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Was watching Death Note, the movie based on the manga/anime. It was really good but I lost my taste for it after Kira forced the FBI agent to kill all the other FBI agents in Japan and then killed him in front of his fiancee.
I'm sorry, killing is one thing, morally unjustified killing or senseless massacre is another, but I draw the line at forcing good people to off their equally good compatriots. Since this is coming from someone who enjoys the Darth Bane books and all the mass murder as a means to an end, you know it's messed up
The cat-and-mouse game between Kira and L was just getting good, too. Don't think I can stick it out now. Watching people disintegrate into pathetic lumps isn't very fun when they don't deserve it
Updated the weblog engine, as promised. The way it works now is the same as before with one exception: it places the five most recent weblog entries below the main entry on the weblog page. However they also move immediately to the archive. These copies on the main page are in separate small files and each one is overwritten by the next in order. I'm pleased!
Haven't done work this week. Presumably I will be doing it next week. For now, it's sittin' around time! Also have a couple vague ideas for pictures but we'll see if I bother to bring any to completion.
Haven't left the apartment today. And if I hadn't had to cook lunch and dinner, probably wouldn't have left my room.
I like it here!
Also spent the whole day working on this desktop which is now finished. Ta da! Presenting The Duel Desktop. Dawncry versus Zenda, mostly because it's awesome.
I drew a hand-drawn version of it yesterday whilst waiting to go to the Christmas party with my parents. Today I put on a movie and started drawing it from scratch on my computer. I made it all the way through S1m0ne, The Dark Knight, and the two-parter Voyager episodes of The Equinox. And it's done! Booyah.
(A pale imitation of this picture from Naruto, one of the most epic duel snapshots evar)
Tomorrow: who knows! ^_^ <3 break
As I believe I've observed here before, I tend to be a minimalist in terms of possessions, with a few exceptions that could be arguably classified as phases or fads. When I choose to spend money on myself in an unnecessary but appreciated fashion, it's almost always on food. It's relatively rare that I'll deviate from the standards when grocery shopping, though it happens at times. More commonly I will slot out a lunch or dinner at Subway, Chipotle, El Grullense, Panda Express, or Hungry Howie's.
I seem to have had a meal out every day this week so far, probably because school is out and my bank balance is higher than normal, two things that commonly make me relax and buy food instead of cooking it. When this is coupled with not having karate classes (as I've missed Tuesday and had the early-week on-campus classes cancelled) it seems like a health risk, but I went to karate tonight and felt really good. This is presumably a good sign.
Today I went and paid for the full version of Plants vs. Zombies, which is an excellent waste of time. Probably one of the major reasons I did this was I was thinking about the last time I had spent luxury money on myself that wasn't food (also not counting monthly payments of web hosting, WoW and Netflix) (Martial arts do not currently count as a luxury either)
CD? No.... Movie? No.... Arcade? No.... Book? No.... Upgrades to existing tools? No..... Gadgetry? No..... (you could argue my new phone was a luxury since the old one worked, I guess, but it was losing some functionality, and the case was shredded) So the last time I bought something for myself that I wanted but didn't need was.... when I registered for Bubble Trouble. Like a year and a half ago.
I tend to get more than enough new things for Christmas really. I think this is a good way to be.
It's freezing outside. Well almost. Technically according to the internet it's 34° outside, which is very slightly above freezing, emphasis on slightly. Urgh.
I'm wearing my Chicago warm clothes, which are really warm, and I'm still chilled. I went outside to see if it really was cold, and all doubt was rapidly erased. I was originally planning on digging more dirt today, but as you might imagine the thought of tromping around in the freezing cold did *not* appeal. The weather report says yesterday and today are the coldest days so I'll try for it tomorrow. As for now, I have a large space opened up in my schedule which I will spend on keeping warm.
Oh also gotta wish Brianna a happy birthday today. Hopefully it's warmer in Utah than here (ha!)
Biolab grading done! GS grading almost done too. Also since I no longer have classes, finals week is not stressful! Whee.
I need to figure out how best to make use of the upcoming winter break though. So far all of the following things need to be fit in there somewhere:
- Dig dirt for thesis
- Get ready for Concord lab job
- Coordinate for bio1002
- Prepare winter GS scheme
- Write for thesis
- Prep for Debbie's winter visit (and the Exalted session)
Yeesh. Good thing I have a break or else I wouldn't get all this stuff done eh.
Best thing ever for sore throat:
Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Starbucks. No question.
I am thankful for many things. Often easy to overlook how many things I am thankful for, what with the taking them for granted, relying on them, or simple neglect.
- Parents -- having them, being on good terms with them, and having access to their wisdom
- Friends -- being able to chat with Debbie and Jennifer regularly, talk about my various problems and talk with someone who already knows me and I don't feel like I have to inform about my backstory before delving into the latest developments. Also thankful to be getting to know Natalie much better
- Roommates -- if for no other reason than having a lower rent
- Colleagues -- people who are professional, fun to work with, and care about their jobs (and mine, when relevant)
- Employment -- being able to put food on my own table every single day, and in particular being able to feel like I can eat food I prefer when I like (though I also gain some jollies from eating cheap-yet-tasty food and calling it savings)
- Teaching -- Feeling smart, helping people, being liked for legitimate reasons, all those good things
- Art -- this year has seen my produce Chapter 1 of the Zangband Files, and in doing that I have brought my artistic capabilities up another notch or two, in particular the realization of layers as a fundamental tool of my art and my final breaking with pen/paper as a production medium
- Martial Arts -- this year has also seen me come back into my own as a martial artist, instructor, and weapons user. All three were at a low point last year, and I feel much more whole now that they have reclaimed a part of my life
- School -- as much as I tend to see school as an obstacle, I must stop and remember I am very fortunate to be so well-positioned to get a Master's Degree with an advisor who actually cares about me and take classes that haven't been cancelled, which in turn will lead to a higher livelihood than prior to CSUEB
- ZAngband -- The best way for me to blend mindless recreation, careful strategic gameplay, and artistic acquisition, and I've picked up playing more this year again
- Many things that each get their own moment in my thoughts but are ephemeral to my existence
Should have seen it coming, eh.
Gonna have to wrestle with my parents over the choices I am making. Sure, they may be suboptimal choices from an objective standpoint, but they're the ones I"m making and that's that basically. I don't want my parents to think I don't value their opinion of course, but I'm going off many more opinions than just theirs.
Oh well. Anyway, 9/46! Just a hair under 20%, woowoo.
Also this break is just in time. I need to finish things, and relax, and start other things, all that good stuff.
Though I've managed to spend too much time goofing off under some circumstances too. I missed karate on Saturday in part because I was up late the previous night playing, of all things, ZAngband. Yes, the one game I claim to like because I can stop anytime I want, and I was up too late playing it. That's some egg on my face there. Oh well.
Next up, finding out whether anyone shows up to my Physics tutoring session tomorrow morning! And if they don't, party time! Whee. I will probably pack at least 6-8 papers to grade tomorrow, if I can knock them all out that'll put me at over a third done.
Count: 4/46. That's about 9% for those of you keeping score at home.
What is this mysterious tally? Why the number of final draft lab reports I've graded thus far! Seeing as I just checked the turnitin reports and started grading tonight that's not so bad, especially because if I have too many graded before next Friday the meeting we TAs have will be silly (although it will also be silly if I only have four papers graded, should probably get through at least 10).
So this week I'll grade a few more papers a day, then this Saturday is GS-portfolio-apalooza. Can probably also take down the rest of them while sitting around doing nothing at office hours. Should probably pack a few papers to grade in office hours as well, especially the 10-2 Tuesday marathons that I probably shouldn't have slotted 100% for office time. Oh well!
Also this just in, militantly enforcing your subjective opinion on use of your own time is apparently illegal in Jasonland. Fortunately I talked my way out of a ticket. Probably relatively gracelessly of course, but then, I don't like being challenged on things that don't matter.
Blargh! GS is over! Whee.
I now have more time to work on stuff, which of course means I also budget more time to goof off. Similarly with money, now that I have more, I budget more to buy food I don't need (as opposed to food I do need). When I start doing this my lifestyle feels less meager, and I am hoping that it is sustainable after I graduate.
A lot will depend on the jobs that are available I suppose. But I know I will stay in apartments and work as many jobs as needed for a while. Once my vita is a little thicker I will probably branch out looking for more and/or better work (also once the economy improves, assuming it improves). Long-distance plans include buying a house after stability (for example, tenure) is achieved somewhere as an investment, but where to work is up in the air.
One thing I'd really love to do if I can is get one or more teaching jobs in SoCal near USKL, since they're building a new dojo or will start soon apparently. I'm super duper excited for USKL and I really miss being there. It would mean giving up CSUEB and being a longass way from my parents and all my remaining area friends, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.
I'm excited, the Angband Comic dude is running my guest comics this week! Yay. I will post them on Angry Cows after he finishes running them. I feel so very special! Also plotting a sequel series to be completed at any unspecified time between now and the heat death of the Universe.
In local news, my thesis doesn't seem to quite have the urgency required going on. I had best pick a few random days across the winter break in advance and devote them to thesis-writing. I also realize I have great intro stuff written for the actual body of the thesis, but nothing for the actual "intro from scratch" section. Will have to pick up some new papers to fill that out.
Karate is good and getting better. My own progress seems to still be slow but my teaching is going very well. I feel like I have a better handle on what's going on now. I suppose that was the entire point.
The end of 2009 is also approaching with some moderate speed as well. I seem to recall that I was going to redo the weblog at that time. Still planning on it, though I now have good ideas for things like having more than one post on the front page (like having five, either in addition to or instead of all of them on the archive page). The mechanics are simple enough, it's merely a matter of choice now. I guess that's where artistry comes in-- well after the basics have been established as a foundation. There's not too much of this website I'd call artistic choice so much as "the only thing I could really get to work." Meh! That's why it's a hobby and not a lifestyle choice or a job.
I know I know, insanity. I actually have a day off! Yet somehow I'm still not going to spend it not doing work. I did finish grading, but after special karate class today I also have to go through and tabulate the grades thus far for the GS discussion boards, and the e-mails to me. That could take upwards of a couple hours actually, though hopefully not so crazy.
Special karate class? Well I figured today was a holiday so I'd see who I could get to show up. Miguel and Navneet have conflicts that are cutting into their karate time, which will make the belt test in January less than awesome if we don't get some more training time in for them. Well only you can make yourself awesome, but I feel it's my obligation to at least make it convenient to do so.
Class today will be at least partially fun because it will be a pseudo-weapons class. Before I moved into hardcore sword-and-staff mode for the Saturday weapons class, one plan was for there to be unarmed-vs.-weapon classes, including use of my nerf guns. Bwahahaha.
Yeah one thing I noticed about USKL is there was a more concerted effort to have fun classes than at JKASV. Not every class obviously, but there was more of a "okay today we're gonna take what we've learned and dick around" attitude once in a while. I don't want to lose that feeling, so I do things that try to shake it up. From the crosstraining (Wing Chun chinese hands, Baguazhang circle walking, and acrobatic tumbling) to just trying things that seem different, keeping it real is a worthy goal, though definitely not easy.
Trying to stay sane
It's been busy busy what with grading, but I took some of my own advice to my GS students and tackled the problem of stress head-on. Grading many papers stresses me, but so does the thought of procrastinating, so I graded and graded and had all by 7 done by dinnertime. After dinner, goof-off time! Yay
It was facilitated by my missing the instructor class at JKASV, however, which has me very disappointed. I guess I haven't been able to juggle quite as well as I'd like. I'm bummed largely because I've expressly hoped that such classes can improve my own karate classes I teach, but priorities are priorities.
In other news, my ongoing wiki project on the backstory for all my Avatars is going well! I hope there is a way to transfer it off the ProjectForum wiki file that's on my iLamp, though I can always just copy the text files onto my flash drive and then move them to my desktop, and subsequently to any internet venue I choose (like quite possibly my website wiki.
And in further news I have a set of guest comics for the Angband comic but the dude's e-mail server bounces everything! Booooo. Hopefully it works again soon
Take a Tally eh
Things that have stressed me in the last weekish:
- Having to do EarlyAlerts for my GS sections and labs
- Not being able to find a number of attendance sheets for GS (eventually resolved, but that doesn't make the previous hours of stress go away)
- One tutee being unclear on the concept of notice in advance of not attending tutoring
- Not being paid for tutor training since I work too many hours already
- Paying for many things all in a row, including equipment for my Master's thesis
- My iPod seems to have bricked, and when it is plugged into a computer it fails to notice it exists (well technically iTunes spins out and crashes the first time you try it). A new iPod may be in the cards for Christmas
- The window of time to pay rent seems pretty thin, as is the time to hit the bank, and my summer training money was delayed for no reason
- A certain someone has been stressing me with extreme negativity. I'm often happier when I'm busy as hell
- The knowledge that in two days I'm going to be grading fifty shoddy rough drafts of lab reports. BLEARGH.
- The institution of new rules for who gets to go raiding, which has me worried for our most casual guildies.
- Stayed up late on Halloween. Mitigated by being able to sleep in a bit.
- Had to rush a part of my thesis last week and am now questioning my timing.
- Not getting any validation from karate, which makes it really hard to persevere
Harsh. This quarter has been buckets of stress, no doubt. At least there are bright sides:
- Hanging out with Natalie weekly now, which is helpful on the human contact side
- My Zangband character is coming along extremely well and will probably win soon
- My money woes seem to be fading and I can actually get restaurant food once in a while (going to get Hungry Howie's pizza next Monday while I finish up the last of the paper drafts)
- The internet seems to have funny stuff still
Still, once this quarter is over I'm going to crawl into my bed and not come out for a week.
Which would feel nicer if I didn't know winter and spring quarters will basically have identical workloads (except for the wild card of tutoring volume)
Bwahahaha. I never hear things about HMC except things that make me proud. Just sayin'
Anyways. I have a new phone. It is shiny and advanced, and as functional as my old phone, ipod, and camera all at once. Go figure. I am pleased with it, though it seems a tad inefficient to have to unlock it whenever picking it up. It's better than it being not-locked in my pocket, but I have one of those belt-case things that makes me look important and/or businesslike and/or neurotic.
ZAngband is going very well. Quite recently I had a quest on dungeon lvl85 for Nodens, Lord of the Great Abyss. While not the most lethal boss by far, Nodens is probably the slipperiest and hardest to terminate boss of all, mostly because of the moving incredibly quickly, massive hit points, and constantly healing himself (casts spells 1 time in 1). The other problem with fighting Nodens is that he summons uniques and this usually includes the other most difficult bosses, the Unicorn of Order and the Destroyer. The Unicorn is dangerous because of unpredictability and the Destroyer for lethality.
This new character is the most insane ever, though. I killed ALL THREE BOSSES AT THE SAME TIME. Nothing really to it, just Globe of Invulnerability and then using a Staff of Power about a hojillion times. Definitely a hockey-stick dynamic to the power level of a High-Mage of Sorcery.
So yes, ZAngband is fun.
Which is a letdown because I was hoping to go brown and start training at the last part of class. But oh well. I always bounce back, and this time I know to where I must bounce: LEGS.
I have been entirely too focused on hand technique, this much is becoming clear. When I think of performing the technique I think about the hands. This is upside down and I think turning that focus will bring me to where I need/want to be.
Focus is all!
Scales of News
Personal news: my car has been fixed. It costs a lot of money to have a car fixed. I am sad. But at least it is shiny and new again.
Local news: physics seems to be owning face. Tomorrow morning is my physics tutoring time and we'll see how many lost and confused faces show up
State news: CSU System still bleeding from major arteries. Desire to work there tempered by knowledge that it is financially unsafe to be around here
National news: Balloon Boy??? Are you kidding me???
International news: Things are not looking extra-special-cool for Karzai.
Planet news: still warming and acidifying.
I don't want to hear your opinion on whether Obama should have won the Nobel prize. I don't want to hear whether you think he deserves it, whether he needs to earn it, or whether it's a travesty. If your opinion mattered, you would be in Norway on the committee. Since you are not on the committee, you are not relevant to this discussion.
Moreover, if you peddle your opinion, you are implicitly stating that you know better than those people in Norway. The hell you do!
That's my opinion on Obama's win and I'm tired of being asked for it (finally broke down and ranted for a while after the nth discussion).
In other news, my weekend isn't weekendy enough. It has too much stufftodo.
So I was walking back out to the field on Saturday afternoon at 2PM. I had dropped off the weapons and went into Warren Hall for a drink of water and to clear my head. Walking back I could see all five of my students standing around chitchatting and it sort of hit me: there are five people there counting on me. All five took the time out of their Saturday to haul their butts here because of what I offer. Sure, if I fail to deliver, or simply cancel, they'll stop coming with only faint disappointment, but that still represents something meaningful to me.
It seems perfectly normal from one angle, but to me as I was walking out there it was the strangest thing. Like I could suddenly see things from many different angles all at once, transcendent and briefly confusing.
That little shot of perspective is probably important for being an adult and taking on many responsibilities. I see the way I do things in one light, but to look at it another way in another context makes it all fit together better.
Yeesh. It's kinda weird ne.
Stop the presses!
I did a pullup today! ZOMG
Yes, Mr. No-upper-body-strength is getting back into shape again. I really wasn't expecting to be able to, I haven't been able to since I quit karate. Actually, when I was a brown belt before I once tried it out of pure whim and was shocked to find I could do pull ups. As I recall, I could do them in middle school, sort of, but not since.
So, another new day. Indeed.
Also, let's see, tomorrow is the belt test at JKASV. This should be interesting. We'll see how much I've improved in the four-ish months I've been back. Whee!
I have added the legos my parents found in the garage recently to the collection. Woot!
If only hard things were like easy things. Oh well.
Things in no particular order
Lentil Soup beta test in progress. If it doesn't turn out, I just wasted a bag of lentils, a can of tomatoes, and some spices and oil and carrots. I think it'll be fine though.
Let's see, random stuff in general:
- GS is good. Good students, good plans so far.
- Money will be tighter this upcoming year, but I am compensating by being done with all tuition ever, which will balance things out nicely.
- Need to make summore weapons. I will be doing that probably tomorrow afternoon.
- Need to make burritos. Perhaps this Sunday.
- Next Monday I am covering Ali's lab in the afternoon. Must not forget!
- Next Monday also I am going to go about hammering stakes for my thesis sites, with a lunch break at the strip mall. It's important to treat your hired muscle right (and since I'm my own hired muscle, I gotta also remember the importance of staying hydrated)
- Lab is fun. Should also be easy, except for the grading 50 lab drafts in one week. But that's about a month from now.
- Lab meeting tomorrow morning. Then nothing, which means hanging out somewhere doing something. Probably coming home for it. Maybe I can finish my anime then, if I don't finish it tonight.
Wow, not much space for stuff that isn't work, martial arts, and food on my list. Oh well.
Oh yes, there is also that possible lead for a job being a lab manager at Concord Campus next year. I am intreguéd. Somehow, I'm pretty sure I'd rather do it part-time than full-time, esp. so I can still teach GS and maybe labs. Whee!
Rawr, I GOT STUFF DONE today
Gettin' stuff done is good, but I don't think I had enough of a break. Maybe once I'm doing more teaching and less worrying about teaching I'll be having more fun.
It probably doesn't help that I'm watching the original Digimon series, courtesy of youtube. There are not a small number of episodes! I seem to be halfway through. That'll eat up some time, but fortunately I put it aside long enough to get thesis work done today.
I need to make a separate thesis domain. Look for it at this URL (not active yet)
And now to go teach karate. Then tonight? Maybe I can finish Digimon so I can get back to doing something useful, like digging ditches ;P
A few undocumented features in my fall schedule:
- Monday: I teach karate from 4 to 6, designed so I can either substitute or work on thesis uninterrupted during the day. Hitch is that it means I get home at 6:30, hot hungry and tired. Hello unhealthy dinner! (possible solution: making lentil soup the previous weekend, which has about 8 servings in it)
- Tuesday: I teach GS from 10 to 2, then teach karate until 4, then go home, eat dinner, and go take karate in the evening. Hitch is that there is no real time for lunch anywhere in there, and insufficient calories will lead to flameout and crash+burn at some point. (possible solution: eat an extremely large breakfast or an early lunch at 9AM, rather unusual for me but may be needed)
- Thursday: Done at 2. Nothing to do until karate in the evening. Hitch: not enough time to devote to large things like thesis, too much time to goof off, also bad timing for physical activity since Thursday karate is the most strenuous. (possible solution: devote to weekly upkeep work such as GS; alternatively, the GS faculty meetings have not been scheduled and one may fall in that time)
- Sunday: Nothing at all. Hitch: THESIS. Possible solution: suck it up soldier!
This is going to be an interesting quarter, all right.
I like coding. Precise, yet creative. Stimulates those old neurons still hardwired into pleasure chemicals. Today I coded a unix script that automatically generated the skeleton for an image gallery, lacking only the individual notes.
The nicest part is that I can reuse it to crank out new gallery skeletons, I can modify it prior to running easily which makes it ultimately flexible. I think I will be keeping this little set around ^_^
The work in this case was for the belt test image gallery which I am currently uploading images for. Fun times!
Go me. Anyways, in other news, GS starts this Thursday! Bring it ON!
I am slowly getting the feeling that things are about to get a whole lot more dangerous here in the United States. Almost the same way Batman ironically made Gotham less safe in the new movies by daring the criminal element to do whatever it took to save itself, which ultimately resulted in them unleashing the Joker on everyone including themselves. In this reality, in order to save themselves from Obama and his sense-talking, hope-preaching, diverse operation, the GOP's talking heads and politicians have unleashed the full fury of the disaffected fact-free brigade of evangelicals and anti-intellectuals, and this is why we hear things like "Keep your government hands off my medicare!" shouted in the streets. Only they're not lapdogs to the people who made them afraid and ignorant, and will turn on anyone by now.
It looks like we may be headed for some serious civil unrest, and I'm not convinced I want to be around when it goes from bad to worse out there.
At least I speak Spanish! I can always illegally cross the border to Mexico and work there.... oh the irony.
Started a facebook group for my former students, intend to use it as a community-building tool for my current students in GS (but not right away of course). Hopefully will turn out well, the worst thing that can happen is nothing, I guess (well technically the WORST thing is some horrible drama/altercation, but I think I can avoid that)
Thesis has fallen behind again a bit, but I'm not terribly worried, for some reason. I feel like I have what I need to make it work out. Just need to meet with Sue sometime in the near future. And probably Ward again.
LAUNDRY! Oops. Karate today, gi must be clean by then.
Mondays are work days. The first of these Mondays I intend to go collect the stakes from where I left them last year, on the plots where nothing grew. Mondays will be thesis or subbing days, non-negotiable
The future in housing is unclear. Hopefully we can get a rent reduction such that Jason, Max and I can afford a 3-way split (this may get harder for reasons that have been redacted but remain exceedingly relevant to my life). If needed, more drastic rearrangements will be required
Is there anything you do that you love so much that you teach it without pay just as an excuse to do it more often? If you do, then you're probably a lot like me
Pitfall of Bachelorhood #12
Extreme diet degradation. Whoopsies.
Well I've eaten well lately, but Thursday was a bit of a catastrophe. I ate a light lunch, so I was hungry when I baked cookies (the unhealthy chocolate ones, not the oatmeal ones) and ate like ten. Spoiled my appetite, couldn't eat enough dinner, had jitters from the caffeine/sugar, then went to karate and flamed out in Sensei Jon's class (he pushes us harder than the other instructors IMO). Harsh.
Well I've been doing better, though I've finished off my leftovers. Tomorrow will be fried rice or summat. Food shopping also tomorrow. Must get more mealworthy stuff.
Also, belt test next week, I am excited! I will use the extra test fee moneys to make more weapons. Bwahahaha
Art is not dead
Just sent in a guest strip to PVP Online. It's the first time I've done such a thing, just had the impulse when I found out this morning that everyone at PAX got some kind of flu. Scott put on his twitter something about lolbat guest strips so I knocked one out in something like an hour. I've posted it here. Now we'll see if he uses it.
Okay off to lunch and then karate! Whee!
I am returned to the bachelor life configuration. I went food shopping by myself and it was good. I like food shopping for myself. Odd innit.
Not much to see here
Except that I'm DONE WITH SUMMER! WOO!
Well, done with the quarter. I get a two-week break, though it will involve thesis and GS as well as the usual. Oh well. Goofing off for now!
List of ways today has sucked
- Didn't get enough sleep last night
- Was my last night with Jennifer and now it's all over
- Found out Jason NOW intends to stay here for ANOTHER 6 MONTHS, while still expecting us to pick up another roommate (oh but not right away!)
- Car was out of gas while running late, had to gas it on the fly
- Felt inadequate at karate
- Tutoring has been cancelled for the week due to tutee's flu, byebye spending cash for the week
- Found out how much insurance premium has risen because of my traffic violation two years ago (not small)
- Hungry but tired, having trouble making lunch
- Pondering grading, in a not-good way
And it's not even noon! That's less than 5 hours into my day! Woohoo!
Seriously though. The day would have to crash and burn badly to get any worse. So unless it does, I think I can avoid depression. Here I go!
These seem to be opposed, polarly perhaps, but I believe they can go together in a single state. Like how I spent most of this afternoon, for example.
The thing about it is being busy describes an activity level or level of focus, while being lazy refers to a feeling, specifically the feeling of not wanting to work. The region in which they intersect is somewhat narrow but is basically when one is having a low-energy day (as I was, since I rather foolishly had no breakfast and an insufficient lunch) but has things to do, and is motivated to do them, but not other stuff. This led to me finishing all of the practicals for grading, and running the laundry, but not doing really anything else even including cooking dinner. Whoops! Turns out eating ramen leftovers compounded the problem, as I was having a low-energy day in karate and had to pick up Panda Express food on the way home. Mmm Orange Chicken. *SO* not good for you. Oh well.
Also, in unrelated but hilarious news, OH NO!!!!
Karate tournament was a disappointment. Le sigh.
Oh well. At least I don't let things slow me down. Like grading! Have 90 papers, 90 practicals, and 90 exams to grade by this weekend. Go me!
I have spent the last several hours mired in college websites, published papers, and professor bios. I have, so far, one conclusion:
This is not very fun.
Yeah, shocking. To be more specific, applying to Ph.D. programs, and the thought of doing several more years of school, isn't very appealing. But as I settle into the details, several things have become more clear to me.
- Joining the workforce now would be bad timing. Going out to Chabot, Las Positas, Ohlone, and DVC would be a little unlikely to pay off, and even if I did secure some type of work (probably augmented by teaching GS at CSUEB), the current economic situation hereabouts is shaky enough taht it would be better to come back in a few years.
- Shortcutting to a more stable position, e.g. getting a teaching credential, would be spending more time on the wrong direction. Teaching K-12 is not my dream, nor is it my passion. Even high school bio at CVHS, the best thing I could possibly think of in that situation, would be only mediocre.
- Getting an Ed.D or Ph.D. in Science Education would probably be not very fun for me. What I love is teaching, and what I want to get away from is reading, writing, and sitting through dull classes. Reading and writing about teaching doesn't sound any more fun than reading and writing about biology, and I've done a bit of it for GS. So far it has failed to spark my passion. I'm just too damn kinesthetic for my own good. Most people who have this level of K in their VARK just go into sports or K-12 teaching. Blegh.
- This leaves getting a Ph.D. as the most viable option. However, the two places I have looked at, OSU and UCSB, are very prestigious and hard to get into. Honestly, if I'm really planning to leverage my Ph.D. into a lecturer or tenured-JC position, it doesn't really matter too much where I get it from. This means that my noodling through the UCSB site is probably a waste of time, and I shoudl probably look for third-string Universities to get a Ph.D. at.
- Eric Seabloom's work is still really interesting to me (the only professor's page to elicit such a reaction) so I will proceed as planned to talk with Tess and Erica to try and get into there. But my backup needs to be a real backup, a less-known place that still offers a good fellowship or teaching for pay but isn't prestigious.
- Locating a good backup may be tricky since, as I indicated, they're less well-known. I could, I suppose, pick all the states I can think of, look up their state universities, and see which ones offer Ph.D.s but have relatively small and/or underfunded departments. These probably don't get as many applicants.
- The next time I take a day I will work on a predoctoral application, to create some type of advantage since I'm not published.
This has been slightly productive, but I should reorient by finding and talking with Sue when I get a chance soon. That means I should probably also have better thesis findings by then.
As it is unfortunately far too easy to turn a blind eye to long-term tasks and commitments, frequent reorientation is necessary. And in this case, I'm troubled by the total lack of progress I've made toward doctoral programs, and relatively little progress on the thesis front.
To that end, tomorrow will be Doctoral day (and laundry day, another neglected chore, go figure). I have repeatedly questioned the necessity of getting a Ph.D., but my strongest conclusion is that the job security of tenure is too tempting to me. I could certainly work next year, and the year after that, working as a lecturer with a M.S. in bio, but I'd be boxed in. If I started to lose verve or nerve, I wouldn't have any alternatives but to stay in the grind unless I got a tenured position at a JC, which do in fact exist (I have it on good authority) but I would think such a position, which is optimal for me, is probably aided by having a Ph.D.
The more superficial reasons for getting a Ph.D., besides the prestige and my parents' approval, include being able to actually accomplish research that matters in something I care about, namely collating data for Global Warming (not that it exists, too many mountains of data exist for that now, but rather, what to do when it starts to get out of hand).
I'm not intimidated by the workload, and the time involved doesn't seem too much for me. What I am a bit concerned about, however, is the fact that research isn't my passion. My passion is for teaching, educating, and making better students out of current students. To that end, I teach biology and also teach martial arts, both of which can make a better person out of you (one by informing you about the mysteries of the universe around you, the other by giving you the power of self-control and confidence, which are especially helpful in modern life outside of situations where you need to pummel people). I want to keep doing those things, and moving the bulk of my academic life into research and bureaucracy seems daunting and appalling.
I have thought about whether it's possible to get a degree in science education. I poked around a bit, and the few websites I found so far seem to be for upstanding universities, but their research programs had a lot of K-12 emphasis. I have a feeling that's usually where people who write textbooks go.
I will explore that in much greater detail tomorrow and report back.
Was just thinkin' about the supposed wisdom, "the best defense is a good offense." I'm pretty sure that's not universally true, but the converse is. A good defense is the best offense. For example, the US has the best offense in the world, in the form of nuclear weapons and a vast well-equipped military with state-of-the-art weapons for every occasion. And yet, it is only one kind of defense. It is not the best defense, as the US is vulnerable to many threats it seems ill-equipped to face that nukes can't hit. The best offense in the world is not the best defense, but it is still a defense.
What would be another defense? Many of the problems in this world need defending against, and some of them we defend against and others we do not. Social, technological, and biological problems face us at all turns, and a strong military is only one defense, certainly not the best, but must be accounted for.
In the martial arts, having a good strong attacking technique is most certainly not the best defense, though having the best possible attacking technique is a good defense, though it cannot defend you in all situations. Every technique has a position, situation, and opportunity to which it is most suited, and being out of that element will make it weak. Therefore, practicing defense in all situations will be a more reliable defense overall than simply attacking everything that stands in your way.
I've noticed Randall Munroe of xkcd fame is a little hard to reach for the casual thinker, since I don't like subscribing to echo chamber forums and don't use IRC. A shame, since I recently made a brilliant (IMHO o'course) observation that the movie he describes as a REAL action movie actually does exist now, it's called Chocolate (a Thai action film), in which the protagonist is a shy, twitchy teenage girl who spontaneously morphs into an unstoppable martial artist when her family is threatened. I may watch it again to time the action volume, it's definitely over 50%. It's basically a 90-minute Serenity homage with Kill Bill overtones.
RANDAAAAAALL! ARE YOU LISTENING?!?!?!?!
Maybe not. Whatever, I like it. Anyways, onto other themes.
Like my sad news on the Zangband Files. I have stopped production a week or so ago and the last new strip will run on Monday. I will put up a graphic soon that explains its untimely end (grad school!) and suggest it will be up for revival eventually. Le sigh. It was fun while it lasted. I will pull my Angband comic ad, too.
And in other news, I am sort of looking forward to the karate tournament at the end of August, though I'm still unclear as to how I will be competing (i.e. what rank I will be). Also having fun teaching karate, am looking forward to debuting my latest project (mwahaha)
So my younger brother Andres just got into the University of Iowa (you know, where they grow all that corn). If you're wondering why he got in now, instead of in Spring like a regular person, the thing he was apparently #1 on the waitlist and someone had to drop out. The only hitch is apparently classes start on August 19th, exactly two weeks after the day he found out.
It seemed to rattle his cage, having to turn his plans around on a dime, but he came around pretty quick, and off he goes! He accepted, and alerted us all to this fact today.
Andres will now be really really leaving. I believe this will be the first time either of my parent's children leave the state without them for months, nay years, at a time. Sure, I've moved out long ago and have been running my affairs for two years now, in addition to having gone to SoCal for four years, like my brother, but I've never been farther than a day's drive or hour flight away. Andres will be gone. It seems a bit distanced for me, since Andres has already moved into a very peripheral locale in my life, someone to hear achievements about (I haven't been a very supportive family member with regards to his performances, since I'm not much of a theater-goer in the first place and the college separation has meant I haven't been able to see most of his stuff I might actually want to go to).
I'm curious how my parents feel about Andres zipping off to the high life in Iowa, though I suspect it's the usual "we'll miss you/we're proud of you" magnified by a large factor since it's a much larger accomplishment and much longer distance. I suppose I have something to chat about when I next visit (I really ought to rather soon, perhaps next weekend, the upcoming one is packed).
I'm sure Andres will do well, but I should talk with him about computers. In fact, I think I'll do that now.
Post and bed
New week coming up, new grind. Should be good though, I think the labs will be short as well as fun. Lessee... thesis is still not where it needs to be, though I met with my advisor which made me feel a lot better.
I finished a full set of the awesome things which I am sort of mostly keeping a secret. *Evil laugh* Yeah. I think I'm starting to really perk up again, doing impulsive things and goofing around, even with things I still care about. It does kinda suck that I don't think I'll make it through the whole summer with the Zangband Files, though since it's now week 8 of a total of 15, making it over halfway is a good thing.
Gonna invite my classes to an introductory karate class on Friday. I'm sort of thinking about expanding the student base a bit. Not to neglect Miguel and Rachel, my first students, but I think I have energy and focus to spare. They're both doing very well. I will have another test at the end of September (start of fall quarter) and I think they will both pass again. Miguel maybe not as much, since he's had scheduling issues, but weapons class keeps him coming back, and while I won't test on weapons class, I think it's just part of the awesomeness.
Speaking of which, I've been working on a regimen to train with any weapons, general purpose. The sequence works as follows.
- Develop a simple set of blocks and strikes (in the case of the sword, the one I know best, there's basic 9 attacks, and the blocks for each)
- Practice the attacks in sequence for a while (blocks don't need as much IMO since when practiced there's a lot more motivation to do a block well than a strike)
- Practice paired attack/block sets in sequence, e.g. jodan, chudan, gedan for each side (this goes on for a while, starting slowly then getting faster)
- At the extent of this training, it's virtually "free", in that the attacker may wait as long as they like, then attack as fast as they can
- Next step is to make undeclared attacks (free one-step), back and forth, starting slowly. This is the critical element of "reading" the opponent, and may take the longest to do well
- The next step is a third person calls out randomly "A" or "B" for who attacks and who defends. This means no one knows who the attacker is until it happens, which takes away that one crutch your mind uses to train but is useless in a sparring situation.
- The final step is free sparring, slow-motion.
Things and also Stuff
Ended the Exalted campaign today. Thought about continuing onwards, but I felt like the final fight would be hard to beat, the strategizing and the surprises were reaching climax, and the energy level would not go much higher. So I figured it would be a dramatic finish. I will start prepping some materials for other campaigns, we'll see what I come up with.
It was truly great fun. I will miss it, but I also think I did the right thing.
Tomorrow is my thesis meeting. Hoo boy. We'll see what I can come up with. I feel good about what I have, but I'm hopeful it won't reflect on me poorly that I'm not quite sure what to do next with it.
Been reading around a bit today, as I often do when I have some free time but I'm tired (not being tired means free time goes to thesis, art, or TAngband). Been reading on the philosophies of the founding Karate masters, notably Gichin Funakoshi and his students. I tried to suss out what differentiates Shotokan from Shotokai, because it seems to revolve mostly around the philosophy behind its application. The Shotokai creators seem to believe that competitions (like tournaments) take away from and in fact degrade the true spirit of the martial art. I'm inclined to agree to some extent, since you can't really use all you're taught in a sparring match, and the same kata by two different people *should* be different (thus there is no perfectly ideal kata).
Yet as much as I'm not a competitive person, I also don't see tournaments as necessarily destructive. I've never participated, but I can very easily visualize the various attitudes of those going in. For those who are not competitive, like me, and are instead focused inwards, a tournament is merely an opportunity for a more high-stakes training. It focuses you on the potential for your technique to be insufficient and for you to be out of shape, and having a concrete goal is always more effective than having an idealized one. This is most likely what Shigeru Egami and other inward-focused, self-improvement types of karate-ka had in mind when they got into karate in the first place.
The trouble is that everyone's different, and man is a social creature, and many people take up karate because they feel they are lacking in how they measure up to others. Many others, I suspect, are inward-focused, yet have not the equipoise to evaluate themselves, and get competitive to try and measure their worth that way (I think most people have stages like that, I'm pretty sure I did, and arguably still do in a different way as a karate instructor). These people take tournaments very seriously, not just as something to train for, or train in, but to win. Winning isn't the point of the tournament in my mind, I don't expect to win a damn thing come August, nor did I when the tournament was bandied about back at USKL when I was a ni-kyu. It's just not about the winning, to me, it's about doing as well as I can. To others, the winning matters.
My guess is that the Shotokai folks considered the "winning matters" attitude to be toxic to the operation of self-improvement, representing a backwards slide. I can see what they were worried about, and I might agree, but I can't help but feel that for some, a tournament brings out the best in people. Is it so wrong to risk bringing out the worst in order to try and bring out the best? Maybe. Maybe not. Those who thought the former created Shotokai, the latter, JKA Shotokan. I would hope I can see both sides of the issue clearly.
Color me surprised!
I actually went through an entire karate class without being in more pain than less at the end! No torn calluses, pulled muscles, or arm bruises. Am I getting better or just tougher? Good question.
Wednesday is my busy day. Gonna go out for lunch (since I'm recashing tomorrow), then karate teaching, tutoring, office hours, biolabs, two hours off, and more biolabs. Haven't decided what to do with those two hours there. Maybe I'll spectate at Biogeography again, or sit in the computer lab and work on stuff. Yeah, who knows.
I'm looking forward to this upcoming weapons class. Will try to get through the karate a little quicker than usual, because I have some fun knifework planned.
One: my Thursday tutoring gig looks like it is going well. The one crazy part: the house is in Black Hawk, a gated community of mansions. Not only that, the house I went to was behind a SECOND gate, and it was a freaking mansion like you see in the movies.
Needless to say, I felt extremely out of place. I spent several minutes while driving to the correct address muttering how odd it was to be surrounded by a community I would never live in, not even if fortune fell oddly and I could afford it, yet I was more proficient in the intellectual skills that made up schooling than most of the people living there. And yet I was dressed in shabby jeans-and-t-shirt with uncombed hair.
Yeah. Weirdness. But hey, money!
Other thing: this summer is turning out to be much less relaxing than previously imagined. To-do for tomorrow: Karate, thesis, karate, thesis (also defined as reading up on allelopathy), then pick up Jen from Los Altos. Blegh.
Things to do that don't fit on a normal to-do list: grad school apps, predoc apps, THEEEESIS
Changes of plans
So it turned out that the proposed sweets rationing was completely unnecessary this summer, since my summer has been much busier and more karate-filled than predicted. All good. I do, however, see a need to keep a more regular set of exercises to help improve my karate back to where it once was (or perhaps where it never had been, which is also the ultimate goal)
- Sitting mawashi-geri
- Heian Godan
- Kanku Sho (slowly)
- Hamstring stretches
- Quad workings (superlow stance)
We'll see whether I can manage it. I should at least train those on Wednesday class with Rachel.
In other news, the webcomic is starting to look like it won't make it through summer. I'm up to #44, which means that by this weekend, with 20 comics published I will have created 12 more. At that rate, creating 3 for every 5 posted (which is probably faster than I've been maintaining it these days), I will publish one I just created on week 10 of summer, or at the tail end of August. While that is on track, the question of creating 3 comics a week has suddenly run up against my desire to get thesis more better done, as well as minor projects like writing a better excel guide for 1403 and prepping an advanced iclicker POD (oh, the intro to iclicker thing went really well, btw)
I'd rather not pull the plug on something I'm on track for, but if thesis doesn't have progress by the end of week 5, that's bad news.
Snack for Thought
How much student contact have I had over the past time?
Subbing and summer school teaching are beasts all their own. Subbing probably runs into the four-digit figures after some hasty calculator-guessing, and two summers of summer school makes about 250 hours in the classroom. The real question of interest is my CSUEB TAing career.
GS: 7+8+8=22 weeks, each week was 3 classes at approximately 1.5 hours each (officially 2 hours, often ran a bit short). This makes 22*3*1.5=99 hours on the nose (though as an approximation of contact per class, this means it's somewhere between 80 and 120 hours)
Add to that Spring 2008 and Winter 2009, which were Bio1002 (or Bio1000 lab in the latter's technical case). Each was 10 labs with 1.5 hours, totalling 30 hours betwixt the two.
Then in Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 I had two sections of Bio1403 lab, each was approximately 1.5 hours with 10 labs and 2 sections each. That makes 60 hours.
Add to this summer's round of Bio1002 which was two weeks of two labs, plus (by the end of summer) eight more weeks of four labs, all at 1.5 hours, plus the four finals week labs makes 6+48+6=60 more hours.
Total: 99+30+60+60=250 (considering significant figures). Two hundred and fifty hours by the end of this summer. Not bad!!!
I was just thinking about how to handle this on my grad school resume/applications. Guesstimate about 1000 hours of subbing, 250 hours of grad school teaching, and another 250 hours of summer school teaching, and that's before we even talk about this upcoming year, as well as ignoring hundreds of hours of tutoring and the course I taught at HMC. I like it!
So I was "nominated" today to run one of the pods at next Tuesday's GS training. Basically there will be 6 "pods" on various topics including iclicker use, blackboard basics, other things GS instructors might want to focus on. And there will be four timeslots so people can go to as many as they'll need (in theory). Sicne I've been put in charge of the iclicker pod I won't be going to any of the others (not that I really think I need any of them especially). Their goal is to have up to four people per session, but if more than 16 people want to do the iclicker pod I'll be having more, clearly. It should be pretty easy, since I will take a few minutes on the technical details and some time on best practices for iclicker questions.
The funny thing about this "news" is that it really isn't news for me, at least not until I stopped to think that there are ONLY six pods and several are being run by the GS top-level people. So right on the heels of having been demonstrated to be a key player in the Bio dept, I find I'm also at least as highly regarded in the GS dept. That is not to say I'm really irreplaceable, of course. For both the additional bio labs and the iclicker pod (and the GS position itself, to boot) I was not the only choice, of course, but I was the first choice, and that's not nothing. I think this mostly means I'm really embedded in the system now, and my colleagues have a lot of collegiate respect for me. Which is a really nice feeling, if you were wondering.
Still, it's odd to consider how I'm now much more of a big fish in a small pond, especially compared to just over a year ago, when all I had to my name was the fact that I was a grad student, I had a high-powered grad advisor and I had just taught one Bio1002 lab and was too busy teaching at Hayward High to even attend a regularly scheduled GS interview. The GS people really wanted a science person and made accomodations for me, but I was still new and had to jump through the newbie hoops. I feel more or less like I've already been moved to the "in" crowd for both Bio and GS.
The other thought that came to me today as I busily juggled tutoring, GS training prep, prep for the bio labs, and considered my thesis analysis some more, is that now that all this teaching and working is easy, I have a simpler yet more introspective task of staying good at that which I have now achieved a level of mastery over. It's one thing to consider that I'm good at walking into a classroom and managing the energy of the students with charisma, and improving my teaching methods in the process. But my teaching has always been to some degree a Politics of Personality type approach, where sheer energy, flexibility, humility, and humor accompany my explanations. If I don't stay good at teaching, my classes may disintegrate into self-indulgence, made worse by how much I approach teaching as performance art. I have no doubt that if Andy Kaufman had wanted to, he would have been an amazing college professor.
The separation between amazing college professor and total diva lies in how much the students learn (and keep learned), and to a lesser degree how well the students and professor make a connection. Helpfulness, as in stepping up to run workshops like I've been doing, is really just opportunity to further demonstrate teaching skills, which is what it's all about for me really.
Here's hoping I can keep off the diva road (and also keep off the crabby road a la Rosen).
Well Dr. Rosen just resigned this morning, so I'm now in control of his other two labs. I can't take the lectures, they're handling that in the office now. I just finished getting through the fire control process of taking over the labs. THis does sort of drastically modify my weekly schedule since now I'm on campus Monday and Wednesday until 10PM (add to that getting back from karate on Tues/Thurs around 9:30PM and my late-night comic-making is obviously going to suffer)
At least the schedule redoing has some benefits. Miguel can make it to Saturday karate/weapons class, which will be lots of fun.
Oh yeah, and I'm gonna get paid for teaching these labs. I could really use the extra cash eh! Especially what with the way I've been managing to spend money this last week. Ah well.
Tomorrow after my crown I will have the day free. Perhaps I will do many small fun things (comic, zangband, WoW, War3) or perhaps I will do one large thing (work on the game with JJ, raid in WoW, etc). Leaning maybe towards the latter
To Do Monday:
- Get up by 9AM
- Hit bank and shoe store by 10:30 AM
- Campus by 11AM and check on the madness up there
- Let that eat as much time as it takes, eat lunch at home or at Subway
- Potentially move around tutoring appointments
- Office hours at 3
- Lab at 4
- Hang out at Tess's lecture (probably...)
- Come home for dinner
- WoW or draw more comic(s)
Still it's driving me nuts how much is still up in the air until the meeting tomorrow morning
I think the Zangband Files are going very well. I'm finishing #40 tonight and I've published through 22, which means four more weeks from here even if I stop now (not that where I'm at is a good spot to stop).
Things are going well overall, though I'm worried about the unpredictability of my lab jobs (or more accurately, the unpredictability of my nameless co-worker who seems to be having trouble of some kind with his students and/or the establishment). It seems like a possibility that I'll end up with his labs, and until that possibility is extinguished one way or another, I'll be a little bit on edge.
I played some TAngband and ZAngband today. Zangband was fun, my Yeek High-Mage of Sorcery is less of a ridiculous challenge now, and in fact I predict the medium levels will be as easy as any other caster class (high levels may become very punishing since I will be relying exclusively on Staves of Power and Holiness, Wands of Annihilation and Rockets, and Rods of Havoc for offense). TAngband is one of those very long term goals. It's really fun but mentally challenging and takes a long time, and probably will eventually beat it sometime in my lifetime. I guess that's not something I expect to finish for years and years.
TAngband, by the way, is Team Angband. It's Angband 2.8.? where you control four characters simultaneously. It's pretty buggy, its last version was 0.6.0, but it's playable. There's a few ctrl commands that let you issue commands that streamline your actions. I'm playing with a Half-troll Warrior, a Gnome Mage, a Half-Elven Priest, and a ranger of some kind (I think Elven...). The only major bug I can think of is that AE damage that hits teammates damages the caster, but other things seem incomplete, for example all XP goes to the person making the killing blow, and the screen doesn't refresh much.
Oh, and any character's death means endgame. I guess it makes sense, but it's pretty harsh. I've definitely lost a few times because I left my mage behind for a bit while she wa regenning mana (not a problem anymore since everyone's 16 or higher).
I WILL BEAT IT! Someday.......
Oh, and HAPPY 4TH. Woo.
The urge to conform to those societally around us is strong and, I suspect, extremely ingrained. I probably have less of it than 90% of the populace (very conservative estimate) and yet it is still instinctive to not be the only one to raise my hand when something is actually at stake, like choosing from a multiple choice question when I'm not sure about the answer.
How I got here has to be a very tight confluence of factors: self-confidence, unusual tastes, being unusual in thought processes (being borderline ASD helps), and my particular brand of humor that lets me laugh at myself (I understand that's also a bit rare, though certainly not near 10%).
I was just considering how I would pass such a thing on to my children, and then I realized it would probably be a disservice to try and mold my children in my own image, self-serving arrogance and nothing else. The self-confidence component is crucial for well-being, but that by itself doesn't make someone want to be the only person in a category.
I suppose the other thing I was thinking is that for someone who stands out nearly all the time, it's easier for me to have empathy for someone unusual. I feel like anyone who conforms most or all of the time, no matter how intelligent and kind they are, has a hard time understanding a freakazoid who seems to willfully be different from everyone else. When you're on the inside looking out, you see a bunch of mysterious characters. When you're on the outside looking in, you understand the appeal of being in but you can also get to know the outside better.
Those stories one reads about outsiders forming their own circle and then banishing or being snobby towards otehr freaks are pretty sad, in that they learn nothing from being outside. They were probably on the outside trying to get in, but couldn't. Rather than accepting the fact that the inside was not for them, they formed their own inside and imitated the conformers they despised.
Anyone wanna guess that the fictional of those stories were written by insiders unable to comprehend someone who didn't want to conform? Maybe? Seems like a lack of imagination at work. Then again it may also be the instinctive drive to conform playing at an outsider's mind.
We are the Horde, you will be assimilated
Just watched the Voyager episode "Collective". Jennifer suggested the most awesomest name for it ever: Borg of the Flies. Bwahahaha
I gotta send that one off to SF Debris, the guy who does the Voyager reviews. Mmhmm.
I did only things I wanted to today, zero things I didn't want to do. Voyager, computer games, and karate. I wish more days could be like this one.
Brianna would be proud
Bruises ALL over the arms. Well, all over the insides of the arms, the kind you get from performing and being blocked by soto-uke, though I think we were same-leg (right to right) and doing uchi-uke. Whatever it was, it hurt.
So did the blisters and calluses on my feet that came off. And the insect bites on my arm. Yeesh.
Anyways, happy birthday party to me!
Things to do this summer:
- Teaching BIO1002 sections 1 and 3
- Karate (teaching and taking)
- EXCEL tutoring, just a bit
- Play Dwarf Fortress until I get tired of it
- Get to 80 in WoW so I can raid with The Seven Scientists
- Maybe some Warcraft 3, Starcraft, and Homeworld 2 to pass the time
- Keep updating The Zangband Files for as much of the summer as I can (it's mah new webcomic yo!)
- Be awesome
Pretty good list! Way better than Spring Quarter's, I think!
Test *blows into mic again*
Test test test one!
Checkin' if the ad box shows on the side. Yeah I'm a sellout! Well not really. I was going to put one on the Zangband files, but since it doesn't have much of an archive yet I thought I'd put an ad box here (as a more reliable site) for now at least.
In other news, DWARF FORTRESS AUGH SO ADDICTIVE! At least I can quit anytime I want....
I am in BUSINESS!
Yeah, really. Well sorta. Well not really.
See I'm running my Zangband webcomic this summer and I thought to myself, what better way to actually get it known a bit (besides just Debbie) than to advertise on the actual Angband comic. Since Calamarain already has a projectwonderful box, I just tapped into it and am advertising on it for pennies a day. Why? Because, as you may know, the least-controllable and arguably most crucial component of any business is advertising. Except that the entire revenue model here looks like:
Advertise on Angband comic -> people get into Zangband files -> people might click on the donate button despite its less-than-persuasive argument for its usage.
Was thinking of getting a ProjectWonderful box to pay for the other ProjectWonderful box. Only trouble is they actually have standards as to whether to allow an ad box, and standards include at least 30 comic or blog posts. See, I actually HAVE 30 comics, but I was hoping to release them one day at a time to make sure I could make it through the summer (if summer involves 5 days a week x 12 weeks, that's half the comics, and I can make the other half during the summer and still do my 5 days a week of karate and teach two classes and tutor). So they may reject my ad box ad eh.
It doesn't ACTUALLY matter since I just put $10 down on the Angband comic and it will last until it runs out or Calamarain boots it off. The only thing putting an ad box on would actually do is allow me to advertise longer without paying more money (in my opinion, $10 for a monthlong lark is cool, but paying more money without serious returns or an exit strategy would be a serious breach of protocol). So I guess I'm worried over nothing.
In other news: My brother graduated today! We both have Bachelor's degrees (except mine is better than his ;P ), and the party should be on Wednesday. Woo!
In other news: Karate training makes me happy. It's probably mostly the emergency endorphins, but still! And my feet are no longer suffering.
In other news: Need to update the thesis blog. Will do that to kick off thesis work once the Summer quarter is well underway.
In other news: I plan on refixing up the website again a bit more, you know, sweep up and do laundry, since there may be strangers coming soon. I should probably ask Kass about the nagging IE bug...
I'm so happy!
I got in touch with Sensei Ty to talk about training and testing my students. He was fully supportive, which was really nice, but he also recommended I look for a shotokan place around here. Well lo and behold, the only reason I couldn't find one before was because I hadn't looked or had time to sign up since before I had my own car! That's how nuts my life has been.
So long story short, I went and trained tonight at a JKA place down at Redwood City. Pure awesomesauce. I plan on making it a very regular part of my life from now on.
I guess my life has been out of balance. I knew the risks, but I guess I didn't leave myself enough break time. Oh well, now I'm doing a lot better.
Ahhh, Homeworld 2. I played the tutorial and the first three missions again yesterday after I finished my grading. I'm eager to play a bit more come summer. The space battle graphics are 100% win.
I've been wondering whether to start a computer programming project. I kind of want to but I think my creative energies will be focused on the Zangband Files. Mental, physical, and creative forces will all be tapped already to keep me sharp, so I don't think I need to add on extra stuff to do.
To Do list for the rest of this quarter:
- Grade last 7 papers
- Grade practicals
- Compile GS and Lab grades (latter by Monday, former by following Tuesday)
- STAT project (due Thursday)
Doable! I knocked out 20 lab reports over the last couple days, which is pretty tiring, so making the to-do list made me realize how little there really is left.
Thinking Ahead eh
Sum total of things I'm doing this summer:
- Teaching two BIOL1002 Labs
- Tutoring for EXCEL
- Working on data analysis and writing for thesis
- Taking Karate at the Shito Ryu dojo (hopefully)
- Possibly continuing to teach karate on campus
- Publishing my nascent webcomic
- Raiding in WoW
It's a great list. The only thing I'm concerned about is the potential for laziness, which, combined with some bad habits that creep up when I'm stressed, could lead to unhealth. I'm going to attempt to combat this by instantiating minimum requirements prior to unhealthy choices on a day-by-day basis. For example (still a work in progress), soda is not to be allowed unless I have performed all five Heian katas and performed some number of 9-movements with my bo-ken.
I have a couple weeks to hammer that out still I suppose.
Two weeks left (plus finals week, which ain't no thang). I don't usually enjoy listening to or reading self-indulgent clockwatching, but this quarter has been a holy terror stacked on top of two others, and this summer will be five parts fun and three parts easy. So I'm going to indulge myself a bit on that one ;P
Also, CAPTION CONTEST!:
Rahm: "Do it do it do it!"
Bibi: "Do it do it do it!"
Obama: "...... wait a second..."
(Seriously... pic is pretty creepy, especially if you remember the Israeli leadership considers Rahm Emmanuel their "man on the inside" here)
Things I learn in Stats class #246
Tukey was a b-tard.
Follow the logic here: Tukey created the Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference test, or Tukey's HSD. It's a way to do post hoc analysis on an ANOVA, to check each group to see if it's different from each other group. Pretty straightforward.
There were a number of other post hoc ANOVA tests, including the Bonferroni, Sidak, and Fisher tests, but one in particular was popular for a while, the Student-Newman-Keuls test or SNK. So Tukey had a cool idea. He created the Tukey's-b test, which is an average of his own test, the Tukey, and the SNK.
There is no theoretical or logical reason to do so.
Yet it was put into a popular Experimental Design textbook and became widely used. Even though there was no reason to. Yep. Any idea why it was called the Tukey's-b test?
Tukey trolled Statistics. QED.
My finest written nonsense yet: The biology of human hunters. And by human hunters I definitely don't mean humans that hunt. I mean things that hunt humans.
Warning: morbid, and probably a little creepy ^_^
Oh god why
What the heck man
Just another "this quarter sucks" post. This quarter's on par with the previous one, probably a bit harder but then again last quarter's difficulty collapsed after GS ended in week 7. This time, it's probably going to get easier at that point again, Stats and Lab teaching are more than last time but Animal Phys was kind of peripheral to my interests, while both plant tax and ANOVA (strangely) are more interesting to me.
I was actually going gangbusters when I fell ill, either from a cold, dust-induced allergies, or both. It sucked the energy out of me right when I needed it. It was sort of like I was in a sprinting race. just catching stride, when I tripped, which set me back farther than you would think a five-second stumble.
Yeah yeah, bitch bitch bitch. I'm mostly upset because I was so low-energy on Wednesday that class did not go well, and GS probably could have gone the same way if Jennifer Miranda hadn't been teaching it.
Ah well. I don't think any permanent damage was done (aside from possible drop in morale in my labs, I will have to address this with some figurative elbow grease). Just feeling lazy still, almost a week and a half since I wore the dusty jacket that probably triggered the whole thing. Even worse: have to do it again on Tuesday! I think this time I won't wear the actual jacket, it was probably the dustiest component. We'll see if I can find a replacement.
Okay back to work!
What the HECK
No one told me the comic engine could hangle .png files! It said only jpg and gif! I'm mad now! I was getting tired of the suck involved in both when all along I could have skipped it by trying out png files.
Anyway, bedtime for me. Tomorrow is a hiking class! In the meantime, lookie the updated Zangband comic!
ZANGBAND COMIC PAGE IS LIVE! Clickie clickie!
Of course I haven't really, uh, worked on the actual comic. I have 12 pages total though only 7 are loaded, but I don't want to post more until I can post semi-regularly. School this quarter is going to be a beeyotch, plus a lot of my art time is going into my latest extravaganza, a desktop background with all 12 avatars for my new huge-screen computer.
Man you know, having a website is pretty cool!
Being a grownup sucks balls.
I think being a person is great though. It's just the whole being grown up that stinks. I don't think I have a problem with responsibility in particular, it's just meh overall.
Where did spring break go?
Oh yeah, massive quantities of Exalted, fiddling with my computers, and watching movies.
Well, today is GS syllabus day! And probably also some thesis thrown in there
Back from the dead again
Updates the structure of the website a bit, mostly in the Exalted sector: Check it out!. Added in the spring break campaign I ran with Trevor and Ellen, and we shall see if they join the main campaign (I would love it if they joined and had fun, but not joining is preferred to them joining and hating it, so we shall see what they decide)
Oh, in big news: MY LAPTOP IS BACK FROM THE DEAD! Not only is it working, but the hard drive was NOT fried, merely rendered inaccessible for some mysterious reason. All the taking it apart and putting it back together apparently fixed it (well, hooking it up to a firewire external drive seemed to finish fixing it). Something's still not right in its head, mostly on account of it giving a half-second "Operating System Not Found" icon on first booting, but hey, I'm happy. I recovered the files I thought lost, top of the list was the letters I'd been writing to myself. Got those back so I'm happy.
It's been busy here... even when on break I manage to get a large load. I don't think I remember how to sit around doing nothing, though if summer prospects keep going the way they're going I may get a good feeling for that (eesh).
Lastly, I've been working on a new adventure comic. It's fun to do but I don't know if I want to publish regularly quite yet. Perhaps I will do that during the summer too. We shall see.
I had an interesting thought recently (as a culmination of previous musings) that I'm sure has been had before but I haven't read it. (warning: morbidity ahead again)
I was considering how one's perception of time is subjective, and that the notion of eternity doesn't fit the known universe but is conceivable within the limitless confines of the human imagination. Heaven and hell are supposed to be eternal, but what is eternity? Perhaps eternity is a matter of perception.
What would be almost karmically fitting would be if, at the moment of death, perceived time slowed down (brain hyperactivity, whatever). That means a person would experience whatever final thoughts and emotions were running through their brain eternally.
I have concluded that small-minded people who think only of worldly things would probably be consumed with various levels of fear, anger, despair, and fear. And probably fear. Meanwhile, a person who has a complete and unshakeable belief in god, the afterlife, and the rightness of the universe would feel joy, while a true agnostic would probably experience curiosity, mixed with at least a bit of fear of the unknown and wonder at the experience itself. Those who have the best experience would probably be those who give themselves for a specific cause, feeling purpose filling their brain as they go.
In a way, if that were to be so, we would make our own heaven or hell from our own feelings, though our environment would surely influence it. An innocent child would be in limbo, unfamiliar with the experience, while someone being tortured to death would know only pain for an eon or three (relatively speaking).
I almost wish that were the case, just for the justice of knowing all those bitter, hateful people who sought only to inflict suffering were the ones who suffered longest. The gap, of course, is that ignoramuses who did it out of self-righteousness would be treated to an eon of expecting to come face to face with God and the pearly gates, but hey, every silver lining has its cloud, as Damien used to say.
It is something new eh
Wow, spare time. Creepy.
Until you factor in that I haven't worked on my thesis in a while (haven't even updated the thesis blog, what heresy).
Yeah I'll get on that. Also on my EnvPhys presentation
Check this shite out
Awesome video by some grad student.
Every time I read news about how global the problems we're having are becoming (economy and warming mostly) it seems to occur to me that we're in the worst shape we've been in, as a world, since World War II. The Cold War was tough but it was a long slog of trouble, and there were a lot of changes for the better. While 9/11 itself was only 3000 Americans, the subsequent piracy of American law and order is what's brought us to this mess here. In fact, I'd really pin a lot of this mess on 9/11 and Bush being in office when it happened. It empowered him to railroad congress and do basically everything he wanted with zero public outrage, and it wasn't until Katrina that it really popped
It seems to me that this is the time that will be in history books, and Gen Xers will be the storied grandparents in the far future the way those of the Greatest Generation have been now, for their stories about the war and crises etc. Additionally, I'd say about 50 years down the road the world's climate will have changed enough to drastically alter our very way of life. Ocean levels will be different, different plots of land will be arable, technology will be much more advanced and probably a lot greener (yeah, AFTER we trash the atmosphere) so people my age will be a link to the past. We were there when it all went to hell.
Wow that was really a lot less cheerful than I meant it to be
Narcissism and self-confidence are independent of each other. Someone can be one or the other or both or neither.
Self-confidence: acknowledgement of one's strengths
Narcissism: blindness to one's weaknesses
I think the combination of the two is arrogance.
Arrogance: belief that one is superior, for whatever reason, and improper interpretation of both strengths and weaknesses
Wow, I needed this catchup day.
Was behind on prepping for GS, e-mailing the classes, and reading for physiology. Now I'm good. Well, better than I was.
Exalted is fun! Wheeeee!
Check check *blows on mic*
Another test. Just wanna see what happens with this way instead.
Don't panic citizens, these will be over soon and HOLY GOD IT IS MIDNIGHT
Test test 1 2 what
Testing a new feature. Adding a name-link option to every post. Let's see what we get!
Oh yes, and OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA etc
My previous post was a lot more thoughtful, you might want to check it out at the archive XD
Stand tall, and no one will doubt your height
Always trying to improve myself.
Perhaps the ultimate goal is to be a "Warrior-Scholar." Only I don't seem to be able to do both right now. I tell myself that, in this modern world, singular focus is necessary, but I tend to play softball with my spare time to avoid burning out on overwork.
Well I'm not giving up quite yet.
Flag football is going very well for me, maybe after a couple months of once-a-week all-out sprinting and dodging I'll be ready to see whether I'm ready for a real martial art training set again. Training by myself just isn't cutting it eh.
Now if only I had time for anything..... curse you Spore!
..... oh yeah and W00T 08AMA! /oblig
I has spore.
Why is something more rewarding the more of a waste of time it is? Case in point, I finally went and figured out how to make animated GIFs (I got bogged down on the Angry Cows WoW section when my request was for an animated GIF of the battle of Hyjal, which I thought was an awesome idea. If I'd just rejected it we wouldn't be in this position anyways).
Exalted campaign? Hours and hours of work on a freaking movie (which kicked ass, if I may say so). Hours reworking the website to conform to automation standards and to have a frontpage with the latest exalted updates. Time spent on a new Angry Cow which is more ridiculous than funny, but also rewarding. Got Debbie to start an Exalted campaign and gave her webspace to post on (whee).
Gee it's a good thing I'm holding off on Wrath until I can assess my free time this quarter ;P
Though I'm starting to think I will have enough. Thesis work will eat up days, not evenings, and there is ZERO homework aside from prepping for GS classes.
Think I'd like to secure a few more subbing days of cash first, since the computer will need paying off. Eek also need to e-mail Paul.
My life is a to-do list, and I think these days I like nothing better than being on top of it. I feel like if I've mastered my to-do list, I've mastered my life itself.
PS: New addition to to-do list: add Exalted and AC sections to the very frontpage of my website. I have to say, making it decorative like it is now was fun but is a GIANT pain for modifying. Oh well, toss it on the to-do list.
Thoughts spin around me, wasting my time
Does it depress you to know the bad guys are winning? That in many ways they've already won? That good can never fight as hard as bad?
By the laws of thermodynamics, humanity's time is finite. By the principles of physics we currently understand, humanity will be lucky to escape the exploding of the sun. But by social studies and the ever-accelerating pace of technological advance, humanity's time is numbered in all kinds of odd ways.
Which brings me to my question: what do YOU think will bring down humanity? Why will the last person who dies be alone?
Instinct? Error? Stubbornness? Tradition? Fear?
Probably a combination. Even if a billion people die tomorrow, there will still be a society. Like the dinosaurs.... no one thing could really have killed them all by itself.
Well unless aliens decide we're a lost cause and supernova our sun. That would do it. I just hope, if they do that, that I get to be one of their zoo exhibits. That would be an experience worth having.
Updating from my new computer! Yays.
It is insanely shiny, naturally. I have to mess with it for a while before it's home but I've already moved music and stuff over. Feeling good.
Project for Saturday morning if there's time: the printer!....
Oh and the new computer came with.... a remote. Yeah. In case I can't reach the keyboard from where I'm sitting and I'm too comfortable I guess. Yeah. I'm really gonna put that thing through its paces. It needs to look less like an iPod shuffle, too, that's just an extra layer of surreal.
New year noodling
New year, new stuff. God awesome music and good movies and yay for Voyager!
The issue remains the computer. Originally I was going to pick up a new computer with 10.5 with Christmas moneys and get a new hard drive for the lappy to go with it. That way the lappy would have the latest OS. This was predicated on the distaste for starting fresh, and would require the minimum of starting fresh possible.
But with the financial situation still so rocky, I'm wondering whether it wouldn't be better to just update the laptop now and get the new computer when available. Who can say. I think I'll need to see the credit card bill first I guess. That's where all the hurt is.
Ugh why am I always complaining about money? Seriously, there's so many other things to complain about too. Not having prepped for GS yet, thesis incoming, and lacking internet should be topping the list. Yeesh.
Okay, how about a bright thought of the day. Well, night. Bright thought of the last half hour of the first day of 2009: /* Upcoming exalted campaign with +100% legos! */ See that wasn't so hard.
At earliest convenience, must redo all website material to accomodate the new structure and include the old archives. Yeah it was time for a fresh start. I'll do archives by year from now on.
I've finally given up on making the checkbook balance month-to-month. I was hanging in there until we booked the trip to Seattle to see Jennifer's family. That's money I just don't have in my checking account. Time to dig into savings!
Yeah yeah, it's fine. Anyways it makes me feel better about getting people good Christmas presents. I think this year will be successful on that front.
Other downside to the Seattle trip is that we'll miss a week of Exalted, though since I expect to be all done with everything by the end of this weekend I guess we could just fit it in somewhere
Oh yeah, one more issue with the Seattle trip. Since we fly out Christmas day afternoon, gift cards etc will have to wait (including getting my new computer, sadness)
But aside from all *thise* issues, it will be great. Plus we might get to play the Dilbert Board Game again! XD