Monday, September 21, 2009

the awesomeness that is my computer setup

Last week I had a problem. My (desktop) computer blacked out, and upon reset, there was no video output. Grrrrr. I checked all the cords to no avail.

But this has happened before. Except that time it was the CPU. And my bro-in-law saved me.

But this time I did it all myself. I've had to trouble shoot this computer enough (though unsuccessfully in the past) to pretend to know a thing or two.

So. I went to frys. You know. Frys. But then, before moving to CA, I did not know this thing called Frys. (Pronounced: fries. not friss. And it's like a super warehouse of electronic stuff). Frys is 4 blocks from my house. And I bought a video card, ram, and a power supply. I tested the new parts one at a time to see if it would output video. But then I realized that not all video cards have the same interface (heh). So I went back and got another video card...and swapped it..and WAS TRIUMPHANT! Now I just have to return the rest of the stuff I didn't need.

Except, I'd already given up and had ordered a laptop (my first!) during an online sale a few days earlier. I sort of needed a computer. ASAP.

So now I have put away my lovely desktop for future use. Except I hooked up my old monitor into my new laptop so now I have AWESOME dual screen action. YESSSSSSSS.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

the hardest year

So far, the hardest year of my life was my first year in graduate school at Stanford. I have never felt so stupid, defeated, and stressed out. But I came away from it having learned much.

1) to run

I never studied on friday or saturday nights in high school. Nor in undergrad (except for once when I had a big math project, but that was secretly fun so it doesn't count). But that stopped in grad school. I studied. I remember one saturday night about 9 pm I got really mad--at my homework and that I was stressed enough to be studying on a saturday night. So I decided to run to let off steam. I ran the campus loop, which is 4 miles. In hindsight, I realize it was stupid to go running in the dark late at night, alone. AND stupid to run 4 miles when I hadn't run at all for at least 6 months. But it made me feel better. I kept on running the campus loop while in grad school. I love running. And it all started one saturday night.

2) to read

I read in high school in undergrad. But I didn't read all the time. And I certainly didn't read feverishly. Stanford taught me to read feverishly. The most beloved item I purchased for my room at Stanford is what I call my medusa lamp. (Below). I could twist each section to point wherever I wanted. And I put flourescent bulbs in it so it would be SUPER bright. I love lots of light to read. I read 150 books that year (which was a lot for me!). I read mostly in the middle of the night. I would do homework until I felt like stopping, and then would read until 3 am to escape. I really needed to escape. Some nights I didn't get to bed until 4 or 5 am, and I think 6 am once. And then I would sleep:)
(I've often thought that if I slept from 3 am to 9 am NOW, I'd get sick. I can't believe I managed that sleep schedule without getting sick at the time.)

3) to use itunes. And to discover Miles Davis.

I never used itunes until I moved to Stanford. I lived in a graduate apartment building on campus with everyone on the same network. Thus, I could listen to music that was shared on the network through itunes. I listened to Snow Patrol a lot, but the thing that I really loved was Miles Davis. I never listen to him now. And I never listened to him before. But for that first year at Stanford, I listened to him every night for hours and hours when I would do homework. I found it soothing, and it helped me to focus and get through many long nights. In junior high, I would listen to music while I did math (and I also used pen. As if I would need to erase:)). But in high school, math got a little more complicated and I needed all my concentration (and a pencil)--so turned the music off. But I discovered that it was just the words that were distracting. And so itunes helped me to discover Miles Davis. No words. Sort of jazzy. Good memories. Maybe someday I'll listen to Miles Davis again, but for now I prefer to think of him as a blanket that I no longer need.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

fantastic fiction

This post is nothing more than a plug for one of my most favorite websites of all time. I adore it. And go there far too often.

It is fantastic fiction. Or rather, It is a huge database of authors and books with author bios and organized lists (and cover images) of all the books the author has written, grouped by series and listed in order of publication. It also has a "coming soon" section and a "most popular" section. Authors are also categorized into genres.

Here are my reasons for loving this site:
1) It's super-organized. And complete. So far there is only one author I've looked for that isn't on there--Sarah Jewett. But she's been dead for 100 years, and is pretty obscure.
2) There is a section at the bottom of each author's page that lists other authors also visited by people who viewed the original author's page--and sorted by frequency. (um..that was sortof confusing. In short, it links to similar author's pages.) I have discovered many authors this way.
3) In the listing of all authors on the website, my name is not there. Thus, should I turn into an amazing fantasy author my name will be unique and not confused with anyone else.
4) I can keep up on what's new and discover long forgotten authors.
5) I can amuse myself by looking in the "most popular" section. At the moment, the #1 most popular is "A Rogue of my Own", by Johanna Lindsey. Ahem. You know you want it.

Friday, September 04, 2009

a favorite snack.

My latest favorite snack is a combination of these two things:

1) Real yogurt.

and 2) Creamed honey. Mmmm.

I get a tiny bit of honey on my spoon, then get a spoonful of yogurt. Then I eat it.

Creamed honey is much tastier for spreading on breads than regular honey. The texture and taste are different. But I do use regular honey in baking.

(By the way, I ate yogurt while making this post.)

So long, and thanks for all the fish.