Finals Approach

And I’m at my productive best, ain’t I?


I mean approaching, formally. Like the absolute value of the difference between my math final and I, is getting really small and fast. And thank goodness for that absolute value, because this distance would’ve been negative without a doubt otherwise.

Also, mathematicians must hate physicists. And computer science first years too, probably.


Staying up late at night to study has its own merits and demirits. I do some work, my mind wanders, poetry happens. Often.

I don’t always want to reach for my phone at 1 in the morning, it really messes up my rhythm.

So this is my new outlet.

I’m doing poetry on paper napkins! I could go all poetic about how fragile they are and everything, but you know the real story behind it; I’m just lazy.

I’m not sure how legible my handwriting is, it also happens to be my 2-AM-attempt-at-being-neat, so while it’s an aesthetic (I guess? That’s my alibi, after all!), I’m still going to transcribe it, for readability.

(Let me know if the Earth has launched out of our solar system and it’s actually readable enough for me to not need to transcribe it!)

So here goes nothing.

Einstein was right
Yes, time is relative
It’s relative, to space and sound
And all the people you’re around
Silence echoes louder than sound
Perhaps it does to some
For me, the white noise of my own thoughts
Begs sound’s intervention
Break through my inertia
Set me free
Take the place of disturbance
At once growling and motherly
For 9 PM and 3 AM
Are now the same to me
Bind me to my looming,
Growing responsibilities
Free me, speak in my mind
How screwed an I if I disagree?
Coerce me, coax me
But get me through the shitstorm
I’m singleminded in the wrong ways
Steely resolve to absurdity
Break down my statue
A memorial to eternity
And then know that you’re free
To haunt my whisking dreams.

(Just a note, that’s my math textbook in the background. I’m truly sorry.)

And The Leaves That Are Green Turn To Brown

Last afternoon, I passed a masterpiece on the street that took me to the conclusion that nature is basically Banksy: a tree that had, until just a day before yesterday been green, had begun to turn orange and red, only at the very top, in a most delightful way. Nature does her art in the dead of night anonymously. [I blogged about it too, right here: Fresh From The Canvas]

The tree is right outside our physics building.
The physics building has three entrances, so this tree is sort of my landmark for getting home, because I have an overbearing tendency to get lost around campus. Half the places I know the way to, I know because I found them when I got lost. So I’m the disorganised tour guide and this tree is my landmark for getting home alive with my brain distorted by special relativity. (If I can run fast enough for time to slow down, will the distance I have to walk to get home in the freezing cold decrease? [When something’s close to the speed of light, the time in its reference frame slows down, or dilates, and the distance in its reference frame contracts. Wish me luck on that midterm.]
Here’s a helpful hint to the answer: I’m currently ducking to avoid people I know from the basketball team. I can’t run to save my life.)

The tree my guiding light? How poetic.

Either way, I passed it again today, of course. I was in a good mood, and feeling pretty generous, decided to give you all an update on the art installation’s progress.


Sure there’s progress. As an art student who has spent five hours drawing a single character’s face, I can confirm it takes a while. (What’s that? I’m covering up for my inabilities? How very dare you.
But then again, you may just be right. Fractionally.)

And my being in that good mood had everything to do with busting out of a three-hour long physics lab an hour earlier than usual, with completed work for once, and being off until Tuesday because this Thanksgiving, I actually have something to be really thankful for: the Thanksgiving holiday! (As I may have mentioned a hundred times already on this blog, I am not, and may never, be ready for this midterm.)

It wasn’t just me though. My entire lab group was pretty happy.

This happy:

The significance of that about-to-be-wiped-off smile is entirely philosophical and beyond the scope of this blogpost. Grab a hot coffee and come talk to me for more information. I hope you like theatre.

Anyway, an early happy thanksgiving to you all! My priority this weekend is to sleep and sort out this mess that is my academic life.

In the meanwhile, here’s some eye candy for y’all. (Thanks for putting up with me and my big mouth.)


Happy fall, y’all!

PS: if you like the title of this post, you’ll love this:

Tchaikovsky On Song

The mood changes from a tense, terse one, exploding with a suddenness that is unwarranted from the two relatively sedentary creatures stationed at respective opposite ends of the room. A call to arms has been sounded, though curiously, neither creature is particularly roused. One returns to trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to dream up a method to hack the system database to erase all evidences of a certain coding assignment due next week, while the other returns to the more worldly matters of business and economics. *

*The author cannot vouch for the accuracy of that last statement segment.

A dismayed Tchaikovsky lets his arms drop in despair and decides to try again.


This time, though, he does elicit a response, perhaps not the kind he would have wanted, but a response nonetheless.

As his red-faced, purple-mouthed band blows furiously into its various brass instruments, his cellists find a spike in their arm lactic acid levels as the cramps begin to set in and the pianist thunders away furiously on the ivory, the room of people begin to raise what was once scratches of graphite on wood pulp, breathing life and rage into it, bringing it alive, giving it a voice and a megaphone, as the great composer watches for a final triumph as he turns in his grave.

A sniffle follows shortly after, and soon, joins and accompanies the maddening pace of the orchestra, syncopating everything that the percussionists would or would not do.

Surely eliciting a response befitting my legacy, thinks the great musician to himself with the bits of his brain scattered among the generations of bacteria having made themselves home within his mind and heart for centuries in the St. Petersburg soil.

The owner of the maddening sniffle reaches out for another tissue.

A curse, followed by a sneeze is heard.

“I think I’m short on tissues.”

The great composer’s face falls again (or would, if it could), and the great composer realises that his grande finale for the day has turned into something of a mockery of itself.

I think you’re short on brain tissues, the composer sulks, realising that some brains were perhaps jut too obtuse to truly appreciate the music that was to be heard in rapt attention, with a finer understanding of the vast emotions going through the composer’s head as he scribbled, the orchestra’s bodies as they performed, the listener’s mind and heart as they sat, awed, moved, changed immeasurably and beyond repair, and not, most certainly, to be resigned to the background as one hopelessly tried to debug a ten line code with five errors.
The composer has connected with his own piece once again, the fury, the angst and immense dismay in his heart is pouring forth through his exhausted musicians, who eventually diminuendo down to a softer touch on their instruments and a much more biologically agreeable andante.

The great composer’s admitted his defeat, his remorse sings loud through his lament, a movement filled with his reflections on his failure and on this nefarious generation that chooses to… of all things, code, with him, Tchaikovsky, as mere background music. Oh, the nerve. Oh, the sorrow. It spills through, the sadness soon turning to a maddened confusion, a rage of sorts at the state of pathetic loneliness, one that resonates wholly with the band, in the hollow echoes of the brass section, the sweet, high wail of the violins; nobody understands them, nobody has the time to hear their side of things.

And all of a sudden, the great Russian composer is a child again, living through the turbulent years of teenage-hood, no different from the punk with the distorted, loud guitar, lashing out against the uncaring world while his violins gently weep, and the low notes of the cellos shake the very floor beneath him.

The tremble begins to rise, and in a sudden momentary burst of rage, angst and pent-up expression, the whole ensemble breaks out into a loud, hard shout, a last-ditch effort to grab the attention of the immovable, impassive teenagers that sit a their tables, one working, the other hunting for tissues and cursing at bugs.

For a fleeting second, the world; these teens’ worlds; are his to command, but only for an instant, and Tchaikovsky and his happy party return to their world, slowly descending down the scales, as if mapping out a return home, and then deciding to flip the other way, and break into a brisk jog, gasping for air wheezing in a high pitch, but glad for the rush of blood, now content internally, trilling in a happier, major key as they really do decide to begin their wind up, and finish on a high, their now attuned and accustomed brassy voices singing loud and strong, then taking a bow, and basking in the satisfaction of a job well done.

Well, mostly, except…

The dense creature who forgot a jacket in a 10 kph wind sneezes yet again. 

A “daarrn it,” is heard. 

“If I run out of tissues, I’m soon going to have to use my physics problem set.”

The other head in the room turns instantly. 

“You what?!”

And the poor, frustrated musical genius that was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky turns in his grave, realising, much to his chagrin, that what he could not do in half an hour, a bumbling, sneezing, erring coder had managed in what couldn’t have been any more than a few seconds. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is my physics problem set. And yes, those are tissue papers. I am fully on my way to mastering back-of-the-napkin math. Yay for the wonders of science!


Have I reached Ground Zero?

Every time I say the words “I mean”, I hear “amine”.
Now, it’s one thing to mishear someone else talking. But when something that I’ve said sounds like something completely else to my own ears, I believe alarm bells go off.

The weird fact is that I am currently studying physics (and writing essays, but that’s English. And blogging… and I don’t know what that ought to be categorised as at this critical point in time.)

The only correlation I can find is the electrons. So I’m a nitro-powered highly charged mess.

Know what amine?



[Note: If you’ve been reading here for a while, my new ‘short’ posts might come as a bit of a surprise. Wasn’t I the one who kept rambling on and on? Well see, it’s the chemistry. It’s most compelling, in the electronegative sense. It has ulterior electro-motives. And I must surrender to its (-)I effect  will.

Once this nucleophilic tango reaches its crescendo and dies, I’ll be back and up to ds/dt (… apologies, I meant speed. Either my brain’s not working, or it’s overworking).

Till then, it’ll most likely be short rants. Or maybe a legit post?

As always, my excuse is that I’m underground. Something good ought to come out of this!]


Woke up this morning with a feeling in my gut
That unlike yesterday, today was going to be a new start
Lay in bed, counted on my fingers to nine
For that’s all the days I have before I run out of time
Nine sure sounds like a lot! I happily snapped out of my snooze
Gotta grab that physics book left on my desk; there’s not a second left to lose.

Somehow I sit here at the end of the day
Calculating interference fringe widths has left me fringed and frayed
Get that electricity up ‘n, it’s not yet the end of day!
Though you’ve tried studying all through Christmas, there isn’t much to show
So I’ll sit and watch my hopes recede and watch the growing gloom doom grow.
And think for the millionth time that I really ought to go.

(Seriously though, aren’t the books in the picture amazing? As you know, I’m a HUUUUUGE fan of diaries like that; I can’t help drooling over the white one with the pink borders!)

We’re Journaling On The Run Again

Do you remember that blockbuster time a few months ago when I had a physics journal to complete, and only twenty four hours (realistically, less) to do that? (Those either really bored or curious can check it out here.)
Well, turns out it wasn’t the end.
What I really did do that time was make twenty three experiments seem like twenty five. Thanks to my small handwriting, despite my three-day endeavour, my teacher couldn’t believe there were even twenty three of those in only hundred pages. (Not too far off the mark, but it was close enough to pass for 25. Still there was a momentary doubt: is this it? Will it all end like this? All that work for being called a bluff?)

Now look here, if I were in 11th grade, it may have passed. Not now. This year is supposedly the real deal. (Cue cut to rising background music
“Tell us,
tell us your final wish
Now we know you can never return”

Nope, this is the final stage. No turning back from here.)

So indeed, old ghosts return to haunt me. The work’s finally caught up with me. So here I sit with a journal in front of me to complete, yet again.
Might I mention, this time I need to draw the diagrams too.

But before I begin, there’s a little secret, a small triumph I could share. I may have “journaled” my physics journal writing process, but you won’t see that happening for chemistry.
That’s because I delegated that work to mum. (Mweeheehaahahaa.
In spite of all the evil villains out there, I still find one of the most impressive evil laughs to belong to a Disney character, from a Disney princess movie at that: Ursula from the Little Mermaid. Go figure.
(And for my mean, lean, rough, touch credos, please don’t ask about the Disney princess background!) (Another helpful pointer: it was left behind in the distant past. Distant, dusty and hazy. Don’t get lost on Mars.))

So, back to mum doing my chemistry journal… you won’t find me grumbling about it— and I wonder if twenty two salt analyses produced a piece of sheer frustration and boredom, or creativity, from my mother?
She just swears she’s not drawing my physics diagrams anymore.

My journal needs to be submitted tomorrow. (Wide smile)

What say we grab our coffee mugs and prepare for this time’s all nighter?

Two experiments, and twenty five diagrams to go!

(Note: I’ll keep updating thos post if and when I do. If you’re on this live, you may need to refresh.)

Well, here goes!
One thing I’ve gotta admit, it’s probably not a great idea to be beginning at 11:50 in the night when I’m expected in school at 8 the next morning. I have not an outlandish chance of completing everything!

I suppose the whole reason I’m even slightly motivated to begin is because I bought a new pen today. Nice, slim, sleek, very dark blue and unused. Something exciting about new stationery, if not exciting, then motivating. For at least 10 minutes.

Come to think of it now, I’m in deep. I need to figure out how my mum writes. It’s very different from my own writing. I don’t mean the way the hand works, mine is apparently one of the most wrist breaking styles in that department. Mum’s been trying forever to get me to “unhook” my hand, but it’s just comfortable. Guess it’s a lefty thing.
I’ll begin my undercover poseur training another day… Two experiments still to go for now.

I can imagine the scenario on Practicals exam day:
Let’s start over again
Why can’t we start it over again?
Just let us start it over again
And we’ll be good
This time we’ll get it…
Get it right
It’s my last chance… Ignore and forgive this, I couldn’t possibly write it again!

… After so many days of following SAT/America’s english model, putting a comma before every ‘and’, it’s almost kinda liberating to be following the British model again!

Great, it’s the day of my submission already!(post-12) I’ve started preparing my Ode to Coffee already…

I can’t believe this! I’m writing a three-page experiment to “identify a diode and a capacitor”, among others. My eyes haven’t given up on me yet!
Wonder if I should mention in the apparatus list that I used my eyes for this one?

Capacitors have the capacity to be chameleons. (See what I did there?)
They can be backstabbing bitches, basically. They’ll be friendly to one component of you, and totally ignore the other. They work perfectly fine with alternating currents, but the minute it turns steady, the friendliness disappears: it just won’t work anymore. Picky.

My sister was studying some biology earlier today. Jogged my memory about vaccins. Though this is not a rant about how those needles scare the hell out of me. I’ve been liked the wrong way enough times.
I was reminded about the guy who came uo with the concept, Edward Jenner. It just made me think, the quality of Jenners has dropped now. All they seem to do is get famous for having done absolutely nothing I could imagine thats notable… Or maybe big lips are an achievement? I’m the wrong person to be attempting to answer such questions, let’s talk physics again!

For an experiment, this one’s pretty un-technical. Gee, I can’t imagine what the procedure says. “Pick up a piece and look at it. With enough training, you should know that it’s a transistor. Now say this in 20 words instead of 10. You’re done!”
Such stuff requires a high level of expertise. Kids, don’t try this at home!

“… When both ends are touched together, there should be continuity in both directions,”
Sure doesn’t sound like the traffic.

It’s nearly 1. My internal Hab will soon be breached.

I’m currently reading the Martian, if that explains it.
It will also explain my mother’s new headache. After vacillating between five different possible career options last year and finally settling on one, I’ve been triggered again.
I’ve been wondering (in no small part thanks to this book) whether I really should be picking physics as my college major. It’s not the first time I’ve suggested this, but this is just after all my college essays have been written!
My mum’s been smacking her head, but hey, when wasn’t physics cooler than computer science?

The last time I had to write a physics journal, I ended up listening to the entire Sounds of Silence album start to finish, thrice. (It’s Simon and Garfunkel’s. And it’s definitely worth a listen.) I’m wondering what to get through now.
But then again, that’s probably the reason why it took me three days. That doesn’t take away anything from the fact that twenty three’s a big number. Especially when compared to two, which is what I must complete today, and get some sleep.

Last year, we had an experiment on resonance frequencies in a resonance tube, and they brought us tuning/pitch forks to use. Safe to say, the musicians drooled (unashamedly and justifiably, in our defence. How often do you get something to brighten up an uneventful day?) and it eventually turned into an hour of ear training tests.

In the movie the Martian, Mark Watney is a botanist. What they don’t tell you there but is made plain in the book is that he’s actually a double major. Botany and mechanical engineering from the University of Chicago. Damn. Here I was wondering how I’d juggle a Computer Science major with other things… but the pull of space is strong, isn’t it? (Yes, despite the crazy amounts by which it varies in different places, from one-sixth of the earth’s on our moon to one so strong in a black hole that even light, the fastest moving thing currently known, cannot escape it.)
My physics journal beckons. And my will is the moon’s gravity: weak. It’s nearly 1:30! In the morning, by the way. This is familiar.

Capacitors are cool that way. Infinite resistance. An invading army would love to have that. But then again, it’s only for DC sources… The Empire Strikes Back.

One done,one to go!
… Maybe keeping my mouth shut, or rather, fingers typing, instead, is not such a bad idea after all…

My situation:
Don’t confuse
Baby you’re gonna lose
You’re own game

But I gotta admit, it’s fun doing this. Until you look at the clock , at least.

If you’re up for too long, after a point, you’re gonna get light headed and really won’t care or register much any more. I still do care, but the trick is to balance your concern for finishing with your concern for lost sleep. Do this preferably before 12 AM.
Kids, make this a learning experience (just like it was three months ago… Guess I’ll never learn.)

Change of plan: I’m listening to MJ instead. It’s 1:59, so this plan needs to change soon too.

The way practical exams really work is as such:
Every breadth (and other readings ) you take
Every move you make
Every misstep you take
Every reading you fake
I’ll be watching you.

We have a new plan, and it’s to sleep! Effective immediately. I’m done, and the diagrams can very well wait another day.
The handwriting wasn’t too bad for 2 AM… Goodnight, clutch your journals tight, don’t be sleep deprived.

Reel Saturated

Aargh, why do I feel these days like movie scripts are a waste of actors, and half the time actors are a waste of scripts?
Have the scriptwriters lost their own attention spans? Are they writing a few punchlines and getting a sixth grader to fill in the rest of the pages?
Half the punchlines, I see the pleading faces of an embarrassed actor on screen: please do laugh when you hear this!
Some seem bored, some are boring, and why is it that the one day I ditch my nonexistent schedule for a movie it must be such a bore?
Yes, I did go for a movie, and I carried a backup with me that did end up saving me a few hours of cringing: my phone, with noise blocking earphones I scored off my mother. (Mine don’t block out noise.)
Well if you asked me if it was worth my time, I’d say it was, because I caught the decent parts of a movie and watched 2 episodes of Arrow!
Now that’s a few hours well spent, I feel proud.

On a related note, if you’ve spent too long around physics textbooks, I think sometimes, it can screw up your movie-watching experience. (Quite literally)
I sat in the hall with muffled sounds in my ears, I could hear when I wanted to, and I heard a bit of dialogue at a point. Seemed interesting, I paused my episode.
There was someone named Helix getting beaten up by the hero.
I’m thinking, oh, how interesting, there’s a guy named Helix. Never seen that before. I’m not even sitting for a sci-fi movie where a bad guy ‘screws’ everyone over, what’s the deal?
Right on cue, Helix tumbles down a staircase rolling, might I mention, in helical motion.
Ah, that must be why a self-proclaimed comedy film has a baddie who spirals down staircases, named Helix.

Fast forward two hours, I realised his name was really Alex all the while.
Boy, am I saturated with physics.