Wednesday, March 31, 2010


"Stupid boys." I growl in my best Gollum voice as open my dorm door.

What do you know? A girl's standing the hallway, staring at me. She's looking at me like I'm some evil, deranged, possessed hobbit.

I smile sheepishly and mouth hi.

I don't even know why I pretend to be normal...


Friday, March 26, 2010

The Social Sciences are Stalking Me

What is it with me and the social sciences?

I’m studying linguistics, which is pretty much the analytical side of language. I do grammar and syntax and academic/technical writing.

I never intended to study social sciences. Ever. And I’ve had plans to go into everything at some point in time.

Yet somehow I was Social Sciences Sterling Scholar for my high school, which I thought meant history. Now I’m really realizing that’s only half the discipline.

In college I took a Social Sciences LEAP class (pretty much freshman transition) only because it fit into my schedule and I LOVE the books we read. They’re controversial—like Steven J. Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man – a book which appears everywhere in anything remotely related to the social sciences.

Now this semester I’m taking an anthropology class. And we’re talking about race, evolution, genes, natural selection, intelligence… and that’s what I learned about in LEAP as well.

I like this sort of stuff, but I never wanted to pursue it. Instead it’s pursuing me! Now I’m writing a series of poems about it all because it’s very poetigenic*.

And in my nerdness, I’m spending my entire spring break writing a long paper about human evolution.


*Attractive as a subject for poetry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

RIP Nibbles

My sister's cavie died on Saturday night, and we buried him yesterday. His name was Nibbles, and we had him for about 5 years. He was a good class pet for my mom's preschool class and a stinky, but cute guinea pig.

I don't have a picture of him alive... which I feel really sorry about. But Adriana is sad, and the preschoolers are sad as well.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Flight

The last Monday before Spring Break.

Productivity level: 0

I have a few papers on the horizon, but my will to do them has shriveled up and died. I'm also speaking in church next Sunday. So now I'm writing a talk which is kind of like a paper, but for God.

My phone charger is MIA. That means my phone is in an induced coma at the moment. There is only enough juice for an emergency-- maybe. I like the freedom, sort of, except I have to do my visiting teaching and getting that set up without a phone is rather difficult. I am a master at alternate forms of communication (AKA the world wide web), but still. That feels very unprofessional.

I said my productivity level was zero, but that isn't quite true. I've been writing some really great poetry. It is different than what I've written before, and I don't know where it comes from. Then again, I don't know where poetry ever comes from. You want to read some of it? Okay. Here's an excerpt.

The Flight

After a thousand tired stabs

We finally sliced into the heaving ochre sky

Into the breast of the unknown

Our breath abandoned on the soil

We gave the clouds their first sliver

From the trees of the earth

And, later, the ore of the earth

Which became the blood of the sky

Understand that it's only an excerpt because the rest of the poem isn't written yet. Thank you for putting up with this extremely random post.

With adoration,


Friday, March 12, 2010

"Don't mind me, I was just..."

I hear someone's breath in my ear. I try to keep reading, but I cannot avoid the sensation that someone is looking over my shoulder.

That's one of my pet peeves, and so I can tell within seconds if someone snatches even so much of a glance over my shoulder.

I take a change and look up at who might be reading my anthropology textbook. A young man with blonde hair is looking over the seat behind me.

"Hi," he says, "Don't mind me, I was just reading..."

I expect him to finish "...over your shoulder." But he doesn't. That makes me really nervous. Why would he want to read my book about genes anyway?

That goes on for a few minutes, because obviously to this guy there is nothing at all weird about reading over a random stranger's shoulder. Finally I can't take it--and no reading is getting done anyway--so I close my book and call my mom.

The same guy makes conversation with a man across the aisle about Dr. Pepper. "That would make good rocket fuel." (?) he says. The older man takes a swig and says, "It makes a great thirst quencher."

I was happy that this talkative character got off at the first stop.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tea Party

This is my first tea party ever. On Friday, we all got dressed up and had a tea party. The house was gorgeous and so picturesque. I borrowed some hats and tablecloths from my great grandma (Who is turning 96 Sunday). She saves everything, which is okay only because she's so old that the things she saves actually are old enough to be amazing antiques. And I go for vintage things. I'm going to wear her wedding dress (which she made herself!) one day, assuming I ever find a guy stupid enough to marry me.
ANYWAY! The tea party was fantastic, even though the herbal tea never came. We made do with lemonade, cider, and all the delicious food. Cookies that said "Eat me," cucumber sandwiches, cupcakes, fruit, and all sorts of dainty delicacies.Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" was whimsical and thrilling. If nothing else, it was fun to watch because there was so much color and shape. He really created another world; leaving the theater was so disappointing. This world is super boring. My life is super boring. Everyone's life is. I call this the Avatar effect. It is one of those movies that is so crazy and it takes you out of reality so much that when you go back to real life you have an adjustment period.

In the end, I loved the movie, and I loved dressing up. I don't know who I went as... I just dressed for a tea party. Enjoy!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Grammar Day

Happy Grammar Day!

I love grammar. It used to be because I'm the sort of person who likes black and white, right and wrong. There are rules in grammar, and they make sense, at least to me. (I know, you think that they don't make sense, but trust me, they do. You just have to dig deep enough.)

I never learned grammar in school, so I think that's why I took an interest in it. I never got to diagram sentences or make trees. So grammar was some mysterious secret. A secret that makes most people nervous, true, but it was just intriguing to me.

So I took a few grammar classes my first semester of college. Wow! My eyes were opened. There are many kinds of grammar, I learned. I'd always assumed that prescriptive grammar is the only kind. When you think grammar, you're most likely thinking of prescriptive grammar. It is exactly what the name implies-- those are the grammar rules that "prescriptivists" prescribe to people. Some rules make sense, others are just stupid. (Like that splitting infinitives are wrong.)

There is also descriptive grammar. That's what linguistics use to simply describe what happens when we speak and write. They don't judge what is "right" or "wrong" They do not try to change people's habits, they simply document them.

Mental grammar is what we have in our heads. We are born with the ability to communicate in our brain, which is amazing. We're not pre-wired to play piano, or golf, or sew. But God gave us the ability to understand a language and pick it up within just the first few years of life. Our brains are a super-computers! That we can speak not one, but three or four languages is a miracle. That is a feat! I'm realizing that language is not an accident the more I study linguistics. You're reading this so your brain is taking the shapes on the screen and interpreting them into ideas and words. That is no easy feat. We are still struggling to make computers understand language the way the human brain does.

Language is a miracle. So even if you don't know the difference between "you're" and "your," be grateful that you can read, write, and speak, because it is amazing that you can!


P.S. If you want to know more about National Grammar Day, click here.