Wednesday, March 29, 2006
If I have to sleep, it might as well be interesting.
Last night's dream: Was driving north on State St. on the Far South Side of some fictional rendering of Chicago with a friend from school. He was telling me that he'd bought a house down there, and I could see it if I looked east along 149th St. I did look east, and saw a remarkable neighborhood that looked like the remains of a late-19th century mining town in a narrow valley between two mountain ranges. The mountains were not very high and were stained with iron or other minerals, and looked very much like something from the Badlands. I was intrigued to discover actual mountains in Chicago and wondered why nobody seemed to know about this. Then I went down 149th St. a bit and found little farms and isolated houses along with only the fronts of whole rows of Victorian houses, like a movie set. It was really fascinating and I was a bit envious that I didn't live in such a cool place, too, a neighborhood of lush green fields and preserved history, forgotten in the midst of a dense and modern city.
Monday, March 20, 2006
My Mozilla installation had a burp on Thursday, about the time I changed my system password at school (don't you hate when you fail to hit [tab] and end up typing your password next to your username, while a student is watching?? argh). I think my prefs.js file got corrupted, and in any case lost all of my settings and couldn't get popmail anymore. For future reference: restore prefs.js from the backup first, *then* start mucking around inside Mozilla. End result: I lost any work-related bookmarks that were not also bookmarked at home, and all of my recent saved email. I'm trying to think of whether I lost anything important, and hell if I know. I guess we'll see. It took me several hours to get most of my email back and working.
My pet peeve of the day: the phrase "comedy gold", especially when used non-ironically, is like nails on a chalkboard. I don't know why.
Started using EndNote today. Has it fully automated my life yet? No. I thought if I entered all my references, a paper would spontaneously emerge, like proteins from primordial soup. Maybe I should attract some lightning and a reducing atmosphere first...
We went to Wholly Frijoles for St. Patrick's Day. Was very tasty despite being not in the slightest bit Irish.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Nothing like the end of a bad week
When I finished my day yesterday, a Trib headline put the line "The insurgency began and you missed it" in my head, so I listened to Life's Rich Pageant on the way home. It's the quintessential summer road-trip album, so though I was walking in driving snow I was feeling light-hearted.
St. Patrick's Day, and the beginning of spring break. Instead of leaving early today, I get to give an exam. Sigh.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Early birthday present
As in, 6 months early. We scored tickets to the Sept. 17 Cubs-Reds game, in row B. As in the second row away from the field. We'll be so close to left-handed hitters, we'll feel the wind from their bats as they strike out. (Oh, wait, I forgot, we traded Patterson already.) Look for us; we'll be on TV! Must remind myself not to do anything embarrassing.
Having a very busy week, which is okay, but today a huge PCR completely failed on me and I was so discouraged. If I had reason to believe that my lab stuff is going to get better, I wouldn't be so miserable. But, I don't. I'll keep going in on weekends and trying again, and maybe someday something will work. I'm really terrible at getting things done when my attention is divided between many equally crucial things - classes, teaching, lab, reading up on project-related research. Am I also studying for prelims? Are you *kidding*???? HAHAHAHAH no. Well, indirectly, I suppose I always am.
Had a shamrock shake today for the first time in maybe 15 or 20 years. You know what? They're not as good as I remember. Mostly, I think, because McDonald's shakes just aren't that good in general. I've grown used to good shakes (hello, Golden Nugget!) with, you know, milk and ice cream in them, and now I'm spoiled.
Now must prepare a 20-minute presentation in about 3 hours. Sigh.
Monday, March 13, 2006
1) Today I went to the Kinko's in my old work neighborhood to Fedex something. Standard procedure around there is to cut through the alley behind the dry cleaner's to save a few steps. Unfortunately, today that resulted in me walking past a man facing the brick wall between two dumpsters, peeing. Okay, really not all that unusual, except he wasn't homeless; he was a member of a Streets and San crew parked across the street. I wasn't sure if I should be furious or grossed out, so I just glared at them all and walked on. I considered reporting him to someone but playing out that phone conversation in my head... well, it's just not worth it.
2) Creepy pale young man with wispy hair and round glasses, a German philosophy student-type, kept peering at me on the L and choking back laughter. WTF??? He also was the recipient of a glare. My glare muscles got a good workout today.
3) Really really not looking forward to tomorrow's review session. No, I cannot explain the subtleties of lambda vs. r again. Go away.
4) The reason for the above Fedex is that the paper from he** that I coauthored back when I was still at IGPA finally got accepted for publication. So, my first official published paper is in a field I'm not even a part of anymore, and there is no point in putting it on my CV because it is apropos of nothing. Sigh.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Time for another dream report that nobody cares about but me.
I was with some people and we headed for the westbound L that goes down Chicago Ave. (which of course does not exist iRL). I got on the train, whose seats were the dark green faux-leather of the schoolbuses of my childhood, and realized that my friends had ditched me. Oh well, I sat down next to a sullen-looking man and looked out the window. And what did I see there? A large white sedan of early-80s vintage, suddenly veering off the street onto the sidewalk and crashing into a brick building. I seemed to be the only person who saw it happen, and it looked so deliberate that I kept watching to see what would happen next. A bearded man stumbled out from the driver's side, untangled himself from his airbag, and started walking down the sidewalk while rapidly pulling on several articles of Cubs clothing (jersey, hat, gloves, some other things). Then the train stopped and I got off because apparently I was headed to the Apple headquarters on Chicago Ave. The Apple building was everything you would expect it to be - all postmodern and boxy, aggressively trendy and exuding an aura of no real work actually being done inside. The building was a cube maybe 10 stories high, with a security guard who made me run my purse through a metal detector but let everyone else just walk right in. The building's outer walls were made of a soft grey opalescent stone that let the sunlight through without the need for windows. The entire interior, as far as I could tell, consisted only of escalators and balconies. The escalators were magnetic or gravity-powered, and the ends tilted up and down depending on where the passengers needed to go (there was a sign that explained it but I didn't stop to read it). I braved the bizarre escalators for a few floors, then finally reached my destination where Steve Jobs was waiting for me, and lo and behold he was the crashed-car guy.
No point in looking for deeper meanings there, I think.
Friday, March 03, 2006
This morning at the Washington stop: Guy singing along with the karaoke tape of Billy Joel's "The Longest Time". Very VERY off-key. I was trying to quietly hum along (I love that song) but he kept making me wince. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.
In other music news, I'm totally in love with the new Strokes album, although I'm not even sure why. The lyrics are mumbled and incomprehensible, but the mix of sounds and the dynamism of each song are very catchy. The first song I heard off the album was used in a Sims2 video that I found very captivating, and the song always makes me think of that video now. Also, got a free CD of Paul McCartney's greatest hits (from Fidelity Investments, of all places), that is making me ridiculously happy. I hadn't heard "Take It Away" in maybe 20 years, though I sing it to myself all the time. *love*