Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Winter Quarter Rundown

Many of you have told me that you like it when I give "my perspective." I'm not sure what that means, but here's a bit of my perspective for you: life sucks when it's cold outside.

Now, the cold and the suckage are probably not actually causally related, but I can at least assume they are. Winter: cold and busy and stressful. Summer: warm and busy and not stressful. Clearly, I can blame the temperature. Well, that, and in a Perfect World, I wouldn't waste two minutes putting on complicated clothing just because I want/need to *gasp* go outside. Not to mention the gas bills. Oh, yes, and "cold" is another word for "sick," and "sick" is another way of saying, "I'm not really going to get any work done today, but I'm not going to have any fun either."

This quarter I am taking two classes (because there are two classes to take). They are Radiative Gas Dynamics and Observational Cosmology. Observational Cosmology really means, AGN and maybe some observational cosmology if there's time left at the end of the quarter. I'm going to learn a hell of a lot of physics and astronomy this quarter, and it'll be great, but let's examine my schedule for Tuesdays and Thursdays for a moment, shall we. In short, they are Teh Suck. The idea is that we can dedicate the other days of the week to Doing Research, but seriously, days like Tuesdays and Thursdays this quarter make me want to crawl under my covers and get drunk. Specifically, I've got Coffee from 10:30 until Radiative Gas Dynamics starts at 11:10 or so, which goes until 12:30. Then Observational Cosmology launches at 1:30 and goes until 2:48 (:48? what the ... ?). Thursdays are even better because we have colloquium at 3:30 (with unskippable donuts at 3) until 4:30 or so, and speaker harassment at 5. Yick yick yick. I think I also have office hours on Tuesday, at like 4 or something.

Oh, yeah, and I have office hours this quarter. Because I'm apparently TAing and introductory astronomy course. It's not that TAing takes a lot of time—it takes five hours a week, max, and that includes the office hours that will be sparsely attended—it's that it's just something else to keep track of and do. I'm not TAing because my advisor was particularly unwilling to pay me (i.e., to give me an RAship) this quarter, but because I'm supposedly near the end of my current project and they really need TAs this quarter. This is one of the top ten things wrong with the quarter system. The astronomy department has several two-quarter sequence classes; they all either go fall-winter or winter-spring, and so winter just winds up being "let's teach lots and lots of astronomy classes!" time. At least I don't have to go to the class I'm TAing. It's at 9:30AM every single morning. I have the sneaking suspicion that the professor I'm TAing for would really kind of like for me to go to class every day, but is nice (and smart?) enough to not ask me to. Seriously, why do people take this class? I'm sure it's "intersesting," but 9:30AM interesting? If it were something like galaxies or cosmology, I could understand. But this is the solar system. And so far, it's not even "cool" solar system; it's like, zomg what causes a lunar eclipse?! See, this is why I wasn't an astronomy major.*

And, oh yes, I'm apparently close to the end of my current project. Which is to say, I'm finished with my current project, except that I need to actually write the paper. And, apparently, it has been decided that I should have said paper done by February 1. February 1 is terrifyingly soon, in case you hadn't noticed. And, of course, now that I've mentioned it on my blog, I have to have said paper finished by February 1. Well. We'll see how that goes ...

* Please ignore the fact that MIT neither has an astronomy department nor offers a B.S. in astronomy.


Anonymous said...

Your advisor must be a terrible human being.

Anonymous said...

No, I am not.

Krystof Stanek

mollishka said...

Hahahahahaha. Hehehe.

I used to have a friend who called my every year on my birthday to remind me that I'm a "terrible human being," so it can't mean much to be called such. But then, this individual is no longer my friend; can you guess why?

Also, anonymous #2: you've gone and misspelled "Krystof."

Jon Voisey said...

Oh good. So I'm not the only person that doesn't like this seasonal cold thing. Good thing global warming can fix that. Too bad it'll screw up so many things. :-/

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am.

Krzystof Stanek

mollishka said...

So, anonymous, amusing as you may be, the thing about spoofing someone is that typically the spoofer tries to be as like the spoofee as possible. In our example here, you are the spoofer, and you keep mispelling the spoofee's name, which is quite unlike the spoofee, thereby revealing you to be a poor spoofer.

Furthermore, "spoof" is a funny word, and I'm ready for June to be here.

Anonymous said...

Molly, finish that paper!

Krzysztof Stanek

Vincent said...

Technically, MIT doesn't offer any BS degrees. Unless they've changed in the past few years, a Bachelor of Science degree at MIT is known as an S.B.

mollishka said...

Hm. The online course catalog seems to imply that you can get a "Bachelor of Science" in Physics, though I don't really know the difference(s) between that, a BS, and an SB. I don't have my diploma with me, so more investigative reporting is clearly required. The "MIT FACTS" sheet they hand out to applying students says, "MIT offers the S.B. degree in the following fields:" ... so, well, I learn something every day.

Oh, and while your comment didn't deign a reply all by itself, anonymous, while I'm at it: I suppose you're still mildly amusing, but at least it's clear you're not "my advisor." B+ for effort, though.

Anonymous said...

I decided to post again, to increase the comment count up to 10. It will never be that high again.

Krzysztof Z. Stanek

Stephen said...

Hope you have fun TAing. I would.

Next week, i'm giving a talk at my astronomy club. Should be fun.

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