Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Thursday, February 28

Trombone Choir and Brass Quintet

During lunch today I listened to a performance by a trombone choir and a brass quintet at the library. The trombones were kinda cool, but the brass quintet (tuba, 2 trumpets, 1 french horn, and something else...?) was really awesome. It sounded amazing. I think with speakers and CDs it is easy to forget how amazing that sort of thing sounds live. There were cookies and iced tea. But no water. How hard is sticking a pitcher of water on the table with the tea? I know there were only a few no-iced-tea-drinking Mormons at the show, but there must be other people who just don't want an iced tea. Anyway, the show was great.

Tuesday, February 26

Hawaiian Murder Mystery Dinner

We totally overthought it and fingered the wrong person. The killer was actually obvious once you realized it. Hmmm...much like my algebra hw this week.

Sunday, February 24

Rubbermaid head

This little girl was the youngest guest at a bridal shower for a friend. She also managed to hit her head on the tile floor 3 times and on the table 10 times. She almost cried once. But then someone poked her belly button and she reset. I think maybe her IQ ought to be checked daily.

Saturday, February 23

International Bazaar

People say there isn't much to do in Stillwater, OK. We've got laser tag, and glow-in-the-dark mini golf, bowling, and a movie theater. That's it. Slim pickins. But that's all the traditional, you have to pay for it type stuff to do. Stillwater is a college town and so it has lots of other stuff to do, it just varies week to week.

Today we went to the International Bazaar. It's held once a year by the International Student Organization. All the country or ethnic-specific groups have a table where they sell food and crafts. There's also dancing and music although that totally sucked this year. What rocked was the food. We ate yummy meat pies and donuts at the Africa table, borscht at the Russia table, rice noodles at the Thai table, sticky rice caked steamed in banana leaves at the Vietnamese table, sushi at the Japanese table, samosas with an awesome green sauce at the Indian table, fry bread at the Native American table, lentil something or others at the Turkey table, savory fried things at the Lebanese table, and a fried banana bread at a table whose country of origin has completely slipped my mind. You see, I started with the fried banana bread and then ate WAY too much and the subsequent sugar coma affected my long term memory the most. I also bought this weird hat from Thailand, because, well, I have a thing for hats. Anyway, Scott and I spent < $20 on all that and everything except the fry bread was delicious. So who says there's nothing going on in Stillwater, OK?

Thursday, February 21

Epsilon Extra Credit

I found an error in my Real Analysis book. That maybe deserves some extra credit right? Except that it was a vocabulary error. Somebody used a big fancy word. And he used it incorrectly. I think. Anyway, I asked for extra credit for finding an error. The professor awarded me epsilon extra points. If that doesn't sound mean to you, find a nerd and ask them what it means.

Wednesday, February 20

What language is this

I am sure all this means something. But I have no idea what it might be.

Monday, February 18

Really Boring Real Analysis

I have a Real Analysis exam on Friday. Analysis is not exactly my favorite area of math. I think it's kinda dry and boring. And my current professor has such a rapid fire, deadpan lecture style, that even as we pass by the cool parts I manage to register nothing more than "Huh? What? Oh...I think that somewhere in that theorem is a really interesting idea...Wait a minute! What was I thinking again? Oh well, never mind. I wonder what is going to happen next on Order of the Stick..." The book is dry too: "We begin with a technical lemma that is of interest in its own right." It's better if you read it in a stuffy rich people country-club accent. Like the one for that escargot joke in the Eddie Murphy-Dan Akroyd movie Trading Places. Anyway, the point is it's dry and boring. So I just spent 15 minutes arguing with Scott about whether something should take 120 minutes or 124 minutes, futilely practicing twirling a pen around my thumb like some people used to do at my high school because it looked cool, and throwing a dusty chalky eraser at Scott and then frantically trying to protect all of my clothes from retribution. When I tell you it was the most fun I've had tonight, you'll understand just how painful studying Real Analysis really is.

To my husband

I hope remembering those special moments helps brighten your day:

Thursday, February 14

Cake a la Mode (in a Mug)

Because when you've been studying for an exam for the past week, nothing keeps you going past 6pm like the thought of cake and ice cream coming at 8:30. We hung out in the lounge gossiping and getting a sugar high and generally avoiding any thoughts about tomorrow's exam. Big thanks to Marianne, who gave us Cake in a Mug mix and instructions for baking cake in a mug in the microwave. For anyone else out there that lives in their office:

Mix 1 boxed cake mix and 1 box of instant pudding. Divide into 1/2 cup portions. To bake, put a portion in a mug, add 1 egg white, 1 tbsp of water and 1 tbsp of oil. Stir well. Nuke on high for 2 minutes. Serve with ice cream if you possibly can.

Japanese Girl taking picture of flowers

Because its an object and she's a Japanese girl. So of course she has too.

Wednesday, February 13

Yeah! Songs about a boring life!

I've been listening to music while doing studying for an exam. And I listened to song after song with great beats and catchy hooks and lyrics about breakups and drowning sorrow in tequila and cheating and generally not fun stuff. It's not that I'm gonna stop listening to Terri Clark sing I could say I'm sorry, but I'd be lyin'. I like songs about dumping men in the most humiliating way possible while rocking to a good beat as much as the next girl. But after awhile, it started getting a little sad. I guess I can only handle so many broken lives in a 30 minute period. Then some different songs came up in the queue: Kiss Me, When Boy Meets Girl, No Fear, Life Goes On. Songs that sort of sound like my boring and perfectly happy life. And suddenly my mood improved.

Maybe there's a connection here that I should explore...Well, here goes Shelly Fairchild crooning You Don't Lie Here Anymore. I better stop before this post gets me started on a useful train of thought.

Monday, February 11

No I Don't Watch Numb3rs!

When someone asks what I do and say I am a grad student in math, there are a finite number of possible responses:

1. "You must be really smart." Stated with widened eyes.

2. "Can you tutor my kid?"

3. "I did really well in College Algebra if you ever need help." Alright, so I only got this one once. But I've heard of other people hearing similar things.

4. "Do you watch that show Numb3rs?"

5. "I hate math." This is usually followed by a description of their really crummy 5th grade math teacher.

I keep 5 index cards in my back pocket so I can pull out the appropriate response:

1. No.

2. No.

3. No.

4. No.

5. It hates you back.

But for those of you who have always wanted to know if anything on Numb3rs is real or if you should be waiting for the nerdy guy with curly hair to turn to the screen one of these days and say "Psych! I just made that up!", there is help. Some math prof has a blog dedicated to looking at the math on Numb3rs: Hope someone enjoys it.

Helping with Homework

Another grad student in my department is taking General Topology. She's a native English speaker and of the students round here who love topology, I have the best English. Maybe this is because I am the only native speaker among the topology students, but I have to take what accomplishments I can claim. Also, I had the same professor with the same book and the same homework when I took it. So I have all the answers. Some right answers and some wrong answers, but all graded at least. So she stops by to ask me for help sometimes. I don't mind since I definitely prefer working topology problems to finishing my Real Analysis homework. It's just that I totally suck at helping anyone with homework. I'm like "Yeah, you just use little x maps to x cross x and then show that's continuous - Is it continuous? Yeah definitely. Anyway, then compose that function, call it phi, with F and then that's g. But g isn't continuous so F can't be either. See?" And of course, she doesn't see. I was practically talking to myself. This is why math ed is it's own separate discipline.

Sunday, February 10

Enough being nice. Time to be real.

At church we have a women's class every Sunday. And a very common refrain at our women's class goes something like: "We women are so hard on ourselves. We are too harsh and judgmental. We need to remember that we're just human and we just need to try to do our best." If you've been reading this blog, you know my self-esteem doesn't really need any more coddling. I may favor self-deprecating humor, but it's not because I don't think pretty darn well of myself. It's because I don't want to hurt anyone else's gentler sensibilities. So I always sort of roll my eyes at this bit of advice. But I always assumed that these ladies kept insisting that "we all need to a little nicer to ourselves" because they really are typically hard on themselves. I was wrong. Most of them have just convinced themselves that they are the busiest wife/mother/woman they know and are trying to use this fact to excuse themselves from the little things that the rest of us should be doing.

"I am pregnant with my second kid and the first one is still wearing me out. I don't see how I can possibly do it. Maybe when the kids are bigger."

"I'm working and in school. Why don't you ask someone who has time?"

"I'm busy Sunday through Wednesday and worn-out Thursday and Friday. And Saturday is my catch-up day. Sorry."

Saturday, February 9

Vday gift

You can't see it real well (cell phone cameras just aren't that great), but this is me wearing my Valentine's Day gift in my office. It's chocolate. Not the shirt, the molecule printed on it in pink. I saw a woman wearing this shirt last summer and totally coveted it. Scott didn't know that, but he knew it was perfect for me when he found it. He bought a heart-shaped chocolate tin and took the chocolates out so he could put the shirt in to give me. Of course, I got the chocolates later.

Monday, February 4

Manic Depressive Weather

The weather here lately has alternated between 70 F (on Monday) and snow (on Tuesday) and cold (on Thursday) and warm (on Saturday). Nearby states had awful tornadoes tearing through. What's going on here?