Saturday, December 5, 2009

Presumed feminism

So, I've had a few things happen in my life where I am talking about something, and someone assumes that I am being like, all offended in a feminist way, when in fact I was not thinking along those lines whatsoever.

It's very annoying because sometimes, I am so surprised that it is only minutes later that I even realize what they must have thought I was saying, and I can't even go back to fix it, and now they assume I am a raging overly-sensitive feminist.

Example 1:

There was a methodology and toolset proposed and pushed by a member of the faculty at my university. It's good in its place, but as technology has changed, it is no longer enough. I was at a conference, and this methodology came up, and when a question session came up, there was a queue at the microphone. A prominent professor at another university said, "REAL men use methodology Foo when they are doing Bar." Meanwhile, the professor at my university was standing RIGHT behind him, waiting to defend his honor because his methodology is simpler and does not do Foo. It was somewhat deliciously dramatic, but the moderator of the session stopped all questions after this.

I was back at school, relaying this story to a fellow student. I said, "and THEN, Prof. Awesome said, 'REAL men use Foo when doing Bar!' It was insane!" And then fellow student said, "Well, I'm sure he MEANT real scientists, he didn't really mean MEN." I was thinking to myself, what in the hell is he talking about?

After the conversation was over, I realized he thought I was offended at the term "real men" because it excluded women. Which was so entirely ridiculous that I missed it at the time. What the hell? It's so annoying. And now this guy walks around thinking that he can't use the turn of phrase, "REAL men do X" when I'm around because then I will try to kick his ass. Which is totally not true.

Example 2:

This occurred more recently. There is a policy in my office about making coffee, which I think is very common. If you take the last bit, you make a new pot. Very simple. Very reasonable.

I had been lucky enough to avoid having to do this for several weeks after I had started work. Then, I had the fortune of getting hit with making a new pot two days in a row. The first time, I was thinking, well, it's about time I guess. And the next day, I was like, "hahaha, how funny that it worked this way. well, shucks."

Then a coworker comes in and is like, "oh you're making coffee?" and I said, "yup, i've been lucky enough to get it two days in a row!"

And he says, "well, it's just random you know..." and something about it seemed really defensive. I know he said something else, but I don't remember what, but I do remember it was somewhat defensive. I was confused, but I don't know this guy very well. Later, I realized (though I don't remember exactly why, this was a few months ago) that he had thought I was annoyed at being foisted coffee duty because I'm a woman.

And again, I"m like what the hell? Any human would be like, "ack, two days in a row!" Not that I won't make coffee, but it's not like people are happy when they have to do it. Am I annoyed because I'm a woman? Of course not. Do I feel like there is some conspiracy to get me to make the coffee? No, because I'm a friggin reasonable person and I realize that this is just the way the cookie crumbles in this system. I was just griping good-naturedly about my luck, and he assumes I'm ready to freakin sue the company.

So again, since the leap of logic on the part of the dude was so ridiculous, I did not understand what he meant at the time, and then when I realized he thought I was getting my feminist panties in a twist it was too late to be like, dude, that's not it.

Does this happen to you guys? I feel like it happens to me more than I would like and it really bugs me.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanking your committee etiquette

So, it's been a whirlwind since I've defended, and I realize now that the dust has settled that I ought to thank my committee more than by sending effusive thank you emails and giving effusively grateful thank yous post-defense.

What ought I do? I have bought some thank you cards (nice one, not ones in a pack), and especially nice ones for my chairs. I also purchased bound copies of my thesis for the chairs, though not the rest of the committee. I have received mixed signals about this. Some said I definitely should get some for all, others said that tradition is being phased out. In a survey of my recently graduated peers it was nearly 50/50 in my department.

Either way, I can't decide if very nice thank you cards are enough, or not? Note that I hardly know several of my committee members, and they are spread out over the country so things like restaurant gift certificates are not really feasible.

What did you do for your committee?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Comcast is stupid, Part II

Ok, so I just tried again with the LiveChat, and again, they asked for my SSN and said it was to comply with some FTC rule. But when I said, "I've been assured by a Comcast rep that an SSN is not necessary", they said, "oh, well ok then, how about a driver's license number?" So I said, ok, let's do that. Great to know that if I hadn't objected or known, I'd still be made to feel that it was necessary to give it.

So then, we're setting up the appointment, and I distinctly remember a screen telling me there would be a $23 installation fee as I clicked through the order.

She then tells me that installation will be $123 dollars! Turns out it is only $23 for the television, and, get this....$99 for the internet. $99!!! That is anal rape.
  1. I do not need ANYTHING special for this. I've got a freakin PhD in Computer Science, I can handle my networking stuff. So I did not ask for any sort of professional installation in terms of setting up a router, installing software on my computer, or anything like that.
  2. I don't need anythign wired at the place, the place is fully wired.
  3. I LITERALLY need them to remove a trap and configure me. I can't believe people pay $99 for that. That is just the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!
She also tells me that because I have been so nice (I have, I am generally always nice to service people because they are people too), she can get me to just under $50 for the install. This STILL seems crazy to me. People will come install satellite dishes for $0. SATELLITE DISHES. It is much more complicated than removing a trap from a house that is already totally wired.

So, I think...well, there's a coffee shop nearby, work is not far...Maybe I won't get internet...maybe it's not REALLY necessary. That's how against paying this fee I am, because it just completely offends my sense of what things should cost. So I ask the person, "What if I just got TV, then?"

You know what happens?

She ignores me. I sit at my computer for minutes, thinking maybe she is checking with a supervisor or something...but no, I am literally hanging for minutes. I am much more patient than your average person here, so finally, I just typed, "hello?" and waited a minute or two more. Finally, I realized that somehow, asking a legitimate question had pushed the wrong buttons, and I was being frozen out.

So, I wrote, "Ok then. Thank you for your time," waited about 30 more seconds, and logged out. I wish in hindsight that I had timed the difference in time between my messages, but then, I didn't think that I was going to get ignored. But I think I probably waited a total of 7-8 minutes or a LIVE CHAT.

Goodness gracious. I would have been willing to pay around $25 or so, but instead I didn't sign up. Again. Sigh. It shouldn't be this hard.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Comcast is stupid

Comcast wants my social security number in order to get service.

I googled it and apparently they've had this policy for a while, but it's the first time since I last signed up. I'm like, whaaa? Yeah right! You've gotta be fucking kidding me, I don't trust my number with them (or anyone for that matter - I am very stingy with that number). With all the brouhaha today about being careful with your SSN, you think I'm just going to type it over the internet to some person? You think I'm going to give it to a cable company? Please!

What the hell is that about? I want TV and internet, but I do NOT want to give them my SSN. Even their customer service czar has twittered that they don't require it, but that doesn't stop their representatives from trying to get it from you. That's the biggest rub. When exposed, the Comcast customer service czar twittered that their policy was not to require SSN. This happened in 2008. And yet, reps are still trying to tell you that you have to give it to them (that's what happened to me today). So they are either hugely ineffective at getting training to their reps, or they are purposefully trying to get people to give SSNs because they assume people will eventually just give it to them. Well, I pushed back, and I said no. They said, you have to, there is no other way. I said thanks and hung up on the chat.

The worst part is that the rep tried to tell me that the reason they needed the number was to make sure I qualified for the best service and deals, and to see if I needed to put in a deposit for service. I told them I had an account that I canceled several months prior before I moved and couldn't they just look that up to see that it was in good standing...and the answer was No. If you need it to make sure I'm not going to stiff you, can't you just see that I've been a good paying customer for years?

There's a reason why Comcast was runner up to AIG in this years Consumerist Worst Company in America contest. I've always used them because I've never had another choice. This is not the first time they have pissed me off. I think this time I'm going to try to find something else though. I'm going to try hard, because I really, REALLY don't think I should have to give them my social.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Word Loss

I recently read a book that used the word "carrion."

I was thinking about this today as I brushed my teeth, and I fifty years, will people use or know the word "carrion"? I was the first time I'd come across that word in....oh, I don't know, 10 years? Maybe not since my college days, where I had more time to read books. And now that I am done with grad school, I have time once again.

But I get the sense that people don't read anymore, not like they used to. So...isn't it entirely possible that we are losing words constantly, as they fall out of favor and it gets to the point that most of the population don't know what they mean?

Somehow, this made me sad. I wonder how many 15 year olds these days know what "carrion" means.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Being taken care of vs. being dominated

I have this friend who has got this really nice boyfriend. I like him pretty well.

The thing is, I can't tell if she is being dominated or being taken care of. Initially, I liked the boyfriend a lot because he takes care of my friend, who...well...evokes the aura of needing to be taken care of. He carries stuff for he, he does things in the background she doesn't even realize so that things just work, it's like magic.

On the other hand, it's almost like he thinks she can't do anything for herself. Granted, I have my doubts too about her ability to do certain things as well, but I can't decided if the dynamic between them two is sweet or scary.

When does "oh honey, let me do that for you" become, "oh honey, let me do that before you (because i think you'll destroy something in the process and everything is better when i do it)"?

Even worse, does the latter actually create a feedback loop SUCH THAT the person becomes worse and worse at doing things? I think that's sort of happening and it makes me concerned for my friend.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The state of science education

I was listening to NPR the other morning. I like NPR. I generally give NPR the benefit of the doubt, that they're not going to be a bunch of blithering idiots going on about stupid shit.

So it's an episode of Weekday, and the interviewee is some guy who has just written a book about the periodic table. The interviewer asks a few questions which I think are reasonable considering this is going to a wide audience: "Can you tell us, what really is an element, what defines an it?" Fine, fine.

Then she asks some sort of question saying something like, "So let's say you've got this element with 2.4 protons...."

WHAT? It made me sad.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


For the first time, I am slated to interview someone. It's kind of exciting and interesting at the same time.

I have no idea how I'm going to do it. There is a significant part of me that thinks this person is going to come out and say, "why the fuck do you have a job at this place? they should totally take me instead. you're found out now!!!"

I don't actually think that's going to happen, but one thing I am finding to be a problem is my need to feel SO on top of everything that I am extremely unsure if I don't know exactly what I am talking about, which makes me seem stupid. It's the classic "bluff" problem that has been discussed ad nauseum regarding the genders. I need time to think, plan out what I am going to say, and all that jazz. And at this interview, for a position/role that I am unfamiliar with, I am terrified of seeming like an idiot because obviously I will not be the expert in the room.

I guess I need to approach this with a position of power and not be such a wimp.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don't worry about it, it's historical

The other day, I was minorly irked about how a form for something that I had to do now that I am a resident in New State because of New Job had Mr. Phizz's name first, even though I was the person who handled the entire interaction with Other Party.

It was just a field that involved putting who the contract was about, and the person who made the form put "Mr. PhizzleDizzle and Dr. PhizzleDizzle." It was a freeform field and could have been filled out in the opposite order without any detriment or confusion.

I said to someone offhand in my office, "Oh, that's so annoying, because I am the only person this person who made the form has dealt with. Lame."

He brushed me off and said, "Don't worry about it! It's just historical. Don't let it ruin your day."

Somehow this really annoyed me. I think I would have forgotten about it momentarily if he had not said just a ridiculous thing. I was never going to let it ruin my day, but to be brushed off with "it's historical" is the lamest thing I have ever heard. You want to know what's historical? INSTITUTIONAL SEXISM is historical. Institutional racism is historical. Institutional poverty is historical. Saying something shouldn't bother me BECAUSE IT'S HISTORICAL is garbage.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spotting in Football

Am I the only person who thinks spotting in football is ridiculous? It's the most ridiculous thing ever. Methinks the precision of spotting is probably around +/- 1 foot, probably, and yet, they act like it's exact (or at least within millimeters) when they break out the chains. It is comical. I really find it funny.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blogging at work

So, one thing I have been struggling with is general paranoia regarding computer usage at work.

I hesitate to check my email at work. When I log into facebook (which I look at about 1 minute of every two hours or s0 to catch up on my feed), I don't input anything - I see a status report or something that makes me want to respond in a political way, I don't. I try to remember to do it when I get home, but usually I'm wiped and the thing I wanted to respond to has been bumped off my radar screen. Likewise, when I think of something to blog, I don't. And then when I get home, I'm wiped.

I don't want to do anything at work that sheds light on my personal life, my political leanings, or even just general things that don't have to do with work. I don't even open my google reader, at all, at work.

Am I being too paranoid? Should I just chill out? Certainly, I don't want to blog at work, I do have anonymity I want to preserve.

Remember that I am in a corporate environment, not academic. I don't know. I am always very suspicious of corporations and I have read one too many articles about employees who were fired because they were careless with their usage of computers/networks. I don't know where the line is.

Does anyone have an opinion?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

To the fucker who stole $100 from my wallet

I know you think you deserve a prize for even turning in my purse after I left it on my chair at lunch. You probably think, "At least I didn't steal the whole thing."

But you know what? The $97 in cash in that wallet was MINE. Not yours. Mine.

This is the 2nd time in a year I've left my purse somewhere only to have it returned - but without cash. $45 bucks the first time and $100 the second. What makes people think this shit is ok? Do you think you deserve a fat reward? Sure, I'd feel less enraged if I was missing $20 bucks. That might be ok. But to just help yourself to all the cash because you can, is fucking screwed up.

So how can I deal with this? There is part of me that is trying to imagine that someone who is really down on their luck found my wallet and is using it to buy groceries for their hungry children for a week. There's even a part of me that if someone left a note, saying, "I'm so sorry, but I considered this a sign because I really need this to go to the doctor" or something, I wouldnt' be so upset.

But I feel really pissed and personally violated.

On the one hand, I feel lucky, because I am so a master of my own universe that I cannot remember the last time I felt this enraged by something beyond my control and that I could do nothing about. In fact, the last time was the last time someone stole cash out of my wallet. There is something to be said about being so fortunate that I am generally in control of my destiny and don't have to feel violated on a daily basis.

On the other, I am fucking pissed as hell. What the hell is wrong with this world? I would NEVER EVER EVER do something like that.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm a Motherfucking Doctor!!!!

I'm a doctor. It's awesome.

The defense went well, quite well. I'm sooooo excited and happy!!!!!

I'm back blogosphere! Except somewhat regular blogging soon. Lots to say :).

Thursday, September 17, 2009


DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to write your thesis while working full time.


I have the shortest fuse I have ever had in my life. The other day, when going to pick up Mr. Phizz from the airport, I called his airline to see the status of his flight. The stupid voice recognition didn't understand me, even though I was saying simple words like, "Yes." Finally, after a few foiled attempts to get the answers I wanted, I yelled "YES!!!!" so loudly that the sigproc filter on the other end detected that I was deranged and said, "I will transfer you to an agent immediately." I had heard rumors before that all you have to do to talk to a human is shout or curse, but this is the first time little old me ever got to that point.

More recently, I have found myself wanting to cry randomly. Just now, my advisor kindly told me to rest and take a break. I was so touched that I almost started to cry. I am sort of crying now. I am so tired.

I wanted to complain to someone, but Mr. Phizz is asleep and I was pacing around my room, holding back tears and frenetically trying to hold it together.

That's when I decided to blog. Thank you blogosphere, for being the receptable for my venting. I am sorry I haven't paid attention to any of you lately. I hope you understand.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I have a defense date.

I will not be reading/commenting for a little while as a result.

I am stressed out.

I am excited.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gender and College Majors

I recently came across this article:

The primary point of this article is that one of the reasons men make more money the women is the choice of college major - that accounts for 19% of the income gap for the high school class of 1999. This isn't particularly surprising - men choose engineering more, women choose nursing more...this ends up skewing the aggregate pay comparisons between men and women. Fine.

The more disturbing stat is that once women begin achieving parity in male-dominated fields, overall pay for that career goes DOWN. Case in point is biomedical engineering. Yes, engineering. Now that it's basically 50-50, pay has stagnated, whereas male-dominated engineering fields, like electrical engineering, are still highly paid.

They suggest one reason could be that women don't negotiate as much, bringing down the aggregate pay rate of a field when they enter a field en masse. Or that once women join a field in large numbers, the field becomes less valued.

Either way, it's pretty depressing. Selfishly, I guess I'm glad that I'm the only woman for miles in my company. In a larger's pretty depressing. What do you think it is? The lack of negotiation of the devaluation of a field once many women enter it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

This is nice to see

Glenn Beck is a motherfucking douchenozzle.


I bought this today:

It makes me happy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One more thing

Another thing which I cannot get used to about corporate life is the feeling that you are on the clock. No, I'm not really on the clock. No one is timing my trips to the bathroom. No one is making sure I am there N hours a day. No one is making sure of anything. Yet, the feeling persists.

The primary effect this has on me is the post-lunch nap. Sometimes, I get painfully, unbelievably sleepy at lunch. As I've blogged before, I can usually alleviate this problem in about 10 minutes with a desk nap. It's all I need - to put my head down for 10 minutes and when I wake up again, I am generally really refreshed and ready to go.

Except that I feel certain that it would be frowned upon for me to do that. Even though no one cared in grad school.

The frustrating thing is, I *know* that if I just did it, I would be much more productive, but instead, I spend 45 minutes to an hour, just suffering and trying to fight it out. Staring at computer screens or pages and blinking, trying hard to almost fall asleep but not. I try some caffeine, but not too much because I don't want to be kept up at night, and chances are by the time the caffeine kicks in, I'll have slipped out of the danger zone anyway. I literally lose an hour-ish a day in this zombie-zone, and it drives me crazy.

I'm not sure if I should bring this up to anyone/my boss and just say, "look. I need a 10 minute snooze, and I promise you I'll be better for it."

What do you guys think? I think it really depends on the work environment, and I'm not sure how mine would take this.

Another Industrial Observation

So another thing that comes with industrial work is secrecy and lawyers.

When you're in academia, and you go to a conference, run into your friend, and decide over beers that you'd like to collaborate on something, you do it. Even if you are from different institutions. And if someone asks you about what you are working on, you're pretty much delighted to tell them about your brilliant ideas.

When you're in industry, it's fairly easy to collaborate with academics, but other companies, other labs? Forget it! It can be a nightmare. Call the lawyers! Who owns this IP? Good golly. Not only that, there is all sorts of secrecy within the company as well. Who ever heard of a grad student keeping their work under wraps against their own labmates? I'm not talking about the kind of knowledge hoarding like how to use this tool, or how to use this technique. I'm talking about not telling anyone anything about what you are doing at all.

I don't really mind any of these things, it's just quite an interesting transition. It makes life somewhat interesting, this life of intrigue...I think because I am somewhat interested in the business aspects of what I work on...I don't think of my ideas just as in a vacuum. Thus, thinking of the work as a part of holistic view of the company, I don't mind the secrecy because I can see how it is parter of a larger corporate strategy. I would think though, that people who are idea people and don't care about practicalities or business would completely chafe at these sorts of restrictions.

I do sort of mind the lawyers I guess...not that I have anything against lawyers, but having to check with them sometimes about how to interact with colleagues at other corporations is just annoying.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Note to Traveling Parents

It seems every time I get on a plane these days, there is a parent who is traveling with 1-2 small children who don't seem to get that children cannot be still for 3+ hours, no matter how much you shush them.

A few months ago, I went on a flight with a young mother and her two sons, I'm guessing 3 and 5 years old. a 5-6 hour flight, and she had NOTHING for them to do the whole time. I felt so sorry for the poor boys, who I'm sure were getting sooooo restless. The whole flight, she just said to them, "SIT. DOWN." or "STOP IT." I thought, if they have no toys, no coloring books, are not allowed to get up and run around for a few minutes, what do you think is going to happen? They are going to fuss, we are talking about little boys here!!! She basically wanted them to sit completely still the whole time. Whaaaa?

Yesterday, I was on a 3-hr flight and a mom was holding her ~1 year old baby. She was sooo in love with her kid, and he *was* cute. You could tell she's a new first time mom though. This kid fussed for a long time, just kicking his legs around and squirming, and I thought...lady, this kid needs to stretch his legs! The more he squirmed, the more she tried to swaddle him with a blanket and hold him tight. She endlessly wrapped this blanket around him while he kicked his way out of it. And I'm like, this kid needs some activity!

Anyhoo. That's just my random advice to people.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Movie Review

I just watched the movie "He's Just Not That Into You."

I hadn't heard such good things about it, just that it was 'eh'....but I *really* liked it. I really did. I just got so into the characters, and they got some really pretty good actors to do the film, who could show quite a bit of depth just with subtle expressions on their faces. I was reminded that Jennifer Connelly is SO. GOOD. I had forgotten how much I like Jennifer Aniston. I'm not a fan of Ginnifer Goodwin, but I'll admit she really had me into her character's plight, even if I don't relate to her insanity.

Was it a really smart movie? A really exciting movie? Really suspenseful? No.

But I liked it, a lot. I suspect I will think about it for the rest of the night. Have any of you seen it? Did you like it?

I will also take heart i knowing that I don't have to wonder whether a dude is into me. I have a dude. Who is really into me. And I'm into him. How lovely!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Working: Industry or Academia?

I am finally getting used to the cadence of working.

What this means is that when I get ready for bed on the weekdays, I don't think, "What? Time for bed already? And do it all again tomorrow!? Wtf, where did the time go?" I now feel like my evenings are THERE, not just ethereal slots of time that slip away before I realize it.

This also means that on weekends, I do not sleep until 11:30 or 12:30am....I am getting up around 8 or 9. This is good, because my weekends had seemed pretty useless, spent entirely in recovery, kind of like a weekend long post-work hangover. Now, I feel ready stuff on weekends.

Unfortunately, for the time being, the "stuff" I should do is really work on getting my thesis finished. It's really something I've just got to get done, otherwise the time will pass and I'll eventually just give up on it. This is not allowed to happen. do I feel about work? I work in an industrial lab. This means I have a boss who really directs the overall vision of the research work that we do, which is kind of different from (my) grad school experience, where I had almost complete freedom of direction. However, I know many graduate students who are very micro-managed by their advisors and might feel there is a *decrease* in direction management when taking a job like mine. Especially though my boss directs things from on high, he does not direct from below - at a certain point, I do have almost complete freedom. I'm given a huge sub-branch of the gigantic tree of potential research, and I can do what I want in that sub-branch.

The other thing about working in an industrial lab is this -- let's face it, the economy sucks. Industrial labs of old were basically smart people fucking around the best way smart people know how to and just doing, "what if" type stuff. What was born of that? Um, Unix, awk, sed, C...the TRANSISTOR.....really awesome stuff. But now that the economy sucks, even the amazing industrial labs of old don't really do that anymore. It's much more directed; the hope is eventually what you do will help the company bottom line.

The thing is, I'm kind of fine with that. I personally have never been super comfortable in crazy-out-there research space. If you're making this industrial vs. academic decision, then I'd imagine this is one of the more important factors.

The other thing about working in industry is that I do not have to beg for money. The longer I work, the more I'm pretty excited about that. The more I realize that this is the way to go for me (at least for now). I used to really feel motivated about teaching the next level of students...wanting to do that, but now I just...feel flat in that regard. I am enjoying my job too much to care about that right now.

It all depends on what you care about. Right now, the thought of making up slides for a class, for teaching students, particularly ones who try to grade-monger, the thought of publishing endlessly and writing makes me tired. It makes me glad I'm not doing that.

There are others, of course, who would chafe under the infrastructure that I am currently under. Their eyes would glaze over when considering the business aspects of their research, the utility for how it would or could actually be deployed, drilling down to the details of making something ACTUALLY happen.

It all really depends on what you would prefer. I'm just laying it out how I see it personally.

I'm happy with my job.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good News All Around

I have booked a trip to see Mr. Phizz, so there will be another visit between now and Labor Day.

I have gotten permission to think about setting a date for my defense.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I've always believed this, but I'll say it again...Cheney is such a motherfucking douchenozzle.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Is anyone else enjoying the Tour de France?

Dude, it's so awesome. I'm loving it.

I want to see some fucking hammers dropping as the mountain stages continue. Yeah!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Now that I am working....

It alarms me to the degree that today being Friday makes me happen.

Not that I don't like work - I like it, I really do, but it's frightening how glad I am that it's Friday...however, the new cadence of how work is - 5 days of work in a row where I go to this place and work, then come home and chill out/work on thesis, then 2 days of just doing whatever...I kind of like this cadence. I am ready for this to be my new life, as opposed to the academic life where all day, every day, I was thinking about work, or thinking that I should be working.

In the meanwhile, it is fucking not easy to work on your thesis while you are working another job. This is another thing I dont' recommend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Long Distance is Hard

Mr. Phizz, my own personal Mr. Amazing, as I've blogged about many times before, and I have been having some difficulties with the distance, because it's exacerbated by a number of things:

  1. Before, when we had to deal with distance, we both went to new places. This time, I am in the new place and I have left him behind.
  2. Before, we were in the same time zone. Now we are not.
  3. Before, I did not have a job that demanded a lot of my attention and time. Now I do.
  4. Before, we were not married, now we are. This means that a lot of logistical decisions about life affect both of us and merit discussion, whereas before I would just do what I did because it was my life and he was just my boyfriend.
All told, we are holding up well, but I do not recommend doing what we are doing. Fortunately though, in the grand scheme of things we are still good - he supports me and my job and is not blaming me for leaving him behind at all. The difficulties are just artifacts of the circumstances we are in.

I love the guy. But man, I wish he could visit me more.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Insurance and Gender Shiz

So I'm shopping around for car insurance. I'm applying for a bunch of online quotes. And a few websites (though I can't remember who), really really pissed me off.

Several, upon finding that I was married, then asked for the information on my spouse, and auto-filled the spousal last name to be the same as mine. It just struck me as strange, to see Mr. Phizz's first name paired with my last name. It made me just a little bit mad, that they made this assumption that spouses have the same last name.

Then, there was one website that actually HAD NO FIELD AT ALL for putting in the spouse last name. In other words, they had no means for me to indicate that Mr. Phizz and I have different last names. At all. I was like, wtf?

For some reason, this made me really really mad.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Movies and Books

I may feel really busy with work, but I've been managing to sneak in some time to watch movies and read books.

The books I've read have mostly been chick lit - where I just wanted some fluff that I could finish in a few hours so that when I got obsessed (which I always do), I would be able to return as a normal functioning human being quickly.

I've read:
  • Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella. My first Kinsella book. Appropriately cute and fluffy.
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Anne Brashares. Also a cute book. Very young feeling, but was fine. I enjoyed it for what it was.
  • The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri. This was a deeper book, definitely not chick lit. And I enjoyed it more deeply than the others, kind of how I would a really great dinner (as opposed to the other books, which I enjoyed the way I enjoy potato chips).
Currently, I'm reading a non-fiction book called "The Survival of Beauty" which assessed beauty in a quasi-scientific manner and what it means to society. I've only just begun, but since it's non-fiction I won't get as obsessed with the storyline and will be able to put it down when I need to.

As for movies, last night I saw "Taken" with Liam Neeson. First of all, Liam Neeson is a first-class actor. I'm not sure he used it so much in this movie, but he was an extremely believable character here. Anyway, the movie was just good. I was literally on the edge of my seat. Sometimes I use that phrase a bit flippantly, but toward the end of the movie I realized I had scooted up from being reclined on the couch to sitting on the edge, all tense and hunched. All in all, I enjoyed it. I'd recommend it for a Netflix rental. Perhaps not a $5 blockbuster rental, but as part of Netflix queue, I'd say, "foshizzle!"

I am trying to catch up on everyone's blogs. I have deeper things to blog but I never seem to have the time to put them to paper anymore. HA! Paper. I mean "the internet".

This was a totally useless post. Have great weekends all!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Long Absence

I've been so busy with everything - the whole getting up early to go to work, and then coming home hours later, preparing something to eat, and then doing minor bits of schoolwork, before crashing to repeat....I am more behind than I have EVER been in my blog reading!!

Anyhoo, let's see, how are things going with me?

I have gotten so fat. But I can't figure out how fat because I don't have a scale. And I don't want to buy one, because we have one - but it's with Mr. Phizz. Who absolutely does not need a scale. Heh.

Work is still interesting. It's quite interesting to get into the business side of what I've been researching. Companies can be pretty interesting environments in general. But the thing that I really wonder is how much "standards" affect researchers in academia.

For example, say, Microsoft - let's say someone in academia discovers some hot new way to do something, like say write parallel programs. But it requires not only a lot of rewriting, but the cooperation with a lot of customers. This is a pain in the ass for everyone, and the source of a lot of inertia in terms of industrial innovation.

In academia, you don't have this issue. You think of a hot new way to do something, and you do it. Then you publish it. Then you dance the happy dance.

This is something to get used to - the ability to adopt NewFangledAwesomeness is nearly just as, if not more important than, the awesomeness itself. In fact, if it hard to adopt, then it better be really freaking intensely awesome.

Anyhoo, this is just another one of the non-trivial adjustments I'm making now that I'm a corporate schmuck :).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Work is exciting! And other random thoughts

It's only been 3 days, but I'm enjoying it so much so far. First, I get to talk to people whom I find smart and interesting. Second, when I go home, I am home and I don't reeeeeeally have to worry about work anymore. Third, NewJobCity is beautiful. It's just so awesome in so many ways! I can't help but think that not only am I having way more impact than before by working on relevant industrial projects, but I am basically doing the same thing I used to do in grad school (research) but getting paid like 4-5 times as much. I can't get over how awesome that is, just in general!

I am seriously like so happy with everything right now - if only Mr. Phizz were around. Fortunately, he is coming to visit soon and I am even more happy about that.

The only thing I find a bit strange is how many meetings are held in the corporate world. It's like, a lot. Weekly group meetings were quite enough for me in grad school, but having like....sometimes 4 meetings in a day? Good lord. But sometimes it breaks up the day. Other times, it's just insane.

Oh yeah - and if I am not careful, I am going to get very, very fat from eating lunch out every day. Not only that, my wallet will get much thinner than it needs to be. I used to wonder about people who complained that they couldn't bring lunch because it broke social code at work. I thought that was the lamest excuse for being fat ever. However, I can see how that works. My boss doesn't ever bring lunch. When he says, "do you want lunch?" you want to say, "yes" so you can get face time with him. Plus, if a number of people go out every day, do you want to relinquish the only chance you have to hang out with people during the middle of the day? Not far, I have only brought my lunch a few times, partially because it's been hard to get to the store to buy lunch stuff, partly because I've been busy, and partly because I want to get plugged into the work network by going out to lunch with everyone.

Anyway, so those are my initial thoughts about being a full-time employee. Woo woo!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I miss Mr. Phizz

Today, I feel lonely. I miss my husband.

I'll see him in a few weeks. But still. I am hoping that work next week will be super exciting. But as it stands, now that I'm settling in, regular life is beginning, and I am realizing how much I will miss Mr. Phizz until he can come join me. It seems like life will now be an endless series of days at work, and coming home to....working on my thesis and no one. How depressing.

So, I just hope that work is exceedingly exciting. Which I think it might be, but I'll still miss Mr. Phizz.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Really Excited - and Scared

I'm really excited about my new job. It's basically....a perfect-sounding job for me. I'll be doing what I like to do. I'll be paid well for it. I'll be having an impact in helping to define the next generation of products. It's so freakin exciting.

But in the back of my mind, I'm worried that my starry-eyed excitement has more to do with the fact that I haven't really started yet, and that in a few months I'm going to realize that I'm a corporate schmuck that hates her job, just like everyone else in the world. Except I really don't think that's going to happen. Except that if it does, I'll be so disappointed.

At the same time, I'm also worried because they seemed to really want me to take this job. Because they think I'm going to kick ass. Like, a lot. And I'm worried that I won't live up to the hubbub and will fall totally, totally short. They'll be like, "why are we paying her again? why did we bring her on? this girl is nothing but an impostor!" I'll just have to work really hard to make sure this doesn't happen.

The other part of me is pleased as punch that I was so coveted for this position. That's right. I'm a rock star.

I'm going to kick some major ass.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hello Peeps!!!

So I emerge from a house with no internet, and from a cold that knocked me flat - the first really, really, REALLY bad cold I've had in a long time. The kind of cold I hope I never get again because now that I'm a working woman, I can't afford to deal with that kind of inability to move.

This is my first post in what feels like a long time. Longer than it's been. So much has changed - I'm several times zones away from where I lived, and also from my husband. I'm living in new quarters. I don't have most of my stuff. Even Mr. Phizz has moved out of our old place and living somewhere else. Everything is discombobulated. I don't have a car.

How do I find mooring?

I find mooring with books. I found a book from a roommate's shelf and began to read. And read. And read. If you haven't read "Rhett Butler's People" and you loved Gone with the Wind, then go out, get the book, and read it. If you read "Scarlett" as the sequel to GWTW - forget it. We know it sucked. Replace it in your mind with this book. It was so wonderfully done. The author was selected by the Margaret Mitchell estate to write the authorized sequel, and I really think he did a fine job. It's not nearly as good as GWTW, but many parts evoke it very strongly, and I think it's just far and away a trillion times better than Scarlett. It's well worth reading.

I will try to catch up with everyone's posts. I am so behind.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I am super excited about my new life but I have a 101 degree fever. Too much excitement I guess. Eck.

I will try to get to regularly blogging again soon, when I am more settled and not sick anymore.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Details :)

So, InternshipCity is really a lovely place, particularly in the summer months. It sure beats where I arrived from, which is place I really do not like. At all.

So I've been at work a week and they got the a-ok to hire someone, and of course I jumped at the opportunity. I am excited about the prospect of working here, very much so.

Of course, Mr. Phizz complicates things but that will not keep me from taking this job. I want OUT of where we were living. I can handle it and we can handle it. We are video-chatting right now. :)

The thing I've been wracking my mind most about is the negotiation process, but I think I'm doing a pretty good job. I am going to making literally buttloads of money that I don't know what to do with. It will be very exciting, coming off my grad salary. I went shopping today and bought shoes that were not on sale!!! ZOMG!!!!! Then I bought some tops that were super cute for work, because I am not dressing like a grad student for work, I will dress like a grown-up professional!!!

I am just really happy. This is a very very good fit for me. It is all working out. The only wrinkle is the situation with Mr. Phizz but we have such a rocking relationship that it will, again, work out. He's going to try to come sometime next year. It will be ok. Now that I'm here and he isn't, I realize how independent I can be and how I do not need him to feel alive. I am not co-dependent. I love him to death, but if he is not here, that does not mean I cannot be damned excited about this job offer and what I have managed to do for myself. I am going to build a kickass life here and when he comes we will live happily ever after.

And we will not be one of those couples where the wife follows the husband around where he goes. He is the best husband ever.

Friday, May 22, 2009


I have a full-time job offer!!!!!!!!!!

I am enjoying InternshipCity and I am just on cloud 9.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Doing the Bullet Thing

  • I leave TODAY!!!!!!!!!! (corollary: AAAAAAAAAH) (2nd: corollary - also excited!)
  • I found out yesterday a girl I knew from my hometown just lost her newborn preemie, after one month. That....floored me. At that very moment I was looking outside my window into the park nearby and there were no less than 4 young mothers with their small children outside playing, and my heart ached for this girl.
  • The older I get, the more I realize how cruel the world can be. Somehow I managed to be shielded from tragedy my entire life until the last several years.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Leaving for my Internship

I leave in exactly 1 week. The closer it gets, the sadder I get about the prospect of leaving Mr. Phizz for the summer. I know it's only for a summer, and actually we've done this before, but not since we've been married....and I am just....sad!!

Recently I met a friend of Mr. Phizz's from the old days and she was telling us how she just got a TT job at Northeastern School. We were like, "great!!" She said the only bad thing is that her fiance just got a TT job at Deep Southern School. The plan is to take both of the jobs...and the beginnings of their marriage trying to get tenure at these two very different and quite far apart universities.

The whole thought just made me depressed. Is that what it comes to? When you have two high-flying individuals with separate career aspirations? I can do anything that's temporary, like on the order of months, but I could not decide to live apart from Mr. Phizz for 5-6 years. What happens if they both get tenure? What...happens?

How common is it for academic couples to just live apart for substantial parts of their lives, or for indefinite periods of time?

I will not live apart like that from Mr. Phizz. This summer, I can handle. But whatever happens I dont' think so.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I'm not really an open-sourcer myself, so I am really far removed from this brouhaha that's going on in the Ruby coding community. But I'm plugged in to the happenings on the inter-tubes, and apparently there was a big thing recently over a talk given at the Golden Gate Ruby Conference, which is a conference held in the Bay Area about a development platform called Ruby which is really useful and rapidly increasing in popularity.

This dude gave a talk where an analogy of databases:porn was made through the entire presentation, be-thonged women in numerous pictures included.

The kicker is, when some people (not all women) objected to the nature of the presentation....entire hordes of people said, "get over yourselves and get some sense of humor."

Since I'm really not involved in this community at all, I'm not going to say much more because I don't know anything about the players involved, but just reading about this from the sidelines makes me really sad.

Really? Really? This is your title page? Is this for real?

This wasn't even the only bare ass in this presentation. I think, given that I *do* have a good sense of humor, I might have been able to handle this title page, maybe, if I were at a journal club with a bunch of my friends only. MAYBE. Now that I think about it, actually probably not. But I know I would not be ok with seeing this at a conference, however edgy it is supposed to be. Sigh. Sigh Sigh. Imagine being in a room with a few hundred men, and a handful of women, and watching this talk. Wtf. I'm sad. So sad.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!

As a person who lived near our nation's Southern Border, Cinco de Mayo was often a big deal when I was growing up. Not so much here in the Northeast, but maybe I'll have some tequila today anyway :).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Power of Music

This video brought tears to my eyes. It shows how technology can be so transformative these days - a laptop, a microphone, a great song, and thousands of frequent flyer miles will get you this amazing video. Basically the video makers flew around the world with a base track from a street performer in Santa Monica and had musicians all over the world perform on top of it while listening to it on headphones, and the compilation is basically fucking awesome. Read more about it and some of the artists on gizmodo.

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Parents

My parents came to visit this weekend, for a really short visit from FarAwayState.

I love them and I miss them already. They are the best parents ever. EVAR.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Mr. Phizzle just told me I had to exercise today. I basically told him to go fuck himself and give me the last piece of pizza.

Except that I know he's right. I really do. I need to go take a kickboxing class or something, except that I'm full now and feeling petulant and ready to punch something, as long as I stay with my ass glued to the couch doing it..


I need to remember what the Buddhist sentiment - life is not supposed to be easy. It's hard, so just fucking deal with it.

Want to know what set me off today?

1) Experiments coming along slowly. Finally got a full set of results for one experiment today. Results bad. SHIT.

2) Watched a segment on the History Channel about Ben Franklin and what a freakin badass he was. I am in awe of his rockstar status. Made me feel bad about myself, that I suck so hard compared to BFranklin (yeah, talk about being mentally meta-stable...THAT set me off? Ridiculous).

3) Read my alumni magazine from ILU and realized that major feature articles are all talking about how fresh graduates can't find jobs. Greeeeaaaaattt.

For Toaster

I have a feeling you will crap your pants on this one:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Writing a Results Section

I'm working on a paper, new and improved from the last rejection, and I've got lots and lots more shiny new data.

It's a lot, perhaps too much, and I don't know how to present it effectively. I'm having a really hard time.

My advisor advised me to work backwards - think about the points that I want to make and then make the graphs from there. But I don't have all the data finished yet, and it takes a long time to run them all. My fear is I will plan to make a point that won't actually be shown by any of my data (which is a bit irrational because I'm pretty sure what will come out, but that's just the way I work I guess).

How do you write your results section? How do you lay it out and construct it?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Privilege Meme

I saw this over at RESEARCHERS from Dr. A. and was inspired to remind myself that I have had a fucking good life, and I deserve this time of "trial" in terms of job search. It will put hair on my chest. How privileged was I? We weren't rich in any way, but I didn't lack for anything, and my parents deprived themselves quite a bit so we could have what we had.

The items that apply to me are BOLD

1. Father went to college

2. Father finished college

3. Mother went to college

4. Mother finished college

5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor

6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home

9. Were read children’s books by a parent

10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18

11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18 see above (soccer, piano, *edit - I forgot swimming)

12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (what people? growing up there were like no asian people on TV, and if they were asian, they were men doing kung fu)

13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18

14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs

15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs

16. Went to a private high school

17. Went to summer camp (once a soccer day camp, another time a sleepaway camp for gifted kids)

18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18 (this is not a sign of privilege in my culture, but a sign of shame)

19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels (sometimes - often we went camping but also we'd stay at places like motel 6 sometimes)

20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18 (Just about, some homemade though)

21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (it was $800, woot woot!)

22. There was original art in your house when you were a child

23. You and your family lived in a single family house

24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home

25. You had your own room as a child.

26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18

27. Participated in a college entrance exam (eg. SAT/ACT) prep course

28. Had your own TV in your room (and neither will my kids, no matter how much money we have)

29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College (I think my mom started one for me in college? I am not sure.)

30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16 (several times to visit the "land of my ancestors", also to move across the country)

31. Went on a cruise with your family (in college)

32. Went on more than one cruise with your family

33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up. (Not many, but a few times)

34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family. (In warm climes, heating bills are a non-issue)

From "What Privileges Do You Have?", based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you please acknowledge their copyright.

Bottom line, I had a pretty sweet childhood. I also have a selective memory, I apparently remember childhood much more fondly than my sister, and when I am reminded of shit that happened, I just go "oh yeah" shit happened but I DON'T REMEMBER IT!!! I'm kind of glad I'm that way.

Monday, April 20, 2009

No Longer Feeling Worthless - Just Pissed

I've been talking to a few friends who are also looking for jobs - good, smart, competent people, from freaking Top 5 programs, and they are having shittons of trouble too. Other friends are too afraid to even try, and part of me is like, "that will probably help, since maybe by the time they start things will be better."

I mean seriously. Yesterday I was angry at the world. I spent 30 minutes on a ferry ride reminiscing in a bad way about a friend I cut out of my life 5+ years ago. Rehashing shit and getting pissed. Then I went to yoga class and got pissed about yoga, it wasn't until she had us doing some crazy balance move that I had to really concentrate on that I felt a little better. Then I came back home and got pissed at my neighbors and their godawfully noisy kid. Then I got pissed because the computer at school that I was networked into hung and I couldn't access it anymore. Then I started with chatting with my friends who told me it's a fucking bitch out there in the job market.

I realized in the middle of all this that I was just angry in general. Fucking angry.

However, I realize being angry does nothing productive so I am trying to control it, but seriously, there is something wrong if PhDs in my field can't find jobs that suit them. I've never cared about financials much before, but I, too, am waited with bated breath for profit announcements from IBM and others, since Intel and Google gave theirs and, while they were ok, didn't inspire confidence on a rebound of the tech sector.

The main problem is, if everyone is tightening their belts, then they just don't spend money on tech. No new phones, new computers, new software...and the primary problem is corporate. Corporations usually rotate a lot of upgrades every couple of years or so and they are not really doing that right now, so the tech industry is hurting in that regard, all because of some rich dumbfucks who thought they could control the world and be masters of the universe with some dumbfuck financial derivatives whose value really could not be quantified except perhaps in terms of ExceptionalSuckiness.

Then I listen to these crazy insane assholes on Fox News talking shit about stuff and I just want to punch them all in the face because they are douchebag idiots who don't know a dumbfuck (like Bush) when they see one. Seriously, Sean Hannity needs to stop saying, "Maybe President Obama learned this from the pews of Reverend Wright's church or from hanging out with William Ayers too much..." Because seriously, the douchebag says it like every day. I'm not joking, I saw him say that 2 or 3 times on 2 or 3 different days in one week because he is a fucking moron.

Can you tell I'm angry? This post has turned out to be nothing a fucking rant because I am angry at the world. I just want a fucking job that makes use of what I am good at. Fuck. I fucking sound like CPP right now, I just need to throw in a reference to some fucking wackaloons and I am set.

Anyway, I used to wonder how I would deal in the face of adversity because I've never REALLY faced any real adversity because in general, my life has been one long picnic and I'm a fucking lucky beyotch. In the grand scheme of things, everything is still fine, because I am not out of options yet. So maybe it's my time to be tested a bit. My grandparents had dealt with way more serious shit by this age. My parents too. This is a fucking cakewalk and I should take it in stride. I'm trying. But I'm still fucking pissed.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Article for JLK to pick apart

A recent blog post in the NYT talks about a lot of the stuff JLK and DuWayne are super into. I read it with interest.

Apparently, these days a boy being called a "fag" or "gay" in school is the ultimate kiss of death in terms of coolness, to the point that some kids are being driven to kill themselves once they've been pegged with these epithets. And that all that it takes to be called one of those terms is to care about school, your clothes, or have an ounce of effeminate characteristics.

While I am all for "girls can be anything they want," I've been a bit disturbed by the lack of progress in acceptable boy behavior as a society. They really do seemed to be trapped in a really monosyllabic note in terms of what's ok, and that sucks.

I read in "The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan that American suffragette Lucy Stone's mother cried upon learning the sex of her latest child, "Oh dear, I am so sorry it's a girl. A woman's life is so hard." I wholeheartedly believe that was true before, but I think it is definitely less so now.

These days, I just think it's hard to be a kid. Every time I see a kid, and I think about having one of my own (thoughts about that here), I get paralyzed with fear that my kid will be teased mercilessly for one reason or another. It's a miracle I got through my childhood pretty unscathed, but I think that was a combination of 1) my personality, 2) my parents, 3) my community, 4) my particular school, 5) my particular combination of classmates, 6) sheer luck.

How can I make sure that same tenuous balance happens for my kid? I think it's really important to live somewhere that's diverse and urban, so that a lot more behavior is acceptable for both boys and girls, and there is a lot of shit to do besides gossip about someone.

My high school was over 3000 people. No one could ruin your life because at any given moment only 500 people even knew who you were, the other 2500 didn't know or care about you. You could only become a pariah in a small distinct group and it wasn't too hard to just...move to another. On top of that, there were so many people that in general, you could ALWAYS find 4 other people who were as unusual as you and be friends. Groups of dudes who played D&D and Magic all through lunch? Yeah - about 10 of them. Kids who cared about school and took lots of AP classes? About 60-100 of them. Cheerleaders? I didn't know who they were, and I didnt' care. Football players? Pretty much the same. Kids trash-canned and thrown into lockers? Never happened. A guy my year even catapulted to popularity for getting a leading role in a play with the Drama Club. Band kids weren't even considered lame. They were a good band.

Can I find a school like that for my kid and make sure it's a pretty healthy, functional place? Why do I wonder this even if I am sooooo ambivalent about whether I even want one, ever?

Because I overthink things and am crazy :).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shitty Shitty Fuck Fuck

I just got rejected from another job.

I take each of these personally, I can't help it. I feel worthless, stupid, impostor-ish, and I don't actually know how to do anything useful. Shit. I'll never find a fucking job.

Plus, Mr. Phizz's bike got stolen last night.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On Children

I had a conversation with Mr. Phizz yesterday about children.

I have always assumed I would have a few, because...well, that's what you did. You grew up, got married, and had children. I did not grow up with an all-consuming desire to be married and have a family, I just assumed I would.

Well, I've (kinda) grown up and gotten married. But damned if I feel like having any children right now (or any time soon). But the idea of deciding to not have any seems sooooo radical to my previous assumptions, my upbringing, and that of my husband's, that I'm a bit thrown by the idea.

Mr. Phizz says to just not worry about it. We don't want any now, so that's that. We have a number of years before push will really come to shove and we have to decide if we want to avoid having to use fertility treatments and such. So we really don't have to make any decisions now. I suppose I'll just let it go and stop wondering if I want any kiddos at all. Because, while I like kids, I really...really...REALLY cannot imagine having one of my own any time soon.

I know a number of you science bloggers don't have kids and have actively and overtly decided you will not have any. How did you come to that decision? Do you ever fear you will change your mind?

NBC hits new low

Seriously???? Linky.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

STUFF - too much of it

In my young life, I have moved all of my "stuff" 14 times. I think that's about right.

As a result, my natural pack-rat sensibilities have been quashed by my hatred of moving "stuff". Every time I know I am going to move (which, let's face it, is like every year), I go through a frenzy of throwing things away. Just...getting...rid...of...stuff. It hurts so good.

I am currently listening to loud rock music and going through my clothes and getting rid of stuff I don't think I ever want to wear again and putting them in a Goodwill pile. Unfortunately, since I do this practically annually, I have not come up with a lot of stuff. However, I have ditched 3 pairs of daisy dukes I have not worn since early grad school. Husband was a little disappointed, but agreed that someone my age should NEVER wear those shorts. Ever. Ever. I can't believe I even have them.

So there - more grown-up-ifying of my wardrobe. I am also going through my purse collection. I used to have a big thing for purses and handbags. But that seems to have faded and I see no reason to drag a purse I won't ever use again that was in style 5 years ago from domicile to domicile. Especially since I have seen the light and don't even use purses at all anymore - I am now a wristlet girl. No more purses sliding off my slippery REI jacket!!

Any time I think about "stuff", I also think about how freaking lucky I am. Here in the US, we just have so much STUFF, most of it superfluous but much if it quasi-necessary to keep up with the pace of life we have here. I don't think I am particularly wasteful (I use cameras until they are no good - years, and same with my phones. I think it's insane to buy new ones every year or season or whatever - and I wonder what people who do so do with their old ones. I hope they dispose responsibly or donate or SOMETHING instead of tossing them in the garbage). However, I realize that I have more stuff than entire villages of people in Third World countries. And it makes me feel a both guilty and fortunate at the same time.

I just want FSM to know that I am very grateful for the life that I lead. But a little bit mad that life needs me to move. Again. Not only out to my internship for the summer, but out of our little apartment too. Sigh. And I don't know where I'm going to live come Sept. Awesome.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Many a Geek will be saddened by this

Co-creator of D&D dies.

I never played, but I know it's one of the first loves of many a geek.

Life Status

I am taking the internship.

I am not defending prior to taking the internship. For reasons I will not discuss openly, I am fairly comfortable with that. Besides, I'm almost done with Chapter 3 and am doing pretty well with Chapter 5, so that's all good. My latest mental deadline is October and I'm sure I can do that, not stress myself out, and get myself PAID this summer way more than with my miserable stipend.

I have not gotten any job offers yet. Another good thing about internships is they are usually extensible, so if I'm still in trouble in the middle of the summer and no one wants to give me a real job, I can just extend the internship. But still, I need to apply to a few more places, I think.

I wish I knew where we were going to live for the next few years. Then we'd totally buy a house. I can't help but feel this is just an awesome time to buy - but we have no idea. So no house buying. But I wish we could.......I find myself wistfully paging through listed homes on, all in various cities where we might end up but really have no idea....

I am planning to bike commute all summer on a cyclocross bike. I'm allz excited about that. Wooooooo! Any excuse to buy a new bike is a good excuse to me.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Bad Memory

I am back. I had a great time hanging with the JLK, then spent the weekend in BigNearbyCity while Mr. Phizz was away so I wouldn't die of loneliness. I hung out with friends, went to museums, and ate dim sum. I went shopping, spoke with my best friend IN PERSON, and it was just awesome. And now Mr. Phizz is back, and all is well. It's a good reminder that the Internet is just the Internet. I have a Real Life to attend to.

Anyhoo, recently an incident which occurred to me as a very small child came roaring back to me, for some reason. And it makes me sad, and it makes me mad. Because it has to do with some pretty heinous behavior directed at a child for her race.

I won't even pretend to know what it's like to be a different race. I only know what it's like to be mine, and it's not ALWAYS a picnic, though I will fully acknowledge that I believe it is a lot easier than being, say, black in America.

But when I was a little kid, I believe I was all of seven, a few things happened with a neighbor of mine. This man was father to two of my friends from across the street, and he always seemed pretty gruff and not especially friendly. But he was an adult. And adults always know what they are doing (that's what my seven-year-old self thought, anyway).

One day I was talking to this man for whatever reason, somehow the subject turned to presidents. I was probably telling him we were learning about presidents in school. He said to me, "Do you want to know who the greatest president in the history of America is?"

I surely did. I had a thirst for knowledge back then that kind of blows my mind right now.

He told me Harry Truman.

I tucked that piece of knowledge into my brain.

In school, I think the question was raised of who the greatest president was. Lots of people raised their hands, including me. I wasn't called on, but I was appalled to hear that no one said Harry Truman. After all, an adult had told me so. I didn't know what he had done and I had never heard of him before, but an adult had told me so. Therefore, everyone else had to be missing something, he must be greater than Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt...even though I had heard of those guys.

A few weeks later, his overstimulated son beat me up. He was a boy, and he wanted to fight, not because he was mad at me, but because he wanted to. He explained that he and his friend fight all the time and it was fun. I didn't want to fight. I had never been in a physical fight with anyone. He fought me anyway. My new pants got grass-stained. My head slammed into the wooden fence. I cried.

I ran across the street with two other neighbor friends (who were white boys) to "tell." I told him that his son had beat me up, my pants were ruined, and that he hit my head against the fence.

This man looked down at my little tearful self and said, "Well, what do you want me to do about it?"

I was shocked, I didn't know what to say. I explained again that his son had beat me up, had hurt me. He repeated, "So....WHAT do you want me to do about it??"

After a little while, it was clear he was not planning to mete out one iota of punishment, nor was he remotely sympathetic. Writing this is bringing tears to my eyes from the recollection. That this man could be such a jackass to a tiny little seven-year-old is beyond me. Even my other friends were surprised. I remember clearly, one of them said to console me, "He's not a very good father." The injustice was apparent to them, as well. They, like me, didn't know why he acted that way.

These are all just memories. I don't have a whole lot of memories from when I was this age, but these are very, very clear.

When I got older, I suddenly thought back to these events, and it struck me that this guy was probably anti-Asian. Probably, more specifically he was probably anti-Japanese but had never bothered to realize which Asian nationality I was, because I'm not that one. Not that how he acted would be ok if I were. After I got older and got a more complete vision of what all the Presidents were known for, I realized this: Harry Truman is known for his "The Buck Stops Here" sign, his excessive swearing, and dropping the Bomb. You know the Bomb I am talking about. Can you think of anything else you could possibly know about Harry Truman that would stand out?

Who knows. Maybe the guy hated little kids, except his own. Maybe he wouldn't have punished his son if he had beaten up anyone, whether they were Asian or not. Maybe he was just in a bad mood. But a large part of me, when you put it together with a lot of things I vaguely recall from childhood, feels sure that he just didn't like Asian people.

It still amazes me though, that he would treat a child the way he treated me. Well, suck it Mr. X. I rock.

To think that these days, this shit is probably happening to little Arab girls around the country breaks my heart.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Internet is Crazy

And I don't feel like being on it for a little while.

Instead, I'll meet JLK IRL today.

And I'll leave you with the totally awesome webcomic to read while I take a hiatus of undetermined length. It could be only a day or two, or it could be a week. Anyway. Geek girls, check it out. It's seriously, seriously rockin'.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bike Snobbery

To you bike commuters out there (Cath, Dr. J, anyone else?) - I am considering doing the same for my internship, I think it will be eminently bikeable (~6 miles each way?) and good for me. However, I have a SWEET road bike which I do not think should ever be "locked up" anywhere but always kept inside unless I am riding her many many miles.

So the plan is to get a commuter bike. However, my perspective is skewed in terms of what is ok or not ok to commute with since I generally road bike with probably excessive snobbery. These are things I have learned from my bike snob friends which I think are probably not true for commuting, please correct me if I am wrong, plus a few random questions.

1) "It is never ok to ride a bike with Sora components".

That may be true if one is planning to ride 60-70 miles at a time, regularly, on hilly terrain, and race. However I realize that may not be true for a commuter bike. Does your bike have good drivetrain components or do you find entry level just fine?

2) "Don't get a bike without a carbon fork."

Again, probably true if you are planning to ride century rides all summer, but probably not so if you're going to ride an hour a day commuting? Or maybe it would be nice to have a carbon fork if you're in a pothole-y area. I don't know. What about a CroMoly fork? That seems ok. Or maybe even a steel bike in general? That would be sexy, retro, and old school.

3) Do you ride a double or a triple front crank?

My inclination is to get a double because I don't plan to bring a ton of bike tools (or any, even) with me and won't be able to maintain my bike. The less can go wrong, the better. I am not a good enough biker to go single-speed.

4) Recommendations on panniers? I've never had one, and I think I should get one if I am going to use my bike to carry more than just a spare tube and a multitool.

5) Am I just being a total ridiculous snob and you just got your bike for free from a neighbor who didn't want it anymore and you don't know anything about it but it's fine?

In that case, I am overthinking this. Like I over think....lots of things :).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

So yeah

No one I know says I should defend before going on this internship. These are all people who are on my side too, people who look out for me. So....yeah. Since several of these people are also on my committee, it looks like....I'm not defending soon. This year, yes. But

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What goes in a Research Statement?

I am applying to a Big Industrial Lab now (New Leads Option 2), and it requires a Research Statement.

I have some idea of what a Research Statement for an academic job should look like - you should present what you want to do as you lead your newly formed lab into the future. I have ONE sample from a guy who is now a professor at a top school, and he talked about what he did for his thesis (without any specifics really, just "I worked on this problem"). And then he talked about what he wanted to do to continue that.

I am kind of at a loss because I want to kind of continue what I have been doing, but I really kind of want to branch out. But I have been so tunnel-visioned lately, that I really haven't thought about what I'd like to work on in the future, and of the things that interest me, I actually don't know anything about them. It just sounds cool.

Additionally, this is NOT for an academic job and I do not have to lead my own group. Instead, I would be joining Big Industrial Lab, for which I would plan to insert myself into other projects that sound interesting before pushing onto some tangent that I find interesting on my own. I don't know if this is something acceptable to say (probably not), but I certainly don't have anything like a grant proposal in my pocket to describe, and I'm not sure they expect that. Or do they?

So....yeah, I don't know how to approach this. Help?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day Post - Corrinne Yu

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, and I signed a pledge to blog about a Lady Computer Scientist on this day.

I chose to blog about Corrinne Yu, who is basically one of the most amazing people I had never heard of (until recently).

She is a GIANT in the field of game development. What do you think of when you think of computer games? Specifically, what do you think of when you think of the following?

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
Aliens: Colonial Marines

I'll tell you. You think of guys. Geeky guys. Well, guess what? Corrinne Yu is a big part of all of those games. She codes, she write the engines that support these games. She's a technical big shot. And this is her:

I can't believe I had never heard of her. I'm not really into games, but a hott Asian chick kicking ass and taking names in a male-dominated computing field? She's my freakin' hero(ine)!!! She is a dramatically different member of the game development community by stereotype, but not by skill or prowess, and that is what I really respect and admire. It's hard to kick ass and not fit in, and she does it. Kudos to her.

So, Corrinne was the Director of Technology at Gearbox Games (yes, Director of Technology), but was hired away by Microsoft to lead the Halo development team. Halo. Halo. Talk about SHE MUST KICK SERIOUS ASS. I love it. I don't play games, but I must say, I was blown away and excited by the knowledge of her existence, and I must share.

To read more about Corrinne, check out this interview with her: Linky.