For those of you who have not been following my Twitter feed, I have recently moved from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay Area. I had been doing some intensive job searching the past six months or so–primarily because I knew that I really needed to get out of academia. I’m sure I could have done okay in it if I were in the right environment and working with the right people, but that’s really hard to find. Besides, I was really tired of the long hours, getting paid peanuts, and the unrealistic expectations which I’ve seen driven more than one person crazy.
To be honest, I was mostly tired of getting paid peanuts. I know my worth. And for the amount of skilled work I do–which is in the service of science and the betterment of human health–I knew I shouldn’t be paid less than some secretary who occasionally fiddled around with spreadsheets on a bad day. So I decided to go to the “dark side”, a.k.a. industry. I mean, sure, it’s not completely altruistic and as I’m finding out, there are other sorts of challenges I have to face. But at least now, I’m not employed by people who are deathly allergic to weekends and I’m getting paid enough to cover my rent and maybe have some savings left over.
Anyways, work at the new place is interesting so far. I probably will say very little about it (if any) seeing that I’m in R&D and have signed all these confidentiality forms. So I guess I’ll just leave it as an exercise to the reader to imagine what I’m doing.
Moving is always an interesting proposition. For most of my adult life, I have either lived out in the middle of nowhere or in cities. I swore that I would never go back to suburbia. Yet here I am, in suburbia. And yes, in some aspects, it’s as horrifying as one might imagine it to be. I lived in the suburbs while I was growing up, and I really did not like the upwardly mobile snootiness that went with it. Mostly because I stuck out like a sore thumb.
I still feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. Not because of how I look or dress–as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to camouflage myself better–but my way of looking at things. The advantage now, of course, is that I’m not as stuck in suburbia as I was when I was a kid without a driver’s license and no access to public transportation. I can easily go into the city without much trouble or even drive into the wilderness (with a little bit of planning) if I wanted to.
To be fair, though, not all suburbs are quite the same. Here, there’s an added layer of the tech world to contend with–the assumption that if you’re going to fit in, you’re going to have to show off your smarts, ambition, and newly acquired bling. You go to some place like Target in order to get toilet paper and laundry detergent and you find soccer moms on every aisle, chatting to people about their high-powered jobs at some startup while juggling their kids’ extracurriculars.
I mean, of course I want to do well career-wise. But I don’t particularly want my ambition to bleed into every other aspect of my life. I guess that’s where the philosophies of the average suburbanite and mine diverge. I don’t want my life choices to be driven by the need for status or succeeding in the yuppie rat race. I just want to avoid the bullshit and do whatever I find that’s both practical and fun.
(I’m also trying to aim for minimalism which is the complete opposite of the obsession with stuff people around here seem to have, but that’s a topic for another blog post…)
Oops, I’m late. But I have a very good reason! I’ve been in the middle of moving in the last part of April. But finally here they are: the @NaNoWordSprints prompts that I tweeted out during April. Have fun if you decide to use them on your own!
* * *
March 31, 2017, 4:00pm-6:00pm (UTC-8)
Parts of First Lines
March 31, 2017, 11:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 1)
April 1, 2017, 1:30pm-2:30pm (UTC-8)
Plot Bunny Infomercial
April 1, 2017, 8:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 2)
April 2, 2017, 9:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Art at Lestat’s
April 2, 2017, 5:00pm-8:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 3)
April 3, 2017, 8:00am-10:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 4)
April 3, 2017, 1:00pm-4:00pm (UTC-8)
April 3, 2017, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Plug Your Ears…It’s Kpop!
April 4, 2017, 10:30am-4:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 5)
April 4, 2017, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
April 5, 2017, 11:00pm-1:30am (UTC-8)
Madam Sprints (Part 1)
April 6, 2017, 9:15pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Madam Sprints (Part 2)
April 7, 2017, 8:30pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 6)
April 8, 2017, 10:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 7)
April 8, 2017, 6:30pm-8:30pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 8)
April 9, 2017, 7:30am-10:00am (UTC-8)
Vampire Cafe Sprints
April 11, 2017, 7:00am-8:00am (UTC-8)
April 11, 2017, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 9)
April 12, 2017, 2:00pm-4:00pm (UTC-8)
Asian Art Museum
April 12, 2017, 8:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 10)
April 13, 2017, 10:45pm-1:00am (UTC-8)
April 14, 2017, 8:30am-12:30pm (UTC-8)
Soundtracks (Part 1)
April 14, 2017, 4:30pm-6:30pm (UTC-8)
April 15, 2017, 9:20am-1:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 11)
April 15, 2017, 2:30pm-5:30pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 12)
April 16, 2017, 7:40am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 13)
April 16, 2017, 2:45pm-6:30pm (UTC-8)
Soundtracks (Part 2)
April 17, 2017, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 14)
April 18, 2017, 6:00pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 15)
April 19, 2017, 9:30pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 16)
April 20, 2017, 11:15am-3:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 17)
April 21, 2017, 1:00pm-3:00pm (UTC-8)
The Broad (Part 1)
April 21, 2017, 9:30pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
The Broad (Part 2)
April 22, 2017, 11:30am-1:00pm (UTC-8)
LA Times Festival of Books
April 23, 2017, 7:30am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 18)
April 23, 2017, 8:40pm-10:00pm (UTC-8)
LA Times Festival of Books (Part 2)
April 24, 2017, 7:00am-11:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 19)
April 24, 2017, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 20)
April 25, 2017, 11:30am-3:30pm (UTC-8)
Idioms (Part 1)
April 25, 2017, 9:00pm-12:00am (UTC-8)
Idioms (Part 2)
April 26, 2017, 12:00pm-4:00pm (UTC-8)
From Random Wikipedia Articles
April 26, 2017, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 21)
April 27, 2017, 11:05am-2:35pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 22)
April 27, 2017, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 23)
April 28, 2017, 3:00pm-7:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 24)
April 28, 2017, 8:00pm-2:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 25)
April 29, 2017, 6:30am-10:00am (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 26)
April 30, 2017, 8:00am-12:00pm (UTC-8)
Common Phrases (Part 27)
This postcard was sent to me by a doctor who plays in a rock band. Cool, huh?
What I’m curious about, though, is why plaid is associated with Christmas (because this is supposed to be a Christmas postcard). Aren’t plaids types of tartan fabric with certain patterns that are specific to Scottish clans? That doesn’t seem particularly Christmas-y to me.
I really enjoy getting unusual and unexpected postcards in the mail. And this one is certainly out of the norm. Most people send scenic cards. This one is bread! I’m not sure what type of bread this is–it looks like rye or pumpernickel. If you, dear reader, are more familiar with Russian cuisine than I am, let me know what this is.
The slogan on the card is translated roughly as “The homemade meal is the art of caring for your loved ones.” I think this holds true if you’re a good cook. Me? I’m rather middling and I think I’d better express my love by not subjecting people to my cooking.
I went to the Getty Villa in Malibu (not to be confused with the Getty Center) on Sunday. It was a perfect, warm sunny day. The museum is basically a replica of an ancient Roman villa and it houses the Getty’s collection of classical antiquities. Unfortunately, the entire second floor was under renovation so I was unable to see that part of the museum.
I recently went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I’ve always wanted to go there but had never had the time before. It’s one of those places where you just know that devoting anything less than an entire day is a shame.
Below, I’ve included photos of a couple works at the SFMOMA that I particularly liked. There are also additional photographs on my Twitter feed. There’s currently a Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit as well, but no photos were permitted for that one. Despite the crowds, it was really fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone planning to go there between now and May. (Well…almost everyone. I overheard one guy who didn’t like it. So if you don’t appreciate twentieth century expressionism and abstract art, you might not want to waste your money on an admission ticket.)
I will admit that when I first encountered modern art, I didn’t really understand it. I still don’t understand half of it. But I’ve grown to appreciate it and find it more as a jumping off point for an artist’s philosophy–what they want to say, what they’re not saying, and whether they mean anything at all.
This is a perfectly nice postcard. Except there’s one thing wrong with it. There’s nothing written on it. It’s virtually new.
I received this in an envelope from Poland along with a generic greeting on a separate sheet of paper. I’m not sure if the sender doesn’t understand the concept of a postcard swap or has an entirely different philosophy about it. Or maybe the sender is really paranoid about having anything posted, so sent me a blank card just to be safe.
Most people would be like, “Ah, a free postcard! I can send this to someone else!” I personally feel a bit uncomfortable about that if the sender does not explicitly state that I can use it. Besides, there’s a rule on the Postcrossing site that says that you can’t reuse postcards, so that’s out even if you wanted to do that. And seriously, I’m already tempting the wrath of the postcard police by just posting this postcard on this blog.
Last year, I was pretty bored being stuck in rush hour traffic so I decided to make my commute a little more productive (or useless, depending on your point of view), by making a note of the location of different license plates. The following figure is a compilation of a year’s worth of data:
There are several caveats about this geographic heat map. Since the observations were done primarily in California, of course the top number of license plates will be California. I also recorded plates from Canada (a couple) and Mexico (mostly from Baja California and about as many as Arizona plates). I actually saw zero North Dakota plates during the observation period, but about one week after the observation period ended, I saw two separate vehicles with North Dakota plates.
I suspect the map would look vastly different if I lived in a different Californian city (particularly one where there is almost no tourism), let alone in a different state.
The most frustrating aspect about the data collection was that sometimes it was impossible to tell where the plate was from because of the way it was mounted on a vehicle. Sometimes the license plate holders would cover all of the license plate except for the alphanumeric code. Occasionally, I could guess fairly confidently what the plate was if the font/color/design matched the default plate of that state, but if someone had a vanity plate, I had no clue. In the cases where I was unsure, I did not record them.