Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: November, 2004

Too Early For Vacations and Parties

My advisor began talking about four day vacations and my first thought was: What?! I’m only getting four days off for Christmas? Of course, he was talking about Thanksgiving break, but my Thanksgiving break was pretty much non-existent. Not only was I writing like mad, but I was in lab for three of the four days (including Thanksgiving Day). Sure, I should have taken those days off, slept in, done nothing. But I have no life and working fills up my time, so why not?

It’s also that time of year again–time for Christmas parties. I view these social events with a sort of amused disgust. They pretty much sap whatever patience I have left. This year, I’m sort of obligated to go to one of them. In order to get an estimate of who’s coming, the host asked everyone how many people they’re bringing. I find it a not-so-subtle dig for my personal life. Since I mentioned above that I have no life, you dear reader, wouldn’t bat an eye at the fact that I’m only bringing myself to the party. But they don’t know that. For all they know, I could have a boyfriend locked up in the closet because I never talk about my personal life with them. They don’t know about this weblog, my writing hobby, my favorite kinds of music, my bookstore hunting adventures during the weekend, nada.

And I have to get a gift for a gift exchange. What do you buy for a recipient who could be anybody?

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Linkage

Mother’s the word. “The wordlist, which contains only one verb (cherish) which is not also a noun, emerged after the council asked more than 7,000 learners in 46 countries what they considered the most beautiful words in English language. Some 35,000 other people registered their favourites in an online poll run in the non-English speaking countries where the council operates.” Of course mother tops the list. Isn’t “mama” or some variation thereof the first word out of most babe’s mouths?

A Course About Weblogs. Huh. I’m not sure if my school offers a blog course (I am too lazy to look it up in the course catalogue I got a couple weeks ago) but I don’t think I’d take such a class unless it was required of me. You see, I’m one of those students who take courses that I either have to take or are interesting (i.e. science related). If it involves reading 18th century literature or a bunch of philosophical works, I can do that myself without going to an organized class with a talking head. A blogging class falls firmly into the latter kind. Besides, I’m blogging right now.

PhDweblogs. “PhDweblogs.net is a non-profit initiative to bring together PhD students’ weblogs from all around the world.” I’m not sure if I should submit. Maybe not. Most of the posts on this weblog are personal and/or meme-ish and not research related.

Newspapers Should Really Worry. I suppose they’re right. I read most of my news online. I only buy a paper maybe once in a blue moon. And that’s only because I need something to put my mud covered boots on.

Complete list. “This list contains the “Top 1000” titles owned by OCLC member libraries—the intellectual works that have been judged to be worth owning by the “purchase vote” of libraries around the globe.”

Alexander the (not so) Great fails to conquer America’s homophobes. Interesting theory, although I have to point out that conservatives have been decrying the media for moral decay ever since it has been invented. Maybe it’s a flop because the movie’s just plain bad. I haven’t seen the movie although I have to say that Oliver Stone’s past movies–I’ve taken a film class before which showed only Oliver Stone movies–were pretty good. Maybe they’re stirring up controversy so people would go see the movie (and spend money) instead of lying about the house in a turkey-induced coma.

Doing the Happy Dance

Yay! Last night at approximately 11:00 PM, I finished this year’s Nanowrimo novel. Yesterday I clocked in at over 10,000 words for a final total of 55,817. I think the thing that helped me the most in completing this crazy challenge is that I write every day, even if it’s only a sentence or two. Also, the writing meetings were helpful, even if the environment was less than ideal. I went to another write-in yesterday and did over 5k despite the pretentious babbling of cafe patrons.

For those of you curious as to what the heck I was doing this month, here are some links (I’m either shameless or masochistic in posting them):

html – read the novel in installments!
rtf – download the entire novel! (rtf, 369 kb)

If you can’t be bothered to read any of it (and I can’t blame you–it’s first draft dreck anyway), the genre is what I would describe as horror-lite. It’s not exactly scary, more like crazy. Initially, I was aiming towards serious magic realism, but that just didn’t happen. It’s about these two journalists who go to this small farming town…well, needless to say, it also involves drunk bingo ladies, cats, and excessive violence with a cast iron skillet.

Yeah, writing a novel in a month can put anyone into a bad mood, but finishing is awesome. If you’re up to the challenge, don’t hesitate to sign up for next year’s Nano.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Limited time only:: Stuff
  2. Voluptuous:: Figure
  3. Nutritionist:: Diet
  4. Belt:: Loop
  5. Star crossed:: Lovers
  6. Snakeskin:: Oil
  7. Athlete’s foot:: Disease
  8. Boom:: Time
  9. Freezer:: Space
  10. Store hours:: Closed

More Grumpiness

I wish my neighbors had gone to a relative’s or friend’s house for the holidays. Then I wouldn’t have to listen to their violent bickerings. You would think that for Thanksgiving break one would be able to get some sleep around here. But no. Even the earplugs are not working and I’ve tried suffocating the sounds with pillows too–but that’s not terribly comfortable. They probably think it’s their job to make everyone around them miserable.

Also, I had to go shopping for food. You know, supplies running low and all that. Otherwise, I would have just stayed put where I am. Everyone working today seems terribly unhappy.

Probably In One Ear and Out the Other

At the moment, I’m pulling words out of my head slowly and painfully one by one. Agonizingly fun times, I tell ya’. But I’m going to finish this 50,000 word novel by the end of this month no matter what. Yes, I know it’s horrible (absolutely horrible), but quality doesn’t matter, right? It’s also downright depressing that no one cares. Writing novels–something wannabe scientists shouldn’t be doing, a waste of time, something that anyone with a keyboard could pound out. And even if one is written, would anyone read it? Of course not.

You’re just pontificating, being a blowhard. It’s old hat. You’ve done this all before. Where’s the challenge? You’re just retreading the ol’ track. You might as well copy and paste. Copy and paste…

If only the libraries were open during the holidays–yes only a poor sap like me would actually be happy spending time in a library when everyone else would rather be at home–then maybe I wouldn’t be in such a foul mood.

* * *
For those of you who don’t give a damn about writer’s depression:

A Growing Gender Gap Tests College Admissions. This is not really the fault of college admissions. The problem is high school–boys should be doing well in this environment first if they want to get into a good college. But since I’m not a boy, I have little idea why they aren’t testing as well as girls. Maybe teaching methods should be changed, but I don’t see any changes happening any time soon.

Catch27. (via Kottke) A trading card game–trade your old friends for new hot ones. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yet another site for hip, young, narcisstic, and attractive people to show off. Chubby, myopic nerds need not apply.

The Thursday Threesome: Christmas Bells are Ringing

Onesome: Christmas– Is it Thanksgiving? …or just the day before the start of the “Christmas Season”? (…and how are you supposed to shop if you’re all stuffed with food?) Hey, is anyone going out tomorrow to save tons of money standing in endless lines with 10,000 of your closest friends? Just curious…

Excuse me for a sec.

Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Ahem.

Christmas itself is fine, but the Christmas season is a total headache. About a month ago (yes, even before Halloween), one of the local radio stations stopped playing regular music and started playing Christmas music. All the time. Lucky for me, there’s more than one radio station out here in the boondocks, but still, it irks me to no end simply because it exists.

And I’m not going out tomorrow to buy anything. The traffic itself, I’ll imagine, would be enough to scare curdled milk.

Twosome: Bells– Okay, we’ll give in and admit that maybe the season has started: what decorations are you looking forward to seeing in the next few days? …the lights in the downtown? How about knowing you’ll soon have a tree with that memorable ornament? The Toys for Tots drop off? What makes you comfortable knowing the Christmas season is really here?

I don’t really care one way or another about the decorations. As far as I’m concerned, the Christmas season had already invaded with that darn radio station. And the extensive Christmas music section that has suddenly invaded the local bookstore a couple weeks ago.

Threesome: are Ringing– …in your ears? What song are you just dreading to hear this season? Come on, the one that just makes you scrunch up inside and want to duck into an iron foundry so you can’t hear it? Weird Al? Something from “The Nutcracker”? Those dogs? I mean come on, there’s some bad stuff out there …

All of them.

Blabber

I think Blogger was trying to tell me something when I couldn’t get the post I wrote last night to publish. So this morning, I deleted it. So what was that post about? I was complaining about secretary ladies, that’s what. But this morning, in a more clear-headed frame of mind, I realized that it would have been a bad idea to publish it. Secretary ladies are the secret controllers of people’s lives. If I annoy them, then it’s: Oops–sorry, your transcript for the last couple years apparently has disappeared into oblivion. I guess you’ll just have to do everything all over again.

So I’m at the moment waiting to have my car inspected and fitted with snow tires. Yeah, I should have gotten snow tires a month or two ago, but I’ve been procrastinating, as usual. At least it hasn’t snowed yet so I think I’m still in the clear. Now at home, I’m hearing noises coming from the neighbors’ apartment. I’m sure they’re not arguing because the noises sound more like hammers and electric screwdrivers. I suppose they’re trying to fix everything they broke last night (presumably in another fight).

I also figured that at the really slow pace I’m making on Nanowrimo (and I also realized I’m user number 42!), I need to write about 3k a day to reach 50k. This is really bad. The previous years, I was pretty much finished by this time.

Alarm Clocks and Earplugs Don’t Mix

A couple months ago, I got earplugs in order to remedy the problem of noisy neighbors. I don’t use them all the time though–that’s why I still hear all the ruckus going on next door. Of course, last night, they started fighting again at 3 AM so my sleep-addled and annoyed self actually got up to stick earplugs in my ear. When I woke up next, I realized my alarm clock had been beeping for almost twenty minutes. I’m sure that pissed off the neighbors–but it was their own damn fault!

* * *
2004 Weblog Awards. They’re taking nominations. I think they have way too many categories. They might has well have a “Best Microbiology Student With Noisy Neighbors Blog” and I would be all over that.

Hack your way out of writer’s block. I don’t know–I need to stop procrastinating and just do it.

Custom Corset Pattern Generator and T-Shirt Underwear. Even if I knew how to operate a sewing machine, no one would see me in that stuff. And even if they did, they’d run the other way screaming that the end is coming.

Mammatus Clouds. Cool atmospheric phenomena. Although to my eye, they look more like twisty donut sticks–only people with dirty minds would call them “mammatus clouds”!

The Pirate Captain’s Log. “A word of advice: when it comes to giant squids, don’t tempt fate by claiming that they’re easy to defeat.”

Boring Bookmarks

In relation to the internet, I find the word “bookmark” to be rather unfortunate. I would only bookmark a book not a webpage. Maybe it should be webmark instead. Or even internetmark. Sitemark has a certain ring to it. At any rate, I’ll continue using “bookmark” since it’s probably the only word people will universally understand when I talk about link organization.

For one thing, I don’t use other people’s computers so I have no idea what other people’s surfing habits are. But I figure, if one could snoop into everyone’s personal bookmark list, we could probably get a picture of what each person finds interesting. Actually, looking at the browser history would probably paint a more accurate picture, but let’s assume most people are as paranoid as I am and clear the cache fairly frequently.

I once used the browser’s bookmark system to store all my links. It gets rather cumbersome especially if you’re a hardcore surfer who finds interesting things all the time. So nowadays, I don’t use the browser’s bookmark system except for temporary storage before I enshrine them forever and ever in the weblog. The links that I visit regularly are located on an html file on my computer which my browser points to as the home page.

I say all of this because earlier today, I was editing my home page. Frankly, that page was getting way too large and I needed to prune it. Of course, I made a copy of the page so I’m not really deleting links off to neverland, but I really needed to axe the links that I hadn’t visited for months.

So what did I “throw away” and what did I keep? Well, everyone listed under “042 – Blogroll” can relax. I left that pretty much intact. I did some serious pruning in “043 – Personal Weblogs” though–this is the section which I put every other blog under. I took out everything that I haven’t visited in a while, blogs that were discontinued, deleted, and the ones that were just plain not interesting (there were a surprising number of those). Everything under “044 – Journals” is gone. I guess I have no patience for LiveJournals anymore.

All the news, local businesses, and the library links have remained. Everything under the 500s is still there (you can’t delete any of the science links, you just can’t!) as well as all the recipes under 641. Games and amusements at 793 saw some major shrinkage though. I don’t have time for most games. The only notable stuff left there now is Little Fluffy Industries, Monkey Ninjas, WEBoggle, and Weebl and Bob.

I still have a whole bunch of links but it’s not so unmanageable now.

On another note: So for anyone who has noticed, yeah, I changed the weblog template/layout last weekend. I have not tested it out on every browser out there, so if you see something weird happening with the layout, don’t hesitate to let me know.