Tuesday, January 30, 2007


I am devastated.

My senior year of high school, I took AP Biology. Everyone had a hard time with this concept called the "action potential." I too had difficulty understanding this concept. So, I made a movie using artpad.art.com's beautiful software. I emailed it to my teacher, and he even showed the class, where I was a 5-second celebrity for my skills. He said it was "pretty damn good."

Flash forward. I am now in a neuroscience class where we are learning about action potential. Hoping to benefit from my high school insanity/devotion, I find the link again in my old, old email. I click. I wait. I turn the speed up to "high." Nothing happens. Could they have erased my masterpiece? I turn to the terms of service:
"Art.com reserves the right at any time to change, modify, add to, discontinue or retire any aspect or feature of the Website or ArtPad including but not limited to storage of the Content, email capabilities, access, server capacity or ability to use on any particular device or communications service."
Why? Why should such a great service be rendered educationally useless?

Tell me if you find a sweet action potential movie.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Research Angst

So I spent the last hour trying to figure out what this article I'm reading was about. I tried to have fun with it. I looked up some of the measures they used and even took them myself (yeah, they were on depression, so... that was depressing). I couldn't find all of them though. I've found that when I want to really understand something THOROUGHLY, I feel like I have to look up every reference and measure and have it in my hands before I REALLY understand it. I guess I'm pretty literal that way. I mean... I rarely actually do look up references, but I also rarely feel like I understand the professional articles I read.

So the ward missionaries came tonight and manipulated me into committing to go to the referral center this Sunday. At least they were cute... but I was in such a bad mood from fruitlessly efforting over that article that I was quite rude. Example:
Man: I don't know why, but I always feel elated after going to the referral center.

Me: It fits into the opponent-process theory of emotion. The a-process is your anxiety of going to the referral center, and the b-process is opposing elation formed to offset the a-process. When the anxiety is gone, you're left with the b-process: elation. It's just like skydiving.
Yeah... I'm kind of a jerk sometimes. I feel bad about that. But after studying behaviorism, sometimes I just feel like everything can be explained somehow and we don't need to wonder why we feel a certain way or not. That's one of the puzzles I feel with life: why do things make sense when I analyze them, but then I'm not satisfied with those explanations? Having logical emotions doesn't make them any more pleasant.

Also, I had the pleasure this morning of attending another research meeting, at which I feel completely useless, and I don't even know why I'm going, other than to make myself even more famous. I guess it's fun to be "in the know" about research in the Taylor building... but seriously, am I going to have a career in this stuff? Even if I do, why should I care about being "successful"? I don't think I can make a difference even with my impressive effort.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I get a trip on power. Today at work I realized I have admin rights. I'm still a little scared to see just how far my power extends (after all, that would mean it has limits), but today I found a new feature of my power, should I wish to wield it. It's not just at work either. In my childhood and adolescence, I would often press my friends to tell me who they had crushes on. Once I extricated this information from them, I could use it to tease them or threaten to reveal their secret. Watching them squirm as I held a thing of power - a name - was highly enjoyable to me. Sometimes I can make guys squirm just by lightly flirting with them, which is also amusing to me.

Of course, sometimes I am on the receiving end of the squirming. My friends don't really have holds on me this way, but my professors know how to make me blush. It is the oddest thing. I like the attention I get when I'm teased, but I feel so helpless sometimes that I wish to avenge my embarrassment. The only reason they have such power over me is that I care about what they and others think. Ah, how simple.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Oh. My. Goodness. I am even a bigger nerd than I ever thought possible. I just finished making a spreadsheet (a spreadsheet!) of the number of times the General Authorities cited the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and D&C/PGP. I should have included the OT in there too, because now I feel like it wasn't complete. But here's some of the data (don't use any of this for anything official, chances are I miscounted a few):

TOTAL 179 147 120 446
RATIO 0.4 0.33 0.27

Pages 531 403 336
RATIO 0.34 0.36 0.36

This is so exciting! I like it when I can think I'm doing original research!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Breaking Things

I am really a fan of taking things apart, even if it involves breaking them. Hopefully this doesn't reflect the way I interact with others or myself... but ripping plastic does give me a sense of power.

1 hopeless watch
1 Responsive Innovations response card (that is useless to me)
needle-nose pliers
small screwdrivers
pocket knife
pocket wrench

I attacked the response card first. I couldn't get the screw off, so I pried off the plastic backing in pieces. The batteries came out nicely (they're lithium Toshibas), but getting the electronic card out from the plastic was a little more challenging. They had screwed it in so the heads of the screws were facing the inside. I pried those off too. Next came the watch. I screwed off the back and found, happily, that the battery inside matched those I had just extracted from the response card. After figuring out how to take off the aluminum clasp I changed the battery, but that didn't help the watch (it must have been because I needed to touch it with AC current for 2 seconds... yeah, I don't have that around). So I gave up on fixing it and took it apart. I was happy to get to the crystal part... er... electronic screen part. Fun fun fun.

Wait... that was a complete waste of 100 minutes! What the heck? What am I DOING? Ugh...

Saturday, January 13, 2007


So, in my last post, I mentioned that something I wanted was to get rid of all the clothes I never wear. Today I suddenly had this urge to purge myself from all those clothes, probably because I felt bad about something I did. But the crazy part was when grandpa walked into my room and said, "I'm heading over to DI today, let me know if you have anything you'd like to donate." Would I ever! Let's think of some possible explanations:

1. Coincidence
2. The "law of attraction" which shouldn't be working because I don't believe in it
3. Grandpa is psychic
4. I mentioned something about having too many clothes at dinner sometime

What a puzzle!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What Whistler Wants

In one of my classes we were discussing the law of attraction. The basic idea is that if you think about something a lot you'll get it. I don't believe it. I may have mentioned this before, but when I was a kid, I was convinced that I was going to be teleported to some fantasy land any day. I would spend every night daydreaming about it, and I really believed it would happen. According to the law of attraction, all my attention and belief should have made that a reality, especially given that this went on for several years. I know I'm being unrealistic, but the law of attraction is kind of unrealistic.

However, the teacher of the day requested that we make a list of the things we want. I think this is silly. It's egotistic and vain and against all my ideas about what Really Spiritual people do. Really Spiritual people (and this is my bias) don't care about money, expensive cars, having a tasty sandwich for lunch, or scoring well on the GRE. They care about other people and God's will. Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'll make that list, since I'm such an obedient student.

What Whistler Wants
  • time and desire to read lots of books (specifically, to finish Les Mis and start on or Atlas Shrugged or Walden Two)
  • a tasty sandwich
  • not money, and not to get married for another year (so far so good)
  • to be spectacularly healthy
  • for it to be green and 50-65 degrees outside (sweater weather)
  • to get rid of the clothes I never wear
  • to understand the things I'm learning in my classes and remember them for more than a semester
  • to find that postcard I had a stamp on and everything but fell out of my back pocket before I reached the mailbox (granted, I had forgotten all about it)
  • to be able to sleep less; to be more awake and alert with less sleep
  • to score in the top 5% of GRE takers and get into a grad school that is wonderfully famous and will pay me to go there
  • to get my honors thesis approved in the last two ways I need and then finish it
Oh yes, those are the things I want more than anything, and I'm sure if I had them all I would just be a caseless basket, a bundle of joy, and an amazingly awesome person. No, seriously, if I had all those things, I would probably just as awesome as I am now. Sorry guys.

Monday, January 08, 2007

First day of school

So, last night I didn't sleep well, even though I didn't think I was nervous about the first day of school. I mean, I have had so many first days of school within the past year (four), I should be an expert at this by now, right? Yet I still feel vaguely nasous (no, seriously, I have never felt this poorly about the first day of school before). I had a long nightmare about the first day of school: first I messed up because I did my homework and THEN went to class (so... it was too late for many of my classes... only someone as silly as I am would get that out of order), and then I couldn't find any of my classes. However, my dreams were not prophetic, and I succeeded in sucking up to a good 50% of my teachers. I'm so talented!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A New Year

I've noticed all the New Year's posts on various blogs, and I just have to join in the fun. I have decided to dub 2006 as the Year of Dating. I think I went out with five or six different guys over the course of the year, which is fairly remarkable, considering in 2005 I went out with two. I also had a boyfriend for the first time during the beginning of '06. It was also the Summer of the Rorschach, and the Fall of the Thesis (and I mean "fall" in the punny sense, as a previous post about my IRB approval would reveal). It ought to also be the Fall of Music Education (I've been educated in Coldplay, The Decemberists, U2, Pink Floyd, Joanna Newsome, Muse, Oasis, Erasure, etc.). I'm trying to decide if I've changed much since last year. I definitely have more knowledge, but that's kind of a given. The question is: do I act differently as a result of my knowledge? I'm inclined to say, "No, any progress I perceive is an illusion, and my bad habits will remain even though I know they're awful."

It's been strange to come back to my old room. It's so... high school. I told one of my teachers that I dislike fantasy novels because they're so unrealistic, but looking at my room, you wouldn't guess that. I have a big unicorn poster on my closet door, pegasus figurines on my shelf, another print of a unicorn on the wall, another paper cutout of a unicorn on my table, a dragon on my dresser, and a fairy on my bookshelf. Not to mention a ton of fantasy books. You also wouldn't guess that I am disillusioned with classical music. I still have that Oberlin poster on the other panel of my closet, and a whole shelf of classical CDs. I'm not really interested in manga either, but I have a shelf full of that. I guess it's pretty to look at... and kind of fun to read... but it rarely teaches things. There was one Kare Kano book that I liked though. It had a play about a girl who was a machine, and there was a quote that went, "Being perfect will not make people love you. The more 'perfect' you are, the more you become nothing more than a 'machine' or a 'piece of art'." I identify with this quote a little, because even though I'm not a hardcore perfectionist, I think some people still dehumanize me when I do well on tests or relate my short academic career. But I also disagree with it. A perfect person shouldn't just be someone who always does things the right way; a perfect person will also love others to the point that other will want to love him back. That's the part of perfection I'm missing the most.