Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

From October 26, 2001:

There is such a thing as too much nerdiness. Oh yeah, just roll your eyes at me–I’m at Tech, the center of nerdom–but I’m not kidding. There are those people who keep asking annoying questions in class, but it’s worse when they’re actually not asking a question. They’re just rambling about what they think they know. And the professors just nod and smile and privately think, “Stupid kid.” This gets worse with graduate students.

Additional Commentary:

This appears to be universal. It’s extremely bad when graduate students who think they know it all start arguing with the professor. (Argument is good–constant agreement is a sign of complacency–but just to argue to show off your brilliant “deductive” skills is just plain egotistical. Yes, I know you read a gazillion papers each week, but I do too and I don’t claim to have an encyclopedic knowledge.)

On the other hand, maybe this egoism is a product of a brilliant mind. Perhaps my observations only give more evidence that I am only average. There are plenty of bright scientists out there who are, shall we say, a bit unhinged.

Mister Rogers dies at age 74. When I was younger, I felt like an aberrant kid for watching Mr. Rogers while everyone else was watching cartoons, exclaiming over the likes of Transformers, He-Man, and Jem. Was it wrong for me to be fascinated by the videos that Mr. McFeely brought with him about manufacturing every day things like crayons and shoes? I identified more with Daniel, the tiger with a watch at his wrist living in a clock, than strange equines in pastel colors.

The Thursday Threesome: Big Band Music:

Onesome. Big. Anything “big” happen to you lately? Come now, what’s the biggest thing in your life these days?

No, nothing big. It’s been quite ordinary, thank you very much.

Twosome. Band. I didn’t do the band, but I did choir when I was in school. Tell us: what kind of extracurricular activities did YOU do when you were in school?

I’m still in school, but my extracurriculars have dwindled down into almost nothing since I have no extra energy to devote to something as draining as, say, going to regular rehearsals. But this is graduate school, so I guess it’s okay to be obsessed with your work.

When I was in high school, I played the “intellectual and cultural geek”. I played in an orchestra. I was also in the band for a little while–the marching band no less. It was fun learning the formations and dressing up in uniforms but I also learned to hate football (standing around in the rain took the cake). I was in the French and Latin clubs as well as the math club and the knowledge masters and quiz bowl where you had to answer pointless trivia questions. To this day, I’m not sure I really liked doing all of these things. They were more like a means to an end than actual enjoyment.

Threesome. Music. Our topic of the week is music, so why don’t YOU share little about your personal tastes in music. Favorite band? Favorite song? Have a song you love to sing along with but hate to admit it? Now’s the time to fess up!

I am generally fine with any sort of music, except perhaps country, but I can tolerate that too for short periods of time. I don’t have a favorite band or song nor do I sing along, mostly because most of the music I listen to don’t have lyrics. I’m a film music buff and if that’s not around, I listen to western classical: mostly solo piano, solo cello, chamber music, orchestral music, or opera. If I had to pick, I’d go with Mendelssohn and Chopin’s solo piano works.