Wednesday, January 04, 2012

[my excessively long post about] two thousand 'leven

i'm in my bedroom, which isn't in the worse mess of its term as mine, but isn't is exactly something i'd want to clue my parents, future boss or mother-in-law in on. i feel like i should be having this epiphany, but this year i am coming up somewhat empty. i've made some progress this year, but i mean it's impossible not to have done so in a year, i suppose.

i feel as though this year has been broken up fairly rigidly into phases. rich and varied as it were, i feel like it might be one of those years i confuse with the year before it or after it when i'm in my thirties.

currently i'm listening to modest mouse on shuffle. something about modest mouse. they're one of my favorite bands, but their discography is not one that i have sunk to the bottom of. sometimes i'll discover something new they wrote that i love, for example: "sleepwalkin'" from building nothing out of something. the grittiness of isaac brock's voice, the tinniness of the guitar, the random bursts of anger and emotion interlaced with stoicism- it can go from lo-fi to hard core in like 12 seconds. i like the way they say things. what i mean to say is that i like their lyrics, and that's one of those things i unknowingly go for with artists. it doesn't always have to be particularly eloquent, but if the lyrics don't sit well with me, i can't like the artist.

We named our children after towns 
That we've never been to. 
And it's true that the clouds just hunger around 
Like black Cadillacs outside a funeral. 
And we were laughing at the stars 
While our feet clung tight to the ground. 
So pleased with ourselves 
For using so many verbs and nouns. 
-"Black Cadillacs" 

i guess this modest mouse digression has little to do with the new year. i probably could have written this in any year since 2005. something randomly new is that i've started watching the show louie. it turns out i really like louis c.k. and he kind of puts me in the mood to listen to modest mouse somehow.

 i tend to have these associations with music and fiction and feelings. for example, there was a period of time when i associated the decemberists with a series of unfortunate events- there seemed to be a similarity in both wit, fancy, and a slight nautical theme.

louis c.k.'s brand of humor is kind of gritty and ironic too, i guess- in a way that is reminiscent of the irony and bitterness espoused by isaac brock, when he makes statements that are true, yet deeply sad and funny at the same time. he also never portrays himself to be a terribly good person, but he isn't a bad one either. at the same time he is the hero and the antihero.

oh wow, it's late. resolution 1 of every year is always sleep better. why do i never learn? i suppose we're only young once.

stuff about 2011

1. i made several good recordings with my (dynamically member-changing) band, the rose lights, that has now more or less dissolved or gone on extended hiatus. in case you are wandering through, you can listen to/download recordings at our page. we also played about 7 shows, i think. we kind of got into a nice groove. i'm proud of a lot of the songwriting i've done this year, although i suspect it will be enjoyed by few people in the whole world.

2. i saw The Shins in Philadelphia with Hannah! (note- inconsistent capitalization due to excitement.)  we also recorded a lot of video of us as we slowly deteriorated into madness on our no-sleep 900-mile road-trip adventure, which hannah edited and presented to me as a present. yay for friends with thoughtful creative streaks.

3. i probably read like 3 books. two of them were bossypants (book on tape!) and is everyone hanging out without me? and other concerns by mindy kaling. i started a ton more, but i have a kind of high default rate with reading books. i became a really active blog reader, so at least there's that.

4. i had my "i am just too stupid for this" moment with physics last semester. i am hoping to start fresh with lamer, easier physics this semester. wish me luck. dropping physics was okay, and it was actually kind of a relief to not have to do physics anymore, but the spare time killed me. physics shook my faith in my science abilities. it was quickly followed by a break-up, which basically bummed me out for the rest of the semester.

5. i stopped working in the gilroy lab, and basically did no scientific research (sans a biocore lab) for the rest of the year. i learned a lot mostly from the friendships and exposure to research i had in the gilroy lab. i really felt like i was part of a nerdy family, where people would be nice to me when i'd randomly sing. i liked having some other purpose outside of school to exist- as insignificant as i really was. it was cool to have that introductory experience, it was really cool to learn how to use a confocal microscope.

6. i got drunk for the first time.

7. i visited london and paris, chicago, philadelphia, and seattle.

8. it was one of those messy relationship years. that's quickly shaping into like every year of my life past the age of 16. i suppose every day i'm learning. it's hard to balance circumstances with caring for people, which is why i think most relationships at our age don't always work. sometimes it feels like we're all too busy figuring things out to be able to truly commit to someone. some people more than others, of course. i sometimes wish that people could just all chill out about each other and just get to know each other without making it all such a big complicated deal, but of course, when people's blood is all rushing to different parts of their body, and there's a bunch of oxytocin involved, it's impossible to tell anyone to do anything like 'chill out' and have it really sink in.

9. i performed in the UW summer choir.

10. i continued having a radio show, and started a new one called "tin can diamonds," which i enjoyed making musical themes and playlists for. a good one was "in C." i played songs that were all in C and its relative minor. i also played "commissioning a symphony in C," even though it wasn't in C.

11. need i say 11/11/11? an interesting night was had by my person.

see how much we love each other?
12. i got infinity better at the guitar, which has basically become my loneliness companion. some people have body pillows, i have a noisy instrument that i'm not good at playing. it's okay though because i can sometimes hide the fact that i suck with the fact that i'm a decent vocalist. becca gave me the guitar. (thank you.)

13. my spring semester taught of the wonder and magic that was human genetics and cell biology. i found it frustrating while i was learning it, but once i knew it, it was kind of insane to know the language of existence. it's funny how strangely ordered this chaotic system of proteins floating around in cells actually is. some salient topics and possible future research interests include RNA silencing, epigenetics, and disease transmission at the cellular and signal transduction level. i also learned physiology my fall semester, which was also interesting, but may have been too physical at times for me to love it. i liked learning about how the parasympathetic nervous system controlled only the blood flow to the sexual organs, while the sympathetic one did everything else. i liked feedback loops and stuff, but i wasn't as intrigued by how much resistance the lungs had. that stuff was kind of a bummer. i grew to appreciate how complex and wonderful the kidney is, but i kind of wish i had taken the optional lab component so that i would have cared more about the material.

14. along the lines of biology, i finally had a successful biocore lab project with real results. i'd like to say it was all my accomplishment, but it was really mostly brian's statistical tests that helped us to really know what we knew. i remember it was a really difficult experiment that i had to go to lab and re-do all by myself when our data was not conclusive. i am really glad that i did that though, because our final data supported our hypothesis and yielded significantly different results, so we had a really shiny conclusive data set to present to the class on the last day. i think we were like the only group in our whole class that did a successful experiment, and i just glowed with pride over it. it was also really cool because we were also the only 3-person group (the rest were 4 per), so we were like "suck on that! diffusion of responsibility." it was basically about whether the alpha factor (which induces shmooing of MATa-cells of yeast) of a yeast that was truncated at its signaling domain would still bind to the yeast receptor when combined with regular alpha factor. but that's probably more than you wanted to know. it was a very cool experiment. it turned out that the alpha factor that was truncated bound antagonistically with the receptor on the yeast, so less cell cycle arrest and shmooing. ISN'T THAT COOL? it's actually really cool.

15. i applied to journalism school, decision pending. i don't think i will go though if i get in. for a while it seemed like everyone wanted me to be a journalist-- i was offered a really neat position at the daily cardinal, my journalism professor was on the same plane as me, i spoke at a panel, etc. but i don't know if my career should be in telling the stories of others instead of creating something of my own. i also think that if i really want to be a journalist or something public relations-y in future, my experience serves me better than a degree (that could be used for something more rigid and school-based) would.

16. i started working at the one of our campus newspapers as the diversity editor. i really like it, and hope to do better things in the future with this beat. i think that diversity is important in a newsroom because it affects how sources are selected and whose voices they reflect. i can thank my ethnic studies course that i took over the summer (Journalism 662 taught by professor hemant shah) for teaching me all about the correlation between media portrayal and societal acceptance of certain groups.
picture credit: s. lewis

17. this.

picture credit: j.stewart
18. i think this list would be lame if i didn't mention the completely amazing halloween i had this year. while last year, i was in boston and met john kerry on halloween, this year, i had a gig with my band that i had previously thought would never again play a show. we played in costume. it was my best friend's birthday and i actually got to engage in some festivities, and we ended up throwing a large halloween bash at our apartment, by far the biggest party we've thrown. we got our first and only roommates picture (i'm pretty sure), with the exception of the cartoon renditions of us a la the scott pilgrim web site and jason shao.

19. becca moved out of the apartment and janet moved in. i will miss becca while she's in germany, and never forget how instrumental she was in making my first real apartment into a home-y collection of cold rooms with inexplicable sinks in them. we battled the elements together, the three of us, as well as multiple power outages, choppy internet, and pest-related scares. also of note, scott and sasha moved into the apartment building, but then sasha moved out.

20. sasha and i owned (survived) our organic chemistry and biology courses.

21. i'm really happy about the friendships i've made and maintained this year. it's been a good year filled with nice people. it's funny that you never really know who is going to end up being a good friend, who is going to end up really meaning something to you in the long run. i should really make a list of the people i know and how much i think about them at the beginning of every month and see how it shifts as the year passes. actually! i think i WILL start doing that. it's fascinating how people float in and out of your life and some insignificant specks become enormous blobs of importance.

22. The Arab Spring and the Walker Riots came around April. the only thing i really want to say about the collective bargaining/scott walker protests is that i know that mass action changes things, but wide-scale loud complaining only changes things if it causes mass mobilization that goes beyond awareness. protests are not an end-all, they are just the start of a change. it was also exciting and encouraging to see previously-repressed nations fighting against their corrupt governments because i believe it's true that democracy can only really come from within the populace of a nation- it can hardly be implemented from outside. that being said, there are very real obstacles these people face in their journey toward self-government.

some resolutions:
1. spend more time with my family.
2. floss more.
3. send more thank you notes, be more considerate and gracious in general.
4. be cleaner and more organized with room and belongings.
5. spend more time with close friends and don't take them for granted.
6. exercise more frequently, and try to build core strength.
7. market myself better, be more focused on hobbies than 'hanging out'
8. focus less on social life, focus more on school and career-based aspirations.
9. spend more time at the daily cardinal office.
10. get less carried away.
11. be more focused on health-related needs- doctor's appointments, subscription refills, taking the right meds, etc.

by the end of this year, i want to...
know how to make fish, chicken and my own daal.
know how to better play guitar. perhaps purchase electric if i get reallllly good.
have a new band or musical project
have had an excellent, life-changing health-related india experience
have actively participated in hindi conversation tables
be on track to graduate in 4, maybe 4 and 1/2 years
have joined a lab and started a research project that i'm really interested in and almost finished with
have a normal sleeping pattern
have lived to tell the story of it

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