theladyrose: (Default)
I have to confess, being off LJ and other blogs for 2 weeks was gloriously liberating - so much time available for so many new experiences! I'm hoping to strike a happy balance between being sucked into reading interesting things online and achieving my (existentia)list goals for the coming academic year.

I just realized that I haven't updated in nearly 2 months, and while I don't lead a completely and utterly fascinating life, I do feel like thinking things out through the written word to process everything that's happened.

Short version: turned the year that's the winning number in blackjack, seriously questioned life goal of getting a clinical psych PhD, learned about doing geropsychology research at Stanford, hung out with mostly 70 and 80 year olds when I wasn't chasing after them with pedometers, cheated on Douce France at Coupa Cafe with [ profile] dragonfly66 and [ profile] shakeitdown, visited my NY relatives, and spent an enchanting week in Oregon before returning to college

I keep hearing that college graduation's supposed to be this pre-quarterlife crisis inducing transition, and quite honestly I don't feel in the slightest anxious. Then again, I'm sticking around another year for grad school and crossing my fingers that Rose and [ profile] darklightluna will do their master's here, too, starting next fall, so that I won't be bereft of college friends (Gabe, I already know you're sticking around :P). Despite the pessimistic trends in American unemployment data these past few months, I'm feeling pretty good about where my life is going - and increasingly it's headed towards the workplace rather than into a aging-focused psych PhD program.

My intense love-hate relationship with research continues to be...cyclical. The prospect of my future career focusing primarily on research makes me want to bludgeon my head with the nearest blunt object. As fascinating as I find the culture of academia, it's mostly because I know enough now to legitimately snark at it. Thanks, Stanford, for showing me that bureaucratic pettiness is rampantly flagrant even in the best psychology department in the US. Though I am just a wee bit jealous that they actually pay *all* their participants $15/hour. The intellectual territory they explore is absolutely fascinating, but being the one who actually extracts all the data from those who inhabit it - terrifying given the pressure to produce publishable, grant-awarded results on a continual basis. I know just enough about doing research to sound vaguely impressive to undergrad business students (ie. my college friends), but I keep realizing how little I know about meta-level stats. I stand in awe of econometricians and demographers. I can do multinomial logistic regression now, which is the most complicated stats test I need for my thesis data, but I'm not fluent in SPSS syntax the way I wish I were.

On the one hand, I love my academic mentors and my thesis project, and almost all of my personal idols are/were professors or otherwise educators. But reading PhD Comics and reading Thomas Benton's columns in the Chronicles of Higher Ed have been playing legitimate devil's advocate with all these voices telling me to get a doctorate. I've come to the realization that much of the appeal of having a PhD is the prestige, as much as I genuinely love what I'm learning. I'm working past my intellectual inferiority issues about being dumber than all my good friends and role models. Growing up in Silicon Valley, which is the most intellectually snobby place in America outside of Boston, instills a warped sense of linking higher education at brand name institutions with being financially and otherwise successful. Alas, that's just not true these days. My friends who haven't gone to college are some of the smartest people I know (I'm referring to you, f-list), and I have to get over my incredibly classist notions that higher education is the Path to being a person worthy of deeper respect.

As to what I was actually doing, I'm too lazy to summarize it, so I have my grant app report here if you're curious )

Outside of research - I swear I will actually elaborate on the rest of these experiences in a later post, but that's almost dooming myself to never getting around to it. Given it's the 1st week of classes, though, I probably will actually write about them : )

Loved my first day of classes and can't wait for film music history tomorrow with Jon Burlingame, one of the best lecturers I've ever heard and the producer of the MFU soundtracks. Here's to an incredible (and hopefully productive) senior year.
theladyrose: (Default)
Many happy returns to [ profile] gandydancer and [ profile] storybox! I hope you had wonderful birthdays.

Dear X: Semi-feeling me up in front of your mother, even in the guise of a friendly hug, is just awkward. Even if you're slightly drunk. It's especially awkward when we share the same grandmother. But you're my cousin and ultimately one of the most decent guys I know my age, so I won't snap at you this time.

So, within the past week:

I got Kim Cattrall's autograph while passing by some random restaurant in Rome. She's absolutely stunning in person - maybe even more so than the brief glimpses I've seen of her on screen.

The AARP apparently will offer me a complimentary travel kit should I join the ripe old age of 20. Do my web browsing patterns really mirror that of a baby boomer that much? This must be a sign that I should get off my sorry butt and get ready to apply for my gerontology grad program this fall.

Morgan Freeman practically fell on top of my dad yesterday night as we were leaving the theater where we had just seen him perform in the Country Girl. He was quite the gent about it, being very apologetic while being crushed by a horde of autograph seekers right outside the stage door. I also caught a glimpse of Matthew Broderick, who was in the audience that night. I swear these things never happen to me when I'm in LA, although meeting the cast of Finishing the Game last November at the premiere was one of the coolest experiences in my life so far.

It is crazy how much less expensive things seem, even in New York, after Italy. I've heard more French spoken on the street and in the stores these past few days than I did the entire time I was in Europe.

Whenever I finish my two news stories (hahaha, as if I ever turn anything in before deadline) I have a lot to still write about Italy (I know, I know, that's what I always say). I guess I could sum it up as follows:

It was overcast with the vague sense of dampness at odds with the electric bustle of a big city at night. Arriving in New York's JFK last night was, in some ways, remarkably similar to my arrival in Italy at Milano's Malpensa airport.

As much as I have learned of life from the stories people have shared with me, some things really must be experienced to be understood beyond an intellectual level. I won't remember every church and fresco I saw, every note of each piece performed at the concerts I attended or even every lick of gelato I tasted. But what will stay with me is the impact atoms of personalities colliding into each other in transit, with even the relative brevity of contact subtly or significantly altering the trajectory of each party in the encounter.

I've gained enough confidence to at least make some effort to haggle with street vendors. I can navigate subway system in a language I don't know. I've learned that falafel and döner kebab stands are the best deal the other side of the Atlantic. I now know what it's like to be on a train for 13 hours (I spent ~77 hours in total on trains) and hope to never repeat the experience. I've felt the spine-tingling experience of the otherworldly when entering the darkened majesty of cathedrals that have laid witness to thousands like me passing through. I've scrubbed off the dust and dirt of centuries settle on my skin after wandering from one side of Rome to the other.

I don't know if I'll ever return, but I've brought back enough to last me for what I hope to be a lifetime's worth of value. But at the same time, I won't forget what I left behind.
theladyrose: (Default)
Venezia Mestre isn't the worst place to be stranded in the middle of an unexpected transportation workers' strike.

It's just that with less than 12 hours before the first part of your Italian I final and after a good 11.5 hours on the train from Vienna, you really don't want to be dumped overnight rooming with Venice's ugly cousin, hoping that you'll be able to snag the first train to Verona at some unknown ungodly hour.

I could talk about how Vienna was otherwise worth a wonderful weekend of procrastinating on finals and papers by touring Hapsburg palaces and art museums, but I really need to get back to work.

In the meantime, on a more serious note, a former classmate/student of mine (yes, it's complicated) has been documenting the typhoon disaster in the Philippines that has been relatively ignored in the news media. I highly respect his work as a freelance photojournalist and recommend checking out his coverage and his other photographic work here.
theladyrose: (Default)
Just got back from Firenze (Florence) - I didn't realize how far I am behind on writing about Italy and my various travels lately because I keep writing so many letters describing to different people different aspects of my time here. Seriously, I just wrote my 42nd on the train ride back this evening and have killed at least three pens since I've been here. But if any of you who haven't received one yet would like one, please LJ message me an address by which I can reach you and I'd be more than happy to do so.

So, the short and flippant version of Firenze - my mother may be right about inheriting her genes and my not being able to get drunk. That said, trying Chianti for the first time made me finally understand why people enjoy drinking. Apparently it's not that hard to convince older men to give you two bottles of wine on them if you're with two tall blondes, one of whom is celebrating her 20th birthday. The inside of the Duomo, featuring Brunelleschi's famous dome, may be the most overrated cathedral in the whole city (on the inside, that is), which might be why entrance is free. The other cathedrals make you pay, but the frescoes, statues and the interior architecture are so worth it. San Lorenzo, near the Duomo, and the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine are much more worth your time. Italian mosquitoes find me nowhere nearly as delicious as American or Chinese ones, which suits me just fine. In Verona, the clothes are unaffordable but the food reasonable; in Firenze, the clothes are affordable (at the open air market, especially if you go on a Sunday and if you're willing to haggle) but the food outrageous if you go to most of the sit-down places.

In the meantime, as I try to come up with a coherent entry about Vienna, I'm really not sure what to say about this article claiming that women think about shopping as much as men think about sex. At the very least, the research methodology is probably really inaccurate, but there are so many things that bug me about the implications of this article. Because women have naturally nothing better on their minds than snagging the next so-called bargain...
theladyrose: (Default)
You haven't quite experienced Switzerland until you've pushed someone who weighs more than you do up the gravelly mountainside of a château (Château Gruyère, just like the cheese) at midday.

The short version of Switzerland: It was the most peculiar sense of homecoming I've ever experienced in a country I've never officially traveled to. It's too complicated to explain here in detail, but I'm actually from Switzerland in the most primordial sense. I woke up on the train from Milan enchanted with this isolated, surreal haven of almost pastiche-like European cosmopolitanism. My Chinese relatives spoke perfectly fluent French, and thankfully they were able to understand what I was saying. They were the most gracious hosts anyone could ever want, showing us around the natural extremes of lake and mountain and the fairytale towns and expansive countryside. I came back a day later (yesterday afternoon, in fact) than I expected, but it was well worth it even if I am a little nervous about my Italian midterm in a couple of hours.

Tonight I'm back on the road again after going to class for the first and only time this week. I basically attempted to teach myself all the Italian that I missed (thankfully it wasn't too bad), and I'm taking art history pass/fail. For the record, my parents were the ones who encouraged and supported my playing hooky for an extra day to spend more time with my relatives; thankfully my professor didn't seem to mind as she's been distracted with some of other students, and the scholarship people don't need to know anything about my activities over here.

A sensible person would ask why I'm so hellbent on going to Vienna. Why must I go *this* weekend? If I had any sense (which I don't) I would've actually gotten all of my transportation taken care of before I left for Milan/Switzerland last Thursday, except that I had no time or access to the Internet for the past couple of days.

I've dreamed of Vienna for years. Admittedly, it all started with the Living Daylights (shut up, 007 fans - I can hear your snickering several thousand miles away across the Atlantic), then it was the Third Man that pretty much sealed the deal on the "I must go here before I die" list, which really isn't that long. And after I wrote (and now published) that one short story, I feel even more compelled to see the world I tried to evoke in person.

The truth is, I'm terrified about this trip. I'm terrified of what will happen because there's something in me that says it's now or never, that I may never have the chance to do what I'm doing now ever again because the future is shaping up to be a hectic one that won't allow me the time to do this. There's a 50% chance I won't be able to travel with the ease I can now, and if I'm not careful the window of opportunity's going to fall shut faster than I know it.

It's also the first time I've traveled internationally by myself. Although safety's more of a concern, I'm actually looking forward to being able to control my agenda and travel light, literally and figuratively. The trouble is that I also know no German apart from "danke" and a few random phrases that are probably quite incorrect that I picked up from watching WWII movies with my father.

At any rate, by this time tomorrow I'll be on the train to Vienna. Let's see how it goes.
theladyrose: (Default)
I think I'm officially known at the Verona train station as that strange American girl who tried to reserve a spot on the Milano-Lausanne connection for a flying chair.

una sedia votelle: wheelchair
una sedia volante: flying chair

Ooops. This is what happens when you watch too many Pink Panther/Get Smart-ish things. The good news is that they gave me a refund on the tickets that I bought that were marked up ridiculously, although it was fun trying to explain the situation in my very limited Italian sprinkled awkwardly with French.

The people at the front desk of where I'm living are convinced that I slept with the friend who visited me this past weekend. It was the only way I could figure out how to sneak him in because technically we're not supposed to have guests stay over. Marco now gives me awkward winks, and I find it difficult to stifle giggling (yes, giggling) whenever I'm going in or out now. I've also come to the slightly depressing conclusion that the only way you can keep Italian men from openly oggling/calling you out is if you're in the company of another guy. The more awkward part was going into the cafés and random couples/parents looking at us, totally puzzled as to why we weren't holding hands or anything like that. I know Plato's Greek, but I would've expected that the concept of platonic friendship wouldn't be so novel over here, friends of different genders going out together. Or maybe I was just being especially self-conscious as my friend has a girlfriend but openly admitted that he's always liked Asian girls...and this was before he had anything alcoholic. Still, we did end up having a fun time.

I am convinced that we might've found the best gelateria in the heart of town near the Arena, but I think I need to go there more before I can be sure :D
theladyrose: (Default)
Thanks so much for all of the birthday wishes - I feel so lucky to have such a thoughtful f-list :) I'm writing bunches and bunches of letters and am slowly getting around to mailing them out, but it'll be a while as I have over two dozen people to whom I'm writing. If you want a postcard, though, leave a comment here (all comments are screened for privacy). [ profile] horosha, yes, I'll accept the raincheck :)

Last Saturday I started off the third decade of my life in Venice, living out a dream that many older than I fantasize of experiencing. My roommate India - the most perfect traveling companion I've ever had who isn't [ profile] eyepiece_simile - and I trekked from one end of the city to the other, through endless calles (alleyways) and across countless bridges big and small. We visited numerous cathedrals with Maria and Marco featured in the title and the highlights of the Piazza San Marco, although sadly. Boiling our visit down to these set points, though, misses out on what you actually experience as a visitor to the city.

As I wrote in something that I'm currently working on: Venice allowed him to find refuge in eternal beauty and the allure of intrigues past, to hide away in the shadowy calles and the ebb and flow of glass green canals. The city restored his faith that even when besieged by change and decay, human achievement could stand against time and still rejuvenate the spirit. It wasn’t the ubiquitous presence of churches, as awe-inspiring as they were, but the grace of cultures melding, the serene congruity of centuries in architectural form simply existing that instilled such wonder. Il Palazzo Ducale exemplifies the tranquil riot of contrasts that is this city, the imposing paneled, gilded and frescoed splendor of the legislative and judiciary quarters juxtaposed with the cool dark jails for criminals of all stripes just behind the walls.

And this rarefied world is slowly sinking into the lagoon that had shielded its initial development and growing pains as a city, lending just the right touch of romantic melancholy amidst the tourist kitsch.

More musings about being in Italy )

On a completely unrelated note, [ profile] lilbabiangel888 tagged me for the following meme:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your LJ along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening.

Technically, these aren't all songs because as an unabashed soundtrack geek, I still find the whole concept of music with vocals and words rather nifty. I'm more of a spirit rather than the letter of the law kind of person, anyway. You can download these if you click on them.

Songs to listen to when leaving Venice:

This is Gallifrey: Our Childhood, Our Home: Doctor Who Series 3 (Murray Gold)
Ratatouille Main Theme (Michael Giacchino)
Theme from the Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Paul Cantelon)
Broken Hearted Melody: Sarah Vaughan (taken from Infamous)
Same Mistake: James Blunt (taken from P.S. I Love You)
Suzanne: Noel Harrison (courtesy of the ever-generous [ profile] wiccagirl24)
Kissing Through Glass: A Very Long Engagement (Angelo Badalamenti)

Meme 2, snagged from [ profile] swashbuckler332 and [ profile] lehah:

Post a reply and I will:

A) tell you why I friended you,
B) associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, etc.,
C) tell you something I like about you,
D) tell you a memory I have of you,
E) ask something I've always wanted to know about you,
F) tell you my favorite user pic of yours,
G) in return, you must post this in your LJ. (More like highly recommended, because I don't like coercing people.)
theladyrose: (Default)
Apologies for the lack of posting lately - finals, moving out of my apartment, getting last minute things done before Italy, traveling and then finally arriving yesterday evening in Verona basically ate up my time. There's so, so much that I want to write about it all, but unfortunately my adapters don't work and someone else is borrowing my roommate's power cord, so I have to wait until tomorrow before my computer's been recharged so I have enough time to write something substantial.

Verona reminds me of Bath: centuries of history in architectural form sandwiched next to each other, but the effect is aesthetically mind blowing rather than incongruous. I have my first day of classes tomorrow right behind the Arena di Verona, one of the largest outdoor performance venues in Europe. The supermarket here is the equivalent of a foodgasm; thanks to the magic of pictures on labels and fuzzy memories of the one semester of Italian I took in high school, we got by. The shopkeepers are voluble and and mistakenly guess my ethnicity with endearing inaccuracy. I could be easily lost among the cobblestoned alleyways, but it's only my first 24 hours in this city, so I figure I'll be able to find my way within the next two months.

I have a bit of a cramp after writing ten letters today, but if you want me to write you from Italy, I'd be more than happy to do so. Really, I like finally having the time to write. (I can't guarantee it'll be a postcard, though, because strangely enough, I haven't found any places that sell them yet. I'm nowhere touristy enough, I guess :D). Comments are screened for privacy.
theladyrose: (Default)
It was a decadent sort of weekend, luxurious in its relative idleness. Blessed be the professor who gave us all an extension on that paper! Still, I can't really afford to be this lazy when there's less than a month of the semester left.

I guess what's stressing me out most right now is research and the perpetual sense that I have unfinished business to take home. With my old position in the social psych lab, I'd go into the lab for a certain number of hours and be done. Now there's a weekly team meeting and other random meetings with my supervisors to make sure I'm getting stuff done correctly and then actually evaluating the tapes and/or revising the evaluations so that they can be critiqued at the next group meeting. Being dumb, I always find myself procrastinating because I'm terrified of realizing how much further behind I am than anyone else. I know that it's a dysfunctional way of handling things, but it's hard to break out of the cycle. No point in ruminating about it at this hour, though, when I have a midterm at 10 this morning and an admissions panel afterwards.

In a little more than a month I'll be Verona, away from all this madness before another couple of years of who knows what. All the scholarship paperwork's officially taken care of, and I've finally figured out my transportation arrangements. Though we're going on a number of day and multi-day trips throughout Italy (Firenze, Padova, Milano, Mantova and Roma) as a group, there are definitely a number of other places I'd like to see - Venice, for one. Hopefully Vienna as well as I've always wanted to go there after seeing The Third Man, though I swear I've heard that Prater Park is closed now. If all goes well I'll be meeting my mother's Swiss half-siblings, who probably compromise the entire Chinese population of Lausanne, as well. I'm not really sure what other cities/countries are feasible to visit during my two extended weekends, so if anyone has any suggestions I'd be more than appreciative. I'd love to meet up with [ profile] eyepiece_simile and [ profile] zedhaus and anyone else who might be around the area.

Generation meme )
theladyrose: (Default)
I have an apartment to move into this Thursday, research to conduct and TA office hours to schedule. I apologize for sacrificing proper grammar for parallel structure. It looks like living out my vision of myself as a grad student has just been shifted back a few years to a present that's coming a little too quickly.

For the past few days I was in Vancouver for my cousin Venus's very lovely wedding on the beach of Victoria Island. I haven't seen most of my Canadian relatives since my mother had her heart surgery a few years ago, but my cousins and their friends/other cousins are just as wackily entertaining and wonderful as I remember them to be, although it's awkward being the youngest and only person in college. I had a day's layover back home before leaving again. Just yesterday I returned from orientation advisor training, which theoretically qualifies me to indoctrinate freshmen into joining the programs sponsored by APA Student Services  introduce new students to ways they can involve themselves in campus life. Somehow my LA neighborhoods presentation group and I need to fix up our Powerpoint by Sunday as Joyce and I basically had to improvise everything from the photos on her camera and the magic that is Wikipedia. Our group was collectively whacked pretty badly by what I nickname the Great Frying Pan of Doom, i.e. the whims of fate: one person injured herself on vacation in Hawaii and had a horrible allergic reaction to the medication, the second went to her grandfather's funeral and the third was on the way to our training when his car engine mysteriously caught on fire. Aside from these assorted calamities, the training session was quite enjoyable and a nice, temporary reprieve from home, where the water pipe in front of our house just randomly exploded and Dad's stairlift literally fell apart the day I left (they're fixed now, thankfully). Here's to hoping that orientation itself runs more smoothly...

I swear, I'm deducting what I need from my next paycheck to as penetance for all of the carbon dioxide emissions from my recent air travel. My mother wants me to quit my current job writing trivia questions, but I'm really torn about sticking with it as I really like the company or possibly adding a third research committment to my schedule. I haven't even started classes, yet I'm feeling behind already with figuring out how to update the CIRCLE (Critical Issues in Race, Class and Leadership Education) curriculum, although I randomly discovered that my dad's ex-roommate is the Rush Limbaugh of the Asian Pacific American community.  I don't even know what else I'm exactly doing outside of classes, which makes scheduling my current committments more difficult - probably some tutoring/mentoring, the career connections program, maybe more admissions volunteering?  I feel like a weak parody of the model minority stereotype I'm supposed to be criticizing, while my fellow TAs (*cough* you know who you are, [personal profile] laleia) are terribly nifty social activist types who actually know what they're doing.  And now I have this random urge to design that "Chairman Mao does not approve of glitter" shirt inspired by the brilliant
[personal profile] azdak to procrastinate against all of the messages piling up in my e-mail.

Really, I can't believe I only have 3 days before I'm really headed back to college.

Anyway, I'm the lucky girl who gets to drive her father to a 6 AM colonoscopy tomorrow, so good night! 
theladyrose: (Default)
The good thing about having so many family birthdays take place within the same two week period is that you remember to look for gifts all at once; unfortunately, I've been absent from LJ lately after a week in New York and three days in San Francisco and have a lot of catching up to do. Depending on what calendar you look at, my parents have the same birthday - the same as [ profile] wiccagirl24, actually. Many happy belated returns to you, Sarah - I am so sorry that my gift is late in coming, but I swear I'll be ready with it soon.

And before I forget - happy birthday, [ profile] eyepiece_simile! Hopefully you've had a chance to open your card by now :)

My cousin Venus (the only artistic member of my family since the Tang dynasty; sadly, I don't think I'm joking) is getting married this weekend, so I'll be gone until Wednesday. And somehow, magically, I am going to start and finish my LA Chinatown and Westminister presentation...soon. [ profile] laleia, do you know if we need to have our presentations done by the SWA retreat? If we do, then it looks like I'll be bringing my laptop on vacation with me.

So, to pretty much sum up this month - I've been gone, I'm going away again for family-related reasons and am playing catch up on pretty much everything. I didn't even realize that there's supposedly some sort of mass exodus from Livejournal going on at the moment as [ profile] laleia has recently informed me? I just thought people were busy or on vacation. Be seeing you!
theladyrose: (Default)
It's quite possible I'm one of the few people who *isn't* picking up the last Harry Potter book. Ah, the joys of catching a morning flight to New York tomorrow! Family, friends and museums - what more could one ask for? It's a pity I won't be joining my "other" family with the ever amazing [ profile] eyepiece_simile in Cape Cod this year, but we can always see about next year.

So, in the mail yesterday I picked up the most peculiar postcard, which featured San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts (which is roughly an hour's drive away).

"I want to buy your house. I am not an agent. Call me."

Well, you have to give this mysterious sender named Jason props for being to the point.

Today's equally unexpected postcard was of the Kremlin, straight from Moscow. Martina, a high school friend who's also at USC, sent it to me. It's been nice reconnecting with old friends lately - within the past week, Sophia and I checked out the Qwik-E-Mart recreation and walked around Shoreline, and I had lunch with PP (she who teaches choir and intro) yesterday when we ran into the class valedictorian and her mother. This afternoon I met up with Alison, whom I haven't seen since 5th grade though we don't live that far from each other. I hate borrowing clichés, but the two and a half hours we talked made up for those nine years apart. And as weird as it sounds, I actually like the meetings over at my boss's house - there's something surprisingly cozy about the start up environment when you've got three people jammed in a home office trying to figure out what went wrong again when rerecording the newest "how to" site voiceover.

But not all of these encounters have been that pleasant, although the one I'm thinking of is actually imaginary. I had a philosophical sort of nightmare straight out of Sartre's Huis Clos (No Exit) or the Prisoner episode "A, B and C" that involved me at a party in someone's rather bourgeois living room where I was trapped presumably for all eternity as my ex kept hounding me about why we broke up. I've been receiving some awkward messages lately from him; he really is a great guy, but all I want is for him to find someone else who'll really make him happy and appreciate him for who he is. The way things are now, the current extremes of awkwardness makes the prospect of being locked up with Inès or Number 2 an absolute picnic by comparison.

On a not-so-related note, I've been reading this fascinating and equally humorous book by Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness, which focuses on the sources of our regular dissatisfactions than the title would suggest. His commentary about how insistent we are about how unique our perspectives and feelings are, leading us to mistakenly disregard the feelings of others when put in a particular situation as a poor predictor of our own when placed in the same scenario, really struck me. A wise and generous man once told me that I'd come to enjoy John Barry's chamber orchestra album the Beyondness of Things over Eternal Echoes. I found this remark rather strange at the time - considering we came from such different backgrounds, it seemed rather unlikely that we'd eventually come to have the same view. And yet as I've been reorganizing my soundtrack collection to accomodate some newer material and listening to works I haven't heard for some time, I realize how right he was. If the Beyondness of Things is a nostalgic view of life as we'd like to remember it, highlights of breahtaking and sometimes heart-wrenching majesty, Eternal Echoes recognizes the quiet beauty in our everyday lives. It takes a certain degree of maturity to appreciate the more ponderous tonal colors of Eternal Echoes, a deceptively sedate musical retelling of the moments that show us for what we are when we're in our element.

I don't remember what the point of that story was, but I do remember thinking that my own memory problems seemed to corroborate with the points Gilbert was making, which might explain why I'm willing to trust his argument so much.

And last but not least, a totally unrelated LolCat meme )
theladyrose: (Default)
Things I learned at the Monster Diversity Leadership:

1. If anything else, make sure that your pants aren't falling down.
2. Sometimes the corporate representatives are actually younger than you. Be glad you find this out after the fact.
3. Girls with dance moves are more likely to win scholarships than girls without.
4. Prejudiced but true - if you can, speak to the older corporate reps because they're more likely to do the actual hiring decisions and have more contacts with those in power.
5. The nerds at Seagate really know how to dance. Or at least you have to give them points for trying.
6. Lockheed Martin apparently has money to burn when it comes to recruting college students.
7. There are fewer acts that will please a crowd of 300 college students than a Princeton student virtually sodomizing a Simon Cowell impersonator to hip hop music.

A more serious summary will probably follow sometime within the next century.
theladyrose: (Default)
Lesson of the day: rat (mouse?) blood is virtually impossible to wash out after it's been baked on brick for several hours in direct Californian sunlight. On the bright side, we at least have a neighborhood rodent catcher with friendly intentions, if not the most welcome.

In a house that has almost twice as many printers as it does people, only one seems to work on a consistent basis. And of course, the printer we thought we had fixed managed to break down just as I was in the middle of printing something out for a meeting with my boss. For mysterious and unknown reasons, I seem to have internet access for 15 minutes max on my laptop before it randomly dies on me. Somehow technology and I are having an extremely inconvenient breakdown in communication, so I apologize if I'm being really slow in responding to people. Unfortunately it means that I'm kind of behind on work, which is really not so great.

This weekend I'm off to Moraga for the <a href=">Monster Diversity Leadership conference</a>. Come to think of it, it's a little ominous to head to a summit that has the word monster in it, but it looks like it should be interesting. The Navy will be there as a corporate sponsor; hopefully whoever's representing them won't remember that really awkward incident last year when they tried recruiting me. Awkward as in I was laughing so hard from nervousness that I ran the opposite direction from the uniformed officer and hid in the girls' bathroom until he went away. My valor in the face of the unknown is absolutely astounding. 6 AM wakeup call tomorrow. I'm not sure if I'd entirely mind someone hitting me over the head with a frying pan to really make sure I'm awake, but I have a feeling I'd regret it later.
theladyrose: (Default)
Though not to say that I'm an ascetic by any means, I'd like to think that I have relatively few vices, without even an addiction to caffeine.

I must confess though, that I am beginning to wonder if someone has finally found a way of slipping crack into the written word. Lately I find myself reading as if there is no tomorrow late into the night, as if consuming others' narratives will quell a deep-rooted hunger for a greater understanding of the universe or maybe just (!) humans and how we relate to each other the way we do. Perhaps it is a tactic to avoid the pitfalls of actual experience, but I find myself too caught up in this thrall to care at the moment.

Genius points to anyone knows to whom the title of this entry refers.
theladyrose: (Default)
It seems that I am dreaming that I'm doing things that I haven't actually done yet but need to still do - the most common scenario involves e-mailing/calling/writing back to various people. Imagine my very unpleasant surprise to discover that actually, I haven't responded to that e-mail that my department advisor sent me about getting my statistics grade officially corrected (which officially will start happening in August, I hope). Does this confusion and invasion of reality into dreams ever happen to anyone else? I'm afraid my subconscious can be terribly dull, although sometimes it comes up with entertaining "lost" episodes from various TV shows. My favorite to date was a black and white Emma Peel era Avengers episode that took place in a hot air balloon; unfortunately I don't remember much else, other than that the air balloon scenes actually looked like they were shot in a studio against a blue screen.

In other vaguely multimedia-related news, I'm recording a voiceover for the first time tomorrow, and I might actually get paid for it! Yes, this is coming from the person with the slight speech impediment who was afraid in high school for the teacher to call on her to read out loud whatever it was that we were reading at the time. As a teenager (heck, who am I kidding - even now) I was self-conscious about my voice the way most girls are self-conscious about their bodies. One of the reasons why I don't really talk that much in person is because I still slip up a fair amount even around people I know well; no matter how many hours I practice, presentations and speeches (though strangely enough, I've never had serious stage fright) will always be a challenge. But I figure that the best way of combating fear is to directly confront it, so I figured that this would be a good opportunity to practice. Few people are probably going to listen to it anyway, which is reassuring.

On a totally different note - [ profile] laleia, please tell me that your group hasn't started your orientation neighborhood project yet. I have no idea what our group is doing seeing as half of us aren't around to film as we had originally planned. Blargh.
theladyrose: (Default)
College students and otherwise unemployed youth -

If you answer yes to any of the above, Kwanzoo Inc. is looking for you! Kwanzoo is a fun and dynamic entertainment trivia site where movie buffs and others can compete against their friends about how much they know and (soon) contribute questions of their own about their favorite films, TV shows, actors, etc. A Facebook application is in development, but right now we're looking for an exclusive beta audience to check out the site and tell us what they think - at the very least, it's an opportunity to win prizes.

Also, we're still looking for content writers. The work is really flexible - you submit as many trivia questions online as you can write each week. The only other real committment is a conference call Thursday night, and the Kwanzoo crew is a cool and welcoming group.

So, if you're interested in checking out our new site and/or writing entertainment and pop culture trivia questions, please leave a comment here and I can get you started. Thanks so much!

In other words, it's crunch time for me as we need enough content once Kwanzoo officially goes online. I apologize if I'm being a little slow in responding to stuff right now. Seriously, if anyone has any Ocean's 13 trivia that's not the Godfather-related, I will owe you a large chunk of my soul.
theladyrose: (Default)
As of yesterday I write movie/TV/entertainment trivia for a startup as a summer job. Ah, the weird and wonderful things one finds through Craigslist! I'm starting to worry that I don't know enough about pop culture from this decade, though, but I figure I'll worry about that once I finish writing my first few batches of questions.

Sort of speaking of other nifty summer jobs, a friend of mine wrote this really intriguing article about mandatory dance classes to combat obesity for Chinese schoolchildren and possibly needing to prove their physical fitness to be admitted to college.
theladyrose: (Default)
When allergy medication tells you not to operate heavy machinery while under the effects of the drug, food processors do indeed count as heavy machinery. Just because it's a small Cusinart doesn't mean that you can't potentially cause a lot of damage!

Somehow, [ profile] eyepiece_simile is still my friend (I think? I hope!) after nearly destroying her kitchen today for our joint family Young Frankenstein dinner party. I swear, I'm normally not such a zombie-esque butterfingers.

I mix metaphors the way I do pesto sauce - in incomplete and uneven chunks. I should probably get some sleep before I wreck further linguistic (is this an adjective that can also describe linguine?) havoc.
theladyrose: (Default)
How is it that my Dell laptop is at most four years old and yet it freezes when I'm trying to download a measly Word document?! (I'm really, really sorry [ profile] wiccagirl24; a sloth probably works faster than I do.) I regularly run virus and spyware scans and have basically stuck all of the big files on an external hard drive. This is when I wish I inherited more of my dad's tech genius genes.

I really wish that all of the work places where I applied would at least e-mail me or call me back about whether or not the job positions are still open. I'd like to know if I'm rejected because it's really annoying to have to keep sending in new applications and having them get swallowed up in the black hole that is the manager's desk. I don't want to come across as too stalkerish, though, in e-mailing about confirmations and whatnot. How many times is it appropriate to ask? So far I've only asked a few places once, the ones who said they'd respond with a decision last week or the week before.

I'm off to work on one of my summer goals, learning how to cook and bake a decent variety of food with [ profile] eyepiece_simile so that I don't burn down my apartment next year. Mmm, did you just make a yummy noise?

I really need to stop with lame attempts at Young Frankenstein references.


theladyrose: (Default)

June 2010

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