Monday, October 31, 2005

heavenly hell
When the nip in the air turns into downright frigidness in November, I don't mind so much because I know I can go home every night of the week and enjoy some damn good TV. No repeats. And even better than no repeats, it's sweeps, so the shows pull out all their stops. Guest stars. Plot twists.

And the best part? (Well, sometimes.) MOVIES OF THE WEEK! Or Movie Events. Whatever they're called.

I also have a bit of a fetish for natural disaster movies. A la Volcano, Bats, Dante's Peak. There's a long story there, but suffice it to say I make sure to watch every natural disaster movie that comes out. (Which, yes, has taken on a new slant ever since Katrina. And Wilma. But I digress.)

CBS has done me the lovely favor of merging the two in one. In a four hour extravaganza called Category 7. In actuality, it's a sequel to Category 6, which was one of the most god-awful movies ever, even in my twisted demented world where the cheesier the movie, the better. But somehow, the sequel, the spectre of laughing at inappropriate times, the cheese, the winds, the attempts at twanging my heartstrings ... oh I love November.

I am going to go home every night, turn on Barry White, light a few candles, pour me some Shiraz, and make sweet, sweet love to Tivo. Mmm, Tivo.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

whys before doing more work ... or going to bed
* Why did it snow today (yesterday) and it's only October 29?
* Why do I eat when I get drunk?
* Why have I been getting drunk alone a lot?
* Why is drinking 1/2-1 bottle of wine starting to become a weekly occurrence?
* Why is wine so good?
* Why is the Elizabethtown soundtrack so wonderful?
* Why are boys so weird?
* Why do I always find weird boys?
* Why do our journal editors hate us so much by making our tech check and our five page note outline thingamabobber due on the same day?
* Why is spider solitaire so fun?
* Why was I like the only idiot in the city who didn't know it was going to snow?

Ooh, I can stay up another hour b/c of daylight savings! Yeay!

* Why does everyone else in the world spell it "yay"?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

dreaming of traveling
Someone yesterday asked me what I was going to do after I graduate from law school and take the bar exam. I recalled that some friends and I were going to explore Mexico. I also had an idea to go back to New Zealand. Dreaming of that makes me happy. Thinking about it and planning it, oh they bring much contentment to my belly and my heart and my head. Why my belly? I don't know.

But on that note, I go research and write for my journal note. My note which is about New Zealand. Yeay!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans
- By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

(10-26) 04:28 PDT ATSUGI, Japan (AP) --

We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head — either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation — essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced — mistakenly — that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands.

There's no proven-beyond-a-doubt explanation yet as to why people start veering when electricity hits their ear. But NTT researchers say they were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique.

It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.

NTT says the feature may be used in video games and amusement park rides, although there are no plans so far for a commercial product.

Some people really enjoy the experience, researchers said while acknowledging that others feel uncomfortable.

I watched a simple racing-car game demonstration on a large screen while wearing a device programmed to synchronize the curves with galvanic vestibular stimulation. It accentuated the swaying as an imaginary racing car zipped through a virtual course, making me wobbly.

Another program had the electric current timed to music. My head was pulsating against my will, getting jerked around on my neck. I became so dizzy I could barely stand. I had to turn it off.

NTT researchers suggested this may be a reflection of my lack of musical abilities. People in tune with freely expressing themselves love the sensation, they said.

"We call this a virtual dance experience although some people have mentioned it's more like a virtual drug experience," said Taro Maeda, senior research scientist at NTT. "I'm really hopeful Apple Computer will be interested in this technology to offer it in their iPod."

Research on using electricity to affect human balance has been going on around the world for some time.

James Collins, professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, has studied using the technology to prevent the elderly from falling and to help people with an impaired sense of balance. But he also believes the effect is suited for games and other entertainment.

"I suspect they'll probably get a kick out of the illusions that can be created to give them a more total immersion experience as part of virtual reality," Collins said.

The very low level of electricity required for the effect is unlikely to cause any health damage, Collins said. Still, NTT required me to sign a consent form, saying I was trying the device at my own risk.

And risk definitely comes to mind when playing around with this technology.

Timothy Hullar, assistant professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., believes finding the right way to deliver an electromagnetic field to the ear at a distance could turn the technology into a weapon for situations where "killing isn't the best solution."

"This would be the most logical situation for a nonlethal weapon that presumably would make your opponent dizzy," he said via e-mail. "If you find just the right frequency, energy, duration of application, you would hope to find something that doesn't permanently injure someone but would allow you to make someone temporarily off-balance."

Indeed, a small defense contractor in Texas, Invocon Inc., is exploring whether precisely tuned electromagnetic pulses could be safely fired into people's ears to temporarily subdue them.

NTT has friendlier uses in mind.

If the sensation of movement can be captured for playback, then people can better understand what a ballet dancer or an Olympian gymnast is doing, and that could come handy in teaching such skills.

And it may also help people dodge oncoming cars or direct a rescue worker in a dark tunnel, NTT researchers say. They maintain that the point is not to control people against their will.

If you're determined to fight the suggestive orders from the electric currents by clinging to a fence or just lying on your back, you simply won't move.

But from my experience, if the currents persist, you'd probably be persuaded to follow their orders. And I didn't like that sensation. At all.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

drunk blogging, the new drunk txting
I feel so lame. I felt too swamped with work and didn't make it to my friend's show tonight. Turns out they didn't go on until 9pm and my friend put me +1 on the guest list. Darn. I really wish I had known. I told him I'd try and see their show when they return to the town across the river next month.

I feel badly about it. I think I'm feeling a lot of conflicting obligations in me and I'm not meeting any of them satisfactorily, and I just feel totally bummed. Like, our school is having a Halloween party on Thursday night and I told some friends I would go but now I'm not sure. I have so much work and so much blah blah blah blah. GAR!

I hope things will get better in November, but we'll see.

What a pathetic post. I shouldn't even hit publish.
2 IPAs, 2 tequila shots, and a very very large G&T
OH MY GOD. I ACTUALLY went out tonight. A friend met me at the bar across the street from school and we had drinks and we were going to go watch my friend's band play. But then about 45 minutes before they went on, who walked into the bar but the three skinniest men in show biz. Seriously. They are so skinny. Go to their website and buy some merch because these guys need a sandwich. Anyways, we shared a few drinks, a few laughs, and some convo, and then they realized they were going on in like 5 minutes so they ran away and then my friend and I followed b/c we wanted to see them play.

And then we saw them play. And then my friend gave me a very sweaty hug. And then I came home and watched Gilmore Girls and poured myself a very large G&T and then tried to do work but im'ed and talked on the phone and blogged instead.

And now we've come to the present and in the very near future, I'm going to brush my teeth and go to bed.

I really wish my hair was longer. I'm going to grow it out. I can now get it in a ponytail, which is more than I could say three weeks ago. Funny how that works.

Like that random comment? I'm drunk. I've been exhibiting some alcoholic tendencies recently, but I'm okay with that. I've also been spending way too much money on food. But I'm okay with that, too, because food is food and it gets me through stressful times.

Also, I really need to do laundry. It's so bad. I actually have more dirty clothes than clean. And that's a big deal for me. I've resorted to buying new pants instead of washing the ones I have. Bad. Also, I need to take out the garbage. My apartment smells funny.

Oh well.

By week's end, I have to trim my summer options by half. I don't like having to do it. I like being wanted, and I want to have them want me. Ahh well.

Tomorrow, I go visit a firm. This time, I'm in control. Nice.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Quickie: Wham, Bam
Blah. Blogger freaked out on me and deleted what I wrote. In short, I'm alive. It's 1 a.m., Monday morning (or Sunday night) and I have a draft of my paper. It will likely be the copy I turn in. Oh, mediocrity. I spent less than 12 hours studying for my final. It's hopeless. What I have learned about international law is this: it's vague and uncertain.

I almost freaked out today when my computer started acting up and wouldn't charge. After nearly crying while standing in the street, I huffed it over to the university computer lab and banged out the paper. (And taking about 500 steps in the process! I'm wearing a pedometer for a study.) Then I came home and found that if I string the cord up over the screen, it's ok. So I should be ok for the exam tomorrow.

Now I've eaten some french fries and am doing some work for Professor Summer Research. It's going faster than I expected.

Thank you, God, for letting me get through this weekend, even though you kept throwing crap in my way. I suppose I should hold off on the thanks until after I wake up in the morning. I feel an oversleep coming on.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Due Diligence
If you are good at it like I am, then you can find this blog. As a result, I have been toning down and editing out a lot of what I wouldn't have hesitated putting up in the past. I'm on the verge of accepting a job offer, and I'm starting to think more and more about what I say in case someone does find this. And suddenly I'm starting to be more private about my feelings and thoughts, on certain levels. I'm feeling like a loner this weekend. I keep thinking about going swimming, despite my pseudo bum knee, b/c I want to be alone in my head, in 8 feet of water, or however deep the pool is.

Yeah, my knee went pop yesterday during a volleyball game. Ouchie. It hurt like a bitch at first, and then it totally stopped hurting ... while the EMT was poking at it, of course. It's been kinda sore today, but I think it kinda ... popped back earlier today. So I'm optimistic that I can get a good swim in tonight, and maybe go climbing tomorrow. I know with swimming I can just use a pull buoy if it's bad. And the climbing ... I've gotten really used to Saturday climbing and will feel weird not going. So there. I feel confident that I can get my work done this weekend. If only I would stop blogging and surfing the internet.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Warning: griping, bitching, moaning and complaining follow.
I am going to take the next three minutes and spew out to the "world" all the crap I have to get done in the next few days. Hell week, now that it's Thursday, is in full effect.

Monday I have both a final for a class and a mid-term paper due for another class. My friends and I who are in a similar predicament petitioned for exam relief (available if we have two exams on the same day), but did not get good news.

I also just got out of a meeting with Prof. Summer Research. He has just piled some work on me as well. We are working on Week 8. The students will be discussing week 7 on Tuesday. See?

I do not think there are enough hours in the next several days, nor enough caffeine in the world, to make this all happen. But by the will of God, I will survive, and I will get it done, even if it has to be half assed. I'm already wired and jittery from the four cups of coffee I've had today and the 1L of Diet Pepsi I'm currently ingesting. And the Reese's PB Cups, minis. I am going to drop dead from a heart attack on Monday, but at least I will make it to Monday.

Ok, I'm done with the self-pity. Time to tackle the work. I will not breakdown. I am far too old and mature and wise and experienced for that. I will be efficient. So efficient, I will not even have typos so as to waste time hitting the backspace key. Oh well, too late for that.

If you love me, you will send me love. In any form at all. Even if it's comments. Cuz wow, comments make me really happy.

Is that manipulative? That's me!
Learn something new.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I feel old
I’m taking this intermediate climbing class and my instructor has been discussing the possibility of entering competitions. You know, I just got done talking (with my interviewers) about how I gave up taekwondo because I couldn’t dedicate as much time to it as I wanted. And with the focus on competition, there was a lot of time (and emotional energy) dedicated to it and I didn’t want to do it half-assed. But I’ve substituted taekwondo, at least its exercise aspect, with other sports, such as swimming and rock climbing. I do not want to turn rock climbing into the new taekwondo. That would change things too much, and I like it where it is. But there’s a part of me that wants to. What is wrong with me? Why am I so competitive? Why does competition always end up being part of my life? It’s weird.

I’m not going to swim class today so I can get work done for my afternoon class. I’m also feeling really worn out. My body aches everywhere. Shoulders, arms, forearms. I’m also going to miss Thursday’s class. That might put me behind on Thursday, but I’m ok with that. Again, there are people in that class that make me feel competitive. And the whole concept of circle swimming – it’s like there’s always someone chasing you. Blech.

Unfortunately, I can feel myself getting fatter already. Sigh.

Update: today, the things I have eaten include a whopper, french fries, instant ramen, and (now) wine. UGH.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

umm, hello, CREEPY!

Sisters Think Parents Did O.K.
New York Times, 10/16/2005

WHEN they were growing up, Dr. Soo Kim Abboud and Jane Kim used to sit, like many children, in the shopping cart next to the candy racks at the checkout line and wail loudly, hoping that their humiliated mother or father would cave in and shush them with a Snickers bar.

But their parents, who were hard-working middle-class immigrants from Korea, had other ideas. Eventually they set a rule: Read one book from the library this week, receive one candy bar the next. Looking back on it, the sisters are not complaining. Instead, in "Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers - and How You Can Too" (Berkley), to be published Nov. 1, they applaud their parents' coercions. "We read the book, and we got the candy," said Dr. Abboud, 32, who is a surgeon and clinical assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania medical school. "We didn't go without."

In "Top of the Class" the Kim sisters advise parents who want successful children to raise them just as the Kims did - in strict households in which parents spend hours every day educating their children, where access to pop culture is limited, and where children are taught that their failures reflect poorly on the family.

But while this approach is common in many Asian countries and among many immigrant groups in the United States, it runs counter to an American culture that celebrates if not venerates self-expression and the freedom of youth. (This is, after all, the country that invented the teenager.) And some educators believe such a single-minded focus on achievement can be harmful. "Often I will see Asian-American kids become lost when they get to the university," said Kyeyoung Park, an associate professor of anthropology and Asian studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, who teaches many first-generation Asian students. "They feel disoriented, because they realize they've been sheltered and the world is not as their parents said it was."

Still, the sisters insist that in an age in which competition to succeed has never been greater and American parents are spending thousands of dollars on tutors and counseling for their children, traditional Asian methods are proven to work. They note that students of Asian descent make up about 25 percent of undergraduates at top universities like Stanford and Penn (and 41 percent at the University of California, Berkeley), even though Asians are less than 4 percent of the population, and that as of 2002 Asian-Americans had a median household income about $10,000 higher than the national average.

Part of their motivation for writing the book, the sisters say, was to counter the assumption that Asian students perform better simply because they are smarter. "My sister and I are not exceptionally gifted," said Dr. Abboud. "We're O.K. This is something anyone can do. It doesn't take a lot of money or private schools just to get kids learning on a daily basis."

As children the Kims were not learning on a daily basis, but an hourly one. One daughter's C-minus in biology could cast shame upon them all, so the Kim family reviewed each report card as a group in order to strategize about how each child could address weaknesses. The Kim parents also insisted their daughters come straight home to study after school instead of hanging out with friends (whom they could see on weekends only), and limited each girl to one hour of television a week and 15 minutes on the phone a day.

Every night the girls would complete hours of homework assigned by teachers and then do more lessons with their parents. Even artistic pursuits were approached with achievement in mind. Both girls played the piano and won several prizes.

"Our parents viewed competition as a necessary and unavoidable part of life," explained Ms. Kim, 29, who has a law degree from Temple University and works as an immigration specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "They wanted us to embrace, not fear, it."

Dr. Abboud and Ms. Kim, who were educated in public high schools, believe that Asian-Americans succeed in part because Asian parents are willing to sacrifice their own leisure time to micromanage their children's educational progress. While neither woman has children - Dr. Abboud is married to an orthopedic surgeon, Ms. Kim is single - they don't hold back from prescribing parenting advice. "It's tough, because parents are so much more busy now," Dr. Abboud acknowledged. "Not many could do the three hours of teaching that we had. Even we couldn't do that. But you can still do 45 minutes."

They are less understanding about what they view to be a particularly pernicious form of American overindulgence. "Too many parents now are into positive reinforcement for everything," explained Dr. Abboud. "In America people are so scared about doing anything that might negatively impact their children that they applaud every little thing they do. In Asia they expect both effort and results."

Both Kim sisters recall struggling at times with their parents' discipline and expectations. Dr. Abboud said she felt alienated and lonely at times during high school in Raleigh, N.C., and Ms. Kim, who was more gregarious and rebellious, initially wanted to be a writer. Her parents gave her a year after college to pursue it, but after Ms. Kim's efforts to find a job at a magazine foundered, she agreed to go to law school. Today she is happy she did. "American parents will say, 'Do whatever makes you happy, even if the talent isn't there,' " Ms. Kim said. "You need a reality check."

The Kim parents moved from South Korea to Los Angeles in 1971 so Mr. Kim could study computer science at the University of Southern California and pursue a more comfortable life in this country. Mr. Kim, who had been a math teacher in Korea, arrived in the United States with only a few hundred dollars and went to work as a janitor for a time to make ends meet before eventually finding work as a network manager in telecommunications. His wife, Dae Kim, worked 14-hour days as a seamstress before Soo was born.

For immigrants like the Kim parents, pursuing a life organized around the single principle of career achievement makes a certain sense because their children will be rewarded by better lives. Still, the relentless pressure to succeed can backfire. Peter A. Spevak, a psychologist who runs the Center for Applied Motivation in Rockville, Md., where he strives to help patients build career success, says that children who are pushed too hard may eventually prosper but can end up being "very frustrated" adults who feel like they "missed their own childhood."

"They can become a successful attorney," Dr. Spevak said, "but there's an emptiness to them."

The authors themselves acknowledge that Asian career values can be hazardous to one's health if taken to an extreme degree, as in Japan, where pressures to excel in an exam-focused educational system have been linked with high dropout rates, social withdrawal and suicide. "That's one stereotype we don't want to perpetuate," said Dr. Abboud, who said rules of the house should be strict but not oppressive.

Without even considering the psychic costs, American readers might find the book's narrow definition of success myopic in a country with such a vast plate of career options to sample from. Even some first-generation Asian-Americans do.

One such person is Minya Oh, a host for the New York radio station Hot 97 who goes by the on-air name Miss Info. Ms. Oh grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where her Korean-born parents owned a toy store. Like the Kims, the Oh parents pushed their daughter relentlessly and hoped that the academic intensity found at the nearby University of Chicago would rub off on her. They tirelessly attempted to steer her toward a career as an architect, she said, even though she had no interest in math or buildings.

Unfortunately for her parents, it was the rap music she heard around the neighborhood, not the hushed conversation on the campus, that made Ms. Oh prick up her ears. Her parents, she said, were gravely concerned when she decided to pursue her love of hip-hop as a career. They still are. After a decade of writing for magazines and appearing on radio and television, Ms. Oh still must endure her mother's reminders that it is not too late for, say, law school. The needling still rankles Ms. Oh, who said she considers herself a rebel against the old-world Asian success ethic.

But she is not sure her voice would be heard daily by 2.2 million listeners without it.

"Even when you rebel as a Korean-American child, you can only rebel so much," Ms. Oh said. "You have no option of absolutely falling off the overachiever wagon and being a schlump."

I've talked to my cousin, who is also, umm, Asian, about this and we both agree that this book is retarded and is going to be slammed left and right. So I will let them do it and just offer it here for your entertainment. And conclude by saying, my childhood was NOTHING like these chicks' childhoods. And this book doesn't help anyone; I already got plenty of the, "Oh, she's Asian that's why she's good at math" stuff growing up. Grr.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

the procrastinating post, part the 47th
My apartment is DISGUSTING. I have socks here and there, even bras. Piles of books and papers. Dust bunnies that are more like dust dinosaurs. And I got a new desk chair in the mail and so there are boxes in here, too. There's even more stuff in the kitchen waiting to be taken down to the garbage and/or recycling shed. With the weather, I've been reluctant to go back there. Actually, I'm always reluctant to go back there.

But let me talk about this desk chair some more. My old one was making my ass hurt so I got kinda drunk one night a few weeks ago and ordered a new one. And I assembled it yesterday. Holy crap, my ass has found heaven. Unfortunately, my floor is hardwood and very angled and the pressure of me highlighting a sentence in my reading was sufficient to start me rolling across the room. Very uncool. But I just took a rug and put it under me and that seems to create enough friction.

I'm sequestered. The rain has stopped, but my moot court memo is due on Monday. Then next weekend I'll be sequesterd for a paper and a final. Then the next weekend I will have to write 5-pages for my note for my journal.

I'm thinking, November, I'm going on a bender and renewing my friendships. And taking out the trash and recycling, and picking up my socks and such.

Neolithic Chinese Used Their Noodles
By Thomas H. Maugh II and Karen Kaplan
LA Times Staff Writers

October 13, 2005

Long and stringy, chewy or delicate, stuffed or hollow: In all its configurations, the humble noodle is a primary food source for billions of people, but its origins have been obscured by the mists of time.

The Italians claim they created the noodle as the perfect complement for tomato sauces; the Chinese say the Italians got it from them, via Marco Polo; Arabs claim its creation as an easily stored foodstuff suitable for long treks in the desert. The Japanese, Koreans, French and even the Germans have also claimed the noodle as their own.

Chinese researchers may have finally settled the contentious question after unearthing a 4,000-year-old container of noodles in northwestern China, according to a report in today's issue of the journal Nature.

The easily recognizable noodles are far older than any that have previously been discovered and predate the first written mention of noodles by at least 2,000 years, said archeologist Houyuan Lu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, who led the team.

"I can't imagine a more conclusive piece of evidence than this," said Ming Tsai, a celebrated Chinese fusion chef who owns the Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, Mass.

"This find definitely proves that the Chinese were making noodles way before the Italian Marco Polo came," said television chef Martin Yan. "I take pride in that, even though I have a lot of Italian friends."

Archeologists have found other foods from the deep past — the dregs of 9,000-year-old wine in China and hearths for bread-making in the Middle East 23,000 years ago.

The noodles are the oldest prepared food found intact.

"You often hear about ingredients being found, whether it is corn or ancient grains, but it is not too often that you hear about something as complex as noodles," said Greg Drescher, senior director of the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley.

Although the ancient noodles were similar in shape to their modern counterparts, their composition was quite different. Most noodles today are made from wheat or rice, but the Chinese noodles were made from millet, a type of cereal grass that has been cultivated in the country for more than 7,000 years and that is still a mainstay of the diet in arid regions of the north.

That discovery confirms work by archeologist Gary Crawford of the University of Toronto at Mississauga, whose efforts at other Chinese sites dating from the same period also show a high reliance on millet. That may explain, he said, why archeologists often find no grain seeds at some sites: The grains were crushed into flour and made into noodles.

The noodles were discovered in the excavation of the site known as Lajia on the upper reaches of the Yellow River in Qinghai province. Lu's team has been digging there for several years and has found the remains of a Neolithic village.

The excavations have revealed the remains of many houses containing human skeletons, pottery, stone and jade artifacts, and animal bones, Lu said in an e-mail message. The condition of the artifacts suggests that the region suffered a major earthquake, followed by flooding that buried the village relatively intact.

Earlier this year, Lu said, the team found a well-preserved bowl buried upside down in a fine, brownish-yellow clay. When they removed the bowl, the lid remained behind, buried in a cone of silt. Lying on top of the cone was a fist-sized mass of noodles.

"Apparently, an empty space existed between the bottom of the bowl and the top of the in-filled sediment cone, preventing the noodles from being crushed by the weight of the sediment," Lu said. "The empty space must have become tightly sealed and [oxygen-free], allowing excellent preservation for 4,000 years."

The noodles are delicate, about 20 inches long, and yellow. They resemble noodles called la mian, which are made by repeatedly stretching the dough by hand.

Examining starch grains and mineral deposits called phytoliths in the noodles, the team determined that they had been prepared from millet, a tough plant that grows well in hot, dry climates.

The finding lends credence to the belief that early civilization in that region was supported by the domestication of millet, and that the use of other grains arose much later in Chinese history, Lu said.

Tsai doesn't think it would have taken a technological breakthrough to produce the first noodle.

"It's two ingredients, flour and water," he said. "They discovered the grain, and they knew they could grind it. They figured out that when you ate the flour directly, it was nasty. Any cook with any sense would say, 'Let's mix it with something.' Then someone figured that if they cooked it, it would be edible."

Not everyone agrees that this is proof the Chinese invented noodles.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper, host of the public radio show the Splendid Table, thinks they were probably invented many times by many people.

"I think the noodle has been a solution for people, in one form or another, over much of the world," she said.

So, does it matter, ultimately, who invented noodles?

"No," Kasper said. "What does matter is that they exist, and they've existed as a way of preserving nourishment for a very, very long time. That I find exciting."

Friday, October 14, 2005

raindrops keep falling on my head ... and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
yes, sir, it IS possible for it to rain for two weeks twice in one year. twice in six months. this weather blows.

have you heard that coldplay song "fix you"? the song creeps me out. it's melodic and beautiful, but the concept of another human fixing me? i don't want to be in that type of relationship. maybe i'm just reading too much into it. anyways, here are a few verse:

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

and yeah, i'm reverting back to improper capitalization. at least for today. i want nothing more than to go back to bed.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I return.
There are about 20 things I should be doing instead of blogging, but here I am.

Let's start with the end. Many years ago, I swore to myself never to fly America West ever again. Every time I fly them, I ended up sleeping in the Las Vegas airport or with lost luggage or at least 2 hours late. Unfortunately, America West codeshares with one of my favorite airlines, Continental. I used my Continental frequent flyer miles to get my fat ass to Tucson, which resulted in a few legs of my travels on America West. Well, my flight from Houston to Boston was delayed twice for a total of two hours. And then when I got to Boston, my bag was nowhere to be found. It turns out that it was sent to Phoenix instead of Houston from Tucson.

The inauspicious end aside, my trip was fantastic.

When I first arrived in Tucson, the heat was stifling. Dry, but 90s. The heat broke on Saturday around noon, with some thundershowers, which put a serious damper on our plans to go rock climbing. But the rain stopped and while we never did find those rock climbers, either b/c we literally couldn't find them or b/c they had gone home, we did take a short and lovely hike. At about 8500 feet. Huff, puff.

Sunday I went rock climbing with a guide from Rocks and Ropes, a climbing gym in Tucson. We were out for about 4 to 5 hours and did six climbs. I could gush on and on about how lovely it was, but suffice it to say, climbing outdoors is a completely different experience than climbing indoors. And I'm excited to bring my newfound enthusiasm and confidence to our climbing wall at school. Besides that, it would have been a perfectly pleasant morning even if we weren't climbing. The breeze was perfect, and we were in this shady gully with actual running water. (Tucson IS a desert, and the mountains aren't much wetter.) Then, after a nap, one friend and I went to see my other Tucsonian friend play in a roller derby scrimmage. It was so hot and I want to play so badly. But if I have the time to dedicate to that, I would have the time for taekwondo, so no roller derby for me.

I went out Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Some nights were more raucous than others (read: there was more alcohol). But nothing too crazy. It was just great to visit with friends, be in a place where I made myself not think about homework, and just have fun. With cheap drinks. And great Mexican food. Real, authentic, beans-with-lard Mexican food. Now I have to lose those 10 pounds I put on. And catch up on all that work I didn't do. Moot Court. Etc. Bah.

But it was so worth it.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

a quickie
The climbing with the UofA group was thwarted by a sudden downpour and an inability to find the climbing site. So I'm paying a dude to take me climbing tomorrow. Unfortunately, my friend can't come, but I'm sure "Luke" and I will have a lovely morning.

OK, gotta go drink some beers and drinks around town!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Jennifer Garner is dead to me. She had to go and have this crazy relationship with Ben Affleck and get knocked up and drive away the only good thing about Alias: Michael Vartan. Could the man BE any hotter? No. Could Jennifer Garner be MORE annoying? No. Grrr. If she drove him to MY arms, however, that would be a whole 'nother story.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I live in a dryer
When the management posts a sign that says the laundry room is open until 10pm, they mean it. At around 9:30, the dryers start shutting down. This creates a problem when you start laundry at 8pm and can't get your clothes into a dryer until 9:45. Every space in my apartment upon which something can be hung is effectively covered in wet clothes. Socks are the worst.

I'm leaving for Tucson tomorrow. Yeay, Tucson! Yeay for long weekends. I'm visiting friends, and one of them is bringing me and another friend along with the UofA climbing group to climb REAL ROCKS on Saturday. I'm also going to drink lots and lots and lots of beer. And then when I wake up the next day, I'm going to keep drinking beer. I'm going on a bender. Because I'll be in a different time zone and it doesn't count. School and homework be damned.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I've just realized that not only do neither my current university nor my last university have a football team, but the main buildings I live/lived in at these universities also have/had horrible elevators. Where can I go next that satisfies these two criteria?

I've decided to limit the stuff I say about my personal life / romantic feelings / struggles on this blog. I think I've done a fairly good job of keeping this anonymous, so that no one doing due diligence on me would find me, but ... I already edited a bunch of stuff earlier this summer in anticipation of letting more people know about this. I don't want to have to do it again. Especially it seems as more and more people are reading this. It's an interesting thought, eh? I mean, I wonder how many people really think about how much they're going to reveal about themselves on their blogs? A friend I had lunch with yesterday recounted to me an article he read. In it, the writer predicted that in 30 years or so, a candidate for political office is going to be toppled by his/her facebook profile. Probably.

Although I personally may have lost a job offer because of this blog, I can be pretty damn sure it won't ruin any runs for political office. I have far too many skeletons in the closet for that.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

my homework is so disturbing I had to share
In 1998, a NJ family court vacated an adoption between the father and adoptive daughter so that the two could get married. They had already had a child together. She was 22 at the time of the vacation. I'm so ashamed of my state. This case was followed, in my family law casebook, by an excerpt from an article titled, "What's Wrong With Incest?" Blech.

I try to stay away from political rants b/c there are many people out there better informed, and just plain better, than I. But really, Bush's Supreme Court nominee is NOT QUALIFIED. SHE'S NEVER BEEN A JUDGE!!!! HELLOOO??!?!?!!??!!!!!! This might be just the thing that could get me out and protesting. I mean, this is ridiculous.

Ok, done.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

for a moment, I hoped...
...that baseball season would end in this city and that I could ride public transportation in peace (peace being 10,000 undergrads). Alas.
Sunday is: Coffee and
I am taking a family law class this semester. I decided to take it because the professor is supposed to be really great. And she is. She is also the first female professor I've had at law school so far. Hmm.

One of the downsides to taking this class, and perhaps to law in general, is studying all the negatives of having a family. Or not being able to be a family, in the case of homosexual couples. But I digress.

There's an article in today's NY Times about fathers getting paternity tests, finding out their kids aren't their kids, and the subsequent hurt and legal ramifications. (See also an earlier post regarding percentage of fathers who raise kids that are not their own.) Halfway through the NY Times article, I started to think this was the norm, that everyone cheats. And then I started to think about doing it if I ever had kids. It was depressing to think about, but then I realized, hey, not all relationships are like that. I know couples that don't cheat. I don't know many couples, but the ones I do know are quality. Perhaps a naive assumption, but I think I'm a pretty good judge of character. (Let me be if this is a delusion, eh?)

My point is, in law school, I tend to study the worst in things. The worst case scenarios and all the situations where things go wrong. But that's not life. Sometimes, things go right.

Maybe I'm just groggy.