Monday, April 30, 2012

Schedule Rotation

I don't have class on Monday (I guess that's today now) for the first time and already my sleep and work schedule has rotated.  I went to bed last night like normal (around 10:30 p.m.), woke up at 2:30 a.m. and started to work.

More than anything else, I think this reflects the fact that before going to bed last night I truly realized for the first time how completely fucked I am trying to finish the papers and presentations I have due Wednesday, Friday, and next Monday.  Basically, I need to work every single moment that I possibly can and this morning at 2:30 a.m., working was possible. 

(Last night I also realized that I had failed to put Wed. morning's seminar on my Big Calendar of Doom, which features for April a rabbit who is surprisingly non-disapproving*; rather he seems to look more and more concerned as the month marches on.  Yeah, me too, little bun.  I have all my deadlines through next Monday laid out on this month's page, so Worried Bunny will be my companion until May 8.  Then no doubt he will be replaced by a more traditional rabbit who will disapprove of my unrealistic optimism as I plan to get a ton of work and fun accomplished over the summer break.)

* The calendar is not specifically a disapproving rabbit calendar but it's still a bit surprising to see a rabbit who looks so free of disdain for the dumb-ass-ity of humans.

Now I'm going to take a shower so that when Robert's alarm goes off, I can join him for breakfast (I am really hungry) then immediately return to the paper I'm working on.  Well, I guess before returning to work I should check that Worried Bunny has not committed suicide so as to avoid watching my academic career go up in flames...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Un-Facebook-Able Life

Talking to my mom on the phone this week and in my motivation seminar yesterday, the topic of relationships and Facebook came up -- and particularly, the idea of Facebook as a potential source of bad feelings.  My primary observation is that it's easy to use Facebook to make yourself feel good or, especially, bad through the process of social comparison. 

Last night, I checked in and was reminded that a friend of mine from college is dealing with cancer in his family and found out that the mom of somebody I went to school and church with as a kid has recently died -- sad news (but thank god it's not my family member with cancer or my mom who died, right?).  But once you get past the inanities (one high school friend who likes to share a million music videos in a row, people expressing a general TGIF attitude that I can't share because weekends don't mean the same thing for me at all), what's left is pretty much dozens of posts about people doing or having just done sort of or very interesting things, usually with other people. 

That's not my life.

There are some people whose life has this flavor more than others.  My sister's life especially does, since she lives in like 3 places right now (both coasts and smack in the middle), is always traveling, and her main passion in life (dance) involves collaboration and frequent performances.  She doesn't have children, but her grumpy old cat and sweet new puppy more than ably fulfill the "awwwww" niche (and personally I'm not crazy about kids anyway).  She's beautiful and her husband is a brilliant photographer, so the photographs are great.  She has a smart phone that makes it easy to share with us the strange and wonderful things she sees and does while she's out and about all over the country (and beyond). 

Do I sound envious?  Really, I'm not.  I love my own life, as un-Facebook-able as it usually is.  I spend a lot of time alone, reading and thinking and writing, or in the lab, where I have to mentally put on the white lab coat and exert self-control to deal with other people in ways that violate social norms.  I frequent the same half dozen places in this town, often on a regular schedule.  All this partly reflects my nature and my preferences, and partly is just a part of life as a grad student/academic. 

But looking at Facebook, even I occasionally get that feeling, which I understand is quite common, of being left out of some big, exciting Life that "everyone" else is having.  People don't post a photo of their desk at work with the comment, "Yep, it's a weekday so I'm at work, filling out forms."  People tend not to share, "In five minutes I'm going home from work and watching TV all night like I always do."  I have never seen anyone say, "I went to a party Saturday night but it was actually pretty boring and annoying.  I should have stayed home and organized my sock drawer again instead."

I love it that Tam sends me photographs from her daily (grad student) life - the huge white desk in the library with her especially horrifying math book, paper, pencils, and eraser laid out; lunch in the cafeteria; an undergrad wearing especially ugly shoes.  It's like seeing a somewhat different version of my own world with its little points of interest.  And of course, as with seeing my sister's life on Facebook, I do like the feeling of having a better sense of where she is and what she's doing.  But there's also something very intimate about it, which Facebook doesn't provide, and for some of us, I think the "this is all for public consumption, something I am sharing with you and my 200 other 'friends'" nature of Facebook doesn't meet our needs well at all.

So anyway, here I am:  sitting in my home office, surrounded by books and print-outs of journal articles and pieces of paper where I have jotted down research ideas, facing a wall covered with pictures of bunnies - including my own sweet buns on a homemade birthday card from Leo (I think he got help), wearing mismatched striped & floral pajamas and a pair of Texas Aquarium socks with sharks on them, hungry, thirsty, and thinking I should see if Robert is ready to wake up and have breakfast, the exact same breakfast I have every morning.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Kind of Day I'm Having

I just spent 30 seconds in confusion looking for my second sock.

It was already on my foot.

Yep, about right.

Now if only I could realize that I have already written my three papers and just forgot that I had saved them on this thumb drive... Of course, in my current state, I wouldn't be able to find the thumb drive.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Death by Walking

This week I was talking to my mom while walking home from campus, and as I was crossing over I-35, I said, Sorry, hold on, this car is trying to kill me.  It occurs to me that this kind of comment can really imply that I am taking my life into my hands every day I come home from school.  Actually, that was a very strange event.  Typically, when I'm walking, I need to remain vigilant to cars because when drivers see a person on foot heading toward an intersection (let alone already there), they will often slow down to let the pedestrian cross even if the driver clearly has the right-of-way. 

Robert recently sent me info on the most dangerous major metro areas (1 million+ population) for pedestrians.  The top five were (with "pedestrian danger index" in parentheses):

1) Orlando (255)
2) Tampa (213)
3) Jacksonville (178)
4) Miami (168)
5) Riverside, CA (139)

Nice job, Florida!  You dominate the country on pedestrian danger!  (If I were a more enterprising soul, I think this would make a nice bumper sticker sales opportunity.)

Other notable cities:

9) Houston (128)
10) Dallas-Fort Worth (119)
18) Austin (96)
24) San Antonio (88)

Way to go, Texas!

22) Oklahoma City (90)
29) Denver (74)
30) San Jose, CA (68)

And down in the bottom 10:

41) San Francisco (39)
48) Snow City (35)
50) New York City (30)

So by moving here from Austin, I've cut my pedestrian danger to a third of its previous level.  I mean, as if walking was ever really a viable option there.

Speaking of walking, I have not yet been able to visit this experience on anyone but Robert, but I look forward to this in the winters to come.  (This winter was so mild and relatively snow-less that I did not even get a chance to wear my awesome tall snow boots!)