March 12th, 2010

dare to be different

Long entry is long.

Last night I dreamed that I was in elementary school as my current self. The star roll and honor roll lists had just been released, except the honor roll was labeled Brights and the star roll Super Brights. I was on the Super Brights. There was a celebration for the Brights and Super Brights in the cafeteria. I walked toward the cafeteria, which looked exactly as I remembered it. Students were in line waiting for treats. I waited in line for a bit and saw an envelope sticking out of a stack of soft drinks. "The Ten Commandments," the writing on the envelope read. I walked around the cafeteria and found several other envelopes with religious messages on them. I took all of them and stormed the table at the front of the cafeteria where several teachers sat with a money box. My kindergarten teacher was among them. I showed her the envelopes and asked her what they were about. She said that they were prizes for Brights and Super Brights. I protested this on the grounds that this school was a public school and woke up.

The symbolism isn't lost on me--in fact, the first thing I thought of upon waking up was the Brights movement. Mix that in with my kindergarten teacher's inability to deal with my sheer boredom during that year, and it's clear that my subconscious was having a party this morning.

Oh, and despite my elementary school being public, this didn't stop a missionary from coming by every month and telling Bible stories to everyone in the cafeteria. You had to have a note from a parent to get out of it, and I know of only one parent who wouldn't let their kid go. I know of no kids who outright objected.

Lately I've been thinking about the future and what I want. I've been editing the novel, and it's great, but I miss math. A lot. I miss playing with ideas and proofs and everything that makes math so sexy, and I've been thinking about who I am. Am I a mathematician who writes or a writer who maths (and makes up words, apparently)?

The answer is, as you might have guessed, neither.

It's both.

I can't see my life without writing in it in some form. At the same time, I love math, and writing is the reason I got into math in the first place. That story is still floating around my head, and I'm still sketching out plans for it.

I've devoted four years of my life to higher education, during which time I honed my mathematical knowledge. During my almost-year out of school, that knowledge has leaked out of my brain. I can feel myself getting dumber every day.

Grad school has been on my mind as well. I keep telling myself I'd take at least two years off: one to see what life outside of school is like, and a second to see if I like that kind of life. Given that I haven't found a job in the last ten months, I have no way to compare an academic life to a non-academic one. Instead, my idea of a nonacademic life consists of pinching pennies to make sure I have enough to eat and poking around for jobs, knowing that no one's going to hire me even to sweep their floors. A pretty pitiful nonacademic life, if you ask me.

But I'm not sure if I want a Ph.D. Sure, there's the thought that dating someone with more degrees than I have freaks me out, and having a Ph.D. would at least give me some security against that. It's dumb. I know. It's the dick size comparison for insecure academics.

If I do go to grad school, though, I'd really like to go outside the U.S. The experience of living in a different country comes first, and for someone who has lived in the same state her entire life, it would be quite a trip. The only thing is that finding funding might be even harder. We'll see.

And now for some things that weren't worth an entry on their own.

Mum bought a GPS with her tax refund money. She wants to take up geocaching. No, I didn't tell her about this activity.

Grandmother is on Facebook. I brought her soup yesterday, and she proceeded to talk my ear off. She then told me about her Facebook account, and I just smiled and nodded politely as she told me about everyone she has found on there and Jeffrey's protests that Facebook is for young people. She hasn't found me yet. I'd like to keep it that way. She has other ways to contact me.

I have been jobless for ten months. Two more months until the one year mark. I am not looking forward to it.

I'm less than an hour behind on NaNoEdMo. Woo. I've been pondering rewriting it for the rest of the month after getting the timeline straightened out and then letting it rest in April while I do Script Frenzy. If I can write the first draft in two weeks, surely the second draft can be written in two weeks with some kind of outline, yes?

Hey, speaking of Script Frenzy! Did you know it is next month? Well, it is. So go sign up. 30 days, 100 pages, any kind of script you please. If you have a NaNoWriMo username, you can use it there.
script frenzy: stop watching

Another thing I forgot

As mentioned in the last very long post, I visited Grandmother yesterday. We fixed the can of soup that I brought for her, and to save time, she poured them in two separate bowls and decided to microwave them one at a time.

Two metal bowls with metal decoration.

I didn't think about this while putting the first bowl in the microwave and starting the time. Grandmother turned around and poured herself a drink, but I saw the sparks. Luckily, they were just sparks. Part of me wanted to sit there and watch, but the other part knew that lunch was in that bowl.

I stopped the microwave and warned Grandmother. We found a non-metal bowl to heat the soup in. All was well.

Sometimes food does trump science.