Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The oral exam - it's really going to happen

My department has finally given me a date for my oral exam: Monday, October 9th at 10am-12pm. My advisor (who's on sabatical this year) will be in town that day, so he will head the committee. There are two other professors on the committee, but I don't know them very well. So, please continue holding your breath and crossing your fingers, and you may now begin your sacred dances and sacrifices to the physics gods.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Random musings posted so that I can put off doing my homework

I have been studying for my oral exam all weekend. Now, I have to hurridly finish grading and take notes on the articles I should have been reading for class.

But why do that when I can kill a few minutes entertaining you all with notes from my non-life?

Some friends went out of town this weekend and I'm taking care of their two cats. For some reason, almost every physicist I know names their pet after other physicists. Sometimes, for variety, we name them after mathematicians. My cat, Phi, has had visits from Fermi, Pascal, and now a Gauss. Gauss, however, has been nicknamed Squeakers, which I think is a sad fate for any cat. How can he expect any respect at all in the cat community with a name like Squeakers? Of course, his devotion to small tinfoil balls and random pieces of dirt found on the floor probably doesn't help his credibility either.

His housemate Pascal, however, is not a cat to be trifled with. In his quest to catch small animals, Pascal once crawled into my ceiling. (To explain, I live in a basement apartment and my ceiling has those lightweight tiles that you just drop into tracks suspended from the floor above.) Apparently it was like a cat wonderland up there, and it took some heavy persuading, and serious pulling, to convince him to come down.

As an ending bonus, I include a photo from the Star Trek convention that I forgot to post. Sadly, this costume is not homemade - the Ferengi is an employee of the Star Trek gift shop. Still, he made the properly in-character sexist remarks about oomaks...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Renee Michelle's Kitchen

Watch the video
Renee Michelle shows you what a few old photographs and a can of paint can help add a bit of style to your kitchen.?

Monday, September 18, 2006

A styling baby...

My niece... Who is now extra cute, as she just learned to giggle.

Death by mechanical pencil

If any of you live beyond the reaches of the new non-planet Pluto, you may not have heard the results of my qualifier, which is that I passed one half and must take an oral exam on the second half. This is further proof that the physics Man, whoever he is, has it out for me. "How can I turn the screws just a bit more?" he thought, and then conceived of the oral, so that I will not know for another three or four weeks whether I'm going to be a physics professor or a physics dropout. "And, as a bonus, she'll have to study from all those books that she wishes she had already burned!" I'm not bitter, no, not at all.

But I am working towards resignation. So, minimal hijinks will be taking place here in College Park, at least for the next month.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Foodie Experience to Remember

This past weekend my boyfriend suddenly decided that a trip to Ohio to visit my family would be a good idea. This was probably prompted by my incessant sobbing over my upcoming oral exam. So, within an hour of having this idea we had packed up and left. But this post is not about the 16 hours of driving we did so that I could spend 24 hours with my family. No, this is about the far more interesting restaurant experience we all had.

My parents have recently purchased a new house. Okay, they don't have the title yet, but they're this close to being the owners. So they took me, my boyfriend, my brother and his family to see the new property. Afterwards, we wanted to have some dinner together, so we headed into the tiny town that is near there. Our options being a take-out pizza joint, Subway, and a family restaurant, we chose the family restaurant. This seemed especially fitting since we are a family.

Although it was Saturday evening, all of the restaurant operations were conducted by a sixteen-year-old waitress and some guy cooking in the back. This was not a problem, as we were the only customers there. Our first indication that something was amiss was that our questions of "What is the fish of the day?" and "How big is a medium pizza?" stumped our waitress. After consultation with the guy in the back, she reported the answers, "Cod" and "Fourteen. Line. Line." (Think about that for a minute.)

She took our orders after my father had fetched her and told her we were ready (maybe she was already scared of us). After fifteen minutes, my brother and father received their bacon cheeseburgers. After they pointed out that the burgers were lacking the bacon and cheese, those orders were whisked back. We sent my sister-in-law's food back when we discovered that the center of her deep-fried fish was still ice-cold.

At this point, when three orders have already come out, the waitress comes back and announces that they can't make my mother's order because they can't find the shrimp. My mother decides just to eat off of the other entrees, which is good, because the waitress forgets for the next fifteen minutes to come take a new order. This is because she is announcing to my boyfriend that they can't find the garlic butter to make his pizza. After he decides on a substitution of tomato sauce, they make it and bring it out. It appears distinctly smaller than 14". My father whips out his ever-ready tape measure, and, sure enough, it is 10". We suggest that the waitress only charge us for a small one, but in the end it didn't much matter, because she took off fully one-third of the check for "prep errors." Oh, and I forgot to mention that all three side salads were frozen.

I can vouch that the beer was good, although when we asked for the darkest beer they had, they presented us with Belgian white ales. And, asked if they has foreign beers, they recommended Labatt. Which technically is foreign, even if it is Canada's Budweiser.

Except for the fact that most of the food was awful, we actually had a terrific time. It was the most amazing restaurant experience I have ever had. And, in the end, my brother loved his burger and announced that he would be back.