Friday, November 17, 2006

running a marathon

There are a few things that are on my list that I'd like to do before I die. Some of these include

  1. Having children
  2. Receiving a master's degree in mathematics
  3. Write a book (New York Times Bestseller, of course)
  4. Be invited as a guest on Larry King Live
  5. Quilt a quilt on my own
  6. Run a marathon (plans to do that next summer?)
  7. Grow a large garden and sell produce from a stand on the side of a country road.
  8. Take a class on sculpture
  9. Take voice lessons (we all know I need it)
  10. Work on my genealogy a lot
  11. Kiss in the rain (haha! Have to convince my husband!)

And the great thing is that today, on my doorstep, I found a collection of scrap fabric with a note saying they'd like for me to finish the top of the quilt by the end of the month!
ACK! I thought I'd signed up so I could learn to quilt- the sign up said to sign if we knew how or wanted to learn. So know, I guess I really have to learn! The fabric is really pretty, though.


Additionally,
I don't own a sewing machine.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dinner with PhDs

Last Thursday, Dr. M. Ram Murty of Queen's University came to BYU and gave a colloquium talk on the Art of Research. I found him and the talk to be interesting (as he is a number theorist), so I asked to go out to dinner with the math department with him afterwards.

First, this was my first experience with Indian food. It was very good. They kept saying that it would be spicy, but they didn't really pull through on that. We asked for medium, and they probably gave us gringo medium. It was good, anyway.

The conversation was very interesting. There were 11 people there: 1 M. Ram Murty, 7 professors from BYU, one wife of a professor, and McKay and I. We were having such a wonderful time listening to the conversations. On one side of the table, they were discussing University policy and how the math department fits in with everything; the other side were discussing especially bright past students and where they are now. In all, very interesting talk.

Dr. Murty had asked McKay I who we were, I explained to him and I'm sure as soon as I said "undergrad" we were put on the bottom of the pile. McKay talked with Dr. Skarda about computers and such. Dr. Skarda is hilarious. Direct quote from Skarda: You know what I call the customers at the Math Lab? Muggles. (The math lab is where people go to get help on their homework, usually college algebra and calculus students and engineers)

Dr. Cardon spoke up.

"I hear you're doing research with Dr. Forcade. Tell us about that."

I had actually been waiting to be invited to talk about my research, but I wasn't expecting the events to happen as they did.

I started talking about the premise of our research, the unsolved problem and the work we've done. I mention that we've found a new form which allows to to related it to such and such and that we've found some good evidence that (more such and such). I expected to say that much.

But I didn't expect the other half of the table to go quiet. For about 5 minutes, I had the attention of 8 PhDs at dinner. I could feel their eyes on me, but I didn't look away from Dr. Cardon, less I forget everything I wanted to say and finish with a "duhh..."

I smiled and the conversations were struck up again. Ram Murty didn't ask me about my stuff like I thought he would, but maybe that's for the better since I probably wouldn't have been able to think clearly enough to answer any questions.

Later, when McKay and I were walking home, I asked him if he noticed that the table was quiet when I was talking. He said, "I was wondering if you noticed!"

Yes. Yes, I did. My pounding heart noticed, too.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

GRE

So I took the Mathematics GRE. I signed an official statement saying I won't talk about it, though. It was fun. I finished with 40 minutes left to go back and fill in ones I had skipped. That's either a good sign or a bad sign. My biggest issue is that I'm a risk taker and I'll guess if I can narrow it down to 2 options. The chances are in my favor, but knowing my luck, I guessed wrong each time.

So now, my future is decided, though I don't know what the decision is. Alas!

And McKay was WONDERFUL! He did the laundry while I took the test and did some of the dishes. Then, after the test, when my brain was dead, he took me out to Fuddrucker's. And THEN, I fell asleep for 2 hours because I was so tired and he finished cleaning the dishes and the stove and swept the kitchen. He's a lifesaver. But just so you don't think I'm lazy, I did clean the bathroom when I got up from my nap.

McKay is so wonderful; what guy would do all that? I hit the jackpot with this one.

Huzzah!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When everybody's gay, nobody's gay.

"It's true!"

"What's true?"

"It's true- about English majors writing about how everyone is gay!"

"Of course it's true; I wasn't making it up."

You see, my harpist friend, has just discovered this. It is well known throughout the world, that the only a few theses exist for a doctoral or master's English candidate can write:

  1. _______ (insert author, composer, historical figure) is gay.
  2. _______ was molested/abused as a child
  3. _______ molested/abused children
  4. _______ had a Freudian complex (Oedipus or other)
  5. _______ never happened (insert event such as the Holocaust, the landing on the moon, etc)
  6. _______ is after us (or other conspiracy theory)
And then, they'll spend 500 pages convincing you with loose threads of "evidence" from their works and life.
I find this amusing. A person could have 7 mistresses and 20 children, and they'd still be labeled as gay. Events which were documented meticulously (especially the Holocaust) can suddenly not exist. And believe me, EVERYONE had some Freudian complex.

But really, it's an ideal thesis. You can't go back and ask the person, "Did you conspire with the communists? Did you intentionally start a war? Did you have homosexual tendencies?" So the desperate degree wanting graduate makes up something to say, which can never be proven, unless you find a journal stating, "I was gay. And I single handedly started the French Revolution. Signed, some important person." Of course this isn't always as accurate as we'd like. For example, imagine reading this entry, "I invented the Internet. -Al Gore" when we all know it was I who created the Internet.

I am a math major. When I go to sit down and write a thesis, if it's good enough, it can be 7 pages long and no one looks away. However, if I were to go into English for my master's, I'd have to write a 600 page essay, that, when you white out every extraneously placed "plethora" and "cornucopia," you'd find it to be a specious, 7 page outline of how I, myself, question my identity.

Maybe they think they're being creative; maybe they really do believe what they are saying. But it's not going to last for long. There are only finitely many people in history. If they were all gay, how do you explain the existence of, say, yourself?