Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cured of Infatuation...

...but the brain is still going bonkers. I had a strange dream last night: this prof of mine who will be leaving for another university next semester sent a mass email to everyone in his class. Guess what the email said? He's getting hitched - no - got hitched over study leave and is really happy, blah blah blah, so would all of us join in his happiness and attend XYZ evangelical church.

Oh, he was praising God in every sentence.

I woke up in shock, as though it was a particularly hideous nightmare. Well, it was anyway, because 1)I could never imagine him writing that way; 2)Married over the break? No way. 3)I'm not even sure (nor do I care) about his sexual orientation.

The weirdest thing was that in the dream, he thanked his religion for his marriage and told us all to go check the funky church out. He's just not like that in real life. Darn it, my brain is mixed up.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Benefits of a teenage crisis

A few years ago, I started to wonder where my life was heading. What was the point of being in the system, succeeding in the system, and getting churned out from the production line like another one of those robots? 9 to 5, stale office air, rush hour, sucking up to a boss...

Welcome to the real world, you may say.

When I looked around me, most other students don't seem to care. It's party now, think later. A ton of them can't wait to get on the job market while I just don't want to graduate. Undergraduate life is a bliss compared to the world out there.

My teenage crisis was not one of mindless rebellion. I simply thought too much about life and started to think that nothing was worth it. High achiever? So what? And then I realised that it wasn't a healthy way of thinking. I began to appreciate myself and my abilities much more. I talked myself out of the sinking feeling of worthlessness.

A few years on, I'm thankful that I questioned life and its assumptions during adolescence. Hopefully, I've emerged with a clearer vision of what I want and who I want to be, and not let society just sweep me away with so many other people into a life I have to accept passively.

I will not get a boyfriend or get married just because everyone else is.
I will not settle for a mediocre office job.
I will not wear ugly clothes and painful shoes just because they are "in fashion".
Most importantly, I will not surrender to a life that's filled with tedium doing things that don't challenge or interest me, just because it is the easiest route to take.
I will not go with the flow and look back at my life thinking: is that it?

I have the opportunity and time to not let myself get into that rut.
I will not squander my youth.

How many S.D.s was that again?

Oh happy day. 90% in a cohort mean of 60-70% is just...relief and vindication.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Typical Rants

I realised that two of my more interesting lecturers this semester are Visiting Fellows/Adjunct. Which means I may not get them - or be able to take courses in their fields - next semester. They stated it explicitly during tutorials, when we asked what they would be offering next semester. Our hopes of a guaranteed fun course were dashed, damn it.

As for the professor with the boring lectures that I have completely skipped so far and still managed a quiz score 1 s.d. from the mean? He's supposed to be retiring but he doesn't want to.

As for the lecturer I never took a course from but told students that he was going to be moving to another university because the students there were more responsive - good riddance. Who is he trying to kid? Which teacher leaves a job where he/she has been building up career expectations just because the students talk more elsewhere? It has got to be better pay, or nicer colleagues. And what a thing to say to students, as if his moving was their fault. Good-bye and don't be sorry that you never had me and my brilliant honours friends in your classes.

By the way, I know people from the other university. Sure, they talk more, but it's largely a classic case of empty vessals making the most noise. Good luck when you figure it out, Doctor.

I'm glad that my current general education course is also my last. The well-regarded professor in charge doesn't seem to care too much about this course, leaving all tutorials to his grad students, two of which are borderline morons. I have special insight because of my strategic sitting position during classes.

Grad student X is approached by an undergraduate in his tutorial who has a problem with a group member gone MIA. X brushes the student off in a commanding tone, saying that this sort of problem happens every semester, so go solve your own problem.

Grad student Y complains to another grad student teaching in this course that he doesn't want to teach next semester. Why? He's pissed off at student emails. He doesn't reply them because he thinks that the questions are stupid (I'm with him on this one. Stupid emails warrant no attention.) but has "gotten into trouble" with the professor due to student complaints about his tardy replies. So far, understandable. But he goes on to generalise the stupid questions, saying that all the students in this class are silly and dumb and can't handle simple stuff. He also compares students expectations of tutors here to his alma mater. Hello? If you love the culture in your old university, why bother doing a PhD in my school? I hope he doesn't become an academic. What a potential disaster.

My own tutor is a sweet person. The other tutor - whom Y was whining to - was also rather stunned by his complaints. It appeared that she had none such problems. Yes, general education classes often end up with a large proportion of students who aren't really interested in the subject. If it's an essay-based subject, you can bet that there will be students who can't write an essay to save their lives.

Take it out on the administration for requiring such course, not on the students. I'd think that a mature scholar-to-be would know such a thing.

The well-regarded professor gives amazing lectures. If only he could have lectured grad students X and Y on student relations as well.

Hindsight is bliss...

...because I made the right choice for something that would possibly have an impact on the rest of my life.

When I decided to go out with Prince Charming, I never thought it would get "official" so fast. He was going to move away and I thought - if I don't give it a go, I'll never know what could have been.

Then I saw what could have been and didn't like it.

Prince Charming is
...very rich
...reasonably attractive, going by the number of girls who hit on him while ignorant of his family background
...very well-mannered
...headed for a sterling career
...good in the kitchen and around the house
...an attentive listener
...absolutely adoring
...a voracious reader

Of course, I thought that I'd hit jackpot. Until I got to know him better.

PC also
...is very condescending to people he deems not as smart as him
...hates having to work hard
...is insensitive to the feelings of others
...ingratiates with shallow, insincere praise
...despises his mother (she isn't fantastic but she had a lot of tough issues to face and he disliked her for not coming out on top)
...takes his privileged life for granted
...is careless and callous
...doesn't care about the world around him
...is prone to launching personal attacks just to get his view across
...intends to put his career first at the expense of his future kids and wife. In other words, he will not spend quality time at home if it's going to stop him from climbing to the top of his workplace. He said this himself.
...has said some things that raised ethical alarms
...evaluates others entirely on their finances, looks and academic results
...thinks that he has a fantastic dress sense that few can match in spite of feedback on the contrary
...loves commitment, too much
...emotionally needy
...startling lack of insight and self-awareness given his reading record and travels

We had mostly good times and seldom argued. But as I got to know him better, I thought: is this who I want to commit to seriously in the future? The answer was absolutely a no. I had a few buts going through my mind when I contemplated ending the relationship:

But he's going to have an incredible career, not bills to worry about and he adores you!
And then I remembered that I don't adore him. I should have gotten to know him better before saying yes to "Will you be my girlfriend?" but the distance made it seem sensible to define our relationship asap. Ironically, the distance also gave me time to think. I'm glad that I ended it. I've since had a clearer picture of what to look for in a guy, even one who appears to be every girl's dream. If someone's too good to be true, he probably is.

Things I've learnt:
1. Give me shyness over charisma anytime.
2. That confident smile could be arrogant condescension.
3. Not all smart people think that they should actually put in some effort to realise their potential
4. I should trust my instinct on the potential in-laws. True enough, I didn't really like his mother - she ignored me most of the time - and I found out later that she had covertly enquired about my family's finances.
5. Combine wealth and academic success and immaturity, and you'll get one of the most potent forms of arrogance.
6. Off-handed condescending remarks actually leave a very strong impression.
7. Being well-read and well-travelled does not always mean insightful, sensitive and perceptive.

He's asked me if he had any fatal flaw that made me dump him. I just couldn't bring myself to tell him the list above. Darn it, we were buddies first (but I found out that he was already attracted to me from day one). I know that he knows why, because I've told him how he can treat people better, and suddenly, when we catch up these days, he's morphed into this regretful "I-know-I'm-entitled-and-I-feel-bad" thing. But I can't help wondering how much of it is sincere and how much is a ploy.

Like a coward, I didn't tell him that it's entirely impossible between us ever.
Like a coward, I said that I just wanted out of relationships. True, I'm still single but he doesn't know that I'm looking.
Like a coward, I want to keep his friendship because he is a loyal friend and fun to be with. I've seen how he treats his friends. He'd just make a lousy partner.

And like a coward, I choose to spill my guts on an anonymus blog. So sue me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh! Shock! Surprise! Yeah right....

You Belong in 1964


If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!

Haha. The 60s indeed.

You Are a "Don't Tread On Me" Libertarian

You distrust the government, are fiercely independent, and don't belong in either party.

Religion and politics should never mix, in your opinion... and you feel opressed by both.

You don't want the government to cramp your self made style. Or anyone else's for that matter.

You're proud to say that you're pro-choice on absolutely everything!

I'm not pro-choice on everything. Unbriddled permissiveness often leads to anarchy. Well, yes, letting everyone do what they want is terrific - in theory. The way I see it is that if we're going to have to live together in the same city in the same state in the same country, there's got to be some compromise. As for fitting into the 60's...yeah, I'd like that. If only these quizzes were really valid.

Finally, I fouled up my timetable.

For the first time in my entire life, I entered the wrong tutorial class.

[10 minutes before class begins. I look around, class is empty save for an old prof? tutor? and a male student]

Old prof/tutor: [smiling] Hello. Welcome!

Me: Um, hi. [to male student] Are you here for [boring class]?

Male student: [mutters something] I've never seen you before.

[I look at the prof/tutor and smile. Must be a substitute. Regular grad student tutor probably fell sick.]

Prof/tutor: You didn't turn up for a lot of classes, hmm?

Me: ??? [to male student] I haven't seen you either!

Male student: You've skipped a lot of tutorials!

Me: [indignant] I never skip tutorials!

[I stare at old prof/tutor. He smiles. I stare at clock.]

Me: Oh, um, I'm in the class that starts an hour later. Sorry. [exit with haste]

I wanted to laugh but laughing to yourself on campus begs for immediate counselling. It was so funny and so embarrassing. The hilarious part was that the prof/tutor actually looked glad to see me, even though I "skipped a lot of classes". I'm guessing that some other girl on his register hasn't been showing up and he thought - well, here she is at last. I'm mildly sorry that I may have burst his bubble.

One hour later, I was just too embarrassed to risk facing them if I turned up early, so I walked into class (at the exact same venue) right on time. What a good story to share - which I did - with my classmates in that lesson. Turns out that it isn't an unusual thing to walk into the wrong class (and still think you're in the right one).

Monday, March 27, 2006

Democracy is at the mercy of fickle voters

Ukraine leaders jostle for power

"...the results would be a humiliating blow for Mr Yushchenko, whose popularity has plunged following a year of political infighting and sluggish economic growth."

The following rant was sparked by the Ukrainian elections, but applies to elections in general.

So the gleeful delight in finally moving away from Russia has dissipated. I remember that a significant proportion of Ukrainians didn't vote for Yushchenko and expressed indignant anger at having the election results overturned then. What I'm wondering is how many voted for the opposition because they thought that Yushchenko wasn't delivering the economic goodies he promised. The economy is not instant coffee. And having an electorate who votes for whoever hands out the most goodies without considering the long term effects of That Sort of Generosity is a country's worst nightmare. Having an electorate who votes a party out because unemployment doesn't magically shrink is...please just make economics a compulsory subject from elementary school. All over the world.

Please school young kids in the art of differentiating rhetoric from facts. In the art of identifying manipulative propaganda. In the art of seperating style from quality. Of course, we will have precocious kids who wouldn't fall for crap. If we educate the citizens, they'd be too smart to be fooled.

Yes, not all highly-educated people vote wisely and not all people without an education vote like a cow. Still. A basic education in Logic is pretty useful...

Until I remember that some people do not want to be educated.

Give the world back the democracy of the informed. If the founders of this political system knew that today, there are people who vote based on unreasoned emotional reaction - or are too easily deceived by rhetoric - they would turn in their graves.

Wanna bet?

People change....or do they?

[Class reunion]
Skinny Girl (SG) was my classmate for 2 years. I didn't particularly like her then, but looked forward to seeing the older (and hopefully more mature) her.

SG: I took social psychology! It was soooooo interesting!

[A few minutes later after a group shot]

SG: OMG, I look FAT in that picture! Eewwww.

[More minutes later]

SG: *gossip gossip gossip*...she's going out with a medical student! Like, wow! A medical student!

[An hour ago...]

SG: I'm torn between two subjects. Thinking of majoring in [exciting subject 1] or [exciting subject 2]. But other students majoring in [2] are soooo smart! Listening to them in tutorial for [2] just bruises my ego.

Thank you, SG, for admitting what I suspected all along. Have a nice life and here's a smiley for you! ^_~

21st Century Pragmatism

New Friend: So will you be aiming for honours?

Me: Of course! If I do an honours thesis, I can explore [field I'm interested in].

NF: Wow, your reason for doing honours is completely different from mine.

Me: ???

NF: I'd only do honours if it would raise my starting pay.


New Friend 2: I'm majoring in [boring subject] but I'm actually quite interested in [interesting subject]. Studying [boring subject] is such a chore.

Me: Why are you majoring in [boring subject]??

NF 2: 'Cos it will get me more job offers after graduation.


Where have all the impulsive follow-my-heart passionate people gone to?
Pragmatism, go away. Come again when there're bills to pay.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Breaking up that long post

The really long post that resulted from a bout of procrastination will be broken down into shorter ones. The length of the present post just ticks me off.
You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Even though I spent hours determining g, staring at hepatic cells and trying hard not to inhale various mildly toxic fumes billowing from my test-tube, I'm still surprised with my score. The days of being a robot in the lab are over, thank goodness.
All American Kid

Popular but not plastic. Athletic but not a jock. Smart but not a brain.
You were well rounded and well liked in high school.

Surprisingly accurate. I got (and still get) along with pretty much everyone. The popular people knew my name, the smartest students had coffee with me and life was generally good. Often I wondered why I deserved all that. But life's not fair.

Q & A: What do you do when....

Q: What do you do when a lecture does not require compulsory attendance, is simply a repeat of the text, is given by an awfully boring professor and has notes without any blanks that need to be filled?
A: Skip the period without guilt.

Q: What do you do when you take a General Education module which requires extensive essay writing and an overwhelming number of students who don't seem to give a damn or just can't write a grammatically sound string of words to save their lives?
A: Sit back, relax and let the curve do the rest.

Q: What do you do when a well-groomed classmate drops onto the seat next to you during lecture and says "My friend thinks you're cute" [pause] "Feels good huh?"
A: Smile sweetly and remember why you don't date such boys.

Q: What do you do when a guy asks for your number after an interesting lecture during which you couldn't pay full attention to the professor because you felt a bit creeped out by his (that student's) periodic glances?
A: Decline and remember to sit away from him in the next lecture.

Please, come-hither looks look absolutely disgusting on some people. Urgh.

Bad Poetry #2: Defend Not

Denial is delightful slumber
or if you will, displace your fear,
project that anguish onto backs
where one more burden isn’t much more.
Rationalise your desperate woes,
hunt in cloak repressed,
sublimate your desires, Man,
but in it all,
know that I know that you still want me.

Hopeless yearning is an effective muse.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Take a look at me (or another sorry reason to procrastinate)

This is how my personality DNA looks like:
(Percentages list proportion of respondents who ranked lower)

Confidence 90%
Openess 82%
Extroversion 78%
Trust in others 22% (!!)
Agency 100%
Masculinity 70%
Feminity 17%
Spontaneity 68%
Style 8%
Authoritarianism 98% (!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Very...insightful results.

Click here for your own personality DNA.

More fun quizzes:

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

You Are 23 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

^That's almost accurate...
The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to good manners and elegance.

In love, you feel the most alive when your partner is patient and never willing to give up on you.

You'd like to your lover to think you are stylish and alluring.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was ruthless, cold-blooded, and sarcastic.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.

In this moment, you think of love as something you can get or discard anytime. You're feeling self centered.

^I could laugh...but the last point is just so true.

Your SAT Score of 15XX Means:

You Scored Higher Than Howard Stern

You Scored Higher Than George W. Bush

You Scored Higher Than Al Gore

You Scored Higher Than David Duchovny

You Scored Higher Than Natalie Portman

You Scored Lower Than Bill Gates

Your IQ is most likely in the 140-150 range

Equivalent ACT score: 34

Schools that Fit Your SAT Score:

California Institute of Technology

Stanford University

Princeton University

Yale University

Harvard University

You Are A Realist

You are more romantic than 20% of the population.

When it comes to romance, you tend to take a realistic approach.
You believe that love takes time, and it's something you have to work hard for.
A bit cynical, over the top romance tends to get under your skin.
Your heart is difficult to win ... but it's totally worth it.

Your Values Profile


You value loyalty a fair amount.
You're loyal to your friends... to a point.
But if they cross you, you will reconsider your loyalties.
Staying true to others is important to you, but you also stay true to yourself.


You value honesty a fair amount.
You're honest when you can be, but you aren't a stickler for it.
If a little white lie will make a situation more comfortable, you'll go for it.
In the end, you mostly care about "situational integrity."


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.


You value tolerance a fair amount.
You are open to new cultures, beliefs, and ideas.
You have very few prejudices that you're aware of.
And while you are tolerant, you do stand true to what you believe.

You Are 34% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Who Should Paint You: Andy Warhol

You've got an interested edge that would be reflected in any portrait
You don't need any fancy paint techniques to stand out from the crowd!

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

Your Inner Child Is Sad

You're a very sensitive soul.
You haven't grown that thick skin that most adults have.
Easily hurt, you tend to retreat to your comfort zone.
You don't let many people in - unless you've trusted them for a long time.

Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is a creative hotbed of artistic talent.
You're always making pictures in your mind, especially when you're bored.
You are easily inspired to think colorful, interesting thoughts.
And although it may be hard to express these thoughts, it won't always be.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

You Are Low Maintenance

Otherwise known as "too good to be true"
You're one laid back chica - and men love that!
Just remember that no good guy likes a dormat.
So if you find your self going along to get along...
Stop yourself and put up a little bit of a fight.

And to up the notch on plainly hilarious stuff...
You Have Your PhD in Men

You understand men almost better than anyone.
You accept that guys are very different, and you read signals well.
Work what you know about men, and your relationships will be blissful.

Guys Like That You're Sensitive

And not in that "cry at a drop of a hat" sort of way
You just get most guys - even if you're not trying to
Guys find it is easy to confide in you and tell you their secrets
No wonder you tend to get close quickly in relationships!

I deserve a 100% in procrastinating skills. Will comment on quizzes next time...time for a shower.

Bad Poetry #1: Infatuation

Maybe on one winter's night
we'd shared a kiss by candlelight
and as our cigarette fouled evening air,
the Wall would fall but we didn't care.

~Inspired by Latest Infatuation Subject.

LIS is a brilliant gorgeous strapping fashionable articulate humorous man. Unfortunately, he's unavailable, hence the pathetic verse of what if I had a past life. My head tells me that he's not perfect. He probably has a ton of flaws that my clouded eyes cannot spot. It's almost the same situation with the last guy I dated. The absolutely perfect Prince Charming. Until I got to know him better, that is.

Lessons learnt:
1. Never rush into a relationship.
2. That privileged gentleman could just be an obnoxious snob.
3. Being treated with condescension is one of the worst feelings in the world.
4. Spending half a day with a person for most of the week over a period of 2 years does not always mean that you know him/her well.

The only positive thing that came out of the Prince Charming saga was that by the time I'd seen his true colours, I was too disgusted to feel sad about breaking up. And oh, how much easier it is to walk away once the infatuation abated.

With LIS, everything is different.

He's beyond my reach. I know that acting rationally means not acting at all but my nervous system refuses to listen to reason. Each time he walks by, my heart pounds. I stare. I sneak a peek at his back after he passes me. Silly girl, stop it, I scream inside.

But I can't. I've managed to resist committing myself to this inappropriate attraction by not going out of my way to catch a glimpse of him. I try my best to ignore him. When it ends and the smog clears, I don't wish to deal with excrutiating embarrassment. The what ifs can live on in bad poetry.