"You sound to me as though you don't believe in free will," said Billy Pilgrim. "If I hadn't spent so much time studying Earthlings," said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn't have any idea what was meant by free will. I've visited 31 inhabited planets in the universe...Only on Earth is there any talk of free will." -- K. Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Monday, December 19, 2005

dental health

There are very few distractions in my apartment. It's not a very big apartment, one little bedroom, with one decent sized living room. I usually don't spend very much time here, so it's not filled with any items which could take up my time (i.e. a television). I've been here a lot over the past three days, trying to finish (well, start and finish) two papers so I can end my semester and sit down with a stack of movies. Turns out that working for 12 hours straight is not very fun. So, every half hour or so I get up and wander around, looking for a distraction. Yesterday, I read the large majority of the New York Times Sunday edition. The only other distraction I can think of is taking a shower, which I used up by noon. I almost made some cookies, but then realized the next distraction would be eating the cookies, which would make me sick. So that was out. In the end, I really spend my half hour break staring at my teeth in the bathroom and flossing. That's it. That's my big reward for writing for a half hour.

If it wasn't so cold, I would just walk around the block. Really.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

I seem to be trying to call it in

So far this morning I've learned that even though I have a laptop, I cannot write term papers in bed. Just doesn't work. Also, if I don't disable the internet sometime soon, this thing ain't never gonna be done.

Who said graduate school doesn't teach about real life? So many lessons learned.

Next question: just how long can I fool myself into thinking I can write a paper without coffee? (I give myself 15 minutes).

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Yesterday was both the last day of classes for the semester and the first big snowfall of the year. As I was leaving my last class at 8:30pm, checking my voicemail and trying to hurry for the bus without falling on the slippery, slushy snow that was accumulating, I looked over and saw three giggling undergraduates wearing vaguely matching winter hats. I squinted and thought they make look familiar, but kept going on my way. Seconds later, they threw three snowballs in unison, none of which made contact. They started laughing even harder, and which point I realized they were my students. "Hey! I'm still in charge of your grades!", I let them know. They then told me that's why they didn't actually hit me. And then they said "Have a good holiday!" and continued making snowballs. Cute!

At which point I thought: woah, I am totally a TA. I have students who throw things at me. Awesome.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

this is why kurt coabin killed himself.


I know this because the Yahoo! home page has a music station called 'Adult Alternative'. Add that to the ranks of Adult Contemporary. Adults certainly wouldn't want to accidently listen to 'Teenage Alternative' or 'Recent College Graduate Alternative' or they may become highly irritated. In case you're wondering, the station features Coldplay, Maroon 5, Green Day and more! (psych to Green Day.)

Everyone should now go listen to something loud enough to encourage a headache. My job is done here.

Friday, December 02, 2005

cold season

I'm doing some research in the Bio-Medical Library, and everyone here has a cold. Sniffing, coughing, looking generally miserable. I spent last night at Wilson, the run of the mill everything library, and everyone seemed to be relatively healthy. I know it's cold and the end of the semester so everyone is stressed out and getting sick, but shouldn't the health science people know how to prevent these things? I guess in this case, ignorance is health.

I'm sure I'm going to contract a virus for saying that.

In case anyone is wondering, the paper I'm researching is on the concept of extinction in evolutionary biology. Speaking of which, I highly recommend the article on the ID trials in Dover, PA in this week's New Yorker. The best part is when the school board accuses Penn State of being a brainwashing factory. Or maybe the best part is when the president of the school board, who had been pushing ID on the biology classes, suddenly moved to North Carolina and admitted he was in rehab due to an addiction to oxycoton. Really good role models, these people.