Feeling all kinds of sore

Yesterday went to a Tex-Fit conference up in Arlington, Texas at UT-Arlington. About 25 of the UTRecsports staff went and we all had so much fun! I ended up giving a talk and working out for a solid 4 hours doing work on the CorePole, kettlebells, spinning, and the BOSU. Lots of fun and everything was wonderful.

On the way to Arlington, I ended up talking to Mark about grad school. (Mark is pursuing a PhD in aerospace engineering and he’s from Indiana, PA). He ended up going to Notre Dame for his undergrad work and he had a lot of nice things to say about Bloomington and he reassured me that things would be fine for me if I decided to go there. I think after the poster session a couple of days ago, I kind of flipped out about everything, but after speaking with Mark about grad school and life in the midwest, I feel better about it all.

-P

I’m like an island.

I think I may have just experienced the most depressing evening of my life. I ended up going to the UT chem dept. poster session for prospective graduate students. I mainly came to help support the Shear group and mingle with people (as opposed to just grading or knitting). What I thought would be just another ho hum evening in Welch ended up being this eye opening experience.

The whole of my life, I’ve taken great pride in being independent. I’ve never had a fear of living someplace else, or traveling, or anything really. Mainly, I just do as I please and end up wherever I end up. Fortunately, this has left me happy and geographically close to those I love and care about. At the poster session, I met students from other schools who were considering attending UT for graduate school. In all of this, I realized that I wouldn’t be here anymore… they’d be taking my desk (either it be in the Shear group, or in a classroom). It is odd to see how the whole of UT is just moving on without me as if I am nothing to it. I met students who were coming from nowheresville USA, to Austin, Texas.

Now, I’m thinking of how I will go from Austin, Texas to Bloomington, Indiana or some unknown place in the middle of nowhere. No friends, no social life, just research, classes, and lab. What if Indiana is full of foreigners who don’t know English, and what if I can’t talk with them as a result? What if I hate my research? What if I hate it all?

It just seems like the little sitcom that is my life is changing dramatically. It seems like the supporting cast just comes and goes, but that I am the regular. Lately I feel as if I don’t mean anything, about anything, to anyone. While this has granted me a considerably depression-free life, I’ve come to this realization that I’m soon to be like an island, alone, in the middle of nowhere, and rather self-sufficient. I suppose all of this may sound like a good thing but the sad part is that I’m afraid this whole ‘island’ lifestyle isn’t me at all. Maybe I could become this, but I don’t know if it (being a grad student and moving away) is all worth it. All the professors in the division seem to think highly of me and all that I’m up to, but I wish I could feel so confident in the direction I’m going as they are.
-P

Growing up sucks

Maxi passed away today. I’ll miss her. I’ve known her since I was 7 and my relationship with her continued until this day, 15 years later.
I’ll miss our rambles through the parks and long chats about nothing.
Here are some photos of us taken a couple of years ago…

I guess now after having thought about everything, I’m realizing that more things are changing than I thought would. To start off, the Seales have decided to pack up and move to Zavalla, Texas which is a good 2-3 hours away from Houston. Soon I’ll be leaving for grad school, my old walks with Maxi are gone, and Austin will soon be gone from me too.

I’ve known the same home, friends, family and Texas my whole life, and it is scary to have these things taken from me. I know the Seales are just a quick phone call or car/plane ride away, and that my family will always be here for me in Texas, and I can always come home, but for some reason, things just feel different this time.

I don’t really want to move on.

Maybe this is what they call ‘growing up’… maybe my Holden Caulfield phase will finally escape me

I just think it sucks.

I’ve been hit.

I think I’m finally starting to realize that I will effectively be leaving Austin for good in about a couple of months. Texas has been my home since I can remember and everything that I do, all of my quirky routines and favorite places that I’ve often frequented will just be gone with the wind. More than that, are the friends and people I’ve come to meet. Austin has the most eclectic group of people and in my head, I know that wherever I end up for grad school will never be as wonderful as Austin. I also know that in grad school, my time for social fun will be nonexistent. I think that thinking about this now is a bit depressing.

I’m not really one to just sit around and do nothing, so I’m sure wherever I move to (despite how boring it may seem) will have plenty of interesting things for me to do and I’ll find my own niche in time. I guess I need to just make the most of whatever time I have left here. So here is a list of some things I want to do before leaving Austin:

  1. Visit the Cathedral of Junk
  2. Rollerblade at the Veloway
  3. Have a drink/meal at the new Daily Juice on Duval St.
  4. Make a short film of all of my favorite places in Austin
  5. Go out to eat one final time at Z-Tejas, Iron Cactus, Mothers, La Traviata, and Traverna
  6. Go to the Pecan st. festival in May
  7. Attend at least one more First Thursday
  8. Spend an entire Saturday afternoon going to the Austin farmers market and running at the lake
  9. Go canoeing on the lake
  10. Attend a B-Scene or mix at the Blanton art museum
  11. Have a last Spiderhouse Rendezvous, another Mozart’s rendezvous, and a teahouse rendezvous
  12. Have one last go at dancing on 6th st. and using the loo at the Driskill
  13. 2 for 1 burgers at Hut’s… need I say more?
  14. Spend a weekend in Frederiksburg camping or visiting Enchanted Rock
  15. Go country dancing at Midnight Rodeo or The Broken Spoke

Hopefully I can start lugging around my point and shoot so that I can compile a list of pictures for me to play when I get homesick.

I guess I’ll spend the day doing one of the above 😉
-P

finished WIP

I got around to finishing the pair of legwarmers I started a few weeks ago. I was going to wear them ice skating as my legs get very cold, but my mom saw them when I was working on them and she really liked them because she gets arthritis in the wintertime. I figure she will get more use out of them than I will, and I can always make myself another pair, so I’ve decided to give them to her the next time I see her. Here’s a couple of photos of my handiwork.

I think I’m going to call it a night for now.

-P

Chains of Opportunity… or something like it

I finally got around to finishing the book I started reading this past weekend entitled Chains of Opportunity.

Everyone has a favorite something or other… myself included. In case you didn’t know, my favorite chemist is Wallace Carothers. I guess there was a point a couple of years back when I had this huge thing for Linus Pauling, but after reading about the polymer industry and it’s effects on WW2, Carothers is now the cool chemist on my mind. This particular book as you may guess from the title, gives an overview of the founding and progression of polymer chemistry.

The author in the book makes this interesting note:
“The ability to develop, shape, and use substances has been one of the measures of a civilization’s capabilities, so much that we now identify them as the Stone age, Bronze age, and Iron age… There was one common characteristic that defined these former ages. The materials in question all came from nature”

This makes me wonder what our current ‘age’ is. Surely the polymer age has come, and will be here to stay, but what next? The nano-age? Just something interesting to consider.

My interest in polymer chemistry began a couple of years ago after taking a macromolecular course at UT. Despite my abhorring organic chemistry, macromolecular chemistry has this odd appeal and I became most intrigued by ‘living’ polymers.

It is interesting to think that the allied forces could have lost WW2 had it not been for the emerging rubber industry and the brilliant scientists involved. The one thing I don’t like about the book is its excessive mention of the University of Akron in the middle of nowheres-ville. I guess it gets the point across that it was there that the beginnings of the science came about, but I am sure there were several other institutions across the nation or world that contributed equally, if not more, to the field. I would have appreciated a more worldly view in this regard. Other than that, the book is a fine and easy read, taking no more than a weekend. If you have the time and any interest at all in macromolecular chemistry, I recommend reading it.

I guess that’s all for now.

Up and at ’em

I think it is precisely this time (Tuesday at around 8:00) where I start to get tired of the week and become ready for Friday to come around. I’m back in Austin, doing the Austin thing, and while I never thought I’d get used to the idea of not being a student… I think I’m starting to get used to it, and actually like it. No kidding.

On a random note, I always wondered how gas station clerks kept the gas price signs up to date. I guess the digital/computerized signs are a bit easier to manage because you don’t have to physically go and change the numbers around, but even with the digital signs, you have to keep up to the minute with the changing prices… kind of like a stock market day trader would with stocks. This continuous updating of gas prices, as one would imagine, would be imperative to do if there were multiple gas stations on an intersection and competition was intense. One gas station back home near my parents place has come up with an amusing way to keep up with the latest happenings…

Well, at least I think it is amusing. I chuckle every time I drive by that sign.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I made some valentines for my students. Here’s the basket with the goodies!

-P

vegetarianism

Oftentimes when I meet someone they ask me why I’m a vegetarian. This happened to occur today at lunch. I feel that here is better than anywhere to go into my reasoning. Before I list the reasons why I’ve chosen to be a vegetarian let me say that I don’t judge people who choose to eat meat. People make different choices for different reasons, and it is not my place to judge the choices that other people make. Just being alive is inevitably going to cause suffering. But anyway, here’s why I’m a veg:

1) I love animals, and believe that a veg diet causes less suffering than a diet centered around animal products
2) Animals are sentient creatures with their own wills, and it seems wrong to force our will onto another creature just because we’re able to.
3) A good deal of medical evidence points to the fact that a diet centered around animal products is terrible for you. Animal product based diets have been repeatedly proven to cause and exacerbate cancer, heart disease, obesity, impotence, diabetes, etc.
4) A veg diet is materially more efficient than an animal product based diet. By that I mean that you can feed lots more people with grain directly than by feeding that grain to a cow and then killing the cow. In a world where people are starving it seems criminal to fatten up cows with grain that could be keeping people alive.
5) The raising of farm animals is environmentally disastrous. All of the waste from animal farming gets washed into our water supply, poisoning our drinking water and fouling our lakes, streams, and oceans.
6) Veg food is nice to look at. Compare a plate with grains and fruits and vegetables to a plate with pigs’ intestines, chicken legs, and chopped up cow’s muscles.

I guess that encompasses the bulk of it. Again, I do not judge.

I think this will be the first full night of sleep I will get (now that my future has slightly more security)

-P

A College Station, supposedly.

That’s right. I’m in College Station (CS). I actually just got back from eating dinner with my best friend Erin and an old Procter and Gamble friend who is going to grad school here. It’s been nice to catch up with old friends and right now Erin and I are watching a movie and answering e-mails/updating blogs. I feel at home in her house. There are currently 3 dogs and a cat in this house and it seems so full. Here’s us after dinner:

As you know, I’ve gotten into knitting and I’ve become a huge fan of frequenting knitting/yarn shops. On my way from Austin to CS I happened to find Yarnorama, a brilliant yarn shop with a lovely owner to match. If any of you readers are into crochet/knitting or even spinning, you should stop by and check out the wondrous selection of fibres.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing laser tag with some of my old high school buddies and going to a temple with my parents. The temple is hand carved entirely out of marble and is very reminiscent of the Jainist temples I’ve seen in Rajasthan.

-P