Friday, July 26, 2013

Left to my own devices on a Friday night

Things I hate right now:


That commercial with the song that goes "moonlight, some serious moonlight" and the guy sings more intensely than is acceptable in an automobile commercial

Say Yes to the Dress, and the way that society has decided that it's ok for women to be selfish, cruel, and wasteful just because they're getting married (is it just my imagination or is the divorce rate still up near 50%? Why, exactly are we glorifying this ugly phenomenon?)

People who lie to themselves. Fyi, you're making things more difficult for everyone else too.

Things I love right now:


Giant cookies

Kitties who sit on top of the refrigerator


posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Air or water?

So I'm back online, dating again, because I just love it so much, and it makes such great fodder for entries. (Really it's not so bad, or else I wouldn't do it, but there is an awful lot of crap to wade through to get to the good ones.) One of the sites I'm on has a personality questionnaire that I've filled out while restarting/revamping a profile more times then I'd like to admit. I kind of wonder if I even answer the questions the way. Some of the questions I breeze through, and some I think about, and some annoy me every single time I see them. One of the latter is "Which is more important in a relationship, dedication or passion?"

Makes me want to bang my head against the keyboard. I can see why they ask this question- it's polarizing and seems like the two answers should be divided into those looking for a fling vs those looking for a long-term relationship (a relationship is a series of interactions between two people. I wish that males would stop equating that word with being married/miserably chained to a wall and tortured daily). I whole-heartedly disagree, however. I've been in relationships that have lacked in one or the other of these qualities and both ends of the spectrum suck. Let me tell you why.

A long-term relationship is a social agreement between two people. It's not going to work unless both people want to be in the relationship, because in a world with six billion people and virtually constant access to global communications, it's a totally non-random result that two people spend time together. Do you sense sarcasm? It's still true though. All of this nonsense about finding "The One" has been pumped into our brains by Disney movies and rom-coms. Which we believe because......? .....Hollywood has so many exemplary relationships? I enjoy good ol' Disney movies, and even some rom-coms, but believing the have any truth in them is like believing in a video game. Unfortunately in the current universe there are people who DO learn violence from video games and/or live mostly only within virtual settings and the same thing goes for these movies. A romantic relationship takes work, and agreement, and time. The reward, if the two people are compatible, is mutual enjoyment of each other's company, love, etc etc. People who come from cultures with arranged marriages stay together more often because there is more social pressure to agree to be in the marriage and dedicate time and energy to it. People who are looking for things to be "perfect" and "magical" end up disappointed because every human being is unique and we shouldn't expect our partner to compliment us in every way. Instead we need to accept our differences and disagreements and compromise... which builds upon the relationship in that it'something you've both contributed to.

Passion, on the other hand, keeps people excited about each other. A romantic relationship without passion is boring. Generally passion is assumed to be related to the physical, but it can also be emotional. Passion is one of the motivators for two people to stay together. It celebrates the relationship and is a reward for staying together. When two people are both dedicated to each other, I think it can increase the passion in the relationship. But of there isn't dedication, then passion wanes. Passion is also exhausting. It requires a lot of energy (both kinds- emotional and physical) and everyone needs a break once in a while. But if a pair is dedicated to the relationship, the passion can take a little dip and things will be ok.

What I'm proposing is that people get together and are maybe wooed or initially interested because of some kind of mutual passion. But they only become a couple together because of dedication- as I said, six billion people, yadah yadah, there are plenty of different people to experience passion with. And then when the couple starts to feel stressed or doubtful and the dedication is in question, the passion between them reminds them of what they share, how each is special in unique, and how far they've come from just being two random people experiencing a passionate interaction.

That's my theory of a healthy relationship. I'm not sure if it really exists, and if it does, there are everyday challenges and pitfalls to overcome. But I'm still willing to bet that I can make this work with someone, somewhere out there.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Science updates

From the Sigma Xi July 17 SmartBrief

Hexagonal honeycomb pattern made by forces, not bees 
The hexagonal engineering of a honeycomb could be attributed more to physical forces and surface tension, rather than bees' natural skills, according to a study. The team found that worker bees build circular cells that morph into hexagons as the wax is heated and squeezed by the creation of additional cells. Nature (free content) 

Finally, someone got around to proving that honeybees haven't mastered geometry; now we can all feel superior to insects for graduating high school. The theory that the bees did this through some kind of innate ability never made sense to me anyway. Didn't the people who believed that ever look at other structures in nature? Did they just assume beavers are slobs? And what about poor dung beetles? If they'd ever believed bees were knowingly constructing these intricate hexagons, they would be pretty ashamed of their shoddy dung balls!

NASA asteroid mission struggles to find candidates 
NASA's plan to capture and tow an asteroid for astronaut exploration has hit a snag -- of the 10,000 asteroid candidates, all but 14 do not suit the mission's requirements and observations do not reveal an influx on new candidates in the near future. "There's great skepticism, among both the science community and the public, that this can actually be pulled off," said planetary scientist Jim Bell. Nature (free content) 

Omg, NASA. Thank you. The plan to visit an asteroid has always been completely ridiculous. There are countless pitfalls; it's even more dangerous than other space missions (hasn't anyone seen The Empire Strikes Back?? That's for real. Minus the giant space worm.) Also, we probably don't know as much about asteroids as we do about most other bodies in the solar system, mostly due to the arguably largest pitfall, which is that nobody cares. Wtf. Asteroids? Really? We're not yet advanced enough to get good information on these relatively small, numerous, constantly moving and physically transient rocks. It's not an innovation thing that we can overcome by coming up with some plan full of ingenuity. It's not worth it right now. On the other hand, money and bad attitudes are the things preventing us from exploring Mars, not technology or background research. Think it over, Congress.

Team plans search for "loneliest whale in the world" 
Scientists and documentary filmmakers are scheduled to depart in the fall on a search for a yet-unseen whale, possibly a hybrid between the fin and blue whale, which has been heard on recordings for decades. The whale has been dubbed "the loneliest whale in the world" because its vocalizations were in a much higher range than any other whale species and researchers never heard a return call. "We never had a visual. We don't know what species it is. We don't know if it has a malformation. Obviously, it's healthy. It's been alive all these years. Is he alone? I don't know," said research team member Mary-Ann Daher. Discovery 

Once again, science tries to make us cry. (And succeeds.)


My mother had to put the family cat to sleep today, after a severe, productive infection from the removal of a tumor this spring (and again, earlier this month). He had been part of our family for fifteen years and we're going to miss him very much, but he had a fully and hopefully enjoyable life. Once he even caught a snake. I'm very sad today, naturally, and decided that I shouldn't be required to wear any pants.

RIP Grace the boy cat

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I think the universe should make some concessions when it's too hot. Weeks when the temperature reaches 90° every day should qualify as exceptions to normal rules. Heat pretty much affects everything we do.Yeah, we have AC inside, but there are very few of us who don't have to spend ANY time outside and very few of us have central AC in our homes, meaning we're still in danger of melting while we sleep.

Here are some specific examples of how I think things should be handled differently during heat waves:

- Being late should be ok. I don't know about everybody else, but I find it significantly more difficult to get ready in the morning when hot, humid air is seeping in under the bathroom window. Putting makeup on a sweaty face is frustrating and somewhat futile, but neglecting to use it at all seems like you're giving up before the day even begins. Can't we all just agree that things are a little more complicated during the summer and take an extra five minutes before we start meetings, classes, movies, surgery, etc? If you're on time (or early) then you can make good use of this time to wipe the sweat off.

- Butt pads. I can't be the only one who gets disgusted by the seat of my chair after sitting in one place for an hour. Our thighs (and butts) need to breathe, and that's just not happening with the current state of seating technology. Perspiration of the haunches is still socially taboo but we need to start recognizing this uncomfortable reality. Then, someone can invent a product designed for aeration during long stationary periods and market it through obnoxious infomercials (Only $19.99!) so it can then permeate popular culture. We'll all be better off.

- More ice cream trucks. Self-explanatory.

- Rent a swim. People who have pools should allow others to swim in their pools while not being used for a small fee. I'm pretty sure that this would leave all parties extremely satisfied. However if your child pees in the pool, you will be charged an extra fee for emptying and refilling it, and will be banned for the rest of the summer. Which should be pretty effective motivation to buy those special swimming diapers.

- No bathing suits under clothing at the mall. Bathing suits are not cooler than underwear. The fabric doesn't breathe. Plus they give you funny bumps under your clothes. Wearing a bathing suit just for the hell of it is stupid, and causes yeast infections. At least that's what common knowledge tells us. Also, whenever I see the colorful tie of a bikini top sticking out the back of someone's shirt all I can think is Damn you, beeotch! I wish I had someplace to swim!! I hope if you need CPR your brother is the only one around!

- Pictures must be captioned. I'm never one to censure picture taking, because I think that even bad times should be documented. (I'm always afraid I'm suddenly going to become senile and keep visual documentation of all parts of my life-major and minor events, classy and ridiculous- in anticipation of this affliction.) However I think that the outside temperature should be documented on any photos taken during a heat wave, as well as the humidity and the number of days the heat wave has lasted thus far. In addition, if there are any people appearing in the photo who have been without air conditioning, at work or home, Facebook, Shutterfly, and/or any photo printing services should be required to provide free touch-ups for facial blemishes. It's only fair.

- Smoothies should be devoid of calories. Smoothies not only hydrate and provide electrolytes, but also offer physical and emotional relief during the dog days of summer. Therefore, they should not be counted towards anyone's daily calorie count. The most effective way to do this, as I see it, is for everyone in the world to have at least one smoothie a day, including actors and models (who should be force-fed if necessary). That way everyone will remain the same size relative to everyone else. We might need to take additional measures, like hiring crack teams of seamstresses to secretly widen our pants in the middle of the night, but the central concept is sound. (Also, please see: avocado smoothie recipes, if you are looking to die of enjoyment.)

I think everyone can agree that the suggestions outlined here are completely reasonable and should be adopted by society immediately.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wish I had a neck

For the past four days I've been at a conference I attended two years ago. It's being held at the same university, on campus. The last time that I was here was a bit of a rough time for me, a few months before I started seeing my current therapist and getting antidepressants/antianxiety meds. The time I spent at the conference was two weeks after I coordinated and hosted a career symposium for our department, a week before my qualifying exam, and during the end of a pretty shitty relationship which was not only contributing to my stress but also pretty twisted and making me feel like I was doing a hell of a lot of things wrong.

Anyway, that's not where I am, mentally or emotionally anymore, but being here is making me seriously uncomfortable. My short friend sent me a link to the blog hyperbole and a half today, for the entry describing the journey through depression, and it was so overwhelming true I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time in the library. Not that I'm in a state of depression now, but being here in the dorms where I was at that time, having overwhelming feelings of doubt, panic, fear, unworthiness-you name it- has been pretty hard. It's completely involuntary, and seems like the previous feelings are lurking in a corner and sneak up behind me and latch onto me stealthily without my knowledge like some kind of emotionally scarring lamprey (actually having a lamprey latching onto you at all seems pretty scary, although they are pretty cool in terms of their evolutionary significance; they predate the jawed fishes and pretty much every other recognizable vertebrate). Anyway, what the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah, see, when I'm just sitting here in the dorm room trying to relax, the lamprey snags me and I start to get sad and listless and anxious. And it's really hard to shake off! But when I'm in one of the sessions or something, listening to cool science (or, apparently, sometimes when I start talking about it in my blog) then the lamprey shrivels up and can't attach because it's repelled by my enthusiasm.

I'm trying to make it through this week without losing my mind or having any completely unwarranted crying fits due to the lamprey, but it's pretty difficult. My feelings were so strong last time I was here, and I completely gave into them and felt like I had no control over all the crazy, overwhelming stuff that was going on. Part of that was probably because at that time I was apparently suffering an extended period of brain aneurysm and making every excuse in the book for my then-boyfriend. I knew him through work, and lots of people had told me what a great guy he was, so of COURSE he had to be a great guy, right? And he had all these sob stories, about his terrible, difficult childhood, how he had cancer, twice, and how it destroyed his life but he overcame it, and about this girl he loved even though she was evil and who emotionally abused him and then screwed him over and took all his money and his bed so that now he has to live in a rented room in a condo with an overweight, std-ridden girl with low self esteem who he insisted wanted to be his girlfriend and he had to fend off all the time.

From all of this trauma he'd experienced in his thirty two years, this guy had a plethora of rules which he lived by including that I was not allowed to tease him about not letting me help in the kitchen (because aforementioned female did that), a bedtime of exactly 9:30 because he took some kind of pill to sleep at 9 pm (which meant that I/he had to leave so he could sleep, even though he constantly complained that he was never able to sleep), and of course him being extremely controlling about our physical relationship. Even talking about this makes me suspect that I was actually taken over by pod people during this period, but in reality I know that I had sensed that something was wrong, but the combination of his self-assured manner and everyone's praise of his name made me think that I was just being paranoid.

Plus the fact that I was totally exhausted from already having gone to a conference that summer and doing a bunch of other aforementioned shit, plus the fear that precedes taking one's qualifying exam (for those of you who aren't aware, a qualifying exam is a test that they make you take partway through your PhD to add extra stress where you might have to write a long document and thne have professors ask you questions that begin with and then become more and more removed from your field while they poke you with sharp sticks). Basically I was utterly overwhelmed and confused about everything, and just trying to trust that everything was going to be ok, even though my qualifier document wasn't getting any longer, or much better, the longer I worked on it, because I was pretty much clueless as to what the goal actually was. Then my sh****-ass boyfriend stopped texting me, and every time I turned on my phone I experienced the overwhelming need to vomit with fear that he hadn't contacted me, which he hadn't. Then, when I finally called him, upset that we hadn't talked he tried to "cheer" me up by relating a story in which he bonded with a woman who had been through a similar divorce to his, the punchline being that it makes one "want to have unprotected sex with strippers."

In retrospect, I've decided the best thing to do in this situation is to actually reach through the phone and yell "I'M BREAKING UP WITH YOU, WORTHLESS PIECE OF DECAYING LARD." Then (the reason for reaching through the phone) pick up hot sauce and splash it into the offending person's eyes and kick them in the balls (if they have any). Afterward send their roommate a letter saying that you're sorry but you're keeping the pyrex dish since they never used it anyway, and sorry but so and so is always talking about you behind you back, calling you an overweight slut, etc. Then, in order to take your qualifying exam, you should push down all of your emotion, channeling your anger into studying and a robust presentation, and then break down and cry for 6-7 days straight afterward, no matter what the outcome.

This is not what I did. I was confused and hurt and angry but let it slide. I wanted to focus on my exam but couldn't. And now (although it doesn't really matter, I guess) I will always have the small regret (and I have like NO regrets) that I could have written a better qualifier if my brain hadn't been all f'd up by emotions.

I'm trying to come to my point, which I've partly forgotten, and apologize for the absurdity of the length of this post (although if you think it's too long I'm not sure why you're still reading it). My point is that sometimes you can't control your emotions, especially when something reminds you of the past, and it's not your fault. However you should try your best to work through it, as I am trying to do, by writing a mean blog post about ex boyfriends or eating sushi or letting animals free from the zoo or whatever makes you personally feel better. Now is the present, not the past, and you can't change the past but you CAN stop it from ruining the present. So long as you can rip off the lamprey.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Some very important people in my life are short, including my best friend and my mom. They are the inspiration (and the contributors) to this new (and hopefully recurring) feature.

Dear Short People magazine,

i really enjoy yore publication and have wanted to have written to you for a while. I have two questions. My first questchon is, if the climate is messed up anyway, why dont we build a large-giant air Consitioner to cool us down. It may not help childen kn Afrjca but reely who cares any way. My secon question is my pee is very yellow today how can this happen.

Sinserely yours Catelyn, Millsbury USA

Dear Caitlin of Millsbury,

Thank you for your letter, glad you enjoy our publication. As you know, heat rises so short people aren't as hot and wouldn't need a giant Air "Condisioner"- clearly you are not a short person as you are too hot. Also this is evidenced by your yellow Pee, which shows you are dehydrated from heat and too much frosting. Hope this helps.

Sincerely, A Short Person