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My favorite geneticist, Dr. James Watson, is back to his shenanigans.  I think that he should try out for the next season of The Real World.  You know, Dr. Watson, at first I thought that some of your tirades were actually entertaining… like when you suggested that there was some mysterious link between sexual urges and sunlight exposure, and then proceeded to claim that this was the cause for the existence of “Latin Lovers.”  I am pretty sure that these boys would disagree with you, but your claim still made me chuckle.  Yah, I said “chuckle.”  And then there was your proclamation about thin people being more ambitious than overweight people.  And then you had the nerve to make comments about the physical appearance of Dr. Rosalind Franklin… whom a) FYI, Looked better than you any day of the week and b) you more or less stole data from and claimed the Nobel Prize for the work which she predominantly did… hmm…  classy.

And when I thought that it was not possible to get anymore distasteful, you tell the world that black people are intellectually inferior to white people.  Blown.  Away.  I wish your better half, Dr. Crick (I think Dr. Wilkins was shady too >:[), were still alive to keep you in check.  Or at least to tell you when to keep silent.  And after all of this, you come back with your attention-seeking comments again???  This time slamming high school teachers???  We all know that the educational systems has its problems, but what was the last high school science class that you ever taught??

This dude got a Nobel Prize!!  A NOBEL PRIZE!  Is George Bush going to get one next? :/  This makes me so upset that I cannot even discuss it further.  On a happier note, congratulations to the winners of this year’s Intel STS (which SciAm is referring to as “The Baby Nobels,” which I think is cute!)!  A lot of those projects were really cool and advanced.  And thank you to all of the high school teachers out there doing great things and inspiring others to be great; like Nick Ehling and Nodar Jagodnishili, who led the Fels school to win the Pennsylvania chess title!  Susan Polgar even mentions it in her blog.  I am by no means anywhere close to being a serious chess player, but I have been amazed by the Polgar sisters since I was little and I think it is awesome that one of them would recognize the accomplishments of a small inner-city school in Philadelphia.

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So, I pimped out my desktop.  And I am loving it so much that I just thought that I would share.  Notice the lack of stewpy taskbar.  And no, I did not just paste on some arbitrary static values; the date and weather fields are dynamic.  Hot. >:D Go be jelly, cuz your desktops are nowhere near as zen(ic?) as mine.  Losers. >:]

 

My Desktop Brings All the Zen to the Yard

My Desktop Brings All the Zen to the Yard

In honor of the impending witching season (and also of NaNoWriMo 08!), I bring to you a short story.  Although, my use of poetic license and of monikers may be liberal, the majority of the following narrative is still mostly somewhat true.  Or at least partially based on a true story.  Or truly based on a partial story.  Or something… The point is that it did actually kind of happen.  And in 3D.  Enjoy! 😀

One mild yet sunny day, not quite yet in the ides of autumn, a group of scientists were toiling away in their shady basement laboratory.  The lab was so vast, and buried so deep within the university, that soft and numerous drafts were experienced daily by its inhabitants.  It could have passed for a dungeon.  Perhaps it was one.

For weeks, these chemists, biologists, and clinicians had been slaving away.  Food. Water. Pooping. Sleep.  All of these things had become unnecessary.  Luxurious nothings from a former life.  Adaptation? Evolution?  Epigenetics?  Whatever the cause, there was no time to try to pull logic from rapidly fading memories.  From dreams.

8:00 PM.  The Deadline.  And quite literally so.  For in every pseudo-dungeon, there lies a pseudo-dragon.  Perhaps there are places on this earth, tangled within the superstring, where an exception exists and defies this rule.  However, the Cartesian coordinates for such a locale were clearly not the same as those for this one.

As the researchers scurried, much like their mice did in their cages down in the room below, to collect and collate their data, the Dragon skulked out of its opulent chambers and into the harsh sterile glare of the main room.  It sniffed visibly (as if someone had just put an open bottle of beta mercapatoethanol under its nose), thinking of how little the lighting up here did for its Prada clothing.  It’s gold jewelry.  It’s sizable cloud of self-importance.  It thought to itself (and then proceeded to share the thought aloud) that the lighting did almost as little as the peons running about it’s domain.

Accustomed to such helpful commentary, the peons continued with their work, not daring to meet the Dragon’s soulless gaze.  Rather, they kept their eyes on the clock. 4:13. 4:28.  The soft hum of machinery just barely masking the whispered prayers.  Fervent pleas to the gods of science and technology.  Pleas for good results.  Success.  Tenureship.  Escape.  One researcher looked up, perhaps to his deity.  Were those cobwebs he saw? Or just the workmanship of the spiders.  Haphazard algorithms?  Or very deliberate designs?  Like their data.  Like every action which they were performing now.  Working as one seasoned perpetual motion machine.  Dragon observed, offering little physical aid and even less moral support.

5:00 PM.  The final paper.  Compiled.  Reviewed.  Edited.  Corrected.  Consecrated and sent.  A communal sigh.

6:30 PM.  Response Received. “Manuscript Rejected…” Dragon reads aloud calmly, yet shaking with unimaginable fury.  Despite the tendrils of fire escaping its nostrils, the room temperature seems to have become sub-zero.  Everyone tries to play dead.  To make no sudden movements.  To make no movements at all.  But in a room frozen with fear, their warm breath is as visible as liquid nitrogen…

To Be Continued…

If we are still alive later this week… 😀

I had my first experience with Boltbus this weekend; we went up to NYC for a birthday party.  I was pretty impressed!  The buses were new, clean, quiet, and offered free wi-fi.  That last bit was essential, since about 80% of the passengers were college students and other 20-somethings with laptops and smartphones.  It was a pleasant ride and I even made a new friend!  Although, it was not quite as amusing as our Greyhound trip, Sheelu!! Hahaha!!  You so should have asked that girl for her number!  You two had sooo much in common! >:]  AND My round-trip ride from Philly to NYC was less than $10! Holler!!  Check out Megabus for a similar service.  Anywho, NYC was nice.  Had dinner at Takahachi in Tribeca, then hung out at Emerald Pub.  Afterwards, Chenkay and I had a late-night conversation about a certain pillow and blanket…  >:]

While in NYC, I tested out HopStop.  It surprised me in the following ways: (a) It worked! (b) It was pretty clear and concise!  It reminded me that I left out something in my Don’t Text Me post.  That some texting services are actually very useful.  So that is one more point for texting.  But I still rather receive a text from a bot, than from any of you. :p  Which reminds me, thanks for the 5 billion texts you guys sent me the day I put up that post… You are all so hilarious…  Hmm… So I guess I will tell you my current favorites:

HopStop: Will send you directions via public transportation.  Currently only works for 8 major metropolitan areas, but they will be extending their network.  Philadelphia, Atlanta, and a few others coming soon!  Just text two addresses, separated by the word “to” (ie- 50 Wall St. to Penn Station) to HSTOP (47867).

Google Mobile: Text “Help” to GOOGLE (466453).  Google will then text you back, asking what you want.  To see the things which you can ask for, click here.  It is a pretty wide range.

ChaCha: Text ChaCha (242242) or call 1-800-2CHACHA and ask them pretty much anything!  Admittedly, I have not tried this one out myself yet, but I have heard good things.  You do need to sign up on the website before you can use this service though.

Jott: Jott does a lot.  Too much to paraphrase. I think that I have mentioned it before.  Go check it out. :]

Friday morning I read about the death of Randy Pausch, and I was literally in tears.  Crazy how you can feel so much for people whom you have never met.  I have mentioned him in my blog before and posted the links to his lectures.  Although, I am almost positive that hardly any of you took the time to see what this man was about, because your lives are all so very busy and eternally filled with crucial things to be done.  Well, he certainly inspired me, as well as millions of others.  My heart and prayers go out to his family and to all who knew him.  Especially to his wife and children, who had the rare gift of a truly wonderful husband and father.  May he always be with you.

Many of you either used to text me regularly or still continue to text me regularly (You guys are the slow learners). Either way, you have probably received one or more of the following replies from me at one point or another:

*
*
* >:[
* >:O
* Why are you texting me?
* Stop texting me.

I think that the majority of you have probably received the first option (ie- no response). I think that the only question that I hear more often than “Why aren’t you on Facebook?” is “Why don’t you respond to my texts?!” May I present to you my dissertation.

Even though some of you are ugly, I prefer face-to-face conversation. If this is not a viable option, then there is this awesome thing called the phone. Before it ever sent texts, it made calls. Failing that, there are these other ingenious modes of communication known as email and instant messaging. I know that it may seem odd to some of you for me to be supporting such archaic technologies, seeing as how many of you consider me a bit of a nerd and technophile. However, if you think about what an INFJ I am, it makes more sense.

Relationship = Communication. Thus, I really rather not have any relationship based on “conversations” via text message nor Facebook wall. Have you noticed that the relationships that you have which are mostly comprised of such things are not exactly close/important relationships? I do understand the allure of the text though. It is convenient. You can let people know that you know that they are alive without putting much thought or effort into the action. Personally, I do not want any relationships based on convenience, nor relationships based on empty actions. In a world in which Miley Cyrus is considered an actress and singer, I appreciate substance.

I find that when people take the time to actually pick up the phone or send an email, they put a little more thought into the conversation. Whereas, when responding to a text, one’s attention is usually partially diverted by whatever one was in the midst of doing. Thus, one sends a quick response which lacks a certain amount of reflection. Of course, this may change. When IM first became popular, it was difficult for many to focus on both their IMs and whatever else they were doing on their computers. Now plenty of people are comfortable with multi-tasking with AIM, and many can continue delibrate conversations without skipping a beat. I think those people are in the minority though. I am not half-bad, but I still have friends who get understandably annoyed when I do too much AIM-juggling.

There are uses for such modes of communication which I think are fantastic though. In times when the communication is not about a relationship, but rather, about just getting things done. I think that those of you with Crackberries will understand this. You don’t necessarily want to have an actual conversation, with all the formalities and pleasantries expected when addressing your boss or colleagues. I think that those brief messages are perfect for such situations. Probably more efficient than a phone call, because you are saving time and getting straight to the point. Similarly, I can see this being of use personally when you just need some quick info from a friend (ie- if you forgot what time you were supposed to meet for dinner).

Other situations in which I find it appropriate to text: When you are actually in a place where making a call would be inappropriate and it is URGENT that you get info to someone. So this most likely does not apply to those of you sitting in geometry class and texting (Kwasifer…), because I doubt that whatever junk you are texting is so important that it can not wait until after class or school. Also, when you are in a place where texting is substantially cheaper/more feasible than making a phone call. This applies to all of my friends and family abroad. And lastly, when you just have nothing else to do. As in, you are not in a time nor place where you are supposed to be listening to a teacher and learning, nor doing work for someone who pays you. If you send me a Bored Text though, please make sure that it is partially amusing. You have more of a chance of obtaining a response that way. Or at least an appreciative laugh. I have totally sent Bored Texts before… while I was stuck in a waiting room… or waiting for my souffle to rise… or daydreaming about what I would do if I won the lottery… or when I just had to share a really awesome knock-knock joke…

Anywho, it certainly is not my place to tell you what to do with your ample amounts of free time… But maybe… just maybe… some time soon… You could pick up your expensive Texting Machine with Phone Capabilities… and, oh… I dunno… Call those people who you text and message all of the time. Maybe you can get even crazier and invite them out somewhere! It may seem unfamiliar and awkward at first… but who knows? Maybe you’ll find out that you like each other enough to promote your superficial relationship to a real one!! Stranger things have happened.

It is said that 55-70% of communication is non-verbal, with 7% being verbal and the rest relating to tone of voice. None of the above-mentioned technologies allow for the observation of body language. And goodness knows how many people emphasize their speech with hand gestures (Maybe I should give video chat a try?). And let’s not forget pheromones (I did my 8th grade science fair project on this)! The phone allows for observation in tonal fluctuations. But what about texts? These technologies are only tools. Like a calculator. Sure, it will give you a quick answer. Maybe even the correct one. But without more integral knowledge (obtained through the use of all the senses… well, perhaps not gustatory), a solid foundation will never be built.

Admittedly, I have not been following along this season. Maybe this means that I have been gaining a life. Probably not though. However, I did catch the finale last night, and I was pleasantly surprised. There have been a few “plus-sized” girls in previous seasons, but this is the first time one has won. Awesome. I think that she is beautiful. And I am not usually into blondes. Nor am I a lesbian. They really should call her “average (or real or normal, etc.)-sized” though (The girl is a Size 8. The average American woman wears a 12/14 for goodness’ sake…). Anyway, Congratulations Whitney!!

In the green hat.
In the green hat.

Front, Left.
Front Left.

Whitney

Speaking of incredibly gorgeous people, Dr. One and I were being mental hoes the other day, wondering whatever became of our former Kumon colleague Mr. Ari He-Is-So-Preposterously-Freakin-Fine-That-We-Forgot-His-Last-Name. He was a few years older than us, so he should be in his mid-twenties now. And he went to Rutgers. That is all we really have to go on. But if any of you know a ridiculously hot man named Ari, then that is probably him. Please let us know, so that we can turn our mental hoing into physical hoing. Thanks! Lastly, for all of you geniuses (no pun intended! hohoho! you should hit yourself if you understood this joke) buying into all of the MacBook Air hype, please click here to see what has had me laughing all week.

I have found that, since the return of The Tudors, I have spent a lot less time searching for and watching quality porn. Thus, I have had more time to do things of greater degrees of productivity. This phenomenon also occurred back in the good old days when Rome was still on. America’s Best Dance Crew almost had a similar effect. Until Kaba Modern got kicked off before Status Quo (They don’t even have a website:|). That was messed up.

So what are these other things I have been up to? Um… Facebooking. Gardening. Washing my car. Practicing with my dance crew. Playing some Madden. Pumping iron at the gym. Deep conditioning my hair. You know. Things like that. I was also reminded numerous times of how unintelligent the college-educated can be. Starting with the day that I was talking to a PhD candidate and mispronounced microscopy several times. It came out as something along the lines of “mic-scrop-ery.” I would like to say that it was really early in the morning, but it was definitely about 11:00 AM at the time. 😐 I was really tired that day though. So :p!

I felt a little smarter, however, when I was in CVS and overheard a girl talking to her friend about how she hoped that her car would not be towed. Apparently she thought that because she drove a brand new BMW that her dad bought for her, and she had parked it “near” a legal parking space, it would obviously not be towed. And her friend “totally” agreed with her. I just laughed to myself as I imagined the fine employees of the Philadelphia Parking Authority driving away with it at that very moment. Schadenfreude >:]

But here was my favorite. On my way back home on the train:

Girl: So I went to vote before class today at that place near the temple. And there were these people handing out these little flyers, which gave “suggestions” as to who I should vote for!!

Boy: No way! Is that even legal?!

Girl: I don’t know! Ohmigod! I was so mad! As if I don’t have a mind of my own, you know???

Boy: Yah. So who did you vote for?

Girl: Like, ohmigod! That is the part that made me the maddest! Cuz I voted for the people on the flyer. Like, I did not mean to! But it was like a trick, because that flyer was all I could think about while I was voting, you know??

Boy: …

Me:

Thank God for smart high-schoolers from New Jersey and Dean Kamen. I kept walking around Drexel during the regional competition (I still have my FIRST-SME membership card. Jelly? :]), thinking that perhaps Dean would be around, and we would run into each other, and he would fall madly in love with me, give me a diamond-encrusted Segway, and then we’d go live happily ever after on his private island… It could happen :/ RPI’s Business School went from being ranked #40 to #26 this year :o. Gonna be giving Wharton a run for their “Tower of Greed” soon. >:] I like how they put a bunch of black people (and I know 2 of them) in the picture… the wonders of marketing. 😀

I experienced a string of unfortunate events last week. I fell down the stairs (several times. Maybe it was the socks?)… walked into a 15 lb. weight… was kicked to the floor while I was not looking (I won’t say by whom >:|)… had the snifflies… lost an eBay auction at the last second… got massacred in Call of Duty 4… ran out of time on my practice exam… got lost on my way to Delran… etc., etc. So, naturally, when I was telling Animal about all of these bad times, I said:

Me: I feel like Alexander!! >:|

Animal: The Great? 😮

Me: … 😐 I fell down the stairs… Why would I be comparing myself to Alexander the Great?!

Animal: I dunno! Who then?!

Me: Alexander from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NoGood, Very Bad Day! Der! >:O

Animal: How was I supposed to know that is what you meant when you just said “Alexander”?!?!?!

Me: Well, obviously, I was not referring to “The Great…”

Animal: …

Was my reference so elusive? Not to kindergartners! :p Speaking of my friends in that age group… I read this article the other day. Wanted to hit someone in the face. >:| Then I came across these Dove ads. Admittedly, the campaign has its flaws. But hey, where are all of the other people doing something positive about the body image issue? Yah, so stop talking.

The wonders of hours in the hands of a professional hair & makeup team, retouching and Photoshop. 😐

 

But not for alliteration. >:D

I watched Poseidon last weekend, because I was being lazy and could not be bothered to change the channel. You guys know that I get irritated at movies with bad science. Like when there is noise in outer space (It is a vacuum! Sound waves can’t travel through it! Argh!!!). Anywho, this movie had some pretty bad physics, but the most baffling bit had nothing to do with the ship. What really made me roll my eyes was the fact that, despite the huge powerful waves and insane water pressure, Jacinda Barret’s strapless dress was never disturbed. What??? I have problems with strapless dresses, even when I am not swimming in them or having ocean-loads of water fall upon me! Even when I am standing perfectly still! Maybe I should stop being jelly, and find out where I can buy one of these magic dresses and/or magic tape.

In other news, I think I have a pseudo-crush on Anthony Bourdain… is that gross? I feel like Chenkay (simply in reference to her love of mature men – she requested that I change “old” to “mature”…). I am also crushing on Songbird, because I am a huge iTunes-hater (Speaking of, this cracked me up. Also funny:]). I was all mad because once I had performed my iPod surgery, my USB card decided to hate on me. >:| But I persuaded it to obey my command by flashing the BIOS! I did not even think it would work, but I had tried everything else. Saved myself from buying a new card. That’s my baby! Yah! :D! If it ever comes down to saving one of you or my Thinkpad… hm… well… just hope that it never comes down to that.

Anywho, as you guys know, this is birthday season around these parts. Within the last 2 weeks, I have participated in 4 rounds of gallivanting and cake-eating. Included were numerous dance parties (one which involved my Mom and my brother in a Wu-Tang battle…yah… for real… yah… here is an example, for all of you P.I.s who have no idea what I am talking about…), too much food, lots of ?!?!?, and some blurry mornings. All worth it. :] Of course, I have mad studying and sleep to catch up on now . :/ Like now. 😐

Not just at electrostatics. But also at life, in general. He made his own self-improvement “Plan” with the following 13 virtues. Some of you should consider following it, or making your own. :p

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation. (What if you are already above sea-level?)
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation. (This is why I am mute 95% of the time. He said “trifling.”)
  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time. (Agreed? I cannot think of anything even remotely amusing or useful for this one. You got something?)
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve. (“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle.) True story. :]
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing. (Stop drinking that freakin Bling H2O. Actually, if you live in this area… and most other areas in the USA… you should not be buying bottled water at all. Honestly :|)
  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions. (Wii, XBox 360, Blackberry, Facebook Addicts, etc.)
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly. (For most people, this translates into: Do not speak at all. Ever.)
  8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty. (What if someone REALLY has it coming? :o)
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve. (Especially important when considering plastic surgery.)
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation. (Take a shower. Animal 😐)
  11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. (YahYah! Health OR Offspring! Franklin was a pimp.)
  12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. (Wardobe malfunctions, computer crashes – that’s what you get for buying that Compaq -, hanging chads, etc.)
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates. (Or me. >:] )

In all seriousness, an impressive list. Anywho, here are some of my favorite sites/apps which keep me in line:

Google (Yes, it gets its own category.)
Grand Central – Very cool. Let me know if you want an invite.
iGoogle – Makes me feel like Captain of the Starship Enterprise.
Notebook – Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of it. Has so many applications. Very useful if you’re doing research.
Docs – Convenient for when you’re working in a group.

Studying & Lack Thereof
Ottobib and BibMe – Input the ISBN & the desired format and BAM! Bibliography.
CanpusBooks and BigWords – Both search a variety of sites for cheap used textbooks.
Study Guides & Strategies and Notely – Not what you think they are.
Notesake and University Notes – Create and share notes for specific courses.
Memorizable and CueFlash – Create and share flash cards on specific topics.

$$$ & Lack Thereof
Mint – I have not used the software, but the blog is informative.
Wise Bread – Lots of pointers, from credit questions to hustling.
YNAB – You Need a Budget. Copies sold out at Amazon, but check out the reviews.

“Go On a Living Spree” ;]
43 Folders or Lifehacker or Life Hack or Zen Habits