Friday, January 30, 2009

the ratio between two wrongs could make a right

Remember our missing factor of N? It's just not there. Nowhere to be found. Goes away for our case. We can tweak the theory so it's there, but then it's wrong in other worse ways. So the new plan is to divide something with the wrong scaling by another thing with the wrong scaling. This way, the ratio is independent of N as it should be. Overall, I don't care that much anymore. I just want to move on. The ratio looks reasonable. People want me to study this problem, and it seems this is the only way to do it with this theory. Whatever. Good luck to me getting the paper through review.


What motivates people to make shoelaces with a circular cross section? Do these people not care if their shoes come untied?

Why do I seem to push cars more often when pregnant? I'm sure it's just coincidence. . .

Should I submit my proposal now or read over it one more time? I hate reading over things!

Why did LP wake up today to scream NO (sounds more like "nah") for 20 minutes?

I also want to note that LP can now distinguish us and calls me mama and TE dada! Yay!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


ELP can kick now! We are well within the cute-kicking regime where they are just letting you know they're there. Later, it's more like poking from the inside. . .

Also, I have a first draft of the proposal!

Friday, January 16, 2009


I am still not writing my proposal, but I thought this was funny and I really don't want to write my proposal so here I am. Three little clothing things:

TE tore his nice warm lined pants, and seemed unusually upset about it, so I offered to sew them. I thought I didn't know how to sew, but I do know enough to put thread through the rips (in a fairly timely manner) in such a way that it does not immediately fall out or otherwise fail to repair the pants. Apparently this is not self-explanatory; one must know how to thread the needle and other basic concepts, how to start and end, and not to do odd things that don't work. The repair has held so far and I am quite happy with myself.

Today, I didn't want to wear the same shirt as yesterday, but it was cold and I couldn't bear taking off the shirt and putting on a new (cold) one. So I just put another shirt on top.

Also today, I am walking around with my pants unbuttoned. I really need to get the maternity box out of the attic, but I couldn't have worn that stuff today anyway as it is too cold (I have 3 pairs of pants on, and don't think my maternity jeans would have fit over the extra bulk).

Back to proposal writing!

financial crunch and new cars

Now that we got our tax documents and everything was laid out in front of me, I calculated yesterday that our net worth had dropped during 2008 by about a third. Even though we have equity in the house and some money in savings/checking accounts, apparently that is mostly canceled by our large amount of student loans. The balance is mostly in relatively risky mutual funds of some sort, which lost more than a third of their value. It doesn't make me feel better that either or both of us may have an employment gap later in the year, that our daycare expenses make up a relatively large fraction of our paychecks, or that we now pay for LP's checkups at full cost (I had forgotten that our insurance only covers well baby care up to the state-mandated one year).
We'll be fine, of course--if we thought we needed that money in the next few years it would have been in a CD or something. However, we are considering doing something I never thought I would do--getting financing to buy a new car. We've decided that we really shouldn't let our lack of money get in the way of safety features such as side airbags and stability control, and with our other requirements such as excellent gas milage and enough space for 2 carseats (which is why our current car will not work for us after ELP comes), we have gotten way out of the price range we originally were hoping for. (It's not even clear to me that we have enough cash for our original price range without changing other plans or dipping our savings below a reasonable buffer value.) We are even considering a brand new car, which is about the same price as some slightly older cars with similar features. We might take a personal loan, but it won't be for the full amount and we may still need bank financing unless we contribute less than our regular amount to retirement this year. That seems drastic considering that, if the market is about to start recovering, we really need to invest as usual (or extra, which is not going to happen; unfortunately we invested extra last year). If the market is not about to recover, I figure everyone else will be in trouble too, so we may as well join 'em.
Ok, seriously, I need to write this proposal . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

first offer!

I got an email offer for a postdoc position (the formal letter will take a few weeks)! I want to cross out the $$ and hang it up on my door as was the custom in undergrad, but sadly nobody does that here. Also, I have no idea how to respond. The email was a bit strange, actually, and said: "Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I'll start making a formal offer letter for you. The salary is $$." It didn't ask or imply any questions of me so it's unclear what I would include in a response except "Thanks. I'll wait for your letter." Help?

paper and pencil day: missing N

Obviously, as a good little theorist, I love a nice paper-and-pencil problem (no computer). So you would think I would have appreciated the break yesterday when I got to try to work something out. However, my problem is a missing factor of N between different theories I am working with which should give similar results. As such, I wasn't really searching for something interesting or even relevant, I just wanted to know where the discrepency was. I ended up spending (wasting?) the whole day on the problem, and I still have no idea what's going on, but I now think it is not trivial. Actually, at this point I am really hoping it is not trivial because then I will feel like an idiot (although, at least then I could get back to real work).
This would lead me to a really great joke about physicists but I will not repeat it here because TE did not find it funny at all, and wouldn't even pretend it was funny after I explained it to him, so maybe my humor is not shared by everyone. Now the problem has lost most of it's appeal because it is frustrating and wasting my time, but it has gained back some because I really want to figure it out and quit working on it. I've decided to figure out where the N is by calculating things, so it's not even pencil and paper anymore, but at least I won't be going in circles all day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

another proposal

I had a great meeting for the postdoc in my hometown! I got TONS of questions at my talk (about 4 good ones, I think), and really enjoyed the people there. Did I mention my hometown is likely one of a few places where it is most likely for TE to find a good job . . . and that if TE does not find a job right away, my hometown would be the best place for him to be anyway . . . and that my mom wants to move somewhere smaller and for us to live in her house? Now I have to write a research proposal (boo!) but it thankfully does have a word limit, and they have been very helpful in discussing ideas with me. Also, hopefully this will mean that my previous half-hearted research proposal writing experience was not a waste (in that I can reuse parts of it or at least not feel like I'm writing my first reserach proposal ever).
Also, I have to write my thesis abstract, or a first version of it, b/c it is part of the application. They already want an essay about my research, so why the abstract? Just to rub it in that I haven't started yet?
In other news, I was very sick again yesterday, not quite as sick as before Christmas, but at least I am mostly better now. TE was sick with me this time, so it is not just morning sickness. I think it may have been shigella, but that is a random guess based on essentially no evidence or medical knowledge. Also, don't call me (you can call TE instead). My battery is no good. I have no excuse not to be writing a proposal or at least getting some work done now . . .