April 30, 2010

Another Round of Particle Physics

A certain someone (i.e. Tea) is rather confused, but doing her best to keep up. As a result, you get to listen to (watch? read?) me go through my notes this week.

My header, outlined to make it bold, is SHP notes, as I had my new notebook, which was supposed to be electrical engineering notes but has already become something of an everything. On the top is a note to self: ask Rube about imaginary particles, which he was kind enough to explain during the break. Apparently, particles can borrow energy from nowhere, so long as they give it back quickly, and this energy sometimes generates new particles, but, in doing so, imaginary particles end up briefly carrying mass. Or something like that.

There is then a large drawing of a flower. Following that is "Unification" with a squiggly line under it, with unpredictable variables underneath it (and I mean "unpredictable variables." I don't know what the variables were). Oh, wait, I remember. It's saying that the standard model can't predict all variables.

Next we have "SYMMETRIES - explain everything." I must take the least informative notes ever. Ooh, now we move onto Field Thoery: must incorporate special relativity, quantum mechanics. At that point, my instructor hadn't yet explained what, precisely, field theory was, so I nodded along quite nicely. Fields are, as I later discovered, functions defined at all points in space time. They can be scaler, like temperature on the Earth, or a vector, like in magnetism. In quantum mechanics, this field oscillates sinusoidally, (like a mattress!), simulating particle interactions, as particles are the waves on a spring. It is at moments like these when I truly appreciate that Mr. Mubble taught us about waves on Thursday.

Then we went into Langrangians, which went completely over my head but had some relation to spring constants that was identified on the powerpoint by "(this is suggestive!)" at which I snorted at poked Allana to point out the ridiculousness of the exclamation point, at which point Rube tutted at my immaturity (this from the boy who attempted to argue with me last year that the penis game is not at all immature).

So, there are infinite waves, which work together like probability waves with particle motion. At places where the waves are added together due to constructive interference, particles propagate. Then there was some math stuff I didn't understand, and I learned that (cursive O) O(x^n) is "x of order n." Apparently whatever I just learned from that math can be applied to a crystal lattice, and the word phonon can be used to describe it.

Page 2! This has a series of notes on it between Allana and I. There was a short asian guy with bowl cut hair and glasses and an MIT shirt in front of us who, I swear to deities, looked exactly like Andy. Rube actually pointed to the guy and said "I be he's going to RSI with you." Anyways, I told Allana that if I guy who looked like that came up to her at Quiz Bowl nationals, he was my friend. She asked me his name, I said Andy, she said what?, so I spelled it on the corner of my page.

"I'll introduce myself as Shaniqwa," wrote Allana.

"I told him you were Allana."

"Names that Asians should not have: Andy and Shaniqwa!"

"Like Allana isn't Catholic" (this works better in reference to her actual name).

Beneath that, in Tea-code, is written "silly instrument," which, second to Wino, is our new favorite euphemism, and is from Canterbury Tales. My use of code to record it prompted both Rube and Allana to poke me repeatedly, trying to figure out what the hell I was writing.

Anyways, back to class....Langrangians, whatever they are, have symmetries called gauge symmetries, but pronounced gage symmetries, unless gauge is pronounced gage and I've been doing it wrong for all of these years. These symmetries apply to the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces, using an equation that includes circles with xs in them that make absolutely no sense. Anyways, the apparently predicts particle size, but this bit is rather boring so I shall skip it. There was something about minimums and partial derivatives (cyrillic d). Anyways, nothing forces a particular ground state, whatever a ground state is, hence it doesn't need to be an even function, so there can be SPONTANEOUS SYMMETRY BREAKING, which yes, is written in all caps in my notes and followed by wooooo!

I believe the wooooo is there because after Allana, Rube and I got back from stealing oreos from orgo and class resumed, the teacher said "and now, how that symmetry breaking occurs," Rube said "yay!" I said "whoooo" and the teacher laughed.

"So, mass comes from the Higgs field," but I still don't know what the 'so' is referencing. And a table! Look, logic. I shall copy this down into my notes so as to give myself the appearance of absorbing the information. Electromagnetism has one photon and is massless, neutral, has infinite range, and is calculated using QED. Weak nuclear has the plus and minus W and the Z, all three of which are imaginary, have gauge symmetry that has been hidden by the Higgs field, and are massive bosons with weak electric charges and zippy decay. Then there is the strong nuclear force, with its eight gluons, which are massless but self-interacting, colored, and calculable using QCD.

The next page starts with another fun euphemism, wino, as in a hypothetical symmetric pair to the plus or minus W. Now, a graph, with lines. "Theoretically, high energy scales will combine forces due to the effect on coupling constants as QED increases rapidly, strong decreases, and weak decreases slowly, finding a common value at ten to the sixteenth giga electron volts." Sure, yesterday's Tea, whatever you say.

Grand Unification Theory can be abbreviated as GUT, in case you were wondering.

Anyways, this one would be tested by searching for the decay of a proton, which would have a lifetime of 10^30 years, so if you watch enough, some should break down, creating observable Cherkov cones. But, after 1/5 a century of searching, we have nothing, so this particular GUT is likely useless, unless we have....

SUPERSYMMETRY (SUSY), which, yes, must be written like that. This would require an operator to switch between fermions and bosons, so there is an equal number of each. However, none of the knowns have pairs, so half our particles are missing. So, let's make up names for the particles that we haven't yet found.

Bosons become bosinos (photon becomes photino, etc.). Fermions become sfermions, including sparticles, squarks, and sleptons.

Allana then turned to me and said "You're such a slepton."

"Huh?"

"Whore."

"Well, you're a strange squark who can't get any."

She laughed. "So which is a better euphemism, wino or silly instrument?"

I said silly instrument at the exact moment that Rube said wino. Soon after that, I began playing tetris with myself on the side of the paper and shading in all the shapes, so there are no more notes, aside from Allan insisting that I am secretly called M.C. Tea, which is note true.



April 29, 2010

No Post Again Today

Blame Rube. Because he is distracting. And it's all his fault, not mine for talking to him in the first place.

April 27, 2010

P-p-p-prom Planning

Pre-Prom at my place (woo, woo). There will be far too many people involved, by my count, but we shall have fun regardless.

My cousin sent me her bat mitzvah souvenir sweatpants. They are too small. I feel sorry for any of her fatter friends.

I can't do more than a one-liner, I'm sleepy. Work, work, work. Well, chat chat chat, mostly. Andy and Dino and Cammie and Kathrya and Gretchen. No wonder I don't get work done. Too busy with friends.

I like having friends.

April 26, 2010

Your Darling Tea...

...is something of a klutz. For instance, this very morning, I was walking down the hall with Gretchen, with Tybalt nearby. I tried to take off my glasses and eat crackers at the same time. I got out the glasses case while holding the open cracker container between my teeth.

"You sure you got that, Tea? Want me to hold anything?" asked Gretchen.

"Ahm good," I said around the plastic. I then sniffled once, my teeth shifted, and the entire container of crackers tipped over.

"Tea! I told you it would happen!"

"I'm always forgetting about how clumsy I am."

"You probably should have taken her up on that one," Tybalt advised.

"So I've noticed."

So much for a delicious snack.

April 25, 2010

Facebook Hacking


Maxwell's facebook got hacked. He posted a link on all of his friend's walls about "How Acai Berry and Colon Cleanse changed my life forever!" My first reaction was to assume he was an annoying facebook user and delete it.

However, Maxwell is not at all accustomed to facebook. He communicates using unusual methods, and he has a profoundly confusing habit of actually ending all of his posts with "Maxwell." I mean, a signature? Really? In this day and age? Regardless, I'm fairly certain that Maxwell only created his facebook after the CEE sent out an email talking about the group, and he only has a hundred some-ought friends. So, he proceeded to apologize to most of them, but not me, because I'd deleted mine.

Take, for example, his exchange with Gaea. She commented "..." on the original post. He wrote on her wall the next day "Sorry, Gaea, this is not from me! Maxwell." Her response? "ok now I'm more confused then ever."

Personally, I am impressed by her grasp of a second language. Gaea lives in Japan, after all, which is very far far away.

Anyways, just to make certain that the entire human population (or, at least, the 105 members of the facebook group) got the memo, Maxwell wrote one more apologetic message, with emphasis on NOT FROM ME and "I really prefer e-mail" (with the hyphen), and a warning about the new "Instant Personalization" setting, which sounds invasive and defaults to on (BE FOREWARNED!).

I commented with the following reminder:

"I wouldn't worry about it. One of my friend's fbs once got hacked, and she sent a link to a website that was either porn or cybersex (judging by people's reactions. I never actually clicked the link) to every one of her facebook friends, and people still talk to her."

An Asian guy who's facebook indicates Scandinavian origins responded by praising the juice that not-Maxwell had been shilling.

Maxwell responded to me with a four line message (two of which were "Hi Tea" and "Maxwell") including two exclamation marks and thanking me for the reassurance, via inbox.

I'm not sure if either of us are being sarcastic, and I'm really, truly uncertain of which side of the exchange is, overall, the most awkward.

April 21, 2010

Regarding Johns Hopkins

I was rather underwhelmed. I'm trying to decide if it was the weather, or if it was the school itself. There didn't seem to be much in the way of students, and, of what there was, they didn't seem to be particularly friendly. I mean, maybe friendly, it's just most of them were walking by themselves then with other people, there weren't groups of kids hanging out. What few people I saw talking were groups of Asian students speaking their native languages, which was kind of odd.

However, I think part of the problem is that I saw Princeton two days ago, so compared to that, it feels like any school is going to be not quite nice enough. And it's odd- when in the campus, JHU feels less like a city than Brown does, and yet, as soon as you leave, you've got all of the cars and buildings and mess that I dislike about Columbia. But I somehow liked Brown better, because even though the buildings themselves are a wee bit less classically brick and collegiate, the environment and the area just felt right. I know that I'm not supposed to decide schools based upon what they look like, and I know that there are more important factors, but I just don't think I could feel truly at home on a green where you have to speak loudly to drown out the sirens a few blocks away.

April 20, 2010

Visiting Princeton: College Number Something Out of Far Too Many


As Ginny detailed here, we went to Princeton. Yay Princeton! I, of course, fell in love with yet another school. God knows how I'm going to manage to make any sort of decision when the time comes.

Avon slept over the night before, which mostly consisted of me trying to work secrets out of her and her responding with things like "well, this one time, I pretended I wasn't going anywhere so that he wouldn't have to drive me," and me being like "how are you so perfect?" in my head, but then I remember- Avon is Avon. We also spent a considerable amount of time on the computer. She had a conversation with Lysander in one window about banal items of interest, such as what they'd done that day. Andy and I, on the other hand, spent twenty minutes talking about the origins of the names of the various planets, with a few digressions.

Digression example:

Andy: Saturne in French, Saturnus is the Latin. Like "Marcus Aurelius" and such.
Tea: What, the French call him Marcu Aureliu? Oh, also, which came first, the names or the planets?
Andy: Probably the planets. The -us is Latin, I mean, like Marcus Aurelius, and the French call him Marc-Auréle.
Tea: Was he the Roman guy who killed Caesar?
Andy: err...I don't think so? Brutus?
Tea: Ahh, right. What was Aurelius again?
Andy: Marcus Aurelius was a stoic emperor, as in he was a Roman emperor and he practiced Stoicism. That's about all I know.
Tea: Everything from Western Humanities has blended together into a large blur of togas and "I WAS GOING A BUCK FIFTY ON THE AUTOBON"
Andy: ...uhhh
Tea: my western teacher was insane.
Andy: O_O


In the morning, Ginny showed up about ten minutes after my alarm went off. I believe I answered the door while brushing me teeth. Then I ate breakfast and then we left. Great story, no?

The big problem was that the GPS and google directions disagreed, so my mother dearest decided she wanted to just stay on I-95, but we somehow missed the turn, as all of the signs in New Jersey contradict each other, including signs telling you to make a u-turn at the next intersection, which is completely crazy, followed immediately by "RIGHT TURN AHEAD" for the same road. Very, very odd.

Anyways, Princeton was wonderful. I like that you don't have to apply to one school, and that the first two years of requirements for all science majors are identical, so you don't have to know going in what, precisely, you want to specialize in. And I like that, you know, it's PRINCETON, with all of the awesome academics and amazing undergraduate programs that comes with that. Oh, and the admissions office had extremely comfy chairs. That should be another factor in my school decisions: comfiness of chairs. They are, after all, an extremely important consideration.

April 17, 2010

Particle Physics Careens Towards Boringness

I went to SHP today and, for the most part, completely ignored my class. I tried to pay attention, I really did, but then I decided to take a break to do a math problem, and by the time I was paying attention, the lecture had advanced so much that I no longer could follow it.

Whoops.

The train ride there was relatively boring. It was just Helga, Archie and I. I sat between them, and we managed a little bit of conversation before Helga pulled out her book, I untangled my ipod, and Archie fell asleep. At one point, Archie actually started to snore. I could hear him through the music, so I started cracking up. Helga laughed a bit before returning to her book, which was for English and, according to her, incredibly boring.

Interestingly, both Helga and Archie are looking forward to the end of SHP, whereas I am dreading it. How utterly fascinating, how different people can experience some of the same events and have such entirely different reactions.

I had originally planned to meet up with Rube for Mariokarting, but he had done badly in something and requested a raincheck (Allana was actually confused by the whole thing, which is kind of odd, but, hey, I get by). I texted Helga when there were about 10 minutes left in class to ask where to meet, and she and Ariadne were already outside, so I met them there.


Archie was still in class, they had no clue about Mario, but Ariadne had texted him, so he, of course, called me. To be perfectly honest, I'm still not following that logic.

We as a group had a horrifically large number of awkward silences. It's really remarkable how it's easier to avoid them when with just one other person than when with four. I think that with one person, you feel pressure to actually carry on the conversation, but when you have a lot, you typically let someone else handle it, and when nobody does, it just kind of dies.

I'm going to relate a couple of conversations, but be aware that both are interspersed with a considerable number of unpredictable and unnecessary pauses.

Archie: Middle schoolers are nasty.

Mario: Sorry, what?

Tea: He doesn't like middle schoolers. What was the phrase you used?

Archie: They're awful.

Mario: To who? Us? Each other?

Archie: Everybody.

Tea: This is true.

Helga: Middle schoolers are just nasty. I mean, looking back at it, people were so mean.

Tea: It makes high school look better in comparison.

Ariadne: I hate high school.

Tea: Really?

Ariadne: Yup.

Helga: It's so short, though.

Tea and Ariadne: But it feels like forever.

Helga: Really? It seems like it's only just started.

Archie: Agreed.

Conversation Two:

Ariadne: So, where do you want to go to school? Like, a city or a country?

Tea: I don't know. Somewhere other than here.

Archie: Not a suburb.

Helga: Definitely not a suburb.

Tea: How would you define school suburb, then?

Ariadne: Yale.

Tea: I believe New Haven is a city.

End Conversation

You may have noticed Mario's lack of participation. This stems from the fact that I'd given him my math packet #4 and requested help, and he had been staring at factoring problems (no writing implement, just staring) for about twenty minutes. I then spent the entire forty minutes in which we were standing because the entire train was packed, passing him various math problems, watching him stare at them, and then listening to his explanations.

Once some seats freed up, we moved over there and spent the remainder of the trip trying to determine the number of possible ten-unit strips that could be created out of green three-unit rectangles and red one-units. We had to do out all of the possibilities, and it took a ridiculously long period of time, but we eventually arrived at the correct answer, with minimal weirdness on his part (ex: "It's odd that we arrive at the same conclusions at the same time." "What?" "Never mind." "Sure. Where did you get that 6 from again?" "I divided twelve by two." "Oh, right. That makes sense.").

We had just moved onto the collinear candles when Helga had the decency to remind us that we were at our town's stop, so we disembarked.

April 15, 2010

The next item in my school queue

is my Science Research midterm paper, which was something like 11 pages long. So, yeah, not going to happen.

So, I took notes from Nature Reports Stem Cells, a section of the journal that is, for the most part, open for public viewing.

Neurons can be reprogrammed with only one gene. This is because they already express the others. In other words, duh.

There is an article about characterizing the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Phosphoproteome. You had me until the last word. Oh, apparently it's about protein phosphorylation and how it regulates cellular processes at various sites in the genome. Epigenetics! Yay!

Then Testicular Cell Conditioned Medium Supports Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells into Ovarian Structures Containing Oocytes. Haha, testicles. Also, this means that men could make more man babies, without the aid of- oh, wait, no, they still don't have wombs. Sorry, bud, ain't gonna happen.

So, you can differentiate germ cells from stem cells. They're not quite *complete,* but they're pretty good.

And now some other random paper about how somatic support cells restrict self-renewal of gametes. Adult stem cells continue to divide, but it's asymmetric division, in which the daughter cell and parent cell are different. The support cells keep the stem cells from just making more stem cells using niche signaling. Also, a lot of these tests were done in drosophila. Drosophila is what my truck is named. Phil or Oso or Ophy for short.

So, anyways, I kept reading articles about differentiating germ cells from stem cells, which I really think is just about the coolest thing ever, because it could help with infertility as well as lessen the need for eggs (or embryos) in stem cell studies. I read one that talked about how primordial germ cells are set aside early and come from the proximal epiblast. When I read this article, I knew what the proximal epiblast was. What an absurd thought. I think it's one of the layers in the blastocyst as it begins to differentiate, and it apparently contributes to the first blood lineages. In fact, these researchers found that embryoid bodies have blood development. Embryoid bodies are little floating bubbles of stem cells that begin to differentiate because that is what stem cells do (TERATOMAS! Also, I totally remembered that all by myself), which means that they might be able to make germ cells (so embryoid bodies could theoretically reproduce. That's fucking weird). Anyways, these particular researchers also managed to differentiate primordial germ cells into haploid sperm. Pretty darn cool.

April 14, 2010

Dear World

I am stressed out and exhausted.

Even though it is only nine o'clock.

Even though my calculus final is now over and done with.

Even though I have wonderful friends, and I'm not fighting with any of them.

I think it's residual stress from the calc panic, coupled with those silly menstrual cramps that mimic the lump-in-stomach feel of stress.

That's probably it.

After all, the whole confusion about Rube alone, and then more when Allana's opinions of him are added in, shouldn't be causing nearly this much stress.

I think some of it is residual emotional strain left over from the rememory paper.

Oh, and the constantly creeping sense of proma isn't helping, nor is the inescapable pull towards college admissions. Because I'm touring next week, and it really just never goes away.

How utterly depressing.

How pathetically whiny.

---------

On a happier front, my random woot shirts came. There is the weird ugly red one and the pretty brown swirly one. Andy found the links for me, based off of me saying that "one is brown with pretty blue swirls and the other is bright red and has a kramus on it." Yay for Andy.

April 12, 2010

Do I have stories to share?


Of course.

Am I going to share them?

Probably not.

Although, for all interested parties, today during Science Research, I was working next to Mario at a computer, and Kerry was on his other side, when Mario suddenly started laughing. Kerry and I looked at him, confused, but he didn't notice, so I looked at his screen.

He was on the Home Access Center, looking at attendance. Thursday and Friday were both marked in light blue.

"What?" I said. "Is getting your absences excused funny?"

"No, this is Irving's."

"You're on Irving's page," said Kerry.

"He gave me his info."

We stared at him.

"It's not as if he minds."

Kerry elected to roll with it. "How are his grades? Doesn't he have like a 2.9 or something?"

"No, he actually has A+s. He's spreading that around to make himself look normal."

I laughed at that.

A moment later, Louette and Granada caught wind of our conversation.

"Irving?" said one to the other. "Isn't he failing?"

"Oh, look," laughed Kerry, thrilled to be in on the joke. "They heard it too!"

April 9, 2010

Un Día De Estos


Narrator (N): One day, a dentist and his son went to the village to buy food for dinner.

Hijo(Son)(H): Father, I hoped that we had eaten sweets for dinner yesterday.

Dentist(D): If you had eaten sweets for the dinner, you would have died of an illness of the teeth.

H: I want that you buy for me more sweets and chocolates right now!

D: I cannot buy the sweets for you because there are big and ridiculous taxes.

H: What are taxes? I hope they hadn't eaten my candies.

D: The taxes can't eat nothing, but they are very evil.

N: They didn't know it, but during all of this time the militant mayor had listened and he became very angry. If he had not listened, he would not be angry. But now he wanted vengeance.

-The Militant Mayor enters-

Mayor (A): My taxes are very important for the populace. If we had had this good taxes, our village would be better.

D: But these ridiculous taxes are only for the dentists!

H: But father, you are a dentist, and I want my candies not the taxes. I hate that you are a dentist.

D: I'm going to start a demonstration against the grand taxes.

A: *laughing evilly* You shouldn't do this for two reasons. The first is that you are the only dentist in all of the village. And the second reason is that a demonstration is illegal.

H: What is a demonstration? I haven't heard of the demonstrations.

A: The demonstrations are very bad and we're never going to speak of them in the future. If we didn't have demonstrations, there would be more peace in the world.

N: The dentist became very angry that the mayor would insult the demonstrations.

D: In the past, I have become very angry that the government was military, but never like now.

A: If anyone had a demonstration, I would put them in the jail, and the same is true today.

H: You cannot but my father in the jail. Father has big and powerful weapons, and he can kill you.

N: The mayor drew his sword of light and said a threat.

A: No, poor son, I go to kill your father.

D: You are not correct, Sir. I will kill you in a minute. If I were you, I would have fear for my life.

A: Don't speak to me using the inferior form of the pronoun "you" and its respective variations in conjugation! I am in the superior position!

N: The mayor became very angry that someone would use bad grammar.

-fighting. the dentist is mortally wounded-

D: My whole body hurts. I can see a tunnel of light.

H: Father! No! You cannot die! I want to live with you for forever!

D: If I had won, I wouldn't have died in this manner.

N: In this moment, the dentist dies in a very dramatic manner.

A: I have won! I am victorious! You have died, and your death is not sad.

H: No! My name is "Son of the Dentist." You have killed my father. Prepare yourself to die!

A: You cannot kill me. I am much larger than you.

H: I will grow.

A: Where will you grow? You don't have parents.

N: I will adopt the son, and we will live together happily for always.

-THE END-

Script by Tea, Julie, Gretchen, and Avon.



April 8, 2010

What I've Found Under My Desk

Because I'm cleaning, despite my possibly broken but probably just badly bruised pinky toe.

  • Notes, in Spanglish, from a debate in Spanish (ex: niños have a right to choose what they see.") Written on the bottom, in Tea-ish is "why care."
  • The second page of my Rockefeller application, an essay about PHD finger proteins that is covered in black scribbles.
  • Practice Intel essays from October regarding my promise as a scientist, mathematician, or engineer.
  • a torn piece of paper with nothing written on it
  • An outline, in pencil, of the essay about PHD fingers, written on the bottom of a Nature paper.
  • Fallen, the Sturken paper, printed with only every other line because the printer is running our of ink.
  • All four pages of Dr. Verona's resume.
  • The first page of the PHD finger article, with exactly two 'annotations.' The first is a box around Hox and a note, "hox = important." The second is a circle around "A control group of mice" and a note, "the importance of a control."
  • Oh, wait, just found another page of Dr. Verona's resume. I guess it had five pages.
  • The envelope that Nyx's birthday present came in.
  • Introduction to Anthropology worksheet.
  • First page of Spanish dialogo, with corrections.
  • The schedule for the first day of school. As in, Tuesday, September 1, 2009.
  • An AP math problem about a diver.
  • Our entire Super Student Challenge paper.
  • the first page of the Rockefeller essay with scribbles all over it
  • The Rockefeller personal statement, without any scribbles.
  • A middle page of the outline of my research paper.
  • A piece of notepaper with "PLAN" written on the top, followed by a roman numeral I with "Batteries" next to it. The rest of the paper is blank.
  • The entire contents of my Anthropology binder, minus the actual binder.
  • A black sock that is actually dirty.
  • Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson.
  • Two separate miniature notebooks
  • Some Anthropology notes that never actually made it into the binder.
  • A letter from Duke University
  • A Paperclip High School Directory.
  • A void railroad ticket
  • 8 index cards covered in Utexas calculations
  • Two bank receipts. The first says I have $1,011,01, the second says $1145.16. I'm assuming that the second is more recent.
  • My $18 SAT score report that I didn't look at.
Now, time to cover the rest of the floorspace...


April 7, 2010

Tea Learns All About Health

Also known as it is late and I don't feel like writing a real post so you're getting more schoolwork.

Obese children are at risk of heart disease because they have old-person arteries. However, parents pretend it's baby-fat and elect not to put their children on diets and destroy the self esteem of a miniature person. Also, this is boring and fat related and blech, so not happening.

So, moving along to the second health article. This one is about a new virus in South Africa. It causes flu-like symptoms but is followed by death from respiratory and circulatory collapse, which basically sucks. There were four deaths and one recovery and nothing else. Phew.

Viruses are scary. They are also invisible. Like Harry Potter while wearing his invisibility cloak, but evil. Well, not evil. Self-serving, I suppose. Ebola is also scary. It's intangible, too, which is a big word, which I am adding here to make myself sound more intelligent.

Also, best description of viruses ever "semi-alive bundles of nucleic acids." I'm not certain it's strictly scientifically accurate, but we can pretend.

April 6, 2010

Not-So-Scientific Scientifical Adventures

Today, Julie gave her "state of the project" ASR presentation. Which reminds me, I should be working on mine....eh, I'll do it tomorrow.

I wish my back didn't hurt. It's making typing uncomfortable, and I don't understand why it's only the right side. It's extremely odd. Mother dearest thinks I strained it unloading the truck, but I doubt that, as it took all of two minutes to unload the whole thing. It was quite nice, actually- all of the brush was stuck together, so I pulled on a branch and the whole thing came out.

Anyways, I got to Science Research and was rather dismayed to discover that Mario was there, because I had specifically chosen to wear the pants on a day when I wasn't going to see him. However, he didn't comment, so I think he may have forgotten about them. Well, that or getting laid was enough to stop him from being creepy about other people's butts.

Let me reiterate- EWWWW!!! MARIO! DOING THINGS! SEXUAL THINGS!!! EWWWWWWWW!-

To fully make that point, this is a conversation on my facebook wall:

Kathrya: AH. GRETCHEN. THE THING I TOLD YOU WAS TRUE.
EWW.
EWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.
EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Gretchen: I KNOW!! I REALLY WISH IT WASN'T.

Kathrya: ME TOO. SO DISTURBING. ON SO MANY LEVELS. BRAIN A-SPLODING.

Gretchen: NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME. AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Kathrya: NO IT WONT NO MATTER HOW MANY IRVING JOKES I MAKEEEEEEEEEEE :(

Gretchen: hahahhaaaaaha
THIS IS JUST SUCH A TRAUMATIC MOMENT. THE EARTH IS SLOWLY STRAYING FROM ITS ORBIT. WE'RE DRIFTING OFF INTO SPACE. IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!

Kathrya: IT IS THOUGH THE EARTH IS NOW OFF ITS AXIS I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW THIS COULD HAVE HAPPENED EWWW. LOOK AT IT THIS WAY. AT LEAST THERE WERE NO BABIES. THEN I REALLY WOULD DIEEEEEEE.

Gretchen: AHHHHHH!!!! THERE WOULD BE BABY CLONES. AND WE WOULD ALL DIE!!!!!!!!!

Kathrya: YES WE WOULD. THE WORLD WOULD START TO IMPLODE AND COMPLETELY DESTROY ITSELF.

Gretchen: THE HUMAN RACE WOULD BE ENEDED. ALL LIFE WOULD BE DESTROYED.

Kathrya: OH SO TRUE. I HOPE I WOULD DIE SOON SO I WOULD NEVER HAVE TO LAY EYES ON THE KIDS

Tea: OKAY THERE WOULD STILL BE ONLY ONE BABY BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ONE GIRL INVOLVED EXCEPT FOR NUMBER 6 BUT THAT BABY WOULD BE REALLY MESSED UP BECAUSE ITS PARENTS WOULD HAVE THE SAME GENES BUT YEAH

Gretchen: EVEN ONE BABY IS ENOUGH TO DESTRY THE WOLRD. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES PEOPLE, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NOWHERE TO HIDE.

Tea: I don't know- I think the art department would be an effective hiding spot.

Kathrya: uhm, I doubt it, because the mother is very artistic I've heard.

Gretchen: why did we stop the caps? it's so much more dramatic.

Tea: OKAY FINE, BE THAT WAY! ANYWAYS AHHH EVIL DEMON BABIES

Gretchen: THAT'S WHAT I SAID TO START WITH!!!!!
IT'S SO MUCH BETTER TO JUST RUN AROUND SCREAMING OUR HEADS OFF

Kathrya: I CONCUR. GOD. BABIES. EWWW. NOT WITH THOSE PARENTS THEY WOULD MAKE HIDEOUS BABIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Tea: AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH BABIESSSSSSSSSSS EWWWWW

Kathrya: PROCREATION IS GROSSSSSSSSSSS ESPECIALLY THEMMMMMMMMMMM EWWWWWWW HE HAS COOTIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS /acts like a five year old

Gretchen:THIS IS MUCH BETTER!! :P

Tea: WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY FIVE YEAR OLD BUT EWW COOTIES LAST NIGHT THERE WAS A GIANT BUG IN MY ROOM AND I STARTED SHRIEKING AND MY MOM HAD TO COME AND KILL IT FOR ME AND IT WAS TERRIFYING BUT NOT AS TERRIFYING AS THIS SITUATION I SUPPOSE.

Kathrya: NO GIANT BUGS ARE FAIRLY SCARY BUT THIS DEFINITELY TOPS IT ITS LIKE A WHOLE HOARD OF GIANT BUGS AHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Gretchen: LIKE LIFE SIZE SPIDER SCARY!!!!!!

Tea:ACROMANTULA WTF!!!!??!??!?!?!??!?!(INTERROBANG)

Julie: YOU ARE COOL
EWWWWWWWW
UGLY BABIESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS AND PROBABLY NOT SMART EITHER
I BET HE BELIEVES IN COOTIESSSSSSSSSSSSS

Cammie: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWW AN ARMY OF EVIL UGLY CLONE BABIES!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!1!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THE 1'S WERE NECESSARY

Tea: I LOVE THE ONES THEY ARE TOTALLY AWESOME AND WAYYY COOLER THAN NUMBER ONE AND ALSO DID YOU HEAR THAT NUMBER 27, THE ONE WHO DID THE DEED, IS NOW DEAD DUE TO SOME STD OR OTHER?

Cammie: OH NOOOO!!! THAT MEANS THAT NUMBER 27 WILL BE REPLACED BY AT LEAST 2 MORE AND WE WILL HAVE 9 EVIL MUTANT CLONES RUNNING AROUND THE SCHOOL!!!1!!

Julie: THEY ALL DID IT BECAUSE THEY COMBINE ON THE WEEKENDS UNLESS IT WAS DURING THE WEEK WHICH WOULD BE EVEN CREEPIER AND CAN STDS REALLY KILL YOU? WAIT THEY CAN WE LEARNED THAT IN HEALTH CLASS. NOOOOOOO WHAT WILL HE DO WITH THE EXTRA?

Tea: NO THERE ARE NOT ANY MORE WE BEIEVE, IN FACT, THAT THEY ARE SLOWLY DYING OFF, WHICH IS SIMULTANEOUSLY FORTUNATE AND UNFORTUNATE. WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO REPORT THAT 27 WAS THE ONE WITH THE NICE ASS, AND THAT THEY ARE NOW NO LONGER WORTH LOOKING AT.

not that anyone was looking anyways...


Anyways, speaking of out-of-the-blue inappropriate comments, after Julie's presentation, the floor was open for questions and comments.

Mario: You seemed rather...tense. I mean, not like, tight, per se, but, just, somewhat nervous. Maybe afraid, or...

Tea: Uncomfortable.

Mario: Yes, uncomfortable.

Julie: I am uncomfortable.

Mario: You need to try to relax. Think of something calming, like Lumiere's shirt. It's so nice, and pastel colored. Pale blue is a calming color. And you could imagine undoing to buttons with your tongue.

April 5, 2010

Calc Test Tomorrow AAAAAHHHHH

Polar and parametric curves will be the death of me.

I'm freaking out, so, I'm sorry, but you're not going to get the transcription of a certain conversation today.

However, let it be stated that he said he wants to talk to "you" plural (referring to me, Ali and some number of people she told) tomorrow during gym class, which Kathrya will no doubt find interesting.

Also entertaining:

"That sounds kinda hilariously awkward and uncoordinated. So you fell three times in total today? Nice! Oh man, if a frisbee comes at my face I am definitely going to dodge the fuck away - someone in my physics class got hit in the eye with a frisbee and lost vision in that eye for at least a month. X_X But yeah, frisbees are delightful. You kinda sound like you’ll be fun to play frisbee with, to be honest, assuming you don’t hurt yourself (am I a bad person for thinking you sound fun to be around because you’re uncoordinated?)"

Direct quote from Andy, except I took out the shifty-eyes because the diamonds screw with HTML.

That was in response to me telling him about gym class today, in which "I tripped over my own feet and was lying on the turf, and then my friend went to pick me up and she couldn't so we both ended up lying on the ground and laughing hysterically. Then I tripped over one of my other friends later, and I slammed into somebody else and fell over again, and it was rather pathetic."

That one's quoting me, of course.

April 4, 2010

I Love Babysitting

Especially when the babysitee is twelve years old, shares his easter chocolates, and watches the sixth Harry Potter movie with you.

So I basically got paid forty bucks to spend three hours hanging out and watching movies. That is, in my opinion, an epic win.

----------------

In other news, here is a story I wrote at the beginning of sophomore year.

----------------

Every June, the town's public library would hold a fundraising event. Seats were sold for a minimum donation of twenty-five dollars. The sizes of the tables varied, as most of them were either dragged in from the various sections of the library or loaned to the building by patrons. Some tables sat twenty people; others held only two.

At one of the smallest tables, during this particular year, sat a comparably small woman. Her companion, a man who, according to his name card, was called Kevin, had yet to make an appearance, so she had picked up the book in front of her and begun to read. A few minutes later, the mysterious Kevin arrived.

"Hello," said Kevin. "I'm Ryan."

"Are you certain that you're in the right spot, Kevin?" she said, looking pointedly at the name card.

"Kevin Ryan. I go by my last name."

"In that case, I'm Jane Collins. Pleasure to meet you."

"Likewise." He paused for a moment to let her speak, but she had returned to her book, so he decided to just keep talking. "Say, what book did you list as your favorite?"

"Jane Eyre."

The man looked at her, waiting for the punch line, and after a few moments she raised her eyes to look at him. "What?"

"Tiny Jane loves tiny Jane. You must be joking."

"I assure you, I am perfectly serious."

"Please, you actually enjoy Jane Eyre? You probably just like it for the similarities. I'll bet you hadn't even picked it up until right now."

"Of course I've read it, and I enjoyed it very much, thank you. Just because some pompous men might declare it 'too girly' doesn't make it any less worthy of praise."

He snorted.

"Oh, you disagree."

"I've read better."

"Such as...?"

"Walden, by Thoreau."

"Please! That's not even a novel."

"It's got great description and interesting philosophy."

"A canned response if I've ever heard one."

"Fine, have it your way."

She returned to her book, and he picked up Walden, flipping through its pages.

"Look at this," he said.

"I'm reading."

"Read this, then. Page 104. 'The note of the whippoorwill is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled.'"

"Improper use of a semicolon."

He ignored her and continued speaking, this time using his own words. "Notice how he uses this passage to unite himself with the natural world. The word ripple is both an emotion and a birdcall, and it also connects his serenity to the lake. And this isn't just here- the whole book carefully constructs human's connection with nature."

"There's no need to lecture me, I'm well aware of what good writing is."

"Then you agree that Thoreau is better than Brontë."

"His nature descriptions might win out, but, truly, anyone could write those. It takes a true master to create strong characters and properly describe humanity. The only character Thoreau respects is himself."

"His guests are just as fascinating."

"He's simply transcribing events to paper. There's no true comprehension of humanity."

"And Jane Eyre's so much better?"

"Yes."

"You going to back that one up?"

"It's not that simple. Part of the beauty of Brontë's work is the change in the characters, particularly Jane. And even the smaller ones behave in such interesting and unique ways. It's truly wonderful."

"I'm not seeing the proof."

She marked her place and began thumbing through the book. "Here's a bit where Jane talks about Mrs. Reed and herself. 'It was her nature to wound me cruelly; never was I happy in her presence. However carefully I obeyed, however strenuously I strove to please her, my efforts were still repulsed, and repaid by such sentences as above,' the above referring to Mrs. Reed telling the principal of Jane's future school that Jane is a lier. Each of the points was carefully made twice. Jane 'obeyed' and 'strove,' and Mrs. Reed 'repaid' and was 'repulsed.' The repetition makes doubly certain that the reader understands, and shows that the character's traits manifest themselves in multiple ways, just as an actual person's would. Aside from that, the passage gives insight into both characters; it shows how young Jane reacts to cruelty and the exact pain Mrs. Reed is capable of inflicting."

Ryan opened his moth for a rebuttal, then stopped himself when he discovered he had nothing to say. "You do seem to know what you're talking about."

"Of course I do! You could have just listened in the first place. Brontë's characters are every bit as valuable- truly, they are more so- as Thoreau's endless love affair with trees."

"Are you trying to imply something about Thoreau?"

"I wouldn't dream of it."

---------------

April 2, 2010

There Was No School Today

So I went shopping, and I bought this amazingly fuzzy sweatshirt, and these t-shirts. Then I went to the Y and swam, and I ran into Richard's mother, who apparently knows who I am, and it was rather awkward. Then I had a piano lesson, then I came home and read some more of American Gods and wrote back to Andy and ate dinner and read some more and used the computer and wrote a blog post.

Well, since that's rather boring, let's do another English event.

Feminine Irony is the title of this paper, and it exemplifies my ability to make all essays about feminism, religion, or both.

During the Elizabethan era, England had a female queen. However, this is ironic because, incongruously, women had no other power, and the queen kept her power frequently by repressing her own femininity. Isn't that fun?

For one thing, if Elizabeth got married, she couldn't be queen, which pretty much sucks. Also, I used the line about denying her femininity here, not in the first paragraph. Oops.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet demonstrates that those gosh-darned Elizabethan females were weak, powerless, and repressed. Juliet doesn't get to choose her own husband. Then she offs herself. That is not fun. It is not fun at all. It is, really quite tragic. When I saw the show with Nyx, I cried for a good half hour afterwards, and then we went home and talked about how sexy the guy playing Romeo looked shirtless. He really did look good. Probably about as good as Norman, this guy from California who's going to RSI next year who's using a picture of his entire swim team in swimsuits as his profile picture, and they all look rather, uh, nice. What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, Lord Capulet is a dickwad, right.

Oh, also, I need historical research in this paper. So, check it out, women were property of their husbands, and I'm going to back it up with laws and literature. Is that some great consonance or what? Anyways, I'm not going to bother with that sort of thing. I'm well above it.

Queen Elizabeth's situation was unique. Life sucked for everyone else.

April 1, 2010

Aphorisms, Adages, and Amazement

No person is born evil. They are shaped by the events around them, the environments they are raised in. Villains are not born sadists; their minds are twisted and tormented by innumerable painful events.

The destiny of children is also independent from their parents. In The Scarlet Pimpernel (sink me!), Sir Percy works to save fallen noblemen and their children. Although in many cases their parents repressed the working class, the children haven't done the same sins and don't deserve to die. This is a painfully obvious point, but it is one that I will back up using literature because apparently that's what the cool kids are doing these days. In A Tale of Two Cities Charles Darney is a fine upstanding man despite his asshole rapist of a dad.

Madame Defarge, the characteristic evil mastermind, clicking her needles as she knits the death of a generation, is just the opposite, a woman born ordinary but warped into an evil mastermind. She was a force against good, but she was forged into that shape by the trials of revolutionary France. Then there are some quotes about wind and fire and other fun stuff, and this was a boring essay.

Ah, well. Cest' la vie, or whatever the hell that is.