Friday, September 30, 2011

Progress Bars

I have learned something new today, and I have managed to add a CSS to the blog to post my ravelry progress bar. Hurrah! I can code, but I never learned HTML.

So now you can see the majesty which is my monogamous knitting with the freaking sweater, subject to how often I get around to actually updating my totals.

I could take a picture of how it is now, which is nearly done, but here is what is was last week.
For some reason the sleeves are in a more red-headed-stepchild color than the body, so hopefully it is less obvious when I am wearing it.

I may need to do some extensive ripping if it turns out that the bust is too low, this would be the situation where the buttons are all below boob level. Until I at least get to the 3 needle bind off on the shoulder it will be hard to tell.

In fractal news:
Pretty cool huh? I've rendered a lot more than this, but these are my faves for the week. The bottom one was for a fractal contest, the middle one is for this week's apophysis challenge, and the top one was a side effect of figuring out how to make crazy fractals from the bottom one.

Take care guys : )

Molly : )

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clear again

I finished my paper, hurrah!

Today was a good day, I started seriously working on my thesis, which is weighing in at 62 pages of content plus fluff, and I printed out a copy of my journal paper, carried it over to the coffee shop, and had a vanilla Spanish latte while I figured out how to iron out the awkward sections of my writing.

Mind you it was a 11-12 hour day, but it was good work, which doesn't happen as often as I would like.

I'm in the process of making crab rangoons for myself. Sushi would be better, but I am going to wait until the paper is submitted before getting to that step. The recipe is really simple, and I doubled the cream cheese, because I estimated I needed 2 packs instead of 1 at the store.

Crab Rangoons
1/2 c. minced onion (sweeter the better)
1/2 c. minced cabbage (an underrated ingredient)
8 oz crab meat (I used claw because it was cheaper)
8 oz cream cheese (or double, whatever Chinese restaurants normally only include cream cheese)
A package of wonton skins (not worth making from scratch)
3 c cooking oil

Mix the first 4 ingredients together until well blended, place a teaspoon of the mixture on the center of a wonton skin. I sprinkle a little salt and pepper at this point. Moisten the inside edges of the wonton skin with water, then fold in half and seal. I make 5-6 before beginning to fry and eat.

Prep a plate with some paper towel to hold the cook rangoons. Heat the oil to 400 degrees, deep fry 3 at a time until golden brown. As they turn the right color put them on the plate to drain. They are best right out of the pan.

I guess I'll talk about fractals and knitting some other time. A lot has happened since the last 2 posts.

Molly : )

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Slowly pushing forward

My motivation has been pretty low lately.

I really wish I could find the magic that can bring it back, if only because there is so much to get done, and very little actually getting done.

I have been throwing myself at an engineering problem since December 31st, and I have been unsatisfied with the answers that I have been getting. For those who aren't acquainted with how graduate school works, there are no easy answers, straight-forward problems, or clear paths. In undergrad you are given a problem set, you solve the problems with the equations you learned that week, and then you check your answers with your friends. In grad school, you are given a problem, you derive an equation to solve it, and then you run experiments to check and see if it worked. If it doesn't work, your experiment or your equation is wrong, and you chase your tail trying to figure out which is your problem or if both are incorrect. Don't get me wrong, the skill you learned in undergrad will help you, but there is a whole new level of skills you need to reach the next level. At some point, if you ever want to make it as a researcher, you have to be able to transcend getting stuck. From what I heard it changes your life. It isn't something that happens when you are a master's student, the problems aren't hard enough. But in order to get a PhD, you are going to get stuck, because it is hard, so hard it was impossible before you got put on the problem, and you need to cut through all of the crap and distractions and find an answer of blinding correctness, or irrefutably prove it is completely impossible.

I consider myself a finisher. I am satisfied when threads are read, knitting projects completed, books written, gas tanks filled, fractals rendered, and code compiled. I get stressed out when there are too many things going on at once. I don't like reading several books at once, or having 2 knitting projects going on at the same time, or having more yarn than I have plan to use. But ironically it seems like the moment I sit down to work I have 3 different programs running at once, and some sort of audio based distraction. I am trying to cultivate some sort of half in half out state of attention, for something that requires every single drop I've got.

As a result I have never been so frustrated as I have been on my project, so close to being finished, yet horribly terribly unfinished. I try finishing everything but this. For a long time I had to constantly finish other things, because most of my life revolved around something that was unfinished. But now, knowing I am squirming against deadlines and expectations, I can't sit down and do what needs to be done.

I have run into a contradiction between my model and my experiment. So while I have written about both, when I have to combine the results, I am completely paralyzed. I try looking at the model in new ways to find a different way of expressing it, but the answers I get still don't make sense in the context of my experiment, which I know is flawed, but serviceable. The fact that it is flawed is actually why I knew I needed a more complicated model in the first place. The trap itself is ingenious. I am completely devoid of conclusions, so I bounce between all of my data, and then I try to think about any other possible thing than the problem at hand. Writing this blog post now is how I am trying to simultaneously work and not work at the same time. At least doing it this way reminds me that there is a reason I sacrificed a heavenly Saturday afternoon, rather than wandering my usual haunts on the internet. Perhaps it is a painful reminder. I haven't failed yet, though it feels like failure is a distinct possibility.

I know there is so much worth looking forward to, and so much to be happy about right now. I know my current perspective is frankly way out of perspective. Finish it and be free, just a few impossible steps are required first.