s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

R is for Ryan

Once upon a time, I was in a physics class with two guys named Ryan, one of whom was pretty cute. Through a series of convoluted events, I later ended up in conversation with the fiancée of one of the Ryans. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure which one. Both were about the same height, both had unremarkable brownish-blondish hair, and I didn’t know the surname of either. Finally, she said “Mine’s the cute one!” “Oh, the cute one,” I said. “Gotcha.”

The next day, to my surprise, the other Ryan stopped me after class and said “I heard you met my fiancée last night.” I came very, very close to blurting out “You’re not the cute one!” I smiled instead and attempted not to look so shocked.

It had not occurred to me that in the event she was engaged to the other one, her hormone-addled brain would cause her to identify him as “the cute one,” regardless of the actuality of the situation. (The other possibility is that not everyone takes a good jawline to be the most important factor in male attractiveness. That, however, is much too bizarre an idea to be taken seriously.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A snarky blog post about Ben Christensen

Ben Christensen. Ben. Christensen. Where do I even begin? (Talking about Ben Christensen, that is.)

1. Did you know that “Christensen” means “son of Christian”? Did you know that Ben’s father is not, in fact, named “Christian”? Yep, that’s the kind of slick salesman we’re dealing with, folks, someone whose very name is a lie. Well, I’ve got new for you, Ben. The truth has a way of coming out.

2. Ben Christensen recently moved from Utah (the Lord’s Chosen State) to Washington, a state that’s pretty much part of Canada. And Canada, as we well know, is peopled entirely by criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them . . . no, wait, that’s Australia. Dang. What was my point, again? Oh yeah, Canada. What’s up with that, anyway?

3. Not being satisfied with having one master’s degree, Ben Christensen has recently decided to pursue a decadent second master’s degree. Gee Ben, isn’t the high school dropout rate high enough, already? Save a little education for the rest of us.

4. Oh, and did you know that the “sen” in “Christensen” means “son”? Notice how it’s not spelled “son,” though? That’s because it’s NOT ENGLISH. Yes, even though Ben Christensen’s family has been in the United States for multiple generations, they still haven’t fully assimilated, with what I think are obvious results. Ben Christensen is probably the kind of person who thinks that Latinos should keep speaking Latin, too.

5. Ben Christensen and his wife have two kids. Actually, I have nothing to say about that right now. But if they don’t have any more, then I’ll say that they’re bad Mormons. And if they do, then I’ll point out that the Earth is already overpopulated as it is. Check back in a few years to see which way this one goes.

6. Ben Christensen’s library science program is so trendy it’s not even a library science program. It’s an information science program. “Information science” – what is that, exactly? Stuff science?

7. Although Ben Christensen is well known in some circles, did you know that he’s actually the same person as Benjamin Christensen? What are you trying to hide, Mr. Christensen? Or should I say – Mr. CHRISTENSEN?

8. Ben Christensen exhales carbon dioxide with every breath. This is the same gas that’s been linked to global warming and the hole in the ozone layer. Good job, Ben! Why don’t you just go chainsaw an old-growth forest, while you’re at it!

9. One final thought: “Men are like parking spaces. All the good ones are taken and the rest are gay.”

I’m going to go post this on the Internet. I sure hope no one reads it.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cat. & Reference

"In the library system, patrons are assisted by two separate yet equally important groups: the catalogers, who organize the information; and the reference librarians, who assist patrons in finding the materials they’re looking for. These are their stories."

(Actually, these are mostly cataloging stories, since I don’t do reference work so much – and then strictly pro bono. But I can’t resist the opportunity to be clever, on occasion.)


So, I’ve been working at this cataloging job for about two months now, and I have to say that I really love it. Almost sickeningly so. It turns out that I really like new books, especially more academic or highbrow books, and . . . that’s what I catalog for 10+ hours a week. I still get excited every day about all the new books to catalog (unless it’s a truck of boring engineering books or obscure gift books – I’m all about obscurity, but it’s hard to find high-level matching records for some of these books). The excitement will probably wear off eventually, but for now I have the tendency to go in to work every day and say something like “Look! New books to catalog!” (My coworkers tolerate this behavior, for now.)

Also, the books I catalog often remind me of people I know. Here’s a brief list:

La Bamba:

Bollywood : sociology goes to the movies / Rajinder Kumar Dudrah.


Southern Fujian : reproduction of traditions in Post-Mao China / Chee Beng Tan.

Dr. Manning:

Signs of logic : Peircean themes on the philosophy of language, games, and communication / by Ahti-Veikko Pietarinen.


Medieval obscenities / Nicola McDonald.

Tolkien in translation / Thomas Honegger.

The Big O:

The encyclopedia of trains & locomotives / C J Riley.


Krushchev’s cold war : the inside story of an American adversary / Aleksandr Fursenko; Timothy Naftali.

(I’m glad that I finally spotted a book for Optimistic.; I was quite concerned at the lack of Soviet-era history books being acquired by the University of Illinois library system. In retrospect, many of the books acquired are probably in Russian, and are thus going directly to the Slavic library for cataloging.)


Isidore van Kinsbergen (1821-1905) : photo pioneer and theatre maker in the Dutch East Indies / Gerda Theuns-de Boer & Saskia Asser ; met bidragen van Steven Wachlin.

(This is a really beautiful book of photographs taken in Indonesia.)


Discovering sexuality in Dostoevsky / Susanne Fusso.

Also, I found one more book that reminded me of someone, but this book is such a good match for this person that I think I’m actually going to give it to them as a Christmas present, so I’m not including it here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

S is for Surprise

The last few days before Christmas are a tortuous time for those who are just old enough to keep track of how many days are left, but too young to be able to fill the time very easily. When my brother was little, I used to make that time of year even worse by giving him maddeningly oblique hints about the presents he was getting from me. One year, in a gesture which was (even for me) diabolical, I wrote down what I was getting him, and showed the paper to my pre-literate brother. Thinking quickly, he snatched the paper from me and ran downstairs to where our mother was. “Read it Mom! Mom, read it! Hurry! Quick! Just tell me what it says!” he pleaded.

About a minute later, one very annoyed pre-schooler came trudging back up the stairs and glared angrily at me.

I had written: “A SURPRISE.”