Lauren's Diary

"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

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Music and Movies
Tuesday, 01.27.04

Quote of the Day:
�And then Merlin went chapter 11 and the magical trees and trolls were liquidated. And today he's an assistant manager at the Limited.�
MST: 3K episode, �Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders�


Despite the obvious aggravations, there is one good thing about driving in Los Angeles between 6 and 7 PM � I am sure to catch the countdown. The three most requested songs of the day played in succession never fails to put a smile on my face. Except when I�m not crazy about one of the songs. But that doesn�t happen very often. Usually they are songs I already have on one CD or another, but I don�t have to change discs in between when they�re on the radio. Today the three songs were ones I particularly like so it made the drive in evening traffic (almost a complete standstill) much more pleasant.

1) �Come Clean� by Hillary Duff
2) �Invisible� by Clay Aiken
3) �Beautiful Soul� by Jesse McCartney

Despite the obvious aggravations, there is one good thing about driving in Los Angeles for an hour and a half in the morning � I am sure to hear my favorite songs on Radio Disney at least once. And sometimes twice since the station�s play list is so short. The reason I listen to Radio Disney, besides my juvenile taste in music, is the fact that I like most of the songs. And when they recycle them so often that�s a good thing. As with the countdown it�s convenient to have the songs I want to listen to, but don�t have on the same CD, played one after the other. Usually I have my current favorite CDs on the passenger seat in the car, but even then it�s dangerous to change them while driving on the freeway.

1) �Ultimate� by Lindsay Lohan
2) �Look Through My Eyes� Phil Collins
3) �Juliet� by LMNT


February 12, 2002
�In other news, I was pleased to see that �The Fellowship of the Ring� (13), �Moulin Rouge� (8), and �Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone� (3) received as many Academy Awards nominations as they did.�

February 11, 2003
�A best picture Oscar nomination for �The Two Towers� somehow validates the fact that I've seen it four times. At least to me. It's been a long time since I went to a theater to see a movie that many times. Probably since �The Lion King� during the summer of 1994. My friends and I were crazy about it. Anyway, TTT received five other nominations, but all in technical categories. To an engineer, however, those are as impressive as any others.�

January 27, 2004
�I wasn�t awake at 5:30 AM on the West Coast when the Academy Award nominations were announced, but I saw them replayed on the morning news. I was pleased with the eleven nominations for �Return of the King,� although none of them were in acting categories. After winning two Golden Globes for music I am optimistic that the original score and original song Oscars will go to ROTK. Those are two of my favorite categories anyway.�


I am starting to replace some of the movies I have on video with DVDs. Sometimes it�s because I�m partial to the widescreen version and a DVD is the only way to obtain it. Sometimes it�s because my tapes are more than ten years old and wearing out. And sometimes it�s because the special features, notably deleted scenes, show more of my favorite movies than was previously available. I went to Best Buy today to purchase the Disneymania 2 CD, as dictated by my latest spending rules (see previous diary entry), and ended up browsing the DVD section as well. After much search and deliberation I purchased �The Princess Diaries� DVD, although I already own the video, which has eight deleted scenes.

While browsing the DVDs at Best Buy I was looking for a copy of �The Little Mermaid� since it is one of my favorite movies. When I couldn�t find it, or most of the other Disney animated movies that I love, I went to the Disney website to see why that was the case. Apparently many of their most popular movies have been placed in the �Disney Vault� and are not available for purchase at present. Now I wish I had my complete collection of video tapes! Since �The Little Mermaid� was released on video in 1990 I have been collecting the animated movies, but most of them are still in Tallahassee. The only one I have here in Los Angeles is �Lilo and Stitch� and that�s because it was a gift from Dan. We saw that movie on one first anniversary. Each time I am in Tallahassee I intend to bring some of the video back with me, but I never have space in my suitcase. At least I have the special editions of �Beauty and the Beast� and �The Lion King� on DVD. Until I find a way to pack more efficiently I�ll have to do without �Aladdin,� �Mulan,� and �Tarzan.�

Unfinished Lists
Saturday, 01.24.04

Quote of the Day:
"You've become, what we call in the revenge business, �next.' "
Golden Girls


1) More leisure reading
With all of the books I own but haven�t read (see list below) and the books am dying to buy (see my ever-increasing Amazon wish list) this resolution seems necessary. And since I love to read it should be easy to follow. By doing so I will shorten the list of books I own but haven�t read and justify purchasing the books I am dying to buy. By reading books I can buy books, and by buying books I can read books. A built-in reward. Cool. And when I need a break from paperbacks I can turn to my favorite Harry Potter online fanfiction. The author is about to post a new (long-awaited) chapter and I can�t wait. It will be chapter 14 of the third installment of a trilogy that has a total of 39 chapters already. Yesterday I finished reading chapter 13 (originally posted in June) so I am up to date on the plotline and fully prepared for the next installment. It took me more than two months to read the entire trilogy. Maybe now I�ll go back and read the actual Harry Potter books again.

2) More sleeping
Since I am only taking one class and doing research this quarter there should be no reason I can�t follow this resolution. The biggest problem will be going to bed as early as I should. Last quarter I always had work to do when I got home from school so a late bedtime wasn�t entirely my fault. Quantitatively, my goal is to move my bedtime back towards midnight (about two hours earlier than usual). Last year I wrote resolutions in March and one of them was, �Get more than five hours of sleep each night by going to bed earlier than 3 AM.� Considering I have repeated it this year I obviously didn�t follow that one very well.

3) Less soda and candy
When has this not been one of my goals?

4) More water
There was a time that I exceeded my recommended daily water intake, but that hasn�t been the case recently. It�s not that I don�t like to drink water, but when you have to sit through a two-hour lecture you don�t want to drink a large amount of it just beforehand. One problem is finding time when it�s convenient to flood my system with liquid. The other is, since I can�t stand most bottled water, the taste of the stuff that comes from the fountains on campus. It�s murky appearance doesn�t help either.

5) More exercise
Last year my resolution was, �Use workout videos everyday whether I feel like it or not.� In order to make this a more attainable goal I decided to change �whether I feel like it or not� to �on a regular basis.�


1) No more buying books until either the release of Princess in Pink (March 23) or I finish all the ones I already own.

    Books I own but haven�t read:
    1) The Foundling by Lloyd Alexander
    2) Cordelia�s Honor by Lois Bujold
    3) The Book of Night with Moon by Diane Duane
    4) Stealing the Elf King�s Roses by Diane Duane
    5) The Sword and the Dragon by Diane Duane
    6) The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
    7) Dune Messiah (Book 2) by Frank Herbert
    8) Children of Dune (Book 3) by Frank Herbert
    9) The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
    10) Fires of the Faithful by Naomi Kritzer
    11) A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
    12) The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
    13) The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
    14) Spindle�s End by Robin McKinley
    15) Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

2) No more buying DVDs until either I can find �The Mists of Avalon� or I watch all the ones I already own.
    Movies (DVD or video) I own but haven�t watched:
    1) �The Animatrix� (video bought for about $7 at Wal-Mart)
    2) �Fiddler on the Roof� (birthday present, the version I taped off TCM was getting fuzzy)
    3) �Jurassic Park� (video bought for about $7 at Wal-Mart)
    4) �The Lion King� special edition (DVD bought on sale for about $12 the day after Thanksgiving)
    5) �Pride and Prejudice� (birthday present)

3) No more buying CDs until the release of Disneymania 2 (January 27) or I get tired of the ones I already own.
    Recently acquired CDs:
    1) �Brother Bear� soundtrack (Christmas present)
    2) Britney Spears, �Baby One More Time� (birthday present)
    3) �Love Actually� soundtrack

BBC Big Read
Monday, 01.19.04

Quote of the Day:
"Eowyn: So few rugged hotties have returned...speaking of, where's my nearly-available rugged hottie?
Theoden: He fell. Literally.
Legolas: Quit your sniveling; we'd have to completely change the title of the third movie if he actually died."
The Two Towers Hand Puppet Movie Theatre

I�m always interested in how my reading habits and preferences compare to those of the general public. I love browsing my recommendations on and adding more books to my wish list than I could fit in my apartment. So when I saw that the BBC Big Read (website) had ranked the top 200 literary works, as voted on by the British, I couldn�t wait to see how many I had read. After careful scrutiny of both the list and my memory, I discovered that I have read 42 of the top 100 listings. By my count, I also have seven others on my bookshelf waiting to be read.

1) The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien*
2) Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen*
3) His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman*
5) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling*
6) To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7) Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8) Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis*
10) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bront�
11) Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12) Wuthering Heights, Emily Bront�
15) The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16) The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
18) Little Women, Louisa May Alcott*
22) Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling*
23) Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling*
24) Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling*
25) The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien*
30) Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
35) Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
39) Dune, Frank Herbert*
40) Emma, Jane Austen
41) Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery*
42) Watership Down, Richard Adams
43) The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44) The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas*
46) Animal Farm, George Orwell
47) A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48) Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy*
51) The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
54) Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy*
56) The BFG, Roald Dahl
58) Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59) Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer*
60) Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
63) A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens*
74) Matilda, Roald Dahl
81) The Twits, Roald Dahl
83) Holes, Louis Sachar*
87) Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
92) The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
99) The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot*

* Books I have on my bookshelf right now

Written communication
Wednesday, 01.14.04

Quote of the Day:
"I'll cut to the chase - shock tubes are great!"
Dave Davidson, Stanford University

December 5, 2003
The first thing I do when I get to my lab in the morning is check my email. This seems to be something everyone in my research group has in common. And since there are very few decent computers at our disposal we all prefer to use one particular machine. So when we need to pass along information we just type a text message on the favorite computer and leave Notepad open on the desktop. Usually these notes are short and get deleted within a day, but last quarter there was one exception. The week before final exams, while everyone in my research group was busy studying for their final exams rather than working in the lab, this written exchange took place.

No Work Today or Tomorrow,
Study finals,

Does that include me too?

Based on my inherent superiority, I will assume it includes me. Work is for popinjays and cockatoos!

Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger


The entire message took about a week to unfold and I saved a copy of the text file on December 5. I thought it was a good example of how engineers uniquely communicate with each other. The last two lines may need some explanation, though. Sevan�s brother goes to the University of Wisconsin and at some point he discovered this cartoon that prominently features their mascot, the badger. And, after playing it in our lab a few times, the members of my research group became fans despite its repetitive nature. For some reason this cartoon has the ability to raise our spirits. Whenever we feel unmotivated or overworked someone pulls up the website and the laughter begins. You�d be surprised how much better you feel after dancing around like an animated badger. If you�ve seen the cartoon you�ll know what I�m talking about.

January 13, 2004
On my last day in the lab before the holidays I wrote a message on the dry erase board. All of the previous notes concerning final exams, experiments, and Charlie Brown comics had been recently removed and the board looked very empty as a result. So, in an attempt to leave my fellow researchers with an inspirational thought, I scribbled a quote of Gandalf�s from The Fellowship if the Ring.

Winter classes at UCLA started last Thursday and I saw Marcus for the first time since the end of the previous quarter. Not only did he appreciate my quote on the dry erase board, but he added to it. This became a trend and by this afternoon there were three supplements to my original quote. I suppose this is another example of the communication methods of engineers. When you start with have the eloquent words of Tolkien this is what we come up with. Here is how the board looks now.

�All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.�
�and how many miles to ride your bike! (Marcus)
�and where to go for vacation (Sevan)
�and how many times to see Return of the King (Lauren)

The Past Two Days
Friday, 12.05.03

Quote of the Day:
�My only other option is to buy a dozen cats and call it a day.�
Thoughts on the single life from �See Jane Date� (ABC Family movie)

Wednesday, 12/3
(12:00 PM) Who knew that the word "conclusion" could produce evoke such a sense of fear? I went to class on Monday morning with my combustion paper in hand after not sleeping a wink. And last night I could only spare one hour for sleep because of the presentation on my paper I had to give today. I had to wait through four other talks before mine so I spent nearly two hours fidgeting in my seat. When the slide titled �conclusion� appeared at the end of the fourth talk my heart rate immediately doubled. It took all the energy I could muster to think positive thoughts because I automatically assumed I was going to be a spectacular failure. My brain told me that all of my preparation was surely worthless. I wanted nothing more than to skip over the next fifteen minutes until my presentation was over. But my forced optimism must have been effective because everything went well. And fifteen minutes later, as my �conclusion� slide was displayed on the screen, the presentation was finished and I could relax. At least until I remembered that our final exam is on Monday.

(2:45 PM) Thwarted by notebook paper. I was so nervous about my combustion class presentation that I forgot to bring one thing with me to campus this morning. And from the first sentence of this paragraph you can probably guess what that one thing was. During my office hours I intended to compile a final exam review for my discussion section on Friday, but when I sat down in the TA room I realized that I didn�t have any paper. This meant that I was stuck there for two hours by myself with nothing to do (I knew no one would show up since the students had homework due yesterday) and I was annoyed. So annoyed that I decided to blow off the remainder of my office hours and go home early. Not only do I have notebook paper at home, but I�ve only gotten a total of one decent night�s sleep over the past three days and it�s easier to take a nap at home.

(8:58 PM) Orlando Bloom is possibly more gorgeous in person than on screen. I can say this from firsthand experience because I saw him tonight at the Los Angeles premiere of Return of the King. Since the premiere was at the Westwood Village Theater there were quite a few other girls from UCLA in the crowd also hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite elf. So many, in fact, that I could only catch a few glimpses of the arriving stars over the crowd in front of me. Dan and I arrived at the theater an hour and a half before the premiere was scheduled to start, but that wasn�t early enough to get a prime viewing spot. The aforementioned �girls from UCLA� with their posters and digital cameras had already lined the barriers along the sidewalk. After the celebrities started to arrive I gave up all hope of getting a clear view of them since I was too short to see over the mob. Dan was using the somewhat haphazard photographic method of holding the camera over his head, pointing it in the general direction of the famous person, and hoping for the best. Fortunately it turned out to be more effective than I anticipated. When Orlando Bloom arrived he spent a lot of time signing autographs and greeting the screaming female fans who had gathered in every possible location near the theater. This gave Dan several chances to photograph him while he was only a few feet away. It also gave me several chances to see him for myself when the movement of the crowd provided me with a clear view. The picture below, taken by Dan, should give you a good idea of what I saw. I�m really surprised I didn�t faint.

Thursday, 12/4
(7:17 PM) I pride myself on owning copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy that do not have depictions of the movies on their covers. I feel that way about all books that have appeared on the silver screen even if I�m not fanatic about them. My own copies of Tolkien�s books, along with many others in my personal library, are from my favorite used book store in Tallahassee. I bought them a few years ago so I could bring them to California with me for my first Boeing internship. They were published in the 80�s and have some seriously ugly illustrations of Middle-earth on their covers, but at least they aren�t movie stills. Call it vanity or piety, but I want to make sure everyone knows that I was a Lord of the Rings fan before the movies were released. I figure having ratty paperback copies of the trilogy is one way to make that known. Another is to cram as much information as possible into my head so I know the differences between the books and movies. Speaking of those differences, I was so tired of not knowing what the discrepancies were that I started reading Fellowship of the Ring again this week. My copy was published in 1982 and has artwork from that year�s Tolkien calendar on the front cover. As long as I can get through the beginning of the book where the hobbits are traveling to Bree I�ll be in good shape. Why is the only boring part of the story at the very beginning?

Tuesday, 1/6 (explanation)
�Looking at the posts I've drafted on both my computer and my Palm Pilot, there are about five from the past two days (and one really old one that I refuse to abandon) waiting to be finished. They are all based on ideas, topics, and events that I considered interesting enough to write about in the first place, so I am eventually going to complete them for my webpage.� (I am quoting myself from a webpage post on Friday, 12/5 at 12:08 AM.) It only took a month for me to finish writing these posts. I can�t remember what all five topics were, though. And I�m not sure that all four I have written about here were among them to begin with. Oh well. I had to look back to November to figure out the one I refused to abandon. I think I�ll stand by that declaration. For now.

Spending rules #3 update
Thursday, 01.01.04

Quote of the Day:
"What did the insurance company say?"
"They said, 'You don't have insurance here so stop calling.'"

1) Only one DVD before Christmas, �The Matrix Reloaded� (October 14)

  • �Bend it Like Beckham� (October 1)
  • �The Matrix Reloaded� (October 14)
  • �Finding Nemo� and �Muppet Christmas Carol� (November 8)
  • �The Santa Clause� and �The Santa Clause 2� (November 18)
  • �The Lion King� special edition and �Mystery Science Theater 3000� volume 4 (November 28)
  • NOT FOLLOWED (obviously)

2) Only one CD before Christmas, Radio Disney Jams 6 (September 9)
  • Cher, �The Very Best of Cher� and Smashmouth, �Get the Picture?� (September 14)
  • �Radio Disney Jams� volume 6 (September 27)
  • Hilary Duff, �Santa Claus Lane" and �Disney Channel Mega Music Mix� (November 11)
  • Stacie Orrico, �Stacie Orrico� and Josh Groban, �Closer� and �Bend it Like Beckham� (November 25)
  • No Doubt, �The Singles 1992-2003� (November 28)
  • Clay Aiken, �Measure of a Man� and �Return of the King� (December 9)
  • NOT FOLLOWED (obviously)

3) Only two books before Christmas, The Slippery Slope (September 23) and The Wizard's Holiday (October 1)
  • The Slippery Slope (September 23)
  • The Wish List (October 3)
  • The Wizard's Holiday (October 7)
  • Redwall (November 20)
  • NOT FOLLOWED (obviously)

4) No more buying jeans until I have exhausted current my supply
  • Gap jeans (October 10)
  • LEI corduroys (August 30)
  • FOLLOWED (if subjectively)

5) No more buying nail polish until next flip-flop season (July 2004?)

6) No more buying makeup until I go to Tallahassee for Christmas (December 20)
  • Clinique concealer (December 30)
  • Neutrogena foundation and powder for Meghan�s wedding (December 31)

7) No more buying magazines until I go to Tallahassee for Christmas (December 20)
  • November issues of �Cosmo Girl� and �Elle� for trip (November 22)
  • January issue of �YM� for trip (November 29)
  • Return of the King �Newsweek� (November 30)
  • Return of the King �Entertainment Weekly� (December 29)
  • FOLLOWED (just about)

8) No more buying shampoo or lotion until one of the bottles runs out (???)
  • Too many to list here
  • Bath and Body Works (December 30) � made a killing at their semi-annual sale

9) No more buying stuff for my apartment until next year (January 1)
  • Container Store September 14)
  • Kmart (September 27)

-Lauren Gleason