Archive for August, 2008

full frontal nerdity.

Posted in blogging on August 29, 2008 by drbolte

Greetings, salutations, and other superfluous felicitations!

First, by way of introduction, you may call me Rex Nerdorum. I am the curator of Full Frontal Nerdity. I am a recent college graduate (where I met drbolte) and now spend my time as an unemployed physicist and author. Politically, I consider myself a radical militant centrist. I have what I consider to be a wide range of interests. Most of my interests seem to be where two or more interests overlap…

I must now give one big caveat: I do not write about the same things as drbolte. I love her blog, it is a vital part of my daily interwebbing. I, however, cannot write about the same things. I cannot make an entry about what I did today and make it interesting. Today I woke up, read a book, did some research on agriculture around the world, ate at my mom’s house, went to the gym, wrote a tiny and very inaccurate program to model populations during an ice age, wrote several pages in one of my books, and now I am writing this entry. Done. See, not a real blog entry. I had human contact with my parents, and that about sums it up. I cannot even write about my feelings! As a male, of course, I have none.

So, what’s left? Well, you’ll get a taste of that here. As I said, I enjoy it when two or more interests overlap. Well, I am interested in Science, Politics, and Religion, so here we go!

Everyone always says there are two things you never talk about over dinner: Politics and Religion. People who know me often add Science to the list, I don’t have any idea why. I have never been much of one to care about societal norms, so I violate these rules on a whim. If you do subscribe to those rules, stop eating and then we won’t be discussing this over dinner, will we?

Well, it looks like I’ve got a lot of ground to cover here. So much so, if fact, that I believe I am going to make this into four posts. I will make the other three on my own blog. First up: Science + Religion = Theology…

I was talking to a friend of mine recently. He was a fellow Physics major at the University of Florida. He was also the son of a Baptist minister. We were talking about Quantum Statistics, and that line of conversation inevitably brought us to religion. Hey, that really is inevitable if you study Quantum Statistics! Anyway, he declared that believers in evolution cannot really be Christians. My first reaction was a silent, “Who are you to declare who is a real Christian?” but that would have started a whole new kind of argument.

But I did think about his statement. I, personally, tend to say, “I am a Physicist, I do not have to know how God created Life; go bother a Biologist.” I do believe Science is a useful tool for getting closer to the truth. So, how could I connect Faith to Darwinism? I ended up thinking of this thought experiment:

Say you are a computer programmer. Many of you may be computer programmers, and likely most of you have done some basic computer programming, possibly on your own blog (working with HTML) or in Excel or somesuch. Hopefully, you do not need much experience programming to relate to this example. Anyway, you’re a computer programmer. You have a problem you need to solve. How do you do it?

Well, you could ditch the computer entirely. Yes, you do know how to program, very well I might add, but say you decide to use a pencil, paper, and a four function calculator. Well, that would be time consuming and, well, dumb.

Perhaps you could write a simple program to help you with some of the repetitive parts of this problem. The computer will work on the problem for a few minutes, then come to a point where it cannot go further and will ask for more input from you. Well, this takes more prep time, but less repetitive calculations on your part.

Finally, you could write an amazing program, one which automatically corrects errors and finds important pieces of information, and then exports the solution file directly into a colorful jpeg infographic. Yes, this would be a multi-thousand line beast to program, but it sure would be satisfying to just press enter to get it started, then lean back and watch the results come in.

And now, the metaphor: The first solution is the equivalent of God building the universe from the ground (vacuum?) up, complete with all the species of plants and animals we will ever know. In other words, strict Creationism.

The second is more of Intelligent Design. God lets the universe operate for a while, and when biology gets stuck on something, He comes in and twiddles some ribosomes and we have an evolutionary jump.

And the last option… God could have, for all we know, set all the physical constants and parameters way back at the Big Bang just as a programmer writes code. God would have known all the potential effects of any change made to anything in the universe, even way back then. He could have written the very laws of evolution right into the fabric of reality, all those 13.6 billion years ago.

I tend to think the last solution is the most elegant.

But what does that matter? I have no idea How God did it, and only an inkling of Why. I am certainly not saying that God must have chosen option 3 (or 1 or 2), I am just saying He could have. I have outlined the three options I, as a lowly human, can think up, but even that is worth diddly-squat. He could have chosen a fourth option, or a fifth, or an eleventy-billionth option! In fact, I would be heartily surprised if He did use one of the simple options I thought up.

And so I believe that a Christian can also be a Darwinist, and vice versa. I still hold out judgment on whether or not I am one, too.

Come check out my blog [drbolte: I think now would be a good time for another link. How about here?] for Religion + Politics = Theocracy, Science + Politics = Technocracy, and Science + Religion + Politics = Idiocy. Thanks for reading!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2008 by drbolte
The only other time that I guest blogged for someone, I’d had a bad day and I don’t exactly count it as, you know…a real blog. If you don’t know, I’m LindzML, a former student of Dr. Bolte’s and a daily reader of her musings, humorous stories and the ever-amazing soul bare-ing that she does so very eloquently. So, I figured that it would be appropriate to share a secret of my own with you all. One that I’ve explained in comments here before. Still, I’ve never really talked about it in public. I think it’s time.
I’m afraid of the dark. Really, really afraid. It’s almost sad. What’s even more upsetting is WHY I’m afraid of the dark.
It is not because of scary movies. I make sure to stay away. It is not because I watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I was entirely too young. No. I watch too many crime dramas. Law and Order (Original, SVU and the occasional CI), CSI (LV and Miami only) and now my new favorite is Criminal Minds (probably the most horrifyingly scary one of all). Honestly, it’s an obsession that has almost gone too far (and very nearly may as there seem to be countless Law and Order marathons upon us on both TNT and USA) in both time-consumption and the freak-outedness levels I reach as soon as the sun starts to set. It was especially bad last week, not too long after I’d moved into my house and pulled up at around 9:30. All the lights in the house were out, the front porch light was off, and there were no cars in the driveway. My neighborhood is pretty quiet, everyone keeps to themselves and all I could think was that if I walked up and tried to open the door (which is a horror show in and of itself since the lock is so incredibly difficult to open), the axe-murdering rapist that was totally waiting in the shadows was going to come, do his business and then throw me into the swamp across the street where I’d sink to the bottom and be forever lost beneath the green film that has managed to permeate every square inch of that body of water.
So, I called my roommates to see how long it would be before they would be home. The answer? Fifteen minutes. So, I hunkered down, called my boyfriend (who was still two hours away in his hometown) and sat in my car with the lights on, ready to pull out of the driveway the second I saw the New York City gangbangers that were obviously waiting behind my backyard fence in Alachua County. Twenty-five minutes later, they arrived.
And mocked me mercilessly for days.
But you know what? I don’t care. I didn’t get killed by some guy saying “she puts the lotion on the skin” because I waited in the safety of the steel cage that is my Focus. I didn’t open the door to strangers and I wasn’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. Safety in numbers? Nay, safety in DAYLIGHT, my friends. Stick to it.
I’ve got to go. A new Law and Order is about to start, and I think it might be the one where the person kills the other person and the detectives think they’ve got the right person, but then they’re wrong and they find the right person because of a shocking twist and someone gets sent to prison. Or not. It’s crazy good. And don’t worry: all the lights will be on.

i get by with a little help from my friends.

Posted in blogging, dissertation, friends, going quietly mad on August 27, 2008 by drbolte

hi.

so yesterday, i fell apart a little.

after three days of stagnation on the chapter that had been going SO well, i had crippling writer’s block, which is necessarily accompanied by crippling self-doubt, which leads to paralysis in every aspect of my life.

i tell you this not so that you will feel sorry for me–i got myself into it, and i’ll get myself out of it–but to preface what i’m about to introduce and maybe to explain why i ate an entire bag of haribo gummi bears (the only kind worth it) and cried for twenty minutes on the phone with my mom.

humbled, i definitely am.

i describe where i’m at right now in exercise terms–you may or may not get this. you know that point, at the beginning of your workout, where you’ve been going for a little while and then you just want to stop and die?  for me, it’s about 15 minutes.  to get my heart rate going, it requires an inordinate amount of effort.  at 15 minutes, i have to work harder than i do at any other time.  but i’ve been doing this long enough to know that, at 20 minutes, i hit my rhythm. everything settles into place and i can go forever.  well, at least for an hour.

i am at 15 minutes in this dissertation. and i’ve got to put a whole lot of effort into it, at least for the next little while, to get over this hump.  i feel like, at my metaphorical 20 minutes, i’ll have settled into a routine and will have figured out the system.

so…i’m going internet dark for two weeks.  no more fixating on the blog, facebook, and email.

DRBOLTE is going internet dark–but not this blog.

i have lined up a pretty interesting, engaging group of guestbloggers for you, and i am so blessed to have people in my life who will help me keep my blog alive while i go and focus on something else for a little while.  seriously, they all jumped without question into the fray when i asked.

these are the folks the beatles were talking about.

enjoy them.  leave them comments here and, most especially, visit them on their own blogs.  they’re all fabulous.

and i now owe them big.

see you in september, y’all.  big internetz loves.

THIS should go on ratemyprofessor. really.

Posted in oh so very random, teaching on August 26, 2008 by drbolte

did i ever tell you my favorite quote that i found on ratemyprofessor? let me share.

“prepare yourself for a joyride to hell with the devil incarnate.”

except it was in all caps.

ratemyprofessor got rid of it. someone must have objected. that someone was definitely not me, because i thought it was sort of funny. and then i thought that if that person had shown the same degree of zest and enthusiasm for writing assignments in class, that person probably would have done quite well.

here’s my next favorite one.

when i came into the writing center today for my first day of work, i ran into a former student from my spring class (also known as THE BEST CLASS I’VE EVER TAUGHT. EVER.) who told me that a fellow classmate saw her on the bus yesterday, sat down, and started talking about the class.

and he asked her how she did and about me.

and then he said that i was crazy and a “hot mess” but that he quite liked me.

at first when i heard this, i was mildly offended. which is to say that if i had had a big styrofoam mallet like in those whack-a-mole games, i might have hit him but probably not very hard.  because i’m tired and being offended takes effort.

and then she told me who it was (describing him, since she didn’t know his name) and i realized that, from him, it was a total compliment.

hi, my name is drbolte, and i am a hot mess and the devil incarnate.

who knew?

super welcome to my week, y’all.

Posted in etcetera, gators, going quietly mad, Life, sigh, the joys of living in Florida, Uncategorized on August 25, 2008 by drbolte

bureaucracy has the power to make me hate gator football.

i think a little part of my soul died as i wrote that.

and i am glad i’m not going to the first game.

there’s something really wrong with me.

edited to add:

nothing dramatic happened.  football block nonsense.  of course, it all worked out in the end–truly miraculously, if you ask me.  and people were kind when they didn’t need to be.  but it was one of those days that was just ridiculously hot.  and i had to truck all over campus.  and my shorts were too big.  like SERIOUSLY too big but there was no way i wasn’t wearing shorts and my shirt was too big too and yes i do recognize that on any other day i would be like GUESS WHAT MY CLOTHES ARE TOO BIG! but today it was just annoying because i had to keep hiking them up like a three-year-old.  and i was sweating the way girls are not supposed to sweat. and then i had to go to a meeting that lasted too long (at least i got paid for it).  and i ate pizza at the meeting and let me tell you what your stomach DOESN’T like when it’s been eating healthy food for a long time…greasy hungry howie’s pizza.  yep.

so tonight, i’m laying on my bed and trying to remember that tomorrow is another day that will be better.

a day when i don’t have to walk all over campus…unless i want to.

a day when i don’t cry in the bathroom because i feel gross and frustrated and just want to go home.

a day when i don’t have to deal with anyone’s nonsense except my own.

a day when the score will be carrie: 485, life: 0.  instead of, you know, the reverse.

i look forward to tuesday.  tuesday will be my friend.

i bow to the collective wisdom of you, my bloggy readers.

Posted in mirror mirror on the wall on August 24, 2008 by drbolte

so…it’s time to cut the hair again.

little known fact about me. i flip about haircuts. oh wait. maybe i’ve written about this before. oh well. if i can’t remember, i doubt you will. yeah. i stress. it’s a manifestation of my control and trust issues–meaning i have issues trusting people who are out of my control. especially people with scissors.

but, it’s time. especially when i say, offhandedly, that it’s time for a new haircut and my friend agrees with me. TOO QUICKLY.

sigh. i didn’t think it was that bad. but apparently it is.

i think i’ll keep my color the same. beyond the need to stay true to the 30 in 180 goal that i made to not dye it anymore, i actually am starting to really like it. i mean, i liked it when i dyed it the darker brown, but now it’s got these crazy golden highlights happening from the sun and i think it’s starting to look more natural.

and natural is good.

ANYWAYS.

[edited to add: here’s me! and my hair length right now…and you’ll get a sense of its “just hanging thereishness” when it gets long…]

so…these are some of the cuts i am considering.

option one: the graduated bob, made famous, of course, by posh, i think it could look really cute on me. maybe something a little like this but perhaps a bit longer in the back?

pros: with my ultra fine hair, the less weight the better…which means the back would look flipping awesome. i would get volume without losing the hair around my face, which i think is essential. also, i think you can do a bob with side bangs and get away with it (which i need) and i think there is some freedom in this style.

cons: it’s SO trendy. i don’t want to be one of those girls. also? NO REAL OPTIONS for styling. it’s pretty much do your hair this way or else. and i’m not sure how much i’m going to love that.

option 2: just your regular, run-of-the-mill bob.

pros: no weird angling to worry about, much easier to grow out (and not have to get cut every five seconds), still easy to incorporate layers into, and easier to deal with bangs.

cons: i worry about my fine hair just hanging there. if there are layers, it shouldn’t be a problem, but i fear that sometimes i go too safe and end up with a haircut that accentuates bad parts of my face rather than making me look and feel as sassy as i am.

option 3: the shag haircut.

i sort of have a longer, grown out, not kept-up-with version of this now (i.e i have lots of layers) but i rather like the length of this one.

pros: lots of layers = lots of volume. lots of choppy layers = there’s no real way it can look crappy, even if i don’t have time to do a whole lot to it. side swept bangs look good with it and it has lots of potential for sass if i work on it.

cons: i’m not sure how this length would flatter my face, if at all. too short hair could be disastrous, i think. or maybe not. i don’t really know. i’m also not sure how my crazy fine hair would do with this. again, it has lots of layers, so less weight usually means lots of volume, but it looks like her hair is thick (and wickedly processed).

finally, option 4: the one someone told me i should get and which i don’t altogether hate:

pros: uhm, it’s cute?

cons: i really believe this could be disastrous for me. although it’s got a flip, it’s not very layered and it doesn’t have a whole lot of texture to it. i thought i’d throw it out there anyways.

so…what do you think? especially you who have met me irl. or those who have an opinion. hey, everybody weigh in! as long as it’s not horrifyingly awful, i’ll post pictures when it actually happens.

(and, hey. anybody know of a good stylist in Gville? someone who won’t charge an arm and a leg for a good haircut? did i mention that i have anxiety issues related to this?)

if life imitates art, i’m about to see a ghost. or be held captive.*

Posted in books are bliss, dissertation, going quietly mad on August 23, 2008 by drbolte

things you probably shouldn’t do after trying to finish a chapter on the Gothic novel, complete with women in peril and ghosts aplenty:

  • leave your office past dark, and make your way through the labyrinth-like hallways with only a periodic hall light on.
  • imagine that you are on the set of a horror movie while you are doing it.
  • walk on campus after dark.
  • imagine that you are about to be murdered as you are doing it.
  • think that what you’re writing, about the power of a narrative to transport you imaginatively, somehow doesn’t apply to you

*this post, and experience, brought to you by the power outage that occurred at approximately 3 p.m., annoyed me greatly, forced me to go to campus to my windowless office and spend multiple hours there in the attempt to finish the first phase of my chapter.  which actually involved finishing most of it and listening to the taylor swift channel on pandora radio.