Saturday, January 19, 2008

So what have I been up to? Now with less fiber.

  • In December, I started running. I've been doing the ubiquitous Couch to 5K program. I'm in week 6, which is the farthest I've ever made it in this program before. I owe that to two things - first off, running outside instead of on a treadmill, and secondly, the availability of a podcast, so I can just concentrate on what I'm doing, and not have to track the time. I'm really enjoying it. I've found that the running is doing a lot to improve my mood and control my anxiety, even though I'm also discovering that I am in need of some new gear. Namely running tights, as my calf muscles become miserable when they are cold. My biggest realization is that I am old, and I don't recover well. However, I was pretty excited when I realized I ran 2.6 miles the last time I went out. Not bad considering how sedentary I've become in recent years. This is a great site for tracking a walk or run, btw.
  • I'm trying to read books again. This sounds strange, but when you spend a large percentage of your life reading technical articles and textbooks, searching for more things to read, and writing technical articles yourself, it's really easy to go home and try to turn off your brain. I'd fallen into the habit of watching too much TV. Now I'm just trying to finish some of the books I pick up. The first book finished this year was The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore. It wasn't remarkable, and in fact was a very silly and fluffy read, but that's what I could manage. I'm also reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova and Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson. Yes, I typically read several books at once. Just like I knit...
  • Work. There's been a lot of it. It hasn't been going so well, frankly. I'm a research scientist by trade, and I've spent most of the last year trying to get a method to work. I finally got it, but then I couldn't boost the sensitivity enough that I could make the method work for what I wanted it to do, which means that we had to re-evaluate my project. This also means that I have spent a year not generating useful data, and that, my friends, is depressing to a research scientist. As much as I know I am not my data, or my publication record, and that those should not be tied to my self esteem, it still is amazingly challenging to stay optimistic in the face of hard work for naught. The good news is that I've switched projects, and now I have a new method that's not working...
  • I've even gone out to see 2 movies in the past few months. We found a cool theater here, and I've now seen both Juno and Hotel Chevalier in the theater. Plus, I went out to eat at a real restaurant both times! The movies were good. The restaurant I went to before Juno was very good - a French Moroccan place - and I will definitely be going back. The TiVo is pretty full of stuff to see as well, and if the Packers weren't in the playoffs, I'd watch a movie tomorrow night.
  • I've missed Jon and Steven a lot. I'm rather bummed that the writers strike is still ongoing. But, that also means that I've used Netflix more, and have been watching Freaks and Geeks (excellent, but painful) and Babylon 5. Yes, I am a nerd, and darn proud of it.
  • I also have another confession - I'm a bit of a news junkie. Following the political race has been fascinating, and despite not really loving any of the candidates, I've spent a lot of time following the news. I've also repeatedly gotten a recommendation for "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" which I listened to for the first time in lab today. I loved it. Now that I've got my laptop connected for wireless at work, I'll be listening to a lot more NPR in the lab. I also like Science Friday. Told you I was a nerd.
I can't think of anything else at the moment, and I want to read for a little while before I fall asleep. The Historian is sitting next to me, so that's probably going to be my choice. I'm reserving judgment until I'm done with the book, but I will say that it has been keeping me entertained for a little over 100 pages so far.

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