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3rd December 2008

11:02pm: Third Semester - Fifteen Weeks In
Before I get back to work on my memo on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and prepare for my mock trial tomorrow and before I study for my Evidence final, my Trust & Estates final and my Cyberprivacy final, I just want to take a moment and focus on the conversations I really wish wouldn't happen anymore:

"Hey, how did you enjoy that book/movie/video game you borrowed?"
"Oh, um, I haven't finished it yet."
"Oh, that's all right. How far in are you?"
"I, uh, haven't started it yet."
"Didn't you borrow it six months/a year/longer ago?"
"Uh...yeah"

and

"That's strange, all the utilities marked that they didn't receive last months checks."
"What a pain!"
"I mean, you mailed them off, right?"
"...yeah"
"When I gave it to you?"
"Well, not that day."
"Oh, OK, yeah, but the next day, right?"
"Uh, maybe the day after that?"
"MAYBE the day after that?"
"Or the next day, who knows?"

and

"Don't forget, you have to be by tomorrow at six."
"Tomorrow?"
"Yeah, I asked you about it a month ago and you said you marked it on your calendar"
"Right"
"And then I reminded you every few days since then"
"Right"
"So, you'll be there at six"
"Um, no. I forgot and I have to do this other thing now."

I hope never to hear any of these things again. Especially the third, especially when it was something I set up for them because they asked me to.

20th February 2008

12:33pm: Arguing from ignorance
Last night, after reading an argument online about IP and antitrust between several people, none of whom apparently knew anything about IP or antitrust, I remembered one thing that always bugs me: when people argue about a topic with no actual knowledge of the topic. Seriously, it's so aggravating.

Why do people do this? I try not to. There are a great many topics on which I am conversant but there are many, many more on which I have no knowledge whatsoever and I'm going to leave those topics to the people who actually know what they are talking about. For example a_tannenbaum is conversant in history in a way that I am not and melsmarsh is knowledgeable about certain social aspects of which I know nothing so in those fields, I am going to just cede to their argument. Now, if someone else who is knowledgeable about those fields is going to argue with them, I'll certainly take a look if I find the topic interesting but trying to prove a point when I simply have no background in which to understand the material would seem insane to me. And yet, I'm constantly seeing this online.

Now, when I do know nothing, I'll probably bug the expert with questions until I become a nuisance but that's another issue entirely.

It's always a good idea to question people when they assert a position, that should go without saying (although it does often need to be said) but when having an argument on a topic, you should know enough about the topic that you are actually able to say something.
12:11pm: Second Semester - Six Weeks In
Around this time first semester, I made a post about how I was doing. That seemed to work pretty well so in my second semester, I'm doing this again.

After getting all my grades back, I didn't do as well as I had hoped. Of course, it is apparent that most people didn't do as well as they hoped. The problem with going to professional school in general (i.e. medical school, law school, etc.), let alone a pretty good one, is that everyone who comes in will have gotten pretty good grades as an undergrad so now that everyone who had straight A's in college are being ranked on a full bell curve from A to failing, it's quite nerve-racking. Since I have never been a straight A student, I'm finding the situation a bit worse.

But hey, I passed everything and that's an OK starting point. I spoke with each of my professors from last semester to figure out how I can do better and each time I heard the same phrase: "It was obvious you knew the material but you just weren't able to present it well." While it was nice to know that it was clear I'm not an idiot, it was still disheartening from the perspective that it's not an easy fix. I can't just spend a few extra hours making sure I know the material. I have to completely change how I write for law school.

I didn't really take the news well. For a few weeks, I was pretty much a mess. I was still going to school and doing all my work but my heart just wasn't in it anymore. Of course, it was still better than how I was when I first learned of my grades, which was a display badly concealed panic on my part but I overcame that and slowly but surely I overcame being despondent as well.

My classmates didn't really know how to take this. I went from being silly, happy-go-lucky person to being a depressed person so they tried their best to cheer me up. They did enjoy my own efforts to improve my mood, because I started baking in large quantities and my classmates all love my baked goods. Of course, my roommate wasn't happy about the increase in our food bill to pay for all my baking supplies since he can't enjoy them (he can't eat anything that contains flour) and some of my classmates are complaining about weight gain so I'm cutting back on my baking but since I am feeling better, I don't really need to do it to cheer myself up anymore anyway.

Besides all that, the only other thing in my life is that a few weeks ago, all my electronics decided to rebel. My DVR wiped all of it's recorded programs, my router stopped sending out a wireless signal reliably and my iPod died. Of course, that all worked itself out because all the stuff on the DVR were things I was probably never going to watch anyway since anything unwatched had been sitting there for awhile, I was able to get a new, much faster router at a low price and I was able to order a new iPod cheaply on Amazon with a gift card that I won in a Lexis-Nexis contest.

So, once more, I continue to persevere and will hopefully overcome my writing issues. So, basically, my usual status quo.

4th January 2008

12:35am: On Winter Break (Meme Post)
I rarely do meme or online quiz posts.
However, I did enjoy this quiz so here it is:



What Doctor Who character are You?
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as 4th Doctor

Wild, eccentric, wacky! do you want a jelly babie?


4th Doctor


100%

3rd doctor


92%

10th Doctor


75%

a Dalek


50%

8th Doctor


42%

7th Doctor


42%

1st Doctor


42%

2nd doctor


42%

9th Doctor


33%

Davros


25%

5th Doctor


25%

6th doctor


17%


2nd November 2007

2:24am: It's been a good day.
There are certain days that just feel right. Where everything works out for you. Today was one of those days.

It didn't start off perfect. I've ended up on Moscow time because I wound up going to bed at 5 pm and waking up at midnight. After a full nights sleep, I couldn't go back to bed and I did have work to do for school so I just started my day, although many, many hours earlier than I otherwise would.

I got through all my work with ease. I baked throughout the early hours which provided me with well-timed breaks from my work, as well as food to keep me going through the day.

My morning classes started with Criminal Law. While most of the class was dead to the world (and that was the people who showed up, many people weren't even there), I was on top of everything and was non-stop productive. But what made the day so good was what happened in my afternoon torts class.

We were going over a case, General Electric v. Joiner. The topic of the class was expert testimony. What was strange about the case, though, was that the case involved a plaintiff claiming working with polychlorinated biphenyls resulting in his developing small cell carcinoma. The plaintiff even had expert testimony to verify the validity of his claim.

Except that any scientist or medical expert with any knowledge of the topic would ever make a statement like that. It's patently absurd. Which I said in class.

"What's make you so sure about that?" my professor asked.
"I'm an ACS-certified biochemist and a molecular biologist with a specialty in molecular mechanisms of disease," was my reply.
The next twenty minutes passed by in a shot, as the professor and I went back and forth on the science and law involved in the case. While proclaiming one's expertise in a subject during class normally results in mass eye-rolling by the other students (which I do as well), this was apparently something my classmates thought was "amazingly cool" as one very cute classmate of mine said afterwards. The professor, who normally struggles with students names 3 minutes after calling on them, talked to me later in the afternoon about working on an upper level environmental law clinical, something that is just about impossible for a first year law student to get into.

For a day with a very abnormal start, it worked out to be a good day for me. It's quite motivational actually, which is very good as crunch time is coming up soon and I need all the motivation I can get.

I need more days like today but maybe it's their rarity that makes them so worthwhile. EIther way, I'm glad for today.

20th August 2007

8:00am: What I Did On My Summer Vacation
It’s been several weeks since I posted. Like in previous circumstances where I went long periods of time without a post, I’ve had a great deal happen in my life. What follows is a description of the life-changing events that have occurred (plus, the description of plenty of non-life changing events as well).

Work – I finished working at my job of 25 months on July 13, 2007. Over the previous week and a half, I had four going-away lunches. Apparently if you take a job and allow yourself to be criminally underpaid for it because you really like it, people will reward you with free food when you go. Also, really liking your job probably helps as well.

I’ll miss my job and all the people I was able to meet and work with because of it. However, I was hired to work for 3 months. I ended up working 25 and a half months. When I remarked on leaving my job, my father remarked, “The endless summer is over, it’s time to return to your real life.”

Break Time – I have been planning a variety of road trips for months and months now. For a period, it even included taking trips to Japan or Europe. However, the road trip fell away from those lofty ideas when reality came by in terms of making sure that I would be around to get everything for law school.

Instead of leaving immediately after work, I spent the first week of my break finally putting everything together for getting a place to live and a roommate. I had been looking for a place for a while and I had several people lined up to room with me, with the rooming always falling through for one reason or another. I spent the week, just rushing around looking at places and in the end, I found a wonderful apartment in Center City Philadelphia and a great roommate named Ryan who is also starting law school in the fall. With that in place, I was able to start my trip.

Otakon – Maybe it was better to wait a week for my road trip, just so I could start with Otakon. My favorite convention has lost a bit of its shine, due to quite avoidable problems but even with everything that occurred, I still had a lot of fun, mostly because Otakon isn’t just an event but rather, a destination where one can visit rarely-seen friends. I will certainly plan to go back next year and hopefully, the problems will have resolved themselves.

Road Trip – The road trip itself started after I recovered from Otakon. Originally, I was going to start with a visit to Lancaster after Otakon but due to the plans of those I was staying with during the trip resulted with me going Atlantic City instead on Tuesday, August 24. I stayed at my grandmother’s oft-unused Condo until the weekend, spending the days on the beach and the evening going out to eat with my grandmother at the various restaurants she enjoys.

After AC, I went to the University of Delaware to catch-up with old college friends who were finishing up their Ph.D.s. I hadn’t seen many of them in years so it was a lot of fun to see them again.

Delaware was followed by D.C to see my high school friend Mike. There was a quick stopover between those two stops home to change luggage and to see the Simpson’s movie with some friends but I was only home for a matter of hours. When I reached D.C, I was informed I was going to see the Simpson’s movie again and even though I protested, I apparently had no choice in the matter. Fortunately, it was good enough to see twice.

D.C. was followed up by taking Mike and myself to Ocean City, MD to spend several more days in the sun. Again, I spent the days on the beach and the evening eating out. It only went on for a few more days though and I soon had to leave, with Mike in tow, to take him back to the hometown to leave with his parents on a family reunion and for me to return for my 24th birthday.

Turning 24 – The day of my 24th birthday was a busy one. I spent the day packing up my old college apartment gear, getting my new Drivers License picture taken, going shopping for furniture for my new apartment at Ikea with my friend John for trucking purposes and Lisa for a woman’s touch. After Ikea, was a quick dinner and then heading into the city to get my apartment keys, which took several hours as it is a sizeable apartment for two twenty-something students and every square foot had to be examined and checked. The end of the night had me going to a law school mixer of the upcoming class, put together by students through facebook. I met a great number of terrific people, which led to me truly looking forward to law school for the first time, without a mixture of dread being involved.

Although most of the class left at 9:30 or so, I stayed with a few other students at the bar. A cute girl had seen my new ID with my birthday emblazoned on it and had been buying me drinks non-stop afterwards. As midnight rolled around and Barry Bonds broke the home run record in the background, I mused that there is not much better than to spend one’s birthday talking in hushed tones with a cute girl over a cold beer.

Since Then – In the days between my birthday and now, I moved my furniture into my apartment, built the furniture from Ikea that had been moved in, saw Wicked, moved myself into my apartment and went to another law school mixer, although it wasn’t as great as the first had been, but frankly, that wasn’t really possible.

Law School is imminent and I’m struck with a mixture of fear, excitement and hope. I know I can do this and do it well.

So, here I go.

To starting my new life, with bold new adventures!

27th June 2007

3:56pm: An Abnormal Probability Curve
My friend Neil mentioned to me some time ago that my life wasn’t as weird as it used to be. After thinking about it, I agreed with him. My life has been much less strange than it was back when I was in school.

There’s a couple of possible explanation why this seems to be so. The most obvious explanation is that I am older and arguably wiser than I was years ago and as such, able to keep myself from falling into strange circumstances.

Another possibility is that I just had some very odd luck for a couple of years and things have smoothed themselves out for me.

The explanation that I favor though, is that once I was out of school, I was simply removed from the source of any strange circumstances that happened to occur. This seems the most likely although it doesn’t explain the odd things that happen to me that are unrelated to school. But there is another reason that I favor this explanation: Now that I getting ready to go back to school, the strangeness is returning.

In my previous post, I had mentioned some recent events that have happened. While known of them were normal occurrences, I would refrain from calling them strange.

However, taken with what has happened since then, I would call it the start of my returning abnormal probability curve (a term taken from the Casey and Andy webcomic).

In the past day and a half, I’ve just had some weird stuff happen. One involves the barely legal sister of an acquaintance of mine calling me up out of the blue. Another involves me almost blowing myself up at work this morning (no joke, I had to evacuate the lab). A third involves a strange phone-call with my soon-to-be landlords secretary (it felt like I was being punk’d but no, it was real).

At least I won’t be bored anytime soon.

25th June 2007

2:28pm: Camping, Birthday Parties and an Unexpected Houseguest.
The past week has been crazy. I took a few days off work to go camping with my old Boy Scout troop. However. We ended up having to leave early when half the camp came down with Norovirus. It sure made for a much less relaxing experience than I had planned for but I still had fun for the most part and I did manage to finally catch up on several manga series that I had fallen behind on reading.

Coming back on Friday instead of Saturday should’ve been helpful in having me get ready for throwing Yager a 23rd Birthday party. However, when one partygoer ended up arriving a day early, that extra time was quickly eaten up since I then had set-up for having a houseguest for the weekend (he lives far enough away that I couldn’t just say, “come back tomorrow.”).

At the same time that was happening, I also ended up having a nasty argument with my mother, which was made worse by my being frazzled by trying to throw a party and putting up for an unexpected houseguest. Of course, after a few hours of doing other things, the argument ended in the usual way, with my Dad telling my Mom that she’s lost her sense of perspective and the two of us apologizing, her for blowing everything out of proportion and me for whatever caused the argument in the first place (since the argument was almost certainly about me either forgetting to do something or not doing it the way my Mom wanted me to).

While I was waiting for my Dad to talk sense into my Mom, I ended up at the movie theatre with Scott and Stephen H. watching Knocked Up. It’s a hilarious movie and well worth watching.

The party went well on Sunday. I rented a whole lot of movies and we ended up watching The Prestige and House of Flying Daggers. While I enjoyed both movies (I did like the The Prestige as it was “Wolverine vs. Batman…with MAGIC!”), I had some difficulty watching them because while I enjoy having snarky friends, they really make it difficult to watch movies when they TALK THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE THING!!! I couldn’t even put on subtitles because Scott would then attack whoever had the remote since he hates subtitles, and yet Scott was the main reason why we would put them on in the first place.

The only downside to Sunday was when it turned out my accidental house guest messed up the train schedule and ended up missing the last train of the night. He stayed for another night and I drove him to the train station on my way to work this morning.

So, yeah, eventful week for me. Fun for the most part (except in the obvious places) but not something I hope to repeat anytime soon.

7th June 2007

9:07pm: My Rare Meme Post
Everyone has been taking an interests meme test online recently so I decided to go along with and do it as well. However, because I didn't list any interests since I began my livejournal, it decided I was unratable.

After complaining about it, I decided to bite the bullet, choose some interests and take it. So, here are my results. Frankly, I don't think anyone would be too surprised by the results.

So, mib24601, your LiveJournal reveals...



You are... 47% unique (blame, for example, your interest in tully-fisher relation) and 0% herdlike. When it comes to friends you are normal. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are keen to please. Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is intellectual.

Your overall weirdness is: 73

(The average level of weirdness is: 27.
You are weirder than 96% of other LJers.)


Find out what your weirdness level is!


Well, maybe they would be surprised that my weirdness isn't much higher.

21st May 2007

2:14pm: Various Job Stuff
Real Jobs I’ve held

Research Biochemist (My current job)
Astrophysicist (sorta. It’s an odd story. But the museum hired me to lecture and to do astrophysics research so I guess it’s accurate)
Physics TA (includes tutoring in physics)
Laboratory Stock-Boy (sorta like being a regular stock-boy but with chemicals and lab supplies)
Camp Counselor
Lifeguard/Swim Instructor
Computer consultant (I got paid to make webpages, to build databases and I designed a catalogue of medical supplies for one job)

Jobs I did but I wouldn’t list on a resume

Babysitter (I also walked the kids to school each morning but I can’t really think of a job title for that part of the job).
Poster Salesman (I did this job for five hours during my Freshman year orientation week. I got free posters and some money out of the deal, plus I got to meet a whole lot of people at school)
Reporter (I actually got a press pass to an anime convention recently to cover the event and I covered several sports events when I was in high school but I’m not sure it was ever a job. I was certainly never paid for it but the press pass for an anime convention saved me $50)
Timer at NCAA Swim Events (I did this to raise money for the crew team when I was in college. Totally not a real job)
Telemarketer. (I did this for three hours to raise money for my college. We called our alumni and begged for money. In exchange, the crew team was paid for all the man-hours we worked. Totally not a real job)
I was the chef on a boat one summer for the Boy Scouts. The entire crew got jobs and I was the Senior Patrol Leader from a troop known for good cooking so I got assigned to cook all the meals during the trip. However, I didn’t get paid for it and it wasn’t so much of a job as much as just being my regularly assigned chore so it really shouldn’t count. I’ve also sold things for the boy scouts and

Jobs I’m glad I’ve never had

Retail. (Especially because of this comic (http://www.shortpacked.com/d/20070521.html) which is why I wrote this list in the first place).
Food service (yes, I mentioned chef earlier but that wasn’t really food service, like being a waiter, being a cook in a restaurant or working at McDonalds).

Jobs I wish I had

Astronaut (Yeah, I worked on that one for years (why else would somebody study astrophysics and biochemistry in college?) but it’s not happening)
Lawyer (This one seems to be going to happen. However, I probably won’t get the chance to do any cool Boston Legal stuff so it’s not 100%)

14th May 2007

2:07pm: Unimportant Goals follow-up 1
I beat Final Fantasy XII this past weekend. 75 hours in. It was pretty fun.

It was very easy though. Of course, that’s because I’ve been doing many of the sidequests in the game. As the side-quests often involve enemies that are much more powerful than the actual end bosses, this meant that the final opponents were easy to defeat in comparison. This was also true in Kingdom Hearts 2 (although Sephiroth was a tad impossible in that game).

There are still a couple of hunts and 2 sidequests that I haven’t quite completed so I can still go back and play the game for several more hours. But considering I can now cross it off my list and I have several more things to cross off (including Super Paper Mario, which I have recently purchased), it’ll probably be a long time before I pick up FFXII again.

11th May 2007

1:55pm: Computer Problems and Other Stuff
Last month, my computer battery randomly stopped working. My laptop needed to be plugged in at all times and even a momentary interruption in power would result in the computer shutting down. I took it to the Apple store and they looked at for 5 minutes before giving me a brand new battery. Since my computer is still under Apple Care, the new battery is at no cost to me.

My Apple Care expires next month but I can extend it for two years for $250 as long as I do it before it expires. I was torn between whether I should spend the money or just take my chances. I was certainly leaning to extending it, in case something catastrophic occurred (although, if anything catastrophic did occur, it would probably also result in me moving to a PC).

Well, at this point I’m definitely doing to get the two more years of Apple Care. Because last night, one of my USB ports just stopped working at all. I’d been having issues with my USB flash drive but it didn’t occur to me that I was only having the issue with 1 of the ports. I had been thinking it was just a problem with the drive itself.

But now that the USB port doesn’t work at all, I have made an appointment for the Apple Store to look at it this afternoon. Hopefully it will be a quick fix but I’m quite sure that the USB port will need to be replaced, something that is not quick and painless (I made sure to update my HD back-up last night, so I will not lose any files).

I also have to have dinner with my grandmother tonight. I love my grandmother but she is a big nudge. What’s really upsetting is that Delphine, one of the cute French lab assistants from work, invited me out to go Salsa dancing with her. What is further upsetting is that I then had to explain that I wasn’t trying to insult her (she thought it was a brush off) but as much as I’d prefer to go dancing with her, I actually had to have dinner with my grandmother.

Why can’t I ever get invitations from cute girls when I don’t have plans?

9th May 2007

1:47pm: 20 Hours of Aggravation
Frankly, the past 20 hours have been aggravating beyond relief. Here’s what happened:

5:00 PM – Crew Alumni Event.

So, I went to a crew team alumni event for my alma mater on Boat House Row. I wasn’t too excited with this event to begin with but some other alumni that I haven’t seen in a while called me up to tell me they were coming so I started to look forward to it.

When I go to the event, none of my old team mates came, either they had sent in regrets at the last minute or in some cases, they just didn’t show up. Of the people who did come, it was all either older alumni who predated the team (anyone who graduated before 1980) or younger alumni (graduating after 1980) who just wasn’t on the team.

I was the only alumni rower who showed up. Which is just beyond belief.

Finally, members of the current team showed up but it was only three rowers (but they had all rowed with me). Although, such small numbers is not surprising when I was told that the team only had 16 members last semester and it was 8 male rowers and 8 female rowers, all rowing in 8s.

Then I was told the teams record.

Yeah, the new coach and assistant coach that they introduced better turn the team around soon because the team can’t get much worse. (We went from placing in Dad Vails when I was on the team to not even bothering to go. Oy!).

9:00 PM – The Read or Die Wiki

A small hobby of mine recently has been doing the Read or Die Wiki (www.Readordie.us). It’s a fund project but the wikifarm host, elwiki has been basically dropped out of the world. The server is usually up but the site went down for a few hours last night, an unfortunately not too uncommon occurrence. I was contacted by another wiki admin recently about moving the wiki to another site. I’d be able to keep the material intact through the move but I’d lose the user information, so everyone would have to sign up again.

I have to give this some consideration and then bring it to my co-admin to see whether we should do it. Hopefully, things will improve with elwiki but frankly, it seems like they’ve just dropped out of sight altogether and I should probably move the content before there servers go down as well.

8:30 AM – Sleeping and Illness

I didn’t sleep well last night, mostly because I’ve been sick for the last week. I’m getting better but I’m still far from 100%. This led to me oversleeping, which wouldn’t have been so bad, if not for what came next.

9:30 AM – The PA Turnpike

So, I’m supposed to meet-up with some chemists from another group who’ve asked for my help on a project I’m synthesizing some smart plastic for them and I’m supposed to meet them at 9:30 AM in my lab. Unfortunately, because I overslept, at 9:30 AM, I’m still about a half mile from the King of Prussia exit on the turnpike. It’s not that bad except that when I finally get to the exit, it’s CLOSED!!!

Yeah, that’s right, the exist been closed for construction so I can’t get off and I have to drive to the next exit. Which is a half hour drive because once you’re 20 miles west of Philadelphia, there really isn’t all that much until you hit Pittsburgh.

So, I have to drive to the next exit and fortunately, the PA turnpike has realized what was happening so I was able to head back of King of Prussia heading east, which I was told had the exit open and I wasn’t charged for the toll at the turn around point (although, I still had to spend 5 dollars in gas due to all the extra driving).

So, I’m an hour late when I finally get in.

11:00 AM – The Reaction

I start up the reaction I’m supposed to show the other chemists. I’d normally wait for them to show up (they all went back to their building when they heard how late I’d be and still haven’t come back at 11) to start but I have a meeting at 1 pm. According to the calculations, the reaction should take about 2 to 3 hours, so I think that if I’m lucky, I should be done by the time I have to be at my meeting.

Nope, not with my luck today. I have no idea what the hell happened but the reaction kinetics are not occurring as they should and instead, I’m running the reaction through the meeting because it now seems like the reaction will take 6 hours.

It's also 95 degrees in the building, which makes doing any work extremely uncomfortable.

Hopefully, this will be the last annoyance in the string of annoyances. I can’t deal with anything else.

4th May 2007

12:07pm: To Herb!
I went to lunch today. Herb, the head chef at the restaurant at my work (yes, we have a restaurant attached to the R&D lab), made me my usual sandwich wrap and when I wished him a nice weekend, he told me that it was his last day.

Herb has had some heart trouble recently. He took some time off, had some surgery and came back a short time ago. Apparently, running the restaurant was too much stress for him so he was leaving to do some cooking at another place.

I had no idea what to say. We shook hands, I wished him good luck and he promised to visit.

It’s really starting to feel like the end at work. The lab assistants are preparing their resumes for when they finish their program this summer. I’m getting ready to pass my projects on to other scientists at work. And now, no more Herb.

And right now, Jackie, our sales person, just told me that she is leaving too. Not leaving the company, just the department but still.

It really is the end. At least of this chapter.

19th April 2007

1:04pm: Mostly bored, with a touch of strangeness.
Six months ago, I was able to make plans at the last minute. Now, I keep a schedule on my flash drive so I can keep track of all the events I’m supposed to go to. It’s not even that I’m busier than I was, it’s just that now am being forced to make plans farther in advance. It just seems like things have become more complicated.




I was talking to a friend of Jefferson’s a few weeks ago (who had heard me give the Science in Anime talk last year) and we were talking about jobs we’ve had. It was a strange conversation, mostly because of this interchange:

Him: So, you’re a research biochemist now…and you used to work at a museum? What did you do there?
Me: Give lectures mostly. I did do some astrophysics research but not as much as I’d have liked.
Him: So, you were an astrophysicist and now you’re a biochemist.
Me: Well, not for much longer. I’m going to start Law School in a few months.
Him: Umm…this was all in the past few years?
Me: Yeah, I know. I switch professions a lot.
Him: Why?
Me: Uh, I get bored easily?

Yeah, my resumes a mess.




Speaking of getting bored easily, my job has been very slow recently. We’ve answered all the big questions about the research and we’ve solved all the big problems so I spend my time taking care of very minor issues or answering reoccurring questions. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m leaving to go back to school soon because I’m just so bored

3rd April 2007

3:45pm: Preparing for Interregnum.
It’s an exciting time for me. I’ve been accepted to every law school I’ve applied to and am currently sending in my forms to matriculate at Temple Law School. So, now I have to find a place to live downtown.

Related to that, I’m also getting ready to finish up my current job. What started off as a simple three-month consulting job has turned into a fantastic two-year experience. I’m planning on leaving in July and will be taking a month long vacation between work and school.

I’m still figuring out what I’m going to do during that break. I will certainly have to move into wherever I have found to live then but I will also be taking a trip. While initially I was planning to go on a trip to across Europe or through Japan, the lack of anyone to travel with to those places has led to my trip becoming a road trip across the US. While it’s not as exotic, it has led to several friends deciding to come with so it should be a grand time.

Planning it is still iffy. Otakon falls during that break and so does my birthday. I want to be in Baltimore for the former and home for the later so that certainly places limits on the trip. However, being home in time for my birthday also means that I will be able to see Wicked at the Kimmel Center, which I certainly look forward to. I’ve just seen Spamalot there and it was a great time, although I’d probably get slightly better seats for Wicked.

I’m also going to see Jon Stewart when he comes to the Tower Theatre at the end of the month. That should be a lot of fun.

So, I have a lot to look forward to in the foreseeable future. Of course, I’ll also have a lot of planning to get through it all but that shouldn’t be too bad. It should be a fantastic adventure.

20th March 2007

11:33am: Unimportant Goals
I finally beat a Wii game this weekend, Rayman: Raving Rabbids. While it’s a fun game, the ending isn’t all that it could be. I’m still glad that I beat it thought, since it seems that I rarely finish anything trivial or unimportant nowadays.

So, here is my list of unimportant goals that I plan to finish this year. While it will only slightly bug me if I don’t actually complete these goals (as opposed to important life goals, like getting my doctorate (although it seems like I’ll be getting a professional doctorate instead of a research doctorate), getting married and having kids which I’ll be much more than bugged if I don’t do), I still hope to complete them just so I can cross them off this list.

* Finish reading Neal Stephenson’s System of the World
* Beat The Matrix: Path of Neo for PS2 (Yeah, it’s not the best game but I spent money on it)
* Beat FFVII: Dirge of Cerebrus
* Beat FFXII
* Beat Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars 2 (Yes, there a lot of video games on my list but I WILL beat them)
* Beat Zelda: Twilight Princess
* Beat Trauma Center: Second Opinion

And that’s about all I can think of right now. Gee, 1 book and 7 videogames that I want to finish. Hmm. I think I need something else that’s pretty trivial but does not involve me sitting on a couch with a video game controller in hand.

* Present the Science in Anime: Now With More Science panel as a successful follow-up to last years Science in Anime panel, with the secondary goal of thinking of a better subtitle than Now With More Science.
* Finish my ReadorDie.us project (this includes the associated wiki) so that it’s something I’m actually proud of instead of thinking, “why am I wasting my time with this? It sucks and no one cares.”

OK, so now I have to goals are trivial that don’t involve a video game controller although they still involve sitting on my ass.

Now I just need to figure out the intermediate list between my trivial goals and my life goals. Hmm, what would I even call that? All I know is that it would involve the neat trips I want to take (1 continent left baby!) and things I want to be able to say that I’ve done (although I have already done a hell of a lot so really, what else do I want to be able to say that I’ve done?)

OK, for the very few people who read this (and the even fewer who care), what are your trivial goals lists? (Yes, I am making an internet meme, and a crappy internet meme at that but who cares)

5th March 2007

12:15am: Back from the Caribbean
I'm back from vacation. I had a lot of fun, traveling across the Caribbean to Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Grand Cayman.

The best part was when I was shown how to catch an adult female stingray (6 feet across!) with my bare hands. So scary but so fun.

The only downside? The fact that right now, my luggage is somewhere else, probably still stuck in Charlotte, NC. I had a connection that left from there (from Miami, where I had been trapped all day, woefully behind my scheduled flight times due to some problem US Air had with their new reservation system) and my luggage didn't come with.

But anyway, it was still a great trip. I finally finished Neal Stephenson's Confusion and the sequel to Wicked, Son of a Witch and I made some good headway on Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene. What's interesting to note is that in the thirty years between when the book was first published and today, all the "revolutionary" ideas of the book became a natural part of the biochemistry and molecular biology education so I'm familiar with just about all the idea he put forth in the book. Dawkin's mentality towards religion is also clearly evident in that first book, even though he wouldn't tackle religion for a long time afterwards.

But anyway, I'm back! And very relaxed (although I want my stuff).

23rd February 2007

11:21pm: That time of year
It's THAT time of year again. Yes, that's right, it's time for my super awesome vacation. Last year was race car school. This year is...[Drum roll please]...cruise to the Bahamas.

Just in time too, cause frankly, I'm pretty burnt out from work and my personal life. Waiting on academic acceptance letters is killing me.

So, if you are wondering where I am, I'm far away from home and hopefully having a wonderful time.

I should be back on March 4. See you all later.

6th February 2007

12:57pm: Not Clever Enough
I’ve been thinking over the past few days (a dangerous proposition, is the standard quip) and I’ve realized what my greatest fear is. It’s actually been a fear of mine for some time but now, I think it’s actually begun to be realized.

I’m afraid that I’ve stopped being clever.

Several things have occurred (or in some cases, have been noted to not occur) which have made this worry seem to be true. The first was a conversation I had with my friend Geoff a few days ago. We were talking about books and I mentioned that I prefer to buy my own books, as opposed to having others buy books for me. He replied, “Do you actually read anything that doesn’t have pictures in it?”

And the frightening answer is no, I don’t. I have spent all of my time reading manga and comic books, so much so that I haven’t read a proper book in a rather long time. The Baroque Cycle and Son of a Witch sit unfinished in my room while trade paperbacks and CLAMP novels get read immediately. While comics can be quite intelligent (especially anything by Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore), they still don’t promote a broad range of discourse as much as something by Dawkins or Dickens.

Even at work, I haven’t done anything clever in quite some time. I may be a chemist but at this point, most of my work doesn’t require a chemistry degree. It is all simple tasks based upon clever work that I did years ago. While evidence of my being clever does exist, from my work, it is obvious that I have not been clever in quite some time.

I haven’t even had a decent intellectual argument or even a conversation in quite some time. That isn’t to say that I haven’t had conversations but the vast majority have been on topics such as videogames or comic books and not so much on science, politics or philosophy. And when I do have a rare science conversation, it just involves my regurgitating something I had been taught earlier. That is not being clever myself, it’s just a parroting of someone else’s cleverness.

I must take steps to rectify this. Certainly, going to law school will help, as that will force me to perform heavy thinking once more but I can’t wait until September. I have to start reading more now, start contemplating more NOW.

But I probably won’t.

But if you do feel like engaging me in a conversation that requires deep thinking, I would greatly appreciate it.

21st January 2007

6:36pm: Wii-tastic
Well, after two months of looking (but really, only two real weeks of actual whole-hearted searching) I have acquired a Nintendo Wii.

It’s really quite fun.

I had spent yesterday playing with my friend Alex’s Wii, along with my other friends Scott and Neil. The four of us had a pretty good time with Wii sports as well as Rayman Raving Rabbids, another highly-intensive party game. So, that was when I really decided that I would try to get the Wii today (I have been bleeding money recently, just too much spending on my part, really, so even with my searching for the Wii, the fact that I hadn’t found one made me ambivalent over whether I would really buy one if I had the chance).

I woke up at 9 am this morning and headed to Best Buy, where I knew from various ads and websites would have the Wii and in great quantities (20 for each Best Buy, about 35 for my specific Best Buy). Target and Gamestop were also getting in Wiis but less than 10 (or even five sometimes) per store.

At 9:45, I got in line (#15) and waited fo the store to open. Some people had been camping out all night but everyone after #8 or so had come after 8 am.

The people around me were all quite pleasant. We spoke about articles we had read of what people had done to get a Wii (the woman who died from water intoxication from a radio contest), the reports of the health benefits of the Wii (recent reports from the Mayo Clinic and several articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer) and comparisons to the PS3 and the X-Box.

By the time the store opened at 11, only 30 or so people were in line. ATt first they didn’t give us tickets but after several people made a fuss about it, they Best Buy employee’s found tickets to give out to us from the original Wii release. When the store opened, we walked in, turned in our tickets and were given our Wii’s. I also picked up Zelda: Twilight Princess, Rayman Raving Rabbids (it had been a lot of fun) and Trauma Center (I call it the Amanda Game, as its hat she actually does for a living and I had joked I would force her to play it after seeing patients all day). I didn’t pick up a second Wii-mote because Best Buy didn’t have any but I’ll be sure to pick it up soon.

I spent the day playing the game, first by myself to try everything out and then my Dad and I played Wii sports for several hours. We couldn’t box against each other but we could take turns using a single Wii-mote for most of the games and it really was a lot o fun. I’m also still working on trying to get my Mii to look like me.

Well, that’s that. I’ll probably never finish up Final Fantasy XII because I’ll be playing the Wii all the time but who knows, maybe I switch back and forth.

If anyone wants to hangout and spend some time on my Wii, just let me know, it’s a lot of fun. Just to note though, I’m not playing the Wii on my 52” TV, even though I am taking all the safety precautions because I’m still not going to take any chances with my TV. You’ll just have the play on the 32” and be happy with that.

2nd January 2007

1:44pm: The Last Week of 2006
The last week of 2006 will be one that I remember for the rest of my life. On Thursday, December 28, 2006, my sister was married to her boyfriend of almost four years, Seth.

The ceremony was very nice and the reception was amazing. I was one of the groomsmen, along with Seth’s best friend David and my cousin Kim and Seth’s sister Leah were the maid’s of honor.

Of course, the entire day was exhausting. Even though the wedding didn’t start until 6 pm, with the actual ceremony starting at 6:30 pm, everyone in the wedding party had to wake up early in the morning to get ready.

Everyone looked great and we got a lot of great pictures taken by Baruk, the photographer who also did my sisters Bat Mitzvah, my Bar Mitzvah and one of my uncle’s wedding. The wedding was presided over by Rabbi Addison who was the rabbi for my Bar Mitzvah.

The only downside was when my Dad’s cousin Bobbi was hit by a car outside the Blue Bell Country Club where we had the ceremony and the reception and the car was being driven by one of the band-members but she was OK. She did have to go to the hospital to be checked out and she missed the wedding but my parents came to visit her and brought her and her sister packed up meals from the wedding when they visited the next day.

Although the ceremony ended at midnight, my parents and I had to stay up until about 4 am to take care of the gifts which had to be taken back to our house and sorted. Unfortunately, Seth’s parents were hosting a breakfast 5 hours later and my parents and I were just about dead during it but I then spent the next 24 hours in bed, not fully waking up until noon on the Saturday two days after the wedding.

My sister is currently on her honeymoon on an island off of the gulf coast of Florida.

Moving on to new years, I had a lot of fun. A whole bunch of friends came over and we played Clue: Master Detective (which didn’t actually go well when Neil screwed up which cards he had but it was still fun) and watching Mel Brooks movies and Superman and the Mole-Men. A lot of drinking was also had (including a $100 bottle of sparkling Italian wine). It was certainly a fun night, topped off with a fun morning of comic book store sales and FFXII.

12th December 2006

2:20pm: Phone Calls
Quick Update: I am still employed for the time being, although we will have to move our lab from the nice building built in 1995 to the less nice building built in the early seventies. I have also finished up all my law school applications and I just need my letters of recommendation to come in to LSDAS (the application service) before they will be sent out to the schools.

Story: Vincent, the stagiere for my group (Fanny’s replacement), walked into my office and asked if I could do him a favor. Mike, the Drexel co-op student was also there.

Vincent: I met this girl at a party and she gave me her number.
Me: Sounds good.
Vincent: Except that I don’t remember what her name is. Do you think you can find out?
Mike: Did you try a reverse phone directory?
Vincent: They all cost money. Can you call the number? If she hears my voice, she will know it’s me.
Me: OK, I’ll do it.
Vincent takes out the number
Me: It says Laura on the number.
Vincent: I don’t think that’s it. It sounds like that, though.
Me: Well, I’ll give it a shot.
I call the number
Girl: Hello?
Me: Hi, is Laura there?
Girl: Speaking.
Me: In shock because my plan involved her saying that there was no Laura at that number Oh, Hi.
Girl: Who is this?
Me: This is Stephen [Last Name] at [My Company]. I’m sorry, but you sounds different than normal…Is this Laura Petragnani Completely pulling a last name out of nowhere.
Girl: Uh, no.
Me: Is this [a phone number with one different number from what I just called]
Girl: No, it’s not.
Me: Oh, sorry. Goodbye.
hangs up
Me: So, her name IS Laura.
Vincent: What was that?
Me: Hey, you told me her name wasn’t Laura. My entire plan involved her not being named Laura.
Mike: There wasn’t a plan, was there?
Me: Get out of my office.
Vincent: Thanks.
Me: You better call her.

Ah, the fun I have at work when I should be working.

16th October 2006

2:48pm: Oy, Job Stuff
Yay: New Lab Assistant. He is a French student who just got his Masters degree in chemistry. He is like a male Clemence (in terms of the degree, not in terms of being very cute and pissing me off by trying to use the incredible cuteness to her advantage).

Nay: OK, previously, my department director was fired due to the departments merger with another department. Now, my manager (my direct boss) has been fired. As I more or less work for him and not for the company, this means I am more or less fired. Fuck. However, as no one still understands what exactly is going on with the new boss and it hasn't occured to anyone to fire me yet, I am still around for the forseeable future.

I'm reminded of this scene of Battlestar Galactica
Tigh: Why aren't you in the brig?
Billy: (flustered) Because.. no one put me in there?

More updates will come as the situation warrants.

10th October 2006

4:48pm: Alumni Weekend 2006
Well, it’s been several months but I finally got a chance to get back to Lancaster and see people there. Of course, there was a lot of business to take care of as well.

All Night Anime, the event that Andrew Yager and I created has been copied, resulting in All Night Gaming. This annoyed me greatly, as I get enough of my Intellectual Property gets taken away from me at work, so I don’t want to deal with it in my personal life. However, after talking with Shigeki, the new head of Gaming Society, we agreed that I would get have the profits of the event so I’m happy enough now (Yes, there are no profits. It’s a joke).

Sunday Morning was the Crew Team Alumni brunch, which was also when the Crew Team had its official “We Are Now Varsity (It’s About Time)” Party. Of course, while it was fun to catch up with Colip, Appel, Stef Landsman, Laura Abernathy and even Ron, it did have the unfortunate side-effect of having me donate $500 to the team.

I’m not sure why exactly I did it. Maybe I wanted to give something back, in a way that I couldn’t before. Maybe I just wanted to show off, to give the team a large sum of money just to show that I could. I guess it doesn’t really matter but the team was very appreciative and I do feel good about it (although my accountant wasn’t the happiest person ever after I told him).

Gaming Society also got it’s share ($50) and yes, even Anime Club got some, in the form of me paying for food at the All Afternoon Action (It wasn’t at night) event that Louis and I hosted on Saturday. I do plan on giving me as I am getting rid of some of my DVDs soon (and yes, it’s good stuff) and the Anime Club will be getting those.

I guess this is the season of giving for me (it does fit with the Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur holiday that has just past by) since I also gave some money to a Clean Water PAC group some days ago. However, if I plan on having any savings left, I should probably stop doing that for the rest of the year.

So, anyway, Alumni weekend was fun, if expensive.

(Note to Self: Louis owes me $50, I owe Louis his FF7 game and his PS1 memory card).
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