# 01 May 2008, 07:55AM: Designed For Me:
The Crooked Timber folks talking about the skill of management.
One point in that discussion: communication of academic concepts to non-academics requires serious empathy. Gotta work on that. In fact, gotta work on my presentation in defense of my master's thesis, which is this Saturday around 11 am.
# 01 May 2008, 05:02PM: Musings:
On a colleague sitting alone in a conference room with low lighting, sternly focused on his laptop screen: "He looks so hard-core in there. Like he's checking checkboxes in a web app to decide who to kill."
# (1) 01 May 2008, 09:41PM: Sportswomanship:
Just the facts, mostly; more facts and story. There's a parable here, along the lines of the story of walking with Jesus and leaving footsteps on the sand.
# 02 May 2008, 09:00PM: Litmus Quest:
"But is it art?"
"Well, it must be art, because it has an obnoxious Flash interface."
# (2) 03 May 2008, 07:04AM: Elegance:
I figured it out. I woke up and thought about it and invented an opening and closing for my presentation today that's aesthetically satisfying and that uses meaningful, non-cliched analogy to get the crux of my idea across to the judges. Now to practice to ensure I can deploy it well at 10:55.
This is great. This is the heart of yes. I've been reading a lot by my role models recently, especially Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Rachel 'goop' (techwriter) Chalmers, and Dr. Rivka. And even though I know they have their moments of despair and weakness, I couldn't help thinking, "This is how they feel all the time!"
# (2) 03 May 2008, 04:43PM: Done(ish):
Thesis: defended! Poker faces of judges: studied.
Now, two more finals, then DONE.
# (4) 04 May 2008, 09:42AM: Tips, Modesty, and The Magic Word (Julie Andrews):
My sisters-in-law have started putting longer essays and tipsheets on Associated Content (Susie, Rachel) . Susie writes mostly tips for domestic productivity and happiness. I especially like Susie's tips on beginner sewing projects using scrap fabric and reusing old, worn-out clothes, and her lists of tips on useful things to keep in the car, starting a meal swap group (a.k.a. once-a-month megapotluck), housewarming gift ideas, and setting up and maintaining a cleaning schedule. Now I just have to follow through!
Rachel's living in London, which led Susie to write up tips for reducing an expatriate's loneliness. Rachel mostly writes expat- and traveler-themed articles, like tips on planning a backpacking trip, a pros-and-cons piece on using guidebooks, and gift guides for expats and itinerants. This November, I'd like to use Rachel's tips for succeeding at NaNoWriMo. And it was neat and exciting to read her citizen reporting from the Democrats Abroad presidential primary.
Sadly, not all the stuff on Associated Content is as useful and cool as my family's work. Women have posted creepy Bible-related comments on an article on the history of pants in women's fashion. I never understood why skirts were more "modest" than pants until I read these comments. I'd figured: it's easier to have sex while wearing a skirt! Wouldn't pants, which would need to be removed, be more modest? But no, these women inform me: the lines of the leg-tubes draw the male gaze right to the forbidden area! They know where it is! They can't help but think about it! But wait, isn't mystery sexier? Wouldn't men actually obsess more over the invisible, unknowable skirt-covered crotch? Ridiculous.
If these women want me to wear skirts, they should turn their energies towards convincing mainstream America that God gave all his children leg hair and never meant for half of them to constantly battle it.
As long as I'm talking about my sisters-in-law, I should mention that Rachel recently recommended Lying About Hitler by Richard Evans and saw a stage production of The Sound of Music. Rachel, I saw a home-taped video of the film a zillion times when
I was a kid, and I must have always fallen asleep around the wedding. When I was a teen, I then actually saw the ending with the escape and was like, "Oh! So it was all about Nazis!"
Also, when I was five, my mom took me to try out for a local stage production of The Sound of Music as Gretl, the tiny daughter. I said the lines Gretl had said in the movie instead of the lines they were giving me for the play. I didn't get the part.
# (1) 06 May 2008, 10:43AM: RIP, Mildred Loving:
Mildred Loving, freedom-to-marry activist, has passed away. Forty-one years ago, Mildred and Richard Loving and the ACLU paved the way for my marriage to be recognized everywhere in the United States. Thank you, Mrs. Loving. In commemmoration, a repeat link to a related column of mine.
# 09 May 2008, 11:34AM: Montreal:
Looks like I'm going to be in Montreal eight days from now, the night of Saturday, May 17th. Anyone want to put me up or have a late dinner?
# 13 May 2008, 11:30PM: The Last Mile:
One final down, one to go. Tidbit from studying: 1961 was the last year that defense comprised half or more of US federal spending.
Yesterday in a brainstorming meeting I mentioned Oregon Trail and a bunch of us squeed. Sharing pop culture touchstones is hardly a substitute for living one's entire childhood in a single social and geographical milieu, but it's what I have so that's where my nostalgia goes. One of the company's owners and a 24-year-old colleague didn't know about Oregon Trail. I must have played it for a hundred hours, after school at Sorrento Springs Elementary near St. Louis. Was that the second or third school I'd been to in two years? It was fourth or fifth grade, so it had been at least a year since we moved from Pennsylvania. Had I already slowed down on the whole making-friends endeavor? No, no, that wasn't yet, I only really got socially bewildered after moving to California. Maybe I should have taken more oxen.
# (2) 14 May 2008, 11:31PM: Done?:
I think I'm done with finals. This is assuming that I did well enough on my cost-benefit analysis exam, and/or that my classmates did poorly enough. I am a little stunned and don't quite believe it. I wish constant elasticity had been on there; at least that's mathematically elegant. And I knew how to do it.
# 17 May 2008, 06:57AM: No Way!:
An A- in cost-benefit analysis?! Other people must have done much worse on that final exam than I! Awesome! Now I know I'm actually graduating on Tuesday! Off to Montreal with a net-positive song in my heart.
# (12) 20 May 2008, 09:15PM: Finished With Commencement:
Tonight my husband and sister and mom watched me cross the stage to the tune of the worst mispronunciation of my name in all my graduations ever. Who cares! Then, the ritziest freaking reception ever, with live music and a risotto bar. The difference between an Ivy and a state school, apparently.
I'm done, I'm done, now I just have to actually believe it and get back on my Python lessons, AltLaw work, Miro testing, exercise, internal improvement, writing portfolio collection and upkeep, correspondence, and all the other stuff I've been putting off till May 21st, 2008.
# 21 May 2008, 09:31AM: New Word:
Angst + maelstrom = angstrom.
# 21 May 2008, 11:59AM: Media Experience Revue:
Since my mom is in town, I actually bought full-price Broadway tickets for once in my life. Tonight's showing of Curtains will star David Hyde Pierce and hundreds of dollars of my money in the form of fedoras and whatnot.
Zed and Jen: Leonard and I have bought and begun to watch Black Books, basically because you sold me on it by showing me the pilot when I stayed with you in January. It's like a sitcom, only good!
I've been binging on decades-old Nancy Kress (most famous for the awesome Beggars in Spain novella) from the Columbia library. She loves writing about lawyers, journalists, wives, genetic engineering and gene therapy, reincarnation, class, and upstate New York. I'm not enamored of her endgames in her novels, but nearly everything else is good.
Now I'm indulging in my friend Susan McCarthy's Becoming a Tiger: How Baby Animals Learn to Live in the Wild. Susan was a neighbor and confidant of mine in SF and I miss her! But now she has a smart and funny blog about animal behavior that will remind me to call her more often. The book is chock-full of retellable anecdotes and sounds like her, making me smile on every page.
# (1) 23 May 2008, 12:53PM: Disoriented:
Curtains! and The Counterfeiters are both very good, but I got a kind of whiplash from seeing them a day apart.
I walked out of Curtains! with a huge relaxed smile on my face, gloating that my mom and sister had enjoyed it and a Circle Line cruise that day. (A successful New Yorker must be able to recommend appropriate tourist activities to visiting friends. Thus I get chagrined when I try to bring friends to Roosevelt Island and Southpoint Park is locked up.) David Hyde Pierce is hilarious and adorable, the whole production moves superfast and the sets and costumes are tremendous.
I walked out of The Counterfeiters with my entire body tense, and had anxious Holocaust dreams. I'd seen the movie partly because Cory Doctorow described it as a prisoners' dilemma exploration. It's that, and engrossing, and horrifying. I now want to re-view the "Chain of Command" episode of Star Trek: TNG and a few episodes of Star Trek: DS9 (Duet emphatically included) to better understand what aspects of the Cardassians have Nazi analogues. But I also just want to sit and cry.
# (1) 26 May 2008, 04:00PM: Bookishness:
I have now inhaled Scott Westerfeld's Uglies trilogy, complete with a night where I stayed up till 1:30 reading in bed while Leonard slept, just to finish Specials. Now I'm reading the companion novel, Extras, which makes me laugh out loud and wince at how familiar the attention economy feels. And this weekend, Leonard and I acquired huge stacks of cheap used books in Brooklyn. It's so nice to have more time to read fiction!
Speaking of nominally young-adult fiction, my friend Sabrina Banes has a new blog about YA fiction matters. I'm hoping to cause her to love Gordon Korman.
Also, Sabrina connived Leonard and me into going with her to the Little Brother signing this evening, starring Cory Doctorow and co-starring the Nielsen Haydens. Speaking of the attention economy. I'll be meeting people who have higher Technorati rankings than I do! I'll be wearing my oldest Electronic Frontier Foundation tee shirt, for cred.
# 27 May 2008, 11:12AM: I Laugh At Caffeine:
Every day that I experience a thin sheen of capsaicin-induced sweat on my face is a better day, ceteris paribus.
# 28 May 2008, 07:44AM: Science-y Storytelling Tomorrow Night:
I can't attend much of the World Science Festival because I'll be in Washington, DC this weekend visiting family. I'll be missing Alan Alda, "Seeds, Survival, Stalin," and a bunch of neat dance.
However, I am intensely interested in
"Toil and Trouble... Stories of Experiments Gone Wrong." That's tomorrow night at Peter Norton Symphony Space, a pretty utilitarian venue (wah wah wah). I'll be buying that ticket later today, so call or email me by around 1pm ET if you want to come with.
Update at 1:30: It'll just be me and Leonard. Unless you ambush us!
# 29 May 2008, 07:15AM: Work Quip:
"Tuesdays With Morrie? Didn't that turn out to be fabricated?"
"He didn't really meet those five people in heaven."
Cogito, Ergo Sumana by Sumana Harihareswara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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