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Semantically anamolous

Today, by most measures, is successful.  I got up early, and got working early.  I think I’ve pretty much finished my semantics paper.  Worked on it until about 5, and that’s long enough to make any brain too addled to do any more good.  Any paper you work that solidly on eventually all starts sounding like nonsense, so hopefully a restorative sleep tonight and some business in the morning will clear my mind enough for the final edit tomorrow.  I did manage to get a bike ride to campus to drop off some library books, and make dinner tonight, before sitting down and doing some low-rev paper tidying tonight.

I had great help this morning (and a lovely conversation) from my Quechua professor, who is greatly amused that I’m doing a semantics project on Quechua.  She seems really eager to help, and we actually talked on the phone for something like 40 minutes hammering out examples and working out the particulars of the verbs I’m decomposing.  She also for some reason gave me 100% on the final, and said I got a 99.5% in the class.  So… I suppose I should have not bothered to take this one pass/fail, but it did reduce the amount of stress I had over the class.  And I’m feeling pretty inclined to take Quechua II, as it’s becoming rather amusing and interesting getting into the nitty gritty.

Tomorrow I’ll turn in my report to for my independent research class (another pass/fail, by design) and pick up the final exams from the intro phonology students to grade this weekend.  I do hope the exam isn’t a long one, I’m really feeling ready for break.  I got a jump on my neurosciecne “quiz” tonight and it’s not going to be too terrible.  I’m kinda hoping to be done with everything but my grading tomorrow night.  Boy, it doesn’t even quite seem possible, does it?  I shouldn’t put too much stock in that one.  I bet it takes me through Saturday, when all these things are actually due.  But I’ll get some time off after that, eh?


This is one of those dead-tired sort of days.  But it’s okay.  It should be the last one this quarter!

It was a necessarily busy day today.  Had Quechua this morning and we did dialogs and had a little Peruvian feast.  I wish I knew what anything was called or made of, because it certainly was delicious.  Oh, and we drank some Inca Kola.  Drinking neon yellow soda at 10 am is certainly a way to kick off a day.  Anyway.  Much fun was had in Quechua, and my heart is softening a bit towards that class.  Probably a good time to have handed course evaluations out.

Went straight from Peruvian snacks to my lunch date with Bernard Comrie.  It’s so amusing to have lunch with famous linguist-types.  I don’t know what it is about being a grad student that gets you introduced to these folks.  Maybe it’s the benevolence of those above you to spread your name around and get your face known.  At any rate, it was great being invited to lunch.  The food and company were both excellent, and I learned amusing things about Comrie that will stick with me for a while.  He’s a good guy.

Had to ditch lunch a little early to go meet with my TAing professor, and then my research professor.  This is the last set of homeworks I have to grade for this quarter, which is excellent, but sadly means that soon I have to grade the final.  Had a very nice final meeting with my research professor, and wrapped up what we’ve been reading very nicely.  Unfortunately he also assigned me a little write-up to do before the end of next week, so I didn’t quite escape without a short paper to do.  Oh well.  I sort of needed to synthesize what we’ve been doing anyway, so it will end up being rather useful later.

Spent a few minutes with Lewis in the sunshine on the Quad, and puttered about for my spare hour until it was time to go to Comrie’s talk!  I’d seen him give portions of this talk in Cambridge before, but for some reason it was much more engaging this time.  The talk seemed to fly by, and all the questions were very interesting.  Before I knew it, it was 6:00 already and time to go home.  Crashed a fair bit when I got here, didn’t make dinner… but I did watch some Colbert over some left-overs, and made a loaf of lemon bread for breakfast tomorrow.

All in all… a very successful, if draining, day!

Yay, yay, for Chester A!

I’m feeling so very delightfully relaxed.  Sorta.  I realized right after typing that out, that per usual I’m sitting here with my jaw clenched as tight as can be.  I do wish I could stop doing that.  I guess on a metalevel I’m relaxed, but on some sort of biological level I’m still all keyed up.  Anyway.

It was a good day.  Penultimate semantics class finished, though it was sort of painful.  Professor was discussing his own paper, which is really interesting, but I didn’t bring it with me (it’s 60 pages!  truthfully, I didn’t print it!) and it was more like a talk than a class.  Got some TA work done after that, and headed home.  Spent home-time pretty well, reviewing my semantics work and doing a bit of thinking about the last meeting with my professor for research I have tomorrow.  Got tired of thinking and mowed the lawn.  Made Lewis take me out to our local “Mexican” place (New Mexican I guess?) to split some nachoes, and then I was feeling all rejuvinated.  Did a bunch more research prep for tomorrow (synthesizing! my greatest talent!) while sitting by a toasty fire.  I’ve had this kitty on my lap all night, while I drink mate and eat what’s left of my chocolate chip cookies and listen to these nice Mozart clarinet and bassoon concertos… life is pretty spectacular.

Tomorrow should be an interesting and sorta big day!  I’ve only got Quechua to get through, but I have a million things in the afternoon to do.  First of all, and I guess most importantly, I’ve got a lunch date with a very famous visiting linguist!  Thankfully it’s not just me, there should be several of us grad students, and a professor friend of ours who invited us (and is good friends with the visiting linguist).  It’s just a little unnerving, but very exciting to feel partially responsible for entertaining someone I respect so much!  After that, I’ve got a meeting with the teacher I TA for to get the last homeworks from him, then my last research meeting with that professor.  Hopefully he’s going to tell me that I don’t need to do any more work this quarter!  And then after that… the lecture that the visiting linguist is giving.  I’ve actually seen him give this talk before when Lewis and I caught him at Cambridge, but it’s a really neat thing, so it certainly won’t be boring to catch again.  Yay, it’s Comrie Day!  (For fun, try to count the number of publications he has on his site..!)

Daylight Somethings

I have not adjusted to this time change.  It’s 10:00 and here I am, completely exhausted again.

It was a pretty darn good day, though.  It’s always encouraging to start off the last week of school!  And as a bonus, we had a Quechua linguist-guy visiting our class this morning.  He was only going to sit in for an hour or so and watch us work, but in fact he gave us a very interesting 2-hour lecture and used up all our time!  So we didn’t have to do our dialogs, and didn’t even correct or turn in our homeworks.  Thus, we also didn’t get any more work assigned!  Best class yet.   Neuroimaging was good and short today (as it is every Monday), so it was a real smooth day.

I did also go to see the doctor (nurse practicioner, it turns out) about these migraines though.  I was looking forward to having that taken care of.  So there isn’t actually any real news from the visit.  My nurse is great.  She thinks the headaches are some combo of hormones and stress, and that I don’t have to do anything about them unless they really get in my way.  We can try messing with my birth control perscription, or they could perscribe me migraine medicine or something that has the effect of migraine mitigation (anti-depressants, blood pressure medicine) if I wanted… but one crap day a month sounds a hair less bad to me then being on medicine every day I don’t really need.  So for now, no change.  But good to know that it’s non-life-threatening and that I’ve got escape plans if I need them.  Nurse said I could even see the neurologist if I wanted… ooo.  Anyway, sort of a relief to know the headaches are not a huge deal, just another minor annoyance to deal with in life.

So I triumphantly rode home, got all my work done, baked cookies, and concocted dinner.  I’ve discovered that one of my best cooking resources is some innate ability to conjure up a version “KC’s Rice Surprise”, my Dad’s magical never-the-same-twice refridgerator meal.  Boy, Laurie’s Rice Surprise was sure good tonight.  Verrry spicy, and full of kale and collard greens and rice and red beans and ground beef.  Mmm.  It did have the odd effect of making my fridge as seemingly full as when I started though, since I somehow managed to create twice as much rice surprise as the rice I was attempting to use up.  Ended up going right back in the same tupperware it came out of!  Oh well!  It’s at least a little tastier now.


Progress being made today – had a short discussion in semantics about deixis in Aymara, and it got me thinking an awful lot about Quechua systems of various things for this lexical decompositon paper I’m theoretically writing.  So I did a little Google Scholar research (har) and I think I’ve hit upon a nice lexical field to sink my teeth in.  Quechua has a really large set of what I’m calling conveyance verbs – like bring and carry.  In fact, the dictionary listing for carry I’ve got has like 10 or 12 different verb roots.  These include different verbs for “to carry by arm” or “to carry on the back”, and “to carry under the arm”.  Good stuff!  I’m hoping I’ve finally hit semantic gold here, cause I’m starting to lose faith that I’m going to have a great idea anytime soon.  Phew.

So that was pretty much my whole day.  Went to semantics.  Had an idea.  Graded papers, had lunch with my sweetie, came home, worked on said idea.  Had dinner.  Worked on said idea.  Blogged!  Finis.  (Tukurqani!)

Mm, minty fresh.

Well, another day, another something.

I woke up with a wonderful feeling of optimism.  My first thoughts were reassuring myself that I didn’t need to stress out about getting to campus on time (my usual thought pattern) and that I could have a nice morning and get to class no problem.  Which is exactly what I did.  It’s amazing how much of the timbre of your day is determined by the outlook you assign it.  So not only did the morning go well, but Quechua was enjoyable too.  Learned an interesting statistic – we’re the largest intro Quechua class in the world!  Or so my yachachiq says.

Only downside of the day was I also woke up with a big headache this morning, and it was pretty crappy.  Thankfully I managed to score myself a nap when I got home and it went away!  That never happens!  Spent the rest of the day relaxing and getting small work done.  And installing Mint!  Working quite nicely.   I know somewhere in my brain that I should be attacking this semantics paper from all fronts, but I just can’t seem to get past feeling like I need to calm down and take care of myself.  I suppose when I put it that way, it doesn’t sound as ridiculous as it feels sometimes.

Ooh, also Lewis and I tried to make a Dojo-style noodle curry that would be all saucy and delicious.  We’ve been failing pretty poorly with the saucy curries, though the results are always fairly tasty.  Anyway, I was feeling the inspiration tonight, but to no avail.  I found a decent recipe for a generic curry sauce, and it was tasty, but per usual not saucy enough for the masses of meat and veg we put in it.  Oh Dojo noodles, why must you be so difficult to replicate?  Or alternately, why must you be 5000 miles away?  Or even, why are there no good noodle houses in Davis?

Counting down

Ah, the most bittersweet night of the week, Sunday is.  But it’s really not so bad.  I’ve only got two weeks of school left though, so I can slog through no problem.  The worst of it is the five remaining Quechua classes, which is really making a mountain out of a molehill, since class is always enjoyable, and never particularly stressful.  I just don’t much enjoy it overall, and though I’m learning a little, it seems like a waste of time.  It’s a series of ill-explained half-successful in-class exercises, and time consuming dialog recitations.  I miss my Russian classes, with their textbooks and small class size and clear goals.  I did way overdo some Quechua homework today.  We got the remaining class materials emailed to us this weekend and I’ve gotten pretty tired of doing these orally in class so I just did them all ahead of time.  It says something about how useless our class really is when I can do the next two weeks worth of home and class work in about two hours before the material is even introduced.  I should put that in quotes:  “introduced”.

Anyway, it’s been a very nice and very relaxing weekend for it being during the quarter and all.   I’ve been doing a lot of baking, which is nice.  Made two loaves of whole wheat sandwich bread today, but I haven’t tried it out yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  I sure am looking forward to getting through all this to finals, by which I mean writing the one paper I have to write and being done with this quarter.  I don’t know how much I’m looking forward to next quarter, but the plus side is that I’ve got a whole new set of classes, one of which is with one of my favorite professors from USC.  I’m TAing, too, which always makes life sort of fly by.  I hope my sections are good!  Still not sure whether I can audit my neurobiology class, or whether I’ll just take that pass/fail, but either way, I’m looking forward to change up.

Beat to a pulp

Day got a bit better then I was expecting this morning.  It’s good to have your day surprise you.  I took the bus to school cause I was feeling really uninspired, so I ended up getting to class late.  I’m never late to class, but it turned out not to be much of a big deal since we were still in the midst of settling down when I got in.  Quechua went very well, though it was pretty chaotic.  I will be glad when that class is over, and I wish I weren’t.  It’s just not really my bag.

Anyway, I followed it up with a great meeting with the professor I TA for to prep for grading the midterm, and then another great meeting with my paper advisor.  He told me my work was really good, and he thought I was doing a very nice job, and all was not lost on my paper.  It was really relieving to hear he’s got high hopes for my paper still, cause I’ve been feeling very lost on it.   So good news there.

The only downside for my day was I finally sat down and put everything I needed to do in the next few weeks and the list is very much daunting.   But in a week… I’ll be past all the worst of what the semester has left, I think.  All my semantics homeworks will be in, my presentation over, and my last pre-final neuroscience quiz.  Phew.  Besides, I got everything done I needed to do today.  It’s just gonna be a long week!


Quechua midterm this morning.  Went well, I think. Oral portion was pretty decent, I only mussed a question up because my professor had just told me how to say “linguistics” in Quechua (which I do not remember, of course) and then asked if I study Quechua (“Imata Quechua yachashanki?”) but I thought she asked me what I studied in Quechua to test my new knowledge (“Imata Quechuapi yachashanki”).  Oh well!

Afternoon was pretty productive.  Got a mat put down under our slippery rug in the TA office, registered for classes, and met Lewis for lunch on a nice sunny bench on the bike path.  Had my neuroimaging class which was great per usual, though the professor ran over time by 20 whole minutes!  The subject matter was interesting so nobody minded, but it was pretty funny.

Sadly,  I spent the whole rest of the night reading and grading papers.  I was hoping to get some sewing or some cooking or even some ironing done tonight, but I guess things are settling in to that middle-of-the-term grind.  Oh well.  I’ll come out the other side soon enough, and then I’ll have a whole week or two off for my leisure.  Life is grand!

Memes, Semes, Sememes..

Almost had a nosedive of a day, but Lewis saved it at the very end by taking me out for dinner and a pint at our little German braupub, Sudwerk.  The rest of my day was one of those head-against-wall work days.  I got up early (for a sleep in day, I guess) to finish grading papers, and was nearly done by the time Lewis got up to make his tasty cinnamon rolls (and they were tasty!).  Spent the rest of the morning / afternoon reviewing for my Quechua midterm, and reading the next chapter in my structuralist semantics book.  I’ve got a presentation on the semantics of european structuralists next week, and I’m really not sure what to do yet.  Thankfully the book I’m reading is going way better than the last one, and I’m sure I can come up with something interesting to say.  After that though, I was just completely spent… so thank goodness Lewis took me out.   Now… I guess I’m off to bed, so I can get a decent sleep and maybe get up early to do a short-term-memory filling before the midterm in the morning.