Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a long way home

so classes started this week. I seriously can't believe how many people are on campus. it seems like twice as many as I remember from the last two semesters. craziness. stupid freshmen. wandering around lost. it's hilarious. hehe.

I am taking two classes this semester. they are both education classes, so no physics! woo hoo! it's a nice break, let me tell you. I'm also taking some research credits and working on the same research project from the summer, so that will be good as well. all those things will definitely keep me busy. I already have over 100 pages of reading to do for next week. but the good thing is that I don't have any tests this semester, just a bunch of papers and presentations and stuff like that. which I prefer. so yay for that.

Monday was Angel's birthday, so we went out to Gordon Biersch for dinner and then to the Cue Club afterwards for some drinks. it was lots of fun.

yesterday was a totally full day, with all my classes and meetings and stuff.

today wasn't so bad as far as all of that goes, but there was an interesting incident on the way home. so, Katie and I have been carpooling this week since it's really super hot and we don't want to ride our bikes (parking is free during August). so she drove this morning and everything was great. we had to park pretty far away, but there was a shuttle to drop us off by our office, so no worries there. we had to leave our offices around 2:45 so I could get home in time to drive to my research project meeting in mesa. so, that was fine. we went over to the shuttle stop and waited with everyone else. we ran into Hwi and talked to her for a while and then her bus came so she left. ours showed up a few minutes later, but it was totally full, so we had to wait for the next one. the next one was so full it didn't even stop, so against our wishes, we decided to walk to the car. it was really f*cking hot today, so we were dripping by the time we finally got out there. we manuevered out of the parking and got onto Rural Ave. we decided that there was a bunch of traffic there, so we should take McAllister instead. so, we got into the left hand turn lane on Rural to turn onto University to get to McAllister. here's a map if you're confused (please note that our car was parked as far away as possible from campus). as we're sitting in the lane (we are the next car to turn), Katie's car totally dies. like won't even turn on. so there goes the a/c. crap. we realize right away that she is out of gas. arghh! and of course, we are across the street from a gas station. so I got out and tried to push, but something was wrong and it wouldn't move (it was in neutral, but as we realized later, the ignition was in the wrong place). after waiting about ten minutes in the ridiculous heat, we convinced two strong boys walking across the intersection to help us out. they figured out what was wrong with the ignition and helped us get it across the street. whew. so finally we got some gas and everything was good again. luckily I wasn't too late to my meeting and everything worked out ok.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

glad that's over

well, I finished taking the comps yesterday. and all I can say about that is that it's over. I'll find out in about a week how badly I failed. hehe. we'll see. I'm still praying for partial credit.

to celebrate the end of the test from hell, some of us went out last night (after, of course, a nap). angel, hwi, and I went to get some great sushi and sake bombs for dinner. it was delicious. we even got a free dessert. woo hoo. after that, alec and rosa (one of the new grad students) met up with us to go see "the 40 year-old virgin". it was hilarious. I haven't laughed that hard for that long ever at a movie. steve carell is awesome. he really made the movie. after the movie, we went to back to katie's place and hung out for a while. by that point, we were all exhausted and went home. I think I slept for about ten hours. it was wonderful.

the plan for the rest of the weekend: do as little as possible. school starts on monday, so I plan to be as lazy as possible before then. so far, so good.

a hilarious article: intelligent falling (from the onion).

Thursday, August 18, 2005


while procrastinating tonight, I ran across this blog:
a great book, and a really funny idea.
(some of the comments are hilarious too - people need a sense of humor.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


so the first day of the comps was today. from 8am to 1pm we struggled through seven classical mechanicis and electricity/magnetism problems. my brain still hurts. we got some free ice cream later in the afternoon, but even that didn't help much.

tomorrow is another study day and then on friday we have quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. hopefully that will go alright.

pray that the graders are generous with partial credit. seriously.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

my name in lights

ok, not really lights, but it's still pretty cool. here's what's going on with me this week.

so, yesterday I flew to salt lake city, utah for the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). it was a fairly uneventful flight and trip to the hotel we are stayng at, near the university of utah (where the conference is). I didn't get a whole lot of sleep last night and had to wake up super early this morning (6am, which was really 5am for me). today was the first unofficial day of the conference, and we went to two four-hour workshops. it was slightly painful, especially around 2:30pm when the caffeine started to wear off and I got a bit punchy. anyway, it could've been worse I suppose. at least they are paying for me to be here (and for my food and everything which is totally sweet).

there were a few redeeming highlights today. first, when we checked in the registration area this morning, we got a t-shirt with our packet. on the back of the t-shirt, there is a list of all the people who are presenting a poster or talk at the conference. and my name is there! it was exciting. then there was boring boring boring. after the last workshop, Brian went with me to go find Fred, my old boss from SDSU. it was so good to see him and see how the project was going and everything and how everyone in the office was doing.
after dinner, Brian and Jen and I headed back to the conference area because we heard there was some free food (this is the only way to get graduate students to go anywhere). there were lots of booths set up with various vendors trying to get you to buy their books or calculators or physics demonstrations. it was pretty ridiculous. but they had chocolate cake, so it was ok. Brian decided to make it more interesting, we would search out all the free stuff and try to get as many stickers and pins attached to him as possible, making him the physics whore. it was quite funny; (one of our favorite stickers said, "the physics front" on it. we stuck it to his back). while we were walking around, I ran into one of the professor I knew from UCSD who I haven't talked to in a while, so that was really great as well. but the best part was seeing the finished project of the textbook/curriculum I had been working on at SDSU. it had finally gotten published and the publisher was there and had the full-color, hardcover version (I had only ever seen a black and white softbound). it was really amazing to see this thing that I had helped work on for sale and potentially being used by students all around the country. however, the best part, is that my name is listed as one of the contributors to the book (as it should be). it was so cool to see my name in print like that, in a real book and everything. It was a great feeling.

Brian and I ended the evening at the bar with a few drinks and then the hot tub at the hotel. it was a good end to a long and tiring day.

tomorrow morning I get to present my poster on the research I was doing this summer. hopefully it won't be too boring. I have to stand in front of it for an hour while people come by and ask me quesions about me. we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"are you a rocket scientist?"

so the most hilarious thing happened today at school. I was sitting in my office, working on some stuff on my computer, when all of a sudden my advisor (in the adjoining office) starts freaking out about something. Jen went in to investigate what the disturbance was, but she didn't really say anything except, "oh crap" or something to that effect. so, now, Brian and I are intrigued and walk in there and we see that the entire office is filled with smoke and smells completely awful.

so it turns out that our advisor was making some popcorn in the microwave and just trusted the machine to know when to stop popping. it was a smaller than normal bag and I'm guessing that the microwave didn't know or care. anyway, it caught on fire and since the microwave was sitting on a cardboard box, it started to catch that on fire too. around this point, our advisor saw the smoke and realized something bad was happening and proceeded to freak out. Brian came in, unplugged the microwave and took it out to the stairwell while Jen and I and our advisor started to get the smoke out of the room. we were afraid the fire alarm and/or the sprinklers would go off, both things being not fun situations to be in. apparently when Brian opened up the microwave, there was some yellow gas that rushed out (probably the butter?). luckily he didn't get burned or anything.

here's a picture of the guilty microwave (and the bag of scorched popcorn):

so then our advisor decided that she had to call the campus police and tell them what happened. they called the fire department and sent them over. we were expecting at the most one truck with a couple guys to make sure that everything was ok and that nothing was still burning, etc. she explicitly told them on the phone that nothing was still on fire and that there was just some smoke (and an awful smell). so, a few minutes later (and we are still laughing hysterically at this point), we hear some fire engines. multiple ones. and we're like, oh crap, did they really send a bunch of trucks for this?

well, I guess the fire department was fairly bored today, because apparently they sent over four trucks (although we think they may have been exaggerating - we only saw two). three firemen, in full gear, carrying hoses, tanks and long hook things, came up the stairs a little bit later to see what was actually going on. once they saw the microwave, they started radioing in "popcorn in microwave" over and over again. and then they started making fun of our advisor. they were like, "are you a professor here"? and "are you a rocket scientist"? we were like, well, she's a physicist. and they started laughing. and we started laughing. it was really funny. they were giving her a really hard time about it, which made it even funnier. she was a pretty good sport about the whole thing, but definitely won't be hearing the last of it for a while.

the firetrucks:

so, all in all, it was an interesting afternoon at work. I would like to point out, that even though it was a tiny bag of popcorn and our office is on the fifth floor, the smell permeated all the way down onto the first floor. I think our office will smell bad for at least a week.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


today and yesterday were mind-numbingly annoying in terms of work, but luckily each day was redeemed by something else happening. yesterday, it was a lunch trip to in-n-out with brian and then shopping with katie and angel in the evening (complete with dinner at cpk). today, it was an awesome thunderstorm and a subsequent short-term power outage. oh, and I also bought a label-maker for no real reason.

the thunderstorm is really cool. it started getting windy (like around 50mph) around 7pm or so, and then around 8 or so, my power went out. that was exciting in and of itself. luckily I found my flashlight without any difficulty and then got some candles lit. after a while I decided to go over to angel's house which was a couple blocks away, but had power. we watched the storm develop even more and it started pouring rain around 9pm. by the time I left his house about 45 minutes later, the streets were already sort-of flooded and made driving home more interesting than usual. when I got home my power was back on (luckily) and it's still raining and probably will keep going for at least a few more hours.