Monday, June 30, 2008

Great to be back

I hope I never see the inside of a library again. . . Well, that's a lie, but I do hope I never again have to go through the grueling process of studying for the Medical Licensing Exam. Unfortunately, it is a 3 part exam and I have only completed Step 1. So, unless the National Board of Medical Examiners decides to start licensing physicians without screening them for medical knowledge and clinical skills, I will indeed do it all again for Step 2, but not for another 2 years. So, for now, DONE!

My study schedule consisted of 45 days of non-stop studying. I was at the library for at least 10hrs every day (including weekends) in a small study room, reading through book after book, taking over 2000 practice questions, and generally wondering if it would ever end. There were times that I doubted my ability to actually commit to this much studying. I learned a crap-load of material that will be pertinent for my next 2 years of rotations, but more importantly, I learned that I can exhibit sickening amounts of self-control when it is entirely necessary. Shamefully the restraint doesn't cross over into a diet and exercise program, but I did say "entirely necessary".

The test itself was excruciatingly difficult. After 8 hours of testing, I did not walk out of it feeling like I passed, but then again, neither did any of my classmates. Statistically speaking, I probably did pass. I will find out in 3-6wks. All of my practice tests indicated that I would indeed pass. About 90% of the class passes every year. So, really, no matter how clueless I felt, I probably did do fine. But it sure will be nice to get a score back and end the wondering.

It feels great to be finished. I spent the first weekend after the test at the lake with the boyfriend. It was so great to spend time together without constantly worrying about the test. I went home to New Orleans for a week and caught up with my family and friends. My mom and sister and I went to San Antonio for a few days, and now I'm finally back home and catching up on all of the things I've been putting off for 2 months. The house needs to be cleaned, I have errands to run, I need to go buy professional attire to wear on rotations, I have books I want to read, and laundry to be washed, but all in all, I feel FREE. Free from that damn test. Free to do whatever I want. At least for one more week until I start rotations and spend 60-80hrs per week in the hospital.

I'll be going back and reading through what's been going on in the blog since I've been gone. But allow me to say now, it's great to be back.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Successful Dissuasion

This pie chart goes out from Fermi to Jips.

song chart memes
more graph humor and song chart memes

I hung out with Maru again yesterday. We did a pre-recording of her radio show, in one hour segments, and it was great except when I listened to it with Jips the second hour of the show didn't make it on air, something must of gone wrong with the way she programmed it in. Anyway it was extremely disappointing.

Maru is very fun and funny partly because she is very hip but doesn't know it. It is refreshing to be free of the subtle arrogance I am so often surrounded with. On our way to do the show she asks me if I mind stopping by a record store. I'm like, Of course I don't mind! Record stores are totally cool! And she wanted to go to this one place that I drive by at least once a week, and always wanted to check out but never made the time. It turns out, we were too early. It was 10 am and it didn't open until 11. I successfully dissuaded her from calling the owner* to tell him that there was an emergency and we needed some records for a radio show.

The List
2. Boss Anger Group Meeting Communication
3. Maru, Katu, and Arum Rae (also Jed, THE FAN)
5. Experiments working

I am getting rid of these blog topics because work (the topics of 2 and 5) is ridiculous. I don't even desire to blog about it anymore because I don't feel it is worth my time. This could actually be a good thing because I have found other things in my life that give me happiness and excitement. Work is still shitty, but I am getting better at spending my free time focusing on and filling myself with the things in life that make me happy.

As for (3) Maru, Katu, and I went to see Arum Rae where I met Jed, the FAN who dances with his whole body: head, neck, arms, legs, and torso. Maru commented that he looks like a possessed-with-the-holy-spirit gospel dancer. That is the best description of it yet. If you haven't checked out Arum's music yet, you should. Solitude Lane and Lookin' For Love would be great tracks to start with.

Jips watched "how to give a man hug" (see previous post) and thought it was hilarious. If you haven't watched it yet, you are in for a treat!

*the number was on the window in case of emergencies

The List
6. Black boys catcalls
7. Harlem Shakes Vampire Weekend vs Bonaroo Music Festival
8. Magazine Obsession
9. Cake Therapy
14. Penelope Trunk's writing
15. Things that make me happy
16. Feeling happy vs Feeling Powerful vs Feeling Superior
17. Jips comes home
18. Flowers and Presents

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sociological Images

I have gotten a HUGE amount of enjoyment from one particular blog: Sociological Images: Seeing Is Believing. I love their post called: How to Do Masculinity where after being enlightened by feminist commentary, you can find three videos: 1) How to Give a Man Hug, 2) How to Sit on a Bus, and 3) How the girls I date influence the types of boyfriends I have become-ish. I don't remember the title of the third video, can you tell? The Man Hug video wins first place, and the Girls I Date video wins second place. I don't even LIKE youtube videos, but this site has changed my mind.

One more video you should watch that I found on their site is embedded below. It is from their post: Alternative Ads. They show three videos, but I am giving you the best one: about greyhounds! Peaches, this one's for you!

Net 10 actually pisses me off if you watch all 3 ads on the Socio Images post because they act like people *even scientists* are too idiotic to call their cell phone company and tell the company what is up. Like this:
Fermi: Hello, AT&T, I need to make it so my phone is unable to receive or send text messages, and I would like to deactivate everything other than just basic calling.
AT&T: Are you sure you want to do this?
Fermi: Yes, I am sure.
AT&T: Okay, we will take care of that for you.

See how easy that was, Net 10? I bet even the non-scientists could do it!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Stage Right: Fermi starts typing

Five pm Friday at work. The place is pretty quiet. I decided this morning to stay until seven today because I need to get some work done. But now it is five and I am hitting my slump after being super efficient all day. It must be time to blog!

I have the list to get to, but there are some other things I wanted to write about first. Look at this. It is a blog post on Bitch PhD about pregnant women with substance abuse problems who are open to having talk therapy after their prenatal care. This is incredibly interesting to me, because (a) I am concerned about having a healthy child (in 5 years,) (b) I am interested in substance abuse in general (c) I am interested in "the placebo effect," and (d) I am interested in the benefits of talk therapy. The study was not done scientifically, but that doesn't bother me at this point because the placebo effect is all about positive thinking and interpersonal support both of which you *should* get at talk therapy sessions. A book I was reading awhile back about the possible natural evolution of religion got into the topic of the placebo effect. Basically it said that our bodies have some natural (biological) power to overcome some major obstacles when necessary. But that this power takes a substantial amount of energy and we may have evolved so that it isn't energetically favorable to summon this power unless we are in a situation where long-term survival is ensured. This situation may be when we have wholesome nurturing people caring about us. Some people have family, friends, and church members filling this role, and some people get this impression (that their therapist cares about them) from going to talk therapy. The interesting part is that the nurtured feeling you get from therapy is simulated. The therapist actually is getting paid to nurture you. But often, if you can "buy into" the therapy, the same placebo effect takes place.

What else? Skuh mentioned that she saw on my map that I had been to Iowa. I think this must be a miscommunication or I don't know my state shapes. Regardless, Skuh, I hope you have a good time on your visitation weekend. What are your grad school goals, specifically? How much will it cost? Are there any teaching fellowships you can get where you help out with some undergrad classes?

What else? Novella is touring the US and she will be stopping by where I live. How exciting is that!?

And now, I will make an attempt at THE LIST. Most of it is now *old news* in my mind because it happened last week, so this may be briefer than I originally intended.

1. Zazu Pimple
Do you remember Zazu? Or the conversation with Zazu about chocolate? Right, well it seems that Zazu just lends himself to incredible dialogue. Proceed:

Setting: Fermi and MATURE-female-undergraduate-Celery sitting at two computers in the main lab, working.
The lab door opens, Zazu enters,
Zazu (demanding): Do you have a mirror!?!?
Fermi: No.
Zazu (uncertain, finger pressing cheekbone next to temple where there is an obvious pink-under-the-skin-blemish): I think I have something on my face! Do you see anything?
Fermi (recognises what it is, but as she is uncomfortable even uttering the word "pimple" chooses to entertain a different option with her response.): Yeah, (pausing) It looks like something may have bit you.
Zazu (pressing on the blemish): It hurts when I press on it! Do you see anything, Celery?
Celery (looks, and replies matter-of-factly): Yes, it looks like you have a pimple.
Zazu (SHOCKED, UTTER DISBELIEF): But I thought you can only get pimples on your forehead!
Celery: No, you can get pimples anywhere, even on your shoulder. When you go home today, wash your face and put some acne cream on it.
Zazu: Okay.

If you didn't click over to see who Zazu is, he is in the summer between his first and second year of COLLEGE. He has previously lived under a rock. Also note: Celery's age = Zazu's age.

I am also taking the liberty to get rid of 4. Parents Visiting, because I feel that I addressed that sufficiently in my post: Oil Truth.

I feel ready to work again. That or Work-Out! Yes, I believe the second one is the key, my legs simply cannot handle sitting any longer...
2. Boss Anger Group Meeting Communication
3. Maru, Katu, and Arum Rae (also Jed, THE FAN)
5. Experiments working
6. Black boys catcalls
7. Harlem Shakes Vampire Weekend vs Bonaroo Music Festival
8. Magazine Obsession
9. Cake Therapy
14. Penelope Trunk's writing
15. Things that make me happy
16. Feeling happy vs Feeling Powerful vs Feeling Superior
17. Jips comes home
18. Flowers and Presents


I found this Mosaic Idea on Adventures of a Bad Ass.
Click over there for the instructions.
Here are my answers:

1. What is your first name? Fermi
2. What is your favorite food? Blueberries
3. What high school did you go to? LHS
4. What is your favorite color? Purple
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Jack Black
6. Favorite drink? Diet Sunkist
7. Dream vacation? beach
8. Favorite dessert? cake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? rich
10. What do you love most in life? dogs
11. One Word to describe you. silly
12. Your flickr name. (I don't have one, but it would be The Fermi Level)

Thank you to the following Flickr people:
1. Baby Buffalo at Fermi Lab, 2. two blueberries, 3. Bristol LHS VOD93K Devon General, 4. what's with the purple bags????, 5. Jack Black as "Nacho Libre", 6. Beverages, 7. Dracula's Castle Panama City Beach, FL, 8. Trial Buttercream Wedding Cake - Mini, 9. triangle to rich, 10. Three Dog Road Trip, 11. Silly Saturday Centerfold, 12. Fig34 (0.1 fermi)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Euro Tour 2008

This Sunday, I'm flying to Berlin. The first date of our European tour is in Nurnberg on the 4th of July. Our itinerary has me totally excited. I haven't been to any of the places that we're playing, but unfortunately, I doubt I'll have much time to explore. We have a show each night in a different place. I guess I'll be spending the most time in Berlin before our first show. We'll be staying there at our Euro booking agent's place, so he'll probably take on the role of tour guide to some extent. I won't even know where to start exploring in Berlin. Anyone have suggestions?

We arrive back in NY the evening of July 18th, then it's up nice and early for Siren Fest at Coney Island (poster pictured above). It's going to be so rad, I just hope that I'm not too jet-lagged to enjoy the experience. Here are the tour dates:

July 4 Nurnberg, Germany @ K4

July 5 Wurzburg, Germany @ Cairo

July 6 Prague, Czech Republic @ 007 Staho

July 7 Munchen, Germany @ Sunny at Feierwerk

July 8 Berlin, Germany @ Festsaal

July 9 Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang

July 10 Dortmond, Germany @ FZW

July 11 Utrecht, Netherlands @ Ekko

July 12 Manchester, UK @ Islington Mill

July 13 Birmingham, UK @ Supersonic Festival

July 14 London, UK @ Corsica Studios

July 15 Leeds, UK @ Faversham

July 16 Paris, France @ Maroquineire

July 17 Mannheim, Germany @ Alte Feurwache

July 19 Coney Island, NY @ Siren Festival
w/ Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Broken Social Scene, The Helio Sequence, Beach House, Times New Viking, Jaguar Love, The Dodos, Annuals, Film School, Dragons Of Zynth, These Are Powers, Islands, Ra Ra Riot.

post script

I did a google image search for "coffee date," cause I wanted to add at least one picture to my post and it produced this terrible (yet awesome) poster.
Please note that Wilson Cruz, who played Ricky Vasquez on My So-Called Life, is smack dab in the middle of the coffee cup with his hands imploringly laid upon that other guy's chest. Just wanted to point that out.

warp speed. engage.

Lard, you miss a week's time of group bloggy and your ass is left in the absolute dust!
Just know I have been completely and somewhat unpleasantly busy going to summer school and twerking at the Noble. I am starting my teacher certification program and already I have destroyed (in a good, passing kind of a way) two exams. I've also been working on finishing my grad school application mini-essays. The mini-essay that has been giving me the biggest run for my money is the one about what I want to research once I am there . . . I'm totally at a loss. I've never -- even for a little bit -- considered what I might want to write a thesis about. But, I am thinking about it now, and I've come to accept that the answer to this question is simply not going to come to me as easily as some of the other ones. The most frustrating part about this application process is that I have allowed doubt and questioning to color how I feel about writing in general, and my writing in particular. I always kind of assumed that something would come of my writing, but now I'm not sure if I've got the proverbial chops for it. Though something in me thinks that it'll take many years to determine if that's true or not.
Writing woes aside, I want to go to grad school. I want to be gone from Lafayette and I want, whenever the time comes for me to leave, to be headed to Iowa. And I have every intention of manifesting this experience in my life. It's not long at all until I head on over to visit. Fermi, I saw on your map that you've visited Iowa and I remember you telling me a little bit about what you thought. I'd like to hear more, if you'd be willing to share.

On a side note . . . there's this boy in one of my classes this summer. I think he is cute and interesting, though a little over-zealous at times. He's engaging and exotic and suggests the possession of a sense of humor. He used to sit behind me diagonally, but switched seats to "experience the class from a different perspective." He incidentally landed himself next to me, a few aisles over. We even talked and walked together for a little while after class today and he let me use his cell phone. Like a dunce, I didn't formally introduce myself. Like a fool, he forgot to do the same. I get the impression that he may want to spit that holla juice, but am prone to doubting myself with such affairs. Sometimes flirting with flirtations is more fun than relationships of actual substance. Flirtations never disappoint and impale like actual involvements can and do. I still can't help but wonder if either one of us will ever grow a pair before summer ends and plan a rendez vous for coffee?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Still working on the list: 10. Safety is my goal: Please Call
I have seen this truck twice now. It has that normal phone number and tells you that the goal is safety, but someone has keyed out one of the identifying numbers in the phone number and one identifying numbers in the Truck ID number. I wonder if the employer will ever see that truck. Two photos:

11. Absolute Pear billboard = Georgia O'Keeffe Vagina Flower
Now in this next photo, a billboard has a giant vagina on it. Sex Sells.

That is enough of the list for one post.
1. Zazu Pimple
2. Boss Anger Group Meeting Communication
3. Maru, Katu, and Arum Rae (also Jed, THE FAN)
4. Parents visit
5. Experiments working
6. Black boys catcalls
7. Harlem Shakes Vampire Weekend vs Bonaroo Music Festival
8. Magazine Obsession
9. Cake Therapy

14. Penelope Trunk's writing
15. Things that make me happy
16. Feeling happy vs Feeling Powerful vs Feeling Superior
17. Jips comes home
18. Flowers and Presents


Fermi's lists have inspired me to work on a few of my own. My lists, however, are not "things to write about in the future." I will complete 2 lists: "little things that make me happy/I enjoy" and "things I should be doing instead of blogging."

So here goes,
things that make me happy:
  • discovering an awesome CD that you've previously ignored. The particular example I'm thinking of is A Ghost is Born by Wilco. This was previously ignored b/c it came out around the same time I had tickets to go to a Wilco show in NOLA that got canceled b/c Jeff Tweedy was in rehab for his addiction to prescription drugs. I was pissed at not getting my 4 dollar processing fee back . . . and the fact that I really wanted to go to that show.
  • when Google tells me "Veuillez patienter" when I am logging off b/c it thinks I am French from my year there.
  • purple crepe myrtles that are in full bloom around the lakes
  • knowing I will never have to live with my parents for any period longer than a few weeks ever again.
  • knitting my second floppy beret while I listen to Harry Potter on audiotape and drink green tea with lemon grass and honey. I also think I found the exact color used in this photo. I will post pictures of these eventually. I guess. I will have to edit my face out or something.
  • not having to work a thankless, bitch-work job that I had reluctantly agreed to work this summer after I realized on day two that I could not survive a summer of that shit and come out on top.
  • not being 18 and just starting college. I had previously thought this was something I would love to have a chance to do again. However, I had some recent grads from the high school I taught at over for dinner. I cooked wiener wings and they stayed far later than I would've wanted. It was nothing crazy. I refused them beer (although I did have beer of the root) and they just stayed over talking. There's something so sad about being that age and being so desirous of really exciting things happening. It's kinda before you realize that having too many crazy nights just ends with a brain fog. At least for me.
and now,
things I should be doing instead of blogging:
  • riding my bike to the rec to work out and then riding back here for a run around the Garden District (my neighborhood only for the next 6 weeks, sadly). I will do some form of this eventually, but it looks like it might rain so I don't want to start riding and get all nasty and have all my electronic gym companions short out. Last Saturday I decided to go run around my parents' neighborhood in Lafayette and I ended up having to climb a couple of fences to get home before it rained too much. I was also scared of the thunder/lighting.
  • figuring out what the fuck I need to do to get ready for grad school. I have had frighteningly little communication with my department and the grad school itself. The housing people keep sending me shit about extra long sheets, but I'm all "been there, freakin' done that." I did find out yesterday that my (single) room has a sink in it. This is terrific news. But yeah, I need to talk to some people and make sure I'm going to get the classes I need. I have this anxious feeling in the back of my mind that I'm not actually enrolled or something. That would be terrible! Also pretty unlikely cause I already got financial aid info. The picture is of my future dorm. I find it to be ominous looking. I'll be on the third floor.
  • Figuring out if there's anything I can do to help along my peace corps medical clearance stuff. I am going to the doctor on Friday of this week and Monday of next week but there are still a couple of issues that need to be handled with that packet and I hear this process is among the most frustrating in the admissions process. I find that to be true to form, thus far.
  • Washing all the damn dishes left over from slightly ungrateful 18-year old recent high school grads/rich white conservative closet-gay boys.
And now since the thunder has started earnestly, it looks like I'll be driving to the rec for a workout.

Gayface Facebook and Maturity

Here goes an attempt at The List.
12. Gayface's (GF) baby sister has an infant. I found this out Sunday I think, via Facebook. GF and I were good friends in high school and college... In a very previous post I mentioned that I had a friend who stopped talking to me after I got married, remember? That is gayface. So he has a sister who is 20 years old now, and I gave her some private tutoring in science and math when she was in high school. She still had the spirit of youth in her, and I enjoyed our time together.

So Sunday I check facebook because I hadn't visited it in forever, and one of GF and my mutual friends had an updated "about me" section. Those either are fun or dumb, and their new "about me" was dumb, but GF had written on their wall and so there was a small thumbnail of GF and this baby! I mean last I checked GF was still single... What if he impregnated someone!? I click over... And, yes, he is still single, but on his wall said some bit about "uncle." What! His 20 year old sister is too young... But yes, it is hers and the kid is now FIVE MONTHS OLD. How could I miss this for five whole months!? (She is living with the guy but they are not married.) But it is true, (and this leads us to 13. Lack of Facebook) In the past five months I have spent MUCH less time on Facebook, and MUCH more time on work stuff, which is good, but also means that I have missed out on the gossip of old friends, and their birthdays... Now I am concerned with more real things like hanging out with girlfriends and working out and running experiments. This is probably good, and it probably means that I am growing up or maturing or something like that.

Maturity will start us off again when we continue the list.
(hopefully tonight.)


1. Zazu Pimple
2. Boss Anger Group Meeting Communication
3. Maru, Katu, and Arum Rae (also Jed, THE FAN)
4. Parents visit
5. Experiments working
6. Black boys catcalls
7. Harlem Shakes Vampire Weekend vs Bonaroo Music Festival
8. Magazine Obsession
9. Cake Therapy
10. Safety is my goal: Please Call
11. Absolute Pear billboard = Georgia O'Keeffe Vagina Flower

14. Penelope Trunk's writing
15. Things that make me happy
16. Feeling happy vs Feeling Powerful vs Feeling Superior
17. Jips comes home
18. Flowers and Presents

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Don't Let the Peak Oil Crisis Get You Down

The burney smell comes off onto my fingers as I wipe the grill down. I lit it, and now I have to wait 10 minutes for the grill to heat up. Last weekend my parents came, and my dad showed me how to cook on my apartment complex’s grill. I always considered grilling to be a masculine activity, but it is also a fire activity, and I love fire.

It is peaceful out here. I type that and smile because I have eight air conditioners running in front of me and endless cars driving on the street behind me. Still, it is peaceful. When I am not looking at them, the cars almost sound like ocean waves.

I got to talk to my dad last weekend about oil prices. Lately, one of the reasons I have been feeling depressed is that it seemed like the world was going down-hill. Maybe this is totally my perception, but in 1999 I was sixteen and I got my first job as a hostess at a pasta restaurant. It was a great time to be working because we had a lot of business. I remember quoting people 2 hour wait times and they would stay. That is because there were 2 hour wait times everywhere. Everyone was eating out and spending money. The economy was good. I could fill up at the pumps for a whopping ten dollars.

The first scary thing was 9/11, not because I was afraid of terrorists, but because I was afraid that there would be a draft. I didn’t want all of the boys I loved in high school shipped off and killed. And I loved all of the boys in high school. Not sexually loved them: just loved them in the young happy I-love-humanity sort of way.

We find out: No Draft. There is a sigh of relief in my subconscious. Still, how classist of me to not bat an eye at all of the blue collar boys being shipped off to war.

Then the American dollar becomes worth less. There are no longer 2 hour wait times at every restaurant in the city. The economy is shitty. The price of gas is up. This depresses me. My dad was a geologist for a major oil company in the eighties. My uncle retired from his job of predicting gas prices. But these men have the obsessiveness that I have. They still spend all of their time on the oil gossip: finding it, pricing it, producing it. So I asked my dad about oil now: Do we have the reserves in the ground? Will the price continue to go up forever until we run out? What about those people who think we are going to run out of oil and are starting to live on self-sufficient farms?

We have lots of oil left in the ground. The price will go up to about $300 a barrel and it will stay there for a bit, and then it will come down. The faster it gets up to $300 a barrel the faster it will come down. The high-school economic principles of supply and demand have more to do with the gas prices than the amount of oil we have in the ground.

He told me this all happened in the eighties. We were rich in the eighties because he worked for a big oil company and the price of oil was up. And they predicted that it would continue to go up and we would run out and everyone would have to live on homesteads. And look what happened: THE NINETIES are what happened. The price of oil dropped, I turned sixteen, and there were 2 hour wait times at restaurants.

But there are crazy people stockpiling food and learning how to farm now, did that happen then? He asked me if I remembered his friend Jackson P., I remembered him. He told me how Jackson P. had bought a farm in upstate New York and built a house with a wood burning stove, and sent my dad a letter saying: You are welcome to join our homestead, but we will have to meet your wife and determine if she is the type of person suitable for our cause. My mom didn’t like Jackson P. after that. This all happened in the eighties, and it is happening again.

There is something attractive to people about doomsday, about trying to survive. Why else would there be so many fundamentalists believing in the rapture and homesteaders learning how to farm? I understand the attractiveness of THE END. I used to fantasize that the world would end during the night before I had a large assignment due. It never happened. The truth is that it could happen, but the probability is sooo very low that I feel 100% safe.

Things are looking up.

Guided by wire

In the spirit of my infrequent sobriety, I spent tonight cooking Turkey chili, watching Frida, and now blogging. Je suis un bloggeur.I've been feeling lonely and scared and I can feel myself getting bored with summer. The scared is part of the transitional, pre-moving, pre-starting a brand new stage of my life thing. The lonely is something I'm certainly not unaccustomed to. It just feels more tangible after the 40-year old came and went so quickly. I know he's an ass, and wrong for me, and crazy, but I do miss male attention. I miss having someone in my bed. I miss having another body to touch and a waist to put my arms around. Not to mention the fact that I enjoyed his company and felt "challenged" by him in a way that not a lot of guys who have come along have been able to offer.

This weekend I spent some time with a guy who I'm pretty sure had/has a thing for me. We used to hang out a few years ago and I always got that sense from him. Nothing ever happened though. We went to a show together friday night. We were sitting at the bar outside, drinking beer and talking and he would occasionally rub his hand over my back or something like that. It was nice. But even then, I still couldn't really find him attractive. What is it about availability that is unattractive?

The summer boredom is inevitable, especially since I quit my summer job. In one respect, this is the best thing I've done this summer and in other respects, it's the worst. I'm still finding things to do, but I need to find more.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I haven't spent too much time on the internet lately. This means that I have been living alot of life without much down time, or Fermi Time. In fact, I have had SO much socialization that the *need* to blog is absent. Still, I think: I want to write, I want to produce, so I will blog anyway. Here it goes.

I made a list on paper of all of the exciting things I could blog about. Let's start with that.

1. Zazu Pimple
2. Boss Anger Group Meeting Communication
3. Maru, Katu, and Arum Rae (also Jed, THE FAN)
4. Parents visit
5. Experiments working
6. Black boys catcalls
7. Harlem Shakes Vampire Weekend vs Bonaroo Music Festival
8. Magazine Obsession
9. Cake Therapy
10. Safety is my goal: Please Call
11. Absolute Pear billboard = Georgia O'Keeffe Vagina Flower
12. Gayface's baby sister has an infant.
13. Lack of Facebook
14. Penelope Trunk's writing
15. Things that make me happy
16. Feeling happy vs Feeling Powerful vs Feeling Superior
17. Jips comes home
18. Flowers and Presents

My parents are gone now. I gave my mom the Broccoli Valentine shown below.
I am sleepy.
Hopefully I will get through the list in the next 4 days. Hopefully.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Alley Sunset

I stepped out of Duff's bar last night around 8:30pm and was smitten by this alley sunset scene. Notice the hearst parked on the left. It was one of two sitting outside of the bar. How metal.

Crown her Broccoli of All

Inspired by Maru when she made her Broccoli Father's Day card last Saturday, I made this Broccoli Valentine! Yes, that is a silver glitter outline and real red bows in her Broccoli-Crown.

This is not quite as RED HOT as Mrs. Smoltz's valentines, but I gave it my best shot.

Will there be another valentine tomorrow?

There is only one way to find out! ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rough Night

My co-workers and I happened upon this slumbering woman last night in the restroom of the Loews Kips Bay movie theater. Rough night, Miss?

Harrison Ford as INDIANA Jones

I can't help but smile at this RED HOT LOVE valentine.

He has ribbon streamers coming out of his hat! RED HOT.

This is the last of the Mrs. Smoltz valentines, but there will be another valentine posted tomorrow... by yours truly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mommy Porn

Can you tell that Jips is out of town from how often I have posted today?


I just read this: mommy porn. Check it out. I loved it mainly because I know people are different and not everyone wants to stay home with their kids. At the same time, some people are totally loving and patient and want to stay at home with the young'uns.

I also hate celebs. And cosmo. Maybe I don't hate those things. Let's say I just am not the type of person to get anything out of celebrities or cosmopolitan magazines. Maybe I get something from cosmo, On the weeks I read it I have more sex than the weeks when I read science blogs. That's obvious though: If I am prompted to think about sex I will have it more often.

I bring up celebrities because of the mommy porn link (above), and why the hell do I get cosmo? Well, has shittier than ever prizes now so I just signed up for all of these magazines that I can get for free. Should I order GQ? Should I? Popular mechanics? Magazines seem like such a waste of time, especially since they are from the corporate world with all of the truthless editing.

Reading blogs on-line that are not edited by big corporations trying to sell something I find to be much more enjoyable. Which brings us to the MOMMY PORN link. I love it because it is truthful. And because I have this elaborate plan of how I will be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) for 5-7 years and then go back to work. So what are your plans? Kids? No Kids? SAHM? working mom? How did your nanny/housekeeper thing work when you were growing up, Novella? Did the rest of you kids have SAHMs? Do you think you can do it all?

Where I have been in the USA

Writing about Writing

This post is inspired by Tino's Book Talk.

Thinking about writing a book is an interesting thing to do. Of course, if I were to write a book I would want it to be a good book, one that I would enjoy reading. So what makes a book a good book? My requirements are:

1) Good character development. I think I could handle this if I wrote about people I know... Or base characters off of people that I have known well and find interesting. Or mesh the people I have met into someone wonderful!

2) No Excess Words. That means that everything written must be written for a reason. The best books give you hints and details along the way that you only fully understand at a later part in the book when things start to click. So maybe if I was writing I would go back through once I had a draft and indicate the usefulness of each paragraph. You've got to be able to kill your babies they say. X everything that doesn't help the story.

3) Plot (Action). Maybe even a Plot Map. Something has to happen, and since life doesn't happen in a vacuum, there are sub-plots woven into the big plot. I guess if I were doing this I would come up with the BIG PLOT and work the sub-plots into it by working outward from the center.

I guess that is it. I bet I would need a million drafts to get a good final copy.
Also it seems that it would be easiest to start by writing about something I know very well. I do think I understand people, so I bet I could do the whole character thing... Just how to communicate what I know in words on a page? Communicating takes some effort. I know lots of things but generally I don't care if other people know them or not, and this makes me a poor communicator.

Oh yeah. So since I don't know how I would write the book I would try to write the same story from the first person and from the third person and with mostly all dialog and without much or any dialog and all of these different ways. I bet then I would have a better grasp on the story and I could pick the version that was the best.

Finally, I like well written books. What the fuck does that mean? The sentences must be enjoyable to me. I know I don't write like that personally, but maybe I can go look back at some stuff I like and reevaluate the beautiful sentences.

All of this from a non-writer.

Heart of IRONman

Don't be fooled by the small size of this photo. This RED HOT LOVE valentine takes up the whole page of a normal sheet of construction paper. Mrs. Smoltz made this one as well. In the center we see Iron man in a Tux looking sexily off to the side as he poses for this RED HOT LOVE valentine photo op. Immidately behind him there is a pink heart that kind of looks like bunny ears. I told Mrs. Smoltz that she should accentuate the bunnyness of the valentine and add a cotton ball as a tail. She didn't go for that option, obviously.

Brace yourself for tomorrow, when we unleash the best RED HOT LOVE valentine yet! A valentine so RED HOT that 2 photos are needed to give it justice!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Danger Zone

Don't walk under the danger zone. I saw this flight of pigeons a few days ago when I was walking home to my new apartment. The barrage of bird poop was audible. The scene was pretty though, so I took this photo.

Here's the second installment of commute cut-ups:

Cut-up Commute II

Going to do some more recording today.

Quoi d'enfer?

So an update to the sappy, "I miss having this guy around" post: he's totally insane.

I kinda thought this was just a facet of his personality, but now I'm thinking it's pretty much the whole thing.

You ask for proof? Proof you shall receive.

Let's pick a name for him, why don't we? As my friend Chirbs said when I told her about this bloke, "look at peacebone, robbing the coffin," I will now refer to him as Mr. Coffin.

So up until Friday evening, I thought he was busy moving to California and thinking about his next life step, yada yada yada. Over the course of two different accounts, this is what I came to find out about Mr. Coffin:
  • Wednesday of last week, he did indeed set out from the lovely Baton Rouge to drive to California, I can only assume he had tons of shit in his car and some kind of loose plans lined up for when he got there.
  • He reaches Austin, that fine bastion of indie cred tucked into the state that declares to not mess with it on litter bags at rest stops, and decides that he's not going to move to California after all. So he turns around and heads back to Baton Rouge
  • as far as I know, he's currently staying with his 22 year old nephews at their apartment
  • the plan for his life as of now is evidently to go to Germany for a short period of time (I assume this is to do research on this book about WWII that he was talking about wanting to write. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it now: "never gonna happen")
  • hold on, keep reading, the funny part has not happened yet
  • So Thursday, he's in Baton Rouge, hanging out with people half his age
  • he and one of his nephews decides to go to George's, the gay bar underneath I-10 by Pastime
  • Mr. Coffin proceeds to get so intoxicated that his last memory is taking a shit on the curb outside of George's. I assume it was witnessed by the nephew and various horrified bystanders
  • just wait, it gets better
  • his next memory is waking up (who knows where) with a condom on his netherlands. He has no idea how it got there or if (or how many times) it was used.
So, needless to say, we are so done with him. Thank Jesus I didn't sleep with that person. I think I'm going to need to set an age limit, maybe 30 and below for now.

Mon dieu.

Good riddance, I have a possible date tonight (he might be gay or really eager, we'll see) and then I get to see David Sedaris, my favorite living writer, on Wednesday! Yipee!

Glitter John Smoltz

This valentine was made by Mrs. Smoltz, for her love: Glitter John Smoltz. Notice the glitter on the Braves jersey, and the glitter accentuating the love symbol.
Who will steal our hearts tomorrow when the RED HOT LOVE series continues?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Book Talk

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of writing a novel lately. Not actually physically doing it: just thinking about what the process would entail and what it would be like to do it. I just started reading A Giant's House which was written by this author that taught one of my workshop classes in the Prague Summer Program way back in 2004. I'm so charmed by the book because the characters are so well-drawn and I identify strongly with the point of view. I'm also obsessed with the idea that I've had conversations with the author and the author has read and critiqued my stories and that she's an actual person who happened to write a really good novel. Part of me just can't believe that people are really able to do it and do it well. And that the people who write novels are regular. Except they aren't really regular--they're smart, sensitive, artists, probably, and they're fascinating and sure of what they're doing, at least part of the time, or else nothing would ever get written.

A line that I really like from it: "I am not a person who likes to be touched casually, which means of course that I like it a great deal."

One day I will get a Masters of Fine Arts in fiction writing, but in the fall, I go back to teaching English I and II full time. This creates a bit of confusion for me, because I want to do both things. I also want to join a dance company at the same time. I'm always wondering if what I'm doing is THE thing I'm supposed to be doing at the time, or the thing that will make me the happiest and most vibrant. Sometimes I'm shooting for the thing that will make me the most useful, or the thing I will excel in the most, or the thing that will make me grow.

I read an interview of one of my favorite authors Melissa Bank and she said it took her twelve years to write her first novel, The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing which is really a short-story cycle where all of the stories are sort of connected but still separate. She said she had a boring editor job in New York during the day and she smoked cigarettes and typed her novel at night. The interviewer asked her if this was a lonely life, and she said she used to not want to wake up to go to the boring job after an exciting night of writing. She said she'd ride her bike home at night feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

Of course the first thing I did when I read that was overly-romanticize it and imagine that I should do the very same thing, and that I would feel the very same way. I identify with her writing because it's the exact kind I want to do: it's funny, unpretentious, graceful, intimate, and dead-on without being overly descriptive or pleased with itself. Above all, it's deeply enjoyable to read, not in the sense that it's only highly entertaining but because it's so casual and real that you feel like you know the characters. (Her other novel, The Wonder Spot, is equally awesome.) It's the same way with this book I'm reading now.

I've been walking around feeling, alternately, a sense of hazy wonder where I'm daydreaming about what my novel could possibly be about and a sense of being totally clogged and boring and limited to my life experience, which has been anything but wild or even eccentric or troubled. I'm ass-backwards in terms of the process, I think--I like composing stories, but none of my ideas line up or expand into a plot that would keep anyone reading. I pretty much feel like I could write about anything, but that I have nothing to write about. I'm afraid that maybe I'm just a good describer, but not a good story teller.


Broccoli with a neck-tie

I hung out with Maru yesterday. She made this father's day card. Broccoli with cotton balls painted green as the flower-bud part, and a ribbon tied around the stalk in a neck-tie fashion.

After our hang-out date, she invited me to come do her radio-show with her. I accepted. It was pretty neat. I was the guest DJ Fermi. It was terrifying at first, I don't think I have smoked enough pot to be on a college radio station. But then when Jips told me via Google IM that you could tell I had never been on the air before, I decided to step it up a notch in the "coolness" arena and I think it went better from that point on.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Who is this Joker?

I had a girl party last weekend. We made valentines. It was fun. Mrs. Smoltz's were the best... I have decided to start a one-a-day feature of the Smoltz valentines. Today is the first one.

I call this one: Who is this Joker?
Mainly because I don't know who he is. Notice the beautiful purple ribbon streamers accentuating the heart shaped love-symbol. Tied to one side like the attractive side pony tail of Deb (a la Napoleon Dynamite.)
There were two especially interesting quotes of the evening:
1. The bible can help you learn your elements!
2. I think I have weed poisoning.
Both were said in the form of stories, as we did not actually have bibles or weed at this party. Glitter and Ribbon were plenty enough.
Stay tuned tomorrow for another RED HOT LOVE!

I saw it in your movements

That title is a line from this song "Dondante" by My Morning Jacket

Another bit from that song:

"Well, I knew, just how sweet it could be, if you'd never left these streets.
You had me worried
So worried, that this would last...
But now I'm learning, learning that this will pass..."

I've been listening to this album pretty much non-stop for the last 2 days since I downloaded it. I'm listening to it because I listened to it with my last non-boyfriend during our non-relationship that lasted 2 weeks.

I was google chatting with Fermi today and I mentioned that I keep wanting to write a post, but the only thing that comes to my mind to write about is this guy or a certain other juvenile interest I've been participating a lot in lately.

Here's a quick summy of the non-relationship:

About three weeks ago I went to a party with my neighbors. It was at the apartment of these two adorable, indie twin brothers who I've already been acquainted with. When I walked in, I recognized this other guy, indie boys' youngish, hot, arrogant, loud, French-speaking uncle. I had met him a few months before when he showed up at my house for the Beatles party. (everyone dressed as a character from a beatles song--I was Michelle ma belle, bien sur). We had talked a bit then but I drank way too much and we parted ways, him to the next door area, me to the bathroom floor.

So I see this guy 3 weeks ago. The Saturday right after school has ended. It was just a really chill thing. We talked a bit. Played cards a lot. I decided I wanted to stay after my ride left so he said he could bring me home. We ended up staying until 4 am. On the drive home, he got my number and said he would call the next day, which he did. We ended up spending almost the whole day together: eating, cooking, drinking, playing cards, etc. I even ended up spending the night at his house, but don't worry, it was fairly innocent. More, or maybe a little less. The next day I didn't leave until about 2-3 in the afternoon. I was supposed to be going to Lafayette that day. Didn't happen. Instead I want back over to his house that night and we just stayed up watching a movie and talking. I left at about 2 am.

I was in Laffy and New Orleans for a few days after all that. He called me and I called him a few times and he said he would be in town that Sunday, a week after our first encounter. So when I got back into town, I worked out then went over to his house. We hung out, played cards and video games, went out to eat, watched a movie. Then I slept over again. I (unfortunately) started work the next day so I didn't leave too late. It was a late day with work since there was some event I had to work but he called me while I was doing that and told me to call him back. We ended up going to see a movie that night and he came back home with me and slept over. It was really great. One of those things I daydream about. We stayed up until like 4:30 am just talking and reading stuff and wrestling and being dumb. I felt drunk and alive and awake.

The next morning he left around noon and I headed to work. We kissed goodbye in the street and said we would talk later.

I called him that night when I was grocery shopping to ask him if I should buy basmati or jasmine rice. Basmati.

The next day he called me and said he wanted to hang out. I called him about 4 when I was getting off work. Voicemail. Called him again and left a voicemail asking him to call back if he still wanted to hang out. No response. This was Thursday. I called him again on Saturday when I had already drunk some wine to invite him to a party. Voicemail. He called me back Sunday and told me to call him back when I was done with brunch at Chimes (yum). I called him at 2. Voicemail. Called him again at 8:30. Voicemail.

And that's that. I haven't heard anything further.

Now here are some details that I think are important to the story and understanding why this guys acts the way he does. (If that's even possible to understand.)
  • he's 40, going to be 41 at the end of the month. This may seem old (basically a 17 year age difference), he neither looks nor acts 40. He's never been married and doesn't have any kids. But all of these are clues that he's kinda immature for his age. I would say his maturity level is on par with a mid to late 20s guy. And if you know a few mid 20s boys, this isn't saying much
  • extremely ADD: in 1 grocery trip, he decided he was going to cook 3 different things. It got settled on shrimp tacos.
  • this is related to immature and ADD, but in the 2 weeks I hung out with him, he decided that he didn't want to keep his middle school teaching job in bum-fuck LA, but instead wanted to move back to San Francisco on a whim. Pretty much no advance planning other than looking at Craigs list for places to live while he was over here.
  • way more sexually experienced than myself and may have decided that since we weren't going to sleep together and neither one was sticking around for any long period of time, it was best to stop it before it got started.
I just wish I could've seen him again and have him tell me, "hey, I'm going off to do this, I'll call you when/if I come back into town." That would've been a lot nicer than just up and disappearing like a fart in the wind.

So this is all I can think to write about because I've been thinking a lot about it.

I've been missing him and feeling lonely. Also, I sustained about 4 straight weeks of some pretty hard partying and I'm kinda on the downswing of all this so it feels a little more bleak than it would if there was a lot of other stuff going on.

It sure was nice while it lasted.

And I do have a date on Monday night. At least I think it's a date. I have my suspicions that he likes to have sex with men. In that case we'll probably be better friends anyway.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

John McCain = Butternut Squash

The Internet in my apartment went out last night. :( Hopefully Jips will call and get that fixed. I have a great deal to write about in the next few days, but first here is a sample of some things I have been enjoying on the Internet:

John McCain = Butternut Squash

The John McCain post is by one of my new favorite personal bloggers: a pregnant lawyer named B. I'm not into politics, but this post was excellent.

Happy Feet (music video)

Remember that old post I wrote about blog networks? Well there is another network full of people who work in advertising. These next 2 links are from, apparently working in advertising sucks or something, I am not sure. It seems obvious to me that working in advertising would suck. I guess it was not obvious to all of these bloggers when they chose a career in it.

Happy Feet (above) is this girl playing 4 instruments and singing. Watch the whole thing cause she rocks out with a violin at the very end. It is catchy, too.

Not that into you (Trailer)

The trailer is about a movie based on the book: He's just not that into you. ( I think that is the title.) Anyway, it looks awesome. This was the first time I saw the trailer, and there is another trailer on the IMDB site but you have to watch a commercial first, and Ads Suck, remember?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Audio Document of Wasted Time

These are the sounds of my comings and goings from the city to Brooklyn and vice versa. I decided to start digitally recording my commutes after I received a mp3 player/voice recorder from my work. My new boss found it when he was cleaning out the office and gave it to me. I've recorded three commutes so far. They've ranged from 25 minutes to an hour. I used the three files as source material for the following audio document:

Cut-up Commute

Listening back to these recordings is pretty interesting. Trying to find significance in the sounds that I just experienced while waiting to arrive from point A to point B is one option. Or I can just treat it as an artifact of an unique space and time in which I existed- no greater meaning necessary. I used to read on the train when I lived in Greenpoint and my commute on the G and V trains ensured that I would always have a seat and plenty of time to waste. Now, it's pretty much impossible to snag a seat and reading is kind of difficult when you're hanging onto a pole and pressed against a crowd of strangers. I rarely listen to music on the train either. Recording my travel time has helped me be more in the moment when I'm usually spaced out and on auto-pilot. I'll see how long I can keep it up.

new horizons

I just booked a plane ticket to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
I guess I'm freaking out a little. I have not done something like book a plane ticket somewhere since I went to Germany and that was a good five years ago (eegad, time flies).
The major reason I booked the flight in the first place is because I signed up to attend a visitor's weekend at the grad school I've been eyeing (and kind of salivating over). They offer travel scholarships, so I figure if all I end up paying to go to Iowa for four days is forty-five dollars, that's money well spent. Hell, if I were going expressly to take in the sprawling horizons of rolling wheat fields, forty-five dollars would be hard to beat. But considering that visiting this University will ultimately decide which direction I will lead my life in the next year and a half, forty-five dollars is coo-coo wacky craziness.
Granted, I suspect the trip will end up costing more than that, but the point I'm trying to make is, no matter what, it's worth it.
I'm not sure why the sudden urge to get things done came over me (though, I should note that the urge to apply to the University for the Fall of 2009 came upon me in a similar fashion). But I suspect it's because I was feeling like quite the downtrodden soul earlier today and this is my way of bouncing back with a vengeance, all Beatrix Kiddo like.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Adventures of Frog and Toad

"I do what I'm TOAD!!!" Could mean that the driver considers people who do what they're told to be ridiculous and unintelligent like Toads. Or maybe the driver is a retard who truly believes that toad is how to spell told.

Our cars are extensions of ourselves; they are extensions of our identity. I ask myself: What does my car say about me? I drive a 2002 Silver Toyota Camry. It looks normal and common on the outside, but the inside is an absolute mess. (Soda cans, water bottles, Mapquest maps to the bank and the food store.) What does this say about me? I look relatively normal on the outside but the inside of me is messy. I won't alter who I am to make other people feel comfortable. (Wait, there are soda cans in your foot space!? God Forbid!)

I drive a Camry not because I think it is the best car ever, but because my dad was buying me the car and he wouldn't let me get anything smaller (for safety reasons.) If I could drive anything... I might be up for a red and white mini cooper convertible. Do they even make those? Obviously, there are other factors beyond conscious self-expression that go into the car selection process. When you drive a BMW you are saying "I have money." But if you are poor, you drive whatever you can afford.

Similarly, what we put on our cars is a type of self-expression. My car has a license plate holder that says I am an alumni of my university. And then I have a white outline of my university letters on the top of my back windshield. I only put these on my car after I moved out of state. When we moved here, I suddenly missed my school, and I even identified more with it. When I see other people here with stickers or plates from my school it makes me smile. I think: Those are my people!

As far as personalized license plates go, or those bumper stickers that say tons of stuff, have you noticed that those people are the ones who just CANNOT SHUT UP? Obviously, if you can't shut up in real life, you will most likely feel the need to use your car to tell other drivers your very important message that will change their lives.

In other news, I bought a tank of gas today. I got the cheapest they had. It was over four dollars a gallon. The cost of one tank: $66.91, I remember when I could fill up for about 10 or 12 dollars. I hated my life then, but gas was cheaper.

I do what I'm TOAD!!!

En route from Baton Rouge (went back for the Viking birthday; wine, cheese, brunch the next morning = a blasty) to Lafayette, I saw a car exiting I-10 with this sentence (post title) in sticker letters on the back of their trunk. I think I saw a brief flash of a frog sticker too.
"I do what I'm TOAD!!!" Notice how "toad" is entirely capitalized, I guess to draw your attention to the fact that this sentence doesn't say what you might assume it would say. Not one, not two, but three exclamation points. You gotta love pointless punctuation.
Now I would get this sentence were I under the impression that this person were penning some sort of dialect. However, being that it has something to do with frogs, the meaning is all-together lost on me.
Oh that and the fact that it was ON THE BACK OF THEIR CAR. Seriously don't get it. It's like personalized license plates. I just cannot imagine, like, having something pop into my head and thinking: oh my god! that would be so perfect for my license plate. Or this one word is what I want fellow motorists to know about me as I pass them on the interstate. And these plates are usually so asanine and ridiculous like: TENSNE1, DRSWIFE or CRKWHRE.
Do any of you have personalized license plates or put lots of stickers and shit on your car? If so, for why? Seriously, I'm so baffled but want to understand.
Oh, by the way: summer school starts tomorrow! wish me luck.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

All I wanna do

A couple of things:

First, this song is so awesome.

Second, this shit is depressing.
Yes, Dear. Tonight Again.

Most depressing quote: ". . . married couples have intercourse about 66 times a year. But that number is skewed by young marrieds, as young as 18, who couple, on average, 84 times a year."

And just think, I'm wasting the years of plenty by being single and sexless.

I can't think of anything else to say. My life is crazy right now. That seems appropriate. Crazy in a good way.

1930's Wife

I think it is easier to be a husband than a wife in the 1930's.
Take the Test.
*Please Note: for both tests, I just used "significant other" instead of husband or wife*


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Grandma's got some magic water

Sometimes emails are entertaining in a good way.

(Thirty dollars a gallon for Magic Water, seriously.)

This may seem like a strange request but my sister-in-law is a farmer in MD and someone has been selling a “magic water” to spray on sheep before a show. They claim it gives the sheep ¼ more mass which apparently is important to sheep showing. Anyway, she sent me some of the water and asked if there was any way to test it to see if it was really just ordinary water or if something is in it. Could you run it over the HPLC or some other test to see if it has something major added to it?




Hey Cole!

Thanks for the note about the database memory thing. I tried to see what that was all about, but I could not replicate the problem. Did you by any chance have a lot of spectra open at the same time in GRAMS? The instrument seems to be working OK, sort of like we say about an 80 year old grandma that she is doing OK if she can manage to tackle a flight of stairs on her own. But I digress.

In any case, let me know if it happens again and I'll take a look at it.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

light my fire

We had group meeting this week. The Boss said that we have funding through a side project. This lowers the chance that I will be teaching in the fall down to 5%. Instead, I will have to dedicate one day a week to doing lab work that is not related to my thesis. This is a much more productive situation than teaching. Teaching would have taken at least 2 full days a week, and would have emotionally drained me (see obsessions.) I like teaching and I generally like college kids, but teaching does not help me graduate sooner therefore it is less desirable.

The fire alarm went of in the main building. We find out later that someone spilled hexane and thought that the best way to clean it up would be to evaporate it with a blow-torch. This idea was incredibly STUPID because hexane is very flammable and guess what happened: The whole bottle of hexane caught fire, the fire alarm and sprinklers went off, and since our buildings are brilliantly designed without drain systems the sprinklers flooded the floor below and killed someones personal laptop while everyone was outside for the fire alarm.

The story was leaked first and we wondered: Who would be stupid enough to use a blow-torch to clean up hexane? Maybe it was an old research scientist who was so experienced in the lab that he was too cocky to be logical. Maybe it was an REU student (Research Experience for Undergraduates Program) who had never been in a lab before. But we were wrong. It was the first year Token.

Maybe Token isn't cut out for grad school. He was failing his classes but wanted to stay (I found out later) and then he goes and pulls this blow-torch shit. His boss rightly dismissed him from his research assistant position, and now no one knows what will happen to him. I mean grad school sucks for everyone, but Token has had an especially bad year.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

werkin ma nerves

I've been in the process of registering at UL for what is actually five months but has felt more like a year. They've given me the typical run-around, but at this point in the game, it would appear that all I've to do is go to class. I'm nervous because I want to finish with my teacher certification program by spring of '09 and don't know if that's feasible. My ultimate goal is not expressly to emerge a certified educator, itching to get into the schools and enlighten youngish minds. It's more like: Holy crap, I've got to get the hell out of Lafayette!
I've been feeling the wanderlust agitating my heels and I'm thinking the best time to hit the road would be after being uprooted and before any new shoots start to sprout . . . which would be now.
I've been thinking a lot about this new agey grad school in Iowa (In fact, I've been toying with the idea of applying today while I have time off. I can always change my mind, right?) which has been calling me for a couple of months. In fact, as soon as I started enrolling at UL, I found out about the place, started researching and thought that it sounded a lot cooler than UL on its best day. But then, I've never been to either University, so there's no way to know for sure. But, being that I am a gambling woman, I'd be willing to bet that my assumption is not totally untrue.
I do have my qualms. First and foremost: IOWA? Who the hell gives halfa crap about Iowa? Never have I wondered what life might be like in the state of Iowa. Never has it struck my fancy or curiosity. And the prospect of a vacation has never found me desiring to go out (mid)west. It's often conjured images of sprawling fields of wheat; uninteresting, sheltered white folks; and bland food. But that's me being judgmental. I'm planning a visit sometime in the near future and who knows? Iowa just may knock my socks off.
My second qualm would be: this place just might be a cult. When I actually do get to visit and they ask me to change clothes/name/hairstyle, I'll know.
Meanwhile . . . summer school starts next Monday. I scheduled my classes for the fall today and I'm having my transcripts sent to the Financial Aid office so that I might at least be able to take out loans for the fall. God, what a prospect . . . more debt!

I guess the bottom line is: worry is absolutely futile. Everything has sort of worked itself out in my life up until this point. I don't know why I cannot let go, and trust that they'll continue to work themselves out (as long as I am being proactive, that is). Things may not always resolve themselves the way I'd like, or the way I'd imagined they would, but they always seem to turn out for the best.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Freshly Dead

I found another dead bird. This time at work, or just as I was leaving work. This little finch flew into one of the five stories of glass and fell to its death onto concrete. It makes me feel responsible as part of the human race for making buildings that kill little birds. There is something very unnatural to see a beautiful bird lying dead on cement. I think this last picture is the worst.

Fire Escaped

I spent some time at my empty old apartment on Sunday afternoon while I was waiting for this guy who wanted to buy my desk to show up. Since there was no viable seating option left inside the apartment, I decided to climb out onto the fire escape and wait there. It was the first time that I stood on the fire escape and I kind of immediately regretted that fact. It was very quiet and peaceful. The view was pretty interesting. A voyeur's dream. When my cat lived with me, she would sit on the window sill and look out at the squirrels climbing up and down the fire escape. I used it to spray paint CDs on once. Here's someone's laundry:

My new apartment doesn't have a fire escape. It's on the top floor of a second story building behind a larger main building. My bedroom window overlooks a predominately concrete little courtyard. I asked my girlfriend why she thought I didn't have a fire escape. She said, "They probably figure you can just jump out of the window if there's a fire." I don't know how comfortable I am with that thought. She suggested that I buy a rope ladder, or one of those metal ones that you can store under your bed. I'll consider it. Meanwhile, I hope that I find a place in my new home where I can sit and be still and enjoy the moment.