Lacking motivation … Tuesday, Jun 20 2006 

I seem to have been procrastinating a lot lately.  I have been at Cornell working on my Ph.D. for almost seven years and I really really want to finish and get out of here.  However, I am just very good at wasting my time!  I would spend endless hours doing nothing in particular that gives me no satisfaction whatsoever and get no work done in the mean time.  It’s incredibily annoying and now I’m so scared that I’ll never graduate.  I hate it when people ask me how it’s going, because it’s going very slowly or sometimes it’s not going at all.  It is also very hard to explain to people not working on a Ph.D. that it’s impossible to set a goal like “I’ll finish Chapter X today.” unless Chapter X is almost done, because it’s an ongoing thing.

It is difficult for me to not know what to do or not be able to figure out what’s happening to me.  I have always been more or less in control of what I do and was able to do most things that I set out to do well.  It really scares me that this might be the first thing that I fail.  I really don’t want to.  Getting a Ph.D. is my biggest goal in life so far and I don’t know why I’m sabotaging myself by not working hard.

What made it more difficult is the fact that most of my friends have left.  That’s the price to pay for being so slow and being the last one left in my year, I guess.  It’s not just my Ph.D. friends who left, most of my other friends did as well.  As time goes by, I feel more and more alone, and when I’m unhappy I get more scared.

My favorite outlet for the past few years have been skating.  I still skate but not as much as I used to.  I am quite happy with how I have been skating lately, but it just feels incomplete somehow without a partner.  There are not a lot of male coaches around.  The ones with whom I enjoy working live very far away and the one who is in town doesn’t have time for me.  I don’t even know if any of them would want to work for me any more.
I always say that I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy, but sometimes I wish I have someone who I can talk to who cares about me.  I feel like sometimes I’m just not fun to talk to and I’m going to drive my friends away if I keep this up, so I generally keep all of this to myself.  My family knows, but there’s not much they can do because of the distance.   Otherwise, I share it with very few people and I’m very scared that they would get fed up with me one day and not want to talk to me or spend time with me any more.
I try to be strong, happy, and independent.  I think that’s what most people see.  However, sometimes I need to be comforted too.

My grandmother is in the hospital and I want to go home.  It is my fault that I probably will never have a chance to spend time with her in our family home again.  I know I have to finish soon, but why can’t I?

Name Popularity Saturday, May 13 2006 

I stumbled upon a website that listed the popularity of names in the US for the past hundred years or so. Although I wasn’t born in the US, I still find it interesting. Here’s what I found out :) Apparently my name hasn’t been in the top 1000 since 1987!

Year of birth Rank
1987 970
1986 a
1985 a
1984 977
1983 958
1982 997
1981 872
1980 871
1979 787
1978 819
1977 836
1976 769
1975 776
1974 780
1973 764
1972 776
1971 790
1970 865
1969 898
1968 810
a Not in top 1,000 names for indicated year of birth
Note: Rank 1 is the most popular, rank 2 is the next most popular, and so forth. You did not specify the sex for the name Davina, so we used female data based on popularity. Data are not shown for some of the years you specified because the name Davina was not in the top 1000 names for those years. Name data are from Social Security card applications for births that occurred in the United States.

Source: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/babynames/

Annoying questions/comments Tuesday, Apr 25 2006 

There seem to be some people who like to ask questions that really try my patience.  The latest one being “Are you done with your dissertation?”  I mean, what kind of answer are they expecting?  I want to scream, “Of course not!  If I’m done then I’d certainly move on with my live, spend time with my grandmother, start working, whatever!”

It’s not that I dislike all questions.  Of course, people would like to find out how I’m doing and I would like to let them know.  So questions like “How is your dissertation coming?” or “How long are you planning to stay in Ithaca?” are fair.  But please, no questions with obvious answers!!!

Maybe I’m just too grumpy.

At least my internet is working well now :)

Internet Connection Wednesday, Apr 19 2006 

I get free wireless internet connection with my apartment. However, the connection has been very bad lately. When I could connect, it was very slow, and sometimes I couldn’t connect at all. I need reliable internet for my research so today I finally decided to order Earthlink Highspeed Internet. Guess what, as soon as I did that, now my apartment internet is very fast. Go figure!

Philosophical musing Sunday, Apr 16 2006 

There were many religious holidays this week and it got me thinking: Why is there so much hatred in this world? I find it very sad that so many people in the world seem to think that they need to segregate themselves from others because of their own religious convictions, ethnicity, country boundaries, or economic backgrounds. It is one thing to embrace one’s culture and heritage, but it’s another to be intolerant. I have known a few couples whose relationships ended because one family will not accept the boyfriend/girlfriend because of ethnicity, religion, etc. Aren’t we all human beings here? I have a feeling that once you go back far enough, you can always find some conflicts between ‘your people’ and any other people you want, unless they were never in contact to begin with. I know that some conflicts results in more pains and sufferings than others, but does that give X the right to treat Y badly now because Y’s ancestors treated X badly? Should I go around and try to oppress Burmese people in every way because 230 years ago the Burmese army burned down the capital of Thailand and destroyed revered Buddhist temples and Buddha images?

I am from Thailand and I am Buddhist. If I were to marry someone with a different heritage, I would like our children to learn about both of our cultures. Why should one culture/religion dominate the other? Suppose person X and person Y are from different countries and have different religions. How should their children be raised? One of the claims I have heard is that some groups are the minority and they need to ensure that they would not die off. So how is this going to work exactly in this scenario? Should they look at how many people live in X’s country and how many people live in Y’s country and then raise the children according to which country has lower population? So if X is Chinese and Y is not, then the children shouldn’t learn about Chinese customs/holidays/etc because they are already too many Chinese in the world? Should they look at how many people follow X’s religion and how many people follow Y’s religion and choose the one with fewer followers? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

I’m not saying that one should never change one’s religion and/or beliefs; however, there’s a difference between sharing one’s ideals and beliefs and forcing one’s belief onto others. For example, there are ongoing debates about evolution, abortion, etc. Maybe God created the world in its exact state, maybe he created it and then it evolved, or maybe he didn’t create it at all. Is there a way to falsify any of these claims? Similarly, there is no way the current science can tell when life starts exactly: at conception, birth, or somewhere in between. So why are people trying so hard to force their beliefs onto others?

I heard a rabbi saying on NPR the other day that it was important for Jews to remember that their history did not consist entirely of oppression and persecution, because if it were so, then they wouldn’t exist today, and that while it was important to remember the pain and suffering, it was equally important to remeber that there were also times of prosperity. I think that statement is true for all cultures and I think it is important for everyone to realize that. Discrimination still exists in many forms, and unless one group of people decide to kill off everyone else, there will always be many ‘minority’ groups. However, I truly believe that it is possible for people to be different and still coexist peacefully and respectfully. I really hope so.

Free music Saturday, Apr 8 2006 

It’s after midnight and of course my neighbor is giving us free music again.

Strange day! Saturday, Apr 8 2006 

Deniz and Yuriy stopped by to visit today. Of course we tried to call many of our friends to get together. This is what ended up happening:

Called what we thought was Xin’s number, asked for Xin. Turned out to be Mayur’s number.

Called Peter, asked for Xin again. Oops.

Finally called Xin at the correct number :)

Tried to call Millie. A guy answered. Turned out it was Nikolai’s number :p

Finally managed to call Millie!

Strange day indeed!

It’s snowing! Wednesday, Apr 5 2006 

In a typical Ithaca way, it’s snowing in April!

I really wonder what that building I can see from my window is.  It looks to be part of my apartment complex, but there seem to be a disproportunate amount of people who play loud music from their cars and who like to talk loudly outside.  Right now there’s a black sports car parked there and two people who are talking quite loudly.
It probably seems like I’m complaining a lot about my neighbors.  I wish it weren’t this way.  I never complained about my neighbors when I lived anywhere else.   Hmmm.

Sleepy :) Monday, Apr 3 2006 

Spring is here :)
My allergies are here :(

Time to sleep all day!!!  (An unfortunate side effect of my allergies medicine …)

Thank you Robin! Wednesday, Mar 29 2006 

A very special thank to Robin who create this wonderful account for me.  I hope to be able to keep everyone updated with what is going on in my life.  It’s going to take some time for me to figure out how to post different iteams but hopefully I’ll be able to post come pictures and videos too.

Cheers,

Davina

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