Archive for February, 2011

better a silly girl with a flower than a silly boy with a horse and a stick

I’m pretty sure that I’m more the silly boy with a horse and stick today. I had typed out a nice long post, but then realized it was really more of a rant.  But not a funny rant, so nobody would want to read it. And then nobody would get to the end where it isn’t a rant. So without any more ado..

If you choose to read on a Kindle in the privacy of your own home, that's your business. Something that I do really like is books. Something that makes me sad is that Borders filed bankruptcy and my go-to Borders store back home is closing.  Not that I go there much, especially now that I don’t live there, but it’s still kind of sad.  Of course, my true love is found in small used book stores.  Those are all kinds of fine.  I’m not very surprised to hear about the bankruptcy. B&N has the college bookstores.  The rest of the books are (for the most part) purchased online.  But I do so love to walk into a book store and crack open a book.  Once I bought a book simply because it looked neat.  Only when I got home did I learn what it was about. It was a great book. (Yeah, yeah, I know. You can’t judge a book by its cover.  Except when you can).  But I feel like in an online bookstore, I have to know what I want in advance. Not cool.

Other thing that I like: when patronizing knowitalls are wrong. I just noticed an example in the interwebs, and it was most excellent. Yeah, I know, that makes me a jerk. But when there are people falling all over themselves to correct you, it’s nice when you can respond with “actually, no, I am right, and you are wrong.” This goes very nicely with my extreme annoyance at people on the internet who are wrong.  It is so bad how much work I don’t get done when I see someone being wrong. It is my DUTY to correct them, right? Oh dear, there must be people out there wanting me to trip up too. But at least I’ve never told someone that they ought not be allowed to talk to people.

This weekend, I’m super behind. I wanted to get a lot done today, but I blame maelstroms and coffee shop hours. Or something.  Anyway, I really want to get most of the homework that’s due this week done by tomorrow.  Because I won’t want to work on it this week. Even more than I usually don’t (hey, I really do like working on those syntactic problems!).  Because I will have a guest.  That’s right, people from back home. I don’t need you to visit me–I have other friends who clearly love me more. (Just kidding, friends from home. Please visit me. I love you.) Anyway, Andy, whom I most scandalously met *on the internet* and subsequently at the LK in DC last May (Esperanto Conference), will be here on Monday.  I’m now realizing how much of a slob I am (do I REALLY have to clean the rooms?) and how much I don’t know about Rochester (omigosh what will we do?).  But I’m also pretty excited. Excited enough to do homework… in advance. Jes, Andreo, vi estas TIEL kara al mi.

And now, off to all those mundane chores that need to be done. Like the laundry and dishes. Ve. I need a wife.


brief thoughts on the weather

I’m almost always cold.  I’m pretty sure it’s an evolutionary trait to go with the doesn’t like people one.  This way, in desperation to stay warm, I’ll have to seek out others’ body heat.  Or something. But yesterday and today it was something like 50 degrees.  Outside.  Which feels kind of warm (but I wouldn’t say I was warm… it just felt warm compared to 0 degrees).  In my bedroom, however, it got up to about 80.  It’s pretty ridiculous. Tomorrow’s high? 27.  Brilliant.

And honestly, I don’t really have a full post worth of things to say right now. Must be the lack of sleep.   Real post later, I promise. :]

here’s looking at you, kid

I’ve a confession to make. I’ve got commitment issues like nobody’s business.  I wish I were only talking about the big, scary sort of commitment like marriage.  Nope.  You see, it’s almost Valentine’s Day (pardon, SAD), and in addition to the bubbly pink hearts and sticky, sweet romantic pairing off, I’ve also got to contend with academic pairing.  For some reason, I had it in my mind that group projects were a thing for elementary school (where I couldn’t stand them), until I got to middle school and found they were there too.  High school as well. But certainly that was the end–right? Oh, no.  I could have thought that, since I’ve avoided the sort up until now in my university education, but this year my first paper in the international poetry course I’m taking is a partner paper.  How does that work? No flipping idea.  But I do know that choosing a partner is the most painful experience ever.  There’s the initial fear of “oh no. nobody will want to work with me” followed by “I  have to ask someone” and “how do I pick someone?”  And then if exceptionally lucky, someone else will contact with an invitation to work together.  But do you accept that? Could be the only one in the world who wants to be partners, after all.  I did accept–no reason not to, really.  It’s a course outside of my major so I didn’t know anyone coming into the class.  But I already feel a little trapped.  And really, that’s how any commitment makes me feel.  Even things like committing to wear one pair of shoes over the other in the morning.  I’m stuck with that pair all day long.

In other, special edition Valentine’s Day news: I have found the perfect vegan brownie recipe.  Up until now, I’ve decided that I’m completely worthless in the kitchen if I can’t even figure out how to make brownies come out. I read reviews and only try recipes that get positive ones, so what’s the deal? Well, so far as I can tell, the deal is that I hadn’t yet tried this brownie recipe from Your Vegan Mom.  Go make those now.  Seriously, they are the best vegan brownies ever. If you don’t find true love, you’ll at least have your chocolate to go with your SAD celebration.  I think I’m going to make the cream cheese cookies with strawberry frosting from the same blog for Valentine’s Day proper.

And since it is now officially Valentine’s Day: what’s the most awesome/memorable Valentine you’ve ever sent/received? The best I’ve given had a picture of a dead rat on the front.  The best I’ve received had a vacuum cleaner (break out the vacuum, ’cause this holiday sucks!)

Kaj tiun ĉi tagon de amo, mi certe ne povus forgesi mian amaton–Esperanto.  Ĉu vi festos Esperante hodiaŭ? Ĉu vi amas Esperantiston? Ĉu vi amas Esperantiston, sed forgesis Valentenkarton por ŝli? Nu, mi havas solvon por vi.  Simple presu kaj detondu tiun ĉi karton.  Ĝi aspektas aparte bela sur ruĝa papero, kompreneble. Ĉu vi ankoraŭ ne havas Esperantistan koramik(in)on/edz(in)on? Nu, presu kelkajn kaj sendu ilin al ĉiu fraŭl(in)o, kiun vi konas.

if you had to wrap a bow around it in 10 words or less

Off and on I’ve been experimenting with adding sugar to my coffee.  While I generally speaking like to drink my coffee black, it makes me feel pretty unwell on an empty stomach.  Add some steamed soy milk, and it doubles as breakfast (you  know, kinda) and is pretty enjoyable.  Unfortunately, the coffee shop I frequent on campus has gross coffee and soy milk that doesn’t sufficiently hide the flavor.  Why go there? Well, it’s closer, has less long lines, and is cheaper than Starbucks.  Don’t worry, once I live in real life, I’ll look for a less evil coffee shop. (Or open my own) So, since it’s not great without either a syrup shot or some sugar thrown in, I can save 60 cents by using the raw sugar handy.  Anyway, I have a question for the folks who generally drink sugar in hot drinks.  How the heck do I sweeten the top? I try to mix it in, but the bottom is always sickeningly sweet and the top tastes unsweetened. Is it because I insist on using the raw sugar? The crystals are bigger, maybe they sink before they can dissolve/melt.  Maybe I should just try to plan on going when the girl who gives me cheaper coffee is there and go for a shot of vanilla. Or maybe I should just try to be more productive and get more sleep so I don’t need coffee?

Speaking of which, I’m so tired.  Because I didn’t get enough done over the weekend.  Am I staying up getting stuff done now? No, I’m staying up thinking “I have too much to do to sleep. I will be blaming the Super Bowl for the lack of productivity. Disappointing Super Bowl, that.  As someone who cared very little about the game being played (I like football, but didn’t care which team came out on top), I’m really disappointed by the advertisements this year.  None really stuck out as being awesome, and there were a lot of local ads. Weird. Sad. Other negative things.  The food, beer, and company were great though!  And nothing like two new Glee episodes in one week.  (Yes, I watch it. No, I don’t like it.  Yes, I’ll continue to watch it).

Now this is going to be a little annoying for a few seconds to anyone who didn’t go to high school with me and go on the Latin trip to Rome. Remember that time that BP went on a crazy rampage about may/might? And how he told us that might can’t be anything but past tense? And other lies? And remember how we believed him for about a minute? Well, until we got back, checked out OED, and then became confused? Guess what? May/might… still confusing.  The rest of the world can check back in now.  Last night I was finishing up a linguistics assignment, and found myself needing to assign a tense to the sentence: “The cats might have been playing with that yarn.” The answer? There is none, apparently.  I actually went so far as to email a question to the professor.  That’s a big deal for me.  The answer was basically “don’t worry about it,” which is about as unsatisfying of an answer as I could ever in a million years get.  An answer telling me “well, actually, it doesn’t matter–we can’t tell,” would have been acceptable, I guess.  I’d accept it as an oddity of the English language and move on.  But this class is driving me crazy with its pace–and I keep getting told “we’ll get to that in a few weeks” in response to contributions to the class discussion.  I almost wish there were a textbook, so that when I have a question that’s a matter of me just wanting to know, I can easily find it in some sort of standardized notation being used in the course.  Don’t get me wrong–I enjoy the class.  I enjoy both the professors, even the one I emailed to death yesterday.  I just wish it didn’t involve moving along at a snail pace to reach no conclusion.


I might have been sleeping now, had I ever learned to turn my brain off…



words make tongues make words

I’m a linguistics major now! Well, more or less. I got my form signed and turned in today.  So once the university bureaucrats are done with it, I will be.  It was a completely odd experience, declaring that major. For one, it’s a little late in the game, so I feel a bit like an outsider pushing my way in.  But the department comes with warm fuzzy feelings exactly opposite.  When I declared my first major (economics), I was asked to present my grades, and if I hadn’t taken so many classes out of a list and done so well, no major for me.  It was me convincing the department that I deserved to be a major. Honestly, both were kind of awkward, in their own special ways.  But I really do enjoy the linguistics department.  On average, they’re a lot more approachable and friendly.  And as you all know, I fit in with approachable folk.
Along the linguistic lines, today was the first meeting of the reading group.  It’s really exciting and today I learned a lot about signed language linguistics.  That’s not really the purpose of the group, but looking at who is leading it, it honestly seems more like it’s going to be miscellaneous linguistics chat time.  We are reading a book–Basic Linguistic Theory Volume 1: Methodology. I haven’t yet purchased the book, but the first chapter is available as a free Kindle book (in case you were thinking of buying me a Kindle, but then changed your mind thinking I’ve got one already–I don’t. I used the PC app, and would therefore gladly accept your gift) so I’ve looked through a bit.  I hope we do actually end up addressing it–I hear there are strong opinions about the book and the author so it should be interesting.  I think I’ll be expected to present on something, but I’m not sure what.  I’d very much like to impress these folks.  Scott suggested something conlang-y, but I would want to try to fit that into the supposed theme.  I also need to figure out what field I like best.

Speaking of books, I finally got a Polish/English English/Polish dictionary.  The best part? The English pronunciation guides.  My favorite word? [‘paːslɪ]*


Poll: Do you use the subjunctive in English? Which are you more likely to say: “If I was _____” “If I were_____?” The former sounds atrocious to me isolated, but I notice I go between them somewhat, I think.


*’parsley,’ in case that accent is too much for you. or in case you don’t want to read foreign looking English



Alchemy parties: like Tupperware parties, but not

Well, I’ve added another notch in my geekiness belt*.  I have officially played Dungeons & Dragons.  And I liked it. Like, a lot. I could see myself becoming obsessed, forgetting that I am not actually a drow, saying a prayer to Melora, the whole nine yards**.  Also, I need dice now.  I mean, I don’t *need* them, because there are extras on hand and all that. But I want them.  And now I kind of have a reason for wanting them, which would justify such a purchase.  I’ve also decided to make a really cool dice bag.  Because, you know, I have so much time on my hands.

In between take-home economics quizzes from hell, problem sets, and a language trying to kill me (Try to say a  retroflex fricative without choking on your own tongue. I dare you) I’m sure I’ll find time… Ugh.  I may have to find a new class (at this late in the semester? I know, right? Well, that is how I ended up starting Polish…) because I want to join in on a linguistics reading group (I’m pretty sure that’s code for “book club” but for academics… but I may be wrong) and it’s at the same time as the poetry class I’m for whatever reason taking. But it’s only once every other week, so maybe I can charm my way into just staying in the poetry class but skipping every other Thursday.  Here’s hoping.

And because every blog is secretly a food blog, I feel the need to tell you about today which I am naming “peas and other carbohydrates.” Breakfast: (soy) Cafe au lait (I speak English, I will not use accents. SO there) and a clif mojo bar (why don’t they sell those on campus any more?  lunch: finished off the three bites or so of rice & peas leftover from yesterday’s lunch (I really put that in the fridge? yes, I did) + curry popcorn.  I’m pretty excited about this popcorn because I just discovered stove-top popping.  I mean, I’ve always known people do that.  I’ve even eaten it something like twice in my life. But I didn’t realize how easy it is, or how much more delicious than microwaved.  Yeah, I put a little oil in the pan, but it’s a lot less than in standard microwave popcorn bags, and without all those weird chemicals. And I’m working on weaning myself off the microwave.  Because I have the internet, and don’t want weird mutant free-radical-full food in me or whatever.  Plus it comes in awesome flavors… Such as curry! A few days ago I made it with garam masala.  I’m sure anything that sounds delicious would be. Yum yum yum. And while I usually only know what I’ll be eating dinner in advance on Wednesdays, today I know I’ll be having split pea soup.  Because I’ve put everything in the crock pot (actually, that’s a name brand isn’t it? I guess I should say I have it in the slow cooker) and so when I get home there’ll be hot soup ready! Hopefully.  Which is good, because I’ve been trying to get on campus soup for the past couple of days and have had zero luck. And the great thing about soup is, I can trick myself into eating orange things in soup (I don’t care much for sweet things and orange vegetables are all way too sweet to be vegetables. Yuck).

Kiam mi komencis blogi, mi intencis verki proksimume duone aŭ trione en Esperanto. Bedaŭrinde, verkinte angle, mi ne plu volas verki Esperante.  Estas enuige simple traduki la blogeron kaj estus strange verki du malsamajn.  Mi malofte volas diri ion al nur tiuj, kiuj komprenas Esperanton, kaj mi (laŭ mia scio) ne havas amikojn kiuj volus legi sed ne komprenas la anglan. Eble mi uzos Esperanton pli nun, kiam komenciĝas la Esperanto-kurseto.  Mi, kompreneble, ankoraŭ devas praktiki la lingvon aŭ mi perdos ĝin.

*not to imply, of course, that D&D (or DnD, if you’re of that persuasion) is nothing more than another notch in my geekiness belt.

**if you didn’t understand that, I’m not sure if I should say “congratulations” or just feel more sad about my new state of almost obsession. To be safe, just google and don’t tell me about it.