Here I recount some of the interesting things that made me the animal-loving linguistics geek artist I am today. All lives have interesting stories in them, and surely mine is no exception, but I’m not the best at telling them yet. So I’ll just stick to the facts.
I was born and grew up in Orange County, California — north Orange County. I have three younger sisters, each brilliant in her own art. Laura is the rockstar accountant living the O.C. life. Audrey is the scrapbooking mom who sings and keeps a little drama in our lives. Jenn is a punk-rocking Egyptologist who studies art. At any given family event the four of us can be found quoting our favorite movies at each other and reminiscing about childhood days and in-jokes. Plus we play Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, Balderdash, Apples 2 Apples, and Uno.
I went to Sunny Hills High School and California State University, Fullerton, in Fullerton. I lived at home through college and enjoyed it, most of the time. I studied art for about a semester, briefly considered doing something “useful” like accounting, then ended up in linguistics because the way English and foreign language work are not nonsense to me.
Of course, jobs for people with B.A.s in linguistics are pretty few and far between, so I worked as a substitute teacher, a tutor, a temp, and then as an account manager for a marketing company for a couple of years. It really didn’t take me long to realize that wasn’t my domain, but it paid reasonably well. I finally moved out about a year after finishing college, to Huntington Beach, home of surfers and police with a lot of time on their hands.
After being laid off from the marketing job, I applied to grad school and got a job with a transcription company receiving, organizing, and dispensing tapes to the company’s transcriptionists. (Yes, that’s as exciting as it sounds.). I got into Cal State Fullerton’s graduate linguistics program but decided to try somewhere else. My job was pretty menial, so I took that mental time off to think about where else I should go to grad school, and what I should study. I settled on computational linguistics after some consultation with online people and seeing that editing (a job I would still love to do) was a bit more competitive and hand-to-mouth than I knew how to deal with having never studied journalism, and that the demand for computational linguists (as opposed to applied or general linguists) was high.
So yadda yadda yadda, now I’m at San Diego State University, working on an M.A. My thesis has to do with extracting temporal expressions from a corpus of blog text. I am currently working part-time for a company that works with voice recognition software.
The highlight of my Adventures in Grad School has been meeting, being captivated by, and marrying Ted. He is my constant and constant delight. We have just enough in common to get along famously but still surprise and teach each other every day.
One of my hobbies is art. My mom studied art history in college and I absorbed a bit of her knowledge over the years. I took one art class in high school, where I got an A with the comment “works below ability.” My favorite artists include Rembrandt, Monet and the other impressionists, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Singer Sargent, Maxfield Parrish, Michael Parkes, Michael Whelan, John William Waterhouse. You’ll notice the art of many of these is characterized by flowy fabrics, clouds, and brilliant colors — what some might term the style of the Pre-Raphaelites, though as far as I know only one of these artists is affiliated with them. The subject material of my own art ranges between mermaids and kirins with some portraits of real people thrown in for practice.
Like any good geek, I enjoy reading fantasy and science fiction. I have read and mostly look forward to reading and re-reading Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, P.D. James, Madeleine L’Engle, William Shakespeare, Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams, George R. R. Martin, Katharine Kerr, John Irving, Beverly Cleary, Charles Dickens, Neal Stephenson, James Herriot, and J.K. Rowling.
The music of the Smiths, Morrissey, Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Depeche Mode, Live, Travis, Dirty Vegas, the Wolfe Tones, Delerium, U2 and Moby have been known to inspire me — either to create art, or to drive really fast.
I also have some miscellaneous goals. I want to travel the world, learn judo, learn how to play the guitar and/or piano, take some ballet classes, and try to learn a couple more languages, natural or constructed. If/when Ted and I produce offspring, I plan to do my best to stay home and take care of them and pursue my dream goal of illustrating children’s books.
You’ll learn as you get to know me that I love the movie Moulin Rouge, am blue eyed, right-handed, I drive a Scion xA, my favorite color is blue, I have Type 1 diabetes, and I’m allergic to horses and cats.