Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sundays are no longer Slow

I met up with a couple of other first-year grad students (both women, one artist and one chemist) for a fun training ride this morning around 11. After a minor mechanical, we were on the road - it's amazing how fast you can get out of town and into great road riding territory here. Also, the cars are pretty used to cyclists and are therefore more courteous - usually giving the whole lane, even though we were on the shoulder most of the time.

It was a good ride, but we kept a pretty hard pace for a good deal of the ride, somewhere around 22 mph on the flat sections. I felt like I had trouble keeping up at some points. On the other hand, even though I'm pretty sure they are both stronger than I am right now, we seemed evenly matched enough that I could keep up... though I was definitely a wheelsucker when I could and rarely pulled the whole train, I wasn't the slowest climber. I had fun and got a great workout, and we followed the ride up with a french toast feast! I think we've started a new tradition here.

Aaaaand... classes start tomorrow! Time to see what life is *really* going to be like here. Think it'll go well... got my fingers crossed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

technological failures and such

I've been a bit light on the blogging due to computer difficulties: it seems the sugary liquid I spilled in my keyboard a few months ago is coming back to haunt me, and the space bar has become very sticky and occasionally broken. I'm going to have to pony up for a new one soon, as these aren't very easy to take apart to clean, and the prevailing thought among people I've polled is that the keyboard-in-dishwasher trick probably isn't good for a wireless keyboard. I'm over the whole wireless keyboard thing anyway; all it does is suck up batteries and keep one cord off my desk. Same goes for the wireless mouse: Its batteries are dead and I'm using my old Logitech, which incidentally has a functional scroll wheel, but is a bit spotty on tracking sometimes.

On the bright side, it is looking like my laptop is going to be fine*! Hooray! My housemate Nick is working on installing the new HD as I type, and according to him, the USB and FW ports *do* work. Odd... I distinctly remember trying to use them several times to no result. Anyway, that is great because then I will have a work computer again, and not have to type emails on my iPhone. (Yes, I got an iPhone, yes, I paid far too much for it, yes, I love it).

Classes start on Monday... not much else to say about that until then. Don't think I'm actually going to be taking any classes, except for rotations, journal club, seminars, and TAing. I think I'll be busy enough, and my committee didn't really seem to think it'd be a problem. So we'll see how the quarter goes... back in school, weird!

* minus all the data that used to be on it

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cyclocross!!!

fast one right now, since it's late and i have to get up early, but...

just got back from my first cyclocross race of the season, and it was AWESOME. I didn't place terribly well (3rd from the bottom of my category) but I was racing against women's B category racers, when I'm used to there being a category C or 3 or 4 or whatever. but 3rd to last is not last, and I had hella fun, met some cool people, and am starting to feel okay about oregon in general.

also started my first rotation, and my gut instinct is that i've found a lab i could see living in for the next 5-6 years, and a project that i could see turning into my ph.d. thesis.

awesome. oregon is not horrible.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

retreat!

so I am out at the mckenzie river conference center, AKA the us basketball academy, for the retreat portion of grad school orientation. It's beautiful, relaxing, and science-riffic. Plenty of talks to fill my brain, plenty of beer to fill my belly. Good times. Most of the faculty of the Neuro institute are here, so it's a great opportunity to hobnob with the big guys and figure out who to work with. (no; I have not decided on my first rotation, nor do I know who I want to work with for my thesis.) This evening, it's more talks, then beer and campfire time, hopefully with minimal sing-a-longs. Tomorrow I may stay for the evolution and ecology group retreat, though I may decide to go home and unpack some more... feeling a bit under the weather with a nasty cough that just cropped up during the move and a scratchy throat, yuck. No fun. By I'm choosing to ignore it and focus on the fun to be had... Yay science!

Monday, September 15, 2008

to do:

- get the bottom bracket and pedals swapped out on my fixie, and get it down here. the Surly is waaay too nice to be an everyday ride in this town! in fact, if you've spent more than $300 on your bike, you're probably in the upper 50% here.

- figure out a way to get frida down here.

- finish unpacking. holy crap i am a clothes pack rat. 90% of it i never wear but can't justify getting rid of, in case i need it someday. but now it needs a home here, and i can't do what i did in the previous 2 apartments, and just throw the boxes of sweaters in the closet and access them from there. closet is too small.

- figure out how to hang art on the walls here. 2 of the walls are outside basement walls, so pretty much concrete. too hard to put nails in; sticky hooks perhaps? the other 2 are rather soft and push pins will work fine, unless the object in question is too heavy. not sure at all about how to hang the diploma.

maps

it's afternoon, which means the sunlight is finally starting to filter down through the ferns to my little west-facing window, almost convincingly filling the room with a day-like glow. i know, though, that in this room, artificial light is almost never going to be dispensible; the trick is going to be making the lighting in this room as natural as possible.

went out exploring a little earlier today; dropped by the graduate program office and got myself oriented a bit. people in the department are all very friendly, if busy. walked around campus a bit with the graduate coordinator; saw the cafeteria where they filmed the egg-splosion scene from animal house; repressed the urge to recreate it then and there. not a good way to impress new business acquaintances...

went grocery shopping at the market of choice, market of choice. no really, that's what it's called. aptly named, too, for the beer selection there is more than adequate; well, not quite, since they didn't have any elysian beer except for the stout. i'm consoling myself with a ninkasi IPA, considerably more local and arguably as good as the immortal.

leaving the grocery store and trying to find my way back to the bike path, i must have committed a faux pas by crossing at a pedestrian crosswalk. a lady turned left in front of me while making little "tsk tsk" motions and trying to say something. she seemed amused, like i was committing a greivous yet humorous mistake; i was just trying to get across the fracking street to get home! geez. hopefully i will figure out the obscure customs of this land before being thrown out as a fraud.

anyway, there you have it: the mundane details of my day thus far. think i'll spend some more time working on making my room liveable, and perhaps go out for a ride later on.

First day, first post

New blog. Seems kind of weird to be starting over, but in many ways a fresh start is needed, and since I'm experiencing another kind of fresh start (the IRL kind) it seemed like a good way to go.

Anyway, since I just arrived in town last night and am still unpacking, I don't have much to say, but I think that things here will be alright. Give me a few days to get settled, figure out what is going on with school, etc, and I'll update you.