Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My talk yesterday was a success! I spoke too fast (not a surprise), but the discussion was good and I didn't go over anyone's heads. Yay!

Anyway, I have a Sallust paper to write. So I best get back to that.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stage Fright

On Tuesday, I have to give my presentation to my research seminar. I'm really nervous. However, my nerves do not come from a lack of speaking skills (I was a nationally ranked debater) or a lack of preparation (my research is done, my talk will be done soon). So why the nerves? Well, it's the people.

When I gave parts of my thesis at conferences my senior year in college, I knew that some of the people in the audience would know my topic thoroughly, while others may have only had a passing acquaintance. In those circumstances, I tried to aim my talk directly at the middle; I included enough details to sound well-researched while providing enough background to make it interesting for everyone else. Here, I'm not so lucky. The audience is only about 15 people. They are all fellow students in various arenas of classics, but I have no idea what to expect in terms of their knowledge about Plato. If I assume too much knowledge, my Q&A will be embarrassingly silent. This is what happened when I gave a totally unrelated presentation in my Sallust class a few weeks ago [1]. Conversely, if I try to go to broad, my topic will look like a wild generalization rather than a careful and nuanced interpretation.

I'm just ranting, really. My topic is set...nothing I can do now except hope it goes well. And, at least, I get to run an interpretation of a couple of geometric art pieces past a couple of specialists (there are two girls who work on early Greek art in the seminar). And who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and someone will passionately disagree with my reading and we'll have a nice discussion.

I've got my fingers crossed...

  1. I gave a presentation on an article by R. Sklenár called "La République des Signes: Caesar, Cato, and the Language of Sallustian Morality" (JSTOR). The people in my class had read the article, and I assumed they had a passing familiarity with Saussure (I didn't want to talk down to anyone). Anyway, most of the class had been confused by the article so even when I dissected it more thoroughly (after asking if people had understood the portion about Cato to which I got a resounding "no"), my discussion questions still elicited silence from almost everyone except my professor. As everyone in the class is intelligent, I worked really hard to come up with complex and interesting perspectives so that I would bring something interesting to the table, but I didn't consider my audiences' lack of sleep, etc and it backfired.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Baking

For Thanksgiving dinner, I brought over some bread. I made a combination of Tartine Country bread and City Bread. They were both fantastic. Unfortunately, because I was rushing and bringing them places I only got pictures of three of the five loaves, and the crumb of only one. However, I hope you will believe me when I say that the crumb was fantastic. We had two loaves for dinner, two loaves in the freezer, and one loaf for eating.

Some Pictures

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Cocktail?

Last year, the group of people with whom I celebrate Thanksgiving started the tradition of having a trendy light cocktail before dinner. Not being particularly trendy myself, I do not know what to suggest. Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Smell of Bread in the Morning

Early-Morning Bread
I got up early to bake bread this morning, so Servia woke up to the smell of  a crust caramelizing on a (mostly) whole wheat loaf. I went back to sleep while the oven was heating, but after I put the bread in, I drank a cup of tea and went over my Greek flash cards.
The reason that I got up so early to bake bread was that I went to my morning step-aerobics class at the gym. It's been a couple weeks, as I had a cold, and so I was really out of shape. As tiring as it was, I came back to a wonderful loaf of healthy-ish bread that tasted heavenly and the crazy dance moves and hundred or so sit-ups didn't seem so bad.
Post-Workout Snack
I think this is the most open crumb of all of my attempts at the Tartine Whole Wheat Country loaf. It's not like the one posted by txfarmer,  but I think that is partially due to my shaping/scoring difficulties. Although I've been baking bread for almost two full years now, I'm still a neophyte.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Nutrinos

About two months ago, I read an article in the New York Times that said scientists believed nutrinos may have surpassed the speed of light. I asked Cerinthus, as he is currently writing his physics thesis, and he remained skeptical. However, it would be pretty cool. So today I read that a second experiment confirmed the original findings. However, the article mentions that theorists are having some trouble figuring out the reason behind this strange experimental data.

Because of this, while I was cleaning my room I listened to the In Our Time podcast on Nutrinos. Although I don't entirely understand, this time (the second time I listed to it) it made more sense.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wine Snob: My Favorite White Wine


I know, this is going to sound cheesy, but I think this may have been the best white wine I have ever had. It was a lovely chardonnay. I am not generally a big fan of white wine, mostly because the white wines I have had are either too sour, too fruity, or too flowery. However, this wine was perfect; it was like a warm beam of winter sunlight warm and refreshing at the same time. The color was a lovely pale gold and a bouquet with a slight hint of flowers. The flavor was quite dry with notes of minerals, macadamia nuts, and a kiss of pine. It was wonderful.