Thursday, October 22, 2009

An illustrated journey through (select) New York sites

Of all the wondrous and unique diversions in New York (Chinatown? Broadway? Harlem?), Andrew chose to tour... an aircraft carrier museum permanently docked in the New York harbor.

We saved money by staying in a small room. Here Andrew demonstrates that he can touch three wall at once, while I stand in the four square feet of space at the end of the bed. There wasn't enough room for both of us to stand up at the same time in the room.
This door panel from the Metropolitan Art Museum represents Science. I was quite taken with such a stunning and, above all, female representation of my chosen field.
On our first day we walked the Brooklyn bridge. Cheap and fun entertainment.
We had pleasant enough food, but nothing remarkable. This was my fault, because I didn't have enough time to do research before we left. I did get to participate in one new food trend - frozen yogurt. (Cupcakes are soooo out.) The new frozen yogurt is not like the stuff you and I remember from the 90's; it's full-fat, quite tart, and the toppings include really perfect fruit and dark chocolate. I'd recommend it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The big apple

The weather in New York turned out not to be quite as bad as we feared. I think the advanced warning helped. Although the temperature stayed in the forties and the skies were dark and drizzly, there were no downpours. We were prepared with winter gear and umbrellas, so it turned out all right.

Today I'll just include some quick highlights, and then add more this week if I can. I'm working really long days this week and weekend, so time for frivolous activities like blog writing is lacking.

Andrew reported that his favorite part of the trip was going up to the top of Empire State building. We were surprised to see pigeons up there, considering it's over 1000 feet above the ground. I think this just proves that wherever people spill food, pigeons will find it. The view was great and I enjoyed seeing the building itself. It's hard to think of a building that's less than 100 years of age as old, but it really is old for a skyscraper.* I had heard horror stories about the three-hour lines, but we got there early in the morning and sped right up to the top. I think the weather helped us in this case - people with options put off their trips for warmer days.

I discovered a new variety of art that I love - works by Tiffany. That's right, the lamp-maker. I've never much cared for the lamps with glass lampshades; they're just not my style. But I'm pretty sure that the glass lampshades I normally see are not made by the Tiffany company, because I don't run in circles with that kind of disposable income. But in addition to lamps, Tiffany made large windows and mosaic fountains, and the Metropolitan Art Museum had a small collection. The windows he did are like luminous paintings. (This is the best example I could find, although it loses something in its translation to pixels.)

More on New York later this week, time permitting

*This reminds me: the German word for a "sky-scraper" is a "cloud-scratcher." I like it that both words convey the idea of touching the heavens. Does anyone know what other languages name their tall buildings?

Friday, October 16, 2009


We're off to New York for a few days, and we leave in just a minute or two. They are predicting temperatures that will be 20F degrees colder than normal, and rain all day turning into downpours on Saturday. This might be a repeat of our Boston trip, but at least we won't be sleeping in moldy sheets this time.

I think I'll take the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge off the list, and add some warm, dry museums instead.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bits and bobs

I don't think I can pull together a coherent post today. I used up all my coherence in the draft I finished yesterday.
We're going to see the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble tonight. If you don't listen to classical music, you won't know that they are SUPER famous. I can't believe that they are coming to the university's concert center, which means we paid $7 each for student tickets. I'm looking forward to hearing them, but also (I must admit) to dressing up tonight.
Last week I went a little crazy and processed gobs of food. I wrote all day long, and then each evening I cooked. The results? Four quarts of marinara sauce, several quarts of dried tomatoes, 6 pounds of green olives (I found fresh ones at the local Asian market!), four quarts of apple sauce, and refrigerator pickles. We will be eating well this winter.
Andrew and I both got good news this week regarding papers we had submitted to journals. There was much rejoicing. It was efficient to get the news at the same time, because then we only needed to open one bottle of champagne.
Next weekend we are going to New York for a three day weekend. It will be fun to get away from work, but (more importantly) it'll give me something to put on the blog.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Framing happiness

I don't know if this next story will be funny to anyone outside my research group, but here goes.

I spend hours every day analyzing interactions. My research involves looking at videos of people and trying to figure out why they make the decisions they make, and how they're interpreting the situation they are in.

Today I found myself cuddling my cat. As she purred, I explained to her that her purring made me happy, which caused me to pet her. This made her happy, causing her to purr more. Thus, we had established a stable feedback loop of contentment.

The cat was not particularly wowed by my analysis, but I think this shows that I am now fully immersed in my work. Surely this can only bode well for the completion of the disseration?