Friday, October 27, 2006

the portland trip, continued

Stevie & T's Place:

After spending much of Friday day lazing about and then doing research for my paper on China's foreign exchange reserves and trade surplus (the one I had to give a presentation about), I hopped on the streetcar and went to Stevie and T's apartment in lovely NW Portland (sorry A and IB--Milwaukie, or "unincorporated Clackamas county", if you prefer, is not lovely). Stevie made us yummy gin and diet tonics while I blabbed about DWE and then got to hear about Stevie's new job (he's a total superstar, by the way). Then we went out to dinner with T's BFF (she's my friend too, and I was totally stoked to see her, but I'm running out of initials and code names here), her boyfriend, and another friend of theirs. Highlights of the night include some kick-ass garlic cheese fries at Laurelwood pub, this really good drink that was hot cider, bourbon, and whipped cream, way over-tipping the waitress because of how obnoxious we were, playing 14 songs on the digital jukebox and 21st St Bar & Grill, and making DWE talk to T on the phone. The next morning, we had a yummy late breakfast (and I discovered that Newcastle beer goes great with pancakes).

Casa de Rebuelita:

Next it was off to Rebel's place on the hill, where I was reunited with my former apartment-mate Sally, the Fattest Cat in the World (just kidding, but dude, she's pretty chunky). Rebel, ever the accomodating hostess, met my demands for Hornsby's and baby-themed wrapping paper (the latter of which she claimed was something that I had actually purchased while we lived together, and then bequeathed to her when I moved). Then we were off to the first birthday party of K & D's adorable twin boys. Dude, that party was baby/small child central. Some of the kids were older ones that belonged to relatives, but we also seem to be getting older and reproducing at an increasing rate. The party was lots of fun, and I got to see several people that I hadn't seen in ages, which was wonderful. I also got to hold both m and Mr. and Mrs. N's 2-month old "little Japanese baby" for extended periods of time, which was delightful. After the party (and the rockin' cake--Costco makes the best store-bought cakes, hands down), Rebel, my wife, and I went downtown for a few drinks and some girl talk, which was quite nice save a touch of drama at the end. Rebel cracked me up by reviving our old joke about poking each other when it was time to pull the "stop requested" thing on the bus (especially since this was one of those jokes that I think I found funny far longer than she did, as in, "okay, please stop poking me now Jenn"). And then Sally sat on my hair for a while after we got in bed (but she eventually remember who her owner was, and promptly started annoying her instead).

Okay, time to get back to grading quizzes. Stayed tuned for the next and final installment in the "portland trip" series.

Oh, and a mildly entertaining anecdote dedicated to N: a couple of evenings ago, Dr. Wonderfulpants, Esq picked up my dictionary (the same old crappy abridged American Heritage that I've had since I was seventeen--if it weren't for the internet, I'd really need a better dictionary) and looked up the word "dictionary". It was in there, of course. "How would you know where to look it up?" he asked me. It's kind of a silly, pointless observation on some level, but it also sort of reminded me of a metaphor from a Lorrie Moore story about how you eventually have to throw the empty box that held the trash bags into the last of these trash bags (unless you recycle it, of course). It was a very sad and moving metaphor in the context of the story, which was about a woman and her dying mother. I'm not sure why it reminds me of the dictionary thing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

the portland trip*

Getting there:

I arose at 4 a.m., threw on some clothes, and walked down to the BART station in the predawn darkness. At 5 a.m. I boarded BART, which deposited me at SFO at 5:30. Then the fun began. I had only carry-ons and I had checked in online the night before, so I was expecting the airport experience to be a breeze. And it more or less was, it was just an annoying breeze. First, the AirTrain which takes you to your terminal was experiencing a "delay" and would be arriving "momentarily". After five minutes and at least three "momentarily" announcements, I got annoyed and walked to terminal 1, which was just the next terminal over. Then I get to security, which was busy, but not insane. I'm feeling very smug at this point, because I'm all prepared: shoes off, laptop out, toiletries all 3 oz or less in a resealable quart-sized bag. Except it turns out I have no idea how much a quart is. The night before, I'd been packing, and I'd held up what was probably a gallon-size ziplock bag and asked DWE, "This looks like about a quart, right?" DWE glanced up from his laptop and said something to the effect of "Sure. They aren't too strict about the size of the bag." Well, maybe they aren't too strict at Oakland, San Jose, LAX, PDX, and whichever other airports he's flown out of recently, but boy howdy are they strict at SFO. So my bag, and all the toiletries in it, were rejected by security, and I was left standing crankily next to the X-ray machines debating what to do and trying (unsuccessfully) not to scowl at the security workers. I was about to throw my toiletries away (what else could I do?), when an angelic woman asked if I needed a quart-sized bag and said she might have an extra one in her luggage, which was going through the machine at the time. So she went through security, but the buckle things on her overalls beeped, so she had to get wanded, which took a while. So all my stuff has gone through security and is totally unguarded, and I'm standing stubbornly with $10 worth of toiletries waiting for some stranger to give me a plastic bag. Which she did, bless her heart. I accidentally ripped the bag, but fortunately no one seemed to notice. So by the time the security debacle is over, it's already time for my flight to board. Except it turns out that my nonstop flight to Portland is now a flight that first stops in Sacramento. Yes, Sacramento. In case you were wondering, the flight from SFO to Sacramento is LITERALLY 15 minutes long (not including taxi-ing...dude, how do you spell that word?). So that was annoying, but no big deal, and I was able to sleep on the subsequent flight to Portland.

Mr. and Mrs. B and their beautiful baby:

I spent my first day relaxing and basking in the presence of A and her incredibly sweet and smart 7-month old m (she gets a little m because she's a little baby!) who is now sitting up and has more hair. We went to Target, which was awesome because I love Target and there isn't one in the SF city limits. I bought a red sweater and A bought a green shirt, as well as an adorable outfit with little suede pants for m. When IB got home, we went out for yummy yummy Thai food on Hawthorne, where our service was slightly comprimised by the fact that our server was totally taken with how cute little m is, to the point of sort of ignoring the rest of us. It was pretty funny. Other highlights of the day included the three of us singing to m in the car to try to calm her down, me trying to keep m from swallowing A's wristwatch, and the fact that m entertained me by waiting until her diaper was off and peeing all over herself twice, once while each parent was changing her. A kept joking that things at their house aren't very exciting, but there's something really wonderful about being in a big (well, compared to my apartment), quiet, comfy house with a mom and a baby. Plus A and IB are awesome, and I was really happy to see both of them.

Okay, that's all for now. Stay tuned for more...

*This is also the title of a West Wing episode. Just wanted you all to know.

Monday, October 23, 2006

home again

Well, I have returned from a wonderful long weekend in Portland, and I'm currently sitting in a classroom at school waiting for my Monday night class to start and enjoying USF's wireless internet. My flight landed about 2 hours ago, and I had just enough time to drop by my apartment and get rid of one bag (the one not containing my laptop, notebook, and journal articles), then go by the cafeteria at school and grab a soda (no Dr. Pepper at USF, so I have to settle for a mixture of Barq's root beer and Mr. Pibb), then arrive to class early so that I can review my presentation before I have to give it in a little bit. Of course, I'm not actually doing that; I'm writing a blog entry. But I have a nine powerpoint slides, and I'm pretty sure that I can wing it from there.

Anyway, class is about to start, so I better go. FULL report on my Portland trip very soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

a glaring oversight

As far as I know, this blog has a small but loyal following. The vast majority of that following lives in the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. So when I returned from my last exciting and fun-filled trip to the best city in the world, I didn't blog about it because I figured that I shouldn't bore you more than usual by telling stories about things that most of you were there for.

However, given that I write this blog because I love to talk about myself, it ought to have occurred to me that people love to hear about themselves as well. So let me correct this injustice in two ways. First, by reiterating how freakin' excited I am to be going to Portland on Thursday. It easily beats out staying in SF to spend time with the not-travelling Dr. Wonderfulpants, Esq., and I think you kids know by now that that's saying something. Also, rest assured that upon my return you will get a full account of my adventures, which will be novel to at least my regular non-Portland readers B and N, and pleasurably self-indulgent to the rest of you. However, expect me to be brutally honest: if you did not clean your apartment in honor of my arrival, it will be noted for all to hear about! If your baby is not as cute as I remembered her being, I will say so! (Just kidding...please don't clean for me. And little M is an angel. So, by the way, is the precocious and adorable G, the 2-year-old daughter of A & A, who has become more charming and grown up than I could have imagined and whom I cannot wait to see).

Now that we've taken care of that little issue, I have to rush off to DWE's house so that I can use him for his free laundry.


I'm whiny this morning: research is hard, and I suck at it. Or maybe my expectations are unreasonable. I'm writing my research paper for my International Econ Seminar (the Monday night class) on China's current account surplus (known to regular people as their "trade surplus") and the manipulation of their exchange rate through the purchase of foreign exchange reserves. It's not an obscure topic; I'm willing to bet that every single one of you already knew about China's huge trade surplus and undervalued currency, if for no other reason than American politicians inaccurately portray it as being the reason for the U.S.'s massive trade deficit. For some reason, however, it's been much more difficult than I anticipated to find the sorts of articles I'm looking for. Granted, I've only spent about 2 hours looking so far, and my success would be greater if I were counting articles that I found but was unable to download on the internet for free. It doesn't help matters that USF is a small school and that our library sucks.

Anyway, I slept in far later than I intended to, the work is mounting, and I leave for Portland in less than 48 hours, so I guess I should go start my day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

sleeping weirdness and the stupid picture board

My sleeping habits are all jacked up for some reason, so I took two long naps during the day yesterday and then stayed up until 5:30 a.m. I did actually manage to make some progress on the econ picture board (which, if I haven't mentioned, is this boring chore that I should have finished two weeks ago), and if I make a little more then I can actually go in and start posting picture and then I can stop hiding from the department secretary (aka my boss). I should really have the whole thing done before I leave for Portland (Thursday morning! Yay!) but we'll see how that goes.

DWE is out of town right now on a business trip (this is a very common occurrence) and I'll just get to see him briefly on Wednesday night after class before I go out of town (the one weekend he's not on a business trip this month is the weekend I'm in Portland...but don't get me wrong, I'm still really glad I'm going and wouldn't go back and change it if I could). But considering how well we seem to be hitting it off, I think it's good that the time we're able to spend together is limited by circumstance.

Didn't end up seeing McDreamy this weekend, so I hope he's doing okay. He wrote an obituary for Rain (I know this because he emailed it to his friends), which was probably very therapeutic. I remember after Benna died (okay, fine, after I accidentally killed her) I wrote a poem about it and it made me feel slightly better.

Okay, I need to literally go put some names with faces now so that I can slap them up on the stupid picture board and feel like slightly less of a slacker. Oh, and I'm about half a journal article away from actually having done ALL my reading for class tonight, which is exciting and somewhat novel.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

r.i.p. rain. also some stuff about gender roles.

Well, I made it through Friday the 13th unscathed. I don't normally suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, but the last Friday the 13th, which was in January, was the day I got that call in Paris from my brother informing me that my dad was circling the drain (I know, I shouldn't talk that way, but my dad was not one for polite euphemisms, so I feel that I'm honoring his memory by being somewhat crass). So I was a little paranoid, but nothing bad happened. Well, not to me. Sadly, McDreamy's cat Rain passed away last night. She was 24 years old (that's 175 in people years, kids) so it's not exactly shocking, but unfortunate nonetheless. Derek and I are going to hang tonight and play some games (I expect with his roommate as well), so hopefully we can cheer him up a bit.

I've been putting this off a bit for fear that this blog has some kind of jinxing quality, but I should get around to mentioning that there's a new boy, who shall be known as Dr. Wonderfulpants, Esq. (or DWE, if you prefer). We've been on a few dates now and so far, so good. Very good, in fact. It's kinda freaking me out. He's very funny and intelligent (not to mention handsome as all get-out, with the requisite big nose), and he's incredibly nice to me. He's also very chivalrous, and he rarely lets me pay for anything, which is incredibly sweet insofar as it involves him being generous and treating me really well, but you know how I feel about gender roles and gender equality, so there's an extent to which I find it mildly troublesome. For example, last night we were waiting for the N train, and, as usual, I had not dressed sufficiently for the cold (layered tank tops and a cardigan), so I was hugging him to keep warm, and he took off his jacket and put it on me. Very kind and thoughtful, yes. But why should he suffer because I'm too stupid to stick my head out the window of my apartment and figure out that it's cold outside before I get dressed? On the other hand, he did it of his own accord, and I don't like it when people refuse the nice things that I try to do for them, so I guess I should just go with it. And the part about paying for stuff he justifies by saying that he has a good job and I'm a poor grad student, which is true. I guess I'm just afraid that I'm going to turn into one of those awful women that just expects a guy to do everything for her and pay for everything; however, that seems unlikely. Besides, I do plenty of nice things for him too, and I am generally in favor of people being kind to one another and acknowledging that sometimes it just makes sense to accept another person's help. (This point was made clear to me about 6 years ago when I lived in that hole of a studio with J-M, and I was taking laundry to Stevie's place at the infamous Frank Estates. My laundry basket was really full and really heavy, and as I struggled down the stairs with it, Stevie offered to carry it. No, I've got it, I said, because I believe in self-sufficiency. So after watching me struggle for a while longer, frustrated, he just took it from me, and with his genetically-bestowed upper body strength carried it the rest of the way to the car with little effort.)

I ought to be getting some school work done or perusing the Financial Times, but since I was a good girl and read my journal articles yesterday, and we're scheduled to do econometrics tomorrow, I think I'm going to take a bit of a nap now.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

data, baby!

Well, I officially have some data now, by which I mean I have an Excel spreadsheet full of numbers that I can plug into Stata (the statistical software we use) and run regressions and things on. I've only entered data for 30 borrowers (out of nearly 500) so far, but since it's panel data, that's actually almost 400 observations (one for each year for each borrower), so it's enough to get started with. Also, there may still be some major changes to how we construct certain variables and what we do or do not include, so I'm not planning on entering all the data until winter break, during which time I'll be staying in SF (well, except for going to Bako for X-mas) because I can't afford to do anything fun. Which is okay, because I could use a mellow couple of weeks in the city, doing semi-mindless data entry and doing the things that I never get around to, like going to museums and Golden Gate park, etc.

So, tonight I spent some time running descriptive statistics on my variables (mean, standard deviation, coefficient of skewness, etc), and then I ran a few very preliminary regressions. If you all understood econometrics, I could tell you some things that you'd think were hilarious in a depressing, pathetic sort of way. Like the fact that I ran a tobit regression and it couldn't even find a single set of coefficients that would maximize the density function. So then I transformed my dependent variable from a multinomial to a binomial, and ran a logit regression, but none of my variables were even remotely significant. If a variable is significant at the 10% level (meaning there's a 90% chance that what it's telling you about the correlation between it and the dependent variable is true), then your "p-value" would be 0.1. When you get insignificant results, it's usually a p-value of like 0.5 or 0.6 at most (occasionally higher). I actually had several p-values of 1.0 (i.e. 100% chance that this variable is totally insignificant). I didn't even know that was possible (Dr. J's comment: "Wow. Yeah, that's possible, but it's pretty hard to do."). So yeah, I'm going to have to come up with a bit more complicated of a model in order to get anything meaningful. And things might improve as my sample gets larger. But my main problem is that since not many borrowers acquired durable business assets, my dependent variable has a whole bunch of zero values, which messes things up.

But at least I can set that aside for a day or two and focus on other things. Tonight I'm just going to read for a while and try to get to bed "early", so that I can get up tomorrow and do laundry and other productive things.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

insomnia-induced post

I was rather irresponsible today, but as is so often the case, I managed to get away with it. For my International Economics Seminar (which is the class I have every Monday night) I was supposed to read 3 journal articles and prepare a presentation on the second half of one of them (since the article is particularly long and dense he assigned it to two people). I read the entirity of the article from which I was presenting, but I didn't start writing my presentation until, oh, about an hour before class. I had taken reasonably good notes while reading, but nonetheless I was not particularly proud of the outline that I rather hastily created (most people in the class do their presentations in Powerpoint, but for some reason I've chosen to be old school: I write an outline of sorts in Word and print it out on overhead transparancies, which I then use in my presentation). Anyway, because I left things to the last minute, I ended up being a good 20 minutes late to class, and I hadn't read the two other articles that had been assigned. But Prof. IMF (he's a funny old French guy who used to be a big shot at the IMF and retired in San Francisco and now teaches at USF part time) seemed nonplussed by my lateness, it turns out we're not discussing the two articles I didn't read until next week, and my presentation seemed to be well-received despite its slipshod conception. My knowledge of international economics is just more advanced than most or all of my fellow class members (of whom there are only 5, all undergrads or first year graduate students; 2 of my fellow second year IDEC colleagues are auditing the class, and of course they're generally as knowledgable as I am, but they don't have to present journal articles). Furthermore, I appear to be just about the best public speaker in the class (again, not including the two auditors). The combination of these two facts makes it pretty easy to stand up there and sound like I really know what I'm talking about without too much effort (and I don't get nervous, which helps; in fact, as you know, I love the sound of my voice and would gladly present every week in lieu of listening to others' boring presentations). In many cases this is true: I do know what I'm talking about and I am doing a pretty good job synthesizing and explaining the material (this is, after all, pretty much the only thing I learned as a history major--I can't even remember what year WWII started). But it also means I can get away with a bit of bullshiting and eliding certain parts of an argument that I didn't quite follow or didn't bother to read carefully. A part of me feels guilty about this, but a part of me is okay with it, because to be honest, it's the only thing in economics I will ever be really good at (well, maybe I'll be okay at research, but not the econometrics that inevitably follow). My math skills, my ability to intuit theoretical models, my ability to recognize problems with data--all these things are adequate, but I'll never be really gifted at them. I'll never further the field of economics by introducing a groundbreaking new theoretical model or conducting a seminal empirical study with important implications; what I can hope for is that I can work competently within the field doing something that helps people, and that I can further the cause of economics by explaining it to other people and convincing them that it is interesting and relevant.

Well, for the second night in a row I'm up way too late (although tomorrow the things I have to do are less urgent and time-constrained, so I can afford to sleep in for a while). I know of several people, including myself, who have been having wicked bouts of insomnia lately. I'm probably the luckiest of all these people, because my schedule is so flexible so I can sleep until noon (or sometimes later) almost any day I'd like.

I fear this blog is taking a bad turn: I'm trumpeting my superiority over classmates and then whining about my very minor problems. I sometimes wonder if this blog should have some kind of purpose or agenda beyond babbling about my life; I'll have to work on that.

Oh, and I'm about a third of the way through A Confederacy of Dunces. I hesitate to use the word "enjoy", because the main character is really the most obnoxious human being ever conceived (next to him, my dear, well-meaning and hard-working brother is the friendliest, calmest, most selfless and socially adjusted person in the world--I now deeply regret ever comparing him to the character in the book). I find the characeter massively infuriating, but he certainly has that train-wreck quality that you can't avert your eyes from. And the way that the supporting characters have webbed out from the main character into their own subplots, and I suspect will come back around to some sort of collision with him, is very promising.

But at the moment, I'm going to put myself to sleep with The Economist, which ran a survey of the developing world a couple weeks ago that I still haven't quite finished.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

dunces, tank tops, and avoiding data entry

The nice thing about having all this boring data entry to do is that, to avoid doing it, I've been productive in several other ways today. I cleaned my apartment, ran some errands, copied a bunch of the TV shows that are filling up my hard drive onto discs, started rehanging some wall decorations (with my new bed I had to take a lot of things down), and looked up all the words that I had written on random scraps of paper (when I don't know a word in something I'm reading I look it up and write the definition in my journal; I've been pretty lazy about it as of late).

I also just started reading a new book, even though I never got more than about 100 pages into the last one I was working on. I've decided I'd just rather be reading fiction while I'm taking classes, and I was reminded of A Confederacy of Dunces when I noticed it listed on the MySpace profile of someone I know. My father was a big fan of the book (although it was not his favorite--that was Catch-22 by Joseph Heller), and he gave me a hardbound copy of it as one of my christmas gifts in 1999 (my memory isn't that good--he wrote "Merry X-mas 1999" in the book). I remember that I had started to read it several years earlier than 1999, when I was in high school, but the main character, at least as he is presented in the first chapter, is obnoxious, unreasonable, mean, and self-absorbed. I seem to recall that he reminded me a little too much of my brother (or rather, a much worse version of my brother), and I got annoyed and stopped reading. Of course, my brother and I have a much better relationship now, and he's far more pleasant than he was when we were younger (no doubt I am as well; I was, after all, the obnoxious and whiny little sister). So I've decided to take another stab at it. I'm finding it important at the moment to do things that remind me of my father, even though it is sometimes painful. A couple of weeks ago, I had a day where I couldn't recall once thinking about him, and it panicked me a little. I don't want to dwell on the loss, but I don't want to forget about it either, so I figure doing something like reading a (supposedly) good book that he enjoyed and bought for me is a good way to remember him in a positive, productive way.

On an entirely unrelated note, today I was a bad girl and bought two more extra long ribbed cotton tanks from Old Navy. Yes, I have 8 of them now, in addition to at least 10 other styles of tank top, but I wear them constantly. And in my defense, I've been replacing many of my wardrobe staples lately because much of what I previously had is too big for me now, since it was purchased when I was a good 25 pounds heavier than I am now (well, make that more like 22...while I had a cold and wasn't getting out much, I unfortunately decided that eating lots of ice cream would make me feel better). I also bought some pants and a shirt that were on clearance.

Oh, and S and I had a nice time at Martuni's, where I drank moderately and consumed plenty of water. S and I talk on the phone constantly, but I don't usually see him that often; I've seen him several times in the past week, and it's been lovely.

Time to go see what else productive I can do besides my data entry. There's a long-ass article that I'm supposed to be reading and presenting on for class on Monday, so maybe I can at least print it out and start looking it over.

Friday, October 06, 2006

soup (finally) and martunis

After a largely unproductive day, I finally got around to making my soup this evening. Part of the delay was that I'd been needing to go to the grocery store and get (among other things) more milk, which I also finally got around to this evening.

Anyway, the soup morphed from cream of asparagus to cream of asparagus, sugar snap peas, and carrots (also known as "cream of all the vegetables in my refridgerator that were about to go bad soup"). I think I slightly undercooked the carrots (I hate overcooked carrots, so I have a thing about cooking them), but other than that the soup turned out pretty well. I wouldn't serve it at a dinner party, but I certainly like it. And although I had the lid of the food processor securely fastened, I left the top off of the chute that's in the lid, so the steam was able to escape. And I thank you all for your disaster-avoiding soup-cooking advice.

Like I said, my day has been wholey unproductive other than that. Last night I went to bed "early" (mindnight) with the intention of getting up "early" (maybe nine?) but ended up sleeping past noon. I spent a few hours reading my various news sources and doing some emailing, and then I became inexplicably tired again and took a two-hour nap. I know I've had some sleep to catch up on, but this is freakin' ridiculous. But I'm feeling reasonably perky now, so maybe it's not too late to get something done. I was supposed to hang with The Scientist tonight, but he had an experiment run long (such are the hazards of beng friends with a neuroscientist), so he had to cancel on me (which is more than reasonable, because I recently cancelled on him on two separate occasions, so I guess this is my karmic reward). At the grocery store I ran into one of the precious little econ undergrads that I know through E (and also just through, you know, being in the same department), and he said they might be going out later and that he'd call me. A part of me feels like going out (doesn't a part of me always feel that way?) but another part of me knows I should probably stay home and get some stuff done. I guess I'll just see what happens.


Well, as it turned out, what happened was that S called while I was writing this post, and he wants to go out for a few drinks, so that's what we're doing. We're going to a piano bar called Martuni's (a piano bar that specializes in martinis that I've been to once before with S and B (about a year ago when she was staying with me). When we went last year, I had sort of neglected to have dinner, and I had a couple manahattans, and then one part of this nice older gay couple that we met encouraged me to finish his martini, and well, I started to feel a little dizzy, so I headed for the restroom, but there was a line, and for some reason it didn't occur to me to go outside, so, as a result, I got a tiny bit sick on my sweater (just on my sweater, and not on the floor, might I add). So our waiter, rightfully but also unnecessarily snottily, kicked me out. Obviously, I've been too embarassed to go back ever since, but S insists that they won't remember me. My hair is twice as long and I'm 20 lbs lighter, but I'm still not so sure. At any rate, it was a fun place, and I learned a valuable lesson that night about food and alcohol that I managed to remember until this summer in India (although I still maintain that I would have been fine had we not gotten into a speeding, weaving, Mr. Toad's-Wild-Ride of a rickshaw).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

i'm married to the sea

I broke things off with McDreamy today (this was the romantic angst to which I previously alluded). I'd been mulling it over for a while, especially while I was sick and had lots of time by myself. The conclusion I eventually came to was that McDreamy is a great guy, and I enjoy spending time with him and feel much affection for him, but these feelings are platonic, not romantic. I feel a little sad, but I know it was the absolute right decision. As I suspected he would, he took it extremely well, and we will certainly still be friends, which makes me happy.

Other than that, today's been lovely. I got some things done at home, worked on entering thesis data (until I hit another in what appears to be an endless series of uncertainties over how to handle particular issues with the data), and caught up on my NYT, Slate, and Economist reading. At the behest of one of my professors, I've recently added the Financial Times to my online reading repetoire (The Economist is the only news publication that I can deal with reading on paper, because it's weekly, and therefore represents a smaller addition to the crap lying around my apartment). I don't read all these publications from cover to metaphoric cover (although I come close with The Economist), but it's interesting to see different treatments of the same issues.

I think tonight I might rewatched the episode of The Simpsons where Lisa is asking Marge how to tell Ralph Wiggum that she doesn't like him romantically. Homer is passing through the room, and he says, "Let me handle this one, Marge. I've heard them all: I just like you as a friend, I don't speak English, I'm married to the sea, I don't want to kill you, but I will..." His delivery of the line is particularly hilarious. Anyway, I resisted the urge to wuss out and tell McDreamy that I'm married to the sea.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

the hugo chavez show

I tried to start entering my data tonight, but I realized how confused I still am about how to do it. The problem is that we're creating panel data, so we're projecting information back into the past, but we can't do that for all the information, so I'm not sure what to do. So after about 30 minutes I gave up and updated my myspace profile instead. Now I think I'll get in bed and try to finish reading this week's Economist before I go to sleep.

Is it wrong that I want Venezuela to win Latin America's seat on the UN Security Council just for the entertainment value that I think it would provide?

feeling attractive with a side of soup

I'm happy to report that S is doing much better. Apparently a good portion of his problem, in addition to the disappointment of a potential relationship not being what he'd hoped, was that he was "feeling unattractive", which he has subsequently (and quite rightfully) gotten over. And yes, it did strike me as mildly entertaining that he was apparently able to get over his feelings of unattractiveness in one day, whereas I'm still hard at work on mine after oh, say, 23 years, but S is pretty objectively hot (insofar as there is objective attractiveness), so I guess it makes sense. Similarly, whenever I'm upset because I feel stupid (such as the great B+ scare of Spring '06), it generally only takes me a day to get over it. Because dude, I'm way smart. And I'm actually feeling reasonably attractive at the moment, too (well, not at this very moment, but that's only because I need a shower).

I finished grading and recording the Intro Micro exams last night. In small doses I love grading, but it gets so boring after a while. And I really feel for the students who write a whole paragraph that I don't even read, because I'm just scanning for a particular word or phrase (say, "specialization of resources"), giving them full credit, and then moving on. In contrast, I really hate the students who don't say the magic words, because then I actually have to read their bizarre, convoluted answers and decide how much knowledge I think they're conveying to me and how relevant this knowledge is to the question being asked. Anyway, I'm done, and I'm glad to have helped Dr. J out, because he's super-busy (not to mention I do actually get paid to do this), so yay.

Now the two major tasks looming over my head are putting everyone's picture on the econ board and entering our data from the summer into Excel. I was supposed to have the picture board done last Friday. Oops. My only comfort is that my predecesor did an even more half-assed job than I'm doing, so I don't feel so bad. The data entry stuff I think won't be so bad once I start, but starting seems overwhelming. I'm going to see if I can get myself to do it this afternoon in exchange for not having to drag my ass to school to work on Econometrics.

I think I'm also going to try making some cream of asparagus soup (asparagus was on sale, and I love it so I bought some, but I've been in one of those don't-cook-and-live-on-cheerios-and-luna-bars places right now, so I need to eat the asparagus soon before it goes bad). I've never done this before, but I know how to make a cream-based sauce, I have some chicken broth I can throw in, and I have a food processor to blend the whole mess up in, so how hard can it be?

Monday, October 02, 2006

angst and clean laundry

I've been shamefully unproductive this weekend. I'm still not done grading exams, and I haven't done my reading for class tomorrow night. Although I'm no longer sick, I am rather tired still, and I had quite a bit to drink last night while hanging out with the Scientist. I haven't seen him since we stopped dating in, gosh, I think it was March or April, I can't remember. It was nice to catch up with him and see how he's doing. He got his heart broken recently, and I tried to cheer him up by telling him how I got groped and yelled at rickshaw drivers in India, but I'm not sure if it worked.

My dear S is also having some romantic angst, which sucks when you have to go to work and bill twelve hours a day. I've been thinking a lot lately about how easy it is to get hurt in dating/romantic situations, even fairly embryonic or loosely-defined ones. It's too easy to be careless with other people's feelings, and I've been noticing recently how much past damage echoes through into present situations, even years later (no, these are not stunning revelations, they're just things that have been made more prominent to me lately). I'm having a bit of my own romantic angst and confusion, but it's not blog-ready yet (and it's been preoccupying me lately, which is part of why I haven't posted all week).

But all is not woe. I did finally do my laundry and sweep/mop my kitchen floor on Thursday, which were long-overdue chores. And I do love it when all my favorite things to wear are clean. Oh, and we were given an merciful respite from Econometrics on Wednesday when Dr. J cancelled class (although I think his baby daughter may have been sick, so I regret the circumstances and I hope very much that she is doing better now). Anyway, there we were at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, slogging through the last parts of the problem set and trying to study for the quiz, and suddenly a chorus of angels appears in the econ computer lab: "No class! No problem set or quiz to turn in until next week! Go home and take a nap!"

I know, I know, my life is so easy. I recognize that it is, and I'm deeply grateful, but it doesn't really seem easy. I suppose no one's does.

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