Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tiny Door in Ann Arbor

Tiny Door
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
There were small gifts laid on the doorstep, including a "haycorn" and a maple sugar candy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On the Ypsi Bridge

On the Ypsi Bridge
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
I haven't seen Maggie since 20 years ago, when we were both exchange students to the same island in Norway.

We haven't been able to find the others yet, despite the internet.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
The best photo of the bunch. Hee.

I knew Julian had a cold, but it was worth the risk.

Fun in the park.

Ypsilanti Park
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
I am getting old, because my muscles were quite sore the next day.

Ypsilanti Beer Festival

Ypsilanti Beer Festival
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
The "before" picture: waiting in the appropriate line, of course.

I am surprised by how few photos of this great cultural event have been uploaded to Flick'r. (Most of them by me or Melanie.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Saw a wild turkey in a tree and a lizard by the side of the road when driving to TheLimey's on Sunday. I bet if I had been walking, they would have heard me galumphing along and run off before I arrived. So much for not seeing things while driving! I have also greatly appreciated the sinful, sinful air conditioning during this incredible heat wave.

Did a massive number of things over the weekend: saw a friend I haven't seen in 20 years, attended the Ypsilanti Beer Festival, moved more boxes of stuff, etc. I have a lot of photos but haven't really been online much in order to post them. The neighbors' internet has been mostly gone for the past couple weeks so I've done very little spontaneous posting.

In the course of only two or three days, the wedding has gone from being three months away to just over three weeks away. it was very sudden. People are just now beginning to call me about the travel/lodging arrangements that I've been urging them to make for months now, of course, which makes me feel panicky (or at least anxious if you want to stick to diagnostic definitions).

The official RSVP list is up to nearly 90, and the probable count is closer to about 175. Most of my colleagues who are coming haven't officially RSVPed, although a couple people have told me they won't be able to make it. I didn't choose the same weekend as the annual APA convention on purpose, but that's how it turned out.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

After three years of car-free bliss/nightmare, I am no longer sans car. As I will be moving to TheLimey's slightly removed home next month, I will have to actually drive to my academic and clinical duties instead of walking.

Pros of car-free: no car-buying; no insurance & maintenance etc.; someone else drives while you sit on the bus reading; no parking problems; a feeling of smug self-righteousness about pollution and roadkill; lower expectations of others about social life; less road rage (I don't say "no road rage" because I still become quite cross at careless drivers even as a pedestrian); smelling all the seasons; seeing many small things daily that simply are not visible from a car; no concern with running over squirrels; not having personal identity invested in what metal box you're currently occupying; fewer concerns about oil and its whimsical pricing.

Cons of car-free: bad public transport that goes almost nowhere on the weekends and stops early at night; smelly and/or intrusive fellow passengers; dragging six heavy bags of groceries home in a flimsy wheeled cart; people treat you like you're a teenager even if you're nearly forty; the months of February and March; broken capillaries on my cheeks each winter; nonstop asthma in cold weather; having to be ferried about by others or else left behind; always being at the mercy of when others want to go to and leave the party; not being able to go fetch UPS and FedEx packages that require a signature; not buying wine, birdseed, canned soup, or fresh vegetables because they're a pain in the behind to get home.

The "new" car is a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier sedan, which basically has all the opposite qualities from those I have assembled over the years as what I want in a vehicle. (Including its automatic transmission.) However, as it had extraordinarily low miles for its age and was a very low price, I really couldn't find a way to rationalize not buying it. Even though online reviews dubbed it the Big Mac of automobiles. Not so much for its size, which is pretty small, but for its bland popularity.

Its color is turquoise, or teal, or even dark aqua. I know that "tealmobile" sounds better phonetically, but I like "aquamobile" better, as it then sounds submersible.

The old (?) adage "Driving an automatic is like having someone else shift for you--poorly" does hold true, but I will simply have to rein in my impulses towards jackrabbit starts at red lights. While I seem able to drive an automatic okay for the most part, I still find myself occasionally hitting the brake by way of automatically seeking out the clutch. Especially in an emergency situation.

For example--just hypothetically speaking--if I were to need to turn around quickly in someone's driveway in order to go back and pluck, say, a small turtle off a hot country road, I might brake while trying to clutch.

The hypothetical turtle would then make small furious hissing sounds from the recesses of its shell when I picked it up off the road as SUVs whizzed past.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Dangit Blogger,

Why is it that you publish my posts 4 or 5 times when I only want one post, and then when I try to get rid of the redundant ones, you get rid of all of them? Whywhywhy?

I want to be gruntled!

PS: The famous Ypsilanti Beer Festival is Saturday at the park near my house. Weehaw!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Lisa and Liz

Lisa and Liz
Originally uploaded by Melanie and Co..
Of all the photos I took last night, here is one taken by someone else.

There was a little get-together at a nearby pub for another of our cohort who just got engaged. (Not pictured here.)

I was definitely happy to get out of the house and see some familiar people, and run around in the rain with them.

Some of them.

Okay, only one other person was nuts enough to go out in the downpour and prance around with me. (Not pictured here.)
Have added a new link to my blogroll; partly because who can resist the words "carbon" and "geek" in close proximity?, and partly because of his Bob Geldof/Gollum discovery.

Oh yeah; he also has a robots section.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Spent the weekend trying to work, and even working some.

I spent last summer agonizing over my thesis for hours each day in a 95-degree apartment while construction crews rebuilt the street in front of my building from sunup to sundown while experiencing terrible asthma*. So this year is definitely an improvement.

Instead of my thesis, I'm working on research publications of my own. Instead of construction workers, I have ants swarming throughout my apartment that have suddenly taken to biting me after four years of peaceful coexistence. Instead of terrible asthma, I have much-improved asthma and really, really terrible eye allergies 24-7. (I'm thinking maybe it's actually pinkeye. Or eyeball-eating bacteria.) Have also had unbelievably terrible cabin fever due to the isolation.

Thank goodness for the improved asthma and the lack of the giant street-stomper machine!

Awoke two hours later than usual with a hangover. Headachey, groggy, nauseated, dehydrated...only--wait a minute, I haven't had so much as a glass of beer with dinner in about two weeks! All I did last night was stay up until midnight redoing the regression tables in my results section. Maybe this is that "getting old" thing I've been hearing so much about.

Today I met with the advisor I have over the summer. I told him that as much as I claim to like writing, I sure am finding this process agonizing, even when I know what I want to say. He assured me that was normal.

Still, it seems that there must be some better way. I know people typically find themselves feeling "unmotivated" and they get stuck because of that. However, I have been feeling motivated, yet I still feel stuck. (Motivation is not all it's cracked up to be.) It's something else that is making this agonizing. It feels like when you're learning the tasks at a new job, or first speaking a foreign language, or ... some other activity where you have to feel your way through algorithmically, step by step, because it's not yet intuitive.

I have had flashes of that feeling of "flow" (you remember your basic Csikszsentmihalyi, right?) while doing research and research writing; there must be people who feel like that a lot of the time. I want to be one of them!

*Me, not the construction crew. In fact, scratch that whole sentence. Replace with this one: "I spent last summer agonizing over my thesis for hours each day in a 95-degree apartment while experiencing terrible asthma as construction crews rebuilt the street in front of my building from sunup to sundown ."

Saturday, July 09, 2005

As I continue to throw out and clean up my possessions, I have been scanning a few things that don't need to be kept in hard copy form, for example: the notes I took at the lecture of Dr. England about Mars and space travel. (I may have been the only person in the audience scribbling madly the entire time.)

So here it is in PDF form, with no accompanying clarifications. Therefore I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. (No, I just mean about the notes!)

Friday, July 08, 2005

After getting home from the anxiety clinic last night, I finally got to do some art work for the first time in about 4 years. Of course, it's just logos and T-shirts for the AWP conference, but still I'm pleased. I ended up staying up until 2am working on it, since I have other tasks scheduled for today. (For me, that's really really late.)

I was asked to design the T-shirt for the Women of Color Caucus, but I went a step further and took the overall AWP design and redid that, too. I hope we end up using them both, as it/they look a lot better than the original B/W sketch. IMHO.

I posted the designs on Flickr and the description of the whole process on my Prog Blog.

I guess I should also post the original design just so people understand what the heck I'm talking about.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

[Can't ... stop ... posting!]

From TopFive email today:

The Top 5 Things You Don't Want to Hear From Tech Support:

5. "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
4. "In layman's terms, we call that the Hindenburg Effect."
3. "Hold on a second ... Mom! Timmy's hitting me!"
2. "Okay, turn to page 523 in your copy of Dianetics."

and's Number 1 Thing You Don't Want to Hear From Tech Support...

1. "Please hold for Mr. Gates' attorney."
Ever since the taking-classes bit of my degree finished (about two years ago now that I think about it--no, wait--is just one year? just seems like two, I guess) I've had these odd patches of loneliness.

When I was taking classes with my cohort of 8, we all saw each other a certain number of times a week, chatted regularly, etc. But now we only see each other in passing here and there, or if someone makes an effort to create some kind of social event.

I'm too busy for these damn events, I tell you. Plus people seem to organize events that are either late at night (for me being out past 10 is late) and that I would have to find a ride to and from, or they're all-day things for which the "younger" cohorts are getting people together. Which I just don't have the time, money, or patience for right now.

Actually, I think there's a poker night at one colleague's house on Thursdays, but it involves being out late and drinking, and I'm tired enough all day lately as is. (Plus I'm horribly allergic to their cat, of course.) And I just--have little interest in learning any kind of complicated meaningless behaviors such as card playing when I'm using all my limited thinkin' power to do these research write-ups. I also have little interest in gambling in general (even a token system), and little interest in social events that are primarily competitive in nature ("let's get together and play a game!") So I end up very out of the loop.

I know, I know. I'm unnatural and wrong, but that's just the way I am. I would rather attend a free lecture on campus about space travel. Which I did. But it's not very social.

On the other hand, I get pretty squirrelly undertaking my current behavior, which is working my behind off while being at home most of the time. It's a breeding ground for neurosis, I tell you. Being around other people some of the time keeps people balanced. (That's why we try to increase the social contacts of almost any client who walks through the door of the clinic.)

And with how busy I've been, and TheLimey's been, we've only seen each other one night and one weekend in the past...what, two months? Six weeks? And we won't see each other much over the next month, either.

So here's me: I don't go to work every day and see people, and I don't see people on the weekend, my place constantly looks like a tornado hit it (with a pile of boxes)--no wonder I'm feeling unbalanced and lonely. The problem is, I'm too desperately busy trying to get all this crap done "over the summer"* to remedy that.

I'm continuing to pack my stuff and move the boxes when we do see each other, but I feel I have nearly reached the point where I either have to just move what's remaining and be done with it, or stop for now until I'm ready to actually move. Which I can't do until I have a car.

I'm also discovering it's really hard to buy a car when you don't have a car to go look for cars.

So I'm at this impasse: can't move, can't not move, can't get a car, can't continue without one, must finish academic work, but becoming very lonely and neurotic because of the solitude. Feeling very paralyzed with all these conflicting courses of action, all of which I must undertake.

(There's that verb "undertake" again, but it'll have to do.)

*"Over the summer" always sounds like a long time, but it actually ends up really being, like, six weeks or something. Summer was only really long when we were kids, but by saying that phrase still makes it sound like it's a long and potentially productive time.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Squirrel Kissing

Buddy Boo Giving Kisses
Originally uploaded by KissySquirrel.
No, this is not me, but I wish it was.

Of course, squirrels make terrible house-companions because of the combination of claws and leaping onto one's head, which can't be trained out of them.

I keep telling myself that.
Guess I'm susceptible to peer pressure at a certain level after all...

You scored as Natural Causes. Your death will be by natural causes,
though not by any disease, because that is another option on this test.
You will probably just silently pass away in the night from old age, and
people you love won't realize until the next morning, when you are all
purple and cold and icky. So be happy, you won't be murdered.

Natural Causes






Cut Throat




















How Will You Die??
created with

...Nice to know! Considering my goal of living to be 100. A moving goal, as now I want to live past 100. Maybe to 120.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Button

The Button
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
I don't know what this anonymous button was for, but I sure as heck wanted to push it.

TheLimey has suggested that it begs for a story/stories to be written about it.

So, whaddaya got?
So, I'm finally infamous, but unfortunately not for any of the interesting bad things I've done in my life. (Next it'll be something like being a "Glamor don't" with nylons stuck in my skirt, or getting photographed next to the governor, picking my nose.)

Serves me right for actually giving a proper attribution link to someone's work instead of wild-eyed-ly plagiarizing, huh?

If only I had known before that while my everyday writing is completely uninteresting to the public, the way I keep track of it is fun to laugh at. I could have just been doing that all along! It's a lot less work, I tell you whut.

I'm mainly just annoyed that someone assumed I was a man. Is that the default for someone writing about research?

Maybe I should have included references to progress on that pink sweater I've been knitting since last fall, or my recipe-indexing project*.

*One of those things for someday, like when I have a broken leg and can spend a few weeks at home alone with my scanner.