Archive for the 'Memorable' Category

Good News, Everyone!

I passed!

The deliberations must have been pretty quick, too, because I got the news from my advisor almost twenty minutes before he was supposed to find out.

Q: Round 2

Well, that time has rolled around again. I’ve been assigned a new committee for my second shot at the qualifying exam. Tomorrow I pick up the problem I’ll be presenting on, so today is my last day to get any useful studying done.

Strangely, I have not done much studying. I don’t think that it’s because I don’t feel like I need to study; I think it has more to do with keeping my anxieties under control. If I spend too much time looking at notes, I will freak out about everything I can’t reproduce off the top of my head. Last time it was my anxiety that killed my performance. I’m hoping this time around that the confidence in my own research abilities that I’ve gained in the past seven months will keep me calm enough that I can reason things out as I know I would in a less stressful situation.

It’s probably also useful that my committee this time is made up of professors I am less intimidated by. And that I got an A+ this past semester in the course taught by one of them. And that I had a great presentation at APS a couple of months ago. This exam is just supposed to demonstrate that I know what I need to know to be a good researcher. I am already a good researcher.

I can do this.

Deathly Hallows‘ Book Launch

For those worried about spoilers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, let me assure you that there are no spoilers in this post. Any links to pages that may contain spoilers are clearly marked. You’re welcome.

Like much of the rest of the world, my weekend was saturated with Harry Potter mania. Since this was the last book, I figured it was my only remaining chance to experience the pure craziness known as a midnight launch party. And, hell, if I was going to go, I decided I should go all out. Therefore, I roped Stephanie into dressing up with me and going to our local Barnes and Noble on Friday.

According to their website, we were supposed to dress up as our favorite characters, but, seeing as I don’t know that I have a favorite–except maybe Neville, who, unlike me, is not a girl–I went with the character I most resembled physically: Bellatrix Lestrange (link contains HP7 spoilers). For those who do not know who Bellatrix is, she’s basically Lord Voldemort’s most loyal and deranged follower. Stephanie, we decided, should join me as Bella’s younger sister, Narcissa Malfoy (also with the HP7 spoilers).

Bellatrix and Narcissa

We put a fair amount of preparation into it in the week beforehand, including an evening I spent carving our wands and another that was spent trying to make Stephanie blonde again. We also got ourselves marked by the Dark Lord. For authenticity. We dressed with plenty of black and green, and then, with some help from some Muggle bloke, we went a little crazy with the photo-taking. On the other hand, some may claim that I just went outright crazy:

Avada Kadavra, anyone?

After a bit, we headed over to the local Barnes and Noble for their Midnight Magic party and I got my bracelet. We wandered around admiring outfits for a bit and doing our bit for the trivia scavenger hunt, but the all the children with lightning scars on their foreheads were a bit much for us, so we walked over to Chili’s for margaritas and a bite to eat. We got back to the store in time to volunteer ourselves for the costume contest. I think, aside from one kid I saw dressed as a Deatheater at one point and one adult who appeared to be Snape, that we were the only evil-doers there. There were tons of Harrys and Hermiones, a Luna or two, and a couple of Tonks(es?). There were also a few who had cleverer costumes, including an older woman who had a wonderful handmade Professor Sprout outfit and another fellow who made a convincing Mad Eye with whom I had a mock duel. A young couple dressed up as Harry and Hedwig–the girl had white feathers and had tied a letter to her leg even! I think my favorites, though, were the girls who had dressed up as house elves–specifically as Winky and Dobby. They were dressed in stained pillowcases and had big elf ears attached to headbands. Winky wore a button saying “I <3 Mr. Crouch” and carried an empty butterbeer bottle while Dobby wore mismatched knee-high socks and a tall stack of ridiculous knitted hats. It was excellent!

None of us won the costume contest, unfortunately, but we knew that they would give it to a kid. The girl who won was Luna and had, among other things, a witch’s hat with a great, big stuffed lion on top! We did get lots of compliments on our costumes, though, particularly on our Dark Marks and wands. I had so many people ask where we got our wands that I half-wished that I’d made extras and sold them at the store. I probably could have paid for both of our books. Ah well.

Needless to say, it was a crazy, silly, and fun night. I’m very glad that we did it, despite the fact that I’ve since been a zombie since, what with all the sleep I didn’t get staying up and reading. But what’s that to a bit of fun?

I spent most of this evening Photoshopping our photos into Harry Potter-ness (although Joe did a few them, too), so have some fun looking at the photos.