Archive for February, 2007

Classes, Spring 2007

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

The final line-up is more or less decided. This will be the least number of classes (4), least number of weekly class hours (7.5) and least number of final exams (1) I’ve ever had. Additionally, I don’t have any classes on Monday or Friday. I know this all probably sounds really idyllic, but somehow I can’t quite shake the sense of strangeness – it feels peculiar to be taking so few classes, precisely during the last chance I have to take these classes as an undergraduate. It’s not really like me.

At the same time, I didn’t manage to find anything else that I really wanted to take. And more importantly, the thesis-writing is like taking 5 classes at the same time. Seriously, it feels like I’ve done more work over the past two months than I’ve ever had to do for all the classes I’ve taken in a single semester combined. Awful. I really pray I have something I’m proud of at the end of this process… which is looming. *nervous jitter*

Incidentally, this semester I’m only taking classes with professors I’ve had before, so they’re all-stars in my book ūüôā Here’s the list:

ESPP 90j: Environmental Crises and Population Flight. With the distinguished Prof L, from my wonderful freshman seminar. The topic seems right up my alley, given the close links with the junior seminar paper I wrote last year, and the overlap with my thesis work.

Literature 104: On Theory. This counts for the last upper-level class I need for a secondary field in French… even though it’s conducted in English ūüôā Taught by Prof C, who has the distinction of being the professor I’ve taken the most number of classes from – four, including this one.

Econ 1010b: Macroeconomic Theory. Despite the abysmal CUE guide ratings this class has received in the past, I’m hopeful that the material will not be too difficult. Also, Prof G is teaching the course for the first time this year, and I already like her a lot from having taken her course on cultural economics last semester. Plus, this course would also help me qualify for a secondary field in economics, should I choose to receive that.

ESPP 99r: Thesis seminar. Blearrrghggh. At least this doesn’t actually have class meetings. Just one-on-one sessions with the ever-helpful Prof M.

And that’s the line-up for this year.

Something lost, something gained…

Monday, February 5th, 2007

A rather eventful, hectic sort of day.¬† Mainly it seemed hectic because I constantly wanted to just lie down and relax.¬† Right from the moment I dragged myself out bed at 6.15am, to turn off my alarm.¬† The interviews turned out successfully, judging by the outcome… at least for me.¬† That’s good news, I know, to have a solid, competitive and¬†compensated summer internship offer with a top outfit in a great location.¬† If only the elation could be enjoyed unalloyed by thoughts of March and August, untempered by a mixed result, unaffected by the want to go to bed.¬† I’m also vaguely miffed at having missed the celebratory lunch.

It helped to sit in Nathan’s massage chair for about twenty minutes, although later at Lodge the sensation came back to haunt me in an unpleasant fashion against the hard, straight seat backs.¬† Lodge meeting tonight was…¬† something quite new.¬† The experience of having to push through that endless, narrow corridor-catwalk jammed full of bejewelled, tuxedoed¬†officers (average age: 45) from other lodges was quite intimidating and discomfitting.¬† Then the prodigious feat of memory and protocol displayed by¬†R.W. T. was breathtaking (not that Lodge isn’t usually impressive that way).¬† Finally, the banquet that followed¬†was far fancier than previous events.¬† It reminded me of the European leg of world tour, what with the enormous platters of cheese, fruit and¬†cold cuts interspersed with serving stations for whiskey, cocktails, wine, juice and soda.¬† My personal favorites were the circulating trays of beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres and bacon-wrapped scallops (yum!).¬† And after an hour, just as¬†everyone was getting seated, I ran away to avoid the tedium of a two-hour long meal (especially since I was already stuffed)…¬† but not before lingering to hear the jazz duo (double bass and keyboard) play Antonio Carlos Jobim’s sublime¬†Wave.

I did no thesis work today ūüôĀ

PS: I still *heart* cold winters, but only with the assurance of heated interior spaces and the promise of warmer days ahead.

The New York runways

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

The first day of NYC menswear shows for FW07/08 were today and overall nothing terribly exciting happened. 

Rag and Bone presented the most tightly edited show (just 19 looks), with few missteps, I think.¬† I love their “Nelson” waistcoats, especially since¬†I had an almost identical one tailored¬†for me¬†two years ago.¬†

John Bartlett’s clothes had the best polished finish of the lot.¬† The Perry Ellis Signature show was really dull, and didn’t seem to have a sharp editorial point to make¬† And finally the Duckie Brown show displayed some creative potential with a few strong ideas (that one plaid coat comes to mind), but fairly poor execution overall (those suits!¬†ugh…) and a remarkable incoherence for just 26 looks (no, a couple of pop-color wigs, gloves and beanies are NOT enough to tie a show together).

Anyway, it’s not like we didn’t know that American menswear is one increasingly unadventurous (and poorly executed)¬†yawn.¬† Hopefully there will be something better to report over the next few days.

The ads in the¬†Adidas boutique¬†round the corner look suspiciously like the current (and long-running) Lacoste ads…¬† hmmmn.

I can now watch HDTV on my pc!  The quality is unbelievable!

You learn something new everyday…

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

…and it’s not always good news.

So as a little break from going blind trying to extract information from UNODC* documents on their website…¬† I proceeded to continue going blind trying to extract information from UNESCO** documents on their website.¬† And I learn to my chagrin, that of the 192 member states of the UN General Assembly, 191 are members of UNESCO.¬† And the one, inexplicable and highly visible exception is… Singapore.¬† ???

A brief web search reveals no¬†satisfactory reason for this anomaly, which puzzles me.¬† And also annoys me, since it means I’m automatically ineligible to even apply for certain positions within the organization.¬† How terribly bizarre.¬† Perhaps I’ll ask the DPM if I meet him at some upcoming event.

* United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
** United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Ok, it’s time to leave the museum.¬† When I walked in here about 6 hours ago I remember musing about the irony of how I actually somewhat envy the idea of working at a museum such as the Louvre in Paris, like an acquaintance of mine currently does.¬† Truth is the collections here are pretty fascinating, beautiful and important in their own right – for example practically just outside of HUCE are many extremely precious plaster casts of mesoamerican steles and other monuments that have since been damaged or destroyed.

And now I actually leave.

Thursday is the new Friday.

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

I didn’t have any classes today, or rather I didn’t have any classes to shop today.

Instead I gave a rather intimate lengthy admissions tour, and then went to lunch with Ming at the Signet.  I hope we both make it past Monday, given that we both really want it now.

I’ve accomplished very little else, and yet (or thus) I’m feeling rather deflated and listless.¬† I know that probably means I need exercise, but I don’t really feel like it.¬† And I also did jog over to the admissions office this morning, which is better than nothing.

In other news, I went to Prof S. and successfully requested unrestricted swipe-card access to HUCE, so I can now spend even longer hours there through the weekend.  Joy!

In fact, I think I’ll head there now.

PS: Paris fashion week (women’s RTW FW07/08) starts today!

Bird Brains in the News :)

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

White Silkie (31 Oct 2005)

So, according to research led by a visiting fellow here, big brains are better for birds.  Very fluffy!

25% Off Jason (28 Jan 2007)

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

25% Off Jason (28 Jan 2007)

In hindsight, this picture is especially funny because:
(1) It claims that I’m on sale, at a 25% discount
(2) It coincidentally pictures approximately 25% of me in the frame
(3) I am just about to turn 25 in a week.

Thanks to Steve for taking this picture, and for the other Dins who spotted this banner in the Vitamin Shoppe somewhere in midtown Manhattan.

The continuing saga

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Writing a thesis means:

(2) Constantly discovering, well beyond the point of reasonable-ness, that there is some major, up-to-the-minute, extensively-researched¬†published¬†paper or¬†book¬†that appears to do everything you were hoping to accomplish in your project, except with much more fancy empirical models and datasets backed up by years of in-field research and intimate familiarity with the key players.¬† Gaah!!!¬† How did I not know about this World Bank Report until yesterday??¬† I’ve even read some of the contributing authors extensively elsewhere…¬† Oh well.

Winter Sun (26 Jan 2007)

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Winter Sun (26 Jan 2007)

Taken from the Greyhound bus enroute to New York City.  I am always struck by the beauty of light filtering through the clouds.  A little cheesy, maybe, but nonetheless inspiring.