Saturday, December 30, 2006

the perfect christmas gift

oh, if only I had received this for Christmas instead... (hehe)

btw, I'm back in Phoenix and already back to work. *sigh* lots to do. big big meeting on the 10th that we need to prepare for. also, training for the half-marathon which is in two weeks (yikes!). oh, and I need to work on my thesis. right.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

nerdy math crafts

hehe. wow this is super nerdy. I love it. I want to knit a hyperbolic plane!

Monday, December 25, 2006

merry christmas!

I hope everyone had a nice holiday. mine was surprisingly pleasant and pain-free. which is good. I got a bunch of books (one Vonnegut and some others on physics), some music, some jewelry, an audio recording device (for the interviews and other stuff I will have to do for my dissertation research), and lots of gift cards. oh, and an iPod shuffle (which is awesome - thanks Jody!). I also had lots of good food and spent some quality time with the family. the one down-side was the weather: it was quite warm - like almost 80. another typical southern california christmas and kind of hilarious when I think of other parts of the country that are snowed in. while it is nice, it also makes it hard to believe that it's winter.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

something to think about

I ran across this interesting article yesterday from about the wealth gap in the world. I think especially at this time of year when we're seemingly ready to just buy buy buy whatever we feel we "need", it puts up a bit of perspective at just lucky we are to be where we are.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

some Christmas spirit

(and an excuse to procrastinate a little bit instead of writing a paper.)
I am starting to get into the Christmas spirit. the semester is winding down (I am currently working on my final paper for one class) and everyone is starting to talk about plans for the break. Hwi and I put up some Christmas lights in our apartment the other day, I watched Miracle on 34th street last night (the second half in color and then the first half in black and white), and I keep getting phone calls and emails asking what I want for Christmas (for the record, peace on earth and good will towards ALL people would be nice). also, today's New York Times had an article about the house that was featured in one of my favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas Story. also, for another laugh, check this parody out.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

almost there...

so it's December already. how did that happen? and why did it take so long? anyway, I have about a week or so left of the semester (my one and only paper is due on Wednesday, but I have other stuff to do until probably the 15th). I am really looking forward to getting some work done on my thesis over the break. I have a presentation to do the week before classes begin again and then there's a big conference in San Diego that I'm going to towards the end of February. so that will be good. I have a lot of work still to do, but I am making tons of progress and it is going really well I think.

Thanksgiving was pretty nice last week. I drove to LA to see the fam. the driving part was not exactly the most painless it has been (going there, I ran into a ridiculous amount of traffic once I hit LA - of course). but it was good to see everybody and dinner was great. I came back just in time to go out for Lynn's birthday last week.

in other news, I really like this "new" Beatles cd, LOVE. it is from the Cirque du Soleil show and although I was hesitant at first, I am really digging it. it is a new and interesting take on some of my favorite songs. they mostly fooled around with transitions between songs and didn't screw with the actual songs too much in most cases, which I think was wise.

Friday, November 17, 2006

ucla student tasered

ok this is making me really angry. and disturbed. and worried. it's not good.
here is the link to the story from the Daily Bruin after it happened (the incident was this past tuesday). there weren't a lot of details at that time, but it still pissed me off. then I saw that someone had actually posted the video from their cellphone that they took while it was happening. after watching that, I felt kind of sick. it is a very disturbing video. you can hear him screaming and the officers yelling at him. it is not good. the students that were around were trying to get information (like their badge numbers and names) from the officers, but they threatened them with the taser instead of giving them the information.
today's LA Times had another article; the student is going to sue. there are more details in this article, especially the student's side of the story. I just hope that something good comes out of this. this is totally insane. what is going on with our country? (and the world?)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

life + research = research

today's PhD Comic seemed especially relevant to how I feel about my research right now. *sigh*. for reals.
at least I like what I'm doing. and I seem to be able to get an OK amount of sleep this semester. but still. yeah.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bill Clinton!

well I had a bit of a fun surprise today. in the middle of a meeting I get an IM from Angel saying that Bill Clinton is coming to campus today and do I want to go? well, of course, yes, I do. so we walked over to the library lawn where it was all set up. and waited. and waited. finally some of the other democrat local candidates spoke and it was nice. and then we waited some more. (I would like to mention that Angel remembered the wrong time, so that made it even longer, but oh well.) finally, Bill Clinton showed up (along with Harry Mitchell and Jim Pederson) and gave a great speech. it was great to see all of us young college-aged (or post-college-aged) students out there cheering on the democrats. only five days until the election. don't forget to vote! this is the most important thing you can do as a citizen in a democratic country - don't take it for granted.

here's a couple pictures I got from my phone. they're not too great, but here they are anyway (if you click on them to make them bigger it is easier to see him).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

happy halloween!

so it's Tuesday. and it's Halloween. and I don't really feel like it's today. everyone had parties over the weekend, so that was more of the holiday for me. it was lots of fun. for my costume, I made a dress out of those blue bags from IKEA. I thought it was pretty clever, because I am obsessed with IKEA and love it to pieces, so it is sort of a crazy IKEA fan costume in some respects. everyone really liked it, which was cool. it was sort of born out of a need to do something creative and Project Runway no longer being on that drove me last wednesday night to go out and buy a sewing machine so I could construct the dress. it took a bit longer than I was expecting, but that is mostly because I got a really crappy cheap sewing machine. it works relatively well for what I paid for it, so I'm not actually complaining.

Jody dressed up as a Gumby from Monty Python's Flying Circus TV series. not many people actually knew what that meant, so he didn't get as good of a reaction as we were hoping, but I will say that he looked awesome and had the voice down and everything. for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, here's a link to a compilation of some of the finer Gumby moments from the Flying Circus.

here are pictures from the party at Katie, Angel, and Rosa's house on saturday (via my Google photo page):

if you prefer Flickr, you can check out the pictures there as well:

Monday, October 23, 2006

I had a weekend

well, last week was fairly crazy. not as bad as the previous week, but they are definitely keeping me busy here. at least the weather is beautiful now. sooo nice. really makes up for the insane summer.
friday evening we ended up going bowling. it was lots of fun. I hadn't been in a really long time, but somehow still managed to do well. Angel and Rosa didn't fare as well and Jody had to bowl left handed due to his shoulder injury, but he still did pretty good. anyway, it was fun. we should go again soon.
saturday, Jody taught me how to drive a manual transmission. so that was fun. I think I got the hang of it, driving around the parking lot. I think after another practice session I'll be ready for the harsh streets of Tempe. heh. I'm glad I finally learned. I had been trying for such a long time. people kept telling me they would teach me (ahem, jpg) but I never got around to it. so yay for that. it wasn't so hard.
saturday night angel tried to arrange a group outing to see tim burton's nightmare before christmas in 3D. without going into all the gory details, let's just say that the planning didn't go over so well as one person got left at home (due to some miscommunication) and we got into the movie late (angel had everyone's tickets and he was late), had to go find the 3D glasses from some clueless movie theatre employee and had to sit in the second row. ugh. but, the movie was good, so I guess that mostly makes up for it. well, that and the glasses were seriously hilarious. they made everyone look like either a bug or elton john.

sunday I slept in a bit, then got some work done. at our soccer game last night, I scored the one and only goal. so hooray for that. it felt good to win for a change. our team has a bunch of new players this season and we're trying to get used to all the new playing styles and positions and everything. I think it's starting to come together so hopefullly the rest of the season goes as well as last night's game. everyone did a great job, with the passing and defense and all that. go brilliant fc!

and in other news, here's a shout out to Jeremy Cogan, who was quoted in today's New York Times article on a fantasy Congress game. hehe.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Jesus, etc. indeed

one of my favorite blogs posted a love letter to Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot last week and I just had to share.

I am currently writing my second proposal of the week (although I'm not actually finished with the first one - final version isn't due until Friday). it's going to be a fun week! lol.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

welcome to the Grand Canyon state (officially)

so, as of today I am officially no longer a Californian (as far as I am concerned). I finally went in and got my Arizona drivers license. it was ridiculously easy and didn't take very long (although I am glad I had my book to read). the thing is good until I'm like 65 years old or something crazy like that. so yeah. I'm a "zonie" or whatever. at least I won't have people looking at my CA drivers license all funny now (not only does it look fake because of all of the hologram stuff on it, but the picture I had on there was from when I first got my license when I was sixteen. so times have changed).

in other news, our soccer team is doing ok. we are trying to adjust to all of our new players and I think considering all of that, we are doing really well. we are fighting hard, but still playing fair (unlike some of the other teams in our league), and in general it is going well. we will keep getting better. :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"but I am le tired..."

yeah I'm exhausted. I need to sleep. yesterday I had one of those all day meetings (9:30am to 5pm). luckily they gave us lunch and coffee throughout the day as needed. which I definitely needed because I only got about 3 hours of sleep the night before. totally couldn't fall asleep. soo annoying. so I figured that I would be able to sleep just fine last night. but, no, of course not. I probably got about four hours. ugh. somehow I did make it through today, though. but now it is time to sleep.

sorry about the sleep talk. it's one of the most important things in grad school, so really there's not much else to talk about. heh.

and for those of you not cool enough (or weren't around two years ago when we were quoting it everyday) to understand the title reference, here you go: enjoy!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

picnic in the park

yesterday was such a nice day and some of us decided to have a little picnic in the Tempe Town Lake Beach Park (that's actually what it's called - don't look at me). it's a little grassy park by the fake lake here in Tempe. anyway, we had a good time. natalie brought her adorable dog and we ate lovely sandwiches and other things. katie and angel screamed like little girls every time the bees came by to smell our lemonade so that kept us amused for a while. :)

later that afternoon, katie and rosa came by and we had a grey's anatomy season 2 marathon until we all fell asleep.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

most awesome video ever

this new video by OK Go has to be the most awesome music video ever made. heh. enjoy!

harry potter and nclb

I heard about this article the other day and I just had to post a link to it. it was written by one of the professors in the college of education here at asu. it is nominally a book review of the most recent Harry Potter book (this came out a while ago ), but is actually more about current education reforms and no child left behind (nclb). it's very interesting, especially if you are more familiar with the book itself and some of problems with nclb. happy reading!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

party pics!

So Saturday night Angel, Katie, and Rosa had a party at their new house for Angel's birthday and a housewarming sort of thing. most of the physics and astronomy grad students showed up (and some of our non-phy/ast friends) and everyone had a really good time. here are some pictures from the evening:

Angel's Bday party
Aug 27, 2006 - 21 Photos

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

more pics

I re-uploaded some of the 4th of July pictures to my other photo site (which I will probably be using instead of Flickr). it's a lot easier (integrated with iPhoto) and much more free space (250mb).

4th of July
Aug 5, 2006 - 18 Photos

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

happy birthday Angel!

today was Angel's (23rd) birthday. I made him some yummy cupcakes and we surprised him at school after he finished teaching his last class (at 10pm). he was super excited to see us and it was lots of fun.
click below to check out the pictures. (some of them are of Katie just being silly since we had some time to kill while we were waiting for Angel to finish).

Angel's Birthday!
Aug 22, 2006 - 13 Photos

Monday, August 21, 2006

a new semester

today begins a new semester of grad school. it started out by me sleeping in, which was very nice, and ended with me at school until almost 9pm and coming home during a thunderstorm to an apartment with no power. awesome. that about sums up the day.
it really seems to me like school never ended, so it's really kind of weird to even think about a new semester starting up. I worked all through the summer and the work is just continuing throughout this fall, hopefully culminating in me finishing my masters thesis (cross your fingers). I am only taking one actual class this semester, which only meets once a week (wednesday evenings for 3 hours) and the rest of my credits are tied up in my research and writing my thesis. so that's kind of nice. I am expanding my research stuff this semester to include some stuff on science & society, so hopefully that will go well.
along with that, all the new incoming grad students have kicked me out of my old TA office in the h-wing. but of course, even though I lost an office, I gained another one, with my new research group. so I still have three offices on campus. lol. I really shouldn't advertise that fact, because I know some people who barely have one office. hehe. oh well. I am just lucky to be working on well-funded projects right now. anyway, here's to a new semester full of new and interesting things (let's hope).

Monday, August 14, 2006

this movie looks interesting: Man of the Year

12 hours of fun

so today was one of those really long days at work. like almost 12 hours. which is really hilarious for a number of reasons. first, the meeting I was supposed to have at 9am to start off the day was pushed back to 9:30 after I had already gotten up and ready for school. then, the person running the meeting was half an hour late. so that was awesome. there goes an hour of sleep. anyway, the kicker to the whole thing is that since today officially starts the fall semester in terms of our RA hours and everything, I am only supposed to be spending about 10 hours total PER WEEK on this project. and I have meetings later in the week I have to go and I spent part of yesterday working on it already. so that's exciting. whatever. at least everything went well today. that makes it all worth it.

anyway, here's an awesome clip on YouTube that Angel sent me today. it's really amazing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

that's no moon...

nerdy link of the day: Star Wars Asciimation

I'm having one of those weeks. I can't believe it's only Tuesday. work is crazy. just crazy. and mostly in a bad way. ugh.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

what a week

so the end of last week was crazy. the conference was so so tiring, but really good. I got back late on Friday and was exhausted. I spent most of Saturday sleeping, and was recharged enough to play some soccer on Sunday (it wasn't too hot - I think only like 105 or something - but it still felt like we were playing in a sauna).
I cooked dinner on Monday night. it was sort of a cooking experiment actually because I hadn't tried making eggplant parmigiana before. but I think it turned out really well (and Jody said he liked it, so there you go). then, some people came over and we watched Match Point which was really good.
the rest of the week has been a bit of a blur. lots of stuff going on at work, getting ready to start the semester and everything. and just lots of stuff going on in general. I'm glad tomorrow's Friday.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


so I'm in Syracuse, NY for a conference (AAPT = American Association of Physics Teachers) this week. I left the insane heat in Phoenix (it was 117 on Friday) to the relative cool of central New York on Sunday morning. the day of travel was not so exciting, especially since I had only gotten about three and a half hours of sleep the previous night, and then the airline lost my luggage, so that just added to the headache of the day. luckily my bag showed up the next morning and so I wouldn't have to go buy clothes for the conference. anyway, yesterday was the first full day of the conference, 8am to 10pm, and it was exhausting. I ran into some people I hadn't seen since the conference last year, so that was nice. this morning I gave my talk (on STEM behaviors of high school math and science teachers, in case you care) and I think it went really well, so that is good. I wasn't able to show the video clip I wanted to, but I think it's for the best, because otherwise my talk would've run over the eight minute (!) time limit. so it all worked out for the best. now I'm just taking a break before lunch and more sessions. today we will end at 10pm again, and the same tomorrow, but Thursday (the last day of the conference) won't go as late. I'll be back in the heat on Friday.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

little miss sunshine

so Angel and I just got back from an advanced screening of the new movie Little Miss Sunshine. I saw a thing online on imdb to get a ticket for this free screening a few weeks ago, so we were super excited to go. we showed up about an hour ahead of time and had to wait in the heat for a bit before they finally let us, searched my bags (for recording devices), and then finally let us to the theatre. the wait was definitely worth it, though. the movie was really good. it was more serious in parts than I was expecting, but overall was really hilarious (especially the last part of the movie). I would definitely recommend it when it finally comes out.


just thought I needed to post something. can't sleep (again). I'm having one of those weeks. crappiness interspersed with periods of happiness. which isn't so bad, when you look at it all at once. school/work (or, schork, if you prefer) has been crazy this week. I am leaving for a conference this weekend and I have all of this stuff I have to get done before that. oh, and I have to prepare my talk for the conference as well. somehow, that got to the bottom of my to-do list so I only actually starting writing the slides this afternoon. but no worries, it'll be fine. also, I'm just so happy that I saved our project from near-death last week, I almost don't mind working on the stuff this week.

I can't believe July is more than half over. where did it all go?

happy birthday Jody. "we're sonic fucking death monkey!"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

4th o' July pics

I put up some of my favorite photos from my crazy 4th of July adventure in Washington, DC on Flickr. they have an upload limit, so that's all that will be up there for a while. I will put some others on this blog also and I will also be putting together a movie of all the fun we had (surviving the storm, watching the fireworks, etc.).
here's the link: my Flickr 4th of July photos

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the truth is out there

I just got back from seeing An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's movie on global warming, with Jeremy David Cogan (for some reason, he wanted me to use his whole name). it was a surprisingly good and entertaining movie, and of course, very informative and educational. EVERYONE needs to go see it. as soon as possible. and bring a friend. and then see what you can do to be part of the solution. check out the website for ideas.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

welcome Stephen!

Jen and Lynn had their baby last night! he's so big! and lots of hair. (and very very tired.) Jody and I went to go see them in the hospital today and little Stephen looked great (and Jen looked good too, especially considering she was in labor for like 30 something hours). so, we have a new member to our soccer team (well, in a few years anyway).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

hot hot hot

I went home to LA for the weekend for my dad's birthday. it was actually kind of nice there compared to here, even though everyone in my family said it was awful. I was like, look it's 112 in phoenix, 94 and a bit muggy isn't bad at all. they didn't get it. anyway, after driving back last night, I was hoping to come home and just crash. but, of course, it's never that easy. the air conditioning in our apartment seemed to be non-functioning. the fan works and is blowing air, but it's not cold. it is currently 89 degrees inside my apartment! ick. it is a bit cooler in my room with the fan running, but it's still not great. ugh. they are going to try to fix it tonight. let's hope they can get it to work. I guess the only good news is that it's a little bit cooler outside today since it looks like the start of monsoon season. a bit of rain sounds good to me (even if accompanied by dust and wind). it's hot!

update: it is now fixed. hooray!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

the I hate Bruce Arena fan club

um yeah. so I am going to blame two people for the outcome today: Bruce Arena for many many bad decisions and Landon Donovan for being a wanker and playing horribly (and then again Bruce Arena for letting him play horribly). so there.
considering all that, we played ok. there were a lot of good opportunities in the second half. but that penalty at the end of the first half really pissed me off. such a bad call. and I hate blaming refs for game outcomes (although, see my post on the last game). whatever. I am disappointed. we should have done better. but I am happy for Ghana. I think it's great that they advanced and proved everyone wrong about them. (and what happened to the Czech Republic? craziness.) anyway, the US is done with the world cup, but I am not. there are still many great games left to watch. and I will continue to watch my favorite sport throughout the tournament.

Monday, June 19, 2006

if only...

um yeah. so why is that no one else seems to care that the U.S. National Team tied Italy while playing a man down for half the game? (I had to convince people at work today that this was good news, after reminding them that we played a game over the weekend.) le sigh for sure. anyway, here's a hilarious article about our loss to the Czech Republic from The Onion, imagining quite a different world.

Devastated By U.S. World Cup Team's First-Round Loss, Nation Grinds To Halt

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Taliesin West

so yesterday morning, Hwi, Angel, Angel's sister (who is visiting from Puerto Rico) and I went to see Taliesin West, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs. it houses his school of architecture among other things. it was really cool. we went on one of the 90 minute tours and saw pretty much everything there. our tour guide was very knowledgeable and explained all sorts of things. it was very interesting and I got lots of great pictures. here are my favorites.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


wow. what a game. that ref was ridiculous. I just still can't believe what happened. that last red card was totally insane. we should have been playing 10 men each, which would have made it a better game. but, still, I must say, I think it is great that we were able to pull off that tie against Italy playing a man down most of the game and having that ref hate us for some reason. he better hope he stays in Uruguay and never comes to the U.S. because there are some really upset people here. the good news is that a) we played well (when the ref let us) and b) there is a chance of making it to the next round IF we beat Ghan AND if Italy beats Czech Republic. now, considering the what happened in the Ghana/Czech game this morning, I have no clue how Thursday will play out. but needless to say, there will be two really interesting games to watch. go USA!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

They don't run!

so I couldn't really sleep last night. after reading a couple chapters of "How Soccer Explains the World: an (unlikely) theory of globalization" (which is very interesting) I decided to play with my new MacBook a bit; namely: iMovie. I remembered that I had this hilarious video clip from my trip to Puerto Rico last spring break with Katie and Angel and Adam. Katie wanted to chase some birds near this old church in San Juan, but something was not just right with the birds. anyway, here's the video (make sure your speakers are on). hope you enjoy it. :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

world cup

so, due to the magic of my dvr, I have been able to watch almost every single world cup game so far while only missing a small amount of work (luckily I can reschedule things to the afternoon. :) ). I must say, though, I was very disappointed by the US's appearance yesterday against the Czech Republic. although I figured we would lose this game (the Czechs are ranked 2nd right now), I really didn't think we would have such a poor showing. it was like they weren't even trying or something. I don't know. I just hope that they get their act together for the game against Italy on Saturday. we really need to win that game. and the one against Ghana after that. we'll see what happens. I can only hope.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

soccer and physics

so, today while I was eating my lunch and reading my Physics Today magazine, I came across a short article that combined two of my favorite things: physics and soccer. if you have a subscription to PT, you can look at the article here:

for those of you non-physics people, here is what it basically was about. it was titled, "Soccer obeys Bessel-function statistics", so right away I knew it was going to be good.
Metin Tolan, an experimental physicist at the University of Dortmund, did a study of about 34,000 professional soccer games and looked at number of goals scored and probability of winning based on this. "We approximated a soccer team by a radioactive source. A soccer team emits goals according to Poisson statistics." as it turns out, for soccer, a Bessel-function (a modified Bessel function results from summing over products of probabilities expressed as Poisson distributions) is a good fit for all the data. therefore, based on this and looking at simulations and past performance of teams, he says that Brazil has a 15% chance of winning this year's World Cup, and Germany a 10.5% chance. however, when factoring in home field advantage (which usually gives you 0.6 to 1 extra goal), Germany is moved up to a 33% chance.
we'll see what happens. the first game is this friday!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


the national spelling bee is so exciting. this is the first year it was on network primetime (normally I have to watch it on espn during the day). the top three finishers were all girls, including one canadian, and it was quite exciting. the winning word was ursprache (which she knew). some of the other interesting-sounding words from the final round were: tmesis, weltschmerz, tutoyer, izzat, and koine.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

a new start

so the last few days have been absolutely crap. I spent all day sunday, and most of the day monday, tuesday, and today moving my stuff out of my old apartment into my new one. I had some friends helping me on sunday, when I had the u-haul truck and moved the heavy stuff and the furniture. the only good thing was that it was only 95 degrees this weekend, instead of the 110 it will be this coming weekend. ugh. anyway, it was pretty painful, but I managed through it. I finally finished cleaning and moving the last of it out today and am now trying to settle into the new place.

the spectacularly good news which is luckily overshadowing the crappiness of the past four days is that today, almost a week earlier than expected, my new MacBook showed up! it's soo beautiful! I love love love it. I also set up a wireless network in the new apartment so Hwi and I can use our laptops wherever. and it finally works. things are looking up.

so, I have a new apartment (and a new roommate!) and a new computer for a brand new start to the summer.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I hate moving. end of story.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I ordered my MacBook! I'm so excited. it probably won't be here for another week and a half though, so that kind of sucks. I went to the Apple store, but because I wanted to upgrade the hard drive (as well as the ram), they said I had to order it online. sadness. oh well. it will be here soon. hopefully by then, everything will be settled into my new apartment. I'm moving this weekend into a 2-bedroom with Hwi. hooray! it will be lots cheaper, closer to school, and more fun. hopefully the move goes smoothly. I gave myself lots of time, like almost five days, so there shouldn't be any stressing out or anything. I hate the process of moving (packing and all that stuff), but I think this time it will actually be alright.

the world cup starts in two weeks!!!! soooo excited!!

Monday, May 22, 2006

state of the thesis

today's PhD comic seems especially appropriate to me this summer.

although I don't actually have an outline, I do have an impressive amount of data (some of which has been partially analyzed). go me! hehe.

oh, and travelogue update: I couldn't sleep the other night, so I finally posted the rest of the pictures for my europe trip. the link is on the left column. enjoy!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

let's see...what's new?

the season finale of Grey's Anatomy was soo good. I have gotten at least three other people addicted to the show in the last few weeks, so I feel really good about that. and, coincidentally, as it turns out (because I have season one on dvd and I am so smart), the actual hospital where they film the show is only a few blocks away from my dad's house in LA. it is an outpatient VA hospital and I used to drive by it all the time. no wonder it looked familiar! how cool is that?

I am moving in a little over a week to a 2-bedroom apartment - no more one bedroom for me. Hwi, one of the other grad students, is moving in with me, so that will be nice. it will be a lot cheaper, slightly closer to school, and not as quiet and lonely. so hooray for all that. it has been nice living in this apartment; it has been almost two years, which is the longest I've been living in only one place since 8th grade. crazy.

"school" is going well. I am deeply embedded in my summer research now, so that has been keeping me busy and interested.

yesterday was the final champions league game (european club soccer) of fc barcelona versus arsenal fc. and what a game it was. I only caught the last half, but it was probably the better half to see. first of all, it was pouring rain, and arsenal got a red card sometime in the first half so they were playing down a man the rest of the game. still, they managed to score and it was 1-0 when I turned it on. barcelona fought back hard and it was pretty even for most of the half. however, with about 15 minutes left, arsenal was getting tired and they let in two crazy goals in about four minutes. it was all downhill from there. the dynamic of the game totally changed and barcelona held the upper hand the rest of the way. it was such an exciting game to watch and it just made me sooo excited for the World Cup that is starting in a few weeks! the first US game is on June 12 (it's a Monday and the game is live at 9am, so you can be sure I'll be going into school late that day). hopefully we'll make it out of the group of death and into the round of 16. that would be awesome.

in other news, I'm going to buy a new computer once the move is finished. apple announced the new iBooks this week (it is now called the MacBook) and I can't wait! it looks so nice and I really need a new computer at home. my current dell laptop is almost four years old and is literally falling apart: one of the two hinges that connects the screen to the rest of the computer is no longer connected. I'm amazed it still works properly (although it did angrily beep at me yesterday. maybe it knows I'm replacing it). its hard drive is full and it is too slow for everything I want, so I am upgrading. I am going to get the 2.0 GHz white MacBook, but I'm going to upgrade the ram (to 1gb) and the hard drive memory (to 80gb) so it will be perfect. :)

Friday, May 12, 2006

zoom a little zoom

there is only one thing to say before I start this post. and that is to apologize to all my readers who do not share my nerdy tendencies. this post will lay bare all of my "science is awesome!", and "gee, that's neat" sort-of inclincations. so, sorry if you don't have these inclinations as well.

it all started yesterday morning as I was driving to one of the schools I was doing teachers observations at for my research project. I have been listening compulsively to NPR lately (maybe like the last six months), so I was tuned in as usual. Morning Edition was on, and there was this segment on a particular video blog (or vlog) called Rocket Boom. now, first of all, I was struck first because the vlog sounded hilarious and cool (in a real low-tech way). secondly, I was struck by the theme song of the vlog. it was stuck in my head the rest of the day.
when I got home last night, I looked up the vlog and watched a few webisodes which were quite good. however, I was still hung up on this song and I needed to find a way to get the mp3.

this afternoon, I did some more searching on the RocketBoom pages and found a link they had to the song {called "zoom a little zoom") and where (and who) it came from. it turns out that it is from some folk singer and it is part of a larger series of songs from the late 50's/early 60's called Singing Science. "Zoom a little zoom" is from the "space songs" album. so, I was super excited to be able to listen to (and download!) the song (it is now in the public domain). but, after looking at the rest of the songs on the album and the series I got even more excited. not only were there other songs like "The Ballad of Sir Isaac Newton", "It's a Scientific Fact", and "What is a Shooting Star?", but there is "Why does the Sun Shine?" which turns out is the original version that They Might Be Giants covered (and which I and the other astro grad students here have taken on as our theme song). needless to say, this was a majorly exciting find and after listening to the songs, I was crying I was laughing so hard. what a great afternoon!

Monday, May 01, 2006

James got married!

I spent about 16 hours in a car this weekend, but it was worth it. five of us drove to Socorro, New Mexico for our friend James's wedding. we made a couple stops on the way there, most notably in Pie Town (to have some lunch and, of course, some pie). we also drove by the VLA (Very Large Array) - a bunch of telescopes to you non-astro folks (they were in the movie Contact if that helps). the wedding itself was really pretty and nice. they had it in the background of a house that belonged to a friend of the family. the girl he married, Mirka, is from Slovakia and so they did the ceremony in both languages so her mother who was visiting would know what was happening. they also did a couple Slovakian rituals after the ceremony. one of them was really hilarious. Mirka smashed her champagne glass on a cement tile and then James had to clean it up. but he had to do it three times because each time she said it wasn't a good enough job and he had to do it again. we were cracking up. maybe you had to be there. the reception afterwards was lots of fun. there was some great food and plenty of wine and we all had a good time.
the drive back on sunday was fairly uneventful. I guess the important things to mention from the car rides was that I taught Katie how to knit on the way there and Hwi and Angel how to on the return trip. it definitely made the trip go by faster and it was fun too. they are hooked! (well, maybe not Angel - but he just needs to practice some more.) for some reason, Mike didn't feel like learning how to knit. hehe. I also got to use my brand new used polaroid camera that I picked up at the goodwill store last week for $4. what a deal!

in Pie Town, NM (notice Angel's new license plate)

the VLA telescopes

the happy couple

James cleaning up the mess Mirka made. hehe.

the five of us that made the trip: Mike, Hwi, me, Katie, and Angel

the girls and James

ah, look how pretty! hehe.

James and Angel being silly

Katie and Hwi being silly

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

science teachers and space aliens

so, now that things have calmed down a bit, I can catch you all up on the last two weeks. after the conference in san francisco, I headed down to Anaheim for another conference, NSTA. there were a crazy amount of people there, we were guessing like at least 5,000 teachers. massive. the conference was held in the convention center and three nearby hotels. seriously. I got to see a few good talks. Jean-Michel Cousteau was there and K.C. Cole, a science writer who used to write for the LA Times. there were a few other interesting things, but mostly I remember the exhibition hall, otherwise known as science nerd heaven. basically, there were all these booths set up by different organizations and companies, most of them giving away lots of free stuff. I got bags full of NASA posters and hurricane stuff from NOAA and free waterbottles and stickers and computer software and things like that. it was cool. the Sea World booth had two little penguins visit one day (sooo cute) and there were some weird bugs at another. all in all, the conference wasn't all that bad and the weather was definitely an improvement over san fran.

the best part was probably Friday afternoon, though, because I snuck off to Disneyland for the evening. they have these twilight tickets that are good after 4pm, so it was actually a pretty good deal. I hadn't been there in a while and I really really wanted to go on the new and improved space mountain (my all-time favorite ride). I had to wait in line for about 45 minutes when I first got there, but it was definitely worth it. it was much faster, darker (they took out that orange star in the middle), and had a cool soundtrack. and I even managed to go again right before they closed. I did the Disneyland sprint and got myself on all the major rides except for pirates of the caribbean (closed for renovation) and splash mountain (too cold) in about six hours. yes, I went by myself, but it was ok for two reasons: 1. this way I could do exactly what I wanted to when I wanted to and not worry about dragging someone else along. this allowed me to get on all the rides and see the fireworks and everything. and 2. I wasn't really by myself. I have been there so many times with so many different people, that I had all those wonderful memories with me as I walked along main street and waited in line for star tours and bought a churro in front of the magic castle. it was really nice.
oh, and there was a new ride involving buzz lightyear and the little martian dudes. it was pretty fun, you get to be a space ranger and shoot a "laser gun" at targets to take down the evil emperor zurg. the best part, though, was at the end. they took your picture just like a bunch of the other rides, but this time instead of charging you $8 for it, they let you email it to yourself for free! how cool is that? here's my awful picture:

I'm a level 3 space ranger!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

san fran pics

well I made it back from Anaheim safe and sound. except, my luggage decided to keep on traveling without me and made a side trip to Baltimore. luckily, it decided to come back later that evening so I wasn't without it for too long.
I will post more about NSTA later. for now, here are some pictures from the rainy trip to San Francisco.

the famous cable cars

riding along the street on the cable car

a look down on Lombard Street

Ghirardelli Square

me being a total dork

Jen, with some big boat behind her


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

city of rain (and science educators)

so, today ended my time at NARST this year. tomorrow morning I am leaving rainy San Francisco for hopefully sunny Anaheim for NSTA. the last three days have been really good. sunday was spent mostly travelling and getting situated here.
monday morning we had sometime before the conference started, so we did a bit of touristy sight-seeing. we took the cable car from our hotel near Union Square up to Ghirardeli Square. it was raining a bit, and very foggy, so we couldn't actually see the Golden Gate bridge from where we were, but we knew it was there. we then walked down the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf. we had a nice lunch at Boudin's and then took the F street car down to the Embarcadero Center, where our conference was. I think I got a few good pictures, so I will post those up later when I get back home.
the conference itself was great. I went to lots of interesting talks and was able to talk to some people about my research interests and future things. I have plenty of reading to do now.
also, even more excitingly I was able to see some old UCSD friends today. I had lunch with Mike Ficken, one of the fellow infamous seven RAs. he is going to law school here and it was nice to catch up with him. also, it was pretty hilarious yesterday when I was registering for the conference: someone yelled "Cynthia!" and I turned around and it was Emily! I wasn't expecting to see her at this conference, but it makes sense she was here and it was really good to see her. we went out to dinner tonight and caught up on all sorts of things, from our physics education programs to stuff going on with our group of friends. hopefully we will be able to keep in touch better from now on.
so, I will be a bit sad to say goodbye to San Francisco tomorrow, but I must move on to my next conference this week. hopefully it won't be raining in Anaheim.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

the week ahead

so, I finalized plans on Thursday as to what exactly I will be doing this coming week. the original plan was to go to the NSTA conference from wednesday to sunday, but after my class last wednesday night, my professor was really insistent that I try to get myself to the NARST conference in the first half of the week. she was so insistent in fact that she volunteered to pay for part of my trip if I could get the funding for the rest. so, I emailed some people the next morning, and next thing I know, I have a flight Sunday morning (that would be about eight hours from now) to San Francisco for one conference, and then another flight on Wednesday from San Fran to Anaheim for the second conference. I'll get back next Sunday, so it will be a long week away.
I am looking forward to it, though. it should be great to meet some new people and talk about all this stuff I'm interested in. hopefully it won't rain the entire time in San Francisco so I can get some good pictures. I will update from the road.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

spring break

spring break was a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to post the pictures up. Angel and I drove to San Diego for a few days. he had never been to the west coast or even seen the pacific ocean, so we made sure to include that on our itinerary. I showed him some of the cool places in SD that I missed (like Balboa Park, PB, and Da Kine's) and he met a few other of my friends that I hadn't seen in a while.
here are some highlights in picture form of our trip:

here's the famous La Jolla Cove

me at the Cove

Angel, meet the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Ocean, meet Angel.

the lazy seals

me and Carolyn

Friday, March 10, 2006

friday, finally

wow, this week seemed to take forever. spring break is next week, so of course, I had a bunch of stuff due this week. luckily, I didn't put too much off 'til the very end so I was able to sleep at least 5 hours each night. but it was still a bit crazy.

so now it's spring break, which is not really a "break" for most graduate students, such as myself. although I don't have any classes, I do have lots of work to do (basically catching up on my own research and the stuff I couldn't finish the last couple weeks). I also have an abstract due for a summer conference on thursday and if I'm town, I have a research meeting on friday. which, because I'm a nerd and I love my research, I actually want to go to.

in other news, they asked me this morning to go to another conference in april (all expenses paid, of course) in anaheim. woo hoo for that. should be good.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

birthday pics

so I turned 25 last sunday (yeah, I am old now) and we had lots of fun to celebrate. saturday night a bunch of people accompanied me out to dinner at Gordon Biersch. we all had lots of good food and drinks. afterwards we went to the Cue Club on Mill, played a bit of pool and just hung out. then some of us went over to Brian's house for a small party (it was his birthday the weekend before). all in all, it was a great night. thanks everyone for showing up.
on my actual birthday, I slept in (hooray!) and then had a soccer game that evening. we totally kicked ass 6-0 to put ourselves solidly in first place. after the game, some of team went to Rula Bula for the chips and curry sauce (my favorite!). then, a few of my other friends persuaded me to go out to celebrate even though I was super tired. I had a pretty good time, but was glad to get some rest after that game.

here are some pictures from the Saturday night dinner. thanks again for everything, guys, it was awesome!

this was the biggest piece of chocolate cake I have ever seen...and it was yummy too.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

this is winter?

so it's been like almost 80 degrees here. which is hilarious. but it's sooo nice. it almost makes me forget how awful it is during the summer. aw, well, what are you going to do?

so I have made an executive decision to write a masters thesis with the data I am collecting this semester and then to transfer over to the college of education to finish my PhD. it makes so much more sense than I can possibly say. and I feel really amazing about the decision, as if I'm suddenly free to do what I want (which I am). the more I think about not taking the comps again, the happier I am. :)

each week of this semester I am busier and busier. but it's much better than not having stuff to do. and I really like my classes and my research and the people I'm working with now and all that, so it doesn't seem to matter as much that I have like almost no free time anymore (that is, if I want to sleep).

in other news, I got a DVR for my tv. and contrary to popular opinion, I am watching less tv than before. and I'm watching the shows I actually want to see. and I don't have to wait up to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, which is so nice. and I don't miss Grey's Anatomy when I play soccer anymore. and I can watch Project Runway anytime I want. life is good!

side note: I am addicted to NPR.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

a new beginning

I meant to post sometime during last week and then after last weekend, but it just didn't happen. to bring everyone up to speed, let me sum up the last two weeks: the 11th and 13th I took the physics written comps again (which was not as painful as the time before, but I'm still not feeling really confident - which is fine), then I participated in a two-day soccer tournament with my Brilliant! team (lots of fun, but ended up really sore and with possible shin splints), then one day off to recooperate from all of that, followed by the first week of the new semester.

I am feeling really good about this new semester. I am taking three education-related classes and am super excited about two of them (the third should be alright, but won't be as interesting as the other two). I have a history/philosophy of science class, a philosophy of education class, and another one on how to "generate" and analyze qualitative data.
I have come through the break with a new apprecation for my research interests and have decided not to apologize for them anymore. regardless of the outcome of the comps, I am seriously considering switching over to the education department, even though that is something that I initially was very against (due to some discussions I have had in the past with other people in my field - this is not because I think any less of the education department but because it is widely acknowledged that it will be more difficult to do future work in physics departments with a degree in education instead of physics). but I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I may be better suited over there, since their department is populated with people who actually seem to care about me and about what I want to do. the physics department is a big mess right now, and on top of all of that, my advisor is leaving and I need to find another one (and there is only like one other person in the department that would be able to advise me and I just don't know if that would work out). lots of things would need to happen for me to stay. I might be able to find an adviser in the math department or something like that. we'll see what happens. but regardless, I have told myself that by the end of this semester I need to have it figured out. I need to have a new advisor who understand where I am coming from, what I want to do with my research, will be able to help me with my research, and I also need to form my committee and start thinking about dissertation topics. oh, and I need to edit my paper from last semester and try to get it published. on top of all of that, I also have about 200 pages of reading each week, not to mention all of my research for the project that is paying me and my personal research as well. it is going to be a really busy semester, but I work best when I am busy, so I am happy about that.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

happy 2006

I am currently holed up in my apartment in phoenix trying to study and not procrastinate. but clearly, I must take breaks for my own sanity, so here are my thoughts on the new year.

after a fairly uneventful trip to LA to see the folks for christmas, I drove down to san diego for new years and stayed there about five days. I caught up with a lot of old friends and that made me really happy. I hope that we can all keep in touch throughout the year. I saw Cogan at Jeremy's house, saw Eric K for some greasy mexican food (yum!), had lunch with Mike and Jen on sunday (really good to see them!), Carolyn and I watched WHMS sunday evening, and I chomped on pizza and beer with Ficken on monday.

the new year's eve festivities were quite nice. a lot of people came over and we all imbibed champagne and other intoxicating drinks. luckily, Jared and I woke up super early that morning to go to IKEA to buy champagne flutes; they were only 10 cents each (just that day - hence why we woke up early). we were only supposed to buy 8 each, but we went back in the store again and picked up another 16.

the rest of the weekend was lots of fun. we went to PB one night and Hillcrest another (wine tasting) and the boys even convinced me to play counterstrike with them for an hour or so one day (it wasn't so bad, but not something I am going to want to do on a regular basis). it was really nice being in san diego, and of course I didn't want to leave to come back here. I mean, really, what I was thinking leaving that place originally?

I was going to resolve not to have resolutions, but that sounds kind of silly. so I made some up I might actually follow: I resolve to read more books and watch less TV (unless it's really good Tv - then it doesn't count). I resolve to cook good food more often and to not go to fast food places (except In-N-Out burger which is the best place ever). I resolve to take the stairs instead of the elevator (unless the elevator is broken or I'm really in a hurry or I'm with someone else who obviously doesn't want to take the stairs).