Monthly Archives: March 2011

Epic fail…

First, a picture.

You might say, “Yum, that looks delicious… but what is it?”

If so, please feel free to take a guess – I highly doubt you’d really know what it is though.

So, after realizing that this March is going to be crazy hectic for me, I knew that it’s time for me to prep up for the already-started storm of to-do list items. And to a handful of engineers, that means booking out an hour or two on a weekend to prepare one type of food that will last you throughout the week. A friend of mine from undergrad used to plan his meal for the month, and have a grocery list planned out for every week of the month — that way, he doesn’t have to waste food, and more importantly, doesn’t have to think about what to get or what to eat throughout the month. And he’s not alone in this crazy structured self-managed meal plans. I currently have a labmate who brings in bags of same food every week, and eats mostly out of the bag throughout the week. I’m by no means making fun of such dietary plans, because I am guilty of it myself.

I mean, let’s face it. It’s convenient, an it’s fast — efficiency is key.

So this weekend, I decided to take care of my breakfasts. That usually means baking a loaf of whole wheat bread using my favourite recipe, and that lasts me throughout the week with the accompaniment of jam/jelly/cream cheese etc. However, I had bought this grounded cinnamon a while back, and had made cinnamon rolls that didn’t quite turn out very well. So I decided to give it a try again, but using a different recipe. The thing about cinnamon rolls is that you can freeze your doughs — after rolling in your cinnamon and sugar and all the buttery goodness — let it thaw overnight, put it in the oven when you wake up, take a morning shower, and voila!, you’ve just stepped out of the shower to the smell and the reality of freshly baked cinnamon roll for breakfast.

By now you probably have a better guess as to what the picture is representing — cinnamon roll gone wrong.

Long story short, the dreamy breakfasts probably won’t happen this week. Quite inadvertently, I read the baking recipe’s instruction to bring milk + butter mixture to “120 degrees” as Celsius rather than Fahrenheit, poured the uber hot liquid mixture into my bowl of yeast, effectively killing the key ingredient that’s supposed to make the final product soft and fluffy. So the final baked goods didn’t turn out better than the last time at all. When my friends wanted to try it, I had to continuously remind them not to pay heed to the texture of what they are eating. And the picture  above is my attempt to salvage it by crushing the dough and mixing in baking powder, in the hopes that it will rise when I bake it, and failing with a substantial degree of epic-ness. The icing turned out great though — and totally saved the day — although anything with sugar and butter can’t really go wrong.

Anywho, my plan totally backfired on me, and now I have to deal with the aftermath of my attempts-to-realize-and-salvage-the-dreamy-breakfast-plan in the kitchen… I wish I was living with my parents and didn’t have to start baking breakfasts in batches in the first place…. bah!

My March schedule…

I just came back from a conference in Victoria, and would love to blog about it asap. But, can’t find the time right now, because I have been forewarned by my Google Calendar that my schedule for March will come in bundles, and that it’s not going to be pretty. Want to hear me out on my upcoming schedule of trying to squeeze in everything to graduate in time?

Let’s start with some expression of panic…

——(insert scream here)——

  • Finish programming hesitations on the robot, record motions, launch surveys – Due in 1.5 week.
  • Do up a conference paper while completing the above – Due in 1.5 weeks.
  • Start and finish learning a new programming language (Python) and an OS (ROS) – Due in 3 weeks.
  • Finish collecting survey data and start analysing – Due in 4 weeks.
  • Edit and submit a journal paper – Due ??!! (more panic due to uncertainty of schedule on this one).
  • Start writing a different journal paper – In 4 weeks.

——(louder scream here)——

  • Meanwhile, interview a stranger and write up a magazine article for a journalism class I’m taking – Due <1 week.
  • Interview more people or glue up some stuff up into a magazine article for the journalism class – Due < 2 weeks.
  • Do up an application to go to a conference in Korea for free (’cause free is important) – Due in < 2 weeks.
  • Apply for an internship for the summer – Due 4 weeks.
  • Come up with a presentation on roboethics for Univ. or Michigan – Due ??!! (extra panic due to uncertainty of presentation date + the expected length of the presentation)
  • Translate stuff for people in roboethics – Due… like.. yesterday (more like last week).

——(insert scream here after checking the cluttered inbox)——

——(scream again and nearly faint after looking at the messy room/desk/kitchen/washroom)——


So, yes. If you sense stress and fatigue and restlessness in my writing over the next few weeks, please do excuse me. But that’s for being a grad student who started off with a grandiose tri-phasic thesis project.

For those of you in the same boat as me – rushing to get everything done near instantaneously – please do make sure you treat yourself to doing something nice for yourself. For me, I have a bubble bath bar from Lush (my newly emerging obsession), a bottle of wine, and an unlimited access to Poppit (pogo game) to keep me sane and relaxed – although temporarily… We’ll see how many bathes/bubbles/games I go through this month to stay healthy…