Thursday, December 2, 2010

Life in a Nutshell. Like, a Super Tiny Nutshell. More Like a Mustard Seed.

This semester has been hard. So hard that I've pulled all-nighters. I almost never do that. This is so new to me. Anyways, it's been so hard I haven't updated this in awhile. Which I don't really feel that bad about but some people harassed me so. For you people. Here is an update.

I'm at that point where I just don't care. I had a Modern Techniques in Chemistry test yesterday and the first question elicited this response in me. So I don't know. But I just can't care. Because caring leads to stressing and stressing leads to being unproductive.

I have a Medicinal Chemistry test tomorrow.

Wait, quick interruption to emphasize HOW MUCH CHEMICAL ENGINEERING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHEMISTRY WHY AM I TAKING ALL THESE CHEMISTRY CLASSES OH MY GOD.

Anyways. Yes. Medicinal Chemistry test tomorrow. I've been like, kind of studying but really mostly not studying. Because I can't. You see, stressing leads to unproductiveness.

So I'm sitting here doing nothing because I'm so unstressed. Which is stressing me out. And being unproductive isn't helping.

Really the point is I have a week left and then a final and then I'm DONE with this semester. Next semester will be much more fun.

Yesterday was hug an RA day! Which was much more successful than hug a diabetic day. I really didn't get a whole lot of hugs until like...11:45 last night when a group of about 10-15 residents busted through my door and tackled me while I "studied" on my bed. It really made me feel...good. Like, appreciated. And wanted. And like this job is so totally worth it. So, kudos to you hug an RA day. Kudos. And Kudos to my residents. None of them read this or know I have a blog because that just sounds like DISASTER. But you know, kudos nonetheless.

I have like, a million parties to go. I have a Res-Life Ugly Sweater party to go to. PS don't have an ugly sweater but I REALLY want this. For obvious reasons. Also Erik's office party, RenXChange party part 1 and 2, plus friend stuff. Intensity.

The best weekend ever was truly the BEST weekend EVER. Go check these guys out. They will be playing at mine and Erik's wedding.

Finally, the Library cafe has the best radio station ever and I found it and have been listening to it all day. Makin' me happy.

That's kind of...an apt summation of my life at the moment. Promises to update more when my life is less hectic? :D

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Blue If I Was Green I Would Die

I dyed my hair blue this weekend.

Not like super blue, and definitely not all of it. I was afraid it wasn't going to work, and I was afraid I would turn everything blue. But no, it is a nice subtle blue on the very bottom most layer. The point was that it wouldn't be too in your face, but now that I've accomplished the subtle-ness I set out for, I find myself disappointed.

At first I was afraid of what people were going to say. I was, albeit very briefly, nervous that they would not like it. And now I am disappointed because nobody notice.

It was too subtle.

I'm really under the impression lately that if people aren't staring at you, you're doing something wrong. With my foray into wearing whatever I like, regardless of what the general consensus is, I find myself super comfortable with other people looking at me. In fact, the greatest little moments I experience are when I notice that other people have been staring. It makes me feel like there's something worth noticing about me, and that makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

They may be staring at me because I have a brown mustache from the hot chocolate I'm drinking, but it doesn't matter. I'm doing something that makes me stand out, and finally, that's making me feel good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bringing Awareness to Useless Awareness

I have a problem with the word "awareness."

The fall tends to be a time of disease awareness months. October is breast cancer and November is diabetes. But even outside of fall you can see ribbons everywhere symbolizing anything from autism to soldiers overseas. Everyone is trying to get their cause out there, everyone is trying to "raise awareness."

The problem is that this word is grossly misunderstood. The whole point is lost on a lot people simply because "they were already aware of cause xyz." Everybody knows there is breast cancer. Everybody thinks there should be a cure. What on earth does wearing a pink ribbon possibly fix? No cure is gotten from that. The argument is usually that if someone really wants to do something good they should raise money for the cure.

I'm not about to argue that people shouldn't raise money from causes, but perhaps I can shed some light on what I think truly effective "awareness" campaigns are.

Sure, you're aware of breast cancer. Sure, you think there should be a cure. However, do you have a true emotional understanding of the disease, how it affects its victims and families, how much pain women (and some men) go through because of it? Unless someone in your family has ever had breast cancer, it's likely your only "awareness" in this regard comes from Lifetime movies.

Truly successful awareness campaigns don't just make someone aware that a disease or cause exists, they make you want to do something. They make you aware of why the cause is important and why you should care. They're motivation to get more people involved in the fight.

So posting a status about where you like to put your purse, and making it vague enough so that it sounds like you're saying where you like to have sex? Essentially useless. You might as well have done nothing at all. All you did was make a provocative statement, but don't go around thinking that you actually HELPED the breast cancer cause.

Writing an article about how it affected you when your mother/grandmother/aunt/sister had breast cancer? Helping people understand why the cause is important, why they should care, why they should help? Well now we're getting somewhere.

I'd still like to applaud effort though. Trying anything, even if it's kind of a waste of time, still shows care and concern which is important.

Tomorrow is hug a diabetic day. Totally useless awareness campaign? Maybe. But I love hugs.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Diabetes Birthday To Meeeee

Exactly nine years ago from today I was diagnosed with juvenile Diabetes. Which makes today my Diabetes Birthday! Which feels an awful lot like this:

http://i82.photobucket.com/albums/j245/spacemanspiff27/Miscellaneous/Birthdaylolcat.jpg

Just kidding. It feels an awful lot like celebration! One hundred years ago this would not have been possible. I'd be dead. And here I am. And here are all my friends still alive and (mostly) sane.

For three days I got up, almost routinely, seven to eight times each night so that I could pee and drink about sixteen ounces of liquid. My eyesight had been getting worse. Though my mother is not a registered nurse or part of the medical field, somehow she just knew these were the symptoms of diabetes, so she brought me in, October 30, 2001.

The nurse laughed and insisted I was not diabetic. She suggested I get an appointment with an eye doctor to get glasses. My mother insisted, the nurse still refused. This still confuses me, we're not talking about a difficult, complicated, or expensive test. It's a urine sample, or a simple finger stick. Eventually she caved in, probably excited about the chance to rub a good ol' "I told you so" in to my mom's face when the results came back. Just another paranoid mom.

Unfortunately, that's not how the rest of the day went.

I went back to school, and forgot about everything, until I was called to the Principle's office. I started the slow walk down the hall.

I have to stop and elaborate about how I'm what psychologists call a "worryer." It's cute in kids, and stressful in adults. I never outgrew the habit of "What if the tree falls in to my room" "What if the floor collapses underneath me" "What if that plane crashes in to the playground." It sounds melodramatic, but it's how I thought when I was little, and it's how I still think today. Most of the time I'm wrong. What keeps the habit persistent is the few times I'm right.

"What if this is the last time I don't know I have diabetes."

I walked in to the room where my parents were there with the principle, as if this were normal. As if we had this meeting every week. I sat down trying to play along with the charade they'd set up.

My principle was an old nun, very traditional, very pompous, very set in her ways. Every student shut up as she walked by. She was Miss Trunchbull from Matilda in a habit. She clearly thought she was going to control what was about to happen, but my father, my typically quiet and unobtrusive father, had different plans. Though she began to speak, he put his hand up to her very firmly. It was the only time I'd ever seen anyone shut her up.

He looked at me and told me.

The next few days were an adventure for me. I started off throwing a fit at the idea of having an I.V. put in my arm, to very calmly sitting still to get a shot for dinner. Flowers and get-well cards (that I still have in my closet at home) from my classmates made me feel special. That Christmas I got a laptop.

The next few years are a different story.

So here I am. Still kickin'. Hopefully I can celebrate my 50th diabetes anniversary. It will certainly be one to be excited about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Don't Have a Good Title For This.

I'm much more mature this semester than I think I've ever been. I grew a LOT in the past couple of months. It's apparent in my time management. It's apparent in my stress management. It's apparent in my academics.

But I think it's most apparent in my friendships.

I can remember even in elementary school being completely uninterested in friends' problems. I've got my own problems, I don't have to deal with other people's issues! I equated it all to 'drama,' you know, the kind that everybody has to deal with as a teenager, the kind that some kids try to make while the rest of us try to avoid it. I just wanted to have fun with my friends, I didn't want to have to be sad and upset when I was with them.

Maybe it's because I didn't think I had friends worth fighting for, something I definitely regret thinking. Maybe it's because I didn't think other people's problems were really THAT bad. Maybe I just really was too caught up in my own life, too unsettled with how things were and how I wanted them to be. I don't think you can really help someone else until you're comfortable and secure with yourself.

Lately, I've found myself going out of my way to help other people, to listen to their issues, to want to help them. I know it's my job as an RA, but I'm not doing it because I have to, I honestly want to help other people, and I think I'm finally in a position in my life where I can do that.

I'm adjusted to where I am and where I'm going. I'm comfortable with who I am as a person, both my strengths and my weaknesses. I'm not overworked, overstressed, overwhelmed. I just AM and it's a good feeling.

Now that I have a good foundation, I'm finally able to take on others, and it feels really good.

I'm starting to figure out this whole friendship thing. I'm not all the way there yet, but putting myself out there for others seems to be a good start, because I'm not really under the impression that friendship is a one-way street.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Purple.

I am wearing purple today.

This isn't about gay marriage. This isn't about religion. This isn't even about civil rights.

This is about not tormenting children.

Everyday kids are bullied. They're called names, they're physically hurt, they're made to feel like crap. This isn't just by other kids, this is often by adults, indirectly even when adults don't stop bullying when they see it.

I try to imagine how awful it must be to feel like you have to hide something like this from the world. To feel like you have to change how you talk, how you dress, how you act, your mannerisms. To feel like you're constantly acting for other people. I try to imagine what it must feel like to need to lie to everybody around you, including your own family.

It must be terribly lonely. And suffocating.

I don't personally know how awful it is, but I do know that when I have children I will teach them to respect everybody, including the kids they don't really like. Including people that aren't anything like them. Including people they've never even met before. If my children bully others, I will stop them. I will teach them not to.

Let's not just stop with my future children though, let's talk about my friends. Every time someone says "faggot" or "that's gay" I stop them. I tell them I don't like it. I explain why. I understand that I probaly don't change people's minds, and they probably just stop saying it in front of me. But by speaking up about how I feel, I have not implicitly consented to that language. I've brought attention to the issue. I've not backed down just because it would be easier to do.

I'm not going to wipe out homophobia by wearing purple or writing about it on my blog. But I am showing that I don't tolerate it. I'm making it known that I refuse to back down and let other people think that homophobia is okay. Homophobia isn't going to stop, but it's going to stop around me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ITSAPROCESS

In the past, I've taken my health sort of kind of seriously. I've tried to eat well, but it's hard. I don't have a very hard and fast schedule, I'm frequently on the move, and I'm embarrassed to admit that some nights my dinner resorts to kitkats. As a diabetic, I take pretty poor care of myself as well. It frightens me to no end. But it shouldn't, as this is all under my control. It's really not anybody else's fault how I take care of my body or how I treat myself. It's my own responsibility. As an adult, it's slowly becoming entirely my responsibility. I've been weening my parents off of the control over the entire course of my diabetic life, but I think I forgot in the process that that gave me more control and more responsibility.

I've tried in the past to eat better, but I don't think I ever committed to a long term goal. It was always because I randomly wanted to lose 5 pounds, completely unnecessarily. Over the summer I actually went to the food pyramid website and came up with a solid meal plan, and that worked for a little while. But it got really hard and a little expensive, and eventually stress derailed me.

Stress always derails me.

I get so afraid of failure that I stop trying. Which, I know, is basically the same thing, but psychologically I've got that confused.

They say it takes 2 weeks to build a habit, right? And they say a habit sticks better when it's written down. I'm not expecting anybody who reads this to hold me to any of this, and in fact, please don't. It's so psychologically counter-productive to my goals. It's weird I know but I have a frustrating sort of brain like that.

Starting Sunday, but practicing starting tomorrow, I'm going to have these goals:

1. For two weeks, I'll just focus on my eating. I'll follow a meal plan that will allow for my cafeteria trying really hard to throw me off. I want to lower my cholesterol and feel a lot better about how I eat. I put this before focusing on diabetes because better eating habits will lead to better control of my diabetes.
2. For another two weeks, I'll focus on my diabetes. By that time, the bruises on my stomach from the CGM should be cleared up, so I can use it again. Don't get me started on this stupid thing, I could literally go on for hours about how something so useful could be so unusable. My overall goal will be to get my A1C below 8. I know that might be shocking that it's NOT, but look, it's been a rough past like...forever. Diabetes has psychologically taken its toll on me and for the most part my way of dealing with it has been to ignore it. I can't do that forever, I know that. It's really time for me to grow up.
3. For the final two weeks, I'll start focusing on getting regular exercise in. Exercise usually throws my diabetes off and makes everything difficult, that's why I put this at the end. If exercising makes things difficult this time around, I will not focus on it some, and instead try to find a regimen that works for me and my needs, not miserably force my diabetes to work for my exercise. That has never worked.

At that point it will be Christmas and my main focus is going to be on keeping my pattern regular. I think at first it will be stressful, but in the long run I will have less stress as I stop worrying about how much I'm not taking care of myself.

I think I'm really motivated because I really changed my study habits for the better this semester. I was doing awful last year, but this year my time management skills are unbelievable, and I kept it up long-term, and I think I can use that confidence and ability to channel my health into something good. I feel really good about this.

I really don't want to blog about this regularly because that feels so amazingly cheesy and stupid. I'm mostly putting it here to keep myself honest.

Like Kanye always says: #ITSAPROCESS

Classics Shmassics

I have a confession to make. It's not going to be pretty, and some people are going to be really upset about it, but here it goes.

I think J.D. Salinger's writing is awful.

There. There I said it.

I don't think there's anything to profound about what he writes. I don't think it's interesting. I don't think the ramblings of a psychotic teenager are emotional. I think it was boring. Boring and irritating.

And I don't like Jane Austen either. It's Gossip Girl set in the 19th century.

And I think Joseph Heller forgot to put plots in his books.

I don't understand why these people are accepted as "classics." I used to think that I just didn't get it, I wasn't well-versed enough in literature to understand what all the hype was about. I used to try and force myself to read books by these people, thinking eventually I would get it, and I would have learned something through the experience.

But then I realized why should I spend my time reading books that I think are awful, when I could instead read books that I think are enjoyable and wonderful? Why was I forcing myself to accept the "truth" that these people are wonderful authors? I'm happy other people like them, but to think that it's "fact" that they're good is a little beyond me.

Basically, I've decided to stop trying to impress people with all the classics I've read and cave in to popular demand by liking what is accepted as "good" and just doing what I like. Seems simple but it took me awhile to figure it out.

So while I'm here, Adam Smith's "The Invisible Hand" is actually NOT awful. Not that you should take my word for it or anything. :P

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 Signs You Might Be Dating a Diabetic

1. There are test strips in your bed
2. There are test strips on your floor
3. There are test strips in your laundry
4. There are test strips in your couch
5. There are test strips on the bathroom counter
6. There are test strips in the kitchen
7. There are test strips in your car
8. There are test strips behind the television
9. There are test strips in your yard
10. There are test strips in your cereal box

Erik wrote this for me. It was lulzy. I enjoyed it.

One time my dad found a test strip in his sock. I honestly have no idea how it got there. I swear they're alive and teleport to wherever they think is the most inconvenient place for them to be. I'm surprised it's not so bad that my friends complain about it. I'm sure there are test strips in the RenXChange room though, I just haven't heard a complaint about it yet.

It's unfortunate there aren't more diabetics in my life for me to pin the blame on.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'm Reading Books Again So Naturally I'm Going to Blog About it

"The woolen coat, for example, which covers the day-labourer, as coarse and rough as it may appear, is the produce of the joint labour of a great multitude of workmen. The shepherd, the sorter of the wool, the wool-comber or carder, the dyer, the scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser, with many others, most all join their different arts in order to complete even this homely production. How many merchants and carriers, besides, must have been employed in transporting the materials from some of those workmen to others who often live in a very distant part of the country! How many merchants and carriers, besides, must how many ship-builder, sailors, sail-makers, rope-makers, must have been employed in order to bring together the different drugs made use of by the dyer, which often come from the remotest corners of the world! What a variety of labour, too, is necessary in order to produce the tools of the meanest of those workmen!"

-Adam Smith, The Invisible Hand

TL;DR - there is a CRAP TON of work that goes in to everything that we use, every single day. Even the most menial of objects represent the work of hundreds of men and women and years of technological advancements and innovation.

I think it's really easy to talk about how awful humanity is. There's war, there's murder, there's hate. There's inequality. There's politics. All constructs of man-kind. It's much harder to talk about all the good that we do.

I think one of the greatest things we do is take a basic tenant of being alive and though it could be something awful, we turn it into something wonderful. We take our natural inclination to care about ourselves most of all-our survival instinct-and use it to inadvertantly help others. Through our bartering system, be it chickens for corn or video games for money, we have developed a "you help me, I help you" themed exchange. We don't try to change who we are, we use it to our advantage in a way that creates a stable society. Biologically and psychologically, we care about ourselves before all others, but that doesn't have to be the bad thing it sounds like.

Ayn Rand talks about how greed is good, and I'm not shy to agree with her. Greed can be bad, but I think what's most impressive is how we make it good. Adam Smith talks about how no man lives upon the benevolance of others. We don't expect others to just give us stuff, we expect to work hard and earn it, and give others things they want in return. It's a kind of independence, but really it's more of a co-dependence. We benefit from each other by only thinking of ourselves. We took something that could be bad and can't be changed and made it good.

As an engineer, I appreciate efficiency, and this is truly a beautifully designed and efficient system.

As a sidenote, I'll never look at anything I own the same ever again thanks to that passage.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"I am not worried, Harry," said Dumbledore, his voice a little stronger despite the freezing water. "I am with you."

Big Harry Potter spoilers. You should have already read the books by now.

I touched on something in my earlier post about Harry Potter that I wanted to explore a little more. I mentioned how when I first started reading Harry Potter, I didn't fully understood what Dumbledore was saying. It all felt really cheap and kind of lame when he talked about "love" being a kind of magic. My 9-year-old self was thinking that if it's magic, there has to be a spell. J.K. Rowling was copping out in my mind.

Because really, I fell in love with Harry Potter because the universe was so neat. The characters were rich and as alive to me as any of my other friends. There was action and there was mystery. The writing held my attention so well I could just sit and read the books for days. In short, there wasn't any deeper meaning to me than what was right in front of me.

Except for all the hidden messages. Like how the chess scene in the first book was totally an analogy for how the entire war was going to go down? Or how Ron Weasley was actually psychic, he just kept making all his predictions like jokes because he didn't realize his own power? Reading in to the books was tons of fun. It was so much fun other people made books about it. That I bought and devoured.

I was really the perfect age to start Harry Potter. The books started from the perspective of an 11-year-old, which was not far from where I was in life. Magic was as exciting and new to Harry as it was to me. We experienced the new world together. At first, like Harry, I had no idea what Dumbledore meant about love. If love was magic, why wasn't there a class about it? As Harry grew, his understanding of his world matured, and so did mine. Life wasn't just about magic, life was about corruption and evil and deceit. Harry's view mimicked my own because of how we had grown together.

It started to make sense, for both of us, at Snape's death.

Voldemort didn't understand love. He didn't understand that someone would give their life for another person. He didn't understand it to the point that he completely overlooked it as a possibility. He believed that Snape was loyal to him, because it never occurred to him that Snape would die for his love of Lily. And that mistake ultimately brought his downfall.

And it was at that point that I fully understood what she meant. Almost ten years later, and with enough life experience, I was able to fully appreciate the magnitude of that message. I saw what J.K. Rowling meant by how love is powerful, as powerful or more so than most magic. In the end it doesn't matter how much magic any wizard could use. All that matters is that we have the capacity to love and care for each other.

I never would have understood that at the age I started reading Harry Potter. I mean, honestly, Dumbledore explained this point blank in the first book and it went right over my head. And people analyzed the books and thought that there was some underlying plot or secret that would be revealed in the last 20 pages, but it was so much simpler than that. I thought that making the answer "love" was cheap, but really, that's what made the books so GOOD. It was a story about a woman who loved her child so much, she gave her life for him. A story about a young boy and girl whose love we watched grow timidly and earnestly. A story about a man who loved a boy as if he were his own. A story about a man who loved another man.

A story about a man who did not love.

J.K. Rowling wrote a story about love and how no matter what our abilities and our choices are, love is all that will truly define us.

I had a really special experience, as my entire generation did, to slowly grow with the series to learn its ultimate truth at a time when we could fully know it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

AHA! A BUFFER!

So today I was minding my own business, studying for Modern Techniques in Chemistry, and I started to read about buffer solutions. That's when I saw it.

Don't you see it? Here, a bigger, blurrier picture:

"AHA! A BUFFER!"

If you google "Aha! A buffer!" You find out that David Harris is SUPER FOND of this phrase. He says it in all of his books. A LOT.

More instances:


Seriously, all I have to say about this is WHAT A WEIRDO.

aha. a buffer.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Because I Have Something Worth Living For!"

I loooooooooooooooove Harry Potter. I can't even count the ways that I love it. I grew up with it, and my understandingand appreciation grew too. It's so interesting and fascinating and moving on so many levels. And not fake levels like The Old Man and the Sea, real levels like Inception.

The second to last movie comes out in November, and I'm really excited, and a little sad. This really is the end of an era. I mean, it will start again when I have kids and I start reading it to them, but it's the end of Harry Potter's true presence in the world. There will be no more movie premieres or book releases. It will depend on its fans to keep it going.

I remember going to the movies when I was younger and being really disappointed. The movie skipped out on some part of the book that I loved, or it didn't do this one scene quite right. The director moved EVERYTHING. And changed all the clothing rules. And nobody pronounces anything the way I want them to pronounce it.

But as time went on, I began to appreciate the movies for what they really are. The point isn't to be a visual representation of what I read, it's an interpretation. It's capturing the emotions and the story in a different medium, and the transition means it HAS to be different. There's no other way.

It's fun to experience the story in a different way. It's fun to see what another person thought of the story, to see what they think about the characters. That's why fanfiction and fanart is so popular, people want to express how they feel about the Harry Potter universe through what they're good at. And I want to see it. I want to experience it with them. Harry Potter is more than a story because it's connected me to so many people and created a common experience for me with all these strangers. We all cried when Dumbledore died, and we fought over whether Snape was good or bad. We hoped beyond reason that Sirius was still alive behind the veil. We waited with bated breath for that kiss between Ron and Hermione. We felt it all and we felt it together, and for two more movies, we will feel it all again.

J.K. Rowling once described Harry Potter as a love story. When I was younger I really didn't understand how "love" was an ancient magic, how it protected Harry, or really anything Dumbledore ever said. It's been a surreal experience to finally, together with Harry, understand what Dumbledore and consequently J.K. Rowling really meant. It's a love story on so many levels, one J.K. Rowling never could have planned: the love among the fans. We read the books on our own, silently, in our rooms. But we watch the movies together, we watch them in a huge room full of people who all feel the same rush as that bespectacled face comes on screen for the first time. We all get it, and we love each other for it. The energy is contagious.

So when the movie comes out in November, I'm sure I'll be upset that they skipped certain scenes, or that Ginny Weasley is stone cold and not vibrant and witty, but I'll put my nit-picky criticisms aside and enjoy it. I'll get goosebumps as I see Daniel Radcliffe make a triumphant return as one of my favorite heroes, I'll be terrified when Helena Bonham Carter steps on screen, and even though I know where Snape's loyalties lie, I'm going to be skeptical with the trio. I'll love it for what it is and what it's meant to be.

I think everyone feels this way about something. Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, Twilight even... we all connect to the characters in ways that we don't connect with other fictional beings. Something about them just resonates with who we are as people, and it makes us want to know more. We want to keep the feeling alive and going, and that happens through other fans. I won't know the 10-year-old sitting next to me in the movie theater that night, but I'm sure we've both read all the books about 3 times. At least. And if she knows what's good for her, her favorite character is Sirius.

Or maybe Snape.

No Dumbledore.

No Snape.

I'm so excited.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Make-Up Week!

I remember very clearly when I started wearing make-up.

It was Junior High, and something happened to everybody between sixth and seventh grade. We went from putting on make-up at sleepovers to be silly and feel adult to wearing it on an everyday occurrance. It was literally a light switch in everybody's heads. I always felt a little behind the curve, I think I noticed everyone else wearing it and the thought occurred to me, "Should I be wearing make-up?"

It was probably a combination of wanting to feel adult, wanting to fit in with the group, and wanting to explore an artistic outlet. Because honestly, that's how I view make-up: it's artistic! You have a living palate on which you can express emotions and desires through color. I find that really exciting. I enjoy make-up in the same way I enjoy fashion: as an expression. I like who I am, but it's fun to try new things and experiment with my identity. Make-up is a way to put on a new face for an evening. When I go to fancy events, I like to wear it because it makes me look different, and different can be fun and exciting! I like that.

But not all women view it that way. And I stopped seeing it that way too. At some point I did convince myself I needed it. Which, when I look back, is so strange. I was 14, no 14-year-old "needs" make-up. Then again, NO ONE needs make-up. But certainly not 14-year-olds. I got over it quickly, but obviously most women don't.

I hit high school and I'm not sure what happened. My type of friends changed, my attitude changed, my confidence changed. Maybe even something entirely different spurred me on, but I stopped wearing make-up. I didn't feel the need anymore. I didn't wear make-up one day and nothing changed. Nobody stopped liking me. Nobody commented on me looking any different. My whole world was completely unphased, so clearly the extra 30 minutes I was spending on make-up was not worth the effort.

I stopped wearing make-up.

But most women don't. In fact, for most women, it only gets worse.

This statistic completely blows my mind: 8 out of 10 women prefer their female colleagues to wear makeup.

holy crap. holy effing crap.

Honestly I don't even know what to say about this. Maybe, at an engineering-oriented school, I'm secluded from this mentality, but I'm so used to trying to look nice one day and having 15 different people ask me why I'm dressed up. I'm reasonably certain I'd be judged more for wearing make-up than not wearing it.

What's sadder to me is that this isn't men judging women, it's women. I'm sure someone will come up with an argument for how men contribute to this problem, but from what little I understand of this issue, it is women being their own worst enemy. It doesn't make me mad, it doesn't frustrate me, it just makes me really sad.

No Make-Up Week is an interesting idea to bring light to the issue. I wish I could feel like I was actually contributing, but this is just another week in my life. Maybe some other women will understand make-up's true purpose through this experiment.

Here is my picture without make-up!

I put make-up on and took a picture after this, but you really couldn't tell the difference. I'm going to wear make-up today in an interesting reversal of my schedule. We'll see what happens.

Sorry the picture is dark, I'm only an amateur Blackberry photographer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's the Little Things...

Today, I am wearing a sweet unicorn necklace.


That is all.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Plants Plantify Humans to Understand Us Better

I bought flowers at the farmer's market on Saturday. Two sunflowers and something else. I can't remember what its name is. But it was pretty.

I thought my room would look really nice with flowers. And it did.

Until they died.

I don't really think I expected them to last that long, but it made me kind of sad. I feel like I failed them. I feel like I bought them, and I bought the responsibility that came along with owning living things. I know, they're plants. They don't have "feelings." But aren't feelings relative? Isn't the mind just a construct of us thinking we're better than everything else because of our higher intelligence? Maybe plants don't have feelings the same way we do, but that doesn't mean they don't have them at all.

Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy had an interesting thought to share about perspective:

"
However, as soon as you want to send a space probe to another planet, geocentrism becomes cumbersome. In that case, it’s far easier to use the Sun as the center of the Universe and measure the rotating and revolving Earth as just another planet. The math works out better, and in fact it makes more common sense.

However, this frame of reference, called heliocentrism, still is not the best frame for everything. Astronomers who study other galaxies use a galactic coordinate system based on our Milky Way galaxy, and the Sun is just another star inside it. Call it galactocentrism, if you want, and it’s just as useful as geo- or heliocentrism in its limited way. And none of those systems work if I want to know turn-by-turn directions while driving; in that case I use a carcentric system (specifically a Volvocentric one).

You use coordinate systems depending on what you need.

So really, there is no one true center to anything. I suppose you could say the Universe is polycentric, or more realistically acentric. You picks your frame of reference and you takes your chances."

It got me thinking about life and how it is so self-centered. If you think about the primal goal of survival, it's a waste of time to think about anyone else, unless ultimately in the end you also benefit. We can't escape that train of thought as it's our nature, but being aware of it can at least help us correct ourselves and remember that there are infinitely more frames of reference out there.

So I try to think about things from the flowers' perspective, and as far as they're concerned, I bought them and let them die a slow and potentially painful death.

And yes, I'm aware that as I tried to relate to the flower, I personified it, which may just be that much more insulting.

Life is funny that way. We have to personify things in order to relate to them, and it gives us this strange idea that in order for something to be alive it has to be exactly like us. It's apparently only wrong to hurt plants assuming they experience life in the same way we do. But the definition of life is tricky: too stringent and you leave out key creatures that are very definitively alive; too loose and all of a sudden it's murder to crush rocks.

Makes me wonder how we hope to find life outside of earth. For all we know, we're excluding living things right here on our own planet, and we hope to find living things outside of our own atmosphere? Who's to say there aren't any living things that adapted to an atmosphere of purely carbon dioxide? Water is essential for life as WE know it, but that doesn't measn it's essential for life. And if we do find something that fits outside the scope of our current definition, what then?

I want to be aware of these different perspectives, but my mind is so limited in how it thinks.

Maybe plants plantify things. They imagine humans as plants to better understand us.

And there I go personifying them again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Thoughts On This Semester

I enjoy science. I enjoy cool things that science allows us to do, and I love how science is just super fun to learn. I don't care how much you enjoy Jane Austin, reading her books is never going to be as fun as lighting stuff on fire. Or creating a really loud noise from a bunsen burner. Or any other number of super sweet demonstrations.

But I hate labs.

I think it has to do with my slight OCD tendencies. I feel like once ONE THING goes wrong, then the whole thing is doomed. I get freaked out that the last few molecules in the beaker that I couldn't get out are now going to throw my entire data set off. I puts around forever putting off the inevitable pouring I have to do.

My data is never right and my blood pressure is always twice what it should be.

BUT! Today went awesome. I mean, we were doing titrations, and I've done those before. A lot. So I felt comfortable with that idea. They told us to get this color and not that color, and everybody kept getting that color but all three of mine were this color.

And it felt so good.

And my data didn't completely suck. And then I got out with 40 minutes to spare!

Remember last semester?

Yeah. That semester.

Well this semester is going to be SO MUCH BETTER. It's going to be way more like this:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm BACK!

I'm going to attempt to continue to blog. I'll no longer tackle issues that are not directly related to myself, though. I think that's the easiest way to censor myself and still feel like I'm not putting anybody related to my job at risk. I've also noticed that most of my posts ARE personally related, so I don't think that will be too hard for me to adhere to.

Being an RA during the school year is, as predicted, much harder than being an RA during the summer. Being an RA for freshmen is, again, as predicted, much harder than being an RA for upperclassmen. Watching them interact with each other and deal with issues has forced me to reflect on my freshman year a lot and how I've grown.

You may have noticed, but I REALLY enjoy doing that. I like to think that I can create a model of my growth and predict where I'm going. The more data I have the more accurate the model and the more reliable the prediction is. lawl CPDC.

Where the y-axis is some quantity that describes my growth as a person which accounts for maturity, knowledge, and beliefs and the x-axis is age.

There are two things that really stuck out to me about my growth from freshman to now.

One thing I didn't do was party as a freshman, and none of my freshmen friends partied, and honestly some people I knew were downright RIGHTEOUS about how they didn't party. Kind of a moral high horse, a way to feel superior for some people, I've noticed.

I didn't intend to party as a freshman, but I was impressionable. I was trying to figure out what was normal, you know? How was partying perceived at RPI? I hadn't really gotten the impression that RPI was a party school, but I could tell there was drinking. Do all upperclassmen drink? Is it unavoidable? Am I going to have to drink to have friends?

This didn't seem the case from the friend group I made, early on it was seemingly apparent that lots of people at RPI my age didn't drink. But of course, over time, most of those friends started drinking. They entered the party scene.

Why didn't I? Maybe because I never convinced myself it was a moral decision, or even the "right" decision, just that it was *my* decision. But the stronger factor was that Erik, at 22, did not drink. He legally could, and all his friends did, but he chose not to! If he didn't have to drink, then I certainly didn't have to drink. He was my non-drinking buddy, and now that I've gotten out of the impressionable freshman phase, I'm confident enough in myself and who I am that I won't drink even if Erik did start. It was the first experience I'd ever truly had with a role model.

I've also noticed how long it has been since I've learned something TRULY new to me. Watching all my freshmen do IEA problems and whine about General Chemistry has shown me that. Everything so far has mostly built off of previous classes, spun the same topics in different ways. I always felt like I was learning the same information, just in a different language. It was challenging, but I didn't find it interesting.

Finally, for the first time, I'm learning things that feel truly new. Of course it all involves some physics and chemistry, but applying those very basic concepts in new situations. My two Chemical Engineering courses this semester are honestly very exciting to me. I feel like I'm actually learning how to be a chemical engineer. I feel like I'm challenged in a way that makes me want to me the challenge, like I felt in CellBio (though almost all of that was a repeat) with Professor Plopper and U.S. History with Mr. Guilfoyle. Except this time my desire to do well isn't because I want to please my teacher, it's because I really want to excel at these topics. They're things I want to know, they're things I'm driven to learn, not for the grade but for the knowledge.

Pretty sure this is what college is supposed to be.

Still, I'm not sure what I want to do. But at least I'm apparently learning the right things.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Ethics of the Internet

The internet. It's kind of scary. Putting thoughts and opinions on the internet? Only scary when you're the first to do it. It seems that rejecting and subsequently making fun of someone's opinion on the internet is very easy to do.

But what are the ethics of this? It's easy when you're some 13-year-old nobody with nothing better to do, but when you're a 20-year-old who has yet to break in to the professional world, holding two jobs of some stature...all of a sudden it starts to get tricky.

This is a personal blog, and I say a lot of personal things. I've said things that I didn't think were controversial, but a lot of people proved me wrong. As a full-time RA, and a Supervisor at RenX, I represent RPI in lots of different ways. Do the opinions I put here reflect on them? I don't think they should, and I would never assume that of someone else. But as I said, what I think is obviously not necessarily what other people think.

I took a break from blogging because I thought this was important to reflect on. A lot of habits I have had to be put in check. If I put opinions on here, I'm reflecting RPI. If I put pictures on here, I am reflecting RPI. I don't really know what RPI's stance is on some of the issues I like to write about, so it's not really fair for me to put words in their mouth, is it?

I don't drink, for lots of reasons, but a major point being that I am not of legal age to. It doesn't bother me that my friends drink, I don't really have a moral objection to it, it's simply a personal choice for my life and who I am.

However, as an RA, I have to take issue with my residents drinking. It's my responsibility to enforce the rules and, obviously, the law. So does that stop with JUST my residents? Does that stop with JUST students? I represent RPI, remember. RPI does not take kindly to underage drinkers.

I have enjoyed the freedom of only representing myself in the past. But now, if I go to a party where there are residents who I know are under-age and they are drinking, I've put myself in an uncomfortable position. Normally I would go to friends' parties, not drink and enjoy the social scene, but I don't think my job affords that luxury any longer.

This is hard for me, because I've enjoyed being an open person here, in fact I've talked about how much I've enjoyed it, but I don't know if I can continue to blog, at least so publicly. I don't see some things the way others do, and I tend to be less conservative in my opinions on things like sex and relationships, so while censoring is an option I don't know that I trust my ability to do so. Something that seems innocuous to me may in fact be offensive and out of line to others.

The internet makes things tricky now, as we really don't have official stances on anything. Some employers let their employees send email all day while others limit personal conversations. NSFW is common all over websites, but sometimes you can't trust others' judgment. Honestly, other people's thoughts would be greatly appreciated here, because I really don't know what to think about this. Whether you leave a comment or stop to talk when you see me, please give me your two cents to help me start figuring this all out...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Geezer McOld

I'm so old.

When I got home today, I had the same sensation I used to get being at Grandma's. It feels like home, but I still feel like a guest.

I go through a process of discovery every time I get back from school. I have a couple shoe boxes full of stuff in my closet and around my room with little things that I've forgotten about after being away for so long. It's like there's little presents all over just waiting to be remembered.

My favorite box is the one full of junk. Nostalgic junk. Like the tennis ball I used in the match against that girl that mooned my team when she lost. Or the atta-girls from camp that I got as a CIT. Or the jump rope I used during recess in elementary school. And a whole bunch of other stuff.

But what really got me was a picture in there of me. It was taken at camp when I was probably 14, maybe 15. My hair was a lot blonder, I was a little tanner, and I was really happy. I remember that period of my life, and I remember how happy I was with myself. I was getting really good grades in school. My home life was good. I really thought I was beautiful.

But I think what's weirdest of all is that I really appreciate how that part of my life is over. That girl in the picture? We're really not that different. I am really happy with myself right now. Everything I just said describes me now. But she's not me, and I'm not her. I felt like I was more looking at an old friend in that picture than I was looking at myself.

When I come home, I get reacquainted with myself, and I gain a lot of perspective on where I really am in life. It's so easy to forget when I'm three hours away and spending all my time focused on my future. But when I come home Siri is still here to greet me with purrs and my room is still the same it was when I left all those months before.

I'll go back to school in a couple days for RA training, get back to obsessing over the future and where I'm going, but for now I'm going to re-visit my childhood.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Genie Is Handing Out Some Money: The Graph of Evil

I found an interesting website detailing a cute way to graph morals. It's not all-inclusive and it doesn't account for numerous "what-if" situations, but it's a fun exercise.

Say you meet a magical genie, and he promises to give you a dollar, with no repurcussions to anyone else. Do you take it?

Well. Duh.

Say he'll give you a dollar, and a stranger a dollar, do you take it? Now he'll only give you the dollar while also taking a stranger's dollar away? What if he gives you two dollars and takes the stranger's dollar?

You can kind of see where this is going now. It creates a fun graph like this:

With a minor amount of thought and a little bit more paint skill, I've determined this is what my graph looks like:

Besides making me want some watermelon, the colors represent the areas I would not accept the genie's offer (reddish-pink) and the areas that I would accept (light green).

I decided that as long as I was getting as much or more money than was being taken away from the stranger, I wouldn't care because the net value of the genie's actions is good. I also don't care if the stranger gets more money than me because as long as I'm getting money, why the hell do I care how much some other guy is getting (this is of course assuming there could be no bartering with the genie).

But I'm definitely never going to lose money, even if someone else gets money. I'm assuming that it is always a stranger getting the money, so I don't even get the satisfaction of knowing the money is going to someone who deserves it, or someone I even like. The money could go to Bill Gates, and here I am out a dollar. Why would I lose money so some other person can get money and I don't even get emotional benefit (much like gift giving usually provides)?

This, according to the website, puts me somewhere between logical and proud. I'll let you go see the graphs for yourself if you want, but I've colored in the area difference:

Logical included the green plus the blue area, proud only included the green area.

I guess logical is assuming that as long as the net gain/loss is at least equal, or someone is at least getting something, then it's a good deal. I'm too sefish for that. Proud thinking is that I should always get more or equal to the stranger, but heck man, money is money. I'll take whatever I can get, even if the other person gets more.

This was an entertaining exercise, at the very least. I don't know that I learned anything about myself, but it's kind of cute.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coming Out Is Scary, and Not For the Reasons You Think

I've mentioned before that I consider myself a feminist, though I'm often afraid to say it. Not because I think people will assume I'm a "femi-nazi." I mean really, if people want to accuse me of being angry because I want the genders to be equal then they have their own psychological issues to work out. The term "femi-nazi" doesn't scare me in the slightest. I know who I am, I know I am more than capable of having civilized discussions, to the point where if the argument is not civilized it's more than likely not because of me.

No, the reason I don't like saying it is because there always seems to be another feminist out there ready to jump out and tell me all the reasons I'm not a feminist.

For starters, while my career is important and I consider myself ambitious, when I'm honest with myself, in 10 years my family will be the most important thing to me. The people in my life will be the most important aspect of my life. My potential husband, my friends, my parents. I could claim that in 10 years I'll be climbing some sort of corporate ladder, and maybe that will be true, but when push comes to shove it's not going to be my priority.

That doesn't sound particularly anti-feminist to me, though. It doesn't sound like I'm playing in to the patriarchal plan for our society. I mean, I guess maybe I am, I guess a sexist person would say a woman should only think about her family and husband, but I don't think that way because of male forces in my life. I think that way because it's what's important to me and I'm trying to make myself happy.

And honestly, I don't want to end up with a man who prioritizes his career. I want to be with a man who puts as much of an emphasis on family and relationships as I do. That wouldn't make him any less of a man any more than it makes me less of a feminist.

I think the defining emphasis for feminism is choice (and no, dear god, I am not, and will never, get in to the abortion topic here. That is not where this is going. Waaaaay too heavy for me). It does not bother me that there are women out there who don't go to college, don't become engineers, and don't go on to break the glass ceiling. What bothers me is that there are women out there who make that decision without realizing what all their options are. They choose that path because they don't know they don't have to.

I know what I can accomplish. I know full well that if I want to I could probably do a hell of a lot of things. It would be harder for me as a woman because, despite what you may think, there are still lots of people out there who think my sole purpose is as a uterus. There are people who think I don't deserve the same kind of pay as a man due to my mere potential to produce children. There are people out there who really don't think women can be engineers. Despite all those people, I know I could accomplish a lot. I just don't want to make those kinds of accomplishments.

I could look at the big picture and think it's my duty to and force myself to go on and break boundaries with my female peers from RPI. But if that doesn't make me happy, why should I? Didn't I just talk about this in the last post? Growing up is about figuring out what makes me happy, and not forcing myself to be unhappy for other people and outside forces. No matter how important feminism is, my individuality will always be more so.

Monday, August 9, 2010

But Really all I've Ever Wanted to Be Was a Super Hero

My fall is looking pretty busy. I've agreed to be an RA full-time (this happened just today. I was only offered the job a week ago. It's been a whirlwind of a week). I'm going to be a Supervisor at RenXChange for the first time. Also class. And maintaining friendships. Diabetes. Don't forget diabetes.

But despite all this work, I'm really excited. I'm so excited. I really think I'm going to do a good job at everything. I'm confident in my ability to excel at exactly what I've signed up for. My obligations don't sound like chores; they sound like fun that I'm getting paid to do. How awesome is that?

In high school I was busy, too. I had a lot of officer positions: French Honor Society, National Honor Society, Math club. While it was a great starting point to learn how to take charge and lead, I didn't really get anything out of it. I was really just filling up my schedule and putting things on my resume in a kind of soulless sort of way. In hindsight, it's really not surprising that I didn't get in to the "Ivy League" schools. Ivy League schools want people who are passionate about something. People who have picked a cause and raised money for it. People who have started a business and cultivated their entrepreneurial spirit. People who have mastered their talents and obsessed over them to the point of perfection. I didn't have passions like that in high school. That's not a bad thing, or really unsurprising, it's difficult to find something that quickly. I just hadn't found something that was truly that important to me yet. I was forcing myself to do things that sounded like a good idea but at the end of the day were just sucking up my time. It was aimless wandering.

Now I'm finally getting somewhere. I'm letting myself do things that actually sound fun. I'm filling up my time with things that are worthwhile and enjoyable to me. Really, that seems to be the key. The more I do things that get me good experience AND are fun, the closer I get to figuring out what I want and should do with my life.

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets about my life. I definitely ended up at the perfect school for me, and in hindsight, if I would change anything, I'd apply to less Ivy League-like schools and more schools like RPI. I didn't know what my passions were, yet, but RPI has given me the right opportunities to find them, if only by showing me the kind of people I truly enjoy spending my time around.

I'm figuring out my life. Slowly. But being excited about so many commitments is a huge step in maturity for me. It's hard to overcome the incessant "but all I want to do is STUMBLEUPOOOOONNNNN" voice in my head.

So go ahead and put a little gold star on my chart for me. I'm excited about the person I'm becoming.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Wisdom of Kanye West. No Really.


It shouldn't come as a surprise that I love Kanye West.

Okay maybe it does.

I love him in all kinds of ways. I actually really like his music, I like his personality (he actually has a good sense of humor! Can't count the times he's poked fun of himself on twitter), and I like all the dumb stuff he does in public. Makes him really entertaining. In a lovable, human sort of way.

He's also one of my favorite internet memes.

Recently he finally got a twitter. I have no idea why it took him so long. Some of the ridiculous stuff he says is super awesome. One day I tried to find my favorite tweet to make my status on facebook, but I couldn't do it. There were just too many.

Today, however, there may have been some actual wisdom he said. Or maybe he was just doing more insane rambling and I'm reading too much into it. Either way:

(from twitter.com/kanyewest)

I AGREE. I agree whole-heartedly! I agree so much I thought of actually replying to him to tell him how much I agree. But I didn't because come on, it's KANYE WEST. I am not worthy to tweet him.

Mistakes. Mistakes are what make us! No one is born perfect, knowing everything, capable of doing everything right the first time. We think we have to avoid mistakes but I challenge that! Go out and MAKE mistakes. Raise your hand. Give wrong answers. Break stuff. Do something stupid. Education will teach you a lot of stuff, but it can't teach you to be who you are meant to be. Only mistakes can do that.

This blog was, at first, kind of a terrifying idea. I'm a pretty private person most of the time. I don't trust easily (geez, how many times have I said that already?). I think carefully (most of the time) before I act. Now I want to just write stuff and put it out there on the INTERNET? It was like jumping off a building. I knew as soon as it was out there there was no turning back. But now that I've done it I feel so free. I'm not ashamed of what I think, and I've learned a lot from writing things that people disagreed with. I've changed my mind about some things. Maybe I've changed others' minds. It's been a learning experience. I've enjoyed learning with you guys!

There are still some things I'm afraid to write, still things I keep private, but oh goodness, when I finally work up the nerve I think it will be a breath of fresh air. For me. Maybe I'll just offend everyone else.

I've said stupid things. I've done stupid things. But most of my life I've been pretty straight and narrow. I don't know that I regret that, but I do respect people who put everything out on the line for the life they want to live. The people who drop everything and go and live in some two-bit apartment. Those people who literally live day by day. It's scary, but I bet it's exhilerating too. A mistake? Maybe. Do they learn a lot? No doubt about it.

So, Kanye West, being the kind of person who has made so many public mistakes I wouldn't even know where to begin, seems to at least understand the value of such experiences.

So go make some mistakes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pseudo Wish-List Wednesday!

No Wish-List Wednesday this week. Nothing has sparked my interest this week. You fail, internet. Except for this shirt, though:



Anyways, I'd like to take a moment to talk about people who change your life. This is on my mind a lot recently because this past Sunday, Camp Carefree started it's session for 2010. I was fortunate enough to attend as a camper, learn as a counselor-in-training, and learn even more as a counselor. Unfortunately, things did not work out this year so I could not go back. But I keep thinking back to all the adults who taught me to stand up for myself, do things for myself, push me out of my comfort level. I hope I was able to do that for some campers on some level. It's so important for a diabetic child to learn independence, it's so scary and so important. Even counselors whose names I don't remember, I remember what they did for me.

It's memories like that that keep me thinking that I want to be a teacher. I think I'd be good at it, and I think I'd like it. As someone who is pretty ambitious in her life, admitting to wanting to be a teacher can feel like a let down in some ways. Not exactly awesome pay, no guarantee you're going to really change any lives, you may even just be around a ton of smug young adults who have no interest in what you have essentially dedicated your life too. But despite all of that, somehow I still want to do it. Somehow all those great teachers I've had made me think it's still worth it. They must have done a pretty good job if they make a seemingly thankless job look fun.

I try to keep in touch with my teachers as much as possible, but it gets harder the more my roots settle here in Troy. Fortunately one of my favorite teachers, dear Mrs. Krones, is on facebook AND has a blog. Wooo!

On said blog she's having a giveaway. She's giving this away:


I guess in a way this is sort of turning in to a Wish-List Wednesday. Anyways, I really want this guy. So freaking adorable. If I win the giveaway, I get THREE. If I was more talented in the ways of crochet and knitting I'd totally want to make this. As it is I can knit a (mostly) straight line: a scarf! It's only impressive to people who have zero understanding of knitting.

One of the conditions of entering said giveaway is to link to the giveaway, so here's the post. And as a plug and encouragement for more people to read it: I really enjoy the blog, as someone who intends on having a happy family and successful career some day it's a good glimpse of what to expect.

(Also: mad kudos to me. Best transition EVER)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Jealousy is Not the Same Thing as Love

I stumbled this article, and felt the need to add my own comment to the issue.

I've been in enough relationships at this point in my life to have a good idea of what I like and what I don't like in men. I've tried dating different types of men, some of whom are on complete opposite ends of some spectrums. I've spent a lot of time thinking about what made some relationships work and what made others fail. Through these introspections, I gain understanding not just of relationships, but of myself as well.

Jealousy is an oft misunderstood emotion. The idea is that a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend is someone who "cares." If they weren't jealous, then obviously they're not that in to you, right? Telling you that they don't like it when you hang out with someone of the opposite gender means that they love you so much they can't bear the thought of losing you to someone else. They hate that someone else may think of you in a sexual way. They want to protect you.

It's a lie. It's all a lie.

Jealousy is not an indication of love. Maybe the perpetrator thinks it is, I'm not saying they're intentionally lying about what they think they feel. But jealousy is not love.

I'm usually very careful about this kind of relationship talk. Different routines, different expressions, different behaviors can be lots of things to different people, but I feel that this is one of those few instances that is a universal truth for everyone. People are individuals, and therefore people should be independent at least to a very basic extent. People are not meant to be controlled, no matter the gender. Jealousy is not an emotion of love, it's an emotion of control. If you can feel the same emotion about objects, it's not love.

I've been with guys who were incapable of jealousy, and I've been with guys who got nervous whenever I hung out with a male friend. The first time I was with the "jealous" type, I admit, it was a nice change. It was an outward expression of how much I meant to them, at least I thought. They care about me, they care about what I was doing, and they wanted to be reassured that they were the only guy I wanted to be with.

It was great when I was in high school, but then I grew up.

Now my life as an individual is fiercely important to me. No one can tell me what to do, and I don't ever want to be with a guy who does. It created an unhealthy mindset in me when I was with a jealous guy. I was always afraid that what I was doing was going to upset him. Having male friends, wearing certain clothes, hanging out with certain people, it all stressed me out. A relationship that makes someone feel that way is not a good one. Feeling like I had to dramatically change myself was not good. A guy who let's me do what I want loves me, because to love me is to respect me. There is no respect in jealousy, only primal fears and a desire to control. Love manifests itself in many ways, but I firmly believe that jealousy is not one of them.

Jealousy is about trying to change someone, about trying to make their behavior what you want it to be. Love is about wanting the person to be exactly who they are. I'm starting to ramble now, so here's a quote from Joss Whedon who is far more eloquent than I:

“When I say, "I love you," it's not because I want you or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman.”

Friday, July 30, 2010

Michael Cera: Serial Photo-Bomber

This guy is a mastermind. This page has a ton of celebrity photobombs, but no one shows up on the list more than Michael Cera. I'm just completely blown away by this. Furthermore, are photobombs really that successful anymore? You can instantly see the picture on digital cameras...seems like a dangerous past time for a celebrity.

Look, this is just undeniable proof that Michael Cera is an asshole. An asshole that plays the same asshole in every movie. That sweet, lovable asshole.


This one is my particular favorite. First of all, the couple is kind of adorable together. Second of all HE'S SO SNEAKY. LOOK AT THAT.


Poor awkward dude with awkward birds. Never stood a chance against the awkward king.


Anyways, this got me thinking, maybe Michael Cera's been in MY pictures and I didn't notice? It's happened so many times you know?

BAH THAT JERK! HE WAS DOWN AT NARRAGANSETT THAT DAY I KNEW IT. RAAAAGE.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

For the Record, I Expect Nothing Less From Kanye West


What are bands accomplishing from boycotting Arizona? Are the legislators going to be so hurt by not being able to see Maroon 5 in concert in Arizona? Does the state of Arizona really suffer from lack of bands performing live in their state?


And howabout boycotting all of the states that have refused to pass gay marriage?

WHAT ARE THEY DOING?

This is a fantastic reason to never listen to celebrities when it comes to politics. Especially when they try to take an asinine stand like this. I bet some of these bands didn't want to boycott but were bullied in to it. How many of them actually fully understand everything in the bill? Why do celebrities think that being famous means they should be political?

I think if I was famous then I would never reveal my politics. It's alienating to a lot of my fan base. I want to bring entertainment to people, and I want them to enjoy it without feeling like I have something against them. I wonder how it must feel to be a fan of someone and what they do, either acting, singing, or any kind of art, and then find out they are very against things you believe in. Do they still appreciate you as a fan? How could you enjoy what they produce without the feeling that they don't like you, or that their anti-whatever sentiment is more than just political, it's personal? The things they say often feel pretty personal.

I'm a fan of civil discourse. Erik and I disagree politically on a lot of things, but honestly as I type that I don't know how true it is any more. Through our discussions, we have found a lot of common ground. That's because we don't argue to win, we argue to find the truth. We understand where we're both coming from, and that sort of understanding does not come from statements like "Republicans/Democrats are stupid." Whenever anyone starts a sentence like "Those Republicans/Democrats..." I cringe. Grouping everybody under one lump sum and assuming they're all this or that or think this or that is unfair and immediately puts people on the defense. Now you're not arguing to come up with a solution, you're arguing to the death.

So when celebrities take what I so often assume is an ignorant and knee-jerk reactions, like not touring in Arizona because of a bill they want to pass, I get angry. This doesn't accomplish anything politically, it just hurts your fans. It not only hurts your fans because they won't get to see you, it hurts the fans who disagree with you. It's a betrayal to the money and support they've given you. And honestly, it's a betrayal to the fans who feel more strongly about other issues, like gay marriage. How do you justify not touring in Arizona when gay people are not equal citizens in most of the United States? What makes this issue worthy or your time, and not the others?

I say Arizona fans boycott music. Show them that you don't want to hear their opinions, you want to hear their music, but if you have to hear their opinions, then you won't bother with their music. You're more than the politics of the state you happen to live in.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wish-List Wednesday!

I don't know that I'm really crazy about Lady Gaga, but the hype is infectious.

This shirt:

Except it's an exorbitant amount of money and on principle I don't know how I feel about buying things from a website that crashed 10 times while I just tried to GET to this shirt.

This shirt:
Lady Gaga T-Shirt I'm A Free Bitch, Baby!
It's just bright and offensive enough that even if you don't know that it's a Lady Gaga quote, it gives off the same feel.

This shirt:
Perez Hilton - GAGA Is My Bitch Unisex Black Fine Jersey Tee - T-Shirt
I don't even get it, but it's so ridiculous and feeding in to the hype! NEEEEEED. Plus it's from Perez, so it'll make me all hipster-y and cool.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Redefining Normalcy

When I was diagnosed, I knew as little as an 11-year-old girl can possibly know about diabetes. My mom obviously knew more, as she'd at least recognized the symptoms before it got to the "throwing up on your death bed" stage. Needless to say, the three days I was in the hospital were a huge learning curve. Needles (oh so many needles). Science (anatomy and physiology before I'd taken Biology or Chemistry. woo). Technology (so I just put the blood into this bit of plastic and the machine tells me how much sugar is in it? ....wat?). Emotions (they seriously need to cover this better).

My parents decided to kind of split up the duties, make everything easier. I use the term easy loosely, obviously. Dad took over the numbers in a very engineering fashion. He figured out how much insulin I needed, recorded my blood sugars, dealt with the doctors. My mom took over nutrition, counting carbs and planning meals.

The one thing that was most important to my parents, however, was to maintain normalcy. They believed whole-heartedly that the best way to handle this was to bulldoze over it and laugh in its face. This was great for me, because I hardly felt like I'd really been diagnosed with a disease. In fact, the extra attention was kind of cool.

And then that Christmas I got a pity laptop. All was well.

Looking back, though, I kind of wish we hadn't pretended that everything was still normal, that nothing had really changed. While emotionally it was certainly a lot easier, I think I still try to convince myself that I'm normal.

"No, I can definitely have three bagels in the morning. That's fine."

"You're having a CUPCAKE PARTY? Yes, please."

"You guys are going to go play soccer for 6 hours? Sure, let me just leave my juice and tester in my room, far away from the field."

I know us diabetics say we can do everything anyone else can do. And that's true. But I always forget the asterisk: I can do everything, but it's sure as hell going to be harder. We say we can have cake at the birthday party, that we can play in all these varsity sports, that we can go abroad and travel. We can. But not without giving ourselves a lot of insulin and hoping it will be enough, or profusely testing out blood sugars with a gallon of juice on hand, or packing an entirely separate suit case for all of our supplies.

I think my main struggles with diabetes are tied to my inherent belief that I can do all these things. I really think I can eat whatever I want.

I've come to the decision that yes, in theory, I can. But practically I know the bagel is going to make my blood sugar 300 later in the day no matter if I give myself 3 units or 30. My parents tried so hard to let me believe that nothing can hold me back, and they were right. But it's taken me a long time to learn the responsibility that comes along with wanting to do everything.

I'm not "normal." I'm just not. Fact is, when I eat food, unlike everyone else, I give myself insulin. When I run, I carry a juice with me. Every three days, I do an infusion set change. Ignoring these things and pretending they don't change anything has been hurtful to my health. I'm different. I'm diabetic. And so help me god, I just can't eat bagels, no matter what my stomach thinks.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Haven't Bragged About Erik in a While.

"You’re pretty every day. Even if you’re wearing something that isn’t my favorite style, I look at you and think “Wow. She is so pretty.” Every time you look at me I’m a little bit stunned by how pretty you are. Every time, without exception or hyperbole."

I would never encourage girls to find guys so they can validate their prettiness. It's bad habit, and honestly won't fix anything unless you truly believe it yourself. And so often these compliments feel empty. Any other guy, I'd be tempted to think he was just trying to get in my pants, or sick of listening to me babble about my insecurities (though to be fair, I rarely if ever do that), or is just saying it because he thinks "he has to."

But this is Erik, and not a single one of those thoughts occurred to me. No, quite honestly, after reading this, I was humbled so greatly to think that he was dating me. At the same time, I felt fabulous and wonderful, because I knew if I wasn't there's no way he'd waste his time on me. He's efficient like that.

I'm a little bit stunned I found someone as awesome as him.

For The Lulz: An Evaluation

Hello dear readers, nothing profound to report at the moment (though I may put up a post later). Right now I want to talk to you about my little blog here, and how much I think it has grown.

It started off humble, though I tackled some pretty big topics early on (like the creation museum). I've really enjoyed practicing my writing above all else, something I don't get to do enough on this campus. I've vented and explored ideas that I've had. And I've made the occassional joke. I even stirred up some surprising controversy and discussion, which, all things said and done, was pretty cool.

I've pulled from some of my favorite blogs in terms of style and for inspiration. Those blogs, in case you're wondering: The Bloggess (even Erik enjoys her humor, so I feel confident most of you will too), Blag Hag, Cracked, Mike Rowe.

I got a counter for my little corner of the web last week, just curious to see what kind of traffic I'm getting. I expected to maybe get 50 hits within the week, but as of this writing I'm up to 158 (Full discretion: probably 20-ish hits of those are me). I won't exactly declare myself an internet celebrity, but this says to me that I've got a somewhat regular following! Which is more than I ever expected! Wooo!

You might be able to tell from the title (which was kind of a throw-away) that this blog is completely theme-less. I plan on keeping it that way because it allows me to write whatever the heck I feel like without betraying the readers in terms of expectation. However, like Wish-List Wednesday, there are regular sort of posts I've been thinking about doing. And I also considered changing the name to something more meaningfull and less....throw-away. I'd like to consult the potentially ten readers that I have (and maybe a few strangers that wander by) for their opinion regarding these matters.

But I get full veto power. So don't think you're going to be sending me to North Korea any time soon. :P

My themed, semi-regular post ideas:
-Why I don't like Nicolas Cage
-How to be a Total Asshole (And Get Away With It)
-The Voice of Our Generation: Kanye West Quotes
-A Look Into the Life of a Diabetic
-Things You'll Never See on Oprah but Totally Should
-More Series (Like Nomnomnom)

I'm putting up a poll on the site, so if you're viewing this through your google reader, please stop by and let me know what you think. Or make a new suggestion in the comments. A new poll for blog title ideas will be up when I think this poll is done. Which could be tomorrow or two months from now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What I Thought of Inception

It was basically this..


Except more like this..