23 April 2009

While my life passes me by in a blur...

As I settle into my last few days of exam week, I vow to return the world of the living, the really living, not just the academic living. As I sit here writing, I have the following still ahead of me- a statistics exam and two papers, not to mention grading. By next Tuesday, all will be well- and I'll hopefully have attended three end-of-the-semester celebrations and one daytime baseball game to treat myself. Of course this will require my utmost focus on school work- instead of blogging about all the joy I've experienced when I should have been plugged into my computer writing papers about pregnancy in cinema and why skateboarding is a useful institutional arena to explore gender construction. Yes, graduate school is fun. If you don't believe me, check out the two pictures. It seems like all the excitement started last week.

Last Thursday, I enjoyed what can only be called an extremely "nerdy" moment. The graduate students in my statistics class decided that it would be a nice gesture to purchase shirts from the statistical program that we have been learning and "using" for the last year, STATA. We planned an incognito moment to surprise our professor, while all clad in matching shirts. See the above picture for a picture of Becky and I in our STATA shirts, when we should have been completing our student evaluations. And see below for a picture of our beloved professor, Mike Ezell- as he was presented with his shirt and hat. And yes, the background slide- that is what we were learning that day, no joke. Thanks to Neal for the picture.

Following the last day of statistics class, my weekend was full of navigating the Rites of Spring festival at Vanderbilt. On Friday night, I had the first opportunity to see Okkervil River perform, I was thrilled. On Saturday, it was The Flaming Lips. Both nights were enjoyable, though while standing in the rain on Saturday, I couldn't help but think through my final analysis for my statistics paper that was due on Monday. Yes, a stats paper. For your enjoyment, a picture from The Lips' performance.

I have a couple of videos from The Lips' show that I'll add tomorrow, perhaps.

As if my weekend of rock n' roll and school work wasn't enough to throw me into slumber coma for weeks, I even went out on Sunday night to hear Ezra Furman and the Harpoons at The Basement. I saw The Harpoons a couple of years ago by chance in North Myrtle Beach. It was a great show- and I urge those of you who aren't familiar with their music to find your way to their website as soon as possible, if not this very moment.

Now, I shall return to my work. I am already envisioning toasting my fellow stats compatriots tomorrow afternoon at the celebration.

12 April 2009

Spring, Baseball, and Plantains

With the arrival of April brings numerous things into my life that I feel conflicted with- such as the start of spring (though that can be debated currently), my birthday, and a new baseball season. This year, April has also brought into my life an incredible amount of stress- given my current status as a graduate student. As I head into my last two weeks, I am assured that I have broken every single resolution I had for myself in the new year. I'm currently in a mode that involves very little "casual" conversation and far too many hours sitting behind a computer running numerous ologit models and writing papers that are now starting to sound ridiculous. I treasure the beginning of May.

My birthday this year- well, it left a little to be desired. Now that I'm older (ahem), birthdays lack the charm of earlier years. I mark my 31st birthday as the year that I no longer felt an incredible desire to celebrate. Apparently the weather here in Tennessee decided to provide an early birthday present- a tornado. Beyond that, I received many thoughtful emails and presents. Pictured below is my birthday cupcake. If you live in the area, make a point to check out The Cupcake Collection in Germantown. It is tremendously delicious.

And I also received some really beautiful roses from my mother (among many other gracious presents), which are pictured below with me and my cat, Biscuit.

Having said that, I'm certainly glad my birthday passed. Though I don't look forward to the next one. Catastrophic I say.

Luckily, I attended my first baseball game of the season this past Thursday. Baseball is perfect. See below.

The next day after the ballgame, I had the opportunity to see Kristen Schaal and The Flight of the Conchords at the Ryman. It was fantastic. Every few moments I had to rub my eyes to be sure I was really there. I was really seeing Bret and Jemain. The show was hilarious and on the day following, I didn't laugh- not once- I had been laughed out the night before.

You might be wondering- has my obsession with Puerto Rico dissipated yet? Nope. Not a chance. I'm signing up Spanish classes for the summer. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on. And to remind myself- we made tostones for dinner tonight. Tostones are fried plantains- fried smushed plantains. They are delicious- and if they sell plantains in your regular grocery or farmers market- pick some up and experiment.

1. Cut the plantains into small slices.

2. Fry them until they look a beautiful shade of yellow.

3.Drain and put into some water.

4. Smush the plantains and fry for a second time.

They were absolutely delicious. And you should enjoy them too.

I raise my glass to May 1st.