Wow, this weekend was long. Friday night the Roommate, Fortitude, the Tower, the Juggler, and I all played Bananagrams and Dominion for about four hours before the Roommate and I pleaded exhaustion and kicked them out. It was really fun, though; more fun than watching Sherlock or Merlin together, I think, so I wonder if we're going to watch any movies at all this year.

Then, Saturday, I spent pretty much the whole day doing readings for this week. I literally read seven articles on Saturday, I think, and another four on Sunday morning; I haven't been this efficient in quite a while. It was awesome to just be finishing everything.

Saturday night we went ice skating, which we've been meaning to do for a long time. It was really fun, but also quite painful, because I fell down three times. The first two times I knocked my funny bone, once on each arm, and then the third time I got the wind knocked out of me a little and started to feel faint. At that point, I decided I'd had enough and the Roommate and I quit; everyone else stopped ten or fifteen minutes later, and since we'd already been on the rink for about two and a half hours, it was fine.

Sunday morning, the Roommate and I met with the Emperor, which was interesting. She showed up late after having "not made it" to church, and then left half an hour later to go to the lab. She told us about her life, and then asked what we'd been doing; I got a few minutes through ... something, I don't even remember, when all of a sudden she just had to up and go. She clearly didn't care about the Roommate's life at all, and only marginally about mine. I don't know why we even try, but I guess she's a friend?

Then Sunday afternoon, I spent a long time hanging out with Other Me, who was having a rough weekend, even though she seems to be doing better over all.

Sunday night, all of us except the Roommate went over to the engineering and physics building for an astronomy lab, where Fortitude and the Juggler got us into one of the astronomy lab sections for the evening. We went up to the roof and looked through telescopes and saw constellations and Jupiter and Mars, and learned how to use a star chart. It was awesome.

Phew. It was fun, but long, and now I am covered in bruises and tired. Also, I did nothing on my thesis, which I had been intending to work on; so now this week is going to be exciting.
This week was incredibly long. I cannot believe that on Tuesday, I turned in my plants final paper—now I just have to get working on those final exam questions, that class will be completely done! It's sad, I've really enjoyed it, and I have even thought about asking Erika if I could pursue my project next semester as an independent study or research (for the record, that would have me taking: thesis, intonational phonology, GIS, plant research, and geo grad seminar ... and not biogeography, so). I think I would be crushed if I tried to do my thesis and research for Erika next semester, but it was so much fun this semester that I almost want to try! If I ignore how much work next semester's classes will be (mostly, GIS and biogeography, plus my thesis) then it sounds feasible; when I start to think about GIS and biogeography and my thesis and> plants research, I start to feel a little panicky. Not good when the semester hasn't even started yet, even if it all sounds fun.

On another note, I talked to someone at the Smithsonian on Thursday about working with him for next year, and he basically said yes! There is still the issue of funding, but at least he wants me to come, so that's exciting. I have a job for next year! Now I just need to get paid!

Lastly, we (me, the Roommate, Fortitude, the Juggler, and the Tower) went to the annual gingerbread competition. Our house totally failed, but it was a lot of fun.
So far, Thanksgiving has been a lot more fun than I thought it would be — my parents haven't been as annoying as I expected, especially my dad; not too many questions, and even better, fewer references to my brother's girlfriend than expected. We've played a lot of racing demons, and also cooked a fair amount. We made ... let's see: carrot soufflé, whipped cream (twice ... not that this is complicated, but), apple crisp, corn chowder, stuffing, cranberry stuff (I'm forgetting the word at the moment), bread. I'm probably forgetting a little, but oh well.

I watched the most recent episode of Merlin, mostly because the Tower sent me a link; my usual website didn't have it. :( But it was okay, though a little weird. The entire episode (Lamia) was pretty much all about crazy random happenstances until finally she attacked Merlin and Gwen. I'm seriously hoping that someone in Camelot aside from Gaius figures out that Merlin has magic before the end of this season, because honestly—he's not that subtle, and it's already been four seasons of "oh wait, what happened while I was knocked out?"

NaNo is going all right. I'm basically at 35,000, now, but that means I've got 15,000 words to write in the next five days; thank God Thanksgiving is early this year, so that I'm not expected to be done tomorrow. I'm hoping to hit 40,000 today, but that means a lot more writing, and I've already written 1,500 this morning. Hopefully I will manage to finish without too much semi-cheating! (By that I mean not actually cheating, per se, but doing stupid little things like not using contractions.)

I've been playing a fair amount of Dominion, and I think I got into the isotropic tournament. Yay!
The Roommate and I taught at Splash yesterday that went pretty well. We obviously didn't get the 700 students that the sword-making class got, but we didn't want that, either. We had several students say that our class was their favorite, which was nice, even if it was probably because it wasn't all "class"—we drank a lot of tea, too. But it was still nice.

The first session went all right—I didn't talk very much, and the Roommate talked too much, and we had a few rowdy students who were annoying. The second session, I attempted to talk more but apparently failed and the Roommate succeeded at talking less, which meant we had a little too much time for tea-drinking. The second crowd was really quiet, too, and much younger than the first crowd. Our third session went the best, though I got a little technical when I added in a bit about the evolutionary history of the tea plant; but the kids were just the right age, around 9th grade, for what we had planned. So all in all, a success, and I definitely want to teach at Spark in the spring if I can.

After we got back to camus, we had a game night with the Juggler, Fortitude, and the Tower. It was really fun, and I hope we get to do it again some time.

I slept absurdly well last night, which was great, and I woke up shortly before 9. \o/ Yay for sleeping in!

On a slightly less happy note, I am now so far behind on my NaNo that I am actually a little worried I won't finish. I want to write 4,000 words a day until Thanksgiving, and then I will feel a little better. I confess it isn't nearly as much fun to write this story as I thought it was going to be, so I want to find a way to change it. Maybe I will just ditch the first 20,000 thousand words and start over with the story line.
I'm not sure if I've ever had such a long weekend in college. Monday (yesterday, a.k.a. Halloween) didn't feel like class; it seems like the week just started today.

I went to the observatory Halloween party last night—it was fairly fun, with lots of ghosts and dead bodies and decapitated heads and things like that everywhere. Unfortunately, they didn't do liquid nitrogen ice cream this year, which they did two years ago and which was awesome; that was a bit of a disappointment. And also unfortunately, it was cloudy, so we didn't get to look at any stars or planets or things. So ... basically it was a haunted house for lots of children, which was kind of fun but not as much fun as two years ago.

The Roommate, the Juggler, and I also went to the midnight organ concert. It was AWESOME, except for the part about it being midnight. He played roughly eight different songs in the space of an hour, which was so much easier to sit through than the chorus or orchestra thirty-minute pieces; two of them I really, really liked. I forget what they were called, but I have the program so I will hopefully look them up later. He also played a Harry Potter song, which was cool, but it was more cool because he was playing it than because the song was actually nice. (Also, it wasn't awkward, which was an extra bonus!)

I talked to the Tower for a long time at dinner yesterday, which was fun. I almost convinced him to come to the observatory party and/or the midnight organ concert, but alas, I evidently failed. Also, I heard at the House meeting last night that ... er, we may or may not have done some pranking in one of his classes, so hopefully I will see him again before I forget to ask him what happened!

This morning I FINALLY got to sample one of my sediment cores, so I should be starting processing this week, and will hopefully finish processing for both cores before Thanksgiving. Yay! Except that I spilled one of the samples ... luckily, all we had to do was take another sample, but still. Care and precision are NOT my strong suits.

NaNo started today, and I successfully did NOT start last night after the organ concert. I am currently 348 words in, and I have a pretty good idea where I want to go for the next set of chapters; I'm sort of leaving the overall plot to the winds, but I know the broad outline. I just haven't picked all of the specifics yet, which is bad, because those specifics are the ones that are going to make it difficult. The broad outline is easy. But I really like where this year is going!

And on a completely unrelated note, my plants professor likes my research topic! And I do too! It's a win-win!
Tonight was the House's Halloween party, so the Roommate and I woke up really early (okay ... 8:15) to bake our magic squares and pumpkin muffins. It was fun, but took nearly two hours. I got a little work done after that, but not much.

We (i.e., me, the Roommate, the Tower, the Juggler, and Fortitude) had dinner and then watched Merlin. We went to the engineering building and watched it in their biggest lecture hall, which was really fun—it's almost like a movie theater, except we don't have to worry about talking too much. (Well, truth be told, I don't know whether the Tower minds; but no one else does, so.)

I had a brilliant idea this afternoon for my computer magic story, so I spent a while outlining the basic idea this afternoon. I definitely can't start writing it any time soon (especially not for NaNo!), because it relies heavily on MMOs, and I don't know anything about them. Well, I don't know enough about the community that plays them to write it. But, I have been trying to figure out this story for a long time, and I finally have it! It makes sense, it is internally consistent, and it has a fairly good backstory. The basic premise needs some work, obviously, but I am finally feeling like I am going to write it!

And now, I am exhausted and am going to go collapse into bed.
This week was absurdly long. I spent a lot of time in the lab learning more pollen processing, and got to look at sediment cores (!) on Wednesday. Wednesday night was the second Evolutionary Bio exam, so I spent a lot of time on Tuesday and Wednesday tutoring/TAing (or whatever it should be called). I spent at least three hours on Thursday evening working with one student who completely bombed the first exam, so hopefully she did better on the second one. She got to take it late because, on top of doing horribly the first time, she also had pneumonia for the past two weeks. Talk about a tough time!

On Thursday during Human Evolution section, we got to look at bones. BONES!!!!!!!! Okay, bones are really really cool. It's amazing how it's possible to look at a bone and figure things out about its history—not just in the evolutionary sense (is it a tetrapod? a synapsid?), but also in the forensic anthropology and taphonomic sense. I LOVE BONES. I tried to go to my professor's office hours on Thursday to ask about bones we didn't talk about in class, but he wasn't there; so, I'm going to go back on Monday.

I confess that my enthusiasm for bones makes me think that vertebrate paleontology might actually be something I'd want to study—after all, you pretty much get to spend a lot of time looking at bones. Unfortunately, you might have to spend a lot of time dissecting things too, which is not exactly something I want in my future. Alternatively, human evolution would be cool, but I do NOT want to go to grad school in an anthropology department, so I think human evolution is off the table. Finally, forensic anthropology would be SO COOL, but unfortunately I would have to 1) go to grad school in an anthropology department, and 2) probably have to dissect humans, which is even worse than other things.

Yesterday (Friday) I graded exams in the morning, then went for a meeting with Dimetrodon which she couldn't make because she was stuck in traffic, then went back to grade some more exams, then went to a TA meeting for Evolutionary Bio (whose exams I was grading), then went to class where we started to learn officially how to use Praat (which I already know how to use), then went to a meeting with someone who had worked at the Smithsonian as an intern five summers ago, then met with Dimetrodon about my thesis, then lost my keys and went traipsing around campus to find them before realizing I'd just left them in the lab, then saw a hawk outside of House and spent fifteen minutes staring at it, then went to dinner where I consumed copious amounts of ice cream, then went to the Juggler's a capella concert (she joined Disney a capella), then talked to the Tower for a little while about Merlin, then went to the Roommate's a capella concert, then went to bed.

It was a long day, as that extremely long run-on sentence demonstrates.

Anyway ... I finally this morning sent off an email to someone at the Smithsonian, so hopefully he will get back to me and I will have a job for next year! Of course, hopefully he will actually be able to pay me, but. The Roommate is going to talk to someone one Tuesday about what she would do at the Smithsonian. Hopefully everything will work out, and I will actually be able to call her my roommate without sort of kind of maybe lying.

And now, as a reward for finally finishing that email, I am going to work on my NaNo outline. I should do something important, but alas, I am not going to.
Today we are supposed to get a LOT of rain. The eye of Hurricane Irene is basically supposed to pass over my town, which is kind of entertaining; I wonder if we'll be able to notice it? I have never been in a hurricane like this before, so it should be cool. (Hopefully, we WILL notice it, so that we can go for a walk at that exact moment—because I expect that being cooped up inside all day is going to drive me mad, very quickly, and I might start to throw things and yell.)


Natterings on River. Spoilers. )

It was definitely a wonky episode, and they really accelerated the River storyline; not sure whether that was good, but it was funny.

Natterings on Rory. Spoilers. ) 

The Hermit, the Moon, the Tower, and I all went to walk around the brook yesterday. Because of the hurricane, they must have opened some dams downstream or something, because the water level was so low that there practically wasn't any more water. It was a bit of a let-down in terms of the scenery, but gave us plenty of opportunities to discuss the impending hurricane. I confess I am not terribly worried. Sure, rain, wind, probably some power outages; but I am not expecting a three-day catastrophe, which seems to be what the Hermit and the Moon predict. They do live kind of far out, so if they lose power it's bound to be a much bigger deal than if I do, stuck in town as I am; but I would be surprised if they couldn't go to work tomorrow, for instance. At any rate, I don't have much of an appreciation for weather.

In which I complain. )

Done for stupid touchy-feely stuff.



July 2012

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