Random Thoughts

Who Says Physicists Are Uncool?

December 4th, 2008

Most people hold a somewhat ‘different’ notion about Physics and with those beautiful minds who seem to digest force, energy, mass, general analysis of nature and the likes, on a day-to-day basis.

Personally speaking, Physics and I do not quite get along well. It reminds me of senior year in high school where I literally had to bleed my brains translating supposedly simple theories into hardcore math. Like everyone else, I get dizzy at the mere sight of quantum equations. Numbers and formulas make me want to go back home and plant sweet potatoes instead!

Nevertheless, I survived that year.

There you go.

So I cannot debunk this entire myth people have about the subject. But lately Jun introduced me into another way of looking at it. Didn’t I mention, my husband and I are total opposites but that’s where the beauty of our relationship comes in. My weaknesses are his strengths and vice versa.

Physics is not an exemption. While I was a self-confessed physicsphobic, he seemed to be an expert on it. He even shared anecdotes about conducting his own experiments and keeping his ‘materials’ inside his closet. Some creepy guy.

Nowadays, I’m all hooked up with a sitcom that features interesting physicist characters. All I know is that they rock! I’m talking about a CBS hit in the American television that was premiered late last year.

“The Big Bang Theory’!

I don’t know about you but TBBT’s plot, characters, and lines are so intelligently-slash-hilariously woven and are really A materials. Believe it or not, I often catch myself laughing at the top of my lungs. Though I must admit I have to listen real hard, or else I’ll be shouting ‘nosebleed’!!! And the kids come scrambling to the rescue.

Why are many shows NOT designed this way? Not only can it help in the decline of the physics phobic populace (that includes yours truly), but can also bring illumination on what brews inside the prodigies’ heads. The sitcom is able to bring a healthy mix of science, geekiness, women, humor, and all else needed for an outstanding comedic formula.

Meet TBBT’s Bunch of Beautiful Minds

1. Sheldon. He is the tall physicist guy who rooms with his best friend and colleague, Leonard. Both of them keep a whiteboard where they solve their scientific theories. At first, Sheldon seemed really annoying but as time goes by, I started to appreciate his character. He’s so super honest that he twitches whenever he lies. The guy is incapable of dishonesty. On one particular episode, Penny asked him to do a white lie by pretending he forgot everything the former said. Sheldon exclaimed “but this brain cannot forget!”  He is also the typical OC guy who cant seem to sit just anywhere, otherwise it ruins his own pattern of things. It has to be on the left side or never at all. Most of all, Sheldon appears to be concerned about the welfare of his friends but every time he buts in — the situation gets worse than ever!

2. Leonard. Best friend to Sheldon, Leonard is also a physicist that specializes on theoretical physics. He has a special attraction to Penny, the lovely girl on the other side of their apartment’s hallway. Leonard is also known to be an expert in history, literature, and sciences. When it comes to food, Leonard cannot have dairy  and milk products because of his lactose intolerance. I am particularly impressed with Leonard’s character. Compared to his best friend and roommate, he is less aggressive, subtler in his ways, and more careful in his choice of words. In fact, he tries to be as sensitive as possible when dealing even with women.

3. Raj. The guy who turns “mute” every time a woman appears in front of him. He is so shy that speaking in front of females seem a gargantuan task. In the sitcom’s episodes, the only time he spoke to girls was when he’s intoxicated. Penny at one instance spoke to him but he only responded in his mind through a lengthy reminiscence of his native customs and singing.

Raj is best friend to Howard Wolowitz — his exact opposite! He stays silent most of the time, and like I said, has social anxiety around women.

4. Wolowitz.The engineer who designed a satellite orbiting Jupiter, speaks seven foreign languages, is allergic to peanuts, and the only non- PhD holder among all of them. However, Howard Wolowitz can be so outrageously funny. There were particular scenes I love about this guy. One was when he introduced himself to Sheldon’s twin sister and the other was when his team won during a Physics quiz bowl. Really funny guy. And oh by the way, he is a medical school drop out apparently because he doesn’t like the sight of blood.

5. Penny. She’s Leonard’s object of attraction. Pretty and sexy but seem to lack the desired IQ to even understand the bunch of physicists she meet everyday. The physicists next door called her cheesecake-scented goddess since she work in a local cheesecake factory. In the episodes, Penny has a penchant to committing herself with men who makes her cry in the end. She’s so messy and disorganized that at one time, Sheldon (who is an obsessive – compulsive) barged through her apartment while she’s asleep and cleaned up all her mess!

Killer Lines and More

Leonard: We need to widen our circle.
Sheldon : I have a very wide circle. I have 212 friends on myspace.
Leonard: Yes, and you’ve never met one of them.
Sheldon: That’s the beauty of it.

Penny: I’m a Sagittarius, which probably tells you way more than you need to know.
Sheldon: Yes, it tells us that you participate in the mass cultural delusion that the sun’s apparent position relative to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality.
Penny: (puzzled) Participate in the what?

Sheldon: Okay, look, I think you have as much of a chance of having a sexual relationship with Penny as the Hubble telescope does of discovering that at the center of every black hole is a little man with a flashlight searching for a circuit breaker. Nevertheless, I do feel obligated to point out to you that she did not reject you. You did not ask her out.

Sheldon: I’ve spent the past three-and-a-half years staring at greaseboards full of equations; before that, I spent four years working on my thesis; before that, I was in college; and before that, I was in the fifth grade.

At a restaurant:

Sheldon: We don’t eat here, I don’t know what’s good…
Penny: Well, it’s all good.
Sheldon: Statistically unlikely.
Leonard: Just get a hamburger, you like hamburgers.

Sheldon: Leonard! Leonard!
Leonard: What, what’s the matter?
Sheldon: My equations! Someone’s tampered with my equations!
Leonard: Are you sure?
Sheldon: Of course I’m sure. Look at the beta function of quantum chromodynamics-the sign’s been changed!
Leonard: Yeah…but doesn’t that fix the problem you’ve been having?
Sheldon: Are you insane? Are you out of your mind? Are you-hey, look, that fixes the problem I’ve been having!

Talking about Penny staying the night…

Leonard: Are you suggesting that if we let Penny stay, we might succumb to cannibalism?
Sheldon: No one ever thinks it’ll happen until it does.
Leonard: Penny, if you promise not to chew the flesh off our bones while we sleep, you can stay.
Penny: What?

Leonard: What are you doing?

Sheldon: Every Saturday since we’ve lived in this apartment, I have awakened at 6:15, poured myself a bowl of cereal, added a quarter-cup of 2% milk, sat on this end of this couch, turned on BBC America, and watched Doctor Who.

Leonard: Penny’s still sleeping.

Sheldon: Every Saturday since we’ve lived in this apartment…

Leonard: You have a TV in your room, why don’t you just have breakfast in bed?

Sheldon: Because I am neither an invalid nor a woman celebrating Mother’s Day.

Should I say this will somehow eventually put a stop to my fear of the subject? 🙂 Hope so.

The Untold Story of Mercury and Neptune

November 3rd, 2008

She is in constant search for novelty.
He loves solitude and maintains a quiet frame of mind.

She finds irresistible challenge in those who seek fruition of their dreams.
He has an uncaring attitude towards worldly ambition.

She takes pleasure in expressing her opinions.
His gift is vivid imagination.

She’s a wind-worshipper.
He reveres the water.

She is a musician.
He is an artist.


Living The Prolific Life

July 24th, 2008

The prolific life has been characterized by abundant inventiveness and limitless creativity. Prolificacy has also been unnecessarily enshrouded in a veil of mystery and the sources of artistic inventiveness are too often viewed as out-of-reach for the average person. Perhaps it’s for this reason that artistic inspiration has frequently been attributed to muses, the channeling of spirits, beelzebub, etc.

In spite of perceptions surrounding prolific creativity, there are several documented commonalities that consistently appear in the lives of prolific people. Indeed, the psychological literature has some definite insights into commonalities of the prolific. My investigation into this literature has yielded these . . .

7 Common Characteristics of Prolific People
Highly prolific people tend to:

1. Be firmly settled in their creative identities. Prolific artists don’t question their artistic identities. They own the title of artist, writer, musician, etc. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important. Prolific people aren’t shy about what they do, or about their love of art. When they have corporate jobs they tend to view themselves as writers with desk jobs rather than a corporate employees who also write.

2. Operate from a bedrock of stability. Despite the stereotypical image of the mercurial and whimsical artist, most highly prolific people have managed to pin down a lot of variables in their life; they aren’t constantly rearranging the logistics of life and reconfiguring their life situations. As a result, they can bring their full attention to bear upon the creation process.

3. Get “adopted” early by mentors or sponsors. Prolific artists tend of have received significant artistic mentorships at the beginning of their creative careers.

4. Get an early start: Prolific artists tend of have developed the rapid production habit early in their careers. They tend to have developed the production habit very shortly after beginning their artistic endeavors.

5. Be well adjusted. Prolific people tend to be sensitive, confident, open-minded, curious, intellectually flexible, willing to work very hard, and have a sense of humor.

6. Have a habit of writing. Highly prolific people tend to work even when they’re not inspired. They’ve developed the production habit.

7. Intrinsic interest. Prolific people are intrinsically motivated, almost without exception. They love their work and, in general, would do it (in some form or another) even if it paid much less or not at all.
[Note: Not all of these characteristics are present among all prolific people. These characteristics simply appear at a high frequency among prolific persons].

With these characteristics in mind, here are some tips for developing a prolific life:

1. Ruthlessly guard your mind. Prolific people often purposefully take on mindless jobs because it allows them to devote their thoughts entirely to art. Prolific people own their own minds, and they’re often found stocking shelves or parking cars, but all the while scribbling down notes during every free moment. They manage to engineer situations that allow their minds to be constantly creative even when they’re not actively producing art. (People who engage in cognitively taxing jobs are often too mentally exhausted at the end of the day to be creative).

2. Unabashedly take on your artistic identity. As Leo said in an earlier post, don’t be afraid to call yourself an artist. Can you imagine a prolific artist who’s afraid to claim an artistic identity? I can’t. Don’t be timid about telling yourself and others what you do. If you create art, then you’re an artist. The dedication and seriousness required to consistently produce inspired art requires a singularity of purpose that can’t be present unless you’ve come to own your own creativity.

3. Realize the gestation period of creative ideas. Prolific people might be producing at regular intervals, but the gestation period for their “products” is often long. You must be giving birth to a steady stream of new ideas in order for those ideas to bear fruit in a year or two down the road. Realize that prolific people don’t always have a shortened creative cycle; they often just have more creative cycles going on simultaneously.

4. Keep your creative inertia going. Do whatever it takes to make sure that your creative inertia doesn’t die. Require small outputs from yourself on a frequent basis and make artistic production a habit. Once you’ve strengthened this habit the floodgates of creativity are likely to open. One prolific writer I know has a timer that goes off every 40 minutes; with each alarm he writes down an idea.

5. Create stability where it counts. If you’re moving all the time and changing your life situation, the single-minded focus required for prolific output can be hard to obtain. Take care of as many external variables as possible in order to allow you to focus on your art.

6. Attend to your mental and physical health. While there are some very visible cases of clinically insane but nevertheless prolific people, these people are the exception rather than the rule. Less stress = greater prolificacy.

7. Get adopted by a mentor. Leverage any and all angles or opportunities available to find a mentor who’s done what you want to do. If you want to be a bestselling non-fiction author then don’t talk to the convenience store clerk, talk to a bestselling non-fiction author.

Source: http://zenhabits.net/2008/05/living-the-prolific-life-a-how-to-guide/

Aspiring to Write

July 7th, 2008

While on a business meeting yesterday with the staff of National Bookstore, I chanced upon a very informative, easy-to-use reference on writing. What is surprising about it is that unlike most books, it gives you really practical ways on how to reflect and create. The material was a relief for someone as inexperienced as me. The author, Viesca, expounds that “one moment of writing may enrich you, even as several years of pain and recovery have already allowed you to be the best person you can possibly be”. Amazing how the author can weave beautiful, inspiring yet profound words that it made me WANT to start writing seriously right away. Admittedly, there were plenty of times in the past when I attempted to practice but somehow the police in me would censor-and-remove-and-censor-and-remove what is supposed to be expressed. To be candid about it – I think in my lifetime I have somehow managed to put up at least eight web logs (also known as blogs). Unfortunately not only did I lack the motivation to maintain them, I also seem to lose the energy and power to answer that “nudging”, that little voice whispering me to put into words what goes on inside the mind.

Writing for me is catharsis. In the process, wounds that cut deep through the psyche are refreshed. You will taste the pain. You will stare at the ugly scars left on you. Yet in that same process you also learn to acknowledge your strength that after all the countless battles gone through, you are a survivor. Is it not liberating to look back and see how or where all of those struggles took you? Not in vain but as a better person. You realize that people are scarred but still beautiful because they become far wealthier in terms of life lessons.

Writing for me is celebrating “life”. When we write, we appreciate the good things life has to offer, has offered, and will offer us in the future. Each time we wake up with food to eat on our tables, with loved ones beside to cheer us up and to be there through the sunny and stormy days, with the little “joys’ and blessings that abound us, it is always a treat to have this things stored not just in our memory but in writing as well. When we write, we are actually being thankful for all of the most poignant experiences that have enriched us.

Writing for me is continuous education. Whether it is academic or personal, formal or informal – it always comes with learning, relearning, and unlearning. In a nutshell writing is educating.
We analyze, apply, use strategies to express and create. We may have varying styles but the point is, any form of writing, potently serves as channel of learning new things in life. Each time we polish our writing styles we also improve our capability at creating.

Actually, I am just beginning to realize these things lately. But in the next days to come I want to see myself writing more and more. Only then can I say that not only have I matured as a person I also have been more productive and enlightened.

Need I say more?

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