succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Blah. So I locked myself out of my office during a fire alarm/drill (thought keys were in my pockets, they, apparently, were not) and lost an hour (an hour!) waiting for security to come let me in. Hate it when I'm dumb.

Friday, December 12, 2003

These are a few of my favorite things...

bubble baths, peel-off masks, the drive-through at Caribou, and sitting down to start analyzing data, and really getting it. Seeing the picture in your head of how the data fits together and what variables are important and which ones need to be dealt with in a certain way...hey, I'm a geek, what can I say? Life is good.

Daily McSweeney's Dose:

T O U M L A U T .

October 13, 2003

Dear Umlaut,

You think you're so damn cool, huh? Just hanging out, chillin', above all those vowels. You're all, "Ooh, look at me, I'm a chic umlaut. I make girls' names look modish, like Zoe and Chloe, and I rock with strung out '80s metal bands!"

Well, guess what? You're only an umlaut if you're modifying the pronunciation of a singular vowel, like in "Fuhrer" or "uber." If you're stressing the second of two consecutive vowels or one that would usually be silent according to common English usage, you're just a plain old boring dieresis. How 'bout that, you naive jackass? God, you're such a poseur, umlaut. You're nothing but two measly dots. You're a Eurotrash colon lying down. Nobody thinks you're cool.

Josh Abraham
Kew Gardens, NY

Seriously folks, add this site to your list of daily reads. You won't be sorry!

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Wow. You really have to hand it to those credit card companies. They really do have some brilliant ideas when it comes to taking your money. Oh, I suppose technically it's my fault. You see, I never pay much attention to that little percentage rate for finance charges, because I pay my bill in its entirety every month and never carry a balance. At least, I thought I never carried a balance. Turns out that even though my due date is 30 days after the end of a billing cycle, my "grace period" is only 25 days long. They make it sound so nice. My "grace period." Those 25 days during which they won't charge you for carrying a balance. So even though I pay my bill "on time" every single month, that apparently isn't really "on time." So when my check arrives the day before it's due, I've actually been carrying a balance for 4 days. What?! Sheer brilliance. Now, if only I could convince the university to pay me 5 days' worth of interest on my stipend check every month. "Oh sure, Emory. Technically I don't get paid until the last Friday of every month. But you see the grace period ended on Monday." Ha!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

So I woke up this morning to the cat landing on my chest, and immediately thought, "I'm not tired enough for it to be as early as it should be...shit!" I overslept by about 2 hours and missed yoga. Ah well. I guess I needed the sleep, though I'm not convinced that I needed it more than yoga. But, at least for the moment, it looks like I could afford the late start. Studying for my categorical final tomorrow is nearly complete and I already have about a third of my survival homework typed there's hope. Arrived on campus a little before noon to discover my department being extraordinarily weird and adorable. Today is our holiday luncheon/party. I'm still so full from the buffet 3 hours ago that I might have to roll back to my apartment. One thing I gotta say for this place, they know how to keep poor grad students from starving. The leftovers in the kitchen will probably provide lunch for all of us for the rest of the week. After food it was time for White Elephant, which is apparently the game Carrie wrote her Dirty Santa story about. Except this version and crowd of people were very good natured about the whole thing. I think my favorite moment was when my computing professor George opened a box and pulled out a long red feather boa! A close second is when Bob, after selecting numerous more appealing gifts and having them stolen, ended up with an English-to-Swedish dictionary (which Lance graciously traded his 4 year old calendar for, claiming, "I'm going to Sweden!" to which Paul said "Oh yeah, to pick up that Nobel Prize?"). Now they're all wandering the halls playing Mobius Strip mini-golf. Students and faculty created the holes; I think Lydia's "Piled higher and Deeper" hole is my favorite. Anyway, enough procrastination, back to work...

Monday, December 08, 2003

To continue my habit of copying Amelia, I too have switched comment-provider-thingies. Enetation was sucking more than usual. We'll see how this one does.

Sunday, December 07, 2003


So this weekend was long, stressful, tiring, and, odd as it may seem to refer to a weekend that included a funeral this way, really lovely. Left for Boston Thur. night, flight was 2 hours late, caught the last T into Harvard square, got to the hotel a little after 1 am. Family stuff all day Friday. Anne's memorial was really beautiful and...inspiring. What more could a person ask for than to be remembered as living "life to the hilt" and having "an indomitable spirit"? Somewhere around 200 people attended the church service at Harvard...I can't even imagine living a life that would touch that many people...everyone talked about how much Anne loved life, and how well and how much she lived it. People will tell you all the time that you can't do it all or have it all, and Anne is my best argument that those people are wrong. She had at least 2 great loves in her life, raised three children, traveled all the time, learned languages, taught at Harvard, sang in operas, would try any culinary dish at least once, went kayaking and spelunking and hiking and this puny black-and-white list can never even begin to capture a tiny fraction of the things she did and loved. She was inspired and inspiring and passionate.

There were lots of times this weekend when I was glad that I had come...but the first was this moment during the church service...anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my Dad and how close I consider us to be...but he had this somewhat typical upper-middle class upbringing which taught him etiquette that occasionally borders on coldness. I know my Dad loves me, but he's still a little awkward whenever he says I love you and he always gives quick little hugs upon arrivals and departures...he just never really learned to be comfortable with emotional there was this moment, the soloist was singing this heart-breakingly beautiful song "Temporary" and Dad reached over and took my hand and squeezed it so tightly...I know it's incredibly selfish to say, but that moment moved me as much as anything else the rest of the day.

I'd never gotten the chance to meet Anne's family before, and I regret that it was this that introduced us. Her brother, son, two nephews, and their families were all there, and I really like all of them. Her son, the reason why I much prefer the nickname Topher to Chris, is a movie producer living in Australia, but currently making "I Robot" in L.A. He has three kids and it was really great to see Indigo (Anne's grandson, whom Anne and Karen have been raising for the past 10 years) being a kid and goofing around with his cousins. He already carries himself like such a young man...Knowing Karen and Anne and Indigo for most of my life, and spending a day with this amazing extended family...well, it's impossible to avoid cliches here, but there was so much love and familial support...if this "non-traditional" family is what some consider unholy or inappropriate, then I don't think I'm interested in whatever it is they consider to be holy.

Friday night 18 of us (5 kids, 13 "adults") went out to dinner. Topher must have ordered one of every other entree and a round of beer for the adults. Everytime any one person emptied their bottle, the waiter would bring fresh beer for all of us. The table had a huge lazy susan in the middle, and it's a miracle we didn't send food flying across the restaurant. Anne's love of food is clearly genetic, and there was plenty of "you have to try this" and "oh, haven't you had that? we have to order more, you haven't lived until you've eaten this!" Anne's son and nephews relived their "bohemian" days living in converted art lofts that they practically built themselves, and debated the merits of cheap versus expensive beer with Brad and I. The kids got restless waiting for us, so Indy taught them how to run a finger along the rim of their glasses to make them "sing" while he thumped out a rhythm on the table.

After we finally all managed to part, Brad and I met up with Steve and went out for more drinks at a wine bar/pub just off harvard square. I had forgotten how much I enjoy discussing school and politics and other nerdy things with Steve. Wish I still had time for our late-night chats...After what was probably one too many drinks for me, it had begun snowing, so I requested a detour on our way back to the hotel so I could make snow angels in Harvard Yard. Just like the first snowfall at Case, tons of kids were out having snowball fights and generally frolicking in the snow. Beautiful.

After far too few hours of sleep, it was off to the airport in a desperate attempt to get out of Boston before the blizzard hit. After sitting on the runway for almost 2 hours, we were one of the last planes to leave Boston. Logan airport has been closed since yesterday afternoon, and poor Dad and Brad are still stranded there. So I got back yesterday afternoon, just getting over a mild hangover and totally disoriented regarding day, time, and place. After another nap I was convinced to join Cara, Anna, and Ryan at Taco Mac for a pre-birthday drink, which was really sweet of them. Opened presents from Mom and Dad and Grandma just after midnight while watching SNL. Slept in this morning, decided not to work very much, bought the double-disk version of Pirates and spent the better part of this afternoon drooling over johnny and orlando. Chem and Bios kids stopped by this evening bearing cake and ice cream. Even with all of us going nuts over finals they took a couple hours to hang out here, because they're cool like that. After they all left, Reese stopped by, all apologetic that he'd been working in lab all evening and hung out discussing cheesy sci-fi movies for about 20 minutes. All in all, another great birthday.