So, I should really be getting back to writing, but it’s been an unusually exhausting week for me – both school and work-wise (and all the other -wises)…

Instead of doing something productive, I ended up playing around on Illustrator and Photoshop. After all, I got the suite for my birthday, I may as well use it.

I’ve never used Illustrator, but always wanted to give it a try.

I’m still not quite sure how it works, but I managed to produce this little doodle (then I had to save it in PS because I could not figure out how to save it on AI 😡 … oh well, I’ll learn).

Not much, but I was very excited to work those vectors.


it’s not pink, it’s salmon

I made a lovely baked salmon for tonight’s dinner, but I completely overestimated how much I would need to feed everyone (and by everyone, I mean the three of us that live in my home). What can I possibly do with the leftovers? I’m not a big salmon fan, I just had a sudden craving for it. Having never cooked it myself, I did not expect that it would go such a long way.

Salmon leftover ideas anyone?

down the rabbit hole

The thesis defense went great, though I has something of a rough start to my day…

I got up at 6 to get ready and avoid the crazy election day traffic situation, but overdid the early thing and ended up on campus about an hour and a half before I was scheduled to defend. I grabbed some coffee and roamed around a bit, took some campics of a beautiful flowering tree that I found on my ramble, and decided to spend some time relaxing in one of the little wooden gazebos by the lake near the building where my department is located. I used to spend hours there when I was an undergrad and had not been around there in a while, so I thought I would reminisce and have a nice alone moment.

I stepped into the gazebo and fell straight through a rotted floorboard.

I didn’t realize what had happened for a moment. I thought I took a bad step, until I realized that my right leg was sunk into the floor of the gazebo. Up to my thigh. And I only stopped myself from a worse fall by bracing myself with my left knee.

I pulled myself out and saw the hole I feel into. Later, I realized I should have taken a picture as evidence, but I was too shocked at the moment and worried about not being able to defend that I left. I reported the hole to public safety and got some neosporin at the clinic and was off to my defense.

I really should have taken a picture. My leg is in pain. Nothing terrible, but I wonder if I may have chipped a bone since it hurts a bit much when I rest on it for too long.

Of course, my friends all assume I live in fairyland, so whenever I mentioned that I fell down a hole they would ask, “Like Alice? Down a rabbit hole?”

Seriously. I got this from a number of people. No dearies, I really fell down a hole.

The bruise is going to be epic.

But the defense went great 🙂 my director even surprised me with a celebratory lunch. And since I work for the athletics department as well, I got ice from the training room to dull the pain later this evening.

a dastardly knave

My students had to attend an information session in the library, which means I had to attend an information session in the library. These sessions are usually a bore for me, since I’ve been navigating the databases for over six years and am web savvy as it is… However, the librarian that conducted this session sparked my interest in some of the newspaper archives that are now available at our uni, so I started browsing around, just out of curiosity, when I had a few hours off at work.

My favorite is the New York Times historical database, which features files dating back to 1857. I started by searching random historical names, like Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens, and got quite a few hits. Then I tried searching specific dates, like my birth month and day, minus a hundred years (I also tried Em’s)… that’s when the fun articles started to appear…

My favorite has to be “A Car Conductor’s Gallantry: the Very Aged Lady, Two Spinsters, and the Horse Car,” printed in 1884. I’m still not certain whether this is just satire, or an actual report, but it would make for a very good farce 🙂 . Sadly, I can’t post it, copyrights and all that.

the beginning of an existential crisis?

I decided to clean my room. A wise move where the dust-bunny over-population is concerned, yet not such a good move far as the “why the hell do I have so much junk?” question is concerned.

Nearly every available horizontal space in my room is covered by books… but what is left over is covered with assorted knick knacks. However, other than the maneki neko that I have on my desk, much of the other stuff was given to me as a gift. These gifts have taken over! It makes me feel desperately cluttered. I just want to get rid of it all. Put it away in boxes and become unattached to this mess. I want minimalism. Most of this stuff means absolutely nothing to me. I keep receiving fairies from people. I like fairy tales, that does not necessarily mean that I have a desire to be surrounded by fairy figurines.

I like my lucky cats, my momijis, my matryoshkas… I need some sort of order for the rest of this stuff. Give me open space. 

at the library

Yesterday, I was catching up on my google reader subscriptions when I noticed this short piece posted on

When the economy is bad people go to the library. We know this. Here’s two different media mentions: serious (Grand Rapids Press), funny (Colbert).

It got me thinking… as an avid reader dealing with the strain created by the economic crisis, I recently started to cut back on my book purchases. Let’s face it, I’m a bibliophile. I crave the scent of books. I can’t walk by a bookstore without going in an buying a new book. So, a few months back, I started avoiding bookstores. 

I’m not much of a TV person. Other than “Heroes” (my most recent tv obsession) and the morning weather forecast, I rarely watch television. Netflix has me covered as far as movies. And has me covered musically. What’s left… my bibliophilia.

When I evaluated my spendings, I realized that if I wanted to limit myself to the essentials, I would have to restrain my enthusiasm for book collecting. 

This is where the library comes in… 

You would think that for someone with such an obvious love of books, I would be a dedicated library patron. I love libraries. I just never particularly cared for checking out books. As a kid, I was limited to the selection at our local library, which was not very extensive and rarely had what I desired. As a result, I got in the habit of buying books, and created my own collection (a collection that has grown out of control in our tiny apartment…). I buy them. I stack them. I read them when the mood strikes. I always have a new text on hand.

However, the occasional $10, $12, $24 book purchase is no longer feasible for me. Unless it’s something I’ve been anxiously awaiting (like Inkdeath) or a fantastic bargain bin find, I am no longer adding to my collection. At least, until the crisis passes.

Instead, I’ve turned to the library.

And it seems I’m not the only one.

The Miami-Dade public library system has been expanding across the county, so a number of small, local branches have cropped up. Many of these are more like computer libraries and inter-library loan stations than traditional libraries, but they serve the community.

One of these outposts is located near my home, so I have been taking advantage of its proximity and using it as my preferred pick-up location. This afternoon, I popped over to pick up a text that arrived for me, and the place was packed. Packed with kids and tweens. This area is not known for its scholarship and we have many of the lowest ranked schools in the county, but it was a pleasant surprise to see that kids going to the library, if only to conduct research.