Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A great speech

Usually political speeches drive me a little batty, but Barrack Obama gave one this week that I thought was actually really good. He brought up a lot of things that usually hide on the sidelines, some of which was related to both race and gender discrimination.

Whether you are republican, democrat, independent, foreign, or any other category, you should really listen to what he has to say. Much of his speech is devoted to why he will not denounce his pastor for comments that were made that Obama disagrees with, and I think everything was completely valid. Much of what he says is not particularly partisan, so I'm not trying to sway your political views but am instead encouraging you to hear a really great speech.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Making grad students happy

OK, so I can't necessarily speak for making all grad students happy (except free food, funding, sleep), but over the course of the past 2 weeks I have acquired 2 things that have made my grad life much better!

First off is a lamp that mimics sunlight by using the entire spectrum of light! It also has 3 joints that swivel in different directions to help with positioning. My desk is in what I lovingly call a dungeon in that it is in the middle of the building and thus gets absolutely no sunlight whatsoever, has horrible fluorescent lights (that used to turn off on me when I was in the room by myself), and gray desks/cubicles. Ever since I started grad school I've gotten headaches most days of the week from sitting at my desk, partially from the lack of good light. However, now I have a light that makes everything white and bright instead of yellow and dim! I'm actually staying at school later into the evening to do work instead of leaving in the late afternoon, because I am happy to be sitting here! Granted I still don't have a window to look out of like I did this summer, but this light is still absolutely fabulous and is changing my life! And my adviser even paid for it. Since it brightened my cube so much, all 6 desks in the room now have one.

Second is a new flat panel widescreen 19" monitor! I've had an old CRT on my desk since my first year, and not only does it take up a massive amount of space, it also was not very bright or clear so it added to the headache problem. I've barely used it for the last year. Now I have a monitor that is crisp and clear, which makes it an actual pleasure to work on! This addition to my desk solves multiple problems, as I have a laptop that must be plugged in to an external monitor to work, I have an ergonomic keyboard that is less useful when I don't also have a monitor to use, and I have to be careful about eye strain. My adviser also bought this monitor, as well as another one for another desk in the lab! Although my monitor at home is actually bigger...

It's amazing how these 2 small changes suddenly make working at school so much better. I've often preferred to work at home, which sometimes is more productive and other times is not, but now I am actually happy to be here (yes, I'm blogging from my lab desk). These are changes we've talked about for at least a year, so it's great to finally have them happen!

Affordable technology makes life so much better, and grad students so much happier!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The story of my life!

comic about former marching band members

I love XKCD, and this is another comic that demonstrates why: it's so true! I was a member of a marching band from 8th grade through my junior year of COLLEGE, and after marching to the beat that long it's really hard not to do it in daily life. Occasionally when I'm in stores I have to force myself not to walk to the music's tempo. Yes, that sounds sad, but is it really horrible to be aware of time signatures??? Personally, I think I get much more enjoyment out of music from being able to find the beat, tempo, and harmony.

Granted, the comic may be an exaggeration (well yea, it's a comic!) but it really can jolt you when something weird like that happens. There's got to be at least one former band nerd reading this that agrees, right??

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Funny on many levels

One of the online comics that I love to read is PhD Comics. I love this comic strip both because it applies to my life as a graduate student, and because it's just plain funny.

The comic from yesterday is titled It's 3AM, and it something you should read. No, it has nothing to do with the Matchbox 20 song. If you are a graduate student or in a job where your boss would expect you to be working basically 24/7, you should be able to relate to this comic. For those who don't follow the comic already: the first character is a graduate student, the second character is that student's advisor.

This comic is also funny for an entirely different reason though, which everyone in the USA should be able to relate to: it's mocking/mimicking/inspired by an ad supporting Hillary Clinton. I have absolutely nothing against Hillary Clinton, but her campaign ad that is very similar to this comic strip is a little strange. It was even featured on Daily Show last night on Comedy Central, so I'm not the only one that finds it amusing.

It's so rare that a comic about graduate student life is highly related to the rest of the real world, that I couldn't resist pointing it out to my few readers.