some things don’t change

I thought that when I switched subjects in grad school, I’d finally be able to go to parties and talk about what I do and not have blank and/or confused looks.  You expect that with hard science.  Normal people just don’t get it, or they don’t care to, or they’re just overwhelmed by the vocab. “Public affairs will be different,” I thought, “people will be interested and involved!”

Oh ho.  not so.  I went to a party with friends from undergrad a couple of weeks ago, and somebody asked me about what I’m doing now.  I started talking about international governance and who runs the world and the UN and international development, and my friend gave me this “Max, still at it,”  kind of look like “I love you but I never understand what you say.”    It was disappointing.  I was hoping to move toward mainstream appeal.

I’m sure it doesn’t help that I’m coming from grad school parties where all we do is eat and sit around discussing politics and economics and the world at large.  What you mean that normal people don’t want to do cost/benefit analysis of socialism over their beers?  Crazy!  Who ISN’T interested in how the US should respond to the hurricane/volcanoes of the world?  Global public goods!  Collective action!  Accountability of states!  None of these are recommended topics of conversation at a college party.  Don’t try it.



the other day one of my grad school friends told me “you have really good social skills.”

take that!  social skills!  who knew?  and I’m not even surrounded by nerdy physics dudes with NO social skills where I shine in comparison, these are future policy makers with craaaaazy social skills talking.

big sister’s little sister

Grad school is great, but very busy.  sometime soon I’ll actually post something about it.

BUT the real news is that big sister is now a big sister for real.  her little sister was born wednesday 4am, and I rushed down (after class and homework and car maintenance) to meet the new one and hang out with big sister while her parents were still in the hospital.  I got to meet little sister when she was super brand new, and then I got to play with big sister for hours and then I got to meet katharine and joe’s new baby too.  lots of baby holding.  when I got in the car to come back up to madison I smelled seriously of tiny baby.  cuteness follows.

yeah she's still really cute

awkward sister holding!

there are no slides in grad school

for future reference, I do not encourage this type of baby-treatment.

she's not really giving kisses, she's really just yelling in little sister's face

even though I don’t live there, we’re still friends

last weekend I went to visit big sister.  I needed cuddles (also I had a wedding to attend and needed to sleep somewhere in Illinois).  as I suspected, there’s way less cuddling in grad school than there was at her house.  I’ve decided to give you some recent photos of her so you can see what a kid she is. there’s more on my flickr, if you’re baby-stalking.  or if you’re her parents and you want a cute photo.

yum: empanadas and salad

now that I’m in grad school I can cook for my self again!  Though after seeing what I made for dinner my roommate suggested that sometimes we have dinner together, so soon I will also get to cook for someone else sometimes.  Today I made acorn squash and black bean empanadas, which turned out awesome.  they’re baked, but the dough has a bit of cornmeal so it’s still super crunchy good.  also I made my new favorite food, gujerati carrot salad.  grated carrots, salt, lemon juice, and then you heat up olive oil and toast your mustard seeds in the oil and then throw that hot oily mustardy goodness over the carrots.  the only part that sucks is carrot grating.  does this food processor I inherited from Cali grate carrots?  cause that’d be the most handy.

first day of school

I don’t have a picture of me on the first day of school, sorry.  BUT it was superfun!

Tuesday is my long day of class, so I’m on campus from 1:20-8:00ish.  I have International Governance, which is a seminar so we sit around and discuss issues and stuff, which is awesome.  I think I’ll learn a lot AND I think that my classmates are cool so that I can ask dumb questions because I don’t know anything and someone will explain and it’ll be normal and not condescending.  I also have a career development seminar which will also be awesome because I obviously don’t know how to develop a career.  Then I have stats from 6-8, which I really enjoyed because we got to do some math and the professor is really good.  yay math.

all in all, I’m pleased.  I haven’t had econ yet but that’ll be great I’m sure.  I love econ.  I’ve been considering adding a french class pass/fail but by the time I make a decision it may be too late.  we’ll see.  I can always do that next year or something.

didn’t see Lance

today was Ride the Drive, where they close down this big loop around town, from down by the lake to up by the capital, and everyone bikes around.  it’s not a race.  there’s no official start or end position (though I think there was a place where you could clock in and out if you wanted to time yourself).  there are bands (I’m now thinking about joining the Handphibians),  a biker go-go dancing troop, the mayor of madison, bike shops doing free quick repairs, metrobus showing people how to ride the bus with a bike, food and water and friendly people.  also there were big kites on the John Nolan bridge which was AMAZING, they were flying over the Madison skyline, bacanisimo.  people ride all kinds of bikes, unicycles, etc. and some people wear costumes.  there were a LOT of baby trailers, and we saw one ~2 year old on the tiniest bike I’ve ever seen.  no pedals, it was a lot like Big Sister’s tractor.  this girl was the cutest biker out there today, she distracted the go go dancers.

anyway, it was super fun.  my roommate and I went out and did the whole loop.  She’s got one of those fancy cameras and took a bunch of pictures, and we just had a really good time biking around, talking to people and using the whole road.  lance armstrong was there apparently, but we didn’t see him.  there are so many bikers in Madison and EVERYONE was out today.