Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Red Letter Day

Spencer and I have officially started our rap careers. He's a man who is into large drinking containers and so has donned the name 'Big CUP', aka 'Big C-U-P' and I'm gonna be the straight up 44 oz copilot 'The Fly Emirate'. We already made a rap about sandwiches, who knows what we'll treat up next. Stay tuned?

I've been working a lot lately and that's a good thing because I have a lot of work! Research is a harsh mistress and I may not always treat her right, but I still love her (And that was Merle Haggard with his new hit "I Kiss My Baby With My Fist."). My physical intuition has been riled up lately and I've been making some good progress, and I am definitely reinterested in my project. That's one thing you learn in research projects that can last for years: you have to learn how to re-fall in love with the problem you're solving each time. It's not simple, but the honeymoon phase is always nice. I've also realized that if my ideas work and I run them to fruition, the good outcome is that I solve the HBT puzzle. That's sort of a long standing problem, and it would be nice to solve it while I'm a grad student. The bad outcome is I close off another case, and maybe gain some insight about how we really need to approach this problem. Teaching is good, and I'm glad I like it. Classes are so-so, but I always shine when tests come around.

I'm getting to know the Chinese grad students pretty well -- there sure are a lot of them -- and that's been fun so far. They have an odd idolation of American culture, and I am just too happy to indulge them. They have been encouraging me to learn Mandarin, and have been giving me mini-lessons. It's SVO so it's a lot like English really, and in the ways it isn't it's simpler. Efficient. My kind of language.

I haven't been able to order the trucks or wheels for my new skateboard yet, and that's a bit of a bummer. It'll happen soon though, and that's exciting. From just standing on the deck it feels a lot better than what I was skating on before, and that makes me feel more comfortable about protecting my neck -- watch ya step kid.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why you do dat

Gnuplot freaks me out sometimes:

Which one is it?

I'm worried. Dr. Rapp has invited Scott Pratt (his name is probably unknown to you, but he's a huge figure in the field I am in, and the expert on the research I'm currently doing) here in early November. The trip is handled under the guise that Dr. Pratt will give a colloqium, which he really will but the main point is to discuss my research. The thing about that is: my research is still incredibly immature, and my actual physical understanding of the problem is still lacking. I guess I need to bone up and derive everything from first principles instead of using my intuition, but I also need results by then! In conclusion, call me Cyclotrent.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day by Day Basis

It's becoming less and less clear to me if I'm going to continue for my PhD. If I live in a ghost town long enough I might become a ghost.

It's easy to the step; you just gotta flip it, stick it, see ya later bye.

Bought a new deck, it's in the post.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Robert Jordan is an Asshole

Way to finish some books before you died. Let's hope your progeny isn't as retarded as Brian Herbert.

I saw a Delorean on the road yesterday -- that was awesome. I also done messed my truck up something retarded. That wasn't awesome, but bitches can't take me to jail.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Very Large Array

I've always wanted to go visit the the VLA in New Mexico. I consider radio telescopes to be modern wonders of the world and much more grand in scope than any of what we call the Seven. Don't get me wrong, hanging gardens, pyramids, and massive statues are swell, and surely they were great achievements of the time but their aspirations were constrained by the limits of human knowledge at that point. These were civilizations that had not yet grasped the non-uniqueness of intelligence and life, and humanity was an accepted concept; the VLA seems a poignant indication of beings that are beginning to accept fundamental aspects of the universe and their own derivative biology. I think it's good we turn our eyes outwards and begin to ask and expect answers to questions that are larger than our own lifespans. It is one REALLY big universe and we are one tiny planet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

They Must Have Read My Mind

Well, I got this in my inbox today, I think there must be spies in the department:

Dear Trent,

The department of physics has been very fortunate to receive several GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) Fellowships beginning this Spring semester and you have been suggested as a candidate. These three year fellowships carry a stipend up to a maximum of $30,000 per year (the stipend will be at least commensurate with a TA stipend unless you have income from other sources) and in addition funds are given to cover all your tuition and fees. Funds are also allocated to purchase books, attend scientific meetings, purchase a computer, and other expenses related to your research activities. To be eligible for one of these fellowships you must be at least three years away from receiving your Ph.D.

Your stipend is based on financial need which is determined by filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form which can be done online at Since you are a graduate student, you will not have to have your parents supply any financial details.

If you are interested in applying for one of these fellowships, please inform me immediately by email ( and then go online and fill out the FAFSA. This form is the sine qua non for you to be considered for these prestigious fellowships. Please remember, if you do receive one it will replace the Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship you already have.

I must receive your response before Monday, September 18th, for you to be considered.


George W. Kattawar

Chair, Grad. Adm. Comm.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I saw it on the BBC

Somehow over the course of the past five years I forgot how much I like British television. It's low budget, it's excessively dry, it might be the most campy form of entertainment there is, but I love it. I've been watching the new Dr. Who series lately and it's really great. The next episode brings Daleks back (see: campy!). Watching this reminds me of staying up late when I was still in high school to watch all the Brit-Com which came on PBS, and those were always good times. That's why we watch TV isn't it, for good times?

Look at this picture of Chin-Chin (photo cred: Zach):

What. A. Bad. Ass.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

You can always rely on government services to be as slow as you would expect.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Teaching Assistance

Teaching is really fun. That is all.

Dr. Rapp wants me to apply for the NSF Graduate Fellowship and thinks I stand a good chance. I sort of feel otherwise but I think I'm locked in now.

In other news, rain sucks. It rains all the goddamn time in this shitstick city.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Evangelion Redux

Gainax has decided to redo Evangelion (artistically) and release it as 4 feature films. Sounds pretty rad, looks pretty rad too:

Trailer 1
Trailer 2

(Thanks Jeff!)
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