oct 12th, 2019

When it comes to photography, I’ve been in an archiving mood lately. I’ve been slowly posting a decade’s worth of photography onto a new Flickr account after combing through my hard drive a few months ago. I’ve also been concurrently updating a FB album with said images. I enjoy organizing and archiving things, particularly thousands of images, so it’s been an ongoing project for me, sharing and updating my Flickr.

Instagram has been a bit of a slow burn in terms of image-sharing. I’ve been posting the three rolls of color film I recently developed by hand. I feel bad spamming my feed with all this film photography, but it’s also where I’ve decided to post my art and photography. Of the people who answered my little poll, 85% said nah, don’t make a new, separate account for the film.

On another note, the new dark mode is a huge nuisance. I enjoy clean white borders, and the thought of a black background is downright disgusting to me. I never realized how much of a visceral response I have to visuals, but I do. Whether it’s a resume, magazine, album, grid, or presentation, I respond almost gutturally. 

I tried to bring myself to be productive this weekend, but quite frankly, I just did not want to be. I got a lot done earlier in the week, and finished a good amount of work for next week. So Thursday, Friday, and now Saturday were spent mostly relaxing, with occasional bits of work sprinkled in.

The best part of the past few days has been the weather. The cool breeze and sunshine make me so deliriously happy–I cried tears of happiness the first day I woke up and just knewknew from the sheer lightness in the air, that it was below 75 degrees. 50 degrees outside brings me sheer joy. I feel a deep nostalgia typically associated with this type of weather. I’m just sentimental, nostalgic, and sometimes for nothing at all. My memory tends to fog up in warm weather.

 

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oct 6th, 2019

My blog rustles at its dryness.

I’ve been busy, sort of, this past week. I vacillate between getting everything done in short bursts and then spending hours lounging around, watching guinea pig videos. The guinea pig I had been eyeing was bought at the store shortly before I went to go visit it yesterday. I held one of the other ones, but I didn’t feel the same admiration. We were both terrified–he in my arms, I clasping his bottom. So I left the store, feeling a lot sadder than I thought I would. Would the other one be happy? Lonely? Scared?

So I did a little research this morning on guinea pig rescues, and there’s one about 15 minutes from my house. They sell rabbits, too. But I’m leaning more towards a guinea pig pair because they’re content with staying in their cage, they’re relatively easier to take care of, and their health is generally sturdy. There’s a young bonded pair of male guinea pigs at the shelter. I hope they’re not adopted out too quickly–I plan to visit next weekend, make a decision, and build a cage the week after. A part of me says I’m too busy, that the commitment is too great. Another part of me just wants to love and care for two small creatures.

This weekend, I’ve been working on my programming assignment, manipulating datasets on R. It took me several hours of simply staring at the prompts to fully understand, almost by random insight, how to piece together the steps. First I would install ggplot2 to create box plots and qqplots (or pp plots); from there, I could visually assess outliers and normality. Afterwards, I would, on a case by case basis, identify the outliers and determine how much of an outlier they were. After accounting for the outlier (in this case, deleting it, which I have been struggling with, thanks R), I would look at the scatterplot and new regression that was unaffected by the outlier. There’s the literal challenge of writing the correct code; then there’s the conceptual challenge of knowing what I’m supposed to do with the information.

On top of that, I’ve been semi-project-managing our consulting report/presentation. Time after time, I find myself gravitating back towards business. It’s psychology, usually, but always business. I’ll take it as a sign. My group members are people I like talking to in general–most of us have formed a nebulous “group” within the cohort. A general divide has been encroaching on the cohort, with the front of the room kids and back of the room kids. I am a back of the room kid. I like being productive, but I don’t like it enough to pay attention and raise my hand every single class. I like contributing when it’s interesting to me, but I don’t like focusing on the topic at hand for longer than I want to. It’s a balance for me–I’m not pulling all-nighters, I’m not going to hound the professor over the ambiguity of question 8.4, but I will do the work, and I’ll email if I have questions. There seems to be a personality divide between the cohort. I don’t really mind.

Anyways–I’d spent a good part of the weekend doing edits and creating visuals for the powerpoint and report. I’m more of a big-picture person who obsesses over colors of blue, more so than I am a detail-oriented person who fights for every correct letter. I appreciate working with people who are detail oriented and catch things I never would have.

In other words, it’s been a fairly busy weekend, particularly because I am still juggling students. It will be a hectic month. My calendar, which is color coordinated, is splashed in bolded red points for Important Tasks–tasks, projects, presentations. On one fine week, I will have 3 tests in 2 days. Do you see me brimming with enthusiasm?

On the bright side, sort of, it’s October, which means this hellishly hot weather should be…reducing soon. The weather radar suggests 65+ degree weather this upcoming week. I hope that it is accurate. I am still out of good leggings, though. I need to get some.

And finally, on social media, I have just been sharing my Digital Photography on Flickr and my Film Photography on Instagram. I tend to keep this personal blog and my social media separate, though. I’ve been scanning the hundreds of black and white film from 2016 lately, but again, I’ve been very busy. Maybe I’ll have the time to share on here some day, but I doubt it.

10:09 pm

Disenchantment came out with season two. I’ve been watching an episode a day after finishing my rewatch of all three seasons of Rick and Morty. Big Mouth comes out next Thursday, and Bojack Horseman is released on October 25th. Rick and Morty Season 4 supposed to be released some time in November. If you can’t tell, I love irreverent adult cartoon shows. This will be a fine Fall for funny cartoons.

I’m tired. I don’t like this sense of floating. I feel like I’m floating from one state to another, between certainty and uncertainty, motivation and laziness, meaningfulness and meaninglessness. It’s not a marked issue–I’m not plagued with a consistent emotion, and there are no external conflicts. It’s just mild turbulence, and I wish I could shake it off. But it seems like one of those things I’ve known of since I was very little, this sense of floating.

This weekend I’ll make sweaters. It’s still hot outside, which irritates me oh so gently. The Halloween decorations tickle my memories of thick jackets and heavy sweaters. I’m prepared for the cold, I think, as I think happily back to winters. I plan to design and print a sweater this weekend. Oh, I am so excited for Christmas. For lights. Black dresses. Big coats.

My writing is kind of shitty, in my humble opinion, but I’m too tired to care. It was all this stuntin’ back in 2016 when I was taking dopey stupid writing classes and writing poetry. I no longer feel that anymore. Everything has carved into something much more literal lately. I yawn myself back into yesterday. I remember those days. I remember those dreams. And I’m too tired to care.

This blog will morph into just my little journaling outlet, where I can publicly, semi-anonymously just write about the mundane. And I’m sick of hearing girls’ snarky judgements behind my back, echoing in my ear.

I’ll share my film photography soon. Later. Sometime. I promise.

Unexpected Gift

After seeing my laborious, painstaking film scanning set up, my boyfriend surprised me with a fancy Epson film photo scanner today. I told him not to, said I was perfectly fine with my setup, bragged about it a few times to convince him (mostly me) that it wasn’t an incredibly tedious process . Then I came home to the package in my home, massive and grey and labeled Epson. Oh my god, Epson–that Epson. The Epson. Epson is known for its scanners.

So now I am scanning my film. I spend class time scrolling through film, contemplate film, shoot film, look up film accounts before bedtime. It’s still photography–I can’t escape my love for it–but another type, per se. It’s like an obsessive streak I run headfirst into year after year. I plan to shoot film just to document life, for the love of it, the embedded nostalgia, so this Epson will be put to good (and long, ideally) use. I already have my chemicals and camera and film. And now I have a scanner, thanks to my kind and thoughtful beau.

Crunchy

It feels good to have talked to my best friend

I know I’m really awful at texting and calling and checking in as much as I should

But it’s just really good to finally make that round and circle back to the ones I care about

It was nice to hear her voice

(And my laughs were hearty)

We spent five minutes on my description of crunchy old men

“I’m just so upset right now. Crunchy old men. Like. Their bones are crunchy? Or they would be crunchy?”

Some stressors were aired–

And I said my part (don’t want to do something? Don’t, haha!)

Just kind of ad libbing

(Personally I don’t like spending my time doing things I don’t want to do or being someone I’m not)

And let others reject you–don’t reject yourself first

(This is a big one in life, I think. I know I’m young, and the stakes weren’t all that high, though maybe they were. That is one nugget phrase that I would emphasize: don’t reject yourself first! Let others reject you.)

Anyways–

We gave an overview of the highlights, the lowlights

Of moodier days, moodier weeks

Of brighter people, heartwarming moments

Of cloudier times, knottier moments

I brought up how, right after we met each other, she left me eight missed phone calls and I avoided them all

We resolved to check in more regularly–once every three weeks

She joked that I would disappear and crumple under social obligation (“this isn’t supposed to be that”)

And yes, I have a tendency to hide, to burrow and burrow

“What’s the point of a best friend if they’re only there when you’re happy?”

That is true. And a recent study highlighted how we tend to go to close friends when we’re sad, and strangers when we’re happy.

We have always been comfortable and crazy, and I’m glad to have that person in my life–my best friend

Cognitive Dissonance

I grew up thinking I was bad at math, and that girls were bad at math, and because I was a girl, I’d be bad at math. I was surprised to see, upon finding old SAT records, that I’d once scored a 750 on Math and 700 (?) on Writing. What? At some point, I’d done better on Math? And when I look at academic records, I’d still had A’s in Math, as well as my other classes. Yeah, I had to huff three times as much in chemistry and math than history, but I huffed, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

When I teach or explain math, my approach is colored by those predominant experiences in math. Math was hard. Math was difficult to understand. And math wasn’t for girls, so I gave up quickly and easily. Now that I’m a bit older and understand these foundational concepts, I almost feel a bit cheated by the jargon and poorly fleshed-out textbook concepts. Why do academics make it their job to make easy things sound so hard? Even though not everything can be easily digestible, I try to condense and simplify concepts to their most basic form with analogies and metaphors. And I do that until it clicks. Sometimes students are frustrated, and I identify all too well. But we huff through it. And I huff through it remembering how frustrating it’d once been, knowing that it isn’t nearly as bad as it seems. I know that it can make sense. So I’ll make it make sense.

I’m not the worst at math. I’m not the best at math. I only love it when I understand it, and I only understand it when I truly think about it, and I only truly think about it when I care about it. When data is meaningful, I care about it. And sorting through it then is just a corollary aspect of it. I do like patterns, quantitative measures, things I can touch and see and feel, things I can count and set with rules. That’s the tentative appeal of code, which sorts data, follows solid rules, and has its own logic. But I couldn’t do math just to do math, and I couldn’t learn a language just to learn it. I could write to write, read to read, but I’d need a reason to quantify other things.

And the reality is that everything is relative. It depends on the size of the pond. It depends on the other fish. But it also depends on, ultimately, what I find interesting and meaningful. This past year of explaining math concepts has quickly, well, put it in a positive light. This has diverged from everything I’ve ever thought about my relationship to math. That is, math isn’t so bad after all. And I’m not as terrible as I’ve been led to believe. I’d pooh pooh all the implicit social cues I picked up in childhood that said math and science weren’t for girls. Adults and teachers don’t always realize just how impressionable children are. The things we say they’re good at matters. I’m thinking of a psychology study that highlights the higher job inequality between genders in more “equal” societies. But that’s another discussion for another day.

I’m just here to sort my temporary cognitive dissonance–I had hated math for so long, and ended up teaching concepts to others. I have unwittingly become the stats person in my program for answering an incredibly basic question. But I am not the stats person. Not that I really think of. But I’m likely–given the feedback–not as bad at this mathematical business as I’ve been led to believe. We’ll see. The truth is, I have slowly grown to like math and teaching math. My childhood self gasps.

Teaching

Normally I’m not very vocal in the group chat, but a friend whom I’ve been spending breaks with asked a statistics question, so I responded to her and screenshot our messages to our cohort.

But I could tell that she didn’t entirely, fully, totally understand, so I went more in depth about it. I used an easy example, easy numbers, switched it up a bit, asked her to find differences. Doing, essentially, what I do with students, but via text. And then I almost teared up because it makes me ridiculously happy when people understand concepts.

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Despite growing up having hated math, I really oddly enjoy teaching it now. And even though I love English, I’d prefer to teach English rules as opposed to, say, reading comprehension.

But I have always loved teaching and breaking things down into comprehensible nuggets of knowledge. I remember swinging my rubber band around during gym class, explaining centripetal force to a classmate. She would call me, in a British accent, teacher Lu.

In the 9th grade, I’d teach my friends biology using mutual friends as strange examples. And in the years in between, I was chair of a tutoring/teaching center, recruiting friends to volunteer, and later found my first job tutoring 3 year olds. It was honestly just a lot of fun.

I find a lot of happiness and meaning in the act of teaching others, but the profession of teaching is generally overworked and underpaid.

So in the meantime, I will just occasionally field a statistics question, and continue to work with a few students while I am in graduate school.