Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Apologies for My Lack of Posts

I know there are a few people who actually check here, and I do seem to have some traffic on this blog, so I'd like to apologize for my apparent inability to post the last two weeks or so. It's not quite the end of the semester panic time yet, but it just dawned on me that all of my classes require an end-of-term paper, with length requirements ranging from four to ten-plus pages. Between that, my 21st birthday coming up this weekend, planning the Free@VT Ask an Atheist Day booth, and a mega-birthday bash to plan two weeks down the road, I've been a little swamped.

Please accept this xkcd strip, which you've probably already seen, but which is probably-maybe my absolute favorite of Randall Munroe's comics thus far, as my apologetic offering:

I used to ascribe to that sort of belief that everything is somehow less beautiful and mysterious once you understand it... and then I realized, when I learned about astronomy as a kid, I wanted to learn more, not just because I was thirsty for knowledge, but because knowing more about something made it more interesting, and more beautiful, and even more mysterious, because now I knew more questions to ask, and more topics about which to ask them.

And, of course, xkcd manages to put the idea succinctly into four panels of stick figures.

PS: I should have a post up for you sometime tomorrow, with any luck.


  1. It's been pretty quiet on the blog front. I remember this point in the semester, so I just assumed it was class related. Just be glad you aren't a Lit major. I remember ten to twenty page papers as an undergrad and those wonderful forty page papers as a MA student.

    Happy Birthday! I kind of remember 21. I was really really drunk. I hope you enjoy your day.

    And, yes, the xkcd strip is wonderful. His work never fails to impress. Since I've come back to reality, I find beauty in the oddest places. People think I'm odd when I mention how pretty dandelions are (those damn weeds) or that I listen to static on the radio station occasionally.

  2. Believe you me, that is one of the many reasons I'm glad I decided to major in Psych rather than something English-y! It still manages to add up though, some semesters. I had a 15-page literature review worth half my grade last term... I spent weeks and weeks stressing over it, with that added benefit of the topic of childhood depression being a total downer.

    Thanks! I don't know how drunk I'll be getting, as my parents are taking me out for it (I felt like I should make up for spending my first Christmas away from home, and the first of any of my siblings, as I'm the eldest). I'm a little nervous about how it'll go, honestly, but here's to hoping for the best!

    I've always found strange things beautiful. I mean, there are the obviously lovely things like flowers and clouds and pretty ladies, but they get boring after a while. It's the unexpected patterns and the geometry and juxtaposition of things that get me, or even something like stopping processing words and listening to the sounds people make. The most normal things can be so strange, and it sparks a new interest for me.

  3. I'm sure you'll have a fun birthday. Sometimes, the quiet ones with family are best. If it stays quiet.

    I also listen to the sounds behind words often. My history of language course didn't help any with that. I had to transcribe an interview and pay attention to the way the sounds were made. I've never lost the habit.

    I meet people all the time with varied and "odd" ideas of beauty. It never ceases to amaze me where humans can find beauty and inspiration.

  4. Haha, there is absolutely zero chance of it being quiet... My parents, while religious, are partying kind of people. More than I am, in some ways. It'll be interesting, for sure :]

    I have a friend who had a vocal music class where she had to do something like that; she interviewed me. My interest with the whole thing started with learning about phonemes in my psych classes.

    I expect ideas of beauty are as varied as people themselves are. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," after all, which is great, because if we all appreciated the exact same things, I suspect we'd rarely find something new to love.

    Thank you for commenting so frequently, by the way; it's an awesome thing to know that someone's reading what I write.