November 28, 2010

I Cried Last Night


It's funny, because I thought that I ran out of tears a month ago. It felt like I did, during the service, because there was so much happy in with the sad that tears would be difficult--though a cold made the sniffling easy.

I should have noticed that it was becoming too much. I should have noticed that something was amiss, because Gretchen usually can't make me laugh hysterically for fifteen minutes, she usually only manages seven or eight. But I was grinning, and my insides were warm, and sometimes it's easy to forget.

There needs to be a word like happysad, or angrykind, or hatelove, for when there are so many emotions that all of them exist at once.

I didn't even realize that tears were going to come until I got home and saw Dad lying on the couch. I put my bag down, walked over to him, sat down, and curled up, my head on his shoulder. We lay like that for half an hour, my crying, barely able to talk, and Dad rubbing my back, then just holding me.

It helped, as much as anything could.

I love you Dad.

November 27, 2010

More on those RSI essays


Now, unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to post my essays or those of anybody else here, because all of us liberally copied from them for our college applications. Now, all advice here is the opinion of one former participant--I make no promises as to its veracity

In each Research Field selected in Question 2, please state what you perceive as the one or two most interesting questions/problems in this field. Explain why they interest you.
I'm happy to email my answers to this question to anyone who will tell me what fields they're applying with (I don't want anyone to feel like they can't use a response because I already wrote about it). My answers to these questions took up almost the entirety of my first page. These answers have three purposes:

  1. The are used to match accepted students to prospective mentors.
  2. They provide you with a vehicle with which to illustrate your critical thinking.
  3. They provide you with a vehicle with which to demonstrate your knowledge.

I realize that the last two points are relatively similar, but they're significant in separate ways. As far as the knowledge goes--you should know what you're talking about. Don't just pick some random topic because it sounds cool, go into what interests you, what you already know about. Do some research. My secondary field was the part of my application I put the most time into, because I hadn't done research on it in well over a year, and I had very little information on the topic I decided to write about. I did some research, talked to a teacher in the subject to double-check that my proposal hadn't already been answered, then wrote about it. For me, the first question was answered to show knowledge, because it was one that I'd studied. The second one included many more questions and suggestions, pointing out a number of avenues for research. In both cases, I focused on the complexity of the issues at hand, and why I found that interesting. My two very, very different fields were tied together by a more unified interest in systems/networks, but this tying together (which wasn't done explicitly, and which I've only just noticed) is unnecessary.

Even though the research for the questions may take time, these should be the easiest to write because, for once, it's a chance to write about something more interesting than yourself.

What are your long-range goals?

This answer, for me, was about 2/3rds of a page. First, I discussed a desire to continue some research I'd already done, mentioning how I really need more experience to do what I've tried to do (and RSI would be super helpful, wink wink nudge nudge). Then I said that, as I'm rather young, I'm still flexible about what I want to be studying. I talked about my major interests in the past, going back to the first scientific paper I ever read, the summer before my sophomore year, and how that really threw into light the fact that no matter where I end up, I want science to be a major part of my existence.

The big thing with this is that it's okay to say that you don't have everything all planned out--I don't think that anyone expects you to, but if you do have a fascinating future mapped out, that's cool too. This question is both wide open and very specific, so you have a lot of leeway. I'm inclined to advise that you talk about science here (or, if you don't, keep it brief. You only have a limited number of pages, and you want to focus on your passion for math/science/research/life). If you're really into your research questions, this would be a place to reiterate your interest in pursuing them over the long-term. If you want to use engineering to save the world, put it here. If you want to grow up and be an oddball professor who make Rube Goldberg machines in her backyard, again, that goes here. When you go to sleep at night, what do you dream about?

Because me? I'm going to continue dreaming about electricity.

What extracurricular activities and/or hobbies demonstrate your interest and ability to undertake scientific or mathematical research? (Give some measure to the extent of your participation and/or accomplishments in math or science competitions, research internships, and awards received.)

Remember: it's not a list. You have three pages to indicate promise as a scientist. If you've won enough awards and done enough super-legit stuff that your promise as scientist is super duper evident, then you can make a list. However, if you've won that many awards, then you've probably got your application under control, and you're probably not going to bother reading this.

For the rest of us, this is a chance to further reiterate whatever point we're trying to make--and that is, more or less "Why You Should Accept Me." I talked about only two organized extracurriculars and two hobbies (if you count summer-research-in-my-room as a hobby), but I went into depth about each and how they demonstrated by ability and interest. This is mostly because I didn't have a lot of experience--I had to go into depth, because I didn't have the laundry list that other people do.

My best advice for this question is to be yourself. Talk about what you've done that has mattered to you, and don't be afraid of mentioning something just because it isn't a traditional extracurricular. It's about what you do, outside of class, to improve scientific understanding. This is a chance to take whatever it is you've done and use it to shine. Even if what you've done is super lame sounding (sometimes, I like to stargaze, for example), you can make it into something bigger (the feeling that the universe is bigger than me had really inspired me to go out and try to learn more about it, as I did in y internship or by reading z textbook (no, I didn't use that one, I'm just making up an example)). Accomplishments in science competitions, etc., should be mentioned if they exist, but don't flip out if you don't have them.

Describe your involvement and participation in extracurricular and community activities that do not relate directly to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Hi, my name is Tea, and I have a life. I play a musical instrument. I sing in church choir and help out with outreach stuff there. I am a person beyond my research.

I grant you, I wrote a bit more than that, with a lot more depth (i.e. specific piano pieces, that time I played for a show, how I sing at church because school choir got ditched for science research) but it was only a quarter of a page. Athletes probably went into sports, people who do major charity stuff probably went into that, but this is mostly a "are you well rounded? Are you spread too thin? Have you done something really cool that you couldn't mention anywhere else but would like to say here?" opportunity.

Briefly describe any past experience with computer programming, modeling, and data analysis.

My response:

I excel at data analysis with Excel. I did a project in my science research course this fall analyzing sunspot data over the last hundred years. I had enough data points that I ended up having to dig into Excels slightly technical series names and split them in half, because it was overrunning the graphing limit. I did boxcar smoothing, modified standard deviations, and used a few other methods to examine relative peaks. My modeling abilities max out at what I can do on paper using concepts learned in algebra and calculus. For programming, I’ve just begun learning perl, teaching myself with a book appropriately titled Learning Perl. If I keep working my way through the text at my current rate, I’ll be through the book by February. My hope is that perl will give me enough grounding to work my way further through the puzzles on projecteuler.net. All of my manipulations in Excel are proving insufficient in getting through the fourth problem, since, although I managed to trick it into identifying primes, I still haven’t figured out a way to get it to recognize a palindromic number.

So, to answer that question, no, you don't need to know much in the way of programming to answer this. (Though it should be noted that, unfortunately, I stopped progressing at that current rate once holiday vacation ended). This response was, again, about a quarter of a page.

How did you hear about RSI?

Options:
Person at my school went last year, says it's amazing, I'm applying.
Friend went some year, says it's amazing, I'm applying.
Teacher knows students who went...
Teacher is obsessed with MIT...
Looking for summer programs on the internet...
Stalking MIT on the internet...
I did USABO, and it's run by the same organization...
I accidentally entered an RSI game of Mafia on efnet...
This random chick in my astronomy class told me to apply...
The guy in the white van told me to apply before I stole his candy...
I won my position in a national science fair, so this response is unnecessary...
My parents went to RSI...
My sibling went to RSI...
My cousin went to RSI...

That's probably a sufficiently long list of options. This can be a sentence, so as to limit its effect on your ability to write a ton of stuff for everything else.

November 26, 2010

Some Tips for a Successful Research Science Institute Application


It's application season. This means that I am frantically writing my college apps (which is unfun), but it also means that this year's batch of juniors is starting in on their summer program applications. Well, this year's batch of prepared juniors--I sure didn't start mine until mid-December, and I did just fine program-wise, but I've started getting messages of "omg plz hlp me so confsd!" except spelled a lot better than that, because these are intelligent, motivated individuals.

Regardless, RSI applicants are getting nervous, and I'd been telling myself I'd get this blog to be a good resource (we'll ignore the fact I haven't finished writing up my posts from the last week of RSI, which was months ago), and, I think, showing some parts of a successful application would be helpful.

First, though, we should look at another blogger's post from last winter, about how not to write this very application.

I have no idea what the name of said blogger is, so we'll call him Joe. Or her, I suppose, since I don't know the gender, but Joe it is. Italics are quotes or paraphrases of Joe, non-italics is yours truly.

Good Advice from Joe
  • Send application in a punctual manner. Rumor has it that someone in my year got wait-listed (then accepted) because his application came in late.
  • The odds are really slim. Joe seems to view this as something discouraging (and claims that applications are, as a result of high interest, given less attention than they would otherwise). This is probably not true--the number of applicants we usually hear numbers well under 5,000, and everyone (aside from the international mathematics olympiad silver medalist) could be heard at some point during the program worrying that they were the stupidest one there, and that everyone was so much smarter, and why were they accepted, etc. Including a guy who had "only published one scientific paper" (for comparison, I have published no scientific papers). So all the odds do is guarantee that everyone who is accepted is totally shocked, and the people who aren't accepted know (or come to realize) that it's not the end of the world. I don't remember what the point of this paragraph was....oh, right. Odds are slim. It's worth applying, because no one expects to get in, but disappointment if you don't get in should not be allowed to crush you.
  • Ask for teacher rec letters well in advance.
  • "Go on a brag fest without exaggerating to levels you can't actually follow up on." Don't understate your achievements, yes, but don't turn the application into a list of every single thing you've done awesome on ever. Talk confidently about your potential as a scientist, about your abilities in research, about mathematics competitions, whatever. But avoid avoid avoid making a resume.
  • "StarCraft is not an acceptable extracurricular." Joe is underestimating the amount of StarCraft played at RSI . I'd say that one line about StarCraft, relating it in a positive way to yourself as a scientist, is acceptable. That said, don't allow StarCraft to interfere with your mentorship work at RSI. Because your privileges will be revoked.
  • Don't lie. Duh.
Bad Advice from Joe
  • Scores are everything. This is not true. The CEE, like any high end college, wants to see that you're smart on paper, so you need to have reasonably high scores. Top percentile scores. On SATs, you should break 700 on each subject. If you're the sort of person who wants to spend his/her summer totally entrenched in scientific research, you probably have those scores. If you don't, you were probably so busy designing nanobots that you didn't study for the verbal portion of your SAT (that's a joke. Seriously, if you're crap at testing but love doing research/learning science, talk about that in your app and hope that it balances out, but don't not apply).
  • Don't ask your junior year math/science teachers for recs. If you're top of the class, hang out afterwards to talk about quantum mechanics, know the teacher, whatever, don't be afraid of doing this. Pick someone that knows you, but that doesn't mean junior year is bad. Also, if you're a science person, don't be afraid of picking two science teachers to write your letters. I did it, and it worked for me.
So, that is some advice. Now, Joe also made A Formula designed to determine if someone will get into RSI. I think we might as well dig through that, and then, tomorrow, I can give you the blow-by-blow of my own application. My comments are bulleted underneath.

Start at 50.

Take Dec-01 2010. Check your application’s date of submission. Subtract 0.2 for every day of difference if submitted later, or add 0.2 for every day earlier. Subtract 5 more points if sent a week before the deadline.

  • People who overnighted it got in. People who got it in way early got in. You're better off getting it in sooner, but I'm not sure how much it matters.

Subtract 15 if living on the East Coast or in a state with above-average student performance.

  • What, no points off for Cali?

Subtract 2 if not a US citizen. Subtract a further 8 if nationality is East Asian.

  • It's a meritocracy. This shit don't matter.

Add 15 if URM.

  • Would you like me to repeat myself? We had 1.5 URMs my year. It doesn't matter.

Add 25 if female. Swear silently if male.

  • What part of "this is a meritocracy" do you not understand? My year was only 1/3 girls for the Americans. The international situation is almost worse, because Singapore and Saudi Arabia (12 total students) send only guys.

Add 3 for each AP/IB course taken, except Calculus and Computer Science (add nothing in those cases, unless Computer Science AB was taken, in which case add 1).

  • Okay, this is legit. Even though I'd only taken 1 AP test (and I'd taught myself the difference between my non-AP music theory class and that test).

Subtract 1 for each mention of non-AP courses completed on or prior to 2007.

  • I'm too lazy to figure out what's significant about 07.

Add points for each 200+ university course taken (CHM 304, MAT 217, COS 226, etc.); exact amount of points added is the leading digit times 2 plus one-tenth the numerical designation mod 100. (For example, COS 226 would be worth 2 * 2 + 26 / 10 = 4 + 2.6 = 6.6)

  • This is probably legit.

Subtract 1 for each “Other” field with non-AP/IB courses irrelevant to engineering/math.

  • But what if you think the courses are realllly cool?

Add 0, 2, 2.5 points (beginning, intermediate, advanced) in each programming skill level chosen.

  • If you're not doing anything with programming, this doesn't matter, though I did talk about how I was learning perl. Unfortunately, I stopped trying to lear perl around April, so I'm still terrible at it, but I don't feel bad about saying it because I was learning it at the time.

Add 5 bonus points for mentioning Python, but subtract 5 for mentioning BASIC regardless of skill level.

  • I'm going to pretend I know what this means.

Add 1/2 extra points each if intermediate/advanced in the following: Java, C++, Mathematica, MATLAB, SQL, XML, PHP, Delphi, and Ruby. Disregard Assembly/TOY, HTML and Flash.

  • Computers. Heh.

Add 5 bonus points for advanced LaTeX use, or add 2 for intermediate LaTeX use. Double the bonus received in this section if you used LaTeX in your short responses.

  • Using LaTeX for free response is beast (and indicative of geekiness), but they teach everyone LaTeX regardless--this is mostly used to place people into their first week computer courses.

Add WIN for mentioning StarCraft in any way in your application.

  • Dude, I *told* you it's a legit extracurricular.

Subtract 2 points for every 10 points lost on the PSAT/SAT II tests (disregard language/history/English tests).

  • I'd say to start this countdown after you get below 700 or 750. Because perfect vs. 1/2 wrong is not a big deal (except on SAT-IIs, where you've gotten more than one wrong)

Subtract 5 points for each use of a test score from 2007 or prior.

  • Unless used to demonstrate severe precociousness a la Gabriel See.

Subtract 8 if research field choices were copied from this.

  • I see nothing wrong with copying field choices so long as you can write coherently about them.

Subtract 5 for each failure to meet “PSAT math scores should be at least 75, and combined math, verbal, and writing PSAT scores should be at least 220.ACT minimum math scores should be 33 and reading, 34.”

  • Okay, yeah, sure.

Add 5 for pointing out the grammatical mistake on the teacher’s recommendation form.

  • No! Don't do this! Rude rude rude rude! Hide your head beneath the sand!

Subtract 15 if at least one of your answers to question 3 was one of the six remaining Clay Math Institute Millennium Prize Problems. Disregard if you included proof/disproof as supplement.

  • Lolz, math.

Add 10 for each research internship with a reputable organization. Subtract 5 for each deliberate mention of petri dish washing internships or paper shredding internships.

  • Legit.

Subtract 3 for mentioning programs that depend on ability to pay and not merit.

  • But what if it's ability to pay *and* merit? (I have no idea how to answer that question)

Add 5 for being a Intel STS semifinalist. Add 15 for being a STS finalist.

  • Yes

Add 8 if undertaking of personal research is demonstrated. Add 12 more if said research has been published or reviewed.

  • Hear, hear! However, this should be worth a lot more points than being female.
Add 8 for every piece of creative “supplement” sent with the application that demonstrates personal talent.

  • Kevin Hu! Google him, he's legit.

Add 17.5 for each non-frivolous patent held (Meaning not including any of these or similar)

  • If you're just applied for one, I think that counts, because the review process is long enough that for you to have one, you'd have to have filed before high school.
Add 1/2/4 for every bronze/silver/gold medal (or equivalent honor) received in reputable competitions (USAMTS, HMMT, PUMaC, etc., and not just math ones.)

  • Helpful, yes, but not necessary for acceptance. Plenty of non-competition people attend.
Subtract 5 for each long-range goal that alludes to money, power, or cars.

  • Yeahhhh.

Subtract 4 more for each long-range goal not involving science.

  • Unless it's saving the world.

Subtract 3 for every other piece of “padding” content.

  • What is this padding you speak of?

Subtract 2 for deliberate inclusions of school-wide extracurriculars or exclusively in-school recognitions.

  • DON'T MESS WITH MATH TEAM GODDAMNIT!

Subtract 3 for mentioning non-national MATHCOUNTS trophies.

  • Math, lolz.

Subtract 5 if you asked a teacher who did not know you well beyond the course to write your recommendation. (Subtract 15 if both teachers fall under this.)

  • True dat.

Subtract 10 if question 6 was not answered in a straightforward manner.

  • How do you discuss extracurriculars in a non-straightforward manner? I'd love to see this.

Subtract 25 if you flagrantly mention that you are applying to TASP.

  • Poor form.

Subtract 10 if answer to question 7 fails to use any of the languages mentioned.

  • I DID THAT!

Subtract 2 if postcard was not enclosed.

  • Why?

Add 10 for each USA_O contest attended, minus ones open to public registration.

  • Kk.

Add 15 for each I_O contest training camp or contest attended.

  • Legitimate, this.

Add 25 for each I_O medal, +25 more if gold.

  • Okay, these metals should be worth way more than being female. Seriously.

Add 5 for mentioning Project Euler. Add 0.1 for each problem completed.

  • I did that! I need to get back to those problems.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tea sits on her bed, studying chemistry. She idly scratches a freckle on her leg with her pencil as she thinks. The freckle moves. Tea panics.

Then she realizes that the freckle is actually dust.

I am thankful that my freckles haven't fallen off.

I am also thankful for my wonderful friends, then many opportunities in my life, the fact that in less than a year I will be out of this town, and the really awesome desserts I'm going to eat tonight.

November 20, 2010

Super Hot Physics


AKA learning about stars...at SHP! (am I clever or what?).

I took the train in with Clara, who is by far the calmest person I know about college decisions (well, it might be close on Kathrya, but she is nonetheless very chill). This is in marked contrast to my own behavior...which we're going to try not to think about. Because if I don't write it down, it didn't happen.

For your entertainment, I've compiled some quotes by my astro professor:

"The moon looks like a barren Italy...sort of like Afghanistan. I mean, really, why is anyone fighting over that place? Its three major food groups are metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary."

"Fools and Galileo do not suffer each other gladly."

"The Galileo spacecraft looks like someone put it together with an erector set while drunk."

"Atoms are like tuning forks."

"Thermal physics is kind of like Sweden."

"So, if I assume that the sun is made of doughnuts, I can use this assumption to calculate its lifetime."

"Rivers are instrumental to the gradual destruction of life as we know it."

November 16, 2010

STS


It's like four college apps. Plus a thesis paper. Wait--it *is* four college apps plus a thesis paper.

What am I getting myself into?

In other news, MIT? Please take me. Not that I'm anonymously begging or anything. Because we all know that would be silly.

November 15, 2010

Things I Do Not Like


People who willfully cause pain to others.

Computer software with a trial period.

Ubuntu partitions that don't function.

Cellphones with diminished battery capacity.

Poorly written books.

Poorly written fan fiction.

Poorly written scientific papers.

My lab partners.

My scientific paper.

My inability to properly work a scanner.

The lack of image editing software on my computer.

My innate stinginess.

The fact that I still haven't practiced piano.

How loud my leg-twitching habit is.

Undercooked cookies.

My ex-not-boyfriend.

Mean people.

Whoever invented menstrual cramps.

Evolution deniers.

Feminist haters.

Feminist haters who argue incompetently.

People who talk faster than I can think.

College applications.

The fact that I am still obsessed with MIT (even Yale couldn't break me).

Headaches.

Menstrual cramps.

Menstrual cramps.

Menstrual cramps.

November 7, 2010

Why are English papers so much work?

Because I devote hours and hours (and pages and pages) to the following drivel:



The intersections of morality, religion, and sex.


How does an individual define what is right? When people choose a path, what makes them determine in which direction they want to bend? Society influences, yes, but in what ways? How so?


The power of religion. Decisions are made around it, people join or flee it. Yet it is defined, more often than not, but the individual.


Religion and the conscience. How do we decide things?


Tess of the D'bervilles

-innocence destroyed by rape

-rape defines a marriage


The Purity Myth

-goodness of women is defined entirely by what they have between their legs.


But is it? Really? Truly? The fallen woman can be seen in so many places, but she redeems herself in the eyes of the reader. But what is redemption for the men?


Gender and atonement: what sins are worth a life?



Jane Eyre—he's redeemed himself, but has she?

Orlando—a man, a woman, both at once, but he is not a man who ever needs redeeming

Tess of the D'ubervilles—Tess, obviously, spends a lifetime trying to make up for a sin that wasn't hers, but it seems, in the end, that it is religion understanding, not atonement, that drives her (with the death of her 'husband' she returns to her husband). For Alec, though, what is there? He turns to religion, then believes that the only way he can make it up is through marriage, a life's commitment.


Redemption is sacrifice.


What is it that makes an individual good? How do people define what is right and what is wrong, and to what extent is this dichotomy of thought present in our everyday lives?


The Purity Myth, by Jessica Valenti, centers on the idea that the societal perception of a woman's morality stems entirely from her chastity. No quality is as important, no trait as worth protecting, as virginity.


Is this true? Judging by the books, the answer is resoundingly yes. In Tess of the D'ubervilles, we have a woman who, after she is raped, is a ruined woman; her eventual marriage falls apart, her life is spent searching for redemption.



When old books—centuries old, not whatever your grandmother considered popular literature—are read, it becomes very clear that from a modern perspective, with its own take on what is morally upstanding and politically correct, the good can be far more evil than the author intended. Who today would consider the ivory trade savory, the oft-said 'nigger' polite? This is made even more clear when considering opinions that haven't changed. In past centuries, marriage has shifted away from a sacred institution, defined by God.


The lack of stagnation in moral perceptions is demonstrated clearly by shifting perceptions of marriage. In days of yore, marriage was defined by sex.


You should see how much worse the handwritten crap is.

November 6, 2010

The Difficulty of Remembrance


Delayed my train by 23 minutes. Quite a nuisance (though I hope whoever was unwell has improved). This, of course, meant that we got stuck behind a local train, which in turn meant that I was really, really late to class.

Which I care about. Clara and Helga care less, so I bid them goodbye at the campus gate and proceeded at a very brisk walk, mostly because I couldn't take another minute of not talking. As I was approaching Pupin, I heard the slapping sound of someone running in flip-flops and thought to myself "well, at least I'm not as hurried as whoever that is."

Moments later, a slightly breathless (which means he was probably running for a good while) Rube pulled up (yes, I'm using vehicular terminology) next to me.

"Hey," he said.

I blinked. "Hi."

"I'm late."

"Me too."

"I woke up really early, and I assumed that my parents were going to make me breakfast, so I lay down on the couch for a few minutes--"

I wished that I didn't know what his couch looked like, that my mental picture was less vivid.

"--And then I woke up, and it was 9:47," he continued. "So I got a cab, and here I am."

"There was a medical emergency on the train. Before I got there."

"I didn't eat breakfast."

"Oh."

We continued walking, his pace slightly faster than mine, because my shoelace was undone and I didn't particularly want to stop long enough to fix it. I looked down.

"Your feet must be freezing," I said, because, as I'd thought from the sound, he was be-sandaled (yes, that's a word).

"Eh."

"My toes would be blue. Or purple. Probably purple."

"When they go numb I can't feel it."

I believe I snorted. Let us pretend that it was a lady-like snort.

Anyways, we eventually got inside, and I went for the elevator, to which he said "elevator, really?" and I said "I'm on the thirteenth floor" and he said "reasonable, then."

Because it is reasonable. Eight flights of stairs is a lot.

He entered the elevator with me, even though he didn't need to. He'd held the door, too, when we entered the building. I can't think when that trait stopped annoying me when present in males. Perhaps when I realized that there are better outlets for feminism.

I flopped against the wall of the elevator, and he did the same, against the other. I realized, abruptly, that we were alone, and then, just as suddenly, that he wasn't wearing a hat. It was messy, too long, curling while flat against his head in that horribly adorable way, and I wanted--I squelched the thought.

"I'm sleepy," I said, though I wasn't.

"I'm not," he responded, as the elevator stopped for him. I stood in the elevator by myself as it rose the last six floors.

I walked out, across the hall, stood in the bathroom, alone. I began to laugh, perhaps just because of how fittingly him the exchange was, but also because I didn't need it. It was interesting, yes, fine, good, but uncomfortable. More comfortable than that last night, but not something I wanted more of.

I'm trying to reclaim the music he sent me. I went down to the beach last night, after leaving Cammie's. I played the Los Campesinos song that is so much fun, You! Me! Dancing!, with its wonderful exclamation points. The one that I played whenever I missed him over the summer.

I stood on the cannons, the song loud, looking at the sky. I thought about him, briefly, but then about the stars. About the sky, about the world, about where I wanted to be and how, in a moment, in this chill cold air, I could just feel. I jumped from the cannons to the ground, then danced, as erratically as if I were drunk, down to the water, singing lines that felt right. I thrust my hands into the water, splashed it on my face, then twirled back up to my truck.

It sounds like a baptism, now. I'm going to call it that. A new beginning. A fresh start, not for him, not with him, but for me, for myself, with, well, anyone other than him.

I am made clean.

November 5, 2010

Today, Today

Oh Friday. Beautiful Friday, lovely day at the end of an oh-so-lovely week.

Someone said something funny during Chem. But I don't remember what it was. It was probably something about how if you sit on a pencil hard enough and for long enough, you make diamonds. Fun fact!

Please disregard that at the forces that can be provided by the human body, this would take millions of years.

I'm currently at Cammie's house, hanging out with her and Kathrya. We're making cookie dough. To eat, like, just the dough. It's gonna be delicious.

I'm going to mention Nyx now. And the fact that I have an English essay to write this weekend. Because I'm trying to even out the tag numbers, even now.

Frisbee club was fun. Ginny is indecisive about everything, but it's a trait that's adorable in her and obnoxious in Rube. It's odd, how that happens.

November 4, 2010

Lemocy



What a beautiful, beautiful captcha. I bet Dino cried at that.

So, what is occurring in my life? I'm reading The Purity Myth and freaking myself out.

"Have you already unwrapped the priceless gift of virginity and given it away? Do you now feel like "second-hand goods" and no longer worthy to be cherished? Do you ever wish you could re-wrap it and give it only to your future husband or wife? Guess what? You can be abstinent again! You can't change the past, but you can change the future. You can decide today to commit to abstinence, wrapping a brand-new gift of virginity to present to your husband or wife on your wedding night."

--from this website, from which we can also learn that people who have sex like to do so "when there's no one around."

"Your body is a wrapped lollipop. When you have sex with a man, he unwraps your lollipop and sucks on it. It may feel great at the time, but, unfortunately, when he's done with you, all you have left for your next partner is a poorly wrapped, saliva-fouled sucker."

This is a) a mixed metaphor and b) sexist. Because nobody bothered to compare men to these. Unless they're saying that men would become one of those if they have sex with other men. In which case we should all just be lesbians. Screw men.

I'm not sure I can take much more of this.

November 3, 2010

Overheard in the Library

Girl: You look like you need a hug.

Boy: Um.

Girl: Doesn't he look like he needs a hug?

Boy: Uh...

Girl: I would hug you, but I don't like touching people.

November 2, 2010

Doughnut Fun


Today, Ginny and Yuma came over. We made doughnuts. It was fun.

Apparently donut and doughnut are both acceptable spellings of this delicious food. I blame dukin' donuts. I also apparently make all of my paragraphs of my college essays too short, and admissions officers will see this and assume that my writing is imperfect, when I see the shorter paragraphs as a way to hold attention.

I think I've been reading internet news for too long.

Anyways, the donuts (yes, I am defaulting to the one with less letters) were a lot of fun, and the recipe worked out well, though I'd recommend halving the amount of nutmeg. Also, for future reference, the sugar is 7/8s of a cup, or something along those lines. It took the three of us, gifted math students that we are, an age to go from the recipe's grams to our manageable cups.

We are so talented.

Also, Ginny? I tell you this now so that you'll blush less if it gets brought up in person. During dinner tonight, Dad said, "How long have Jennn"

"Ginny"

"Yes, how long have she and Yuma been a, how do you say it these days? An item?"

"I thought they were just friends," said Mom.

"They are," I said, then gave Dad a funny look.

"So why isn't she allowed to go to his house again?"

"Because he's a boy."

"Right."

November 1, 2010

Monday, Lovely Monday


There's a title that will probably never get repeated. Oh, how happy I am that there is no school tomorrow.

My younger sister's carpool buddy for swimming got a foot through the sclera and she's at the hospital. My stomach churns just thinking about it.

Ginny and Yuma are coming over tomorrow and we are cooking chocolate donuts. If Ginny's mother asks, we are working on physics. All of you, remember this.

In other news, I should be practicing for math team, but I'm putting it off because I'm busy. I should be working on college applications, but I think I'll be able to get my drafts done by tomorrow morning. I should be talking to people, but I'd rather read.

I hope that Kathrya is doing well, and that she continues to do well in the coming days.

I need to get going on The Purity Myth, which I think I'm going to add to my Lit X paper. The first three books (Orlando, The Scarlet Letter, Tess of the D'ubervilles) are from very different eras, but I think I can make it work, and I'll possibly be able to incorporate Lolita as well, in which case I'll be done with the reading phase of the paper. My current plan, though I haven't yet read the nonfiction text, is to focus on marriage and virginity through time. My main point is that the definition of marriage has changed considerably, granting much more power to the female counterpart (I'm going to have to think of any modern books I've read that would support this well, but I'll hopefully be able to find something...I wonder how Jane Eyre would fit into this analysis. I'd also rather like to read The Age of Innocence, which seems applicable. There are so many things I want to do in so little space!), while the societal perspective of virginity, placing it on such a pedestal, giving it this grand significance that is so similar to the power it has in Tess of the D'ubervilles (loss of virginity is equated with marriage to the partner in the text) is in a marked contrast.

Yay for plans!