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Fri, Dec. 31st, 2010, 04:59 pm
End-of-year meme

So I really like the end-of-year meme where you go through your LJ entries from the last year and post the first sentence of each month. Unfortunately, this year, I only updated at least once per month in seven out of the 12 months. But here you go anyway;

January: Okay LJ-land, it's time for an update.
February: TODAY I: + Got antibiotics for being a dumbass (I managed to walk into a fence last night and break my lip on it; this is just to make ABSOLUTELY sure I don't get tetanus)
March: Sun, go back down.
April: Okay. WHAT THE FUCK is going on in my house.
May: I had my last Vassar class ever 1-2 today.
June: There was a motorcycle accident this weekend.
August: Oh my god I don't update.

And how true that last one is.

The things that have changed in 2010:
* I have a new boyfriend and I'm learning how to not be Serious about a relationship. I'm also learning how to not plan everything months and years in advance. Sometimes it's okay to make big decisions fast. If something feels wrong, it probably is. You can't force emotions, and you have to follow your intuitions sometimes.
* Instead of going straight to graduate school, I'm taking a couple years at Janelia.
* Speaking of, I'm working at Janelia.
* I'm so much less stressed now that I'm not in school and I'm not worried about my future all the time. I think back to college and how I felt about people and events and how I acted and I think, "Wow, what a bitch." Hopefully I hid that decently well and didn't inflict too much bitchiness on all of you lovely people. ;o)
* Emily is remarried. And once she knows where she's going to be a resident, there will be BABBIES.
* I'm sure there's more. Maybe I'll update about those things when I think of them.

I'm sorry I'm so out of touch, guys. You know I still read LJ and care about you and stuff, right?

Sun, Aug. 22nd, 2010, 02:34 pm
Day 01 – Introduce yourself

On August 8th, I said I'd do one of these a day(ish). Well, I have half-failed at that already: clearly I have not been doing one a day.

But I'm still going to try to do them!

Day 1 is 'Introduce yourself.'Collapse )

Sun, Aug. 8th, 2010, 09:39 am

Oh my god I don't update. Ever. I'm sorry.

I think that I will do Jackie's meme thingy. That will make me update. MAKE ME DAMNIT.

Before that, though, I should probably go over a few basic points.

1) I love it here at Janelia. And I am staying here instead of going to Rutgers. I have an offer letter waiting for me in HR and I'm going to sign it tomorrow.

2) I'm going to reapply to graduate schools next year or the year after, expanding my search beyond the New York area and likely including UChicago and Cambridge, which have agreements with Janelia that would allow me to spend 3 years here as part of the PhD program.

3) Relatedly, Mickey and I have broken up.

Anyway, here's how the meme thingy works: I'll post one of these things a day (ish). These are the topics (ish). Enjoy and be well!

Day 01 – Introduce yourself
Day 02 – Your first love
Day 03 – Your parents
Day 04 – What you ate today
Day 05 – Your definition of love
Day 06 – Your day
Day 07 – Your best friend
Day 08 – A moment
Day 09 – Your beliefs
Day 10 – What you wore today
Day 11 – Your siblings
Day 12 – What’s in your bag
Day 13 – This week
Day 14 – What you wore today
Day 15 – Your dreams
Day 16 – Your first kiss
Day 17 – Your favorite memory
Day 18 – Your favorite birthday
Day 19 – Something you regret
Day 20 – This month
Day 21 – Another moment
Day 22 – Something that upsets you
Day 23 – Something that makes you feel better
Day 24 – Something that makes you cry
Day 25 – A first
Day 26 – Your fears
Day 27 – Your favorite place
Day 28 – Something that you miss
Day 29 – Your aspirations
Day 30 – One last moment

Sun, Jun. 27th, 2010, 09:26 pm

There was a motorcycle accident this weekend.

That's not really news, and it might seem strange that of all the things that happened this weekend that's the one I chose to focus on, but sitting here on the bus on the way back to DC, that's really what I'm thinking about, not Rocky Horror or "pubbing" with Foster & Sam & Sam & Rachel & Mickey & Sara & Claire or getting picked up at the bus stop by Mickey and Judith or being pretty damn sure Mickey and I've found where we're living next year or Mickey being unfortunately busy all weekend because of a crazy client at work. Or even what's happened in the last week, like breaking the language barrier with another German at Janelia or finishing week 3 of couch25k or going out to a beer bar with Chris McCririe & his Rachel & Ben & Lauren & Dan -- not even the damn tasty cherry lambic, dudes.

I didn't even see the motorcycle accident happen. I saw two or three motorcycles without helmets blast past Mickey, Judith & me as we were on our way back to NJ after they'd come to pick me up, and then a minute later traffic stopped. There had been an accident ahead, and the realization dawned on us as we slowed down that it was very likely an accident, and that it had very likely just happened.

I'm thinking about the motorcycle accident because, while I didn't see it happen, I saw the cause and the effect. As soon as Mickey stopped the car I jumped out and scampered over to see if there was anything I could do to help. I haven't been CPR certified in the better part of a decade, but I haven't forgotten everything, and knowledge of the bystander effect wouldn't let me stay in the car. This is why I think every person should have to take an introductory psychology course.

When I actually got to the scene of the accident I realized I'd stupidly left my phone in the car -- no one had even called 911 yet. The cyclist had been thrown off of his motorcycle and was slumped, sort of crumpled, by the side of the road, one shoe on, the other missing. The motorcycle was leaking things and in a couple different pieces. There was a man bending over the cyclist screaming 'He's not moving!' into a phone.

Fortunately there was someone else who had his shit more together than I did. He asked if anyone had called 911 and then began dialing, and directed me to move the motorcycle out of the road. I had a little trouble (it was heavy!) but another person came by to help, and we picked up all the bits and found his other shoe and moved them all to the side of the road.

No one was moving the cyclist, which is good, but I asked the man bending over him if he knew if the cyclist was breathing. 'I don't know! He's not moving!' I couldn't remember whether you were supposed to move a cyclist if they weren't breathing (does avoiding brain damage via CPR trump possible spine injury?) but I had decided that if he wasn't breathing, I would stay until the ambulance came, and if he was breathing, I would go back to the car and go home with Mickey and Judith. It's kind of a dumb criterion to decide whether to stay or go, but I couldn't think of a better one.

So I touched him, very gently near his face, away from any obvious injuries, to see whether I could feel breath. As soon as my fingers brushed his skin he took a deep breath. I don't know if he was breathing before that, I don't know if he was so startled at my touch that he ended up causing more injury to himself, I don't know if my touch is what focused him on the moment and kept him from giving up the ghost. I was satisfied and I left. When I stretched my hand out I didn't know whether I was about to brush a corpse or a living human. This may not be a big deal to some people, but I've never touched a human corpse before.

With the road cleared except for one lane, traffic picked up again quickly. The man who knew what's what was leaning over the cyclist making sure no one moved him as we drove past. I hope he was okay.

People are stupid.

Seriously. People are idiots. Don't people realize how squishy we are? We can't afford to drive down highways at breakneck speeds without helmets or protective gear of any sort. We can't afford not to wear helmets even when we ride dinky little unmotorized bicycles. We can't afford not to know how to protect ourselves in the event of an armed robbery, a hurricane, a 110-degree sunny day. I don't understand how people can be so reckless -- especially people my age, who have so many big ideas and so much time left to make them happen. Don't those things matter to you? You can't win the Nobel Prize if you're dead. Hell, you can't even work for Google. (Unless Google really is heaven.)

I've never understood even such mundane reckless behaviors as taking large amounts of shots in short periods of time. Why would you choose to throw back some neurotoxins in the least healthy way possible if you don't even get to really taste them? Or, god forbid, bothering to hydrate yourself? It's possible to get drunk in such a way as not to risk alcohol poisoning. If you have the choice between doing something less pleasant (resulting in a worse hangover) and less safe, and doing something more pleasant and more safe, why would you ever choose the former?

But then, I've always been a worrier. My fellow Janelians were trading stories about terrible bike accidents and the scars and broken bones they'd received, and all I could contribute was "This one time, I fell off a bike. But I was wearing a lot of protective gear and going slowly so all I got was bruises."

Seriously though, guys, I don't think people realize how squishy we are. Take care of yourselves, ok? I don't want to be peeling any of you off the side of the road and thinking about whether I'm supposed to be pounding your chest to the beat of "Another One Bites the Dust."

Mon, May. 31st, 2010, 12:16 pm

Oookay, DC is very hot and muggy.

So in order to get to my summer job, I have to get to a shuttle in Arlington. I could bike directly to the shuttle stop (~4 miles on my bike), I could bike to a Metro stop in DC and take the Metro to the shuttle stop (~2.5 to 3 miles on my bike), or I could take a bus to the Metro stop in DC and take the Metro to the shuttle.

I got up early today so I could go bike around and figure out where the metro stop I'd be taking is. Having left the house at 8:15 or 8:30, it took me quite a while to get to the Metro stop. I am not very good on a bike and not very good on hills, so I kept having to get off the bike and I was slowed significantly because I didn't want to go on the Big Scary Road and instead rode on the sidewalk, where I had to dodge pedestrians. Getting to the metro stop went fine ... but then I had to bike back.

By that point it was about 9:15 and starting to get really hot, and unfortunately the way back is more uphill than downhill. I had to take a breather in the air-conditioned Safeway. I did get back okay (after getting lost and calling my landlady), but this has squashed my potential plan to bike all the way to the shuttle. In fact, tomorrow I think I'm going to take the bus to the Metro because it's supposed to rain and bike + rain + hills = scary.

In general, I can avoid the heat by taking a late shuttle back that will get me to DC at about 9pm, at which point I could definitely bike home comfortably. I think my Master Plan will be to bike to the Metro in the mornings, arriving at 9am for the 9:30 shuttle, and bike from the Metro in the evenings at 9ish.


Sun, May. 30th, 2010, 10:50 pm

I'm all settled down in Washington, DC now. Oh my god is my landlady the nicest person ever. I was super worried the day of my bus trip down here (I took Bolt Bus -- highly recommend) that I'd fail at life and everything would suck and Big New Scary DC would be Big and Scary and that commuting to work would be horrible (I found out recently that a shuttle I thought stopped in DC only stops in Virginia). But my landlady is just the nicest person ever, and she makes me feel much better about this whole endeavor.

When I got in at midnight last night I peaced out to good ol' D Stern's, who I hadn't seen in too long. He's only in town for another month and a half, which is a shame, but at least I can see him til then. :o) It was great to see a familiar face after my weepy 'BIG! NEW! SCARY!' episodes earlier that day. I've known him since eighth grade.

So we chilled til like 2pm today, when my landlady came and picked me up. Yes. She came and picked me up from his house in a minivan. I said she was the nicest person ever and that is because she is. She came and got me in a minivan so I wouldn't have to ride public transportation with luggage (and a bike).

And then she drove me around the neighborhood a little to show me the highlights. There's an HSBC here, and two supermarkets within walking distance, and lots of nifty little restaurants. And she drove me through what my bike commute may look like and recommended different routes to me. And she took me on a tour of the house and offered to drive me to and from Safeway (one of the supermarkets). I opted to walk instead so I could find my way around the neighborhood a little bit.

And when I finally got to the house and unpacked my stuff, I hopped into Sam's Dwarf Fortress game! More familiar voices to acclimate me to my scary new surroundings. <3 That was definitely the best welcome I could have gotten.

My landlady has been helping me put dishes and suchlike away down here (it's a basement apartment) and she's lending me a pan, sheets, towels and a pillow so I don't have to buy any of that stuff down here. Nicest. Person. Ever.

Tomorrow, I will get up early and bike around my plausible commute area to see what's what and scope out possible bike lock-up locations.

I really don't like new things, but I think this will turn out okay.

Thu, May. 13th, 2010, 11:24 am
Writer's Block: Mark my words

What gives your life special meaning and purpose? Do you think it's important to leave a lasting mark on the world? If so, what form do you think this will take?

I was curious about how people would answer this question, so I checked out the previous answers. There were some common threads: A lot of people said that God gave their life purpose, or their children did, or sometimes their extended family; one or two people said that finding love would give their life purpose (I wouldn't want to date those guys), and one or two mentioned an art form, like music. That was pretty. But the talk about leaving a mark on the world was a little bothersome. Some people actually cited God as their way of leaving a mark on the world (in the way that God willed, or by spreading God's word, or whatnot), which I suppose falls under the umbrella of "life's purpose" ... One person said that his/her mark on the world would be to leave it just a little better, which was nice, and people tended to fall into one of three camps: "I'm going to leave a mark, and I think it's important to do so," "I'm not going to leave a mark, and I'm okay with it," and "I'm not going to leave a mark, and I'm bothered by that." Not surprising. But the vast majority of the responses I read that had to do with children also mentioned that the mark this person was going to leave on the world was their offspring.

What? How does that make any sense? Your offspring will die, too. And you'll have left no mark. And if you want your offspring to do something fantastic and have you remembered because you birthed them -- why don't YOU just do the fantastic thing and stop passing the buck on to the next generation? That sort of person seems to want their line to be ended by someone like me who'll prioritize anything other than child-rearing, all the while giving me sidelong glances and judging me for not liking children. Or is your mark on the world the thought that your DNA might be perpetuated beyond your children? I don't get it.

Personally, I don't feel a need to leave a mark on the world after my death. I won't be around to enjoy it or care. I'd like to have some influence while I'm around, but that's just because I'm loud. I'd like to write a good, understandable popsci book that isn't evil to counteract Pinker, but that's not because I want to leave a legacy -- that's because I hate Pinker. And what gives my life meaning and purpose? Nothing really. I'm an xkcd nihilist. Life has no meaning, so have fun with it! I want to maximize my enjoyment of my life while I'm around to live it. For me, that will probably involve being Professor Badass doing super fun research. Yes -- fun. Research that is interesting and fun to do. Not research that will revolutionize the world necessarily, though that would be fun too. Why research? Because learning is fun, and there is nothing more fun than knowing something that no one else knows yet. That's it. That's all I got. That's my purpose in life. Whether it leaves a mark or not is irrelevant.

I think it's about time for a huge life update, but I'll put that behind a cut to save your friends pages.Collapse )

Tue, May. 4th, 2010, 04:11 pm

I had my last Vassar class ever 1-2 today. I am sad. I will miss this place.

Sure finals kind of suck balls and whatnot, but I really love taking classes. Luckily, I've got more classes to look forward to next year!

... Once I figure out where I'm going, that is.

Yes, that's right, I'm still deciding between UPenn and Rutgers. Maybe one of these days I'll figure my shit out.

Edit: Just turned in my Math Stats final project. Woo. Now all I have left is the final.

Tue, Apr. 27th, 2010, 10:53 pm

Here is a tasty recipe I just made up!

Pasta with Tuna Tomato Sauce

Ingredients: garlic, onion, tomatoes, canned tuna, peas, paprika, black pepper, salt, chili powder, lemon juice, pasta.

1. Apply some olive oil to a pan. Chop up some garlic and onion. Apply these to the pan as well. You want medium low heat, and about 1/4 onion and 1 or 2 cloves of garlic per person who is nomming.
2. Chop up the tomatoes (1 per person) into < 1 inch chunks and apply these to the pan as well.
3. Start the pasta about now.
4. Cook sauce until you can smush the tomato bits easily with your stirring implement.
5. Add tuna, peas and spices to taste. Yum! You want about 1 can per person or two people, and peas-wise you want about a quarter cup per person.
6. Cook down until it's the consistency you want, and combine with pasta!
7. NOM.

So what have I been doing with my life other than cooking?! I'll tell you. Friday my plans to go see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind were shot by my desire to get out of my house for the weekend, so Marianne (<3) drove me to the train station and I skedaddled off to Mickey's. Shabbat dinner was tasty (duh) and hanging out with Mickey's fam is always a good time. They plied me with wine. I was happy. <3

On Saturday, the Mickster and I met up with JENN to go see Assemblage 23 in NYC! So that was good times as well. I was hoping there would be more moshy action during A23 but there was not. I attempted to start a moshpit and did not succeed. Oh well! It was good times. We kidnapped Jenn and brought her back to Mickey's for the night so's she wouldn't have to take the train back up to the Vass all on her lonely lonesome. And Mickey's mom made super tasty pancakes in the morning. YESS.

We got back to Vassar on Sunday just in time for Israel in Egypt, which was quite different from A23 but almost as enjoyable. Hurrah!

And then there was class and homework and stuff.

I am feeling less and less comfortable in my house as time goes on, largely I think because I am a light sleeper and therefore whenever there is shit, wherever it is, I am aware of it. But hopefully things will be getting better now.

Sat, Apr. 24th, 2010, 02:08 pm

Have escaped to Mickey's for the weekend. I super like his family. I am glad they are so close.

Also ... still considering between UPenn and Rutgers. EXCITEMENT CONTINUES

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