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I Often Overlook the Little Things

Today I woke up at a reasonable hour, read, journaled, cleaned, returned library books, and enjoyed a few calls with dear friends. It was a good day. I also made a delicious dinner that didn’t take forever. It was lovely.

Weather-Proof Moving

It’s actually raining today (big drops that make pitter-patter sounds, not Pacific Northwest all-day drizzling)! It’s been raining for at least three days straight so wet is an understatement. I’m moving this weekend regardless, though, so weather be damned! Of course, as it happens I didn’t plan to pick up boxes until this week when it’s been all wet. I did make a pretty cool shield for my boxes out of trash bags and tape, though. No mushy boxes for me. Huzzah! 

Side note: It’s hilarious walking with a big, black, trashbag-covered sail while trying to navigate traffic. Yes, this is the fastest I can possibly cross.

First signs of spring, despite the fact that I took this in late January. Someplace in Northeast Portland.

installator:

"Long-time Egyptian curator Dows Dunham, seen here in 1975, enjoyed surprising unsuspecting visitors by calling out to them while hiding inside this enormous sarcophagus of King Aspelta (593–568 BC)." (MFA Boston)

 Not gonna lie, I thought I recognized that sarcophagus. Turns out I’ve seen it dozens of times as a teenager/young adult.

installator:

"Long-time Egyptian curator Dows Dunham, seen here in 1975, enjoyed surprising unsuspecting visitors by calling out to them while hiding inside this enormous sarcophagus of King Aspelta (593–568 BC)." (MFA Boston)

 Not gonna lie, I thought I recognized that sarcophagus. Turns out I’ve seen it dozens of times as a teenager/young adult.

Spring has sprung! I picked some hedges and trees from my neighborhood and put them in a jar. (I can only name the cherry blossoms to the right. The others are unknown.)

Spring has sprung! I picked some hedges and trees from my neighborhood and put them in a jar. (I can only name the cherry blossoms to the right. The others are unknown.)

Not the greatest picture of the Portlandia statue downtown but it’s from my morning commute (and it was actually dry!) so bear with me.

Not the greatest picture of the Portlandia statue downtown but it’s from my morning commute (and it was actually dry!) so bear with me.

I love that they’re all disguised as Little Red Riding Hood.

I love that they’re all disguised as Little Red Riding Hood.

Favorite Words of January

I keep a list of words I’ve encountered that intrigue me. Words end up on this list that I’m fascinated by, curious about, or completely ignorant of. The only rule is that if I feel the urge to look it up (familiar or not), I should record it. These are some favorites, collected from January 2013 and 2014.

concupiscence (n.)- a strong desire, especially sexual

perspicacity (n.)- ability to understand things quickly and make accurate judgments

tenebrific (adj.)- rendering dark or gloomy

bricolage (n.)- construction or creation from a diverse range of available things

What Do You Want to Do?

I get really overwhelmed when I’m asked certain questions. Two examples are “How are you?” and “What do you do?”. During my job search, as I’ve been talking to newer people in my life, a new terrifying question has come up: “What do you want to do?” Believe it or not, I no longer have a solid answer to that question. The way it’s phrased, I think immediately, “Eat. Pay my bills on time. Start my life.” Those aren’t the right answers for the question they mean to ask me.

"What do you want to do?" to me suggests that a job is fun pursuit, that people do what they love and aim for it. I’ve never really internalized that way of looking at work. I see work as something I can’t say no to. I feel guilty turning down jobs (not that it happens often). I don’t think I can ever view a career path as anything more than just work. This viewpoint equates all work, even if it won’t get me to where I want to be in the long run. Looking at things this way, it’s easy for me to take work that gets me through a situation and just learn to see the bright side. 

Rather than getting stuck, let’s restructure the question. “What are you trying to do?” That makes getting good work an actionable item rather than a pipe dream. It’s something I could work toward, regardless of luck. “What do you think you’d be good at?” also gets the wheels turning a lot more. It allows me to ruminate on my strengths and let the asker fill in roles that might highlight those.

I could have been more motivated during slumps in my search if I had asked myself this question. I began to tell myself that my skills weren’t valuable, that I’d lost too much practice or I’d never really learned them. I’m sure that’s true on some level but not enough to make me not worth hiring. I got really hung up on not having lab space or mechanical components to play with. Sure, I don’t. I can still learn new skills quickly. I can still apply engineering logic to problems or imagine what it’d take to break something apart.

It also helps to stop thinking of myself as an engineer. Yes, I’m a person with an engineering degree but I’ve had and will continue to take some non-engineering jobs. That doesn’t make me any less capable of solving problems. It might make me a more unique candidate. It also might mean that I need to start lower on the chain, to learn those basic skills somewhere. I might have to work at a few more places before I can really feel established and confident. My goal this year is to boost my confidence despite looking for a fabled entry-level position.

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Whenever a hollow cavity forms at the surface of a liquid, the cavity’s collapse generates a jet—a rising, high-speed column of liquid. The composite images above show snapshots of the process, from the moment of the cavity’s greatest depth to the peak of the jet. The top row of images shows water, and the bottom row contains a fluid 800 times more viscous than water. The added viscosity both smooths the geometry of the process and slows the jet down, yet strong similarities clearly remain. Focusing on similarities in fluid flows across a range of variables, like viscosity, is key to building mathematical models of fluid behavior. Once developed, these models can help predict behaviors for a wide range of flows without requiring extensive calculation or experimentation. (Image credit: E. Ghabache et al.)

Modeling fluid behavior using a hyperviscous fluid? How awesome is that?! I’m jealous I’m not in their lab. 

fuckyeahfluiddynamics:

Whenever a hollow cavity forms at the surface of a liquid, the cavity’s collapse generates a jet—a rising, high-speed column of liquid. The composite images above show snapshots of the process, from the moment of the cavity’s greatest depth to the peak of the jet. The top row of images shows water, and the bottom row contains a fluid 800 times more viscous than water. The added viscosity both smooths the geometry of the process and slows the jet down, yet strong similarities clearly remain. Focusing on similarities in fluid flows across a range of variables, like viscosity, is key to building mathematical models of fluid behavior. Once developed, these models can help predict behaviors for a wide range of flows without requiring extensive calculation or experimentation. (Image credit: E. Ghabache et al.)

Modeling fluid behavior using a hyperviscous fluid? How awesome is that?! I’m jealous I’m not in their lab.