||[Feb. 24th, 2014|01:40 pm]
Summing up the Olympics in a conversation with aigooism:
Have been following the Olympics, too! Haven't seen all the gala yet (but have it TiVo'd).
Re: The US team uniforms.
Best description: "Keeping grandmas knitting [since 1924]."
Re: The Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
You gotta hand it to the Russians. They understand that ceremonies have to be BIG. And they know how to do BIG. Also, great sense of humor. Also, only the Russians would dangle a 5th grader 100 feet from the floor and expect her to sing. Truly, Russian culture clearly represented.
Me: "Disturbing symbolism, that Russian history ends with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the little girl letting go a red balloon. Putin misses the USSR."
Best answer: "I don't know why he'd miss it. He's done a pretty good job of recreating large swathes of it."
I planned to watch skiing, not water polo. In some ways the melting snow made it interesting, in that you got to see eight out of thirteen world class skiers wipe out. That's ... new. The halfpipe: a combination of the utterly slooow, because of the slush in the bottom, and the frankly dangerous. The Sochi course for the biathlon and cross-country was beautiful. Too bad they couldn't use it beyond the first week, since the snow conditions forced them to schedule ski events at night when it got colder.
Re: Girls in spaaaaaaace!
Yay, women's ski jumping! Now they need to have men and women both in the team event.
Re: Making a grown skier cry.
No one's ever accused Bode Miller of being articulate. So poking him about his dead brother -- who was aiming to make the US Snowboarding team -- is just not on. Was touching though, how protective the other skiers were of him. Not so Bode's new wife: here her husband's having a meltdown, and she hugs him with one eye trained on the camera, her cheek properly angled to the television audience. The other skiers didn't do that; they put their butts to the camera and all their attention on Bode, waving the cameras off.
I have officially fallen for Gus Kenworthy and his puppy<3. Three cheers for dog-loving Russian billionaires, too, who rush in and save the day, and build shelters for the dogs who didn't have a snowboarder fall in love.
Re: the house of cards.
Sochi's a Potemkin village that wasn't finished in time for the display. Pay no attention to the unfinished luge tunnels. Putting the journalist hotel rooms last on your list may have been a tactical error, Sochi.
Re: the volunteers are the first to die.
Am I the only person who noticed the Sochi volunteers were a wee bit unprofessional, wandering out onto ski races while the skiers were barreling down at 60mph, cutting off Kim Yuna as she stepped off the ice? Ah, who needs dry runs anyway?
Re: The great snowboarder we forced to defect to Russia.
At least Vic Wild is happy? So weird to hear the Russian snowboarder win with a clearly American, "YEAH!" Google-search-Activate! The Russian press spins his defection as true love, but he's made it clear his reasons for the switch was the lack of funding for alpine snowboarding in the US. Our one Olympic alpine skier had to live out of his truck? No funding for a coach? Jesus.
Re: stunned like a bird who hit glass.
Jeremy Abbott's nasty fall in his short program quad, where he bounced off the ice, slammed into the boards and lay there like a stunned bird as his music played...
... I've seen bad falls like that before. But I've never seen a skater look so clearly like he wanted to give up. Then as he stood and the Russian crowd cheered, he took such heart, he nailed everything else. Tara Lipinski had it right--Jeremy's fragile. His near-telepathic sensitivity to whether the audience is behind him or not (which killed his international success) would make him a great coach. You'll be seeing more from him in skating, I promise. Someone whose last skating experience is a success like that? Yes, he'll stick around. Also, when he finished his freeskate, he looked relaxed for the first time since he took the bronze at Nationals in 2007. So good to see sweet Jeremy back.
Also, I've never heard music play in a pregnant silence before (except maybe Torvil & Dean's Bolero). I can still hear it.
Re: The king is dead.
While I understand, Plushenko, the king of figure skating, was doing fine up until right before the short program, Russia could only have one skater in the men's competition. It would not have played out any other way, I get it. But Plushenko should have stood aside for the next generation.
Re: The Queen is not dead. She's retired.
The lesson I draw from Kim Yuna taking silver is the same one I drew from Plushenko taking silver in 2010: if you want to win at the Olympics, you have to compete all season. I realize she stole the show at 2013 Worlds. But I notice that this year, she made the same mistake Plushenko did in Vancouver: on the technical side, her program was just too easy. Johnny Weir pointed out her harder elements were front-loaded. This program could've been fine-tuned -- would've been fine-tuned -- if she'd been competing all season.
She didn't skate with competitive fire that I could tell. Although she's always an elegant and dignified skater, she seemed to be ... dutiful ... about her attendance at this year's Olympics. Like she competed solely to represent South Korea, but in her heart, she was retired.
Re: 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Thank god, they have snow.
|Big Project #1: So that's in.
||[Feb. 9th, 2014|07:06 pm]
Bumped into my buddy John in the prayer room. Missed him! It's been months and we used to chat all the time.
John (raiding the snacks): "So how's it going?"
Me (grin): "Turns out a master's is harder than undergrad. Who would've guessed?"
John (laughs): "Yeah, college was actually easier than high school."
Me (nodding emphatically): "It was! This, what I'm doing now, is what I expected with college."
I'm cutting back my work hours, loading up a little more student loan debt in the process (ouch), and digging myself out. I've rescheduled my homework time to no longer expect myself to get anything done after my gazillion-mile drives. My Google calendar has appointments listed as "braindead and useless," just in case I get ambitious.
I coded a Task on Windows 7 to remind me to shut off the computer at midnight: since I'm not going to get any work done in the evening I need to start getting up earlier.
For now I don't have an option to stay in Baltimore during the week, but I don't rule it out as a possibility in the future.
|Augh: Cultural Competency draft #4 and still going.
||[Feb. 4th, 2014|12:16 am]
Augh: Cultural Competency draft #4 and still going.
My cultural competency paper, due tomorrow, is still a mess.
It's also too long.
The hard part is the fact that my professor is African American and I sense land mines.
I'm talking a lot about Tibetan culture.
I tried to complain to mom. She didn't go to college and doesn't understand the pressure.
*complains, whimpers, tears out hair*
|Guess who's an hour and a half early to her first class?
||[Jan. 29th, 2014|05:21 pm]
I'm at Notre Dame now. (It's really cush, but the campus is obviously not as well-populated and busy as Loyola. Interesting.)
Bear in mind that all my Loyola classes start at 4:30pm. I left a little late, got stuck behind a school bus, then managed to get to campus just barely in time to pick up my parking pass and park. Scooted in to my classroom at 4:18.
Whew. Barely made it, right?
Except no one was there. The professor showed up and said, "Good gracious, you're early!"
Class starts at 6pm.
*whistles* Now I have time in the cafeteria to kill. *whistles more*
|How To Read A Textbook
||[Jan. 15th, 2014|11:03 pm]
This developed out of a conversation with a friend who was a math TA, and my frustration with my own poor studying.
How To Read A Textbook
Did you know that you don't read a textbook the same way you read a novel?
A novel, you start from the beginning and read to the satisfying conclusion. Ever try that with a textbook?
Heh. You might've noticed reading a textbook end to end is a special kind of torture. It's so boring and convoluted and hard to tell what's important and what isn't, overwhelming, confusing, overly detailed, and impossible to remember.
Textbooks aren't written like stories. They're more like engineering specs, where some sections are exploded diagrams, giving more detail.
To read a textbook, you need an overview before you dive in -- to keep it from getting confusing.
You need the specs for each chapter -- to keep it from becoming a slog.
And you need a method to attack each chapter -- to keep it from getting dull, dry, and boring.
Remember the point: the textbook isn't the Pharaoh. You're not supposed to be subservient.
Rather, the textbook is supposed to serve You.
A textbook is more like the fencing master. It's there for you to challenge. If you don't pick up the sword and fight back, you don't learn.
Here's a more useful way to read a textbook. You will need:
a) The Textbook.
b) Post-Its or permission to write in the book.
1 - Skim the Table of Contents.
- Get the big picture first.
- Otherwise, it's easy to get lost and wonder, "Jeeze, what's the point here...?"
(Remember I said that textbooks are confusing? This is how to avoid confusion.)
2 - Read the long version of the Table of Contents on the chapter you'll be reading.
- That'll give you the terrain.
- Now you know where you're headed, how much ground is being covered, how far you have to read, how hard it's going to be.
- Otherwise, you can be midway and it'll feel like a slog, and you don't know that you're just in a hard part, and there's an easier part coming up.
(Remember how I said that textbooks are overwhelming? This is how to avoid overwhelm.)
3 - Open to the chapter -- but don't read it yet! Instead, skim the bolded headings.
- Headings!first tells you the most important concepts.
- That way you know what the writer feels is important.
(Remember how I said that textbooks are overly detailed? This is how to avoid that problem.)
4 - Get that stack of Post-Its, then summarize like you do an SAT passage.
- You can also write these notes in your notebook, but I like to write in the textbook.
- This keeps it from all just washing over your brain.
- That way you have Opinions and Thoughts, rather than just mindlessly memorizing.
- ...and, by the way, mindless memorizing doesn't work for most people.
- ...in fact, I've never met a single soul who doesn't do better by having opinions and responses that they write down, rather than trying to obediently regurgitate the text.
(Remember how I said textbooks are boring? This is how to avoid that feeling. Otherwise it's like someone is bloviating at you and you have to memorize their baloney rather than -- like any rational human being -- giving yourself space to come to your own conclusions. In other words, this is where you pick up the sword. En Guarde!)
Special note on Humanities & Science textbooks (English, World History, Psych, Bio, etc.):
These often have useless filler chapters, or parts that are out of date. If a teacher leaves off a chapter, it's for good reason. For example, when I tutor AP World, I don't have anyone read the chapters on Mughal history. That's because ALL the textbooks are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. No college professor (or any of the AP World tutors) uses the textbooks for that time period. Or, an astronomy professor might leave off the section on the "planet" Pluto.
Save yourself some wasted time and only read what the teacher asks you to.
Special note on Math textbooks:
Unlike English and history and other subjects, math gets progressively harder. If chapter one takes you an hour to read, chapter two will take you an hour and fifteen minutes to read, chapter three will take you an hour and a half, chapter four will take an hour and forty-five minutes, chapter five will take two hours, six will take two hours and fifteen minutes, seven will take two and a half hours, eight will take two hours forty-five minutes, and chapter nine will take three hours.
This is why most people only get 60% of the way through their Math textbooks.
Schedule your math reading time accordingly.
|Tomorrow ... grad school begins.
||[Jan. 14th, 2014|12:02 am]
Tomorrow, grad school begins.
You know, last time I was in school, I had a month's worth of food stockpiled and my personal slave (WG) to cook and clean for me.
This time, I have pens, notebooks, and a laptop. I only worked six days the last two weeks, so I don't have the cash to lay in major supplies. That'll have to wait till the end of the month when I get my student aid check.
Lots of folks, used to hearing yes from me, are learning that right now, school's the priority.
They look somewhat ruffled.
"Can you do a prayer shift?"
"Can you paint at the temple?"
"Okay, can you help prep for painting? You can come in any time you want."
"But everyone recommended you, said you were good at painting and--"
"It was nice meeting you at retreat this summer. Can we get together for coffee?"
"*beep* Michelle, heeey! I'm back in town from California. Let's get together and catch up!"
"Can you work every Monday night for the next three months?"
"Can you help with cleaning?"
"Hey, it's Simon. I have your Christmas present still. Let's hit that restaurant in Bethesda and--"
|O.o at the mansplainer... am floored and annoyed, or, flonnoyed.
||[Jan. 2nd, 2014|04:41 am]
Mansplainer!guy sent me a leeeeennnnnnggggggthhhhhhyyyyy follow-up mansplaining in comments. I think he finds himself erudite.
I think he's missing the point of Buddhism. People I enjoy talking to about Buddhism stick to Buddhism, for starters. Second, they don't puff themselves up like this.
I have this image of a big puffer fish, full of hot air and nothing, trying to impress.
( Read more...Collapse )
I got through about a paragraph of his dancing around, before I wrote back to the fellow: "tl;dr"
To my surprise, he wrote back to the effect that he didn't believe I didn't read it. Laughed that I was lying to him about not reading that page and a half of egotistical bullshit.
Oh my God, did he not see that his pontificating was just ... so dull? Is he so fascinated with his mental masturbation that he hasn't looked in a mirror to see that really, it's not all that interesting?
I'd already unfriended him. Moved past that to blocking him.
I'm both floored and annoyed. So the new word: flonnoyed.
|SGA Recs: McKay/Sheppard and Parrish/Sheppard
||[Jan. 2nd, 2014|04:22 am]
Reading some good stuff, including some fic by Brumeier, who has not written enough SGA, IMHO.
If we all write encouraging reviews, no doubt we can change that!
Crossroads - McKay/Sheppard, R
Life in the Pleasure Dome had been filled with very little actual pleasure for Rodney McKay, one of the city drones. Until John Sheppard arrived and turned his whole world upside down.
A nice, fast-paced and beautifully built AU. Delicious extra touch: a very convincing Bug!John who's stuck halfway with the Iratus bug, permanently.
One Christmas Night - McKay/Sheppard, NC-17
A chance encounter in an airport and one very special Christmas Eve.
Warm, touching, and once again a deft touch with the AU. Brumier doesn't just rewrite: s/he tweaks, juuuust a little bit. Surprisingly, this makes the fic all the more believable.
Another bit of steamy sweetness, this one a rare-pair by the ever-reliable Busaikko.
Shut The Doors Behind Us Sheppard/Parrish - NC-17
Parrish and Sheppard encounter sex pollen offword, which leads to more than just a stimulating academic discovery.
I haven't been into the gratuitous porn for some time, but, despite the sex pollen, there's nothing gratuitous about this encounter. Because most of the story, and the relationship, comes after, as John and Parrish are both direct and honest. Their honesty makes the accidental encounter and what happens afterward very clean. Despite the gray zone of dub!con, there isn't a gray zone between them. And Parrish is like sugar: he sweetens everything.
So wonderful to have time to bored, to read, to write. It's been a while.
|Fixing a screwed up, virus-filled laptop
||[Jan. 1st, 2014|01:40 pm]
My aunt is giving me her virus-infected laptop.
Or rather, she tried to give me her laptop and I'm insisting on paying for it, and she's saying that it wasn't worth anything to her because it got screwed up and I'm telling her that it is, with effort, fixable, and worth something in sales (it's relatively new) and she's then insisting no more than $75 for it, and I'm saying that's ridiculously low and--
--but anyways, I have a laptop.
Said virus was a nasty virus. It was caught in a repeating loop of opening many, many, many windows, so I just reinstalled the operating system over the top of the mess. Did a total wipe.
But now it won't connect to the internet or ... anything.
It's, uh, definitely wiped.
ETA: Yay! I think-- I think I have all the drivers properly updated from here and in this order. Now on to the Windows updates. Cross your fingers.
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