Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Meme excuses to babble: The Fours thing

I feel like going on about something, and the "four things" meme seems like as good an excuse as any. There may be more babbling later today.

Secretarial temp. The first summer I temped, I went to a variety of jobs. At one of them, they decided my name was Kathy. They argued with me about my own name. The second summer I temped was the summer before I started at LLNL, and I had a long-term temp job. I had to list my temp supervisor on the LLNL forms, so I warned her that the Feds would be calling her for a background check for my next job. "I'll just tell them you tried to blow up the place!" she said cheerfully. "Do not do that," I said. "The Feds have notoriously little sense of humor about people who will have access to nuclear materials." Her eyes got round: "What do you do?" I told her I was a nuclear physics grad student, and when she could speak again, she said, "No wonder those spreadsheets took you no time at all!" That's right: nuclear physics makes you a whiz at Excel. She spent the rest of the summer apologizing for asking me to do things, and I had to keep assuring her that I was being paid to help her. People stared at me in the break room at lunchtime after that.

"Development Office" phoner. I called people's parents and asked them to give money to my college. It was my first workstudy job, before I could get the department to give me a job, and it wasn't much fun. Most people's parents either had already given or had no intentions of doing so. The thing that saved this job was that I really didn't care, and I figured there was very little way I was going to convince someone who was hassling me to give money to the college, so I would say saracastic things about my own job. Then they still wouldn't give money, but we'd have a bit of a laugh before I hung up. Oh, and here's the thing about Gustavus demographics: my territory was all states that were not Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. The people who had parts of Minnesota, Iowa, or Wisconsin had lots of alumni parents, but Gustavus had undergone a recent demographic shift, so not only were people less connected to Gustauvs from a distance, but they were also more likely to be paying $N thousand/year to the college at the moment.

Physics tutor. Mostly this was a fun job. Mostly I loved this. There was one half-hour with a pre-med, trying to convince him that if T - W = 0, T did not generally equal -W. I really hope he did not get into med school; heaven knows our department did its part in the weeding process. The other PITA was that we had two classes for pre-meds, one with and the other without calculus. Occasionally someone from the sans calculottes would come in with a question, and I would have to rederive how to explain it to them with discreet math, because I was thinking of these things in calc terms exclusively. Particularly E&M. You can't really teach electromagnetics without integral calculus. You can hand people formulae, but that's different. So I would ask them to give me a minute while I remembered how to do it there way, and then I would do integral calculus on the blackboard until it became clear how to make it clump up again, and sometimes I would get excited and bounce, and they would stare at me with big round eyes. (Umm. Possibly a theme.)

Physics lab TA. Again, mostly a lovely job. porphyrin can tell you that some of my premeds still remember me as "so tough," but when people would take their lab notebooks to Steve (the supervising prof) to complain about their grades, he often found that more points should come off. Some of the premeds were great, and I would look for them if I was looking for their specialty of doctor. Mostly I liked TAing classes for the major, though. Made some friends that way. Built department coherence. Etc.

Real Genius
The Princess Bride
Galaxy Quest, even though the ending makes me cry. What? It does. With the fan kids. That's us, folks. You can derive all kinds of messages from that movie, but for me the message is, "Obsessive geekiness will fill your life with wonder."

Omaha, NE
St. Peter, MN
Concord, CA
Hayward, CA (The most important non-current ones.)

Gosh, four? That I love? That's kind of a lot and kind of enthusiastic, isn't it? I am reminded of the old lady in the LM Montgomery novel who didn't think girls should say they loved turnips in the same tone as they loved their mother or their Savior. Well, and nor do I; turnips are just not that good. Anyway, there's "Babylon 5," because of Ivanova. I mean, there are other things with Bab5, but Ivanova is my favorite TV character of all time. markgritter and I and sometimes timprov are watching B5 lately. We're in Season 3. I know it's downhill from here, with the spectre of Season 5 looming over us. But Season 3 just makes me so happy. Crunchycrunchyplotplot.

timprov and I are also watching "Red Dwarf," sometimes with markgritter. Don't know's how I'd say I love it, but I like it. I'm really getting hung up on the love thing here. I love, for example, the BNL episode of "Behind the Music," or I did the one time I saw it. It made me all warm and fuzzy and happy. But "Behind the Music" in general? Uh, no. "Futurama" has at least three episodes I love, so "Futurama" makes the list. (B5 makes the list as a series. Even the cruddy horrible episodes make me somewhat happy because they're B5, and generally there's Ivanova at least for a minute or two.)

We've watched "The Simpsons" off and on longer than anything, so I guess that counts. And I wanted to love "Freaks and Geeks." It made me squirm half the time, but I loved about half of each episode (overlapping with the squirming bits, I'm afraid).

Umm. See, I've been to 49 of the United States. We used to take vacations every summer like that. So there are lots of places I've been on vacation. The farthest ones, in temporal order:

We went to Scandinavia when I was 9-turning-10. My tenth birthday was with our Swedish family. They told my mother they'd made a cake for breakfast, and she was a little alarmed, but it was a banana torte topped with berries, not at all too sugary for breakfast. They woke me singing like you do. We visited a local Kristina Kirke because it's part of my name. They arranged for English language tours and all sorts of things. I loved Norway: Norway felt right in my bones, and I would gladly go back. I loved Sweden: our family and family friends made it wonderful, and it's all green-and-blue smelling anyway. I was cautiously fascinated with our one day in Helsinki but was not yet a Finnophile at 10. Copenhagen did not charm me after the exotic delights of Helsinki, the stark beauty of Norway, and the homey forthrightness of Sweden. Perhaps I would have felt differently about Copenhagen if I'd come to it first or from further south, but to me it was the friend of a friend you don't really click with. You can see that it has many fine qualities, but they just don't move you particularly. Also, a pigeon shat upon me in the Copenhagen train station, which will tend to jaundice one's view, if unfairly.

When I was 16 and had just graduated high school, I went with the French Club, including scottjames, to Paris, some of the Loire Valley, some of Normandy, and a tiny bit of England. It wasn't my first trip without my parents (I'd been to Washington, DC, at 13 for the national MathCounts contest), but it was kind of a mile-marker of adulthood for me. Jan had rules for us but did not get uppity enforcing most of them. She was concerned that we not miss our tour bus, for example, but while she would say things like, "No alcohol in the hotel rooms," mostly what that meant was that if you were being really rowdy and the hotel management complained, she could get you out of her hair, not that she was making rounds every night. We did some really awesome things, and Scott and I had a good time with Katie Pickett and the rest of the usual suspects but also with people we'd never gotten along with in high school.

For my grandparents' 50th, five years ago, my folks took them and markgritter and me to Hawaii. When you are the only child of an only child, getting all the kids and grandkids together for a big dinner is just not that impressive. You don't even have to put two tables together at most restaurants. So, Hawaii. Where my parents attempted to make me the Babel fish for an entire bus of tourists, and where my mom was the One-Woman Board of Midwestern Tourism, and where we had shave-ice and got to dabble our feet in random roadside waterfall pools.

And this summer was London, and many of you have seen pictures from that, as they are on my other website.

The stuff on my links page, mostly, but lj has aggregated a lot of stuff for me. Feeds are our friends.

Cherry tomatoes, fresh, not the supermarket kind
Dark chocolate
Really sharp cheddar. Really, really, really sharp. The elderly kind of cheddar. The kind of cheese that's older than all of my friend Heathah's kids.

There are not four places I'd rather be right now. I like it here. If I wanted to go down to the living room, I would.

Seriously, there are places I would like to visit in the future, but right now I am drinking my morning juice and water at my computer, wearing my sleepshirt and my glasses, and if I was somewhere else I would likely not have my right stuff, or I'd have to be showered and dressed, or...yah. Right here is good. It suits for the moment.

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