Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quantum Physics, Astronomy, and Deep Space Travel

I'm writing my English research paper on the double slit experiment in quantum physics. Not being a physicist, I figured that as long as I can understand it myself, I shouldn't have too much trouble dumbing it down enough for a lay reader in my research paper. (That's the beauty of this topic. Most research papers are supposed to be showing off just how in-depth you can go, but with a really complicated topic where you have to go in-depth just to understand the basics, you don't have to make up stuff and shove in opinions to add "substance" to your paper to get the minimum page requirement.)

I'm at work, and I've finished all the articles we have that I'm supposed to edit, and we're waiting for more people to send in their articles (even though it's well past the submission deadline), and I got permission from my boss to do homework while I'm waiting for something to do. Something occurred to me while I was researching quantum physics.

Okay, we're going to assume for a minute that quantum physics is true and accurate. Of course, I'm very amateur at this and my understanding may not be the best. Fortunately, I think Charlotte reads my blog, and she's studying physics, so she could probably correct what I've got wrong here and probably tell me a lot more in five minutes than I could learn in an hour of research. (Hey, Charlotte, if you're bored, can I get a brief overview of quantum physics, focusing specifically on the double slit experiment? Amabo te! I'll love you forever! :D My e-mail address is on Facebook, and I think you can find it on my Blogger profile too.)

Now then. As I understand it, quantum physics is the study of really really really tiny physics. Apparently, physics works differently on an atomic level than it does on what we'd consider a normal level. That's how the electrons that circle the nucleus of an atom keep going forever and ever without ever stopping. First of all, there's no air resistance because the electrons are moving in an area smaller than air. I'm not sure why gravity doesn't slow it down, though. Maybe it's because the gravity tie that holds the electron to the nucleus of the atom overrides other gravity. Or maybe it's... smaller than gravity? Is that possible? How does gravity work, anyway? I should look into that.

Anyway, you know how there are different levels of orbit that electrons can travel on? I don't recall the term for it; it's just something I vaguely remember from my high school chemistry class. Anyway, theoretically, electrons can jump from one level of orbit to another without ever crossing the space in between.

Bear with me here. Remember, we're pretending that this is true. I don't know enough about it to say whether it is or isn't, but if you firmly disbelieve it, don't start lecturing me unless you have useful and accurate information (preferably with sources so I can look it up for my paper).

Now, we're going to make a quantum leap (heh, I made a punny) from atomic science to astronomy. If you recall, planets orbit the sun like electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom. The planets too have set orbits. That's how the outer planets were found, in fact. An astronomer whose name I don't recall noticed a pattern in the distance the planets orbit the sun and so he measured where the next few planets should be and started looking for them. So if you look at a model of the solar system, it's strikingly similar to a model of an atom, right?

So what if it were possible for us to jump from orbit to orbit without ever visiting the space in between, just like the electrons? (Ha, Mom, maybe that's where all your missing sets of keys disappeared to.)

And then what if we go a few steps further? The moon orbits the Earth. The Earth orbits Sol (the sun). Sol orbits whatever's in the middle of the Milky Way galaxy. The galaxy presumably orbits something else, like whatever's in the center of the universe. So what if not only could we jump from Earth's orbit level to Mars's orbit level, but we could jump from Sol's orbit level to, say, Betelgeuse's? Hello, deep space travel that wouldn't take billions of years.

I'm sure that this idea isn't original to me and that there's a massive flaw in it, but wouldn't it at least make a cool premise for a science fiction story, if nothing else?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Day

I have a lot of work to get done during this Thanksgiving Break, but I goofed off all day yesterday. And I think it was totally worth it. Rob and I went over to the freshman dorms for Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn't terribly crowded, and the food was great! There was even pumpkin pie!!! :D Also, Rob and I got to play air hockey before dinner. I think I totally creamed him, but only unofficially because we weren't keeping score. My strategy for air hockey is pretty simple: hit the puck as hard and as often as possible, preferably in the direction of the other player's goal. The one time when I stopped the puck and took careful aim for Rob's goal, I missed, and the puck bounced off the far wall and slammed back into my own goal. Dagnabbit! Clearly, blind force is more effective than careful strategy. I'll have to remember that.

But it was really weird... I think this is the first Thanksgiving I've ever witnessed where I didn't see or hear anyone refer to it as "Turkey Day."

This morning, Rob and I went went to Wal-Mart at five o'clock for the Black Friday sale. Neither of us wanted to get anything, but Rob wanted to witness the mayhem. Frankly, I'm terrified of crowds and would have preferred to hide under my bed, but I went anyway. To my surprise, although it was ridiculously crowded (more people crammed into one store than live in my entire hometown), I didn't want to disappear into the ground because nobody was in a hurry, so the pushing, shoving, hustling, and bustling I usually associate with crowds was noticeably absent. Apparently, the only people who would be willing to go to Wal-Mart at a time when it would obviously be so painfully crowded are people who aren't in any kind of hurry. At all. Good thing. Oh, also, there were free donuts. So the trip was totally worth it.

Then we killed a little time in Sportsman's Warehouse and Michael's while we waited for OfficeMax to open because it had a big sale too, and Rob had a list of stuff he wanted to get. (I have to admit, the 4GB thumb drive for $10 seriously tempted me, but my current thumb drive is fine for everything I need it for.) Then we went to Denney's for breakfast. The Ultimate Omelette, for the record, is fantastic. Ridiculously expensive, though.

That reminds me... I've been wanting a Sausage Egg McMuffin for a really really long time. And those aren't really expensive. I think I'm going to get one tomorrow morning. Mmmm, McDonald's food. :D

All right, well, now that everyone knows I didn't spend my Thanksgiving starving in a gutter somewhere, I do need to turn my attention back to my Latin. Toodles!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Joyous!!!

One word: YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAAY!!!!!!!!!

Guess what guess what guess what!!! Almost all of my credits ended up transferring! I only need 9 or possibly 10 more classes to graduate! Figuring five classes a semester, like I've always done, I can take off this summer to work and graduate next fall without having to take out a loan!!!!

YAY!!!!!

Also, I went to talk to a linguistics professor I'd never met before to ask if I could take a course from him independent study. He asked for my name, and when I told him, he spelled it right first try without my having to spell it for him. Holy cow, that has never happened before!

I'm pretty ridiculously excited, even though I have no idea what the heck I'm going to do after I graduate. Or even where I'm going to work this summer. Hmmm, do I stay in Fairbanks, or go back to Seward? Is there any possibility I could work in either grounds, security, or boats this summer? Historical evidence makes it seem highly unlikely.

Whatever. I don't care. My classes transferred!!! :D

Edit: Okay, I just realized I should probably clarify exactly what happened here.... My first academic advisor, the one I talked to when I first transferred here, said that most of my credits would transfer. My new one, a few weeks back, said that actually, they probably wouldn't. Ultimately, however, the registrar has the final say. So my new advisor contacted the registrar and they said, essentially, "Yeah, sure, close enough. You're the linguistics department, not us." So phonetics transferred for sure, and most of the classes I took aren't transferring as specific courses, but they're counting towards my degree anyway. Now I just have to ask again how the science classes transferred....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Milk

My milk is three days past the expiration date. But it's not visibly curdling yet, so I figure it's still okay to drink.

Also, I spilled it also over myself and my keyboard. I really need to remember to check to make sure the lid is screwed on before I shake a drink up. Oy vey.

But no use crying over spilt milk, I guess. Heh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I hate school sometimes...


This is all there is to say, really...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another juggling video



Now for the first time ever: A Lint Monkey juggling video based entirely on one toy!
I love this music.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Neurological Effects of Fermented Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Idea
Having never had an alcoholic beverage before, I felt it necessary to conduct a scientific experiment to see how well I can handle alcohol. There happened to be several beers in the fridge that were free to whomever would want them, so it seemed a very opportune time to conduct this experiment.

Planned Procedure
I planned to drink (twelve-ounce) beers one at a time while playing a video game, testing to see how many proto-whelps I could kill in two minutes to see how many beers I could consume before it had a noticeable effect on gameplay.

Hypothesis
I hypothesized that I would be able to handle alcohol well and that it would take about five or six beers before I began to get drunk. This is based on the observation that most medicines, including percocet and laughing gas, have little to no noticeable effect on me.

Experiment
The first beer I consumed was an Alaskan Amber. Because beer smells like urine, I had always assumed it would taste the same. This assumption was faulty. In reality, beer tastes like vomit. It took nearly an hour to finish it. No noticeable affect on gameplay or mental state. Hypothesis holding true so far.

The second beer was a St. Pauli Girl, which is actually a lager, but since it has more or less the same alcohol content, I judged the difference to be irrelevant for the purposes of this experiment. It tasted slightly less disgusting than the Alaskan Amber, though I can't confidently determine at this point whether that was because the taste was actually better or whether it simply didn't seem as bad because I had already had some alcohol. Same number of whelps killed. After consumption, I noticed that when I turned my head, the room would appear to turn disproportionately to the distance my head turned. Out of curiosity, I pinched my leg as hard as I could without drawing blood. It didn't hurt as much as it should have. Fascinating. Hypothesis may be faulty.

The third beer was another St. Pauli Girl. This one went down quicker than the previous two because I was starting to get used to the vile taste. Typing was affected--more typos and fewer attempts to correct them. Fewer whelps killed due to the fact that when I turned my head, my body kept turning, and I fell out of my chair. Hypothesis definitely false.

Halfway through the fourth beer (another St. Pauli Girl), I decided enough was enough and climbed into bed, where I watched the room spin around me until I passed out. It was interesting to keep my eyes fixed on a certain spot, such as the door, and watch it swim around in my field of vision.

No noticeable hangover after waking, although the smell of the beer when I washed out the bottles for later use made me want to vomit.

No photographic evidence of the experiment was attained.

Analysis and Conclusion
It was interesting to note that although I was falling out of my chair and struggling to walk in a straight line, I still felt in control of my mental faculties, if not physical. Nevertheless, it can be concluded that I don't handle alcohol well.

Also, beer tastes even worse than it smells. I don't think this experiment bears repeating unless a beverage with a better taste is discovered.

...Yuck.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I think...

I think that same-sex couples are disgusting. I think abortion is a form of killing. I think both should be legalized simply to cut down on the number of babies that come into the world. I think if hell exists, I may be going there.

Now I think I'm going to write five good things about my speech professor.

1) She has nice hair. And teeth.

2) She doesn't give out sadistic amounts of busywork.

3) She relates well to most of her students.

4) She varies her classroom routine enough that we're not just sitting listening to a lecturer drone on and on. We get to move around and talk and participate.

5) She isn't racist or sexist.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Racism

I need to get a boatload of research done tonight for the outline of a seven-minute persuasive speech I'm probably not going to give until next week. It's not even 7:00 p.m. and I'm already falling asleep. Lame. Must... chug... Mountain Dew....

I was searching for books about my research topic but couldn't find anything in the library, even though I'm pretty sure UAF's is the biggest library in the whole state of Alaska. (Don't forget, that's the size of half the continental United States. That's a big area!) I probably just wasn't using the right search terms. But typing in "color psychology" didn't give me any results on the effects colors have on your emotional state. I got only ten results, all of them about racism.

I never understood racism. I mean, from what I've seen, it's never been a big deal. Sure, in old movies, you see some of it, and I'm sure it was bad several decades ago. But in my personal experience, I've never seen anyone get treated any differently because of their race. I for one don't even notice what color someone's skin is any more than I notice hair color, which isn't much. (I do notice if they have an accent, but that's mainly because that's what I study. Or would, if certain of my teachers would let me. Bitter bitter bitter.)

I kind of view racism the same way I view the Civil War. It was a big problem a while back, it's more or less gone now, but there are probably a few idiots who won't let it go.

And by the way, a note to the South: The Civil War is over. You lost. Get over it already.

I'm sure I'll get flamed for this post because someone (maybe most of you) is convinced that racism really is a big problem and I've just never been around minorities enough to see it.

Anthropophagous: (adj) feeding on human flesh
Anthropophagus: (n) man-eater; cannibal
Kudos to the Old Man for getting close enough to last time's word for it to count.

Today's post has been brought to you by the word "enuretic." Any guesses? (Hint: It can be a noun or an adjective.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy weekend

It's one in the morning, and I just now got off work. Finally. And I don't mind. Know why? Because I got to stick around long enough to edit the stuff after it's been entered into the paper. Including the headlines. :D YAY!!! Maybe we'll have a good paper this week!

Actually, funny story about editing today. The layout manager and I kind of butt heads a bit sometimes. I won't say it's because she's stupid, but she insists she's right all the time even when I've proven her unquestionably wrong.

Today's story is a fun one. We had an argument over the word "crimination," which I had left in an article. She claimed it's not a word. I said it is one. I had looked it up when I edited the article, just to be sure. She was adamant that it's not. Well, since I'm the copy editor, I had my dictionary right beside me, along with the English Usage Dictionary and the AP style guide. So I picked up the dictionary, opened it to "crimination," and read her the definition.

Her argument: "You're wrong. It's only a word if it has a prefix. Or maybe it's a word in Britain or something."

I pointed out that if it's a British word, the entry says Brit after the word, and if it's not a word without a prefix, it would have a hyphen in front of it.

Her next argument: "Your dictionary is wrong."

Unless you really, seriously know what you're talking about, don't argue with me about grammar. Especially when I have a dictionary in my hand. You'll lose. The dictionary is the ultimate spelling authority. It's like the Grammar Nazi Bible. The only difference is, people question the Bible. People never question the dictionary. Unless they're our layout manager who thinks she has more authority than the lexicographers.

I stopped arguing with her at that point. But I'm still laughing that she would say the dictionary is wrong.

Man, this weekend was so busy! Friday after class, I went to Res Life and worked it out with them so I can have my own room for the rest of the school year. I also picked up some pins so that I could bunk the two beds in my room so there could be a little more space in the room. Then I took my second Latin midterm, got groceries, then found my way to the Wal-Mart to get Rob a birthday present.

It was my first time in this town's Wal-Mart, and OH MY GOSH! It was honking HUGE! I've been in a Wal-Mart supercenter before, but this one was about twice the size of any I've ever been in! I'm not exaggerating, either. Also, the building wasn't blue and gray with a red stripe and a boxy shape like every other Wal-Mart I've ever seen. It was tan, and shaped like some kind of castle or fortress or... fancy restaurant? And instead of the white tiled floor, it was concrete. I figure it doesn't look like a Wal-Mart because the building is so vastly huge that it would be too expensive to make the Wal-Mart actually look like a Wal-Mart.

However, everything was a lot cheaper there. And there was a lot of stuff.

...A LOT of stuff.

Anyway, I got back just in time for juggling practice, which was awesome. Like always. Then I dragged Rob home with me so he could help me stack the beds and rearrange my room. So now I sleep high enough up to put my footprints on the ceiling, and my once-cramped room now has more space than any room I've ever lived in. Ever.

I'm super-happy. It looks great. There's lots of room, with enough free space to juggle. Easily. Heck, there's enough free space for Rob and me to practice passing torches to each other. But probably not lit ones. I think we'd get in trouble. All it needs is a good vacuuming, but we don't have a vacuum, and Res Life doesn't rent them out anymore, which is retarded. Maybe I'll borrow one from Dave or Katie next time I'm over there.

Saturday was Rob's birthday. We went over to visit Rob's friend Brandon and Brandon's girlfriend Jen. Well, mostly, we just went because Rob and Brandon were brewing beer. Um... I mean, apple juice. Yeah. (Fermented) Apple juice.

This was one of the bottles they bottled two or three weeks ago. Apparently, they have to sit for two years (ideally).

Rob put the newest batch in Coke bottles. Brandon and I helped out a little, but there wasn't really all that much to do.

Brandon and Jen invited us out for pizza afterwards, so we went to a gourmet pizza place called Boston's. The pizza was outstanding, although I'll probably try a different kind next time I go there.

We stayed at the pizza place for about two hours after we finished eating, just chatting. Jen's very very talkative. She probably talked more than everyone else combined. No one minded, though.

At the table, Rob and I were sitting on one side, and Jen and Brandon were sitting on the other. At one point, I started laughing because Jen and Brandon were sitting in the same position: right elbow on the table, right hand stirring the ice around in the drink with a straw, left hand resting on the table. At least, I laughed until Brandon pointed out that Rob and I were both sitting with our arms folded on the table, leaning forward, with our shoulders slightly hunched. (Then I laughed harder.)

I love this picture of Jen and Brandon, probably because it's so typical: Girl wrapped around guy, guy only thinking about the food.


When we finally left the pizza place, Rob and I went back to campus to work. I had articles to edit for the paper, and Rob had to prepare class for his students.

Of course, being the ADD person I am, I couldn't put the camera down, so now I bequeath unto y'all a picture of Rob reading his students' biology book. That's such a thin textbook. Holy cow.

Then this afternoon, Rob and I went on a Leadership Date with the leadership committee. Or club. Or... whatever. Only, it didn't end up being a big group date. It was called a date, but out of the seven people there, Rob was the only guy. My brothers would have loved it. Rob didn't even seem to notice.

We went to the movies and saw a movie called Role Models. It was hilariously funny! I definitely would not recommend it for my mom or my sister, though. I wouldn't actually recommend it to anyone who's offended by dirty jokes and swear words. If you're not offended by dirty jokes and swear words, then I would recommend it, because it was really really funny. The plot was horribly cliche, of course, but then, what movie doesn't have a cliched plot lately?

Then we went out for dinner at some kind of Mexican restaurant. Oh man, sit-down dinners two nights in a row! Awesome! I even got dessert: fried ice cream. I don't think I've ever had fried ice cream before. It was amazing!

Also, my laundry's all done, and not only do I have clean clothes now, but I even have clean blankets. :D The only downside to that, of course, is that I have to make my bed before I can go to sleep tonight. Daggumit. I should probably stop typing and get on that, really.

One more thing, though. Two or three posts ago, I held a contest for the word "exsanguination." Dubby was the first person to get it right: It's "the action or process of draining or losing blood." Good guesses, though, all of you.

This post has been brought to you by the word anthropophagous. Two points if you know or can figure out what it means (without looking).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

300 Trailer

If you've seen the movie 300, you're either going to love this trailer or loathe it. Don't worry, the trailer is rated PG.

If you haven't seen the movie, you'll probably think this trailer is funny, but not as funny as if you had seen the movie.

And for the record, I saw the movie, and I thought it was spectacularly done.



Um... there's a possibility you have to be really tired to appreciate this fully.

Optimistic

I realized recently that I've been fairly negative lately. "Whine whine, I don't like my professor, I don't feel good, I have too much homework, I'm not learning to juggle fast enough, my classes are boring," et cetera. Especially now with everyone adding their whining about the results of the election to mine, I've decided I'm going to stop whining and start making a conscious effort to be cheery, starting with my blog.

Starting... right...

....NOW!

Okay, want to know something really funny? In my speech class today, we were voting on something. There were 21 kids in the class, and 11 voted yes. One of the engineering majors spoke up and said, "Well, that settles it. We don't even need the other half of the class to vote."

The professor said, "Yep. It's settled. The answer is no."

Of course, this caused an uproar. "Wait, what? But we voted yes!"

"Yeah. Eleven of you voted yes, and there's 21 in the class, so we're not going to do it."

"But there's only ten other students."

It was great. It took almost five solid minutes for the class to convince the teacher that eleven is more than ten.

Also, the sunrise this morning was especially pretty. The nice thing about having really short days is that I can watch the sun rise on my way to class, and watch it set on the way home. This morning was super-neat because when the sun came up from behind the distant mountains, instead of blasting out a bright yellow or orange light too bright to look at, it blasted out hot pink. I wish I'd had my camera on me, although cameras don't tend to do sunrises justice, usually.

In other good news, I cleaned 53 spyware off my computer last night. Good that they're gone, not so good that they were there, but hey, it happens.

By the way, did I ever mention how air-headed I can be at times? The other day, I got halfway to my first class, which is a ten to fifteen minute walk away, before I realized something wasn't quite right. I started digging through my pockets to make sure I had my pens and pencils and identity card... and after a moment, I realized the problem was that I had forgotten my coat.

Good thing it was warm that day: a whole seven degrees ABOVE zero!

Also, I learned a fantastic new word yesterday: exsanguinate. Five points to the first person who can define it without checking another source (other than Rob, because he's the one who taught it to me--he got an automatic ten for that). Another three points if you can give the derivation, again without looking.

EDIT: One other thing. My friend Tiffany, a girl I edited with at Leading Edge back at BYU, keeps this list on her blog of books she plans to read. I thought it was a really neat idea, so I'm making my own. Also, I'm making a list of movies to watch, since I appear to be sadly lacking in that area as well. If you have any suggestions for books or movies, go ahead and spout them at me and I'll add them to my list, in no particular order. Unless I've already seen/read them, in which case, I appreciate the suggestion anyway, and I may watch/read them again if they were really good.

I like fantasy best, followed by science and science fiction. (Yes, I like non-fiction science, as long as it's interestingly written.) Classics are usually okay. I don't like Edgar Allen Poe very much. I avoid most Jesus books if I can (I liked the Chronicles of Narnia, but I read them as stories and didn't try to read into the symbolism). Pretty much, though, I'll try anything but romance as long as it's well-written.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a headache

I wasn't originally going to vote. But when I was heading home from philosophy today, my conscious kept nagging at me. There was nobody at the voting booths when I walked through the Wood Center, where the voting was set up, so I figured, "Meh, fine, why not." Except I hate both McCain and Obama. I think they both suck. So you know that line at the bottom where you can fill in someone else's name to vote for? I wrote in "Chuck Norris."

That's not really true, but as Rob says, "Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?"

Then the lady gave me stickers and chocolate, so it was totally worth it.

I don't often get headaches, but lately, it seems like I get them twice a week: on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And they almost always seem to develop in my philosophy class. Imagine that. Well, today I developed a headache two hours before my philosophy class. I also had a headache yesterday, though I assumed that was a result of getting so mad at my speech professor. So I came home with my throbbing headache and thought that maybe lying down would help. Well, I woke up about an hour ago, and unfortunately, my headache is worse than before. AND I still have a lot of homework. Dangit.

Philosophy class today was pretty funny. The professor didn't come to class again. This is the seventh class he's missed this semester. Most of the class isn't terribly impressed that he's missed more days than all eight of his students combined. Frankly, I'm less impressed with the fact that I learn more when he's not here than when he is. Well, okay, I learn about the same amount (which is exactly nothing), but I don't feel so much like bashing my head against a wall. Okay, to be fair, I did learn one thing in Philosophy: the difference between "subjective" and "objective." I used to always get those mixed up.

Also, you know that paper I was working on all weekend, that I stayed home on Halloween to finish and just finished up yesterday night? It was due in English today. Well, I got to class today and the professor showed up and said, "Good news, everyone! You know your big papers that are due today? Well, over half the class e-mailed me begging for mercy, so now they're not due until next week!" WHAT!!! I COULD have gone to a Halloween party? That would have been nice to know last week! Cry! I pretty much insisted he let me give him the paper today so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. He said he would grade a little more leniently for the people who wanted to turn their papers in today. Whew! I'm NOT thinking about that paper anymore!

That said, I need to get to work and pick a new speech topic and research it before class tomorrow... which would already be DONE if my speech professor weren't such a witch. (bitter bitter bitter)

Picture Time!!!

I feel better now, and I didn't even have to log into WoW to slaughter helpless animals fifty levels lower than myself! So, to celebrate, I decided to treat you all with some pictures. I know, I'm sure you've been waiting with bated breath for more pictures since the last time I put them up... like a week ago. Captions are going underneath the pictures, not above them. Just so there's no confusion.

There's really a lot of static here. Especially when certain people stand behind you and rub a fleece vest back and forth over your already-staticky hair really fast.


There's a pretty mini-nature trail heading down to campus. And yeah, Sarah (my roommate) does smile like that all the time. :)


Scenery shot. Fairbanks sure is pretty. (As my dad is fond of saying: "Click the picture to view it full size.")


The night before Halloween. Sarah (right) was going through her closet trying to find something ridiculous to wear for Halloween. I'm not sure what she was going as. Amanda (left) went as a rock star, but that's not her costume.


Sarah's Halloween costume again. She has such a cute smile.


Maxxy dressed up as a spider plant for Halloween. Her costume was voted both Most Convincing and Most Vegetative.


Rob went as a mad scientist. I don't see how that's a costume for him since he's a mad scientist by nature (just ask him about the Beer Project), but I just smile and nod.


Since when do mad scientists take time off from their diabolical scheming to juggle? As we say in World of Warcraft, "lolwut!"


And before you ask, no, I didn't dress up or go to any parties for Halloween... again. I had to write a paper, which is due tomorrow and which I just finished about an hour ago.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Linguistics in Speech

I'm really really furious just now.

We're giving seven-minute persuasive speeches next week in my communications/speech class. Today, we went over our topics. My topic was on the part of linguistics that I always found most interesting and controversial and that I feel most strongly about: I was going to take words like "ain't," "you," and "he," which are banned from formal settings, and discuss them from a linguistic setting. For example, I was going to mention how "ain't" is a perfectly legitimate contraction for "am not," but it was denounced by grammar Nazis when they first started writing down "grammar rules for English" as being uneducated slang because it was overused by peasants and used as contractions for "isn't" and "aren't" as well. I was also going to mention that "you" is used, to this day, as a broad term for "people in general" and "he" shouldn't be considered "sexist" because it has always been simply a gender-neutral pronoun, which we now apparently no longer have, thus making sentence wording often difficult, unclear, and awkward. I was going to make the speech persuasive and apply it to the class by arguing that we should be allowed to use those words in our speeches.

The teacher said no. Absolutely not. I'm not allowed to give a speech about that topic, and if I try to, she will give me a zero on my speech, I will fail the class, and then I'll have to retake it in a later semester.

Why?

As far as I can tell, she won't let me use that topic because she disagrees with me. She says it's "inappropriate" for the class because it's arguing against something she teaches, a principle that the department has used for a long time and that has always worked.

She justifies banning my topic by saying she wouldn't let another girl give a persuasive speech on how to give a persuasive speech because the girl would be using information given in the class and citing the teacher as a source. This is completely irrelevant. I'm not using information given in the class, I'm simply applying information gleaned from other sources TO the class to make it relevant, and that will only be a tiny part of the speech.

I don't see why linguistics is "inappropriate" for the class, but it's okay for another girl to argue that prostitution should be legalized, or for another guy to give a five-minute informative speech about condoms, passing out free samples to the class as a visual aid. It's "appropriate" for a guy to show a video clip where a guy gets his head shot off at point-blank range in a persuasive speech about JFK, but it's "inappropriate" to discuss the word "you." What the heck?

She absolutely will not listen to anything I have to say about it, and has added that I can't talk about anything to do with linguistics because it will be "toeing the line." I even asked if I could discuss the topic if I got permission from the head of her department. She told me to put it in writing, but that it would take several weeks for the Dean to go over it, and in the end, he supports his TAs anyway, so I wouldn't get anywhere. Also, I have to give my speech next week, and he won't have even read my complaint by then. When I finally gave up, she smirked at me and made a snide remark as I left.

So now I'm absolutely furious, and it seems like there isn't anything I can do about it. So, possible topics. Let's see. Maybe I should argue that teachers shouldn't be permitted to wear clothing that reveals their midriffs or hiphuggers so low that their buttcracks stick out when they bend over. That's relevant to the class. Oh wait! Personal attack on the teacher. I'd get a zero. Darn. How about a persuasive speech on why I should be allowed to give a persuasive speech on linguistics? Nooo, that's "toeing the line." Another zero.

The only topic I can think of that might both interest me and be controversial is quantum physics, but that's too broad to cover in seven minutes. Mom suggested arguing that college exams should be given on colored paper. Unfortunately, that's against the policy of the college too, since they've always given exams on white paper, and since they've "always done it that way," then white paper is good enough and I'm not allowed to argue with that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Concerning roommates and cleanliness

You know... I was all excited because for some reason, I was thinking my roommate Amanda was a year younger than I am, which would mean that for the first time ever, I wouldn't be the youngest of all my roommates.

I was wrong. She's older than I am.

Daggumit. I'm never going to have a roommate who's younger than I am. I guess that's okay, though. Even if I did have a younger roommate, she would probably treat me like I was the young one, and that would probably tick me off.

This is pretty great, though. Now that Brooke is gone, even Amanda's starting to be friendly to me. Plus I have the run of the room. I can stay up as late as I want, leave the lights on, and talk to myself while I do my homework.

I'm also either starting to develop OCD tendencies, or I've simply discovered that cleaning is a good way to procrastinate working. For example, on Halloween, I had 150 pages of reading to finish so I could write a paper. After twenty minutes or so of reading the same paragraph over and over and over again, I decided that I wouldn't be able to concentrate with my room being as messy as it was. So I put down the book and cleaned my room. Then I went to the computer to put on some piano music and on came Jon Schmidt, which made me wonder if he had any new songs out. So I went to his website and found that he finally had sheet music out for North Pole Express! So of course, I had to buy that, download it, and print it out. I was going to put it in my music binder, but then I realized that my binder needed to be organized. Badly. So I organized all my piano music: church music alphabetically in a white binder, all other music by category and then title in a blue binder. I finally picked up my book again and still couldn't get more than a few paragraphs into it without spacing out. It's really frustrating when you read the same paragraph sixteen times and still don't know what it says. So I thought that maybe it would help if I studied downstairs because there would be fewer distractions. I went downstairs, and guess what! The kitchen was dirty! And so was the living room!

...Our apartment is remarkably clean now.