bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Writing feels onerous these days, even emails and comment replies, which is unsettling for someone who has considered herself a writer for 25 years. There has also been some of that periodic "What am I doing? What is this career? What are these hobbies?" mixed in.

I am thinking about small, non-intimidating items to post about.

1. You can take the girl out of school, but...

(Note: mentions [wanted] touch from a male authority figure)

Today I went to an awards ceremony honoring a professor I occasionally work with. When I said congratulations at the cocktail reception, he gave me a hug. This was unexpected but quite welcome, as I have a tiny work crush on him. It was a highlight of the day. It also got me thinking again about student/teacher dynamics and how I haven't yet grown out of wanting to please teachers and professors and be among their favorites. Not that I am a favorite of this particular guy, but it evoked the same rush of pleasure.

Plus, it once again highlighted how I need pleasant touch from fellow humans more often. (To be distinguished from things like the press of strangers' elbows and knees on the bus, which are to be avoided whenever possible.) Continuing on the office theme, one of my editors, a woman I like a lot, put her hand on my shoulder the other week for several seconds while maneuvering around some chairs, and it felt so nice. The last time I recall something similar was a couple of years ago, and I think it was actually the same professor as today. Sometimes when hugs from friends and visits from cuddle-able houseguests don't quite fill the quota, I think about getting a pet. There's a reason I wrote John Sheppard like that in Forty Years and Eight Pounds.

2. Nerds tour Cambridge

Some of you might remember my Finnish friend A. from when we both lived in DC, who now lives in Germany? On Friday her husband V. emailed to say he and two of his students were going to be in Boston the next day on their way to a meeting, and we ended up spending all of Saturday together. Being a bunch of fellow nerds, they wanted to see the Harvard and MIT campuses, so I showed them what I could between bouts of drizzle. The students -- one Spanish and one Italian -- delighted in the diner-style Veggie Galaxy, complete with milkshakes and plain red ketchup bottles. We talked politics and science and idioms and culture and personal stories, gazed at the beautiful old houses on brick-lined streets, paused at coffee shops and riverside benches and the Kendall rooftop garden, and to top off the evening, V. traumatized his students by holding up a pair of women's shorts and shaking his hips at the Gap. (We went to the mall. Apparently jeans are five times cheaper here.)

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, even though it made me miss A. and V. more keenly.

Two things make a post. Let's pretend this didn't take an hour. One day soon maybe we can talk about Wonder Woman and Doctor Who (speaking of student/teacher tropes) and American Gods and fannish projects and the announcement that Vividcon is ending, and and and.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Back from a weekend that was full of adjectives: lovely, refreshing, exciting, fun, nostalgic, stimulating, unexpected, much-needed, too brief. I got to hang out for the first time in a while with most of my grad school classmates, one of whom brought her seven-week-old son. We delivered and heard a bunch of interesting and/or entertaining presentations, and I talked with dozens of people in a way that wasn't draining like networking usually is, because it was all natural and mutually interested conversation (and because it was interspersed with lectures, ha). I got a kiss on the cheek from a favorite professor. There was much wining and dining, and yesterday a fellow alum/friend introduced me to a nearby bakery that had opened up after I graduated. Mm, tea and fluffy Mediterranean quiche.

At one of the events I encountered a man with my last name, which has never ever happened before. It's a rare name, so it wasn't a surprise after the initial discovery to find that we are related.

On Friday, I got to meet [ profile] rubynye! I get nervous sometimes when meeting a new online friend one on one that we won't be able to sustain a conversation, but she is an absolute delight and we had a great time in one of Harvard Square's new-ish coffeehouses. Well, I did, anyway; I shouldn't speak for her. :) I am not just saying that because she brought me a hand-made tentacle magnet and some baked goods. The few hours we had together went too quickly.

The other surprise of the weekend was that I actually won one of the eight thousand raffles I entered in a travel expo a couple of weeks back, which, if no more catches present themselves, means I am the recipient of two round-trip airfares to one of a few select destinations... provided I buy the minimum night stays at their hotel(s) at said destination. I read the terms of agreement and think it will still be worth it, given air travel costs these days.

Mostly it was one of those weekends where you really needed a change of pace and didn't realize it until you had it. On either side, the flights provided welcome reading time. For those of you keeping track, the penultimate few chapters of My Own Country broke my heart, not because of the author's difficulty taking care of terminal AIDS patients (redundant at that time, in the mid- and late '80s) or his marital problems but because of his portrayal of the families when they started losing their adult children and siblings and spouses to this disease that had no treatment, the descriptions of what happened to their bodies and minds as they faded, and especially the chapter in which Verghese worked out the pattern and the cultural narrative of infection from his Tennessee base: a generation of young men who migrated from small-town, mainly small-minded U.S.A. to the coastal cities to celebrate gay and bisexual liberation only to contract this illness and make their painful ways back to their roots for care until they died.

Next up, a change of pace: The Hunger Games. Might as well, right? Almost everyone appears to be out of town the next couple of weeks anyway.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Relaxing: I'm remembering how to do it. I'm even reading a book.

When I got home on Thursday, I ran a bunch of errands and then we went to see a Ryan Star show nearby at my sister's bidding. It was a good one; louder than it needed to be, typical for this venue, but I was prepared with foam earplugs, and he played my two favorite songs of his: Brand New Day, which he tends to open with, and which got popped up for the Lie to Me opening credits, and The One You Know, which I've only heard him do once, out of tune.

Friday I played on the computer all afternoon, learning how to vid. I've now got a machine that can handle video capture and editing—as opposed to this laptop, which can't even take a still shot from streaming video—and I'm working on a simple vid to start, House-Wilson friendship, House POV, happy fluffy joy. I hope it will be ready in a week or so.

For the first time in a while, I had a Memorial Day weekend that felt like a Memorial Day weekend. beach, BBQ, fishing and LJ friends. )


My updates lately have been sparse and sometimes locked. Here's where I'm at and where I think I'm going for the next few months.

- Classes ended a week and a half ago. I'm now done with the coursework towards my graduate degree. All that's left is completing an internship. Mine starts Monday (maybe; long story), so I'll be in the D.C. area through August. I'm waiting for my apartment key to come in the mail and then I'm driving down. Hopefully tomorrow.

- At my internship, there will be no daytime access to email or LJ. It's not even a matter of willpower this time; it's all government-firewalled. My supervisor-to-be has to go home to work on developing the department's Facebook page. So I won't see anyone's posts or get messages between maybe 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., unless I skip out on lunch break to a public computer. Although I suppose it's possible nobody here will notice a difference in my participation.

- Accordingly, if I want to work on fic, I'll have to bring a notebook, because I also can't email that stuff to myself to or from my work account, and I can't hook up any flash drives to the network. I want to bring the notebook, though, because there will be [ profile] kink_bingo, another Porn Battle, and Remix starting up in the next month or so.

Did I forget anything? I think that's it.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
The end of the semester rushed in like the sidewalk when you've fallen off a building. Wham, and it's over. My family came up Thursday night and has already gone. They took most of my stuff with them; the apartment is empty. After more than a week of solid work, I've suddenly got nothing to do,* and it's quiet. I'm kind of exhausted, and now I'm also unexpectedly sad.

* Besides small stuff, anyway: shop for business casual clothes, get thesis printed on the proper paper and acquire its proper signatures, and sort through the massive pile of papers that's built up since September so I don't lug junk home.

Yesterday was wonderful, though. I had to give a presentation, and I kicked its butt. Then we went out to dinner and I had steak for the first time since my birthday last summer, made all the better not only for the time that lapsed between but because it was nice and rare. Some places these days will ask what level of doneness you want and then cook it medium-to-well-done anyway for safety reasons.

I did not start this post intending to write about the ideal state of filets. Rather, I was thinking about how this is my last week at MIT—out-of-town internship this summer, then graduation in the fall—and so I've been taking pictures to share here. Sort of the "day in the life" meme that goes around every so often, only more of a "week in the life," or three weeks, since I'm going to be in three cities before the end of the month. A week here, some pictures from NY, and then some from DC. Thought it might be fun, anyway.

Here's the first batch: Featuring alien potato growths, math geekery, and jewelry. )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I don't think I mentioned this yet, but I'll be in Washington, D.C. for the summer, doing the internship we're required to complete in order to graduate. I did the math and found out that with my tax return I can totally afford the studio apartment I'm subletting, along with things like food, my phone and a parking space. Even TV if I want it; and I might, because I'm not sure what else I'll do with my evenings. Actually, because I'm lucky enough to have snagged a paid internship, the financial problem isn't those things so much as the fact that I have to pay tuition, too. MIT charges for the privilege of not having helped us find our positions. Go figure. But in five months it will have to call me Master. Mm hm.

Other than the fact that D.C. is hell in summertime weather-wise and I really like being here in Boston, I'm looking forward to the job, being near [LJ friend] and her family, possibly meeting a couple of people, having time to read books for fun (just when I'll be moving hundreds of miles away from the sci fi library), and … no, maybe that's it. Visiting museums again, I suppose. I've never toured the White House. Having my car down there also means I could pop over for some sight-seeing in Virginia or Baltimore or wherever and OMG Google Maps says if I take a long weekend I could drive to Asheville and see [ profile] synn or meet her halfway or something.


Saw a documentary on PBS called Milking the Rhino. It was about conservation efforts in Namibia and Kenya where some local tribes are figuring out how to profit from wildlife and plants they'd traditionally considered pests or just ignored. Seeing different tribes struggle with different values toward a common goal was interesting. The film did a respectable job of showing the political complexities not only of that but also tribes' relationships with tourist ranches renting their property, government preservation efforts, warring neighbors, doubt about whether conservation is worth the effort, reappropriation of the myth of "wild Africa", and of course a heritage of imperialism. It was beautifully shot, too. The website shows all kinds of independent and international film awards.

Before that there was something on TLC about a young woman from England with something akin to Proteus syndrome. Imagine having legs that weighed 200 pounds and sucked all the fatty tissue from your upper body.


I worked a lot this weekend, and now I am tired. Tiiiired. On the bright side, I was given a dyed egg this morning (picture! there is a fish sticker), which I ate, and on work breaks yesterday and today I made chicken soup and a much-too-large pot roast. My week will be full of animal.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Okay so! The first draft of my thesis is TURNED IN and I don't have to think about it until next week. There was a phrase from a story by [ profile] astolat, "Under the Sea" I think, that described some frat boys the morning after a party as "hollow-eyed and stunned-looking." That is my last little while in a nutshell.

Now let's unload what I've been saving up all that time.

Well, first of all, while disappointed that the skies didn't deliver as much as the forecast promised, I was pleased to wake up this morning to snow: )

That would be the Charles River, always an interesting shade of puce in winter. The ice floes remind me of the flabby petroleum jelly in Drawing Restraint 9.


I escaped twice during the marathon: once to see astrophysicist/TV host/McKay nemesis Neil deGrasse Tyson give a talk about his new book about having been blamed for demoting Pluto, and once to go to a birthday party. I took your advice on the former—okay, I was going to do it anyway, but you said it was all right—and teased him about having been on SGA. He said he's a terrible actor; I said, but you only had to play yourself!; and then he said something else I don't remember. Then we talked about my professor who knows him, and he signed two books for me. It was fun.

Here are a picture and two video clips I took that I thought might entertain:

talking, dancing and reading a letter from a seven-year-old. )

I kicked myself afterwards, though, because it was only when I was on the train home that it occurred to me to have had him dedicate the second autograph to Rodney.


At the party there were fangirls and cake and juice and a game of fannish charades, which I'd never played but now recommend to all, so long as the people involved share fandoms. My favorite part was how the group had their own shortcut movement for "John Sheppard/Joe Flanigan" where the charader would put her hand behind her head and stick fingers up like turkey feathers. (Sproing!) I submitted "Sam the Whale" for consideration; someone else had "[someone I don't remember] goes grocery shopping with Dr. House."


Speaking of Sheppard, I had this terrific series of classes a couple of weeks ago in which we got to do textual analysis (my long-ago love!) not only of some pieces of writing but also Beethoven, Glenn Miller band, a Hungarian Cold War film I now want to see, and Dirty Harry. The prof started out by reciting from memory Adrienne Rich's Storm Warnings, which I remember from high school, when I was the only person in class who knew that "the glass has been falling all the afternoon" meant that the barometer signaled the approach of a storm, not that it was icy outside or that shards of glass had been falling on her all afternoon. Byron was even mentioned at some point. I was in my happy place. But here is my point: the end of Dirty Harry, and SGA's "The Eye"—

John Sheppard = Clint Eastwood, y/n? )

Oh and hey, that's Andrew Robinson (Garak) with the bandage across his nose. He looks more like Harvey Keitel to me. Shudder.


What else. My sister is on tour for two months with her musician and David Cook all over the south and midwest, I passed Henry Jenkins in the hall the other day, I haven't washed the dishes in like two weeks, tomorrow I will finally get to catch up on House, I'm going to Florida in a few weeks to see my grandparents, and there are two fun events coming up on Wednesday and Thursday that I'm looking forward to telling you about.

Also, does anyone know of any Audacity tutorials?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Happy Groundhog Day! America's weirdest and most charming holiday. I wish I had time to go to this tonight.

Had a lovely time in D.C., staying with [LJ friend] and her family (so sweet!), visiting the National Institutes of Health to do what I had to do for school (so cool!), and dropping by the Holocaust Museum (so…not what normal people do for fun!). About the museum: ) I don't know. If anything, I've concluded that for me, going to museums is a less effective way to try to comprehend the Holocaust than reading memoirs or listening to survivors.


The SGA pornlet I wrote yesterday when I was supposed to be working on the stuff that I'm still putting off has so far only attracted five commenters. I wonder whether it was the timing (Superbowl), characters (het threesome) or warning (dubcon & kink).


Anyway, just to say that since classes start again tomorrow and I have, you know, a thesis to write, I will have to cut way down on reading the f-list, posting and writing fic for a few months—if I am responsible. Then again, when I panicked about schoolwork all through January I ended up writing more fics than in any other month ever, and I have chosen an elective partially because it only meets once a week, so maybe I will squeeze in some stories. But back to the responsibility thing.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (geek willow)
Since it seems like many of us are anticipating ice or snow tonight, here is Richard Shindell's foot-tappin' Waiting for the Storm, even though that is about a hurricane. You can never have enough Richard Shindell.

Here in Boston we have been promised a few inches of snow. It's 14 degrees out; it'd better snow. Plowed piles from the last few storms' worth still haven't melted. The dirty tops have interesting, deep icy crusts.

Thankfully, it looks like the weather's gonna clear by Thursday when I fly. It'll be nice to take the trip, although I could use another week or three right now to do all my work. Caught a cold after my sister visited last week (no connection; she's fine) and lost a few days.

To have something for the flight, I picked up Neil deGrasse Tyson's new book tonight, (a) because I like him and (b) because he's doing a book signing nearby next month, so I may as well read it first. Disappointingly, it is for young people. The font is big and the pages glossy and there are a lot of pictures. Many of which are of Tyson. Including one on the back where he's straddling a large telescope and smirking. Wow.

Bill Nye wrote a blurb for it about "the first of the plutoids," pretty much recapitulating his line on SGA. Or maybe it was the other way around.

Stop me from having more thoughts of McKay/Tyson/Nye angry!sex, please. ...I would at least need an "I'm going to the special hell" icon.

On that note:

[Poll #1338836]

Mmrph. It was such a bad idea to stay up so late last night to write the Wilson/Cuddy thing. I only slept five hours afterwards. All I could handle this morning was fiddling around with PowerPoint for a presentation I have to give next week. Hm. Should I be juvenile and make a joke about how a box of parts sounds like S&M toys? (i.e. penetrators, switches, butt connectors, and of course nuts and screws.)
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (lazarus blah)
1. Back to work today. Sigh.

2. If I'd known the sga_flashfic amnesty challenge would close 4+ days late, I'd have worked harder on finishing my other story.

3. For the record, I am not watching Merlin. I have a longstanding issue with doing what everyone else is doing, even in fandom. (see also: this)

4. The epic battle of [ profile] bironic vs. the upstairs neighbor and upstairs neighbor's guest has ended in a draw as the footsteps were finally drowned out by the kitchen vent on high joining the fan on high, permitting two full nights of sleep in a row.

ETA: Correction: Neighbor pulls ahead.

5. Okay. Do the work, then see if there's time left over.

…or maybe a nap.

ETA: 6. The class I was interested in taking has been cancelled.

Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
1. [ profile] synn is coming to visit for a week in December! \o/ \o/ \o/

2. Is this not the quintessential MIT gym class? Chemistry of the Body.

3. I'm excited for [casting spoiler] on SGA tonight. (I posted about it back here, to spare those who don't want to know and if you don't recall.)

4. In exchange for a few hours of light manual labor—i.e. finding nametags and putting out some folding chairs—I was able to get in to a session at Futures of Entertainment today without paying the unnecessarily high conference fee. (Was fed falafel and tofu and Greek salad, too.) The same deal holds for tomorrow, when there are Watchmen and franchising panels, even though I'm not sure yet if that's the best use of my time.

I heard pieces of panels as they were broadcast on TV to the overflow room where we were sitting, but the one I went in to the theater to see was "Making Audiences Matter." Interesting perspectives from the panelists. I'm too tired and short of time to do a thoughtful write-up, but here are some notes I took: )

At lunch I introduced myself to Henry Jenkins, who announced this week that he's leaving MIT at the end of the academic year for the University of Southern California. The future is uncertain for his CMS program; they've frozen graduate admissions, from what I hear. It was great to meet him finally and chat about fan production, although our conversation wasn't much of a conversation, since I didn't have anything in particular prepared to discuss and he always had a person or six waiting to grab his ear. He was very friendly, but kind of bland—though I wouldn't count that for much, considering the circumstances. He wore suspenders. (Not nearly as sexy as Thirteen's.)

Oh, [ profile] roga, Nguyen said his favorite show right now is How I Met Your Mother. He brought it up for no particular reason except to declare that and to add that producers can't always give audiences what they want, because, for instance, people always ask who the mother is, and that would ruin the show. I have no idea if this is true, having never watched it, but you might know.

5. I'm sure I'll remember what #5 was in a minute.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Crash of Moons)
"Corticocortical" and "axo-axonic"? Really?


I tried out a meeting of the sci fi club last night. It was very like my experience with the sci fi club at Imperial College London*: jargon, nicknames and in-jokes are so thick you barely understand what's going on; the jokes that you do get are laugh-worthy; natives are friendly but make little to no effort to clue you in; some of the older grads and postdocs have been couples for a while; people talk coding and physics; the library** makes you wish you didn't have schoolwork to do; there's promise of viewing Dr. Who/Firefly/etc; and after the meeting, you go out for Chinese food. There's a special brand of insanity nonconformity I'm having trouble putting my finger on. It seems to be a universal culture, even when individual cells don't communicate with one another, and with regional variation of terminology and obsessions.*** Alas, for it is not quite my culture (though maybe with time I will adapt). For one thing, this club is vehemently anti-vampire porn. Heh. No, I am too, in the Laurell K. Hamilton sense, but at the same time I didn't feel comfortable enough in the face of mass passion to defend the subsubgenre that is good. No SGA fans, either. In fact, their motto as declared on a sign outside their headquarters is, "We're not fans, we just read the stuff."

* (Hopefully without the accidental boyfriend this time)
** MIT has "the world's largest open-shelf collection of science fiction"
*** E.g.: bananas, chickens, a gigantic wrench, something called Spehn, and a set of Gor (?) books that are chained on their shelf so they don't escape and make other books worse.

One tangent during the meeting is totally worth repeating. Someone made a joke about the presidential elections, and one girl and one guy piped up with spur-of-the-moment campaign mottoes as if various sci fi/fantasy characters were running for office. Ah—I reproduce it for you here from the transcribed meeting minutes:

Motion to commend the current U.S. election as being a choice between science fiction and fantasy passes 17-0-10 plus Spehn.

"President Zod: Kneel for Change."

"President Cthulhu: Why Vote for the Lesser Evil?"

"Vote Spock: He's the Only Logical Choice."

ETA: I just remembered something else funny -- people referencing a summary of different scientific fields that went something like: "If it moves, it's biology. If it burps and stinks, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. If no one knows why, it's engineering. If it works in theory, it's mathematics."

Things got better at dinner, when people spoke in mostly understandable terms and I was able to ask who they are and what they do. I'll be trying this again whenever the other thousand things that only happen on Friday nights don't tempt me more, and we'll see how it goes.

Oh, and another bit of geekiness: one guy had a PDA thing at dinner for keeping a tally of what we wanted to order (they taught me the special finger signs for half or full orders per person as we went around the table for each dish; you have the option of going Communist [split a bunch of dishes in the middle] or Capitalist [get your own dish]), and later for splitting the bill.


Speaking of vampire porn: [ profile] daasgrrl won the snail race and came up with a glorious sequel to my comment!fic No Pain. It is called "No Mercy," it has just about everything you'd want from a House/Wilson fic and vampire erotica, and you should go read it here.

Another awesome thing I keep forgetting to mention: [ profile] jadesfire2808 did an analysis of my two SGA sestinas for [ profile] dvd_commentary. Like any good critic, she points out things that work and things that don't (some I'd been aware of, some I hadn't), things they illuminate about the characters, and ways the poems compare and contrast with each other. It is supremely cool, and it's given me some things to think about for my writing in the future.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Yeah, so I dropped that theory course. Yikes. I'm down to the recommended load now of one elective instead of three, and it's already more manageable.

Classes have been going for a little more than a week, and I'm really enjoying them. Something about having worked for a few years focuses your goals and helps you appreciate why you're here and what you want to get out of it. It's not just work, it's work with a purpose you care about. And my classmates and I all like each other (so far). Plus, this place is kind of amazing in itself. (Tuesday I met someone who builds social robots. Tonight I met a professor working on quantum calculators.)

Minor annoyances center on noise levels in my apartment and include my next-door neighbor, the desk-drummer; my upstairs neighbor, who sounds like an elephant when s/he walks around and makes my ceiling lights rattle; and the fact that I'm over the piano room, so almost every day it's the same parts of the same pieces screwed up in the same places. Oh, well; that's what my little nighttime white-noise fan is for.


I had this dream last night that I was watching the House premiere, and I was going to post about it, but I had to, like, do my work and go to class and stuff, and now I can't remember most of it except for how Wilson was lying naked in a lounge chair and House was swimming in his pool (and how the H/W fans were going to be all over that), and Cuddy'd had a baby that may or may not have been House's and the baby was sick, and House authorized a CT scan for it, which he hadn't allowed before when things were less dire. I'm sure there was more to it, but pfffft, it's gone.

I blame [ profile] daasgrrl. You will know why soon.

Today I learned that one of my classmates is also a House fan. Score. Makes up for how I just dropped that lit class. It was sooooo sloooooow, and the level of discussion was a joke. "Why don't you just keep talking about House with your friends?" asked my sister when I complained about it. She had a point.


Saturday evening I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting [ profile] ignazwisdom for dinner and a movie. Never mind the cloying humidity and intermittent downpours of Hanna's remnants—it was a great time. Turns out she is as exceedingly awesome in person as she is online, in some expected and some new ways. Fun and very easy to talk to and we had some stuff in common I hadn't known about. I'm very happy to have her in the area, and I'm not just saying that because she's got a bigger TV than I do and likes House.

After curry we went to see Iron Man in a lecture hall on campus. Both of us had managed to miss it when it came out. They'd hooked up the room with a popcorn machine and soda fridge and everything, and there were some families in the crowd, and they showed previews for upcoming screenings. Latest observed quirk of MIT culture: Whenever the preview slide would say something like "Next Saturday and Sunday," the audience would yell, "Next Saturday and Sunday—in stereo…!" I wonder where that comes from.


Iron Man: Discuss. )


Okay, back to work. It took five days to post this.
bironic: Fred reading a book,looking adorable (fred reading)
wading into literary theory readings for a class tomorrow STOP student posts in online forum for class discussions apparently written in another language STOP send help STOP
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
At half-credit and undergrad level, not to mention what's implied by the last few words, it would be a fluff class in addition to my regular courseload, but I might have to do it:
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
(Career Development guy quoting someone in reference to the likelihood of the female graduate population here [30%] finding [assumed heterosexual] relationships.)

I have to say, I was expecting more geeks. Maybe they'll show up later. Or maybe everyone's a geek and we all seem normal to each other. Only one mathematician so far, and no physicists outside of the plasma lab. A surfeit of Trekkies, though. That is good.

Trying to focus on positives and hold back the anxieties. Thus, things that are happy-making: )

(Things I am not focusing on: lack of sufficient thesis topics, impending work overload, Imposter Complex, zero fic output, having steam-burned my thumb after experimenting with what turned out to be an overzealous "reheat" function on the microwave.

My bed is really, really comfy. See? There is still that.)

Today's tidbit: Did you know this had a name? Parkinson's Law.

p.s. -- Happy belated birthday to [ profile] euclase, writer and artist and photographer and all-around person extraordinaire, and happy future birthday to [ profile] jadesfire2808, an inspiration, a talent and a delight always. I'm sorry I cannot summon the creativity to repay your wonderful birthday gifts to me.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
This post comes to you direct from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I have set up shop for the next 10-12 months in a lovely apartment that I will probably stop noticing beyond the area around my laptop as soon as schoolwork kicks in. It's nice to be in Boston again—I did my undergrad across the river lo these many years ago—and even better to be back in school, and even better than that to have been given the opportunity to come to this school in particular.

(I'm at MIT. I debated for months about what to reveal in public posts here on LJ, and I've finally decided to talk about the school but not my program, because it has to be one or the other but not both for privacy reasons, and I don't think I could hold myself back from talking about MIT, since I'm so curious about what it's really like and assume that some others are too, especially with SGA fanon so often proposing that McKay and/or Sheppard went here. See, I can say "here" now!)

So I'm on the lookout for The Real MIT as I go along. Thus far I've directly observed the local culture at a dorm dinner on Wednesday and Shabbat services tonight, and by riding a couple of campus shuttle buses, looking at posters and websites for goings-on, and keeping my eyes open as I walk around. I've seen posters in the student center for Harry Potter-themed dance parties (admission with MIT or Hogwarts ID), Star Trek movie screenings (I will probably go to see First Contact tomorrow), lawn meditation, and many solicitations for research study participants.

More details for the curious. )

Man, I'd almost forgotten what it's like to be in a stimulating and diverse environment. And classes haven't even started yet.

Meanwhile, here is my abode: )

And that is pretty much the news for the week. Prep, goodbyes, moving, unpacking, shopping for the few remaining needed items, meeting/greeting, reading, sleeping and exploring. So far, I have successfully navigated:

  • one (1) dorm pizza social,
  • three (3) new local buses and shuttles,
  • two (2) floors of the main school library,
  • one (1) fully cooked dinner in my new kitchen,
  • two (2) trips to the supermarket,
  • the forty (40) or so TV channels we get on campus, and
  • one (1) Hillel Reform Friday night service followed by dinner, at which I met a decent enough guy, although he has a bit too much of the slacker mentality for me to fully respect him. Imagine! a sort of slacker at MIT.

Much more will come from Sunday onward as orientation activities kick in. Until then...

ETA: Oh, right. I'm going to be posting my new address under friends-lock at some point. If you would like it and you're not on my f-list, just ask!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[ profile] elynittria, [ profile] nightdog_barks, [ profile] synn and [ profile] musicisbelievng -- I'm really sorry, but it looks like your postcards are MIA. Yours are the ones I sent from Poland almost six weeks ago, and as far as I know, none of them have been received. I don't know if the woman in the gift shop told me the wrong postage, if the hotel clerk forgot to mail them, if they're lost in the international postage system, or what, but it's very disappointing.


Just back from a couple days' trip to check out my apartment, introduce the campus to my mother, and meet a friend-visiting-from-abroad for dinner. Am pleased with all of the above. Now back home and figuring out what I need to acquire to stock and furnish the place. (There were postcards in the campus store; that's what reminded me about the Poland ones. Grr.) Also making my way back through all of your posts. Chatty bunch, aren't you?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
After a busy but very nice birthday weekend I had a dentist appointment after work on Monday and a doctor's appointment after work on Tuesday and got a flat tire on the way in to the office that morning but had it fixed with little hassle and then signed a loan promissory note and registered my bank account on the financial section of the school's website and paid my first bill and found that the school said they were paid but the bank said the money hasn't been withdrawn so tried to fix that and in the meantime arranged with my new building manager to let me come visit my apartment next week which is coincidentally around the same time a friend from abroad will be in the area which is cool but because my mom wants to come with me I also have to look up hotels since I can't ask her to stay on my other friend's futon like I usually do, and I went to lunch with my ex-manager yesterday and with my boss today and have been training two of my four replacements all week in between being innovative and productive because I want to prove that I'm not slacking off just because it's my last week and finishing up my own tasks that are so numerous there is not really any time for goofing off on LJ so to relax last night I wrote up a packing list and watched two Star Trek episodes and am considering watching a few more tonight because the letter I got in the mail today about coming up with well-considered thesis topics by Labor Day is too scary to contemplate considering I've been awake since 4:30 a.m. and now tomorrow is my last day of work following which we're having a going-away party until who knows when so I'll have to record SGA and instead of spending my first weekend as a free person sleeping and writing stories I'll be going into the city to see a Birthright friend for dinner and then to my sister's friend's rock show and staying overnight at my mom's only to be dropped off home early enough to pack her car with a grandfather clock she wants before I go to a morning picnic with my dad and—

Is where I've been and am and will be.


Want to write up the last two Israel photo posts (photos having already been chosen, edited and uploaded). Want to do a Porn Battle ficlet. Want to finish a WIP or two. Want to reply to outstanding comments. Want to talk about birthday things. Want to post about the writing/performance thing and other assorted small philosophical moments that've been striking lately. Want to watch more Star Trek. Want to do a lot of things.

One day at a time.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Now that I've done it, I can say outside of friends-lock that I gave my two weeks' notice at work today, and my boss, a.k.a. the company president, did not in fact get angry and ask me to leave right away (which is not an uncommon occurrence 'round these parts), but instead gave me several genuine, wide smiles, a hug, a clap on the shoulder, a fond pat on the cheek, well wishes and congratulations, and a partially serious request that I give him a call when I get out of school. And then proceeded to announce the news around the office like a proud parent.


My manager—well, ex-manager, but even four months after my promotion she still hasn't admitted that I don't work for her anymore—actually took it the hardest. Aside from losing the most senior member in her department and the only experienced writer in the company, she said she's going to miss having someone around who's on the same wavelength, sharing knowing glances whenever someone says or does something crazier than usual.

So yes, for those I haven't told, I am going back to school next month. I haven't decided exactly how much I want to reveal about what and where, but I'll be moving to the Boston area for a year, and afterwards you may call me Master. Two more weeks of work, two and a half weeks-ish to prepare, and then moving day. Whew.

It's funny; after four years at this place, fantasizing of quitting out of spite or exasperation, finally resigning has been something of an anticlimax. I even imagined what my post about it would look like, all capitals and exclamation marks. And yet here we are, not very emotionally moved: on good terms with everyone there, and writing plainly like any other day here. It probably has to do with the fact that I knew I'd be leaving months ago, so I've already been enjoying all the stress relief that comes with having an end date in one's head. Also to do with the fact that waiting at the end of these last two weeks is not a relaxing vacation or exciting new job but 12 months of hard work. Twelve months that I'm looking forward to, yes, but still.

For some reason it didn't occur to me that some people in the office might be sad that I'm leaving and want to do things like take me out to lunch. Those sorts of comments today were nice. A bunch of us will probably hang out that last Friday at a local pub, too, the usual event for developers who leave.

Oh, and the semi-final turnover numbers since I started mid-2004? Ninety-five people hired, and 65 left/fired. Average total employed at any given time, 40.


In other news, photos of the carnival and moon from last week: )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I am all applicantated—sent off the whole stack of papers from the post office yesterday after picking up the last evaluation form on lunch break from my old internship boss at the eleventh hour, and now it's in the mail and I don't have to think about it anymore until the acceptance and rejection letters are sent out in April. There was no real sense of satisfaction in getting it done, though, just a vague relief that it's over; it could have been much better if I'd had the discipline to start it earlier and work on it more often, and I wasted a lot of time along the way, so I can't help but blame myself if I don't get in, but at the same time I'm proud to have put together what I did (or put it together at all), considering the mental state my job has reduced me to. And I keep reminding myself that I'm applying to a school, not a job, so the admissions committee should be looking for potential, not perfection.

Between that and the trailing-off of craziness at work now that the Big Project is complete (except for revisions and additional modules I've been told to consult on, which will never be finished), I have that strange feeling you get after finishing something you've been dealing with for so long that you can't shake the sense that you need to be doing something important when actually you're able to relax. With luck, the need to be doing something will translate to renewed participation on LJ including the delayed Memoryfest, among other things. And I'd really, really, really like to be able to write again.

I am reading actual books, so that's something: Asimov's The Positronic Man (the story that inspired the movie Bicentennial Man) on cassette tape on the way to and from work, and Naomi Novik's Temeraire series on [ profile] krisdia's recommendation, which is utterly charming. Watched A.I. last weekend—creepy and weird, not what I was expecting at all, but interesting—and The Illustrated Man is on tap for tonight. I've always loved sci fi, but the recent desire to read and watch the android stories can be blamed on Leah's gorgeous, adorable SGA AI AU stories, Male Enhancement (The Soul and Company Store Remix) and its prequel, Muscle and Blood and Skin and Bones.

Since my dad sort of broke up with his not-girlfriend (a long medium-length and boring story) a week ago, he had an extra ticket to see a local production of Oliver! last night and nobody to go with, so I recorded SGA and went along, despite expecting three hours of pain. It turned out to be a very good production, and I didn't remember most of the songs from the only other time I'd seen it (I was…13?) and hadn't caught most of the subtext before, so it was like seeing half of it for the first time too. Who Will Buy? is such a sweet song; it's one of the only musical numbers I have an mp3 of. I also amused myself by imagining a Wilson/House dysfunctional UST fanvid set to As Long As He Needs Me (lyrics), and a team bonding or Sheppard worship vid set to I'd Do Anything (lyrics). Come on, tell me they wouldn't be cute.

So I watched the episode, "Spoils of War," just now and I don't have much to say about it beyond what [ profile] sheafrotherdon covered, ETA: and what [ profile] thingswithwings said in the latter half of her post ETAA: and what [ profile] fiercelydreamed said in hers, other than these four really quick things: )

ETA: post-ep fic: The Other Queen by sheafrotherdon

I miss House. Has anyone read any good House fics lately? Or written? I haven't been keeping up very well.


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