"So this is the foundation for my
internet diary - searching for the
truth and seeing what else comes
along on the way."
05.19.99 diary entry
Cast of Characters
Quote of the Day:
"Dairine's energy levels were usually such that you wanted to hook her up to wires and make serious money by selling power to the electric company."
The Wizard's Dilemma
Spring Break 2003 Accomplishments
I'm not sure if "accomplishments" accurately depicts the events of the past week, but "disappointments" is just too depressing as a title. At the end of the winter quarter I was thrilled to have this time free of classes to focus on my research project and maybe have some fun. So I focused on my project, but fun was not in the cards. I kept a running list of the accomplishments/disappointments that characterized my week in order to remember a spring break that used a different definition than I would have liked. Rather than being a relaxing "break" time it nearly caused me to "break" instead.
1) Went to the lab, intending to run low temperature experiments, but discovering Caesar Chavez Day instead.
2) Bought new notebooks for the spring quarter.
3) Composed my "Spring Quarter 2003" Resolutions (quite a strenuous task).
1) Went to the lab, intending to run low temperature experiments, but discovering screwy behavior of just about every piece of equipment instead.
2) Complained, screamed, and kicked something.
3) Yet somehow managed to complete one experiment that yielded useful results. Keep in mind that one complete set involves data from eight separate experiments, though.
1) Spent eight hours in the lab.
2) Went from being frantic about everything to not caring about anything in the span of one hour. I couldn't believe it either, but that's what happened. See what working on my research project can do to a person? It's a disaster that can't manage to produce any valuable data in two whole quarters.
1) Spent ten hours in the lab.
2) Finally gathered a good amount of data, with Caesar assistance. Maybe this will keep our advisors from killing us. I am in favor of anything that will save my life and if it can help me make it through this week too I'll be eternally grateful.
3) Saw on Oprah that parents should embrace their children's studying idiosyncrasies. Including watching TV while studying. And I saw this while watching TV and studying. This is my favorite academic atmosphere. No one seems to understand my strange habits, but I seem to concentrate better with ambient noise. Haven't I written about this before?
1) After sleeping only one and a half hours the night before, somehow made it to the lab at 8 AM to print out graphs for my research group meeting an hour later.
2) Was reminded what a disaster my research project is at the meeting. I scribbled down a list of half a dozen items that my advisor needed today as it was dictated to me and each item made me more anxious than the last.
3) Completed five of the six items, but gave up on a particularly difficult derivation and went home to take a nap.
4) Bought the newest Princess Diaries book. That made me happy.
Spring Quarter 2003 Resolutions
Looking back on my New Year's resolutions I realize that I haven't followed any of them and thats a bit embarrassing. So I decided to make another set of resolutions and try again. Give me a few months and we'll see how well I can adhere to these instead.
1) Stop procrastinating in all areas of my life
2) Keep up with studying to prevent being panicked just before an exam
3) Get more than five hours of sleep each night by going to bed earlier than 3 AM
4) Eat a more balanced diet that includes more than frozen pizza
5) (Nearly) Eliminate junk food and soda from my daily menu
6) Drink as much water as I am supposed to
7) Use workout videos everyday whether I feel like it or not
8) Wear sunscreen lotion even though it doesn't smell like Bath and Body Works
9) Make time for leisure reading so I can have an excuse to buy more books
10) Update online diary (this page you are looking at) more often
My point is, it was a flashback
Quote of the Day:
"Eight 5-1/4" floppies hold the key to time travel."
Mystery Science Theater 3000
NOTE: This entry was written entirely on my Palm Pilot while waiting for my stupid research experiment to reach steady state so I could gather data. So please forgive the rather short sentences that seem to be a product of writing with the little stylus. It's a toss-up between my familiar keyboard and the tiny handheld screen. This entry might not have been written at all if not for my Palm, but I'm much more comfortable with the outcome if it was composed on my laptop.
Today, in my graduate-level flow stability class, my professor showed a video. This is an unusual occurrence in a theoretical engineering course because how exactly do you demonstrate equations on film? I remember watching a video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in a demonstration of resonant frequency back in some class at UF. Any engineer knows what I'm talking about. For everyone else, let's just say that bridge is no longer in existence. My point is that you rarely see videos in my classes, so today was an exception.
It reminded me of my younger days for two reasons. When was the last time you saw an educational film from the sixties? In my case it's probably been since middle school. So I regressed about ten years while watching a professor with a very strong Norwegian accent explaining flow instabilities. Not that it was a bad film. In fact, if my professor had shown this video earlier in the quarter, I think I would have had a much easier time understanding the course material. My point is that I felt about fourteen years old while the video was playing. Not quite the competent, independent graduate student I see myself as.
The other reason I regressed during class today was the presence of a certain piece of obsolete technology. And I don't mean any of the equipment used in the video from the sixties. It was a Beta player. Not only did this remind me of trips to the video store when the rental tapes were split between Beta and VHS, but I also giggled like a little girl which amplified the regression. It's been at least twenty years since anyone had access to a Beta tape. That being the case, my first question is, how old is that machine? My second question is, why is it still around? Surely the university could find some better use for it than taking up space on a cart with a still usable TV and VCR (but probably of comparable ages by the looks of them). Like a boat anchor. Or a free weight. You know, something like in those satellite dish commercials. I'm sure some museum is in search of a Beta player, but figures they have all been used in such manners already. My point is that it's been a long time since I saw a Beta player.
My life has been very boring lately due to classes and research taking up all of my time. Since my class amused me today I figured this might be my only chance to write a (relatively interesting) diary entry for a while. My final exams are next Monday and Tuesday so I can guarantee no excitement between now and then. I know it's rare, but I am thankful for my class today because my research experiments certainly did not amuse me. Everything seemed to be going bonkers for no good reason. The flow reading was wacko even though all of the pressure gauges were showing normal readings. Not that anybody cares, but it was weird. My point is, be thankful for any and all excitement life sends your way, no matter what form it may take. Today mine looked like a Beta player.