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apay, apamuy

Sigh.  Not sure what to say about my day other than it was successfully navigated, and now it’s time to go to bed.

Perhaps most importantly, it rained.  A lot.  Torrential rain, in sheets, for mere minutes at a time.  I’ve rarely (never?) seen rain of such sort, like the whole sky liquifies for a few minutes.  We had gusts of wind to accompany, and it was coming at our front window like we were in a carwash, with those taffy-like water globs oozing down underneath the nailgun raindrops.  Most impressive.  Needless to say, it was yet another ride-the-bus-to-school kind of day, but I managed to swing it such that I got on two satisfyingly empty buses and avoided the rainy-day sardine buses altogether.

Lewis gave a presentation in semantics this morning which went well, and we had a celebratory lunch out to our favorite Japanesey fast-foody campus-adjacent eatery.  And we picked up my favorite old pair of shoes from the cobbler who fixed the soles, again, and hopefully for the last time.  Didn’t get much done when I got home, I’ve been feeling really drained and wore out entirely these days.  We did get the package I’ve been waiting for in the mail (a whole TB of external hard drive space!) but the package was stuck in our mailbox, so I spent an aggrivating amount of time wiggling the key and standing in the rain.  Took two goes, really, but worked fairly well after I came home and lubed the key up with some WD40.

After that, I did manage to back my system up and now I’m feeling all foot-loose and fancy-free in the linux distribution sense.  I’ve spent the last too-many hours trying to get Mint installed on my flash drive (bah.) and failing.  Like all Linux-related failure, I I’ve learned a whole lot, and every foray into the world of brute-force command line editing is as entertaining as it is fruitless.  At the end of the day, here I am on a live cd, not at all using my USB, having formatted and reformatted and rereformatted the volume, ending up as clean as when I started.  But to Mint’s credit, I’m really enjoying the system on the CD, and I think now that all my actual files are externally looked after, I’ll clean install this in place of vanilla Ubuntu when I feel like I’m ready for a little troubleshooting.  I mean… the wireless is working out of the box!  How much troubleshooting could there be?  (Famous last words two weeks before finals).

So… nothing else much to report.  I did make an appointment like a good person who looks after themselves to see the doctor about these migraines.  I’m pretty sure it’s just hormones, so hopefully the doctor can just switch my birth control type and we’ll be back in the land of the visually undisturbed.  I did spend a while working on my semantics final “paper” as well (paper in quotes because it’s to be as minimal as possible, i.e., could be done in one very well executed table if it could be magically explicit and self-explanatory).  Didn’t get anywhere but frustrated about the state of this stupid project.  I’m no semanticist, and that shant be changing in the next two weeks.  Until then, I’m going to keep cringing while I think about it, and completely procrastinating doing anything that might make it less cringe-worthy.  On the plus side, I should be going into paper-ville with a solid A, so it can only hurt so much!


I can’t remember the last time I spent a whole afternoon making optimality theory tableaux.  I think it was 2004.  And I think they were on syllabification in Nuxalk.  The next summer I found a Nuxalk dictionary in a speciality bookshop near MIT while Lewis and I were hanging out at the 2005 LSA summer institute.  I don’t know if I’ll ever really have use for a Nuxalk dictionary, but it’s one of my more cherished silly books.  Doing OT is amusing, though much of the time spent doing the work is making the tableaux, which is just asking for everything that could possibly go wrong with word processing software to do so.  Turns out I have two Linux-related OT problems:  a) OpenOffice doesn’t permit dashed lines in tables (!) so I can’t show my unranked constraints properly, and b) the bomb symbol isn’t in unicode!  At least I finally found my pointing hand.  For a minute there, it felt like OT was going to demand Microsoft Word, and that just seems like a ridiculous presupposition for a phonological theory.

But speaking of the LSA… what am I going to do this year?  In more prosperous times (read: no rent to pay) I would have been there in a flash.  The institute is at Berkeley this year, commutable from home, which makes it seem a bit like an opportunity I couldn’t possibly pass up.  On the other hand, committing 6 weeks of my 12 week summer to commuting to Berkeley every day and not having a job seems like a pretty poor idea.  Coupled with the fact that I could only go if I got a fellowship to cover tuition (admittedly a not-unlikely prospect) and that students with fellowships are required to attend all six weeks instead of one of the two three-week sessions generally open to the linguisty public and furthermore that there aren’t really 8 classes I want to take… makes me wonder if it’s worth going.  I need letters of rec and transcripts as well as a personal statement to apply for the fellowship before next week, and I’m really feeling uninspired and unsure about my summer.  My graduate advisor reaaaally wants me to go (and wants to write one of my letters of rec)… but meh.  Money is a pain in the ass.  On the other hand, infinite time and means seems like a bit much to ask.

I made saurkraut-y cabbage tonight.  It wasn’t intended to be kraut-esque; I used the Chez Panisse recipe for warm cabbage, apple, and onion salad.  But it sure was good, at any rate.  Had dinner over one of my favorite new public television related activities – watching Huell Howser.  When I was in LA, he really used to get under my skin.  Though Pinks did have a hotdog named after him, which should have been a tip-off of his potential greatness.  Anyway, for some reason his boundless enthusiasm and child-like irrepressability warms my heart at the end of a long day.  Who couldn’t use a few more handy facts about out-of-the-way California towns?  Today we learned about Smallsville and Timbuctoo.  High quality.

So chilly

First of all, this new wordpress is fantastic.  I was waiting to do this update until I was out of school just in case I mussed something up and had to spend a million hours fixing it. Instead, I’ve had unorthodox success on two updating fronts.  I’ve updated wordpress, and added new and exciting widgets (including the aforeposted twitter feed) and everything went as smooth as can be.  I can’t believe it!  But what’s more, I also upgraded Ubuntu today with only the tiniest of hiccups!  Had to swap out my network manager (but the standard one is crap anyway) and I still have not quite figured out why my outgoing mail isn’t working… but otherwise, total success.  Sound working, wireless is working, display working, even *suspend* is working!!   I love you, computer.  I love you, you wonderful old Ubuntu.  And I love you, lovely people at Za Reason!

This has been a muchly successful day.  Got up at my leisure, made breakfast (mm, cinnamon tortilla rollups and yogurt), and watched silly SNL videos.  I made split pea soup in the slow cookers, and baked a loaf of multigrain bread to go with it (graham flour + cornmeal + white) .  Got the tree trimmed, and Lewis set the train up around the bottom.  The track is really great this year – so long and curvy!  Lewis also did the laundry, so we’re all well set up for tomorrow.  Watched an episode of Ken Burns’ Jazz,  and did some internet window shopping, getting myself ready for maybe going actual-type Christmas shopping tomorrow.  I even read a little, and hung up the instruments mom brought up for the music room.  Yay!   It’s so fantastic to get to spend a day doing random stuff… I’m getting so much done, even though it’s all the little unimportant-type stuff that gets passed off while I’ve got real school-type work to do.

Also, it only got up to 45 degrees, and it rained all day.  We were going to put the Christmas lights up on the house, but it just was not very inviting outside.   Our rain meter says .43 inches for the day so far!   It is nice to have some decently wintry weather though, since it’s been so mild for so long.  Not that I’m getting actual snow, Seattle-style or anything, but you know.  I’ll take what I can get.

I should also mention that we had to parties in a row!  After classes finished up Friday, we had a we had a gathering of Linguistics folks over to watch William Shatner speak Esperanto.  It was much more well-attended and festive than I had anticipated, and I’m really pleased with the whole endeavor!  People stayed rather late (for academics coming off finals week anyway) and there was much good bonding and joking and such to be had.  Yay for our department.   We spent yesterday at another party, this time Nina’s engagement party, full of all our good ol’ work folks.  I really miss all those guys!  It was so wonderful to see Nina & Jimmy and Charlise, Scott, Christine, Julian, Raffaella, Chuck, Hope, and Kim!  Chidi and Stefano were both out of town, but perhaps we’ll get to see them soon.  We promised KE we would stop in for tea time if we’re going to be in the area doing Christmas shopping.  And I believe we will!  Lewis and I already have a Rattos and tea trip in mind.  Yum.

Ah, life is good, isn’t it?  I’m looking forward to my classes next quarter, and have found I really don’t even care what grades I got this quarter.  I do anticipate A’s in both, if I may be a judge of my own work and its quality, but I find that I don’t have nervous grade checking heart palpatations like I might have as an undergrad.  I just check every day like habit, and feel like the inevitable grades will show up sooner or later.  Probably more like later.

I don’t even know what to do with the rest of my night.  Snuggle up to Lewis and read?  Go to bed early?  Start an art project?  The possibilities are endless.  Endless!


Oh my lord… 64 bit flash!  Thank you, Adobe!!  Not only does it work in Firefox… I even got to resurrect my beloved-but-abandoned Opera and Liferea!

Today went pretty well, though I’m completely drained.  Had my last presentation this morning and had the odd feeling that I was saying exactly what I wanted but it still felt like maybe it was all gibberish to my audience.  I imagine that’s an ongoing problem with presentations as you get further into your studies.  Fewer and fewer people will know what the heck you’re talking about and fewer and fewer people will probably care, but there’s certain a way to finesse these things so that it’s obvious to your audience what you’re doing.  Things to learn!

Got a lot done today after the presentations, too, like getting my whole 260 paper outlined!  I’ve got a lot of work to do this week, but I think I’ve spaced it out into nice even chunklets, and that’s really the only way I get things done.  Here’s to hoping tomorrow is another incrementally successful day!

Cordless Wireless Thoughtless Something

I want to get my wireless keyboard fully functioning in the ol’ Linux.  This is apparently troublesome.  Something about USB, blah-blah whatever.  I got pretty close tonight, but I should really know better than to start futzing around with Linux stuff right before bedtime.  When I’m supposed to be reading a paper anyway!

Today was pretty bonus, as Lewis would say.  Got up early enough to do a little library research this morning from the comfort of my own desk.  (Non-non-heinous side note, saw a rat jump out of our grape vine from own-desk-adjacent window… eech.)  Got to campus with enough time to have lunch with my sweetie, then bust over to class.  Class was pretty good, though it’s a little freaky learning syntax in a non-binary branching way.  Lewis and I talked it over a bit this afternoon though, and I think the kids will be more into it this way.  Hit up the co-op on our way home (I love you, co-op!) where we ran into our next door neighbor who very nicely offered to drive some of our copious groceries home.  Managed to fit all our business in our own bike bags though, and came home with quite a bounty.  I like the bi-weekly mondo shopping trip, even if it’s rather expensive.  Takes a bit of money to feed two point five mouths, I guess.

Oo.. also called my grandmother – it’s her 75th birthday!  Yay!  Talked to her on the phone a bit, which was very nice.  Don’t know why I don’t call my grandmother, but I suspect none of us grandkids do… she’s very lovable but with a gruff demeanor that sometimes makes you feel like she’s got nothing to say to you.  That sounds more callous than I intend it, but these subtle family relations are hard to explain.  I think my grandma is a little lonely, and very much used to being someone… inconsequential.   She sounded so surprised that so many people would be calling her on her important birthday.  Like a whistle-stop town getting a presidential visit.  She’s very dear.

I’m not sure whose idea it was to put the cat box in the office (sadly, probably mine) but given the state of air quality in here at the moment, I think I had better go to bed instead of blathering on any longer.  Yuck.

… the tags on this post are delightful.

Uneducated I

I have two things to confess.

First, I waited, again, until midnight to start blogging. This makes me loopy.

And second, I say “nu-cu-lur”.  I know it’s spelled like it’s “supposed to” be pronounced.  Nuclear.  I also know I’m in graduate school and I shouldn’t be harboring all these uneducated colloquialisms in my lexicon.  But I trump both points.  For I am also a linguist!  I celebrate my sub-standard form!  I grew up saying it, and now, with my tiny set of linguistic oddities I like to pretend are my “Seattle accent”, I must embrace my nuclear.  I’m also keeping my short /uh/ “roof”.  And my short /e/ “Vegas”.  And I’m also too tired to try and figure out how to put any of this in IPA tonight.  Oh well.

Half of that aversion is that I spent all afternoon making notes on Trubetzkoi and thus arm wrestling IPA into my wiki program.  Tried to find a more wonderful way to get Linux and IPA together, but it looked like more installing and futzing than I could do at that moment right in the middle of my reading.  That didn’t stop me from installing all the rest of the language packages though!  Got most my non-Latin scripts up and running.

Other things that happened today:  I finished grading two sections worth of homework!  Also, the Lawyers had us over for delicious dinner and we checked out their Hawaii photos and caught up on news.  I got my Trubetzkoi done (though after typing his name all day I’ve really taken to wanting to call him “Trubz”) which was my set goal du jour.  Also the kitty wasn’t feeling well this morning, but I think he’s gotten over it.  Seems to be doing decently this evening, though I’ll keep an ojo on him.  Oh, and reading Trubz gave me an idea for my 260 fieldwork as well… gotta see if I can follow up on that tomorrow.  Decently successful!

Green Thumbing It

Alien pod part, missing plant greenery

Alien pod part, missing plant greenery

It’s been really amazing having so much free time, and having gorgeous weather at the same time!  Today Lewis and I managed to move the mystery plants out of our soon-to-be-herb garden and into a shady spot below the tree in the corner.  It turns out our little plants (I do wish I had a name, or anything even google-able) have little root bulbs, like multi-rooted beets.  I was really surprised after I dug the first one up!   They definitely look like little alien creatures.  I hope they’ll do okay in their new location… they do look pretty hearty.

So that was the afternoon.  This morning we rolled out of bed fashionably late and got to our last welcome week seminar right on time.  It was an info session on using the UC library system, especially for the social science and humanities.  It was actually surprisingly informative.  It seems like the average incoming graduate student would know how to use a library, but either I’m rusty, or I never realized the extent of my privlages as an undergrad.  But there was also lots of good grad-specific stuff too, like how you can use the library for the classes you TA for, and what privliages a graduate student researcher gets (like getting a library proxy card for the professor you work for so you can check stuff out for them in absentia).  Another really sweet thing is that the way UCD runs things each subject gets assigned one of their librarians who is responsible for knowing generally their way around the resources of your field, so there’s actually a linguistics-ally inclined librarian just waiting to photocopy journals for me.  Yay!  The best part of the whole thing was perhaps that the librarians giving the presentation were really hilarious and entertaining people, and it made me really excited to start doing my own research.

Went straight from the library seminar to try out the ol’ UCD wifi network on my beloved lappy.  No glitches to speak of!  Got signed in, got on the network, and was off and running.  This makes my “things that I might not know how to make work on my linux lappy” list satisfyingly short.  I know networks can be a real beast, but I’ve had nothing but luck on my machine, and it’s been a total trooper since I got it.  Even managed to get streaming audio up and running last night, though I’m still stuck at getting flash in Opera (my own fault for using not-Firefox but I’m completely addicted).  All I’m saying is, as soon as we get Colbert Report videos working on this thing (actually they don’t work in Firefox for me either) I think I’ve got no “major” hitches left.  And that’s a pretty damn low-level major hitch.

The plant parts - I remembered!

The plant parts - I remembered!

A short run to the Co-op later, and we were home eating brie and apple sandwiches and contemplating our gardening triumph du jour.  I should remember to take a picture of those silly plants for the blog tomorrow, though they won’t be nearly as amusing now that they’re planted and you can’t see their little tuber-sacks.  Gardening pretty much sucked the life out of me this afternoon, so I read for a while on the lawn.  I’m really getting into my Flaubert, though it took me a while to warm up to it.  Cutest moment of the day happened about then, too.  We’ve been letting the Boo out in the afternoons to get his fill of fresh air and outdoorsiness, but he was distinctly less curious than he has been for the last few days.  I think at heart he’s an indoor cat that craves people more than he craves adventure.  Anyway, he had mostly been sniffing around for a few hours and seemed to have gotten pretty bored, but as soon as I sat down in the lawn he trotted right over to me making those little Boo blurts he does.  He sat down on my blanket, curled up against my leg, and was asleep mere moments later.  It’s as if he were waiting all day for someone to be doing nothing outside so that he could do what he wanted most – nothing.  With someone watching over him so he didn’t have to be nervous.

Which reminds me of the sort of sad event of the day, even if it’s only sad in a doting-parent sort of way.  Lewis was watering the newly relocated foliage, which is about as far from the hose spiggot as possible.  So the hose lives in this roll-up-house device for storage, that requires a lot of pulling to unravel.  The little plastic house isn’t secured to anything, so you end up pulling it across the yard a bit while you’re trying to get yourself more hose.  Anyway, the Boo was sitting nearby the hose house when Lewis pulled on it and it made a scary cement scraping noise and moved at him.  Our kitty panicked, like he always does, and tried to run inside.  Sadly, he was too scared to be paying enough attention to the door and ran right into the closed portion of the screen!  Nearly did it a second time, and then finally found the open part we had left for him for just this sort of emergency.  He was so mortified he didn’t go back outside all day.  Poor embarrassed and scared kitty!

Tomorrow should be great.  The only welcome week thing left is a coffee and bagels social, which sounds pretty tasty, and has flexible attendance hours.  After that, it’s major garden tackling time – I think we’re going to prep the rest of the beds in the back yard for planting, and if I’m still feeling frisky after that, maybe even move some of the herbs into their plot!  And with any luck, the Boo won’t be terrifying himself into any more silly predicaments.  All I could do was watch and go, “Aww.. oh no!”