I still keep paper research notes. There’s something about the flow of physical writing that pulls the parts of my mind together in a way that typing never could. My primary research record therefore consists of a collection of vaguely color-coordinated composition books. In addition to “Thesis II” and its predecessor, there is a notebook labeled “Miscellaneous” that comes with me to colloquia, group meetings, career advice talks, and all other forms of academic gathering that involve sitting and listening to someone of dubious public-speaking ability. I take some real notes, but they usually devolve into general observations and personal reflection, liberally sprinkled with doodles. On review, I find some of these notes rather entertaining.
A thought during a discussion on the workings of fellowship review committees:
So what you’re telling me is, do something obscure but cool-sounding and write a very convincing and well-written proposal, so that committee is wowed but really has no idea whether you’re right.
That Diet Coke wasn’t nearly as helpful as I would have liked.
Noticing irrelevant things:
What’s the history of typefaces? Why do some letters look so different from handwritten?
An existential poem:
Why am I here?
Do I want to be the person this is making me into?
Sometimes I think yes.
Sometimes I feel confident, capable, growing.
Sometimes I am proud of myself.
But those times are rare.
Am I selfish to want a multifaceted life?
Maybe I am.
At the end of a particularly boring lecture:
10 more minutes. 10 more minutes. That’s more than a mile’s worth of running. I could be a mile away from here if I started running now.