July 26, 2007


Once upon a time, I wanted to be an astronaut. It was my dream for a good 9 years or so. Upon graduation from Northwestern, I had a series of interviews with NASA Marshall. They even flew me down for an interview. In the end, though they were intent on hiring me, they were prevented from making an offer due to the restructuring NASA was undergoing at the time. (Thanks a lot Bush!) Instead, I went off to grad school in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. But as time went on, I became more and more disillusioned with NASA. Rojas got a job at NASA Langley and rarely had positive reports about the work environment. Not to mention the fact that a couple years ago I discovered I am ineligible to be an astronaut based on my poor vision. (You don't have to have perfect vision - but it has to be within a certain range. Mine is not. However I knew that. What I didn't know until a few years ago was that getting laser eye surgery to bring me within this range would in fact disqualify me from candidacy.) Anyhow - the point of all this is merely to say that another news story has eroded my faith in NASA...

Drunken astronauts reportedly allowed to fly.

July 25, 2007

When I grow up

You know what's worse than having to prepare for your dissertation proposal? ... Preparing a dissertation proposal which bores the crap out of the person doing all the research! (That would be me.) It is kind of tragic that I've spent 3 years of my life researching a topic which I care so little about. Never mind the fact that I'm committed to one more year of this boredom before graduation will save me from the clutches of grad school. I can't help but wonder how I got here. There seems to be a fine line between perseverance and being stubborn. I'm not sure on which side of the line I currently reside. Some people are surprised to hear that if money was no issue, I would walk away from this field in a heartbeat. Of course this logic reminds me of Office Space...

Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you'd do if you had a million dollars and you didn't have to work. And invariably what you'd say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you're supposed to be an auto mechanic.

Samir: So what did you say?

Peter Gibbons: I never had an answer. I guess that's why I'm working at Initech.

Michael Bolton: No, you're working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there'd be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars.

Ah well. Thankfully I have enough acting training that I should be able to deliver my proposal presentation in such a way that my committee has no idea how bored I am by my own presentation.

July 23, 2007

No mommy!

If any of you can find a clip online of the commercial from way back in the day in which we heard the following quote...

No mommy! That's my food!

I will sing your praises on my Musings and grant you one wish. That commercial was hilarious... in a tragic sort of way. I can't remember what it was for. Probably Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Maybe Slim Fast. Alls I know is I laugh when I think about it.

Minor league baseball is the bomb

Among other exciting activities TinRoof and I enjoyed this weekend, we attended a minor league baseball game Saturday night. The Richmond Braves played the Toledo Mud Hens. A meeting of two first place teams in the International League (AAA). It was a great game to be sure - despite a few bonehead plays which one expects to see in the minors. Unfortunately, the home team was not the victor. The Mud Hens prevailed 4-1. A few notes about the game and minor league baseball in general:

  • I appreciate that AAA players like to steal. They give the crowd plenty of excitement. But at the same time, it aggravated me to see people running just for the heck of it, just to see if they could make it. Stealing a base can pay off - if you're not stupid about it. The Mud Hens may have won the game - but they also had 4 of 5 would be base stealers get picked off! My favorite part was when a guy on second got caught in a pickle by the pitcher - who ran him down and tagged him. The idiot on the basepaths should have at least made the pitcher throw the ball! That at least provides the chance for an error. The best part is - on the very next play, the guy on first decides he's going to make a run for second and gets thrown out by the catcher. The Mud Hens went from 2 on, no outs to 2 down and nobody on.
  • I like how many families come to minor league games. The number of cute kids in baseball getup was... innumerable. It was wonderfully distracting. And it makes me happy to live in America.
  • Keeping score is easier with 2 people. You can take turns. You can get a second opinion on how to score a play. And you can get up to get a beer without losing track of the game.
  • I'm glad we didn't go to the game on Sunday. The stadium was evacuated after the 5th inning due to a bomb threat! Can you believe that?
That's the game folks.

July 18, 2007

One time, OK, see, one time (part 6)

One time Randy Beaman woke up at night and he saw Dracula... but he thought it wasn't Dracula - just some clothes hanging up - then he turned on the light and it really was Dracula.

'K, bye.

July 17, 2007

Coffee makes me like things

I'm considering becoming a coffee addict. I'm starting to think it might make me much happier day to day. Currently I generally only have coffee maybe 2 times a week (usually Sunday morning at church and Thursday afternoon at the department seminar). Yet I find once that caffeine gets coursing through my veins, I am much more interested in using my brain. I enjoy seminars - even when the topic is dry and complex. I become fascinated with fellow grad students' research updates, dissertation proposals, or thesis defenses. I even become ever so slightly interested in my own work. I've previously avoided drinking excessive coffee so I wouldn't get to where I need it to function. But what's the point of functioning sans-coffee if you're bored all the time?

July 16, 2007

Blogger case of the Mondays

I'm not exactly sure what is behind my recent lack of interest in blogging. Perhaps it's because so few people read The Musings anymore. Then again, perhaps they stopped coming because I stopped musing. It's the classic chicken-egg dilema. Incidentally, have you ever used Google Scholar to investigate the academic discourse on which came first? I have.

The last few weeks have not been without excitement either. I visited TN. Voce99 made his first trip to visit me in Cville over the 4th of July. TinRoof has now completed 2 weeks at her new job in Richmond and seems to be loving it. We've been taking turns driving the hour-long ride between Richmond and Cville. My roommate moved out this weekend (tear!) and her boyfriend is going to replace her. He should be moving in any day now.

As advertised, I sampled my home-made beer on the 4th. I swear I'll post a picture eventually. Honestly I was pretty pleased with it. It has a nice color and aroma. And the taste isn't too bad either. The only problem was that I clearly over carbonated it. When I opened the first bottle - a swing-top - it popped off like champagne and blew my hair back. After pouring it, it sparkled excessively for probably 5 minutes before it reached an appropriate level of bubbles. All in all, not bad for my first try. I still have a fair amount left if the NYC crew should like to descend from their castle in the north to taste Dr. Church's Bewitched Red Ale. Come visit me you punks.

July 10, 2007


Have any of you ever wondered what I might look like as a character on the Simpsons? I has. But this morning, instead of getting to work early, I decided to visit www.simpsonsmovie.com and create my Simpsons avatar. Behold!

P.S. In case you are wondering, I may be suspect of the upcoming movie, but I'm terribly excited about it!

July 03, 2007

Rage Against the Machine

First, to answer a few recent questions:

1. It's summer. It's hot out. The beard had to go. (But for the record, the picture below of me with Seinfeld's puffy shirt is from like 2 years ago...hence I look less fat)

2. I have nothing against hand soap in general. But I do think it's time for liquid soap to go. Foaming soap is the wave of the future. And not in the same way that those lame Dip'N'Dots claim to be. Ice cream of the future my ass. Foaming soap is easier to use, does a more thorough and effective job, and saves water and time. That liquid/gel crap aggravates me with its very existence.

For all my whining and ranting, not many things truly enrage me. I'm really a fairly mellow guy. At least I think. But I admit today I had an episode of true rage. A few weeks ago I received a ticket for rolling through a stop sign near my house. Today was my court date. As you might expect, the judge was a dick and stuck me with the fine. Still, I confess I am ashamed of the explosion of anger I unleashed on my car's steering wheel after the hearing.

Certainly part of my anger stems from the fact that, as a graduate student, I just can't really afford to pay 91 freaking dollars for a ticket. But I think what makes me more mad is that I was issued the ticket in the first place. As a law abiding citizen, I can't help but feel that my 25 years of exemplary obedience to the law should earn me some leniency. While the officer was giving me a ticket for an extremely minor infraction, I can't help but wonder what other actual crimes were being committed. Believe me, I understand why the law exists and must be enforced. I understand I bent said law. And I am not trying to plead "oh, why do bad things happen to good people?" But even with all that said, I'm not going to feel that the punishment I endured was fair.

I can't wait for the 4th of July. I've decided to celebrate my independence by smoking a Cuban cigar. Suck on that Albemarle County.