Year 5

All right! Long weekend means a bit more time to post.

Whoa, college. I forgot I had to do homework 😦 And I’ve taken my obsessive choosing (between using folders and papers, and taking notes in a notebook) to new levels of neuroticism this year. Right now, I’m actually taking notes for my History class on my laptop, but I am seriously pondering a return to traditional pen and paper. I can’t decide whether to be less neurotic, because it’s my last year, or more, because I won’t have another chance to be kickass at undergraduate education.

Speaking of classes:

RHE 330E: this is the cool class this semester that neatly combines both science and writing, because it’s the Rhetoric of Science class. We’ve already gotten quite deep into analysis about how the “popular” culture – the people who can’t get enough of Paris Hilton or Acai berry diets – differs from the scientific culture, which is focused on disseminating information and perhaps not nearly enough on making science accessible enough to people. You might think that that’s what things like Scientific American are there for, but we were just talking about the process of science and how that’s not transparent at all to people. For instance, if multiple researchers can’t agree on whether coffee is good or bad for you, what would the public (who believe that Science is all about Facts and the Truth) think? Perhaps that scientists just don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, or that we’re incapable of making progress. See how I just lumped myself in along with scientists? Yeah, I think I’m going to have trouble maintaining objectivity in this class.

Plan II Physics: Holy crap, I think I figured out why I was discouraged from taking this class in freshman year. You need to have gone through the college system to remain sanguine in the face of this much passionate physics nerdiness. I mean, yeah, I love science, but this class tests the intelligence of everyone in it, and they’re all Plan II too. And that’s just the start of it. Last Thursday, I had to hand in homework consisting of my calculations for things like “How many Oreos will cover a football field? Do not look anything up.”

EE 360M: It’s astonishing how little I’ve retained after… yes… three years of not doing any digital logic at all. But I must say, it’s a subject I definitely like. I like the interaction between software and hardware, I love the fact that Boolean logic features a lot, and I definitely love the fact that there are no transistor calculations involved.

HIS 346M: As I wrote in my intro to this class, it would be nice to learn about an India that hasn’t been represented to me as being “Hindu”, as though the Muslim elements were interlopers. And also the fact that I don’t know anything about a country that’s technically my “motherland” – that’s a good reason, too. The only sad thing is that, while the subject is interesting and the readings are cool, it’s very much a lecture. I mean, what would we possibly discuss in a class devoted to facts?

Thesis: Um, I have no idea. Over the summer I read Loving the Machine, and right now I’m starting on Inside the Robot Kingdom. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Japan “case study” is going to feature a lot in my thesis, but I’m not sure what to do with it. I’ve set up meetings with both my scarily intelligent professors, and beyond that, I’ve no idea what’s up with my thesis.

This is going to sound quite petulant – but it really is strange walking around campus and barely recognizing anyone. But to my total delight, both Mri and VJ are around campus quite a lot, so I’ve had hilarious lunches with them twice already.

And I have a new room mate, who is a bit incredible when it comes to campus involvement, power, and networking. She’s a Student Leader, with capital letters, and like she says, it’s so strange to think of her running around meeting really important people and then going to class after that and worrying about her GPA. It’s funny that we live together, because she’s pretty much the inverse of the type of person I am. The only drawback I can see is that I must be incredibly boring to be around, and I don’t feel like talking to her very much because I’m far more interested in what she’s up to. In the meantime, our apartment, which is old and almost falling apart but very spacious, will need to be cleared out somewhat, and we’re in the process of making it a bit more liveable with actual decorations. It’s a novel idea for me, being as nomadic as I am.

What else? I ‘discovered’ two fantastic albums that I am looping over and over – Vishal Bhardwaj’s Ishqiya (I swear, if I’d known he was behind it, I’d have listened to it way before this), and Aisha, the Abhay Deol starrer. As I FB’ed V, I can’t decide if I want to marry Amit Trivedi or Abhay Deol now. Both of them deserve their very own gold star stickers.

And now I’ve just come back from one of those typical random nights, courtesy VJ – dinner at a sparsely-populated place in the Triangle (sparsely because, as we discovered, the food wasn’t too great), a banana split at Amy’s, and a live music thing which we didn’t actually attend per se at a bar called Ruta Maya. It certainly wasn’t the places or the food, although I deeply love ice cream.

But it’s the sort of let-loose-and-talk-nonsense type Austin atmosphere that makes me devoutly wish someone would offer me a job in this city.

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