The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Posts Tagged ‘jed

Gauntlet of the Day #1269

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I woke from a dystopian dream this morning and found that I had yet more trials to face, and found it difficult to leave bed and brave the real world. My nerves were constantly shivering, and I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything for breakfast; I could feel my heart beat and wondered if it would be able to keep up that pace for the rest of the day. At one point, a terrible accumulation of anxious energy formed in my stomach, and I feared I would be unable to move when the moment came.

All this because I had to speak in front of the class for ten minutes.

My voice is often weak just in casual conversation, so I rarely say anything at length. I try to use my words efficiently, and let others do most of the talking, but here that was an impossibility. This was a gauntlet I absolutely had to run through, and without the aid of anyone else’s voice.

The presentation was on a research article discussing the synaptogenic effects of thrombospondins on retinal ganglion cells. My share of the task was to explain the technical details of the procedure, from cell purification to measurement of synaptic activity. In times when I’ve had trouble speaking, certain words were especially hard to say, and I’d have to use synonyms or circumlocute, but that wouldn’t be an option here. If suddenly I found myself stuck against a word, I’d just have to power through it.

But when my turn came and I stepped up to the podium, I managed to run through the entire thing without too much trouble. My voice and hands shook a bit – the latter made especially evident by the laser pointer I couldn’t keep still – but I managed to explain everything clearly and thoroughly. I knew what I was talking about, and barely looked at the slides as I explained them; in my nervous state, I would have had trouble focusing on the screen, anyway.

Pictured here is my group mate, Aidan, who went up after me to explain the results of the research. He bounded across the front of the classroom and threw his arms at the audience, animated and loud – which I think was his own way of coping with nervousness.

It’s a tremendous relief to be done with this. There are few things that give me more difficulty than public speaking, and I did much better than I expected. Nothing remains of this quarter but books and tests, with which I am very familiar.

But perhaps I will learn to use my voice after all.

three ring nightfall
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Written by Umbrella Man

March 14, 2012 at 12:28 am

Posted in friends, people, strangers

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Celebration of the Day #991

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After one last final that threatened to slay us all, we’ve finally made it all the way through organic chemistry. That’s Tim on the left, who always dresses up for exams; today he was Bond – Sigma Bond. On the right is Jed, who was less enthusiastic about the exam but still willing to flip for me.

Tim was so happy today, giving hugs to everyone as they came out of the final and encouraging them to come to an Ochem party in the evening. There they would engage in some experiments involving large amounts of ethanol, letting the knowledge they had accumulated dissolve.

It’s hard to believe that we’re actually done with it. It was a fantastic class, but it’s taken so much time and energy and thought, and I don’t know what to do with myself now. I have free time. I haven’t had that on a significant scale in months.

It’s summer now. What should I do with it?

the humanoid typhoon

Written by Umbrella Man

June 9, 2011 at 11:44 pm

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Couple of the Day #977

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Late at night I’d forgotten about this photo, and crated a slightly cheesier image for today, but I found this afterwards and decided that friends are more important than snacks. Lisa and Jed approached me after organic chemistry lecture and asked me if I thought sulfuric acid would be a reasonable defense against zombies. I thought that a zombie would probably be thoroughly undone by a vat of the stuff, but Lisa was thinking that a moat would be appropriate, and planned to sequester herself in a chemical company when the apocalypse came. To be sure, a moat of sulfuric acid would certainly keep out the zombies, but I’m not sure that I would want to live within breathing range of such a place. . .

The conversation went on to vegetarian zombies who yearn for grains, and I thought of a few others but didn’t mention them – avian zombies who hunger for planes, undead washing machines who hunger for stains, rotting conductors who hunger for trains…

Do be careful in case of apocalypse, because I don’t think I would have it in me to behead any of my friends.

behind the lake of dreams

Written by Umbrella Man

May 27, 2011 at 12:55 am

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Trick of the Day #957

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This is the sort of maneuver that seemed easy enough in principle when I was little. Just grab the pole and lift, and your body will go where you want it to. It was a simple thing to think, and in dreams I might be able to twist and fly however I liked, but when I actually tried to do such a thing my arms would meet with a sudden resistance that I didn’t know existed – a strain the bones, and suddenly I wouldn’t know what muscles were supposed to contract and I would just stand there confused, as if I’d never stood in a human body before.

So this is an impressive trick of Jed’s. In the classroom behind him, we both learn to manipulate the world on a molecular level, but he has a much better understanding of how to interface his body with the world than I do.

I am corporeal! I should embrace this!

maximalist

Written by Umbrella Man

May 7, 2011 at 12:46 am

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Look of the Day #852

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Emily, Anna, Lauren, Lisa, Jeremiah (Jed) and I went to the beach today, as it’s always a good place to go if you want some air. Lisa had never been to the beach in Santa Cruz before, but she took to it rather well, walking barefoot on the smooth rocks, playing with dogs and photographing strangers, who may have been a little surprised by her.

Jed is generally rather quiet, so I thought him a very serious person, but as time goes on he reveals tiny bits of silly that show him to be a Real Person. It’s always fascinating to see someone gradually transform from a stranger into a friend.

Emily smiled today, and it was lovely to see.

I don’t want to go

Written by Umbrella Man

January 22, 2011 at 3:29 am

Posted in friends, people, places, water

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