29 March 2012

Hanging By A Moment

I put this song on my mp3 player a while ago with a bunch of other songs from a compilation CD. They're all from the early 2000s, so in my mind they're all recent even though the disc came out in '03. Anyways, I wasn't sure why I included this song, it's about falling for someone and letting go of what you had before, themes which mingled bitterly with my post-break-up mindset. Today, it rolls along in the Shuffle and it sinks its hooks deep into me. It's "me" now, partially (because no one earthly song is ever representative of the whole). I'm smiling and it's more sweet than bitter. Past me is, occasionally, kind.

Yeah, smiling. It's not like I ever stopped. There's always funny things around, even if you have to laugh at yourself sometimes. But smiling, now... it's like re-reading your prescription label and realizing it says TWO a day, smart guy. It's like discovering you've been driving in third gear the whole time-- you get there, but with more grumbling and less energy than you would have liked. It's like some kind of analogy about how good it feels to smile more often. "I'm like a shark. I've just got to... keep making analogies."

I may elaborate at some point, if my loyal following clamors for more. Or my smiles could dissolve into a dew like so much early morning frost... I don't dwell on it but that's always a possibility, and the nightmare haunting the dark corners of my mind. I trust my instincts though, and so far they just say yes. The only question I have for now is for how long smiles can trump sleep.

19 March 2012

Here We Stand

I think I sweat my words out. Not much to say at this point, except instead of a number the heart rate monitor on the bike should just show a picture of a frightened rodent. Anyways, I totally outworked Her Grace and the Kingslayer today. Also, I may have almost passed out. I'm either making myself stronger or killing myself, which in my books is a win-win.

08 March 2012

Why am I here?

There's really nothing like an encouraging seminar by your faculty to make you really doubt your life path.

To hear Dr. Ryerson tell it, your job in academia is to get your name recognized. Publish, go to conferences and mingle, win awards. There's something so callous and beauty-pageant about this view, this de-emphasis of the joys of discovery and science, and yet hearing it yesterday wasn't anything new. It's a prevailing view, I fear, in today's universities everywhere that output is more important than process. Little wonder, than, that Nature and Science are the pinnacles of modern publishing to the public eye, with their hundreds of half-page sound-byte articles that ultimately say very little.

Where do I come in to this? I've grown up wanting to be recognized for being smart, not for attaching my name to as many disparate projects as possible. Am I really signing up for a lifetime of acting as a cog in the great academic circle-jerk? Will real accomplishments in my research matter one whit if I don't use the right font on my poster?

I feel like I've been far too naive and idealistic in looking at this. I can't possibly hope to crouch beneath the establishment and shift its inertia and survive. I'm definitely not sure that I'm doing what I want to be doing. Moreover, I'm not sure of what I want to do. You're supposed to have that figured out by the time you get your bachelor's. Ugh, what an ill-omened name that degree has.

Is there still joy to be found in discovery behind these ivory walls? Is there any science done for the sake of discovery? Is there any place for this poor scholar in the game of academia?

05 March 2012

Continuing Adventures of Whats-his-name

Hit the gym again today. Mostly a brisk walk, tried the elliptical machine for about five minutes but I just could not find a rhythm on that contraption. I felt and looked lot like QWOP with a little bit of the store thrown in. Luckily, I had an apathetic audience. The happy couple arrived near the end of my 45 minute session, and unfortunately by then I was too tired to remember the advice of my friend for just such a situation: "Vomit on them! Like a turkey vulture!"

01 March 2012


Damn this mortal husk and its maintenance requirements. Toughed it out at the gym yesterday for the first time in far too long, now am sore and tired today. Is it any less commendable to self-improve if the inspiration is to try to spite Cersei and her honourless beau in person? We can ask that again, I guess, if I ever return to a fit shape reminiscent of a normal human being.

Anyways, should try and keep that anger. Use it, let it fuel me. Even if it's a little bit like putting a harness and reigns on a fusion reaction. Testosterone can be good for the depressed brain, my research has led me to believe.

BTW, "tough" as a verb is just a little bit weird. Just thought I'd throw that out there.