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Time is passing so fast. I am looking forward to graduating, and I've enjoyed this week. But every single day has seemed to pass in far less that 24 hours. I haven't even composed the posts I'd like to have, or written/called everyone I'd planned. I've slept extra because I'm trying to get over my sore-throat cold extra fast. I'll blame the shortened days on that!

We've signed that lease for our apartment for next year, and met the downstairs neighbors, too. I've gotten myself a research job over the summer for two professors here. I've had a very entertaining Senior Week whenever I wasn't sleeping. I'd like to write about it, but not tonight.

Tomorrow I graduate.
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I feel like a misanthropic old man, settin' in his front porch and drinkin' gin.
Except the front porch is just the doorway to my room, which has a view down the stairwell, the rocking chair is me with one foot braced up against the wall of my closet to hold me in place in this new wheelie-chair that I picked up from the Take-It-If-You-Want-It bin on the other floor, and the gin is a single-serving box of Lucky Charms. ... And I'm a girl.

Today is yet another day on which I have "finished everything" and yet still have more to do. I handed in the Historical Linguistics take-home final which I had be consciously putting out of my mind while I stressed over the two papers that were left after I handed in the other paper. I figured I could do it in three days which I had coming, so I didn't worry about it, but then I ended up only having 2 days to devote to it and, no, it needed more than that. But it's submitted. I will do no more. My remaining task is one that I had un-consciously put out of my mind until yesterday: the write up for my Independent Study. That professor says to email him something Sunday night -- he understands real deadlines =)
" 'Senior grades close on May 5, or three days after the final, in all cases no later than by 10am on Monday May 12'. " He reads this on May 7th. "Ah, so what this really means is that on noon of the 12th someone from the registrar's office will give me a phone call reminding me to submit a grade if I haven't. ... On Tuesday at 5pm, the assistant registrar will come to my office and sit there until I write something down. ... Email me something by Sunday night; I will read it on the train ride over."
On the other hand, my Spanish professor refused to let a classmate stay 5 minutes past the end of the exam period in order to fill in the last question (ie. "Describe what you have learned in this class."). He also refused my final paper because midnight had passed. I don't know how I feel about that. In a way, it was great, because then I could say, "Ok no matter on the rest of this! I am going to bed," and know it was really the end. On the other hand he didn't take my paper. No-one ever has stuck to the rules like that on the first try before in any of my classes here. There's always some late-policy dealing. Not there! I'm kind of left feeling "Can he DO that?!?" (although of of course he can).

What always strikes me as absurd when I think about that professor and his sticklerness for deadlines is that his grading-syllabus is a mess! The 2nd to last day of class he had a discussion with us as to how to allocate the 20 marks that were supposed to be given to the "short compositions." I don't know exactly how many he had planned to assign, but we only ever did 2. And the first one was returned ungraded. So we decided how to re-allocate the 20 points, spreading them 10,5,5,0 among the other categories. OK, but then we never did the fourth of those remaining things (which was in-class oral presentations). It was pretty clear even on that penultimate day that we would not be getting to oral presentations. So there are still 20 points unaccounted for in everybody's grade.
So I can't even guess how I will be graded in that. I can't even guess. I want to be confident, but his track record is weird.

People are moving out of my dorm. Actually, there are lots of folks still about, -- folks and their folks (haha very punny) -- but they are not the people with whom I am friends. Those people are busily going back and forth, packing up, or they are already gone. I don't like the people who are still here because they go up and down the stair case, carrying boxes of stories to which I am not going to be privy, and gossip and talk loudly but never say "HI" to me. If they're not going to talk to me, I don't want them shouting they -- are not fun to eavesdrop on. The academic buildings and computer labs were very empty, though. The air is grey with mist, too, which softens noise.

Tonight my very good friend Ellen is arriving from NYC. I've arranged with the girl next door for Ellen to squat her room. But Ellen insists that we come meet her at the bus station. We were going to anyway, that was the plan, but now that I've suggested otherwise she's insisting that we all go to South Station for her and not meet at North Station which is where our commuter rail (but not her bus) goes. When we were going to have dinner in Chinatown (which is at South Station) that made sense, but I don't think any of us really want to at this point. Sigh.
I'll be excited tomorrow to have her, but right now I am feeling low-energy. Ellen insisting that at the least *I* have to meet her makes me annoyed to be the one who has keys for her. She has a point, but I don't want that to be the case. I don't see why meeting her in one station or the other increases her "wandering around looking for you" time, which of course I want to minimize.

Sometime I definitely want to back out of every social function because working it out is less appealing than I can stand. That is how I feel today. Grumbly old man.
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The last of the wires in my laptop's power cord separated. Of all the worst times for my computer to fail out on me, when I am tring to write 3 papers at once and all the readings are online for two of them. The repair shop just looked at me, said "that's dangerous" and gave me a telephone number to call for parts. Big help...
But Scott my favorite sysadmin had an extra one and is lending it to me until I can order a replacement! Amazing, it was sitting right on his shelf waiting. He also was kind enough to pull numbers out of his ass that were lower than the numbers the repair shop guy pulled out of his ass for estimated cost of the part. ;-) hooray for scott buchanan!

The weather was gorgeous, sunny, breezy, and warm today. I am now half sun-burned on my face. I'm going to slip over to the C-store under cover of night-time, and buy me some sunblock before dawn.

All of the difficult stuff will have come due by the end of this week. Then maybe I can sleep again, or feel good.

back to work
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My computer just claimed it as getting no power -- although it was still plugged in! Has the fraying power cord frayed too much? I feel more urgency for getting that replaced. But also I did just drop the boxy part of the cord (again). Is there impact-damage which could keep that from passing power thru? The box's green light was lit up, but the computer's power light was on red. oh no :-(
(The computer went thru with it and shut itself down for lack of power. I had to let it recharge an hour then try turning it on again. This isn't good. I should know why.)

I read over grant funding notifications on the NIH page Jill deVilliers told me about (I think they were the notifications and not appeals) and felt hope crumbling. I truly was foolish to pick a place before a job. =(
And you know what else, I don't want anything to do with SLI (specific language-impairment)! Speech Pathology, neither, but all the grants wee for normal-vs-SLI children it seemed. This may make sense from the N.I.H.. Where do I find companies? I want companies; I will program and work and it will be a job, and none more of this academia crap.
I wonder what Jess and Jason (anth major) are thinking of doing?
Oh, and I found Pustejovsky's grant on that page. ... It runs out this August. I didn't know. Reading that, I stated morosing that maybe this is why James never emailed me back despite his making noises of invitation before. Even so, though -- and it's probably not so -- I know this does NOT man it is a good (or even an ok) reason for me to not re-email him and ask again. Maybe he lost it/mis-deleted and forgot that I'd emailed him the other month. And even if he can't hire me, he can still give me ideas of who else could. That was what I made a point of asking him for in the email I sent. I suspect that he would know something useful about the Boston-area commercial linguistics possibilities at last! Ha! So writing Pustejovsky is good. I must do it. I know.

What I am so afraid of is being judged.
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We dove out and visited my uncle & aunt in Niskyuna today. Also their son my cousin, and his wife (whom I think of as my cousin), and also their son's old friend from med school, and also my aunt's sister were there too. Our California second-cousins, who had been there for seder, had already left to New York City, so we didn't see them.
Anyway, I was, unavoidably of course, telling all about my plans for after I graduate. My uncle says to look for an apartment before securing a job is backwards. I suspect that he may be too right on that, but I can't really help it now -- I've still got no job lined up, but I've found an apartment that I don't want to pass by. Then also, there's the question of what sort of job I want. I was talking up the Bilingualism & Second-Language Cognition ideas that I've gotten psyched up about these last few months. I don't really know much about that, but I would like to. "What about your language-and-computers stuff you were talking about last time?" probes my uncle. "That's where you have an advantage. Talking software! Do this learning stuff and all you'll be is ending up as a social worker." Not that being as social-worker is inherently bad, but there are certain bottom line considerations... we both knew what he means.
So, what did happen to my more-computer-science-y job imaginations? I hadn't paid attention to it as I was changing my mind. If I go to grad school, I want to eventually go to grad school to study bilingualism as a cognitive phenomenon. But there's a disconnect between that and the sort of background I have from school and also the sorts of jobs I was thinking of looking at. Trying for research assistant positions in psycholing labs and following the NIH A.A.E. grants is a way to lessen that disconnect. His comment reminded me of an important field of possibility that I was slowly forgetting about. To drive the point home: Re-drafting my resume the day before, I had included even some "stretches" under Other Experience, and totally forgotten to include the section on what Programming Languages I know!
So, now I am second guessing myself for blindspots, which is a good thing, but I'm also feeling a bit down on myself because of needing to.

Also, while I was there, I wandered into their living room looking for a quiet place to get some work in while everyone else was watching the basketball game. It stuck me that that last time I was in my uncle's formal living room was when I was breaking up with Dan Scribner. It was surely quiet in that room, but I couldn't work there.

By the ride back, I was feeling kinda bad. Reflecting on poor choices I've made usually is enough to depress me. I don't feel energized to fix things, only ennervated for futher despair. Of course, I recognize that I may have an overly-perfectionistic definition of "poor" choice, but it's still my definition I can't ignore it!

I'm feeling improved since then, but I thought I'd lay it out here. I've put the computer languages back into my resume (can't believe I forgot those! as penance, I am even admitting to Scheme/Lisp), and making a mental note to look into more Natural Language Processing stuff again.

And now for the witty-ness:
My brother and I crack each other up. Here is the first story:

ME: So you don't think I should tell Ima my funny story about the parking ticket?: "My car was there, and I wasn't, and then there was a ticket -- HA HAHA HAHA HAHA! "
BRO: My favorite part is the part " -- HA HAHA HAHA HAHA!" !!!!!

The second story starts with a friend asking some question wondering if Young Judaea (the Peer-Led Pluralistic Zionist Youth Movement sponsored by Hadassah) might be backing away from its Israel trips.

ME: "I don't think Young Judaea would be able to sleep with itself at night if it didn't send kids to Israel."
BRO: "And we know how much Young Judaea likes to sleep with itself!"

woo! I share these with you in the hopes you can find it even 1/3 as hillarious as we did.
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Tried to explain to Andrew on the phone tonight how truly boring my social/cultural calendar has been. Unfortunately, I was belied by a bevy of activities all coming up this evening. Services at exactly when he first called, then an interview with a regional newspaperman, followed by a night out at the bar with Valerie and her out-of-town friend.
Of course the "newspaperman" was my brother, for a Young Judaea paper, and Valerie ended up standing me up for 2 hours. But we eventually got out, 5 of us, and I enjoyed the evening. I really never do get out enough!

This week has been midterm season at school. I had two (one a paper); and in Spanish the professor is beginning to turn up the pressure for our upcoming term papers. Although there's no deadline per se, I made sure to complete the current code for my indep study project. It would be nice to set it running and let it go over the week's vacation that is beginning now. I am proud of my work so far. In this stage, we are breaking down the average results into a person-by-person analysis. And after that the idea is to consider sequential effects over each person. I am hoping that there will be something interesting to see about the evolution of the "ideal" criterion. The concept of the "ideal" (or 50/50) criterion is a core idea of signal-processing. If people are actually using it, how do they hone in?

I will be at home for some of the week's break, but not all. Both Sundays I will need to be in Boston, so at least this weekend I'll spend here. I expect to head off probably not until Tuesday or so, so that I can take a bit of enjoyment from what The Hub was to offer =)
I'm looking forward to seeing my kids again.
Now so tired.
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My Spanish class took a trip today down to Providence to the John Carter Brown Library to look at old books. We are reading a 17th century "Spiritual Autobiography" of a Mexican monk, Madre Maria de San José, and that library has the original. We got to see her manuscript, and a number of other really old books and maps. It was great! One of the other books we saw was a printed letter sent ahead by Columbus to the Spanish crown to describe what he had found so far in the 'Indies'.

When our professor first proposed this trip, I though it was odd. After all, Brown is about an hour and a half away from Brandeis. Why go? The main connection is that Madre Maria describes her notebooks sometimes as she is writing in them. We looked for the chocolate stain that she explains is on the first notebook (but not *her fault*). I think we found it, but there were other water-stains so it was hard to be sure. The special-collections librarian let us leaf thru some devotionals such as she describes her brother reading to the family. The linen paper is so smooth that they used back then. I was glad that the librarian let us touch it. One interesting thing that I noticed the devotionals doing was repeating the first syllable of the page to come in the lower margin of the previous page. I suppose this is to help with fluency in reading aloud. Most of the books we saw were printed, but Maria's was in her own neat handwriting. It was fairly legible, as long as you didn't worry overmuch about not understanding some words. She writes all the way up to the outer side margin, but perhaps the cuadernos had been cut down in width after she filled them.

The trip took up nearly all of my afternoon, and it was worthwhile. Plus, it was a beautiful day out (we picnicked on the steps of the library in the sun). The library is impressive, but most people don't get to use it. Since the collection is so rare, you need to arrange special permission from the institution. I will remember this trip well
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Email from James! Hooray!

Yesterday, I went to a meeting of the Hawai'ian club. My friend is the president, and she forcibly signed me up for the mailing list. But that is OK because I like Hawai'i!
This was the first meeting of the year and they were planning their annual lu'au. I walked in at just the wrong moment so that somehow they all decided I should be the M.C. for the event. Never one to resist peer pressure ;-) I agreed. Actually it sounded like a fun idea. I've been to the club's lu'au twice, and it was a good night each time. As M.C. I'll either get to say lots of Hawai'ian words (they promised to tutor me) or dress up as Stich (from Lilo&). Hawai'ian's so fun to speak because it has so many vowels in it.

Classes have begun. My Spanish 109 class is shaping up to be a literary analysis class. The syllabus isn't even set yet because it is a brand new course. The first two days were frightening, but by the third session, I started being interested. Historical Linguistics on the other hand, may not be so good. The professor is floating from activity to activity without really letting us know what we will be covering. I hope this is just her idea of an introduction. It looks as if I shall have to re-memorize the chart of IPA vowel features. I should know this stuff. gripe, gripe, gripe
My third class is Wealth&Poverty, a econ/public policy course. It's met once and once for discussion section, so I can't really judge it yet. The readings so far have been both accessible and interesting, and the professor has a very good reputation.

It has felt good to get back to the gym at last. I missed that over break more than I thought I would.

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Yesterday, I moved back in. Wanted to call back Andrew, and decided to use cellphone as it was a weekend and my dorm phone was acting obstinate. Probably because it hadn't been plugged in for a month. We'll see how well my 500 weekend minutes cover that sort of long-distance! Andrew says it's going to be wildly expensive, and he's probably right.
Also spoke with my parents, which was good. Their trip sounded even better in description than it had in anticipation. mmmm

Today, got up at 8, went to work. I discovered that my sub last week had been competent and even had left me the notes I'd requested -- for which I am mightily grateful. She actually was there again this week subbing for another class; I chatted with her, and got a good feeling for what had happened.
This week's class went very well, and I was happy. I even managed to get them to like another Hebrew review game. We'd been playing the same game every single week because they loved it so much, which is great and all, but I was starting to get tired of Ultimate BlackBoard TicTacToe...

Staff meeting after class, then I set up our room for the play they'll do Jan 26, drove home and got into bed for my nap by 5:30 after an hour of email-reading and mailbox-cleaning. Here's a moderately funny thing that happened: I was debating calling Mira about dinner Wednesday, but decided I was too tired to invite her yet. Just as I was drifting off, the phone rang, turning out to be Mira inviting me to dinner!
So I got to make happy plans with my friend, then slept until the phone woke me again around 8:30. This time it was my mother, calling for tech support. After that, I got in another hour of half-assed sleep. Sundays make me so tired! I've got plans to go home this weekend.

Things are looking good. I'm feeling decently pleased to go to classes tomorrow.

Also tonight, I finally cleared out the SouthPac card, the 2 Action bus passes (one student, one standard concession rate), the film soc pass, Medibank card, etc from my wallet. I hadn't realized I'd kept them in for so long --- no wonder the thing wasn't closing right! haha
I ate the last "Melting Moments" biscuit/cookie that I'd brought back from Australia. Here's what they taste like: it's a sandwich cookie, with lemon frosting, basically. The cookie parts are like shortbread, but not quite as grainy. The filling is mildly lemony and without the overwhelming sugar flavor that too many frostings have. Giving the last bite a few seconds in the microwave on half power helped a lot.
I would call it a goodbye-to-australiana evening, because I also sorted my Aust coins from the New Zealand ones, and now both kinds are no longer mixed in with my T-tokens where they don't belong.

For so many years I have based a significant part of my self-identity on my life in Jerusalem. Recently, by which I mean over the last month and a half, I've noticed that Australia is starting to fluff out into a somewhat-comparable mythic position in my thoughts. It's a bit unsettling. I am starting to wonder 'what did it all mean?' And what should it all mean to me?

This is reminding me of something I read the other day in a book that was about using guided imagery in education. It said that leading guided imagery sessions without providing a way for the participants to "ground" their experiences is a bad thing. That the participants may even end up feeling angry or frustrated, instead of the positive outcomes desired. The suggestions they gave for 'grounding' were so simple that the warning sounded hoaky. Examples: in pairs or triplets, tell groupmates what you saw. Draw a picture of what you visualized. Or, write it down. That was it. That's a profound pedagogical insight? Well maybe it is... that every activity has its siyuum.
Perhaps getting around to making some scrapbook of my photos would help. Only, I don't know how I want to be framing the stories. I've been putting off doing it until I get my alleged black-page scrapbook, the one that I've been requesting as a birthday present for about a year, but haven't yet managed to find for sale in a store. I'm making an effort this semester to plan in more scheduled personal-time and less unscheduled loafing, so perhaps I will get this done.
When I was getting ready to leave B&G, I passed around a notepad and had most of my friends give me their addresses, but within a week of getting back home, I lost it. The sadder fool I.

To wrap this up on a funnier note:
Following headlines on New York Times's online edition, I found this lovely quote
"Intelligent creative girls want to do larger-scale programs that actually do something. They don't want to look at a logarithm that deals with a math thing and how we're going to apply it."
from "Where the Girls Aren't". The joke of course is that Mr. Schleunes, head of the mathematics department an the all-girls high school -- or more likely, Karen Stabiner, writer for the New York Times -- must have mean "algorithm," but I think it is funny because I am an "intelligent girl" who has indeed been turned off to studying cosci in college and you see I dread logarithms! :-
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I am back at home now, looks like I will be here for most of the month. That is ok, I am making some social plans and also I have one class's work to finish up.
I have learned that unfortunately, I cannot use my livejournal updater tool on my computer when the computer is not actively connected to the internet. Since only one computer in our home is connected (my mother's) this may have the effect of reducing my incentive to post. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say :-)

Rumor has it that we'll be setting up a wireless network in the house soon, which excites me. There are enough computers in this household that when I stop to count them up, it sorta surprises me. On the other hand, my mother has been claiming that she'll get the house networked for over a year and a half so far. I am looking into buying me the relevant network card. I looked on ebay and for people selling wireless network cards, and also cd-burners, which was a bit interesting. I've never even signed up or bought on any eBay thing before, you know. In light of the track record of our home-network rumor, though, I am holding off on possibly actually signing up a profile on eBay until I see the network set up.

On Friday, I packed all the stuff I thought I would need, super-speedily defrosted my fridge, and moved out of the dorm. Had a warm Friday night dinner with my family, then drove back into Boston the next night to sleep over with old friends so that I could make it to Hebrew School (in Cambridge) the next morning. I wished I could avoid all the driving back and forth, but I did it.
On the way back from Boston the second time, I took a back road: Route 2. It's a secondary highway, not exactly a secret "back road," but it was a very nice drive. I especially liked the section just before reaching Leominster, when I could see what I presume was a further portion of the road, tracing along the ridge of one mountain among several. The white points of headlights playing along the spine of the ridge struck me as enchanting. There was another town, much further along westward that I also especially enjoyed, but I forgot its name. There were many nicely christmas-decorated houses there. When I reached home at last (rt 2 is slower than the Pike), I found that our driveway and backyard were still quite covered in crunchy old snow.

Rebecca and I spent the other day downtown, shopping and having lunch and doing some errands, hanging out. This afternoon, my brother and a friend of his rented Episode II and played it, so I watched that with them. I'm getting a growing group of friends to see Bowling for Columbine on Friday, but I still don't quite know who I will see The Two Towers with yet.

That's all for now...


Dec. 13th, 2002 02:54 am
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I've submitted my last final for this semester. Please consider this overview as if it were posted a few days ago when I thought of it: That's why the tenses may be weird:

My tasks for finals time --
Cognitive modelling is meeting one more time, on the study day. I've already made the basic structure of the model by that day. (This is the assignment that I submitted today.)

I spent a good deal of time during our Thanksgiving trip to my grandmother's doing reading for my Anthro term paper. Yes, I'd had the books for a while, but I just hadn't opened them! As I read more, I realized with a growing sense of certainty that while the Inca quipu are very interesting, I truly had no question or interest in them. No interest in them of the sort that translates into "paper thesis" very well.
So I gave my presentation on that Monday, avoided mentioning the details of my paper-to-be, and fudged an inquiry as to the question my paper would be treating. The idea was really growing in my head that what I would love to do would be to try out making one of these things. To make a quipu! It would be like highschool -- which had been my main issue with the topic since the day my professor encouraged me into it. I couldn't imagine writing anything more than what would be essentially a book report on the topic --- and that is not the stuff a college-level essay is made of! Just to explain it, with no theorizing.
Filled with anxious concern since the due date for the paper itself was less than a week hence, I went to my professor with the idea of making a model quipu. For those of you who may not know, a quipu is a device made from colored, twisted, and knotted strings, used by the Incas in Peru as a recording medium. Nothing too technically complicated. I'd managed to score a color photo in a new book (all of the books except that very one had pictures only in black and white while they raved about the brilliant colors of the cords! heinious. This is how rare a color image of a quipu is: when I showed the 4 photo plates in my book, my professor got excited and asked me to let him borrow the book as soon as I was done with it!) I am so glad I screwed up my courage and went to see the professor and make my absurd request. He said YES! He said that making a model quipu would be a fine final project and it would fully cover the paper assignment. I wouldn't even have to write a thing.
This was perhaps the best news ever that I have ever gotten regarding a class assignment. Whee!
So, I spent much of my time in the first week of finals preparing the cords and assembling the object. I set up a suspension hook and spindle assembly in my hall lounge and spent most of my time there. It was really fun, and the quipu came out quite well. But enough about that because now I am tired.

Perhaps I will write about the rest of my finals later. Tomorrow I am moving out of my dorm for winter break. My plans are minimal. A trip to New York, perhaps for New Years with Ellen, a group outing to the Two Towers (not opening night this time...oh that was great), and two weeks of housesitting my own house. There will be schoolwork to do, too, though; I can't quite get away from it all
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I feel very accomplished and good.
Finally got the inspection sticker for my car, and also I designed an output module for the program which is effective and sleek. I even got some sleep (a good long afternoon nap, which is why I can be up now.)
I'm aware of the dangling modifer up there, but I like how it sounds to have "sleek" be the last word, so I am just going to *think* the proper bracketing very strongly and let that be enough. :-)
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I went home last weekend, and this coming weekend I'll fly to Tampa, FL for a cousin's wedding. The scenery on the way home was lovely, notwithstanding that I went via the turnpike. As I drove, I was thinking about how I could describe it in words. I've spent most of the week immersing myself in the third project for my Cognitive Modelling class. Although I have two partners, I've done most of the programming myself -- not their fault, I just stay up all night and day with it. They, not having as serious a famstration problem as I, can't possibly keep up! I leave no time for anything else, like writing up the description of the road-side landscape, or getting my car re-inspected. Annual inspections can go right into the category of Things that are a Pain about the Car. The places around here that are set up to do state inspection are too hard to locate among all the garages and service stations that can't be bothered, and they close too early, or are too slow at getting to me before I need to depart and return to class.
I'm concerned about the status of my other work. This program is like an addiction...
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I learned my midterm grade for Anth today: A+. It's been years since I've gotten an A+ -- I thought they weren't allowed to give them out anymore, in college! If it were just an A, I would be satisfied; I know I did A work on that test. The existence of the plus makes me feel like a little kid again, and I need to exult!

Prospects for History of Israel take-home:
due tomorrow -- expected grade: F
no, more realistically: D

Plus I had the great joy of arguing my math professor into upping my score on that midterm from 89 to 90. He took off a point for including too much information in a proof. I say to you: May we all have the problem of too much information in our proofs!
Then again, this is the same professor of whom I hear that he caused a very intelligent and well math-versed friend of mine to fail a significant exemption exam, by taking away partial credit from her on nearly every problem --- because she used "too strong a proof" (strong induction, when weak induction would have sufficed).
In fact, I feel that my proof was all the better for having added the steps to prove that the number by which I chose to multiply given conguence equation was not just ANY number, but dafka the congruence-inverse of some coefficient. He had neglected to make that characteristic explicit when demonstrating the proof in class, and left me baffled for a week. The vindication in winning that point is far sweeter than the grade. :-) more exulation, heh heh


Oct. 15th, 2002 01:25 am
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What an unsettling day this has been in terms of my mood.

I kept myself up last night finalizing my portion of a big programming assignment from Cognitive Modelling. The course is really interesting and I actually do enjoy the projects for it, but they take so much effort. This one especially I have been allowing to consume huge portions of my life. Before I knew it, I saw the sun lightening the horizon. Because I had been working in fornt of the panoramic window of the hall lounge, I had a gorgeous view. I stopped to watch the day break over a skyline of downtown Boston and forested hills, then put myself to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, I expected to be incredibly groggy, but instead everything felt vivid and good. Admittedly, I slept right thru my classmate's helpful wake-up call, but once I was out of bed I felt alert and happy.
The happiness was a surprise. Low-key happiness used to be my default emotion, but I have been missing it this year. I blame that on having 5 courses, 3 of which are extra-heavy loads, and on my serious attempt to live life by a schedule. So far I have been able to keep almost up to date with all my work. But I have not been happy. I don't know if it is really the classs' faults. Also before the semester really began, I was feeling anxious rather than happy. At that time I blamed it on fear because I had an arbitrary schedule and was scared that I wouldn't be able to find courses I would like by the end of add-drop. So it's always school's fault, no?
At the mandatory "re-entry" meeting for study-abroad students, one of the speakers talked to us at length about reverse culture shock. She warned us of depression and forced everyone to share in small groups. At the time I thought it a total waste of 2 hours of my life. I still think that meeting was useless, except that now I have the idea that maybe the fact that I had a semester abroad and now am returned may be causing me psychological issues. I wasn't worried about that before this meeting! But, I do not feel any sort of culture shock (reverse or otherwards), and to be honest Australia didn't feel that shock-y.
Back when I was attending that meeting, what I was feeling was simply a lack of the excitement I ususally felt at being back at Brandeis. By now it has gotten worse. Most days I am not happy. If I am in a good mood, there generally needs to be a specific cause for it -- and they can dissappear scarily fast. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the issue of "anger management" has been concerning me. Little annoyances flare me into rages. When I can calm down, the good mood is pretty well irretrievable because I hold resentment at loosing my tranquility!
(That was when one of my older friends lent me a couple comic books after I told him about how I was feeling angry: Transmetropolitan; he said I might like Spider Jerusalem, the main character. Spider's rages are so much worse than mine it worked like a reverse shock -- I realized I don't hate people as much as that guy does. I wish I had more Sandman's to read.)
But back to my story of today: today when I woke up, I felt happy. I went to most of Developmental Psych, and felt happy. I sat thru Discrete Structures, and only felt bored. I busily did work until Anthropology of Writing Systems class, and was still in a good mood at the end. In Anthro, we spent the end of class organizing upcoming presentations and suchlike. Despite the fact that we were focusing on student scheduling responsibilities, I managed to avoid the despondancy that making plans often brings me to. I have a group now, for the presentations in two weeks. All thru doing homework in the after noon, I was feeling happy -- until abruptly at about 5:30pm.
Nothing had happened, but I realized the happyness was fading away. I responded to some group members about our project (due yesterday). By 20 minutes later, I was back to the unpleasantly blah mood that has been oppressing me for so long. I debated if I should push on, or try to cheer up. Decided to take a short break, and stop by a pal's room. He lives in the same building and I though maybe a chat with him would be good for me.
I caught him when he was just on the way to the shower, so I took a seat on a box at the end of his hallway to wait for him to come back. As I was waiting, two tall guys came by. One of them suggested that I was sitting on someone's property, and the second one was the roomate of the first guy and the owner of the box. Box-owner seems put out to find me sequestering myself in his box and tells me to get off of it. This box was left out in a corner of the public hall and contains what is apparently a comforter or down jacket, visible thru the gap between the top flaps. It was remarkably comfortable to sit on.
I got off of the box, and told the guy that if he wants his box to be inviolable, he probably shouldn't choose to leave it in a public passageway. Guy seems mildly defensive and volunteers that it wasn't in anybody's way. This is true, the box was in a dead-end corner, which is what had attracted me to it already. I go on the offensive in order to avoid being the apologetic defensive one, and magnamiously assure him that he did alright at not having his box block the passage, then walk to the nearest other corner and collapse into tears.
Ten minutes before, I was perfectly stable and decent!
If you understand how important my sense of location and freedom of exploration is to me, this overreaction will make more sense, but even to me, I knew I was overreacting. I stayed in the corner by the ladies bathroom door for about an hour, weeping uncontrolledly.
Within half an hour from simple happiness, to hiding in a corner, to tears!

Eventually, two girls from the floor above stopped by, and sat with me for several minutes. They lent me some tissues, and assured me that I am not crazy. The most unsettling thing about the whole incident was how suddenly I fell from one mood to the other -- even though nothing had happened. They understood that. Bless them.
I got their names, and it turns out we have mutual friends.

As a final explanation, there's the old stand-by of lack of sleep. That's been hitting me pretty hard, these last few weeks. I'm not going to be able to really catch up until the end of the week, which seems so far away. Today was a Monday. I have confidence for my two midterms, but it is mostly confidence based on wishful thinking. I'm not sure what could help most.
All is not bad, but I wish it were better.
awhyzip: (Default)
I spent last weekend in Richmond, VA for a cousin's wedding.

As for work: first significant programming project handed in last Friday, first of three exams last Wednesday, one giant supply-closet cleaned out and organized over 4 hours, and big scary test this Saturday at 8am, plus innumerable less-memorable commitments. Definite shortage of rest.

On the positive side, one of my friends held a Buffy-watching party for the season premier and I had a happy time there. That's about it that has been relaxing.

I am really stressed this week. Oddly, Transmetropolitan, lent to me by my *favorite* sysadmin has been helping me hold myself in check. See, I read it and go, "Violence? No, maybe I don't want violence....eww, gross!"

Take care of yourselves out there, and remember: 3 gratitude points will be awarded to anyone who calls me between 6 and 7:15am September 28th.


awhyzip: (Default)

February 2017

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