(warning: particularly old content) I don't ask for it to make sense RSS feed


(humming) Stress stress stress stress stess... and a slight reprieve, so what do I do but take far more leeway than the little leniency allows. I am such a dumbass at the end of the quarter. At least I amuse myself. Just the first sentence, really, although there's random gems strewn all throughout my last drunken month in Japan.

So I forgot to mention this earlier, but holy shit, we have a tree. The boys got it into their heads to get a little tree up and decorate the house, which just kind of boggles my mind, but hey, whatever. There's more pictures here; some are even kind of good, but most are pretty blurry (in many ways: yay for smeared lights!)... phooey on my camera.

And because I don't know where else to put them, I'll just offer right here a silly set of pictures of me and Lars, taken a few weeks ago: a bored self portrait, one with Lars's head, a better one with both of us, and Lars all addled-looking.


Well, the application is out of my hands and into FedEx's. The Panic of OMG Did I Get Everything Together Properly can now be subsumed by the Panic of OMG Will They Get It And Even If They Get It Will I Get An Interview (they're not to be confused... from different levels of hell, they are). I got less than three hours last night, I just learned, as I was informed by he who tried to rub my tweaking muscles into sleep-ready submission that I didn't drift off until after 5 am. And I got up a bit before 7:30. I'm not sure if knowing this would have bettered my day. Probably not. I was secure and happy in my illusion of nearly three complete hours. Batty tangential sleep deprived Jen... howay.


You know Jen, the next time you're applying for some huge program that you want to invest a year or so of your life in, how about you not forget about the application essay until 10 pm the night before you mail the application packet off? Kthx. I'd appreciate it, you know, just for the whole SANITY THING. Jesus christ on a cheap knockoff razor scooter, where the fuck has my brain gone?!? It's processing just fine, but common sense and memory seem to have been flushed away in favor of extra thoughts about bunny rabbits and flowers or something. What, I ask you, oh Jen of mine, the hell?

And as my parting 4 am shot, I offer the two songs that most cheered me up today: If I Ever Leave This World Alive and Float On. It must be that lyric time of the month.


One of the best parts about coming down here is the fact that there is nearly constantly, almost without fail, hot tea available at all times. If there isn't any hot, there is guaranteed to be some cool, just waiting to be heated up. The ritual here is well oiled; whoever drinks the last of the tea promptly makes more, and thus we're all assured that we can get our warm caffeine burst at any moment. This ready availablity of tea makes here one of the best places in the world to curl up in a chair and read or do homework, safe in the knowledge that the moment the cup runs out, more is a few steps away. Sometimes I can even convince other people to refill my cup for me, and life is basically complete.

Entirely unrelated, but damn do I find it difficult to spell caffeine properly. I know it's an amine and thus should be spelled with the -ine, but it's also got a double bonded pair of carbons (much more common), which, if there were no other functional groups present, would dictate that it be spelled with an -ene. Every damn time I spell the word, I have to remind myself about that stupid nitrogen and reverse my i and e. Damn you, organic chemistry!

(ripping out hair) I've done so little of what I needed to get done this weekend. Stress stress stress stress and it all just seems so useless. A reasonable amount of Japanese read, but not enough to carry me through the whole week, and let's not even get started on things for my other classes. It's always like this at the tail end of the quarter, I suppose, but I'm feeling it extra strong this time for several reasons. Throw in a good dosage of life drama and my god my blood pressure is probably at an all time high. The temptation to throw myself into the pond is strong... it's starting to ice over nicely down there, even. I'm in a crisis of faith concerning a basic tenet I've held for the last four years and as the pirate said, it's driving me frigging nuts. Argh.


Check it out, modem style. Yaaaaay modem. Or perhaps: kiilllllll meeeeee modem. It's not really that bad, although I do cringe to have pico lag on me. I'm hanging out down in Winlock, completely wasting my second vacation day in a row with nary a nod to homework. I may yet curl up with some Japanese reading, but for whatever reason, I decided I'd play Civ all day. As in, I started at about one, and now it's about ten thirty... I know I ate food a couple times in there, but I'll be damned if I remember when exactly it was that the last nine hours passed by.

Sweet, sweet vacation. I hadn't played games all damn quarter until Wednesday night, so I feel as if I somewhat deserve it. Sorta.

Thanksgiving was survived intact, and with a bare minimum of fighting at home. It may have been the most pleasant Thanksgiving in years, now that I think about it. Bryce and I got to hang out and chat and laugh (and he's been thoroughly instructed concerning my Christmas present) and help make food, and we arranged our holy trinity on our plates and covered it in gravy and wolfed it down in bliss. I may have missed the Fourth last year, or Halloween, but the homeward longing was as nothing when compared to the depth of my homesickness for my family's food. That Dad emailed me a picture of a laden table was about enough to make me cry. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing... and the turkey's only really important in that it makes the gravy. Mmmmmmmmmm. Mom and Dad for a long time tried to make other dishes at Thanksgiving, but Bryce and I always ignore anything but the favored three (that's a slight exaggeration... we both nibble on the avocado and tomato salad, and I always have a little cranberry sauce). I think they may have made some green beans or something this year, but (waving hand) pfft whatever. I was busy.

Had Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner down here tonight, but it's just not the same. Not because it was leftovers, but because for all that I'm willing to crown Jim's mom Queen of All Things Culinary, my parents are still Lords of Thanksgiving. OMG my family's stuffing (crying tears of joy).

I had fun driving down to Winlock last night. Jim asked that I bring the cats down, hoping that a visit from the grandkitties would cheer his mom up a bit. Lars camped out on my lap the whole way down, mostly asleep (he did nearly put my leg to sleep), and Liam alternated between the hamper with my stuff in it in the back seat and the passenger seat. There were a few times when I would have killed for a camera; I think we made a rather amusing trio. Or at least everyone who happened to look in my car thought so. The babies were oso quiet—Lars meowed a few times when I was singing or talking to someone on the phone, but only because he thought I was talking to him, and Liam just purred or snored the whole time. My kitties so rule. The best part was when I got home and Lars slipped out of my arms when I got out of the car and bolted... directly to the back door of the house, where he waited patiently to be let in. That we can so easily bring the boys down here on vacation never ceases to amaze me.

If it were only for the weekend, of course, I probably wouldn't have brought them down. But Jim'll be coming back down here midweek to stay with his mom for a while, and so the boys can keep her company for a good week or two. I'll miss them up in Seattle, but they have an important therapeutic function to fulfill down here. Plus I feel bad whenever I take them away from their dealer... Jim's mom is liberal with the catnip, you see.

(affectionate look) Silly little drug addict kitties.


Gnash gnash gnash. Universe, me and you need to have a talk.


Well, the RSS update on the second entry below is all extra late, but whatever. I'm at home and curled in bed with my cats, miserably wishing that I'd stop being ill any damn time now. Just sayin'. Worried about Kate, but given that I'm completely drained of energy and mind power after a day of being sick and having exams of not-making-senseness (really, where the fuck did that test come from???) perhaps it's a good thing that she cancelled on me. At least this way I can try to recover the scattered pieces of my brain... I don't know how I'm going to get through these next few weeks (wail).

I do have to say that remoting to Atsuko from the tablet from bed is pretty sweet; if only I could rip CDs from here to there... hrm.

Sigh. That's a good at least three for three with the vibing. I'm not happy.


After the complete waste of yesterday (in which I spent the entire day, a good ten hours or so, curled up on the couch with a book and the TV on), it felt quite good to be at Solstice and studying within an hour or two of getting up today. Hours of Japanese and TC Theory reading later, I'm feeling all productive 'n shit. Tired and brain full and sleepy, but productive. Go me.

Oh, jesus me. Will someone please remind me that 12:11 am is not the time to decide to read two years worth of back comics? Thank you. All I can say in my defense is that... um... no defense. Nope, not really. Well, fuck me, and hello 2:32 am. Nice to see you on a Sunday night... how YOU doin'?


Reasonably good day yesterday. Work was productive, TA'ing was fun, Kato-sensei agreed to write me a reference letter (more on that in a minute), and sitting around getting my picture taken all afternoon (my research group is going to appear in something, dunno what) was amusing. Some of Brian's family was in town, so Craig and I got dinner and a couple beers with them and Rob before heading off to see Monika and Patrick. Overall, a fun evening in which Craig got more worse off than me, which I don't remember ever happening before.

So about that reference letter. You see, I had thought, for whatever reason, that the JET application was due at the end of December. Except that apparently, it's due on the first day of December. EEP! So I wrote panicked emails and pleaded for a reference from Kato-sensei this week, and I think I'm okay... I think. (eep) Still a bit on the panicked side about that one.


Can't concentrate enough to write anything. Check. Damnit.

Universe, I shake my fist at you.

(shaking fist)


Got my midterm rough draft done, and I reward myself by starting to read my book at 10:45 pm. I figure this way, maybe I'll only stay up until around midnight reading (as opposed to two or so last night). I bailed on my TA'ing today, leaving my students up to the tender mercies of Beth, because when I walked into the room I realized that I might be feeling overall better but I was in no way up to the energy drain my freshmen would have incurred. And so I cut out, opting to get tons of shit done for work and school instead of continuing on with my Wednesday. I'm lingeringly guilty about it, but I certainly feel better than I otherwise would have at this time of night on a Wednesday... and as certain people love to point out, I do like the feeling good.


Hooray for mental images:

04:22pm <laeren>: i need to find a different place in my room for my air filter
04:22pm <laeren>: because having it under my desk is frozen fingers waiting to happen
04:23pm <craig>: you could always put a space heater down there, too
04:23pm <laeren>: heh
04:23pm <laeren>: we kind of need one in here... gets C-H-I-L-L-Y
04:23pm <laeren>: but for the moment, I'm thinking moving filter to the other side of my desk wall would be good
04:23pm <craig>: you'd have a whole little weather system under your desk!
04:23pm <laeren>: heh
04:24pm <laeren>: i could incubate hurricanes
04:27pm <craig>: that would be _sweet_
04:27pm <craig>: little baby hurricanes
04:27pm <craig>: running around your house chasing the cats

(dancing) I found my pencil! It was hiding in the wrong pocket of my backpack, at the very bottom, but I found it! I will have to keep better track of it, my precioussss...


I suppose I should offer something of a weekend roundup, but I would like to point out that I'm sick and feeling better than crap but not particularly well; therefore, I'm going for the spirit of bullet pointedness without the bullets.

Friday was generally a good day, during which I was party to the un-vegetarian-ing of Patrick. We took him to the Metropolitan Grill for steak for lunch, and as far as I know, he's consumed four or five different types of animals since (and some Altoids, so I win). Hung out with Craig and Patrick and Monika that night, with somewhat mixed results.

Saturday was shopping with Craig and Patrick and Kelly (and my god we saw Matt Williams on Broadway... I was fit to die) before the release party. (scowl) I had way too much to drink and asked to be spirited home early, but before then I had a lovely time... more, I really shouldn't say. Of course, I had left my keys and my wallet and my phone and all that business at Kelly's, so I got to spend the night on Craig's couch. So far as couches go, I'd give it a 7 for comfort, but my neck was rather severely displeased with the whole thing.

As Kelly was out most of the day on Sunday (and Jim and Nate were both out of town), I got to spend nearly the entire day bumming off Craig (complete with borrowing clothes, hah). The goofing off would have been fine save for the whole part about it being Sunday and needing to get reading and other homework done... sigh.

And then, late last night, I started feeling positively nauseous. Having escaped being hung over other than being hungry all day, I rather thought it was simply a delayed reaction, but I woke up this morning still feeling like I wanted to trade in my stomach for someone else's. I drug myself in to campus to work on a paper the research group is submitting before I had to TA (Beth was out this morning), and got all the way to walking over towards Loew before I admitted that there was no way I could handle being around at school today. So I walked in, collected some papers, answered some questions, then cancelled my class so I could go home and be sick. Heh. When I left, I told them "don't burn down the building and use your time wisely, see you on Wednesday," which they seemed to appreciate. Sigh. They were just supposed to be working in their groups anyway, and were busily conferring with each other as I left, but I still feel a bit bad.

The day since has been low-key... got some food into me, worked more on the IEEE paper, and took a nap. I need to do some reading for Japanese, seeing as I didn't do it yesterday (and skipped class and a quiz today, sigh), but mostly, my brain is occupied by my duty to go talk to Kate tonight. Sigh.

Maybe I'm psychosomatically sick so that I can beg out of that.


Sigh. Brain full. Don't want to talk about it.


Last night, I got to hug someone I hadn't hugged in a long, long time, and it was good. Kelly escorted me out to re-meet my friend Luke from high school who, unbeknownst to me, she has known for a few years now. I got to meet his wonderful (omg beautiful geek) wife, find out what he'd been up to for the last (gracious) seven and a half years, and generally hang out. And get quite drunk. That too. I think that's the most drunk I've been on a night before work since... probably since Japan, really. Anyway, I didn't talk that much about me (was feeling weirdly shy—able to talk in general but not wanting to put me forth), but perhaps most importantly (and seriously) of the evening, I got to talk to someone about Jake. I didn't know how much I'd needed someone to toast his memory with until yesterday evening, but I appreciated it.


(surveying room) Ahhhh. That's much better. I'm back downstairs in my room, rocking out to my own music and not a whine to be heard from Nate's computer... because it's still upstairs and me and Atsuko are happily in the basement. I was very pleased with how easy it was to move back down here; every time, I forget how easy my desk is to disassemble. Anyway, I've got Einstein looking over my desk again and a bare wall begging to be adorned as long as I'm in a productive mood, so this is Jen signing off from her underground bunker of goodness.



Written on the bus ride home:

Want to reach inside my head and pull it inside out like a gory red flower, pulsing in time to the music pumping out of the headphones now embedded within. Thoughts and ideas flowing 'round like pinwheelspiralfireworkbursts.

Holy jesus christ wtf:

Number of unique visitors on the day before Nov 11 (PST) : 2522

I'm not seeing any search or link patterns that could explain that, either. What, I ask, the fuck? Some massive restructuring of proxies that temporarily unmasked my actual traffic? Not that I mind or anything, but DAMN is 2522 a big number.

Hmm. I think iTunes may have just won. Their latest version allows you to minimize it to the sytem tray, which was the finicky detail that was pretty much the only thing (beyond familiarity) keeping me chained to Winamp. And then there we go. I hereby will attempt to convert, seeing as I hear iTunes is good 'n stuff. And things. I think I will rather miss the ability to tell a script what it is I'm listening to... oh wait! I don't have school tomorrow! I can totally stay up later to figure that part out!

Bwahahahahaha staying up until 4 am hath its get-stuff-done-ability. Found a plugin that pushes iTunes data as an XML file wherever you tell it to push to, and I now have a rudimentary understanding of PHP parsing of XML... I'd be totally set up right now if only that plugin didn't cost $10 and if only it weren't seemingly the only one that'll do it at all. I'm so cheap (rolling eyes), but hey, that's like... a good two beers right there.

And now I'm thinking... mebee bed would be a good idea.


Well. Coming to all y'all Live from Wackyland. I'm certainly fucking exhausted, and therefore, I refuse any responsibility for coherency..ness...icize...ity. WHO needs THAT? I need that like I need fucking SLEEP!

Midterm is mostly done, I'm gonna do the final grading of my students' work in the morning while I'm at work, tickets out to Colorado for Christmas are being arranged (although I bet they mean that I won't be able to swing a Powerbook, SIGH; damn this whole missing my family dearly and not having seen them for over a year thing), sigs done for Bryce, papers not read for tomorrow but culled from the pile, and that's the General State of Things at 12:43 am on a Wednesday morning. Today was less suck yesterday than... um... I could pretend that I didn't transpose those that way, but what fun would that be? Where the fuck was I... oh yes. Less suck yesterday than. Got Joan's pop-up shit fixed... MAYBE. Got reminded two minutes into class that I was supposed to help lead discussion... JOY. But... PAID!

(dancing) Paid paid paid paid paid omfg money !!!$!!!

Yes. That.

Damn, I feel twelve or someshit. Or at least nineteen (which, jesus christ on a cheap knockoff razor scooter, I was when I started writing this garble).

Spent some time tonight paging through pictures from Japan and got downright sniffly. I miss people and food and bikes with doilies on the handlebars.

Okay, enough randomity... I got to hang out with my main homie tonight when I was at home and Jeff and I had pho and cream puffs and laughs and petting of pettable hair, so really, the day worked out just fine and now it needs a good nightcap of some SLEEP FOR GOD'S SAKE SLEEP.

Jeff predicts that in approximately two weeks, my brain will explode.


Oso very tired. Oso very Monday. It wound up good in the end (literally and in the sense that at least it was fucking over), but I'm not entirely certain the beginning was worth the rest. Sigh. The week shall continue, sadly: grading to finish and papers to read and midterm to get done by Wednesday... and I didn't read enough for Japanese again but I'm so tired I'm not sure it'd do any good to keep going.

(falling over) Thank god this week is only three days long so far as school is concerned.


I'm a tad upset. I have had a particular mechanical pencil since 9th grade (since second semester, Ms. Horton's history class, to be exact). It was a simple, green, Pentel mechanical pencil... Mike had one, as well, and called it his Kryptonite pencil. I've had the pencil for over a decade.

And now, it's gone.

I opened up my backpack on Thursday afternoon to take out my notebook, and stopped still, for my pencil was not stuck in the spirals of my notebook as it should have been. I searched through my bag, but to no avail; it wasn't there. It wasn't on my desk at home, and it wasn't on my desk at work. I know for a fact I had it in class on Wednesday evening, but beyond that, I can't say where on earth it might have gone.

Now, I admit it's silly to be this attached to a silly fucking pencil. But damnit, having lost it nearly makes me want to cry.


(scrubbing at face) I'm exhausted. I had a pretty good day, with the morning spent watching the Patrick, Craig, and Ryan beer-brewing show being the definite high point, but I'm all mentally worn out and shit. Worried about people and things and situations and did I mention people? Plural, yay. Hah. At least I'm not the only one (tapping head).

Completely unrelated: I've been mulling over the whole LJ friend list thing. I find the split between using it as a blog aggregator and its implications as a crazy social networking device to be rather interesting. On the one hand, there's several people that for convenience's sake I'd like to, in their quaint parlance, "friend." Not having to go and check separate journals separately would be quite nice and a time saver. On the other hand, people can tell when you've friended them, and the idea that people could (and probably would) track Jaelith down to find out who I am... well, it creeps me out a little bit, not least because it violates my idea of the internet as being largely a trackless space. Anyway, I've explored several lines of thought about this over the last week, but I'm too tired to develop it further here tonight. Go with the sleeping, I think I be.


On a constant, random shuffle through my head this morning: Flogging Molly's Screaming at the Wailing Wall, The Vandals' Anarchy Burger, Green Day's American Idiot, and Rancid's Ruby Soho. I'm not really sure why the last one is in there other than the fact that it was on the radio this morning, but the theme of the rest is rather clear.

Hopefully, I will remember tonight to talk about why it is that the results of the election did not surprise me, or why Beth and states' rights made me hopeful, but I don't feel like taking the effort right now, in the middle of my so-far productive work day.

Best phrase of the day yesterday is a two-way tie.

Greg: I call them brooding angst pirates.

Jon Stewart: I miss voter fraud.

Best image of the yesterday? Totally this restructuring of national borders.

(happy skipping dance) The new adapter that I got for my CD player worked—I had music pouring through my headphones all the way home tonight. I got a shitload done at work today, it was sunny while I relaxed at the dentist and I had a beer at lunch, I got to hang out with my little brother, and I came home to no homework nor grading nor any other manner of worry, with a pomegranate chilled in the fridge and some TV ready to watch. I'm in a fanflippingtastic mood, spoiled only by the fact that there's only one bathroom in the house and it's been busy up since I got home.

(different skipping dance)


This morning is the sort of morning where I hug my coffee close, reluctant to drink it because that means it'll go away. It's a gorgeous morning, blue-skied and sunny and crisp, but I still stroke my coffee cup fretfully, wishing it to be refilled even as I drain it. I have nothing eloquent to say about the depressing state of national affairs; I direct you to John's November 3 Harangue, seeing as I agree with it.

The refrain of several of my friends seems to be "I'm gonna leave the damn country!" I find it rather amusing that out of all of us, I'm the most likely to do so. I have, of course, been planning it for far longer and in a rather more tenable way than most I know, but it's still kind of funny.

Poetic phrase of the morning: Science as a constellation of facts, theories, and methods collected in current texts (Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions).

My statistical mechanics professor gave us this quote, many years ago, but I had lost it. Joy, to have found it again in Kuhn! Wolfgang Pauli (he of the Pauli Exclusion Principle): "At this moment physics is again terribly confused. In any case, it is too difficult for me, and I wish I had been a movie comedian or something of the sort and had never heard of physics." I feel like this so much of the damn time.

In reference to my statement above about leaving the country: I would like to point out that I voted absentee twice from Japan last time, and I won't abandon the political process the next time I go, either. I'll still have your backs from abroad, bitches.


Ugh. Days like this are the very rare sort where I actually wish I had an umbrella. I'm going to be so wet by the time I get to school! (woe)

I feel... bedraggled. My coffee is too hot to drink and my clothes are damp; this morning is not starting off well.


I've decided I'm moving my desk back downstairs, into my bedroom. People may remember that all three of us left in the house moved our desks into the spare bedroom after Brandon moved out. I feel as if I have given the whole thing an honorable trial (nearly two months, goodness), and feel justified in my decision to... uh... overturn my previous decision. There's several factors playing into this whole thing, of course, but the primary two are that of noise (Nate's machine is still driving me up the wall, and his new project is even louder) and that of access to Jim (he's mostly downstairs watching TV or playing XBox, I'm mostly upstairs on my computer, and this situation is playing a part in some less-than-awesome things). Plus, well, having my monitor so exposed to anyone walking through the main part of the house is still giving me the creeps after two months. Heh. Habit creature me.

Anyway, I think that moving my desk shall be my project for the upcoming weekend. That and grading LEGO instructions... I'm so very very sad that my students won't be working on that unit any longer. Two weeks of fucking around with them and LEGOs, over and done, like that (snapping fingers). I fear their class is about to get boring, after a month of amusement. Poor widdle chickees... and fuck that, poor widdle me! I had fun getting online community reports about XBox Live and Asheron's Call, and I had fun helping them develop LEGO models and instructions... but their next assignment is a boring old research one. Boooooo. Who wants to grade that? Perhaps predictably, it's related to their usability unit. I hates me the usability, I so do. I feel like it's an application of common sense that got spun out into a discipline entirely for the purpose of making money off of idiots. Blarg.