elegantpi: (Quill)
This is just me exploring Yuletide suggested fandoms and fills, and thinking about what I would request or offer to write if I participate. If I do, it's going to be so difficult to choose just six to nominate! I've just finished reading the Yuletide FAQ, as well, and I'm about to stroll over to AO3 and read some of last year's fic.

Oh, how my list reminds me that I need to re-read some dear old favorite books. :) I can see the cover of Taliesin peeking out from under a pile of books near the wall - I think I'll spend the rest of the night reading it over again. It's my favorite of the Pendragon cycle. I've been watching Merlin lately, so Arthurian legend is on my mind.

Read more... )
elegantpi: (Quill)
I just imported my entries from LiveJournal, so now my Dreamwidth journal looks a little less sparse, yay! Most entries pre-2009 are set to private because I was such a whinybutt in years past and prefer not to spread that negativity around. :)

I've purchased a nice paid DW account, as well. I really need to make some more icons. I made a Teyla icon last night, but I need to make like 100 more from all my different fandoms and shows!!

I'm so glad it's Friday. We're going to Austin this weekend for Can't Stop the Serenity, a charity screening of Dr. Horrible and Serenity for Equality Now. Ron Glass is going to be there! I'm excited. Also, it will be nice to get out of Houston for a little while.

Monday brings with it a calculus exam, though, so I'm going to have to be studying a lot through the weekend. In fact, I should be studying now. But instead, I'm going to meet my mom for coffee and a French lesson. Alors, c'est la vie! Bon weekend, mes amis!
elegantpi: (Default)
I love the long stretch of show premieres unwinding through September and October. There are always some exciting new finds, and old favorites pick up where they left off at the beginning of the summer. Here's what I'm watching - what are you watching this season? If you create fanworks, what shows (new or old) are you making art, writing, vidding, or mixing for at the moment?

New Shows:
  • CW's "Nikita" - The previews bring Dollhouse to mind in a tangential way. I love spy/assassin shows and am looking forward to tomorrow night's premiere.

  • CW's "Hellcats" - OMG CHEERLEADERS. My husband and I watched the premiere tonight, and I've already written it firmly on my "guilty pleasures" calendar. It's not really my usual kind of show; I tend to like supernatural or science fiction themes, or at least a good conspiracy theory or caper. Cheerleaders definitely don't fit the bill. But I'm just going to throw this confession out there - I really did love the premiere, even though it's predictable and formulaic. I like the main character because she strongly reminds me of someone I know and admire, and to be quite honest, I love watching athletes tumbling across my tv screen. The music was great for me, also, but my tastes in music run to the mainstream and mundane, so that's probably not saying much. Anyway, I liked it.

  • AMC's "Rubicon" - This premiered in the mid-season, a couple of months ago, and is now 8 episodes in. It's a conspiracy theory show that has the most elegant cinematography I have ever seen. It's gorgeous. The color palates are beautiful blues and pale greens and grays, interspersed with rich browns and dashes of red. It's just so pretty! Some of the frames you could actually print out as a photograph. I love the sound of the show, too - the way they sort of linger on the sound of coffee pouring into a cup or papers shuffling around.

    I'm super-interested in the story, although my husband finds it slow and hasn't bonded with the characters yet. By the fourth episode, as Grant, Miles, and Tanya were starting to gel as a team, I'd bonded with the team at least. Will, I like but feel distanced from; I can't stand Maggie and hope she goes away. Ingram is awesome; Spangler is odious. I want to see more teamy stuff from the three main API characters. And fic. I want fic. I've got a couple of stories started, but I'm noticing there's not much of a fandom for Rubicon just yet. Not a single story on AO3, even! I'm surprised, because the possibilities for smart, introspective storytelling are endless with this series.

    I amused myself one evening by tracking down exactly where in New York the "API" offices are located, since the show gave so many visual location clues - the ships, the bridge, etc. - and they turn out to be right around these coordinates in NYC: 40.705623,-74.004311. I know. I have way too much time on my hands. It's the tv studio building - Warner Horizon, I think. At least, some of the office scenes and the roof scenes are filmed there.

  • NBC's "The Event" - I'm vaguely interested in this. I was also vaguely interested in "Flash Forward" and "V" last fall, and that never grabbed my interest, so I'm not bouncing on the couch cushions over "The Event". It could be awesome, or it could be meh. I'll watch and see.

  • NBC's "Outsourced" - If you didn't see the movie "Outsourced", check it out. My husband is from an Indian family, so we always enjoy movies that spotlight Indian culture. I was amazed to discover that such an itty-bitty film has been made over into a television series, but I'm interested to see what NBC has done with it. I'm reserving judgment until after the first episode of course - it could be awful! - but I'm hoping it's good. I love multi-cultural shows that get it right - let's hope this is one of those. I'm sad that it's filmed mostly in LA, but the producers have mentioned wanting to film the second season on location if the first season is successful.


But wait, there's more! )
elegantpi: (Believe)
I've posted another auction offer for [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan: http://community.livejournal.com/help_pakistan/2195.html?thread=942483#t942483 - 12 pieces of mail over a year, either from me, or written as a character in one of my fandoms. Check it out, if you're interested! My other auction offer is linked in the post below this one.

Y'all, the auction offers over at [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan are so amazing. I've bid on several things - a box of random art, fic, and mail from a character in a tv show. I want to bid on half a dozen other things, but sadly I don't have the budget.

Tomorrow, I'm going to make some pre-donations to a couple of the charities to help the money get to those who need it now, rather than wait until the auction ends. The mods at [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan set up the pre-donation system so that donation confirmations made before the end of bidding can be used toward any auction bid.

In my previous entry, [livejournal.com profile] ladyluna commented to share the story of her co-worker whose family has been tragically affected by the flood. My mother, a teacher at one of the elementary schools in this area, has a student whose family is from Pakistan as well - we don't know if his family has been affected, but I have asked her to find out.

Millions of people are homeless, living in camps, many dying of disease, and the funds to help these people are only trickling in. The BBC has a special reports page, and nearly every headline or article mentions the dire need for aid. If you are able to give a signal boost either for [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan or any charity or aid foundation accepting and directing donations to the flood victims, it would be wonderful if you could do so.
elegantpi: (Believe)
Some of you may remember the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti effort earlier this year, which raised over 100,000 USD and proved that fandom could, indeed, come together and make a difference in the world.

As you've probably seen in the news, Pakistan is suffering from devastating flooding, and relief agencies worldwide are struggling to provide aid. Every little bit - even five dollars - can help. Using the same auction model as help_haiti, the community [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan has been created to raise funds. Important Note: The winning bidders will donate directly to the charity organization specified. No one will be collecting funds - auction winners will be making a direct donation and providing proof of contribution to the offerer, who will then send the item/whatever that was won.

Please take a look at the wonderful things offered for auction here - original fiction, fan fiction, music videos, all types of art, hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns, jewelry, foods, even snail mail! The miscellaneous section is especially wonderful, like a bazaar of creativity. Offerings are also tagged here, on Delicious.

I'm making an offering of five photographs - high-quality, 8x10 prints - from around the Houston area, giving the winning bidder the choice of location or subject. http://community.livejournal.com/help_pakistan/1696.html?thread=500896#t500896
elegantpi: (Default)
Title: Minor Variations
Author: [personal profile] elegantpi ([livejournal.com profile] dreamingoctober)
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Elizabeth Weir
Rating: G
Genre: Gen
Word count: 910
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.
Notes: Vague spoilers for end of S3, beginning of S4
Summary: Picking up one of the statues, she shifts it from hand to hand. It feels different – out of balance, not quite the same weight – she can't put her finger on it. Minor variations in the feel, in the form of things.

On [livejournal.com profile] sga_flashfic: Minor Variations
elegantpi: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] renatus . :)

I LOVE this blog entry on The Breaking Time blog. It comments on the xkcd "sheeple" comic posted a while back and discusses how, to quote the blog, "dismissive condescension is a monumentally stupid way to deal with the world." I totally, wholeheartedly agree.

Excerpt:

So you're smart. Great. Intelligence is a beautiful thing to have. But the world is full of remarkably bright people who make really dumb calls, and people of average intellect who've made brilliant ones. The world is also full of extremely intelligent people with elaborate justifications for very bad ideas. Reality is awakening to the fact that there are a thousand and one talents, each of which might be perfectly adapted to a situation where others are useless.

In addition to the use of "sheeple", I've heard people who appropriated JK Rowling's term "muggles" as a synonym for "sheeple". They can be heard constantly deriding anything or anyone that was outside their (narrow, so very narrow) frame of reference. Hearing this always made me lose a little bit more respect for these people, and that was back in my Time of Silence when I wasn't speaking up and voicing my dissent and dislike for that sort of thing. It's just an odious way to behave, for one thing, and for another thing, it just makes the person saying these sorts of things seem very intolerant, narrow-minded, and very much like an asshole. And I don't think JK Rowling would approve - Hermione's family are muggles, after all.

I also think that people who casually lump people into a negative "other" are sadly deficient in self-confidence and self-esteem.

People who dismiss things out of hand as "stupid" or "beneath my notice" sadly limit their experience of this world. I used to be dismissive (but not necessarily negative toward) fan fiction as a "timewaster" and never looked into it further, and that was such a mistake on my part. I've grown so much since I started reading and writing about fandom, and being involved in fandom discussions is directly related to why I now choose to speak up about things like racism, bigotry, gay-bashing, misogyny, etc. I was aware, but not involved, until fandom got my attention. Life lesson learned: I will never dismiss something until I take a close, investigative look at it, even if this means I have to spend more time looking into and researching stuff.

I'm writing the word "sheeple" out of my vocabulary (unless I'm singing "Slipping" from Dr. Horrible). Not that I ever used it, but just in case. :)

Dreams

Jul. 14th, 2010 11:10 am
elegantpi: (Default)
My dreams last night came in vignettes, for whatever reason. I'm getting ready to go on a long road trip, and I'm an anxiety-ridden mess over it, which is unusual for me, so maybe that has something to do with the way my brain jumped from dream to dream instead of one continuous unfolding like it usually does. What I love (and hate) about last night's/this morning's dreams is that each one had a beginning and an ending, and they were interconnected. I always remember my dreams vividly but rarely write them down... maybe I should start?

----------
I was in the car, driving, presumably on my trip, and my sister is in the car beside me. For some reason, we stop at the zoo. It's nice and cool there, and we're sitting on a bench, just chatting about stuff, when this guy sits down at a picnic table near us and starts talking to us. He's one of those people that doesn't seem to have much social common sense, in that he's just sort of spewing out his personal life to us. Then he starts talking about his sex life and what girls he will sleep with and who he won't, and at that point, my sister and I just start laughing at him. He gets offended and hurt, like we're being mean to him or something.

"I thought you two were, you know, mature enough women to talk about these things," he said, with a confused look on his face.

"Do you really need to tell us all about your life?" I asked him. My sister is still doubled up in giggles. "You don't even know us."

We decided it was time to leave and get on with our trip, and this guy follows us to the parking lot. I whisper to my sister not to let him see which car is ours, so we wait for him to get in his car and leave. He opens the door of a dirty black Mustang and gets in, gives us a jaunty wave, puts on a pair of I-Am-So-Cool sunglasses, and drives off. It's very dramatic.

My sister says, "Well, OK THEN, DEAN." And we both laugh.

And I'm all, "I was totally just thinking that same thing."

It all made sense in the dream, the way things always make sense in the dream.
-----------

Spinning off from the last dream, the next one starts up. We're going to find our car in the zoo parking lot. By some mysterious happenstance, I now have a black purse full of Stuff. Naturally, it takes me forever (in dream-time) to find my keys, and when I finally do, I realize that some other car has parked so close to mine that I can't open my door. At first I think I'll have to tell my sister to climb over the passenger's side seat and back the car out, but then somehow there's more room than I originally thought, so we get in.

I leave the zoo parking lot, but everything in the car is awry (I don't really remember how or why). And my mom is now with us. I'm tangled up in my seat belt, and I'm trying to drive on a busy freeway. I'm in the far left lane, which is the most annoying thing ever because I'm driving way below the speed limit and everyone on the freeway is pissed off at me. (Metaphor for my life? I don't know but maybe.)

To untangle myself from the stupid seat belt, I have to let go of the steering wheel and open up the car door, so my mom is trying to steer, and my door is flying all the way open, but I finally get myself sorted just as we pick up speed and flash by a few cops - with the door open. Crap. I lean out over the road, grab the door, and slam it closed. The cops don't seem to care about that, but they're directing us off the road which is no longer a freeway and which is lined with people that I'm trying not to run over. Some sort of event. And I have no idea how to get back to the freeway, of course.

So we park our car and wander up to this museum-like complex. My sister and I lose my mom. This dream gets a little fuzzy at this point, but I remember these things:
-- bitching about why they have to block the whole road off for this whatever-it-is event.
-- walking up, we can see an old-style fighter plane (WW I-era) model doing loops very close overhead, and the crowd is applauding.
-- An elderly lady in a coat-check-type room is talking to an employee, saying, "We need some of those photons for weapons." The employee replies, "Photons aren't weapons." I grin at him and say, "Not yet, anyway!" And it's like, some kind of conspiratorial exchange. Something is up with photons.
-- Wandering into an open hall with my sister and seen David Ogden Stiers smelling a brick wall. Then he starts climbing it. I tell my sister, "This must be the M*A*S*H wing." I'm disappointed when she doesn't know what I'm talking about. The afore-mentioned DOS is now hanging upside down from a rafter on the ceiling. OK, then.
-- I finally find someone with a map and ask them how to get back to the freeway. The map makes absolutely no sense in the way that nothing makes sense in dreams, sometimes. Frustrating.
------------

At this point, I think I maybe heard the front door shut when my sister left for work (really, not in a dream), and that woke me up a little and reminded me that I needed to wake up, too. But sadly, it sent me into the next dream spiral...

----------
Reset to zero. I have yet to leave on my trip.

I was lying in bed with my phone, and I randomly decide to call my friend [personal profile] ciri. This is odd, because we communicate normally through Twitter, email, internetsy stuff but not by phone call. So she is understandably confused when she answers the phone and it's me.

"It's Friday! I just thought I'd call to check and see how you're doing," I said. Apparently, I had suddenly developed a case of has-no-social-common-sense. Probably caught it from that guy at the zoo.

"Well," she says, hesitantly, "I've had a stomach ache for the last two days."

"Oh," I say, and I'm worried. "You should really go to the doctor. That can't be good."

"Maybe," she says.

"I hope you feel better soon. I'll let you go so you can rest."

"OK, bye!"

I put the phone down and went back to sleep.

----------
I wake up again, and instead of knowing that I'm dreaming (I usually do know, at least vaguely), I think I'm actually awake, and the previous dreams are dreams that I just finished having and remember on waking.

There are piles of clothes in my bedroom, and more outside. There's a fold-away couch that is folded out. It needs to be put away, so I take some of the clothes off of it, remove the cushions and pillows, and fold it back in on itself with the sheets still on (red sheets. ominous. or so I felt.) My sister comes in and speaks with me, but her words are garbled and indistinct. I'm trying to speak with her and fold all the laundry and put the cushions back on the fold-away sofa, which is sitting awkwardly in the middle of the living room.

I just give up, lay down on the sofa, and go to sleep.

----------
I wake up again, thinking I'm awake, and everything gone before is just dreams. It's dark, and I think it must be raining or about to rain. I try to turn on the light, but it won't turn on. I walk out into the living room - I've got no clothes on, for some reason, but I'm trying to find something to put on from the laundry piles that are still there. No lights. The fans will turn on, but the lights will not. I think maybe something is wrong with the house, so I try to find my phone to call David. I go back into the office, and just as I get there, a kind-looking, elderly gentleman steps out of my sister's room and says, "Hello, Brandie." I scream, but I don't try to run. He's fiddling with some things in the closet, then leans into the office and points to a wall. "Do you want to choose a picture to go here?" he asks, as if this is the most normal thing ever. I'm terrified and huddled on the floor, and I'm thinking about how I can never reach the phone because I won't make it past this guy before he kills me.

----------

And then I woke up for real, and it's nice and sunny, and the lights all work, and I'm waaay behind schedule and trying to just not care. So now I need to go pack my suitcase, find all the cords to all the electronic stuff I need to take, and get my butt on the road. I hope I'll sleep much better tonight.

Sadness

Jul. 6th, 2010 06:24 pm
elegantpi: (Believe)
Yesterday, I lost a friend. She was beautiful and brave and sweet and smart, and she had beaten cancer back once. Yesterday, she lost the second battle and is gone. I just... want to write about it here because I need to write about it even if I haven't dealt with/processed it yet.

I first met Tricia when she was rounding up volunteers for a TarValon.net table at Dragon*Con. I sent in my volunteer application to her. Later, I had a private message from her. She told me a little about herself and ended with: "That was my attempt at a non-weird/stalkery way of saying, "You sound interesting. Will you be my friend?" :P" And of course I said yes. We exchanged PMs fairly often, talking about writing and the Wheel of Time series and many other things. She mentioned that she'd had cancer, but she spoke of it as something that was already in her rear-view mirror. Every message exchange with her left me smiling.

She lived in Georgia. I lived in Texas. So we didn't meet in person until this past April, at JordanCon. When I finally came down to the party, Rachel introduced us, and I sat down with her, and we talked for an hour. We ate cake together to celebrate Rachel's birthday, she patiently listened to my blather about Stargate and then shared some of her own insights into the show. She talked about wanting to write a book about her battle with cancer, something that would help others in the situation she found herself in. I can't remember looking at her and not seeing her smiling. Later that night, we gathered with the rest of TarValon.net and shared the traditional toast, and she sat beside us on the bed. I was so comfortable with her - I felt like I'd known her for years and years, that she was like a beloved sister. Even David felt it. He doesn't automatically feel comfortable around people, but he really loved hanging out with Tricia. We talked about inviting her to come stay with us in Texas for a visit; we never got to extend the invitation.

I know that saying things like this doesn't help, but... If I had known that I would lose her so soon, I would have spent the whole weekend with her - just her.

Everything happened so fast - so unbelievably fast. Less than two weeks ago, Tricia posted that she'd had some bad test results. (I'm not going into too much detail here for privacy's sake.) She posted an update that the cancer was definitely back. Only yesterday, a friend posted that she'd been moved to hospice care, and then this afternoon, just a couple of hours ago, we had word that she had passed away yesterday afternoon.

We all left messages on her Facebook that she received and enjoyed, and I hope that the letter I mailed to her reached her in time. She knew she was loved, that we all loved her.

But guys, it hurts so much. It hurts, and I just... I don't know. I don't know what to say. She was so young and so bright and I just want more time with her and I'm so angry at cancer for fucking existing and taking my friend away from me. Little things, like scrolling through my phone and seeing her name - her Tower name, because all of you Tower folks I list by your Tower names - and knowing she'll never answer my calls again. Her email address popping up on my quick-mail list as I'm typing out another name.

There have been deaths in my life before now, deaths in my communities that touched me, that hurt a lot, but this is the first time in my adult life that I have lost a friend, someone I communicated with often, someone who I loved and who loved me back. This is the first time. I wish it could be the last time ever. But I know - and this is what scares me and hurts me even more - that it never stops. That I will lose all of you someday, and you all will lose me, too. I know that it's life, that it's nature, that it happens and nothing can stop it but oh gods, oh universe, I don't want to live through that, losing everyone just because it has to happen. All I can hope for is that the next time will be a long time coming.

I love all of you, so, so much.
elegantpi: (Default)
For [community profile] fannish5 7/2/2010: Name your five most-loved fairy tales.

1. Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Deerskin is a re-telling of the fairy tale "Donkeyskin" and other fairy tales of the same sort. It is not a happy tale - there is a mad king who wants to marry his own daughter, Lissar, who escapes his clutches and goes to live alone on a mountain and later in the palace of a king in another kingdom. It's hard to explain why I like this book, even though it's so difficult to read, but the writing is beautiful and I fall in love with Lissar and her dog, Ash, every time I read it.

2. Beauty by Robin McKinley

McKinley is sort of my fairy tale goddess. Beauty is the first book I ever read by her, and it remains one of my "comfort" books that I can read in an hour on a day that I'm feeling not-so-great. The invisible servants in the castle, the beautiful dresses, Beauty's sisters (who are not at all wicked but lovely, in fact), the Beast, the library that holds all the books that have been and all the books that will be, and the roses - it's all just perfect and has not diminished with time.

3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I didn't become familiar with the name Neil Gaiman until my friends on LiveJournal started writing reviews of some of his novels. I hadn't read the Sandman graphic novels, either. But back in 1997, an advertisement slip appeared in my box at my local comic book store announcing a 4-book series illustrated by Charles Vess. I ordered a copy of the series because of Vess - I was, like many people in the late 90s, deeply in love with Vess' art. And I loved this little series - the art and the story - and still have the four volumes. It wasn't until much, much later that I realized it was written by Neil Gaiman, and that was after I'd read Neverwhere.

The story of Stardust is so... glimmery and dark and gorgeous. Yvaine is so snarky and Tristran so patient, and then there are the brothers of Stormhold and the witches and it is all a delightful, violent, pretty tale indeed. I have seen the novel published without Vess' illustrations, but I don't know how anyone can read this story without them...

4. "Stone Soup"

This is one old fairy tale that has a happy ending and while teaching a positive lesson - qualities that are a bit rare in fairyland... In many variations of "Stone Soup" (or "Nail Soup" or "Axe Soup"), a traveler comes to a town where the people are poor and no one wants to share what they have for fear that they will end up with nothing. So the traveler borrows a large pot, puts in some water from a stream, and a large river stone and starts it boiling. Then he tells the villagers all about "stone soup" and how delicious it is. Then, he turns their curiosity about "stone soup" into a means of getting them to share what they have and add it to the soup - a little seasoning here, a few potatoes there - and finally, after everyone has put something into the pot, the whole village feasts on soup that they made together.

5. "Scheherazade"

I'm not fond of all of the Arabian nights tales, but my favorite is the over-arching story of Scheherazade and how she saved herself, her sister, the women of her country, and even, in some ways, the king himself. Scheherazade is the young woman who, seeing that no one was willing to do anything about a terrible situation, stepped in and handled it herself, with wisdom and wit.

One of my favorite feminist authors, Fatima Mernissi, talks a lot about Scheherazade in her autobiography, Dreams of Trespass (also titled The Harem Within) and analyzes Scheherazade's relationship with her husband in feminist terms and in terms of psychology and psychoanalysis. Her conclusions are fascinating and changed the way I read Scheherazade and her tales when I dig out my old Arabian Nights collection.

elegantpi: (Believe)
So [livejournal.com profile] fledmusic made a poll to choose the gayest episode of Stargate Atlantis (with a McShep slant, of course - but there's some John and Ronon in there, too!!), and it is awesome. The comments are a festival of reminisces from the fandom and make me wish I'd discovered the show back in 2004 and been a part of fandom then.

I love you Atlantis. I miss you and hate that you're not around anymore. But this poll and its comments prompted me and David to rewatch "Tao of Rodney" and "The Game" and we pointed at the television and I squealed at John's faces and David laughed at me, and I felt a lot better than I did yesterday.

I really do need an Atlantis icon - I need to update my icons and pay for a few more, I guess.
elegantpi: (book fort)
So I didn't get the grade I was hoping for in pre-calculus. I have an obsessive nature when it comes to school, and I don't want to be the slowest in my class when I start calculus this summer, so I decided to take a 3-week pre-calculus mini-session to make sure I am properly prepared for calculus.

Well. All I can say is, wow did last semester's pre-cal class not teach half of the shit we're supposed to know. My instructor never mentioned, nor did our textbook cover, the polynomial function theorems for zeroes. What that means is, when you have a polynomial function like: 3x^5+5x^3+x^2+13x+8 - that polynomial can usually be factored into blah blah blah something like (x + blah)(x + blahblah), etc.

Finding the "zeroes" means setting each (x + bleh) term equal to zero - these are the places where the polynomial function intersects the x-axis when you're graphing. Zeroes are good things to know. They're reference points. They tell you things about a function that help you understand what it's doing, how it works. So knowing how to find the zeroes is useful knowledge.

Except for the part where my class last semester? Just skipped that part.

So there are several theorems existing that help find the zeroes. Now that I know them, polynomial functions just got a lot easier for me. I especially love the rational root theorem. It works so beautifully until you end up in the realm of irrational solutions, which is a whole other kettle of fish.

So, I'm glad I made the decision to take the mini-session. My teacher is wonderful. She's super-high-energy, tall, blond, and looks like she does kickboxing or something. (Not that how she looks has fuck-all to do with how she does math - but I swear, that's my first impression of her. She does math like I do breathing - it's pretty impressive.) She'll get to the end of a problem and say, "Ta da!" like it's a magic trick.

However, 6+ hours a day of intensive math is... exhausting. (3 hours of class per day, M-F, and at least 3 hours of homework, if not more.)

Sadly, I think I made a C or maybe a D on our first exam last Friday because I ran out of time and didn't finish 3 problems, AND I forgot - right in the middle of the exam!! - how to calculate a function's secant line. *sigh* I'm hoping that she curves the grades and that I do better on the next section. In the meantime, I'm studying ahead.

For the rest of the summer, I have another chemistry course, and Calculus 1 to finish. I've decided to take Calculus 2 concurrently with my first physics class. The class says that Calc 2 is a pre-req at UHCL, but at UH it's listed as appropriate to be concurrently enrolled, so I think I can work out a deal with the UHCL Physics department on that.

Less than 3 months until my first physics class. This time last year, I didn't even KNOW, y'all. I didn't even know I'd be looking forward to studying physics again for the first time in fifteen years. My life is awesome.
elegantpi: (Reading)
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I used to be either indifferent to fan fiction (what I knew of it) or vaguely amused at it, or sometimes disturbed by what I heard of it. I'd tried reading it/writing it back in the 90s when I was hooked on Sailor Moon and had no ability to access any of the series other than the terrible NA dubs. I just didn't find what I was looking for (whatever that was) in the Sailor Moon fandom.

I also tried to write for the Firefly fandom, but at the time I was mired down in school - Lit. majors just don't have a lot of time for their own writing outside of the myriad papers - 10- and 20-pagers - so it seemed silly to spend time working on something I would never publish at the expense of something I might be able to publish. Oh, my naive years!! I should have written that fanfic and enjoyed it, but I was a Very Serious writer, you know?

You hear lots of stuff about fan fiction, about how much crap is out there. I don't remember when I first heard the term "slash" - I wish I could remember, I'm sure it's a funny story waiting to be told, or maybe not - but I remember wondering why anyone would want to write about characters they didn't own. Wasn't it much more interesting and fun to write your own stories??

Then I hit a wall of years during which I found myself unable to string ten words together. Those years are only just behind me, and I can still feel the hurt of them, the sense of failure in myself, the anger at myself for ever thinking I might be a writer. Writing, fun? How had I ever thought it was fun? That's what I thought during those years. To be honest - and I never expressed this until right now this minute - I hated writing. I hated it like I hated myself.

I think a lot of that had to do with the job I took that maybe I shouldn't have taken. It wasn't all bad, but it wasn't good for me to work in a place where I spent most of my day being bored with no challenges or raison d'etre, as it were. A lot of it also had to do with myself - I was tired, eating bad food, anti-social, depressed - lots of stuff went into it. I can't just blame the job. I have to also acknowledge that even without the job, I was in a very bad place, mentally.

I promise I've got a point, and it lies in fan fiction's coordinate plane. So, I quit that job, blah blah blah, if you've been reading my journal, you know all about that and my subsequent trip to Europe. You probably also know that I spent the rest of the summer after returning from Europe curled up on my couch watching Stargate Atlantis.

So there I was, loving a show more than I'd ever loved any show ever (yes, even more than Firefly, despite the fact that I don't think it's as good as Firefly - I still love it more). I wanted to talk about it, write about it, discuss it, pick it apart. But the show was already ended. Finito. Done. Never have I been so disappointed to have missed out on fandom.

Luckily, the fan fiction community was around, but it took me a while to get there.

I remember when I first really started delving into fandom. It was right after [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda wrote up the latest Harry Potter movie for [livejournal.com profile] m15m. It included this line: [Snape tenderly uses his wand to nurse Draco back to health, and a thousand hurt-comfort fics spontaneously spring into being.] I read that and thought: what? o_O;

I love internet culture, but I had been incredibly sheltered from fandom culture, and I had no idea what the hell a "hurt-comfort fic" was. So I looked it up. And, naturally, in doing so exposed myself to all of the fan fiction vocabulary, which was a whole lot of overwhelming. I mean, I didn't even know. (This all ended with me spending three solid days researching the Entire History of Fandom Culture, but that's a whole other story. I could totally write a book on the subject if I wanted to.)

I was smack in the middle of Season 2 of Atlantis at the time, and I wondered, "Do people write this stuff for Atlantis?" Sure enough...

Now, as I mentioned before, we've all heard horror stories about fan fiction and its terrible potential for true badness. Yeah, that's out there. But when I went looking for Atlantis "fics", I found a fandom with a truly astonishing number of super-talented writers.

What was wonderful to me was the way the Atlantis fan fiction writers played with story form with what seemed to me to be reckless abandon. I learned later that many of these forms had been around fan fiction communities for years - like "Five Things...", which I believe started with a fic in the Smallville fandom, and others. The way the writers used and exchanged language, colloquialisms, speech rhythms, the ellipsis and the parenthetical. The stories were beautiful indeed, but the forms of some of the stories were just so brilliant. And that's not even counting the multimedia stories.

The fan fiction wasn't just for playing with the characters, either, I realized. Fans of Atlantis were, through their fiction, actively critiquing the show, demonstrating where the show writers fell sadly short, extending the moments when the show writers were brilliant. Fan fiction, I realized then, isn't just about borrowing someone else's world, someone else's characters - it is a way of interacting with the media and the message, of discussing it and extending it, even evolving it. I was fascinated.

I spent days reading, mostly in [livejournal.com profile] sga_flashfic, then waiting waiting waiting for the SGA Big Bang fics to be released. (When they were, I gobbled them down whole.) One night I stayed up all night writing my own fanfic - writing with complete abandon for the first time in five years - and it felt so great, so amazing. I was flying. It wasn't a great story, but I had a great time writing it, and somehow, from that night, my whole attitude toward writing changed, shifted, somehow. The next day (after sleeping most of the day!!), I started a new, original story and again wrote through the night. I almost cried for being able to write again.

Fan fiction and fandom sort of saved me, in a way. These days, before I work on my original fiction, I write a little bit of fan fiction to warm up. This spring/summer, I'm writing for a couple of challenges - Atlantis Big Bang 2010 and SGA Gen Ficathon - alongside my own writing. Which, honestly, doesn't seem as pressing anymore, and yet I'm still writing it. I don't even feel a need to publish - part of that may have to do with other factors in my life, like my new career goals, etc. - and with the burden of having to be a "good" writer (as in, good enough to be published) lifted off my shoulders, I take more joy in writing. And am, in fact, a good writer - better than I ever was before, really. I think publication may be in my future, or maybe I'll just send my stories out to the internet to be stumbled upon and enjoyed in their own time, in their own way.

So, yes. I love fan fiction, and fandom. It really did save me when I needed saving, and I hope there will be another show in the future that I will love the way I've loved Atlantis, so that I can be in on the fandom while the show is still running. For the moment, I'm grateful that Atlantis still has such a strong fandom, as well as Firefly, Buffy, Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, and other beloved shows whose fandoms I'm slowly starting to explore.

And here: in celebration of fan fiction, I will link you to my favorites (all Atlantis, of course, for the moment.)

-.-. --- -. -. . -.-. - .. --- -. by [livejournal.com profile] mad_maudlin - I think this may have been the first Atlantis fan fiction I read, I'm not sure. I had dug around at random in [livejournal.com profile] sga_flashfic, but I remember absolutely loving this one.

Songs of Athos by [livejournal.com profile] friendshipper - A gorgeous Teyla-centric fic, as well as a critique of our music culture. This fic is multilayered and complex, and I love it deeply.

Never Quite What You Expect by [livejournal.com profile] propinquitine - An adorable little fic, done in the "five things" style (but it's seven things, really). Just, you know, adorable.

Five Post-it Notes Found Around Atlantis by [livejournal.com profile] wildcat88 - This should really go in Multimedia, but it's so short and so cute and could in fact be text-only. I grin for an hour every time I look at these post-its.

Five Authors Who Didn't Write Stargate Atlantis by [livejournal.com profile] rhymer23 - Another one that I end up smiling, after. I desperately want to read more of the Teyla-in-Jane-Austen-land fic. The note at the bottom is funny, too, and so true.

Multimedia fic

Rodney Mckay's Scrapbook of Death by [livejournal.com profile] maryavatar - Multimedia fics ftw! This was the first one I ever read... little did I know how many amazing multimedia gems I would find in the SGA fandom.

The Pegasus Galaxy Darwin Awards by [livejournal.com profile] friendshipper Short, funny, and so very, very THEM.

Missed the Saturday Dance by [livejournal.com profile] zoetrope (direct link is here, but do read the intro on LJ) - This multimedia fic pleases the ARGer in me. It must have taken an incredible amount of time and skill to put this together, and although I didn't love the story as much as I have loved other stories, I love the form. I have read that it caused consternation in the fandom at the time it was released, and I am reminded that I need to go looking for those discussions so I can read them and understand them.

Postcards to Jeannie by [livejournal.com profile] friendshipper and its sequel, Pictures for Jeannie. This made me so homesick for the Pegasus Galaxy that I suffered a couple of bad nights where I couldn't. stop. watching. Season 1.

OK, you know what? I'm just going to recommend Friendshipper's whole archive, because it's all good. Pick something at random - you won't be disappointed. OK? OK.

[livejournal.com profile] sga_post_secret More multimedia fic - a whole community of it. Inspired by Post Secret. Sadly, some of the earlier, more heart-wrenching postcards are gone forever because of photobucket's new 30-day activity policy, but the ones that remain are still lovely.

Poetry (!!)

Everything and Then Some by [livejournal.com profile] hyperfocused Stargate Atlantis POETRY. Genius poetry. And anyone who knows me knows how very, very, VERY picky I am about poetry. I can't even LOOK at it if it's bad because it makes me physically ill. This, however, is so very, very, very GOOD that I re-read it quite often and still marvel at how great poets can be so clever with language.

Long Fics

A Clear and Different Light by [livejournal.com profile] friendshiper and [livejournal.com profile] naye - I don't remember if this was my second or third time reading an AU, but oh, how much I loved it! Whales! Atlantis! RODNEY! And also, great art - the art for this fic is some of my favorite, yet.

(Confession: I passed over "A Clear and Different Light" several times - there were, you know, whales, and I'd been buuuuuurned by "whale!fic" and "dolphin!fic" a couple of times. I MISTAKENLY thought that ACaDL was about some of the characters as whales, and at the time, I was NOT familiar with the names of the authors or the kinds of stories they write.

Well. There is that element in every fandom that likes to turn the characters into, you know, animals, and... everyone has got their squicks - transformation fic hits my squick button. But, to be fair, original transformation stories ALSO hit my squick button - just ask my husband, who writes the stuff. Original stories about transformations, I mean.

Anyway, I'm glad that I gave the fic a chance and discovered that not only did no one turn into a whale, the whales themselves were characters made of awesome and win. I feel kind of silly for assuming that whales==transformation fic, but if I were to link you to the two fics that burned me... you would totally understand my hesitation. ;_; (yes they were an fanfiction.net :P) )

Bridges by Busaikko - What made me read this fic, which I might not have necessarily been interested in, was the preview of it that was posted before the 2009 Big Bang stories were released. The bulletin board was so cute, and the music video (no longer there) was especially attractive. She even used scenes from Joe Flanigan's appearance on "Dawson's Creek" to sort of set the scene. And I love fics where Jeannie and Rodney are together. This story is so peaceful and restful to read; I love the slow unfolding of relationships, the way she wrote Rodney, and all of the characters together beside the ocean.

Sheppard's Law by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza - John's whole life. I just love this fic unreasonably. I downloaded the podfic and listen to it in the car. A lot. More than I care to admit.

The Magical Number Seven (Plus or Minus Two) by [livejournal.com profile] general_jinjur I'm going to confess again, here. I haven't read this fic all the way through. It is a gorgeous, intricate piece of work that I'm wishing desperately to be turned into a podfic so that I can just lay back and listen to it. But it deserves to be read, and so it is here in my list, and I need to make time for it this week before classes begin again. And then maybe I'll podfic it myself.

Unfinished, but hopeful...

Wild Power by FlameDancer33 - unfinished... and yet, I keep hoping she'll add more chapters. This was the first "AU" (alternate universe, for those who don't want to go look up the term), and I didn't think I would like AU. Note: What's so awesome about AU stories is that alternate universes are totally, totally canon for Stargate, and Atlantis has "Vegas". Anything, anything is possible in fic. <3

And in looking for all of this fic, I have realized that I really need to organize my freaking bookmarks because I am remembering fics that I know I bookmarked but cannot find, somehow.

Does anyone know where I can find that wonderful fic where John Sheppard chooses his team by balancing the SG-1 equation of "warrior, woman, scientist, alien"? I can't believe I don't have it bookmarked.

IANAT

May. 11th, 2010 06:23 pm
elegantpi: (Default)
Hi! I am not a troll. My LJ id is DreamingOctober, and I just opened this DW account. Cheers!
elegantpi: (Sam)
I've been reading old, old, old SGA fic, either in Archive of Our Own or stuff that's linked from there. I came across some comments on [livejournal.com profile] kormantic's "Clouds, Shy Squares and Diophantus" (which sprung from Sab's "The Pegasus Society" - both written in 2005) that I just loved and that make me wish I'd been a part of the fandom "back in the day".

    [livejournal.com profile] not_sally: What I love about this fandom (one of many things) it's that it forces its fangirls to study. Study Math. And Physics.

    [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone: This fandom has managed what 15+ years of schooling couldn't: it has me reading science books. For fun. People who say television rots your brain are so silly!


I recognize the names because I've read some of their stories, though I can't remember which stories. I've probably got them saved on my hard-drive somewhere - I know they were good stories, or their names wouldn't have clicked with me. The conversation is from 2005, but I want to pipe up and tell them how SGA changed me, too. How wanting to write about the math and the science from the characters' perspectives got me reading about the math and the science, which in turn led to: Physics. Astrophysics. A whole new life for me.

I love that the SGA fandom and its fan fiction has encouraged so much interest in math and science, especially among women. Even after the fic writer numbers begin to dwindle, as they inevitably will, the women who read up on combinatorics, Diophantus, Einstein's theory of relativity, string theory, and every single piece of science or math ever mentioned in a fic - all of those women will keep that knowledge forever. Some of them already loved science and math; some came to love science and math because they loved a character who loved science. Some maybe loved science and math but never made time for it until they started writing fic. To me, this is a beautiful thing.
elegantpi: (book fort)
I swear, I haven't abandoned LJ. It's just so much easier to get in 140 characters to Twitter at random moments of the day than to sit down and write a whole LJ entry. And mostly any entry I write at the moment will go like this:
Classes
Classes
MATH
Classes
STARGATE!
TELEVISION!
Classes
Etc.
FANFIC!

And so forth. So here's some interesting stuff that has happened since the last time I wrote:

-- We are almost finished buying a house. Our closing date is the 23rd of this month. For me, it has been a smooth process, but mostly because, since I am in no way financially involved and we did not have to "house hunt", I told David he was in charge and just don't tell me until we have a firm moving date. But I got curious about the closing date, so he told me. And now I have told you.

Basically, we're buying the house of the parents of a friend of ours. They're moving to another state and wanted a quick, fairly easy sell. No realtors, just lawyers and the banks, and it's a great deal for all of us because the buying/selling process costs are low all around. Soon, we will have a house! With a beautiful sunroom and a backyard big enough for a large vegetable garden!

The flip side to that is, of course, that soon, I will have to pack things and schedule movers and you know what? I'm not going to clean this apartment beyond the basics because I do. not. care. at this point. The management has pissed me off (did I tell y'all about how they took our satellite dish down and killed my tv access? Well, they did, and they won't allow satellite dishes at all, and we are sooo not getting ComCrap here, and what is the point when we're moving in a few months, anyway?) So I don't care if this place is dirty - after three years, we're not going to get our deposit back anyway because they'll have to replace the carpet, etc. Blah blah blah.

-- I got up super early on Tuesday morning to log in to CERN's live webcast as they circulated proton beams to produce collisions at record-breaking speeds - 7TeV. It was a HUGE day for the LHC and all its associated projects, and it was fabulous to watch it live, to hear the scientists giving interviews, to hear the breathlessness in the control room as the beams approached 3.5TeV and then the cheers as the first collisions were confirmed.

I honestly think that high-energy physics is what I am MOST fascinated with and MOST interested in at this point. It overlaps nicely with astrophysics, so I don't have to completely let go of that. At CERN, they're working on the cutting edge of physics, and exciting things are going to be happening in this field for years to come. The mind boggles at how far we still have yet to go to define the tiniest, most essential particles that govern the physical laws that give our universe its shape and substance.

I'm so totally applying for a summer internship at CERN. I don't know if I'll every qualify, but I'm going to try like hell. :nods

-- In less serious (but still exciting to me!) news, I've signed up for [livejournal.com profile] sga_genficathon and [livejournal.com profile] atlantisbigbang. I may sign up for [livejournal.com profile] mcshep_match, but we'll see... That's a lot of writing.

I'm super-excited about my prompt for [livejournal.com profile] sga_genficathon; I'm doing a lot of pre-writing now, and I hope to sit down next week and spend a few hours getting down the first draft. Then I need to find a couple of beta readers. I'm still new to the fandom and fic community, so I'm not 100% sure how to go about doing this, but I'm sure it'll only take a few google clicks to figure it out.

As for [livejournal.com profile] atlantisbigbang... I'm absolutely in love with my story. I've already got about 10K written, left over from NaNoWriMo last year, and a strong outline. Once I've got the fic for genficathon squared away, I'm looking forward to sitting down and just spending a day or two on this story. It's a post-Season-5 fic (I bet there will be a lot of those this year), gen fic that has several story threads. I'm writing in a style that works for the fic but that I haven't written before - moving the "camera" from one character to another, depending on whose viewpoint is the most important at that moment. The story is strictly linear as far as time, but very multi-dimensional as far as space - lots of character viewpoints. (No, I'm not switching POV in the middle of a scene or anything crazy like that. It's always very clear who is "in the camera eye", so to speak.)

So yeah. You'll probably see me writing a lot more about fic and fandom in the weeks to come.

Let's see... anything else? Oh, conventions. I'm attending these for certain:
JordanCon - April 23-25 (Atlanta)
ARGFest - July 15-18 (Atlanta)
And possibly Dragon*Con in September, but I'm not 100% certain on this because I may just be completely worn out by then and unable to stand a third drive to Atlanta. I refuse to fly. :P But we'll see. I'm so looking forward to both JordanCon and ARGFest!!

Anyway, that's pretty much it for now.

-- I forgot one of the most fun and happy things that has happened to me since I last wrote. Some of you may have heard me mention TarValon.net before (y'all who ARE part of TarValon.net can ignore this part), and this probably still won't make a whole lot of sense, but I want to record it in my journal anyway: I finally Aspired to my Ajah - RED. :) Yes, when I am Aes Sedai, I will be of the Red Ajah on TarValon.net. (In the community, Accepted first guest with all the Ajahs they're interested in and then "aspire" to an Ajah instead of choosing one after raising. This is so they can get to know the members of each Ajah a little better and make an informed decision on the group with which they feel most at home.) I certainly have a strong streak of Blue thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yelenia and [livejournal.com profile] empress_ehvul, too. But Red is my home. :)

OK, that's it for real this time.

I feel like I'm slogging through each day and barely keeping up with my classwork. It's also going to be a looong summer with chemistry and calculus and at least one graduate class. So, essentially no downtime for me until Christmas. Ah, well. I'm having fun.
elegantpi: (Reading)
Lately, I've been craving books about Paris life. My mother and I are going to Paris in late December, just after Christmas, to experience the Paris La Saint Sylvestre, or New Year's Eve. It will be my third trip (in a third season) to Paris - I can't seem to get enough of that city - I love it more every time and in every season so far.

Wait. OK. To be honest, I didn't love it as much in the summertime. It was TOO HOT. But then, there's a reason why everyone who lives in Paris leaves Paris in July and August. So, yeah - not so much with the love in the summer, but still there were wonderful things about the city even then. Anyway.

I'm determined to be able to speak passable French and understand much more, and to be able to read French novels, by the end of 2010. To that end, I've been studying with my French lessons on my ipod, in the car to and from class, as well as making my way through Carnegie-Mellon's very excellent French course in their Open Learning Initiative. (The US-International keyboard is giving me hives, y'all. I've got to find an alternative.)

And, of course, the more I think about Paris, the more I want to read about it. This past Thursday (I think?), David and I went to Barnes & Noble to spend our Christmas gift cards, and I found Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. This is the story of an Australian journalist who had taken a year off from her job at one of the Australian television broadcasting companies in order to travel. In Bucharest, she met a Frenchman by the name of Frédérick, who invited her to visit him in Paris. They fell in love. She moved to Paris and set off a years-long, uncomfortable, hilarious, horrible culture-clash between herself, the city, the French and Frédérick.

Ms. Turnbull tells with painful hilarity her experiences in trying to integrate into French life. The frustration of being unable to communicate easily (her French was schoolgirl-ish at its best; she says, "...trying to express myself in another language I'd suddenly plunged fifty IQ points.") French dinner party and cocktail party etiquette also gave her pause. And all the while, she's trying to drum up work in print media in order to support herself.

I remember my experiences in England - not something that I ever want to write a book about - and I find myself sympathizing with every page I turn. Hell, I found it difficult to integrate into a country and culture that shared my language (sort of)!! I can't even imagine trying to fit in in France (although I'd dearly love the opportunity to try it).

Here's an excerpt, one that had me nearly rolling around on the floor with laughter. It's so bad and so funny and so terribly awkward. I imagine it was NOT very funny for Ms. Turnbull when it happened, but I bet even she had to laugh when, ten years later, she looked back on it. She is doing a story on the resumption of French nuclear testing (a big controversy in the mid-90s) and hoping to set up an interview with a French General for her story.


    By now I'd learned that in France, getting an interview is a more protracted procedure than the fairly straightforward system I was used to in Sydney. It's rare you can just call an expert for a quick quote. Even telephone interviews often require a written request. The aim of your first call is simply to win the sympathy of the personal assistant and find out the fax number. Several days or even weeks may pass, during which you repeatedly blow extended story deadlines waiting for a response. Then, if you're lucky, the secretary will call back suggesting a day and time for the meeting.

    I telephoned the Ecole Militaire hoping to just get the general's fax number. His secretary asked me to hold. Several seconds later an authoritative male voice curtly announced his identity. It was the venerable general himself.
    Read on for bad French and terrible etiquette )


Disappointingly, she doesn't give an account of the actual interview, but I imagine it wasn't nearly as funny as the phone call.

I'm sad that I can't loll on the sofa for the next several hours and read this book from cover to cover. I'm more sad that I'm not in Paris RIGHT NOW. I can't wait to go back.
elegantpi: (Sam)
Today was the first meeting of my chemistry lab (last Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so we didn't have a class meeting), so after lecture I went to the science building to buy my lab coat and goggles. My first lab coat!! The sleeves are a little too long, but luckily I know a seamstress who can fix that. It may seem silly, getting so excited over a lab coat, but just seeing it, putting it on, saying "This is mine." makes what I'm doing so much more real to me. I have a lab coat, and I'm going to learn about being a scientist.

We didn't wear our lab coats for the first meeting in the lab, since today was orientation day. Just stepping into the chemistry lab was an adventure for me, though. I've never been in a lab other than the one in my high school (18 years ago!!), so walking through the door was like stepping into another world. It's an ugly, ugly room in the basement of the Fleming building at UH Main Campus. The ducts are exposed, the walls are bare except for marking out the safety stations, and everything looks very industrial. You can't see across the room because the workstation shelves and pipes tower in rows up to the ceiling. But it smells very clean, and the tabletops of the workstations are a smooth and shiny black. There are no chairs - comfortable shoes are a must! Luckily, I have some.

First, the TA, whose name is Xiaohui, had us watch a safety video. We did not meet Professor Vladimir Zaitzev, who is the instructor for the lab - maybe we will see him next week? And isn't that an awesome name for a Potions Chemistry Lab Professor? :D The safety video had clips where people cut themselves on glass, and there was blood, and it was nausea-making. Most of the safety stuff was common sense. Always add acid to water, never add water to acid, and pour the acid over a glass stirring rod to mix it into the water. Some of it made us laugh - seriously, does anyone in the world think it's a good idea to draw chemicals up a pipette with your mouth???

Next, we received our equipment and our assigned locker drawer. Mine is 258, and it is now filled with several beakers, Erlenmeyer flasks, a thermometer, a pipette, test tubes (!!), stirring rods, graduated cylinders, and a Bunsen burner. They are all mine until the end of the semester.

As I said at the beginning of this entry, having the lab coat and the lab equipment make this real for me. Sometimes, it doesn't quite register at this point that I really am going through with the Physics degree. This course in chemistry is the only science class I've had so far, and I won't have my first true physics class until the fall semester. Of course, summer is going to be over before I can blink, which means reality is going to smack me in the face come September when I'm going full tilt with 14 hours of undergraduate work in science and math and 6 hours of graduate work in digital media. Whew!

One of my biggest worries has been my age - not that my age makes these studies difficult for me (it makes it easier, in fact!) but that I will have difficulty or extreme awkwardness interacting with my classmates who are mostly in the 17-21 age group. In chemistry lecture, there's about a 50/50 mix of men and women, but in my lab, by some happenstance, it's about 75% young men, 25% young women, and only one guy that looks like he's closer to my age than theirs (but I'll eat my pipette if he's any older than 26 or 27).

So this is how it happened: after the safety video, the TA proceeded to go over the syllabus with us. It's very hard to hear in the lab with the air vents all blowing (I just hope there's more written instructions than spoken, or my deafness is going to be a problem - not an unsolvable one, but it's such a nuisance to have to stop and deal with that). Anyway, so I wasn't the only one who couldn't hear, but suddenly I'm surrounded by three boys, and I say boys because they look fresh out of high school. And one says to me, "Ma'am, can you tell us what we should write down here?" pointing to the form. And later, when we were sorting our lab equipment, "Miss, which one is the pipette?"

I wanted to laugh and then tell them that this was the first chem lab I'd ever been in, but I bit my lip and then pointed out the pipette - not because I knew what one looked like myself, but because I had spied the poster describing the equipment just off to my left and had been glancing at it to identify my own equipment! I helped them fill out their forms, too, after checking mine with the TA.

So I'm the designated den mother of chemistry lab. I think that's kind of cool.
elegantpi: (omfg)
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Eh, I need a break, but I have nothing of real interest to write about at the moment, so... this!  My original LJ name was "moonsongsl". Moonsong was a name I used for myself waaaay back when I first logged on to the Internet. I hadn't even read Elfquest at that point - I just thought the two words looked nice smooshed together. The "sl" part of the name stood for "SilverLeaf", the surname of one of my roleplaying characters. Moonsong started sounding a bit too "little girl-ish" to me as I got older, though.

When I joined unFiction, I signed up with the name "Darkstar October". This comes from the callsign heard over New Mexico from a suspected experimental aircraft flyover - possibly the Aurora project craft. That callsign was "Darkstar November". I figured anyone who was into conspiracy theories or strange bits of Area 51 information would recognize the hommage to the callsign in my name, but no one ever mentioned it. :(

There was already a "Darkstar" on unFiction at the time, though, so after I saw him/her posting, I changed my nick to just plain "October". Since "October" is already in use in most places that require usernames, I usually pair it up with "Dreaming" (a very vague Sleeping Princess reference) - so, "October Dreaming". Unfortunately, that was already taken when I changed my LJ name a couple of years ago, so I just switched the words around.
elegantpi: (Believe)
I'm homesick for Atlantis and the Pegasus Galaxy tonight. That is all.

(and I don't care how dorky this is)

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