Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Aiyah, missed the lunar eclipse. Even after Jane reminded me.

Oh wow. Blogger supports video uploading. How cool.

Lab dynamics are way too dramatic. My goal in this lab has changed. I'm pretty sure that publishing is out of the question, I'm not even sure how good my rec can be at the end. So the goal now is to learn troubleshooting techniques and people skills. Make friends. Do well in GRE, make sure I make good enough impressions on my teaching professors to get fantastic recs. If expts don't work, why should I stress over them? It's not like I'm going to get any amazing results anyway. Take things easy and focus more on life.

"You can't always be nice and gentle in life. Sometimes you have to be strong and angry." ~ Vanetta on making strong strikes in frappes. She's really amazing. I can't believe I can quote so much from a dance class.

It's this thing about attitude. Zhen zhen said some time ago that we have all been conditioned to be workaholics. Once we're free, we feel weird, awkward, want to look for something to do. Right now, lab's filling that space. And I enjoy my rec class so much cos it's somewhere else to focus my energy and attention on, something else that I can work on. People work hard in that class, I think a lot of it is because we're all used to working hard, of trying to be perfect. I'm never good at dance and I'll never be a dancer, but it's great fun now to work at it and feel the improvements. Same with lab, a lot of us are working even though conditions are terrible because of this belief that if we work hard enough, things will go fine. Brute force. K's student should never have stayed for an extra yr, M should leave now, TJ should have left a long time ago, maybe I should have found a way to wriggle into some other lab. But we didn't. Fear of change. Hope that things will get better. Believing that working hard helps. Stumbling blocks that a free soul wouldn't have. What to do?
Check other blog for details.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

"Pretend you're confident."
"Think happy thoughts. Think of a day when things went better than expected."
That was so aimed at me. Haha.

We were talking about how americans are brought up to think that they are the best in the world, not completely wrong i guess, in many aspects, they are better than the rest. But we were saying how this attitude of we're the best and we don't need any help isn't exactly the best attitude to take. You get arrogant, close-minded, and stick to your own silly ways. And when you do need help, no one's going to give you any cos you think you're the biggest and mightiest. But then again, when Bush wanted to fight Afghan or Iraq, many countries were supporting him.. including this tiny island in SEA. So, moral of story, don't ever claim that you're the best, or that you know everything, cos you might just find yourself out of friends and out of help when you need it. Just know that you're good, don't have to tell everyone =)

This has nothing to do with pretending to be confident.

Monday, 13 August 2007


Woohoo. My first meteor shower! So glad that I'm in the Northern hemisphere now. Went to Torrey Pines Gliderport to watch the shower. It was so cloudy that we almost left, then luckily, it cleared up enough so there's a big piece of open sky above us. And we lay down to watch stars shoot past. Amazing. We counted 15-20 in that 1h that we were there, it's a lot less than what has been seen by others, but we weren't there at its peak, and the sky's not totally clear. And it's amazing enough. When a star shoots by, everyone goes Wooo... Fun spotting them.

It was sufficiently dark enough to see a few things in the sky. I think I had a glimpse of the Milky Way, but I couldn't be sure cos it could be a wisp of cloud. I was looking for the big dipper and didn't realise that it's really low and can't be seen. I was looking for that teapot and didn't realise that it too was low. Too bad my star chart was used as a pillow. Haha. But we saw the summer triangle and some other stuff. I'm pretty sure I saw Pegasus' square. Star gazing is fun. Romantic? No. Not when there are 10 people trying to squeeze onto a tiny mat.

Made a bunch of wishes. Don't think they are coming true. That's sad. Maybe I shouldn't have made wishes on the Indian burial ground.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

La Scala

This is where I live. Nice right?

The extreme high ceilings

The view outside. Mormon church in the distance.

July 4th photos

Waiting for the sun to set

Everyone prepared with lounge chairs

Monday, 6 August 2007

I really like my metabolic professor. Ok, this is not the first time I'm saying this. He has good professor-student interaction skills. Anyway, today he was saying how grad school demographics has changed and that nowadays there are a lot more people from liberal arts colleges than from big research universities. And I was wondering what's wrong with people like us from research uni, and he said, "Undergrads in research universities get experience working in labs during undergrad and they get put off by the stressful environment in labs, hasn't your PI put you off yet?"

Hmm.. Is he supposed to?
Then he said, "People compete with each other for authorships, for recognition, and if the PI doesn't deal very well with things like this, the environment can be very stressful".

I totally agree. This authorship thing is too connected to everyone's personal career. It takes too long and too much energy to get a paper and if at the end of the day the effort's not recognised, there's no decent paper, your career is quite screwed. It's no wonder that people fight so much. But then again, that's no reason to be mean, even less reason to step over someone else in the lab..

Sometimes I think these people behave so childishly. Something happens that they don't like and they run off to tell teacher. Man, aren't they embarrassed at their own inability to solve the problems? Not 爽 at people then start shouting at each other, shout until the teacher's office, "-cher, he bully me.." But prof's darn zai. He chased them out and made them settle on their own. Haha.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Many times I worry too much about trying to play the right role in the right place. Should I be a nice appreciative audience, should I be a constructive critic, should I be a robot? Am I out of place? I wonder why I feel such a big need to fit in, or to find the right niche. Sometimes I get confused over what that is. Maybe I should just stop paying so much attention to what I should be, and let it run by feel...

"If you can't remember any of those things, I have one more trick, just think of this: I am going to do it. It's simple but it works." ~Vanetta
It's amazing, and totally unscientific. But it really works.

Wandering around the practice rooms today. Now that I don't have a key, I have to go in the daylight hunting for an empty room with a piano that sounds relatively in tune and doesn't have too terrible a tone. And since my memory's pretty bad, I don't know which room has the good piano and so I opened the first door I see. And there it is, an electronic organ standing there, waiting for me. So I played it. Techniques organ, pretty old, like everything else there, but it's fun. Sadly it doesn't come with a pedalboard, have to reserve it somewhere. I'll do that some day. It was fun playing with registrations once again, feeling organ keys, holding chords again. Suddenly every progression sounds nice. Haha. I'm amazed at how much the electone is conserved from these ancestors.. Same volume pedal, same pitch bend/ rhythm stop footswitch, same knee lever. I need to figure out how to save registrations, maybe my new project should be on an organ instead of a computer.. Exciting. Made my day great despite the lack of colonies on my plates.

I'm ripping 5min worth of dvd and it's taking forever.. sian..