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I'm in Germany right now--I just got here today, but it's going pretty well so far. We just went for dinner at the Turkish place that invented the doner kabab, this lamb thing that's vaguely like a gyro and really popular in Berlin. (I didn't actually get a doner kebab, but I'm sure I'll be getting a few while I'm here, and what I got was pretty good...Mediterranean food is good...) Oh, and we also bought way too much baklava and other similar stuff at a different place, which will be good...
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You know, reading [ profile] philthecow's old entries on CTY (linked from her last post) reminds me of something that I've sometimes wondered recently...what would have happened to me if I had actually gone to the CTY-type program (Duke TIP) that I really wanted to go to the summer before 8th grade? I think it would have made a big difference for me, but I'm not sure if it would have been good or bad. Probably some good, some bad, but it's interesting to think that one little decision would have probably made a pretty major difference in my personality... (On a side note, this is one reason why I'm so indecisive, or at least why I'm resistant to becoming more decisive--because I notice that especially for me, little things end up making a big difference in much bigger things that follow. So it's important to think about all of the little things before I make a decision. Of course, I guess that can have bad effects, like, oh, when you wait a bit too long in booking a hostel and the place where you really wanted to go gets filled up. But I think that's actually going to work out OK, hopefully... But yeah, if you've seen "Run, Lola, Run", that's a good example for what I'm referring to. There's little tiny, inconsequential differences, and they add up to huge differences in the outcome. Of course, it's true that the outcome is actually the most unfair in every permutation, at least if I remember right from when I watched it when I took German 3 years ago. So that would say that it's useless to try to have any control those little things. But I still think it's worth taking the effort to be aware of the little things, even if, for better or worse, they can't be controlled. Not that I'd WANT to have control over all of those little things, because that would be boring, and I don't trust my decision-making skills that much anyway. But OK, now I'm rambling...)

Anyway, as it turned out, my parents convinced me to go to the Jewish summer camp that I had gone to for 4 years before that instead of to Duke TIP. I ended up liking it (I guess...), and at least trying to fit in with the crowd of upper-middle-class Midwestern Jewish kids. And I went back the next year because of that, and ended up joining BBYO in high school, which I most likely wouldn't have done if I didn't know the people from camp. And so I tried to be "normal", both there and in school. And it kind of worked, in some ways. But I think I really can say that I fit in much better around weird people than by trying to be normal, and in high school, I ending up being the kid that some people were nice to, some weren't, but nobody really understood. (And even if there were people more like me, I probably wouldn't have made an effort to be friends with them anyway...) Of course, there's something to be said for at least trying not to be TOO odd, or at least being normal enough not to make "normal" people uncomfortable. And I definitely had resistance to joining SWIL, as [ profile] sildra can tell you (well, she did actually tell the story I'm thinking of, which I'm actually somewhat embarassed by now, here. Of course, you also see the amusing juxtaposition between that memory, and the memory that one of my closest friends from high school had of me, of being the nerdiest kid he had ever seen, despite my efforts otherwise...I think that sort of emphasizes the point I'm trying to make here.) And I also talked about my resistance to joining SWIL here (in my first LJ post).

But when I read about people who went to CTY, and actually found other people who were just as nerdy as they were... I wonder if I really would have been a lot happier if I had actually gone to the TIP summer program. I think I would have found people who I had more in common with, and I wouldn't have had to try so hard (and so...unsuccessfully, mostly...) to be "normal" to have friends. And I might have even broken some obnoxious habits that I didn't end up breaking until my freshman year at Swarthmore. Of course, it is true that if I had done that, I might have ended up being completely unable to relate to normal people, which would have been kind of bad. Especially since at that point, after 7th grade, I really WAS completely unable to relate to "normal" people (or, well, most people...yeah, I was sort of...difficult in middle school...). Where now, I think I can get along with a fair number of "normal" people reasonably well, at least on a superficial level. And it's also true that even if I met all of these great people in the summer, most of them wouldn't have been in St. Louis. And I would have realized how [insert list of condescending adjectives here relating to lack of sophisticated rational thinking ability that I'm probably better off not spelling out] my parents really are, which might have caused some problems since I still had to live with them for 5 more years. So in the short term, maybe it would have made me a lot less happy. And of course, at Swarthmore and with SWIL, I did finally learn all of those things about coming to terms with my own nerdiness that other people learned at CTY. So maybe it really is better that I didn't do something like that earlier? Well, I don't know. Obviously, it's fairly inconsequential, in the end,'s interesting to think about...
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A couple of basic updates on things: I'm going to be going to Villanova next year for a masters in psychology. I talk about it a lot more in a friends-locked post (which I can show anyone who's curious), but I wanted to put this in an open post also, in case people are curious... I still have some qualms about it, but hopefully it will end up being ok...

And also, my new E-mail address. My Swarthmore address dies pretty soon, so I'm going to be using my SCCS address (mcohen at as my primary E-mail address. I do also have my GMail address (indecisiveswattie at, which I may use for a few more things than I have been so far, but I don't want to only use that. And finally, I have an alum forwarding address (mcohen at
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I'll go along with the rest of SWIL on this meme--I think it's a good one...:

Analogous to library-fine-amnesty day or tax-amnesty day, this is the Things You Should Probably Know About Me But Forgot amnesty meme. If there are things you'd feel embarrassed asking me to my face the next time you see me, because, "oh, goodness, I really should know that, shouldn't I?", just ask it as a comment to this thread, and I'll answer it. Since it's the amnesty thread there will be zero guilt or embarrassment involved, even if it's something I'd normally give you a hard time about not knowing.

In addition, if it is actually a Thing You Really Shouldn't Know About Me, I will not give you a hard time about thinking you should.
And hmm, the other meme that's been going around... Well, I kind of want to post it, but I may be a bit too self-concsious about the responses for it to be worth it. But I guess I'll post it anyway, for curiosity...
questions meme )
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You know, working on my psychobiology comprehensive exam kind of makes me wish I could have done Honors. Yeah, I know at this time of year, course majors are supposed to be glad they're not doing honors. But I'm realizing "Hmm, I really am enjoying putting things that I understand from a few different classes together into a coherent whole. It would be cool to actually be able to talk about what I know with an Honors examiner..."

Of course, considering how much I've had to do the past few weeks with just what I have, I may have also gone somewhat insane. Or, somewhat more importantly, I may not have had any time to figure out stuff for next year. And I guess there would have been other downsides as far as courses I would have had to miss out on taking. But it does still seem like I'm missing out on something exciting...

The reason why I actually didn't do Honors, if you don't know )

Oh and while I'm posting...SWIL remembrances were fun, and I definitely enjoyed my own (as well as Jon's and Viva's, and some others also). But I will say that I liked reliving the more recent memories (ie. what Arthur and Jonathan said) more than thinking about freshman year. Probably not surprising...but those things couldn't exactly be left out... ;) I did also have some suggestions for things that could be improved at Remembrances in the future, which I posted in a comment in [ profile] crystalpyramid's LJ, but overall, it was still good...

Edit: You know, though, now I'm going to be more self-conscious than I already was about the whole "seeing both sides of everything" thing. I mean, I already knew I did that, but now it seems like every time I do it (like, say, in this post...), I'm thinking about it afterwards, that "Hmm, people are going to notice that, and it's really unusual. Maybe I shouldn't do that." The thing is, I know it's not actually a bad thing, and I don't think there's any way I could stop myself from doing it if I could, and I wouldn't want to stop myself from doing it anyway, because it is kind of cool. But ah, silly reflexive responses...

And another edit: Reconsidering my interpretations, about the comprehensive... )
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Intelligence types meme:

Your brain: 160% interpersonal, 40% visual, 120% verbal, and 80% mathematical!

Full results )

Kind of interesting... I think it might be underestimating just a bit on the quantitative, but actually...I'm fairly good at basic quantitative stuff, but I don't necessarily LIKE it as much, and they say that that's what this judges.

Oh, and the other interesting meme that's been going around...

Cities meme )

This kind of works, although I really wouldn't put New York so high. And that's when I list Northeast as my preference; when I put the Midwest, Chicago comes out on top. And since that's where I've thought I probably WOULD most like to live in the future, that's kinda nice...

I also want to post a longer post about other stuff soon (ie. an update on stuff for next year), but I guess I should go to dinner now and do that later...

Actually, I guess I can do the short version now. I got accepted to the masters program at Villanova that I applied to, and got their highest level of funding, which is good, although I guess I was kind of assuming that I would get it in already. The thing is, I think I'd really rather do one of those research assistant jobs at Penn, but I still haven't heard from most of them, and the people from Villanova want me to give them an answer about whether I'm interested sometime around the middle of May, probably. I'm going to visit there on Wednesday, so I guess I'll see then what I think of it. But I am still hoping I'll get one of the jobs at Penn... (And I'm E-mailing people at Penn to ask about my status with them...). So yeah...I guess we'll still have to see. I still want to post later with more thoughts, but I guess I should really go now...
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dialect meme )

Hmm, 0% Midwestern? Now I don't think my speech has changed THAT much from being at Swarthmore for 4 years. Does St. Louis just not follow the typical midwestern speech patterns? Or did I just avoid picking them up? Or maybe a little bit of both?

Well, I guess the fact that people in St. Louis say soda instead of pop got rid of one thing that would be Midwestern. (Since Milwaukee is the only other city in the Midwest that says "soda", according to, my guess is that it has something to do with the fact that both cities were big beer-brewing towns...) And I remember saying before that there really isn't a distinctive St. Louis accent, so maybe that's true... (Well, except for random little things like saying, ie. "Highway Farty (40)" or "harse" on words with an "or", or "ice cream sun-duh". And I managed to stop doing those, at least on those particular words, after I found out that those things were weird when I was in middle school/high school... Yeah, now I might say that silly distinctive things like that are cool, but at the time I decided that they were silly. And, well, maybe I DON'T want to be that strongly associated with St. Louis anyway... ;) )

Edit: OK, after playing around with this a little....what DOES show up as a Midwestern dialect? (Except saying "pop"--that counts as Midwestern, according to this. But it's SODA, really! :) ) Considering that everyone who's taken this seems to have a 0% Midwestern dialect, and even picking other things that I've heard in St. Louis and don't use doesn't increase that (most of those things that I've heard but don't use are Southern, which I guess makes sense)...I guess this doesn't really give Midwestern on many things. Well that's kind of silly... So I guess it's actually just subtracting from the "standard" dialect for any answers where you don't follow the standard dialect, but each one only goes to one dialect? And there's different numbers of questions going to each dialect, I think. That's sort of misleading... Silly quiz...
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Hmm, I'm noticing that actually having a decent amount of sleep (well, and not having anything due right away...although I really, really need to work on cover letters tonight...) after not having that for a few days actually does help my brain work better. I guess this shouldn't be a revelation, and staying up late is still fun/necessary enough to not remember that lesson too well. But yeah...
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Just for the record... I guess other than that random, unexpected (relatively) very cheap fare on British Airways, I did actually by my plane ticket at the right time. Because it looks like that price only lasted for about 24 hours, and then a few days later, the price on the ticket I bought actually went up by $40. So even if the airline ticket pricing system outsmarted me by a little bit, I guess I did have the right idea with buying it when I did...

So also, I've been reading stuff for my seminar presentation tomorrow on the hormonal basis of love and monogamy. It's really cool stuff... And apparently, pair bonding, at least in rodents, activates the same dopaminergic pleasure systems as cocaine and heroin. Mother-infant bonding seems to be by the same process, which leads to one amusing study, where they tested whether mother rats preferred time with their pups or cocaine to test the strength of the bond. At day 8, they preferred the pups, but at day 16, they preferred cocaine. (Adult rats generally don't like to be around pups, but after birth they clearly do...but that desire lessens over time.) So basically, all of the times last semester that I said cuddling is addictive, and love in general is addictive...I guess this shows that it really is. :)

And on the topic of withdrawal... Well, I think spring break really helped me with feeling lonely from missing [ profile] gerbilicious85. Even though there's definitely things that annoy me about being home in St. Louis, and I still don't want to be there for longer than a few weeks at a time, it is definitely comforting. I guess that says even more that I really should have gone home for at least a few days after I saw Susan in January, instead of going straight to my externship in Boston. Of course, I thought that to begin with, and still arranged my break the way I did anyway...

But yeah, even though I do still miss her (it's sort of more or less at different times), at least lately, I think I've adjusted more. I have also been pretty busy since spring break, which I think helps with that. (So we'll see how I feel when/if I get a little bit less busy...) But I guess that's a healthy change, even though on the other hand, I start to get worried if I feel like I've adjusted too much. But I guess adjusting really is healthy... And that doesn't mean that I won't enjoy it when we do see each other in June...
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So I finally bought my ticket to Germany last night (going from June 24-July 6), and I was pretty happy with myself for finally making a decision. And I figured that even though the fare I paid was a lot of money, it probably wasn't going to get any cheaper if I waited. But I remember saying something like "now that I finally made a decision, hopefully the price won't go down by $200 tomorrow".

And just now... I decided to check again for curiosity, and all of sudden, there was a sale fare available for almost $300 less than what I paid, which would make it almost the cheapest fare I've seen since I've been looking (for almost 2 months). (And it's on British Airways, which is apparently a really good airline to fly on a transatlantic flight with, unlike the other airlines that had cheaper fares show up recently...).

You know, as much fun as it is to try to predict the crazy, incredibly random airline ticket pricing system, when you get things like I'm more shaking my head than really pissed,

Edit: I should add that the ticket that I bought really was the best itinerary, so that compensates for some of it. The one that was $280 less than what I paid leaves at 7:30 AM, where the similar itinerary going on British Airways was actually only $150 cheaper than what I paid, and I also wouldn't get AA frequent flier miles (which I'd want) on a British Airways transatlantic flight, where I will by flying on American. So those things compensate a little bit for the difference. But still...

I actually want to add a little bit more about how this can be an interesting case study in the psychology of decision making, but I'm supposed to be meeting someone to work on lab stuff for my seminar, I guess I should put that off until later...
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I just thought I should add as an addition to my last post that even though this semester hasn't been all that exciting, things definitely could be worse. I am still at Swarthmore, which is better than most places in the world, and I do still have some people around to keep me sane. So I'm writing this to remind myself that I shouldn't be TOO eager for this semester to end. But now I really should stop procrastinating and go back to studying for that midterm...
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So I realized that I really haven't posted for a while, so it may not be a bad thing to post something on here. (Well, also I'm pretty sleep deprived, and for some reason that's when I tend to feel like posting to LJ...I guess I'm less inhibited, if also less coherent, when sleep deprived...) But I guess there really hasn't been all that much going on lately... It's actually hard to believe that it's already almost spring break, but on the other hand, I'm not all that upset by that. This semester has just been sort of "blah", and at least at this point, I don't forsee too much excitement happening. (Of course, once I say that, that makes it more possible that the opposite will happen, but we'll see. ;) ) But I don't know, I guess after all of the times of intense pleasure and emotional stimulation in general last semester, nothing can really compare to that with Susan in Germany. But hopefully I'll have more of that next year?

Oh, that reminds me--I still really want to go visit [ profile] gerbilicious85 in Germany in June, but I'm also a little bit worried that it could end up being a bad idea, even though it could also be really great. Or it may be both. I still need to talk to her about that, though, so hopefully I'll get in touch with her on the phone sometime soon to talk about it more. I started to talk to her about it a week ago Monday when I talked to her on the phone, but then JUST as we started to talk about that, the damn connection died. (According to [ profile] arctangent, that happens sometimes with really long distance calls, but the way it happened was just so frustrating it was comical. Because after we got disconnected, after I had JUST started to try to get on the same page with her about whether I should definitely get a ticket to come there or if I should wait to buy it, she had already left to go somewhere with her host mother (which she had said she had to do soon anyway). Then, I tried calling back, and first she still wasn't there, and THEN, I think I might have somehow called just as someone was getting online or something, because it rang, and then it clicked off, and then when I called back, it was busy. And then I've been busy the past few days with classes and my seminar presentation. So I still haven't actually talk to her to figure that out, but I don't think it's a bad thing that I've waited... And even with that frustration, I still was incredibly happy just from talking to her. Susan, you really are a pleasure-inducing drug... :)

I guess I do also need to do more stuff with the whole looking for a job thing sometime soon. Complaining about how annoying that process is... )

Edit: Oh also, I am thinking now that I'm at least a bit more sure about wanting to do an MD/PhD from my classes this semester (although still not completely sure), but I guess it depends what I find for next year whether I'll be taking 1 year off or two. (If I find a job with a 2 year committment, or one that would be really interesting in general, I guess I would plan on taking two years off, where if the only thing I get is some not-fun research tech job, I would plan on taking one year. Of course, I can't decide anything on that now, and who knows if I'll even be able to tell by June what would be fun and what wouldn't be, but I thought I might as well add this on here while I'm at it.

My seminar presentation today )

About working in a group, and about the seminar in general )
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So I just noticed a news thing on AIM that Orlando Bloom broke up with his girlfriend of 3 years. Now I guess I just have to make sure he doesn't end up in Berlin anytime in the next 6 months... ;)
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So I tried making one of those picture caricature things, and it looks like it came out pretty decent.  Hmm, should I actually use that as an LJ user icon?  It seems like it may be a nice idea to finally have one...

Edit: Here's another one that may be a bit better...

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If anyone is curious to read my paper on Swarthmore history, I just put it up online at knowledge in Quaker and Jewish communities.pdf

The paper looked at how Quakers approached scientific knowledge in general, and how Swarthmore approached it. I also did an in-depth analysis of Parrish's journal, and I did include a little bit about how Jewish communities approached scientific knowledge. That was actually going to be my main topic originally, but it ended up that the Quaker stuff was more interesting, so most of the paper ended up being on that... But I did also have some interesting comparisons at the end between the two groups.

Respond here (or ask me anytime) if you have any questions about it...but I think there's some interesting stuff in there...
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So I’ve been meaning to write a sort of “end of year” post for a while, but I haven’t actually managed to do it before now. (I wanted to do it January 1st, partly because Edward Parrish tended to write long entries at the end of the year to wrap things up in a journal that he otherwise didn't write in all that frequently. And, I'm sure he wasn't the first to do that, either.) 2004 has been a really good year for me, and unfortunately, I really don’t think 2005 will be as good. But I guess we'll have to see...

I also wanted post because Susan and I sort of decided that with her going to Germany and with me graduating, we sort of should move back to being “friends with subtext,” at least for now. But if we are in the same place next year (like if I end up getting a job at Penn), then hopefully we will be able to move back to “text” at some point in the future. I think it is the right thing to do, since we’re probably not really serious enough to have a long-distance relationship going for that long. But if you wonder why, for example, the relationship is taken off Facebook entirely...well, it’s because they don’t give a “friends with subtext” option.

Of course, that’s one major reason why I’m worried about this coming year. When I read back to the beginning of my LJ a couple weeks ago, I really realized how much better I’m doing now socially compared to last year at this time. Part of what helped me was finally getting some good speech therapy (which I did in January), and the externship that I did last January definitely helped me feel better about myself. But I also first met [ profile] gerbilicious85 in February, and I have to think she's the major reason why this past year has been the happiest part of my time at Swarthmore. (Well, along sophomore year, rooming with Jonathan, which also had some nice times. OK, I shouldn't downgrade that, because I've thought about it, and there is absolutely nothing in the entire world that I would trade that year for, just because rooming with Jonathan was so psychologically beneficial for me in so many ways. But I'm not going to go into any more detail on that here…) So now…well, we'll see how next semester goes. I will be taking classes that will hopefully be interesting next semester, and hopefully I'll be in touch with Susan in Germany. But it's still not the same... How my classes next semester relate to this )

And the other thing that's improved so much since last year is my academic direction. Figuring out that I liked psychology was really a huge thing, so at least I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do. I still need to decide between the MD/Ph.D. and the Ph.D., but I'm at least pretty sure that social neuroscience is something that will really fascinate me.

Oh also, one thing on that note, which was probably the highlight of my trip to Chicago... Serendipitously managing to find and meet with John Cacioppo at University of Chicago ) And then I asked the administrative person if she thought it would make sense for me to try to talk to John Cacioppo, who's probably the leading researcher in social neuroscience, and there's a pretty good chance that I would have him as an advisor if I end up going there. I wasn't planning on actually talking to professors, and especially not him, since for one, he's really busy, and also, from what I had seen, it didn't seem like he would be the nicest guy. Well, the administrative person said that I might as well go up to his office, and sure enough, his door was open. (Actually, his door was the only one on the hall that was open, since, after all, this was at 4:45 on a Friday afternoon.) So after nervously pacing in the hall a little bit, I went in to talk to him. (Of course, I had hardly eaten anything all day, since we were planning on going for lunch first and had to scrap that when we realized how late it was... So, that probably made me even more enthusiastic and excited, and maybe also made me less evaluative of him, so I still don't want to say that I would absolutely want to work with him. But still, the fact that he was willing to sit down for 15 minutes or so to talk to a prospective student who dropped by unannounced on a Friday afternoon was really nice. And, in general, it's clear that he is really devoted to his work and knows a lot about the subject, and he was pretty friendly. Oh and, he also reawakened Susan's passion for psychology, which was really cool to see.) So it turned out that that was much better than finding the building I was looking for, because once we did finally find it (when everyone was already gone), it turned out that I may not have been able to see anyone there anyway. And besides, Cacioppo is the one who I would have wanted to talk to anyway, and I didn't realize that his office was now with the psych department. So that was very good luck...

He actually did give me what I think is some very good advice, too. The advice, on MD/Ph.D. vs. Ph.D. )

So, I guess it may be a nice idea to actually sleep a little bit tonight, so I guess this will be all for now. Now, I go to Boston for an externship, which hopefully will be interesting, although I'm trying to convince myself not to expect to be as excited as I was about the one last year, partly because before I did that externship last year, I was really in bad shape, since the only recent research experiences I had had were that not-fun internship in Minnesota and the Developmental Genetics seminar, which also wasn't all that great. Now, I'm feeling more secure, even though I think I will still learn a lot from this. But, we'll see how it goes.

Oh also, one other thing. It looks like there actually is someone really great who I would really want to work with at Penn next year, someone named Martha Farah. Becky Compton, the prof. at Haverford who I talked to a few weeks ago, gave me her name, and this was also the first person John Cacioppo suggested when I asked him about people at Penn. And, from looking at her home page, it looks like she does do some really interesting stuff. From what
Prof. Compton told me, this woman is brilliant, but also sort of flaky, and isn't always very good at responding to E-mails. (So, she sounds kind of like Scott Gilbert, but in my field, which would be very cool...) So it may be a little hard to get something set up, but if I do end up being able to work with her, I think next year will actually be pretty exciting. Does anyone know anything about her? At this point, I think I could say that that would beat the NIH as my top choice for work next year...
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So in going over my notes for animal behavior for the final, I think I'm starting to figure out a new reason (out of a few) why that class has been so annoying, and it's kind of interesting. It's that studying animal behavior seems to suggest that some of the kinds of things people do in "normal" human social interactions (which are definitely different from my idea of an ideal world , and are also different, I think, from how SWIL culture works) are pretty similar to how things happen in nature. (Edit: As I thought about it, it's really not exactly SWIL that I'm thinking of, but maybe just liberal culture in general, at least mostly...) And, it suggests that those things are healthy. Of course, Nazi Germany is an example of why trying to base human society on the way things work in nature is a really, really bad idea. (And apparently, the Nazis were trying to do least according to some stuff I found for a paper that I wrote my freshman year, which is still one of my favorite papers that I've written here. I have the paper online at , if you're curious about that.) But still...reading about how most people are following what nature does, where my ideal isn't like that, is...sort of makes it feel like I'm wrong, even though I don't think I am. Actually, I think I really do think that the best thing for a person to be is "more than an animal", ie. doing more than just doing enough to keep yourself alive, reproducing, and then dying. So it shouldn't bother me...but it still sort of does.

I'm also wondering why it feels like I'm doing more "trying to define myself to myself" lately than usual. Although it may also be that learning about the postmodern view of the self (in short, that there IS no self) is making me more self-conscious of that. Hmm...

Oh and, I'm wondering if it would be crazy to add a course at Penn as a 5th credit for next semester, on human chronobiology and sleep. more on that )

So now, I guess I should go back and actually finish studying for animal behavior...
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As a couple other people have posted already, the orchestra concert (Beethoven's 9th) was really incredible. The orchestra sounded great, and John Alston's lecture to introduce it was great also--that really helped me understand exactly what was going on, and made it much better than it already would have been. One of the things he said is that we should imagine being in the audience in Vienna at the premiere, when so many elements of the piece were things that nobody had ever heard before...and I actually did that in a few places, and it made me appreciate it that much more. So yeah, I'm definitely glad I went... I almost was scared away by reading chorus people posting on LJ that they were afraid it wouldn't be very good (especially since I didn't realize that the chorus only comes in at the very end...), so I almost was going to work on my history paper and then maybe go to ML later for Rebecca's birthday party. But I'm definitely glad I did decide to go to the concert... And the chorus sounded good, too--they were clearly supposed to be secondary to the orchestra, but they did add flavor, which sounded nice.

It really is an adrenaline rush, between the ending of the piece, and then helping to give the give the orchestra the huge round of applause that they deserved afterwards. And now I have to actually write my history paper... )

Actually, one other thing that that reminds me of that I should post about...a reason why I know I'm going to miss how things are this semester. Last Wednesday, I was sort of exhausted from having an animal behavior lab report due that day, and I had this other little assignment to do for decision-making that I had to do that night that I didn't feel like doing, and I was sitting in my room for a while trying to decide if I should go to ML or not, and wanting to get this assignment done first, and not actually doing it... So eventually, I did go to ML at about midnight. And after about 2-3 hours hanging out with [ profile] gerbilicious85...I was happy, and so much more relaxed. And then I went to the computers in ML to do the assignment, and instead saw Jonathan there, and ended up hanging out in ML until about 5 AM talking to him (and [ profile] ccommack for a little while...). The assignment ended up being later than it already was, since I ended up not doing it until Thurs. afternoon (I had completely forgotten that it was originally due on Tues., and I really wished I had done it then, since I had more time then...), but Barry Schwartz doesn't seem to be that much of a stickler for deadlines, and it was definitely worth putting it off. These are the kind of things I'm really, really going to miss.... And as much as I try, I just really don't think happiness like that will happen spontaneously, first with Susan gone, and then with me graduating...or at least maybe it can happen sometimes, but not very often...and that's really sad...
(Well, at least unless somehow, Susan, Jonathan, me, and Swarthmore are all in the same place in the future. But that's not all that likely, even for next year...)
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An interesting introspective thought, while reading Ken Gergen's book The Saturated Self for Concepts of the Person... (The book is basically an introduction to postmodernism, while also making some generalizations about Moderism and Romanticism that are similar to the stuff he's talked about in class...)

I think I can say that I really enjoy the combination of rational and irrational, both in academic stuff and in people. Like in being interested in finding a biological (rational) basis for social behavior (which is, at least in many ways, irrational). And also how, when I was learning immunology at that internship a couple summers ago, I thought developmental immunology was the only thing that was interesting at all, because basically all kinds of antibodies are produced spontaneously, and then only the ones that actually code for things that you could possibly want antibodies for survive. I know that I get really bored and annoyed with overly rational, Modernist ways of looking at the world (as some of my gripes about science people from last semester may show). And I also definitely think postmodern or Romantic architecture and music is more interesting than Modern stuff. But at the same time, at least in academic stuff, I do like a little bit of rationality; I really don't like postmodernism very much, because it seems to basically say that there's no basis for rationality. And especially in this class, where a lot of the students (and the professor) are anti-Modernist, I usually end up trying to say something to support the rationalist, Modernist conception of the world. Still, I think the postmodern extreme is definitely more interesting than the entirely rational extreme.

I guess this is also true for how I look at people. I definitely would say that people who mix spontaneity with rationality (like, say, [ profile] gerbilicious85, among others) are more interesting than people who are entirely rational (like most hardcore science people...or, well, at least most hardcore biology/chemistry people...hmm, is the uncertainty in Quantum physics the reason why at least a fair number of physics people that I can think of are a bit more spontaneous?), but I'm still a little bit more comfortable with the mixture than with people who are spontaneous and not so rational. (Of course, considering that Jonathan fits that "spontaneous but not entirely rational" archetype, I guess I can't say that lack of rationality bothers me all THAT much, even though just a tiny bit is a plus...)

So I'm not sure if that was coherent or not, but I think it's kind of interesting. Now I guess one thing that may follow from that is the question of whether it's common to find a mixture like that, in people or academic stuff, or whether people/subjects end up being either mostly cold rationality (like scientists) or a lack of rationality (like postmodernism). (I am remembering how, when I mentioned to Scott Gilbert that I thought developmental immunology was interesting, he was like "wow, you find some characters in that...", which may suggest that the answer to my question is "no", but I'm not sure.)

Oh also, there were a few other things that I've been thinking of posting about (like getting advice on classes for next semester), but I think I may put that off a little longer...
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