s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: October 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

Ward Halloween Party

As a general rule of thumb, I will much be happier if I stay home and read than if I go to a party. Melyngoch sums up my dating/socializing rubric: “If you want me to spend the evening with you, you must be more interesting than this book I’m reading. If you are not, then I will be staying home and reading this book.” However, if I spend too much time alone, I suddenly get very lonely, very fast. So I’m forcing myself to go to the ward Halloween party, just so I can get to know people, just so I don’t feel so lonely at church.

The party is at the (very large) home of a counselor in the bishopric. They live about a half an hour out of the “city,” and it’s dark and rainy, so I ride with someone else who knows the way. (Which also means I can’t go home early . . . ) I last for about an hour before I grab a book and sneak to a quiet corner to read.

We were playing pool and I made a couple of clean shots, but I’m an uneven player at best, and my team lost. So then I was playing someone else and also not doing well and he kept giving me advice on the shots to make (yes, I DO understand geometry) and I do NOT do well with being patronized (thank you) and so I told my opponent that I would be making my own decision about what ball to hit and he came and put his arm around me and I just about lost it so I went upstairs to read and not yell at people instead. (And more people were coming downstairs anyway, and I didn’t feel like playing badly in front of a crowd.)

I miss Scott. We were supposed to play pool last summer but then he got busy and I didn’t want to bug him. He has a way of telling me about something or showing me how to do something without being patronizing or making me feel dumb. I know he respects my intelligence (even as he mocks my poker playing style), and he’s just happy to tell me how to do something I happen not to know how to do.

Maybe we can shoot some pool when I come home for Christmas . . .

Friday, October 28, 2005


The ideal hobby is inexpensive, time-consuming and produces something useful in the end. It has to be inexpensive, so that you can do it a lot without breaking the bank. It has to be time-consuming, because the whole point of a hobby is to take your mind off of something or to give you something to do in your spare time. It’s nice if it produces something useful – it doesn’t have to produce anything at all, really, but if it produces a lot of junk that just takes space, that’s a problem.

Most of the hobbies I’ve had have been pretty good. Cross-stitching and tatting are pretty cheap, as are knitting and crocheting, and it takes a long time to finish a project. Cross-stitching is probably the most expensive of them, as you have needles, and cloth to buy as well as floss/yarn/thread. And I think I spent about $20.00 on a sewing frame, once.

Being a musician is a little more expensive, in terms of having to acquire an instrument in the first place. Once you’ve got one, music is pretty cheap, and hard music is sometimes cheaper than easy music. Growing up, we always had a piano, so that was no big deal. Since I started learning to play the organ, finding access to an instrument is a bit harder (and actually buying one is almost out of the question).

Now that I’m interested in bookbinding, I’ve run into some problems. The materials themselves are not very expensive: Davey board, bookcloth, endpapers, text paper and glue. Most of the tools aren’t very expensive either: brushes, bone folders, teasing needles, needle and thread. But some of the equipment is pretty hard to find. A cast iron book press costs several hundred dollars, but you can use a bunch of textbooks in a pinch. A finishing press is another hundred or so, but you can also work around it. What’s really killing me is not having a board shear.

A full sized board shear costs several thousand dollars. (It’s basically a heavy-duty guillotine for cutting book board.) Even a small tabletop one costs at least $500, and then you’re limited to 15” of cutting space. And there’s really no substitute, as paper cutters and X-acto knives aren’t exactly up to the trick. I guess you could have Kinko’s cut it for you on their paper cutter, but who’s to say they’ll do an accurate enough job, and if you figure seven or eight cuts for just one book, that starts to get pretty expensive. Hollander’s will also cut your board for you, but they charge $10 per board, and book board is not supposed to be your biggest expense!

I considered volunteering at the conservation lab here at the library, but they want you to do five hours a week, and I’d really be doing it just so they’d give me access to the board shear. I think I may have found a partial solution, though.

If I do a spineless book, there isn’t as much measuring and I could probably cut my boards ahead of time. (Without having to finish my text block first, I mean.) And there’s a board shear in the HFAC that anyone can use, provided there isn’t a class there. If I buy board now and take it with me when I go home for Christmas, I can pop up to campus and cut myself maybe a year’s worth of board, provided I’m willing to stick with Coptic or link-stitch bindings. (Or accordion books, I suppose.)

And then I could make books for people. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


This morning was not a good morning. I measured myself, and I’m over 160. I have NEVER been so high. I was hoping that it was a mistake. I even measured myself again. But there’s no doubt.

I keep telling myself that it doesn’t matter. That some day I’ll find a boy who likes me for who I am on the inside. But then I see all of the little 100s and 90s walking around in their skanky Abercrombie outfits with some hot guy on their arm, and I know that I can’t compete.

I’ve tried, heaven knows. I’ve tried to read less and work out more and I might dye my hair blonde(r) and go shopping at Abercrombie and see if I can pass myself off as someone who’s a little less . . . you know. But I know they’ll see through it, and I know it’s a turn off. (Which is so ironic, because there’s so much more of me to love!)

But at night, when I’m sitting alone at my computer, working on an entity-relationship database model. I know I’m destined to be alone.

No one wants to date a girl with such a high IQ.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I called home on Sunday and in the middle of everything else my Mom informed me that another of my cousins is getting married. Fantastic. On the plus side: I like this cousin fine (even if I haven't seen her in a while), she's 21 (which is plenty old enough for a Mormon to be married), her Mom likes the guy a lot, and (best of all) I don't have to find an excuse not to attend the reception, because I now live 1500 miles away from Utah Valley. (I took a lot of crap for skipping the last family reception, most of it relayed secondhand through my family members who did attend. However, secondhand crap is still a lot better than an evening of extended family members bugging me to get married or get engaged or get a boyfriend or at least go on a blind date with their neighbor's sister's nephew's cousin who has some trivial thing in common with me. Like, we're both single. And carbon-based.)

Which brings us to the down side: I'm still not married. Yet another family member has managed to dredge up an Eternal Companion, and I am still treading water by my lonesome. You can run the numbers in various ways: only two cousins older than I are not married, six younger cousins are, plus the one that's engaged, plus the one that has a missionary. And the more people bug me to get hitched, the less I want to talk to anyone in my extended family about anything at all, let alone dating and relationships. (My uncle got so sick of being a 35+ single that when he finally did start seeing someone, they were practically engaged before he told anyone about her.)

To be fair, this rant is a bit preemptive, as no one has actually taken the opportunity to give me a hard time. Certainly, my immediate family doesn't really mind – they'd much rather see me single than married for the wrong reasons. But, in case the subject does come up again, I came up with six reasons that someone in my position might not be married. (I originally had five, but that number othered me, so I had to find a sixth. No idea if they’re actually Peircean.)

If I posted them all now, it would make this entry too long, so I’ll post them on successive entries.