the end... for realz

Tough, silly, and chill,
Strike a balance to recall,
Another year passed.

Yeah, it's gone, alright. Hard to believe that a year ago today I'd already started my job at Google and moved to California, but a lot has changed since then. I'm pretty sure that I spent time last summer (and over the past school year) growing up... but not so much that I won't be excited to get water guns in the mail (thanks, Mom and Dad).

This last semester was dandy. I got cut a break from homework, but that left time to explore other interesting things; I'm getting really excited about logic programming and miniKanren, which was, incidentally, the PhD thesis project of one of my AIs this semester. He's trying to get me to convince the NLP people in Deutschland that they want to use it for their research. :)

I guess this is the part that I think about what I'll miss when I'm overseas this summer, but I don't really know what to say. I'm actually pretty terrified of the move. It's one thing to move across the country to California and meet up with someone I know there. It's an entirely different thing to move 7 timezones across an ocean to a country where I don't even speak the language and have never met in person anyone within 3 hours of where I'm living. It's scary!

But I suspect I would be denied the opportunity to expand myself if I didn't do things that terrified me once in a while. Skydiving was a blast! :P

So this is the last entry in this blog... I don't live next to 666 anymore, and I guess I'll miss it a little bit, at least. The painting we did was a lot of fun, but I learned some stuff about what kinds of people I can live with and what kinds I'm not so good at living with. Let's hope that Mathieu and Titilayo are the former. :)

(next posting will be on awesomehaus.blogspot.com)


mail, the end

Now that I post this,
I expect letters. Is there
Greater joy than mail?

Well, probably. But there's nothing quite like opening a mailbox to see a real piece of paper with one's name on it. Evan and I started a game of chess by mail this semester (I don't remember if I mentioned this before?), and it's sort of tedious, but also lots of fun. :D

Anyway, my address for the summer:

Valkyrie Savage
Max-Planck-Stra├če 4 Building 20
64281 Dieburg

I think that's how it's written, anyway. Google maps can find it with that. :) And, yes, I am living on Max Planck Street.

I'm going to miss this blog a little bit, but I'm going to have a new one for the summer, which, hopefully, my roommate will write on, too. I'm expecting it to be at awesomehaus.blogspot.com (hat tip to Carlo). But I'll post a link for sure when I get it going.

I took my only final this morning: Calculus. There was one question that I messed up, but the rest of it felt okay, I think. We'll find out later this week. Eep!

What now? Paper, painting, packing. That's all. Then Germany!


real life

We can't all live in
A real world. School is far from
It, but we come back.

Today brought my first visit to ye olde dentistry shoppe in nearly two years. Being in school makes it hard to actually do things like that, but it turned out alright. The only thing I was chided for was flossing too hard; I had some indentations in my gums that were caused by it.

I did get a prize, though, for being good. And some weird looks for getting a prize. (see photo)

I wonder what constitutes real life. I mean, I haven't really felt the recession due to being in school, but some real life responsibilities are there. I pay bills, I cook, I have to keep my house clean (and my roommates happy). But if college is supposed to prepare us for real life, then where is my 9 to 5? Where are the scads of money that I should be getting? Where is any sense of stability?

But soon will be a return to an even more real life: work! Hard to believe that my flight is a week from tomorrow! Harder, I'm sure, for my parents to believe. :) Especially since I have yet to get an address for where exactly I'm going...



narcissism and the greater good

Earthworms in puddles
Hapless victims of giants
But why were they there?

Almost every day this week it rained. It made for a fairly miserable time getting to class with a laptop, but it did give nice spans of time to ponder the great mysteries of life, like why the hell earthworms crawl across cement? I brought this up in conversation with a friend of mine. "You know, if you're an earthworm, and you were to find something that you couldn't dig through, why on earth (!) would you continue across it? It seems ridiculous!"

He commented, in a sarcasm-about-wisdom-hiding-actual-wisdom tone, that if no earthworms had done it, then they would only be in one spot. They are fighting for the greater good! Or perhaps they are emo earthworms. But the first sounds much more noble.

Christopher Columbus worm

Amelia Earhart worm
On the other hand, stories in Time and Newsweek recently began insisting that humans aren't really tending towards that sort of commitment to the species at large; we're becoming more and more enthralled with ourselves. Well, not humans in general, but the US, at least, is suffering from a "narcissism epidemic." Interesting. I wonder if all that teaching that little kids get about being a beautiful and unique snowflake is best summed up by Chuck Palahniuk: You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.

Well, maybe putting it so bluntly isn't the right thing, either, but I can certainly see where psychologists might get inklings that people, especially my age, might be getting a bit big-headed. I have borne witness to many a student spending hours grooming his or her Facebook profile page to make it attractive to, you know, anyone who might visit. Such effort! And the fact that some employers and graduate schools now use Facebook to help make decisions on candidates sort of encourages that, too. I dunno... I'm not sure that I can subscribe to that. I know that I spend too much time on Facebook after my lenten resolution ended, but I think I'm doing a better job than a lot of people. Anyway, it's time for adventure. I have to put off thinking about this atomic theory paper for as long as possible.



So quickly pass days
Of sunshine and freedom, but
We can retain their joys.

I had the pleasure to spend this weekend with Evan, and what a weekend it was! I picked him up from the airport around midnight on Thursday, which was sort of an adventure in itself. I almost missed his landing due to the plane's being 20+ minutes earlier than originally expected. He had shared with me his plans to navigate the high seas of the AmeriCanadian arrspace in his pirate garb from last weekend, so I wore the closest approximation I had to such ridiculosity (which, sadly, is quite diminished from what it was when I had that trunk of costume stuff before the flood). I heard thudding footsteps racing down the hallway from the terminals. Who else could it be? I raced towards the passenger exit and leapt into the arms of the man in the black trenchcoat--thankfully Evan--, and we collided with a thud, much to the amusement/chagrin of lookers-on.

Let's see... our adventures... we spent Friday wandering campus/Bloomington climbing and eating many things. Moroccan food (Casa Blanca!) is obnoxiously tasty. My semi-experience in parkour helped me keep up, though the blood donation earlier this week slowed me down a little. Anyway, I'd spent some time on Wednesday and Thursday writing notes in places I thought Evan might climb, and I managed a pretty good success rate with the guessings.

Friday was also the day that we went to Columbus, which was pretty great. We borrowed a pair of bikes from my lovely roommate, Georgia, and took a quick tour de downtown. We hit the library, the Chihuly at the visitors' centre, the jail, city hall, the courthouse, the tower and tunnel in Mill Race, Eos, and the Ameritech Building, among other places. My dad made his derricious fish pizza, my mom made kringla, we watched a terrible movie (Don't Mess with the Zohan), and all was right with the world.

Saturday was the race! But drama first; Georgia, Evan, and I packed out of Columbus to hit up the farmers' market in Bloomington before parkour at noon. I managed to lock the keys in the car, so we had to find a random person whose cell phone we could borrow, then wait for my parents to come rescue us. :-/

Parkour was good times; the guys were excited to meet someone new, of course. We found some more of my notes, too, so good. ^__^ The weather for the race was gorgeous: sunny and warm. It was a little ridiculous that it was $20, payable only in cash, to get in, though. We managed to find a dollar from a nice man outside, since we were short.

Bunny Gamma came in 12th! Excellent! I was really proud of them. :D We ran into Georgia and Jeff at the race, too, and they provided us with one of, again, only two pictures that exist from our weekend together. I thought it came out cute. :P

After the race was tasty dinner of seared tuna (including V-shaped brands, thanks to a smart purchase by yours truly over spring break) with sesame seeds, rice with soy/sesame/vinegar sauce, and a salad with garbanzo beans, lime, chili powder, sunflower seeds, onions, tomatoes, and general delition, followed immediately by Flight of the Conchords! It was a good show, but too brief.

Then some nighttime parkour, which ended when I tried to scale a wall in my Converses (which, for those of you who may be unaware, are sadly lacking in traction) and fell 8 feet onto my wrist. It's not broken, but it hurt like a bitch. Anyway, I have a brace on that now. We followed that adventure with a bonfire party, including delicious s'mores.

Sunday was full of pancakes, fried plantains, X-rays, and a drive to the airport. The weekend wasn't as long as I might've liked, but we had teh funz. And now it's time to get serious about schoolwork, since this is the last week of classes! Woot!


i like these

Shoots of green push up,
Split the ground, bring the spring, and
Make life look alive!

Happy Earth Day! I hope you all celebrated. I got a tree yesterday, a White Oak. It should grow up to be pretty spectacular; I'm giving it to my dad to plant out at the property that he and my mom recently bought. I hope they think of me when it grows up. ;)

One thing that I learned today that's neat: Bloomington makes people pay to have garbage collected. Recycling collection is free, but putting trash out necessitates the purchasing of $2 "trash stickers" at the supermarket, one per bag. I learned this in the course of signing my lease for next year, which I have to say I'm super excited about. Clawfoot tub, here I come!

Another thing today that I learned about and liked was Texas' recent threats of secession. C'mon, guys. I guess it brought an extra grin to my day, so I can't ask for much more, but...


some oddities

College brings myst'ries,
The fog of knowledge obscures
The plain and simple.

We finally got our sink fixed. We've spent a couple weeks trying to fiddle with it ourselves, to no avail. Drano did nothing. Digging with spoons did nothing. Nothing did anything. So we filed a maintenance report and were treated to the message on our door (upon our return):

Replaced garbage disposal. Old one was clogged with penny.

Well, that's odd. We can't be throwing pennies down the drain in a recession! (Thanks to Georgia for that one :P) It seems like, despite education, we all still do dumb things sometimes. -___-

Other oddities... well, my arms look rather odd at the moment. Parkour over the weekend was pretty intense, and now it appears that I've taken a cheese grater to the inside surfaces of my limbs. That's what one gets for climbing things, I suppose.

Yesterday was 4/20, which, in a hippie town like Bloomington, has more connotations than "the day between 4/19 and 4/21." I guess this is a reasonable opportunity to make some comments about marijuana. Venus was writing a paper about legalizing it recently, and in talking to her about it I had some thoughts.

I know that California is considering legalizing marijuana; it's their state's most lucrative crop. If it were legalized, it could be taxed, and thereby their government could bail itself out of the massive hole it seems to be in. Not to mention that the United States has something like 25% of the world's prisoners. In fact, more than 1% of American adults are currently incarcerated. A large portion of those are due to drug misdemeanors. Legalizing marijuana would also cut down on that sort of nonsense; as a nation we gripe about having to spend so much for prisoners, blah, blah, blah, but maybe we're just interpreting illegality in the wrong way. And what is so harmful about marijuana? It's not an addictive substance. It doesn't impair any more drastically than alcohol or other already-legal substances (i.e. salvia). It's not doing any more harm to the air than tobacco smoke. There's a lot of stigma associated to it, though.

I was reading Time today when I came across an article about Amish romance novels. That's just odd in itself, and I don't really feel obligated to elaborate.

It's weird to think that the end of the term is so close. I can taste it! :D


...i'm a math major

There's more of interest
Than what one learns in school. It
Is best to explore.

Well, I thought I was going to do my math homework, but it's about wedge products and differential forms, blah blah blah, so I determined that tea would make me do it. After making tea, I spent more time contemplating the vortices in the tea steam than doing the other stuff... *sigh*



A sunny day brings
Hearty fun, college brings
A crazy mess. Heh.

One of the service fraternities on campus ran a fundraiser today: IU's biggest water balloon fight! It raised money for the March of Dimes, and, judging by the number of people I saw there, it was a lot. There were probably close to 300 people in Dunn meadow, it was $3 to get in, and there were 13,000 water balloons up for grabs. I think we took care of them all in about 5 minutes. Hehe. Too bad I didn't really have the foresight to, er, bring a change of clothes.

As alluded to in the post title, I've been thinking about boarding recently. I like to do math homework on boards, because it's easily erased, doesn't waste paper, etc., etc. People are of differing opinions on whether whiteboards or blackboards are superior. I guess, to be politically correct, I will call them "dry erase boards" and "chalkboards." But, anyway, I can't decide myself.

Dry erase boards are nice; you can project things onto them. If I need to work off of something that's on a computer screen, I just throw it up on a dry erase board and draw away. Erasing off of a dry erase board is nice, too. There's no chalky mess. Unfortunately, a casual swipe with the hand across a dry erase board will result in both awkward stains on the skin and damage to the board's surface, which leads to real difficulties in erasing later.

There is, however, a certain gravitas associated with anything written on a chalkboard. Think of all the great minds of the past that have derived mathematics and the sciences as we know them today using these great tools! Chalk in my hand feels somehow weightier and more serious than a dry erase marker ever could. It's nice to just brush a hand across a chalked error and correct it with none of the nonsense associated with dry erase markers.

I know that IUCS has gone and replaced almost all of its chalkboards with dry erase boards, but I also know that Dan Friedman rescued a chalkboard from a dumpster and had it hung in his office. It may contribute to great ideas, but it also probably has had a hand in lung ailments for several generations of grad students. :P



A box of chaos,
Sits, unopened, mysterious,
The centre of town.

Back home in Columbus, there really is a box of Chaos just chillin' in downtown. Chaos used to be one of my favourite things about going to the Commons mall, but now it's being torn down and replaced by, what, a hotel, I think? Ridiculous. But I'm more interested in the draw of the Chaos box than whatever thing they're replacing it with.



Why keep jokes to fields
Where only crass comments live?
Let's extend to more!

I don't know why, but I've never heard a CS-related "yo mamma" joke. I can't think why this would be. We all have decent senses of humour, right? So if you've ever heard one, please share. I figured I would make a couple contributions to start off:

Yo mamma so big, she wouldn't fit on your 1.5TB RAID5 harddrive.

Yo mamma so dumb, she don't know the difference between a heat sink and a float.


days go by

I'm too lazy to
Write a real post, so I'll just
Write a few haikus.

Friend requests, messages,
Too many to leave me sane.
Why do I do this?

College students march,
A rainbow of umbrellas,
Hunched against the rain.

Winding down, slide with
The flow. Grades will come, just sit
Back, relax, enjoy.

Easter food heavy
In my belly, but it gives
Energy for fun!

ty is too long to fit in
Just five syllables.

Green tech, green campus,
Lectures about them abound,
Sustain IU week!

Pink petals poke up
Colouring campus coyly
Suggesting a sniff.


food and films

Redolent of youth,
Concocting with Dad, now I
Strike forth with my friends.

In the grand tradition of Thursday cooking night, Georgia and I whipped up a heart-shaped pizza last night. She has pictures of it, and I hope she posts them. *nudge, nudge* But it was delicious and super-easy. I still don't have my dad's dough techniques quite down, but it would be hard to really get them exactly since he doesn't measure and I don't measure and it, er, wouldn't really work.

The flick of choice was Porco Rosso, one of the Ghibli movies I hadn't seen yet. It chronicles the adventures of Porco (formerly Marco): an Italian seaplane pilot who has been turned into a pig and now lives as a bounty hunter. It was cute! I think my favourite part was a scene between a quietly beautiful Italian woman and an obnoxious American man, during which she laughed gleefully at his claim that he was the best pilot in the Adriatic, defending her giggling with, "I find your humility to be quite charming."

In other news... well, there isn't much other news. I am signing up for classes. I kind of hate the permissions systems for signups, as I discovered and elaborated on during a discussion with Evan. I mean, it's cool that IU wants people in the classes who are capable of doing the work, but I'm pretty sure that it's a fairly good self-correcting system, no? I can't think of many people who would stay in a class that they were failing or that they had no idea what was going on in. And it's a massive hassle for people like me who learned stuff outside of school and who need to go through ridiculous administrivia just to end up in the proper place. >:| Oh well. At least this is the last time I'll have to jump through those hoops (hopefully)!



No longer teasing,
Spring is here to (probably)
Stay. Feel the season!

With warm weather comes time for physical activity! Thus far I've done some Frisbee, soccer, and Parkour, but I think that I've discovered a new sport: trying to get from one end of campus to another without getting accosted by all those folks who are scheming for my money. Observe my ugly art:

Anyway, I think it might catch on. I'm becoming quite proficient at it myself.


something interesting

Our wants, needs, and times,
They are a'changin, but can
We really skimp

So what is it that sells well in a recession? I was reading an article in this week's Time that addressed specifically that question. It gives answers that you might expect: canned goods and fresh produce, for instance. It also gives answers that you might not expect: family planning (mainly condoms) and "seasonal general merchandise," whatever that is (they say that it includes things like road salt, decorations, Valentine's gifts, etc., but I just think it's a silly term).

What doesn't sell well? A lot of people have stopped buying junk food as much, according to this article, including cookies and ice cream. They've also cut back on purchasing... feminine hygiene products?? In the physical magazine, though apparently not on the site, there is a chart of the top 20 best-performing items and the bottom 20 worst-performing items. The unit sales of feminine hygiene products has dropped 12.6% since last year. Now, how the hell do you cut out 12.6% of your use of that stuff? I wonder if more of the population is turning to transgender surgery? Perhaps there is more job security if you are a man? I don't understand. A friend speculated that perhaps it also is related to the fact that the Baby Boomers are now going through menopause, but I don't feel like that could account for more than 12 percentage points of noise. That's plain crazy.


a few things i've learned

Ninjas (or ninjae?)
Come from wise masters, failure,
And dedication.

And, you know, some other things. Time's pretty important. Anyway, I have been experimenting with my sharp new Ubuntu install, and it's way fun. I haven't really used Linux as a desktop environment except during my time at Google, and being at work sort of precluded playing around with all the nifty things that it can do. I took the GRE on Saturday morning, and I think that the few weeks that I've had this thing to play with actually improved my score by a couple points, haha.

It's intriguing to me to learn the things that people think are cool about computers. On Friday I was on a panel for undergrad women who are interested in Computer Science, for example. Sarah Loos, who lived/worked/blogged with me last summer, and I tried to get the girls excited about, you know, interesting algorithms and stuff we worked on at Google, deep ideas about computational complexity, blah blah blah, but their interest was only really sparked when I offhandedly mentioned that I had a) given up Facebook for Lent and b) written a script to block me from it and allow me to access it again once Easter arrived.

"Can you really do that? Wow! What class do you learn that in?"

"Um.. well, to be honest I sort of taught that to myself. But It was the foundations that I got in my CS classes that let me do it, really."

Yeah, so it was sort of bullshit. It's really trivial, actually, to add a line to your hosts file and write a cron job to remove that line on 4/12. But they just thought it was the coolest thing. :)

Oh, I guess that's only one thing I've learned, and this is entitled "a few things i've learned." What else, then... I wrote a script that will verify that an ISO burned properly to a CD (thanks, once more, to the internets!), I've discovered the joys of aliasing commands:

$ alias ls='echo muahahahah'
$ ls

(super fun to do if people forget to lock their screens in the lab, but I have useful aliases, too ;) ), I've set up nifty passwordless logins to the computers at school, and a few other things, probably. Those are the ones that come to mind, anyway.


good and evil

Who knows what evil
Lurks in the hearts of men?  You,
If you keep awatch.

As I was standing at the bus stop today in the freezing cold and rain (I had just finished a soccer game, too, so I was totally inappropriately attired in shorts and a t-shirt), a man with an umbrella walked up to me and offered to share.  "Save your hair," he said, "and you must be freezing.  This umbrella is big enough for two."

It turned out that he was a professor in the Geology department, and we actually knew a few of the same people via my (albeit spotty) participations in caving club.  I had lost some of my faith in humanity after watching Slumdog Millionaire last night, but it was restored by a little Indian man with an umbrella.


"Hi, I'm Valkyrie,"
"Valkyrie Savage? I've heard
Of you!" "Um.. what? How?"

The thing is, this happens to me a lot. I was talking to Sarah about it the other day, and she commented that it's probably a consequence of the fact that I know a lot of people in a lot of places, and the, er, fact that my name is "Valkyrie Savage", such that in any given group of people among whom one or two know me, probably all but one or two actually know me and the remaining ones are almost certain to remember my name. I've been meeting a lot of people this weekend. I haven't done that for a while, I guess. I'm a bit worn out of the usual banter:

"Your name's 'Valkyrie Savage'? a) I don't believe you! b) That's awesome!" (P(a) = .25)
"c) Well, I mean, I can grab my ID or something. Honest to God, that's my name. d) Haha, thanks. I hear that a lot." (a -> c b -> d)

In addition to meeting slews of new people (including 3 Johns and 2 Marks) in a couple days, I've definitely been keeping busy. I took the GRE yesterday morning! It wasn't as tough as I expected. I mean, it was tough (I didn't answer all the questions, but you're not really expected to be able to... I think that a 40/70 gets you about at the 80th percentile, and I answered 56... so I should have a decent shot at something respectable.), but I think I did alright. Considering the fact that I haven't had a class on networks or compilers, nor have I had a serious class on computer architectures or operating systems. :-/ Maybe I'll retake it in the fall after I glean some knowledge from the Networks and OS classes I'm taking then? I dunno.

Speaking of classes in the fall! I am pretty sure of what I'm taking, but I still am conflicted on what fun course I should fill it out with. What I know is this:

Computer Networks
Operating Systems

It's going to be intense. Networks and Topology are grad courses, Analysis is an honors 400-level course, and Operating Systems and Networks are both P courses, which basically means that I will be programming at all times I am not sleeping. Or proving.

Anyway, the fun courses that I'm thinking about:

Scuba Certification
Middle Eastern Dance
Jeet Kun Do

It's a tough choice, I know. ;)

I went, also, to a talk by Doug Hofstadter yesterday. He's actually the professor for one of my classes, but he's super cool to listen to. He talked about how AI is advancing... but not really viable yet. I guess one of his colleagues said that computers would be conversant by 2010. So... umm.. watch for that? Haha. Maybe.

I saw Slumdog Millionaire finally, too. It wasn't as good as everyone said, I guess? I mean, I liked it, for sure, but I don't think I'd've given it Best Picture. I liked WALL-E better. Oh well. That's why I'm not in Hollywood.

Anyway, I have a soccer game to get geared up for. Go Grass Kickers!


style pains

Ow ow ow ow ow
Owie owie owie ow
Ouchie owie ow.

So maybe this wasn't as worth it as I thought. I guess the pain didn't last long, and it didn't cost much, but I've been getting some weird looks. I suppose no one will ever not think I'm a nerd now. :P *item getting music plays*

I actually think it's kind of cool. After Georgia and Jeff got their tattoos, I started thinking about why I didn't have one. I couldn't come up with a good reason, but I just couldn't find anything sufficiently nerdy that "normal" people could still relate to. I thought about Pikachu for a while, but that stage in my life has passed, I think. I had to go more old school.

Yeah, it will be annoying to keep it clean for the next few days, but at least I don't have to keep the bandages on. The redness went away surprisingly quickly.

I think my mom might freak out, though. At least it won't be as bad as when I tell her that I am pregnant with twins from a guy I met at the club in Miami. Or when I tell her that I got cast as the motorcycle stunt double in the movie I auditioned for. It probably won't even be as bad as when she finds out that I have been hanging out with my friends in the Chemistry lab and accidentally melted my cell phone.

p.s. Happy April Fools Day.




It's exciting stuff. I made the transformation from vegetarian to vegan only about two weeks ago, but it's been pretty exciting stuff.

Even when I was vegetarian, people who were vegan seemed somewhat like wacko extremists. No yogurt, cheese, milk, eggs, butter? Really? How in the world would someone have that kind of self discipline and drive. I mean, restaurants everywhere use things like butter in their cooking. I just didn't have the drive to make such a change. Sure, sometimes, during the year or so before I became vegan, the thought of drinking milk some days would gross me out. I'd think of calves being fed a combination of milk, hormones, antibiotics, and the blood of other cows and we too grossed out to touch the stuff for the next few days. But I love cheese, I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, and I especially love goldfish crackers. The idea of giving these things up long term was something I couldn't even think about.

Then I read a book called Skinny Bitch, which you've probably seen or heard of even if you don't remember it. It's full of quite a few flaws in reasoning and other errors, but it did compile everything bad I've ever learned about the meat/dairy/egg industry in one nice little place where I was forced to read it all. Even though the sources they quote throughout the book are often less than reputable (PETA, for example), BUT everything int hat book about animal factory farms I had heard somewhere before, I just really hadn't compiled the information together and been confronted with it directly. The quotes in the book from people who had worked or were currently working in these facilities were horrifying. Shoving tasers up pigs' butts? Gross. Pulling horses out of transport vehicles they they become frozen to, ripping off their skin? Gross. I'll stop writing about the bad stuff for now because to be honest I don't like thinking about it, and who would?

On a happier note, which I meant this entire post to be on, I feel so alive and full of energy. I eat way better than I did before. Vegetables take just as long to steam as a frozen dinner takes to heat up. I don't worry about calories or anything, just making things taste good in a vegan way, and boy does food taste great when you put some time into it! I'm also blessed by the fact that I'm in college and the surrounding grocery stores cater to local, organic, vegetarian, and vegan preferences. I realize that most grocery stores don't carry "Rice Dream" ice cream, which has a delish mint chocolate swirl flavor, soy yogurt, or even vegan butter. Whatever will I do when I move? But for now I'm content in the fact that I haven't had to give up any of my favorite foods, just find substitutes for them.


cred and a quick summary

More and more, I
Am becoming a CS
Major you'd expect.

Haha, and by that I mean that I played StarCraft for the first time last night. Pathetic, I know, that I haven't played it before... it was pretty amusing, I have to say, when I opened the box with the installation disks and found a flier:


:P Amusement ensued. Anyway, I did like StarCraft a fair amount. I haven't played a game similar to it since I was obsessed with Age of Mythology about 5 summers ago, but it's ok. I don't think it'd take long for me to get better at it, and I'm probably going back to play more later today. Teehee.

Also contributing to this CS major-ness is the Math Talent Show yesterday. I'll post a link to my friend's standup routine when he actually puts it on the interwebs. It was a good time for all, I think. A group perfomed Finite Simple Group of Order Two . I love that song. <3! Additionally, a guy did violin beatboxing? I had seen fluteboxing, but this was something completely different (and completely awesome).

I realized that I never actually mentioned what I did on spring break! The Arkansas trip was nixed due to infighting, so Robbie Woerner and I decided to head to Florida with my family. This gave us a few days at home first (Venus had a doctor's appointment or something on Tuesday, so we planned to leave following that), which meant that there was some adventure to be had right away!

On Saturday, Venus asked me to lead her friends on a caving trip. I, um, didn't have any particular confidence in these particular friends, and I was very hesitant to take them. She insisted, though, so we went. (Hahaha, I think that I will avoid mentioning their names so that this ridiculous story won't ever show up in a Google search for them, funny though that would be.) I found the most obnoxiously pansy cave that I could to take them through, because they had never been underground before, and I didn't want them to be responsible for getting hurt.

Five minutes into the cave, we are walking in a less-than-ankle-deep stream. I am in front. We come to a fork. "We're going left," I say. Seconds later, one of Venus's friends does not, for some reason, turn right at the fork. She also didn't turn left. She simply walked her face straight into the wall. This, as you might imagine, led to bleeding. So we rushed her out of the cave.

The cut was tiny (about 1.5cm), so we cleaned it up and decided to do something else with the day in Bloomington: Chris (a friend visiting from Johns Hopkins) took us to a railroad trestle west of town. We wandered around by it, and on the way back to the car I heard a yell behind me. "We got a bleeder!" Chris.

"What the hell does that mean?" I asked.

"Get a towel!" my sister ran down the hill looking frantic.

"Oh, not again..." We grabbed towels and bandaids and all that good stuff and tried to fix the bleeding friend up again, this time while en route to the Emergency Room. Was her blood not clotting? What was the matter? I had no experience with this sort of stuff. When we were 95% of the way to the hospital, the other friend offered a meek comment, "I'm sorry... it was a knee-jerk reaction."

I looked skeptically at her in the rearview mirror. "What was a knee-jerk reaction?" It was explained to us that bleeding friend had been walking behind other friend and tapped her on the shoulder, and other friend's immediate reaction was to clock bleeding friend in the face and set off another spurt of hemoglobin. Wonderful. She didn't even merit stitches at the ER; just some glue. UGH.

Then there was a nice day of hiking on Sunday with Robbie and Venus, which actually led to a chance meeting with a high school teacher whom we all had for US Government who is now retired. That was a nice surprise. Monday was full of errands (I got my computer sent off to be fixed, got the oil changed on the car, and managed to get in a bit of shopping, during which I found a killer white vest), but there have to be days like that sometimes. Tuesday I spent essentially the entire day in the car between dropping Venus at the doctor's, picking up Robbie, realizing Robbie forgot his wallet and driving back to his house and then back to my house, and heading out for our trip. We made a stop at the Lodge Cast Iron store in Tennessee. I am now the proud owner of a cast iron brand in the shape of a V.

Florida was fun, but I think we did way too much driving. From Tuesday to Saturday we visited St. Augustine (the oldest city in the US, and we went on a ghost tour to learn some of the history), Boynton Beach (Mom has a friend there), Miami (Robbie and I got to go clubbing for a little while), Venice (fossilized sharks' teeth lie scattered along the beach for observant travelers to collect, plus the beach sand was perfect for running and playing Frisbee on), and St. Pete Beach (aka "St. Pete, Bitch" as per the signs: ST PETE BCH). There was more time in the car than fun in the sun, but it wasn't a bad trip overall. :)

I guess that was a longer summary than I had intended, but... well, you know.


re: last post

Dag, yo. That's crazy
Stuff happenin' there. Am I
That bad a person?

Well, I mean, I'm not *bad*, but my curiosity got the better of me as I thought about that last post and I decided to calculate my carbon footprint since January 1, 2008. 7.96 tonnes of CO2??? Ouch! I think that it probably has mostly to do with all the flying that I do; just the trip to Tokyo was 1.96 tonnes... :-/ Maybe I'll stay home more... oh, wait, I'm going to Germany. Scratch that.

So I'm sorta bummed about that, but I did get extra points from the calculator for being a vegetarian, not owning a car, and doing mostly walking and biking. Although I think I remember reading somewhere that walking is actually worse for the environment than driving, assuming that all your food energy comes from meat. Meat comes from a long way away...

So I guess I'm going to work on improving that. I'm about 2x what the world goal is, but I'm (both happily and sadly, I guess) only about 1/3 of what the US average is. Hmmmmmmmmm. Rugged individualism!

some thoughts

Now that I'm back in
School, I can ponder stuff like
This. And share it, too!

I went to a talk earlier this week by one of the profs in the CS department (man, the honors seminar at IU is pretty awesome): Eli Blevis. He talked to us about all the tech junk that computers and stuff are generating; even washing machines have brains now, and when a consumer doesn't know how to fix it (and sometimes even techs don't know!), washing machines will get replaced. The whole machine. When all one really needs is probably one part that's maybe 8" long.

Eli also talked about other areas of sustainability. He and his wife live in town, but they grow almost all of their own food in a garden, and they have creative ways of recycling things that they can't produce on their own. Bloomington actually has several interesting sites for this; along 446 there is a toilet, well-known to the denizens of this area, with flowers peeking out of its bowl.

Eli started his work before everyone was green fatigued. He wrote the first paper on sustainability in computer hardware. Ironic that he flew all over the world to present it.

It's shocking to me how little people think about all this stuff. I mean, I guess it's a little more to the forefront of people's minds in a community like Bloomington that is basically the closest Indiana may get to a hippie commune, but so many people in so many places don't give it a second thought at all. People replace their cell phones on average every 17 months? That's ridiculous. One guy who attended the seminar on Monday has had twelve cell phones in three years. That is *obscene*, mmkay? I get my cell phone replaced every two years like a good kid. I've had my laptop for almost 3 years. Do I really want that new gaming rig? Well, yes. But I probably don't need it. Our society of keeping up with the Joneses is rife with rapidly diminishing satisfaction with technology. I wish people didn't have this crazy desire to be above-and-beyond better than other people. :-/


vacation with ponce de leon and gandhi

I roll with them, those
Crazy famous dead folk, all
The way in Flor'da.


home sweet home

I can't stay away
From ERs, it seems, even
When I am at home.

Evidently, I should listen to my gut.  A while ago, Venus asked me to arrange a caving trip for her and a couple of her friends, girls I had known from when I was still in high school.  Based on who they were, I was a little hesitant to take them on a trip; they had been rather girly when I had known them before.  I was assured that things would be fine, and I decided that I could take them through the wimpiest cave I knew.  Little did I know that it wasn't wimpy enough.  On walking through a stream, one of her friends ran her face into a wall and started bleeding.  We went to the ER.  The cut was only 1.5cm long, so it didn't even require stitches, but she got it glued (?) shut.

In other news, I am home for Spring Break!  The Arkansas plans got nixed, but Robbie and I are going to go with my parents and sister to the Carolinas/Virginias/Washington.  It should be a fun time.  :)  I've been enjoying relaxing, though.  I watched a couple pretty sweet movies: Idiocracy and I'm a Cyborg, But That's Okay.  The first was sort of depressing in its humour, but it was definitely hilarious.  The second was an interesting imported movie from Korea that was on our On-Demand channel.  The bunny guy was so sweet.  I think I need a Rice-Megatron, though: I may be a cyborg.

What else.... oh, Robbie, Venus, and I went hiking today and ran into Mr. Nay.  That was pretty random.  Amusingly, it was at Hesitation Point (in Brown County State Park).

And happy Pi Day!  Well, it was yesterday, and I missed out on the pie, but I still feel that the well-wishings are valid.  ;)



I can't adventure
Enough during school, but in
The summer? For sure!

Just this morning I received an email from the DAAD-RISE program that I applied to many moons ago, and they told me that I've been accepted as an intern for the summer! That means that I'll be heading to Germany in mid-May and coming back stateside in mid-August. The work will be at a university in Darmstadt, a town (or city?) just outside Frankfurt. I have lots of research to do before I get there, though; I don't know the first thing about work visas or apartment-hunting in other countries or train passes or driving internationally or... well, the list goes on.

Anyway, I'm sure that I'll be posting more about that as summer approaches. Right now I've got some PL homework to do. *sigh*



Losing an hour,
Doesn't take away THAT much
Excitement from me.

It's important to take things as they come, and when a beautiful day comes along, it is important to take it! So yesterday I pretty much wrote off the entire day to enjoyment. I had stayed up late Friday night (Sean and I went to see Watchmen, which was a lot better than I expected, and then I got sucked into a game of Settlers of Catan with Evan over the internets, in which I totally pwned him ;), so I woke up around 11, ate breakfast, and went to parkour! Although I haven't been to it in some time, I noticed that I was a lot better at wall climbs. Presumably that is due to the fact that Roy and I have been training pullups. Woot!

In addition, I went hiking in the Dean Wilderness yesterday with Jaimie and a few of his friends (I knew two of them, Ronak and Jess, but the third, Sara(h?) was new to me). It was gorgeous, and we climbed the fire tower there. We also wandered down to the lake to search for fossils and watch the sunset. On the way down there, there was a burned-down house that was still partially standing; the fireplace/chimney and lower floor walls remained. So we climbed the chimney and poked around in the ruins a little.

After hiking, I went with Roy to the Union to see Milk, a film about the first openly gay man to serve in a high public office. It was really good! It's super sad how people treat(ed) homosexuals during that time. Hard to believe that just 30 years ago people were being denied housing and jobs just because of sexual orientation. Even harder to believe that they still get treated that way sometimes today.

Then, on to Max's place to watch Iuri (my capoeira instructor)'s band play. They had a really awesome hiphop/reggae/rock(?) thing going on. It was hard music to dance to, though, at least for me. I don't really rock out to that stuff very often.

Later, Atomic Age Cinema! I had heard of this previously, but I had also been told that it was for the 21 and up crowd, which, though disheartening, didn't surprise me. Anyway, I didn't ever look into it until last night. Basically, at a theatre here called the Cinemat there is something like "Mystery Science Theater 3000" live. A horrible movie is screened, and four guys dress up in ridiculous costumes (Dr. Calamari, for instance) and mock it, and anyone is welcome to join in. The movie last night was "Death Bed: The Bed that Eats." It was a rather enjoyable film about a bed that dissolved people in yellow digestive acid that quite resembled beer.

Today I've done real work... well, mostly. I finally hooked up with Chris Beckley for the first time in months, and we went to Gum Boot dancing lessons. I guess his logic teacher runs them. Anyway, Gum Boot dancing is based off of communications developed between miners in Africa. It's a whole lot of boot slapping and -stomping. I enjoyed myself, despite the fact that I was, in a word, terrible.

Now I think I'll go explore some of the weird stores around here that I've never been to. The big Sahara Mart is something that I'm pretty anxious to explore. I also noticed that I pretty desperately need new shoes for parkour, so maybe I'll check out things to that end, as well.



Willy-nilly change the clocks...
What the hell's the point?

I don't understand why Indiana switched to having daylight savings time.  It has to be a hassle for businesses, right?  Paying people for an hour they don't work in the spring, paying people overtime for an hour they work twice in the fall?  Plus it's just weird, and I don't see why anyone cares what clock hour the sun comes up at.

On that note, what's up with timezones?  I can understand that it's nice to have a semi-standard time that the sun comes up, but the way that they're currently laid out, that isn't really the case.  Indiana, again, for example, when it locked onto the Eastern time zone stretched it out to some kind of impossible proportion.  It's probably more than an hour between the time Augusta sees first light and the time that we here in Bloomington do.  Some places have solved this problem (?) by introducing time zones that aren't an hour long.  In India (noticing a pattern with place names here, haha) there are 30- and 45-minute time zones.  The way I see it, this is even more inconvenient.  Changing a digital watch by 45 minutes is a hassle.

I guess it makes sense that Indiana be slave to the same system as the rest of the states with respect to daylight savings, but why do we observe this any more in the States, anyway?  AFAIK, it's some kind of leftover from Ben Franklin's efforts to spark demand for candles or some such.  I've never heard of a modern-day purpose that it serves, and all I ever hear about it is people complaining.  Maybe that's because I'm in Indiana and we've been spoiled until recently, but does it make sense to you?

All I can say is I'm not buying any candles.



Muscles ache, brain, too,
Learning, growing, expanding!
I'll redeem myself.

So I still feel like this term is pretty slow compared to other ones as far as classwork goes, but I'm finding other ways to entertain myself.  Roy and I have been doing some serious working out this week; each of us is striving to be the first to do a pullup.  :P  The daily gymination is coming as quite a shock to my as-late-untrained body, but we're pulling through.  I just can't laugh without squeezing back little tears of pain.

I'm enjoying exploring other academic pursuits, as well.  The work on Polyworld with Larry Yaeger should be pretty interesting, and now that I've got my laptop running Ubuntu alongside Windows it'll actually be feasible to work on it, haha.  And I've plowed through a couple books on graph theory this week; that was pretty interesting.  I guess a lot of it just seems intuitive, but the introduction of, y'know, proper terms is sort of nice to have.

Did I mention that I bought a beginner book on piano over the weekend!  In the absence of friends who are always around to regale me with their playings, I am reduced to attempting to pick out tunes for myself.  I guess it's on my list, so maybe it's not so useless a pursuit, after all.  Oh, I was sitting in the fireplace room in the Union (one of my favourite places on campus, especially during the winter), and for the first time I had the distinct pleasure of listening to a really talented player pour out some songs through the gorgeous white grand piano there.  It was a fantastic feeling: soaking up the fire, absorbing the music, and pondering my maths.

I went over to the place I may be living in the fall this evening to chill and play WiiFit.  That game is pretty sweet.  But I guess the apartment is the interesting thing.  ;)  It's about the same size as this place, but the kitchen is bigger, and it has a sweet loft (which would probably be my bedroom).  It also has a fireplace, and it just feels homier than this apartment.  Plus the floors don't creak.  The downside?  It's pretty far from campus.  There is a bus, but... I dunno.  I sorta wanted to be closer to where things happen.  We'll see how it goes.


blondes have more fun

I'm back to brunette,
And it may just be that blondes
Have more fun than me.

Yes, I know that "me" should be an "I," but that sort of throws off the rhyming thing that I was attempting to do there.

Anyway, now I'm a brunette again.  I think the colour that I chose is a little ashier than my natural one, so it may look silly when it grows out, anyway.  But whatever.  It's actually been kinda funny to see what people think of this new/old hairdo.  A lot of people never saw me with short brown hair since I dyed it practically the day after I got it cut.  Now a lot of people are barely noticing a change; I guess the blonde combined with the short was a shock, and this is just business as usual?  Who knows.

But on the topic of blondes having more fun... it might be true.  At least, it was for me.  ;)  I mean, c'mon, I spent two weeks in Tokyo, flew to Canada over a weekend, saved a girl from a falling rock in a cave, took my roommate to the emergency room for a broken patella, started capoeira classes... since I've gone back to brunette, what have I done?  Well, not a lot.  Hrm.


fire alarms and math nerds

Math nerds, unite!  By
The power of numbers,
We play... Settlers?  Hm.

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of attending a party of math nerds.  Those people can be lots of fun in large groups, especially when there are party games around that encourage it.  For instance, during the course of the evening, we played Apples to Apples, and one green card that came up was "edgy."  The winning card?  "Stop signs."  Maybe not math nerdy so much as... well... regularly, generally neardy, but fun nonetheless.  We also played a round of Settlers of Catan, which I whupped up in, thanks to the still-burning shame of losing last time I played with Evan.  :P

The board that we used for it was super-nice, though.  I borrowed it from a friend's roommate, and he had built a wooden briefcase to tote it around in and everything.  I'm pretty sure he had every expansion, but we elected to forgo the expansions in light of the fact that half the people who wanted to play had never played before.  Might have been too confusing.  But I'm thinking that I probably want to get a board of my own sometime; it's a good game to have around.

Also yesterday was Capoeira.  It's such fun!  We extended our respective repertoires of badassery by cartwheeling over barriers.  Have you ever tried it?  It's terrifying!  But you feel frickin awesome when you do it.  :D

Oh!  And I finally got my W-2 from Google and filed my taxes.  Thanks, Uncle Sam.

This morning I was awakened by an odd odor shortly followed by a piercing beeping noise.  Evidently Georgia had left a pot on the stove for a wee bit too long, and the stuff in it had turned the charcoal.  Our fire alarm was not happy.  Unfortunately, it was really unpleasant to throw open all the windows and doors downstairs, as it's approximately 28 degrees here (that's -2 for you metric folk ;).

Undaunted by previous kitchen incidents, I started making bread this morning.  It should be super tasty: cranberry cinnamon sugar.  Mmmmmm.

Anyway, I'm hoping to find some excitement for this weekend.  I'm thinking that I'll probably dye my hair back to brown so that it's mo' betta' for my Silk Spectre costume.  Watchmen releases on Friday!  I'm excited!  :D!


no facebook: day 2

No longer punctuated
With random people.

Well, it's been about 37 hours since I swore off Facebook, and it's been beautiful.  :)  I guess I never spent that much time on there, but I did take microbreaks from whatever I was theoretically supposed to be doing in order to see if I had any messages/invites/pokes/whatever.  It's amazing what removing those 15 second diversions can do for focus.

I'm a little sad about the fact that I essentially lost a second email address.  I know a lot of people won't be contacting me at all for 38 more days.  :(

In other news, I'm starting to lean more and more towards Cognitive Science for graduate school.  I've had meetings with a couple of people in the department over the last day or so, and the idea of combining all these seemingly-random things that I've been studying up until now into a coherent sort of discipline is really appealing.  I signed up to take the GRE for Computer Science in early April.  I have to say I'm at least a little apprehensive; I can only assume that there are things I won't know on it that I'll learn in the next year, but from my score on the practice exam I think I'll do okay.  I'm hoping to get a book from a prof about graph theory, which is an entire topic that is entirely missing from IU's CS program.  Meh.



I like to observe
Other folks' holidays. It's
Good for the soul.

Well, I'm not Catholic, but Lent starts tomorrow, and I've decided to give something up. I observed Ramadan a couple years ago, and that was a really rewarding experience. Why not, right? I decided to forgo Facebook for the next 40 days and 40 nights. We'll see how that works out, haha. :) Hopefully it will end in my being more productive.

Anyway, I will still be existing until Easter. If you need to contact me (and you can't use Facebook to do it!), my email address and phone number are still listed on my Facebook page. ;) Teehee.

Wish me luck!


exclamation points!!!

Did you ever notice
The sheer number of them?  My
Left pinky itches.

I didn't realize until I glanced at this blog's archive just now that I use exclamation points entirely too much.  Maybe it isn't a bad thing.  I think it's probably just a consequence of the person I am: living fully in EVERY SINGLE SECOND.  Maybe I just get bored reading dully-punctuated textbooks all day.  Maybe I like factorials, or I am trying to "not" everything.  Whatever it is, it is.

I guess the real point of this post is to express some more excitement, though.  I got an email from my host this week that my features should be launching sometime in the next month!  Who knows what that really means, but they've definitely been picked up by other engineers, and they should be ready and raring to go.  Soon!



Everywhere I go,
Random people appear, and
They send me pictures!

Picture from the Canal de Rideau in Ottawa, taken by Ed, a random guy Evan and I ran into during our skating.  His are actually the only pictures that exist from the trip... haha, oops.


(-∞, 2601218943565795100204903227081043611191521875016945785727541837850835631156947382240678577958130457082619920575892247259536641565162052015873791984587740832529105244690388811884123764341191951045505346658616243271940197113909845536727278537099345629855586719369774070003700430783758997420676784016967207846280629229032107161669867260548988445514257193985499448939594496064045132362140265986193073249369770477606067680670176491669403034819961881455625195592566918830825514942947596537274845624628824234526597789737740896466553992435928786212515967483220976029505696699927284670563747137533019248313587076125412683415860129447566011455420749589952563543068288634631084965650682771552996256790845235702552186222358130016700834523443236821935793184701956510729781804354173890560727428048583995919729021726612291298420516067579036232337699453964191475175567557695392233803056825308599977441675784352815913461340394604901269542028838347101363733824484506660093348484440711931292537694657354337375724772230181534032647177531984537341478674327048457983786618703257405938924215709695994630557521063203263493209220738320923356309923267504401701760572026010829288042335606643089888710297380797578013056049576342838683057190662205291174822510536697756603029574043387983471518552602805333866357139101046336419769097397432285994219837046979109956303389604675889865795711176566670039156748153115943980043625399399731203066490601325311304719028898491856203766669164468791125249193754425845895000311561682974304641142538074897281723375955380661719801404677935614793635266265683339509760000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000)

who says math isn't romantic?


canadia parte deux

White lands of the North,
But full of warm things! And, of
Course, of injuries.

I get to see Evan this weekend! Super exciting! It was a pretty long flight to get here, though. Mostly because of a couple hours spent in O'Hare waiting for my other plane to board. I was bored, so I decided to explore. Did you know that O'Hare has a children's museum in it?? It was pretty crazy. I also spent upwards of an hour walking around, and I made it from end to end in that time, but I skipped, like, 4 terminals. They go from A to L or something, and each one is huge.

Irrespective of that, I'm here! Evan's little apartment is pretty nice, although it seems his roommate has made himself scarce for the weekend. :P When I got here, Evan took me out to try poutine, which is some crazy dish that is, both basically and exactly, French fries + gravy + cheese curds. Hmm.

This place is interesting; Ottawa is right on the border of two provinces, Quebec and Ontario. The drinking age is different in these two provinces, so students from the other side like to come over here to drink a year younger. There are a lot of signs at bars detailing that Ontario residents aren't permitted entry unless they are 19.

Let's see, what've we done so far, other than eat poutine... well, this weekend in Ottawa is Winterlude, an ice/snow/winter festival thing. The city sets up ice sculpting contests, ice slides (super fun), fire and ice shows... plus the Rideau canal is frozen over and skateable, so we did that. It's odd to see, like, vendors and stuff just parked out on a frozen canal. We got a beaver tail, too, which is more or less an elephant ear, but tastier and in more flavours! We got garlic and cheese. Mmmmmm. Oh, and I, of course, injured myself ice skating. The canal ice was weird. Its surface was really irregular, I guess due to the fact that there was an unseasonable warm spell this week. So my figure skates' little teeth thingies caught on one of the flaws, and down I went. Onto my knee. I'm reasonably certain that it fared better than Georgia's knee, haha, but it still kinda hurts and is a bit swollen. :( But, you know what? It was totally worth it. Oh, and some random guy visiting from Toronto took our picture. I gave him my email address, so maybe he'll have sent it to me by later today and I can put it up.

For dinner yesterday, we whipped up a dericious feast. I had brought some drunken goat cheese with me, so we had that, and we had also some fresh homemade bread, artichoke hearts, FECKING TASTY bean sprout salad, tuna salad, currants, and local brews. Yum! Every adventure with Evan seems to turn into a food adventure, inexplicably.

But that wasn't all, of course! Evan of all people would be the one to find a Valentine's Day rave for us to attend. The tickets for it were pretty sweet: Invader Zim-themed! Hahaha. So we got all dolled up and went out to the club. It was pretty sweet. :3

Well, maybe that's all. Probably not. There's still today, and we're still planning some adventuring for later. It's going to be sad to go back to Bloomington, especially since I have a midterm, like, 23 hours from now. Uck.

But it's a good weekend. :D


Oi What a week!

So this past week has been so jam packed with stuff but I've been on so many pain meds I don't really remember a lot of it. I had surgery on Monday- they put some screw, bone graft, and wire in my kneecap. The day got off to a really good start though, Jeff woke up early and suprised me with a longstem pink and white rose and a little stuffed animal tree frog that had "surgery frog" written on its stomach. My knee hurts a lot more now than when I broke it, and these pain meds are doing a number on me. I'm finally able to think somewhat coherently and so, I'm able to write this entry! I'm sad I had to miss class this morning though (I was throwing up), we were going to be learning different frog calls! I was really looking forward to it!

I'm excited because tomorrow Jeff and I are going to see Circ de Soleil, which his mom kindly got us tickets for. Saturday night we are going to a dance at Collins: the Vieneese Ball. Hopefully dancing with my knee won't be too bad, but I know that Jeff will make sure I have a good time no matter what. Sunday I have to do a 4 hour lab, ugh, BUT Kyle is also moving to Bloomington that day, which is very exciting! I need to start sending valentine's to people actually! Yay! Danielle is coming up this weekend to visit Dennis, so hopefully I'll be able to do something with them as well.

Val- I hope you have fun in Canada this weekend! Find a penpal for me! And I just got your Valentine's day card you left for me! THANK YOU!


happy birthday, Georgia!

You made it, at last!
Too bad the drugs make you odd,
But we like you still.




Wait, what?  Spring has sprung?
How come no one told me this news?

So apparently nobody bothered to inform our lady Gaia that it's the middle of February.  Today was a balmy 60 degrees in the middle of the day.  Seriously.  It's awful.  All my beautiful snow, gone!  But whatever.  I guess that's how it goes sometimes.

Georgia's surgery was today.  I haven't seen her yet... but I'm sure it went fine.  :)

This semester is making me horrifically lazy.  I haven't got a lot of work to do, so I always put it off.  But the thing is that the work is pretty complicated, so.... it's just generally a bad idea.  Merp.



Baking, delicious!
And ingredients can be
Faked, if need be.  *grin*

So Georgia and I met our neighbors, finally.  We noticed their wireless network a few days ago; ours is "Next to 666," and theirs is "Yes_it's_666."  :)  Anyway, we whipped up a batch of orange chocolate chunk cookies for them.


1 cup shortening
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
zest of one orange
juice of same orange
2 eggs

2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup of crushed chocolate anything (we used M&Ms and Hershey bars)
some salt
some vanilla
some baking soda

These cookies go through the standard cookie-mixing steps: creaming the shortening and sugars, adding flour in stages, blah blah blah.  They bake for a really long time, though.  The recipe calls for the oven to be at 300, and it took a good 25 minutes for them to come out.  Maybe we just make bigger cookies than most folks, though.  ;)

Anyway, we took these to our neighbour.  He is evidently from Russia.  He opened the door, beer in hand.

"We're your neighbors!  We made cookies for you!"

"Is this for real?"

It was pretty funny.  I hope his daughter is around sometime, or that she at least likes the cookies.

Thursday Cooking Night: Georgia and Val make Potato Blintzes

So tonight Val and I had our weekly cooking night as usual, but this night we decided to do a blog about it! So we made Potato Blintzes, which is basically a potato/ spinach/ onion mixture wrapped in crepes. I had the difficult task of making the crepes, but they turned out only half way retarded! Yay! So here's the recipe, they tasted great! We put soy sauce on ours, or you can add in cheese.


crepe filling:
about 2 medium potatoes
2 onions
1 lb spinach
salt (some) and pepper (lots)

1 cup flour
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 milk or soy milk

Mix all the crepe ingredients together and let sit in the fridge for several hours, or if you're a hurried improvising college student, stick it in the freezer for a while and then in the fridge!

Mash up the potatoes, heat up the spinach (if frozen) or mix it in with the potatoes or something. Saute the onions and add salt and pepper to taste, and voila! You have your crepe filling.

Make your crepes, stack them up on a plate, put some filling in each one and wrap it up. Cook them in a frying pan for a bit. Guess what?! You're done!

IMPORTANT NOTE: In writing this I assumed that you would use your common sense when making these. For example, spray the crepe pan with cooking oil before you start making them.

Also pictured is the batter for the cookies we made afterward, Orange chocolate chunk! Delish! But I believe Val is posting about those...

In other news, I have surgery Monday on my knee. Hmmm. Time to get all my homework for next week done before the painkillers make my brain all foggy.




Damnit, I'm so old,
You may say I'm in the prime of
Life, but I know.  Eff.

I was watching "Memento" at Carlo and Jaimie's last night, and two of its stars are Carrie-Ann Moss and Joe Pantoliano, better known as Trinity and Cypher from "The Matrix" trilogy.  We had a depressing realization: the first Matrix movie came out 10 years ago this year.  That's half my life.



First Georgia Post!

Well, Valkyrie has been mentioning it off and on for a while about it now, and the time has finally come for my first blog post! Val has wonderfully described the adventure of breaking my knee, but the aftermath is far less amusing slash annoying. We'll leave it at that for now.

Today one of my classes was canceled (YAY!) and Kyle came to visit (double YAY!). We went to Mother Bear's, and we're about to start watching a movie projected onto my living room wall. And that, is the end to a short and sweet blog post.



Can it be?  Really?
People in my office now?
How did that happen?

Haha, it's an event!  I was just sitting in my office hours today, unsuspecting, and, suddenly, 3 PEOPLE CAME IN.  Crazy, I know.

And I am a fan of Punxutawney Phil's predilection for predicting 6 more weeks of winter weather.  <3!!

Additionally, Georgia is now an author on this blog, so hopefully there will be some differently-opined content on here shortly.  :D


la vie boheme

Tramping through the snow,
You can't hear a sound.  It's easy
To lose yourself here.

I maintain that snow is magical.  I won't go into the whole spiel about "oh, it's so beautiful and quiet and peaceful," mainly because I don't feel linguistically equipped to deal with it in a more convincing way than I've seen it done before, but also because there are adventures to relate!

So Georgia went in to see an orthopedist about her kneecap, and she managed to break it pretty much totally.  A normal kneecap seen from the top looks like a semicircle, mmkay?  Well, she broke it vertically on the right and on the left and horizontally between those lines (so it formed, like, an "H").  In the centre of the bottom of the H is... powder.  She shattered it totally.  :/  It's been interesting/amusing to watch her crutch around in the snow.  Yeah, so I'm totally insensitive.  :P

It's sort of funny, too: I guess it's not really the type of break that a cast can be made for, so she's been set up with a compression sock and a soft-ish brace-y thing.  I mean, when you break a bone, though, you of course want your sympathetic friends to sign it, right?  So later today we're going to bust out permanent markers and sign that sock.

There has been more sledding since then!  Last night I went out with some more friends to the same hill.  Over the course of the past few days, a lot of people have had this idea.  Whereas the snow was fluffy and soft on Wednesday, last night it was hard and slick and fast.  Pretty much any flat-ish object was suitable for sledding.  I felt like a proper college student as I whooshed over a ramp riding a trash can lid, and, later, a cardboard box.  Awesome.

It's amazing the amount of ingenuity that college students have for things like that.  I mean, friends and I have faked some pretty tasty meals this semester.  If we're missing an ingredient for something, we choose the sort-of-closest thing that we have to it and sub it in.  No fresh-cut tomatoes?  Well, we do have pasta sauce...

Oh, and, as a side note: spicy hot chocolate is delicious.



I can't get enough
Adventure just for me, or
So it would appear.

Before I forget, here is one of the pictures from the ice cave: YAY ICE CAVE.

School was canceled today!  It was amazing.  IU hardly ever does this.  I got a text message at around 7am informing me that school was closed until noon, and one later saying that it would be closed the rest of the day (I signed up for this alert system thingy that they do.).  Of course the best choice on a snow day is to go sledding!  So I called Sean.  We met DOWNTOWN.  We settled on snow tubes at a place called Tri North, which is a middle school in Bloomington that happens to be on the city's largest hill.  Awesome!

Georgia came, too!  I was excited to spend time with her.  Jeff was busy with homework, and she was free, so it was good!  Also along for the ride were Alex (Sean's friend) and Kurt (Alex's neighbor).  Driving was pretty treacherous, but not for Kurt's Subaru with All-Wheel Drive.  :P

We get to the hill, and it's awesome!  About a dozen people have beaten us there.  We lug our tubes up to the top and start sliding down.  Then, as college students, we decide we need a ramp!  Of course!  So Alex and Kurt build a NICE LITTLE 2FT RAMP.  And it was good.  The only way to send two people down on a tube was crossways on top of each other, which Georgia and I were the only ones brave enough to try.

But there were better things to be found on the hill!  One kid had created a SNOW BIKE.  He had pulled the wheels off and REPLACED THEM WITH SKIS, which then made it easy to ride down the hill.  It cut through even unpacked snow like a dream.

Then we noticed that some kids had built a bigger ramp.  We were like, hey!  We have snow tubes!  Let's go!  So we WENT.  I know that I saw a guy catch more than 6ft of air off the end of it, and I had quite a lot of fun on it myself.  Then came Georgia's turn...

She managed to get turned around on the way down, and the moral of the story is that she landed on her knee and face somehow.  So we spent the second half of the day with Jeff in the ER getting 11 stitches in her chin and a bunch of XRAYS that revealed a broken kneecap.  Fortunately, she didn't also have a broken chin.  So that was good.  Bummer about some of the stuff she won't be able to do now, though.

But we did get a few good things out of the day.  I like the videos and pics from Sean a lot, for instance.  And Georgia's mom bought us all Panera!  And... Georgia, Jeff, and I watched the caves episode of Planet Earth.  Win!


basically awesome

Cooking at last! And
I get to see Georgia!  What
A term it will be!

It's so much more awesome already.  I actually get to see the girl I'm living with!  Mary's still pretty nonpresent, but Georgia and I have been spending a lot of time together cooking, computering, homeworking, and generally hanging out.  Tonight we're off to a formal, hooray!

Not to mention the other awesomenesses: the fact that I actually get to see my own house during daylight hours is crazy.  And it isn't just because the days are getting longer!  Sean's going to have ridiculous amounts of cave trips and other adventures this term, I think, since it's his last before he jets off to grad school who-knows-where.  Last night we took a trip to a cave just west of town that didn't really have nice rock formations (people had been through and destroyed them), but in the entrance where it was below freezing there were some amazing ice formations.  I think he'll be putting up those pictures later; I'll post a link if I remember to.  And Carlo seems excited to find some adventures, too.  A trip to the Creationist museum may be in store.  I can't wait to see a mural of people riding on velociraptors.

These classes are pretty sweet, too.  I wish I had learned Scheme the right way the first time; I resented it until this semester, really.  But now that I see how just nice it is, I can't help but be in love.  Damnit, Dylan, you were right.   :s

Anyway, I'm off to prepare!  My first real dressing-up with short hair!  :D



Every part of me,
Exhausted! Immobile! Why
Did I go for that?

Well, POCAR was a little less of a success than I'd hoped for.  My team, the Flying Hellfish, managed to finish about 2/3 of the race, and then we realized that we were defeated.  One of the checkpoints we visited was a decoy, and it would have taken more than we had in us to go correct our mistake, come back to the camp, and do the last leg.  So we called it quits around 4 am after hiking something more than 12 miles over ridiculous hills.

But something about POCAR: people don't finish it.  There were some pro teams who were in it to win it, but from what I understand only 15% or so of the teams who start each year actually make it all the way through.  Good lord, was it tough!  After the first loop, we were all in a sort of false sense of security; it wasn't over particularly vicious terrain, and it was only 6 miles or something.  The second leg, though, was over crazy changes in altitude and was about 6 miles (longer, maybe; I'm not sure I mapped it out correctly), and we would have had to backtrack at least 5 to get the right checkpoint.  ARGH.  But I kept up with the boys despite the fact that I haven't really done hardcore exercise in 6 weeks or so because of that mono garbage.

Anyway, sleeping in a bed last night felt awesome.  I wish I hadn't had to get up today.  But I did, and here I am.  I'm hopefully going to get some application essays written for a research program I want to do in Germany this summer.  ^____^



Fun's begun, hurrah!
With so much time, maybe I'll
Keep up with writing.

So the semester has started out nicely, and it appears that it will be a fairly relaxing one (at least compared to the last one).  I've enjoyed all my classes thus far, at least, and I can only imagine that they'll get more interesting.

But it's cold.  My nostrils froze on the way to class this morning.  That isn't right.  Although it's sort of amusing to watch people go by here, and it's easy to tell who's from California (several layers of poufy coats, still shivering) and Indiana (smiling, wearing a sweatshirt)).  And seeing clouds of breath is pretty neat, too.  I'm hoping that the pond in the arboretum freezes thick enough to walk on soon.  :D



Again, that feeling,
What's done is done, can't go back,
Memories remain.

Happy new year!

So I don't know how I could begin to talk about how fabulous the trip to Tokyo was.  I'll perhaps make a longer post about it later when I have my journal at hand and can properly recall all the crazinesses.  But I don't know if it can be done.  There are the pictures on picasa, and I've got a head and journal full of swirling thoughts, but trying to write it in a coherent way might not happen.

Anyway, the semester has started off pretty well.  I've now been to almost all of my classes at least once, and they seem like they'll be ok.  :)  I'm a lot more excited about S312 than I was about S311, Hofstadter's course is going to be, predictably, awesome, algebra should be good, robotics sounds ridiculously cool, and I find myself dreading the Scheme class less than I expected.  I can't wait to go to capoeira on Friday.  :3