Friday, November 30, 2007

Quick Note

Postings have been scarce, I know, and they're not likely to pick up until after finals. I have a few monsters coming up, but I'm not failing Orgo yet, which is a plus... I'll post now and then but don't expect a return to frequent writings until January.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Damn public health videos.

Dear god I can't watch this.

It is inane.

I've managed only a few SECONDS.

I have a question. Is it impossible to teach people about STDs, birth control and safe sex without a) bad 90's hair, b) a geeky teenage boy saying "It can be fun!" and c) making the watcher feel like they are five?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Apparently, we're not allowed to sing Christmas carols until December. Shucks.

So Thanksgiving is over.

The reason I didn't write anything over Thanksgiving was that I spent my time either with my family or sleeping. I finally caught up on sleep, which is good.

So, Thanksgiving Day. Ryter came over and we ate Thanksgiving at my place, with all the traditional dishes-- turkey, naturally, and gravy; mashed potatoes, squash, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, baby onions, mushroom barley soup, popovers, rolls, salad-- tons of food. My grandfather was there too, which was nice.

Once we finished we drove down to Ryter's grandmother's house for his family Thanksgiving. Tons of people, tons of food-- the turkey was wrapped in bacon, which was weird, but I didn't eat the skin and it was fine. Everyone was really nice, it was a lot of fun, and I got to help Ryter surprise two of his cousins when they were up on the third floor, doing something that involved one of them shirtless. Awkward.

His grandmother has an awesome house. There's a secret second staircase to the kitchen, and a secret room, and a second little kitchen on the third floor with a door onto a rooftop balcony.

Friday we all--save the brother-- went to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, a very good movie, I recommend it. Great imagery, very fun. Saturday we returned to the movies for Enchanted, which was hilarious and I also recommend.

So that was my break; most of the rest of the time was spent sleeping. I have just two things to say:

1) I could've sworn Thanksgiving was supposed to be the last Thursday in November...

2) Four weeks left of class. *Sigh*

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Today in Biostats my professor gave a quiz.

Yes, the day before Thanksgiving. It was a bonus quiz. Merely for showing up, we get an extra 5 points on the next test; for filling out the quiz correctly, we get 10 points; for filling it out correctly and turning it in in the first 15, we get 15 point.

Plus, he added, "Anyone who showed up today has a guaranteed C or higher in this class, whatever your grade was before." He paused as we cheered. "You know why I do that right? You know the Cistern of Doom?" The Cistern of Doom is what he called the bottom like, 7 kids who haven't dropped the class but have less than 20% total grade in it. "All those Cistern of Doom kids, I guarantee you, did not show up today."

From the back of the class, we heard: "Uh... I did..."

Much laughter, cheering and applause. That kid? Luckiest. Guy. Ever.

Anyway, he tells us to flip over the quiz and begin. First line: "Be sure to read the whole quiz before answering any questions."

When I was in second grade, on April First, my teacher gave us the biggest test we'd ever seen. Same first line. I got about 40% of the way through, about to where the Calculus questions began, when she collected them. She then told us that the last line-- which NO ONE got to-- said, "Now, go back to the beginning, put your name on the top of the paper, and don't answer any of the questions before you turn it in."

So I checked the last line. "Do questions 2, 14, and 15 only. Score.

Question 2: Put your name on the page.
Question 14: Say loudly, "I love Biostats!"
Question 15: If you read the last line before beginning, say "I have."

I turned it in, top 15 (I think, there were lots of papers everywhere) and looked around to see half my classmates filling the damn thing out.

Thank you Mrs. Patterson!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Blog on the Blogroll!

Babycatcher is written by an American nurse-midwife working in Malawi. Her stories are almost as incredible as her work, done in the worst possible conditions, with lazy, jaded, untrained, inefficient or a sheer lack of staff, and with patients with no access to clean water, food, or transportation to the hospital. Malawi has terribly high infant and maternal mortality rates and there's not nearly enough being done. Some of her stories are positively haunting. I'm thinking about sending her some money for infant formula for the hospital (high maternal mortality means lots of orphaned babies), once I learn more about her contact information and the best way to do so (obviously can't send cash). It wouldn't be much-- I don't have too much of my own money to spare-- but it might be something.

Sometime in my life I will go to Africa or India or some other 3rd world area and I will work as an obstetrician* there. I will probably wait until after my children are grown (has to be after med school and I'll probably want to have kids as soon after I get out as possible, and I couldn't do it while they were growing up-- too high risk). But when I have paid off my med school debts and saved my money, I will go and stay for a while in a third world country and try to do good there. I have wanted to do this since I was twelve and I think it will make me a better person, and help me truly understand the world in ways that spoiled Americans can not. Plus, I will be offering a service that is desperately needed by these women.

So read her blog.

*If for whatever reason I don't become an obstetrician, I may still get midwife training, or do some other kind of relief work. It's something I feel morally bound to do before I die. For how long, I don't know, but I will do it, and encourage others to do the same.

Scholastic Adventures

So today I had a Latin test. I didn't KNOW I had a Latin test. So I go there right at 3:40, walked into the (still dark) classroom, and there on the board is a note telling me to go upstairs for the test.

So I go upstairs to the tables by the professors' offices and my class is there, taking their test, and I walk in to my professor's office and she hands me three sheets of paper, and says in her accent, "Okay, this one" she pointed to one "is a poem you haven't seen before, and here" she indicated another "are the notes for it. Now this other one has two poems you've already seen before on it, which you need to translate and compare."

So I sat down and started with the longer first one, the one with the notes, thinking it would be easiest (I don't remember my translations very well and I don't have a Horace-sized vocabulary-- pretty sure you have to be an expert for that). I finished it fairly easily, only had about 15 words I had to look up. Then I checked the clock-- 4:10. I was doing pretty well on time. So I started the first of the two shorter poems.

Unfortunately, they happened to be poems that, in my stressful fall, I managed to not translate, or not finish translating. Regardless, I couldn't remember very much and I was looking up like, three words a line without the aid of notes. I guessed and rushed and by the time I finished the thing it was 4:40. Feeling frantic, I hurried to do the next one, and ten minutes later I had only one stanza done, as I couldn't even remember the plot of it. With ten minutes left and the analysis to do, I dashed off a note about running out of time, wrote down what gist of it I could glean, and finished my paragraph-long comparison of the two right at 5.

Then my professor came out and I explained that I hadn't been able to finish.

"Well, how much did you get done? Did you get the basic idea at least?" she asked.

"Yeah, I got most of the winter poem and the very basic outline of the spring one, and I did the comparison. And I finished the first poem, I did that first."

She glanced down. "You did the first poem?"

"Yeah, that's done, it's just the other two--"

"Oh, [Basiorana]! That was all you had to do! You were suppose to chose, not to translate seventy-five lines of Horace in an hour and twenty minutes!"

I was a little shell shocked, to say the least. I think I managed a "What?"

"Oh, you must have thought I was a monster, trying to make you translate so much! I'm impressed you got this much done, did you finish any of the poems?"

"Yeah, I did the first one, I wasn't as rushed for it so it should be fine..."

"Well, I will count that one and give you bonus points for the rest. Seventy-five lines, my goodness!"

So my panic was for naught, and I admit I left a bit sheepish. But it'll work out, I mean, she's giving me the bonus points and everything so I'll probably do better than I would have done just turning in the normal translation. Still, took a while to come down off the "Oh crap it's ten minutes left and I have twenty lines left, what to do what to do" rush.


So today at recitation my Biostats professor wanted to give back our tests and our homework from last week. Now, the sensible thing would have been to place the tests in the back on separate chairs based on the first letter of the last name, and do the same in the front with the Opportunities, right? That way people wouldn't all be congregating in one place and it could go faster.

Nope. He stood in the back with the tests and had the TA stand in the front with the Opportunities. Then we all kind of swarmed-- all 150+ of us.

So half the names he called were down getting their opps, and the rest of us could barely hear him through the mob and couldn't get over to him anyway, plus we're in this massive hall , standing on stairs or seat, pushing and shoving. It took me 10 minutes to get the test and I nearly fell down the steps thanks to my backpack being loaded down with my laptop (which I need for recitation), my Biostats notebook/binder, and my Latin books (which I didn't need... grr).

Anyway, I got that test back. 64%. So not as miserable as I was expecting but still crappy. If I completely bomb another test and I have to keep this grade, it won't kill me, but I'd really rather not bomb another test. Still, I consider this a comparatively good ending.


And Heroes tonight? AWESOME. Just needs a bit more Peter and more depowered Sylar, but we can't have everything, can we?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lack of Posts is Due to Plethora of Homework


Bad news: I'm almost positive that I flunked my Biostats test yesterday. I got into the exam after studying ALL weekend and some last week too, and the first question required a regression formula and I completely blanked on it. Like, mind freeze. I knew I had known it the night before, I was just blanking. If that had been it I could have still done well on the rest, but then I proceeded to be completely unable to let it go-- my mind was racing through possible formulas it might be but drawing a blank and I started to freak out and the next thing I knew I was getting a panic attack. I managed to suppress it enough to do my best but my best under those conditions is probably not too fabulous... I think it was because I was stressed out about a lot of different things lately, so my breaking point was a bit closer than normal (More specifics later).

I'll talk to my therapist about it next time I go in (in two weeks, I was supposed to have a session yesterday but the day off screwed up the University schedule). Ryter suggested I get a note from Disability Services but I don't think there's much they can do to help one way or another, I mean, taking a class in another room will probably make it worse, and I don't need extra time. Too much hassle, not enough gain, and I honestly don't think my anxiety disorder counts as a real disability. Not at my level. And I don't think it will happen again.

The good news in all of that mess is I already talked to my professor and he said that he will drop my lowest test of the 4 so chances are it won't count. So that's sorted out.


More good news: I also talked to my adviser today, and he said that I'm so far ahead in credits thanks to AP and all my honors classes last year that if I feel stressed with my current workload I might as well take only 3 classes next semester so I can focus on Calculus and Organic more. I'll still be ahead of where I need to be credit-wise (I'm like one credit shy of being a junior right now. Vivacia's still beating me, though, she's already a "junior"). I might take a seminar or something easy, too, but I thought I might do that to avoid a repeat of this semester. I don't think I could do this again, and I have the dreaded Calculus coming up.


VERY good news: Talked to the dining office again. They said that they've had many students complain about that machine since I came in (I was just one of the first) and they're trying to get it fixed. The machine was putting other people's charges on my account if they went after me on the machine. They will sort out exactly what needs to be sorted out and will find a way to transfer the money back to us somehow. Good.


I think I might be depressed. I mean, I think that's why I had a panic attack instead of just pushing by the problem. I'm having trouble focusing and trouble sleeping, and I feel lonely all the time unless I'm with Ryter or like, actually talking to Cellamica instead of just sitting in the same room as her. I crave someone to talk to all the time, but no one ever really wants to talk to me except Ryter, so I'm spending more time with him than I should. Vivacia's really busy, and injured, and possibly mad at me, so I can't really talk to her...

I'm kind of paranoid, too. Like I thought Ryter was mad at me over something little that was said the other day, and he had to reassure me that he wasn't; meanwhile I remain convinced that Vivacia's furious at me and just not telling me about it. I don't know, maybe she is, but it also could be that she's busy and hurt and having issues getting around. I can't tell, but my brain is defaulting on "mad at me." She did say more than ten words to me today via AIM so I was a little reassured that at least she's not like, ready to murder me if I come near her, but...

I feel disconnected, like I'm vibrating a little bit out of our plane of existence. The trouble is I know this will mean I will spend even more time with Ryter because he's the only one who ever has any free time or the patience to listen to me freak out. And then Mummy will be upset with me because she thinks we need to spend less time together... not to mention Vivacia, though I've pretty much flat-out told Ryter that if Vivacia has some free time, unless we either had tickets to something or were supposed to meet someone I'm going to cancel our plans and hang out with her. Perhaps because of the funk I'm in, perhaps because it's the truth, I've been feeling like a kind of crappy friend lately.

Then again, I've been feeling like a kind of crappy everything lately.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I was supposed to STUDY today


So remember how I had to cancel my credit card because I was getting enormous charges to the Dining ID office, of all places? They charged me about $500 that I never saw a penny of on my card, so it wasn't my doing. They claim it wasn't even THEIR doing-- in fact, that it would be impossible for them to remove money from my card without my using it on a Cat's Cache machine. So basically, either the bank is making errors, the machines are making errors, or someone stole my card and can't think of anything more inventive to spend my money on than campus money.

Mummy put a stop on that credit card and now I can't use it any more, so I've been begging her for money so I can buy things like shampoo with my own debit account.

Well, guess what.

Now my debit card is getting the EXACT SAME FUCKING CHARGES.

$400. I lost $400 of my OWN money. Keep in mind that I only HAD about $500 in my checking account, so basically, I have no money any more (well, I have $1000 in savings, but that's my capital and I can't spend it unless it's like, life and death). Mummy's contesting the charges, of course, but that means I have to put a stop on my DEBIT card, meaning the entire sum of my wealth until either my parents can physically bring cash to me or the bank fixes the problem is $100, and I don't dare spend any of it on anything because I need a certain amount of emergency money that I can access.

What's more, I'm pretty sure that this isn't even the bank, it's GOT to be the dining office. So now I have to go down to the dining ID office and say, "Look, one mistake I can buy, but TWO, both on the days that I put $20 into my Cat's Cache from that card?" and make them take my card numbers out of the system completely. And from now on, whenever I need to put money on my card for the laundry machines, I have to walk over to the ATM, take out cash, walk back to the nearest Cat's Cache machine and pay in cash, lest they decide to make me pay 20 times what I wanted to pay AGAIN.

And they will tell me no, no, that's impossible, it must be a bank error, and I will have to tell them FUCK YOU, I JUST LOST ALMOST MY ENTIRE WORLDLY WEALTH AND ALL ACCESS TO HAVING MONEY ON CAMPUS BECAUSE YOU CAN'T FIX YOUR DAMN MACHINES.

It HAS to be a problem with the machine. Nothing else makes sense.

What's worse, I NEEDED that money, like, for specific purchases I was supposed to make.

And on top of all that Ryter was a little impulsive and bought something off ebay for me that doesn't fit me. So since he was kind of freaking out over an $80 charge on something that I can't wear, I promised him I'd resell it on ebay and buy the right size. So I put it up, very nicely, listing it at $60 because I figured that would be a good starting bid and if we were out $20 that would be tolerable. And then, lo and behold, next thing I know there's another seller with the exact same thing for only $20. Mine's the only large size, sure. But I've already had someone contact me saying they'll buy it-- IF I drop the price. The replacement dress is going to be almost $100 including shipping. If I sold it for $20 we'd wind up having spent $160 on this one dress.

I dropped it to $50 but I really can't go lower. I might have to though, because $20 is better than nothing. And this is important enough to him that I'll wind up buying the dress from the other company regardless of what I get for this one. So I might wind up being out $80 because of this. $80 that I don't have because of the stupid Cat's Cache machines.

I basically can't spend a penny until Christmas. And even then, maybe not...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Proteus says he goes to Elysium

Menelaus, my Betta fish, finally died. I've been expecting it, he's been lingering for weeks, picking at food and only occasionally moving. 'Twas a lovely Viking funeral, mostly because thankfully no one else in the bathroom realized what I was doing, so I didn't get a lot of "EWWWWW"s.

I'll scour the tank and get new ones (two of them) soon. I might pick a different source of Classical rivals for the next two.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What I Think About When I Should Be Doing Homework

So I was reading Navelgazing Midwife, which is a fascinating blog, and very helpful to me, because I want to go into obstetrics and gynecology and the blog often talks about problems with OBs.

I was especially interested in her post about birth rape, because I honestly never heard of it before, but it really makes sense. Many women were saying how their OBs didn't respect their choices or tried to force or coerce them into things, especially involving sticking hands or instruments up the birth canal. I read several years ago about doctors who perform episiotomies when the mother doesn't need it, and I was rather horrified. One thing I always assumed about medicine was that you do what the patient (or their legal guardian) wants, as long as it is legal.

Now, of course, in childbirth there is the question of the child and sometimes things go wrong. But misrepresenting information to a mother, or treating her like she is stupid or imbalanced simply because she is in labor? I hope I never get that arrogant, and that if people see me becoming so, they will slap sense into me. I know that when I am in my residency I will have to obey the chief OB, but I hope I can get one who is understanding and compassionate towards the new mothers, and that even if I am not so lucky I will still focus on the mother and pay attention to HER demands.

I think when I get to that point in my life I'll take classes in midwifery, so I can do things like catch the baby no matter what position the mom is in, and learn what's best to say to mothers. And I intend, if at all possible, to hand the baby to the mother BEFORE it gets brought into the nursery. Unless the baby is seriously injured or drastically premature and needs medical attention, mothers should get to see and hold the results of their labor immediately (or when they wake up) and begin bonding (unless, of course, it is a case of the child being put up for adoption or surrogacy and the biological mother doesn't want to hold the baby).

One of the reasons I want to be an OB/gyn and not a midwife or a nurse, besides money, is that as an OB, I will have control, and be able to do things like kick out nurses who belittle the mother or try to pressure her into things she doesn't want. And hopefully in my own small corner of the world, I can start making up for all the shitty, terrible OBs in the world.

And as for myself, when I'm pregnant I'm going to do tons of research and walk into the OB's office (I don't think I'd want to do a home birth) long before labor and say, "I am informed and educated in the subject of childbirth, and I want you to understand that I expect to be in control. Do not try to treat me like a child or an idiot or a hysteric at any point in this process. If you do not agree ahead of time to listen to me and treat me like an educated equal, I cannot have you as my doctor." Hopefully by that point I will be in med school or an intern and have access to OBs I know I can trust.

And then I will probably have a perfectly normal, hospital birth, on my back with my only "unusual" demand being no epidural or offers of an epidural until I specifically request it. I mean, hospital births aren't all that bad. My mom had three healthy vaginal hospital births (even my sister, who was late) and she always talks about how the nurse-midwives who helped her were the most wonderful thing imaginable (there were a couple of other women in labor at the time and hers was fairly normal, so the OB was only really there to check in and catch the baby). But hopefully as an OB/gyn I'll be able to help some of the women who might otherwise have had a really terrible doctor who treats it as a disease instead of a normal biological process that just requires a bit of help and an experienced set of eyes and hands if something's wrong.


Tonight Ryter suggested that he, Loquelo, Nonaestima and I all get a house in Dover next year, and I commute to campus...

Pros: I like Nonaestima and Loquelo, and obviously Ryter, and I would get to cook my own food and eat healthy. I'd have a real bathroom and a real kitchen and it might even be cheaper than living on campus, depending on where we go.

Cons: Ryter would have to be cleaner. I'm fairly messy myself but I have to have a clean toilet seat and no grime in my shower, and nothing sticky on tile floors or crumbs on the rug. Also, he figured we'd just share a bedroom, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that right yet. I wouldn't be living on campus and I'd bet money my circle of friends wouldn't be growing. I'd be paying for gas too. And even though I doubt it would happen (pray it won't), I have to consider what I would do if we ever broke up mid-semester.

Oh, and the number one con: My parents would NEVER agree to it. Not sharing a bedroom. My mom doesn't even want to have me live off campus at all, because she wants me to get the college experience, and she's already worried I spend too much time with him and that he's looking for someone to settle down with while I should be fun-dating. My dad... yeah. Not gonna happen. And they control the money.

Maybe senior year, if I proposed it right. But next year? HIGHLY unlikely. HIGHLY.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Life can be random.

Tonight was rather interesting. I have now officially been drunk-dialed. By Ryter, because he wanted to drunk-dial his ex and I pointed out that that was a bad idea on oh oh so many levels.

And then, out of the blue, a high school girl from Australia IMed me after finding my name on a blog I commented on and asked if I would listen to her. I wound up spending an hour or so just talking to her, asking her questions about her life as she vented. I don't know, maybe the whole conversation was made up (Ryter has made me a bit suspicious of people online) but I figure I have no reason to not believe she is who she says she is and I might as well give her someone to talk to, even if time zones mean there's a window of like, two hours at night when we can actually talk to each other. It was a bit random though.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Don't you hate days when everything goes wrong?

Perhaps it's no coincidence that my religious beliefs are so closely tied to the idea of guilt, because sometimes it feels like that is the emotion I feel the most, and most powerfully.

Right now Vivacia is upset with me because today we celebrated her birthday and I'm pretty sure I royally messed it up.

My parents are irritated because I saw them for the first time in weeks and I couldn't even let them take me to lunch or really do anything but talk to me for two minutes and then go.

Closer is probably more than a little pissed at me because I messed up his surprise that I didn't know about and that didn't happen anyway for reasons unrelated.

Ryter will probably feel like crap if/when he finds out about any of this because it's all tied up in his wanting to tag along and get to know everyone better.

I try to make everyone happy and this shit happens. If I don't try to make everyone happy they all get mad at me. I can't do anything right and I don't know why I bother to try.

I have 38 hours over the course of an entire week when I am not sleeping, eating, in class or doing homework. Of that there are actually only two blocks of time, Friday night and Saturday, when I am free from a long enough amount of time to make planning something feasible. Meanwhile Vivacia's usually on duty during those blocks Everyone wants my time, it seems, and half of them don't want my time with them to overlap with my time with anyone else. Ryter just wants me to spend time with him and he wants to spend time with Vivacia and Closer, but my parents think I need to spend more time studying or come home more often (my mom was upset that I didn't come home this weekend), and Vivacia wants me to spend time with her without Ryter being around.

I don't know. I posted more of this in my livejournal, because it's all very emo and LJ is better for being melodramatic.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My life is a blur

I spent most of the morning wasting time, so now I have to finish a lab report I was supposed to have done this morning for tomorrow, AND study for an Organic quiz...