Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for November, 2007

Applications and the like

Posted by quirksalight on November 30, 2007

I sent off the EPIK application and my entry into the Big Trip contest.
The contest was for a round-the-world plane ticket, 20 stays in Hosteling International hostels, and assorted travel gear, plus a one-on-one with Brook Silva-Braga, the director of the documentary “A Map for Saturday”. My entry can be seen here:
Map for Saturday
I’m so glad that’s done. Getting things wrapped up is such a relief. Now, the waiting…

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Posted in applications, Korea, travel | Leave a Comment »

The agony that is being an Eagles fan

Posted by quirksalight on November 25, 2007

The Eagles v. Patriots game just wrapped up tonight. Final score, 31-28, Patriots.
I mean, come on! An amazing drive, at the end of the 4th quarter cut short b/c Feeley lobs the freakin’ ball into the hands of Asante Samuel, the same guy who intercepted the ball in the 1st quarter. Even the announcers were saying that – what are you thinking, throwing the ball in the direction of the guy who intercepted the last time, and why are you throwing it to the outside, when for the previous three quarters, throwing to the inside had the better outcome?
Don’t get me wrong; It was a really good game. I, being an Eagles fan, am bitterly disappointed that they couldn’t pull it through and win. But at the same time, the Eagles made the Patriots struggle to win the game, which is far better than anyone expected. Yet, the whole raising your hopes to dash them… well… that’s part of the package of being a Philadelphia Eagles fan, isn’t?

Posted in football, Philadelphia Eagles, Sports | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Tutoring

Posted by quirksalight on November 25, 2007

I started tutoring for Kaplan in the last year I was in grad school. It was a good way to make some extra money to supplement our stipends, and mobile in the US, as Kaplan is a national chain of test prep centers.
Funny…I initially tutored because it was an easy way to supplement my stipend. But it is really rewarding when you do see a student grasping a concept and improving in a particular subject, and/or performance on an exam. And you know that you’re helping them, it’s tangible, there’s definite proof.

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Hurdling at a trot

Posted by quirksalight on November 16, 2007

As some may have noticed, there’s been a small change in the set up of the blog. A new section in the right hand column – deadlines.
Yup. Listing the major deadlines I need to meet for my applications and future exams. Some are self imposed, but just trying to keep myself on track.

However, tada! I finished a major hurdle yesterday; writing the essay for the EPIK application. There’s no guideline to it; just a personal essay. And that was incredibly difficult, much more than I expected. I’m glad it’s written; though now it’s editing time.

Posted in application, deadlines, essays, writing | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

New people…

Posted by quirksalight on November 15, 2007

So it’s been two weeks since I’ve moved back to the DC area, and I have found a knitting group and a biking group.
It’s a bit more informal… there is a SnB-DC group that has a pretty big roster, and various people host SnBs mainly in DC proper. Which is a little more travel time for me, coming from Northern Virginia. But! There is a yarn shop, called Knit Happens, in Old Town Alexandria that’s much closer and there’s a knit in (also informal) every Wednesday evening, minus holidays. I went there yesterday, and the people were very cool.
Definitely will go again, as I miss the “wool crew” in NY dearly.

And I’m almost done with the V-neck sweater! Just a couple more inches of sleeves to finish…..

Posted in craft, Knitting, Stitch n' Bitch, sweater, yarn | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Old ghosts…

Posted by quirksalight on November 14, 2007

Yesterday, I received a very unexpected e-mail. It was a forward of an obituary from a Virginia newspaper, of someone I went to high school with. Actually, my high school debate partner of my senior year. We hadn’t talked since graduation, and weren’t really friends.
The funeral itself; well… a half of dozen of us, all of whom know each other from the high school debate team, headed to the funeral home just outside of Fredericksburg for the services, then to the burial in Alexandria.
I can’t speak for the rest, but I’m not too sure what I feel at the moment. Sorrow for his father, losing a son. Regret that a classmate was dead. Wondering, what happened last week, the last couple of years leading to this.

But the last words I have for him are of thanks. In his passing, people have come together, people who haven’t spoke in months, years, conversing once again. Whether or not these tenuous connections will stay complete or break once again is up to us. But thank you, for threading us together once again.

Requiscat in Pace.

Posted in Bizarre, death, Funeral, high school, musings, People, thoughtstream | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

On something completely random

Posted by quirksalight on November 12, 2007

…This is really effin’ annoying. WTF is this girl running around in traditional Korean dress??

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Lights, lights, lights.. (Gear Review)

Posted by quirksalight on November 11, 2007

The headlamp mentioned in last week’s semi-disaster night ride was the Petzl Tikka LED headlamp, bought at REI. the image below is from the REI website.
Petzl Tikka headlamp

It’s lightweight and very unobtrusive. This light was rated at 46 lux at 2 meters, flood style beam, and was 3 LED’s powered by 3 AAA batteries. It’s a nice headlamp, especially for the price (under $30), but not at all suitable for biking. VERY, VERY bad for biking. The light emitted from this lamp is just not strong enough for riding the trail at night. From the front of the bike helmet (the lamp did fit quite nicely and securely around my bike helmet, though), I couldn’t really see past 2 meters. Which is a very big problem, when you are trying to ride around and over obstacles, constantly changing direction and speed, and having to watch the trail so you won’t slip and fall, possible over the side and down a hill. Thank goodness I was with a group – even so, I had to bail halfway through.
I can see that this would be ok if you were on foot, or camping, and need a light that will leave your hands free. But if you want to get moving at any speed… well… I’d pick something else.

Definitely learned my lesson. NEVER skimp on the lights when night riding.

FYI – REI’s return policy is awesome.

Posted in accidents, adventure, biking, fun, gadgets, geek, night riding, outdoors, single-track, Sports, Tech, trail riding | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

You can’t go”home” again

Posted by quirksalight on November 7, 2007

It’s the first week back in Northern Virginia and in the house my parents have been in since I was in high school.
Stepping into my old room, with the furniture I’d picked out when young was a bit strange. Especially since the place had slowly been turning into the office/upstairs storage room in the years since high school. I left for college and haven’t lived here in the years since, with a couple months exception in 2001 (when no one was able to find a job).
Now, I’m going through piles of paper and books, readjusting the furniture so it can hold my things and my mother’s office supplies/equipment, and wondering if this arrangement will work for the time I need it to. It’s an adjustment for them too; neither of us are used to living with the other. All of a sudden they are parents, all of a sudden I have parents; neither in absentia for the first time in years.
The quote titling this post by Thomas Wolfe is right; you really can’t go back home again. You go back, but it’s just a pitstop on your journey. Time marches on, and so does the concept of home.

Posted in home, Mental Stream, moving, musings, Otherlife/grad school, quotes, VA | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Once, twice, a third…

Posted by quirksalight on November 6, 2007

…a third is pushing it.

I don’t consider myself to be a novice bike rider. I do admit to being out of shape (oh, the Ban on biking for 2 months… damn you my left knee! damn you!!), not knowing the paths in Northern Virginia, and never have ridden at night before.

Hence, third variable is pushing it.

Tonight was the weekly Tuesday night bike ride at Wakefield park hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE). It was the casual ride, and the trail was to be beginner-intermediate. I had ridden a small section of it yesterday and it was fine, about the level at Cathedral Pines, in Middle Island, NY.
I even went and bought a head lamp for the ride, thinking that my front light would be too weak. (What an understatement!)

First of all, it’s cold! I wore bike shorts, a pair of bike pants, thick socks, two long sleeved shirts, fleece, windbreaker, gloves, headband, and I think that’s it. And this was at 6:30pm. Granted, there was a lovely breeze kicking around, sunset was about an hour past, and it was about 10 degrees above freezing. (yes, this is about when you ask, “um, why are you biking at night in crappy weather?”)
Well…. I wanted to try a group ride, and riding at night sounded really neat. And it was – really neat, that is. Until you can’t see anymore, and the little that you do see is a very tilted trail with a sheer drop into black. Not too cool. I rode second to last our group of 5, as everyone else had pretty good lights, and I was trying to use them to make sure I don’t get lost or miss a crucial object, (ie, tree!). About an hour into the ride, I had slowed down severely due to the tilted trail mentioned above, fallen back, gotten stuck at several uphill climbs, broken my light, and was thinking, “crapola, crapola! Now what?”
Meeting up with everyone at the top of the hill, the ride leader correctly noted that I’d probably break my neck if I tried to continue, and brought the group back to the parking lot to make sure I got back safely. I felt really bad at making the group go back, but I got shushed after apologizing one to many times. 😛
When we got back to the parking lot, the group agreed that trying a night ride with crappy lights, not knowing the trail, and coming off of knee rehab was a bit of a risky thing to do. I, on the other hand, basically wondered where my survival instincts had gone today.

It was nice to meet other people who liked riding, though I was definitely the least experienced one there. I got some pretty good advice on lights and how to cut weight off the bike. One of the ladies mentioned that MORE also has rides just for the ladies, and that I should definitely go to those. A couple people also recommended that I get to know the trails in daylight before trying a night ride again, as that would have offset some of the problems I was having.

In all, I’m totally glad I went, though it was abbreviated for me. The people were nice too – I think I’ll try some of the other activities they sponsor, like trail maintenance.

Posted in accidents, amusing, annoyance, biking, knee, mountain biking, night riding, outdoors, single-track, Sports, trail, trail riding, VA | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »