Sunday, September 30, 2007

The news is depressing.

I think if Bush makes us go to war with Iran despite the massive disapproval from the populace, I will have lost all faith in humanity and finally stop being optimistic.

According to Ryter, this will make me a "realist."

These days the line between realist and pessimist has faded into obscurity as surely as the concept of a literal interpretation of the Constitution.

If only politicians would understand that the Constitution is to be taken literally, and the Bible metaphorically-- not the other way around.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Short because I have homework

I actually did pretty well in lab today-- finished quickly and didn't break anything, not even a tiny disposable capillary tube. Of course we were just boiling, melting and calculating density but I was still proud of myself.


It has been ridiculously hot all day. I've been melting. It's September, dammit, I want fall.


Continuing with the whole "make a new opinion blog" idea-- if I do this, I'm thinking of calling it "Naïveté," because I fully acknowledge up front that I am naive but I have my points as well.

I still don't know if it's a good idea or not...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Chem homework was surprisingly easy.

I'm wondering if I should start a second blog in which to dump my philosophical musings, anything that doesn't actually involve my day-to-day life, and keep this as a separate journal blog. What do you think? The other one wouldn't be updated as often. Actually, I might miss more days with this one as well, but the other one would be once or twice a week, and mostly so I can respond to newspaper articles and hopefully get people who wouldn't be interested in reading a diary blog to read the philosophical musings/opinion blog and comment.

So, good idea? Bad idea?


Still haven't talked to my dad, though I did have to call home because the credit card was denied the other day. I want it working again so I can buy components of my Halloween costume online. I got Ryter to get himself a costume (Byzantine soldier, though it's actually a modified Hercules costume) so I need to do the same for myself-- finish off that scarlet witch costume.

So here's what it looks like:

Red tank leotard, including shipping: $23.24
Red cape, estimate including shipping: $20.00
Pink or lavender hose: $5.00 at Hot Topic or something
Red opera gloves, including shipping: about $12
Funny red hat/crown/tiara thingy: free, because I'll make it

I'm looking at $60 (not including the boots which I already bought) but I'll have an awesome costume. I wonder if Mummy would pay for some of it, knowing that I'll just wear the same thing every Halloween in the future, or modify it slightly if I want to.

I may also forgo the actual cape and just get a big piece of red cloth at JoAnn Fabrics, that would cut the price down. I can hem it myself, that's no big deal. Hmm.

This is what you get for lettin' us womenfolk think

There was an article on the death penalty that I was reading today, and I felt the need to put my 2 cents in on the subject.

I believe in the death penalty.

That said-- Texas is bonkers in how much they use it. Like the guy mentioned in this article, who raped and murdered a woman. One woman, however cruelly and violently. Should he be locked up for life? Yes. I also believe that violent rapists for whom there is DNA evidence proving the rape should be surgically castrated. Not chemically, as you stop taking the pills and the desire comes back-- if someone violently rapes a person and there is definite evidence both that he was the rapist and that the crime was violent in nature, they should have their testicles removed and replaced with prosthetics. Cruel and unusual? If a person kills someone with a car, they lose their license. If they shoot at someone with a gun, they are denied the ability to ever own one again. It's just removing a weapon.

And yet, as for the death penalty-- I am of the mind that the death penalty should only be used for repeat offenders. Serial killers and gang members and the like. No crimes of passion, no single-murders, just people who plotted and acted on their plans to murder a stranger, a passing acquaintance, or a rival.

Also, the insanity defense is way overused-- the only way you should be able to plead not guilty by reason of insanity is if a) you actually have a real mental illness, and one severe enough that your crime is plausible-- situational depression doesn't count; b) you were not undergoing treatment (because you were undiagnosed or were not enough in your right mind to chose to) at the time of the crime (or a proper course of treatment was not found); c) you agree to undergo treatment and NOT STOP for your ENTIRE life; and d) you are expected to be a functioning member of society if treated.

So if a person kills someone and blames it on postpartum depression, they should get the same treatment as a healthy person. If they are an undiagnosed schizophrenic and willing to undergo treatment, they can get off. See where I'm going with this? My point is that if you have another Ed Gein, who was determined not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a mental hospital for his whole life-- well, honestly. He wasn't going to get better. And if he had been sane he probably would have been put to death. So if you've got someone like that, just put them to death.

But not the electric chair or anything. Nitrogen narcosis-- unconsciousness and painless suffocation, with mild euphoria beforehand. Plus it leaves the body undamaged so the family can chose to donate the organs or the whole body to science, if they so wish, or inter it intact, if their religion requests it.

And as for the people who claim the jails are too crowded from all the people who deserve to die already-- if we legalized and then regulated (most) drugs and saved jail for people who are a threat to others or who genuinely need rehabilitation.

Also, anyone in jail for life should have the option of painless elective suicide whenever they wish. I think it's only fair, honestly.

I wish I was able to do an overhaul on a prison and test some of my theories about rehabilitation, though. Even if I didn't get to set sentences or allow suicide. Things like work detail, trade education, and not allowing people convicted for certain crimes (pedophilia and gang crimes spring to mind) interact with each other (because that's how they learn techniques). That way I would see firsthand if it failed and accept the system we have now.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I did get to see Loquatia again, at dinner, so today wasn't all that bad.

I've been trying to regulate my caloric intake (the dining halls post nutrition facts this year). While good for teaching me to add large numbers in my head quickly, it is posing many challenges. Yesterday the challenge was my Latin teacher bringing in homemade baklava. Today it was the fact that it was a festival day and the special foods don't list nutrition facts. And then there was the caramel apple pie.

I suck at this. But I did at least manage only about 2400 calories yesterday, which considering that I estimate I burn 2800 (lots of walking around) is kind of good. My goal is 2000 a day.


So yesterday I had recitation for Biostats. Determined not to be as confused as last time, I took copious detailed notes on my laptop, step-by-step instructions and a guide in Excel itself. At the end of the class, she handed back quizzes (I got a 59 on mine. Yikes) and I rushed to pack up and get mine before the crush of half the class (of 125) got theirs. I then went to Hoco and to Ryter's for the evening, watched the first season of Heroes and speculated wildly as to the nature of the next season (but it looks like there will be superhero-teen lovin', so it's gotta be fun).

Then I got home, opened my computer, received a "YOU HAVE FLAWS ON YOUR DISK" message, clicked "fix" and came back in five minutes...

It rebooted my computer. Completely. What's more, in my rush I neglected to actually save my notes, figuring they would be there when I next opened the laptop. I lost everything.

So I grabbed some stuff off the website and frantically IMed Maritima, who is also in Biostats, and asked her for help. She's basically walked me through half this stuff. My lack of notes made this assignment take me a total of five hours, four of which were spent on one problem which I couldn't figure out at all.

But thanks to Maritima and my willingness to accept defeat on one problem, it was finished in the end. Thank god.

The thing is, I like statistics in itself; I don't like the fact that my TA has a new baby so she doesn't give a shit about teaching us, or grading us. My last assignment? She didn't grade the graph because I put it on a separate page. I mean, come on. Take off a point if it bugs you. But don't just not grade it. She claimed that she couldn't find things so if she had to hunt for it she gave it a 0, but honestly, how hard is it to get to that question where the graph should be and read "See page 3," and turn to page 3, where the graph is?

And that's not all she did that on-- I got a sixty, seventy with scaling, and I bet if she had spent more than a minute on each paper I could have gotten at least ten points higher. And she didn't bother to tell me what I did wrong, either. I guess I have to guess.

She says repeatedly that she hates statistics, hates grading, won't come in except for her very limited office hours, and is only doing this for the money because of the baby and because she's a graduate student. Okay. I get that she needs money, but really. This is all my stats professor could find???



Meanwhile I am debating how to ask my dad for a small allowance so I can do fun things on the weekends sometimes, or go out to eat once in a while. I mean, he knows I can't work with school stuff, and I do like to do things for fun besides surf Fark, read blogs and pester Ryter. I think I'll ask for $15 a week but hope for $10 and settle for $5 if I must. $5 would mean I get to eat out once a month and go on an (inexpensive) trip once a month. $10 would mean the same but eating out twice a month, or saving it; $15 would mean I could actually save up some money for the holidays.

My biggest concern is that the geniuses at UNH decided this year that finals end the week before Christmas. My last one is the 21st. Sure, vacation lasts until the 21st of January but guess what? Stores don't need help in January. They need help in December. If I go to a store and say I can start work on the 26th they'll say, "Sorry, no can do." Last year TJ Maxx really didn't need me after the ninth.

So that means I won't make any money at all over the winter break, and I don't really know what to do. I need a source of income, but I don't have the time to work during the year... The only thing I can think of is baby-sitting, but I hate, hate, hate advertising myself as a baby-sitter, and I don't really know any families in the area. Financially, I am screwed unless Daddy gives me an allowance.

He probably will understand. So what is my concern? I bet he ties it to my grades, as in, "Get a B or higher or the money goes away." And seeing as I am in Organic and Biostats, that means that it may very well go away and I'm screwed again.

Maybe if I suggest that I may need to take a year off and work otherwise... The only thing worse for Daddy than failing grades would be skipping a year. Something about "never going back."

Monday, September 24, 2007


I would write a blog entry tonight but I'm kind of freaking out because I think I am going to fail Biostats and possibly Orgo....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Highland Games: 70% diehard Scots, 29% diehard Metal fans.* Go figure.

Last day of the Mercatus.


Friday night after sunset was Yom Kippur, and since Ryter has a level of anti-religion backlash similar to that of former Christians thanks to a few years in Hebrew school he had mentioned he wanted to eat ham on the holy days. I complied, coming up with what I thought was the least kosher thing we could have prepared-- cheese dreams.

A cheese dream is usually bacon, tomato and cheese, melted over a piece of bread into ooey cholesterol goodness (I omit the bacon). Ryter doesn't like tomatoes, so I replaced them with a piece of ham. They were quite good, even if I do think that making them again before the next Yom Kippur may send him into cardiac arrest. Apparently Yom Kippur is also about fasting, which meant that the whole thing was even more sacrilegious.


Saturday was the Highland Games up at Loon Mountain, and I had decided to take Ryter this year. I love the Games, I go every year I can, and I was hoping he'd like it too but honestly I was kind of expecting he would think it was boring or cheesy.

We got there a little before my family did and took the shuttle from the parking lot to Loon. As we had not eaten breakfast, food was the first priority-- specifically fish and chips for me (mmm, greasy fried fish from a fair stand first thing in the morning) and haggis and thumps for Ryter. Haggis is of course sheep's blood pudding and thumps is mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage. Keep in mind that Jewish law expressly forbids the consumption of animal blood and it was Yom Kippur.

He ate the whole thing and liked it (he wanted more, or to figure out how to get it at home) so he has become an honorary Scotsman and was christened Angus MacJewberg.


We met up with my parents, my grandmother, and my brother shortly after that and then looked around, checking out the Utilikilts and Threads of Time. Then we decided to go up the gondola to the top of the mountain and checked out the view. That was a lot of fun-- very pretty, less of a crowd and more of a breeze (or "stiff wind that nearly blew my skirts up," rather) so it wasn't as hot as at the Games themselves.

And once we went down again Ryter got to see the tail end of the caber toss and the Historic Highlanders, who were sword fighting at the time. We finally reconnected with my family later on for the sheaf toss (stick a pitchfork into a bag of oats and throw it over a 28-ft bar), which Ryter was very enthusiastic about and he cheered quite loudly for his favorites.

It was a lot of fun, and Ryter loved it. We had a little trouble finding our parking lot again, thanks to some bad info from the bus driver who brought us there, and then we wound up getting home later than hoped because we went out to eat with my family at Hart's Turkey Farm, but it was a great day and definitely what Ryter needed. It got him out of his apartment and doing something fun. He's also asking for a Utilikilt for Chrismukkah or Chrismahanakwanza, or whatever it is, which makes me happy because kilts are always sexy.

*Other 1%? Asian tourists, of course.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I was upset about lab, but Ryter made me feel better about it.

Today is the first day of the Mercatus, four days of markets and fairs.


This morning I got the Gardasil vaccine and then donated blood, as they were running a drive in the MUB. I almost got denied because of my anemia but I ultimately passed, if barely. I think the nurse damaged my vein pulling the needle out, it's a bit bruised, but I'm okay. The guy in the cot next to me nearly passed out. He then said, "I think I lasted longer this time, last time I passed out after five minutes and the time before that I only got to the needle going in."

Then. Why. Are. You. Still. Trying.


Well intentioned. But still kind of a moron.

As for the Red Cross themselves, it's kind of funny. I never give them money. Blood, yes, because I know what they do with the blood. But they only spend about 10% of what they get in donations on charity, the other 90% is for "administrative purposes."

Like after Katrina, apparently they turned down a free place for their volunteers to stay in a boarding-school dormitory in favor of a really expensive, fancy hotel that was farther away, because they didn't want to take non-monetary donations. That money could have helped victims; instead, it went to putting minibars in the volunteers' rooms.

But the blood, at least, goes to the people who need it. Not that I don't think for one minute that if it were legal to buy and sell blood they would always be in "critical need" of monetary donations to buy it, while actually harvesting it from third-world illegal immigrants who have been raised since infancy on nothing but antibiotics, liver and spinach so as to have high quality blood while living in cages and peeing in bedpans.


I had my first "real" Organic lab today. It was disastrous. I already owe the school about $7 in broken glassware, I don't really understand the concepts and I think my TA got rather annoyed with me by the end of it...


Did you hear about the 900 lb man with Prader-Willi Syndrome (which makes you perpetually hungry) who had to have firemen lift him out of bed to go to the hospital?

I think Prader-Willi is fascinating, and heartbreaking. Basically these are people who constantly feel like they're starving.

If, god forbid, I ever had a kid with this, I would let them eat-- but healthy, low-calorie food, and only if they were athletic. And I mean Olympics athletic. Go to school, come home, work out and eat at the same time. Make it fun-- soccer, races, whatever-- but still burn massive amounts of calories. Basically give them exercise anorexia to go with their Prader-Willi. And if they get too tired to continue, let them eat celery non-stop. You can eat celery constantly and won't gain weight from it. I would buy massive amounts of celery and say, "When you need to eat and you aren't at meals, eat this."

Of course I would also give them GH, which helps with other symptoms like short stature and muscle mass, and push them academically to help them overcome the learning disabilities, but the main problem is the food preoccupation, it's the most dangerous for their health. Apparently you have to keep their food under lock and key. I think the hardest part would be explaining that despite their severe hunger, they didn't need food. A parent would probably have to measure out their own amount of calories as well, until the kid would be surprised at people who ate without counting calories-- treat food as something you just do to take care of yourself, not something enjoyable. Like taking vitamins. Being a bad cook might help.

Still, it's very sad, and I think that the brother of this man, who allowed him to get that heavy despite being his caretaker and who let him have a credit card and allowed food to be delivered, should be tried for negligent domestic abuse, and, should the poor guy die of obesity-related issues, manslaughter. As should anyone who is such an enabler for a person who is morbidly obese.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"What the-- That's not funny! You suck!!!"

Last day of the Ludi Romani, and also, for those Egyptians out there, the Fast of Thoth. Thoth was one of the most important Egyptian deities. He represented the balance between good and evil, was the scribe for the gods (and according to the Egyptians, invented hieroglyphs), the master of natural and moral law, the one who decided how and when the stars, sun, and moon should move and the god of all science and learning. He's probably closest to Athena of the Greek pantheon in that respect. He was the master of the Underworld and would weigh a man's heart against a feather to determine if he was a good or bad person.


I feel the need to share a little gem from Latin class today. we are reading Horace, who was a Roman poet who was friends with such infamous greats as Virgil and Augustus Caesar, the emperor. Here is an except of the sermones (V) that we just finished translating:

"Hic ego mendacem stultissimus usque puellam
ad mediam moctem exspecto: somnus tamen aufert
intentum Veneri: tum immundo somnia visu
nocturnam vestem maculant ventremque supinum."
l. 82-85

Translation for the uninitiated: "Here [as in, in the city he was staying in] I in my extreme stupidity awaited a deceitful girl until midnight: but sleep stole my readiness for love: then in dreams the unclean sights defiled my night-"clothes and my prone stomach."

See? See? This is why I love the Romans. Only in that culture could a man who writes poetry about getting stood up by a prostitute and then having a wet dream be best buds with the emperor.


Random tidbit of the day #2: "The average American man will begin to force himself to lose weight as soon as he can't see his own genitalia. The average American woman will start doing so when she can't see anyone else's."


Also, Ryter says he's been feeling much better-- he's hungry again and sleeping all the time to catch up. So I'm not worried about him any more. Well, I'm not worried about him needing to be rushed to the hospital. I am slightly concerned that he will get hit on the head by a meteor. That's why every time I see a shooting star I wish that it doesn't land on the head of anyone I know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


These last 24 hours have been... interesting, to say the least.

Last night I went over to Ryter's, because he's still feeling pretty awful and he needed some company. Loquelo came over as well, and we all hung out and Ryter was in pain and depressed as well, which made things worse-- he was depressed, nauseous (couldn't keep anything down), had a migraine, his whole back was seized up and as the night wore on he started to lose feeling in his hands.

After Loquelo left but before I did, Ryter threw up what little he had choked down that day, so I took him to the emergency room. We were there until 12:30 or so, though we could have left much earlier if they'd been quicker with the discharge... I stayed with him, being the annoying "patient's companion," chasing down snacks and nurses for pillows and because the monitor machine said he didn't have any blood pressure. I'm sure I was a total pest. But he felt much better as we were there and his mood perked up...

Anyway, we both got home by one and I collapsed asleep, but I found out this morning that Ryter later puked up the pills they gave him in the hospital and then couldn't go to sleep.

Plus the 3rd floor showers were being cleaned, and someone shat on the floor in the 2nd floor one, so rather than go upstairs and wait in line (since EVERYONE was going there) I decided to just shower tonight. So as I've been running around with a heavy backpack going in to Dover and then Ecology lab today, it's been on less-than-normal levels of sleep and no shower, and all the stress of Ryter being sick...

Goddammit, I hope the neurologist can help him...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Try it yourself!

I took an online career quiz at Career Cruising (username: nycareers and password: landmark) called the Career Matchmaker, and now I'm posting my results for what my career should be.

Bold: I like this option
*: Something I would be interested in doing-- my interest level varies from one star (might make a good summer job, temp job or last choice) to five stars (I am currently actively pursuing this job). My commentary on the other options is included.

My results:

1.Taxidermist-- AHHHHHHH!!!!
2.Nurse Practitioner
4.Dental Assistant
5.Massage Therapist*
7.Librarian-well, not as a career
8.Tour Guide
9.Sign Maker
10.Mental Health Nurse
14.Family Practitioner*****
16.Physician Assistant****
17.Plastic Surgeon-- what is up with all the beauty things?
19.Doctor*****--This is what I actually intend to do, of course.
20.Dermatologist-not really but they do pay amazingly well
22.Furniture Finisher
23.Picture Framer
25.Bicycle Mechanic
27.Print Journalist
28.Political Aide
30.Musical Instrument Builder and Repairer-- uh, what?
31.Tailor / Dressmaker
33.Surgical Technologist
34.Dispatcher--again, not as a full-time career
35.Library Technician--see previous
36.Market Research Analyst
37.Upholsterer-- right.

Then I added more criteria, to make it a bit more precise. The results were much better.

1.Physician Assistant****
2.Family Practitioner*****
3.Nurse Practitioner
4.Dermatologist - money and a good schedule, I guess.
7.Massage Therapist*
9.Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator
11.Taxidermist - NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
12.Social Worker
13.Mental Health Nurse
17.Plastic Surgeon
20.Medical Illustrator****
26.Genetic Counselor***
27.Graphic Designer
31.Tour Guide
33.Community Worker
34.Industrial Designer
35.Religious Worker - riiiiiiight.
37.Nursing Assistant
38.Interior Designer
39.Addictions Counselor

It looks like I would be okay with the careers I prefer. Also, alternatively, art seems to come up a lot. What do you think-- would I look good in all black with a beret and a cigarette and weird jewelry, bone thin as I murmur about the sublime use of shape and pick paint out of my nails?

The bone thin is because there's no way I could make money at that...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I say the pickled cauliflower was weirdest. And that's what he KEPT.

Last night I went over to Ryter's. He's been doing increasingly poorly the longer he has to deal with the tic and the pain, which really sucks. I'm trying to just be there for him, there's not much else I can do, and he can't really do anything either until he sees the neurologist except handle the pain as best he can.

Today, randomly, I started cleaning his fridge. I don't really know why I did it, but I was feeding Jesus the Lizard for him and instead of putting Jesus' veggies back I started pulling out the old veggies and dumping them out in the compost bin. But it was an experience, certainly. There was clumpy milk and gray cheese, pumpkin beer over a year old and a hot dog that was completely solid. He had a liquefied squash and something we couldn't identify in a plastic bag, and the V8 had a fuzzy white thing floating on it. But now his fridge is clean, so if he feels up to it and goes to see his dad tomorrow (for laundry and a Costco trip), he can put the things he buys somewhere. Plus I won't go to pull out Jesus' blueberries and almost put my hand in a strange off-white substance with a green shimmer that has pooled at the bottom of the fruit drawer.


I also did all his dishes, but that's mostly because I'm the one who asks that we use them-- he just eats with his hands or disposable packages half the time, and reuses dishes many times before cleaning them-- and his OCD means he has issues letting things soak, because of the dirty standing water. I don't mind doing that sort of thing-- Ryter's always worried that I'm going to get sick of dealing with that stuff and break up with him because of it, but I mean, come on. I'm hardly going to fault the guy for a liquefied squash and a few dishes, especially not when he's got all this other crap to deal with (and cleaning fridges is actually kind of fun, sort of like how I imagine forensic scientists might enjoy their job. I always like seeing what weird things people put in their fridges and forget about). Part of the dishes was giving him one less thing to have to deal with-- at least he'll have something to clean to eat off of if he needs to and he won't have a whole pile of dirty dishes laying around getting in his way.

I'd clean his whole apartment if I thought it would improve his mood, but I think the only thing that would do that is going to the neurologist and having them say, "Oh, we know exactly what is causing every single one of your problems. Take this one pill once a day for six weeks and then you'll be cured of all these problems for the rest of your life, and be happy and productive until you're 80."

And then he comes home, and wins the lottery.

Oh well. Things will get better, at least, if the neurologist can handle the tic and help with the pain. Which seems very likely.

He told me when he dropped me off that he didn't want me to worry about him. I replied, "I'm your girlfriend and you're suffering, of course I'm going to worry. But I won't drive myself crazy over it, I promise." He settled for that.

One and a half weeks until he can see the neurologist. Only one and a half weeks...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"He has the grace of a hippopotamus and a penguin's love child."

Still the Ludi Romani. I figured I should explain what the Ludi Romani is, exactly. They were games, with races (games in the Circus Maximus) for last four days, and they had dramatic performances (a rarity in Rome-- they, like Americans, preferred comedies and satires). It would start with a solemn procession, then chariot races and footraces. And no one really had to work. Well, the rich people didn't. THere should me more 15-day-long holidays in modern culture, don't you think?


I made a bazillion phone calls this afternoon, but my bills are paid and the credit cards are canceled, at least. And I have an appointment at Health Services. I'm going to get the Gardasil HPV vaccine thingy. Mummy's been pestering me about it.


Also, I had my first Orgo lab today-- not a real lab, just an intro. Because most of our equipment is crazy expensive, they've given us keys to "our drawer," where we have a full set of everything and no one else uses it. Thus, they can catch us if we break something. And make us pay through the nose for it.


The other night I was talking to Ryter about future careers and he mentioned that his psychiatrist told him the money's in child psychiatry. This devolved into a mini-debate, because I find most modern child psychiatry to be akin to plastic surgery.

Both are sometimes needed, badly. There are children (by which I mean under 10) who are actually mentally ill, for whom early intervention is a godsend. Also, some children have post-traumatic stress disorders or autism or some other issue that is beyond normal pediatrician and parental care. At the same time, accident victims are often badly disfigured and require reconstruction, or children are born with deformities that require correction.

And yet, just as most people who go to plastic surgery actually need self-esteem, a supportive social network, diet, exercise and maybe counseling, most children who are sent to psychiatrists these days need parents.

ADHD, "depression," lack of motivation, imaginary friends-- parents assume that if their kid isn't the same as every other kid or different in a brilliant/precocious/cute way, he needs therapy. ADHD? Most kids diagnosed with ADHD are just hyperactive with short attention spans. Maybe they need a little Ritalin, if it's a problem in class. Don't get me started on depression. Kids are impressionable. Usually depressive tendencies can be countered by loving, attentive parents who still know how to give their kid space, and maybe a change of schools. Usually they just need to make some friends. And if my children DON'T have imaginary friends I'm gonna worry that they're being creatively stunted somehow.

Ryter argues that sometimes kids just need to talk. You know who I talked to when I was a kid and upset or hurt? My mom. She was my confidante and adviser and counselor. Yes, teenagers are rebellious and don't talk to their parents. Nothing I say here applies to teenagers. Teenager-hood is 5-8 years of PMS, essentially. If that's not enough to send you into therapy I don't know what is.

BUT. The truth is, if your kid needs therapy because they "need to talk," you aren't being a good parent. A good parent makes sure their child knows that they aren't judgmental, they will listen and be there, etc. No kid should be afraid to talk to their parents for any reason. Note I said "kid," because no one expects a conversation that starts out with "Mom, I think I should go on the pill" to end well.

Kids have problems that seem huge to them, but small to us. They're problems a parent can handle (some exceptions, naturally-- "Mommy, the priest touched me in the private place" won't end well either).

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be child psychiatrists, clearly. I'm saying that I could never be one (for reasons besides the obvious "couldn't be any kind of psychiatrist"). Because while I could treat the truly ill children, if I got some moron parent in there looking for an ADHD diagnosis to explain why their kid doesn't listen to them, I would tell them that I won't treat their kid until they take a parenting class, got some counseling, and took some time off work to play with the child. I doubt that would go over well...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Not my evening

Still the Ludi Romani.


Ryter was really sick tonight, like, constant agony sick; he's got a tic problem that's popped up (well, he claims it's been there forever, but I haven't noticed it) and it affected his trachea, causing him to have trouble with food and drink. He also is dealing with some medication shifting while he's waiting to see a neurologist, and that may have had something to do with all of this. Luckily his meds kicked in in the evening so it was okay, but we were thinking he might have to go to the ER for a little bit there. If he has that problem tomorrow, he will.


Then on top of that, my mother called. See, when I was buying school stuff the clerks would offer me various promotions. The conversation would go thusly:

"Would you like to sign up for our Rewards Card?"
"What does it do?"
"Well, you get a discount on all future purchases."
"Does it cost anything?"
"No, it's free."
"And it's just a discount?"
"Yep! Takes no time to sign up..."

And I would sign up, because what's the loss?

So now my mom's called with the news that contrary to what I was told, these are actually credit cards. And what's more, all those pesky "receipts" I signed, and all those times the clerks swiped my card? Yeah, they weren't real. They were just practice, I suppose. Because now they're charging me for it again, on their little credit card that was supposed to be a Rewards Card, like the little key thing you get at Shaw's that gives you discounts on baked beans once in a while.

So their clerks blatantly misrepresented these cards to me, and now I discover I have to pay them off and cancel them and this HUGE hassle. I intend to actually go into the stores that I got the cards from and ask to speak to the manager there, and say, "Your employees GROSSLY misrepresented this deal. They portrayed the card as a simple discount membership, failing to mention that it was in fact a CREDIT CARD and that I would still owe money. I like your merchandise and this won't stop me from shopping here, but I damn well expect the next time I or anyone comes in and you offer this service that you have those clerks mention "credit card" somewhere in their little chat-up."

We;re ignoring the me not reading the small print part. If the clerks had been honest, I would have. As it was, I wasn't expecting that I was entering any kind of contract that could negatively affect me in any way; as it is my mom has to pay these things off for me lest I wind up with a bad credit score, then I have to cancel them.... bah...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I haven't forgotten, but I don't dwell.

The Ludi Romani continues.


I was talking to Cellamica at dinner today, and the topic strayed over towards previous roommates, and she shared a very interesting story with me...

Imagine you're sleeping in a dorm room, and you wake up and the bunk is shaking. You look around sleepily, then, you happen to glance into the unfortunately-positioned mirror to see two sets of feet hanging out of the bunk over you, and a squirming set of bodies under a blanket.

Her roommate was having sex. In the top bunk of a bunk bed. While she was sleeping underneath.

I can't imagine what I would do in that situation. She said she just turned over and tried to not think about it, I mean, it's not like she could leave without it being awkward, and it was apparently really early in the morning...

I'm just amazed she didn't immediately request a roommate switch, I would have. But instead she stuck it out, and a while later she was working on her computer and her roommate had sex with a guy on the top bunk while she was in the room, and clearly awake. All that was covering them was a sheet.

God. That is just... man. Wow.

Best part? This girl is a girl that Ryter once mentioned to me before, in the context of "I once was attracted to her," so I got to inform him with a bit more glee than was probably fair that he was once attracted to an incredibly inconsiderate slut (to be fair, he stopped liking her when he started picking up on how obnoxious she was). Whee!


My Ecology lab was outside today. It was raining. As in, downpour. It was depressing not only because I got soaked despite Cellamica loaning me her umbrella, but also because it was a really interesting lecture-- at least the parts I could hear while the rain drummed down on my umbrella and those of the people around me, and on the brook we were looking at. He was talking about invasive species, the species of plant that humans introduced to the area that have been damaging local environments, and he was throwing in survival tips as he went, like "This is poison ivy, note the shape of the leaves;" "Crush up the berries of this kind of sumac and you can make a kind of lemonade;" "The juice of this native kind of impatiens is an antidote to poison ivy," and "Do not eat any part of this plant or you will die immediately," which I kind of wish I could have heard the name for, in retrospect, especially after that lovely story about that gardener who mistook a root of it for a ground potato, ate it, and died.

Not that I normally go about eating random tubers I dig up. But knowing that the antidote to poison ivy grows all over College Ravine is useful. I just wish I could have listened to that lecture without mud in my shoes.

Der Fuhrer's Face

I have had this song stuck in my head for days. I finally found this old cartoon to share, and to confirm my memory-- I think I saw this last my freshman year in high school. Note the lovely depiction of the "Japanese Nazi." I find these cartoons hilarious, in a "horrifying" kind of way...


Monday, September 10, 2007

I remembered something odd today...

Fifth day of the Ludi Romani.


So I was reading Fark and I saw an article about how kids don't have the "astronaut" or "ballerina" fantasies adults think they do, but just want to grow up to be happily married.

I read it it and I just thought, Well, yeah. I mean, when I was a kid, which was not all that long ago, honestly, I occasionally entertained the idea of being a famous ballerina, or singer, or Nobel Prize winner or whatever, but most of the time I just pictured my future as marrying a rich businessman and having like twenty kids (3 natural, rest adopted). I'd work as a teacher when my kids were older, but just to give back to the community and all, because my husband would naturally be supporting me with his bazillions (Incidentally, that's about how much he would have had to be making to support my little orphanarium there).

Obviously I grew up and realized that a) Most businessman-types are either jerks or at least unlikely to marry women with no social skills, as they are often socially adept themselves as a necessary aspect of the job and would not particularly appreciate a wife who spills the bisque on their clients; b) Contrary to family lore, it is not "just as easy to love a rich man," as rich men aren't really common; c) In the modern world, it is a foolish or very, very trusting woman who does not continue to maintain her own finances apart from her husband's so she is independent enough to survive a divorce (and I would never, ever take alimony-- child support is one thing, alimony is welfare for WASP women-- I don't care how much I hate the guy); d) teachers not only get paid crap, they also are TREATED like crap; e) Who the hell has twenty kids besides crazy Quiverfull people?

But yet, even once I grew up a bit, I wanted to be a doctor with a husband who had the kind of job that meant that he would be there for the kids while I was doing weird hours. So I still wanted the husband, and the kids. I just wanted a career too, and way fewer children. Then my self esteem plummeted and I pictured my future as a doctor, living alone with lots of cats but traveling with Doctors Without Borders when I could.

Still, I think every kid wants to have a family. Expects it, even. It's not until reality sets in that you have variations, people who DO NOT WANT KIDS EVER and people who may want a kid, but mostly just want to focus on their job. Mind you, reality sets in at different times for different people-- I'm pretty sure Vivacia (who claims she NEVER WANTS KIDS) was five going on forty-- but my point still stands.

I'm not sure where I was going with this. I think I just wanted to share that I used to want to have twenty children. God. Innocence of youth and all that. *shudders violently at concept*


I have heard the phrase "biological variation" so much between Ecology and Biostats today that I swear I am going insane.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I went on a trip!

Fourth day of the Ludi Romani.


Don't expect many Friday or Saturday entries in this blog this year; I went over to Ryter's on Friday night, and we made dinner together-- well, he did most of the work, I just cut up some veggies and chicken and stuck the rice in the rice cooker. He did the actual cooking-- a Japanese curry that was really good. Then we had ice cream sundaes, because the weather was in the nineties with ridiculous humidity. There was a slight disagreement as to whether they were "sprinkles" or "jimmies" but all was resolved.

We've decided to make this a weekly event-- we'll cook together, and make something neither of us has had before. Note to self-- no gazpacho.

Anyway, Saturday we went to Salem, Mass to see the Peabody Essex Museum, which was very cool. I've never been before, but it's a favorite of Ryter's. It was pretty cool-- lots of maritime art, especially figureheads from ships, but also a large collection of Asian and Native American art. One thing that I noticed was that in a display, there was a woman's shoe from the 1700s, clearly worn, and I thought to myself, I wonder what the woman who wore this shoe would have said had she heard that 250 years later, it would be on display in a museum for people to look at and marvel at how ridiculously small her feet must have been?

There was also a carved ivory tusk that impressed the hell out of me, it was so finely detailed with little people and animals (and made long enough ago that the ivory part doesn't bother me); and a wooden Indian altar that was just amazing. If you're ever in the area and get sick of the kitschy witch stuff, see the museum. No, see it regardless, it's way better than the witch museums.

Speaking of kitschy witch stuff, we walked around a little after we finished at the museums. We went to a couple wannabe-witch stores, the kinds with silver pentagrams and incense and crystal pendulums where you can get a palm reading in the back room. Ryter wanted to get his fortune told but it's Salem, witch central, so you know they charged ridiculous fees. We settled for looking around and getting a smoothie (me) and a celery-apple-carrot-whatever juice (Ryter) at a place that advertised "We have wheat grass!" and had fliers for various "spiritual mediums" and a "school of conjuration."

Then we wandered back to the car, and as we went we looked around; we passed through the Old Burying Point Cemetery, as I wanted to look at the gravestones, but then we realized that thanks to the placement of the paths we were walking on graves themselves and left post-haste. There's something inherently disrespectful about walking over a grave, even if the grave is so old that the remains are surely nothing but bones and even the headstone is crumbling and unreadable. Of course, nothing can top the disrespect that I saw when my high school English class went to Salem and were told to eat our lunches in the cemetery; bad enough that most of my classmates picnicked on the grass between the headstones (I forced my friends to eat on the edge of it, by a tree, so we weren't as blatantly disrespectful), but the chaperones perched on one of the above-ground tombs and used it as a picnic table.

Now, I don't think there's that much significance to a body after death but honestly. You do not use a tomb as a picnic table. Somebody put their loved one in there. That still irks me.

We headed back to Durham after that since Shrewd was bringing up various things I had forgotten (bathrobe, shower sandals, phone charger, etc-- all important things) and anyway, it was really, really hot and we were tired.

Fun times, though. Even though Salem is so very kitschy, the museum is nice and honestly, I like laughing at kitschy and spending no money on it.


Cellamica was gone for the weekend so I had the room to myself for the day, which I spent doing my mountains of homework. Very boring. Got it all done though, which is all that matters.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

There's always a pet blog

The Ludi Romani continues.


Today was... god, it was BORING. I didn't have any classes until 5 pm and Ryter was in Boston so I couldn't talk to him, and I don't have any real homework yet; thus I sat around and was bored.

I did each lunch with Libentra and saw Loquatia, my roommate from last year, when I went to dinner with my current roommate. I've decided to call my current roommate Cellamica, from "cella," a room, especially a small one-room apartment, and "amica," friend. Room-friend. Roommate. Work with me here.


Cellamica is Republican, but not rabidly so-- she clearly has her own opinions and isn't just spouting off what others say. She's involved in politics and keeps informed, though. She loves watching hockey but isn't really into playing sports herself, and spends most of her time on her computer. She's turning 21 in November but doesn't have any intention of even going out drinking on her birthday-- the whole alcohol culture doesn't appeal to her, which is nice for me. She's Italian, has a younger sister, a close friend of hers has just had a baby and she likes country music. That's what I have learned about her thus far. But she's nice, and quiet, but I can still have a conversation with her; she's willing to eat meals with me, too, which is nice.


Ryter, meanwhile, is looking for a hobby. This wouldn't be so challenging were it not for the fact that he can't do tasks that require a steady hand, like drawing, because of meds-related tremors and it has to be inexpensive, relaxing, and something he can do year-round. Thus far he has pooh-poohed starting up an RPG club (unless he can get someone else to GM-- I would, I think I would like that role better than a player, but I don't know the rules of gaming well enough), learning massage therapy with me (didn't think it qualified as "fun"), candle-making (okay, so I was being a bit facetious with that one), balloon sculptures (already knows how to do it), and carpentry (doesn't have a decent workspace).

I also suggested origami; weaving; wood carving; lock-picking; making models; ghost hunting; fishing; designing, making, and flying kites; juggling; photography; magic tricks; learning to dance; biking; and 3-D puzzles. He didn't comment on any of these, although I suspect making models, 3-D puzzles, or kites might be too expensive; fishing and biking aren't great in summer; and learning to dance might be too frustrating for him to be relaxing and fun.

He listed his interests as "The Byzantine Empire and reptile-collecting." This is not really helpful. I just hope his eventual decision doesn't involve computers. Ideally it would involve dragging his butt outside. Maybe I can get him into nature walks, like learning to identify plants and shit. In the winter, snowshoeing.

Nah. He won't go for that. I suggest "outside," he cites "bears."


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Second day of the Ludi Romani.


Today after my morning classes I went over to try and sell back my old textbooks-- at least, the ones I didn't want to keep (I kept Classical Mythology, for example). Alas, the science books are "too old"-- I couldn't resell those. Unfortunate, as those were the expensive ones. I wound up only getting $16.


I've had my first three classes (they're one right after another). Ecology looks interesting, and the teacher is the very image of a scatterbrained professor-- tie, slacks, button-down T-shirt and bright pink Crocs. Organic doesn't seem like it will be impossible and the professor reminds me a lot of what I figure last year's unfortunate Chem teacher would have been like if he had been able to control the class- very accessible, friendly, likes technology. And Biostatistics is only worrying me because he doesn't allow calculators for a lot of it. And yet again, I wish I could go back in time and learn those damn times tables when that's all I had to think about...

I can't do basic math, by the way. I use calculators. I can handle more advanced stuff, but ask me what 8 time 12 is and I will give you a blank look.

Latin was this afternoon, but I have the same Latin teacher I had last year that I liked, so I'm not too worried about the class itself-- except Ryter's ex, the ex he REALLY doesn't like because he says she used him and tossed him aside and denied they were even dating to her friends, is ALSO in that class. Yeah. Awkward.


Last night I didn't wind up hanging out with Ryter, as I had dinner with my roommate then went to a rock-painting social for the dorm. It was cool. I have a pretty doorstop now. Ryter was a little irritated about it but he swears he's okay, and I spent tonight with him. He's been really stressed out lately and things are only going to get worse over the next couple weeks. Plus his lizard is sick.

But it will be fine. I know it will.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'm baaaaaa-ack.

Today is the first day of the Ludi Romani, fifteen days of games to honor Jupiter, king of the gods. It's also the year, in 394 AD, when the last Pagan Emperor, Eugenius, died.


I moved back to UNH yesterday,waking up at 7:00 in the morning and dragging my family out of bed (an excellent revenge for not spending any time with me on my last night at home-- I woke them up early when they didn't get in until 12:30) and began to jam stuff into the car. I made the mistake of stating, "There's no way all my crap will fit into one car-- we should take two," which Daddy and the Brother took as a challenge and naturally responded to by packing us in really tightly, with the truck bungeed down and me riding the whole way with a white plastic set of drawers on my lap. At one point Daddy took a sharp turn and I asked, "Is the fish okay? Did he tip over?" Mummy just laughed. For about fifteen minutes.

But it was only an hour, and then we arrived and checked in. I had called Ryter and asked him to come over and help move me in, but there were about 10 people waiting to help with the unloading so no one bought more than 1 heavy thing up, in this parade of boxes and the fridge. By the time Ryter arrived there wasn't much left to do-- Daddy, the Brother and I had lofted the bed and moved the desk under it and Mummy had started unpacking things.

Of course, his arrival did mean he was there for one of the more embarrassing moments of the day... I had very carefully put all the things that I own that my mother doesn't know I own-- mostly undergarments and such-- in one box easily recognizable box, and spent much of the time trying to keep her from OPENING said box. I had finally thought I was in the clear when she held up a miniskirt that I had packed in the wrong box and shrieked, "What the hell is THIS?"

I hid in the closet.

And thus was my roommate introduced to me-- hiding in the closet while my mother berated me about how this was "NOT a skirt," etc, etc. So today, once I switched from "unbelievably embarrassed" to "angry," I sent her an email which in addition to mentioning various expenses I had incurred with the moving in, chastised her for embarrassing me with her complete lack of tact.

Her response offered an apology, at least, if it was tempered with an "I was just surprised" and a bit of denial.


As yesterday was also exactly six months after Ryter and I started dating, he took me out to the place where we went out on our first date, this little Indian place. It was very sweet of him. Afterwards I had to go back to the dorm for a quick-- and mandatory-- floor meeting then I spent a few hours hanging out with him.


At least I didn't have any classes today-- normally my only Tuesday class is an Ecology lab. I went in to Dover, was reminded of how much I hate the buses, then came back here and plan to continue with the unpacking while I wait for Matt to be able to take me to the bookstore (I need his car so I don't have to carry books for 4 classes all the way back to Hubbard on my lonesome. Hopefully we'll get to hang out a bit, too.

It's nice to be back.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vicious Cycles

It's my last night at home, and I think it's sort of fitting that my dinner is a glass of Crystal Lite lemonade and whatever I can scrounge up from the kitchen, as I clean my bedroom post-packing.

I'm gonna come right out and say it. This was a miserable summer. Pretty much the only bright points were the times I got to spend with Ryter or the even rarer times I was with Vivacia; the rest of it just seemed like a long parade of obligations and chores. I spent at least 50% of the time just frantically trying to earn money, most of which I spent on gas to see Ryter or going out to eat with him. To which my mother points out that he could come visit me, and we could eat at my house.

Except, of course, that she insists that the house be clean before anyone comes over. So that's a day and a half of cleaning, which you know I don't get paid for or even the satisfaction of the cleanliness since it's a sty again in 24 hours. And then I have to make something for dinner, thus making myself messy before he comes. And then my dad comes home and takes the TV in the family room, sending us downstairs, which I had to pick up as well, and people will wander downstairs sometimes so we're not really alone. So we'll go to the orchards, but we're still in public, there. AS much as I love going to the orchards, it's sometimes buggy or the weather's bad. Basically, if I want to spend time with Ryter I have to go to his place because my own house is annoyingly occupied.

So thus I've spent the summer in a cycle-- work my ass off to earn money either at the Discovery Store or by doing exhausting work in the hot sun at home, then go visit Ryter to relax, thus using up my money, requiring me to earn more.

Meanwhile, there were only two real reasons I wanted to come home this summer instead of doing and internship or summer school or something-- one, I wanted to spend time with my family, and two, I wanted to be able to go to the Cape.

This summer I have spent a total of five days at the Cape. Five. And it's the last summer I will be able to go. I've always had chores to do or work. And spending time with my family? Most of the time they're at work or at the Cape, and anyway, my dad's been driving me crazy and my mom's been worrying me sick.

I bet by May I forget I felt this way, but I honestly think next summer I should just go to summer school on campus. My family was all gung-ho for taking me back and seeing me off, but I don't really care about that, I just would have liked to have a real dinner that I ate at the table on my last night at home. Is that too much to ask? Instead they're at the Cape and I'm packing, cleaning, and wondering what I can reheat.

At least it's over.