a string to connect pieces of my life

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I am too old to appreciate movies like "a history of violence", or "shopgirl". When I was young, I always tried to dig the deep meanings of something under the surface. Now I simply say to myself that I don't get it.

This movie is about looking for love. Well, I am really confused. It appeared to me what the movie wants to tell the audience is this: don't expect true love from the old rich guy; the right thing to do is to make a young poor guy fall in love with you and encourage him to get rich.

Luckily, the young guy in the movie did succeed at last, though I didn't understand from watching the movie. Let's just call it a happy ending.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

back from Memphis

Recently I have been in a weird state. Nothing can really upset me. It is "weird" because it's just not me.

Through my long PhD career, I have already got used to constant depression. Now the new mental status sort of confuses me. I often wonder if it's an indication that I am going totally crazy.

Anyway, the trip to Memphis last week was not bad not all. On one hand, it certainly interruptted my own research schedule, which probably is a bad thing considering how much I care about graduation and getting a degree.

On the other hand, it gave me a demo version of my life in Memphis for the next few weeks. Since it seemed fine, I shouldn't worry about next trip, I guess.

Most of all, I had the chance to eat at Cozy Mel's again. Maybe I should write a letter to the restaurant to express how I love the food there, like some of Brian's friends did to other products they like.

Monday, July 17, 2006

source of satisfaction

I brought a box of home-made cookies to the Auto Lab (the building where I am working) today and put it in the copy room.

Now all the cookies are gone. A couple people met me in the hallway and expressed to me how they loved my cookies. I believe that they meant it. :)

It is much easier to get satisfaction this way than from my research. Seriously, I always have the idea of quitting what I am doing and going to some professional school to learn cooking.

Or maybe I will simply hate everything I do as a career.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


When I was bolting the screws for my test facility half hour ago, I was thinking about simpsons and trying to figure out in which episode Marge went onto a date and the guy ran away after he heard that Marge had three kids.

Then I came upstairs to take a break and check what's on Fox channel today. So there it is. The episode I was wondering about will be on at 8pm.

It appears to me that the word "coincidence" was generated in order that people will not think too much about why such things happen. "Hey, what a coincidence!" Then that's it.

One day I told Brian that he was looking through his old photo album in my dream. He laughed and said he actually did it that morning. It was kind of creepy considering that he had not touched the album for quite a long time.

Maybe we are living in a matrix. Like most people, we sensed something is there but we ignored it. Even when there was a chance to know the truth, we chose the blue pill.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

home, sweet home

I mean it, literally, because there are piles of oatmeal chocalate chunk cookies now sitting in my kitchen. I have no idea of how I am going to do with them. It is very possible that they will have their first and last flight to Memphis next week.

On Thursday night Demoree taught me how to make chocolate chip cookies. It turned out to be pretty easy. Much easier than the non-bake ones.

So this evening I went to grocery shopping. When I was checking out, the guy at the counter asked me "going to bake cookies tonight, eh?". Yeah, obviously, if all I bought was flour, baking soda, chocolate chips, sugar, etc.

I was so devoted that I even sacrificed "simpsons" tonight. Homer just found out that J stands for Jay. I suppose that's a good episode.

Tomorrow I am going to make some peanut butter cookies. I think the reason why I am so obsessed with baking cookies is that I always loved chemisty. Wait, is it correct that baking cookies is chemical reaction?

Well, it might be.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

summer rain

While I was working in the lab this afternoon, I suddenly had the feeling that it's raining outside.

Actually my lab is an isolated place with all kinds of noises. There was no way that I could see or hear the rain. Somehow, either the change in temperature or in humidity triggered the sense of me as an mechanical engineer.

I opened the door. It was raining hard. The sky was dark. This kind of weather reminds me of where I grew up, although it's probably the same everywhere.

The fear for overwhelming darkness and possible thunders, mixed with the expectation for fresh smell and a cool day after the heavy rain. That's enough to bring some excitement of the summer rain to a child. Also, there was this unspeakable security of being at home with the family while it's raining outside.

Now sitting in the office with the airconditioner, all the small sentiment seemed long gone.

Monday, July 10, 2006

everyday is a new day

There are a lot of funny discussions in the forum of For example, they are listing the reasons why you love/hate to push your advisor off the cliff.

I don't think it's a proper place here to talk about the evil side. For those readers from my office, I'd say that I have always loved my advisor and I will never think of doing such a terrible thing to him. It's hard to find a cliff in Michigan anyway.

But I do have a couple of reasons why I won't do it. First, he is such a funny character. Knowing the fact that he listened to the songs from "the Simpsons" all the way on his trip cracked me up. Also, his idea of having the party at his home, grilling a whole pig and dring all day got me really excited.

Secondly, he is very smart. I wish I could be more like him. Even if I can't, I feel lucky to be around smart people. I certainly learned a lot from him.

Most of all, he had the ability to cheer me up easily(unfortunately, same effect on the opposite side). I had the feeling that my life was doomed again since last night. Then this morning my advisor came to the lab and talked to me about helping me graduate and find a job. Although I am not sure when and how he will do it, it did bring some hope back into my life.

So hang on there. Everything will be fine.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

congradulations to my newly-engaged friends

I am really excited now. An old friend of mine just got engaged tonight!

He called me this afternoon and said he wanted to hang out with me and some other friends tonight. I felt that something was coming up, but he didn't wanna say anything.

So when we sat down at the table, the waitress kept asking if there was some special event. Then my friend said "I am getting engaged".

I couldn't help laughing, because before that I didn't even know he had a girlfriend. Although I know both of them for a couple of years, I never thought they two finally be together.

What a pleasant surprise! I am so happy for them!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

laughing at others' pains

(To everyone who is in the final stage of their PhD "career". )

I know it's not the right thing to do, but what can I do about it? Actually, I am sharing the same pain. So, it's just comforting to see a lot of other people are in the same boat with me.

OK, here are some comments I stole from which really cracked me up. I am sure that most of you won't even find it funny.

"I have a half of gigabyte of data to go over from two months ago. I'm not very motivated to look at it because it's probably worthless. There are negative results, positive results, and then there is my data - the impossible results. You really begin to feel you're beating a dead horse. Everything else in the world sounds interesting! Oh well. At least its not drop dead due until next spring. I'd like to be done by December. I guess the upside to not finishing is that I can still get into the online school library." ---by Lajoie

I am almost convinced that there is another me keeping posting things at that website. It's exactly my life.

"My data doesn't work. My analysis threatens to commit suicide on me every other day. My eyes hurt and my wrists hurt and I can't believe that normal people get to go to the beach already.......the thesis is just another requirement you need to pass, and it really doesn't have to be perfect. The property of "existence" is enough."---by Seagull

"But I'm having trouble with the summary, as I'm planning to come up with all of my results and structure in the 3 months after I've handed it in. I guess I'll just make some stuff up. Nothing could possibly go wrong, right?"---by evilmoose

"I've been in the final write up stage for the last two years! LOL. Other stuff has happened in my life (new baby) so I haven't just been procrastinating but I'm quite close. ...... All the interesting work is done (if it ever was interesting to begin with) and the write up is like crawling over broken glass."---by Slackenerny's Acolyte

I think I am posting this because my mind has gone a little bit insane after spending these days in the office trying to finish up the conference paper. It's just a conference paper!!!

Wait to see what will happen to me when I start to write my thesis...

Monday, July 03, 2006


Memory is a very strange thing, at least to me. It's like somebody installed a filter in my brain. For some people, I can remember every single detail they told me about their lives. While for other people (probably most people), I can't even remeber their names.

The reason might be that for the majority of my life, I was a shy person living in my own world. Only those who have been close enough to me could leave some traces in my memories.

It is not always a good thing to remember. Sometimes it hurt, when you believed every promise another person made and held on to it. Maybe that person wasn't even lying. He or she simply forgot it. Maybe back to long long time ago, that was truely a promise.

Someone said that it's more important to forgive than to forget. I don't even know whether way I chose. Did I forget? No, I can still remember, if I try to. But I did intentially let those memories slip away.

The definition of happy memories for me is rather straightforward. It doesn't include all the moments when I was happy. However, people living in my happy memories should be those who I still love and care about.

Now that I think of the people who were important in my life, there is not much emotion attached to the memories. There was certain time when I thought my life would make no sense if I could not be with somesone. Now everyone is just a shallow of an old friend in my memory.

Did I just make a fool of myself? Or is my memory fooling me?

Really, when two people have no chance to meet again, how important would the memories be? No matter what have happened between them, as time passes by, there will probably be once in a year when something comes up to stir the memories. Even so, nothing will change. Life goes on.

So let’s cherish every minute we could be together. And let me love you as long as I remember.

today's simpson quote

Bart: "Oh, I am a graduate student. I am 30 years old and I made $600 last year."

Marge: "Bart, don't make fun of graduate students! They just made a terrible life choice."