Friday, November 18, 2005

Well, I passed my oral exam. It's not bringing with it the exhiliration that passing the written did. First of all, I'm exhausted. In addition to all of the tension leading up to this, there is the fact that they questioned me for an hour and forty five minutes after my presentation. It was exhausting (normally I would try to come up with a synonym for a word I used one sentance ago; now is not the time). Also, as I sat there and listened to the questions and ideas about my work it became very clear to me that I have accomplished nothing of value so far, don't understand the chemistry I need to, and may never graduate. Finally, the second on my committee (the guy other than my advisor) has a ton of things he wants changed in my paper, so it's back to the drawing board on that. Ugh. On the up side, I'm going to see Harry Potter soon.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My oral qualifying exam is scheduled for Friday. I may not be able to blog until then.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

About the food poisoning... many mistakes were made. New rules: 1) no mixing canned and dried beans 2) food goes immediately in the fridge upon finishing cooking, 3) bacon is cooked before addition to crockpot recipes, 4) if it is to be frozen, food doesn't sit in the fridge for a week first (especially with potentially raw bacon). I'm not sure quite which actually did me in. This evening I had to add another (unrelated) new rule to my personal lexicon: no Listerene after massive tounge scaldings.

Actual knitting content when photos can be taken in tomorrow's natural light. I'm making good progress on my mom's mittens, and they are beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2005

I always knew that my playing it fast and loose with the rules of food safety would come back to bite me some day. Today seems to be that day.

Clapotis is sort of hard to photograph, but here she is:

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I've got 16 more inches before I start to decrease, and I'm just about to start my third skein of Manos Flame. I'm thinking it's going to take three and a half and I'll maybe make a little hat or something from the rest.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A few days ago, Jessica dragged me to a computer and showed me the Starbucks nutrition facts. I now can't look at their bake case without wanting to vomit. This has basically been a good thing for me and my health (though I shudder thinking about the past). There may be a bit of a downside. If, say, one were to find a pint of Ben and Jerry's in their freezer and not be able to resist, it suddenly becomes really justifiable to eat half the container since even two servings has half the fat of the chocolate peanut butter stack. Why, it's practically health food!

Monday, November 07, 2005

I think I knit more than I ripped back tonight...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's time to get organized for the holidays. Here is what I am intending to give each person for Christmas, followed by the backup emergency plan:

Mark: Sweater of my own design (almost to splitting for arms)
Penny: Anatolian Mittens from Folk Mittens (one done sans thumb), yarn/needles/book/teach to knit
Chuck: Greek Mittens from Folk Mittens, Superyak hat and mittens
Ray: Green/blue Fuzzy Feet from Knitty (done)
Amy: Blue/green Fuzzy Feet (at toe decreases of last slipper)
Maggie: Bobbi Bear (needs duplicate stitching)
Tammy: Red/green Fuzzy Feet (cuffs done)
Mike: Green/red Fuzzy Feet
Rachel: Age-appropriate (non-religious) book, Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate
Cory: Age-appropriate (non-religious) book, Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate
Mom: Fair Isle Mittens adjusted from Folk Mittens, enough Cashsoft DK to knit a sweater
Dad: Minnesota Mittens from Folk Mittens, mittens that don't flip open
Peter: Thrummed earflap hat of my own design
Paul: Something a popular 16 year old would like... damn. I have no frame of reference for this

I think I'll go knit now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I found my camera, so I'm back in action.

On Tuesday night I sat my self down and gave myself a Stern Talking To. It was filled with words like "responsibility" and "priorities" and "healthy amounts of sleep." I covered how even though I had a new disk of As Time Goes By from Netflix, it was already 10:30 and I was just going to leave it sealed until Wednesday. In the event that I broke down and watched an episode (I mean, they're so short), I most certainly was not going to watch more than one. And on Wednesday I was really going to put my nose the grindstone. I would be in early to the conference, I would see the papers I had set out to see, and whenever I had free time I would work on my qual. I don't know why I even bother; I never listen.

After watching all 7 episodes I had to sleep in a bit, and then was just sort of lazy about getting in. We had the world's slowest waiter at lunch (in fact, I'm not really sure he was a waiter; I think maybe he was just some guy in the restaurant that occasionally interrupted his meal to serve us when he couldn't bear watching us wait any longer), so I missed the paper I was really interested in. As for my free time...

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I did all of that on my Bobbi Bear on Wednesday. The Guinness is there for size comparison; I didn't realize until just now how much it looks like I will be giving my neice a drinking partner. Yesterday I knit the ears, but just didn't have the energy to sew them on or duplicate stitch around the neck to tighten it up. I also think I'll make him a little sweater.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This week the SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering) conference is in town. This is very convenient, but somewhat less fun than when I get free trips to other cities for conferences. Some observations in chronological order:

1. The best way to kill time at a conference is to list observations to blog about.

2. The man running the round-table discussion I attended was wearing a crocheted tie. By the end, I was fairly certain it was not handmade. It was also red and shiny. I'm all about fiber arts, but the ties are just proof of love, not something that should be a standard fashion choice. Why on earth would he pick that up and think "This is the tie for me. I shall buy it and wear it to meet all the important faces in my field."

3. He was also just one example from the many engineering conferences that I have attended that while all men age, they may never mature. This man was leading an official event for industry experts (and roughly 57 years of age), but could not stop playing with the damn laser pointer they gave all the speakers. He kept trying to signal people he knew as they walked by the door on the other side of the room.

4. I have become much more emotionally invested in my work than I realized. It turns out that "Why don't you just use a plain fastened joint? We've been doing them for years, why bother with bonding?" when asked in an even remotely challenging voice is just plain fightin' words. Nor was I the only one. Everyone at the table tensed and got ready to spring.

5. I would like a little coffee with my cream, thank you. (Man that was wretched coffee, but at least salvageable. Nothing could save the iced tea.)

6. One of the very best feelings in the world is to see a very important person (who you desperately hope will hire you some day but are pretty sure they think you are a flake) one day have their eyes light up and the words "that's a very good point I never thought of!" begin flashing in a thought bubble over their head as you are giving the presentation you previously thought was old and lame.

7. If you want to see a room full of engineers spontaneously don tutus and begin a very complicated ballet (and have an hour to debate what falls under your proprietary information contract), suggest that representatives from three different companies have a discussion with a university research group.

8. The curly mustache is not just the provence of Halloween costumes... sadly.

9. Sometimes being way behind (weeks late on reading two very important papers that would take me about 15 min if I would just sit down and do it) can make you look very on top of things ("Was that data included in the paper? Why just let me check, as I am so prepared that I have that paper right here." and "I believe that this group right here did that work. Would you like to copy down the reference?")

10. I always assume that when everyone else is writing, they are writing important and relevant things. But isn't that what I'm looking like too? How many other grocery lists are being made here today?

11. Apparently, the fact that Seattle has moved completely into winter weather has permeated into my subconscious. I looked down at my doodling to discover this:

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It's very sad that even living in two different states this year, I probably won't see snow.

12. Snowflakes are really hard to draw.

13. I like drawing things based on circles (such as that snowman I'm very proud of). Stuffed bears are really easy to draw this way. I can't wait to start the two Bobbi Bears I'm planning for Christmas gifts. One is going to be out of Ksar, yummmm. Who knew camels were so soft? And machine washable, to boot.

14. I'm doodling very girly things. If anyone notices me, it probably won't help me be taken seriously in the world of old white m--engineers. I should draw some manly to balance it out.

15. I suck at drawing hammers.

16. Do tigers' stripes run around their bodies long- or latitudinally?

It all kind of devolved from there. By that point it was 6:30 and I'd been in a "half hour/45-min meeting" since four. It was a very productive meeting, and I didn't feel I had wasted my time, I was just getting a bit punchy by that point. Speaking of conferences, I'd better get back over there.