Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cleaning out High School Notes

"Ah the grades used to be so much higher..."
"Wow, I knew a lot more French vocab back in the days..."
"So that's when I first started writing out chemical nomenclature!"

*Finds notes from Careers class*
"This is the rambling of an idealistic teenager who thought life was going to be easy and that she'd have it all figured out by University... I have failed you me-from-the-past."

Since high school I've noted quite a few changes in both my academics  my modes of written communication, and my overall world-view. I'd like to say that I feel as though I am now more mature in all three sectors, but there is still definitely a kid in me still... well more of a teenager.

So it goes without saying that my academics have fallen short of my previous copious 100% on math tests in high school. A sad reality but understandable considering the presence of people who are infinitely better than me at complex equations. Hats off to them, we need more logical math in the world, besides, I have the world of science to keep me occupied.

Seeing some of the first tests where we had to use chemical nomenclature really brought back memories. Looking back the tests now I keep thinking, "haha, that's so easy I could do it in my sleep!" (I actually did do this at some point... dreams where I gave myself chemistry problems to do...) So this all really goes to show that everything is difficult when you're learning it for the first time... no I lied, I got 100% back then too. So science does seem to get progressively harder as we learn more and get into deeper discussions. Sometimes I wonder if that's what I'm looking for in life.

I used to be a lot more simple minded in my planning of life and just assumed everything I was doing would lead somewhere eventually. It's hard for me to talk about my naivety back in the days without mentioning how horrible my History essays were- and I mention History essays because that was the one class in which I had no idea how to write. In English class you use a mixture of poetry and prose, in Science class you use the scientific discourse, and in Math class you use numbers and symbols. To me, History was none of these things. So I stayed vague and unsure- a mode of communication frighteningly similar to the language I used in the reports I wrote for my Careers class. Yes we had a Careers class- they thought it would help us.

I made so many mentions to "working hard" and "talking to professors"... somewhere along first year I lost that mentality. And I think my vague and unsure language from back in the days when I was first thinking about my future really shows how vague and unsure I am of what I want in the future. I know generally the kind of lifestyle I want, but I have no specifics about getting there. And while many people tell me it's ok and I'll figure it out eventually, at this point in life I'm starting to worry.

My high school self seemed to believe that I'd have everything figured out in University. Sorry to have failed, me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Inspiration

I recently had an extremely inspiring English lecture for my science fiction course. In short, we marveled over the ability of science to be the language by which we see the wonder of our universe. I was quite moved because it was exactly what I always feel when I talk about some cutting edge science. Sometimes I am viewed as slightly ecstatic in my constant emotional swings about how great the world is, but I really do wish to share this feeling of awe that I have about life, the universe and everything.

It really dawned upon me when we first learned about chemical reactions that we know so much about how atoms and molecules work, but at the end of the day, the atoms and molecules don't think for themselves no matter how we try to personify them. We can calculate the equilibrium points and rates of reactions for various solutions, but when you get some lead nitrate and potassium idodide in solution, they just REACT. Things just happen, sporadically, by chance, but on the macroscopic level we see not such randomness  but the overall trend. To even think about two atoms and the unlimited amount of environmental influences on them to react inside a solution... well we may never be able to fully consider EVERYTHING.

Perhaps size is the ultimate reason for the sublime nature of science, probably why I still sometimes spend hours starting at this: http://scaleofuniverse.com/

Why I love the world:

• We will never be able to full understand all of it
• No matter how big we go, there's always something bigger
• No matter how small we go, that had to also have been made up of something
• We don't know if the past ends or the future ends or if there's something completely different
• The thrill that already we know so much of it
• We've mapped out the majority of our world now pretty well
• It might all just be due to chance! Our entire existence might be due to chance!
• Most people find this thought disturbing, but I think that it just makes life that much more unique
• I mean consider the odds that allowed for you to be here right now
• And the fact that you beat the odds!
• Statistically speaking life is a rarity
In the end, I marvel at the eons that caused everything amazing that exists today. Perhaps because it serves as a reminder that I'm insignificant in the broader world, but at the same time, the world would not exist without the masses of fellow insignificant dots like myself.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stuff my roommates and I say 2

Start date: Sept. 1, 2012

"Why am I so beautiful?"

"I tried to make sugar cookies but I didn't put in enough sugar so they turned into biscuits."

"You guys, I just bought three packs of toilet paper... there were three options and I couldn't decide which one to get so I just bought all three."

"Omgosh I can't stop eating Triscuits, I'm so stressed!"

"I love our fridge. You know, if you want to get into a relationship, you should get into one with our fridge."

"I need to stress drink... not alcohol though."

"You guys have to say more funny things for me to put on my blog."

*Silence* "... haha? Tee hee... HEE HEE!" <-- Was not me.

"What should I cook this veggie with?"
"Cook it with shredded beef or pork."
"... hm... No. I'll use a hot dog."

"I need to go get wine..."
"So go to LCBO"
"I don't have time"
"... but you do have time to play Pokemon?"
"... That's different, I need to catch them all."

"So there were three brands of pasta and I couldn't decide which brand to get... so I ended up getting all three."

"Oh my gosh you guys: Zac Efron."

End date: Oct. 23, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Too Happy

Ever have one of those moments when you start laughing about something, and then it snowballs into you laughing at your own laughter? And then everything in the world is suddenly the most hilarious thing and you just can't stop finding the joys and happy within 2m of yourself?

Currently experiencing that.

Let me explain that I am perfectly rational still, hence you can't tell my complete nonsensical laughter in this post. (I'm actually doing something similar to: *type type* "LOL!!!" *type* *Giggle* *type type* "hehe... HAAHAHA")

I just sneezed. It was really funny.

This isn't the first time it's happened. I tend to have over-reactions to otherwise mild stimuli. Key examples are:

• Crying uncontrollably in almost every movie during the smallest amount of sadness (Like at the very beginning of Finding Nemo when Marlin loses all he loves and holds dear except the one fated egg)
• Laughing at the little things in life hysterically (See sneezing example above)
• Crying non-stop when watching the Notebook- literally from near the beginning of the movie to the very end
• Having crazy mood swings that often make no sense
• Experiencing "high off life" episodes
... Going to go ahead and self diagnose with Pseudobulbar affect.

Though in reality the chances that I have some central nervous system injury is unlikely. I prefer to think of my overly dramatic expressions of emotions simply as a result of my overly dramatic emotions. It's nice to feel a lot, I've always thought that at the end of the day, your feelings should be what drives you forward. Not to say that if you really hate someone you should go ahead and attack them. Just that if you hate them you shouldn't have to pretend not to for the sake of some social norm.

(For above example I strongly recommend maintaining pleasant interactions and getting back at them later when they've allowed you into their confidence and you have some nice info to use against them...)

I never believed in the superego. I just believed in trying to please society... to avoid being an utter shut-out. But hey, if I feel like laughing non-stop, I WILL.

Though by this point it's really pissing my roommates off and I'd really like to stop... but I can't.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Well I'll be

It's really been quite a while now hasn't it?

Several things of interest to me have happened lately. Firstly:

Finally got my other screen in, making life more multitasking friendly. Game on one screen, work on another screen, and Neblet gets all my social interactions. Considering now not integrating my google talk with my gmail screen any more so that I have less distractions when Neblet isn't on.

Another thing. The creation of my new semi-public calendar! It's not 100% public as I'd rather not have my calendar searchable on the webz, but I've invited a few people to share it and gave them permission to make changes to it. Generally, these people have access to all my other calendars; making it really easy for us to all connect. Hopefully this won't be just a failure of an idea and actually work out and make our lives easier.

That's really all I needed to share. Back to disappearing from the Blogger world for a while.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Farewell Sincerely

I've been coming up with new ways of ending letters recently. It started because I have several friends overseas for the summer, of whom I keep in contact with via emails. I'm actually going to start writing out letters and snail-mailing them over soon.

In any case, I never really liked ending my letters with 'Sincerely,'... mostly because it was used in the past to denote that it was truly from whoever it said it was from... but really anyone can lie about that. Luckily, today we use something a bit more casual when ending letters between friends. Usually, "Cheers," and "Best wishes", etc. Cheers is always nice, but I'm not always holding onto a cheery drink whenever I read my letters.

For a time I started using "Shine on!" and other motivating statements. But sometimes it's awkward to end a casual "this is how my week went" letter with something like that.

So I thought, what would be the best way to end off a letter with a cheerful and optimistic tone? And my conclusion, was food.

See, the thought of good food always makes me smile. And depending on the tone of my letter, an ending like, "Cheesecake and butterscotch" can either mean, "sugar and sweets and joy!" or "Help me I need comfort food." Also, depending on the type of food chosen, you can end off with a tea time feel (cookies, biscuits, etc) or a fancy flair feel (Lobster, Wines, etc) or a casual friendly feed (pizza, sushi, etc).

It also helps me search my brain for interesting things I'd like to make, and somehow ends up inspiring me; not necessarily to make food . It's more like, "I should make cheesecake sometime... but I don't have the ingredients... but I want make something sweet and cute... maybe I should get productive and do that... being productive always feels nice... maybe I should finish that application I should be doing. Ya, that doesn't require buying of ingredients but it'll make me feel productive, let's do it!"

And I realize not everyone's thought process works in that manner, but whenever I feel like doing something that requires a lot of work (like going to the store and buying ingredients, I need to find a less physically extraneous placeholder. So as long as I feel like being productive, I will produce, and being lazily inspired usually ends up making me produce things on the computer.

In actuality, I'm writing this blog after sending off an email.

Vanilla and Macarons,
Sprouts

Friday, June 08, 2012

Stuff my roommates and I say 1

A list of interesting things that my roommates say to me and I say back to them. I'm in italics

Start date: May 24, 2012

"Let's make Friday's dresses day!"

"GAAAAAH!!! OMGOSH!!! NAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! AOEIDKALSKDJFASFLSDAFKJD?!?!?!"
"What's going on?"
"THIS KEYCHAIN ISN'T WORKING"

"How can you not believe in Love but still write it so well?"
"Because it's easy to pretend"

"So I saw your friend and he asked me for a mango, so I gave him a mango, but then he said he didn't actually want it, so I took the mango back."

"I feel like I should be saying 'I'll see you tomorrow' when she leaves in the morning since I won't see her until tomorrow..."

"There's no way we only used $26.42 worth of electricity this month..." "It's sad because all the people in the scientific community are too busy to reproduce, so lots of the really awesome genes die out... this is why the world is populated by so many idiots." "Please don't put that on your blog." "You're like a flimsy wisp of air that floats around and I'm the rock that refuses to budge." End date: June 8, 2012 Monday, May 21, 2012 More Flowers These photos were actually from a while back. I just haven't had the internet to put them up yet. I'm actually rather sad that summer's here with its wonderful blazing heat, it means most of the flowers have completed their blossom. But leaves can be quite pretty too, I'll have to take some photos of that sometime later. Meanwhile, let's look back on that short time period when flowers were everywhere. It was a day of purple flowers. Some other day I was walking home with some friends and as I walked by a particular group of pigeons, I noticed a weird flutter out of the corner of my eye. It was a pigeon with a broken wing trying to 'fly' away from me. The other pigeons were nearby... I'm not sure if they were waiting for the broken pigeon or just confused at the situation. There wasn't much to do about the pigeon, and to be honest I'm not actually entirely sure if its wing was certainly broken or if it was just really lazy. Mysteries of nature? Sunday, May 20, 2012 Small Pet I'm going to get a pet budgie. If: • Roommates allow • Can find a nice cage for <$20
• Landlord allows
That is all.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To Make Music

I'm thinking of picking up an instrument. I've decided that it has to be a more traditional instrument, perhaps I'm getting in touch with my roots? So I've talked to mother and we've worked it down to the following three:
 Erhu

A while ago, we visited a family friend who had one of these. He offered to let me play around with it and I really liked its feel. I've also had an obsession with string instruments in general, playing them seems to be such a fluid movement. Any ways, after half an hour or so of fiddling around with it, I managed a passable major scale. Which is to say, I feel like this can be something that can be learned with practise. The Erhu is also extremely adorable and light weight, not to mention one looks beautifully elegant sitting down and playing it.

 Pipa
Of course, my mother had other ideas once I stated my intent of learning another instrument. Traditionally the Pipa is played by women only, and adds a very nice classy elegance to whoever holds it. I suppose in the Chinese tradition it is the instrument for pretty young girls. Which is great and all but my issue with it is that it A. looks like a giant paddle with strings and B. is plucked with pseudo-nails. The nails were the one reason the guzheng was completely out of the question for me. It seems like too much of a hassle to have to put those on every time I'd want to play. Still, I admit I really do like the look and tradition associated with the Pipa.

 Chinese Flute
So it's not a string instrument this time. But I remember hearing its sound from a friend who played it a while back, and the wooden/bamboo flute has a beautifully rich tone to it. It feels like the wind you blow into it congregates together into a lovely pool of sounds. Also, I feel like with a flute I won't be too limited to traditional music as with the Erhu or Pipa. A flute is also much more portable and can easily be turned into a weapon. Only issue is that I initially wanted a strings, not wind, instrument.

So sometime this summer my mother will be getting me one of these. Sometime by next year I'll hopefully be able to play extremely simple things on it. Now if only I could find a cheap keyboard to bring into the apartment...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Why do I Blog

I blog because sometimes, I have things to say. Things that I don't want to say in person, just because I never remember to or it never fits any conversation quite right.

Of course most of what I blog came up from conversations, so really I blog because I want to share interesting things I've said and been told. And when what I want to share goes beyond the regular limit of a facebook status, or perhaps I just want to share it with the internet in general, that's when a blog is needed. And to share that with friends would require much less time since I wouldn't have to rewrite everything for everyone I wanted to tell the same story to. Copy and pasting links take far less time.

Sometimes just writing to relive the story or to expand on a thought is fun. It's like writing in a diary, but not a private one. It's this strange pseudo-privacy that only the internet can give.

And sometimes when I'm feeling bored or down or have nothing really better to do, it's nice to just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. It's more for me, but if it were only for me then it'd stay in my head. Things always become more real when it's no longer just in your head.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Internet Withdraw

Symptoms of Internet Withdraw

• Going to Starbucks and paying for expensive drinks so you don't feel bad for using the free wifi
• Continuously checking phone for texts because you don't have access to IM
• Cleaning things because there's really nothing else to do
• Stare outside the window and wonder if anything interesting's happening in the virtual world
• Constantly have a nagging feeling that you're about to get a really important email... which you won't be able to read until you go back to Starbucks
• Do work- offline
• Turn the computer's wifi on and off, hoping against hope that some magical connection will be made
• Attempt every simple password to neighbouring wifi signals
• Start planning out every detail of your day because you got bored of cleaning and staring out windows
• Write offline blog entries and planning to publish them once you get to Starbucks... again
So I've just moved into the newest apartment. It's really quite lovely and empty at the moment, but hopefully that'll change soon. Currently am sitting in the Starbucks below the building because (in case you didn't realize already) we have no internet. We will not have internet until May 12th. This is a long time later.

Currently looking into options for dividing off the den of the apartment (which I reside in). My parents have express their displeasure that though I did majority of the work to get the apartment, I somehow ended up with the den rather than a room. But in my mind I feel like it's because I'm the most flexible one out of everyone, and also the one who will voice my issues if I ever feel any. Maybe that's a bit egotistic of me... well yes, it is... I think we all have come to realize that by now.

Looked up some room dividers: http://www.oddee.com/item_96925.aspx

My plan at the time is to get a blank Shoji screen:

In my head I've been nursing the idea that we can paint it as a roomies project.

People keep telling me to get some strange curtain contraption. The issue is that the open area of the den is very long so I don't know if the extendable curtain rods would be steady enough. Also the ceiling is bumpy so I can't nail any rods to that... Slightly out of ideas... except for the shoji screen of course.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Officialness

Lots of people I know have blogs/sites that are like a mini-cover letter. I've been thinking of doing something similar recently...

Today I finally made a Linkedin. Currently not so sure about what the boundaries between the professional world and the personal world should be.

I'm at a point where I'm wondering if this blog should be allowed to be tied in with my Linkedin. But I'm not so fond of the idea. Mainly because I do believe in a separation of the working and personal environments. But then, I don't really get extremely personal with what I write here, in my opinion at least.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Generally when you think Chapters and Indigo, you think books and Starbucks. Well at least that what I always thought. But I made a wondrous discovery the other day, they have really neat gift ideas.

 I've always wanted my clock to have a "You're late" instead of a number

 I would use this... but after a while I would need newquestions on the clock... white board clock abovebetter I would say

 It's actually really fun to detach andreattach

 And all so pretty

 Window sill plants?

 I hear they're really difficult to play with

 For all of you who travel a lot
There were also a whole bunch of other really nice things, I swear I saw some of the stuff that Think Geek sells. Specifically this.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring is my favourite season

I love it when the flowers are blooming! I love the warm weather! I love the colours in the grass!

So I took some photos today this(these?) week(s?). Apologies for the blurry images, my camera phone wasn't the best.

 I singled out a single flower These flowers weren't so pretty cluttered together

Here're some flower beds:

 This flower bed wasn't so nice when close up
 But I thought they were better from afar
Obviously I'm not the greatest photographer, but there's something about seeing a bloom in the warm spring weather that cries out for a picture. Expect more of these types of posts... at least until the dense summer heat starts.

Colour Quiz

I took this Colour Quiz

Some psychologists say that depending on your current situation in life certain colours appeal more to you. That's the basis of this test.

My results

Sprouts's Existing Situation

Desperately needs a close relationship with an affectionate and accepting partner; or some other way to be recognized and known.

Sprouts's Stress Sources

"Looking to stand out in the crowd and wanting to keep her rank and status. her current situation is irritating her because she can't seem to find anybody out there who values the same high standards she does. she is feeling isolated and wants to give in to her carnal urges, but can't bring herself to appear weak in the eyes of others. Wants others to see her unique qualities and character but can't stand to come off as needy, so instead she has an ""I don't care"" attitude and pushing people away. she turns her back on those who criticizes her behavior, but beneath her indifference is a person who is in desperate need of approval."

Sprouts's Restrained Characteristics

Open and emotionally involved in relationships and easily finds satisfaction through sexual activity.
"Struggles to make her demands clear, but feels ignored. Feels resentful, but acts as if she doesn't care, doing what is necessary to keep peace."
"Struggles to make her demands clear, but feels ignored. Feels resentful, but acts as if she doesn't care, doing what is necessary to keep peace."
Applies tough standards to her potential partner and demands an unrealistic perfection in her sex life.
Current situation is leaving her doubtful and cautions about becoming intimately involved with others.

Sprouts's Desired Objective

"Longs for tenderness and for a feeling of acceptance from a partner. Appreciates things that are beautiful, pleasing to the eye, and stylish."

Sprouts's Actual Problem

"Wants to be valued and respected, seeks a close and peaceful relationship with a shared respect of each other."

Sprouts's Actual Problem #2

Disappointed because her hopes have not come to pass and she fears coming up with new goals will only lead to further disappointment. These conflicting emotions lead to a feeling of anxiety and depression. she tries to escape into a peaceful and calm relationship which offers encouragement and protection from further disappointment.

My thoughts
First time reading it I was a bit shocked at the accuracy of this test. Several complications in life right now really do seem to have been reflected by these results. But then re-reading this really made me realize that quite a few statements are also very general and can be applied to other people. Could it be that they're just common problems or am I just looking too much into them?

Regardless, it was a nice side-track from studying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why am I awake right now?

The time is 9:10AM.

I woke half an hour ago.

There are no classes or anything I have to do today other than readings and for the past week I've been consistently sleeping at 11-1 and waking at 11-12. I slept at 1 again last night and now I'm really confused as to why I'm awake.

It was one of those strange wake ups, I was having a worrisome dream and suddenly I was aware of myself. I knew I could choose to go back to sleep or wake up. And for some odd reason I opened my eyes and suddenly realized I wouldn't be able to sleep again. I then got up and experienced the symptomatic headache of not having gotten enough sleep, but as I laid back down and closed my eyes, sleep refused to return.

It might be weird that the first thing I'm doing this morning is writing a post about how I woke up. And I kind of wish there was a purpose to all this... but alas it's probably just going to be one of those days.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stubborn

Thinking about things, I really realized how much I always want things to go my way. My ego constantly blinds me and give me the crystalline illusion that my way is best.

Obviously that's not the case for most the time. But I'm so darned stubborn that somehow things always go my way. Which, at the time, is wonderful; looking back, is not so much so.

I'm not sure if I'd categorize this as 'regret', things can always be worse, but there's still this occasional nagging feeling that things also could have been better.

And times like this it's hard to just close my mind off and just let go. Being content is enough, but only sometimes. Yeah, I'm selfish like that.

It's a nasty habit, and I think I should change it, but I seem to so far only realize it when looking back, and not at the present time. But there's also the thought that always trying to have things my way is how I choose to express myself; I just really enjoy expressing myself (even when it makes no sense). And sometimes stepping down for a moment actually causes me so much mental anguish that it'd probably be better for everyone around me if I didn't. Am I defending myself now? Maybe.

In the end I think it comes down to confidence, and in some areas I have too much (not all of which is well earned). But though I keep thinking about this, I know that nothing about me is going to change, because I really don't want to change anything. It's just slightly unfortunate, but not yet worth the trouble.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ANYTHING FOR TOO LONG

But I really have nothing interesting to say.

Well a lot of interesting things to say but no time or coherence to actually make sense of them.

Saw my adorable brother this weekend. I do believe he sees me as a cookie making machine. Which is good since this means my parents automatically are required to go buy ingredients for me. Baking is so relaxing.

I really can't think of anything else to say. My mind's everywhere at once and so I can't really get anything across to you.

Purple flowers.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Yeast Reproduction is romantic

Here's the mating cycle of yeast taken right out of my lecture slides:
Scientific Terminology
Diploid: Having full the full set of chromosomes (one from mother, one from father; or two copies of homologous chromosomes)
Haploid: Having half the full set of chromosome (half the diploid; or one copy of a homologous pair)
Budding: Asexual reproduction by creating a mini-clone of the self that 'buds' off to create a new cell with the exact same genetic make up
Spore: The 4 haploid cells that are released when the yeast chooses to go with sexual reproduction

In yeast, the two haploid spore types that are formed during sexual reproduction are called an a cell or an a cell. You can kind of think of these cells as akin to male and female. These haploid cells are able to reproduce their haploid genome via budding.

Mating occurs when one a cell finds another a cell and the two halves of a full diploid combine together, fusing their membranes and joining their DNA into one. I think the notion that in order to become a full diploid yeast cell, two haploids have to find each other and literally fuse into one, is really quite romantic.

To top that off, if a haploid cell has a loss of function mutation in a gene (let's call it gene A), it's overall growth and survival is very limited since they don't have a correct copy of said gene to make up for the one mutation. Now say there's another haploid with a mutation in a different gene (let's call it gene B) but has a functional copy of gene A. If these two haploids mate then they will fuse their genes together so that there are now two copies of each gene. Since one haploid had the wildtype (functional) allele for gene A and the other haploid had the wildtype allele for gene B, the diploid cell will have two perfectly functional alleles for both gene A and gene B! The two haploids complement each other's flaws so perfectly!

Of course, in the case that both haploids have a mutation in the same gene, well, their resulting relationship will also be pretty in-viable... I guess it's all about finding the right match.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Paperwork: My greatest nemesis

Recently I've been looking into rentals for the summer and next year. It's been stressful. So stressful that I feel like it's already exam season or something...

I'm going to go all spazztastic now.

So two friends and I were planning on leasing a place for a year starting this summer. After many weeks of searching, we finally found a place. Then a whole bunch of paperwork flooded me and I feel like my intense "do things on time" nature kicked into place. Mostly it's the fact that I feel like this stuff is serious now; not just school stuff. It kind of hit me that this is what "adults" deal with.

Money, and paperwork and all sorts of fun. I feel like I might be taking this too seriously, but then I tend to do that for most things I feel are important. I should really take things more easily.

But at the same time I feel like my seriousness is the key to all the good things that have happened in my life.

-Update-

Stress somewhat gone now. Now to de-stress and study

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Respect to the creator of beautiful things

I like pretty things.
It's always nice to be walking merrily along and suddenly be struck by inspiration. People are such wonderful creatures with brilliant thoughts and imaginations. We're awesome.

I really like admiring other people's creations, especially when they make me feel. Sometimes I'm a bit disappointed that I can't exactly explain my feelings or even describe them adequately, mostly this happens when I'm talking to someone else. But most of the time I'm content to just let the emotions wash over me without the care to focus on them too much.

I guess that's another reason I really respect artists, they can express themselves and be understood. Somehow they can turn the abstract idea that only they can see into something that can be shared. I respect that, a lot.

It's only through understanding each other that we an get along in the end, and it's very hard to be understood when you can't explain yourself.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Scientific Article Reading (How I do)

I has found a summer lab position! *Cheer

As preparation, I've asked for a few readings as the topic is something new to me (as most things I've never done before are). I got 10 papers to read now.

1. Read it once through in order without doing much else
2. Go back to the abstract to recap exactly what I just read
3. Read the introduction because by this point I'm probably extremely confused
4. Underline and define terms I'm unfamiliar with in the introduction
5. Try to find the main questions being asked in the introduction--> highlight
6. Go straight to results to see the answers to the questions- scribble down my own conclusions
7. Go back to introduction to see if what I thought makes somewhat sense with background theory
8. Read the methods to try to get a better understanding of how the results came to be
9. Be confused because the methods are probably beyond me... hell I'll need a whole other list to describe how I read the methods section
10. Read results again; fix up some previous conclusions based on review of intro and maybe slight understandings of the methods
12. Read discussion to see how they reached their conclusions
13. Eat chocolate
In all seriousness, usually when I get confused, I just go back to my introduction. So really the point where I define the terms in the introduction and analyze it deeply is a really important step for me. Usually I try to read several articles at once, after I annotate the introduction of one and get confused by results/methods, I'll move onto another. Since most of the articles are very related, it helps with my overall understanding of the topic.

1. Prepare self mentally and emotionally (as I most likely will feel like a failure)
2. Read once through, mentally note things I understand/have seen before: highlight
3. If highlight!=Null: Be proud I know some stuff; else: sink into deep depression
4. Read through again and underline terms/techniques I have never heard of
5. Cry because there are too many underlines
7. Read again and try to actually understand what's going on
8. Be confused
9. Carry on with rest of reading the paper and hope that my subconscious can figure things out
Overall, I think it takes me quite a bit of time to read an article fully. Depending on how much I actually understand of it and how much I need to understand it, it takes between 30min to 5 days.

Now I'm going to stop blogging and get back to reading these articles.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

I can't be the only one

Sometimes I don't sit down at an empty table because I'm sad I have no one to share it with.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Curriculum Vitae and LaTeX

\documentclass{article}

\begin{document}

Hello World!

\end{document}

Some time ago my Facebook feed was full of people going on about LaTeX. Specifically a nao and a michiichan. I jumped on the bandwagon. Currently in the middle of making the most beautiful CV I have ever laid my eyes on. "In the middle of" because I'm still trying to decide how I want to organize it.

Usually for resumes I have the following sections:
1. Name/Contact Info
2. Education
3. Work Experience
4. Extra Curriculars
5. Awards
6. Hobbies
7. References
For my CV I feel like I need to change it up.

1. Name/Contact Info
2. Education
3. Publications
4. Lab Experience
5. Other Experiences
6. Awards
Sadly I currently only have lab experience in one lab... Though I do have this summer's lab work figured out so soon that section can have two entries. Also currently trying to publish the results from last summer's work into this Undergrad Journal, not a real publication according to some, but I think it says something about me.

I attended a workshop today on how to write a good resume. It seems lots of people have a "Skills" section after their education. Perhaps I should add that in too? But where...?

Organization is such a hassle, I struggled for at least an hour trying to decide how I wanted each entry to look. Settled on:

\begin{format}
\title{l} \location{r} \\
\employer{l} \dates{r} \\
\body \\
\end{format}

Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to make the title bolded whenever I call up this format. So each time I have to \bf my title... not the biggest deal but I can't help thinking that there should be an easier way. I also have to italic my employer each time... a bit of a hassle. Tips and advice my dears?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Immortality and Jellyfish

 Doesn't it look awesome?
Commonly known as the "Immortal Jellyfish". Seriously, it's basically immortal. See normal jellyfish are born as a larva. This larva then develops into the unique jelly-baby we call a polyp. The polyp grows and grows until one day it reaches its final jellyfish state.

 The life of a regular non-immortal Jellyfish

Turritopsis nutricula is a special little jelly though. As a fully grown medua (final jellyfish stage of life), it can actually "reverse age" back into the tiny polyp. That's like you suddenly reverting back into a baby; an ability I'm sure we'd all love to have.

But of course, in the real life of T. nutricula reverting back into a helpless polyp can be pretty dangerous. There's a higher chance that they will get eaten. But in exchange for basic immortality, not such a bad deal?

I find the topic of immortality quite an interesting one. We've been learning in a hell load of classes about immortality.

In a genetics class we've learned that Daf-2 mutants in C. elegans have almost twice the life span as normal worms. This gene is highly conserved in vertebrates... Daf-2 usually serves to inhibit the longevity of worms so is the same true for humans? Of course it'll be much more complicated, but this serves to confirm that longevity does lie in our genes.

Then in evolution we learned how a simple Drosophila selection experiment managed to make longer-living females; at the cost of early life reproductive success. But of course, it's one thing to do a selection experiment on something so small and easily manipulated, and completely another thing to attempt to do the same with humans.

Not that I think we have to worry, at the rate society's going at there are already selection pressures for women who reproduce later in life. I propose a century long study of human reproductive time selection!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Parfait?

I've been thinking too much recently. I'm going to take this time to just stop thinking.

Here's a picture of a fruit parfait I made with roommate a while ago:

Here's a close up:

For a phone, I think <currently unnamed> does a pretty good job with photos. It actually does a better job than my point and shoot sometimes (when I literally just point and shoot without worry about how much my hands are shaking). Just as evidence, here's a photo of kayaks:

Actually, on small resolution it looks oki... click it and see the blur though...

Ya this is really an incoherentish post. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Late hibernation

Between midterms, assignments, labs and other random stuff I piled onto myself, I've grown quite weary. It's actually rather upsetting.

Finally got around to installing Wind IDE today... hopefully will be better than whatever the heck else I was using before (it wasn't so good so I just forgot the name).

In all honesty this is another one of those "I kind of want to sit here and never move again" kind of days. The worst thing about being me is that whatever I feel, I feel too much of it. Becomes very hard to block out emotions to actually be productive.

I've also noticed my arrogance has been getting in the way of my pre-testing strategies... the result is another addition to my current blandness.

The worst thing about feeling bland isn't the feeling bland, it's the fact that I don't know why I feel bland and hence have absolutely no idea how to stop feeling bland.

I feel like if I continue to type I'm just going to ramble on incoherently with complaints. I'll stop now and just hole up for a week or so.

Friday, February 17, 2012

When you know the author

Ever read a book and felt like the author was trying to speak to you through the words unwritten? Or am I alone in constantly wondering what an author could possibly have wanted to share with me through his/her story? This goes back to my whole belief that art is an intimate sharing of one's personal desires, sometimes without one meaning to do so.

Last week one of my (dare I say?) most creative/thoughtful/intriguing friends gave me a book he wrote: The Bridge. Here is picture I took of it because the covering and the covers were so sensibly made:

My thoughts going through the first few pages: "This is totally his style of writing."

And as I read through the rest of the story, I kept going back to the fact that the entire narration felt very much like something only he would have come up with. Usually when reading books by different authors I start to notice their particular accents and tones of writing, but I can never be sure what kind of person they were because I never met them. It was a very different experience reading a friend's work and realizing that, yes, this is his style.

But I ramble (as I usually do), and it's about time I summarize the story without giving it away.

Summary

Told through seven days, we follow the main character as he lives a rather bohemian life. The focal point was flashbacks to a particular interaction the character had with his childhood best friend, which occurred on a bridge (finally understood title after reading that part). Through two different tellings of the same flashback the reader starts to question who exactly the main character is.

I actually feel like I can't really explain how much I enjoyed this book without spoiling it... Really do hate it when that happens. Here are my general feelings when reading it though:
• This is totally his style of writing
• So much thought clearly put into this
• I'm so confused
• Wait, what?
• Ahaha
• I feel like I've just been told something without being told it
The afterword should have been part of the book in all honesty. Without it I would have been at a greater loss of the story than I was after reading the afterward, at which point I was still rather confused. I seem to enjoy getting confused.

I'm actually rather upset now that I can't exactly get my thoughts about the book written down properly. And just on a whim I added this book to my Goodreads book shelf, after adding the book to the book list that is. I just realized, this is the first book I finished this year! Book goal of 30 books by the end of this year, I'd best get on that!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nature's pretty things

I then proceeded to look through past somewhat pretty photos I took and fixed them up... I now understand why so many of my friends are into photography. A good picture is good. It's this easy way to be artistic without the hassle of learning how to paint.

But in my sincerest belief, anyone can be a good photographer, but to be a truly brilliant one involves that much more work. That's not to say that the good photographers should just stop; any good photo is a delight to experience.

I know a lot of good photographers. They constantly delight me with their work, I've saved quite a few of their photos too. Hang on, let me get some copy right permission to post some.

Permission-getting successful.

From the world of my good friend Duckii

This was taken at a park in the fall season. I love the sparkling water and the exact moment of this capture. It's amazing because you feel like the goose knew to pose. The overall colours are also wonderful, it's a smooth blend of the orange-warm tones.

I'm just wondering when she got the time to get a perfect drop of water on a leaf for this shot. It's clean and has a calming effect. Also kind of makes me thirsty, even though I know how small that drop would be in real life. This reminds me of something my past PI said about how she enjoyed photography because it allows you to look at things from a new angle and see something completely different.

Over last summer, while communicating via email, Picadasiy clued me in on her own photography skills.

Loving the deep blue tones here. It's a calming picture... I'm thinking in my head "the secret life of plants" for some reason. I generally love it when a photo's hues blend in well; the use of all warm colours or all cool colours. Not sure why, but bright radiating colours need to be done really well in order for it to resonate with me.

But then, the mix of green and pink has always been a big favourite of mine when it does come to colour. It's my symbol of feminism. I think my favourite dress was pink and green. Not sure what happened to it now... I need more pink and green dresses... I also really love flowers (as you can predict...), in fact this picture is basically everything I consider myself in a nutshell.

So as I may or may not have alluded to, I've been messing with past photos these days... While I like them, I've got this terrible thing about sharing art. Art to me is a way of expressing myself so much more intimately than words ever can. Words easily mask the truth, but art is really the "language of the soul" to use a cliche.

I just spent the past few days puzzling over whether I should open myself up to the world or not. I suppose I shouldn't make such a big deal of these things really... but I can't help how strongly I feel about it. Perhaps I'll just sneak a photo or two of my own into future blogs.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Anonymous

I just started around 5 different posts today... publishing none but this. Why? Because I'm scared.

The internet used to be my way of expressing myself anonymously, but to a point I did want to share some ideas with people I knew... but people who know me will no doubt judge me based on what I write.

Sometimes I like to be judge; I play out situations to be judged. Other times I really want to just do away with the mask of my life and be truthful. But the truth always carries such power; and often times it's deadly. And there's a lot of opinions that I have that I'd want to share but I'm always scared it'll offend.

I fell back on this previous alias with hopes to stay a secret, but I'm not so good at keeping my own secrets.

At this point comes another time when I just have to trust myself. And just remember that there are countless other people who don't know me. It's a comforting thought.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Things that don't happen every day

Um... there's an issue going on right now.

No, make that two. Well one is already done with... here I'll use my friendly lists:
1. I was cooking today and wanted to add ginger to my cooking. My ginger shrunk.
2. Our laundry machine spewed out a candy cane
Story 1: Case of the shrinking ginger

This story isn't so strange. Basically I cut my ginger a while ago and put it in a cabinet. My parents do this very often and the ginger usually only shrinks a bit at the cut area. Not so for me. My ginger turned into a misformed twig:

I found this quite amusing. Actually I showed my roommate and we started laughing; right now I'm not sure what the humour was though. This ginger actually looks very sad.

Story 2: Case of the Magical Candy Cane Creation Factory that is our Laundry Machine

So starting the beginning this week, my roommate was doing her laundry. She then reported to me that during the last 5min of the cycle (the spin cycle), the machine started making really loud and scary noises. On instinct, she removed her clothes and noticed a very strange burnt plastic/chemical smell.

Today she tried again, with hopes that it was a one time phenomenon. Again, the last 5min consisted of strange and otherworldly noises. And again, the pungent odour was noticed.

So roughly 2 hours ago I decided that I needed to wash my clothes. And so I thought, hey I'll just set the machine to not do the spin cycle, that way it'll never reach the point of the strange noises. Naive thinking.

Midway through the wash cycle some heavy bangs were heard from the machine. Roommate has confirmed that it was not the same noise she heard but we thought we ought to check it out just in case. So we looked and noticed there was a strange piece of plastic among my clothes. We opened the doors and beheld:

Yes. It's a candy cane. Crushed and such but still a candy cane. The mystery is where this candy cane came from since neither my roommate nor I have had such a candy cane before. In fact, the box of 100 candy canes I bought for Christmas looks absolutely nothing like this (mine have a green stripe as well and the packaging has words).

So we figure, ok, now we know why the laundry was making weird sounds. Let the washing cycle continue. BAD IDEA

Somehow, the laundry froze during the middle of the rinsing stage. It also didn't drain. And since there's water inside it the door is locked. My clothes are in there.

Roommate just called the company who made the washer (LG...), they said we need to reset the machine. I'm studying for an upcoming test and so lovely roomie has offered to take care of it. I've already planned out backup clothes anyways so I'm not too worried. I would like to have the machine door opened at some point though...

Random things happen it seems. It's been such an entertaining night I've laughed myself silly. Back to work now.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Things I want

Sitting here trying to write a chemistry lab discussion. I don't want to do it. But I do want to:
• Make a list
• Distract myself
• Eat chocolate
• Explore my room
• Put my head at eye-level with my desk and see it from a different angle
• There's a lot of dust... I should do something about that
• Swifer the floor
• Light the scented oil burner
• Hold a mirror next to my beta fish and watch it be mad
• Go to a place with flowing water and take pictures
• Go to a place with a gentle stream and walk in barefoot
• Be living in the summer
• Without the bugs
• Jump out my bedroom window and float for a moment
• Create a glider
• Glide down through the downtown core from the CN tower
• Repeat on the Empire State building, Tower of London and Mount Everest
• Climb a tree
• Sit in a tree-house
• Go camping
• And snuggle up with someone special in a sleeping bag
• With mosquito repellent candles burning
• Go fishing
• Live a day knowing that tomorrow, no one will remember what I did today
• Stop time
• Be able to make firm decisions
• Be a teacher
• Focus
• On this discussion I should be writing

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's an internet?

Aka. Internet, World Wide Web... Cue xkcd reference:

What the hell is it?

Strange question I know, since you're USING the interwebs right now... as am I. And we're all quite aware of what it is and how it came about. Some of us even understand the internal  workings of the internet. The thing is, when my brother asked me, "What's an internet?" (after my repeated explainations of why we cannot yet download more games on his iTouch), I found I had a really hard time explaining what the internet IS. Stumbling for words, my inadaquet answer for him was, "It's this public space where you can get stuff... electronically... and... ya..."

Sure, I could have gone into the whole oxford definition:

Pronunciation:/ˈɪntənɛt/

noun

(the Internet)
• a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

But I doubt my brother's six-year old mind would have understood. So here's what the internet means for me:

• A way to instantly connect with people
• Instantly get information from anywhere in the world
• Entertainment
• Global community
• Place to share ideas
• A place where ordinary social cues change
• Be yourself, or be anyone else
• Where all my research gets done
Thinking about it now, Jeffrey Deaver wrote a lovely short essay in his book The Blue Nowhere about the internet:

"The line between the real world and the machine world is becoming more and more blurred each day. But it's not that humans are turning into automatons or becoming slaves to machines. No, we're simply growing towards each other. In the Blue Nowhere, machines are taking on our personalities and culture- our language, myths, metaphors, philosophy and spirit. ... Now he turns on his computer and enters the Blue Nowhere, a place where he interacts- he has tactile stimulation of the keyboard, verbal exchanges, he's challenged. He can't be passive anymore. He has to provide input to get some response. He's entered a higher level of existence and the reason is that machines have come to him. They speak his language. ..."

It's interesting to think that the internet really is whatever we choose to make of it and it turns into what we, as a whole, create.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Naming Inanimate Objects

I've been desperately trying to find a suitable name for my new smartphone... it's quite difficult. Usually in the process of using a new piece of technology I somehow manage to find a name for it.

My very first cell phone's name was Flipper... it was a flip phone and I was uninspired. The second cell phone was named Smiles since for the longest time it's bluetooth device name was "=)". I decided that if people wanted to connect to my phone via bluetooth they had to be reminded to smile. When I got my laptop I named it Lappy completely without thinking... well I wasn't about to name it Toppy now was I? When I got the Asus Eee pad Transformer, which functions as both a tablet and a netbook really nicely, I named it Neblet, after sending a text to a friend and combining the words as to not have to write as much.

Now I'm at a loss for what to name this smartphone I have. And while I pondered it I started wondering why I name my electronics...

So for an elective this year I took a linguistic anthropology course. I remember distinctively in the book we were to read (written by the professor) a chapter about naming. It was interesting because it talked of names as a way humans tried to make a link with the "soul"... and by naming something, it was like creating life. In a way I understand this, adding a name to something personifies it for me... but not really to the point where I'd know if Neblet was male or female.

When I was small I named my stuffed animals. The ones that are now lost or given away I can not longer remember the names for, the ones that are still around I do remember the names for... generally. It seems the more attached to a plushie I am, the more likely I'd remember it's name.

My very first doggy plushie was named Tom. My favourite nanny gave me it when I was just entering "childhood". Tom was the first English name I learned and since I knew I was going to an English speaking country I decided that it would only be right that this doggy plushie had an English name.

Tom and I shared a lot of memories, and one day someone got me another doggy plushie (probably trying to win over my young heart's affection after seeing how much I loved Tom). This doggy plushie was actually a valentine gift, it was a doggy holding this heart that said something on it (beyond memory). I cut the heart off; I just wanted the doggy part of the plushie. Did this make me a heartless person?

Regardless, I named the new doggy Sarah, can't remember the reasoning now. But Tom and Sarah made for a good clique-like couple. I still have them now because I can't really bare to throw them into the cold confines of the basement.

So now I'm considering naming the phone Sandwich. Because soon (hopefully) it will run on android Ice-cream sandwich, and it is not the LG Ice-cream phone that I wanted in the past, hence it is only a Sandwich... But it really looks more like a Bar than a Sandwich. I suppose I'll have to decide later.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Just Cruising

So this last week I went on a cruise with NCL on their Norwegian Jewel. It was an overall fair experience that I think most people should try at least once... much like every other experience we have in the world.

In any case, I'm typing this in the car on the way home after having driven on the highway for a good 2-3 hours. I don't really know how long it was because I had road hypnosis... but more on that later. I'm going to now comment on several events of this cruise that I feel like commenting on.

Rooms
Since family was opting for cheapness as much as possible on the room (to spend on other things), we had one of the inner ship cabins. No windows. Small space. BUNK BED.

Yes people, this little cabin had a beautiful bunk bed that flipped out of the wall. Did I ever mention how much I loved bunk beds when I was little? Parents never bought me one, which might be way I wanted it so much. Regardless, I only got 2 nights on the bunk bed because my brother, being younger and more entitled to the joys of a bunk bed, called dibs on it.

I should also comment that it was very easy to fall asleep in this little cabin. No moonlight from the window (though I'd admit the romanticness of that if I weren't with my family), very snug and quite nicely warmed. Not to mention the gentle swaying of the ship had a powerful sleep inducing effect.

Gentle swaying of the boat
While I'm on this topic, I should mention that I did not get sea sick as feared! Well not severly that is. Overall I only noticed the ship rockng back and forth if I closed my eyes and focused on it. But one night the waves were esspicially bad and I when I walked it felt as though I was drunk walking because the floor was swaying beneath my feet. Most frightening part would be looking out the window and seeing the ocean horizon raise as though the ship was about to tip over. Luckily, my mom and I were prepared for this and had Gravol ready. Anyone thinking of spending prolonged time on a ship should always bring it as a just-in-case.

The funny thing is that although I didn't feel the ship movement too much for the majority of the trip, after getting OFF the ship I started feeling slightly dizzy. In fact, we took a rest from driving a few moments ago and as I walked I could swear the ground was moving. Maybe I'll look into if the feeling is normal once I'm home and have interweb access, but if this sentence is still here then I probably got too lazy and/or had no time to do so.

'Gators
We went on a tour in Florida. Saw wild and captured gators. I held one. Was fun. It was quite soft, anyone who hasn't touched an alligator before, I would definately recommend the experience.

Also we went to this zoo like thing. Found a peacock that posed for me and the most adorable little porcupine!

Hypnosis
Anyone remember or heard of the kid's show Mystery Hunters? I remember they did an episode about hypnosis that was really quite interesting. Aboard the N. Jewel was the hypnotist Brenda Kaye. She had a show as well as a "Weigh less" hypnosis session. Now it might just be me, but I find there to be similarities between being hypnotized, meditating and in a lucid dream. Mainly I feel as though hypnothesis is prehaps like having a dream while meditating. Not sure if anyone else has experienced all three and can contribute their two-cents, since every hypnosis experience is different dependimg on the person. I feel like I'm going to have an entire post on hypnosis some time later because I do have a lot to say and typing in a car is not the greatest sensation for me.

Private Island
So was the plan at least. Sadly, wind was at its worst that day and so instead of havng 3 days at sea we had 4. Sad because I wanted to go snorkling. Last time family trip to Cuba we had a tour that involved snorkling but due to a misunderstanding on my father's side we didn't bring swim-wear. This time I was very determined to go snorkling. It seems my guardian angel is trying so hard to save me from potential shark attacks.

Food
Because really, all you do on a cruise is eat. It's free anyways. Best part was that there were two rather formal resturants aboard the ship that were also free. Chance to dress up + free food is all I really wanted. That "weigh less" hypnothesis session better have worked since I ate 3 coursed meals three times each day...

Weather
This was the most disappointing factor to the vacation (if you haven't already guessed from my comments on the Private Island). Although we were in the Florida to Bahamas area, the temperature rarely went over 20 degrees! I cannot swim without at least 23.4 degrees. Also I packed a large variety of skirts and dresses for the trip. Right now I have a cough. Yes I know the cold doesn't give you the cold but I ought to mention it.

Sick.
Well this wasn't really part of the cruise but I felt I had to complain slightly about it. I'M SICK! Right now on my way home. My voice is altered from a sore throat and I have occasional coughs. Though I should be happy that I didn't get sick on vacation, I'm now unhappy that I'm sick for the first week back at school. Horrible start to the new semester. {must-be-happy-aura activate!}

Overall I'm glad I went on this cruise. I feel as though this will be the last major vacation I go on with my parents. If I ever come into a thousand dollars or so my plan would be to grab some friends and go to a resort in Cuba or somewhere guaranteed to be warm. Until then, relaxing time over and intense keening time starts again.