content-wise.

I guess part of my problem is that some of the blogs I enjoy reading (such as this one) are not really in compliance with all the recommendations that are out there for blog design. What this blog has that other blogs don't is a compelling story of someone's life and what they are learning about being a human being in real time. (In the aforementioned blog, it helps that she is learning about life as an exchange student in New Delhi. Man, it would be cool to go to India. Or anywhere. Moving on.) That said, it's a little hard to translate from "what would I enjoy reading" to "what would other people enjoy reading."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

ze mouse & ze spirits

I met with my thesis adviser on Wednesday. After telling her a little bit about my life right now, she told me this: When a mouse is confronted by a cat, it desperately wants to either run away or attack the cat. These are the only two options that make sense. However, the urge to do both is so powerful that instead of doing either, the mouse sits down and washes its face.

My thesis adviser is a very wise person.

So yesterday I did exactly three.5 productive things:

  • I wrote three pages for a paper and finished preparing figures for said paper
  • (0.5 item) I turned in the paper
  • I reserved my cap and gown for graduation (HOLY SHIT I'M GRADUATING AAAAAH)
  • I embarked on my quest for movie enrichment, starting with Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

  • Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    unreasonably distressing

    as an addendum to the last post: Beacon Street fire. I was woken up from a nap by sirens and the sounds of helicopters this afternoon. It kind of freaked me out. I hope no pets were injured -- I trust the news to tell me about the conditions of people, but not necessarily animals, who were in the building.

    Apparently this building is a condominium and therefore didn't have to have sprinklers. I find this moderately irritating because my single has no less than four sprinklers -- one over my loft, one under my loft, one over the bookcase by the loft, and one over the desk half doorway. My possessions are in far more danger of being annihilated by water than flames, so far as I can tell. . .

    progress toward sanity

    Well, that might be a bit of an optimistic overstatement, but let's just keep hoping for now.

    It is 80 degrees outside, and it it nearly 10 PM. I am awed.

    Two things:

    One. I discovered the swiss miss design blog this weekend. I'm pretty far behind the curve for awesome design blogs, but it pretty much rocks my socks off.

    Two. I have this one friend. He is kind of an ass. Sometimes I read things he posts on my (and other people's) Facebook wall and I think, How do ass genes like his get perpetuated in the general population? You would think that such genes would be bad for survival, since they encourage people to punch you in the face and do other things to you that have poor effects on your health.

    Then I listen to the recordings he has posted of himself playing guitar and I think, Ah. Yes. This is how.

    Moral of story: The arts were invented by jerkwads who otherwise could not reproduce. (Maybe.)

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, he has also has really good taste in music. Woot.

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Monday, April 5, 2010

    thoughts of the week

    In all honesty, this week hasn't brought too many thoughts besides the following: "UNNNNNNNGGGGHGHH AARRRRRRGGGGHHHH PANIC" and "I'm tired. enh. Why am I so tired. . . ? The fact that I am tired worries me."

    But. . .

    But this weekend. . . yesterday and today I wore a skirt or shorts; it was 70 degrees Fahrenheit and pretty damn gorgeous. Life seems better, even though nothing has changed. (I also took an 8.8 mile walk yesterday, which was the turning point between "I feel miserable" to "gee, I feel pretty good.") I have already walked four or five miles today, and I am planning on going out again.

    Now I smell like sweat. This should be horrible. I should be embarrassed. But I realized that I smell different in warm weather than in cold weather, and I have not smelled like warm-weather sweat for seven months. It is novel, in fact. [EDIT: I forgot this is what I smell like when I burn, even slightly. Ain't life bizarre?]

    [Edit #2: Walked a total of 24 miles this weekend. Boo-yah me. The longest portion walked consecutively of that -- 9.3 miles -- is pictured above. . . man I love Boston.]

    Thanks to my blog binge on swissmiss this weekend, I found a number of things to think about, which perhaps will follow in a different blog post.

    But from the week, sort of:

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    percolation attempt number two

    I have a happy, interesting blog entry in the works, with lots of fascinating websites and works in progress and those sorts of things.

    That entry is currently not getting written, because I have been pretty bitter, tired, and unhappy all week. I am unfortunately upset with a couple of specific people, but I'm also panicked about deadlines, amount of work, grades, personal attractiveness, weight gain, and overall future happiness.