Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Academia Is All About

A conversation with a fellow Ph.D. student about coffeemakers:

Mine is a 2-cup.
me My old one was a 4-cup but I hated it.
Friend I decided to go for a smaller one since otherwise I would end up making too much coffee because the 4-cup doesn't fit in a phd student's life.
Next time, you get an espresso machine.
me Mmmm. I wanted an espresso machine, but the price doesn't fit in a phd student's life.
Friend: Work harder!!! That is why we want a professor-ship, you know.
me: It's true. So we can afford the coffee habits we developed as grad students.

And L.A. Drivers Complain About the N.Y.-ers

Texting while you're driving even when you're stopped at a red light? Bad. I judge those people, too.

Rolling down your window to yell back at the texter and give him the loser sign while your child is sitting in a car seat in your back seat? Not so cool, either.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adult Mutant Ninja Turtles: Heroes in a Cubicle

OK, yes, I should be doing research right now (story of my life) or cleaning my kitchen (which is a disaster because I started baking last night at 11:30 and my roommate is away for the weekend so I didn't feel as pressed to clean it up right away) or cleaning my room (which is a disaster because I've been stressed and is so bad I've been avoiding doing anything in it but sleeping) or figuring out my life (something I always need to be doing). 

But, instead, in my procrastination efforts, I found the image above, which you can get on a T-shirt here. My sister was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles watcher (while I watched My Little Pony or somesuch), but this is sort of awesome. 

Ok, back to work. Or other forms of procrastination.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why Spelling Is Important, Reason 1572

It's not like anyone needs to prove to me that spelling is important, but...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seriously, NYT? Seriously?

Now, newspapers run corrections for misspelling names all the time. Street names in a city that is as foreign as they come (L.A.)? Not great to misspell but maybe almost acceptable. Understandable, at the very least. (It becomes slightly less understandable if you have any clue what NYT copy editors make.) Now, consider this correction:

Correction: February 19, 2011 An earlier version of a map with this article misspelled part of the name of a street in Los Angeles. It is Cesar Chavez Avenue, not Sezar.

Sezar Chavez? Nobody caught that? Really?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Life of a Grad Student

It's from Graph Jam, where it's titled "The Creative Process," but I think it does a pretty good job summing up the life of a grad student, too. Though I get a lot less napping than the graph indicates. I should work on that.

My Blog Is a First Grader

It's officially 6 years old today. That makes me feel old.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Break-Up Rules: My Proposal

Being on either side of a break-up (the one doing the breaking up or the one being broken up with) isn't exactly pleasant. But gleaning from past experience on both sides, I think there are some rules of propriety worth following:

  1. Voice mail or text message break-ups are never appropriate.
  2. After more than a few dates, the courtesy of an in-person break-up is warranted.
  3. Despite #2, an in-person break-up does not mean waste lots of hours on a date before doing the dirty deed.
  4. If at all possible, warn the other party. Tell him/her that you need to talk—that's a pretty good signal that something ominous is coming and prevents surprise.
  5. If you are going to do the breaking up by framing it in a "Where are we at in this relationship?" context, do not ask the other party what her opinion is before giving your own. This can only lead to embarrassment if she says she thinks it's going great and your response is something like, "Actually, I don't feel that way at all, and I don't think we should continue dating."
  6. Please, please, please do not do the breaking up in such a way that you then need to travel together afterward. Break up in a car. Or on the sidewalk in front of your apartment building. Or anywhere that does not mean you will have to spend more awkward time together.
  7. Make sure that all of each other's possessions are returned before the break-up. This prevents future awkwardness.
  8. Do not say that you still want to be friends. Maybe you'll end up being friends and that's really nice or maybe you won't and that's also OK. But the last thing someone wants to hear when they're being broken up with is, "I didn't really like you that much, but I sorta liked you." Also, because most of the time, at the moment you're being broken up with, the thoughts in your mind are something like, "Jerk. Jerk. Jerk. I never want to see this person ever again." And probably the person is not a jerk if you've dated him for long enough that an in-person break-up is warranted, but that's still what you're feeling in the moment, which is significantly different than wanting to be friends with him.
Anything I'm missing?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Seasons = Missed School Days

Since I moved to L.A., I have made it my mission in life to try to convince everyone I know and love to move here, too. (This practice has the added benefit of forcing me to be positive about L.A. and count its positive attributes. Though, really, I'm just selfish and miss the people I love.) 

I haven't convinced anyone to actually up and move here, but I definitely have convinced many people that they should at least want to move here (you know who you are). Honestly, though, I think it's more about Coffee Bean than me.

When talking to my 8-year-old brother this week, I tried convincing him that he should move here (which seems sort of pointless since he's 8 and doesn't exactly have the wherewithal to move cross-country but whatever) by telling him we don't have any snow here in L.A., to which he responded by asking if we had any seasons here. "Well, sure," I responded. "It gets a little bit colder in the winter. It rains a little. But mostly it's beautiful." This seems to be all pluses in my book. "No, No," he said. "Do you have any seasons that let you miss school?"

Upon revealing that there is nothing comparable to snow days in L.A., he decided he has no interest in moving here.

Oh, well. I tried. I should tell him about Coffee Bean. 

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Questions From a Confused, Sleep-Deprieved Mind

  • Why does the USC student center have a five-tiered fireplace (see picture if you are having a hard time figuring out what that means)? Never mind the fact that I can't figure out why anyone would have a five-tiered fireplace, but USC is in L.A., where fireplaces seem slightly unnecessary. I mean, I have a fireplace in my apartment, which seemed pretty awesome—I envisioned toasted marshmallows and s'mores—but guess how many times I've used it? Um, never.
  • Why did I get summoned for jury duty in New York when I live in California? The entire time I lived in New York, I never got summoned for jury duty. I have been an official resident of California for one and a half years, and I just got summoned for jury duty. In New York. 
  • Why do undergrads think that if they ask their professor enough dumb questions about the upcoming exam, he will break and just hand over a copy of said exam?